Friday, May 31, 2013

The Council Races

For the Kingston Common Council, here are the races and candidates by ward.

Ward 1:  Incumbent Democrat Matt Dunn is unopposed

Ward 2:  Former Alderman Seche (D) is unopposed

Ward 3:  Democrat Andrew Champ-Doran (running as a Republican) will face either Brad Will or Richard Kelder (the Democrats could not decide).  It is also possible that Champ-Doran might seek the line since he is an enrolled Democrat.  Finally, a fourth candidate (an enrolled Republican) may enter the race as well.

Ward 4:  Steve Laden, the former Red Dog candidate for Mayor, is running on the Republican line.  The Democrats nominated Nick Woerner who does not even live in the ward.  He lives in ward 5 and ran for that Aldermanic seat two years ago and lost in a primary.

Ward 5:  Democrat Carey is unopposed.

Ward 6:  In what is clearly the best race in the city, Democrat Elisa Ball faces off against Republican Joe Corcoran.  The real battle will be for the Conservative line.  The City Conservative Chair backs Ball but the First Vice Chair does not.  Should be interesting and may force an actual Conservative Party convention.

Ward 7:  Democrat Mills is unopposed.

Ward 8:  Lisa Bruck for the Democrats with a possible primary from Steve Schabot.  No candidate nominated for the Republicans, but word is they now have one.

Ward 9:  Incumbent Republican Brown versus Democrat Lynn Johnson

Still More Bias

Let's do a comparison.  For the Republican County Convention, there was one article by the Freeman.  It focused on Terry Bernardo not being nominated and only had her picture.  The article contained a passing reference to the candidates nominated in the City of Kingston.

For the Democrats, there was first an article announcing their convention.  Then, there were two articles printed after the Democrat convention.  The first dealt with the county candidates.  Then, the second article was all about the candidates in the City of Kingston with three pictures of the Democrat candidates for Alderman, including Nick Woerner who does not even live in the ward for which he was nominated.  That fact was not mentioned in the article.

Perhaps the Freeman should change its name to the Daily Democrat or the Daily Liberal.  The bias is so apparent and frankly annoying.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

City Democrats Retain Common Council Without a Fight

The City Republicans only nominated 4 candidates for Common Council last night.  Thus, so long as the Democrats nominate candidates in wards 1, 2, 5, 7, and 8 (and they have candidates for these wards already), the Democrats retain the Common Council.  Worse, the public does not even get a chance to decide the matter.

The best the Republicans can do is get 4 Alderman??  The majority cannot possibly change. What really irks me is that 2 of the seats left vacant last night are open seats meaning no incumbents.  This is a real disappointment.

Anti-Republican Bias of Freeman Resurfaces Yet Again

Last night, there was a major surprise at the Ulster County Republican Convention.  Whereas most political pundits were predicting a cross endorsement or no candidate at all for County Comptroller, the Ulster County Republicans instead nominated Jim Quigley for County Comptroller.  This sets up the big rematch from 2008.  It is big news.

The Kingston Times put forth a story on their web page entitled "Quigley Gets GOP Nod for County Comptroller".  However, as of the typing of this article, the Freeman has not put a story on their web site about this shocking turn of events.  Instead, the Freeman has run an article putting the GOP in a negative light.  Their headline talks about Terry Bernardo not being nominated for re-election and excludes any mention of Quigley.  They will mention it later to save face, but their take from this very positive convention is of course a negative one.

Now, one may say that the Chair of the Legislature being denied nomination is news.  The problem is that it was already reported.  Several days ago, it was reported that Rochester Chairman O'Halloran used his influence to deny Terry Bernardo the nod for reelection.  However, the new article from the Freeman leaves the false impression that the entire County GOP Committee has abandoned Bernardo when this is simply not true.  Seven members of the Rochester Committee blocked Bernardo due to personal animosity between Terry's husband and Chairman O'Halloran.  The remaining members of the County Committee were without power to do anything about it.  Yet, the big news of a substantial race for Comptroller is set aside so the Freeman can report exaggerated news about Bernardo not getting the nomination.

To be fair, I told people at the convention that this was going to happen.  I knew that the Freeman would lead with the Bernardo angle because it would serve to weaken any potential benefit from the County Convention.  I also wish Chairman O'Halloran had used his head instead of simply seeking revenge.  He has hurt the top of the ticket which is otherwise very strong.  His personal beefs with the Bernardos are his business, but Judge Mizel, Nina Postupack, and Jim Quigley should not have been collateral damage.

Nevertheless, I tip my hat to the Kingston Times for getting the real story out of the convention and sigh with frustration over the Daily Freeman choosing the most negative angle to depict the GOP County Convention.  A few years ago, the Freeman would not have done this.  However, in the last 2-3 years, the Freeman has taken a decidedly solid jump to the far left of center.  In fact, it is not even truly disguised, though it is always denied publicly.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quigley for County Comptroller

In the big surprise of the night, Town of Ulster Supervisor, Jim Quigley, announced his candidacy for County Comptroller.  He obviously was endorsed by the County Committee.

This sets up the rematch county residents have been waiting for since 2008.  This will be the race of the year.  The top of the ticket now has Mizel for Family Court, and Quigley for Comptroller.  This is an impressive ticket indeed.

A Big Announcement ??

I am at the Ulster County Republican Convention albeit as an observer only.

I understand ... well I know .... that a significant surprise is about to take place tonight.  Stay tuned for more information.

Friday, May 24, 2013

So It Begins

Not long ago, when it became clear that three candidates would be seeking the County Legislative seat currently help by Terry Bernardo, I predicted that Mr. Dawson would win the Republican line, Mrs. Bernardo would win the Conservative and Independence Party lines, and Mrs. Bernardo would win the primary for the Republican line possibly with less than 50% of the total vote.

The first step has happened.  Mr. Dawson won the weighted voting of the Rochester Town Republicans over Terry Bernardo.  The only surprise was the that the third candidate received no votes at all, especially since she is on the committee.  For reasons unknown, she chose not to cast a vote -- which is her right of course.  Some speculate that she did not know she could vote for herself.  Others speculate that the reason is a frequently used though rarely successful strategy to foster a claim that she never sought support of the committeemen and instead is going directly to the voters.  I neither know nor really care why personally.

Now, we wait for the other party lines, and then the primaries begin.  Let's see if my predictions bear fruit.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Question of Priority

Based upon the comments on the Freeman website, it seems people were not happy with the front page story on this past Sunday's edition.  The Mother's Day edition had a front page story about Jeremy Blaber and his life.

The comments suggest a feeling that this story was not appropriate.  I think the story was fine.  Since Blaber has generated tremendous controversy with the release of his surreptitious recording, many readers might be asking, "Who is this guy anyway?"

Though the story is fair and has a purpose, I question placing it on the front page.  Buried in the second section was one of the biggest potential stories of the year.  The IRS admitted to the world that they targeted conservative groups and anti-Obama groups for auditing during the last presidential campaign.  This type of stuff has been rumored for years from prior Democrat and Republican administrations, but to get an admission from the IRS is astounding and staggering.  THAT IS A HUGE STORY!!

I think that should have been front page news, not the Blaber article, even though I am sure there were more hits on the Blaber story via the Internet.  Am I off base?  I admit I am not a journalist.  I am an attorney, a blogger, and soon to be a published author (a story soon to be posted).  Am I missing something?  I agree the story on Blaber made some sense as a background piece to explain the prior headlines.  Some speculate that the intent was to make Blaber a more compelling victim to strengthen the prior Gallo stories, but I will give the Freeman the benefit of the doubt on that one.

I welcome comments.  Am I wrong?  Do the number of "hits" justify the decision?  Or was perhaps the placement of the story responsible for the number of hits?  (Every single comment was anti-Freeman.)  Should the IRS story have been on the front page?

What say all of you?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Freeman Shows Its Bias

First, the Freeman writes a story that is not a story.  The headline is that Blaber claims that he put his cell phone recorder on the Mayor's desk instead of hiding it on his person.  Neither Gallo nor Zweben knew they were being recorded.

Why is this even a story?  It has already been reported that Blaber used his cell phone to record the meeting where he was fired.  Who cares if the recorder was quietly placed on the Mayor's desk or was in Blaber's ear?  It is not a story.

To make matter's worse, this non-story is on the front page while two more important stories are pushed further back in the paper.  Those two stories discuss people supporting Mayor Gallo at the Common Council meeting and the State Committee on Open Government ruling that Tom Hoffay's meeting violated the Open Government law.

Basically, two stories that favor Gallo (and that really were stories) were taken off the front page so a non-story that simply repeats all of the anti-Gallo stuff already reported could be placed front and center.  In my opinion, the Freeman has shown itself to be extremely biased.  It has shown itself to be actively looking to slam Mayor Gallo even at the cost of pushing back more important stories.

I think it is time for the Freeman to move on.  People know what happened between Gallo and Blaber.  The story has been told.  Move on and report real news.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

State Agency Says Hoffay and Company Broke the Law

Camille Jobin-Davis, the Assistant Director of the State Committee on Open Government, has advised the City of Kingston and the local media that Tom Hoffay and company violated the Open Meetings Law with their super double secret meeting concerning Mayor Gallo's firing of Jeremy Blaber.

Hoffay denies doing anything wrong.  Ironically, he attempts to place the blame on Corporation Counsel Zweben.  I guess Tom thinks he is credible if it saves his hide, but is not credible if it helps the Mayor.

Can this get any more comical?  Four Aldermen are driving this whole crazy train.  One has significant issues (as detailed on this blog), while one and possibly two do not even live in the wards they represent.  Now, they have violated the State Open Meetings Law in an attempt to discuss the misdeeds of another elected official.

It begins to read like a script for a bad sitcom.

To the Aldermen, I repeat .... CUT THE CRAP AND GET BACK TO WORK

Now Bob Senor Lectures on Ethics and Civility??

In a case of truth being stranger than fiction, Alderman Bob Senor now wants to lecture Mayor Gallo on civility and ethics.

Keep in mind that this is the same man who criticized Alderman-at-Large Jim Noble for canceling a meeting. The reason the meeting was canceled was because Noble's father passed away.

This is the same man who showed incredible civility when he called then Alderman-at-Large Sottile "Hitler".

This is the same man who does not even live in his district and should be thrown off the Common Council.

Yet, this man is going to lecture Mayor Gallo on civility??  It just keeps getting sillier and sillier.

Here's a clue for the Common Council.  Quit playing politics and get back to work.  Kingston needs work, not more hot air.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hoffay Still At It

Alderman Hoffay said Mayor Gallo should apologize.  He did.  But, that is not enough.  Hoffay wants this story to continue so he arranged a meeting behind closed doors to discuss the matter.

Look for Hoffay to push the Council to attack Mayor Gallo in any way it can.

What he should do is let it go.  The city needs to focus on important issues.  Gallo lost his temper, said things he should not have, and apologized.  If he does it again, it's fair game.  For now, however, cut the political crap and get back to work.

There was no council action when Mayor Sottile threw a drink in a woman's face.  There is no need for council action now.  Cut the silly grandstanding and get back to work.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tom Hoffay Has Some Nerve

According to the Daily Freeman, Alderman Tom Hoffay is demanding that Mayor Gallo apologize or resign as Mayor.  I say, given Mr. Hoffay's extremely questionable background, he has no business questioning anyone's sense of decency.

Mr. Hoffay happens to be a defrocked priest.

When Mr. Hoffay was Chairman of the Democratic Party, there were young committeemen assigned to pick him up at local establishments after he got smashed or high.  The stories they have told me are incredible.

He has been fired from jobs for reasons that he really does not want made public.

I could go on and on with things that are far far worse.  Just his adventures near the old Park Diner are enough to curl the hair in your nose.

Quite frankly, for Tom Hoffay to try to play holier than thou is astounding.  It is also the height of hypocrisy.

Mr. Hoffay should do two things.  First, he should stop taking advantage of the Blaber-Gallo dust up for cheap political points.  Second, he should remember an old adage.  People in glass houses should not throw stones.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

History Repeats Itself

In 2010, the Supervisor of the Town of Ulster, Jim Quigley woke up to see a story in the Daily Freeman.  It seems that after working with a young man named Jeremy Blaber and trying to help him out, the two men had a falling out.  Jim ended up leaving him a voice mail wherein he used profanity and expressed a great deal of anger and frustration toward Blaber.

Blaber leaked the voice mail to the Daily Freeman and thus there was a story.  Click HERE to read that story.

Fast forward to 2013.  Mayor Shayne Gallo, Corporation Counsel Zweben, and Jeremy Blaber had a conversation in the Mayor's Office.  The conversation turned heated and both men swore at each other.  Unbeknownst to the other two men, Blaber taped the conversation and again leaked it to the Freeman.

Now, yet another story appears in the Freeman.  Click HERE to read that story.

First, there is an interesting additional part of the story with Mayor Gallo.  Mayor Gallo says that the tape given to the Freeman has been edited and does not contain the comments from Blaber that really got things heated.  The Freeman reports:

“During the course of the tape, he conveniently left out that he told me to go f--- myself,” Gallo said. “He conveniently edited out that he denied using drugs and admitted his drug use. He conveniently edited out that he has been driving a car without a license upon his return to duty,” Gallo said.

Second, I must ask a question.  Considering the current story involving Gallo and Blaber and the story a few years ago with Quigley and Blaber, does anyone begin to see a pattern developing?