Dominick Calsolaro

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It looks like three and out for Calsolaro

Albany's 1st Ward rabble-rouser is yielding the floor.

Published on 3/22/2013 by the Times Union written by JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST Staff Writer

Dominick Calsolaro, one of Mayor Jerry Jennings' most spirited and consistent critics for more than a decade, is poised to announce he won't seek re-election to a fourth term to the Common Council in the fall, Insider has learned.

Calsolaro, 57, was first elected in 2001 and since then has colorfully sparred with Jennings' administration over its management of the Rapp Road landfill, its stewardship of the Pine Bush, the downtown convention center, budgeting and debt — to name just a few of his long-running battles with Hizzoner.

In a political landscape dominated for 20 years by a powerful and charismatic mayor who was once himself a council maverick, Calsolaro has often happily donned the rumpled cloak of Everyman opposition.

The Democrat declined to discuss his future with Insider on Thursday, but his impending announcement was confirmed by two people familiar with his plans. In 2010, he retired after three decades with the state Legislative Bill Drafting Commission.

Calsolaro was a charter member of the council's progressive Democratic faction that helped launch the 2009 mayoral candidacy of then-Councilman Corey Ellis and has given Jennings fits over the last three years, forcing him to wield his veto pen repeatedly after nearly two decades without taking it out of his pocket.

The Albany native was also the driving force behind the city's Gun Violence Task Force, which was closely watched in the wake of the 2008 shooting death of 10-year-old Kathina Thomas.

While his opposition — often dismissed by Jennings allies as unrealistic and the view of someone not in the seat of power — has been marked most memorably by his trademark high-volume, high-energy speeches from the council floor on subjects as arcane as the landfill shredder, it has manifested itself in more subtle ways, too.

Nearly two years after Jennings vetoed Calsolaro's legislation that would have legalized keeping backyard chickens, the councilman's desk still flies a modest flag of defiance: A small plush chicken.

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