EDITORIAL: Let’s call it ‘Village-world’

IT’S HARD ENOUGH living up to the president’s expectations as an “enemy of the American people.” Imagine what’ll be required of the press by Village of Chatham officeholders, who just won reelection by a margin of better than 100-to-one. That’s a 10,000% victory, give or take a few zeroes. Very big.

Nobody’s speaking Russian at the Village Hall or tweeting, as far as we know. The mayor and two board members won fair and square. Now they return to the task of governing, which includes an annual budget and some new policies intended to cover the cost of events in the village and bring the village into compliance with state regulations on how local municipalities handle public assets.

This is a sticky subject for me. I’m a resident of the village and a supporter of the current village government. I’m also on the board of an organization now called Chatham Area Business and Arts, or CABA, which hosts the Summerfest and Winterfest events in the village. Plans are underway for this year’s Summerfest in July and CABA is meeting some headwinds from the Village Board, which has recently displayed a new zeal for following the letter of the law. Read more…

EDITORIAL: More reason to get active

MY PLASTIC SNOW BLOWER is buried in a drift. I can’t find it, and even if I could all it would do is rearrange the snow beneath the surface. Blizzards are not our friends.

It’s March and the weather in the Northeast is reliably fickle. A TV network reporter intoned before the storm that this would likely be the largest snowfall ever recorded in March. She must never have heard about the Blizzard of ’88. From March 11 to 14 of 1888 Albany measured nearly four feet of snow. We got clobbered this week, but it was well short of a record.

That’s kind of reassuring. Until the last few weeks it was looking like we weren’t going to have much of a winter at all. The evidence backed up that expectation, too. January of this year has produced the second highest average global temperature for the month since these measurements were first gathered back in the 1880s. And yearly data show that the rate of temperature increase worldwide is speeding up. Read more…

EDITORIAL: May we talk to Rep. Faso?

TWICE OVER THE LAST two months hundreds have gathered in the heart of downtown Kinderhook. That many visitors at once increases the village population by roughly 50%, but in each case the participants fit comfortably on the lawn of the village square and in the short street that runs by the office of Congressman John Faso (R-19th).

People came to tell their representative they’re dismayed by plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, among other concerns, to fault him for not holding “town hall” meetings where they can express their grievances. Neither demonstration disrupted traffic nor caused damage. There was no unruly behavior, either, although at the second gathering February 25 a guy on a motorcycle, disdainful of the protest did try, briefly, to thread his way through the crowd. Most protesters ignored him and he backed away.

It did feel creepy when someone flew a small, consumer-type drone over the crowd. The pilot or “droner”–possibly a TV crew?–was not visible. Two state troopers sat in their vehicles. The State Police have an office a few doors away and there were a lot of people gathered next to a state highway. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Town retreats from Facebook

IS THERE LIFE AFTER FACEBOOK? The Chatham Town Board recently decided there might be and voted to un-Facebook itself. Or is it dis-Facebook. Whatever you call it, the Town Board doesn’t want to be liked anymore. No, wait, that’s not it, either.

The problem was that a few people posted unpleasant comments on the town’s Facebook page. Imagine that. Worse, at least one of the allegedly offending comments was removed by a person who is not a town official. This is not the same thing as helping yourself to a truckload of town gravel. The person who removed the comments created the page. So who’s in charge here?

(If you are reading this in the print edition of The Columbia Paper and have no idea what I’m talking about, consider yourself lucky and enjoy the rest of this week’s issue. A fact I found on the internet says that some people live happy, fulfilling, productive lives without Facebook.) Read more…

EDITORIAL: Letter to a letter writer

WE DON’T GET MANY anonymous letters and we’ve never published one that I recall. Nor would we knowingly print a letter from somebody using false name. That’s why we call letter writers to confirm their identity. We couldn’t call you.

Last week your handwritten letter arrived in our mailbox and I’m going to share some of it even though it’s unsigned. It looks like you put effort into your letter. You covered both sides of the lined, three-hole notebook paper (I use a lot of that). You got my attention by addressing it to “The Editor and Alan ‘Cry Baby’ Chartock” and you say at the top that it’s from a “Reader/Subscriber.”

As you know, Dr. Chartock writes the weekly Capitol Connection column. He’s also CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and he regularly faces far worse name calling than yours. He doesn’t need me to defend him. But you open your letter by saying you’ve read The Columbia Paper “for years.” I take that as a compliment and for your investment in this newspaper, I say, Thank you, whoever you are. Read more…