Common Council looks to connect a name with a purchase when
it comes to ammunition sales
figure that if they can do it in Los Angeles, we can do it
in Albany,” said Albany Common Council member Dominick Calsolaro
about the legislation he and other council members were reviewing
during a recent meeting of the Public Safety Committee.
to a law currently on the books in California, the Calsolaro-sponsored
legislation would require any business within city limits
that sold handgun ammunition to keep a record of who purchased
bullets, what bullets were purchased and when the transactions
occurred. The new requirements would bolster already existing
state laws that call for a valid handgun permit to be shown
by anyone wishing to purchase handgun ammunition.
With gun-related crimes finding their way into the local news
at an almost daily rate these days, Calsolaro argued that
such a law might help police track the people responsible
for such crimes—and possibly keep the chambers empty in a
few illegal guns. He said he modeled the legislation after
a Los Angeles law that’s widely recognized as contributing
to the city’s gradually decreasing level of gun crime.
Currently, the only businesses that sell ammunition within
the city of Albany are the large chain stores Wal-Mart and
Sports Authority. While a representative of Sports Authority
said she was unable to comment on the potential new requirements,
a Wal-Mart spokesman said he didn’t foresee having any problem
with such a law, and if such a law were passed, the store
would “certainly do whatever the law requires.”
While Calsolaro and the Albany Police Department have not
always seen eye to eye, in this case, the police department
has seemed concerned only that such a proposal might not be
ambitious enough. During the November committee meeting, Albany
Police Chief James Turley argued that records kept of all
ammunition purchases—not just handgun ammunition—would better
serve the city.
may need a permit for a handgun, but you don’t need a permit
for a shotgun,” he explained. “Shouldn’t there be a record
of the shotgun ammunition sale, too?”
Add to that the ability to use some bullets (like the .22
caliber, for instance) in both handguns, which require a permit,
and rifles, which do not, and the advantages of having a broader
application of the law become more apparent, said Turley.
While APD spokesman Detective James Miller said that the majority
of gun-related crimes do indeed involve handguns, he agreed
that having a record of other ammunition sales could only
help with the investigation of such crimes.
Whether the legislation applies to handgun ammunition or all
ammunition in general, however, there has been some agreement
between all concerned parties: If the recordkeeping requirements
remain confined within the city’s borders, it’s not likely
to be very effective.
would like it to be countywide, and eventually regionwide,”
Calsolaro explained, “because that’s where most of the gun
shops are located.”
going to be a waste of time if people can just travel outside
the city to buy their ammunition or if they can just order
it through the mail,” said Jim Frampton, owner of J &
J Outdoor Sports in Guilderland. “They really need to do their
research before they make those sort of laws.”
Calsolaro said he plans to look into the possibility of broader
application and speak with officials from Albany County and
other neighboring municipalities about potential cooperation,
and then possibly rewrite the bill and reintroduce it next
The usual route for a business wanting to build
on a lot not zoned for its type of use would be
to request and comply with a zoning variance.
But instead, the developers of the controversial
plan to put a Walgreens Pharmacy and a Panera
Bread Co. on Holland Avenue, near Albany’s University
Heights complex, are trying to get the underlying
zoning changed—from office to highway commercial,
basically exempting them from further design review.
Such “spot zoning” is illegal in many cities.
Public comment will be taken at the Dec. 5 Common
Warming Up for a Heated Debate
Montreal greeted up to 10,000 representatives
from 189 nations on Monday, Nov. 28, in the first
global climate-change conference since the Kyoto
Protocol was put into effect in February. Although
it is the worldwide leader in harmful emissions,
the United States refused to sign the protocol,
and refused to attend the current conference.
“A targets and timetables approach will not work
for us,” said chief U.S. climate negotiator Harlan
Watson, according to Reuters.
Out of Energy
Many school districts struggling to work within
their budgets have taken aim at energy costs.
While many have taken to turning down their thermostats
and keeping some lights off, the Saint Paul, Minn.,
City School District has enacted a $25 per appliance
annual fee for any staff member who wants to run
an appliance, such as a coffee pot, fridge or
fan. Teachers are not amused.
Oh, You’re in Trouble Now
The fiasco surrounding Sony BMG’s decision to
include hidden software capable of damaging consumers’
computers (and increasing their chance of virus
attack) on more than 5 million albums has caught
the attention of New York State Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer. While Spitzer hasn’t announced
yet whether he’ll follow the lead of his Texas
counterpart and sue Sony BMG, he has encouraged
consumers to avoid buying any of the CDs and scolded
stores for not taking them off their shelves.
Spitzer also reported that his investigators were
able to purchase many of the malignant discs at
local stores in the last week despite a recall
announcement almost a month ago.
Your Soldier Day
3 PM on Nov. 17, children just dismissed from school stared
curiously out of smudged bus windows at a crowd of around
40 gathered on the corner of Washington Avenue and North Main
Avenue in Albany. Members of UAlbany’s Campus Action, other
college students, veteran activists, and high-school students
had gathered in front of the Naval Recruitment Center to protest
recruiting practices in honor of “Not Your Soldier Day.” The
protestors held signs commemorating individuals from both
sides of the war killed in Iraq. Behind the protestors stood
four officers on foot and three on horseback; they chatted
calmly, trying to keep their hands warm, waving at school
kids as they passed by. The officers had just come from responding
to a brawl at Albany High School, a few blocks away.
Something bad happened there.”
—CDTA Route 18 bus, in the midst of a discussion
of haunted houses.
Nader, at a press conference Tuesday supporting
Alice Green, in response to a question about how
Green could convince Mayor Jerry Jennings to participate
in a debate.
Dimitrov, the RPI
postdoc who had to return to Bulgaria after losing
his work visa over a clash with his research advisor
[“Go Unpublished or Perish,” Nov. 13, 2003], reports
that he is now working for the University of Sofia
in Bulgaria in the department of Theoretical Physics.
The Biophysical Journal paper that had
been delayed by the disputes, and which Dimitrov
had been told when he pulled out of his severance
agreement would not be published, was published
in July 2004. Dimitrov is also pleased that he
has in fact received credit for the algorithms
he contributed to his RPI advisor’s Web site.
. . . Albany’s Women’s Building has pulled
itself out of its financial troubles of two years
ago [“Tough Times at the Women’s Building,” Feb.
19, 2004] and is setting its sights high. Under
the interim leadership of Carmen Rau, the Holding
Our Own foundation, which had originally helped
finance the mortgage on the building, stepped
in to help stabilize the organization. “When women’s
building ran into trouble, Holding Our Own stepped
forward from silent partner to a more stewardship
role,” said Rau. “This is how it was supposed
to work, because . . . sometimes things go wrong.”
A series of town-hall meetings focused the vision,
and raised nearly half the funds needed to retire
the mortgage. A fund-raising campaign has also
been launched to install an elevator, the office
space is full and has a waiting list, and the
space is in use—on a very steep sliding scale—by
different groups every night of the week. Looking
forward, Rau said volunteers are organizing security
shifts so the building and its library can actually
open its doors for several hours every day, and
new collaborations are being spawned from the
art show they recently mounted (pictured, up until
Dec. 10). . . . The Delaware Avenue Price Chopper—the
only grocery store near downtown Albany—is getting
a new look. The Golub Corp., which owns the Price
Chopper grocery chain, is renovating the façade
to resemble the Madison Avenue Price Chopper,
said Mona Golub, Price Chopper’s spokeswoman,
and the interior will get a new paint job. Golub
has said in the past that the Delaware Avenue
store faces special challenges, including the
fact that it’s less than half the size of most
grocery stores built today [“Food and the City,”
Feb 19, 2004]. At the same time, she reiterated
the company’s commitment to keeping the store
open. The Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association
worked closely with the Golub Corp. on the original
design of the Delaware Avenue store to make it
fit better into the historic neighborhood. The
latest changes to the store are taking place at
the same time that a number of long-abandoned
homes in that section of Hudson/Park have been
bought and are also undergoing renovation.