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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


...don't talk about Meet the Candidates Night!

According to numerous eye-witnesses, there were more fireworks in the audience at Monday's Meet the Candidates Night than there was up at the podium.

On Monday, October 29, candidates for District Attorney, Mayor of Troy and Troy City Council gathered at the CYO on 4th Street. Towards the end of the evening, two women who shall remain nameless (Elda's daughter and Harry's wife), got into a scuffle. There was finger-pointing, yelling pulling? Please God, let there have been hair pulling.

Numerous accounts say that the combatants had to be separated twice. The first separation never takes. The Mayor watched the drama unfold and then swept into action. He appointed a bi-partisan commission consisting of Councilmen Mark McGrath and Pete Ryan to separate the ladies.

We know men that would brave the beaches of Normandy sooner than step into a disagreement between two women of Mediterranean descent. Bravo to McGrath and Ryan!


John Brown, Democratic candidate for City Council-at-large today announced his “RESTORE TROY” initiative. Brown intends to push legislation that would award a tax break to homeowners who re-convert multi-family dwellings into single or two-family owner occupied homes. The candidate stated that people should be rewarded for investment in the community and their preservation of Troy ’s historic homes and sees many benefits in the incentive.

Brown said, “We have seen Troy ’s historic homes become chopped up into apartment houses. We need to provide incentives for people to return these homes to their former beauty and neighborhood intent.”

Brown mentioned that while the program’s biggest beneficiary could be Troy ’s historic homes he thinks the program should increase home-ownership in the city.

“People looking to live in Troy can now look outside just the single-family homes. This provides an opportunity to invest the extra money into converting homes back into a one-family or an owner occupied two-family home.”

Part of Brown’s proposal is to enact a moratorium on property owners seeking to subdivide existing homes into multi-family residences. He also wants to increase code enforcement throughout the city. “Until the City completes a comprehensive re-zoning that lays out our plan we should not allow property owners to squeeze more apartments into buildings within the existing zoning. We need to create programs and policies that promote sustainable home-ownership while aggressively cleaning up our neighborhoods.”

In other candidate news, the Troy PBA endorsed Ken Zalewski for Councilman in Troy's 5th Council District.

The Times Union has it's Voter's Guide on-line. It's a guide. For voters.


Rather than critique the mayor debate, we thought we'd share the audio with you and let you decide for yourself. You can fastforward through the first six or seven minutes because it's mostly set-up and the audience shouting that they can't hear the moderator. You need Windows Media Player or some such techno-thingy to listen.

Our favorite lines:

Conroy, describing the current Administration: "Progress by Press Release."

Tutunjian, earning our trust because he's: "Been a good caretaker of your parts."

As for us, we'd ask the Mayor to stay away from our parts. Or at least buy us dinner first.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Troy City Council races are typically short and brutal, with the outcome hinging more on partisanship, minor party lines and who is "a nice guy." That's no way to pick a City Council. Troy is at a cross-roads and this could well be the most important election since the last election with the next 'most important' election two years from now.

How would we pick a City Council? The only rational way is to balance experience, professionalism and intelligence with the ethnic origin of the candidates last name.



Geography: District 1 covers the most northerly part of the City of Troy. Due to it's location, the weather is often harsh with temperatures sometimes falling into the sub-zero range for weeks at a time. For six months out of the year there is daylight for only 2.3 hours daily.

Incumbent: Mark Wojcik (R,C,I)
Challenger: Vic (Bud) DeBonis (D)

Hot-Button Issue: Cook or Peary? Who was the first man to reach District 1?

Endorsement: Frankly, this is a tough one. While we recognize the need for more Italian-American representation on the City Council, we owe Mr. Wojcik a personal favor. Our neighbor owns a pit bill (Mr. Jammers). Since the passage of Mr. Wojcik's pit-bull legislation, Mr. Jammers has turned his life around. He is now friendly, cuddly and we haven't found pieces of our cat strewn throughout the neighborhood in months. Wojcik also fought vigorously against introducing sharks to Grafton Lakes. Mr. Jammers gets it and so do we. Therefore....we endorse Mr. Wojcik!

Prediction: Wojcik.


Geography: The Crack Basket of Rensselaer County, District 2 is conveniently wedged between District 1 and District 3. District 2 is a hot-bed of extra-legal entrepreneurship and the beneficiary of the commercial growth now taking place in Troy. Cheap crack and cheap hookers are a thing of the past in District 2, having been replaced by moderately priced crack and moderately priced hookers.

Incumbent: Mark McGrath (R,C,I)
Challenger: Mary Sweeney (D,WFP)

Endorsement: It's tough not to like McGrath. He's spent a lot of time with youth groups, turning street gangs into hockey teams and vice-versa. We have our doubts about Sweeney. Why were the Troopers called to her house? Why won't she authorize the release of the incident report? Why did her husband call .....sorry. Wrong Sweeney. We're going with Sweeney.

Prediction: Too close to call. Internal GOP polling has this race tight. Any edge must go to the incumbent.


Geography: Rolling hills, middle-class homes and highly educated, rolling mid-level state workers. If Troy was New York City, Sycaway would be Westchester County, which isn't part of New York City so forget all about that. Think Brunswick-lite. Sycaway is a Japanese word meaning, "I don't have to say I live in Troy."

Incumbent: Peter Ryan (D)
Challenger: Mark Balistreri (R,I,C)

Hot-Button Issue: What's with the house with a Ryan sign and a Balistreri sign?

Endorsement: We need more Irish-Americans on the Council. Ryan is one of the few Council members that work in the private sector. We have enough county/state emploeyes on the council.

Prediction: Ryan.


Geography: If Troy were New York City, District 4 is Manhattan. This comparison soon breaks down when one discovers that Troy isn't New York City. Often called "The Business District" because of the businesses located there, District 4 is the place to go to open and close a business.

Incumbent: Bill Dunne (D,WFP)
Challenger: Beverly Traa (R,C,I)

Endorsement: Although we'd like to see an African-American woman on the Council, we're going with Dunne. We need Irish-Americans on the Council. We think Traa is Dutch or Belgian or, god-forbid, Luxembourgian. We know what the Dutch are all about, don't we? Legalized drugs, legalized prostitution, dikes, more social programs....

Prediction: Traa, in an upset. Rallying Troy's Dutch, Belch and Luxembourgian population (centered in Troy's Little Antwerp) Traa trounces Dunne. If Troy doesn't have a Little Antwerp, disregard this prediction.

District 5

Geography: District 5 has it all: a bustling night life in the heart of the revitalized South Troy, a jail, quiet, tree-lined streets on the East Side...If Troy were a moderately-sized city in the industrial northeast, District 5 would be South Troy. A resident can imbibe at a local common room, break into a house on a tree-lined street and find themselves down at the jail: All without leaving the confines of District 5. It's one stop shopping.

Incumbent: Bob Krogh (R,C, I)
Challenger: Ken Zalewski (D)

Hot-Button Issue: Was there a President Ida? Was he elected before or after President Canal?

Endorsement: A tougher choice than District 1 made all the more difficult because neither candidate has an Irish or Italian name. We think Krogh's a German name. If not, what is Krogh? What's he hiding? Is he pushing some radical, white, male heterosexual agenda? We have nothing against white, male heterosexuals, we just don't want it thrown in our faces. The challenger's name has a lot of consonants all in a row so we think it's Polish. We're endorsing Ken Zalewski (pronounced Z-a-l-e-w-s-k-i). We think Krogh's German and the Council will already have Bauer. No need to make everyone jumpy.

Prediction: Krogh by a hair.

District 6

Geography: The southern-most part of Ilion. Balmy days and tropical nights are the hallmark of District 6, also known as the Rensco Riviera or the Gateway to Menands.

Incumbent: Carolin Collier-Skriptshak (the hyphen is silent) (R,C,I)
Challenger: Gary Galuski (D,WFP)

Hot-Button Issue: Does the Menands Bridge go from Troy to Menands or Menands to Troy?

Endorsement: Another difficult one. If Wojcik and Zalewski win, do we need Galuski. On the other hand, Collier sounds suspiciously French. We don't know what Skriptshak is, Eastern European? We did have a Skriptshak removed once. It was benign. Roll call please....Galuski.

Prediction: Collier... by a Skriptshak.

Monday, October 29, 2007


The press should never become The Story. It's not their job to be involved in The Story. Here, we just couldn't help ourselves. It's so rare that you get a sneak-peak at the important work done by the City Council and it's employees. Luckily, thanks to "a friend" we can bring you an inside look, complete with primary sources, at the vital, people's work, done by one Council Ass. - from his City Hall computer.

Just click on the thumbnail photos for some fun.

What are these two crazy kids up to? Boring, boring, boring...

Huh? Nail someone? Without buying him dinner? Who are they talking about?

Hey, wait a minute!

Or maybe he got a generic picture from Yahoo Photos? Ya' think?

And moving on...

For those interested, we understand that Mr. Girardin is/was somehow connected with the RPI Little Republicans.

And let us never forget our favorite Vito quote from the days when he was a frequent visitor:

Here's one for you Democratus /Which potential Dem council candidate was very recently observed and photographed (Camera Phone) going into and leaving an hour later from one of Troy's finer Porno arcades without making a purchase? It's not the one where they have women dancing either.Think he was in there doing research? He looked pretty content when he came out. I'll pass one along to you in October when it's featured on some campaign literature. Vito 04.16.05 - 7:19 pm

Maybe it was a very expensive camera phone. Not one many people would own.

And you want to be our latex salesman!

Friday, October 26, 2007



According to just about everyone, Congressman Mike McNulty will call it quits.

The Times Union;

The Record;

Democracy in Albany;

The Albany Project;

We figured that after more than a decade in the wilderness McNulty would have wanted a few years in the majority. Go figure.


Fresno's has closed. The Troy restaurant, part of a chain, opened in 2003.

Mayor Tutunjian was not present for the ceremony. Nor was his photograph displayed prominently next to the article. We wonder why.


Taxes going.....take a guess. Is it our imagination or does the Times Union run this same article every year?

Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino explains the tax raise to reporters, "We don't have enough of these green pieces of paper." Photo by Lori Van Buren/Times Union


Next week....

We received an audio of the mayoral debate courtesy of the Conroy camp. We're currently reviewing the debate and will critique it next week.

Also, did a current City Council candidate use City Hall computers to try and track down Democratus?

Thursday, October 25, 2007


One of the lasting legacies of the Tutunjian Administration will be the damage done to our fine police department. It's no secret that Tutunjian and his people have a great disdain for the men and women of the TPD. This disdain has real consequences.

This legacy is best exemplified by the resignation of Officer Gerald Young. Gerald Young is an officer we can ill-afford to lose. He is a fine, dedicated officer with a sterling reputation.

Officer Young received a commendation for putting his own life on the line in the daring January rescue of an elderly couple whose car accidentally drove into the frigid waters of the Hudson River from a Lansingburgh supermarket parking lot. Young, one of three officers first on the scene, waded into the river without protective gear to rescue the couple. He was later treated for exposure. - The Record, May 26, 2006

Young is also the recipient of several other awards including two Silver Shields, two Emmys and one Oscar.

According to many, Young is a Cop's Cop and his departure has dispirited many.

Young has chosen to leave the TPD and take a position with another Department. A suburban department. We say he chose to leave but the reality is that the atmosphere within the Troy Police Deaprtment, created by this administration, has led to the loss of this valuable officer. Young will not be the last.

Ten years ago people waited in line for a chance to join the Troy Police Department. Now, in the words of one officer, "we can't give these jobs away."

We wish Officer Young all the best.

Two recent debates/meet the candidate nights further underscore the GOP's complete denial on crime-police issues.

At his debate, Mayor Tutunjian applauded himself for hiring five new police officers. What he forgot to add, and what Conroy pointed out, is that there still remains six vacancies on the force. Tutunjian then explained (we think) that hiring more officers requires 'good planning.' Not sure what Tutunjian meant by that but he's a very good driver. Slow in the driveway...on Sundays.

Tutunjian (R-Mayor) explained that crime was not really on the rise. More people were reporting crime. Of course, he's got no basis to make such a statement. Nor does he need such a basis. If the facts do not agree with Harry's revealed truth, no doubt those facts are Satan's work. Although, if the statistics showed crime going down one wonders if Tutunjian would say that less people are reporting crime.

At-Large candidate Maria Talarico (Harry's Neighbor Party) is another proponent of the "more reporting" theory of crime. At a recent greet the candidates meeting at the O'Neill Apartments, she soothed the elderly by claiming crime was not really on the rise. Talarico did this while holding a copy of the very Division of Criminal Justice report showing the rise in crime.

With a shrinking population and a crime "down" we know this Administration and, if elected, Talarico, now have no reason to ensure that our police force is at full strength and equipped with the appropriate tools and budget to do the job.

Talarico, a former police officer, should know better. Shame on her.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Media coverage of area politics and the '07 campaign is weak. The Record's Jim Franco is balancing reporting with being the acting City Editor. Shawn Charniga has left The Record and there are a number of what appears to be young, inexperienced reporters picking up the slack.

The quality of the Times Union coverage has remained consistent. The quantity has declined.

For our money, the best coverage is provided by Chet Hardin over at Metroland. One doesn't associate Metroland with Troy politics but the coverage has been excellent. Hardin is a throwback to the day when journalists didn't merely parrot back any and all nonsense spouted by a candidate.

The most recent edition of Metroland has a story about Ken Zalewski's run for Troy City Council in ED 5 versus incumbent Bob Krogh. Hardin's coverage is fair and he actually verifies (to the extent possible) what someone says. Both Zalewski and Krogh come off looking fine. Troy Republican Chair Tom Casey? That's a different story.

From the article:

Casey: “He (Zalewski) is raising thousands upon thousands of dollars from special-interest groups. These people don’t know him. They probably don’t know where Troy is,” claimed Tom Casey, chairman of the Troy Republican Party. “Did you look at his campaign-finance-disclosure thing online? None of it is from Troy; a couple of dollars here or there—that’s it.”

If, by 'none of it' Casey means $6,000, he's correct. Hardin did look at Zalewski's campaign-finance-disclosure 'thing.' Almost $6,000 raised by Zalewski comes from Troy. We'd like to look at Mr. Krogh's campaign-finance-disclosure 'thing' but alas? Not available at the Board of Elections on-line site.

As for the rising crime rate, Krogh punts but does not sound as comfortable as Talarico in towing the Administration's tortured line that crime is not on the rise. He makes an effort but his heart's not in it:

Krogh: “I am not too sure if crime is rising. I just think that, with the neighborhood programs, and the neighborhood watches, and the people getting together, they are noticing it more,” Krogh said. “They are looking out for it now. In parts of my district, certainly there is crime. We wouldn’t have a police force otherwise.”

So, in line with Mr. Casey's new standard on where money should come from, we'd like his opinion about the following:

That is the tip of the iceberg. A small sampling of the out-of-town corporate contributions. Hardly all of them. We didn't bother with the out-of-town individual contributions (although they are far fewer).

So, what exactly are the rules here, Mr. Casey? Harry can accept perfectly legal contributions from out of town interests. Can the other side? Or, is it just out-of-town corporate interests that are OK? Please, tell us the rules. We don't want Democrats raising too much money.

Harry's amassed a nice warchest. We're not whining about the origins of the contributions. That's the nature of the business. Why is Casey whining about Zalewski's contributions?

Monday, October 22, 2007


Who's polling Troy voters? Who's flipping the bill?

According to the Times Union:

The New York Survey Alliance has telephoned Troy voters about the mayoral race between incumbent Republican Harry Tutunjian and Democrat James Conroy. The phone call concludes with three loaded questions about Conroy.

That has the sound of a push poll, Conroy says, referring to a less than upfront campaign tactic in which the effort casts negative aspersions on a candidate rather than eliciting information.

Still, one Rensselaer County Republican operative said it's not unusual for negative questions to be grouped at the end of a poll as a way of seeking issues that could be raised during a campaign if they are needed.

Tutunjian maintains he's relying on direct mail and advertising and isn't using the phones. "We're not doing any type of polling. I'm not aware of it," he said in reference to the job being done by the New York Survey Alliance.
Conroy isn't letting his opponent off the hook.

"It's the lowest form of campaigning, but I wouldn't expect anything else. If he doesn't know of it, his lieutenants do," Conroy said.

Meanwhile, Tutunjian is riled by automatic phone calls from his opponent's campaign, but Conroy's comfortable with that tactic.

"We announce who we are, who we're calling in a straightforward manner," said Conroy, whose campaign's financial filings include payment for a pollster.

Push-Polling has long been considered unethical, even for politicians. Push Polls start out innocuous but then ask such questions such as, "Would your opinion of Candidate X change if you knew he had molested a dozen young spider monkeys?" The respondant gets so angry at Candidate X that they want to push him. Really hard. Hence the term, push-polling.*

The New York Survey Alliance is no stranger to push-polling accusations.

Doug McCool, another Dutchess County resident contacted by the pollsters, said he became suspicious when the caller identified his company as the 'New York Survey Alliance,' because the caller ID showed a number in Fairfield County, Conn. "The problem here is that you have a company misidentifying themselves and trying to push voters to one side or another based on fictitious rumors," said Mr. McCool. "It seemed like nasty politics, and it's unfortunate we have to deal with that in this area."

Harry denies knowledge of any such polling. That's fine. However, someone with an interest in Troy's mayoral contest paid for the poll. Who? As Harry said at the debate, "everyone in the state is talking about Troy." Maybe someone in Rochester paid for the poll. Maybe it was the Rockland County GOP Committee. 'Everyone' is a lot of people.

If you review the financial disclosure filings of the usual suspects, no one is paying for the polling. Almost all of the usual suspects have filed their 32-Day Pre-General filings. By mere coincidence, the 32-Day Pre-General filing must be submitted to the Board of Elections 32 days before (or pre)the general election. The one exception, the Rensselaer County Republican Committee. They've yet to file.

We don't expect the polling to show-up on any disclosure. Much like the calls from City Hall made by Colleen Reagan. The GOP philosophy seems to be, if they're not reported they must not exist.

*The hallmark of push-polling is the intent, not negative questions. Legitimate polling can, and does, ask negative questions. The purpose behind a push poll is not to seek answers to questions, it's to campaign. The 'pollster' doesn't really care about the answer. It's all about the question.

Friday, October 19, 2007


The recent decision by Judge Zwack, declaring invalid the certificate of nomination naming Robert Zinzow the Democratic candidate for the 4th Legislative District has been ***WARNING SPOILER ALERT***reversed. The decision was unanimous. Not only that, all the judges agreed.

For paranoid, conspiracy theorists out there (and we know who you are), four of the five judges are Republican. The decision can be read here.

We understand that the court based it's decision on the famous I Know You Are v But What Am I? case. Actually, it looks like the court invoked the old "No Harm, No Foul" rule.

The decision also avoided a potentially sticky situation. The Appellant* argued two points: 1) The merits of the Zwack decision under existing Election Law and 2) That Judge Zwack should have recused himself.

If the court had had denied Appellant's first argument they would have to address the second argument - recusal. By reversing on the legal merits, the propriety of Zwack hearing the case was moot. We're not suggesting that the court ignored the law and reversed merely to avoid the recusal issue. Only that
a reversal on the merits had the added benefit of avoiding the recusal issue, something that is going to crop-up every election year.

It is not known if Respondent will seek permission to appeal the the Court of Appeals.


We don't cover much town politics but over in Stephentown, Andrew White is running for supervisor.

We find this significant for a variety of reasons. First, we never knew Stephentown existed. So we went straight to a map of Rensselaer County and there it was! Go figure. Secondly, Mr. White would be a fine public servant. Finally, of note is that not too long ago the Stephentown Democratic Party was close to dead and buried. Now it's thriving. Competition is a good thing, whether it's Democrats running in Republican strongholds or Republicans running in places like Albany.

Here's the Dems site.


According to the Time Union, there will be a candidate get-together on October 29, 2007 at the CYO on Fourth Street at 7:00PM. It is not a debate. So, what is it?

We understand that whatever this is, it will from 7:00PM-9:00PM. Theoretically, there could be more than 23 candidates present, leaving each candidate 45 seconds to introduce themselves.

And Elda has a website! Actually, from an aesthetic standpoint, it's the best one we've seen.

* Not to get technical, but the Appellant is the party seeking a 'do-over'

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Democratic Mayoral candidate Jim Conroy liked the debate so much he's calling for more:
There are three weeks until the election. I propose that we meet once a week in a different part of the City so that the voters can really understand the difference between the current administration and my vision for a Troy that is united for growth and prosperity.

That's probably not a bad idea. According to The Record:

It was standing room only at a Tuesday night public forum and mayoral debate featuring incumbent Republican Mayor Harry Tutunjian, Democrat Jim Conroy and Independent Elda Abate.

The two-hour debate, which was moderated by the League of Women Voters, took place at a third floor conference room at the city's Commission for Economic Opportunity on Fifth Avenue.

Conroy has proposed three more debates, presumably each two hours in duration. We agree in principle. However, how about six one hour debates or 12 half-hour debates? Or thirty-six, 7 minute mini-bates?

No offense to the League of Women Voters, the format must be changed. Might we suggest the following:

1) A Hollywood Squares format where nine Trojans (citizens, not prophylactics) aid the candidates in answering a host of complex questions. For example, "Mark Wojcik to block."

2) A Jeopardy format - I'm sorry, the answer must be in the form of a question. "What is Intimigate?"

3) A Miss America format with a talent portion and a swimsuit portion.

4) An 'Escape from North Central' format. The candidates are helicoptered into the heart of North Central Troy at 7:00PM with nothing but the clothes on their back and a finely-edged spork. The one still alive (or still clothed) at sunrise wins.

Just throwing it out there.

Moving on. A few notes on the debate.

Elda: "I believe in the city of Troy," said Abate, a prominent business owner who immigrated to the area from Italy more than 30 years ago. "I believe Troy is a beautiful city and has much potential for growth in the future."

And if things do go right, she just may move here.

Harry: "My four years as mayor has passed quickly. In that time, I think I have earned and kept the people's trust. Everyone is talking about Troy these days because there is so much going on here that people want to be a part of. There is a lot of progress in our future that our residents will benefit from."

And we lead the Capital District in ending sentences with prepositions.

Jim: "People are tired of business as usual in Troy," said Conroy. "They want a change."

Or at least business as it usually was four years ago.

Elda: "This administration is no good. ... We elected him and we can un-elect him so we can bring Troy to the next level."

She gets it, man! She gets it! It's all about levels, man.

Harry: "It all comes down to trust," he continued. "And I know at least one of my opponents can't be trusted. But I ask the residents of this city to trust me again to move the city forward."

We had an uncle that talked about trust. Right before he offered us candy and tried to get us to play special boy games.


The results for our Troy City Council At-Large race are in: *

Don't forget to vote in our new poll!

*This poll was conducted from sometime in October to October 17 with a 50% +/- margin of error. No humans were harmed during the making of this poll.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Didn't see the debate. The Record article can be found here.

If you attended, feel free to give us your take.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Tonight, at 7:00PM, the candidates in Troy's Mayors race will debate. Or talk. Or meet the voters. Or whatever this is.

The date: October 16th. The Time: 7:00 pm. The Place: the Commission of Economic Opportunity, 2331 Fifth Avenue in Troy.

As a citizen of the United States and a resident of Troy, attending the debate is probably the single, most important thing you can do to keep our democracy healthy. A thriving democracy requires sacrifice from citizens. True sacrifice is more than penning snarky Letters-to-the-Editor letters or calling Sound-Off to complain about the new television guide format or being treated rudely at a Public Hearing or holding signs and walking in circles. Those activities have a place in our democracy, true. But, is it a true sacrifice?

True sacrifice means missing an episode of 'House' to sit in a hot, partisan-packed hall listening to elected and would-be elected officials drone on and on and on. If you want to put the cherry on top of your sacrifice, and what American doesn't, take the seat next to the sweaty, fat guy (also known as 'the ultimate sacrifice').


1. This is an ELECTION! Don't be selfish. This isn't about you, your concerns, needs or questions. This is about blindly supporting your candidate in their time of need and acknowledging that everything they say is the divinely-inspired revealed truth. Stop thinking about yourself and think about the needs of those who put their reputation on the line to serve the public with no reward except inflated salaries and excellent health benefits.

2. Be polite with your questions. Only malcontents, rabble-rousers and those dripping with Hippie-Stink ask impolite, pointed questions. There is a way to be polite and still demand definitive answers. Example? "Your Excellency, everyone agrees that your Administration has ushered in a new Golden Age. I think it's like Florence under the Medici. My friend says it's more like Athens under Pericles. Which is it? See, polite but still demanding answers to tough questions.

3. If you get to ask a question (as opposed to a moderator reading questions) avoid eye contact. Politicians view eye contact as a challenge. Keep your eyes down, ask your question and then slowly back away while bowing.

4. Don't feed the debate participants.

5. Remember, just because a politician says something without thinking doesn't mean you shouldn't give serious consideration to what was said.

Good Luck.


The Greenbush Party held a fundraiser last night at Moscatiello's Restaurant. It was, by all accounts, well attended.

For those of you who don't know (and especially for you that don't care) the Greenbush Party is a town party consisting of Democrats who don't like endorsing Republicans, Republicans who don't like GOP Chairman Jack Casey's choices, Conservatives who will run with Democrats.....We like to think of it as the Stromboli Party. It's also the one party that will allow the residents of North Greenbush more choices than a mid-1970's Soviet Union Politburo Elelction.

The GP also must be given credit for making the most of their shoe-string budget. They have produced 'VOTE ROW "F" lawn signs that are quite distinctive with a lovely gold field and dark lettering. Paid for with actual shoe strings. Quite striking.

So remember, Vote Row "F". Or don't. We don't really care. And Mr. Evers, Tear Down That Wall!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Remember when you didn't have to lock your doors? When everyone in the neighborhood knew one another? Movies were only $7.50? No one got divorced and homosexuality had not yet been invented?

That was way back in 2005, when the Congress-Ferry Street Project was all the rage:

The project involves the creation of a Master Plan for an inter-municipal and multi-partner collaboration (City of Troy, Rensselaer County, RPI & Troy Housing Authority) to reconstruct and redevelop the Congress Ferry Street Corridor, emphasizing its connections to the RPI campus and the County office building. The Master Plan will guide a downtown revitalization initiative that includes the development of low and moderate income housing, creation of housing for graduate students, re-alignment of Congress/Ferry Street, design of a pedestrian friendly streetcape and development of businesses. The project is needed to effectively coordinate the multiple program elements and to successfully integrate the development within the context of its urben setting.

Quotes from the four stakeholders can be found here.

We were also excited to see the Untied Hedley team. The Tied team is way too sedate. But enough nitpicking.

Four separate entities? Four stakeholders? Well, it looks like there's a fifth stakeholder. One we like to call the mystery stakeholder.

We hope one of the four Congress-Ferry Street Project stakeholders intends to bid on those properties. Those parcels appear to be in the redevelopment initiative area and anyone who purchases them really should be in on the project. Come to think of it, the Administration hasn't issued a press release about this project since July 2006. Maybe it really is like Mayor Tutunjian says, "partnership and redevelopment initiative the likes of which are rarely seen."

Don't forget your bidding paddles.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Once again, we send our condolences out to another local, political family.

The city is mourning the loss of Martin G. Mahar, a decorated World War II veteran, staunch advocate of veterans across the nation and a dedicated community activist. He was 84."

"When we lost him, we lost a piece of history because of everything he has done militarily and for what he gave back to the community," said PJ Higgitt, president of the Veterans of Lansingburgh, where Mahar was a lifetime member. "He was a key individual in a number of veteran organizations. We are going to miss him." Read the entire Record article.

You can find Mr. Mahar's obituary at the TU. If you can't make it to the wake, you can sign the on-line guestbook.

Friday, October 12, 2007


By Politicus Ebonus Abyssus

Harry Tutunjian’s roster of political contributors reads like a who’s who of businesses and connected Republicans in Troy and Rensselaer County. There are a number of donations that seem exceptionally problematic. The fact that David Mitchell has made two sizable donations without listing an address is but a sideshow.

Where DOES Mitchell live, and is he in violation of the Public Officer’s Law? But I digress.

As Harry told us, he found extra money in this year’s budget to pave many of the streets in Troy. (Is this the same budget that needed a water rate increase or people would be laid off? But I digress, again.) Instead of bidding out the work, Harry claimed his administration used existing contract lists to hire Troy Sand and Gravel, thereby eliminating the need for the work to go to public bidding. Troy Sand and Gravel, however, can only provide the material and subcontracted with Best Paving and Sealcoating out of Albany to do the actual work. In the past four years under the Tutunjian administration, the City has contracted with Troy Sand and Gravel, and indirectly with Best Paving and Sealcoating, for over $1 million in paving work without the benefit of bidding.

Since February 2006, Troy Sand and Gravel have made seven donations to Friends of Harry Tutunjian totaling $5,500 and Best Paving and Sealcoating made another three donations in the last year totaling $2,500 while contracting with the City for over $1 million in work. At best this is ethically and morally suspect, at worst this is a violation of the City’s bidding and procurement ordinances.

Harry also received a $200 donation from the South Troy Dodgers Baseball Club. This donation presents a number of problems. First, the president of the South Troy Dodgers is George Rogers, none other than the City of Troy’s Recreation Director, a Tutunjian appointment. The ethical and conflict of interest issues appear to be immense in this case. Secondly, and more importantly, the South Troy Dodgers Baseball Club is registered with New York State as a not-for-profit corporation, which means they cannot legally donate to political campaigns. Violations like this can potentially result in the not-for-profit status being revoked. More importantly, however, is what parents and other board members think of this donation, especially those that work hard to fundraise to support their children playing baseball.

Another donation came from Kevin Vandenburgh, proprietor of Pips, who, as reported in Sunday Times Union, owes nearly $140,000 in back taxes to the federal government. Mr. Vandenburgh has worked with the City on a number of projects and made a $1,000 donation to the Tutunjian campaign in early October. While this is the least problematic of the donations discussed here, the money most likely would have been better spent applying it toward the tax lien against the business.

Individually, these donations may seem like a drop in the bucket. But collectively, they represent a trend. A trend indicates that the current City of Troy administration is being bought and paid for by special interests and friends. These types of donations only prove that public financing for all elections is necessary.

We thank Politicus Ebonus Abyssus for that contribution.


From a Conroy press release:

After more than two months and scores of spurned requests, Harry Tutunjian has finally agreed to debate the issues facing the City of Troy in a public forum.

The debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, will be held on October 16th at 7:00 pm at the Commission of Economic Opportunity, 2331 Fifth Avenue in Troy .

This should be action-packed. The League of Women Voters have a reputation for sponsoring knock-down, drag-out 'candidate forums' worthy of a Sam Peckinpaugh flick.


The Troy Polloi would like to extend well wishes to John and Meg Brown. Meg gave birth to the couple's third child, Adam, on Wednesday night.

And before the political attacks start....yes, Adam lives at home and is currently unemployed.

Thursday, October 11, 2007



Seth asks the Troy Polloi:

Hi - I am not a resident of Troy, so I can't vote for mayor. Why did you state in the PBA article that Elda is the Prohibition Party candidate? Just wondering.


Dear Seth:

We get asked that question all the time. Don't be embarrassed.

Our reference to the Prohibition Party was merely poking fun at the number of minor parties and their disproportional impact on elections and politics in Rensselaer County. It was not meant to be serious and we would warn you against trying this at home.

The Editors


New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli today announced his endorsement of Jim Conroy, candidate for Troy Mayor.

“ Troy needs Jim Conroy for Mayor,” DiNapoli said. “He has the vision to help grow the Troy economy, and that growth will provide opportunities for lower taxes and more fiscally responsible government. Jim Conroy will build a government that is more transparent, more open and more responsive to the needs of all of Troy ’s citizens. I can’t wait to work with Jim Conroy to build a better Troy .”

“Tom DiNapoli and I are going to fight to fix the things that have gone wrong in Troy over the last four years. We’re going to bring government back to the people … all of the people, not just a few cronies. We’re going to bring back professionalism and, most importantly, we’re going to put our plans into action, not just the newspapers.”

Mayor Tutunjian congratulated Conroy with a big, "'That a boy, Jim. Congratulations." He also sent an envoy to the announcement.


Brown has already raised an impressive $17,000 for his city-wide race. Equally impressive is newcomer Ken Zalewski, the Democratic candidate in District 5. Zalewski has raised over $21,000.


With less than a month to go, no debate has been scheduled in the race for Troy Mayor. We don't know why a debate hasn't been scheduled. Are there no longer groups in Troy that will sponsor debates?

There's no substitute in a Democracy for a vigorous debate between political opponents. No other forum allows candidates to pander directly to an audience stacked with supporters by answering pre-selected questions. The health of our democracy depends upon it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Details of the City Hall swap are trickling out as fast as waste from an old man's bladder. Like the old saying goes, the Devil is not only in your loins, it's also in the details.

Empire State Appraisal Consultants have appraised the property at $476,000 (the City has it assessed at $2.3 million).

In appraising any piece of property one has to use the purchase price of comparable properties.

The comparable properties used by Empire were:

1) a property on British American Boulevard;

2) 369 Second Avenue, Troy, NY;

3) A Loudon Road, Colonie property;

4) A Colonie property near Wolf Road.

The appraisal was for the land and did not include the building or the garage.

We are told that the rent paid by the City for the Verizon building will total approximately $2.25 million. That rent will ultimately be credited to the City and used by Judge to purchase City Hall. Sounds good to us. Maybe.

Since the Tutunjian Administration is about as trustworthy as a Viagra-riddled Bill Clinton at the Ms. Teen Arkansas Beauty Pageant a closer look is warranted.

1: Why appraise only the land and not the building and parking garage? Those buildings exist and will exist when Judge leases-to-own. Those buildings, despite their condition, have value. What Judge does with them is of no concern to us. That's their call.

2: While we enjoy walking along the waterfront adjacent to British American Boulevard, Second Avenue and Wolf Road, are those really apt comparisons?

We did some poking around. While we understand that list price is not necessarily what a piece of property will ultimately bring to the owner, it's a start. These properties were not easy to find, being cleverly hidden on the Prudential Manor Homes website.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

830 Hoosick Rd Troy, NY 12180. Asking price $629,000.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

427 River St Troy, NY 12180. Asking price $495,000.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

71 Congress St Troy, NY 12180. Asking Price $475,000

The Mayor states that the City will pay $16,000 in rent per month for the Verizon Building for 40 months. That equals the $2.25 million that Judge will ultimately pay back to the City for the purchase of the City Hall property. That's a municipal math formula that's beyond the functions on our abacus. Stephen Hawking may be able to explain it: 16,000 x 10 + 4 = 2,250,000. The difference could be the free set of steak knives Judge will throw into the deal.

We recommend selling the property to Judge outright and moving City Hall to 71 Congress Street. All those in favor say Aye!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Yes, Beverly has balls. No disrespect intended, by the way. We're not talking Man-Balls. But, she does have Lady-Balls.

It's rare when an elected official bucks his/her own party. It's extraordinarily rare when a rookie candidate goes after her own party and criticizes the city's Caporegime.

That's why Beverly Traa's campaign to unseat Democrat Bill Dunne in District 4 is so exciting. Traa, a political neophyte,* is running on the Republican ticket but does not hesitate to attack Mayor Tutunjian.

The Mayor never fails to inform us that Troy is safer under his regime. Not so, says Traa:

"Let's get real on CRIME. That means simply holding nothing back. How many children and others do we have to sacrifice before WE say "enough is enough?" WE MUST WORK TOGETHER TO REDUCE CRIME. I urge your trust that we can find a common ground on which to proceed."

And if you doubt her sincerity, please note all the capital letters. Over-capitalization equals political hardball.

The Mayor says Troy is cleaner. Whoa, says Traa:

"We need a campaign to clean up our city and the Pride to keep it clean.
Every individual must be responsible for the litter they create, or that which they find in front of their own building. Our city is dirty. Let's change it."

Ok, fewer capitals but she's still sincere.

And finally, Traa takes on Lansingburgh, wondering why one part of the city has co-opted Troy's most famous son:

"Uncle Sam is ours. We need to build a respectful and proper historic site to honor Uncle Sam, a Totally Troy national and international icon, and to develop a tour which honors the life of Samuel Wilson, the real Uncle Sam."**

Mayor Tutunjian has yet to answer Traa's challenge. Lansingburgh issued a statement saying that Sam Wilson has not be harmed and will be returned once all their demands are met.

* Neophyte means 'new' phyte.

** We applaud Traa. This City should explore the life and times of the real Sam Wilson, not merely the symbolic figure.

Monday, October 08, 2007


We'll take another look at the City Hall land swap later this week. In the meantime, Chet Hardin at Metroland has an online article on the sale. He spoke with a number of well-informed sources that offered some fairly brilliant insight into this whole scheme.

City Spokesman Jeff Buell was quoted:

Jeff Buell, the director of Public Information, is quick to point out to Metroland, however, the city has not designated City Hall surplus property. At least not yet.
The City of Troy has not designated City Hall as surplus property. When a lease is signed with Judge Development for 1776 Sixth Avenue, only then will City Hall be surplus property.

The City also claims Judge will demolish City Hall and the parking garage.

We guess Mr. Buell is correct. The City has not determined City Hall to be surplus property. Rather, it has inventoried and assessed City Hall to be vacant, abandoned or surplus, so much so that the building and garage should be demolished. But, the property was not 'designated' as surplus.

Of course, the above Legal Notice must be read in conjunction with the notices required by the Restore NY grant application. According to the Restore, NY grant rules, the City has to list the properties that will benefit from the grant funds and then conduct a public hearing (after running said notice in the newspaper for 3 consecutive days).

If we aren't using the grant money to demolish City Hall, why are we applying for grant money to demolish City Hall?

Has anyone seen the grant application? The deadline for applying for the Restore, NY money was in September.

Has the City Council approved the grant application? According to the Restore NY rules, the City Council has to approve the application.

Will Judge receive the grant money for demolition?

To quote a Lansingburgh resident: We like axing questions.

Friday, October 05, 2007


In an effort to stem the rising violent crime rate in Troy the City Council .........passed a resolution opposing Governor Spitzer's proposal to allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses?

The resolution was sponsored by Public Safety Chair Carolin Collier (ED6) and Mark Wojcik (ED-1). The resolution reads in part:
"Whereas, the Troy City Council is concerned for the safety of the residents of this city and state with regard to terrorists obtaining driver's licenses to legitimize their stay in this great country."

Despite having absolutely no power over the issuing of drivers licenses, the meaningless resolution passed 8-1. Hopefully, it will reduce the number of terrorist attacks suffered in Troy the past six years.

There's no word yet when Collier and Wojcik will discuss the rise in crime in Troy. You know, robbery, aggravated assault, property crime....crimes actually committed against residents.

It's not that we support giving licenses to illegal immigrants. Just last week an illegal from Norway almost drove us off the road. Spitzer's proposition is perplexing. It's just that this resolution is the type of cynical, bush league, political grandstanding nonsense that places local legislative bodies on a par with Doyle Middle School's Seventh Grade Student Senate.


It's been a tragic year in political/activist circles. Godspeed, Miles.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007



Don't forget to vote in our new poll over on the right.


We know it's an election year. We know there's only a few weeks left. Comments that attack a persons lifestyle, height, weight, who they live with, alleged criminal background from 20 years ago or what their children, grandparents or uncles and aunts* may have done will not be published.**

For instance, we happen to know that one of the GOP-endorsed candidates for City Council has a sister that used to be a thespian. Another Council candidate is a Level II pedestrian. You won't hear it here, though.


On Monday, October 1, Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian announced an end to his annual tax hikes. There will be no tax hikes next year! It only took an election year, eliminating the health benefits of 123 old people and more State welfare.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.


At-Large Candidate Wayne Foy (D) held a press conference yesterday.

After Troy Democratic City Council candidate Wayne Foy called a press conference Tuesday to highlight the hazards of a city-owned property, mayor Harry Tutunjian promised to tear the building down. Foy said the property at 229 Fourth Street posed a threat to public safety due to its deteriorated state. Jeff Buell, a spokesperson at the mayor's office, told CBS 6 that the city will deconstruct the building in the next four to six weeks, but will attempt to maintain the historic facade. City officials are planning to work with area residents on what to do next with the space, Buell said. Proposed plans for the site so far include a community garden or a community home. Buell said the project should be completed by next fall.

Nothing quite like making the Mayor your B***H.


Harry's got a great war chest for the remainder of the campaign. Conroy has about one-third of that. No surprises there. What is disappointing is Elda. No filing as of yet. Also, WFP Mayoral candidate Chris Consuello has not even formed a campaign committee. Odd, given his assurances that his is a legitimate campaign. Maybe he knows someone who can help him set up a campaign committee.

As mentioned in Monday's Talespin, Chris may not need his DPW job for long. The WFP is helping him find another job, a Mirch-free job. If you want to help, here's the site.

* Unless the Aunt is really hot

** Hair is still fair game

Monday, October 01, 2007


See previous posts to learn more about our previous posts.

An issue raised by more than a few people runs as follows:

Can Troy divide the City Hall property, keep a parcel of land adjacent to the river so as not to run afoul of General City Law 20 (prohibiting the sale of waterfront property absent State approval).

That question may hinge upon the language found in the instruments conveying the land to the City of Troy. If the city did acquire the land for a public use (for example, use as a city hall), courts have held:

"that a municipality, without specific legislative sanction, may not permit property acquired or held by it for public use to be wholly or partly diverted to a possession or use exclusively private. Lake George S.B. Co. v. Blais, 30 N.Y.2d 48; People ex rel. Swan v. Doxsee, 136 App. Div. 400, 403, affd.198 N. Y. 605; Meriwether v. Garrett, 102 U.S. 472, 513; 3 Op. St. Comp., 1947, p. 178.

In Lake George S.B. Co. v. Blais, 30 N.Y.2d 48, the village leased only 110 ft of 1000 ft of lake frontage to a private concern for private use.
"....The present lease to Marine Industries, for that corporation's private pursuit of profit, clearly diverted part of this public trust to exclusively private purposes, without legislative sanction. It matters not that Marine Industries leased only 110 feet of the more than 1,000 feet of public lake frontage, since the whole grant was held for the public use, not simply a part of it. "Sound public policy forbids that there should be any power to divert a part thereof to a private use, for, once such power being assumed, the dangers which may follow either from favoritism or ill-judgment may speedily hamper or practically destroy the fundamental purpose of the public use." ( People ex rel. Swan v. Doxsee, supra, at p. 406.)"

Finally, the Court of Appeals notes:

While it is true that a municipality may hold property either in its corporate capacity as an ordinary proprietor or solely for the public use, the determination should not be made by the municipality.

This is just another issue that needs to be addressed at the next public hearing (more hearings have been promised).