ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The democratic primary for mayor of Albany is coming up in less than a month. That winner will face candidates on other party lines, who have spoken out about the recent violence in the city, and the changes they want to make.
Greg Aidala, turning in his signatures Tuesday to get on the ballot as an Independent in the Albany mayoral race, described Friday as one of the most frightening days of his life: hearing eight to ten gunshots from his office window at his family business on Quail Street. He said he ran outside and got 911 on the phone.
“I saw it was our neighbor David, who has since passed, on the ground bleeding, with bullet holes. We were doing everything we could to comfort him and keep him alive,” Aidala told NEWS10.
According to Aidala, the area of Quail and First has been plagued with crime for years, but it wasn’t always that way. He said growing up, the same corner that now sits a memorial for a homicide victim, used to be full of life.
“There were stores, we had bars and restaurants that were some of the best in Albany,” Aidala described, “and then you saw it decline.”
Aidala believes the current administration is turning its back on the community, and leaving neighbors who want change out of the conversations at City Hall after tragedy strikes. He thinks crime is the biggest problem in Albany and requires immediate attention, adding that the city needs more police officers and after school programs for youth.
Running on the Republican and Conservative lines is Alicia Purdy, who said her heart is shattered over the recent violence.
“My reaction, like everybody else in the city of Albany, is shock, dismay, pain, sadness, fear,” Purdy said.
Changing this, according to Purdy, starts with changing leadership.
“One of the things I tell people, is be careful of the promises made in an election year by incumbent leadership,” Purdy said, “because if nothing has changed, nothing will change, and everything just becomes rhetoric.”
Purdy feels the city’s approach to crime is passive and reactive instead of preventative.
“When they come out and say, ‘this has to stop, we demand better,’ I don’t buy it, because what is the motivation to change? Because it’s getting bad? It’s been getting bad for decades,” said Purdy.
Purdy says if she were elected mayor, she would be more proactive, and her plans for change could include personnel shifts, improving overall quality of life, and having more “diversity of thought” in city hall conversations.
Full interview with Greg Aidala:
Full interview with Alicia Purdy: