PLATTSBURGH — Republican candidate in the City of Plattsburgh mayor race, Scott Beebie pointed to increasing tourism, working collaboratively with others, and improving police practices as some of the main priorities he will address if victorious.
Beebie made his pitch speaking in a virtual forum hosted by the Adirondack Young Professionals on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
The community group will be hosting a similar event with the democratic candidate, Chris Rosenquest, next Wednesday.
Following a brief introduction from himself, Beebie answered numerous wide-ranging questions from a group host, as well as the other participants of the Google Meet.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
If he is victorious in the November election, Beebie said that a lot of the focus for his administration early on will be surviving the COVID-19 pandemic while laying the groundwork for the future.
“The first year is going to be about survivability,” Beebie said. “We will survive this pandemic; It will be behind us at some point, and do you go back and rebuild what you had, or do you try to rebuild better?”
A large part of rebuilding better will be working with local partners to better jointly promote the region, according to Beebie.
“The town, the county, the city, the Plattsburgh City School District, the chamber (of commerce): We need to coalesce as a region,” Beebie said. “To promote ourselves as the region of Plattsburgh, that’s how we’re going to survive.”
He especially hopes that the city will work with Garry Douglas and the North Country Chamber of Commerce to promote the city more efficiently, saying that Plattsburgh, seated near the Adirondacks, Montreal, Burlington and Lake Placid, needs to take better advantage of tourism opportunities.
“It annoys me that people will drive from Lake Placid through Plattsburgh to get to Burlington,” Beebie said. “We need to find reasons for them to stop here.”
RUNNING THE CITY
When speaking of how he would run the day-to-day operations of the city, Beebie emphasized that surrounding himself with smart, competent voices will be a priority.
“When you get an opportunity to put eight or nine people in a room, and they’re motivated, educated and ready to do some good, and you pose a problem to them, the likelihood of coming up with some great ideas increases, compared to me sitting in a room by myself,” Beebie said.
The city’s department heads, many of whom Beebie said he knows already, are experts in what they do, he said, and will be leaned on to do what they do best.
In a statement released earlier this year, Beebie criticized the “Prime Project,” the biggest development project of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative that would see the 289-space Durkee Street parking lot be replaced by a large apartment complex and commercial space.
He referred back to his previous statement when asked about the Prime Project and the DRI.
CITIZENS REVIEW PANEL
When asked about the city’s recently established Public Safety Citizens Review Panel, the former 28-year member of the City Police Department was supportive of the group.
The panel was created earlier this summer after direction by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo mandating that local police departments around the state review their policies and procedures and submit recommendations for best practices in support of positive community relationships.
“If their premise is to review policy of the city department to see what can be upgraded and brought current to today’s best practices, I have no problem with it,” Beebie said. “An annual review of policy absolutely should be done, it’s necessary.”
And Beebie cited his work collaborating with SUNY Plattsburgh while with the police department as something the city should go back to.
“I know the quality of people we have on that campus as instructors and students,” Beebie said.
“We need to have them look at us and say, yeah, I wanna raise my kids here.”
“I’m very happy that since college has returned, we haven’t had a huge spike.”
While COVID-19 levels have remained relatively low in Clinton County, Beebie said he was deeply concerned with the outbreak at the Essex Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Elizabethtown that has led to nearly 100 COVID-19 cases and the deaths of seven people, one of whom was a close friend of Beebie’s, he said.
He urged everyone to continue to listen to the experts, wear their masks and maintain social distancing.