Monday, June 06, 2005

Democracy In Albany has Moved

Thanks for stopping by. This blog has had a good ride over the last 10 months but to keep things going and to be able to be a better resource for information it is time to move on. The new Democracy in Albany site is at

This blog will remain here as an archive of the first 10 months.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Soares Backing Up Campaign Promises

When David Soares was campaigning for DA one of the areas he said that he would improve would be going after more state grant money. Now, $20,000 isn't much in the grand scheme, but if it saves a program to help victims of sexual assault, it certainly is important. From Soares:

"I made a commitment to the people of Albany County on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, and this is a worthy investment"

Goodbee Meeting Tonight

Archie Goodbee will be meeting with the public to listen to their concerns tonight and address the issue of gang violence in Albany.

Where: Sweet Pilgrim Baptist Church on Clinton Avenue

When: Friday (tonight) at 6:30 p.m.

One of the things Goodbee has proposed is adopting the Boston Strategy for dealing with gang violence. Read all about the Boston Strategy and then go ask Mr. Goodbee some questions.

Strange Election Year Bedfellows

Who would've thought that President of the Albany Police Union Chris Mesley and I would be agreeing on anything? It was just two weeks ago that he threw what looked like one of those perjury monkey wrenches into the case of an Albany officer being arrested for DWI. He says it happened one way, 3 other people say it happened the other. Someone's lying. But that is for another day. Today its like he and I are one person. See he is accusing Mayor Jennings of
"election year posturing". He thinks that Jennings is just bringing in the Guardian Angels and the State Troopers to placate the public and win re-election. I agree. After that Mesley and I start to disagree on the finer details of this issue. Except for the one where he says that the police radios don't work. I agree that we should fix that. Didn't we all agree to fix that problem back when they shot Scaringe? Remember when they said they couldn't call off the chase because the radio's didn't work. Someone please put that back on the list of things to check up on. And now for some parting words from Mayor Jennings:

"Once again, Mesley doesn't know what he's talking about"

Now, I'm not expecting Mesley to endorse Goodbee anytime soon, but this is getting interesting.

PS. Please fix the radios.

UPDATE: This topic got some attention on the Mayor's call in show today. The Mayor didn't have any kind words for the President of the Union. Things were going well for him and he was talking about public safety etc and then he kind of bungled it by giving us some more insight into how he does business with this quote:

"I don't need advice from anyone"

Jobs for Votes, Secret Tapes, Oh My!

A new lawsuit alleges lots of fun in local Rensselaer County politics. What do we have?

Alleged battles over lists of patronage jobs
Alleged threats that "things could be done to you"
Alleged breaking of the rules to get some kid to pass the police agility test.
Alleged secret tapes.
Alleged talk of trading "jobs for votes"
Alleged leaking of those tapes by Joe Bruno's office.

Of course these are all just allegations. They could be baseless. Nothing as prepostorous as this would ever happen and its ridiculous for reporters to even mention these baseless claims. Just ask Joe Bruno's spokesman:

"We don't comment on baseless lawsuits or reporters willing to treat them as gospel," said Sen. Joe Bruno's spokesman, Mark Hanson, as he brushed off Ehring's allegations. "And we don't want that edited. Got that?"

Now you reporters should be ashamed. Next time you should check with Mr. Bruno or Mr. Hanson about what you should treat as gospel. Got that?

Vote Yes for New York's Future

Hey, you there. Yeah, you reading the paper. I hear you don't like the idea of spending tax dollars on the new Jets stadium. I think we may have to take that "I heart NY" sticker off your car. So here's my advice to you. Go read the full page ad in the local section of the Times Union (Paid for by the New York Jets). Its got lots of fun facts in it to convince you why you should Vote Yes for spending $600,000,000 of your tax dollars for our stadium (an Economic Engine for our State!). What's that? When is the vote? You want to know when you get to vote on how your tax dollars will be spent? You don't. We left that out of the ad. But its really important that you say you want to spend your money on the stadium. Vote for Jobs, dammit! If you spend this money there will be new jobs. No, no there won't be new jobs for you, but thanks for paying your taxes. Now, remember, Economic Engine. Doesn't that sound good?

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I've posted about this blog before and I probably will again. The media occasionally forgets we are at war. But its all ok because VP Cheney says the war will be over soon.

Where to Begin?

So the police officer charged with faking overtime and stealing money is off to prison for 6 months. What did Chief Turley have to say about this?

Apparently he thinks this "compounded community issues of trust" and was "a huge embarrassment to the department." had to cross that line. You haven't spoken out about anything until this and you had to go and get on your high horse? Why couldn't you just have had your guy Miller come out and say something like, "this is no different from when a teacher steals a pencil, a doctor writes his own scripts or a lawyer does his job". He's got that one down cold.

But no, up on the high horse you went. Do you want to know what we think a huge embarassment to the department is? Did you read that Metroland article? To avoid being called a broken record I'll resist listing the embarassing issues we have with the department but let me just say it involves things like a top official lying, lots of DWI's, excessive use of force, lots of expensive lawsuits against the city and absolutely nothing done about any of it. Oh, and all the other fraud that was allegedly going on. Don't think for a second that the "community" thinks this is the one bad apple in the barrel.

Bruno Talking Some Sense?

Other than some labor unions that will get the jobs to build the new Jets stadium, and of course Joe Namath, no one wants this thing because we all are going to have to pay for it with our tax dollars and we really don't like the Jets that much. Of course politicians thinking of running for president don't really care what the people think, they care what the really rich people think. So Pataki wants to blow our money on a stadium for billionaire Bush Ranger Woody Johnson. Thankfully Joe Bruno isn't running for President any time soon and he isn't so sure he wants to blow all our tax dollars on a money losing stadium. He is making a bold proposal. Get this...he is saying if this is such a great idea why not fund it with private investors' money, not ours? Amen. Woody Johnson is a billionaire. If this stadium is such a great money making idea let him build the damn thing. But here's the catch (and you opponents of the Convention Center in Albany will love this one):

"cash flow analysis indicates that the deal may not work with private sector money"

Translation: This is a big money loser. So the only way to make it happen is to suck the taxpayers dry. Remember this when they are asking you to build a $225 million convention center in Albany that they admit will lose money, no question about it. That is your money they are admitting they will be losing, so why should they care.

Other NY News

Governor - Apparently some people still think Thomas Suozzi might be thinking of challenging Eliot Spitzer in a primary next year. I'm all for primaries, but I think Suozzi might want to save his money this time around. Still no actual Republican candidates for Governor although Pataki is supposed to be making his intentions clear in these summer months.

Senator - Former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer says he will challenge Hillary. He joins a long list of potential challengers including " Edward Cox, a son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon; former Wall Street public-relations executive Adam Brecht, and tax lawyer William Brenner. " Jeanine Pirro also will run for something, she doesn't know what she will run for.

Accountability In Schools

We're all for accountability of our school boards, right? A new bill is in the works to actual put in place some financial oversight for school boards. Sounds like a fine idea to me. What brought this on? A little financial mismangement of our tax dollars down in Long Island. I think the actual amount is over $10 million now. This woman was paying mortgages for 3 of her houses and one for her daughter with the school's credit card. Some other expenses:

$736,000 paid to an Oklahoma publishing company that has no record of doing business with the district;
$600,000+ spent in delicatessens and specialty food stores;
$100,000+ spent on limousines and car services;
$50,000 paid to restaurants;
$21,000 charged for a BMW lease or purchase;
$3,800 spent to reserve space with Manhattan Mini-Storage, a long way from Roslyn;
$1,485 spent for an Equinox gym membership.

She says she's not guilty. Bring on the oversight!

Spitzer Update

As I've noted before I'm a big fan of NY GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik because he's always doing something that makes it easy to write about. As far as his political skills I think he's a hack and he only has one approach which is the "attack your opponent with baseless lies" approach which I find pathetic BUT it is fun to write about.

Remember when he called the Democratic Party the party of terrorists based on a photo that he had to "prove it"? And then it turned out the photo was of a woman from a group called United for Peace and Justice? He didn't look so good on that one.

And of course he's been trying to smear Eliot Spitzer as a "job killer". Apparently Minarik thinks that because Spitzer is enforcing the law and prosecuting criminal businesses that this is bad for business in New York. This Minarik guy is odd that way. Well, once again Stephen didn't check the facts. From the Business Review:

"New York added more jobs than all but four states during the past year, according to report Wednesday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "

So much for that lie. What will be Mr. Minarik's next desperate lie? Maybe he'll start trying the old "Spitzer is an elitist" approach.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Goodbee Meeting This Friday

Archie Goodbee will be meeting with the public to listen to their concerns this Friday and address the issue of gang violence in Albany.

Where: Sweet Pilgrim Baptist Church on Clinton Avenue
When: Friday at 6:30 p.m.

One of the things Goodbee has proposed is adopting the Boston Strategy for dealing with gang violence. Read all about the Boston Strategy and then go ask Mr. Goodbee some questions.

Mayor Jennings and Your Safety

So the State Police offer to help patrol the streets of your city and provide funding to make it happen? Sounds like a Mayor's dream come true. Not the "city leaders" in Albany. Why?
The "city leaders" didn't want to "fuel a perception that Albany was unsafe". See, it is an election year and if you can make the issue of gang violence and safety go away, you can get re-elected. It's all about perception. For example, take this line from Mayor Jennings recent campaign mailing:

"We continue to achieve unprecedented reductions in crime and meaningful increases in quality of life for all of Albany. I have worked hard to obtain our fair share of resources from New York State and Washington."

So we've had "unprecedented reductions in crime". Is that why we need the Guardian Angels in Albany and now also the State Police need to join in the action? Maybe if our "city leaders" were more worried about reality than perception they might have taken some of these steps over the last 11 years they were in power?

Jennings the Educator

Archie Goodbee has a press conference to address the very real issue of gang violence in the city of Albany. Jerry Jennings doesn't appreciate the effort:

"Obviously, Archie is not aware of what's going on in this city. We have one of the best gang prevention experts and programs in the State of New York. It's been acknowledged as that. I'm looking forward to educating Archie as to what is really going on in the city"

Ok, so lets see how Jerry has educated us in the past about gang violence in Albany.

Back in October he told a caller to his radio show that we don't have gangs, just graffiti artists. He also mentioned he might be attending a gang prevention conference "if he had the time".

Some other callers also expressed concern over the gang issues. Here is what the Mayor said:

“they are not organized gang members…they are just grafitti artists”

“this is just kids misbehaving”

To which a caller named Sue responded “grafitti is graffiti..this looks like gang stuff”

To which the Mayor said “sue, kids copy and mimic and they want to be something they aren’t….there is no formalized gang involved in this….its a group of kids” and “if its gang activity I’ll be the first one to admit it”. After Sue hung up the Mayor addressed the issue this way: “all right kids, knock it off”

So, consider yourself educated by Jerry the Teacher. He told the kids to knock it off. What more do you want?

Times Union Political Coverage

If you are tired of my blog and what I have to say and you want me to go away, write a letter to the Times Union and maybe in the future I won't have anything to write about. I'll help you so you can just cut and paste the letter.

Dear Rex:

Hello, good sir. There is this pesky blog that is overly critical of some of my favorite politicians and I need your help. This "blogger" thinks he is always right. He got really bent out of shape when the Albany Police Chief admitted to lying. He refused to accept Fred LeBrun's WRITTEN apology for the police chief's behavior. This blogiot has no shame and no sense. BUT, I think we can shut him up. See last week you ran a big bold headline saying Archie Goodbee didn't get the endorsement of the Working Families Party. Actually the headline didn't say that at all. It said something about Mayor Jennings, which even I found a bit odd but it caused that blognut really to go off his rocker and claim you were biased. He thought that it showed a definite favoritism to the incumbent. He (I'm assuming its a he because no lady would speak that way with all the lack of punctuation and foul language) also thought it odd that this lack of an endorsement by a third party seemed like headline news meanwhile you fail to cover stories that might reflect the incumbent in a negative light like when the police punched a 14 year old girl in the face. I know, I know, its hard work being an editor and making all those decisions. Tulips....police violence? Give the people what they want. Unfortunately this blognut doesn't know what he wants. Ok, so to my favor.

Yesterday Archie Goodbee held a press conference addressing gang violence in Albany. The TV cameras showed up. It was on "the news". And it seems newsworthy, even to me. We just had a shooting last week, we've had stabbings, gang signs on the buildings. Its gotten to the point that the Mayor is even asking the Guardian Angel's back. Its that bad. It may just be me but the Guardian Angels showing up typically isn't the sign of a renaissance. So this seems like a valid news story. But what do you put as your headline? A spelling B champ?! Ok, ok. Maybe the story is on the front page. No? A headline anywhere with Goodbee's name in it? Nope. I guess there isn't a story in your "news" paper. That bloggerblathercommunist is really going to freak out. Couldn't you have just wife just said there is one of those "tiniest story in the paper" bits on page 4 at the very bottom below something about Troy which is below something about the Thruway that mentions a "Mayoral Foe". Give her a minute to read it. Apparently it is about Goodbee. Why?! Why couldn't you just put Goodbee's name in the headline when you write about him. Do it a couple times and that ranting fool will be out of business. And would it hurt to put the story on the front page? Work with me here because even I am starting to see that this guy has a point that your political coverage is incredibly biased and you don't "report" so much as look for opportunities to "support" your candidates.

So, I implore you. Please, when you write a story about Goodbee, put his name in the headline. I'm not even asking you to do your real job as a reporter and apply any sort of scrutiny to the Jennings adminstration (we all know the problems). But if you don't give Goodbee fair coverage that bloogger might just be on to something. Do your job. Make the bad blogger go away.

Thank you,

PS. I love your show with that NPR guy with the beard and Lydia whatshername. She's hot.

PSS. Fred LeBrun doesn't really exist right? That is a fake character that you use to make crazy assed statements? What a great idea. And that funny little drawing of him. Ha.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Goodbee to Offer Plan to Fix Albany Gang Problem

In a welcome sign of the beginnings of his campaign, Albany Mayoral candidate Archie Goodbee says that Albany has a gang problem and that he has a plan to fix the problem. Goodbee had a press conference today to discuss this issue and will be holding a town hall meeting this Friday to meet with community members and listen to their suggestions. More from from News 9:

"At a news conference in downtown Albany, Goodbee said Mayor Jerry Jennings has his head in the sand, and has done little to solve the issue of youth gang violence. Goodbee said if elected he will clean up the streets by instituting a program called the Boston Strategy."

He said, "In a recent report, one of the police spokespersons indicated he didn't even know about gang violence until two pre-teens brought it to his attention and mentioned the name of the gangs."

"The Goodbee campaign will be holding a town hall-style meeting this Friday to hear suggestions directly from the community. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Sweet Pilgrim Baptist Church on Clinton Avenue."

Guardian Angels Return to Albany?


"The Guardian Angels are patrolling the streets of Schenectady, and soon they could be on the streets of Albany as well.

Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa is expected to meet with Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings Tuesday afternoon to discuss a possible return to the Capital City.

The Angels first came to Albany back in the mid-80's, but were gone by the early 90's"

Bob Sheehan To Run in the 8th

Well if you people in the 8th Ward were getting jealous of all the activity in the 7th, you can rest easy. Bob Sheehan has announced he will be running in the 8th. And he says he's for " more open, transparent, accountable and balanced city government" so you know I like him already. To the announcement:

Bob Sheehan, a 42-year old resident of Marsdale Street in Albany today announces his candidacy for Alderman in the 8th Ward of the city. The seat is currently held by Democrat David Torncello III.

A long time enrolled Democrat and 18 year Albany resident, Mr. Sheehan cites his previous work with the Helderberg Neighborhood Association as invaluable to help him be an effective Alderman. He is also motivated for public office as a parent of a school-aged child, and as a member of People Advocating Small Schools (PASS).

“I welcome the challenge of running for this position and continuing to interact and hear the concerns of the residents in the 8th Ward. I look forward to discussing the issues that are particularly important to people throughout the ward. Issues important to me include maintaining the residential character of the neighborhoods in the ward, and exploring additional services the city should be offering to residents as our population ages. I will also bring my commitment, enthusiasm and independence to represent all the residents of the 8th Ward.”

Mr. Sheehan went on to say: “As one member of the Common Council, I recognize the importance of working together with other members to advance ideas, policies and legislation that will lead to a more open, transparent, accountable and balanced city government. I will fully support any such initiatives.”

A formal announcement in the ward is planned for later this week.

Tech Valley Academy?

You would think a place calling itself Tech Valley would be a prime candidate for a "tech themed highschool". Today's editorial in the Times Union agrees this would be a good idea. However, the NYS Legislature can't seem to agree and of course there are those that are saying if we are going to have a new school, it should be a charter school. This one will probably drag and be delayed regardless of what is best for the kids. Not a problem for Tech Valley though, plenty of young Indian and Chinese kids will be willing to come take those high tech jobs for high pay.

Scaringe Update

Appparently the officers that were involved in the Scaringe shooting in Albany are going to be asked to take permanent medical leave and not return to active duty. They haven't been on duty since the shooting. According to the article one of the officers has confronted Mayor Jennings over this issue as he disagrees with how he has been treated and how this situation has been handled.

Friday, May 27, 2005


As any regular readers know, I'm a strong supporter of D.A. Soares. There has been discussion on this blog at times by some people saying that they didn't think Soares would be a good DA because he wouldn't prosecute criminals. The talk was that it would be only a matter of time before criminals realized what you can get away with in Albany and then all hell would break loose. Of course, i think that is just people who liked Paul Clyne talking. Regardless, in case you are wondering, if you as a citizen want to help stop crime in your neighborhood...firing a shotgun out your window at people in the street is still considered a crime in Albany. To the press release verbiage, as I'm a blogger, not a reporter:

ALBANY, NY – District Attorney P. David Soares today announced that JERMAINE BOYD, 29, of 301 First Street Albany NY. BOYD was sentenced to fifteen years in state prison plus five years of post release supervision by the Honorable Thomas A. Breslin. BOYD had pled guilty to one count of Attempted Manslaughter in the First Degree on April first of this year.

The indictment alleged that on December 8th, 2004, at about 1:34 PM, the defendant fired two rounds from a 12 gauge shotgun. One of the shots struck Emmanuel Albea in the back and killed him.

At the time of his arrest, BOYD claimed that he shot out of anger at the drug dealing that was taking place in front of his house and that he had felt threatened by the drug dealers. District Attorney Soares said, “This sentence shows that my office is actively prosecuting crimes with guns as aggressively as possible. Now Mr. BOYD will be spending the next fifteen years of his life in jail” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Farley represented the People for the Office of the District Attorney.

Friday Fun

Some fun facts about the blog and other odds and ends.

Update: Before you read this you should know that i've gotten two e-mails letting me know that the Metroland circulation is 40,000 . So, I'm only one 40th of the way there. The 13,000 number i tossed out came from one of their ads that said "more than 13,000 Metroland readers will be eating their meals in Capital Region Restaurants at Least Twice". So, Rex Smith has nothing to worry about (other than the complete lack of in depth coverage of local issues) and the Metroland appears to be in good shape, too. But, if I could get one 40th of their advertising revenue and still maintain my staff at its current low levels....anyway perhaps i need to start running music reviews. So, Buy the new System of a Down record. Its folk/protest music for the 21st century. And if you don't like it, enlist. Back to our earlier scheduled programming.

Milestones - A few minutes ago the 1,000th unique visitor showed up for the month. A new record for a month. Those 1,000 visitors have read over 17,000 pages this month. Charles, Ford, you're famous! Now, that may not seem like many people to you, but when you think of how many people vote in a primary in a year with no statewide starts to become significant. And that number should ramp up quite a bit as the elections get closer and perhaps the blog gets some media coverage in some of the other local press. The new site will allow for ads as well. Perhaps some candidates will be interested in getting your attention and helping support the new site? In comparison, I think the Metroland circulation is 13,000 people.

I Know What You Do - One of the fun features I have in my stats reports for the site traffic is what words people use on search engines to find the site. Some of today's words of interest:

"how to run for mayor - Albany, NY "

Hopefully this wasn't one of our current candidates....perhaps someone else is thinking of entering the race? Either way, they ended up at this site which is probably a good place to start.

And then we have some evidence of people already searching for dirt on their opponents:

"ward dewitt lie"

Betty, is that you? And we had such high hopes for a clean campaign. There were some other variations on this search but I'll keep those to myself (for now).

Mayor Jennings WROW

And it wouldn't be friday fun without a WROW update. To start the show Ira called in and called the Working Families Party communists. Ira is funny that way. Jennings didn't take the bait and said he was for unions and working families. Someone else called in and said Fred Dicker read an e-mail on the air that said you could buy drugs on Sheridan Ave. Mayor Jennings said this wasn't true. Anyone want to run a test on that? Thankfully the drugs I use are legal so I buy them at the convenience store but I'm pretty sure I could go start a new habit on Sheridan Ave if I wanted. And then Mayor Jennings talked a lot about the importance of education and our public schools and then revealed this bit of information:

"I think we should eliminate the school board"

I'm not sure that is going to help his relationship with the current board.

Enjoy your weekend. I'll be checking the papers for stories saturday morning since its the ideal time to bury a story on a holiday weekend but other than that it might be a slow news weekend around here.

7th Ward - 5 candidates and Two (2) Primaries!

There are now five people running for Common Council in the 7th Ward. The odd part is that two of them are Republicans. And the Metroland was good enough to ask them all the same questions. If you have some time, its an interesting read (sort of, maybe revealing read is more accurate). It looks like there is a pretty strong correlation between being a regular reader and participant in this blog and being able to answer all the questions. Check out Ford McLain on the Convention Center issue. He mentions the Brookings Report and actually has an opinion other than "good. jobs good." Meanwhile the other Republican candidate (Melinsky) doesn't exactly shine on his questions.

What should the role of the common council be with respect to the Citizens Police Review Board?

Melinsky "At this time I’m not really well versed in that. "

Maybe its just me but if I were running for office and going to be answering questions for a publication that 2 weeks earlier had run a cover story on police accountability (and the glaring lack of it that we have here), I would've expected that question.

And how about Mayor Jennings pick, Brian Scavo?

What should the role of the Common Council be with respect to the Citizens Police Review Board?

"I don’t know enough about that to give an opinion. The police are doing a good job. They could be doing a better job. "

And the Charter Schools answers are similiar. Wasn't there just a city wide (sort of) vote on this issue? I would want a candidate that at least could acknowledge that or discuss the issue. I think some candidates might want to start becoming regular readers around here and read what you people are talking about.

More Charter Schools Approved

One new charter school approved by SUNY. It will be called Henry Johnson but they don't know where they are going to put it. Another charter school is also in the works. Some might say the expansion of this program is a bit hasty as the results aren't in yet on the existing schools. Actually 4 out 5 people would probably say that. Regardless, the experiment continues. To quote the President I think we may be set our selves up for some "catastrophic success".

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Albany - Hotspot?

When in doubt follow the money. Especially when its big money. A NYC investment firm just dropped $38 million for a 390 unit apartment complex in North Greenbush. Why? From the Business Review:

"We are bullish on the Albany marketplace," said Gregory Lyden, a principal in Abacus (they are the buyers)

"Abacus plans cosmetic improvements at the 390-unit apartment complex and is looking for other investments in the Albany, N.Y., area. The company's principals are encouraged by the region's ongoing technology initiatives. "

"What we are seeing in Albany is a quiet transformation from a city which relied primarily upon the public sector for jobs to one which is increasingly gaining high-quality, technology jobs," said Abacus president Benjamin Friedman, in a press release.

For our sake, let's hope they are right.

Goodbee's Opponent Receives Tacit Endorsement of WFP

Looks like Goodbee isn't the pawn of the Working Families Party many in Albany have said he was. Their members met last night and decided not to endorse anyone in the Mayoral race. As usual this news was reported by the Times Union with a big front page headline in the local section that of course doesn't mention Goodbee but mentions Jennings instead which I will once again point out as media bias. With this brand of journalism the recent round of arson in Albany should've been reportedwith the following headline "Buildings Suffer From Lack of Water!".

Anyway, why didn't the WFP endorse Goodbee? According to WFP leader Karan Scharff they want to focus on:

"building a progressive majority on the Common Council and electing an independent treasurer."

So, a new NEW era of Albany politics begins. Can you win a race without the Working Families Party endorsement? Goodbee will try. As will McLain in the seventh. As will some others. And in case anyone is wondering, this blog strongly endorses Goodbee over Jennings.