Char­ter ‘push cam­paign’ in­sults vot­ers’ in­tel­li­gence

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - OPINION -

The Char­ter Re­view Com­mit­tee sug­gests that their pro­posal is a rem­edy of all of the city ills that they rou­tinely di­ag­nose and imag­ine while ig­nor­ing the del­i­cate and cru­cial op­er­a­tions of our city govern­ment. The Com­mit­tee’s cav­a­lier prog­nos­ti­ca­tion is an af­front to the in­tel­li­gence of all Saratoga Springs res­i­dents. In their two-year re­port, and with con­tin­ued comic char­ac­ter­i­za­tions of si­los and dragons as if to hook an in­dif­fer­ent and un­in­tel­li­gent pub­lic, this group ig­nores many crit­i­cal city func­tions as “su­per­flu­ous” while pro­vid­ing un­ver­i­fied, flimsy fi­nan­cial pro­jec­tions.

The mis­lead­ing pam­phlet – un­ap­proved by the City Coun­cil – that was mailed to res­i­dents un­der the city’s seal, is ar­guably a du­bi­ous doc­u­ment that pro­vides noth­ing more than an out­line with lit­tle real data to sup­port its wish­ful claims while re­peat­edly im­ply­ing that our elected Com­mis­sion­ers are un­wor­thy of their of­fices. Since an­other select group of peo­ple will be as­signed to de­ter­mine the de­tails af­ter the elec­tion, we are re­ally be­ing asked to vote for “a pig in a poke” in Novem­ber. One may choose to gam­ble at the Race Course, but “buy­ing” this “pig” – sight un­seen and based on lit­tle more than the hubris of its pro­tag­o­nists – re­quires far more than wish­ful think­ing and prom­ises by those with lit­tle at risk.

Ask your­selves: How much do you know about our present suc­cess­ful form of govern­ment? Con­trary to the crit­ics, we are a most suc­cess­ful com­mu­nity, the envy of most cities its size and our ac­count­able govern­ment is part of that suc­cess. We have a very en­gaged elec­torate that cares; our present form of govern­ment has been and is most re­spon­sive to them. A man­ager-coun­cil on the other hand, thrives on low level of en­gage­ment with the “pro­fes­sional” man­age­ment of the city un­der the con­trol of a ma­jor­ity vote of a Coun­cil rather than the di­rect vote of the peo­ple in the form of a may­oral and elected ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil.

Can the pro­po­nents for Char­ter Change as­sure the pub­lic that some­how this change will bring even greater pros­per­ity or even that it will not be­come more ex­pen­sive and less re­spon­sive? I pre­fer to elect my own of­fi­cials, and I sup­port them or vote them out if they fail to ad­dress the needs of the com­mu­nity; this is di­rect rep­re­sen­ta­tion and sim­ple democ­racy. This re­cent mail­ing does not ed­u­cate the pub­lic; it is clearly a “push cam­paign” for “change” that will cost tax­pay­ers more for less ac­count­abil­ity. Jim Martinez Saratoga Springs

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