Friday, October 02, 2009

Canoodling voters

To paraphrase the words of Winston Churchill, those who are unable to learn from history are destined to repeat it. Or applying this theory to the city’s Public Safety commissioner’s race, those who can’t remember what they read in the past are destined to elect another partisan hack into office.

Looking back on what he wrote several years, it’s hard to believe that lame duck Commissioner Ron Kim is running for anything other than angry mob chasing him out of City Hall. He was elected in 2005 on a platform that turned out to be wholly different from the actions he took in office over the past four years. In fact, one is left wondering exactly what Ron Kim has done over the past four years when considering the statements he made before winning his first term in office.

And that’s the beauty of hollow campaign promises: They always seem to make it into print somehow. In Kim’s case, they made it to the Saratogian in the form of a point-by-point campaign letter promising the electorate he would right the wrongs wrought by his predecessor.

Probably the most egregious example of Kim’s failure to live up to his promises was his insistence that his office didn’t need a deputy’s position. In a July letter published in the Saratogian, he assured he would “redefine” the deputy’s roll or even “eliminate it altogether.” He also claimed he would examine the position with “input from critical decision-makers” to see how it would best serve the public’s interest.

Less than a month after taking office in 2006, Kim basically flushed this promise down the toilet. Instead of disbanding the deputy’s position, he asked the City Council to grant him a second one. Though he characterized the request as one made out of necessity, he made it to create a patronage position for Eileen Finneran, who headed the successful mayoral run of Valerie Keehn. Naturally, the more shrewd members of the council saw through this political hijinx like granny’s underwear and told Kim to stuff it.

That didn’t stop Kim from canning Dudla and importing Finneran two years later. Since that time, she has basically used the office as a way to further her own political goals. Those goals certainly didn’t include lowering the department’s budget expenditures or overtime, which has all exploded under Kim’s so-called leadership.

But let’s continue with his 2005 promises, many of which never included anything to do with the public safety operations in the city. For instance, he called to begin the charter review process and pledged to adopt “strong language that will forever protect this city's greenbelt from overdevelopment.” He also pledged to affect legislative changes that would “address the need for affordable housing” in the city. Not surprisingly, he failed in both cases.

Kim’s campaign diatribe does swing back to public safety issues briefly in the missive when he discussed the need to curb truck traffic rumbling through the city’s west side. Yet as of today, he hasn’t managed any of the enforcement goals he stumped on four years ago.

All this may sound like ancient history to the more fickle of voters. But when taken in context of Kevin Conolly’s recent letter to the Saratogian, Kim’s fallacies seem all the more pertinent. Connolly, who some may recall, is an ardent Kim and “Democrats for Change flunky who likes to take to the pen and rattle out missives to Lake Avenue. Last week, he authored his campaign promises, which sound ironically similar to those made by Kim four years ago.

In his opening statements, Connolly pledges his allegiance to the taxpayers, claiming “[t]he management of the Department of Public Safety is a public trust.” Yet nowhere in his screed does he mention the fact that police overtime and departmental costs exploded under his predecessor. Instead, he makes hollow references to “providing optimal service at a reasonable cost” without ever qualifying how he intends to do this. Quick FYI Kevin: The term ‘reasonable cost’ does not come without either scrapping plans for a new public safety facility or drastically reducing departmental overtime. Choose one or the other or both. Otherwise, your promise is meaningless and hollow.

Then, Connolly laments about the now-under-construction south-side rec center and how horrible a decision it was to build it. Like Kim’s letter four years ago, he delves into issues that he has no control over and will have little, if any, impact on his tenure in office. Even more laughably, he pledges he’ll spearhead an effort to sell the new building –to the YMCA nonetheless –even though such cause isn’t even remotely in the purview of his office. Another quick FYI Kevin: The city’s Recreation Department has nothing to do with public safety or the Public Safety commissioner’s duties. Do yourself a favor and learn a bit about the governmental position your seeking to occupy.

All these complaints may sound petty, but they’re issues that show a degree of ineptitude that will make this candidate every bit as ineffective as the current one. Connolly’s promises ring with the same fallacious tone that Kim’s did four years ago. Only this election season, voters can look back on history and see them for what they’re worth.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Kyle York said...

I'll share your Connolly Concerns and RAISE you one- Let's look at what his Saratogian piece did NOT say--

WHERE does he stand on the need for or plans for a Public Safety building? It's only the single most important issue facing the Public Safety Commissioner AND the Entire City.

It's not that he is blind to the topic of budgets and buildings. He gave much thought and many specific proposals for the Rec Center. Flawed maybe... but he IS thinking.

So why the silence on the Public Safety facility?

-Kyle York
Supporter of High Rock, Parking, and a Smaller PS Structure

9:52 AM  
Anonymous The Gay Caballero rides again said...

The Connolly campaign song

The Gay Caballero

Oh I am a gay caballero
Going to Rio Saratogeo
With nice oily hair,
And full of hot air,
I'm an expert at shooting the bull-eo

Kim told me that he was so lonely
So I climbed upon Kim’s balcony.
While under his spell
I heard Keehn yell
you must run for public safety you big baloney.

I swore I would win for senorita
I woo'ed voters on the sofita
Then the voters walked in
What they did was a sin.
And they said get away from here you big baloney

Oh I am a sad caballero
Returning from Rio Saratogeo
Minus my hair,
With a bruise here and there,
for the voters bit off my ear-o.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I especially like the way you twist the knife once you stick it in him.

Keep up the good work.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Seth Randsdill said...

Interesting that Kyle York and the Gay Cabellero are on the same page. Good Lord what a natural pair. LoveyouTommy.com if you want more!

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Kim promised the voters that he would reduce the truck traffic by illegal transports and those trucks that take short cuts off sanctioned truck routes but instead, he widened Washington Street and restricted street parking encouraging and accommodating the truck traffic through the West Side.

Then this Zoning Board chairman spoke about granting amnesty for zoning violations and illegal apartment houses that would ironically result in a loss of zoning protections afforded the existing neighborhood property owners.

He also distributed a letter to all his supporters in which he stated, that his job, "requires both a leader and a legislator, not a manager" because, "the Department is already blessed with very competent Police and Fire Chiefs." Unfortunately, he wasn't aware that the City Code he swore to uphold required him to be the administrator/manager of his department and take responsibility for it’s performance.

So after four years of complaining, increasing the spending for his department, sabotaging reasonable compromises by his colleagues and at the same time ignoring calls for efficiency, who could put any faith into whatever he is hawking these days?

Moreover, there is political associate Kevin Connolly who promises “optimal service at a reasonable cost”. Is the optimal service the desired service by the ever expanding PSD or the service that is necessary for a small city? Is the reasonable cost one that is determined by a blue line committee or one that is responsible to those who must pay not only for the initial cost however enticing a package -- but forever for the greater future costs of staffing, maintenance and overhead burden a slow growing population of residents. Just who is he planning to represent in his "public trust", the PSD -- or the city residents that must pay the price for the same hollow promises we heard from the current Commissioner?

The public needs to know Mr. Connolly’s as well as Mr. Wirth's position not only on PSD expansion as Mr. York previously stated, but also his position on charter change, efficiency & overtime excesses – all issues that the Mr. Kim avoided through code words that accomplished little else than divisiveness and inept failure.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HO:

You'd rather have Dickworth than Connolly? Why?

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Intelligent discourse lives. Thank you 3:29 for a well thought out post, and not just the usual accusatory dribble.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Censorship for dummies said...

The Gay Cabellero is OK? Tinker Bell John should be OK then! I guess it hit too close to home ,huh, Ho. Sorry, I forgot you get a little edgy when someone puts trash on here. I admit it is crap but your friend the gay cab is all crap too. Talk about Ron Kim who is trying to stop the saratogian from printing certain things. Looks like you are no different.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does Ron Kim have the audacity to run for the Mayor's office after ignoring his managerial responsibilities as Commissioner of Public Safety and his fiduciary responsibilities to his public for four years?

Initially, he stood for traffic and code enforcement and then quickly abandoned those ideas for an immense Public Safety Capital Program that was premised on the notion that there would be a substantial increase in residential taxpayers to shoulder the pain of his plans -- at the same time that his mayor campaigned to control the very growth he promised would carry the additional burden of the magnitude he envisioned. In reality, as the potential for more condominiums and single family homes declined, our residents would have just been strapped with an exponentially higher growing debt while heading into the greatest economic storm in our lifetime -- a storm that he was ignoring.

We then painfully witnessed the yearlong public spectacle of “illegal conditions” in City Hall. Were we to believe that these conditions were attributed to the age of the structure or to its present use, all the while wondering, who was responsible for the functional management of that department? Our City's Public Safety department is entrusted with enforcing state and local codes and laws intended to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare of buildings both private and public -- in other words, it is "the responsible government" and yet, it became the fault of the resident taxpayer who we were told by his Capital Program boosters, that they “pay less than surrounding communities”.

Equally painful has been current public discussion of a recreation facility whose location and costs can be debated ad nauseum, but whose detractors and boosters once both shared common desires. The politics of this discussion should not have come at the expense of the public and yes the City, who presently face the uncomfortable truths of government inefficiency and an inability of the residents to be able to simply pony up more money to satisfy a mentality of entitlement.

Today we have to look at all our candidates for Council, both familiar and new, and ask, “How best will they serve the public at large and what is their agenda?” Yesterday’s lawn sign message bites won’t satisfy a community hungry to know “Where’s the Beef” – and whether the candidates are willing to work as part of a functioning body discussing both minority and majority issues for the good of the residents of this City.

As rational thinking human beings, I would hope that we are all able to have written discussions within a respectful forum to consider the candidates and the particular issues. Keep up the work Horatio.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

6:11,

I can say with little uncertainty that I will either not vote for Connolly or vote against him. He's shown nothing to suggest he's anything more than a partisan hack who is both part of the city and state establishments.

But even aside from this reason, he basically has given NO indication that he'll lower his department's insatiable appetite for money, or that he'll wait until the new PS facility has federal funding behind it before voting to bond the damn thing. These are the two crucial issues facing that department. Yet(and as another poster eloquently wrote)he feels the need to complain about issues that are not under his purview as commissioner.

Here are two other reasons to vote against Connolly. First, I would be surprised if Ron Kim musters much of an opposition to Scott Johnson in the mayor's race. He's simply to polarizing to win over the independent vote. So electing Connolly will provide another nook through which the DFC hacks can impose their influence. Kim and Connolly loses would effectively neuter the DFC. They could win in Finance, but that position doesn't carry even a fraction of the gravity of either the mayor or public safety department.

Secondly, the DFC could feasibly snatch three council seats, which in turn would open up a host of new initiatives that would wreck havoc through this city. So to vote for any of the three is basically making this unlikely situation slightly more likely. As a voter and taxpayer, I simply cannot stand idly and watch that happen.

So when it comes to pulling the lever for Wirth, my decision will be more influenced by the likelihood that Kim, Peter Martin or Connolly will get elected. I've seen nothing from Wirth that suggests he'd be a good or bad commissioner. In contrast, Connolly has given every indication that he'll be every bit of a shill for the PBA that Kim is today.

8:50,

Believe what you want, I could care less. I found the "Gay Caballero" somewhat creative, kind of humorous. Your drivel was just mean-spirited and massively off-topic screed. Bottom line: When or if you have your own blog, you too can choose what can and cannot be posted.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

October 6th agenda. Mrs. Keehn is requesting legal protection in a lawsuit that the city is contesting. That is she is requesting protection from the city that she was the mayor of. what does this all mean?

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as we’re taking about Kim’s track record, don’t forget that he is responsible for emergency planning. The last two storms with power outages for days left our streets bare of emergency vehicles with no traffic controls in sight. No one in that department thought to position a few vehicles along main roads as a precaution. And last month we had lights out on Broadway and out by the mall and the police could not get out of their cars to direct traffic because as one officer said, “it wasn’t his job!” So this is the kind of attention he gives to his job as emergency planner? Yeh, like I want him warming another seat.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connolly is an auditor for New York State? You sure are doing great work there pal.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connolly states that he will "fund only responsible priorities and necessary projects" which is the same as the code catchy line on Ron Kim's lawn signs and we all found out what his "Responsible Priorities" were. "Building for the Future" and "Taking the Politics out of Public Safety" are all very laughable today when you think about it.

Connolly’s curb signs are selling "Open Government". Could that help find the list of buildings to inspect that Mr. Kim has spent two years trying to find in his record room?

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We actually are very pleased with the service of SS public Safety.
We`have found them very responsive and effective.
Our neighborhood was experiencing some "unusual activities" and suspected drug activity/sales. Within 10 days there were arrests and the operation was shut down completly.
While we all need to watch our expenses, the PS has us as satisfied cutomers!

Any chance you would put your microscope on the Rec Department? The overall operations is questionable at best.
Now we are putting these people in charge of The dreaded Rec center!
That ought to be quite a show.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:54:

"out by the mall" is in Wilton.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Nobody Messes with Sam Cro said...

It really doesn't matter who gets voted in. We, The Sons of Anarchy, still will rule the day. Figure heads! That's all any of these characters are. We make all the decisions and if anyone wants to step on our toes we will pound you into oblivion!

SOA

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:06 - "out by the mall" should have been "on the Saratoga side of Weibel Avenue", the side of the intersection that the SS policewoman was sitting inside her police car (out of the rain) watching but not directing traffic. This happens every winter when a traffic light goes out. Just call it in and see how fast a “traffic control” officer arrives to prevent an accident – because it is not “their job”. Sit on Broadway and watch everyone on phones steering around intersections – again “it’s not their (particular) job” to enforce that law. Individually the officers are doing what they are told and in situations like this, they obviously are not told to protect the public from the cell phone driving inattentive drivers entering either a blind intersection or driving down main street texting or talking. No one to blame except management.

And like 2:18 say's, there are many, many more satisfied customers than a few disgruntled ones, yet we just have to wonder if we often have two people employed to screw in a light bulb when one will do. Again, no one to blame except management.

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:18 was so satisfied they remained anon.Sounds like a kim supporter.

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:18 It's not the cops people have a problem with, it's Ron Kim's management. If he's so good why is overtime still spiralling out of control? Why are two cop cars parked in Congress Park with the drivers chatting away for hours at a time? Why is there a cop car in the northern end of the BOCES parking lot at 5:30 am every morning? Why did Kim try to terrorize the public when asked to cut his budget and then when all the screaming died down and he got his mug in paper he made budget cuts without a problem? When asked for 5% in budget cuts, realizing the serious nature of the current economy, the rec dept came back with more than requested. Are you talking about the "dreaded rec center" that Ron Kim voted to fund without having a design or location in place? Can't wait for the rec center to start attracting people to town who will stay in our hotels and eat and shop downtown so you and your ilk and choke on your words.

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add to your list blogger 6:48 Kim's reluctance to contract with emergency services. He spent $5-700,000 in training so that he could have his own city entitled ambulance squad bloating an already overstaffed firetruck excort service. All of this is under hie "irresponsible spending priorties." We need a disfunctional-meter to chart his bizarre rise and fall.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous The truth matters said...

Hey Moron those lights are in front of Hanaford they are in Saratoga Springs and even Kim admitted so much.The entire response to the storm in the middle of august was disgraceful.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous label licker said...

It sure sounds like you are attacking the police. Ron Kim doesn't run the dispatch and he doesn't have his hands on every call the police have. That would be micromanaging. That was what McTygue always did. He was shit canned! It sure looks like Kim will win easy.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:18 here
I am in deed a supporter of Ron Kim and I am a Republican. And so are a ton of others in our community.

As far as Bonding... At the time it sounded like a good idea.
And the economy was thriving!!!!!

Since that time the location of the building was changed and the size was dramatically changed.
The MOST IMPORTANTLY changes was that the World Economy went to hell.
Our's too.
We all have made changes to our plans since last year!!

Please check the details surrounding the bonds.
Defeasance of Municipal Bonds are done all the time.
Check out
www.munibondadvisor.com/defeasance.htm
And the bull that it was going to cost over a million was bunk!!!
The Adk Trust holds most of them.

The debt service on the building will be over 600,000.00 per year for 30 YEARS!!!!
That is 18 MILLION DOLLARS
There is no annual maintence budget.
The operating costs are scheduled to be 250,000.00 per year at current cost.


Please check your facts 5:29.
The site on Weibel Ave was an apporved site with a design completed.
It was a 48,000 square foot building with a design completed by a local architects.
Sue and Don Davis from SD Atelier Architectural Firm had submitted plans and they were presented to the City Council and the public.

The location was moved by mayor Johnson. There is no official reason to move it. No DEC issues no land deal issues.

Mr. Answer Man please answer these questions for us.

Have you seen any business plan for the WRECK Center?

1. Is it free for in town users?

2. Are there bleachers in the WREAK building?

3. What are the rental fees for the building?

4. What are the building hours of operation?

5. How many employees will be required to run staff the building during the business office.

6. 5 years ago the operating budget for The Rec Department was nearly $650,000. That year they brought in $800,000.00 in fees.
Since then we have a bloated Rec Department budget of nearly $ 1,600,000.00 budget and still bringing 800,000.00 in revenue.
These figure do NOT include WRECK Center expenses?
Does that sound like a sound business model?


It is a mess!!

We will all pay for it for a good long time.

I am voting for Ron Kim and feel great about his leadership and his mayoral platform.

What has Johnson done?
1 Lawsuits, lawsuits, and more lawsuits
2.His focus was on Saratoga Beach
3.A Trail to nowhere at Excelsior
4.He is still dicking around contracts.
5. He had and still has No relationship with State officials while they stopped the VLT Funding...just stood and watched as 10% of the annual budget was gutted from the budget he voted on!!! Bravo
6. Extremely Long times for building Permits to be issued. During a slow economy. Why?
7.1/4 Million dollar Phone system that took 1 year to install.

The NO DO list goes on and on and on.

And once again he is in bed with Gordo Void Boyd and Tom McTygue during election season.

Just drive by his house and see the political signs out front.
JUST HIS!!!
Not one Republican but his.
Go Team Johnson!!!!!
As a Republican... I am embarrassed by his lack of action as a mayor and lack of team as a Republican candidate.

Go Ron Kim!!!

3:57 PM  
Anonymous The Gay Caballero rides again said...

So Eileen when exactly did you become a Republican?

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:57 If you sounded any more pathetically defensive I’d call a fire truck, an ambulance and a patrol car to throw some cold water in your face. Your Man has done nothing to get elected. He has everything not to get elected. He may be smarter than everyone. The only thing he's shown us all about leadership is his ability to find the exit door out of the buildng. The rec center is obviously your issue. You should have expressed your problem to Ron and Val and all of their supporters when they were so busy locating it on the South Side away from Weibel. Ask the neighbors where they were when it landed in their back yards after fighting so hard to keep it out of the east side. A bunch of loonies.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Death Walks Behind You said...

Thanks for your SUCCESS opinion. Remega we don't need you! Pat(3:57) is correct. Boyd,McTygue and company are all Johnson has. Not even Ivins' sign is on Johnson's house. SUCCESS is a farce as is the REC Center.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow 3:57,

I honestly thought I would never see a post as dumb as yours. Thanks for proving me wrong.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLEASE get off Kim's back - everyone knows that criticism makes him whine and his whining is annoying as hell. Next thing you know he'll pick up his books and sulk out of a council meeting pouting. Pity the poor fool please.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will not acquiesce in on it. I think warm-hearted post. Expressly the designation attracted me to be familiar with the unscathed story.

12:02 PM  

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