2023 Troy Mayoral Election

Dear friends and community members,

I wrote this earlier this week and I am finally getting it out on the eve of Election Day. I hope you have either already voted or intend to vote tomorrow. I hope you are encouraging your friends and family to vote. I encourage you to go to the polls for Nina Nichols. What follows is the sounding of multiple alarms that I hope will mobilize you and those around you out to vote. Bottom line: NO to Mantello. Mantello will be devastating to the city of Troy. 

More importantly, I hope this mobilizes us to contemplate how we can show up and strengthen our movements in Troy for the kinds of changes we want, for a more just and equitable city. 

If you don’t read the Times Union, as so many don’t read the Times Union, you might believe Mantello’s campaign literature that she was truly endorsed by the TU editorial board.

She was not really endorsed but received a blasé better of the two options kind of thumbs up. 

I am disappointed that the TU ignored Mantello’s vitriolic campaign against Nina Nichols (which often relied on false information and fear-mongering). The things that have come out in her attack ads and fake surveys reveals something that would be deeply troubling for the city of Troy: her racism, her xenophobia, her homophobia. 

For instance, when humans seeking asylum in the face of crisis and violence in their home communities came to NYC and were shuttled to Upstate NY, Mantello resorted to fear-mongering and called them “problems.” Virtually no one in any office has decided to figure out how to effectively respond with humanity, dignity, and compassion to the influx of people seeking to settle in the US or apply for asylum. Mantello is blowing racist dog whistles and encouraging fear – we do not want this in Troy!

I agree with the TU on one of their central points: neither candidate showed humane and responsive leadership in response to the police collision and killing of Sabeh Alalkawi on Hoosick Street earlier this year. 

I am not surprised by Mantello who was born into the Troy police department (as she will often tell you, her “daddy was a police officer”) and her family continues in this tradition (until recently, her nephew Nicholas Laviano was President of the Police Benevolent Association). She will not break the silence which has also been Mayor Madden’s approach on policing in the city of Troy. In fact, she will double down on a power in policing approach. Mantello has made this quite clear by stating at the Lansingburgh Neighborhood Association gathering earlier this fall, “We need to get back to good old fashioned broken windows policing.” This tactic– wherein police aggressively pursue misdemeanor crimes– has been heavily debunked both from the standpoint of police effectiveness and also for the ways in which it disproportionately impacts Black and brown community members, unhoused people, working- class people, and more. 

She claims to be the source for “six new community police officers in Troy,” attempting to preempt critiques of more funding for TPD instead of more accountability and transparency by adding community into the sentence. I hope we can see through that and know that she will not hold the Troy Police Department to the greater standards of transparency and accountability that are needed.

Nina Nichols. There is possibility and certainly more of an openness to addressing community needs through public policy while tackling inequities in the distribution of resources across neighborhoods in Troy, NY.

In a grasp for straws, The Republican campaign claims that Nichols is for defunding police. I am here to share: SHE IS NOT. Nina Nichols firmly believes in fully funding and working within the current mechanisms of policing. She has shown already that she is not a leader on the delicate task of addressing harm caused (and probably future harms) by the Troy PD. She has not done the bare minimum of coming out publicly to sympathize with the family and community who lost a father, a husband, a community member. As a former pastor, she could have been the voice in the painful silence to help all of us publicly grieve the police murder of Sabeh Alalkawi. Finally, she has not come out to comment on the fact that the Troy PD is being sued AGAIN and this time for systemic failure because not one, not two, but three police cars flew through that light at over 85 miles per hour.

Shame on all of us who have not found a way to stand with this young family and the father/husband who was lost. 

And, it is on this point that we can understand the limits of electoral political strategies as they are so often taken on: unless connected to strong pre-existing grassroots community movements, the container of the campaign (and limits of time, money, people, resources) does not really allow for genuine relationship and trust-building. If you aren’t already doing this work (and this is the work!) and don’t continue this in the heart of all of the work that you are doing, it isn’t going to happen. 

Mantello claims to show up everywhere and have connections with so many. She does, as city council president, have to show up. However, she has shown, as so many will attest to, she operates a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of (in)formal power network. If she did something for you once and you don’t have a campaign sign up for her or if you donated money to the other candidate, you’ll personally hear about it. And there are more egregious examples I have heard of those within government positions.

I wish Montello would have leveled this much attention towards the lead service line replacement funding: she didn’t do anything about it when it came up in City Council in 2017. She sat on these funds for years Put simply: She didn’t act then but is now claiming to be on top of it. For small children, this kind of exposure to lead during the precious early years can be life-altering. Let’s shout out for the moms and parents and community organizers who sounded the alarm on this issue.

Finally, I saw in a recent attack ad on Nina Nichols that the Republican campaign took a stand against “wet houses.” Again, they fanned fears with little to no background or support for their claims. A wet house is important: when shelters demand abstinence from alcohol for those who need shelter, then where do unhoused folks go? I am glad that Nina Nichols, in 2013, was quoted as supporting a non-abstinence strategy to reduce harm. Again, the Republican campaign says “not in our backyard” but offers nothing to us, the residents of Troy, who could use such support. We have very little funding in the realms of social services, health, transportation, mental health services! I want a candidate who is going to act with compassion to extend support and services where they are needed in our city. 

Mantello cast the final vote to support the rezoning of 1011 2nd Street, paving the way for development of the last undeveloped shorefront on the Hudson! 

Mantello, as the Times Union wrote, cast the key vote “in the decision against selling the defunct Leonard Hospital site, a decision that ultimately put the city on the hook for huge legal settlements, plus a $2.5 million fee to raze the structure.”

Mantello was in public office when she vehicularly harassed a man while drunk driving across multiple highways.

Mantello only condemned police actions once in the past seven years: when two officers mowed down two groundhogs in Frear Park in August 2016. “There is zero tolerance for this behavior,” Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello said in a statement to the Troy Record. That same year, in April 2016, the TPD shot and killed Edson Thevenin. While Mantello has been in office, how many lawsuits against the TPD and City of Troy have there been? No less than four for cover-ups, for systemic failures, for racism. 

Let’s join together as a city and hold the new mayor Nina Nichols accountable as we work for change: to end racism, for police accountability, for funding and resources in social services, mental health services, and for equity and justice. 

Vote for Nina Nichols!

Angela Beallor 

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