At the Arbor Hill Sports Complex Friday night, Patrick Robinson and other residents gave their perspective on the dance competition from last weekend, which Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says had no special permit and gave an estimate of about 1,500 people in attendance.
“Just feel like the mayor definitely jumped the gun, and like I said, put this whole community in mass hysteria,” said Robinson, referring to a press release the mayor’s office sent out on Sunday.
Sheehan had urged anyone in attendance to get a COVID-19 test.
Robinson says he helped organizers with the event, and estimates closer to 300 people were there. He also says people were wearing masks and social distancing.
“We walked around here passing out masks,” said Decky Lawson, who also helped with the event. “My mom walked around here passing out masks. We are doing the right protocols.”
David Galin, mayor’s chief of staff, says Robinson’s estimate on attendance numbers still violates the Governor’s executive order. He also says they responded to this unsanctioned event the same way they responded to the Reopen New York rallies and the July 4th college parties.
“We’re trying to protect the health and safety of the community,” Galin said.
Robinson says he didn’t know about the permit. He also claims Sheehan knew about the dance competition from fliers, as well as from police who were at the event.
“That’s her responsibility as a CEO of the city to get in contact of whoever is organizing or whatever and let them know ‘hey, this is a no-go,’” Robinson said.
Galin says Sheehan did not allow the event to happen. He says she left the premises by 2 p.m. following a street renaming ceremony on the other side of Lark Street. According to Galin, police showed up after receiving 911 calls.
“The claim that the mayor let the event happen is unequivocally false,” Galin said.
This week Robinson says he received cease and desist letters from the city telling him to stop hosting events, including his free softball league. He says the city is trying to keep residents out of the sports complex.
“This is just another form of political bully,” Robinson said.
Galin says those letters were sent only to Robinson and Lawson for allowing last week’s event to happen without a permit. He also says the city is not trying to close parks and calls claims that the mayor is forcing residents out of the park preposterous.
“These individuals showed callous disregard for the health and safety of not only the individuals present but the entire city,” Galin said.