visible candidate: Leah Golby challenges long-time incumbent
James Scalzo in the 10th Ward Albany Common Council
Ward challenger Leah Golby says the time has come for real
representation on the council
of college students returned to Albany this past weekend,
bringing along with them the parties, noise, and trash that
have annually plagued the residents of the Pine Hills neighborhood.
The strained relationship between students and the community—along
with the often related issues of crime and code violations—is
shaping up to be a key issue for the voters of the 10th Ward
election for Albany Common Council.
Those frustrated will, for the first time in 12 years, have
a choice when voting in the 10th for the common council elections.
Leah Golby, a political newcomer but long-time activist, is
challenging 20-year incumbent James Scalzo in the upcoming
Democratic primary. She also has the endorsement of the Working
am really talking to people about including the students in
cleaning up the neighborhood,” said Golby. “If you walk down
Hudson and Hamilton, they’re just trashed. A lot of it is
that student- community relations need to improve. It’s going
to take both sides; it’s going to take the homeowners and
it’s going to take the students.”
While many college students only live in the city part-time
and do not vote in Albany elections, they do make up a large
part of the 10th Ward, and Golby said that including them
in the community efforts is crucial.
get very mom-like about this,” she said. “You wouldn’t do
this at your parents’ house, in your own neighborhood, so
please, let’s work together and not do it in ours.” Golby
said that she has talked to students in the area and that
many were particularly eager to participate in a monthly neighborhood
For many residents in Pine Hills, a win by Golby would be
an opportunity for the 10th Ward to have a progressive representative
on the Common Council.
At an August debate, Golby criticized Scalzo for never questioning
budgets submitted by Mayor Jerry Jennings. “I will take a
good, hard look at the budget,” said Golby, who currently
supports Corey Ellis for mayor.
mayor’s done a great job in this city,” Scalzo said in response.
Also at the debate, Scalzo blamed the state Legislature for
hold-ups in funding that would contribute to community programs
and community policing. He also pointed to his years of working
with and listening to his neighbors.
have a long history of community service and community work,”
Golby, however, said that she is hearing a different response
from constituents in the 10th.
is evident from going door-to-door that this neighborhood
is hungry for, and deserves, a common council member who communicates
regularly and effectively with constituents,” Golby said.
“When I talk to people who have moved to this neighborhood
in the past 11 years . . . they say that they never knew who
he was, then all of a sudden he started dropping off newsletters.
He’s been a common council person all this time. How are we
supposed to believe that he’s suddenly going to start representing
us when he hasn’t been present?”
Golby also pointed to the issue of vacant buildings in the
is contributing to Albany’s problems by owning a vacant building
and owing back taxes on that property, therefore burdening
his neighbors and the rest of the city,” Golby said.
Scalzo, who owes at least $12,000 in back taxes to the city
of Albany, has said that it is the failure of his two businesses
that lead to the back taxes and that he has already paid over
$100,000 in back taxes.
Scalzo did not return a call for comment for this article.
want to get this neighborhood back on the right track,” Golby
said, “and that is the overwhelming response that I hear when
I go door-to-door.”
A video of the 10th ward debate is available online at pinehillsdebate.bas
Veronica Horne out of the race in the 5th Ward, Jackie Jenkins-Cox
goes full steam ahead against incumbent Willard Timmons
Jackie Jenkins-Cox is a lifetime resident of Albany. She has
raised three children in West Hill, worked with the Arbor
Hill Community Center and at the New York State Legislature,
and served on the Albany school board for two years. So, she
was surprised to find that many of her neighbors in the 5th
Ward most remember her as ‘Precious J,’ her radio persona
on the Siena College Radio Station.
kind of funny, even now when I go through the neighborhood
I get ‘Precious J,’ not Jackie,” she said. “But I know that
I’m the same person and they love me the same.”
Jenkins-Cox is now the only remaining candidate running against
incumbent Councilman Willard Timmons in the 5th Ward after
Veronica Horne made the surprise decision to drop from the
am dropping out of the race, and should have everything taken
care of with the board of elections by the end of the week,”
said Horne, who declined to offer explanation for her decision
and said that she would not be doing any additional interviews
with the press.
Jenkins-Cox called Horne’s decision to drop out of the race
“disheartening,” and said that with three candidates there
would be a better chance of getting Timmons out of office.
felt like, if not me, at least her,” Jenkins-Cox said. “Just
as long as it’s not him, please not him.”
Jenkins-Cox said that she feels that the problems in her ward
have been neglected by the current representation.
have you done for our community?” she said. “I don’t think
the common council is just something that you get involved
with, it’s something where you want to make a difference for
where you live.”
Timmons, who joined the council in 2005 after beating incumbent
Shirley Foskey, is endorsed by the Democratic Committee and
the Conservative Party line, and is seen to be an unwavering
ally for Jennings.
Jenkins-Cox said that she first wanted to run for council
in 2005 but decided to run for the school board instead.
always been heavy on my heart,” she said. “I always said that,
in four years, if he hadn’t done anything, then I was going
have to live in your ward to run, but you also have to live
in your ward,” she said, “meaning being outside, talking to
people, communicating with people, letting people vent.”
Jenkins-Cox said that people have a misconception about the
ward. “There are a lot more people here that are employed
and responsible than people think, and I think that’s why
we often get overlooked.”
Jenkins-Cox said that she is limiting her door-to-door campaigning
as to not disturb her neighbors during dinnertime. She also
wants to differentiate herself from the candidates that only
come around every four years.
the only time you can come knocking on our doors is when you
need a signature, that’s not right,” she said. “The people
in the 5th Ward are intelligent, and they understand that
we need their vote. I tell people that if they are frustrated
with the way things are and want them to change, they can
start that change at the voting booths. You don’t have to
keep voting for someone you don’t think is doing a good job.”
Timmons did not return calls for comment.
She said that basic services like street sweeping, trash cans,
and streetlights are being neglected in the 5th Ward.
Jenkins-Cox said that while there might not be changes over
night, she believes that she can make a difference by working
closely with the people of the 5th.
all, each individual, need to take responsibility,” she said.
“We need to take accountability for where we live and not
look for someone else to do it for us. We are all looking
for that little bit of hope, and I believe that I can be a
part of that.”
loose ends this week-