Albany County Earns National Achievement Award for Veterans Program

Albany County Executive McCoy announced today that the county has been selected for a national achievement award for the Veteran Identifier program administered by the Department of Social Services (DSS). The Achievement  Awards from the National Association of Counties serve to honor innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.   

The Albany County Veteran Identifier program is the first of its kind in New York and provides a link to services to veterans who may need assistance from DSS and other agencies. The county employs a social worker who is a veteran to assist veterans and their families and to provide information on the programs and services that are available. Since the program was launched in June of 2014, more than 260 veterans have been identified and served by the Veterans Identifier Program in the county.

 

Read more: Albany County Earns National Achievement Award for Veterans Program

More Than A Store In Store

I am a member of several Albany listservs and the chatter is so telling of the attitude in this City. For instance, a great deal of time is spent discussing things like the placement of a crosswalk sign…all in the name of “quality of life.” Then, out of the blue, one of those observant of signs asks if anyone’s been to the Delaware Avenue PriceChopper lately…something’s changed…anyone else notice? Yes, thank you, I have.

Ya see, over the last several MONTHS, my little PriceChopper has been transforming itself from the well-known bottom of the PriceChopper barrel. The store, frequented largely by transportation challenged urban types, stayed open throughout the entire transformation. The products were re-shelved and re-shelved again….the ceiling was removed, the floor tiles extracted….everything was in a different place every day which made grocery shopping during the rebirth quite the adventure.

PriceChopper had helpful smiles all over the store, acting as guides to find those aspirins that were oddly placed with the pet food….I was grateful for every day that that private enterprise restored pride in my PriceChopper. Interestingly, across from the PriceChopper there is a building, long vacant, that has been the topic of discussion as all the urban “know it alls” have demanded the “city” or “anybody” sink millions into it to restore it for….for what? They don’t know….they just “WANT.” Keep dreaming.

On one side of an Albany Street is an example of just one of Albany’s deteriorating vacant government-owned buildings…and a fine example of Albany’s “Public Works” efforts with prog direction. (Follow that last link for the timeline of the crumbling.) This presents an interesting philosophical juxtaposition of project/non-projects, as the opposite side of Delaware Avenue proudly hosts the former “Ghetto” Chopper (I hate referring to her as that), a shining example of what the “evil” empire can do. Now, I shop a lot, and watching the rebirth of my PriceChopper has filled me with Conservative Pride with every trip. I didn’t grumble at all about the scavenger hunt for groceries, well, maybe once, because this corporate giant cared enough about my neighbors, not just to rejuvenate the store, but to continue to provide service in the midst of the rebirth.

Read more: More Than A Store In Store

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

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.

UPDATE: The tree branches at the corner of Dove and Washington have been trimmed...as a matter of fact, the entire limb has been removed. Unfortunately, much more needs to be done. (Oh hey, I found a person sleeping (????) in my old trash shed! Ya gotta love a city where every one has a place to rest their head!)

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!

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