Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To ending an impasse. The Gloversville Common Council and Mayor Dayton King this week appeared to end their rift over the mayor’s effort to appoint members to city boards. Some council members became frustrated with the mayor earlier this year after he refused to reappoint zoning board chairwoman Karen Smith. Since then, the zoning board has had three vacancies and three sitting members, just enough for a quorum. The three members were unable to have an official meeting recently because one of the three was absent, affecting the board’s ability to conduct business. This week, the council approved mayoral nominees Frederick Bochenek and Jason Thompson to the zoning board. The council also approved mayoral nominees to the Housing Authority Board and Planning Board. For the city’s sake, let’s hope the council and mayor can put their disagreement over appointments behind them and focus on important city issues.

JEERS – To efforts to control the news. The president and CEO of The Associated Press says journalists around the world are under attack by people trying to influence and control the news. Among recent examples: Al-Jazeera journalists have been imprisoned in Egypt, and AP photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus was killed in Afghanistan and her colleague Kathy Gannon seriously wounded as they covered the run-up to the country’s elections. AP CEO Gary Pruitt says the increased dangers to reporters and the growing secrecy of governments make journalists’ jobs more challenging. Journalists’ efforts are important and necessary for democracy and freedom to flourish. America must continue to emphasize the need for freedom of speech and the right to report the news and criticize government.

CHEERS – To neighborhood watches. In neighborhoods across Fulton and Montgomery counties, some groups of residents have been taking the initiative to try to make their neighborhoods safer and more comfortable to live in. Gloversville and Johnstown are among the communities with neighborhood watches. Two groups of residents in Johnstown recently started new watches. People have a variety of concerns, such as drug-related activity, petty crimes and unsafe behavior. The neighborhood watches – eyes and ears of their neighborhoods – generally have a positive relationship with their police agencies, which often are good about responding to calls and concerns from neighborhood watch members. We support these groups and encourage more people to either start or join them.