Thursday, August 5, 2015
My final National Night Out as an elected official (Troy Record)
Eight years ago, I organized one of the first National Night Out events ever held in Troy, right in my own Eastside neighborhood. Our motto was, "Say good-bye to crime and HELLO to your neighbors." Last night, I attended my last National Night Out event as an elected official. Hundreds of residents showed up at the Burden Ironworks Museum in South Troy for a night full of "food, fun, and excitement", as I mentioned to reporter Danielle Sanzone. These are the good times that I will always remember.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Not again... another fire in Little Italy (News Channel 13)
Another fire has hit one of the neighborhoods that I represent. We are still recovering from the April 10th fire, and this is more tragedy piled on a neighborhood that is still healing. The community will come together again. As I said during the interview, "Down here people are really connected, and when something happens to one family, it happens to all families." We will recover and rebuild.
Additional coverage: Troy Record | Times Union | News10 | CBS6 | Time Warner Cable News
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Welcome to Pawling Park! (Troy Record)
Back in July of 2014, I worked with Adam Sanzone to draft a resolution that designates city property as the Colonel Albert Pawling Memorial Park. Today, the Pawling Statue Committee held the official dedication of the park. This is a remarkable milestone for the Pawling Statue project, and I am proud to be serving on the committee. At the event, I read the resolution (full text), County Legislator Gary Pavlic hung the sign, and Mayor Lou Rosamilia read a proclamation.
Additional coverage: Times Union | CBS6
Sunday, April 12, 2015
TLDC helps two neighborhoods in Ken's district (Times Union)
The Troy Local Development Corporation, of which I serve as a board member, recently sold the Marvin-Neitzel Building for $650,000. We have taken $150,000 of the proceeds and allocated it in $50,000 chunks to three neighborhoods in Troy: Lansingburgh, Little Italy, and the Eastside. As both Little Italy and the Eastside neighborhoods are in my district, I am thrilled to be pumping an additional $100,000 in facade improvement funds into District 5.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Devastating fire in the heart of Little Italy (News10)
On the evening of Friday, April 10, 2015, a devastating fire damaged two buildings in Little Italy - 231-233 4th Street, and 346-354 Washington Street. A total of 13 families were displaced, but no one was injured. I wish to thank the Troy, Albany, and Watervliet fire departments for their efforts to contain the fire, the Red Cross for being on the scene to assist, DeFazio's Pizzeria and Red Front Restaurant for providing food and drink to the victims, Troy Police, Troy DPW, Mayor Rosamilia, Deputy Mayor Ryan, Council President Wiltshire, Council members Kopka, Teta, and Gordon for organizing relief efforts, and Emily Menn for creating a Facebook group to coordinate further help for the victims.
The residents of Little Italy are resilient. With the help of the community, we will get through this.
Additional coverage: Time Warner Cable News | Troy Record | News10
Friday, April 3, 2015
Why Ken voted against Scolite sale to Valente Company (Times Union)
Almost a year ago to date, I voted against selling the Scolite property to the Valente company. After weeks of due diligence, I could not support selling this riverfront property to a company whose business would adversely affect the neighborhood, and whose environmental practices in other municipalities had been subject to scrutiny and citations. One year later, this company has been fined for its second violation by the DEC. I will continue to protect our riverfront and to cast my vote in the best interests of my constituents.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
President Wiltshire announces Mayoral bid (Troy Record)
President Rodney Wiltshire is more than a colleague on the City Council. He is a neighbor and a friend. There is a reason why he is respected among his peers and beloved by the people of Troy. Rodney will be our next Mayor, and we will all expect great things from him.
Additional coverage: TU blog | Times Union | News Channel 13 | Time Warner Cable News | News10
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Ken attends 20-for-20 Pawling Statue press event (Times Union)
As a member of the Colonel Albert Pawling Memorial Statue Committee, I am proud to be both a liaison to city government as well as a donor and project contributor. Kudos to committee co-chairs Adam Sanzone and Gary Pavlic, who have dedicated so much of their time and energy to this project. Also, thank you to the first three organizations that have contributed $1,000 each: E. Stewart Jones law firm, Gramercy Communications, and Price Chopper.
Additional coverage: Troy Record | News Channel 13 | CBS6
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
EPA subpoenas validate Council inquiry re: King St demo (Troy Record)
Today, I received my first-ever subpoena, as did all eight of my colleagues on the Troy City Council. These subpoenas are the result of the EPA's investigation into the botched demolition on King Street on August 5, 2013. I have been one of the most vocal critics of the City's actions before, during, and after the demolition of 4-10 King Street. As I write this posting one and a half years later, still no one has been held accountable for the severe breaches in public safety that occurred on that day, as well as the questionable circumstances that led to an incorrect "emergency" declaration.
I am proud of the investigation that the Council conducted, which was spearheaded by Council President Rodney Wiltshire. In fact, I had the distinction of writing the section of the Council's post-investigation report that dealt with King Street. These subpoenas seem to validate our work.
Additional coverage: Times Union | News Channel 13 | Time Warner Cable News
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Ken praises Phi Sigma Kappa for their community involvement (Times Union)
Four years ago, I expressed my confidence that the brothers of Phi Sigma Kappa would make a positive impact on their new neighborhood. As the Mount Ida Community Development Micro Grant Program enters its second year, these young men continue to deliver on their promise to improve the community in a tangible and worthwhile manner.
Additional coverage: Time Warner Cable News
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Our first public hearing on the Charter (Troy Record)
Only a handful of residents attended our first public hearing, but many thoughtful suggestions were made. The League of Women Voters reiterated its stance against term limits. Of course, term limits have always been a controversy in Troy, and I certainly do not want to see our work on the commission become overshadowed by constant discussions around term limits.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Auditor vote puts city at risk (Troy Record)
In a close 5 to 4 vote, the Council voted against the appointment of Linden Layne to the position of City Auditor. The three obstructionist Democrats (Kopka, Teta, Galuski) voted with the two Republicans (Gordon, Bodnar) to block the appointment. These same individuals complained loudly about the City's finances and lack of fiscal oversight, but when given the opportunity to select a highly qualified candidate to fill the position of City Auditor, politics won out over practicality. On Monday, March 16, the City of Troy will be without an auditor.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Ken co-sponsors resolution to thaw pipes (Troy Record)
The City's embarrassment continues. Today, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple delivered water to the waterless residents, because the City was unable or unwilling to show even some minimal decency to these people. At our monthly Council meeting, we passed a resolution urging the Mayor to take action on behalf of these residents. (Kopka and Galuski voted against - no surprise.) This episode reveals government at its worst - inept, unfocused, and uncaring. I find the Mayor's decision to be morally unacceptable, socially irresponsible, and politically detrimental.
To top it off, the Mayor's press conference was a lesson in exactly how not to conduct a press conference. Mayor Rosamilia and his attorney Tom Kenney were stumbling over themselves attempting to answer basic questions. The entire press conference can be viewed below. Judge for yourself.
Additional coverage: News Channel 13 | Press conference
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Ken demands City take action for waterless residents (Times Union)
Displaying a level of incompetence, stubbornness, and imprudence that has most observers scratching their heads, the City's administration has failed to provide one of the most basic municipal services to a small group of citizens: water delivery. A handful of residents in Lansingburgh have been without water for over a week. The problem is a frozen City pipe which the City refuses to thaw, even after acknowledging that the pipe is indeed owned by the City.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Ken questions aspects of proposed drone ordinance (Times Union)
Monday, February 16, 2015
Ken ready to get to work on Charter revisions (Times Union)
Friday, January 23, 2015
Ken selected to serve on Charter Revision Commission (Troy Record)
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Ken questions City's in-rem proposal process (Troy Record)
Saturday, January 17, 2015
RPI Hockey gives boost to the Pawling Statue project (Troy Record)
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Ken supports idea to review City Charter (Troy Record)
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Ken proposes merging the school districts (Troy Record)
Monday, November 17, 2014
Despite being threatened, Ken remains focused and determined (Times Union)
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Dose of reality from Ken regarding 2015 budget (Times Union)
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Ken suggests technology to enhance private sales (Troy Record)
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Ken supports new plan for Monument Square (Troy Record)
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Ken interrogates Mayor Rosamilia (Troy Record)
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Ken weighs in on Anastasia's remarks (Troy Record)
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Ken sponsors a renewed ban on mini-dorms (Troy Record)
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Ken discusses homelessness in Troy (Troy Record)
The topic of homelessness in our city is a complex one, and often uncomfortable. However, the Public Safety Committee, along with Chief Tedesco and several other prominent community members, had an open and frank discussion on this issue, including methods to ensure public safety and quality of life, while also showing compassion toward the homeless in our community.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Ken asks city officials to be proactive in code enforcement (Troy Record)
At the fifth public hearing into demolitions, the focus shifted to the eviction notice posted at 51 3rd Street on January 31, 2014. I continue to maintain that this enforcement action was political retribution, since this property was brought to the City's attention when an anonymous blogger posted information about a march against police brutality being staged at this location. The City contends that once an issue is brought to Code's attention (even if on an anonymous political blog), it must take action. I asked David Sheeran to discuss his process for determining that 51 3rd St had no Certificate of Occupancy. He indicated that it took him 2 minutes to look it up on the CityView software system. I then requested that the City use the CityView data to be proactive and send out notices to all owners of multi-use properties that do not have a CO, rather than waiting for these properties to appear in blogs.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Ken pleased that Land Banks & Complete Streets move forward (Troy Record)
I was proud to co-sponsor legislation to create a Community Land Bank in Troy. This Land Bank will help the City to get control of the vacant building plague, allowing us to better maintain and market the properties. I also want to thank the Troy Local Development Corporation and the Troy Capital Resource Corporation for their initial investments to jumpstart the Land Bank.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Demolition inquiry - round 4 (Times Union)
At the fourth public hearing for the inquiry into botched demolitions in Troy, the Council heard sworn testimony from Damon Dzembo (owner of Retallick Construction and spouse of Bombers' owner Tami Dzembo), former Troy Civil Engineer Jim Rivers, former Troy Engineering Assistant Barb Tozzi, Troy DPW coordinator Mike Hayner, and Troy Fire Chief Tom Garrett.
Additional coverage: Troy Record
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Demolition inquiry - round 3 (Times Union)
At the third public hearing for the inquiry into botched demolitions in Troy, the Council heard sworn testimony from John Tirino (project manager for the King Fuels demo), Dan DiTonno (owner of DiTonno and sons), Don Boyajian (owner of 2 through 12 King St), and former mayor Harry Tutunjian.
Additional coverage: Time Warner Cable News | Troy Record | News Channel 13
Monday, May 12, 2014
Ken stands with President Wiltshire on investigation (Times Union)
Tonight, we voted on the issuance of subpoenas for the purpose of continuing the investigation into demolition practices in the City of Troy. The "obstruction coalition" - Galuski and Kopka - voted against, while the remaining seven members voted to perform our duties as an oversight body and a co-equal branch of government.
Friday, May 9, 2014
This is why we investigate (Troy Record)
At last night's public hearing, the Council discovered, through sworn testimony from a certified engineer, that the LDC contractor (J.R. Casale) did not follow the engineer's recommendations for proper demolition of the Benzol Building (aka Building #6). This led to an uncontrolled demolition of the building, placing people's lives at great risk.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Investigation into botched demolitions continues (Times Union)
The Council continued its inquiry into the circumstances surrounding two botched demolitions in Troy, to the protestations of the Mayor. Instead of holding people accountable for their actions (or lack thereof), the Mayor has decided to blame the Council for doing its job, stating that there are "personal agendas serving as the driving force behind the hearings". My personal agenda is the safety of the residents whom I represent. It would be helpful if the administration felt the same way.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Ken supports investigation into demolitions (Troy Record)
Additional coverage: Times Union | Time Warner Cable News | News Channel 13 | News10 | CBS6 | Fox23 | Times Union (follow-up)
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Pawling Statue moves forward (Troy Record)
I am proud to serve on the Pawling Statue Committee, and even more so now that we have hit our Phase I goal of raising $5,000.00 in private donations.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Let's leave engineering to the engineer (Troy Record)
The abrupt resignation of City Engineer Russ Reeves is concerning to me. It appears that Mr. Reeves is not being properly consulted on projects that require an engineering analysis. The botched King Street demolition, purposefully conducted while Reeves was away on vacation, should have been the beginning and the end of the missteps by this administration. I support Council President Wiltshire in his call for a full investigation into the events that transpired leading up to Reeves' resignation.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Ken seeks investigation of Ark Charter closing (Times Union)
Due to some questionable circumstances surrounding the decision to close down the Ark Charter School, I have advanced a resolution that calls on the New York State Attorney General to perform an investigation into the process. The text of the resolution can be viewed here.
Additional coverage: Times Union
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Ken attends community forum on bonding (Troy Record)
I would like to thank my colleague Jim Gordon for hosting a very informative public forum on the proposed $25 million in bonds that we are being asked to approve.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Ken continues opposition to Scolite proposal (Troy Record)
Tonight was the first opportunity I had to actually cast a vote on this legislation, since it was pulled from our agenda earlier this month. I have not been quiet about my opposition to this project, and I cast my NO vote with a clear explanation for why this proposal is not good for South Troy or for the City as a whole.
Additional coverage: Times Union
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
A bad headline, and a lie (Troy Record)
The headline to this article is "Troy City Council hopes to issue license allowing demolition, remediation at former Scolite site". I do not hope to do anything of the sort. I have been opposed to the Valente proposal for the Scolite site since I was first made aware of it, weeks ago. Even worse than the headline is the statement by Planning Commissioner Bill Dunne that "the project has been approved by several neighborhood groups". That is an outright lie. There is not a single neighborhood group that has approved this proposal. Residents in South Central and South Troy are staunchly opposed to the idea of dozens of heavy trucks carrying dirty aggregate material through their neighborhoods.
Friday, March 7, 2014
We should have taken the money (Troy Record)
I know that $2,100.00 sounds like a small amount of money, but it is income for the City, nonetheless. I was surprised that my colleague Gary Galuski decided to offer an amendment to destroy these firearms -- which are public property -- rather than sell them for some additional revenue to the City. I voted against Councilman Galuski's amendment, which ended up passing.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Bipartisan support for external review (Times Union)
Last night, I voted to support a resolution that requests a third-party review of the incident at Kokopellis night club. It passed out of the Public Safety Committee, but both Republicans voted against it. Tonight, the two Republicans joined three of my Democratic colleagues and me to support and pass this responsible measure. Unfortunately, the other three Democrats on the Council played politics with this legislation, fearing that they would lose the Troy PBA endorsement if they supported it.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Ken supports 3rd party review of incident (Times Union)
The best way we can support our police and our citizens, and bring closure to this issue, is to have the incident properly reviewed by an external entity. The deep divisions between the African-American community and the Police Department must be healed, and we need to move beyond this.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Ken supports Chief Tedesco's reinstatement (Times Union)
A year ago, I supported the Mayor's request to appoint a Police Commissioner to oversee the Troy Police Department. While Commissioner Magnetto is a fine man and an exemplary law enforcement official, it appears that this decision has caused turmoil in the department, and it's time to put an end to it. Chief Tedesco has always been responsive to my requests, up front about his ideas and opinions, and knowledgeable about all things pertaining to police work. I regret the manner in which he was marginalized over the past year, and welcome his return to full control over the department.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Ken supports selling property to Cox (Troy Record)
I know that Jack Cox, Jr. has had some problems with the City in the past. I know that his dad has a bad reputation. However, there would be no downside to selling the properties at 30 and 36 Douw St to Mr. Cox. He pledged to refurbish them, and the City has a six-month reverter clause that allows us to reclaim the properties if work is not done on them. My colleagues should have voted to put these properties back on the tax rolls, knowing that the City has recourse if the buyer does not deliver on his promises.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Ken hosts fundraiser for Pawling Statue (Times Union)
I am proud to be a member of the Pawling Statue Committee, and eager to move this project forward. Join us tomorrow (Thu, Jan 30) at 6pm for the kickoff fundraiser!
Monday, January 27, 2014
Ken wants increased police staffing (Troy Record)
Tonight, we passed the new PBA contract (which actually only covers 2011 and 2012) out of the Public Safety Committee. Lots of good questions were asked. I agree with Chief Tedesco that the contract is heavy on fringe benefits, but light on actual salary increases for the officers. I would prefer to scale back the benefits and provide a larger salary bump. However, over 80% of the officers approved this, so I think it's safe to move it forward.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Ken supports tabling PBA contract for now (Troy Record)
I anticipate that we will pass the new PBA contract very soon, but right now, there are some language changes that must be made before a formal vote can be taken. I am hopeful that we will be voting on the revised legislation as soon as Monday, January 27 at the Public Safety Committee meeting.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Ken elected as City Council President Pro Tempore (Troy Record)
I am honored to have been selected by my colleagues to serve as the President Pro Tempore of the City Council for my final term. I have worked extremely hard over the past six years to do good by the people of Troy, and to earn the trust of those with whom I serve. I appreciate this recognition, and will do everything I can to support Council President Wiltshire and all of my Council colleagues.
Additional coverage: Times Union | Troy Record