Monday, May 14, 2007

Same old song and dance

The lunacy on the left continued, as a number of Mayor Valerie Keehn’s supporters stormed out of the city Democratic Committee’s endorsement meeting this weekend. Party leaders were left scrambling for members, after the abrupt departure left them without quorum. Keehn’s contingent seems to believe that if their candidate chooses not to accept an endorsement, then no endorsement should be made at all.

“Let's put it in front of the voters,” Al Ormsby, a committee member from District 11, told The Saratogian after the meeting. “There is no reason to endorse candidates unless someone from outside the party wants to run on our line. That wasn't happening. It's unnecessary.”

And so the politicking continues, allowing the party divide to deepen. Or at least that’s the postulation foisted from Kamp Keehn. They insist county Democratice Committee Chairman Larry Bulman swooped into this spate of sparring last week, asking the committee to make no endorsement and thereby allowing the party to mend this divide.

But this is specious reason, to say the least. There will be no divide mended until the primaries are over in September. Even then, there are bound to be some grudges; much more than when Keehn plucked the nomination away from Hank Kuczynski two years ago. The time for conciliation was long before Democratic challenger Gordon Boyd announced his bid this winter, and long before the vitriolic bickering started echoing throughout City Hall.

The time for mending was November 12, 2005, just minutes after the voting results affirmed Keehn as the mayor. When this opportunity was carelessly pitched aside by Keehn –and maybe even Public Works Commissioner Tom McTygue –the party split was complete.

Today’s city atmosphere is also much different than it was two years ago. When Keehn came to office, she was a political wildcard; an unknown spouting some pretty ambitious plans for the office. She also rode the coattails of discontent that had grown quite long behind then- incumbent Michael Lenz; it’s not too difficult to see that many of Keehn’s votes were more a factor of the public discord with the Republican leadership, hence the so-called Democratic sweep.

This time around, the swing vote will not be in Keehn’s favor. In fact, it’s quite possible these votes may either swing in favor of the GOP candidate, former tort-lawyer Scott Johnson, or just simply not turnout to the polls at all. Regardless, the mayor’s office appears ripe for the Republicans again. After what is bound to be a vicious primary, it’s doubtful the Dems will have the war chest to take out a very wealthy challenger.

Speaking of Johnson, the candidate is already showing signs of being a prototypical Republican candidate for the office: oily, elusive and filled with double talk. When contacted by The Saratogian recently, Johnson could not “confirm or deny” his interest running, despite the fact that his candidacy was almost a foregone conclusion around the city. Two days after the article was published, he “officially” launched his candidacy.

In true Patakian fashion, Johnson chipped a press release out to the media Friday afternoon, and then didn’t bother to stick around long enough to field calls from a Times Union reporter –though it appears as though at least one news agency got through to him. To some, this might not sound like a big deal. But this could be but a small glimpse of how the attorney plans to run the mayor’s office: with carefully worded press releases fed through a fax machine at 4 p.m. before the weekend.

Casting aside both of these very minor instances, there are some fairly significant issues that seem linger in Johnson’s past, or at least that of his former law firm. Most know Thuillez, Ford, Gold, Johnson & Butler as the Albany team of attorneys that helped the state win a $25 billion master settlement agreement against the tobacco companies for public health costs related to cigarette smoking; the firm netted itself $84.3 million in fees from the case in 1998.

But the agreement was somewhat besmirched when it a state Supreme Court judge in Manhattan discovered Johnson’s firm and five others were billing New York something to the tune of $13,000 per hour for legal work done on the case. The insinuation was that the lawyers had colluded with big tobacco to become profiteers in the landmark deal. After a few years of legal wrangling, an appeals court halted the judge’s inquiry at the behest of then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who argued such a probe could not legally be revised in a way that would benefit taxpayers.

Voters will have to hash through all of this come November, when the city could quite feasibly be facing a three-way election with no viable candidates other than the wrong ones. This appears more of a trend than an anomoly in American politics: flood the polls with money, guile the voters with lies, and then do a tap dance on the hopes of the proletariat once victory is assured.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece.
November can not come soon enough.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The lunacy on the left continued..."

Your blog is starting to turn into a propaganda machine for the Saratoga County Republican Party, which for generations has put the interests of its well-heeled contributors at the expense of the taxpayers.

Many, many people in Saratoga County are disgusted with the local Republicans right now. Recently the GOP super-majority on the Board of Supervisors voted to blow the county surplus to build a water line through the northern county which is "supposedly" going to be used to supply water for the proposed tech park, which is now looking like less and less of a reality every day, given AMD's poor financial performance in the past few years. Meanwhile, the Board of Supervisors had an offer for one-third of the cost to supply water through the southern portion of the county by an international firm, but the supervisors wouldn't even consider the offer, as several land-holding developers in Greenfield and Corinth, many of which are major contributors to the Republicans (ie. Roohan), have long needed running water in that area to cash in on their investments.

It also recently came out that the county has been paying for excess office space for the past several years, as there is no longer enough room to house all of the functions of the county government on the Ballston Spa campus. Instead of the county's Republican majority doing the right thing and putting the office spaces out to bid, guess who's now housing most of the offices at a cost of $21.99 per square foot a month in downtown Saratoga? You guessed it - Roohan. Big question - should taxpayers really be footing the bill for "various projects" which are only helping to grease the patrons of Saratoga County's Republican Machine? (such as Roohan)

If you think the Democrats are so bad, just remember who some of our former officeholders were - like Commissioner of Accounts Stephen Towne (who controlled all of the housing asessments), was Tom Roohan's cousin and comptroller for Roohan Real Estate. In essence, for many years, the largest real estate firm in the city was able to influence the cost of housing here for their own financial gain, even if it meant higher taxes for most city residents.

BIG, BIG QUESTION - Are these really the type of politicians we want controlling City Hall again? Sure, there's a lot of infighting amongst the Democrats, but do we really want our city government being controlled by the Roohanites again? The Roohanite Republicans didn't ever argue because they had/have a very simple agenda - to make money (even at the expense of the city/county's taxpayers).

Horatio, unless you are willing to take a less biased, more objective approach to "local journalism," and start to cover both sides of the issues, many people will no longer be back.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it looks like the county's Democratic party chair is reading this site.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

Republican propaganda? Goodness. Throw this blog in with any dung-heap except that one. Rest assured these issues of partisan politics are neither a factor of nor an influence on the postings here at i-Saratoga. This blog is an equal opportunity offender when it comes to politicians, who by their very nature are a sordid collection of surly sots and back-scratching hookers. Please read deeper into the stacks to see where many of the aforementioned issues have been vetted with the same tongue-in-cheek pessimism.

As for the city Dems, this blog couldn’t possibly do any greater damage than they feel fit to do themselves. Hopefully, some cooler heads will prevail in the party in time to steer it away from implosion during the primaries next fall; maybe even get something done with their remaining six months in power, like they should have been doing for the past year and a half. Say what you will about the cabal of elephants leading the county, but at least they’re able to whip there party members behind a goal, albeit usually one that involves a nefarious scheme to bilk taxpayer dollars for personal interest.

Regardless of what side of the isle you land, the whole lot of these so-called leaders seems more concerned with personal politics than the people they purportedly represent; such is the point of the above post. This is a trend in government today; politicians have an increasingly hyper inflated sense of self-importance. It’s reflected in their attitudes, their comments, and their public demeanor.

And frankly, I’m mad as hell. And I’m not going to take it anymore.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please please please. Is there not any sort of Mayoral candidate waiting in the wings that can step into this mess and take the Democrats' primary? Someone with a) a brain; b) vision; c) a set of policies for accomplishing that vision; and d) competence?

Prety pretty pretty please?

If not, why don't we just hand the council over to the Roohanites right now and save everyone the hassle of the next six months?

Team Keehn should be ashamed of themselves: it took 100+ years for the good guys to get control of this city's government, and these morons have f'd it up so bad that it's being given right back to Japser & The Boys. All becasue of their idiocy.

Way to go, shitheads!

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow... Democrats are eloquent.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Bicycle Bill said...

I could not have stated it better myself.

Here is an intersting queation: what if Boyd wins the primary? Will Lady Bird and her Brain Dead Posse stay in the race? I wouldn't put it past them.

Who are these people? A bunch of housewives and work-at-home types with too much time on their hands?

My advice to them: Go back to watching Oprah!

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a life-long democrat, but witnessing the democratic party lunacy in Saratoga Springs over the past two years has driven me to 'Independent Status'. Quite frankly, both camps of the dem party should be voted out of office. Shame on all Dems for not figuring some way to work together. The amount of arrogance on both sides is terrible. What do you get when you 'reflect' right wing, extreme David Bronner in the mirror? The left wing extreme, self-righteous Keehn camp. And shame on the McTygue camp for never letting the Keehn camp play in the same sand box. This really is bully behavior.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Actually, couldn't agree more with "lifelong democrat." I'm apparently not the only one who is sick to death of the three adolescents of Saratoga politics: Bronner, McTygue, and Keehn... in no particular order.

Upton S. Muckraker

5:46 AM  
Anonymous The Truth Sayer said...

Are we sure that Keehn and her henchmen aren't really a bunch of Republican undercover agents?

Think about it: what strategy could possibly be devised that would do more to esure the return of Republican control of the city council --- than inflicting the damage onto the Democratic parrty that these clowns have done?

Another random question:

Which is more disturbing: fingernails on chalkboard; a fork in te eye; or watching Val trying to run a meeting without a clue as to the standard Rules of Order?

12:38 PM  
Anonymous bicycle bill said...

There's a new drinking game in town:

You have to chug a beer every time the Mayor says "ummmmm" during a city council meeting.

But this raises a very key question: is there enough beer in town to meet this need?

3:23 PM  

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