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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Thursday, July 15

The mayor on charter change and the Dems present the NYS Senate class of 2010

It has been a busy week for charter change advocates group Saratoga Citizen. They kicked off a petition blitz and Tuesday night they presented their proposed charter at a forum set up by the Saratoga Springs Independence Party Committee.

The forum lasted about two hours, 10 minutes of which can be seen below:

This was the first time I've Pat Kane and Brent Wilkes have to go on the full defensive in front of an ornery crowd. Some of the "questions" posed by those who are obviously opposed to any change in city government were rhetorical and rambling at best and worst weren't questions at all.

While he asked some the best questions of the night, committee chairman Gordon Boyd's moderator skills were lacking. I'm not sure why Al Calluci was the only person other than the moderators and the presenters who got to stand in front of the room to speak.

There were some good points raised, like the idea of a full cost-benefit analysis derived from municipalities that have made the change from a commission to a council-manager. I also wonder how many cities have switched away from the commission and brought it back somewhere down the line, a number I'm guessing is quite low considering only 5 or 6 cities still have a commission. A variety of interesting civil service and union issues related to salaries were raised too.

During a Wednesday morning tour of the indoor recreation facility, Mayor Scott Johnson said he shared some of the concerns he had read were raised about the proposed charter and that he had been contacted by some residents who have asked him to form his own charter review commission. He said he was hesitant to form a committee because it would essentially put an end to the referendum proceedings that Saratoga Citizen have undertaken for the last 18 months.

I don't think he'll form a committee, if not for the fact that I think he is confident that voters will once again reject the proposal, then because it would appear to some as if he slapped the faces of grassroots group that has been open to all residents since it's inception. We'll see.

In other video today, this somewhat bizarre clip from the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of candidates (including Joanne Yepsen) talking about all the things they've done in the Senate before they have even been elected.

Maybe there should be some rephrasing here or something because this is confusing. Maybe there was time machine involved in the production.


Anonymous tomllewis said...

Thanks for posting both. Some of the comments were pretty entertaining.

As to the second video, I wonder how many people will believe that they are in fact already elected? Some genius campaign consultant thought that one up.

I also wonder why they would even want to be considered incumbents, in a year when NY State's fiscal house is in such disorder?

July 17, 2010 at 7:21 PM 
Blogger NOW. HERE. THIS. said...


It was good to see you at the Charter meeting, now it's most welcome to see your excellent coverage.

I find the Mayor's position to be an encouraging sign, an indication that we citizens will be granted a fair, open, and independent discussion... a debate with the DISINTERESTED SUPPORT of City Hall.

The "best" PAST EFFORTS have been biased/tainted/poisoned by the BIASED "BLESSING" of City Hall. Any committee appointed by the Council/Mayor has a stigma attached from the word GO.

Then there were the most RECENT RUSH-JOB which was affixed to political candidates as an afterthought. And that STRONG MAYOR tomfoolery would have made Stalin look like Sister Theresa.

I'm fervently independent in this debate ask for NOTHING MORE than a well-moderated non-rushed civil debate.

I do not want the public silenced as they were in the recent "Paid Parking" debate, where the ONE Public Hearing was canceled by one decision of one Council member.

I do not want the public shut out as they were in the recent "Dirt-filled Skatebowl" fiasco, where a unique public rec facility was rendered useless by one decision of one Council Member.

Nor do I want the city's future to be stopped cold in it's tracks as it was when a recent "Budget Vote" left the electorate robbed of representation when one Council Member walked out of a City Council meeting... marching at the tail end of a parade of "his" union.

I look forward to a forum for all voices, where the FORM of government will matter, not the FACES of government. The Council CAN and SHOULD endorse the discussion... and then each may weigh in with their opinion. Or not.

Just like the rest of us concerned residents, burdened taxpayers, and independent thinkers.

-Kyle York
We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident

July 18, 2010 at 10:58 PM 

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