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Recently, both Kathy Sheehan (D - Albany) and Joanne Yepsen (D - Saratoga Springs) celebrated their first 100 days in office at the Woman's Club of Albany. In January, Sheehan replaced prominent, long-time Mayor Jerry Jennings (D), who retired after two decades in office, while Yepsen (D) replaced three-term Mayor Scott Johnson (R), who opted not to run for a fourth term after he was embroiled in controversy surrounding his selections for the city's comprehensive planning committee last year. Yepsen defeated Johnson's deputy mayor, Shauna Sutton (R) last November.

Already, both Mayor Sheehan and Mayor Yepsen have been faced with significant, controversial issues during their short tenure in office. The Port of Albany is increasingly becoming a major terminal for tanker cars transporting fracked crude oil from the Bakken Shale, while both communities have become prospective locations for the potential development of full-scale, Las Vegas-style casinos after voters statewide approved Proposition I last November, which authorized the legislature to issue up to seven casino licenses in selected regions across the state.

Recently, the Albany Times Union profiled Mayor Sheehan on her first 100 days in office, while The Saratogian profiled Mayor Yepsen's first 100 days in office:

From The Times Union (on Mayor Sheehan), April 11, 2014:

Mayor Kathy Sheehan chronicled her first 100 days in office Friday, underscoring her plans to rebuild downtown Albany — and warning that any casino built in the city cannot hinder that effort.

The first-year Democratic mayor's comments came as she spoke of challenges that have ranged from fires and snow to the city's $16 million budget deficit.

"There is still much work to do, but we have taken initial steps on what I consider to be a road to a revitalized and renewed city," Sheehan said while surrounded by top city officials outside Washington Park Lakehouse.

In the last month, Capital District OTB and Rochester developer David Flaum proposed a casino at Exit 23 of the Thruway near Albany's southern border with Bethlehem.

"One thing that it cannot do is impact what we are trying to accomplish downtown," Sheehan said. "We need to move forward, full-speed ahead, with our effort to bring back downtown Albany and to strengthen every single one of our neighborhoods. That has to be the focus. So if a casino can help benefit that, then we need to have that conversation. But we need to make sure that we're represented and that we have an agreement in place that is going to deliver on all of the promise that the casino could bring to the city of Albany."

From The Saratogian (on Mayor Yepsen), April 11, 2014:
SARATOGA SPRINGS >> Mayor Joanne Yepsen on Friday marked her 100th day in office with an informal media reception and a discussion about how her term has gone so far.

Yepsen talked about a variety of issues, such as economic development, the arts and waterfront development, among others.

The mayor discussed the hot-button issue of casino gaming, saying the council’s March decision to formally oppose the law that allows for gaming expansion represented the “sentiment of the community.”

“It’s up to the [Saratoga Casino & Raceway] to change the sentiment of the community,” she said.

The racino has been eyed as a possible site for a casino after a statewide referendum allowing for gaming expansion passed in November. However, a majority of voters who turned out in Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County opposed the measure.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Joanne Yepsen is such a breath of fresh air... (6+ / 0-)

    after six years of Scott Johnson (R), who was nothing but a stooge for local developmental interests. His final political stunt was filling numerous empty positions on the city's zoning and planning boards, just hours before he left office on New Year's Eve.

    From The Daily Gazette (Schenectady), January 16, 2014:

    "SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mayor Joanne Yepsen is questioning 20 political appointments made by her Republican predecessor during the last hours of his term, including several made to alternate positions on the city’s land-use boards that were left empty for more than a year."

    "Yepsen said former Mayor Scott Johnson announced the appointments by memos issued to the commissioners at City Hall at 4:31 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, less than eight hours before she officially took over. Though all of the appointments were to volunteer positions, she said the timing, manner and shear volume gives cause for a legal review of what transpired during the closing hours of the Johnson administration."

    "“It’s not transparent, and it’s never been done this way — at least not in a long time,” she said. “This was unprecedented as far as I know.”"

    "Yepsen said the appointments included posts on the Heritage Area Program Advisory Board and the Open Space Advisory Committee — an entity that hadn’t convened in roughly three years. Other appointments included alternate positions on the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals created by a City Council resolution in September 2012 but never filled."

    "“Based on some of the appointments, they are clearly political appointments,” she said."

  •  The Albany Casino idea...WTF?!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Upstate Blue
    In the last month, Capital District OTB and Rochester developer David Flaum proposed a casino at Exit 23 of the Thruway near Albany's southern border with Bethlehem.
    This just can't be any good

    1) Capital area OTB...go to one of those places sometime, you will never see a more depressed looking group (of mostly older people) trying to win a few dollars like their life depended on it. (I'm not truly against casinos/gambling, but OTB seems to corner the market on gambler misery). The worst people to ever get involved in a casino is Capital Area OTB!

    2) David Flaum has been trying to forcefully push a casino in the greater Rochester area for some time.  I just don't trust this guy (gut feeling, not implying anything)

    3) The area they are talking about (Bethlehem area) would be totally DESTROYED as a community if they open a casino there!  It is a nice area with many small businesses that would suffer (and I really do love the family owned diner in Bethlehem - no financial interest, just an interest in their good breakfast they serve)

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 07:42:19 PM PDT

  •  Saratoga Area Casino idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Upstate Blue, tikkun

    It would hurt the purses for horse-racing, diverting gamblers dollars away, as such the history of Saratoga Springs makes voting no for a casino a real no-brainer.

    That area was built with the horse-racing community in mind, and the effects of bringing in a casino to that upscale suburban/semi-rural area would not fit in the context of the community!

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 07:44:32 PM PDT

  •  After bashing 2 locations, my idea for a location (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    For the capital area, if a casino HAS to be placed somewhere (as politicians always follow the dollars and not the people) I have an ideal place for one


    Most of the businesses have abandoned the area, downtown has more boarded up places than places operating.

    As more people and businesses move out and only RPI (Rensaeler Polytechnical Institute, a college) expanding, the tax base is dwindling and a casino could pump some money back into the community without the risk of destroying businesses (as many have already fled)

    Place a casino in downtown Troy, its better than destroying the thriving communities of Saratoga Springs or Bethlehem (just S of Albany)

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 08:00:45 PM PDT

    •  Your Comments Are False (0+ / 0-)

      TRoy is doing just fine.  I'm a small business owner in Troy and business has never been better.  We have numerous destination businesses in Troy and they are booming.  I don't know where you're getting your information but your comment is completely, and seemingly, intentionally false.  

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 09:55:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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