Is common sense all that common?

Fingers in the wind, county executives from six Hudson Valley counties are urging Gov. Cuomo to follow recently issued CDC guidelines that advise fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear face masks. Cuomo’s response has been that he wants his health department to review federal findings before allowing his constituents the choice of mask or no mask.

I got a small piece of this story when visiting my local Stewart’s on Sunday morning for my weekly apple fritter fix. They are so delicious!

The familiar sign on the door advised no one would be served without a mask; all the clerks were wearing masks. Two maskless guys had left just before I entered. Mine was in my pocket.

“What’s the deal with masks here?”, I asked the clerk.

“Masks are required until the governor passes on the CDC,” she said.

I popped a Cuomo expletive for which I quickly apologized. She shrugged. I think she smiled behind her mask.

How long, I thought upon leaving the premises, is this guy going to keep his knee on the necks of New Yorkers?

The six county executives, including Ulster’s Pat Ryan, all of whom fought a valiant fight to protect their constituents and keep them informed in the face of bewildering cross-messaging from federal and state officials, think it’s about time.

Please, they pleaded in a joint statement to His Excellency, can’t we just follow the “common sense guidance” of the CDC?

It would appear that common sense is not that common in Albany.

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STALLING JUSTICE – The New York Post reports that the assembly has approved the grand total of $250,000 for its Judiciary Committee to investigate allegations of improper conduct by Gov. Cuomo against several female staffers. At last count about 10 women had issued public statements against Cuomo. He has denied any misconduct.

A quarter million dollars may sound like a lot of money, but not when the number of accusers is considered and that lead investigators from a private law firm hired by the assembly, will be paid upwards of $600 an hour.

Meanwhile, the attorney general’s office has begun issuing subpoenas to witnesses as it conducts its separate investigation of the governor. A spokesperson for the AG said Trish James doesn’t expect to wrap up her probe until next fall. If then.

It’s too early to say the fix is in, but it’s starting to smell. Even the Ulster County district attorney’s office can indict an accused murder in something like 100 days.

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JOURNAL SPOTLIGHTS US – The prestigious Wall Street Journal covers the world, so when Ulster County gets two mentions in as many days, it’s as we say in my biz, newsworthy.

First, the Journal reported that the city of Kingston enjoyed the highest percentage increase in residential housing sales last year in the country. Yep. Housing prices increased by a whopping 37 percent last year, according to the newspaper.  

WOW. Good for sellers, bad news for those young families hoping to access the American dream of owning their own home.

Not for nothing, but with housing prices gone skyward all over the county, how come we don’t see it reflected in our property taxes? And I don’t mean the .00001 percent kinds of decreases pols brag about.

Elsewhere in the Journal we learn that county executive Pat Ryan has raised over $300,000 in donations to promote the candidacies of veterans and first responders with progressive ideas, including one for city council in Queens. But only for Democrats, like Ryan.

Ryan announced a $250,000 war chest for this outreach a few weeks ago, but his hyperactive public relations machine hasn’t said anything about Queens. Good thing we have the Wall Street Journal to keep us informed.

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TEACHERS CHOICE – A tenured Saugerties teacher has been reassigned after the uproar caused by her assigning students to take the defense position in the George Floyd trial that the victim of obvious police brutality might have died from heart disease, not the pressure of a knee of a police officer on his neck for almost 10 minutes.

The educator was offering her students an exercise in critical thinking. In other words, take an unpopular position and try to make the case the Minneapolis jury unanimously rejected.

Good assignment. Awful choice of subject. Kids should learn critical thinking in school, a valuable skill, with the demise of debating programs, all too lacking, and not just in kids.

It was an impossible assignment. The jury had spoken and the defendant was convicted on two counts of murder. He could face 40 years in jail when sentenced.

In the calmer light of reflection, this teacher should be admonished for poor judgment, not suspended or fired.

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AND FINALLY – Friends and family of former New Paltz councilwoman and community leader Sally Rhodes will celebrate her life Saturday, May 22 at 2 p.m. at Peace Park in the village. A red maple was planted in the park upon Sally’s passing last fall. The public is invited.

Old-time Kingston IBMers might note the passing of Margaret Howe, 94, of Rhinebeck, widow of former Lake Katrine plant manager Bud Howe (Clarence K. on his paycheck).  Peggy’s obituary in Northern Dutchess News listed numerous accomplishments over a long productive life, not the least of which was two holes-in-one at the Red Hook Golf Club. In her 70s!