Happy Old Year

I again made the mistake of listening to local radio and caught a Q&A with Alderman Isabel.
Let me challenge a few talking points from what I heard:
1) Taxes are too high — while this is hardly revelatory if you live in our fair city, it is revelatory in the sense of how you deal with the issue. I often find myself apoplectic upon hearing this phrase as it’s used as a political meme to advocate ‘tough on spending’ of relatively minor expenses as a percentage of the budget versus changing the underlying supply and demand economics within the city to get to meaningful tax reductions. I’ll take the gambit: taxes are too high so tell me what they should be and tell me how we’re going to get there. Here’s my target tax reduction: 25% reduction in taxes. Tell me what you are going to cut out of the budget and services to get there.I agree with the problem now show me the solution.
2) School District Performance does not matter — I’m paraphrasing but if you don’t think the performance of the school district matters as far as your beloved tax rates or as far as marketing the city and you compound that with the fatalistic view that nothing can be done because of the higher percentage of special needs students and it’s the board of education’s responsibility only, then you don’t get it.In fact, you’re advocating a policy that will assuredly raise my taxes just like the advocates of this policy bear responsibility  for where the tax rates are today.  I don’t buy in any way that this is the best we can do with academic achievement.
3) Web site and marketing the city — while I understand the process of marketing strategy and web development as time intensive, I’m afraid the marketing effort will get derailed by Alderman Isabel and others if we cannot get to a ‘show me’ presentation. I’d advise the Mayor to weigh the hastened delivery of an imperfect phase 1 with a slower delivery of a more perfect phase 1 against the wielding of the ‘where’s the web site’ meme which I’m afraid is gaining traction as a political talking point against efforts to advocate  demand side policies.
4) Chalmers — I’m rethinking my support for Chalmers in light of what I heard today. I’m hoping it does fail so we can have an empty lot upon which we can build retail and commercial just as up to 25% of retailers may be shuttering their doors due to the recession. Why would I want a viable livable housing project when we know the last thing we need in the city is a more youthful, affluent demographic. Yep, we should take no chance on Chalmers so we can have the sure thing of a parking lot.
2009 feels a lot like 2008 which felt like 2007 which reminds me of 2006 which looked a lot like 2005…

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11 Responses

  1. I made the right decision today – listening to the Q&A with Alderman Isabel. Obviously, the creator of this blog has aligned himself/herself with the Mayor. The absence of the blogger’s identity smells fishy. The creator of this blog has said the “who” is not important, but it is, because opinions, especially here in Amsterdam, are based on relationships and alliances. There’s nothing wrong with an opinion, but to dish it out and hide behind a screen name is somewhat cowardly.
    As for Mayor Thane we’re still waiting for her to put the website idea into action. This is a WEBSITE! We’re not talking major public policy here.
    Finally, the website should focus on the everday business of city governement and not marketing. That belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and they are active and quite involved.

    • flippinamsterdam says:

      A few points in response:
      – Why am I with this blog held to a much different standard than say callers on local radio?
      – By your standards of “fishy” and “cowardice”, most of local media opinion would be classified as fishy and cowardly as I have no idea of the identity of local radio callers, the persons writing editorials in the local papers or posters to this or any other blog. I also know little of the preceding individuals underlying relationships and alliances. If we extend this standard, we then have an exercise of quintessential meaningless and nothingness with any stated opinion. Perhaps we’re a Seinfeld episode of a city “about nothing”?
      – The Chamber of Commerce Web site states that it is: “the official tourism promotion agency (TPA) for Montgomery County in upstate New York, also located within the Central Leatherstocking tourism region of New York State.” I see no mission or objectives related specifically to promoting the city of Amsterdam. I profoundly disagree that the city Web site should not have a marketing focus or that marketing the city belongs with the Chamber; I agree that it should also serve everyday business of city residents. But the larger point remains, how do you drive demand for the city if no one is marketing it?
      – I ‘align’ my views and opinions on issues to my own principles and guidelines. If you consider me a water carrier for the Mayor or whomever, you should continue to challenge my opinions.

  2. a wish4Amsterdam says:

    I rather like the anonymous discourse and I disagree that the author is aligned with the mayor. I believe that the author puts forth their own thoughts and ideas with great thought,intelligence and eloquence.
    Amsterdam will never move forward with the “us VS them” attitudes that exist. When the idea of valuing the “we” concept is embraced Amsterdam will flourish, until then the status quo that exist is actually a backwards motion.

  3. There is no accountability with anonymous blogs and some of the blogs that have an identity are filled with anonymous comments trashing businesses, politicians and private citizens. Just look at some of the blogs that are out there. It’s nothing but a wild free-for-all.
    There’s nothing wrong stating a position, but often these blogs cross the line. There is no policing in blogging.
    It appears that AWish4Amsterdam thinks Amsterdam will move forward because an anonymous blogger doesn’t represent the status quo. Perhaps our public officials should attend the Common Council meeting with bags on their heads – because according to this group of reformers, anonymity is a sign of progress.

  4. awish4Amsterdam says:

    “It appears that AWish4Amsterdam thinks Amsterdam will move forward because an anonymous blogger doesn’t represent the status quo” (quote from a better Amsterdam)
    Actually, not what I think at all.
    “Perhaps our public officials should attend the Common Council meeting with bags on their heads” (quote from a better Amsterdam)
    Then I guess we could not refer to them as “public officials” could we.

  5. Jim Teacher says:

    No more Anonymous blogging. Come clean. You’ll feel better. People will respect you. Amsterdam rules and we like it the way it is… is it perfect? Of course not. However, it is a great town. The schools are actually good with solid leadership, sound infrastructure, an amazing downtown full of potential… I could go on and on. Why not create a post revolving around all of the amazing things Amsterdam has to offer – like for starters the pride of the town, AHS football. Thank you.

  6. wakeupdamsterdam says:

    I am in shock that the identity of the blogger is causing such tension. I very much agree with Flippin’ Amsterdam. Why is bloggers different from editorials or callers to radio shows? Anyone can call a show and they never are asked their name nor give their name. All radio callers must be cowards as well then. It just seems as though some of the negative comments are taken aback because of the valid and intelligent points that are being made by Flippin’ Amsterdam. My suggestion, is to visit blogs where people use their real name. No one is making you log onto this site. Just like the radio, you should “turn the channel”. Regards.

  7. You miss the point WakeUpAmsterdam. The host of this THIS blog is anonymous.
    I’ve never heard of a radio talk show host who is anonymous.
    This is a small community and in so many of these small communities, blogs and responses can get totally out of hand and ruin reputations. Much what we read about in blogs are know-it-alls who bash local people, local elected officials and local businesses. These are hard-working people with families to support. They try to make Amsterdam a better place to work and live.
    That is why it’s so important for the host of a forum dedicated to local issues to have an identity.
    There’s nothing wrong with making a valid or intelligent point. But if it comes from a host who hides behinds a screen name with a possible agenda, then questions need to be asked.
    Thank you.

    • flippinamsterdam says:

      I find it ironic to be defending the principle of anonymity on my blog from anonymous posters who malign my blog and motives while embracing the very principle of anonymity that they rail against. Yet I will continue to do so.
      That said, I do apologize for the vile nature of the blogging medium as surely no other print or broadcast medium bashes local elected officials, local businesses or local public entities. And surely these mediums do not have know-it-alls on a whole range of issues– only I and my blogger brethren.
      Snark aside and much to your disbelief, I share the vision of trying to make the city a better place to work and live. It’s the disconnect of the vision from the reality that fuels this blog.
      Yay, Rams!?

  8. Ann Peconie says:

    WOW! I too am shocked at the list of commenters above who do not share their real names and identities but who demand the blog owner to share theirs, ???? Feel free to roam the internet and find another local blog to read and comment on. There are several local bloggers- Judge Going report, Ann Thane (link above), Dan Weaver (link above) and I am sure there are more. Or better yet, start your own blog, with or withut your identity shared- your choice. This is America, right?
    ps- notice I share my name and do not use an anonymous cover name….

  9. wakeupamsterdam says:

    You miss my point “A Better Amsterdam”. My point is that radio callers do not give their names and share their concerns without identifying themselves. You are commenting without giving your name. Why?
    To Ann Peconie: I agree.

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