Thursday, August 14, 2008

Zimet Sticks It To Parete

Chairman John Parete doing his part, holds a Zimet sign at her kick off rally. But, hey, he didn't really do much...right Sue?

A proposed ethics law that would prevent Ulster County officials - including legislators and the county's elections commissioners - from sitting on county political committees drew sharp criticism from opponents on both sides of the Ulster County Legislature's political aisle who painted the ban as unfair, unethical, and even un-American.

All three attempts to offer amendments for compromise have failed which means that the legislation will pass and Zimet has finally found a way to stick it to John Parete.

To be fair I have mixed feelings about this, on the one hand I see this as a good bill for ethics in Ulster County but on the other hand I see this for what it really is : A way for Zimet to get back at John Parete and push him out as our election's commissioner.

Legislator Zimet is wasting county time dealing with an issue that is really not that important on the big scheme of things. I think more county residents care about how they are going to heat their homes this winter more than they care whether or not John Parete is both party chairman and election's commissioner. What is unethical is they this is being politicized.

Jeanette Provenzano, D-Kingston, said the provision prohibiting county party chairmen from being election commissioners is directed at Parete, because some Ethics Board members were upset over the way he handled the November race for district attorney.

I love Jeanette but I strongly disagree with those comments. This ethics law started way before the DA controversy. It has to do with her continued vendetta against John Parete that started back in 2006. Zimet felt and still feels that John Parete did not give her the proper support in her bid for the State Senate.

Unlike what happened last year, Sue had the proper support and was given every resource possible, I was there and I saw it. I remember Nick, Sue and I put in a 12 hour day going to events for her and campaigning for her candidacy. She had the entire county party behind her and not for nothing she won Ulster County.

Jeanette also gives Zimet too much credit, Sue would not be taking this stand for Jon Sennett or anyone else. At the end of the day, all Sue Zimet really cares about is Sue Zimet and what will benefit Sue Zimet and that is unfortunate.


Anonymous said...

Your top story about solar energy is really hopeful. Thank you,Jeremy.
I think however,there are times you jam up the NEWS and COMMENTARY with items of limited interest to yourself and other political hens.
Case in point, most of us have little or no interest as to how the politicians are arranging themselves on the power grid??
We would much rather hear and see them do their own jobs effectively bringing this county out of its Post Manufacturing Depression...smitty

Imre Beke, Jr. said...

What our County Legislators need to get their minds around is the simple fact that in a democratic society, the ONLY people who have any say whatsoever in who is elected to a position in a political Party are the members of that Party. Period.

I find it amazing that either Republicans or Democrats would want to pass a law that limits who can be their Party leaders. As any law would have to have both Republican and Democratic legislators voting on it, both Parties are essentially allowing legislators in the OTHER PARTY a say in who they can elect as their Party Leaders! I cannot imagine too many things which are a greater violation of the trust the members of their Parties put in them when they were nominated to run for their positions.

We are a relatively small, rural County. There aren't that many people who take an interest in public service in the political realm. To limit the ways in which people can participate in public life, thereby limiting the choices before the registered voters in each Party is shameful. It forces people to choose leaders whom they may find less than satisfactory for those positions. It lessens the effectiveness of both Parties in competing in elections. It cheapens the process of democracy.

If members of one Party are dissatisfied with their leadership, they should change it through the existing democratic process. If they cannot do so, that means that they are in the minority within their own Party and out of touch with their rank-and-file. Even if they are the majority within their Legislative Caucus, they have a responsibility to not use the County legislative to perpetrate a coup within their own Party, against the will of their members.

This proposed law is a disgrace and a fundamental violation of all principles of American democracy.

Anonymous said...

Blabs, let's separate out political infighting and personalities from the passing of the Ethics Law.

This Ethics Law should and must be past. Any legislator who votes against it will have the voting public questioning their integrity. I'm amazed that legislators want to exempt themselves and the Board of Elections Commissioner from this law while holding every other Department head etc. accountable. Talk about the fox in the chicken cup. Pass this law.

Anonymous said...

zimet = ME ME ME ME ME ME I I I I I ME ME ME ME ME I I I I ME ME ME ME ME I I I I I..........
You get the picture.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I would agree with a Conservative, but I do agree with Imre Beke on this. He hit the nail directly on the head. I would expect something like this from the current White House, but not the Liberal Ulster County Legislature.

Anonymous said...

Beke, the Majority of Democrats on the Legislature wanted it removed. They voted 2 times to do so.
Those who were in support of this section, were only able to succeed by allowing the Republicans to run the Legislature. Not even all the Republicans agreed. How sad is that?

You are 100% percent correct in your assessment of the activities.

Steve Krulick said...

Here's a modest proposal:

I tend to agree with Beke and others who believe that the 1st Amendment rights of freedom of assembly, as extrapolated to include freedom of association, puts the selection of party officials solely within the party's membership, and outside the just powers of the legislative or executive branches.

HOWEVER, there's nothing to prevent the LEGISLATURE from limiting the requirements for appointing ELECTION BOARD officials, and can certainly make it so that any town or county party chair, co-chair, or treasurer, for example, can't serve as BoE head or deputy.

Thus IF one WANTS to serve as BoE head, one WILL HAVE to drop the party position. OR if one really wants to keep the party post, one will have to survive without the BoE plum.

Fair enough?

Anonymous said...

Zimet: me me me me me me me me me me and I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I how many times does she mention herself in a conversation?

Stop hating on my girl Zimet, she is great, just ask her!!!!

Anonymous said...

Zimet stories:

"Once, when I was 14, I saw a guy drop a quarter, so I gave it back to him. So, that makes me ethical".

"One time when I was home with my family, I told my son that the word he was using in scrabble didn't count. So, that makes me ethical".

"There was this time whne I was running for Senate, and I falsely accused John Parete of being an anti-semite, Oh wait, wrong story".

She is not fooling anyone.

Bill Berardi said...

At least the County is discussing ethics - it's required in the City of Kingston Charter that a committee gets formed - it's never been done. I asked Alderman Teetsel on KCR and his response is no time because of the other "issues" the City is reacting to right now.

Brittany Turner said...

As you know, this issue is critically important to me and I have been following it very closely for the past few months. Jeremy, I am disappointed that you suggest that this issue is "really not important in the big scheme of things." If anything, I believe this is the utmost importance. Without ethics, what do we have? I agree that the politicization of the issue is unfortunate, but you must admit that this is occurring on both sides of the issue, and is all internal politics within the Democratic Party, without any real challenges coming from the other side of the aisle. Many of the Republicans have consistently been on the right side of the issue as the Democrats have botched things time and again.

I also disagree with your characterizations of Legislator Zimet. One of her first acts as Town Supervisor in New Paltz was to pass a similar law; this issue is one that is a top priority for Legislator Zimet and is demonstrated by her record, both in and out of the county legislature. To suggest that Zimet would not react similarly if the situation involved Jon Sennett is outrageous; she garnered substantial criticism at the time of Jon's run for DA and was steadfast in her support of, what many of us believed, was the right thing. Presuming that you know Legislator Zimet's motivation is unfair and inaccurate. The personal attacks have no place in this discussion, and that goes for Legislator Zimet just as much as it does for Commissioner Parete.

Your assessment of last night's events is also inaccurate. In fact, a small minority of individuals offered "sharp criticism" of the ethics law. As demonstrated by the votes, the majority of legislators were supportive, in a bipartisan example of practicing what we preach. Your statement that the law will prevent officials from "sitting on a county political committees" is also inaccurate. It merely precludes these officials from holding elected, executive positions on their respective county committee. They can sit on whatever they want. The only sharp criticism was, primarily, with regards to the politicization mentioned earlier.

There is no guarantee that the legislation will pass. There is a public hearing on September 3 to allow Ulster County residents to weigh in on the law and the legislature will take action after that point. The law is certainly subject to additional amendments, and I do not believe that promoting the misconception that this is a "done deal" is ethical in the least.

The assertion that amendments were offered as a compromise is certainly subject to argument. The three amendments to the law were decided on at the Democratic Caucus the previous week and were strategic efforts to force the agenda of those opposing the law, regardless of the repeated decision of the Ethics Committee. To me, this isn't a compromise; this is bullying and bad politics.

I attend every UC Leg meeting and have been very clear on my opinions on this law. In fact, I think applying the ethics law to county legislators and commissioners alike is only the first step in making this law as comprehensive as it could be. However, with its inclusion, it is a good first step and I will continue to push for additional ethics reforms in the future. Without it, the law smacks of corruption and self-interest at it's worst.

Anonymous said...

You are just bitter upset because Zimet is supporting and using her weight to make Julian the chairman over Sennett and Parete.

Anonymous said...

Brittany, I couldn't agree with you more. Those that are spouting "compromise" are seeking to dilute the law for personal reasons.

Jeremy, I enjoy your blog but when you cloud the picture with personal attacks against Zimet,Schriebman lose me. Stick to the issues.

Jeremy Blaber said...

4:53 PM Not bitter at all. If Sennett runs he will win with or without her support. Same with Parete, both would easily defeat Julian. I have not talked to Sennett or Parete about the chairmanship in some time and have no clue if either are running.

Zimet supporting Julian is no surprise and expected.

However, she has no political weight in that committee...wise up, sir.

Anonymous said...

Susan Zimet worked to pass an ethics law as a first agenda item in the town of New Paltz to punish Planning Board Chair and Republican despot Leon "Butch" Dehner. Even Democrat Carol Roper and New Paltz Democratic Committee Chair John Hain called it "the Butch Dehner law."

Susan Zimet has a history of proposing Ethics to punish her political enemies. In this instance, its John Parete she wants to punish. Same approach, different target.

People who serve in public life need ethics laws to protect themselves from people like Susan Zimet.

Anonymous said...

You all a bunch of bitter people who don't like and are intimidated by anyone who can be successful. Years ago the party couldn't find anyone to be the chair and when they BEGGED Parete to do it nobody wanted to do it,,now all of a sudden the armchair party head want-to-be's are going to think they know best,,go back into your holes and stay there!!! where were you all 8 years ago when NOBODY wanted the job,,please you are all bitter and jealous because you will run the party into the ground if you take over,,,so criticize all you want,,you can't do half the job,,,I can't wait to watch as everything goes down the drain!! Then you can all go back to where you came from! Zimet and company are a bunch of Losers!! Maybe she can run for Senator next, she thinks so highly of herself, I am surprised she doesn't think she is in the running for Vice President!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous 8:17,,,

if you want to call me names ( despot ),, please spell my name right.

it is DENER,,,, no h,,,

Thanks for honoring me with your ignorance.


Anonymous said...

John Sennett and John Parete are both good guys. Julian Schreibman is a nasty person and if he is our chair the party is doomed.

Anonymous said...

Brittany, I was sitting in the audience last night when the majority of Democrats in their caucus voted to take out the one section altogether. I thought Jeannette Provenzana was correct in her arguement. A Democrat gave me a copy of the letter Walter wrote to Democrats. Talk about playing politics that effect who is the Chair of the party. The caucus (Democrats) destroyed themselves last night, no way will they ever get back together, it is each one out for themselves. I rather enjoyed it. You can bet Republicans will have someone running to beat Bishoff.

Watching them all said...

Zimit, Bishoff, Walter etc. can't beat Parete at a Convention so they used Zimit New Paltz law to get him out that way. Everyone knows that. Everyone knows Brittany is a good friend of Zimit so her opinion is clouded. She follows Zimit around like a puppy dog.

Anonymous said...

Zimet is a very negative force. I personally can't stand being around her. She is the most selfish person I have ever met. I don't like her vibe.

To Brittany Turner, you may want to find another role model to hero Worship. Zimet is a bad example to follow.

Anonymous said...

it was nice to see the Rep finally sticking together.Since Roberti is now a Parete Dem the Rep can move on and be the deciding voice in county politics. My how things change. One has 9, one has 10, and Noonan has 14-1=13. Game over for the Dems nice run

Anonymous said...

I'll bet you 20 bucks Schreibman is our next chairman. What makes you so sure he will lose? I have only voted for three losers in my convention history, Ricks, Schreibman and Donaldson.

Jeremy Blaber said...

Well, I would take the bet but I do not know who you are. Listen, I don't want to get into a big thing about this but Julian will not win and he is not qualified to do the job.

BTW- My record for conventions is 6-0

McGinty,Parete,Van Blarcum, Sennett, Hein and Auerbach.

Jeremy Blaber said...


You don't need an ethics bill to have proper ethics is county government. There is a little irony that this bill is being passed for the most unethical reasons.

Sue Zimet and co. are using this "ethics" legislation to oust John Parete because they can't beat him at the convention. If they are unhappy with him serving in both capacities than they should not vote for him in one or both of his reelection bids.

But, you don't get at somebody with one thing because you can't get at them for another..that is neither just or ethical.

The Republicans are having a field day with this and are going along with Zimet's plan to divide the party. Zimet said to me that she is not interested in party unity.

Well, I am and I think it is inappropriate for her to use the County legislature to settle her political about ethics.

I never will forget after the chairmanship vote in January, we just lost the DA race, we were fighting for who should be Chair of the legislature,and a GOP lawmaker came up and threw his arm around me and said Blaber it's good to be back in the majority.

And, how, right he was. The Dems for some reason can not enjoy success and we set ourselves up in a circular firing squad every time.

Enough is enough.

There is nothing more important this year than election Mike Hein and Elliott Auerbach and this bickering and fighting is really hurting Democrats.

Anonymous said...

It looks as if the Blabs cleaned Brittney's clock on this one. Stop this blog crap go back to school and get your law degree. Do not waste your talents.

Anonymous said...

was @ Mohonk Mountain House today when Susan Zimey chaired a conference on Taxes,, property, School & Tax Caps.
Everyone from Kevin Cahill, Dave Donaldson, Sue Cummings, Gioia Sherbar(sp?), LEN BERNARDO, Gerentine, & Loughran,Noonan & others,, including a representative from the Governor's office.
Susan & i have had bitter fights in the past but she is truly a worker for the people of Ulster County !
She started the ethics law aginst me, in New Paltz, & now i support this law.
I was Chair of the Planning Board & the Republican Party @ the same time,,,,, & the APPEARANCE of a conflict was enough to diminish my work on the Planning Board.
Her efforts on this COunty Ethics law is true & from her heart.

We have our differences & our battles,, but i support her on this issue.
Lighten up,, she IS capable of doing the People's Business.

butch dener

Anonymous said...

Susan is doing what Susan does best. She takes an issue that private concerned citizens have been pushing for over a year or two, maybe more. Now that there is a possiblity for action at the State level by all those private citizens taking the issue to the State Legislators, Susan steps in as if she really had anything to do with it at all. Not suprised, thats her ammo. Its interesting only a select few were aware of such an event. HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM????????????

know what I'm talking about said...

So Butch, are you saying when you held both positions you were guilty as she charged way back when???Her goal on the County Ethics Law are exactly what they were when she was Supervisor(get rid of you) untill NP voters got rid of her, and that is to get rid of John Parete. She doesn't have the respect or power to do it in a fair fight at the Democratic convention in September.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, a call to Robin Yess would be interesting since she started way back when no one paying much attention the "NY Property Tax Reform Coalition". I don't see her name as one of the notables.

Anonymous said...

Zimet should move to Orange County.

butch said...

Some moron named -
"know what I'm talking about"said...
So Butch, are you saying when you held both positions you were guilty as she charged way back when???

ACTUALLY, NO,,, because that law wasnt in effect when i was Chair,, so as usual, you & you're small-minded accusatory opinions are WRONG !!!! Get your facts straight & people MIGHT take you seriously,, even with your small-minded hatred of Republicans,but i doubt it,,,

Anonymous said...

So when the law applied to you, it was awful. Now that it is n/a to you, you are for it. Wow. Thank you to New Paltz for electing Justice Bacon.

Anonymous said...

I have read the ethics law and it is a joke. This was simply Zimet being Zimet,which is so well known now that her political career ends where she is. The law does nothing but talk about people having positions that were never a problem anywa. So now the Election Commissioner's position is a big deal. Please. She needs to soend more time on getting some jobs into this county and stop worrying about someone who already has one.

butch said...

first of all,, intelligent people can learn as the situation changes,,, obviously, this leaves you out,,,
2ndly,, you are being obtuse in yr arguement because there was no law when i was both chairs,,, pay attention, child,,, it was status quo,,, i was Planning board chair for over 7 years so i must have been doing some things right,,, PLUS i was appointed by a Democratic supervisor & re-appointed with a Democratic majority,, so SOME Dems are capable of recognising good leadership & intelligence,, unlike you, obviously,,

3rdly,, Bacon got elected because there is a two to one majority in NP, not because he is better qualified,,, Three months before he found out there was to be a vacancy he told an attorney in Dutchess County Family Court " i dont care if i never see another courtroom",, nice remark for a Judge, ey ??

besides,, all the runners he buddies up with came out to support him & the Green party & the students had their own candidate, too That split the vote,,,
Pay Attention,, you are boring us,,,

but i am sure partisan morons like you will find some way to spin even this ,,,

give it a rest,,, if you knew the facts you'd shut up,,,

Anonymous said...

Zimet is a completely divisive force. I disagree with you way more than I agree, but on this one you are right. THey should be spenidn time on things to try and make our county rebound, not on trying to make a law to insure that their members act ethically...why do they need a law..they can and should police themselves. There is one reason to have this part of a very weak ethics law and that is to get John Parete out of one of the positions he holds. She was blown out in that Senate election and would not have won if the CLintons had gone door to door for her so someone explain to me what more Parete could of done? She does not like them and they do not like her and now she is using her position to try and get back at them. Yet she is pushing ethics? Her support of Schreibman for chairman is another half baked idea that will bring the party to its knees, which seems to be what she is shooting for. That woman is just plain meean and vindictive and the more people that know that the less influence she will have in the future. As for Ms. Turner, she must have missed many of Zimet's tantrums in the legislature or she would not be commenting on what a great legislator she is.

Brittany Turner said...

10:02, were you sitting in the audience the week prior when a copy of the rabid emails by Legislators Provenzano and Rich Parete were distributed? Were you also there when Legislator Provenzano admitted to supporting ethics only as a political ploy to restrict an opposing party?

Mr. Walters is a volunteer who is doing his job. I do no think he should be subject to the personal attacks that many have launched against him.

The Democrats in the UC Leg have been a disaster ever since they assumed the majority. The antics of this past Wednesday are nothing new.

Brittany Turner said...

10:07 and 11:22, Susan Zimet is, admittedly, a friend. I consider many legislators opposing this law to be close friends, as well. My friendships do not cloud my belief, however, that this law needs to be comprehensive and encompassing. It is a good starting point, but without being applied fairly, it need not be applied at all. I am not na├»ve enough to have a politician as a role model and do not consider Zimet, or any other politician, to be one. I don’t need to model myself after another – I prefer to just stick to my values.

Brittany Turner said...


If we don’t need ethics laws, then why do they exist? Do you believe there should be no limit on “gifts” given to elected officials? Do you believe power is best concentrated among a few individuals? Do you believe nepotism has a place in government? If so, then I suppose no ethics law is the way to go. I, however, believe that there are some individuals who are fundamentally corrupted by access to power and it is the responsibility of government to put appropriate guidelines in place to restrict abuse of this power. I don’t have the same faith in all elected officials as you seem to do.

Regardless of the origin of this bill, which is certainly debatable, the fact is that it has highlighted some serious areas where potential conflicts of interest and impropriety could exist, or may exist in the future. No matter how this problem came to light, the fact is that something must be done to correct the issue now that people are aware. I have said time and again that I do not believe the law should single out any specific individual (nor should the debate). That is why I do not believe exemptions should be put in place to protect any particular office. It is simply bad policymaking and creates a legacy that will fail the citizens of Ulster County, inevitably, at some point in the future.

I’m really not all that concerned with the Republicans. This is not the first time that Democrats have viciously attacked one another, and it won’t be the last. I also cannot speak favorably of the “party unity at all costs” mentality. If this view was pervasive, our parties would never change and grow. Discourse isn’t such a bad thing. If upholding a high standards of ethics sacrifices the unity of the Democrats, that doesn’t mean we should back away from an ethics law. It means we need better Democrats.

The Republicans have never left the majority. The Dems simply can’t get their acts together and the ethics law dispute isn’t the cause. It’s merely a symptom.

Brittany Turner said...

9:19, the appearance of impropriety is often just as damaging as actual impropriety itself. We need to restore people's faith in our political system and eliminating opportunities for these appearances is as important as eliminating unethical behavior.

I believe that is what Mr. Dener was suggesting, not that he was unethical in his actual behaviors.

Brittany Turner said...

7:11, not once have I said Legislator Zimet is a "good" legislator.

I have said that I think the ethics law is, potentially, a good idea.

Anonymous said...

My, my, Ms Turner seems to know it all. Who does she remind you of? Enough said.

Jeanette Provenzano said...

Brittany, you acuse me of sending a rabid e-mail to Legislators. I responded to a request by Legislator Brian Shapiro. You must be one of the select few the e-mail was copied to.

Second, You claim I admitted to supporting ethics only as a political ploy to restrict the opposing party. I never made that statement. My comment that it was "political" was the arguement used by some Democrats concerning Pete Savago way back when. I'm being consistant.

I'm against Section C because there is already a system in place to elect a Party Chairman (convention) and a vote by Legislators to appoint an Election Commissioner every two years. We shouldn't be telling individuals what they can and can't do in their private lives.

If the Ethics Committee took the time to discuss the proposed law with its members in the Legislature (informative session) before voting on it the outcome would have been much different

I have always been upfront and honest about any stand I take on an issue. I will continue to do so. Sorry if that doesn't meet with your approval. I'll be signing my name to this e-mail because,like you, I'm not afraid to voice an opinion.

Brittany Turner said...


While I frequently agree with you, this is one case where I do not.

First of all, I was not copied on the email. If you'll recall, a copy was distributed at the informational meeting last week.

Second, you stated that the complaints about ethics as they related to Mr. Savago were purely political. Well, as Legislator Loughran stated, some people actually believe that an Ethics Law is the right thing to do. It isn't just about politics for everyone.

I understand your belief on section 4C and I disagree with your opinion. Especially because if, as many opponents keep stating, that individuals should not be restricted in their personal lives, these same individuals should also be critical of the extreme guidelines regulating activity by Ethics Board members. I have not heard any of the individuals criticizing the law take issue with this section.

I find it interesting that some of these same individuals, who claim that anything an elected official chooses to do outside of the scope of their position is "off limits," are also some of the first people to judge actions that other public figures take in their private lives (see previous blog post on John Edwards, for example).

This isn't the first time that there has been a vote relating to the Ethics Law and there was an informational session the week prior. Mr. Walters has raised his concerns a number of times and has not only been ignored, but attacked.

I always appreciate your honesty and, respectfully, disagree with your opinion.

Anonymous said...

You seem to forget how this was introduced and why. How can you possibly condone that type of politics? Using an Ethics law to remove the chairman of a political party. That is what this is and has always been about. You are loosing credibility by the moment in my book. By defending Zimet's actions based on her faulty logic, you are showing that you are easily persuaded and not as much of a free thinker as you and others may have thought.

Brittany Turner said...

8:23, while many speculate that is the origin of this law, it has yet to be proven. And I personally don't care how the law originated -- the point is that some serious ethics reforms are needed and now that these issues have come to light, it is imperative that something be done to correct the problems. *IF* Zimet introduced the law simply to restrict Parete, then yes, shame on her. That type of action is incorrigible. It does not change the fact, however, that many who are supporting the ethics law are doing so because it is simply the RIGHT THING TO DO.

I will reiterate that I have not condoned any type of politics, any specific individual, etc.

I have refrained for making an assessment of the law's origin when there is no way to know, with absolute certainty, what the intent behind the law is. I have also stated that I think, under the right circumstances with the right language, that the ethics law is a good idea.