Is The Public Served By More Media Coverage of the Petty and Foolish Conflicts Among Our Public Officials?
Saratoga Springs Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi went to WRGB TV in an apparent embarrassing attempt to polish her credentials as a staunch ally of Mayor Ron Kim and Accounts Commissioner Dillon Moran in their dispute with Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino.
Commissioner Sanghvi shared with WRGB TV her criticism of Commissioner Montagnino over the presence of police standing by in the stairwell to the Music Hall as a raucous Black Lives Matters demonstration was disrupting the City Council meeting on May 2.
She felt the police presence at the May 2nd meeting was unnecessary use of police overtime.
“Seven or eight police officers in the back staircase, I don't think they were needed, nobody seemed to be showing signs of violence,” said Sanghvi. “There were Kids protesting, but that’s what kids do, they protest.”
Channel 6 News May 16, 2023
According to Commissioner Sanghvi, the mayor’s office is requesting that Montagnino provide a report showing police overtime hours for council meetings.
channel 6 News May 16, 2023
With all due respect, Commissioner Sanghvi is no expert on risk assessment.
She appears somehow oblivious to the potential danger that exists when situations get out of control, as they did on May 2 when BLM demonstrators brought the City Council meeting once more to a halt. She ignores how other audience members might react to the protesters' aggressive taunts and name-calling in this volatile situation.
Her dismissal of BLM's behavior by saying, "They were kids protesting, but that’s what kids do, they protest,” sends an interesting message to Lex Figuereo who is in his mid-thirties and probably doesn't see the BLM protests as a playful, somewhat frivolous adolescent experiment.
It is rather stunning that Commissioner Sanghvi does not see the potential for someone being hurt in this polarized world we now live in. It appears that for her, the events of May 2 were just innocent theater that no one should find upsetting. The idea that some disturbed person might be prompted to violence against the public attending the meeting, members of the Council, or BLM is lost on her.
Her animus with Commissioner Montagnino seems to have blinded her to the fact that Chief Crooks deployed the men and women of the police department because he reasonably believed that the situation could put the lives of everyone, including Commissioner Sanghvi, at risk.
Making the situation even more strange is Mayor Kim's contradictory behavior in all this. The now infamous epithet-laden confrontation between Kim and the Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety was over Kim's allegation that he had been threatened in an email sent by an individual who, it turns out, routinely attends Council meetings. In fact, he was in attendance at the May 2 meeting. Given their fears (baseless or not), you would think that Sanghvi, Kim, and Moran would have been relieved to know that the police would be available.
Sanghvi's alleged sudden concern with overtime expenses for police is also hard to take seriously when Sanghvi has repeatedly had no problem approving payments for all sorts of dubious additions to the city's budget including additions to other Council members' staff and her own staff, payments of all kinds of legal bills as the Mayor pursues frivolous lawsuits, and of course redecorating her office.
No, this TV appearance seems to truly be nothing more than a petty continuation of the alliance of Kim, Sanghvi, and Moran against Public Safety Commissioner Montagnino.