a penny, leave a penny. Take a bike, leave a bike.
It’s as simple as that.
At least it will be if the folks of Troy Bike Rescue have
their way. The group intends to create a community of public
bicycles, “Green Bikes,” that can be used and left by all.
This Saturday, the first series of about a dozen of the green
machines (they’ll all be painted that color, with a Troy Bike
Rescue stencil to make them identifiable) will be launched
onto Troy’s downtown streets. The bikes will be left unlocked
and are available to anyone, as long as they don’t keep them
for their very own.
Seeing cycling as an environmentally friendly means of transport,
and a discarded bicycle as a waste of space, Troy Bike Rescue
joined forces last spring. They set out to salvage unwanted
cycles and restore for them their purpose, initially retrieving
roughly 30 bikes, seven of which have been refurbished using
The program is something that has been tried in various communities
around the country, to varying degrees of success—in the last
decade, somewhere between 40 and 50 cities have initiated
such programs, all of which seek to legitimatize the pollutionless
means of transport as well as recycle unused bicycles. Similar
programs have had long-term success in some European cities.
TBR also hopes to include area youngsters who may otherwise
be bikeless in an “earn-a-bike” program, and involve them
in learning a skill and the importance of recycling. (Kids
must devote a certain number of shop hours in order to receive
a bike, with a fraction of that time spent actually repairing
it. Mentors will oversee this process, learning the strengths
and weaknesses of each individual bike-earner.)
TBR hopes to secure funds and a space for a workshop as well
as create a method by which bikes are identified as recyclable
and sent their way.
The TBR volunteers realize that theft is possible, but see
their work as fruitful nonetheless, for their main goal is
to keep bikes out of landfills and back on the road, where
they were intended to be.
Saturday’s event will take place in the parking lot adjacent
to 147 First St. in Troy. Anyone who wishes to get their hands
dirty, greasy or paint-covered as the first fleet of Green
Bikes is prepared for dispatch is welcome. Bring your Allen
keys, wrenches, bike pumps and the like. Food and drinks will
be available; donations are accepted. And if you don’t want
to get messy, but still want in on the party, just bring one
of those old bikes you’ve got kicking around. Check out www.breathingplanet.net/TBR
or call Andrew Lynn, 573-7947, for more information.
lengthy construction delays and costly budget overruns were
forgotten as the new Rensselaer Amtrak station opened for
use on Sunday. The Capital District Transportation Authority,
which supervised the construction of the glamorous, palatial
structure, didn’t hold the fancy ribbon-cutting ceremony until
the following day.
Paying the Pollster?
on the New York governor’s race at a press conference
last week, pollster John Zogby said his client, Independence
Party candidate Thomas Golisano, stands a good chance
of winning the election. But, critics ask, was he expected
to say anything less?
Zogby, president and CEO of the commercial polling firm
Zogby International, has been hired as a personal pollster
for Golisano’s gubernatorial campaign.
person who buys a service will use that to their benefit,”
said Gerald Benjamin, dean of liberal arts and sciences
at SUNY College at New Paltz. “Zogby is an established
pollster, but he is selling his services to Golisano.”
Golisano is not alone in hiring polling services—both
H. Carl McCall and Andrew Cuomo employed polling firms
during the Democratic Primary. But critics contend that,
unlike other candidate’s personal pollsters, when Zogby
speaks, the media listen.
Zogby International is a widely-used, global polling
service with a clientele including The New York Post,
Gannett News Services and the United Nations. According
to Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York
Public Interest Research Group, Zogby’s “is the poll
people pay attention to.”
think Zogby is in a compromised position—in this particular
instance, his objectivity is at question,” said Dr.
Alan Chartok, professor of communication at the University
at Albany. “Is Zogby speaking as an independent pollster,
as he always has, or is he speaking as a Golisano pollster
and advancing the Golisano line?”
Zogby, whose services have cost Golisano $387,780, according
to the state board of elections, doesn’t deny where
his paychecks come from.
have been polling for Golisano, and that is well-known,”
said Zogby. “I wouldn’t do a [poll] for the Times
Union and a candidate. It needs to be ethically
delineated that I am polling for Golisano.”
Although Zogby openly acknowledges his commitment to
Golisano, and was attributed accordingly in a Times
Union article published Sept. 18, some say because
Zogby’s services receive news coverage, the pollster’s
bias must be considered when interpreting his findings.
wants to use his credibility,” said Horner. “Such being
the case, you’ve got to take [what Zogby says] with
a grain of salt. How were the questions asked, and to
whom? That would say a lot about the findings.”
Stating that the information is private, Zogby refused
to release the findings that he said give the Rochester
billionaire a chance at winning the election. He did
state that his opinion was based on an “impression of
previous polling and polls done by Marist and Quinnepiac.”
Horner said Zogby’s work for Golisano differs from the
polling by institutions like Marist and Quinnepiac because
of the ends being sought. Horner said that academic
institutions are usually trying to determine an answer
to a question, where private polling, like Zogby’s,
attempts to gauge public opinion for tactical purposes.
Remarks like Zogby’s can be expected from different
pollsters right up until election day, said Benjamin.
And none should be considered unethical, he said, if
there is disclosure as to who is paying whom.
need to take a critical posture as to how the info is
gathered,” said Benjamin. “Then the informed consumer
can make a judgment. Zogby will not do a bad poll technically,
but if he sells a service to you, you own it and you
will use it as you wish.”