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Jim Conroy

PHOTO: Chris Shields

2007 General Election Endorsements

On Election Day, (Tuesday, Nov. 6), polls will be open in Albany County and throughout the Capital Region from 6 AM to 9 PM.

 

Troy Mayor: Jim Conroy (D)

Troy’s boom of the past four years has been pretty remarkable. At a time of such promise, it might seem counterintuitive to suggest giving the current administration its walking papers. But we believe that much of Troy’s success has had less to do with the vision of Tutunjian and his administration and more to do with good old-fashioned market forces. In fact, where Tutunjian’s administration has gotten involved, it has produced little more than controversy and accusations of corruption. We don’t blame Tutunjian, but we do blame some of the company he keeps. And regardless of the high-end lofts and restaurants creeping into downtown, Troy still has myriad difficult issues to face—rising crime rate, real business still M.I.A, a dangerous rift in the police force—and we think the former Deputy Mayor Jim Conroy has the will and determination to set some of those issues right.

Rensselaer County District Attorney: Greg Cholakis (R)

We are convinced that there are two decent, competent individuals in this race. You would think that that would make choosing between the two candidates difficult, but it doesn’t. It frees us to consider at length what kind of district attorney we would like to see. When Patricia DeAngelis hangs up her hat this coming January, she will be leaving behind an office wracked with controversy and in an administrative shambles. A skillful attorney will be needed to bring a sense of trust back to the office, but most important, an administrator will be needed to correct the near-decade of mismanagement. We believe that Greg Cholakis has the proper experience and temperament for both, whereas his opponent, Rich McNally, seems almost too bent on delegating away his administrative duties and charging headlong onto prosecutions. And although McNally’s campaign has halfheartedly attempted to portray Cholakis as a potential puppet for the mighty state senator from Brunswick, we are willing to bet that Cholakis is both smart enough and principled enough to not get caught in that trap.

Troy City Council: The entire Democratic slate

The current Republican-control led City Council, with the exception of Marjorie DerGurahian, has gone out of its way to earn the reputation as the rubber stamp of Harry Tutunjian, and that is the last thing that the current administration needs. We want to see a defiant council that thinks for itself and doesn’t exist only to make the mayor’s life easier. We want to see a council that will challenge the administration when it is wrong and work to correct Troy’s persistent ailments. The only way to get this is by flipping the council. That means incumbents Bill Dunne, Peter Ryan, and Clem Campana will have to hold their seats, while Ken Zalewski, John Brown, Wayne Foy, Gary Galuski, Mary Sweeney, or Victor DeBonis will need to snag at least two of the contested seats. We think the Democrats have got a good shot this year.

North Greenbush Supervisor: Joshua Sabo (Greenbush Party)

North Greenbush needs to worry less about bending to the special interests of developers and more about smart growth and comprehensive planning for its quickly growing community. Juggling the demands to keep its rural charms and at the same time bump up its tax base is proving a difficult trick for the current supervisor, Mark Evers, considering his apparent ties to the developers and contractors who see the potential for dollars along Route 4 and ignore the longtime area residents who’d rather not have a Lowe’s for a next-door neighbor. We believe that the level-headed town attorney Joshua Sabo has the right vision and the perfect attitude to find the tax base and keep the smart-growth folk happy. With the Democratic Party in dramatic disarray, everyone in the town wants some peace. Everyone wants that one vision to rally around. Hopefully the voters will not choose the wrong vision this Nov. 6.

Valerie Keehn

PHOTO: Chris Shields

Saratoga Springs Mayor: Valerie Keehn (D)

Two years ago when Metroland endorsed Valerie Keehn, we did so with some hesitance. Her lack of experience made us wonder if she would be railroaded by longtime politicos such as Department of Works Commissioner Thomas McTygue. Although she has had to deal with a great amount of resistance from within her own party, Keehn has not been railroaded—quite the opposite. Keehn has dug in and started pushing the line back against the overdevelopment in the Spa City; she has drawn attention to the archaic commissioner form of government that has left issues unresolved every year; and has proven that she is honest and willing to work with anyone willing to have a reasonable dialogue. We have been unconvinced by the candidacies of Gordon Boyd (who has clearly functioned as a puppet of McTygue) and Republican Scott Johnson. Both men have done a good job of avoiding the issues and done nothing but bolster the sheen of Keehn’s armor. Keehn has never looked more like a woman of the people, thanks to the mean-spirited attacks from her opponents.

Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Works: Skip Scirocco (R)

While the talk of an FBI investigation into Commissioner Thomas McTygue is disturbing and could certainly be reason enough to keep voters away, what concerns us most about McTygue is his long-term incumbency during which he has had free reign to do as he pleases. His use of the DPW department as a political tool is shameful; he has proven time and again that he has problems with ethics and civility. So we suggest that it is time to give him some time off. Anthony “Skip” Scirocco offers a competent replacement for McTygue. Scirocco has made it clear that his first priority will be to open up the DPW department to the residents of Saratoga Springs so they no longer wonder about political favoritism or corruption. The flowers would still be pretty and the streets of Saratoga Springs would still sparkle, but the old machine-style politics of fear and intimidation would be over.

Albany County 7th Legislative District: David Lussier (Green Party)

David Lussier might be a little bright-eyed; he might have grand ideas that exceed the reach of an Albany County legislator; but there is no doubt that Lussier is the best man for the job. Lussier wants to ensure people have a reason to live in Albany County, and deal with the county’s abandoned-buildings problem. Plus, Lussier shines when compared to his Democratic opponent Brian Scavo. Two years ago when running for Albany Common Council, Scavo invited our then-news editor, Miriam Axel-Lute, on a date during an interview (read more about that in this issue’s “Looking Up”). But besides his questionable behavior, Scavo has campaigned on issues such as fixing Albany schools and reducing crime that he would have no control over as a county legislator. Lussier is quite simply the only choice on election day in the 7th District.

Albany County Executive: Roger Cusick (R)

Roger Cusick has big ideas. He wants to create a student arts district in downtown Albany; he wants to move I-787 to give Albany back its waterfront; he wants to reduce the size of the bloated Albany County Legislature; he wants to make sure the convention center does not end up costing the residents of Albany County higher taxes; and he wants to beat long-term incumbent Michael Breslin. The likelihood of any of these things happening is fairly slim. But big ideas are a refreshing change when compared to Breslin, who in some respects seems to be asleep at the wheel. A vote for Cusick would be a vote for checks and balances in a legislature that is dominated by a Democratic supermajority. A Cusick win would mean that Albany’s Democrats would have to start thinking more about what they are doing for the people, and less about what they are doing for themselves and their power structure. Cusick may not be the perfect candidate, but he has the passion to shake up the stale Albany County Legislature.


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