Friday, September 15, 2017

Let us stop talking falsely now...

Last Tuesday (Sept 12) was primary day in New Hartford. There were 3 Republican primaries and 1 Democratic primary. The incumbent Supervisor in NH was being challenged by the 2nd Ward Councilman, the incumbent 1st Ward Councilman was being challenged and I was challenging the appointed incumbent County Legislator. I lost... by about 90 +/- votes (a few absentee ballots have yet to be counted but will not change the outcome). The 1st ward incumbent won. The incumbent Supervisor lost. Let's talk about the Republican races:

Backman v. Pratt for the O/C 16th Legislative seat: Since there were 3 races in New Hartford, that is where the most voters came out to vote (percentage-wise of registered voters). It is hard to get voters out on Primary Day; the turnout is usually less than 20% of voter registration. NH had the highest turnout, the Towns of Paris and Bridgewater were less than 10%). Primary Day boils down to friends and family affairs for the most part. The average unconnected voter usually could not care less about voting in September; they consider their voting responsibility satisfied by their presence in November.

I'll take the responsibility for losing this one. Running against a machine-supported candidate is challenging; let me boil it down to a few reasons:

  • Mrs. Pratt got out and worked. Her past history of getting a few signatures on petitions for other candidates in past years changed when she ran.
  • She outspent me.
  • The machine worked for her both carrying petitions (the ethics dilemma I already wrote about) and letting her take credit when the State Senator porked the Town of Paris to the tune of $75,000... aka buying votes at election time with your own tax dollars.
  • Having and losing the Republican endorsement in the Town of Paris. (Yes, Mrs. Pratt, now I'm going to tell "LIES! LIES!" as you screamed at me on election day, but since you knew everything I blog about yet deny reading this blog, I guess some more "LIES" are in order). This story is beyond bizarre but I tell it as the bits of information came back to me from some of the people present:
I lost the endorsement of the NH Republican committee and it is because Brian Miller used not only his vote to support Mrs. Pratt, but his wife's committee proxy to vote for her also. Thanks, Brian. Both triggers of the double-barrel at once? I hope Mrs. Pratt carries as many petition sheets as I did for you when you're up for re-election next year. Here's your sign, Brian.

I won the Bridgewater Republican committee endorsement handily; they are tired of being forgotten and looked to new blood for help.

Ah, the Town of Paris endorsement ... What a cluster-frog that turned out to be. When I called their chairman asking to screen before them, he dropped the informative bomb that 'the Town of Paris was supporting Mrs. Pratt' ... but of course, I was welcome to screen. The date was set for June 5, 1 day before petitions can circulate. I didn't expect to receive their endorsement, but as a good soldier I showed up and screened. The conversation was polite and we discussed my views, my 12 years on the NH Town Board, the things I got done ... and what I hoped to do on the OC Board. I got up, shook hands, thanked them and departed knowing I probably didn't have their endorsement.

Afterwards, my phone rang numerous times and 'a man or woman whose name I will not expose here but it's not who everybody thinks it is' told me ... I won in a 3-2 vote. I was stunned. But then this person added that another person who was 100% in the bag for Mrs. Pratt objected saying the meeting was not proper because it had not been advertised and they should meet in another week after advertising to consider any other candidates. This, of course, was a ploy to put it off a week and get the person who switched to me to switch back. As it was told to me, a few phone calls came in (to a certain elected officer in Paris)  mentioning the $75,000 grant money for their pool repairs and how important it is that they support Mrs. Pratt.

The message was received loud and clear: If you want the $75k, give Mrs. Pratt your endorsement.

And so, the following week, Mrs. Pratt won the endorsement 3-2. Surprise surprise... Not really.

This is tantamount to blackmail and it is reprehensible. But I did not blog about this until now or put it in my printed handouts. Since I am not on the ballot in November, I have no problem with its public airing. There will be only one choice on the November ballot and that will be the machine candidate, pure and simple.

But I did enjoy watching Mrs. Pratt lose it on Primary Day. She came over, shook a water bottle in my face while yelling at me. May I suggest anger management classes. Mrs. Pratt? Oh yeah, that's right. You don't read this blog or so you told me.

Baldwin v Messa for the 1st Ward Council seat: This is the seat I sat in for 12 years. When I ran for Supervisor 4 years ago and lost, Messa ran for the seat unopposed. The first time he ran, I beat him for the seat but he likes to tell people 'he really didn't lose.' What was that I said about political lies before? Let us stop talking falsely now, the hour's getting late ...

Anyway, Mike Baldwin, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, F-106 fighter pilot and successful local businessman decided to run for the 1st Ward Council seat. I saw Jimmy Messa as a complete failure; I sat down with him before I left office and explained to him the job, responsibility and we actually drove around the ward with the Highway Superintendent to show him the problem areas. I had a stormwater project in the ward in early engineering and communicated my desire to see it come to fruition after I left. When it came to bidding, at the request of the Supervisor he rejected the bids ... 4 times! When the July storms wiped out half of the affected areas this year, I couldn't support his inaction any longer. I helped Mike Baldwin campaign and looking at the numbers (he lost), he didn't do bad. He came much closer to the incumbent than most people expected. And he will still be on the ballot in November, and again I will keep campaigning for him because I see him as a better person to get things done on the Council instead of the Dudley Do-Nothing that's there now.

This gem of a story has to be told about Jimmy Messa. He snapped at me also just before Mrs. Pratt got unhinged and lost it. Since I am a non-violent person (I use words of truth, not fists) ... Here's another great story, and remember Jimmy, I thanked you for giving me such a good story to write about:

Election Day is long a grueling day if you are a candidate and choose to stand outside the polls to greet voters. This year, I brought a wooden high-chair to sit in so I wouldn't have to be standing for 9 hours. I plunked it down next to Jimmy's truck with his signs and American flag to greet voters just like they did. He didn't much care for that and came over; his intent was to get me to move. If he had been polite, if he had used the word please, I would have gladly moved. But he didn't. He came over Gestapo-style and ordered me to move, as if he had some badge of authority. He said he didn't want his truck scratched. I got out of the seat and turned the swivel part of it to make sure it wasn't close enough scratch his truck. It wasn't and I sat back down. He got between the chair and the truck and pushed the chair (with me sitting in it) over. It might have moved an inch or so. Apparently there was enough room for him to get between the chair and the truck, so there's your indication of how close the chair was to the truck. He kept on insisting I move. I sat there and told him Don't touch me, Jimmy ... he responded I didn't touch you, I touched the chair.

It's the same thing to me, Jimbo.

And then, as I sat in the chair unmoving, he leaned over me glaring with his chrome dollar-store sunglasses on. I took it he was trying to intimidate me. But I didn't move. I sat there. So much for your claim of "dignity," Jim-boy. Hey, here's an idea: Maybe you and Mrs. Pratt can get a package deal on those anger management classes I so highly recommend you attend.

Act 2: We started trading barbs. I mentioned his record of doing nothing on the Town Board and what his political nickname was (Dudley Do-Nothing). He said I did nothing for the 12 years I sat there, which I laughed at.

Dudley, I paved 4x the road miles you did annually because I fought for real paving funds, not 1/4 of what we used to allot to paving at budget time (like you do when you sit there and say nothing at the board table). I replaced every town-owned bridge in the 1st Ward and most of the box culverts. I spent well over a million dollars in Ward 1 storm water projects (Beechwood Road or Woodberry Road ring a bell, Jimmy? Sauquoit creek cleanup? Oh yeah, you weren't there - you lost the election to me, remember? ) ... I built a multi-million dollar water system while I was in office. I made sure potholes were filled,  had traffic studies done in problem areas ... You have a long way to go before you even can come close to matching what I got done in the town. A new library and a new firehouse in Chadwicks were built while I was on the board, Jimmy. Tell us again of what you've done. A flashing traffic signal? Wow, gee thanks.

Can you tell us ANYTHING (feel free to use the comment section here, I promise I will post it unedited) you have done for the 1st Ward in your almost 4 years on the board?

I thought so. Dear readers, if I do not post any comments, it will be because there were none left for me to post.

So, the Balwin v. Messa race is still on for November, and again, I make no bones about it: I am supporting Mike Baldwin even though Jimmy paid for advertising space slamming his $300,000 airplane! I guess he has something against the American success story and if I lived in one of the estate class houses in NH, I'd think dimly of Jimmy slamming somebody's personal success. What is wrong with other people having money if they worked for it, Jimbo?

Besides which, I am also an FAA-licensed commercial pilot and when I fly with Mike in his airplane, I ask him where the other engine is and where do we put the JP-1 (jet fuel) in? I mean, $300,000 and it only has 1 piston engine? I think Mike might have overpaid a tad, and I'm wondering how much Jimmy knows about airplanes about now. I suspect he couldn't fly a .25 cent balsa-winged toy glider successfully. Mike has a good sense of humor about it and laughs.

I'll close this section out by telling of Jimmy's daddy walking over and sticking his face into mine. He used toilet-language, let's just leave it at that. And those sunglasses must be a family thing: He looked like a bug-eyed Martian wearing those as he stuck his face into mine. Like his boy, I thought he licked too many testosterone lollipops. He waddled away shortly after. Hey! Another candidate for those so badly-needed anger management classes. Enroll early, it looks like the list is filling up quick!

Miscione v. Tyksinski: This one brought satisfaction to many people. Paul beat Pat (I lost to Pat 4 years ago) and it was a good win with a good spread. I could tell you many stories, but I'll save them for the book I'm writing about NH politics (poly = many and tics, blood sucking parasites).

This post is too long already, so I'll close by saying how happy I personally was to nominate Paul Miscione at the Republican screening knowing there were too many Tyksinski loyalists on the committee to win at the committee level. Paul won the primary handily, and I am happy about that. I think New Hartford has a good chance at moving forward with him in the Captains seat.

About the Conservative Party: I have never had the outright endorsement of the Conservative Party and considering that I am one of the most conservative-philosophy based persons ever to hold public office, that is somewhat of a paradox. When I got into office in the late 1990s, the endorsement in New Hartford was pretty much controlled by one person ... who loathed me and the feelings were mutual. In the book I'm writing about local politics, I call him the Rufus Elefante of New Hartford. Anyway, they never even came close to endorsing me until the New Hartford Rufie up and died. Then they listened to me, but never came close to endorsement...until this race. When I screened with them, it was clear they had no love whatsoever for the current county executive. I made it clear I considered him a Republican in name only (a RINO) and was not his biggest fan either. They full well knew Mrs. Pratt was one of his most loyal allies but yet they chose not to solely endorse Mrs. Pratt or me. They threw us into a primary, and I lost that one too. But if I'm not to have the Republican line at election time, my biggest nightmare was losing the Republican primary but winning the Conservative line. Then I would have the lovely experience of being beat up twice at the polls this year. In this heavily-Republican district, it is clear that without that line you are not going to be elected in November. So while I really like some of the Conservative leadership around here, all I can say is you are now going to deal with a solid Picente Legislator in D-16 running on your party line... and you could have avoided it. Ah well, no big deal.

Whats on the horizon for Oneida County: While I do not lay claim to having an infallible crystal ball, I can predict some things with a fair degree of certainty:
  • We will continue to lose population even with a large refugee influx because of the current tax climate
  • The likelihood of the county portion of the sales tax rate ever dropping is non-existent
  • We are going to have a downtown hospital and parking garage shoved down our throats and we are going to pay for it in many ways besides being patients
  • The Picente-Halbritter alliance is going to push for the casino downtown
Last but not least, I suspect you will not see Mrs. Pratt speaking out against any of this. She will show up and vote the company line.

I want to close by thanking those that voted for me, worked for me and honored me by allowing the placement of my sign on their lawns. Yesterday I picked up over 100 of them and I'm sure there are still some out there somewhere that I will catch up with in the next week or so.

I had fun running, I enjoyed knowing how deep under Mrs. Pratt's and Jimmy Messa's skins I got ... and to answer the question of whether or not I am ever going to run for office again ...

We'll see.

Thanks, and I apologize for the length of this blog.

-Don

2 comments:

  1. Great read Don. Spot on as always.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don, I am glad I am not there, they are 50Years behind the times and have the State Government or NY City running upstate into the ground. The area is one of the most beautiful in the Country

    ReplyDelete

Paul Miscione, you deserve a round of applause

On primary day (last Sept. 12) two certainties were established: One, Mrs. Pratt was going to be the 16th-District County Legislator in 2018...