Planning commissioners must have gumption
Thank you very much for your Sept. 11 editorial, “End secrecy over casino sign review.”
Faced with a structure wider and twice as tall as the famous GE logo, the Planning Commission has a duty to decide on its size, location and design in a manner fully open to the public. But the outcome of that process is unlikely to protect our residents and city, or fulfill the requirements of an effective site plan review, if the nine Planning commissioners have not armed themselves with the information and courage needed to make a careful and independent decision, rather than merely applying a rubber stamp with no true deliberation.
No amount of sharing of documents, nor of time spent talking before the public in an open meeting, will fulfill the obligations of the Planning Commission when:
They have not demanded information crucial to understand the effects of the proposed pylon sign structure on residential areas, on traffic and pedestrian safety, and on the city’s skyline. Such information includes a detailed rendition of the actual V-shaped pylon structure Rush Street says it will build (meaning two monolithic wings, each having a 32-foot tall LCD screen aimed at traffic), with a perspective showing the pylon in relation to Nott Street, Front Street and Erie Boulevard; and a Visual Impact Analysis testing the applicant’s claim that the towering, brightly illuminated structure will not disturb traffic or residential areas.
They do not ask the most obvious of questions when confronted with the baseless claims and excuses of the applicant, nor discuss alternative locations, or issues raised by the public.
Mayor Gary McCarthy, Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen, and the casino spokesmen treat the commissioners like ventriloquist dummies. What we need are commissioners who will not be silent or have words put in their mouths, but who will at the very least act with the common sense and gumption of that other McCarthy — Charlie. Better yet, they must stand up and insist on transparently doing the job they are obligated to do under the Zoning Code.
For more, please see http://tinyurl.com/pylonposting.
The writer is editor for StopTheSchenectadyCasino.com.
Let’s hear from the mayoral candidates
With less than two months to go before the Schenectady mayoral election, voters have heard surprisingly little from the candidates on the issues. A few token signs and banners dot businesses and lawns but are the candidates actually campaigning?
Mayor Gary McCarthy is facing Roger Hull again and potentially two formidable write-in candidates: Chris Gibbs and a dog named Diamond. As an aside, this being Schenectady, it is only fitting that a dog should be a mayoral candidate, following in the paw prints of a cat named Roger in 2011. But where have the candidates been in this important race?
While Schenectady has made strides in recent years in attracting businesses and improving downtown, it is still beset by troubling problems. Violent crime is at unacceptable levels, the streets are awash in illegal guns, the drug problem, especially heroin, is significant and job opportunities for the city’s youth are scant. The city’s roads and sidewalks are in abysmal condition and Mayor McPothole’s administration is merely treading water on repairing and upgrading its infrastructure. The housing stock is crumbling and quality, affordable housing is in scarce supply.
There has been a woeful lack of investment in city parks and only in 2016 will the city see a substantial capital improvement thanks to Assemblyman Phil Steck’s $1 million pork barrel election year gift to the mayor. And does anyone seriously think the casino is going to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that will turn Schenectady around?
The candidates need to be telling city residents how they intend to address these issues if elected. Roger Hull needs to start talking about what his plans are for the city and how his views of the future of Schenectady differ from those of the incumbent. Hull is running against a mayor who was quoted in August talking about turning around Hamilton Hill, “You can’t rely on city government because they have been ineffective.” Hull could have scarcely dreamed up a better campaign theme. If only we would hear from him.
The next four years are too important to this city for the candidates to be staying silent and waiting until the October debate. Start the dialogue already.
$80k salary should be enough to live on
Re Sept. 14 AP article, “New York legislator gets jail for false expense claims”: I’m writing to ask a question of William Scarborough. During the news coverage of his conviction for grand larceny at both the state and federal levels, he apologized for his crimes and said he stole money because he couldn’t live on the salary he earned as a New York State assemblyman. The reporter and his attorney both said he made only $80,000 per year and it was his only place of employment and source of income.
I believe he needs a reality check. There are many, many people (myself included) who earn a great deal less than that and we are making it. Maybe we don’t live like kings and queens in the large homes in the stately settings, we don’t have new cars that get eight miles to the gallon, we don’t get to eat steak or lobster and we don’t wear designer clothes, but we have families, pay our bills, educate our children, etc.
Here’s my question: Why couldn’t he? Simple question but I’ll bet he can’t answer it.
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