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What About Me?

To the Editor:

I 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.

First, 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 Albany—Mansion Hill Inn & Restaurant.

I 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. That’s 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.

Like 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.

The 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 that’s why I was offended by our mayor’s glib remarks and confronted him.

I 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.

Steve Stofelano Jr.
Chef-owner, Mansion Hill Inn
Albany

Stop Jerking My Chain

To the Editor:

The This letter is in response to B.A. Nilsson’s 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 Mr. Nilsson.

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? That’s right, my wife likes them too. And someday our children will like them. No need to worry about the children though, you won’t 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, it’s 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 French’s Classic Yellow or Gulden’s 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. I’m not afraid to say I’m fat. I’m 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.

If you don’t like that type of place, don’t go. Note to Metroland editors: Next time, send someone who will at least try to be objective to review a restaurant.

Mark Eriole
East Greenbush

Corrections

The man featured on the cover of Metroland last week [Oct. 9], illustrating a story on Miss Mary’s Art Space, was mistakenly identified as poet Larry Rapant. He is actually stand-up comedian Deric Harrington.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: metroland@metroland.net. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at metroland@metroland.net.


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