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

Saturday, January 30, 2016


We are placing a weekend moratorium on:

1) personal attacks in general;

2) weight jokes;

3) Personal attacks on Bill Dunne;

4) Personal attacks on other, local, social media purveyors;

5) Personal attacks on Drew Cooper;

6) Personal attacks on Harry Tutunjian;

7) Hairline jokes;

8) Personal attacks on Mantello;

9) What drugs people may be doing or may have done thirty years ago;

10) People who have relatives convicted of sex related crimes;

11) *Confidential* by appointment only;

12) Personal attacks on Kim McPherson (of all people);

13) Personal attacks on James K. Polk;

14) Accusing people of criminal conduct without evidence;

15) Personal attacks on Jim Franco;

16) References to genitalia (unless really funny)

17) Mini-Dorms..

You may still lodge personal attacks against:

1) Mark McGrath;

2) Flock of Seagulls;

3) Mimes;

4) Democratus;

5) And yes, of course, Canadians.

Everyone relax for the weekend. Take a time out. Feel free to discuss politics, corruption, incompetence....just layoff the craziness for a while.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


According to the Times Union:

Federal agents left with more documents from City Hall and met with city firefighters this month as their investigation of the King Street and King Fuels demolitions expands.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criminal investigations agents met with Corporation Counsel Kevin Glasheen and requested records, John Salka, a spokesman for Mayor Patrick Madden, said Tuesday.

"The EPA representative requested some additional information," Salka said.
The documents were provided and since then, Salka said, "We have not heard back."

The EPA, FBI, state Labor Department and state Department of Environmental Conservation agents have been examining the removal of asbestos from 4-10 King St. downtown and at the King Fuels site in South Troy when demolition occurred in 2013.

We understand people want us to comment on this story, but there very little here. While some are prone to prematurely ejaculate over such stories, we do not. We know the EPA was looking into possible issues in asbestos abatement at King Street and the King Fuels site, as they should. We're just glad they weren't pulled out of Troy and sent to Flint. Whenever things are slow in the western tier, the Feds show up, ask a few questions, grab some paper and leave again for six months.

We also guarantee, as a commenter noted, that the only possible thing that will come from this investigation, if anything, is a fine levied against the City of Troy for not having the proper air monitoring equipment at the King Street demolition (with one possible exception discussed below).

The demolition at both sites was performed by contractors. If contractors make a mistake they are bonded and have named Troy as an additional insured, agreeing to defend and indemnify the city. Typically, the EPA may prosecute municipalities in a hybrid civil/criminal proceeding. If guilty, the municipality is fined. No one goes to jail.

We agree that the events leading to the demolition at King Street are suspect and should be thoroughly investigated. The speed in which it happened was inexplicable. However, criminal? No reasonable person has put forth a theory about any crime being committed that doesn't involve Don Boyajian and bribery. As you may know, Don Boyajian, partner in Dreyer, Boyajian*, was the owner of the demolished property. If you know Boyajian you know such a theory is absurd. Don Boyajian is not endangering his law license and freedom for a building. Besides, Boyajian is an ethical man. The very idea is absurd as we'll learn when this is over. Those who say otherwise are defame a good man. If you want to accuse him of bribery do it publicly, put your name on the accusation and write a letter to the editor. But you won't.

Our theory is simple and, like evolution and gravity, only a theory: It may be wrong but it fits Troy's political character. Fire chief Garrett does not like for City Engineer Russ Reeves. Reeves does not like Garrett. In fact, it really goes beyond dislike. We believe Garrett took advantage of Reeves vacation and gave him a good old, "fuck you." Why patrons of Bombers were potentially endangered in this feud is beyond us and grossly irresponsible. While asbestos abatement was performed at the King Street site, the contractor did not have an air monitor. Not much of a comfort for those in possible danger.

We'll be the first to condemn any criminal behavior found during this investigation. However, we suspect that the most that will happen is that Troy will be fined by the EPA. We doubt even that will happen. It is certainly not something the City needs at this time.

By the by, does anyone remember Harry ordering the old Cinema Art marquee taken down because Reeves determined it was unsafe. Then, it took Reeves*, a wrecking ball and the Army Corps. of Engineers a week to knock the thing down? Those were good times. Interestingly, the records subpoenaed by the Feds included records from the last year or two of the Tutunjian Administration.

* Ironically, Craig Crist, brother of Rich Crist, is Boyajian's partner. The firm is also known as a 'Republican firm', defending such Republicans as Joe Bruno.

** It wouldn't surprise us if Reeves contacted the Feds and started this nonsense.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016



Last night, the Republican caucus hosted a soirĂ©e for 1 Monument Square.  Republican Council members attended (black tie only) and were serenaded by We Care About the Square.  Mr. Mistur opened the show for WCATS.

"Only the six Republican council members attended. They heard an hour-long presentation from Russ Brooks and Mark Mistur, an architecture professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, about WCATS’ position on what Kirchhoff has proposed in its $24.3 million project..
“We believe development should be properly and according to the rules,” Brooks said.

Earlier Monday afternoon in an interview, Jeff Kane of Kirchhoff Companies said it wasn’t a proper time to appear before the City Council until the Planning Commission responds."

There were some eye-opening moments for the Republican caucus. For instance, the caucus learned that We Care About the Square are opposed to the current contractor and current design for the building that will replace the former city hall site.

Mistur call the proposal a “substandard building.”  He said the proposed building doesn’t fit with Troy’s architecture and history.

“Troy is an extremely special treasure of a place with a wonderful scale,” Mistur said. “This was a great industrial city that lost its economic engine and identity.”

The council members said they were glad to hear the presentation.

The city is expected to bill the Council and WCATS for use of public property for a private rally. An utterly useless exercise.

We don't disagree with Mr. Mistur, although the current plan is not a "substandard" building. They just don't like it. We're not crazy about it either.  The building does not fit with Troy's architecture or history? Agree. Under that theory, a building that resembled an iron foundry would be acceptable.

If WCATS and the Council can find a developer that will submit plans for a building(s) that fits with Troy's architecture and history we'll back them all the way, with one caveat:.  the initial plans cannot be altered once submitted. Do that, and you'll have the full force of the Troy Polloi behind you (and not in a weird way).

Lets get this going. We're thinking, a smaller Troy Music Hall type building. Or better, a design based on the original Troy City Hall. Now, take your broken wings and  lets do this thang!

Monday, January 25, 2016


Don't forget, The Troy City Council will meet tonight for some political masturbation, when they hold a "work shop" on the Monument Square Project. The people who can provide answers, the developer, Kirchoff Properties, will not be attending. Those who might show up, We Care About the Square, have let their feelings be known.

The Agenda for the meeting will include:

6:00 - 6:15 Grandstanding;

6:15-6:30 Statements for the press to parrot back;

6:30-6:45 Post meeting press coverage opportunity.

"We believe," said Council President Mantello, "that as Co-Mayor, the future of the city depends on me getting press coverage and holding meetings. And remember, no double-dipping in my administration."

Councilman Mark McGrath will bring the hand lotion.

For good or bad, the City Council is impotent to do anything with the Monument Square project. Kirchoff has a deal in place and they can close that deal by May or walk away. A productive meeting would best be scheduled in April or May.


In other news, Police search for the man that robbed the Family Dollar store on Hoosick Street last week. The man made off with $1,000. Detectives are asking anyone who sees a man with 1,000 singles, to contact police.

Sunday, January 24, 2016



Water Main break I has been repaired according to sources. Not sure of Water Main break II, the sequel. Waterford and Halfmoon now have water. More breaks will be forthcoming. Remember, breaks under Tutunjian and Rosamilia were almost a weekly occurrence during the winter months. They will continue. Hang on to your wallets.


According to the The Redorc, CTDA will move forward with the new Transit Center (ie.bus terminal).

We Care About The Parking Garage has not weighed in yet on the project. We hope they support it and don't protest. This is a good project and should move forward. However, the project will be delayed to add docks, piers and a boat launch.

This week, we'll take a look at the reign of Lou I and the city's bonding history.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Well, there's no getting around all these stories. It's all about the water these past few days. We have the water main break in Lansingburgh; carcinogens  in well water up in Hoosick Falls and lead in the water out in Flint. Water, water, water.

Troy, for the most part, has pulled together. Mantello has set aside partisanship and she and Mayor Madden appeared together at a press conference. There were no casualties. Something Trojans like to see. After all, we are all in this together. Unless you have water. Then, not really.

According to the Times Union:

"The city's $2.7 million project to replace the shattered 33-inch water main that caused a regional crisis will be fast-tracked, the City Council was told Thursday night.

The City Council voted 9-0 to approve the environmental review of the project to replace 3,700 feet of the cracked riveted steel main with a 36-inch cast iron main."

The issues even drew the attention of Congressman Paul Tonko (D) and State Senator Kathleen Marchione (R). Tonko has been working on this issue for over a year, gathering data on the need for updated infrastructure. But, we know how fast Washington works. The phrase "studying an issue" usually results in a report that gathers dust somewhere in D.C.

In the meantime, Cohoes and Waterford are weighing alternate water sources. An expensive proposition.

But, as always, there's one in every crowd: The man that reminds every woman of their first husband - District 2 Councilman, Mark McGrath.

During Troy's meeting, Councilman Mark McGrath said he was frustrated the city hadn't moved quicker last year to take on the water main replacement, after it was warned in a city engineering study about the need to replace the main.

The city was particularly concerned because of the large number of people served by the connection and the size of the main — the largest in the city at 33 inches, McGrath said.

Now, we like Mark. He's guaranteed fodder for any site but Mark, did you really need an engineer to tell you that infrastructure built during the Theodore Roosevelt Administration could fail, at any time? Mark has made a career of pointing fingers and laying blame. He is entering his ninth year as an elected official and his only initiative has been his selection as Mantello's caddy, with any extra $2,500 in salary.

People should be aware that not all public officials have been blind to the impending infrastructure problem. To their credit, both Mayor Pattison and Mayor Tutunjian did take efforts to address the issue. Tutunjian sought money to address some of these issues. Mayor Pattison took some criticism for allocating CDBG dollars and other revenue sources towards infrastructure instead of using the money to lower taxes.

It's never been more clear that the underlying root of Troy's problems was the serial bonding that took place in the 1990's. Without that, there would still be problems, to be sure. But, the debt incurred 20+ years ago unleashed a can of worms that hangs around our necks like an albatross of mixed metaphors.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



From: Carmella Mantello <>
Sent: Jan 18, 2016 3:06 PM
To: Mark Mcgrath <>,,, Kim <>, John Donohue <>, Jim Gulli <>,, Dean <>,
Cc: Jason Schofield <>
Subject: Workshop
Please be advised pursuant to Section 2-17 of the Troy City Code, there will be a Workshop of the City Council on Monday, January 25, 2016 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers to receive an update on the status of the One Monument Square project. Both the developer, Kirchhoff Properties, and We Care About the Square (WCATS) have been invited to make separate presentations regarding the project.  
I encourage all council members to attend to receive this important update.

Why pursuant to Section 2-17? Section 2-17 states the following:

 All standing committees of the City Council shall meet at least once every two months (except for special meetings). Public notice of regular meetings shall be posted at City Hall and made known to appropriate local news media, for announcement at least one week prior to each meeting. Meetings of standing committees shall be open to public attendance. Participation, however, shall be restricted to committee members, except that citizen participation may be allowed by invitation of committee chairpersons.

Is this a meeting of a standing committee? Is this a 'workshop'? If a meeting of a standing committee, just say so. Don't cloak a publicity stunt by invoking a Charter provision.

Anyway, the people we need to hear from, Kirchoff Properties, will not be attending.

According to the Albany Business Review:

"Permit me to suggest that it would be irrational, if not foolhardy, to discuss, or be criticized for presenting a project [to the City Council] that may be altered or modified by required further actions by, and, in turn, further submissions to the Planning Commission," Saland told Mantello.

This response gave our City Council President a tummy ache:

"I think it's a mistake to not provide an update on the status," said Mantello, who took office Jan. 1 along with four other new members of the City Council. "I can tell you it doesn't sit well in my stomach. I truly believe this project is critical to the future of not just our downtown, but the city as a whole."

Saland, a former Republican Senator who cast the decisive vote on the Marriage Equality Act, misses the point, or perhaps not. The point is not informational. The point is publicity. To create the appearance of action.

The fact is, the current developer has until May 2016 to close this deal. If they do, then the property is theirs and they can start development. Until then, the Council and Mayor are powerless to do much without risking a lawsuit. All that will occur if Kirchoff shows up to discuss the project is create fodder for critics like We Care About the Square, a group Mantello is courting.

Kirchoff knows that We Care About the Square will never be appeased. They seem to desire a particular developer or a project that is untenable. The square footage of potential residential and commercial space dictates a project that will roughly cost $25,000,000. Too much more than that and there's just not enough space to make a project viable. We appreciate their love of Troy and do not doubt the sincerity of most of the group, but certain things are not going to happen.

Sam Judge had the best proposal but the estimated cost was $50,000,000. Judge was asked to provide assurances that he could get that kind of dough and failed to do so. That's because no one will invest in a $50,000,000 project in that space. Love of your city can cause people to have blind spots.

We'd like an update as well but understand Kirchoff's declination of the invite. The Kirchoff project looks fine to us and we hope they get this thing moving soon. If not, there's another $600,000 accounted for in the budget that does not exist.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016



The Madden administration was baptized in the waters of Lansinburgh Sunday when a water main ruptured. According to eyewitnesses, water and pavement flew into the air, cars were overturned, a swarm of locust descended on the city and a cow gave birth to a two-headed calf.

The Boys and Girls Club was closed and twelve residents had flooded basements. Oddly, one person had a flooded attic. However, like Hercules cleaning the Augean Stables, the water was quickly rerouted around the break.

We are sure this was not the way Madden wanted to start his first month in office. The repairs could be costly. While such repairs are factored into the budget, there are bound to be more issues when temperatures dip. The fact that the temperatures have been mild does not bode well for the future. Mains break all the time during the bitter days of February. Now, they're just breaking. The real scandal: Why didn't Madden fix this on day one, before the main broke? Answer us that, Mr. Mayor!

Never one to pass up a disaster, our own Carmella Mantello had to dive in:

"Today is another example of the need of state and federal legislators to direct major dollars for infrastructure in communities like Troy," said Carmella Mantello, president of the Troy City Council.
Mantello, a Republican, said the water main also served homes and businesses across the Hudson River in Menands. She said repair costs will be in the millions of dollars — especially troublesome, she said, considering the city has spent down its water reserve fund over the past three years to offset general fund deficits.

Rather bad form to play politics when events like this occur. Notice, she limits the use of the water reserve fund to the 'past three years'. Actually, dipping into the fund has been going on through most of the past two administrations. Mantello feels it necessary to limit it to the Rosamilia Administration when she knows better.

Secondly, the State and Federal governments are not paying to upgrade Troy's infrastructure. They may help out a wee bit, but not enough to get such a project done.  It is not going to happen in Troy, in Syracuse, in Rochester or Binghamton. So, do you have any ideas that may help solve the problem? Care to discuss what is actually needed (and probably will not happen)? Bonding for a decade-long upgrade project is the answer and we know that ain't happening.

Mantello* will be fun to watch. Although the waters did not part for her, she has mastered the politician's age-old art of condensing few ideas into many words and finishing off with a patina of leadership. Bruno's padawan learned much when she was involved at the State level.

* We will no longer allow comments that attack the personal appearance of female politicians. We thought it would end but it hasn't.

Friday, January 15, 2016


On Thursday, January 14, The Madden administration held a "team building event" at Pat's Barn in the Rensselaer Technology Park.

Spokesman John Salka explained: "It’s an opportunity for the city’s department heads to communicate with each other about challenges they’re facing and hear what others have to say."

Ken Crowe Two has the story. The event was scheduled for 9:00am to 12:00am, which left no time for paint ball or the barbed wire crawl.

Now - full disclosure - we have a biased against such events. In fact, we still have the rope burns. That said, team building events or exercises are far too corporate for our tastes, organized by people who say things like "windshield time" and "drill down." Since it does smack of the corporate, take a guess as to who came up with this idea?

Notably absent from the meeting were the current Comptroller and the current Commissioner of Economic Development. One would think that if the new team needed information about various challenges, the old team might have been invited. We know that there will be a new comptroller and a new (or no) Commissioner of Economic Development. However, those two individuals probably know more about the city government than anyone else at the meeting. Especially, with Bill Chamberlain gone. We don't know why they were spared but they are sending thank you notes.

Now, for the funniest thing in the story. It seems Mayor Pat invited City Clerk Patricia O'Brien. Instead of a gracious thank you, Council President Mantello "said it was made clear to the mayor that O’Brien is part of the legislative branch of government and is not an administration department head."

Now, Democratus has met a number of elected officials* including House members (never a Senator), council members, three mayors, a deputy mayor or two but never had the privilege of meeting Ms. Mantello. Her statement made one thing crystal clear: she's a talker. Anyone compelled to state the obvious is someone that feels compelled to talk and someone that lacks the self-confidence to not make a statement. Our guess is Madden knows that the City Clerk is a legislative appointee. He probably knew that even before the legislature appointed the clerk. What would possess someone to say what she said? It was made clear to the Mayor....what the fuck?

Ms. Mantello did not illegally change the time of the meeting. So, that's something.

So, she's a talker and we know what they say about talkers.

* In all honesty, each person met was polite, friendly and gracious except for one, but even then it isn't intentional: that person is simply genetically incapable of class or grace.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


...bitch slaps Troy's financial practices.

A draft State Audit Report, to be released in final form on February 8, 2016, really bitch slaps the City's financial practices. According to the Times Union story:

The city drained its financial reserves to balance the budget, failed to monitor its finances and routinely used money from off-limit funds to pay the bills, according to a draft audit by the state comptroller's office that criticizes city fiscal operations.

"The council adopted budgets for the general fund that were not structurally balanced, but instead the council routinely relied on appropriating significant amounts of reserves to finance operations," the draft audit states.

 The city's general fund had operating deficits amounting to $8.6 million from 2012-2015 that it covered by draining $6.4 million from the water fund to close spending gaps, according to the financial study.
The story can be found on Times Union+. If you don't feel like paying, you can usually find the 'for pay' articles in the Times Union and The Record via a google search.
Anywho, the audit covers the last year of the Tutunjian administration and the last three years of the Rosamilia administration.
Mayor Madden, to his credit, appears not to be surprised by the findings. On the other hand, Council President Mantello and Councilman Mark McGrath (D-2) appeared to be alarmed.
We, here at the Troy Polloi, are unfazed by the report (but are putting the blog up for sale before blog values decline). The findings reflect what we, and others, have pointed out time and again. We invite you to collect (or if we have time we might) newspaper reports as well as the Mayor's message to the Council when presenting budgets. There, you will find many of the practices criticized, discussed. In fact, mayors have been more than open about using reserve funds and moving money around to minimize tax hikes and to avoid drastic cuts.
And before you bitch and moan, we are not blaming Harry. He shares the blames as well as past GOP-controlled and Democratic-controlled Councils and, frankly, the voters. While things, overall, are better than they were twenty years ago, its hard not to conclude that we are still weighed down by what occurred before we returned to a mayoral form of government.
The downside to knowing what is wrong is choosing the correct antidote(s). We know why administrations and councils juggle the numbers: they want to avoid tax hikes. They want to avoid tax hikes for political reasons and humanitarian reasons. No one wants people to have to pay more. Ultimately, a combination of tax hikes and cuts are necessary to balance to books and avoid the perennial shell game. How many more tax hikes can the average Troy citizen endure? Not many.
In the long run, the only thing that will restore fiscal health is a Marshall Plan like push for large scale commercial and industrial development to increase the tax base. Success is not guaranteed but it is really the only long-term solution.
There is one other option: flight to the outlying towns. If that begins to occur in meaningful numbers, well...
Happy New Year.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Due to the paucity of any sweet and meaty stories that one can sink their teeth into, here's a news round-up.

District 5 Councilwoman Lynn Kopka was selected to lead the Democratic Council minority by a vote of 3-0. Not much now, but in two years...

Mayor Patrick Madden has a financial advisory committee, members include William Schroeder, Nancy Burton, Jeffrey Nesich, Martin Dunbar and Owen Goldfarb. The committee was to meet with the mayor every Saturday before Mantello changed it to Sundays.

Some Troy residents received duplicate tax bills in keeping with the tradition of Fucked Up tax bills. This time the amount was correct.

More information on the Marshall Ray Building: For those worried that it is another not-for-profit, it isn't. There is no construction timeline because the owners are awaiting approval for permits and licenses from the New York State Department of Health.

Michael J. Fox was arrested for murder in the recent Watervliet 'Stand Off.'  Tina Yothers is sought for questioning.

Finally, the Troy City Council has posted their schedule of meetings as well as the television schedule. No schedule for Finance Committee meetings has been posted.

Friday, January 08, 2016


Moody's will hold the City of Troy's bond rating at A2. The rating effects the cost to governments of borrowing money. This might be a good thing as Troy shouldn't be borrowing money any time in the near future.

The rating outlook is negative because the last two mayors have almost depleted the reserve fund. Mayor Tutunjian used about $12,000,000 in reserve funds to offset needed tax hikes and Mayor Rosamilia dipped into the reserve fund for about $4,000,000.

The first thing the new majority on the City Council did was spend money on an independent audit. Well, the city already has an independent auditor and there is nothing terribly wrong with the city's books. True, you can always find a cut here or a cut there but it all ends up being nickels and dimes in the long run.

Mayor Tutunjian and Mayor Rosamilia often times announced "this budget is a bare bones budget." Even then, there were items here and there that could be cut but again, nickels and dimes, nickels and dimes.

Fiscally, the city is not a mess. East Greenbush is a mess with poor record keeping and people not knowing where money went or when it went. That is not Troy's problem. Troy's problem is the same as most old, industrial northeast cities: rising costs and falling or steady income; aging infrastructure and aging population. Then there is the public sector benefits issue. The fact that budgets have to be based on estimates instead of cash-in-hand only adds to the problem. When you want to minimize a tax hike, just make the estimates a bit more optimistic, right.

Budget cuts are not a permanent fix because ultimately they are one-shots. You can't cut what was already cut. This incoming council, like all the others, thinks they can cut their way to fiscal health. However, we would invite you to collect the Times Union and The Record articles on the budget for the past eight-ten years. What do you find? There are times when the mayor (Tutunjian or Rosamilia) offer a budget with a tax hike. The Council trims the tax hike with cuts. There are times when expenses have gone up and the mayor admits to using the reserve fund to cover that increase and not raise taxes. You see where this is going, right? Don't fill the auditors position, in the long run that savings is meaningless. We are using a spoon to bail out the boat.

Not helping this is perhaps a unique aspect of Troy's more vocal population: an odd mix of civic pride and utter provincialism. This vocal population love their city and see it as a special place. They end up making perfection the standard. Well, Troy is not a special place. It is just a place. Everybody thinks their town or city is special and therefore, no place is special.

If Troy could get a Target or a Walmart and increase the tax base, half the city would complain about traffic or 'box stores.'  A not-for-profit wants to open up shop in Troy in an empty building - complaints. Empty buildings - complaints. Pot holes - complaints. Increase budget to fix pot holes - complaints. 

So, if someone has an idea on how we can increase the tax base (not just maintain it), really increase it so cash flow is positive, let us know. Yes, corporate parks (ie. Corporate Woods) is an aesthetic abomination but don't we need something like Corporate Woods? A multi-building, modern, easily accessible home to solid, white-collar businesses? Until politicians start talking big and bold, we will fight these same battles year after year.

Or maybe another coffee shop or saloon would do it.

Thursday, January 07, 2016


A break from politics. We found this story interesting if not particularly sexy. Our LDC contact is out of town for a few days so we are unable to fill in the details we feel are missing.

The Marshall Ray building has been sold, according to the Times Union, to Poughkeepsie based PAZ Healthcare for $367,500. The sale went down on New Years Eve. The planned assisted living facility has no construction timeline. The seller was Harmony Tech LLC, a company owned by Uri Kaufman, the developer responsible for Harmony Mills in Cohoes.

The building's recent sale/transfer history is interesting.

The Troy Local Development Company sold the property to Harmony Tech in 2011 for $10,000. Harmony Tech planned to invest $10,000,000 to create student housing. The deed allegedly contains a reverter clause where the property reverts to the LDC if Harmony Tech does not make a good faith effort to proceed with the project.

At some point Kaufman decided, after $400,000 in structural renovations, that the project wasn't feasible.

According to the Times Union, (February 2015)"TLDC officials thought the property was theirs when they received a Jan. 8 email from Kaufman saying, "We're anxious to move forward with the donation. What's the next step? Do we have the paperwork?"

Then the Troy LDC discovered the building, which has been marketed for $700,000, had been transferred three days earlier on Jan. 5 to American Friends of Yeshiva Zichorn Dovid when a deed was filed at the Rensselaer County Clerk's Office."

Legal action was threatened.

The January 6, 2016 Times Union story states that the property was sold by Harmony Tech. Further down it indicates that the American Friends of Yeshiva wanted to sell the property quickly?

It seems to us that dumping $400,000 into a $10,000 investment goes a long way to establishing good faith on the part of Kaufman and Harmony Tech. Our question is, if the charity, American Friends of Yeshiva owned the property and wanted to sell quickly, why is Harmony Tech selling the building? Did we miss something or is the article incomplete?

This is good news for North Central. We hope PAZ hires good security. We wish there was a timeline for construction. The lack of a schedule makes us nervous.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016


We apologize. We had scheduled our 'LOSERS' post for today but apparently had no authority to do so per the Polloi Charter.This post has to be made without proper notice, at an improper time with said improper notice being made by an unauthorized individual. Therefore, this post is not really a post. However, we did appoint Yul Brenner Polloi Clerk and Lee Marvin Deputy Clerk, so we got that going for us.

We finally understand why the City Council held an illegal meeting last night.* Sometimes, certain steps need to be taken by leaders and if legalities are not strictly followed so be it. It's like cutting corners to make sure the D-Day landing go off without a hitch. Or, bending the rules to prevent a terrorist attack.

To that end, the illegal Council meeting accomplished the following:

Council President Mantello said the City Council would work with Mayor Patrick Madden and confirm his appointment as Mayor at the next meeting**;

Council President Mantello announced: "We are in tough fiscal times."

The Council agreed to spend $25,000-$30,000 for an outside audit;

Councilman Mark McGrath (D-2) announced the audit would help clarify the city's financial situation;

A city clerk and deputy clerk were appointed illegally;

Council President Mantello announced Troy was a city on the Hudson River;

The City Council will work with the Hudson River;

Council President announced it is cold outside and a meteorologist would be hired to review the weather;

Councilman McGrath announced cold weather due to lack of warmth.

We can agree to overlook the law based upon what the Council accomplished last night. If this work was not completed asap then something dire would have occurred before Thursday night.

Next meeting: Noon tomorrow at Carm's house. Bring your own folding chair.

Times Union story here.

*Even the time was illegal

** A phrase that sounds increasingly like David Duke announcing some of his best friends are black

Monday, January 04, 2016


Most political columnists feel compelled to do a 'Winners and Losers' column at this time of year. Usually, anyone that follows politics can write the column. Yes, we all think Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos were big losers this year. Madden a winner. Those who won, winners. Those who lost, losers and so on. We'd like to be slightly unorthodox in our post. Not wholly unorthodox (we enjoy Greek food too much) but just a little. So, from a political standpoint we offer the following...



The Casey Stengel of Rensselaer County politics. Consistently underestimated. Consistently under-appreciated, consistently wins. Like Stengel, he doesn't win all the time but he does win more often than not.

Tom Wade has been the Democrat County Chair for about a decade. When he took over the party was slightly less powerful than the Whig Party. Wade has generally selected good candidates over the years and has rebuilt the party. The Democratic Party is now the dominate party, once again, in the City of Troy.

People have short memories. When Wade took over there was a Republican mayor, Republican District Attorney and the GOP had an overwhelming majority on the City Council. It took some time but it is clear, from the last election, that Troy's default setting is Democrat. The towns in the county are reliably Republican with the exception of East Greenbush and North Greenbush. One wobbles back and forth and the other is just a chaotic mess of factions that is about as stable as Sybil. The City of Rensselaer is Democratic, but not through Wades efforts. The remaining towns are overwhelmingly Republican but who really cares. You can have Petersburg.

Two Democratic mayors have been elected under Wade. The D's won the DA's office for the first time since Jim Canfield. They have done well in the judicial races as well. The City Council has had strong Democratic majorities for numerous cycles and this year there would currently be a 5-4 majority but for the third party.

This year, the Democratic mayoral candidate survived a third-party challenge that undoubtedly took votes from the Democrats, and won handily. Tom Wade has had a successful  stint as County Chair.


Kind of, sort of, the Pete Rose of politics. Especially this year. Not a very talented candidate (not the worst by far) but she masks that lack of talent with hard campaigning. Very hard. We wouldn't be surprised if Mantello knocked on every door four or five times. That hard work, a pathological need to hold office, and the Team Troy splinter group, propelled Mantello to the Council presidency.

A candidate can hit social media all day long but this is still a city that rewards retail politics. We doubt anyone campaigned  harder than Mantello.


Politically, very much like Dick Allen and if you understand that comparison you win a year subscription to The Troy Polloi. We were hard on Wiltshire and make no apologies for our position. It should be no secret why. We thought he could cost the Democrat the election and we did not want Gordon to become mayor. It's really that simple.

County Chair Tom Wade did not run Ernest Everett in the democratic mayoral primary. For those in the know, Wade tried to convince Everett to run for a city council position. Everett insisted that he was gunning for the top spot. That certainly worked in Madden's favor on primary day. Those who believe it was a big conspiracy will continue to believe that it was all planned out by Wade. Those privy to behind-the-scene conversations know that Wade tried to get Everett to run for council. Not trying to convince you but them's the facts.

That said, if Wade did convince Everett to run and siphon votes from Wiltshire, it was a stroke of political genius and nothing that requires any apologies. The fact that Everett may have played fast and loose with the rules is Everett's problem. Conventional wisdom says Wiltshire would have won the primary but for Everett. Maybe. Hard to say. If we were gamblers, we'd make that bet but we wouldn't bet our paycheck.

With that all out of the way, why do we place the man that lost the primary and came in third in the general election in the winners column? Regardless of motivation, Wiltshire built a third party organization, found candidates for almost every race and took on the establishment.  He refused to back down. He refused to make nice with the establishment and plunged headlong into a third party bid for mayor. In the end, he won a not insignificant minority of votes. His group probably cost Democrats the majority on the council (one at-large and District 6). He had an impact on the race that far exceeded most third party bids. If there's to be a successful third party winner in the future (admittedly a tough slog) Wiltshire certainly created a viable blue print for that win.


Kopka is the Lynn Kopka of politics. Kopka, the former at-large council person and current District 5 council person, has used up three of her nine lives. Two years ago she squeaked out a win over Carmella Mantello for an at-large council seat. This year, she was even more impressive.

Popular, out-going District 5 councilman Ken Zalweski does not like Kopka. He recruited political virgin David Bissember to run against Kopka for the Democratic nomination. Bissember, a likeable young man, was probably the most promising of the Team Troy council candidates. With the backing of Zalewski (again a very popular councilman in District 5), Bissember had a real chance of taking the nomination. On primary night it looked like he had won. When the absentees were counted, Kopka barely edged out Bissember by fourteen votes (or something crazy like that).

In the general, Kopka had to contend with a GOP challenger as well as Bissember's Working Families Party bid. A bid that clearly took votes from Kopka. So many votes that, once again, Kopka looked like the loser on election day. Once again, the absentee ballots propelled her to a win.

Say what you want about Kopka. Like her or not. This was an impressive campaign season for her.


Like Willie Randolph or Roy White, except he has a better arm. Bodnar won his fourth and final term as District 3 councilman. Bodnar has been professional, pragmatic and has steered clear of much of the partisan bull shit that occurs in city politics. If there were four or five Dean Bodnars on the council...well that would be strange and create a confusing ballot. But, you get our drift. A class act.

Saturday, January 02, 2016


The meeting fiasco gets funner and funnerer.

On 12/31/2015 2:28 PM, Carmella Mantello wrote:
Dear Rodney

As in the case for the last four years, as I outlined in my correspondence today, you have violated the city charter on numerous occasions and now you are misinterpreting and misunderstanding what the charter states. Pertaining to business on January 1, 2016 please note that the city council of Schenectady is holding their organizational meeting on January 1, 2016 which clearly shows you can do city business on 
January 1. 

I trust that you will spend some time in the future studying the Troy city charter. 

Once again, good luck in your new endeavors. 


From: Rodney Wiltshire
Sent: Dec 31, 2015 6:55 PM
To: Carmella Mantello , Rodney Wiltshire
Cc: "Cheryl.Christiansen" , Patrick Madden , Rhonda Reed , "Lou.Rosamilia" , "Ian.Silverman" , Carrie OConnell , Troy City Council Members , "Gabrielle.Mahoney" , "Monica.Kurzejeski" , Troy City Council Secretary
Subject: Re: Organizational (Regular) Meeting 2016

Dear Carmella,
    The fact that Schenectady is having a meeting on Jan 1, is of no consequence or relation to what Troy does.  I hope you understand we are a separate municipality.  Additionally, having a council meeting, is separate from the daily operations of city government.

    Final reminder, only the clerk can call or notice a meeting, not a member of the council, or the council secretary.  And posting notices in city hall on the glass cases don't count either.


Really love the 'glass case' comment. Very funny. Also, high sarcasm marks for the out-going City Council President. Nice touch.

Not a good start for Mantello. She looks petty, stubborn and ill-informed. Unequipped to run a middle school class government meeting. Or, perfectly equipped, come to think about it.

If we were Mayor Madden we would certainly not want anything before the Council at Monday's meeting. Everything done at that meeting will be not just null, but void. Certainly voidable. We'd also shave the beard because we don't like facial hair. To Rutherford B. Hayes for us.

Friday, January 01, 2016


To our loyal readers: Thanks and we hope you and yours have a safe, fun-filled 2016. If the latest e-mail exchange about a simple meeting date is any indication of things to come, 2016 should be a good ride.

We all know that incoming Council President Carmella Mantello wants to hold the first Council meeting on January 4, 2016, the first business day of 2016. Why the rush? We suspect it is a PR gimmick for her future run for mayor. Something along the lines of, "As Council President She Hit the Ground Running."

Sometimes, you run so fast you don't see the Troy potholes and land flat on your face.

From: Carmella Mantello []
Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2015 2:07 PM
To: Cheryl.Christiansen
Subject: January 4, 2016 organizational (regular) meeting
Dear Cheryl,
I'm sure you are aware that at 12:01 a.m. (EST) on January 1, 2016 I will become the council president. Therefore, at that time as your supervisor, I will be submitting to you by email a copy of the January 4, 2016 agenda with the appropriate notice and backup material. 
I am requesting that on January 1, 2016 no later than noon a copy of this notice and agenda be delivered to each member of the Troy City Council. 
I once again need to reiterate that at no time has the current city council 2015 ever voted to hold the organizational (regular) meeting on January 7, 2016. Therefore, without such a vote, any such meeting on January 7, 2016 would be improper and a nullity. 
I would appreciate it if you would confirm on January 1, 2016 once all the agendas have been delivered. 
Thank you. 
Carmella Mantello
Council President-elect
From: "Cheryl.Christiansen"
Sent: Dec 31, 2015 2:15 PM
To: Carmella Mantello
Cc: Patrick Madden , "Lou.Rosamilia" , city council , "Peter.Ryan" , "Ian.Silverman" ,, "Rhonda.Reed"
Subject: RE: January 4, 2016 organizational (regular) meeting

Unfortunately  City Hall is closed on January 1st for the Holiday; which I legally have the day off. I will not be in the office or in the area to receive or deliver any such agenda’s or notices. I will be back in the office at January 4th 8:30am for any  City Clerk business and will be happy to assist you as Council President at that time.
Cheryl Christiansen
The above exchange occurred after current Council President Wiltshire had to take Ms. Mantello to school:
On Dec 30, 2015, at 5:53 PM, Rodney Wiltshire <> wrote:
Ms. Mantello,
                I am continually being made aware of your attempts at exercising authority prior to your installation as a sitting City Council-member.  I am concerned with your actions as a citizen of the general public, and as the sitting Council President.
                Until, 11:59PM Dec 31st, I am still in office.  It is truly unfortunate that you have inserted yourself in daily operations of the city government and generated much confusion amongst the departments who are trying to do their jobs as they prepare to transition into a new administration.  Your attempts at retrieving keys, security codes, and other sensitive information is out of order at this time.
I have spoken to the personnel office in detail, and asked them to retrieve any personnel action forms that were issued to Council branch departments on your behalf until after business is conducted when you are in office.
                I have also spoken to the Clerk’s office and directed them to disregard any directives or orders outside of this council until such time that the new council is termed in.  They are not to deliver keys, or provide other access to non-authorized members of the public.
Your attempts at dismissing the Clerks prior to a duly noticed and proper meeting will certainly put the city at risk of not being able to perform its duties as outlined in the Charter (marriage licenses, certificates, receiving legal services, etc…).
I am not able to get into your thought process, but to be clear, the clerks whom we have appointed, cannot be dismissed by you.  These clerks are still in their office until a new one is appointed via a vote of the council as a body at the Organizational meeting, or they are removed, via a 2/3 vote which still has to happen at a meeting.  As you know, a vote can only occur at a proper meeting, and traditionally, should be the organizational meeting.
Per customary past practices, this Regular/Organizational meeting has been scheduled and properly noticed for the first Thursday of the month, the 7th of January, 2016.  Our Charter governs notice process, and timing, and supersedes any other statutes or references in outside, non-city codes.  This regular meeting, per the charter, will be the Organizational meeting, where the Council sets its dates, and appoints its staff.
I understand that you desire to have council meetings on Monday the 4th at non-standard times.  Unfortunately, there will be no time between when you take office Friday at Midnight, and that Monday for the clerks to notice these meetings and time changes.  Per the charter, any changes to this would require due public notice and it be filed with the clerk in writing 72 hours before.  Due to the holiday, this simply isn’t possible.
Now, as a courtesy to you, and the other members of the incoming council, I will remind you that only the clerk, who while in office, may call meetings, and make proper legal notices of meetings, and those notices must be made during business hours of the City.  This cannot be done by the Council President or Mayor directly, it must go through the Clerk’s office.  Any “gathering” that constitutes a quorum of city counselors for city business (excluding caucuses) is a violation of the open meetings law.
Any meeting that is improperly noticed is not actually a meeting, and any “votes” taken during that meeting will not be counted as legislation. 
As January 1, 2016, is a city holiday, there will be no clerk on duty to call a meeting, or make proper notice to the public, or receive written meeting change notifications.  I think you and the city can wait until the 7th for the regularly scheduled meeting time and date.
I know that transitioning in and starting off can be a bit bumpy, so I wanted to help you a little with this advice and reminder.  However, I am a bit surprised that your choice for President Pro-Tempore wasn’t offering you this counsel, since he has always been very sharp to point out mistakes that were made by the council 4 years ago.
Good Luck, and Have a Safe and Happy New Year!
Now, we could care less when the Council meets. They could meet right now, in the Polloi offices, for all we care (we'd have to pick up a bit, dust and stash our skull bong). However, did Mantello really want to stumble out of the gate over something as silly as a three day wait? She looks petty, stubborn and worst of all, simply wrong.
COMING SOON....Our Winners and Losers post. Stay tuned.