am writing in response to your recent article on Democratic
primary opponents running for the Albany County Legislature,
which failed to mention my candidacy, and to set the record
straight on just who I am, and why I am running.
I am the Independence Party candidate for the Albany County
Legislature and have also been cross-endorsed by the Albany
County Conservative Party. Second, I have been a Mansion neighborhood
resident for the past 20 years, where my wife MaryEllen and
I raised a family, and started a successful business which
has been operating as the longest continuously working bed
and breakfast in AlbanyMansion Hill Inn & Restaurant.
recently confronted Mayor Jennings in a public forum regarding
the 67-percent property-tax assessment increase on our business.
The mayor took the position that residents and businesses
in Albany should be happy about the increase in
the value of our property, and pay no attention to the higher
taxes that come with it. Thats easy for him to say,
but this is a matter of economic survival for my family and
me, and I suspect for many other struggling middle- and lower-income
people and businesses trying to stay in the City of Albany.
many people, I simply cannot afford the nearly $7,000 increase
in my taxes. And despite what the mayor may say to the contrary,
the fact is that in the Mansion and Arbor Hill neighborhoods
property values have dropped an average of four to 12 percent.
Yet our property, one of very few businesses in the neighborhood,
was increased by an outrageous 67 percent.
fact that I have worked hard to raise my family and build
a business in an underserved neighborhood should
not be taken by the city as an opportunity to milk me for
confiscatory taxes which can only drive me out of business,
as many before me have been, and thats why I was offended
by our mayors glib remarks and confronted him.
am running for office because I believe there are many homeowners
and business owners and other citizens of Albany County that
would like to have someone representing them in the Legislature
who has a proven commitment to the community we live in, who
has worked to improve the community and create jobs here,
and who is willing to speak out when the career politicians
forget about the people they are elected and paid to represent.
Chef-owner, Mansion Hill Inn
Jerking My Chain
This letter is in response to B.A. Nilssons review of
the Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub [Food, Oct. 9]. When I
opened the paper this week I, like always, looked at the restaurant
review first. My wife and I love eating dinner out, and like
trying to find new places. I was, however, severely disappointed
after reading this particular review. My disappointment actually
has nothing to do with restaurant and everything to do with
I, as well as countless others, happen to like the dreaded
chain restaurant. Would you like me to confess my sin at the
nearest chapel, Mr. Nilsson? Thats right, my wife likes
them too. And someday our children will like them. No need
to worry about the children though, you wont hear them
over the din. It seems to me that B.A. had his
mind made up before he parked his car that night what he thought
of the Ninety Nine.
Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Nilsson, its not the threat
of Dijon mustard that makes the nervous majority
flock to the chain restaurant. It could be the fact that a
couple, such as my wife and I, can eat a meal, have it served
hot and fast and leave with full bellies and not lose a paycheck
in the process. As far as Dijon mustard, I much prefer Frenchs
Classic Yellow or Guldens Spicy Brown.
Now let me touch on the real issue here. I had stated before
that when my wife and I leave the chain, our bellies are full.
Yes, Metroland readers, I have a belly. A decent-sized one,
too. Im not afraid to say Im fat. Im also
not afraid to admit that sometimes I want my salmon plain,
I crave those damned tenders, and maybe I like
my chicken parm deep-fried.
That being said, what gives you the right, as reviewer of
a restaurant, to review its clientele? I happen to fall under
your clientele categorization of lovers of potato skins.
And having confessed my plumpness, I suppose I fall under
your sweeping generalization of poor fatty people.
If you want to criticize an establishment for its food, preparation
and service, go right ahead, but how dare you stereotype a
group of customers simply for choosing a chain restaurant
to eat in.
you dont like that type of place, dont go. Note
to Metroland editors: Next time, send someone who will at
least try to be objective to review a restaurant.
man featured on the cover of Metroland last week [Oct. 9],
illustrating a story on Miss Marys Art Space, was mistakenly
identified as poet Larry Rapant. He is actually stand-up comedian
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