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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning

"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

'toga politics heats up

It's going to be a nasty election year in Saratoga:
Hank Kuczynski, who was deputy mayor for two years under Mayor Kenneth Klotz, announced his intentions Tuesday to run for the top job.

And Kuczynski, a Democrat, had strong words for the incumbent Republican, Michael Lenz. Lenz beat Klotz by just 80 votes in 2003.

'I think there's been a vacuum of leadership recently,' Kuczynski said. 'There have been issues he's nibbled around the edges of and not really taken a stand.'

Lenz, who has not officially said he is running for re-election, said, 'I'm looking forward to a spirited campaign. I hope the campaign will be about issues and ideas. I am very proud of the accomplishments and the progress that we have made during my first term in office as mayor. I have worked hard to put progress before politics.'

Kuczynski said the city shouldn't have moved forward with this year's reassessments. Though assessments are a responsibility of the Accounts Department, he said 'the mayor needs to lead.'
Lest you think the assessment is not a big deal, it nearly brought down the school budget vote last night:
The no votes at Caroline Street, Division Street and Lake Avenue all outweighed the positive ones, but district voters at Dorothy Nolan, Greenfield and Geyser Road, who generally pay property taxes in other towns, approved the budget.

The total vote was 2,202 yes to 1,681 no.

The breakdown of polling places where city residents voted was: Caroline Street, 438 no to 347 yes; Division Street, 317 no to 242 yes; and Lake Avenue, 209 no to 206 yes.

In contrast, voting by non-city or partly non-city residents was: Dorothy Nolan, 733 yes to 260 no; Geyser Road, 367 yes to 264 no; and Greenfield, 307 yes to 193 no.

School board members Glen Face and Jeffrey Piro attributed the decline in support to city assessments and property taxes.
Spa politics is always bitter - the town is a unique combinaton of so many factors that breed such things: small townish-ness, disproportionate wealth, a college full of liberal "outsiders", creeping suburbia, and powerful political parties. It's almost a perfect storm of nasty politics. But this year is going to be a doozy.
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