Thursday, January 29, 2015

More Democratic Mayoral Candidates??

Rumors abound that 2 more Democrats are looking to run for mayor.  Though no names have been confirmed, talk is that the 2 people consist of one man and one woman.

Any thoughts who who they might be?

Also, with Jim Noble talking about not seeking re-election, who might step up to run from either side of the aisle?

Always fun to engage in some political speculation.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Polacco to Run for Mayor in 2015

I have received confirmation from an impeccable source that Ron Polacco intends to give it another shot and will run for Mayor this year.  This has been speculated for some time, but this source was actually verbally told by Polacco himself that he will run.

This creates a fascinating dynamic within the Republican City Committee.

Everyone knows about the controversy between newly re-elected Republican City Chair Tony Sinagra and myself.  His betrayal of me is well known in city politics.  However, the animosity between Ron Polacco and Tony Sinagra, though perhaps not as well known, is much deeper.

Let us go back in time for a moment to reflect.  It is January 2010 and Polacco and Andi Turco-Levin, the 2 Republican Aldermen, each want to be Minority Leader.  So, the tie was broken by Chairman Sinagra.  Instead of just breaking the tie, Sinagra decided foolishly to go on the attack against Polacco and said Polacco was "too close with the Democrats".  In political circles, saying someone is "too close" with the other side is tantamount to calling him a traitor.

From that day on, Polacco and Sinagra have flat out hated each others' guts.  That hatred played no small role in Polacco's decision to run a primary in the 2011 Mayoral contest, a primary that he ended up winning.  I must point out that in 2005, Polacco had expressed interest in running for 6th Ward Alderman, but stepped aside because the party was backing someone else -- me.  In 2011, however, Polacco did not step aside and many (including myself) felt that Sinagra's mishandling of the minority leader issue was a big reason why.  It is no surprise that Sinagra's bungling of the entire 2011 election resulted in his resignation shortly thereafter.

Now, back to the present ...

City Republicans have no candidate for Mayor. Andi Turco-Levin has told anyone who will listen that she is not interested in running again.  Honestly, I cannot say I blame her.  She and I both took the brunt of Sinagra's political misplays in 2011.  She never really got the opportunity to test her political strength city-wide.  With Polacco winning the Republican line and me winning the Conservative line, she had no ballot line.  Had the entire matter been handled better by Sinagra, Ron and I might have gotten out of the race and Andi would have had her opportunity.

Nevertheless, with no party candidate, the Republican line is Polacco's for the taking in 2015.  Sinagra cannot stop him without a candidate.  Moreover, since Ron has proven that he can win a primary over the objections of the City Chair, what candidate is really going to come forward?

So, Chairman Sinagra, by his own doing, has placed himself between a rock and a hard place.  He either finds some patsy to take the line at the convention only to get destroyed in a primary OR he swallows his pride and a great deal of crow and backs Polacco.  He will try to put spin on it, but everyone will know it to be a shotgun wedding at best.  Basically, Sinagra has put himself in a position usually only seen in the Kama Sutra.

Is this Kharma or what??

Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 Races

Some have asked what seats are up in 2015.  Another question being asked is whether the Conservative Party line for these positions will be filled by the county or city committees.

Well, here are the answers.  The following positions are up for election in 2015 on the ballot for the City of Kingston:  County Executive, District Attorney, One of the 3 Family Court seats; 3 County Legislator positions; City Judge; Mayor; Alderman-at-Large; and, 9 Alderman seats.

As for who will be deciding the initial Conservative Party endorsements, the County Committee will decide County Executive, District Attorney, and the Family Court seat.

The City Committee will be deciding 3 County Legislator positions; City Judge; Mayor; Alderman-at-Large; and 9 Alderman seats.  One might wonder why the city committee handles the county legislator positions.  The reason is that all 3 of the County Legislator positions for the City of Kingston have districts entirely within the city limits.  If they had portions of another municipality, then it would be different.

In the next few months, announcements will be made concerning interview schedules for city candidates to appear before the City Executive Committee.  Any Chairman or Vice Chairman from other parties are also welcome to contact me or my Vice Chairmen, Don Ryan and Bob Boughton, to discuss candidates.  Any party chairs who try to do go directly to the County Chair or County Committee will be rebuked and referred to the City Committee (as one city chair recently found out).

My Vice Chairmen and I are willing to discuss candidacies with leaders of ANY of the other parties or with candidates or their campaign managers.


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UPDATE

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After receiving a comment asking whether the City Judge race is in 2015 or 2016, I did some research.  There has long been questions about the current term for Judge Kirschner.  This had to do with the several changes in positions and whether certain people had new terms or were completing former terms.  The position went rather quickly from Gilpatric to Ball to Kirschner.\

On top of that, the original term was four years.  Then, it was increased to six.  Questions lingered about whether an old term was extended and so forth.

However, after looking into it, it appears the issue was resolved with a finding that the term of Judge Kirschner expires at the end of 2016 which means the election for the next term takes place in November 2016, not 2015.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

As the City Turns ...

There have been some interesting developments in city politics.

1)  Jim Noble said in the paper that he would "probably" not run for re-election if Mayor Gallo was on the Democrat ticket.  No question that he and Shayne are not getting along.  Of course, if Steve Noble runs, Jim would back him.  One thing I know about Jim Noble is that he is a family man.  He always puts family above politics which goes to his character.  He's a good man.

It does open questions, however, about likely successors.  Obviously, Matt Dunn wants to run.  He is not a great choice though.  He often goes off half cocked and some of his public statements really make me question his fitness for such an office.  That being said, I can see him teaming up with Steve Noble for a ticket.

Who should Gallo pick then?  In my mind, the logical pick is Jeanette Provenzano.  She is an experienced politico with significant gravitas who is related to most of the city.  She would bring competence, experience, and political strength to the ticket.  Plus, she would make history as the first women elected to the Alderman-at-Large position.  It would be the topper to one hell of a political career.

2)  Elisa Ball is not running.  This opens up ward six for both sides of the aisle.  It is an evenly split ward that either party could win.  No word yet on possible candidates.

Interestingly, her announcement came just a day or two after she unsuccessfully challenged for the majority leader position.  A connection?  Maybe.

Before anyone else asks, I am not seeking or running for the position.  I have had 4 or 5 people ask me already.  While I appreciate the interest, I am not going to run.

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Finally, there is something I have to address.  A recent blog whose author is anonymous (though obvious) has been making assertions that I "sold out" to Shayne Gallo for a position on the fire commission so I could get "a shiny badge".

First, I have not received nor am I looking for a badge.  Shayne asked me if I would volunteer my time on the commission and I agreed.  I have been a social member of a local volunteer fire department for many years and saw this offer as a chance to make a difference.  I have enjoyed my time on the commission and feel I have been able to  make at least a small difference.

Second, if someone thinks that I would "sell out" to anyone, let along for a non-paid, volunteer position of extremely limited clout, then said person is beyond foolish.

The 2011 mayoral campaign between Shayne, Polacco, Ladin,and me started as most campaigns do.  We were all adversaries.  However, during the campaign, Shayne and I became friends.  We are actually very similar people. We grew up in old school political and catholic families.  As such, we view Kingston similarly.

In short, Shayne and I are friends.  If people do not like that, tough.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Political Winds of Kingston

Some interesting political developments in Kingston.  They offer insight into the 2015 political year and the state of the City of Kingston Democratic and Republican Committees.

First, the Republican City Committee has a new Chairman, Tony Sinagra.  He defeated former Chairman McLean after secretly plotting against him for some time.  The effect on the 2015 election?  Rather marginal.  The City Republicans are very much divided ever since the 2011 election.

Second, an effort is underway to remove Alderman Dunn as Majority Leader.  Alderwoman Ball, who was the deciding vote in favor of Dunn one year ago is supposedly no longer supporting him.  If she and the four reasonable Alderman agree upon a candidate, then Dunn is out.

The effect on the 2015 election?  Potentially significant, especially in light of development number three which is that the City Zookeeper, Steve Noble, is contemplating a run for Mayor against Shayne Gallo.

According to the Daily Freeman, Noble, the nephew of Alderman-at-Large, Jim Noble, at a New Years Eve Party, said, ". . .  I will be spending the coming weeks getting to know the people who call Kingston home and who truly love this great city and explore with them their visions and hopes, as well as mine, and what immediate items they would like to see addressed.”

The effect?  Important in some ways, though irrelevant in others.  The importance is more about the Working Families,  and Green Party line than anything else.  These are the only lines that Noble has a real chance of winning and holding after an Opportunity to Ballot primary.  Mr. Noble is very much an environmentalist and such a philosophy bodes well for both of these lines.

However, he has no chance for either the Republican or Conservative lines.  Neither party will endorse him and he would have little chance of winning a Republican primary and no chance for the Conservative race,

As for the Democrat line, there is little question that Gallo would win the primary.  The anti-Gallo portion of the City Democratic Committee (e.g. Hoffay, Reynolds, Landi, etc.) tell anyone that will listen (and even those who do not want to listen) that Gallo is unpopular and easily beaten.  However, they are blinded by their hatred.   The average enrolled Democrat in the city (meaning not on the committee or politically active except for voting) likes Shayne Gallo.  Yes, some were disturbed after hearing him curse out Jeremy Blaber, but have since forgiven him.

The bottom line is that Noble cannot and will not defeat Gallo.  However, if he runs, the real intrigue will be Alderman-at-Large.  His uncle, Jim Noble, the incumbent, cannot run for re-election on the same ticket.  First, a ticket of Noble Noble would be confusing.  Second, it may not even be permissible under the current City Ethics Law.  Thus, the effect of a Steve Noble for Mayor candidacy could be to give us a new Alderman-at-Large.

Who would be the likely running mate for him then?  Alderman Dunn would be his likely running mate.  But, if he is defeated for Majority Leader, that hurts his chances.  Thus, the challenge by Ball could have an effect on the 2015 elections.

Finally, as a side note, you may notice I did not discuss the Conservative Party's potential endorsement.  Though I am City Chairman, our endorsements will be decided by the CITY Executive Committee.  As we have not formally discussed this race, it is not appropriate for me to discuss how the party will endorse.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

May the blessings of Christmas fill all your homes and lives.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Clear And Obvious Conflict of Interest

There is a story in the Daily Freeman today wherein Mayor Gallo accuses Alderman Will of a conflict of interest and Alderman Will takes personal shots at the Mayor.

Here's what it is about.  The Council was asked to vote on a resolution to hire a company to review the construction and the design of the Pike Plan that was done by right at the end of the Sottile administration.

The conflict comes up because Alderman Will, who works as an architect when he is not arguing with the Mayor, helped to design the Pike Plan renovations.  Basically, Alderman Will voted against funding a review of some of his work.

Now, let me be clear, I am NOT questioning Alderman Will's work as an architect.  I have insufficient information of the details and I would never question the work or competence of a licensed professional without solid and unquestionable proof. However, I do think there is a clear and obvious conflict of interest.

When one reviews a conflict of interest, one looks at the "appearance of impropriety" not an actual impropriety.  By voting against the resolution, it could leave voters with the impression that Alderman Will does not want his work examined.  I am not saying that that is the reason for his vote.  However, it creates a bad appearance.

I believe very strongly that Alderman Will should have announced on the Council floor that while he stands by his work and efforts as an architect, he would abstain from any vote to avoid the appearance of impropriety.  At the very least, he should have asked Corporation Counsel for an opinion on the question just to cover his political behind.

Now, the Alderman is wide open for criticism and can only blame himself.  It was a rookie mistake that could have and should have been avoided.