THIS CAUGHT OUR EYE:
Special Use Permit
ZB2004-0061 Special Use Permit to allow dwelling units on the first floor of a building at 202 Fourth Street, at Division, a B-4 Zone District. Applicant is JosephÂs House, 202 Fourth St. Troy, NY 12180.
On the agenda for January 26, 2006. According to sources, the city's position was jeopardized by some comments made by a council member or two who just couldn't come up with sound reasons to oppose the request. Instead, they resorted to a "who wants 'those' people here' argument". Can't do that folks. Got a rational basis for opposition, state it. If not, keep your mouth shut and let Corporation Counsel do the talking. That's why he gets paid.
A Schenectadian (Schenectadite? Schenectodian? Schenectoid?), Pat Zollinger, may have the right idea. The Rensselaer County Legislature weren't the only ones that had a very Merry Christmas. Schenectady Mayor Stratton nabbed himself a nice, little 40% pay raise. Pat did some research and discovered that if she can get the signatures of 10% of the city's registered voters, the pay raise issue can be put on the November ballot via a permissive referendum. We didn't have time to look into it but it sounds like a state, rather than local, law/ordinance. We could be wrong. Perhaps it's part of the city charter or code. Anyway, feel free to dig around and see if the same can be done in Rensselaer County.
Unfortunately, Pat has until February 5, to get the signatures. We wish her luck. By the way, the Schenectady Democrats did the pay raise thing in the same sleazy way that our folks did. Not at their regular meeting but a few days before Christmas when people may have been just a wee-bit busy.
A PAIR OF EYEBROWS SHALL LEAD THEM
John Sweeney made some noise by calling for a vote of confidence on the GOP's leadership in Washington D.C. Sweeney called for some party "soul searching." The area Congressman also appeared on Paul Vandenburgh's show. We give John credit for that appearance. We all know how tough Vandenburgh can be on conservatives.
Sweeney recognizes that the Republican Party is getting pounded on the Jack Ambramhoff scandal. Rightly so. So now, John is talking reform and open government and lobbying reform etc. We applaud Congressman Sweeney. Keep up the good work.
Wait a minute. We just checked our calendar. Its an election year. And Sweeney has a well-funded, attractive opponent in Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand also has at least one GOP operative working for her and sources say that he's doing it with Pataki's blessing.
BY FREDRIC U. DICKER
AN INFLUENTIAL GOP leader wants a prominent Republican Party consultant fired for allegedly working to help a Democrat defeat an upstate Republican congressman.
The extraordinary demand was made over the weekend by Saratoga County GOP Chairman Jasper Nolan, a prominent upstate GOP leader.
He says consultant Patrick McCarthy, a former executive director of the party and a close political ally of Gov. Pataki, is trying to undermine incumbent Rep. John Sweeney .
Sweeney, a former GOP executive director, has been highly critical of Pataki's leadership.
Sweeney, a Saratoga County resident and close political ally of Mayor Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has told friends he believes that Pataki himself approved of McCarthy's alleged efforts to help his Democratic opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand.
Gillibrand is the daughter of Albany lawyer/lobbyist Doug Rutnik, a longtime fixture at the state GOP headquarters and the significant other of Zenia Mucha, the Walt Disney Company exec who was once one of Pataki's top political advisers.
"Doug Rutnik's daughter is not going to challenge Sweeney without Pataki's OK," said one of the state's most prominent Republicans.
Nolan made his demand over the weekend in a stinging letter to state GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.
"I am deeply concerned to learn a paid consultant for our party was recently spotted having dinner at an Albany restaurant with the announced 2006 Democratic opponent of Congressman John Sweeney," Nolan wrote.
"This is an outrageous development, and I respectfully request that Mr. McCarthy be removed from the Republican Party payroll immediately.
". . . He should be replaced by someone who is committed to defeating Democrats and not to aiding and abetting those who seek to defeat incumbent Republicans like our congressman."
McCarthy, who was once Pataki's chief patronage dispenser and is now a lobbyist with the politically wired Patricia Lynch Associates, is paid $25,000 a year as a part-time consultant to the state GOP.
He told The Post that he'd merely had "a couple of sodas" with Rutnik and his daughter.
"I have nothing to do with that effort at all," he insisted, saying that Rutnik was a longtime family friend and that the meeting was strictly social.
But others familiar with the situation said they believe that McCarthy was an informal adviser to Democrat Gillibrand as part of Pataki's effort to retaliate against Sweeney, who has publicly blamed the governor for a long string of GOP defeats.
Could John be just a little worried? Generic polls have the Dems killing the GOP in House contests, scandals are brewing, Saratoga saw big Democratic gains and look: Sweeney's now Mr. Reform. Gillibrand has an uphill battle but her chances are good enough to make Sweeney don the mantle of reform despite the poor fit. Hey, John, where you been the last few years?
Next week we'll hopefully have some jail news. Crime down? Expand the jail. Looks like a Pennsylvania firm has gotten the nod as architect of the project.