November 2, 2016
— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
One reason I support Mike for village trustee is his uncompromising support of our police department. It never ceases to amaze me how people living outside the village express the (stupid) opinion that Malone doesn’t need its cops. Nitwits who say this obviously don’t have to deal with the craziness that I and my neighbors deal with.
Sit down sometime with Chief Chris Premo and ask him about drug dealers and drug users in the village and surrounding area. Then sit down with the two local magistrates and ask them about crime in the village and surrounding municipalities. That is, municipalities where our judges are called for arraignments when the local magistrate isn’t available. You will get an earful in each case.
Are you aware that there are now drug gangs in Massena? Drive-by shootings in Massena? I’m told this by a law enforcement official. What’s keeping this from happening in the Village of Malone? Answer: The Village Police Dept.
It’s common knowledge that Franklin County is an easy mark for welfare-seekers from anywhere in the state or even out of state. This makes the Village of Malone one of the preferred welfare destinations of NYS. (I’m told you can drive down Main St. as the sun is coming up and find strangers sitting on the steps of the courthouse, with a garbage bag of their meager belongings. Question them, and they tell you they’re from out of the area — and waiting for the Dept of Social Services office to open so they can sign up.) Because they don’t have cars, these people prefer to live in the village.
All this means — trouble. Domestic violence. Drugs. Booze. Brawls. Lots of drama. Drama drama drama! No, not invariably, but a whole lot. Enough to make a sweeping, general, and yes bitter statement like this with confidence — ‘cause I live in the middle of it, and have for 20 years.
The village cops are essential! Mike knows this. “Don’t mess with the cops!”
Santa Barbara Santa Fe Chicago Baltimore Washington DC Hanover (NH) Princeton (NJ) Kingston (Canada) Alaska Grand Manan (Canada) the Navajo rez Oneonta (NY) Cooperstown (NY) New Brunswick (NJ) Miami Beach rural Quebec (Canada) AND the Thousand Islands (NY). Whew!
These are all the places I’ve lived.
Now I live in Malone. Twenty years. Longer than I’ve lived anywhere else on earth. For 20 years I’ve been scratching my head wondering why the heck Malone can’t get its butt in gear and remake or reinvent or recreate or restore or reimagine — whichever word you prefer — its downtown.
Malone is the only town I’ve lived in that doesn’t have a downtown! How nutty is this? We’ve got the flats at the east end and, at the west end, fast food plus big box stores plus a big honkin’ expensive hotel. That’s it! Two strips, one at the east and the other at the west end, and they converge in the middle on — nothing.
I respectfully submit that Malone is a donut.
For 2 decades I’ve been puzzling over the donut “hole” we charitably call the Historic Downtown. (C’mon folks! Call it for what it is: A hole!)
I think I’ve figured out the problem.
It’s — drum roll, please! — The Box. I live in a community that thinks in The Box when the subject of “downtown” comes up. The Box that’s plastered over with excuses like “It costs too much,” “They won’t approve it,” “It’s been tried,” “It won’t work,” “It’s not possible,” “Nobody will pay for it,” Research it first,” “We can’t do it,” and “It’s too [fill in the blank].”
Mayors are supposed to get us out of The Box! Mayor Joyce Tavernier. Mayor Joe Gokey. Mayor Brent Stewart. Mayor Todd LePine. Now, Mayor Joe Riccio. All of them stuck in The Box.
There’s only one person I know who really truly honest-to-god genuinely knows how to think outside this suffocating stifling self-fulfilling box of spineless cowardly lame excuses.
If Andrea had been around when Jehovah was looking for someone to lead the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, I’m betting he would have drafted Andrea Dumas for the job. (Moses wasn’t terrific. He had them wandering around the Sinai Desert for 40 years. Andrea would have hustled them across this wasteland to the Promised Land within months.)
Malone’s downtown is a wasteland. Or worse. It’s the hole you drive through lickedy-split, thinking to yourself “Gun it!”
Andrea’s running for the Franklin County legislature. She’s already a village trustee and on the county IDA. Someday, if my prayers are answered, she will be village mayor. In any event, I am 100% in support of her bid for the legislature — ‘cause she thinks outside the box.
If anyone’s going to fix Malone’s donut problem, it’s Andrea. I have no doubt she will be instrumental in fixing lots of other donut problems around the county, but Main St, in my mind, is the Big One. Let’s start with her café idea. She’s wrestled with this for years and is determined to make it happen. And, by golly, something tells me she’s gonna succeed one of these days — and Malone will have the nucleus, the critical mass, to become a community once more.
A community begins with a downtown. A viable, interesting, culturally sophisticated, attractive downtown. (Pizza joints are not culturally sophisticated, nor are law offices and greasy spoons.) Forget about 4 lanes of traffic, by the way; it must be shrunk down to 2. That’s an iron law of urban planning: Small towns can’t have a realistic downtown with 4 lanes of highway bisecting it. Andrea is the only person I know who will go toe-to-toe with the NYS Dept of Transportation and get those 4 lanes cut in half. Once that happens, then we can begin having a serious discussion about “downtown.” (The problem is’t the Flanagan; it’s 4 lanes of deadly, intimidating, scary traffic.)
Carl Sherwin, MD
Dr. Sherwin is running for Franklin County legislature. He’s the incumbent. Frankly, the decision on whether to vote for him is a no brainer. He’s a physician, for god’s sake! (Besides, he’s a cool dude who, the older he gets, looks uncannily like Sigmund Freud.)
Half of what this county does is shell out zillions of our tax dollars to people claiming to be disabled or otherwise unable to work. Who better to take control of this crazy, state-mandated program than a medical doctor? (Would you like to know how many adults in my neighborhood are able-bodied and mentally competent — I know these people personally! — and yet don’t do a stitch of work, year after year, but live off welfare of one sort or another?) I don’t blame the Franklin County DSS, by the way. Commissioner Michele Mulverhill is doing a fabulous job. So, too, is the County Administrator, Donna Kissane. Both women are a gift from God! No, it’s the bullying by NYS that I object to. Anyhow, if anyone on the county legislature is going to understand NYS’s byzantine social services rules and work with Commissioner Mulverhill and Administrator Kissane, it’s Dr. Sherwin.
Mind you, I’m not arguing that every DSS client should have his or her support cut off. To conclude this would be a caricature (comic-strip version) of what I’m saying. My point is we need some creative thinking and boldness on the part of the county legislature to take control of the state’s runaway social services programs.
Doc Sherwin is the one to do it!