As reassessment plugs along, more than 1,400 people got their new assessments adjusted during the “informal review process” earlier this month. While the Assessor’s Office said it was a mixed back of changes with some going up and some down, I have to believe the majority of them were reduced since I don’t know many people who complain about not paying enough taxes.
Anyway, in March, I listed the assessment changes of 26 officials and former officials and of those 26, four have had their new assessment adjusted:.
- Council President Lynn Kopka saw her assessment jump from $250,000 to $408,000 and then saw it reduced to $346,000.
- County Legislature Kathleen Ryan Cassidy’s initial reassessment went from $167,143 to $240,000 and then it was reduced to $191,000.
- Corporation Counsel Ian Silverman saw his assessment jump from $72,714 to $144,000 and then saw it reduced to $133,000.
- And former Mayor Mark Pattison saw his assessment jump from $200,714 to $233,000 and then it was reduced to $210,000.
While the “informal review process” is compete, property owners can still file a grievance with the Board of Assessment Review until Grievance Day on May 28.
Much has been said about Barker Park or, more accurately, the people who hang out at Barker Park and the negative message they send to the community by drinking in public and engaging in the results of drinking — urination — in public. But, as it turns out they helped out the very same police officers who have either repeatedly chased them out of the park or who have put them in cuffs.
As was reported earlier this month, police responded to an altercation on Fourth Street that included one guy beating up another guy. One guy, Donald Lewis, took off. Of course, police chased because chasing bad guys is what police officers do.
As Lewis was running down the alley that leads onto State Street near the Roarke Center and Barker Park, those that hang out there provided enough interference to slow Lewis down enough so police could secure the loaded gun he had on him and get him in cuffs. Without the help, the entire episode could have turned out really ugly since Lewis was, by all accounts, an angry, scared man running through the streets of Troy with a loaded hand gun.
I was not told who issued the directive, but as a reward police lifted the open container law in the alley for 72 hours. A small token of appreciation, but maybe the Baker Park people should have held out and gotten their benches back.
IT'S THE PERCEPTION
In a case that would generally fly under the radar the Rensselaer County District Attorney Rich McNally decided his office would prosecute the family member of Democratic Party Chairman Tom Wade rather than recuse himself.
First, let me say, I’ve talked to a number of attorneys about the case and the deal reached is not out of the norm for a first time offender. But, the fact Wade backed McNally for DA in 2007, again in 2011 and it’s highly unlikely McNally can get the party nomination for Supreme Court judge without Wade’s support just opens the door to at least a perception of a conflict of interest.
And let’s not forget the DA’s office had a Grand Jury investigating allegations of Wade shaking down political appointees for campaign contributions when McNally first took office. The time limit on that investigation was allowed to expire without the grand jury completing its work or taking any action.
The family member was arrested in October of 2012 for aggravated DWI and a host of other Vehicle and Traffic infractions like leaving the scene of an accident, refusing to take a breath test and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
The family member pleaded to a misdemeanor DWAI and if certain stipulations are met, like completing a treatment program, that’s it. Again, I’m told by a number of defense attorneys it’s a fair disposition.
But, whether or not it’s fair or not is not the point.
When I asked McNally about it he was more than a little defensive and said he didn’t even know Wade’s family member was arrested until the media began inquiring. He sees no conflict of interest, real or perceived, and adamantly said he is against the use of special prosecutors.
When I asked McNally about his bid for Supreme Court, he denied needing Wade’s support which certainly isn’t the case. Supreme Court judges don’t run primaries when there is more than one of a party wanting the job. Instead, party bosses pick delegates, who are formally selected during the petition process, and who then go to the Judicial Nominating Convention and elect the party’s (chairman’s) nominee.
I suppose McNally — or one of the other two Democrats who want the job, Rensselaer County Judge Andrew Ceresia and Albany County Family Court Judge Dennis Duggan — could get his own slate of delegates, circulate his own petitions, have them run a primary and then broker deals with party chairs in the six other counties that make up the Third Judicial District but somehow I just don’t see that happening.
McNally then said it was unfair of me to drag Wade’s family member through the mud but that certainly isn’t the point of this piece. The point is there is at least a perception of a conflict of interest.
James V. Franco can be reached at 478-5343
Labels: Kopka, mcnally, Ryan-Cassidy, silverman, Wade