Crime Wave Hits City: Illegal Signs And No One Knows Who Is Behind Them

OuterWashingtonStreet

This sign is on Washington Street beyond the post office.

This sign on behalf of Safford and Wirth is being used in a residential zone where the maximum size of a political sign is 4 sq. ft.  This is considerably larger.  it has been positioned very close to the traffic lane on outer Washington St. and is in the City right-of-way.

Route50And9

This sign is just off the arterial where you make the turn north on 9

This sign is located on Route 50/9 and is much larger that the 16 sq. ft. that would be allowed in a commercial zone.

SouthBroadway

This sign is on South Broadway where the Country Gentleman used to be

This sign is located on Route 50/9 and is much larger that the 16 sq. ft. that would be allowed in a commercial zone.

John Safford

I sent an email to John Safford pointing out that the signs violated the city sign ordinances and asking him whether he was responsible for these signs.  I did not hear from him.  I went up on his Facebook page to post the same question and to make sure I had reached him.  When I did I discovered that Chris Mathiesen had already posted there telling him that the signs were illegal.

RIck Wirth

I emailed Rick Wirth advising him that the signs were in violation of the city’s sign ordinances and asking him whether he was responsible for the signs.  He emailed me back within five minutes the following:

“John,   The answer to your question is “no”. The signs that my campaign have are the Lawn signs that you see. The white, red &  blue signs.”

I promptly emailed him back:

Thanks for getting back to me so promptly.  Do you know who put these signs up?  If it was the PAC, will you ask them to remove them?”

He emailed me back:

“I have no knowledge of what you are referring to”

I then emailed him back with the particulars of where the signs were and what they said.  He responded as follows:

“I can’t ask someone to remove a sign because I have no knowledge of who put up a sign & I can’t make assumptions. The only signs that I have knowledge to date are the lawn signs that were similar to mine in the last election that you had erected on your property.”

Mr. Wirth is running to become the Commissioner of Public Safety.  One would think that he would be quite concerned that someone is violating the laws of this city on his behalf.  Maybe he thinks that he will benefit from this as further proof of the current crime wave in the city.

Saratoga PAC Shows What Real Money Can Buy! Sign Ordinances? Thoses Are For Little People

This weekend, we have electronic billboards supporting the election of Rick Wirth and John Safford positioned on three entrances to the City.  These billboards are being used as political signs.  The Sign Ordinance restricts political signs to 4 sq. ft. in residential zones and 16 sq. ft. in commercial zones.  The electronic billboards are at least 50 sq. ft. in size.
Sign Ordinances?  Those are for little people.  Put them up this close to the election and by the time they are forced to take them down the election is over.

Mayor Yepsen’s Latest Video; Nothing To Be Proud Of

I received an email from Charlie Brown, chair of the city Democratic Party saying:

“The Saratoga PAC, and it’s Republican endorsed candidates, have been conducting the most negative campaign [Brown’s emphasis] that Saratoga Springs has ever experienced.”

He then directs you to a video in which supporters of Joanne Yepsen repeat over and over that her opponent lies and will do anything to win.  Yepsen Campaign Ad

Those of us who lived through the decades of utter Republican dominance  in this city, and in particular the odious chairmanship of John Roohan, have a different perspective.  As just one example, when the late Betsy Davis courageously ran for Supervisor the Republicans sent out a crude cartoon of her throwing dollar bills at people on welfare.

I think it is quite clear from this blog that I am no supporter of John Safford but he has nevertheless run one of the more “transparent” campaigns I have seen in this city.  He has publically embraced the PAC.  He has made clear his unambiguous support for Saratoga National Golf Course’s expansion plans.  He has publically characterized the greenbelt as an obstacle to growth.  He has made crystal clear his opposition to the goals and efforts of Sustainable Saratoga.  He has engaged this blog in candid statements about his thinking on important public issues.

There is a bitter irony that Ms. Yepsen’s video reproduces the very qualities that it condemns.  The nameless persons allege that the recent Safford mailing “contains false claims.”  It then repeats over and over that “her opponent” lies.  It alleges that her campaign is financed by small donors.  Ms. Yepsen then accuses “her opponent” of saying or doing anything to win.

First, the mailing that is referred to presents Mayor Yepsen as having raised $247,190.00 from PACs in large bold letters.  In smaller but quite readable text it notes that the donations covered the period since 2005.  It references the records of the New York State Board of Elections as the source. Now it would be fair to say that this ad distorts the record but to characterize it as lies is itself a lie. Ms. Yepsen also claims in the ads that her campaign donations came from small donors as compared to Mr. Safford’s. In fact, in an earlier post representing the existing data, I found that of the declared donations of $44,500.00 raised by Ms. Yepsen, $33,500.00 came from donations of $250.00 or more and $29,950.00 came from donations of $500.00 or more.  That is respectively seventy-five percent of her donations and  sixty-six percent of her donations.  Personally, given the finances of most people I think $250.00 is a pretty significant donation let alone $500.00 to a $1000.00.

In Yepsen’s previous campaign against Shauna Sutton for Mayor, just before the election, a mailing was done that accused Sutton of receiving many thousands of dollars for her role as trustee of the Greenridge Cemetary.   Unlike the Safford advertisement about Yepsen’s donations, this ad failed to acknowledge that the income was over many years.  The League of Women Voters actually reviewed the ad and found it violated fair campaign standards.  At the time Ms. Yepsen blamed the County Democratic Party that paid for the advertisement. The idea that the County Democratic chair would have done something like this without her knowledge and involvement begs credibility.

I think it would be unfortunate if Mr. Safford were to win because I think he would extend Scott Johnson’s policy of stacking our land use boards with representatives of the real estate and construction industry.  It is the height of hypocrisy, however, to be blind to the kind of dubious campaign practices that Ms. Yepsen’s recent video represents.