Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hurricane Keehn

While the Yucatan Peninsula begins to assess the damage left by Hurricane Dean, Saratoga Springs continues to feel the wrath of Hurricane Keehn, which seems to hover over the city proper, inundating it with the incumbent mayor’s blustering and blundering. On the heels of calling her fellow councilmen “cowards” and winning a lawsuit to fracture yet another local political party, Kamp Keehn set up at the Inn at Saratoga last week to deliver what some of the roughly three dozen attendees described as “a rousing speech” to energize the campaign.

For those who missed the event at last week, here’s a quick recap. Jim Dean, the head of Democracy for America, prattled on about his somewhat sketchy organization before turning the mike over to Keehn, who must have crunched on a party mix of Prozac and barbiturates before achieving the remarkably flat tone she did during the campaign event.

Reading almost directly from typed copy of her speech, Keehn went on to describe the many of same initiatives she stumped on two years ago, but failed to accomplish. And as usual, she took credit for retaining the state’s $3.8 million of VLT revenues, a fund that quite clearly was restored by the most powerful Republican in the state Legislature. Then after seven solid minutes of lackluster prattling, Keehn delivered her knockout punch.

“I will continue to endure the wrath of the wretched on behalf of your families and for your health,” Keehn said, raising her voice perhaps for the first time ever. “And I have looked into the eyes of these people one too many times –and they are wretched.”

The wretched? Our health? Who exactly are these so-called wretched and what –pray tell –is their wrath? Better yet, how has this mayor gone to bat for our health? Move over Franklin Roosevelt and JFK, Mayor Keehn is delivering the monotone walloping of a generation; suggested campaign donation: zero.

On a personal side note, this editor feels no healthier under the Keehn administration than under the respective administrations of Lenz, Klotz and O’Connell; maybe even a bit less healthy. But in all fairness to Keehn, this decline in health can’t be solely attributed to her spell in office, especially considering the effects of frequent bourbon consumption and Father Time.

If there’s one thing DFA knows how to do, it is raise money and generate interest among those who feel disenchanted or disenfranchised. Their leader –the brother of former presidential candidate Howard Dean –has a knack for marketing the right message at a certain demographic. After all, that’s what he did with Greenfield Online and Yankelovich Partners.

Yet, there is only so much marketing can do far these DFA-cultivated movements, which run on largely Astroturf. Since sweeping into office, Keehn’s bungling has evaporated all but the most strident of her base supporters by forging an adversarial campaign against those she labels as cowards or wretched. It’s a hyper-combative tone that is increasingly used by her diehard supporters on blogs and forums.

This sort of partisan rhetoric may resonate with the DFA membership on some blog administered miles out of the 12866 ZIP code, but falls woefully short of generating the support Keehn desperately needs among the city Democrats. Despite its burgeoning size, Saratoga Springs still socially operates as a small community. So when Keehn bandies about these unusually vitriolic statements toward those party members she doesn’t agree with, she’s often insulting more than she bargained for.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's that Winnie the Pooh quote? "I have seen the enemy, and it is us." It keeps reverberating around in my head now every time I think of Val Keehn.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HO: If you can rouse yourself from "the effects of frequent bourbon consumption," please try explaining your theory that the VLT aid program "quite clearly was restored by the most powerful Republican in the state Legislature."

In 2001, the most powerful Republican in the Governor's office proposed a new State law to authorize VLTs at racetracks. The most powerful Republican in the State Senate sponsored the bill. So did the most powerful Democrat in the State Assembly. When it was passed, it gave the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors the option of deciding whether to allow VLTs at the harness track in Saratoga Springs, but it provided for no payments to the City or the County.

The most powerful Republicans on the Board of Supervisors voted for the VLT racino in Saratoga Springs, but they didn't think of asking for any money from the State. Neither did Ken Klotz, the Democratic Mayor of Saratoga Springs at the time. Neither did the most powerful Republican, Tom McTygue (oops, I forgot McTygue isn't a Republican - he only plays one on TV).

When the racino opened in 2004, Republican Mayor Mike Lenz (who may or may not have been the most powerful Republican on the City Council) neglected to ask the most powerful Republican in the State Legislature (or anyone else) for any State payments to the City.

In 2006, the most powerful Republican in the Governor's office proposed a $20 million VLT aid program for the City of Yonkers after the most powerful Republican in the Yonkers Mayor's office asked for help filling a budget gap. Yonkers didn't even have a VLT racino yet, but that didn't faze the most powerrful Republican in the Governor's office. It also didn't prompt him (or the most powerful Republican in the State Legislature) to propose VLT aid for Saratoga Springs, even though Saratoga's racino was already turning into a gold mine for the State.

It wasn't until Mayor Keehn started lobbying the most powerful Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature and the Governor's office that the State finally got around to promising VLT aid for Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County.

In 2007, the most powerful Democrat in the Governor's office proposed a return to the idea of VLT aid for Yonkers only, with nothing for Saratoga. Once again, Keehn lobbied the most powerful Democrats and Republicans in Albany and defeated the attempt to deprive Saratoga of VLT aid.

At each step, Keehn led the effort, making sure to lobby not only the most powerful Republican in the State Legislature but also the most powerful Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature and the Governor's office. She must have been paying attention in the class about a State law needing approval from not only the most powerful Republican in the State Legislature but also majorities of the Senate and the Assembly, plus the Governor.

By the way, did you notice that the most powerful Republican in the State Legislature didn't show up to claim all the credit when Saratoga Springs received the first $3.8 million payment? Maybe his deference to Mayor Keehn was just due to a scheduling conflict. Or maybe he knows that most of the credit really belongs to the Mayor.

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're kidding right? Time to wipe off the mouth froth and take a big sip of reality.......


The Wretched

(I know this because I woke up, looked in the mirror...deep into my own eyes...and came to the conclusion I was wretched)

5:05 AM  

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