In an earlier post I gave Mayor
Lou Rosamilia credit for standing by his guns and not helping residents thaw
out their pipes in Lansingburgh.
By the letter of the law, he was
probably right too because the city requires someone have a license to use the
equipment needed to thaw out the pipes and if the city contracted such a person
it would be “gifting” taxpayer money to help only a few residents.
I also said if I were mayor I would
have fixed the pipes anyway. It’s not worth the headache for starters, and if
doing so violated the city code and/or charter it would take someone to make a
stink for it to matter. Nobody is going to make a stink out of helping a cancer
survivor or a home with three kids getting the water turned back on. They will,
however, make a big stink if you don’t help out. And it's not like the two documents have been sacrosanct by any administration.
If the mayor was trying to shed
his “nice guy” image in preparation for another run, he picked the wrong issue
to stand on.
Here’s how it works in
Gloversville, my hometown.
I visited my parents on Monday and
at about 5:30 p.m. or so my mom discovered they had no water. Despite the fact
it was over 40 degrees for the first time in weeks and weeks, the pipes froze –
for the first time in 47 years. Evidently, just because the air is a bit warmer
doesn’t mean the ground has lost its grip on winter.
|PIPE THAWING MACHINE|
Anyway, my parents called the
Water Department and a recording gave them a non-emergency number at the Police
Department. Whoever answered that number, gave them the number for someone on call
at the Water Department. They reached that guy and he and another guy came to
the house at about 7:30 p.m. with a funky machine that drives hot water and
stem into the pipe.
Two hours later the water was
They were told that as the air
temperature starts to get a warmer
during the day the snow melts into the earth. And because the nights are still
cold, it freezes and the frost line actually goes deeper for a short period of
time. Like I said, they built the house 47 years ago and it’s the first time
the pipes froze.
The Water Department guys told
them the first time is on the house but to leave their water running a little
bit (kind of like the warning given to homeowners in Troy but in G’Ville they
shut the meter off so residents won’t get charged for the water that will do nothing
but run down the drain.) If the guys had to come back, it would be a $250 flat fee
to thaw the pipes out again.
After reading my blog and hearing
about Troy on the news for more than five days in a row, my parents were, to
say the least, thrilled with the service they got from the Gloversville Water
My dad, who with my brother owns a
butcher store, brought the guys who came a couple nice steaks and my mom wrote
a letter to the hometown paper, The Leader Herald, praising their work.
|WATER DEPARTMENT GUY |
IN MY PARENTS' BASEMENT
Both of those are fine gestures,
but in a small town like Gloversville everyone knows, likes and respects the
butcher (an honest, hard working small business owner) and everyone knows, likes and respects the nursery school teacher (in
her 30 years, my mom taught a good chunk of two Gloversville generations and since
retiring is now involved with so many civic activities my dad can’t even keep
track.) Their word of mouth endorsement is worth more to a politician than any
minor party line in Troy.
And, I just watched yet another
negative story (how many days in a row now?) about Troy and the city’s refusal to help the residents in
Lansingburgh get the pipes unfrozen – pipes owned by the city, no less.
By this point in time, Rosamilia
and company should be used to their bad decisions making bad press.
Many of the bad decision though
(King Street, King Fuels, not addressing the pending financial nightmare,
illegal sidewalks, appointing a police commissioner, no union contracts, a
shady attempt to sell the Scolite property, and a host of other snafus) are
only noticed by those who really pay attention.
Everyone, though, pays attention
when those in City Hall screw up basic services like plowing snow, picking up
garbage and making sure water gets to a home.
It leads me to again ask: who the
hell is giving the mayor advice? And whomever the hell that is should have been
fired about three years ago. It also reinforces my other observation: he won’t