Father of Child Slain At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School To Speak on School Safety

[JK Press Release I received]



For Immediate Release: September 27, 2019
Contact: Kara Rosettie, 518-879-4875


Saratoga Springs, NY  Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools announced that it will host a School Safety Forum with special guest speaker, Max Schachter.


Max Schachter is the father of Alex Schachter, one of the seventeen people tragically murdered during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre on February 14, 2018.


Max’s relentless advocacy to make schools safer for children culminated in his founding of the Safe Schools for Alex Foundation. 


Max partners with school districts and law enforcement agencies nationwide to evaluate and improve their existing safety protocols. 


He has testified before Congress, served as one of the fifteen commissioners for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, and regularly consults with state and federal officials on how to improve school security.  


“This event presents an opportunity for our community to learn from the mistakes made at Parkland and identify ways in which we can prevent a similar tragedy in Saratoga,” said Kara Rosettie, founder of Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools.


This event is FREE and open to the public. Registration is mandatory as seats are limited.

Here is a link to register: https://www.spfss.com/events


The event will be held at the Saratoga Hilton, 534 Broadway


About Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools 

As a result of the Saratoga Springs Board of Education Vote on October 9, 2018 to disarm the districts active and retired police officers working in a security capacity on school grounds, concerned parents formed Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools. SPFSS advocates for the reinstatement of historically proven security measures to protect students, faculty, and administration in the school district.

Website: www.spfss.com

Event Page: https://www.spfss.com/events/

FB Event Page:https://www.facebook.com/events/2106115289685011/

Max Schachter Bio: https://safeschoolsforalex.org/our-team/

Safe Schools for Alex: https://safeschoolsforalex.org/


A Peculiar Endorsement For Kendall Hicks


Kendall Hicks has been endorsed by Capital Women, the Women’s Political Action Committee of the Capital Region, in the race for Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner.

Their Facebook About page states:

CapitalWomen is a political action committee that works to get progressive candidates elected to state and local positions. We are based in the Capital District of NYS. We work on electoral and issues campaigns and organize for change.

It seems odd on a number of levels that they have endorsed Mr. Hicks.

One would assume that a group that is involved in encouraging and supporting women running for office would have been interested in at least interviewing Mr. Hicks’ female opponent, Robin Dalton, before making an endorsement. They did not.

They apparently were also not concerned that Mr. Hicks’ had been the subject of a police report involving an assault on a woman. Although charges were dropped against Mr. Hicks, the police report contains some disturbing details and raises some unanswered questions.


Capital Women–Who Are They?

Sources in Albany tell me Capital Women is primarily the creation of Libby Post.

Ms. Post runs a consulting firm that focuses on working with political campaigns.  Some readers may recognize her name from the WAMC morning show The Roundtable where she is a regular panelist along with Alan Chartock.  It is worth noting that it is possible that the candidates Capital Women endorse and contribute to may use Ms. Post’s consulting firm. 

Neither the website nor the Facebook page for Capital Women gives any information about the organization’s structure. JoAnn Smith and Kathryn Allen are identified as Team Members on the Facebook “About”  page and are described as “managing” Capital Women. Under contact information, Joanne Cole is identified as the Women’s Ministry Director. She has a page on the site where she writes “Gathering together and building community with others is God’s design and we are committed to providing opportunities for women to connect and grow with God and with one another.” She continues, “We believe in the great potential of every woman and together we can make our church and community a better place. ”  What she means by “our” church is not explained.

While Ms. Post’s name does not appear on the Facebook page or website of Capital Women, she was featured along with Joanne Yepsen and Tara Gaston in a March 1, 2018, feature Spectrum News did on the expansion of the group into Saratoga County.  After Ms. Yepsen and Ms. Post discussed the need to support progressive candidates in Saratoga County, the interviewer turned to Ms. Gaston who described how important this group had been in  her successful campaign for Saratoga County Supervisor. Readers of this blog may remember that in a recent post Ms. Gaston, in sharp contrast to Capital Women, announced she was withdrawing her support from Mr. Hicks

Ms. Yepsen has been an important supporter of Mr. Hicks from the beginning of his campaign.  She and Ellen Egger-Aimone, Hicks’ campaign manager,  accompanied Mr. Hicks when he met with the previous chair of the city Democratic Committee to explore their endorsement which did not happen.  The current Democratic Committee has declined to endorse him and passed a resolution supporting the #MeToo movement.

Capital Women has now endorsed two candidates in the upcoming Saratoga Springs  elections, Kendall Hicks for Commissioner of Public Safety and Patty Morrison who is running for Finance Commissioner and is also supported by Ms. Yepsen.  As in the case of Robin Dalton, Capital Women never interviewed Patty Morrison’s opponent, incumbent Michele Madigan. Capital Women gave Ms. Morrison $1,000 in her race in the Democratic primary against Ms. Madigan.

While Capital Women have an online application for endorsements and contributions, there is little to describe who decides endorsements and how candidates are selected and funded. Capital Women’s opaque endorsement process seems  to be more about who you know than who is best qualified.

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner And Others Drop Support for Kendall Hicks Campaign

Statement From Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner:

“As a state legislator who represents thousands of people living in Saratoga and Washington Counties, I feel that it is my responsibility to make it very clear that I am unequivocally opposed to any and all violence perpetrated against women.


The photograph that has come under scrutiny of myself and Mr. Kendall Hicks was taken prior to any of the information regarding his past domestic violence allegations being disclosed. From this point forward as a matter of protocol I will be doing a more strenuous vetting of candidates who are seeking to use my likeness to promote their candidacies.  


Please know that I have limited detail related to the incident in question and will not weigh in on a matter I have no direct knowledge of. However, I am comfortable stating that running for public office is not for everybody. When you decide to seek public office, the electorate has the right to know about your personal background and the media has a duty to inform the the public.


I have decided not to endorse in the race for Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Safety”


Carrie Woerner


From County Supervisor Tara Gaston’s Facebook Page



From Dillon Moran who is running for Commissioner Of Public Works [In Picture from left to right: Patty Morrison, Dillon Moran, Kendall Hicks, and Ellen Egger-Aimone]


Commissioner Madigan Does It Again: A Proposed 2020 Budget With No Tax Increase

[JK: I received this press release from the Finance Office. This will be the eighth consecutive budget with no tax increase]

TAX DECREASE for the City of Saratoga Springs in Proposed 2020 City Budget


There will be an average property tax rate decrease of 0.05% for City taxpayers in the coming year under the proposed 2020 Saratoga Springs City Budget presented at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting on October 1, 2019 by Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan.  This is the eighth City budget that Commissioner Madigan has put forth with a decreased or stable property tax rate. The proposed 2020 tax rates are: inside districts – $6.0707 per $1,000 of assessed property value; outside district – $6.0090 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

As Finance Commissioner, Madigan is charged with taking input from each department and creating a balanced annual budget, one that has sufficient estimated revenues to meet all expenses.  Madigan states: “The 2020 Comprehensive Budget is driven by my continued commitment to a stable tax rate in the face of the rising costs of good government, unexpected expenses, and the New York State property tax cap.”

The City’s proposed general operating budget will be $48.2 million under Madigan’s plan, an increase of $1.1 million over the adopted 2019 budget. Contractual wage increases, additional funding for information technology, increased commodity costs, and health insurance accounts for much of the year-over-year change.  Personnel and benefits are up 1.9% and 2.5% in 2020, respectively.

Commissioner Madigan’s 2020 presentation will focus on several of the priorities facing the City, including the successful renovation of City Hall, the creation of an East Side Fire & EMS Station, improvements to the Loughberry Lake Dam, increased support to the City’s cyber-security efforts, additional staffing to the Police and Fire departments, a comprehensive plan to address the City’s expanding trail network, and a long-term solution to address the City’s homelessness issue, including a Code Blue facility.

The main revenue sources supporting the operating budget remain largely the same as 2019, with property tax and sales tax representing over 60% of the City’s total revenue, followed by departmental income and State/Federal aid, which make up 10.2% and 9.2% of the revenue budget respectively.

The 2020 Budget counts both reserve funds and fund balance among its revenue resources.  Madigan states, “The City has built these funds up with taxpayer dollars; using them to maintain a stable property tax rate is the best way to utilize these funds. Essentially we are giving these dollars directly back to the taxpayer in order to maintain taxes and services.” Amounts supporting the general operating budget include funds from unassigned fund balance ($1.9M) and the Retirement Reserve.  “With no new or existing revenue source able to completely offset the significant increases in wages and other expense, the use of reserves and fund balance is wholly appropriate. Reserves have been funded with taxpayer dollars.  Taxpayers deserve to use these reserves rather than pay more taxes or receive diminished services, especially when we expect to continue to maintain adequate reserve balances subsequent to the budget being adopted,” says Commissioner Madigan.

Two budget workshops are currently scheduled: Tuesday, October 22nd and Thursday October 24th, both at 5:00pm and at the Recreation Center. Certain dates are designated for specific departments, with time allotted at each workshop for general discussion after departments are finished. There will also be a Public Comment period at each workshop. Additional workshops may be scheduled as needed.

Commissioner Madigan points out that the City is in excellent financial health under her administration.  The City’s bond rating was recently affirmed by Standard & Poor’s as “AA+” with a “stable outlook”.  S&P noted that their rating reflects the City’s “strong management”, “strong budgetary performance”, and “very strong budgetary flexibility”.

The complete 2020 Comprehensive Budget proposal will be available on the City’s website subsequent to Commissioner Madigan’s presentation: www.saratoga-springs.org

Saratoga Hospital Repurposes Sears Space At Wilton Mall: Thinking Outside The Box

[JK: As the internet challenges the retail industry many of us fear decaying malls as a scar on our landscape. This is an interesting release that offers some insight about the issues of space and geography facing our local hospital]

N E W S   R E L E A S E


October 1, 2019

Saratoga Hospital Leases Former Sears Space at Wilton Mall

Yet another strategic effort to meet the growing need for critical care services

on Church Street campus

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, October 1, 2019—Saratoga Hospital is leasing more than 56,000 square feet at Wilton Mall to free much-needed space for patient care on the main hospital campus.

The lease, with mall owner and operator Macerich (NYSE:MAC), reflects Saratoga Hospital’s long-term strategic plan to dedicate its Church Street campus to services that must be provided in a hospital setting—the only place where patients have 24/7 access to intensive and emergency care, constant monitoring, and a highly skilled medical team.

Information systems and other support functions will be the first to move from the hospital campus to the mall space previously occupied by Sears. As departments relocate, hospital space will be reconfigured to meet the desperate need for more inpatient rooms and services that require the capabilities only a hospital can provide.

“Like many hospitals that were built before cities grew around them, we are almost out of room on our hospital campus,” said Angelo Calbone, Saratoga Hospital president and CEO. “To best serve our growing community, we must find ways to reserve space at the hospital for care that simply can’t be provided anywhere else.

“Virtually every Saratoga Hospital facility-related decision reflects that priority,” he added. “This innovative and strategic leasing arrangement is yet another example.”

In recent years, the hospital has moved outpatient services to campuses in Wilton and Malta. In fact, the Wilton Mall space is ideal in part because of its location. The mall is across the street from Saratoga Hospital’s Wilton campus, which is home to primary and urgent care, medical imaging, eye care, breast health services, same-day surgery, and other healthcare services that can be provided equally well in non-hospital environments.

“We are very pleased to welcome this concept to our established retail property in Wilton,” said Mike Shaffer, senior manager, property management, Wilton Mall. “This repurposing of the former Sears space for hospital support functions represents a forward-thinking adaptive reuse of retail space.

“Employees working in the new hospital facility can enjoy the range of amenities our property has to offer—from great food and top shopping options to free Wi-Fi and easy parking,” he added. “This really is a win for everyone involved.”

Calbone agrees. “This is a wonderful case of two organizations coming together and creating health and economic advantages for the community,” he said.

Saratoga Hospital expects to move staff and services to the mall in phases. Currently, work is underway to convert the first 10,000 to 20,000 square feet for offices for support staff and to determine the best use of the remaining space.

“One of the advantages of the mall location is that it gives us the room and flexibility we need in two key locations,” Calbone said. “We can dedicate the hospital campus to critical, care-related services, while meeting other needs at a convenient, easily accessible location.”




About Saratoga Hospital: Saratoga Hospital is the Saratoga region’s leading healthcare provider and the only acute-care facility in Saratoga County. The hospital’s multispecialty practice, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group, provides care at more than 20 locations, ensuring easy access to programs and services that can have the greatest impact on individual and community health. Saratoga Hospital has maintained Magnet designation for nursing excellence since 2004. Through its affiliation with Columbia Memorial Health and Albany Med, Saratoga Hospital is part of the largest locally governed health system in region. For more information: www.saratogahospital.org or www.facebook.com/SaratogaHospital.

About Wilton Mall:  Serving the Saratoga Springs community, Wilton Mall features a wide selection of retail, dining and entertainment offerings. These include HomeGoods, Old Navy, Bow-Tie Cinemas and Healthy Living Market and Café, plus dozens of shops and food experiences. For a complete listing of retailers, dining choices and events, visit http://www.wiltonmall.com.

About Macerich: Macerich, an S&P 500 company, is a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust, which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management, development and redevelopment of regional malls throughout the United States.

Macerich currently owns 51 million square feet of real estate consisting primarily of interests in 47 regional shopping centers. Macerich specializes in successful retail properties in many of the country’s most attractive, densely populated markets with significant presence on the West Coast and in Arizona, Chicago and the Metro New York to Washington, D.C. corridor. A recognized leader in sustainability, Macerich has earned Nareit’s prestigious “Leader in the Light” award every year from 2014-2018. For the fifth straight year in 2018 Macerich achieved the #1 GRESB ranking in the North American Retail Sector, among many other environmental accomplishments. Additional information about Macerich can be obtained from the Company’s website at www.macerich.com