Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ulster Contractor Licensing Proposed

Talk about a segment of business that NEEDS licensing! The construction and remodeling industry is definitely one! It is comprised of many different types of people - some legit, some not. There are many different sizes of companies and a wide array of owners from all walks of life. Most of these companies are legitimate but some are definitely not.

There are a great number of construction projects in Ulster County and other counties that "fly under the radar".

No one would ever know they are being done, many are not inspected and it is on those "under the radar" projects the customer sometime falls victim to less than skilled or honest contractor.

How many stories are out there about people who give large down payments for work only to never see the contractor again? Or who pay large sums of money for unfinished or shoddily installed work?

Unfortunately, when there is no license required and no inspection is done - there are very few avenues a customer can take to remedy their sitiuation.

Look around and see how many construction vans in Ulster county ride around unmarked with no company name on them. There is a reason for that. And it is never a good reason.

Legitimate business owners put their company and contact info on their trucks. They don't mind being identified by the public. They carry the proper insurances. They have their work inspected.

Contractor licensing is something that is inexpensive and pays for itself. It does that by ensuring that we, the people who hire contractors, are protected. For a $200 or $300 licensing fee, all contractors are and can be identified and held accountable to the public......and that is at a cost of less than $1 dollar a day to the contractor or any customer.

After Ulster adopts contractor licensing for basic general construction - we need to adopt an electrical license for those contractors who are installing electrical wiring in our homes, business and schools.

The installation of electrical wiring requires the contractor to prove that they are knowledgeable and capable by PASSING AN EXAM. There are no excuses for the avoidance or rejection of that fact.

If a contractor cannot prove that they know the electrical code and can install wiring safely - they should not be allowed to ply that trade in this county.

Let's see how far the contractor and electrical licensing goes this time.

Election years and election seasons bring out the best ideas - don't they?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just The Facts

Read the area papers and you are hit with the hard facts. Unemployment is up in the Hudson Valley. The amount of unemployment in NYS as a whole has actually declined. Like everyone else out there in reality land - we need more jobs. And we need good jobs. You really can't point your finger at any one group and say it is their fault though.

But there are some points that have to be made. When we move forward and the powers that be use the public fisc to "attract" jobs, let's hope that they really take a hard look at doing the right thing in the future- now that the bottom has dropped out.

Don't give financial assistance to projects that don't promise - and produce - good jobs ever again.

That public money or loans or whatever form of assistance you want to call it, is worth a great deal. Use it to everyones advantage.

Build projects with local labor - get tax breaks and financial assistance.

Hire people at wages that you can actually feed a family of four on - then you can get nice tax breaks and financial assistance.

Give those kind of companies the "shares" of those who can't promise that.

Give more to those - who give more to the community. Sounds like a logical idea, doesn't it?

With over 8% of people unemployed in the Hudson Valley it is time to think about what really matters - creating good jobs so people can live here.
We let this ball drop in the past - let's regroup and all work together for a change.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

President Obama Speaks About The Health Care Debate

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do The Math

The weekly cost of feeding an Ulster County family of four is $198.99 for the week ending August 7, according to the county Consumer Fraud Bureau.

That is a decrease of $3.20, or two percent, since the last survey was taken for the week ending July 24.

The decrease is primarily due to sale items in the meat and fish category.

The marketbasket survey is intended to provide consumers with information regarding fluctuations in the local cost of retail foods.

So if I get one of those $10 dollar an hour jobs that everyone is so happy to create, I would earn a gross pay of $400.00 per week and net somewhere near what? $300? $320?

That would leave me around $120.00 or $480.00 a month for rent, the electric bill, a telephone, car maintenance, car insurance and oh yea - gas. Nothing for clothes, cable, kids, school supplies or anything else that could possibly be thought of.

Make it $15 dollars per hour and I am still struggling here in Ulster County.

The point is that the next time we hear our politicians bragging that the jobs that are coming in will pay at least $10 dollars per hour - (we see them fight like hell against $12 dollars an hour in most cases)- we need to remember what that really gets the employee who earns it.

Not suprisingly, the politicians who think these are great wages are also the ones who are against unions.

Smarten up people. Do the math.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Few Thoughts Worth Thinking: Better Duck - Here Comes A Snowball

Kingston city union members better hold onto their wallets and start paying attention to the buzzwords being put forth by Mayor Sottile and the newly, reborn Alderwoman DiBella.

Anybody else noticed how ballzy the anti-union DiBella is getting now that she is a political lame duck?

She has always exuded a certain disrespect for the workers of the city with her crappy attitude but now she is going to make sure nobody can dispute that fact. Make no mistake about it, she will be a willing volunteer to throw the snowballs for Jim Sottile in this upcoming budget season. There will be some layoffs this time, you can feel it.

....And this is just part two in the plan. Part one was to meddle in the CSEA election to weaken the union by helping to remove Troy Ashdown as Vice President. Ashdown was just about the only thing that stood in the way of the Mayor riding rough-shod over the city employees. That cannot be disputed. No disrepect to the current officers there now but lets face it - the Mayor has a free ride now.

DiBella - the snowball thrower - has a nasty disposition when it comes to all unions anyway and she is going to go out swinging. She was quiet for months after plowing into the side of a building after a late night "dinner". They name guardrails after people like her.

This should be a lesson to all of our union political committees out there - the "democrats are ALL for the union workers" theory is a bunch of bullshit. They prove that best in the city of Kingston.

The truth is that LOCALLY, unions should look at the individual candidate - no matter what their party is - any other way is a waste of your molecules.

Another point. Can somebody name even ONE large project that the Mayor has backed where he has insisted that LOCAL WORKERS be hired to build it? Don't strain yourself - there were none. And there will never be. He is afraid to do that.

So when you read about how Sotille is pushing for projects (and he does push certain ones it seems) think of all of the JOB OPPORTUNITIES and job creation he squanders by not caring enough to promote his own local workers who construct buildings and "projects" for a living.

A little sound advice to the Kingston city workers - pay close attention to who is speaking what words. The new union leaders should start rounding up the troops and circling the wagons RIGHT NOW because anyone who reads the papers can see they will be gunning for you guys big time in the next budget. You have some big shoes to fill in regard to holding back the attack.

If you need us, we are there for you.