Come Jan. 1, 2016 — unless Shayne Gallo’s supporters manage to pull off the greatest write-in campaign in local history — Kingston will have a new mayor.
We think the best choice to lead the city is Steve Noble, the Democratic and Green parties’ nominee. Throughout the campaign, Noble has shown he’s smart, advocates an inclusive and professional approach to governance and, after a decade working for the city, that he has insight and experience into how City Hall functions. He’s made some solid proposals on how to use that insight to keep better tabs on the various departments and help them to do their jobs more efficiently and thus more economically. He’s come off as well-grounded, open to suggestions and even-keeled — traits which have been at times lacking from the mayor’s office these past three years.
Kingston’s in an interesting place in its history right now; a sense of momentum is undeniable, the city’s coolness factor continues to rise and there are a whole bunch of people and organizations coming to town and looking to invest in the good stuff going on here. We think Steve Noble is best suited to use the office of the mayor to help Kingston improve.
Ron Polacco, the Republican, Independence and Conservative parties’ nominee, has made progress as a candidate from his 2011 run. While much of what he says sounds like it makes sense, it’s offered without a lot of specifics to back it up, the candidate seemingly dependent on getting voters to support him more on hope than an actual plan. For instance, when he says as mayor he would convene a panel of business people to come up with ideas on how to improve the city, one might ask why he didn’t do that a few months ago and have more of these ideas already fleshed out and ready for presentation. His call for lower taxes resonates, but his plan of getting Albany to cut back on its unfunded mandates isn’t realistic, considering the way Albany actually operates. It’s great to call for “outside the box” solutions, but it takes a working knowledge of what’s actually possible to know what has a chance of working and what would just be a waste of time and energy. (We would like to see demolition derbies here, but maybe at the Kingston Plaza or down at Kingston Point — cars would tear up Dietz Stadium’s turf.)
However, Polacco’s a plausible choice for those who can’t get past the prospect of the city’s executive branch and legislative branch being run by a man and his uncle. That’s a legitimate concern, but we feel what a Steve Noble administration brings as positives outweigh this negative.
We also support a yes vote on the referendum on the back of the ballot allowing a change to the city charter to give elected officials input on any water sales to entities outside the city. The fact that no one that voters could hold accountable had any kind of say-so on the potential Niagara Bottling deal is not an acceptable state of affairs.
So, that’s our input, for what it’s worth. Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday.