Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Thank you for trusting me to the run the City for a final four years, thank you for voting to keep the progress moving forward, thank you for everything.
Monday, November 5, 2007
The question is, do I have a vision for Troy.I do, and it is one that is clear and precise. I will continue to dowhat it is we have done for the previous four years. I am sure thatfor some people, that will immediately turn them off, and that is fine. I am an honest person, and will not pander because it is election time.
My vision for Troy is to succeed on two fronts- improving thequality of life and creating a climate of growth. Ten point plans toreduce crime are useless if just four years ago youpromoted "voluntary compliance" of the law as a way to deal with theissue. Ten point plans are useless when nine of the points arealready in place, everything except for cameras on our streetcorners. We do not need them, nor do I think the majority of thepeople want them.
My vision for Troy is to continue to make sure that the people wholive here, the people who pay taxes here, are treated with thehighest of respect, and receive what they are entitled to. For those new to Troy, it was easy to look back at this past winter and saythat the City could do a better job plowing the streets. I myself am often frustrated with plowing, and get out into a plow and help out.What the people who are new to Troy do not know is how we suffered in Troy for years because of an inability to plow our streets. I will never forget reading a quote in the paper from my opponents administration saying that "We will get to Emerald Greens tomorrow,"when a day had already passed from a storm. It is one of the reasons I decided to run for Mayor.
My vision for Troy is to provide affordable housing to people in theright manner. We have accomplished this already through federal funding. Next month we will welcome 5 new families into a home theyown for the first time. We took some heat for bringing federally funded programs in-house last year, but for the first time they are being used correctly. They are strengthening neighborhoods.
My vision for Troy is to make it a welcoming municipality for developers. I understand that a lot of people like Troy the way itis today- I do as well. But we can only survive this way for so long. The taxes on our residents are high enough; they should not be higher. We need business and tax base in Troy so that we can move away from just surviving, and instead thrive. We have a proposed$400 million redevelopment on Hudson River that will bring hundreds of new jobs, improved housing, and access to the waterfront, and we have done that by telling people around the region, the state, and the country that Troy is willing to listen to what you have to offer. Those who can- do. Those who cannot- meet and talk about it. A $22 million hotel on Hoosick Street that is bringing 150 jobs toTroy is not something to scoff at. It is an improvement to the City.
My vision for Troy is to keep the progress moving forward. My opponent has made many claims that he wants to finish projects he started. Like the Congress-Ferry Street corridor, which we have turned into a $160 million venture that will begin in 2008. My opponent wanted to put 190 units of public housing on that site, the last thing we needed.
My vision for Troy is to take advantage of our waterfront. We tookthe steps necessary to secure more than 35 acres of land in SouthTroy on the Hudson River, and an additional 2+ acres of land inNorth Central on the Hudson. Within ten years, these parcels will be a boon to the City of Troy, creating jobs, public spaces and viable tax base. The City of Troy could have owned the King Fuels parcel of land for nothing years ago, but did not foreclose on it. Why? I wish I knew.
My vision for Troy is to continue to stimulate economic growth. We are in the best fiscal condition in more than 20 years. Just this year we have received two bond-rating increases, increased our fundbalance, and paved more than $2 million streets. The paving was done after three years of saving money, and building up reserve funds sothat we could do it without borrowing money. My opponent proposed borrowing $10 million in 2003 to pave roads- a time when we were already more than $80 million in debt. In the last four years we have reduced our debt by $27 million, using every penny we budgeted for that cause- something my opponent never did.
My vision for Troy is to continue to create, support, and endorseevents that build a community. Before I became Mayor, the ArtsCenter decided it did not have the staff to continue a Riverfront Arts festival. The City let it die. When we took office, we started a new one, not by hiring people, but by increasing job duties, and this year that festival brought 20,000 people downtown. We have wonderful business owners that created a Troy Night Out, which is beyond successful, and we do all we can to support that, and enhance it when possible. We worked with restaurants to create a ChowderFest- another success. And next month we will announce our next venture- another summer festival that will take place in Troy. These events are important, and despite not having the money to hire people to put them on, we get it done.
I use the comparisons of the past because to me this election is all about what you have done. I, and my opponent, have been in positions of power in the City of Troy, and the people that have been here for a long time, know the records of each. They know who abused power in the past for the benefit of their family, and they know who has not.
Our campaign for re-election has been honest and positive. My opponent cannot say the same. He has presented one idea in the lastfour months, and that was a public safety plan in which 90 percentis already accomplished by the City.
I give credit to some of theDemocrats running for City Council, which have actually put forth new ideas in their run for office. It's a novel idea, and one that I am happy to see.That is my vision for Troy. It is honest, and it is true, and I hope to have your support.
Thank you everyone and we shall talk later.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Today was quite the busy day, starting off at the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club for brunch. It seemed like an excellent turnout, and I am sure it helped out the club tremendously. Congratulations to all involved, and thank you for your continued support of the kids in our City.
After that it was on to a party at the Red Front for supporters and the team that has helped out during the campaign this year. We had about 50 people on hand for lunch, which was nice to have so many supporters around. While the candidates are out there meeting people, answering questions, and making a case to be elected, it is the people who volunteer their time to the campaign that really allow it to happen. Without these people, the work would be nearly impossible.
After the party we had a parade. No really, it was a parade. Everyone piled into my trolley and we had a train of six or seven cars following us, all of them decked out in campaign signs and other paraphernalia, parading around the town honking horns and saying hello to people. The response is truly unbelievable.
We have run a campaign that is the very definition of positive, upbeat, and forward thinking. The exact opposite of my opponent. And people have noticed. From the pumps of the fist and promises of support from complete strangers, to the phrases I'll pass on writing here, it was an excellent trip, and a nice confidence boost heading into the final hours.
Our number one goal now will be getting the vote out on Tuesday. We're moving Troy Forward in the Right Direction. Of that I am positive. Now it is time to keep the momentum. We absolutely cannot afford to take a step backwards.
Have an enjoyable Monday. An oxymoron if there ever was.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
In what I am sure will be remembered as one of the great Super Bowls, Lansingburgh defeated Burnt Hills tonight by a score of 28-25.
It was cold, very cold, but the fans were loud, and the back and forth scoring of the final quarter had both sidelines jumping up and down.
Excellent work guys, we can't wait until Friday night's game!
Friday, November 2, 2007
Tonight I am going to show the editorial from the Troy Record about the event. I think they really nailed the spirit of community from that day.
City was a bright light when power went out
Reprinted from the Troy Record
July 16th, 2007
Residents of Troy can be proud of the way their leaders handled the situation on July 10, when National Grid abruptly and without warning pulled the plug on power in the city.
We are happy and proud to be the hometown newspaper of a place that from the top echelon of government to the average person on the street, people banded together to pull everybody through a potentially lethal situation.
With traffic lights out, people didn't give in to the urge to race through the city unchecked, but rather, were careful and courteous at intersections. That was great to see.
And people checked on seniors and in general checked to make sure their neighbors were doing OK. That's the very definition of community. But the primary reason there were no disasters on that sweltering day is that the city was prepared.
Under the guidance of Mayor Harry Tutunjian, a plan was activated to deal with health and comfort issues, which meant there was no mad scramble despite Grid's decision.
The police were involved, (as were) firefighters, emergency response teams, city hall employees, elected representatives. The Action Team spent a day doing hot work, then, after hours, delivered ice and water that had been donated by state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno with the assistance of Price Chopper supermarkets.
Lifeguards worked after hours so pools could stay open until 9 p.m., providing needed relief.In a way, the whole city became an Action Team, and we want to reserve our highest praise for Mayor Tutunjian, who demonstrated persuasive leadership qualities.
He could have settled back and said National Grid created the problem, let them deal with it. Instead, he and his team turned his city into an Action Team and dealt with problems quickly and efficiently.
Only when the day was under control did he direct his wrath, justly, on National Grid. More of our leaders should deal with the immediate crisis, then assess blame, rather than putting the cart before the horse.
All in all, July 10 wasn't exactly a great day, but swift action, cooperation from the people of Troy and a coherent game plan saved the day.
A salute to everyone involved.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
As we have talked about time and time again for the past few months, the City of Troy is enjoying quite the revitalization right now. The question is why?
The answer is a number of reasons, some of which are below:
-- Since taking office in 2004, we have paid off $23,900,000 in debt
-- The New York State Comptroller now uses the City of Troy as an example of solid fiscal planning throughout the state
-- We are the second fastest growing City in the capital region according to the 2007 Business Review
-- $180 million in new projects with the City IDA
-- $2 million in paving done this year by not borrowing money, but paying as go
As we have said, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s Investment Services recently increased the City of Troy’s Bond Rating, declaring that the City of Troy was in the best fiscal condition in the last twenty years.
We now have the attitude of thriving, not just surviving.
It's a simple message, but one that we cannot take for granted that people know. You will see us beating the drum on this one for the next few days.
Thanks for the continued support, talk to everyone tomorrow night.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
On to the promise of today's issue.
Last year we had enough. After searching for several years to find the right plan to deal with irresponsible landlords, we decided to unveil a plan of zero tolerance in Code Enforcement.
Working with neighborhoods, we now attack problems one by one. Each gets the same treatment. And while people from New York and New Jersey complain that Code Enforcement is too tough, we will not apologize. Ever.
With more than 1,000 visits in 2006 and another 1,000 targeted in 2007, we are seeking out the problems in Troy and dealing with it in a proactive approach. If we are to capitalize on the great opportunities before us, we must remove urban blight. It is our only option.
Zero Tolerance is all about preserving our neighborhoods, but cracking down on the continual problems that need to be addressed. With help from neighborhoods we can solve the problems, even it we have to do it one at a time.
Have a great night. Time is flying by.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The last four years have brought incredible growth and progress to the City of Troy.
We were recently ranked as the second fastest growing city in the entire region by the Business Review. And much of that is due to the renewed interest in our great City.
Since I have taken office, our Planning Board has seen a 90-percent increase in activity over the previous years. We have received more than $10 million in grants since the beginning of 2006.
Capital investments through the Troy Local Development Corporation and the Industrial Development Authority have gone over the $185.6 million mark.
Recently we had our bond rating increased by Moody’s and Standard and Poor which recognizes that the City is in the best fiscal condition of the last 20 years. We finally have reached a point where we can pave roads and purchase equipment after ridding ourselves of the liberal tax and spend policies from the past.
The icing on the cake is that we have projects along Hoosick Street, Congress Street and the Hudson River that will begin in 2008 and could yield more than $600 million in development.
This will increase our tax base, and further our quality of life. We are truly moving Troy forward together.
My opponent is currently mired in one of the most negative campaigns in the history of this City, and that's saying something. Thankfully, most of what he says has been dismissed as nonsense. To believe the idea that there has been no progress in the City of Troy is to have the highest level of ignorance.
Thank you for continuing to read this blog, thank you for the wonderful and supportive e-mails, and many apologies for some recent mailers. Apparently we have had a little glitch and some people have been a receiving extra amounts of mail. We are working on fixing this as we speak.
Have a great night.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Here’s Ten Million Reasons to keep the momentum going (Ripped directly from the headlines as they say- this will appear in a mailer this weekend).
In 2005, we made the decision to hire a full-time grants writer to bring Troy to a level where we could capitalize on the federal and state programs that other municipalities have for decades. In the past, Troy relied on a multitude of City staffers to apply for grants. Then we crossed our fingers. This didn't make much sense to me, so we brought in a gentleman named Bill Roehr, who more than pays for himself each year.
The move had paid off. Since the beginning of 2006, we have taken in more than $10 million for various economic development projects, police overtime, officers in our schools, expanded Weed and Seed areas, neighborhood improvements and a multitude of other ventures.
And that is only the beginning. The City has applied for an additional $10 million in grant money in 2007, and we hope to hear the results of our efforts soon. Obviously each dollar we bring in makes our job of moving past potential that much easier.
Nearly all of this money comes from your tax dollars- it belongs here. We have taken the step of not just hoping that some of those funds would find the way home, but made sure it would be a certainty each year.
It is a step that has finally allowed Troy to receive its share of funding for programs we care about, and we will never stop pursuing that resource.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I guess you could look at it as my final pitch.
First up is public safety.
Your quality of life and safety is our number one priority. And I believe the commitment shows.
Since taking office in 2004, we have taken important steps to improve public safety in the City of Troy. Each year we have increased the size of the department, putting more officers on the street, while reducing upper management. There are more cops on the streets than when I took office. And despite what political mailers this season may say, there is no shortage of officers in the Police Department.
We have ensured the long term stability of Community Police by purchasing substations in North Central and South Troy. Neighborhood groups routinely have police officers in their meetings, discussing block by block issues to determine the problem and fix it. These officers and neighbors are using Comstat crime mapping to address issues in our City together.
When problems surface in neighborhoods we get creative. Whether it is the law limiting the hours of convenience stores, a Social Host Law, or a school curfew, we are willing to be resourceful when fighting crime.
Finally, we acknowledge problems. In past years, leaders in this City promoted voluntary compliance as a way of cracking down. Not anymore. Earlier this year we recognized a spike in crime and created a Street Crimes Unit to attack the problem. In less than three months of work, this unit has made more than 150 arrests that have led to more than 45 felony charges.
Since the inception of this unit there has been a 16 percent drop in crime. While that is positive news, it is not good enough at all. We will continue to work as hard as we can over the next four years to see that the City of Troy remains the safest City in the Capital District.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tomorrow is yet another Troy Night Out in the City of Troy, and I think it is safe to say there are a number of excited people.
We will once again be featuring music on the State Street between Third and Fourth Streets, with the Foy Brothers entertaining the masses this week. On the off chance there is rain tomorrow night, the rain location will be under the City Hall overhang on River Street. Continued thanks to organizers Elizabeth Young, Karen Schlesinger, and Michael Fiske for the amazing amount of work they do in putting this event together each month.
A full list of activities and entertainment is available by visiting www.troynightout.org
I will be out and about enjoying what I hope will not only be a beautiful night, but be a harbinger of future weather in what will be our most challenging months.
With 12 days to go until the election I want to thank everyone for their continued support and well-wishes. The differences in the campaigns are as striking as the candidates themselves, and I look forward to the results of November 6th. Keep the e-mails coming, and keep an eye out for the new television commercial, particularly if you are watching the World Series this evening.
Have a great night, and we will see you tomorrow night at Troy Night Out!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Moody’s upgraded the City of Troy to a Baa2, the highest level it has been since June of 1987. Standard and Poor rated the City a BBB+, the first ranking of Troy in more than a decade. Previously, Standard and Poor refused to rate the City because of its fiscal problems. When I say that the City of Troy is in better fiscal condition than at any point in the previous 20 years, I am not kidding.
This is great news for Troy, as we continue to move forward on a number of different levels. As we continue to redevelop our great City, while paying off the debt of past decision making, we are positioning ourselves greatly for future growth.
Both Moody’s and Standard and Poor were in Troy earlier this month and given a tour of the City, as well as a financial overview from City representatives.
According to Jesse Brady, one of the analysts for Standard and Poor, "The stable outlook reflects the recent stability of the city's economic base, which has experienced public and private investment and continues to benefit from the presence of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, health services, and state government employment opportunities. The outlook also reflects the expectation that economic development will continue, which could further enhance both the residential and commercial tax base."
I could not agree more.
This is the second bond rating increase in the last three years for the City of Troy. In all honesty, it is another example of continued hard work.
You can not overstate the importance of this news as it relates to future growth. People are coming to Troy on a weekly basis, they want to be here. Knowing that the community you are coming to is fiscally stable and on the right path is a vitally important recruiting tool.
The good news keeps on coming. You will remember, earlier this year, the Business Review ranked the City of Troy as the second fastest growing City in the Capital District, trailing only Saratoga Springs.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I remember during the first few weeks in office there was a major fire on 119th Street in Lansingburgh. I will never forget that night. It was freezing, temperatures well below zero, and the fire was raging. It took many hours to put it completely out. The entire community chipped in to help out. The firefighters had icicles hanging off of their faces, everyone was numb, but they hung in there and did an amazing job. This department sets an example for so many others in the area. They are dedicated, serious public employees that never know when they will have to put their lives on the line.
I am humbled and proud to have their support.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
We had a couple hundred people attend the event throughout the night at the Masonic Temple on Route 2. It was a wonderful show of support from a great cross-section of people. We received donations from around the Country, literally, including Florida and a number of other states. And locally, the response was even more amazing.
And the food! Anything you could dream of was there. Thanks to all who put the event together, including Rafi Topalian and the entire group of volunteers that assisted in making sure the party went off without a hitch. Special thanks as well for my father Naz, but that's a column for another day.
Here's a few pictures from the event.
I have a few more, but once again having some issues with Blogger.
It should be an exciting week, as we are certainly in the stretch run of the election. Look for more of the same from my campaign. We will continue to accentuate the positives, while the other guy could do anything, desperation is scary and I am sure he will not go quietly.
Have a wonderful Monday, and thanks to everyone for all the supportive e-mails, they do mean a lot.
Before I leave, I'll post one more picture that shows off the Hudson River nicely. It is such a wonderful resource, and as we grow closer to finally capitalizing on it again, I know that so many people join me in great anticipation of what could possibly be.
Friday, October 19, 2007
The pictures tonight were taken in the City of Troy over the past two days. There is a lot of excitement in Troy right now, and to see individuals taking pride in their neighborhoods and buildings is exciting.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
In an effort to restore, stabilize and revitalize our housing stock we have formed a new partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
The first project will take place at 229 4th Street, which is being taken down today with a combination of hand and machine. We are saving as many bricks as possible, as well as maintaining the facade, so that it may be used on the home that is to be built there.
The building has been a menace to the Little Italy neighborhood for a number of years, and despite our efforts to find someone to rehabilitate it, it was not to be. We met with the Troy Little Italy group Wednesday night to discuss the project, and to garner their support for moving forward with plans to replace the building - which was damaged in a fire nearly a decade ago.
The City’s collaboration with the affordable housing developer will begin with a construction project of a single-family home that will be sold to an income eligible family. We will fund Habitat for the cost needed to build the home, estimated at $75,000. Habitat relies on partnerships with businesses and corporations to fund the costs of construction materials and maintains affordability by using volunteer labor for every home they build.
Steve Haggerty, the Executive Director at Capital District Habitat for Humanity, said today that, “The City of Troy is clearly a municipality concerned about the stock of vacant and abandoned buildings and Mayor Tutunjian has expressed his interest in a long-term partnership with Habitat for Humanity for the purpose of enabling people with limited incomes to enter the economic mainstream through affordable home ownership.”
Through the Habitat model, vacant buildings, once rehabbed are sold to families with zero-percent interest loans and ultimately returned to the tax roles.
This is not the first project that Capital District Habitat for Humanity has undertaken in Troy. It is currently providing construction management on the Habitat project at 135 11th Street. It is however, the first time we have entered into a partnership with long-term goals.
One of the main goals of my second term will be to continue to reduce the number of vacant properties in the City of Troy, which has dropped dramatically in the past four years through investment and removal. I believe that Habitat can help in that goal, and City staff is completing a list of buildings that can be worked on next.
Habitat has an excellent reputation and we believe that the relationship we have formed with them will be long lasting and provide a great benefit to Troy residents moving forward.
For those that don’t know, Habitat for Humanity is a not-profit housing partnership dedicated to building simple, decent and affordable housing for low-income families in need. Habitat uses volunteer labor and donations of money and materials to provide affordable home ownership to people who would not otherwise have the opportunity. Habitat creates systemic social change by giving the economically disenfranchised the tools necessary to break the cycle of poverty.
Here are some pictures from today. The building in question is hiding behind the three. If you want the complete rundown of the issues with this building, click on the link from yesterday.
The press conference. Many thanks to the people who showed up to support the project.
Have a great Friday!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Only a few hints, but it has to do with this:
The big update tomorrow night.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Tonight we held a Meet the Candidates debate at CEO between the mayoral candidates, and while it is always an interesting exercise that takes place each election cycle, more than anything, tonight got me thinking. My opponent, which I have neglected to mention once on this blog, as he has not brought up one legitimate issue in the past three months without some type of attack, took the opportunity to make some bizarre accusations.
The big problem is that none of it is true. None of it. And when someone says something about you that is false, your first instinct is often to become defensive. Politics is a dirty game, and the fact that someone can create stories and falsify issues without being called on it is something we must deal with.
In the end, this election will come down to a few issues, each of which I believe my administration has addressed, and will continue to do so moving forward. The support from people, whether it is going door-to-door, e-mails, or phone calls, has been overwhelming. I'd like to think it comes down to trust. I do not lie to people, I tell everyone what is on my mind. I don't think I would ever want to change that.
I walk into City Hall each day with one goal in mind, to do what is best for the taxpayers of our great City. I will never waver from that notion. It is perhaps what I am most proud of.
Thanks for listening.
Monday, October 15, 2007
On Friday evening, LaSalle Institute and Troy High School played a very exciting game, in which I, and what seemed like thousands of other people, froze their butts off. The cold came at us pretty quick last week.
It was worth it though. The kids played a hard fought game, a little sloppy, but that is what makes it entertaining. In the end, LaSalle got the best of my alma mater, but it was a great night for all involved. By 6 p.m., fans of both schools were flowing into the stands. Faces were painted, noise blowers were in full effect, and parents were yelling nearly as loud as the students. I say nearly. I also enjoyed the ribbing while walking on the LaSalle sideline. Something along the lines of, "Hey, the mayor knows which side to be on."
We are proud of both schools for tremendous regular seasons, and look forward to an exciting playoff run by both.
Unfortunately, blogger is having troubles with photos again tonight, so you are going to have to patiently wait.
On Sunday, the Friends of Barker Park held a great fund-raising event on the first floor of the Conservatory. Congratulations to all involved in putting the event together, and taking up a great cause in Barker Park. One of the great things about Troy is that when people sink their teeth into something, you always get energy. The Barker Park group stands out because they are following through on everything. To see everyone come together, including Larry Schepici from Tosca who coordinated the actual brunch, is great.
The group raised approximately $10,000 on Sunday, and we can't wait to see what they decide to do with it.
I hope everyone had a great Monday. Tomorrow we will be three weeks out from the election. Tuesday evening brings a chance for the residents of Troy to come down and hear what the mayoral candidates have to say about the election. I think you will find the difference in the candidates to be quite dramatic, and I am looking forward to having a great discussion about the future of our City.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Dear Mayor Tutunjian:
Thursday, October 11, 2007
A little over a year later, the ribbon has been cut, the tour has been given, and the residents already living in the building have nothing but rave reviews for our great City. When you have prominent residents moving across the river to live in your City, as the Mayor, it can't help but make you smile.
Here are some pictures from today's event.
There was a great turnout for the ribbon cutting, which took place at 3 p.m. today.
My speech today was short and sweet. See the above title? Project Announced. Project Complete. There is a lot happening here in Troy, and in the wake of it all, we sometimes move a bit too quickly, and forget about how much we have changed in just four years.
The Pfeil's have been great to Troy. I still remember talking with Assemblyman Roy McDonald a few years ago, and he told me that if the Pfeil's feel welcome in a place, they will continue to pursue projects. We are all glad they stuck around after completing the Powers Park Lofts in Lansingburgh last year, and we look forward to working with them on their next endeavor.
This project was a significant investment in our community, and we are thrilled that it is nearly complete.
Time to cut the ribbon. Thanks to the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce for their use of the "mighty big scissors."
Once the ribbon was cut, it was off on the tour. On the fifth floor, the event was being catered by Tosca, ensuring that everyone who attended had an additional reason to be happy. There are very few pictures of the inside of the building. I want people to go down and take the tour. It is well worth it, and will give you a great idea of what is happening in Troy for the pessimists out there.
For more information on the living spaces, check out http://www.theconservatorytroy.com/
Stay tuned! There is more exciting news coming soon.
I had a few people approach me today and mention the endorsement and how excited they were that I not only received it, but asked for it in the first place.
As I have said a few times in recent weeks, striking a balance between our past and future is what will allow us to succeed. It is what "Building on the Past...Working Towards the Future" is all about.
This is what the inside of the E-Lot warehouse looks like.
Executive Director Marcia Bystryn making the announcement.
After the announcement:
Just as we were wrapping things up, a Troy resident pulled in to take advantage of the free day.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Today was the day we received the New York League of Conservation Voters endorsement.
I have plenty of pictures to share with everyone, but tonight the Internet is being a bit spotty, not very conducive to uploading pictures and videos. So we will wait until tomorrow.
As part of the endorsement, the Friends of Harry Tutunjian sponsored a Free Recycling Day at E-Lot in South Troy, and to say it was successful would be an understatement. More than 50 Troy residents took the opportunity to do a little fall cleaning and help out with recycling, and that could not make me happier. The guys in charge there said it was about four times busier than a normal day. Thanks to everyone for taking part.
As for the endorsement, I want to thank the NYLCV for making the trip upstate, it means a lot. The idea that this group has so much faith in the City of Troy is wonderful. And in lieu of pictures and video, I thought I would post a link to the NYLCV questionnaire that I filled out to participate in the endorsement interview.
Just click the link: http://www.nylcv.org/sites/nylcv.civicactions.net/files/2007_Harry_Tutunjian.PDF
We have an exciting ribbon cutting taking place at The Conservatory tomorrow afternoon, so do expect two rounds of pictures.
Have a wonderful Thursday.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
With four weeks to go until the election, we are just about in the stretch run. Tomorrow is the day we pick up the big endorsement from the New York League of Conservation Voters. During the interview process we shared a lot of interesting ideas, went back and forth on a few issues, and came to a real understanding. If nothing else, it is great to have a group like that interested in Troy. For more information about the League, check out www.nylcv.org
We have a few more endorsements coming down the pipe as well. You can be assured of one thing, they will not be based on blind politics like so many others covet this time of year. Endorsements of political allies is one thing. Endorsement of ideas, of change, and of progress is much more important, in my opinion anyway.
In reality, I only want one endorsement this Fall- that of the people of Troy.
If you are around Troy tomorrow, don't forget to bring any old electronics down to E-Lot for the Free Recycling Day. Check out www.elotrecycling.com to see what they accept.
The endorsement is at 3 p.m. if anyone would like to stop by. It should be a fun time, and you can hear about some more of the great activities happening in Troy.
Stay warm... Haven't said that in awhile.
Monday, October 8, 2007
As for tonight's post, here are some pictures from the weekend.
First up is the Troy High Homecoming, which was postponed half way through the third quarter because of continued lightening. The game was delayed until Sunday afternoon, when Troy High really picked up the pace and finished off Columbia by a score of 35-7. The pictures are from the Saturday in the first half, notice how sunny it was. I can tell you an hour after these pictures were taken I was drenched from head to toe.
On Sunday, the turnout for the Empty Bowls project was quite stunning. By 12:15 p.m., there were more than 300 people in line. The line snaked from the front door of the Italian Community Center back to the old car wash site on Ferry Street. You really had to see it to believe it. Well, here you go.
Inside, people were relaxing and cooks were serving, including my beautiful wife Francesca, and Charlie Staats and company from Flavour Cafe.
Congratulations to Barbara Reely and all of the organizers for the Empty Bowl Fundraiser, which raised more than $20,000 for local food pantries. That is an amazing job.
At nearly the same time as the Empty Bowls event, the 2nd Annual East v. West Tug of War with local volunteer firefighters was taking place. In all honesty, these pictures are worth a couple thousand words.
After the event, I even had a couple of friends show up in a newly decorated 1950 Chevy.
By the way, Happy Columbus Day! This afternoon, I had the great pleasure of participating in a Flag Ceremony at Columbus Square. It was a wonderful ceremony, and I want to thank Vito Ciccarelli for putting everything together.
Finally, today began the milling of State Street. The guys did a great job getting the road up. Please be careful for the next few days while going through intersections in downtown. This picture is from early this morning shortly after the crews began.
Friends of Tutunjian Sponsors Free Recycling Day at E-Lot
Mayor Harry Tutunjian Will Be Endorsed By the New York League of Conservation Voters as Part of Wednesday’s Event at 3 p.m.
For Immediate Release
(October 8, 2007- TROY)- The Friends of Harry Tutunjian will sponsor a free recycling day at the Troy-based electronics recycler E-Lot as part of an event that will focus on the Mayor receiving the endorsement of the New York League of Conservation Voters.
Tutunjian said Monday we was thrilled to pick up the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters, proclaiming that the City of Troy is on a momentous run, and that the endorsement lends credence to the idea of balancing development and conservation that Tutunjian has talked about during his first term.
“Troy is a City full of two important things- historic resources and potential,” Tutunjian said. “Not every city can claim that, but the City of Troy certainly is able. For the past four years we have attempted to balance these two assets to ensure the City of Troy is able to capitalize not on one or the other, but both.”
Tutunjian said he was excited for Wednesday’s event, asking that any resident in Troy that needs to recycle old electronics take advantage of the free opportunity.
“If you have an old computer or VCR taking up space the house, come down to E-Lot and drop it off,” Tutunjian said. “It will clear up space for you; safely discard any information stored, all while effectively recycling. It is something everyone should take advantage of.”
E-Lot is an electronics recycler located at 8000 Main Street in South Troy on the former King Fuels site. For a complete list of what can be recycled at the business, please visit www.elotrecycling.com. E-Lot will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
All members of the media are encouraged to attend the endorsement, which will take place at 3 p.m. in front of E-Lot. Members of the NYLCV will be on hand.
Friday, October 5, 2007
What they have failed to do is mention that Troy remains the safest large City in the Capital District, and will remain that way for a long time. And while the results of the Street Crimes Unit (140+ arrests, 45 felonies in a little more than two months) have been terrific, there is obviously more work to be done.
That work can be accomplished through great teamwork. Below is a letter written by the the Student Body President at RPI, which was printed in this week's issue of the Poly. I think it speaks volumes of what needs to continue to take place in the future.
If there's one thing we seem to be universally good at these days, it's complaining about Troy. Everyone seems to have their unique conglomerate of grievances, including, but in no way limited to: the cleanliness of the streets, crime, the purported lack of things to do and the hostility of Troy residents. In the interest of full disclosure, I am writing this having just enjoyed a pulled-pork sandwich and a teaspoon of locally-produced raw honey (a remedy for certain seasonal allergies) from the Troy Farmers Market after spending Saturday morning traipsing around the aforementioned unclean, crime-infested, boring downtown. And the people who sold them to me were extremely personable.
The Farmers Market is just one of the many things that I have found here to enjoy in Troy in the past three years. There are more restaurants and cafes than I can count, and to date, I am still working on visiting all of them. In fact, something to watch for in the upcoming months is off-campus, a project that the Student Senate’s Community Relations Committee has been working on, which will allow us to use Rensselaer Advantage Dollars in Troy businesses.
There are more and more parts of Troy I feel safer walking around in. Yes, this is a function of the amount of time I've been here, but the improvement in those three years has been far from insignificant.Troy has come a long way during the past three years I have walked its streets and visited its shops. When the recent alert was issued about the sudden increase in attacks on RPI students, an initial thought I had was to remark that our safety when traveling around Troy had improved significantly, in general, because crimes of this magnitude weren’t seen with such frequency in the past few years.
Nevertheless, I picked up the phone and called the Mayor's Office. I was told by Mayor Tutunjian that he'd been monitoring the situation, and that even before my call, the decision had been made to step up the police presence around our campus with the specific goal of capturing the perpetrators. This made me happy for two reasons: it showed that the Mayor himself was concerned about our safety and that proactive measures were already being taking toward solving the problem. I'm incredibly grateful for both his response and his concern, and pleased to know that the City of Troy is looking out for us.
This is a two-way street, however, and as students, we must be careful and use common sense, like avoiding walking alone at night—something that should be followed no matter where you are. Additionally, if you see any suspicious persons, report them immediately to Public Safety or the Troy Police Department.We must not only remember this can happen in any neighborhood, but also, what we can do to improve this city we live in, if only for four or five years. Every day we wake up here, we are Trojans too. If each of us picked up a single piece of litter on the walk to campus each day, Troy would sparkle. This isn't to say that there aren't more significant improvements that need to be made, but unlike the conditions of a few dilapidated buildings or an increase in criminal activity, this is something we have total control over.
There is some hostility on between Troy residents and RPI students. Some residents are going to be irrational and dislike us regardless of what we do. There are absentee landlords who must (and will) be dealt with. I'm an optimist, however, and I believe that there's a lot we can accomplish on our own to develop better relationships with our neighbors. If we are kind to them, they will respond with the same kindness.
For instance, our neighbors might not know the agony of staying awake for forty consecutive hours working on an Introduction to Engineering Design project (and the jubilation experienced after the course is over), most of us have yet to experienced the joy of waking up at 5am for work after barely sleeping because our young neighbors spent the night throwing a huge party that didn't end until 4am.
There are several Greek houses that stand as superb examples of RPI students being good neighbors. In fact, contrary to popular belief, I'm told by the Dean of Students that the majority of complaints are against private residences. This isn't to say that you need to mow your neighbor's lawns or shovel their driveways after a heavy Troy snowfall; it just means treating the neighborhood with the same respect we'd treat our own roommates and property, even if we are only renting the apartment or house for a year or two.
I commend those who have been partnering with other RPI students or local groups to improve this. We should all be doing our share. So next time you see a piece of garbage, whether on or off campus, pick it up and deposit in one of the many trash receptacles around Troy. We’ll see a significant change in environmental cleanliness within a week.
Enjoy Troy, and email me with any ideas, thoughts, comments, or questions at email@example.com.
That is a well thought out letter that says a two important things. We've made some strides, but have a long way to go. It is a message I am constantly preaching. I am pleased to see others that believe it to be the case.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
On Saturday afternoon, Troy High will be playing its homecoming game. Does it really matter who we play? It would be great to see a huge crowd Saturday afternoon rooting for the Flying Horses.
Just be sure not to lose your voice while screaming as there will be plenty of excitement Sunday. Up first is the 2nd annual East V. West Tug Of War to benefit volunteer fire departments around the Capital Region. The Tug Of War will take place on the Green Island Bridge involving a number of firefighters from across the area. Sponsored by PYX 106, this unique undertaking is meant to help collect funds for all of the volunteers participating.
For more information check out http://www.firetug.com/
As the tug of war is happening, one of my favorite events of the year will be taking place- the 3rd Annual Empty Bowls Project. For all of the information on that, just scroll down to a few days ago, where it was discussed extensively.
And while we are all looking forward to a three day weekend thanks to Columbus Day on Monday, next week is full of everything from ribbon cuttings to exciting endorsement announcements. It should be fun. Check back this weekend for an update on the Capital improvements that have made this weekend.
Enjoy the nice weather while it lasts!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The City of Troy lost an outspoken advocate today when Miles Blakeborough died.
When I first ran for political office as a district councilman, Miles was one of the first people that I met with. We worked closely to try and improve some issues near Mount Ida, Belden Pond, and Prospect Park. We were successful on some, notsomuch on others. But we always fought the good fight.
Though we have been on opposite sides of the political fence on a few issues in the past couple of years, I've always respected Miles for a number of reasons. He was a tireless worker for his community, was one of the main reasons that the annual Earth Day Celebration in Troy not only began, but continued each year as a successful event.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter Erin, and his many friends and family. Their loss is also a great loss for the City of Troy. Miles will certainly be missed.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
The 3rd Annual Empty Bowls fundraiser is set to take place this Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Italian Community Center. For those that do not know, this is an event in which the proceeds benefit food pantries in the City of Troy, including: Bethany Center, Commission on Economic Opportunity, Hope 7 Community Center, Joseph’s House, St. Mary’s Food Pantry, The Rourke Center, Troy Damian Center, Unity House, Italian Community Center, Troy Larger Parish Food Pantry and Troy Y.W.C.A.
There are two aspects of this event that are truly amazing. The first is that local artists are busy as we speak creating 1,200 unique bowls for the event. When you walk into the ICC on Sunday and see hundreds of bowls spread across a group of tables, it is an amazing sight. When you take into account that they were all donated, it is even more impressive.
A ticket to the event will get you your very own bowl that you are allowed to personally choose. Which leads us to the second truly wonderful aspect of this event, the participating restaurants. Once you purchase the bowl you are then invited to try one of the many soups, chowders or stews from one of the many participating restaurants.
Who will be there? At the very least The Ale House, Jackie Baldwin, DeFazio’s Imports & Pizzeria, Flavour’s Café & Lounge, Italian Community Center, LoPorto’s, Miele’s Café, Patricelli’s Deli, Francesca’s, Carmen’s Café, Illium Café, Jose Malone’s, Muza’s Diner, Potters Tavern at Sterup Square and Tosca.
Admission to this event is $10, and it obviously goes to a great cause.
If you need more information, you should contact Barbara Reely at firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbara puts in a ton of work, along with many others to ensure this event is success, and I want to offer her early congratulations on what I am sure will be a remarkable turnout. Here's a hint, get there early, the soup and the bowls go fast.
Before I stop, let me say that this is one of those events that truly brings out the best in the City of Troy. It has nothing to do with politics, or a specific group. It is about everyone pitching in to help those in most need of it. It is what we are all about and I am proud to be a part of it.
Monday, October 1, 2007
The release of the spending plan comes after months of hard work between department heads and my administration. It is time spent crafting a responsible and conservative plan that does not push undue burden onto the taxpayers, all the while making sure that we continue to position ourselves for future success.
After five years of astronomical increases in retirement and health care, we have reached a point where those costs have leveled off. Because of that we were proud to announce today that the 2008 proposed budget has no tax increase at all.
There is also no increase to the sewer rates or water rates. It is a budget proposal with no gimmicks at all, we are not using any of our fund balance to balance the budget as so many other municipalities are fond of doing. It is a budget that we were able to present because of nearly four years of solid fiscal planning.
I was also proud to announce that next year the City will fully fund a $1.7 million capital plan that will allow us to continue to the strides we made this year with the paving of streets, and purchase of new vehicles.
The budget is a solid one, and while I would not be surprised to hear political opponents call it an "election-year" budget, I will probably just chuckle, as they've been saying that for four years. In 2005, they even called the budget that was presented an election year ploy when a 1.48 percent increase was unveiled, and then switched gears days later and said the taxpayers should not have to deal with an increase. You never know what you are going to get during the silly season.
There is a multitude of public hearings scheduled on the budget, and the City Council now must do its diligence and ask questions concerning everything from A to Z. According to the City Charter, the budget must be passed by the Council no later than December 1st.
Any questions about the budget, or any other topic, I look forward to hearing from you. The e-mail address is email@example.com
Have a great Tuesday!
Friday, September 28, 2007
Whenever you can have a Friday morning that begins by opening a new business, you know it will be a good day. We are proud to welcome Truly Rhe- A Unique Boutique to the City of Troy. Rhe is situated on Second Street, near Broadway, next to Some Girls. You absolutely must stop in when you get a chance, she has done a great job putting the store together.
After the ribbon cutting it was on the police station for an important press conference. Today's news dealt with two things, the capture of two burglars with the assistance of our residents (more on this later in the weekend), and the updated numbers from the Street Crimes Unit.
As you know, we instituted the Street Crimes Unit earlier this summer when the crime numbers started to tip in the wrong direction. More on this later as well. Here is a picture of some of the evidence the SCU has picked up since July 31st.
Of course tonight was Troy Night Out, and what can you say. Despite early, and obnoxious rain conditions, the crowds were simply overwhelming. Throughout the entire night, restaurants were packed, people were walking around, and there was a buzz in the air. The Ramblin' Jug Stompers got into the action, playing a show in front of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall prior to the big Albany Symphony Orchestra show tonight.
One of the great things about Troy Night Out is how quickly things change. Here is a picture of State Street a little after 6 p.m.
And this is State Street just an hour and half later. Many thanks go out to the Shilly Shally Fire Arts group and that Static Port for putting on a tremendous show. The crowd watching on State Street was quite the unique mixture, ranging from RPI and Russell Sage students to Symphony guests, longtimes residents to first-time visitors.
The City of Troy put on one helluva show tonight. Many thanks to all those who continue to make this monthly event such a great success.
Have a nice weekend!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to visit the Curves location on Campbell Avenue. I didn't exactly know what to expect when I walked in the front door.
I will say this, Curves is not your typical gym, and in my opinion, that is a good thing. When you walk in, you can’t help but feel comfortable and welcomed. Everyone was greeted by name as they entered to begin their workout, it was really something. Another plus is there are no bodybuilders posing in the mirrors, or people hanging around gawking at you.
The music is certainly energizing and is an important part of the concentrated 30 minute workout. I learned that a Curves workout is approximately an hour and half of exercise condensed into a 30-minute routine. The best part? You can walk in at any time and jump right into the exercise circuit. No appointment or scheduled start times for the program. It makes exercise convenient to your schedule.
Patty McLaughlin and Nellie Mason own and operate the Curves location in Troy and they are committed to helping women achieve positive results in fitness. As I said, they know everyone by name and can tell you countless success stories of their members. They are both also very active in fundraising events throughout the community, which is vitally important to me. Despite being less than a year old, the Troy location has already proven to be a wonderful addition to the City of Troy.
I don't want to forget other businesses though. In recent years we have seen a great mix of people move into the City. For the adventurous exercising type, there is the Movement Lab, a pilates studio run by Julie Rose on the corner of State and Fourth Streets. I definitely suggest checking this gem out as well, as Julie has told me that she has something for everyone. Much more information can be found by checking out http://www.themovementlab.com/
Regardless of your age or physical condition, give these places a try. Tell Patty or Nellie that I invited you to stop in, they will be glad to have you. Now if there was only a Curves for men…
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
For those that have been in the dark for the past eight or so months, Troy Night Out is a monthly event that takes place on the final Friday of each month. It showcases all of the wonderful things happening in downtown Troy, and more importantly, sets a great tone for the future. It's that whole 24-7 City I'm fond of talking about.
All of the credit in the world goes to the organizers of the event- Elizabeth Young, Karen Schlesinger, Michael Fiske, a host of volunteers and store owners willing to try new things, and a special nod to local business ID29, which has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping get this idea off the ground.
This month's event will likely be the last where we are guaranteed somewhat warm weather, and downtown is ready to capitalize.
If you are heading down for the event, there is nearly too much to talk about. Be sure to pick up an event map at one of the many participating restaurants, businesses, boutiques, galleries, and any other building that happens to have an event in it.
My must see event for the evening will take place on State Street between Third and Fourth Streets, right near Barker Park, which as you know is undergoing a major reconstruction.
Beginning at 6 p.m., The Static Port will be taking the stage. The Static Port is a local quartet which describes its music as "groove-oriented," that mixes together funk, jazz and progressive rock. The organizers and the City are working together to try and bring more attention to the Third and Fourth Street sections of downtown during the Troy Night Out, to help improve traffic flow to this area.
This will be the second show we have held on State Street, and the plan is to try and do one each month next year once the weather warms up. We have certainly made great strides with new events in Troy, and we believe a scheduled concert series on State Street will really add another dimension to the Troy Night Out.
But wait, there's more. I don't want to spoil all of the fun, just be sure to be downtown near State Street, and you will see some unique entertainment involving fire. Use your imagination. Or if you don't want to wait, check out www.troynightout.org (Here's a hint, check out number 42 under event listings).
We will also have another grand opening Friday, as Truly Rhe makes her initial appearance in Troy on Second Street. We will have a ribbon cutting Friday morning, and I'll be sure to have pictures posted.
This month, I assure you, there will literally be something to do for everyone. Come on out and see for yourself all that Downtown Troy has to offer.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Capital District Armenian Friends of Harry Tutunjian, yes there is indeed a group with that name, has decided to throw a fund-raiser for my campaign for re-election.
Here are the important details.
Who: Everyone is invited
What: A great big party
When: Saturday October 20th at 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Masonic Temple- 9 Brunswick Road, Troy
Why: For the fun of it
How much: $35
If you are interested in attending, just shoot as an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org I've been a little slow in responding to some e-mails lately, but I will do it get back to everyone very soon.
If you need any more information on the event, please give my good friend Rafi a call at 272-2000.
Another beautiful day coming tomorrow. You know the cold will be here soon, enjoy this while it lasts.
Monday, September 24, 2007
The guest appearance was to help promote the second annual Firefighter Tug Of War. In an attempt to raise money that will benefit all local volunteer Fire Departments in the area, PYX 106 and Wakin' Up With The Wolf are teaming up with with area companies to hold a day of fun that includes a giant tug of war over the Green Island Bridge.
This year's event will take place on October 7th on, you guessed it, the Green Island Bridge. Watervliet is chipping in and allowing everyone to use its park that day for the party after the big tug. I was out of town during last year's event, but am truly looking forward to taking part this year. If you are wondering who the teams are, it's the guys and girls on the west side of the Hudson River against us on the east. You can imagine who I will be pulling for, no pun intended.
More information can be found at www.firetug.com
I had a great time on the show. That is obviously an audience you love to speak to, and get out the message that great things are happening in Troy. A few years ago I would have had to plead with people to listen to that idea. Now? Well, now the hosts come right out and ask about all of the things they hear about Troy. It is awfully exciting.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
On Friday, I had the opportunity to stop by School 12 to drop off some supplies for the kids. It was a collaborative effort between myself and the Capital Alliance of Young Professionals (CAYP), which is a start-up group aimed at connecting young professionals throughout the area. The President and Founder of CAYP is Maxine Barasch, who contacted me several weeks ago, after our original meeting, and said that her group would like to donate school supplies to a school in Troy. That set the wheels in motion.
I thought it was a wonderful idea, and immediately responded by saying that I would match the donations the group received.
On Friday we headed over to School 12 to present the supplies to the kids, and encourage to stick with school and work hard. You would not believe the looks on kids faces when I tell them I attended School 18 and Troy High. You always get one in the crowd who will raise his or her hand and say, "So, I can be Mayor?"
I always respond the same way. "If you work hard, and stick with school, you absolutely can."
For more information on CAYP, check out http://www.cayp.org/
And some pictures of Friday's class.
A heated discussion was taking place.
The class after it had bestowed some School 12 t-shirts to us.
Let the race begin...