Albany in QoL Freefall

I have some Saturday shopping “habits” that all end in the same way, with me leaping from the CDTA bus, with a wave to the driver and ducking under the untrimmed branches that slap me in the face at Washington and Dove. What has always been neatly groomed vegetation, is getting out of hand…this week myself, and everyone else I’ve observed, have had to bend in half to get down the sidewalk at this busy corner and in very many walk/driveways throughout the community.

I noticed this progressive element of Urban Decline while enjoying my rides on CDTA as they crash into sagging tree limbs on all the major routes. The low hanging branches drag along the top of the buses…I don’t know if CDTA has complained to the City but I sure would! So, what, you ask? Well this is so what, a noticeable lack of care for urban vegetation is a dangerous sign of urban decline. While those who are not pedestrians and don’t use public transportation may think this isn’t affecting them, think again.

If the buses are now being beat up and the branches continue to hang low….when is this disrepair going to affect our emergency services? My prediction, it won’t be long. Oh, and if you aren’t worried about the delivery of emergency services perhaps you’ll have an ounce of empathy when you see the folks from the NE Association of the Blind as they are learning to navigate the community and getting smacked in the face with branches. (Yup, it’s happening!)

As you will see from the chart below, we are not in the beginning stages of decline, we are well on our way in Albany towards becoming the next Flint, Michigan.

 

·         Political decisions– governments can favor some areas over others, and encourage the development of some areas over others.

 

·         Another cause is the outmigration of wealthier and more skilled people leaves a lesser qualified population. This removes people who are better off economically, leaving the area to those who are usually poorer, which contributes to higher unemployment rates, a characteristic of urban decay.

 

·         Decline in Quality of housing stock- The old pre-war buildings get worse because of poor maintenance because the owners are unwilling to spend money on maintenance or because the tenants cannot afford to spend money on maintenance. The stock can also decline in quality if population densities become too high.

 

·         There was a lack of urban planning in the past. Things such as narrow streets cause traffic congestion and can force people and investment away.

 

·         The loss of industry through changing market conditions or a lack of/withdrawal of government support. As with many American cities, many of the manufacturing industries were located in the North and outsourcing of many industries to low wage Asian countries has decimated those industries. This situation has also encouraged a migration to warmer climates in the South.

 

·         The concentration of low income groups in certain areas of a city can lead to urban decay because of poverty. The residents in certain areas of the City are often low-income group (or new immigrants) who reside there for easy access to work. This carries with it social issues. Indeed, high levels of poverty can result in higher drug use and increase the level of crime, which contributes to urban decay. When crime levels go up, property prices decrease, leading to higher levels of building disrepair and eventual abandonment

 

·         Racism and a lack of ethnic integration. Historically, African-Americans might be declined jobs and loans, both of which would help their economic status as well as the health of their neighborhoods. Discrimination can therefore promote unemployment, which in turn promotes poverty, street gangs and illegal drug-trafficking activities and other crimes.

 

I had planned on uploading pictures of Albany showing trashy sidewalks, overflowing trashcans, crumbling steps on historic buildings, street people living on stoops, dog poop bags piling up in urban gardens, drug dealing in the streets and on the busses, my recent increase in Central Ave hookers and so many other things…but I’m just so damn tired of it…I’m tired of bitching about it and finding that the priorities of the City are more aligned with award ceremony than dealing with the obvious.

Besides, if you open your eyes, you will see the same thing.

NIMBY In Prog Utopia

I would like to thank Jordan Carleo Evangilist for my Wednesday afternoon smile!! Here it is!! I learned about this last week and I couldn’t wait to read it….Jordie never disappoints.

So, this lobby firm, purchased this cute little house…nearly across the street from my Councilman, Richard Conti. It happens that this house is smack dab in the middle of a tight knit community…nearly all of them “progressive” and “well to do.” Now, for some reason….that community decided they didn’t want a lobby firm existing there or the lobbyist living there…so, they caused problems for him.

Enter, stage left, with a vacant residence purchased for over $400K, the owner decided to put it to good use and turn it into an alcohol rehab residence....ya know, for recovering alcoholics. (Keyword = recovering.) The neighbors, with Conti waving silently in the background while pulling strings with his buddy….Chair of the BZA, Richard Berkley. (I swear I saw Berkley’s name in the online article….but it’s gone now…what’s up with that Jordie??) Oh, and there’s no mention of this…Mr. Conti’s frequently seen protégé and friend, Richard Berkley, is also on the ReZone Albany Committee…which would trump any BZA decision. (Oh, and that Committee is filled with all those “oh so altruistic” progs and friends of the Councilman Conti…my representative.)

(Here’s the ReZone Tech report that was posted on 6/5)

Now, in case anyone is wondering, I also live in this R-2C district which is supposed to include only one and two family residential row houses. Now, I don’t live in this type of dwelling…and the majority of my neighbors don’t live in this type of dwelling. As a matter of fact, I live amongst a dozen or so commercial interests…none of which are on the zoning map. Not only that, I have many apartment buildings, a flop house, low income housing, a food pantry, a college, law offices, stores, lobby firms and a liquor store…none of which required special zoning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why?

Read more: NIMBY In Prog Utopia

Where in the World is Councilman Robinson?

I rid myself from television when the FCC flipped the analogue switch back in 2009….yeah, I’m a stubborn type! Anyway, I’m hearing that Mr. Robinson, the felon turned Councilman in Albany’s West Hill, has been ubiquitously vocal on every single shooting in his hood. And, my friends, sadly….there have been too many.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Robinson, until recently, had been known as known as, not a councilman, but the “neighborhood nemesis. “ Robinson has been preaching, as he is buying up abandoned buildings in the West Hill hood he represents, that he and his brothers are no longer the notorious Robinson family but a group of community activists.

Heck, Obar the Giant Robinson, who likes to tease me for my comments on this blog (I hope that’s teasing!!) even plans on running for office himself. Now, I’ve only lived in the Albany proper since 2006, so I wasn’t around for the Robinson’s reign, but I do have quite a talent for google. What I found is disturbing.

Read more: Where in the World is Councilman Robinson?

Dana Park Concert Line-up Announced!

Check out this line-up! And right here in my hood....this concert series is topping the Alive at Five series by a mile!

 

From Aurora:

– The Aurora Foundation of NorthEast Inc., partnered with Out There Entertainment, is proud to announce that the sixth annual Dana Park Concert Series will bring eight nights of live music and a handful of local vendors to the Lark Street neighborhood.

The Monday night concert series kicks off on July 13, at the historic pocket park at the intersection of Lark Street and Madison Avenue. The initial show begins at 5:30 p.m. and the main attraction will perform from 7-9 p.m.

Read more: Dana Park Concert Line-up Announced!

Common Council Gets Busy...well, not so much

Tonight I am with the Albany Common Council meeting...hey, I told you I was coming out of semi-retirement. Apparently absence makes the hearrt grow fonder.I've been hit by many tips...some more exciting than others but all fun. This evening will be a short one at City Hall, but I think one of the most interesting discussion was had in the caucus room.

With all the Council members toting and grumbling about their new iPads. Seems they need a new system to synch up their emails and files. Ya know, the ones that have been sent via email forever. My Councilman, Richard Conti, hadn't even opened his yet...he calls "opening' "getting familiar with." Ms. Golby doesn't plan to use hers much and prefers the email so that she can access documents easier. The others all seemed to growl at their ability to access the iPad system.

Hmmm...I don't know how much iPads cost but we have 15 seats and several support staff along with the Prez. So, here ya go, the Council has money for the St. Paddy's Parade and iPads all around.....but nothing for Juneteenth. (I've typed all this while Ms. McLaughlin has been orating about Henry Johnson.)

The first speaker, an old die-hard public commenter has a comment de jour...he wants an intervention re: a demolition. Okay...I'm tunin' out. Apparently Ms. McLaughlin has lot track of the time this speaker has used as he just keeps going. (Of course, she was having a discussion Ms. Samel...returning to the mic with, I swear I heard, "what's he sayin?")

Finally, Vincent Rigosu takes to the microphone. He's the real pro commenter. He opens with "Since we're light on speakers, I'd like to speak for 15 minutes." That's my guy!! Rigosu is going on record tonight regarding medical marijuana. Rigosu doesn't want to inconvenience the marijuana distribution to be in the warehouse district. "If this dispenser is in the warehouse district, those with prescriptions will need to find their way to the warehouse district...filled with drinking and partying establishments and not close to the hospitals. It appears that "Mayor" Sheehan wants the medical marijuana dispensary in the warehouse district...why? You know, don't ask silly questions.

So, it appears the overlay for the rezoning of the warehouse district has been sent to committee...to be a discussion for another day. (Sure it is!) It appears as if some resolution just passed unanimously re: medical marijuana...oh my, I've been away too long....I'm not used to this stuff anymore.

Conti calls for a vote on the resolution commemorate the Pride Parade and the Black and Latino Pride Party...what is this....Gay Month? Oh yeah, and there's that Art on Lark thing...no commemoration needed their. Conti tells that it is indeed Gay Month as he salutes the Gay Flag hanging from the front of City Hall....and then, not to be outdone by Ms. McLaughlin's history lesson, Conti waxes poetic on the gay rights "revolution."


Mr. Conti points to his pride in the LGBT Group in his ward..."the oldest in the nation," he glows. Chew on this mumble-mouth...this historic group will not hire anyone who is not LGBT...in my world that would translate to discrimination. I was laughed at when I suggest that practice was discriminatory. (Funny, Conti is now mumblin about discrimination against "his kind.") Heck, what do you think would happen if General Electric refused to even interview someone if they were LGBT.

And, the remaining resolutions are on hold...we call it a night. Well, after that silly Commissioner of Deeds thing.

To all my Council friends, thanks for keeping the evenin moving (except for the two orators) I'll try to get back in the swing of things...and I love a well timed softball.

 

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