|The Prodigal son goes home to God.|
It was with deep sadness I learned that former city firefighter Justin Moran died Friday night. In the end Justin was his own Judge, Jury and Executioner as he took his own young life. For those of you who don’t remember Justin was arrested on a slew of serious charges back last winter. That arrest led to his removal from the Saratoga Springs Fire Department along with his access to Health Insurance. At the time I lamented that if the city had a comprehensive drug testing program his problem might have been detected earlier before his addition had become so acute. I stand by that observation.
I have been told by Justin’s friends that he took his mother’s death very hard and fell into a deep depression and started using crack cocaine. I have few answers, having had many close friends also die either directly or indirectly from drug and alcohol addition. I do know one thing, the drug war is a complete and total failure. Billions and billions wasted and never once has this city had a serious drug shortage. I can go out tonight and buy a gram of blow as easily as I could in 1975.In fact a gram went for $100 in 75 goes for only $80 today.
In closing I hope his family and especially his children realize the man who took his life was not the loving father that they knew. The man who died was a hopelessly ill individual whose life was tormented by demons that we the healthy can never fully understand. Please try to find some solace in the fact that your father loved you very much. Forgive him for what he did and know that he is in a better place at last free and that someday you will see him again in a better place.
In other news. First night is tomorrow and Downtown looks like shit. Snow banks, blocked crosswalks and very little time to clean it up.
Speaking of First Night what’s this crap about charging $1500 (PLUS hourly labor fee - I believe charged a union-scale holiday pay rate which is higher than $25 an hour) to Saratoga Arts for first night?
First Night this year is on a Monday night - according to your our fee chart,Saratoga Arts should be charged $75. Maybe Saratoga Arts should be charged more, since it uses the space for more than 5 hours. Perhaps 9 or 10 hours. So double the $75 to $150, if the city also charges other non-profits a higher rate for more time.
But the numbers in the Proposed Capital Program tell a different story. Let’s look at Dance Fury because you see that Dance Flurry occurs over a three-day period; at $2000 for the full booking, that's $667 a day - less than half the $1500 Saratoga Arts is charged, though still almost nine times what other nonprofits pay.
But if you're Saratoga Arts, a downtown-based non-profit offering year-round community arts programming, renting the hall for First Night which draws $250,000 to downtown businesses from the over-night staying out-of-town guests who book 650 hotel rooms, plus tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars in additional spending from local and regional visitors to Saratoga Springs, plus generates over $50,000 in feel-good PR for Saratoga Springs (First Night is one of the events referred to by the American Planners Association when it recently gave an award to Saratoga Springs http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2012/10/03/news/doc506c4b948e03c747270516.txt ), plus over $150,000 more that Saratoga Arts invests in year-round staff, contractors, vendors, and musicians to produce First Night), then you pay $1,500 - more than seven times what a private music producer is charged. If you're that music producer, rent the hall for a concert for $200. Charge $25 a ticket for the 300 or more seats. Pay the band, pocket thousands, head out of town. Sweet
All that money Saratoga Arts' First Night pulls downtown translates into tax dollars that come back to City Hall; all those hotel bookings translate into bed-tax money that supports the Tourism and Convention Bureau. With First Night, Saratoga Arts invests and reinvests in the city and its tourism industry - but it's singled out by the city to pay top dollar to raise money for the city.
Where's the sense in that?
A more sensible city government would SUPPORT great community events like First Night; instead, it sees it as a cash cow that it can milk for every short-term dollar it can get whatever damage that might do to the long-term viability of the program and the organization that presents First Night. All to pay the ever increasing personal costs of an out of control city work force that can’t even shove a crosswalk.
There is a short city Council meeting at 10am tomorrow.I will be asking the city council these very questions. They always love to see me.
Saratoga in Decline
We never Sleep
Because we keep making friends