Monday, November 4, 2013

News That Matters - November 3, 2013 - Throw the Bums Out Edition

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Good Monday Morning,

Tomorrow is election day ~ when incumbents will be re-elected to the tune of better than 90% by the "throw the bums out" set whose vitriol seems reserved for social media as they sure as hell don't practice it in the voting booth.

First some notes:

The Affordable Care Act: It's just a website. Chill. In the meantime hundreds of thousands of Americans have managed to sign up for insurance they didn't have before. What? Oh? Millions can't? Jeez... it's amazing how that's in the states with Republican governors who refused to set up their own exchanges to punish the President by punishing their own citizens. I guess that makes sense in some sick, pathetic way.

NSA Spying: Why is anyone surprised? When you all stood in support of the USA PATRIOT Act you had to know that this, along with free hand-jobs at the airport, was part of the deal. Heck, it's in there: Spy on everyone. You gave the government permission to do this so quit complaining about it. After all, you've got nothing to hide, right? In the meantime tens of thousands of Americans, men, women and children, have been shot to death by their fellow Americans. Maybe we're not spying enough.

The War on Drugs: Even the Fed has kinda called it quits. The question is, how long will it take us to realize that the focus on criminality is nothing but a very expensive jobs program for cops and has done nothing to alleviate the real problem which is addiction?

We lost the war the day it started, as anyone with three working brain cells could have told you. It's time to end the war, fire the cops and politicians and private prison companies who are perpetrating it and start dealing with *abuse* as a health issue and not casual use as a criminal issue. It's just stupid the way we do it now and you know it.

Ted Cruz: We have muzzles, Thorazine and straight-jackets for a reason.

Hillary Clinton: Is (not) running for President (again).

Sean Patrick Maloney: When you elect a 'Bill Clinton Democrat' you get Nan Hayworth in drag. Why is anyone surprised?

Putnam County: It's the day before the election and there's no sample ballot or voter information on the county home page. Color me unsurprised. You have to go here for that:

Smith vs Levy: Oy vey is mir! One doesn't know due process and the other hires ADAs who used to work for Goebbels. I don't know which is worse.

Tilly Foster: HAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHA! I swear to the fates I told y'all this is exactly how it would end up but did anyone listen? No, of course not. I am thoroughly enjoying watching the county legislature sweat through this one. But if the truth be told, it's the chief of our legal department, the woman who wrote the contract, who should be fired.

Maryellen O'Dell: Managed to forget to endorse a high falutin' judge as part of her blanket, "Vote for Republicans" thing she did last week. I guess had she had mile markers along the way she might have found her way to not screw that up.
And talking about mile markers, after the embarrassing defeat she suffered at the hands of her constituents earlier this year, it's a surprise that the county has decided they no longer need the money from Bikepath Country and have enough in the budget to make their own signs. That just further cements in our minds that the whole thing was yet another political handout to a friend.
Greg Ball: He's still handsome as hell and dumb as a bag of rusty nails. Two years ago he was against hydrofracking even though he was in favor of it. This year he's for hydrofracking. At least he's out of the closet. On that.

Victor Grossman: What's more to say? Vote for this guy.

Kathy Doherty: The town of Kent Supervisor is running scared this year and for good reason. For the first time in memory Kent has a valid and qualified competitor for that race in Maureen Fleming
Ms. Doherty, first elected to the town board with positive karma against board members who were insulting and cruel to her and the community, she's come full circle and now treats the public the way she was treated back in the day. And she's taking three salaries. And since so many properties in the new sewer district are behind in their taxes it's pretty clear the rest of the town is going to have to pick up the tab. Did I mention the no-bid contracts? The exorbitant legal fees?
And this hydrofracking waste fluid thing... it won't quit! Earlier this year the county tried to pass a resolution banning this toxic material from being used on roads in Putnam County. But using the exact same letter Kent and Patterson objected on "home rule" grounds. The county went forward anyway with a ban on county roads only and encouraged towns to pass their own resolutions. But for some reason Kent, at least, has not. Questions to Ms. Doherty were answered with, 'you've got bad information', but there's no resolution and so we must assume that given her way there is the possibility that toxic waste can be used on our roads this winter.

And while we're on the subject, there's this unregistered "group" called "Democrats for Doherty". Apparently the Supervisor herself is asking Democrats to place these signs on their properties. It helps if they're Democrats but there's no apparent Democrat behind this. Just another campaign dirty-trick from a desperate candidate? Maybe. We'll never really know.
Lou Tartaro: Look, I like Lou. But by all accounts if he wins the council race he'll be elevated to the County Legislature to replace Richie Othmer who will become the Highway Supervisor in Kent in an(other) unopposed election. This means Lou won't serve in the capacity he was elected to and I object to that.
I also object to the Town Board selecting his replacement, someone who was not vetted through the election process as this undermines our democracy. So, I won't be voting for Lou this year and neither should anyone who believes in democracy and the electoral process.

Assuming Lou does not win on Tuesday, the county legislature will be "selecting" Richie Othmer's replacement. This is simply not fair to the voters and the law needs to be changed. Richie made it clear he was resigning months ago so a special election should have been held. That it is not, speaks loudly about the state of democracy in Putnam County.

We don't have to look to far away to see how this played out in Southeast when Roger Gross was in the same position. He denied and deferred and obfuscated and then took the job just like everyone knew he would.
Kenny Schmitt: Isn't there anyone in Carmel who wants that job?

Bob Tendy: Isn't there anyone in Putnam Valley who wants that job?

Philipstown: Yes, they're still part of Putnam County... but just barely.

Other Local Races: I'm watching you all closely! All of you who scream all over social media about how incumbents should be voted out... well, the NSA and I have set up a rig where your votes will be tallied and we'll know if you're true to your word or not.
Best as I can tell all the opposition candidates are rather good for a change. Whether it be Scott Friedman or Dawn Powell or Bernie Kosberg or John McCarron, you have viable alternatives this year.

And though they're not the opposition, Terry Stockburger and Erin Meagher are solid bets in the Village of Brewster.
Yeah, I know, we live in a Republican county. I lived in one before... Nassau County, and got out before the party machine crashed and burned and took a million people and their wealth with it. When Joe Margiotta went to prison the party ruptured internally. When Senator Leibell went to prison the party ruptured internally. How long do we hang on before things get bad for all of us?

That's up to you - on Tuesday.
Statewide Ballot Measures: This is the Big Issue this year because there are so many of them and several are incredibly confusing.
1) The first question is whether to allow casino gambling in New York State. Personally, I didn't care one way or the other. It made sense to me that driving to Monticello was better than traveling to Bumpkin, CT to gamble your dollars at Foxwoods.

Casino gambling will provide new, low paying jobs that will stress social services ala Wal*Mart, and a lot of money will stay in the state rather than go to those Aryans from Darien or to the mob in Atlantic City. But when the first mailer came promising me a reduction in property taxes I decided that a NO vote was appropriate.

"Property tax reduction", along with, "public safety" and patriotism are the last bastion of scoundrels, liars and thieves.

2) Additional Civil Service Credit for Veterans with Disabilities Certified Post-Appointment: Sure. Why not?

3) Exclusion of Indebtedness Contracted for Sewage Facilities: This amendment simply extends the time communities have to repay debt on sewer projects and that's just fine with me.

4) Settling Disputed Title in the Forest Preserve: I'm going to pull the "NO" lever on this one for a lot of reasons I don't have space nor the time to write out here even though every environmental organization on the planet supports this. First off, there's no guarantee that property owners will put the expected cash into a fund for land acquisition as the measure proposes, there's no enforcement if they don't and land disputes have almost always been settled via the courts or arbitrators. It makes me wonder who will benefit.

5) Land Exchange in the State Forest Preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc.: No. Absolutely, positively not.

Messing with lands within the Blue Line is a recipe for disaster and it will set precedent that we'll be hard pressed to quash in the future as every Tom, Dick and Co., wants to grab something from within the Blue Line. Have you ever seen "reclaimed" land? Trust me on this... I'm voting NO. It'll pass, I think, but I have a conscience.

6) Increasing Age until which Certain State Judges Can Serve: Sure. Why not. If you've made it that far in your career and you're not getting yourself lost in your bedroom, then sure. This just fixes another one of those laws the state passes without looking into the future.
You can get a fuller discussion of these ballot measures here:

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