Prepping for Friday (Updated)

I usually save promos for our Me and Mario show on GHQ for last, but our next one, starting on Friday at 7 a.m., could be interesting.

Guests will be Ulster town supervisor Jim Quigley, the man with all the answers, and rookie Republican Steve Peruso, a candidate for alderman in Kingston’s uptown First Ward.

The Answer Man threw us a curve last week in admitting that he really didn’t know all that much about a mega- proposal by downstate developers to buy some 450,000 square feet of former IBM buildings in his town’s TechCity for an estimated $13 million. Developers could have waited for the county to take the properties to foreclosure next April, but apparently thought that in today’s red-hot real estate market they could get a better deal from the always difficult TechCity owner Alan Ginsberg.

Included in that offer would be the payment of some $3 million in back taxes owed by Ginsberg. To put that in perspective, Ginsberg bought the whole IBM complex for $3 million from Big Blew (as in blew out of town) in 1998. And now he’s selling a fifth of it for four times the purchase price.

Questioned by media as to the ill-defined developer’s intentions, the usually forthcoming Quigley was at a loss for details. Hopefully, he’ll fill in listeners on Friday.

We’ll also be asking the supervisor for updates on an ongoing development at the Kingston traffic circle, on the border of his bailiwick. Launched with tons of fill more than a year ago, it now seems weeds are making more progress than developers.

Peruso is an unknown quality, but so are most aldermen, even after multiple terms. He caught our attention with a sharp attack on Freeman coverage of a recent meeting where the common council approved the acquisition of an armored vehicle for the city police force. Politicians bitch about media coverage all the time, but mostly between each other and constituents. Usually it winds down to “You can’t believe anything you read in the papers.” In this case, Peruso was complaining about wasn’t printed after an unusually raucous audience.

We weren’t there, but Peruso’s opponent, two-term Democrat Jeffrey Ventura Morell was, so we invited him to call in, too. 

Whoops. Morell hasn’t called back, understandably, since he’s not running for reelection. Democrats have nominated Barbara Hill for that seat. My apologies.

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DANCIN’ DAVE DOES THE TWIST – Question of the Week: When is a fundraiser just a “celebration?”

One answer might be: when you’re trying to solicit Democratic committee members.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Several weeks ago, legislature chairman Dave Donaldson invited the public to an Aug. 26 “celebration” at an uptown bistro of his more than 25 years in the county legislature. A $25 donation was suggested in order to celebrate with the guest of honor at the popular Santa Fe restaurant on Main Street. Old-timers may recall the place as 11 Main, a landmark waterhole for politicians and those on the make, which is sort of the same thing.

A bell rang in my foggy memory. If Donaldson was soliciting donations from Democratic committee members – the most likely sources for such donations – he might have a problem. Under long-standing rules, committee members may not contribute to candidates who are running against Democratic nominees. To do so could result in expulsion from the committee, a fate worse for some members than Republicans winning an election.

As he is now painfully aware, Donaldson, despite winning election 14 times for legislature on the Democratic ticket, is not the Democratic candidate for county legislature in his own District 6-Kingston. Donaldson was soundly defeated 236-192 by newcomer Phil Erner in a June 22 Democratic primary. Erner is the Democratic candidate. Suzanne Tenbroeck is the Republican nominee. Donaldson will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot on his self-created Good Government Party line.

Donaldson, of course, was well aware of the distinction between fundraiser and celebration; it was a difference without a real distinction, as former DA Mike Kavanagh used to say. To me, it was but another example of the devious hair-splitting politicians subjects the unwary to all the time.

Donaldson’s strongest suit is his long record of service, Erner’s that he ain’t Dave. Neither is  Tenbroeck, proud scion of one of Kingston’s prominent African-American families. Tenbroeck’s campaign held a fund-raiser last week a few days after Donaldson’s “celebration.” About 100 attended, a noteworthy turnout for a first-time candidate.

Long-dormant Republicans are high on Tenbroeck, figuring she has at least a fighting chance in a three-way race where the opposition splits its vote.

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KYLE KICKS IT – In and out Republican Kyle van de Water of Millbrook, after announcing a rerun against Democratic incumbent Antonio Delgado in mid-July, didn’t last through August. Over the weekend, “Kyle for Congress” pulled the plug, citing unspecified changes in his personal life.

Translation: A quick canvas of would-be donors barely produced gas money. Too bad. Even though losing by a hefty 12 points to Delgado in 2019, Van de Water, outspent by millions, still pulled 44 percent of the vote.

On the other side, Democrats are desperate to hold their slim House majority. Any Republican who mounts a credible campaign against Delgado can expect a cascade of cash to pour into what is generally seen as a swing district.