Friday, November 17, 2006
COUNTY GOVERNMENT. One of GreeneLand's November 7th voting results has been reversed. For the Durham district, following recounts and counts of provisional and absentee ballots, publican Sean Frey (Democrat; also Durham First Party) moved from a deficit of 7 votes to a majority, over Les Armstrong, Republican, of 11 votes (400 to 389). Jim Karkheck, who ran on the Conservative line, added 19 votes to his tally, for a total of 260, and Independence Party candidate Mark Darling added 4 to yield a total of 63. Essentially, Mr Frey owed his success to Mr Karkheck’s decision, after failure to win Republican committee endorsement, to run anyway. If he had stood aside, Mr Armstrong would have won by more than 100 votes. Meanwhile, final tallies of votes in other districts confirmed the election of Forest Cotten in the four-seat Catskill district and of Ken Dudley in Greenville. Mr Cotten will become one of the 14-seat governing body’s five Democrats. From absentee and provisional ballots he added 177 votes for a total of 1813, to keep him ahead of Republican newcomer Gary Kistinger, who picked up 108 paper ballots for a total of 1663. Mr Cotten will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Frank Strabile Jr., the long-serving chairman of the governing body. The other incumbents from Catskill--Keith Valentine, Dorothy Prest and Karen Deyo, all Republicans—won re-election by comfortable margins. In the Greenville district, paper ballots gave Mr Dudley, the Republican incumbent, an additional 43 votes, for a total of 736, while adding 49 votes to Democratic challenger Jim Mulligan’s tally, for a total of 706. IMPLICATIONS. In reporting the election returns in terms of the party affiliations of candidates, we may encourage a misapprehension. We may be prompting readers to believe that the Democrats and the Republicans constitute disciplined, like-minded, antagonistic blocs. It’s not so. It is likely, however, that in the unlikely event that the the nine Republican legislators do not agree among themselves on a candidate for chairman of the legislature, the five Democrats will try to unite behind a candidate of their own (Larry Gardiner, by seniority) or behind one of the Republican contenders. It also is likely that Democrats will be particularly insistent about discussing how to deal with the county’s coming big increase in sales tax revenue (a nice problem to face). From that discussion could come (i) a binding decision to reallocate a specified portion of the ‘windfall’ to municipal governments, according to a specified distribution formula; (ii) a binding decision of that sort, but with a stipulation as to how the money shall be spent; (iii) a decision to lock away most of the new money, so as to meet extraordinary future costs such as construction of a new jail; or, lamentably, (iv) stalling and side-tracking, so that no plan that limits the legislators’ budgetary discretion is adopted. . . ONWARD AND UPWARD. Another big step in the renovation of downtown Catskill has been taken. The building that formerly housed county offices on Main Street, just north of the Post Office, has undergone a complete makeover, in period style, and it was opened for public viewing on Wednesday, by way of a Business After Hours function sponsored by the GreeneLand and Catskill chambers of commerce. It now houses administrative offices of the burgeoning Bank of Greene County. And, in external appearance it is now two buildings, in keeping with the original look. RETIRED, after practicing dentistry in Catskill for 40 years: Dr Leonard I. Niad. He made the move rather abruptly after a successor came on the scene. A display advertisement in The Daily Mail of November 13 said “The office will [sic.] close on 11/10/06.” SUCCEEDING to the practice, after installing state-of-the-art equipment at the 332 Main Street office, will be Dr Theodore Belfor. Until the beginning of this year, Dr Belfor, a Catskill resident since 2001, had worked for 25 years in mid-Manhattan. In addition to regular dentistry, he will be pursuing his innovative work with oral appliances (not braces) that improve sleep and breathing, enhance facial features and, ahem, alleviate temporo-mandibular joint disorders. (He probably will NOT emulate the Hudson compeer who calls his practice Nothing But the Tooth). OPENING soon, on Route 32, just south of the Route 23A intersection, next to Charlie’s Carstar: a new business, run by Jim and Pauline Waldron, called Northeast Log Homes. We mention this bit of news so that we can publicize the publicity piece that appeared The Daily Mail of November 10. The story says “The Waldron’s [sic.]are authorized dealers for Lincoln Logs…” and “This is the Waldron’s [sic.] first joint business venture together” (which surely is easier than having a joint business adventure apart). BARBARISM. That’s the proper label for a word that appeared in big type in a recent display advertisement, for show of designer jewelry at the Columbia Memorial Hospital’s Hospitality Shop: “ALL THAT GLISTERS IS NOT GOLD.” We don’t need a hybrid of glistens and glitters. GOBBLING. A Thanksgiving feast, open to all, no charge, will be served at the Washington Irving Senior Center on Thursday, with sittings at noon and at 2 pm. As reported by Andrea Macko in The Daily Mail (11/16), it’s the brainchild of Elizabeth Izzo, who is deputy clerk for the Town of Catskill, and Anne Marie Moran of the Senior Center. CLOSING. On a morning in October 1863, in the depth of the Civil War, Secretary of State William H. Seward approached President Abraham Lincoln with a sheet of paper in his hand. “They say, Mister President,” said he, “that we are stealing away the rights of the States. So I have come to-day to advise you, that there is another State right I think we ought to steal.” “Well, Governor,” Mr Lincoln replied, “what do you want to steal now?” “The right to name Thanksgiving Day! At present, State governors proclaim Thanksgiving on different days. Why not make it a national holiday?” Mr Lincoln reckoned that a President had as good a right to thank God as a Governor. So he signed the proclamation drafted by Seward, making the last Thursday in November an official day to thank “our beneficent Father.” --Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (NY 2005), p. 577.