Reflections on Election Letters In Saratoga Today Newspaper

This week’s Saratoga Today has four interesting letters to the editor. Unfortunately, the letters are not up on their website.  You’ll have to pick up a copy of the paper around town to read them and see if you agree with my analysis.

Least interesting is the letter from David Buchyn who is secretary of Upstate Conservative Party.  He endorses Wirth and Safford.  The most interesting thing about the endorsement is who they did not endorse.  They did not endorse Ivins or Scirocco.

In another letter, Bill Dake who has shepherded Stewarts into a multi-million dollar operatiin identifies himself as simply “the former chair of the Saratoga County Planning Board.”  As a side note, Tom Lewis, who was employed by Dake, chaired the Saratoga Springs Republican Party, and is currently the chief of staff for Senator Kathy Marchione, followed Dake as chair of the Saratoga County Planning Board.  If you ran Stewarts Shops, how helpful would it be to know way ahead of time what housing developments were potentially going up in the county?   Would this help both to plan where to put your next Stewart’s Shop and assist you in buying the property to put the new shop on at the best price?   How helpful would it be to chair the county’s Planning Board? 

Mr. Dake is one of the founders of the Saratoga PAC.

In effect he offers the wisdom that the city does not need to worry about protecting any greenbelt since the surrounding towns will provide all the rural land the city needs.  Mr. Dake worries: “After all we are a city and we may be frustrating ourselves by trying to fit rural characteristics within the city limits when they exist so naturally in conjunction with the surrounding towns.  Planning buzzwords like ‘A City In The Country’ and the ‘Greenbelt’ can be taken to extreme and create artificial situations, versus fit (sic) the logical long-term needs of our community.”  The words of wisdom from the emperor of sprawl.

Then we have Stephen T. Rodriguez who identifies himself as the Chair of the Saratoga Springs Republican Party.  He attacks Mayor Yepsen for having her fundraiser at Saratoga National Golf Course in light of the fact that she will have to vote on their proposal.  He asserts that it was a conflict of interest to have her fundraiser there.  He then asserts that it was “bad faith to either Saratoga National or those who support this project or to her Sustainable Saratoga supporters who have been vocal against it.”

I share his frustration regarding her unwillingness to say anything substantive about the issue.  She could have killed the project by joining Mathiesen and Scirocco who believe it is a violation of the principles of the conservation district or she could have announced her alliance with Madigan and Franck who want the project to move forward.

Finally we have Charles Brown’s piece.  He is the chairperson of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Party.  He is quite indignant, appropriately so, about Saratoga PAC.  He points to the obvious use of large sums of money by the construction, real estate, and financial industries to open the greenbelt for development. (I’m assuming he means inappropriate or excessive development since some types of building are allowed in the greenbelt.)  He is, however, rather circumspect about  the specific development issues in this part of the city.  He gingerly notes “But the survey wording was calculated to shape people’s views on two key development related items the PAC has said it supports.”  Why is he so reticent to name what these issues are?  It is common knowledge that the initial resistance to Saratoga National Golf Course’s expansion by the City Council is what helped to mobilize the PAC.  Mr. Brown’s problem is that John Franck and Michele Madigan have made clear that they want to work with Saratoga National Golf Course to make the project happen and that Joanne Yepsen refuses to take a position on the project one way or the other.  Like Mayor Yepsen, he and his committee would prefer not to state any position.


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