Recently Suzanne Kwasniewski submitted a comment that noted my past criticisms of the city’s Democratic Party for its failure to take concrete positions on any of the controversies that have faced the city in recent memory. She asked that I share what sort of positions the party took during Jane Weihe, my wife’s tenure as its chair. She said she wanted to compare them.
Below I include both a reprint of Ms. Kwasniewski’s comment along with Jane’s response.
John, Your source wasn’t all that well-informed, since she couldn’t tell you the name of both supervisor candidates. Since complaining about the SSDC platform is a favorite activity of yours, how about sharing the SSDC platform developed under Jane’s leadership so we can compare? Thanks.
I apologize for not responding sooner to your inquiry about Democratic platforms when I was chair. I am only back in Saratoga for a couple of days and I was hoping I could quickly put my hands on some of the campaign literature we put together and post it. Unfortunately it was not as easy to find this stuff as I had assumed—too many boxes and files accumulated over the years! So the best I can do until I can get back to the boxes is to tell you some of the positions we took as a committee and that our candidates campaigned on.
For one thing we took a strong stand against introducing casino gambling to Saratoga when it was proposed in the early 1990’s, something I was surprised the current committee was silent on. We also took stands against specific development projects we thought were inappropriate for the greenbelt such as the Anderson proposal to put an office park at Exit 14. Again I was surprised that the committee did not take a position on SNGC’s expansion proposal that clearly violated the zoning in the outer district. Only Chris Mathiesen articulated a position that I would have thought the whole committee should have supported.
We took a stand against the adoption of the1987 Master Plan (as it was called then) that called for rezoning major areas of the city for greater density. We called for a new master plan that would preserve low density development in the outer district and direct new development downtown. This was the campaign where then Skidmore professor and committee member Ron Edsforth coined the phrase “Keep Saratoga Springs a small city in the country” to describe our vision of how we thought Saratoga should develop in contrast to what the Republicans at the time were proposing in their Master Plan. Interestingly enough in that campaign we also called for an EMT station to serve the eastern plateau where development was just beginning to accelerate.
All and all we aimed to be concrete not just theoretical in our positions. It’s easy to be for Saratoga being “a city in the country” these days. Who in town isn’t ready now to mouth that phrase? What should distinguish candidates and parties is where they land on actual proposals that threaten this concept.