Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the Friends of the Prendergast Library for establishing a Book Sale/Family Literacy Fund to provide used books to organizations that serve children and families. The effort has been particularly pushed by Janet Forbes, a library volunteer, and Daniel and Linda Fellows, founding donors. Any organization seeking free books can apply for a $20 voucher and, if approved, pick up a voucher and select titles from the outgoing library book sale. Individuals or organizations interested in donating to the fund should contact the library at 484-7135, ext. 253. Checks may also be mailed to Prendergast Library at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown. Checks are to be made payable to Prendergast Library, with Book Sale/Family Literacy Fund in the note field. Any effort to spread books and reading should be looked upon favorably.

A hearty amen to a thumbs down from our sister paper in Gloversville. Recently, we heard about yet another New York public authority that is mishandling money. According to a state comptroller’s audit, the New York Power Authority leases public land in the St. Lawrence region to two golf courses, a local boating club and a private university at little or no cost and often without collecting the rent. The audit says the authority collects only a few thousand dollars in rent each year for the properties. The annual payments should exceed $200,000, the audit says. For example, a private St. Lawrence golf course rents land assessed at $1.8 million from the authority for $2,000 a year, while the fair market rent is $180,000 a year. The audit was the latest revelation regarding the mishandling or misuse of money by public authorities. The state should monitor these agencies more closely and, in some cases, demand reform. A 2004 state comptroller’s report stated, “The time for meaningful reform to increase accountability, deter misconduct and reduce waste and inefficiency at the more than 640 public authorities and subsidiary corporations in New York state has come.” Did that time ever arrive?

Thumbs up to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation’s latest Meeting of the Minds reception. The foundation invites the public to meet with Kevin Sanvidge, recently appointed Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency CEO and county Planning and Economic Development director, starting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 16, at the Robert H. Jackson Center. Those planning to attend are asked to make reservations by Friday by emailing Sarah Marciniak at Sanvidge should be commended for being available to meet with the public and to discuss an issue as important as economic development, while foundation officials deserve credit for putting together a public forum for such an exchange to happen.