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Albany Mayor Promotes Youth Opportunity

The City of Albany’s Department of Youth & Workforce Services celebrated the opening of a new Youth Opportunity Office Thursday... WAMC's Dave Lucas was there and files this report.

A near-perfect summer afternoon for a sidewalk fair, replete with exhibitions and activities - Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan told the crowd gathered outside 382 Clinton Avenue that the Youth Opportunity Office opening is a great achievement for her administration, and a "phenomenal day for the city of Albany."  Sheehan said "It's about community engagement, it's about education, achievement and completion that leads to career pathways. It's about youth empowerment. Empowering our youth to be civically engage and advocate on their own behalf."

Video originally broadcast live via twitter's Periscope service.

Sheehan says the program is in line with Governor Andrew Cuomo's "opportunity agenda."  The event was overshadowed a bit by a news that the Times Union broke earlier in the day: an Albany city employee the paper identified as former junior middleweight boxing champ Tony Marshall was suspended from his part-time job at the city's Quail Street gym after 3rd ward council member Ron Bailey expressed concerns to city hall that a youtube rap music video had been shot at the gym during off-hours, without approval, and to no one's knowledge.    "What if a fire had broke out that night? And the fire department gets a call, and from our schedule with the city, that building is supposed to be closed. And you open the door and you got 40 bodies laying there. You know the city becomes liable. That's why we have a special events committee, so when people wanna do videos or parties or whatever, they're supposed to go through special events, fill out the form, all department heads are there, everybody knows, the councilman in the area signs off with everybody and stuff, and we know what's going on. This happened, and nobody knew what was going on."

Bailey adds he "understands" the hip-hop community and the video. Sheehan said although she has a 15-year old son who would "love https://youtu.be/kJIh-NY1N0A" target="_blank">that video," she personally found it to be offensive.   "The 'B' word is used multiple times. It is demeaning for women. I don't know any woman who is out there particularly women in leadership positions who would condone that just as I don't know of any African-American leaders who would condone use of the 'N' word."

The artists who collaborated on and created the video told the newspaper it was intended to portray a positive message and claim they did obtain permission to film, something the city is looking deeper into.   "If you wanna shoot a commercial or a movie in the city of Albany, there's a process that you can go through. There are certain assessments that re made, fees that would be assessed to that and decisions that get made. This clearly did not go through that process, and the question is why. The issue is making sure that we have an understanding of how city property is being used and that we have procedures in place so that something like this can't happen again."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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