A little humor, please

A little humor, please

As the bad Korean guy said in the Manchurian Candidate, “ A little humor. Always a little humor.” So, let’s start there.

Artistic town meeting – Even as I suffer with Ryan fatigue, morbid curiosity impels me to read reports of his weekly town meetings around the county. Sometimes news breaks out amongst the really, really important stuff. An item in last week’s Woodstock Times provided comic relief.

At one point county exec Pat Ryan was asked what the county could do about the town’s highly controversial library issue. A former army officer with tours of combat duty in Iraq, Ryan knows a minefield when he sees one.

The county has no responsibility, he told the person raising the question, but offered to put him in touch with the county planning department. The county is not a player, but you can talk to the planner?

In the Navy, we called that B.S. Don’t know what they called it in the army.

Walking the walk – Former county executive Mike Hein made a rare public appearance at the formal opening of the $6.5 million Ashokan Rail Trail in Shokan last week. Even got to cut the ribbon.

Hein, who resigned last winter, can justifiably take credit for opening up the north shore of the Ashokan for public use for the first time in a century. Joined by a horde of invited guests, the once ubiquitous exec was but a face in the crowd. But Ryan, who usually refers to his predecessor not by name but as “my predecessor,” showed class in inviting a delighted Hein to cut the ribbon. 

Signs of the times – “Signs don’t vote,” retorted Kingston alderwoman-at-large candidate Andrea (you make me wanna) Shaut at the suggestion that minor party candidate Vince Rua had more lawn signs out than her running mate, Democrat incumbent Steve Noble. How minor? Rua’s SAM Party has exactly two enrollees in the city. That should give over-confident Democrats pause. They have 4,500 and Rua seems to be running a competitive race against Noble and Republican challenger Ellen DiFalco.

And speaking of signs, sometimes their subject gets a little full of themselves. Here, I refer to Dave and Ellen. Who, you might ask, is so well-known, like Madonna or The Donald or J-Rod (actually, a couple) as to be on a first-name basis with the public?

“Ellen” (not the TV afternoon talk show hostess) we’ve already introduced. Dave (Big D, Big A, get it?) is, of course, district attorney Dave Clegg. In this, I find these candidates not only presumptuous but clever by twice.

What happens in the booth when voters go looking for the names “Dave” or “Ellen?” Not to presume, but I’ll predict they lose a few votes they might have had.

Where have all the candidates gone? – Long time passing. It used to be that the major political parties fought tooth and nail for every office, no matter how minor. Sure-to-lose candidates would volunteer to “take one for the party” in hope of better situations or open seats to come.

Not anymore. It’s hard to imagine how many uncontested offices litter the landscape. Some of it has to do with party dominance in different towns, but that’s always been the case.  It’s hard to believe that only about two generations ago, Democrats had no chance in Woodstock, that Republicans were competitive in Kingston.

Some of it has to do with the times we live in. People don’t have time for politics or they’re disillusioned with anything connected to it.

“We just can’t get people to run,” lament party leaders.

Maybe some of the answer is new party leaders.

Next: Let’s get serious.