Thursday, May 7, 2009

Village Board: new election results!

The recount is in, and the results are a bit different:

Patrick O'Donnell still has 98 votes,
Brian Kimbiz now has 95, and
Pete Healey stays at 94.

The village clerk told me that one of Brian's votes was due to a counting error (more than I would have predicted), and the other three were write-ins the local election inspectors ruled invalid but the County deem overruled them on. I suggested that for future elections, it might be instructive if the announced count includes the number of votes thus invalidated. She agreed it was a good idea, but I don't know if there's any bizarre law that would prevent them from doing so in the future.

Pete is within his rights to challenge the results, but I do not know his intentions.


Brittany Turner said...

Pete won't be challenging the results. Doesn't mean someone else won't, though.

Brittany Turner said...

Also, there's no law that would prevent that. :)

Terence said...

Pete just confirmed for me that he does not intend to challenge, and that he did not cast a vote for himself out of personal philosophy.

I wonder how many people would have voted, or changed their votes, if they had known?

Brittany Turner said...

I don't think anyone would nesc. change their vote; each person had a pretty clear constituency, especially Brian's supporters who obviously engaged in bullet voting. As for people who may have turned out, I'm sure there are a lot of people kicking themselves for skipping this one because it was a "done deal."

Anonymous said...

Turn out did seem pretty low. I guess this just came down to turn out and organization. Kimbiz must have just wanted it more.

Anonymous said...

Wanted it so much that his supporters were right outside village hall shouting at voters, in clear violation of voting law. but, hey, who needs those silly, restrictive rules anyway, right. they just harsh your buzz, man.

kt tobin flusser said...

i hope pete challenges.

Martin McPhillips said...

From Horrigan's story in the Record:

"When it was all over, good fortune fell on Brian Kimbiz, a graduating senior from SUNY New Paltz, who edged out incumbent Pete Healey by a single vote, 95 to 94."

Good fortune?

More like the Fates have singled the young man out for singular torment.

Anonymous said...

This kid is out to Destroy New Paltz. If he gets his way who will pay the taxes needed for all the things he wants. The landlords certainly won't, but the student block busting will continue until thet force all the middle class people out

Martin McPhillips said...

Yes, I see the flood waters have already broken through the levees and picked up the raw logs at the mill as they race down through the streets throwing the dead onto rooftops and sparing, Providentially, only the dogs!

The Hour is Come! Kimbiz spelled backwards is Zibmik! The name of the last of The Old Ones described by H.P. Lovecraft.

New Paltz falls to the screaming abyss.

Anonymous said...

I'd so love to make some trenchant comments on this situation, but I am too busy puking my guts out. I'm all for student participation, but oy vey that kid's grammar just HURTS. It hurts so bad.

Oh, he's not going to last long. What happens when he quits/is kicked off the board? Special election? Brittany gave him 6 months, I say 4.

Might I share one anecdote from a very anecdote-filled interview we had with him at a New Paltz Green Party meeting? He was scheduled to come at 8. We called him at 8:20 and he moseyed on down, with no apologies or seeming remorse.

He was a very nice, very cute kid with not a shred of grey matter in his noggin.

Still, at least he answered our queries and came to a meeting and filled out our questionnaire, which is more than I can say for the other new trustee. He declined to have anything to do with us.

rachel lagodka said...

The votes were counted by 2 UC officials who were being watched by both village clerks-- I'm not saying it's impossible that they made a mistake, just that it is rather unlikely, or at least less likely than that tired poll-workers would make a mistake. In any case I am eager to help whoever ends up on the village board achieve what is good for the community and I appreciate others who are trying to do the same.
There is nothing to preclude Pete from working on consolidation or any other issue, or from going to the meetings and challenging Terry, or from helping and advising the new trustees, so the village does not really have to suffer from his absence on the board.
I don't think it's fair to say that Patrick wouldn't have anything to do with us. He declined to fill out the questionnaire from the Green party, but he offered to meet with us and he is still offering to meet with us.
I also don’t think it’s fair to say that Brian doesn’t have “a shred of grey matter.” He was disappointing to me as a Democracy Matters campus coordinator, but I’ve heard some good things about him on the student senate. Even though I’ll admit to getting quite a good chuckle out of them, his answers on the questionnaire revealed an ignorance of the issues, not an inability to learn. He seems positive and open, and willing to work hard-- he even said that he would devote all his time and energy to the job, and live off the stipend and his savings at the beginning. The fact that he had a team with enough moxie to win this election should indicate that he has some capability, even if grammar is not one of his strong points.
I highly doubt that he will resign, even if he ends up like Julia Walsh and doesn't do his job, and suspect efforts in that direction will only be as counter-productive as they were with Julia Walsh. Her neglect was annoying but did not destroy New Paltz.
Jason West got 24 votes in one day. Had he decided to run even 4 days before the election, he would now be on the board.
Hasta la victoria siempre.

Martin McPhillips said...

"He was disappointing to me as a Democracy Matters campus coordinator"

If he disappoints you again, Rachel, he will have to answer for it!

Martin McPhillips said...

"Jason West got 24 votes in one day. Had he decided to run even 4 days before the election, he would now be on the board."

Then we can thank Zeus for the vicissitudes of temporal progression.

Brittany Turner said...

Rachel, you are so full of crap and I'm sick of watching you throw your principles out the window to support the next hot commodity. YOU were the one who was MOST critical of Brian, making the same complaints Lagusta and I are making now, and have quickly changed your tune. It is embarrassing and not surprising that your legislative priorities continue to go ignored. You go whichever way the wind blows; people know they will never have to answer to you and they respond accordingly.

Had Jason started campaigning 4 days earlier, he would've had to open his mouth and his support would've dropped exponentially by the day. 24 votes is not his starting off point; it is his peak. Some people seem to have forgotten how obnoxious he is when he opens his mouth to speak.

You voted for Patrick and Andrew. I really don't think you're in a position to talk about building bridges and governing responsibly.

Terence said...


I don't have nearly as many political principles as you or Rachel do, so I'm hoping you'll forgive me if this question seems naive. I understand that if you're passionate about a candidate you devote yourself to getting that candidate elected, and the political way to do so often includes highlighting that candidate's strengths and any opponent's weaknesses. But after the election, if your guy didn't win, does it make more sense to refocus on the issues you were hoping would be advanced, or on undermining the winner? I'm not trying to put words in Rachel's mouth, but if she decides to work with Brian to convince him to pass a wetlands law, I'm not sure if that would really be a compromise to her principles. Are political principles based on how you want the world to look, or who you want in charge?

rachel lagodka said...

Pete did not ask me for my vote, and I honestly didn’t think he needed it. Challenge the results again if you want, since that’s the last thing you can possibly do to get the result you want, and admonish people for not voting since, gee they ought to vote, but Brittany, the results of this election took us all by surprise and I don’t see what good it does to cast blame around. You didn’t think you needed to campaign for Pete, or you would have, I’m guessing, since it’s so important to you. The fact that Pete didn’t vote for himself, for whatever reason, has got to be more important than the way I voted.
Patrick gave me the best answer of any candidate on Stoneleigh Woods, the issue at the top of my list. That is why I voted for for him, plain and simple. Andrew? Well I thought I had one to spare for the gods of humor.
Steve, you're right. The issues and the community are more important than who is casting the vote protect them. I was very honest with Brian about his past and want to move forward. I don’t go which ever way the wind blows, I have to work with whoever gets elected. That’s not me “changing my tune.” The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly enough and often get stuck in the mud of personal animosity. I’d like to look forward to less of that at least, and promise to do my part.
Peace and love to you all. rachel

Anonymous said...

Pete did the right thing. If he didn't have enough confidence in himself to do the job well, it is good that he didn't vote for himself!

rachel lagodka said...

OK, I wrote Steve because someone was just talking to me about Steve. Sorry. And all posting does is take up my time and get me more nastiness directed at myself and others-- to the point where it seems pointless to even answer it. And there are too many blogs and too many other things to do.
Anyhow I do want to mention that there are quite a few people who would vote for Jason and see the balance of what he did in the community as an elected official being weighted heavily towards the good. Others may complain that the solar panels or the reed beds weren't good enough-- but what did they do?
Anyhow this will be my last bit of blogging for at least a week or two.:)

Anonymous said...

Please feel free to take some time off from this sort of thing, and don't limit yourself in advance. If it feels better to be away, then stay away.
I would like you to consider why you voted for Patrick and Andrew and not me in the way that you presented it. You voted for Patrick based on his answer to a question about a single issue. You apparently based your refusal to vote for me on a broader range of issues, including personal ones(and feel free to elaborate if these were deciding factors. I'm a big boy and I can take it.) You also didn't have the same consideration then, that you're making now that the election is over, about wanting to work with people who get elected since they're in power. You didn't vote for me last year and yet you expected me to help you. And this year you didn't vote for me again even though you fully expected that I would win, and you voted for Patrick although he had the same likelihood as me of winning. How did you expect our political relationship to improve by so doing?
Since my political views generally are closer to those of the Greens than are Patrick's, do you tend to be more of a single issue type Democratic voter than a Green? I don't mean any of this in a pejorative way. It would help me to understand your role in politics locally to give us a sense of your larger political philosophy.
pete healey

Anonymous said...

For the record, and taking a big deep breath to not get involved in other, perhaps more personal debates happening, you are right, Rachel, about Patrick. He declined to fill out his responses to our questionnaire and thus codify his positions. He did say he would come to a meeting to talk, and he has since repeated that desire. So I did misspeak a little, and I shouldn't have. My feelings about him are completely based on intuition and though my intuition has never ever ever been wrong, I still shouldn't malign someone based on it until I have some solid facts. Maybe he'll be awesome! (Maybe not.) At any rate, I'm looking forward to having a good meeting with him.

UCP's Blogs said...

Give us an update: on THE Public Access Program Coordinator and a Public Meeting Videographer.

Terence said...

UCP's Blogs,

I don't know how quickly I will be looking into the question of public access television personally, but I would like to extend an open invitation should someone who is more familiar with the issue to do a guest post on the subject. How about it, Don Kerr, Pete Healey, Bill Mulcahy, or Ron Turner, to name a few?

Steve Greenfield said...

Stop grasping for the causes of Pete's loss when the cause lies in plain view: Pete and his supporters did not campaign. That's also the reason why hardly anybody showed up to vote.

Why blame voters for low turnout when the candidates themselves make it clear they don't care whether or not anyone comes out to vote? When I ran for School Board last year, I and my campaign team came under heavy fire from the two incumbents for stooping so low as to actually campaign (and yeah, I voted for myself, because every vote counts, and if I actually believed I'd do better for the students and taxpayers than the other guys, which is what I was telling the public, I was required to do everything under my control to win). Pete, you wasted petition paper and the hopes of, oh, I don't know, the 90-odd people (out of 6500) who wanted you to be their representative in Village decision-making. If you have a finger to point, point it in the mirror. Same to you, Brittany. Rachel didn't make Pete lose, you and Pete did.

Here's what I wrote to the paper after I won my race, which was the first opportunity to respond in print to those attacks. It applies to every candidacy.

"We don't need Presidential dollars to operate a community campaign. But we must never forget that by the laws of the State of New York, School Boards are chosen by election. We honor those laws, and the principles of democracy, by presenting ourselves and our ideas for review by the largest possible numbers of decision-makers. Not every one of the over 10,000 voters in the NPCSD reads a letter to the editor. Not everyone reads a post card. Not everyone reads a handbill, or a sign on a shop window. Not everyone answers calls from numbers they don't recognize, watches public access, or opens their doors to strangers. But once a citizen chooses candidacy for democratic election, that citizen assumes the burdens, efforts, and costs of ensuring that his or her message gets to some aggregate number of voters that approaches the eligible total. I cannot adequately express my gratitude to those who saw fit to contribute towards that worthy effort, and to volunteer their personal time to see that those materials and messages got to their destinations. You honor and sustain Democracy."

Next time anyone wants to run for office, or anyone supports a candidate for office, go out and campaign. If you don't want to promote democracy, drop the self-serving "crusader for democracy" charade. Stop insulting democracy. Stop insulting New Paltz. And stop insulting the few friends you have left.

Anonymous said...

This is Pete Healey. I'd be happy to write a post, really soon, about what's happening with channel 23 in New Paltz, and I'd like to ask UCP blog to identify him/herself by name.
As for Steve and his rant about democracy and campaigning and all that crap, at 4:10AM on a Sunday, quit being a carp and learn how to become another kind of fish. You're all orange and stinky and you eat just about any kind of junk food and you taste lousy.
We're not blaming Rachel for my loss. Rachel wants support for her political intiatives and generally goes about it in all the wrong ways, as far as I'm concerned. Rachel refused to support my candidacy, in favor of her DOG, for two years running. That's worthy of critical comment anytime, particularly when her politics and mine are supposedly not far apart, and I haven't done anything in particular to her that people can point to and say "Pete's an ahole, look how he treated Rachel". There's none of that, there'e just Rachel refusing to support me and demanding my help. And there's Rachel supporting a Democrat who refused to fill out the Green Party questionnaire on his candidacy, while I filled it out AND interviewed with them (and was repeatedly interrupted by the very same Rachel of this post).
I voted for myself last year when I was just a candidate, and this year I didn't partly because I thought it was presumptuous to do so as a public official and partly because I never imagined that one vote would decide this election!
I didn't campaign because there were only two of us on the ballot, and therefore had no idea that a stealth campaign was being conducted on campus by the student wrtie-in candidate. No one else did either.
I didn't believe then that the chairs of the village planning board, zoning board of appeals, ethics commission, and a sitting village board member would not show up to vote, along with several other members of those boards and other volunteer official of the village government. But that's what happened.
I reached out to the student repeatedly and supported his right to be on the ballot openly and included him in the candidates' forum(the video of which was so poor that no one could watch it, or hear it, and therefore wasn't helpful to the campaign as I believed it would be.
I didn't expect any sympathy from the likes of an orange fish(a carp) like Stevie G., and I got what I expected. I expected that a dozen or more public officials from the village government would take their public duties seriously and I was disappointed.
I "campaigned" by doing my job as village trustee to the best of my abilities, and it wasn't enough. I'm not going to whine about it. I understand what happened and why it happened. It's not the end of the world, and it's not an insult to "democracy" or to "New Paltz". It's unfortunate and a temporary setback, and not much more.

Brittany Turner said...

Nemo... er... Steve -- If anyone cared to read what you wrote to the paper, they would've done it way back in the early days of you saving the world. You don't need to resubmit it all over the internet; nobody cares. Really.

Voters aren't responsible for voting?? I mean, seriously??? haha... Besides, I voted and am quite happy to look in the mirror, which has everything to do with accepting my responsibility as a citizen (and surprisingly nothing to do with the aesthetic pleasantries of the act). :)

Lagusta & Rachel -- yes, Patrick has agreed to meet with the Greens twice now. Once when it would've made a difference prior to the election and once after.

It never materialized prior to the election for a number of reasons, including his unwillingness to actually do anything more than offer. What is his motivation after the election, now that voter education really doesn't matter? So he can tell us about all the things he might take a stand on sometime in the next 4 years, provided we don't make him write it down anywhere? I mean, seriously. I've said it before and the offer stands... if Patrick is so unwilling to write anything down, he's more than welcome to sit down with the group at a TAPED meeting of the NPGP. What? He won't do that either? Hmmm...

Steve Greenfield said...

Ouch! Is this bitter vitriol coming from the same Pete Healey who just typed "I'm a big boy and I can take it" ? I guess you can take it about as well, and as truthfully, as you campaign for office.

Who knows how the Google server records time. I sent my post in at around 12 noon on Sunday just before I headed out for Mothers Day activities.

There is no contest for School Board this year, but both Dan Torres and kt Tobin Flusser are campaigning hard. That's because they care. They care about the principles of democracy, and they care that voters should know as much about them as possible if they're about to become responsible for ove $48 million of the public's taxes. They care about this more than they care whether or not they're being opposed for their seat. You didn't, and you don't. You don't campaign by doing your job. That's not part of the election process. Nobody knows what you've been doing as a trustee. Check that -- somewhere between 90 and 100 people out of 6000 may know. And you knew that. More people remember you as the architect of the "shoeing in effigy" fiasco. That you didn't know that someone else was campaigning aggressively isn't because you couldn't know, but because you weren't campaigning, meaning you assumed yourself to be an automatic whiner (sorry, Freudian slip -- winner), and paid no attention, which you freely admit. It's not like you don't have sufficient access to people who can become aware of campus facebooking and other organizing if you were concerned enough about the welfare of the people of The Village Of New Paltz as to think your performance over the last year merited you keeping your job.

You also should have been aware that it was very likely that your win last year was a result of being the only candidate over 25. Turnout was very low, and the other two candidates had presented themselves as impressively unprepared and unqualified. And turnout was so low that the odds of one vote being relevant were as high as possible. But you didn't care. Everything you wrote is a list of excuses for yourself, not reasons why you lost the election.

It's kind of odd to find the phrase "I'm not going to whine about it" after 471 words of whining, but not when you consider the source in this case. There is no doubt that you are the single most full of shit person I've encountered in this town, big boy. And that's why you didn't campaign, that's why you have more excuses and blame for your loss than you had minutes logged campaigning, that's why people who know you well didn't vote for you, and that's why you lost. Get over it, and get over yourself. Everyone else has.

It is 9:30 AM. Have a nice day.

Terence said...

Lively debate is encouraged, but this dialog is poised to get full-out personal and rude. Let's keep the focus on the issues, and leave the personal descriptions and profanity on the sidelines, or in email where it can resurface years later to prevent a Presidential run.

This comment is leveled at no less three people, so assume I mean YOU.

Anonymous said...

Pete Healey says,
Facts, circumstances, unusual situations, yes even excuses here and there, are never enough when whatyou really want to do is denounce, defile, and defame. I'm glad you're a carp, Stevie G., cause that makes you bright orange and I can avoid you when I see you coming.

kt tobin flusser said...

Will we all be happy with what we have said and done when we look back upon this in 5? 10? 20? 25 years?

I see-hear-read about (here) lots of people trying to make New Paltz a better place - what is all this infighting accomplishing? really?

Martin McPhillips said...

Well, there's obviously a lot of personal history that is backstory to these comments.

As an internet veteran I can say that online political discussions tend generally in this direction.

That said, New Paltz has a particularly aggressive pool of individuals in the political arena who neither desire nor wear the ring of power self-consciously.

You, yourself, KT, will shortly be granted the authority to hold the shotgun of power to my head while you reach into my pocket, and I'm not going to be that impressed by your good manners while you do it, not this year or ten years from now, when "we" look back on it.

So, there are issues that transcend making "New Paltz a better place." Freedom and the right not to be robbed at gunpoint among them.

Billy said...

I'm sure that if you'd ever been in battle or the victim of a crime, you wouldn't resort to such a cheap and inaccurate analogy. You don't like paying taxes. Fine. Join the club. To equate that with having a gun pointed at your head is obscene and makes you look ridiculous. The "Freedom not to be robbed at gunpoint" which you speak of exists (to the extent that it does) only when a taxpayer-supported police force is there to ensure it.

Martin McPhillips said...

I beg your pardon, Billy, but does the government, any government, collect its money from you on a voluntary basis or does it use force?

Would you dare walk out of any store with any item after refusing to pay the tax on it?

Try it.

Government is force, plain and simple, and it doesn't make it any less force as it takes a minimum of $50 grand from me over the next ten years for this exorbitantly outfitted school district simply because people voted for it.

You can say there is no gun, but if you don't pay that tax, check to see if the sheriff brings one with him when your home is taken away from you after a tax foreclosure.

I think I counted at least eight administrators in New Paltz schools making over $100 grand and it looked like the average teacher's salary, for ten months work, is $70,000, if I read that budget correctly. If you pro-rate that for a full year and add in the benefits and pension, you're getting pretty close to $90 grand or more per year.

If that's not robbery, what is it?

Do you think I would pay that much to those people voluntarily? Would you?

This is not the community trying to provide a humble education for children. It's an extortion racket controlled by the political power of teachers unions and the state education bureaucracy. The board of education is there to pretend the whole thing hasn't completely run away from them.

But it has.

Billy said...

So, Martin, what would you be willing to pay? Voluntarily? I'm guessing anything north a buck would provoke the same wingnut reaction. People have been moaning about the tax burden since the system was created. So your argument seems to be with the whole notion of taxing citizens to pay for essential services. But instead, you're trying to present your case as if you're just a reasonable guy who's simply fed up with the amount of taxes. Well, we all are. But we don't all resort to such absurdest rhetoric. If your freedom is truly being crushed by taxes, as you suggest, than either lead a rebellion or move away. But I guess that would rob you of all the enjoyment you seem to take in hyperbole.

Martin McPhillips said...

Well, that deteriorated pretty quickly.

The point is that there is no "voluntary" to it, unless someone sends his children to a private school and pays for it. How much I would be willing to pay for that would depend on my circumstances and the prices available.

In either case, the local school district would still have me paying what it saw fit to extract via compulsion. It is currently taking about $23,000 per student per year from local taxpayers, more than twice the national average.

Are you so pained that I would vigorously object to that that you would start calling me names over it?

I am illustrating the use of force to feed a government bureaucracy, and it is surely a gun at my head. You can call it "just taxes" if you want, but it is a criminal racket from my perspective.

But it's not like governments have ever engaged in that sort of thing, right? We have no examples of that from history.

Steve Greenfield said...


The school board does not compel you to pay school taxes. The School Board exists because state law requires it. The State of New York believes that this is better than having one massive state education bureaucracy and tax because it's a) less expensive; and b) more likely to result in kids being educated in place and according to the values of their own communities, rather than with state mandated values. The State also mandates that school boards must collect taxes through one mechanism and one mechanims only, a property tax, which by definition is not sensitive to ability to pay, and is univerally reviled by all school boards as an awful system.

Nobody on the school board is forcing you to pay taxes. And even though someone outside of New Paltz is, you're always free to move to a district with lower taxes, unless you have kids in the school system and want them to get the better education they'll get from people who are willing to pay a bit more.

But you claim to love New Paltz. New Paltz is what it is because of the quality of life we have here. Earth to Libertarians, that quality of life is a function of the collective approach. If a private, for-profit company were buying fire trucks and paying qualified people to staff them, your choice would be to either pay 20 times what the Village now charges you to have fire service, or have no fire service at all. And before you jump up to say "I should have the right to have no fire service if I don't want one, after all, it's my property" just bear in mind that your homeowner's insurance company might not agree with you, and would raise your insurance rates by a lot more than you currently pay to the Village for fire protection. Not to mention the fact that your "free choice" to not have fire protection also means that when your house lights on fire, the houses adjacent to yours will light up, too (unless you're aware of some technology you can buy that will contain radiant heat entirely within your own proterty lines, or keep embers from your burning grass from jumping the fence), and their right to be protected from risk (and higher homeownere's insurance rates) caused by your so-called right to selfishness.

You live here because you personally benefit from everyone in New Paltz's consent (and some of us pay willingly, others grudgingly, and others like you with a gun pointed to your head) to chip in for the collective good ("general welfare" as the commie US Constitution calls it), and the fact that that's what we've all been doing since 1675, slowly building this public/private partnership from which be derive sufficient personal value as to choose to live here. New Paltz did not just spring up at the wave of John Galt's wand and then start deteriorating from the moment the first New Paltz policeman went to the ancestral McPhillips household to forcibly extort payment.

All the colorful, hyperbolic, thoroughly unoriginal similes you can copy and paste from libertarian blogs do not make a single one of your arguments contain any more merit than this one phrase: "I don't have to think anything all the way through if I don't want to." And you're right. You don't. But it's what we expect from people who make policy, because one thing we all agree on is that if I have to give you my money, you'd better use it well.

Good luck, KT, welcome aboard, and please don't shoot anyone.

Billy said...

Well, Martin, you're wrong on the facts, because the school district budget does not come solely from the local property tax levy, as you suggest. And your response still begs the question. Absent a compulsory tax system, how does a government provide services for its citizens? Any service. Not just education. Defense, for example. Or roads. The tax system is surely broken, but you give every indication that you believe it's illegitimate in any form. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Martin McPhillips said...

"You live here because you personally benefit from everyone in New Paltz's consent (and some of us pay willingly, others grudgingly, and others like you with a gun pointed to your head) to chip in for the collective good ("general welfare" as the commie US Constitution calls it), and the fact that that's what we've all been doing since 1675, slowly building this public/private partnership from which be derive sufficient personal value as to choose to live here."

Really. Well, for instance...

I live here because Mrs. McP and I bought a damn house here.

If some pay "willingly" -- meaning that they would pay these absurd property taxes voluntarily -- let's try it one year, and see how "willingly" the money rolls in.

A "public/private" partnership, as a euphemistic mangling of reality, hardly describes the state's compulsion and confiscatory taxation.

Now, $16,000 per student in the New Paltz school district would make it a very well financed system. It would also be approximately $7,000 less than what is currently being spent. Cutting that $7,000 per student (all but impossible because of the way this extortion racket is set up) would reduce the current budget by nearly $15 million.

That's just a basic indication of how far out of whack this school district is. And I would be happy to see it reduced lower than that. Pare it down to the national average and you would get the same basic results. Again, all but impossible, because of the way the racket is set up in Albany, and locally.

And yes, Billy is correct, of course, the local property tax does not pay for the entire school budget. I wrote in haste. Ultimately, taxpayers cover all of it, but the big pinch in property tax does not cover the whole tab.

That does not change the fact that the amount being spent in this district is ridiculous.

I do not think that taxation in any form is wrong. I think that taxation in the U.S., more specifically in New York State, and locally in New Paltz is beyond the pale of confiscation, is bad government, and makes a mockery of freedom.

And I think that the public schools serve few interests beyond their own. I can't think of anything worse to do to a child than incarcerate him in an American public school for 13 years. (There is no doubt that "staying in school" is better than being an ignorant layabout, but that's not the alternative I have in mind.)

Martin McPhillips said...

"All the colorful, hyperbolic, thoroughly unoriginal similes you can copy and paste from libertarian blogs..."

There's a really good expression that sums up that sort of statement, but I take it that this is a family blog, so I can't use it here.

" not make a single one of your arguments contain any more merit than this one phrase: 'I don't have to think anything all the way through if I don't want to.' And you're right. You don't."

But of course I didn't say that, nor did I imply it, nor do I care to have words put into my mouth.

I have, in fact, carefully thought through the sort of extortion engaged in by the New Paltz school district, but my conclusion was not that it spends too much money. That was my starting point. I'm hardly alone in that, although I am in the minority, apparently.

I've also looked at some other elements of the district, and I think that they compound the insult of the primary extortion.

"But it's what we expect from people who make policy, because one thing we all agree on is that if I have to give you my money, you'd better use it well."

You mean (just to clear up your ambiguity vis a vis the antecedent) that "thinking things through" is what you expect from policymakers. In that case you are expecting something that appears to have stopped quite some time ago at this school district, in the state legislature, and in the state education department.

Rationalizing bad policy and exorbitant costs does not constitute "thinking things through," in the sense you mean it.

rachel lagodka said...

OMG I just went back and read through all this. The only one I want to respond to is Pete-- Pete if you'd sent me that as an email, I would have responded. If you'd sent it before the election, we might have talked, and things might have been different. I honestly didn’t think you cared about the same issues I did because you never told me. When I tried to talk to you about the wetlands, you said all you cared about was unification. I care about that too, but not to the detriment of other issues. I just can’t hold out for some distant maybe when the bulldozers are on the move now. Pete, I don't have anything against you. I would not have done anything to remove you from office because you pay attention, and I appreciate that, but you didn’t do anything to inspire me to vote for you, especially when I didn’t think I needed to.

Oh, and BTW the environment isn't MY issue. We've had all sorts of environmentalists on the village board and they didn't need me to approach them rightly or wrongly. They KNEW and they KNOW that we need this legal protection in the village and they sat on the board -- some of them for over 5 years and did not manage to pass one bit of environmental legislation. I have done everything they asked of me-- recruited volunteers, got grants for training, did research on wetlands laws, got the wetlands map updated, had interns do water testing and data collection. That they have not yet passed any legislation is their job not done, not mine, and is harming the community, not just me
Did I report the violations at Woodland Ponds the wrong way? Was I supposed to curtsy when they silted the pond? You never followed up on my emails about what was going on there. But actually you could have watched out your back window and seen someone bulldoze and bury a wetland with fill from Woodland Ponds (that wasn’t supposed to be leaving the site and was likely contaminated with pesticides). Your neighbors saw it and came to the board with complaints. Wasn’t it just a little too convenient that the building department couldn’t manage a stop work or a cease and desist until the bulldozing was all done?

Oh, and why I voted for Pat--I thought it was wrong that people were writing him off as useless or evil just because the Nyquists asked him to run, and that they didn’t try talking to him first before they passed judgment. His answer about Stoneleigh Woods stuck in my head. He challenged his viewers (or pretend viewers since the program never aired) to go and LOOK at the property and appreciate the trees.

And I get a little emotional about voting and I shouldn’t. I should vote in the most strategic and rational way possible. Damn. I hope the loss will help you grow and not make you bitter. It must suck for you in some ways and I’m sorry about that.

You don’t have to support me or work with me if you don’t want to, but I will be happy to work with you on issues where we agree. Currently my activity is through 4 venues, the EnCC, the Village Master Plan Task Force, Democracy Matters/the NY Democracy Project, and the New Paltz Green Party. Unification may be an issue for the MPTF…I know I think the planning, zoning, & environmental boards and the building departments should be merged ASAP.