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SARATOGA SPRINGS — It is Friday afternoon. A steel-silver sky dangles over a blacktop lot that cradles a motorcar blazoned in gunmetal gray.
Inside the car, the beautiful tone fragments that flow from Richard Lloyd’s guitar gush from the speakers. The band is Television. The music is “Marquee Moon.”
“I remember, how the darkness doubled. I recall, lightning struck itself.
I was listening, listening to the rain. I was hearing, hearing something else…”
Just at that moment, the ring of the phone cuts through all sweetness and melancholy, and bullies its way across the Bluetooth, sounding over the speakers of the car.
“This is Richard Lloyd,” the voice says. “It looks like it’s going to rain here. Is it raining where you are?”
The wondrous season lands in Saratoga early this year. Richard Lloyd performs Saturday, May 14 at Putnam Den with his four-piece band. “Kevin Tooley, David Leonard and a new guy, Steve Geller. Two guitars, bass and drums,” Lloyd explains. Local favorites Family Tree opens the show. Lloyd says the show will feature songs from across his career. And a rich career it is.
There are more than a half-dozen solo albums to his credit, loaded with anthemic guitars and tuneful gems that in a just and more welcoming country would have returned innumerable radio hits. His craftsmanship as a six-string practitioner is showcased in a popular YouTube site someone put up heralding guitar drone theory and “the use the mixolydian scale to create a Richard Lloyd style solo.”
Then there is Television. The four-member ensemble produced two albums – “Marquee Moon” and “Adventure” during their initial forage through the late 1970s - and a created a presence whose influence to this very day cannot be overstated.
“Marquee Moon” in particular is hailed far-and-wide as a musical masterpiece. You have to wonder if he’s tired of talking about. “I’m just glad it still sells,” Lloyd responds, with a chuckle. “Forty-five years later, and I still get paid.”
He was born in the fall of 1951 in Pittsburgh – six years after the end of World War II, and at the start of the Cold War. “People at that time were in a strange halfway state – between the exhilaration of recovery from war and the threat of nuclear annihilation,” he reflects in his 2017 memoir “Everything Is Combustible.”
Lloyd was a New York City kid at a time when the city was ripping apart at the seams. He hung out at Max’s Kansas City and memorably recalls going to see the New York Dolls at the Hotel Diplomat.
“I was taken aback by the audience,” Lloyd says. “Everybody was dressed to the nines - and they were more interested in each other than they were in the band. The band facilitated this scene, but it wasn’t like a normal concert where people are paying attention to what’s onstage.” It was a time when bands were starting to play in front of big crowds in large arenas. “It was very cut-and-dried. Performer. Audience. Performer. Audience. All of a sudden there was a break in that. And that’s what it was like at CB’s as well, because if you played there regularly you got in for free, so there was always a lot of talented people there – not just musicians, but journalists and photographers and actors and writers. It was a very interesting time in New York.”
Lloyd and Television were instrumental in what was to transpire at CBGB. The Mercer Arts Center – the only showplace in town for creatives in 1973 – had collapsed in a heap of rubble on an August afternoon.
“It fell down, while I was on my way (there), in a car driving from L.A. to New York,” said Lloyd, while sitting in a car traveling from New York to New Haven.
“And you’re in a car now. Hopefully nothing’s falling down anywhere,” was the sequence of words that tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them.
“I. Hope. Not,” he replied.
Lloyd was living in Chinatown with Terry Ork. An assistant to Andy Warhol, Ork was perhaps inspired by Warhol’s sponsorship that had initiated the blooming of the Velvet Underground a decade earlier and engaged in doing something with a band in a similar way. It was their visit to a Manhattan club on an audition night, that produced the first meeting between Lloyd and transplanted Delaware schoolmates Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine.
“It was a cabaret club. People like Liza Minelli and Peter Lemongello played there,” Lloyd says. Verlaine played three songs on his audition night. That 10-minute set led to the collaborative formation that eventually became Television.
Looking for a place that would let them play on a public stage, they found a dive on the Bowery and approached the owner – as the story goes - while he stood atop a stepladder fiddling with the canopy in front of his bar, convincing him he should showcase live original music in his bar. That owner was Hilly Kristal. The club was CBGB. Despite the moniker depicting what Kristal had imagined his bar showcasing (the acronym represents Country, BlueGrass and Blues), a new wave of creative people would discover the venue as a place to unveil their talents – Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Blondie and The Ramones, among scores of others.
“It was like throwing a three-year-long New Year’s Eve party. It was a lot of fun. We made a rule that you had to play original music. No covers. Maybe one, if you did two - you’d never play there again,” Lloyd says. “We weren’t very good in the beginning. Technically we were pretty crappy. But there was an impulse there.”
By the spring of 1975 and a few short years since Lloyd had gone to watch the New York Dolls perform, Television was opening for the band.
“It seemed that time represented a sort-of changing-of-the-guard. What do you recall of those shows?” I asked Lloyd.
“Well, somebody’s got to go on first, so, yeah, we did,” he said.
“Any memories that stand out?”
“Malcolm McLaren wanted to manage us, and we said no,” he says of the British impresario who worked with designer Vivienne Westwood and was at that point working with the Dolls.
“So, he went back home to England to get his own band going.”
“He put together a band based on all of the things we were doing,” Lloyd says. That band was The Sex Pistols.
“Does that ever bug you?”
“Ah, only when it got written up as history - that it started in London. And it didn’t. It started in New York,” Lloyd says. “America is so big that you disappear in it, whereas if you’re in England and you make a splash, you’re in the daily papers for Crissakes.”
In early 1977, Television’s debut, “Marquee Moon” was released and hit the Top 30 in the U.K. But America was asleep. The second album, “Adventure,” was issued in 1978. Later that year I smuggled myself (nobody checked ID’s in those days) and a palm-size Instamatic camera into the Bottom Line club to watch the band play. Lloyd wore a black button-up shirt, which I know not from memory but in a blurred, ghostly image that somehow has survived to this day. Patti Smith sat across the table, transfixed by the music coming from the stage. We all were. The band was mesmerizing. The next day the band was no more.
“We broke up. That’s right. That was our swan song,” Lloyd says. “We didn’t tell anybody, but we already knew we were going to disband.”
The members of the group embarked on their respective solo careers, and there have been a few get- togethers resulting in one studio album. He puts little chance in the band getting together in the future.
“It’s amicable, but we’re not going to be playing together again. I don’t see that happening. Tom’s semi-retired, or retired completely,” Lloyd says.
Lloyd estimates he worked about two weeks in the first two years of the initial wave of the pandemic, but he’s now back out on stage performing. So far, so good. He says he continues to carry close-to-heart the works of philosopher and mystic G.I. Gurdjieff.
“He was a very interesting fellow and well worth looking up,” Lloyd says. “It was all about being aware. Being conscious. Inhabiting your life more fully. I don’t go to church, so it’s my spiritual interest.”
An interest in visual art has seen him produce his own works. He’s sold a couple of hundred of his paintings in recent years.
“I color. I’m crazy about rich, vibrant color,” Lloyd says.
“The same could be said about sound.”
“You bet. Sound and light – they’re related. They’re just octaves away from each other.”
Richard Lloyd performs with his band Saturday, May 14 at Putnam Place, 63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs. Also appearing: Family Tree. Doors open 8 p.m., show starts at 9. Tickets: $15, putnamplace.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - They are: two wild and im-pec-cably dressed guys.
Raconteurs, humorists and colorful characters J.P.V. Oliver, gent. and master image-maker and word slayer Richard Lovrich will dock their mothership on Broadway next Wednesday when they descend upon Northshire Bookstore Saratoga to tell stories and share anecdotes from their latest respective books, as part of their Bad Authors Tour ’22.
The bookstore says: “This is sure to be a side-splitting evening!” So whether you’re willing to have your torso cleaved, your ears teased, your mind illuminated, or just want to ask the guys just-where-do-you get your clothes? it's an anythong-goes affair.
Show time is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11 at Northshire Bookstore, 424 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The first indication something was amiss came in the form of an anonymous complaint someone made with the city, says Heather Chevally. A few days later the hard evidence showed up literally fixed to the interior walls of the house.
“I have no idea if the two things are correlated, but the timing is suspicious," she says. “To me, it feels like someone is watching."
Chevalley works in software sales. She grew up on Long Island, where her family was employed in the home-building industry. Chevalley’s wife Adrienne grew up in the Geyser Crest neighborhood of Saratoga Springs - where her mother still resides. They recently embarked on a side project buying and rehabbing houses.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Our goal is to make a living doing this eventually, and to be responsible people in real estate‚" Chevalley says. “Eventually, we’d love this to be our full-time job."
There is another home in Saratoga they are rehabbing and are also involved in a project in the Rochester area ﬁ “similar, but (in that instance) we’re going into lower income areas, to get the bad landlords out and give people a better quality of life and a home they could be proud to live in."
Given Adrienne’s background and familiarity with Geyser Crest, they purchased a home in the neighborhood and are undertaking a $100,000 rehab with the purpose of re-investing in the community.
The home is settled in a residential community, a short song’s serenade south of SPAC, in a neighborhood comprised of single-family homes, accented by driveways and an occasional attached garage. An American flag flies here. A portable basketball hoop stands there. A cross-section of roads swoop into one another, bending around soft turns.
“We feel like there’s a right way and a wrong way to be successful. We’re big believers in good karma and I think when you give back to the community and do things in the right way, the community and people give back to you as well,‚ she says. “I feel the same way about our realtor and our contractor. I really like these guys, trustworthy, just making sure everything they’re putting their name on is being done right.“
Five weeks into the project came an unexpected visit from the city. “Last week, the building department showed up because of a complaint ﬁ which we thought was weird. We had talked to all our neighbors, and everybody seemed really friendly. The guys working are very friendly and the job site is kept very clean. Nothing in the house needed to be permitted, but they got a complaint and made us stop working, until I went down to the city‚" says Chevalley, adding that the complaint was made by an anonymous person, or, at least by someone not known to her. An engineer visited the home and confirmed that given the work being, done a permit was not needed. After a two-day pause, the project resumed. It was Friday.
On Saturday morning, when the contractor entered the house, he noticed someone had broken in after the crew had left the previous day. The windows were all open, the heat turned off. A roll of blue painter’s tape was peeled off and used to create a large message that spread across two interior walls. One read: “GET OUT." The second one: N-word, plural. All in caps.
“The crew are all people of color. It was very clearly directed at them. We were devastated. To walk in and have to look at that? They’re such good guys. I was sick to my stomach," Chevalley says.
“Someone specifically broke in the house to send a message. There was thousands of dollars of tools and equipment there. They didn’t steal anything. They wrote on the walls in painter’s tape. They shut our heat off and left the windows open - it was a cold night and the pipes froze and busted. Honestly, it was creepy. They broke in and entered just to send a message.
Police were called and initiated an investigation. They unfurled painter’s tape from the wall hoping to secure fingerprints, dusted the windows, and found a hand-print on the wall, Chevalley says. “The police seem pretty committed. Obviously this is appalling, so hopefully they can figure out who did it."
One of the steps involves learning whether the person who initially called the building department with the complaint is connected in some way to the person or persons who broke in. The break-in occurred the first day after the crew returned to work.
“It’s being taken very seriously because of the nature of the incident‚" said Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino. He confirmed there was a search at the scene for fingerprints and that an investigation is underway. Potential charges could include offenses related to the break-in, as well as to the intentional targeting of persons regarding their race or color, by definition a hate crime.
“I’m sure there are more hateful people out there than I want to believe, but I just can’t imagine this is how people think," Chevalley says. “I do generally feel this is an isolated incident. That not the way of the community. The community has really seemed to rally around the guys. They have been stopping by and bringing the guys lunch; people said they want to hire them for more work in the neighborhood," she says. “You really have to have nothing going on in your life to break into someone’s house because you hate someone so much over the color of their skin. I can’t even start to try to understand that."
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week that masks would be required to be worn in all indoor public places statewide starting Monday Dec. 13. Businesses and venues could alternately implement a vaccine requirement, and the action was directed to address the “winter surge” with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising across the state, Hochul said.
On Monday morning, a great number of store windows fronting Broadway shops had been fitted with signs instructing all who enter to wear a mask. Late Monday, Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Theodore Kusnierz, Jr. released a statement to say the county’s Public Health Department and law enforcement agency would not enforce “New York State’s misguided and unrealistic
“The best way to protect the health and safety of Saratoga County residents, families, schools and businesses is to continue to focus public health resources on rapidly providing booster vaccinations to the public, which our Public Health team continues to do,” Kusnierz said, in his prepared remarks. “Asking already thin-stretched local health departments to enforce mask or vaccination mandates only detracts from this critical endeavor.”
Saratoga County joins more than a dozen New York counties refusing to enforce the mask mandate.
Saratoga Springs City Supervisor Tara Gaston pushed back on the statement issued by Board Chair Kusnierz.
“While I admit that there are a number of issues with mask mandates, including concerns about possible violence against business owners and employees, I strongly disagree with the tone of the statement, and worry for its impact on our community,” Gaston said. “There will never be a true account of the number of non-fatal losses, the businesses we’ve seen all over town, the domestic violence that our Sheriff and the DA have seen.”
More than 1,000 Saratoga County residents had tested positive for COVID over the previous 7 days, and seven-day average positivity rate in Saratoga County was 6.7%, compared to a 4.8% average rate statewide. Since the start of December, 23 county residents had died of COVID. Current hospitalizations, as of Dec. 15, were 49.
Gaston praised the county’s public health department for their work and said while it should not be the priority of the health department to enforce a mandate, she took exception with the tone of the chairman’s statement, which did not come via an overall board vote, and created confusion among many residents and business owners who had reached out to her following the statement’s release late Monday.
“It should not be the priority of our public health department to enforce such a mandate…they are doing work that is far more important than doing that - but - it should not be the work of this Board of Supervisors to issue by any member, or the board as a whole, a statement that is inflammatory and indicates that the mandate or the law of this state will not be held in this county,” Gaston said Wednesday.
Board Chairman Kuznierz donned a mask at the start of the county’s monthly meeting on Dec. 15. All 14 other county supervisors in attendance wore masks, the majority of them kept in place throughout the meeting.
“Quite honestly you can still wear masks. We’re just not going to go out and fine people $1,000 for not wearing a mask or following the ‘unenforceable’ - using the words of our own governor – policy,” Kuznierz said during the meeting.
“Yes, masks benefit our residents, but there’s nothing that can protect our residents more than getting vaccinated and getting your booster shots,” Kuznierz said.
According to data provided by the county public health department this week, 74.5% people – approximately 170,000 of the county’s 230,000 residents – are considered fully vaccinated.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Born in Brooklyn in the mid-1950s, James Montagnino worked in the Bronx district attorney’s office in the 1980s, at the height of the crack epidemic, and then continued on in Westchester as a prosecutor with the district attorney’s and defense attorney with The Legal Aid Society. He’s been a visiting instructor at the police academy, principal court attorney for Supreme, County and Family Courts and court attorney/referee.
In the November election, Montagnino, a Democrat, bested Republican and Conservative candidate Tracey Labelle by a 53-43 margin in the race for Public Safety Commissioner. On Jan. 1, Montagnino will join Ron Kim (Mayor), Dillon Moran (Accounts), and Minita Sanghvi (Finance) as one of four new members of the five-person City Council. Anthony “Skip” Scirocco (DPW) is the lone returning council member.
The Commissioner of Public Safety is responsible for the overall operation of the police department and the fire department, code administration, animal control, and parking enforcement.
What led to your desire to run for City Council?
“If I had to tie the decision (to run for office) to one thing, it would be the Daryl Mount case and how it was treated. How nobody in authority did anything that you would have hoped.
“I was sitting in my living room watching CNN with my wife when I saw the video of George Floyd being murdered. Just watching that, it was devastating. The aftermath – the protest in Saratoga Springs in the summer of 2020. I had only very loosely followed the Daryl Mount case. I remember the very first reports said he was running from the police, he ran into a construction site, he fell and was badly injured. I remember feeling awful about it, but not that there were any questions surrounding it. The police chief said there had been an internal investigation and the then-commissioner had basically affirmed that. It sounded like they did what they were supposed to do. And then you find out when the chief is put under oath in the deposition in the civil suit, he admits, well, he misled the press, of course meaning he intentionally misled the public.”
Background: In late summer 2013 Darryl Mount, a 21-year-old biracial man, suffered injuries that left him in a coma after fleeing police on Caroline Street and allegedly falling off a scaffolding behind The Washington building, then under construction. Mount died eight-and-a-half months later. Mount’s family subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit and city Police Chief Greg Veitch later came under public scrutiny following reports that the public safety department never conducted an internal probe into police actions, after earlier claiming there was one. The incident became the catalyst of the formation of Saratoga Black Lives Matter, and included public calls for a citizen review board as well as a number of protests and marches that have taken place in Saratoga Springs during the past few years. A “Case litigation Timeline” as well as audio and video files related to the matter may be viewed by going to: www.saratoga-springs.org/2408/Darryl-Mount-Information.
Would you advocate for an investigation – either internal or external investigation at this point?
“Here’s the problem: If there had been an Internal Investigation done in a timely fashion where a report and the evidence upon which it was based were released to the public – depending on its thoroughness, I might say: We’re done. But, with all that’s happened, I can understand how many people have drawn the conclusion that there must be something to hide.
“At this stage, I don’t know how satisfied the general public would be with an Internal Investigation. In a perfect world, what ought to happen is the district attorney should use this provision in criminal procedure law that allows for a grand jury investigation of a non-criminal nature. It’s the one area where a grand jury can investigate - and it’s not necessarily a crime they’re investigating. It’s allegations of misconduct on the part of a public officer…at the end of the investigation, the grand jury issues a report, and the judge has discretion to release the report to the public.”
“What I’m hoping is the District Attorney use her authority under criminal procedure law to get that rendered investigation going. And I’m considering the possibility of making a motion before the City Council for a resolution asking the DA to do that.”
There has been a public spotlight on the role of protesters and the role of police regarding city staged protests and arrests in recent years. What would you like to say about both these aspects?
“The way I see it, the question of if you blocked traffic in July and a policy decision is made that we’re going to prosecute you in September, the problem becomes: how do I get that defendant in to court? You don’t do it with an arrest warrant if it’s a petty offense. Almost all of those were petty offenses in criminal procedure law, they’re not crimes. My feeling is that if there is a petty offense committed in the past, you use a summons. You don’t use an arrest warrant, unless there’s some exceptional set of circumstances that you can put in writing to satisfy me that you need a warrant.
“I think what some people lose sight of is that there’s a difference between a protester and a common criminal. These are our neighbors who have chosen to commit some petty offense or to make a statement. We’re not condoning the offense, and the offense should be handled in accordance with its severity, the background of the defendant and the circumstances under which it is committed. The idea of going out and getting an arrest warrant, then executing the warrant… none of that was necessary. If they had been given summonses, they would have shown up in court of their own volition, or, if not – then warrants would be issued. It didn’t have to start with custodial arrests.
Additionally: “I would like the word to get out that there should be an over-arching policy of mutual respect between the police and the people they serve. There is a fighting words exception to (to First Amendment protected speech) that has been recognized by the Supreme Court since the 1940s. What I would like to try is a policy of mutual respect where beforehand I would sit down (with those planning to protest) and I’d say, ‘Look, here’s the situation: the kinds of things like getting in an officer’s face and saying (expletive) - that speech is not protected under the First Amendment.’ That’s a statement intended to provoke a violent response I think. What I would like to see in a situation like that is an officer would be trained to say, ‘I’m sorry, that’s inappropriate conduct, and it can’t be continued.’ Maybe two or three repetitions of that.
And if it continues, then, OK, we’ll make an arrest on the spot. Cops have a hard enough job to start with. The First Amendment doesn’t mean you can say whatever you please. There are circumstances where it can still be prohibited. Standing up in the movie theater and screaming ‘FIRE!’ You’re getting arrested. There’s no First Amendment reaction.”
“The vast majority of people in Saratoga Springs are not going to choose to walk up to a police officer and berate him or her. But, we’ve all seen that happen under certain circumstances. And that’s not fair. They’re doing a tough enough job as it is and they shouldn’t be asked or expected to have to take abuse, verbal or otherwise, for doing their jobs. So that’s something I’d like to get in the process early on. Putting the word out that you expect a lot from our officers, and we expect mutual respect in exchange.”
A multi-point plan, partially adopted by the City Council, was submitted to the council by the ad hoc Saratoga Springs Police Reform Task Force, and recommended that a Civilian Review Board, or CRB, be implemented. This has not yet occurred. What is your opinion?
“I envision a CRB like the one the Task Force proposed. One tweak would be the method of appointing the members of the CRB. With the possible exception of the chair - because there needs to be someone with some familiarity and continuity of process. I’m thinking that the selection process for the chair might be by the mayor, or the mayor with the advice of City Council. The membership I would like to see randomly selected. Like jury duty. There would certainly have to be public hearings on the method to be employed for selecting the members of the CRB, and the method for selecting the chair.
With subpoena power?
“With subpoena power. But - I know that there are subpoenas, and then there are subpoenas. The most that we would have the power to authorize is an administrative subpoena. That does not carry with it contempt citations. So, if you were to ignore an administrative subpoena the most that could happen is a monetary fine and it’s a trivial (dollar) penalty.
“There’s nothing in the Task Force proposal after the CRB does what it does. Its power, according to the City Charter, is limited to a recommendation to the commission. They take testimony, examine evidence and make findings, conclusions and ultimately recommendations. That sounds simple enough, but what does that mean? So, what I want to do as the first commissioner to serve with a CRB is to create a framework for what would be the role of the Commissioner upon receiving the recommendations of the CRB. I see the commissioner’s role as an administrative appellate authority. I see my role as taking the recommendation and saying: OK, I want to see all of the evidence, not just the findings and conclusions; to review that myself for factual and legal sufficiency, so that the CRB is not the last word as to factual findings and legal conclusions - the Commissioner is. I think it’s important the Commissioner’s Office promulgate its own internal procedures, so that it’s not just what the CRB said rubber-stamped. There’s a significant amount of responsibility with having to come up with the next steps.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Rock Concert. It has served as both rite of passage and meeting place for the gathered tribes.
In his new book, titled “Rock Concert,” interviewer Marc Myers explores the history of rock and roll over a period of four decades as a live, publicly staged art form.
Drawing on original in-depth interviews with nearly 100 sources, Myers re-visits some of the more notable performances of the 20th century, and offers a cautionary conclusion about the future of the art form. Breaking its initial promise as a space for inspiration, the rock concert has been drifting into a dangerous territory of becoming an endangered species.
“From the beginning, live music’s purpose was to transform a gathering into a community by altering their minds,” writes Myers, who chronologically traces rock’s roots from the end-of-World War II emergence of independent record labels sharing the sounds of boogie-woogie and jump blues, up through the mid-1980s era of stadium rock.
“Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There,” is split into four parts – one dedicated to each of the decades between the 1950s and ‘80s.
Joan Baez recalls singing with Martin Luther King as a crowd gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 joining in a rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” Ronnie Spector remembers the early gigs of The Ronettes at New York’s fabled Peppermint Lounge, and several dozen music industry notables weigh in, Todd Rundgren and Ian Anderson, Marshall Chess, Roger Waters and Seymour Stein, among them.
The intricate spool that was the concert experience of the 1960s is unraveled to reveal a linear progression from the early inspiration provided by a young Bob Dylan to the landing of The Beatles in America; It forges a path through Bill Graham’s opening of the Fillmore and the staging of massive pop festivals nationwide, accented by the affirmation that was the summer of Woodstock and crashing at Altamont by decade’s end.
Moving forward, Myers portrays the 1970s as the era that ushered in large arena shows and sired the corporate influences and the MTV age of the 1980s.
Myers’ own first concert was as a 15-year-old, watching Santana perform at New York City’s Felt Forum - a theater nestled alongside the then-new most recent incarnation of Madison Square Garden. “Rock Concert” comes to a full stop after the 1985 staging of the global jukebox that was Live Aid.
“The rock concert didn’t disappear the day after Live Aid ended,” explains Myers in the book’s epilogue - although it had significantly changed. Strategies first developed by industry pioneers were leveraged by live-entertainment companies, the emerging youth culture grew enamored with social media and digital access to recorded music, electronics cast an increasing shadow over live performers, and the cost of concert tickets climbed to greater and greater heights.
“Along the way, the rock and the rock concert became less of an agent for social change and more of a nostalgia business for legacy artists,” writes Myers, a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal where he writes about music and the arts.
The voices and memorable concerts that comprise the oral biography provide an illuminating retrospective of cultural happenings that meant so much to so many. Many of the major happenings are covered, although the stimulating energy taking place on club stages - and the movements of glam, punk, metal and funk it ignited, are largely ignored.
“For rock to survive in its original form as an art form of outrage and pushback, the music and rock concert will have to connect meaningfully with the youth culture’s current concerns and agenda,” Myers surmises. “Otherwise, rock and the rock concert risks fading away with the generation that was most inspired by its rise.”
“Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There,” by Marc Myers. Published by Grove Atlantic, $30. Available at Northshire Bookstore Saratoga.
BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors held their monthly meeting Sept. 21. The in-person meeting was attended by approximately 50 people. The Board addressed the following issues:
Cost-of Living Increases Approved for Some County Officials
• The board approved a local law amending the 2021 county compensation schedule to provide a cost-of-living increase for certain county officials. Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the measure calls for the compensation for the following county officials to be increased to the following levels:
Elected Officials - Susan Hayes-Masa, County Coroner $31,182; David DeCelle, Coroner $31,182; Michael Zurlo, Sheriff $139,601; Craig Hayner, County Clerk $120,848; Andrew Jarosh, County Treasurer $120,848.
Appointed Officials; Christopher Schall, County Auditor $ 89,598; Andrew Blumenberg, Public Defender $135,095; Margaret McNamara, Director of Human Resources $135,182; Anna Stanko, Director of Real Property $ 89,209; Tina Potter, Commissioner of Social Services $141,918
Saratoga Springs Supervisor Tara Gaston cast the lone vote against. “I’m not opposed to the increases. I just would have don’t think that now is the time,” Gaston said. “There are a number of financial issues with regard to COVID that do impact the staff at the county that I would like to see handled prior to that – but again, it’s nothing against the staff here, I fully support them.”
Positions Created for COVID Testing in Schools
• Earlier this year, the board accepted a $3.98 million Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Reopening Schools Grant. The funds are targeted to assist with establishing COVID-19 screening and testing programs for students, teachers and staff to support and maintain safe, in-person instructions for schools.
As such, the board approved the creation of temporary positions of COVID-19 School Epidemiology Officers - as needed at the discretion of the Commissioner of Health - at the base salary of $40/hr.; as well as the temporary creation of positions of COVID-19 School Testing Site Supervisors (base salary of $25/hour); and COVID-19 School Testing Site Coordinators (base salary of
The Impact of COVID on the County Court System
• Due to the impact COVID-19 had on the Court system in 2020, many cases could not proceed through the system to conclusion, creating a backlog of cases which are now being disposed of in 2021, the board reported. The backlog has caused an increase in assigned counsel attorney invoices. To this purpose, the board approved a transfer of $160,000 from its Fund Balance to the Human Resources Department to pay for additional assigned counsel attorney services.
October Proclaimed Domestic Violence Awareness Month
• The Board proclaimed October 2021 as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” In Saratoga County. The resolution cited “the horror of domestic violence (that) continues to plague our society.” In addition to resulting physical and emotional damage inflicted, the national financial ramification of domestic violence is $8.3 billion in expenses annually. The following statistics were also cited:
- 30% to 60% of families where adult domestic violence is present, child abuse is also present;
- Despite underreporting, domestic violence calls make up more than half of all calls to the police;
- More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced rape, severe physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner;
- The NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline received 8,584 calls last year.
The proclamation reports heightened public awareness is an effective tool and urges all citizens to support and participate in ongoing programs designed for the reduction and eventual elimination of domestic violence. The help hotline, which operates 24-7/365 is 1-800-942-6906.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs City Council met Tuesday night, Sept. 21 to discuss a variety of issues. The meeting included four council members. City Mayor Meg Kelly was unable to attend the meeting due to a personal issue, said Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, who ran this week’s meeting.
City Seeks Public Input Regarding Upcoming Cannabis Deadline
• Cities in New York have until Dec. 31 to opt-out of potentially siting dispensaries, and/or on-site consumption facilities as it relates to a local cannabis industry in their respective communities.
Correlated to alcohol, Dispensaries are akin to a liquor store, while On-Site Consumption is more akin to a bar, explained city Attorney Vince DeLeonardis.
To opt out, a Local Law would need to be adopted and public hearings held in advance of a Local Law, so any move to opt-out would need to be conducted sooner rather than later. Municipalities must opt out to not be a part of the measure moving forward. If interested in permitting marijuana retailers or social consumption sites, the city need not do anything.
Financial ramifications: a 4% local tax is to be imposed if the city allows the measure to move forward –3% would come to the city of Saratoga Springs, and 1% would go to the county, DeLeonardis said.
Next Move on Civilian Review Board is Up To City Council
Jason Golub, a member of an independent city advisory committee tasked with studying police reform, provided an update regarding the formation of a potential city Civilian Review Board.
“I think there is plenty of evidence that a Civilian Review Board will add value to our community. I think it protects civilians, I think it protects police, I think it adds transparency and accountability,” Golub told the council Sept. 21.
Golub had previously served as co-chair of the city’s ad hoc Police Reform Task Force – which had recommended the implementation of a CRB as part of a 50-point plan evaluated by the council earlier this year. The council voted to accept a police reform plan shortly before the state-mandated April 1 deadline, although a handful of the 50 items were removed because the city did not have the authority to implement them, or because they required further evaluation, city attorney Vince DeLeonardis said at that time.
This week, Golub pointed to specific points as being critical to forming a successful board. Those points included securing the support and involvement of police and political leaders, ensuring the board is comprised of credible and impartial members, and setting appropriate funding that would secure budgetary needs over multiple years, as opposed to year-by-year where they may be subject to ever-changing political winds.
Golub also provided a framework for a timeline. He suggested six months be spent in preparation and in advance of hearing any potential cases, as well as using that time to ensure that funding is in place, and setting two years for a pilot program. “To me that would be the next logical step from where we are today.”
Absent of future City Council direction, Golub indicated last Tuesday’s presentation would serve as a final update. The City Council will now need to determine if taking steps to form a CRB is something it wants to move on. The council is scheduled to next meet on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
Council Looks to Future Saratoga Springs as a Bike-Friendly City
• The council unanimously voiced its support for a resolution from the Saratoga Safe Cycling Coalition and presented by Bikeatoga that calls for the city’s continued budgetary funding of future bike lane signage and striping projects.
“As we pass this resolution I want to make the council aware that we want to work with (the department of) Public Safety, Traffic, Complete Streets, and Bikeatoga to come up with some good projects to connect our community with good bike lanes,” said Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan. Madigan reported there is currently $233,000 available to spend on an “upcoming good, overall Complete Streets project” as well as $100,000 in the mayor’s Capital Budget passed during last month’s council meeting - “so, we’re already looking at $333,000 - which is a fair amount of money to start looking at an engineering plan and scoping out some good bike lines internally for the city.”
City Supervisor Matt Veitch additionally noted there have been multiple talks regarding bike route systems at the County level. “We’ve come up with a proposal to present to the county for bike routes that would be sign-bicycle-routes on county roads connecting various communities,” Veitch said. “There will be at least one road in every single community designated as a bike route, and a few local roads as well that we’re going to hopefully get some of the towns to sign off on and make connections to county roads.” Veitch said the goal is to bring the measure to the county Board of Supervisors for approval in October.
Next Steps for UDO - Public Hearings in October, Vote in November
• A presentation was staged Sept. 21 regarding the proposed city Unified Development Ordinance, or UDO – a tool which aims to streamline the review and approval process as it relates to zoning and subdivision regulations. Public Hearings regarding the UDO, which may be reviewed on the city’s website, are slated to take place during the next two scheduled council meetings Oct. 5 and Oct. 19, with a potential vote to adopt on Nov. 16.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city this week discussed legislation signed March 31 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo legalizing adult-use cannabis.
The new law in New York legalizes use and possession of cannabis of up to three ounces for those over 21 and older.
”I realize our last City Council meeting was actually on 4/20, and if I had been more clever I would have discussed this then,” quipped city attorney Vince DeLeonardis, referencing the April 20 or 4/20 so-called national holiday for cannabis culture.
DeLeonardis told the council that multiple state agencies are being established to administer programs, issue licenses, and investigate and enforce infractions related to cannabis. The agencies include the NYS Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management.
“This is anticipated to be very similar as to how the state regulates alcohol through the State Liquor Authority,” DeLeonardis said.
Besides the newly legislated use and possession of cannabis in New York, the law allows for retail dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments, but those are not expected to take place until at least late 2022. Municipalities do have the ability to opt-out of allowing these, but to do so they must adopt a Local Law by Dec. 31, 2021, which will also be subject to a public referendum.
Revenue-wise, there will be a 4% tax imposed upon the cannabis, with 3% of that 4% coming to the city. In other words, if the city of Saratoga Springs does not opt-out it would receive 75% of the 4% tax, and Saratoga County would receive the other 25%.
That 4/20 designation, according to an article published by Time magazine in 2018, traces back to five students at a Marin County, California high school, who in the early 1970s would say “420” to each other as code for marijuana, in advance of their meeting at 4:20 p.m. by a campus statue “to partake.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — All five seats on the City Council, as well as both supervisor positions, will be up for vote in November. Of those five council positions, at least four will look different, effectively creating a major overhaul of governing powers in City Hall.
To date, 11 potential candidates have filed “designated petitions” to run for the five council seats. Six candidates have similarly filed regarding the city’s two supervisor positions up for election.
This week, Democrat Ron Kim announced his candidacy for city mayor.
“We have gone through difficult times. We’ve lost good friends. We have seen suffering. We have witnessed injustice. As a community we will only recover if we come together,” Kim said, during his announcement staged in front of Saratoga Springs’ 9/11 Memorial in High Rock Park. Former elected city Democrats Peter Martin and Tom McTygue were in attendance.
“I want to help this community come together. I will do it as your next mayor, as the People’s Mayor working for all of us,” Kim said. “In this new post-pandemic era, we need to have a kinder and more effective city government.”
Kim, a local lawyer who served as Saratoga Springs’ Commissioner of Public Safety from 2006 to 2010, said If elected mayor, his top priorities would include building a long-discussed eastside public safety station, assisting city businesses in reopening safely while also developing long-term strategies to protect their viability, “reimagining” the city police force so there is accountability and transparency, and working with federal and state funding to develop green policies that create a carbon neutral Saratoga Springs by 2030.
The position of city mayor is one of several seats on the city council that will be inhabited by new candidates. Eight-term Accounts Commissioner John Franck, five-term Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan and two-term Mayor Meg Kelly have each announced they will not seek reelection. Additionally, current Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton recently announced she will seek re-election, but that she will do so as a “no party” member, after changing her party registration to no longer being an active member of the GOP.
WHO IS RUNNING:
The 17 designated petitions filed by candidates are aligned with the four currently existing political parties. Recent changes in election law have altered the landscape regarding the number of political parties. Voters previously registered with the Green, Libertarian, Independence, or SAM party, are now considered No Party (NOP). The four political parties that now remain in New York State are Democratic, Republican, Conservative, and Working Families.
The deadline for candidates to file designated petitions was March 25. Independent petitions - that is, potential candidates interested in running for a city position under a newly created party – may still actively pursue their candidacy. In Saratoga Springs specifically, these independent candidates would need to secure 305 signatures. The timing-window to secure those signatures begins April 13, and they must be filed the week of May 18-25.
What this means is that in addition to the 17 candidates aligned with existing parties vying for seven city seats, additional candidates, independent of the four existing parties, are expected to soon come forward. Of the 17, only three currently hold office and are seeking re-election.
According to the Saratoga County Board of Elections, the 17 candidates who have filed designated petitions, their party affiliation, and the seat they seek is as follows:
Mayor: Ronald Kim (D), Heidi Owen (R, C).
Accounts: Dillon Moran (D), Samantha Guerra (R,C).
DPW: Domenique Yermolayev (D), Anthony “Skip” Scirocco INCUMBENT (R, C).
Finance: Minita Sanghvi (D), Joanne Kiernan (R,C), Sierra Hunt (WF).
Public Safety: James Montagnino (D), Tracey Labelle (R,C).
Supervisor (two seats): Tara Gaston INCUMBENT (D, WF), Shaun Wiggins (D), Matthew Veitch INCUMBENT (R,C), John Safford (R,C), Bruce Altimar (WF), Gabriel O’Brien (WF).
Supervisor seats will be up for vote in nearly all county municipalities in November, as well as an array of council and justice positions. County Sheriff and County Clerk will also be up for vote at Saratoga County.
In Saratoga Springs, among approximately 20,000 registered voters, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about 2,000, according to the most recent (Feb. 21) party affiliation enrollment report from the New York State Board of Elections. That percent breakdown is roughly registered Democrats: 42%, registered Republicans: 32%, registered but unaffiliated with any party: 25%. City voters registered with the Conservative, and the Working Families parties account for the remaining less than 1%.