Stepping Up

17 Jul

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.

-Andrew Champ-Doran

1 Comment

Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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One response to “Stepping Up

  1. Mike Heany

    July 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Hey Andrew

    It was a rough start (Hein affair) but holding the press conference was a very good idea. I am disturbed, but not surprised, when Gallo said he has no power regarding HealthAlliance. I think he could have made a stronger statement (“I will use all my influence as Mayor…”, for example) rather than just saying: “Let’s see what happens at the Site Plan meeting”. I believe the Mayor is aware of the public’s concerns but you are right, a good leader will rally the troops. I am hoping that HealthAlliance is dissolved.

    Do you think it was “the Mayor’s efforts” that caused Padalino to reconsider the redistricting plan? Again, I was very disturbed at Padalino changing the finalizing redistricting date from December to September when the public wanted more discussion.

    I saw in The Freeman comments that you counted parking spaces at the BRC. Thanks. I have been there often and I have not seen it as full as you relayed. I know the Deptartment of Labor is in the building where people use their facilities for employment conferences, job seeking, and assistance. As with UCCC’s students, people come and go throughout the day vs. staying all day. It would be beneficial to know the number of students at the BRC. Also, in yesterday’s Freeman, BRC staff are parking on the side streets.

    Parking is important but a side issue for Sophie Finn and one issue that I hope is not needed. Like Meagher, students performing well are/will be relocated to a class with poorer performing students and relocation itself is a factor. The Mayor and others have suggested leaving Sophie Finn an elementary school and placing UCCC in either Meagher or Kingston Hospital. I prefer UCCC relocate to Meagher and Golden Hill can be relocated to Kingston Hospital.

    I am concerned about the accuracy of Padalino’s savings and the cost of repairs for the school buildings. I am concerned about plans being ram-rodded to the public and applying pressure to the public when they want some input by changing the timeline for redistricting. I am concerned about the efficiency and methodology for the newly formed committee to ensure the new academic programs are delivered as promised. I am concerned about a redistriciting plan that will provide a short-term reduction in savings and “will not avert a continued financial crisis” (Padalino). What is going to happen when there are no more buildings to consolidate?

    Besides the Mayor and legislators, I have also relayed my concerns to Padalino. Perhaps the Mayor should have included him in his charge to the public to let their voices be heard.

    As I said, I think it was a good idea for the Mayor’s press conference. Given the circumstances, I think the Mayor should have them frequently.

    Hope all is well



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