Whether it comes from Jesus the central figure of Christianity or Jesús a political candidate from Amsterdam’s rapidly growing Latino community, the City of Amsterdam is seriously in need of direction.
The local government of Amsterdam has been floundering, unable to become the cohesive unit necessary to move our City forward. Indecision and a lack of transparency has caused much infighting among the Common Council.
The whole Chalmers deal has put scheduled demolition on hold with a court battle for control of the property at a cost to the taxpayers. Personal prejudices of City Officials were revealed in emails about the project, made public through the FOIL process. In a recent talk radio interview, Uri Kaufman reveals that Peter Thane, husband of Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane, worked as a subcontractor on Kaufman’s Harmony Mills project. This fact both Kaufman and the Mayor deny having any prior knowledge of.
The recent rushed decision by the Common Council to purchase the former Bacon School property in order to create an athletic complex, comes at a time when the City cannot even afford to repair our failing infrastructure. BAD IDEA! Where will the money come from?
Mayor Thane’s leadership ability is lacking with it’s ignore it and it will go away policy of refusing to answer citizen inquiries or FOIL appeals. The Mayor has employed censorship in an attempt to control public opinion, both in her personal blog and on the official City of Amsterdam Facebook page by blocking people who don’t conform to her everything is beautiful mantra. An article in yesterday’s The Recorder quotes the Mayor as stating “…I think it’s wonderful news that we are 26 percent Hispanic and I think we need to celebrate our diversity.” Yet the Mayor has done little to foster any kind of dialog with the Latino community.
This was one of the recommendations from the Comprehensive Plan:
Capitalize on the City’s Diversity (Integration and Tolerance):
Take advantage of, and invest in the talent of, all segments of Amsterdam’s population. For example, Amsterdam could capitalize on a relatively large Spanish-speaking workforce, using this as an asset to attract businesses that cater to the country’s rapidly expanding Hispanic markets (importing/exporting,call centers, entertainment, communications, etc.). Centro Civico has established training, educational and cultural programs targeted towards integrating Hispanics into the local economy. These efforts should receive continued support. Nationally, there could be many as 2 million Hispanic-owned businesses, generating more than $300 billion in business (Hispanic Trends, Vista). Amsterdam can position itself as a community of choice for immigrants, with special programs designed to attract them and to facilitate their personal and professional integration in the community.
These recommendations have been ignored for too many years. With a growing Latino community comprising over 1/4 of the City population, we have no Latino representatives in City government.
This City needs leadership and direction. Will it come from the Latino community? Could we get the much needed direction from declared Mayoral Candidate Bill Wills? Only time will tell, but we need change now!