Safe, Not Sorry
the Albany Police Department’s newfound willingness to share
gun data, the Common Council considers making such transparency
Albany Common Councilman Dominick Calsolaro has seen a drastic
change in the city’s police force. Since the retirement of
James Tuffey in 2009, it has become a more transparent and
community-engaged department. In fact, the leadership of Assistant
Chief Steve Krokoff almost makes an ordinance compelling the
force to release gun statistics in a quarterly report unnecessary.
Tonight, the Public Safety committee will consider the ordinance
sponsored by Calsolaro that would require the department to
provide a report detailing “the number of illegal weapons
confiscated . . . [and] the number of arrests for possession
of illegal weapons, the number of arrests for illegal gun
trafficking, and a list of gun trafficking charges lodged
for gun trafficking offenses.”
This is information, Calsolaro said, that the public has been
denied under the city’s former chiefs. Assistant Chief Steve
Krokoff, who is effectively running the department while the
city searches for a new chief, said that he will gladly hand
over any information that the law allows. “The way I look
at it is, that’s not my information to keep from anybody;
that’s the public’s information,” Krokoff said.
Calsolaro is quick to point out that Krokoff has been easy
to work with. And the councilman might even be convinced that
there is no need to pass his ordinance, considering the department’s
new temperament, except that he has fought for eight years
to get this data released, “and every chief that I’ve dealt
with has said the same thing, promised the statistics, and
then we never get anything.”
And while Krokoff might cooperate now, without the ordinance
there is no guarantee that whoever becomes the next chief
will be so willing.
have to put this in anyway, because Krokoff might not always
be there,” Calsolaro said. “I don’t want it to look like I
am going after them. This is stuff that I think we need to
know, and I have been asking for it for years and years and
years. I want to get it done before we hire a new chief.”
wouldn’t be offended by the enacting of an ordinance,” said
Krokoff, “but I can tell you it won’t take the enacting of
an ordinance for this information to be released.”
fact,” Krokoff continued, “there are a lot of us in the force
who never understood why we played it so close to the vest.
There is no reason for the community to have to be clamoring
for this information. If they want it, they should have it.”
The Public Safety committee will meet tonight (Thursday) at
5:30 on the second floor of Albany City Hall.
Troy Democrats just can’t come together on the sale of garage
After months of deliberation, the Troy City Council made no
progress in the proposed sale of the Uncle Sam parking garage,
deadlocking Tuesday night in a 4-4 vote, with one abstention.
The sale of the garage to Troy developer David Bryce at $2.15
million has raised concerns among Democratic council president
Clement Campana, and councilmen Kevin McGrath, Gary Galuski,
and Michael LoPorto—all of whom opposed the sale of city property
that is a source of revenue. “Purely from a business aspect,”
said Campana, “I’m not in favor.”
Republican councilmen Mark McGrath and Dean Bodnar stand on
the other side of this issue, with Democratic councilmen Bill
Dunne and John Brown.
Democratic Councilman Ken Zalewski wasn’t sold. He wanted
to make sure all bases were covered either way, and after
many attempts to delay the vote, he abstained.
think [Zalewski] tries to analyze too much,” said McGrath.
“I would have preferred if he made a decision one way or the
other—that’s what we’re elected to do. But I sympathized with
him, because I thought he was being bullied.”
What was more unexpected was a comment made by LoPorto, after
Bryce claimed he’d have to leave Troy for more promising alternatives.
pack up and leave,” said LoPorto.
was the most insulting thing I have ever seen as councilman,”
said McGrath. “I was shocked to hear that. What he just did
was send a message to any developer that wants to come to
Troy, saying, ‘No, don’t come here.’ I was shocked and embarrassed.”
Since the city was planning to use the proceeds towards the
development of the waterfront, Dunne said that he believes
the sale of the parking garage would have served as a reinvestment
in the community. “One way or another, the money has to come
from somewhere,” said Dunne of the money needed for the waterfront
Those in favor of selling the parking garage believe it is
a structure that the city of Troy can not maintain on its
own. “We are traditionally terrible property owners,” said
Brown. The deteriorating state of the more than 25-year-old
structure “could eventually be a liability.”
The city now has to find another way to raise the funds needed
to secure the $6 million state grant for the riverfront redevelopment,
either by using the “rainy day funds” or by bonding.
way, it’s going to be a cost to the taxpayers,” said McGrath.
“And I’m sick over it. We had an opportunity to move forward,
and we failed to do so.”
Senate moves one step closer to legalizing medical marijuana
the New York State Senate Health Committee passed legislation
that would allow for the sale and possession of medical marijuana
in the state of New York. Settle down, it’s not a law yet.
The bill, S. 4041-B, must still pass the Senate Codes Committee
before being put before the Senate. Even then, it won’t necessarily
get voted on.
NY Patients First, a new advocacy group for patients who would
benefit from the legalization of medicinal marijuana in New
York state. The group’s Web site says that because “the Senate
has a history and habit of only scheduling bills for a floor
vote if they know they are going to pass . . . we must keep
on working to convince more Senators that this bill is worthy
of them passing into law, or at the very least, to not block
it from passing.”
end, NYPF held a press conference in the Legislative Office
Building shortly after the vote took place. In addition to
discussing some of the particular aspects of the bill, NYFC
also invited several chronically ill patients to speak about
their experience with medical marijuana.
Searles undeniably was in pain. The effort it took him to
stand at the podium and plead his case was evident. He has
been through three back surgeries, as many back fusions and,
in recent years, has also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s
disease. He said that he worries about the effect that years
of pharmaceutical painkillers are having on his health. “I
prefer to have a choice, rather than messing up my liver.”
claimed that a small amount of marijuana effectively replaces
the Percocet pills on which he currently depends and argued
that the lack of accessibility can lead potential patients
to other, more dangerous street drugs, such as heroin.
Aldrich began advocating the legalization of medical marijuana
seven years ago, when he met the patient coordinator of NYPF,
Robert Robinson, while in school. Suffering from multiple
spinal injuries, Aldrich is confined to a wheelchair and suffers
from severe nerve pain and spasms. It is not just about the
health benefits of medicinal marijuana for Aldrich; it’s about
being able to remain himself. “As of about six months [ago],
I’m totally free and clean from pharmaceuticals, and now my
body feels alive.”
home was raided, and he is currently facing charges for being
in possession of nine ounces of cannabis that he kept for
personal use. Aldrich said that he doesn’t want to be made
a criminal for doing something that he feels helps him to
“live more fully in society.”
recently issued by the Center for Medical Cannabis Research
at the University of California San Diego determined that
pot is effective in reducing pain caused by neurological problems
or illness and helps to reduce muscle spasms associated with
diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
has yet to be set for the bill to go before the committee.
Buy a Y for $1?
Common Councilman Anton Konev (Ward 11) is frustrated that
the Capital District YMCA doesn’t plan to apply for federal
funding for the Washington Avenue branch—a sure sign, Konev
said, that the Y has given up. Read excerpts from e-mails
from Konev’s heated exchange with YMCA CEO David Brown, and
learn about Albany County Comptroller Mike Conners’ idea to
save the Y, on Metroland’s blog.
loose ends this week-