The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


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From The Record, April 4, 2005:

Last week, while coming home from helping Troy detectives move a piece of evidence from the South Troy Apartments, Mirch, also a county Legislator, was ticketed for talking on his cell phone while driving and then, after giving the officer a bit of lip, for rolling through a stop sign.

The way Mirch tells it is he had just pulled up to his house on Sixth Avenue between 108th and 109th Street when Officer James Botillo pulled up behind him.Mirch first opened the door. Botillo told him to shut the door and stay in the car. Mirch complied, threw the keys on the dash and called his wife for a pack of smokes. Botillo told him to roll down the window. Mirch told him they were electric and pointed to the keys on the dash board. Botillo told him to open the door. Mirch reminded him that he had just been directed to close the door. Talespin is not sure, but the humor was likely lost on the officer. Mirch opens the door and swings around in his seat so his legs are sticking out into the street.

Botillo takes Mirch's license and registration and tells him to get back in the car and shut the door. Mirch tells Botillo he has a bum leg, and he is staying where he is. Botillo tells him a car could come by and hit him. Mirch points to the way the police cruiser is blocking Sixth Avenue making is impossible for anything larger than a bicycle to pass.Throughout, Mirch is cursing, and Botillo is telling Mirch not to curse. Botillo comes back with two tickets, one for talking on the cell phone and one for rolling through a stop sign, which Mirch maintains was really because he was giving the officer a hard time - An attitude ticket, so to speak.

Mirch freely admits he was talking on the cell phone, but the commissioner of public works says he is on duty 24/7 and is exempt under the cell phone law.He plans to fight both tickets in court. Maybe junk dealer Jack Cox, with one trial under his belt, could represent Mirch.

It's always fun to get a laugh at Mr. Mirch's expense and we haven't heard Officer Botillo's description of events, but if Mirch is to be believed, doesn't it sound like Botillo overreacted?

Still, on the law, Mirch is wrong. No surprise there. According to the statute (found on the DMV website), there is no exemption for members of the "Action Team". The legislature evidently failed to amend the statute.

Fire fighters, police officers, emergency response personnel are all exempt when using a cell phone for a specific, emergency purpose. A municipal department head being on-call 24/7 doesn't cut it.

As an aside, who prosecutes traffic infractions? Is it the District Attorneys Office or Corporation Counsel's Office? It will be interesting to see how this infraction is handled. Will Corporation Counsel's Office be tough on the law breaker?

Just one more example of arrogance from this administration.

It would be fun to find out if any administration officials or council members have criminal records. That does not mean traffic violations, we mean actual criminal records. Some enterprising person may want to FOIL the local police departments for that information. I doubt many Democrats would do it as it entails actual effort.

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