Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thank You!

It has been a long couple of hours, and I will certainly expand upon these thoughts more in the near future, but thank you!

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

My Vision For Troy

I was asked today about my vision for the City of Troy. It's a funny word- vision. Anyway, as you head to the polls tomorrow, keep my response in mind. Thank you for all the support, and we will see everyone tomorrow night!

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

Under 50 Hours To Go...

And down the stretch we come.

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


No issues tonight, just Congratulations to Lansingburgh High School.

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

Persuasive Leadership

One of my most proud moments as Mayor came this year when the entire City came together the day of the black out and pitched in. It was a memorable day, and it proved that we can accomplish anything in Troy when we stick together.

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

Welcome To November

We are coming down the wire now, welcome to November. The topic of the night is finances.

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.