Half-baked polls

Everybody’s suspicious of pollsters after the 2016 debacle, but when it comes to cookies, nobody can beat Deising’s Bakery in uptown Kingston.

Deising’s is conducting a thoroughly unscientific presidential poll, with some surprising results so far.

Some 400 customers, to date, have bought cookies with the faces of either Trump or Biden. Surprisingly, it’s almost a dead heat. In Kingston, N.Y.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in Kingston by an almost 3-1 margin. There are more registered independents than the combined enrollments of both major parties.

So toxic is the GOP endorsement in Kingston, that last year businessman Vince Rua, who challenged incumbent Democrat Steve Noble, refused the party’s endorsement. Rua apparently figured he’d have a better chance without Republican support than with it. I think he would have lost in either case. In any case, he did. For reference, the last Republican mayor, John Amarello, was elected in 1991. He was solidly defeated two years later by a young Democratic alderman named T.R. Gallo.

So, for Donald Trump to be running dead even with Joe Biden in this Democratic stronghold may suggest something’s in the works.

There could be at least two mitigating factors.

“Trump and Biden even?” a young woman said to my inquiry. “Sounds about right. Where was it held?”

I told her. “There you have it!” she exclaimed. “Deising’s is uptown Kingston. More Republicans hang out there than Democrats.”

Could be.

I offer in evidence my own theory: How many Trump haters bought Trump cookies just to bite the head off that cookie monster?

We’ll see how the cookie crumbles in just about three weeks.

Exec discovers the Kingstonian – This week county executive Pat Ryan ordered his Economic Development Department to conduct a study on the proposed $57 million Kingstonian condo/hotel/parking project in the Stockade District of uptown Kingston. He has committed $10,000 to $15,000 to the study. As a passing thought, I wonder why a public agency that deals with economic development  needs outside assistance on cost/benefit analysis.

Understand, the executive was not (yet) taking a position on what has been one of Kingston’s largest and most controversial projects in recent years. This project, with some adjustments, has been on the drawing board for almost two years, with nary a peep from The Big Guy. That he said anything at all, and committed scarce county funding to it, suggests something significant has recently changed.

And what could that be?

Two weeks ago, Democrats elected Kelleigh (Kelly) McKenzie of Rosendale chairwoman of the 320-member Democratic County Committee. McKenzie represents the ascendent “Bernie wing” of the Democratic Party. They call themselves progressive Democrats (a label Ryan proudly wears) and they don’t like “rich people” making millions on the backs of taxpayers.

The Kingstonian is asking for a PILOT (Payment inf Lieu of Taxes) deal that could relieve developers of some $37 million in county, city and school taxes over the next quarter century, with about two-thirds coming from the latter.

The mayor is on board, the school district is skeptical, and now all of a sudden, the county exec is curious.

I’m not suggesting that the election of an anti-development Democratic leader moved the needle in county government, but it might have jiggled it some. There is no question the party is headed that way.

Let’s hope that the Ryan study delivers objective, long-range findings up to an including how much net tax revenue (with the PILOT) this project, if built as presented, will generate over the next few decades, which is to say, cost/benefit. If it doesn’t come out well north of $37 million (the proposed tax breaks), some major rethinking on this Kingstonian project will be in order.