Thursday, October 17, 2019

Irate Citizen Confronts Mayor: Not News?



© 2019 Luke T. Bush

As seen on TV but not in the newspaper.


PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- 10/17/19

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.


1 comment:

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Transparency and candidness are forbidden in polite "P.C." American society.
Charades and caricature are always the "appropriate measures" of public (and political) behavior.