SCHENECTADY — The latest Democratic contender in the race for Schenectady City Council wants to end parking tickets.
Orlondo Hundley, 25, grew uneasy with the system more than a year ago after an 80-year-old friend, frequently attending medical appointments, had his car impounded close to home as a result of unpaid citations. He believes vehicles should still be towed for obstructing fire hydrants and property.
“It’s an observation that I’m making and if people agree, which I do think they do … I don’t think anyone’s going to argue for parking tickets, that’s just that’s just the place I happen to find myself,” Hundley said.
Vehicles with $300 or more in outstanding fines can be subject to impoundment. The city of Schenectady this year projects to generate about $50,000 from towing surcharges and $30,000 from the impound lot.
City police in February identified $900,000 in unpaid parking tickets.
“I think the residents of Schenectady should be able to park in their city and I think the people who are visiting this city should not be afraid,” said the political neophyte, who joined the race in late February.
Eliminating parking tickets is a non-starter for GOP mayoral candidate Matt Nelligan and Mayor Gary McCarthy. The three-term incumbent considers such a system is optimal incentivizing motorists to turn over parking spaces.
Democratic mayoral challenger Marion Porterfield said that she would have to directly hear Hundley’s views before making a judgment call.
Hundley is no stranger to electoral politics. The Schenectady County Community College student worked on Justin Chaires’ Democratic primary campaign against Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and canvassed two years ago for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential bid.
While championing progressive causes such as universal daycare and post-incarceration protections, the newcomer boasts an independent streak. Lowering taxes and bolstering school mentorship opportunities are among tenets of his “fresh start” political agenda. He also believes the city is being bought out by wealthy developers.
“I’m willing to work with anyone who’s willing to work with me,” Hundley said.
Currently unaffiliated with any of the council candidates, Hundley tentatively plans to steer clear of endorsing any other candidates as he surveys his “best path” to a council seat.
Four council seats are up for grabs. City party-endorsed contenders Doreen Ditoro, Carmel Patrick, Carl Williams and Joe Mancini have been the only candidates in the race since neighborhood leader Marva Isaacs dropped out in early February.
For about two years, the council has been the subject of kabuki theatre between ideological factions. Hundley, who would be the youngest of the board if elected, believes that local news outlets are devoting too much attention to the hullabaloo.
“There are so many more important things and it really hurts my heart that every day this is what they’re centering as the issue,” Hundley said.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected]. Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.