in Ward Seven
Albany Democratic Committee will endorse anyone for Cathy
Fahey’s council seat, except Cathy Fahey
Team player, said Bob Jukes, means exactly that: team player.
Cathy Fahey, councilwoman for the 7th Ward, might represent
the 7th well in the Albany Common Council, but when it comes
to her responsibilities in the ward’s Democratic committee,
Jukes, the ward leader, said, she hasn’t been a team player.
Fahey, who is running for a second term in the 7th Ward, has
now twice lost her committee’s endorsement vote. The first
time, she lost to George Lynch, who later withdrew from the
race due to a job conflict. The second time, Fahey lost to
political neophyte Susan Tobin. However, Jukes failed to invite
Fahey to this second vote, which he now admits was a mistake,
and Fahey complained to the committee’s chair, Dan McCoy.
A third vote has been scheduled.
has nothing to do with her representing the 7th Ward,” said
Jukes. “And it has nothing to do with Jerry [Jennings]. My
thing with Cathy is, as a committee person, that she is doing
her job. A committee person usually knows the rest of her
committee themselves decided, when they interviewed her, didn’t
like the answers she gave, and didn’t think she was a team
player,” he added. “She had never reached out to them before,
and it’s hard to back somebody if they aren’t on board.”
Jukes said that Fahey rarely attends committee meetings, and
has been less-than-stellar when it comes to petitioning time.
He claimed that the last time she carried petitions for the
Democrats in the 3rd Election District, which she represents,
she got enough signatures only to fill a single sheet.
names,” Jukes said. “That left another 100 people who didn’t
get a chance to sign a petition. I don’t care if it’s her
or anyone else, that’s not doing your job.”
The vote against Fahey should have come as no surprise, he
said, as the committee didn’t support Fahey the first time
she ran, either. But it did surprise Fahey. She said that
she believes that she has done the job that the voters in
the 7th elected her to do—that is, represent them effectively
on the council—and she would have thought that would have
been a sufficient enough reason to get the committee’s support.
worked hard,” she said. “I’ve done my job. I felt that they
should have endorsed me.”
am I running for?” Fahey asked. “There is a suggestion that
I have missed meetings, but I only missed one or two, but
I have made most of the meetings.”
As for carrying petitions, she will admit that she hasn’t
been very aggressive.
I gone really out of my way to do a tremendous job with the
petitions?” she asked. “Probably not. But that is because
I have had a full plate. I take my council position very seriously,
and I put a lot of time and effort into it. It is more than
just a part-time job for me.”
And, she said, she was admittedly furious that she hadn’t
even been invited to the committee meeting. As a committee
member, she said, she ought to have been notified regardless
of her candidacy. She said that she heard about the meeting
“through the grapevine.” And had she missed the meeting, she
“would have missed hearing the candidates for auditor, and
the eight candidates for council president, and that is not
fair to the people I represent in the 3rd ED.”
Fahey said that she believes that the real reason the committee
didn’t support her is because of her early endorsement of
council President Shawn Morris’ mayoral bid against Jennings,
and her support of the council’s investigation into the ghost
was a lot of discussion and banter over the fact that they
viewed the council members who have taken a stance as being
politically motivated,” Fahey said. Others who were at the
meeting said that the candidates’ positions on the investigation
were a leading concern.
there is a bit of a bias, I think, because I came out for
Shawn Morris,” Fahey said. “I came out in support of her,
and I told the committee, and I think that there is some problem
Morris used her blog on timesunion.com to blast the 7th Ward’s
committee, alleging that Fahey’s loss was due not to her lack
of loyalty to the 7th Ward, but her lack of loyalty to the
mayor, and loyalty to “a political structure that works to
exclude new ideas and independence . . . loyalty to an age
of party manipulation of government for personal gain.”
She called the committees in the wards—such as the 7th—that
still enforce this form of loyalty as “woefully out of touch
with the voters.”
Jukes dismissed Morris’ missive as a “political ploy,” saying
that the 7th Ward has always supported Jennings, and will
continue to do so. “Where was she all those other years when
we went for Jerry Jennings, and we were backing her?” he asked.
“There was nothing said.”
On May 26, the 7th Ward will hold another vote. Unlike the
first two votes, it will be a weighted vote.
are going to have the re-vote. And everyone should be happy,
then,” Jukes said, adding, “But I don’t think Cathy will have
a different outcome.”
Bus Stops Stopping Here
advocates complain about lack of public outreach over route
consolidations, while CDTA says the changes will improve service
Blue bags have been placed on 250 bus-stop signs throughout
the Capital Region, notifying riders of route consolidations
by the Capital District Transportation Authority. As part
of that consolidation, CDTA will eliminate some bus stops.
On routes where buses once stopped at every block, for example,
some routes will now have bus stops only every two or three
This has transportation advocates concerned with how the changes
will affect riders, and upset over what they feel has been
a lack of public notification and involvement by CDTA.
Leah Golby, co-president of the Albany Parent Teachers Association
and member of the Capital Region Traffic Advocates, said that
while the changes probably will not be prevented, more should
be done to involve the public in route changes. “People are
concerned,” she said, “about why they are making the changes
without a public hearing.”
Donna Suhor, of the Capital District Coalition for Accessible
Transportation, is particularly concerned that CDTA is not
doing enough to inform the public about the reduction of stops.
of the calls that I had was about a man waiting at a bus stop
that had been removed and he didn’t know because he was blind,”
Suhor said. “They’re putting the information on the Web site,
but not everybody has a computer or would think to check the
CDTA Web site.”
According to Carm Basile of CDTA, the route consolidations
are part of an attempt to cut 35,000 service hours in 2009.
The elimination of bus stops, he said, is not meant to reduce
service hours but rather to improve service.
separate issues, but they are related because the service
that we’re eliminating is particularly unproductive,” Basile
said. “Bus stops are really, we think, one of the few things
available to us to improve travel time and reliability. We
have been systematically reviewing route by route ways to
coordinate, consolidate, and, in some cases, eliminate bus
stops to be more effective.”
According to Basile, CDTA didn’t hold a public hearing because
CDTA officials felt the changes wouldn’t have an impact on
the majority of riders.
percentage of service being eliminated is very minor, at about
1 percent,” Basile said. “If we were affecting routes that
had more ridership, that would require more outreach.”
A public hearing may not have even been effective in preventing
were required to have a public hearing when they were going
to implement the fare hike and many people came out and spoke
against it, but it didn’t change their mind,” Golby said.
“They just pushed it through. Public hearings at least give
the public an opportunity to give comments, but if they’re
not going to listen, it’s problematic.”
said that they don’t need a public hearing,” she said, “but
I think that keeping in touch with the public would be a better
thing to do, and I think that the CDTA board of directors
is too insular. There is no public- comment period even at
the board meetings.”
Golby is particularly concerned with the changes made to bus
route 6 in Albany, which currently runs on North Pearl Street.
As of May 24, the bus will no longer stop in front of the
North Albany Academy.
a real problem,” she said, particularly for those who are
unable to get transportation from the school district. “In
order to catch a school bus you have to be eligible, and you
have to be a mile and half from the school. That’s pretty
far to walk if you’re 6 years old.”
According to Basile, the route was discontinued due to low
Route 22 stops a very short city block from there,” he said.
“In fact, our work shows that most people are walking to the
Route 22 line because it runs more frequently. That’s one
of the reasons why we made the change.”
Basile said that overall, a reduction of 35,000 service hours
is only a 4.5 percent decrease, and that CDTA is focusing
on improving service for routes that are heavily used.
intent is to run as much service as we possibly can in areas
where people want it, need it, and use it. Like any good business,
you have to evaluate the product, and where people are using
and where your service is strongest is where you need to be
CDTA is still 10,000 hours short of its goal, meaning that
more route consolidations are likely to take place. Basile
said that it is too soon to tell whether or not additional
changes will happen next year, but they intend to continue
systematic reviews of routes.
more information on route changes, visit cdta.org. More information
about the Capital District Coalition for Accessible Transportation
can be found at mobilityfreedom.org.
loose ends this week-