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Not My Hero

To the Editor:

To conceive, even dream, that Valerie Keehn is a “hero,” and somehow can stand with others in your Dec. 20 [“Local Heroes 2007”] feature is an abomination. Her incompetence at administering public business is positively unmatched. She led and lost the vote to establish a strong mayoral government in Saratoga Springs. Time after time, voters have expressed their intention to maintain the current commissioner form, but ol’ Valerie says she’s going to change that. I guess she knows what’s best, huh? She did not spend one dollar on preserving open space. She supported a former dog catcher to run Saratoga Springs’ very important public works department. Did anyone from Metroland actually attend a City Council meeting to witness first-hand her bickering and spite? Keehn does not “fight for people.” She is an opportunistic populist figure who will soon be, and thankfully so, nothing more than a trivia answer.

Tim Christensen, Saratoga Springs


Editor’s reply:

Metroland staff writer David King has attended Saratoga City Council meetings and also has watched them on videotape.

Not-So-Public Art

To the Editor:

I just finished reading Miriam Axel-Lute’s column “Closed for Winter” [Looking Up, Jan.10] , and it reminded me of a similar experience I had at the Empire State Plaza during a visit to Albany right before Christmas.

A friend and I, both former art history students at the University at Albany, thought it would be an interesting day trip to head down to the concourse beneath the plaza to view the public art collection while I was in town. We walked through the cavernous hallways and looked at the sculptures and paintings adorning the walls. It was an enjoyable trip, until we reached the end of the plaza underneath the Corning Tower. A security guard guarded the entrance to the elevators and escalator that brought workers to the upstairs floors of the Corning Tower.

Since we had no interest in going up into the offices above us, we walked on into the lobby only to have the grumpy guard yell across the room to us: “Ladies, ladies, excuse me, what are you doing here?” I turned and told him we’d come to view the public art collection, and he scowled but waved us on. We then walked over to his checkpoint to get admission to see the final few installments, which hung on the walls just past the elevators and escalator stairs. Despite the fact that we were allowed to view the art on the other side of the lobby, he told us we would need to sign in and show ID to see the last bits of the collection.

Not a problem—we went to the desk to sign in, but the woman working the desk told us that we didn’t have permission to view the paintings, so she couldn’t let us in. For a moment, we argued with her that this was a public art display and we shouldn’t need permission to view it. The woman offered to make a phone call to someone she knew, who might have the power to give us the appropriate permission to get a glimpse of the art, but we walked away while she indignantly insisted that she was trying to do us a favor that she didn’t have to do. One more time I just reminded her that this was supposed to be a public art display, as in open to the public, and then we left.

Just like with the stairwells at the ESP upstairs, opening that teeny section of the display up to the public would seem a small thing to ask—but when it comes to rules and regulations in New York state government, the rules and regulations don’t always make sense and aren’t always in the best interests of the people they apply to.

I’m glad that even after spending all the time she has living in Albany, Miriam’s eyes are still open to the way it should be instead of how it is.

Erin Sullivan, Managing editor, Baltimore City Paper, Former managing editor, Metroland

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 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 anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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