Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FYI... Owning a Pet Comes with Certain Responsibilities

I have had pets my entire life; dogs, cats, fish, birds, toads, guinea pigs, and I’m sure there have been a few other types of animals, as well. But each one of them where pets, part of the family, loved and cared for. Recently, I’ve been reading and hearing too many stories about people abusing their right to have pets, allow me to explain…

First, what is the deal with people’s attraction to breeding and rising pit bulls for fighting? Just today (November 24, 2010) there is another story in the Troy Record that reveals that the occupants of an apartment in the southern section of Lansingburgh owned 9 pit bulls that were apparently being raised for fighting. Several weeks ago there was a similar story that described how over 20 pit bulls were impounded over several days in Troy. Someone has to draw a line in the sand, strictly enforce the “Dangerous Dogs” ordinance in the City Code to bring people to justice. Hasn’t anyone learned how dangerous dogs can be if put into the hands of the wrong people? A family friend recently had their dog attacked unprovoked by a pit bull in South Troy. The dog and its owner escaped justice that day by way of the alley, but we read these stories all the time, but not just of other animals being attacked, but people, especially children. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the majority, not all, pit bull owners in Troy own them for some sadistic reason. It’s a fetish for them, a public safety issue for us, and inhumane for the dog.

Owning a pet comes with responsibility. You have a responsibility to care and feed the animal, not to dump it in the woods or leave it behind when you move because it’s too much of a burden to care for. The commitment that comes with owning an animal is as important as any other decision you should make. Abuse and abandonment is not the answer. I’m learning more and more how this is becoming a common practice by people dealing with cats that are no longer wanted. Unfortunately, under the law cats are not afforded the same amount of protection as dogs and other animals, therefore the owners, and I’ll use that term loosely, are able to get away scot-free. There are programs and ways people can get assistance if they are experiencing financial trouble all they have to do is look and ask. I understand it can be tough when you are faced with the question of who to feed, the cat or themselves. Simply contact the Hudson-Mohawk Humane Society at 434-8128 to learn more.

At this time I’m told shelters are not accepting cats. There are just too many of them and not as many people adopting. Stray, abandoned, and feral cats are becoming an issue in our neighborhoods. Community members are finding themselves participating with programs like SCRUFF (Spaying the Capital Region's Unowned Feral Felines). The Washington Park Neighborhood Association in Troy has been conducting a Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program called POUNCE for a number of years. TNR programs like POUNCE work with groups like SCRUFF to trap cats, have them spayed or neutered, and released back to their habitat with the goal of stabilizing the feral population. The life expectancy of a stray/feral cat is just 2 years and if they aren’t reproducing the hope is the number of cats wondering the streets and alleyways will reduce. All this comes at a cost. POUNCE is funded through donations from community members. This coming spring, our neighborhood group, the North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch, hope to have a similar program up and running.

Anyway you look at the issues it’s highly disappointing and the only one that suffers ultimately is the animal who is given no choice. We need to do our part in educating and being as proactive as we can by reported abuse and finding families and homes willing to adopt.

Monday, November 15, 2010

3rd Annual Holiday Toy Drive

For the third straight year the North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch is spearheading a holiday toy drive that will benefit the children patients of Whitney Young Health Services Troy practice. Over the last two years the group has collect and distributed over $1,700 in toys to over 150 children.

The neighborhood group partners with Whitney Young because not only does it ensure the toys collected stay within the Lansingburgh and Troy community, but they are also ensured that the toys are gifted to the communities most desiring children. Whitney Young's Troy facility provides low to no cost medical and dental services to adults and children who find themselves in a tough spot.

What we have found from the first year we held the toy drive is that we live in a very caring community. People are well aware of the stresses some families fell this time of year. It's a magical time of year and every child should have the opportunity to enjoy and have fond memories of it.

To maximize the success of this endeavor, the group would like to extend an open invitation to anyone interested in participating in this worthy cause. The group is collecting new, unwrapped toys for children up to the age of 12. The Toy Drive will run through Tuesday, December 14th when the group will collect the donated toys during their monthly neighborhood watch meeting. The meeting is held from 7:00 to 8:30pm at the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club where community members will also celebrate the holiday season.

The collected gifts will then be wrapped and distributed to the children and their families by Santa Claus at Whitney Young's Troy facility the following week. Councilmen Mark McGrath and along with the Troy Republican Committee will be providing food and beverages for the children and their families as part of the celebration.

If you would like to contribute, but are unable to attend the December meeting, you are encouraged to contact Thank you in advance for your support and generosity.

For more information please contact Jim Gordon, 365-2270 or email

Monday, November 1, 2010

All the ads, signs, and mailers go away after tommorrow... It's Election Day!

For those of you who know me know that I like to dabble in politics from time-to-time. I have been following our local races pretty closely and would like to offer my opinion ahead of Election Day on a few of them.

First, we’ll start with our only City of Troy election this year, City Court Judge (civil court). Judge Matt Turner has seen over 100,000 cases before him while serving as our current city judge. Matt has a record of presiding with fairness, integrity, impartiality, unbiased attitude, courtesy, and promptness. In other words Matt upholds the law and does so in humane and civil manner. The city of Troy needs someone like Matt to represent us. The cases that Matt see’s everyday are based on issues that strain our quality-of-life. After 12 years as judge Matt has done what is fair and just in protecting the city and its residents. Don't just take it from me… if the recent results from this year’s Primary Election are an indicator, hundreds of residents share my point of view. Matt defeated his opponent nearly 3 to 1 in the primary for the Conservative, Independence, and Working Families party lines.

Next we’ll find our way to the cesspool that has been Albany and our state government.

In a time when everything that comes out of Albany has been the adverse to common sense leadership several individuals have done their best to speak for us, the residents of Upstate NY. Roy McDonald has set out to protect our interests and strive to move forward an Upstate Agenda. While ciaos ruled, Roy was hard working. Roy knows the formula. His experience is one of proven results in lowering and eliminating taxes, positive economic development that has created hundreds of jobs and strengthened countless Upstate communities. If you have ever ventured north toward Saratoga you will see the results of Roy’s vision, hard work, and bi-partisan leadership. For almost 2 years now we have been denied similar continued growth in our region because Albany finds itself ruled by a Downstate agenda. Roy’s campaign has been one based on facts, experience, and solutions. Roy’s opponent’s has been filled with deception and outright lies. We do not need business as usual in Albany, we need real leaders with proven results.

One aspect, regardless of political persuasion, that has to upset the constituents of some of the state senate and assembly districts are the way by which they are laid out. Usually, you’ll find a large portion of a district to include the majority of the incumbent’s votes (party persuasion) and a small portion of a district to include a very minor percentage of votes. This is the case for the 108th Assembly seat. A small portion of Troy’s council district’s 1, 2, and 3 fall within the 108th. With this being the case what we have experienced is a serious lack in representation by the sitting assemblyman. I would go as far to ask, “Does Tim Gordon know where Lansingburgh is?” The majority of his time, effort, and pork stay’s in Albany County where his votes are. But this is a minor complaint when you analyze Tim’s record. Tim has been a “yes” vote on tax increase after tax increase as he continues to support Shelly Silver and his downstate agenda. In my opinion Mr. Gordon has been lying to and fleecing the public for far too long. Tim is not an independent, he takes his orders from the assembly dem’s and his current and past campaigns have been financed by them, isn’t this a conflict? This charade has gone on for too long. We need enthusiasm, we need a common sense plan, we need someone with an understanding of what the residents and small businesses of Upstate really need… We need a resident of Rensselaer County in Albany to fairly and accurately represent us… we need Steve McLaughlin in the state assembly!

To recap:

Troy City Court Judge: Matthew Turner

NYS Senate 43rd District: Roy McDonald

NYS Assembly 108th District: Steve McLaughlin

Other races…

US Congress 21st District: Ted Danz

NYS Assembly 106th District: Ron Canesteri

Finally, there is one thing we can all agree on, taxes are too high and our government is broken. Let your voice be heard… VOTE TOMORROW! Even if the individual you cast a vote for loses every vote against their opponent demonstrates to the victorious candidate that there are people paying attention and who do not agree. Don’t just take my or anyone else's word for it research the candidates, their past, present, and plans for the the future. Visit for the Records election coverage.