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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 6, 2006

today, all poetry is local (punditry, too)

Filed under: pre-06-2006,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 7:12 pm

In a manner of speaking, the very best haiku are all

“local” — they are “right here,” rooted in the immediate nexus

of the poet with the things around him or her.


However, I’m using “local” in this post in its more pedestrain,

geographical meaning. On a beautiful early-March day, I want

to share poems from four haijin who live close by. I hope Yu, Hilary,

John and Tom got to enjoy that blue sky and gauzy moon, with

those moderating temperatures, as I did.





daybreak —

the spider centered

in its web





no mirror

above the sink —

I look at the wall


Tom Clausen, frogpond (XXIX:1 Winter 2006)



mausoleum —
just passing

runners black small

college photos
out of the shoe box
a dry apple core

Yu Chang, The Heron’s Nest (Vol. VIII: 1, March 2006)
mausoleum” and “college photos

after sunset . . .

the shapes

of the clouds



sweet grapes
the conversation passes
between friends

approaching winter
the fragrance of herbs
under sweet straw

threeQuarterMoon Hilary Tann
approaching winter” & “sweet grapes
“after sunset” – (Museum of Haiku Literature Award, from Frogpond XXVIII:3)

cold night
the dashboard lights
of another car


late night —
a waitress repeats
the list of pies

John Stevenson The Heron’s Nest (Vol. VIII: 1, March 2006)
click for “late night” & cold night


tiny check The politicians in Schenectady have been acting stupidly again, but

I’d like to spotlight a pair of citizens who did something about it and

scored a victory against City Hall — even though their elected leaders

did not give them credit, when giving in.




The major’s job in Schenectady pays $60,5000, which is probably low,

when the headaches of running a financially downtrodden small city

are considered. Nonetheless, when running for the top office in a City

facing a very large budget deficit, our Mayor Brian U. Stratton promised

(in a candidate debate) that he would not accept any pay raise that went

into effect during the current term of office, should one be voted by the City

Council (which is controlled by his Democratic Party). There was no

mention of a mayoral pay raise when last year’s budget was presented

and adopted. However, a few weeks later, the City Council voted a 46%

pay increase for the mayor, to $88,000 — effective during the current

mayoral term.


A lot of citizens were appalled by the duplicity. Two of them, Pat

Zollinger and Vince Riggi, went to work in late December. As a result,

Mayor Stratton announced last week that he was ending the effort to

increase his salary prior to the end of his term (Dec.30, 2007) . But,

even that reversal was done in a way that leaves a bad taste.




As Schenectady Gazette columnist Carl Strock put it, giving his

Award for Civic Achievement to Zollinger and Riggi (“No raise OK, but

why kill the petition?”, March 5, 2006, B1; available here):

“After the mayoral raise was so sneakily adopted,

they researched the law and discovered that the enabling

legislation was subject to what is known as a permissive

referendum, if people would only petition. . . .


“With the deadline for a petition only a month away, Pat

and Vince scrambled to collect signatures . . . and they

ended up with what seemed like a comfortable margin,

nearly 500 more than [the required 1500].

The Mayor did not give up his fight at that time. First, he turned to

his Law Department for help to scuttle the petition. When they didn’t

pan out (apparently), Stratton hired an outside expert, Albany lawyer

Thomas Marcelle, costing the City $3500. With just a few days to de-

cide whether the petition is valid, Marcelle told the Mayor that 1255 of

the signatures should be disqualified and Stratton rejected the petition.

Nonetheless, rather than face the growing political storm and a court

challenge, Mayor Stratton decided to cut his losses and give up the

quest for an immediate pay raise.




Strock, in response to these shenanigans, noted “it did not show a

lot of class,” but the Mayor could redeem himself by writing a $3500

check to cover Marcelle’s fee, and volunteering “for a dunking booth

at a street fair this summer.” Carl concluded:

“If it hadn’t been for their [Riggi and Zollinger’s] effort,

there’s no doubt in my mind that Stratton’s backdoor

raise would have stood and we would not have seen

him surrendering the other day at City Hall.


“If you like street-level democracy, as I do, this was

street-level-democracy. Pat and Vince did a heck of

a job.”


I agree! You can get more information on this battle at Pat’s







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