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.

Self-Hating Upstate City Looks to Attract Upscale Hotel

Amsterdam, NY (Sept 29, 2015) — With the former Best Western hotel, now abandoned and boarded, set for its third appearance at auction in two years, city leaders looked to attract a high end, upscale hotel in its place.

According to 6th Ward alderman, Cagney Tive Dissonance, “Well, we know no one wants to live in Amsterdam and certainly no one wants to visit here. But it is important that we find a buyer for the hotel so we build up our downtown. We know no one wants to go downtown so an upscale hotel is just what this city needs to assure that the people who will never visit here or ever visit downtown have a place to stay.”

Local resident Justa Somiserable agreed with Mr. Dissonance on the city’s need to attract investment such as a hotel by openly advocating all the downsides of this small city versus any of its upside qualities. “Well, let me be frank so excuse my French but this city is a merde-hole. Who would want to live here? That’s why we demand year after year that we spend more and more of the city’s money knocking down our old buildings. Now, some people have a fantasy that people would move here to live in lofts or walk on the bridge to nowhere or even walk around downtown. Or people would come here from out of town to visit. That’s just crazy. What’s not crazy would be a really nice hotel downtown. That would be terrific but I can’t understand why no one wants to build a hotel there. I think if we just advertised it better — run ads in the newspaper, we could get a really nice Hilton or something like that. It would be awesome to have a Hilton; it’s just what this merde-hole needs.”

Editor’s note: No amount of editing could preserve any sense of login in the reasoning above. We apologize for any confusion or similar cognitive impairments from reading this story.

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.


The Truth on Golf Cart Fees

Here is the claim by the Council as echoed by Alderwoman Hatzenbuhler (from The Recorder: Despite resolution, cart fees still being charged):

Fourth Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler, who originally was for the fee, said she changed her mind after surveying surrounding golf courses.

“We are the only ones who appear to be charging a trail fee, especially on someone’s own golf cart,” she said. “From that standpoint I voted it down.”

I’d be interested to see which courses were surveyed as my research shows that golf carts are priced per person. From some Google searching, I’m also finding that the norm is to charge trail fees as courses struggle, like ours, to keep up revenues so they can continue operations and make improvements. So I am fundamentally questioning the claim.

Here are screen grabs from Schenectady, Saratoga and Rolling Hills,respectivelygc1



I’ll update this post if anyone can show me which local courses do not charge a per person fee on golf carts , whether owned or rented.