Recently, Mayor Dorothy Hubbard was quoted as saying that during her campaign to be mayor, she heard nothing about crime being an issue. “I didn’t hear that crime was a major issue. The number one issue was education.” It leads me to asking the question, “Where the heck has she been?”
While it’s obvious that Hubbard has been focusing on education from the start of her campaign, it’s ridiculous for her to say she didn’t hear that crime as a major issue. After all, her opponent, B.J. Fletcher, had crime as a significant part of her platform. Oh yeah, Fletcher pushed Hubbard into a runoff election.
Hubbard’s focus on education has been as consistent as it has been ridiculous. While education is important, there is nothing that the mayor can really do to impact education. That is handled by either our dysfunctional school system, or the Board of Regents. The mayor has exactly zero say in our educational system.
Claiming that crime wasn’t present as a major issue by the people of Albany is, at best, disingenuous. Far more likely is that Mayor Hubbard is simply blind to the concerns of many Albanians and has been throughout her time in local government.
Despite her claims that litter is keeping away potential businesses and claims that crime wasn’t a major issue to voters, crime is a major issue to many of the people who are shopping for a new locale for their latest expansion. They don’t want a place where their managers are going to get mugged and their property is going to get “jacked” for a few pounds of copper.
Mayor Hubbard’s anti-litter campaign is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It’s simply a way to deflect attention from the fact that the City of Albany has been ineffective at luring businesses to our fair town. By claiming that litter is somehow to blame, Mayor Hubbard can do the old Downtown Tango and blame the people of Albany for their own failures.
Personally, I’m not buying it. While there are parts of town that clearly need some attention, that is hardly the most pressing issue facing our community. Yes, education is important and a key in improving our city, though again I reiterate that the mayor has no ability to do anything about education except the same as a private citizen. Crime, despite Mayor Hubbard’s insistence to the contrary, is a concern for a large number of Albanians. It is real, and it is pressing.
As for litter, why not use people on probation to pick up litter in some of these areas? Why not let them pay their debt to society by cleaning up society? Would that be because our mayor couldn’t make a big show of that? She couldn’t use taxpayer dollars to use a city venue and offer free lunch to the masses that way?
Not to sound cynical, but until Mayor Hubbard decides to actually step up and do something that actually matters, I’m going to be unconvinced that she is anything but an ostrich with her head in the sand, hoping the bad things will go away if she doesn’t look at them.
Mayor Hubbard, it’s past time to step up. You won an election, but that doesn’t give you carte blanche to pretend that problems you don’t like, don’t exist. If you want a second term as mayor, then you need to step up and actually accomplish something of substance. For the sake of my fellow Albanians and me, how about you start now rather than wait a couple more years. How does that sound?
Albany Journal Publisher & Editor Tom Knighton