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Friday, January 20, 2006



Congratulations to Mayor Jerry Jennings on his re-election as Mayor of the City of Albany. Best wishes for a successful four year term.

The Mayor's fourth term appears to be off to a great start:

1. The Mayor appointed Jim Tuffey, Chief of Police. Tuffey is the right man for the job, having credentials and experience in both law enforcement and emergency management and planning.

2. Mayor Jennings has declared that the issue of public safety is his priority concern.

That is the concern of every resident of Albany, as well.  The Mayor, in conjunction with the Police Chief, have to come forward with concrete policies and actions that will address this public safety concern: like clearing the streets of hostile, belligerents and those that harass and prey upon law abiding citizens, and disarming the criminals and gangs, who are, in fact, domestic terrorists who are the eventual allies of the foreign terrorists, who seek to destroy us. Given Osama bin Laden's recent message to his operatives, who dwell amongst us, it is imperative that Mayor Jennings and the APD disarm the criminals and gangs without delay. This will require an assist from the State Police, and other law enforcement. Governor Pataki can make this happen, now. Take the 100 or so NYS Police that were deployed to New Orleans and put them to work in Albany as a part of a really aggressive Operation Impact to accomplish these objectives ASAP. Time is not on our side!

When Bin Laden warned that we will soon being seeing terror attacks in our homes - what did he infer?  We have seen an increase in home invasions already. It is not too much of a stretch of imagination to picture armed criminals, gangs, and other assorted hostiles running amok pillaging and plundering our homes in a time of disaster or major, simultaneous, terror attacks.

The City Schools must be brought under control immediately. They are the breeding grounds for ther next generation of criminals and anti-social belligerents. The battle for public safety must be fought, not only on the streets, but in the city schools. Governor Pataki and the State Legislature can be of major help here. The Albany School Board and School District are educational failures. Disband them and vest authority and accountability for city schools with the Mayor and Common Council. Return to a K-8 neighborhood school system. Adopt strict student conduct codes, in school, on city streets and buses. Replace gang colors and insignia with school uniforms. Remove disruptive and violent students from classes and transfer them to a boot camp campus staffed by former military.

Albany does not have a Comprehensive City Emergency/Disaster Plan that anticipates and prepares to address the types of natural and man-made disasters, and terrorist attacks that will come our way in the "days and nights ahead" as Bin Laden warns. This is a parallel priority that must be immediately addressed by Mayor Jennings. It will take more than weekly meetings of the Police and Fire Departments and building a new public safety center at the Port of Albany. It will take the education and involvement of all the citizens and institutions of this city. Again, time is not on our side!

All the rest of the Mayor's State of The City is meaningless, if the above public safety concerns are not immediately and effectively addressed.

A convention  center, the land fill, the city water supply, the Palace Theatre, new office buildings, Tech Valley Dreams, Park South , Mid-Town and Arbor Hill redevelopment plans, summer employment and recreation programs are all important concerns, but they must be viewed in perspective of the public safety threat posed by lunatics like Bin Laden and those drawn to him, by hate and discontent.

It is admirable that Albany's archeology and heritage is protected by legislation, as the Mayor informed us in his State of The City address.

I, for one, would be comforted, by prompt attention to the above public safety priorities, lest the artifacts, and ruins,  of our contemporary city be, one day, found among the archeolgical stratas of the past.

A word of advice to the Common Council and City School District - set aside your misguided leftwing political and social agendas, work with the Mayor and APD, and others, to achieve public safety and to develop an effective City Emergency/Disaster Plan before it is too late for all of us.

                                                                                                J P Sullivan

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Friday, January 13, 2006



Public Safety, in our homes, neighborhoods, on city streets, in schools, work places and shopping areas is the Number One Priority for Albany.

Disarming criminals and gangs, clearing he streets and schools of anti-social belligerents, now ,is the imperative.

Preparation of an effective City Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Plan that anticipates, and prepares for, natural and man made disasters and terrorist attacks that may befall Albany in the days ahead is also needed now, as a major element of the Public Safety Priority.

Continue to send the message that Albany is a law and order town, where people will be safe anywhere, anytime...that city schools will offer safe environments conducive to learning, for those that want to learn. Those who do not ,will be placed in alternative "boot camp" settings staffed by ex -military.

While the immediate need is to clear the streets and disarm the criminals and gangs, the long run battle against crime, anarchy and civil disorder will be won in the city schools.

Congratulations Jerry, Jim and APD in sending this message at Livingston Middle School yesterday.

                                                                                    J P Sullivan


Wednesday, January 4, 2006



Consider these Times Union reports in today's edition:

* 1)  Neighborhood groups ask for a plan (pB3)

* 2)  Council position changes hands (pB10)

The first report informs us that:

a) CANA will vote today urging the city to adopt a City Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Why didn't CANA do this during the 2005 City election campaign when there was a chance of getting some immediate action?

Why didn't CANA support Lonerangeralbany's call for a Moratorium on all zoning changes and use/area variances pending adoption of a City Comprehensive Land Use Master Plan and Revised Zoning Code based on

 participation, advice and consent of neighborhood residents?

Why doesn't CANA adopt this resolution tonight?

b) A Master Plan would be useful in averting the rezoning of 3.5 acres on Holland Ave as "Highway Commercial" to allow construction of a Walgreens Big Box Store.  The rezoning was approved at the Dec 19, 2005 by the Common Council.

c) Council President Shawn Morris  opposed the rezoning and welcomes the idea of a citywide master plan.

Had CANA pressed for and the Council enacted the 15 month Moratorium in 2005 as advocated by Lonerangeralbany - the rezoning could not have occurred.

Shawn Morris opposed the rezoning? Then why was she the sponsor of the rezoning legislation? Why didn't she withdraw the legislation as advocated by Lonerangeralbany early in last year's city election campaign?

The Holland Avenue rezoning a classic example of spot zoning. A big box store should not have been approved on an already congested emergency vehicle routeway to Albany Med Center. The Big Box store will undersell established neighborhood pharmacies on Delaware Ave, New Scotland Ave and at Crestwood Plaza putting them out of business. Smart growth? No-dumb move! Shawn Morris and the Common Council rate a big ZERO on this one.

The rezoning measure was passed at the last Council meeting in 2005 (Dec 19) with a number of lame duck members voting in favor. Why didn't they hold off the vote until the present Council took office, as Lonerangeralbany called for?

Answer, Shawn Morris and the Council Members conspired to pass the rezoning at the very end of 2005, and get the incoming Council off the hook.

Sure, Shawn Morris voted against the rezoning, along with several others, but they knew the votes were there to pass the legislation on Dec 19.

As sponsor, Morris could have withdrawn the legislation and there would have been no vote!


1. When CANA meets tonight, it can adopt two resolutions that have some teeth:

First: Call on the Common Council to immediately enact a 15 month Moratorium on any further rezonings and commercial use/area variance grants pending enactment of a City Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Revised City Zoning Code with the participation, advice and consent of neighborhood residents.

Second: Call on the newly seated CommonCouncil to vote to rescind the Dec 19, 2005 vote of the Council  approving the "Highway Commercial" rezoning on Holland Ave for the purpose of building a big box store. Reason for revote? See above arguments re: spot zoning at it's worst.

Third: The Times Union should hold to a higher standard in reporting "stories" relating to activities of the Common Council with regard to land use planning and other matters.

The Second TU story?  Council position changes hand

We are told that Carolyn McLaughlin was elected Majority Leader of the Council by a 15-0 vote, replacing  James Sano.

We are told that Sano represents the" predominantly  white and affluent neighborhood around New Scotland Avenue", while "McLauglin's ward along South Pearl Street is one of the city's poorest neighborhoods where about two-thirds of residents are black."

Why is the Times Union playing the race card? Don't we have enough racial tension in the City of Albany as it is?

Why didn't the Times Union add a few more facts to their racial profiling observation?  Like, which of the two wards has the higher rates of social services recipients and illegitimate, teen age births? Like, which ward pays the taxes that supports the other ward? And like, which ward spawns the bank robbers, stick up and graffiti artists who are invading the other ward?

Affluent ward, my backside. I drove down the New Scotland Avenue corridor, after reading this story (and reviewing my city property tax bill), dodging numerous pot holes (aggravated by excessive road salt dumping),  and a second -rate snow removal effort , and observed a deteriorating housing stock and graffiti in abundance.

Incidently, McLauglin was one of the returning Council Members who voted FOR the Holland Avenue "Highway Commercial "rezoning.

With a Common Council led by the duo Morris and McLaughlin are the residents of  the few remaining "affluent neighborhoods" in the City of Albany safe?

A New Year brings nothing new. Just some of the same tired old faces, wearing different hats and titles.

Mayor Jennings and his new Police Chief Tuffey have their work cut out for them.

The biggest challenge facing the Common Council is to rise above being an ineffectual, dysfunctional, obstructionist body; and work with the Mayor and Police Chief to make the streets of Albany safe, to disarm the criminals and gangs, to restore order, and discipline in the failing city schools and create safe learning environments in a k-8 neighborhood school system.

Yes, Albany needs a Comprehensive Land Use Master Plan and Revised Zoning Code.

Even more importantly, Albany needs a City Emergency/Disaster Plan that anticipates and prepares for the kinds of natural and man made disasters, or terrorist attacks that are sure to befall us in the days ahead.

Set aside the partrisan political power struggle within the Democratic Party and work with the Mayor and Police Chief and City Schools for the benefit of all the residents of Albany.

As for the Times Union: be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Improve the content , depth and objectivity of your "stories". Stop playing the race card and promote racial and political harmony instead. Tell it as it is, not as you see it or wish it to be.

A Happy, Healthy Productive New Year to all.  Lonerangeralbany will have more to say in 2006 as events and circumstances require.

                                                                                       J P Sullivan