Lessons from Marcia

By Kim M.

soapbox badgeI love people-watching. Some days it's the only reason this introvert can tolerate being anywhere near other people. Human behavior is an endless source of mystery and entertainment to me, and because we tend to be creatures of habit, complete strangers can feel just as familiar as the places we frequent.

For me, one of those people was Marcia Pascarella.

AOA readers may remember Marcia as the inspiration for my "Stop whining and do something about it" Soapbox last March. Marcia was my favorite person to see approaching the podium at Troy City Council meetings. She never held back, always spoke her mind, and possessed the type of humor and natural comedic timing that usually left you wondering whether or not she actually meant to be funny. I think she did. Marcia was not known for political correctness. Sometimes she even swore at these meetings -- which are currently held IN A CHURCH. Oh, Marcia.

I learned of Marcia's passing from Jim Franco, who wrote that he'd heard that "God had taken His own name in vain" upon Marcia's arrival at the Pearly Gates.

I don't doubt this report one bit; heaven better be everything she expects it to be!

Marcia was a character. Even her obituary called her "one of the toughest old birds you would ever want to meet."

Harry Tutunjian, a target for Marcia's tongue-lashing a time or two during his two terms as mayor, shared his favorite Marcia line, from his first term on the council. "At the podium she gave us the root of the word politics," he said. "She defined it as 'poly, meaning many, and tics, as in blood-sucking creatures.'" Tutujian encouraged me to attend my first council meeting, and Marcia was certainly one of the reasons I was immediately hooked on attending.

No, Marcia may not have been politically correct, but she demanded honest government. She thought government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, for the people -- not for special interests, not, as she said, "money to my buddy, or my family gets another job, or this one gets that."

She often reminded us of the urban center that Troy used to be, remembering a Troy before the Atrium. Having been here that long, I'm honestly not sure if she could see Troy's slow renaissance. But as someone whose history with Troy only goes back twelve-and-a-half years, I see it. I get terribly excited about businesses like the Dinosaur and now Bombers, not just because of the economic growth they represent, but because to me they are breathing life into an area that is still so full of unrealized potential. I guess I focus my attention on positives, instead of failures like The Pioneer Market.

No, I didn't always agree with Marcia's jaded view of Troy. Our approaches to the greatest circus on earth political theater in the Capital Region couldn't be much further apart either. She was a confrontationalist; I am a collaborator. She railed against the administration and the council, Democrats and Republicans; I see the common ground.

But that woman was something else. I am really going to miss her. Councilman Mark McGrath, one of her favorite villains, even remarked, "No one has gotten beaten up over the last six years more than me, and I loved every second of it. She was a good ol' gal."

We played our roles as active citizens in very different ways, but she was active, and I know she loved the city just as much as I do.

Kim loves Troy even more than you do.

Kim on the Soapbox:
+ Can you feel the love?
+ National Night Out
+ Children at Play
+ Hoosick Street: Future UFO landing site
+ Stop wining and do something about it
+ Good neighbors check in to make sure you haven't frozen to death


I don't live in Troy and never knew Marcia, but this piece takes me back to watching the Schenectady City Council meetings on Public Access where the "privilege of the floor" segment usually opened up to a handful of regulars that the council barely tolerated. One was an elderly man who was neither "repugnicant" nor "dumbocrat," he only cared about his city. There's a particular night I remember getting drunk with the old man at a neighborhood pub, and he told us, "there are so many things I want to tell you young people, but I think you get it already." Cheers. To people who care.

I don't live in Troy either, but I have worked in Troy for the last six years, and know a lot of people, especially those not in power and who often feel powerless. I didn't know Marcia either, but I do know a lot like her.
And for some reason I feel compelled here to say, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia . . . "
The world needs more ordinary people like Marcia who will courageously speak up, and more pols who will listen. Really listen - not just go through the motions. As many of our elected officials in many cities (and states and countries) do!
I am one of those people who other people generally hate to see at a meeting or conference - because people KNOW I am going to comment or ask a question. And if my question doesn't get answered, I persist.
Not everyone likes that - especially clock-watchers who don't want anyone to engage. Lots of people just put in time and are never really present. Sounds like Marcia sure was!
I thought this was a really great piece and well written (kudos Kim)

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

In the year between women's marches, here's what people have been doing to change things

It was almost exactly one year to the day between the big rally in Albany's West Capitol Park to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump... (more)

Hops and deliberate inefficiency

As with many other places, New York has experiencing a craft beverage boom the last few years. So this article by Derek Thompson over at... (more)

Saratoga Frozen Springs Classic 2018

The Saratoga Frozen Springs Classic -- a "pond" hockey tournament -- returns Feburary 9-11 at Saratoga Spa State Park. (The games are on the outdoor... (more)

SPAC Country Megaticket 2018: Urban, Rascal Flatts, Aldean, Bentley, Bryan

Live Nation and SPAC have rolled together another "Country Megaticket" package of shows at the venue this summer: June 27: Keith Urban, with Kelsea Ballerini... (more)

"I mean, it's so vast. . . . It's one of our greatest assets."

Remarkable: The NYS Writers Institute has recordings from interviews and talks with every single writer who's appeared as part of the institute's visiting writers series.... (more)

Recent Comments

We ended up going with Thirsty Owl (Thanks, Christina!). In addition to being in a nice, central location (and in a really beautiful building), their pricing, responsiveness, and flexibility sold us!

Accordion Virtuosi of Russia at Troy Music Hall

...has 1 comment, most recently from Jamie

Photos from the 2018 Women's March in Albany

...has 2 comments, most recently from BS

A big step forward for the Quackenbush Center mixed-use project, and other exciting tales of the Albany Planning Board

...has 3 comments, most recently from theshakes

Albany now has a better sense of how many vacant buildings it has -- and a common starting point for taking on the problem

...has 9 comments, most recently from daleyplanit

Morning Blend for Jan 23

...has 1 comment, most recently from Tess