Walkable Albany's Candidate Scores are now available!
The candidates from the 6th Ward who responded to our questionnaire are Jeff Mayo, Gabriella Romero, and Susan Pedo.
The questionnaires contained a variety of issues, in several categories:
Please note that while this page shows the candidates for the 6th Ward Common Council seat, other offices are listed on separate pages.
Below are the overall scores for the 6th Ward, followed by in-depth scores and answers to long-form questions.
Jeff Mayo: 93.87 (A+ rating)
Susan Pedo: 89.11 (A rating)
Gabriella Romero: 87.07 (A rating)
I was a "captain" in Walkable Albany's snow removal brigade this winter. Although I didn't mind (and occasionally enjoyed) the shoveling, I believe it would benefit Albany and its pedestrians to have a more clearly delineated and robust municipal snow clearance plan. Given the frequency and volume of snow we receive in Albany, snow accumulation on sidewalks and in crosswalks can be extremely hazardous to pedestrians. This year's municipal pilot plan was a good start, but I believe that we need DGS to assume responsibility for all snow removal from sidewalks and crosswalks. As a member of the Albany Common Council, I will support increased municipal funding for crosswalk snow removal, increased enforcement of code violations against property owners who do not clear their sidewalks, and work to link people who are aging or have physical disabilities with agencies or services that can assist in snow and ice removal.
Yes. Lark Street could be a shining example of what a walkable mixed-use corridor should be. The Lark Street Improvement Study is a step towards making Lark Street that example. I particularly support the Study's recommendations to increase ADA compliance with Lark Street's sidewalk ramps, implement curb bump-outs, and build street tree infill. I believe that an improvement in Lark Street's pedestrian-friendliness could also serve as an economic development engine for the neighborhood.
While I support increased urban green spaces, I don't have high hopes for the Albany Skyway. There is little infrastructure in the geographic area surrounding the Skyway. Consequently, I don't envision many people will use the Skyway, or that the Skyway will serve as a catalyst for increased density or economic development downtown. In my opinion, the Skyway will be a bridge to nowhere, with views that include a maze of arterials, rusty railroad bridges, and the less than idyllic Rensselaer waterfront. I hope I'm wrong, but frankly, I don't see the Skyway being anything more than another underutilized public space on which the City will have to expend municipal resources to maintain.
Yes. We need increased density and responsible development in order to support our local businesses, keep money in Albany, and increase our municipal tax base.
Yes, absolutely. Increased code enforcement is a cornerstone of my campaign platform. From my campaign website: As a longtime homeless advocate, defense attorney, and former United Tenants of Albany board member, Jeff will draw upon his experience in order to strengthen code enforcement and improve the quality of Albany’s housing stock. The urban blight that plagues Albany, including portions of the 6th Ward, is of significant concern to Jeff. As your councilmember, Jeff will work to provide the Division of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance with the tools and resources it needs to combat absentee slumlords, vacant housing, illegal evictions, and substandard buildings, all of which negatively affect the safety and stability of our historic neighborhoods. He believes that building a robust, professional codes department is key to stopping the spread of blight, protecting tenants from harm, and holding slumlords accountable through the enforcement of penalties and fines.
Neighbors should be notified and laws should be enforced to help keep sidewalks clear. The volunteer snow removal groups worked very nicely this year. The City should find ways to support them by providing supplies, recognition and possibly even incentives.
Yes. Pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic patterns and trends change over time and streets need to be upgraded to encourage walkability and safety, and to accommodate neighbors', visitors', diners', shoppers' and businesses' needs. The redesign will support efforts to create a strong sense of place on Lark Street, and make the area more welcoming with features like additional outdoor dining, which is a popular option that deserves support.
Yes. Albany's Skyway will help connect downtown Albany to the Hudson River, and bring visitors to the City's new Market Square Gateway. These types of projects create opportunities for engagement, exercise and ADA-compliant venues to bring members of the City together, while also serving as an attraction to bring new visitors to discover downtown.
Yes. As Vice Chair of the City of Albany IDA and a member of Capitalize Albany Corporation, I believe that smart, sustainable development is one of the keys to financial stability for our City. An unfair property tax burden is imposed on the City of Albany, which is home to many state and nonprofit organizations. These entities account for a huge amount of the City’s property and services, but do not pay taxes, causing resident and business property owners to pay a disproportionate amount for the upkeep of our City. Additional development creates new revenue and helps spread the tax burden, reverse decay and prevent blight from setting in.
Yes. Unfortunately, absentee property owners who neglect their properties are often difficult to track down to enforce corrective action. In addition to more aggressive code enforcement, we must work to find and hold these owners accountable, or forfeit their properties, so that new owners can make them useful and viable parts of the community. The City's new proposal to allow corrective action to be taken and then charged to an unreachable or unresponsive landlord is a good start.
There are two ways to address this issue. First, we can demand the city increase their DGS crew allocation to the sidewalk areas. Second, we can lead by example and continue our presence with the shovel brigades in the 6th."
Yes! My support of the Lark Street Improvement Study has been a vital part of my own campaign (and very visible on my website! - www.gabriellaforalbany.com). The specific additions - the lighting and street accessories - are most exciting to me. I would like to see our downtown area create a safe, hip vibe for our residents that emulates the downtown areas of similar progressive downtown spaces like Ithaca, NY. The 6th ward is so special in its city-within-a-city feeling, that we need to work to cultivate a stronger sense of "place" - creating ownership, pride, and excitement in our own area.
Yes - I support the Albany Skyway Park. As the project takes off, I eagerly await its completion to connect downtown with the Corning Preserve/Hudson River. This project is a great example of how our City can use underutilized city-infrastructure to create green space. This project, in a really beautifully delicate way, addresses so many issues at once. Environmentally, the skyway will act as a green roof - absorbing/diverting storm runoff that would enter the sewers (then the hudson river). From an equity standpoint, it will provide walkable access from Arbor Hill and Clinton Square to the waterfront area (something that wasn't as accessible before this project). Finally, from a general city planning/beautification angle, this skyway is going to brighten up the waterfront area - create a modern, hip, and accessible space for our City.
Development is a general term! I believe the future of our cities' success lies in denser development with mixed uses, similar to the situation in the 6th ward. This allows for efficient utilization of resources, and increases overall walkability in the neighborhood. People are drawn to densely packed neighborhoods!
Yes! I strongly support the recent package of bills that was introduced to the common council - one of them directly addresses this issue. Under the unsafe and unfit portion of the legislation, the new language allows for code enforcement to proactively enter homes to address emergency repairs. This type of reform is important to combat the absentee landlord problem our City is facing.
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