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Get ready for another big deal
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Whether you know MaryLeigh Roohan, or are about to, you are going to find a new fave out of an old fauve.
Which may, or may not, need some clarification. We’ll get there.
In the meantime, let me tell those who are hearing about this young artist with quite a future for the first time that you are in for a singular treat if you avail yourself of the opportunity to celebrate with MaryLeigh Roohan and her friends as she officially releases her outstanding EP, Skin and Bone, tonight at the Parting Glass, 40-42 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs. A big prestigious stage for an artist of any age, but just big enough for one who has an experiential bank belying her young years.
One measure of the esteem she has already acquired in this discerning songwriter community is the company she will keep on stage. This evening, MaryLeigh will be introducing the following band mates at various points:
Jason Brown–bass (he is also Skin and Bone’s producer),
Joel Brown—guitar (senior artist-in-residence at Skidmore, member of Triple Play),
The last three on the list will form the core of MaryLeigh’s road band, with gigs at WAMC’s “The Linda,” St. Lawrence and Simmons College already on the burgeoning itinerary.
“We’ll be performing the CD tracks in order,” MaryLeigh said, “so people can hear what they’re getting.”
Her humility is refreshing and genuine, but make no mistake: this lady means business. And it says here that the 10-original song CD at $10 is quite a bargain.
Producer Jason Brown has captured the essence of MaryLeigh’s songwriting; the wisdom of an old soul in the body of a young, yearning individual. Consider one example:
“I, I, I, I
I never left you
I just quietly came to
Being loveless and cold”
From “Never Left You”
Throughout the disc, there are these one-two punches. You have the CD on, going about your business, and all of a sudden you’re forced to say “did I hear that?” and replay a passage to be sure. And you’re left to wonder where it all came from. And what’s next.
For MaryLeigh, what’s next will be a continuation of where she came from, the essence of which was formed by picking a guitar while at Emma Willard.
“I didn’t really have much of a social life outside of school, and during breaks everyone scattered, so this occupied me during those times,” she says.
She had some original inspiration from her mother Margaret, a classical guitarist, but hardly came from what you would call a musical family. So largely self-taught until fine-tuned with lessons from Joel Brown. She found a nurturing and supportive community, as many do, at the open mics at Caffé Lena, where her first forays into songwriting were well-received.
Her wanderlust took her to study abroad in St. Andrews, Scotland, where she got her first pro gig: a weekly residency at a pub called 1 Golf Place.
Returning home, and finishing at Skidmore she met David Farnsworth and Zach Edwards, forming MaryLeigh and the Fauves, which had more than a mini-mania of its own, scoring gigs at Hats Off, Victorian Streetwalk and Lark Fest.
In conversation, you find a seasoned professional demeanor that forces yourself to blink and realize that this is a young 20-something.
“Going forward, my goal is to always be the best I can be,” MaryLeigh says. “Even if I’m playing before an audience of two.”
For the future, call her attitude ambitious tempered with a side-dish of realistic.
“For me, the band situation is preferable, I love the sharing with colleagues,” MaryLeigh says. “I’ve got to be realistic, though, touring with a band, I hope we can make it happen. But I’m not afraid to go out on my own.”
Continuing, MaryLeigh says she is confident about her future. “I’m all in as a musician. This is my life, there’s no backup plan.”
Just lots of possibilities. Except one.
“I can assure you that I won’t become a realtor.”
CD Release Party and Concert
Friday, November 8
Doors: 7 p.m. / Show: 8 p.m.
The Parting Glass
40-42 Lake Avenue
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A postcard mailing that showed up in city resident’s mailboxes last week has been cited as “misrepresenting, distorted, or otherwise falsifies a fact or facts” by the Fair Campaign Practices (FCP) of the Capital Region, Inc.
The mailing, which was sent out by the Saratoga County Democratic Committee alleged that city mayoral candidate Shauna M. Sutton (R, C), had engaged in “double-dipping” because she draws a salary from her role as deputy mayor as well as a trustee and treasurer of the Greenridge Cemetery Association. The city of Saratoga Springs pays $20,000 per year to the cemetery, though the Sutton camp notes that this money is earmarked for maintenance workers.
FCP found specifically that the flier said that Sutton had taken $120,000 in salary from her activities at Greenridge, but neglected to note that it was over a six-year period.
A complaint from the Sutton camp was not filed until Saturday, November 2, which resulted in an emergency hearing via conference call. There was some confusion as to whether this call constituted an official hearing on the part of the Democratic committee and they therefore complained that they did not have an adequate opportunity to respond. FCP nonetheless went ahead with its ruling.
Sutton’s opponent, Joanne D. Yepsen’s (D, I, WF) name did not appear on the postcard. Yepsen said that at this time she had no opinion about the subject of the mailing.
MALTA – “The town clerk solicited, on multiple occasions, employees to make a political contribution, through time, effort, endorsement or signature.”
So stated a report issued by the Town of Malta Ethics Committee in recommending by a unanimous 7-0 vote that Town Clerk Flo Sickels be censured for both conducting herself, or ordering employees she supervised to conduct political activities on town property during work hours.
Sickels has been Malta’s town clerk for 22 years and is running for her twelfth 2-year term in the next election on November 5. She has been endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties.
The Malta town board has up to 45 days to act upon the ethics committee’s findings. They can accept, modify or reject the findings. A special ethics committee meeting has been scheduled for November 4 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the David R. Meager Community Center, Room 106, One Bayberry Drive, Malta. The next town board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 6, which is the day after Election Day.
The ethics committee began investigating Sickels’ actions after receiving a written complaint from Tax Collector Linda Bablin regarding Sickels’ directing employees in the town clerk office to engage in activities on behalf of the Malta Republican Committee.
The ethics committee reported that Deputy Clerk Jennifer Lanahan was directed by Sickels to prepare the Republican committee minutes “on at least one occasion, on town property, during normal business hours, while they were being paid for their time” by the Town of Malta. This was found by the ethics committee to be a violation of section 11-12A of the Town of Malta Code of Ethics, regarding use of municipal resources:
The report also states that Lanahan and former Deputy Town Clerk Linda Deprey were asked to contribute to Sickel’s political campaign in the form of signing petitions, getting signatures on petitions, writing letters of support and campaigning door-to-door.
The ethics committee found these actions to be in violation of sections 11-15a of the ethics code, regarding political solicitation.
The ethics committee also reported that more than one town employee described specific examples of behavior on Sickels’ behalf that they believed were retaliatory against people who objected or did not comply with her requests.
The report also included a third complaint, alleging that Sickels handled matters related to her role on behalf of the Eastline Romp and Play dog park, a not-for-profit organization during her workday as town clerk.
In this case the ethics committee was “not able to find evidence significant enough to either prove or disprove that allegation.”
What off season? Two pages of coverage this week from the fabulous Trina Lucas and so many events in the region upcoming, I defy you to find time for them all.
SALEM — We start off with a trip out to the Fort Salem Theater (11 East Broadway, Salem (518) 854-9200, www.fortsalemtheater.com) where CBS6 anchor Jerry Gretzinger kicks off the theater’s cabaret series with a new revue on Saturday, November 2 at 8 p.m. which encompasses three people named Jerry Gretzinger (Jerry himself, his dad and son) as well as Saratoga Springs singer Brendan Dailey, who portrayed, you guessed it, news anchor Jerry Gretzinger in Fort Salem’s No Boundaries last summer. No Boundaries featured Gretzinger’s fellow “singing anchors,” Jessica Layton Catalon and Benita Zahn.
This new revue is titled Jerry Gretzinger: Jerry Times Four. All four “Jerry’s” boast impressive performance credentials, with Jerry (that would be the news anchor Jerry) performing in a range of musicals including You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Producers and Chicago in addition to regular rounds as a singing anchor and of course, even more regular rounds as a speaking anchor on CBS6’s five o’clock newscast with Liz Bishop.
Dessert and coffee are served and included in the $25 ticket. More information is available online at fortsalemtheater.com or by calling the Fort’s box office at (518) 854-9200.
I have no doubt that the four Jerry’s will be very good. I am curious about how they will sort out the dressing rooms, however.
A 25 Year Tribute to Tacky
LAKE GEORGE — Also on Saturday, November 2 the annual Black Velvet Art Party will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. dockside aboard the Lake George Steamboat Company’s Lac du St. Sacrement. Proceeds from the event help fund the Lake George Arts Project and its gallery exhibition series.
This invigorating gathering of the local art scene, celebrating its 25th year is renowned for its out-of-the ordinary presentation of black velvet art and over-the-top apparel.
The competition promises to be as fierce as ever, as fashionistas compete for the coveted Joan Reid award for most inappropriate attire, while artists vie for the Velveeta award for outstanding cheesiness, amongst other treasured accolades.
The party also features a silent auction of original black velvet art, a limbo contest and dance music with The Bad Chaperones.
A typical year will have over 40 black velvet art entries available to bid on and take home. This year’s theme is “Shine!”
Tickets are $25 and are available at the door. For more information call the Lake George Arts Project at (518) 668-2616 or visit www.lakegeorgearts.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS—The Saratoga & North Creek Railway has announced that they will be installing decorated “Santa Mail Boxes” in strategic locations in Albany, Saratoga, Glens Falls and Lake George. Children may download a blank Santa Letter from the train’s website or use their own and place the letters in these mailboxes.
Letters “mailed” into these mailboxes by November 10 will be gathered up and loaded onto a specially scheduled Saratoga & North Creek Railway train car at the Saratoga Springs Train Station, 26 Station Lane, Saratoga Springs on Monday, November 11 at an event to be held at 1 p.m.
Children and their families will meet cast members from the popular Polar Express Train while the Polar Express conductor hoists the Santa mail bags onto the train and then everyone waves bye-bye as it departs for the North Pole. Children (12 and younger) attending the event will be given one complimentary North Pole coloring book, while supplies last.
Mail box locations and updates on additional locations are being listed on the railway company website at www.SNCRR.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — This week Home Made Theater (HMT) is having open auditions for their 2014 productions of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution and Marc Camoletti’s Boeing Boeing.
Auditions for Witness will be held at the Spa Little Theater in Saratoga Spa State Park on Sunday, November 3 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Monday, November 4 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The courtroom mystery is said to be Christie's own personal favorite. The cast consists of at least seven males and at least six females. Production dates are on weekends from February 7 to 23. Rehearsals will begin January 2.
Auditions for Boeing will be held at the theater on Tuesday, November 5 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Wednesday, November 6 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The cast consists of two males and four females.
The play is set in the 1960s and swinging bachelor Bernard couldn’t be happier with a flat in Paris and three gorgeous stewardesses all engaged to him without knowing about each other. But Bernard’s perfect life gets bumpy when a new and speedier Boeing jet throws off all of his careful planning. Soon all three stewardesses are in town simultaneously and catastrophe looms. Production dates are weekends on April 18 to May 4. Rehearsals will begin March 2.
No appointments are necessary for these auditions. Actors should bring a current photo and resume. Photos cannot be returned. Actors will read from provided excerpts from the play. For a detailed flyer with character descriptions, contact HMT at (518) 587-4427 or visit www.homemadetheater.org.
You Kiddin’ Me, Pal?
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Those old enough to remember “The Morton Downey Jr. Show” a syndicated talk (or, more often yelling) show that ran from 1987–1989 recall it either as a populist forum for the working class to vent its frustration or as the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.
Before Jerry Springer, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and other histrionic shriek fests, there was the chain-smoking, loud-mouthed Downey, blowing smoke in the face of guests and bellowing his catchphrases like “pablum puking liberal” and “zip it!”
During his brief reign, Downey had a rabid cult following, but also earned the title of “Father of Trash TV.” His popularity was short-lived, but his legacy lives on as the Saratoga Film Forum screens Évocateur – an unflinching look at the mercurial Downey, combining interview footage with Herman Cain, Pat Buchanan, Gloria Allred, Sally Jessy Raphael, Alan Dershowitz and Curtis Sliwa with never-before-seen footage that documents Downey’s behind-the-scenes fistfights and foibles.
Was he really like this—or was it an elaborate performance? Was he a TV genius ahead of his time—or a raving lunatic?
Évocateur screens at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 2 at the Saratoga Arts Center, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. General admission is $7, $5 for Film Forum members and students. For more information go to www.saratogafilmforum.org or call (518) 584-FILM.
ArtsFest Accepting Applications
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Finally, on a more genteel note, we remind all our artiste`s in the audience that the phase one deadline for the eighth annual SaratogaArtsFest is fast approaching.
There are different application forms for performing and visual artists and both of these documents can be found at www.SaratogaArtsFest.org.
Applications should be filed online. Supporting materials may be sent by mail to SaratogaArtsFest, c/o Skidmore College, Box 2460, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632.
The deadline for review in phase one of the selection process is November 15.
Letters of notification will be sent to artists in March and hopefully you will see me applauding you from the stage at one of ArtsFest’s many venues during its scheduled eighth annual citywide celebration from June 12-15.
Saratoga Springs to be Commemorative Partner in National Vietnam 50th Anniversary Program
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Springs City Council unanimously voted to join a national and state program to co1mmemorate the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam. As such, a committee will be formed shortly that will set up a schedule of events and activities, from 2015 through 2017, which will be designed to effectuate the objectives of this nationwide program.
The primary objective, as noted on the national commemorative website, www.vietnamwar50th.com is: “To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war (POW), or listed as missing in action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.”
The presentation to join the Vietnam War commemoration at the council’s October 15 meeting was delivered by County Supervisor Joanne Yepsen and was sponsored on the agenda of Commissioner of Public Safety Chris Mathiesen. The entire council voted 5-0 to complete the paperwork to become an official local commemorative partner. Once the application is reviewed and approved, each council member and county supervisor will appoint one representative to the committee, which will then set up a schedule of events. According to the official website, these events should be designed to be educational and informative, utilizing multi-media where appropriate.
“I was glad to bring it to the council,” Yepsen said. “This is part of a continuing effort as supervisor to bring together civilian with military life in the county, with mutual recognition and education as a by-product. We often can learn as much from things that went wrong as those that went right for us as a people.”
The official national period of commemoration, declared by presidential proclamation, is May 28, 2012 through November 11, 2025. Beyond the significance of beginning on a Memorial Day and ending on a Veterans Day, the length of time closely parallels the length of America’s Vietnam involvement.
For Mathiesen, the length also serves another important purpose.
“It gives us a proper amount of time to reflect properly,” he said. “Vietnam in many ways was a combination of eras. The beginning period, a major turning point in 1968 with the Tet offensive, Kent State in 1970 and the intensifying of protests coinciding with the decline in America’s fortunes. We went from a mentality of it’s a foregone conclusion that we would have dominating victory to grappling with the concept of peace with honor.”
Eventually, withdrawal at any cost became the order of the day. “It’s a lot to absorb, particular for someone who was born after the Vietnam era,” he said.
Mathiesen came of draft age in 1968. At that time, there wasn’t a volunteer army as is today. A draft was conducted by a random drawing of birth dates. His number, 76, would almost certainly have assured he would be drafted but was fortunate to be classified 2F— which was a student deferment.
“I was lucky. But, of course, I had numerous contacts with those who went over there,” he said.
Wilton resident James Hartman was there. The Buffalo native was one of six boys in his family. He was eligible for a college deferment, but instead enlisted in 1969. Next stop— Da Nang Province. Another world.
Hartman was accepted into the Air Force’s intelligence unit, a specialist in cryptology training eavesdropping on the enemy. While not stationed on the front lines per se`:
“We were close enough,” Hartman said. “It was nothing unusual for our communications shack to get blasted by rockets. We rarely had enough warning to make it to our concrete bunker. A young man, Paul Wayne Anthony, was there only18 days…gone in an instant when the rockets came.”
On the 30th anniversary of Anthony’s death, Hartman made a point to visit the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall to find the young man’s name among the upwards of 50,000 inscriptions.
Returning home after a year overseas, Hartman attended Buffalo State University on the G.I. Bill, where he described the mood on campus as ranging from outright hostility “it was our (soldier’s) fault” to apathy and war weariness “this has nothing to do with us,” he described. He did establish a Veteran’s Club on campus, but noted that it never got any funding from the student activity committee.
Even in town, the primarily working class city offered no support.
“Honestly, nobody cared,” Hartman said. “There was no talk, nothing. I was amazed after all I had seen.”
I asked Hartman what activities he would like to see developed coming out of the local Vietnam 50 committee’s work.
“Certainly a parade of some sort would be appropriate,” he said. “I would like to see a gathering at the Gerald Solomon National Cemetery.
“Maybe a reception for those who are still with us.” Hartman said. “But more importantly, activities that honor those who are not.”
In addition to the Saratoga Springs committee’s schedule of activities, there will also be local sites that will have additional programs generated from the New York State commemorative committee. In a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta dated February 5, Governor Andrew Cuomo cited the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs and the Vietnam Memorial and Gallery in the State Capitol as potential exhibit locations.
The main objective, of thanking and honoring those who served in Vietnam, will hopefully go a long way to close an important circle; a circle which has been open and overdue for too long.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The first of two League of Women Voters (LWV) sponsored candidate forums at the Saratoga Springs High School Auditorium took place on Tuesday, October 22.
While the candidates articulated policy differences, the proceedings were notable for their civility and lack of rancor. This was due in large part to the firm oversight of the debate by LWV’s Barbara Thomas, who did make both the candidates and audience members adhere to strict time limits. This is notable in contrast to previous year’s candidate forums about city elections.
After a brief introduction of the ground rules by Thomas, unopposed finance commissioner candidate Michele Madigan (D, I, WF) took the podium for a statement about her accomplishments in office and vision for her next term.
This was followed by the candidates for commissioner of public works, in which incumbent Anthony “Skip” Scirocco (R,C) and challenger William J. McTygue (D, I, WF) sat side-by-side.
McTygue took issue with Scirocco’s record, citing in particular a deal to sell water to Wilton without full council approval and called for a total citywide evaluation of water resources, saying that “there is no long range water quality plan”.
Scirocco noted his accomplishments in office citing a “reversal of a generation of infrastructure neglect.”
Interestingly, these were the only candidates of the evening who were asked about Proposition 1—the pending statewide casino proposition. Both were generally in agreement that they were personally opposed to casinos, but noting if it passed the city would have to be ready for changes regardless of whether Saratoga Springs was designated as a casino site or not.
The candidates for commissioner of public safety easily had the most points of policy difference of the evening.
In his opening statement, challenger Richard C. Wirth (R, I, C) characterized the administration of incumbent Christian E. Mathiesen (D, WF) as “too Caroline Street focused while there is an uptick in crime citywide” and an atmosphere of “blame the victim” prevailed. Mathiesen responded vigorously, listing many accomplishments during his administration, both as leader of his department and on initiatives that were citywide in nature.
The candidates differed sharply on their plans for improving the fire/emergency response times on the city’s eastern plateau, as well as the need for an independent review of the recent police incident regarding Darryl Mount, Jr.
The differences between candidates for commissioner were less pronounced. Incumbent John P. Franck (D,I,WF), who is running for his fifth term, cited his “core four” platform as the guiding principles that characterized how he has and would run his office. Challenger John P. Arpei (R, C) did not directly challenge Franck on anything specific, but did say he was an advocate for more civility and cooperation in the conduct of city government.
Indeed, the accounts commissioner candidates agreed totally on two major issues. Both felt that a citywide reassessment was unnecessary and too costly, and that the current assessment level for condominiums (about 30 percent of assessed value) was too low. Franck cited his initiative in going to Saratoga County to try and develop a political coalition to change this formula. Arpei stated that the formula was imposed by downstate interests, where condos are more prevalent and therefore would be very unlikely to change.
SARATOGA SPRINGS—At the last Saratoga Springs City Council meeting on Tuesday, October 15, something happened for the first time since I started covering these proceedings in 2009.
I walked out early. At 11 p.m.
I’ve always considered it a point of pride to stay on until the end of these meetings, because sometimes I might pick up an item that grows into a story after my colleagues at dailies have to dash to make their deadlines.
It’s also a matter of respect for those who are at the end of the agenda. And, for you who reads this.
But quite frankly, folks, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
These meetings are way too long to be useful. They aren’t starting to get out of hand—they’re already way out of hand, they have been for some time and someone has to protest. So it falls to me.
As a writer, I was taught early on that the receiver of a message is at least as important as the sender. Thus, if I fail to make clear, concise, understandable points, I lose the reader.
So how’s this? Council—you are losing people.
With your endless agendas, discussions that are repetitive, rambling and have no structure.
This is not meant as a slam against any individual. In my opinion, some council members are worse than others, but as a collective body you are, I’m sorry, terrible.
But I am sympathetic to your situation. For I confess that here at the paper I’m the undisputed champ of “long-winded-ism.” I never met an attention span that I couldn’t outlast. Ask anyone.
So I have to force myself to be disciplined and realize that someone is giving you an honor when they give you their attention, or in your case, Council, attend your meetings.
Abuse that privilege and they learn to stay away.
Out of that discipline, I have now learned to detail my point of view concisely.
And so I’m here to offer help.
Perhaps the next Mayor will decide to have someone from the private sector take a look at things, for no private company stay in business with over four hour board meetings twice a month.
Perhaps she (side note: interesting to not write he/she for once) will forward that person this note. Here are some suggestions that once employed, are guaranteed to make these marathon meetings efficient and meaningful. Guaranteed, I say.
Oops, I must have fallen in love with the sound of my voice again and run out of space, so I guess I’ll have to learn the lesson again to be more respectful to you, the receiver and your time.
If I am lucky enough to get another chance.
Fresh off Bruno Mars tour, Leno and Conan, Fitz & the Tantrums make local stop
The Bright Futures Tour
Fitz & the Tantrums
with Capital Cities /Beat Club
Tuesday, October 29, 6:30 p.m.
Upstate Concert Hall
1208 New York 146, Clifton Park
CLIFTON PARK — Call this the no-brainer pick of the week, kids.
Generally, when deciding what to feature in Pulse each issue, I usually employ a complicated algorithm that balances demographic information, geography, genre, art form and timing.
Other times, I go with the “If it’s good enough for Jay and Conan (let alone profiles in those niche publications The New York Times and Esquire), it’s good enough for me” rule.
Fresh off appearances on those two late-nighters, as well as the nation’s largest ballrooms and venues, the Bright Futures Tour blasts into Upstate Concert Hall next Tuesday. Headlining the show is LA-based Electra recording artists Fitz & the Tantrums. The sextet, which was on the last Bruno Mars tour, is now leading a cavalcade which includes Capital Cities and Beat Club through the U.S.
They are touring in support of their second album (first on Electra) called More Than Just A Dream. Contained within that is the mega-modern rock smash Out of My League, a single which was designated a “Best of the Week” by USA Today, noting the song as “a colorfully catchy piece of 80s-inspired soul-pop”.
Often, I grow leery of bands that cross, or in some cases mash-up genres as just a transparent attempt to widen their appeal but end up diluting their final product and satisfying no one. Yet throughout, More Than Just A Dream is distinctive for its brazen with verve and vivacity, demonstrating all the drama and passion of the band’s famed live shows.
Those shows are distinguished by charged back-and-forth action between co-lead vocalists Fitz and Noelle Scaggs, backed by power of The Tantrums in full flight. More Than Just A Dream is the sound of a great band taking it right to the edge.
Capital Cities has accumulated several international festival credits. Their debut full-length release, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery in June of this year was on Capitol Records/Lazy Hooks label.
Prior to the show Tuesday at Upstate Concert Hall, Fitz & the Tantrums will be appearing on the CBS Morning Show (check local listings) on Saturday, October 26. That ought to wake up several neighborhoods from coast to coast.
DBA Meets the Candidates
SARATOGA SPRINGS – On Wednesday evening, October 16, the ballroom in the Courtyard by Marriott was standing room only as the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association (DBA) hosted the first face-to-face meeting between candidates for the Saratoga Springs Mayor’s office.
Side by side, at separate podiums were Saratoga County Supervisor Joanne Yepsen (D,I,WF) and Deputy Mayor Shauna Sutton (R,C).
The proceedings were moderated by Dawn Oesch, owner of the Candy Co. along with JJ Buechner of the Local Actors Guild of Saratoga and Tim Holmes, owner of Wheatfields Restaurant.
The candidates took turns responding to pre-submitted questions from Downtown Business owners and employees. As expected, many of these questions concerned the major issues and their respective impacts on the downtown core.
Parking, a potential casino and related infrastructure issues were discussed as expected. Yet there were also some wild-card questions that were posed to broaden out each candidate’s profile, such as what they wanted to be when they were young and how their respective backgrounds led them to where they were today.
Each candidate was forthright in detailing how their past and, most importantly recent experience, would best serve the mayor’s office.
While it was impossible to say if any minds were changed at this forum, it is obvious that each candidate and their supporters had plenty to feel good about and that resultant galvanizing energy should signal the beginning of an intensified campaign between now and election day on Tuesday, November 5.
The mayor candidates will meet once again at the Saratoga County League of Women Voters’ Meet the Candidates Forum next Thursday, October 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Saratoga Springs High School Auditorium, 1 Blue Streak Boulevard, Saratoga Springs.
While Wednesday’s forum attendees were limited to DBA members and their invited guests, the League of Women Voters event next Thursday is open to any member of the general public.
One significant aspect of the race for mayor has been decided for some time already, however, and this may be taken to the bank.
Come January 1, 2014, we are guaranteed to address either Shauna Sutton or Joanne Yepsen as Madam Mayor.
The only question left to answer is which one it will be.
Stay tuned. The two candidates are rounding the far turn, and heading for the finish line. For local political junkies it doesn’t get any better than this.
Candidate Would Invest Savings back into Public Safety budget.
SARATOGA SPRINGS— Saratoga TODAY Newspaper has learned that candidate for Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Safety Richard Wirth (R,I,C) will announce today that, if elected, he will leave the public safety department’s Deputy Commissioner vacant at the beginning of his term.
A conversation with Wirth revealed that he plans to re-invest the annual savings, estimated at approximately $100,000 in salary and benefits, back into the department budget for items such as equipment, additional police officer or firefighters.
“In Public Safety, we have two professional chiefs running their respective departments.” Wirth said. “My intention is to be a full-time commissioner that works directly with the police and fire chiefs. A deputy position is just an additional, expensive layer of bureaucracy that the taxpayers have to pay for. I’d eliminate it.”
Wirth continued, “That money is better spent on the street, on needed equipment, technology or personnel. We need less government and more safety.”
He said he would work to establish a public safety reserve fund instead of naming a deputy. That fund would be applied to the public safety operating budget as needed.
“In this day and age, we need to make sure that every dollar that we receive from the taxpayer is well-spent. I believe this puts the money where it should be for a safer Saratoga Springs.” Wirth said.
“I’m glad Rick Wirth is announcing this bold policy,” said Saratoga Springs Independence Party Chairman Edward Miller. “I can tell you that when he mentioned this possibility at our candidate interviews, he got the whole committee’s attention.”
“It’s a common sense policy that is absolutely brilliant—making sure that tax dollars are well-spent,” Miller continued. “Hopefully, this will stimulate other politicians to really examine their budgets as if it were their own money they were spending.”