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No free passes; tough decisions part of job

Opinion column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

You can’t please everyone ...

— Rick Nelson

The time has come for some local politicians to stop perpetually running for office and do the job they were elected to do.

It’s a tough reality to face, but everyone in your neighborhood, everyone in your district, everyone in your county, everyone in your state, everyone in your country, everyone in your world is not going to like you, no matter what you do. The sooner you come to grips with that fact, the sooner you can start making some tough decisions.

Case in point: A local health care business jumped through all the federal, state and local hoops required to set up a personal care home that would provide for the around-the-clock needs of three developmentally disabled individuals who have been, in essence, unceremoniously evicted from a state-run facility because the federal government didn’t think certain basic standards were being met by the state.

Before the local business was through hoop-jumping, though, its local government imposed a 120-day moratorium on all such facilities. The move was warranted: The government hadn’t updated its ordinance dealing with personal care facilities in 20 years, and with the state under mandate to move people out of its own facilities, a need suddenly developed for private care homes.

Meanwhile, residents in the neighborhood where the health care business proposed to locate the care home got wind of the plan and came before city officials asking that the home — or any other kind of business — not be allowed in their neighborhood.

Government officials called on staff, in particular one of their newest hires with a vast amount of knowledge in such matters, to come up with an ordinance that met federal, state and local guidelines, and that official — easily one of the most effective and efficient members of the government’s staff — put together a proposal that met those requirements and others sought by local officials. But a funny thing happened on the way to passage of the ordinance.

The neighborhood group came before the local governing board again and not only requested that research be done to determine if their neighborhood qualified for historic status (which would not preclude care homes from operating there), their representative belittled the work of government staff — in particular the impressive new hire — and insisted the moratorium that was to be lifted with the passage of the ordinance be extended another 120 days.

The governing board, faced with a tough decision that would impact a legitimate local business and an angry group of citizens, blinked. Rather than following through with making a decision, the board voted to extend the moratorium, in essence providing the neighborhood group with another four-month delay during which they no doubt hope the health care facility will give up on its plans and just go away.

But the board did more than fail to follow through with its duty by saying we’ll wait another 120 days to make this tough decision. By giving in to the demands — and, yes, they were demands — of the spokesman for the neighborhood group, the government officials essentially neutered staff, whose recommendations in this case had been based on law and not emotion.

Now the legitimate health care business is out quite a bit of money (hmmm ... anyone smell a potential law suit?), its owners have declared they will not give up on placing a home in the neighborhood, the neighborhood group is celebrating a “victory” while hoping a deadline for moving clients out of state facilities comes and goes before the local government finally passes an ordinance, and the members of the governmental body ... well, their strategy is apparently to sit back and hope this somehow just goes away.

Never mind that they undermined the professional work of their staff. Never mind that now any group that opposes future action taken by the government has a precedent on which to base a protest. Never mind that their claims to become more business friendly now ring hollow. Never mind that three developmentally disabled individuals have been denied access to a facility that will provide for their needs.

At least no one lost any votes.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 2 months ago

Put it next to your damn house, Fletcher. Better yet, take 'em in and put 'em in your spare bedroom. That's the cure for your bleeding freaking heart!

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trudy2 1 year, 2 months ago

Would be nice to know, who and where he is talking about. The article could have been rolling around in this guys head and he makes it sound like fiction?????

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FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

Standard move by the State government. Make a major decision and throw in on the local citizens to implement it. They have done this for years starting with the Carter administration. No one is talking about the specific needs of the residents in the facility. Why should the property owners be saddled with implementing the State bureacrats solution. These so called bidnesses that Fletch is talking about have disaster written all over them as well as our tax money.

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Russ 1 year, 2 months ago

Makes it sound like citizens making "demands" is a bad thing. I guess that demands are OK when it's for welfare.

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waltspecht 1 year, 2 months ago

It is interesting what mainstreaming certain students did to the School atmosphere in many School Districts. It is the same with care homes. Put them out among the people, in what used to be residential neighborhoods. Like it or not, the presance of such a home in an area will affect certain peoples decisions to live there. This in turn will hurt property values. So the Homeowners have a legitimate concern. Is there an easy answer? Certainly not. However the passing of the buck on a continuous downhill slide is enough. It needs to be stopped. Politicians need to step up and make a call, one way or the other, not just keep putting things off. I look at the state of the Federal Budget as a prime example.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

Look at city, county and state governments too. Our 'lustrous guvner and legislature just made a group of volunteers responsible for deciding the hospital bed tax. Oh, but it is no longer called a tax it is a, ah, ahmm, lessee. It's a damn tax and the 'lustrous guvner and the gutless legislators have assigned the volunteer community health commission the responsibility of tax assessment. This taxation without representation allows the gutless wonders of the GOP a way to fake out the tea party into believing they are agin' taxes.

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Cartman 1 year, 2 months ago

Okay. I'll admit it. Our commissioners are gutless.

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anneofgreengables 1 year, 2 months ago

Mr. Fletcher, I don't know where to begin with your false/misleading reporting here. First, the home in question already lies within a designated historic distict status. So we were not asking that,as you report, which is what Mr. Forgey couldn't grasp either and why I guess to you I appeared to be belittleing him, because we had already met with him and he still didn't understand what we were talking about and was trying to argue something that was not an issue-- historic designation. We were asking that the moratorium be extended so that, the downtown manager Aaron Blair, who is well versed in "design overlays" that would help protect the character and safety of the downtown neighborhoods that are vital to the revitalization of downtown Albany, work with Mr. Forgey, who in a meeting with me admitted he was not well versed in these "design overlays". Design overlays allow for additional ordinaces that define and protect areas such as the overlays done by Mr. Blair in the "Old Northside Historic Distric." It does not keep personal care homes out of neighborhoods,which is not what we are fighting, but can dictate certain design overlays with repect to parking lots, dumpsters and design overlays to protect the residential character etc... . If you yourself, Mr. Fletcher would actually perform some journalistic duties here (this may be a little too much to ask) and do a little research yourself, you may be able to report on this with a little more honesty and may find that a wholelistice view on the downtown proper of Albany is not a bad idea. The fact that the existing ordinances have not been reviewed in twenty years is reason enough to make sure we do this right. Secondly, the moratorium was not extended by anything that I said, but it was motioned for an extension by Mr. Marrietta because there were several changes that Mr. Forgey brought to the board for a vote that were different than what had been discussed in the work session, one example was the way Mr. Forgey's ordinace purposed to measure the 1000 ft distance between personal care homes in a neighborhood. These changes were never brought to the public as they should be and Mr. Marietta was right to extend the moratorium so the public can be appraised of the new definitions he was proposing for the first time that night.

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anneofgreengables 1 year, 2 months ago

Continued from earlier post: Thirdly, while I have personally caught three would be burgerlars at the end of my 357 magnum pistol, watched my son who is severly disabled struggle for two semesters at Darton College draggin himself around on forearm crutches because his wheel chair was stolen off our front porch, listened to my son cry because his obviously made for a disabled child bicycle was stolen out of our front yard when he was a little boy and he couldn't ride a bike anymore with his sisters, subdued a mentally hanicapped person that proceeded to throw a brick in my across the street neighbors home at their 11 year old child who was reading a book on the couch and then the mentally derranged person proceeded to strip naked in front of the child and neighbors front yard, whom, by-the-way had walked away from their personal care home several blocks away, I have never nuetered anyone. At most, I made the would be burglars wet their pants. But you can bet your last nickle, that I will fight until my last dying breath for the downtown I call home and grew up in, for the neighborhood that I have raised my children in, and for the area surrounding my neighborhood as this is where we live, work, shop, play and worship. We have no problem with Mr. Bailey's residents who will occupy his personal care home BUSINESS, but I have fought for the rights of my disabled child for the last twenty years and I can guarantee you Mr. Fletcher, it is not the disabled any of us should be concerned with it is those that PROFIT off the disabled. Those that cut corners on the security and personal care provided to these residents. Those that come in a buy or rent in economically depressed areas, without regard to the location and safety of the residents who will be living there, merely watching out for the lining of his pockets. If Mr. Bailey was concerned about his residents he should be working with us to make sure his consumers will be living in a neighborhood that is well defined, well protected from encroaching business and other entities that will reduce the integrity of the neighborhood and in doing so he will secure the intended outcome of having a neighborhood for the disabled and able-bodied to enjoy. So, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Fletcher, when the ordinaces and hopefully overlays are put in place that will protect the integrity, character and safety of our neighborhood and your residents move in, you bet they will be treated with all the kindness and neighborly love that this neighborhood offers, we will be by daily to visit and check on our new neighbors and we will be watching to make sure that you and your staff are taking the utmost of care and following every protocol you and your staff are required to follow, Federal, State and Local laws and ordinances for the sweetest most vulnerable of our new neighbors. YOU CAN TAKE THAT TO THE BANK!

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FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

I want anneofgreen on my team. You have said a mouth full sister. I hope Gregg Fullerton and the Historical Commission is lined up in your support. Paul Forgey is a good man. He may not undersand the horseshot that goes on at the city but he will back historical and qualitative projects. You go girl.

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anneofgreengables 1 year, 2 months ago

Mr. Fletcher, I don't know where to begin with your false/misleading reporting here. First, the home in question already lies within a designated historic district status. So we were not asking that, "The neighborhood group came before the local governing board again and not only requested that research be done to determine if their neighborhood qualified for historic status (which would not preclude care homes from operating here), their representative belittled the work of government staff", as you report, which is what Mr. Forgey couldn't grasp either and why I guess to you I appeared to be belittling him, because we had already met with him and he still didn't understand what we were talking about and was trying to argue something that was not an issue-- historic designation. We were asking that the moratorium be extended so that, the downtown manager Aaron Blair, who is well versed in "design overlays" that would help protect the character and safety of the downtown neighborhoods that are vital to the revitalization of downtown Albany, work with Mr. Forgey, who in a meeting with me admitted he was not well versed in these "design overlays". Design overlays allow for additional ordinances that define and protect areas such as the overlays done by Mr. Blair in the "Old Northside Historic District." It does not keep personal care homes out of neighborhoods, which is not what we are fighting, but can dictate certain design overlays with respect to parking lots, dumpsters and design overlays to protect the residential character etc... . If you yourself, Mr. Fletcher would actually perform some journalistic duties here (this may be a little too much to ask) and do a little research yourself, you may be able to report on this with a little more honesty and may find that a wholelistic view on the downtown proper of Albany is not a bad idea. The fact that the existing ordinances have not been reviewed in twenty years is reason enough to make sure we do this right, right now.

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anneofgreengables 1 year, 2 months ago

Secondly, the moratorium was not extended by anything that I said as the representative for Rawson Circle/Palmyra Heights in Tuesday night's Commission meeting, but it was motioned for an extension by Mr. Marrietta because there were several changes that Mr. Forgey brought to the board for a vote that were different than what had been discussed in the work session, one example was the way Mr. Forgey's ordinance purposed to measure the 1000 ft distance between personal care homes in a neighborhood. These changes were never brought to the public as they should be and Mr. Marietta was right to extend the moratorium so the public can be apprised of the new definitions he was proposing for the first time that night.

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agirl_25 1 year, 2 months ago

Yes, yes, yes, anneofgreengables has hit it on the head.....Mr. Bailey is doing nothing more than lining his pockets..she said it and I am proud of her for saying it. Now all you do gooders can certainly take it to the bank as she said and while you are there..blow it out yer arse..........pffftttt...

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 2 months ago

Wow, anne......a perfect, passionate, personal response.

Everybody needs to understand that Carlton Fletcher lives for just one thing: to find a contingent of local citizens to piss off each and every week and he achieves this goal well. I don't believe he really believes the statements he makes (if he did he would at least have the intellectual integrity to research the basic facts). Well, I DO believe he hates Republicans.... but who cares? So just take these weekly C.F. regurgitations with a grain of salt and a couple of Tums.

Well said, anne..

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whattheheck 1 year, 2 months ago

This case isn't right to Fletch but he had no problem with the handling of the library closure issue. The Library Board makes a decision based on facility usage and economics. The black ministers and John Hayes raise hell to the point that the Board head resigns and John has himself put on the Board. Watch, they will return to business. And Fletch will be a supporter of the action.

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gotanyfacts 1 year, 2 months ago

Rule number one of liberal journalism, "When faced with facts that do not fit your agenda, attempt to rewrite said facts". Rule number two, "If rule one fails, ignore the facts". Rule three, "Should non-liberals point out the facts, call them names and close ranks." I hope everyone recognizes the similarity to the methodology of the Obama administration, especially in regards to the Benghazi incident.

“Those who plead their cause in the absence of an opponent can invent to their heart's content, can pontificate without taking into account the opposite point of view …" Christine de Pizan

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FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

An argument is easily won when you have constructed the opposition's argument.

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