Saturday, January 1, 2011

A 2011 Wish List for New Paltz

  • A New Paltz high priority study proposal that includes a solution for a New Paltz government that will be both efficient (less dollars) and effective (more democracy & representativeness) & be something both village and town residents can be enthusiastic about
  • A school district budget that passes on the first vote - one that does not devastate the academic program, does not unduly increase the tax burden, and if includes job elimination it is done only via attrition and retirements
  • An Albany that has the gumption to shift the tax burden off homeowners and to a more progressive system - e.g. income
  • A solution for the middle school dilemma & all school district buildings that is uniting, not divisive
  • A logical code of conduct in our schools, which eliminates the practice of zero tolerance and in necessary cases instead of sending kids home for “out of school suspension” better punishes or teaches them
  • An equitable fee system at Moriello Pool & a way for all town residents to have year-round access to the playground there
  • A redistricted county political map that includes a logical district map for New Paltz’s county legislator district
  • A civil and feisty race for this new district seat, with a winner that is focused on New Paltz’s issues (not using it as an obvious stepping stone)
  • A more logically mapped congressional district
  • A successful run for county DA by New Paltzian Jonathan Sennett
  • Civil and feisty campaigns for village mayor and trustees this spring, with familiar faces and new contenders
  • A mayoral campaign that results in a win by someone who actually knows New Paltz
  • An even greater turnout (compared with 2008) at the Democratic caucus this fall
  • A New Paltz Democratic Committee that actually endorses and campaigns for its candidates
  • Hotly contested runs for town supervisor, town board, clerk, & highway superintendent
  • A viable second, or even third, political party (sorry Butch)
  • An election where every candidate is listed only on the line of the party that he or she is actually registered in
  • More shared services and collaborations between the town, village, school district, and SUNY
  • A new SUNY New Paltz president who is genuinely committed to the entire New Paltz community
  • A wider South Putt Corners Road
  • Water and sewer infrastructure for South Putt Corners Road
  • A New Paltz GreenWorks map of our carbon footprint - so we can measure our reductions
  • Wetlands and watercourse laws passed in the town and village
  • Prioritization of sidewalks as the cornerstone of our community - instead of repairing concrete, brick, and bluestone with black top - restoration and expansion of our historic sidewalks (Stone Ridge is an excellent model)
  • A Millbrook Preserve - with firmer commitments from the surrounding landowners to donate their land
  • Complete master plans for both the town and village that are constructed in sync and are actually used to guide our planning and development
  • A recognition by the residents who live west of the Wallkill that it makes no sense to build in a flood plain
  • A decisive win in the fight against fracking
  • More public access TV shows
  • No more tasers for SUNY or New Paltz police
  • That Woodland Pond is able to stay open, let alone make its PILOT payments
  • A summer camp for kids in New Paltz
  • Record setting attendances at the New Paltz Third Saturday Art Loops, COTA, the Regatta, the Taste of New Paltz, and all our parades: Halloween, Gay Pride, Memorial Day, and Phools Parade
  • More Questionable Authorities shows!
  • That Family of New Paltz gets more support & there are less people that need them
  • A reliable local newspaper that prioritizes information over sensationalization
Happy New Year from KT Tobin & Terence P Ward


MaryAnn said...

"and if includes job elimination it is done only via attrition and retirements"<-- that's a terrible stance to take. There is a LOT of dead useless weight in this district.

glad to see the gadfly wasn't abandoned - peace and love in the new year :D

gadfly3 said...

I agree with most of your comments, especially the need for other parties than the Democrates and Green. I would like to see a Republican party even if they lose run someone on Republician platforms not endorse Democrate policies just to win elections.(Not Sorry Butch) I would also like the libertarians get off their butts and do the same. Maybe we can even get a colation party concerned with people and not politians

Terence said...

MaryAnn, this post was a compromise by both of us, and that's fine by me. If I had my druthers I would outlaw tenure, and in fact go so far as to make it illegal for any union membership to be a requirement of obtaining or keeping any job.

Tenure, because I continue to believe that even one crappy teacher does more harm than can possibly be measured. (I have no problem with an employee or group negotiating job security, I just don't think it belongs in the law.) I understand that tenure also protects good teachers so that they can teach in the face of an ignorant administration and/or parents, so I don't push for that.

Union requirements, because the instant unions don't have to fight for every single member they stop fighting, period. Unions have become parasitic entities on America's work force, justifying their existence with lies and fear. If we leveled the playing field we would still have all the laws that protect workers, and suddenly unions would only be able to thrive if they were . . . DOING SOMETHING for their members, not just collecting mandatory dues.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the mention of the Phools Parade in your wishes for 2011! The date and permits are set for Saturday, April 16th. This year there will be a new route, kid prizes and motorized vechicles are permitted as well

pete healey said...

Can I add that I wish for a greater realization among people generally, and people in or near power specifically, that:
- fundamental changes will be required so the status quo may not stand.
- since the status quo may not stand, an openness to new ways of doing things will have to replace the current defensiveness about individual and small group "special interests" that now prevail.
- that new openness will require new alliances with old enemies, and therefore biting one's tongue far more than is desired (yes, on occasion until it bleeds).
- the realization that fundamental changes need to be made will need to be recalled every time we wish to chuck it all in and go back to our old ways... since we can't.

Terence said...

Pete, I sincerely wish for tougher tongues for all of us, me included! This is a town that prides itself on intellect, but sadly not on manners. If I could replace every party and elected official with someone with the temperament of a Mike Nielson, I would!

Martin McPhillips said...

My wish for New Paltz for 2011 is that this will be the year that more parents make the move to get their kids out of the local public schools. This link suggests that homeschooling (not the only option to public schools, but I think the safest and best) is surging:

If those numbers are accurate, they imply that informal homeschooling networks are also surging, with parents who homeschool able to draw on each other for help and expertise.

To assist parents who are daunted by the challenge of homeschooling in the difficult areas of math and science I offer this magnificent response, The Khan Academy, a free series of 1,800 videos by MIT grad Salman Khan, who has dedicated himself to teaching the way he wanted to be taught as a student:

Give that link a try and get it around. Bill Gates has recognized Khan as a pioneer and Google has given him a grant so that he can continue his work. Try some of the videos and see what you think. Pick a subject you found difficult.

Khan's approach is like having someone sit right next to you with a pad explaining things clearly and in necessary detail, but the experience doesn't disappear. You can go through it again. I think he's an excellent teacher.

kt tobin said...

@pete - ha! i think i was present for a recent tongue biting incident!
@maryann - budget building is not the time for dealing with poorly performing staff - in fact, i think that is an unethical practice to "get rid of" people that way. a budget determines what lines stay or go, and at what level. IMO, it is NOT, and should not be an evaluation of workers' performance on any particular line. that needs to be dealt with during the regular year on an as needed basis. but, yes, as terence says, this is complicated by tenure and seniority systems. i'm already on the record for saying this is an area that most certainly needs reform.
@martin - hey! where have you been?? is your new paltz blog coming back, ever?

Martin McPhillips said...

Where have I been? Right here, I think. If you mean the "local edition" of NPJ, that is dormant for the moment.

Terence said...

More's the shame, Martin. You were one of the two people who inspired me to create this blog, you know.