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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations
February 7, 2001
7:00 PM (More or less sharp)
Albany Public Library

PresidentM. Skinner opened the meeting at 7:05 PM. She announced that tapes of our meetings will be broadcast on CableChannel 18 and expressed gratitude to videographer Stephen Winters.

I.                   Introductions.  Everyone present introduced him/herself.
II.                Minutes.  Copies of the January minutes had been sentout.  Copies were available.
Pat Maxon moved to accept the minutes as presented.Ethel Silverberg seconded.  The minuteswere approved unanimously.
III.              Communications/Announcements
A.    Severalannouncements of meetings, award nominations and civil service exams weredistributed.
B.    The schedule for access TV in Brookline, MA is published weekly in the newspaper; arecent copy was circulated.
C.    ScottWexler, president of the Board of Education sent a schedule of meetings.
D.    MayorJennings has appointed a committee to review parking issues in the Pine Hills.
E.     Lettersand clippings regarding local problems with crows was circulated.
F.     TheCANA Code Enforcement and Quality of Life committee are planning follow up tolast year’s questionnaire. Call David Phaff if you can help- 438-9056.
G.    MikeBreslin, County Executive, will be guest speaker at our March meeting.

IV.             Committeereports.
A.    Committeeon University and Community Relations. Tom Gebhardt
1.     Thecommittee's next meeting will be at 7 PM on Feb. 14. A newly formed "CrimePrevention Coalition," initiated by the College of Saint Rose inpartnership with the Pine Hills NA, SUNYA Police Dept. and Tom’s committee willreport.  The committee is preparing forthe end of the year trash pick up, safety and behavior off campus.
2.     Recent,initiatives include campaigns involving responsible Super Bowl parties andadvice on how to avoid getting towed during a snow emergency.
B.    CommunityPolice Council.  Maria Parisella.
The committee will meet February 14. Andrew Harvey,Park South, brought up the issue of establishing a court monitoring project. Dothe courts keep street criminals off of the streets?  Call 486-2635 for more information.
Stephen Winters, Second Ave., noted that NationalNight Out will be August 7.  Albanyshould have a unified, citywide event to mark the occasion.
Steve also asked about the impact of Police Chief JackNielson’s new title and position, Commissioner of Public Safety, on codeenforcement in the city.
C.    NominatingCommittee.  Harold Rubin for thecommittee: himself, Steve Winters, Mary Connair and Henry Madej.  The committee selected the following:
q      Chair: Marggie Skinner
q      ViceChair:  Howard Stoller
q      Executivecommittee:  Dominic Calsolaro, Emily.Grisom, Christopher Lindsay, Gordon (Mac) Mowbray and Elfrieda Textores.
           Clare Yates moved to accept the slate aspresented. Holly Katz seconded.  Withno  discussion, the slate wasunanimously accepted.
D.    LoveThy Neighborhood Convention.  Gene Solanreported that a final summary of the recent convention is nearing completion.
E.     Cable/PublicAccess.  Taped CANA meetings are beingbroadcast on Thursday evenings at 7PM on Cable Public Access Channel 18.  We have achieved step one. The ultimate goalis to have Common Council, School Board, CANA and other important meetingstelevised live.
F.     AirportNoise.  No report.
G.    LincolnPark Pool.  No report.
H.    Schoolcoalition.  Pamela Howell. From theAlliance for Quality Education gave a report. She sees a long fight ahead through the courts, if necessary, to provideall public school students with the resources they need.  The goals of the alliance are to:
q      Pushthe state to restructure the school aid formula
q      Reduceclass size
q      Increaseteacher quality
q      Providepre-K. for every child who wants it
q      Providedecent, modern, safe school buildings
    Sherequested that CANA endorse these goals. She also invited CANA to send a representative to Alliancemeetings.  A discussion ensued. BarryWalston encouraged CANA to get involved in this effort. We need to think alittle longer before we endorse Alliance’s entire agenda.
   ChrisLindsay described developments re: the removal of Kelton Court as a proposedsite for a middle school and a new advocacy group that has evolved from thatdecision.
I.       SwanSt. Project.  Helen Black reported on arecent walk-through in the area.  Sheexpressed high hopes for a favorable outcome, although no decision has beenannounced yet.
J.      CSR.  Henry Madej noted that a site report re: theproposed campus building project has been received.

V.                GuestSpeaker.  Helen Desfosses,President of the Albany Common Council
Helen thanked CANA for their support as she beginsher third year as Common Council President.
She pointed with pride to some of the innovationsthat have occurred during her first two years. The public comment period was introduced.  Although the idea started off slowly, public comments haveincreased this year.  She described howAlbany's Common Council operates in comparison to other municipalities.
Some of the most popular items of discussions atpublic comment periods have been:
q      CitizenPolice Review Board
q      LincolnPark Pool
q      School10 and  the proposal to tear it down
q      TheSwan St. project
q      CSR's expansion
Helen described the process of developing theCitizen's Police Review Board and soliciting members. 60-70 people applied whenapplications were initially solicited.
She went on to mention current priority items acrossthe city:
q      Qualityof life
q      CodeEnforcement
q      Crime
            The council is attempting to respond to citizens' concerns about theseissues.
            The council is now in the second year with its new budget powers asestablished in the revised City Charter. Helen mentioned that the process is becoming smoother as the CommonCouncil various committees get used to the new system.  Committees are receiving more informationfrom city offices and council members have been given more opportunities totalk to department heads regarding long-term budget plans.  The Common council added $20,000 to theLobrary’s budget with a provision that they address the needs of theirunderserviced population. They also added money to the budget for the cityforester to maintain the aesthetic appearance of the city.  They made recommendations for added revenuesources, including collecting fines owed on parking tickets.
Helen noted challenges currently facing the city:
q      Schools
q      Crime
q      Shortageof Jobs
q      Historicpreservation vs. economic development: striving for balance.  Some funds have been allocated toinvestigate artifacts found at the site of a parking garage site.  The parking garage, however, will prevail.
q      SUNYA'srole as a major focus for change.  Computertechnology and human genomics are front-burner issues.  The University can be instrumental inproviding technological training needed by today's workers.
Helendiscussed the influx of immigrants in Albany. More concrete information on this subject is anticipated when the 2000census data is finalized.  She referredto the "Nine Dragons Project," a consortium of Asian groups, formedto benefit one segment of Albany's diverse population.
Helenconcluded her prepared remarks with the note that citizen involvement should belinked to city government.

Q.  Re: the future of Albany City SchoolDistrict's Facilities' Plan, is there hope for our schools?
A.  The mayor, in his state of the city address,mentioned his intention to institute a new task force to help with schoolissues.

Q.  What has the Common Council done to dealwith the expansion of building in Albany to accommodate its limited land base?
A.  An historic opportunity exists to use theland currently occupied by State office in the State Office campus.  A discussion ensued.

Q.  The Common Council has a community youthrecreation and education committee chaired by David Torncello.  What is that committee doing about thecurrent school situation?
A.  Historically, the city and the schools havenot always seen eye to eye.  The CommonCouncil has tried to remain outside of the conflict.

Q.  The census results will no doubt require areapportionment of Common council districts. Will Neighborhood Associations be consulted so neighborhood boundarieswill be respected?
A.  Reapportionment will not be completed beforethis year's elections.  So the Councilwill stay as it is for four more years. The Common Council will appoint a committee to deal withreapportionment.  Incidentally, NYPIRGhas software for free downloading from their web site.  Anyone who would like to try drawing thelines for redistricting is welcome to take a stab at it.

Q.  For the past couple of years, the mayor hasmade major changes in the budget after it was published.  Those changes are not included in the budgetas it is published or passed by the Common Council.  How does the Common Council plan to deal with that situation?
A.  The Charter has given the mayor certainprerogatives in spending.  The CommonCouncil has a strong sense that the mayor has the right to exercise thoseprerogatives.

Q.  A new office exists in city government:  Neighborhood Planning.  What will the Common Council do to assistthat new office?  And will the resourcesof that office be available all over the city?
A.  The Common council is in communication withthe mayor on this issue.  We need moreplanners.  Some neighborhoods need moreassistance than others do.  Thoseneighborhoods needing the most assistance will be targeted as priorities.

Q.  The Block of the Year application includesreference to Neighborhood Enhancement. What will the Neighborhood Enhancement money be used for?
A.  Neighborhood Enhancement funds will be usedto address common needs across the neighborhoods of Albany.  A longer set of guidelines is planned forallocating the funds.

Q.  New York State, the City of Albany and theAlbany Housing Authority are the three largest landlords in the city.  What can we do about the fact that there areno big parcels of land available for school construction?
A.  The mayor has been negotiating to addressthis issue.

Q.  What is being done to strike a balancebetween progress and preservation?  LizGriffin gave an overview of the problem. And in a related question, What about the economic development areas ofthe city vis-ŕ-vis tourists?
A.  Our history must be the basis for economicdevelopment and tourist attraction.

Themeeting was adjourned at 8:55 PM



Kathleen Kearney HPNA.                                                      HaroldRubin CSQ.
Steve Winters, SANA.                                                     Clare Yates,CSQ.
Thomas Gebhardt UNIV.                                                               Holly Nolan, Lark St.
Betsy Shearer PSNA.                                                      Bob BatsonWHALL.         
Christopher Lindsay, BEV.                                          AnneBrewster, WPNA.
Paul Bray, UWNA.                                                   Frances Tarlton,CSQ.
Fred Perkins PHNA.                                                     Leslie Javarone,HPNA.
Nathan Black, AHCC.                                                              Mel Campos, B&G Club.                
John Frederick, HPNA.                                                     Sgt.Tommy Nadorski, APD.
Joe VanAlphen, CDARPO.                                                MaryHodge, CSQ.
Daniel Durkin, HELD.                                                     Howie StollerMEL.
Pat Maxon UWNA.                                                   Hennie NewhouseCSQ.
Carmelina Morrison, Downtown BID.                                 ElizabethGriffin HAF CSQ.
Dan VanRiper, LPNA.                                                     Peter Yezzi,Hamilton St.
Margo Janack CDTA.                                                     Aimee Allaud,MEL.
Nancy Wiley, BEV, County Leg.                                 Michael Bergan, CSQ.
Jim Tierney, PHNA.                                                     DominickCalsolaro SANA
Ethel Silverberg LPNA.                                                      MaryConnair  DANA.
Lt. Lenny Crouch, APD.                                          HenryM. Madej PHNA.
Don Wardle, UTA.                                                       Helen BlackAHCC.
Barry Walston, AQE                                                        AndrewHarvey  PSNA.
Cathy O’Neill DANA.                                                    Scott Gets,County Exec Off.
Gene Solan PHNA  NRC.                                           PeterSokaris, WHALL.
Cynthia Galivan, MANG.                                                    PamelaHowell, AQE.
Joyce Rambo CSQ.                                                        Rev. JoyceHartwell LIFECRAFT.
Marggie Skinner, PHNA                                                        Maria Parisella, MANS.
Holly Katz, MANS.