We remain a newspaper committed to addressing the problems faced by our region and its many different communities.
We take that role seriously and work diligently toward identifying possible solutions.
We don’t for a second believe we are always right, or that our solutions are the only possibilities, but we do believe we play an important role in beginning the conversation between public officials and regular citizens and holding them accountable.
And every once in awhile, we make a difference.
Our editorial board is now a seven-member body — including three citizen representatives — that takes this responsibility seriously.
This is the 249th editorial we published during 2017. Our weekly “Boos and Bravos” column and our “Best of the Blogs” feature are included in that number.
One of the great mischaracterizations of the work we do on the editorial page is that it is all about politics and that it is motivated by some ideology.
That is not true.
There are actually very few editorials about local politics, and considering the unrelenting controversies out of Washington this year, we believe we have shown great restraint in addressing those as well.
Looking back, we covered a lot of ground this year.
We reviewed the variety and tone of our viewpoints and concluded we are a bunch of cheapskates.
We repeatedly returned to the subject of schools and municipalities saving money — even small amounts — and being frugal with taxpayer money. Anyone who proposes a million-dollar capital projects is probably going to hear us say there must be a better way.
We are relentless on that subject and regularly insist that municipalities and schools find ways to share services or combine resources to save money.
Despite this fiscal conservatism, it is a mystery to us why there are still those who regularly say we have a “liberal” focus.
Our review showed we are a regular critic of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature for their inaction, lack of transparency and inability to get common-sense legislation passed while continuing to be fiscally irresponsible.
That said, we did praise Gov. Cuomo for moving forward with free tuition at SUNY schools and signing legislation that strengthens the Freedom of Information Law.
We acknowledge being a regular critic of Rep. Elise Stefanik on a variety of issues — although we have been surprised by her about-face on climate change — but still believe her decision-making is too often motivated by adherence to her party’s agenda and not what is best for her constituents.
Our editorial board was more involved with interviewing political candidates this year than at any point in the past. We interviewed 39 candidates before the election and endorsed in nearly 20 races.
We’d like to point out that our endorsements were evenly split between the two major political parties. We’d also like to point out that was not our intent. We simply tried to find the best candidate for the job, regardless of party.
While the town of Queensbury election continues to be a source of some contention, you might be surprised to learn we wrote just one editorial about the email controversy, although it was mentioned in several of the candidate endorsements.
Along the way, our research led us to believe police officers should work 10-hour shifts instead of 12; there was more tourism potential in bike trails than trains; the tiki boat and brew-cycle both would be fun draws in Lake George; and political attacks went too far when they called out Dan Stec for getting his photo taken with a Democrat at a summer picnic.
We called out a town judge for taking part in a political rally; a county judge for sealing records that should have been public; a business owner for not giving access to a Fort Ann cemetery; and the Queensbury Central Fire Department for not shutting down its blood-curdling whistle.
We don’t know where most of those issues fall on the political spectrum and that is part of the reason for this review. We are looking for solutions and debate on real community problems, nothing more.
This is the daily work we do. It is not always fascinating, but we believe it is important.
During our series on illegal immigrants in our community over the summer, we framed the debate in four separate editorials. We hope that added clarity to a national debate that had ramifications here at home.
We were concerned about SUNY Adirondack arming campus security and overjoyed at the success of the Adirondack Coalition with the local pro hockey team.
When several local nursing homes received significant drops in their ratings, we called out Centers Health Care and asked them to meet with our editorial board. They obliged and gave credible responses to our concerns, while we assured them we would be watching their progress.
The goal was to always move our community forward.
But two editorials stand out for us more than any others.
On June 18, we called out Queensbury Town Board member Doug Irish for his assertion in a public meeting that “you can’t believe half the things in it” regarding the news in The Post-Star.
We reminded Irish that would be 150 news stories a month and demanded that he tell us which 150 stories were not based on fact. We would have been surprised if he found one.
The editorial board never heard from Irish.
On June 30, we published a rare front-page editorial after members of the Moreau Town Board and Moreau Supervisor Gardner Congdon said in a public meeting that our report of what was said at an earlier meeting regarding a local youth league was not true.
“Fake news,” Congdon said at the time.
The meeting had been recorded by the town. Our reporter found the passages she cited on tape.
We demanded an apology to the reporter whose integrity had been attacked.
We offered the Town Board an opportunity to meet with our editors and reporters and tell us why they lied. There was no apology.
There was no meeting.
Despite these attacks — and others — we will continue to lead a conversation about the problems facing our communities by filling this space with important information we believe is important to the debate.