Thursday, July 03, 2008

Checks and Balances

I ran in to a woman last night while out getting petitions. The woman saw that I was sporting an Auerbach for Comptroller sticker and wanted to talk with me about the county wide races this year. I explained to her about both positions and who the candidates where. At the end of our conversation she said ok, I will make a deal with you, I will vote for Auerbach but I am going to vote Republican for the County Exec race because I want "checks and balances".

This conclusion was made without knowing anything about either candidate running for Executive. To be honest, I have heard this from others and it's very disturbing. Electing a Democrat for Exec and a Republican Comptroller or vice versa is not what achieves a government with checks and balances.

I explained to the woman that by electing an Executive and a Comptroller that in and of itself will provide checks and balances in our county government. An Executive that is accountable to the people of Ulster County and an elected Comptroller that will be the people's watch dog.

Their party affiliation is irrelevant, you must elect the two people that you feel will do the best job for the respective positions they are running for and the rest will fall into place.

The woman asked me who I was supporting for Exec and to give three positive qualities about that person's opponent..same for Comptroller. I was very fair, I compared and contrasted all four candidates.

By the end of our conversation she had a Hein bumper sticker on her car and took the Auerbach sticker off of my lapel and put it in the back window of her car.... the point of this story is that it is very important that we elect the two most qualified candidates and not just vote for one Dem and one GOP candidate for a balance...the charter already creates the balance.


Anonymous said...

It's a convincing argument Blab but I don't see it that way. One Dem and one Republican will ensure a balance.

Imre Beke, Jr. said...

Mr. Blaber "explained" the candidates qualifications? Oh, good. Then all is well in the world. Much like it is when the fox "explains" how the henhouse should be run.

The fact is, Mr. Blaber is a political operative. whether or not he is paid ofr it or is even officially part of a campaign organization is irrelevant. His commitment to particular candidates, parties, philosophies and positions put him in a position where it is impossible to give unbiased information about candidates on the other side.

This is not a criticism as many of us are likewise committed. I freely and openly admit my own biases as well as the fact that I work to get candidates whom I consider the best qualified elected.

What one does not do, if one is being honest and honorable, is present oneself as an expert on all candidates, as one who can "explain" the other side. If one is honest, one admits one's commitment to a particular candidate and makes clear that the opinion being given is just that - a politically biased opinion.

Such as my admittedly biased opinion that no one who has been involved with the Establishment in this County can possibly be "qualified" to fix the problems we are facing. There is only one team of candidates which is removed from this Establishment. Fortunately, their business and financial experience and accumen raise them head and shoulders above their opponents.

That team is Len Bernardo for Executive and James Quigley for Comptroller.

All the "explaining" in the world cannot change the facts.

Anonymous said...

Just a couple years ago when they were in the minority, Democratic candidates running for county legislature used to advocate the "two party system" for checks & balances. Now, you can expect Republicans to make this same case for whatever political ground they hope to gain. When you have nothing else, I guess that's a sensible enough election strategy,
but the truth is that providing
checks and balances has nothing to do with it.

Checks and balances is a strategy to divide government responsibilities and functions into 3 branches (legislative, executive, and judiciary.) It has nothing to do with competing political ideologies or philosophies. It has to do with independent judgement and accountability to the people.

Unfortunately, our two-party system is more often responsible for the things we hate about our
government: the bureaucratic
gridlock and political bickering. Some people think divided government is best because it keeps them off our backs, and distracts our leaders from governing "too much." In my opinion, it just costs us more in lost productivity, and
keeps government from operating effectively and efficiently.

Fact: There is nothing in our constitution to establish two dominant political parties. This system evolved, some say, to consolidate political power to the two parties and to minimize grass roots politics and reform impulses. The two parties have a tendency to reduce the political debates to black-white contests that resemble orderly football games or chess matches.

I've observed that contests among Democratic and Republican candidates are typically a debate between the right and the further right. What's the point of that?
I think it would be generally healthier for our debate to include the perspectives of Liberals, Conservatives, environmental Greens, Independence Party reformers, and Working Families Party laborers. The competition among multiple parties can make the debate more lively, and the outcome more inclusive. Remember that "of the people, by the people and for the people" idea?

As for checks and balances in county government, we should
independently elect a county exec and a county treasurer. Ignore the fact that for their convenience, the Democrats and the Republicans are running as teams. I mean ignore
it - don't choose one from column A and one from column B because you think you get different flavors - but rather select the individuals with the best qualifications and best ideas. Leave the party nonsense out of it!

Brittany Turner said...

Ha! You'll never see checks and balances with either Republicans or Democrats in power, regardless of the ratio. If we ever want equitable governance, we need to move toward a system that enables multiple parties to be viable and encourages a system of proportional representation rather than the current winner-takes-all "democracy."

Anonymous said...

Jeremy: in the verbiage of the Internet people- WTG- or like us old dinosaurs say: way to go- Mike and Ira would be proud of thee- Now get your argumentative and mediation skills to ensure that the Public Access Board move forward and return the access station back on the air.
Shelly Z

Anonymous said...


COMPTROLLER - Republicans
COUNTY EXECUTIVE - Independence!

We need a new voice who is independent of partisan politics not just the next generation of the "good old boys".

Anonymous said...

The Green party rocks! Too bad Hollywood Jason screwed it up for you guys!

Anonymous said...

Sure lets elect the Quigley Comptroller so he can waste the County's money and sue someone else. I think that Quigley should let all of of us know now weather or not he will quit his 2 million dollar job in NYC if he were elected???

Blogger said...

The best candidate for a fresh start in Ulster County is Len Bernardo. He is a member of the Independence Party. Registering for this party shows that he aspires to be above partisan politics as usual in Ulster County.
Americans -

Vote any third party to vote for needed change! As Theodore Roosevelt said "The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly on what should be said on vital issues of the day.

Brittany Turner said...

8:26 -- I'm not talking about only Greens. Independence, Conservatives, Right to Life, Working Families, unaffiliated, etc. We need better representation from the full spectrum of political beliefs rather than the two dominant views which are increasingly similar.

I'm not sure what Jason "screwed up," but there are a number of elected Greens across NYS and the country and this number grows each year. Third parties are the most legitimate expression of grassroots political organizing and it is important to enhance those efforts rather than create barriers for this type of political expression.

I'm also not clear on the Hollywood bit -- that's my nickname, not his. :)

7:51 -- do you mean Independence or independent unaffiliated candidates? Either way, we need em.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Whatever Jason's accomplishments or shortcomings as Mayor, the Greens as a political organization continues to advance progressive policies and enliven our politics.

Speaking of Greens, for all his intelligence and good intentions, groundhog day persidential candidate Ralph Nader has caused our nation more grief and misery than anyone else in modern history- with the possible exception of President GW Bush, of course.