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A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.

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August 11, 2017

The 2017 City Of Albany Mayoral Election

A thorough and scathing explanation why incumbent
Kathy Sheehan should be reelected

Now, before we start, I want to make it very clear that everything I am about to say in this article is solely and completely my own opinion.  I’m not going to try to be unbiased like the local Corporate Media outlets pretend to be.  I’m going to tell you what I think and if you don’t like it too bad.

The Democratic Primary, the real political contest in the City of Albany, will take place Tuesday September 12.  On the ballot we will have a three-way race for mayor, between the incumbent Kathy Sheehan, Common Council member Frank Commisso Junior, and Common Council president Carolyn McLaughlin.  I’m going to do my best to explain why I think that Kathy Sheehan should be reelected as mayor, and why I think voting for either of her opponents is a bad idea.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan (center) With Frank Commisso, Jr. And Carolyn McLaughlin
Mayor Kathy Sheehan (center) With Frank Commisso, Jr. And Carolyn McLaughlin

I strongly suspect that a vote for Frank Commisso Jr. is a vote for the return of the old political machine that went out the doors of City Hall with the ascension of Kathy Sheehan in 2014.  An upset victory by him would mean that the 15th ward political machine run by the candidate’s father, Frank Commisso Senior, would take control of the entire City.  That would amount to the return of something very much like the old discredited regime of Jerry Jennings in a new and revived form which would result in the effective annulment of the economic revival that we are beginning to see in our community.  

As for Carolyn McLaughlin, you don’t need psychic abilities to see that she has little to no chance of winning.  So why is she running?  Perhaps she is trying to draw votes away from Ms. Sheehan so as to help Mr. Commisso Junior win.  Perhaps there is something else that she expects to gain from this quixotic run.  I could speculate more about her motives but I won’t.  So now let’s talk about the incumbent.

Kathy Sheehan Announcing Her Reelection Campaign Earlier This Year
Kathy Sheehan Announcing Her Reelection Campaign
Earlier This Year

Mayor of Albany Kathy Sheehan, who was sworn in January 2014, is finishing up her first term.  She inherited a City from her 20 year predecessor Jerry Jennings that was in ruins both structurally and financially.  She made no attempt to hide this fact during her campaign four years ago.  In her inaugural address, as I’ve pointed out before, she declared:

As we begin 2014, our structural deficit stands at more than $16 million and our rainy day fund will be depleted by the end of the year. Vacant, blighted and abandoned buildings mar far too many of our once vibrant, diverse and historic neighborhoods. One in four of our residents live at or below the poverty level, and many more struggle to support their families. And property taxes are so high that many families and businesses simply cannot afford to locate here. 

Although she went on to enumerate what she saw as the strengths of the City, she was promising no miracles or quick fixes.  Rather she was promising to expose latent problems that had been hidden in some cases for many decades and to tackle these problems. During her one term Ms. Sheehan has had an impressive list of notable successes, but of course along with those successes has come some setbacks and stumbles.  Let’s take a look.

The City Budget.  Over all I count her handling of the horrible financial mess left by her predecessor a success, albeit an incomplete one.  Since the first half of the 20th Century the mayors of Albany have wielded control of the City by keeping the budget mostly secret, concealing most revenue and expense data and only revealing totals in the actual annual budget.  Much of this data was even concealed from Ms. Sheehan when she was the City Treasurer. 

This kept anyone who might oppose past mayors from analyzing and thus criticizing financial movements.  It also effectively concealed corruption.  How much corruption was there under Jerry Jennings and his predecessors?  We can only guess, but we do know that a lot of cash routinely disappeared into the general fund and was never precisely accounted for.

All of this concealment and procedural obstacles had the effect of slowly grinding down the City itself, discouraging economic growth and driving out beneficial businesses.  It was an open secret that if you wanted to do business in Albany you had to go to the mayor and offer him something, in return he would give you a generous tax break and not throw any obstacles your way.  If you didn’t go to him he would use everything from code enforcement to tax assessment to parking regulations to run your project into the ground.

Former Mayor Jerry Jennings At Kathy Sheehan’s Inauguration, 2014
Former Mayor Jerry Jennings At
Kathy Sheehan’s Inauguration, 2014

This is how the old political machine operated, for these old boy politicians the community and the citizens were merely cows to be milked for their benefit.  Perhaps in the first half of the 20th Century the machine benefitted the people, but by the last decades it had become an exclusive club that fought any changes or progress that might upset their kleptocracy.  As soon as Ms. Sheehan stepped into the mayor’s office most of the remaining old boy machine rats fled the City government (but as it turned out, not all of them immediately.)

Much of Ms. Sheehan’s policies have revolved around her handling of the budget.  She understood the financial problems were enormous before she took the oath of office, but based on some of her statements during her time as mayor I think she found the financial problems even worse than she expected.  Every year, particular the first, she seemed to be cobbling together a budget based on desperation and hope.

Her basic challenge, and this is why I call her handling of the finances a success, is that at no point has she tried to impose general austerity as a solution to balancing the books.  She has convincingly demonstrated that she strongly believes that the services provided to the citizens by the City come first and cannot be eliminated.  At the same time she has also forged ahead with making physical and structural improvements that are needed to permanently put the City on a sound financial basis.

If putting together annual budgets that depend upon a song and a dance has prevented the elimination of City services then I’m more than willing to accept.  Austerity is nothing more than a cover for corruption, any politician who promotes cutting services and selling off public assets is simply looking for ways to funnel taxpayer money into dirty pockets.  By this alone we can see that the Sheehan administration has broken decisively with the kleptocratic administrations of the past.


Modern Technology And Communication.  Her predecessor Jerry Jennings did not believe in computers, but for him avoiding computers was much more than an aversion to technology.  Under his (and earlier) administrations every City department existed within it’s own silo and could not easily communicate with other departments.  Almost all information sharing between departments had to go through the mayor’s office, this way the mayor could keep City employees isolated and under control. And of course this information needed to be kept from the public.

Ms. Sheehan has opened up communications between departments to an unprecedented degree, but essential to that is modernizing the computer systems.  This has turned out to be a more daunting and expensive task than one might imagine, simply transferring data from old green screen monitors with C-prompts and from outmoded paper records is time consuming and full of obstacles.  It was one thing modernizing the Treasurer’s office during her two terms there, but to wrangle the mass of data across a City government that has been in business since the 1600s is not going to happen inside of one term.

The mayor’s City budgets are more transparent than the budgets of her predecessors, but they could be much more detailed and explanatory.  If the mass of City information can be easily managed with modern technology then City employees and also the public will be able to clearly see financial transactions.  For this reason she has put technological modernization as a budget priority, without modernization these budget problems will persist.

Planning Director Chris Spencer With Kathy Sheehan
Planning Director Chris Spencer With Kathy Sheehan

Zoning Reform.  Back in the 1990s I wrote articles about how the City routinely approved sprawl “developments” in the Pine Bush in the western part of the City but actively suppressed businesses and discouraged renovation of residences in the older downtown parts of Albany.  At the time I was told by officials that “the law” dictated that each business needs to provide parking spaces, residences and businesses should be in totally separate neighborhoods, density had to be eliminated, etc.  In other words, the zoning laws dictated that the City ought to be a suburb.

Ms. Sheehan launched a massive effort to overhaul the zoning code, bringing in a competent expert to oversee the project.  The idea has been to give each neighborhood in the City the rules that each wants, while at the same time making it easier for developers to rebuild and maintain the urban environment.  The public has been repeatedly invited to add input, although admittedly for most people zoning has proven to be one of those issues that make you want to snore.

One exception has been a contentious battle over a requirement that new developers provide affordable housing units, the very real fear being that gentrification will eventually disenfranchise a large segment of the community.  Originally the mayor was cool to the idea because she felt that at this point in time it would be counterproductive to discourage developers, but in characteristic manner she compromised on the issue when presented with an organized community demand.  In any case the zoning code is not set in stone, there is provision for revision as we go along.

Rapp Road “Landfill”: Pride Of The 15th Ward
Rapp Road “Landfill”: Pride Of The 15th Ward

Garbage.  The mayor inherited a decree that the Rapp Road “Landfill” will be closed on January 1, 2022 no ifs ands or buts, and she has made it clear that she has no intention of attempting to go around this agreement and expanding the dump further into the Pine Bush like her predecessor did repeatedly.  Of course, in a City where most everybody is used to putting their trash on the curb where it magically disappears this has created a crisis.  What will we do with our garbage now that the dump is closing?

Supposedly the Rapp Road dump makes revenue for the City by importing garbage and toxic waste from far away.  When she was the City Treasurer Ms. Sheehan strongly indicated that she understood that the dump made less money than her predecessor claimed and may even be losing money.  But since her election she has pulled back from a full accounting of dump revenues, this is one of those financial areas that needs to become more transparent. 

Her initial solution has been a major stumble that has proven politically disastrous, the result of accepting advice from her chief of staff who has since been moved out of her administration.  The much hated Garbage Tax, which in effect is a duplicate tax for the same service, discriminates heavily against the owners of older two family houses downtown while exempting more well-heeled one family houses uptown from paying the tax.  That the mayor herself lives in one of these exempted houses does not help.

I will not repeat what some of my fellow small-time landlords have said about her and her Garbage Tax except to say that most of it is angry and quite misogynistic.  Her opponents on the ballot have naturally seized on this issue, but very notably neither of them has offered any alternative solutions, just criticism.  I suspect that she understands full well that she needs to retrench and come up with a better way to finance garbage disposal, but I also suspect that solution will be after the election, assuming she retains her office.  

But Ms. Sheehan does deserve credit for tackling the garbage crisis that she has inherited.  Neither of her opponents have ever said one word about how to deal with Albany’s garbage crisis in this campaign except to complain about the garbage tax.  Unlike Ms. Sheehan, neither has shown any concern for the effect the Rapp Road dump has had upon the Pine Bush ecosystem, which is now considered a major tourist asset for the City of Albany.

And I must point out that neither Frank Commisso, Junior or Senior, have ever objected to the growing mountain of garbage and imported crap that sits literally in their own back yards in the 15th ward, encroaching upon their constituents and choking them with stink.  Why is that?  Nor has either Commisso ever shown the slightest even passing support for Pine Bush preservation or for any other environmental matters, nor has Ms. McLaughlin.

Downtown Albany, August 2014
Downtown Albany, August 2014

The Sewer And Storm Drain Crisis.  Another horrible and expensive problem inherited from her predecessor.  In 20 years Jennings didn’t do a damn thing to address the disintegrating drainage system in this City, except to install check valves on the sewer lines of few dozen houses uptown, and from what I hear they don’t work all that well.  And now the problem is out of control.  

The biggest sewer line runs the length of downtown, it is combined with several storm drains that periodically empty raw sewage straight into the Hudson River along the South End waterfront. Several times recently these drains have backed up and flooded the streets from downtown all the way up past Washington Lake.  Part of this line collapsed 25 years ago during the reign of Jennings’ predecessor and has remained unrepaired, this is how badly Jennings ignored this crisis.  But to be fair this drainage problem was also ignored by regional planners, by elected officials and by State regulators until a few years ago.

So now Ms. Sheehan is expected to wave her arms and magically fix this infrastructure problem which will cost well over a billion dollars to make right.  She hasn’t done that, but she has cooperated enthusiastically with a State-sponsored regional plan to address the sewer problem, for I will say it’s about damn time the people in power deigned to notice this crisis beneath our feet.  Meanwhile she has brought in some very competent expertise into the water department, and work has been done to divert as much flow off of this line as possible to forestall any further flooding.  I think that so far she’s done about all that is humanly possible while we wait for the regional planning to bear results.

Kathy Sheehan Announcing The Retirement Of Police Chief Brendan Cox, At Right
Kathy Sheehan Announcing The Retirement Of Police Chief Brendan Cox, At Right

Police And Fire.  In 2010 the Police Department rebelled against the Jennings administration, it seems the management of the department was sick of being a drag on the City and of being little more than a political tool.  Against his will the Police Department started initiating community policing and actually began responding to calls for help from City residents.  Jennings grudgingly went along with this, but in contrast Ms. Sheehan has been very supportive of these programs, and during her administration the Albany PD has become a designated national model for police reform.

As for the Fire Department, the firefighters had been given a pile of boondoggles by Jennings, including permanent overtime for any firefighter assigned to one particular ladder truck  When Ms. Sheehan tried to eliminate this enormous waste of money, the firefighters rebelled by lying to the community that she was trying to shut down firehouses, which caused a furor in the community.  Eventually she worked out a compromise with them and managed to secure a contract with the union.  

To my amazement, she had no hard feelings about the matter, no grudges.  But last I heard the firefighters, only about a quarter of whom live in the City of Albany, are opposing her reelection and supporting Frank Jr., which doesn’t amaze me at all.  They campaigned heavily for Jerry Jennings for his first term in the early 1990s and were lavishly rewarded, we shall see how much influence they have this time around, particularly after lying to everybody like that.

Kathy Sheehan Speaking In My Neighborhood On ML King Day, 2016
Kathy Sheehan Speaking In My Neighborhood On ML King Day, 2016

Code Enforcement.  One of the boondoggles that Jennings gave to the Fire Department was code enforcement, firefighters were given an extra stipend to inspect rental properties and issue Certificates of Occupancy.  Since the firefighters had little knowledge of building construction their only interest was in fire safety, clear exits and smoke alarms etc., so during this time we saw a slow and steady decline with viable housing stock.   

Finally during Jennings’ last term we saw the Building Department completely collapse as the building inspectors took over the rental unit inspection job again from the FD.  There were other reasons for this collapse, lack of coherent information about City properties in what passed for their database being chief among them.  Meanwhile the firefighters demanded that Ms. Sheehan still provide inspection stipends even though they were no longer doing building inspections.

The Building Department is still in rough shape, but during Ms. Sheehan’s term there have been strong signs of improvement.  When I go to the Building Department the staff is not only helpful, they are, for the most part, friendly (although they are still hard to raise on the phone.)  Gone are the days when the personnel treated the public like we were intruders that had to be defeated.  And finally after all these years, thanks to Ms. Sheehan’s persistence, we now have a working database of City properties.

Kathy Sheehan Announcing Her First Mayoral Campaign In Washington Park, March 2013
Kathy Sheehan Announcing Her First Mayoral Campaign In Washington Park, March 2013

Housing And Development.  The wave of renovations in and around my neighborhood this summer seems to indicate that the vacant building crisis that has existed since Erastus Corning III was mayor and steadily gotten worse under Jennings is finally ending.  Partly this is because people are moving back into the City and are demanding housing.   But a big factor is that people have finally discovered that renovating existing housing stock in downtown neighborhoods can not only provide reasonably priced housing for one’s self, it can also be a lucrative business opportunity.

Of course this sort of thing is happening only because the Sheehan administration is working toward allowing the vacant houses to be renovated without unnecessary difficulties.  And people now want to move here because they know that the police department will respond if there is a call for help.  The former administration fought efforts to renovate vacant houses, why they did that deserves a separate rant that I will refrain from here.  Suffice to say I saw how Jerry and his minions stifled renovation, and I see how it has flourished this year.

We have also seen a tremendous upsurge of housing starts in downtown Albany, developers have become interested as they come to realize that they no longer have to have a private meeting with the mayor and offer a little something in order to do business.  Oh, and let’s not forget that she eliminated that boondoggle cash funneling scheme called The Convention Center by an interesting and unexpected method: she finally got the damn thing built.

Kathy Sheehan In My Neighborhood On ML King Day, 2016
Kathy Sheehan In My Neighborhood On ML King Day, 2016

Taxes.  I’ve already mentioned the misguided garbage tax.  But that is a minor sideshow to the main problem, the ridiculously high property taxes and the inequitable assessments that accompany them.  Ms. Sheehan has held the line on straightforward property tax increases, keeping them small.

But she has raised property taxes indirectly.  She conducted the first reassessment in many years, always a politically risky thing to do that has indeed meant that many property owners have seen increases in their tax bills.  And her effort to equalize property and business taxes, which made little sense to most people but looks perfectly reasonable to an accountant, also resulted in higher taxes for many households.  This too was politically risky.

However, speaking as an owner of multiple properties in the City, I can say that the increases because of these two measures have been annoying but not overwhelming.  Both were necessary but both were one time things.  I don’t like tax increases any more than the next poor fool, but under the current administration I’ve felt confident that my taxes are mostly being used to make the City work rather than line somebody’s pocket.

Meanwhile Ms. Sheehan has made a tremendous effort to get nonprofit institutions, with which the City of Albany is riddled, to voluntarily cough up PILOTS (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, perhaps the only place anyone will ever use the word “lieu.”)  And it is well known how she successfully managed with great effort to get the State of New York, which by itself owns some 30% of the property within the City, to cough up money to partially compensate for their free ride on property taxes and for using our services.

Kathy Sheehan With Willie White At The Groundbreaking For The New Steps In Front Of The Lincoln Park Poolhouse, 2015
Kathy Sheehan With Willie White At The Groundbreaking For The New Steps In Front Of The Lincoln Park Poolhouse, 2015

Miscellaneous.  The redlight cameras were supposed to bring in revenue for the City but they have barely broken even, clearly the only way they could make money would be to misuse them as traps, but we haven’t seen that.  There have been some excellent renovations to the waterfront and to public parks.  As part of the emphasis on neighborhoods we have seen slow but steady progress in promoting bicycling, the creation of bike lanes as part of the Madison Avenue rebuilding stands out as does the refigured bike trail along the waterfront.

The mayor has lent strong support to the effort to curb the dangerous oil trains, she has been very supportive of the growing Muslim community, and has declared Albany a Sanctuary City for immigrants in defiance of the dangerously insane administration in the White House. We saw her speak at the Earth Day Science March.  And it goes without saying that she is very supportive of the LGBT community.

In Conclusion.  The administration of Kathy Sheehan has been presiding over a tremendous economic upswing that has not been seen in the City of Albany since the middle of the 20th Century.  Our population is growing rapidly, businesses are locating here, there are jobs and economic opportunities to be found.  One of the big problems she is grappling with is that are not enough apartments for all the people who are clamoring to locate here.

While much of this growing economy is the result of a convergence of forces that originate before her time in office as mayor, unquestionably she has managed those forces well so as to bring good results for the community.  Under less skillful management we could all too easily become just another shrinking upstate City barely holding the line.  

Kathy Sheehan
Kathy Sheehan

In Kathy Sheehan we have a talented manager as mayor, something that has become increasingly rare in politics. While there’s been a few instances of the appearance of impropriety, her close association with the Palace Theater while it was negotiating with the City comes to mind, such incidences have amounted to little more than that, appearance. Her political opponents have cherry picked a few things of this sort and tried to turn them into an issue, but all together they add up to very little.

In the interest of making the City government efficient her administration has not been in a position to be corrupt, and it shows across the board.  Considering the levels of corruption in the past, It admittedly isn’t much to say that her administration is by far the cleanest in living memory, but from what I know of this City’s history it may be the cleanest ever.  We would be a foolish electorate give that up.

Frank Commisso Junior
Frank Commisso Junior

Now let’s consider Frank Commisso Junior.  I have no doubt that despite his youth Mr. Commisso is competent and perfectly capable of running the City of Albany.  Like Andrew Cuomo he learned the art of politics and public management at the dinner table from his father, this is no small thing.  During his two terms in the Common Council he has proven to be a leading voice among his colleagues, calling for fiscal responsibility and accountability.

Mr. Commisso’s slogan is “We Can Do Better.”  But I’m not too sure about that.  His campaign website has called for more efficiency, support local businesses, more financial transparency, “combatting blight,” and better delivery of City services.  And yet we have seen all of these things improve tremendously under the Sheehan administration.  Can he really do better than she has, does he have the decades of managerial experience that she has?

One thing bothers me and makes me uneasy.  Right at the top of his online campaign promises and goals, he declares, “During Frank’s first term as mayor, the property tax levy will be reduced by $1 million over four years.”  

That’s quite some promise.  Exactly what does that mean?  Does that mean MY property tax bills will be reduced?  Or does that mean SOME or certain property owners will see reductions? Does that mean other kinds of taxes will have to rise?  If, as he himself has repeatedly pointed out, the finances of the City are in tough shape, how is a tax reduction going to happen?  After Ms. Sheehan’s improvements in efficiency and her spending decrease of 2% in the 2017 budget, what massive changes will Mr. Commisso Junior make to gather together this one million in savings promised exclusively to property owners?

Assuming that he is serious about this promise, the answer can only be that he will impose austerity, the wholesale cutting of City services and the selling off of public assets.  Based on statements I’ve heard from him in the past, this is a real possibility, the media calls him a “fiscal conservative.”  But even though he may be sincere and really believes that he can reduce everybody’s property tax bills, I think we can be sure this is a promise he simply will not be able to keep if he becomes mayor.

Frank Commisso Senior
Frank Commisso Senior

And finally, as I mentioned earlier, with Frank Commisso Junior we will also be getting Frank Commisso Senior.  The son has not proven to be independent of the father, note Frank Junior currently has a good paying County job, the sphere where his father reigns supreme.  We have to ask ourselves, do we want the boss of the 15th ward, who is also the most powerful figure in County government, to stand over the City of Albany?

Carolyn McLaughlin On Alexander Street In The South End, Then Treasurer Sheehan Listens, 2012
Carolyn McLaughlin On Alexander Street In The South End, Then Treasurer Sheehan Listens, 2012

So let’s talk about Carolyn McLaughlin.  She is an experienced politician who is intimate with the prevailing local political landscape and knows how to run an effective  campaign.  Most everyone agrees that she has done a splendid job of presiding over the Common Council.  And sometimes she gives some great rousing speeches. 

But I seriously don’t think she has what it takes to effectively run the City of Albany.  She could handle the day to day stuff and keep things moving.  Which is a good thing, because in her capacity as Common Council president, she is the vice mayor of the City.  If the mayor drops dead or gets convicted of peddling heroin she would immediately be sworn in as mayor until the next election.

What I don’t see Ms. McLaughlin doing is making the necessary and innovative changes that will solve the City’s problems.  I’ve known her a long time and have watched her a lot, for many years she was a Common Council representative in the South End, of the neighborhoods next to mine. Her political acumen is impressive, she knows how to hold office and play the games.

But political acumen does not translate into effective leadership.  The South End has been long neglected by the City and has serious problems, but I have not seen Ms. McLaughlin make waves and confront those problems head on.  What this part of town has always needed is a leader who is willing to confront the prevailing powers and demand improvements.  Unfortunately, I have never seen her step up and be that leader, and I don’t think she will start to be that leader if by some fluke she becomes mayor.  

Meanwhile, One has to wonder why Ms. McLaughlin is running a campaign that she almost certainly can’t win.  I seriously doubt she would make all this effort if she did not have a specific reason. It’s very likely (to me) that she would want to help the incumbent lose, but she is not the sort of person who would waste her own time and resources if she didn’t expect something tangible in return for her effort.

The Blogger, Mayor Sheehan And The Wife, Juneteenth Celebration, Lincoln Park 2017
The Blogger, Mayor Sheehan And The Wife, Juneteenth Celebration, Lincoln Park 2017

So if you are registered as a Democrat and live in the City of Albany you can vote for the next mayor, this is the real election that decides who will be in charge for the next four years.  The winner will face the Green Party candidate, which itself is having a Primary, and the Socialist Worker’s Party candidate.  So far the extreme radical right-wing Republican Party has not bothered to announce a candidate.  So vote in September if you can, this is your chance to help determine the future of your own community.


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If you are having difficulties posting a comment, please email Daniel Van Riper. We are experimenting with our spam filters, and we do not want to exclude any legitimate commenters, just spammers!

Posted by:Roger Green
Posted on:08/13/2017
I'll be sure to refer to this when I defend allowing a Sheehan sign to be put in my yard this past week.

Posted by:Paul Stewart
Posted on:08/13/2017
Thank you for this compendium of facts about the election. Your observations are appreciated.

Posted by:Mark Gerling
Posted on:08/16/2017
I appreciate, & mostly agree with your assessments! However, as for the "red light cameras", Mayor Sheehan, has from the very beginning, maintained that the first priority was public safety! I believe the data shows improvement in that area. Otherwise, spot on!!!

Posted by:GAH
Posted on:09/17/2017
I'm relieved that Mayor Sheehan won her primary.

Posted by:Michael Kalin
Posted on:09/18/2017
Our parkland (South Allen Street) was "improved" by selling it to a developer below value followed by construction thereon of two oversized henhouses subsidized by a PILOT for profit. Jennings did the former but the latter was all Kathy's work, who declared our census tract a "highly distressed area" for the sake of a half million dollar handout to the builder. What she did not disclose was how a single job paying $35K will alleviate the grinding poverty that afflicts our census tract (including the east side of Marion Avenue).

Last week a city representative reviewed for the second time the stagnant water problem created by the developer's alteration of the drainage pattern. Unfortunately, he still works for the wrong department and left after furnishing a list of phone numbers. No word on the unplanted row of firs to screen the harsh apartment lights or the dedication of the replacement parkland that does not appear on the high tech assessment map.

There is more, such as the failure to send the required notice to the rezoning hearing, but enough said already -- Kathy is a boon to developers, detrimental to neighborhoods.

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