There was a front page story in the Saratogian and a story in the Times Union about the city’s litigation regarding redacted emails that were sent between the city center and members of the city council. The Pedinottis who own the Mouzon House are asking the courts to compel the city to reveal redactions in emails they FOILed the city for.
The contrast between the Saratogian’s story and the Times Union’s is striking. Reading Ms. Liberatore’s sensationalized stories reminds me of the Damon Runyon quip, “Newspapers? They wrap fish in them.”
As always, there is another side to this story which is apparently too complex or does not serve Ms. Liberatore’s agenda which is to use the platform of the Times Union to gin up stories.
The Pedinottis are suing the city of Saratoga Springs along with the City Center over the planned parking facility. The city has an excellent attorney in Vince DeLeonardis.
The key issue here is that the city is being sued and their attorney in order to protect it, is going to limit wherever legally possible, access to documents sought by the litigant. Anyone with any experience in these matters fully knows this. I spoke to Chris Mathiesen about where the council stood on this litigation and he assured me that the council had been unanimous in their support of the city attorney in this matter. Ms. Liberatore has been reckless in her coverage of this story. To read her story one would conjure up conspiracies between Commissioner Madigan and the City Center as though the rest of the city council did not exist.
Ms. Liberatore knew when she solicited comments from Mayor Yepsen that she would play to the conspiracy crowd. I am sorry but it was no oversight that she did not solicit comments from other members of the council. They would have told her about the unanimity behind the city’s legal action and by unanimity I mean that Mayor Yepsen supported the litigation. I know that this will generate a great deal of heat but the truth is that Mayor Yepsen supported the city’s litigation…before she didn’t. This, unfortunately, is not the first time that the mayor has done one thing and told the public something else. If Ms. Liberatore were a serious reporter she would easily have exposed this but instead she went the cheap way.
The heart of this matter was the adoption of a city ordinance that excluded the downtown from a requirement that new construction could not cast a shadow on an adjacent building’s solar panel. I have written previously about this ordinance. It makes no sense to have this ordinance for the city core. We want to focus development downtown. We do not want businesses like the Pedinottis to be able to block projects by simply putting up a solar panel. We could not have put up the building where Northshire Bookstore now sits if the building next to it had put up a solar panel. It was no coincidence or conspiracy that this ordinance was passed following Mouzon House’s litigation. The fact is that their litigation exposed a problem with the city ordinance.
Previous to Ms. Liberatore, the Times Union reporter covering the city was Dennis Yusko. He was a great reporter whose stories had punch but were still thoughtful. I miss Dennis.