Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mayoral candidates Q&A: miscellaneous

This is the final post in a series of Q&As with mayoral candidates. While our previous posts had specific topics like public safety, infrastructure or housing, this last post is miscellaneous.

Republican candidate Jim Gordon did not send answers to these questions.

At one time or another, nearly every elected official in the city has commented on the problem of petty politics in Troy. Have you historically worked well with those from opposing parties -- or with conflicting ideas?

Wiltshire: I’m proud of being both a lifelong Democrat, and having consistently worked across the aisle as City Council President. I appointed councilors from the minority, as committee chairs. I’m especially proud of working on the apprenticeship program, a great shared economic resource, which garnered bipartisan support, along with many of my other initiatives, including the recent protections from discrimination for Transgender, Military and other Trojans. If elected, I will appoint competent city officials, not friends or party patrons. And I will make our city government the most transparent and accessible in New York State. I’ve run and won my campaigns based on the support of ordinary Trojans, not machine bosses, and I hold myself accountable only to the people of Troy.

Madden: I come to this with 30 years of productive accomplishment with both parties. I have worked successfully with 15 City Councils, 3 Mayors and 4 City Managers. I am not a partisan person. I have never been the subject of, or the instigator of, political sniping. I don’t judge people or their ideas based on the letter that follows their name. And I have never, and will never, run to the press or social media to discredit anyone or run them down for my gain. It is just not in my nature. I have always worked with anyone willing to help advance the welfare of the City and our residents. I have always been willing to share or give credit to whoever needs to have it as long as the job gets done.

Cox: To date I have not had the privilege of holding public office therefore I have no history that I can refer to. My campaign is and has always been about working together to serve the people, not a party. My intention is to provide a teamwork environment. I am hopeful that whatever candidates the voters elect for the new City Council will have the same goal. There will be no conflicting ideas, just ideas. I will present a city issue and encourage all council members to add their thoughts and ideas with mine. We will analyze every idea until only one remains determined by majority vote. This idea will be approved and enacted immediately. I do not expect every team decision to be unanimous. I do not expect my idea to always be the one selected. Sooner or later every member of the team will be outvoted on an issue, even me. That is no reason to become combative or counterproductive. I have no intention of getting involved in petty squabbles with rigid party members. If they don’t want to be part of the team, they are more than welcome to sit on the bench and the voters can elect a more team oriented candidate in the next election.

Recent efforts to introduce a methadone clinic downtown have been halted by downtown business owners. Do you believe that downtown is the proper location for a methadone clinic, and why or why not?

Cox: No, I do not. I understand the need and support the creation of clinics to help individuals to recover from drug addictions but this is not the best use of downtown property. I can’t stress enough how important proper development of our business zoned property is. Business zoned property not only provides property taxes, like all property, but sales tax revenue as well. This is where we create jobs that stimulate the economy and fund the State and Federal government with income taxes. I am committed to keeping as much of the city’s property on the tax role, especially in our business districts, and providing a service that benefits the greater good whether residential, commercial or industrial.

Wiltshire: To the greatest extent possible, properties downtown should be used for businesses. There are many other locations within the city that would be accessible to those who need the clinic, and more protective of their privacy.

Madden: The heroin epidemic is real and it is a challenge to all our communities. I will work with the clinic to develop a plan that enables them to effectively provide services while minimizing any negative impact on our residents and businesses.

Would you seek to relocate City Hall during your term? 

Wiltshire: The lease agreement we have at present is fair. If right opportunity presents itself I’d certainly look into it.

Madden: Not immediately. Though less than perfect, the present location functions well and is attractively priced. We currently carry too much debt. I am reticent to add to our debt load absent an essential need. I don’t see a new city hall as essential at this time. As our debt is paid down we will have an opportunity to make a smart and strategic decision about finding a permanent home for City Hall.

Cox: Not only in my first term but if possible in my first year. I may not actually have a site ready in my first year based on where we decide to go, but a plan will be in motion. If we have to stick it out and pay rent while we build a new City Hall or retrofit an older building to accommodate our needs, so be it, at least there will be an end in sight. With a lost opportunity possibly reemerging (see question above) and many other opportunities available in the city, there is no reason why the City Hall issue cannot be resolved quickly and cost effectively. We already have a line item in the budget for City Hall so taxes will not need to be raised. The sooner we make a decision the sooner we can eliminate this unnecessary expense.

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