RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Less than two weeks out from election day, the city of Rensselaer’s mayoral race is heating up. Candidates can’t see eye to eye on what’s considered city land, and haven’t nailed down a time to debate.
Democratic candidate Rich Mooney takes issue with what he says is unfair removal of campaign signs. Republican Mayor Mike Stammel claims his opponent is just grasping at straws.
“I haven’t had any residents call me and say I took signs off their front lawns, or anything of that nature,” Stammel told NEWS10.
Mooney, trying to win back the mayor’s office he lost two years ago, said his supporters were calling him, telling a different story.
“Upon further investigation by my campaign, we found that this mayor ordered DPW employees, on overtime, on a Saturday, to take down campaign signs,” Mooney said, “which he considered to be…on city land.”
According to Stammel, residents have been complaining of signs getting in the way of their vehicle doors, and DPW employees were brought into work for a few weekend hours to remove them where weren’t supposed to be. Stammel said this was unilateral across parties.
“The signs that were removed were on city property,” Stammel explained, “those signs between the sidewalk and the curbs.”
Mooney thinks residents should be allowed to place their signs there, since they typically maintain that patch of grass. This isn’t the democrat’s only gripe with his opponent.
“He claims campaign signs can’t belong on city property,” Mooney said, “but on October 1st, he hosted a Republican rally at a firehouse, which is a city owned building.”
According to Stammel, this was a town hall meeting for one of the city’s wards.
“It was open to the public. If he didn’t receive notice, maybe it’s because he doesn’t live in that particular area, but he was more than welcome to show up,” Stammel said.
Stammel said instead of talk about signs and overtime, he’d rather debate Mooney. He claims Mooney declined to go up against him in a debate organized by the League of Women Voters.
However, the Rensselaer County LOWV told NEWS10 that Mooney’s representative responded “yes” at the last minute, and it went to her spam folder. By the time she saw it, it was too late to have the event because they had lost their tech support.
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