Friday, April 29, 2011

Jason's 100 Ideas for New Paltz

Jason's List of 100 Ideas for New Paltz

1. form a public power utility
2. buy the streetlights, run ‘em on solar
3.  require curbside compost collection
4.  expand municipal compost
5.  expand the reed beds
6.  protect wetlands in the village
7.  limit the properties affected by a wetlands law
8.  get rid of poison ivy in parks
9.  ban pesticides
10. municipal garbage collection
11. make all new buildings green buildings
12. move the village dpw garage
13. change which fire station is the main location
14. move village hall
15. replace village hall with dowtown-type development
16. pay for new village offices with development rights
17. skate park
18. clean up medians and other overlooked public spaces
19. develop a northern gateway into the village along route 32
20. grow the downtown uptown
21. grow the downtown up towards the college
22. make ohioville a hamlet again
23. make the village gateway district mixed use
24. outlaw subsidized sprawl
25. create the tools necessary to outlaw subsidized sprawl
26. shift from use-based zoning to form-based zoning
27. lower rent
28. keep buildings near the street
29. no more mcmansions
30. raise building height
31. ban chain stores
32. full time work, full time pay
33. create a pocket park
34. create more public art
35. fund more public art
36. require mandatory paid sick time for everyone in new paltz
37. needle exchange
38. re-think the DARE program
39. simplify approvals for parades and park use
40. create a park at the water treatment plant
41. fix the springtown road boat launch
42. should the village be getting rent from watchtower farms?
43. biodiesel
44. plan tree plantings for the effects of global warming on forests
45. figure out new paltz’s collective carbon footprint
46. lay out concrete step-by-step plans for carbon reduction
47. sign the town on to the united nations urban environmental accords
48. plan programs for new paltz to meet the five-star rating of the u.n. urban environmental accords
49. narrow north chestnut street/ route 32
50. provide developers with trained green building professionals
51. encourage investment in long-term, capital-heavy green building practices
52. put living roofs on bus shelters
53. make the bus look like a trolley
54. create a park-and-ride to the mountaints bus loop
55. make the bus stops more convenient
56. make the bus routes easier to understand
57. make the bus stops more convenient
58. make the bus as frequent as possible
59. make the bus free
60. make the bus more frequent
61. finish creating the millbrook greenway
62. make the crosswalks look like they’re made of brick
63. make huguenot street look like a dirt road again
64. expand the inlaid brick sidewalks to main street
65. re-design main street for more people fewer cars
66. narrow main street for more sidewalk cafes and community-building loitering
67. replace some cars with more bikes
68. narrow plattekill avenue
69. keep the town rural 1
70. keep the town rural 2
71. keep the town rural 3
72. try to find more places for new hamlets
73. create a heating oil co-op
74. create the city of new paltz
75. use the industrial and commercial incentive board to create green collar jobs
76. use the revolving loan fund to encourage green-collar jobs
77. use instant runoff voting
78. use runoff elections
79. make the middle school green
80. clear the snow off the sidewalks, too
81. educate about tenants’ rights
82. educate about domestic violence
83. elect the town council by district
84. elect the town council by party
85. use our remaining water wisely
86. figure out how much water we have left
87. build a hidden parking garage
88. encourage more artists space
89. set a minimum amount of affordable housing
90. define “affordable”
91. create a local currency
92. make it easier for locals to go to suny new paltz
93. pave the streets with porous asphalt
94. abolish corporate personhood
95. recognize the rights of nature
96. unclog truck traffic on horsenden
97. re-route route 32 north
98. plant a buffer along the wallkill river
99. yank out invasive species
100. use only native plants when landscaping

Who needs a lawn sign?

New York Times, March 2004 - Mayor with a Mission

Jason West, the mayor of the little Hudson Valley village of New Paltz who married 25 gay couples last month before receiving a court injunction to stop, has been thinking about gay marriage for a long time. In fact, immediately after taking office last summer, the two things the 27-year-old asked his new village attorney to check on were, first, the state and local beaver trapping laws, since a dog had recently been caught and killed in a beaver trap on the old Bienstock property -- a huge New Paltz scandal that was soon labeled Beavergate; and second, whether a mayor could perform gay marriages. The attorney, Spencer McLaughlin, is a Republican legislator from Orange County and a former deputy executive director of the New York City Human Rights Commission under Ed Koch. That West would turn to a Republican for advice was a surprise to the people who thought the mayor, who was elected on the Green Party line, was a radical liberal activist about to turn the town into a socialist enclave. In his reply to West, McLaughlin noted that the law is unclear. ''That's because the laws were written around the late 19th century, and no one ever conceived of wanting to do this then,'' McLaughlin said recently. The attorney ended his memo to mayor saying, ''That's a very long-winded explanation of why you can't perform a same-sex marriage, but does not address the issue of whether you should or not.''

Read more here

Ryan Cronin - West is the Best!

Ryan Cronin's painting, being mass produced as 24"x24" campaign posters
for the last weekend of Get Out the Vote. Don't forget to vote May 3rd!

Facebook - I'm voting for Jason West on May 3rd

New Paltz Times - Democracy at work by Mike Townsend

Democracy at work NEW PALTZ Village Board election draws out impressive 13 candidates
by Mike Townshend

Read more: New Paltz Times - Democracy at work NEW PALTZ Village Board election draws out impressive 13 candidates

Jason West, who is running for a second, non-consecutive term as mayor, said he’d like to see a New Paltz that people could afford to live in from college student, to young family, to homeowner all the way to senior citizens.

“I think anyone who wants to should be able to afford to live here,” West said. In a general way, the former mayor said he’d like to see New Paltz remain the kind of place that welcomed college students with open arms -- a diverse place where art could flourish.

West, who came to New Paltz in 1995 for college and graduated with a visual arts and history degree, has run a house-painting business in town. In terms of the problems he saw facing the village now, West said that “volunteers are leaving or not being recruited,” the village’s infrastructure needs continued and diligent repair and the morale at the New Paltz Fire Department still needs to recover from an all-time low -- which saw the chief resign and more than 20 volunteers quit the ranks within four years.

“But these are not new issues,” he said, adding that all new mayors inherited a laundry list of continuing problems to solve.

In defense of his time as mayor, West pointed to the various boards and subcommittees he’d helped to form -- including the Landlord-Tenant Relations Council, the environmental conservation group and the Senior Advisory Committee.

Specifically, West would like to grow local businesses by expanding the downtown area onto Route 32 -- allowing for newer businesses to gain a foothold. “We need more Main Street,” he explained.

Like Gallucci, West also said he’d use his first month in office to put his house in order at Village Hall. However, he stressed his desire to talk to village employees at all levels to learn where the problems were, and talking to the village engineer and lawyer to get a grounding on the current situation -- as well as getting to know the new board members.

If elected, West said he would likely spend 40 to 60 hours each week at Village Hall and would serve the office of mayor as a full-time commitment.


Jason West's Letter to the Editor - I ask for your vote on May 3

Congressman Barney Frank has a saying, “Government is just the name we give to those things we choose to do together.” I know our village can do great things together, because I’ve seen it and been a part of it for over 15 years.

Do you want a New Paltz that’s affordable to all who want to live here, where everyone is respected and listened to -- whether you’re here to study, raise a family, retire, or just visit? We need rentals that are healthy and safe and homes that are economically within reach of those of us who live and work here.

Do you want a New Paltz where you can teach your kids how to ride a bike in front of a house you can afford, and know that there’s a place for you here when I retire?

Do you want clean water, clean air and clean energy? There are a tremendous number of committed environmental scientists and activists who live in New Paltz. We need to once again harness their collective experience and dedication in order to find ways to provide services and plan for the future in the greenest way possible.

Do you want more locally-owned businesses and family farms and open space protected? There are few, if any, vacant storefronts in our village, and what that tells me is that there are more people who want to start or relocate businesses here than we are providing room for.

With a SUNY- and ecotourism-based economy, we can’t afford to pass up the opportunity to attract more small businesses to our community; agriculture and business with fewer than a hundred employees are far and away the most powerful engines of our national economy and play a similarly crucial role in New Paltz.

Do you want a New Paltz where more of us are engaged in our local government, where volunteers, firefighters, municipal employees and the public are treated with respect, given a fair hearing and have every opportunity to volunteer their time to improve our neighborhoods?

These aren’t new ideas. Many of them are common sense and many will take time. I’ve got the experience, the dedication, the principles and track record to accomplish them with your help.

That’s the New Paltz I will work for. If you believe, like I do, that we can do this together, I would appreciate your vote on May 3.

Jason West

New Paltz

Joan Fall's Letter to the Editor - Jason West’s vision and dedication will serve us well

As a homeowner, small business owner and a lifelong resident of New Paltz, I am happy to have the opportunity to vote for a mayor who is known to work hard in the best interest of the people that he represents, Jason West. I know that his vision and dedication will once again serve us.

In all my years in New Paltz, I have never seen a mayor who has made the most of the position that Jason did during his term in office. He truly lives up to what we should expect from an elected official.

As the owner of Joanie’s Bistro Mountain Store, I need to take a look at the bottom line while offering the best product and friendly, caring service to my customers. There is no doubt that this is what we will get from Jason West.

Please join me on May 3 and vote for Jason.

Joan Fall

New Paltz

Matt Flusser's Letter to the Editor - We need a leader like Jason West

I have lived in New Paltz for over 25 years. When Jason West first became mayor of New Paltz, it was a real time of great energy and hope for a better tomorrow. He helped make our community a very special place. Jason was fresh and young and filled with energy. He was thinking outside of the old-school box and looked at making changes that might have seemed risky at best; but, remember, sometimes without risk progress can only stagnate and even fester -- going nowhere and even at times, backwards.

Jason West now has decided to finish the quest for a better New Paltz. Older and wiser and more focused, we should support him and make him our mayor again. Now is a time when new ways and thoughts are needed. We can’t sit on our old ways, for this is not the old times. We must think about taking environmental and sustainable views to everything we do for our community. Important infrastructure and educational building must take place and we must have someone who has a unique open mind to lead these changes. Check out for a compilation of Jason’s vision called “100 Ideas for New Paltz.”

I for one want to have a New Paltz that is known throughout the country as one of those most amazing places to live in and visit -- a village with the greatest main street, the finest schools and amazing outdoor wonders; a place where biking and a pedestrian way of life is envied by others. A village that is known for its environmental and sustainable practices second to none! We must have a leader like Jason West whose dedication to these causes will be unparalleled, leading the way.

Vote for Jason West on May 3 for a New Paltz we can all be proud of together.

Matthew Flusser

New Paltz

Amanda Sisenstein's Endorsement - My thoughts on the village election

I have been a resident of the Village of New Paltz for 11 years. I am on the Tenant Landlord Relations Council and the Community Advisory Committee of the Government Efficiency and Effectiveness Project. I am also involved in other community groups such as the Climate Action Coalition, the SUNY New Paltz Environmental Task Force. I am concerned about the results of the upcoming village elections. It is very important that we have the right person for mayor and the right people on the board of trustees. For these reasons I am sharing my opinions on some of the candidates.

I admire the candidates that I support for staying positive in their campaigns and not being negative towards their opposition. I in my many experiences in politics from local to the federal level also prefer to stay positive. However the truth is not always positive, and although I am doing my best to not be negative, I want people to know what is really going on.

The Mayor and the Board spend the majority of their time dealing with sewers, water, treatment and other infrastructural issues. However there are also important quality of life issues that the Village government also should address, such as environmental issues, tenant landlord issues, and socio-economic issues.

I am supporting Jason West for mayor. Please be aware that I voted for Jason when he first ran for mayor, but I did not vote for him when he ran for a 2nd term. He has learned much from his experiences (including losing his second election. I believe in his ability to do this job well and improve and protect the Village of New Paltz and it will be significantly more transparent, and more accessible to village residents than it has been in recent years.

Two of the candidates for Mayor, John Cohen and Pete Healey, although they are good people and have done much for the community, are not right for mayor. Their agendas are too narrowly focused while their specific ideas are too vague and underdeveloped. They simply lack the logistical skills necessary for the job.

Jean Gallucci, has a lot of experience with the village government, and I would like to see her remain on the village government, although not as mayor. I think she and Jason would work well together on the board, unfortunately this is not possible right now with this election. I am also worried that Jean becoming mayor may steer the village in the same direction that Terry Dungan has led it.

Ariana Bosco is my first choice for village trustee. I have worked with her on many issues and projects. She as the passion, intelligence, energy, and motivation that the village board needs. She cares deeply about this community and wants to protect whats great about it and make improvements where they are needed. She works constructively with and finds common ground with everyone. She will bring this same ethic to the board with whoever else ends up on the board.

There are only two people running for the two year position on the Village Board, Shari Osbourne and Stewart Glenn. I am supporting Shari Osbourne. She has years of experience on the Village Board. Stewart’s agenda is far too narrow. He and most of the others on Row B are narrowly focused on village consolidation and do not have much to say on other issues.

They believe that consolidation will fix all of the villages problems which they have made clear through their campaigns and in the debates and forums. Even if consolidation is the best option for our community, it will not solve even most of our problems.

I am not against consolidation as a potential option, but I and many others on the Community Advisory Committee are feel there is much more research to be done and many more questions to be answered before jumping to the coterminous consolidation. It should also be clear that before coterminous consolidation can happen an identical plan must pass the village and the town governments and then go to a town and village wide referendum. So this isn’t a matter of the village or town government voting and consolidating the two governments.

The consultants who have been hired to conduct this study have said as of April 25th that they do not know yet if coterminous consolidation would be best for our community and that although it may improve efficiency, this does not mean savings. This does not mean lowered taxes. In fact they stated that any savings, if there are any, will be marginal. Consolidation also has costs along with it. Especially in the first few years of consolidation. Some of these costs could be offset if we are able to obtain grants for this purpose. However we do not know yet, whether the costs and efforts of consolidation will be worth the potential benefits.
     Those in support of consolidation are throwing around statements that indicate that there will be savings resulting from consolidation. Coterminous does not mean lower taxes. And even if it does lower taxes, it does not mean the savings will be significant and worth the costs of consolidation.

With that being said, Sally Rhodes is another people who has done a lot for our community. She has done a lot for the Elting Memorial Library for example. However her latest pursuits I believe are narrowly focused and not what is best for the entire village community.

She has pushed aggressively for the noise ordinance that according to me and many others including people currently on the village board, needs more revision. She is also aggressively in support of coterminous consolidation, although she is on the steering committee for the Government Efficiently and Effectiveness Project.

As I said earlier the consultants who are conducting this study said they are not able to say at this point in the study that a coterminous village and town government is best for our community. This in my opinion is a conflict of interest that she has already come to this conclusion when she is on the board who is supposed to be guiding the objective study.

Sally Rhodes has also acted quite uncivilly towards people active in the community who have spoken publicly against the noise ordinance and coterminous consolidation of the town and village governments when the cameras are off and the public is not looking.

Although I do not claim that it is intentional, but the things she is pushing benefit a very small percentage of village residents while being potentially detrimental to the majority of village residents.

I urge you to vote for Jason West, Ariana Bosco, and Shari Osbourne. These candidates will represent the entire population of New Paltz, have all of the relevant issues in mind and do not have specific, one or two issue agendas. They will represent us all in a well-rounded way.

 These candidates will represent students, post-graduates, non-student single adults residents of all ages, people raising families, senior citizens, working families, and those from every socio economic status.

Also I would like you to ask yourself why is the one community (one government party as they have said themselves) on row B such a large slate? Is it perhaps because none of the candidates are strong enough to stand alone and run on their own?

I am not against the entire row B slate. And aside from the three that I mentioned I have not made my decision on the third trustee yet but I am leanging towards Emily Crocetti, Rick Bunt, or Martin Sherow.

If you have not already please watch the candidate forum
This is the most comprehensive coverage of the candidates. Thanks to the chamber of commerce for organizing it.

Amanda Sisenstein
 Feel free to share this if you share my thoughts on the village elections.

Theresa Fall's Letter to the Editor - I am ready to vote for Jason West on May 3

People often ask me how I became so involved in our local community. I usually brush it off by saying, “I’m not sure, I had children and I guess felt I needed to be more involved.” The truth is, I can pinpoint the moment I took on my first big active role. I was sitting in Village Hall listening to then Mayor West speak on global warming after watching “An Inconvenient Truth.” Jason talked about getting things done at the community level. Afterwards, he asked if I would chair a task force. I resisted at first, thinking that I had no time to take this on with small children at home. However, it is because of my children that I said yes and got involved.

In 2007, an energetic new task force of dedicated volunteers proceeded to tackle a number of projects including the painted recycling bins you see throughout New Paltz. We also worked to promote and distribute over 3,000 reusable tote bags. The bins were an affordable and unique way of taking care of a big and real problem -- the fact that we needed to recycle, morally and legally, when we had no mechanism or funds to do so. We brought reusable totes to community members through business sponsorships as a more effective and efficient way to incentivize the concept of reuse. It worked. Today, in our community is more aware of the importance of reuse and the totes are commonplace.

Chairing the task force that became GreenWorks was the foundation that led to my involvement in other big community projects, even a job at Water Street Market where I focus on providing thought-provoking, educational events that are fun and promote sustainability.

I am grateful to Jason for helping me take the first step towards community engagement by asking me to volunteer, but that is not the only reason why I will be pulling the lever for him. I support his candidacy because I know Jason to be a mayor of the people. While in office, he was always available to discuss concerns. I approached him about a traffic safety issue in my neighborhood where he assessed the situation and immediately put it on the Village Board agenda, resulting in two stop signs at a very precarious intersection, improving traffic and pedestrian safety.

Due to our village’s aging sewer infrastructure, my driveway was of spewing septic waste. It was not just disgusting, but unsanitary. I had been getting nowhere for months with the DEC and Riverkeeper. When I brought my frustration to Jason, he heard me out and quickly garnered the necessary village representatives to trouble shoot a way to fix the problem.

As an active community member, mother and homeowner, I am ready to get enthusiastic again about our village administration -- to feel that we can have a sustainable community and to have a mayor back in office who believes its village has a voice. I am ready to vote for Jason West on May 3! Please join me.

Theresa Fall

New Paltz

Rebecca Rotzler's Letter to the Editor - Jason West will give us the most for our money

In trying economic times we are all being forced to think ahead and make the most of what we may have. Having attended all of the campaign debates for this mayoral election, I am happy to know that I will be casting a vote for the candidate who will give us “the most for our money,” Jason West. Having served as deputy mayor along with Jason, I already know that he has the vision, intelligence and compassion to serve us well. I am confident in his promise to work even harder than he did in his previous term. We will get the most for our money in that he will work full time as a mayor and will be fully accessible to village hall, and not just a signature on the checks.

I can attest to the wonderful things that took place during Mr. West’s tenure as mayor: The creation of GreenWorks and the Village Environmental Conservation Commission, reinstating the Ethics Commission, installing solar panels and reed beds, creating the Affordable Housing Law and Affordable Housing Board, bringing the fire station to OSHA code compliance, initiating the wetlands protection law, designating May 30 as our official Memorial Day, installing a policy to buy American-made village uniforms, televising Village Board meetings, moving meetings to a larger meeting room to allow for more public input, reinstating and granting loans to local businesses through the Revolving Loan Fund, expediting fire and rescue contracts, overseeing sidewalk renovations, completing a village transportation study and parking survey, procuring funding and overseeing the riverbed stabilization project, additional stop signs, safe speed limit and signage on Manheim, Hudson Waterway storm drain signage, mandatory carbon monoxide detectors in village residences, user-friendly website and with access to village documents, initiating much-needed sewer system renovations, and certainly not last nor least, a memorial site dedicated to “our” Floyd Patterson.

Please join me in voting for the candidate who is prepared to give us the most for our money. As Jason says, he loves the day-to-day workings of the village. Let’s put him to work!

Rebecca Rotzler

New Paltz

Rachel Lagodka's Letter to the Editor - Jason West has ideas

If you still haven’t decided who to vote for for mayor I suggest you walk or ride your bike past village hall and look up at the roof of the DPW garage. You will see a large (75 feet long and 17 feet wide) shining (less than 2% shaded) array of solar panels. These were installed by the West administration in 2005. When Jason West’s opponents criticized the solar array, I did the research because I care about municipal environmental initiatives, especially those that help us gain local independence from fossil fuels. The solar panels were examined as part of a state audit in March of 2008 and the summary findings of the state comptroller indicate that the “Village of New Paltz’s solar panel electrical system could save the Village as much as $30,700, and will reduce their contribution of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and sulfur dioxide emissions of more than 392,000 pounds, over the life of the panels.”  You can access that document with this link:
Two recommendations were made by the state in this audit:  the first, that the “ Village should continue to explore alternative energy resources and expand the use of those technologies that reduce its energy costs and protect the environment,” and the second that the Village should have a written agreement with the Town to share the costs and benefits of the solar panels. The last 4 years have shown us no results. Of all the mayoral candidates, only Jason West has provided convincing evidence of the willingness to produce the results recommended by the state audit.
The other municipal environmental initiative of Jason West’s is the reed beds at the sewage treatment plant...a little more off the beaten path than the solar panels. Unlike the solar panels, which once installed run on their own, the reed beds function by means of living plants which need tending. The plants digest sludge, which is the solid part of sewage that is normally loaded on to a truck and carted to a landfill. That is how reed beds reduce our costs and our carbon footprint. The technology for engineering efficient sludge processing has vastly improved since the reed beds were installed by the West administration in 2005, and while it is my hope that whoever gets elected will apply for grants and no interest loans to continue this effort of Mr. West’s, I am convinced that he is the most likely candidate to succeed.
Regardless of what you might have heard and are likely to hear as the election approaches, Jason West is neither a monster nor a hero. It is my opinion, based on my 6 years experience as a village commissioner and volunteer, that he is the most adequate candidate running for mayor in this election for two reasons: The first because he has ideas which you can find and even submit comments about on this website:, and the second that he has experience in putting some of those ideas into practice. People accuse Jason West of being rude; it is true that during his term in office the young man had some outbursts and made mistakes. But if you were there, you would have seen how well he ran the meetings. He was fair and polite, and deftly kept speakers and fellow board members to a time limit so that the meetings did not drag on into the night. There were no complaints from the fire department, and while relations with the town weren’t perfect, they were certainly much better than they have been for the last 4 years.
I am a village resident homeowner and former student who has been volunteering for Village committees for seven years, regularly reminds the village of environmental opportunities, and has voted in three village elections. I am not friends with any of the mayoral candidates.
Thank you for reading.
Rachel Lagokda

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jason's 100 Ideas for New Paltz

Jason's 100 Ideas for New Paltz 

1. form a public power utility
2. buy the streetlights, run ‘em on solar
3.  require curbside compost collection
4.  expand municipal compost
5.  expand the reed beds
6.  protect wetlands in the village
7.  limit the properties affected by a wetlands law
8.  get rid of poison ivy in parks
9.  ban pesticides
10. municipal garbage collection
11. make all new buildings green buildings
12. move the village dpw garage
13. change which fire station is the main location
14. move village hall
15. replace village hall with dowtown-type development
16. pay for new village offices with development rights
17. skate park
18. clean up medians and other overlooked public spaces
19. develop a northern gateway into the village along route 32
20. grow the downtown uptown
21. grow the downtown up towards the college
22. make ohioville a hamlet again
23. make the village gateway district mixed use
24. outlaw subsidized sprawl
25. create the tools necessary to outlaw subsidized sprawl
26. shift from use-based zoning to form-based zoning
27. lower rent
28. keep buildings near the street
29. no more mcmansions
30. raise building height
31. ban chain stores
32. full time work, full time pay
33. create a pocket park
34. create more public art
35. fund more public art
36. require mandatory paid sick time for everyone in new paltz
37. needle exchange
38. re-think the DARE program
39. simplify approvals for parades and park use
40. create a park at the water treatment plant
41. fix the springtown road boat launch
42. should the village be getting rent from watchtower farms?
43. biodiesel
44. plan tree plantings for the effects of global warming on forests
45. figure out new paltz’s collective carbon footprint
46. lay out concrete step-by-step plans for carbon reduction
47. sign the town on to the united nations urban environmental accords
48. plan programs for new paltz to meet the five-star rating of the u.n. urban environmental accords
49. narrow north chestnut street/ route 32
50. provide developers with trained green building professionals
51. encourage investment in long-term, capital-heavy green building practices
52. put living roofs on bus shelters
53. make the bus look like a trolley
54. create a park-and-ride to the mountaints bus loop
55. make the bus stops more convenient
56. make the bus routes easier to understand
57. make the bus stops more convenient
58. make the bus as frequent as possible
59. make the bus free
60. make the bus more frequent
61. finish creating the millbrook greenway
62. make the crosswalks look like they’re made of brick
63. make huguenot street look like a dirt road again
64. expand the inlaid brick sidewalks to main street
65. re-design main street for more people fewer cars
66. narrow main street for more sidewalk cafes and community-building loitering
67. replace some cars with more bikes
68. narrow plattekill avenue69. keep the town rural 1
70. keep the town rural 2
71. keep the town rural 3
72. try to find more places for new hamlets
73. create a heating oil co-op
74. create the city of new paltz
75. use the industrial and commercial incentive board to create green collar jobs
76. use the revolving loan fund to encourage green-collar jobs
77. use instant runoff voting
78. use runoff elections
79. make the middle school green
80. clear the snow off the sidewalks, too
81. educate about tenants’ rights
82. educate about domestic violence
83. elect the town council by district
84. elect the town council by party
85. use our remaining water wisely
86. figure out how much water we have left
87. build a hidden parking garage
88. encourage more artists space
89. set a minimum amount of affordable housing
90. define “affordable”
91. create a local currency
92. make it easier for locals to go to suny new paltz
93. pave the streets with porous asphalt
94. abolish corporate personhood
95. recognize the rights of nature
96. unclog truck traffic on horsenden
97. re-route route 32 north
98. plant a buffer along the wallkill river
99. yank out invasive species
100. use only native plants when landscaping

Friday, April 22, 2011

Brian Obach's Letter to the Editor - Jason West has what it takes to be mayor

There are essentially two qualities that we should look for in a village mayor. First, the individual must be a capable, experienced administrator of essential village services. Second, we need someone with passion and a vision for how we can move forward as a community. Several of the mayoral candidates have one quality or the other, but I believe that only one has both, and that candidate is Jason West.

Based on his previous service as mayor, Jason West is probably best known for the second quality, but many overlook his skill and effectiveness as a municipal manager. During his time as mayor, he secured grants, balanced the budget, maintained positive working relationships with village staff and the volunteer fire department and effectively oversaw key services such as water and road maintenance.

Jason’s passion for this community and his vision for how we can improve are well known. He launched several forward thinking initiatives during his time in office, from socially responsible housing and development policies to measures designed to protect local businesses to environmental innovations such as the installation of solar panels on Village Hall and the development of a more ecologically sound approach to sewage treatment. His principled stand in support of gay marriage not only placed New Paltz on the right side of history, it undoubtedly yielded great benefits by attracting attention and drawing tourist dollars to our unique community.

I am grateful to those who are willing to serve our village and I have a good deal of respect for all of the mayoral candidates. Among them there are competent administrators and impassioned advocates for worthy causes. But in my view Jason West possesses the balance of managerial ability and vision that is right for New Paltz. I hope you will join me in voting for him on May 3.

Brian Obach

New Paltz

Warren T. Shanahan's Letter to the Editor - Elect Jason West

I am starting my 28th year as a resident of the Town of New Paltz and my seventh year as a resident of the Village of New Paltz. During the last four years there has been some positive things done by the current village administration, but sad to say, the majority of their decisions have had a negative impact for those of us living in the village and in the town.

On May 3 I will cast my vote to elect Jason West as the next mayor. We need someone who cares about the environment and the future of this Village. I hope you will join me on May 3 and cast your vote for Jason West.

Warren T. Shanahan

New Paltz

Alice Andrews's Letter to the Editor - Vote for Jason West and Ariana Basco

We are fortunate to live in a place where the mayoral candidates are all good people; in fact, most of them even have some good ideas worth voting for. But only one, in my view, has some truly exceptional plans for our village and can make them happen: Jason West. I’ve lived in the village for 12 years, and in this period there has only been one time that I’ve witnessed the difference an elected official can make: that was the time West was mayor (from 2003 to 2007). His intelligence, vision and energetic determination are what is needed in New Paltz, now more than ever. On May 3, I’ll be voting for him, as well as for Ariana Basco for Village Trustee. I’ve been following her career in our community since she was my psychology student seven years ago, and I couldn’t be more proud of her many talents and virtues as an activist and community leader.

Alice Andrews

New Paltz

KT Tobin's Letter to the Editor - I strongly support Jason West for mayor

My name is KT Tobin. I’m a civic-minded working mom who has lived in and around New Paltz for 20-plus years, the past three as a homeowner in the village. I strongly support Jason West for mayor of New Paltz because he has values that reflect our community’s character and because he has demonstrated success in implementing positive, progressive change. In his previous term he created the Landlord/Tenant Council, the Environmental Conservation Commission and New Paltz GreenWorks; he provided the necessary leadership for the installation of ecologically friendly reed beds at the sewage treatment plant and solar panels on village hall, just to name a few.

Jason West will support our existing businesses and nurture more locally owned businesses to create more local jobs and to keep the dollars spent right here in New Paltz. He knows that what is good for our local economy is good for our environment and to look at either with a separate lens creates division and not progress. I’m confident Jason can lead our community in consensus and collaboration, supporting a strong local economy while protecting our natural environment and scenic vistas. They are inextricably intertwined as the environment, as well as providing the lifeblood of healthy air and water, is also the backbone of our economy, drawing people and their economic investment to our village.

As a CSA member who believes in the local food movement, I very much appreciate Jason’s focus on family farms and local agriculture. We need to protect our farms and keep them viable; to provide local food and to preserve our rural character.

Jason has the experience of building a budget with taxpayers in mind -- which is critical now more than ever. He is a smart, creative, energetic person who will keep the interests of seniors, students, and working and low-income families, as well as business owners and operators in mind during budget time.

Please join me in voting for Jason West for mayor on May 3, noon to 9 p.m. at the village firehouse.

KT Tobin

New Paltz

Jonathan Wright's Letter to the Editor - Get out and vote on May 3

I was very excited the other night when I went to Woodland Pond and I saw so many good people, our friends and neighbors who are stepping up to lead our community by running for office in the Village of New Paltz elections on May 3. This has to be our biggest and most vibrant ballot of candidates in the nine years that I have lived in New Paltz. It is very encouraging. Thank you all for participating and taking ownership in our local government.

Those of you who know me, I think by now know that I am a straight shooter and I have the conviction for better government and better community. I volunteer my time on local projects and boards because I care that we leave the next generation with a better community and a better planet. These are foundational principles that were handed down to me by my father and my mother. “Always leave the campsite better than when you got there.”

We all have a basic understanding of many of the daunting situations before our community and our planet and we all mostly agree that something should be done proactively to make sure we pass it on to future generations with the hope for a better world, for a better tomorrow.

We tend to differ mostly on how we get there and on what exactly the role of the government is to do something about it; or in some cases if the government has a role. But I say this, the government is us and we are either an active part of it or we abdicate that privilege and that responsibility.

Stop yelling at the TV, the newspaper or the blog you just read. Get up off the couch and get down to the Village Hall and tell your board and your mayor that you want better local government. Look into the candidates who are up for election and see who you think is the best to lead us.

I personally am supporting Jason West for mayor and I am proud to say he is a friend of mine. He has the experience and the vision we need in our mayor. And more importantly, he looked me in the eye and told me that he knows that with all the good things he did while he was mayor the first time that he also made mistakes. And he also told me he can do better. Please join me and vote for Jason.

Peace and love New Paltz, get out and vote on May 3.

Jonathan Wright

New Paltz

Rich Casanno's Letter to the Editor - West will keep the village government progressive

Going back in time to four years ago, seeing Mayor Jason West lose the mayoral election was extremely disappointing. Many people regret not voting for him after being subjected to the last four years of Mayor Terry Dungan and his lack of care, or should I say unwillingness to promote new ideas beneficial to our community into action like Mr. West did.

Our community faces several challenges to get things working in the right manner again, such as allowing new businesses, not affecting our open space vistas, using the Village Master Plan to assist in guidelines for proposing new laws, utilizing our budget wisely to keep repairs ongoing and things operational, while allowing for more affordable housing by creating density within the village where it belongs. All of which are on Mr. West’s agenda if elected to office again. I have heard and discussed many of these issues and others with village residents and village business owners. The majority feel that if Mr. West is elected again, these issues could be dealt with head on because he has experience as mayor and knows the position well.

To keep the game fair, you need a referee. That’s the only way to propose a unification of the village and town government. I agree with Mr. West and others that studies should be done and consultants hired to test the feasibility of this idea. However, this community does not need four more years of ignoring the problems at hand. Too much time could be spent on this issue alone. And the result could be nothing getting done. At the end of the day, we are not going to be able to get rid of work trucks or employees. As of right now, the village and town public works departments need every person they have to keep up with maintenance. Plus, everybody on both boards work for a volunteer-like salary. Where will we save? I, as many of the other residents of this community, feel things would work a lot smoother if the town and village could work together respectfully.

Let’s keep our village government progressive, responsive and transparent by voting for Mr. Jason West.

Richard Cusanno

New Paltz

Daniel Torres' Letter to the Editor - Vote for Jason West on May 3

I have lived in New Paltz for about a decade now and can say without hesitation that I believe New Paltz is one of the greatest places, not just in the Hudson Valley, but in our country. My love for our community and my longing to see it improve was the main reason I chose to run for public office when I was still attending high school. Being elected at such a young age has given me the chance to meet a number of elected officials across our state and nation. A number of those people I admired so much that I chose to work on their campaigns, helping organize and attending their events, making phone calls, knocking on doors, etc. I have always felt that citizens should take an active role in democracy. Yet, through it all I have never written an endorsement letter for a candidate seeking office until today.

With all due respect to the other candidates seeking the position of mayor of New Paltz, one candidate clearly rises above the rest. He does so much that for the first time I felt it necessary to write a letter of support. That candidate’s name is Jason West.

It is truly rare to find someone that exemplifies all the things that make New Paltz great, not just in candidates for public office, but in our community as a whole.

Jason is the walking example of why New Paltz is as such an incredible place. Jason cares about the environment, he cares about open government and public participation, he cares about our local business owners, about the students and everything else that makes us so unique. He understands that the job is as much about potholes as it is about solar panels and he has no qualms about and excels at taking care of both.

Jason understands that New Paltz is not the cheapest place to live in and he wants to fix that through creative thinking and green technologies. He will work, as he has done in office and out of it, tirelessly to improve our community. Jason has never shied away from the tough questions and he has proven before that he will stand up for what he believes in. I have had the opportunity to call Jason my friend and my mentor and now I am looking forward to calling him my mayor. I urge you all to come out and vote for Jason West on May 3.

Daniel Torres

New Paltz

Eve Stern's Letter to the Editor - Place your vote for Jason West

With May 3 quickly approaching, it is important for students to know about the New Paltz Village Board elections. Many students don’t realize their power in our community. There are close to 3,000 students that live on the campus alone, without including those who live off-campus in the village as well. Students make up the majority of the New Paltz village, which gives us the power to elect the candidates WE see fit and WE want to have in office. With this said, it is important that we elect someone that has been and will communicate with students and put the ideas we believe in into action. For this reason as an individual student, not on behalf of the student body, I strongly support Jason West as New Paltz village mayor. With a previous term as the mayor of New Paltz, Jason has the experience, knowledge and motivation to serve as a successful mayor. He will fight for environmental initiatives, affordable housing for all and the revival of transparency within local government. I urge you on May 3 to get to the New Paltz Fire Station from noon to 9 p.m. and place your vote for Jason West!

Eve Stern, Executive Vice President

SUNY New Paltz Student Association

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

10 Things YOU can do to help the Campaign!

1 - Tell your friends you support Jason West for Mayor and encourage them to vote for him too!

2 - Write a letter to the editor to the New Paltz Times at

3 - Write a letter to the editor to the New Paltz Oracle at

4 - Host a gathering in order to inform your friends about the importance of voting for Jason West!

5 - Send emails to your friends about the importance of voting for Jason West!

6 - "Like" the Facebook group and recommend it to your friends!

7 - Attend and encourage your friends to attend the remaining debates and forums:

Thursday 4/21 8pm SUNY New Paltz Debate - LC 102
Monday 4/25 7pm Chamber of Commerce Debate @ Deyo Hall on Broadhead in the village
Wednesday 4/27 6pm Main Course Meet-and-Greet with all candidates, hosted by Butch Dener

8 - Put up a poster.  Download poster here

9 - Drive your friends or walk with them to vote on Tuesday 5/3 at the Village Fire House from 12-9

10 - Vote on 5/3 for Jason West at the Village Fire House from 12-9 and bring your friends!

Lawn Signs!

Email us at if you would like a lawn sign!

Village Hall Debate 4/17

Jason West answered all the tough questions at this debate with grace and eloquence.

Pictures from the /root Debate

Justin of /root moderated a great, unique debate!  Jason West, "Thanks so much to Justin Myles Holmes, Amanda Stauble, and the rest of the crew at Slash Root for the most creative, effective and fun political debate I've ever been a part of."

Check Out One of Jason's Favorite Blogs: New Paltz Gadfly

Check Out One of Jason's Favorite Blogs: New Paltz Gadfly 

Here is a post of all the scheduled forums and debates. 

David Gilmore's Letter ot the Editor - A vote for Jason West

Considering those seeking to serve as mayor of the Village of New Paltz, I reflected on encounters with and observations of each one. I contemplated their actions, expressed interests and capability to think boldly and act practically to sustain and enhance this place. Jason West’s commitment to a structure of belonging and opportunity for all persons is clear. Mr. West’s actions on civil rights made New Paltz stronger. In the physical realm, Mr. West has acted consistently to foster a quality community. I am drawn to Jason’s interest in enhancing the street environment and providing traffic calming. Streets are public assets. Mr. West will ensure that we can use our streets more fully as civic space, in support of neighborhood quality and as places for recreation and mobility. Other policies Jason West pledges to act on will bolster the economy and leverage desirable investment. It is a good idea to form a gateway on Route 32 North and to infill and mix land uses in order to reinforce the economic base and the identity of that area. Thank you for voting for Jason West this May.

David Gilmour
New Paltz

Video from the Woodland Pond Debate

At the Woodland Pond Debate, Jason West clearly showed he is the most thoughtful, informed candidate for mayor.

NPO: Candidates Debate Village Issues

Dwindling volunteerism was one of the topics discussed at the forum at Woodland Pond.

Thirteen candidates for New Paltz’s village board gathered Monday, ready to combat what some called the lowest volunteer rates the areas has faced in decades.

“If you don’t have people that are willing to volunteer their time in a village of 5,000 to 7,000 people, it’s disgusting,” said mayoral candidate Jonathan Cohen to a room of about 100 people. “I believe in volunteerism. I believe that is what’s going to save our village.”

Dwindling volunteerism was one of several topics discussed at the Woodland Pond Candidates’ Forum, the first of several village mayoral and trustee debates planned before Election Day on May 3.

Panelists included mayoral candidates Jonathan Cohen, Jean Galucci, Pete Healey and Jason West, as well as trustee candidates Ariana Basco, Rick Bunt, Amy Cohen, Emily Crocetti, Stewart Glenn, Sally Rhoads, Kip Ruger, Martin Sherow and Shari Osborn.

If elected mayor, Cohen said he plans to fix poor relationships made between the current village board and members of volunteer groups such as the New Paltz Fire Department. To avoid issues caused by spending, he said he would not accept a single penny of the mayor’s salary.

“I am not a career politician,” Cohen said. “I have a business and believe being mayor is a part-time position. Why should I take $40,000 of the village’s money?”

However, other candidates said a part-time mayor would not be able to serve the community adequately.
Former mayor West said, if elected, he would treat the position as nothing less than a full-time job.

“It requires that much work to not only get the basics done…but to do the research, have the meetings and build the organizations and networks to meet the challenges that we’re going to face in the years ahead,” West said.
Amos Sunshine, a village resident for 56 years, said who he votes for will hinge on which candidate can bring about the unity that the village and town have been sorely lacking.

Rather than dealing with serious issues faced by the community, Sunshine said he has noticed power struggles between members of government.

When mayoral candidate Healey arrived in New Paltz 30 years ago to attend SUNY New Paltz, he said he didn’t differentiate between the town and village because it wasn’t something he thought had any effect on him.

But with bickering now crippling the working relationship between board members, Healey said the issue has reached a breaking point.

“The requirements of the new period we’re coming into are to rationalize and simplify government and thereby make it more effective and make it closer to the people,” Healey said. “At one table with one government, maybe there will be twice as many fights. But at the end of the night there will be a resolution.”

Trustee candidate Bunt said over the past decade, taxes in the village have doubled and housing values have dropped. He said this has made living in New Paltz unaffordable for longtime members of the community.
Bunt said his platform focuses on bringing political balance to the village board, as well as finding ways to solve the financial unrest.

“For too long the political pendulum has swung either too far to the right or too far to the left,” Bunt said. “We must look to have balance on the board and strive to develop a sustainable future for our entire community. We need to seek out intelligent solutions to our problems, rather than expensive reactionary laws.”

The next debate between candidates will be held on Friday, April 15 from 7 to 10 p.m. at SlashRoot and will be moderated by SUNY New Paltz alumnus Justin Holmes.