OK, settle down kids and take out your number 2 pencils
Here's the first part of our multi-part series were we examine how the mayoral hopefuls answer questions posed by citizens.
Troy mayoral candidates recently responded (in writing) to questions submitted by the voters. What a novel concept. The Times Union has the goods.
Question#1 - How to stop burned-out, building blight and random acts of alliteration.
Madden gets points for substance. You can tell the guy knows this end of things. How? Our eyes started to glaze over by paragraph 17. He does speak in specifics and in this type of forum, that is fine. We hope he can distill these thoughts into a more concise statement for actual debates. GRADE: A (as a sedative, A+).
Everett's answer had promise but he jumped straight to 'allocating' more money. That money has to come from somewhere. Does it come from the existing budget or from a tax hike? GRADE: B
Like Everett, Gordon's answer has promise but misses some key issues. The city has 20,000 properties that need to be inspected. How many code officers are there? Four? How many can read? The other issue is investment properties that have fallen into disrepair. Many are owned by LLC's etc. They can ignore delinquencies, bills, penalties and just declare bankruptcy. No single person or persons are responsible for the property. Still, it shows promise. GRADE: B
Rodney failed on this one. We are disappointed and expected more from him on such an important topic for this city. More details Rodney. GRADE: F (or an incomplete, but we will mark him down one letter grade for each day he is late).
Jack Cox had some intriguing ideas as well, although there could be legal hurdles in the idea of aiding neighbors in tearing down adjoining properties. GRADE: B
We applaud all the passing grade candidates for at least adding to the conversation. Wiltshire needs to step-up his game. He has a very real chance to wrest the nomination from the Democratic establishment. If he can do that, we think it could be a blow-out in November. We need more than two-sentence answers from a man that has a real chance of being mayor. Rodney has a reputation for being lazy and these answers, or lack thereof, reinforce that reputation. We want to hear what he has to say or know that he has something to say.
Question#2 - Improving Regional Transit in the City
This was an unfortunate question* as seen by the answers. Are we talking about ease of travel in the city or making travel from and to Troy, easier?
Madden spent way too much time explaining why the question was poorly phrased. GRADE: C
Cox had the same problem but actually answered the question and it made sense. GRADE B+
Gordon referred the reader to another of his answers which we didn't bother to look at. We won't grade him. We don't want him angry.
Wiltshire. Another haiku answer but an answer. Damn, man. More substance and don't speak in acronyms and if you do, explain it. REDC? Not everyone is going to know REDC. GRADE C-.
Everett. Uh, bike lanes in our major corridors? That sounds dirty. Anywho, maybe. Some day. Right now, an emphasis on improving road quality and making Troy a parking-friendly city would be more useful. Bikers are a pain-in-the-ass for commuters. Especially in Troy, with it's many narrow, one-way streets (and their stupid shorts and shirts and goofy helmets, god we hate those mother....sorry, pause for a station break). GRADE B.
There's not much vision here.** Perhaps that's the nature of the question or perhaps it reflects the candidates. Years ago, and we're fuzzy on the details, John Hedley proposed a high-speed rail between downtown Troy and Albany. It was to run on a track adjacent to the banks of the Hudson (ie. over the water) so very little land would be needed. Imagine, two or three stops in Troy and then right to downtown Albany. Yes, there are many issues. The State and the Feds would need to be involved and it would be a longshot. But it is the type of big idea were are missing in today's politics. Plus, it would be way cool.
We will do part II soon, if we can keep our eyes open.
*Regarding poorly phrased and/or stupid questions: In the future, the candidate that answers such a questions- Shut the fuck up, that's stupid - gets our valued endorsement.
** Not one candidate mentioned George Jetson-like flying cars! Really?