24 thoughts on “Mayor Kelly Calls for City Holiday Commemorating Juneteenth”

    1. Please, before everyone jumps on the proverbial bandwagon, can someone (officially) post here, the number of holidays that city employees already get? Add to that, the number of sick days, personal days, and in some cases (PD, FD) hours earned that can accumulate — over years — and then get paid at a higher pay rate when cashed in? Compare those benefits to the average taxpayer in Saratoga Springs, then get back to me. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Henry 37 isn’t wrong. Municipal and state employees do have a lot of time off especially as they increase their years of service. I am not sure that one more day will break the bank but one solution could be to revise the contracts to eliminate one of the extra days City employees receive around the major holidays. The symbolism surrounding a Juneteenth holiday is an important acknowledgment of the debt owed to the people who were enslaved in America.

        Chris Mathiesen


  1. i think taxpayers can live with re-arranging the holidays, but the unions historically do not want to give up something they already have. Take the month of November, for example: Days off include Election day, Veteran’s day and Two days at Thanksgiving. Maybe make Thanksgiving one day, and have Juneteenth off? I still want to see the official listing of holidays granted to city employees.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Chris:

      Theater of the Absurd?

      Besides, do we also owe a holiday to those young slave children…those young Irish boys forced to work in the mines in the late 1800’s? Remember the Kentucky coal mines? You know–the descendants of the 90,000 or so Irish slaughtered like fodder fighting in the Civil War to “free” the slaves? Did anybody thank the Irish?

      Or how about those indentured Scottish servants back in the day, oh, so long ago?
      They worked for their rich masters for near nothing but lived a rich life yet died poor; without equity.

      And what about those Jewish and Italian immigrant girls, forced to work in those sweat shops for slave’s wages in NYC last turn of the century?

      And let’s not forget the Trail of Tears.
      Oh, those poor people!

      And we won’t even mention the Japanese-Americans rounded up by FDR.
      Forgot, right?

      We are a generation of Americans being held responsible for something we had no part in creating. And a generation of others whom haven’t a clue why.

      For clarity’s sake:
      Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves are doing today?

      “Theater of the Absurd” The French had it right.
      Be careful what you wish for.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. John, I know you’ve let Justin have his say on this blog but I’m shocked you’ve allowed this post to stand. His line of “If they weren’t…where would they be today?” is implying that black Americans should be grateful that their ancestors were brought here as slaves and treated like property, which is absolutely disgusting. I’m sure he’s going to hide behind his “Just wondering” and say that’s not what he meant, as he has done in prior posts when called out, but there’s no good reading of his commentary and you letting it through speaks very poorly to this blog.

        As for what you actually wrote, each of the things mentioned are a stain on America’s history, but the slavery of MILLIONS of black people, and the subsequent mistreatment of black Americans, in unequivocally the most despicable domestic practice allowed in this country’s history. From 1619 until 1865, black slaves were brought to America in unthinkable conditions, families were broken up, women were raped, and a culture of violence and fear existed that exceeds everything else you referenced. An entire group of people were legally treated as subhuman property for no reason other than the color of their skin. For the next 100 years, Jim Crow laws existed that disenfranchised millions, and forced a wholly unequal segregation of public services. Beyond that, banks, mortgage agencies, and even the federal government (through the GI Bill) discriminated against black Americans through practices like redlining, and even today studies have shown how racism pervades the criminal justice system, education, healthcare, the hiring process, voting rights, and other facets of life many white Americans are blissfully unaware of.

        How does celebrating Juneteenth hold anyone “responsible”? It is a day of both celebration and remembrance. That fact that, as you say, “generation of others whom haven’t a clue why”, speaks more to an education system that ignores or glosses over the black experience in America than those who see the value in a day like Juneteenth. There are countless books that could educate you on the actual history of black Americans, and I would recommend you read some before your next comment on the subject.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am old school as in what I believe to be a great tradition of avoiding censorship wherever possible and relying on thoughtful argument as the best defense. This is in the tradition of the ACLU defending the right of neo nazis to demonstrate in Skokie.
        I know I can rely on people such as yourself to respond with clarity and dignified passion to Justin’s comment. I agree completely with your thoughtful repudiation of Justin.
        The problems with suppressing speech are two fold.
        First, The way people learn is by addressing arguments not suppressing them.
        Second, who gets to decide what is permissible. For years the Palestinian people have been unable to make their arguments in major media like the New York Times regarding the systematic and cruel treatment they have had to endure under Israeli occupation.
        As long as comments are not personal attacks and pass the icky standard (like pornography I cannot define it but I know it when. I read it) they will be posted on this blog as will rebuttals like yours.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. John, while I understand the general theory against censorship, I’d note that the ACLU case you reference is related to the group’s constitutional rights in a public space. I’d say limiting someone’s ability to post racist and factually incorrect comments on a private citizens blog is a materially different scenario, and is perhaps more akin to the de-platforming steps taken by social media companies for the likes of Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos. This isn’t taking power from the marginalized or powerless, but is instead taking active steps to limit the spread of hate and misinformation, and it works.

        Obviously it’s your site and you can run it how you see fit, but Justin’s post (and the validation he received for it) is likely a net-negative for the blog as a whole, and may turn off readers and prospective commenters who think the readership is more inline with him. I post when I can to try to refute his most egregious comments, but more often than not his posts are met with silence or likes. Repudiation is good, but not guaranteed.

        I’d say the insinuation that black Americans should be thankful their ancestors were kidnapped and forced into slavery is indeed a personal attack. I’d also note that it is somewhat hypocritical (or perhaps Zuckerberg-ian) to first say you don’t want to suppress free speech because “who gets to decide”, but then say you will censor it using an undefined “icky” standard. As the sole author and editor of the blog, this baseline “standard” would seemingly be based on your experiences as a white man of your age, which may not necessarily be in line with the standards and experiences of your readers. I very much enjoy your writing, but as the role of digital journalism and writing evolves you may want to formalize what can and cannot be posted under your banner.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% Andy.
      John, give me a break. If you can’t appreciate the difference between public (common) space and your own personal cyberspace, and the need to fact-check and moderate accordingly, then I feel bad for you.

      Much more bad than I feel for the demented banshee hyenas that will naturally gravitate to an (why mince words?) un-moderated blog- knowing full well that their innuendo, atrocities and hate will at best be challenged by articulate commentators, but it’s a slam-dunk that the host won’t utter a peep- behaving like it’s free admission day at Disney World.

      As an ‘old-school’ guy, you are free to abdicate your responsibility, It does not exempt you from having responsibility.

      And answer Henry’s question, dammit!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Would people rather John puts this blog in limbo?
        Negatively criticizing the host is unwise at best.
        We are guests.

        If you do not appreciate the exchange of ideas presented here, move on.
        Critical thinking is what keeps all things in check.

        Ever think that maybe some posts do not exemplify the writer’s true convictions but promote a rather entertaining exercise in creative banter?

        Lighten up people.

        -JC :-\


      2. You’re saying your post was to “promote a rather entertaining exercise in creative banter”? Is that what you call saying black Americans should be grateful their ancestors were brought to this country as slaves?

        Was it “creative banter” when you said “Sweden had it right?” After apologizing for their approach earlier this month due to the high death rate, they’ve admitted they have made less progress than expected in achieving immunity and have one of the worst mortality rates in the world. ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-17/sweden-proves-surprisingly-slow-in-achieving-herd-immunity )

        Was it creative banter when you said “everyone has the virus”, despite only 10-20% of the people tested in areas experiencing the worst of the the virus have the related antibodies?

        John, if you allow misinformation or purposeful disinformation on your site, even if it’s author calls it “creative banter”, you run the risk of people running with that information as if it’s fact. That’s especially true if those who call their posts “banter” will only do so after the fact. You can see that here,as “southsidejohnnie” commended Justin’s ugly post as if it was a good thing. I wish that wasn’t the case, but studies have shown that certain people are more susceptible to misinformation and conspiracy theories, and how that can have a negative impact in the real world. Who knows if someone say a comment saying “everyone has it” and they decide to venture out without a mask on. Are you willing to accept that responsibility when such an obviously false thing is said, all because you hope (1) other commentators will refute nonsense, and (2) a potential reader will see it in time?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Getting back to the topic, how many holidays do city employees already receive? Speaking with friends and other citizens, the sentiment seems to be that the employees are very well taken care of, already. I know the Mayor and other Commissioners check on your blog, but other than Ms Dalton, silence.


    1. In response to Henry37’s inquiry, the current CSEA contract with the City includes the following days off:
      Vacation Days. 1 year 10 days; 5 years 15 days; 10 years 20 days; 15 years 25 days; 20 years 30 days.
      12 Sick Days per year
      3 Bereavement Days Per death of family member with 2 deaths allowed per year
      5 Personal Days per year
      Holidays: New Years Day, MLK Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. That is 12 holidays with four occurring in November and no holidays currently scheduled in June when the proposed Juneteenth holiday would take place.

      It should be noted that the schedule of holidays and days off for City employees is very consistent with employee contracts in other municipalities and for state employees. While those of us in the private sector have far fewer days off, it can be argued that municipal unions have gotten it right. They have maintained employee holidays, vacation days, personal days and sick days that approach the levels of other industrialized countries.

      In my opinion, it is the consistent efforts of conservative elected officials and courts to undermine unions in the US over the past 40 years that has resulted in so few paid days off for private sector employees. We need to bring back private sector unions in the US. We also need to bring back manufacturing jobs so that we are no longer so dependent on countries such as China where unions, personal choice and freedom of expression do not exist. Life today in large portions of our country is on par with third world countries because the middle class employment has been lost to authoritarian countries with low standards of living.

      Chris Mathiesen

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for the clarification Mr. Mathiesen. I like your explanation, but I would have to cast a vote against adding another vacation day, without some concession by the unions.


      2. Thank you, Chris, for your reply. I would hope that we would not engage in a race to the bottom but instead work to ensure that all Americans have the basics that labor unions have been able through years of struggle to secure (for now at least) for their members.


      3. That is an excellent summary. Here’s an idea to contemplate:

        The stated dozen Holidays could be tiered – with some ‘fixed’ on days you would expect City Hall to be closed (like Thanksgiving), while some could be designated as “optional” or floating. Juneteenth could be added to a list that includes Columbus Day, Election Day (where several people in Accounts, among others, are needing to be at work anyway,) Day after Thanksgiving, and perhaps Veterans Day – days where it might be desirable to have some City services open, but with a skeleton crew. This has worked well in retail establishments and other private sector firms.

        With Juneteenth added. you would have 5 floating holiday’s, and an employee is would be able to to pick any 4. Same number of holidays each employee receives now. I am sure this will sill need to be negotiated, but it seems doable. You can add other holidays to this floating list if you wanted (i.e.: Kwanzaa, Yom Kippur, St. Patrick’s Day, and that true National Holiday – the Monday after the Superbowl) – as many as you wish – but people in this case still could only choose 4.

        The good news is that every time a new holiday is contemplated, it doesn’t start a whole bunch of crabbing about how much more this costs the taxpayers, and people have some flexibility in choosing their own schedule.


  3. I find it a sorry case every one is arguing about paid holidays, which this new one is a noble cause to seek remembrance but so little being said about the financial hole the City of Saratoga is in. The blind eye of this reality will be hitting home soon enough.


    1. JK, looks like Jim has given you a softball down the middle of the plate. What about the fiscal status of our city? Our city is soon to be in a fiscal crisis. And not an appropriate time to be handing out more holidays to city employees.


      1. I received this from Commissioner Madigan:

        We have a handle on 2020. 2021 budget process will start soon and it will be a difficult year. We remain hopeful for fiscal stimulus.

        I’m not sure what the reference is about the holiday – Juneteenth I’m guessing which the state is making a holiday and we are supporting.


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