Saturday, November 03, 2007
Trcounty DFA Update: SiCKO Showing, Meeting, Keehn Endorsements and More
In this special pre-election update:
1. RSVP For SiCKO!
2. DFA-Linkup Meeting Wednesday
3. Times Union, Metroland Endorse Keehn
4. Mukasy Confirmation Action?
5. Queensbury Update From Kathy
1. RSVP For SiCKO!
Some of us were lucky to catch Michael Moore's phenomenal new film SiCKO when it appeared at Aimee's and the Spectrum.
DFA has now teamed up with Michael Moore to feature a nationwide special event: local screenings of SiCKO followed by a live nationwide conference call with Michael Moore himself.
Harvey Noordsey first decided to host a SiCKO house party, then secured the large main sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist meeting house in Queensbury for a local screening for our area.
So, please attend SiCKO House Party/Screening on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 7:15 PM! You can RSVP at:
What: SiCKO House Parties
When: Wednesday, November 14, 2007, 7:15 PM
Where: UU Congregation of Glens Falls, 21 Weeks Road
Queensbury NY 12804
SiCKO is not to be missed! I can attest it is a surprising, deeply moving film, a real revelation and Michael Moore's best work to date. And we will have a chance to be in on the live conference call. And it is free. What's not to like?
So please attend and RSVP right away at: http://www.dfalink.com/event.php?id=24891
If you intended to come, please do so right away so that we can secure our DVD! Many thanks to Harvey for setting this up!
2. DFA-Linkup Meeting Wednesday
Next Wednesday, November 8th, we will be holding our monthly Greater Glens Falls Area DFA-Linkup or Meetup at our usual time and location, at 7pm at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe on Exchange Street in downtown Glens Falls.
Obviously, we'll be discussing Tuesday's General Election results, and the political year ahead, including the likely results of the DFA Pulse Poll for the Presidential nomination. We'll also probably do a bit of planning for the SiCKO showing at the UU the following Wednesday.
3. Times Union, Metroland Endorse Keehn
This week the Albany Times Union and Metroland Magazine endorsed Valerie Keehn for reelection.
Unfortunately, the Post Star chose to endorse Johnson. However, I am told by people in the Spa City that Keehn looks strong and is confident of victory on Tuesday and that large numbers of volunteers are pouring in to carry the day.
4. Mukasy Confirmation?
Our 2004 congressional candidate Doris Kelly sent this message out this morning regard Senator Schumer's reported willingness to vote to confirm Mukasy for Attorney General, despite the fact he has refused to declare waterboarding is torture:
"If you agree that 'no attorney general' is better than what is being offered, contact Schumer and let him know that. We had an attorney general who did not do his job, we don't need another. The Democrats must stop caving in whenever Bush wants something. They must start cutting back his usurped powers."
An article online today in the Washington Post by a former Army JAG officer makes the issue clear as can be: "Waterboarding Used To Be A Crime"
"The United States knows quite a bit about waterboarding. The U.S. government -- whether acting alone before domestic courts, commissions and courts-martial or as part of the world community -- has not only condemned the use of water torture but has severely punished those who applied it.
"After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war...
"After Japan surrendered, the United States organized and participated in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, generally called the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Leading members of Japan's military and government elite were charged, among their many other crimes, with torturing Allied military personnel and civilians. The principal proof upon which their torture convictions were based was conduct that we would now call waterboarding."
In voting for Mukasy, the Senate will, in effect, be voting to legalize a form of torture we prosecuted as a war crime after World War Two, which is to say we will have sunk to the moral level of the Axis powers.
If you agree with Doris, you contact Schumer's office at: In Washington: 202-224-6542, In Albany: 518-431-4070
If you can't get though on the phone, please send an email: http://schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWebsite/contact/webform.cfm
Kathy Sonnabend sent out an update on events in Queensbury, it is really detailed and if you live in Queensbury or Warren County, it's really worth a read. So I am pasting it in below.
See you all Wednesday at the Cafe!
If you missed the Oct. 25th debate for Queensbury Town Board candidates and Warren County Treasurer, and the TV 8 broadcast last night, TV 8 will be broadcasting again on the following dates:
Sat., Nov. 3 4-6 pm
Sun., Nov. 4 7-9 pm
Mon., Nov. 5 8-10 pm
The Warren County League of Women Voters was aided in getting TV 8 to tape the debates by Queensbury Ward 2 Board Member Richard Sanford, along with financial contributions from Citizens for Queensbury, and the Warren County Democratic and Republican Committees.
TV 8's Kevin McCullough did a great job as moderator. Questions asked were balanced and covered key areas, such as future town development, appropriate siting of the proposed fire training center and the meaning of "business friendly."
Unfortunately, the first two rows of the audience were filled with supporters of the Republican machine who tried to intimidate the candidates they opposed with cat calls and foul language. I don't think the moderator noticed because it was quick and he had his hands full with moderating the candidates and preparing questions. In future debates, the League of Women Voters will need to alert the moderator to watch for such behavior and shut it down.
Here are a few partisan comments of my own:
The Republican machine has been working very hard to regain control of the Queensbury Town Board since Richard Sanford's 2005 win over machine-backed candidate Ted Turner. The reason is that they have made fat profits on insurance, legal and other contracts with the town, as well as benefited from real estate development. When Stec and the machine lost control of the Town Board, these profits were threatened. Mike Grasso, current Warren County Republican Committee Chairman (hand picked by O'Connor), is a principal of Cool Insuring and not happy to lose the town's contract.
They hired Behan Communications to attend all of the Town Board meetings and workshops to develop a strategy. That strategy was to paint the independent Town Board members (Strough, Boor and Sanford, but particularly the latter two) as argumentative and uncivil, and to talk that up in the paper and in petition gathering and door to door campaigning. The truth is that when Stec and the machine controlled the Town Board, there was rarely any debate because decisions were worked out prior to the public meetings. With Sanford's election, there was real debate for the first time in a long time and it was Stec and Brewer who made it uncivil, to the point of angrily walking out of the room in the middle of debate and public comment. Anyone who has attended a meeting or watched TV 8 in the last two years has seen this and knows the truth.
The Macchio letter is another example of dirty politics, arriving in voters' mailboxes a few days before the primary. The truth is the Macchio's are subject to several lawsuits (by private and public parties) involving the property they devastated, including wetlands, on French Mountain. We should be thanking Roger Boor for taking the time to learn the truth and protect Queensbury. Instead, if the machine regains control of the Town Board, Stec is likely to settle Queensbury's suit with little positive result for the town of Queensbury. The Macchio's are too connected with the machine. O'Connor was their attorney, Behan Communications is their public relations firm, and the Macchio's have made significant contributions to NY State Senator Betty Little, $3000 this year and $500 last year.
In Ward 1 (and this affects all of Queensbury), the hot buttons are the proposed fire districts and the formation of the Village of East Lake George, both of which are bad ideas for the rest of Queensbury. Fire Districts, that have been established elsewhere in New York, generally do not have a good track record of fiscal responsibility, and once established, they can't be undone. While our volunteer fire fighters are very important to us, we can't always count on the leadership of each fire house to do a good job fiscally (the South Queensbury Fire House is a good example). Although Stec's supervision over the fire houses has been questionable, the town still has the right to audit and adjust funding to the fire operations. With Fire Districts, the Town loses that ability. With respect to the Village, a village adds a layer of bureaucracy and cost which makes their anticipated property tax savings questionable, but it would certainly increase taxes for the rest of Queensbury. Currently, sales taxes generated in Warren County are returned as revenue to all municipalities in Warren County based on property tax value, not where the sales are generated. This benefits many areas of Warren County, so it is unlikely to be changed. If the Village of East Lake George is formed (which is where most of our high value property is located), Queensbury will lose a large percentage of sales tax revenue even though most of the sales tax is generated in Queensbury, which bears the burden of the traffic and loss of green space. Metevier's family owns property on Lake George and his wife signed the Village petition - his family would clearly benefit from the formation of a village. If you live in Ward 1, vote for Boor.
In Ward 2 (and this directly affects many of us in Ward 1 also), Montessi says he is against building the Fire Tower at ACC, but his statement was weak compared with Sanford's. Sanford believes not only is ACC an inappropriate site, but ACC needs to preserve its land for academic programs and dormitories when it ultimately becomes a four year college. Bottom line, it is a County decision so it will take a vigorous effort by Town Board members to influence the County decision. Strough and Sanford have taken the lead in opposing the Fire Tower at ACC and seeking a more appropriate industrial location. Without them, the Town Board is unlikely to oppose the County. There is also property along Bay Road yet to be developed, most notably the corner of Blindrock and Bay owned by a partnership involving former Warren County Republican Committee Chairman Michael O'Connor and his sister, Betty Little. If not for Sanford, Boor and Strough, we would already be living with a 174 apartment complex at that location, which is zoned for professional offices with a residential look. If the machine regains control, you can expect a dense development to be approved for that location. Sanford has also saved his ward from projects that would have exacerbated existing flood problems. And Sanford has saved us a lot of tax dollars by spearheading the effort to put town insurance and legal contracts to bid. Montessi lost his state patronage job when Spitzer became governor. The Ward 2 job gives him benefits, and the machine gets someone to do their bidding. If you live in Ward 2, vote for Sanford.
In the Ward 3 debate, Sharon Borgos presented well, but people who know her say she is full of ideas but has no follow through. She has bounced from job to job. At one time she was Stec's administrative assistant and Grasso has said that she will do whatever the machine wants. She has been campaigning door to door with George Stec twisting the truth about Strough's record of hard work on projects that benefit all of Queensbury, especially environmental issues on Lake George and Rush Pond. Stough's teenage son's recent action was a huge error of judgement on his part, but was not initiated or condoned by his father. It simply represents extreme frustration at the dirty campaigning that has twisted the truth and smeared the reputation of a hard working public servant. In typical machine fashion, Borgos claims that the public is intimated by Strough, Boor and Sanford, but it is the machine that has the power to try to intimidate anyone that doesn't support what they want. Strough, Boor and Sanford have experienced it repeatedly and I have witnessed some of it. If you live in Ward 3, vote for Strough.
In the Ward 4 debate, Brewer continues to twist the facts. He claims he never saw any plans for a 5 story fire training center, but I have proof. I FOILed the power point presentation that was made at a Queensbury Town Board meeting, and it clearly stated 5 stories. Brewer is so connected to the machine that he has either forgotten or never paid attention. He also stated that it was important for developers' plan to be approved quickly. But the reason it takes so long in Queensbury to get approval is because the Town's Planning Department, under Stec's supervision, is not doing it's job. As Bryant (who has served on the Town's Zoning Board) pointed out, the Planning and Zoning Boards repeatedly have to send projects back because the Planning Department allows applications to be submitted without all the necessary requirements. It seems that Stec and his Planning Department want to satisfy the developers, and hope to strong arm the Zoning and Planning Boards into making all kinds of exceptions. This is how we have ended up with some significant traffic and flooding problems in Queensbury. If you live in Ward 4, vote for Bryant.
In the County Treasurer's race, it all boils down to this: Isn’t it interesting that Caimano oversaw the near depletion of a $20,000,000 surplus as a voting County Supervisor and Budget Officer, yet he thinks he can do a better job than O’Keefe as Treasurer who repeatedly warned the Board but has no vote? Caimano is very much part of the machine and is masterful in twisting the truth.
The election is Nov. 6, 2007.