The impression one takes away is that Midtown gets a lot of funding through the CDBG program and rightfully so, as the program is designed to help poorer neighborhoods, and no neighborhood in Kingston is poorer than Midtown. Another impression is that Midtown’s competitors, Uptown and the Rondout, both have better organization and sexier assets (historic structures and a waterfront) that make it easier for them to get the cheese at the end of a complicated and infernal (according to Ward 2 Alderman Tom Hoffay, whom we have no reason to doubt on this) bureaucratic maze.
That the rich get richer and the poor have a tougher row to hoe should come as no surprise to anyone at this point — it’s the unkind underside of the story of America, where money talks and all other considerations are secondary. It’s also a testament to being prepared — Rondout’s having a waterfront redevelopment plan in place gives it a leg up in getting grants, which supports the argument that the city as a whole could benefit from a Kingston-wide comprehensive plan.
To be sure, a bandstand is a great idea for the Rondout and would be a nice community asset. Whether it would help reverse restaurant owners’ downturn is another story — one can argue that lower Broadway might have more eateries than it can support at this point, or maybe the existing ones are just not sufficiently tempting local diners’ taste buds or offering enough value in a recessionary economy. And maybe the Carnegie project will suffer no harm from having $50,000 held up for a year. (It is worth noting, however, that the future is difficult to predict; who knows if the city will get as much CDBG money next year as it did this year and while it would not sink the Carnegie project altogether, a lack of city participation in it would erode, if not erase, the money saved by the Carnegie bids coming in under its budget.)
The larger point is that at this point in its history, Midtown needs far more help to get by than either the Rondout or Uptown, and anything that funnels help away from Midtown had better be pretty important. With recreation programs having their allocations cut and food pantries struggling to provide basics for the city’s less well off, a bandstand falls short of “pretty important.” While it might be a boon for some constituencies, the more well off of Kingston in this case needs to look out for their neighbors, who don’t have the leg up or the assets they do.
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The people who volunteer for our nation’s armed forces do so for many reasons, a sense of honor being among them. In contrast to the we’re-all-in-this-together nature of past wars, these days most of us are pretty well insulated from what goes on in Iraq and Afghanistan unless we or someone close to us makes the free-will decision to sign up. Whether or not one agrees with the wars, only the most radicalized among us do not respect the courage and the sacrifice our servicepersons make.
So it is disturbing when these people are not treated with honor here at home, which seems to be the case with the Johnson Ford promotion. (Again, see page 1.) We call on the dealership to hold the drawing and fulfill their promise to give a sweet Mustang to someone who has risked their lives in our names. A deal is a deal — delaying the drawing twice, for whatever reason, isn’t fair to those who have already entered.