Did Mayor Sottile Just Call Me A Pig?

      For the past several months the future of the Everette Hodge Midtown Neighborhood Center on Franklin Street in Midtown Kingston has been uncertain.    There was a plan generated in Kingston City Hall to put the YWCA in charge of the programs at “Hodge Center.”  When only two alderpersons cared enough to come to the public hearing on the future of the Hodge Center to hear all the dozens of supporters of the program express their hopes and opinions, it was not taken as a good sign.

        Last week it was announced that the YWCA had been chosen as the entity to run the Center.   At the time, the “impression” was that no programs at the Center now would be terminated.  At a meeting yesterday, the truth was revealed.   ALL the programs at the Hodge Center, INCLUDING Make a Difference Day scheduled in less than a month have been tanked as of Friday the Thirteenth.   In three days, the Hodge Center, as we have known it, will be history.   Food for Thought will have one last party Friday Night.  When the people come out for the NA and AA meetings and Order of the Rock and Bible Study and the Outreach Program for Heart of the Catskills, they will find a locked building.

     There will be no apple pie and coffe over the Sunday paper on Sunday.    Next Monday, kids coming to the afterschool program for help with their homework will be met with  a construction–or destruction–site.  There are conflicting reports as to when, if ever, the Hodge Center will reopen. 

         I went to Kingston City Hall to learn firsthand the city’s plans for the Hodge Center.   I met Mayor Sottile in the driveway.  I wish I had my video camera with me.   Word cannot capture the disgust and contempt in his face.   He said that the Hodge Center was a pigstye and that the people running it were pigs.  Actually, if someone tried to keep pigs in that building, the UCSPCA would arrest them.   it is infested with ants, the hot water heater works intermittently, the bathroom doors have been broken for years, the toilets do not flush, the roof leaks, the basement is flooded….and in spite of all that, it served hundreds of people every week.

          “Sow” Elder Sandra Hopgood Thompson has sacrificed her health, her carreer aspirations, and most of her cash to keep the programs going.   “Boars” Frank Nazzaro and Brither Waters have  devoted all their waking hours to serving the community–and serving the community apple pie and chicken soup.  I am sure these people have more to do with the rest of their lives than to serve their consumers….but will the consumers have more to do with the rest of their lives?    Mayor Sottile doesn’t care, he isn’t running for reelection.  His kids have a place to go for a hot meal, he doesn’t attend the 12-Step programs hosted at the Hodge Center.   He has nothing to lose.

         Starting May 13, Kingston has everything to lose.

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