ALBANY: Bill Aylward and Gene Messercola spoke at the January vegetarian lasagna dinner at the First Presbyterian Church in Albany.
Both Mr. Aylward and Mr. Messercola spoke bout the one important thing Albany County can do for Pine Bush preservation: donate all tax delinquent properties located in the Pine Bush to the Pine Preserve. Tax delinquent properties in the Pine Bush should be turned over to the Preserve instead of being auctioned.
Mr. Aylward spoke about the work he did as the Guilderland Town Supervisor in working with Save the Pine Bush member John Wolcott to acquire land in the Pine Bush for preservation. The land has since been acquired and is today in the Preserve.
Mr. Aylward talked about serving in the Albany County Legislature and how the legislative process works. The legislature works with a committee system, and each committee has the same ratio of democrats/republicans are on each committee as are on the legislature as a whole.
Mr. Aylward and Mr. Messercola worked to save French’s Mill Bridge in Guilderland Center from being demolished. The bridge had been closed for ten years. At a committee meeting, they noticed an agenda item to spend $250,000 to demolish the bridge. Why spend all of this money on demolition, why not save the bridge for pedestrian and bicycle access? Mr. Aylward reasoned that instead of tearing down bridges, we should be building bridges. Working with the committee, the legislators were able to save the bridge and it is in use today for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Mr. Aylward said its a process, and that you have to be there in the room. He described when he was Town Supervisor that he voted to preserve the Schoolcraft House instead of demolish it.
Both legislators are concerned about the proposed hotel in the Pine Bush by Crossgates. Though this project is in Albany, Mr. Aylward said the that the Town of Guilderland would object to a curb-cut on the Crossgates ring-road into this property. Mr. Messercola has already spoken with Dan Herring, Albany City Council member and chair of the Zoning Committee who told him, “The big issue is the Pine Bush.”
Mr. Messercola spoke about growing up in the Pine Bush, and picking blueberries which made the best blue berry pie.
Mr. Messercola spoke about the pesticide notification bill which he and Mr. Aylward did a great deal of work on.
The pesticide notification law requires people who are going to apply pesticides to their lawns to give neighbors 24 hour notice before spraying. Mr. Messercola had complaints from people who have gardens and he was concerned about the effects of these chemicals on children, seniors, people with asthma and others. Albany was the first county in the state to pass this law and Mr. Messercola noted that he received a lot of flak from some of his constituents for actively supporting this important bill.
Mr. Messercola also worked on implementing policy for the County to use clean methods to get rid of rodents and for maintaining lawns owned by the County.
Both Mr. Aylward and Mr. Messercola are big supporters of Pine Bush preservation. They are both in tight races for their legislative seats. Mr. Aylward represents 31st district and Mr. Messercola the 29th. Please remember all the good things they have done for the environment when you go to the polls on Tuesday, April 27.