County legislature: Noteworthy was chairwoman Tracey Bartels’ first annual state of the county address, one of the more definitive we’ve seen in recent years. Former chairman Ken Ronk, whom Bartels defeated for reelection, was more of a hand across the aisle type. Bottom line: the legislature was barely relevant under Republican rule, but shared credit for most of former executive Mike Hein’s accomplishments. Bartels issued a call to arms; this legislature will, if they follow their leader, be active and influential. Look no further than the landfill issue, which Bartels is addressing as an emerging crisis.
Some things don’t change. Fightin’ Joe Maloney of Saugerties won’t be running for a second term, but will continue his seemingly hopeless quest in routing out what he considers corruption in government, the play to play culture inherent in the previous administration. Problem is, almost nobody in government or media is listening.
Democratic convention – This one was a bit anti-climactic. Pat Ryan went in an apparent favorite for county executive and came out a landslide winner over Patrice Courtney Strong. Ryan, a former army intelligence officer, did his fieldwork on this one. “I can give you the weighted vote of all 302 committee members (actually, 306),” he told me a few days before the convention. “I think we’re looking at 60 percent.” He got 58 and change. Strong says she doesn’t know whether she’ll pursue this prize at the party’s June convention. If a past is prologue, she might better gear up for another senate race next year when anti-Trump fever reaches a pitch.
I didn’ make it to the city Democratic convention, which immediately preceded the county’s. One hand clapping doesn’t make for much news, but Mayor Steve Noble was renominated by acclaim as was his new running mate and classmate, 9th ward alderwoman Andrea Shaut for alderman-at-large. I find Shaut a bit thin on experience, what with just 13 months in office, and just a heartbeat from the front office, but she’s smart and focused and youth will be served.
Kingston Chamber breakfast – I wired my editors I’d post if there was any news coming out of Congressman Antonio Delgado’s Chamber address. They’re still waiting.
Delgado came across as engaged, concerned and smart, but I’m pretty sure I’d heard most of what he had to say at breakfast during last year’s congressional races and in statements he’s made since taking office Jan. 1. I don’t expect the congressman to have all or even some of the answers after six weeks in office, but neither do I appreciate my intelligence being challenged by repetitions of problems and issues chewed over for most of the last decade. New leadership with new ideas is what we elected. Let’s see more of that.
Republican nominating convention – I joked that Republicans could have held their convention in a phone booth; they did themselves one better: Ulster town hall on a Saturday morning.
“Wow, look at the size of this crowd (about 120 people),” marveled one arriving committeeman. “Look at the size of the room,” advised another. Translation: Republicans packed a small room, Democrats filled one three times larger.
Long-time county legislature Rich Gerentine from Marlboro gave the keynote speech, which turned out to be his farewell address. Gerentine will be leaving the legislature after 28 years at the end of the year. Always the gracious gentleman, Gerentine when asked if he was in fact the longest serving legislator, advised reporters to “check with Alice Tipp. I think she might have had 30.” She did.
Playing post office in Esopus – This one was just a stop-by; I didn’t even take notes. More than 150 people attended an informational meeting at town hall on the location of a new post office in Port Ewen. A couple of postal reps said they were open to almost anything, but that it could take a couple of years. A number of people liked the idea of a post office on main street in Port Ewen, once a bank, nowadays a beauty shop. Private ownership could complicate matters.
Nobody asked me, but how about building on the vacant lot across the street, once the site of the town library? Owned by an adjacent credit union, it now contains a gazebo nobody goes to. For sure, library location will be a hot issue in this year’s town elections.