Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Official: Sottile Calls It Quits!!!!!

“I, Mayor James Sottile, will not be seeking re-election to another term of office next year,” he wrote. “I want to thank the citizens of Kingston for placing their trust in me as their leader. It has been a pleasure serving them and an experience that I will never forget.”

-Mayor James Sottile

I broke the story in JULY that Mayor Jim Sottile would not seek reelection and today he sent out a press release confirming his desire to get out of public life. I do hear that he WILL finish his term and not take a job with senate Republicans as expected but we will see, I hear he is not spending a lot of time at city hall these days. It's really early for him to announce his departure but I guess its a way to get people off his back and to have a quiet last year in office and his only hope to improve his dismal popularity and leave office on a high note. It's a smart move on his part.

July Story click here---

Now the race for Mayor begins, it's the first open seat for Mayor in my lifetime and it's going to be a very interesting race.

Democratic candidates rumored to have been considering a run:

Shayne Gallo - brother of the late T.R. Gallo, says he is in if Noble does not run

Jim Noble- says he is running for Alderman at large but I say he will for the top spot, he's been waiting for the last 4 yrs

David Donaldson- He is going to run but come on now...

Hayes Clement- He is playing coy in the paper but he is def in

Bill Reynolds---looking at his options

Nick Woerner- looking at his options

Mike Madsen-- rumored to be thinking it over


Rich Cahill - Running

Ron Polocco- Running

Andi Turco Levin-- good chance she is too!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ulster County 2011 Predictions

From the magic Crystal ball that has all the secrets in Ulster Politics, here is what 2011 will bring......

Kingston Mayor Jim Sottile will not run for reelection or finish his full term in office.

Kingston will see primaries on both the Democratic and Republican sides for the office of mayor.

The winner of the Kingston Mayor's race will be a Kingston native and established politico, although considered some what of an underdog in the primary, his huge primary win gives him great momentum and an easy win in November..a few Aldermen may be tapped to serve in the administration, leaving some open seats and special elections in key areas of Kingston.

Kingston's Ward 6 will continue to have solid representation and the Ball will start moving forward bringing Kingston on the right track, another former candidate will make some noise about running but HE will quickly and swiftly be shut down

The common council will remain solidly Democratic..two former Aldermen will make a run for the council will be successful, one will not.

Kingston will elect it's first female Alderman at Large; in fact the election in 2011 will guarantee that a female holds the post

A bright charismatic former prosecutor and Kingston trial lawyer will be elected Ulster County District Attorney. The new Democratic D.A. will quickly transform the Ulster D.A.'s office in similar ways Spitzer transformed the NYS AG's office and will eventually go on to hold statewide office.

A Democrat will run on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines for County Executive; Mike Hein fighting on the Democratic and working families lines will be reelected by an Andrew Cuomo type margin.

Incumbent legislators that will not be returning to the county legislature after 2011 : T.J. Briggs, Donald Gregorius, Richard Parete, Mike Sweeney, Robert Aeillo, Fred Wadnola, Jim Maloney, Jeanettee Provanzano, Al Lomita, Jack Hayes, Frank Fellicello, Sue Zimet, David Donaldson, Marybeth Maio
(note only two of these incumbents will lose their reelection bids, the rest may chose to retire with the redistricting, others (3) may run for higher offices.)

Two ulster co. legislators will be investigated and their reputations "trashed" for unethical relationships with a county agency

A high ranking county political appointment will be "encouraged" to take early retirement rather than face termination

Bright, New, Democratic candidates will emerge to take on old war horses like Bob Senor

With the Democratic ranks swelling, and the Republicans shrinking, Julian Schrieman will be challenged from within the party to act more like the Majority Chairman and less like a casual observer

A new local, middle of the road political party will be talked about to take advantage of the huge number of non enrolled voters

Reapportionment will be the battle of the year in the County Legislature. The Republicans will not accept fair districts and force court action....again.

In the end it does not matter, Mike Hein's coattails and a Cahill returning to the legislature (and we don't mean Kevin, Mr. Malloney) bring Democrats back to the majority party, although it will be close.

There you have 2011 at a glance and remember where you heard it first!

Feel free to put your own predictions in the comment section.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Preparing for the Cuomo Swearing In!!!!!!!

Let me tell you Andrew Cuomo is gunna be a great Governor! I have two tix to the Cuomo swearing in cerimony, email me if your intrested becasue I can't make it. I went to Eliot Spitzer's and it is a cerimony that you don't want to miss.

(Photo courtesy of the Hon. Marcus Molinaro, Assemblyman 103)

Quote of the Week

“I will fight tooth and nail to be able to protect our business communities so that people have jobs while simultaneously going nose to nose, whether it is Albany or Washington to make sure that unfunded mandates don’t overly burden our local taxpayers.”

- County Executive Mike Hein

Ulster Legislator Laura Petit Leaves GOP

Ulster County Legislator Laura Petit has left the Republican party and joined the Independence party. This is really no surprise, Legislator Petit is a very moderate and I dare say progressive legislator who does a great job. Ulster Republicans were only holding her back, although I do wish the distinguished legislator from Esopus would have joined the Working Families party. Democrats would be wise to endorse her candidacy next year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shameless Self Promo

Check out the Hugh Reynolds Christmas List. A classic list that comes out every year, it's pretty good this year and I'm not just saying that because I made the top of the list ;~)

Make sure to stay tuned for the Blaber News 2011 predictions coming right after Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Here and There

Assemblyman Frank Skartados should know whether or not he will be sitting in Albany for another two years by the end of the week...and I thought the Auerbach recount (which lasted till Thanksgiving, in 08) was long! A judge will decide which of the remaining absentee ballots will be counted and I think that will happen this afternoon. The race is out of Frank's hands and lets hope all the ballots are allowed to be counted and Frank Skartados is reelected. Although Tom Kirwin has gotta be feeling pretty good that his slim 165 vote lead will hold up. With less than 500 votes in dispute, most likely former Assemblyman Tom Kirwin will be elected back to the assembly.

Town of Ulster Police Chief Taggard and the Kingston Daily Freeman both made huge blunders in reporting the name and address of a local man that attempted suicide the other day. The man was stopped by an officer while he was attempting to jump off a bridge. The officer who saved this mans life is to be commended. The releasing of his name to the paper was awful, the guy obviously has enough problems and shame on the Daily Freeman for including the name in their story.

Speaking of the Freeman, why does the Daily Freeman continue to allow reporter Bill Kimble to cover stories on Congressman Maurice Hinchey? Kimble clearly has a bias toward the Congressman and it shows in his work, he does not have the ability to be impartial. We all know the history between the two, why not just have someone else cover the stories?

Kingston Mayor Jim Sottile signed the 2010 budget that calls for a 3.1 percent tax hike, the original tax hike Sottile had proposed would of raised taxes MORE than 6 percent. The increase Sottile had proposed was ridiculous and the Kingston common council did a good job lowering the burden as much as possiable.

Kudos to Senator Kirstin Gillibrand for being instrumental in repealing Don't ask don't tell, this historic repeal that will allow gay men and women serve openly in the military will be signed by President Obama today.

Speaking of bills in the U.S. Senate and Kirstin Gillibrand, it's really important that the Zagroda bill is passed. It is long overdue and so important! Again we are lucky Senator Gillibrand is fighting for us in Washington.

Congratulations to Vic Work who was nominated last week to replace Kathy Mihm as Ulster's Dem election commissioner. I hate the way this went down and that people really were not given an adequate time to think about running for the spot. It really should have been handled differently. However, politics is about always being on your game and Vic clearly was right on top of this. I wish him good luck.

And, finally, Alderman Tom Hoffay is home from the hospital and in good spirits I hear! I hope the Alderman of the great Second Ward, will take things slow and give himself time to get to his 100 percent. Glad that you are back Alderman, we missed you.

Turco Levin Wants Term Limits

Alderwoman Turco-Levin, a Republican who represents Kingston's first ward has brought forth legislation that would limit aldermen from serving more than four (2 yr)terms; and the mayor and Alderman large from serving 2 (4 yr) terms.

I don't support this on principal, I am not a fan of term limits. I feel term limits come place at election day, if the people don't want you in they have the ability to throw you out.

Alderman Bill Reynolds, who is the council's majority leader said he first proposed the idea a decade!

Here is the quote and wording unedited from the Freeman's story on the proposal today:

Alderman Bill Reynolds, D-Ward 7, the council’s majority leader, said he pitched a plan for term limits almost a decade ago, but nothing came of it.

Reynolds, who is serving his ninth term, said he wanted the mayor and alderman-at-large to be limited to three four-year terms. City lawmaker positions would be limited to six two-year terms under his proposal.

Majority Leader Reynolds is a good example of why term limits are unnecessary, Alderman Reynolds is a good friend, got me started in politics, and he was for a long time my Alderman. Reynolds loves Kingston, knows the people in his ward and is excellent at constituent services, which is why he is always reelected.

If I want him representing me for another 10 years and he wants to do the job..why not??

There are more important issues the city should be focusing on than term limits.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hein Elected First Vice President of County Executive Association

Ulster County Executive Michael Hein has been elected first vice president of the New York State County Executives Association. Hein was elected by his fellow county executives at the fall meeting of the New York State Association of Counties, which was held in Albany. He will serve a one-year term.

“As first vice president of the County Executives Association, I will continue to fight aggressively for mandate reform and property tax relief,” Hein said in a prepared statement on Tuesday. “I am privileged to serve in this capacity.”

New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario said in a prepared statement:

“County Executive Hein’s leadership has been a tremendous asset to the County Executives Association. I look forward to working hand in hand with County Executive Hein in 2011 as we fight for all New York counties for the reform of the nine mandates that consume 90 percent of the county property tax levy.”

Hein, a Democrat, has been Ulster County executive since January 2009

A Tribute To Terry Myers

Here is a video from after the funeral, I think it was a fitting that after the funeral everyone went back to the deli for coffee and laughs. I also like this becasue it's shot from Terry's perspective, behind the counter.

A very special thanks to Alderwoman Jen Fuentes who closed last nights common council meeting in Terry's honor. I wish I could of been there.

Chief Jerry Keller

memorial outside the deli

Bill Berardi and Dr. Habbeb

Dan Cantor Named Number 6, On NY Observers' Top Ten Biggest Players in NY Politics

WFP party boss Dan Cantor made the NY Observer's top ten biggest players list. Number 5: Senator Kirstin Gilibrand and number 6: Congressman Anthony Wiener.

1. The WFP received 154,847 votes for Andrew Cuomo on its line, 8,201 more than the Independence Party, moving it up the ballot from line "E" to line "D." (The Conservative Party will occupy line "C.")

2. Both in terms of raw vote totals and percentage of the overall vote, the WFP received more votes on its line for statewide candidates than in any previous election. WFP voters accounted for more than 4% of total turnout for the first time in the party's 12-year history.

3. 183,707 New Yorkers voted for Charles Schumer on the Working Families Party line, more than have voted WFP for any other candidate since the party's creation. (158,891 voted WFP for Obama in ’08; 155,184 voted WFP for Spitzer in ’06; and 51, 325 voted for Peter Vallone in the party’s 1998 inaugural election.)

4. WFP voters also turned out strongly for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (182,983 WFP votes), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (182,648), and Attorney General-elect Eric Schneiderman (178,850), each of whom also received more than 4% of all votes cast in their races from the WFP line.

5. In New York City, the Working Families Party was the third largest vote-getter of any party, receiving nearly half as many votes as the Republican Party, and more than double the vote of any other minor party. (The WFP vote total in NYC, 76,953, was 42% of the Republican vote in the city.)

6. The WFP received 50% of its votes from Upstate New York and the suburbs of New York City, and 50% from NYC. Especially strong growth in WFP turnout occurred in Suffolk County and the Hudson Valley.

7. The WFP achieved these impressive results on a shoestring budget, spending just 1/8 of what the party spent in the 2006 election to contact and mobilize voters. WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor was not all smiles, however.
“Another 16,293 votes and Matt Damon would’ve put on that Yankees cap for us, and that would have been sweet.” Cantor was referring to the video challenge made by actor/activist Matt Damon about his willingness - even though a lifelong Red Sox fan - to wear a Yankees cap should the WFP crack the 200,000 vote barrier in this election.

“There’s always next year,” said the downtrodden Mr. Cantor.Read more:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Deep Breath Alderman Landi, Deep Breath

Alderman Charlie Landi looked pretty foolish at a recent meeting, as he yelled at Alderwoman Shirley Whitlock as she tried (successfully) to save the jobs of three police officers. " I can't in good conscience support a measure to cut out police said Whitlock who lives in Kingston's 4th ward.

Typical Landi lost his cool...what don't you get we're broke said Landi, what don't you get about safety shot back a feisty Whitlock. One thing thing about Shirley she does not back down and is not someone to cross. Than Landi just goes off the deep end.. You gotta watch the below video.

To the credit of both Alderman Landi, Alderwoman Whitlock and the entire Democraitc caucus under the leadership of Majoirty Leader Bill Reynolds, it looks like the council has gotten the tax levy down to 3.1 percent, which is siggnifigantly less than the whopping 6.2 that Mayor Sottile had proposed.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Rest in Peace Terry Myers

Terry Myers, owner of the Foxhall Deli passed away last night after a battle with cancer. Terry was a good friend and a great guy. Kingston won't be the same without him. Bellow is obituary information and I highlighted a part below that just made me laugh because it is so true.

I will miss the "morning meetings", I think over the years Terry kicked me out of his deli a dozen or so times lol, over silly political disputes and than I would go to Dietz stadium were we walked with Dr. Habeeb and convince him to let me back in.

We all had great times, Terry had a great sense of humor and knew the pulse of Kingston, if you wanted to know something you would go to Foxhall Deli and talk to Terry. I'm going to miss Terry a lot.

Obituary Information:

Terry's family will receive friends at the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home, Inc., 27 Smith Avenue on Friday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.. The funeral will be held Saturday 11:00am at the funeral home, with the Reverend Dr. David Brechter officiating. Burial will take place in Wiltwyck Cemetery.

Terry S. Myers, 50, of Morgan Hill Road, West Hurley died Wednesday morning , December 8, 2010 at the Benedictine Hospital. Terry was born in Kingston on December 25, 1959, a son of Mary (Ryndak) Myers of Kingston, and the late Spencer E. Myers.

A graduate of Kingston High School class of 1978, he was well known as a "Simple Man". Since 1985, Terry was the owner of the Foxhall Deli in Kingston. He served as moderator to the morning meeting, where the subject matter ranged from politics to current affairs. Terry told it like it was. In addition to his mother, he is survived by two sisters Sharon VanKleeck and her husband Kyle of Poughquag, and Susan Hoyt and her husband Alan of Hurley, a nephew Tanner VanKleeck also of Poughquag. His golden retriever, "Daisy" also survives. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in the form of contributions to Grrowls - New York, P.O. Box 6634 Syracuse, New York 13217.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Who Will Replace Kathy Mihm?

Democratic Elections Commissioner Kathy Mihm is taking the early retirement incentive and will be retiring.

Who will replace her? What is everybody hearing? Only name out right now from what I understand is Vic Work.

Here and There

The very talented and bright Liz Benjamin, a New Paltz native and host of YNN's Capitol Tonight received a letter the other day from former candidate for Governor Carl Paladino. You have to read this letter, it's crazy and completely unnecessary. Ms. Benjamin appropriately said on her facebook this morning that she feels it's safe to say she is off Carl Paladino's Christmas list.

At least she is not alone, I think I am also off a wealthy Republican's Christmas list too :~)

Read Palidino's letter by clicking here

I spoke to Alderman Hoffay today who is in good spirits and wanting to get back to work as soon as possible. He is having his biggest operation on Monday and I told him I would keep him in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you all will too. I also informed Tom that he has my 100%support for Ulster County Election's Commissioner, so he better be back in Kingston by next week! :) In all seriousness I wish Tom a speedy recovery and hope he takes it easy.

I would like to wish Kathy Mihm a great retirement, there are so many times I had to call her on different election matters and she always took my call no mater how ridiculous the question and her departure is a loss to Ulster County.

Much speculation as to who may replace her, the inside favorite is Vic Work, who seemed to be the only one not shocked by the announcement of Mihm's retirement. Not saying this was planned but one thing about Democrats is we don't want a candidate shoved down our throats. My personal opinion this is a job for an experienced former elected official or current elected that will be cut out during the redistricting process. This is a serious and an important job, not one to be given as a reward.

If Vic Work is serious about his desire, he should be talking to the committee people that will be electing the next commissioner, not the people he thinks will put him in office. I have nothing against Vic Work but the whole thing is a little suspect. A week is not a lot of time for someone to think about running and to make their case to the committee, especially if there is a guy with an inside track that has been preparing for this transition for months before anyone else knew.

The Golden Hill report was released on Friday with nine recommendations, It's important this facility stay county owned and operated. Walter Frey deserves a lot of credit for the hard work and hours he spent on this report. I had a conversation at length with Legislator Frey last week and this is a guy that really cares and I thank him for his service.

Senator Vincent Leibell who won the Putnam county executive's race in November, seems to be headed off to jail, expected to plead guilty to federal corruption charges. While Senator elect Greg Ball is taking the high road, it should be pointed out that Leibell played really dirty and did everything he could to keep fellow Republican Greg Ball out of the senate, Leibell supported Mary Beth Mao very heavily in the GOP primary. Senator Ball is a not a good ol' boy and has ruffled a lot of feathers down in Putnam and he's clearly doing the right thing.

With absentee ballots being counted throughout New York, it is safe to say with certainty that the Working Families party will move up to row D. That's huge for a fairly young party.

With the state senate going Republican today one can only imagine how upset Senator Craig Johnson of Long Island must feel. Senator Johnson got elected in the past with strong help from the WFP, he chose this year not to take the line for whatever reason and now he is no longer a state senator. Had Craig Johnson taken the line he easily would of been reelected and with Lt. Gov. Duffy's vote, Democrats would still control the chamber! Still think the WFP line does not matter, it seems like the line or lack thereof just decided the fate of the NYS Senate!!????

Happy Holidays!

How do you not love this guy??? My favorite Republican Judge Don Williams with Frosty at Hudson Coffee Trader's in Uptown Kingston.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

SHOCKER Senator Leibell In Hot Water

State Senator and Putnam County Executive elect Vincent Leibell will resign from office tomorrow and will not be assuming his new role as executive in January. Rumors of federal corruption charges are being thrown around but it's unknown yet.
ny dailynews update
Longtime Sen. Vincent Leibell (R-Putnam County) has told friends he is preparing to plead guilty to end a federal investigation into him.
Sources told the DN's Ken Lovett and Glenn Blain that Leibell will plead guilty to felony bribery and money laundering charges relating to non-profit foundations he controls and land deals that were arranged through those foundations.
Among the land deals was construction of a large house for the eight-term senator.
The guilty plea will resolve a indictment that is about to be unsealed, the sources said..
Leibell, who was set to leave office at the end of the end of the year to become Putnam County executive, instead retired a month early from the Senate. His resignation takes effect tomorrow.
He also agreed not to take office as county executive in January. He already has informed the chairman of the Putnam County Legislature of his decision.

"He has some pretty major problems he's dealing with," said a longtime friend who was informed of the decision. "His position is going to be untenable to continue in pubilc life."
One source said he was told directly by Leibell that he would be pleading guilty to a crime. Another source said as part of the deal, he'll serve less than two years in prison.
It's been reported that the FBI had subpoenaed records pertaining to a large home Leibell had built.

The U.S. Attorney's Office had no comment this morning.
Leibell and his office did not return calls for comment.
It will be up to the Putnam County Legislature to choose an executive.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Important Notice from Ulster County

Although there are MANY smaller roads still affected by high water, it isimportant to note that State Route 28 in Mt Tremper is now open to one laneof traffic in alternating directions.

Arthur R. Snyder
Ulster County Emergency Communications/Emergency Management
238 Golden Hill Lane

Mayor Noble?

Alderman at Large Jim Noble won a recent Blaber News poll for Kingston Mayor. The poll was hotly contested with over 450 people participating. Hayes Clement came in a close second. The mayor race will take place next year.