Thursday, 27 April 2023 12:35

Mathiesen Announces Candidacy for City Mayor; Dem. Primary in June

Christian Mathiesen announcing his candidacy for mayor of Saratoga Springs on April 26, 2023 in front of the Canfield Casino. Christian Mathiesen announcing his candidacy for mayor of Saratoga Springs on April 26, 2023 in front of the Canfield Casino. Thomas Dimopoulos.

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Former Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen officially announced his campaign for mayor of Saratoga Springs on April 26.

Mathiesen will be on the Democratic Primary ballot June 27, challenging incumbent Mayor Ron Kim for the Democratic nomination. The general election for all five city council seats – one mayor and four commissioners – as well as for two city Supervisor slots will take place in November.

Current Mayor Kim and mayoral challenger Mathiesen each also previously served on the City Council as commissioners of Public Safety.

Mathiesen said he and Kim have shared support for each another in the past, but added that he has disagreed with a variety of actions Kim has taken since being elected mayor. Specifically, Mathiesen criticized what he called Kim’s support of “ill-conceived policies” as they related to city personnel - “a lot of my concerns are based on Mayor Kim’s support of Commissioner Montagnino’ s efforts in the Public Safety (department),” Mathiesen said – and expressed that the current mayor has allowed “mob rule to prevail” during recent council meetings.

“Instead of having a police department that’s run by law enforcement agencies we seem to have a police department that’s run by civilians, and that should never be the case,” said Mathiesen, specifically citing the elimination of the assistant city police chief position, and a press conference led by Montagnino and Kim shortly following last November’s downtown shooting incident.

Regarding recent interruptions of City Council meetings by the public which has included members of Saratoga Black Lives Matter, Mathiesen said, “I would have had police come in and remove people who disrupted the meeting,” and added: “I would like to speak to (members of) Black Lives Matter. I think we need to open the dialogue. I think the citizens in Saratoga Springs have learned a lot from the Black Lives Matter people and listened to their concerns. But I think also that Black Lives Matter need to be open to concerns that other citizens in Saratoga Springs have about a lot of other issues that have been brought up because of their activities.”

The city is currently exploring possibilities for a future location of a homeless shelter and evaluating whether that would take the form of a permanent venue vs. a temporary one, a 24/7 shelter or a space to be used only during the cold winter season, and whether it should allow entry to those who need it on a low-barrier status.

“It’s very important people are treated humanely,” said Mathiesen, adding he supports ensuring there is a buffer between any proposed location siting and schools.  

“You need to have adequate funding, adequate support, you need to have professionals in that facility dealing with it. It’s a very, very complicated issue,” he said. “It would depend upon how much federal support there was, how much county support there was. This is a countywide and a statewide and a nationwide problem. And the people who have gravitated to Saratoga Springs go far beyond the borders of the city. Most of them are not Saratogians, so I think we really need to look at what kind of support we would be getting from other levels of government,” Mathiesen said. “Are there other alternatives to having one central low-barrier shelter? I think there are better solutions than that frankly.”

Mathiesen’s announcement was staged in front of the Canfield Casino and included three dozen supporters - former council members Robin Dalton, Michele Madigan – who is running for City Supervisor, and former deputy commissioner Eileen Finneran among them.

“For me, the biggest issue is trying to bring some normalcy and some decorum back to city government,” Mathiesen said. “I will bring back normalcy. I will show respect for the many city employees who make our city government work so well and I will reach out to all facets of our community on a regular basis…everyone will know they are being heard.”  

The Primary Election will take place June 27.  City Republicans have endorsed John Safford for Mayor. The General Election will take place Nov. 7.  


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