Lyons withdraws from Glens Falls mayoral race, endorses McDevittThe Post-Star FINALLY did an article on Esmond Lyons.
Unfortunately, it was an article on the progressive candidate's decision to withdraw (or 'abandon,' to use the daily's language) from the Glens Falls mayoral race.
It's too bad that the only way an independent candidate can get noticed in The Post-Star is by quitting.
The remaining candidates in the race are independent Bill Berg, Peter McDevitt (a Republican, but running on the Conservative Party line), Republican nominee Bud Taylor and Democrat Roy Akins.
Lyons endorsed McDevitt and the pair will be campaigning together during the last week of the election. Even while I was supporting Lyons, McDevitt was the only other candidate who made the slightest positive impression on me so I will probably be voting for him.
Berg is running largely as a result of his long-running feud with the Glens Falls Fire Department, his former employer. He speaks about political and judicial corruption in Glens Falls, but without getting specific.
Such vagueness is the great theme of Akins' candidacy. He's a master of broad platitudes and warm fuzzies; perhaps this emphasis on image over substance is a function of his former work in the tourism industry. He assiduously avoids specifics as much as possible. Mark Frost, editor of the weekly Chronicle, endorsed Akins on this basis: Roy stated that he would CUT TAXES, CUT TAXES, CUT TAXES and ELIMINATE the $1 MILLION tax drain to the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Cutting taxes is great, but how does he plan to do it?
Eliminating the almost $1 million tax drain of the Civic Center is great, but how does he plan to do it?
Some may be dazzled by such broad promises but in a local race, a few specifics can go a long way.
There's a fine line between consensus and paralysis; Republican Taylor does not seem to realize this. If someone proposed taking a 5-minute bathroom break at a Common Council meeting, I fear that a Mayor Taylor would insist on a series of committees to explore the feasibility of such a pause.
In addition to being the pick of the Republican establishment, Taylor seems to think he is owed the mayor's job. If you read his literature, it comes across as him trying to convince you that it's "his turn" based on his long record of public service. Taylor has been on the Common Council for eight years and while he's been active in beautification efforts to the city's wonderful Crandall Park, he's made little impression. In eight years, I can remember very few instances of him making his mark, except to sniff about some alleged slight by Mayor Bob Regan (who's leaving office after this year due to term limits).
With 28 years of prominent positions in city government (8 on the Council and 20 on the planning board), shouldn't he have made more of a mark? Shouldn't that long record give us a better idea of what he believes Glens Falls should be? Critics argue that his record suggests his preference for a Glens Falls controlled by big developers -- a Queensbury South, if you will.
McDevitt has caused controversy before. He got into hot water for referring to day laborers as 'marginal human beings,' though he insisted was quoted out of context (he claimed he meant they were marginal in terms of understanding the city's complex infrastructure and thus shouldn't be used on city projects). He does have a habit of shooting from the hip; there's a fine line between being direct and being offensive.
But McDevitt does really offer more details than any of the other remaining candidates (see here).
Taylor once criticized McDevitt for not having a website (he does now). While not having a website certainly isn't the best idea, especially when the main source of local information is running a campaign against you, it hardly disqualifies one from being mayor. This is the sort of ticky tacky stuff and focus on the trivial that's turned me off Taylor.
Though I haven't agreed with everything he's done, I've been a fan of Mayor Regan. He brought a lot of energy and ideas to the job. As a result, you feel a lot more good vibes in Glens Falls than you have in recent years. With Lyons' withdrawal, McDevitt is the only candidate who appears to have the energy, inventiveness and ideas to keep the city moving in the right direction.