Be a Part of a Garden Democracy In Kingston.

A Garden Democracy. Now that's a concept I can totally get behind.

As most of you can imagine, when I received this press release I was more than pleased.  With gardens now at Kingston City Hall, most of our schools and a growing number of community gardens, this is a natural next step.

You’ll find the text in both English and Spanish below.

See you there.

Read more…

Potential New Tool To Help Homeowners Reduce Their Property Taxes

This morning in the freeman, there was a small news item on a local Red Hook fellow who has created a website to aid homeowners in reducing their property taxes – when applicable.

Visit Property Tax Data Base for more information.

We are interested in learning if it is useful to our readers. Please leave a comment if you use it with your results either way.

Making Changes. What a Kingston Citizen Can Do.

There has always been a good amount of citizen activity  in the city of Kingston. But I’ve found that the mood has changed pretty dramatically as of late.

In general, the lack of good public information made widely available has created a plethora of independent blogs and the like – where a person can now air their opinions and thoughts on any given topic. That’s a good thing in theory. Unfortunately,  there is a lot of poor fact finding and planning that now can be broadcast for all to read or hear. In the age of sound bites, it’s more important than ever to be thoughtful in what you provoke.

Over the past few months, I have had many different discussions with citizens who are concerned on subjects where citizen involvement is key. Crime (thank you Michael and Claudia D’Arcy), Taxes (thank you KURA), the Safety Net (thank you Mary Ann Parker), Food Security (thank you Diane Reeder), Children’s Programming (thank you YMCA, YWCA, CCE, the Boys and Girls Club and the Hodge Center to name a few), Comprehensive Planning and Term Limits  (thank you….TBA) and more. Garbage Disposal, Recycling, Water Source Solutions, a Local Economy, Bike Paths and Safe Routes to Schools, Parks, Schools – you name it. There is no shortage of issues that need to be addressed.

Bombarded by problems and bad news, how does one begin the process of lending a hand to make productive changes? Here are a few tips:

1. Is there an effort already underway? Take a moment and reach out to others to learn if what is of concern to you is already in motion, than join and lift them. You are not alone, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel as they say.

If not….

2. Choose a topic that interests you and that needs reform. Lord knows, there are many and you are only one person with only so much time in a day who wishes to volunteer. Selecting a cause and contributing to a change no matter how small or large  is a really big deal.

3. Investigate and get the facts. Learn what is at the very core of a problem and become familiar with it’s history and what options are available to make the greatest impact. This is the most important aspect in helping you to speak literately about the subject. There is a great wealth of information as to who leads what on the city of Kingston’s website. Find out who leads a committee, find out when they meet – and take a few months to frequent their meetings.

4. Devise a well thought out plan with others, being clear about what you are asking citizens and public officials to do to support the effort. When turning over stones, don’t be surprised to find opposition. That’s alright. Take that, and go back to item #2. Use all of what you find along the way to finesse your effort. It’s always a dance, and it is never linear.

5. Check in with yourself. Make sure that you are continually moving outward from an authentic place.  How many times have you witnessed ones ego, desire, belief or emotions derail an entire effort in the long run? Too many I’m afraid.

6. Build trust by following through and stay the course. If you don’t do so intelligently, you risk losing the support that you initially had. Don’t give up, land the bird and trust that the outcome will be exactly what it needs to be.

7. It takes a village. Shining the light on a subject will most probably attract new ideas and better ways to proceed.  ‘Saving the world’ is not the goal, really. Inspiring people to become active productively and to make their voices heard…IS.

Got further thoughts on the subject? Post them in the comment section of this blog post. Got questions as to who the best person might be to connect with on a matter that’s important to you? Contact me at . I’ll be happy to connect you to the source if I can.

Thanks for stepping up to the plate, and the very best of luck in your endeavors.

– Rebecca Martin

Moving Funds From the Carnegie Library Renovation? Contact Your Alderman To Learn More.

There was a tribute to city clerk Kathy Janeczek (who passed last year quite suddenly) this week on the lawns of Kingston’s City Hall.  If there was ever one deserving of such a thing, it is most certainly she.

I had the opportunity to work with her in breaking ground for the Victory Garden at City Hall in 2009 – and it was a great pleasure to do so.

While reading about the ceremony in the Freeman, I learned that the Mayor wished to recommend to the council to move $50,000 away from the Carnegie Library renovation this year in order to create (in addition to the City Hall tribute) a stage/screen in the Rondout for films, plays and the like in her honor.

What an odd thing to find in the midst of a memorial read.

I think this is important for citizens of Kingston to pay close attention to, as I’m  not sure this is such a good idea.

Why?  Overall, there is a lack of long term planning and proper follow through on any given project in the city of Kingston. As a matter of fact, though this idea might have been kicking around City Hall,  I have never heard it mentioned anywhere until just the other day.

Moving funds now in the tune of $50,000 away from a project long underway with much support from the community  and otherwise doesn’t make much sense in what appears to be an instant. Especially given the current budget crisis. I have my doubts that that money could be replaced. Who knows what next year is going to bring?

…and the Carnegie Library restoration project needs to occur for our children and in providing an opportunity to protect our rich history.

Though I didn’t know Kathy well, what I suspect by her endeavors and her heart is that she would prefer the Carnegie Library restoration over a small stage for films. Especially in these tough economic times where there are no guarantees from year to year now on the  resource front.

We’ll pursue this further, and we encourage you to do the same. Speak to your Alderman to get relevant details and voice your opinion because that’s really all we are hoping to inspire in this post. If we all take a moment to move meaningfully forward, than we’re going to be in far better shape in the long run. Every decision is an important one, and the council is there to represent you.

Here is a LINK to the Daily Freeman article.

– Rebecca Martin

Board of Education Budget Public Hearing and Upcoming School Board Elections

In Saturday’s (5/1) Daily Freeman Life Section Legals, there is a notice of all that is upcoming for our schools Budgets, Operations and Management.

I’ve asked Camille for a copy of it and will post shortly.

In the meantime, there is a public hearing that is upcoming and too important for citizens to not know about. If you are interested in being present, I hope that this heads up allows you the time to coordinate your schedules.


– Rebecca Martin

Wednesday, May 5th 2010  5:30pm at the BOE, 61 Crown Street Kingston
– The Board of Education of the City School District of the city of Kingston will hold a public hearing on the budget at the Cioni Administration Building for the purpose of presenting the budget for the 2010-2011 School Year (Budget) to the Public. Budgets to view will be available on May 4th in each school building.

Tuesday, May 11th 2010   6:30pm  at Miller School
Meet the Candidates night.  For a list of candidates, visit the Board Of Education’s WEBSITE or, read the Daily Freeman ARTICLE from the other day.

School Board Elections are Tuesday, May 18th. More information posted shortly.