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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!

Jennings to seek charter review

The mayor has undercut the initiative for a ballot based charter review in the fall:
By announcing plans Tuesday to quickly create a charter review commission, the mayor made it possible that it will be his commission's recommendations not those of the Albany Civic Agenda, the petition organizers -- that wind up on the November ballot.

Under state law, if a mayoral charter commission reaches recommendations at least 60 days before the Nov. 8 general election, those proposals trump any competing charter questions offered by a petition drive.
This is a wake up call to all the opponents of the mayor. He's not Paul Clyne. He's got resources, friends, and ruthlessness. But most of all, he's got bravado. When told that the charter commission would block the ballot initiatve, he responded:
"I did not know that. That's interesting," Jennings said after a news conference at which he blasted the efforts of petition organizers, calling their proposal "an unabashed and blatant political initiative" that would manipulate voters "under the guise of good government."
You gotta love bravado like that. But the take-home point here is that the mayor has the power, he doesn't want to give up the power, and he doesn't want anyone voting on the power. As I've posted before, I think a strong mayor is important. But not this strong. Whatever the faults of legislative government, the common council needs to be more than it is now. I hope the ballot initiative gets on the ticket this fall, but i'm not going to hold my breath.
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At 8:43 AM , Blogger democracyinalbany said:

i think the word arrogance is better than bravado but that is neither here nor there.

Don't you find an issue with the fact that the common council had a majority position on an idea that was going to be supported by a petition signed by the people of Albany and the Mayor bypassed that? We elect the common council don't we? Doesn't that seem even vaguely unlike a functioning democracy to you? Lots of people in total control have bravado. It sort of comes with the terrority.    



At 8:57 AM , Blogger Matt said:

Oh, don't read me wrong. This is a total power play by the mayor, and i'm not happy about it. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. I should probably edit my post to reflect that. My point in the post was that this guy is not going to relinquish anything wihtout a major fight.    



At 9:18 AM , Blogger democracyinalbany said:

ok. I agree. He could've played this differently but he decided to go to war.

that said, I think he may have just played right into the hands of the people asking for revision. The revisions were really minor. And now it is clear that Jennings sees himself as the only one with any say in how Albany was run. Which, I'm sure, was probably part of their intention.    



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