Thursday, October 17, 2019

Irate Citizen Confronts Mayor: Not News?

© 2019 Luke T. Bush

As seen on TV but not in the newspaper.


Something's wrong when I end up getting news from Facebook, not the newspaper.

Dr. Sylvie Beaudreau is an Associate Professor, Northern American History, at Plattsburgh State University. Also she is a member of the Plattsburgh Citizens Coalition that is challenging some decisions made by city government regarding the use of DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) grant money.

On the Facebook page Save Durkee Street Parking Lot (post dated 10/3/19) she shared what she had observed earlier in the evening at the Plattsburgh City Council meeting.

One topic was a budget problem that could mean the closure of the public recreation gym at the old Air Force base property. At the end of the meeting Mayor Colin Read invited citizens to share comments by stepping up to the podium.

In her FB post Sylvie mentioned that Jeanne Clark, former owner of Zuke’s Subs, walked up and stood across from the mayor, not at the podium. As usual the meeting was video recorded and the incident can be viewed here.

After others made suggestions on how to save the base gym Jeanne challenged the mayor on what ideas they had. Why should only citizens have to come up with solutions? In a loud voice she observed: "You're the mayor... You should have a gazillion solutions on how to save the gym."

City Councilor Rachelle Armstrong told Jeanne she was out of order, that Jeanne could only address the mayor at the podium. (Cynical observation: "Damn rabble! Stay behind the barricade!")

From the podium Jeanna asked her question again. The mayor calmly replied that at the moment it was a city council driven process. So Jeanne asked: "So you don't have any solutions at this point?" The mayor calmly repeated his statement about a council driven process. That left it open to interpretation that the city didn't have squat for ideas.

I think such a confrontation is notable because it shows some citizens have anger towards the mayor, the frustration they feel with his leadership style. But the next day Press-Republican article about the meeting listed a number of comments by citizens but omitted the one by the angry citizen.

Some could argue that it wasn't newsworthy.

While watching the video I noticed a reporter from WCAX-TV from Burlington, Vt. (WPTZ-TV, once based in New York State, wasn't there. The news team probably rushed to Enosburg Falls, Vt. to cover someone's front lawn crabgrass problem.) So I checked online and found the WCAX News story that included a clip of the confrontation. At least they thought it was worth mentioning.

The purpose of a newspaper is to publish news.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Cut! That's A Wrap

Despite the rainy weather artist Brendon Palmer-Angel (left) was able to finish the Jean Arthur mural in time for the evening unveiling and ribbon cutting. The mural is 40 feet high, dominating the back wall of the old Merchants Bank seen from Protection Alley.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Mural With A Message

© 2019 Luke T. Bush


Artist Dennis Smyth of Body Art Tattoo holds the reference sketch for a new painted mural on a Durkee Street building wall. He explains the mural is being created for Stop Domestic Violence, the design a mandala that will include a hotline telephone number.

With the sunny weather Dennis thinks the mural will be completed in a couple of days.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Am I Slipping?

© 2019 Luke T. Bush 10/5


In the Thursday, October 3 edition of the Press-Republican newspaper there was a Letter to the Editor concerning photography (see accompanying image. Click on it to enlarge.) I glanced over the letter assuming it referred to a city employee. At one time Plattsburgh City was going around taking photos of hedges intruding over public sidewalks. Using these photos the city would contact property owners to trim back their hedges.

Today someone pointed out that when they read the letter they thought it referred to me. She mentioned that I was known for taking photographs of problems in the city.

After a second read it sounds that the letter writer was referring to me. Gee, I didn't know I was the official photog in charge of documenting municipal trouble spots. It appears I've been slipping in conducting my duty.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

TRASHburgh Comix Release Party


After the success of TRASHburgh Comix #0 Matt Hall and friends are back with issue #2, giving local creators a venue for their works.  The release party at 30 City Hall Place AKA City Well offered an opportunity to meet the writers and artists.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Sketchy Spot

© 2019 Luke T. Bush


For too long the chasm between Koffee Kat and Heritage Printing has been dead, empty. Decades ago a fire had destroyed the building that once sat there at 100 Margaret Street.

But thanks to the efforts of Joe Ferris the vacant lot is seeing a rebirth. On Thursday evenings at 5:30 PM (weather permitting) he conducts a free al fresco figure drawing class. A hay wagon is being transformed into a performance stage which allows Joe to pose for his students. This evening only one student is in attendance but it takes time to build up a following.

Joe aims to create a nexus for local artists. He feels there's a need for artists to meet each other and share their interests. That's why the figure drawing class is free, opening it up to more people to participate. Students just have to bring along a drawing pad and pencils.

He begins his lesson by telling his student to quickly draw him posing to get the essentials of the image, not to concentrate on details at first. Even I helped when he quickly sketched me standing, waiting to take another a shot, for his student. He pointed out to her how I was leaning more on one leg than the other.

The student sat in a folding fabric camp chair, comfortable as she sketched. The setting is informal, a classroom without walls except for a towering neighboring building on each side. Sawhorses, plywood, and piles of two-by-fours evince the area is a work in progress. In one section a barbeque set up stands, waiting for the next time when Joe and his parents host another cookout with reasonable prices.

Joe poses on the stage: fists clenched in a boxing move, standing with one arm pulled back as if throwing a football, kneeling with his hands together in prayer. At one point he locks into a position for abut five minutes allowing the student to take her time to draw in the details.

Next week there will another another free drawing class. And as the word spreads, the group of like-minded creators should grow.

For more info: You can learn more about the drawing class and also the Saturday barbeque.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Got An Eye On You

Attack Of The Nanny State

Is this person a criminal? I don't think so.

© 2019 Luke T. Bush


Cigarette smoking killed my mother and two friends. I've witnessed over the years how cigarettes have addicted people to the point they can't stop even though they're killing themselves.

I'm allergic to tobacco smoke, probably caused by being exposed indoors to my mother's second hand smoke. I don't smoke.

That said I've found that the reaction to cigarette smoking recently has gone to inane lengths here in the city.

I have no problem banning cigarettes from indoor settings, especially in an apartment building where a careless tenant can cause a fire. But now Plattsburgh City is trying to ban public smoking through a local law it passed in February.


1. Definitions. The term "Public Property" means public buildings and adjacent grounds, streets, sidewalks, parks, and other publicly owned property, including vehicles owned by the City of Plattsburgh. The term "Tobacco Product" means cigarette, cigar, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery system (e-cigarettes, vaping, hookahs) in which tobacco or electronically delivered nicotine is the main ingredient that are intended for human consumption or use.

2. It shall be a violation for any person, including any person under the age of eighteen years, to use or possess a tobacco product or electronic nicotine delivery system (e-cigarettes, vaping, hookahs) on public property.

3. Each instance of Smoking or Tobacco Product use in violation of this Law shall constitute a separate violation. An offense may be prosecuted by the issuance of an appearance ticket under §150.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law."

I don't see the problem when someone is smoking by themselves, away from others, on a street or sidewalk or in a park. As long as someone respects the rights of non-smokers there should be no problem. We don't live under an enclosed Winooski dome with restricted air flow. There's plenty of fresh air outside.

Criminalizing all forms of tobacco will not make smokers stop. And I wonder what the police think about being directed to enforce such an asshole law.

I'm overweight. What's next. The Plattsburgh City Common Council will pass a law for every citizen to meet an arbitrary BMI (body mass index) standard? Will I be required to report to a weighing station to make sure my own body is in compliance?

Some busybodies have complained to the Common Council that the law isn't being enforced. Enforce that law and you'll see public backlash that will guarantee the mayor and certain councilors to be butted out of office.

One councilor suggested that signs should be posted around the city to remind everyone of the law. Sure, signs and fines will solve this health crisis.

Crows are coming back. Last winter they covered sidewalks and cars with their smeary feces. Concerned about public health? Do something about the crapping crows and also the defecating dogs.