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2011 General Election Endorsements

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

by The Staff on November 3, 2011

Colonie Town Supervisor: Paula Mahan (D)

Ever since her election in 2008, Paula Mahan has dealt with two crushing realities: the legacy of financial mismanagement of the previous, long-ruling Republican machine, and the terrible economy. Hard times often make bad policy, but Mahan’s combination of taxes and privatizing the operation of the town dump seem to have put Colonie in a solid position. We see no reason for Colonie citizens to vote for ex-Pataki administration official Denise Sheehan over Mahan.

Schenectady Mayor: Roger Hull (R)

When Roger Hull was president of Union College for 15 years, there we times when we questioned his commitment to Schenectady. But Hull’s early support of both Schenectady 2000 and Metroplex signaled a realization that the college’s fate was intertwined with the city’s. Hull left Union six years ago, but stayed in the Electric City; he’s genuinely engaged with the city and its problems. We also feel that Schenectady could use a break from Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy and his self-touted three decades in government and politics.

 Albany County Executive: No endorsement

Dan McCoy—Albany County legislative chair, firefighter, Army veteran, little league coach, family man—has mastered political gaming in the city that raised him to be a political powerhouse. He touts his years of public service, but brings no practical qualifications to a job which would require him to oversee countywide operations. We’re dismayed McCoy is running unopposed.

 Troy Mayor: Lou Rosamilla (D)

As the administration of Harry Tutunjian makes way for the future, there is one image in Troy signifies the past eight years—the hole where Troy City Hall once stood. It is the perfect symbol for an administration that typified a government more interested in fighting and tearing down, than in coming together and working a better and brighter future. In our endorsement for mayor, we give the nod to Lou Rosamilla with the hope he learns from the mistakes of the Tutunjian years, and reaches over party lines to collaborate in building a stronger city.

 Troy City Council, At Large: Lynn Kopka (D), Billie-Jean Greene (R) and Nina Nichols (D) 

In a pool of eight candidates for three at-large seats, Republican Billie-Jean Greene and Democrat Lynn Kopka stand apart. Both have proven through their community activism that they share a commitment to working for the best of the city. Kopka has been a fixture in the Washington Park neighborhood for years; few people can match her knowledge of Troy and its government. And despite ideological differences with Greene—a hard-leaning conservative—we remain thoroughly impressed by this 28-year-old. Through her work on the Uptown Initiative and with her proposal for a tax abatement for Troy homeowners, Greene has proven that she energy and a vision for Troy. A vote for her will be a vote for a truly independent public servant. And Rev. Nina Nichols, pastor at Christ Church United Methodist, is a strong choice for the third seat. Smart and articulate, Nichols will bring an understanding of some of the challenges facing the downtown community.

 Troy City Council, District Races: Russell Ziemba (D), Ken Zalewski (D) and Mark McGrath (R)

More than anything, Troy needs a break from the partisan pettiness that has come to define its politics and arguably led to the current voter-fraud scandal. Never have we seen people fight so fiercely over so little power. For that reason, that we are endorsing candidates who represent a clear break from the nonsense or who have proven they are more commited to the voters than to their party. In District 3, we believe Russell Ziemba, a vocal and impassioned long-time member of the Troy community, will resist towing the Democratic line. In District 5, Ken Zalewski has made clear, through numerous past breaks with the Democrats, that he is unafraid to think an issue through and come his own conclusions. And in District 2, we endorse incumbent Republican Mark McGrath, who has been able to retain autonomy in a Republican Party that demands its members march to the drum beat.

 Albany City School Board: Sue Adler, Ginnie Farrell

Adler and Farrell are running for two school-board seats, one for a four-year term and the other a two-year term, along with board incumbent Melissa Mackey. All three candidates have solid resumes, all have children in the Albany schools, and we believe that all three are intelligent, hard-working, and committed to the success of the Albany public school system.

So this endorsement is a tough call, but we believe there are just enough differences to separate the candidates and give our nod to Adler and Farrell. Adler is an attorney who has served on several Albany High School committees; we are impressed with her emphasis on community outreach, consensus-building and making sure the Albany district receives its fair share of state funding. Farrell, a teaching artist and stay-at-home mom, was a grants writer for a Buffalo arts coalition that obtained funding for arts programs in Buffalo city schools; we applaud her support of arts and enrichment programs, as well as the considerable volunteer work she has done within the schools. And both Farrell and Adler stress the importance of improving education for all students in Albany schools; Mackey, in contrast, has chosen to focus on a narrower range of issues.

Mackey is known to support charter schools, which is troublesome to many public-school parents who see charter schools as a drain on resources for the Albany schools. Again, we believe she is principled and is well-qualified to serve on the board, but perhaps it is time for a change. We endorse Sue Adler and Ginnie Farrell for the two open seats on the Albany Board of Education.

 Albany County Legislature, 6th District: Noell Kinsch (D)

Albany, reclaim your dignity and vote Brian Scavo out of office.