One thing you will always know about me. Do the right thing by me, treat me with respect, and I will be as loyal as a puppy. But if you ever do me wrong – if you hurt me, if you swindle me, if I still have knife marks in my back – then you are as dead to me as Roundup in a garden.
Dan Egan is currently running for Albany County Executive. His previous experience involves several terms with the Albany City School District Board of Education.
And that is where our paths crossed.
See, Dan Egan was on the Board in 2010 when this happened.
The TL;DR version?
In 2010, Harriet Gibbons High School – previously known as the Street Academy of Albany – was shuttered. The school, which after 2006 was converted to a ninth grade academy (essentially, grade 8 1/2) as preparation for students entering Albany High School, was blamed for the failure of those students to graduate from Albany High.
I was at that June 2010 meeting when the school board would listen to public statements about the school, and that the board would vote on what actions to take regarding the school.
The public citizens attending that meeting, and offering their opinions – nearly two dozen people speaking overwhelmingly in support of Harriet Gibbons High School – were in vain. Heck, prior to the vote, Dan Egan was filmed with WNYT’s Jessica Layton, talking about “when the school closes” and “after the school closes” – prior to the vote itself.
And the vote took place – 6-0 to shut down a school that had saved the lives and educated troubled youth for the past forty years. And Dan Egan was the President of the School Board that day. Promises from the Board that the students who were scheduled to enter HGHS that year would be carefully monitored and that administrators and teachers would “have their feet held to the fire” for accountability were just empty platitudes.
When I expressed this concern to Dan Egan that night, he gave me the same political mumbo-jumbo about how the students weren’t getting a proper education at HGHS and that they would do better at Albany High School. And then he said, “Thanks for coming,” and shook my hand.
I felt like I had just dunked my hand in french fry grease.
In politics, there are so many reasons to vote for a person or to vote against a person. You can vote based on your personal beliefs, or how you feel a candidate will do based on his or her previous track record in public service.
As far as I’m concerned, Dan Egan lost my vote five years ago, on the moment when he had already shut down my high school and shook my hand about it, hoping that I would be happy with his actions.
I’ll probably vote for Dan McCoy in the upcoming primary, based on keeping my vote away from Dan Egan because of that moment five years ago.
Because honestly, if Dan Egan were the only candidate running for Albany County Executive…
I would submit Jim Coyne’s name as a write-in candidate in protest.