Why endorse at all? Just let voters decide
I question why a newspaper has to feel it has to “endorse” any candidate. Why can’t it let the citizens of the jurisdiction doing the voting make up their own minds?
The Gazette doesn’t think Schenectady citizens are capable of evaluating and deciding which candidates to vote for based on their evaluation of the qualifications of those running for office?
I think the bias The Gazette has shown towards Mayor Gary McCarthy is atrocious and a slap in the face to the intelligent citizens of Schenectady.
Brush fee was a ploy by Rotterdam Dems
Regarding the brush pickup fee in the town of Rotterdam, I guess the $50 fee is not so bad if you need this service, aside from the fact it wasn’t necessary. But the Democratic administration two years ago needed money for special raises for “some employees.”
They were already at the maximum tax increase under the law, so they proudly said we will avoid the tax cap by using fees to raise money. But some fees for service can’t be mandatory. People must choose. So the town fathers said let’s make it as difficult as possible for people who do not want or need brush pickup at $50.
They had the nerve to force people to fill out a form and get it notarized because they don’t trust the people of Rotterdam. They could have had a simple check-off on the annual tax bill if you wanted to opt-out. This notarized form wasn’t needed; they were just trying to intimidate residents by making it difficult.
In order to serve the people of Rotterdam, the Republicans offered notary service at times when Town Hall was closed. We even tried to use Town Hall on weekends to help people opt-out, but I was told by the Democrats' deputy supervisor, Wayne Calder, “no one cares.”
Now the Democratic candidates realize just how bad this really was to mistreat people this way. So now they oppose what they (Democrats) enacted.
Don’t reward this behavior or it will happen again. Vote row “B,” for “no brush pickup fee.”
Michael E. Donovan
The writer is the assistant chairperson for the Rotterdam Republican Town Committee.
Lorman has the best experience for judge
As local attorneys, we have recently seen political ads for the Amsterdam City Court race published by attorney William Mycek that have disappointed us because they are misleading.
The ads provide statistics related to Mr. Mycek’s criminal and traffic prosecutions being in the thousands, and Judge Lisa Lorman’s criminal/traffic calendar as judge being significantly less in number. This difference, he claims, makes him more experienced.
As attorneys, we can tell you there is a huge difference between a district attorney (Mr. Mycek) pleading down a traffic ticket on paper and a judge presiding over a case, motion or trial. Notably absent from the statistics he offers are the other tasks performed by a city court judge such as: reviewing/executing search warrants and conducting bail hearings — not to mention the vast civil calendar that represents nearly half of the court calendar.
Judge Lorman also presides over civil matters: evictions, consumer credit claims, commercial and small claims, mechanic’s liens and city code violations.
We are disappointed that our colleague would attempt to distort these figures. Here are the facts:
Attorney Mycek was admitted to practice law in 2007. Judge Lisa Lorman was admitted to practice in 1989. This is an 18-year difference in experience. Former City Court Judge Paul Wollman sums this up perfectly: It is the accumulated wisdom that comes with years of legal practice that prepares an attorney to be an effective judge.
We encourage the voters of Amsterdam to look beyond the statistics and focus on the facts. Lisa Lorman is more experienced as an attorney and has been the part-time city court judge since 2008. We have seen Judge Lorman and have been impressed with her work ethic and knowledge, as an adversary/attorney in cases, and have been further impressed with her fairness and impartiality on the bench.
We encourage your support of Judge Lisa Lorman for Amsterdam’s City Court judge.
The letter was also signed by the following attorneys: Mark Kassner, Rachel Rappazzo, Christina Pearson, Lorraine Diamond, Charles Tallent, Kelly Dingman Hoyt, Carol Pollard, Patricia Rodriguez, Richard Weinheimer, and former city court judge Paul L. Wollman.
Hull will do the job that McCarthy hasn’t
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy is not a detail man.
Did anyone notice the placement of the American flag in the picture taken by The Gazette photographer during the press conference to reveal the mayor’s 2016 city budget?
If a politician is going to wrap himself in patriotism, he should do it right.
When the American flag is incorrectly displayed in City Hall, it makes the entire city look foolish. That is not leadership. Mr. McCarthy knows better. Last year, all city officials received a booklet on flag etiquette.
Detail is the difference between half-baked and very good. Mr. McCarthy goes for half-baked. For instance, he spends thousands of dollars on park equipment, but allows the weeds to grow three feet high in the parks’ flower beds.
He signed a new contract with the sanitation workers to go home when their route is finished, even though there is time on the clock and a ring of weeds circles the fire hydrants located on city property.
Currently there are four table-and-bench sets on the grounds of City Hall. All the sets are painted a different color. The assorted colors look out of place on the lawn of a stately historic building. That wouldn’t happen in Colonial Williamsburg.
Controlled spending, it is noted in Mayor McCarthy’s political literature. The city has more debt now than it had four years ago. Taxpayers are paying monthly fees for kiosks and monthly rental fees for equipment to study data on idling trucks.
In the new trade union contracts, the mayor gave $4,000 yearly lifetime bonuses to members with two city income households. He bought hybrid cars and spent $16,000 for plug-in stations. What’s wrong with a Chevy?
He sold the mayor’s car and kept 35 city cars for employees to drive home to wait for emergencies. And of course, the other city council candidates make it all possible — they vote for the spending.
Citizens, please go and vote on Nov. 3 and vote for the candidate who will be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and also represent the city well in the New York State 2015 Constitutional Convention.
Roger Hull holds a law degree and understands the law.
Mary B. McClaine
Joyce, Jurczynski are moving down ahead
Princetown is at a crossroads. We have the opportunity to return to office incumbent town Supervisor Mike Joyce, who, in less than four years in office has significantly cut costs without a loss in services to residents.
He has been the driving force, along with council member Joe Jurczynski, to update and codify our laws in the form of e-Code, and improve communications, accountability and transparency by adding agenda meetings and the annual “State of the Town” to inform residents of the town’s finances.
Both individuals understand the need to secure the town’s computers by updating software and hardware, and the need to be compliant with New York state record keeping laws. Joyce and Jurczynski understand the importance of keeping Princetown rural and voted against allowing warehouses without any controls in the general business district.
Unfortunately for our residents, opponent Bob Myers, with the help of incumbent Lou Esposito, has blocked many improvements put forth. Esposito and Myers, with council member Joseph Gray, blocked or tabled the implementation of e-Code, computer updates in Town Hall, agenda meetings and an updated record retention schedule.
Myers has been a Town Board member for over 10 years, yet has little to show in the way of accomplishments for the residents and he is sorely lacking in the leadership qualities needed to be supervisor.
I prefer that my government remain responsible, accountable and transparent. I believe the best people for these responsibilities are Mike Joyce and his team. Under their leadership, Princetown will be in good hands.
Mary S. Reed
City residents would be better off with Hull
Re Oct. 22 letter by Tom Della Sala, “Schenectady on solid financial ground now”: Mr. Della Sala was a Democratic city council member during 2011 — one of the members who allowed Mayor Gary McCarthy to hold both council president and acting mayor positions, a seeming abuse of power that may have followed the letter but certainly not the spirit of our governmental rules.
Of course, like this year, 2011 was an election year, when truly unusual things happen. Usually, restricted reserve funds are not used to balance the city budget, since they create a misleading picture of the city’s financial health.
However, they were used in 2011 and 2015. Usually, the council majority and the mayor ignore citizens who speak at City Council meetings. In an election year, though, the mayor seems suddenly more attentive to what citizens think.
Mr. Della Sala states in his letter that the city is better off than it was four years ago. But for whom? Not for people who live paycheck to paycheck, or live in blighted neighborhoods and high-crime areas. If you are one of those people, ask yourself if you’ll be better off in four more years if you don’t vote and our current “leadership” is reelected.
In 2011, Roger Hull lost by only 89 votes, with some controversy regarding voting machines at one polling place that might have made a difference in the outcome. In this year’s shenanigans, Mr. Hull is being denied a place on the ballot line to represent the Alliance Party, which he founded, because of an “accidental” error by the Board of Elections (an error that strangely was not made regarding Democratic candidates).
Please take advantage of your privilege to vote on Nov. 3 and to vote based on your own experience of the past four years — whether it has been consistent inaction on your and your neighborhood’s behalf, or the current leadership’s regal disregard for transparency and responsiveness in government.
Vote for a team that will make a difference: Roger Hull for mayor and Vince Riggi, Mike Cuevas, Tom Verret and Ann Rigley for City Council.
Tommasone cares about Rotterdam
I have witnessed the good and bad of local politics and I felt compelled to write my own letter to the editor.
I always hoped that we would get someone who would put Rotterdam first, before political parties and without special interests and state politicians telling them what to do. About 10 years ago, I knew we had that in Town Supervisor Steve Tommasone. I’ve known Steve for about 30 years. He cares deeply for his family, never lets others sway him from what is right, and having lived here his entire lifetime, he wants the best for Rotterdam.
Why vote for him? When Steve was supervisor, the Curry Road Plaza was slated for redevelopment. He lost the election and there it sits the same as it was over five years ago. He was working with town officials on new zoning and updating our town’s comprehensive plan to stop the spot zoning and development which negatively impacts our neighborhoods. He will get back to working on our town planning and zoning and get the regulations revised and modernized.
I know Steve believes in part-time elected government. Steve lowered his salary as supervisor from $16,000 to $13,000. While all around us elected officials raise their own salaries, ask yourself why did he do this? Simply because some Town Board members were asking for pay increases and Steve opposed it.
In summary, Steve wouldn’t do what the party bosses, political analysts, business consultants or state politicians and certain politically involved developers wanted him to do. So they split the vote from him and we’ve had six years of fee increases, no vision for the future, spot zoning, excuses, grandstanding and inaction.
On Election Day, Nov. 3, if you want to get Rotterdam moving forward again, please vote for Steve Tommasone for town supervisor and Samantha Miller-Herrera and Evan Christou for Town Board.
Don’t give McCarthy second term as mayor
Mayor Gary McCarthy doesn’t deserve another four years as mayor because he doesn’t have the taxpayers’ best interest at heart. His failed policies are the primary cause of Schenectady’s plummeting property values. Property taxes in Schenectady are the highest in the Capital Region, and the neighborhoods get little attention because the money goes downtown.
The controlling mayor threatens property owners that if they don’t take care of their properties. He doesn’t want them in Schenectady. He requires permits for repairs that don’t need any, so the assessor can rely on permit records to raise property taxes.
He shut down several bars with the pretext that they were making many calls to the police. While he has been mayor, the city has evicted tenants from foreclosed city-owned properties by shutting city water to the properties and circumventing the court system. He dragged landlords to court for peeling paint and a missing roof shingle, while allowing “zombie” properties owned by banks to decay for years, becoming drug havens in the neighborhoods.
He miserably failed to negotiate an agreement with the developer to pay for casino-made problems. The casino will no doubt increase addictions, poverty and crime and will burden the city’s budget with the costs of infrastructure, extra police, fire, EMS and other supporting personnel.
The planned monstrous 80-foot pylon and casino traffic will negatively impact the neighborhoods, as residents won’t sleep from the flashing lights 24/7 and from traffic noise.
Some real estate agents decline listing city properties and instead advise homeowners wishing to sell to save their property tax money for a few years and walk out when the city forecloses. The mayor is indifferent, and he keeps busy installing sensor-controlled light switches at City Hall, a technology from the '80s that he had never seen in college libraries, with an add-on that can hear your whispers from across the room to satisfy his investigative instinct.
McCarthy has to go before he does more damage.
Mohamed A. Hafez
The writer is a Schenectady landlord.