Lets make them count: Members of the New York
State Citizens Coalition on HAVA Implementation.
Photo by: Rick Marshall
to the Planning Board
nude beach, fishin’ hole, peaceful green spot: Whatever your
fancy, the popular recreation spot along the Poestenkill is
back on its road to development this week. The conceptual
plan for 28 two-unit condominiums on the undeveloped land
will come before the Troy Planning Board for a hearing tonight
Though the land has been in private hands for decades, the
public has used the spot for all kinds of activities and many
remain agitated about the prospect of condos on this adopted
hideaway [“Who Will Speak for Bare Ass Beach?,” May 20].
The proposal came before the Troy Planning Commission in May,
but since then Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian replaced the commission
with an all-new city Planning Board composed of different
members. According to planning director Tim Mattice, the same
proposal that was heard by the commission in May will be presented
again as a matter of courtesy to the new board.
Russell Ziemba of the Mt. Ida Preservation Foundation, a neighborhood
association near the area slated for development, says he’ll
be at the hearing to let the board know he thinks that “there
are more appropriate places to build on in the city of Troy.”
Ziemba lives close by and wants the green space to remain
as undeveloped as possible. He hopes the plan will be revised
to allow some public access to the Poestenkill.
on the Hudson
coalition of voters’ rights groups recently called upon state
officials to reach an agreement on state election standards—or
risk disenfranchising thousands of New York voters.
of learning from the mistakes that occurred in the 2000 elections
in Florida, [state officials] seem intent upon replicating
that experience here in New York,” said Neal Rosenstein, government
reform coordinator for New York Public Interest Research Group.
The New York State Citizen’s Coalition on HAVA Implementation
blamed the Republican-led Senate and Gov. George E. Pataki—also
a Republican—for the government’s failure to reach agreement
on the Help America Vote Act, a system of federally mandated
election standards created in the aftermath of the 2000 election.
The mandates allow state access to federal funds once certain
statewide voting standards are established.
However, the task force created to determine these standards
accomplished little [“Reform at a Crippling Pace,” Newsfront,
May 20]. In order for the state to receive the federal funds
set aside by HAVA, a system of standards must be enacted by
task force] was a fake process,” explained Brad Williams,
executive director of the New York State Independent Living
Council and a member of the HAVA task force. Williams criticized
the operation of the task force, echoing other critics’ claims
that partisan politics hindered significant negotiation.
The coalition commended the state Assembly, however, for issuing
bills that would allow a wide variety of forms of identification
to be used by voters, which also is one of the most prominent
obstacles to agreement. According to the coalition, the Senate
is pushing for a more restricted list of acceptable identification—in
many cases, limiting access for voters without photo identification.
This, said coalition members, amounts to compliance with only
the bare essentials of HAVA compliance.
This week, the Assembly issued a bill that included a dramatically
scaled-down version of voter-identification standards. Rachel
Leon, executive director of Common Cause New York, commended
the Assembly for attempting to meet the Senate halfway, but
indicated that there were aspects of the legislation that
the coalition found unacceptable. While the coalition urged
state officials to find agreement, several members noted that
a lack of agreement might be better than hastily approved
might be better off with no legislation at all rather than
bad legislation that we’re stuck with for 10 years,” explained
in a Trap
Photo by: Joe Putrock
Aref, imam of the Masjid As-Salam mosque on Central
Avenue in Albany, and Mohammed Hossain (above)
were led from federal court in Albany on Tuesday
(Aug. 10) after Federal Magistrate Judge David
Homer ordered the men to remain jailed while their
trial is pending. The pair were arrested Thursday
(Aug. 5) after an FBI sting operation. The plot
was a trap set by the FBI in which the men allegedly
agreed to launder the money used for a shoulder-fired
missile they were told would be used to assassinate
a Pakistani diplomat.
They were indicted by a federal grand jury last
Friday (Aug. 10), including 19 counts of money
laundering and for providing “material support”
for terrorists. Attorneys for the defendants wanted
them released on bail, and Hossain’s attorney
decried the sting as racial profiling.