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Straightforward questions and answers

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To The Editor:

If you pay any attention to politics, no doubt it becomes evident that when politicians/officials are asked straightforward questions they seldom give straightforward answers. Instead, it’s evasive, vague, change the subject or no answer at all. Disrespecting or verbally becoming hostile to any citizen who asks questions or challenges is unacceptable, unprofessional and lacking even common courtesy. Local governments are no different when it comes to this issue. If no answers are forthcoming, the usual thought becomes one of what they are hiding. Misuse and abuse of power exists at all levels of government, from federal down to a village.

Every citizen has the absolute right to question any official of their local government and to expect an answer, for these officials are, with few exceptions, making their living off taxpayers. That seems to be forgotten at times. On the other hand, it is known that if one asks too pertinent a question or challenges that intimidation, hostility can follow, especially if that person has a business, is employed or has relatives employed who can be intimidated. It happens at all levels of government.

Following are two questions forwarded to our city manager. I had sent an email to a councilor a while back and not only did I not receive a confirmation of the mail being read, but not response at all. Councilors’ email addresses are listed on the city’s website. In trying to find out why it was not answered, I discovered that the address appeared to be shared by the councilor’s wife. This led to my question as to why councilors do not have email addresses with .org as other officials have. They need secure email addresses. No response.

My other question was regarding restricted parking hours in the 200 block of King Street. I asked if there was a moratorium on issuing tickets, as I have observed some of the same vehicles parked most of the day for a few months now and no tickets on their vehicles. My email was forwarded to the chief of police, again with no direct response. This issue seems to have occurred since Dr. Kotha’s office was closed. Residents of that block do not park their vehicles in the restricted street, so that leaves many of the vehicles belonging to employees of the hospital. This is only speculation, but I thought perhaps a city official who works at the hospital might possibly have been influential in the backing off of ticketing hospital employees’ vehicles parked in the restricted zone. Police used to make a chalk mark on tires and then check back on them. It was actually suggested that I could call the police station reporting violations and then they would come out and chalk the tires. Since when did this become the job of a citizen?

Tickets can run up to $85. Revenue is being lost while our taxes are rising. Recently in the police blotter I noticed that a ticket had been issued to a woman who had parked in a No Parking zone, so I asked myself, how was that different than ticketing vehicles that are parked most of the day in a restricted zone? When no answers are forthcoming, speculation raises its head. It sounds like selective ticketing. You decide.

“The most beautiful thing in the world is freedom of speech.” — Diogenes (400-325 B.C.), Greek philosopher.

Drusilla Howland

Ogdensburg

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