Council of Albany Neighborhood
February 7, 2001
7:00 PM (More or less sharp)
Albany Public Library
PresidentM. Skinner opened the meeting at 7:05 PM. She announced that tapes of
our meetings will be broadcast on CableChannel 18 and expressed gratitude to
videographer Stephen Winters.
Everyone present introduced him/herself.
Copies of the January minutes had been sentout. Copies were
Pat Maxon moved to accept the minutes as presented.Ethel Silverberg seconded.
The minuteswere approved unanimously.
A. Severalannouncements of meetings, award nominations and
civil service exams weredistributed.
B. The schedule for access TV in Brookline, MA is published
weekly in the newspaper; arecent copy was circulated.
C. ScottWexler, president of the Board of Education sent a
schedule of meetings.
D. MayorJennings has appointed a committee to review parking
issues in the Pine Hills.
E. Lettersand clippings regarding local problems with
crows was circulated.
F. TheCANA Code Enforcement and Quality of Life
committee are planning follow up tolast year’s questionnaire. Call David Phaff
if you can help- 438-9056.
G. MikeBreslin, County Executive, will be guest speaker at our
A. Committeeon University and Community Relations. Tom
1. Thecommittee's next meeting will be at 7 PM on Feb.
14. A newly formed "CrimePrevention Coalition," initiated by
the College of Saint Rose inpartnership with the Pine Hills NA, SUNYA Police
Dept. and Tom’s committee willreport. The committee is preparing forthe
end of the year trash pick up, safety and behavior off campus.
2. Recent,initiatives include campaigns involving
responsible Super Bowl parties andadvice on how to avoid getting towed during a
B. CommunityPolice Council. Maria Parisella.
The committee will meet February 14. Andrew Harvey,Park South, brought up the
issue of establishing a court monitoring project. Dothe courts keep street
criminals off of the streets? Call 486-2635 for more information.
Stephen Winters, Second Ave., noted that NationalNight Out will be August 7.
Albanyshould have a unified, citywide event to mark the occasion.
Steve also asked about the impact of Police Chief JackNielson’s new title and
position, Commissioner of Public Safety, on codeenforcement in the city.
C. NominatingCommittee. Harold Rubin for thecommittee:
himself, Steve Winters, Mary Connair and Henry Madej. The committee
selected the following:
q Chair: Marggie Skinner
q ViceChair: Howard Stoller
q Executivecommittee: Dominic Calsolaro,
Emily.Grisom, Christopher Lindsay, Gordon (Mac) Mowbray and Elfrieda Textores.
moved to accept the slate aspresented. Holly Katz seconded. Withno discussion,
the slate wasunanimously accepted.
D. LoveThy Neighborhood Convention. Gene Solanreported
that a final summary of the recent convention is nearing completion.
E. Cable/PublicAccess. Taped CANA meetings are
beingbroadcast on Thursday evenings at 7PM on Cable Public Access Channel 18.
We have achieved step one. The ultimate goalis to have Common Council,
School Board, CANA and other important meetingstelevised live.
F. AirportNoise. No report.
G. LincolnPark Pool. No report.
H. Schoolcoalition. Pamela Howell. From theAlliance for
Quality Education gave a report. She sees a long fight ahead through the courts,
if necessary, to provideall public school students with the resources they need.
The goals of the alliance are to:
q Pushthe state to restructure the school aid
q Reduceclass size
q Increaseteacher quality
q Providepre-K. for every child who wants it
q Providedecent, modern, safe school buildings
Sherequested that CANA endorse these goals. She also
invited CANA to send a representative to Alliancemeetings. A discussion
ensued. BarryWalston encouraged CANA to get involved in this effort. We need to
think alittle longer before we endorse Alliance’s entire agenda.
ChrisLindsay described developments re: the removal of Kelton
Court as a proposedsite for a middle school and a new advocacy group that has
evolved from thatdecision.
I. SwanSt. Project. Helen Black
reported on arecent walk-through in the area. Sheexpressed high hopes for
a favorable outcome, although no decision has beenannounced yet.
J. CSR. Henry Madej noted that a site report
re: theproposed campus building project has been received.
Helen Desfosses,President of the Albany Common Council
Helen thanked CANA for their support as she beginsher third year as Common
She pointed with pride to some of the innovationsthat have occurred during her
first two years. The public comment period was introduced. Although the
idea started off slowly, public comments haveincreased this year. She
described howAlbany's Common Council operates in comparison to other
Some of the most popular items of discussions atpublic comment periods have
q CitizenPolice Review Board
q LincolnPark Pool
q School10 and the proposal to tear it down
q TheSwan St. project
q CSR's expansion
Helen described the process of developing theCitizen's Police Review Board and
soliciting members. 60-70 people applied whenapplications were initially
She went on to mention current priority items acrossthe city:
q Qualityof life
council is attempting to respond to citizens' concerns about theseissues.
council is now in the second year with its new budget powers asestablished in
the revised City Charter. Helen mentioned that the process is becoming smoother
as the CommonCouncil various committees get used to the new system. Committees
are receiving more informationfrom city offices and council members have been
given more opportunities totalk to department heads regarding long-term budget
plans. The Common council added $20,000 to theLobrary’s budget with a
provision that they address the needs of theirunderserviced population. They
also added money to the budget for the cityforester to maintain the aesthetic
appearance of the city. They made recommendations for added revenuesources,
including collecting fines owed on parking tickets.
Helen noted challenges currently facing the city:
q Shortageof Jobs
q Historicpreservation vs. economic development:
striving for balance. Some funds have been allocated toinvestigate
artifacts found at the site of a parking garage site. The parking garage,
however, will prevail.
q SUNYA'srole as a major focus for change. Computertechnology
and human genomics are front-burner issues. The University can be
instrumental inproviding technological training needed by today's workers.
Helendiscussed the influx of immigrants in Albany. More concrete information on
this subject is anticipated when the 2000census data is finalized. She
referredto the "Nine Dragons Project," a consortium of Asian
groups, formedto benefit one segment of Albany's diverse population.
Helenconcluded her prepared remarks with the note that citizen involvement
should belinked to city government.
Q. Re: the future of Albany City SchoolDistrict's Facilities' Plan, is
there hope for our schools?
A. The mayor, in his state of the city address,mentioned his intention to
institute a new task force to help with schoolissues.
Q. What has the Common Council done to dealwith the expansion of building
in Albany to accommodate its limited land base?
A. An historic opportunity exists to use theland currently occupied by
State office in the State Office campus. A discussion ensued.
Q. The Common Council has a community youthrecreation and education
committee chaired by David Torncello. What is that committee doing about
thecurrent school situation?
A. Historically, the city and the schools havenot always seen eye to eye.
The CommonCouncil has tried to remain outside of the conflict.
Q. The census results will no doubt require areapportionment of Common
council districts. Will Neighborhood Associations be consulted so neighborhood
boundarieswill be respected?
A. Reapportionment will not be completed beforethis year's elections.
So the Councilwill stay as it is for four more years. The Common Council
will appoint a committee to deal withreapportionment. Incidentally,
NYPIRGhas software for free downloading from their web site. Anyone who
would like to try drawing thelines for redistricting is welcome to take a stab
Q. For the past couple of years, the mayor hasmade major changes in the
budget after it was published. Those changes are not included in the
budgetas it is published or passed by the Common Council. How does the
Common Council plan to deal with that situation?
A. The Charter has given the mayor certainprerogatives in spending. The
CommonCouncil has a strong sense that the mayor has the right to exercise
Q. A new office exists in city government: Neighborhood Planning.
What will the Common Council do to assistthat new office? And will
the resourcesof that office be available all over the city?
A. The Common council is in communication withthe mayor on this issue.
We need moreplanners. Some neighborhoods need moreassistance than
others do. Thoseneighborhoods needing the most assistance will be targeted
Q. The Block of the Year application includesreference to Neighborhood
Enhancement. What will the Neighborhood Enhancement money be used for?
A. Neighborhood Enhancement funds will be usedto address common needs
across the neighborhoods of Albany. A longer set of guidelines is planned
forallocating the funds.
Q. New York State, the City of Albany and theAlbany Housing Authority are
the three largest landlords in the city. What can we do about the fact
that there areno big parcels of land available for school construction?
A. The mayor has been negotiating to addressthis issue.
Q. What is being done to strike a balancebetween progress and
preservation? LizGriffin gave an overview of the problem. And in a related
question, What about the economic development areas ofthe city vis-ŕ-vis
A. Our history must be the basis for economicdevelopment and tourist
Themeeting was adjourned at 8:55 PM
Kathleen Kearney HPNA.
Steve Winters, SANA.
Thomas Gebhardt UNIV.
Nolan, Lark St.
Betsy Shearer PSNA.
Christopher Lindsay, BEV.
Paul Bray, UWNA.
Fred Perkins PHNA.
Nathan Black, AHCC.
Campos, B&G Club.
John Frederick, HPNA.
Joe VanAlphen, CDARPO.
Daniel Durkin, HELD.
Pat Maxon UWNA.
Carmelina Morrison, Downtown BID.
Dan VanRiper, LPNA.
Margo Janack CDTA.
Nancy Wiley, BEV, County Leg.
Jim Tierney, PHNA.
Ethel Silverberg LPNA.
Lt. Lenny Crouch, APD.
Don Wardle, UTA.
Barry Walston, AQE
Cathy O’Neill DANA.
Gets,County Exec Off.
Gene Solan PHNA NRC.
Cynthia Galivan, MANG.
Joyce Rambo CSQ.
Marggie Skinner, PHNA
Holly Katz, MANS.