The Daily Gazette editorial on July 10 claimed that city police “appeared to give them [Black Lives Matter leader Lexis Figuereo and protesters] a hard time about getting into the [City Council] meeting” the evening of July 6. It is unfortunate that the Gazette and other commentators made this erroneous assumption without first investigating and confirming that this is what was actually going on.
The assumption that Figuereo and protesters were singled out to be held back by police at the Lake Avenue entrance to City Hall is based on video and commentary posted by Figuereo on social media. Mr. Figuereo, the police, and others can be seen at the bottom of the stairs located at the Lake Avenue doors to City Hall waiting to be allowed up to the City Council meeting. In the video you can see up the stairwell where Mr. Figuereo and others were waiting. People who had apparently entered from Broadway can be seen at the top of the stairs walking to the City Hall chambers leading to the appearance that Figuereo and the protesters were unfairly being held back while others were allowed to enter.
As is so often the case, however, all is not as it appears.
For security reasons public entrance to City Hall after the regular business hours is limited to the Lake Avenue entrance. This is also the public entrance to the Police Department. On the evening of July 6 the main doors facing Broadway (protected by the two lion statues) had been locked as usual, and a notice had been posted directing the public to the Lake Avenue entrance.
So in fact, the people being asked by the police to wait to get into the meeting that night were not just Mr. Figuereo but other people unrelated to his group who had read the sign on the Broadway entrance. Included, for instance, in those waiting was Joanne Kiernan, the Republican candidate for Commissioner of Finance. Mr. Figuereo and the protesters had not been singled out.
In the meantime someone from city hall opened the other door on Broadway which provides handicapped accessibility to the building (there is a ramp and an elevator). People arriving at city hall, seeing this door open, used it.
It is an unfortunate sign of the times and of the degree of suspicion that has been generated that rather than ask a few easily answered questions about access to the City Council meeting that night, the media and others embraced and disseminated a worst case scenario narrative that only contributed to the distrust and divisiveness that is all too pervasive in our community.
2 thoughts on “Fact Check On Allegation That Police Were Blocking Lexis Figuereo From The July 6, 2021, City Council Meeting”
I don’t know about Brian Lee though it is unfortunate that the Times Union continues to employ Wendy Liberatore as a reporter. She has a significant history of divisive writing and failing to do her due diligence in fact checking. I’d dare say she likely would prefer not to fact check as she could not then writer her biased, discordant rhetoric.
Very good follow up here, JK.
“It is an unfortunate sign of the times….”
Indeed it is. But, in fact, it is quite worse.
Looking at this situation in macro, there’s enough disgrace on everyone’s part to assure that all involved can receive a heaping helping of shame. Even seconds, if they like. But these three make my special honor roll – in true Stanley Cup fashion, I present the three stars of the game – except it’s hardly a game:
#3) The media – In this case it’s the Gazette, but really, it is often the other ‘regional newspaper of note’ that gives voice to rumor and innuendo. Let’s face it: from the POV of these Capital Region newspapers, Saratoga is little more than a summer plaything. And, sorry to say, the demos of this city are not reflective of the total population that they want to reach. Yes, I said that – it’s called a fact if you’re keeping score at home.
You couple that with the general “Fox-ification” of all media over time, and this is what you get: Modern Yellow Journalism. Where bring first supersedes being right. A ‘scoop’ mentality that seizes on half-facts, and celebrates that they are right half the time. Kudos for calling them out on it, JK. With Stephen Williams retiring, I predict a few more “Gazette Watch” posts might be in your future.
#2) Lexis Figuereo – Well, look. I don’t get offended by cursing, or provocative entreaties to impersonate Linda Lovelace. Probably because I grew up in NYC, where I often heard worse on the number 7 train at 7 years old… but that doesn’t make it right, or even the best strategy.
I can’t be the only white person in this town who thinks that Black Lives Matter has A LOT of valid points to make, and support for them making those points. But speaking for myself, I can’t think of a single instance where vitriol in place of reasoned argument made anyone’s case stronger. I subscribe to the school of thought, that the first person who curses in an argument usually has the weaker argument. And, is well on their way to losing that argument.
Plain and simple: I’ll read your organization’s mission statement, probably support several of its tenets, but I ain’t listening to you!
But the big winner in today’s game, Your Number 1 Star, must go to…
#1) The City Government of Saratoga Springs – I don’t know which departments or Commissioners should rightfully accept the award here, so I’m going to award it to the whole crew for now, and let those most deserving come forward to accept the award… the Keyword here is access, and the tag line is: You blew it!
To quote you John: “For security reasons public entrance to City Hall after the regular business hours is limited to the Lake Avenue entrance.”
To which I respond: “You kiddin’ me?”
First of all, the City Council meeting is as ‘regular business’ as it comes – scheduled in advance, and for the convenience of the public. Otherwise, they would slot it at 10 am or similar… Second, it is open to all – everyone. As a repeated advocate for strict adherence to “open meetings” ordinances, I’m sure you agree with this.
So tell me how shuttling everyone, through the one City Hall entrance that has about 35-40 stairs to climb, allows everyone access!
I’d like to see some Commissioners hoof that thing (oh, right – they have an elevator!) not to mention ‘Gertie from the West Side,’ a snowbird who now splits her time between here and Century Village in Tamarac, and wants to speak about something at public comment. She still gets around pretty good, with her walker to help, of course. “Go ahead, Gertie – go right up! That’s it, only 23 antique stairs to go!” C’mon!
I have no issue with having one entry point if that is deemed necessary. But, I’m going to opine that the City put itself in violation of the ADA because of the bonehead choice they made. Someone obviously realized this halfway through (or Darlene informed them,) which is why we apparently see people flowing in before the poor souls who were stuck in the Mordor bowels of the Lake Avenue entrance.
Real deep thinking here City Hall. Such oblivious boneheaded behavior clinches the #1 star of the game for you! Congrats.
Except it’s not a game.
I see that you have written further about this subject in a newer post, so I’ll pause here for now and pick it up there, perhaps…
LikeLiked by 2 people