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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations
Minutes for February 3, 1999

1. Introductions
2. Minutes. A correction was made to the January minutes. SUNY Albany and Univ. of MD were the two schools who had the most items selected for the publication Serving Commuter Students. They were not the only two schools in the publication. Harold Rubin moved to accept the January minutes as corrected. Dick Carroll seconded. Motion approved.
3. Communications/Announcements
a) The City seems to be planning the Neighborhood Clean-Up Days by Ward rather than by Neighborhood. Cynthia Galivan moved to have Marggie write a letter to Bill Bruce, DGS, on behalf of CANA encouraging them to organize the event by Neighborhood Association over a period of five weeks. Harold Rubin seconded. Motion approved.
b) Marggie asked that any NA who has not submitted their dues to please do so ASAP. Marggie will have to begin removing people from the mailing list who are not current.
c) It was recommended that both Breslin and McEneny be guests at a CANA meeting with someone from the School District. Marggie will attempt to arrange this for the May meeting.
d) The Neighborhood Resource Center’s annual meeting will be on Thursday, June 10th. Nominations are being accepted for the Thomas J. Senchyna Award, and Certificates of Recognition for outstanding public official, organization/group, community/neighborhood based publication, and best “event, website, etc...” that doesn’t fit into any other category. Nominations will be due Tuesday, April 13th and available at the next CANA meeting.
e) Michael Trout was the winner of the Comptroller’s “1999 Best Budget Idea” Contest. His prize is lunch with Comptroller, Nancy Burton.
f) The League of Women Voters is hosting a public forum on Charter Schools in New York State on February 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Shaker High School.
g) CANA received a letter from Walter Evans, Deputy Comptroller/Internal Audit, in response to CANA’s request for an audit of the revenues and expenditures of the Charter Revision Commission. The audit will be conducted and findings should be issued and made public by March 31, 1999.
h) Various publications, announcements and correspondences were distributed.

4. Reports
a) Nominating Committee
The committee is waiting to hear from Howie Stoller and Elfrieda Textores to see if they are willing to be nominated to a second term. The nominating committee put forth the following roster of nominations:

Chair: Marggie Skinner    Harold Rubin moved to accept     Dan Potter 2nd ed.
Vice-Chair: Howie Stoller    Cynthia Galivan moved to accept     Keith St. John 2nd ed.
Immediate Past Pres.:     Harold Rubin   
Executive Committee:    Dan Potter moved to accept    Harold Rubin 2nd ed.
Emily Grisom       
Elfrieda Textores    One ballot was cast for all:   
Mac Mowbray    Approved unanimously.   
Henry M. Madej       

b) Community Police Council:
Council will present awards during Police Week in May ’99.
Community Police have been dispersed to North, South, East, and West stations - not centralized. Call your local station for Community Police info/concerns
Assistant Chief Epting is the appropriate person to invite to CANA’s April meeting.

c) Schools
If the Governor’s budget goes through as proposed, City School District will see a $3M reduction in total aid. The state clams that a series of block grants will offset this reduction. Schenectady will only see a reduction of $1.5 million. Speaker Silver is on our side and agrees that this is not acceptable.
d) Community/University Relations
Next meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 10th at 7 p.m. at the Albany Police Department’s Traffic Safety Building at 526 Central Ave. An update on the University at Albany Student Association’s “Parkfest ‘99” will be presented.
e) Budget
Proposal will be mailed with February minutes.

3. Guest Speaker: Helen Desfosses, Common Council President
As leader of the Common Council, Helen Desfosses has expanded channels of communication between people in the community and the Council. There is a 24 hour answering machine; 6 of 15 Council Members have e-mail; people are encouraged to speak at Council meetings.
At this meeting, the Council President proposed the idea of a Task Force to take a look at what has worked in other cities of similar size and to use the studies that have been conducted in Albany to develop a plan and implement ideas and strategies in our neighborhoods. She came to this meeting to ask for help from CANA.
Sprawl and city-wide planning are significant issues for Albany. From the proposed Crossgates expansion and its impact on local businesses, to inconsistent taxi service rates, and the impact of foreclosures on neighborhoods – there are issues that need to be dealt with.
Desfosses referred to an article she wrote for the Times Union last summer called “Neighborhoods key to downtown: Partnership essential to any renaissance” and stressed that we won’t have a successful downtown without strong and vital neighborhoods. Task force would provide a new way of relating neighborhoods with city government in order to plan, prioritize and implement services.
The most vital cities have found ways of utilizing neighborhood associations in new ways. How can we work together in more efficient way to maximize tax dollars?
Albany needs a new structure of empowering neighborhoods to work with city government and increase cooperation between both city government and neighborhoods. Ideally becoming co-planners and co-producers not just identifiers of needs.
A Task Force could review and make recommendations based on Albany’s Neighborhood Enhancement Committee recommendations of 1994 and what other cities (Columbus, OH, Seattle, WA, etc.) are doing – what works and what doesn’t.
There are exciting and innovative models to look at including cities who provide matching funds to neighborhoods, neighborhoods who hire their own planners, opportunities for neighborhoods and the city to work together and compile a geographic information system. There are collaborative structures that could give residents more benefits for each public dollar spent.
Looking for vehicles to stabilize cities, the National League of Cities is working in all types of neighborhoods.
We need plans for housing? Capitalize Albany doesn’t really address housing or neighborhoods. A Task Force made up of representatives from the Council, the Neighborhoods and city offices would bridge this gap- could be called.- “Humanize Albany” (?)
Comment: Like the idea of providing venue of self-determination in neighborhoods. Needs to be coupled with responsiveness from City. Important to have representation from DGS, Parks, Housing and the BIDs at neighborhood association meetings.
Question: Is there a plan for how the committee will be formed?
Not that far yet – wanted to present this idea to CANA to see if there is interest and support.

Comment: Highlight Neighborhood Enhancement Study and use it as a starting point. Don’t forget about elimination of positions – Coordinator of Neighborhood Services – that lost empowerment of neighborhood associations. Capitalize Albany “build a string of pearls” concentrated on businesses – cooperation and money as way of identifying funding source for liaison from City.
Where does money in other cities come from?
City budgets. In 1991, Minnesota dedicated money for 20 years.
Comment: Revisit ombudsperson position.
Comment: Need to “marry” the two ideas of capitalize and humanize rather then splitting them and running parallel.
Comment: Need dedication of someone in the City administration to get this started. Common Council is a good place. We (the residents) are not the enemy, we choose to live in the city. City Hall should be involved in the process to see that it’s to their advantage to get free services from neighborhoods.
Comment: Recommendation that the committee takes very little time studying – it’s been studied. Different problems in different neighborhoods – that’s the difficulty. Some problems transcend neighborhoods: Neighborhood Planning, paid dedicated bodies to assist neighborhoods, ruthlessly honest and realistic planning – no pandering. Mayor has fallen into trap of the glitzy world of downtown development.
Comment: Need to address handful of clearly expressed concerns.
BIDS need to be more active. If there’s no base of support in City Gov’t then we’ll be spinning our wheels.
Comment: Frustrating that it seems the Albany mind-set is manifest destiny that buildings be boarded up; every state worker has free parking space at front door. Let’s not make focus of everything downtown. Not everyone is interested in the same set of problems.
Comment: Look at pre-existing organizations and committees. Include college representation.
Desfosses: It is important that we build a structure to encompass all of these recommendations.
Will types of problems be limited? Task force should look at models of interaction between cities and neighborhoods. Look at other upstate towns like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.
Two Problems: 1. Lethargy – hard to get people motivated. 2. Those who are involved get worked to death.
Final comments: Need to work out mechanism to establish task force. Proposal to get input from neighborhoods. Start small group of 7 to 8. The Common Council, Deputy Mayor Calderone, CANA all need to be included.
Cynthia Galivan moved that that CANA support the concept of a task force to address the issue of neighborhood-based city planning. Craig Waltz seconded. Marggie to write letter.
What is Council’s Legislative Program ?
Modifications of Charter Reform & Group of council members appointed to look at “next steps” for charter.
Council’s new budgetary power – how to make operational.
Civilian Review Board – city needs to address, Michael Hall supportive.
Quality of Life issues.
Council has the power to appoint assessment review board and IDA – looking at this and assessing
Revenue enhancement and budget proposal process.
ZBA terms expired? Council can appoint. If Mayor makes no recommendations they sit until replaced.
Landfill – public hearing/comment (Nitido)
City Marshall position - in committee
University Taxis – looking at zones - who set up the zones?
Census head count important.
One last question: Now that Council has certain appointment power will you inform CANA of vacancies to make public recommendations?
Will try to move away from “mystery” when terms expire and let CANA know.

Submitted by Sandra Thomas

Attendance (2/3/99)                    
Harold Rubin, Center Square NA            
John Whitehead, Citizens Trans. Steering Committee
Kathleen Kearney, Hudson/Park NA            
Donald Wardle, UTA & Center Square NA       
Thomas Gebhardt, University at Albany
Craig Waltz, Helderberg                
Dick Carroll, Delaware Area NA
Michael Trout, Park South NA
Claudia Brown, Washington Park NA
Gene Solan, Pine Hills NA
Holly Katz, Mansion NA
Colin McKnight, Mansion NA                
Eileen Purcell, Union @ Albany Public Library    Library
Bob McRae, Mansion NA & CDARPO
Dan M. Potter, West Hill NA & CDARPO
Bob Sheehan, Helderberg NA
Cynthia Galivan, Manning Blvd. NA            
Aimee Allaud, Melrose NA
Keith St. John, Historic Pastures                
Dick Carroll, Delaware Area                
Jeff Cannell, Albany Public Library
Marggie Skinner, Pine Hills NA                
Claudia Brown, Washington Park NA
Dominick Calsolaro, Second Ave. NA
Andrew Harvey, Park South, NA
Henry Madej, Pine Hills NA
Sandra Thomas