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Former Alderman’s Book Gives Students a View of Local Government

OSWEGO, NY – Earlier this month, several members of the PIG class from Oswego High School were on hand to witness the Common Council in action.

canale  book coverThe “Participation In Government” students were recognized by First Ward Councilor Fran Enwright.

“Thank you very much for coming here,” he told the students. “I think it’s so important that you listen to what’s going on here. If you have any questions, ask your councilor.”

He also urged them to sign up and speak during the public sessions prior to the meetings.

“This is your town,” he said. “This is where it all starts.”

To ensure the students have a better understanding of how their local government works, former Oswego alderman John Canale has authored his second book.

The new book deals with one of his favorite subjects – politics. The book, “A Handbook on Participation In Government in Oswego Politics,” is intended to be a source of information for Oswego High School students taking the Participation In Government class.

Canale, who was alderman from 1970 to 1991, is pictured on the cover of his book with former US President Gerald Ford and former Republican Committee Chair John Davis (of Browne and Davis Furniture).

“Effective participation in government in the city of Oswego and its accomplishments is a manuscript dedicated to personnel who participated in government both elected and unelected, as well as the citizens who volunteered and other officials especially the residents and the taxpayers who voted in the Primary and General Elections to make everything possible for action, some positive and others, non-positive,” Canale writes.

Many past city officials, friends and students provided Canale with essays to include in the book. It also contains several photos and clippings from area newspapers to help tell the story.

In the book, Canale also offers some personal glimpses of his life in politics over the years and those that he served with.

Taking part in the recent debut of the tome were several former city officials including William Cahill, the first four-year term mayor to serve two terms; and Oswego’s current mayor Thomas Gillen.

Some members of Canale’s Battle of the Bulge veterans group also attended the event at Bridie Manor in Oswego.

“I could never match the service of the people here for the city of Oswego and all the jobs you’ve done,” Canale told the crowd of nearly three dozen.

“One thing you will notice, in this book I do not get into political parties. I don’t mention a Democrat. I don’t mention a Republican. As you read it, you will get the drift of where I am coming from,” Canale pointed out.

Canale does some substitute teaching in Oswego. If he were a regular teacher, he said, he’d invite many of the audience members into his classroom to help students learn about local government.

“You all are primary sources,” he told them. “You were there, you lived it.”

“We had some great argument, John,” said James Sullivan, another former city alderman. “But you’re still my friend. And you were a hell of a basketball player and a great baseball player.”

Former county legislator Leonard Castaldo also praised Canale.

Recalling Canale’s bid for the mayor’s seat in 1995’s three-way election, he said, “If you would have got mayor back then, Oswego wouldn’t be in the hole that they are now. We’d be prospering going forward. I’m serious; I’m not just giving you a line of bull, either. If you would have made it, this place would have been booming.”

“If I had my way, I would run again. But there is a lady that told me – do not run,” Canale replied referring to his wife.