Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two Books, Two New Paltzes

As Co-Chair of “Two Books, Two New Paltzes” (I’m not sure which I’m representing because I live in both New Paltz and New Paltz), I am happy to introduce our book selection for 2010, “A Tale of Two Cities.”

Many of you are familiar with Dickens’ original tale, but our version has a twist. I would like to share a brief excerpt from the opening of the book, which I’m sure you will find relevant to our current circumstances.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and then it got even worse.

It was the age of secrecy, it was the age of foolishness.

It was the epoch of intimidation, it was the epoch of incredulity.

It was the season of lies, it was the season of darkness.

It was the spring of zeal, it was the winter of despair.

We had everything before us, we had nothing before us.

We were not going direct to Heaven, we were all heading direct the other way. (Perhaps to Gardiner?)

In short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There was a Supervisor with a large community center on the throne of New Paltz; there was a Mayor with a large firehouse on the throne of New Paltz. In both New Paltzes it was clearer than crystal that things in general would be done as they demanded.

It is extraordinary how Dickens’ words, written over 150 years ago, still carry so much resonance today.

Anyone interested in “Two Books, Two New Paltzes” can search for our group on Facebook. In addition, I encourage everyone to attend the upcoming Local Government Efficiency Advisory Committee meetings, so that in the near future we can actually have “One Book, One New Paltz.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'm not dead yet!

Legislative Barbie is not dead, yet. Just terribly, overwhelmingly, beautifully busy. Soon. Promise. <3

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Security Solutions for NY's Historical Records

Please distribute.

To Preserve and Protect: Security Solutions for New York’s Historical Records

Theft of historical documents plagues records repositories. With careful planning, awareness of warning signs and proactive security solutions, organizations can reduce the window of opportunity for historical record theft. Archival security expert Mimi Bowling will provide a full day of interactive curriculum on archival security,
preparing participants to take immediate action to strengthen their local security programs. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion. There is no cost.

Topics include risk awareness; insider theft; facility design and security technology; security of information systems; working with vendors and contractors; research room management and design; developing institutional security policies; procedures and post-theft response; additional topics as requested by participants.

Representatives of NY’s historical records community, including archives, governments, libraries, museums, historical societies, schools and non-profits will be given first priority. Additional seats are available for security personnel and law enforcement representatives working with these organizations. Out-of-state representatives and others interested in the topic are also encouraged to register.

September 13, 2010 (Monday)
Ontario County Safety Training Center
Canandaigua, Ontario, NY

September 14, 2010 (Tuesday)
Erie 1 BOCES
West Seneca, Erie, NY

October 4, 2010 (Monday)
Utica Public Library
Utica, Oneida, NY

October 5, 2010 (Tuesday)
Roberson Museum and Science Center
Binghamton, Broome, NY

March 7, 2011 (Monday)
Historic Huguenot Street
New Paltz, Ulster, NY

April 11, 2011 (Monday)
Crandall Public Library
Glens Falls, Warren, NY

April 18, 2011 (Monday)
Town of Massena
Massena, St. Lawrence, NY

Metro NYC Region and Long Island Region
Spring 2011

To register, please email or call 518-473-0130. Early registration is encouraged and appreciated; only 25 seats available.

Workshops have been made possible by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the New York State Historical Records Advisory Board, and the New York State Archives.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another one bites the dust...

Let's play "Where's Waldo?," New Paltz Times Edition. Somewhere in this week's paper is an incredible tidbit that should be much easier to learn about than it actually is.

No, it's not the Don Kerr nonsense that I will be blogging about this weekend because I can't stand the way people are reacting and I have a few things I need to get off my chest...

No, it's not the coverage of things going on in places other than New Paltz...

In fact, it's not even in the regular paper.

Ok, on to the Alman@c...

Boring hippy artsy stuff...

Cute lil blurb about Memento, one of my favorite movies, but no...

What could it be? Where is this secret surprise?

Looking, looking...

What's this? The college diner is hiring waitresses?


Yes, yet another Village Clerk has said "Peace out!!!" to the crazy village. In the classifieds of this week's Alman@c, there is a teeny tiny little ad at the bottom of the job postings advertising for a Village Clerk.

As far as I can tell, the Village Board has not accepted Carol Robins' resignation during any of the meetings this year. Also, as far as I can tell, Carol was definitely reappointed Village Clerk at the June reorganization meeting. The only other explanation is that she has, finally, had enough and is moving on. I can't imagine even these weirdos would reappoint someone, only to dismiss her a month and a half later (although I will float a conspiracy theory after I fill in the background).

Let's look back...

When Jean Gallucci (Trustee/Deputy Mayor) left her position as Village Clerk-Treasurer, the position was split into two. This was a good thing. Unfortunately, the Village knew what to do with a Treasurer, but never established the funding, autonomy, support, or even job description necessary to have a viable Clerk position.

So the saga begins!

In 2006, the Village hired some woman as Clerk. I don't even know who she was, all I know is she didn't last very long.

In 2007, the Village hired a really smart, super hot and amazing woman as Clerk. She lasted 10 months before finally giving up.

For 2008, the Village Clerk was the former assistant to both Mayors. She was smart and capable and lasted pretty long (about a year and a half), but also decided to cut and run in the end.

For part of 2009 and 2010 (so far), the Village Clerk has been Carol Robins, who had been Deputy Clerk under the former Clerk (the only Village Clerk since the position split to actually have a Deputy). My experience with Carol is limited, but I've always found her to be kind, courteous, professional, and as helpful as she can be given the fact that she is surrounded by a bunch of total psychos who aren't exactly forthcoming, transparent, reasonable, mature, ethical or law-abiding.

The Clerk position requires a pretty specific skill set. The Clerk, in theory, should be acting as Records Management Officer, Chief Elections Officer, and a liaison between the Village Board and the public. What the Village has provided for, thus far, amounts to a secretary and cashier. Will the Village finally take this opportunity to make the position what it should be, or will we have another overpaid counter person who isn't allowed to do anything else, even though he or she may be qualified to do amazing things with the position? I have no doubt that the Village will opt for another temp rather than modeling the position on a professional standard that exemplifies most municipal Clerks across the state.


Who out there can type and make change? Have any experience working in a psych ward? I hear there's a "Clerk" position opening up real soon...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just In: Patrick O'Donnell to Resign from Village Board

Well, not JUST in, but I was busy baking.

Patrick O(apostrophe broke again god damn when is my student loan money coming in so I can get a new laptop!!!)Donnell is resigning from the Village Board, at some point in the near future.


He has a work commitment that would prevent him from attending meetings regularly. He can only guarantee that he(apostrophe grr)ll be able to attend 50% of meetings, at best, and feels it is only fair to step down.

Sad to see you go, Patrick, but you(!!!)re doing the right thing.

Think Shari and Jean will follow his lead? Doubtful, but a gal can hope. We will probably end up with one of those dopes as Deputy Mayor now.

In light of the recent developments regarding Kassarole(...)s shady election to the VB, it seems only fair that Pete Healey be appointed to fill out the remainder of the term. God knows it would be HILARIOUSLY AWESOME.

More on this soon...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ulster County Board of Elections: Shady or Stupid?

Ulster County Board of Elections Commissioners Kathy Mihm and Tom Turco are slated for reappointment at the June 15 Ulster County Legislature Meeting. Unfortunately, I have grave concerns as to whether they're actually up for the job.

There were a series of inconsistencies surrounding the May 5, 2009 Village of New Paltz elections, as outlined below. These inconsistencies were not merely accidents or oversights; they appear to be flagrant violations of the Election Law, enacted by the very individuals who should know right from wrong better than anyone.

For those who are unfamiliar with the situation, the May 5, 2009 election was run by the Village of New Paltz, rather than by the County Board of Elections, which handles many municipal elections across New York State. It was for two Trustee seats on the Village Board. Petitions were submitted on behalf of three candidates: Pete Healey, an incumbent who had won a special election for a one-year term the year previous, Patrick O’Donnell and Brian Kimbiz. If you read the blog, this should be at least somewhat familiar; Legislative Barbie has affectionately referred to Kimbiz in the past (aka Kazmin aka Kaztard aka...).

Healey and O’Donnell were both accepted onto the ballot; Kimbiz was disqualified from a spot on the ballot after his petitions were challenged by Vici Danskin, a decision made by the Ulster County Board of Elections (UCBOE). His petitions were disqualified on a number of violations, including invalid signatures, incorrect or absent dates and details, and his status as a voter registered in Islip, NY. According to Pete Healey, "I never liked the idea of petitions being challenged; anybody and everybody should have the right to campaign, and these petitioning rules aren't made to be fair or democratic. They're made to be unfair and exclusive. So when I heard his petitions had been rejected, I called the Board of Elections to find out why. When I got the answer, I called him. I suggested to him that he could do many things in response to that, including launching a write-in candidacy. When he did that, I went out of my way to make certain that he was included in the only public forum for the candidates. He never returned the call or reached out to me, he didn't show up to the forum, and he didn't seem to have any public campaign at all. I didn't think he was serious. When he petitioned to be a candidate for Village Trustee, he was a registered voter in Islip."

Kimbiz' failure to attend the forum wasn't a fluke. He also nearly skipped a local Green Party candidate interview, arriving 30 minutes late after repeated telephone calls from interview organizers, and has had lousy attendance at Village Board Meetings since his "victory." Some have questioned why Healey did not campaign harder, and whether he felt betrayed by Kimbiz' campaign seemingly targeting Healey after all his help. "Quietly, he joined with some disgruntled landlords, including his own, apparently, to launch this stealth campaign, when he didn't even know how many Village Trustees actually serve on the Board. It's not betrayal; I didn't think he was serious then, and now, after a year in office, it's clear he hasn't taken it seriously," said Healey.

The final canvass conducted by the Election Inspectors on May 5, 2009 reflected a victory for O’Donnell with 95 votes and Healey with 94 votes. Kimbiz received 91 votes and small numbers of votes were recorded for 6 additional write-in candidates. Kimbiz and Village Clerk Kelly Stengel requested a recanvass by the Ulster County Board of Elections.

On May 7, 2009 the UCBOE Commissioners conducted a recanvass of the results. The Commissioners found errors in the counting of write-in votes on the machine paper and of Absentee Ballots, in which three uncounted eligible ballots were discovered. This led to a gain of three additional votes for O’Donnell and Kimbiz. The corrected totals were O’Donnell with 98 votes, Healey remaining at 94 votes and Kimbiz at 94 votes. In addition, the UCBOE Commissioners overruled the decision of Election Inspectors to discount a vote for “Brian Kazmin.” The Commissioners credited this vote to Kimbiz, leading to his victory over Healey by one vote. Healey was not present, as he was working, and O'Donnell requested an additional count to confirm these recanvass results, but was denied by the Commissioners.

Had this been an issue of counting, there wouldn't be much to say right now. But it isn't about the election, or the outcome of the election. It's about the law and the responsibilities of those appointed to uphold, interpret and implement that law. The same can be said for sour grapes. Healey intentionally waited before beginning to investigate the outcome of the election, essentially waiving his 30-day grace period to challenge the final totals in court (but not to initiate an Article 78 proceeding; that option was waived for him by multiple levels of government dragging their feet and playing games). Healey's initial inquiry to the Village Clerk was submitted the first week of July. "The new village clerk (the one who supervised the election in May quit three weeks later, and a new person took over) delayed me seeing the machine paper rolls until the first of September, because she didn't 'understand' my requests for information on the election. As soon as I saw the bogus vote that was counted for Kimbiz, I contacted the Ulster County Board of Elections immediately, but was put off due to the upcoming Primary. I contacted them again after the Primary, and was told to wait until after the General Election. They stonewalled me for several months, tried bouncing me back to the Village, and the NYS Board of Elections delayed my requests for an additional few weeks. I was finally able to collect the information and meet with the UCBOE Commissioners in February of 2010. I've been bounced around between the three for nearly a year, and it continues to this day."

"In the end, it was the reporting of the changes that the Commissioners made in the recanvass that was the problem all along. No one, not the clerk nor the commissioners and not the media, ever said that the Commissioners changed a voted that had been disqualified on election night into the vote that won the election for Kimbiz, or should I say 'Kazmin.' The law states that they are required to file a report on any and all changes they make, and they didn't do it. That's why I'm pursuing this matter. It's because they didn't do their job, and they assumed powers that the law doesn't give them."

That's not all. A detailed 10-page report has been compiled, outlining the various violations occurring at all levels during the course of this election, and the references to relevant portions of the law, court opinions and media coverage. The report has been submitted to the Ulster County Governmental Services, Environmental and Administrative Committee, which has oversight of the Board of Elections. This report will also be provided to anyone requesting it through Legislative Barbie.

Sections of the report include:

1. UCBOE Commissioners empowering themselves with the ability to change votes upon recanvass, which is expressly prohibited in the law.

2. The failure of the Election Inspectors, Village Clerk and UCBOE Commissioners to count valid write-in votes (hint: does Lorin Rotzler = Rebecca Rotzler? We didn't think so, either.)

3. Flaws with "reasonable intent" and "past practice," the stated justification given by UCBOE Commissioners to disregard the law.

4. Roadblocks to access to timely information by the Village Clerk, UCBOE and NYS BOE.

5. Failure of the UCBOE and Election Inspectors to follow prescribed processes.

6. Failure of the UCBOE to compile and provide documentation reporting on the recanvass results, as required by law.

7. UCBOE Commissioners appear to have intentionally hid their duplicitous practice of vote changing from the media, the government and the public.

8. Failure of the Village Clerk to demonstrate specific duties of her position, as outlined in the law and leading to the destruction of permanent government records.

It is my strong belief that while the statute of limitations may have run out to oust Kimbiz, or take these agencies to court for specific FOIL violations, there should be NO restriction on ensuring that the law is correctly interpreted and enacted. It is the primary responsibility of these individuals to serve as caretakers of the election law, safeguarding our elections and ensuring that they meet the most rigorous standards outlined in the law. While the initial circumstances cannot and, in Healey's opinion, perhaps should not be changed, we MUST hold these officials accountable and take steps to prevent such gross abuses from occurring in the future. Healey trusted that the election was conducted properly, and that trust was severely violated. When elections become a game, or worse, an exercise in "because we said so," we are all violated and we all lose. Well, except for Kaz-whats-his-name. He wins.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ulster County: An Exercise in Inefficiency

On Wednesday, I was scheduled to take a typing test for the second part of the Senior Clerical Series of the Civil Service Exams. I have concerns about a number of things that happened during the exam, but one particular problem stands above the others.

Moments before beginning the exam, an alarm went off in the building and we needed to leave, fire-drill style. Our paper work, including SSNs, addresses, etc. was all left inside, and some left their identification, purses, etc. Once we were outside, the exam monitors proceeded to initiate the process required in such situations. They attempted to contact the alarm company and waited for the Sheriff.

After nearly 40 minutes, the alarm was still running. It was an intruder alarm, rather than a fire alarm as previously thought, on a building that housed classrooms with a number of county-owned computers and other technological equipment.

The alarm company was nowhere to be found, and did not answer the phone calls.

The supervisor of the monitors was nowhere to be found, and did not answer the phone calls.

The Sheriff's department was nowhere to be found, and did not answer the phone calls (even though they are supposed to immediately report to the site of a county alarm).

The individual on shift for the building was also nowhere to be found.

In those 40 minutes, the test was delayed and a number of participants needed to leave, after taking time off work and scheduling sitters in order to come in the first place. In addition, I can only imagine how much county property could've been carted off by the mysterious "intruder."

All of a sudden, the individual on shift for the building appeared at the front door and turned off the alarm. Yes, he had heard the alarm go off, but he had just started his BREAK and didn't return until after his break had finished. Are you freaking KIDDING ME?!?!?!

Of FOUR different responsible parties, NONE responded in a timely manner. In fact, only ONE responded at all, but only after he had finished taking his break.

What was the Sheriff's department doing that was so important that they could ignore the alarm altogether? I can't speak to Wednesday evening, but Thursday evening may give some insight.

On Thursday, I got to the New Paltz Thruway exit around 6:30 pm. At the entrance to the toll booths from New Paltz, there were EIGHT Ulster County Sheriff vehicles that appear to have stopped a man in a minivan. He had two Dunkin Donuts coffee cups on top of the car; either there was something in them that wasn't supposed to be, or some of the officers had brought them along for the ride. Among these EIGHT vehicles was one undercover UC Sheriff vehicle - a beige AUDI. Last I checked, Audis were luxury vehicles; while they've come up with some concept police cars in the past, I am having a difficult time understanding why Ulster County needs vehicles that cost tens of thousands of dollars in order to do their job, which seems to consist of joining SEVEN OTHER OFFICERS in pulling over ONE man. Unless he was Joran Van der Sloot or Osama bin Laden, I can't really see the logic? But this type of high priority incident may indicate why not one Ulster County Sheriff officer could be bothered to show up at the previous night's intruder alarm in Kingston.

Oh, Ulster County. These shenanigans are always so tiresome, and I fear there is far more to come. Stay tuned for some fascinating info on the Ulster County Board of Elections. Teaser: At best, they're completely inept; at worst, they're completely corrupt. I know, I might make Jay Mahler angry again, but maybe instead of getting mad she should make sure that BOE employees do their jobs and actually follow, rather than rewrite, the laws.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Could someone please explain?

For the past few months, I've been watching a number of events unfold, and I must admit - I have no idea WTF is going on here.

I've watched Democrats close the blinds and lock the doors while Republicans struggle to crack them back open.

I've watched multiple Democrat-run governments move forward with falsified, illegal budgets.

I've watched so-called "progressives" allow their environmentalism to escalate into frenzied paranoia, using environmental protection to justify impediments to progress and change.

I've watched Greens bow down to rules they had no role in developing, adopting them as their own and finally crumbling under the strain in some strange version of Stockholm Syndrome, which didn't hurt their oppressors but will almost certainly hurt them.

I've watched Republican after Republican not only advocate for, but honestly, truly work for, meaningful governmental reform rather than the milquetoast nonsense Bartoletti and Horner have paraded around for years.

I've seen voters support a tax increase that was greater than one proposed 3 months ago, this time acting strongly in support of what they were overwhelmingly against.

I've watched the level of illogical intolerance rise to an astonishing level, where the partisan black/white enemy mentality has become so ingrained that it is almost insurmountable.

I've watched adults descend into utter foolishness, grasping desperately for anything they can paint as "victory," rather than recognizing that their cause stands on its own merit.

I've seen remarkable pettiness infuse the commentary of people who consider themselves community leaders and upstanding citizens, even though nobody else does.

I've watched as we bask in the suffering of another in order to feel better about our own.

I've watched as people are subtly, quietly backing down from everything that should enrage them, instead opting to only be enraged as they are told.

I've gotta ask, what is going on?

Registered Democrats, why do you continue to demonstrate wholehearted loyalty to a party that refuses to remain loyal to you? Surely this isn't what you expected when you elected them to represent you?

Elected Republicans, how long will this last? You've certainly got my attention, and I like what I've seen, but at what point will it go back to being about abortions and business and every other issue where we've already agreed to disagree?

Greens, why can't you please get out of your own way? When will you recognize that so many do want to see you successful, yet it's your own decisions that are siphoning away support?

Crazy, crazy times.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Just saw the good news over at the Freeman. I'm assuming we're still stuck with the guy for another few weeks or months, but jeez, even in my disgusting condition, I'd gladly volunteer to help him pack if it'd help him on his way sooner.

So, now that Albany will almost surely coronate another bum like Poskanzer, we can at least pretend SUNY gives a crap about what we think. Who would YOU want as the new President? What qualities do we need in the new enthroned one?

"The word 'flu' is always dangerous. So, I figured I'd see what it was all about." - Bob Gray

Today begins my second day home with the lousy flu. I hate the flu. I don't really know anyone who doesn't. And, somehow, I ALWAYS manage to get it right around this time. Last year really wasn't very bad for sickness at all, so I can hardly complain. Perhaps it had something to do with palm trees and sunshine well into December. But now I'm back on the goddamn east coast, and back with my lousy gross sickies. And I'm taking Tamiflu, which from what I've been able to tell, probably does absolutely nothing. I guess it's supposed to decrease the lengthy of your symptoms or severity or some such nonsense. But by like a day. And only maybe. Not sure really what the benefit of it actually is, plus Rumsfeld had some hand in its development or marketing or SOMETHING like that which, if I was a crazy Dem, would probably make me really nervous and conspiratorial and lead to a panic attack which would cause my airways to close and kill me when I probably should've just taken the Tamiflu and gone to sleep for a while. I'm none of those things, though, so I'm just taking the silly stuff and suffering somewhat quietly.

I did basically nothing except sleep yesterday, and read "Brooklyn," a sweet, fast novel by Irish author Colm Toibin. I generally hate modern fiction, especially anything that has ever even been near the NY Times Bestseller List, but this one was gentle and easy, perfect for a day lying in bed coughing up all sorts of unspeakable things, well-suited for the type of spring we've been having this year.

I'm thinking that this unanticipated quarantine can also allow for a few bonuses - I'll finally write up Part 2 of the social networking series (poor Korn, I promised AGES ago!). I'll also get some work done on my tirade against the Board of Elections, which I'm sure you've all been anxiously anticipating since I alluded to it weeks and weeks ago. I'm sure I can also come up with a few local politics gripes, too. Oh, things are so exciting in Barbie Blog!

But, for now, I'm going to share a few lovely blogs, think about the embroidery and/or sewing I can do today without kicking my ass TOO much, and perhaps watch the Cider House Rules or A Place in the Sun because, even though I'm broke, I can't part with my Netflix.

Also, if anyone wanted to bring me vegetarian celery-free, cilantro-free, beet-free get well foods, I'd be forever indebted (or, really, just pretty grateful and appreciative).

Just came across This Mama Makes Stuff today and I really love it. Her ideas are great, her ART LESSONS for the kids are freaking PHENOMENAL, and I see tremendous value in her blog for anyone, regardless of whether you have a child-free existence or not. Her genius refashions alone are reason enough to add to your roster.

I was fortunate enough to meet Susanna at the NYC Easter Parade a few weeks ago, and am so impressed with her lovely, lovely blog. She is an amazing artist and I am just smitten with her winged messengers and I also really love her round robins (the royal confections are to-die-for). So, check out Susanna's Sketchbook and you'll probably be as enamored as I am.

I couldn't go completely non-local and apolitical. If you haven't checked it out yet, "Sweetie Petey" has been doing some outstanding blogging over at the PR Party website. If you want a chuckle, want something to think about, or just want to join those cranky Hinchey-or-Bust Dems in being mad at us, it's the perfect place to be.

My LLLL (Lovely Lesbian Lover Lagusta, as if you didn't know) has a few exciting blog developments! First, the much-loved resistance is fertile has a new URL at Also, her amazing Lagusta's Luscious (LLLLL? Luscious Lovely Lesbian Lover Lagusta?) now has it's own foodie home! So update your bookmarks and be sure to check both of them out!

Finally, the amazing Ivan Lajara appears to have organized a blog roll for the Kingston Daily Freeman similar to (but better than) that junk the PoJo tries to do. It's got a lot of really neat blogs and I'm so glad they're bolstering their online presence (I really wish Ulster Publishing would learn a thing or two from them and do something about the god-awful website). Of course, LB is one of the featured blogs and if you'd like to be included, too, just send your info over to Ivan! He also turned me onto an amazing live blogging tool called Cover It Live, which I hope to be using here soon. It's gotta work better than the running comment commentary over at the gadfly... oy. Anyways, check out the other blogs, keep up with a few that you like, and comment to let them know that you want to see more!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kimbiz? Kazmin? Whoever he is, he needs to STFU.

Village Trustee Brian Kimbiz aka Brian Kazmin owes Sally Rhoads and everyone participating in tonight's Village Board meeting a tremendous apology. Not only did he expose his complete ignorance of the legislative process, legal codes, and other areas, he also lied about his role in disseminating information about the noise ordinance and was completely disrespectful of his fellow trustees and the public.

Raising your voice when you don't get your way is for petulant children, and that's exactly what Kimbiz appears to be. His efforts to drown out individuals who had the floor, including Sally, amounts to bullying and temper-tantrums. His behavior was completely inappropriate and the only adequate remedy for this outrageous affront is a public apology for his immature conduct during this meeting. Mocking others by making faces, snickering, rolling eyes, interrupting and other childish behavior has no place in our public forums and he is setting a terrible example for those who have not had experiences with the many thoughtful, respectful, informative students that are involved in our community. He might be "pissed as hell," but that doesn't mean we should all be subjected to it. If revisions are made to the noise ordinance (which they clearly should be - it's a pretty lousy law in it's current form), perhaps they can include his offensive and embarrassing comments in the violations.

There are frequently valid reasons for disagreement between permanent community members and SUNY students; these issues arise independently of sensationalized efforts to fan the flames. While Kimbiz' Facebook group purported to operate under the context of civil discourse, his efforts on behalf of this issue ensured the contrary. He has manipulated just emotions of the very constituents he pretends to serve in order to bolster publicity and his absurd agenda of giving power to those who have never really had it taken away. Any efforts to increase animosity among various groups of our community should be discouraged, especially when those efforts are spearheaded by our public officials. We have enough warfare without creating new battles that never needed to be.

In addition, it's about time he get a few things straight. The learning curve he faced should be almost completely dissolved after nearly a year in his position. He serves on the VILLAGE Board, not the TOWN Board, "CDs" are NOT official minutes of a meeting, and there are huge differences between NYS laws, Village laws and SUNY policy. Perhaps if he is able to finally get these basic concepts down, he wouldn't be so obviously frustrated and obnoxious during meetings. Spell check would be a huge improvement, too. It's almost as painful to read the junk he puts on Facebook as it is to actually listen to him spout this nonsense in person. I know I've made fun of his goal to be a "great lesion" on the Village Board, but I'm only beginning to realize that he actually did mean it literally.

Finally, kudos to Police Chief Joe Snyder. Chief Snyder was the only person making an effort to diffuse an unnecessarily heated debate, returning it to the conversation it ought to have been in the first place. I've seen great things from him during his tenure and am constantly reassured of his competence and compassion each time he responds to difficult situations with such poise and respect.

Coffee Party Founder Annabel Park to Visit New Paltz THIS SUNDAY! 1pm


Contact: Pete Healey - 845-399-3288
Brittany Turner - 916-384-6735

National Coffee Party Founder Annabel Park to Speak at Local Meeting

NEW PALTZ - On Sunday, April 18, the Hudson Valley Coffee Party will welcome Annabel Park, founder of the National Coffee Party, to New Paltz where she will discuss the origin of the Coffee Party, concerns surrounding the existing debate in the US, and her vision for the organization's future. Joining Park is local Coffee Party organizer Pete Healey, who will moderate an open discussion between Park and area activists.

According to Healey, "One of the major public policy questions currently being discussed in Coffee Party circles is money in politics. I'm afraid that the three campaign finance reform failures in recent years indicate that those efforts are not a sole solution to our complex problems. It seems like one way out is to consider strategies to renew our democracy by expanding opportunities for new parties to develop. We need to level the playing field for everyone who wants to participate in civil discourse and electoral politics."

Healey added, "The Coffee Party is all about civility and respect for different points of view; New Paltz is exactly the kind of place for that conversation to occur. We have a longstanding tradition of supporting diverse and unique viewpoints. Just this past February, an unprecedented civil conversation was had among state legislators and local representatives of varying political viewpoints. We look forward to replicating the success of that event, and believe the Coffee Party is a natural extension of the civility and innovative solutions demonstrated in the February meeting."

The event will be held at the Muddy Cup Coffeehouse, 58 Main Street, at 1:00pm. The event is free and open to the public; attendees are encouraged to support the Muddy Cup in return for their generous use of their space. Coffee Party members and interested participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of Park and engage in informal conversations on political issues of interest to the community.

The Coffee Party identifies itself as a "spontaneous and collective expression" of interest in cultivating "solution-oriented civic engagement." The organization is "made up of people acting independently of political parties, of corporations, and of political lobbying networks. . .demand[ing] a government that responds to the needs of the majority of its citizens as expressed by our votes and by
our voices; NOT corporate interests as expressed by misleading advertisements and campaign contributions." Additional information is available at the National Coffee Party website, or the Coffee Party of the Hudson Valley Facebook page at!/pages/Coffee-Party-of-the-Hudson-Valley/399399095041?ref=ts.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Social Networking 101 - Part 1

I've apparently established myself as a bit of Facebook guru, and I kinda like it that way. Over the past few weeks I've bumped into a number of "strangers," who, as it turns out, are Facebook friends or are interested in the Facebook phenomena. Since there are few things I love more than my lovely "fbk," I'm providing a series of Facebook 101 tutorials here at Barbie blog.

I've conducted workshops on social networking, social media and Facebook in particular. If you'd like a copy of my powerpoints or if you have questions that aren't answered here, please feel free to comment or email and I'll do my best to help get you started.


- What are social networking sites?

Social networking sites build online communities where people with shared interests can connect to each other.

-What types of social networking sites are available?
  1. Connection Sites - Connection sites are used to connect to other people, businesses, organizations, ideas, or just about anything that exists in the "real world." I've broken these into 3 sub-categories:
  • Personal Sites (i.e. Classmates, Friendster) - these sites are primarily used to connect socially with other individuals. Classmates is a site with paid upgrades that allow you to connect with past and present schoolmates. Friendster is a free site that allows you to connect with friends. These are less popular and you may be dissatisfied with the level of connection you are able to achieve with your "real life" contacts.
  • Professional Sites (i.e. Linked In, Zoominfo) - these are similar to the personal sites, but are used specifically for professional networking opportunities. Linked In allows you to connect with past and present colleagues, associates, supervisors, etc. and provides a forum for resumes, references, etc. Zoominfo compiles media and web links highlighting your work as a professional and compiling a profile based on this information. Whether you sign up for Zoominfo or not, you PROBABLY have a profile on the site. I highly recommend that you visit the site to see if it has tracked you, claim your identity and modify any information that appears on your profile as necessary, especially since it can also compile personal information such as phone numbers, addresses and email addresses.
  • Combination Sites (i.e. Facebook, MySpace) - these sites are a hybrid of the two listed above, as many use them for both purposes. Many businesses and organizations have also developed a presence on these sites, as it is a free and easy way to connect with stakeholders and is often easier to maintain than a stand-alone website. ***A WORD OF CAUTION: Before signing up for these sites, make a conscious decision about what you will use your account for. For example, do not sign up using your work email address without first checking on restrictions. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that people wishing to keep their personal lives separate and private from their work lives sign up using ONLY a personal email account, or, create 2 separate accounts - 1 for personal use and 1 for professional. While there are many options available to establish different privacy thresholds, this is not foolproof and your best bet is to just keep things separate from the beginning.
2. Blogs (i.e. Wordpress, Blogspot, LiveJournal) - If you're reading this, you probably already know what a blog is. If you need me to go into more detail, let me know. They're maybe not specifically social networking (moreso web publishing and journaling), but there is a definite social component.

3. Sharing Sites (i.e. Flickr, Google, YouTube) - These sites are dedicated to sharing a specific
type of media. Flickr, for example is used for photos, YouTube for videos, and Google for everything from videos, photos, books, websites and more.

- Who uses social networking?

Social networking is for EVERYONE!!! No, really, it is. Many people mistakenly assume it's for kids and while certain sites are geared more toward a particular demographic, 35-49 year olds are one of the largest groups of people using these sites. 18-24 year olds and 50-64 year olds also make up a huge percentage of users. Chances are, many people you know are already using these sites and you should probably be one of them!
(This graph uploaded pretty crappy, but you get the idea.
If you're a nerd like me, you can click on it to make it come up all pretty.)

- What are the benefits of social networking?

Can't see the grandkids as often as you'd like? Hate talking on the phone? Looking for a place to find local activities and businesses of interest? Social networking sites can help with all of these issues. The sites are simple and convenient (once you learn a few basics), and you can log on or off only when you're interested in connecting with others.

You can learn about and RSVP to various local events through the sites and make connections with new friends who are interested in similar groups, activities and issues. You can connect with family and friends who, in an increasingly busy world, are less easy to pin down than perhaps they once were. You can, often, chat live with these loved ones through the site, keep up on important events like birthdays and anniversaries, see newly updated photos without having to weed through emails, etc. You can also take advantage of the targeted advertising through many of these sites, which includes ads that are based on your existing interests. No more nuisance "free iPod" pop-up ads; the ads on these sites are truly tailored to your needs. You can also find solace in the fact that you will no longer be a technological "untouchable;" you'll be in tune with what everyone else is talking about!


More details on Facebook coming in Part 2, as per your requests - if there are others that you'd like additional details about, let me know.

Deciding which site to use can be daunting; I happen to have accounts with most of these sites, but if you're a beginner, you may prefer just one site to start. Sites that I'd encourage you to register with are marked with an asterisk.

- Profile Page
- Events
- Pages/Fans/Groups
- Notes (Blog)
- Photo and Video Sharing
- Heavy traffic: I guarantee you will know at least 10 people already using the site

Linked In
- Like Facebook with Professional Slant
- “Professional Networking”
- References and professional connections
- No photo/video sharing, blogging

- 140 character mini-blog updates sent to “followers” via e-mail or text message
- No video or photo sharing
- Fast, simple, easy to update from any location
Heavy traffic and celebrity access

Blogs: Blogspot & Wordpress
- Platform for editorial style entries on any issue of interest
- User-friendly
- Mobile upload capability
- Photo sharing to support text

- Video sharing
- Channels, friends and subscribers
- Post videos as “comments” to others
- Can be embedded in other sites
- Cannot download videos easily
- Heavy traffic

Any questions? More info on actually setting up your Facebook coming soon!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!!!

Last May, I looked at the attendance records for the Village Board. After receiving no response from any Trustees, I wrote a letter to the New Paltz Times asking some of the greatest offenders to please inform us of the explanation for their lax participation. It wasn't a surprise that there was no response.

Since then, I'm afraid that things have gotten even worse. I used the same rough methodology used in that entry to compile attendance records for all meetings in 2008 and 2009 (minutes are not yet available for 2010). The awful attendance records are especially disturbing, as combining the attendance results of two specific Trustees still fails to yield even ONE full time Trustee.

100% Attendance Record - Of course, I have to give credit to Terry Dungan, who has attended 100% of meetings (regular, special and joint) in 2008 and 2009. The Mayor had 75 meetings total between 2008 and 2009, and was present for the entire meeting every time. But showing up is just a minimum requirement; if Dungan plans to seek reelection, he still has a long way to go before he's in the good graces of most of NP.

95% Attendance Record - Trustee Patrick O'Donnell has been present for an ENTIRE* meeting (including joint, special and regular) 95% of the time. Trustee O'Donnell had 22 meetings total, with 1 absence (regular meeting) and 0 lates or instances of leaving early.

87% Attendance Record - Former Trustee Pete Healey was present for an ENTIRE meeting (including joint, special and regular) 87% of the time. Trustee Healey had 38 eligible meetings between 2008 and 2009, with 4 absences, 0 lates and 1 instance of leaving early. In 2008, he missed 3 special meetings. In 2009, he was absent from 1 regular meeting and late to 1 regular meeting.

83% Attendance Record - Former Trustee Michael Zierler was present for an ENTIRE meeting (including joint, special and regular) 83% of the time. Trustee Zierler had 54 eligible meetings in 2008 and 2009, with 4 absences, 4 lates and 1 instance of leaving early. In 2008, he was absent from 1 regular meeting, left early from 4 regular meetings and arrived late to 1 regular meeting.

(This is where things start to get a little bit nasty. Committee, Board and Commission members are held to a 75% attendance policy in Section 31-5 of the Village Code. No such standard has been established for VB members and, frankly, it shouldn't be necessary, but apparently is.)

77% Attendance Record - Trustee Brian Kimbiz aka Brian Kazmin has been present for an ENTIRE meeting (including joint, special and regular) 77% of the time. In 2009, he had 22 eligible meetings, with 1 absence, 1 late and 1 instance of leaving early from a regular meeting and 1 absence and 1 late to special meetings. Not quite at the 75% threshold, but pretty damn close. Luckily, his presence isn't generally missed, except for the comedic relief provided on the rare occasion that he opens his mouth. Ya know, like, in defense of people who wanna paint their front door all crazy-like.

61% Attendance Record - Trustee Jean Gallucci has been present for an ENTIRE meeting (including joint, special and regular) 61% of the time. Between 2008 and 2009, she had 75 eligible meetings. For regular meetings, she has been absent from 8, late to 10 and left 4 regular meetings early. For special meetings, she has been absent 5 times and late 1 time. She has also left early from 1 joint meeting. I don't expect that Trustee Gallucci will run for a second term; her alliance with Dungan was clearly an effort to help bolster her running mate's numbers in his successful attempt to unseat Jason West. However, she is still holding office and regardless of her future ambitions, I believe it is her responsibility to fulfill the obligations that she signed up for. If she cannot, it is only right that she resign and provide an opportunity for VoNP residents to have someone appointed to actually represent them.

31% Attendance Record - Trustee Shari Osborn has been present for an ENTIRE meeting (including joint, special and regular) 31% of the time. 31%. It's not a typo. Between 2008 and 2009, she had 75 eligible meetings. I'm going to do this as a list, because it's so hard to wrap my head around it.
Regular Meetings - 8 Absences, 20 Lates, 14 Left Early
Special Meetings - 7 Absences, 2 Lates, 1 Left Early
That's a total of 15 Absences, 22 Lates and 15 instances of leaving early. I LIKE Trustee Osborn. I really, really do. But WTF is she doing in her position as Trustee?!? This record is absolutely shocking and I am appalled that someone would seek elective office, allow voters to invest their faith in the commitment of their chosen representative and then proceed to be fully present for only 23 of 75 meetings.

It's no wonder that the VoNP is in such sorry shape. I will continue to welcome any explanation from these Trustees as to their horrific participation but until it's provided, can only judge based on the numbers.

*ENTIRE meetings mean showing up before or as the meeting is called to order and staying until the meeting is adjourned. Multiple instances of leaving and returning during a single meeting are only counted as one. In order to be considered a present, a Trustee must be able to vote at the meeting. Thus, "calling in" to a meeting does not count.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Long/Short (A list of lists)


I know that there is much speculation about the ridiculousness of my life right now, which Lagusta, Nelson and Katinka were lucky enough to hear all about on Friday night at the Village Tea Room. Yes, the Village Tea Room, in New Paltz, where I was allegedly-but-not-in-practicely banned from by the gentle, radiant, kind, patient, understanding, thoughtful, civil, rational Agnes Devereaux. I guess my $ is still green, even if its whiskey stained.

The long-short (now my slash isnt working, either) is that I have moved back to the bitterly cold NPZ around Xmas time for many, many, many reasons, including, but not limited to:
A) 18,943% unemployment in CA
B) a relationship that wasnt
C) a relationship that was
D) a promise I made to myself
E) a promise that was made to me
F) the reaffirmation of my previously (and staunchly) held opinion that marriage is not for anyone, and is particularly not for me
G) life was too boring due to all the unemployment so, of course, I had to shake it up and turn the whole thing upside-down and dump it on the white carpet and then grind it all in with my feet a little bit

If you want a better explanation then that, too bad. If you're a real-life friend (erm, there's roughly 3 of these), then you know it by heart already and if you're not, then you'll get enough info from here. Sporadically.

So, Ive made a little Mid-February resolution to myself that I will blog more. For 3 reasons.

1. Im unemployed, so when better to take on this little endeavor?
2. Lagusta always yells at me that I do not update my blog anywhere near enough, which is undoubtedly true.
3. My perpetual unemployment has led to the occurrence of many blog-worthy realizations, experiences and anticipations. These ought to be documented, as I can muse on them while being - yup - unemployed.

Therefore, I will give a mini-glimpse into the things to come (in no specific order):
- Things I absolutely need or I will die. Immediately.
- MAC Barbie & Hello Kitty Collections
- PR Party Kicks the World's Ass (ahh, how did my apostrophe just work?!?! WTF?!?!?!)
- How-To FBK (Beginner and Intermediate)
- Various NPZ/Ulster Co. obnoxiousness
- My chiropractor!
- The Oxford Comma
- Lily Ledbetter

But, not now. I have unemployed-type things to go do.

Friday, January 29, 2010

PR Party Hosts "Serious Reform or Just More Shadows? A 'Civil Conversation' on Constitutional Convention," Feb. 2, 7pm, New Paltz Community Center


Contact: Pete Healey - 845-399-3288 -
Brittany Turner - 916-384-6735 -

Proportional Representation Party Convenes "Civil Conversation"

NEW PALTZ - On Tuesday, February 2, the Proportional Representation Party is sponsoring Serious Reform or Just More Shadows?: A "Civil Conversation" About Constitutional Convention. According to PR Party Founder and former Village of New Paltz Trustee Pete Healey, "Our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Comptroller and one of our US Senators were not elected to those positions by voters in NYS. There are serious constitutional issues surrounding these appointed, rather than elected, officials. The legislature elected this November will decide on the districts for all state legislators and our congressional delegation for the next 10 years. This legislature ought not be entrusted with that responsibility without a serious reconsideration of our dysfunctional constitution."

NYS Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-129th) will be joining Healey to discuss his recently introduced legislation that would, if approved, allow for a statewide referendum on a Constitutional Convention this November, instead of 2017 as currently permitted. The legislation would also prohibit sitting members of the state legislature from serving as delegates to the convention. "There is a growing feeling among New Yorkers that their state government has stopped working for them - that it's grown too costly, unresponsive and disconnected from the lives of those it was supposed to serve. It is time New Yorkers took their state government back - it begins by convening a People's Convention, which is the first step toward restoring accountability," said Kolb. Healey concurred, noting "People rightly fear that the Constitutional Convention could become an insider's game, as is the state legislature. A convention comprised of real people, not legislative groundhogs, is the only way to discuss meaningful reforms."

Also expected to attend are Assemblymember Richard Brodsky (D-92nd) and a representative of Gerald Benjamin, Director of the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO). Both have been at the forefront of discussions surrounding the potential Constitutional Convention. "Civil conversation" was coined by Brodsky, who has been one of the few Democrats to discuss the possibility of a Constitutional Convention, advocating a slow and tempered approach. Benjamin has voiced pro-Convention sentiments in the Wall Street Journal and Albany Times Union through a series of editorials co-authored with former NYS Governor Mario Cuomo. They will be joined by elected officials, community leaders, activists and residents from across the Mid-Hudson Valley.

The Press Conference will be held from 7:00pm until 7:30pm at the New Paltz Community Center, 1 Veterans Drive, New Paltz. The moderated discussion about the rationale for and impact of a Constitutional Convention will follow, from 7:30pm until 9:00pm.

The PR Party was founded in 2007 to deal with a number of concerns surrounding the structure and functions of NY's local and state government. Initiating the process for a Constitutional Convention is one of its chief priorities in 2010. Additional information is available at the PR Party website,