Not a lot of space, so let’s get to it.
Ward 9 ballot bouncing: Politics is about power, sure, and the practice of knocking your foes off their lines by questioning an undotted i or a non-crossed t is a time-honored practice in this state. (Allan Wikman can speak to this.) New York’s election laws are tilted against the newcomer, the independent and the non-detail-obsessive; it’s one of the ways that the power structure in the Empire State protects itself and perpetuates itself. (Honestly, what do you expect from a bunch of lawyers, anyway? These people make their livings by close readings and insisting that the letter, not the spirit, of the law prevail.)
Politics is also about perception, though, and it’s perceived as rather mean, unsporting and downright disrespectful of the people’s right to make a choice by short-circuiting an election before a single vote is cast. While what happened to Deb Brown can be read as machine politics at its worst, ultimately, it’ll be up to the people of Ward 9 to decide whether the Democrats’ bad behavior will be rewarded. We shall see.
Riot on the Rondout: A shameful episode, to be sure. But I hesitate to assign any greater meaning to it, or to see it as something uniquely Kingstonian. Anytime where you combine a mass of drunken people with anger, things can get out of hand, quickly. Maybe it’s the downside of a neighborhood having a “vibrant social scene.” Maybe the riot-urge is an echo of our hominid heritage and the true answer to mob mentality is not to be found in human sociology but primate biology. But considering how London fared last week when anger over what was seen as unjustified police violence turned into something much worse, Downtown got off very lightly.
School district security audit: This broke a little late for us to do a full story on for this week, alas, but here are some thoughts. First, why was this supposed to be a big secret? On the front page of the report, there’s this: “This report is intended solely for the use of the Board of Education and management of the Kingston City School District and should not be used for any other person.” Wow. Is the school district not a publicly funded institution? In fact, isn’t it the city’s largest publicly funded institution? Second, after reading the report, which in essence says the district kept poor tabs on the hours worked by the security division headed up by Tim Matthews, this occurred to me — it seems everybody in Kingston gets cut some slack when it comes to following the rules, except the taxpayers.