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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Appearance Scheduled

I have been asked and have agreed to appear on The Generation Why Podcast to discuss my book and the Lindbergh kidnapping.

The Generation Why Podcast is dedicated to unsolved murders, controversies, mysteries, conspiracies, as well as anything that impacts our culture.  You can check out their website at www.thegenerationwhy.com. 

We will be taping on December 14th.  I will advise once it is up and running.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Legislative Blackmail

The Sheriff started a program whereby checks were being made of people entering DSS to see if they had any outstanding warrants.  Recently, a person was arrested who was wanted on a felony.  Sounds pretty good, right?

Well ........ the liberals in this county went bananas.  Legislator Bartels went so far as to propose an amendment to the 2015 budget to eliminate the Sheriff's security detail.  Now, having been legislatively blackmailed, the Sheriff is temporarily suspending the policy.

Now, let me pose a question.  Suppose a person is wanted for feloniously assaulting a child.  He enters DSS, but nobody checks to see if he has a warrant.  Two days later, since the man is still at large, he assaults another child and this time the child dies.  You still like the policy change?

My example sounds extreme, but it is certainly possible.

Now, those who say that checking for warrants is a violation of rights, let's examine the truth.  When people go to DSS, they have to sign in. This requires giving their name.  Since the county has their name, why is it unreasonable to see if that name appears on the wanted list?  From a legal standpoint, it is not a constitutional violation.  They are not taking fingerprints or DNA.  They are checking names on a list.

Yet, people are going crazy falsely claiming a constitutional violation.  Where is the outrage that a legislator used a proposed budgetary maneuver to blackmail the constitutionally elected Sheriff into changing a policy on apprehending offenders?  Where is the outrage that elected legislators are more concerned that people lining up for public assistance are being checked for warrants than they are at protecting our citizenry?

Look, I am as outraged as anyone at some of the lengths the government has gone to violate personal freedoms.  The reading of private e-mails and text messages was wrong.  The domestic spying was a constitutional violation of epic proportions.  Since 9/11, the federal government under both major parties has eroded our personal freedoms.

I am one who considers Eric Snowden to be a hero for blowing the whistle.

All of that being said, simply checking a list of names to see if someone has an outstanding arrest warrant is not an egregious violation of constitutional rights.  It is not a warrantless search.  It is not a violation of the Constitution.  It is just good basic police work.

I pray that nobody gets hurt by someone who had a warrant out for their arrest and would have been apprehended and taken off the streets but for this recent legislative blackmail.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The 2014 Political Season Ends ... and 2015 Begins

As the 2014 political season ends, there have been several developments that will effect the local 2015 races.  The most significant is the order of the parties on the ballot and the entry of two new parties.

The top three: Democrat, Republican, and Conservative kept their places (Rows A, B, and C respectively).  Moving to Row D is the Green Party based on the showing of Howie Hawkins in the Governor's race.  He became the liberal protest vote against Andrew Cuomo.

The Working Families Party drops to Row E and the Independence Party is now Row F. Since the Green Party often leaves their line blank in local races, this presents a real problem for the WFP and IND parties.

As such, in races where the Green Party line is blank, the top three will have a distinct advantage. For that reason, expect a lot of Opportunity to Ballot petitions for the Green line.

Two new parties have joined the list.  The Women's Equality Party and the Stop Common Core Parties are Rows G and H.  For the first two or three years, these parties will endorse using a Certificate of Nomination process.  You can expect that the Women's Equality Party will endorse Cuomo leaning Democrats and the Stop Common Core Party will support Astorino leaning Republicans.

With all of these parties, we may see candidates with four party lines, none of which will be Republican or Democrat.  This could create an interesting dynamic for those looking to challenge the status quo.

The final big change in the City of Kingston in 2015 will involve the Conservative Party line.  For the last decade or so, the Conservative endorsement has been decided by the County Executive Committee.  However, starting in 2015, conservative endorsements for the City of Kingston will be handled by the CITY Executive Committee, not the county.

For those who do not know, the City Committee had its reorganization meeting and elected myself as City Chairman; Don Ryan as 1st Vice Chairman; and Bob Boughton as 2nd Vice Chairman.

Stay tuned for more information in the weeks and months ahead.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Congrats to Kevin Bryant

Earlier this evening, the Ulster County Conservative Party gave its endorsement to Kevin Bryant for Ulster County Family Court.

Thus far, three parties have chosen to endorse.  Two of them, Conservative and Working Families Party, have chosen to support Kevin Bryant.

I was very pleased to support Kevin tonight.  All three candidates who came before the committee were qualified for the position and are good attorneys.  I felt that Kevin was clearly the best of the three.  His personal story and his experience overall as an attorney were very compelling.

Bob East

Earlier this week, my friend, Bob East passed away.  He was one of the funniest men I have ever met.  He was the kind of guy who always had a joke at the ready.  He was also a guy who would give you the shirt off his back.

Rest well, Bob.

Monday, June 9, 2014

John Burridge

I have not been on the blog for a few days.  In that time, I learned of the passing of John Burridge, the former City Chair of the Conservative Party.

John was a very good and honest man.  He was a strong supporter of mine during both of my runs for Mayor.  He was the type of guy who was never afraid to speak his mind.

I will miss my friend, and I extend sympathy to his family.