Deceptive flyers

As I understand the business, direct mailers are for the most part satisfied if even five percent of those on the receiving end bother to read their missives. Unfortunately, political pundits like me are forced to peruse every word, study every graphic, read the damned things.

Political flyers are meant to (in no particular order) advertise the candidate or issue, define his or her foe, perchance to deceive, demonize and/or denigrate. No wonder almost nobody reads this stuff.

With primaries past and a long, dull summer looming, I was surprised to get a flyer in the mail on business insurance that looked at first blush like it came from Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston. First of all, Cahill has no opposition for what will be his 12th term in office. Secondly, this flyer was most definitely pro-business, and Cahill has rarely been associated with business interests.

For those who didn’t get the flyer, the address side blared “Don’t let small businesses close down because of multi-billion-dollar insurance companies,” atop a “going out of business” graphic. Underneath readers were urged to “Call Assembly member Cahill at (845) 338-9610 (his Kingston district office) and tell him to save small businesses by supporting bill #A10226.”

A more careful reading of the flyer revealed in tiny type it’s sponsor, “Citizens for Progress.” I could find nothing definitive about this outfit on the web.

Cahill is chairman of the Assembly Insurance Committee. The chairman does not approve of bill A10226, sponsored by a Brooklyn assemblyman with co-sponsors in the senate.

The bill would require insurance companies to honor “pandemic losses” in the hundreds of billions that are not currently contained in insurance contracts under state law.

“It’s retroactive law, “Cahill, a lawyer, said. “It’s in violation of both the federal and state constitutions.” If passed by the legislature and signed into law, Cahill predicts it would be overturned at first challenge. “It’s fluff,” he said, “but a great soundbite.” If upheld, “it would bankrupt the insurance industry, and where would that leave all of us?”, Cahill said.

Worse, said the senior assemblyman who sits in on party strategy meetings, “It’s a total distraction.”

“We should be focused on lobbying Chuck Schumer for federal support for these businesses,” he says.  

As for the misleading flyer, Cahill, with almost two dozen years in office, has seen it all before.

Summer, alas, will pass all too quickly, and all too soon our mailboxes will be flooded with political propaganda. For the five percenters who actually read these things, the above is meant as fair warning.

Be wary.

HERE AND THERE — Guess I’ll have to do a better job of spelling Ola Hawatmeh’s unusual name after she pounded party boss’s endorsee in last week’s Republican primary for congress in the 19th CD. Ola, as she’s now known, since few can pronounce her last name, had a fairly safe 500-vote machine lead over Kyle Van de Water, the candidate endorsed by all eleven 19th District Republican county chairs last winter. Obviously, this baker’s dozen of so-called party leaders has no feel for its own constituency. No wonder that Democrats dominate these days.

Hawetmah will face freshman Democrat Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck in the November elections.

And speaking of landslides, I shouldn’t have been surprised by Claudia Andreassen’s 3-1 victory over challenger Stan O’Dell in the Democratic primary for town justice in Saugerties. But I was. Maybe it was all those O’Dell lawn signs. The judge’s support obviously ran much deeper.

Official results won’t be available for several weeks due to the flood of mail-ins and absentee ballots, according to the board of elections. I find that irksome. In days of yore, they did paper ballots and delivered near-final results within days.

Since officials knew this deluge was coming, the BOE must have had some post-election plan to bring in trustworthy ballot counters, like all those clerical types in county government doing crossword puzzles while the county is shut down.

November could be worse.

AND FINALLY -Condolences to the families and many friends on the passing of graphic artist Joe Sinnott, 93, of Saugerties and retired dentist Bruce Sorrin, 77 of Hurley.

Joe, who enlisted in the Navy Seabees as a teenager at the end of World War II, returned to his native Saugerties to forge a nationally renowned career as a comic book artist. More importantly to friends and neighbors, he was considered one of the nicest, most outgoing guys in Sawayertown. Joe defined “friendly Saugerties.”

Brucie, as we called him, was an Army dentist with duty in Vietnam where he met his wife Lou, an Army nurse. Brucie was known as a “dentist’s dentist,” the man his colleagues went to when they needed work done on their teeth. There is no higher honor than to be respected by your peers.

Parting shot: A born comedian, one of his favorite lines while administering Novocain to nervous patients was, “Like the rabbi said, it won’t be long now.” 

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