Guilderland Democratic Party has lost its way

To the Editor:
I’m voting for Christine Napierski and Kevin McDonald in this Guilderland Democratic primary because I believe the established Democratic Party that currently controls the town and all of its boards has lost its way since coming to power some 20-plus years ago.

My wife and I moved to Guilderland in September of 2000. We became politically active in 2005 and I became a Guilderland Democratic Party committee person in 2008.

The Democratic party by that time had already established itself as the majority party. It is my understanding that they came to power in the late 1990s and early 2000s because of the opposition to Pyramid’s expansion of Crossgates and the proposal of a fast-food drive-through restaurant where the SEFCU [State Employees Federal Credit Union] branch is now located next to Market 32 and, ironically, across the street from the new Knockout mega-car wash.

Over the past two years, I have come to know both Christine Napierski and Kevin McDonald personally and I believe they have the principles and philosophy that Democrats once had when they first came to power in Guilderland.

I met Kevin McDonald when I was campaigning for the seat in Albany County Legislature two years ago. That’s also when I became acutely aware of the proposed development by the Pyramid Companies on Rapp Road and discovered a rumor of a big-box store, which I witnessed representatives of the Pyramid Companies and the town of Guilderland flatly deny to Kevin McDonald and his neighbors.

But just a few months after the Guilderland Planning Board rightly decided to do a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) for the proposed apartments on Rapp Road, it was revealed that there was also a proposed Costco with a large gas station as well. Through discovery during the McDonald lawsuit, it was uncovered that the town was aware of Pyramid’s plans for a Costco long before they were made public.

During my campaign, I helped to coordinate neighborhoods around the proposed Pyramid development to talk with one another and get to know members of Save The Pine Bush who had fought these battles before.

Because of that work, I was asked to assume the role of chairperson for the Guilderland Coalition for Responsible Growth (GCRG) because the former chair, Laurel Bohl, had just left the group she helped start to become a candidate for the Guilderland Town Board.

It was through the GCRG that I also came to know Christine Napierski very well. She was already serving as a steering committee member when I joined the group.

I’m supporting Christine Napierski and Kevin McDonald because I have come to learn their passion for sticking up for a just and honest process in our town government. It really bothers me so see the Democratic party I joined now represent the very things they fought against 20-plus years ago.

Amanda Beedle could have, and should have, voted against the approval of the proposal by Pyramid to build high-rise apartments and the Costco on Rapp Road.

Paul Pastore, whom I have campaigned for in the past, should have accepted the decision of the New York State Supreme Court when it ruled against the town and in favor of Kevin McDonald and his fellow plaintiffs. He could have also voted against the change of zoning that allowed the Knockout Car Wash to be built and for other changes for projects that amount to nothing more than spot-zoning.

Primaries and general elections are a time for course correction through the democratic process. I believe we need some of that course correction now; I hope you do, too.

Please join me in voting for change in the leadership of Guilderland. Please vote for Christine Napierski and Kevin McDonald in this Guilderland Democratic Primary.

Steve Wickham


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