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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Whazzzup in the Twenty-First:


From The Times Union:

21st Congressional candidate Republican Jim Buhrmaster’s legal challenge of opponent Steven Vasquez’s petitions was adjourned in state Supreme Court in Albany until Wednesday morning. The two sides met with Justice Roger McDonough in chambers this morning and agreed to the adjournment.

Buhrmaster’s spokesman Josh Hills said Vasquez’s attorney and spokesman, Warren Redlich, needed time to gather witnesses in the case. Redlich, however, said it’s up to Buhrmaster to prove his case, and that Vasquez’s side might not call any witnesses.

Redlich said after reviewing the original petition, he’s confident that Vasquez can’t be knocked off the Sept. 9 primary ballot. He said 106 signatures are likely valid, which is about 40 more than Vasquez needs to stay in the race.


Albany County Clerk Thomas Clingan is the latest elected official to endorse Phil Steck in the race to succeed retiring Congressman Mike McNulty. First elected to the county-wide post in 1988, Clingan is a popular elected official in Albany County, which is expected to represent over 55% of the 7 county vote in the September 9 Democratic Primary.

Steck also went after the oil speculators:

Democratic congressional candidate Phil Steck said today that Congress should reform the Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) before departing for the summer. He said that action is needed immediately because a great number of financial news reports continue to suggest that the price of oil will reach $200 by the end of the year. The price of oil was in the $20 range when George Bush took office in 2000.

“Speculation on the energy futures market is like the Wild West. The average consumer doesn’t really understand exactly how the market works, and speculators are raking in huge profits reminiscent of the heyday of Enron,” said Steck. “Oil companies and their lobbyists are writing our energy laws and have stifled reform on this issue in Washington .”

A number of economists have said that this energy speculation continues to drive up the price of oil, which is having a devastating effect on American consumers. They believe that speculation alone is to blame for $20-$60 additional in price per barrel.


Darius Shahinfar, Democratic candidate for New York's 21st Congressional District, today issued the following statement on the Bush administration's recent Middle East policy shifts of a "time horizon" troop withdrawal in Iraq and tentative steps to restore diplomatic relations in Iran:

"After years of intransigence, the Bush administration has finally begun to follow the advice of the Democratic Party and do what is necessary to bring greater stability to the Middle East.

"The Democratic Party, Senator Obama and I have been calling for action on troop withdrawals in Iraq and opening high level diplomatic talks with Iran for months. These common sense solutions to stabilizing the Middle East, lowering gas prices here at home, and bringing an end to this reckless war will help renew America's promise to its citizens and to the world."


Democratic Congressional Candidate Tracey Brooks tonight launched her television ad campaign delivering a message of standing up to the Republicans in Congress and making government accountable to people again.

"I am not like the other candidates in the race," said Brooks. "I have a different kind of hands-on experience working in our communities at the Schenectady Family Health Center, in the Community Services Corps, as a Girl Scout leader and basketball coach, and working with our families to help solve the very real and growing problems they're facing."

Brooks continued: "That's why I'm running for Congress – to help solve these problems, to take on the Republicans and special interests in Washington, and to make government accountable to the people once again. I have focused my campaign on the issues important to working families like providing affordable health care for all, standing up for a woman's right to choose, ending the war in Iraq and reinvesting that more than $12 billion a month here at home, and addressing those skyrocketing gas prices."

Finally, The Sanctuary for Independent Media is offering a free summer camp this week. Too bad it's already Wednesday:

For the week of July 28 through August 1, youths in North Troy
will get a chance to combine the things they love into a learning
experience geared toward multi-media communication skills they need.
Weekday mornings between 9 and noon, kids will gather at AME Zion
Church (103rd Street at 5th Avenue in Lansingburgh) to work with
poets, dancers, bike mechanics and chefs as the raw material for
their experiments with video making and computer animation. The
Sanctuary Summer Media Camp is free for the 25 young people who pre-
registered, as are the breakfasts and lunches kids get every day.

"This is the first year we've done this--the response has been
incredible," said spokesperson Steve Pierce. "Everyone involved is a
volunteer and thrilled to participate. If we can get the funding in
place, we'll offer an expanded program next year."

Activities include:

MONDAY Poetry workshop, video scavenger hunt
TUESDAY Dance workshop, video production
WEDNESDAY Bike workshop, computer animation
THURSDAY Audio for video production
FRIDAY Food sculpture, final presentation

The camp is being organized by the non-profit Media Alliance, which
operates The Sanctuary for Independent Media in North Troy
( Co-sponsors include AME Zion Church, the
Troy NAACP, 518 Positive Reinforcement, Troy Bike Rescue, Holy
Serenity Church of God in Christ, the Honest Weight Food Coop and
made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and
hundreds of individual contributors. Food is provided by the
Nutrition Consortium of NY State Summer Food Service program of the
NYS Department of Health through the Rensselaer County Unified Family
Service--Department for Youth.

No word yet if Commissioner of Public Works, Bob Mirch, has phoned Homeland Security.

We also tracked down Brian Premo's website. We were using Yahoo and couldn't find the site. Then we Googled Premo. Don't tell anyone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008



Nick Kaiser is now one of two candidates for Marco Island's top cop job. Kelly Farrell has the story. If Kaiser is selected, he's one lucky man. It looks like a great spot. It's not South Troy, but it ain't half bad.


According to the Times Union:

City Police Chief Nicholas Kaiser is a finalist to be the next top cop in Marco Island, Fla., Police Department, according to a news release issued by that community.
Kaiser is competing against four other candidates to head up the Florida community's police department.

Why anyone would want to leave the area for Marco Island is a mystery.

Chief Kaiser is not without his detractors. We found him to be a good man but not the strongest of leaders. He has a difficult job and the current administration has not made that job any easier. A concerted effort by the Administration last fall to oust Kaiser (an effort paid for by taxpayers) failed when the GOP lost control of the Council. That is the type of political distraction a Police Department does not need.

Interestingly, the Administration's choice for the head job, Assistant Chief John Tedesco, has also been reading the want-ads. Tedesco was up for the job in Guilderland, and received high marks, but didn't get the nod. He's also tested the waters in Massachusetts.

We hope Kaiser gets the job. Why he'd want to move to a dump like Marco Island is beyond us.


Robert Martiniano, Confidential Assistant to Council President Clem Campana, will resign his position effective this September.

Martiniano's tenure as Confidential Assistant was tainted by scandal over accusations that his position was a "No-Show Job." Well, taint isn't the right word. There was a concerted effort by some to manufacture a scandal, an effort that duped local television journalist Greg Floyd into not only investigating the allegations but running a story that failed to substantiate any of the allegations. They certainly get an A for effort.

The substance of the allegation was that Martiniano was not physically in a City Hall office like the former Confidential Assistant. Which really explains a certain public sector mindset. The only problem with the allegation was that its proponents failed to produce any evidence of a No-Show job. Martiniano's role was not that of a glorified receptionist, a point that seemed to bother the former glorified receptionist.

That said, we have issues with the position of a Confidential Assistant to the Council President or one for the Mayor. It's a position that is funded by the taxpayers but can be used for the benefit of one political party. Martiniano functioned as Campana's 'right hand man' or right hand person. That's fine and perfectly acceptable in Troy politics. We just have doubts that the position is necessary (we harbor doubts that many other positions are necessary as well, such as Public Works Commissioner).

Good Luck Bob. We wish you every success in the future.

Monday, July 28, 2008


On Thursday, the Troy City Council approved a deal that would settle the City of Rensselaer's water debt.

Rensselaer would pay Troy $1.2 million for the bills it has not paid since 1998 plus $250,000 in interest. The $1.45 million would be paid by the end of October.

The agreement received not only unanimous approval, but every Council member voted for it as well.

What the hell happened? What happened to the $3.5 million the Administration says is owed? Will the Mayor veto this agreement? What about Councilmen Wojcik and McGrath not agreeing to anything less than the full amount owed? Will Madge ever find the baby she put up for adoption?

Councilman Brown's proposal, often the target for Wojcik and McGrath's condemnation, would have recouped more money and we all know that the only thing better than recouping money is the initial couping of money.

So what happened?

Lots of fun stuff to discuss this week and we hope to get to it all:

Martiniano resigns;

Revisiting the Non-Rep Policy;

And much, much more.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The blog is being reassessed for the next few days. Talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


If you're like us, it's been a long time since you took property reassessment in high school or college.

For those of you wondering: Is there a site that can answer my questions about reassessment, the answer is here. The Office of Real Property Services has a pretty good site that will meet many of your assessment and reassessment needs.

Try it for a limited time and if your not completely satisfied, return it in the self addressed stamped envelope provided.

One question we have is this: The Administration tauts commercial development and increasing the tax base. We know many of the projects mentioned do not pay property taxes. These are projects sponsored by the Industrial Development Agency. They receive a PILOT or payment in lieu of taxes.

Will properties with Pilots be reassessed so we can see the value of those properties and how much the developers are not paying. If tax reassessment is about redistribution of tax burden, exactly who is bearing more of the burden, average people or large, commercial endeavors.

Interestingly, not all commercial endeavors want Pilots. The Pilot for John Scanlon Market Block has been retired. David Bryce, who will purchase the property, does not want a Pilot.

On the other hand, the entity behind the Hoosick Street Hotel, has applied to have Pilot for Hoosick Hospitality LLC transfered to Hoosick Development Group LLC.

Industrial Development Agencies do many things but remain fairly off the radar for most citizens. We're not suggesting anything sinister, just that a reporter out there may want to do a feature story on what these entities do and how they do it.

You can find IDA info and well as their meeting minutes at the City's website. The meeting minutes can be found here.

Interesting stuff, particularly the meeting minutes. For example, at the March 19th meeting, Sondra Little said that since the IDA was required to post all it's activities on-line, Freedom of Information requests had increased. Her suggestion was to implement a FOIL "policy."

Does anyone shudder when they hear about government agencies or quasi-government agencies formulating FOIL "policies." It doesn't have to mean, but such policies usually make it more difficult for the average citizen to obtain information.

Monday, July 21, 2008


It's mid-summer so we're taking it easy. Light posting. It's less filling but tastes great.

In the race to replace Joe Bruno, Assemblyman Roy McDonald has dominated the coverage. However, there's another candidate: Rensselaer's own Brian Premo. He's the only Rensselaeroid in the race.

Premo showed just how serious he is about taking Joe Senate seat by funding his campaign to the tune of $70,000.

Brian Premo, the endorsed Democratic candidate in the 43rd State Senate District, has funded his campaign with $70,000 of his own money.

Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade issued a statement saying Premo always knew it would take money to challenge State Senator Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, and that’s why only Premo was willing to run against him.

We don't know if Premo's the best candidate the Democrats could offer. We do know, he's the only one to step forward and announce his candidacy when everyone thought Bruno was still in the race.

Ironically, Joe's departure may have hurt Premo's chances. Running against Bruno, especially this year, had some built-in themes for the savvy challenger: change, Bruno as part of the problem....Not saying it would have worked but it was a theme, a message to use. That's more difficult with McDonald.

One thought: It will be interesting to see if this race becomes more about Rensselaer County against Saratoga than it is partisan.

Found this interview with Premo. Short but it's a start. We can't find Premo's website. If he doesn't have a web presence, he should remedy that as soon as possible.

Another challenger for Bruno's seat is Joanne Yepsen, from Saratoga County. We know nothing about Joanne but based on the picture on her older site, we could definitely support her. She'd raise the Senate's cuteness factor by 200%. We're all about priorities.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Uncle Joe Bruno is spending money like a drunken sailor on leave in Bangkok after six months at sea. His latest? The big man just stuffed a cool $6,000,000 in Troy's G-string (we know, disturbing imagery).

City Hall will be torn down and replaced with a park, an underground parking garage and a possible mixed-use building housing new city government offices, officials said this morning.

The total project will cost $8 million, Sen. Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick said this morning. He added that $6 million in state funds will be made available for the project, which includes an esplanade running from Monument Square north to the Green Island Bridge and other park and recreation improvements.

We're going to have an esplanade!*

Now imagine, we were going to give this property away to Judge Development for the Verizon building. Does the Verizon building have an esplanade?**

Now, we think this is great. But, before everyone sports a big woodie, it's not like Joe's spending his own money. It's our money. And, instead of luring 150 well-paying jobs that will keep college graduates in the area, we're building a municipal building.

Joe's gone after today. Next year we'll be bitchin' about Long Island getting millions from Albany by way of Dean Skelos. They're going to want their own esplanade, after all.***

We have a tribute to Senator Bruno planned. He's truly one of our favorite Republicans. On the other hand, the tributes written by area reporters have been shameful in large part. It's true that Joe spent a lot of our money on the area. It's also true that after all those years, we're still faced with this and this.

The U.S. Census Bureau released its latest population estimates Wednesday, with the data showing the predictable trend: Most suburbs continue to gain as cities see further slides -- with some exceptions.

In Schenectady, the latest figures show the population growing from 61,481 in 2006 to 61,531 last year. That's still down from where the city was at the last full census of 2000, when 61,821 called the Electric City home.

Saratoga Springs continues to see growth, from 28,589 in 2006 to 28,782 in 2007.
In Albany, Mayor Jerry Jennings said he is pleased because the city's population decline is less than half a percent. Albany now has 94,172 residents, down from 94,603 in 2006.

"It's more stable than in the past, but I am not sure how accurate it is," he said. "It's encouraging that it's stabilized."

In Troy, the city saw 75 fewer people calling the Collar City home, with the population dropping from 47,819 to 47,744.

Albany and Troy weren't alone among upstate cities. Buffalo's population of 272,632 was down 0.93 percent over the year; Rochester, at 206,759, was down 0.49 percent; and Syracuse, 139,079, was down 0.78 percent, according to the estimates.

On a lighter note, we saw this headline and thought it was another story about Mirch.

* What the hell is an esplanade?

** Seriously what the hell is an esplanade?

*** It's food, isn't it?

Thursday, July 17, 2008




Who: Democratic Congressional Candidate Tracey Brooks along with other Democratic and Republican candidates.

What: Congressional Candidate Forum hosted by the Jewish Family Services of NENY's Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NNORC) Program.

Where: Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center, 340 Whitehall Road, Albany, NY 12208. 518-438-6651.

When: Thursday, July 17, 7:00pm-8:30pm.

Note: The event is free and open to the public. For more information call the NNORC office at 518-514-2023.


Epstein's Mother


Albany, New York (July 16, 2008) – Phil Steck, Democratic candidate in the race to succeed retiring Congressman Mike McNulty (NY-21) announced today that he has raised over $320,000, including 872 individual donors. He reported $120,000 raised from 520 individual donors for the 2nd Quarter report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Over 95% of the money he received is from individuals and over 80% of those donors live and work in the Capital Region.

“I am very pleased to report that our campaign has successfully raised over $320,000 from 872 individual donors; 80% of whom live and work here in the Capital Region,” said Steck. “I am very grateful to people who have contributed to this community-based effort. Our fundraising has exceeded expectations and we are confident that our local approach to the campaign, including our fundraising, puts us in a stronger position to win this September.”


Democratic Congressional Candidate Tracey Brooks today announced ActBlue, the nation's largest online fundraising source for Democrats, has listed her on their Top 10 Candidates list for the week of July 7-13, making it the third time she has been ranked among the nation's top 10 Democratic online fundraisers.

"It's a tremendous honor to be among the nation's top Democratic online fundraisers for the third time, a group that includes Barack Obama," said Brooks, who also made the ActBlue Top 10 weekly lists for the first and second weeks of June. "This recognition is directly related to the hard work and dedication of our entire campaign team and is a reflection of our tech-savvy, grassroots, online-based approach to campaigning."

Brooks also headed over to the blogosphere today (now yesterday). You can find her interview over at The Albany Project. We're not taking sides in the 20th Primary. Like Brooks or not, she's smart and knows the issues. We hope the others follow suit and do Albany Project interviews, including Buhrmaster.


...has a run-in with the web. Welcome to the internet, where every misstep can be captured by the bane of all politicians, the print/Screen button.


Like Fox News, we are fair and balanced. There is a Republican in the race. Buhrmaster raised a handsome amount, under the circumstances.

As the September primary approaches, the outcome of this race remains unclear. Brooks and Steck were out early, raising money and collecting endorsements. Tonko has name recognition, as evidenced by a recent poll. Then, there's geography. You have to wonder if Steck and Brooks will split the Albany County vote, allowing Tonko to take it by a plurality. Just our thoughts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008



State Senator Joe Bruno will resign from the Senate on Friday. Given the timing, the 43rd Senate District will be without representation until 2009. Abandoning his district is a strange way to go out, especially since the legislature is out for a large part of the Summer and there's less than six months left before the term expires.

Are we eligible for a Foster Senator? Maybe the Big Senator Program? We need a positive male role model.


From the crowd that gives you $30+ Grand in post-election raises, no more texting. Wouldn't you love to get your hands on those text messaging bills? Who knows, maybe we will.


Guess these guys didn't know that the Democratic Council has ended development in Troy.


In an effort to counter the growing perception of greed and cronyism over their post-election raid on Troy's treasury, Mayor Tutunjian announced that Attorney John Bailey's legal bill would be paid by the Tutunjian campaign.

A review of Tutunjian's July 15 filing shows that has not happened.

Tomorrow we'll catch-up on the race to replace Mike McNulty and the race for Joe's seat.

Monday, July 14, 2008


How to Know When the Administration Screws Up: A Primer*

The Administration's delay in the proposed sale of the Dauchy and River Triangle Buildings has jeopardized 120 Troy jobs. Now, see if you can spot the clue that the Administration screwed up and circle that clue. Go ahead. This will be on the final exam.

The approval of a proposed deal to sell the Dauchy and River Triangle buildings, located at 275-283 and 264-276 River Street, respectively, was delayed until the City Council's August meeting last week due to the fact that neither the council nor Mayor Harry Tutunjian submitted an ordinance authorizing the sale of the buildings.

An unofficial deadline of July 2 was previously established by the Herzog Law Firm, which represents the River Triangle partners who currently own the properties, for Tutunjian to sign off on a contract authorizing the sale of the buildings to David Bryce and Dan Yamin, of Cornerstone Communications, who hoped to expand his growing business in the Dauchy Building.

No contracts were signed on July 2 because an ordinance authorizing the sale of the properties was never submitted to or approved by the City Council. "I can't sign a contract without council approval," said Tutunjian, who noted that the council had first raised the issue of the sale and could have crafted its own ordinance which he would have then approved or vetoed.

If you circled the phrase "council approval" congratulations.

The Council was informed of the July 2 deadline on Saturday June 29 via letter from the Law Department. Why the Mayor and his Corporation Counsel did not forward the appropriate legislation to the Council in a timely manner remains a mystery.

But not really. This is the Administration's MO when they screw up or worry that there is a potential screw-up. It's the blame game and their attempts the lay the blame elsewhere are as thin as Mary Kate Olsen. Why the reporter did not ask the Mayor why Corporation Counsel did not draft the ordinance is another mystery. Reporters should try that. Not only are follow-up questions enlightening, who doesn't enjoy watching Harry try and think on his feet?

Only the Mayor can enter into an agreement on behalf of the City. A review of the Council meeting minutes* shows the typical pattern:

1) Corporation Counsel drafts an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement, contract etc.

2) The proposed ordinance is sent to the appropriate committee for whatever legislative voodoo is necessary.

3) That ordinance is introduced by a council member at the request of the Mayor and approved.

It's no secret that the Mayor despises this City Council and believes they are incompetent. He and his henchmen have said so. So, why rely on the Council to do the work the Mayor is supposed to do? It simply doesn't make sense. Furthermore, the Mayor has a track record of screwing these things up. Remember SEFCU?

The only thing this Administration does in a timely, competent fashion is protect their raises.

Thursday, July 10, 2008



The city was awarded $604,425, of which nearly $375,000 will to directly to the Troy Police Department. The remainder will be split between the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office, the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office and the Rensselaer County Probation Department.

The funds will be used to purchase GPS devices. * A mistake, yes. It's not pleasant for the unfortunate resident. However, if you want aggressive policing, the occasional mistake is going to occur.


and nobody came?

TROY - It was the empty seats that made a statement Monday night, at an information session about a plan for a city-wide reassessment in Troy.

The public and the City Council were invited, but none of the nine council members showed.

And then, the disappointment.

"The fact that they didn't show up tonight to hear the question and answers and presentation is not a good sign for the residents," said Mayor Harry Tutunjian. "They're elected to make tough decisions and when they choose to stay away, it's disappointing to me."

Another bad sign for the residents is a Mayor that sends notice to Council members two days before the meeting is scheduled. Perhaps, if Council members received notice before Saturday, July 5th, some may have showed, including his his own party.

On the other hand, as a seperate branch of government, they are not at the mayor's beck and call. If the meeting was so important, perhaps the Mayor could have coordinated this better. It's all very disappointing.


Phil Steck, Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 21st congressional district, is calling for immediate federal and state action to allay the fears of Mohawk River Valley residents of more disastrous flooding.

“It is a disgrace that state and federal officials have done nothing while the people in this region live in fear of the next big flood,” said Steck, who spent the weekend personally knocking on doors at the homes of over 200 residents in the Villages of St. John sville and Fort Plain. “After all we’ve seen in New York and across the country, you would think the politicians in Albany and Washington would have learned.”

Stech also received another endorsement:

Albany ’s 4th Ward City Councilwoman Barbara Smith, a prominent black feminist, has endorsed Phil Steck in his campaign for Congress. Smith’s written work on racism, gender and class, have appeared in a variety of national publications.

As for Tracey Brooks:

In the wake of repeated local gun violence and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Congressional candidate Tracey Brooks today asked local communities, law enforcement agencies and gun safety advocates to join her in a renewed pledge to keep our kids safe, keep guns off our streets and out of the hands of criminals.

Brooks also supports:

-Requiring firearm license applicants to be 21 years old to carry, posses, repair or dispose of firearms.

-Banning the sale, use or possession of 50-caliber or larger weapons.

-Childproofing devices and legislation that prohibits weapons, like pistols and revolvers, without mechanisms incorporated into the design that effectively preclude an average five year old from firing it.

-Bills, like the Children's Weapon Accident Prevention Act, which require safe storage of weapons.

-Weapons safety programs in our schools and communities.

Brooks is also set to announce a major endorsement today, Vinnie Barbarino style:

Who: Congressional Candidate Tracey Brooks; Cohoes Mayor John McDonald; friends, supporters and special guest

What: Tracey Brooks will receive a significant endorsement in the 21st Congressional race.

When: Thursday, July 9, 11:00 AM

Where: Marra's Pharmacy, 217

Darius Shahinfar gathered enough signatures to make the ballot for September's primary.

Former Assemblyman Paul Tonko appears to be doing absolutely nothing. He also appears to be winning.

And finally, Congressional candidate John Aretakis bids adieu to his Washington ambitions, restoring a level of dignity to the race that is very disappointing.

* Yes, we know they entered the residence that was in the warrant.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


The Troy City Council agreed 9-0 to an agreement that would end the water dispute with the City of Rensselaer. The full amount of the debt - minus approximately 200k - would be paid off in ten years. This include a $1,950,000 balance and $500,000 in interest/penalties.

The City of Rensselaer recently counter-offered: a $1,400,000 lump sum small, unmarked bills to be left in a breifcase in the bathroom of the train station.

Naturally, Mayor Tutunjian declined the offer.

“It will come as no surprise that this latest attempt by Rensselaer to shirk their outstanding debt is unacceptable to this office,” aid Tutunjian.

“If Rensselaer’s proposal of $1.45 million is intended to satisfy the entire debt, the proposal will not be accepted and we will move forward with our court action.”

After shirking his responsibility for 3.5 years (as did Mayor Pattison before him), Tutunjian wants 'all' the money owed.

Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer's argument is twofold: the first explains a lot about the City of Rensselaer, the second is more interesting.

First: "Dwyer has repeatedly stated that he did not believe he was responsible for paying those fees because he was not in office at the time the bills were not paid...

He's F-----g kidding, right?

Second: ...and because there was no standing contract between the cities which outlined punishments for missing payments."

The second point is of interest. No contract, no penalties. Which leaves us with balance + interest.

Troy, or at least all Council members, seem to have agreed on accepting $2.1 million over ten years. One observant reader wants to know the present value of 2.1 million. That is, what would someone pay today for the opportunity to receive 2.1 million in ten years. The short answer is something in the neighborhood of $1,400,000. The calculations get complicated because of the periodic 175k payments over the course of those ten years.

Troy has the upperhand in this matter. Rensselaer owes us money. At trial, Rensselaer cannot deny they took water, contract or not. Rensselaer obviously has at least 1.4 million on hand and is willing to pay this amount now or after a judgment.

Does anyone get the feeling that Rensselaer is jerking Tutunjian around? Despite the upperhand, Troy's mayor is looking weaker and weaker, running to the press and complaining. Take all deals off the table and just go to court. Various deals offered have been fair.

Monday, July 07, 2008


There have been several well publicized crimes in recent weeks. According to some, crime appears to be on the rise in Troy. However, well-publicized crimes does not mean that crime is on the rise. Only time will tell.

We do know that Troy's Street Crimes Unit has received good (and well-deserved) publicity in recent weeks. For example, the SCU nabbed Stanley Lewis in late June:

Members of the city Police Street Crimes Unit arrested an armed man Friday night who repeatedly resisted arrest and had to be tasered before he could be apprehended, police said.

Stanley Lewis, 46, was arrested near the intersection of Swift Street and Sixth Avenue around 10:22 p.m. as he was concealing a fully-loaded .380 caliber handgun.

That's a big gun, about three times as big as a .126 caliber handgun. And, these guys got him before he used it, which is the real trick, isn't it. In fact, Dean and the SCU (soon to be a new Law and Order franchise) are doing such a good job they have garnered praise from fellow officers:

From: Joseph.Centanni
Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 5:25 PM

Hi- Thanks for taking a moment to read this. I just want to point out to everyone that it is important to recognize the impact that the SCU has had on reducing violent street crimes in Troy. Dave Dean has done an amazing job ( as always!) in taking this unit from an abyss and getting the most out of it. The positive press generated from Dave on behalf of Troy in the last 5 days has been awesome. Troy is SAFE!!

If you see Dave around, please thank him on behalf of a safer citizenry. Thank him for me also.
GO SCU!! GO DAVE!!!!!!!!!

Sincerely, Joe Centanni

P.S. I will be out of town for the next few days working on my eating disorder and pumping iron.

Nice, huh.

But, Centanni sent a follow-up:

From: Joseph.Centanni
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 2:27 PM

On 06/27/08, I made the error of leaving my computer unlocked while Dave Dean was around. By now you are all aware an e-mail was sent with my name on it. I would like to set the record straight and tell you all, that was not me. Dave Dean isn't doing that good of a job with SCU. The unit runs itself. Any credit for its success, should be given to the patrolman assigned, not Dean.

The real Joe Centanni

We'd list the recipients of both e-mails but that would be everybody: city hall employees, administration, council members etc.

The first e-mail is obviously over the top hyperbole and we'd be astounded if anyone took it seriously before they even reached the PS.

The second sounds rather harsh if the first was mere ball breaking. We've heard that Dean and Centanni sit next to one another (due to assigned seating). We've heard they're friends. We've heard they're not friends. Whatever the case may be, and despite the damn fine ball-breaking in the first e-mail, using someones e-mail without their consent is bad touch.

We understand that Internal Affairs is now involved.

As Mike Brady would say: I think we all learned a valuable lesson. What that lesson is remains to be seen.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


There's a lot of talk....OK....very little talk about the Charter Review Commissions. And, while we won't discuss what happens when former City Manager Steve Dworsky gets involved with things, here's our thoughts:

1. Charters should be reader friendly. Not just for bureaucrats and lawyers but for average citizens. Like any good piece of writing, the opening has to hook you. The first order of business must be the opening. The reader has to be compelled to turn the page. They have to want to find out what happens. A few suggestions on the opening:

  • "Whan that Aprille with his shoores soote..."

  • "It was the best of times it was the worst of times..."

  • "We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. "

  • "Marley was dead, to begin with."

Or, feel free to use this:

"If you're reading this City Charter I'm dead and someone in City Hall is responsible."

2. There's been chatter about reducing the size of the City Council from nine members to seven members. We disagree. We think the Council should remain at 9 members. However, the number of chairs provided for Council members should be reduced by 2. That way, the last two members to arrive at a meeting have to stand.

3. If Troy is experiencing a Renaissance, the Mayor and his administration should dress the part: frilly collars, hose and cod pieces. Police, get out those Beafeater costumes.


We recently received this e-mail:

I'm a new reader. Someone told me about your blog at Francesca's -- one of the guy's starting the new Troy paper. You hear anything about that? I was there when Harry was rubbing elbows with the two guys starting it, getting his photo taken and stuff.

So, if you know anything about a new newspaper, feel free to chime in.

Have a safe Fourth of July weekend.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


We now return to our regular scheduled programming.


How do you know budget time is just around the corner? The City goes begging for dollars:

The city wants Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to pay a public safety fee per student that could generate as much as $1.26 million annually to cover police, fire and ambulance coverage provided to the campus.

City officials want RPI to pay to offset additional demands placed on city emergency sources due to the school's massive building program that includes EMPAC, the acronym for Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, and the East Campus Athletic Village.

The City would like RPI to pay $200.00 per student, per year.

City Council President Clement Campana said RPI needs to recognize that it places a lot of demands on city services.

"The public safety fee is something that is long overdue. Given the number of calls we make up there, it's fair to assess something," Campana said.

Campana would prefer the fee isn't directly assessed on the students by RPI. But he said a payment for public safety would improve RPI's image among city residents.

"It's always been the feeling RPI doesn't do enough for the city," Campana said.

And, of course, we have the trademark diplomacy of Deputy Mayor Crawley:

"RPI is noted for saying we're having a grand opening and inviting everyone before they have a CO," Crawley said. "If the invitations go out for October and their place is not completed, they're not going to get a CO."

One rarely sees that caliber of sophisticated diplomacy on the local political level.

The fact of the matter is that RPI benefits Troy directly and indirectly. The opposite is not true. Theoretically, RPI could move to North Adams and flourish. RPI does not need Troy.

As for a fee, why single out RPI? Why not Kennedy Tower as well. Why not assess a fee on students at Doyle Middle School? The police are up at Doyle quite a lot. Why not charge every resident a $200 fee and use it for public safety? We understand that attacking an institution of higher learning plays to the lowest common denominator and that's what the Administration does. There's just better ways to get money from RPI than veiled threats.


Going once, going twice....

The Troy Downtown Collaborative plans three meetings to gather comments and suggestions before the proposal goes to the Troy City Council for approval. Owners in the proposed district and the state comptroller’s office also must sign off on the plan.

Clearly, the BID is an important.....we believe it will....screw it. We really don't care.