Friday, March 30, 2007
The blog makes an effort at being evenhanded but we don't think it's too difficult to guess the authors identity. Reformers, have at it!
And yes, Trish has referred Intimigate to Judge McGrath. More on that next week. Say what you want about DeAngelis, lord knows we've been tough (too tough?) on her, but she has always gone the extra mile in avoiding even the appearance of a conflict in political matters. Case in point, Linda Clemente. There was no reason her office couldn't have pursued that case but she sent it out.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
On the other hand, Democrats on the City Council and in the County Legislature are calling for investigations as well as asking the District Attorney to look into the Regan allegations. The District Attorneys Office has the subject matter under review. We could be looking at Probe City, here. *
In contrast to City Hall's official silence, DPW Commissioner/County Legislator/Bruno Constituent Liaison (or DPWCCLBCL) hasn't stopped flapping his gums. In addition to denying "all" the allegations in Regan's affidavit,** Bob Mirch has resorted to a rather pathetic 'Them-Too' move. Gee whiz, Bob, took you long enough. Let us know how that works out for you, babe.
The Democratic call for a investigation will also put Council President Henry Bauer in a tight spot. It's a little known secret that he may be the DA candidate for the GOP. It's even less well-known that part of the Legislative Branch's duty is to keep an eye on the Executive Branch. Really, we shit you not. It's that whole, pesky checks and balances bit. If Bauer won't investigate allegations of improper conduct three floors up, why should he be entrusted with the county's top law enforcement job?
UPDATE: Jim Franco's take appears sound.
Good times, good times.
*The Times Union has finally joined the fray. Franco's been on top of this story but for some reason those stories are not on-line.
**The majority of Regan's affidavit references events wholly unrelated to Mirch. How does he deny events where he's not even alleged to have been present? Neat trick.
Monday, March 26, 2007
If you haven't read anything about Intimigate, catch-up here and here. You can also catch the video, here.
Although moderately scandalous, Intimigate, much like David Grandeau's Curling-gate, leaves something to be desired in a top-notch scandal. For instance, when the Brits have a scandal, someone involved looks like this:
Here in Troy, not so much.
Anyway, without further ado, the notorious paragraph 19 of Ms. Regan's Reply Affidavit:
Those are the allegations that directly relate to Troy. Our initial observations:
1 - We have reviewed Ms. Regan's Affidavit in it's entirety. It is highly detailed as to date, place and time. The fact her allegations are in affidavit form raises the stakes. An affidavit is sworn testimony and any materially misleading statement could result in perjury charges;
2- As of this writing, Troy City Hall has not commented on the allegations. Why? Upon hearing of the allegations, Mr. Crawley and Mr. Buell could simply comment, "yes, it's true," or "no, it's false." Are they scrambling for the phone records? The call was sent to voters beginning on Wednesday, November 2, 2005. It was probably recorded sometime during the prior week. It may take time to get those records.* But, if it didn't happen, why not say so;
3- Mr. 3Job was on Channel 10 Friday night. He described all the allegations as false, calling Ms. Regan a "disgruntled, former employee." Will he sign an affidavit? Whether he will or not, the denial is interesting. Why not simply say, "I don't know what occurred in Crawley's office because I wasn't there." As for Ms. Regan being disgruntled, if the allegations in the remainder of the affidavit are true, she has every right to be disgruntled;
4- If the message service was paid via credit card, Buell, Crawley and Mirch could simply allow a credit service to run a check on all their cards and have the results for mid-October through early November sent to an independent third party. Presumably, such a service would receive payment via a credit card. Perhaps an account was already set up;
5- Paragraph 9 does have the stink of truth. Why would Regan toss this event into an affidavit that otherwise concentrates on County shenanigans? If she had wanted to merely create waves, she could have said that Tutunjian, and perhaps Bauer, were also present. Would Regan jeopardize her actual complaint by throwing in a superfluous event that is easily disproved by phone records (legitimate, undoctored records)? If the City can establish to everyone's satisfaction that no call was made from that phone, from that office, the remainder of Regan's allegations are in serious trouble;
6- The events alleged in paragraph nine detail the typical uninspired, pedestrian and boorish behavior we expect from our local political hacks. Does anyone really doubt that this could have happened?
7- When will council President Bauer call for an investigation? Part of the function of a legislature is to keep an eye on the executive. With a possible run for DA in the near future, can Bauer afford to ignore these allegations?
8- A word about criminality. The events alleged are despicable, improper, unethical and worst of all, lacked style. However, you'll have to point out some criminal statute that was violated. We don't think this behavior is literally criminal. There are some statutes that almost cover these alleged acts, but fall just short of applicability. Perhaps a special prosecutor could investigate to determine if anything criminal occured. **
9- Perhaps the most disturbing allegation was paragraph 22, where they repeatedly call the Peter Ryan campaign and ask if he has Prince Albert in a can.
We'll all have plenty of time to discuss all these things and more. This story has legs as long as Christine Keeler's.
Finally, a note of levity in all this nonsense. From the affidavit:
Swartz stood by his affidavit and Laura Bauer, the District 1 County Legislator, is expected to back his claims tomorrow at a press conference.
*At this point, any records produced by City Hall will be suspect. It's been sufficient time to have them doctored. The lack of an official denial within the first twenty-four hours is telling.
**Illegal, maybe. Criminal? Very unlikely, with one caveat, which we'll discuss later.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
This is what we hear through the grapevine on the district races for Troy City Council.
District 1 - Mark Wojcik v. Marge DerGurahian - They should let DerGurahian run At-Large but that seems doubtful.
District 2- ? v. Mary Sweeney - Could be Mark McGrath but we hear there's pressure on him to run At-Large.
District 3 - Artie Fredette v. Peter Ryan - Although, there has been talk of Fredette running At-Large.
District 4 - John Fetscher v. Bill Dunne
District 5 - Bob Krogh v. John Brown or Ken Zalewski - rumor has it that Brown has already raised 6k, before he's received the nomination. There's also been talk about Brown receiving the endorsements of both Ron Canestrari and Mike McNulty. We'd check with their offices before you believe any of those rumors. We find it highly unlikely that the assemblyman or the congressman would endorse anyone at this stage of the game, not when more than one person is interested in the nomination.
District 6 - Carolin Collier v ? - No rumors have reached us yet. The Collier At-Large rumors do persist. We don't see why Carolin would run At-Large but who knows.
That's what we hear. No doubt the lineup will change twenty times in the next few weeks.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
"It has been my pleasure and great honor to have been elected to serve the people of Rensselaer County as their district attorney," DeAngelis said in a prepared statement. "After much personal reflection, I have decided that I will not seek re-election this fall."
DeAngelis says she has received a number of employment offers. We wish her well as she starts another phase of her legal career.
This puts to end the recent rumors that seemed to change by the hour during the past week: she was running, she wasn't, she's running, she isn't.
The Record story can be found here.
Monday, March 19, 2007
It's been a week since Joe Riley announced his withdrawal from the mayors race, leaving Democrats feeling cheap and used (and not in a good way). Just three weeks ago, Riley loved the Democrats and was honored to be the party's mayoral candidate. An election date had been set and inaugural tux's rented. Then, Riley called it off. To add insult to injury he even used the, "It's not you, it's me," line.
So be it. If any comfort can be taken by the Democratic Party it is that this was not their screw-up. They set their sights on a good candidate and landed him, or so they thought. For Riley's part, we'll take him at his word. If he can't run for personal reasons, he can't run.
Riley generated excitement in Democratic circles and his name was frequently mentioned by the rank-and-file in the Police Department and Fire Department. He also brought some strengths to the table so-often lacking in mayoral candidates that come from the council. Riley had executive experience, moved back to Troy and rehabilitated a home in the downtown area and had a wider than usual circle of potential contributors.
Within GOP circles the news brought a sigh of relief. It's no secret that the GOP elders were worried about a Tutunjian - Riley race. Their confidence in the mayor is at an all-time low and Riley is known as a tough campaigner and quick on his feet in a verbal joust, unlike the mayor who remains the Mario Mendoza of orators. That, coupled with months of City Hall incompetence, meant a competitive race.
Now, not so much. The Democrats will have to find another candidate. It's doubtful that candidate will be someone who currently holds elected office, which may not be a bad thing.
We have no idea if this candidate exists but the Democrats may want to find:
A) a successful businessperson who knows what is needed to facilitate commercial growth;
B) someone who is articulate;
C) someone who will not govern based on the next election;
D) someone who doesn't cave when the going gets tough;
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The Rensselaer County Legislature will pass a resolution rescinding their 2005 pay-hike. Supporters of the resolution argue that the last-minute pay increase sends the wrong message to Rensselaer County kinder....wait a minute, we're on the wrong page.
Our County Legislature appeared set to vote on a resolution expressing concerns over a Jackson-Hewitt ad that uses trailers from the Nicholas Cage movie, "Ghost Rider." Cage plays a leather-clad, motorcycle-riding ghoul with a flaming skull for a noggin.
The objection is that the ads make fire "appear cool." If the poster to the left is any indication, it doesn't make fire look cool. It makes it look way cool!
Whether the resolution passed or went down in flames, we say "It's about time!" Our County Legislature has spent far too much time raising their pay and our taxes. The plight of flaming skulled ghouls has been forgotten, to our shame. Anti-Ghoulitry still remains acceptable throughout large parts of the nation. This is an important step in the right direction. We haven't witnessed this type of leadership since the Italian Army invaded Abyssinia.
And for the kids, just say no to flaming-skulled ghouls.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The presumed Democratic mayoral candidate, Joe Riley, is now the former presumed Democratic candidate for mayor.
Riley will drop out of the race. We have no idea why and will not entertain wild speculation that casts aspersions on anyone. That's for us.
Just thought you'd all like to know.
More tomorrow or on Thursday.
Monday, March 12, 2007
In order to get us out from under, Mayor Hill is thinking about selling City Hall to developers. Which developers? Won't say.
A few weeks ago, at his State of the City address, Mayor Hill mentioned someone might build an hotel next to City Hall. Despite the lack of space and parking, the Mayor explained that the hotel would be 72 floors high, with two rooms per floor. We were all as excited as little school girls.
Now, it's an office building.
Is it an election year?
Proceeds from the alleged sale will fund musical instruments and music lessons for the Troy Children's Marching Band.
Maybe a brand, new City Hall should be put on hold until the city's population starts to rise. We're below 50,000 residents now and the U.S. Census Bureau's projections don't look good. Is it odd that a shrinking city that can't afford to give it's residents a tax break would buy a brand, new city hall?
Just a few election rumors to float.
The GOP/Carolin Collier running At-Large. It's not hard seeing why the GOP may want Ms. Collier to run for an At-Large council seat. It's equally easy to see why Ms. Collier would not even consider such a race, let alone actually run At-Large. Given her easy victories in the 6th ED the previous few elections, why would she?
Mayor Harry at the Troy Housing Authority. Another fun rumor actually overheard. Given his recent performance and his growing (and obvious) lack of enthusiasm for being mayor, Harry wants an appointment to head the Troy Housing Authority. The other theory propounded is that area GOP leaders (read Bruno) would like to see Harry in a position where his many deficiencies would not be so readily apparent.
The appointment is for a set term and pays well.
Artie Fredette, owner of Positively Fourth Street, to challenge Peter Ryan in the 3rd District. That's all we heard. Don't really know, don't really care.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Jimmy Carras, long time photographer for The Record and born and bred Trojan, was diagnosed with cancer. While the prognosis is good, there's a fundraiser for him this weekend. The Ale House is providing finger foods. Ernie Williams as well as The Heaters will provide the music. Rick Conety will provide the comedy. There will be a cash bar. A number of people have donated some pretty nice stuff for raffles. It looks like a portion of River Street will be blocked off for the bash.
All the proceeds will go to Mr. Carras.
Date: Sunday, March 11
Time: 2PM - 6PM
Place: The Ale House, 680 River Street
Tickets: $20, available at the door or they can be ordered in advance. Contact Tom Killips at The Record at 466-5308.
Looks like the weather will be pretty good too. No rain and a high in the 40's.
Let's show them how Trojans take care of each other when the chips are really down.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
The city and three of its police officers settled their differences Monday rather than proceed with a scheduled termination hearing.Two of the former officers -Paul Bouchard and Mary Kay O'Neil - retired without facing any disciplinary action. A third involved with a botched confession, Sgt. Joseph Centanni, will return to work after serving a brief suspension. He will make the same pay and remain as a sergeant but agreed not to work as a detective. O'Neil was 11 days shy of the 20-year pension benchmark before she and the two others were placed on unpaid suspension, stopping her pension clock. She will, however, be allowed to retire with 20 years of service. Bouchard resigned last month with 32 years on the force and he will get his longevity allowance and accrued vacation time.
Now, maybe we've been chewing too much qat, but all this seems in stark contrast to just a few weeks ago. You remember, Harry and his posse in front of the television cameras, in their buffalo stance, extolling their commitment to civil liberties. They were going to terminate these officers! Which would mean no pensions etc. Which would mean....actual punishment. What the hell happened?
Since there was no televised press conference (Harry always opens with a press conference and then, after f****g things-up, ignores the press ) following the settlement, this is a victory for the cops. Which, of course, is fine. We've always thought the fact that O'Neil was charged was absurd. As for Centanni? This quote from his lawyer, E. Stewart Jones sounds prophetic:
Centanni's criminal attorney, E. Stewart Jones, called his client a political "scapegoat" and recommends they gear up for a fight. Thus far there have been no criminal charges filed."The investigation I know of and am familiar with will not support his termination," Jones said. "This is a politically expedient exercise by City Hall and it is not fair to the police department or the police officers."
What the hell happened?
Monday, March 05, 2007
The North Greenbush Reform Democrats created their own committee for raising funds and supporting candidates. The recent controversy goes something like this:
The Reform Democrats receive a contribution of $2,000. The contribution comes from Allstate Remodeling. Per New york State Law, the contribution is included in the committee's electronic filings. Contrary to New York State Law, no address is disclosed. Allstate Remodeling is listed as an "A", an individual or partnership. Although, hypothetically speaking, a person could be named Allstate Remodeling, the contributor is probably a partnership.
The contribution was subsequently amended to list the contributor as Statewide Remodeling. Statewide is listed as a "B", or corporation. Statewide's Address is 121 Adams Street, Troy, NY. Unfortunately, Statewide is no longer in business. The New York State Department of State indicates the corporation is inactive and Statewide's agent for service of process is a law firm that hasn't been around for years.
In any event, as can be seen from the above photographs, Statewide Remodeling is no longer in business. And if 121 Adams Street was their showpiece office, we now know why.
On a side note, it's the policy of the Troy Polloi to take sides in intra-party warfare. We have no dog in this fight, no horse in the race, no baklava in the ջեռոց . We don't know if the reform Dems are real Dems and real reformers. We don't know if the other Dems are the hell spawn of Satan. We simply will not cash checks for either of them.
What we do know is that it's damn hard to find a good remodeling business in Troy.
Friday, March 02, 2007
With a disciplinary hearing just days away, Capt. Paul Bouchard has retired from the Troy Police Department. Bouchard has more than enough time in on the job and this move will save his pension.
Retirement was logical for Bouchard and the move comes as no surprise. The interesting thing will be his testimony. We assume either side has subpoena powers and Bouchard's testimony seems highly relevant to O'Neil's defense as well as Centanni's.
In a related matter, Corporation Counsel David B. Mitchell seems to have flip-flopped on the sanctity of personnel matters. While once considering personnel matters 'sacrosanct' the City now wants the hearings open to the public.
The hearings against O'Neill and Centanni are scheduled to begin 9 a.m. Monday, Mitchell said, adding that the city wants the hearings open to the public. He said attorneys for the officers do not want them public. Deciding that will be the first order of business Monday, he said.
Back in January, it was the City's position that:
"We will not litigate this in the press, and we will not sling this out in the gutter. This is something we will handle judiciously." - The Record, Jan 20, 2007
So now it's fine to intimate the officers have something to hide?
This story appeared in the Times Union on Thursday but not in The Record. Interesting.
REPUBLICAN MAYOR SLAPS REPUBLICAN COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Mayor Tutunjian wants to reduce the city's share of 911 costs 82% over the next few years. That seems logical as Troy accounts for half of the 911 calls. If our math is right (82 x 48.2 - .9 + 5) that means the county should be paying Troy and that Troy has an ERA of 5.56.
County Executive Kathy Jimino has taken the unreasonable position that Troy should pay it's fair share of 911 costs. Tutunjian has proposed that Troy should reimburse the County with chicken and assorted diary products for the service.
Instead of noting their differences over the proposed contract, Tutunjian threw a gratuitous shot at Kathy:
"I met with the county executive earlier this week and she explained the dire situation that Rensselaer County is in financially," Tutunjian said. "Thanks to our commitment to making the tough day-to-day decisions, it is clear that the city of Troy is in much better fiscal shape that Rensselaer County is."
Jimino correctly pointed out:
"In fact the majority of the county's residents served by these programs reside in the city of Troy. On balance, the city of Troy disproportionately receives far more for their county property tax dollars than any other municipality in the county," Jimino said.
Troy also sees more returned in sales tax than it generates while East Greenbush gets burned. With 20% of it's costs covered by state and federal welfare, Tutunjian's claims can only be explained by the mayor's over-inhalation of snow plow fumes.
Last week we criticized Mayor Stratton for pitting municipality against municipality. Tutunjian's habit of promoting his stewardship at the expense of others leaves his claims grossly suspect.