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

Friday, February 29, 2008


We'll cover the SEFCU debacle next week. Lots to talk about. We'll make some coffee and chat.


Candidates in the 21st CD are raking in the endorsements.

Albany County Legislator Phil Steck enveiled his endorsements:

Albany County Legislators William Clay (city of Albany), Norma Chapman (city of Albany) joined Rensselaer elected officials County Legislator Kevin Harrington (North Greenbush), Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer, City Clerk Maureen Nardacci, City Councilman Dominick Tagliento, and former Amsterdam Mayor John Duchessi.

Here's Phil's website.

Tracey Brooks has landed another McNulty. She's also added the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Union Local #2. Never bad to snag a union.

Here's Tracey's website (she lets us call her Tracey).

Lester Freeman also joined the scrum.

But, the big news in the 21st? According to Liz Benjamin's The Daily Politics, former Assemblyman Paul Tonko may be in for a run. If he does take the plunge it looks like he'll have Stratton's support. Interesting.


City Hall has been put out to bid. Here's the Times Union story.

Tutunjian noted that if the city is unsuccessful in finding a developer for the project, his office will look to the City Council to come up with funding to repair the existing building, which he estimated could cost anywhere between $5 and $10 million.

But...but...under the Charter the Council can't make budget appropriations....remember....

Actually, this is what many residents wanted. The City Hall Committee should finish shortly after the bids are in and everything can proceed smoothly. After all, it's Troy.

Amy Halloran has a good take on the game.

And yes, The Troy Polloi will be submitting a bid.

UPDATE: Judge deal is reportedly dead..... Angry citizens lash out at Mayor....swarm of locust spotted.....


Always nice to see a new crop of people telling us what we should be able to see or read. We're not big fans of this type of thing. Our taste runs more to those French guys who painted naked ladies at picnics but to each his or her own.

And from the South Troy Neighborhood Watch:

At about 2:30 today a male photographer, and his naked (most likely cold) subject were taking photos in Frear Alley on the South Side of Washington Street. Although we got it on camera, it is fuzzy (sorry guys). The subjects were in an older model Blue Buick LeSabre. The incident was reported to police immediately by a responsible resident. The police responded immediately but they were gone and If you see anything like this going on, please report it to the police at 270-4411, the non-emergency number.Thanks for watching out for the indecent exposure.

And, if the subject was attractive, you can always call us. We doubt it though. How many times have you seen an attractive model in a "older model Buick LeSabre?"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008



Darrel Aubertine, the Democratic candidate for the 48th Senate District (Watertown area), has won the special election to replace James Wright, a Republican. Some dispute that this was an upset.

Up until this year, the 48th SD was little more than a remote outpost in Joe Bruno's empire. This special election changed all that, reducing Bruno's majority to 1 vote. If you don't think it was important to the political landscape consider the fact that the combined cost of the election will be over $4,000,000.

The area also saw an influx of campaigners, professional and otherwise, from all areas of the state. Senate staffers were even dispatched to the frontier, opening up valuable parking spaces at the Capitol.

Our own Bob Mirch was even dispatched to the 48th. Or at least that's what he told us at the Friends of 112 Street Dinner. We're not sure which job this assignment fell under but we're guessing he was liaison-ing up there, perhaps making phone calls. Good thing Troy wasn't bracing for a possible snowstorm.

This hurts Bruno. Other than that we don't know how much we learn from this election. Aubertine faced a 35,000 vote enrollment disadvantage. At 5:30PM on Monday, the Court of Appeals ruled that Barclay could have the Independence line. The Democratic governor, currently more unpopular than syphilis, couldn't have helped much either. Perhaps all this means is that Aubertine was the better candidate and that being the scion of an area political family may be, in 2008, a political disadvantage.


Rumor has it that the State Department of Parks and Recreation has sent an opinion letter indicating that Kennedy Park, approved for sale to SEFCU by the outgoing Council, is indeed parkland and cannot be alienated without the approval of the State Legislature.

Imagine.... you can't even be alienated these days without government interference. We phoned Parks & Recreation for a comment but we kept getting transferred to the Picnic Bureau. We should have the letter today or tomorrow.



On the one hand, you got your heroes.

On the other...Dude! Where's your car?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The proposed PBA contract continues to be of interest. The interest is generated by a peculiar clause in the contract: the residency clause.

For background read The Record and/or the Times Union.

We find this fascinating on many levels.

1. Focusing on residency shifts attention from the remainder of the proposed contract. The media has failed to tell us the final dollar number for the contract. What will Trojans pay when all is said and done? That's not to say we don't support the contract. After all, we're the people that got the police that new car. We just believe that before you consent you should have all the facts.

2. The Record editorial praised Deputy Mayor Crawley and PBA President Fitzgerald for their hard work in hammering out a deal. In the same editorial, The Record states the contract addresses the sticky residency issue but acknowledges they cannot comment on the legality of the residency clause in the contract. Why is The Record praising Crawley when he hasn't finished his job? How has the residency issue been addressed? Until the Administration submits legislation that amends the law, the residency provision is meaningless. The Council can pass the contract and the legal provisions will go into effect. The residency clause will not hold-up passage. It will just be meaningless if challenged.

3. The idea that police officers have to give sell accrued time to live outside the city is odious while others in City Hall violate the residency laws. The Record supports the buy-back for police but refuses to address City Hall employees that get a free ride.

We don't want to pick on The Record. This particular editorial was lazy. Meanwhile, Jim Franco, in Monday's Talespin, gives us a good primer on the history of the various residency laws that impact City employees. Or would impact those employees if enforced.

Monday, February 25, 2008


A few things for you to chew on from around the region. Nothing big. Not on a Monday.


The TU blog has followed an amusing story about cybersquatting. We once cybersquatted for a few hours with a feisty blond. We assume they're talking about something different.

Brooks has received the endorsement of Cohoes Mayor John McDonald. As endorsements go, that's a good one. Only Jennings and Stratton would bring more to the table.


Will Guilderland be the next North Greenbush?

The assault is likely a response to Csaposs’ call for the head of GOP Town Board member Warren Redlich for writing a satirical news article post on which contains an image of a bethonged woman that I can not link to from this site because I’m family-friendly.

Since we're only family-friendly in the sense of the Manson's being a family, but thong-friendly, we'll link to Mr. Redlich's articles.


Troy Fire Chief Tom Garrett has expressed concerns over National Grid's response time to a number of calls.

Here's the February 19 article and the February 20 article. If our house caught fire and National Grid was needed, we'd want them to show-up at light-speed. We can also appreciate a professional fire fighter's frustration in not being able to fight a fire. Twenty or twenty five minutes of waiting must feel like an eternity.

On the other hand, a twenty or twenty-five minute response time does not seem unreasonable. The unit was dispatched from Cohoes. That's not a long trip but it's not like they were coming from downtown Troy. National Grid is not a police force and not a fire department. A utility company has a different mission. Perhaps monopolies are not a good thing.

The Plymouth model, mentioned in the article, is a good idea. It still won't guarantee a response time. Garrett's public bitching is probably a better guarantor of a speedier response time than any written policy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Our Boys & Girls in blue may soon have a contract.

The city and the Police Benevolent Association are only “steps away” from a finalized contract after more than three years of police officers working without an agreement, city officials said Tuesday.

The contract must be ratified by the PBA’s membership and then approved by the city council 30 days after that, and PBA members could vote on the contract as early as next week.

It's only been three years. What's the rush?

When the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Corporation Counsel and DPW Commissioner determined that they needed raises they got it done in weeks, not years. Why did it take three years for our police to get a contract? You know, the people who put their life on the line?

Screw it.

The interesting part of the proposed contract is the residency requirement waiver.

The contentious residency requirement issue is also resolved in the new contract with members having the option to live outside the city provided they accept a one-time penalty of giving up between 13 to 15 days of pay.


Our position on residency for the police is well-known. We're against it. We also know, or surmise, that a majority of residents support a residency requirement for officers. That said, a word of advice: Don't pay the City one minute of your time until the Mayor submits legislation to the Council that amends....the law!

The residency law is not enforced. Why? Some people say (not us) that there's no enforcement because the Mayor lacks the political oysters* to enforce the law (Ok, it was us). That doesn't mean that it won't be enforced at some time in the future. This contract provision will not protect you and you will have paid something for nothing.

If contracts could nullify laws then there's a number of contracts we'd like to negotiate with the police. One such contract has to do with a certain mother-in-law (she knows who she is) but we can't go into specifics right now.

The City Council can still approve the contract. The residency provision will be null and void. That's right, not just null but also void. If you've ever voided you know what we're talking about.

The odd thing is, it was the Administration pushing the residency provision, not the police. Our guess is that the oyster-less Administration is trying to punt the issue back to the Council. And it looks like they ain't taking the bait. Enough mixed metaphors.

Chet Hardin has more.

*For those allergic to shell fish insert the word "stones"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This shocking development is actually pretty funny.

One of two men who accused Troy police officers of brutality last month was arrested Monday night on two minor charges by officers responding to reports of a fight, police said.

Jarmel “Bird” DeWitt, 22, of 90 King St., was arrested without incident and charged with possession of marijuana and an open container, both violations, according to police reports.

DeWitt was one of four men arrested near 2151 12th St. around 10 p.m. Two suspects, including one who is free on bail awaiting trial on drug charges and was also a suspect in a 2006 shooting, were charged with resisting arrest.

The good news? Mr. DeWitt is fully recovered from his beating earlier this year.

This doesn't change anything relative to the alleged beating in Menands. It's just....funny.

We've always wondered how and why DeWitt and Hill ended-up in that part of Menands. Why there? Why that street? Completely random or did they know someone in the neighborhood? Just asking.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


We initially thought Three Job Bob's letter in Monday's The Record criticizing someone for having more than one public job was satire. Apparently, it wasn't.

Since 3JBob likes asking questions so much perhaps he'd like to answer a few:

1) Which of your three jobs is neglected as you monitor Mr. Martiniano's attendance at City Hall?

2) Since City Hall, according to your boss, is a death trap, isn't it wise for everyone to minimize their presence at City Hall?

3) Would your recent payraise have helped to pay for salt/sand so the DPW could ensure the safety of residents driving on Troy's poorly maintained streets?

4) Which job were you working when you transported a County employee to City Hall for political purposes?

5) Will you devote the same time and energy ensuring that Code Enforcement is no longer used for political retaliation that you devote to safeguarding your raise?

6) Just how did Code come to ticket Mr. deSeve? Are we to believe your story, your employee's story or the Mayor's story?

7) How did Code come to ticket Mr. DeBonis less than twenty-four hours after your pay raise was in jeopardy?

8) Will you help ensure that the Corporation Counsel drafts legislation that is requested rather than obstruct the Council?

9) Will you help us ensure that Mayoral appointees don't intimidate City employees into joining minor political parties (especially while sitting in DPW vehicles that are parked in the City Hall garage)?

10) You served your FOIL requests upon Council members. They turned over those requests to the FOIL Officer, Mr. Buell. Have you asked Mr. Buell for a response? Have you filed an appeal?

11) Will you go for the trifecta and obtain a raise as Bruno's Constituent Liaison? Will it be before or after the election?

We do not intend to defend the Troy City Council or other Democrats on a regular basis. They're big boys and girls and can defend themselves and take their lumps when deserved. It is pathetic however, when a County Legislator, Department of Public Works Commissioner and Bruno "Liaison" is reduced to attacking a part-time, City Council appointee. If your political stature is defined by who you go after....well this is just sad.

Note to The Record: You could always use the space wasted on Mr. Mirch's drivel to investigate the use of Code Enforcement for political retaliation. It's that pesky First Amendment issue, your bread & butter, and it would be actual news.

Monday, February 18, 2008


.... an indictment is not a conviction.

The town highway superintendent was indicted Friday on 44 felony counts for allegedly buying gravel for the town from an illegal mine and submitting false documents to cover it up.

Neil Gardner was indicted by a Rensselaer County grand jury on 22 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, 10 counts of first-degree falsifying business records and 12 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, all felonies, according to state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office. He is also charged with one count of operating a mine without a permit, a misdemeanor.

The real question is, where do those who "operate a mine without a permit" stand in the prison hierarchy? It's our understanding that even if you have a permit you can only operate the mine during daylight hours and someone with a mining license has to be with you.

When will the Attorney General investigate the illegal use of Troy Code Enforcement?


Hold onto your codpieces but Mayor Tutunjian may be following the law.

The City Assessor is, and has been for some time, Tina Dimitriadis. One of the worst kept secrets is that Tina is violating Troy's Residency Laws. The City Assessor has to reside in Troy. Tina does not.

§ 60-5. General requirement.

All employees of the City of Troy, except those expressly exempt by the Public Officers Law of the State of New York, shall be residents of the City of Troy at the time of their employment or shall become residents within 90 days after their employment and shall remain residents of the City of Troy as a condition of their continued employment. Except as hereinafter provided, any employee of the City who does not comply with the mandatory residency requirements of this article shall be subject to immediate termination by the Mayor.

There is an exception:

§ 60-7. Waiver of requirements.

In the event the Mayor shall certify to the City Council that, after a reasonable recruitment period, he/she has been unable to fill a vacancy in any City position covered by this article by appointing a qualified resident of the City or a qualified nonresident who is prepared to become a resident within 90 days of his or her employment, then the Mayor may waive the residency requirements for said position on the grounds of "difficulty of recruitment." Such waiver shall apply to such specific appointment only as certified and waived by the Mayor.

The Mayor has now followed the Waiver Requirement for the City Assessor. An admission that the Administration has not followed the residency law.

These developments are interesting for two reasons:

The issue of Tutunjian appointees violating the law, specifically the residency law, was raised in a recent Metroland article.

"The mayor’s office refused to comment directly when questioned about the residency of its appointments, referring to the accusations as “laughable,” based on the “spotty information” of anonymous blogs."

Laughable indeed.

The position of Assessor may take on greater significance now that the Mayor is contemplating a citywide reassessment (translation: property tax increase) to close a projected 4 million dollar deficit. The argument has always been that the police will take their jobs more seriously if they live in Troy. Should the Assessor be held to the same standard?

We don't really care who fills the Assessor's job. It's just nice to see the Mayor follow the law even if it is hard to believe that the second fastes growing city in the Capital District, the City the entire State is talking about, doesn't have a qualified resident for the position.

Friday, February 15, 2008


We thought people might have a few comments about last night's Planning Board meeting.

Also on tonight’s planning board agenda are proposals by Rensselaer Polytechnic Insitute to demolish eight residential buildings on Eighth Street, five residential buildings on College Avenue and two residential buildings near the intersection of Eighth and Federal streets.

Did anyone attend?


The Record reports on 250k in overtime for Police and Fire.

Before everyone goes crazy:

Much of that overtime is covered by grants including federal Weed and Seed money and state IMPACT grants, said Troy Police Department spokesman Capt. John Cooney.

“A substantial portion of that overtime is grant-funded and will be totally reimbursed to the city at a later date,” he said.

Speaking of Police, the Administration pledged to sit down with the PBA this week and hammer-out a contract. On Monday, the Administration canceled without notice. On Thursday, they canceled once again.

Ever notice how quickly things got done when it was Tutunjian, Crawley, Mirch and Mitchell that needed a cost of living increase?


Thought we'd share this on the off chance....

In 1997, the Troy Police Benevolent Association started a college fund for a 3-year-old girl who witnessed her mother’s murder in a Griswold Heights apartment. Today, that fund is in the area of $50,000, leaving only one problem — no one knows where the girl is.

“This was certainly one of the saddest cases we have seen in the last two decades,” said Capt. John Cooney, the department spokesman who was president of the PBA when the fund was created.

Amber Santana, now 14, has not been heard from by the department since shortly after the incident occurred. Police are currently unaware if she still resides in the Capital District or even in New York state.

Thursday, February 14, 2008



There's been many comments lately that we have not published. The comments deal with goings-on in the Troy Police Department. While we'll publish some, many relate to possible criminal conduct on the part of officials and/or officers. We'll do our best to investigate the allegations.

What we won't do is publish comments that accuse people of criminal conduct unless we have a good-faith belief that the person has engaged in such conduct and that such conduct is criminal. No offense, but an anonymous comment on a blog just doesn't meet even our low standards.

The other type of comments we won't publish are those that (many times accurately) describe the personal/emotional problems of individuals. This holds true for public officials and it's especially true for failed political candidates, whether female or male, Republican or Democrat. If an indiviudal's emotional problems impact their duties as public officials that fact may be relevant. Those that lose elections and return to private life are, for our purposes here, irrelevant.


From The Record:

The nine-member City Hall Review Committee now is considering if the possible sale of city hall to Judge Development Company would even be legal since the sale never went out to bid to other companies.

City’s Corporation Counsel Dave Mitchell has said yes. Former Deputy Mayor Jim Conroy, who also lost the mayoral election in November, thinks not.

To resolve the dispute, the committee will send letters to the state attorney general and the state comptroller’s office.

While they're at it, they may want an opinion on:

1) Whether the property is "waterfront" property and can be sold without the approval of the State Legislature;

2) Whether the proposed SEFCU site is "parkland" and whether it can be sold without the approval of the State Legislature;

3) Whether there is an afterlife and if so, is there a dress code?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


It's fair to say that the new Council majority has hit some bumps in the road. That's not unusual when no one in the majority has ever been in the majority and the Corporation Counsel's Office has chosen to be obstructionist rather than to counsel. This is especially true when you try to do too much too soon. People are not used to a Council acting like an independent branch of government. There will be bumps and mistakes. We remember when the GOP majority, with the Mayor's help, took three tries to pass their utility rate increase. Fun times.

The "Home-Dividing ban" is a case in point. We're not sure how we feel about it. We understand the reasoning and we realize that most people support the plan. Well, the Mayor issued another veto and it looks like they will tighten-up the law. A good thing if you support the law. That's not the real story here.

No, people, the real story is a concerted effort by the Times Union to bury the real story about why Tutunjian vetoed the ordinance.

The scrubbed-up version can be found here.

``The City Council has taken an idea that had originally garnered support from my office and turned it into a new law with far reaching impact, all the while thumbing their noses at the people and the process in which good government is conducted,'' Tutunjian said in a statement.

As usual, we have no idea what Tutunjian is babbling about. Public Committee meetings, public input and the Administration had an opportunity to weigh-in and didn't. This must be his way of laying partisanship aside as suggested in his State of the City Address.

Anyway, "thumbing their noses..." Is that what the Council did? Thumb their noses at the people? That's not what he accused the Council of doing in the original story. Luckily, we took a screenshot of the real story:

We refer you to paragraph four, where the Mayor accusses the Council of "...thumbing their hoses at the people..." Disturbing, to say the least. Troy cannot afford a blind, hairy-palmed Council.

As for good government: Harry wouldn't know good government if it sat up and bit him on the hose.

Gotta go, Code Enforcement is knocking at the door.

Monday, February 11, 2008



For those interested in Congressional races, the field in the 21st District is getting crowded. The latest entry is Tracey Brooks.

Brooks is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 21st Congressional District, a seat currently held by Democratic Congressman Mike McNulty who last year announced his intention to retire from Congress.

“In 2006, the American people called for a new direction, asked Congress to refocus their priorities and watched Democrats start to make necessary changes in Washington,” Brooks said. “But now, in 2008, the people are still calling for change, are still asking Congress to focus on the right priorities and are looking for leaders with the right experience to make that change a reality.”

We like Brooks, if for no other reason than she took on popular Assemblyman Pat Casele a few years ago and ran a good, uphill campaign. She lost but it takes guts to take on an incumbent. Brooks does have something of a disreputable past but has been endorsed by Mayor Ellen McNulty Ryan.

Albany County Legislator, Phil Steck has also announced:

Phil Steck, candidate for New York’s 21st Congressional District, announced today that he has received early endorsements from 29 local elected officials and Democratic Party officials in Albany County. Steck said that he has also had conversations with dozens of local officials throughout the Congressional District and expects to pick up more local support in the coming weeks.

GOP candidate Warren Redlich has declined to run.

Fred LeBrun has more about the contest.


For those of you who may not read Metroland, Chet Hardin's has had some good pieces lately.

One on the new Council and one on City Hall.

Finally, last week, the Democrats revoked the GOP pay raises and Harry gave his least inspired State of the City Address. If you're a masochist you can find the text on the City's website.

That's it. Too damn cold to blog.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


We're out of here until Monday but will check in to publish comments from time to time.


Mayor Tutunjian will deliver his State of the City Address tonight. If you've ever watched the Address on Cable Access you'll know why we like to call it Harry's Annual Hostage Video.

The Charter doesn't really call for an address to the Council and there is no authority for this free public relations spectacle. The Charter merely requires that the Mayor deliver a report to the Council on the State of the City.

That reminds us: After the Democrats took control of the Council Deputy Mayor Dan Crawley told the Council that the City would no longer pay an employee overtime to video the Council meetings. It will be interesting to see if this rule applies tonight.

We can't figure out why the Administration wants to deny those residents who cannot attend meeting the opportunity to see those meetings. It must be a part of their open-government agenda.

We also believe the refual to film the Council meetings violates a 1994 law.


Many of you may not know that Corporation Counsel Dave Mitchell is also the attorney of the Industrial Development Agency. The IDA passed a resolution retaining Mitchell at a salary of $1,000 per month. The IDA does have the authority to retain counsel of it's choosing.

Previous Corporation Counsels have represented the IDA but have forgone payment. Instead, the IDA reimbursed the City for the Corporation Counsel's time. That's what the IDA does for Comptroller Witkowski's time. Mitchell takes the money. As far as we can tell, that's all perfectly legal.

However, at a December IDA meeting, Republican Councilman Mark Wojcik questioned a $26,000 payment to David Mitchell. We have questions as well and we'll follow-up as we get more information.


You can read Libby Post's account of the Menands incident, here. Inflammatory remarks aimed at any group other than pedestrians and mimes will not be tolerated.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


The Democratic City Council will accomplish in less than two months what the GOP Council couldn't, or wouldn't do for years: Take on absentee landlords.

That's the phrase commonly used: Absentee landlords. What we hope that means is negligent or irresponsible landlords. Not all absentee landlords are slumlords.

The Democratic proposal was discussed last Thursday night in a secret meeting....attended by the public.

The proposed ordinance would require landlords to register with the city; to have regular inspections of rental properties by city code enforcement officers; and provide contact information for city officials to reach landlords in emergency situations.

Tina Urzan of Sixth Avenue urged that the guidelines for when a landlord would require a manager for their properties be further tightened. Under the proposed legislation, landlords living more than 30 miles from the city would have to have a manager named for their properties. Urzan wants the distance reduced.

We're very picky when it comes to proerty rights and look upon too much government regualtion of property with suspicion. In this case, we realize we're in the minority. The Democratic proposal has received support from a wide variety consituents and appears to have gained the support of many people fed-up with the Mayor's inaction.

The requirement that a landlord residing 30+ miles from Troy name a property manager is self-evident. Twenty-nine miles is way to close to Troy to have someone hire a manager and thirty-one miles? Better pack a lunch.

In all seriousness, the distance requirement strikes us as arbitrary. Is it possible to have that requirement apply to all those residing outside Troy? Just a thought.

It is nice to have a Council that understands they are an independent branch of government and can still move the City forward while the Mayor is stalled, fighting yesterday's battles.

Monday, February 04, 2008


A Young Reader inquires:

"Dear Democratus:

How does something become a Code Violation?"

Young Reader

Good question, reader. A number of things must occur before an act can become a Code Violation. It's all part of our democratic/legislative process.

First, that "something" whatever it may be, cannot already be a Code Violation. If "something" already is a Code Violation there's no need to do anything.

Next, a citizen has to be issued a citation for the non-existent Code Violation.

The next steps are complicated and the matter should be handled by the municipality's chief legal officer.

The would be Code Violater must challenge the citation by pointing out that no such code violation exists. Then, and only then, can the government issue the would-be violater a new citation. The new citation must reference an existing Code Violation but does not need to be relevant to the initial citation. Hey, no one said Due Process would be easy.

The original "action" that brought about the non-existent code violation is then defined.

Finally, our democracy kicks it in to high gear. The definition is submitted to someone in the tech department so an amendment can be added to the government's website.

Abracadabra.....we have a new law.

The public is then invited to "learn more about property maintenance" by reviewing the Code. Ironically, the Code does not define Graffiti or make graffiti a Code Violation. Nor is Graffiti "illegal." Graffiti can be a crime if the intent behind the Graffiti is to damage property.

All of this begs many questions. If "Graffiti" as defined by the City website is a code violation and "illegal" why was the deSeve citation changed to a sign violation? That's not to mention the broad definition of graffiti used on the City's website. What about murals? What about children using chalk on a driveway? Can we get variances from the Ministry of Art?

Is this important in the grand scheme of things? Yes, if you don't want Harry and the Administration to steal the conch and kill Piggy.

Friday, February 01, 2008


We continue with our autopsy of the Mayor's recent Pulse of the People Letter.

This month, they have sought to change the way freedom of information requests are handled. The motivation is complaints, say the Council, yet at three meetings they have failed to produce one valid issue beyond that of a gadfly and complaints from this paper. To change this policy would be a change in the mayor’s powers, which this council has no right to pursue without a mandatory referendum.

Oddly, the Mayor admits to at least two valid complaints: one from a "gadfly" and one from The Record. Reporter Jim Franco can verify that this Administration has repeatedly violated the Freedom of Information Law. As for the valid complaint from a gadfly? We didn't realize that gadflys (or the media) were exclusions under FOIL.

Needless to say, the Mayor's assertion is demonstrably false. Improper denials occur frequently and an enterprising reporter may want to FOIL all the FOIL requests during the previous twelve months. Choose a random sampling and contact the people making the request. Pay particular attention to those filing law suits or perceived political enemies.

Isn't it enough that a reporter FOIL'd Corporation Counsel David B. Mitchell's disclosure form only to be ignored. Meanwhile, the Administration sent Mr. Dunne's disclosure within days to that same reporter. Ironically, the entire purpose of those disclosure forms is to disclose.

That said, even a deficient clock is correct twice a day. We don't believe that the legislation violates the charter. It's not displacing the Mayor's authority to select a compliance officer and it doesn't touch the immediate appeals procedure. The legislation merely adds another appellate layer to the process. There is room for debate on that point and it's a debate that should be had.

This past week, City Councilman Clem Campana, who remained virtually silent during his first term as councilman but has turned into a regular Silence Dogood this month, attempted to change the charter and the city clerk’s powers through a memo. When called out on this dishonest notion, Campana only muttered that they wouldn’t do it.

OK, we all know Silence Dogood was the alias a young Franklin (Ben, not the black kid from Charlie Brown) used when submitting letters to his brother's newspaper. 'Nuff said. Although, being compared to the Charlie Brown kid would be neat as well.

Finally, to wrap it up:

At the finance committee meeting Thursday I alerted the council to the ways they would be violating the charter. Though I doubt any of them have read the document, I hoped it would give them pause. Apparently it has not, despite the fact I have issued three vetoes.

Listen, the Troy Polloi has spent almost three years documenting the way in which this Administration has beaten, tortured and left for dead the City Charter and City Code. We've documented it well and you have to forgive the Council, or anyone else, for eyeing Harry's interpretation of the Charter with suspicion and derision.

Next week will show you an example of an outright lie from the Administration. It's there in black & white for you to read. Really. We're not kidding.

Eurasia is at war with East Asia. Eurasia has always been at war with East Asia.