Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Gift FYI

Illinois Target StoreImage via Wikipedia
Air Hogs Video Cam helicopter can be found at Target across from Colonie Center $49.99 there are on an endcap in the toy section and they have many left
Loopz game Target same as above location  - not sure on price many left at the top of a toy aisle
Super Scribblenauts nintendo ds game - Target same as above location. $29.99 several left.

It had come to my attention that many people were looking for these items and could not find them at Toys R Us, so I'm letting every Santa's helper know where they can find them to help continue to spread good Holiday Cheer and Joy and the Spirit of the Holiday season. Happy Holidays to All!! (Disclaimer - I am not promoting Target and have no affiliation with them, I just believe in making sure every child has a christmas they can remember. Let me know if this was helpful. Enjoy!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Albany (NY) Police Ask Motorists Not to Leave Cars Running Unattended

 The Albany Police Department is asking motorists not to leave their cars running unattended so that they don’t become a target of car thieves, particularly during the cold winter months.   

Every 26 seconds a car is stolen in the United States.  National statistics indicate that 25 to 30 percent of stolen cars had the keys left in the ignition and the car was left unattended.  Based on those statistics the average comprehensive insurance rates rose 11.2 percent from 1999 to 2009.

Generally during the winter months the Albany Police Department has seen a rise in the number of motor vehicle thefts.  Car owners tend to leave their cars running while going into a convenient store, at a gas station or double parked on the roadway.  This presents what they call “a crime of opportunity” in which criminals look for cars that are left in this nature. 

Under the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law it is a traffic violation to leave you car running and unattended. 
P.O. Matthew Montesano
Albany Police Department
Community Services Unit

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Public Bath #2 and my proposals to the city of albany e-mail letter

e-mail sent on 12/9/2010 to:

Hon. Carolyn McLaughlin               
Hon. Richard Conti
Hon. Daniel Herring
Hon. Dominick Calsolaro
Hon. Lester Freeman
Hon. Ronald E. Bailey
Hon. Barbara Smith
Hon. Jacqueline M. Jenkins-Cox
Hon. Catherine M. Fahey
Hon. John Rosenzweig
Hon. James P. Sano
Hon. Leah Golby
Hon. Anton A. Konev
Hon. Michael O’Brien
Hon. Joseph Igoe
Hon. Frank Commisso, Jr.
Mayor Gerald D. Jennings

Re:  Public Bath #2

This correspondence is to let you know that I am completely opposed to the permanent closure of Public Bath #2.  This bath house can be an anchor building which represents a “form of stabilization” to the South End's much anticipated reinvigoration.  This historic neighborhood and 105 year old structure “serve as reminders of a prosperous era, that represent an intrinsic, latent value that is difficult if not impossible to re-create from scratch and should be preserved to the maximum extent  feasible“. (language taken from proposed city plans as a reminder of what the city said).  The residents nor any visitors will benefit from their hard work when you take away a recreational facility. The building is not in total disrepair according to city data “renovations were done to the building 2007-2009“ it just needs to be maintained, monitored and preserved.

You cannot energize an area, nor state that you want to make the South End a "Community of Choice" when their very choices are being stripped from them and stripped out of the budget without a public hearing. Many residents doubt your level of commitment to meaningful citizen participation when they are being excluded from the process.  The city's proposed closing of the bath house will be detrimental to the future of our community!

The National Historic Preservation Act mandates the active use of historic buildings for public benefit and to preserve our heritage.  Preserving Albany’s historic buildings is essential and it is environmentally responsible by using existing buildings.  I believe that local government officials also need to help change the perceived perceptions of the South End. The South End residents can work all they want to with their local leaders, but if these “leaders” are already of the mind that they are against an idea to benefit Mayor Jennings, than it is not going to benefit the people one bit.  The people need to be heard, because the business of the people is suppose to be of the utmost importance to you as mayor and council members.  You need to do what you were elected by the people to do, and forget any political obligations you have to the mayor.  The Common Council needs to ensure equal treatment, so the criteria is not “bent” for any building.  I respectfully request that you hold public hearings on the bath house issue.  By the mayor and council members not requesting to have a public hearing, it  places a severe burden on the public’s and the voters ability to actively participate in it’s local government.  How can the South End ever be considered a “Community of Choice” when they are being excluded from their rightful role as resident and voter. You constituents have rights also, rights that should not be ignored, to appease an absentee landlord mayor.  All of your decisions effect all residents everyday, whether in your ward or not. Your decision on this and every issue needs to be made without the mayor’s influence, and I ask all council members who voted “No” to reevaluate their choice and replace the funding for public bath #2 and keep it open. The honest people of Albany are insisting that their rights be heard and be protected by you and protected from the mayor’s inadequacies.  We are relying on you to restore to a sound state the bath house after the mayor caused its dilapidating conditions through neglect.  I along with other residents of the South End and the city of Albany, are fighting for this building, for it represents a piece of that area’s history and culture.  I recommend that the common council educate and/or continue to educate themselves in regards to historic buildings and preservation of them, so preservation efforts will be sustained in Albany.  I also recommend that ward leaders working on commissions regarding historic buildings should not be on those commissions unless they have preservation as their first priority.  I also propose that an ordinance be done to provide for the preservation and protection of historic places, buildings, sites, districts, etc. in that the city of Albany start their own local landmark commission to ensure preservation is sustained, and to safeguard the architectural, historical and cultural heritage of Albany. A preservation ordinance stabilizes declining neighborhoods and protects and enhances property values; so historic preservation is a valid public purpose.

The Common Council  has the authority to make sure rules/laws are complied with, and when it comes to Public Bath #2 the mayor did not comply with his own city’s laws/procedures, and possibly the Historic Resource Commission’s, and therefore as council members you should not follow the mayor’s recommendations to close public bath #2.  The city’s codes are nothing more than wasted paper unless the city complies with same also.  The city needs to repair their faults in order for it to truly be a great city.  I propose if one does not already exist a documentation plan for Preservation should be developed using preservation as a treatment developing your own city plan for such, for this building immediately and for all historic buildings in the City of Albany.  This bath house is “recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use“.  Protection includes the maintenance of historic materials through treatments such as rust removal, caulking,  and re-application of protective coatings.  The City needs to stabilize.  The pool is in need of repair to “stabilize it“ that does not constitute closing of the building.

I propose that the pool and all historic buildings be checked annually for needed repairs.  The cracks in the pool are a normal repair most pools require due to movement and lack of reinforcement. Also, in lieu of an exhaust fan connected directly to the wet area to run right out the roof of the building to remove humidity, I propose installing ceiling fans to create steady airflow. The more air movement, the quicker the surfaces will dry.  The “ventilation system” the mayor claims it needs, will not give you the air movement that you will get from ceiling fans that can be used in the locker room areas and elsewhere, which are cheaper in cost and more effective in drying surfaces, and will aid in keeping steam from rusting the buildings metal beams.  (These metal beams can also have simple steel rods put in behind the beams for support) a simple not expensive way to fix the problem which many historic buildings that used metal beams do. To dry, you need good heat also.  Keeping the areas dry also prevent fungal conditions like athlete’s foot. Regular walk-throughs by maintenance staff with hourly removal of any standing water on floors and surface areas also helps.  The more time maintenance staff is there to spot problems they can take steps to resolve them.  Other immediate remedies I propose to reducing and preventing wet conditions or rusting, is to purchase several Barco Turbo Downdraft dryers that suck in and release air in four directions; or similar unit, it can dry an entire room in 15 minutes, or another cheaper alternative is a Barco blaster with 2 different operating angles to direct air as needed, typically used to dry floors and carpets. Also, if not present you can also add a regular table or two for towels to be set on in the pool area to dry off before entering the locker room, another level of reducing water and wetness.  So you see, with much less cost than the mayor claims, the bath house can remain open and these proposed suggestions can be put in place to resolve effectively and immediately routine needs of maintenance and preservation.  Using my suggestions is not only cost effective, but it also will keep intact the historic roof, by not installing a ventilation system.  The city needs to show it’s commitment to the historic buildings of Albany.  This site can and needs to survive under the direction of responsible preservation practices with preservation minded people to enforce those practices.  The simple fact that it is listed on the National registry warrants its preservation, it is a building of significance in a historic district. I also propose that a no demolition rule be put into effect, and that Jennings puts it in writing what he proposes to do with the bath house and files same with the clerk’s office for public record.  The bath house is earning a “reasonable return” without the work being done to it, and if the building was not safe as the Mayor claims, people would not be in it today per code enforcement laws.  The Historic Resources Commission should have laws set in place, so that the city was to ensure its preservation and maintenance thereof, and to propose not just elective work that needs to be done, but also serious deterioration issues that needs to be addressed which did not happen overnight.  The city’s neglect of the building not only endangers the building but the historic district it sits in also.  The mayor is a neglectful absentee landlord for he only sees a particular community as a place to maximize income without much cost on his part, and has continually shown his total disregard towards historic sites.  The Mayor did not satisfy his obligation to this building.  A code enforcement officer should have done something about this matter before now. If the building was truly a problem, the necessary tests would have been deemed necessary to determine the safety of the building then in ‘07-’09, which did not happen; and since the mayor admitted he was aware of these problems, then he is negligent for failing to do a written notice of the defective, unsafe and dangerous conditions he complains of, and his willful neglect is what “allegedly” puts public safety at risk, since he had a reasonable amount of time to repair and remove these defects and dangers of public safety and did not.  Did the Commissioner of Public Works receive a plan from the mayor since its last repairs to make the remaining repairs?  When a permit was necessary for example for the rusting inner beams/supports why didn’t the mayor obtain a permit to make said repairs?  Why isn’t the city being penalized for not making said repairs?

The Historic Resources Commission needs to be the powerful force they can be by enforcing their own rules.  It is not the mayor’s decision to make and the city should not be exempt from the same laws that a private owner would need to abide by.  The city attorney /code enforcement would bring a case against a private violator for the same issues the city ignored.  A correct review needs to be done so the mayor cannot continue to subvert the same processes of others.  Do not allow the mayor to subvert processes for his own personal or political gain.  The mayor is not going to simply move on from this issue, this is not a dead issue and the Historic Resources Commission needs to require the mayor to repair damages, and if he thinks he is going to demolish this structure, he does not meet the criteria to do so.  The Common Council needs to make sure that the city is doing what it is suppose to be doing and that means looking into the process to make sure that the city is compliant. The mayor needs to stop trying to get special approvals on things outside intended law; and be reminded that you all have legal responsibilities that need to be adhered to or risk loosing state and federal funding because of it.  It does not have to return the most profitable return contrary to Jennings.

The building code inspector should have been inspecting it regularly.  Nothing prevented the city from ordinary maintenance and repair.  Typical Commission laws have it that no person (including city) owning property within a historic district shall permit the property to fall into serious state of disrepair so as to result in its deterioration effecting the life of the property itself which includes deterioration of vertical supports, roofs or other horizontal members, ineffective waterproofing of roof, or foundation of pool.  If Albany does not, I propose similar language to be added regarding enforcement.

  I propose that parts of the city’s zoning ordinance be strengthened to encourage the preservation of historic resources.  Since the Historic Resource Commission only covers mainly the exterior of the building, in the preservation ordinance there needs to be a provision for the interiors so that no one can allow a historic building to be neglected.  A building inspector could have determined if the bath house required immediate repairs or stabilization to protect the building, its contents and the public.  Ordinary things could have been done before now and still can be done. If established, the preservation commission should work with the planning board and an experienced preservation lawyer to assure the city and private owners do not fail in meeting its preservation goals. The city should include that approval for demolition should be contingent on the owner submitting an accompanying plan for reuse of the property that complies with the terms of the zoning ordinance.

With the growing rate of childhood obesity, I and others believe that it is absurd to close this facility.  I propose better advertising and publicity to attract residents and visitors (previously not done) so this facility could again be a jewel to Albany, by providing healthier children and adults and a lasting legacy in Albany for the next 105 years.  In regards to lack of attendance the city’s progress report of ‘07-‘09 states: “Hidden Secrets - …one being Public Bath #2.“  That being said more could have been done to make it more visible by promoting it and educating all residents new and old and visitors about its historical existence by making it a destination to come to.  It was and still can be today what it was then, a social center and community meeting place.  I propose that the walking tour brochures for the South End and all areas be placed on the city’s website for people to download to promote the South End and increase public awareness.

Therefore, we are all responsible in the protection, preservation, repairs and improvements of our historic resources and to make them accessible for use by all. I respectfully request that you vote Yes to keep the public bath #2 open and take my recommendations into consideration.  I thank you for your time and consideration to this matter.  If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Monday, December 6, 2010

Send an E-mail to all the Ward Leaders and the Mayor (Albany, NY) to Save the Public Bath #2

View of downtown Albany, New York, United Stat...Image via Wikipedia

Calling all Albany New York residents.  Send the following message to all below now:

Message:{DO NOT VETO the funding for Public Bath #2. Give it another year to allow grants that have been found to fund the bath, Keeping it open for its intended purpose and start the city programs planned for the South End that never happened. Thank you} 

Share this post w/everyone you know.

We need the common council and the mayor's help today to keep the bath open, and they will need our help tomorrow to keep their jobs.  

Dominick Calsolaro Ward 1 -

Lester Freeman Ward 2 -  

Ronald E. Bailey Ward 3 -  

Barbara Smith  Ward 4 - 

Jacqueline Jenkins-Cox  Ward 5 - 

Richard Conti  Ward 6 - 

Catherine Fahey Ward 7 - 

John Rosenzweig Ward 8 - 

James Sano Ward 9 - 

Leah Golby Ward 10 -       

Anton Konev Ward 11 -      

Michael O'Brien Ward 12 -        

Daniel Herring Ward 13 - 

Joseph Igoe Ward 14 - 

Frank Commisso, Jr. Ward 15 - 

Carolyn McLaughlin (Common Council President) - 

Mayor Jennings - 

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Save Public Bath #2

Call Mayor Jennings @ 434-5100 & email:
Message:{DO NOT VETO the funding for Public Bath #2. Give it another year to allow grants that have been found to fund the bath, Keeping it open for its intended purpose and start the city programs planned for the South End that never happened} Share this post w/everyone you know. Go to the common council meeting 12/6/2010 at 7:00pm at City Hall Thank you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Homepage |

During this giving season we can give back by simply a click of the mouse to donate free rice to hungry people and improve your vocabulary at the same time. Have Fun! Let me know if you clicked!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tales from the Inside

Panoramic view of the city of Albany, New York...Image via Wikipedia
Speak Up Albany and speak fast; it's time to fight for the South End Now!  see link to view comment. Tales from the Inside  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA)

logoImage via Wikipedia
CDTA announces route changes that went into effect on November 14, 2010.

Save Public Bath #2 Today - Albany NY only

Click Sign and Save Public Bath #2 - Albany NY residents only.  Please sign the petition located at the right of the screen of this blog to save this one of a kind 104 year old building located in a historic district.  We only have about one week so please sign today.
To read the petition in its entirety click on the Title of this post.

Public Bath #2 info:
Public Bath contains an indoor pool, providing year-round swimming. The Bath offers an after-school learn to swim program for children and teenagers ages 6-16 Monday through Friday 3:00 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.

Its located at 90 Fourth Avenue (corner South Pearl St. and Fourth Ave.)
(518) 434-2656
Hours of Operation:

Monday-Wednesday-Friday 7:00A.M. - 8:00P.M.
Tuesday and Thursday 7:00 A.M. - 4:30P.M.
Saturday 8:00 A.M. - 2:00P.M.
Questions regarding the after-school learn to swim program - contact the Director at the number above
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Take Part and Vote - Inspiration to Action Members Project with American Express

American Express logoImage via Wikipedia
Just one vote can make a difference in Members Project.  Be a part of inspiration to action by helping to decide which five charities will receive a total of $1,000,000 in funding from American Express.  Vote for one charity every week with new winners announced every three months.  Click the link, can't find your charity of choice on the list suggest a charity.  Next winners announced November 29th, 2010.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

10/27/2010 is Small Business Saturday

American Express logoImage via Wikipedia
Small Business Saturday is a nationwide campaign to spur shopping at small businesses between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2010.  As I have said before, small businesses are a key component to sustainability in a neighborhood and it looks like I am not the only one that believes that, so does American Express. Before big box stores these are the businesses that we relied upon, and why neighborhoods thrived in the past.  If you click the facebook link for Small Business Saturday, and click "Like" American Express will donate from $1.00 up to $500,000 to Girls Inc.  American Express is also giving a $25 statement credit to 100,000 cardmembers who register their card and use it on November 27, 2010 at small businesses. Your link to enroll your card is on the facebook site.  At the bottom of the facebook page you can also promote your small business on Small Business Saturday with free Facebook advertising and other promotional tools that is just a click away but you must register your small business before November 18th, 2010. Go to   I'm In! Won't you join me in supporting small businesses too?  Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter about your favorite shops and eateries.  Also you can go to the 3/50 project site, and download a postcard or poster to continue to promote supporting small businesses with the "Big Things Come From Small Boxes" campaign up until December 31, 2010.  Let's not stop there though, this is something that we need to continue on everyday to help our small businesses and neighborhoods they are in.  Click the link for more information.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Court of Appeals 1988 Decision regarding permit parking in Albany

Let's start where it all began.  A little background information on this issue, see this City of Albany decision of 1988 regarding permit parking. Note that the annual permit fee in 1988 was $17.50, it will be interesting to see what they raise it to in 2010.  Albany is currently in the planning phase of a permit parking plan, with public hearings to be held before the end of the year.  Understand the basis for this decision, because permit parking may be coming to your neighborhood too. Notice that the following statement is taken directly out of the below decision [...the legislative history reveals that the purpose of the statute was simply to allow Albany to phase out parking meters in favor of a permit plan because meters are costly, interfere with refuse and snow removal and are often vandalized]. 

 I stated that I would get rid of parking meters because people are tired of being nickel and dimed to death, and jennings stated he would not get rid of them.   

72 N.Y.2d 96 (1988)

New York State Public Employees Federation, AFL-CIO, by its President Rand Condell, et al., Respondents,
City of Albany et al., Appellants. (And Another Action.)

Court of Appeals of the State of New York.
Argued May 31, 1988.
Decided June 30, 1988

Vincent J. McArdle, Jr., Corporation Counsel (Madeleine D. Maney of counsel), for appellants.
Rebecca L. Caudle and Richard E. Casagrande for New York State Public Employees Federation, AFL-CIO, and others, respondents.
Jeffrey Armstrong and Marjorie E. Karowe for C. Allen Mead and another, respondents.
Louis N. Kash, Corporation Counsel (Jeffrey Eichner of counsel), for City of Rochester, amicus curiae.
99*99SIMONS, J.
Plaintiffs challenge the validity of Albany City Ordinance No. 5.11.86 which creates a program allowing residents of certain areas of the City of Albany who purchase permits to park in their neighborhoods for periods of unlimited duration but restricts nonresident parking in such areas during weekday business hours to 90 minutes. The ordinance patently discriminates against nonresidents and violates statutory and 100*100 common-law rules which, we conclude, the City could not modify under existing authority. The ordinance is therefore ultra vires and void.

I     Albany residents have for some time complained about parking problems created by the influx of nonresident State employees who work in the downtown area. The situation has been particularly troublesome during business hours when employees sought free parking in residential districts to avoid parking lot charges and by doing so prevented residents from parking near their homes. Residents were also concerned about safety, noting that the shortage of parking space had become so exacerbated that there was a competitive scramble between drivers for spaces in their neighborhoods.  Responding to these complaints, the City enacted Ordinance No. 5.11.86 (Albany City Code, ch XXV, div 9, §§ 25-114 — 25-118) vesting discretion in the Albany Chief of Police to designate areas as "prepaid parking permit areas". It is clearly based upon the Arlington County, Virginia, statute which withstood constitutional challenge in Arlington County Bd. v Richards(434 US 5, reh denied 434 US 976). The ordinance provides that residents of parking permit areas may purchase two permits per household for an annual fee of $17.50 each entitling them to unlimited parking in their neighborhoods. They may also obtain permits for their guests, free of charge if they purchased a permit for themselves, or for $2.50 if they did not. Nonresidents, on the other hand, may park in designated areas only for 90 minutes Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. (excluding holidays) and are subject to a $15 fine for overtime parking.  After the ordinance was passed, plaintiffs, two public employee unions, and several of their individual members, commenced this action to enjoin enforcement of the ordinance and to have it declared void. Supreme Court upheld the ordinance but the Appellate Division reversed, concluding that because it discriminated against nonresidents, the statute was invalid. We granted leave to appeal and now affirm.


The general delegation of power to localities allowing them to regulate the highways within their boundaries is contained 101*101 in article IX, § 2 (c) (6) of the New York Constitution, Municipal Home Rule Law § 10 and Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1604. The Legislature retains ultimate control over the highways, however, and these provisions are expressly made subject to its power to restrict localities and ensure uniform highway regulation throughout the State. Pertinent here are sections 1600 and 1604 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, which prohibit localities from excluding persons from free use of the highways except to the extent such limitations are expressly authorized by statute. Case law makes clear the types of exclusions foreclosed by these statutes and reveals that in the absence of specific authorization from the Legislature, restrictions on highway use based upon residency — such as that found in the contested ordinance — are prohibited.
Historically, English highways were said to be the King's and impeding their use was proscribed for his right was one of passage for himself and for his subjects (seeTown of Galen v Clyde & Rose Plank Rd. Co., 27 Barb 543, 551see alsoCohen v Mayor of City of N. Y., 113 N.Y. 532, 536). Tailoring the English rule to democratic concepts, the common law in New York has restricted local regulation by impressing a public trust upon the streets. The right to use of the highways is said to rest with the whole people of the State, not with the adjacent proprietors or the inhabitants of the surrounding municipality (People v Kerr, 27 N.Y. 188, 199;accordCity of New York v Rice, 198 N.Y. 124, 128). This public right is "`absolute and paramount'" (Cities Serv. Oil Co. v City of New York, 5 N.Y.2d 110, 115, rearg denied 5 N.Y.2d 1041, cert denied 360 US 934; Deshong v City of New York, 176 N.Y. 475, 484). Thus, inPeople v Grant (306 N.Y. 258, 262), we struck down an ordinance which prohibited transient or through traffic in the Village of New Hyde Park, reasoning that from the common-law proscription it "follows that residents of a particular area in a town or village do not possess and cannot be granted proprietary rights to the use of the highways therein in priority to or exclusive of use by the general public" (see alsoPeople v Randazzo, 60 N.Y.2d 952Wiggins v Town of Somers, 4 N.Y.2d 215, 218, remittitur amended 4 N.Y.2d 1045, rearg denied 4 N.Y.2d 1046;Atlantic Beach Prop. Owners' Assn. v Town of Hempstead, 3 N.Y.2d 434, 440, rearg denied 3 N.Y.2d 942).
Noting that our decisions have generally involved traffic restrictions, the City maintains that the common-law rule should only be construed as prohibiting distinctions between 102*102 residents and nonresidents for matters involving travel; that distinctions may be drawn for parking matters. Neither the case law nor the Vehicle and Traffic Law is so limited, however; both proscribe restrictions on highway "use", which includes use for parking as well as travel purposes. The general rule is clear: residents of a community have no greater right to use the highways abutting their land — whether it be for travel or parking — than other members of the public and Albany City Ordinance No. 5.11.86, which confers special parking advantages to residents of certain neighborhoods, violates this proscription. The Legislature is free to create exceptions to the general rule or delegate the power to do so to the localities (see, Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1604; see alsoMobil Oil Corp. v Incorporated Vil. of Roslyn Harbor, 69 Misc 2d 79, 84 [Meyer, J.]) but we conclude that it did neither here.


The City contends that any of three provisions of the Vehicle and Traffic Law supersede the general rule and authorized its enactment of this ordinance. It relies on subdivision (a) (6), (15) and (16) of section 1640.[*] None of them authorize Ordinance No. 5.11.86.
Paragraph (6) generally authorizes local parking restrictions such as the 90-minute time limit found in the contested ordinance. It does not, however, permit discrimination between residents and nonresidents, a distinction forbidden at common law (see also, Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1200 [indicating parking restrictions should be applied to "persons" generally, and containing no authorization to treat residents and 103*103 nonresidents differently]). Nor should the power to do so be implied for it is apparent that when the Legislature has intended to authorize exceptions to the general rule, it has done so expressly (see, e.g., § 1640 [a] [17] [sanctioning special parking privileges for handicapped persons]).
Nor does paragraph (15) serve as a basis for the ordinance. It empowers the City of Albany to enact a prepaid parking permit program, but not one which confers preferred status to those in the community. The language of the statute makes no mention of a distinction between residents and nonresidents and the legislative history reveals that the purpose of the statute was simply to allow Albany to phase out parking meters in favor of a permit plan because meters are costly, interfere with refuse and snow removal and are often vandalized (see, e.g., Mem in support of legislation, Bill Jacket, L 1979, ch 435).
The City's reliance upon the catchall or omnibus provision contained in paragraph (16) is similarly misplaced. Paragraph (16) authorizes enactment of "reasonable" local highway regulations but local restrictions generally are deemed reasonable only if they pertain to matters of public safety (7 McQuillin, Municipal Corporations § 24.610 [3d rev ed]). More importantly, the authority conferred under paragraph (16) is expressly made "subject to the limitations contained in the various laws of this state" and our decisions have narrowed its scope even further.
In People v Grant (306 N.Y. 258, supra) we considered a similar omnibus clause in section 90 (4) of the predecessor statute. The prior statute, like the modern version, prohibited exclusions limiting the People's right to use the streets unless the exclusion was specifically authorized. We expressed concern in Grant that if all "reasonable" regulations were authorized by the catchall, the proscription against excluding persons from using the highways could be swallowed by the omnibus clause. In that case the challenged ordinance precluded nonresidents from traveling through the Village of New Hyde Park. In a broad sense the ordinance fostered the reasonable purpose of ensuring tranquility within the village, but this "reasonable" restriction was the very type at which the proscription against exclusionary rules was directed. To prevent the omnibus clause from overriding the paramount purpose of the statute, we indicated the "reasonableness" of local enactments would be judged "by comparing them with 104*104 the particular powers that were delegated expressly [to the localities] by the other subdivisions" of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (id., at 263). Doing so, we held that excluding nonresidents from traveling through New Hyde Park was not "reasonable" within the meaning of the omnibus provision because it was a "more drastic" restriction than those specifically permitted (People v Grantsupra). From the Grant analysis both the majority and dissenting members of this court concluded in People v Randazzo (60 N.Y.2d 952, 953, supra) that the omnibus provision only authorizes rules which are "reasonable and nondiscriminatory"([emphasis added] citing 7 McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, op. cit., § 24.618).
These judicial limitations of the omnibus paragraph defeat the City's reliance upon it here. Paragraph (16) does not authorize regulations at odds with the laws of the State and our common law forbids according local residents priority in the use of the public streets. Moreover, no provision in section 1640 differentiates between residents and nonresidents, and such a "drastic" distinction should not be upheld based upon the omnibus provision. Finally, because the ordinance patently excludes nonresidents it violates the prohibition against discriminatory restrictions.


Two of the City's remaining contentions require comment.
First, the City stresses the similarities between its plan and that upheld against constitutional challenge by the Supreme Court in Arlington County Bd. v Richards (434 US 5, supra). However, whether the contested plan could be enacted consistent with the Federal Constitution is not at issue here. The question is one of power. While the Legislature could delegate to the localities power to enact such a plan, it has not done so and the ordinance is ultra vires.
The City also relies upon People ex rel. Village of Larchmont v Gilbert (137 NYS2d 389) andWhite Plains Automotive Supply Co. v City of Peekskill (115 AD2d 728, affd 68 N.Y.2d 933,appeal dismissed 481 US 1026). Gilbert involved the designation of off-street parking for residents, and thus, unlike this case did not entail use of the public streets. White Plains Automotive upheld a traffic ordinance restricting access to residential streets to vehicles under 27 feet in length because the ordinance was reasonable under the facts of that case and, more importantly, because Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1640 (a) (5) 105*105 specifically authorizes excluding trucks from local highways. Such specific authorization is lacking here.
Accordingly, the order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed.
Order affirmed, with costs.
[*] Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1640 (a) (6), (15) and (16) provide:
"(a) The legislative body of any city or village, with respect to highways * * * in such city or village * * * may by local law, ordinance, order, rule or regulation:
"6. Prohibit, restrict or limit the stopping, standing or parking of vehicles * * *
"15. Provide for the establishment, operation, policing and supervision of a prepaid parking permit system, establishing parking time limits for such permits and fix and require the payment of fees applicable to parking  where such a prepaid permit parking system is in operation * * * The provisions of this paragraph shall only be applicable for the city of Albany.
"16. Adopt such additional reasonable local laws, ordinances, orders, rules and regulations with respect to traffic as local conditions may require subject to the limitations contained in the various laws of the state."

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Look to the right side bar to enjoy a new feature of this blog, the Kraft Recipe Assistant.  See featured recipes for the week, or search for your own main ingredient recipe.  It offers new recipe ideas for the upcoming holidays and for everyday meal planning.  In light of our busy lives, we don't always have time to skim through a recipe book, but here are some suggestions just a click away while you check out the blog.  This feature has been added to improve the quality of life issue "What's for Dinner?", which can be very time consuming.  Here on the recipe assistant you can search for recipes according to total time or prep time to make it, great for busy people on the go.  When you get ready to print the recipe the print button may or may not work for you, so just do control p to print.  So go Ahead, click and enjoy.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Twitter and Facebook

Please take a moment to Follow benziejohnson on Twitter and Like the Speak Up Albany Facebook group page too!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Your voting rights after release from prison in NY

In New York State voting rights restored automatically after release from prison and discharge from parole (probationers may vote).
Additionally, individuals on parole may have their voting rights restored by a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct.  When you are clear from everything be sure to re-register to vote.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Facebook (1) | Sustainability I

Answer this question on Speak Up Albany on facebook.

Facebook (1) | Sustainability I

Facebook (1) | Sustainability II

Join me on facebook to answer this question:
Facebook (1) | Sustainability II

Facebook | Top 5 Issues Need

Join me on Facebook, post your comment and get invited to become a member of "Speak Up Albany" let's start to make the changes Albany(NY) needs.

Facebook | Top 5 Issues Need

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

National Family Literacy Day is November 1st.

FYI - National Family Literacy Day (November 1) is coming up and in case you did not know it your click can support the National Center for Family Literacy by searching online using  Go to  to learn more.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Project Vote Smart's VoteEasy

Click on the title of this post - Project Vote Smart's VoteEasy, and it will bring you to their home page all you need to do is enter in your zip code and click to find out information on candidates in your area in that race.  Keep in mind that some of the candidates did not answer questions, so it can make it difficult to truly choose based on questions alone, you can click on each person to view their information also if they submitted any.  Even after voting yes or no, and the next screen pops up, you can click back and forth between yes and no, to see how the percentage rate changes for each candidate for each individual question.  If all candidates answered the questions, it would be a much fairer assessment tool. After you have finished answering your questions click the finished tab.  Have fun with it and I hope it helps you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Dignity for All Students Act

Although many of us already know that this is now a New York State law, it has come to my attention that many do not actually know what the law entails. Speak Up Albany is here to do just that, and this post may serve as a quick reference guide for you.  Other states who do not yet have a law, they need to follow suit.

Summary: This law was signed into law by the Governor on September 8, 2010. It will address bullying motivated by weight, gender, sexual identity and expression, race, religion, national origin, and disability. It requires bullying to be reported to the New York State Department of Education, and will force policies to be developed to prevent and handle biased violence/hate. It requires training for school staff, including administrators and classroom curricula material. This law does not address cyberbullying, and it only covers public school students. 

The law states it will afford public school students an environment free of discrimination and harassment (including bullying, taunting or intimidation). Their definition of Harassment means the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, mental or emotional or physical well-being, conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. That no student shall be subjected to harassment by employees or students, nor discriminated against; and that any such policies created include instructional and counseling methods and requiring at least one staff member at each school to be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion and its practices, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. The Commissioner's responsibilities may include development of model policies and to the extent possible, direct services, to school districts related to preventing discrimination and harassment and to fostering an environment in each school where all children can learn free of manifestations of bias. An age-appropriate version of the policy shall be included in the code of conduct. That any incidents of harassment or discrimination be reported to the NYS Department of Education at least on an annual basis. This law also provides for the protection of people who report discrimination or harassment to school officials, the commissioner, or to law enforcement authorities, or initiates, testifies, participates or assists in any formal or informal proceedings shall have immunity from any civil liability that may arise from the making of such report and no school district or employee shall take, request or cause a retaliatory action against such person. That Section 801-a of the education law, was amended to read as follows: S 801-a. Instruction in civility, citizenship and character education. The regents shall ensure that the course of instruction in grades kindergarten through twelve includes a component on civility, citizenship and character education. Such component shall instruct students on the principles of honesty, tolerance, personal responsibility, respect for others, observance of laws and rules, courtesy, dignity and other traits which will enhance the quality of their experiences in, and contributions to, the community. Tolerance, respect for others, and dignity, shall include awareness and sensitivity to discrimination or harassment and civility in the relations of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions and religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders and sexes. A minimum suspension period, for students who repeatedly are substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interfere with the teacher's authority over the classroom, provided that the suspending authority may reduce such period on a case by case basis to be consistent with any other state and federal law. The definition for "repeatedly are substantially disruptive" shall be determined in accordance with the regulations of the commissioner; a minimum suspension period for acts that would qualify the pupil to be defined as a violent pupil pursuant to paragraph a of subdivision two-a of section thirty-two hundred fourteen of this chapter, provided that the suspending authority may reduce such period on a case by case basis to be consistent with any other state and federal law. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September is Hunger Action Month - take the pledge on the right

Minestrone Soup from a local Italian food plac...Image via Wikipedia
September is Hunger Action Month, and they really need your help. When you sign up and take the pledge on the right hand side of this blog, you will be helping to earn a free truckload of food for a local food bank in your community. 

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