Reports surfaced that an event held at Arbor Park this weekend was host to over 1500 people and a covid-19 spreader event. While I will refrain from calling anyone a liar or reporting of false media facts and I will be straight up and say that I wasn't at the event but If 1500 people occupied Arbor Park this would be the first time in ages that has happened.
With violence gripping Albany streets and parents afraid to send kids outside for the fear of stray gunfire an community event was loosely organized to give kids an outlet and build community support. My reporting and from what I seen posted on social media accounts had a number not remotely close to that. So why the wild discrepancy in the numbers reported and if 1500 people occupied Arbor Park for an unauthorized gathering, where in the hell was the police. I mean surely this area would have a police presence. It has been an area prone to crime. The better question is why the community feels it has to violate a state ordinance to provide a safe haven for it's children to recreate in their own neighborhood?
So while the media reported on the event and probably embellished the numbers a bit, why is it that nobody is reporting on the real issue? So lets take a look at the real issue. Reporting that 1500 people were exposed to covid-19 at this unsanctioned event serves two purposes. For one, it takes ownership off the mayor for those of us that don't know any better, and two, it utilizes a pandemic to serve as the catalyst for discouraging the use of a park that the city is trying to promote as underutilized to rip it out from under the community.
Lets take a look at this from the standpoint of this being a unsanctioned event. As the Mayor of Albany Kathy Sheehan needs to be removed if a 1500 person gathering took place complete with marching bands, step groups and pop up shops took place in her city all day Saturday right next to a city fire department and she knew nothing about it. The position that it was unsanctioned further promotes the idea what many citizens feel they already know, Kathy Sheehan is asleep at the wheel. Are you seriously asking us to believe she knew nothing about this gathering? Are you asking us to believe that for hours on a Saturday afternoon no police cars drove in the vicinity of Arbor Park? Cmon man, reports suggest that there was in fact a police presence at the event. So lets flip the coin on this. If you find the latter to improbable to believe. The alternative is that she in fact did know about it and by virtue of not sending in police to break up the gathering, her inaction was in fact complicity and it should not be reported as an unsanctioned community event. It was in effect a sanctioned community event.
So why the reports of an unsanctioned community event? And why report and embellish the attendance levels. I can only think of a few reasons and I could be wrong but maybe there was actually a covid-19 case or cases that reported that they were at the event. this is highly unlikely due to the fact the event took place on Saturday and reports tying this into Covid-19 surfaced on Sunday. However, if this was the case the Mayor would need to distance herself from such an event. The second reason is the ongoing spat over use of that park between Sheehan and community organizers. The mayor in an attempt to discourage use of the park by community organizers pushes out covid-19 as a excuse to fight usage of the park supporting her agenda to take the park from the community with little to no political damage and rent it out to potential users from other areas. This is not that far fetched in that the park is a beautiful sports complex with lights which is a premium in the area for local recreation leagues not from the community. Or maybe she decided to look the other way because she understands the need for these events in these areas but really didn't want to sanction it. This final hypothesis leads me to the most pressing question. Where the hell is leadership?
If the position of the Mayor's office is this event was unsanctioned then why wasn't it sanctioned and monitored to be made safe and covid-19 compliant? This area has been literally devastated by the recent crime wave and covid-19. The people of this area need a safe place to recreate. If your not going to make the areas outside their homes safe for their children to play then at the very least provide a safe park for them to play. How dare you try to turn the community against those who are showing a genuine concern for the welfare of the community by insinuated that irresponsible community leaders have held a unsanctioned event and exposed them all to covid-19. You should have been working with community leaders to make sure the event was safe for the community. From an outsider looking critically at the events and how it's playing out, it looks like just another situation where politicians are playing politics with economically disadvantaged peoples lives. But hey who am I. Just one man with an opinion. Yeah I know everybody has got one.