City of Amsterdam: Doers , Do-Nothings and Say Anythings

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara on the City of Amsterdam, a doer (From the Recorder):

Santabarbara announced Sunday morning, during a South Side press conference and with U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, and Mayor Ann Thane at his side, that he secured $1 million to complete the pedestrian bridge. If this funding hadn’t been realized by today’s date, the vision for the bridge was in jeopardy. Now, however, the plan can be implemented as hoped. The money comes from a pool of available state funds allocated specifically for waterfront projects, Santabarbara said.

Former Assemblyman and now State Senator George Amedore on the City of Amsterdam, a do-nothing (from the Recorder editorial (May 27, 2010):

Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s disheartening for Amsterdam residents to hear their elected representative in the New York State Assembly — Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam — dismiss the planned pedestrian Mohawk River bridge. In a recent news segment on WRGB-TV, Amedore is seen on camera denouncing the project: “It’s actually inexcusable to me because right now, without anyone, it’s gonna not just be a bridge to nowhere, but just a ghost of Amsterdam will walk across that bridge.” The assemblyman goes on to say later in the segment that money should be spent on improving the city’s infrastructure.

He then states that he knows the money is part of the Transportation Bond Act, but asks aloud, “Why can’t it be redirected?” Instead of asking a television reporter, perhaps Amedore should ask someone in the state Legislature. If he really thinks it can be redirected, why isn’t he doing something about it? After three years as Amsterdam’s assemblyman, he has had plenty of time to find out the answer to his question. The problem is that he already knows the answer — it can’t be redirected. The money is specifically intended for the bridge project. Yet, Amedore continues to play dumb and criticize the project because it was the brainchild of his predecessor — longtime Democrat Paul Tonko. 

So what exactly has Mr. Amedore delivered to the city during his time in elected office? What tangible development project or infrastructure has Mr. Amedore delivered? Nothing.
Likewise, our current Common Council , with the exception of Ms. Beekman and Mr. Leggiero (on this issue at least), is the embodiment of say-anything and do-nothing. Here’s your do-nothing Council in action (from Daily Gazette, After decade of fighting, Amsterdam pedestrian bridge rising, May 16, 2015)

Republican First Ward Alderman Ed Russo said several months ago that he is opposed to the bridge and noted the city and county voted against it in 2005. “The bridge is not the right move for the city,” Russo said, adding that the city should instead be focused on tearing down dilapidated houses that are eyesores.

Third Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler, a fellow Republican and a longtime opponent of the bridge and critic of Mayor Ann Thane, an avid supporter of the bridge, wishes the city could have used the money to repave its roads. “This was all [Tonko’s] baby,” she said. “He got the ball rolling on it. But it’s here, and now we have to work with it.”

Let’s face it: the city needs investment regardless of whether it is public or private– it needs both. And it needs leaders who will work to acquire that investment. Not like the Amedores and our current and previous Councils who belittle the city and seemingly work against development in the city.
We’ve had the do-nothings and say-anythings for far too long. About time we had some leadership who work on doing something.

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3 Responses

  1. Pam Riccio says:

    Hear hear. Couldn’t agree more.

  2. wildthane says:

    I note from the Recorder article that Mr. Villa is unaware that we were in need of this funding since early 2014 or of our diligent efforts to secure this $1,000,000 award. It took over a year to convince the State that they could not let us down; it was imperative that we fully complete this strategic economic development project for our city and the region.
    We started our search when the shortfall became apparent once the bids came in. We secured $325K through the CFA grant process last year but still needed the match. The Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation and others assisted us in this pursuit. Over the ensuing months, we went to every agency and organization imaginable to drum up the necessary funding to at least keep the first $325K we had been granted. It was all or nothing.
    Unfortunately, the three aldermen did not (and do not) see the value of the MVGO. Mrs. Hatzenbuhler’s years of contempt for this project, Mr. Barone’s comfort with an unadorned “slab of concrete” across the river, and Mr. Villa’s ignorance of this process should not be forgotten. We need leaders that are informed and that have vision and an articulated plan to advance the interests of our community. These qualities are clearly lacking in this particular group of regressive individuals. Please keep this in mind come November.

  3. The argument that the “city and county voted against it” is stupid.
    In 2008 and 2012, every single county in Oklahoma voted for the Republican presidential candidate. Does that mean Barack Obama is president of the United States except Oklahoma? Of course not.
    The same applies to the Transportation Bond Act. It passed. Ten years ago. Get the eff over it already and embrace the bridge instead of railing against it.

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