Reprinted from the Times Union
Retiring councilman endorses newcomer
Calsolaro called "conscience" for his Albany colleagues
By Jordan Carleo-Evangelist
Hearst Times Union
Updated 9:49 pm, Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Retiring-councilman-endorses-newcomer-4385351.php#ixzz2P809q6Dy
Three-term Democratic Councilman Dominick Calsolaro, for years the face of opposition to City Hall, threw his support behind political newcomer Dorcey Applyrs on Tuesday after announcing he won't seek another term this fall.
Applyrs, 31, is a doctoral student in public health at the University at Albany and former director of programs for the Capital District African American Coalition on AIDS.
Calsolaro, 57, has represented the neighborhoods on the city's southeastern border with Bethlehem since 2002 and became one of Mayor Jerry Jennings' most passionate and colorful critics. "I don't believe in term limits, but I do believe that some elected positions are not meant to be lifetime appointments," he said in front of Hoffman Park, the redevelopment of which — with The College of Saint Rose — he said was a landmark event of his tenure.
He and Jennings have battled politically over the city's finances, its management of the Rapp Road landfill, the future of the environmentally frail Pine Bush, the city's willingness to talk frankly about gun violence and the legality of backyard chickens.
Despite that, even one of Jennings' close allies, city Recreation Commissioner John D'Antonio, paid tribute to Calsolaro. "Dominick truly gave his heart in this job," D'Antonio said. "Dominick always put politics aside, and he really put the people here in the 1st Ward first."
Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin called him the "conscience" of the Common Council, while city Treasurer Kathy Sheehan noted that no corner of city government was immune from Calsolaro's sometimes animated scrutiny.
"Dominick made everybody in City Hall work harder," she said, "and Albany is better for it."
While Calsolaro has considered stepping down for some time, his progressive allies in the city's Democratic Party have been hesitant to lose his voice without a candidate they felt could replace him.
Calsolaro is a charter member of the council's current progressive faction, which has gained strength and forced Jennings to wield his veto powers repeatedly over the last three years — the first coming in a 2010 budget fight over Public Bath No. 2 in the South End.
But Calsolaro cautioned that the 1st Ward's reputation for independence dates back two decades to his predecessor, Councilwoman Carol Wallace.
The 1st Ward is one of the two new wards in which minority voters now constitute a voting-age majority, bringing the total to six of 15 wards.
Applyrs is a native of Washington, who moved to Albany after graduating from college.
"Albany has invested in me, and now it's time for me to invest in Albany," she said.
She may face a challenge from Scott Mannarino, the candidate Jennings and the city's Democratic Committee backed against Calsolaro in 2009 and who is said to be planning to reprise his run this year. But 1st Ward Democratic Leader Regina Goodbee said she has yet to hear from Mannarino. She said a third potential candidate has approached her.
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