Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Don't leave me hanging on the telephone

In Ron Kim’s abbreviated world, the old proverb holds true: If you sling enough dung up against the barn door, some of it has to stick. And when it comes to fear-mongering over the city’s aging Police Department, the sophomore Public Safety commissioner is a veritable manure spreader.

Kim has found his latest rally point in his battled to get a the Public Safety castle planted in the ground. This time, he’s pointing to recent failures of the police department’s non-emergency line, which has recently left callers literally hanging on the line listening to the melodic sound of the ringing tone. The fickle bankruptcy attorney claims the problems started two months ago and have shut the system down three times since.

“You can’t leave police, fire and EMS hanging,” panicked the Public Safety windbag. “We’re talking about emergency situations.”

Emergency situations indeed. Let’s back up a bit for those folks on the little bus: the city police have experienced recent problems with their non-emergency line. In other words, the standard 911-emergency dispatch that most people call when the need help is still functioning fine. This system is county-based and then dispatches police or emergency services via digital radio.

Another important thing to note is that most people, when faced with a life threatening situation, prefer to dial three digits that have been ingrained into their memory for a lifetime instead of flipping through the phone book to find the seven-digit number of the Spa City cops. In an emergency, most people would no sooner call the police department’s main line than they would the fire station down the street.

Amazingly after two years in office, Kim still doesn’t realize this. What he also apparently doesn’t realize is that the phone problem he claims to be an ongoing problem “since December” has actually hampered the line since September. But these must be superfluous details in to include in Kim’s world.

So if this phone situation was as dire as Kim or The Saratogian claim it to be, then why wasn’t something done in September? Could it be that Kim and now-deputy Eileen Finneran were too busy playing partisan politics -and proselytizing on the steps of City Hall -to administer needed repairs in their respective offices? Inquiring minds want to know.

Kim also didn’t miss a beat to throw in a quick dig at the Johnson administration for this perceived failure of the phone system. In discussing the issue with The Saratogian, he claimed former Mayor Valerie Keehn took the bull by the horns, “identified a solution” and was just about to make the repair when the evil mayoral administration of Scott Johnson came in. That’s when everything went to hell.

Instead of moving forward, Johnson called for a more thorough study of the entire City Hall phone system, with the thought of upgrading the whole building. This seems to make the most sense, seeing as though the building’s phones are more than likely antiquated by the digital dial-by-name systems of today. Mind you, the situation facing the department shouldn’t go uncorrected; it just fiscally behooves the city to find a sensible solution to this issue, rather than a knee-jerk fear-induced reactionary move that will likely cost significantly more and produce markedly less.

But knee-jerk reactions seem to be the modus operandi for Kim, who has used flimsy suppositions and innuendo to base most of his presumptions about the Public Safety office and the city in general. he’ll offer a more compelling reason to waste more tax dollars during the council meeting this evening. But those expecting a shred of sensibility from this guy should also expect to wait on the ringing line for quite some time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

“We’re talking about emergency situations.”

Why hasn’t the Commissioner been asked, who bundled the phone wires tight against the computer wires together with the electric service lines in the ceiling throughout his department? This code violation became evident when a ceiling tile was displaced long enough for the press to show it several times on the “Breaking News Network”.

The emergency phone system probably is outdated, which has little to do with the non-compliant modifications and system repairs that have occurred in this department. One has to ask why repairs and modifications were done with such haste and by whom? Why not call back the venders who did not understand in the first place that an electric current service strapped to phone and computer wires is nothing but problematic.

The individual PS employee (or the collective 70+) is (are) not to blame here. They do their jobs. These emergencies have everything to do with management. Furthermore, there is no argument that the 911 service and communications should be working. I would like to believe that throwing money at a ‘repair’ is not something that could be ‘repaired’ by the original certified installation contractor, and as the Commissioner stated, "that a new system installed could be transferred to a new public safety facility".

The other emergency “situation” we could be addressing is fiscal responsibility. Is looking at a complete integrated phone system a bad idea? Let's hope those plans for a new facility include some planning and accommodation for integrating parts of this building so that we won't just be throwing planning money out the window.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At tonights council meeting you will once again hear Chicken Little cry, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling". Such is the refrain used by Kim in hopes to spend the City into bankruptcy.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HO: You're so right. Voters in Saratoga Springs never would have put a Republican majority in office if they really wanted the City Council to do anything about the city's crumbling infrastructure.

Keep property taxes down and let real estate developers do whatever they want - that's the Republican game plan. A city government that actually gets things done isn't in their play book.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:57; "Keep property taxes down and let real estate developers do whatever they want"

I would have to agree with the first part. Have you been aware that the Country right now is in a huge economic slide? This would be a good time to be cautious with spending and taxing. European currency is showing the signs of falling in the next three months and while that is good for the dollar, it really isn't. It is time to put your political rhetoric in the closet for a while, because as "strong" as your idea of the local economy is, it is bracing itself.

The "developers" don't get what they want; it just looks that way from where you sit. Lets say, What if those 400 condominiums constructed in the last two years were not built? Would they have been 400 single family homes located somewhere in the imaginary available UR-1 zoned property? Would they have been affordable housing units located where, paid for by who, managed by you know whom? Probably wouldn’t have happened given our current real estate market. We have a glut of available apartments and affordable houses and the real estate mavens are not quite running all over the place broadcasting all of their “sales” these days. The “market is good” is code for, don’t panic we’ll drop the price, my fee loss is negligible compared with your investment loss. It will get better and is better than a lot of places, but don’t impress me with your “encouraging words” on my dime.

Commercial and hotel development looks promising and moving along. It has to since those projects and that money was committed 20 months ago. Let’s hope that the rooms are filled and the visitors have a good time because we all know that most locals will be far more frugal when it comes to patronizing their own beloved retailers than those on Holiday.

The Public Safety building is not lost, simply that bonding money for a sloppy proposal at this point that implies $12 million not 8 with little guarantee and most assuredly $18-20 million neither, smart growth or wise investment. The plans need to include rehabbing the City Hall as part of its program, so that it makes sense for everyone, most assuredly the resident taxpayer.

I'm not quite sure whose "play book" it is to run an efficient, responsible, and effective government, but it is one to imagine and hope for. After what, six weeks we’re ready to judge the new Council?

We may not always know where we’ll be (given all of the unforeseen variables), we do know where we’ve been and where we’d like to go.

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why this form of government is so fucked! THe elected officials are too scared to do anything because they may get bumped out in two years. Change the government and we will get results. It's not the people in office it's the whole bullshit operation.

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:57. It seems as though we are ready for more tax paying development after the years that the Ron/Val administration did nothing but build affordable housing.

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:16 "THe elected officials are too scared to do anything because they may get bumped out in two years."

It's not fear Pilgrim, it's accountability. This 94 year process (and this City) brought us here today. It was not the work of a lot of frightened politicians. We elect candidates who are first, responsive to you, and then to the department they manage.

Challenge your School Board member about any issue and see how responsive the Administrator is? Don't expect an answer till she is ready to retire.

And it’s not the politicians, but the tribe that gets frustrating. Partisan control is politically life threatening.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much do you think a blogger makes per year for doing all these cool articles, and google searching all these cool pictures for them? LOL. why don't u walk the walk. chumps

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change the form of government! It's the only way! Never mind that the country is in a slide right now. That's bull! What about the last 15 years when the economy was going strong? Nothing was done then about the infrastructure. McTygue was sucking the community dry and used resources to install sidewalks for rich contributors and developers!

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These charter reform idiots just won't let up, will they?

Here's a question for all you mini Einsteins:

- if your proposed form of govt is such a great alternative; then why doesn't it work in all the other places that have it already?

(we now have an awkword silence)

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dickenstein! 6:12

Who says it doesn't work? Why is it that 90% of the cities in the entire country have a strong Mayor form of government? Is it that all those people are wrong or is it you are too narrow minded to understand the whole idea?

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry Anon 6:12! Tom McTygue is gone and you have no need to be scared now. He has no spell over you anymore. This idea of a new form of government is a good thing. You are not required to protect Tommy anymore!

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“He has no spell over you anymore.”

So take his picture down from your wall and replace it with that shot of David Keehn relaxing in the hot tub or a full face shot of Val. NXIVM runs things now. The king is gone long live Saratoga’s own version of the Addams family.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“You are not required to protect Tommy anymore!”
Why did David Keehn get committed to an Insane Asylum or just barred from the Y?

1:57 PM  
Blogger BlueDog said...

Charter reform is not going to happen. Most Saratogians do not want to change our form of government. Lets have another referendum and finally put this idea to rest.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... 3:26 PM

"How much do you think a blogger makes per year for doing all these cool articles, and google searching all these cool pictures for them? LOL. why don't u walk the walk. chumps"

You obviously measure any success or accomplishment in terms of money.
You ridicule Horatio for the unpaid time he spends crafting this site and yet you are basically doing the same thing by reading and posting on the very same.
From your sarcastic LOL to your derogatory chumps you reveal yourself to be a hypocrite who lacks character.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Albert E 7:24,

Ok, then genius--let's call your bluff.

Go ask the constituents of those "90%" whether they feel that their local goivernment is effective, responive, productive and representative. Yeah, ther's a lot of confidence in the workings of local gov'ts out there, huh?

(another moment of awkward silence)

So, what you are arguing for is that our city should replicate and install a system that doesn't work -- just because "everyone else is doing it."

You should get a job as an efficiency expert. Your motto:

"Fuck Best Practices -- We Implement Worst Practices!"

Another Keehniac, no doubt; wandering around without a clue. So sad.

Aren't you late for a NXIVM meeting?

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:19 really tells it like it ain't!
Here he is bitching about every little thing like how sad it is Ghetto Chopper is leaving or that they're planning on spending too much money for a new Police station. Yet, this form of government is just stellar. Can't have it both ways. No doubt a McTygue follower! Spends so much time distorting the obvious that he can't even pick out what reality or fantasy.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous mamie said...

I'll second that! My job has been less stressful now that the raving maniac (McTygue) is gone. His brother now runs around like a lost puppy dog! Funny to watch!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'll second that! My job has been less stressful now"

Does the organ grinder and is pet monkey give out free beer and chicken now?

3:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could someone wake up the drunks at the DPW garage and tell them theres a sinkhole on Outlook that is swallowing cars?

3:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horatio... bored with the current entry here. Can we upload something new before St. Patty's day?

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To: 9:04 and 9:10 (are you two married?)

I think you people might be considered 'obsessive' in your rants on McTygues. Professional helpo might be in order.

And while we're here why don't you directly answer the 7:19 person's points on charter reform instead of launching into your psychotic orbit?

The answer, of course, is that such a discussion & debate are WAY out of your leagues. Musch like your fellow cultists.

4:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 4;53 I would love to rant about you but your non existance when it comes to helping this city isn't worthy of mention.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


point proven---you are incapable of doing so.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's another example of the difficult problem we have dealing with a police station that's 123 years old," says the Public Safety Commissioner

It's the 1991 phone system that's having its problem, not the building. The Commissioner might recognize, that there are many, many older municipal buildings all over this world that do not experience our "chicken little" responses every there is a problem. And isn’t it a bit curious, that we now have an Administrator of Historic Preservation yet, we hear nothing about the responsibilities of our Historic City maintaining and refurbishing its local and Nationally important building. With all the grants that were awarded last year for projects on Historic Properties across NYS, how is it that our City Hall and all of its concerned Public Safety Committee members overlooked its potential for funding?

How is it that there is now, practically a new complaint every week? It just maybe time to rent space in the Holiday Inn for these guys and start on some emergency renovations to the phone system. A little Déjà vu, with the Commissioner pitting the Council against the public again. That’s what the previous Mayor team-destruct did two years ago, when they chorused, “We couldn’t do anything with a 97-year-old Charter. Now it’s “We can’t do anything with a 123 year old City Hall” and “We can’t do anything with a 17 year old phone system”.

Might be time to call in the phone Geeks and Curtis Sliwa.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expect nothing short of, no matter what the problem -- it will be the building’s fault. Can you say BAD BUILDING boys and girls?

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to see Mayor Johnson lead a team that was able to troubleshoot and discover the cause of the city hall and police department phone failures.

Team leadership certainly prevails rather than blaming old buildings, phone systems and walking out of city council meetings when it comes to problem solving.

Best of all the taxpayers will spend less money to facilitate the repair.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Latest Press Conference -"Saratoga Springs' Commissioner of Public Safety, Ron Kim calls upon Mayor to retract his irresponsible, inaccurate and misleading statements regarding the city's 911 telephone system"

Holding unilateral press conferences on the steps of City Hall like the “Council walkout” is becoming another contrivance in the Commissioner’s problem solving toolbox. Certainly sounds like the virus that corrupted the effective cooperation amongst the City Council membership for the last two years has not been totally eliminated.

As far as, “retracting irresponsible and inaccurate statements”, the same might be asked of the Commissioner for his questionable declarations and admitted abrogation of management responsibilities within his department.

5:07 AM  

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