have introduced many university students to the Tivoli Preserve,
and any one of those students could have produced a more accurate
and informative description than yours [“Preserve the Preserve?,”
Newsfront, June 4]. We have studied the preserve as an urban
ecosystem and, for all its faults and challenges, it stands
as a testament to the resilience of nature, supporting a diversity
of native wildlife.
We also served on a steering committee, funded by NYS DEC’s
Hudson River Estuary Program, which produced a plan for ecological
restoration of Tivoli Preserve. Other members were educators
from DEC and local schools, three Common Council members,
as well as representatives from a land conservancy, the city
of Albany, and community groups, including the W. Haywood
Burns organization. Among our many desired outcomes, the only
one featured in your story was a feasibility study of raising
part of the buried flow of Patroon. Unburdened by fact and
fed by untested opinion, your story was quite misleading.
Further information would help.
First, the creek emerges at either end of the preserve, and
overflows during high-water events. The 19th-century culvert
gets overwhelmed, and the lake, as the lowest point in the
landscape, receives these overflows. I.e., the creek is already
finding its way back into the lake.
Second, the small, shallow lake is turning to pea soup, choked
with weeds and low in oxygen. The lake sediments already have
elevated levels of mercury, and flushing with fresh water
will reduce formation of methyl mercury, a highly toxic form
that enters food chains. Wetland filtration, which entails
modification, not sequestration, is more efficient and sustainable
than artificial aeration or dredging. Upstream on the Patroon
Creek, at the 3-Mile Reservoir, heavy metal contamination
is buried and considered stable by responsible parties, and
there is no evidence that significant levels of heavy metals
are traveling downstream to Tivoli Preserve. That would be
major news requiring immediate attention, rather than the
casual hearsay you reported.
Third, the most striking feature of Tivoli Preserve is that
it is usually deserted, weekdays and weekends. The two entrances
are obscure and uninviting, and the trails are overgrown and
eroded away. Vandalism may have played a part, but the overwhelming
problems are erosion, mostly from upland flows (including
large, open storm drains) and plain neglect. The place is
so uninviting that it has had little appeal for nearby schools.
Our committee’s report focused on these latter issues, particularly
educational activities. The simple reason that Patroon Creek
daylighting sits on top of Albany’s current agenda is that
a particular form of funding became available. To his credit,
the city planner has been searching for opportunities to renew
Finally, your story implied backroom deals evading public
scrutiny. No permits have been issued, and full regulatory
processes must be brought to bear before any daylighting project.
So it was troubling to read quotes from the two representatives
of DEC publicly condemning the proposal, without the benefit
of current information and in advance of any permit application.
Your most quoted source, Mr. Mair of the W. Haywood Burns
group, had the benefit of membership on the steering committee
and regular progress reports, so many of his remarks were
disingenuous. If he did not like the facts, honest rebuttal
is the fair response, not denial and obfuscation.
At least three previous attempts have aimed to give the Tivoli
Preserve and nearby residents their due, dating back to an
effort endorsed by Mayor Corning in the 1960s. All three efforts
sputtered, due to meager resources, dwindling political will,
and mismanagement. Your shallow and sensationalized piece
may have prompted one more setback for poor ol’ Tivoli Lakes
George R. Robinson
Associate professor of biological sciences
State University of New York at Albany
Dr. John G. Arnason
To the Editor:
the Preserve?” was a wonderful article. Never have I read
so fully articulated in print the relationship between Patroon
Creek, the Landfill and Rensselear Lake and the Tivoli Preserve,
the crown jewel of Arbor Hill, full of an amazing diversity
of wildlife which have taken refuge there, as it was left
as one of the only wild spaces in the city.
When I lived in Arbor Hill, I was very concerned about Patroon
Creek possibly contaminating the lake, and I wasn’t even aware
of the history. It is wonderful to hear of the good, well-thought-out
plan to restore Tivoli Lake to be the resource our city needs
it to be.
I pray that the Common Council will reverse itself and demand
better for Arbor Hill than to poison a beautiful lake, for
no benefit whatsoever. Let’s clean it all up but not sacrifice
this beautiful lake to mistakes that were believed at the
time to reap a profit for somebody.
Ammann didn’t convince me that the abortion conflict is about
the sacredness of the life of a fetus or exactly when a fetus
becomes a person [“Stop the Madness,” Opinion, June 11]. I’m
not sure what it is about, but it’s not about that. If it
was, the anti-abortionists would be marching beside us at
antiwar marches, refusing to send their children to other
countries to be killed or to kill other people’s children.
And they wouldn’t be killing abortion doctors.
So let’s not kid ourselves, this is not about a difference
of opinion. It’s about a difference of tactics. The anti-abortionists
are using tactics that pro-choice people do not use. The anti-abortionists
practice daily acts of harassment against people seeking a
legal medical procedure. They destroy property, and they—these
so-called believers in the sanctity of life—murder fully formed,
adult human beings practicing a profession dedicated to healing.
It’s time to be real. Some of them commit crimes where we
can see them; others are working behind the scenes. Either
way, this is terrorism pure and simple. Until we identify
it for what it is, we can never find a real solution.
People Will Tweet
recently read a post on populism and the Populist party by
Jim Hightower (high towerlowdown.org/node/1987). He laid out
the five ways populists organized their movement and made
their mark, and suggests that it is possible again, especially
with the current political, social, and economic environment.
One of the successful efforts populists used was to create
their own media, because the “establishment outlets offered
only scorn and ridicule for the populist cause.” Later the
same day, I read Paul Rapp’s article “The Revolution Will
Be Tweeted”[Rapp on This, June 18] and thought to myself,
“The populist media is already broadcasting to the world.”
Populism is a movement that supports hard-working and downtrodden
people in their struggle against the forces wielded by big
money. We learned about the “populist” political rallies in
Iran through Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and e-mail, not from
big-money-influenced media giants. They were left flat-footed
because they were either disinterested or it just wasn’t newsworthy
in their scheme of thing.
I’m not suggesting that Paul Rapp is advocating a Populist
movement. He just reported on what really happened, a big
lightbulb glowed above my head, and I tied it together with
Jim Hightower’s blog. MSM news is no longer reliable. People
will find out what is going on through other real people posting
Boy of Troy
was a most unpleasant experience to read of the sanctioned
thuggery of Troy commissioner of Public Works Bob Mirch [“The
Garbageman’s Day in Court,” June 25]. Most alarming is Mirch’s
quote, “If you’re right, good. And if you’re not right, then
just accept the consequences that goes with it.”
Unfortunately, the consequences of Mirch’s illegal and ill-advised
actions fall on the taxpayers. It may be amusing to Mirch
that Jack Cox couldn’t access his property, but it isn’t amusing
to those of us who are paying the $20,000 settlement.
The lawsuits filed by the ACLU in support of the Sanctuary
for Independent Media and by the owner of the defaced and
shuttered American Cinema are no laughing matter either. No
matter which way the judicial decisions go, they have already
cost the city in terms of wasted staff resources and tarnished
reputation. Those “code” actions, supported by the Tutunjian
administration, certainly send a message to anyone seeking
to buy a home or open a business in Troy. And that message
is, if the city administration does not like your political
affiliations, values, beliefs or lifestyle, you are not welcome
in Troy and it will take every action—legal or otherwise—to
Most residents assume that Tutunjian is afraid of Mirch, or
is too indebted to him for his mayoral victories to fire him.
The best quote by the mayor is that he “stand[s] before [us]
tonight to pledge that after years of planning in the city
of Troy it is simply time to start doing.” Unfortunately,
he failed to tell us what it was he planned to do—unleash
an uncontrolled “garbageman” to harass those that the administration
or Mirch does not like.
the story about Big Band guru Keith Pray [“Full House,” Listen
Here, June 18], we mistakenly referred to the Empire Jazz
Orchestra as the Empire State Orchestra.
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