Sunday, October 4, 2015

T-Spin has moved

The T-Spin staff has packed up and moved over to
It's a full service website offering the latest in local, state and national news.
And yes, T-Spin will still appear under the "opinion" section of the website and you will be able to read about the goings on from the Capital District. Interaction is encouraged and you can still comment on the stories.
So, check out the new site at


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Two cops shot in Troy

TROY – Two police officers were shot near the intersection of 112th Street and Fifth Ave. at about 10:45 Saturday.
One suspect was shot dead.
The two police officers, Josh Camitale and Chad Klein, were taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Camitale was shot in the leg while Kelin was shot in the shoulder area. A vest partially protected him. 

The suspect was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital. It's unclear if he died at the scene or at the hospital.

The officers were responding to a car-jacking when they came under fire. 

Troy police were assisted by agencies from around the Capital Region including Albany, Watervliet, Cohoes, the State Police and the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Department as well as officers from Troy Housing Authority.

More information as it becomes available.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RIP Jeff Couch

One of the first times I worked with photographer Jeff Couch was on a Christmas Day when I was a newer reporter at The Record.
I walked into the empty newsroom – weekends and holidays were the thinnest of skeleton crews with only one reporter and one photographer on until the copy desk came in later in the evening. He was in the photographers’ cubby hole staring at a computer and didn’t bother turning around when I walked in, even though he must has heard the back door slam shut as it always did.
“Merry Christmas Jeff,” I hollered through the large, rectangle windowless window into the photographers’ on the way to my desk.”
“Fuck Christmas,” he said in a matter of fact manner without a hint of malevolence.
Right then I knew Jeff wasn’t exactly a people person. Actually, I thought he was kind of an asshole. And I was right on both counts. He readily admitted it most times. The asshole part I mean. And he didn’t care. He wasn’t known to put airs on for anyone or anything at any time.
Yep, Jeff was about as warm and fuzzy as the grizzly bear he resembled. He wasn't really an asshole, though, he just like to play one.
One thing I did later learn about him was while he might not have liked Christmas Day too much, his Christmas had already come and gone by playing Santa Claus for little kids during the Victorian Stroll.
He was actually kind of funny to watch. The grizzly bear turned into a puppy dog when he donned the red suit. I would bust his chops about how he cooed and kidded with the kids to get them to smile for the camera, and he while I expected the grizzly glare, he would just smile like one of the kids into the camera and say “fuck you, its fun.”
We had kind of a bond, I guess. I was from the mill town of Gloversville and he was from the mill town of Cohoes. We both tried to be tougher than we actually were and we played off it. It was always fun busting chops with Couch and more fun still teaming up with Jeff to bust the chops of others. At this point in time, I don’t recall anyone or any subject that was off limits.
I remember when his front tooth cracked off. He came over to my desk cursing up a storm and then seemed to think about the fact he didn’t have any money, or desire, to go to a dentist and said: “well, now I guess I can never leave Cohoes.” He walked away with a belly laugh knowing he stole my line.
He was like that about everything. Give him an assignment and he would bitch up a storm about it - but get the shot. Give him a dozen assignments on any Saturday or Sunday or holiday and he would bitch about it for hours – but get all the shots.
Plus some if there was a fire.
I’m pretty sure the guy slept with a scanner next to his bed, or his recliner, or wherever he laid his head at night. And if there was a fire, one thing as sure as that fire was hot to touch, we would have a Couch shot on the front page. He had a knack for getting fire shots, and nothing got his blood pumping like a good old-fashioned Cohoes fire.
It helps he knew all the firefighters and they gave him some special privileges – and some inside info too. I used to love covering fires with Jeff. I didn’t have to do much work, but it was still fun because we, more often than not, got some piece of the story nobody else had even a chance of getting.
He did take his job seriously. Even if he did bitch about it. I remember sending him to cover an event in Cohoes where Assemblyman Ron Canestrari was the guest speaker. Now, anyone who knows Jeff knows he didn’t like Canestrari. I never knew why for sure – it could have been something to do with his mother or the fact Canestrari didn’t hire him as a firefighter - but I know the beef went back at least a couple decades. I know of nobody who could hold a grudge like Jeff. Anyway, after he processed his photos he put five or six prints on my desk and not one of them had Canestrari in them. I said something like “uhmmm, Jeff we need a photo with Canestrari.”
“Well, I ain’t got any,” he said and walked away.
We had a few more words that included a bit of swearing and name calling and I went for a walk to cool off. When I got back, there was a print with Canestrari on my desk.
He took his job much more seriously than his health. And this he readily admitted and I’m sure, near the end, accepted. He smoked too much, did more than his share of drinking and if he had more than two pieces of a fruit or a vegetable twice in at least a decade it was a lot. And forget about any type of physical activity.
I remember visiting him at Sunnyview where he was re-habbing from his first stroke a couple years ago. I walked into the room, he smiled said hi and the next words out of his mouth were “do you have any smokes.”
While pushing his wheelchair outside, my conscience dictated I ask him if this was a good idea. He said “probably not,” and added with urgency “and don’t tell Jimmy.”
Jimmy is, of course, Jimmy JS Carras, who along with Tom Killips and Mike McMahon and Couch made up the best photography crew any reader of any newspaper could possibly hope for.
Change is the only constant, though, and none of those fine newsmen are there any longer. Neither am I. But, for a while, it was a great place to work and one reason was the miserable, hairy, grizzly bear/puppy dog of a man named Jeff Couch.



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Challenge to Everett's petitions headed to court

TROY - Council President Rodney Wiltshire is challenging the petitions of mayoral hopeful Earnest Everett in court.
Three candidates turned in more than the required 402 signatures to get on the ballot – Wiltshire, Everett and Patrick Madden.
Wiltshire turned in the most signatures with 1,261, Madden, who is not enrolled in any party but is the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate filed 1,107 while Everett filed 855.
But, Russell Ziemba, a Democrat and former Council candidate filed specific objections to 508 of Everett’s signatures based on the belief they from people not enrolled in any party, enrolled in a party other than Democratic or enrolled as a Democrat but living outside of Troy. The case is expected to be in court next week.
The first step in the scrutiny of the signatures are by the commissioners at the Board of Elections – Democrat Ed McDonough and Republican Larry Bugbee. While Bugbee bounced many of the signatures McDonough ruled they were valid so now a judge will determine if each of Ziemba’s specific objections are valid.
 "It's disrespectful to me and my team and it's disrespectful to the people supporting me," Everett told the Times Union.
Everett did draw the first ballot position in the primary should his withstand the challenge to his petitions. Wiltshire will appear second and Madden third.
While the objections are technically filed by Ziemba, it comes from the Wiltshire camp. It’s widely believed Everett will syphon votes from Wiltshire should there be a three-way primary. Both Wiltshire and Everett are black, for starters, and they are both running against the established Democratic Party.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

AG charges RensCo CO Rogers with four felonies

Kevin Rogers, the Rensselaer County corrections officer who was sitting home making a full paycheck for four-plus years, is now facing criminal charges for improperly spending union funds, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
According to the complaint (see below), Rogers, as vice president and treasurer of the now defunct Sheriff’s Employees Association of Rensselaer County, spent more than $3,000 of the union’s money on strip clubs, restaurants and ring-side seats for boxing matches. Mark Piche, now a former CO, was president of the union. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to paying workers off the books at his family’s restaurant, the Red Front, which equates to tax evasion and resigned his position at the jail.
Now that formal criminal charges are filed, Rogers, who was making his $75,000-plus salary since 2011 when he was suspended by Sheriff Jack Mahar, is now off the payroll for 30 days. He will then return to the payroll while the criminal case winds its way through the court system.
At that time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, through the FBI, began an investigation but issued an unprecedented letter to Rogers in December, 2014 exonerating him of all criminality. But, the letter did indicate any and all information was passed on to the AG’s office.
“Those who hold positions of trust must be held to the highest standards of professional conduct,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “We take allegations of misuse of funds contributed by dues-paying union members very seriously. Cases like this represent a betrayal of both the union’s members and its mission.”
According to the complaint – charging Rogers with four felonies including two counts of grand larceny and two counts related to forging a union check – there are three witnesses. Witness 1 told Witness 2 that he saw Rogers use the union debit card at a strip club. Witness 2 told authorities he reviewed the books and saw that Rogers did use the debit card to pay for personnel expenses unrelated to union activity.
The third witness told authorities that Pugnacious Promotions, a company that promotes local boxers and boxing matches, sponsored an event in July, 2010 and on Feb. 3, 2011. For the first, Witness 2 told authorities Rogers cut a union check for $1,200, the price of a ring-side seat. For the second, he was given a union check for $400 but altered it to $600, again the price of a ring-side seat. The complaint states other union members did not know about the expenditure and were not given the opportunity to see the fight.
  Rogers, I’m told by reliable sources, turned down a plea deal offered by the feds and I’m told now he won’t accept a plea deal now – should one be offered. But, the feds didn’t formally charge him so he might feel the pressure more to plea out and avoid jail time.
But, if the case does go to trial, it could be a year or two out and Rogers will be back on the payroll after 30 days so that could be an incentive for him to drag his feet too.
Rogers also filed a civil suit against Mahar and Rensselaer County accusing the sheriff and staffers of improperly accessing his medical records. That is still pending.
As far as the witnesses go, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who they are.
Witness 1, I’m willing to bet, is Piche. He was under the federal eye along with Rogers but pled to tax evasion and got a slap on the wrist. It’s long been known that part of that plea was to testify against Rogers. The two were president and vice president and were hang out buddies – and were known to hit the strip clubs and restaurants.
Witness 2, has to be Christopher Fumarola since he was never under any suspicion and had access to the union’s books. So did the authorities, I suppose, but they need someone to tell them – and any potential jury – what the numbers actually mean.
The third is obviously someone involved with Pugnacious Promotions.
The bottom line is did Rogers, who was duly elected by the union membership, have the authority to spend union money as he saw fit? And, even if he did have that authority, did he overstep that responsibility and use union funds for his personnel benefit.
I guess that’s what jury trials are for.  
Whatever the answer or the outcome, I hope someone does something to stop paying him for sitting home.   


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

And then there were 29 (UPDATED: And it's back to 30)

It appears the Republicans do have a candidate to run in the heavily Democratic District 4. Joe Navarra will run against incumbent Bob Doherty (of the Wiltshire camp) and Barbara Jones Higbee (of the Wade camp.) So the number of candidates is back up to 30.

The astounding number of candidates, 30, running for a limited number of open seats in Troy, 10, has shrunk by one.
Pamela Troue, who was running in District 2 with what is commonly known as the “Wade Democrats,” or the slate headed up by mayoral candidate Patrick Madden and supported by Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade, has opted to drop out.
That leaves incumbent Councilwoman Anastasia Robertson, who is solidly with the “Wiltshire Democrats,” or the slate headed up by mayoral candidate and council President Rodney Wiltshire, to square off against Mark McGrath, who is running with the Republicans for the seat he was term limited out of about 18 months ago.
Troue is caring for her ailing mother and said a run for council is too much of a commitment at this point in time.
With petitions due no later than July 9, here is a list of candidates and their respective teams. That list could change dramatically depending on whether or not the candidates get enough signatures to get on the ballot.
Wade Democrats (or those endorsed by the Democratic Party Committee proper, with party enrollment next to their name)
Mayor:         Patrick Madden (not enrolled)
At Large:      Erin Sullivan-Teta (I)
                       Carol Weaver (D)
                       Cary Dresher (D)
District 1:     Laurie Ryan (D)
District 2:    
District 3:     Charlie Clifford (I)
District 4:     Barbara Jones Higbee (D)
District 5:     Lynn Kopka (D)
District 6:     Wayne D’Arcy (D)

Wiltshire Democrats (or those endorsed by the Working Families Party with their enrollment next to their name)
Mayor:         Rodney Wiltshire (D)
At Large:      Peggy Kownack (D)
                       Anasha Cummings (D)
                       David Martin (not enrolled)
District 1:     Jessica Ashley (G)
District 2:     Anastasia Robertson (D)
District 3:    
District 4:     Bob Doherty (D)
District 5:     David Bissember (D)
District 6:     Corey Jenkins (D)

Those endorsed by the Republicans:
Mayor:         Jim Gordon
At Large:      Carmella Mantello
                       Kim McPherson
                       Andrea Daley
District 1:     Jim Gulli
District 2:     Mark McGrath (C)
District 3:     Dean Bodnar
District 4:    
District 5:     Tom Casey
District 6:     John Donohue

Those not endorsed by anyone
Mayor:         Ernest Everett (A Democrat)
                       Jack Cox Jr. (Revolution Party)


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

(UPDATED) THA Commissioner Paul Moses arrested for welfare fraud

Paul Moses, a tenant commissioner on the Troy Housing Authority Board of Directors, was arrested this morning on three felonies related to not reporting income and collecting social services benefits.
After an investigation headed up by the state Inspector General’s Office with assistance from the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department and the THA, Moses was arrested at Bradley’s Tavern, a bar on Fourth Street where he worked off the books.
He faces the felonies of welfare fraud, grand larceny and filing false instruments. According to sources, Moses, 58, was on Medicaid, which is health care reserved for only the income eligible, food stamps and he lives in the Taylor Apartments of the THA, where rent is based on reported income and is often subsidized by the federal government.
His future as a tenant commissioner on the THA board is uncertain as is his eligibility to continue living at the THA. Tennant commissioners are elected by THA residents and serve two-year terms. The other five members of the board serve five-year terms and are appointed by the mayor.
If it is proven that Moses was working under the table at Bradley’s, the bar owner could be in trouble too for things like tax evasion. Sources say the owner is cooperating with the investigation, which is ongoing.

Here is a link to the Inspector General's press release.

According to Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, Moses allegedly defrauded the state out of nearly $50,000 over a nine year period. According to her welfare fraud investigators, he allegedly accepted some $8,730 in food stamps rom 2009 to 2015 and $40,842 in rental subsidies from 2006 to 2015. On both applications he claimed he was not making an income.

"Food stamps and rental subsidies are not meant to fraudulently enhance the quality of life for a corrupt housing representative," Leahy Scott said in a release.

Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove said: "People who feel they have a right to defraud the welfare system in our county will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
More information as it becomes available.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dems pick slate in Troy; 30 candidates now running for 10 seats

The Democrats endorsed their slate of candidates Saturday, bringing the total number running for the 10 open seats in the City of Troy to 30.
Yes, you read that right – 30 candidates running for 10 seats.
It will make for a crazy election season even by #troycrazy standards. And that is saying something. Politics has been a full contact Collar City sport dating to at least the 1870s and Bartholomew “Bat” Shea.
In addition to making things a whole lot of fun – and giving me something to write about – it’s refreshing. We live in an era where just 50 percent of the people eligible to vote actually exercise that war-given right, and there are far fewer taking an active role in their community or their government. And whoever does get elected won’t have an easy go of things. The budget is a mess, unions are screaming for contracts, infrastructure is crumbling and let’s not forget the federal probe going on right now.   
And yet, 30 people step up to the plate.
Like them, hate them, tolerate them or never heard of them until now … hats off to the 30 people listed below.
Since the Dems were the latest to endorse I’ll start with them. According to Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade, the endorsed candidates were unanimous – with the exception of District 4 - in that only they were nominated.
Topping the ticket is, of course, Patrick Madden, who the party picked to replace outgoing mayor Lou Rosamilia. As it stands now – provided everyone gets enough signatures after petitioning begins on Tuesday - he first have to get by a primary with fellow Democrats Council President Rodney Wiltshire and newcomer Earnest Everett.
As an aside, the Democrats are not running a candidate for sheriff, Wade said during an appearance on Talk 1300, while the Republicans have three candidates vying for the spot: Pat Russo, Scott Ryan and Bob Ashe.

Those endorsed by the Democrats on Saturday

Mayor:         Patrick Madden

At Large:      Erin Sullivan-Teta

                       Carol Weaver

                       Cary Dresher

District 1:     Laurie Ryan

District 2:     Pamela Troue

District 3:     Charlie Clifford

District 4:     Barbara Jones Higbee

District 5:     Lynn Kopka

District 6:     Wayne D’Arcy

Those endorsed by the Working Families Party (with their party enrollment next to their name)

Mayor:         Rodney Wiltshire (D)

At Large:      Peggy Kownack (D)

                       Anasha Cummings (D)

                       David Martin (blank)

District 1:     Jessica Ashley (G)

District 2:     Anastasia Robertson (D)

District 3:    

District 4:     Bob Doherty (D)

District 5:     David Bissember (D)

District 6:     Corey Jenkins (D)

Those endorsed by the Republicans:

Mayor:         Jim Gordon

At Large:      Carmella Mantello

                       Kim McPherson

                       Andrea Daley

District 1:     Jim Gulli

District 2:     Mark McGrath

District 3:     Dean Bodnar

District 4:    

District 5:     Tom Casey

District 6:     John Donohue

Those not endorsed by anyone:

Mayor:         Ernest Everett (A Democrat)

                       Jack Cox Jr. (Revolution Party)

Here is a breakdown of the likely major and minor party primaries. Get your score card out because you’re going to need it. While the September primary is going to be as confusing as it is interesting, the results, regardless of what they are, could leave nearly all 30 candidates on the ballot come November.


Patrick Madden, the longtime head of the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, received the Democratic Party endorsement and will make an official announcement Monday. Council President Rodney Wiltshire did interview with the screening committee, and was at the committee meeting Saturday, but did not nominate himself. He is though, unlike Madden, an enrolled Democrat and is gearing up to primary Madden. Wiltshire also received the Working Families Party endorsement so he will be on the ballot in November regardless of September’s primary results.

Ernest Everett, also a Democrat, is a newcomer and provided he gets on the ballot he will likely siphon votes from Wiltshire in September’s primary. Jack Cox Jr., who tried to run four years ago but was bounced off the ballot, said he is going gather petitions to start his own party, the Revolution Party. 

Waiting in the wings as the Dems battle it out is Councilman Jim Gordon, the Republican nominee.


They may as well take all nine candidates, put them in a cage and let them have at it. For starters, Sullivan-Teta is the only incumbent. The enrolled Independence Party member has permission to run in the Democratic Party primary. Her running mates, Cary Dresher and Carol Weaver are both enrolled Democrats and making their first run at office.

Peggy Knowack and Anasha Cummings are enrolled Democrats so they can, and will, run a primary for the Democratic Party nod. Martin isn’t enrolled in a party and will not be able to run in the primary. All three, though, were endorsed by the WFP.

On the Republican side, Carmella Mantello, who toyed with the idea of running for mayor, Kim McPherson and Andrea Daley, have Republican Party support and will all get a Wilson Pakula – the party’s permission – from the Independence and Conservative parties. But, expect Sullivan-Teta to also get Independence Party signatures so there will be a four-way primary for the three seats on that line.

(Just as a brush up for those who may not know: To run in a primary, you either have to be an enrolled member of that particular party or get the party’s permission, known as a Wilson Pakula. Either way, a candidate must get the required number of signatures. Another way to enter into a primary is an opportunity to ballot and that means a candidate has to get enough signatures to open the ballot up to a write in and anyone enrolled in that party can write in anyone’s name. It’s a difficult, nearly impossible, way to go about it.)


Incumbent Jim Gordon is running for mayor and the Republicans picked Jim Gulli to run in his spot. He will also have the Independence and Conservative party lines. Jessica Ashley is enrolled in the Green Party and has the Working Families Party nomination. Laurie Ryan was nominated by the Democrats Saturday.


Incumbent Anastasia Robertson interviewed with the Democratic Party Screening Committee but the nomination went to Pamela Troue.  Robertson, however, is an enrolled Democrat so she will run a primary for that line and already has the Working Families Party support. Waiting in the wings is Mark McGrath, an enrolled Conservative who has GOP and Independence Party support.


Incumbent Republican Dean Bodnar will have that party’s blessing as well as the Conservative and Independence Party lines. The Democrats nominated Charlie Gifford, an Independence Party member who will likely primary Bodnar for that line. The Working Families Party did not endorse anyone.


Bob Doherty, the Democratic Party incumbent, will face a primary by Barbara Jones Higbee. Doherty will also have the WFP line and be on the ballot in November regardless of how he fares in the primary.


Lynn Kopka, who currently serves At Large, received the Democratic Party endorsement but David Bissember, also a Democrat, will primary Kopka. Tom Casey will have the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines. The seat is open because Councilman Ken Zalewski is term limited out.


The Democrats endorsed Wayne D’Arcy but the WFP endorsed Democrat Corey Jenkins while John Donohue will run on the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines. The seat is open because Councilman Gary Galuski is term limited out.




Friday, May 22, 2015

Mantello will run At Large

Carmella Mantello is out of the race she was never officially in.
But, rather than run for mayor, the three-term councilwoman will take a shot at an At-Large seat on the Troy City Council.
If she did follow through and make a third attempt at mayor, something she has hinted at for months, she would have had to first primary the Republican nominee Jim Gordon, a Republican representing District 1.
And even if she managed to get by Gordon in the Republican primary, she would not have had the Conservative or Independence party lines without waging much more difficult write-in primaries for those two minor party lines. The two combined can make up 15 percent of the general election vote and it is nearly impossible for a Republican to win without them given that Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the Collar City.
While gearing up for a mayoral run, Mantello did her share of bashing Gordon. The decision to run for an At Large seat, though, has forced her to change her tune. In a press release announcing her intention, she said she have Gordon’s support as well as that of city GOP Chairman Mark Wojcik.
“I am looking forward to a “Partnership for Progress” with Jim and the Whole Republican ticket that will move our city forward in a constructive and comprehensive manner,” Mantello said in a statement.
Two years ago Mantello came in fourth by a narrow margin. She contested the election results and there are still questions as to whether she was edged out by Councilwoman Lynn Kopka, D-At-Large or not for the third and final At-Large spot.
Republican County Chairman Tom Wade, in an email to party members, called her the “strongest” At-Large candidate the GOP has this year, albeit with a hint of sarcasm.
“She is a three-time defeated candidate for citywide office and not a major threat to our campaign but will be the strongest in a field of weak Republican candidates,” Wade said in the email. “We can beat her again in her fourth try.”
Mantello will join Andrea Daley to run At-Large. The party is looking for a third. Last week former Times Union editor Bill Dowd said health reasons forced him out of his own race for an At-Large seat.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The WFP, the GOP, Wiltshire and Gordon

Guess I better get caught up on what is turning out to be a wild year in the City of Troy.
-As expected, Councilman Jim Gordon, R-District 1, got the GOP Selection Committee’s nod. That recommendation now goes to the full committee, which is also expected to approve his nomination. If recent history is any indication, he will also have the Conservative and Independence Party lines.
-The Working Families Party is holding a press conference Monday (May 4) to announce at least a partial slate of candidates. As expected Council President Rodney Wiltshire, D-At Large, will head up the ticket. Other incumbents include, as expected, Democrats Anastasia Robertson in District 2 and Bob Doherty in District 4.
Also slated to speak at the press conference at the top of The Approach is Peggy Kownack, A Democrat running for an At Large seat. Anasha Cummings, who had one of the corniest press conferences in recent memory to announce his bid for an At Large seat, is not listed as a speaker but he was out of town and is expected to run with WFP support.
Others in this year’s lineup include District 1 candidate Jessica Ashley, who served on the Council in the early 2000s and who ran in 2013 on the Green Party line, and District 5 candidate David Bissember.
The WFP is going to be a major player. If the status quo holds true there will be a three-way primary for the all-powerful Democratic Party line with Patrick Madden getting the party proper support (that of Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade and company) and newcomer Ernest Everett also running.
That means even if Wiltshire loses the primary he will still be the WFP candidate on the general election ballot in November. If Wiltshire wins the primary, however, it could be the end of the Democratic Party hierarchy as we know it.
-The same could apply for the GOP with Carmella Mantello all but announcing her candidacy for mayor. She said she is starting her own line – Keep Term Limits in Place – so if she loses to Gordon in the primary she will be on the ballot. If she beats Gordon, he will still have the I and C lines and still be on the ballot.
-While it doesn’t seem likely any candidate would wage a serious run on the I or C minor party lines the WFP can and have rallied the troops and could use Wiltshire’s campaign to make their every increasing influence all the more significant.
-The Wade Democrats will likely not endorse Doherty in 4 or Robertson in 2 and it’s still unclear who they have to run for those seats.
-Incumbent At Large Councilwomen Lynn Kopka and Erin Sullivan-Teta – both Wade Dems – have not announced their intentions but it would be surprising if they don’t run again. Especially given this year’s wild dynamics and the fact they are loyal to a party that needs them.
-Former Councilman Mark McGrath announced he is running for his old seat in District 2 and the enrolled Conservative will get the Wilson Pakula from the GOP. It’s not clear if the Wade Dems will challenge Robertson or not.
-Gordon can’t run for his District seat and for mayor and the neither Wade Dems, the Wiltshire Dems nor the GOP have not announced a candidate in District 1.
-Republican Dean Bodnar is running for his fourth and final term and the Dems – both Wade and Wiltshire camps – haven’t said anything about any opposition at this point in time.
-The Wade Dems will likely find someone to run against Doherty in 4.
-The GOP will find someone to run in 5 and the Wade Dems might too.
-District 6 is wide open.
-One more thing … word is Madden might be getting cold feet and who can blame him. Politics has always been called a “blood sport” in Rensselaer County and this year the metaphor could cross the line into the literal. And, the surviving candidates will have to deal with a multi-million deficit, six unions without contracts, likely indictments from a grand jury and that’s including all the other stuff like a crumbling infrastructure, racial tension, crime, arsonists, an eclectic electorate with a host of different needs --- and as sure summer is here now winter will come back and some pipes will surely freeze.
The smartest guy of the whole lot is Mayor Lou Rosamilia who opted to not run again.   

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mark McGrath is running for his old seat


Mark McGrath, the spirited eight-year former councilman from District 2 who was term limited out two years ago, is running for his old seat.
“It’s been difficult watching the Council and the administration become the focal point of failure and ridicule around the Capital District,” he said when asked why he was running again. “People are disgusted.”
McGrath interviewed with the Republican Party Selection Committee Monday night. The enrolled Conservative Party member needs the GOP’s permission to run on their line as he did in each of his four successful elections.
The incumbent, Anastasia Roberston, a Democrat, has not announced her intention to run again but she is stepping up her public appearances by holding marches in response to the recent shootings in her neighborhood.
Although Robertson ran with Democratic Party support two years ago, she has since aligned herself with Council President Rodney Wiltshire, who is running for mayor. Wiltshire has been at odds with the Democratic Party proper, namely Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade.
Wiltshire did interview in front of the party’s Selection Committee, but that body picked Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement District Executive Director Patrick Madden. Wiltshire, though, has said he will take his case to the full committee in hopes of getting their support and has vowed to run regardless of that committee’s decision.
That’s the long way of saying Robertson will likely not get the Democratic Party support should she opt to run again in District 2.
Two mayoral hopefuls, former Councilwoman Carmella Mantello and Councilman Jim Gordon, R-District 1, also interviewed in front of the Republican Selection Committee Monday. McGrath had also toyed with running for mayor but the GOP would not give him the Wilson Pakula - the party's permission - to run on its line.
All nine Council seats are up this year with Districts 5 and 6 being vacant as their respective represenatives – Ken Zalewski and Gary Galuski – are term limited out. Wiltshire’s vacated his At Large seat to run for mayor and should Gordon pursue his mayoral aspiration his District 1 seat will be vacant as well.     

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Democratic Committee selects Patrick Madden for mayor

The Troy Democratic Party Selection Committee is expected to announce it is recommending Patrick Madden, the long-time executive director at the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, for mayor either later today or tomorrow.
The recommendation will now go to the full committee for a formal vote. The full committee could accept Selection Committee’s recommendation but could vote for someone else who interviewed or someone else altogether. A break from the Selection Committee, however, is unusual and would require a candidate to buck county chairman, Tom Wade, and city chairman, Jack McCann, both of whom serve on the Selection Committee.  
The Selection Committee interviewed a number of candidates for the city’s top spot including Council President Rodney Wiltshire and newcomer Earnest Everett, both of whom have announced their intention to run a primary if they don’t get the party’s support.
Also interviewed were county Legislator Ed Manny and Elizabeth Young-Jojo, the former executive director at the city’s Downtown Improvement District.
Madden, who is not enrolled in any party and can’t vote for himself in a primary, has headed up TRIP, a non-profit organization geared toward housing for low and moderate income individuals and families, since 1987. He is Rensselaer County Executive’s Kathy Jimino’s brother. Jimino is arguably the most powerful Republican in Rensselaer County.
Wiltshire was elected citywide twice and has publicly battled with Wade and the party hierarchy. He has stated he will take his case to the full committee to try to get the party’s endorsement but is prepared to run a primary should he fall short. He will also likely get the Working Families Party support and if that happens he will be on the ballot in November regardless of what the full Democratic committee does over the next couple weeks or the Democratic Party voters say in September’s primary. If Madden is successful in September, as the dynamics stand now, he will have one line headed into November’s general election.
Everett, on the other hand, does not have the ground troops the WFP will provide Wiltshire, and being a newcomer has less of a chance than Wiltshire to swing the full committee to his side. Everett could even have a tough time getting the required 421 signatures – 5 percent of the enrolled Democrats in the city – to get on the primary ballot. But, if the Wade Democrats want to derail Wiltshire, they would help Everett get the necessary signatures because, it is widely believed, he would siphon votes from the council president.
Nobody has formally announced their mayoral intentions for the Republicans but former Councilwoman Carmella Mantello is expected to do so next month. And Councilman Jim Gordon, R-District 1, has all but announced too. Councilman Dean Bodnar, R-District 3, said he is ready and willing to run should the party need him to step up but added he would not primary Gordon should his Council colleague get the endorsement.
Mantello, though, indicated she is moving ahead with her own campaign regardless of what the party does. Appearing on Talk 1300, she said she would seek the Green Party endorsement and create another line along the theme of keeping term limits in place in Troy.
An odd dynamic is that Madden is Jimino's brother and Gordon works for Jimino as the county's DWI coordinator.

Last month, Mayor Lou Rosamilia, a Democrat, announced he would not seek a second term.
More information as it becomes available.