It was an exciting week for us at the Mohawk Valley Compass. Finally getting this site off the ground was both gratifying and challenging. On behalf of everyone who is contributing to this project, I want to say “thank you” to all our readers and to those who have sent us notes of encouragement.
We also appreciate the excellent comments that you left. From time to time we hope to feature some of those comments in this column.
First we want to give a tip of the hat to Peter Califano who left a question on Facebook in regards to our coverage of the first Amsterdam Common Council meeting and the Golf Course contract issue. We hemmed and hawed, made some calls and realized that yes, we needed to clarify some things. We’re still learning some of the ropes here at The Compass, so we appreciate your patience!
However, Robert N. Going, former City of Amsterdam Corporation Counsel, left this opinion on the subject which somewhat explains how we viewed the situation:
While [the contracts for Joe Merendo and Laura Elmendorf ] may not be a done deal, it is for all practical purposes. The mayor has 14 days to consider the measures. Unless she exercises her veto power, they become law. If she does veto either resolution, the Common Council by a 4/5 vote may override the veto. Inasmuch as the two passed unanimously, there seems little purpose, other than obstructionism, to cast a veto. Once the Common Council approves a contract, the mayor’s only duty is ministerial: to affix her signature to the written contract and see that the terms of the contract are enforced. These are routine acts done many many times over the course of a year.
So in other words, the Common Council was not giving her a friendly “green light” – they were essentially insisting the Mayor sign these contracts without giving her any other options.
Bob Stern asked a very good question on the subject …
Didn’t the Comptroller’s audit just find the City didn’t know it’s cash flow and now the Council wants a contract that does not require a business plan or revenue reporting?
Diane Hatzenbuhler, 4th Ward Alderman, wrote several comments to clarify her position on the same issue. An excerpt of one of her comments:
Obviously this council will have its work cut out for them in the coming year. Going after the pro for whatever amounts he gets for his long days of work, is not of my concern. I want to make the course better and for the next three years we can do that without going after one individual. [Through] proper marketing and not gouging the Golf budget with astronomical administration fees I think we can see a more efficiently run Muni for the benefit of all the tax payers.
Peter J. Quandt left an insightful comment on the opinion piece “Amsterdam’s future: city or suburb?” Here is an excerpt:
…Amsterdam has always had it’s own “suburbs”, downtown, industrial and recreation areas. Granted, these were mostly on a smaller scale than larger metro areas. And, they have been greatly impacted by the failure of the “urban renewal” era, (other than to effectively route traffic through town via the new bridge and bypass roads). Yet, one can still get a feel of the neighborhood setting that we grew up with, when stepping outside of the downtown… If I were to stand anywhere in the City of Amsterdam, and just allow myself to feel the city, the one area that really hurts is downtown. In my opinion, revitalizing the downtown, even working toward reestablishing it (as much as possible) as a representation of what we grew up with, would not only boost the sense of pride in Amsterdam as a home town, but it might even help to make the difference in tilting the scales for some of us who have been considering returning to our home.
Kevin McKearn also left a sizable and positive comment on the same article:
…I grew up in Amsterdam and when I tell people about the stories that made up my youth and teenage years, they are jealous. I used to get on my bike, pack some food and head out with my glove, a fishing pole and a bunch of ideas of what to do in a city that had so much to offer. I loved the downtown and even liked the mall because I could see many people walking about that I knew…
Robert Purtell also added:
Just for clarification the Mall is not closed, it is an economic engine for the area. The mall has been repurposed to supply office space and medical services. Millions of dollars of income from good paying jobs, bringing people in from other areas to also work there.
So keep those great comments coming! Just remember to stick to the issues, resist the urge to inject personal attacks and/or unfounded allegations. Y’all should know the drill by now!