Editorial: Debate reveals deep issues

The Town of Niskayuna’s rec center debate has come to an end (for now) and it’s taught the public a lot more about its government than its sports clubs.

You can read the full story on the front page. Unfortunately, even this seemingly simple development comes with finger pointing and divisiveness, which have become something of the process du jour as of late.

We haven’t yet weighed in on the rec center on this page, in part because residents have been engaged in a full and lengthy debate amongst themselves. In the end, this is a decision about what the town values when it comes to spending tax dollars.

Now that this chapter of the saga has closed, though, we can say a few words about the process. Councilwoman Julie McDonnell, who spearheaded this idea, did not mince words when commenting on the state of things, blaming “misinformation and political grandstanding” for blocking the project. We don’t know about that first one, but there was plenty of chest pounding and overblown rhetoric from both sides during this circus.

But that’s not a new story. What’s truly troubling are the events of the past few days, when the decision was made to put the rec center plans on ice. Two of the board’s five members say they weren’t even cut in on the decision and had to learn of it through the media.

The other three members apparently all came to the same foregone conclusion independently and then asked members of the Nisakyuna Soccer and Lacrosse clubs out for coffee to discuss the matter. You know, government.

It’s not much secret what members of this board think about the project individually. The debate has been long and open, as it should. But when it comes time for a decision to be made, it is disheartening that it was done outside the walls of Town Hall, announced first in private to “stakeholders” (we’d think the taxpayer would be one of those, by the way) and then put out to a grand total of four email addresses at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.

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