Birthday present: Bilinski's

Bilinski Sausage image.jpg

All natural chicken sausage -- made in Cohoes.

Update: The drawing's closed! Thanks for entering.

It's day three of the AOA's "birthweek" celebration and we're giving away more presents.

Today's prize: a basket of products from Bilinski's in Cohoes.. Here's what's in the basket:

Bilinski's All Natural Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage - 2 packages
Bilinski's All Natural Mild Italian Chicken Sausage - 2 packages
Bilinski's All Natural Sundried Tomato & Basil Chicken Sausage - 1 package
Bilinski's All Natural Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage - 1 package
Bilinski's All Natural Blueberry Maple Chicken Littles - 2 packages
Bilinski's NEW Chicken Meatloaf - family sized - 1 package
Bilinski's NEW Chicken Chicken Chili - family sized - 1 package

That's like an entire month's worth of dinners. Maybe two.

OK, so remember the old adage about laws and sausages?  You know, two things you
don't want to know how they're made?  Well, a while back AOA toured the Bilinski's factory in Cohoes -- and we got the impression that if New York did made laws like sausage, we might actually be in better shape today.

So in keeping with that theme, here's today's question:

If you could make one new law for the Capital Region, what would it be?

It could be for your town, it could be for the whole area. Post your answer in the comments. We'll draw the winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 pm Wednesday (Feb 24, 2010) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address with your comment. The winners will be notified via email by 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by 5 pm on Friday.

Comments

I would like to see running red lights to be illegal because that doesn't appear to be the case in the All America City...

OR! (I can't seem to make a decision.)

A moratorium on tanning salons being across the street from each other.

Can it be for an existing law that is essentially ignored?

I would love it if dog owners picked up the piles left by their pooches in and around Washington Park/Madison Ave/Lark St. I see signs about potential fines posted, but sometimes, it's like dodging landmines when out for a stroll.

In a case of a snowstorm like this one, I would like to see stricter regulations on keeping the sidewalks clear. The city should be responsible for clearing snow/ice/slush from the sidewalks in front of abandoned buildings or city land, and absentee landlords need to make arrangements with their tenants to make sure the shoveling gets done. I may not have to drive to work, but slipping/sliding/stumbling through the muck can be rather perilous.

All potholes would have to be repaired within 24 hours of their formation.

hating on state workers (including advocating for lay-offs and compensation deferrals) would be illegal!

Make it illegal to smoke in a car with children in it.

wow. um. just ONE? well i have two things that i run into ALL THE TIME that are laws but highly ignored:

1. obnoxious double parking. sometimes even when there is a viable spot right near the double parker! this makes me sooo angry!

2. random people crossing the street WHEREVER THEY WANT. what the heck? are people not afraid of getting hit by cars anymore?

this is something i see on a daily basis and i would be happy to write the tickets if someone would give me the authority. :)

Driving below the posted speed in the fast lane should warrant a ticket.

If this is already a law, it should be strictly enforced: No jaywalking, especially in high-density areas like lower Central Ave in Albany. It's a serious danger to drivers navigating these roads like obstacle courses and in some cases coming within feet of colliding with reckless pedestrians.

It's not a new law, but maybe start enforcing jaywalking violations on Central Ave., primarily between Henry Johnson Blvd. and Westgate. I can't tell you how many times I've almost hit people darting out into traffic.

Fantasy law: mandate an El Mariachi's location on every block.

Give tickets to people who idle in Center Square waiting for parking spots in the morning. It's totally creepy.

For our visitors from the fair cities/states to the south (coughNJcough): no walking more than 2 abreast on sidewalks in Saratoga. Do y'all and your 6 chihuahuas really need to walk shoulder to shoulder?

Salting the sidewalks in the Center Square neighborhood when they are covered in ice. I slip all the time!

I'd love to see the Right-to-Farm laws that are present in some towns be adopted region wide. My hope would be that a ton of micro farms spring up in suburbia on all that former farmland.

It's a fantasy...I admit it.

It should be illegal to work on any day in which there is more than six inches of snow.

@Summer: Amen!

I would like to see a public drunkenness law. I was surprised to find out Albany didn't have one, and I think it would cut down on the drunk pedestrians getting hit by cars/vandalism/litter/noise.

I would like to see the speed limits enforced on Western Ave.

In a PIPE dream, regulate the parking in Central Square for residents. Allow them the prime spots in front of/near their residences during certain times of the day. Make the parking lot permit regulators follow the rules by NOT giving tickets to those people who properly display their permit. Don't ticket & boot them! Do that to the people who illegally park there.

I'm a state worker, and it annoys the hell out of me that state workers stalk these spots in Center Square so they don't have to pay for parking. It's only $20/month with guaranteed space, no ticketing, and a ride to work! Saves gas, money & the environment. It's a win-win. Oh well!

Free Bilinski sausages for all!

Yes. That's my submission. I'm sure we'll have to run it through some lawyers to get it to be completely incomprehensible, but that's the heart of my legislation.

Resident parking permits in Center Square! (I know, *keeps dreaming*)

To permit both wine and spirit sales in supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores and bodegas.

Perhaps that would help entice Trader Joe's to open up a store in the region. And at the very least it would get some of the byzantine prohibitions regarding alcohol off the books.

If the current liquor stores cannot survive amidst actual competition, one has to wonder if they were actually ever a business at all.

I would love for Albany to make it illegal to park in front of my driveway. I don't know how many other property owners have this problem, but I constantly have to weigh the time it takes to call the cops, then them calling a tow truck, before a car finally gets moved so I can get in or out.

How 'bout a regulation? Like "Municipalities MUST keep roads clear at all times during snowy weather, regardless of how many people they think might be on the roads"? It drives me crazy how the crews seem to give up around 9-10 p.m. ... y'know, some of us work nights, and we'd like safe roads, too.

I'm hoping the wine in super markets law gets passed.

four day work weeks!

City of Albany Parking Enforcement may only give 1 ticket per week to a vehicle upon the street where its owner is registered as residing.

I would like to see mandatory exercise programs for overweight kids...their parents are setting them up for failure way too early!

you are not allowed to complain about Albany unless you have an active social life.

If you are traveling less than half a mile and are able bodied, you should HAVE to walk...and that's being really generous.

If I could make one new law for the area I would vote to pass legislation that would make it illegal for patrons at a drive-thru eating establishment to be eating food from another restaurant while waiting in line to order more food.

Seriously…. I once saw a woman eating a slice of pizza while waiting in the drive-thru lane of a Burger King and she was not a small lady from my perspective. Considering all of the regulation regarding the use of trans fats to prepare foods that is currently being enforced on local restaurants, I think this one has some merit.

A state budget that must be balanced. It'd have to be a state constitutional amendment but it needs to be done.

I was thinking this morning that President Obama should pass a law mandating snow days for everyone when local schools close. ;) I guess I could downgrade that to a local or NYS law, then I'd just have to make sure not to move away.

A local ordinance that if there is a snow emergency declared in the Capital District, that any available multi-level municipal parking garages in the vicinity remain open for those who wish to store their vehicles overnight at a reduced rate.

Everyone would get either their birthday or the day after off as a paid holiday.

Every restaurant, eatery, school, cafeteria, etc. that serves food must obtain at least 25% of their products from local farmers.

I'd like to see a law passed (for the entirety of NYS) mandating recycling of all materials that can be recycled. The law would include stricter guidelines for recycling, including strict and steep penalties for throwing recyclables in the trash.

Actual enforcement of NYS/city laws and standards. People have mentioned double parking and jaywalking; these aren't new laws, they already exist! Albany police are terrible about enforcing laws that are intended to protect everyone. People crossing Henry Johnson, right in front of the station, seem to think either that they're invulnerable or that real-life Frogger is in vogue.

In keeping with the chicken sausage theme, I'd like to see the code in Albany (115-31) that prohibits raising chickens rescinded.

Mandatory bike lanes on major roads (ie. Madison, Central, Deleware) since motorized vehicles seem to have a tough time sharing.

Yes, I hear you honking behind me. No, I can't move over any further.

There should be a law that people need to be fully dressed to go shopping. I challenge everyone... go to any grocery store in the area, any time of the day and you will find at least one, but in most cases, more than one person with pajama bottoms on and basically a total mess.

This is more a proposed "law" of nature... but every business/restaurant/event should have a website.

Basic informational websites are free (google sites, facebook page) and painless to create these days, and businesses could reach out to a lot more customers by improving their appearance on a google maps search. It's the way I find a lot of places I shop at, and if there are ten results with just names and phone numbers and one has a simple page with hours and parking locations and an idea of what they stock that's the place I'm headed.

A law (or enforcing one that already exists) requiring property owners to remove their trash cans from the curb 24 hrs after trash pickup. And politely requesting the garbage men to not yell and thrown the cans as noisily as possible at 4am.

Charter schools would be subject to a budget approval vote rather than be guaranteed their public tax dollars regardless of whether the general school budget passes or goes down.

Just as there are restrictions placed on making right, or even left, turns between certain hours of the day, I believe that there should also be a strickly regulated restriction on double parking during rush when traffic is already slow due to a heavier volume of cars on the road.

I would like to see our region's respective legislative bodies move to create a single new city out of the various contiguous small cities and urban villages in our area. Albany, Troy, Rensselaer, Menands, Watervliet, Green Island, Troy, Cohoes and Waterford (and possibly Schenectady) would all become boroughs of the new city, like New York City. I live in Troy, but I wouldn't mind if the new city were called Albany since most people refer to this entire area as "Albany" anyway. Each former city or urban village would retain its own identity as a borough, but legislatively forming one city would greatly improve the quality of life in our entire region. Resources could be pooled. Regional planning would be easier to accomplish. Sprawl could be better mitigated and prevented. The region would be eligible for more federal funding because the population of the city would be higher. Plus it would cut out a lot of the parochial political crap that plagues the jealous little fiefdoms in our region.

The first one above is my official "entry." But here's the other law I'd really like to see in our region:

ATVs and other off-road motorized dirt bikes should be immediately confiscated by law enforcement when their owners are proven guilty of operating them illegally on public property. Additionally, the first offense should come with a very hefty fine and 100 hours of community service working to repair land damage to public property caused by illegal ATV operation.

Reserved on-street parking for residents!

No Smoking in public places

I'd like New York State legislators/elected officials to have a cap on their salaries AND when it comes to balancing the budget, instead of layoffs and cuts to education and health care, the very first thing that would be looked at (MANDATORY) and cut would be the salaries of the governor and the legislators/elected officials. It's time for those running this state into the ground to have to feel some financial pain - and feel it every time they can't balance the budget (or decide they don't want to show up and do their jobs, but get paid anyway).

I'm a non-meat eater, so I don't care to actually be entered into this contest, but that being said, here are some suggestions:

1- A lot of people are complaining about double parking. I say forget expecting a crack down on this and go the opposite direction. Formalize the rule that is apparently already in place. If your emergency flashers are on, you are exempt from all laws.

2- No whining about lack of Whole Foods, Wegman's, Trader Joe's or any other grocery store chain. Penalty will be mandatory relocation (at individual's expense) to the nearest city with said store.

3- Expand Alex Muro's suggestion of 1 citation per week to apply to all violations and crimes. Spray paint someone's garage on Monday, and you're free to do so on the whole block as long as you do it in the same week and face no additional charges. Rob a bank on Thursday, well, hurry and get your freebie in on Friday.

4- Duncan Crary's first idea is interesting. I wonder if such a thing has ever been seriously explored in an area like ours.

Make it illegal to declare a snow emergency on the whole city at once! Where on earth can we all park? We all already have alternate side parking on different days, isn't that bad enough? Sheesh!

@Grigoer,

If you win, can I have your Bilinski's basket? This stuff is great. I started eating it before I realized that it was made locally.

Another food that I purchase regularly that has a funny local connection to this area is McCann's Irish Steel Cut Oats. You know, the kind that comes in the blue metal can? Look at the name in the lower right-hand corner: "Approved by John Boyd Thacher, 1894"

http://www.mccanns.ie/images/SteelCutDrum.jpg

That's gotta be the same guy who was mayor of Albany and for whom Thacher Park is named after.

Our region would be better if we imposed heafty charges on new developments, and gave an incentive to people to live downtown in existing, beautiful buildings rather than in new sub-divisions. The new rule would be to levy a large tax on new properties to help pay for the cost of the excess driving and pollution, maintaining sprawling roads, devastating the forest, extending water and sewer and abandoning the downtowns (especially Albany's downtown). A tax to make suburban sprawl expensive and undesirable!

Make a law to mandate enforcement of the traffic laws already in place. Ex:double parking, running red lights, speeding, u-turns etc....

4-day work weeks? M-F mid-day siesta??!

There are already enough laws, as beaurocrats have to justify thier employ by making new laws with thier name on it to add to the books. This strategy works well come re-election time (remember the Jimbo Politico Law #215 of 2009? didnt you love it? vote for me!)

My law would state that in order to add a new law, you must find an outdated or ineffective law that can be repealed (that means reading, boys). This would make a more efficient set of laws, instead of an ever-growing set of laws, which serves only to create a police state (NOT what the founding fathers had in mind, mind you) to enforce the increase in statutes to follow, thereby making this land less free by definition.

Capital district residents would have to 'do a good turn" for one person - daily.

I would love have resident parking in downtown Albany!

and yum to Bilinski's!

Please, please, please let us buy wine in the grocery stores.

They should make it a law that if someone stops traffic and waves you in so you can get out of whatever parking lot/side street you've been waiting at... There should be a courtesy wave. People in the Albany area are SO RUDE. It's to the point that I don't want to be "nice" and let anyone out anymore....

I would like to see the Mounted Police be responsible for cleaning up their horses' giant poo. The hypocrisy of this kills me. Citizens are legally bound to clean up after their dogs. Yet, every spring and summer, out come the police on horseback leaving behind huge, intrusive, unsightly, foul piles of horse poo. At least give the horses some poo-catching satchels like the do in Philadelphia.

How about a law that requires people who think left turners have the right-of-way when the light first turns green be forced to drive only golf carts for a while. I'd bet the first time they tried to pull that stunt again, they might learn a little something.

Other than that, I'm all for the enforcement of the lawn/poo problem.

A law making more salad choices. Considering were the Dole city.

I would love to see the creation of an elevated high way that shot the traffic straight to downtown Albany so commuters to down town could be on a separate road and not on the same road with people going to other Albany city destinations. I feel bad for them!

That every person takes a moment to reflect on the many blessings that come into their lives throughout each ordinary day. This will definitely make the City and the World a better place!

I'd make it legal to marry whoever you wanted!

Yum - I love Bilinski's!

Litter laws. New, improved, and strictly enforced.

First offense: $1,000 fine
Second offense: 10 hours of community service (picking up trash), or $5,000 fine.
Third offense: Lashings!

I would like to see a law requiring landlords to be licensed to rent property.

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