At a meeting at City Hall last night there were presentations about the city, its sidewalks as complete streets, the bluestone walks, the historical significance and history, and the environment: our land use, the resources, water, flood management as we face sea water rise …
Presentations by Pat Murphy, Jennifer Schwartz-Berky, Julie Noble and Emilie Hauser were especially well done … a demonstration of what I’d have to call virtuosity, of their intimate and thorough knowledge of Kingston. I was entertained, informed and grateful for their service. I loved seeing the talent and thought these women bring to Kingston and the knowledge they posses and communicate so well: Kingston is in very very good hands.
These people and others, some more new to Kingston, are well-respected and welcomed into the planning of Kingston by an administration with big plans, wanting, needing and valuing citizen talent.
All this and more is going into the development of a new Comprehensive Plan for the city and much of the work of the city is being observed and praised by other communities and cities: Kingston’s progress is exemplary and others are learning from us as we learn from them.
Gerald Berke, Kingston
(Editor’s note: Lynn Woods was at the meeting and we hope to have her report in next week’s edition, as I pulled her off of that story to write the story about the sewage spill.)
Gallo’s agenda deprives students
Yesterday, I was volunteering to sort clothing donations at St. Joseph’s Social Ministry. As I folded the pretty little pink dress with the flowered trim and the new boy’s size 6-slim jeans I began to cry. I had just read in the paper that because of Mayor Shayne Gallo’s “agenda” for the Everette Hodge Community Center, the Ministry’s Free Store (which had been taking place on Wednesdays) would not be allowed at that location after June 26. This had happened at the worst possible time. We are sorting and collecting new children’s clothing and school supplies for our very popular Back To School special event, where midtown Kingston students could get a free backpack full of school supplies and a wardrobe of new clothing. Now, it seemed, no little Midtown student would be proudly wearing that pink dress into George Washington School.
I want to stress, I am not writing this as a representative of SJSM. I am writing this as a taxpayer and voter in the City of Kingston, who was fortunate enough to have known Everette Hodge and his family in the 1970s. I lay down in front of the bulldozers when the city decided to tear down the Hodges’ historic house. I and Peter Sinclair managed to save the board and batten barn from destruction. Mayor T.R. Gallo used his influence to get me access to the opening of the Hodge Center and to Hillary Clinton’s press conference. I still have the program for the event … and a piece of the gold siding from the destroyed home. At that time, I swore that I would hold the city to its promise that the Hodge Center would be a community center worthy of the sacrifices the community had made for its construction.
I have before me a printout from the City of Kingston website titled “Welcome to the Everette Hodge Center.” (Already the word “Community” had disappeared.) It says, “The Mission of the Everette Hodge Center is to provide a safe and supportive environment for the Kingston Community through educational, environmental, youth, and community programs and health and human services.” (You will notice that this refers to the Center’s “mission,” not its “agenda.”)
What could be more “educational” for “youth” and “human services” than a program to provide a new outfit and school supplies for hundreds of Kingston’s poorest children? If helping Kingston’s students succeed in school is not part of the mayor’s agenda, I bet a lot of voters wish they had know that before they elected him.
Free stores will continue at the SJSM mission in Hurley. Unfortunately, most of our midtown consumers arrived by bicycle, electric wheelchair or on foot and they will be unable to get to Hurley. We do not have any little jitney shuttle bus to take them to our events.
Knowing the indomitable determination of our director, Patricia LaRue, I take comfort in the certainty that generosity and joy will prevail and somehow, someway, that little pink dress will reach a kindergarten child in time for the first day of school. I am also equally certain that the voters will remember the mayor whose “agenda” included depriving hundreds of kids of their back to school supplies. And when those children grow up, I hope one of them will be a mayor whose agenda includes kindness, generosity and empathy.
Lei Isaacs, Kingston