VIDEO: “On Climate Change, Energy and Infrastructure” with Kate Hudson of Waterkeeper.

“It’s difficult to overstate the seriousness of the environmental threats coming from this administration. We have never had a head of the EPA so hostile towards the mission of the agency, and never had a President so unwilling to make decisions based on science and law.”
- Kate Hudson, Waterkeeper Alliance's recent community educational forum "PART II:  On Climate Change, Energy and Infrastructure" was at capacity.  Our special guest Kate Hudson of Waterkeeper helped participants understand better what was a stake today and what citizens can do.

VIEW video from the event.

Please be sure to visit our upcoming SCHEDULE to learn more about future community educational forums.

Special thanks to Kate Hudson for her generosity in sharing her knowledge as our guest panelist; Peter and Julie at Church des Artists for their space, kindness, and for making this video; and, to all of our volunteers for their assistance.


VIEW:'s "Trump Administration Initiatives and NYS Local/State Policy and Laws"

8:46 - 11:25
Introduction: On’s Community Educational Forum Series

11:27 - 15:50
Introduction: Kate Hudson
“Give us a background on how you came to the work in NYS?”

15:52 - 17:12
Kate Hudson on SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act), unique to New York State.

17:13 - 18:54
“What other states have the equivalent of SEQRA in the Nation and what is NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act)?"

18:55 - 24:23
Kate Hudson discusses her work while at Riverkeeper that include Fracking, Pilgrim Pipeline and Anchorages as well as her work now in Colorado for Waterkeeper.

24:24 - 31:52
“Lets look at what’s happened since the inauguration, starting with Scott Pruitt, who now heads the EPA.”

“It’s difficult to overstate the seriously of the environmental threats coming from this admin. we have never had a head of EPA so hostile to the mission of the agency and never had a president so unwilling to make decisions based on science and law.”

“Congress has a role to play. They can refuse to enact whatever it is the President (via executive orders), which have no legal effect. Executive orders are wishes or direction.  The recently released budget has no effect until it is passed by Congress. We have the potential in this room, in this state, in this country - to influence Congress. That is where we need to focus our efforts.”

31:55 - 34:48
Discussion on citizen lawsuits against the federal government and the attorney general of NYS.

34:49 - 40:45
"What do Trump's budget plans indicate about environmental protection in our country?"

40:46 - 44:00
“One of Trump’s initiatives speaks to canceling billions of payments to UN climate change programs and use these "savings" to fix America's infrastructure.  What does this all mean?"

44:01 - 45:54
On budget cuts that impact the environment including brownfield programs, state grants for brownfields, drinking water grants, etc.

45:56 -  51:56
“Can you describe the Congressional Review Act?”

51:57 - 57:05
"What can be done on a national level?"

“We are watching you. We are not going to stop and we will remember come election time.”

57:06 - 59:18
"What can we do in NYS?"

59:19 - 1:02:48
“Speaking to the law, SEQRA is going through changes currently.  Can you speak to that and how can citizens participate?”

Comment period for proposed SEQRA revisions   VIEW

1:02: 49 - 1:07: 15
“In order to push back, we have to understand how we got here. It’s a long game that we are fighting.  What’s at stake is a huge amount of money in fossil fuels. It is all about money and power."

Recommended reading:
1. “This Changes Everything”  by Naomi Klein   VIEW
2. “Dark Money”  by Jane Mayer  VIEW


1:07:20 - 1:09:00
On gerrymandering and the NYS Census.

1:09:01 - 1:14:01
NYS residents exercising their power as it pertains to oil pipelines. Support passage of Skartado’s legislation.  “NYS Transportation Corporation Law”  VIEW

1:14:02 - 1:19:06
"In closing,  what is going on right now is a wake-up call that we all needed.  I think that the relationship between first nation communities and the earth water - air - the nature of that relationship and its importance is critical.  Earth, plants, animals and water were not just put here for human beings.  This is fundamental, the connection that first nations have with their earth. They are teaching us how we need to respect, protect and preserve all of these if we are to survive. I urge you all to become water, creature, forest protectors. Every sort of protector we can possibly muster."

VIDEO: Ulster County Legislature 3/22/17 – Proposed Ban on Memorializing Resolutions. Public Comment and First Reading.

"Why would we want to diminish our voice and power as a legislature? Are our actions any less important than any other legislative body or branch of government to our constituents? If we think so, we should not hold the office."   -  Jennifer Schwartz Berky,  Ulster County Legislator (Kingston, District 7)   from "Commentary: Ban on Memorializing Resolutions in Ulster County Legislature is Undemocratic." in the Kingston Times.   VIEW

On Wednesday night, the Ulster County Legislature held its regular legislative session where the proposed ban on memorializing resolutions had its first reading. Other important items were debated (and adopted) including a memorializing resolution to request the NYS Legislature expand hate crimes (to include first responders and police officers) and, a resolution to prohibit cyber-bullying.

Thanks to all of the citizens who came out to speak that evening on a number of issues. We trust that watching these processes as thoroughly as you are will help to better assist you in speaking to your legislators on these important matters.

Speeches that were made by the Chairman, minority and majority leaders are located at the bottom of this post.

Filmed by Clark Richters of the Kingston News. Brought to you by



Resolution #91: "Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions"

VIEW: "Commentary: Ban on Memorializing Resolutions in Ulster County Legislature is Undemocratic." in the Kingston Times by Jennifer Schwartz Berky, District 7 Legislator

Resolution #92: "Requesting The New York State Legislature Introduce Legislation Expanding The Hate Crimes Law, New York Penal Law §485.05"

Resolution No. 89  "Adopting Proposed Local Law No. 17 of 2016 (A Local Law Prohibiting Cyber-Bullying In Ulster County)"  


                     VIDEO ONE:  Public Comment Footage. See names and times below. 

3:59 - 7:00
Tim Gay
Soujourner Truth

7:14 - 9:45
Amy Fradon
Memorializing Resolutions

10:05 - 21:35
Support of Awareness program

21:44 - 23:35
Stephanie Loren
Memorializing Resolutions

23:42 -  25:10
Hector Veras
Sanctuary Cities and ABCD School Support
Making information accessible to the diverse population of Ulster County.

25:15 - 27:57
Sally Dolan
Support for RUPCO  (CDBG)

28:05 - 30:22
Jose Agayo
Support for Addiction Program

30:34 - 32:10
Shay Sitimi
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92
“Currently hate crime laws do not apply to those based on occupation, but instead on an offender’s bias such as race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.”

32:20 - 35:25
Elisa Tinti
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92

35:30 - 37:55
Brian McKearn
Support for CDBG

37:58 -  39:55
Brian Morgan
Support for CDBG

40:07 - 42:42
Bill Anderson
Support for CDBG

42:45 -  44:24
Nino Agano
Support for RUPCO

44:40 - 47:14
Sandra Ophamare
Support for RUPCO

47:15 - 50:22
Allison White
Memorializing Resolutions

50:35 -  52:35
Johannes Sayer
Memorializing Resolutions

52:47 -  53:40
Douglas Koop (Ward 2 Alderman)
Memorializing Resolutions

53:48 - 56:04
Jolie Dunham
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92

56:05 - 57:50
Sarah Yurich
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92

57:51 - 59:50
Lauren Coller
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92


                VIDEO TWO: Public Comment Footage. See names and times below.











00:00 - 00:20

Lauren Coller  (Continued)
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92

00:21 - 2:15
William Barr
Memorializing Resolutions

2:22 - 5:03
Sue Rosenberg
Memorializing Resolutions

5:14 - 6:55
Joel Mason
Memorializing Resolutions

7:02 - 9:08
Kathy Nolan, Catskill Mountainkeeper
Memorializing Resolutions

9:10 - 11:47
T.J. Briggs
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92

11:50 - 14:30
Laney Walter
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92

14:40 - 17:17
Thomas Wanning
Memorializing Resolutions

17:18 - 19:52
Hillary Harvey
Memorializing Resolutions

19:54 - 21:40
Phillip Guierri

21:51 - 24:20
Jeremy Swift
Memorializing Resolutions
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92

24:22 - 26:28
Callie Jayne, Citizen Action
Hate Crime Memorializing Resolution #92



27:00 - 36:20
Resolution No. 91 "Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions"
Minority Leader Hector Rodriguez asks to send Resolution No. 91 back to Committee.  Chairman Ronk declares he request as an illegal motion. Rodriguez appeals and claims "home rule".   13/10 rule of the chair stands.  Resolution remains on course for a full legislative vote in April.

36:22 - 39:14
Resolutions to move from non-consent to consent.

39:15 - 42:05
Resolution No. 47 "Confirming Appointment Of A Member To The Ulster County Youth Board"   (Adopted)  
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW Vote to adopt Resolution No. 47

42:06 - 45:10
Resolution No. 14  "A Local Law of the County of Ulster for the Regulation of Pet Sellers"(Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW Vote to adopt Resolution No. 47

45:16 - 59:50
Resolution No. 89  "Adopting Proposed Local Law No. 17 of 2016 (A Local Law Prohibiting Cyber-Bullying In Ulster County)"  (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 89


                                                VIDEO THREE: Legislative discussion.











00:00 - 20:43  (continued)

Resolution No. 89  "Adopting Proposed Local Law No. 17 of 2016 (A Local Law Prohibiting Cyber-Bullying In Ulster County)"  (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 89

20:44 - 22:17
Resolution No. 99  "Approving The Execution Of A Contract In Excess Of $50,000.00 Entered Into By The County – Ulster County Economic Development Alliance Inc. – Department Of Planning"  (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 99

22:18 -  23:02
Resolution No. 117  "Confirming Appointment Of A Member To The Community Services Board"  (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 117

23:04 -  24:55
Resolution No. 119  "Authorizing The Chairman Of The Ulster County Legislature To Execute A State Assistance Contract With The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation For Grant Funding For The Butternut Cove Culvert Rehabilitation and Slope Stabilization Project along the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Corridor"  (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 119

24:57 - 26:06
Resolution No. 120  "Amending The 2017 Ulster County Budget To Appropriate Forfeiture Revenue – Ulster County Sheriff"   (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 120

26:08 - 29:09
Resolution No. 123  "Establishing Capital Project No. 484 – Poorhouse Memorial – Department of Public Works (Buildings & Grounds)"  (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 123

29:10 -32:22
Resolution No. 124  "Authorizing The Construction Of A Memorial To The Ulster County Poorhouse At The County Fairgrounds, In And For The County Of Ulster, New York, At A Maximum Estimated Cost Of $100,000.00, And Authorizing The Issuance Of $100,000.00 Bonds Of Said County To Pay The Cost Thereof" (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 124

32:23 -34:40
Resolution No. 126  "Authorizing The Construction Of Improvements To The County’s Golden Hill Facility Water Tower, In And For The County Of Ulster, New York, At A Maximum Estimated Cost Of $640,640.00, And Authorizing The Issuance Of $640,640.00 Bonds Of Said County To Pay The Cost Thereof" (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 126

34:31 - 35:20
Resolution No. 130  "Authorizing The Reconstruction Of The Public Works Administration Building, In And For The County Of Ulster, New York, At A Maximum Estimated Cost Of $148,000.00, And Authorizing The Issuance Of $148,000.00 Bonds Of Said County To Pay The Cost Thereof " (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt Resolution No. 130

35:21 - 52:15
Memorializing Resolution No. 92  "Requesting The New York State Legislature Introduce Legislation Expanding The Hate Crimes Law, New York Penal Law §485.05" (Adopted)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt

Debate detail
* Legislator Ronald Lapp makes amendment to include.
* Legislator Chris Allen.  Yes vote.
* Legislator Tracy Bartels.  No vote.
* Legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky.  No vote.
* Legislator Dave Donaldson.  No vote.
* Legislator Manna Jo Greene.  No vote.
* Legislator  Heppner. No vote.
* Legislator Herbert Litts. Yes vote.
* Legislator James F. Maloney.  Yes vote.
* Legislator John Parete. No vote.

52:16 - 55:44
Memorializing Resolution No. 135  "Opposing A Full Repeal Of The Affordable Care Act Without A Comparable And Immediate Replacement Plan That Is Ready For Implementation" (Withdrew)
VIEW  Resolution
VIEW  Vote to adopt


Chairman Ken Ronk Address 
VIEW  Video
VIEW  Speech Text

Majority Leader Mary Beth Maio
VIEW  Video  (starts at 17:20)
VIEW  Speech Text

Minority Leader Hector Rodriguez
VIEW  Video
VIEW  Speech Text

FAQ Sheet: The City of Kingston as a “Welcoming and Inclusive City”.

Here are key facts to clarify much of the misinformation on the matter of Kingston's proposed memorializing resolution on being "welcoming and inclusive". We hope it is helpful to citizens of Kingston as they prepare their testimony on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.  Please arrive at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway, Kingston - council chambers) at 6:45pm to sign-up to speak and to get a seat. The Mayor's 'state of the city' address will begin at 7:00pm, and the Common Council will have their January council meeting following at approximately 7:30pm.  Public comment will take place at that time.


Initial letter from 21 City of Kingston faith groups requesting Kingston declare itself a 'sanctuary city'.

Memoralizing Resolution
"Kingston as a Welcoming and Inclusive City".

No.  In the memorializing resolution, although the "whereas" states that "these practices are generally considered to be 'sanctuary city' principles", the proposed action of the City of Kingston is simply to reaffirm that it has always been and will always be that of “a welcoming and inclusive city”.

VIEW: Mayor Steve Noble's reasoning why the memorializing resolution is not titled a 'sanctuary city'.  (Begins at 23:56 - 25:28)

A memoralizing resolution does not set forth policy or law. Instead, it creates text to cause people to remember. It is a tool to both educate and in this case, to remind us of our principles and values.

In November of 2016, Kingston’s Mayor Steve Noble received a letter from 21 members of the local faith community requesting that Kingston declare itself a ‘Sanctuary City”.  In response and following process, the mayor issued a communication to Alderman-at-Large James Noble requesting that their concerns be referred to the appropriate council committee for discussion. The matter was assigned to the Kingston Common Council’s Laws and Rules Committee. After  much research and collaboration, extensive questioning of both Mayor Noble and Police Chief Egidio Tinti, debate and public comment, a memoralizing resolution was drafted based on models adopted by municipalities from across the nation, reaffirming Kingston as a “welcoming and inclusive city”.  The memorializing resolution passed positively out of the Kingston Common Council Laws and Rules Committee for a full council vote on January 10th.

VIEW:  Mayor Steve Noble explains the context of the memorializing resolution (begins at 1:10 - 7:54).

No.  The City of Kingston Police Chief Egidio Tinti reviewed the memoralizing resolution and found no conflicts with existing practices and procedures of the Kingston Police Department.   Immigration is federal law, not local law. Kingston, and all US municipalities, is barred from making laws relating to immigration.

No. The current memoralizing resolution does not change any existing laws, rules or practices of the City of Kingston or the Kingston Police Department and is consistent with the principles of the NYS and US Constitution.

READ: “Trump Can’t Force “sancutary cities” to enforce his deportation plans." in the Washington Post. 

VIDEO: Kingston Common Council Caucus (5/2/16) and Full Council Meeting (5/3/16)

We are pleased to bring you video from this week's common council caucus (5/2) and full council meeting (5/3). As you will see, we have marked much of the content specifically focused on the items that we have been following recently that include amending the firearms law and the Pilgrim Pipeline memorializing resolution. However, there is a good amount of information throughout, and we encourage you to take the time to also view the remainder of the footage.

Citizens did a great job in supporting the council in their decision making process last night, and in sharing their opinions on the location of the proposed shooting range. The outcome was that the council sent the amended firearms law back to the laws and rules committee for further vetting, which was seen as a positive action by all sides. In addition, an important memorializing resolution was passed showing Kingston's support of Bill A9831a   sponsored by Assemblyman Skartados, “an act to prevent the construction of pipelines to transport hazardous substances or petroleum on property under the jurisdiction of the New York Thruway Authority.”

Although the items listed in the agenda move around some, everything is covered and you can follow along:

VIEW: Agenda

VIEW: Legislation

* Brought to you by Filmed by Clark Richters of Kingston News.

  • Kingston Common Council Caucus:  May 2, 2016

00:00 - 11:03
Presentation by Megan Weiss-Rowe, Director
Communications and Community Engagement, COK

11:05 - 22:58
Ethics Law Amendment

23:00 - 38:35
Brenna L. Robinson, Director
Community Development and Economic Development, COK

38:37 - 43:40
Discussion re:  Pilgrim Pipeline, new memoralizing resolution.

43:42 - 59:50
Discussion: Amending Firearms Law


00:00 - 05:34
Discussion - Amending Firearms Law (Continued)

6:26 - 32:30
City Business: Properties, Bonding, etc.


  • Full Kingston Common Council Meeting, May 3rd, 2016

Public Comment Period

2:25 - 5:22
Lorraine Farina, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

5:23 - 7:05
Robert Fanchell, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

7:07 - 11:34
Lisa Robbins, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

11:35 - 13:35
Marco Ochea, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

13:36 - 15:15
Merna Cuovera, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

15:16 - 16:55
Sasha Frasier and youth from local Kingston Homeschooling Group
Amending Firearms Law

17:04 - 18:40
Maria and Keith Phillips, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

18:41 - 20:15
J. Wood, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

20:22 - 21:56
Adriano Fernandez, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

22:00 - 22:38
Octavio Perez Castillo, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

22:40 - 25:27
Pat Courtney Strong, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

25:29 - 28:07
Linda Marston-Reid, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

28:10 - 30:17
Peter Griswell, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

30:19 - 31:35
Michael Sweeney, Rifton
Amending Firearms Law

31:53 - 34:04
Steve Arresio, New Paltz
Amending Firearms Law

34:15 - 36:33
Sue Rosenberg, Sauterties (CAPP)
Pilgrim Pipeline

36:40 - 38:31
Robert Rogan, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

38:35 -41:05
Scott Marston-Reid, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

41:10 - 44:50
Adam Soyer, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

44:53 - 47:00
Nora Scherer
President, Kingston Board of Education
Amending Firearms Law

47:06 - 48:54
James Shaugnessy, Kingston Board of Education
Amending Firearms Law

49:02 - 50:45
Allison Woods, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

50:53 - 52:06
Kaycee Wimbish, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

52:09 - 54:05
Reverend James Childs, Kingston Board of Education
Amending Firearms Law

54:09 - 58:27
Ilana Berger, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

58:34 - 59:50
Darrett Roberts, Poughkeepsie
Amending Firearms Law


00:00 - 1:10
Darrett Roberts, Poughkeepsie (Continued)
Amending Firearms Law

1:20 - 2:40
Jenny Snyder
Amending Firearms Law

3:09 - 6:19
Shi, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

6:30 - 9:00
Ellen DiFalco, Kingston
Ethics Law

9:07 - 10:25
Pam Krimskey, Highland
Amending Firearms Law

10:30 - 13:18
Joe DiFalco, Kingston
Ethics Law

13:41 - 15:32
Elisa, Kingston
Amending Firearms Law

15:35 - 16:30
Lawrence McCauley, Kingston  (Letter read by Ward 9 Alderwoman Deb Brown)
Amending Firearms Law


Resolution #120 of 2016
Amending Firearms Law

17:20 - 17:36
Reading, City Clerk

17:39 - 17:52
Ward 7 Alderwoman Mary Mills
Refers the amended firearms law back to committee

18:00 - 18:52
Ward 2 Alderman Doug Koop
Rejects amending the firearms law.

18:53 - 19:48
Ward 1 Alderwoman Lynn Eckert
Requests clarification as to whether this is a resolution or local law. 
Supports sending the amended law back to committee. 

20:22 - 20:38
Resolution is adopted 7 -1


Resolution #122 of 2016
Pilgrim Pipeline: Support Bill A9831a.

32:29 - 32:55
Reading, City Clerk

33:00 - 33:08
Resolution is adopted 8 - 0




VIDEO: Mayoral Candidate Debate 10/22/15 is pleased to bring you video from last evening's Mayoral Candidate debate (10/22/15). Special thanks to Kingston News for helping us to make it possible.

Please mark your calendars and VOTE on Tuesday, November 3rd. The polls are open from 6:00am - 9:00pm. To locate your polling place, please visit the BOE POLLING PLACE site for more information.

Don't forget that the Water Sales/Supply Referendum will appear on the BACK OF THE BALLOT!  Please consider a YES vote and give Kingston citizens the opportunity have a voice in any future water sales outside of our community.


Opening Statements

5:20 - 8:33   Steve Noble

8:38 - 11:52   Ron Polacco

If elected, tell us three pressing issues that you would immediately address.

12:20 - 13:07   Ron Polacco

13:12 - 15:18   Steve Noble

What plans do you have for the City Charter, and do you support the appointment of a City Manager.

15:43 - 17:17   Steve Noble

17:23 - 18:08   Ron Polacco

What are your solutions for keeping down spending by keeping services demanded by citizens?

18:44 - 20:16   Ron Polacco

20:21 - 22:30   Steve Noble

The 2016 City Budget has been complete and currently under review. Since there are many unfunded mandates and projects coming up especially with infrastructure issues, how do you propose to keep the budget under the state tax cap and put forth your vision for the city?  

22:57 - 25:02    Steve Noble

25:10 - 26:32    Ron Polacco

Describe specific examples what you would do to expand and diversify the economy?

27:04 - 28:00   Ron Polacco

28:03 - 30:08   Steve Noble

How would you go about attracting business in Kingston?

30:30 - 32:20   Steve Noble

32:25 -  33:35   Ron Polacco

Do you believe in utilizing outside consultants and why?

33:54 - 34: 37   Ron Polacco

34:40 - 36:28   Steve Noble

How will you handle a loss of parking on Broadway, or what is your plan for Broadway?

36:44 - 38:50   Steve Noble

38:52 -  40:00   Ron Polacco

How would you address the threat to the Catskill Mountain Railroad?

40:22 - 41:23   Ron Polacco

41:28 - 43:43   Steve Noble

What do you feel is the role of the arts in ED in Midtown and for the city as a whole?

43:59 - 46:00  Steve Noble

46:07 - 46:51   Ron Polacco

There are many youth who are at risk or living in poverty in Midtown. Do you see this as a big issue in Kingston?

47:18 - 48:16    Ron Polacco

48:22 - 50:30    Steve Noble

What would you do to pride citizens of ownership of homes in Kingston, and what are your housing priorities?

51:05 - 53:10  Steve Noble

53:15 - 54:30   Ron Polacco

Do you think that transportation system in Kingston is adequate and if not, how would you improve it?

54:50 - 56:00    Ron Polacco

56:03 - 58:15     Steve Noble

How will you handle the fireman's museum in 
uptown? Would you keep it or sell it?

58:28 - 1:00:19  Steve Noble

1:00:23 - 1:01:13   Ron Polacco

How will you increase citizen participation on matters such as city plans that affect them directly?

1:01:34 - 1:02:11    Ron Polacco

1:02:14 - 1:04:25    Steve Noble



Are you willing to create monthly or quarterly reports? How would do this?

00:00 - 1:18    Steve Noble
* (some of Noble's answer is at the end of the previous video)

1:22 - 1:53    Ron Polacco

Do either of you see a problem working with relatives in City Government? 

2:18 - 2:43    Ron Polacco

2:44 - 4:50    Steve Noble

Many areas of Kingston experience flooding. If elected, what would you do to alleviate this problem for citizens?

5:21 - 7:27    Steve Noble

7:30 - 8:05  Ron Polacco

How do you propose to enhance the business community while cutting taxes?

8:21 - 9:10    Ron Polacco

9:12 -  11:25   Steve Noble

What are creative ideas for financing infrastructure in the next four years?

11:49 -13:52   Steve Noble

13:55 - 15:11   Ron Polacco

Closing Statements

15:24 - 17:36   Ron Polacco

17:41 - 20:46   Steve Noble


IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Why Does Passing The Water Referendum on November 3rd Matter?


By Rebecca Martin

As part of our ongoing effort to educate citizens on the upcoming Water Referendum that will appear on the November 3rd  ballot,  we are happy to present this piece, "In their own words" to share insight from residents who live and work inside and out of the City of Kingston.

Our lives are intimately impacted by the decisions made by our elected and appointed officials on all fronts.  In this case, regarding water, by voting 'YES' to include the Common Council on all sales of water outside Kingston's corporate limits, we have a real opportunity to assure better decisions to be made.

Please take note. The Water Sales Referendum will be on the BACK OF THE BALLOT on November 3rd.

QUESTION:  Why do you wish to see the Water Referendum pass through this fall during the general election? 

“Our government is based on elected officials representing the people.  The fact that there is currently a disconnect and the residents of Kingston have no representation when it comes to selling our most vital resource outside of our community is a dangerous flaw in our charter. Passing this referendum provides a safety net for Kingstonians, so that we can be represented and our voices can be heard if future proposals that may compromise our water supply should occur. I am very proud to have been a part of the solution to keep the Niagara bottling project away from our water, but this referendum is equally important so the future leaders of our city have a system in place to be at the table from the very beginning.”
Bill Carey, Kingston Resident
Ward 5 Alderman

“As Niagara Bottling Company’s recent proposal to begin bottling water from our area highlighted, our water - one of our most precious, shared natural resources - is currently very vulnerable. As the vagaries of climate change increase, water will become even more threatened and precious both in the Hudson Valley and across the world. We cannot afford to leave this essential natural element that literally sustains all of us to be unprotected or privatized.  This Water Referendum is a crucial step in the process of ensuring that our water remains available to all residents in our area – in the City of Kingston as well as other municipalities with shared watersheds and water rights – both now and in the future.  Requiring Mayoral and Common Council approvals for water sales outside the City of Kingston is a sensible step to improve transparency and sound process  – which was lacking with Niagara – to ensure that future water sale proposals are carefully and fully vetted and in the best long term interests of Kingston's residents and water customers.  Cooper Lake & Mink Hollow are the source waters for the City of Kingston's drinking water supply. Woodstock is Kingston's watershed community. Woodstock also has shared water rights in Mink Hollow Stream and to the waters flowing from Cooper Lake, should the Town ever need to access them in the future. Residents of the Town of Ulster and Town of Kingston rely on the water supply from Cooper Lake as well, through long-term water purchase contracts with the Kingston Water Department. And Mink Hollow is in the New York City water shed. For all these reasons the Land Conservancy is committed to doing what we can to help protect the long term integrity and viability of these critical natural resources in our community."
Kevin Smith, Chairman, Woodstock Land Conservancy
Eve Fox, Advisory Council Member, Woodstock Land Conservancy

“Passage of this referendum is important, but not necessarily for me. It is important for my child, and future generations. To insure that our precious, natural resources are not commercialized or squandered should be the top priority of all communities. And it should be up to the entire community to decide how to utilize these resources -- and not left to a handful of people behind closed doors to decide. What I learned from the Niagara Bottling Plant proposal and the subsequent community reaction is that the needs of the community should be considered first, and not be trumped by corporate interests. Economic development is much more than job creation, it includes fostering community wellness. That means creating a place to live that is not only safe and has a high quality of life, but has essential services to include abundant and clean water for all residents.”
Arthur Zaczkiewicz, Kingston Resident

"In today's world water is now a precious commodity and a resource to be protected. We all have  read of droughts across certain areas in North America and their communities hunt for clean water along with their ongoing conservation efforts. We here in the City of Kingston are fortunate to have a clean and safe water supply readily available for our citizens. As representatives of the people  it makes sense that the Common Council  have a say in what companies, who are outside city limits, can purchase the water, for what purpose and how much they purchase. Currently the Council does not have that right based on the charter written almost a hundred years ago. That power was given to members of a  Water Board to oversee all water matters which worked for those times. They could never have imagined the future with water being bottled and sold for a profit.  It is now time to rectify it.   All living creatures, all plants, need water to sustain life and we need to protect our natural resource from abuse or profiteering.  It is essential for the life and survival  of the City of Kingston and for its future generations. As I have said in the past, Water is now the new "oil"."
Deb Brown
Alderwoman, 9th ward
Minority Leader

“Kingston's water supply is a crucial pillar of our public commons. It's understanding that we cannot exist apart from the web of nature whose very source is water. So of course, the sale of our water for a commercial purpose threatens our public commons and cannot be allowed.”
David Bruner, Kingston Resident
Kingston Transition


“Why does the Water Referendum matter?  Because when Kingston was faced with a decision last year that would have affected our economic and environmental future, you didn’t have a choice.  You didn’t have a voice.   The City Charter is Kingston’s “constitution.” It is the fundamental structure of our government.  New York State Law says that YOUR VOTE MATTERS on any change to our city charter.  The way the Charter is currently structured, the Common Council that YOU elected to represent our community has no say regarding the Water Board’s decision to sell our water.  This simply doesn’t make sense.  It is not how democracy should work.  The Water Board should be accountable to the public and the Council should have the “balance of power” regarding the significant decisions that govern our City’s future.   In other words, during the Niagara Bottling proposal last year:

  • You had no say about whether to sell our limited supply of safe, high quality drinking water to a billion-dollar corporation for a fraction of the rate you pay.
  • You had no say about the use of your tax dollars going toward the attraction of a polluting industry.
  • You had no say about how this would limit further residential and commercial development in Kingston.
  • You had no say regarding whether this was environmentally detrimental to our community.

If you vote “yes” for the Water Referendum, you will have a say!  Say “yes!” to include Council - and the public – in the sale of our precious water.”
Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Kingston Resident
District 7 Ulster County Legislature Democratic Candidate

“I want to see this water referendum pass because the people must have a say about how this most precious resource is used.  Water is vital to life, and we are blessed to live in an area that has an abundance of water today.  But times are changing, and water shortages are a reality in many parts of the world.  We are also vulnerable to that possibility in the future.  We need to think carefully - and many generations ahead - about protecting our water for the future.  Until now,  a small group of appointed (not elected) officials had the power to make all decisions about the water that Kingston citizens depend on.  The passing of this referendum will ensure that officials elected by the citizens of Kingston will have a say in what happens to the city's water supply.  And the people should have a say in this important matter.  It was only a year ago this month that the citizens of the area found out that the water of Kingston had been offered up for sale to Niagara Bottling Company - these negotiations started in April of 2014 with Kingston’s Water Department and were kept out of the public eye until September!  I urge everyone who is eligible to vote to pass this referendum so that in the future the citizens will be aware of - and represented in - all decisions about their water supply.”
Karin Wolf
Sierra Club and Neetopk Keetopk

“Water is our most important resource. We cannot live without it. Kingston residents, visitors, and businesses all need access to clean, fresh water in times of plentiful rainfall, and in times of drought. We need to protect and conserve our water, and to plan its use wisely. It’s no longer appropriate for decisions about the potential sale of Kingston water to be made by a group of 5 Water Board members, plus the Mayor. A decision to sell our water has far-reaching consequences, and should only be undertaken after informed and careful thought,  and only if approved by a majority of Kingston citizens through their representatives on the Common Council.”
Lynn Johnson, Kingston Resident
Democratic Candidate for Alderman, Ward 9
Member, Kingston Conservation Advisory Council

“While I live in Woodstock, I am a committee Chair, and I have continued to work with this amazing team to so to stay civically engaged in the protection of our collective public safety, way of life, and our water.   It is encouraging to see that the Kingston Common Council has taken this action.   This Referendum is extremely valuable to the region, because the systems that are in place, in the City of Kingston, for the governance of water that lie in Woodstock township are not currently set up to give the people a voice.   Judging by recent events, it is clear that if we do not take the necessary steps to safeguard the community from similar threats, we could find ourselves in the middle of a nightmare we can’t wake up from.   About one year ago to the day, I was alerted to the plan to the privatization of a small lake in the Woodstock community. My immediate reaction was “Not in my back yard!!” And then I began to understand that it was far more than just my lake that lie vulnerable.   The plan that Niagara Bottling Company, Kingston Water Board and The Town of Ulster Supervisor had for the region was obscenely dangerous to the health and safety of the people in our community and threatened to add billions of gallons of potential waste overtime to the Hudson River via the Esopus Creek and innumerable plastic bottles to the sea of plastic we continue to create and throw “away”.   This is not the kind of decision that should be left in the hands of a few people. Public water should be governed with the inclusion of the people whom the sources serve.  While the plan was never able to see itself to manifestation, it did shed light on vulnerabilities as well as create stress on inter-municipal relationships, and we have been left with much more than leaky pipes to repair.   I see this referendum as the first step of many that can be taken to protect the City of Kingston’s water supply, those who are served by it and those who live in the watershed from which it comes.”
Rachel Marco-Havens, Woodstock Resident Communications Committee
Founder, Earth Guardians NY

“Many years ago, I saw a documentary that showed Bolivian people who were facing legal penalties for collecting rainwater--apparently, the water that fell from the sky legally "belonged" to a private corporation and the Bolivian people were accused of stealing their property. This struck me as absurd and monstrous, but the years since I have seen that attitude creeping into the U.S. system. Water should not be treated as a commodity to be traded on Wall Street and owned by private entities. It is a natural resource and a public right. It belongs to all of us, and that's why it matters deeply to me that the people of Kingston have the final say in how our water is managed.”
Sara Eckel, Kingston Resident

“I would like to see the Water Referendum pass this Fall because it will bring the public's voice into decisions about Kingston's most precious natural resource -- drinking water.  Kingston's citizens are smart, well informed and ready to help plan for a future of clean, abundant fresh water.  The Referendum will help make sure they have the power to do just that.”
Paul Gallay, Executive Director
Hudson Riverkeeper

“I plan to vote in support of the Water Referendum and I urge my fellow Kingstonians to vote “yes” on the water referendum too. The referendum requires Common Council approval on any sale of water rights outside of Kingston's corporate limits. Currently, the Water Board stands as an independent agency with members appointed for set terms by the Mayor of Kingston.  Long ago, those establishing an independent Water Board intended that the agency operate above politics without the potential for graft, cronyism, and the short term thinking often associated with the rough and tumble of policymaking. Yet, an independent agency insulated from and unaccountable to the citizens it represents breeds its own kind of potential problems. Given the way Water Board members are appointed, politics isn’t eliminated from the process. Instead, the politics take place behind closed doors in the Mayor’s office without a transparent, public discussion of the appointee’s values, commitments, and philosophy. A good mayor will seek Board members from a variety of different and competing perspectives. A problematic mayor will stuff the Board with likeminded friends and political allies. The quality of the Board depends upon the ethics of the mayor.    In a 21st century full of drought conditions brought on by climate change, water has become a crucial resource. The City of Kingston cannot thrive economically without a stable water supply. The people who, in the final analysis, own that water should make any decision that potentially endangers its watershed. If the referendum passes, the Water Board will retain many of the features that have historically accompanied its independent agency status. It will continue to function the way the progenitors of the Water Board intended – free from the short term compromise and deal making characterizing many political decisions with one crucial exception. When considering whether to sell Kingston’s water outside of our community where the public hasn't any jurisdiction, the Water Board must seek the approval of the Common Council, the most representative branch of Kingston government. If selling Kingston’s water to a corporation like Niagara Bottling Company is truly in the best interests of the community, surely the people will see the wisdom in such a policy. If the selling of Kingston’s water is detrimental to the community, then the Water Board will have to reconsider whether its commitments align with the public good. “
Lynn Eckert, Kingston Resident
Democratic Candidate for Ward 1 Alderwoman


“Having the Common Council involved in all decisions as important as the sale of our water is critical to Kingston's future. Hopefully, our next Mayor will observe "transparency, accountability and informed public engagement" in all decision making, but ensuring that all 11 of our elected representatives have the information upon which important decisions are made and and a voice in those decisions is fundamental to protecting the public interest and furthering open government in Kingston.”
Kitty McCullough, Kingston Resident Economic Development Committee

“Access to clean water is a precious, life-sustaining human right which we cannot take for granted. Multi-national corporations know that water is the new oil, the new gold, the new hot "commodity", according to companies like NESTLE and NIAGARA, who are actively engaged in turbo charged water grabs, pollution of streams, rivers, oceans, and the economic exploitation of local water supplies across the country. Ulster County has recently experienced such heinous activities first hand in our victorious fight to prevent NIAGARA plastic water bottling company from setting up shop in our communities. It is vitally important that the Kingston, NY Water Referendum pass on Election Day 2015. We have seen the future and it requires that the citizens of Ulster County protect our water, now and in the long term. If we blink, our water may be compromised. Our relatively pristine watershed provides water to local communities and to New York City. It is beyond valuable. The people of Ulster County deserve the right to protect our water, and the right to determine our watershed's healthy future. I am forever grateful to the heroic work of all at, and everyone involved in making sure that Kingston, NY has the opportunity to vote "YES" on the Water Referendumon on Election Day, November 3, 2015.”
Anne Hemenway
Earth Guardians NY Events Committee

"We need the decision makers to be forward minded people who think about our children's children and sustainability especially during the times of depleting resources on our planet."
Jorge Nelson
Lake Hill Resident Events Committee

"I was very active with during the Niagara Bottling proposal crisis. From September 2014 to February 13, 2015, the date when Niagara withdrew their proposal to buy a large portion of our limited municipal water supply, I stopped taking our water for granted. I learned too much to continue to be complacent about our water. I now understand that we, the people, should all be good stewards of our water. I want Kingston’s Water Referendum to pass because I believe that the power to make decisions about selling our municipal water supply should be shared among appointed (Water Department staff/board) and elected officials (our Common Council members), and that any such decisions must be weighted in favor of our common good. The world is a very different place now than it was in 1895, when the City of Kingston’s Charter first defined who had the power and responsibility to protect our municipal water supply. 120 years ago, people could not have imagined plastic water bottling plants or corporate grabs of our natural resources. Today, these are real and present dangers. Amending our City Charter to empower the Common Council to represent the public and to be actively involved in decisions related to water sales outside of the City is the right course to take."
Debra Bresnan, Kingston Resident Communications Committee

"Catskill Mountainkeeper supports this referendum because it insures greater participation of affected communities in decision making about their water resources. Vital drinking water resources are increasingly coming under threat from human activities and the consequences of human activities, and our ability to protect water resources is enhanced through improved transparency and inclusiveness."
Dr. Kathy Nolan
Catskill Mountainkeeper

VIDEO: Kingston Mayoral Debate


We are pleased to provide the Mayoral Debate in its entirety from tonight (8/24/15) organized by Temple Emanuel and moderated by the League of Women Voters.

Brought to you by Thanks to Clark Richters of Kingston News for filming tonight's event.




00:00 - 5:00  Ground Rules
5:18 -  8:26   Steve Noble, Opening remarks
8:37 - 11:59   Shayne Gallo, Opening Remarks

#1 - What is the most pressing issue for the City of Kingston?
12:17 - 13:39    Shayne Gallo
13:42 - 15:30   Steve Noble

#2 What are you proposing for job growth in the City of Kingston?
15:50 - 17:42    Steve Noble
17:50 - 20:29   Shayne Gallo

#3 Do you believe the City Mayor should have more input or oversight into the Kingston school district and their budgets and board of education?
20:52 - 21:55    Shayne Gallo
21:57 - 23:50    Steve Noble

#4  As Mayor, what will you do to resolve the ex-fire chief litigation without raising taxes?
24:08 - 25:27  Steve Noble
25:28 - 27:35  Shayne Gallo

#5 What is your position on drug policing in Midtown, do you think URGENT has been excessive and bad for community or important for bringing safety to the community?
27:56 - 29:53  Shayne Gallo
29:59 - 32:15  Steve Noble

#6 Do you have any plans or proposals to improve the complaint process, and would you support or work towards some form of civilian oversight of the city police?
32:40 -34:42  Steve Noble
34:45 - 37:01  Shayne Gallo

#7  Do you support initiatives such as the Rail Trail, 'Building a Better Broadway' and the Riverport?
37:15 - 38:40  Shayne Gallo
38:47 - 40:55  Steve Noble
41:00 - 41: 28  Shayne Gallo rebuttal

#8 How important do you think the traffic flow problem in Uptown Kingston is and what will you do to move it forward?
41:45 - 43:46  Steve Noble
43:54 - 45:55  Shayne Gallo

#9 Do either of you have concerns about nepotism in City Government?
46:27 - 48:05  Shayne Gallo
48:07 - 50:04  Steve Noble

#10 Explain the logic behind the sale of the fireman's museum, and can you explain what happened with the fishing pier project and how can this be avoided in the future?
50:39 - 52:42  Steve Noble
52:46 - 55:06  Shayne Noble

#11 Considering the issues highlighted by Black Lives Matter, how would you move Kingston towards a police force that exemplifies excellent community policing?
55:27 - 56:50  Shayne Gallo
56:51 - 59:03  Steve Noble



#12 There are numerous questions about community. How will each of you include the minority community in your administration and what could the city do to communicate with the residents?
00:40 - 2:35  Steve Noble
2:40 - 4:11     Shayne Gallo

#13  Do you have a plan to improve the housing stock for the poor without forcing them to sell?
4:20 - 5:55  Shayne Gallo
5:56 - 8:07  Steve Noble

#14 What is your position on the upcoming water referendum and the appointment of new water board members?
8:25 - 10:09  Steve Noble
10:15 - 11:30  Shayne Gallo

#15 If you think in terms of the two most important initiatives for the mayor, what would you be most concerned about continuing if you were elected, what would you be most excited about promoting if you were elected mayor?
12:31 - 14:00  Shayne Gallo
14:02 - 16:28  Steve Noble

Closing Statements
16:50 - 21:49  Shayne Gallo
21:50 - 27:07  Steve Noble