Dear Mayor Kathy Sheehan:
We’ve met a few times, most notably at my church’s adult education class on March 4, 2018. That’s me on the right, my fellow choir member Tim on the left, and you (of course) in the middle. After I introduced you, unfortunately, Tim and I had to run off and make music.
You talked about the City of Albany Poverty Reduction Initiative (CAPRI) program which “aims to better align public and private resources with community-based interventions and build partnerships with community leaders, municipal and state government, direct service providers, the faith community, local employers, and, most importantly, the people impacted by poverty in order to develop sustainable strategies that address the unique needs of the community and reduce poverty in the City of Albany.”
Subsequently, as Chuck Miller noted: “There have been recent protests in Albany by the Poor People’s Campaign. These protests, which have disrupted traffic in the downtown Albany area, are designed as a non-violent alert to the systemic problems of racism and police brutality and pay inequality. Noble effort, to be sure.
“The City of Albany sent the organizers of the Poor People’s Campaign a bill for $1,451, a bill for police coverage and the mitigation of disruptive public services.” I thought that was not warranted in that the police action disrupting traffic was far greater than the protesters’ behavior warranted.
The Times Union, rightly in my view, excoriated you the selective imposition of the fine, in an editorial Albany’s free speech fees.
And yet I also disagreed with the TU’s decision not to run your rebuttal. You posted it on your own site, which was picked up by Medium.com, ironically giving you a far bigger platform.
And I STILL disagree with your argument, Mayor Sheehan. But here’s the thing: if you had but asked me, I would have posted your response on my seldom-used Times Union blog.
Ah well, maybe next time.