Metroland has long misrepresented the hard work of
Albany’s real inner-city leaders, your annual Year in Review
edition [Jan. 4] reached a new low when it took an unfair
swipe at the late Albany police detective Kenneth Wilcox.
Sadly you went out of your way to smear Wilcox although he
can no longer defend himself or his actions. That is wrong.
You also claimed that people have “forgotten” the work I did
with residents of Arbor Hill, West Hill and Sheridan Hollow
during my 12 years on the Albany Common Council. Even though
selective amnesia may be a problem in the lily-white world
the Metroland staff calls home, nothing is further
from the truth for inner-city families.
Together we won many victories during my tenure, such as garnering
additional funding for youth and senior programs, building
a new Arbor Hill Community Center, paving a record number
of streets, putting the city’s Boxing Center in West Hill,
getting the Arbor Hill Redevelopment Project started, and
fighting for fairer property assessments to help reduce the
cost of housing. Many in my community will long remember how
we joined together to battle an entrenched political establishment
that has built an apartheid-style wall of separation along
Every day you can see the impact of this double standard along
Lark Street as parking meters flourish in the predominantly
African-American area north of the “Avenue” while they are
nowhere to be seen in the elite territory just a few blocks
south. I introduced legislation to end this economic discrimination
and, every time an inner-city resident puts a quarter in a
parking meter, they have good reason to remember it.
Whenever questions arise about the Albany Police Department,
my community also has reason to remember that I was the councilman
who had the courage and independence to propose legislation
to prohibit local cops from using racial profiling on our
streets. These issues may not be important to a weekly publication
that’s spent years making money off the local sex trade. But
unlike the biased elitists and racists at Metroland,
the people living on my side of Central Avenue haven’t forgotten.
The two items in our Year in Review edition that referenced
the tragic death of Kenneth Wilcox were not intended to smear
him in any way (and were factually accurate). Rather, they
were written to revisit and criticize the police department’s
bullying of the Times Union for its reporting of the
story, and also to point out that it was not the year’s only
example of Albany police officers consuming alcohol before
reporting to work.
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