It doesn't happen often that the Albany mayor and council lose patience with someone appearing before them, but they did on Wednesday after an applicant for a park reservation loudly lectured them for about 20 minutes about due process and his rights.
Shane Lemco had been denied a July 1 reservation for Monteith Riverpark for a "celebration" featuring amplified sound and the sale of food and other items, according to a memo from Parks Director Ed Hodney. The parks department denied the request based on a recommendation from the police department. According to the memo, police had issued citations at a park event, a celebration of marijuana, Lemco had put on last year.
The denial was mailed to Lemco at an address on Oak Grove Drive N.W., and he appealed to the council, as the city code provides.
He got off to a rocky start when he refused to state his address, instead saying something about being a "free and common man" moving around several states. He then went on at length about laws, constitutional provisions and court decisions on people's rights.
The mayor tried several times to get him to get to the point -- his park request -- but it didn't work, and she finally gave him three more minutes. (To get the full flavor, check the YouTube video of the April 12 council session when it's posted on cityofalbany.net, probably by Thursday.)
Lemco's presentation had the effect that when he finally wound down, a clearly aggravated council quickly voted to uphold the denial of the park reservation without even hearing from the police about why exactly they were recommending against it.
Councilman Ray Kopczynski said later he had attended the 2016 cannabis event and said that based on what he saw -- apparently including public pot smoking -- the participants were doing their cause no good. (hh)