Sunday, August 31, 2008


Oh what a day it’s been. I had my morning meeting with NY Senatorial candidate Larry Delarose in Newburgh and thought it was going to be an easy day.What did I know.

I had a DJ session scheduled from 2-7 this afternoon at Kingston Point Park for my friend Mark. He, his family and friends had a blast and asked that I do a repeat performance in a month or so.

What I didn’t know was that I would end up at Mariners for the after party like the rest of them. After some serious persuading, I wrestled the equipment back out of my truck and did that repeat performance the same night.

Who knew I would bring down the house enough to warrant the appearance of KPD. They took one look at who was making all the racket and said what are we supposed to do with him?

I volunteered to quiet the soundtrack down with the understanding that I would shut down before 1am. Mind you, none of my punters were thrilled with the rejuvenated party being shut down, but they got over it quickly. I announced last call at 12:30 and set the schedule for the evening for about 40 or so people. Where they went after I repacked my equipment, I haven’t a clue. But thanks to Sal and crew, I’ve lined up two birthday parties and a fundraiser.

I’ll see you all at the Hooley this Sunday as I promote Larry Delarose for NY Senate at the Democrat booth from 3 to 9pm…stop in and say hello.

Friday, August 29, 2008


So John McCain has picked a woman for VP. Can you imagine? I think I see a few more cracks in the glass ceiling.

Today on NPR, I heard the press conference with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as she accepted McCain’s offer. She congratulated the strong women who dared to venture before her, Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton; noting how close they came and acknowledged that without their triumphs, she may not have been at this point in our political history.

I wonder what kind of debate we would have seen with Sarah and Hillary at the same table, but were stuck with 20th century Joe Biden. Sarah will ask: “Didn’t you vote to give the president the authority to go to war just like Hillary?” He’ll say “Yes, we were mislead, but yes”, then she’ll say “Didn’t Obama beat Hillary to death over that vote?”

Governor Palin is a God-fearing, gun-toting former beauty queen who could just become America’s next vice president. She’s a lifelong member of the NRA who hunts, shoots, and fishes regularly.

With only a few years as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska before becoming Governor for two years, she’s got the same credentials as Obama, but is seeking the VP position as an understudy. These are points the Republicans will pound home for the next two months.

What works for Democrats? She’s ultra conservative on social issues. She’s Anti-Choice, anti-equal rights for the LGBT community. She doesn’t believe humans are influencing the climate change and rails against affirmative action and universal healthcare.

Palin would drop the assault weapons ban and feels our country’s addiction on oil can be satisfied with advanced drilling in Alaska. I can only assume she wants prayer back in public schools.

McCain shocked the country with this one. I didn’t see this one coming at all. I expected Hutchison from Texas.
I’m not sure Sarah Palin will be an issue three weeks from now, but it sure gives us all something to chatter about in the meantime.


I know all my political junkie friends were watching the Democratic Convention tonight. You all saw what I saw. A stadium full of enthusiastic democrats who long for change. A change from the politics of exclusion, elitism and policies aimed to help those of wealth and privilege.

As a long time Hillary supporter, you know I have been hesitant to jump on-board with this movement, but that's what it is…a movement from the ground up, of everyday people who have had enough of the failed policies of the last 7+ years. Yes, Hillary would have won this race had she been chosen, but to see the crowd at Keegan Ales tonight, for the Obama viewing party, I saw an energized grass roots movement willing to work for change.

Obama finally laid out a detailed plan and the means to fund it. The grandiose illusive speeches of the past were replaced by a detailed and sincere speech worthy of a Clinton. For that, I am thankful and have decided to open myself to the possibility of President Obama.

With the big screen behind me and the sound turned off, I got to tell the crowd of 100+ guests, that their enthusiasm shouldn’t stop with just the top ticket in November. I reminded everyone that we cant implement the change Obama is offering unless we vote all of Row A in November.

In the audience were Kevin Cahill, Elliott Auerbach, Tom Hoffay and Peter Laughran. We, and so many fellow Democrats, are on the front line everyday.

The philosophy of the 20th century is embedded in the Republican Party and we damn well better do something to stop the continuation of the Bush/Vader/McCain policies of the last century.

Look for me on Channel 6 news Friday evening for the party coverage Thursday night.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


The Mayor has negotiated a contract with the Kingston Police Benevolent Association.

In the contract, he has delegated his assumed authority of firing to an arbitrator that would be accredited and offered on a list with NY State.

This is only one of many actions that seem puzzling while he vacations in Florida this week. The Finance meeting, held with short notice, was scheduled to review and usher in the new contract, but it quickly became a verbal exchange regarding the duties of the Commission.

What is a Police Commission? A board of civilians who are given the power to review and decide the hiring and firing as well as any penalties and procedures involving police conduct. It places the final say in police matters, in the hands of a civilian group theoretically, outside of political ties.

According to our Charter, the Mayor appoints four citizens with himself as president of the commission. They review the actions of officers and evaluate their conduct in cases where anyone is accused of wrong doing.

What the Mayor has given away in this current contract is the right of the Commission to decide the penalty and/or firing of the officer, should it come to that.

If such an action reaches this point, an arbitrator would take the case and render a decision based on his/her findings and that decision would be final: No option for appeal.

The commission, feeling the officers deserve the right to an appeal, should a case reach this point, argued that the change in authority, should not happen trough a contract negotiation, but through a charter revision voted on by the public. They argue that the Charter modification for Strong Mayor dictated very clearly that the Mayor was the chief hire/fire exec in charge and that the abdication of this duty isn’t for him to decide.

I should note: The cases involved with police officers and conduct reach this point once every 10 years. As the Committee decided, we would pass this out to the floor with the understanding that this contract was negotiated in good faith, and the ramifications of stopping it, would place the city in financial harms way.

The detail around the firing of officers, as rare as it is, may become the focus of Tuesday’s Council meeting, or may not. Either way…the raises have been set and the give-backs have been settled with additional legislation to add three officers through the school security program.

Of course you realize that this is an added expense and we will see this reflected in the 2009 budget. I feel the 2009 taxation crisis is going to be painful. So, If I’m concerned, you should be too.


Here I am, writing once again about the Democratic Convention. I cannot begin to express the adoration I have for Bill Clinton. It doesn’t make sense. One thing is sure, I am not alone.

The delegates stood on their feet and roared for over 3 minutes when Clinton walked on stage. Bill basked in their affection for a while, but after several false starts, he finally ordered them to "Sit down!"

Bill Clinton always gives the audience the most bang for the buck and since leaving office in 2000, this was his most compelling speech. With a stadium full of his biggest fans, he had them in his hands, but also sent his message to the rest of the country.

He and Hillary didn’t pull any punches during the primaries this spring. Harping on Obama’s lack of experience, but Bill suggested that on such weighty issues such as the Middle East, Russia, and the threat of global terrorism, Obama would be leaning on his well seasoned vice president, Joe Biden.

Clinton said “With Joe Biden's experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama's proven understanding, insight and good instincts, America will have the national security leadership we need".

Clinton continued while Jabbing a finger at thousands of cheering delegates: "I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November." Thus; continuing the plea by Hillary the night before.

The night ended with the acceptance and speech by Joe Biden himself. His family to support him, a great narrative on his beginnings and the 1 – 2 punch by Bill and Joe gave the frenzied crowd the red meat they longed for.

I will hold my judgment on how this convention helps the campaign until after the Republicans are done this time next week. Obama has his work cut out for him as he takes the title of Democratic Presidential nominee.

There are still unanswered questions regarding Obama’s experience, judgment and policy initiatives. Bill’s endorsement and Bidin’s partnership only carry so much clout. Obama has to sell the message of change himself for the next few months.

Can he do it? There’s no way to tell…but it provides enough substance to sell hours of commercial time on the cable news channels. November cant come soon enough.

Monday, August 25, 2008


We have just witnessed the first of four days of the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver.

With appearances from former rivals Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy, to Republican Obama supporters, we got to close with a close up and intimate conversation with Michelle Obama.

Another strong woman has taken her place in the Democratic Party; paying tribute to her parents and their work ethic, while acknowledging the hard fought civil rights movement and the tireless leaders who made tonight’s event possible.

Michelle moved me in a surprising way. I don’t know what I expected. I knew she would be well spoken and have great presence, but she made sense as well. She also brought a human side to this equation. Who are these people who wish to lead this nation? How did they get here?

It was nice to mention the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. Evoking the name Hilary Clinton in her convention speech after all we’ve been through was a nice touch. I’m glad there was a bridge built to the Clinton legacy.

But Day two is just hours away. Senator Clinton will have her time as keynote speaker on stage for the world to view. Hanging on every word and study her every nuance. You can expect the best performance from the woman who came so close in 2008.

Will the three royal houses of the Democratic Party, Kennedy/Clinton/Obama come together to wrestle the White House from John McCain? We shall see.

Ill be by my television for this one.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Wow, another excellent day. What a perfect opportunity to have brunch with Kevin Cahill.

Oh, did I mention he had his brunch fundraiser this morning?
(Blaber, Brian Cahill, Rob Parete and Ed Paladino pictured left)
Yes, I just had to trek south to the town of Rosendale to experience the brunch buffet at the Bywater Bistro on Main Street.
Kevin's fundraiser was the initiative to try it out, and I strongly recommend sampling their menu. They are open 5 - 9pm weekdays.

The event was from 11am to 1pm and was well attended while I was there. Some attendees I havent seen in quite a while. It was so nice to catch up on life with a few. Included were MaryAlice Cahill. (pictured here with Alderman Tom Hoffay)

My time amongst the guests was limited though, I served as a guest on the liberal radio program on WKNY from 12:30 to 1:30. So, I sampled the treats and split early.

Here is a back patio picture stolent from their website.

Kevin's opponent was supposed to appear on another morning radio program today, but didnt show up. So I guess today was Kevin's Day...sunshine and all.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Today, you can see the display of several classic firetrucks and aparatus on Fair St in uptown Kingston.

The Firefighters Museum is open! The volunteers and their antique collection are parked along the street for all to see and touch. The new Hasmat Unit is also on display for those who want to see the most up-to-date disater control center that our tax dollars have provided the county.

I took the oportunity to get a few shots of the trucks and included Senatorial candidate Larry Delarose in some of them.

I know, with Larry having numerous Firefighter friends in the mid-Orange County area, that he would enjoy the trucks and museum on this terrific Saturday in Kingston. We both chatted up a storm with the museum staff and the firefighters, but getting a close look at those older trucks always gets my attention.

I guess, with weather as nice as we've had lately, the question I have to ask is...

Did you and your family get out of the house today?


Joe will be an excellent VP and perhaps President in the future. Lets see how this news is received with the Obama supporters. I may actually vote for the top ticket after all.

Friday, August 22, 2008


This recent Tuesday, something wonderful happened in Albany. Yes, on occasion, something that touches the common citizen is considered and acted on. It involves your property taxes and public education.

There has been a continuous cry for help from New Yorkers aimed at our representatives to find a more equitable way to fund our schools. Well, we got the message to Albany.

The State Assembly rejected the 'tax cap' gimmick from the Senate, and instead passed a bill that would give immediate property tax relief to middle class working families while maintaining school funding.

You’ve heard about the “circuit breaker” proposal? No? Those of us who either thrive on politics or are responsible for the municipal operations of any town or city, follow such issues as if they were our own.

The Assembly's bill would establish what's called the 'circuit breaker.' It delivers a targeted property tax cut based on family income, and pays for it by modestly rolling back income tax giveaways for the rich.

Now the fight moves to the State Senate, still controlled by the Republicans, who talk big about property tax relief but haven't said whether they'll even bring the Assembly's bi-partisan "circuit breaker" bill up for a vote.

I wonder if our Senator Bill Larkin is willing to consider the needs of his middle income families in Orange and Ulster County. Will he ask Skelos to bring the ‘circuit breaker” bill out to the floor? Don’t hold your breath.

His opponent, Larry Delarose (seen here with Alderman Hoffay) is well aware of the affect of New York taxes on the average household.
Delarose said he is proud of the Assembly’s swift action as we head into the most fiscally painful winter we’ve seen in decades.

New York faces tremendous challenges in both job creation and educated youth retention. The “Circuit Breaker” concept is a good small step.

In an email, Dan Cantor of the WFP explains: To pay for the circuit breaker responsibly, the Assembly's bill asks the wealthiest New Yorkers, who've seen the lion's share of tax cuts, to contribute a little bit more. Those earning more than $1 million a year would see their income tax rate rise 1%. Make more than $5 million a year ($96,000 a week) and your tax bill would bump up 1.75%. In exchange, in the midst of tough economic times, a lousy job market, and a foreclosure crisis, millions of working New Yorkers would see a tax break exactly when they need it most.

I would suggest contacting Senator Larkin, since he’s our Senator until January 1st, and asking him to support the Assembly’s proposal. New Yorkers never needed help in such an urgent way as we do today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

SECRET SERVICE: Your tax dollars at work

Every day the Secret Service thinks: Today could be THE day.

That's the sober mind-set going into the presidential conventions this fall. Both conventions present special security challenges considering it’s the longest political campaign in history.

The Secret Service and FBI are not ignoring the traditional terrorists groups, but are adding special attention to other extremists; radicals from the left or right, anarchists, lone wolf crazies who may become unhinged. The uniqueness of the Obama campaign raises the risk factor.

Mark Potok, who regularly monitors white Supremist Blogs for the Southern Poverty Law Center said: "I think that officials have every right to be worried."
However, these same crazies despise Republican John McCain, too. "They see him as a traitor, a guy who lies about immigration."

The Secret Service budgeted more than $15 million for both conventions, but it will cost a couple of million more because of Democratic candidate Barack Obama's decision to accept his party's nomination at an open-air stadium in Denver.

Tens of thousands of delegates, reporters and protesters will flock to Denver Aug. 25-28 and St. Paul Sept. 1-4. These conventions are attractive platforms for terrorists and other groups that want to cause disruptions. There will be 4,400 agents and officers working the conventions this year.

It costs the Secret Service about $45,000 a day to protect each candidate. Obama received protection almost a year earlier than officials expected and has had a detail since May 2007. And as soon as each candidate announces his vice presidential pick, new protective details are deployed for the second-in-command hopefuls.

Tom Ridge, the country's first Homeland Security secretary said the Secret Service, which became part of his department in 2003, is up to the task. "They'll get it done."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Wow! Am I really seeing this? Here it is mid-August and the “Chosen One” is slipping in the national polls. What could be happening here?

In a sharp turnaround, McCain has opened a 5-point lead on Obama and, according to the Zogby/Reuters questionnaire, McCain is perceived to be a stronger manager of the economy.

With McCain at 46% and Obama 41% percent likely voters, Obama’s 7% lead has dried up. What would you say is the cause; the wishy-washy answer on women’s reproduction, the off shore drilling flip-flop? Or could it be that America really didn’t understand his trip overseas?

Zogby says: McCain now has a 9-point edge, 49 percent to 40 percent, over Obama on the critical question of who would be the best manager of the economy. So, who is Obama listening to on these key issues?

Keep in mind, there is the nagging issue of gas prices and the need for solutions to the energy crisis we are heading for. McCain’s push for an expansion of offshore oil drilling as gasoline prices hover near $4 has excited the electorate.

Obama had opposed new offshore drilling, but said recently he would support a limited expansion as part of a comprehensive energy program. Even though it would be over 10 years before a new oil rig would offer its first drop of crude.

According to Zogby; Obama's support among ages of 18 and 29, which had been one of his strengths, slipped 12 percentage points to 52%. McCain, who will turn 72 next week, was winning 40% of those same voters. "Those are not the numbers Obama needs to win,"

Of those questioned, how many do you think were Hillary Clinton supporters and who do you think they voted for? You guessed it! With the youth vote slipping and probably wont show up November 4th and Clinton supporters still angry about the open primaries, Obama may not realize the dream of being the first black President. Everything seems to depend on who either of them chooses for VP.

Zogby’s telephone poll of 1,089 likely voters had a margin of error of 3% points.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Im posting this as it was recieved:

From the National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST to Hold Public Webcast on World Trade Center Building 7 Collapse
Investigation Findings: Gaithersburg, Md.

- The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will hold a public webcast on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008 to describe its findings and recommendations after anextensive investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, collapse of World TradeCenter Building 7 (WTC 7).

WTC 7 was a 47-story building that fell nearly seven hours after the World Trade Center (WTC) towers collapsed on September 11. The live webcast, which will show the press briefing at which NIST's WTC 7 report will be released, will occur from 11 a.m to noon Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Aug. 21, 2008.

The general public may access the webcast bygoing to During the briefing, NIST will present the probable collapse sequence for WTC 7 along with recommendations for improving building and fire safety inother buildings similar to WTC 7. The draft WTC 7 investigation reportreleased at the briefing will be open for public comment through noon onSept. 15, 2008.

Dr. Shyam Sunder, director of the NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory and lead investigator for the federal building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center disaster, will present the report and answer questions from reporters during the briefing.

The WTC investigation Web site at will contain links to accompanying materials such as the full report, news release, and visuals starting at the time of the briefing. For more information, please call 301-975-NIST.


Monday night, UC Legislator Peter Laughran, D Kingston, formally asked the Kingston City Committee to consider endorsing him for Democratic Elections Commissioner.

The position opens after this fall and is currently held by UC Democratic Chairman, John Parete.

Members of the Committee say they have gotten mixed messages as to John's intentions this fall. Cosidering the rumored 5 or 6 others who may announce their candidacy for the same position, the Committee decided to wait to endorse anyone until Septembers meeting.

Peter made it clear that after a long introspective search, he is determined to run for the position regardlass of John's intentions. Peter has served on the Common Council as well as the Ulster County Legislature for decades, and has sought the DEC position over 20 years ago.

Best of luck Peter. You are qualified and respected, but the field of contenders will make any campaign tough, and there are so many town boards to convince.
Whether the seat is open or not may depend on the ethics ruling on the Legislature. Parete may have to chose which hat fits best.

Monday, August 18, 2008


OK, I know that many of you read the papers about the Police Academy student who allegedly sold cocaine to an undercover cop? What is happening here?

Delvon Wiggins. At the ripe old age of 22 is now in custody for drug sales and possession. This is a student in UCCC enrolled in the Police Academy.

Is this a cry for help? Could he really be that stupid?

Wiggins was pulled from training and arrested by his instructors and narcotics police Friday afternoon. I’m sure the arrest caused a spectacle at the campus. Think of the chatter in the classrooms this week when everyone digests this story.

Now, as a twenty-something, what do you suppose these students will think of the irony within the criminal law courses at Ulster? Think back…you know its going to be the source of this semester’s jokes.

The Daily F states: After making the transaction and learning that the suspect was enrolled in the police academy, URGENT accelerated its investigation, authorities said. Wiggins was indicted by an Ulster County grand jury Thursday, and arrested at 1:55 p.m. the following day.

Can I suggest looking further for answers? Like where are his parents? Didn’t they ask where did Jr get all his money? Did they think his weekend lawn mowing job paid for the new car?

Note: This isn’t fair to the rest of the students taking the course. The public will have the same initial reaction that I did. But it may linger. We do need to respect our new recruits as much as we depend on them.

It’s comforting to know… Wiggins was enrolled in the early phase of academy training and had not been hired by any police agency yet.
Thank goodness for small favors.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


George and Nancy Donskoj have done it again.

Since 1994, the resurgence of the ARTS community in the Kingston area has prompted and supported the Soap Box Derby in downtown Kingston.
The movement was evident to many of the local artists, so what better way to capitalize on the increased awareness than to create an event to showcase those very artists.

With strong support from then Mayor Gallo, the Derby became a success and has grown into a major weekend attraction, drawing an audience from as far as New York City, Connecticut and Albany.

Those of us who are old enough to remember the Little Rascals and their derby races know what fun it must be to create and navigate one these mobile art pieces.

Over the last few years, there have been more youthful contestants entered in the derby. They all capture the imagination and with an early exposure to the arts, some of these youngins may study art in school with a greater sense of what’s possible.

Thousands of people lines the sidewalks and gathered in Gallo Park, further entertained by live music and the awards ceremony. There were 45 minute waiting schedules for most of the restaurants. Here is a picture of my brother Greg and I at Savona’s after a 35 minute wait.

As tough as it is to find parking in the Rondout during the bigger events, the trek on-foot is well worth it. And yes, this is also an opportunity for candidates to shake hands with the crowds.

Mike Hein and family were handing out balloons as was Elliott Auerbach.

Kevin Cahill was with his entourage and Brian Cahill was watching the band.

The beautiful day was not restricted to just Democrats; Len Bernardo was joined at the hip with Glen Noonan but no sign of Quigley. I hear he doesn’t care for crowds.