Saratoga Springs Dems rip election mailer that criticizes Black Lives Matter
The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee on Monday blasted what it called a “racist” mailer criticizing Black Lives Matter and a candidate for public safety commissioner.
The mailer from the campaign of incumbent Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino, the Democrat-endorsed candidate, said a vote for Kristen Dart is a vote for BLM. Montagnino is the incumbent and the candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party. Dart is running on the Community First ballot line.
The mailer has a photo of Dart and Black Lives Matter activist Alexis Figuereo.
At a news conference on Monday, Saratoga County Democratic Committee Chairman Martha Devaney said the group is “appalled” by the mailing.
“It is antithetical to the harmony with one another, which we cherish as Democrats. It’s especially concerning to people of color and anyone who feels marginalized in our community,” she said.
Devaney called on Montagnino to repudiate the postcard and return the contribution from the Democratic Party.
“I have also asked him to rescind his endorsement of John Safford, whose campaign for mayor is based on scare tactics, designed to undermine voters’ confidence in our city and our party and our government,” she said.
Montagnino has crossed party lines to endorse Safford, the Republican, who is hoping to unseat Mayor Ron Kim. Montagnino and Kim have feuded over various issues including Kim saying that Montagnino wasn’t doing enough to investigate threats that were being made against a member of Kim’s family.
Montagnino defended the mailing.
“That’s a polite photograph of Ms. Dart. There’s nothing that’s been retouched about it. Nothing to make her look like a caricature. And the photo of Mr. Figuereo shows him doing what he usually does: stands on the steps of City Hall and shouts.”
Montagnino called Saratoga BLM a hate group.
“They’re not trying to heal racial divides,” he said.
Montagnino cited the recent verdict in the civil trial regarding the estate of Darryl Mount. The Saratoga Springs Police Department and city of Saratoga Springs was found not responsible for causing Mount’s death. Mount died in 2014 about 9 months after an encounter with police on Aug. 31, 2013. Police say he fell from a scaffold during a chase and his family said he was beaten.
“The Darryl Mount verdict could have been an opportunity for them to say: ‘it’s time to close the book a 10-year-long saga,’” he said.
Dart said people have talked to her about the mailing.
“There have been several people who have talked to me who have said ‘I don’t always pay attention to local politics. I got that mailing and I was appalled, and I’m going out to vote,’” she said.
Check back at NewsChannel 13’s later newscasts for more on this story.