Comments recap and comments on commenting


The Golf Course debate continued to rage on in the Compass comments section this past week. At one point, unfortunately, we had to stop approving comments from several posters on both sides of the issue. So, before we get to the comments, here’s a few tips to make sure your future comments avoid the chopping block:

  1. Don’t repeat the same question, statement, information, etc., over and over again. If you’ve posted it once and it doesn’t get a response, either let it go or try a different approach.
  2. Try not to attack a person’s character or motivations or make accusations based on rumor. Instead, address actions, consequences or ideas
  3. Leave a valid email address. If we see you are making a good faith effort to comment but have to hold one of your comments, sometimes we will email you to explain our decision or suggest improvements. But if our email to you bounces back, that makes us suspicious 🙂

Admittedly, we’ve allowed through a few comments that violate #1 and #2. Every comment approval involves a judgment call and there is no way to be 100% consistent. Ultimately, we reserve the right to approve, edit or decline any comments for any reason. But those are the general guidelines we use.

Now on to the comments!

In response to the article “Politics trumps fiscal responsibility in Common Council’s Muni stance,” Jerry Skrocki offered an alternate option for the golf course:

If fiscal responsibility is our main concern, we should consider privatization. This would take the city out of the picture, increase revenues through water use fees and taxes while keeping the golf course open. Change should start at the top and if there is a problem with current golf course operations, the first to go should be the entire Golf Commission. The city charter gives the Common Council power to abolish the commission.

In response to the same article, Joe had this take on the decline in golf course membership:

…To blame Joe Merendo for the decrease in membership is absurd. The reality is there are not as many people who play golf anymore,not just in Amsterdam,but all across the country. This is not my opinion,this comes from both Golf Digest and the USGA.The two major reasons for this is the economy and the amount of time it takes to play the game.Check with any course in the area,all of them have decreased memberships. Is Joe Merendo and his business plan the blame for these courses also? Blaming Joe for decreased memberships is like blaming an editor of a newspaper for decreased circulation.

Read Full Comment Here

In response to the article “Hatzenbuhler defends override veto, calls compromise offer ‘sham’,” Pete Betz wrote:

Another problem is the proliferation of golf courses within a short distance. Years ago there were only the Muni and the Antlers, unless one wanted to go north to the Northampton course by Northville or west to Canajoharie. Now several more courses exist within less than a half hour from Amsterdam, diluting the earning capability of the older courses.

In the same article, Mayor Ann Thane wrote:

The Council should be looking at the operation of the course and making decisions that benefit the city instead of advocating for a contracted individual. The course is undeniably under-performing yet the Council has not offered a single solution to this decline. They desperately fight for the status quo. This is not in the best interest of Amsterdam.

My offer was made with sincerity to find a middle ground rather than send this into a costly and time consuming fight in the courts. Cooperation entails give and take. I have done my best to bridge this divide. I see no such effort on behalf of the Council.

4th Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler wrote:

The problem at this point, [is] the mayor has gone after only the golf course and has not addressed the same issues at Riverlink or Shuttleworth Park. It is only fair that all contracts be looked at equitably and not just renewed in advance to avoid any discussions with the council. If revenue is sought it should be sought from all venues.

Michael Donnan responded:

The harping that goes on because one concession contract includes clauses that the concessionaire is responsible for garbage pick-up and utilities and another doesn’t include them seems almost like toddler logic- where everything must be perfectly equal and exactly the same .

The contracts shouldn’t be the same because the concessions aren’t the same. One is a well established institution with a prime location, a captive audience and a significant following that dates well before the current concessionaire started there. The other doesn’t have any of those advantages, it’s much more of a bootstrap situation. When you look to “equalize” them you’re basically giving away taxpayer money to create a childlike sense of “fairness”.

David Weaver also wrote:

It’s extremely disheartening to hear of the council’s recent actions. It has been CLEARLY documented that Merendo (a) oversaw a decline in membership and (b) put forth the skimpiest of plans to resolve this issue and make the course more profitable. In addition, he doesn’t see the internet as a viable marketing tool, an extremely outdated opinion in 2014. The qualities that Ms. Hatzenbuhler champions in “Joe the Pro”…such as being there from sun up to sundown…are little more than the basic expectations I would have of anyone filling this job and are hardly worth mentioning…

Read his full comment here

Finally, in response to the story “Single, scared and pregnant – the legacy of a mother who chose life,” Linda C. Wisniewski wrote

What a lovely, well-written piece! Just a few inaccuracies based on my limited knowledge but also based on knowing many women with unwanted pregnancies: aborted fetuses are cremated, not diced and thrown in the garbage. Most if not all abortion clinics offer other options including adoption to their patients. I have heard nurses tell young women “You don’t have to do this.” Nobody goes into an abortion clinic happy. Abortions would be “rare” if birth control were covered by health insurance, teens had accurate information about sex and all unexpectedly pregnant women were given the love and support you gave to your sister. I love how you told your personal story while still disagreeing with some pro-life tactics. We need to talk, not yell at each other, and your story is filled with compassion. Well done!