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

Friday, July 29, 2005

QUID PRO QUO?

It's time to ask a few questions. If the powers that be think they'll escape these questions, they should think again. We urge The Record to begin asking these questions as well. There's enough fluff in newspapers today, how about some real, tough questions. The kind journalists used at ask public officials.

WEED 'N SEED

For background, go here.

1. Who at Rensselaer County falsified a document and then sent it to the United States Justice Department? Based on our intrepid investigators, we know that a certain report was attributed to a person who did not create that report. Based on e-mails in our possession, we know that she could not have created the report because she did not have the password to the Federal system. She had no way to create the on-line report.

2. There is almost $50,000 difference between the actual report (the one created by the woman) and the falsified report (generated by who?). Which one is accurate. If the actual report is accurate, where is the $50,000? Of course, we know that the County now has to pay the Feds the money. The Feds will then give it to Troy. Obviously, the Feds do not trust Rensselaer County.

We think those questions should be asked and answered. Is that too much to ask?

NO SHOW JOBS

Katrin Ellis, DA DeAngelis' long-time 'personal assistant' may have enjoyed a no-show job while at the DA's office. See this story. The Rensselaer County Legislature has refused to investigate.

1. Does the Rensselaer County Legislature's refusal to investigate the Ellis matter have any connection to the DA's inaction on the Weed 'n Seed scandal?

BRIAN OWENS

1. Why does the administration talk about supporting the troops while denying Officer Owens a mere $1,300? They have money for raises. Mitchell makes $80,000 and yet he has farmed out another case to John Bailey. What exactly does Corporation Counsel do besides failing to respond to FOIL requests? Why didn't the Council allow a vote on Dunne's resolution that would give Owens the $1,300? An up or down public vote.

CARIGNAN

1. How did Harry save the city $60,000 by changing insurance agents? Lets get a complete breakdown of that savings.

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Finally, where is Uncle Joe in all of this mess? His political spawn now run rampant through Rensselaer County. If the people of Rensselaer County are content to let the Bruno's operate this county as their own fiefdom far be it from us to criticize. Remember, for there to be Lords, there must be peasants.

The Democratic Party better start pounding away at some or all of these questions.

Finally, are we going to have to rely upon Michele Bolton and the Times Union to ask all these questions?


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

STEP TWO FROM ROB GREGOR

Ladies and gentlemen, once again, Rob Gregor. . .

STEP 2: Believe That The Power Of The Whole Can Return Us To Victory

The power of the whole is greater than the power of any individual unit. The local Democrats need to adopt, embrace and apply this principle. No individual Democrat in the county is strong or powerful enough to survive politically without the assistance of the whole party. When we sever ties, create bad-blood, or condescend others, it weakens the power of the collective whole, and we get spanked on Election Day.

We need to realize how powerful the collective body can be when not impeded by intra-party fighting. The Democrats have a huge enrollment advantage in the City Of Troy, and yet continue to lose races. Why is this so? Some would blame the minor party lines, others maintain that the party still feels the effects of term limits. In the end, the reason for the fall from grace does not matter as much as realizing that the power to return to grace lies within the party as a whole, and not within individual candidates or leaders.

As city and county committees, it is imperative that we remember the nature of the offices for which we run. At the local level, people are much less concerned about our stance on national issues, and much more concerned about how we plan to make their neighborhoods cleaner and safer, and property taxes lower. The local party, as a whole, needs to realize this, and begin distributing ideas and platforms through their candidates based on political action at the local level. This means a comprehensive plan for fighting crime (guardian angels anyone?), use of existing legislation such us nuisance abatement against negligent absentee landlords, and the implementation of a clear, concise financial plan. A platform such as this, adopted by the ENTIRE slate of candidates, with the financial and human resources of the ENTIRE party behind it, would create a power greater than the individual, and would surely give a better chance of political survival against a better tooled opponent, such as the local GOP.

--Rob Gregor

Friday, July 22, 2005

WHAT POLITICIANS SAY

First, Democratus is off next week to his house on the beautiful New England coast. Isn't that what the liberal elite do? But fear not. We will have some posts. Also, for those one or two blackhearted knaves, this isn't an invitation to leave comments defaming people. My trusted associate will be monitoring the comments. Behave and have a great week.

Now, on to business.

Politicians and would-be politicians speak for a living. Anyone who speaks, or writes, for a living will end up saying some strange or stupid things. It's a professional hazard. It's also understandable.

Michael LoPorto is an At-Large candidate for Troy City Council. Maybe. Recently, it has come to light that LoPorto may have a residency issue. I apologize to the writer (Franco?) of the article because we like to cite the source. I set the article aside and now, alas, it is lost.

We like Michael LoPorto. Out of all the candidates running this year we would choose him above all others to prepare any of our dinners. He's an immigrant who made good and in many ways is the American Dream. We hope he wins. He'd add a dash of entrepreneurial vigor to the council.

However, although a newcomer to the game, he did make one statement that has to be considered a classic. When questioned about where he resides, Mr. LoPorto stated (we paraphrase) "I winter in Troy and summer in Brunswick."

That, is too funny. I guess if you spend time in Green Island and cross over to Center Island once or twice you "summer on the Islands."

We hate to pick on a Democrat with an uphill fight but it was too precious to pass up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

SUMMER IS HERE

Summer is now in full swing and the political front is quiet. Posts here may slow down a bit, for awhile. Instead of three days a week, we may post only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It all depends on the news and what my parole officer says.

However, we have something special for all of our loyal readers. The Troy Polloi has added a guest poster to our staff. The former City Chair of the Troy Democratic party will be posting from time to time. This addition to our staff has not been without some headaches. Now we have to deal with pension plans, healthcare and a unionized workplace.

Anyway, without further ado, Mr. Robert Gregor.

Before, during and after my tenure as chair, I thought long and hard about how to bring the local Democrats into recovery. One morning, it dawned on me. “What about a 12 step program?” I know it may sound idiotic at first glance, but the 12 step process has worked for countless individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction, why not for a local party suffering from its own afflictions? So, here it is. Each week, I will cover an additional step. Take it for what it is worth, use what you want, and criticize what you like. Before I begin with Step One, I would like to thank Democratus (no, I still don’t know who he/she really is) for allowing me the opportunity for these guest postings.

Sincerely,

Rob Gregor

Step 1: Admit That We Have A Problem

One of the biggest problems with the local Democrats is that we cannot admit there is something wrong. I can’t begin to count the number of times that I was told “not to worry” or “we’re working on it” when issues such as County Executive candidates, minor party lines, and fundraising were brought-up. This was complete and utter insanity. Before we can right the ship, we need to admit that there is something wrong.

Empirically, the numbers are there, back to back 7-2 GOP councils, a GOP Mayor in Troy, County Executive, and County Legislature. Despite these numbers, however, there remain a number of party faithful, who, like an ostrich, choose to bury their heads into the sand, insisting that there is no problem. To those individuals, WAKE-UP, the kids aren’t okay!!!!

Before we, as a party can reach step two (stay tuned), we need to collectively admit that a problem exists. There is, however, a word of caution I would like to add to this posting. Admitting we have a problem, does not and MUST NOT involve pointing fingers. Don’t begin blaming past leaders, candidates, and officials. Pointing fingers only creates more bad blood, and hinders the recovery process. Until we can surpass this threshold, and realize that the glory years are over, and will only return through hard work as a collective unit, nothing good can materialize.

-----Rob Gregor


Democratus will drink to that!

Monday, July 18, 2005

THE NEXT DISTRICT ATTORNEY

The Times Union originally broke the story about the new County Court Judgeship and just who might run for that seat. That has led to the question of who will be the next District Attorney. Why? Because rumor has it that the conduct-challenged DA, Trish DeAngelis will get the nod for the bench.

Talespin tells us that the Judgeship and the District Attorneys race will go to the Republicans. Therefore, we expect they will not cover the races for those offices. If you know who's going to win, where's the news? That damn liberal media strikes again.

If DeAngelis becomes County Court Judge, the DA's office will be up for grabs. One suggestion is that it will go to Jack Casey, the GOP County Chair. Casey is a fine writer but DA material? Still, he'll have the inside track because he is close to the Brunswick Mafia.

Here's one question to ask Mr. Casey if he's serious about being District Attorney: Should Mary Beth Anslow have been let out of jail early?

From a media perspective it's a fun question. From a political opponent, it's a win-win question. Casey was Anslow's attorney. How would you like it if your attorney did not want you out of jail early? So, if he says no, what kind of advocate would he be? If he says yes, what kind of District Attorney would he be. It's a great question because "I can't comment" means yes.

Another name bandied about with less attention is Greg Cholakis. If Rensselaer County has to have a Republican District Attorney, this is one you want. Greg is smart, decent, honorable and would be a fine public servant. If he runs, he'd get my vote unless the Democrats come up with a comparable opponent. He hasn't got a chance.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION

Troy City Councilperson Karen Messick has missed the last two City Council meetings. If Ms. Messick misses the next meeting, her seat can be declared vacant. Lets put politics aside for a moment and make sure Ms. Messick is safe.



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Please call us and let us know you're fine, Ms. Messick. If you do find Ms. Messick, please return her to Troy City Hall. The postage has been pre-paid.

What happens if her seat is declared vacant? Technically, the City Council can fill the vacancy. That's according to the City Charter. However, we know that the Charter is rarely, if ever, followed. Instead, the Mayor will choose a replacement. Some speculate that they will fill the vacancy with Henry Bauer, an At-Large candidate. The question is, will Bauer spend the next six months at a city council pay rate ($15,000) or at his current Assistant Corporation Council pay rate ($30,000)?

For Democrats, it is probably better that Bauer fill the vacancy. Bauer will probably win his race so who really cares if he starts six months early. On the other hand, they could elevate someone else, a relative unknown, who is already running for a district seat. Place that person on the council for six months and give him some exposure for a few months before the election.

In the end, it doesn't matter much. The Democrats now head into an election with no clear party leader. They do not even have a City Chair. Democratus has offered the use of the Troy Polloi as a forum for the Democratic candidates and I have not received one response. Republican candidates are also welcome to submit an entry but they hardly need the exposure. The Troy Polloi receives 100+ visitors a day (Monday-Friday) and 50+ on the weekends. That's visitors, not just multiple hits by the same person. It's not huge, but it's something. You can get your message out to some people. Take advantage of it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

THE BUCK STOPS.....?

The saga of Lewis and Betty Buck demonstrates municipal government at its most ineffective.

The Bucks reside at 1070 Madison Avenue. In 1991, their neighbor filled in a swale bordering the rear of their property. The swale was the lowest point on the property, a ditch or a channel, that was the key point for water to flow off the Buck property.

The result is nothing less than "a house of horrors. A cracked foundation, loss of homeowners insurance, replacement of a driveway, and, most recently, deteriorating health from mold growing on their basement walls...."*

Throughout various administrations, the Bucks have attempted to resolve the problem. They met with Corporation Counsel, various Code officials, engineers and council people. They even hired a respected consulting engineer that indicated the problem has begun to effect other properties downstream. This same engineer has on numerous occasions set forth a remedial plan that is practicable and rather self-evident: restore the swale.

During the course of this saga, Sterling Insurance Company refused to provide coverage for repairs:


"not only was there a threat of explosion from fractured gas lines due to the flooding, but also the foundation is shifting and the main carrying beam has cracked..." - Jane Rosscoe CPCU, Sterling Insurance Company


The Bucks needed a white knight to help them. That knight was Councilman Harry Tutunjian.

Tutunjian visited the property on June 12, 2002. In a memorandum to Mayor Pattison, Tutunjian wrote:


"It is apparent that this condition has existed for some time as a result of improper filling of an existing swale that was protected by an easement.

I feel the city has the right and the responsibility to enforce any and all laws that have been violated as the result of the improper encroachment of the existing easement that protected the swale and permitted the drainage of surface water. I also believe that the city has the ability under the current zoning law to declare an emergency and remedy the problem immediately without further delay.** Privately owned homes and property are at risk....."


On February 17, 2003, Tutunjian wrote the Bucks:


On your behalf, I had several conversations with Mayor Pattison.....As a legislator, I sought to seek*** an administrative solution to your problem. This could have been accomplished by code enforcement, the legal department, and the mayor's office. As City council President, it would be nearly impossible to force a specific legislative action to resolve your situation without first having a commitment from the administration to carry out any such plan. I have contacted all the proper departments to try and remedy your situation, but to no avail.

I remain ready and willing to take the necessary steps necessary****to seek a solution to the problem that affects you and your neighbors. However, this can only be done with the cooperation of the administration. As I have said to you before, I only pass the laws, enforcement is an administrative action.


Former District Attorney Charles Wilcox is trying to help the Bucks in their struggle. Currently, they are proposing that the city purchase the property for $150,000 and remedy the drainage problem in order to protect other property that is endangered by flooding. They would like to use the money to live the remainder of their lives in some degree of comfort and security. That's not too much to ask for, especially for Lewis Buck, a veteran of Guadalcanal.

Now, Harry is the administration. He has a supportive City Council (this would be a non-partisan issue) That respected engineer retained by the Bucks is Russ Reeves, the current City Engineer. Reeves, a fine engineer, has put forth solutions as early as 1997. All the pieces are on the board, Harry. What happened to "immediately and without further delay"? The roadblocks Tutunjian mentions in his February 17, 2003 letter no longer exist, if they ever did. He's been in office for more than a year and a half. Cut the crap and get it done.*****

Ironic isn't it? Lately there's been talk about revamping parks, building faux lighthouses and moving the Veteran's Memorial. Can we forget about those granite statues for a moment and focus on a flesh and blood veteran, before it's too late.

The Record, to their credit, has done a number of stories on the Bucks. Maybe another one might help push the administration into action. Maybe all of us could call City Hall and contact the City Council demanding action. Just tell them Democratus sent you.

* From The Record, Jeff Buell, October 13, 2002. Mrs. Buck, who never smoked a day in her life, has developed emphysema attributable to the mold.

** That's right, immediately and without further delay!

*** "Sought to seek..." We're not kidding. It's in the letter.

**** "necessary steps necessary..." Still not kidding. In the letter.

***** There's more than enough blame here, going back at least to the Dworsky administration.

Monday, July 11, 2005

THE REPUBLICAN FUTURE

As everyone knows, former judge Henry Bauer is an At-Large candidate for Troy City Council. This set us to speculate about what role Bauer may play in the future.

First, Bauer is likely to win. He has run city-wide before, is likeable and is perceived by many ignorant people as the victim of a conspiracy. Also, and more importantly, he'll have the third-party lines. Lets face it, Republicans are not winning because they have better candidates or any new ideas, they win in Troy because the way in which the minor party lines are used undermines democracy.

Once the Democrats screwed themselves on the term-limits issue, they opened the door to years of GOP control of the city. Bad move that.

Now back to Bauer. If we were Harry we would not have wanted Bauer anywhere near this race. With due respect to Mayor Tutunjian, Bauer is smarter, a better public speaker, quicker on his feet and far more sophisticated than the people closest to Harry. If Bauer wins, he'll probably be City Council President. Bauer can choose one of two courses: become a GOP lackey or an independent force.

Our crystal ball tells us that the second course is more likely than the first. Bauer is an attorney and an ex-judge. Attorneys have egos and judges have even bigger egos. Bauer may have a tough time taking marching orders from the likes of Tutunjian.

If we're correct, Bauer will become a force within the party. He will come into the race and into office with a power base not entirely dependent upon the GOP machine. What does a smart, savvy, experienced man do a few years from now? Run for County Executive? Assembly? Senate? Bauer would have his pick of offices, leaving Harry the scraps.

This also has to be considered: it is very likely that our next governor will be Elliot Spitzer. When that happens, Bruno's own light begins to fade. It is one thing to share power with a Republican governor, quite another to deal with a Democratic governor and Assembly Speaker. Bruno will no longer get his people installed in those plum agency jobs. Also, Bruno is 76 years old and growing increasingly cranky. In fact, he acts as if he's beginning to lose a step or two. With Spitzer in, Bruno weakened, many Republicans will be scurrying for jobs when 2007 begins.

There is also something quite Mirchesque about the whole affair. Some speculate that Mirch has little confidence in Harry and wants Bauer around for backup. If Harry is in trouble, will Mirch push Bauer for mayor? Remember, Mirch still wants to suck off the public teat for a few more years. As for any loyalty to Tutunjian, whores do not have loyalties. And we all know that Mirch is the crack whore of political whores.

Our political galaxy is not large enough to support two stars. As Bauer ascends, Tutunjian becomes irrelevant. I wouldn't sell that body shop so soon, Harry.

Friday, July 08, 2005

DeANGELIS FOR COUNTY COURT?

With the addition of another County Court Judgeship the world of Rensselaer County politics is rife with speculation. Was this seat created for Trish DeAngelis? Jack Casey? Ken Bruno?

The idea of a Judge DeAngelis should send shivers down the spine of everyone, accused and innocent alike. Her office has shown a disregard for Judge McGrath's instructions time and time again. This lack of respect does not bode well for her as a judge. Why should others respect her when she has been so disrespectful of others on the bench. DeAngelis in robes would be a bigger joke than DeAngelis as District Attorney. However, Rensselaer County is known for its political jokes so what's one more.

As for Casey being District Attorney (an idea floated by Talespin, by the way guys, it's Andrew Ceresia, not Anthony Ceresia, do they misspell the names of their Republican masters at the Record?) that would be a fine example of the Peter Principle.

Let us not forget Mary Beth Anslow. She retained Casey after her conviction for Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.* Her original attorney was Steve Coffey. Retaining Casey after Coffey is a bit like being traded from the Yankees to the Marlins. The Marlins are a professional baseball team but hey, they're not the Yankees. Casey is a decent attorney, but for a criminal appeal, why abandon Coffey?

And why choose Casey? There are better known defense attorney's out there, E. Stewart Jones and Terry Kindlon just to name a few. Was Casey chosen, just maybe, because of his position as Rensselaer County Chair? Just maybe? Make connections!

Here is another issue to slam the County Republicans. They supported the early release of Anslow. Tough on crime?

We're not saying that Casey asked them to release Anslow. Casey's not an idiot and we know that's not how these things work anymore. Casey taking on Anslow as a client was message enough.

We hope both parties select candidates that will serve justice well. With the Republicans, we don't hold our breath.

* A special prosecutor was necessary because some ADA's used Anslow's illgeal day care services. Remind us to tell you why the DA's office wasn't invited back to a certain charity golf event. That's another good story.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

WHY IS HARRY SOFT ON CRIME?

We've thought long and hard (at least for seven minutes) about the Guardian Angels in Troy. Initially, we took no position. Certainly, in a fashion sense we can see not wanting the Guardian Angels in Troy. Red berets? That is so 1980's.

However, the Guardian Angels are merely another set of eyes and ears on the street. The police cannot be everywhere and in most cases cannot stop crime. Their job is to investigate alleged crimes and make arrests. They simply cannot be everywhere.

Tutunjian's position, "crime is down in Troy" therefore we don't need the GA's, is unsurprisingly nonsensical. Why is the mayor being soft on crime? We don't care if crime is down 5%, 10%, 50%. One crime against one victim is too much, especially for the victim.

Do the GA's differ greatly from a neighborhood watch? Apparent from the berets, no. They would merely be another set of eyes and ears out in the naked city.

The argument that it makes the police look like they can't handle the job, that it's bad PR, is silly. First, outsiders already think Troy is crime ridden. So what's the big deal? As for the Troy Police Department not being able to handle crime, again, a silly theory. Any police department can do a great job and still have crime committed within their jurisdiction. It's not a knock against the Troy PD. It's an acknowledgment that the police cannot be everywhere all the time.

Troy has the Hell's Angels, why not Guardian Angels?

Democrats, listen up! Here's an issue. Simply spin this issue as the Republicans being soft on crime. Come on, you can do it. There you go. That wasn't so hard now, was it?

Friday, July 01, 2005