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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The signage battle

I have to wonder if the folks involved in UniteOurLandlordsDistrict.com are going to find a single owner-occupied home to place one of their giant signs on. You have to pay to play here in New Paltz, and these folks just can't stand the fact that they can't charge gullible students insanely high rents to live in subpar conditions without paying more in taxes from time to time to support the community in which they make their obscene profits.

I lived in a house like that while in college, and these landlords are just as singleminded and community-hating as mine was.

44 comments:

Brittany Turner said...

i hate the landlords. and the middle school. go figure.

Martin McPhillips said...

So, you have it in for the kulaks, Terence?

Who is it who actually holds the shotgun of power here? The school district or the landlords? With just one 51-49 vote, the district has what it wants with the full force of the state behind it to collect the additional taxes. And that's a better deal for the taxpayers (because they can actually say no to the entire proposal) than is the annual budget, which always involves a vote to choose between more and more-more.

And beyond that your notion of the apartment market is mistaken.

If there are a 1,000 apartments for students renting for $1,000.00 each, which leads to four student each paying $250.00 for a share of the apartment, then that's 4,000 students housed.

If wonderful people lower the rents for the 1,000 apartments to $750, so that three students can afford to rent an apartment at $250 each, that's 1,000 students left without an apartment.

Among its other functions, price serves to ration supply where the demand is high.

And landlords pass costs on to renters, and taxes are costs, so higher taxes more likely cause rents to go up, not landlords to lose profits.

As for "obscene profits," what exactly would you consider obscene? Enough to live on? Enough to pay for health insurance, invest for retirement, go on vacation? After the cost components of a rent are considered, including taxes, I'd wager that "obscene" is a most subjective way to describe a landlord's profit.

Brittany Turner said...

wow, Martin, can you point me in the direction of those $1,000 4-br apartments? sign me up ASAP!!!

Martin McPhillips said...

That, of course, is just an abstract number used to show how price rations supply, but more to your concrete point, those wouldn't need to be four-bedroom apartments. They could all in fact be one-bedroom apartments, or studios.

Brittany Turner said...

you wanna fit 4 students in a studio apartment? sounds hella shady to me...

Martin McPhillips said...

What I actually want to do is to stop the kulakization of landlords for the purposes of the debate over the Middle School renovation vote.

gadfly3 said...

It is my opionion the landlords, with the backing of the college, are the group that in addition to keeping families out of New Paltz, keep the rents high and the taxes on the residents at obscene rates, while they profit form the income,including taxes they receive from students. They abuse our services and scream if they have to contribute any of there profits to the town or village. If you want an example of greedy profiteers in my opionion look to the controlling landlords and college.

Terence said...

Martin,

I find it obscene when they can cry about the cost and yet find the money for full-page ads, billboards on bowling shoes (the pair of bland, identical rentals on South Chestnut with the large sign remind me of bowling shoes, although to be fair bowling shoes are not disallowed in the zoning code while identical houses next to each other are; I wonder who got paid off to build them?), and a passel of produced plastic signs (which I also doubt they will reuse or recycle; why reuse when you can just buy new? It's only money, after all).

I also call it obscene when the apartments are illegal or illegally packed with people, usually people too naive to know it's not okay. That adds a significant undocumented strain on our infrastructure, and is completely selfish as well. Given the level of dysfunction in the village building department, this particular problem is almost certainly far worse than any of us can possibly imagine.

And Martin, why do you suppose a disproportionate number of landlords are opposing this project if it won't impact their bottom lines whatsoever? Wouldn't it stand to reason that, given your premise, landlords would only represent a percentage similar to the one they hold in the general population?

We won't even talk about your math, Martin. I listen to Rush Limbaugh, you see. Occasionally I find myself agreeing with him, and frequently I find myself dissecting his words to learn how to identify the bullcrap kernel inside. That's why I only agree with you when you make sense.

Martin McPhillips said...

Something like the student rental market, Gadfly3, forms spontaneously around the demand created by the college. No conspiracy or collusion is required.

The landlords are not exempt from taxes, but the college is.

I think of the college as a very bad neighbor, for a variety of reasons, but it is and has been inextricably woven into the fabric of New Paltz for generations. And there is no denying that it is a key economic driver in the local economy. It is also true that students from the college who live off-campus are important indirect payers of property taxes (through their rental payments).

When you talk about the high taxes, however, while the taxes for the two municipalities (village and town) are, I believe, higher in New Paltz than elsewhere, the big taxer is the school district. The college doesn't have much to do with that, nor do the landlords. The school district writes its own annual budgets and the voters approve them. I think that they are too high by a third.

It is also true that those budgets rode themselves up on the back of the big explosion in property values during the housing boom bubble and established themselves at what I consider an unsustainable level.

That's why I often refer to the district's desire for "a better class of taxpayer" to maintain it in the manner it has become accustomed to.

Martin McPhillips said...

Political signs are political speech, as are ads in newspapers, and there's nothing obscene about it; it's part of the political process. Just as there's nothing obscene about making a profit on your business investments. It's what makes the world go round.

The school district itself is very well organized politically, keeps reasonably tight control over its message, and promotes itself constantly, including in its newsletter, which it mails to everyone who lives in the district.

I don't know that there are a disproportionate number of landlords opposing the project. Are there any facts actually in evidence anywhere to suggest that? And what would be 'disproportionate' about any group or individual within a group taking a position in its or his own best interest?

Are there a 'disproportionate' number of parents or school district employees supporting the renovation proposal?

Should we certify and rank the rights of various groups or individuals to weigh in on a political matter?

Landlords, like anyone else, have to pay attention to their costs. Landlords will pass those costs on to their renters, but it is still in their interest to keep the costs down. A landlord doesn't want electricity or heating oil costs to rise either.

My math, as you call it, was in the service of the concept of price in its role (one of its roles) as rationer of supply where demand is high. Where demand is low, prices decline and there is excess supply. That happens to landlords too, and no one complains about their 'obscene' losses when it happens.

The comment you make about Limbaugh has nothing to do with anything as far as I can tell. It's out of left field.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, what is obscene is the way sweeping generalizations are made in this town. There are some landlords who abuse students and should be strung up by their toes, but don't go generalizing-- it simply shows ignorance. Also, it is very easy to speculate that landlords are getting rich, but do the math on the average rentals vs. all the expenses of a landlord and you might just realize that a 6-8% return is not excessive give all the risk. What risk you ask-- have you ever seen the damage that some students cause, or how students have a way of skipping out on their leases? Does that make ALL students bad, high risk tenants? Control the generalities please!

gadfly3 said...

If the landlords paid the proper taxes ie: capitalization assesment instead of paying the same as a single family home we residents would not have to subsidize them which is the same as corporate welfare. They use more of our sevices and don not contribute proportionally. They complain when any new housing development is proposed because it will drain our services and cause traffic problems, but it is okay for them to house 10 to 30 students in one of their single home which is more than any new single home would do. They complain about any fees that would decrease their profits as if they do not pass them on to their renters. They also conveniently fail to mention that the local state and federal tax payers absord most of their repair costs and fees, which an individual home has to bear themselves, although the landlords pay the same assesment

Brittany Turner said...

I think highlighting the signs is absurd - they are spending their money as they deem fit, in this case it's in defense of what they perceive as their livelihood. There's a million reasons to slam the landlords - buying a handful of $3.00 lawn isn't really one of them.

Steve Greenfield said...

Can't help it Brittany. You demand this. And I have three spare minutes :-)

You have no reason to oppose the middle school. You don't live here, you don't pay taxes here, and you don't have any kids to either benefit from or be deprived by the outcome of the vote. You oppose it only because KT and I support it. Your former place of employment backs this 100%. All unions in the region support it. All energy, environmental, and local economy acivists in the area support it.

It's a good plan, and the community can afford it, and even people who aren't comfortable with the affordability have come to understand that it is less affordable and more in conflict with the operating budget not to do it. Why do they understand that? Because it's true.

Anonymous said...

Posted by Fawn Tantillo

Wooohhh, anyone who thinks this is a Landlord issue is sadly mistaken. This entire accusation is small minded and naïve and intended to distract from the real issues and FACTS.

I attended New Paltz. I taught in the Middle School. My children graduated from New Paltz and I have a grandchild in the High School.

Here is a fact! All the schools need to be maintained. This project only address the problems with one school. What about repairs needed at the other three schools? Our taxes will go up – but let’s do it responsibly.

Here is another fact… no one is going to loan this district $49 Million with no interest. The TRUE breakdown of the proposed project is NOT $49 Million – it is over
$76 Million when you add the debt service according to documents discussed by the school board in December. Add this to the existing $24 Million in debt we already have – that would be $100 Million in debt. That won’t discourage many of the supporters and that is fine – but it is A FACT.

Beyond that, I want to see the community create a needs assessment to logically fix all the schools while maintaining teachers, programs and educational opportunities. This proposal goes beyond what we truly “need” and can afford. What good are state of the art classrooms if we are forced to lay off teachers?

We don’t need to make personal attacks on each other; we each have one vote on February 9. It will be a close vote but when it is over we need to work together – as a community - to address all the problems at all the schools and the cut in State funding for operations that we know will come. Let’s stay focused on the goals we all share.

Brittany Turner said...

Steve - Actually, I do live here and I do pay taxes here. And last I checked, having a child didn't determine eligibility to vote in NPSD elections, otherwise you wouldn't have gotten my vote last time around and someone else wouldn't be getting it next time around. Cute how you think my world revolves around you and KT but I couldn't care less about either one of you. There'll be plenty of times when I agree with one or both of you and plenty of times when I won't, as has always been the case. Try again. :)

Brittany Turner said...

Also, you're lying again - "All energy, environmental, and local economy acivists in the area support it."

Obviously not "all," since myself and at least a few others who consider themselves energy, environmental and local economy activists are not supporting it.

Martin McPhillips said...

Brittany writes: "And last I checked, having a child didn't determine eligibility to vote in NPSD elections"

The last I checked, the school superintendant was gushing (I believe it was after the '08 vote) over the participation of 18-yr.-old seniors from the NP high school who had voted on the budget to support "their programs." That was the very essence of democracy, she said, or something like that.

I also noted at a recent school board meeting that a board member will be speaking, or has already, to students about the importance of voting. Should the proximity of that exhortative presentation to the Feb. 9 vote be considered a deliberate act of thinly disguised electioneering?

I was also thinking that this pitch to make a "Yes" vote a vote against landlords (as the kulaks of the moment), whether intended or not, hides the fact that SUNY students living off-campus (or who will eventually live off-campus) will be paying the increased taxes via their rent payments.

Brittany Turner said...

I didn't realize Steve was in the running for Heinrich Himmler's old job, but since he's appointed himself Chief of the Thought Police, maybe we could get a poll going?

- Are people who live in Orange County allowed to have an opinion on Ulster County legislation?
- Can people living in Connecticut care about NYS Policies?
- Can northerners have an opinion on the practice of slavery in the south, even if they are not slaveowners themselves?
- Should the US have been allowed to enter WWI, even if there was no immediate threat to the safety of the US?
- Are we allowed to give aid and follow the news about Haiti when we don't live there, don't have children there and don't pay taxes there?
- Should people be allowed to have strong feelings about genocide in Darfur or Rwanda when most of us have never been there and never will?
- While a man will never be able to obtain one, is he allowed to have thoughts about abortion?
- If a large project is being constructed in Gardiner, are people living in New Paltz or Rosendale allowed to weigh in?
- Should a young woman who does not yet have children, but plans to in the future, be allowed to participate in conversations about the school district even though she has not yet accepted her purpose in life and reproduced?

According to Steve, the answer to each question would be "no." THIS is the logic of someone who our community elected to the SB. If we're not freaked out, we should be.

Bill Mulcahy said...

Brittany Turner said: "I didn't realize Steve was in the running for Heinrich Himmler's old job, but since he's appointed himself Chief of the Thought Police, maybe we could get a poll going?"

Brittany, My neighbor Steve is entitled to his opinions like everyone else. Instead of attacking him, we should work to lure him from the dark side and make him see the light.

Brittany Turner said...

Bill - according to Steve, you are only entitled to an opinion if he decides you are. Usually this tends to correlate with whether your opinion is the same as his or not. So, tell me, Bill, does Steve defend your right to a differing opinion? Or does he trivialize your opinion based on a number of arbitrary criteria, including your gender?

Rebecca Rotzler said...

Since the "signage battle" is the topic I'd like to first speak to that. Seeing signs that are directing citizens to vote "no" against $100 million in debt is extremely deceptive. A "no" vote is not going to take away the debt that is already being paid down. Inflated figures of $80 and $100M do not take into account state aid. State aid has NEVER been cut and Gov Paterson's budget proposal includes a $222M INCREASE in building aid.

Of the $49.8M proposed project, state aid will cover about $20M, the "local" or community share will about $30M . State aid also includes interest, so the total local share will be in the range of $40M (not the scare tactic $80 and $100M), AGAIN--$40M--for which I will be voting "yes."

As far as our other schools they are in far better condition, all major problems have been addressed for all three buildings and they do not have the size, ADA accessibility, energy/air inadequacy, etc. that brings us to this vote. If anything the "landlords" should be supporting this project. Instead of very expensively purchasing land and building new "down the road", we will be going out for bid when contractors are most competitive and material expenses are down. This vote is not for cuts to operational/repair costs at the other schools. Buildings and operations budget lines are two distinct items, we are voting on a building renovation that will increase the quality of the education of our children, especially for those who make up our smallest minority, the kids who don't have equal access due to non-ADA compliance. C'mon, let's not be monsters and vote yes!

Brittany Turner said...

Rebecca, if I were voting (which I'm not), I'd be voting "no." I do not think this makes me a monster. Have we really reached a point where those with different opinions are demonized as child-haters, greedy landlords and monsters? Very, very sad.

Martin McPhillips said...

Well, your argument holds together reasonably well until about the middle of your third and final paragraph, at the end of which you directly imply that anyone opposed to the renovation bond is a monster.

The argument you're using is pretty much the standard argument from the school district. The real number for local taxpayers is $40 million, they say, not $80 or $100 million as the opponents assert. And we all know, of course, that a mere $40 million is but a drop in the bucket.

What's left out in your appeal, just as it is missing from the school district's pitch, is the difference between what is necessary to ameliorate some of the problems at the Middle School and what is optimum according to this grander vision.

The last time this debate took place, two years ago, the school district was looking for a new school or a high-end renovation. It never put a thoroughgoing but more modest repair-maintenance upgrade on the table. I thought then and I think now that by failing to do so the school district has acted in bad faith.

Spending other people's money in difficult time comes just a little too easy to this district, and with the uncertainty taxpayers face right now I hardly think that people struggling to get mortgages and bills paid deserve to be called monsters for opposing any kind of spending at all.

Steve Greenfield said...

Brittany:

Nobody said you can't vote, and nobody said you can't have an opinion. That's not the problem. The problem is, you said you oppose the renovation, but after several posts speaking about yourself, you still haven't said "boo" about what exactly makes this project not worth doing.

And I stand by my statement that all environmental, energy, environmental -- and I'll add social justice - activists support the project. There are hundreds of people, maybe thousands, in this school district who openly identify under those monkers, and only around four of them openly oppose the project. So the real question is, do you talk the talk, or walk the walk?

This project is LEED silver and CHPS, with another three million dollars' worth of extra energy conscious elements beyond that. The current building blows millions of BTU's out the windows every year. It admits little to no sunlight into most educational spaces.

The current layout is inherently dangerous because of the hallway design. It's not ADA compliant, but I guess you and the other three "activists" figure, oh, screw them. The current building does not serve the social equity requirement of public administration. It cannot be wired for contemporary information technology. That means well-off kids with high-speed cable can have their skills honed at home, but worse-off and traditionally underserved kids cannot because the school prevents it. But screw them, too, for their whole lives when they find out they're unemployable.

Speaking of unemployable, the project provides a substantial number of union and other prevailing wage jobs for at least 15 months, and supports the local, rather than long-haul economy. I guess you'll be happier when a few more dozen union trades workers lose their homes.

We improve public safety and traffic congestion for everyone in the community, not just students and parents, by getting central shipping and the cooking kitchen out of the most impassable intersection in town and out to S. Putt Cornersr, a trucking route, where they belong. As a bonus we can then expand the cafeteria into the old kitchen area so the kids don't have to choke down their meals in one of the four twenty minute lunch periods.

I could go on, but if the point isn't made by now, it's not gonna be. All this and more has convinced all but four of the self-identified environmental and social justice proponents in this community to support the project. The only argument anyone -- the wealthy right-wingers and the four phony lefties who've joined them -- has made against the project is "we can't afford it." But since we're talking about $13.55 per month for people who own $300,000 homes, and since only one home in New Paltz out of over 6000 is currently in foreclosure, that argument is less than compelling, and certainly has no overflow into energy, environmental, social justice, or local economic components.

There's a big distance between "activist" and "loudmouth," although I try to exemplify, both can exist together. But if you're going to talk the talk as a loudmouth and want people to think of you as an "activist" who also walks the walk, you have to be able to justify your position. So tell us exactly what is your compelling set of environmental, energy, labor, economic, and social justice objections to the project?

And while we're at it, having just read your reply to Bill, WTF did I say about your gender? I just re-read my post and it says nothing about gender.

And I read your reply to Rebecca, too. If you live here, and you pay taxes here, and you have a definite opinion about this project, and this project is decided by vote, and you're the big democracy crusader you painted yourself as when you ran for Town Board, then why are you not voting?

Brittany Turner said...

Steve - I actually have said "boo" about why I'm opposed to it, outside this blog and to people other than you (including Rebecca). I decided to refrain from blogging about my specific concerns on this issue and haven't seen any reason why that should change. I won't be filling you in, of course, since you've deemed it appropriate to berate anyone who disagrees with you. I have yet to see any argument that assuages my concerns, although I will continue to discuss them with anyone who is capable of a reasoned and respectful discussion (especially those who are in favor of the project).

The idea that a "no" vote is somehow not walking the walk is strange to me. I find that my concerns are supported by my established history of activism around the issues I am most passionate about and while not an easy black-and-white decision, my reflection on the nuances and intricacies of this issue still leave me with the feeling that the negative implications outweigh the positive ones, even if only slightly.

If you can't see why suggesting that my not having children attending school has more than a little to do with gender, I'm not wasting anymore energy to explain it.

As for why I am not voting, while I do live here and am still registered to vote, my address had not yet been updated from my previous residence and I would prefer to play by the rules.

Martin McPhillips said...

Brittany: "The idea that a "no" vote is somehow not walking the walk is strange to me."

Trotskyite!

Brittany Turner said...

Martin - damn straight. ;)

Steve Greenfield said...

As expected, you cannot explain your position in any of the contexts in which you and your political party have registered their activism.

Kids? Gender? I have three kids and I dangle. My wife has three kids and she doesn't. I know more than one Heather with either two mommies or two daddies, or even grand-mommies. I know grandparents who raise grandchildren. In all categories I know people with children they personally created and/or adopted, including in "rescue" situations in crisis parts of the world, as well as foster situations where the legal guardianship, but not the familial love and support, are presumed to be temporary.

Whether or not someone has kids has everything to do with the interaction between personal choice and biological incident and accident, and nothing to do with gender. People of every gender identification have kids, and people of every gender identification don't have kids.

Noting that you don't have kids is an observation that you don't have kids. It's no different than observing whether or not you have a car. It's just a fact. If you think it's something else, then you're right -- you shouldn't waste your time explaining it. Not because it won't make sense to me, but because it won't make sense.

And good luck explaining gender to you friend Bill, who writes letters to newspapers in which he calls gays "sodomites." But he's against the Middle School, so I guess he's your friend. And Martin McPhillips is your friend, too, even though he wrote in opposition to Toni Hokanson solely on the basis of her prior employment with Planned Parenthood, in which he referred to her as an "abortion industrialist" and lampooned Green Party candidate Margaret Human on the basis of her -- wait for it -- name, admitting he knew nothing about her. It's quite a mutual admiration society you've joined.

Glad the three of you are now one big happy family. Oops, there I go attacking on the basis of gender again...

Martin McPhillips said...

Whenever you attack me, Steve, could you not forget to throw in a plug for my forthcoming novel.

gadfly3 said...

It never ceases to amaze me how if you disagree with certain types of people ( those who believe they know what is best for you as you are to stupid) they resort to attacks and innuendo as opposed to straight discussion. Unfortunately these types are all over New Paltz with the loudest mouths which they use to drown out any opposition to their belief they are a unimpeachable sources. They are legends in their own minds

Rick said...

Really, Martin? The college doesn't have much to do with school district taxes? Do you want to run the numbers on how much they'd offset school taxes if they had to pay up based on the valuation of the entire campus or at least pay a head tax? You're hatred of the school district is blinding you to the facts, as usual. In fact, my school taxes are less than combined village/town/county taxes. At least I can look around and see that those school taxes are paying for a lot of buildings, teachers, buses, etc. even if I often disagree with how the money is spent? And the rest of it? Crumbling roads, a police force which must spend a disproportionate amount of its time dealing with SUNY students/bar patrons, and...oh, a county jail that was a sink hole of waste and corruption.

Rick said...

I understand your need to feel you're the smartest kid (or geezer as the case may be) in the room, Martin, but I'm sure many of us remember enough Econ 101 to call bullshit on you. Your refresher on supply and demand ignores the need for all else to be equal. So, if the codes are being equitably and continually applied, then yes, we can talk simple matters of supply and demand determining price. But the thing that has so many people upset with so many landlords, is that they put their thumb on the scale by ignoring basic safety codes that should indeed be reflected in the cost of renting an apartment. And, of course, if a building is on the books as having four, one-bedrooms and assessed and taxed accordingly, then a landlord who stuffs four students in each unit so that kids are sleeping in the kitchen and hallways (as many do, and believe me they're paying more than $250 for the privilege), than said landlord is what's called a bad actor (and I know you know I'm not talking thespians here). And you may think SUNY a bad neighbor, but the landlords love it. It raises enrollments without adding any significant beds and thus knowingly dumps ever more people on a village that doesn't have the rental stock to affordably accommodate them and without making any effort whatsoever to vet landlords/units as so many other more responsible colleges/universities do. I guarantee you that if we somehow had a say in a new $50 million SUNY building that would bring more students to town, the landlords woould be singing a different tune. I understand their motives and they're entitled to them, but let's not pretend that they have anything to do with making NP a better place to live.

Martin McPhillips said...

What I meant was that the college doesn't propose or pass the school budgets. It can't be held responsible for how the school district goes about its business.

Your claim is of course correct: that if the college paid taxes on its property it would offset a large portion of the total school tax liability, but the college is a state institution and making it liable for property taxes would require the state to do something very strange indeed: tax itself. I don't know if that's technically impossible, but it's at the low end of probability.

Students who live off-campus do pay school taxes as a cost component of their rents.

I don't think that you saying your school taxes are lower than the combined total of three separate governments successfully argues the case for the school district's imposing budgets, which are nearly as large as SUNY New Paltz's operating budgets.

Also, I don't "hate" the school district, but I'm certainly way far from being all gaga about it. It is what it is, and if it were not so imposing I probably would never have given it a second thought. But speaking as someone interested in social institutions, I can say that the more I see of the school district the more disturbing I find it and the whole public education model. It wasn't something I paid a lot of attention to outside of the general context of the NYC public schools, which would represent a distorted view of public education vis a vis conditions in the suburbs or the countryside.

Martin McPhillips said...

Well, Rick, I really don't think that what landlords think about anything is of any particular importance, but they can certainly express their views as they see fit.

New Paltz voters have approved school budget after school budget. Like everyone else, a landlord has one vote. The school district is rarely or seriously challenged, and I think that attributing the opposition to this renovation project to "landlords" is heavily strange. The demonization even worse.

My point about the rationing function of price applies regardless of what the level of code enforcement is.

Rebecca Rotzler said...

Greatest regrets to my dear friends and neighbors! I thought that most people on this blog would know that I am referencing the title for Lagusta Yearwood's letter of several weeks ago in the New Paltz Times where it states that she is "no monster." I am sorry people, that was meant in light humor and only in reference to her letter, never did I say anyone was a monster, please read again. "Monster" to me is actually an endearing reference, and in my mind brings up images of the Munsters and those little rubber finger puppets we used to buy at Handmade Outlet on Main Street when my son was a kid. Again, sorry for offending anyone!

Back to the signs, the $100 Million is still a deception, there is no way around it. A no vote is not going to erase previous debt. Period.

One thing I cannot understand with the economy argument, we do not live in a factory town where all the jobs have gone off to China. We are in a community with million dollar homes occupied by people who unlikely ever have the word "forclosure" associated with them and I don't know of any rentals that go for under $450 PER PERSON. That is the going rate because we are in a locale with an extremely strong occupancy rate. There are many communities that cannot afford to bring their schools up to standard, which is precisely what we are doing. Further, in a renter/owner economy the owner fares best, let's move our district office back onto district property, and create space that IS in compliance where we can rent to BOCES. Two win-win situations for the property owner-NPCSD!

Friends, anyone who doesn't mind being called a monster, alien, pirate, etc., I don't have any desire to personally attack anyone and hope there are no hard feelings. I stay away from blogs because they are very time consuming and I'd rather spend the time painting/designing, etc. where no one can be offended by anything I say. This monster-pirate-person will be voting yes!

Martin McPhillips said...

"Back to the signs, the $100 Million is still a deception, there is no way around it. A no vote is not going to erase previous debt. Period."

The accuracy of the claims on the signs can be disputed. It's not clear to me how that figure was arrived at (it's not clear to me how a lot of the things being said in this debate were arrived at, including the landlords-as-kulaks riff), but saying that a "no" vote will not erase previous debt is, what, the inverse (?) of saying that a "yes" vote will increase the total debt.

So, it's "yes, I want to increase the total debt," or "no, I don't want to increase the total debt, at least not by the amount proposed."

Anonymous said...

I will agree with Brittany's description of the way Steve dismisses those who disagree with him. I am an activist, and environmentalist, local, etc person. I am also a person with over 35 yrs in the building profession with a very strong environmental component to my work. I oppose this project for a multitude of reasons, including the inefficiency of the proposed design and it incompletion.

Why would anyone give that amount of money to someone without a completed plan with a clearly defined line item budget. At the moment I have to assume as much as a 25% waste and overrun componenet to the bond amount. How else could the district put forth such a ridiculous proposal for vote.

There are so many problems with the bond proposal that any sane person will vote no on it. It needs to be completely redone with the meaningful input in the concept from ground zero of the discussions. As someone who claimed he supported community participation in decision-making, I find Steve's behavior on the board to put the lie to his alleged platform. I would expect a community supporter to argue that the concept should have called for input before even laying out 1 red cent!

The buildings need updates and repairs, not total rebuilding. The other 3 building require about $7? million for work required now. We can do the basic needs meeting for a it more than $10 million which IS state aidable.

The board is being greedy, egotistical and manipulative about this project. This behavior will never get my support.

Brittany Turner said...

@Anonymous - you can't possibly be an environmental activist! Steve said so! ;)

I like your points and find most of them to be remarkably similar to my own concerns; glad to see I'm not alone, either in sticking up to crazy orange bullies or having reservations about the project AS PROPOSED (which is significantly different from opposing any improvements for the children in this community, a distinction certain people are, apparently, unable to recognize).

Pete Healey said...

Rick stated somewhere here that his school tax bill is smaller than his combined village/town/county tax bill. My experience as a homeowner was that school taxes amounted to roughly 2/3's of my total tax bill. Can others confirm?
The assertion has been made that construction costs are lower now than they have been and lower than they might be in future. That is not my observation or experience. 'Prevailing wage' rates haven't been reduced, I haven't heard that the architects have offered a discount for their services, and Lowe's and Home Depot are holding the line on prices for construction materials. I don't see any reduction. What's the basis for this assertion?
I also noticed that the superintendent, and presumably her fellow administrators, 'settled' for hefty salary increases recently. Where's the restraint because of the 'crisis' that we keep hearing about?
Finally, I have a poem to share with you.
Steve Orangefield(He Must be Orange
Because he's not a Green Anymore)
Must Be a Vowel

It's Just Because He's
Argumentative
Effin' Enervating
Intolerant
Overbearing
Unconscious of his Unconsciousness
and sometimes a Yutz

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that's been said about Steve Greenfield. He's a bully. The 100 million is very easy to understand. We have existing debt of 24 million. The district wants to go to bond for 76 million (that is 49.7 million for the MS project and interest). Last I heard 76 plus 24 equals 100 MILLION DOLLARS BLOGGERS!!!! These figures are from Rick Linden at the school district, call him if you don't believe it. Don Kerr stated repeatedly that the state will give us 20 million, and if they don't we'll sue them, which is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. The state does not sign such agreements. Each and every year the district would have to request 1/20th of the 20 million and then it has to go through many layers of legislative approval. The state is in bad shape and they can pull out at any time, but guess who is responsible for the 76 Million dollar bond in the end if the state says, nah, not this time- we the property owners in the New Paltz School District. I don't know what people are thinking? I don't like having 24 million in debt. I certainly don't want to bring that figure up to 100 MILLION DOLLARS OF DEBT, but of course Steve Greenfield is so smart. Give me a break and this community a break and go away!

Rick said...

You don't borrow interest. You borrow the principal and pay it back plus interest. I hope as someone who surely has a mortgage/car/payment/ and/or credit cards you realize this.
Pete, my school tax is $4,200. County/Town is $2,500. Village $1,800. Thus, I'm paying $4,300 for municipal services that I have to squint to see and $4,200 to a school district where the money is being sent (if often unwisely) in plain site. And Rebecca, how many $1 million homes are you aware of? Not many. If we had more, we'd have a bigger tax base and middle and lower-class folks would benefit. Your eat the rich line of reasoning insn't going to persuade to many reasonable people. But then, this is New Paltz.

Anonymous said...

Terence,

While I can understand your concern with overcrowding in rental apartments I think your attack on what you consider a dysfunctional building department is totally biased and completely untrue, shades of Mayor Dungan coming through here!! The Village Building has found and corrected at least two dozen over occupied apartments. I have always found them to be attentive, thorough and completely professional. They have gone above and beyond to help our neighborhood and to imply that they are anything other is totaly obscene. If you want a good example of dysfunctional you should attend or watch the Village Board meetings!!!

Anonymous said...

February 3, 2010

Teachers union warns state budget plan forces layoffs, tax hikes

Cara Matthews
Journal Albany bureau

ALBANY — The governor's proposed education budget would force districts to cut additional staff and programs or raise property taxes after reducing their staffs by about 5,000 people this school year, a teachers union said Tuesday.

"The executive budget leaves school districts in the unenviable position of either proposing double-digit property-tax increases or eliminating the programs and teachers that New York's children need," Andrew Pallotta, executive vice president of New York State United Teachers, told lawmakers at a hearing on the education budget.

Gov. David Paterson has proposed reducing school aid by $1.1 billion, to $20.5 billion.

Poughkeepsie City School District Superintendent Laval Wilson said it was too early to determine the impact Paterson's proposal would have on staff and programs in his district, but he said cuts likely would have to be made. Wilson said Paterson's proposed reductions, which would leave the district $2.2 million short, combined with an estimated $5 million increase from salary, insurance and pension costs, would leave the school district in a bind.

"We need to figure out how we are going to bridge that," Wilson said. "We need to find a way to make millions of dollars in reductions."

Frank Pepe, the Arlington Central School District superintendent, said his district would have to make up a shortfall of more than $4 million if Paterson's proposal passes.

"We've got our work to do," Pepe said. "We're hoping the Legislature is going to work as hard as we are and takes some steps to help us preserve our programs for students and try to keep our teachers employed."