Charter change and reader's views
A reader's view about the proposed change to the Saratoga Springs City Charter has generated a number of comments, including some inaccuracies about The Saratogian's position on the topic.
For decades, The Saratogian has criticized the five-headed monster that is the commission form of government for many reasons, particularly the lack of a point person for action, information and accountability; the inefficiency of a system with departments that can't or won't and don't have to work together; and for a City Council whose members are both legislators and administrators.
If you want a simple example, try to find out whether there's a snow emergency in effect, who calls it, and who calls it off. The public should have one place to call for questions, not be bounced from one department to another by well-meaning people who are hamstrung by an inefficient system.
That said, The Saratogian editorialized against the 2006 charter change referendum, which ultimately failed. The newspaper has not editorialized on the specifics of the current proposal.
It's easy to observe and criticize the deficiencies in an existing system. It's more complicated to determine whether a proposed, long-term replacement to the current form of government would be an improvement. The Saratogian is not taking its responsibility lightly, and does not want to cavalierly weigh in on the merits and shortcomings of the latest proposal.
Another issue that's being discussed is how many words are allowed in letters and reader's views. We state "preferred lengths" as a guide. We never give more or less space to a reader's submission based on the newspaper's editorial position on an issue. The editor who is placing letters and reader's views on the printed page is trying get them in quickly, erring on the side of giving people a chance to have their fair say, and thus encourage intelligent and civil discourse. If you feel you haven't been given that opportunity, talk to me.