Posts Tagged With: amsterdam mayor ann thane

Celebration of Buddha’s Enlightenment


enlightenment

Today the local Buddhist groups celebrated the day Buddha was enlightened. Despite the ongoing snow storm, a handful of local residents, including Recorder photographer Trevor Junquera, did participate in the formal Buddhist ceremony held in the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street. They parked in the adjacent parking lot owned by the Buddhists to attend the event. There was no parking available on city streets because of the snowstorm. The Buddhist organization is currently fighting the revocation of their tax exempt status for the parking lot, purely a measure of harassment perpetrated by the City of Amsterdam.

The beautiful celebration featured a performance by the Buddhist clergy that involved both chanting and song in honor of Enlightenment Day. The World Peace and Health Organizations’ spokesperson Jennie Wong told the story of Buddha’s enlightenment and how Buddhism came to China, both in Chinese and English. Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi presented gifts to the members and guests attending.  Both received 2015 calendars printed on bound bamboo and English speaking guests received a book describing the Buddhist leader’s mission in the USA. After the ceremony everyone was treated to traditional La Pa porridge, which was very tasty.

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After the ceremony, Jennie Wong showed me an email received from Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane in response to a cordial email sent inviting her to attend the Buddha’s Enlightenment Ceremony. The response by Amsterdam’s Mayor made Ms Wong cry. I was both disgusted and ashamed by the nasty, vindictive official response our standing Mayor sent this religious organization. The allegations in the response are totally false. Is this the kind of person we want representing the City of Amsterdam? It is time for new leadership.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Equality, Human Rights, Politics, WPHO | Tags: , , , ,

Mayor Proposes Two Condoms for the City of Amsterdam


On the agenda for the May 15, 2012, meeting of the City of Amsterdam Common Council are two proposals by Mayor Ann Thane that prophylactically override the tax caps for property tax and utility fees. This is being considered without even the suggestion of a tentative budget proposal from the Controller. It is irresponsible to the taxpaying public to propose a blanket override without even attempting to make the necessary cuts in the budget to reduce the need to raise our already heavily taxed citizens. Here is how Montgomery County stands.

Thane’s proposal to override Governor Cuomo’s 2% tax cap can be found here.

The procedure to override the Governor’s tax cap is spelled out in this Citizen’s Property Tax Cap Guide published by New York State.

Thane’s proposal to amend the Charter Section XVI § C-89 eliminates the current required mandatory referendum to change the 3% utility fee cap already in place can be found here.

One would think that the Mayor learned something from last years public meeting held in the Riverfront Center, where she tried to do this very same thing and was confronted by a horde of angry citizens. That May 16, 2011, meeting was covered in the Grove Street Grumble article The People Speak.

History is definitely going to repeat itself as the people object to this illegal act. New York State  Municipal Home Rule law dictates which local laws can be passed.

Municipal Home Rule Article 2 §11.  Restrictions on the adoption of local laws.

2. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, the legislative body of a county, city or village shall not be authorized by this chapter to adopt any local law which:

a.  Amends the charter of the county, city or village, as the case may be, contrary to any provisions of such charter regulating its own amendment. This provision shall not abridge the right of the people of a county, city or village to amend their charter or approve a proposed new charter, where such amendment or proposed new charter is subject to a mandatory referendum.

b.  The legislative body is by provision of the charter prohibited to adopt.

Look at the language of the City Charter Section XVI § C-89 Annual Tax Levy.

A. The amount to be raised by tax on real estate in any fiscal year, in addition to providing for the interest on and the principal of all indebtedness, shall not exceed 1% of the average full valuation of taxable real estate in such year; nor shall the real property tax rate or any user fee in any fiscal year exceed by 3% the rate or fee of the previous fiscal year, exclusive of any amounts appropriated for debt service.

B. If in any fiscal year it is deemed necessary and in the interest of the municipality to increase the percentage rate established, the Common Council with the approval of the Mayor may submit such request for increase as a mandatory referendum to be voted on by the voters at a regular or special election. No new user fee may be established without the prior approval of the electorate pursuant to the above procedure.

We have a Charter that states any increase in the percentage rate will be voted on by mandatory referendum.  A local law cannot supersede that Charter provision. It will take another mandatory referendum to change it. The Mayor and Common Council have no authority to amend the City Charter without referendum.

Please contact the Mayor and Aldermen and tell them we do NOT want to override either tax cap.

Mayor Ann Thane – athane@amsterdamny.gov

1st Ward Alderman Joe Isabel – jmisabel@verizon.net

2nd Ward Alderman Valerie Beekman – vbeekman@amsterdamny.gov

3rd Ward Alderman Gina DeRossi – gderossi@amsterdamny.gov

4th Ward Alderman Dave Dybas – ddybas@amsterdamny.gov

5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero –  rleggier@nycap.rr.com

Categories: Amsterdam, Politics | Tags: , , ,

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