Archive for July, 2009

Send Thy peace O Lord, which is
perfect and everlasting,
that our souls may radiate peace.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may think, act and speak harmoniously.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may be contented and thankful for
Thy bountiful gifts.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that amidst
our worldly strife, we may enjoy Thy bliss.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may endure all, tolerate all, in the thought of
Thy grace and mercy.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that our lives
may become a Divine vision and in Thy light,
all darkness may vanish.

Send Thy peace O Lord, our Father and Mother,
that we Thy children on Earth may all
unite in one family.

– pir-o-murshid inayat khan – 1921 ±

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Is coverage of local happenings unbiased? Should it be? Can it be?
What are the best and the worst sources of information in the community?

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Be comforted. There is true beauty and romance loose in the world.

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25 years too late

My first and lasting crush:

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One size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009, otherwise known as the Thune Amendment, which will soon be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate.

The Thune Amendment has one purpose – to pass an across the board, one size fits all, gun carrying permit law, irrespective of every states’ rights, wishes, and laws. Even more troubling, the Thune Amendment seeks passage by circumventing the leadership and understanding of our local leaders, the ones who know our state, the ones who know what we need, the ones who know one size doesn’t fit all.

If passed, the Thune Amendment would impede New York from protecting its citizens with sensible, constitutional, and long standing laws and regulations regarding the carrying of hidden handguns. But this isn’t about the guns. It’s about the criminals who will thrive should this proposal become law.

Right now, local law enforcement in New York State has discretion over the issuance of concealed carry permits. The Thune Amendment would make it legal for individuals who can not qualify for a permit in New York State, to shop around for the lower standards of other states, circumventing New York’s laws.

Picture this- it would be legal for illegal gun traffickers to travel across the country with loaded handguns.

Scratching your head yet? So are us mayors around New York.

For us, it’s frightening to envision the new obstacles police could encounter when the world of legal and illegal guns no longer exist as one or the other, but rather one in the same.

Under the proposed law, a trafficker holding an out-of-state permit would be able to drive along the streets of cities like Albany, Binghamton, Schenectady, Syracuse, or Utica with a trunk full of loaded guns, enjoying immunity from police, unless actually caught selling to another criminal.

We know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s where you come in.

A vote on the Thune Amendment is imminent. This legislation would effectively gut existing New York State laws. Senators need to hear your voices. Call U.S. Senator Charles Schumer at (202) 224-6542 and Kirsten Gillibrand at (202) 224-4451. Tell them you oppose the Thune Amendment, and the way in which it seeks to evade our voices, our state’s rights, and our own wishes.

As mayors, we know there’s no time to waste.

Citizens don’t deserve The Thune Amendment. Mayors and police oppose it, and common sense invalidates it.

Submitted by Mayors: Gerald Jennings, City of Albany, Ann M. Thane, City of Amsterdam, Matthew Ryan, City of Binghamton, Robert Maciol, Village of New York Mills, Brian Stratton, City of Schenectady, Matthew Driscoll, City of Syracuse, and David Roefaro, City of Utica.

We are Mayors Against Illegal Guns members

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Lately, character assassination, mis-truths and histrionics have become commonplace online. It’s disappointing, as this venue has terrific potential to provide a forum for community problem-solving that does not exist elsewhere. Locally, blog conversation has been lead far astray by a select few from what is important for Amsterdam to achieve our vision for revitalization.

To try to get back on track, I thought everyone might find a peek at my task list for the next week of some interest.

It is not exhaustive; it hits on larger issues and evolves every day. Each item will be further broken down into smaller tasks. It is also not inclusive of the ten-page, typed task list I use to track each department – this is just the Mayor’s office.

Revenue Sharing/Water agreements: Town of Florida
Water distribution/hydrant strategy
Lobby Albany/feds for stimulus allocations
North Shore BOA (Brownfield Opportunity Act) – grant implementation
Waterfront Heritage Corridor/Via Ponte:
– Bridge Street phase I – street rehab; plan for parking; final DOT approval
– Chalmers project
– train station relocation – feasibility study, funding
– pedestrian bridge – design phase
Traffic repatterning
Riverlink Park:
– Phase II – design, funding, possible war memorial
– local directory handout for visitors
– Riverlink Cafe – menu online
– property assessments/meetings with owners
– photograph interiors
– art guild: business plan, follow-up meeting
– Windows on Main
– East Main Street initiative
– establish historic guidelines
– list of potential businesses
Property Disposition:
– AHA/Rivercrest partnership (scattered site HOME grant)
– advertise identified properties for sale
Habitat for Humanity – development Montgomery County Chapter
Esquire property:
– ESD response
– secure roof
– marketing
– review goals established in January/determine progress
– high speed internet at Edson Street Park
– KEM Cleaners property
– County participation/economic development forum
– study successful programs in Albany, Hornell, Utica, Syracuse, Cornell
Ordinance Changes:
– Waterfront Commission, zoning, graffiti
– final changes to printed materials
– additional copywriting/photography
– targeted ads – Business Review
Golf Course: follow up on findings by Commission
Personnel meeting:
– mechanics, codes supervisor, clerks office, APD, golf course, seasonals
Common Council:
– prepare for meeting
– fiscal responsibility plan of action
– develop regular committee meeting schedule
Neighborhood Watch initiative; meet your neighbor event – plan
Suicide prevention task force – online outreach subcommittee
City Hall:
– building assessment/budget
City Hall Technology Committee:
– email security
– better phone service
– automatic back up
– regular website updates/upgrades (possible online payment of taxes/utilities)
– record management – scanning, storage, funding
– tech support
– new server
– computer usage policy/procedures
– cameras
– citywide WIFI
– hardware/software needs
Individual meetings with each department head
NYCOM: advocacy on behalf of municipalities

Should be a busy week, as they all are.

Clearly, we’ve got better things to talk about than the gossip that’s taken over the past few months. Everyone must resolve to move away from the dark, online game of cyber-bashing and name calling. It’s pulling us into an abyss.

For all of our sakes, move toward the light.

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“You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, but rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.”

Try this one. It’s fun. Post what’s within your reach in my comment section.

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