The following is the full text of my public statement at the Common Council meeting, July 2, 2024.

“Hello and thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening. I want to start by commending you all for serving the community through the difficult task ahead which is addressing aging infrastructure and ensuring we are able to seize opportunity when it comes. Your commitment is important through this necessary transition from the past into a thriving and prosperous future for our city.

Like many of us, I too love our city and have sought to find spaces to effect meaningful change. For the last five years, I have served on the board Little Falls Housing Authority; three of which acting as vice chair. For those not aware, the buildings owned by the housing authority have deteriorated, leaving long term residents vulnerable. My colleagues and I have worked hard over the years to thoughtfully consider and now undertake redevelopment as a way to ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens we serve.

In April, I made a statement regarding exactly this at the public hearing on the proposed moratorium. My statement however was not recorded, so to summarize I said , yes, we need to address critical city government issues pertaining to operation and infrastructure. AND, our residents can’t wait. Our buildings can no longer wait. These two things being true, I expressed that I am confident in our ability to collaborate and figure this out expeditiously.

To achieve that, however, requires leadership committed to collaboration. It requires someone who can bring people together, who knows one person alone can never hold the perfect vision for the future but rather that a community vision is created and executed through a multitude of perspectives and participation.

To put it bluntly, we could not be further away from that today. Given the turn out and sentiment of the moratorium meeting, it’s not difficult to imagine that some might feel like the deck was stacked in opposition. If I’ve learned anything through my years though, it is that the deck will always be stacked against you when you can’t build and or maintain relationships with people who don’t always 100% agree with you.

Without wading too far into the public debate on affordable housing right now, I think it’s safe to say that the data clearly shows that Little Falls is a working class community. What that also means is that many people cannot receive public benefits or services. Many here and across the country are living paycheck to paycheck. And that reality is very scary. And Fear is a very powerful thing. History can offer us numerous examples of what happens when politicians utilize fear to advance their own idea of what is “right” . But we also have to look no further than the current national political climate. Or, sadly, even in our own idyllic city.

The Merriam Webster definition of cronyism is: “partiality to cronies especially as evidenced in the appointment of political hangers-on to office without regard to their qualifications”. It is a tale as old as time and Little Falls is no stranger to it. This time, however, it is my opinion that what we are seeing now is a brand of cronyism that seeks to exploit fear and operates under the assumption that many of us are too stupid to understand what needs to happen. This arrogance will tear us apart, I can promise you that.

We live in an era when the death or deaths of children can be aired on social media in seconds. And before we acknowledge that a child has died, or that people are grieving.. instead we immediately jump to sharing our positions and opinions. If that example is not palatable for some, suffice it to say that opinions have somehow superseded any commitment to a shared humanity. To the current members of common council, As you move forward in your role, I implore you to choose people over power. I implore you to push back and speak up when ego or arrogance is trying to ensure you vote yes, and only yes. And maybe one day, my children, our children will know the brand of politics that prioritizes people over power. Thank you.”

Jordyan Mueller
Little Falls New York