Archive for the ‘NY’ Category

Thank you to all of the good people that helped me, supported me, and spirited me through this difficult process.

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Veteran’s Day Remembrance Ceremony 11.11.2011

Thank you to all of you that have joined us today to stand in legion with individuals that have served us so well.

It is fitting that on this day, the clouds move with a swift wind and stir in us a solemnity that is befitting of this occasion. It is fitting that we are moved by the actions of men and women that have chosen to give so freely and completely of their lives to serve this country we all love. They gave their youth, their talent, their intellect and souls to defend our freedoms and to promote justice and democracy around our world.

And unlike the many good soldiers, having made the ultimate sacrifice, whose names are memorialized on monuments like this one across the country, these men and women – our veterans – have survived incredibly difficult circumstances; long, arduous trips away from home and families and all that they hold dear; grueling physical conditions, frightening conflicts, sometimes boredom, sadness or loneliness, and often great loss and heartache.

They left fresh from our football fields, our basketball courts, our check out counters and our dining room tables, wet behind the ears, to pursue not only a career, but also a cause that is noble and brave. They are the intricate pieces that have unified to become the greatest military force in the world, dependent on each other for solace and strength. These boys and girls have served with commitment and pride and have returned to us as men and women that have met adversity with courage, and sacrifice with honor. They have returned to us true patriots – having conducted themselves with discipline, power and dignity. Our veterans are deserving of this day that honors them for the gift of freedom we have all been given.

We face continuing threats against our nation – against our collective and individual safety and security. As these threats evolve, so does our capacity to identify, prevent, and respond to such threats, and as such, we must recognize that those that place themselves in peril, and those that have stood against these evils in the past, deserve our complete support. While ribbons, pins and flags are symbolic of our appreciation for our nation’s heroes, and I am honored to be able to recognize some of our veterans here today with a medal, let us actively participate in helping our veterans by donating essential resources and volunteering time to local charities that are supportive of veteran’s causes and their families. We must insist that our government adequately supply much needed services to those that have returned home from service, sometimes broken physically, and sometimes spiritually as well. Lastly, let us all offer on a daily basis a silent prayer or in a way that is as small as a handshake or a smile of thanks, recognition for what our military has done for us.

In parting, I want to express my appreciation on behalf of our city to the Honor Guard, members of our various veteran organizations present today, and the many, many veterans, past and present, which have served in the military with devotion and courage. I am humbled to stand with you, both men and women that have been willing to sacrifice so much for this community and our Country. Thank you especially to the Veteran’s Commission for your tireless commitment to our nation’s heroes and your work to represent and protect our city’s veterans. I once again encourage all that are gathered here today also to contribute to the new memorial that will be constructed at Veterans Field in recognition of every man and woman hailing from the City of Amsterdam that has served in our armed forces. Please call Richard Leggiero (843-0808) for more information.

Again, thank you, to all of you that are veterans

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Much has been made of the recent campaign mailing from my opponent’s camp. In this case, the offenders feign innocence and the local media moves on.

It is what it is.

Copyright issues aside, I am baffled by the claim that Joe Emanuele is paying for his materials, when his NYS Board of Elections Campaign Finance Reports do not show this activity or the resources to produce them. His campaign manager tells us the committee to elect Joe paid for them and they only used the NYRSC return address for a better postal rate. There is no claim to support this activity on the NYRSC report, though they show contributions to races around the state. How can this be so? What gives? or who? and why?

Before the primary, I mailed out an 8.5″ x 11″, full-color card much like those now being delivered to households in Amsterdam every other day. The mailer cost me $3,234.77 for design, printing, and postage. We sent this card to Democratic voters in the city. The Emanuele pieces are evidently being mailed to Republican voters, but the numbers of cards being sent must be relatively close in number, so that I’d wager the cost is as well. To date, we’ve received four mailings at my house and I figure they must run around $3,000 a pop. Since August, the Emanuele coffers have hovered between $4,200 and $5,200, with small expenditures listed for literature: postcards, magnets, stamps… nothing over $210.00. My question becomes, how was the approximate $12,000 disbursement for mailed campaign material (and I dare say, there will be more) paid for?

As well, I notice when driving around our city a plethora of Emanuele signs of all sizes and materials. I purchased 250 signs for $1,438 and, once 70 or 80 of them went missing, reordered another 100 for $672. Mr. Emanuele shows no expenditure for signs, though he does show an expenditure of $108 for stakes. Research shows the Montgomery County Republican Committee paid $486 for Emanuele signs. To my mind, this just doesn’t add up, even without a math degree.

Take a look for yourself: Campaign Finance Reports. What do you think? While you’re there, check out your candidates for Aldermen. It’s fascinating who has reported and who has not, especially if you are paying attention to signs in the first ward.

Where’s all of this money coming from? How come it is not being reported, even as in-kind donations? Why isn’t the lack of reporting being reported? Doesn’t this matter when my opponent has made integrity an issue in this campaign?


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I’ve listened with a mixture of patience and fury to misinformation circulating for quite some time, but now that the election is upon us, it’s time to set the record straight. The fund balance has not suffered from gross misuse of funds. We have not been spending wildly for four years, and in fact, I’ve never exceeded my departmental budget or overspent what had been budgeted for city hall repairs. We’ve been very careful with your money and have, in fact, grown our sources of revenue.

Fund balance fallacy
My opponent states that he left the city flush with a $3M fund balance. The actual calculation was closer to $2.7M, but that was also incorrect. During my first year in office, the Controller informed the council of a $500,000 error, as she had failed to budget for MVP premiums. This came after the budget committee had already allocated funds to maintain a flat tax rate at budget time. So, from the get-go, we had started with much less in the coffers than we had anticipated.

Couple this scenario with an $800,000 shortfall that had been decades in the making and not discovered until the sale of foreclosed-on properties last year. Reserves had not been adequately set aside for uncollectible taxes (when a tax bill goes out, it is considered paid whether it is collected or not. It is necessary to budget reserve funds to offset this loss. This had not been done for many, many years.)

Toss in the $300,000 reduction in state aid, sales tax, and mortgage tax and we find ourselves where we are today. These losses would have occurred regardless of whom was in office.

My tax and rate increases were less than those of my opponent’s.
Over four years, my opponent increased city taxes 9.37% and water/sewer/sanitation fees a whopping 24.58%. This compares to a 6.91% increase in city taxes during my four years and 8.19% increase in fees. Obviously, my opponent doesn’t acknowledge this record when telling us he is going to protect us in the future (in fact, his record is never mentioned at all, nor a plan as to HOW he plans to protect us in the future. Personally, I find that troublesome.)

Truth: monumental budgetary successes over four years.
In my first two years of office, there were no tax increases. Money was appropriated to keep taxes stable and provide for legitimate operational services. In years three and four, excluding debt, we stayed within the 3% cap.

We’ve gone on to harness over $1 million dollars in new revenues that will add to our budget every year from agreements with Beechnut, GAVAC, the County for sales tax redistribution, and the towns for water. We’ve realized real savings by reining in discretionary overtime, renegotiating labor contracts and switching insurance carriers. We’ve shaved thousands off of our lean budget and are running departments more efficiently.

We’ve been tremendously successful in securing over $20 million dollars in grants for everything from infrastructure and neighborhood revitalization to recreational enhancements and marketing (most of our marketing materials were produced with the $40K in grants I received in my first year of service.) Beyond funding, you cannot discount the value of the time, effort and donations of our volunteers that supplied us with flowers for Church Street (FREE), videos (FREE), events such as Spring Fling and National Night Out (FREE), city-wide litter pick-ups (FREE), neighborhood watch (FREE), and murals (FREE).

I’m proud of the performance of my administration. Running the city has been a full-time, passionate commitment for me. I’m proud that I have more to reference than tired slogans and empty words. We deserve better and should expect better. I will always try to live up to that expectation.


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Letter to Commissioner Rose Harvey 8-31-11

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Letter from George Amedore

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Click here: www.mayorthane.com

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I just stumbled on the following video posted on youtube. The was produced by Saratoga Associates for the public hearings held last Fall. It presents three different visualizations of the future pedestrian bridge, as well as the new Bridge Street and Riverlink Park.

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For those of you that haven’t visited our beautiful Riverlink Park, you are missing one of Amsterdam’s greatest assets. There are fantastic vistas up and down the river, the cafe is stellar, there are concerts planned for Saturday nights throughout the season, and the park is carefully manicured by an attendant every day. Boats have begun mooring at the docks, sometimes as many as six to eight at a pop, and flowers adorn the gardens and urns along the walkways.

As summer swings into full regalia, we are swinging full-force into completing construction of the second phase of the park. Additional walking paths, decorative lighting, new plantings, and benches will extend all of the way to RT30 bridge. The playground will be relocated and a 12′ x 35′ recreation of the “Painted Rocks”, a significant piece of Amsterdam’s Native American Heritage, will be brought to life on site by internationally-renowned artist, Alice Manzi.

It’s bound to be a facinating time at the park, as we take another step toward realizing the dream of a fully-revitalized waterfront. The following photos document the park in its current state and the beginning of construction.

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Demolitions have begun around the city. We’ve collaborated with county crews to demo properties that no longer serve their purpose as shelter. Three properties have been cleared, seven remediated of asbestos and toxins, and twenty-seven more are slated for the crane this season.

The following photos show the process from start to finish at a property on Hamilton Street. The event was compelling – violent, methodical, and poignant all at once.

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Reconstruction is coming along on Bridge Street. There’s plenty of work to do until the resurfacing happens; substructure work includes new catch basins, manholes, sewer lines and water laterals, as well as placement of light pole bases. This will all happen pretty quickly as Tallum Construction machinery travels up and down the road from the staging site by the river.

Though this construction phase may seem tedious to those that frequent the area, the preliminary work necessary to bring this to life had been amazingly time-consuming and complex. There were countless steps, from surveying, designing, permitting, double checking, confirming, notifiying, approving, bidding, and purchasing to coordinating between state, city, utility companies, residents and business owners. It has taken almost two years since the designs were first delivered to us. I’m relieved to see the street in the apparent disarray it’s in, because it means that in just about a month, the project will be done!

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Thanks for stopping by.

Please click on the following link:
Campaign handout 6.13.11

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The New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) has awarded the City of Amsterdam “Best of Class” for its printed promotional materials, as well as “Best in Class” for the city website, in its 2011 Marketing and Promotional Materials Competition.

Awarded each year at its annual meeting in May, NYSEDC judged the entries on layout and design, content, and marketing budget size. Categories for the competition included: Development Brochure, Printed Advertising Materials, Multi-Media Advertising, Web Site and Newsletters/Annual Reports, with awards given for Best
of Class, Excellent, and Honorable Mention.

The city’s presentation folder contains one colorful, generic brochure that gives an overview of the city’s best attributes, customizable inserts that describe development incentives in greater detail, specific property sell sheets and success stories of businesses that have chosen Amsterdam as a prime location to grow. The website, designed by Amsterdam-based Engines of Creation and written by former Confidential Aid Thom Georgia, is a comprehensive informational and promotional tool that gets as many as 5,000 visitors a month and has attracted the attention of 65,877 new and unique visitors since its implementation in 2009.

“We are extremely proud of this recognition,” stated Mayor Ann M. Thane. “This is especially meaningful because the marketing competition is juried by professionals in the field of economic development and shows that Amsterdam is doing a quality job. The importance of a well thought out marketing strategy to our community cannot be underestimated. We remain committed to promoting the City of Amsterdam as welcoming, accessible, and affordable for relocating families and businesses.”

The New York State Economic Development Council is New York’s principal organization representing economic development professionals. Its 900 members include the leaders of IDAs, local development corporations, commercial and investment banks, underwriters, bond counsels, utilities, chambers of commerce and private corporations. NYSEDC’s mission is promoting economic development, encouraging sound regional development practices, and conducting professional education programs for its members.

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Thank you so much to the Veteran’s Commission for organizing this event again, as you do every year. Amsterdam is grateful for the work you do on behalf of the Veterans of our community year round – from the careful tending of our monuments to continuous advocacy on behalf of those that have served our country so well.

The globe has spun one more time around the sun and God has provided us another late-Spring day to gather together, as community and as family. The dogwood and azaleas are blooming, phlox dance amongst the tall grasses in the fields, the trees have greened with the hope of budding leaves, and the American flag drifts lightly with each haunting breeze. Note that the air is laden with a dense closeness in the atmosphere. It is heavy with tears for our loss. It is as if this saturated air bears the weight of our communal heart, because each name etched into a memorial wall or granite stone, each bed left unfilled, each boy or girl that was lost, and each heart that was broken is shared by us all as family. We are touched by each individual passing, because we are have sent our finest into battle and they will not return to taste the promise of our future.

This is a loss that passes down through time.

The Memorial Day tradition was started 145 years ago in Waterloo, NY, when residents gathered to mourn those that had died in the bloody conflict known as the Civil War. Then called Grave Decoration Day, the entire village was draped in evergreen and black streamers. Women wept inconsolably as marching veterans lead a procession of grief to each of the three village cemeteries. The intensity of that grief has lingered with the weathered gravestones, passes through time, and mingles with the terrible price we paid in World War I and World War II, in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We continue to pay in lives today around the world. We must not forget this sacrifice. We must not forget those fallen or the suffering of their families. And we must mourn for our loss, for history has been changed by war, and though we have managed to go on, violence has silenced brave, unique and loving voices. Each individual loss splintered through families, neighborhoods, states and our nation. Generations have been irrevocably altered like the sides of mountains quarried for stone.

This is clearly illustrated by the story of Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith, who at age 33 died in a sudden storm of Iraqi fire while protecting his men. Sgt. Smith jumped on a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on an abandoned truck and fired at three Iraqi positions, while single-handedly providing cover so his outnumbered soldiers could escape. 100 men made it to safety. In a moment that was both heroic and horrific, Smith was shot in the neck and killed. Just hours before his death, he penned the following letter to his mother, “As I sit here getting ready to go to war once again, I realize that I have left some things left unsaid. I love you and I don’t want you to worry. …There are two ways to come home: stepping off the plane, and being carried off the plane. It doesn’t matter how I come home, because I am prepared to give all that I am, to insure that all my boys make it home.

The courage shown in that letter is at once unbearable and is all that his family, and we, must cling to. Though Sgt. Smith has been posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, he will never walk his daughter down the aisle, or teach his son to shave, or hold a grandchild on his knee. And his family’s heart has broken.

This nation has lost hundreds of thousands of like souls through the ages and we must never forget that they gave everything so that we would live our lives to the fullest. We must never forget that these individuals, with lives to realize and loves that were timeless, died as soldiers fighting for the principles that make our country great… liberty, honor, valor, commitment, and selfless service to others.

I say to you again that we must remember that what we honor are not faceless names. These were the faithful husbands, sisters, nephews, fathers, sons, neighbors and friends, most barely out of school, barely kissed, that had gone off from so many different circumstances to meet a common end, all in service to us.

The enormity of our loss is too important to blithely pass by. Our city and country have lost more than we can know. What we have lost can never be regained… the glances, the gentle touches, smiles, children, comedy, commerce, creativity, ingenuity, determination and love.

Love, most of all.

We must understand this loss with the constricted heart of someone receiving first word that their boy will never return… the agony of a mother that will never hold her child again, a father that will not pass on the keys to the business or applaud at a graduation, a child that will not remember a parent’s laugh by the time they are ten. We must be breathless in our knowing. We must know the full weight of silence.

And yet, we must know gratitude. For God has granted us not only those that have given their lives for our peace and prosperity, but a community that honors our dead, and veterans that continue to dutifully care for the memories of our fallen heroes.

These veterans are the living embodiment of Amsterdam’s service to the defense of liberty and the nation, representatives who served in all the wars of living memory. They stand here, not just in their own right, but also for all those who cannot.

Among them you can read the depth and breath of Amsterdam’s contributions: in one case not only as father and son, but as a marine who served at the Battle of Saipan in World War II, and his son, the naval officer who served half a century later on the USS Saipan, named in honor of the valor and sacrifice of those who fought at Saipan, including Company G from the Armory. We will honor these men and others that had served so proudly by awarding them the Amsterdam Veteran Service Medal. To these veteran men and women, we owe our continued thanks and support.

Lastly, to those that proudly wear our uniform and honor our flag around the world today, we owe our praise and deepest appreciation. To those many fine soldiers, we all pray, come back to us safely in God’s hands.

And now, in our stillness and our reverie, during the arresting 24 notes of the bugle call of “Taps”, let us recall all that we have lost and all that we hold dear and gather closer as a community in our love, in our pain, and in our gratitude.


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I welcome the opportunity to match my record point-for-point with the former, part-time mayor.

Having taken over from him immediately following his time in office, it has taken years to address administrative shortcomings he left behind, including:

• his lack of oversight or ability to progress capital projects; i.e. Bridge Street, Riverlink Park Phase II or Church Street;

• his failure to proactively address long-standing infrastructure problems involving deteriorating water lines, hydrants and valves;

• his disregard for goals established in our comprehensive plan:
– no attempt to improve our downtown, gateways, greenways or traffic patterns
– no plan for neighborhood engagement or revitalization; and

• his failure to discipline or address employee issues, such as overtime, poor performance or theft of time; and

• no attempt to improve our identity or image in the region. We didn’t even have a city website.

In fact, he eliminated the economic development department during these critically competitive economic times.

I ran because I saw the same old faces doing the same old thing and nothing changed. The former mayor had his chance to serve four years ago but was never in the office. There was no plan and there still isn’t. His time has past.

I’m quite proud of the 60-70 hours I put into this commitment and my record. Please see my State of the City Speech for my long list of accomplishments. Again, I’m willing to go down this list and compare performance.

Our City deserves better than the failed practices of the past. It demands the rapt attention I’ve given it and nothing less.

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The following photos show the start
of the dreaded blooms planted last fall.
After the winter we’d had, these small
brushstrokes of reds and yellow
are just that much more delectable.
God bless the Northeast.
Again, thank you to the many volunteers
that helped make this wildly extravagant
beautification effort possible.

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200 volunteers & 600 bags of litter later, Amsterdam is ready to start the season of beauty. Thank you to all of you that helped better a perfect Spring Saturday. UPDATE: 2.54 TONS of debris collected! Bravo!

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Part Two and Three may be found by clicking on the YouTube icon to take you to the other entries.

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