Saturday, January 29, 2011

Joe Misasi

In memoriam to my great Uncle Joe Misasi, who passed away Thursday at age 94. Uncle Joe was the nicest guy you will ever met, very involved with the community and with the VFW and would do anything for anybody. I wish I would of visted him more in recent years but he lived a great life and will be missed.

Kingston Mayor's Race: Noble Strongly Looking at a Run

Sources: Alderman at Large Noble Running for Mayor

Who's Running:

(Democrats) Jim Noble, Shayne Gallo, Hayes Clement, David Donaldson

(Republicans) Ron Polacco, Rich Cahill, Andi Turco Levin, Jean Jacobs

(Dark Horses that could emerge) Nick Woerner, Chris Koenig

Jim Noble has said publicly since Sottile made the decision to call it quits that he had little interest in running for mayor. Now it looks as if Noble has changed his tune, telling people close to him that he is running for Kingston Mayor.

What about Shayne? Shayne Gallo had previously stated he would run for mayor only if Noble did not, so with Noble gearing up to enter the Kingston Mayor's race what will Gallo do? There may come a point that Gallo is in too deep and forced to move forward with the race regardless of who runs, if this happens it will benefit freshman Alderman Hayes Clement.

Hayes Clement who represents Ward 9, is a good guy and an Alderman that has shown basic competency in his ward but in no way is he going to be Kingston's next mayor. Hayes is smart and has done all the right things to quickly establish himself as a rising star in Democratic politics, going to county functions (something Gallo and Noble have not done), throwing around money and hosting events for important Democrats, and establishing himself as a businessman that has the right skills and temperament to run the city.

Fact is though, we don't know what kind of Mayor Hayes would be, he has been on the political scene for all of 10 minutes and his candidacy is really a lot of hype by the political establishment. We do know Clement is a Conservative Democrat at best, some would say he is a Democrat in name only and I would be hard pressed to find anyone to call him Progressive.

Nick Woerner and Chris Koenig are both friends of mine and I think both would be strong candidates. If either run, the race would be wide open and really anyone's for the taking.

Out of the Democratic candidates running at this time, Kingston would be well served under Shayne Gallo or Jim Noble both have the experience and best intentions for Kingston. I honestly remain undecided on the two because they are both great, although I am leaning at this time toward Shayne Gallo.

On the Republican side there is a field of five candidates or so but the nomination will go to Ron Polacco or Richard Cahill. Democrats should be able to keep the office of mayor in 2011 unless Kingston Democrats put up a candidate like Hayes Clement who could lose to either one of them.
In the next two months the race for the respective nominations for both parties will heat up and we will have a better look at who's serious and who's not. No matter what, the mayor's race is something I'm looking forward. It's the first open seat for mayor in 23 years and will be fun to watch, stay tuned.

Roberti and Hein Haters Already Making Excuses

MoJOE Roberti has a huge post on his blog crushing over his favorite guy agian!! The former county legislator says on his blog that even if a strong Republican emerges that spends 300k on the county exec race, Hein would still win by 10 points.

In short, I agree.

Roberti claims the reason why Hein is unbeatable is that he controls the local media. You know, the typical Republican talking point about any Democrat.

It has nothing to do with the fact Mike Hein delivered a budget that didn't raise taxes, has made government more accountable to the people, the numerous victories and initiatives his office has brought forward that have improved the quality of life to county residents; including his most recent victory against the DEP.

Republicans are so desperate that Paul Hansit, the Majority Leader of the county legislature, is trying to convince Robin Yess to back Ultra Liberal Sue Zimet to run against Hein and Sue is all too eager for the opportunity.

I wish Ulster Republicans would just admit that Mike Hein is a good County Executive and has done a great job showing us that under the right leadership, government can work for the people.

Mayor Poll

I took down the poll for mayor because the poll had a malfunction. For some reason 100 votes were taken away from the Democratic poll and 50 from the Republican one. The percentages did not change, so I believe that this was just a malfunction with the poll itself. I will try another poll works out because a new candidate is emerging for Mayor that will change the entire dynamic of the race.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sweeney Not Running for Reelection

For the record, I like Mike, he's always been open and accessible, and even appeared on my tv show back in the day, him and Rich Parete would also invite me on their morning radio show every once in awhile. With him representing an area where Republicans will hold seats no matter what, I wouldn't mind him being one of them.

From his blog:

My Decision

Thanks to all those that took part in my completely unscientific poll. The vote ended up being 60 (yes, run) to 9 (no, don't run).

Before I get to my decision, I wanted to touch upon the attendance records for the Ulster County Legislature. It was a much better year for attendance, which was good.

I managed to make every Legislature meeting plus every committee meeting (of the committees I belong to). Truth be told, I got credit for attending 2 committee meetings even though I was only there for about 15 minutes for each one. For one of the public hearings, I walked in about 30 seconds before the meeting was dismissed.

In fairness, it was one of those public hearings that lasts about 90 seconds... as many of the public hearings do. When no one shows up to speak, the meeting dismisses and everyone goes home. Just keeping it honest, as you deserve it from all of your elected officials.

Now, onto my decision on whether to run for another term. Let me begin by saying thank you to all that have voiced their support for me in recent weeks, via the poll, phone, facebook and emails. I even got a phone call from a man that used to live in Ulster County, but is now living in the State of Delaware.

Everyone was very supportive of me, so I say thank you.I have decided not to run for another term. While I'll leave the possibility open that I'll change my mind, I feel that 2 years is enough, at least for now. I'm looking forward to working closely with members of the Legislature to bring some positive changes in the next year.

Maybe we'll even get term limits passed? Time will tell.Thanks again for your support--and thanks for reading.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Here and There

Keller out as Chief?

The KPD scandal involving Tim Matthews has shocked Kingston and there will be a lot more on this in the next few months when the state attorney general and comptroller release their investigation, which is expected to show the top Detective as head of security for Kingston high school was double dipping.

Rumblings at City Hall say Police Chief Jerry Keller could be forced out due to "lack of oversight." Forcing Keller to retire is a mistake, he is a great public servant, honest as the day is long and really it's not his responsibility to be the school district's book keeper. Some argue Keller is too laid back and again I disagree. The role of the police chief, requires Keller to wear several hats, in public Keller does come across like more of a politician than a police chief.

However the FBI trained Chief, is as tough as nails and does a great job running KPD and making sure the department runs smoothly and efficiently. Chief Keller should retire when he is ready on his own terms.

John Guerin ended his week long campaign for Mayor. Mr. Guerin decided his business would take too much of a negative hit for the run. Good to hear, I like Mr. Guerin and was not looking forward to attacking him on the blog for the next six months. ;~)

Rich Parete announced he would not seek reelection for another term on the legislature. No real surprise, Rich has made it clear for some time that he wanted to retire. Rich who usually leads the ticket over his brother Rob, and Roy Hochberg (Kraft before Hochberg), would of easily kept his seat. I wish Rich Parete the best and I would suspect he stays active, even running for a higher office in the future.

Speaking of Rob Parete, it was mistakenly reported in recent attendance audit that his legislative committee attendance was as low as 10%, the real number is well over 95% and the mistake has been corrected.

Jonathan Sennett is having a fundraiser, Wednesday February 9th 530pm at Hillside Manor to kick off his campaign for Ulster County District Attorney, tickets are $75. Please attend this event and take part of an exciting campaign for the next D.A. of Ulster County.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Top Kingston Detective Suspended After NYS Comptroller Audit

Lt. Tim Matthews

Lt. Matthews charged with felony Grand Larceny, the 9,000 allegedly stolen is rumored to be out of a department safe and seperate from the payroll probe.
D.A. Carnright: Gray day for all of us involved in law enforcement.
Detective Matthews remains on a leave of absence with pay.


Sources in the KPD, tell me Deputy Chief John Wallace sent out an e-mail to officers informing them that Detective Tim Matthews, had been suspended and he would cover his cases in the immediate future. Others have told me Matthews chose to take a leave of absence and plans to resign.

This whole mess stems from an audit done by the NYS Comptroller, allegedly Matthews was claiming hours simultaneously in his capacity as a kpd officer and head of school security. The officer that I spoke with would not say how many hours were involved or a dollar amount, he would just say, "you can't be at two places at once."

Detective Matthews is a stand up guy, I will always remember when the Freeman did a piece a few years ago on the anniversary of Rickel Knox's death, Matthews was talking about having to bring the killer to these railroad tracks to show him where he left her body. This Detective has worked on every major case in Kingston and Ulster County in the last ten years and is someone I respect, this is a sad day for Kingston.

As all the details of this come out, we need to remember everything this guy has done to make Kingston a better and safer place. Ask yourself, does one transgression wipe away an entire career dedicated to public service? I stand behind Detective Matthews and ask members of the community to support him as well and give him the benefit of the doubt. The Kingston Police department has civilian police commission, I believe they handle all personal matters, residents should call in support of Lt. Matthews and go to the next commission meeting. More to follow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sexism, Good ol' Boy Politics and Possible Corruption Rocks Legislature

Chairman Fred Wadnola

If you challenge the King you better beat him or suffer the consequences. That is the way it goes in politics, whether you are running for School board president, county chair or speaker of the house. Honestly I don't have a problem with that, an elected official in a leadership post represents not just his constituents but his/her colleagues and needs to show strength not weakness, rules of survival.

That is not the case of what happened with the retaliation of replacing Brian Shapiro over Terry Bernardo as chair of the Government Operations and Efficiency committee. Yesterday, I got four calls from Republican legislators within two hrs of a post I did on this yesterday; I also called some people myself and it just amazes me how upset these lawmakers are and how deep this RRA nonsense runs.

First let's get some background:

1. Many members of the majority have been upset with Fred Wadnola and the leadership in the party, that is pretty clear when you have Mike Sweeney threatening to bolt the caucus and giving us accounts that people in leadership were flat out told him to shut up and sit down and than there is Laura Petit who actually said enough is enough and left the party.

2. The RRA is a mess I think what we have heard is just the tip of the iceberg on what we will find out in the coming weeks and months, including an $800 dinner the rra had a little restaurant in the town of Ulster called Fred's place, while Wadnola was on the board, among other frivolous expenses...there are major players involved and there are people in my opinion that wish this entire thing would just go away.

3. Kevin Roberts a former chairman of the RRA, is the head of the committee that oversees the RRA and has been one of it's biggest defenders. At some point last year Roberts decided that he didn't want to chair the committee anymore (which who could blame him) and Chairman Wadnola offered it to Legislator Terry Bernardo, who went to the last meeting and was introduced by Kevin Roberts at the meeting as the incoming chair.

From what I hear, members, employees, and people with close knowledge to the rra called Legislator Bernardo and confided some information to her, including audio tapes that Terry was ethically obligated to turn over to legislative attorneys. Shortly after that Chairman Wadnola (also a former rra member) and Robin Yess decided that Terry should stay were she is at as chair of the gov opper comm and Roberts would keep the rra..these people really have no shame at all!

4. Meanwhile, Fred was still upsetting certain members of his caucus and talks of replacing him were discussed, Terry Bernardo is asked and recruited to run, she never announces her candidacy or actively seeks the office. Terry instead meets with former Chairman and veteran lawmaker Rich Gerentine to try and find a way to bring everyone together. Gerintine has a talk with Wadnola and some issues get one challenges Fred for the chairmanship and he is reelected.

5. Little did Gerentine know, Fred Wadnola decided in late December with Majority Leader Paul Hansit that they would replace Terry as chair of the government efficiencies committee but decide for obvious reasons to them, not to tell her. "Fred Wadnola wanted a little pay back and bullied leadership in to keeping their mouths shut, he wanted Terry to find out in the press" a lawmaker told me asking his name not be used.

Really this is not just about getting back at Legislator Bernardo, Bernardo was not running for chair, she was raising a red flag like Bonacic did when he had reservations about Joe Bruno, and he was right. This is about a deeper cover up with the rra and a power struggle between the old guard of the legislature, that is used to a certian way of doing buisness and the new that refuses to accept the good ol' boy politics of the past.

Several times during conversations with Legislator Bernardo, Wadnola has tried to put her and other legislators in their place, at one instance Wadnola said to Bernardo "Listen here, young lady", Really? Are you kidding me????? I wish Wadnola would say that to someone like Shirley Whitlock, who would of knocked him out. But really, How dare Fred Wadnola address anyone like that, it's completely inappropriate, demeaning and just out of line to address a colleague like that. Especially one that the Chairman might be able to learn something from.

It's going to be an interesting year and if there is anything good that came out of all of this, it is the fact that Wadnola in appointing Shapiro (a progressive Democrat) to chair a committee that is designed to oversee and come up with ways to make government more efficient, he's admitting he thinks Democrats are the most qualified to find these answers. I hope when election time comes the general public will agree and return Democrats to the majority. Which shouldn't be too difficult because I think a lot of Republicans in key districts will be without the Independence line in 20111. Hey, that's politics and if your gunna challenge the Indy chair's wife....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wadnola Makes Shapiro Chair of Gov Oper Committee Over Bernardo

Chairman Fred Wadnola ousted Terry Bernardo as chair of the government operations committee and named Democrat Brian Shapiro as the new committee chair. Terry who considered a run for chair herself graciously backed off her run in an effort to heal her party. This is a sleazy move by Fred but is consistent with his hatred of women in positions of authority. More on this when I have more information.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ghetto Guerin Mulls Run for Kingston Mayor

Former Assemblyman John Guerin
John Guerin announced yesterday if the stars "align for him", he will run for Kingston Mayor. Mr. Guerin is a shroud guy, bright, charismatic, a little arrogant but well respected in Republican circles. His candidacy would give the Republican party a real shot at winning back the mayor's office.
In my humble opinion, I don't see Mr.Guerin running at the end of the day, his name is always thrown around as running for office, and the final result is always someone saying: John (a very wealthy Kingston businessman) just won't take the pay cut. This candidacy is brought on by Guerin wanting a little attention and giving himself an opportunity to test the waters for the office he really wants to run for, Ulster county executive.
While I think the town of Ulster resident won't run, his candidacy would be interesting. Certainly if he runs it looks like he has a clear path to the nomination, Kingston Republicans thinking of running now, know that if Guerin is in, they are pretty much out. Guerin is known to be outspoken, almost to Carl Palidino levels, right off the gate, Guerin is in the paper talking about how Midtown Kingston is one big ghetto. I am sure there are plenty of more of those great inspirational quotes to come if Guerin runs, stay tuned.

President Obama gave the best speech I have ever heard in my life last night. It was so moving and really started the healing process for the victims of Arizona. I really encourage people to watch the video. I think every American that watched across the country last night was proud of their President.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Key Bank in Kingston Robbed

The Key bank in Kingston was robbed, still no word if Mayor Sottile is blaming the police for the robbery..will keep you updated ;~)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Recent Ellenville Audit Shows Auerbach Was Right to Blow Whistle

Our hat comes off to Ulster County Coptroller Elliott Auerbach, a recent audit of the Village of Ellenville raised a few red flags on some of the financial practices of the Village by NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Elliott Auerbach, the Village manager at the time, blew the whistle on this whole mess, after noticing discrepancies from the village treasurer's office (the treasure is the chief fiscal officer) he reported them to the village board who did nothing about it.

The Village boards response or lack thereof promoted Auerbach to call for the NYS Comptroller's audit. Good to see that Elliott Auerbach was blowing the whistle on waste fraud and abuse long before he became the watchdog of Ulster County.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Reynolds gets it; Sennett Looking Strong to be next DA

Hugh Reynolds on the District Attorney's Race:

Republican district attorney Holley Carnright of Saugerties came into office three years ago under a cloud, inheriting the too-long-delayed and underfunded grand-jury investigation on the jail from Don Williams. Under those conditions, that Carnright produced virtually nothing was surely no surprise. But, Republicans, after activist DAs like Williams (now a county judge) and appellate judge Mike Kavanagh, probably expected more than a nine-to-five low-profile chief prosecutor who shunned so-called “political cases.”Both sides believe this office in play.

Politicians, like generals, tend to fight the last battle. It is not lost on anyone that Carnright polled 46 percent of the vote in the 2007 three-way race with Democrat Jonathan Sennett of New Paltz and now Democrat, Vince Bradley Jr. of Kingston running on the Conservative and Independence lines. Unspectacular, steady Carnright, the minority DA, is the GOP’s best hope. And that speaks volumes.

Sennett, assiduously courting Democratic support for the last three years, should be his party’s standard-bearer. The only real “outsider” three years ago, he could, with some tweaking of out-of-step leftish tendencies, be a formidable candidate in a one-on-one race this time.

Cahill Legislation Would Provide Property Tax Reform

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D–Kingston) introduced two pieces of legislation Thursday aimed at improving public education and lowering real property taxes for the residents of New York. His bills focus on modernizing the education system while easing, and subsequently eliminating, the burden of rising, regressive property taxes as a means of funding.

“We must take transformative actions if we are ever truly going to get a handle on the property tax crisis that is crippling our state,” said Cahill. “A property tax cap by itself will not solve the problem. We need to give our schools the tools they need to actually start cutting costs without sacrificing the quality of our children’s education.”

The 21st Century Schools Act is designed to curb school spending through shared services and consolidation by maximizing the utilization of BOCES and increase cooperative participation, using expanded regional approaches to pay for bigger ticket items like transportation, special education and health care. The measure also calls for a complete reexamination of school district lines in order to more efficiently deliver services to school districts. The legislation would create an implementation board modeled after the successful Commission on Health Care Facilities, better known as the Berger Commission. The panel would assure the goals of modernization, educational excellence, efficiency and cost reduction.

The Equity in Education Act would shift away from, and ultimately eliminate, the use of locally raised revenue, including real property taxes for the purposes of funding education. Cahill said this bill is based on the commitment that it is the state's responsibility to ensure that every child, everywhere in New York, has an equal right to a quality education regardless of where they live or the level of their family's income. The bill would phase out school property taxes and replace them with a progressive education income tax surcharge.

53% Say Sottile is doing a Good Job

Outgoing Mayor Jim Sottile gets a thumbs up on his job performance according to a recent poll on the blog. 53% say they approve of hiz honor's job performance. The poll is not scientific of course, with the Mayor's actual numbers probably in the mid 20's or so.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Chairman Wadnola, Where is the Transparency?

What up with Chairman Fred Wadnola canceling all the committee meetings for the month of January? It's suspicious with an ongoing investigation of the RRA, that Chairman Wadnola is doing this, Wadnola a former board member of the RRA, is widely expected to be criticized to say the least for his handling of this whole mess, the timing is suspect.

Putting that aside, what is the reason for canceling County business the first month of 2011, when there is so much work to be done???
I hear a month long vacation in Florida is one of the reasons..which is unacceptable, can you imagine if Mike Hein or a Democrat did that?

This does not look good, with the Republicans all but guaranteed to lose the County Executive race next year do they really want to lose the legislature without a fight too? With the GOP caucus losing members and others talking about starting their own caucus/coalition government, maybe it's a good time the legislature look at a new chair...just sayin'.

Mayor and Minority Leader Agree on Attacking KPD

Kingston Police Chief Jerry Keller

Kingston Mayor Jim Sottile and Minority Leader Andi Turco Levin agree on blaming the Kingston Police department for a recent shooting that happened at an illegal night club in Kingston's midtown.

“Three hundred (patrons) knew about this (party),” Sottile said. “I think we need to fine tune our intel operations. I think that this slipped through the cracks and I hope we don’t have any more slip through the cracks.”

Sottile added, “How is something of this magnitude done in secrecy?

“I mean, a group of 300 people can go to an illegal setting undetected,” Sottile said. “That certainly concerns me. ... Where is our intel at this organization (the police department).”

Council Minority Leader echoed Sottile's comments:

“I would have to agree with him that they should have been a lot more proactive in finding out what was going on,” Turco-Levin said.

Turco-Levin pointed out the party was announced on the Facebook page of the Newburgh-based Street Cannibals motorcycle club.

Wow! I have not heard comments that stupid and short sided in sometime.

I am glad the city of Kingston police department has the confidence of the mayor and the council Minority, way to boost the moral. The mayor really should be praising Chief Keller and Det. Matthews for arresting the people involved so swiftly not attacking them for not being proactive enough. They are not psychics they can't predict a shooting will occur.

Furthermore, Sottile has real nerve to complain about KPD not knowing what's going on, when he attempted to fire police officers and cut the force and limit their resources. Maybe if the KPD didn't have to fight to save their jobs, they could have been out preventing these crimes from occurring as hiz honor suggests.

Police Chief Jerry Keller runs a fine department that does an excellent job keeping Kingstonians and visitors to Kingston safe, the Mayor of our city should not be attacking the department and if Jim Sottile has legitimate concerns he should bring it up at the police commission meeting, (a commission that he is in charge of) not beating his chest in the Daily Freeman.

Comptroller Auerbach Sworn in for New Term

Informative Read: County Legislator Mike Sweeney

Legislator Sweeney is just the best, didn't think I would ever say that about a Conservative but during his time on the legislature, Sweeney has proven time and time again that he gets it. It's a shame he is choosing not to run for reelection but after you read what he has to go through with the County Republican party who can blame him???

Read Legislator Sweeney's latest blog by clicking this link

Here is an excerpt:

For the past several days, I have been contemplating leaving the Republican Caucus and forming a new Caucus with the idea of increasing transparency. In my past year of service, I've noticed that the Legislature is basically a "rubber stamp Legislature", meaning there is no real discussion about much--everything just passes.

I've also found that there is very little difference between the two Caucuses, which is why most votes pass unanimously, with maybe a handful of dissenters on occasion.Recently, I was very strongly urged to NOT fight for the tax cut that I fought for. That person has to understand that I am at the service of the people of Ulster County... the taxpayers, NOT the caucus.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Pictures from Governor Cuomo's Day One

This is probably my favorite shot of Andrew Cuomo ever! He looks so presidential, and look at that suit hes got on..nice!
Welcome Governor!

Andrew orders the removal of the barricades on state street, and promises more access to the second floor!
Governor Andrew Cuomo's first press conference.

Here are some picture from Governor Cuomo's swearing in today. Photos are courtesy of Dan Torres, who was a Blaber News correspondent for the day :~). I want to thank Mr.Torres who was nice enough to do me a huge favor and went and took great pictures from the inauguration, above are a few..the one of Cuomo coming down the stairs is by far my favorite picture of Andrew Cuomo. (btw- Look at John Milgrim in that photo (left side, red tie) and the one at the press conference, congrats my friend, you're in the big leagues!!!!)

The Governor's message today was great and I think he will be a very succesful Governor.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Wow, not wasting anytime...looks good to see it in print.