Congratulations to our victorious 2015 candidates –
Mayor Joanne Yepsen,
Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan
Commissioner of Public Safety Chris Mathiesen
Commissioner of Accounts John Franck
And County Supervisor Peter Martin...
All returned to office in convincing fashion by the people of Saratoga Springs.
The following is a statement by the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee Concerning the Saratoga PAC
People, not PAC money, should decide who governs
The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee is agreed that we must publicly state our concerns about the Saratoga PAC. We are determined that people, not money, should decide who governs our City. Our concerns are three-fold:
1. We infer the Saratoga PAC agenda is to open the City’s Greenbelt for development. SSDC supports our City in the Country. Thanks to stalwart support from our City Council members, this vision prevailed in the recent struggle over the Comprehensive Plan. But who will sit at the Council table after Nov. 3?
The founders, leaders and principal donors of Saratoga PAC are weighted toward real estate development. As individuals, they are our friends and neighbors who have contributed much to the improvement of our City. The Comprehensive Plan gives them opportunities to do much more. But we believe organizers had a firm, agreed-to agenda in mind when they formed Saratoga PAC and raised nearly $50,000 in mere days: Change our City Council’s vote on the Greenbelt—or get them out of office.
The PAC’s chair says they expect to raise over $100,000 before our local election [Source: See Note 1]. Touting this much cash looks to us like using wealth to purchase influence.
2. Saratoga PAC lacks transparency. Saratoga PAC itself remains vague about its agenda [Note 1]. Less than a month before City elections, they still have not endorsed candidates nor stated clear positions. Many possibilities were suggested in a $9,400 issues survey that Saratoga PAC mailed to some 14,000 households last month. But survey wording was calculated to shape people’s views on two key development-related items the PAC has said it supports.
The PAC’s big donors may be waiting till the last moment to drop the remainder of its $100,000+ goal and avoid pre-election disclosure. Compare this to the transparency of the candidates now facing the public and the local parties that support them. In April, SSDC published its 2015 issues platform. This platform guided our interviews with candidates for endorsement, and we endorsed on May 16.
3. Big-money PACs drive out face-to-face accountability. Officials beholden to big-money groups have less reason to respond to their constituents. Do the people of Saratoga Springs want to lose their chance to personally interact with candidates? When SSDC members support those running for City Council, we literally bring them to people’s doors.
Sticking to its “independent expenditure” model, Saratoga PAC cannot collaborate directly with candidates. Expect big-budget independent media campaigns instead: They’re legal and they’re proven to work. The PAC likely will turn to TV and radio ads, direct mail, more quasi-surveys (maybe even push-polls) and what-not. The SSDC sees this type of unaccountable campaign as an unhealthy direction for Saratoga Springs.
In short, be vigilant, Saratoga Springs. Your environment, your quality of life and your personal power to affect Council decisions are at stake.
[Note 1] “Will money change votes?” by Thomas Dimopoulos, Hill Country Observer, Oct. 2015.
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The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee (“SSDC”)
publishes this website to provide you with information about candidates, issues and events affecting our city--plus current voting procedures. The tabs above provide additional information about:
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What we stand for — Your SSDC exists to promote the principles of the Democratic Party, in the open and inclusive governance of Saratoga Springs. We work to maintain and continually improve well-being and quality of life for ALL City residents.
Who we are — If you are an enrolled Democratic voter in Saratoga Springs, you are represented on the SSDC. Each of the City’s 25 Election Districts is represented by two SSDC members. We volunteer our time to work on your behalf. We want to know you and hear your views. Contact Us
If you would like to view your Electoral District, please visit the Voter Resources page.
2015 SARATOGA SPRINGS
STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS
GIVEN BY MAYOR JOANNE D. YEPSEN
Saturday, February 7, 2015 – 1:00PM
Saratoga Springs City Center
Good afternoon my fellow Saratogians and welcome. As your mayor, it is my distinct honor and privilege to give the 2015 State of the City Address. This year, I feel especially privileged to do so as we begin the city’s Centennial year.
I would like to dedicate this year’s address, and today’s event to our good friend, community leader, a very special Saratogian, and first lady of Skidmore, Anne Palamountain. I ask that we take a moment of silence to remember and honor Anne.
I want to recognize several current and former elected officials who are with us this afternoon.
Congressman Paul Tonko
State Senator Kathy Marchione
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner
I want to thank Mark Baker and the Saratoga Spring City Center for hosting us today.
Over the past nine years, I’ve made it a priority to create and sustain strong partnerships, with all levels of government. The success from working with all of you on both sides of the aisle will be highlighted this afternoon. Bipartisan approach is the only way to get results.
Springs Democratic Committee Position Paper
Our City’s Comprehensive Plan – It’s Everyone’s Future
Support and suggestions for the review process
An updated Comprehensive Plan is essential for the City to continue guiding future growth and development in ways that contribute to our residents’ long-term well-being and quality-of-life (See Appendix II, Note 1). The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee is on record supporting appointment of a balanced, citizen-led committee to take charge of this year’s review process:
“Saratoga Springs’ current Comprehensive Plan is dated July 17, 2001. . . .The past dozen years have brought breathtaking changes to our Cityscape as well as technology, the economy, the surrounding area and a host of other factors relevant to the City’s future. Other changes, like the advent of full-fledged casinos, loom in the near future.” (SSDC statement, March 2013)
This statement summarizes the input of the SSDC about the review process and the vision we advocate for its ultimate outcome.
We want to publicly thank the people involved:
·∙ the volunteer-citizens who agreed to share their expertise and take charge of the Committee’s ultimate work product;;
·∙ the City Council, who showed faith in these individuals by choosing them and providing resources to get the job done;;
·∙ the City employees whose practical knowledge of Saratoga Springs will keep the process grounded;; and
·∙ the professional consultants selected to support this work with their experience, knowledge-base and wider perspective.
We especially commend the Committee’s efforts to promote widespread public involvement—the public meetings, Open House event and web site www.engagesaratoga.com that lets busy citizens contribute ideas and state their concerns.