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What-Cha Say, Albany?

By   /   November 27, 2009  /   Comments

I DON’T KNOW WHAT the City would do with lottery winnings but I do think “buying” a seat on any board is a little suspect. Having it come from WG&L may make some folks think it isn’t taxpayer money, but it is. Second, if the EDC board thought WG&L should have a seat why not just make one available. With the city manager already a board member, adding a seat for WG&L effectively gives the mayor two votes on the EDC, doesn’t it. I would like to see a lot more private-sector participation on the EDC and a diminished role for government.

THE CITY, AND NOW these subdivisions, have become so bureaucratized. Some of the staff and pols want to run all aspects of the city and related projects and seemingly squeeze out or contain the private sector or use them as they see fit. Maybe, in the end, the city can do a good job in some areas, but is there any room left for new private sector leaders to step in? I find the mayor’s proposal to buy a seat on the EDC very odd. It struck me as a knee-jerk response to some of the negative press he was getting about economic development. Has he explained his reasoning? Is this like endowing a university chair? Does the EDC really need more taxpayer money? For what ends? What to do?

THE NEW 311 PHONE service has to be near the top of any questionable list.

SOME WHO WORK FOR the city are indicating that the 311 has actually freed up various office staff to actually do the job they were hired to do rather than answer phone calls from people to stupid or lazy to use a phone book, which is why it wasn’t mentioned. I’m not in favor of the system at all, but I’m reserving comment for the time being to see if this continues to be the case. If so, it could argued to actually increase efficiency among the various local government agencies. We’ll see what the verdict will be, though.

I CAN PROMISE YOU the 311 system will be hailed as an efficiency success (as judged by those who built it). But the point isn’t efficiency. We have shrinking revenues and we’re adding services that no one asked for much like the examples you mentioned. We’re running advertisements to promote use of the service I hope we’re getting the airtime free. Of course you can only call during business hours. “Need a pot hole fixed, call 311” … my foot.

WHY IS THE CITY funding the new Civil Rights Museum director of operations position? The City also funds the Albany Area Arts Council’s director salary with a similar subsidy to that organization. Why not let those operating executives raise the money for their salaries on a commission basis from their fund-raising efforts? Commissioners, please take these feather-bedded jobs hidden from the City budget valued at $100,000 off the backs of the taxpayers.

AMONG ALL THE OTHER outrages gripping the tax-paying citizens of Albany at this time, this Carver Pool situation really bothers me. I would like to know HOW this $72,000 figure was arrived at. I just can’t wrap my little brain around that one, and I sure wish someone in the know would break that figure down into dollars and cents for us. NOBODY would have a pool if one really cost that much to operate. I guess it’s that non-transparency in government thing.

IS THERE A WAY of escaping poverty that doesn’t include working? We can blame race or racism, ignorance or a failed educational system, the drug culture or failed law enforcement, teen pregnancy or morality issues, pure old sorry or lack of jobs but at the end of the day (as harsh as it sounds) we have a situation where some folks are satisfied to live on what society has been coerced to provide. My fear is that so many generations have known nothing but dependence on government as a way of life that the cycle is unbreakable. Someone convince me there’s hope.

I DON’T THINK THIS administration gets it and that is very, very scary for the good people of this community who deserve better.

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  • Published: 2107 days ago on November 27, 2009
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  • Last Modified: November 24, 2009 @ 10:00 am
  • Filed Under: WhatCha-Say?

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