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The Real Code Violators

To the Editor:

The City of Troy does seem to selectively target those owners of businesses it wishes to punish, harass or eliminate [“Code of Unethics?,” Newsfront, March 20]. Just ask the owner of the American (Cinema Arts) Theater. Two months prior to the city removing a historic marquee from the American Theater in the heart of downtown, the owner had passed his annual code inspection. All of a sudden, his building had a number of code violations and an unsafe marquee which had to be immediately removed (although it took a team of welders all day to do so). The owner was not allowed to inspect his property, or to bring in an engineer, or to perform any emergency repair work. All in the name of safety.

Just ask Vic DeBonis, who was subject to a code inspection after getting hired by the Democratic City Council. Just ask the family of the late Miles Blakeborough, who were subject to code inspections because Miles disagreed with the city. Just ask Jim DeSeve, who received a ticket for a non-ticketable offense because he frequently speaks out against the Tutunjian administration.

The call to the Sanctuary from the Troy code officer on Tuesday more or less sums it up: “I was told to call you.” (You can hear it on YouTube). By whom? The code officer did not say that he was following up on an existing open case, but that he was directed to go there.

Pierce’s comment that there had been no response from the city to multiple letters from the Sanctuary is also telling. That certainly seems to be the experience for many people seeking assistance, information and FOILs from an unresponsive city.

The mayor justifies the closure of the Sanctuary by claiming “that building wasn’t safe for a large gathering of people. That is my only concern as mayor of the city. The liability issues that it would have posed, to have people gather in that building when the city knew it wasn’t up to code would have been staggering had something happened.” The Sanctuary has been open to large crowds since it opened several years ago. The city has certainly been aware of that, yet took no action over the course of those years. Unsafe when the administration deems an offering objectionable? Safe when they agree with the offering or, more likely, are unaware of what plays there?

To those law-abiding property owners and residents who have complaints about real safety concerns and code violations, I say good luck.

Mark Jackson


Cash and Carry On

To the editor:

I read Chet Hardin’s article on the possibility that the federal government may have orchestrated the downfall of Gov. Spitzer [“Whodunit,” March 20]. I think he’s right. This was a guy that pissed off more people per square mile in New York state than Isaiah Thomas. I have no doubt that, at some point, some Republican honcho went upstairs to somebody in Washington and said, “See what we have on this guy.” The problem is, I knew it, Chet Hardin knew it, but Mr. Spitzer didn’t seem to take it into account. I can’t believe he was so naïve as to think that the eyes of the other side were not burning into his back the day he took the oath of office. Well, apparently just naive in one big way. As any schlub in any strip bar in Albany could have told him, “Use cash.” Hey, when the Web site says “All credit cards accepted” (or in this case, wire transfers), that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Yeah, the banks and the feds would have laid the same scrutiny on him if he were withdrawing $5,000 a pop with his ATM card, but with no paper trail, all he has to say is, “Guys, I love the ponies.” Or something equally banal. Now, he’s a footnote.

Derek Gentile

Great Barrington, Mass.

Stuff This

To the Editor:

I was amused when I read Patrick Kindlon’s letter to the editor in Metroland [March 20]. Patrick felt we didn’t deserve to be voted “Best Local Alternative Band” of 2008. Having won the Readers’ Poll for the last six years in a row, we’re used to being the target of jealousy from other bands, usually from bands I’ve never heard of.

I felt the need to respond to this letter since Patrick accused us of “ballot stuffing.” The truth of the matter is that we’re fortunate to have a lot of fans in the Capital District. Perhaps that is because we don’t refer to Albany like Patrick does as “a trash city with a poop butt.” I have nothing but love for the people of the Capital District. Shame on you, Patrick. Shame on you.

Richard Libutti (of Sirsy)


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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