Thursday, August 09, 2007

Oh no he did’ant.

Public Works fixture Tom McTygue renewed his plugging for the Lake Avenue property and lot owned by The Saratogian Tuesday during the City Council meeting. Only this time, he took a much more serious tone with the idea. This time, he said the E-word.

Eminent domain is a term not freely bandied about in the more conservative enclaves of upstate New York. Many eminent domain proceedings involve acquiring strips of property from private owners to make way for massive transportation or infrastructure projects.

Not that there aren’t instances of public entities taking a swipe at seizing a property for public projects –the village of Corinth mused with eminent domain proceedings to grab the former International Paper Mill. Even more recently, Saratoga County supervisors have candidly discussed eminent domain as their thirst for a water pipeline down the Northway grows.

In general, however, projects that employ this tact are multi-million dollar ones that can readily afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to seize a property in court. And in the case of the Journal Register Company property, it would be tough seize. There is no public project on the table for the 1.5 acre of prime downtown property and it’s difficult to envision one that could be clearly and legally seen in the public good.

But McTygue has a bit of a card up his sleeve, as the Daily Gazette wryly noted. The commissioner of more than three decades seems to recall an agreement between The Saratogian and the city, in which the 75-space lot would be made available to downtown patrons after business hours. McTygue claims this agreement was made during the 1960s, when urban renewal swept clean a swath of shabby row houses.

Anyone who’s made the ill-fated decision to park there can attest this is not the case. In fact, leaving one’s vehicle in the lot for any period of time can lead to an arbitrary towing. Indeed this is brazen hypocrisy from a paper that freely editorializes about the utter lack of parking in the city. But hey, who cares as long as it sells papers, right?

Rumors once circulated about a symbiotic connection between The Saratogian’s publisher and a local towing company, where free rein was given on the lot. Another more plausible explanation came from a former reporter at the paper. Over a few beers one night on Caroline Street, he chortled heartily about calling a tow truck every time he saw an obscure vehicle without the requisite parking permit. In his twisted and sardonic logic, he wanted his choice of spots, even if all the spaces were empty.

McTygue’s vitriol toward the paper is more than warranted, given the attractive space in the very heart of downtown nightlife. But with a poisoned city council and no clear plan, he might as well be shouting his plan on the drunken Saturday night ears of the Caroline Street revelers. Not to mention, JRC’s pockets are deep enough they could likely thwart any eminent domain attempt –or at least drag it into the courts for the next decade.

But regardless of the feasibility of his idea, kudos to the commissioner for having the balls to openly challenge the paper letting a spot of key real estate go to waste while the rest of the city booms. Hopefully, he continues this path to at least open a dialogue for some sort of future agreement.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a minute...isn't this the same guy who 2 months ago insisted on selling a parking lot on Broadway!!!! Tommy Boy claimed the lot was in disrepair! The Commissioner's job to maintain the city's proprties. City Hall (Police station)is in lousy shape, The Casino has big issues, the DPW garage is an environment disaster, and God only knows what is happening to our infrastructure underground. Shouldn't he get the City's own house in order before stealing others. Once again the City will go to court and lose, while racking up expenses!!! It is election season and the commish is a master at getting his name in the paper. Grandstanding not good governing!!
30 years of this is enough. I am voting for Skip Scirocco

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the city would be better served by posting one of its many overtime officers at the exit to The Saratogian parking lot on the weekends when it is not "guarded" and make it a DWI check point for the masses that do take over the parking lot each weekend.
It would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Stagger off Caroline Street, stumble through the parking lot into your vehicle and then say hello to the nice officer.
But I guess they are too busy watching the drunks walk through the streets rather than get them after they get behind the wheel.
It's a lot more entertaining than just watching the herds walk up and down Broadway.
Where else can you get public intoxication, public urination, live sex shows (in parked cars of course) and vandalism all in one spot, nowhere else but the hallowed Saratogian parking lot on the weekends!

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Release: IMMEDIATELY, Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Contact: Anthony "Skip" Scirocco, Candidate for Public Works Commissioner
(518) 584-3468

MCTYGUE'S RECENT "LAND GRAB" PROPOSAL AGAINST THE SARATOGIAN
DEMONSTRATES COMMISSIONER'S MISPLACED PRIORITIES

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY -- Incumbent Public Works Commissioner Tom
McTygue's recent proposed "land grab" aimed at The Saratogian
newspaper further demonstrates the incumbent's misplaced priorities,
according to Anthony "Skip" Scirocco (R,C-Saratoga Springs), candidate
for Saratoga Springs Public Works Commissioner.

"My jaw just about hit the floor when I read today's edition of The
Saratogian which revealed the Commissioner's desire for City
government to seize the paper's land under some phoney-baloney
pretense of eminent domain," Scirocco said.

"In my opinion, it demonstrates that in over three decades in office,
Commissioner McTygue has lost sight of the core mission of his
department. It's sad that the Commissioner is seemingly more
interested in settling personal and political scores than making sure
the greater public good of our City is served. His proposal to seize
the Saratogian's land and parking lot is more reminiscent of Nixon's
'enemies list' than the kind of conduct we'd expect from a City
official," Scirocco stated.

"City residents count on The Saratogian for fair and accurate
reporting that captures the local flavor of our community, without
partiality or concerns for partisanship. A big part of that stems
from the strong, daily presence they have in our community -- the
reporters, editors and photographers at The Saratogian aren't some
distant, detached news group -- they're our neighbors, people who
truly care about this City. That Commissioner McTygue would rather
see this institution -- and its years of proud, rich tradition --
uprooted from our City, simply because he's likely upset over his
coverage, is a shame," Scirocco stated.

"If the Commissioner doesn't want to receive 'bad press,' then maybe
he should more careful about the actions he takes -- and his personal
conduct -- as an elected official. His time in office has provided
plenty of dark clouds and scandals on its own, without trying to force
our hometown paper to pack up and move its business outside of the
city. Mr. McTygue should work harder to clean his own image, and that
of his Department, before taking revenge on those he has personal
vendettas against," added Scirocco.

"I'm running for Commissioner of Public Works not to settle scores and
attack so-called political enemies. I'm running because I love our
community and I want to give something back in the form of public
service. That's the clear cut difference between Commissioner McTygue
and myself," Scirocco concluded.

-30-

1:45 PM  
Anonymous BS Tracker said...

Skippy's comments on that piece of shit ,out-of-town owned rag The Saratogian just blew my mind.

This 'community newspaper' is the jounralistic equivalent of an absentee slumlord----and yet this guy is talking about its "proud, rich tradition"????

Earth to Skippy: the out-of-town management of this corporate media chain tossed that rich tradition out the door when they bought the place. They dont even have a local publisher (he's really just an ad salesman), the reporters are kids just out of school that didnt even grow up here and they dont even PRINT the f'in thing here any more!!!!

I was actually considering pulling the lever for Skipper. I think i just got a quick reality check.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on, BS tracker! It takes four minutes to read that piece of fluff from cover to cover.

McTygue's an idiot, but sounds like Skip is all too happy shoveling trite pablum he knows an uncritical, Saratogian "reading" public will swallow without real examination.

We don't have a good choice for Public Works this year. For Mayor either, for that matter.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one more sign that McTygue has been in office too long. The flowers look nice (paid for by the Special Assessment District, not DPW), but effective maintenaince on city property seems to be beyond McTygue and his Director of Nepotism Billy's capablity. The garage on Putnam St. should not have needed repair so soon --- or such intensive repair --- costly for taxpayers. The DPW garage, the visitor center, and much of the city infrastructure needs urgent maintenance. McTygue can't seem to handle anything but flowers, yelling, and bullying. What a relief that we have a choice this year.! Skippy will appoint Pat Design as his deputy, and we'll have a great team.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shudder each time someone credits this guy for just doing what he is ELECTED to do. He is supposed to repair, beautify, and maintain all city property. He feels that he should be appluaded for just doing his job. Come on...a quick review of the city prperties will show you that Tom is using BANDAIDS to mask the problems that mismanagement has created. Tom should spend more time doing what he is supposted to be doing that all of the barking and BS. Afterall he is has been in office 30 years..
Who is Stephanie Voight?

6:38 AM  

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