Lexis Figuereo and James Montagnino: Best Buds?

So where is Black Lives Matter leader Lexis Figuereo when it comes to Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino?

Figuereo savaged the women in the previous City Council administration for their alleged racism. His group went so far as to present Mayor Kelly with a live cockroach in a bottle and taunted and shouted at Mayor Kelly, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, and Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton regularly at Council meetings.

James Montagnino’s Get Out of Jail Card

Here is an inventory of actions by James Montagnino that, by all rights, should have made him a pariah to Mr. Figuereo and potentially subject him to the same anger and abuse.

  1. In a document issued by Montagnino at the beginning of his tenure, he argued convincingly that the police did not kill Daryl Mount. One of the central tenants of Figuereo’s campaign against the police was and is that they murdered Mount. Has Figuereo publicly attacked Montagnino for his report? No.
  2. Figuereo pilloried the police and then Commissioner Robin Dalton for blocking Figuereo’s group from attending a judicial hearing for one of their people charged with a violation. Figuereo was enraged by this and received extensive media coverage in characterizing the incident as a blatant example of racism and intimidation. The officer who gave the command to block them was Jason Tetu. Montagnino appointed Tetu to be his Deputy. Has Figuereo publicly attacked Montagnino for this? No.
  3. Montagnino has advocated for expanding the police force. In fact, he accused Finance Commissioner Sanghvi of “defunding the police.” Figuereo has routinely called for defunding the police. Has Figuereo publicly attacked Montagnino for advocating for more money for the police? No.
  4. Figuereo unfairly attacked Kelly, Dalton, and Madigan for allegedly blocking police reform. In particular, they were critical of the three for not expeditiously establishing a civilian review board. It has now been almost a year that Montagnino has been a Commissioner, and there is no sign of a civilian review board. Has Figuereo attacked Montagnino for dragging his feet on this? No.
  5. Montagnino has repeatedly tried to establish a city code making some form of panhandling a violation. While Figuereo has opposed this, he did not call out Montagnino the way he did the three women who served on the previous Council.

Looking For An Answer For Figuereo’s Deference To Montagnino

In spite of the fact that Figuereo donated no money during the last election campaign for City Council and, as far as I can ascertain, did nothing concretely to support Montagnino, he has repeatedly taken credit for the election of the current members of the City Council.

My only conjecture on Figuereo’s apparent buds with Montagnino is that he is unable to admit that he made a mistake in supporting Montagnino.

There is also the unpleasant possibility that the two share a problem of misogyny.

14 thoughts on “Lexis Figuereo and James Montagnino: Best Buds?”

  1. So perhaps Elz was in this more for the ego and attention rather than creating actual change? Is that really a surprise to anyone?

    He loved the attention, he loved the media, he loved the spectacle – but working with the city government to create change, that is the one thing he has never been interested in. His actions have and always will be performative and that’s it.

    It’s a sad and embarrassing example of social justice gone awry, nothing more.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If this is part of Montagnino’s platform, I’ll not only vote for him next time, I’ll campaign for him. Figuereo is a cancer on our city, especially the young people.


    1. I have a theory on what is going on behind the scenes which would explain why the Commissioner continues to be Lexis’ ‘ Jimbo’. Unfortunately, I can’t share my theory with anyone. I continue to suggest that all members of the City Council find the courage to insist that Lexis apologize and take responsibility for his outrageous behavior in insisting that our police officers ‘murdered Darryl Mount’.

      Hopefully, there are only a few ‘viktor’ s out there who would work for the re-election of Commissioner Montagnino. It is vital to have someone at the helm of DPS who will bring normalcy back to the police department.

      Chris Marhiesen

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Viktor, that might be a little bit of a gamble – from what I have observed Montagnino uses Saratoga BLM when it’s politically advantageous and vice versa…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I commend Commissioner Montagnino for putting forward a common-sense aggressive panhandling ordinance. Many cities have passed these types of ordinances such as New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Washington DC, and Albany, to name just a few.

    However, Commissioner Montagnino has failed to enforce current ordinances/laws in Saratoga Springs resulting in lawlessness in the city. Specifically, the Woodlawn garage sidewalks are, many times, completely blocked by vagrants who have now placed furniture on the sidewalks, are openly drinking alcohol, using drugs, urinating and defecating on the street, and recently I observed sexual activity during the day. Does anyone really think it is fair that a person who uses a walker or cane cannot pass through the sidewalk at the Woodlawn garage? Bottom line, when you start cherry picking laws to enforce based on people’s status such as the housed or unhoused, white or black, rich or poor, man or lady or transgender, you have the beginning of anarchy. Laws should be applied fairly and equally to everyone in the city.

    Tim Coll

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I couldn’t agree more with Timothy Coll’s comments. Commissioner Montagnino’s first version of the aggressive panhandling law was well written and had merit. The conditions at the Woodlawn Avenue parking garage are out of control and reflect poorly on our City. The Sidewalk Ordinance and the City property trespassing ordinance are not being enforced for reasons beyond my comprehension.

      Chris Mathiesen

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually found the commissioners panhandling proposal to be a touch unconstitutional and also completely unproductive. So you can call the police and they will ticket and fine someone for pan handling… and that person will rip up the ticket, go back to panhandling, and not think twice about it. Meanwhile, it will continue to suck up the SSPD’s valuable time and energy to no end. He modeled it after a similar statute in Rochester but failed to take the common sense step of contacting the Rochester Police Department to see if it was actually effective – when prompted by the city council to make that call, the city of Rochester confirmed it had not been effective in curtailing their vagrancy issue. My takeaway continues to be the same, Montagnino loves a headline, but could care less about the actual benefit to the city.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Charles, there is a constitutional right to free speech including one’s right to panhandle. Hopefully no one disputes that. Aggressive panhandling is a different situation. Citizens have a right not to be subjected to abusive behavior. A well written aggressive panhandling ordinance protects the rights of both the panhandlers and the public at large.
      It is not surprising that the City of Rochester found that their aggressive panhandling ordinance did not curtail their vagrancy issue. It is only meant to address instances of flagrant aggressive behavior, not vagrancy in general.

      Chris Mathiesen


  5. In response to Charles-

    I will attempt to alleviate some of your concerns. Many of the cities I have referred to have passed aggressive panhandling laws and the courts have ruled in their favor. In substance, if you pass a law that targets activity versus status it is constitutional. First amendment rights and panhandler rights are not absolute and can be regulated. The courts have been clear that anyone can stand with a sign, but once the money exchanges, it can be regulated. Keep in mind that not all the homeless are panhandlers but certainly some of them are. I find it insulting when a politician starts using a slogan like, criminalizing the homeless. This is just another slogan that is not helpful and, in this case, just not true. If you were criminalizing the homeless, the courts would deem the laws to be unconstitutional.

    I am not certain if Rochester has done this, but former Mayor Meg Kelly started a homeless/outreach court which deserves an unbelievable amount of credit. When you ticket the homeless you have a chance to get them in front of the homeless/outreach court so they can be pushed/guided into being helped. In theory, this is similar to what NYC has been doing for decades, sending out a police officer with a social worker to engage the homeless in order to get them services. Of course, since some are addicted and mentally ill, this is difficult but worthwhile even if the success rate is exceptionally low.

    The aggressive panhandling ordinance would do the same thing and direct people to the homeless/outreach court. At a minimum, it provides a tool for the police to move the panhandlers. I am a big advocate of foot patrols in the city, a tried and proven concept. Where have they gone?

    I will finish by saying I want a leader who commits to public safety, without excuse. In other words, I want a PSC who states, my job is to keep you safe at all costs and I will enforce the laws and ordinances in this great city to keep you safe. If I have a process problem in conducting that function, I will fix it. If I do not have resources, I will get them in the budget or I will officially ask county, state, and federal law enforcement to assist us. Of course, it is not enough to say this, the PSC needs to put it all into action. No action is not an option.


    Tim Coll

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It very well could of been. If so, I stand corrected. I have corresponded with Meg Kelly very infrequently but she told me she started the court. Maybe a joint venture?


  6. In response to Chris-
    We are getting down into the weeds. It is a constitutional right to panhandle but it is not absolute so it can be regulated. As an example, you cannot panhandle in NYC airports or the subway. There is litigation regarding the subway but it’s too complicated to address in this blog. This is a great blog. Thanks to all who participate.
    Tim Coll

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is my theory. The city council let by Ron and Jimmy the Tulip are going to settle the lawsuit with Mounts family. In exchange Figuereo has promised not to harass the city. Maybe Elz gets a cut of the settlement? I dunno.


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