The Blueprint Binghamton has gone through many changes during the review of Mayor Rich David and Binghamton City Council. The final plan will be up for a vote in July but many provisions have been stripped. Planning Commissioner Mark Bowers advocated "for changing language to 'explore' instead of 'create' for instance, to keep some important initiatives in the plan for the future."
The Mayor's comments (also attached to this article) on the Blueprint are quite revealing of his stands. In general, he is against nearly all restrictions on business and development and he is suspicious of government regulation. That is pro forma conservative Republican.
The first comment calls the 7,449 individuals involved in public input a Low percentage of involvement." Considering he was elected by only 4,470 votes, this seems a little specious. Then he thinks that non-residents who come to Binghamton to work, do business (Binghamton is the county seat), or play are not contributors to our economic, social and cultural well-being and should not be heard.
He is unabashedly pro fracking, proposing that the City sell money to oil drilling companies for instance. He is wed to cars, more parking, and not so eager to embrace other transportation like bikes. "Too much roadway for bikes." He refers to public art but he wonders if "anyone asked businesses if they want public art?"
The 19 pp document, which includes staff responses to his comments show his lack of preparedness and knowledge on many issues, while offering extensive opinions on things that he likes. For instance, he pushes Youth Success, a student program that promotes safer school and security officers in school. Or, promoting the Discover center and Zoo. But his understanding on Brownfield Opportunity areas like the Charles St area or the Brandywine Corridor is not up to speed.
Mayor David uses the Blueprint to pitch some of his ideas like city staff visiting businesses in town to assess needs and offer assistance to expand. He has a number of initiatives like the Binghamton Quick Response Team, Binghamton iNSPIRED (investment in cultural activities, Jumpstart Binghamton (provide investment capital).
All in all, it's a good read and a good Blueprint to the Mayor's priorities.
Obama is coming to the Baseball Hall of Fame to promote tourism. That's great, and we hold New York's tourism industry very dearly, but we'll also let the President know that fracking would be disastrous for tourism. There's no question fracking would undermine the economy and jobs, which is certainly in Cooperstown, where the town, countless local businesses and so many residents have come out for a ban on fracking.
More broadly, it's critical that we rally because Obama's support for fracking has betrayed Americans across the country. Fracking has caused widespread water contamination, dangerous air pollution, terrible health and community impacts, and is 100% contradictory to the President's promises to act on climate change. Instead, we need to move away from fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy!
So come from near and far to tell President Obama: no fracking way, yes renewables!
WHEN: Thursday, May 22nd, 11:30AM - Afternoon
WHERE: Cooperstown, outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, 25 Main St., Cooperstown, NY. Exact location to be determined.
WHO: Concerned New Yorkers and organizations.
CARPOOL: Sign up here to carpool from Binghamton, Ithaca, Syracuse and elsewhere - http://tinyurl.com/CooperstownRally-Obama
Bring weather appropriate clothing and appropriate footwear! Also, there are lots of great local cafes and restaurants in Cooperstown - so consider enjoying and supporting the local businesses while in town!
Again this is a critical opportunity to tell Obama that he must end his reckless support of fracking, and we need a lot of people there to make the message heard loud and clear.
In our ongoing effort to promote better communication among community groups in the Binghamton area, we wanted to pass along some blogs that caught our attention. If you have suggestions for future Local Blog Watch email us at binghamtonbridge @gmail.com. And if you write articles for blog or newsletters, consider cross posting them here so more people can know of your work!
The Challenging Racism Coordinating Committee is a BU based group with a fairly active site at www.nzinga.org. They carry book reviews, videos, local actions and articles about racism. An April article, Confronting Racism through the darkened lens of Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness: Continuing the Black Radical Tradition by Toivo Asheeke gives some history of racism through the life story of Steve Biko, South African leader/activist and examines what it takes to challenge racism.
The Broome Arts Mirror is a publication of the Broome County Arts Council. It features reviews-- actual reviews, a rarity these days in our DIY Press and S-B. And in fact, some of the writers --Lee Shepherd and George Basler-- are former journalists who are good solid writers and good observers of local cultural offerings.
The People's Press is a radical paper and the articles are posted on their blog. Worker's Rights, unemployment, economic articles are likely to get their attention, topics which you are not likely to see anywhere else. The bridge sometimes cross posts their stuff--it's a point of view that doesn't get much play locally.
Let us know if there is a local blog you thing bridge readers would like to know about. Or if you are a writer, cross post!
Divergence Opens at Cooperative Gallery 213
“Divergence” features the work of Martha Colgan and Nancy Ryan, both accomplished artists at the Cooperative Gallery. The show opens on June 6 and continues through June 28, 2014.
Colgan continues her exploration of images taken from the natural world. Most are mixed media pieces with combinations of watercolor, pastel, drawing and painting. “The intimacy of looking into trees with layers of branches continues to inspire me,” according to the artist. “Creating layers of color and texture keep pulling me to explore various media in each piece. Each image takes me in a new direction.”
Nancy Ryan’s work is diverse both in terms of imagery and media. Says Ryan, “It represents a cross section of some of my favorite themes such as roots, dolls, and the human figure. The work is recently created and employs a broad range of drawing and printmaking media, pen and ink, watercolor, charcoal, pencil, etching, monotype, mixed media and clay. Many of the smaller drawings are taken directly from my sketchbook.”
The Cooperative Gallery, a popular stop on the First Friday Art Walk,
Broome County Arts Council has issued an open call for nominations for 2014 Heart of the Arts and Lifetime Achievement Awards. This is the 10th year that these community awards will be given to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to and impact on the arts in Broome County. Official forms and instructions for submitting nominations are available for download on BCAC’s website at http://www.broomearts.org/2014-heart-of-the-arts-awards/. Hard copies may be requested by calling 723-4620 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submitting Heart of the Arts and Lifetime Achievement Award nominations is 5:00pm, Friday June 20th at the Broome County Arts Council, 81 State Street, Suite 501, Binghamton, NY 13901. This is a receipt deadline, NOT a postmark deadline. Nominations must arrive at BCAC by 5:00pm, Friday June 20th to be considered. From nominations submitted by the community, two Heart of the Arts Awards recipients will be chosen by the ballot votes of BCAC’s100+ member organizations and artists. From nominations submitted by the community, one “HOTA” Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be chosen by the ballot votes of BCAC’s Board of Directors. The community has been an essential partner in the “HOTA” selection process since 2005. This year’s awards will be presented September 22nd during the “10th Annual Heart of the Arts Awards Celebration & $10K Challenge” fundraiser to be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Binghamton. For more information, call 723-4620 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Binghamton Community Lab which examines local issues and problems on the third Tuesday of every month at the Lost Dog Cafe. This months topic was Community Media and the Binghamton Bridge presented a slide show on its updated website, and encouraged people to post articles as well as event information so that "the community can have a deeper understanding of each other's issues and can broaden their reach." Articles on local issues and politics have recently had several hundred "reads" on the site and is creating a community discussion on topics such as the Blueprint Binghamton comprehensive plan, Mural Arts, and City politics.
To see the video by mainstream WICZ follow this link.
I'm really happy and excited to send information out about the 4th annual Big Splash this year in Owego, NY. This year's lineup is absolutely incredible, and is going to simply be a blast. I'll be bringing my dancing shoes!
It is with a degree of frustration that I announce this in Owego, rather than Rec Park in Binghamton as it has been for the past 3 years. Our newly elected Mayor of the City of Binghamton, Rich David, has quickly developed a reputation as being very media savvy, and rather than go on the record as being in favor of fracking, he prefers to quietly sit on permit applications until they are too late to act on. He has allowed his petty political opinions to hurt our local businesses and community by making it incredibly difficult to obtain permits for anything at all. Big Splash draws thousands of people from out of town who spend their money locally, and show an awesome side of our City, and I'm quite unhappy to see our city lose this event.
I invite you to call the Mayor's Office at (607) 772-7zero01, and let them know that you are not in favor of his hurting local businesses by not granting permits for events which help the City.
All of this aside, here are details on the 4th Annual Owego Big Splash Sustainability Fair:
Saturday May 17th was supposed to be Mural Fest for the BU management students group re-BOLD Binghamton but it has been seriously downsized. The dream started when their management class invited LA Mural artist Man One to speak at BU on March 25th. He also spoke at the Cooperative Gallery sponsored by the Dept of Public Art the following day. The plan was to paint at least three murals in Binghamton in one week and bring Man One and his LA colleagues back to paint with the community.
YOU painting a mural on a school bus redesigned as a mobile farmer's market and food bank!
YOU dancing to music from local bands, including Binghamton University's own Strange Appeal and Basic Printer!
YOU watching and interacting with local artists while they paint on various ?canvasses?
?YOU enjoying the company of friends and family!
Street Art themed music festival!
Celebrate BU graduation, celebrate summer, celebrate local talent!
COME GET CREATIVE WITH ReBOLD Binghamton and QuarterYellow Studios this Saturday 12-5PM, Martin Luther King Promenade (next to 5 Court Street)
Our team is organizing 8 artists for the bus this weekend. We still have 4-6 spots open, each one involving an 8'x11' section of both left and right sides of the bus. If a QYS artist or anyone else you know would like to be involved, please have them email us a sketch of their idea for that section by Friday AM, so we can show it to CHOW before Saturday and make sure it aligns with the purpose of the bus. They are looking for themes of gardens, fresh food, and the community & Binghamton area. It will be used as a mobile food bank & farm stand. firstname.lastname@example.org
We will provide oil-based paint for anyone working on the bus. We will pay $25 to each of the bus artists for their day's work-- the Belmar food truck will also be making food for them, as I understand.
Set up will begin around 11am, and sketching/painting around noon. Then, once artists have made their outlined sketches, they can lead community members in painting by numbers until the bus is BOLD! Then, the artists can go back over and touch up their section where they see fit. Sealer will be applied at another time and place.
The following was posted on the re-Bold Binghamton Facebook site:
"The reBOLD Binghamton Crew has a huge dream for public art in Binghamton. To make this dream become fully realized, all parts of the community need to work together. Unfortunately, the city's Committee on Architecture and Urban Design (CAUD) did not approve our permit request to paint a portrait of a young Binghamton girl on the Rathskeller Pub. The reBOLD Binghamton Crew is confident that public art has the power to transform this city and so we will continue to work to makeBinghamton vibrant and BOLD.
While we search for new wall-artist-city partnerships, we will be running a KickStarter Campaign this summer to raise money to make this event even more BOLD! We expect to host MuralFest 2014 in late summer/early fall, and will keep you informed as dates, times, and locations become finalized.
The reBOLD Binghamton movement can't be stopped and so we will still give you a chance to create public art this Saturday! "
On Saturday, re-Bold will be painting a a CHOW Bus on the MLK Promenade.
With a longer time line it may be more realistic to create murals. CAUD will no longer be approving designs for public art but at the moment the new Public Arts Commission has not been authorized by New York State, according to sources in the City Administration. Mayor David has not named members of the Commission. Other factors are getting funding, insurance, skilled artists, volunteers, and permission from building owners.
There are at least 5 mural projects this year: the Dept of Public Art got a grant from the Chenango Co Arts Council to do a series of murals inside the Water St. Parking Ramp. Kady Perry is slated to paint a mural on the Binghamton Hots Building and three locations have been funded by the city with Kady and Bruce Greig. Another mural fest is scheduled for August. And Kady Perry is teaching a BCC class in June on mural arts if there is enough interest. see below.
We have heard the pundits and read the bloggers discuss the reasons for continual low voter turnout. This problem received national attention during the special election held earlier this year in Florida. However, it is not a new phenomenon; especially here in the Binghamton area.
Historically, mid-year election voter turnout is low. However, the so-called mid year elections races are the ones that tend to have a more direct affect on our lives. A senatorial, congressional, gubernatorial, mayoral or village dog control officer race will ultimately touch on more personal topics than a presidential race. It is normally not until after all the votes are tallied that voters; especially those that did not go to the polls, begin to voice their disdain and criticism.
Many political scientists claim that it is based on "voter apathy". I believe it goes far beyond that. It is more of the voter not being fully informed on the importance of voting during these off years. Voter education in this regard it extremely important.
It's the inside story of the documentary Citizen Koch, which was supposed to air on PBS—before executives yanked the film out of fear of upsetting the billionaire Koch brothers. (By the way: It turned out David Koch had donated $23 million to PBS.1)
As you might expect from a couple of documentary producers who helped Michael Moore make Fahrenheit 9/11, the directors of Citizen Koch didn't take this lying down. The story of how it all happened, and what happened next, will inspire you.
Thanks for all you do.
P.S. Don't use iTunes? No problem. You can listen to the podcast on the web, tune in via Stitcher (an Android and iOS app), or subscribe via RSS. Send us email (we read every one!) at email@example.com. And if you like the show, be sure to subscribe and post a review on iTunes!
P.P.S. Want to see Citizen Koch when it comes out this June? To find out whether it's showing near you, or organize a screening in your area, head over to CitizenKoch.com.
1. "A Word from Our Sponsor: Public television's attempts to placate David Koch," The New Yorker, May 27, 2013