Black Lives Matter Protest At City Council Meeting Devolves Into Chaos

On Tuesday night, July 20, 2021, members of the local Black Lives Matter group disrupted the City Council meeting. The public comment period devolved into chaos as BLM people shouted down members of the Council.

The following are some excerpts from the meeting:

Alexus Brown

In this clip, Alexus Brown confronted the Council over an incident in which Saratoga Springs Police stopped a car she and a friend were driving following the July 14 demonstration.

As background, the public comment period restricts comments to two minutes. Ms. Brown ignored the limit and continued her statement as she described her encounter.

Lexis Figuereo

In this video Lexis Figuereo reads a comment from Facebook which he alleged came from the Facebook page “Moving Saratoga Forward.” The comment is virulently racist. Figuereo also alleged in his remarks that Rob Arrigo, chairman of the local Libertarian Party, is behind this and that members of the Council are his allies.

The fact is that the comment did not come from “Moving Saratoga Forward” (MSF)but instead came from the Facebook page of Figuereo’s own Black Lives Matter group. Council members have no connection to MSF.

This is the BLM Facebook page (link to actual page):

I spoke to Mr. Arrigo about the Silverstein comment. He told me that the Silverstein comment was “absolutely abhorrent” and that he would never be associated with such a vile statement.

The Silverstein statement’s origins are suspicious. Her Facebook page appears to have been created by a hacker.

It is also more than odd that her comment includes an attack on the Adirondack Trust Company. Adirondack Trust was recently fined by the New York State Financial Services Department over discrimination in auto underwriting. In her comment Silverstein alleges that Adirondack Trust consciously exploited people of color.

The story is a little more nuanced. NYSFSD charged that auto dealerships overcharged their victims on loans provided to the dealers by Adirondack Trust. They fined Adirondack Trust for not properly monitoring its loans to avoid theses abuses.

According to the Times Union story, “Under fair lending laws, DFS said, the bank was responsible for monitoring these loans and helping to ensure that minorities were not suffering discrimination.” The TU story is worth reading because of how the violations were discovered. DFS used statistical analysis and modeling to uncover the pattern.

It seems reasonable to ask, if the mysterious Ms. Silverstein was motivated by hatred of people of color why would she go out of her way to throw the Adirondack Trust under the bus for discrimination?

The origins of the Silverstein comment on the BLM site seem more than suspicious.

In the following video Mr. Figuereo offers a reflection on how rage is a positive force that should be embraced.

While successful social movements in history have their roots in the rage that social injustice engenders, it is the harnessing of that anger into disciplined and thoughtful organized actions that has brought about real change.

The writings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King reflect their outrage against injustice, but both men make absolutely clear that indulging their visceral anger is an expense that neither of them could afford.

Both men showed great skill in expanding their base while holding to their principles. The BLM group appears to have squandered much of the goodwill they originally enjoyed and appear to be increasingly isolated in this city.

With respect to Mr. Figuereo and other leaders in his group, it appears clear that their intemperate and incessant outbursts are not part of some carefully, thought out strategy to bring about change but are instead the unrestrained expressions of their rage against people they see as their enemies.

I fear that such a mindless non-strategy will eventually lead to disaster for themselves and those they lead.

Commissioner Robin Dalton

In this video Commissioner Robin Dalton attempts to respond to the criticisms made during the public comment period. It is during this segment of the Council meeting that things really went off the rails. Commissioner Dalton is basically shouted down and the meeting is temporarily recessed.

Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan

Following the recess, Commissioner Madigan tried to acknowledge the demands of the BLM group and suggest a way forward. As documented in an earlier blog, Commissioner Madigan met with the BLM leadership last year, but her attempt to address their concerns became mired in poisonous insults from Lexis Figuereo and went nowhere.

It is a testament to Commissioner Madigan’s desire to somehow find common ground in spite of the past episode that she sought to advocate for a mediated meeting between the Council and BLM.

Commissioner Dalton also offered her willingness to meet. She described how she had tried repeatedly unsuccessfully to meet with BLM.

Rather than embrace and support Madigan’s and Dalton’s offers, the meeting descends into total chaos with shouts that include personal attacks on both Commissioners Madigan and Dalton. The Council was unable to transact business and the police came in and cleared the public from the room.

Summary

Grim… so grim.

9 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter Protest At City Council Meeting Devolves Into Chaos”

    1. I don’t think that these individuals are stupid and I also don’t think that such characterizations are helpful. I do think that they are misguided. It would have been much better to have more aggressively countered their irresponsible rhetoric when it began. It would have been better to have had a more balanced group of people serving on the Police Reform Task Force. At this point, misrepresentations have been spread so thoroughly among members of these groups and, to a certain extent, throughout local media that it is nearly impossible to overcome. It would have been better if the City would have initially enforced its various local ordinances that were violated during each and every BLM demonstration rather than giving them a pass and hoping that they would just ‘go away’.

      Chris Mathiesen

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      1. I think we have given them enough rope… over a year with team – ALL OF US.
        they were never interested in dialogue with the city… if we can start to put the toothpaste back in the tube by pushing back…Maybe ADULTS can find a path that is realistic and doable with all the constraints of contracts and state regulations.
        That starts with ignoring the “children” playing in the streets looking for attention to their facebook profiles…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I watch these clips and applaud Madigan for speaking up when Lexis unleashes one of the ugliest personal attacks I have heard at a Commissioner – why Dalton would ever sit down with them after enduring that kind of abuse I do not know. And shame on the rest of the bunch for allowing it to happen and letting all your white guilt get the better of you- if going after someone’s family like that isn’t crossing a line, then this isn’t the community I thought it was…godspeed to whoever the next council is, don’t fool yourselves into thinking you’ll escape the same fate.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. How many times do you see a parent in a store trying to have a “adult” conversation with a 2 year old throwing a tantrum… – I think a 2 minutes rant and you send them to TIME OUT – the business of the City has to get done. Why give respect to those that have a fringe agenda and can’t articulate it – ie, – a frustrated 2 year old… “BUT I WANT IT…!!!! I HATE YOU…!!! – just ignore them and let them pout in the LOBBY if they are disruptive to the meeting… (parenting isn’t that HARD – just hold your ground)
      If they march without a permit – ARREST THEM – FINE THEM…. any other person standing in the middle of Broadway disrupting traffic would be cited and ticketed? You have tools – let the Police use them! If these Skidmore kids had to call MOMMY or DADDY to bail them out of jail – MAYBE these parents can discipline their Brats…(its a long shot – they are likely the ones that gave these kids the CANDY to SHUT UP)…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This weekend, two people on Friday night and one person early Sunday morning were arrested by the SSPD for possession of loaded firearms and drugs in their vehicles. Friday nights’ arrests were on Lafayette Street while the early morning hour Sunday arrest was on Caroline Street. None of the three people arrested reside in Saratoga County.

    Asst. Chief Catone was absolutely right in his comments about these problems in our City. No dog whistles, just drugs and guns!

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do not know Alexus Brown.

    The only comment made about her by JK is:
    “As background, the public comment period restricts comments to two minutes. Ms. Brown ignored the limit and continued her statement as she described her encounter.”

    Also, none of your commentors gave her the time of day, she was never mentioned by anyone.

    She, and her friend, were obviously subjected to police harrassment, on the night of the protest. Yet, because she was so upset, she went beyond the two minute comment limit. Is that a good reason for dismissing her complaint? Just another citizen to be scared to death by SSPD?

    Did the Public Safety Commissioner reach out to her? Did her complaint ever get heard, or acted upon?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t see anywhere that Alexus Brown’s complaints are being ignored. I’m fairly confident if the complaint has been filed it will be looked into. It’s unfortunately that you choose to assume this without any further facts or investigation.

      As for being upset, I can see where she would be. However, there are still appropriate ways to express that. Coming into this meeting most are aware of the rules and if not, they were made clear at the beginning. I also don’t believe (in watching her behavior) that it has nearly as much to do with being upset as simply flouting the rules and doing so intentionally.

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