Sunday, May 31, 2009

Freeze frame

The video shows Officer Eileen Cotter exiting the unisex bathroom at the Saratoga Springs Police Department in 2008. She’s talking with a Post Star reporter, telling him about the difficulties women officers face in the archaic station off Lake Avenue.

“I’m 46 years old I’ve been running past the guys while their changing in their underwear all the time they get a little bit miffed, but it doesn’t shock me,” she explains. “I just feel bad for the junior females that have to go through that…”

Wait, stop. Freeze that frame for a minute. Take a closer look behind Cotter. There’s a blue bumper sticker on locker 12, several inches above the officer’s head. The sticker stands out starkly among the dented grey lockers. But even starker is the message it sends: Elect Scott Johnson.

It’s hard to mistake the message, especially if you’re Al Turkheimer, the chairman of the city’s Democratic Committee. And given the party’s endorsement for mayor –Public Safety Czar Ron Kim –it’s a message he clearly received.

There are sparsely few plausible explanations for the committee selecting Kim for their endorsement, and none of them are too soundly rooted in logic. First of all, there’s the obvious: Kim’s department is the last sanctum of the deposed mayoral administration of Valerie Keehn. His deputy, Eileen Finneran, is a large source of the political bickering that shredded the party in the run up to the 2007 election.

In as much, Kim’s candidacy is dividing decision, albeit one far less divisive than tabbing Keehn herself. Still, if the Dems were looking for a unifying voice, they effectively strangled it into silence by running Kim.

Of course, there are Kim’s own idiosyncrasies, which make him an easy target for the veritable tsunami of Republican attack ads come November. He’s not a gifted orator and is highly prone to munching on his own shoe. His shoot-first-and-forget-about-the questions attitude toward government have virtually filled newspaper archives with a cornucopia of direct quotes that make him sound akin to a rabid mental patient still high on his last Thorazine shot he received before fleeing the ward.

His nearly four years in office is littered with failed ideas that basically sucked from the get-go. Not even two months after he took his oath, Kim was already pining for a second deputy for his office. He quickly sided with the Keehn Administration and inexplicably selected patronage sponge Lew Benton for his public safety facility planning committee. That panel of geniuses returned a solely taxpayer-funded plan to build a Public Safety Castle almost as large –and even more expensive –than the $25 million Breyo mansion.

But why stop there? Kim is also known for becoming red-faced when he doesn’t get his way. When his fellow city councilors refused to advance a ‘more affordable’ $17 million public safety facility –one that carried an average tax rate increase of roughly $200 per year –he stormed out mid-meeting.

And then there’s the taxpayer-funded “failure-ometer,” which ironically ranks as one of Kim’s greatest failures. First posted in a basement window in City Hall, the placard was intended to count the days in which the City Council ‘failed’ to act ‘an even more affordable’ $11 million public safety facility. A clearly-high-on-ether Kim told at least one media source he planned to take the failure-ometer on tour throughout the city. The whole incident drew a stern and well-warranted rebuke from the mayor Kim is now set to challenge.

“It’s an unfortunate example of New York Post-style sensationalism that is inappropriate for the dignity of City Hall,” Johnson told the Times Union.

So why the fuck did the Dems choose Kim? Well, let’s get back to the sticker in the Spa City’s police station. The police and fire unions are two voting blocks that can easily swing a close election in favor of a candidate. Generally in Saratoga, these unions have been known to ally themselves with the Republicans. As some may recall, the firefighters illegally used their station in 2006 to host a John Sweeney meet-up with former New York City Mayor Rudy Guilani. And of course, there’s the sticker brazenly displayed in the police department’s locker room.

Things have changed since then. Police Chief Ed Moore stood behind Keehn and Kim by extension, because both were offering him a palatial department featuring his own plush office. Kim has also been an ardent proponent of allowing the already-out-of-control overtime budget blast through a ceiling no previous administration could have ever imagined.

In fact, Kim has kowtowed to the police and fire unions whenever possible. Now he’s put both Johnson and Republican Finance Commissioner Ken Ivins on the defensive by saying the proposed $1.3 million worth of cuts to the public safety budget will prompt him to slash nearly three dozen jobs, including 14 firefighters and 18 cops.

In its infinite wisdom, the Saratogian has already blamed these proposed layoffs on Ivins and made special note that he is in fact the Republican on the same slate of candidates as Johnson. This sort of propaganda fuels Kim’s run by jumping his support base beyond just the unions and their families. This is despite the fact that it was Kim himself who proposed the cuts and said he wouldn’t support them at the same time. Now how’s that for brazen stupidity?

Yet the fickle and easily swayed electorate isn’t known for its intelligence. Just one little white lie in the media can explode into a full-blown scandal that will sink even the most formidable opponents. Just ask former Public Works Commissioner Tom McTygue about the FBI investigation lie that helped sank his re-election campaign. In other words, the party is of the mind that they can capitalize on the outrage Kim has prompted himself, and then use it to show Johnson and his ilk as band of callous ogres looking to diminish public safety.

The sad part is that Johnson’s administration has caused enough actual tumult now that just about any viable candidate could vanquish him from office. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Kim is not and never will be a viable candidate for anything. His popularity as a public safety commissioner was largely derived from the aforementioned hysteria and the Republicans keep running human gongs against him. That will all change now. And unfortunately for Turkheimer, there’s a good chance the Republicans will take four out of five council seats come next fall.

32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

quick note on the johnson sticker. that locker belongs to police officer scott johnson. it has nothing to do with anyone in that station supporting the mayor. belief me mayor johnson has little to no support from the pd.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Sarcasm said...

Call me sarcastic but don't they already hold 4 out of 5 seats?

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe that the dems' nominating committee actually nominated Kim. An excellent example of dumb and dumber.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Dems will own 4 out of 5 in November. Johnson does not stand a snow ball's chance in hell of being relected. And I am a Republican. We have squandered an opportunity to re-establish a strong party, clearly losing The Matt Dorsey race, losing Tedisco IN Saratoga Springs speaks volumes for the voters choices!!

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing! More incredible stupidity

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:13

Johnson, Ivins and Wirthless are better options? Please!! It looks like it's going to be another sweep by the Dems. Maybe this time they can work together to actually get something done.

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Sarcasm said...

Call me sarcastic but look at the last two endorsed candidates by the democratic committee.

1.Gordon Boyd
2.Hank Kuczynski
They proved to be disasters

At least Kim was elected before and has sustained a solid base of support and probably has gained new support through City Hall, Dpw, police and Fire.

4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad that the PD is becoming a political arm of the Kimocrats. Maybe I should get a "I support Kim" bumper sticker and avoid tickets! I want to know how he screwed up his budget estimate and over budgeted by $600,000. He'll probably say it is because he is "on top of things" when it is actually incompetence.

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who allows political messages to be placed on PD property should be fired! Sorry chief.

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good presentation Horatio.

The public is not stupid. Elections are no longer won solely on party affiliations and this upcoming mayoral race will drive many to the poles to protest and voice their unhappiness with a Commissioner who forgot the very people who once and maybe twice pulled the lever in his favor.

Other than the memory of pig-headedness and theatrical outbursts, what can his accomplishments be? A voice for the resident taxpayers (who elected him)? A revamping of his department with one based on efficiency and better management? An affordable building expansion paid for by residents? No unnecessary or illegal trucks downtown and through West Side streets? Affordable housing in a city where he proposed raising resident taxes?

Proven to be unable to work with his own party members on the Council in addition to the others leaves him a strange legacy with which to mount a campaign pledging a desire to work “for the people and it’s future”.

5:42 AM  
Blogger muldoonmedia said...

I find it disgusting that the locker room at SSPD is coed. Gross!!!

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Cheese and dog Pizza. said...

This will be the only city in New York State were the republicans will have a good year. I only hope the independence party runs someone against Skippy.



In the meantime keep am eye and Fido, Skippy and Ron have joined together in a new catering business.

8:25 AM  
Blogger george said...

Emperor Kim il Ron is no democrat.

Good or bad he is against anything that is a quality of life issue for the people who actually live and pay taxes here.

The cops and DPW workers mostly live out of town.

1. The Rec center NO

2. The Town beach NO

3. City trail system NO

4. Dog park NO

What does Emperor Kim il Ron stand for?

1. Swat team YES

2. Rubber bullets tear gas ballistic shields and armored cars. YES

DICK CHENEY WOULD BE PROUD.

Remember be very afraid, be very afraid.

RON KIM FOR MAYOR
A Little Duplicity, a little hypocrisy…whatever it takes, right folks? "

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Equal employment for all. said...

If I were the young female officer I’d be more afraid of that chick than the male cops.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Just wondering why? said...

Very Interesting
Some seem obsessed with Ron Kim and make no mention of real facts!!
If you do not like the guy fine, but use the real facts please.
We all must get through our thick skulls that DPW and PS are 24 X 7 operations that are driven by unpredictable circumstances. Weather and disturbances are not predictable.
We can always find people and/or companies to do the non-essential services work.
Cuts in the 24x7 departments require long range planning rather than "off with their heads" attitude.

The Rec Department Budget is currently 11% of the total City's operating budget. And the addition of the Recreation Center will compound it by 25% more. Where the hell are the big cuts here? No where! WHY!!!!

The Big Myth!
The best kept secret is that ALL of the successful YOUTH Recreation programs are NOT run by the city.
Pop Warner Football all Voluteers for DECADES!!!
Little League Baseball ... All Volunteers
Babe Run Basebal... all volunteers
Little Miss Saratoga Softball .... all volunteers
That is just a few!

Got my drift here??? You think you have this dynamic rec department and you do not. 3+ million dollars a year for what??????
22 Million dollars for a Rec Center. It goes well beyond the construction cost. Staffing and debt service is nearly 750,000.00 per year.

Ms. Terricola has run this program into the ground and yet we continue to invest more into it.

Her 90,000.00 per year salalry plus benefits.

We should have more.

Our flagship programs are and have always been run by volunteers.

Why is everyone focused solely on PS? Why not look at the other departments? Lets consolidate departments.

I have attended or viewed most of the City Council meetings over the last 10 years and I respect Ron Kim's passion and his willingness to stick up for the everyday person and their priorities.

He may use unconventional methods at times, but he has my vote!

Go cut non-essential services before police and fire!!

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Tool-in
How do you find time for Democratic meetings? Aren't your evenings kind of booked up with your bedroom antics? It's well-known amongst the community, and you should not be a spokesperson for the party.
Time does not heal ALL wounds.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the good old days, when Kim ran the elect John McCain campaign. It is clear that the (unspoken)issue in this election is, once again, changing the city charter. Kim wants to be a 4 year mayor with no sharing of authority with the commissioners. This is the Democratic agenda and they will not talk about it until they have control (deja vu).

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

This just in!

Breaking News!

Ladies and Gentlemen the other shoe has dropped! The indy party is coming out of the closet! They boast a lineup that is bound to bring attention to all!

Hank "Lips" Kuczynski for Mayor

Gordon "purse swinging"Boyd for Public Safety

Philly "Cheese Steak" Diamond for Finance

And for Public Works - You got it! HE'S BACKKKK! Just when we thought it was safe. It's the one and only Tommy "The Tulip" McTygue

They report they will not run anyone for Accounts (Gee I wonder why)

When asked about Supervisor positions they wern't sure what that was.

So there you have it Folks! The Dream team 2009 Flushing our dreams down a toilet new you!

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MR.4:07 THE GREAT DEM.COMMITTEE ALSO ENDORSED keehan...wella.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

3:01,

Thanks for the input. I wasn't aware there was a Scott Johnson on the force. But I'm glad to learn the police aren't playing politics in the locker room.

3:34,

Democratic sweep? Impossible. Care to guess why? Well it's because the morons decided not to field candidates against Scirocco(can you say quid-pro-quo?) and Veitch. No sweep. The best they can hope for is a super majority, which they theoretically wouldn't have anyway, because Franck is not part of their block.

Nancy,

It was only the bathroom that was co-ed. And they've since rectified that situation, thanks to a supreme court judgment against the city.

12:54,

I'm all for slashing the recreation department budget. But let's face it: Cutting programs for the kids is about as popular as...say...firing cops and firefighters. Maybe even more so. Nevertheless, I agree with your point whole-heartedly and would willingly subscribe to your news letter.

But I will say your post is very misleading. No one aside from Kim himself has proposed cutting police and firefighter jobs. In fact, Ivins has even suggested he could make the cuts with minimal layoffs, meaning he's probably going to slash administrative costs. In other words, if your Eileen Finneran, get ready to lose your private secretary.

Mamie,

Nice try. Tom McTygue sold his house on Clinton Street. He is no longer a resident of the city and thus cannot run for office. I've heard scuttlebutt about Boyd taking another run, but I somehow doubt he'll bother with the effort after his drubbing in 2007. Without a major party endorsement, he'll basically have to bank roll his own campaign, which will certainly get pricey given the characters already involved.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ivins isn't smart enough to come up with cuts ,he prefers to pass the blame. I WANT REVENUE he claims yet doesn't have the nerve to follow through when given ways to produce. He would rather hold civil war games, or cops and robbers in congress park. Who killed kenny? SSFD,SSPD,GOP, or Mayor Johnson? No, No, Who killed GOP? Kenny

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Curtis Sliwa said...

I say if this does come to pass(no police) I can have my people there by the weekend to patrol the streets. My Angels will watch over you. Do You Feel Safe Yet?

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

Horatio, Tom McTygue also sold his soul to the devil long ago so don't be surprised if he tries something. Rent a place perhaps?
I will also be pissed if they get rid of my job when down here the people in the know would tell you why not get rid of Bill McTygue? Or the receptionist who doesn't even answer the phone. That's right! She doesn't even pick up now that the new system has been put in. Why not the deputies? They are all political favors anyway.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, remember when the cop BR issue first surfaced. The chief was quoted as saying the ladies changing area was taken up by the VENDING MACHINE!. Unless that machine had a badge and gut it should be SH## canned, along with the chief.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting comment by the PBA president at tonight's council meeting........."We will see you GUYS in November."

If that's not a threat, then what is?

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mamie the Malcontent is wrong again with her prognostication re the fall slate..sarcastic tongue in cheek obsessing over McTygue. Like it or not he was the best Commiissioner and most conscientious council member we had. He knew the city and he loved it. The make up of the present council reflects the ignorance and gullibility of the electorate and the reckless and irresponsible fabrication of allegations by the press in the last election. Saratogians are now victims of their own stupidity. Mamie you sound like an ingrate.
given your sour attitude it is a wonder you have been able to hang on to your job in city hall.

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 3:47
What spaceship did you arrive on?

Using your quotes of
"gullibility of the electorate and the reckless and irresponsible fabrication of allegations by the press in the last election.

Your man McTygue got soundly defeated by 22% in Nov. 07
One of the largest margins of defeat in Saratoga HISTORY!!!
Fed up is what most voters felt.
He then went on to get defeated in a Democratic Committee election.

It gets better, he tried to get elected in The Elks Club and got defeated there too.

Fabricated!
Please ask DEC if we can have the "fabricated" $275,000.00 fine back in fabricated fines. And there is more coming.The difference is that we are stuck with the bill, none of this comes from his!!!
Saratogians woke up, The Democratic Committee woke up, Th Elks woke up...And you?
How is the cool aid?

4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best commissioner we ever had? If you consider manipulating his workers and intimidation of the electorate a sign of being a good commissioner then yea he is great. If misuse of city money and playing favorites with big contributors to his campaign is how you rate the job he would be the best ever. But dishonesty and no integrity doesn't cut it with us. We voted out the scum!

6:56 AM  
Anonymous the wretched said...

"We voted out the scum!"

How is Val anyway.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Sarcasm said...

Anon dipshit 6:23pm they never endorsed Keehn! She was put aside by the rat pack of McTygue criminals in fave of Kuczynski and Boyd! She went on to destroy both of these pussies in the primaries!

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Mr Sarcasm's Guilty Conscience said...

..and destroyed the party in the process...

9:03 AM  
Anonymous SicOfKim said...

saw kim at the high school graduation...hiding from the masses behind his sunglasses like nobady will recognize him...as a public official at a public function he should make himself open, and present the office he portrays to be in....HA, its just a means to an end. wha tis he really saying when he acts that way? read between the lines, it says, "all you people go away, i represent myself... not you idiots" you voted for him now vote him out and maybe he will go away...even if it is another Dem, just not kim....i mean him!

5:50 PM  

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