Reality vs Rhetoric

Citizen driven feedback the basis of independent group’s activities, not donations to any politicians

Recent rhetoric by politicians related to the role of the citizen driven Saratoga PAC organization belie reality. Its mission is to engage and inform the public and its leaders to foster good governance across key economic, quality of life and environmental stewardship issues. Those are the foundation of a vibrant future for Saratoga and the region.

“Silly season must be upon us, cause some politicians would rather engage in useless rhetoric than focus on the issues that matter to our residents,” said Bob Manz, Board Chair. “This is precisely why our group of community leaders and the thousands we have already engaged support an independent entity. We need to do better to ensure we remain a desirable place to live and do business, and build the social capital that provides for good government services. The time for tired rhetoric and creating phony boogeyman to scare up votes is over. We are intent on promoting informed dialogue and exercising our rights to speak with the public about key issues and leaders who will affect the direction for Saratoga Springs and the area. Those who grandstand and ignore the input of thousands of their constituents, constituents who are working hard every day to maintain a healthy tax base and who give back to the gamut of charitable foundations making this such a special place to live, are not focused on leadership. We will remain focused on it and ensuring our community has the brightest future possible.”

Despite reports by candidates saying they reject its donations, Saratoga PAC has repeatedly informed all candidates for office that they will NOT be making any donations to candidate campaigns. The requests for interviews with candidates was for a discussion about issues of importance to the communities’ future. Saratoga PAC recently extended that dialogue to the broader public by commissioning a citizen quality of life survey mailed to over 14,000 City residents covering 15 areas of interest to solicit their feedback. To date, more than 1,100 unique responses have provided insights to the issues people of the community would like to see addressed. Its results will be made publicly available at an event October 20th and widely distributed thereafter. Those findings will inform the priorities and viewpoints Saratoga PAC expresses on issues and candidates going forward.

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Saratoga PAC “In the News” with Survey Results to be Released

In an article in the September 13th Saratogian, Robert Manz, the Saratoga PAC Chairman, said there is no hidden agenda to the new political action committee Saratoga PAC, just a desire to keep a small city thriving in a region where thriving cities are not the norm. Manz said Saratoga PAC, a politically unaffiliated group that includes prominent business leaders, is still receiving replies to a mail survey that was sent out to residents. The group plans to release the results on Oct. 20 at the Holiday Inn and disclose the results of candidate interviews it has been conducting, though not all candidates have participated. Manz said the group’s leaders include Republicans, Democrats and independent voters. “Over half of them are lifelong city residents,” he said. “These are people who are truly invested in the future of the city of Saratoga Springs.”

Click here to read this article.

On the same day, the Times Union reported that the Saratoga PAC is interviewing candidates in races for the five-member Saratoga Springs City Council. “If you’re not growing, you’re going,” said Manz in this story. “Business drives economy; and economy drives social settings.” Manz said the PAC will announce the results of its survey next week, then put out a list of endorsements. He said the group was not targeting a political party. “We’re not buying politicians. We are voicing our opinion. And we are voicing our opinions on a number of issues, hopefully to help Saratoga to move forward.”

Click here to view this article.

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Resident Survey Results to be Released 10-20-15

The Saratoga PAC will host a reception, on Tuesday, October 20th, at the Holiday Inn – Saratoga Springs, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Guests attending this event will receive an in-person briefing from the volunteers on the Saratoga PAC Board of Directors that will include:

1. The results of the PAC’s candidate interviews.
2. An update on the results of our quality of life survey.

The Saratoga PAC has already interviewed the candidates for Mayor, Commissioner of Public Safety, and Commissioner of Public Works. In the next week, interviews will be held with the candidates for Commissioner of Finance and Commissioner of Accounts as well as Town Supervisor in Malta. Nearly 1,000 people have also already participated in our quality of life survey.

On October 20th, we look forward to sharing with you in person what we have learned from our candidate interviews and our quality of life survey. A minimum donation of $25 is being requested from those who want to attend this reception. You can register to attend by clicking here.

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Nearly 220 donors contribute $46,417 to Saratoga PAC

The Saratoga PAC, a political committee recently registered with the New York State Board of Elections submitted their first-ever periodic report showing contributions through July 11, 2015, totaling $46,417 from 217 donors in just five weeks.

According to Robert Manz, Chair of the Saratoga PAC, the organization hosted its first fundraising event on June 24, 2015, at the Stadium Café, on Broadway. This event attracted over 200 local residents, politicians and business leaders who paid $10 to attend the event.

The Saratoga PAC will make independent expenditures to support the election or the re-election of public officials seeking local and county offices, who demonstrate a commitment and capacity to enhance the economic well-being and quality of life in Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County in a unified and forward thinking manner.

“We raised over $46,000 in 5 weeks from over 200 supporters with the vast majority of our support coming from individual residents looking for their voices to be heard, “said Manz. “Our goal is to support a balance between expanding economic opportunity and protecting our environment while enhancing the quality of life in Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County. The energy in the packed room on June 24 was incredible with people from across both the City and County coming together to support reasonable, balanced and progressive actions that will continue to strengthen our City’s vibrant character.”

The Saratoga PAC recently sent a letter to the Saratoga Springs City Council in support of the proposal to amend the City’s zoning ordinance relative to solar panels. The change as requested by the Saratoga PAC was approved by a vote of 3 to 2. This vote has made it possible for the Saratoga Springs City Center to restart their efforts to secure City support for a new parking structure on an adjacent City owned surface parking lot.

The Saratoga PAC is now completing research into the votes taken by the incumbent Mayor and City Councilors in Saratoga Springs. The Saratoga PAC will extend an invitation to the incumbents and challengers for those seats to meet with an interview committee that will be formed by the Saratoga PAC Board of Directors later this summer. The current volunteer members of the Saratoga PAC’s board of directors includes: Robert Manz, Cindy Hollowood, Kathy Smith, Gordon Boyd, Jeff Vukelic, CJ DeCrescente, Sonny Bonacio, Patrick Kane, Gary Dake, Rod Sutton and David Collins.

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PAC Supports Win-Win Solar Power Recommendation

July 6, 2015

The Honorable Mayor Joanne Yepsen
The Honorable Commissioner Chris Mathiesen
The Honorable Commissioner Skip Scirocco
The Honorable Commissioner Michele Madigan
The Honorable Commissioner John Franck

Dear Mayor and Commissioners;

My name is Robert Manz and I am a life-long resident of our beautiful City. In early June, I was honored to be elected as the first-ever Chair of the Board of Directors of the Saratoga PAC. The primary mission of this new organization is to encourage and support a balance between expanding economic opportunity and protecting our environment while enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life in Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County.

Our Board met last Thursday and discussed our desire to see more City residents and businesses make use of solar energy AND our City’s long-standing goal of focusing development within the downtown core. These two goals should represent an opportunity to bring our community together in a way that will allow us to move forward. That is why we voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council adopt the pending amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, Section 6.4.8, removing the Transect-6 Zoning District from the prohibitions of this section of the ordinance.

If this change is approved, the City will be able to continue to pursue a range of actions to expand the installation of solar panels through Solarize Saratoga, the development of a solar field on the City’s landfill, etc. This action will then also allow downtown property owners within the T-6 Zoning District to pursue infill projects that will enhance our downtown’s vibrancy without fear of making a significant investment in the pre-construction development of a parcel only to find that the parcel is suddenly rendered undevelopable because the adjoining property owner installed a solar collector.

The approval of this amendment as supported by the City’s Planning Board will again unite our community in support of reasonable, balanced and progressive actions that will enhance our City’s vibrant character. Residents and businesses will continue to be encouraged to install solar panels throughout the City, as I have done at my own home, while not disproportionately restricting growth in our downtown core. This is clearly a win-win worth supporting!

Yours truly,

 

Robert Manz, Chair, Saratoga PAC

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