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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Time for some REAL economic development

I was happy to learn yesterday about two "new businesses" coming to a vacant site in Kingston — until I read the fine print.

On the surface, the news was that two manufacturers had announced plans to set up shop on the Flatbush Avenue site formerly occupied by Colony Liquors, which bolted for Greene County a few years ago.

The reality, though, is that one of the two "new" companies, Stavo Industries, merely is moving from another site in the city; and the other, Wolf-Tec, simply is moving to Kingston from the adjacent town of Ulster. Stavo says it will add 14 employees to its current staff of 47, and Wolf-Tec says it will add 27 jobs to its current 69, but I'll believe it when I see it. After all, if the total number of jobs promised at TechCity and the Kingston Business Park in the past decade had materialized, Ulster would be the boom county of New York state. Instead, it continues to be on the brink of bust.

Part of the problem, I suppose, is that we've so lowered the bar in our economic development expectations in these parts. Kingston, after all, is the city where economic development is defined as tearing down a McDonald's restaurant in order to build on the same site ... another McDonald's restaurant; tearing down a Stewart's convenience store in order to build on the same site ... another Stewart's convenience store; and tearing down a Citgo gas station in order to build on the same site ... another Citgo gas station.

A new era is about to begin in Kingston with the swearing-in of Shayne Gallo, the city's first new mayor since 2002. Here's hoping Mr. Gallo sets the development bar higher than it has been in recent years and brings real economic growth to the city.


Cain train derails

I was taking one of my occasional breaks from blogging when the Herman Cain scandal was unfolding, so I never got the chance to comment it on it here.

To make up for it, I'll share with you, in order, the four comments about the scandal that I posted on my Facebook page:

* If I was German, and Herman Cain asked me whether he should stay in the presidential race, I'd reply: "Nein! Nein! Nein!"

* Does it really matter at this point whether Herman Cain decides to quit the presidential race or stay in it? I'm pretty sure the voters already have decided for him.

* I, for one will be sorry to see Herman Cain go if he quits the race. I liked his 9-9-9 plan: A nine-slice pizza for $9, with delivery guaranteed in nine minutes. Take THAT, Dominos!

* Why do politicians who are caught in scandals always blame the media? Note to Herman Cain: It's not the media's fault that you sexually harassed three women and had a 13-year affair while married. It's YOUR fault.