Revised: Three on a match
It is said “the stars fell” on the West Point class of 1915, so many became generals. Eisenhower and Bradley rose to the highest ranks, but what about the Kingston High School class of 2000?
Maybe not stars yet, but three of the first KHS millennials will take oaths of office this week. Kingston Mayor Steve Noble was first elected four years ago, then county executive Pat Ryan last year, followed by common council president Andrea Shaut. Shaut represented her alma mater as alderwoman.
Noble begins his second four-year term this month. Ryan was first elected at a special election last April and reelected in November. Shaut served a term as Ninth Ward alderwoman. She is the first woman to hold the office.
Ryan will deliver his first state of the county address at Kingston High School next week where he is expected to speak to the opportunities his administration hopes to provide for local youth. I think the kids, if Ryan, with ringing rhetoric and believable prose, can lure them off smart phones, will respond. Even if too many recent KHS grads are waiting on tables, working in box stores or gone to faraway places.
Noble presented his fifth state of the city address – heretofore called “the mayor’s message” – to a near-packed house at City Hall on New Year’s Day.
A well-staffed state comptroller Tom DiNapoli delivered local-centric opening remarks, noting that Ryan, Shaut and Noble “must have been tied for most likely to succeed” in their graduating class.
Shaut’s first official statement from the chair, delivered to a restless, noisy crowd nine minutes after the announced starting time, was a plea was for “all aldermen report to their desks. Please!” A couple of smacks on the gavel got everybody seated.
Shaut, an accomplished pianist and teacher, later joined her father Bob on the saxophone for a rendition of America the Beautiful. The elder Shaut (pronounced “shawt”) later accompanied soloist Maiko Hata for a rousing version of “Blue Skies.” Given that Noble later promised to replace all the city’s sidewalks over the next several years, she might have sung the 1890s, Ulster hit “Bluestone. Nothing but Bluestone.”
The mayor’s message – journalists used to call it the “mayor’s massage – was comprehensive, specific, at times uplifting, and visionary. The young man some called “the kid” (just 33 when elected in 2016) has come a long way.
Ryan’s KHS address will reunite the Kingston trio, all now 37, at their high school for the first time since graduation. Ryan was overseas in the army on their 10th anniversary. Only 20 years ago all were high school kids with nothing more on their minds but “Y2K2”, quipped Noble.
Petit squabble – It is the bane of all newshounds that sources don’t respond to messages for comment. I usually track them down in diners, gas stations or supermarkets. It’s a conspiratorial business, politics. What most don’t get (or don’t care) is the decisions they make behind closed doors can and will have impact on the people who put them in office.
Which brings me to an update on the ongoing machinations for county legislature chair, to be formally voted upon on Jan. 7.
Democrat Laura Petit of Esopus has surfaced as a candidate in opposition to current chairwoman Tracey Bartels of Gardiner. Democrats hold a 12-11 majority. Some speculation is necessary since neither candidate returned phone calls, SOP at this stage of the game.
Petit, in a holiday letter to fellow Democrats, laments the “loss of the executive” last year, whatever that means. Democrats have held that office since former executive Mike Hein was sworn in on Jan. 1, 2009.
A counting of noses suggests that Petit has but one vote – her own –but in a house so sharply divided, it could be enough. Republicans would embrace one dissenter. That’s all they need, really.
In the final stages now playing out, offers of committee chairmanships or even jobs for cronies or relatives will be in play. We’ll see. But not now.
Inside baseball – I can’t be too specific about this, but it sounds like at least one former legislator may be lobbying for a job in county government. But he or she may have to seek more honest work until next January. To wit: Under a local law passed in December of 2004, no “current or former” legislator may be appointed “by the legislature” to a paid position for a year after leaving office, except as a “commissioner of the board of elections.”
There’s enough loopholes in that one to drive a pack of hungry pigs through.