Saratoga County Women’s Republican Club Dinner to Feature Anti-union Speaker

Todd Kerner, Saratoga County Democratic Committee Chair, sent me the following flyer which announces that the Saratoga County Women’s Republican Club will have Rebecca Friedrichs as their guest speaker at their upcoming dinner. Friedrichs was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case (Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association) that was the precursor to the case that prohibited public employee unions from collecting partial dues from employees who were covered by union contracts. Friedrichs was to be featured at a dinner put on by New Choice NY that, as noted in an earlier post, had been scheduled to be held at Panza’s until Panza’s decided not to host them.  I would note that New Choice was offering a free meal to those attending their dinner featuring Friedrichs. I’m wondering if the GOP women will be offering the same deal.

Public Presentation of Proposed Unified Development Ordinances On May 22

On Wednesday,May 22, the draft of the proposed Unified Development Ordinances (UDO) will be the subject of two presentations. From 12-2 the presentation will be at the Saratoga Springs Arts Center at 320 Broadway. From 5:30 to 7:30 the presentation will be at the Rec Center at 15 Vanderbilt.

The adopted UDO will have a profound effect on development in the city.

Opponents of Saratoga Springs Hospital’s Planned Expansion to Speak Out At Planning Board Meeting

According to a story in the May 14 edition of the Daily Gazette Newspaper, neighbors of the land where Saratoga  Hospital proposes to build medical offices plan to address the Planning Board this Thursday (May 16). While the Planning Board does not plan any action that evening, they will be reviewing a change in the zoning for the area.

The meeting will begin at 6:00 PM at the Recreation Center on Vanderbilt Avenue.

The story can be viewed here.

Update On City Center Parking Facility Project

In its May 10th edition, Saratoga Today reported on the progress of the City Center’s municipal parking structure.  

In a unanimous decision, the Saratoga Springs City Council agreed that designs for the structure should proceed. All designs will be presented to the Council  and the public for review as the process continues and final approval will rest with the City Council.  

The plan  currently going forward will be comprised of  “a municipal parking structure, the establishment of a public park at the southerly end of the parcel along Lake Avenue and where Flat Rock Spring once existed; the continuation of the park at the easterly side of the parcel along High Rock Avenue, which will connect Flat Rock Park to High Rock Park and include the Greenbelt trail, Downtown Connector, and the retention of outparcels for future development,” according to the article.

The construction of the parking structure could begin this summer.  The paper reports that the current plan is for about 600 parking spaces and the parking structure could be in operation by the summer of 2020.  200 spots on the current paved lot will be eliminated where the new structure will stand.

Panza’s Cancels Anti-Union Event

According to an email sent out by the New York State United Teachers (the teachers’ union), a group named New Choice NY had booked Panza’s Restaurant at its new location on South Broadway for a special dinner event. New Choice  NY is the deep pocketed oranization that is seeking to bust public sector unions in New York State and has sent representatives to the homes of union members asking them to drop their union membership. New Choice invited public employees who dropped their union membership to join them for a free dinner [JK: Not a bad perk] and the opportunity to meet Rebecca Friedrichs.  Ms. Friedrichs was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case of Frierichs v. California Teachers Association. This case was the precursor to the Janus Case which ruled against public sector unions’ ability to collect  partial dues (agency fees) from non-members who were covered by a union negotiated contract..  There was a possibility that Mark Janus might also be featured at the event.

The two cases were a blow to public employee unions nationally as it made it illegal to require that in union shops, all employees, whether members of a union or not, were required to pay a portion of union dues.

According to NYSUT, the event was booked at Panza’s under a private individual’s name.  Panza’sRestaurant was unaware of the true sponsor of the event.  When Mr. Panza learned about what the reservation was actually for he contacted the New Choice NY representative listed on the invitation and informed her that he could not accommodate them.

It is important to note that I have not spoken to Mr. Panza and have no knowledge beyond the above regarding Mr. Panza’s actions. 

Preservation Foundation Issues Alert On Proposed Renovations To City Hall

[JK: I received this alert from the Preservation Foundation.  The Design Review Commission will be reviewing the proposed renovations at a meeting tomorrow night (Wednesday,May 15).  The brief alert reviews both features that the Foundation applauds and items it has issues with.  The actual release can be seen HERE.




Proposed Interior Renovations to be Reviewed TOMORROW

The Foundation is pleased that the Department of Public Works is presenting the proposed renovation plans of City Hall, a Local Landmark, to the Design Review Commission for review at the DRC meeting on Wednesday, May 15. The meeting will begin at 7PM at the Recreation Center, 15 Vanderbilt Avenue

The Foundation understands the number of improvements that need to be made to the infrastructure of the building – electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning, as well as communication and security systems – and the need to increase office and operational efficiencies and meet the state mandate to provide a second hearing room for the Saratoga Springs City Court. The Foundation has no objections to the proposed floor plans that have been presented, which can be viewed here.  The Foundation appreciates the dialogue that has taken place with the Department of Public Works as renovation plans have developed and the changes that have been made based on the feedback the Foundation has provided. 

The Foundation is very pleased with the plans to not only to preserve, but also to uncover many of the historic features of the building such as the tin ceilings, light fixtures, stained glass, art deco balustrade, doors, radiators, and, most importantly, the stairs as you enter City Hall as they are a significant character-defining feature of the building.  The Foundation thanks Commissioner of Accounts John Franck for his willingness to sacrifice space for his department’s offices in order to accommodate the proposed second elevator and preserve the stairs.  The Foundation is also pleased that the diamond-patterned floor in the hall will be restored to its historic appearance, which emphasizes the path of circulation – visually connecting the entry of the building to the end of the hall, leading one to the City Council Chamber and where the historic court room was located. 

However, the Foundation does not support the proposed change to the vestibule that alters the entry into the interior of City Hall and does not find the proposed treatment of the Music Hall appropriate.

At this time, the Foundation recommends that this project receive a phased review from the Design Review Commission in order to not delay the progress of this important project moving forward.  Phase I would allow for the Design Review Commission to approve the proposed floor plans, which the Foundation supports.  Phase II would allow time for additional information to be provided regarding interior design details – including materials, finishes, and colors – which are difficult to review in the proposed renderings, available here.  

The Foundation’s full comments on the proposed renovation can be read here.  

Thank you to our members and friends for your support!


Saratoga Casino Hotel (Racino) Work Force Housing Proposal Dead

The Saratoga Casino Hotel’s proposal to build 192 “workforce” housing units at the corner of Crescent Avenue and Jefferson Street is dead according to Saratoga Today.

The SCH was seeking a change in the city’s comprehensive plan and tax breaks for their project.

The city Planning Board gave the project an unfavorable recommendation.  Four of the City Council members have indicated they will vote no.  Finance Commissioner Madigan was quoted in Saratoga Today as saying that she had reached out to the  company that the Racino was partnering with about concerns expressed by the neighbors and other members of the public and had heard nothing.  “I’ve received nothing back, so my feeling is that they’re really not interested in working with the city of Saratoga Springs, and for me this project is off the table.”

Mayor Kelly, Commissioners Scirocco and Martin expressed concerns about the projects density.

Commissioner Franck is still undecided.

Independence Party Offers Patty Morrison More Dates For Debate

Eddy Miller chairs the Saratoga County Independence Party Committee. He has sent the following to Patty Morrison who is challenging Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan in a Democratic Primary on June 25.

From: Eddy Miller
To: Patricia Morrison
Sent: Tue, May 14, 2019 11:13 am
Subject: Re: Debate Schedule


We spoke with the Casino & they are willing to work with us to accommodate your schedule.

Please let me know if you are available on June 17th or June 19th.

Please respond as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Eddy Miller

Meeting Of Public Safety Candidates Put Off By Immigrant Advocates

From Saratoga Immigrant Coalition:

Response to our plans for the Saratoga Immigration Coalition meeting on Wednesday indicates a strong preference for postponing the Pubic Safety conversation until both of the candidates, Robin Dalton and Kendall Hicks, can be present in person.  Therefore, that conversation will not take place on Wednesday, but SIC will still meet as scheduled: 
Wednesday, May 15, 6:30 PM
PNEC Church, 24 Circular St. (Nolan House), Saratoga Springs.