Posts Tagged With: City of Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s Ungracious, Self-Serving Mayor


Mayor Ann Thane made an official statement today that the generous donation of video cameras in 2012 by the Buddhist World Peace and Health Organization was “basically worthless”. What an ungrateful and unprofessional statement to make. This was a professional video surveillance system that should have been installed two years ago. The twenty camera wireless video surveillance system was donated by WPHO member Sky Deng, whose company LYD Technology USA Inc. produces the systems. Dr. Govind Rao even donated $6,000 to pay for the camera system installation.  Smaller scale video systems produced by Sky Deng’s company now cover the Amsterdam Goddess of Mercy Temple and rectory, Amsterdam Five Buddha Temple and rectory, private homes owned by the WPHO in Amsterdam as well as this blogger’s residence. These camera systems all run very well. Video clips from this blogger’s surveillance system helped the APD identify vandals that damaged property on Grove Street.

The City is now scrambling to save face after an incident last week where vandals caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to a downtown hotel that was closed pending renovation.

The statement posted by Mayor Ann Thane on Facebook:

In response to the senseless destruction at the downtown hotel, please know that our police department will hunt down these criminals and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. Amsterdam Police Department Chief of Police Gregory Culick informs me that the camera guy was in his office yesterday to discuss finishing installation of the cameras they had ordered (the cameras donated to us by the World Peace and Health Organization two years ago were basically worthless.) New beat patrols had been instituted about a month ago. If you are willing and able to help be the eyes and ears of the APD, please call 842-1100 for more information.

This link to my 2012 blog article describes the camera donation: Buddhists Donate Security Cameras to the City of Amsterdam

This is a link to former Gazette reporter Ed Munger’s article describing the donation: Buddhists Give Amsterdam 20 Video Cameras

Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane owes the WPHO a formal apology for that despicable statement and should accept blame for not following through with the camera installation. The Mayor keeps reminding us that she alone is responsible for the day to day operation of the city.

  Mayor Ann Thane, you failed the citizens of Amsterdam!

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Categories: Amsterdam, Media, Politics, Technology, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

The Tyrant that is Thane


The City of Amsterdam, New York was invigorated by a newly elected Common Council this year. The citizens, not happy with the way taxes were going up and spending was increasing, elected conservative representatives who wanted to make a change. With a highly critical state financial audit, finances are in shambles and our elected officials still do not know how much money is in the city fund balance. Despite these facts Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane continues to increase spending, raising salaries and creating new staff positions at City Hall. Not happy with the take charge attitude of the new Council members, Thane took them to court and sued to get a ruling in her favor about the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course Pro Contract. She continually vetoes any legislation proposed by the Council even if it has unanimous support. This effectively delays the passage of all legislation. She gets on local radio and makes press statements that berate and belittle Council members and anyone who gets in her way.

The public, embarrassed and humiliated by Thane’s behavior, went to the Common Council asking to revise our city charter changing ambiguous wording to prevent misinterpretation and added costly court proceedings. The Common Council appointed a Charter Review Committee (of which this blogger is a member) who would study and recommend changes. Thane stated that a Charter Review Committee was not necessary, that there were more important things to do.

“The mayor agreed with the commission idea in the beginning, but she does not agree with the appointments. What do you do when you have a mayor for six years and she’s relentless? She does not give up; it has to be her way or no way.” — Alderman Diane Hatzenbuhler

Corporation Council Gerard DeCusatis who by law is supposed to support and advise the Mayor and Council, only does so for the Mayor. Soon after the Council appointed Charter Review Committee had its first few meetings, the Mayor appointed her own Charter Review Committee, who she insinuated in The Recorder were more intelligent than the Council appointed committee.

“What I’m looking for are intelligent people to weigh in on a document that’s affected the community for a long time.” –Mayor Ann Thane

This derailed weeks of work already accomplished by the dedicated committee appointed by the Council. As  explained to me, the Mayor’s Committee takes precedent over any other Charter Review Committee who, with this action, can not send any Charter related questions to the ballot for referendum vote in the 2014 general election. Attorney Peter Califano, Chairman of the Mayor’s Charter Review Commission, cited this 2008 NYS Supreme Court decision as the standing ruling on the subject.

After exchanging emails with Peter Califano, I discovered that both of our Committees had a common goal, to strengthen the separation of powers by removing the Mayor as presiding officer of the Common Council.  The Mayor presiding over Council meetings, promotes arguments and obstructs the flow of governance. For Ann Thane who tries to micro-manage every aspect of city government, it only increased her already over-inflated ego.

As many of you know I was an active member of the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation, whose mission was to fund and organize concerts at Riverlink Park that are free to the public every Saturday evening during the months of July and August. Our Committee consisted of four dedicated members who give a lot of time and effort for Riverlink Concerts. I donated a few hundred photos and designed hours worth of advertising design that appeared as posters and ads in local and regional newspapers. All of that has come to an end as I resigned from the Foundation a few weeks ago. Mayor Ann Thane could not keep her control-freak hands off of the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation as she held a secret meeting with Congressman Paul Tonko, Amsterdam Economic Development Director Rob von Hasseln, Grant Writer Nick Zabawski and Waterfront Foundation President Paul Gavry. It seems despite the spin put on the situation, the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (Pedestrian Bridge) is way over budget and Gavry was told that the Waterfront Foundation would seek grants to fund the 1.6 million dollars of artwork a select committee decided should go on this bridge. In order to carry this out, five new members that they selected would be added to the board of the Waterfront Foundation. This effectively weighted our vote, giving the Mayor control of the Foundation. Of course when we were seeking funding for concerts or wanting to increase our membership for the past two years these people were nowhere to be found. Neither Congressman Tonko, Mayor Thane or the five new Waterfront Commission members came to support the Riverlink Concert fundraiser held at the Amsterdam MUNI Clubhouse on June 13th. They did not consider the impact this new fundraising project would have on grant applications to fund the concert series.

I really loathe politicians, they chew you up and spit you out. It seems my every attempt at civic duty was derailed by this Mayor. It’s been over three years since I sat on the committee to update the Zoning Code along with Montgomery County Planning who were paid by the City to write the new code. The Mayor’s Corporation Counsel DeCusatis sat on the document for over two years for a “legal” review. Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler had me review the document with the codes department earlier this year to get their advice. We are now 6 months into the new Council’s administration and this document still has not been presented to the Common Council for a vote. It increases the area of what is considered Amsterdam’s downtown core and eases restrictions making it much more business friendly. A little follow through and cooperation would really help our local government instead of the costly and obstructionist display of power and disrespect flaunted by Mayor Ann Thane who feels free to lambast and personally attack others when they disagree with her.

Overpriced art pieces Ann Thane insists must go on the pedestrian bridge:

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Categories: Amsterdam, Equality, Law, Politics, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , ,

Amsterdam’s Spring Fling 2014


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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors, Pets | Tags: , ,

Erie Canal Crawl – Riverlink Park


As the Champlain Canal Schooner Lois McClure made its way down the Mohawk River towards the City of Amsterdam, newly appointed Director of Economic Development and City Historian Rob von Hasseln along with the Mayor’s Office and the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation quickly planned an event like no other. Billed as the Canal Crawl, Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park was host to the educational schooner, sculptor Alice Manzi whose work The Painted Rocks of Amsterdam adorns the Riverlink Park addition and the Historic Amsterdam League with an information table, books and postcards. Music was provided by members of the 2012 World Champion Scotia Glenville Pipe Band, Misha Murdoch and Reid Perry, French-Canadian and Irish music by Bernd Neumann, Carol Mandigo and Lenny Broiles. Hamburgers, hotdogs and cold drinks were served by members of the Waterfront Foundation.

It was a great day for meeting people, making new connections and of course taking pictures!

Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, History, Music, Outdoors, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Skeeter Creek


Voted #1 Country Band in the Capital Region, Skeeter Creek performed at Amsterdam’s RiverLink Park to a packed crowd on Saturday night. The rain held off for the concert this week, but the humidity was up there. That didn’t stop people from dancing!

Paul Gavry, President of the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation introduced the band and asked for contributions to help keep quality music coming to Riverlink Park. Every concert at the park is free of charge. The bands are paid with funding provided by corporate sponsors and donations, so if you can give, please do.

Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Music, Photography | Tags: , , , , ,

The 4th Annual Riverlink Jamboree


Four acts with over six hours of continual entertainment, presented free of charge by the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation and its corporate sponsors. It was another steamy Saturday afternoon with rain looming on the horizon. Luckily, the rain held off and breezes off the Mohawk River helped move the cloud cover. The clouds were actually shielding us from the scorching sun, now very present with little shade. It was hot and so were some of the groups performing at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park. The docks were full of boats, the Riverlink Café full of diners and the park, unfortunately was not full of people to hear the wonderful music presented. This was the first concert starting at 3pm this year. I’m sure many were confused because a good number showed up at the usual 7pm starting time.

I have many images to share that took me many hours to process. This week Rebecca Webster of the Recorder beat me to the punch, posting both her story and photos of the concert to the online version of the Recorder last night. She did an outstanding job. Please check out her article.

Here are my photos:

 

 

Tophenjamin

 

 

The Nellies

 

 

Rusty Belle

 

 

Dan Johnson and His Expert Sidemen

Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Media, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Marketing the City of Amsterdam: Part 1


The Basics – What’s Out There?

The Official Tourism Site for the State of New York  is usually the first website people will visit to get information about a New York State destination. Looking at the regional map we would assume Amsterdam is located in the Central New York region. Clicking on the map of NY Central Region opens the tourism website for Central New York.

Montgomery County is not listed as part of  the Central, or any region on the NYS region map!

On the NYS Official Tourism website, we can click on the header CITIES & TOWNS, from there we are presented with an entry box where you can type in Amsterdam. You are then presented with the following description:

What is wrong with this picture? First of all Amsterdam is listed as a town. There is a town of Amsterdam, but the site is describing the city of Amsterdam. The Noteworthy Indian Museum has been closed for some time now. The Walter Elwood Museum closed since last year’s flood.  None of the underlined links are working. The majority of the locations described (Fort Johnson, Lake George, Halcyon Farm B&B, The Brown House) are neither in the town or city of Amsterdam.  There is no Visitor Center or garden at Riverlink Park.

Clicking on the SEE & DO tab for Amsterdam brings up the following:

Out of the five Locations listed, only the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course is operational and in Amsterdam. The New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame is in Vail Mills/Broadalbin.

Clicking on the EVENTS tab gives us the following for Amsterdam:

Finally, clicking on the STAY tab brings this up:

Here we have some useful information, places to stay actually in the city and town of Amsterdam (along with a few that are not).

Overall, I would say the New York State Tourism website failed in terms of marketing Amsterdam. The outdated information and lack of an accurate, viable description of our  history and local events is not helping. The NYS Tourism link to the Amsterdam Mohawks baseball website and schedule is dead. Updated links, including the Riverlink Park Concert Series, would draw more people to this area.

Failure to include Montgomery County or Amsterdam in any of the identified regions is just inexcusable.

Categories: Amsterdam, Business, Entertainment, Media, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Annie and the Hedonists


The third installment of Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park Concert Series took place Saturday night featuring Annie and the Hedonists. Their acoustic sound was bluegrass, ballads and early jazz. There were about 200 people in attendance, a variety of ages.

Riverlink Park looks progressively better each week. The new floating docks are installed, a big improvement! They are wider than the old storm-swept docks, making room for smaller boats to pull up to the park and have dinner or enjoy the show. It was a clear, relatively cool night and Annie sounded great as she belted out one tune after the next.

Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment | Tags: , , ,

Buddhists Donate Security Cameras to the City of Amsterdam


During a formal presentation ceremony at Amsterdam City Hall this morning, the local Buddhist group known as the World Peace and Health Organization, led by Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi, presented the City of Amsterdam with 20 video surveillance camera systems. The cameras were donated Sky Deng, whose company LYD Technology USA Inc.  produces the systems.

Local Pediatrician Dr. Govind C. Rao who is the groups liason with City officials, gave a short speech followed by the presentation of the cameras. In turn Mayor Ann Thane presented a basket to Sky Deng as well as a bird feeder and potted plant to the Buddhist group. Master Ziguang Shang Shi spoke to the assembly with his words translated by Jennie Wong. The Mayor then expressed her gratitude and hopes of continued cooperation with the group.

Amsterdam Police Chief Gregg Culick and Lieutenant Rob Richardson who had several earlier meetings with the Buddhist group about the installation of the cameras,were also present at the ceremony. Sky Deng previously  provided video surveillance systems for several buildings occupied by Buddhist group members residing in the City of Amsterdam, as well as the author of this blog.

Sky Deng, Chief Culick, Mayor Thane, Lt Richardson

Dr. Rao, Sky Deng, Mayor Thane, Lt. Richardson, Chief Culick

Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi, Mayor Ann Thane

Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi, translates into English as Purple Light Guru.

Jennie Wong

Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi

Sky Deng, Shanxing Tan, Jennie Wong

Categories: Amsterdam, Law, Photography, WPHO | Tags: , , , , , ,

Joey Thomas Big Band


It was a steamy Saturday night at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park but over 300 showed up to hear Joey Thomas Big Band. There was even a group of swing dancers from a Ballston Spa dance class to entertain the crowd. Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation Chairman Paul Gavry thanked the sponsors of the event along with a Beechnut Corporate Executive. A video sample of the music and dancing can be found at the end of the photos.

Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment | Tags: , , , , ,

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