Posts Tagged With: TSWNN

The Politics of Art

It was a great idea that has gone sour.  I wrote about the proposed Amsterdam Center for the Arts back in March of this year, when the city then realized it owned the building that formerly housed a mental health outreach Center for St. Mary’s Hospital at 305 East Main Street. Before that it was a furniture store and a church prior to that. Until last year, it was the polling place for two sections of the 5th Ward. The city had paid the utility bills for the building for years and did not realize that either.  No wonder the Controller is having such a hard time with the budget!

Mayor Thane proposed the space be used for an Art Center. I attended the meetings as I thought this would be great for our community.  As a published photographer who has had a few gallery showings of fine art prints, I realized there was no gallery space anywhere around here.  I decided I would support this effort and attended the planning meetings, made suggestions offered my help with photography and marketing. I had a lot of time and committee experience to give to the effort, until politics got in my way.

After a few meetings with the public, the Mayor decided to hand-pick an advisory committee headed by her former Administrative Aide Thom Georgia. The rests of the committee were women, many who did not take part in any of the planning meetings, but were personal friends of the Mayor.  The newly formed group met privately and would not answer any email inquiries.  They held one public meeting on June 7th where the committee members Thom Georgia, Julia Caro, Jessica Murray, Gail Talmage and Janet Tanguay introduced themselves and presented a mission statement. That is all they had for the interested public who had waited for some sign of progress from the group.  I had many questions, but they were not readily answered.  I asked what role the advisory board played and if the Amsterdam Common Council had approved of this endeavor. Georgia snidely stated, “We only answer to the Mayor.” Prior to establishing an advisory board, the Mayor contracted with an Urban Hip-Hop Dance group to use the center for dance lessons, without Council approval.

Today the advisory board announced they were now an incorporated private entity calling themselves, the Amsterdam Creative Canvas Foundation. The advisory board members were now trustees and another woman, Patrice Vivorito was also named a trustee. I do not know her as she has not attended any of the meetings.

It seems to me that the correct process is for the city’s legislative body to negotiate and approve contracts and use of city property with the Mayor acting as executive to sign the contracts.  I don’t see where this now private corporation has any authority to make decisions about the disposition or use of city property without the approval of the Amsterdam Common Council.

I was a big advocate of creating a community art center for the City of Amsterdam, as you can see in this earlier article, but I can no longer support this tainted effort. The public no longer has any input and micro-management has destroyed what should have been an inclusive democratic process.

I really thought Ann Thane could put party politics aside for the betterment of the community, but I was wrong. It was made very clear when she mistakenly sent me a copy of an email intended for Roberto Milan in which she labels me a looser.

Sour Grapes?


A newly elected member of the school board for the Amsterdam School District, a former City of Amsterdam Councilman and former Corporation Counsel agree with my assessment of this unsavory situation. The discussion of the Art Center takes place at 18:30 in the video.

Categories: Amsterdam, Art, Human Rights, Law, Photography, Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

Bobby O’Brien 1963-2012

Local radio talk-show personality, Irish Folk Singer and local business owner, Robert B. Harold (aka Bobby O’Brien) died suddenly Wednesday afternoon at his home on Lefferts Street in Amsterdam.

Born in Donegal, Ireland, Bobby grew up in Ansonia, Connecticut before moving to Amsterdam at the age of 18.

Bobby O’Brien recorded an album Irish Songs I Love to Sing in 2002

The owner of Millennium Music store in the Town of Amsterdam was known locally for his sharp-tongued criticisms of local political figures.

The Bobby O’Brien Show aired Fridays on WCSS radio until 2010 when his show and the Bob Going and Mike Chiara show were taken off the air. They started the podcast The Show With No Name at the Europa Cafe in Amsterdam, NY.  It was the first topic of my newly formed blog, The Grove Street Grumble back on January 28, 2011. The following photos were taken during the taping of that first show. Bobby is in the blue sweatshirt seated next to Bob Going.

Rest in Peace Bobby O’Brien

Categories: Amsterdam, Media | Tags: , , ,


It was revealed today on The Show With No Name that Democratic candidate for 3rd Ward Alderman, Thom Georgia conspired with Roberto Millan to create the fake website discussed in my previous blog entry. The former confidential aide to Mayor Ann Thane who now works as a library aide, can say goodbye to any political aspirations as his credibility is shot to hell.

To the self-proclaimed Minister of Propaganda:

Deceit and dishonesty never get you very far in this world.

Thom Georgia

Categories: Amsterdam, Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

Amsterdam Taxpayers Revolt!

Governor Cuomo has proposed a 2% cap to control the ever-growing property tax in New York State which has reached intolerable proportions. A recent study by the non-partisan Washington DC based Tax Foundation group revealed that Montgomery County, New York has the 11th highest property tax in the NATION!

On Thursday, April 28, 2011, the Amsterdam Budget Review Committee agreed to a 17% increase in the City water fee, eliminating the 3% cap on utility fees and taxes instituted in 2004 by public referendum. This betrayal by our elected officials is a slap in the face to each an every citizen of this City who voiced their desire to institute the cap.

This violation of the public trust is also illegal without a mandatory referendum because it changes the powers of our elected officials.

Municipal Home Rule Article 2

§ 11. Restrictions on the adoption of local laws.

2. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, the legislative body of a county, city or village shall not be authorized by this chapter to adopt any local law which:

a. Amends the charter of the county, city or village, as the case may be, contrary to any provisions of such charter regulating its own amendment. This provision shall not abridge the right of the people of a county, city or village to amend their charter or approve a proposed new charter, where such amendment or proposed new charter is subject to a mandatory referendum.

We must not accept this breach of trust! As taxpayers we are entitled to representation and clearly we are not getting it!

This does not apply to 5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero, who I respect for voting NO to the outrageous budget proposition. He is the only one in touch with his constituency.

Let your opinion be heard! Call and email the members of the Budget Review Committee and voice your opinion. Tell them to go back and make the necessary cuts to bring the water rate back down to the 3% the people agreed to.

I attended the taping of the April 29, 2011 edition of The Show With No Name at the GWIB Coffeehouse on Upper Church Street in Amsterdam where former Corporation Counsel Bob Going, former City Assessor Michael Chiara, former Wells Superintendent of Schools/Amsterdam High School Principal Gavin Murdoch and Mayoral candidate Jim Nicosia discuss the tax situation. In the following clip, the group discusses their disgust with the GASD budget and plans to form a City Taxpayers Association.

There is a plan in the works to file an Article 78 lawsuit against the City of Amsterdam if they go ahead with their attempt to abolish the 3% cap without a mandatory referendum.

This issue is for the public to decide!

Categories: Amsterdam, Law, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Charlie’s War

For those not familiar with Amsterdam politics, there is an ongoing feud between an Editor of the Recorder who also moderates The Venner Vox and the creators of The Show With No Name. Clicking on the links will explain the situation.

The Show With No Name

The Venner Vox

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

Go Where I’ve Bean

GWIB Coffee House and Polish Deli, located at 207 Church Street in Amsterdam, NY, was the site of this mornings taping of The Show With No Name. Owned and run by Sue Blazejewski, they really do serve the best coffee I have ever tasted.  Sue has a very engaging personality and she doesn’t miss a thing. This was my first visit to GWIB and I stopped outside the building to take some photos. Sue stepped out of the front door in an authoritative manner asked “Would you like my autograph too?” After identifying myself and stating my purpose, Sue became the most inviting host you could ask for, even posing for an impromptu portrait.

As soon as I stepped in the door of GWIB, Sue handed me a mug of the most delicious hot coffee. There was a large deli case stocked with various meats, sodas and Polish food.   The eclectic furnishings were both comfortable and interesting. The various wall hangings and bulletin board full of postcards take you on an extended road trip of which I assume inspired the name. Sue was in constant motion as she tended to the room full of customers.

The gathering of the usual suspects comprising TSWNN was center stage in the coffee house occupying a circle of upholstered armchairs. The taping was about to begin.

I will not divulge the subjects discussed as the recording will soon be posted on The Show With No Name’s website. I will say that we hear more from Sue Blazejewski on the show.

I enjoyed my visit to GWIB and put in my order for an Easter Babka and fresh Kielbasa.

Categories: Amsterdam, Cooking, Politics | Tags: , , , ,

The Show With No Name

TSWNN was a morning radio show on WCSS AM radio in Amsterdam. It was hosted by Attorney Robert N. Going (former Amsterdam Corporation Counsel, City and Family Court Judge), Michael Chiara (former City Assessor), and Vincenzo Nicosia (former 3rd Ward Alderman and 2011 Mayoral candidate). The show is a no holes barred discussion of events and politics affecting our city. This radio show was kicked off the air because of political pressure brought by local government officials in an attempt to censor the broadcasts.

The show decided not to give in to the forces that wanted them silenced and upgraded their show presentation using the podcast format that has become so popular on the internet. I photographed the taping of their first podcast Friday morning at the Europa Café in Amsterdam. The Café had more than its usual breakfast crowd due to the podcast. Yes, the show is opinionated and can be insulting. While I do not agree with the majority of the opinions expressed on this podcast, I support their right to be heard. I admire their effort to go “radio free” to present commentary that involves its listeners with an alternative point of view in the form of a roving podcast that also supports local businesses. Long live TSWNN!

TSWNN podcasts can be heard here:

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

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