I had the pleasure to take part in the audience of the Adlermanic event this evening at 721 Media. Almost all of the candidates (all but three, Shirley Whilock a democratic running in Ward four, Mike Gill a republican running in ward seven and Todd Langon a republican running in ward eight) were present in a well organized, effective discussion on some of the most pressing issues in the city of Kingston.
The mix of new and old candidates really brought home a feeling that was quite refreshing. I was reminded in this forum that everyone up there were just ordinary people wishing to do a public service and certainly, did not have many (if any) of the answers to the problems that we face.
Thing is, there can be no solutions without more citizens productively involved.
So how do we bridge this gap? Most all were as stumped by the questions as the audience who asked them. The old rhetoric in these unprecedented times are about as meaningful as a lie.
I’d like to suggest that the citizens lobby and ask their newly elected Alderman in November to call monthly meetings in their wards to work to bring together the constituents to discuss all that’s on the table. They want input on the budget? Than bring the budget to a productive place to discuss the options so that we can wood shed and come to city hall public meetings and be on record in a way that is creative and meaningful.
There are citizens in Kingston who pay more in taxes than they do their mortgage payment– and they are pissed as hell about it. Who could blame them? It’s particularly unnerving, for whatever the reasons noble or not, that our services are about to be cut though we will continue to pay for them. The city will see and use these savings elsewhere. But how does the homeowner benefit?
You could have the same discussion with those who own buildings that house important business in the city of Kingston and who are taxed higher than those who also own similar types of properties with empty store fronts and who are taxed lower.
On the subject of taxes, here’s a savings. While we operated our Ward 9 debates at City Hall, on a cool late summer night (in the 60′s)- the air conditioning was blaring making those present needing extra clothing to keep them warm. When asked to turn off the AC and to open the windows instead, we were told that the system was on a timer that only the city’s engineer could address. I’d like to see that whole system tweeked. I can only imagine how expensive it is to cool that entire building down.
…And, alderman, let’s organize and communicate while there is still the opportunity to do so.