Thursday, August 22, 2013

Below is the exact text of an editorial that came out today in the Times Herald Record.  I particularly liked the line that I bolded.
The Ulster County sales tax dispute of 2013 appears to be a local issue, a clash between the county executive and the county's most prominent legislator, with neither willing to give in.
Actually, it is much more than that because while a local standoff is always educational, the underlying cause is located well north of Kingston, in the chambers of the New York State Assembly and Senate and in the antiquated rules that members follow without regard for their detrimental effects.
Those rules need to be changed.
Albany needs to stop giving extraordinary powers to individuals who have done little more than faithfully follow the orders of their political bosses, no matter how disreputable those bosses may be. It needs to adjust its procedures to keep important legislation from having to withstand repeated tests where political clout is more important than public policy.
Because he unilaterally forced Ulster County to lower its sales tax rate, Kevin Cahill, a veteran Assembly Democrat, is now surrounded by critics of both parties. Yet if those critics, especially state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, are serious, they must do more than ask Cahill for something that is well beyond his power — bringing the Assembly back into session for a new vote on the tax — and work instead to change the rules that allowed this to happen in the first place.
Chances are they will not do much because they, like Cahill, want to hold on to these extraordinary and undeserved powers. The only reason they are ganging up on Cahill this time is because, for once, things did not turn out the way they expected.
This all started when Cahill blocked consideration of a bill allowing Ulster County to keep collecting a sales tax at its current level, above the state-mandated percentage for such local taxes.
He said that this was consistent with his fundamental principle that sales taxes are regressive, harming those with the least ability to pay. So far this year, the governor has signed 36 pieces of legislation approving either an increase in the local sales tax or permission to keep a local sales tax above the state minimum. In all 36 cases, Cahill voted no, consistent with his principles.
But in the 37th case, the bill sponsored by another member of the Assembly and a member of the Senate representing parts of Ulster County, Cahill did more than vote no. He used his power as an entrenched member of the Assembly Democratic majority to keep the bill from coming to a vote.
When the legislation concerned 36 other governments, including the neighboring counties of Sullivan and Orange, where many of Cahill's constituents shop, he was content to confine his actions to a vote. Only when it affected his home county did he flex his political muscles, leaving Ulster County to face layoffs, job elimination, curtailment of services and increases in other taxes to make up for the missing sales taxes.
The only principle involved was the one that it is now clear he adheres to most strongly, the principle that those who have the power in Albany get to wield it as they see fit.

Smearing? With the Truth?

In response to the article I published on this blog about the lawsuit filed against Nick Woener, there is now an article on the front page of the Daily Freeman.  In that article, Nick Woerner claimed that I am trying to "smear him".

It speaks volumes about one's credibility if one can be "smeared" by the truth.

What I published was true.  I said it would have an impact on the primary election and that it would be reported by the Freeman.  It will and it was.

I will add one thing more.  I hope the voters of Ward 4 understand exactly what Nick Woerner is trying to do.  Nick was elected Town Supervisor in Ulster after a battle between the conservative and republican parties resulted in a split of support for Woerner's opponent.  Nick ran the town very poorly and nearly bankrupted the town.  He was defeated severely and overwhelmingly by Jim Quigley.

Now, Nick has decided to move to Kingston in the hope of taking advantage of the strong democrat political machine in this city.  He is running in a ward he has never lived in.  He chose the ward because of the overwhelming democrat enrollment advantage.

As a born and bred Kingstonian, I resent failed politicos coming to Kingston to try to resurrect a political career at the expense of city residents.  Nick Woerner does not give a damn about the residents of Ward 4.  They are stepping stones to his goal of being elected Alderman and running for Mayor in 2015.

The City Democrats are the power of politics in the City of Kingston.  That has been the case since the 1960's and has been the will of a majority of city residents.  That's fine.  That's the process.  However, that being said, I see no reason for Kingston to be a place where democrat politicos come after they fail in another municipality.  Kingston should not be the city of misfit democrats.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Breaking News -- 4th Ward Alderman Candidate Being Sued

There has been a development in the race for the Fourth Ward Alderman, especially in the Democrat Primary.

Apparently, a lawsuit has been filed in Ulster County Supreme Court (Index No. 13-2825) against Nick Woerner seeking $18,727.97 along with 6.25% interest for a debt going back to 2006, along with attorneys' fees, court costs, etc.

I expect the Freeman and Kingston Times will be covering this story shortly.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Talk About Unprofessional

Recently, Mayor Gallo and Corporation Counsel Zweben suggested that Alderman Hoffay has a conflict of interest between serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee and working directly for Kevin Cahill.

I admit it is an interesting question.  Maybe it's my training as an attorney, but I see both sides of this point.

What was Hoffay's response?  Well, he said, "I think he's an idiot.  You can quote me on that!"

His response was extremely unprofessional, but not entirely surprising given Hoffay's political and personal history.  Is this really the level of discourse we can expect in city politics from now on?  Yikes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Who Should be the Candidate?

Over the last few weeks, it has been said repeatedly that Kevin Cahill (no relation) needs to be defeated in 2014.  Such a thing would be music to my ears.  The question then becomes by whom should he be defeated?

I would be interested to hear some suggestions.  Perhaps a Republican/Conservative challenger?  Perhaps a Democrat in a primary?  Let's hear some suggestions.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dawson 1 -- Woerner 0

Nina Dawson made Nicky Woerner look like a petulant child in today's paper.  I was very impressed with the way she handled him.  She sounded like a mother lecturing a child right before the deserved spanking.

Here's the background information.

Woerner is upset because Dawson requested to have a block party and the city granted the request.  Woerner claims that Mayor Gallo is secretly helping Dawson because he issued an Executive Order regarding the closure of the street.

It seems Mr. Woerner needs some education about how these matters work.  Almost every request that comes in for a block party or other event requiring closure of a city street results in an Executive Order because of the substantial time required for the Common Council to do it.  For the Council, it would require a committee meeting with a favorable report followed by a favorable vote at a meeting of the entire Council.  Thus, Executive Orders are used to expedite the process.

Additionally, Mr. Woerner made no such request for a block party.  Instead, he held an event at a politician's home.  This shows you the difference between Dawson and Woerner.  Dawson has an event that is out in the open and that benefits the entire ward.  Woerner has an event hosted by a politician.

Regardless, the real entertainment in the story was the response to the criticisms of Woerner by Nina Dawson.  Dawson said that Woerner "sounds like a child who says, 'Mommy, she isn't playing fair in the sandbox.' ".  That is the line of the campaign thus far.  Dawson 1 -- Woerner 0.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Sad Spectacle

Once again, Nicky Woerner is attacking Mayor Gallo in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.  To understand why he is doing this, one must understand why Nicky is running for 4th Ward Alderman in the first place.

After Nicky was destroyed by Jim Quigley and lost his town supervisor seat, he decided to move to the City of Kingston.  The Kingston Democrats dominate city politics and Woerner thought he could rejuvenate his political career.

He tried to run for 5th Ward Alderman, but got bulldozed by Mr. Carey.  So, Nick took aim at Ward 4 after Shirley Whitlock announced her retirement.  The fourth ward is heavily Democrat and generally has low turnouts for local elections.

Nick's plan is to get an Alderman seat and then challenge Shayne Gallo in a primary for Mayor.  It is a sad plan, except for the fact that there are quite a few members of the Democrat committee who are actually foolish enough to support Woerner against Gallo.

What Woerner did not count on was Ismail Shabazz and Nina Dawson, two actual residents of the ward who understand the true needs of the district.  Nick has never lived in Ward 4 and has no comprehension of the ward's true needs.  He has people telling him the issues and he is doing research.  However, since he has never lived in the ward, he has no true understanding or appreciation for the ward.

So, Nick is creating controversy and making weak allegations against Gallo in a desperate attempt to con the residents into thinking he actually gives a damn about them.  He is trying to create a political narrative that he cares for the people and their needs.  The truth is that he only cares for their votes and his political dreams.

His latest attempt is a false attack against Gallo because the Queen's Galley had to move their fundraiser.  The real reason for the move was the law, not Gallo or the city.  The lease holder of the property in question has accepted full responsibility, but Woerner made the attack anyway.

Mayor Gallo accused Woerner of not knowing the facts.  In reality, Nicky knew the facts.  He just did not care about them.  Facts just got in the way of his intended narrative.

I hope the people of Ward 4 reject Woerner's obvious attempts at political delusion.  He is the last thing Kingston needs right now.  For those who do not know, Woerner is being funded by a developer who wants back at the table in Kingston after being dismissed by Gallo and rejected by Quigley in Ulster.  How else can one explain Woerner's paying for a brand new and obviously expensive web site from a campaign fund that has had less than $40.00 for over two years?  He will say he held a fundraiser, but the web site was up and running prior to his fundraiser.  Where did the money come from?

Expect more of these sad and desperate press releases.  Other than his not so secret financial backer, he really has nothing else to rely upon.  Hopefully, it all ends in about a month.  Hopefully, the people of ward 4 send Woerner packing.  Then, he can start picking what ward to move into next to seek a seat at the table.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Court Denies Donaldson a Free Ride

Dave Donaldson has been a County Legislator for 20 years.  Although he wishes to remain a legislator, he apparently no longer wishes to have the trouble of actually competing for it.

Donaldson is being challenged by John Quigley, who has been endorsed by the Republican, Conservative, and Independence lines.  Rather than have an election, Donaldson went to court in an attempt to throw Quigley off the Republican and Conservative lines.  It is unknown why no such attempt has been made for the Independence lines.  Maybe it is because Donaldson is running a write-in primary for that line.

Donaldson claimed in court that Quigley was not a resident of the district.  However, after hearing testimony from numerous witnesses, the State Supreme Court Judge threw out the case.  John Quigley is indeed a resident of Orchard Street and may thus run for office.

One must wonder why a 20 year incumbent is trying to deny the voters a choice.  Donaldson proudly calls himself "pro choice".  I guess that is true only on the abortion issue as it is certainly not the case when it comes to elections.

I suspect residents of the 9th ward (who are part of this district) will remember the efforts of Mr. Halwick trying desperately to get Mrs. Brown off the ballot.  The voters responded by voting Mrs. Brown in overwhelmingly.  Could history repeat itself?