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What a Violent Idea

To the Editor:

In your 2007 Readers Picks issue [March 8] under the category Best Thing That Could Happen to Albany, someone wrote “blow up Arbor Hill.” My first response was to wonder if the person who wrote this is aware that there are human beings living in Arbor Hill. Although the reader may have been using hyperbole to make a point, suggesting that our community be blown up implies that all Arbor Hill residents deserve to die and that our homes, businesses, and institutions should also be destroyed. Unlike the first useful suggestion in this category, “Clean up neighborhoods in city,” the “solution” for Arbor Hill is wholesale violent destruction.

This evening at our monthly Arbor Hill Neighborhood Association meeting I shared this reader’s comment with Arbor Hill residents who are working hard with many others in our neighborhood and city to make this community vibrant, welcoming, and safe. They urged me to write to express our outrage at being so callously stereotyped and dismissed.

Barbara Smith

Common Council Member, Fourth Ward

Albany

Re-Reassessed

To the Editor:

Chet Hardin misses the point of the several legal actions by property owners in and around Washington Park in Troy [“Reassess This,” Newsfront, March 29]. Of interest is that the majority of those owners in the lawsuits were reassessed simply for being in an area where properties happen to be selling well, thanks in part to their efforts to improve the area. Those reassessments were not based on building permits or improvements; they just happened. The targeted reassessment was not uniformly applied to all property owners within the select area. In fact, several larger properties within spitting distance of Warren Abele’s home were not included in the spot reassessment.

Hardin also fails to mention that Mayor Pattison was prepared to take the political heat in 2002 and correct the disparities in the city tax rolls. However, then-City Council President (and current mayor) Harry Tutunjian nixed it. The firm of Gaskell and Kitchen had been hired, the process begun, but Tutunjian balked. It is unfortunate that property owners must sue to get an equitable tax roll. It is unfortunate that the city’s elected officials consistently refuse to deal with the issue and attempt to increase revenues by selectively reassessing certain properties. Other municipalities seem to have no problem maintaining equitable, up-to-date assessment rolls.

While many Troy property owners have no sympathy for owners of large homes in well-kept neighborhoods, they should be concerned about the inequities in a 34-year-old tax roll and the illegality of spot reassessments. They could be next.

Mark Jackson

Troy

Corrections

Michael Weidrich earned a BFA from Syracuse University, not a BA, as stated in last week’s arts feature [“Friday Night Lights,” March 29].

The photograph that ran with last week’s Shadows Fall concert preview [Night and Day, March 29] was not of Shadows Fall. We apologize for the error.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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Letters, Metroland

419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210

e-mail: metroland@metroland.net

fax: 463-3726


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