am deeply disappointed with the way in which my comments to
Liz Healy at the Underground Railroad History Project conference
at St. Rose were taken out of context, edited and used as
a quote that did not reflect my experience that day [“Taking
New Passengers,” Newsfront, March 4].
Ms. Healy approached several folks, including me, after the
keynote speaker and even before the first workshop. She told
us she was performing a survey for Metroland and asked
us what brought each of us to the conference. This is when
I told her how I came to be there. Next she asked each of
us how we would rate the keynote speaker. My friend and I
indicated that her talk was average (note: we did not say
below average, bad, yucky or any other derogatory comment).
Next she asked each of us why we felt she was average. I indicated
that I (personally) had not learned a lot of new information
from this speech.
I feel that my comments were written as if I was disgruntled
and felt that I was not receiving information I needed. This
is not true. I was simply giving an honest assessment of one
small segment of the conference. Unfortunately, I thought,
incorrectly, that this survey information was being compiled
to provided a balanced look at the entire day. I am sure that
overall comments about this terrific day were way above
average. I guess I have learned a valuable lesson in keeping
my mouth shut.
I also feel that I need to write this letter as an apology
to the conference organizers as I did not expect, intend or
wish that my comments would be used in this way. This conference
was informative and well done. I was truly blessed by the
Constituents Know Better
recent weeks, the stories reported in Metroland have
included less news and more creative writing than usual. As
a result, readers have seen an increasingly misleading presentation
of local issues, particularly when it comes to Albany’s police.
The coverage is now so skewed that there is no choice but
to set the record straight. The latest example of Metroland’s
decline can be seen in the publication of Wanda Lubinski’s
letter [“Who’ve You Been Talking To?,” Feb. 19].
Having come in last place when she ran for a Second Ward council
seat in 1997, Lubinski is best known as a failed candidate
for office in the city’s South End. Her latest landslide defeat
came in a recent CSEA union election. Both Wanda’s community
and her fellow union members have clearly demonstrated that
Lubinski does not represent their interests or their views
on important issues of the day. Suggesting she is a voice
of reason regarding any major issue totally misses the boat.
While she craves attention, Wanda has never been a constituent
of mine. And my primary responsibility is to represent the
people of Arbor Hill, West Hill and Sheridan Hollow—not Lubinski.
Unfortunately, Wanda’s comments went beyond a disagreement
on issues and degenerated into the type of name-calling best
left to children in schoolyards not grown-up public policy
discussions. Unlike Lubinski and Metroland reporter
Travis Durfee, I am constantly in contact with people in my
community—not just a handful of self-appointed activists chasing
the press. Indeed, every time I go to the grocery store, ride
on the public bus or engage in any other activity, the people
I represent let me know their views. And the fate of former
Cmdr. Christian D’Alessandro [“Commander, You’re Fired,” Newsfront,
Feb. 12] is not on their list of concerns.
Indeed, only a few of my constituents have suggested that
any gains were made when the former commander led the station.
The vast majority of people I’ve heard from have said conditions
either stayed the same or worsened. Of course that’s not a
position Metroland reporters want to hear. Instead,
the paper is more interested in covering the latest tattoo
fad than really reporting on my community. They have even
labeled some people “activists” because their comments fit
neatly with Metroland’s editorial bias. Thus when a
lawsuit accuses D’Alessandro of racial bias, it is barely
The legal system will ultimately address the charges of racial
discrimination leveled against the former commander. But it
is quite revealing to find the area’s “alternative weekly”
underplaying the first lawsuit of its kind in city history.
Could it possibly be that the paper is so vested in advocating
for D’Alessandro that it has lost the ability to see an alternative
view? Could it be that Metroland has decided that concerns
about racial discrimination should take a backseat to a yuppie
view of the world?
Finally, Durfee should know that journalistic integrity and
professionalism require a reporter to do more than make a
last-minute phone call to a public official on a deadline.
This is particularly true when the story does not involve
breaking news. Durfee’s halfhearted effort to contact me for
a Feb. 12 report on Albany’s police force is a case in point.
If he truly wanted my side of the story, Durfee should have
made a genuine effort to let me respond. Public officials
have a right to expect more than a shoddy game of phone tag
from the press.
Unlike Durfee, I know many Arbor Hill, West Hill and Sheridan
Hollow residents who were dissatisfied with North Station
when D’Alessandro was commander. I have no vested interest
in slanting their story to fit some preconceived editorial
notion. Durfee apparently does.
I expected at least a hint of professionalism from Metroland.
I should have known better.
President Pro Tempore
Albany Common Council
Regarding the letter from Wanda Lubinski, it is our policy
to publish legitimate responses to our editorial coverage
whether we agree with them or not; hence, our running that
letter (or this one) does not constitute an editorial decision
or an endorsement of the letter’s point of view. On the subject
of Travis Durfee’s diligence in contacting Michael Brown,
he did reach him and interview him for the story; later, when
Durfee received conflicting information from another source,
he called back Brown immediately and left a message. By then,
however, it was the day before publication, which was acknowledged
as follows: “Brown could not be reached for comment yesterday
[Wednesday, Feb. 11].
On to Your Voices
am disappointed with your lack of coverage on the freedom
of speech issues that have been popping up in the media recently.
While the hoopla over Janet Jackson’s breast and Clear Channel’s
recent dropping of the Howard Stern show have made the news
just fine, no one seems to look beyond these surface issues
to what the underlying message seems to be! I was hoping Metroland
would address the fact that those who love freedom need to
take a strong stand against this appalling trend toward all-media
If the government and its departments are watching media outlets
so closely that they feel the need to implement “indecency
policies” and other rules leading to censorship of radio and
television (whether you like the programming being censored
or not), we are heading into dangerous territory!
We cannot allow entertainment and news media to be reduced
to the level deemed appropriate for a 10-year-old mind, simply
because the FCC or any other government department might impose
a fine. Adults have the right to hear or view whatever content
they wish. That which is viewed by children is the sole responsibility
of parents, not a “national nanny.” As an independent news
and entertainment outlet, I hope that Metroland will
assist in educating its readers on this important issue. Sure,
we can ignore the protection of our freedom of speech, it’s
a small issue right now, but how will we get this right back
when we don’t have a voice?
Congratulations on 25 years of speaking freely.
Price Is Wrong
response to your article on Price Chopper [“Food and the City,”
Feb. 19], I happen to live near the one in Watervliet. It
is also referred to as a “ghetto chopper” due to the fact
it is unkempt and dirty. They know that the majority of people
that are coming there reside in the projects across the bridge
in the Taylor Apts. Why should they fix up a store when just
“minorities” and low-income residents patronize it? Not to
mention the public housing projects that are all around the
2nd Avenue location: Michael J. Day, Quinn, Van Rensselaer
and Joslin Apts. Perhaps that they don’t even want to bother
hiring decent, normal people, but would be content with substandard
employees and products. All for the love of money. I now go
out of my way to avoid Price Chopper. I sincerely hope Mr.
Golub gets a chance to read this and will take it to heart.
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