STATE OF THE CITY: ALBANY 2006
Congratulations to Mayor Jerry Jennings on his re-election as Mayor of the City of Albany. Best wishes for a successful four year term.
The Mayor's fourth term appears to be off to a great start:
1. The Mayor appointed Jim Tuffey, Chief of Police. Tuffey is the right man for the job, having credentials and experience in both law enforcement and emergency management and planning.
2. Mayor Jennings has declared that the issue of public safety is his priority concern.
That is the concern of every resident of Albany, as well. The Mayor, in conjunction with the Police Chief, have to come forward with concrete policies and actions that will address this public safety concern: like clearing the streets of hostile, belligerents and those that harass and prey upon law abiding citizens, and disarming the criminals and gangs, who are, in fact, domestic terrorists who are the eventual allies of the foreign terrorists, who seek to destroy us. Given Osama bin Laden's recent message to his operatives, who dwell amongst us, it is imperative that Mayor Jennings and the APD disarm the criminals and gangs without delay. This will require an assist from the State Police, and other law enforcement. Governor Pataki can make this happen, now. Take the 100 or so NYS Police that were deployed to New Orleans and put them to work in Albany as a part of a really aggressive Operation Impact to accomplish these objectives ASAP. Time is not on our side!
When Bin Laden warned that we will soon being seeing terror attacks in our homes - what did he infer? We have seen an increase in home invasions already. It is not too much of a stretch of imagination to picture armed criminals, gangs, and other assorted hostiles running amok pillaging and plundering our homes in a time of disaster or major, simultaneous, terror attacks.
The City Schools must be brought under control immediately. They are the breeding grounds for ther next generation of criminals and anti-social belligerents. The battle for public safety must be fought, not only on the streets, but in the city schools. Governor Pataki and the State Legislature can be of major help here. The Albany School Board and School District are educational failures. Disband them and vest authority and accountability for city schools with the Mayor and Common Council. Return to a K-8 neighborhood school system. Adopt strict student conduct codes, in school, on city streets and buses. Replace gang colors and insignia with school uniforms. Remove disruptive and violent students from classes and transfer them to a boot camp campus staffed by former military.
Albany does not have a Comprehensive City Emergency/Disaster Plan that anticipates and prepares to address the types of natural and man-made disasters, and terrorist attacks that will come our way in the "days and nights ahead" as Bin Laden warns. This is a parallel priority that must be immediately addressed by Mayor Jennings. It will take more than weekly meetings of the Police and Fire Departments and building a new public safety center at the Port of Albany. It will take the education and involvement of all the citizens and institutions of this city. Again, time is not on our side!
All the rest of the Mayor's State of The City is meaningless, if the above public safety concerns are not immediately and effectively addressed.
A convention center, the land fill, the city water supply, the Palace Theatre, new office buildings, Tech Valley Dreams, Park South , Mid-Town and Arbor Hill redevelopment plans, summer employment and recreation programs are all important concerns, but they must be viewed in perspective of the public safety threat posed by lunatics like Bin Laden and those drawn to him, by hate and discontent.
It is admirable that Albany's archeology and heritage is protected by legislation, as the Mayor informed us in his State of The City address.
I, for one, would be comforted, by prompt attention to the above public safety priorities, lest the artifacts, and ruins, of our contemporary city be, one day, found among the archeolgical stratas of the past.
A word of advice to the Common Council and City School District - set aside your misguided leftwing political and social agendas, work with the Mayor and APD, and others, to achieve public safety and to develop an effective City Emergency/Disaster Plan before it is too late for all of us.
J P Sullivan
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