Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Told ya' so

Give them a bus and they’ll flock into the city. Give them a club and they’ll start to drink. Give them one goddamn inch and they’ll take over everything. Pretty soon, pools of blood will eddy in the streets, Broadway will host an all-night gang-style shooting gallery and businesses will be cloaked behind veils of stainless steel bars.

Skeptics needed no more proof than the stabbing that occurred around the witching hour just outside Club 388 on Broadway two weeks ago. Two of the bar’s patrons from Schenectady –both of them coincidentally black –peppered a Ballston Spa man with knife wounds after a pre-dawn fight by the club’s entrance.

The assault sent a news shockwave through the embattled television media, which has spent the cold winter months searching desperately for something to dramatize.

“This scene is smack-dab in the middle of Broadway, so for people walking down the street, taking a look on the sidewalk and seeing blood makes them nervous,” said FOX23 News reporter Kristin Lowman, sounding the first media alarm. “Others say it can happen anywhere –even police.”

And then there was Capital News 9, which always had a morbid fascination with stories that involve injury. They tried the ‘what if I told you that you’re standing on blood’ approach to the story in trying to convince out-of-town residents they should be scared to walk down the rough-and-tumble streets of the Spa City.

“What if I told you that you’re standing on blood right now,” queried reporter Dave Detling.

“I wouldn’t believe you,” replied the Ballston Spa man

“Well take a look down.”

Unbeknownst to these reporters, their perfect interview was festering in Corinth, just one news release away. Michael DiGioacchino, a Republican hoping to primary the longest tenured sheriff in New York, was furiously tapping up a statement to say he was right all along. Several months ago, the Schenectady County Sheriff’s deputy said he’d lay down the law in lawless Saratoga County. He’d stop the gang train at the Glenville border and make sure to the suburban enclaves of Clifton Park and Ballston wouldn’t become the crime zones that have plagued Schenectady.

So what better opportunity to strike fear in the hearts of voters than a stabbing involving two black fellows from Schenectady? Well, none if you're the guy arguing for a larger drug task force, more road patrols and commitment to monitor the tide of ‘gang activity’ flowing up from all points south.

“When I first announced, I was told that I was crazy, that Saratoga County has no crime problems or gang problems,” he told the Post Star last week. “The stabbing in Saratoga Springs is a prophecy fulfilled as far as gang activity moving into Saratoga County.”

The statement goes on to accuse “at least one” of the assailants of having a “known affiliation with the Bloods.” Watch out, south central Saratoga. Here come da’ gangs.

Of course, the news-starved television media and DiGioacchino aren’t alone in ringing the alarm. Recalcitrant Saratoga County Sheriff James Bowen has been hammering on the damn thing since he was elected into office 37 years ago. Every year, crime is getting worse. And every year, Bowen asks for more deputies.

Under Bowen’s administration, the sheriff’s office has experienced unprecedented growth. Spending has increased by more than 40 percent since 2004 alone. He claims the increased spending and staffing is due to the population rise and anticipated explosion with the creation of the Foundry facility in Luther Forest. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a scrap of evidence to suggest Saratoga County has or will see a 40 percent spike in population.

That’s alright, Bowen insists, because crime is on the rise. Last month, Bowen grudgingly turned over his crime stats to the Post Star, but has since gone mute on their meaning. The paper learned that calls for service went up 20 percent in 2008. Felony arrests increased by 19 percent and misdemeanor crimes increased 15 percent. Curiously “for whatever reason” the jail population decreased by 8 percent.

Well, here’s a bit of explanation. Bowen hires a slew of new deputies, many of whom don’t know the law or good policing from the curious orifice in their posterior. In as much, they file spurious charges when a warning would have done; they make errors in collecting evidence that allows cases to go unprosecuted; they’re oblivious to the legal process so they can’t even build a case against even the most egregious criminals.

But as keystone as these cops might be, they can make money for Saratoga County, Bowen assuredly tells his bosses on the county Board of Supervisors. More road patrols equal more bull-shit cases that percolate through the justice system and pump money into the county’s towns and villages. The idea isn’t to get deputies to crack down on crime; it’s to get them to write as many violation tickets as they can fit into their shift.

See most law-abiding citizens don’t mind violations, especially if they have little bearing on their record. They’ll unwittingly take a financial kick in the teeth just to avoid the unpleasantly of spending an evening in a courthouse or having the ominous scepter of the law hanging over them day in and day out.

Take for instance the recent citing of 22 underage drinkers who were knocking back a few at a house party late last month. The citations are about as meaningful as a parking ticket, in that they only carry a fine. That fine will eventually land in the spending coffers of the town of Ballston, which will greedily accept the money as a sort of quasi-tax.

Then there’s the ‘diversion’ route county District Attorney James Murphy will undoubtedly offer the teens. This way, they can avoid paying their money directly to Ballston. But they’ll still have to pay something to certify they’ve reformed and will wait the four or five years before they can responsibly drink alcohol in accordance with the law. These programs are often funded with either county or state tax dollars and wouldn’t exist in the first place were it not for a couple dozen pimple-faced teens trying to get their drink on just like ol’ pappie did back in the day.

To add insult to injury, these glorified mall cops can’t solve real crime even if it means there’s a murderer on the loose for more than three years. Just ask Christina White. She certainly stands testament to the investigative skills of the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, which treated a homicide like a missing persons case until a hiker found her bones seven months later.

In other words, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office exists almost solely to levy an additional tax on generally law-abiding people. And the two candidates proposing to guide it into the future only want it to grow more omnipresent. One offers a random stabbing in Saratoga Springs –well outside the sheriff’s jurisdiction –is reason to add more road patrols and a gang violence unit. The other can’t seem to explain the fact that his office exists primarily to reign in speeders and underage drinkers. As the saying goes, voters will have to pick the lesser of two evils this November.

38 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

HO
I support your concerns about the Sheriff's Dept. The budgets are increasing at an alarming rate. Same goes for SSPD, Park Police, etc.

Which makes me wonder why you blew right past the story about the guy from 4 Winds who simply wanted to go to church, so he walked away from the facility.

Then ensued the big search and rescue by Sheriff's, Canine Unit, SSPD, Troopers, helicopters, and you name it.

Why aren't you questioning the excessive use of these depts. who all were paid overtime for the search?

Why aren't you questioning the lack of notification of the neighbors who live nearby?

There had to be more to the story, the story that was spoon-fed to the public. If he just walked away, that's one thing. But if he was a threat (was he dangerous?) then there was justification for the search. But no explanation was ever given.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Faulkner said...

Caroline Street version

"What if I told you that you're standing on vomit right now."

5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe the racist comment on the color of the perps on this blog. Saratoga's lack of diversity is still its shame.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Hiding in My Basement 'til Ron Kim Saves Me said...

If you noticed; one of the usual suspects from the Ron Kim / DFC / Jonestown camp was up to their standard "feeed the blogs with BS" tricks a couple weeks ago when Kim was begging to be the Congressional candidate.

Specifically: they were talking about what a wonderful job Kim has done becuase there were "no murders" and 'no violent crime' in the city. (yes: that was part of the post; verbatim)

Prediction: these same nut jobs will now use the '388' incident as the reasoning behind needing more police and a new oversized facility.

"The Negros are invading! Only Ron Kim can stop them!"

Hey, nothing else stops these people; would it surprise us to see them play the race card?

Answer: No

8:04 AM  
Blogger arthur said...

the problem is that stupid basement quasi-disco facility- now called club 388. it's been a 'playa' house since the newberry daze...just fill it with cement, and the gang bangers have no place where they a) are welcome or b) want to go.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saratoga Springs is not outside the Sheriffs jurisdiction - the deputies have the same enforcement powers within the city as they do in the rural towns within the county. Saratoga Springs may not be the optimum coverage area for the Sheriffs Department considering the city has a large police force and there are smaller outlying municipalities without any local police, but there is no jurisdictional issue.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

7:00,

I figured someone wouldn't get that, and even contemplated a rewrite. But then I gave my readers the benefit of the doubt. Allow me to explain:

First, READ the prospective sheriff candidate's statement. Or better yet, keep reading further down the post. Both of the arrested men were automatically labeled as gang-bangers in a group that is traditionally considered black. Now think back to the articles that came out shortly before CDTA unveiled their revamped service plan. What were some of the quotes? 'If we have a bus to Schenectady, some of them might just come up...'

So I guess you're right. There are racist undertones. Quite intentional ones. But I have a feeling you're taking them the wrong way.

arthur,

Agreed, that place has been a fetid pit since it was converted to a bar. But where there's a market for it, the bars will pop up. And believe me, there's enough drunk schmucks around this city to fill up a cheap knock-off like this.

4:23,

If the deputies are going to start arresting/citing people in Saratoga Springs, then why do we need a police station? Or police force? Of course they have the same powers. An on-duty cop is an on-duty cop. It doesn't matter if he's in Saratoga or Saratoga Springs. But I'd argue the deputies have NO business patrolling this city, especially if this city is going to convince Jane and Joe Taxpayer of the need for a monstrous public safety facility.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You raise a valid point about the fact that local law enforcement is essentially a money raising "enterprise" for the local government who pays their inflated salaries not to mention the infamous OT. Kinda like a "gang". Shit, they have shaken me down for money on more than one occasion. Clearly, they are just trying to keep other competing "gang" elements out of the Spa City, their home turf.

I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, would we rather have these knuckleheads making upwards 100k for harassing middle class commuters or out of work? Do really we need more uneducated and drunk WHITE MALES around here on "disability" / government assistance causing trouble in this town? There are only so many roofing jobs to go around. Lets give them guns and badges instead - keep them off the streets and out 'a' tha club.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a saying in the local department, that goes something like, "I started out trying to save the world, then after 10 years later, I started just trying to save myself ... and now I just want to get out".

Police work is noble, but somewhere along the way, the command focuses more on empires than on what it was that drew them all into this work in the first place. The flurry of big city government CSI shows over the last ten years, must have its effect on those who work in less than extravagant surroundings than those portrayed where any investigation usually is preceded by a million dollar plus hologram machine and the attentions of no less than a dozen witty and attractive uber police personnel. Makes the daily grind boring.

It seems we hire, we train, and then we lose site of just being on the job and doing it well.

5:59 AM  
Blogger BlueDog said...

Anonymous 7:28

Very Funny Post ...but true.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is $MONEY$ in Saratoga, what idiot wouldn't think that gangs wouldn't follow it. Party Clubs and bars open to 4:00 am are just the icing on the cake for the drug gangs. Buy Kevlar and hang on, it'ss be quite a ride!

Oh, sorry, don't worry, Ron will save us.

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arthur - it's not 388 - it's the party atmosphere that exists in a tourist town. Remember the Lake George 4th of July weekends in the "good old days" It's coming here.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

7:08,

There are always 'gangs' so to speak. The city spent a great deal of effort kicking 'gangs' of kids off Broadway, when skateboarding came back with a vengeance in the 90s. Anyone remember the Pink Bunnies? Then there are other outside 'gangs' that cater to the rich and their predilections. But the police don't really call them 'gangs' because they sell good coke to people who want to buy it.

And then there are 'gangs' in the sense that DiGioacchino refers to them; 'gang-bangers' if you will. These are the folks that reside primarily in other city ghettos -remember Saratoga's ghetto is now the 'Art District -and seldom have reason to dwell here for any protracted time. These so-called gangs didn't come here in the 1980s, and they especially didn't come here in the 1990s, when racial profiling and gentrification decimated the city's predominantly black neighborhoods. Why now? Because of 388?

No, this is more boogidy-boogidy nonsense spread by cops who want larger departments, bigger ranks and six-figure salaries. I'd be more afraid of a Canadian invasion than so-called gang violence hitting in Saratoga Springs.

The other thing few people consider is where so-called gang violence occurs. Let me give you a hint: It's not at some wannabe-hip hop club in the whitest-bred city in New York State. If you look at the epidemiology of the gang problem, you'll see that the people worst effected by the resulting violence are those who live in the areas where the gangs sprouted. These are typically the most down-trodden neighborhoods in densely urban areas; where the factories closed down, the jobs disappeared, but the low-income population didn't. These organizations are cannibalistic in a sense, because they feed on their own communities. Sure, they'll jump on an opportunity if it presents itself. But to say a gang of 'Bloods' in Schenectady is poised to colonize Saratoga Springs is just plain ludicrous.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Kim is preparing a press release on this subject matter.

No--I am NOT kidding.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its pretty simple, if you play hot new hip hop music your going to have the anti-social element hanging around the place, stabbing fighting, im better than you are mentality. Why do you think vapors and these other clubs play 60's and 70's music ONLY now? To keep the schenectady/glens falls/albany trash out of saratoga. Get rid of 388 and you'll get rid of the non-saratoga trash coming into town!

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:32

Sentiments like that helped the Nazis get as far as they did. Trash? Been to the Racino lately?

Nice to see the Saratoga racists come out of the woodwork on this issue.

4:25 AM  
Anonymous A Murphy Supporter said...

Scott Johnson already had a statement on this matter. Oh! That's right! He did it like he does everything,behind closed doors. No one was allowed to hear it.
What a joke he was pushing that REC Center at the council meeting. John Franck followed like a good little republican puppy that he is. I feel bad for Scott Murphy if Franck is helping him. He is a republican plant for sure.

4:11 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

4:11,

FYI - ALL the sitting council members were at one point Republicans.

On a related note completely unrelated to this topic, I've taken great pains to demonstrate how the party differences in this city pretty much end with the name they attribute to their caucus. Aside from the rhetoric they spew, there is absolutely no difference. Not in action, not in practice and certainly not in reality. Yet some are bullheaded enough to think the simple process of changing one letter affixed to a candidate's or officer's name will somehow change an entire life philosophy. It just goes to show the unbelievably fickle nature of those who subscribe to partisan politics.

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Saratoga's lack of diversity is still its shame."

You're kidding right? There is plenty of "diveristy" in SS. Why just look at the subsidized housing that is all over the city. East side, west side, its everywhere.
But you can't see it from your ivory tower apparently.
What you call "diversity" I call welfare rats. I don't care what color people are, if they can't afford to live in a particular place, then they have no business there living there.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

anon 4:25AM:

pal-eeeze. this is not racism; an easy card to play...the fact is that this club had ZERO visible/viable security-- an unfortunate requirement these days...given the 'pedigree' of the discobasement, one would think that discerning mgmt would budget for highly visible, yet extremely non-threatening security so that decent people- of all backgrounds- could go and have a good time...penny wise and $$$-foolish...they could get by with one less gorgeous bartender and have a place that people might feel safe.

The vibe of impending doom continues to permeate the place... perhaps the landlord will wise up and convert the thing to a 'jimboree' - the tenants at ground level would certainly be thrilled.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It just goes to show the unbelievably fickle nature of those who subscribe to partisan politics" WELL SAID.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re agphoto:


I think you missed my point, as I was responding to the "trash" talk of anonymous 12:32. He insinuated that hip hop music = violent black gang bangers, where 60s/70s classic rock = respectful good ol' boys. He's a moron with access to a computer.

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell CDTA to stop the 10pm bus runs from Schenectady and Amsterdam and the problem goes away on its own.

6:01 AM  
Anonymous Kyle York said...

agphoto 10:36-

Focused. Artfully.

Responsible and realistic security on Caroline Street may NOT be perfect... but not one establishment turns a blind eye at the sidewalk.

"Impending doom" indeed. Might anyone here know the identity of this community-minded Landlord?

-Kyle York
Street. Person.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous real deal said...

5:07 made this mention:

".. He insinuated that hip hop music = violent black gang bangers, where 60s/70s classic rock = respectful good ol' boys.."

and your point is?

And you're saying that such "cause & effect" is NOT the case?

You my friend, are the moron.

Or at the very least: you don't get out much, do you?

The fact is: this gang-bang mentaliity of "are you dis'ing me?" from the mouths of these genius-level IQ's IS a part of the so-called hip hop culture.

ANY venue that is playing to this crowd will, in turn, attract this type of trouble.

Like it or not, that is the....real deal.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Real Deal... why don't you just come out and say it:

You don't like black people.

Please don't delve into cause and effect relationships, because the only one you really understand is that when you drink too many Genny Creams you tend to wake up in a soiled bed.

And if I remember correctly, Caroline Street used to have legions of bouncers because of the fights that broke out in those classic rock playing bars.

You are not a moron. You are a grade A moron... and that is the real deal.

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horatio
More than 11 days is too much.
Where are ya man?

Take this blog to the next level.......you can do it.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

Sorry folks...it's been a hectic week and my circadian rhythms are a bit out of whack. The post that was destined for last week fell prey to an uncontrollable bout of bourbon lust.

But fear not, this week should be better. Lots to write about...

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Real Deal said...

I don't recall any stabbings on Caroline Street at 'classic rock' bars..

As a matter of fact, I don't even recall classic rock bars.


"Don't like black people?" Where do you get that? Because I have an understanding of this concept called logic?

Actually, i am sitting here lsitenting to some Miles Davis as I prepare to meet up with a business associate of mine in a respectable bar in Saratoga tongith. Funny thing is: he is of the African American persuasion. I guess I'd better tell him of your conclusion.

Hip hop/rap is an anti-social expression stemming from the mouths of dispossesed violent youth; both black (mostly) and white.

Even my black friends agree with that statment; and can't stand the shit.

The simple fact is: if you create an environment that will attract disposesed violent youth, one shouldn't be suprrised when something VIOLENT breaks out.

And that's the read deal. Dummy.

Go ahead: play the race card. I'll keep playing with the facts.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your references to different kinds of alcohol, make me worry about you.

The reference to the earth's rotation, has me -- and other readers -- puzzled. Monthly, ummmm.

Methinks, ,,,,,,,,....hmmm, art thou a woman?. Drat.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son was beaten almost to death a couple of years ago in one of Caroline St.'s most popular (and "whitest) bars--by one of its employeees!

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Youknowwho said...

Horatio Alger said...
"Lots to write about..."

Yes, I imagine one of those things we will soon be reading from you is how the Saratogain recently filed for bankruptcy. In the same article they also stressed numerous times that this filing will have no effect on how they run their operations and no changes will take place or be noticed by their readers.

I was thinking to myself when reading their statement, that if they don't make any changes won't they continue to be doing the same shit that got them to where they are now?

Smart business strategy,
keep digging that hole.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Playing with the facts"

I couldn't have said it any better myself. You're such a dunce that you don't even realize the expression means you aren't dealing with the truth.

Tin and Lint? Desperate Annie's? These are bars with a heavy load of Allman Brothers on the juke box. And yes, fights have broken out in them (and outside).

Tell your black friend that "hip hop/rap is an antisocial expression", and he will say you're full of shit. Unless you only listen to gangster rap, then you are missing the rest of the spectrum. Safety at a club has to deal with security, not the music selection.

Miles Davis? I'm surprised.

I'm done with you, moron

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: The Saratogian, Chapter 11 filing..........

If you continue to work the same way, you will get the same results.

What comes after Chapter 11?

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Real Deal said...

Oh good: you're an expert on the various sub genres of hip-hop and rap. You can be very proud of that waste of time.

Guess what? My black friend is equally disgusted with this new so-called Hop Hop Nation; as are most 40+ yo African Americans. As are most 40+yo whites.

Like it or not, rap / hip hop is the soundtrack of the antisocial 'wing' of modern day youth.

Deal with it.

You are now free to get back to your study of gangsta rap as you study for your DJ degree. I hope you've saved up enough money from mowing lawns so you can afford to buy the headphones to hang on your shoulders.

Me? I'm 'Kind of Blue'. Give me Miles. Give me Coltrane. Give me Marvin, Hell, give me Lenny Kravitz!

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides being playful like the jazz you proclaim to listen to, rap is a vehicle in fighting back against oppressive culture. Ever hear of a group called Public Enemy? To classify all rap as antisocial is not just stupid; it's wrong.

You listen to Kind of Blue, but have you heard his free form stuff like Bitches Brew? Some of Miles' stuff is jarring... like rap.

The point is anybody under 35 grew up listening to rap from its RUN DMC beginnings to some of the variety of stuff you hear today. Like all genres of music, some of it is crap.

And when you say "rap/hip hop is the soundtrack of the antisocial 'wing' of modern day youth," and there is a "Hop Hop Nation," you really sound out of touch, and frankly, a bit paranoid. Are you a Rush Limbaugh listener?

Here... let me help.

It's never "hop hop." It's hip hop.

I take back what I said earlier. You aren't a moron. You're just old and confused.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Capital News 9 was first on the scene doing live reports not FOX23, but that's ok.

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not as rediculous as you might think.they(the bloods) make up the majority of dipshits causing problems in saratoga.assaults,stabbings,drug deals,etc.9 times out of ten its a blood affiliated person.not just blacks either.they recruit whites these days,especially to push
drugs in white neighborhoods.If you see a black or white guy or girl in saratoga wearing red,theyre bloods.we need increased police presence and involvement in the community to combat this problem or we will end up "ghetto".its a great little town.one of the few cities you can walk the streets without fear of random shootings from ignorant assholes.if cops shot and killed every black or white man claiming to be a "blood" in saratoga I wouldnt shed a single tear.

8:31 AM  

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