Items tagged with 'Albany police'
The Albany Police Department is moving toward testing body-worn cameras for its officers this summer.
That was one of the bits from an Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee forum this week that served as a progress report of sorts for the department's efforts to deploy the devices.
Here's a quick look at where things are at on the topic, along with a few takeaways from the meeting.
The Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee is holding another public forum about the Albany Police Department's plans for using officer-worn body cameras. It's next Tuesday, June 14 at the Washington Ave Albany Public Library at 6 pm.
Following up on the very successful forum ACPAC held in February on this topic, ACPAC has invited the Albany Police Department to give a presentation on the progress they've made in developing Body-Worn Camera Program policies and procedures since the last forum. Following the presentation, ACPAC will invite attendees to provide further public comment on the developing program.
Here's a copy of the APD's draft policy of body cameras.
As alluded to in that clip, there was a similar forum this past February at which police leadership talked about some of the issues and complications related to body cameras, and members of the public had a chance to express their thoughts. It was an interesting event.
The Albany Police Department released the latest bunch of numbers from the city's red light camera system this week. And for the months of October, November, and December of 2015 the system registered almost 2,900 violations across 25 intersection approaches.
We've sifted and sorted the numbers in some easy-scan tables -- and a map.
The Albany Police Department is planning to pilot test officer body cameras this summer, with an eye toward eventually expanding the program to the whole department. And the APD is facing a range of questions as it works out the details: When should the cameras be on? What should they capture? Who should get to see the video?
Those were some of the questions discussed at a public meeting to gather input about the topic this past Tuesday at the Albany Public Library main branch. As Albany police chief Brendan Cox told the media beforehand:
"[Body cameras] can seem very simplistic until you start getting into the nitty gritty and recognize that you're dealing with human beings, you're dealing many times with human beings in crisis, but then you're also dealing with human beings in just regular interactions. So you want to try to get it right. Because you don't want to set up false expectations, you don't want to hurt anybody, you don't want to cause any more trauma. So you really want to try to do your best to set up policies, to set up procedures, and to set up trainings."
The hope is, of course, that officer body cameras will provide more and better information about what happens between the police and the public -- from stuff like complaints about rudeness, all the way up to situations in which a person dies during an interaction with police, such as in the death of Dontay Ivy.
Members of the public at the meeting had a lot of questions about the program. (It sounds like both the police and the public are still sorting through what they think about the idea.) But there were also a lot of suggestions.
Here are four thoughts about the topic...
The Albany Police Department and the Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee are holding a public event to discuss the use of body cameras this Tuesday, February 23 at the Albany Public Library main branch at 6 pm.
Blurbage: "Please join the members o the Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee to discuss the future of body cameras in Albany. A brief presentation will be given, followed by an open floor for questions and comments. ... Your voice is important. Make your voice heard and join us for this important discussion."
APD chief Brendan Cox will be there to give a presentation, according to an APD press release. Last fall the feds announced the city of Albany was getting a grant to help cover the cost of adding officer body cams.
Body cameras for police officers are one of those things that feel inevitable. Between the increased push for better evidence about what happens (or doesn't happen) during police-community interactions, and the falling price of the tech, it's not hard to see an eventual future where every police situation is filmed.
But. Technology is a tool, not necessarily a solution. That's one of the points made by an interesting review of body cams by the think tank Data & Society. A clip from a shorter piece about the review in The Atlantic -- "It's Not Too Late to Get Body Cameras Right" -- by two of its authors, danah boyd and Alex Rosenblat:
The temptation of technology as an accountability tool is not new, but accountability is not done by technology. Accountability is achieved by people and systems using tools like technology as part of their bureaucratic processes. There is effectively a global consensus that body cameras are a good thing to have because everyone has a different idea of what they're agreeing to, a different model of appropriate bureaucracy. The bureaucratic and political battles over policies of use, access, and retention are not yet resolved, and they are significant. Who gets to see the footage, and in what circumstances, will matter. The features and capabilities of the technology matter. What happens when the camera reveals more about what was in the officer's scope than what they could physically see at the time, especially at night? Or when cameras get additional features, like heat sensors? Even on basic practical questions, such as whether and when officers or the public should see the footage, there is no consensus.
So, there's a lot to think about to think about on the topic. And like almost all tech issues, it eventually comes back to how people act and the choices they make.
A crowd of approximately 200+ people gathered outside Albany police headquarters early Friday evening to protest the recent decision by an Albany County grand jury to not hand up indictments of the officers involved in the death of Dontay Ivy this past April in Arbor Hill.
The group Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration organized the rally, and the protesters issued a list of demands at the front doors of APD HQ:
+ That three officers involved in the incident in which Ivy died be fired.
+ That Albany County DA David Soares resign.
+ That the Albany police disarm, and stop using tasers.
+ And that Andrew Cuomo issue a response to the situation.
After the announcement of the demands, organizers called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system, which they described as systematically unjust.
"I feel like my family has not gotten justice," said Ivy's aunt, Celinda Okwuosa, to the crowd. She spoke of her nephew's life, including his struggles with mental illness. And she called for a change in police tactics, including an effort on their part to learn how to better relate to the different communities they serve.
After a few speeches, a group of protesters headed out to Henry Johnson Boulevard and shut down the street by lying down for 13 minutes, representing the length of time between when Ivy was first stopped by police and when he died. The protest then marched down Second Street to the spot where Ivy died.
Here are a few scenes from the protest, along with comments from a handful of people there about ideas for change that could help avoid another incident like the death of Dontay Ivy.
Albany County DA David Soares announced Wednesday afternoon that a grand jury has declined to hand up indictments on criminal charges for three officers involved with the incident in which Donald "Dontay" Ivy, an African-American man, died after being tasered this past April in Albany's Arbor Hill neighborhood.
Ivy, who suffered from schizophrenia and a heart condition, had gone to an ATM at an convenience store near his home that night when he was stopped by police. Officers said they had stopped Ivy because they believed he was acting suspiciously.
Details of the encounter are in a letter summarizing the DA office's investigation of the case that Soares says was sent to mayor Kathy Sheehan, and was also released to the public. It includes a narrative of the encounter -- of the stop, a search, a chase, the use of the taser, Ivy being subdued, Ivy's stopped breathing, and the EMS response -- built from comments by officers and what evidence the DA's office was able to gather.
It also reports that a forensic pathologist who examined Ivy's body -- Dr. Michael Sikirica -- concluded that Ivy had underlying heart conditions that "made him particularly susceptible to a heart attack brought on by the stress of the incident with the police." And in Sikirica's opinion, the taser did not cause Ivy's death, though it did contribute to the stress of the encounter.
The entire letter is embedded here...
The Albany Police Department released the final list of intersections for the city's new red light camera system Friday. There are 20 intersections in all.
Here's the list with some crash stats, along with a clickable map, and a few quick things and thoughts.
Now that red light cameras have been approved for Albany, where will they be set up?
The Albany Police Department is currently sifting through traffic accident and ticket data as it prepares a list of 20 proposed red light camera intersections around the city. APD assistant chief Brendan Cox says the department is hoping to have the list ready by the end of December. Along the way, Cox says APD wants to share what it's learning about intersection crashes and tickets, as well as get public input about potential camera sites.
That was one of the aims of public information session about the program Tuesday afternoon. (There was another session scheduled for Tuesday evening at Albany High School.) Cox shared some preliminary data -- including a list of intersections that are among the sites currently up for consideration.
So, let's have a look.
Starting this week the Albany Police Department is participating in a national study that includes what's sort of like a customer satisfaction survey distributed to people who come into contact with the police department. We get the feeling it's kind like those "rate this experience" surveys that show up on receipts at retail stores and restaurants.
From an APD press release:
As police reports are filed, a letter will be sent to community members asking them to take a survey. The survey is available in Spanish and English and can be taken either online, or by telephone. The online survey can be accessed through a computer or by scanning a QR code with a smart phone or tablet device. The letters will include a special code needed to participate in the survey and ensure that only one survey is completed for each encounter. No one asked to participate in the survey should be concerned that the information could be used in other ways. None of the information will be collected by the Albany Police Department since all survey responses will be managed by the [University of Illinois at Chicago] researchers. The results provided to the agency will not include any information identifying the individual responding to the survey or the officer involved in the contact. Police encounters that involve traffic accidents and stops, as well as most non-violent crimes, will be part of the survey. However, encounters that result from domestic violence, sexual assault, or juveniles will not be surveyed.
As the blurb notes, the surveys are part of an ongoing research project called the National Police Research Platform, which is based on at University of Illinois at Chicago. The APD's participation is part of a second phase for these community surveys that includes police and sheriff's departments across the country.
So why do this?
A clip from a map of vacant -- and no-longer-vacant -- properties in Albany, created by Tim Varney last year. See below.
Lots of interesting bits in this Daily Gazette article by Kathleen Moore about how police in Albany and Schenectady are using data*. Here's a clip, about how Schenectady police have been paying closer attention to car crashes:
By tracking car accidents last fall, Schenectady police pinpointed patrols in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood and saw certain crimes plummet by 12 percent in the last quarter of 2012. They are using the same system to respond proactively to crime throughout the city, in hopes of getting similar results everywhere.
Maps of crashes, drunken-driving arrests and other traffic violations are overlaid with maps of crime reports. Police patrols are sent to the hotspots -- locations where traffic problems and crime are high.
"What we know is, the driver that's risky enough to drive drunk ... is often risky enough to take other risks," said federal Highway Safety Specialist Shannon Purdy. "A lot of criminals are caught at seatbelt checks."
A section about the Albany police department mentions how the APD is using weather forecasts to adjust patrols.
Also: Schenectady mayor Gary McCarthy is working with UAlbany's Center for Technology in Government to build a platform that would allow city departments to share code enforcement data (say, about code enforcement), and share it with Albany and Troy.
That common platform is a good idea. And it's worth pushing even further: Why not created a Capital District consortium for publishing and sharing public data? The org could help develop tools, set common formats, and provide a clearinghouse for sets of public data. It would open the way for more orgs and people to get involved, and even maybe set the stage for new businesses. (NYC is already doing something along these lines.)
Sure, there are obstacles: time, money, attention. And civil liberties issues will probably crop up along the way. But having meaningful access** to data generated by your government is becoming a 21st century civil right.
* Yep, it's a Gazette article, but we have a feeling that link will work for you.
** A pdf that you have to file FOIL for is not meaningful access. It's a start, but we do a lot better.
Earlier on AOA:
+ A future timeline of Watson at RPI
+ Map: vacant -- and no-longer vacant -- buildings in Albany -- created by Tim Varney from data published in a city report last year
Among the assistance that's made its way from the Capital Region to the greater New York City area for Sandy recovery: police cars. The Albany Police Department says it's loaned two of its cars to the Long Beach Police Department on Long Island (that's a photo of one of them on the right).
Long Beach is on a narrow strip of land on the south shore of Long Island, near New York City -- the storm knocked out power, contaminated the water supply, flood buildings, picked up vehicles, and pushed sand through the streets. APD spokesman Steven Smith says a majority of the LBPD's vehicles were damaged during the storm and the New York State Emergency Operations Center sent out a statewide request for police vehicles that could be sent to help. "Chief Krokoff felt that it was very important to assist them during this time of need."
Smith says one of the patrol cars the APD sent is a reserve car and the other was used for training at the police academy. He says there's an agreement to loan the cars for four weeks, with an option to extend the loan if the Long Beach PD still needs the vehicles.
photo: Trooper Patrick Sheufelt, New York State Police via APD
Crime fact of the day: There have been 41 copper burglaries reported to the Albany Police Department in the last 16 months. The APD says 3/4 of the burglaries have been in vacant buildings.
The latest incident involved a vacant, bank-owned house in the Whitehall neighborhood. The APD says a man was arrested for allegedly posing as a contractor in order to strip the house of its copper piping. (Full press release after the jump.)
Copper thefts have been an ongoing problem as prices for the metal have spiked during the last decade. The problem has been so pervasive across the nation -- with thieves ripping off all sorts of piping and wire -- that the FBI reported a few years back that copper theft was a threat to the nation's critical infrastructure. The problem has prompted many states to recently pass laws that require stricter rules for how scrap copper can be sold or bought. [NYT] [FBI] [NCSL]
If you keep an eye out here in the Capital Region, you'll notice there's a copper theft story every week or so. Many of the stories have stuck out for either the audacity (and stupidity) of the people involved, or the consequences of the theft.
A few quick examples:
Albany police say a man was shot by an officer Friday afternoon in uptown Albany, near the intersection of Brevator and Western Ave. From the APD press release:
Police initially received a 911 call at 12:07 p.m. for a emotionally disturbed person heading in the area of Brevator Street near the Campus View Apartments.
The first responding officers located the suspect in the rear parking lot of 6 Brevator Street. During the encounter the suspect was shot in the upper torso.
EMS responded to the scene and had the suspect transported to Albany Medical Center where he is currently undergoing surgery. He was conscious at the time he entered surgery.
Forensic detectives are still at the scene processing and collecting evidence, including one piece of evidence that has the appearance of a gun. ...
The suspect is a white male in his early 20's.
The APD said late Friday afternoon the man was out of surgery and in stable condition. The full press release is after the jump.
Residents of the apartment complex told WTEN that it appeared the man had been holding what looked like a BB gun and did not put the gun down when told to do so by the officers. The Times Union reports there was a Taser with wires extended at the scene of the shooting, with an evidence marker nearby.
Weird: Albany police say a 19-year-old man has admitted to responding to "several dozen" police calls over the past year, representing himself as a detective.
From the APD press release:
On Tuesday evening just after 5:00 p.m. officers investigating a person with a gun call were involved in a brief foot pursuit that led to a arrest for criminal trespass at 273 Third Street. Officer [Michael] Geraci was one of the officers who responded to the call and he located a handgun on Thornton Street. Several minutes after the call went out [Ryan] Mann showed up to the scene on Thornton Street. ...
Mann was wearing eye glasses, had on a blue fleece jacket, dress shirt and tie, khaki pants and shoes. He had a bullet proof vest on and was carrying a portable radio, similar to one that police officers carry.
Officer Geraci initially questioned him at the scene and Mann was brought to the detective division to be interviewed. Mann admitted to responding to several dozen calls over the past year, mostly in the Center Square area. He monitored police calls through a phone application that scans police transmissions, carried a police badge from Oakland, California and would identify himself as Detective Ruff when he encountered people in the public.
The APD says Geraci nabbed Mann after recognizing him from responding to other police calls in the Lark Street area.
There is no indication at this time that Mann specifically targeted anyone or anything for gain or that he was a threat to anyone. He was scheduled for a mental health evaluation.
Mann has been charged with criminal possession of stolen property, but for the moment, not impersonation. APD says it's still investigating.
More details in the full press released pasted after the jump.
Albany Community Television has posted the video of last night's Common Council caucus in which police chief Steven Krokoff recounted how the department viewed the events involved with the removal of Occupy Albany from Academy Park -- for example, he explained that department didn't want to all the tent to parade around the streets again, stopping traffic.
And then he went off on a few members of the council. Here's a transcription of part of his statement:
Shame on a very small group of people in the Occupy Albany movement who chose not to take their frustrations to the court, and translate those frustrations into legal action.
Shame on a small group of people who defied common decency and demonstrated a lack of respect for their fellow human beings.
Shame on a group of people who chose to convolute their own organizational message by conducting themselves without dignity and without concern for their fellow citizens.
Shame on councilman [Dominick] Calsolaro, a leader in this city, who lacked the internal discipline to keep from getting caught up in the emotion and frenzy of those moments. When your department needed your leadership, you were not there.
Shame on councilman [Anton] Konev and councilman [Lester] Freeman, who at every turn seemed to be so willing to distort the truth of any situation, no matter how tragic, and use it for their own personal gain. Shame on them for being too weak to stand for the truth. Shame on you both for mattering so little to yourself and your community that you have to create hate and further half-truths just to feel some sense of relevancy. This entire city has seen the content of your character and I pity you both.
It's remarkable to see a public official call out other officials like that during a public meeting. Later in the meeting Konev called Krokoff's remarks "distasteful" and accused him of using "selective hearing." Calsolaro said he had been asked by constituents to be at the park, and he felt like he was doing his job. Calsolaro also said he had been asking people in the crowd to stay away from the police horse. (It was the mounted officer who ended up using pepper spray during the struggle over the tent.)
The whole video includes responses from the council members, and discussion with Krokoff about the events that night. Krokoff's opening statement starts at the 6:30 mark.
(And be sure to read JCE's tweets from the meeting.)
Earlier on AOA: The eviction of Occupy Albany
screengrab: Albany Community Television
Updated Friday evening
Following the expiration of its permit Thursday morning, Occupy Albany was evicted from Academy Park that afternoon. City of Albany Department of General Services employees dismantled and removed tents as police watched.
Then things went a bit crazy -- Occupiers took their last tent on a tour of the city's streets before returning to the park. That's when police grabbed the last tent, the scene became chaotic, there was pepper spray, and a few arrests.
Here's a photo log of what we saw.
Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that the feds are dropping almost $4 million on the city of Albany to hire more police officers. And Troy is getting $350k to do the same. [KG]
The APD says it will be able to cover the salaries and benefits of 16 new officers for three years with the money. (Related question: what happens after that?) [@JCEvangelist_TU]
There's research that indicates one of the best ways to reduce a city's crime rate is to hire more police officers (police officers are "a bargain" according to one economist), though there's also research that indicates otherwise. During New York's City's famed decline in crime during the 90s, its police department added large numbers of officers to its ranks -- though the crime rate has continued to decline this decade even as the officer count has also receded. (The continued fall in crime rates all around the nation during the past decade has experts kind of baffled.) [Marginal Revolution] [Reason] [NYT] [NYT]
The Albany Police Department has pulled still images from the kegs and eggs riot video and posted them in an effort to identify the alleged rioters. The poster is embedded after the jump.
Said APD chief Steven Krokoff in a letter that accompanied the pics:
The Albany Police Department recognizes that we as a community have an obligation to the colleges, universities and the citizens of Pine Hills to hold those individuals accountable for their actions. Working together to meet this obligation is an important step in demonstrating to the entire nation that a small group of individuals cannot escape their responsibility for tarnishing the name and reputation of the City of Albany, residents, and college and university students.
UAlbany says students involved in the riot could face suspension and expulsion. [TU]
Reminder: the neighborhood cleanup being organized by UAlbany students is this Friday.
The Albany Police Department released video from the February traffic stop at Quail and Spring Streets that involved the driving pinning an officer under a bumper and the officers fatally shooting the driver, Howard Tucker. The TU has posted the video online and it's embedded above.
The video is intense. As Tucker pulls away, the officers yell at him to stop. Tucker swings the car around, almost hits a telephone pole and then plows ahead into officer Kevin Moynihan. The officers then fire on Tucker as the car drives out of frame.
The clip gives you a sense of the extreme pressure the officers must have felt as Tucker careened around the snowy street. It's scary to watch.
The two officers involved in the incident, Moynihan and Christopher Pageau, were cleared by a grand jury in June. The APD said Tucker had tried to speed away when the officers noticed a gun in his car during a traffic stop. The TU reports that Moynihan is back at work and Pageau is out on leave. [YNN] [TU] [TU]
Paterson says he never promised to not lay off state workers, Paladino into the pool for governor, police officers suspended, local family going to White House for Easter egg roll
David Paterson on the deal he struck with the state worker unions last year to trade the new, cheaper pension tier for a no-layoffs pledge: "I never promised I would not lay anyone off." Appearing at an Easter egg hunt in Albany Sunday, the governor said: "it's time for everyone to make a sacrifice." [TU] [WNYT]
Buffalo-area real estate developer Carl Paladino is scheduled to announce this afternoon that he's running for governor as a Republican. He says he's willing to spend $10 million of his own money on the campaign. If he elected, he said: "I will chop and I will chop their budget until they stop their nonsense." The Buffalo news describes Paladino as "outspoken" and "a man of contradictions." [YNN] [AP/Troy Record] [AP/Troy Record] [Buffalo News]
An employee of the state Department of Labor has apparently been assigned to sit at home and call into the office twice a day -- at a salary of $115k/year. [TU]
A Rotterdam family has reached a $5.2 million settlement with two obstetricians and Albany Med over a mother's death following a Caesarean section. The family's attorney said the death was caused by a "cascade of errors." As part of the settlement, Albany Med is funding a 20-year lecture series on patient safety and is investing in equipment for additional training. More than a third of births in New York State are via C-section. [Daily Gazette $] [WTEN] [TU] [TU]
The 12-year-old girl authorities said was forced by her mother to climb through pet doors to assist in robberies, in her victim impact statement: "Tell my mom that I will never forgive her." [TU]
Washington Ave Y closing, track season at Saratoga threatened, little hope for on-time budget, police say teen party caused $200k in damage
The Washington Ave YMCA will close March 31, according to a letter dated March 11 from Capital District YMCA president David Brown. The letter cites the $400,000 annual loss from the Washington Ave location and calls the decision to close the branch "very painful and difficult." The Y has said the location has been losing money for the last two decades. [Save the Y Facebook] [TU] *
A state police report on the fatal police car crash on Madison Ave in Albany last summer concludes that both drivers were at fault, according to the APD. The primary fault was laid with the civilian driver, who the report concludes failed to yield to the oncoming police car. The driver has said she didn't hear the car's siren (the report concluded the car's siren was on). The report says "secondary contributing factor" to the crash was the "failure to drive with reasonable care for all persons using the highway" on the part of APD officer Christopher Orth. [Troy Record] [WTEN] [TU] [Fox23]
Leaders of New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc say "there will be no Saratoga race meet this summer" if that state doesn't find a way to get $15 million to NYRA -- either by fixing the bankrupt NYC OTB or finding a new winning bidder for the Aqueduct racino contract. Saratoga business owners are anxiously watching the situation. [NYTB] [TU] [WTEN]
Potential bidders for the Aqueduct racino apparently believe that the contract is step towards the legalization of casino gambling in New York State. [NYT]
State police say a man pulled over for driving the wrong way on 787 Saturday afternoon had a blood alcohol level almost three times the legal limit. [WNYT] [YNN] CapNews9 is now YNN
Cuomo hands off Paterson investigation, movie theater planned for Troy, Porco conviction upheld, bizarre chase ends in tasering
Andrew Cuomo has handed off the investigation of the Paterson administration to former chief judge Judith Kaye. Cuomo said a "preliminary review" of the situation concluded "there are credible issues to be resolved." He said he was turning the investigation over to Kaye because of an "abundance of caution, or a zeal to ensure that the public has total confidence in the investigation." (The sharp drop in Cuomo's approval rating in a recent poll might also have had something to do with that.) Kaye has never worked as a prosecutor. She won't be paid to head up the investigation. [NYT] [TU] [Daily Politics] [NY Mag] [NYT] [Daily Politics]
The Paterson administration announced that the tentative agreement with AEG to run a racino at Aqueduct is now off the table. The deal would have paid the state $300 million and revenue from the racino would have helped fund NYRA -- including improvements at Saratoga. That has some now saying that this year's season at The Track could be in jeopardy. [NYT] [TU] [Saratogian] [Saratogian]
Testimony in the Steven Raucci trial yesterday focused an explosive device that attached to the door of a Rotterdam home in 2001. Prosecutors allege that Raucci planted the device in attempt to retaliate over a union matter -- but they say he put it on the wrong house. [Daily Gazette $] [TU]
The Saratoga County sheriff's deputy accused of forcing four women to perform sex acts on him while he was on duty took a plea bargain yesterday. The deal includes six months in jail and a resignation from the sheriff's department. He won't have to register as a sex offender. [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6] [WNYT] [Saratogian]
A $160 million development proposed for the Congress-Ferry corridor in Troy includes a movie theater. The city's planning board also gave the official OK to the new Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which is now expected to open in August. [TU Places and Spaces] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [CapNews9]
Cuomo to investigate Paterson, Bruno sentencing pushed back, guily plea for mom accused of using daughter in burglaries, big snowfall totals in spots
Andrew Cuomo has reportedly agreed to David Paterson's request that the AG investigate Paterson aide David Johnson, the actions of the state police and the governor himself. Paterson announced last night that he had suspended Johnson after the New York Times posted an article in which it reported that a woman had sought an order of protection against Johnson -- and both the State Police and Paterson intervened in some way. [NY Post] [Paterson press release] [NYT]
Joe Bruno's attorney have reached an agreement with the feds on how much money the former state senator will have to forfeit as part of his sentencing. The figure hasn't been released, but it will probably be some portion of the $240k he was accused of receiving fraudulently. Bruno's sentencing has also been pushed to May 6. [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [Troy Record]
The state Senate passed the Family Health Care Decisions Act yesterday. The bill allows a surrogate to make decision on behalf of patient whom doctors have determined lacks decision-making capacity. The bill has already passed the Assembly -- and David Paterson reportedly will sign it. [NY Senate] [TU]
Albany County DA David Soares told the TU's editorial board yesterday that the Albany Police Department is "doing greater work in that department without the former chief there." At a community forum last night, residents suggested interview questions for the eight police chief candidates. [TU] [CapNews9]
Snow emergencies taking effect, brake on paid parking in Saratoga, medical marijuana comes up in legislature, rabid raccoons in Rensselaer County
We got more than six inches of snow yesterday, according to the National Weather Service (obviously, there's been more since midnight). More snow is forecasted for today. Many cities and towns have declared snow emergencies (including Albany and Saratoga Springs). National Grid was reporting on its web site this morning that about 15,000 customers were without power in the Capital Region. [NWS] [CapNews9] [National Grid]
The advisory panel for paid parking in downtown Saratoga Springs voted to reject all four of the plans submitted by contractors. One panel member called all the plans "totally flawed." The proposed 2010 budget for the city includes $1.35 million in revenue from parking. [Daily Gazette $] [Saratogian] [Post-Star]
Troy's city council voted 4-4 on the sale of the Uncle Sam parking garage -- which pretty much kills the deal. The developer who wanted to buy the garage now says he might pull out of the city. [TU] [Troy Record]
Second teen pleads guilty in Bailey case, Paterson says he gets advice from Spitzer, Murphy talks about Afghanistan trip, appeals court ruling in mall peace tshirt case
Ricardo Caldwell, one of the three teens accused of being involved in the shooting death of UAlbany student Richard Bailey, took a plea deal yesterday that requires him to testify against the alleged shooter, De Von Callicut. The third teen that was charged -- King Modest -- took a similar plea deal in January. [TU] [Troy Record]
Albany police say investigators have not yet met with the two officers involved in the fatal shooting this week on Quail Street. [TU]
A group of citizens -- including UAlbany students -- testified at last night's Albany common council meeting that they don't think the police chief search has been open enough to public input. [WTEN] [WNYT]
A spokesman for David Paterson called the New York Times' latest profile of the governor (perhaps the article that had been the subject of so many rumors) a "gossip-laden, subjective, and poorly-sourced narrative." [NYT] [press release]
David Paterson says he talks to Eliot Spitzer "from time to time and get[s] advice from him." [NY Post]
Two people have filed a lawsuit against the Schenectady school district alleging that top district did nothing after being warned about Steven Raucci. [Daily Gazette $]
Multiple shootings over the weekend, stats indicate drop in Troy crime, Tedisco calls for tougher animal laws, big research grant for Siena
Schenectady police say a woman was shot in the face Sunday morning in her apartment in Mont Pleasant (map). Police say witnesses reported that a man had been ringing the woman's door bell repeatedly and then kicked in her door. The SPD says it's looking for the suspect. [Fox23] [TU] [Daily Gazette $]
Albany police say a woman was shot yesterday evening on Broad Street. [Fox23]
Colonie police are investigating the death of a man found outside a muffler shop on Central Ave Saturday (map). The man's body was reportedly leaning against a building. Police say no cause of death was found during the initial autopsy -- foul play is not suspected. [CapNews9] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [Fox23]
The City of Troy reported that federal stats indicate the city's overall crime rate was down 2.5 percent last year compared to the year before -- and violent crime was down 11 percent. [City of Troy Facebook]
An arbitrator has ruled that an Albany cop accused of pointing a gun at a clerk should serve a 30 day suspension. [TU]
Paterson to propose budget today, questions about APD chief salary, protest planned for Bruno fundraiser, the "conscious" candy machine
David Paterson is scheduled to release his 2010-2011 budget proposal today.
Last night's special session of the legislature didn't include action on the proposal to increase the state's cap on the number of charter schools (though senators did find time to squabble over parliamentary procedure). The state has until 4:30 today to file its application for $700 million in federal funding -- and removal of the charter school cap is seen as a key part of that application. [AP/Post-Star] [TU] [Fox23] [TU]
As Albany searches for a new police chief, the question has come up: does the job pay enough? [TU]
State of the State today, hundreds show up for save-the-Y meeting, Some Girls "in jeopardy," Murphy says he was "clotheslined" in the House
David Paterson is scheduled to deliver his State of the State address this afternoon at 1 pm (webcast). He's expected to propose a set of reforms aimed at fighting political corruption. Among the proposals: terms limits for legislators and a requirement that legislators disclose their outside income. [NYT] [TU]
The executive director of the Capital District YMCA said last night at a community meeting that the Washington Ave location -- which is on the verge of closing -- lost almost $400k last year. He said the location currently has 1800 memberships -- and, to stay open, needs 2500 by April and 3500 by the end of the year. About 400 people showed up for the meeting. [TU] [@sebastienbarre] [ACO]
The Duanesburg Central School District announced yesterday that almost $3 million had been stolen from its accounts electronically last month. The district says about $2.5 million has been recovered. The theft came to light after the district's bank flagged a transaction to an overseas bank account. A district official says they thought they had "the proper safeguards in place" to prevent such a crime. The FBI and state police are investigating. The district says it does not believe the theft was an inside job. The district has a budget of $15 million. [Daily Gazette $] [CapNews9] [CBS6] [WTEN] [Fox23] [TU] [WNYT]
Much like the Schenectady PD, the APD has been using Twitter mostly to publicize arrest reports (including mug shots). But it's also included a few tweets about in-progress investigations and links to press releases about crimes.
This is a positive development and we applaud the effort (maybe they could follow a few people, too). Of course, we'd love to see more -- like crime reports published in a structured format.
Thruway tolls went up five percent on Sunday, for both cash and EZ-Pass. State comptroller Tom DiNapoli criticized the increase, calling it "the last thing New Yorkers need now." [AP/Saratogian] [Fox23] [NYS OSC] [WNYT]
A 78-year-old woman was killed in Schenectady Saturday night after she was struck by a pick-up truck while crossing State Street near Proctors. The woman had been volunteering at the theater. The SPD says it's investigating the accident. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Fox23] [CapNews9]
Troy police say a man stole an idling SUV -- with two kids in it -- from outside a grocery store Friday morning. The TPD says the kids were found 45 minutes later, unharmed, along with the SUV. They say the suspect was arrested later that day. [Troy Record] [TU] [Troy Record]
Officials from the YMCA will be holding a meeting with the public this week to talk about what might be done to save the Washington Ave location in Albany. [Troy Record]
The Albany school district will be switching to a lottery system for filling slots in its pre-k programs. The old system was first-come-first-pick-wait-all-night. [TU]
Troy budget veto overridden, APD leaning toward community policing, Paterson looking for a "hand back," trailer runs into overpass
The Troy city council voted to override Harry Tutunjian's budget veto last night -- and now Tutunjian says he'll take the issue to court. The mayor says he would go jail before certifying what he calls an "imbalanced" budget. He also accused members of the city council of lying and distorting the truth. Council president Clement Campana said the council was within its rights to adjust the mayor's budget. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [@TroyMayor] [CapNews9]
The Albany police department appears to be leaning toward an embrace of community policing again. (Question: Why are fundamental policy decisions being made before a new chief comes on board?) [TU]
Now that Colonie has tightened its rules on motels that house sex offenders, Albany County Social Services has been placing them in homeless shelters and apartments in the city of Albany, according to a county spokesperson. [TU]
Day six in Bruno trial, marriage equality vote protest, details in Colonie soldier's death, residents weigh in on APD chief, Albany in-flight
Day six of deliberations is underway in the trial of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. Yesterday jurors heard a three hour read-back of testimony from former Senate attorney and current judge Francis T. Collins. Collins testified early in November that he had sparse information on Bruno's outside business dealings when he was asked to give an ethical opinion about them. The jury has reached a verdict on two counts, but is still considering six counts. Bruno was optimistic enough about his own situation yesterday to comment on someone else's problems. [TU] [News9]
About 150 people showed up last night to protest the senates vote against gay marriage. Eight Democrats joined all the Senate Republicans in voting against the Marriage Equality Act this week. Governor Paterson is a strong proponent of marriage equality, but there's some question as to how involved he was in lobbying Senators to pass the act. Paterson's sagging popularity may be the reason same-sex marriage advocates did not seek his support for a final push. [AOA] [NYT]
The debate over how to close the NYS budget gap continues. Governor Paterson claims the legislature's efforts to close the gap this week don't go far enough. Paterson continues to claim he'll cut spending further, saying "I'm going to do it even without their permission, and if they want to take me to court, they can sue me, but I will not let this state run out of money on my watch." [WXXI via DailyPolitics]
Former State comptroller Alan Hevesi may have accepted bribes from a California investment banker who pleaded guilty in Andrew Cuomo's Pension Fraud investigation. Hevesi is believed to have taken 75 thousand dollars in luxury vacations for himself and his family while he was in office. Also named in the investment banker's confession -- former "Mod Squad" actress Peggy Lipton. [NYP]
Porco appeal focuses on nod, state budget gap deal could be close, job cuts at Skidmore, police say 11-year-old called 911 on alleged robbers, CDTA bus bursts into flames
The judges hearing Christopher Porco's appeal in a Brooklyn state appellate court yesterday focused on the admissibility of the nod that detectives say Joan Porco made indicating Christopher was responsible for the attack. Joan Porco says she has no memory of the crime -- and the defense argued that prevented Christopher from being able to confront his accuser. The prosecution argued that the defense just missed its chance to have Joan Porco testify that she didn't remember. Christopher Porco is currently serving 50 years in state prison for the murder of his father and attempted murder of his mother. [TU] [Fox23] [CapNews9] [Troy Record]
A deal to close the state budget gap could be near. Or not. Members of the legislature indicated last night that they had put together a plan to cut $2.8 billion (from the $3+ billion gap), which borrows almost $400 million federal education aid from next year for this year's budget. David Paterson said that wasn't good enough -- and announced that he would move to withhold payments to local governments in order to keep the state solvent. [TU] [NYDN] [Daily Politics] [NYT]
The board overseeing redevelopment of the Harriman State Office Campus announced yesterday that Columbia Development has been picked to develop the site. Officials with Columbia have close ties to Jerry Jennings, which prompted a competing developer to accuse the board of making a politically motivated choice. [CapNews9] [TU]
Investigators hope to pull DNA from bone fragments, big development planned for Troy, Paterson's deadline could be January, police car license plates stolen
Law enforcement officials say they found a jaw bone containing teeth near the site of the skull fragments in Greenfield. The hope is they'll be able to extract DNA evidence from the teeth. Forensic testing is expected to take weeks. Officials say the child-sized skull could be evidence in a handful of missing persons cases -- but they say it's unlikely the fragments belong to Jaliek Rainwalker. [Saratogian] [TU] [CapNews9] [WNYT] [Fox23]
The union that represents Troy firefighters is using a house fire this past weekend to continue its push for more staffing at the station on Boulton Road (the station near RPI). They say it took crews an extra three minutes to respond to the fire because they were short staffed -- and that delay may have resulted in a firefighter sustaining minor injuries. The union would like to see two more firefighters added to the crew at the station. [Troy Record] [TU] [WTEN] [WNYT]
Jurors watch video of father's admission, teacher alleges assessment test cheating, reported indictment in alleged plot against former DA, bank moves to foreclose on Cannon Building
Jurors in the trial of Adrian Thomas, the Troy man accused of causing the death of his infant son, watched video of his interrogation yesterday in which he demonstrated how he threw his son down on a bed. The demonstration came after hours of interrogation and a good cop/bad cop routine by Troy police detectives. Thomas' defense is arguing the admission was coerced. [WTEN][TU] [Troy Record]
NYRA has extended next year's Saratoga racing season by four days -- for a total of 40 days. The extended season will include a Grade 1 stakes race that was previously held at Belmont. Saratoga business owners seemed pretty happy about the longer season. [TU] [Post-Star] [Saratogian]
Downtown Saratoga business owners aren't so happy about the proposed plan for paid parking. [Saratogian]
One of the teachers who alleges that she was being secretly videotaped at an Albany charter school has accused the school of letting students cheat on assessment tests. The executive director of the Brighter Choice foundation, which backs the school, says they're looking into the "serious allegations." [Troy Record] [CapNews9]
Albany police say a 19-year-old was stabbed in the Grand Street neighborhood yesterday afternoon (map). The man was reportedly in critical condition last night. Police say it appears the stabbing was part of a street fight. Neighbors held a peace vigil near the scene of the crime yesterday evening. [CBS6] [CapNews9] [Fox23] [TU]
Speculation about Tuffey's resignation, state Ed Department looking into kegger, Bethlehem cops go weeding, new row houses planned for Center Square
Speculation continues about the departure of Albany police chief James Tuffey. His retirement announcement -- by many accounts sudden -- came after a group of department commanders retained legal counsel and told city hall they would not deny a incident in which Tuffey is accused of using a racial slur. Mayor Jerry Jennings says he did not ask Tuffey to resign. The union that represents Albany police officers is saying that the resignation was forced with the help of the department's command staff -- and is accusing the city of using Tuffey's departure to stall contract negotiations with the union. [TU] [CapNews9] [WNYT] [Fox23] [Troy Record]
Jennings says there will be a "national search" for a candidate to replace Tuffey. Because of a charter change in 2007, the Common Council will have veto power over the mayor's choice for the position. Common Council president Shawn Morris says she wants Jennings to talk with the council about criteria for the candidate search. Citing Jennings' five other picks for chief, Morris said, "It's time to broaden the search." [CapNews9] [TU] [CBS6] [CBS6]
The New York State Education Department now says it will be looking into photos that popped up on Facebook of a Schenectady school board member and his wife -- a teacher -- at a kegger celebrating their son's high school graduation. Schenectady's schools superintendent says the district is "looking at [the situation] internally." [WTEN] [Upstream] [TU]
Albany police chief James Tuffey is retiring. His last official day will be Saturday.
The statement announcing his retirement doesn't mention why he's leaving. Tuffey's been under fire recently for a string of problems. Among them: lapsed certification as a police officer (for which he went on leave), the ghost ticket situation and, most recently, a racially-insensitive remark he's accused of making about the Richard Bailey case.
Tuffey's leadership of the department has been an issue in the mayoral contest. Corey Ellis, who's challenging mayor Jerry Jennings in the Democratic primary, has been critical of the way Tuffey has deployed (or not deployed) officers in neighborhoods. And in June -- during the controversy over Tuffey's lapsed police officer certification -- Ellis called for Tuffey to be fired.
[CBS6] [Fox23] [TU] [AOA] [TU]
Shooting in uptown Albany, Paterson lashes out at media, concerns about pollution at Cohoes factory, GloFo tapping local firms
Albany police say man was shot outside his apartment on Manning Blvd in uptown Albany last night (map). The man reportedly was sitting in car when he took multiple shots in his upper body. A neighbor drove him to the hospital. The APD says it hasn't identified a motive. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [CapNews9]
The Albany cop car involved in last week's crash that killed a man in a civilian car on Madison Ave did not have an installed video camera. In fact, none of the APD's cars have cameras even though chief James Tuffey said more than a year ago that the squad's fleet would be getting them. [TU]
The median price for single family homes in the Capital Region was down 10 percent in July compared to the same month last year (median prices are down 5 percent for the year). The number of closed sales was about the same, though. That has real estate agents speculating that the market has reached its bottom. [GCAR] [TU]
David Paterson said on Friday that media has treated his administration unfairly because of his ethnicity. Later in the day Paterson said he hadn't accused the media of being racist, but rather said "certain media outlets have engaged in coverage that exploits racial stereotypes." In his original comments, Paterson the press would next go after Barack Obama for the same reason -- and apparently that assertion didn't go over well with the White House. [Daily Politics] [Daily Politics] [NY Post]
A Democratic state senator from Staten Island says David Paterson's impaired vision is making it hard for him to be an effective governor. [SI Advance]
Murder in Albany, Schenectady cops could get tasers, Hudson river dredging stopped again, Cohoes considers closing barn door
Albany police say a man was shot and killed in his apartment on Western Ave Sunday morning. They say they don't have a suspect, but it appears that shooter was someone the man knew. The location of this shooting, 158 Western Ave, is less than half-a-mile from where UAlbany student Richard Bailey was shot last year. [CBS6] [TU] [Google Maps]
Among the details from the state auditor's Albany ghost ticket report: a former Albany cop was put on the VIP list after he complained about getting tickets while working at his job at the state Education Department -- he then racked up 573 no-fine tickets. Jerry Jennings released a statement Friday that said his administration would be working with the Common Council to "quickly adopt a corrective action plan" for the city's parking ticket system. Said mayoral candidate Corey Ellis in statement released Friday: ""This report clearly shows that Mayor Jennings' administration is incapable of properly managing the issuance and collection of parking fines, a system that should be simple and straightforward." [AOA] [TU] [CapNews9] [Ellis press release not online]
Schenectady police chief Mark Chaires says he pushing for the department's officers to get tasers. The family of the man shot and killed by the SPD last week questioned why a non-lethal measure wasn't used in that situation. [TU] [CapNews9]
The state announced it will be building a new $40 million food safety lab at the Harriman State Office Campus. Where that leaves the plan to turn the campus over to private development is apparently anyone's guess. [Troy Record] [TU]
Included in the state comptroller's report about the Albany ghost tickets are lists of people and organizations who received the no-fine parking tickets.
We've pulled the lists from the report and dropped them into sortable tables...
Update: We pulled the lists of people who received ghost tickets from the report.
The state comptroller's office has posted its report on the Albany ghost ticket investigation.
Here are a few highlights (if that's the word)...
GE officially announces new plant in Schenectady, Ellis calls for review of ambulance service, feds say Central American gang members picked up, toward nanobioscience
GE has officially announced that it will be building a new battery plant at the GE Energy campus off Erie Blvd in Schenectady. The plant is expected to cost $100 million and create 350 jobs. GE is getting a package of grants and incentives worth $20 million from New York State and Schenectady Metroplex. The plant will make batteries based on technology developed at the company's research center in Niskayuna. [Daily Gazette $] [CapNews9] [TU] [Fox23]
Albany police detective George McNally pleaded guilty yesterday to drunk driving and reckless driving. McNally careened through Albany and Delmar after leaving a bar on New Scotland Ave this past January. As part of the plea deal, he'll pay a fine, do community service, and his license will be revoked -- though he'll be able to drive for work. [TU] [CapNews9]
Albany mayoral candidate Corey Ellis has called for a review of ambulance service in the city. Ellis says the review is necessary because of Mohawk Ambulance's delay in arriving at the scene of the fatal crash involving a kid on a bike and a car. Jerry Jennings accused Ellis of politicizing the tragedy. [Ellis press release not online] [TU]
The state Senate will be back in session today for what's expected to be a short, "very vanilla" session. [TU]
Paterson says he will force Senate into session, judge snagged in DWI sweep, bristling at being New York's pay toilet, vinyl records store opens in Schenectady
David Paterson says he will call the state Senate into special session tomorrow if the body doesn't get to work today. Said Paterson yesterday of all the drama: "Over the last couple of weeks, the senators' conduct has been laughable." Paterson says Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman would preside over the special session -- a provision that some say could be unconstitutional or create a conflict of interest. The session would focus on "emergency" issues such as the sale tax extension for some counties. Not on that list: same-sex marriage, though Paterson says he intends for the Senate to vote on the bill before the summer break. [TU] [NYDN] [PolitickerNY] [Daily Politics] [NYT]
Two things that might prompt Senators to start moving: they can't hook up their cronies with patronage jobs until the situation's resolved; and all their pork is currently locked in the barrel. [TU] [TU]
Police say an Albany County family court judge was snagged as part of the county-wide drunk driving sweep last Thursday. Green Island police say the judge tried to evade a checkpoint at the Troy-Green Island Bridge and led police on a short chase. [TU] [Troy Record]
The Albany Police Department is reportedly trying to fire two members of the force -- the detective accused of driving drunk through Albany into Bethlehem in February; and the sergeant who's been accused of trying to cover for the detective. [TU]
Senate drama staggers forward, calls for Tuffey to be fired, APD starts rewards for tips program, it's DMB weekend in Saratoga
The state Senate -- or, at least, part of it -- went into session yesterday... for about 20 minutes. Hiram Monserrate -- one of the Democratic switchers -- walked out, bring the session to a halt. Monserrate said he's trying to bring more Democrats into the coalition -- but other suspect he's playing both sides in an attempt to the score the best deal. [TU] [NYT] [NYDN] [NYP]
Another hold up in the Senate yesterday: Democrats locked the cabinet that holds the bills.
Most of the action yesterday was in court, where Democrats tried to challenge the overthrow. The didn't win much -- and they'll be back in court today. However, they did get an order blocking Pedro Espada, who's (maybe?) the new Senate president pro tem, from becoming acting governor were something to happen to David Paterson. Apparently some are concerned that Espada could issue pardons if Paterson traveled out of state -- even a pardon to... himself. [AP/Daily Gazette] [Daily Politics] [TU]
Espada is apparently trying to pull other Democrats into the coalition by pushing for a vote on the same-sex marriage bill. [Daily Politics]
The big issue in the background of this whole struggle: redistricting. [Newsday]
Now that Albany police chief James Tuffey is back at work in an administrative role, Shawn Morris and Corey Ellis -- both mayoral candidates -- are calling for him to be fired. Tuffey said he's not going anywhere. Jerry Jennings says he still supports Tuffey: "I run this city. They don't run this city. I made this decision, I'll stand by it." [TU] [Fox23]
Senate drama grinds on, land deal closed for chip fab, Tuffey back on the job, man tasered in burning house, winery planned near Saratoga
The state Senate stayed locked -- literally -- yesterday as the Republican led coalition tried to solidify its backing and Democrats tried to regain the upper hand (it looks like they'll be challenging the takeover in court). Pedro Espada, the possibly-new Senate president pro tem, said the chamber would open today -- and he proudly displayed the key to the locked room (though he wouldn't say how he obtained it). David Paterson scolded the Senate yesterday, urging its members to "to act like adults." [TU] [TU] [AP/Daily Gazette] [NYDN]
The senator-of-the-moment is Hiram Monserrate, the other Democratic switcher. It seems he might be playing both sides in a bid to get the best deal. Said one unidentified legislator: "Hiram is driving the train. God help us all." Monserrate seemed to indicate yesterday that he's sticking with the Republican-led coaltion. One apparent undercurrent to this drama is increasing friction between Latino and African American legislators (both Espada and Monserrate are Latino). [NYT] [Newsday] [Buffalo News] [Daily Politics] [NYT]
Part of yesterday's proceedings outside the Senate chamber: a clown -- who was apparently hired by the New York Post. [PolitickerNY]
GlobalFoundries closed on the land for the Luther Forest chip fab yesterday. GloFo bought 223 acres for $7.8 million. Land clearing is scheduled to start next week and construction in late July. The signed deal had Saratoga County officials celebrating what one person described as a "10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle". Others were a bit more in-your-face. Said the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce president: "To everyone who said it wouldn't happen: 'See you, suckers!'" [Daily Gazette] [Biz Review] [TU] [Post-Star] [Saratogian]
State concludes Tuffey's police officer certification expired, murder on Central Ave, student sues former Union roommate for $1 million, Friday's biz reportedly down after snakehead
A state agency has concluded that Albany police chief James Tuffey's certification as a police officer has expired. Tuffey can still serve as an "administrative" police chief -- but he can't carry a firearm. (Tuffey turned in his department-issued gun last week.) Common council president -- and mayor candidate -- Shawn Morris has called for mayor Jerry Jennings to fire to Tuffey for carrying a gun without a permit. [TU] [CapNews9]
A man was shot and killed Saturday morning at a club on Central Ave in Albany (map). Police say they have no suspects or motive. It was third time this man had been shot in his life -- he'd been hit by bullets twice as a teenager. [Troy Record] [Daily Gazette] [TU]
That state pension fund dropped almost 29 percent during the last fiscal year and that will probably mean... wait for it... higher taxes. [TU]
The state budget crunch hasn't stopped David Paterson from making frequent use of state aircraft. [TU]
Friday's asks state police to look into snake head, parking official's wife's car got ghost tickets, landfill fined for stinkiness, Skidmore students accused of beat down, rooster finds new home, Tulip Queen crowned
TGI Friday's says the an independent lab has concluded that the snake head found in a side order of broccoli at its restaurant in Clifton Park was added after the veggies were cooked. The company says it's asked the State Police to open a criminal investigation. [TU] [AP/Daily Gazette]
GlobalFoundries says it won't buy the land for the Luther Forest chip fab until it can work out an agreement with construction unions -- and David Paterson's office is participating in the negotiations. Even with all the recent hype, the project still has some doubters. [TU] [Biz Review] [TU]
The vehicle registered to the wife of Albany's Parking Violations Bureau director received 70 ghost tickets, according to documents obtained by the TU. Albany treasurer Betty Barnette has said that her office, which includes the parking violations bureau, had no knowledge of the ghost ticket program. [TU]
A federal appeals court has upheld the $265,000 in damages awarded to a man who says an Albany cop violated his civil rights during an arrest in 2002. The cop -- who's had numerous complaints filed against him -- is still on the job. [TU]
Advocates for same-sex marriage have put together a coordinated campaign to lobby potential swing votes in the state Senate. Many senators have yet to say publicly how they'll vote on the issue. [NYT]
The state Senate and its slim Democratic majority have been quite the drama lately as small groups of senators have tried to get theirs by holding out on various bills. And now this: Kevin Parker, a senator from Brooklyn, has been charged with a felony for allegedly wailing on a New York Post photographer -- Parker is, perhaps fittingly, also the sponsor of legislation that would legalize ultimate fighting in the state. [NYT] [NYT] [NYP] [NYP]
Chuck Schumer has asked the Federal Trade Commissioner to look into those "your car warranty is about to expire" scam telemarketing calls. Apparently Schumer had had enough after he got a fourth call on his mobile last week. [AP/TU] [NYT]
Paterson proposes spending cap, man arrested after 29 years on the run, more suspected H1N1 cases test negative, Schenectady's empty neighborhoods
David Paterson has proposed capping increases in state spending at the average rate of inflation over the previous three years. Paterson says a cap "will force government to live within its means." The Governor says that if such a cap was already in place, the state would have spent $17 billion less over the last five years. A spending cap would probably have to be added to the state constitution to have any real effect. [AP/Saratogian] [NYDN] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [NYT]
Police arrested a Troy man yesterday who had escaped from a Tennessee prison 29 years ago. Robert T. Henry had been serving a 15 year sentence there for robbery. Henry apparently saw that Tennessee officials were looking for him as part of a sweep of old fugitive cases -- and he contacted them to proclaim his innocence. Henry says he was pardoned, though there doesn't seem to be a record of it. Though he apparently kept an apartment, police say he told them he'd been living in Prospect Park. [Troy Record] [TU] [Tennessean] [CapNews9] [Fox23]
The sister of Albany police chief James Tuffey testified before the Common Council last night that her daughter's car did not carry a bull's eye sticker when it was involved in a 2007 crash. The TU has reported that Albany cops didn't ticket the chief's niece for the crash because she had a sticker. [TU]
Officials say they're prepping for swine flu, more ghost ticket testimony, ACP student's skull cracked in assault, phoning while driving sweep nets hundreds, rock snot
There have now been 28 confirmed cases of swine flu in New York State -- all of them in NYC. The state Department of Health says it expects to see more cases emerge. State and local officials say they're prepping in case the influenza strain spreads elsewhere in the state. The state has set up a swine flu hotline and info page: 1-800-808-1987. [NYT] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [NYS DoH]
The head of the Albany police union testified under oath last night before the Common Council about the ghost ticket scandal. Christian Mesley reiterated his earlier assertion that APD chief James Tuffey wasn't totally forthcoming in his comments about the tickets. Mesley was testifying as an officer -- not as union head -- and some council members say they suspect they didn't get the full story as a result. [TU] [Fox23]
David Paterson says he's issuing an executive order requiring that any need state mandate on local governments will have to include funding the new rule. Paterson says the order should help slow the increase of property taxes. The governor also said yesterday that state's fiscal outlook later this year "may not be as bad we first thought." [TU] [AP/Troy Record]
State is monitoring swine flu situation, murder in Schenectady, Angelina makes shows up, baby born on Thruway, Fountain Day draws record crowd
David Paterson says the state is monitoring the swine flu situation, but doesn't see "any real danger ahead." There have been eight confirmed cases of swine flu in Queens. (Some perspective.) [Fox23] [NYT] [NYT]
The 911 call in which an off-duty Schenectady cop followed an allegedly drunk off-duty Albany police detective driving through Albany and Delmar indicates that the APD may have held off on pursuing the detective. According to the off-duty Schenectady cop's comments on the call, the APD detective could barely stand and almost hit cars coming in the opposite direction. [TU]
"Several" Albany Common Council members tell the TU that Jerry Jennings' executive assistant has been trying to convince them to drop the council's investigation of the ghost ticket scandal. [TU]
A man was shot and killed in the parking lot of
Scott Murphy said Jim Tedisco concession was a "very gracious" end to the special election. With about 700 ballots still uncounted, Murphy was up 399 votes on Tedisco Friday afternoon. Murphy got a congratulatory call from President Obama. Republicans, wondering how they lost again in a district with more enrolled Republicans than Democrats, pointed to a lack of party unity and backfiring negative ads as contributing factors to Tedisco's loss. There's speculation now that Tedisco could be on his way out of the Assembly. Murphy wouldn't say on Friday whether he plans to run again next year. [Daily Gazette] [NYS BoE] [Saratogian] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [PolitickerNY]
Angelina Jolie was in town yesterday to shoot scenes for Salt (video -- pics of the crew and shot setup). It seems locals can't get enough of gawking at the scene. Apparently the paparazzi prefer NYC, though. Oh, Brad Pitt was not here -- he was in Niagara Falls. [TU] [TU] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [TU] [Telegraph UK] [TU] [Buffalo News]
Conviction in triple murder case, special election absentee ballot counting starts this week, Albany Med expansion on hold, woman arrested for false mugging report, bobblehead lineup announced
Jovan Underdue was convicted yesterday of the triple murder in Albany last January. Underdue now faces life in prison without parole. His attorney says they will appeal. [TU]
The Albany Common Council voted unanimously last night to issue a subpoena to the president of the Albany Police Officers Union as part of the ghost ticket investigation. It's the first the time the council has issued a subpoena in 80 years. [TU]
A state Supreme Court judge ruled Monday that the count of paper absentee ballots in the 20th Congressional District special election will start Wednesday. After a re-check of voting machines in Saratoga County, the state Board of Elections reports that Jim Tedisco leads Scott Murphy by 97 votes. But a more up-to-date unofficial count has Murphy up by 83 (the numbers will keep changing as more votes re-checked and/or counted). [TU] [Saratogian] [PolitickerNY]
Central New York Assemblyman Brian Kolb officially replaced Jim Tedisco as state Assembly minority leader yesterday. Tedisco stepped down/was pushed from the position because of his involvement in the special Congressional election. [NYT] [TU]
According to state police, John Sweeney told troopers he was in "big trouble" during his traffic stop for suspected DWI this past weekend. The Saratoga County DA says he expects Sweeney to enter an inpatient treatment program for alcoholism. [TU] [Troy Record]
Dalai Lama visit cancelled, Sweeney picked up for DWI again, Tuffey's niece had bull's eye sticker, another Schenectady HS suicide, school district ordered to pay for not preventing beating, Albany Freenet expanding
A representative for the Dalai Lama tells the TU that the Buddhist spiritual leader will not be coming to Albany as planned. It seems concerns surrounding the sponsor organization's ties to NXIVM, the controversial "personal growth" training org, caused the Dalai Lama's people to reconsider. [TU]
The state Senate finished passing the budget bills Friday night. Assessments of the budget differed greatly between the two parties. Even with passage in both houses, the contents of the budget aren't entirely clear -- and it may have to be revised later this year. [TU] [Daily Politics] [NYT]
At the least for the moment, the vote totals for Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy are exactly tied. That number is almost sure to change as five counties have yet to finish re-checking the numbers on their voting machines. Tedisco announced Friday that he was stepping down as Assembly minority leader to "focus on his transition to Congress" -- though he also said he's not declaring victory. It seems Assembly Republicans were also keen to push him out of the position. The Saratoga Springs regional office for the 20th Congressional District has temporarily re-opened with its old staff while the election is sorted out. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [NYT] [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star]
Former Congressman John Sweeney was arrested early Sunday morning for allegedly driving drunk on Route 9 in Clifton Park. This is Sweeney's second DWI arrest, which bumped the charge up to a felony. Earlier in Sweeney's career he served as Rensselaer County's STOP-DWI coordinator. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]
Among those who had a bull's eye sticker: the niece of police chief James Tuffey (another one of her uncles was also police chief for a time). An unidentified source tells the TU that Tuffey's niece didn't get a ticket for a 2007 crash because of the sticker. [TU]
Far be it from us to be the ultimate arbiters of what's in and what's out -- but we're pretty sure sporting a "bull's eye" sticker on your windshield is no longer fashionable in Albany.
So when we got a tip that some of Albany's finest are still displaying the "get out of parking fines free" stickers on their cars, we took a walk past the APD station where Western and Madison come together. Sure enough, we spotted a couple of the tags.
According to previous comments by the APD, the stickers don't work anymore (and they really give your car a look that's so "Old Albany"). Because we like to help, here are instructions on how to remove stickers from windshields.
State budget agreement includes big increase, more trouble for Schenectady cops, IBM to continue investing at Albany NanoTech, forest kindergarten planned
The Three Men in the Room have agreed to a state budget totaling almost $132 billion -- yep, that's $10 billion more than David Paterson's proposed budget and almost 9 percent bigger than last year. Direct spending by the state, not counting federal money, is increasing one percent. (Look how the Three Men buried the budget total in the 7th paragraph of the agreement's press release.) The budget includes a bunch of new taxes and fees, including hikes in the income tax for higher income households. It also kills the STAR rebate checks. The legislature still found room to keep a combined $170 million in "member items" (you know, pork). This budget was composed in "profound" secrecy. State Senate Republican minority leader Dean Skelos called it "the height of irresponsibility." [AP/Daily Gazette] [PolitickerNY] [Buffalo News] [Newsday] [TU] [NYT] [NYDN]
State Senate majority leader Malcolm Smith says the proposed reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws will save the state $250 million in expenses. [TU]
Yet another Schenectady cop is in trouble. A patrolman was charged Friday night with taking his girlfriend's car without her permission. The officer was already under investigation for abusing sick time and once lost his gun. "We need to bring the hammer down," mayor Brian Stratton said of the city's troubled police force. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
The APD detective accused of driving drunk through Albany and Delmar in January has pleaded not guilty. The detective is currently suspended with pay. [TU]
The Dalai Lama's emissary says he's OK with the fact that his leader's Albany visit is being sponsored by an organization that's been accused of being cult-like. [TU]
State budget talks appear to be stalling, police commander: no-fine stickers date back 17 years, home prices down again, school district worried about backyard wrasslin'
The Three Men in the Room say they're struggling to reach consensus on the state budget. (Of course, it's hard to tell if that's true or not because all the negotiations are going on behind closed doors.) The budget is due April 1. [NYT]
State Senator Hiram Monserrate, a Democrat from Queens, was indicted yesterday on charges that he slashed his girlfriend with a broken glass. Monserrate says he's innocent and will not resign. The Democrats hold a two seat majority in the Senate. [TU][NYT]
Chuck Schumer says he now supports gay marriage. The New York US Senator had been a supporter of civil unions and vote for the federal Defense of Marriage Act (which forbids federal recognition of gay marriages) in 1996. [AP/NYT]
An Albany police commander testified before the Common Council last night that the "bull's eye" no-fine parking stickers date back to 1992 -- and were administered by the Albany Police Officers Union. The head of the APOU at that time: current police chief James Tuffey. [TU]
The median sales price for a home in the Capital Region fell five percent (to $176,000) in February compared to the same period last year, according to the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. [TU]
State tax refunds a little slow this year, number of prostitution arrests up, accused horse stabber offered plea deal, clerk pleads guilty to ripping off city, there's a new Miss Limerick
The state Department of Taxation and Finance says state tax refunds have been a little slower to go out this year because it's screening refunds more carefully. [TU]
A deal between David Paterson and the leaders of the legislature is reportedly in the works that would kill the proposed taxes on soda, digital downloads and a bunch of other "fun" transactions. [Daily Politics]
The company that said it would run the racino at Aqueduct has told the state it now can't get financing to pay the contract fee. That means less revenue for the state -- and for less money for NYRA, which uses racino money to prop up racing at Saratoga and the state's other tracks. [NYT] [Saratogian]
Two unnamed sources tell the TU that an Albany police sergeant told Bethlehem cops to back off an APD detective the night the detective is accused of driving drunk from Albany into Delmar. The sergeant has been suspended, though the reason has been made public. [TU]
Apparently the Capital Region is a "fertile" area for prostitution -- and, in part as a result, arrests are up. [TU]
Timmons gets maximum sentence, Westboro protesters in town, APD fires a cop, national experts to assess Schenectady High suicides, lucky shot was insured
Jermayne Timmons, the teen convicted of firing the shot that killed Kathina Thomas, got the maximum sentence today -- 15 years to life. [TU]
Five members of the Westboro Baptist Church showed up this morning at Albany High School to publicize the church's anti-gay message. A counter protest of 300 people was also there. Rev. Charlie Muller, one of the counter-protesters, told Capital News 9 he was there to make the point that "Jesus never hated -- he loved." [TU] [CapNews9]
The head of the State Insurance Fund resigned yesterday, reportedly after the Times Union told him it was preparing a story about why his compensation ($185,400) was way higher than the level set by law ($120,800). The state inspector general this week announced that the agency is under investigation because of a whistleblower's accusation that the org had become have for political patronage. (Earlier on AOA: The $94,000 secretary.)
State Senate Republicans have proposed an alternative budget to David Paterson's plan. The Republicans' plan leans heavily on using federal stimulus money to cover the budget gap -- and doesn't include many of the tax and fee increases in the Paterson budget. [TU]
David Paterson said yesterday he will in fact take a 10 percent pay cut -- but he won't ask anyone else in state government to do so. Ten percent of Paterson's salary is $17,9000. [AP/CapNews9]
The attorney for Steven Raucci, who's now been charged with crimes in three different counties, says he will argue on Monday that his client should be allowed to go free on bail. Local law enforcement authorities have kept Raucci in jail by charging his serially on counts including arson, criminal mischief and terrorism. The Gazette found out via FOIL this week that Raucci made $129,364 with the Schenectady School District last year. [Daily Gazette] [Daily Gazette]