Election 2015: Voter Turnout

As noted by the commenter below, I thought it might be worth looking at the numbers here:

So very sad that only 3,500 or so people voted…I am pretty sure that these 3,500 are the only people paying taxes, owning properties or pretty much giving a rats ass as to what happens in or to this city. I am fine with the election results, the people have spoken, however, how really unfortunate that this is the extent of our “city’s” voting force. We may as well be a village, town, or whatever is the level below a city, because this election voting results are so completely pathetic.

Total Votes Cast for Mayor by Year:
2007 — 4495
2011 — 3878
2015 — 3592

So Pam is correct on the trend — downward.

In 2015, the total voting population in the city is 9028 registered voters (as of March 2015). So as a percentage of the total voters, turnout by year is :
2007 — 49.6%
2011 — 42.8%
2015 — 39.7%

So Pam is correct on the dwindling engagement on the voters as well — downward.

I don’t have time to test the claims on whether it is mostly property tax payers, probably so as I’d expect they are more vested in things but I think the drop is too pronounced for that to be THE explanation. I might venture a guess that the cost/benefit on political engagement just makes some people tune it out. And yes, the rat’s posterior also plays a role given general apathy toward elections and the political process.

As I discussed in a previous post, I think that the politcal environment in the city is designed to be closed, protected and intentionally so as to keeping it that way. Likely, most people would disagree with that as too broad a characterization but I do think it is true in the sense that the political culture here encourages that closed, cliquish approach to politics more than it discourages it.

More thoughts on the what the results mean policy wise in an upcoming post.

City of Amsterdam Election Results 2015

The official results from Montgomery County Board of Elections:


City Feud: “Survey Says…”

The Daily Gazette has a good article on the recent community survey in the article “Survey finds residents have dim view of Amsterdam”.

I daresay it’s a bit more than the view that is “dim”.

Before you think this unduly harsh, look at the underlying ideology that contributes to the blight, the inability to move forward, the stagnation in the city — the very things the survey respondents lament.

The fundamental ideology killing the city has at its heart the following principles :

  1. You fix blight by demolishing stuff even if you have to incur more and more debt to demolish stuff. Meanwhile, you incur zero debt to build anything that might yield a positive return in the future.
  2. You invest nothing, zero, on development or turnaround.
  3. You believe that the symptoms are the problem, namely, that blight, poverty, rundown housing are the problem, instead of what they really are– symptoms of a larger problem. The larger problem is lack of growth and lack of investment , both public and private.
  4. You actively turn away and reject outside investment — whether that investment is conceptual or financial. But more than anything, you reject any idea that represents something new or something different to the way things are.
  5. You preserve and protect the status quo no matter how completely dedicated that status quo serves for its own benefit versus the collective benefit.
  6. You oppose any initiative or view that embraces Amsterdam as a city, choosing instead to make it into anything but a viable city.

Honestly ask yourself if the principles above are any less prevalent than years past in the public and in the public office holders. I daresay prospects are getting dimmer , not brighter.

And the view remains grim when you look at it from a private investment and private stakeholders viewpoint — it literally does not exist. How the city can reinvent itself with no significant private investments and initiatives is simply not possible.

But let’s get to a key point in the Gazette piece:

Divisions, be they racial or political, were themselves identified by many as a problem facing the city.

Let’s be blunt: this city fuels itself on division so what the survey respondents don’t quite get is that division, divisiveness, and for good measure, vindictiveness, really gets to the true character of the city. In other words, division is not a bug in the system; it’s a feature.

Again, that might be harsh, but that’s what my survey says.

The Single Statement that Shows How Hopeless the City of Amsterdam Really Is

Police Chief Greg Culick on the brouhaha concerning the Farmer’s Market on Main Street: (the Recorder)

“The store that is complaining, there were cars parked right in front of her business,” he said. “I was able to come off the bridge, make a U-turn, and park where I wanted. Schenectady blocks off four streets all weekend for the farmers market. Troy does the same thing. I don’t think the street is the issue. It’s passable. I urge you to table it.”

Apparently every other city can figure out how to hold events and gatherings except Amsterdam.

Every other city can build a pleasant, stress-free environment for vendors to sell stuff except for Amsterdam.

Every other city can make the experience about giving the shopper convenience, choice and quality at a single point except for Amsterdam.

Every other city realizes that not everything needs to be political except for Amsterdam.

Every other city actually has more people working toward positive than negative except for Amsterdam.

Amsterdam — the exceptional city on the Mohawk– making what is possible everywhere else , all but impossible here.

City on Edge After Downtown Farmers Market Incident

Amsterdam, NY (Oct 5, 2015) — While details remain unclear, a verbal altercation between a Hispanic woman and some vendors took place on Saturday, October 3rd at the Amsterdam Downtown Farmers Market.  From several reports, the suspect was verbally abusive, removed some police barricades and failed to follow traffic regulations before speeding away. Police were called but no charges were issued.

The incident unsettled local political leaders who see this as a worrisome trend in the city. Local 6th Ward alderperson Lynne Bylynn echoed some of the sentiments of many city residents,”What is happening to this city is shameful with those people feeling they can do whatever they want and not respect their fellow citizens or the police. How does someone get to drive such a nice truck and buy vegetables when more likely than not, they are on welfare. I know it’s not politically correct but those people are ruining our city. Our seniors are truly scared.”

Similar sentiments were echoed on local radio by a long time caller, “Well, I was driving through the city looking at all that is wrong like I love to do on my weekends and glare at all those people who just sit on their porches. Now I didn’t see the incident take place but I am sure it happened because those people don’t have any respect, unlike our resident senior citizens who have the most exemplary manners and the utmost of civic mindedness. I feel sorry for our seniors who might have had to see this but it just goes to show everything wrong with social services. I’ll even bet this woman had a tattoo. Thank god I live in the town where we don’t have these people, or tattoos. I’m glad the 6th ward has the good sense to elect someone who’s not afraid to say what needs to be said.”

This story will be updated as more details emerge.

Common Council Member Proposes Revoking Permit for Homecoming Parade

Concerned with the impact on the local economy and seniors, 6th Ward Alderman Noah Funforyu will be proposing a resolution to rescind the permit for the popular homecoming parade scheduled for this Saturday.

Noah Funforyu explained the intent of the resolution as, “We have some very concerned taxpayers and drivers with the closing down of several streets and the cost of police for public safety at the event. We simply can’t afford to pay police for such a frivolous event. Heavens, is Spring Fling not enough of a bother and distraction? And our taxpayers certainly can’t afford to drive, two, three, maybe even four blocks out of their way once the parade route gets blocked. Sure, gas prices are down but it’s a terrible economic toll on our drivers. And when did this turn into a whole day affair with a parade and events from 9AM to 4PM? That’s an outrage. I don’t care that people enjoy the event or the folks who talk about community building and community get togethers. This city doesn’t need kumbaya, it needs lower taxes.”

Local resident  Lola Toogrinchus voiced support for the alderman’s plan given the parade and attendant marching band.  “There’s one thing I hate! All the NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! And they’ll shriek squeaks and squeals, racing ’round on their wheels. They’ll dance with jingtinglers tied onto their heels. They’ll blow their floofloovers. They’ll bang their tartookas. They’ll blow their whohoopers. They’ll bang their gardookas!”
The resolution will be discussed at a special meeting of the Council Thursday 11:30PM to be held at the former Best Western hotel given its ample parking and lack of gardookas.


Counterpoint: Rogo responds to Golf Carts and Golf Budgets

In a previous exchange, I told Rogo that I would post whatever he provided in terms of writeup and documentation as a way to get facts out on the golf course. Here is what Rogo provided me. (Note to readers: I am posting exactly what was provided to me with none of my own edits or commentary per my agreement with Rogo with one exception: I masked out his private email address for privacy reasons):


Rogo responds to golf budget questions:

ROGO <abcdedg1234@nycap.rr.com> Sat, Jun 13, 2015 at 11:10 AM
To: flippinamsterdam@gmail.com
I really not bullshitting but it does get agravating. Here are the numbers from city budget,please note in 12/13 hospital ins (acct8850)62K was taken out for 1 person hospital ins. (corrected in later yrs to appox 11-12K)In 11/12 same thing 79K also bs admin fee to city of 50K.In 10/11 same but 95K.09/10 actually bad year but that was with full time city workers there with full benefits. This was changed by a real golf commission to put seasinal employees there to cut costs. years prior not really that bad. Also look how far budget numbers and actual numbers are off What do you think??
ROGO <abcdedg1234@nycap.rr.com> Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 9:46 AM
To: Flippin’ Amsterdam <flippinamsterdam@gmail.com>
city of amsterdam website.2014-2015 adopted budget. find golf enterprise fund on bttom tab. You have to scroll across to find it. Get cart numbers later
Thanks Rogo

Rogo response to golf carts ()

ROGO <abcdedg1234@nycap.rr.com> Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 11:57 AM
To: Flippin’ Amsterdam <flippinamsterdam@gmail.com>
Carts hard to explain. But i’ll start at beginning. Gerry decusatis thought part rental was 20 per person, whil in actuality pro rented 20 per cart (10 perperson)If you look at city budget they originally put in 165000 and adjusted to 127856 in 14/15. in 15/16 more accurate number 58405, guess from actual numbers last year. Expenses for carts
cart lease   28000
The pro was compensated in new contract appox 20000 per year in new contract
Also city agreed to pay some of his payroll as part of compensation. summer help went up about 15000 plus unemployment fo them must be added in. Also gas and maint. of carts must be added on. This will add up to alot more than 58405. This was all caused by thane administration thinking the pro was making a ton off money off carts. Hope this helps. This is getting crazy.