Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Conspiracy? Really??

There is an article in the Kingston Times that has a comment from Republican Chairman Tony Sinagra that has me both laughing and scratching my head. Here is the clip:

"Kingston Republican Committee Chairman Tony Sinagra, stinging from the defeat of a candidate whom he has actively endorsed, accused Cahill, Polacco, and fourth-place contender Jean Jacobs of working together to undermine Turco-Levin's prospects and the party's best chance in two decades to retake the mayor's office."

According to Sinagra, it was a conspiracy against Andi Turco-Levin that cost her the election. Ron Polacco, Jean Jacobs, and myself apparently hatched a brilliant scheme to go out and get hundreds if signatures each, attend debates and various political events, and walk door to door throughout the city not in an attempt to win the Primary, but instead just to "undermine Turco-Levin's prospects".

Is he delirious?

All three of us wanted to win, and all three of us felt betrayed and mistreated by Tony Sinagra. That is where the similarities end. We ran separate campaigns and tried to win. In the end, Ron won the Republican line fair and square. I won the Conservative line fair and square. Tony's candidate lost both primaries.

At least Andi Turc0-Levin showed some class after her defeat. She offered no excuses and took her defeat like an adult. Perhaps Sinagra should learn to do the same.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gallo Wins Dem Primary

The recount has finished. Shayne Gallo has won by 7 votes. I congratulate Shayne on a well run race.

I find it very interesting that BOTH of the party nominees went down to defeat. The only party nominees to win their respective primaries were Shayne Gallo (Independence Party) and myself (Conservative Party). Perhaps the Democrat and Republican committees are in need of a leadership change.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Polacco Declared GOP Nominee

After several hours of recounting, Ron Polacco was declared the winner of the GOP Primary by 10 votes. He now joins Shayne Gallo, Steve Laden, and myself on the November ballot.

The Democrat Primary remains too close to call. Gallo leads by 6 votes with 26 ballots being contested, likely going to court shortly. The Independence Primary went to Gallo by 1 vote. Though there is one ballot for Hayes that was challenged, it likely means nothing. A tie would be decided by Len Bernardo, the County Chairman. He has been a strong supporter of Gallo.

It looked like the Republican Primary was headed to court. Andi Turco-Levin's attorney challenged ballots from the very beginning. Realizing this, I started challenging ballots myself. At the end, they challenged 13 and I challenged 7 ballots. I offered to withdraw my objections if they would do the same. They agreed to open 14 of 17 and I accepted. Ron's lead grew from 4 to 9 and it was over. The last 3 were opened extending Polacco's lead to 10 votes.

I congratulate Ron on winning the Republican Primary. With me winning the Conservative Primary, it sets forth an interesting scenario. The candidate picked and pressed by Chairman Sinagra lost both primaries and is now off the ballot. The two Republicans rejected by the Chairman are the last 2 standing. Seems to me like the GOP needs a new City Chairman.

As for the November ballot, the only remaining question is whether Hayes Clement can come from behind and win the Democrat Party line. If he does, there will be an unprecedented 5 party race for Mayor.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Republican Primary May Go To Court

Apparently, the Turco-Levin camp is very concerned that Ron Polacco will win the Primary after a count of absentee ballots. A source within the Turco-Levin campaign tells me that Andi has hired a lawyer and intends to challenge every single absentee ballot.

The recount is set for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. I will be at the recount myself. Though I cannot mathematically win the Republican Primary, I want to see every single vote counted. Whomever the winner is, it should be after all votes are counted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Looks Like Polacco and I Split the Lines

I was very pleased to win the Conservative Primary by a 2 to 1 margin over the balance of the field. I have always considered myself to be a Conservative Republican and thus take great pride in taking 65% of the vote in the Conservative Primary

I was disappointed, however, to lose the Republican Primary. Though Andi has declared victory, I believe Ron Polacco has actually won the Primary. There are 102 absentee ballots to be counted. Ron turned in 3/4 of those ballot applications himself. Since he trails by only 21 votes, I believe Ron will win the Republican Primary by 10 votes or less.

I congratulate Ron on one heck of an effort. He worked very hard and his "shoe leather" campaign appears to have paid off. I knew once he was on the Primary ballot that my chances were not strong since we both come from the same ward and he is the current Alderman.

Friday, September 9, 2011

No Trash Pickup?? Not On My Watch!!

Mayor Sottile intends to propose that trash pickup be eliminated from the city budget next year. This is perhaps the ultimate slap in the face to city residents.

Sottile claims that the city can no longer afford this service, but intends to keep the City Economic Development Office even though we have thrown over one million dollars down that hole over the last four years. Thus, under the Sottile plan, we will see our taxes increase, plus we will apparently have to shell out more money for private trash pickup.

I pledge publicly that this will never happen under my watch. I have already proposed a plan to get rid of the 2 Assistant Superintendents and use the money to hire three additional laborers (re-hire actually as so many were laid off). This will allow DPW to pick up trash more efficiently.

We cannot afford to have a rookie in the Mayor's Office. We need someone with a real plan to combat this latest "idea" from Mayor Sottile. With all due respect to my Republican opponents, none have put forward a plan of any kind to deal with this type of emergency. I am the only one of the Republicans ready to deal with this on day one.

A loss of this kind of service is not something to be trusted to someone seeking the Mayor's office without a plan or strategy. I have a plan and will reverse the budget decision if the Common Council allows this to happen either willingly or by a refusal to override a Mayoral veto.

Can you imagine what will happen if Mayor Sottile gets his way? People who cannot afford private trash pickup will have to dump it somewhere, likely on the streets. Kingston looks bad now. Can you imagine how bad it might look with this plan in place?

Again, I pledge to the people of Kingston that I will not let this happen. I have a plan to reform DPW and give it the manpower necessary to do this job without adding to the budget. I will keep trash pickup as part of the city's services for Kingstonians. With the amount of taxes we pay, this is the least we are owed.

"The Idea Man" -- "The Big Issue Candidate"

In the last 24 hours, there have been some quotes from the Daily Freeman and Kingston Times that I was very pleased with. The comments summed up my campaign quite well.

The Daily Freeman wrote:

"Rich Cahill has served as a Republican lawmaker in the past. He has been perhaps the most outspoken during the days leading up to the primary, putting out various positions on topics although not without critics taking swipes at the ideas. He has said that some people love him. Some people hate him. He is hoping to garner the Republican and Conservative lines in Tuesday's Primary."

Hugh Reynolds of the Kingston Times wrote that I have "reinvented myself as the idea man, the guy who really understands what goes down at City Hall, the big issue candidate".

Of of the First Ward Alderman, Hugh wrote, "Turco-Levin, by comparison, played small ball, talking about smoking in the parks, sidewalks, ethic panels, etc. Her one notable excursion into major policy, when she attempted to plug into public dismay over school district shenanigans by suggesting the city investigate fiscal irregularities, left people wondering whether she really understood the duties and boundaries of the mayor's office."

I can only hope the electorate sees it the same way as the local media.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Statement From My Campaign Team

Unity has always been a major theme in the history of American politics. Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as having said that "We must all hang together or we shall surely hang separately."

Nowhere is there greater truth in this principle than when it comes to local elections. Unity on its own, however, is not enough. When it comes to the race for Mayor of Kingston, it is vital that Republicans and Conservatives unite behind the right candidate, a candidate who can actually win, a candidate who has the ability to do the job, a candidate with a detailed, workable plan.

We all know that it is not possible for a Republican to win a citywide election in Kingston unless he also has the support of the Conservative Party. We also know that the Conservative Party does not compromise when it comes to its values, nor should its members be asked to do so.

There is only one candidate who fits the bill when it comes to the ability to win, the skills and talent to be a solid Mayor for Kingston and a real plan which will make this City great again. Fortunately, he is also the one Republican candidate who most closely stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Kingston's Conservatives when it comes to values, as evidenced by their strong, unwavering support for their choice for Mayor this year.

The Richard Cahill for Mayor Campaign is asking Conservatives and Republicans of good conscience to unite behind the only candidate who is capable of uniting this City and bringing back both prosperity and safety to Kingston. Please make sure you get to the polls on Tuesday, September 13 and cast your ballot for Richard Cahill for Mayor of Kingston.

"United we stand, divided we fall..." (Abraham Lincoln)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Time for Action (Not Sound Bites) by the Common Council

I cannot comment on the charges against Mr. McGowan because he was once represented by the law firm which employs me, and the case is technically still pending. I can comment, however, on the general issue of what needs to be done to avoid something like this from ever happening again without reference specifically to Mr. McGowan.

Andi Turco-Levin has demanded that the Board of Ethics conduct an investigation. However, this is not permitted by the City Charter.

Under § C 49-2, the Board of Ethics only has the power to issue advisory opinions. Moreover, the Code of Ethics deals only with receipt of gifts, conflicts of interest, etc. It does not deal with incompetence in office. Thus, there is no point in even asking the Board of Ethics to get involved. It sounds great for a sound bite, but it actually has no teeth.

It is not the Board of Ethics which is responsible to the people to investigate the copper scandal or things of similar nature. It is the Common Council. Yet, not one member of the Council has asked the Council to review the matter. The only one talking is Andi Turco-Levin. Unfortunately, she is asking the Board of Ethics to review this and they have no legal authority to do so. It is a purely political stunt.

Instead of political sound bites, the Common Council needs to take rational steps to protect city taxpayers. Here is what actually needs to be done according to the City Charter.

Under § C 13-3(B), "The Council shall have the power to investigate the affairs of every department or agency of City Government and the official conduct of every officer and employee. The Council shall have access to all records kept by all City Officers, departments of agencies of city government."

Furthermore, under § C 13-3(D) , "All powers of the city shall be vested in the Common Council, except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter, and the Council shall provide for the exercise thereof and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the city by law. The Common Council shall be responsible to the electorate for the efficient and economical management of city government. "

Still further, under §13-3(F), "The Common Council shall limit city officers from making contracts for the city and regulate the manner in which the same are made."

The Council needs to use its authority under the Charter to first examine all of the documents involved in the matter. Then, the Council should turn over all documents to the District Attorney's Office to allow them to complete any criminal investigations. Other than full cooperation with the District Attorney's Office, the Council should not involve themselves in a current criminal investigation. Politics have no place in a criminal investigation.

Second, the Council should pass a law pursuant to its authority under §13-3(F) of the City Charter requiring that all contracts dealing with city owned properties must be in writing and be available for review by the public via a FOIL request. Oral contracts in this area are unwise. If something goes wrong, the responsibilities of each side (particularly the city) must be clear and in writing.

If the Council does this, then there can be no questions concerning the scope of authority given to any particular contractor or individual working on city property in the future.

I therefore call upon the Common Council to take action and pass this law immediately.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Way To Cut the Escalating Costs of Social Services

Legislator Madsen announced a proposal on his blog to support a memorializing resolution from the County Legislature urging the State Legislature to pass Senate Bill S2494 and Assembly Bill A2281. These bills would create a mandatory residency requirement before an individual may receive Safety Net benefits. (Our State Senator, Bill Larkin, is a co-sponsor of the bill)

While I normally do not support memorializing resolutions, I think an exception needs to be made here. The State must pass this residency requirement.

By way of background, under the current law, a person who can show they reside in New York and intend to stay for the foreseeable future is entitled to apply for benefits. If a person has a NY driver's license, that will be more than enough to get these benefits. This is one of the least stringent requirements in the country. Consequently, people are flocking to Ulster County because we give away the money better than anyone else.

As Mike noted on his blog, while it is nice to be generous and welcoming to those less fortunate, we simply cannot afford this anymore. With Ulster County being the only county in the State that passes half the costs down to the cities and towns, the City of Kingston now pays over $1 million per year to these costs, and the amount keeps rising every year. In short, the Safety Net is strangling city taxpayers.

Senate Bill S2494 and Assembly Bill A2281 would
"protect 'true' New York residents who need these services by authorizing the NYS Legislature to enact a period of residency as a requirement for social services applicants".

The purpose of the Safety Net is to help New York residents who have fallen on hard times get back on their feet and get back to work. It was not designed to attract people from outside New York to take advantage of our generosity and hospitality. Unfortunately, this is what has happened.

We need a strict residency requirement to cut down on the huge expenses in the Social Service budget that are being passed down to the city causing substantial and crippling tax increases.

Therefore, while I normally do not support memorializing resolutions, this is one that city leaders should support strongly. I urge passage of this resolution and certainly urge the State Legislature to pass this important bill.