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

Friday, December 29, 2006


Just a quick update. We'll discuss the Mayor's penchent for illegal votes raising taxes later this weekend or early next week. Plenty of time for that.

Two interesting rumors:

1) Mirch will be down to 2 jobs come January '07. We heard he's losing his constituent liaison gig.

2) We also heard that 3Job will be, or has, sworn a complaint against a certain former Troy politician for threats allegedly made against 3JB.

Both are unconfirmed but interesting.


Pat Casale, a longtime fixture in area politics, is saying goodbye. We hope he has a long and happy retirement.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


This just in....

The NY Times, as part of their investigation into Sen. Bruno, contacted our own Bob Mirch on his position as Sen. Bruno's alleged Constituent Relations person. The Times was amazed to find that Mr. Mirch is paid $30,000 per year from the Senate and does not have an office for this important position. In fact, any calls to Mr. Mirch through the Senator's office are directly connected to the Rensselaer County Legislature's office. The NY paper was also intrigued that Mirch could at the same time have another full time job.

The Times is also investigating how Thomas Connelly is on Sen. Kruger's payroll in NYC. They are trying to determine what if anything he does for the Senator.

There's also word from at least two sources that two (2) Federal Grand Juries are investigating Senator Bruno. We have no idea weather two Grand Juries could be involved in one investigation. Sounds curious.

Also just in:

3 Job Bob put out a flyer in the DPW today trying to rally support against the Democrats on the Council, blaming them for possible layoffs in DPW if the water rate increase doesn't pass tonight. Why else would the Administration be pushing this hard if they thought they had the illegal vote wrapped-up?


Our Joe Bruno is now in trouble.

For a politician, being the subject of, or a person of interest in, a Federal investigation is never a positive. It may or may not be a career ender. A more telling sign of Joe's problems comes from his own Republican conference.

There is a typical pattern in political scandals: friends and colleagues offer support; friends and colleagues become "troubled"; friends and colleagues abandon their friend and colleague.

It begins one colleague willing to break ranks. In this case, it's State Senator John Bonacic of Orange County. Bonacic called upon his Republican colleagues to oust Senator Bruno, who will not be formally elected Senate Majority leader until the new year.

Bonacic has a point and many Republican Senators have to be angry with Bruno. If the story of the investigation had broke a few weeks before the election, the Senate might be in Democratic hands. As it is, under Bruno, the GOP has lost four Senate seats in the last four years.

Bruno's age doesn't help things. For the first time that we can recall, Joe looks his age and looks weak and vulnerable. At 77 years old, some GOP Senators have to be looking towards their own future. When they start jumping ship, they jump fast. If there's a revolt in Bruno's conference, we should know by New Year's Eve.

Bruno will say he has the votes. So did Marino.

As for more rumors, one has to wonder if any portion of the investigation involves the construction of Ken Bruno's palatial estate. What contractors were used, what were they paid and how were they paid. We can't help get the feeling that First Grafton is involved. Or is it horse racing, or both?

On a side note, Governor Elect Spitzer has named State Senator Michael Balboni to head the State's version of the Homeland Security Department. Balboni turned down a run for Attorney General recently in order to keep his Senate seat in GOP hands. Now, Spitzer will call a special election to fill Balboni's seat.

If Bruno, for whatever reason, resigns from the Senate, who will run in the special election for the GOP? For the Democrats?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


According to The Record, the Administration (hereinafter The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight) has called a special Council meeting for tomorrow night in order to vote (a third time) on the water rate increase.

A third vote is in all likelihood illegal (otherwise known in Rensselaer County as a mere technicality). However, the illegal vote will only require 5 illegal votes, not 6, because the resolution has now festered in the hands of the Council for a sufficient period of time.

When it comes to raising taxes and rates, no one works harder than the mayor.

Why the rush on the do-do-over? The water bills, with the new rate hike go out next week.

Mayor Tutunjian worked into the early morning hours drafting his list of people to blame and was not available for comment.

Who's to blame? Why not vote in our poll over on the right.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


From all of us at the Troy Polloi, Merry Christmas!

Come in and warm yourself by the fire:

And the Album Cover of the day:

Friday, December 22, 2006


Our contact at CSEA brings us the following.

Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian's penchant for raising taxes is well-known. In fact, he's never met a tax hike he didn't like. This year, property taxes rose 2.49% A modest hike. Where Harry also likes to get people is in the sewer and water rates. Those have gone up quite a bit in recent years. Those taxes (also called rate hikes) don't generate the same passion as property tax increases.

This year, Tutunjian's water rate hike passed by a vote of 5 to 4 (the Democrats and Marge voted against hitting the Troy taxpayers). The problem was, the legislation didn't get to Council members until the night of the vote. Therefore, six votes were required for passage.

§ C-38. Purposes and adoption of ordinances. [Amended by L.L. No. 1-1984, § 1]
The Council may, by ordinance, provide for the government of the City, the management of its business, and the protection of its property; for the preservation of good order; for the protection of the public health; for the safety and the welfare of its inhabitants and the protection of their property; for the construction of public and local improvements; and for such other purposes as the interests of the City and its inhabitants may require. No City ordinance shall be adopted at the same meeting at which it is introduced or until seven days have elapsed since its introduction, except by the two-thirds vote of the Council members present.

Well, they tried again last night. Again, Dems and Marge voted against whacking the tax payers. Bauer, Wojcik, Collier and McGrath voted for the tax hike. Council Krogh was absent. The vote was 4-4.

The result means no increase. Since the vote had no majority, no reconsideration is possible.

§ 2-32. Motion for reconsideration.

A. No motion for reconsidering any decision of the Council shall be in order unless made by a Councilperson who voted with the majority, nor unless such motion shall be made at the same or next regular meeting after such decision shall have been made.

B. A motion for reconsideration being put and lost shall not be removed, nor shall any vote be a second time reconsidered without unanimous consent.

Harry now knows this because he sent a memo to CSEA President Paul Caroll proposing the termination of 15 Water Department employees to close the budget gap created by GOP incompetence. In the memo, Harry once again resorts to the blame game. Apparently, because the Democrats and Marge didn't vote for the tax hike, they will be blamed for the termination of 15 employees.

F*ck-up #1

Introduce the initial resolution within the appropriate time frame;

F*ck-up #2

Based on the previous vote, you may want to ensure that your other votes are available;

Read The Charter, Harry, or have someone read it to you.

Is this an example of the fiscal health of Troy? One utility rate hike is not passed and the Mayor threatens to terminate 15 employees a few days before Christmas? Is every dollar in the budget accounted for? What about the Federal Grants and the money saved by cutting loose 99 retirees from their benefits? Or was that set aside for next year. Maybe pave a few streets before election day?

Given Troy's fiscal situation, perhaps layoffs will be necessary. That's a debate that should be had, in full view of the public. That's what a leader does. A leader makes tough, unpopular decisions. A leader does not patch together budget after budget with ever-increasing tax hikes because he or she lacks the guts to confront those tough decisions.

More importantly, a leader leads by example. Stop blaming others for your failures. The HUD money? You had the memo in January of '04 outlining the issues. Carignan? You knew you were screwing over a local business and when confronted with the consequences you allowed another business to pay for your mistakes. You hired Spargo despite the obvious ethical issues surrounding the disgraced judge. The list goes on.

Now, just days before Christmas, you'll let employees toss and turn, worrying about their future because you do not know what you're doing (and blame others for your screw-up). Merry Christmas, Troy.

Another great Album Cover (featuring a future GOP At-Large candidate):


Is Uncle Joe in deep doo-doo?

As the Feds follow the cash, Joe maintains that as a "part-time legislator" he is allowed to have other concerns. He's quite correct. And one of those outside concerns is a consulting firm, run from his home. One of his clients is Jared Abruzzese. Mr. Abruzzese, according to attorney E. Stuart Jones, has paid Bruno's consulting firm hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to sources, Bruno started the "at home" business after seeing an advertisement stapled to a telephone pole, declaring "Make thousands a month while working at home." Bruno tore-off the phone number, made a call and here we are. You see, Bruno is only a part-time legislator. So, in order to make ends meet, he needed another job. It was a toss-up between an at-home consulting firm or greeter at Walmart. Bruno wisely chose the former.

What advice could Bruno give Abruzzese that was possibly worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars." Did Bruno help select wallpaper for Abruzzese's office? Or is the advice more simple, such as, "we advise you to retain us."

Why don't we know the identity of Bruno's other clients? There's no confidentiality laws preventing Joe from revealing the identity of his clients. Joes not a lawyer, priest or physician. He doesn't have to reveal the nature of the consulting work but he can't claim transparency while withholding the names of clients.

We think he's stepped in the Mirch. Some of his colleagues may feel the same way.

It will be interesting to see if the standard for New York State politicians remains "He was never convicted" or will it be lowered to "He's never been indicted."

Personally, we've always liked Joe, as an individual. For a New York State, Rensselaer County politician, he's pretty decent and he's always been kind to us. We'd hate to see him go out this way. This just looks bad.

Album Cover of the Day:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Our Joe Bruno? Under investigation?

We know Joe doesn't like the Time Union so, lets just say that according to Capital News 9:

Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is being investigated by the FBI in regards to business dealings involving his consulting firm.

Senator Bruno said he was notified by the FBI about the inquiry into his private consulting firm back in the spring. But it wasn't until the story was leaked to the media that he came forward.

Bruno said, "I wanted to be up front and assure that I have nothing to hide to avoid speculation, unfounded rumors, distortions."

He wanted to be up front about it? Months after the fact? Isn't that like a guy getting caught cheating and then admitting it?

Anyway, there's absolutely no cause for concern. Such probes are common with a man Joe's age. If something is wrong, you want it caught early. Treatment is much more successful if it's caught early. And please, all of you, avoid speculation, rumor and distortions.

Great Album cover of the day, sent in by an alert reader:

Monday, December 18, 2006


In the wake of several questionable police interrogations, Troy is may revive the Police Objective Review Committee (PORC).

A PORC, better known as a Civilian Review Board, analyzes complaints and police procedures and then makes watered-down recommendations that are ignored. So basically, it reviews what the police do, how they do it and then offers advice. It's like giving the police a Mother-in-Law.

We don't like feel-good measures with no teeth and giving a committee of citizens 'teeth' is never a good idea. A person may be smart: a committee is rarely smart. The intelligence and wisdom of committees never equals the sum of its parts.

A PORC is a way to make people feel involved without actually giving them any involvement of a consequential nature. If there's a problem in the police department, or any department, that's serious enough to be brought to the attention of a PORC, then it's serious enough to be addressed by City Hall or our City Council. That's what they're elected to do, isn't it?

This proposal is designed to shield Harry and Collier from addressing the problem in the detective bureau. They do not have the balls to criticize a police officer or two because they see that as criticizing the police. And criticizing the police may make the police angry. And they may cause trouble at the next election. That's the way political hacks think.

Let the police conduct the investigation. If that goes nowhere, let the Council investigate and do their job. If Collier can't, let some else do her job for her. The police do not need to worry about a group of civilians looking over their shoulder. They have bosses for that. If that fails, judges will toss cases. If all else fails, juries will toss cases.

Album cover of the day:

Friday, December 15, 2006



Looks like Senator Bruno has secured jobs for outgoing Lieutenant Governor Mary Donohue and former criminal defendant Henry Zwack. Both will like be confirmed for the Court of Claims. We're glad to see the gravy train keeps on rolling for such outstanding public servants.

The Court of Claims is generally an easy job and neither can do to much harm. Zwack's a joke and we have nothing against Mary but isn't it about time these two went out into the private sector and contributed to society? You know, maybe get off public assistance?


How many more times does Harry have to claim the city's not at fault for the tragic deaths of Hoan and Lan Son?

Based on the facts as we know them, no one is at fault unless the the power vent was improperly wired. That's not something an inspection would reveal. So, is someone blaming the city? Why does Harry seem so adamant about the city's lack of responsibility? Strange.

Even it if was the city's fault (which it wasn't) Harry can always have Nicoll & MacChesney pay the settlement of any suit.


There's a new website focusing on Troy's absentee landlords. We'll talk about that next week. We do not want to name names because there may be some serious problems with the nature and tenor of the site and some of the e-mails that have been exchanged. But for you, we'll delete the names and addresses so you can see what's going on.

We also have a letter about contract negotiations between the city and the PBA. Pretty funny stuff.

But now - more great album covers for your enjoyment.

No idea what the hell that's about.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Has anyone seen John Sweeney. According to the Sunday Times Union, John's having difficulty accepting his recent loss.

It's a rather bizarre article, to say the least. John's been missing votes, he's never in his cubicle and he never calls or writes. Thankfully, a colleague from Texas put together an interesting physical and psychological profile of the current whereabouts of our current congressman.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, a close friend of Sweeney's, says the four-term Republican is "frustrated and angry" and feels he was unfairly attacked a week before the election after the Times Union and other newspapers disclosed that police had investigated a domestic dispute between Sweeney and his wife on Dec. 2, 2005.

Sessions, asked why Sweeney was so angry and shocked about his loss, said: "John was disappointed that some frailties in his life were contributing issues to his defeat." He said Sweeney has been ill and his blood pressure had risen.

Sweeney believes he picked up "a bug" during congressional trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Sessions.

"A bug got into his system and lodged in his brain," Sessions said. "It caused unimaginable pain and stress."

Sessions said he and Sweeney are best friends and that his two children refer to Sweeney as "Uncle John."

The truly sad part about this is Sessions children. How does one tell their children that Uncle John has a brain bug?

Maybe it was an earwig that crawled into his brain. Maybe it laid eggs! The horror...the horror.


It's the holiday season again. Time to lay aside politics and have some fun.

One of the unintended results of the compact disc era is the demise of LP's and cover art. No one really cares about CD art. No one really bothers to look at CD covers. Has anyone ever said, "The CD cover is really cool." The demise of album cover art is a real shame. Some things should never be forgotten. During the month of December, we'll feature our favorite album covers of the last thirty or forty years.

So, return with us now and enjoy these unique album covers, the likes of which we'll never see again.

Who can forget The Ministers Quartet and their number one album:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Or, the soothing melodies of:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, December 08, 2006


Nothing says Christmas in the Capital District like Lights in the Park, the Victorian Stroll and tax hikes.

We....this is....forget it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


It never rains but it pours. We can talk about taxes in Rensselaer County, another confession being tossed or the Carignan lawsuit, or as we refer to it....Insuro-Gate! ("We just saved nothing on our insurance and screwed one or two private businesses along the way.")

We'll go with Insuro-Gate.

Most of you know that the case settled for $25,000. If the matter went to a verdict, and Carignan won, they'd receive approximately $30,000 + interest. Therefore, the $25,000 is not a nuisance settlement. Carignan got 80% of they wanted. A convincing victory.

The City will not be paying the $25,000. That amount will be paid by Nicoll & MacChesney.

The spin, about as convincing as O.J.'s search for the real killers, has begun:

"This was a political and malicious attempt to bring down my administration for helping the taxpayers of Troy save money," Tutunjian said in a statement released by the city.

And it would have worked too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids! Yes, Harry discovered the covert plan. Sue for breach of contract in order to topple his regime.

In point of fact (as those of you who have read the Mayor's deposition transcript know) refusing the $25,000 offer and and making Tutunjian take the stand and explain the "savings" would have been malicious. Funny, but malicious.

But, questions remain:

The administration has maintained that by switching brokers, the city saved $65,000. Doesn't it seem a funny way to thank N&M for providing us that savings? Thank you, Nicoll & fork-it-up!

If the city did nothing wrong, why would anyone pay anything? We could understand nuisance value, $2,500 or $5,000. But $25,000? It seems odd that Harry would even approach a private business for that type of money if everything was kosher.

The administration was never able to explain how money was saved by switching brokers and using quotes secured by Carignan. Lets recap:

1- Harry said Corporation Counsel (probably Hicks, not Mitchell) and/or the Comptroller told him they'd save money;

2- The Comptroller said they were told in a meeting that there would be a savings but there's no documentation of that proposed savings. Someone just told them it was so.

3- There was such a good savings that a non-party is paying Carignan $25,000 on a $30,000 claim.

Maybe it's best not to ask too many questions.

Monday, December 04, 2006


On Friday, Congressman Mike McNulty and Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton used their combined strength to haul Mayor Harry's ass out of the fire.

Congressman Mike brokered a deal that would leave the $1.1 HUD money in Schenectady. In turn, Schenectady will give Troy $100,000 (plus lessons in administering a city) a year for ten years.

This is good news. No one could argue that Troy needs all the money it can get.

Stratton is not without his faults. We did not agree with his pay raise fiasco, but he does act in a professional manner. For example, Stratton's response to Councilwoman Collier's rather hysterical e-mail (see previous post):

I want to thank you for asking me to respond to the critical email circulated by Councilmember Carolin Collier concerning Schenectady’s recent decision to recapture and reallocate roughly $1.1 million in HUD HOME Funding that Troy had been unable to commit as required by federal law. My Development Department staff has been working in conjunction with HUD administrators and with Troy officials over the course of several years to bring Troy’s development programs into line with HUD requirements. The recent action to recapture and reallocate funding was not intended to benefit Schenectady and Colonie but, rather, was undertaken to safeguard these funds from outright forfeiture by the Secretary of HUD. Federal Law requires that the HOME Funds be committed or obligated within two years of their receipt. If the Consortium fails to discharge that obligation, HUD is required to freeze the uncommitted funds, take them back, and then re-award them to another Participating Jurisdiction.

At the request of Congressman McNulty, I have spent much of the past week brainstorming with my Development and Legal staffs in an effort to find a responsible mechanism to assist Troy recover these funds in a way that will allow Troy to effectively utilize them. We have communicated a proposal to Mayor Tutunjian through the Congressman and we will be meeting later today to hopefully reach an agreement that serves the interests of both cities and ensures the continued viability of this critical stream of urban renewal funding. I am confident that after you learn the details of my proposal, you will be able to respond constructively to your fellow council members and demonstrate that the course Schenectady has been forced to pursue was both responsible and in the best interests of the citizens of Troy.

As always, I look forward to continuing to work with you.

Brian U. Stratton, Mayor

We guess class and professionalism in elected circles isn't entirely dead in the area.

Rather than cast about for someone to blame, McNulty and Stratton provided a solution.