Sunday, October 30, 2011

Here and There Majority Leader Senor?

So much going on with all the elections in Ulster County it's hard to keep up, I went to the LWV's debate today and several people asked me why the blog has not been updated, I've just been buy and I apologize.

To address the 50 commenter's that kept writing in asking why their comment had not yet been posted, they are all up now, I did not have a chance to sit down and read them to moderate them last week.

Speaking of comments, I got a ton of comments ( like 30) that were informing me that Rich Cahill won the chamber debate last week.  Nobody cares enough to write the same comment thirty times unless there last name is Cahill and first name begins with an R.  For the record, Cahill may have carried the debate in the humor department but as far as substance, it was all Gallo.

The League of Women Voter's held their debate today and that was a complete different ballgame, Shayne Gallo won hands down, it was not even close. Gallo came across extremely competent, well prepared and with a great knowledge of the city and a real vision to move Kingston forward. I am voting for Shayne Gallo but I tried to look at the debate objectively and I was very impressed by Shayne, he has progressed as a candidate and as an individual over the last eight moths. Cahill was ok, did a good job explaining his points, I just disagree with the approach and direction he would try to move the city in.

I was not impressed at all with Ladin or Pollacco, Ron is a good friend of mine and I think he is a great guy but I don't feel he is ready to be Mayor, he does not have the experience that Gallo has, we need a Mayor that is well versed and ready on day one and Polacco is not.

A few other interesting observations on the race for Kingston Mayor:

--Last Sunday's profile of Shayne Gallo was really good, I enjoyed it a lot.  However, who does Tony Sinagra think he is? He had some nerve speaking on behalf of Democratic Chairman Frank Cardinale. Pretty much what he said was him and Frank tried to find candidates that were new and fresh. It's funny because his comment also took a shot at Polacco who Sinagra did not endorse. What was really hypocritical though was what he was actually saying. Tony Sinagra is a former Alderman and is a charter member of the Good Ol' Boy Club in Ulster County, give me a break!! The good thing is Tony is a has been and no longer taken seriously.

---While Democrats are uniting together, Republicans are still divided. Rich Cahill is staying in on the Conservative line and Turco Levin has kind of stayed mum on the Mayor's race, instead doing a lot of work as an Alderwoman (she is one hard worker and very involved in community events). By contrast I saw Hayes Clement in Shayne Gallo's head quarters and at a Gallo fundraiser, the two seem very cozy with one another and Hayes Clement has endorsed Gallo's candidacy. It's good for party unity and should help Gallo. However, it also speaks to the kind of gentleman that Clement is, it's not easy to support your formal rival but Hayes like Gallo loves Kingston and wants our City to succeed.

--- Regardless of the outcome of this race, as someone that has watched it closely, it's been fun to watch, both major parties had primaries and both of the" favorites" of those respective races lost by such close margins. The general has an unprecedented four candidates, one who has a dog as their running mate, it does not get much better than that!

Kingston Common Council Endorsements

The following is who I am supporting for Alderman. Note all wards are being done now, I am saving a few...

Ward 1- Matt Dunn  Matt is a bright young lawyer that has a great passion and energy about him that will serve our city well. He is married and has a lovely young daughter and I know this guy will do great things on the council.

Ward 2- Tom Hoffay  Alderman Hoffay is for better or worse my friend, I enjoy talking with the guy, he's an intellectual and truly cares about Kingston. He lives and breaths this stuff like I do and I have a great deal of respect for Alderman Hoffay, we may not always agree but he deserves another term.

Ward 3 Charlie Landi - Charlie always comes to meetings prepared and ready to go. As Chairman of the Kingston's Finance Committee he has done a lot of work to put forth a budget that is in the best interest of the taxpayers and residents. He is a tough guy and an asset to his Ward.

Ward 6 Elisa Ball -- Elisa is someone that never stopped working for the ward since she lost two years ago, the GOP did not even bother to field a candidate against her. Every time I see Elisa she has a smile on her face and is ready to roll, always helping people and making Kingston a great place to live...

Ward 7 Maryann Mills -- My Alderman (the guy that got me involved in politics) Bill Reynolds is retiring after 18 years of service, my Uncle Tony Crespino was Alderman for 16 years before that. Maryann Mills is someone that really gets it and is probably one of the most impressive candidates running for the common council this year. Mills has gotten a lot done for the Ward already answering and addressing concerns of residents as she goes to door to door. Imagine what she will do if she gets elected, I will be proudly casting a vote for Ms. Mills.

Ward 8 Bob Senor --- I recently was talking with an older gentleman on Hanratty street, who was telling me how he used to have a lot of issues with Bob from what he read in the paper and than he meet him. The guy said he was having trouble with a storm drain and called his Alderman, Senor was there in one hour, rolling up his sleeves and unclogging the leaves that caused the blockage. Alderman Senor like Landi is a guy that comes to meetings prepared with facts and figures. Senor can be stubborn but also willing to compromise if it's in the best interest of the ward/city. There is a good possibility Alderman Senor, could become Majority Leader Senor come January my humble opinion, he has earned it.

I will cover remaining wards next week

District Attorney's Race- Jonathan Sennett has come out swinging against D.A. Carnright and it's about time, this is long overdue. Jon's campaign has missed countless opportunities to really hit home his message and it's a bit disappointing, I think the campaign could have been stronger, it's certainly not from a lack of work on Jon's part and I will leave it at that. I'm glad Sennett himself is continuing to run strong and his campaign is getting some traction now. Jonathan sort of hulked up last week, launching a series of press conferences with a simple but effective theme: The People have a right to know. Sennett has hammered Carnright on his failure to recuse himself from the Matthews case, Carnright refuses saying that he has no conflict. However in the same breath attacking Jonathan Sennett for releasing a voucher signed by Carnright (done by foil) that Holly says is evidence in a grand jury proceeding. Well, if the voucher Holly signed is part of the evidence in a grand jury proceeding against Matthews, how can Holly claim he does not have a conflict?? You can't have it both ways. Just a note: Judge Don Williams recused himself from the case almost immediately.

There is nothing more that I would like than to see Jon win the District Attorney's race, he is extremely honest, intelligent and would make a better district attorney than the one we have now, he is the entire package.  Carnright is also very bright and a nice guy, he has the money, the endorsements and the power of incumbency behind him and will be tough to beat..we all need to get out and vote for Jonathan Sennett for District Attorney or we will lose.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

One Big Happy Democratic Family

Two things: 1. Mario's is the best restaurant in uptown Kingston, if you have not been there, you should go as soon as possible! 2.) Shayne Gallo and Hayes Clement are getting along really well and I think their ideas are going to help move Kingston forward. Shayne and Hayes are both great people and are class acts.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Golden Hill

 UPDATE: I failed to point out that Legislator Robert Parete did submit a plan for Golden Hill and long term care. The Parete plan would reduce taxpayer subsidy and enhance long term programs like home health care services, meals on wheels, assisted living ect.  Again not every legislator has held this up but what Hein has done has forced the entire legislature now to make a decision.

County Executive Mike Hein did something 33 other elected officials in this county have failed to do for almost a year..he made a decision on the fate of Golden Hill. I disagree with the County Executive, I strongly believe that Golden Hill needs to be kept as a county run facility but with that being said those quick to point fingers at Hein as the bad guy are mistaken.

For almost a year there has been a debate about what to do with Golden Hill. There have been talks about privatization, restoring the current facility, building a second facility, building two new facilities and nothing has been done. My mother is a resident of Golden Hill, I have been to countless meetings with her and it's always a run around from committee members and a complete waste of time.

While I think County Executive Hein has been clear from day one about his concerns as to whether or not the county can sustain the cost of the facility, he has also been clear throughout this entire process that this is a policy decision that the legislature needs to make. Executive Hein and the public have been very patient for the legislature to make that decision.

However there comes a point where enough is enough. The legislature just does not get it, they are so disconnected from the public and think they can sit on an issue until after the election or as long as they can hold out and hope no one will call them out on it. That was the way government operated for decades in Ulster County, until 2009 when our charter changed and when Mike Hein became our Executive. The days of pulling the wool over the eyes of the residents in this county is over.

Mike Hein said it best: GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO CHANGE. You can't have it both ways, you can't sit on an issue and keep delaying it and delaying it and than cry when the tough decisions need to be made. Hein gave the legislature more than enough time to make a decision on what to do with Golden Hill and when they failed to act, he made it for them.  The legislature now hypocritically is attacking Hein for not allowing them to make the decision...Are you kidding me?? Maybe they would of gotten around to it in 2015.

Not every legislator has tried to stall the process, there have been legislators that have been pro Golden Hill from day on, like Jeanettee Provanzano, Carl Bafiglio, Mike Madsen, Fred Wadnola, Frank Fellicello and Dave Donaldson. There have been also been legislators that have come out in favor of privatization like Ken Ronk, Wayne Harris, and Jack Hayes. At least these legislators (and this is not a full list) have taken a position.

A lot of legislators however have come up with excuses and unrealistic road blocks that need to be moved before they can vote one way or another. These legislators care more about self preservation and fear of losing an election than they do about Golden Hill or county residents.  Mike Hein is not the enemy, he is a reformer of county government.

Mike Hein has now forced the legislature to act on this matter, while Hein has stated he will veto any plan that does not include the sale of Golden Hill in the budget, the legislature can override that veto. The legislature can finally step up and show the public what they are made of, like Jeanette Provanzano tried very hard to do last month and deserves a lot of credit for her hard work.

If you want to sell Golden Hill than stand up and look into the voters eyes and tell them that by voting for the budget as proposed. My personal hope is the legislature will work together in a bipartisan manner and adopt their own budget that does not include the sale of Golden Hill, the legislature as a whole is as powerful as the executive and if enough of the legislative members are united not even the Executive's veto can stop them.  Enough with the delay tactics, and misinformation; it's decision time.

Ulster County Democratic Dinner 2011

Here are a few pictures from the Ulster County Democratic dinner. County Executive Mike Hein was the 2011 honoree and NYS Comptroller Tom Dinapoli was on hand speaking how important it is to Re-Elect Mike Hein. Our party's leader Congressman Maurice Hinchey was also in attendance looking better than ever, I'm very proud to call him my Congressman.

Ulster County Executive Mike P. Hein, 2011 Honoree
Congressman Maurice Hinchey and his wife Allison Lee

Shayne Gallo being recognized by 300 Ulster County Democrats for his impressive primary win!

Ward 9 Alderman Hayes Clement recognized for running a great primary campaign

Me and NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli

Three shinning examples of good government

DiNapoli talking with our next D.A. Jon Sennett

Former County Chairman and the great Alderman of the Second Ward Tom Hoffay

Tim Distel, a great guy running for County Legislature in Warwarsing with Comptroller DiNapoli