Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Independence Party Backs Gallo for Mayor!

The Independence Party has just officially endorsed Shayne Gallo for Kingston Mayor!

“The Independence Party of Ulster County is an organization that believes in pro-business policies and fiscally sound government practices that foster economic prosperity for all. We believe Shayne Gallo shares those values and that is why we are endorsing him for Mayor of the City of Kingston, said Chairman Len Bernardo

Monday, May 30, 2011

WFP Backs Shayne Gallo For Mayor

BREAKING NEWS : The Working Families Party endorsed Shayne Gallo for Mayor of the City of Kingston today. We hear Shayne Gallo won the endorsement by a pretty wide margin.

I am proud to announce that today my campaign received the endorsement of the Working Families Party. From its inception, my campaign has been a grass-roots effort to work to make sure that the economy works for everyone and where politicians are held accountable to working people. My vision as mayor is that all of us, no matter where we come from, can find a good job, get healthcare when we need it, afford a home, send our kids to good schools, and have a secure retirement. This endorsement is further proof  that I am the stronger candidate to win in November. I am honored to represent the Working Families Party for the office of Mayor.

Also endorsed in the City of Kingston:

Ulster County Legislature:

Jeanette Provanzano

Mike Madsen

Alderman-at-Large: James  Noble

Ward  2: Tom Hoffay

Ward 4: Shirley Whitlock

Ward 9: Mark Halwick

Sunday, May 29, 2011

No Primaries for Incumbent Legislators

Democrats have a good shot to take back the Ulster County legislature this year, we have a lot of great candidates and we have excellent Democratic county legislators running for reelection.

As Democrats we need to focusing on picking up seats, making sure that Republicans in key districts are defeated and getting great candidates in office that share our values and beliefs.

It's bad enough some incumbent legislators have been put in the same districts and are forced into primaries to retain their voice on the legislature. Mike Madsen, David Donaldson, Donald Gregorius, and Roy Hochberg are four superb legislators, unfortunately on January 1st, we will lose two of them no matter what.

It is disturbing to see that some of our other great legislators like Rich Parete and Rob Parete are looking at facing primaries as well. This is counter productive to our goal of winning back the county legislature in November.

I strongly call upon our esteemed Chairman Julian Schreibman to discourage these primaries and to keep a strong focus on winning back the majority in the legislature.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jeremy Blaber
Democratic committeeman Ward 8

Friday, May 27, 2011

Here and There

Republicans still have no candidate to face off against Democrat Mike Hein. Apparently most Republicans are smart enough to know that Mike Hein is well liked by the public and probably is unbeatable no matter who runs.

However, Republicans are not giving up. The soon to be new Chair of the Ulster County Republican party Roger Rascoe is pretty insistent that someone run against Hein and Roger has a lot of energy and something to prove...however Rascoe as far as strategy is concerned is a complete amature, he couldn't hold a candle to myself,  let alone political Heavy Weight Mike Hein. No offense but if the Republicans wanted to gain any sort of credibility they would have made Tom Turco chairman and focused their energy on the District Attorney race...another race they will lose and lose badly.

Word on the street is Phil Sinagra is going to be made the place holder for Ulster County Executive at the GOP convention in two weeks and that Ulster Supervisor James Quigley is still thinking over a run for Executive. Quigley, who would win reelection in a walk for Ulster Supervisor, would be foolish to challenge Hein.

City Republicans are in even worse shape, we hear they have no candidates for Alderman at large or in  Wards 2,3,5,&9.

I predict Richard Cahill will emerge as the nominee of the Republican city convention for Mayor, from what I hear he has the votes. Andi Turco Levin, Ron Polocco and Jean Jacobs are all committed to going to a primary regardless of the outcome.

City Democrats have strong candidates in all wards :  Wards ;2 Hoffay, 3; Landi, 4Whitlock, 5 ;Woerner/ Keizer..Woerner will ultimately be nominee, 6; Ball, 7 ;(rumor) Frank Dart, 8; Robert Senor and 9 Halwick/Simek  I did not leave out Ward 1 because there is no candidate, expect a HUGE NAME to run in Ward 1 that will all but guarantee a victory for Democrats..I have been sworn to secrecy.

Hugh Reynolds predicted a Shayne Gallo victory for Tuesday's Democratic convention for the race for mayor. We will see. The Democratic convention will be tight because the Dem City Chairman is very much out front for Gallo's opponent Freshman Hayes Clement. Gallo's huge momentum throughout Kingston is showing, especially in midtown. As a result we hear Gallo is picking up support left and right. Regardless of Tuesday's outcome, Gallo is looking at a 2:1 primary victory.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hein Featured Speaker at NYS Democratic Convention

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein spoke yesterday at the 2011 New York State Democratic Convention held in Suffolk County. Executive Hein was invited to speak aside Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on behalf of all New York State Counties regarding the many issues currently facing county governments as well as the importance of all governments working together to better serve the people of New York State. The County Executive was chosen to represent County governments due to his many innovative solutions and reform minded approach to government.

“I was honored to be take part in such a prestigious event,” said Hein. “I will continue to work to coordinate efforts between state and local government to best serve the people of Ulster County.”

At 2010 Democratic Convention, County Executive Hein was personally asked by Senator Charles E. Schumer to deliver his nominating speech as a representative of the Senator’s upstate constituency.

Comptroller Auerbach: Ulster County Economy Rebounding

The 2011 first quarter financial report for Ulster County government could signal a turnaround in the economy. County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach released the report Thursday noting that the property tax collection rate is at 97 percent, a figure he called “really healthy,” and the sales tax is up 5.1 percent above the same period last year.

County spending is down from the same quarter in 2010, another good sign, he said.

“Equally as important is that the actual total salary and fringe benefit expenditures decreased $1 million from 2010 to 2011, and this was a decrease that was preceded by four years of constant salary increases and expenses,” he said. “So, the decrease symbolizes the fact that the exec and his office have taken seriously the necessity to do cutbacks.”

Auerbach has been pushing the county to use performance-based budgeting.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

$$$ Anything to Sell a Newspaper $$$

The Freeman was wrong to make such a huge deal out of the recent tickets of a certian Congressman's wife. I can see publishing the name as it does with other related offences in the appropriate section of their newspaper. If not they would be giving special treatment to the Congressman.

However, the Congressman's wife is not the Congressman. I highly doubt if this were any other political figure this would be news. It's unfair to hold an elected officials family to the same standard as that of an elected official.

Hey, anything to sell newspapers, right?

For the record, the person that is being accused of the traffic offence, is someone of great integrity and I believe without question will be found not guilty.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Remember to vote!

Thanks  to those participating on the school board poll. Remember though to vote on Tuesday. A few posts down you can see my recommendations on who to vote for but please give strong consideration to Robin Jacobwitz.

I got a call asking me to put something up on the budget. Normally I am very much a supporter of helping to get the budget passed. This year, I encourage you to VOTE NO on the Budget. Eliminating 11 teaching positions is simply unacceptable. I will not vote for a budget that includes those critical job cuts.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Breaking News: Robin Yess resigns as Ulster County Republican Chairman

Breaking News:  Robin Yess resigns as Ulster County Republican Chairman

So the skinny is Mario Catalano and Roger Rascoe were allegedly plotting to take out Robin Yess next month with David O'Halleran and Chairwoman Yess caught wind of the situation and decided either she couldn't win or fighting against her own was just not worth it and quit.

Robin Sent an e-mail to Republican leadership saying she could not fight the G.O.B. (Good ol' Boys) and stepped down effective immediately.

I have mixed feeling on this, I will never say anything bad about Mario Catalano, I like and respect the man but it's disappointing Robin was treated with such disrespect from day one. The Republican party wanted Robin to fail and I firmly believe it is because the GOP, just does not like women in positions of power. Look how Fred Wadnola has treated Terry Benardo. One thing is clear, like Robin or dislike Robin, the Republican party just lost one of the hardest working members of their committee. Robin worked tirelessly for the party and was not given a fair chance in my humble opinion.

This is great news for Democrats, you have Mike Hein unopposed and the chairwoman of the committee stepping down less than three weeks before the convention in a HUGE election cycle with the District Attorney race on the line. The Ulster County GOP is very wounded right now, no question.

First Deputy David Van Buskerk will serve as acting chairman. I expect David O'Halleran will run for a full term.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

WFP Candidates Forum in Kingston

Working Families Party Kingston Candidate Forum

Monday May 23rd 6pm - 9pm

The working families party is having a candidates forum with the candidates running for Mayor, city council and county legislature. The forum is open to the public and people are encouraged to attend. This is your oppertunity to ask questions of candidates that want to represent you, be there!

Legislator Benrardo Getting In Campaign Mode

Legislator Terry Bernardo on the trapeze on her recent vacation. I won't even pretend that this is something I EVER will be able to do lol

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Here and There

Mike Hein has got to be feeling good right now, the Ulster County Republican Chairwoman Robin Yess told MidHudsonNews.com yesterday that Ulster Republicans have no candidate to run against Hein in the November election! HOORAY!!!! There are two reasons for this, Hein has done a great job and is simply unbeatable in this county, and Republicans are scared to death they are going to lose the District Attorney's race to Democrat Jonathan Sennett and are focusing all efforts to try and keep the seat.

Jonathan Sennett will be Ulster County's next D.A., he is bright, charismatic and is working hard. Jonathan wants to be D.A. and it shows. It's not even June yet and Jon is out walking door to door talking with voters, raising money and preparing for a rigorous campaign this fall.

 I lived and breathed the 2007 D.A.'s race, Jonathan Sennett and Vince Bradley Jr., worked like hell, they were both hard campaigners. Holly Carnright not so much. To be honest, Holly played it smart, he let Jon and Vince fight it out and sat back and watched. Holly does not have that luxury this time around, he is going to have to work hard to win this time and I don't see him beating Sennett, who seems to have a well oiled machine operating his campaign.

The Ulster County legislative districts seem to be pretty much set and in Kingston it looks like Peter Loughran and Jeanette Provanzano (my favorite legislator) will have their own districts. Peter will have wards two, four and one, Jeanette's district will cover wards eight, six and seven. In district three, which covers wards three, nine and five, it gets really interesting. We are looking at a three way primary between incumbents Mike Madsen, David Donaldson and former Alderman Lenny Walker! I of course am supporting Mike Madsen, he's a friend of mine but I like Dave Donaldson and Lenny Walker a lot..it's a tough race, a lot of good people running.

Shayne Gallo keeps gaining momentum in his bid to become Kingston's Mayor, at this point he has to be considered the front runner in the race. I have never attended a fundraiser as diverse as Gallo's. Not only did he have over 200 people in attendence but they were regular people, not a lot of people from city hall or politicos, jsut regular folks.  People of all different economic backgrounds, people of different races and party affiliations...it was a great night and Shayne Gallo has a lot to be proud of. Gallo is inspiring this city and and making people proud to call themselves Kingstonians.

Common Council Round Up:

Ward 1- Al Teetsil has announced he is running. No Democrat has yet to come forward.

Ward 2- Tom Hoffay is running. Hoffay will have an opponent but I am supporting Hoffay, he's bright and an asset to the council.

Ward 3- Charlie Landi is running for another term. Rumblings about a possible opponent but at this point I have not heard of one.

Ward 4- Shirley Whitlock is running and I support her 110% Shirley has a Republican challenger but Shirley is doing a great job and has my support.

Ward 5- Kingston's fifth ward has some big shoes to fill! For two years fifth Ward residents had a great Alderman in Jen Fuentes, after years of having a not so great Alderman in Anne Marie DiBellaNick Woerner has stepped up to the plate and is going to do a great job, he is already active in the fifth ward and I know the residents of ward 5 will continue to be well served if he gets elected. I suspect there will probably be a primary in that race but we will see.

Ward 6- Elisa Ball is a breath of fresh air and going to do very well and there is no question in my mind she will win a seat on the council this November. I hear Mark Ingoglio, who ran for county leg may make a run against Elisa but he would just be a paper candidate.

Ward 7- I am begging Bill Reynolds to do one more term. Bill is one of my best friends and I think he is about ready after 18 years to try something else but who knows, maybe he will do one more. The Republicans had three candidates interested and there may be a gop primary in that ward.

Ward 8- Bob Senor all the way. I don't always agree with his style all the time but he knows his stuff and he follows up and is an effective Alderman. I support Alderman Senor for another term. No word of any Republican challenger yet.

Ward 9 - Mark Halwick will face off in a  Democratic primary against KPA Chairman John Simek. No word of any Republican challenger yet. I have made it very clear who I want to be Alderman come January 1, 2012: Hayes Clement ;~)

Editorial on Sottile Over the Top

Let me start off by saying I am happy Jeanne Edwards got her job back as a code enforcement officer with the city of Kingston. Jeanne is a hard worker and a woman that cares deeply about the city of Kingston. Furthermore, I am very happy that my friend Tim Williams was cleared of any wrong doing.

With that being said I have to say, the Sunday Freeman Editorial on Mother's Day was extremely inappropriate and my heart went out to Mayor Jim Sottile after reading it.
For those who missed it, you're lucky. The editorial was extremely graphic and unnecessary. I'm not saying they didn't have the right to give their opinion on the results of a sexual harassment case that cost the city a lot of money but some of the unfounded allegations and comments they printed were over the top and on Mother's Day no less.

Mayor Sottile, like his management style or hate it, he is a good guy and dedicated to Kingston and more importantly a family man. The comments they printed, I wont put up here but lets say they leave a lot to be desired. Jim has a wife and a son my age, they did not deserve to open the paper on mother's day and read that editorial about their husband/father.

In short, it was despicable and if I was a subscriber to the Freeman, I would of canceled my subscription.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vote Robin Jacobwitz for Kingston School Board

Robin Jacobwitz planting flowers at Anna Devine Garden day

I attended the debate at Miller Middle school for the candidates running for Kingston School board and all I can say is : Wow!

This year there are a lot of great candidates running for the board of education. To be very honest, all of the candidates running bring a lot to the table. The candidates forum lasted about two in a half hours and a variety of topics were covered from curriculum, to the future of the facilities in the district and of course how to deal with the unfair way upstate New York funds education through property taxes.

Another topic that frequently came up was the hiring of a new superintendent. The main role of a school board trustee is the hiring of a superintendent of schools and there is no question everyone on that stage tonight realized how important that task was and that's a good thing.

There are nine candidates running for four seats. The top three vote getters will receive a full three year term and the fourth highest vote getter will fill out the remaining term of the late Dr. David Fletcher.

Out of the nine candidates, I was most impressed with Robin Jacobwitz, Madeline Hoetger, Kathleen Collins and Maureen Bowers.

I encourage readers of this blog to consider supporting those candidates but please give a lot of consideration to Robin Jacobwitz who really stood out tonight.

A little bit about Mrs. Jacobwitz from Freeman Website:

Mrs. Jacobwitz a 40-year-old adjunct professor of education policy at SUNY New Paltz, wants a superintendent with “systemic vision” and experience working with a diverse population, preferably in another small city.

Jacobowitz, whose degrees include a master’s in education from Harvard and a doctorate in public administration from New York University, also cited as a top priority ensuring a “thoughtful, respectful, deliberate” process for transitioning the district from 11 to 10 elementary schools — not only for students and families, but also for staff.

She said the process will affect many more families than those who live in the Meagher neighborhood because elementary school attendance zones will be redrawn. Keeping costs down and maintaining quality educational programming also are priorities, she said.

Jacobowitz, who also works as a freelance education research consultant, has been active in the Anna Devine Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association, served as the grant application writer for the school’s garden and chaired the school’s Garden Committee. She lives on Old Post Road in Rifton with her husband, attorney Michael Sweeney, and four children, ages 8, 5 and 3-year-old twins.

Monday, May 09, 2011

County Executive Hein Supporting Our Veterans

This weekend Mike Hein attended the Forever Purple Heart Stamp dedication ceremony honoring the immense sacrifice of the men and women of our armed forces. The postal stamp, which will forever be in circulation, serves as a statement of our nation's gratitude towards our veterans

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Monday, May 02, 2011


Vote Jason West for New Paltz Mayor! Elect Arianna Basco and Sandy Rhodes Village Board

voting is from 12-9pm at the Village Fire House

Sunday, May 01, 2011


Justice has been served. Congratulations to President Barack Obama and our U.S. Troops

Mixed Bag

Guy Kempe, Shayne Gallo and Jen Fuentes at WFP Fundraiser at Little Italy

On Tuesday I went to the Ulster County legislature meeting, it was good to catch up with people I had not seen in a while.

A few observations:

Butch Dener's presentation on the importance of becoming an organ donor was touching. His story of survival was moving and I encourage everyone to become a donor.

Paul Hansut: maybe not all that bad of a guy, I like him. Frank Fellicello: always happy to see him, he and Rich Gerentine are great.  Rich Parete :one of my close friends and I am glad that he is now running for reelection. Susan Zimet, I am once again a fan of Legislator Zimet's and  enjoy her stories that are usually about how great she is :) Marybeth Mao: had an opportunity to bond with her a bit and she is really funny and personable.

Saw Under Sheriff Frank Falutico as well and he has got to be one of the funniest people I know, the guy is hysterical! Also got to see MariAnn DeGroodt this week (his sister) who has an absolute heart of gold.

Speaking of Falutico, Frank Falutico usually goes to all legislative meetings, it's good we have an Under Sheriff that is so involved. Deputy Election Commissioner Jay Mahler also was there, another hard working county employee that goes above and beyond her job duties. The BOE is well served under Vic Work and Jay Mahler, no question.

Prior to the Ulster County Legislature meeting I went to a protest in front of the county building that was really well attended. Terry Gilbert, Shayne Gallo, and dozens of others protested in front of the county building in favor of keeping Golden Hill county run. It was a really great event.

Mike Hein had his kick off fundraiser on Thursday, I was unable to make it but I hear that close to 400 people were in attendance and it went really well. Mike Hein is such a great guy, I had a conversation with him Friday night and he is just so impressive and can tell by listening to him that he is really passionate, his passion for Ulster County is contagious.

On Friday, I had a great night at the Working Families Party's annual mid Hudson Valley Fundraiser. This is the third one I have went to and it gets better every year. Jen Fuentes and Guy Kempe did a really great job as always. There was a lot of work and time put it in to this and the band: The Will Smith Trio was awesome! Can I also say Jen Fuentes not running for relection is a loss to Kingston.

I had a good time chatting with Jonathan Sennett, Shayne Gallo, Hayes Clement, Tom Hoffay, Sue Zimet, and a lot of other great people that night. Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and his fiance Nancy were in attendance. The Assemblyman who recently got engaged to his long time girlfriend, looked in good spirits and very happy. I wish them both the best :)

There is an election for New Paltz Mayor on Tuesday. I will devote my entire blog to Jason West on Tuesday but I want to also remind people to vote for Ariana Basco and Sally Rhodes for Village Board as well.

Clean Up Pix Redux

 Gallo and Legislator Madsen cleaning the tracks
 Clement helping clear the tracks
Gallo Hauling a huge Tree as he helps clear the tracks

Gallo Taking Part in City Wide Clean up

Shayne Gallo

Dozens of volunteers including Corporation Counsel Shayne Gallo, Alderman Hayes Clement, and Legislator Mike Madsen took part in an effort to make Kingston a cleaner place to live. Good stuff.

Hayes Clement