Consolidation comments unfair to all parties
To the Editor:
While I would normally not respond to unsigned Sound Off comments (“Consolidation Needed,” June 15-21), those in a recent column are ones I have heard directly myself.1. I agree that it is not fair that the village of Norwood (Potsdam part) and the town outside villages (TOV) have no vote about village of Potsdam dissolution, but that’s how the state has things set up, so it would be good to let them know of your complaints.
2. It is not fair to state that those who live in the village are “relatively wealthy,” while those in the town (presumably meaning the “town outside villages”) are “comparatively poorer.” There are well-to-do and those who struggle to make ends meet in both the villages and the TOV. Please do not stereotype like this.
3. It is not fair to say that refusals to cooperate are entirely on the side of the village trustees. Blame for lack of cooperation falls on the town councilors, too. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that the two boards are willing to work together hard enough to try to find solutions which will be Win/Win situations for both the town outside and the villages. Yes, we do need more consolidation, but blame is not one-sided.
4. It is not fair to lump Clarkson and SUNY Potsdam together with regard to security forces. SUNY Potsdam is required by the state to have a sworn police force, with similar law enforcement authority. Clarkson cannot do this. For felonies, vehicle accidents, other emergency calls, their campus safety must call the Potsdam police. Village residents also pay for the Potsdam police who provide security for the Canton-Potsdam Hospital, which is a regional facility. They are called there far more often than most of us would suspect. Both Clarkson and the hospital do make contributions to the village, so this helps cover some of the cost.
5. It is not fair to imply that all the Potsdam police do is to ticket people for public urination. Effective deterrence encourages compliance with laws and codes. Without enforcement, laws would be broken far more often than they are now. I agree that we live in an area without high crime, but we live in a community with more than 7,000 students, and most are 17 to 22 years old. Many of us will agree that we did some things when we were young and with a group that we would never think about now. The police break up fights downtown, enforce traffic laws, enforce noise and beer blast ordinances, and other tasks which keep all of us safe and keep the village of Potsdam a good place to live.
Finally, while the SUNY police have jurisdiction on the campus and on the sides of the streets immediately adjacent to the campuses, they do not have jurisdiction in the rest of the village. Even if there are incidents involving SUNY students off-campus, they are handled by the Potsdam police. The SUNY force cannot be used to police an area beyond the actual campus. This is contrary to what most people think, but it is the case.