Mayor Kim’s Meeting Management Continues To Stumble

While the April 18, 2023, Saratoga Springs City Council meeting was subdued in contrast to the previous April 4 meeting, it was notable for Mayor Ron Kim’s mismanagement.

Mayor Kim Abrogated His Responsibility Over The Public Comment Period

For starters Mayor Kim announced that while there would still be a four-minute limit on individual comments, he would no longer enforce it. When is a limit no longer a limit?

This means that any person can now filibuster for as long as they want. Potentially one person can use up all the time allocated for public comment.

I expect Kim watched the video of the last meeting, where he appeared feckless as he fruitlessly advised people, what seemed like hundreds of times, that their time was up.

At the April 18 meeting, Kim lectured the public that monopolizing the microphone was unfair to others who might wish to speak, but essentially left it up to members of the audience to sort it all out over who would get to use what amount of time.

This means that if someone takes it upon themselves to venture out at night to address the Council on a matter they find important, they may discover that the person ahead of them has exhausted the available time, and they are out of luck. It seems to me this could potentially add to the disorder at meetings and could lead to some disruptive conflict between those wanting to have their time at the microphone.

You Couldn’t Get Into The Meeting

The April 18, 2023, meeting was held in the old Council chambers, and many people could not get into the meeting. They were allowed to sit in the hall where a screen was set up that displayed the meeting.

Pretty much every speaker complained about Kim’s decision to hold the meeting in the old Council chambers rather than the Music Hall. It was especially embarrassing because the Council was to honor the late Clarence Dart of the Tuskegee Airmen. His descendants, who had been invited to the Council meeting, were unable to get into the room as no seats had been reserved for them. When people learned that the Dart family was in the hall, many gave up their seats for them.

Kim offered two excuses for the venue. He asserted that the video and audio quality was better in the chambers and that he had assessed the agenda items and believed that public attendance would be sufficiently modest so that the chambers would accommodate those who wanted to attend.

It was clear from the groans in the audience that his rationale did not go down well. For one thing, it should have been obvious that the no-knock warrant issue on the agenda would draw a crowd. A number of Facebook pages, including one sponsored by BLM, had posted calls to attend.

A Different Meeting Without Lex Figuereo

Lex Figuereo and Brigitte Barr were charged with two misdemeanors each for their disruption at the April 4 meeting.

Lex Figuereo was absent from the April 18 meeting, as were most of the other leaders of BLM. I expect that Figuereo’s attorney had advised him not to attend future Council meetings until his charges are resolved. In his absence, the group was relatively subdued. With the exception of Angela Kaufman (AKA Diogenes), the other speakers’ remarks were free of epithets. No one from the group attempted a filibuster.

All of them directed vituperative attacks towards Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino. They also spoke in favor of eliminating “no knock” warrants.

If this is representative of the future, it appears that without Lex Figuereo’s fiery leadership, the city may be spared the kind of disruptions that has made transacting city business problematic.

A Cynical Alliance Between Lex Figuereo (BLM) and Mayor Ron Kim?

When Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino pursued charges against Black Lives Matter activists for disrupting City Council meetings, Mayor Ron Kim and the other City Council members accused him of racism and sexism. Now according to area media, Mayor Kim has instructed Assistant City Attorney Michael Phillips to seek an order from a judge banning one of those activists, Bridgette Barr (sometimes referred to as Bridgette Parisi), from City Council meetings. Curiously Kim has not been the subject of a similar attack from either his colleagues on the Council or BLM.

It is interesting that at the April 18 meeting of the Council, the BLM people attacked Commissioner Montagnino for charging Figuereo for disrupting the previous meeting but made no objection to the same charges brought against Barr, a white woman.

In a related development, Lex Figuereo told the media that Barr is not a member of Black Lives Matter, and the media reported this as though it were a fact.

So I texted Figuereo to try to determine why Ms. Barr was excluded from being a member of BLM. I asked him, “What are the requirements to be a Saratoga BLM member?”

Figuereo responded to my text by asking who I was. After I responded with my name, he at first didn’t answer and then texted me this:

Figuereo: Just be anti racist why you trying to join if u wanna be a man to man conversation that’s great.

Blogger: Texting works for me. How do people become members of Saratoga BLM?

Figuereo: Well, Texting doesn’t work for me. You also didn’t greet me when you sent me questions. Insulting, I would say. When you learn to speak with respect, maybe, just maybe, you can talk to me. If not, you can continue running with your false narrative when you don’t even know us. Good day sir.

Saratoga BLM has no formal membership. There are no BLM dues, membership cards, or lists. Apparently, Lex Figuereo is the czar of the local BLM activists, deciding on his own who gets to enjoy the status of membership.

At the April 4, 2023, City Council meeting, Barr actively participated with Figuereo and other BLM activists in disrupting the meeting. It was impossible to distinguish her role from Figuereo’s and the other BLM people.

In fact, Barr, along with Figuereo, both breached the cordon that separated the Council from the public. Both continually shouted at the Council. Barr grabbed the microphone used by Public Safety Commissioner Montagnino, and Figuereo grabbed the microphone from Mayoral candidate Chris Mathiesen. So why was Figuereo so insistent that Bridgette Barr was not a member of BLM?

Judge Skeptical In Response To City

Both City Court Judges Vero and Wait recused themselves in both the Figuereo case and the Barr case. Judge Constantine F. DeStefano was brought in to preside.

Mayor Kim sent the new Assistant City Attorney Michael Phillips to pursue an order of some kind to block Barr, but not Figuereo, from attending future Council meetings. It did not go well for Mr. Phillips.

Judge DeStefano first questioned why Phillips thought he had standing to bring this motion before the court. Phillips tried to ignore the judge’s question at first but finally acknowledged that it was indeed the prosecutor’s sole prerogative to ask for the court’s action not his.

Judge DeStefno next wondered why the city was only pursuing charges against Barr when Figuereo was alleged to have exhibited the same behavior.

Phillips responded that Barr represented a greater danger of violence and that the city was pursuing this case to try to help Barr.

The judge then expressed concern that Phillips had spoken to the press concerning Barr’s mental health history without having a HIPPA release (the federal requirement that protects the release of patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge) and that it looked like a violation. Judge DeStefano told Phillips he planned to consider the matter further.

Throwing Bridgette Barr Under The Bus

So how to explain Figuereo’s sudden interest in creating a BLM membership list that didn’t include Barr. As Figuereo’s narrative is that charges brought against BLM are racist and about suppressing their free speech, Kim, given his earlier attack on Montagnino’s actions, was in a bind when he wanted to pursue a similar court order against Barr. Figuereo seems to have conveniently given Kim a pass by simply pronouncing that Barr was not a member of BLM.

Apparently, for Mayor Kim, if you’re not a member of BLM, court orders against you don’t represent an infringement on your free speech. Consistency has never been a priority for either Kim or Figuereo.

More On Mayor Kim’s Use Of The F Word

[JK: A recent FOIL  revealed more examples of inappropriate language used by Mayor Ron Kim in city hall communications. The following piece by Mike Brandi, the chair of the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee who submitted the FOIL, documents how toxic the environment in city hall has become and includes what appears to be a concerning example of foul language being used by Kim in reference to an employee under his supervision.]


After several leaks of internal emails from the local Democratic party posted to your blog, it has become wildly apparent that Mayor Kim is prone to sending late-night, expletive-laden, abusive emails. Accordingly, under the Freedom of Information Law, I requested all emails sent by Kim which contained a certain expletive we all know as the “F-word.” In response, two heavily redacted emails were provided.

One of which piqued my interest because it happened to be in reference to a FOIL appeal that I had submitted in early 2022. Specifically, on February 4, 2022, Mayor Kim emailed the City FOIL officer asking to set up a meeting about my FOIL appeal. Subsequently, Kim forwarded that same email to Deputy Mayor Angela Rella and his executive assistant, Kerry Huyben. The forwarded email to Rella and Huyben added heavily redacted commentary from Kim. The City released only Kim’s writing that “I did some research on FOIL appeals” and “f***ing”. Keep in mind that at this time, there was no designated City Attorney (despite Kim’s attempts to appoint himself), and there was no designated FOIL Appeals Officer. So, it appears that Kim was seeking to inject himself into this process.

It was not unreasonable to assume that Mayor Kim’s bad language in that email may have been directed at me, a citizen exercising his FOIL rights. Accordingly, I appealed the City’s redactions, seeking to have the email released in full.

This is where things take a more sinister turn. City Attorney Tony Izzo upheld the City’s redactions but clarified the redacted portion of the February 4 email. Izzo writes that the expletive-containing sentence in question contained “[Kim’s] opinion of the work-related conduct of a named city employee.” Accordingly, Mayor Kim, at 10:56 PM on a Friday night, used offensive language in communicating about an unknown public employee’s work-related performance to two other city employees. This is wildly inappropriate.

With the City’s insistence that the redactions remain, we can only speculate as to which employee has drawn the mayor’s ire and what exactly he was saying about them. But one thing is clear, Mr. Kim is a bully who has no qualms about exposing the City to liability in creating an overtly hostile work environment. It is completely inappropriate in any circumstance, but especially for a mayor of one of the most respected cities in the country, to use this sort of language to refer to an employee or in a communication with employees under his supervision.

So what is the big deal? Considering the context, this is no minor incident. The United States Department of Labor classifies “verbal abuse including offensive, profane and vulgar language” as workplace violence and identifies this sort of intimidating, discourteous behavior as a “level 1” warning sign for workplace violence. Researchers at the Southhampton School of Business found that “Repeatedly swearing, making threats and engaging in verbal abuse can lead to depression, stress, reduced morale, absenteeism, retention problems, and reduced productivity [and can] damage the image of the organization.” Karen Hinds, Diversity and Inclusion expert and founder and CEO of the Workplace Success Group states, “Bosses who use profanity to express themselves are in fact, attacking morale and creating a hostile work environment. Their behavior is a poor reflection of their management skills, and in essence, this behavior is workplace bullying.”

Heck, even the Trump White House had standards when it came to profanity. Your readers may recall, Anthony Scaramucci was fired after merely 10 days working for the Trump White House for making “comments that were inappropriate for a person in that position” after a vulgar rant to a reporter.

In closing, Kim’s behavior here is simply reprehensible. Such language directed at an employee’s performance is nothing short of bullying. In choosing his words, Kim reveals much about his character.

In reference to government transparency, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” There is no better cure for the rot of government mischief than the citizen exercising their right to throw back the curtain and examine the behavior of their elected officials. While these two emails were disclosed, one is left to wonder how many other instances of Kim’s inappropriate behavior remain out of the light of day and how many more we may see as Kim’s administration bumbles toward the expiration of its term.

Excerpt From Tony Izzo To Mike Brandi


This email contains the F word regarding a city employee. Note that the email thread includes a response from Robin McFee, who is the executive assistant to the city attorney. She handles FOIL requests. This all occurred relatively early in the Kim administration when he was attempting to act as the city attorney. Vince DeLeonardis, the previous city attorney, acted as the appeal officer for FOIL denials. At this stage, McFee does not know who is acting as the appeal officer with DeLeonardis gone and no city attorney.

Mayor Kim Responds To Email From Bill McTygue

Here Kim emails to his deputy, Angela Rella, in response to an email from Bill McTygue. McTygue’s original email is pretty much all redacted, so we do not know what McTygue said to prompt Kim’s email.

Jim Martinez Weighs In On Temporary Outdoor Dining Problems

[JK: Jim Martinez is a registered architect. A stalwart preservationist and founding member of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, he has authored many articles about our surviving resources and their stewardship.]

The COVID-19 emergency declarations will end on 11 May 2023. This follows Governor Hochul’s announcement on 15 June 2021, that social distancing requirements and seating distance in restaurants would no longer be needed. Yet today, just shy of 2 years of that proclamation, we are still accommodating extra seating for select businesses in the public rights-of-way (ROW) to lessees and property owners, reducing and in some cases ignoring sidewalk Fire Code and City Code requirements, eliminating valuable public parking and challenging the distinguished visual landscape of our heralded historic downtown district.  

Pandemic emergency responses aside, should we question the legitimacy of the taking of public land for private use? The Design Review Board (DRB) was given design review and approval of the outdoor dining corrals, but the legitimacy of the construction barriers was off the table. At their March 3rd meeting, the DRB were issued prescriptive guidelines as they were presented with 12 applications and a new sidewalk removal request. Were these guidelines vetted by the community, the preservationists or by the Departments of Public Works and Public Safety that might impart code compliance standards? The DRB was informed that the approval and review of these barriers was not part of their charge, instead to simply comment on their compatibility with guidelines questionably unfit for our historic and sacred downtown. The DRB should find them unacceptable in our once great city center.  

The issue overlooked by design was the legitimacy of the concrete barriers recently purchased by the city for the express use by select businesses to be maintained by the Public Works Department for the lessees and property owners to increase their commercial space in the public right of way two years after the pandemic emergency was lifted. Is this municipal option open to all residents on public throughfares?  

Additionally, last year Short Alley, a posted ‘No Parking Fire Lane’ was closed to traffic to accommodate dining along Henry Street. Unsecured flammable propane tanks along with an assortment of miscellaneous detritus was permitted to be stored openly in the fire lane one block from our fire station. Post pandemic restrictions, some businesses on Phila Street have increased their seating by 50% at the expense of the public having to navigate between “The Pillars of Hercules” on one of our historic feeder streets and the loss of valued public parking. Recently a restaurant next to Congress Park has received tentative approval to use its public rights-of-way sidewalk for dining, resulting in forcing all pedestrians into the road. This property already received approval in the past for the construction of an entry portico, stairs and ramps on the public ROW sidewalk, conditioned on preserving the resulting path clear for the public. Is it legal to remove the sidewalk completely against state and local codes?  

Was the tentative approval of this application based on consultation with our city departments, inspectors and planners? Sidewalks and cleared paths on unpaved level surfaces are specifically defined in our City Code as to be a minimum of 5 feet wide, so why is the city now allowing in some instances 4 feet to be the distance between table edges in our downtown core (Caroline Street) and in some others removing them completely? How will this reduced dimension accommodate wheelchairs and baby carriages, let alone the public at large? Have accessible sidewalks, adherence to traffic controls (fire lanes) and our city codes become selective and irrelevant? 

In conducting a code review, the researcher understands that codes are complimentary. One code or one section of a code may be usurped by another more restrictive requirement in another section or another code. Our City Code establishes a five-foot minimum width for public passages on city streets. While another code may permit a four-foot width requirement for accessibility, the larger requirement is what determines the acceptable minimum dimension.  

From our City Code:  


Per City Code § 203-23.A.(2)(a), “The minimum width [of sidewalks] shall be 5.0 feet.” However, Fire Code imposes greater space requirements at the public right-of-way. 

 Seems this UDO provision relating to signs (Article 12) should also apply to any usage of outdoor dining space:  

“C. Encroachment into Right-of-Way 

For a sign to permissibly extend into a public right-of-way, prior review and approval by the Commissioner of Public Works, after consultation with the Department of Public Safety, is required. Adherence to the design standards included in this Article does not imply approval of an encroachment.” 

 The City Code also defines the City’s “Fire Limits, which used to have specific requirements as to construction types allowed therein. Typically, only non-combustible construction is allowed within fire limits. 

One reason that Public Safety needs to review sign installation (and should also regulate sidewalk dining constructions in the public right-of-way) is that the Fire Code regulates egress from buildings.  

Per 2020 Fire Code of NYS: 

 EXIT DISCHARGE. That portion of a means of egress system between the termination of an exit and a public way. 

 PUBLIC WAY. A street, alley or other parcel of land open to the outside air leading to a street, that has been deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public for public use and which has a clear width and height of not less than 10 feet (3048 mm). 

1028.5 Access to a Public Way 

The exit discharge shall provide a direct and unobstructed access to a public way. 

Exception: Where access to a public way cannot be provided, a safe dispersal area shall be supplied where all of the following are met: 

The area shall be of a size to accommodate not less than 5 square feet (0.46 m2) for each person. 

The area shall be located on the same lot not less than 50 feet (15 240 mm) away from the building requiring egress. 

The area shall be permanently maintained and identified as a safe dispersal area. 

The area should be provided with a safe and unobstructed path of travel from the building. 

Taking up the entire public right-of-way/sidewalk with dining adversely impacts the available public way for safe egress. 


We should also understand that the taking of these taxpayer streets and sidewalks are being offered for a pittance to selective lessees who may or may not be city taxpayers. It should be noted that these gifted property extensions are set up by the longitudinal street facing dimensions which at best are discriminatory against businesses with limited frontage or against those restaurants on thoroughfares considered unacceptable. Are these giftings and fee structures transparent and fair let alone legal? 

Codes and requirements are usually the hurdle for most city projects, whether on private parcels or municipal lands. I can remember when this city recognized the attractiveness of its downtown, passing legislation that respected its surviving resources and established guidelines for new contemporary additions to the cityscape. The creation of a review commission charged with embracing the guidelines protects our legacy.  

Such traffic barriers are questionably legal, ugly and have no place in the public street outside of a short-term emergency.  

Dillon Moran: A Blizzard Of Talk Devoid Of Answers Re Outdoor Dining

Saratoga Springs Accounts Commissioner Dillon Moran has steamrolled through a personal takeover of temporary outdoor dining in the city. In fact, this has become his personal fiefdom. He is now the czar of outdoor dining and he rules with opacity.

As documented below, attempts to secure the most basic information on how he awards the city’s rights of way to local restaurants and bars and and how he arrives at the fees he charges have gone unanswered in spite of repeated emails promising to provide key information (see emails below).

A Little History

In the face of devastating threats to the hospitality industry caused by COVID restrictions on bars and restaurants, New York State allowed businesses to expand outdoor dining seating into public rights-of-way. The previous city administration set up a special committee to develop guidelines and implement a program to assist businesses in taking advantage of these new rules.

The committee was made up of Vince DeLeonardis (the City Attorney), Aaron Dryer (Assistant Fire Chief), Mike Veitch (Public Works Deputy Commissioner), and Marilyn Rivers (Director of Risk and Safety). This blue ribbon committee accepted applications from businesses and ensured that the applicants met all the requirements of the city regarding legal issues, public safety, street logistics, and adherence to insurance requirements before issuing permits. This process depersonalized the approval of applications and made sure that the key players with expertise eyeballed every application.

When Commissioner Moran took office, he quickly moved to take control of the city’s outdoor dining program and marginalize the other players. The Public Works Department’s role was reduced to “advice and consent.” All the others who had formerly been involved in the permitting process would now only be consulted at the discretion of Moran. This kind of management is an invitation to trouble.

What Are Some Key Questions About City-Supported Outdoor Dining?

So with Moran now in charge, I wrote to him on March 27, 2023, asking the following questions.

  • Do you have any documentation that supports the claim that the fire department has reviewed and approved all applications for outdoor dining since January 1, 2022 as regards adherence to the city’s fire safety requirements?
  • If you do, could you please provide them to me?
  • Do you have any documentation that demonstrates that all applications since January 1, 2022, adhere to access on the sidewalks to sufficiently meet the city’s right-of-way requirements and the ADA?
  • Do you have a spreadsheet or other document that reports for each year on the expenses the city has incurred implementing the outdoor dining program since January 1, 2022, including staff time required to review and process the applications, the cost of acquiring or leasing the barriers, and the cost for deploying barriers?
  • If you do, could you provide them to me?
  • Do you have a spreadsheet or other document that reports on the income the city has received from restaurants for outdoor dining since January 1, 2022.
  • Do you have any documents that explain how the fees for outdoor dining were arrived at.  This would include the process that was used to arrive at these costs as well as the basis for them?

As the emails below document, first Commissioner Moran promised to answer my questions. What followed, however, were multiple emails meant to explain his delays in answering my questions, and then crickets.

A Failed Rush To Open

Moran announced that the season for temporary outdoor dining would begin on March 29 and that by that date the barriers used to protect diners eating in the parking spaces in front of the restaurants would be deployed.

As of the date of this blog (April 20, 2023), the program has still not begun. The public has not been given a reason for the delay. My sources tell me that part of the delay was due to federal and state “prevailing wage” laws. These laws require that businesses contracted to provide services to municipalities must pay good wages based on a scale determined by the state.

Under New York State Labor Law, contractors and subcontractors must pay the prevailing rate of wage and supplements (fringe benefits) to all workers under a public work contract. Employers must pay the prevailing wage rate set for the locality where the work is performed. Prevailing wage is the pay rate set by law for work on public work projects. This applies to all laborers, workers or mechanics employed under a public work contract. 

NYS Department of Labor

Moran apparently selected the Fort Miller Group as the vendor for the barriers. In order for them to deploy the barriers, they would have to meet the “prevailing wage” requirement, but they do not. There is some question as to whether the Public Works Department had the needed heavy equipment to carry this out.

This is emblematic of Moran’s routine failure to perform due diligence properly before rushing forward.

All of this is totally opaque. It remains unclear if the city has even approved this year’s applications for outdoor dining. In fact, as far as I can tell, Moran has yet to get approval for this year’s fees from the Council.

So How Did Moran Arrive At What To Charge For The Use Of Rights-Of-Way?

As the correspondence below documents, the public has no idea how Moran arrived at the fees the city charges businesses for outdoor dining permits (if he has arrived at a fee schedule for this year at all).

Judging by the previous year, the city is charging token fees for some very expensive real estate. Last year, it made no difference if a restaurant had only a small area in front of it using only one parking space or if they took up a street corner with multiple parking spaces. The fees were the same: $250.00 a year for just part of the sidewalk and $1,000.00 for parking spaces whether it was for one or many.

I believe this is a pittance of the value of these right-of-ways, but with no formal assessment of the worth of these properties, who knows?

Would You Like To Own The Parking Space In Front Of Where You Live Or Work?

For some reason, the privilege of using the space in the street in front of a business is limited to restaurants. Retail businesses would love similar privileges for their customers.

Putting aside the arbitrary nature of who benefits from the outdoor dining program and who doesn’t, a major question is what is the value of the sidewalk and street parking spaces? Under Commissioner Moran, this has been a fire sale endearing himself to the businesses who are the recipients of his largess.

An Unhealthy Situation

This is representative of how Commissioner Moran operates. He appears uninterested in rigorous planning and accountability. Such an approach would require an open process involving his colleagues and their staff in city hall.

Previous Councils would never allow this kind of wild west behavior. They would insist on the details. This would normally be especially true regarding the role of the Finance Commissioner. Commissioner Sanghvi’s failure to evaluate the financial considerations in Moran’s initiative is more than disturbing. She should be asking the same questions that I asked.

Watching this Council is a grim undertaking.


On March 23, 2023 I wrote to Dillon Moran:

This is a follow-up to your call today:

  1. Do you have any documentation that supports the claim that the fire department has reviewed and approved all applications for outdoor dining since January 1, 2022 as regards adherence to the city’s fire safety requirements?
  2. If you do, could you please provide them to me?
  3. Do you have any documentation that demonstrates that all applications since January 1, 2022, adhere to access on the sidewalks to sufficiently meet the city’s right-of-way requirements and the ADA?
  4. Do you have a spreadsheet or other document that reports for each year on the expenses the city has incurred implementing the outdoor dining program since January 1, 2022, including staff time required or review and process the applications, the cost of acquiring or leasing the barriers, and the cost for deploying barriers?
  5. If you do, could you provide them to me?
  6. Do you have a spreadsheet or other document that reports on the income the city has received from restaurants for outdoor dining since January 1, 2022.
  7. Do you have any documents that explain how the fees for outdoor dining were arrived at.  This would include the process that was used to arrive at these costs as well as the basis for them?

 Please note that the adoption of a resolution by the council did not provide any of this information.

 Thank you for your assistance.


On March 23, 2023 Moran responded:


I’ve been in Boston the last couple of days and am booked full tomorrow. 

I’ll get you something next week, and I will also share how it’s working this year

Kind Regards,

Dillon Moran

On March 28, not having heard from Moran I wrote:

You were going to get back to me with answers to my questions this week.

Still not hearing from Moran, on March 30 I wrote:


You said you would provide me with answers to my email this week.  What is the status of my request?

On March 30, 2023 Moran responded:

Still working out some of the details. 

The applications are easy to access, I’m working on the rates at present. 

I have an assessors exam tomorrow so I’m not going to have everything done until next week. 

Kind Regards,

Dillon Moran

On April 3, 2023 I again wrote to Moran:

What is the status of answering my questions re outdoor dining

On April 4, 2023 Moran wrote:

I will be doing an update at the Council meeting tonight. After that we can figure out what your concerns are and address them. 

Kind Regards,

Dillon Moran

On April 4, 2023, I wrote:

What my concerns are spelled out in my email.  To the extent that they will not be directly and clearly addressed in your presentation tonight you should answer them.


On April 6, 2023 Moran wrote:

Barb is going to be sending you the applications from the last go round. 

There’s a lot going on, I don’t have staff laying around like the others. 

Your patience is appreciated 

Kind Regards,

Dillon Moran

On April 8, 2023 I wrote Moran:

Thank you for sending the applications.  Unfortunately for some reason you did not include the schematics documenting how the outside areas would be laid out that was part of the application.  These drawings would have been the only thing of value to me.

More centrally, neither your presentation at the last council meeting nor your emails addressed any of my questions.  I find this troubling as you had announced that the deployment of outside dining would begin on March 29.  I don’t see how you can approve any applications until you have addressed the issues that my questions were based on.

Do you plan to answer my questions?

On April 10, 2023 I wrote:

I am still waiting for answers to my email re outdoor dining.  Do you plan to answer my questions?

On April 10, 2023 Moran wrote:

I’ve tried to provide you what you asked for. 

What are you trying to uncover or prove here? I simply don’t have time to play wack a mole about an approval process from 2022 that I’m not directly involved with. 

Kind Regards,

Dillon Moran

One Saratoga Seeks an Independent Line for Candidates for City Office

[I got the following release from Courtney DeLeonardis, the chair of One Saratoga]


One Saratoga: Seeks an independent line on the ballot and has endorsed a diverse slate of candidates.

Beginning on April 18, One Saratoga members and supporters will be going door to door asking for residents of Saratoga Springs to sign petitions to get their endorsed candidates an independent line on the November 7 ballot. Any person who is registered to vote, regardless of their party affiliation and including No Party, may sign.

One Saratoga has endorsed candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties. It is a true fusion slate. One Saratoga has endorsed Chris Mathiesen for Mayor, Tim Coll for Public Safety, and Matthew Veitch and Michele Madigan for County Supervisors.

Courtney DeLeonardis, Chair of One Saratoga, said, “One Saratoga was created to promote City before Party and this year we hope to further that effort with a line on the ballot that we believe contains candidates who share our goal.”

One Saratoga is a non-partisan coalition of local residents that seeks to have the best-qualified people governing Saratoga Springs regardless of partisan affiliations. Their watchword is “City before party”.

For more information about One Saratoga, signing petitions, and to learn about their endorsed candidates go to their website at-

Past Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee Chair Pat Tuz Cited for Violating Federal, State, and City Environmental Regulations- Updated

[JK: This article was originally posted about a week ago. It has been updated with additional information]

I had heard that the recently resigned chair of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, Pat Tuz, had been cited for violating city code and state and federal environmental regulations.

I wrote to Ms. Tuz inquiring about the allegation and received this response.

They have been out here.  We are waiting to hear their report.  I think we put some stone below the water line on the lake. 

There’s no story there John and please nothing about my personal life.  


Pat Tuz

March 31, 2023

My first response was to honor her request. If what she stated were true, then it seemed like a minor violation that did not deserve posting.

However, I made some inquiries and acquired documents that indicate a far different story from what Tuz told me.

The Violations

Apparently, Ms. Tuz and her husband, Jon Weilbaker, built a driveway on property they own on Saratoga Lake. Their property has a steep slope, so their clearing of the land and the gravel they laid down for the driveway created an environmental threat of runoff into Saratoga Lake. Their actions involved violations of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Saratoga Springs land use codes. In addition, they disturbed some wetlands.

The following documents from New York State and the city make for interesting reading describing multiple infractions and the required remediation.

On page one of the following New York State Department of Environment violation notice, Tuz’s husband tries unsuccessfully to convince the DEC investigator that the driveway was not meant for vehicles but was simply a path to the lake. The rest of the document cites numerous problems and what remediation will be required.

Here is the notice sent to Ms. Tuz and her husband John Weilbaker by the city on March 13 informing them of multiple violations of city codes including their failure to obtain the required permits for the work they had done. The city ordered them to immediately cease work on the property until they had obtained the proper approvals from the city Zoning/Planning Department.

It’s Always The Coverup

I do not think it is unfair to characterize Ms. Tuz’s email to me as grossly inaccurate and misleading. “We put some stone below the waterline” does not accurately describe why the state and city were unhappy with what she and her husband had done.

Interestingly, Ms. Tuz is on the board of the Saratoga Lake Association (SLA).

According to the SLA website:

“The Saratoga Lake Association is a not-for-profit organization. Its purposes are to promote and enhance the health, safety, sanitation, ecology, recreation and environmental quality of the Saratoga Lake area through education, charitable contributions and environmental action.”


Pat Tuz Statement On Her Resignation As Chair of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee

[JK: Pat Tuz sent me an email explaining her resignation]

Hi John:

On the subject of my resignation, on my part it was planned.  Life’s circumstances got in the way  with our business and a few personal matters, and, as you may know,  the Democratic Committee took a lot of time.   I decided to complete the petitioning process so that I would not leave anyone in the lurch before resigning.  And it was soon enough before the primary so we could give someone else a chance.

I enjoyed the committee very much.  There are a lot of hardworking, dedicated people on it and it was a pleasure to work with them.

Thanks for your interest! 

Pat Tuz

Who’s Next?

The Executive Committee will handle meetings until the right person steps up. It does take a lot of time and commitment so anyone would want to make sure they can make that commitment.

Pat Tuz

April 4 City Council Meeting: Mayor Kim Oversees Madness and Vitriol

The April 4, 2023, Saratoga Springs City Council meeting devolved into a five-hour ordeal of toxic outbursts and recriminations exchanged amongst the Council members themselves and coming from Black Lives Matter members in the audience. Mayor Kim, unable or unwilling to maintain order, empowered the worst behavior from BLM and his colleagues at the table. While Kim’s mismanagement of the meeting was the major factor, his colleagues on the Council must share some of the responsibility for this craziness.

Emblematic of the evening, in a particularly shocking breakdown of decorum and civility, BLM leader Lexis Figureo seized the microphone from Chris Mathiesen as Chris tried to address the Council during the public comment period. In the following video, Mathiesen asks Mayor Kim, “Is this ok with you?” Mayor Kim’s response was to inform Mathiesen that he (Kim) was running the meeting and then to shut down the public comment period. Members of BLM then removed the temporary barrier that separated the Council table from the public seating area and invaded the space adding to the toxic chaos. In fact, one of the BLM people grabbed Public Safety Commissioner Montagnino’s microphone from the Council table and used it to shout epithets.

This city is flirting with real trouble. This aggressive behavior, if unchecked, has the real potential to descend into violence, and yet Mayor Kim and his colleagues at the table that night, with the exception of Commissioner Montagnino who appealed to the Mayor to restore order, sat ineffectually by like bystanders watching a train wreck.

A Pointless Resolution

To understand just how bizarre the evening was, it is important to grasp just how pointless one of the main events on the agenda was. Commissioner Montagnino had brought a complaint of disorderly conduct against BLM member Chandler Hickenbottom following the the shut down of the February 7 City Council meeting after repeated disruptions by BLM members. So the main event at this meeting was the consideration of a resolution offered by Kim that allegedly relieved the city of liability for any litigation resulting from the charges brought against Chandler Hickenbottom (BLM) by Commissioner Montagnino. In addition, because the Council had not formally endorsed Montagnino’s action, the resolution claimed that Montagnino had acted as an individual not as a city official and was therefore not entitled to any coverage for legal costs should he be sued.

State law establishes that elected officials are indemnified for suits related to their office’s duties. The city’s insurance policy covers our elected officials based on this law. This policy would provide money for their representation in court in case of a complaint against them and cover any fines.

The poorly crafted resolution asserted that the Council never authorized Montagnino to bring his action against Hickenbottom and boldly asserted that therefore “…neither Chapter 9 of the City Code nor Section 18 of the Public Officers Law shall apply.” It provided no language from the state law supporting this assertion.

If the New York State Public Officers Law would not cover Montagnino’s liability then he is not covered. If the New York State Public Officers Law does cover Montagnino then he is covered. One way or the other, the resolution is trumped by state law.

So, as Montagnino accurately pointed out during the discussion, the resolution is pointless.

What, then, was the purpose of this resolution?

It was about drama along with petty payback and not the law.

How About Consulting The City’s Insurance Carrier

The primary drafters of this resolution were Kim, his deputy Angela Rella, and Public Works Commissioner Golub. While all three are lawyers, none have any municipal law expertise.

There was a simple way to determine if the action against Montagnino was enforceable. All they had to do was consult the city’s insurance carrier as to our policy.

They didn’t.

Free Speech Suppression?

The proponents of this resolution allege that Chandler Hickenbottom’s free speech had been denied out of some animus based on racism and sexism. In this excerpt, Accounts Commissioner Moran berates Montagnino claiming that Montagnino’s racist rant stopped the February 7 meeting.

What Actually Happened On February 7.

This is a twelve-minute video from the events of February 7, 2023. It was these events that are the basis for both Montagnino’s action and Kim’s resolution. It belies Moran’s intemperate and untrue accusation that Montagnino’s “racist” remarks were what stopped the meeting. Montagnino never spoke during Hickenbottom’s rant.

Speakers at public comment are allowed two minutes. As documented in this video, Ms. Hickenbottom monopolized the microphone for twelve minutes, refusing to adhere to city policy after repeated requests that she give up the microphone to the next speaker. In her comments, she herself observed that she was “going to keep disrupting.”

You might call what Hickenbottom did a form of civil disobedience, but characterizing Ms. Hickenbottom as a victim of speech suppression is a fabrication.

The Council Has Descended To An Unsustainable Low

As bad as past meetings have been, April 4th’s meeting achieved a new low of toxicity and belligerence. Figuereo and his allies continually attempted to interfere with the meeting for four hours, yelling and making thoughtful deliberation by the Council problematic.

The tone and substance of the council members were not much better. The Mayor is unwilling to implement any standard of decorum and civility. In fact, he frequently contributes to the toxic atmosphere that now dominates our City Council.

This Is Not Going To End Well

Given the increasing violence in this country, the grim reality is that the level of unrestrained anger and abuse at the Council table and from the Black Lives Matter people has created a very dangerous environment. There is the real potential for violence if nothing is done to insist on reasonable order and civility. We live in a culture in which the national news is increasingly dominated by random shootings by disturbed people. What happens regularly now at Council meetings is an invitation to disaster.

Commissioner Sanghvi Responds To Missing Records Of Design Review Board Meeting

I attended the April 4, 2023, meeting of the Saratoga Springs City Council. I was continuing my campaign to secure a response as to why the city’s website lacked video and minutes of the March 8, 2023, meeting of the Design Review Board. At the meeting, Commissioner Minita Sanghvi advised me that she had sent me an email the day before regarding the matter. In fact, she had emailed me the evening before, which I admit to having missed.

According to her email, the planning staff person responsible for seeing that the meeting was recorded had retired, and the new person forgot to record the meeting. These individuals work under Mayor Kim, and apparently, Ms. Sanghvi allowed his office to take weeks to supply that answer.

At the meeting, Commissioner Sanghvi was unapologetic. She dismissed that it took two and a half weeks to get a simple answer out of the Mayor’s office by observing that “things take time.” She appeared unphased that the city had violated the New York State Open Meetings Law. It should be noted that if she had acted expeditiously when notified about the missing records by insisting that the planning department post the meeting minutes, she would have avoided violating the NY State Open Meetings Law. Even today (April 5), the minutes are still not posted on the city’s website.

Sanghvi’s Email

Mr. Kaufman, 

We have understood now that because of a retirement in the planning staff, there were human errors in the recording. The person who usually recorded the meetings retired. Someone else was supposed to press record and forgot to do it until 15 minutes into the meeting. They have let us know that they have hired a new person and that the management of the webcast will be the new hire’s responsibility. The planning department have assured us that they will provide detailed minutes for the agenda items that were not recorded. 

IT has been working with the Mayor’s office to figure this out and will continue to help all departments to ensure their meetings are posted on our website.

Have a blessed day! 

Commissioner Sanghvi