Update: Veteran's Lobby For Their Lives And Get A Win


Tonight I’m being hosted by the Albany County Legislature….along with a whole b unh of Veterans wh are supporting Mr. McCoy’s “Soldier On” project (which is rumored to be tabled as a slap at McCoy.) With over a hundred Vets, the Dems left the Chamber for a hurried caucus…probably trying to figure out how to get out of the building alive.


With the Dems in a super secret caucus in a Chamber void of the majority, the Vets rose and sang “God Bless America,” which didn’t draw the Dems out of hiding. (I’m looking for the back door exit.) Andrew Joyce is up first and, as a Veteran, states that he will be extremely disappointed in the Dems should this Soldier On project be tabled. Morse states that any thought about this body (ACL) was never opposed to Soldier On. Sign one that this will be tabled.


Domalewitz is up next and states that we’ve done enough talking, all the questions have been answered and we need to get the shovel in the Soldier On ground….rousing the already “roused” crowd. Gary calls for an emergency Finance meeting to get this project going. A guy from Soldier On is up next and he reminds folks that tonight’s vote is just to take the first step…this is not to approve housing for 172 housing units at the old Ann Lee home.


John Downing, president and CEO is up next and the crowd surrounding me silently walks to the front of the room. Downing says that, because there is no housing for Veterans in Albany, he is housing nearly 73 of Albany’s Veterans in Massachusetts. Downing states that the VA in Albany contacted Soldier On because they can’t even get emergency beds in Albany….Downing took in our Vets for us.


Ms. Lockhart asks how many homeless Vets there are in Albany County….Downing states the official count is 75, but there are actually 6 to 700. He notes also that a huge percentage of those that are not homeless are below the poverty level. And, the 37 Vets each take to the microphone….I want to give them all a home…I think I have enough room!


The first guy was an Army medic and alcoholic whose life was saved by Soldier On…which gave him hope for his future. (Morse takes note…”I gotta figure out how deliver that sincerity.”) The next speaker is a Marine….always. Mr. Kelly is next and he is from downstate NY and came to Albany for assistance….he needs the Soldier On project. The next Vet states, “it’s a long road to find help, and I showed up, and Soldier On, saved my life.”


The next Veteran is up, and he reminds the Legislature that the last time they came to ask for support for Soldier On, it was tabled. “If you look at how your Vets are being treated, it shameful, people are dying. If we had another World War, what would you do if we wouldn’t fight?” he asks in response to the Legislature inaction. “Our Vets are dying because of this government.”


I am saddened with every Veteran who states that they “respect the legislative process,” as if this is a legislative process and not a Majority political power play. I should point out here, there is money available to house these Veterans at Albany’s Soldier On…this wouldn’t cost our County a dime. 


Speaker points out that every day 22 Veterans commit suicide, a month’s delay means the life of many Veterans. The next speaker glows as he speaks about the programs that saved his life and asks that there is no more stalling because behind him, “there are thousands more.” One of the Soldier On Veterans is sobbing behind me as the others comfort him. A Veteran with a Yankees cap states that he is happy to live at Soldier On at Leeds. The next speaker emotionally states how Soldier On gave his life value. Tom is up next with four years in the US Navy, he is homeless…and the next Veteran makes a plea…and states “Go Red Socks!”


The next speaker is from Schenectady and he states that he ould be anywhere tonight but he is here in support of Soldier On and he prays that the County supports it. And with that, the Soldier On group leaves us in silence to make the long trek back to Massachusetts where our New York Veterans are living.


The next speaker is the Commander of the Watervliet VFW and points out that Ann Lee didn’t pick and choose who could seek respite at her house, it was a refuge and she knows that “Ann Lee is looking down on this Legislature to do the right thing.”

Read more: Update: Veteran's Lobby For Their Lives And Get A Win

And More Come Silently Down

Last week, the City of Albany came out with some some” great news” after the “tumbling down” of the “historic” structure at 162 Clinton Avenue. That news was, the County’s going to pay for the demolition…what  they didn’t tell you was to expect more buildings to come tumbling down….with not a peep from Historic Albany Foundation.

In what would be criticized as a Friday night “Jennings demo” in years past was not be categorized as a Sheehan Friday night demo. Over the weekend, there were at least three buildings, from what I’ve heard from eyewitnesses, removed from out Vacant Building List…the hard way. One was on Lexington, in Mark Robinson territory, one was on Emmet Street,  the street of Mayor Jennings youth, and a Third Street building which was owned by Mr. Robinson’s sister, Jackie.

Read more: And More Come Silently Down

Sheehan Shot Down By Common Counil

Seems all the drama involving for the Common Council happened in the caucus. I love having JCE back in the caucus room…that means I can chat it up with the sixteenth Common Councilmember, Vince Rigosu. Speaking of which, he is on the vacant building bandwagon. If you read Jordies’ column, you’ll discover that the Amateur Administration didn’t get their way with the appointment of a “Director of Buildings and Codes.” That resolution was safely tucked away in the Law Committee with Mr. Commisso holding the Sheehan reins.

The majority of the public comments tonight are in opposition to the red light cameras. Yes, even Marlon Anderson is speaking on that topic, and, as I like to say, “Occasionally even a blind squirrel finds a nut,” Anderson hit on a good point. Anderson notes, “in a world where every cell phone is pinging out your location, why are you worried about an invasion of your privacy, it’s being invaded every day.”

Not much offense intended public commenters, did that many of you attend the Conti School of Oration? (Can you say that CO is not being entertained?)

At 8:02, the work of The People got started and all those irate public oommenters went home to their televisions to live vicariously through American Idol….or some other work of brain cell deteriorating broadcast. Mr. Commisso announces the schedule for July 9th and, possibly, July 19th and Mr. Igoe will be holding a Law Committee meeting to take up the emotionally charged begging from Ms. Sheehan….read it over at JCE’s article at the TU.

Mr. Conti urges passage of his legislation which would “outlaw” smoking at bus shelters. Ms. Golby, as a bus rider who I’ve never seen on any of my bus routes, thanks Conti for ending smoking at bus shelters. I predict this ordinance will be just as enforceable as Mr. Conti’s aggressive pan handling legislation and Mr. Konev’s “smoking in the park” legislation.

With a unanimous vote….the Common Council rid the CDTA bus shelter of smokers. Alleluia!! Now I can all the police on all those folks at the Armory bus shelter bothering me with their smoke…I can think of no better way for the police to spend their time.

Another productive night for the Common Council.


And They All Came Tumbling Down

And now, the rest of the story.

On Monday night, “Mayor” Sheehan begged the Albany Common Council to let her appoint a Director of the Building and Codes Department….immediately. In her words, she was at the end of her rope. I believe that each and every council member believed that she was “at the end of her rope” because of the Clinton Avenue building that had cascaded down hill over the weekend leaving the Robinson family homeless.

Well, perhaps the neighborhood wasn’t her real concern. While it’s still in Ron Bailey’s ward, the next building to cascade into the densely populated Sheridan Hollow is, potentially, a lot more damaging than that wood structure on Clinton.

The newest “endangered” building is City Hall’s neighbor, One Columbia Place. This historic brick beauty sits in the shadow of both the Capital and City Hall, hovering over Sheridan Hollow and threatening the lives that live below it. The City has erected some pretty serious looking barricades around it and warned that no one should enter the building (which was “powered” when I discovered it.)

Now, this building may be perched over Sheridan Hollow and teetering on cascading into the hood below but this isn’t an abandoned wooden structure, this building is assessed at $727,000 and owned by an impressive sounding “Albany Empire Group.”  If, no, when this building crumbles into the sleepy Sheridan Hollow area, there’s going to be more than just embarrassment for “Mayor” Sheehan.

And, to make matters worse, this office building, with only a string of wobbly DGS barricades keeping it from cascading onto the citizens in the Hollow sits in the shadow of the Capitol building, within shouting distance from City Hall and right beside the County Parking Garage…..so everyone single one of those responsible for the well-being of the citizenry walk by the crumbling structure daily.

If Sheehan thought she was at the end of her rope when 162 Sheridan caused her embarrassment, that rope may turn into a noose when, not if, One Columbia Park tumbles down onto the residents of Sheridan Hollow.

And they all fell down!


Corner of brick wall that's about to topple.

























Warning that the building is about to tumble.

Albany's Idiocracy In Action


Seems quite a few folks were trying to get in touch with me over the Holiday weekend…too bad, so sad…Hey, I needed a couple of days off and I took ‘em! So, I hear another one of “my” vacant buildings came tumbling down.  You’ve seen the pictures on the rag’s website so I bet you can now join me in the absurdity that is Albany Idiocracy and the Historic Albany Foundation.

Hey, what’s amazing to me is the Times Union acted like a collapsed building in the middle of Arbor Hill was something unusual. There was no note of the many buildings that have been “demoed by neglect” as the Hysterics at HAF like to say.  Here’s a list of the time’s I’ve covered the demolition dance the folks at HAF like to have in front of the camera.

So, here’s how it went down. (No pun intended.)

The building that collapsed at 162 Clinton Avenue did so after being on the Vacant Building List since its inception.  I checked it out way back in 2007 and it was falling down then! I was, for many years, at every single Board of Zoning Appeals meeting and County Auction. Guess how many times I heard HAF advocating for this building….not once. Ya see, there no advocacy done by the Hysterics until a camera gets there attention…or a well-timed phone call draws their and the TU’s attention.

I’d like to say this wouldn’t happen if Jeff Jamison and Big Jerry were still around but it would have because they were dealing with the same crazies at HAF. The difference with this situation is that Ms. Sheehan’s campaign contributor list mirrors the HAF Board of Directors…the old guard didn’t need to worry about that….they owned nobody and, if they did, oh well, there’s more where that came from.  So, Team Jennings ridded the community of dangerous buildings when the crazies weren’t looking.

This is Clinton Avenue, if one building is falling down, the surrounding buildings are falling down. If the front isn’t falling down, the back is falling down….and you know who cares? Only the people who see the backs of the buildings….the neighbors and that  isn’t Historic Albany.

Seems like this would have been a great place for a Land Bank!

So, in another act of shooting themselves in the foot, the Amateur Administration that hold Albany’s Idiocracy to the high standards we’re growing used to, ran off Building Commissioner, Jeff Jamison,  Team Sheehan (read that Matt Peter), is set to install Carlo Figliomeni as “Commissioner.” Hmmm….unfortunately, that can’t happen because Carlo, as much as I like him, is not a citizen of Albany. So, it seems that on Monday night, the Council Clowns may be planning on removing the requirement of Commissioners being citizens of the City….or not.

I hear that it may well have been a snubbed Figliomeni who alerted the HAF crazies and the TU to the inevitable demolition. Could, he, who is listed as Chief Inspector, be the key to the most likely to collapse in Arbor Hill? I walked over to 162 Clinton Avenue on Sunday. While the TU took pictures a’plenty of the collapsed building, they didn’t deliver the real story…the entire neighborhood is collapsing.

As for the Robinsons at 160 Clinton Avenue…I wouldn’t count on moving back in…after taking a visual external tour of that string of buildings, I would suggest the entire group of them be vacated. I snapped pictures of the neighboring vacant and boarded up buildings including a long abandoned church and the District Attorney’s Community Outreach Center (yes, it is boarded up too….heck, the neighbors say, no one’s ever there anyway!)  Want to open your eyes to the damage being done by the Historic Preservationists? Take a drive up Clinton Avenue...and then they all came tumbling down.

Oh pretty please, Mr. McCoy, won't you once again play the bad guy for the progs and take down this facade while they are "looking the other way?"

Tribute to the Red White and Blue...to be demolished

An Occupied Neighboring HomeNeighboring Collapse

DA's Community Outreach Office


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