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Mayor Yepsen and Successful Governance

City Chair, Charles Brown

Reader's View
Posted in the Saratogian
July 27, 2014
Mayor Yepsen and Successful Governance
In the July 13th, Reader’s View, ‘Mayors view on racino,’ the writer signed off “former Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee chairwoman.”

As the current Chair of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, I and our Executive Committee, feel that it is my responsibility to correct any possible misinterpretation.  The writer was Chair of the SSDC nearly 20 years ago and has not been a member for many years. To be clear, her opinions in no way represent the positions of the current Democratic Committee.

Our City Committee is not so closed to differing points of view that it would label one "incoherent" simply because we disagreed.  The committee, like the city administration, has made great strides to be inclusive and representative of all citizens of Saratoga Springs, a large and thriving city, which does, in fact, include many differing needs and opinions on how to address those needs.

We agree with Mayor Yepsen that the concerns of the City Center are important to our city’s wellbeing; however we highly disagree with a number of the writer’s assessments.

Our Mayor, based on extensive legal advice, explained that, due to State law, the City does not have legal authority to block or restrain the proposed expansion by Saratoga Casino and Raceway.  Rather than incurring huge legal fees, funded by tax dollars, to fight a battle that the city is likely to lose (a tactic frequently employed by the prior administration), and a battle that would likely alienate SCR, possibly causing them to abandon any efforts to find common ground, Mayor Yepsen has chosen to work with SCR to achieve goals that may benefit all the city by establishing a full public process between the SCR and the city’s Land Use Boards. This approach may be sophisticated and nuanced, but it is not "incoherent."  Rather, it is required action for successful governance.

The suggestion that the request of the president of the City Center's board of directors was "ignored" is inaccurate.  At the June 16 City Council meeting, Commissioner Scirocco asked that a vote on the Mayor’s Agenda item 5 be postponed until the mayor had met with the City Center Board. The Mayor explained why the resolution needed to be passed prior to the end of the state legislative session and she further explained her intention to meet with the entire City Center Board to hear their needs.   The request was clearly not ignored.  For over15 minutes it was discussed, debated and voted on. (See webcast of 6/17/14 city council meeting, Mayor's Department starting at 4 minutes 30 seconds).

The democratic process can be long, tedious and frustrating. (Sit through any 4 to 6 hour City Council meeting and this becomes quite evident).  Decisions do not always go our way.  Yet, I believe we all can agree it is the form of government we hold dear.

We would like to commend Mayor Yepsen and all our elected officials for their leadership and their commitment to our city.  We would like to be the voice that says “Thank you for taking on what is quite often a ’thankless’ job.”


Charles Brown 

Chair of the Saratoga Spring Democratic Committee