A recent posting from local baker and progressive activist Matt Funicello reports that activist artist Esmond Lyons (who we wrote about back in March) will run as a independent for Mayor of Glens Falls. He already has the support Adirondack Progressives, a group of area Green, Republican, Democrat, and politically Independent activists that has been very active over the past year organizing a surrogate Presidential Debate, a Molly Ivins read-in, Martin Luther King Day activities, the recent Ralph Nader appearance and other events. “It is long overdue that someone with his vision, quick wit and common sense, redefines the way in which this vital post is filled,” Funicello wrote in an e-mail to Adirondack Almanack, adding:
During the next mayoral term, some very crucial issues will be decided which should concern all of us in the area. Issues like our unsteady “partnership” with Queensbury and its sprawl, the upgrading of city infrastructure, the proposed changes to assessments that are undoubtedly going to accompany massive growth and our city’s continued trend of privatizing services.
Our cable franchise contract will also expire during this term and a mayor who understands the importance of re-negotiating this contract properly will be an invaluable ally for those of us who would like to see real community access television, a free community media center and possibly citywide wireless Internet service [ed… yeah! take a look at this].
Perhaps, the most important thing that will happen, though, is a continued influx of developers to “Hometown USA”. This can be a blessing and a curse. We need a mayor who will work WITH, and not for, these developers who are buying up downtown Glens Falls and proposing that they use our own tax money to improve it. We need to avoid the building of parking garages and make sure that new residents of the city are made to find their own answers to the parking problems they may well create.
We need to fix, shore up and make beautiful what we already have. We then need to work very carefully with the pro-development forces to ensure that they make provisions for affordable housing, green space and a pedestrian-friendly downtown. Esmond has many items in his agenda that he wishes to tell us about but he is equally excited about the opportunity to talk to you about things that are near and dear to you. This is going to be a citizen-driven campaign.
The first benchmark and biggest hurdle for independent candidates is the petitioning period (July 12 to August 23 – Calendar PDF) – it will require large numbers of supporters to hit the streets. Section 6-142 of New York State Election Law (Law PDF) lays out the enormous obstacles independent candidates face (see the recent Green Party lawsuit –Word Doc) – it’s expected that local Democrats and Republicans will challenge Lyons petitions (as they most always do with candidates outside the State Parties).
At 6 pm tonight (Sunday) Adirondack Progressives will host a meet the candiate dinner at Rock Hill Bakehouse Cafe (19 Exchange Street; corner of Elm and Hudson). Food will be served and music will be provided by Post-Star On-line Maven Carrianne Skidmore, Carol Strasser, and John Lawrence. It looks like there will soon be a website up as well.