News That Matters - January 11, 2014 - The People's (no)Voice Edition

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Jeff Green

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Jan 11, 2014, 8:17:48 PM1/11/14
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Happy Saturday,

In a glaringly anti-democratic and politically dangerous move better suited to the old Soviet Union or any Central American banana republic, the Putnam County legislature has anointed appointed Lou Tartaro to represent the Town of Kent by placing him into the 3rd district legislative seat recently vacated by Richie Othmer. This came after a concerted effort by Kent residents and other elected officials to leave the seat open until the election come next November.

[Now, before we go forward please understand that this is not about Mr. Tartaro whom I know and appreciate. It's about democracy and the will of the people to have their own voice. Some of you have Facebookitis and will read what you want to read and not what was written so I had to make this clear.]

Mr. Tartaro lost his seat as a town councilman last November in a landslide no one expected, one so large it still boggles the mind of town residents. But even that status isn't enough for the ruling junta to consider that town residents ought to have the ability to select their own representatives. Instead, the County Legislature has made it clear they don't trust the voters to speak with a "proper" voice and so has rewarded a man - who was overwhelmingly rejected by his own constituents - with a seat on their august body. This was their plan since the day last summer Mr. Othmer declined to seek re-election - in plenty of time for an election to be held for his vacated seat.

As reported in Philipstown.info, we get this beautiful little gem of Putnam County government:

"[Denis] Sant next brought up the District 3 vacancy. Albano nominated Tartaro to fill it.

"Oliverio requested they “keep the spot open for the [term’s] remainder,” citing numerous pleas from Kent voters “who feel this should be a straight run, candidate against candidate, 10 months from now.” Choosing Tartaro “is a very controversial move and the push-back from the constituency will be great,” he said.

"LoBue also objected. “I’m breaking ranks,” she said. “I just can’t circumvent the will of the people.”

"Albano advocated action. “We’ve been here five or 10 minutes and we’re already in a deadlock. We’re not going to get anything done” without a ninth legislator as a tie-breaker, he said. “I think it is important that we fill this position and move on and get our work done.”

"They then approved Tartaro’s appointment with only LoBue and Oliverio voting “no.”

Did you note Mr Albano's remark, “We’ve been here five or 10 minutes and we’re already in a deadlock." ? I'm sorry that subverting democracy took  a little longer than the Legislator (now legislative chair) would like. But sadly, even illicit actions sometimes take a few minutes longer than we'd like them too. If the Chair couldn't stand ten minutes without bellyaching about this his head would have most certainly exploded had he had to wait for a real election!

Already the vultures are circling overhead as John "Ball didn't make me do it" Greene, who decided not to run for re-election to the Kent Town Board, is getting support from political operatives from outside the county(!) for a run for the seat Mr. Tartaro now occupies. From outside the county because, well, just because, I guess.

These guys caucus before Legislative meetings and do the business of the county behind closed doors and at the behest of, well, we don't know anymore. With Unca Vinnie out of the picture it appears the Ballster is at the helm. But why that photo-op grabbing (ab)user of seniors, cops and veterans would want to further dirty his hands with the county political machine no one knows. He's got a cushy job in Albany with some prime committee appointments under his belt and, I suppose just for fun, has decided he'll announce on April 1 if he's going to bring his brand of popular demagoguery to Putnam County in a run for County Executive's against Maryellen Odell, herself a former aide to Senator Leibell.

Who knows what corruption goes on inside that office building we call the County Seat? Who knows what kind of deals are made without the details ever once seeing the light of day? You know, deals like filling a vacancy no one wanted filled other than the Putnam County Republican Party. They'll keep it all a secret and Lord over us as they see fit without regard to propriety, morality or even the slightest hint of democracy.

Hell, it's Putnam County! What else could one expect?


To think that the Legislators who voted "YES" on this had even the slightest bit of guilt or hesitation would, I guess, be too much to have hoped for. That they should be embarrassed and shamed goes without saying but hey! you know these guys... they don't give a flying, well, ya know. All they care about is maintaining their political grip on our county and they'll do it using whatever methods they desire whether they be immoral, unethical or an affront to common sense and the spirit of the Constitution they've been sworn to uphold.

JmG
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