Thursday, April 26, 2007

Would the real mayor please stand up?

Valerie Keehn’s political advisors should probably start looking for a new job, maybe with McDonald’s or somewhere completely unaffiliated with politics. And given the morass that played out in the press Wednesday, it doesn’t appear as though they’ll have a job much past November anyway.

Not since the Erin Dreyer scandal played out two years ago has Saratoga witnessed such utter dysfunction in City Hall, largely as a result of Kamp Keehn’s political missteps and misgivings. The come-from-behind Mayor has rapidly turned into the knife-from-behind pugilist, dividing the City Council membership better than even the good ‘ol boy Republicans could have hoped for in bygone years.

Despite the state Department of Environmental Conservation leafing through a host of city records and combing down the Department of Public Works garage, Keehn saw it fit to announce her “big, big, big announcement” Wednesday, which was her superfluous run for re-election this year. The city is facing a state investigation into possible environmental contamination and Keehn is playing in the rain with the media. Way to lead the charge, mayor.

When queried about why she chose to announce on a the day that most mayors with half inkling would spend out of the spotlight, the utterly unquotable Keehn simply shrugged and said it seemed like a good idea. And hey, the media was already here for the spill story anyway.

“We debated it all day whether to have it, then decided to go ahead and do it,” she told The Daily Gazette.

Obviously, there are some politics at work here. As many reports have mentioned, Keehn’s husband works for the DEC’s enforcement team and the mayor herself has a fairly massive hard-on for entrenched Public Works Commissioner Tom McTygue. Coming to his own defense, David Keehn insists he has nothing to do with the enforcement of “spills.” Rather, he’s part of the DEC’s “natural resources damage assessment” squad, which clearly has nothing to do with spills. Clearly.

In an even more suspect move, Keehn voted against hiring an environmental attorney, telling the Gazette the city “ought not to be paying for a defense if there are going to be other charges.” Suffice to say, there are no charges. Slight of tongue? Perhaps, but one more becoming of a ditzy school teacher than the mayor of a city with more than 32,000 residents.

In truth, Keehn’s short political resume reads more like a script to a low-budget slasher film; there’s no substance to it, it’s predictable and the outcome is just overly gruesome. She tried to almost single-handedly change the city’s government. And when the people answered back saying they needed more time to work out the fine points, she plowed forward anyway, launching a costly proposition that was failed from the get-go.

Under her tenure, developers laid plans for and started construction on yet more high-end condominiums, leaving the city even more painfully short of affordable housing than it was when she did a victory dance in 2005. Meanwhile, the businesses on Broadway continue to play musical storefronts thanks to high rents spurred by assessment increases. The mayor’s answer? Keep the ball rolling and keep on raising the city’s property values; a decree that was enough to ostracize and infuriate fellow democrat and city Accounts Commissioner John Franck.

And when it comes to cronyism, the so-called peoples’ mayor doesn’t seem any different than any of her predecessors; maybe even a bit similar. She didn’t waste any time in slapping Tom McTygue across the face, unceremoniously dispatching his brother from his spot on the Planning Board. While Keehn vehemently insisted this was a move to get fresh ideas onto the board, it seems a bit more likely that is was retribution for the public works commissioner’s support of ex-deputy mayor Hank Kuzynski during the donkey primaries.

But ask Keehn about her record and she’ll point to the recently re-instated $3.7 million of VLT funding from the state Legislature. She went as far to insist it was her due diligence –and not that of a well-known republican senate majority leader –that brought home the bacon. Never mind the fact that the republican dominated county government also stood to lose a $1.3 million cash-cow.

Sixteen months into her two-year term, the people’s mayor has done little more other than foment an atmosphere that has dead locked the city council and ensured no initiatives will go forward in the next eight months. She has worked tirelessly to create a deep fissure in the Democratic Party, all but ensuring a return by the same Republican majority that was shamed out of office two years ago. Provided the shtick between the brothers’ McTygue and Keehn stays in the news these next seven months, the Republicans could probably run the scandal-ridden Dreyer for city council –an idea one placard-toting retard recently brought up –and still cruise to a landslide victory.

Keehn promised open government. She delivered open cat fights. She promised more affordable housing. She delivered more expensive development. She promised progress in City Hall. She delivered progressively dysfunctional government. The mayor had perhaps the best chance ever in city politics to form consensus among the council, but squandered every last bit of it. And now she wants to be re-elected? Even after the wintry cold of early spring, November can’t come soon enough.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Milhouse said...

Yeah, watch that video and see how incompetent Keehn really is. The biggest job the mayor has is to run the city council meetings and she can't even do that. The video also shows how ridiculous the McTygue show is, but Keehn's incompetence overshadows that day in and day out.

5:47 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

First, a quick acknowledgement of fellow blogger Ben Arnold who somehow unearthed the above posted link yesterday at (Dis)Utopia of Saratoga.

Second, I couldn't agree more, Milhouse. To be honest, Keehn has always seemed like a nice enough woman, but one lacking the ssavy, gumption, or sheer wit to take City Hall by the reins. She can't speak well publically, she can't control a meeting and she sure as shit can't make wise decisions for "the people."

7:27 AM  

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