Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

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

Friday, August 27

Goode says she's a "real Democrat"

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ran into Gail Goode — who is challenging Kirsten Gillibrand for her Senate seat in the Democratic primary — in Congress Park Friday afternoon. She is in town for the weekend and will be shaking hands at the Tom Petty concert Friday and at the Travers Saturday.
"I think it's very important that people know that 45,000 people put me on the ballot," she said, contrasting that with the "one person" — Gov. David Paterson — who put Gillibrand in her seat to replace Hillary Clinton.
"I think it's very important for New Yorkers to know that I'm a real Democrat," Goode said. She takes issue with Gillibrand's stance on gun control, which is not as tough as hers.
"My mother never shot the Thanksgiving turkey," she said, adding that she is "always pro-gun control."
Goode worked as a trial lawyer and as an assistant district attorney in NYC.
Though she is a "born and bred city girl," Goode said she can relate to the issues faced by upstate New Yorkers. She cited her experience working for John Deere in Iowa when she was fresh out of college, owning a house in rural Greenport, Long Island, and her mother's childhood on a farm as putting her in touch with "farm issues."
"I like open, clean air," she said.

— By Emily Donohue

Almost forgot, Goode said she's not much of a gambler, but is looking at the Nick Zito-trained Ice Box in tomorrow's Travers.

Thursday, August 5

Franck on charter petition: "It's out of my hands"

Spoke with Accounts Comm. Franck today about what exactly is happening with the certification of the signatures delivered to the council July 20 by Saratoga Citizen.

He said Albany-based law firm Brown & Weinraub (which is being retained as counsel in the matter at a rate of $200 per hour) has five or six people going through the 1,280 signatures, analysis of which is about half-way completed.

Franck clarified for me the city's deadline to approve or reject the petition, and exactly what Brown & Weinraub are looking at. Basically, when these petitions have been approved in the past detractors sue the City Clerk, AKA Franck. He wants to absolve himself of liability before anyone can even think of filing suit, telling me he only saw the first page of signatures before they were taken by lawyers.

"I want to stay out of that whole process," he said.

"It's not just the signatures," he said, noting what he felt was a misnomer perpetrated at the Aug. 3 meeting when organizers asked the council to act then and there to approve the petition.

"It's the petition, the charter document and whether or not a financial study has to get done."

He referred to New York State Municipal Home Rule Law Sect. 37.11, which states:

11. No such petition for a proposed local law requiring the
expenditure of money shall be certified as sufficient by the city clerk
or become effective for the purposes of this section unless there shall
be submitted, as a part of such proposed local law, a plan to provide
moneys and revenues sufficient to meet such proposed expenditures. This
restriction shall not prevent the submission of a local law to adopt a
new charter or to reorganize the functions of city government, or a part
thereof, relying partly or solely on normal budgetary procedures to
provide the necessary moneys to meet the expenses of city government
under such reorganization, whether or not such reorganization includes
the creation of new offices, provided only that such reorganization
shall not require specific salaries or the expenditure of specific sums
of money not theretofore required.
Pretty dense, I know. Basically the lawyers are figuring out if the petition itself requires a financial study.

"I don't know whether or not they need financials," Franck said, calling the section "confusing". Lawyers are currently going through case law to find out if the group needs a financial statement or study.

"I'm going to go with whatever their recommendations are," Franck said, noting (as he does often) that he is an accountant, not a lawyer.

He has until August 19, 30 days after they brought the signatures forward, to certify the petition. He said he will likely need the entire 30 days, or close to it, based on the pace of the attorneys reviewing the proposal.

On Aug. 19, he will report to the council on what action to take. If he does not certify, Saratoga Citizen has five days to take him to court. If he does certify, the council has 60 days to approve or reject the referendum.

If they do not approve, Saratoga Citizen can present the additional signatures needed to override a council vote, at which point Franck has 20 days to have them certified. If the council sleeps on it for their 60 days allowed and rejects the proposal, election day will have come and gone by the time lawyers get a crack at the next round of signatures.

Franck said that his understanding of the law was that the group would be able to call for a special election if the referendum is left off the November ballot.

"At the end of the day its whatever the people want," he said.

It seems as though the people are going to have to speak up a little louder if they want to see this proposal make it to the ballot in time for November.

Tuesday, August 3

Scott Murphy volunteer meeting RIGHT NOW!

Scott Murphy is holding a volunteers meeting at the Saratoga Springs Public Library on Henry Street for the next half-hour (until 4:30 p.m.).

That's him on the right with the green tie, in case you didn't know.

Monday, August 2

Saratoga Citizen: "The numbers speak for themselves"

Saratoga Citizen organizer Pat Kane dropped in today to give me a heads up on his upcoming comments to the City Council (check Tuesday's edition), and show me a breakdown of the 2,014 residents who have signed the group's petition to put a charter change referendum on November's ballot.

Saratoga Citizen Stats

The *'d numbers show signatures they could not match up to the county voter database on a second pass, mostly due to illegible handwriting, Kane said.

"The numbers speak for themselves," Kane said, noting that he would like to collaborate with the council, but that no one has returned his phone calls.

See you at the council meeting, it should be another good one.

Do these statistics change your position on the charter change proposal?