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

Friday, April 29, 2016


We've been following this story but waiting for a bit more information. No need to rush to judgment.

So, last year, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order pursuant to the Executive Law that would allow the Executive Branch jurisdiction over police shootings that involved unarmed suspects.....Whether District Attorneys like this or not, it is lawful. Governor Pataki issued a similar order giving the Executive the ability to step-in and take over death penalty cases. District Attorneys were not pleased with Pataki.

Pataki's order was directly related to a number of DA's that publicly stated they would not seek the death penalty. That, of course, was their prerogative. Cuomo's order was a political response to pressure from the black community following a number of questionable incidents in New York City. While legislation drafted in response to political pressure is typically flawed (see The Safe Act), it is a law.

As an aside, many DA's like this order, whether they'll say it or not. Perhaps not in smaller cities and rural areas but certainly in large urban areas. It essentially removes them from a lose-lose situation. If the officer is cleared, DA's are often accused of bias in favor of the police. If the officer is indicted, the DA can incur the wrath of an agency they need to work with every day.

With Officer French, it is inconceivable that a grand jury would indict. French could very well be dead or paralyzed if he had not acted.*

All that aside, after the Crist incident, the Reid incident and now after reading The Record article and the Times Union article: Is Abelove up to the job? You can read the petition here. The story also made the New York Times but we have not yet read that article.

Whatever the outcome, we hope that the Grand Jury's decision stands at that French is not subject to further proceedings. It would seem unfair to leave such a matter hanging over the officer's head due to the actions of the District Attorney.

*While we would make the argument that the decedent was, indeed, 'armed', that is not our call. Or Abelove's.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Forrest Gump and Sean Penn had a child. Would that child be District 2 Councilman Mark McGrath?

We can never tell if Mark McGrath is simply a dumb individual or simply cannot grasp a reality that does not comport with his own fantasy world.

In a recent tirade, Councilman McGrath ranted that Spring Little League received a grant for a façade facelift from the LDC. McGrath's issue seems twofold: It is a waste of taxpayer money and Spring Little League draws players that do not reside in Troy.

McGrath has been told numerous times by numerous people (including the Administration) that the LDC is not a City Agency or Bureau. It is not the City of Troy. The LDC, like many quasi-public corporations is a separate legal entity. It is akin to the New York State Thruway Authority. The Thruway Authority is not "The State." This may be a hard concept for a third-grader but should not be too difficult for an adult. While one can criticize the number and necessity for such entities, that does not change reality.

The LDC does not expend taxpayer dollars. Their money is raised through fees.

Therefore, is McGrath lying every time he rants about such entities wasting taxpayer dollars or is he just dumb and cannot comprehend facts that actually comport with reality?

The first option is always a good political move despite the ethical implications. One can never go wrong ranting about wasted taxpayer dollars.

McGrath could, in concert with others, apply for a grant for his district's own little league. Why he chooses not to aid his constituents is a mystery.

The fact that Spring Little League serves many non-Trojans, which is true, should be a source of pride and not a point of criticism. Hasn't the mantra of the previous mayors been making Troy attractive to people outside of the city? Don't we want to bring people in to the City? Wasn't one of the selling points for PILOTS, such as the Dinosaur, is that it will be a destination spot for people in the region?

Spring Little League draws many players from outside of Troy. That is because it is a great league. McGrath should be promoting Spring Little League, not denigrating those that have built it in to one of the premiere leagues in the region.

District 6 Councilman Donohue has identified a project that he should spearhead: sprucing up the entrances to the city. It's not a game changer by any means but it is a positive step. We expect him to act. The former council passed a landlord registry to try and curb some of the issues with absentee landlords. They tried something.  McGrath is just a talker.

See you at the next game.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Newly minted District 6 Councilman John Donohue would like Troy to make a good first impression on people. In particular, he would like the Gateways to Troy to look better. The gateway closest to Donohue's heart is the area near the Menands Bridge. What greets people entering the city via the Menands Bridge? Not much. Some houses, a billboard or two and a pathetic hill partially covered in some stone.

Donohue has a valid point. One's first view of a city or town can leave a lasting impression. That is particularly true for tourist destinations which Troy is not.

The City actually looks pretty nice when coming over the Green Island Bridge. There is not much you can do with the Collar City Bridge. The tomb stone store is a nice touch. Congress Street? Eh. Not bad and not much that can be done there either.

The city does look better coming down Congress, since the elimination of the empty public housing monstrosities.

The last time something was done for the Menands entrance was two administration's ago. We won't mention names. The City sought bids to spruce up the Menands Gateway. Bids came in and the lowest responsible bidder was rejected by the administration.*Another bid was accepted and we got some stones thrown on a hillside. A lawsuit ensued.

Perhaps this is something neighborhood groups can tackle. Raise some money, dust, vacuum, get some signs and a few flower boxes.

While many may think Donohue's ambition is less than grand, these small things matter. And, they can add up over time. Lets see if Donohue can get something done.

* While the City should go with the highest, responsible bidder, we are not entirely unsympathetic for rejecting this particular bidder. However, the rules are the rules and the result was one more lawsuit the City did not need.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Rensselaer County County Court Judge Andrew Ceresia rejected convicted killer Michael Mosely's bid for a new trial. Mosely was convicted for the 2002 slaughter of Arica Schneider and Samuel Holley.

Mosely argued that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel during the murder trial. Mosely was represented by well-known criminal defense attorney Terence Kindlon.

Mosley's mother said:

...she believes politics affected the judge's decision.

"It's a sad, sad world we live in when the judicial system is so tainted by political aspirations," she said. "I cannot let this go. I have seen the grief of the Schneiders at these hearings and the trial and I completely understand the loss of their child. I feel the Rensselaer County judicial system has murdered my child."

Mothers usually get a pass when they say stupid things about their children but...politics? The County Judicial system has murdered her child?

Mosely was convicted of the double-murders in 2011 after he had been arrested on another charge. Mosely's DNA was entered into the State Database and came up a match for unidentified DNA found at the Brunswick Road murder scene. Good work by DA McNally's Office on the conviction and DA Abelove's office on the hearing.

It's hard to believe. Is that the face of a killer?

Mosely is one of the more terrifying killers. After the murders Mosely cleaned-up his act and eventually lived what looked like a normal life in North Greenbush. Neighbors were shocked when he was arrested for the murders. He appeared to be an average middle class guy in a middle class neighborhood in a nice, little town.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Troy is 200 years old! But doesn't look a day over 150.

Events kicked off at the Rensselaer County Historical Society yesterday at a cake-cutting ceremony led by Mayor Madden and County Executive Kathy Jimino. Simultaneously, golf season also kicked-off at Frear Park.

Two Hundred. People said it would never last. Time for another colonoscopy.

There are plenty of activities upcoming in the next week or two.

Friday saw the official disrobing of the Colonel Pawling Statute, Troy's first mayor, at the former and historic site of Collins Market. It was also announced that funds are currently being raised for a statute of Troy's first City Manager.

April 17 am Flee the Scene Contest - but first, try and kill a cop. Fortunately, Officer French will be fine.

April 18, 9:30  - 2:30  First Annual Tutunjian Code Enforcement Retaliation Contest - See how many "enemies" of the Tutunjian Administration can be fined by Code Enforcement in five hours. All proceeds benefit the Barbeque Sauce Addiction & Recovery Center.

4:30-5:00  Rosamilia Lifetime Health Benefit Raffle - Win free, lifetime health benefits without the need for Council approval. Criminals eligible.

April 19, 10:00- ? Carmella Mantello Press Release Marathon. Release until you drop. Winner gets to run and lose numerous mayoral races.

12:00 - 12:03 Lecture by District 2 Councilman Mark McGrath - How to Make Your District a Better Place.

4:00 - 6:00  Feral Cat Round-Up

And much, much more!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


A bipartisan group of Troy City Council persons is disappointed in the six Democratic County legislators representing Troy.

This all goes back to the $900,000 that Rensselaer County will receive as part of the gaming fee paid by Michael Corleone for the future Schenectady casino. Members of the Troy City Council would like some of that money in order to relieve Troy's fiscal stress.

In a prior letter to County Executive Kathy Jimino, Council President Mantello asked that Troy be allowed to wet its beak. Kathy Jimino said she was speaking with Troy's Mayor, her brother, about it and Mantello needed to relax.

Pat then said: "You mean, we get a cut of it and the County takes all the risk?"

Jimino then told Pat, "never let anyone outside the family know what you're thinking," and ordered Mantello to personally put up the fee for the casino herself.

Maybe that's not exactly what happened but the Council has gone begging for some of the gaming fee money, this time asking the 6 Democrats that represent Troy in the County Legislature to join them in the request. In an odd move, the legislators did not directly respond to the invitation but instead had their assistant send an e-mail that essentially reiterated what Jimino had said earlier.

“We agree that providing property tax relief and addressing the potential of added investment to our infrastructure, especially highways and bridges, will enhance our economic development efforts,” the legislators’ email stated. “This is a wise and prudent plan that will help to reduce the county tax burden to the residents of Troy."

So, what gives? Why wouldn't the Troy County contingent join in with the Council? How much of the $900,000 does Troy want? Of course, it is the County's money and $900,000 is not all that much in the grand scheme of things. We understand why the County wants to keep it. They have plans for it and frankly, it is not the city's money. One imagines if the roles were reversed, what Troy would say.

Of course, perhaps a private meeting between some council members and legislators could have been requested. Maybe a phone call or two.  Work it a little more rather than running to the press to call them out. Sometimes our Council seems short on diplomacy and long on scolding.

More importantly, what would we learn if we just received some cash without working for it? Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to on and so on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Hits Capital District.

It's been quite the day. The Donald and Bernie Shows landed in Albany and Ohio Governor John Kasich came here, to our very own city. At least Troy got the responsible one. New York is the sad, overweight, neglected spouse of presidential primaries. It has been such a long time since we've felt needed, important and special.

Not much going on these days in Troy.

There was a gas leak down on Fourth yesterday, between Ida and Washington. Fourth was closed down for awhile. Probably Lou's fault.

The City Council has approved amnesty for scofflaws.

Council President Carmella Mantello, who pushed for the amnesty, said it was better to collect 60 percent than nothing. Mantello initiated the amnesty after determining that the city had $562,151 in unpaid ticket fines and $551,233 in unpaid penalties from Jan. 1, 2009, through Feb. 28, 2016.
The amnesty runs from May 1 through June 15 and covers tickets not paid during the seven-year period.

We agree. We are almost certain that 60% is better than 0% There had been a company retained under the previous two administrations that was supposed to work on collections of unpaid fines etc. What happened to that company? What, if anything, did they accomplish.

Otherwise, things are just dull lately. Perhaps the adults are in charge now.

Thursday, April 07, 2016


An attempted burglary of Amazing Intimate Essentials was foiled when the would-be burglar failed to use enough lubricant to squeeze through the air shaft. According to the Times Union:

"I have nothing missing that I can notice," store manager Aaron Moore. "Honestly there's easier ways of stealing porn than breaking into people's stores."

Moore said the burglar probably tried to get into the store through the roof, which now has a small hole where someone tried to dig through the tar cover and then saw the air shaft.
Police followed a vibration to a nearby storage facility but cam up empty-handed.
The State Department has confirmed that self-styled police watchdog, Adam Rupeka and is girlfriend, died in Tijuana of an apparent suicide. Seems a bit overwrought for misdemeanor charges.
According to Jim Franco at Talk 1300, former Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development Bill Dunne is the Planning Commissioner for Reno, Nevada, the Biggest Little City in the World.
Reno, approximately five-times the population of Troy, is in the northwest part of Nevada.
Rumor has it that Council President Carmella Mantello wants to slash funds for Troy's Bicentennial Celebration. Troy turns two-hundred this year. Sure, Troy has some economic woes but sometimes its good to just cut loose. Relax Ma. We just want to have a little fun. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2016


Remains light.


Self-styled Cop Watchdog and accused child abuser Adam Rupeka and his girlfriend may be dead. Two bodies found down to Tijuana may be the couple. Must have been some Spring Break. Rupeka recently posted a video claiming he and his gal were crossing into Canada. A rather transparent mislead, no?

While we would not want to see any real harm come to Rupeka due to his obnoxious anti-cop activities (like most watchdogs he likely suffers from low self-esteem and has failed at legitimate endeavors*), we won't lose any sleep if he is dead. The recent allegations, if true, are disturbing.

This is an interesting story, destined for a Lifetime movie, probably starring Michael Cera.


Rensselaer County will receive approximately $900,000 from the licensing fee paid by Rush Street Gaming. Who was there with her hand out? None other than our own Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello.

"Troy is facing difficult financial times and any additional funds will help relieve the fiscal stress on city taxpayers," Mantello said in a statement. "Hopefully the county, as a partner with the city, will strongly consider sharing part of these proceeds with Troy."

Mantello arrived at the County Building to request the funds wearing sunglasses and holding a cardboard sign that identified herself as a homeless vet.

County Executive Kathy Jimino seems unimpressed.

It is my intention that any funding we receive this year and in future years as a result of the casino being built in Schenectady be used to: 1. Provide property tax relief; 2. Address our need for additional investment in our infrastructure, especially highways and bridges, thereby enhancing our economic development efforts; and 3. Provide services for problem gamblers as was anticipated when the state approved casino gambling and established this revenue sharing for counties," Jimino said.

No word from Mantello about River Boat Gambling. That was Mantello's big plan for Troy during the 2011 mayoral contest. Has that gone by the way?

*Ralph Nader and his work in the car industry being an obvious exception

Monday, April 04, 2016


Mayor Patrick Madden seems plagued with vacancies in his first trimester. The departure of City Engineer Andrew Donovan adds to the list. Currently, Troy does not have a full-time Comptroller, a Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development or a City Engineer. Other, more minor positions also remain vacant.

We do not know the reason for Donovan's departure. We have heard he resigned and we have heard he was asked to resign. Rumor has it he was retained to build a wall in Arizona but that is only rumor. In either event, we wish him well. He is a good man.

So what gives? Most municipalities have little problem filling these roles. At worst, there is typically a pool of mid-level political hacks that can fill these roles and be at least barely competent if not inspired.

According to a source close to the administration, Madden has an unrealistic view of local government and a distaste for local politics. The former view is alarming, the latter view understandable yet naïve.

During early Administration meetings, the most overheard quote was: "We want to be the adults." An admirable sentiment depending on the definition of 'adult.'

What exactly does that mean? Two things: the Madden folks believe that they can eschew politics and focus on building a professional organization that will focus on competence and ability, and; the opposition can engage in governance by press release but they wont engage in petty political battles. In short, politics is beneath them.

Like many ideas and centerfolds, this looks quite good on paper as well as in meetings between election day and inauguration day. The limits of this philosophy are readily apparent. Key positions are unfilled. Monica is overworked and floundering according to one source (while another source says she is drowning). City Council President Mantello has become the voice of Troy Government on the theory that no press release or comment is too small or irrelevant.

We believe the Administration's position on politics is, in part, the reason why they have trouble with filling positions at City Hall. One of Rosamilia's faults (among many) was not listening to the people he brought in to the administration. Yet, he did not have a problem bringing people in to the administration. 

One can rarely get the best of the best to take positions in City Hall. The salaries do not lend themselves to competition with the elite in the private sector. True, some do surprise and surpass expectations but minimal competence might be the only option. That is a fact of life that Madden needs to face. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

Madden's other issue is that he believes he won the election and primary despite Democratic Chair Tom Wade.

While there is room for debate, it is not unreasonable to believe that Madden won the primary due to Ernest Everett's bid for the nomination. Maybe Everett voters could have made up the difference for Wiltshire, maybe not. Reasonable minds can differ. However, the County Chair of the Democratic Party can be a valuable resource in staffing. Another quote that sums up the dynamic between the two men is Pat's: "I felt like I was running against Rodney, Jim and Tom Wade."

Yes, many city hall jobs are patronage jobs. That's another mean fact of life in every administration. Tutunjian, Crawley, Mitchell and Mirch haven't exactly set the private sector on fire during their careers. They were 'small government' Republicans that spent most of their lives on the public teat.

Madden should work with Wade to find competent, loyal Democrats to fill the vacancies at City Hall. That builds the party, creates loyalty to Madden and ensures that there are enough staff to deliver the services that citizens pay for. He must be the first out of the gate with news and press releases. People need to know he's in charge. Right now, it feels like Madden is floundering.  Vacancies are just a symptom of the problem.

Being the adult means recognizing certain realities and acting within those realities.