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

Monday, December 31, 2007


Finally, the readers chance to weigh-in on some of the weightier issues of the day. Feel free to show your work and remember, eyes on your own paper.

Most Interesting Race(s)
McNally v Cholakis
Tutunjian v Conroy
Secor v Lemka
Troy City Council Race
North Greenbush Races
Free polls from

Biggest Election Upset
Troy City Council
Zalewski v Krogh
Galuski v Collier
McNally v Cholakis
Mahar v -----------
Campana v Bauer (Council President)
Free polls from

Biggest Clusterf**k
Sale of Troy City Hall
South Troy Gateway Project
Response to February 14 Snow Storm
Rensselaer County Legislature
Administration v Troy Police Department
Centanni, Bouchard & O'Neil & City Hall
Prosecution of Jerry Jones ("YouTube")
Free polls from

Best Scandal
DeSeve Graffiti/Sign Scandal
Tom Wade & Grand Jury
City Hall Porn
Free polls from

Best Run Campaign
McNally - District Attorney
Cholakis - District Attorney
Tutunjian - Troy Mayor
Conroy - Troy Mayor
Democrats At-Large - Troy
Republicans At-Large - Troy
Lemka - Supervisor, Schodack
Evers & Co. - North Greenbush
Greenbush Party - North Greenbush
Wojcik - Troy 1st District
McGrath - Troy 2nd District
Ryan - Troy 3rd District
Dunne - Troy 4th District
Zalewski - Troy 5th District
Galuski - Troy 6th District
Shannon - County Leg. District 4
Consuello - Troy Mayor
Abate - Troy Mayor
Free polls from

Best Political Reporter
Jim Franco
Shawn Charniga
Chet Hardin
Kenneth Crowe
Bob Gardinier
Lou Dobbs
Free polls from

Best Political Coverage - Troy/Rensselaer County
Troy Record
Times Union
Troy Polloi
The Watchtower
Free polls from

Best Looking Politician
Mark McGrath
Harry Tutunjian
Bob Mirch
Bill Dunne
John Brown
Carolin Collier
Maria Talarico
Kathy Jimino
Can't Remember Her Name but...
Not That One, The Really Hot One
Free polls from

Friday, December 28, 2007


Thought we'd pass on a few well-founded rumors for you to chew, or choke, on before the long weekend.


The Troy Polloi has learned that the Tutunjian Administration has requested and received a copy of every police Internal Affairs file. Why? We're not sure. Our guess is that someone wants ammunition to force someone out of the department.

The big question is: Is this even legal? We can see a reason to request a file. Requesting and receiving all IA files doesn't smell right, especially for those who were cleared of any wrongdoing. Someone's gone fishin'.


The Troy City Council will name Vic DeBonis it's Legislative Assistant. A brilliant move. The Council will no longer have to create a seperate Council Counsel position. They'll also have someone on the payroll that can draft Article 78 petitions when the Administration fails to do what it's supposed to do. Neat.

DeBonis ran unsuccesfully against Mark Wojcik for 1st District Council seat. Now he'll have more power and influence than the man who won that race.


If they kids are going a little stir crazy right about now, don't fret. We've prepared some activities for them. Here's one:

The Troy City Council - Citadel of Diversity (A Paint by Number Activity)*

* This is not the actual Troy City Counsel and any resemblance between those living and dead is purely coincidental. The Troy City Council may not be reproduced without the express written permission of Major League Baseball.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


We continue our Christmas break so postings will be light between now and the end of next week. For the political junkies among you, we offer the final numbers for the Troy City Council At-Large races.

Bauer also received 577 votes on the Independence line and 499 votes on the Conservative line. Ciccarelli received 590 IND and 502 on the CON. Talarico received 601 IND and 500 Conservative. Those numbers are reflected in the final tally but not broken down by District.

In the next few days we'll put up the final numbers in Tutunjian's landslide re-election victory.



Maybe even grab a cup of coffee? Incoming Council President Clem Campana and Mayor Harry Tutunjian have pledged to talk.

TROY -- Republican Mayor Harry Tutunjian and the City Council's new Democratic majority have pledged to talk out issues in 2008 even though they clearly have different priorities heading into the new year.

Kenneth Crowe has the full story.

The Mayor could show his good faith by ordering Corporation Counsel David Mitchell to do his, Mitchell's, job. Mitchell failed to draft a number of resolutions requested by Democrats in preparation for the upcoming Council meeting. While Mitchell was not given the requisite time in which to draft those proposed resolutions that never seemed to stop him before. The outgoing council was notorious for last-minute agenda changes.

Why the sudden adherence to the City Charter?

From Monday's Talespin:
Starting off on the wrong foot

We hear that portions of what the Democrats on the City Council wanted on the next month’s agenda will not be included so there will be another meeting of the Finance Committee on Jan. 2 so they make it on the agenda for Jan. 3 organizational and regular council meetings.

Included in issues that Tutunjian’s staff did not include on the present agenda are putting the $10,000 raise the current GOP controlled council gave the mayor to a referendum, creating a committee to explore the City Hall deal, modifying the non-represented employee policy and shifting the denied Freedom of Information requests from the corporation council’s office to the council’s Law Committee.

The rationale, we hear, is that any proposed legislation has to be submitted to the corporation council’s office four weeks in advance for it to have a chance to make it on the agenda.

Imagine that, the mayor’s office abiding by the charter.

The road could be bumpy for the next few weeks.

Monday, December 24, 2007



A Merry Christmas and a safe and happy Holiday Season, from almost all of us at The Troy Polloi.

If you celebrate Festivus, enjoy the Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength.

It's time to lay politics aside for a few days and spend time with your family. Or ours. Maybe you could do that? Spend time with ours, so we could get out for awhile? Please!

We'll be back later in the week.

In the meantime, a Holiday Message from our Mayor.

Friday, December 21, 2007


A recent Court of Appeals decision has held that the government bears the burden of establishing exemptions under the Freedom of Information Law.

In The Matter of Data Tree LLC v Edward P. Romaine, the Court stated that a county clerk must provide more than a mere plausible explanation for denying a FOIL request, reversing the previous "any old bullshit explanation will do" standard. No more, "not today, honey, I have a headache."

In order to deny disclosure, the Clerk must show that the requested information "falls squarely within a FOIL exemption by articulating a particularized and specific justification for denying access" (Capital Newspapers Div. of Hearst Corp. v Burns, 67 NY2d 562 [1986]; see M. Farbman & Sons, Inc. v New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., 62 NY2d 75, 80 [1984]; Fink v Lefkowitz, 47 NY2d 567, 571 [1979]). If the Clerk fails to prove that a statutory exemption applies, FOIL "compels disclosure, not concealment"

Another interesting part of the decision is that the government can no longer refer people to their website in response to requests for information.

We've also been told (but haven't confirmed) that attorneys fees will now be awarded to individuals who must sue the government to get their FOIL responses.

This should be greeted as good news for those trying to wrench public information out of municipalities such as Troy. Remember, when you deny a FOIL request, you're only hurting the taxpayers.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The final results in Districts 4,5,6


Given the size of upstate congressional districts (the 20th stretches from the Canadian border to Minnesota), we no longer consider such races merely local. Nonetheless, we may as well touch on the upcoming '08 race.

The race for the 20th Congressional District is on! How do we know? Republicans are spending money and Democrats are having sex.

Republicans are not exactly falling over themselves to take on incumbent, Kirsten Gillibrand, despite a party enrollment vastly in their favor.

Two names have emerged: former Secretary of State Sandy Treadwell and Rich Wager, a lawyer and...(gulp) MBA. Treadwell has already taken to the airwaves, running his first commercials.

Treadwell's main qualification is having more money than brains. Nationally, the GOP is turning to candidates that can self-finance campaigns. A sign that they predict a poor '08 showing? Aside from money, Treadwell was also New York State Secretary of State. His major accomplishment? Brokering a lasting peace between Vermont and New Hampshire. On the downside, Treadwell almost single-handidly destroyed the efficient GOP machine built by Bill Powers.

We know little about Wager, except what we've learned from his website. Wager is scooping-up endorsements from numerous Conservative committees.

Wager has a clean-cut, all-American, 'young man in a hurry' image that aches for a scandal, possibly involving a hooker, a midget or donkey. Or perhaps all three.

In the meantime, incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand has also kicked into campaign mode.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


For all you election junkies that enjoy the numbers...some final numbers.

Tomorrow, districts 4, 5 & 6.

Soon to be former Councilperson Carolin Collier may be heading to a position in the Planning Department. She should certainly brighten-up that office.
Failed At-Large Council Candidate Vito Ciccarelli may receive a position with the Parks Dept. as well as a seat on the Board of Tax Assessment Review.
That's what we're hearing.

Monday, December 17, 2007


We're winding down for the Holidays. Things are quiet...too quiet.


Chet Hardin, over at Metroland, takes a look at the pay raises:

Troy City Council votes through pay raises and sets the stage for an early-year battle.

More than two dozen employees at Troy City Hall will be getting pay raises just in time for the holidays this year, thanks to the Republican majority on the city council and Mayor Harry Tutunjian. Whether or not these workers will be keeping those bumps in pay, however, depends on the council’s incoming Democratic majority—and the chances of that happening are slim.

The salary schedule affects “nonrepresented” positions (political appointees and elected officials who don’t belong to a union bargaining unit), including the deputy mayor, comptroller, city clerk and others. It provides a 3.5-percent pay raise for 2008 for most of the employees, on top of retroactive raises dated to the beginning of 2007. The workers affected represent the full scale of pay salaries, from the assistant to the city clerk, who will receive a 3.5-percent pay increase to $27,835, up to the mayor, who will receive a nearly 12- percent pay increase to $95,000.

Mark Wojcik (1st District) said that the timing of the raises was deceitful and devious. OK, here's his actual quote:

“It caught all of us by surprise,” Wojcik said, “Republicans and Democrats. It looks kinda devious and deceitful, the timing. If you took the timing out of it, you would see that it makes a lot of sense.”

Refreshing candor, albeit untimely, from the 1st District. Of course, given the timing, it's hard to take the timing out of it.


The following post was requested by a concerned Mother (not mine, who to this day remains unconcerned about my well being).

From the Jersey Journal, December 12, 2007:

HOBOKEN - Police are looking for a man who tried to impersonate a substitute teacher at a local elementary school Friday morning.

The man, dressed in slacks and a sports jacket, showed up at the Wallace Primary School just before 7 a.m. and asked to use a restroom. The security guard said the restrooms were not open to the public, to which the man, later identified by police as 25-year-old Nicola Lengua of Troy, N.Y, replied that he was a substitute teacher, said Principal Charles Tortorella.


The Record covered last Thursday's Rite-Aid meeting.

Conroy discusses the sale of Kennedy Park.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Are pharmacies the new Walmart?

We received six or seven e-mails on this topic, all included the link to the on-line petition.

In short, from the TU Local Politics Blog:

There’s an online petition drive going on in Troy to get the city Planning Board to stop the proposed construction of a Rite-Aid at 272-282 Hoosick St.

The petition opposes demolishing five craftsman bungalows and a former fraternity house, which some believe was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

The agenda is available online at

The On-Line Petition now includes almost 300 signatures. The meeting is tonight at 6:00PM. Afterwards, everyone is walking over to Dave Mitchell's house for coffee.

Some of the comments on the Petition:

"Residents choose to live here because of the unique character of Troy; please do not turn us into another Colonie/Albany big box sprawl."

"There are many reasons for opposing this project and all start with not having a plan that includes the regions past, present and future. The economic development of the city must take into consideration the economic engine that our historic nature will provide now and in the future."

"Rite Aid has a history of abandoning buildings in Troy: Don't let them do it again!"

"I welcome development in Troy that is consistent with our goals for supporting the long term health of our city. We need to stand by our zoning overlays or development plans where we have them. Recent, large development projects are proof that developers are willing to work in and with Troy. "

"First, no more catering to the war between big box drug stores; they have more than enough locations, and we have more than enough drug stores. Second, no more demolition of intact historic homes. Third, no more allowing the waterfront to be used for such purposes. Lastly, while I appreciate Dunkin Donuts @ Broadway & Fourth for having blended into our historic streetscape voluntarily, since most corporate businesses won't, pass mandatory design standards so that they have to. And don't worry about them deciding against it; they've already spent thousands on research that has told them they will make money here or they wouldn't be looking to open shop here. Thank you. "

"The "drive-thru" drive-way that would be located along the north side of the proposed RiteAid would be located at the base of a retaining wall seperating it from the sidewalk on Hoosick St. thus creating a physical and visual barrier between Hoosick St. and the building. This is a suburban, not an urban, design which clearly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Hoosick St. Overlay District. Similarly, the building design does not follow the two-story requirement and its cheap vinyl exterior and suburban design does not blend with Troy's historic character and does not follow the architectural guidelines of the Overlay District. I ask that the Planning Board deny the application untill and unless the applicant abides by the 10' setback guideline, agrees to build a true two-story structure with offices on the 2nd Floor and submit plans for a brick/stone building with storefronts along Hoosick and Burdett Streets that are directly and freely accessible from the sidewalks of the above-mentioned streets."

We don't have a dog in this fight but a few observations:

Feel free to correct us but it's not "another Rite-Aid." The current Rite-Aid would move into the new space. As for "not needing" another pharmacy? With some reasonable limitations, business should make that decision for themselves and are free to open or close as they see fit. It's not a corporation's duty to "care about the community." A corporation's single duty is to make money for it's shareholders. That said, smart corporations do reach out to work with the community and contribute to the community because it's good business in the long run.

Troy re-elected Mayor Tutunjian by a landslide. He has had four years to implement a comprehensive plan to deal with this type of issue. He has failed and the result is a hodge-podge of commercial development that will adversely effect some of the more delightful neighborhoods while offering zero benefits to distressed neighborhoods. The Mayor recently stated that they've used parts of the proposed comprehensive plan. Using parts of a comprehensive plan is....not comprehensive.

The Mayor gets a woody when a private developer unveils a few high-end condos or apartments. Then, he turns a blind eye to the health and quality of life in existing neighborhoods. We have nothing against Dual-Income-No -Kids couples moving into over-priced lofts. What Troy desperately needs is young families with school-age children that will participate in and strengthen the school district. That requires a sensitivity to those neighborhoods where young families will live. Wolf Road-style development creeping east, up Hoosick Street will detrimentally impact some of the better neighborhoods for young families.

Good Luck.

UPDATE: 324 signatures as of 4:43 P.M. 12/13/2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Bob Fitzgerald was re-elected to another 2 year term as head of Troy's Police Benevolent Association.

The interesting part of the story is centered on the proposed contract:

Sources said that the contract would alter the residency requirement that states Troy police officers must live within the city limits. The issue came to head earlier in the year when seven officers who passed the exam for promotion to sergeant were removed from the promotion list because they lived outside the city.

The Contract would also require all criminals to reside in Troy at the time they commit a crime.We're not sure how a City Code provision (residency) can be altered by a contract without simultaneously amending the Code. We'll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, consider this a forum to discuss the residency requirements for police. Don't forget to vote in our new poll.


Here's the results of our poll on the Troy City Council race.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Pay raises for non-represented employees were approved at Thursday's City Council meeting in Troy, as was the SEFCU project.

The incoming Democratic majority will also form a committee to look at the sale of City Hall.

Campana said there is no schedule for when the committee will issue a public report on the proposed sale of city hall to Judge Development Corp. and the relocation of city government to the Verizon building at 1776 Sixth Ave.

Selling city hall was a major campaign issue, with the Democrats promising to review it thoroughly. The Democrats will hold a 6-3 majority when the council meets for the first time on Jan. 3.

Tutunjian urged the City Council to move quickly on the study so the deal is not endangered. The exchange of city hall for the Verizon building is valued at $2.5 million plus $16,000 per month rent that will be reimbursed to the city by Judge Development.

Normally, we'd be opposed to a committee. They're noisy and never clean-up after themselves. We also agree with Harry (we'll take a few Aspirin and it will pass). The Council and it's committee should move fast. The City Hall swap is not something they want to be discussing in April or May. Get input from professionals and citizenry and give it a thumbs up or down and move on.


the Democrats intend to go back to allowing residents to speak for 10 minutes each on any agenda item or government issue before the council meeting. Appeals of freedom of information requests will be handled by the Law Committee instead of the corporation counsel.

Individually, these are small steps but the overall picture is the important thing. The incoming Democratic majority will do more in January to make government 'transparent' than the current Administration has done in four years. People love reform. They love the word reform, at any rate. If the Democrats keep it up, they'll get a reputation for reform that could pay big dividends in the future.


We'd like to wish outgoing Councilperson Marge DerGurahian farewell and good luck. The same to Bob Krogh and Carolin Collier. Unlike Collier and Krogh, Marge went out with a funny, little F**K Y*u to Corporation Counsel David B. Mitchell. According to Talespin (we'd link but The Record site has been down for some time now), at the last Council meeting Mitchell was asked a question. When the Corporation Council approached the podium, Marge asked that he state his residence. Mitchell appeared apoplectic. He did give an address however: the same location as Harry's campaign HQ, a building Mitchell does own.

After the meeting, Mitchell accused Clem Campana of being behind the question. Words ensued, seconds were chosen.....Read Talespin. It's Mitchelliscious.

The Mayor may not realize it, but his biggest problem moving into his second term could be easily solved by asking for one, simple resignation letter.

We hope he doesn't ask for that resignation.

Friday, December 07, 2007


We return to YouTube, Jacon, McGrath.

For those watching the events unfold (including us) it seemed that there was a connection between the arrests made in January of '07 and the Hood Gentlemenz video. The stories published on the arrests always mentioned the video, leaving the casual observer to believe there was some connection. Many believed that some of those in the video were arrested the same night that Jones was arrested.* Some believed that video participants were arrested for something done, or seen, in the video.

That was not the case.

The arrests were covered by the area media and that coverage seemed heightened because of the rap video/McGrath angle. It did make for an interesting hook and more people probably followed the story because of McGrath's interest in the matter. An interest that was not unwarranted.

Here's The Record's coverage of the event:

As the police officers and officers from the state Division of Parole were sitting in the surveillance vehicle on Douw Street at about 6:45 p.m. a suspicious car with four teenagers circled the block and parked three feet in front of them. One of the passengers got out of the car and Officer Sean Kittle saw him tuck a large semi-automatic handgun into his belt. He alerted his partners and the team took down the pedestrian and "tactically removed" the occupants of the car. Detectives determined the four youths had planned to raid a residence on Douw Street and rob the person living there. Troy police confiscated a .38 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a BB pistol.

The facts surrounding the event are not complicated and Franco sets them forth in a clear, concise manner. In fact, it's a summary of what the District Attorneys Office needs to prove to establish probable cause.

Ultimately, the case against Jerry Javon Jones was dismissed, one of the four men in the car, were dismissed by Judge Jacon. Naturally, there was outrage, particularly among those who'd rather pay lip-service to the United States Constitution than devote time to understanding that document.

During a pretrial hearing last week, one of the officers involved -- the only officer to testify at the hearing -- admitted that the officers did not see a gun. Officer William Bowles testified that the officers in the van became concerned that their cover was blown and that they might be ambushed. He said one of the officers mentioned something about a gun after the passenger, who was not Jones, made a suspicious move near his waistband as he walked around the van and back to the car. It later turned out the man had a pellet pistol.

Police said they believed the group was about to pull off a home invasion in the crime-plagued neighborhood.
- Times Union, 11/27/07

From a subsequent story:

Bowles was the only one of the three officers called by Assistant District Attorney William Roberts to testify at the pretrial hearing.

But, according to statements on file at the court clerk's office, Officer Sean Kittle, one of the others on the stakeout, said he saw a gun in the hand of Jose George as he got out of the car, walked around, then got back in.

"The person had a large-caliber, silver automatic pistol in his right hand and he shoved it into his waistband and pulled down the coat over the gun," Kittle wrote in his statement following the arrest.

Statements on file from George also indicate he had a gun, which turned out to be a pellet pistol, officers said. Even though it was a pellet gun, it would have given police probable cause to make an arrest, officials said.

The ruling was not without it's critics:

Second District Councilman Mark McGrath said Jacon should have asked the prosecution for more eyewitness testimony from police concerning what they allegedly saw and found when they stopped a car containing Jones and several other men. Police allege they found a pellet pistol and a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun in the vehicle, which led to the arrest.

"The judge could have asked for other witnesses to testify, including other officers who were on the scene," McGrath said in prepared statements. "Instead, he took the first opportunity he had to dismiss the charges and turn the person loose on the streets."

That an elected official would lash out at a Judge in an ongoing case is troubling. To do so while simultaneously advertising your ignorance on the subject is startling. McGrath, whom we honestly like, seems to believe that a county court judge is somehow an arm of law enforsement. It is not a judge's role to ensure that the DA's office has established probable cause for a stop. Nonetheless:

Jones' attorney Terence Kindlon said Jacon, before dismissing the charges, did ask Assistant District Attorney William Roberts a couple of times whether he had any more evidence to present. It is unclear why prosecutors did not put the other officers on the stand.**

In fairness to McGrath, he did back off on his criticism of Jacon. In a recent Record article (unfortunately we do not have a link) McGrath re-focused and simply asked, what happened? A legitimate line of inquiry.

Jacon has come under fire for a number of rulings and comments made during court proceedings. Some of the fire is warranted and some is not. Here, the latter is true. It's hard to see on what grounds Jacon should be criticized.

At the very least, we'd hope this episode sparks some real debate about what can and should be done within poverty-stricken areas and high-crime neighborhoods.

* A person in the background of the video may have been in the car with Jones but this remains unclear. No producer of the video or Hoodz Gentlemen were arrested.

** If you're not inclined to believe Kindlon (those who know him say his integrity is beyond dispute) this exchange can be verified in the record of the proceeding.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I'll pop a cap in your ass!

YouTube, Jacon, McGrath - Part II

So far, we have this: McGrath sees video (see previous post), McGrath e-mails video to the Mayor. Mayor alerts police to video.

What next?

The Community Grocery Store, on the corner of 6th and Douw was featured in the video.

Like most in the gangster rap genre, the theme of the 2005 video is a celebration of street violence, sex and drug and alcohol use. In two scenes, a handgun is flashed and another showed Troy police cars. Police had already stepped up enforcement in the neighborhood when McGrath told Mayor Harry Tutunjian about the video Wednesday afternoon. The mayor immediately informed Police Chief Nicholas Kaiser and Wednesday night, which led to a crew of police officers staking out the corner.

As the police officers and officers from the state Division of Parole were sitting in the surveillance vehicle on Douw Street at about 6:45 p.m. a suspicious car with four teenagers circled the block and parked three feet in front of them. One of the passengers got out of the car and Officer Sean Kittle saw him tuck a large semi-automatic handgun into his belt. He alerted his partners and the team took down the pedestrian and "tactically removed" the occupants of the car. Detectives determined the four youths had planned to raid a residence on Douw Street and rob the person living there. Troy police confiscated a .38 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a BB pistol.

Police continued to observe Community Grocery and later that night arrested seven people on numerous charges, including drug possession and loitering for the purchase of and/or using illegal drugs. -
The Record January 12, 2007

There are some problems with this story. We'd respectfully disagree that the video was a 'celebration.' No one ever knows for certain the intent of an artist. Some could argue that Platoon celebrates war. However, the very next day, Franco did write a story which focused on the producers and their message.

'Led to a crew of police officers staking out the corner.' We have no doubt that the press was led to believe that a causal connection existed between the video and the arrests. That seemed to be the official line. However...

Community Police Officer John Comitale was well aware that the Community Grocery was geographically significant in the North Central drug trade. So much so that the police detail that made the arrests had been schedule prior to McGrath's viewing of the video.

Also, as of January 12, 2007, everyone who read Franco's article knew that Officer Sean Kittle was the officer who could establish probable cause for the stop.

The video had nothing to do with the arrests. Who made the link between the two the official line? We can only guess. There is nothing to indicate that Councilman McGrath attempted to make the connection or tried to take credit for the fine work of Officer Comitale and the other officers.

When we first ran with this story back in January, it was linked in a Troy Good Neighbor Yahoo group post. Said the poster:

I also believe that its important for Troy to see all angles (political angles included) and see what other Troy residents take on things is. Hopefully we can learn from them and use our forums in a positive manner--this was the purpose of my post.

And actually the troypolitics blogspot's humor and satire cracks me up -- it is unique and we all need humor in our life!!

Enjoy the humor and satire and lets never shy away from City challenges--

That post received this response:

From: Jeff.Buell
To: ****
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2007 12:17 PM
Subject: Re:(no subject)


I was happy to join the downtown group recently, and truly appreciate the invite from Lauren. As I've told a few of the people I have met in the past few weeks, I hope that as a downtown resident and an employee of the City I can help with some of the issues that those of us who live down here face on a daily basis.

The one thing I did not want to do was turn it into a "political thing," as I believe there is enough of that already in the City.

That said, I feel I must respond to your post this morning concerning the recent police activity in North Central. What you copied and pasted from another site is just not true.

The idea that the Mayor is trying to steal someone's glory is absurd, and really can only be described in that way by a group that has an unhealthy obsession, and a unique penchant for making things up.

Councilman McGrath saw the video and passed it along to the Mayor. The Mayor forwarded it to the Police Chief. The arrests occurred later that night. The purpose of using the video as a tool to get the message out was simple, it was a resident that brought it to the attention of Councilman McGrath. It is the residents, more than any other group in the City of Troy, that have a keen idea of what is happening in their neighborhoods. This was not about the Mayor getting attention, it was about promoting the fact that residents and business owners in the City do make a major difference each and every day.

Why someone would attempt to make people feel as if that did not happening is beyond me.

I will end my correspondence to you, and get back to my lunch, with a brief excerpt of the Mayor's column from last week. I think it best describes what the story last week was really about, and not some political concoction.

"We are always spreading the message that nuisances such as this store are a detriment to our neighborhoods and the City of Troy as a whole. With quick action by the police and code enforcement we arrested individuals determined to commit a crime, and closed a store that was the definition of unsafe. We will not tolerate this type of activity, and those that openly flaunt it will pay the ultimate price.

I want to thank Councilman McGrath, and the residents in his district for being observant and attentive to conditions of their area. If you have a problem in the City of Troy- let us know. We will investigate it and we will fix it. And those that seek to damage our City will continue to find out that they are not welcome here, and will be dealt with.

The City will pursue nuisance abatement on this building, and at the moment there is no timetable for it to reopen.

This story should serve as the ultimate reminder that working together we can accomplish goals that improve the quality of life for all of Troy."

Please feel free to share my response with whomever you should choose. Have a great day, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Which is all well and good except.... the detail that made the 'arrests later that night' had already been scheduled prior to the video being brought to the attention of McGrath. Buell does all but directly state that the video was responsible for the arrests While we have no doubt that residents and business owners can and do make a difference every day, this was not one of those times. So, who tried to mislead the press? Who tried to take credit for the fine planning and work of Officer Comitale and the Troy Police?

Peace out!

Part III tomorrow or Friday. It all depends on how much we drink tonight.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Last week, Judge Robert Jacon dismissed weapons and attempted robbery charges against the extraordinarily alliterative Jerry Javon Jones. The ruling has caused a stir and the events leading up to the arrest are misunderstood by most everyone.


Mark McGrath is the Councilman for Troy's 2nd Election District. The 2nd includes an area commonly referred to as North Central, probably because it sounds scary. North Central is north of Hoosick Street, as is Lansingburgh, an area we will now call North of Hoosick or NoHo.

Back in January, someone e-mailed McGrath a rap video entitled "Problems." The video was shot in North Central by All.4.1 and features a group called Hood Gentlemenz. We had not viewed the video until Jacon's recent ruling in the Jones case . Here it is.

After watching the video we wondered what generated all the controversy. We'll go out on a limb and guess that most of our readers, like us, are not rap aficionados, although we may have detected a Louie Prima influence. However, that's not the point. Rap isn't marketed to the vast majority of people who last watched a music video when the Buggles announced that Video Killed the Radio Star.

So, what's the problem? Frankly, our biggest problem was the clothing. And the jiggling asses. Not that we're against jiggling asses, especially when we have a fresh stack of crisp singles. Too jiggly can be a turn-off.

We suppose it's the pistol and the police vehicles. Lets start there. It's likely that the video was filmed over the course of a few days. There are no police vehicles in the scenes where we see the pistol. What's wrong with the police being present when part of the video was shot? Nothing. In fact, it happens all the time when a high-end movie is shot.

As for the pistol brandished by the young gentleman? Who knows if it's even real? Maybe.....maybe not.

So, someone filmed a video on the mean streets of NoHo. The only thing we can think of is that they did not obtain a permit to film on the street.

It's hard to see the relevance of the video but we'll let McGrath tell you in his own words:

McGrath, who represents portions of Troy's North Central district where the arrests were made, said when he first started watching the video, he thought it was well produced and entertaining - until he saw them flashing the handguns.

"I obviously recognized the geography, I grew up down there, and I was kind of laughing at the video until I saw the handgun and said 'hold on a minute. We can't have this going on,'" McGrath said, and he alerted the mayor. He said the brazenness of the characters in the video do capture some of what the drug trade has done to portions of North Central in real life. "They are so brazen about it.

They are doing these things right in front of you," he said of parts of his district. "We are patting ourselves on the back, but the sad part is there will be another group up there doing it next week. When there is a demand it will always be there." - The Record January 12, 2007

McGrath e-mailed the video to Mayor Tutunjian. Tutunjian, in turn, informed Chief of Police, Nicholas Kaiser.

Based on his comments, we can only surmise that McGrath believed that what was shot on video was more documentary than a rap video. It makes you wonder if he would have sent a copy of Serpico to the New York Police Department in order to stop police corruption.

The producers of the video are a bit more grounded than our politicians:

The team of film producers who put together the hip hop video that led to 11 arrests and the shuttering of a convenience store said the piece does not glorify gangs, violence or anything else associated with inner city neighborhoods. Rather, they said, the video is, as its title "Problems" implies, about problems facing people who live in those neighborhoods. - The Record January 13, 2007

The press was led to believe that there was a causal connection between the video and the eleven arrests. The truth of the matter is that the video led to no arrests. We'll discuss that in Part Two.

Monday, December 03, 2007



Rumor has it that Deputy Mayor Dan Crawley will be moving over to the Troy Housing Authority. As for his replacement? Rumor has it that the new Deputy Mayor might be Jeff Buell, the current press secretary.

That, anyway, was the rumor last Friday, at City Hall, when some mentioned a press conference was imminent. It was all nonsense and some say it was just an experiment to see how fast a rumor would reach the 4th Estate. The rumor did reach the press rather quickly.

Franco has more details on the hijinx in today's Talespin (not available on-line).


As part of the new Non-Rep Employee policy, a group of School 16 Second- Graders were forced to decorate and then serve pastries to City Hall employees. Later, they were shown how to fill-out absentee ballots.


And on the County side of things, the legislature will be meeting on Monday to discuss our annual tax increase. It looks like Troy's GOP aren't the only ones that know how to take care of themselves. Of course, the GOP blames Spitzer. Although, we seem to recall GOP tax hikes and pay raises before Spitzer took office.


Otherwise known as Clogging. Former Democratic mayoral candidate James Conroy will continue to blog about Troy. In the interests of fairness, here's a link to Harry's blog.


For those interested in the final election results, here are the numbers that will be certified in a few weeks.

Tomorrow, per request, we'll begin our multi-series posts on Judge Robert Jacon, YouTube and the Jones case.