It may be Paul Padalino’s school district. It may be Mike Hein’s county. They may be David Lundquist’s hospitals. But it sure as Shinola is Shayne Gallo’s city, and if you are going to mess with it, he will not be happy about it, and he will not be cool with it.
See, this is a little different from the last guy, this mayor’s putting himself squarely in the middle of two processes — closing schools and closing a hospital — which technically city government has nothing to do with. There’s no mayoral proclamation or Common Council resolution which can stop either the school board or the HealthAlliance board from making what Gallo is calling a “hole” in Midtown. But if we know anything about Shayne Gallo a little more than six months into Year One of his administration, we know that he means to lead, and lead he is doing. Now he wants to lead the public into a couple of matters which, depressingly, seem like done deals.
Public reaction to the schools/hospital closing has ranged all over the Kübler-Ross scale — anger, denial, depression, bargaining and even acceptance. But there’s still a lot of anger, and apprehension, and a thirst for accountability that remains unquenched. The mayor is taking it upon himself, and maybe making some enemies by doing so, to ask pointed questions and not accept as a given what seemed like a given from the day these plans both dropped. Individual residents might just get lip service, but the mayor? You have to take him seriously, right?
Gallo might not be able to stop a school from closing or the hospitals from merging — trends beyond the power of the mayor, school trustees and hospital board members are largely driving these things. He also runs the risk of making some enemies.
But Gallo ran, and was elected, on a platform of improving quality of life in this city. It would appear that he will be damned before he allows that quality of life, especially for a part of Kingston that’s taken a lot of hits in that department, to get messed up without a fight.