ALBANY, NY — Workers for the state Office of General Services (OGS) were out setting up barricades blocking access to a portion of East Capitol Park late Friday, a move a spokeswoman said is being undertaken to keep protesters a safe distance away from a construction site and a massive crane set up near the Capitol’s northeast corner.
A host of liberal-leaning groups are hosting an Occupy Wall Street-inspired “Sit-in for Solidarity” at the Capitol on Saturday, October 15, 2011, and the metal, bike-rack-like barricades are being placed around the Capitol.
The Westchester Guardian / Yonkers Tribune was on the scene inquiring about the barricades.
There was a little confusion about the fencing that was originally set up around the entirety of East Capitol Park, a move OGS spokeswoman Heather Groll said was done in error. Workers started disassembling the barricades after reporters inquired about them, and Groll said they were being moved closer to the construction.
“We understand that there are going to be exercising their First Amendment rights tomorrow afternoon, and part of the (Capitol) Roof Acceleration project involves them working on Saturday and using the crane,” Groll said. “We’re just putting the fence up to make sure that anybody who is there is safe.”
Simultaneously, NYSUT, representing over 600,000 people who work in, or are retired from, New York's schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities received word that their Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta will join NYSUT members and other demonstrators at the state Capitol Saturday.
We immediately called NYSUT for more information.
"Education has been slashed by more than $3 billion over the last three years, thousands have been laid off, class sizes have increased, all while the top one percent of America's most wealthy have received tax cuts and gain to receive over $5 billion in new tax breaks at the end of this year," said Carl Korn, spokesperson for NYSUT.
"What we want is a more progressive tax system that enables the middle class to grow," continued Korn. "That's why we stand in solidarity with and stand in support of the ongoing efforts of the activists occupying Wall Street. This is about improving the economy and creating good jobs for the benefit of all Americans."
From California to the Capital Region, in what was a mere protest at Wall Street by a dozen college students has sprouted into the streets of Albany. The Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed has sparked the interest of students attending regional universities.
Though The Westchester Guardian / Yonkers Tribune can't find a single leader (nor can we figure out what's the exact message) of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, Tim Branfalt, a local resident who posted an Occupy Albany Facebook page is credited with the Albany gathering, mostly peaceful, but certainly engaging in acts of civil disobedience.
What's evident is that the group is growing.
There was no comment regarding the Saturday planned protest from City of Albany's Mayor, Gerald Jennings, nor are the State Police commenting on the scheduled demonstrations.
Regardless, we'll be on the scene.
HEY CUOMO, THAT CAKE NEEDS MORE TIME TO BAKE
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s girlfriend, Food Network chef Sandra Lee, caused an uproar when she gave an interview in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar in which she discussed her relationship with the Governor and why she’s glad not to be New York’s First Lady.
Along with telling Harper’s about her personal life with Governor Cuomo and his three girls from his disastrous first marriage who Ms. Lee refers to as “my semi-homemade daughters,” Lee said she spends lots of time hanging out with the girls, cruising with the Governor on his Harley and doing her cooking and decorating in their Westchester home. Last Christmas, Lee said she outfitted their family room with three trees “to create a Christmas-scape.”
Ms. Lee said she’s happy not being New York’s official First Lady and keeping her relationship with Governor Cuomo relatively private.
“I have a partner who feels the exact same way as I do about protecting our personal relationship.”
When it comes to marriage, Ms. Lee also feels no need to make things official.
“I like being independent. I don’t think that marriage means you’re not independent, but right now I’m very comfortable, and I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been. I feel solid. I feel safe. … I was already planted in a world that I’ve flourished in and had my own career in,” Ms. Lee said.
The Food Network star also said that she and "Andrew will be together forever, whether we decide to be the next Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell or not."
We wish the happy couple well. However, having a first lady is an issue the 2016 president-elect needs to put behind him.
Carlos Gonzalez, The Albany Correspondent, traverses the august halls of the New York State Legislature for The Westchester Guardian and the Yonkers Tribune.