Albany's Budget Hearing

If you've been reading, you know that the caucus had to shut down to hear the citizen's voices. We move across the hall and I got the opp to have a chat with Chief Forezzi...who is rapidly catching up to Chief Krockoff as my favorite chief. So, I'm betting you want to know what the citizens have to say. I should warn you that the chief activist, Lynne Jackson has been facebooking for supporters of the bath house so the speakers may be a little bath house heavy. Then again, she has changed my mind before with her overzealous activism...hey...sometimes they my activist friends make their points.

Chris Mesley steps to the microphone representing the Albany Police officers (not much longer Christian!) So, after being mentioned in the previous meeting as stating that he doesn't care about the cost to the taxpayer" he and his union boys are going to take their raise. Now, he is begging for his health insurance...hmmm...I thought the amendment only addresses retirees. Well, I guess nothing is settled on anything yet.

Another citizen, a member of aVillage, steps to the microphone to express thanks for the Council for their support over the last month. She goes a step beyond asking for the bath house to remain open, she wants to also transform it into a community center for our children. Okay, this lady just made a plea to keep the bath house open and then states that she "didn't even know the bath house was there."

Next up, a member of the retired chapter of Council 82 concerned about his health benefits. Okay, now this guy's got it right...while I disagree with huge bene packages for our AFD retirees...that's a contract from the past and the City is obligated to adhere to it. You can't go to this guy after he is retired and tell him he must pay more now. I should say, even the sponsors of the amendments know it's going to fail, but, if for some reason, it went through, I don't believe it would stand up in court. But, hey, my fire fighters, I'm glad you're listening.

Up next, another of the Bath House groupies who didn't know it existed to date. Seems that there is some false hope that there will be a grant available. Now, as a grant writer, I can tell you that is not going to happen anytime soon. Maybe some local philanthropist but not a grant.

(I'm distracted by the two attorney's whispering in the ear of the Chair of the Finance commitee as they exit the chamber....hmmm.)

Okay....last speaker but another speaker has entered. Now, the new rules which are, for the first time, in effect for tonight, (now remember this is their rule) state that no speaker will be permitted to speak unless they sign up by 7PM. So, they vote...on the very first night the rules are in effect...to over-ride their own rule for two late comers to talk.

Next up, the late arrival, he is a police retiree and notes, as the previous retiree...they are on fixed incomes and, he adds, this would put him in the "poor house." Now, it seems that the contract states that these guy's get life long health benefits because they weren't paid well. As I said, there would be a pending legal battle if there were any chance that these amendments were to stay alive more than a few more hours.

Another Bath House activist steps to the microphone as Ms. Jackson holds her signs up in front of her in the audience. Now, this sign holding has never been permitted in chamber before and I think Jose Lopez might have been a bit more assertive than Ms. Jackson so I'm we gotta wonder what's up with that.

I gotta wonder if these folks get tired of losing battles....the bath house is, sadly, going down.

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