Mayor Shayne Gallo is showing us what he’s made of, and it seems to be some pretty high quality stuff. In today’s City Hall press conference, streamed by the Daily Freeman, Gallo stepped up to give us some clarity as to what’s been going on with the school redistricting, the hospital dissolution, and the budget issues that led to and result from those problems. I recommend a viewing, but clear about 45 minutes. Replay Mayor Shayne Gallo Press Conference
Gallo puts to rest the rumors of his support for Sophie Finn’s closing, and he suggests other options to carry out County Executive Michael Hein’s STRIVE (Shared Taxpayer Relief Through Innovative Visions in Education) initiative. The Mayor clearly stated some of the factors that he’s been considering, and he’s laid out some of the problems that face us in the near- and long-term, should any of these events happen, or even if they don’t..
As these plans have been rolled out rapid-fire in the news as nearly done deals, without consulting key City of Kingston officials, Gallo has been trying to get Health Alliance, the Kingston City School District, and Ulster County officials to slow down and consider the wants and needs of Kingston’s citizens. His efforts seem to be having some effect, as evidenced by this story: Kingston school Superintendent Paul Padalino says reconfiguration decision could be delayed slightly for more input
What is happening here is that Mayor Gallo is getting people to talk to each other. He calls on us to stop blaming groups like the unions, the boards, politicians, and the various administrations. Regardless of who is at fault (Wall Street, the banks, unfunded mandates, Albany), the problems are real. We are constrained by tax caps, by smaller tax bases, and by mandates, funded or not. None of the problems will get solved without the help of all of us; the unions, the boards, politicians, the various administrations, and we, the people.
Whether you agree with the Mayor on how to solve any of these issues is hardly the point. I don’t always agree with him. But if we don’t do something, nothing gets done. Our good ideas are nothing, unless we share them.
Mayor Gallo today called on all of us to let our representatives know what we want. If you don’t know who your Alderman is, “call the Mayor’s office”, he said, “and we will help you find out.” Let your Aldermen hear from you, and they will represent you to the Mayor.
Answer the Mayor. Get involved. We can’t change everything, but we can do something. Let’s step up.