A Petition Drive For A New Charter That Is Not Available To The Public: Opaque? More Like A Black Hole

An odd thing happened this week. People found on their Facebook pages a “community news forum” notice from the website “Common Sense, Saratoga”. It solicited their help in a petition drive to get a new version of the city manager charter on the November ballot but curiously didn’t make the actual charter available to potential petitioners or the public whose signatures they would be soliciting . It told readers that:

1. The city would be divided into six wards with one representative from each ward.

2. The ward representatives would serve two year terms.

3. The mayor would be elected city wide.

4. The mayor would serve a four year term.

5. 2,000 valid signatures would have to be gathered to get the charter on the November ballot.

6. They had only until the end of this month (less than ten days) to submit the petitions for certification.

People were informed that they should send any questions to SaratogaCharter2019@gmail.com.

Conspicuously absent from this notice was where people could find a copy of this proposed charter to read.

Interestingly the news feed disappeared from people’s Facebook page and as of the time I am writing this has not reappeared. None of this information is on their website or their Facebook page.

I guess I am old school but I don’t understand how anyone would sign a petition to get a charter on the ballot if they were not  familiar with its content.

The Common Sense, Saratoga webpage lists four people as founders. Of the four I have the email addresses for three of them: Gordon Boyd, Ann Bullock, and Robert Turner. I sent an email to them and to SaratogaCharter2019@gmail.com asking the following  questions:

1. Who wrote the new charter?
2. Who approved the new charter? (Is there some kind of structured organization?)
3. Where can someone get a copy of the new charter?
4. Where can someone get a copy of the petition that is being circulated?
5. Why did you wait until less than two weeks before state law requires the charter petition to be submitted to begin circulating a petition?
6. Why didn’t you involve the public in a discussion of your proposal before finalizing it?

I would have thought that in the interest of transparency and assisting the public in understanding their proposal and the process they are going through that the backers of this measure would have already posted all of this information along with a copy of the proposed charter before starting their petition drive.

I actually don’t think  there is anything conspiratorial about what would, at first glance, suggest secrecy. My experience with the people behind this project is that transparency is just not important to them. They are so imbued with the rightness of their campaign that it does not occur to them that people deserve to have this information. They expect the public to just blindly trust what they have produced because they are so convinced of its merits.

I will be posting a screen shot of the news feed that disappeared plus  their draft ward map shortly.

11 thoughts on “A Petition Drive For A New Charter That Is Not Available To The Public: Opaque? More Like A Black Hole”

  1. Well charter change is becoming the “Fifth Season” here in Saratoga Springs every year a small group of people banned together in a celebration of personal flagellation and despair……I’d say more but I’m in fear of retribution. Who is Mr. Turner representing Skidmore’s interests or the general welfare of the local residents

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is very interesting how Mr Turner plays a large role in anything and everything political in Saratoga.

    1. Getting his buddy elected on the school board by having Skidmore students vote for him.

    2. Working to get Patty Morrison on the ballot for a primary.

    3. Working behind the scenes to get Kendall Hicks elected, who we now know abuses woman. Where is Mr Turners outrage on this?

    4. For the third time pushing to get a charter change.

    5. Let’s not forget he had planned to run for mayor before he opted out, but now is behind the scenes helping the candidate who is running against Meg Kelly.

    Something doesn’t smell right here, it is unfortunate that the president of Skidmore allows one of their professors to be so intertwined into pushing his political agendas in Saratoga while using his students votes to make changes. Pretty disgusting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How is it that Skidmore students can vote in our local elections?
    They own no real property in the city and have no vested interest.
    …After 4 years, they’re outta here!




    1. From what I understand, when you are 18,19 or 20 years old and you are offered extra credit and pizza, voting how your professors would like you to vote goes a long way! Not ethical but appears to be legal! I hope this doesn’t turn off the people that make large endowments to Skidmore. It sure would be a loss!


      1. Skidmore students are enumerated in the federal decennial census and those residing on campus or elsewhere in the City are included in our total population count. The area of the “new” Skidmore campus was annexed from the Town of Greenfield by the City at or prior to the time of its construction.

        That total count influences federal and state aid to the City, the fractional weighted votes cast by the City’s two members of the Board of Supervisors, reapportionment, etc. Thus their right to vote here if they so choose.

        Lew Benton


    2. Let’s take a shot at examining your so-called logic here, OK?
      You object to Skidmore students voting? What aspect do you object to?

      – They don’t own property? That’s is not a condition for voting in the USA, legally
      – They only live here 8.5-9 months per year? The same holds for approx 30% of Saratoga residents in general
      – They haven’t live here long enough (.1-4+ years?) . That one might also hold true for appx 40% of Saratoga residents in general.
      – You don’t think a major entity such as the Skidmore community should have ballot representation? How about if I said i don’t like old people having it, so let’s push back vs Embury residents.

      You just don’t like the way they vote. I don’t like the way you vote. So there


      1. Panama Red, the right to vote is granted with residency and anyone voting should provide proper documentation. The problem with Skidmore students voting is that there is no accountability that they are not also voting in their primary place of residence which is where their technical “mailing address” is. When these students file taxes with the IRS (for those that are employed, student loans, etc.) the address on record should be where they vote. Most people do not use their temporary college mailing address for
        Govt forms such as taxes, license, social security, etc. which technically means they are not “permanent” residents, and thus not eligible to vote. You also spoke of “snow birds”, again, ineligible to vote if they are registered as their primary address in another state (the state to which they pay taxes). But mostly, I’m curious as to why anyone would think that skidmore students should have any reason/right to vote in a school board election? What “skin have they in the game”? More than likely, they don’t have a child
        Registered within the district and they also do not pay school taxes – so tell me what purpose they serve other than to carry out the wish of a professor or adult of influence who may be using coercion for personal gain?


      2. I’m not sure if you missed the main point that Justin was making or just chose to be snarky anyway. While all are correct that Skidmore students have the legal right to vote here if they choose, I believe he was questioning their level of investment in what is happening here in Saratoga Springs as most of them will not remain here after graduation. It’s not so much how long they live here or how many months, are they invested in the politics of our city. Now when it comes to Statewide or national elections that may be different.

        A bigger question is how much are they being impacted by a professor who works there and seems to be influencing their votes. As a teacher and a college instructor I would NEVER attempt to influence my students political views much less their votes.


      3. Hey Panama Red (like that name!)–

        Raise the voting age to 21.
        Lower the drinking age to 18.

        Give them all free funny-cigarettes!
        Case closed.


        Liked by 1 person

  4. College students visit their host city and for the most part spend their time completely involved in their studies and shortly thereafter begin to plan beyond their campus towards new horizons or graduate studies. For a small city like Saratoga Springs the impact of college voting in local elections and referendums is huge. We have seen time and again voting recruitments on campus both by the LWV and by politicians, some who are practicing faculty, that can change an election based on hand counts. Just how many of those students who don’t have skin in the game, or understand the issues as they impact local residents, will stay behind to witness those elected officials after graduation? Statistically, very few.

    It makes sense for students who claim Saratoga Springs as their legal residence to show proof, no less than those six month and a day Floridians who live here as vacationing second home owners. Property holders should also have proof of their permanent residence regardless if they own property in town. Local elections are local. If one owns an income producing house or property in Sarasota or Saratoga Springs, but lives year-round in the town of Saratoga, their legal residential address should rule.

    Encouraging college students to vote for local candidates and issues is nothing short of unethical.
    National elections is quite a different issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25 (to Justin’s point). For young adults who are 19 to 25 years old, you can get health insurance coverage through your parents’ health care plan, as long as their plan covers dependents. You can stay on their plan until you’re 26, even if you’re married.

    Not until your brain is fully developed, are old/responsible enough to pay for your own health plan, and are a full-blown taxpayer should you be voting for life-altering decisions for the rest of Saratoga.

    Skidmore kids are being unduly influenced by the ivory tower to be the army for those who want to control the life of the rest of us Saratogians, and everybody knows it – especially those that surreptitiously lead the cause – in fact, they take great pride in their privilege to do so.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: