Sunday, March 7, 2010

Newburgh's Police Will Prevail; What About The Peace?

For certain, there are a few truths in this life. We pay taxes and die. We live and love. We try and tire. And the police -- some way or another -- will always win. And why shouldn’t they? Would you have the criminals in control?
In Newburgh, we have a viable but incapacitated police force in a community that actually requires a cop on each block or, better yet, the national guard. I am not calling them to come down and clean it up, but I have a feeling they will soon be on their way.
This is my reasoning. First, we have a gang crisis. The writing has been literally on the walls for some time now. There is plentiful graffiti and markings which are modern-day war drums on the urban scene. The school district and community only wake up when there is blood on the ground. Gang activity in Newburgh is, as the kids say, OD!
Second, as I said, the police always win. The city council was foolish enough to approve a 2010 budget that reduced police protection. The school district was left without patrolmen. The district knows the gang problem. It is suppose to be in the business of education, not dodging bullets and confiscating knives. They need the police on site at NFA at all times. The school district went as far as to pay the city for police protection. This drastic step by the school district gave the police department relevance. Cops, and firefighters too, have a need to be relevant and respected. The city council cannot just stick them in the corner or piss in their faces and tell them it’s raining. It won’t work. These men and women put their lives on the line to keep the peace.
So when I read the recent headline in the Times Herald-Record: “Newburgh Gang Violence on White House Radar,” I was not surprised. Clearly, someone in Newburgh police affairs is working overtime to make their department relevant. If it takes public relations, picket lines, or calling the local congressman, the Newburgh City Police Department will prevail and hopefully prosper from some federal stimulus funds. Neither the police nor the fire departments can wait around for City Hall to make some noise about our crime and gang crisis.
The kids are running rampant with vindictive violence. Worse yet, Robinson Avenue is no longer the dividing line between the "hood" or East End and the West End. It is more like Fullerton Avenue now where there were reports yesterday of police in riot gear investigating a disturbance. Face it, gang territories are spreading out past West Street. So it will not be long before an outside law agency will have to step in to help our beleaguered city.
I have always maintained that the city should never, under any circumstances cut public safety. They should cut some of the other departments, but never police, fire and public works. Police presence in Newburgh should be increased in order to address and resolve a growing eminent danger: gang violence.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What? Close Washington's Headquarters?

It seems that the State of New York is suffering a lapse of good judgment or our deep financial crisis is at a breaking point. I would submit, ladies and gentlemen, that it is a combination of both that leads the state to propose the closing of Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh.
I found an article in the Mid Hudson News Network that quotes an official from Scenic Hudson that the proposal is on the the table to not fund America's first historic site.
In 1859, a group of concerned citizens rallied together to stop the extension of Grand Street through "the old house." They stopped the demolition of the building and incorporated into the The Historical Society of the Newburgh Bay and Highlands.

It was in this "old house" that our nation was born by the cessation of arms to end the Revolutionary War in 1783. Here, Washington had refused to become a "King" George and the first Purple Hearts were awarded. I came across a great article about Newburgh's importance in the founding of this great nation. Please read...Newburgh and President's Day.

My connection to this state historic site is not as thick as it was when I was Newburgh City Historian or when my dear friend Tom Hughes was the curator. But I have been informed, quietly so, that many historic objects and documents have been removed from the museum and the old house over the past two years. I did address this removal issue with state officials. In addition, I spoke with an employee at Washington's HQ and was told my concerns were accurate.

It is a shame that historic items would be relocated out of Newburgh. It is a travesty that Washington's Headquarters would be on the cutting block because of the ongoing financial dissolution of New York State.

More than any other landmark, Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh is the soul of our city and the womb of every right we hold dear. Thousands of people visit this landmark of note. It is an anchor for businesses along Liberty Street and a jewel in the middle of urban decline. It is emblazoned on our city seal, our fire and police emblems, our website, our city charter and all that is Newburgh.

If Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh - which stands for the birthplace of our endearing freedoms and rights - cannot be sustained, what else could fail?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Curlie Dillard is fully engaged

Albeit, that I do not always agree with Dillard's politics, credit must be given to the only council member who takes the time to know his business. Dillard is the only council person so far to hold community meetings. He invites people to come to City Hall for a face-to-face conversation about their feelings about the direction of the city. At least someone has an open door down there.
Also, he does not miss too many meetings around the city. You call him, he will attend.
Another star in his cap is that he is the only council member who has actually toured the Newburgh City Fire Department facility. That is sad. I have toured the NFD and brought my daughter along too. You mean none of those other council people who vote on the fire department budget care to see the environment these men work in?