State Attorney General Schneiderman to speak at Marist

Just received an email from the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation announcing that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will be hosting an public forum at Marist College in Poughkeepsie to speak on a range of issues.

Topics will include environmental protection, labor rights, civil rights, health care and consumer fraud and protection, according to the email. Schneiderman, a Democrat running for re-election this year, will be there with senior staff to address those issues.

The email also says the forum is “in collaboration with” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, another Democrat running for reelection this year.

Co-sponsors of the event include Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Beacon Mayor Randy Cosale and Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo. State senators Greg Ball, Cecilia Tkaczyk, Bill Larkin and Terry Gipson and assemblymembers Didi Barrett, Kiernan Michael Lalor and Frank Skartados are also listed as sponsors.

Even though the email came from the AFL-CIO, it looks like this is an official event from the Attorney General’s Office, as the contact to RSVP is the office’s intergovernmental affairs office.

The forum is on June 9 at 6 p.m. at the Fusco Recital Hall at Marist College.


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Dems demand details on $60M deficit forecast (updated)

Democratic legislators are calling on Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus to have his budget director and other department heads meet immediately with the full Legislature to explain the $60 million budget deficit Neuhaus has forecast for 2015.

In the letter sent Friday to Neuhaus and then distributed with a press release, Jeff Berkman, the Democratic minority leader, expresses dismay at the predicted shortfall and asks for a meeting with county officials to hear “further explanation and elaboration.” He says lawmakers need more information in order to evaluate the administration’s spending requests.

“It is imperative that the legislature be informed in detail of how Mr. Neuhaus arrived at the $60 million figure,” Berkman wrote.

In his letter, Berkman cites a section of the county’s administrative code that requires the budget director to evaluate the next year’s fiscal situation and the county executive to present those findings to lawmakers by May 10 of each year. The analysis is supposed to provide projected debt at the end of the year, “estimates of revenues and operating and capital expenditures for each unit of County government for the ensuing fiscal year, a forecast of the operational and capital needs of the County and a statement of anticipated policy decisions confronting the County Executive and the County Legislature.”

Neuhaus began warning of a budget crisis even before taking office in January. In an interview with the Times Herald-Record in mid-March, he broke down the $60 million deficit prediction as follows: $40 million in surplus that the county has been using to balance recent budgets, which he said is no longer available; $10 million in reserve funds that were used for this year’s budget but can’t be used again; and $10 million in unavoidable cost increases.

The predicted deficit has put the county’s Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabiliation on the path to privatization in the first months of the Neuhaus administration. An independent board has solicited bids for the 360-bed facility after lawmakers voted 12-9 on April 9 to cede control of Valley View, with Democrats and one Republican opposing the move. Neuhaus had proposed selling the home as a first step toward closing the $60 million gap.


Neuhaus has fired back with a letter telling Berkman next year’s budget gap is due partly to “the legislature’s failure to replenish a county fund balance that was reduced by $52 million over three years,” and on what he said were unrealistic sales tax projections lawmakers supported in this year’s budget.

He goes on to say that no budget forecasts were given for the last three years, while taking Berkman up on his request and chiding the Legislature for neglecting its own budget duties, laid out in the same section of the administrative code.

Neuhaus wrote: “Please provide to my office any and all hearing minutes, interview notes, and studies you have made in previous fiscal years in response to the section of the Administrative Code you cite. Clearly, your insight may be helpful as we work together to meet the county’s fiscal challenges – even more significant in light of the faulty sales-tax projections passed last year. I appreciate your timely responses to both these items and your evident commitment to the formal requirements of the Administrative Code.”

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Conservatives back Castricone in Assembly race

Orange County’s Conservative Party has endorsed former county Legislator Dan Castricone over two other Republican contenders for the 98th Assembly District seat Annie Rabbitt left in January to become county clerk.

Friday’s announcement by the Conservatives came several days before an endorsement convention Orange County Republicans will hold on Wednesday, and gave Castricone a second boost in his competition with fellow Republicans Karl Brabenec and Michael Morgillo. Castricone recently won the endorsement of the United Monroe party, giving him a guaranteed ballot line in November regardless of the outcome of the Republican race.

Winning the Conservative line likely gives Castricone a second ballot line, although a rival could wage a long-shot effort to wrest it from him through a write-in primary.

The Orange County Republican Committee will meet at The Meadowbrook in New Windsor on Wednesday to endorse candidates. Castricone said Monday that Rockland County delegates from the 98th District, which includes part of the Rockland town of Ramapo, will join Orange committee members from that district to vote on the 98th race. The district spans all of southern Orange, from Harriman to Port Jervis.

Krystal Serrano of Monroe is the only Democrat to announce her candidacy for the seat. Orange County Democrats will meet May 28 to make their endorsements.

The Conservative Party’s Executive Committee chose Castricone at a meeting Thursday night, party Chairman John DeLessio said in a press release. The committee also backed Rich Cocchiara for the 99 Assembly District seat and Victoria Campbell for Family Court judge, DeLessio said.

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Eldridge campaign launches Gibson attack website

Who is the real Chris Gibson?

That’s the tagline of a new website launched by Sean Eldridge’s campaign, attacking the record of Rep. Chris Gibson, his incumbent opponent in the 19th Congressional District.

The Tumblr website — — aims to compare what the campaign calls the “politician Chris Gibson” with the “real Chris Gibson.”

Sean Eldridge, a Democrat from Shokan, is an investor and the husband of Facebook co-founder and New Republic publisher Chris Hughes.

Gibson, R-Kinderhook, is running for a third term representing a district that now includes Ulster and Sullivan counties. He’s an Army veteran.

In an email, Eldridge’s campaign says the website “reveals the true record of his opponent” that it says clashes with what he tells voters.

“Since before he was elected to office, Rep. Gibson has at times been elusive about where he stands on critical issues, while at other times his words have directly contradicted his actions in Washington,” says the email.

The website says that Gibson voted to block raising the minimum wage while “voting for a budget that cuts taxes on companies that ships jobs overseas” as well as pointing to votes on women’s rights and environment – including hydrofracturing.


Posted in Down in D.C., Sullivan, Ulster | Leave a comment

Hanna launches Tenney “fact check” website

The campaign of Rep. Richard Hanna has launched a website it says will serve as a “fact check” to Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney’s “dishonest” claims about the congressman’s record.

“Assemblywoman Tenney has spent the last few weeks making false claims about Richard’s record and it’s important for the voters to know the truth,” Hanna campaign spokesman Mike Fandrich said today. “We will correct her misstatements each time she makes them.”

The website is

Hanna’s campaign starts by disputing claims they say Tenney made in a mailer to Republican NY-22 voters this week, saying Hanna voted against protecting 2nd Amendment rights.

“Richard is a gun owner, National Rifle Association member, and has been endorsed by the NRA for his “A” grade in Congress,” says Fandrich. “Richard always supports and defends the Second Amendment. He opposes the NY SAFE Act and is Remington Arms’ leading advocate in Congress.”

In response to the website, Tenney said “fact check” site was being truthful.

“One mis-truth after another,” said Tenney.

Tenney, of New Hartford, currently represents New York’s 101st Assembly district that clips parts of Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties.

Tenney’s 101st Assembly district nicks the borders of Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties and meanders northward through Delaware, Otsego, Herkimer and Oneida counties. She’s serving her second term in Albany and the seat is up for reelection this year.

The 22nd Congressional district is comprised of Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Oswego and Tioga counties.



Posted in Down in D.C., Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Up in Albany | Leave a comment

Maloney, Hayworth will duel in June for Independence line

The first round of a Maloney-Hayworth rematch will take place June 24, when Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and his Republican predecessor, Nan Hayworth, will square off in a primary for the rights to the Independence Party ballot line for their general election contest in November.

The state Board of Elections validated Maloney’s Independence petition on Wednesday, finding that he had 1,800 valid signatures after the rejection of 361 that were successfully challenged, presumably by Hayworth’s campaign. The first-term congressman needed 1,111 valid signatures to qualify for the race.

Hayworth, who lost her seat to Maloney in 2012 after one term in office, averted a Republican primary for New York’s 18th Congressional District when the board determined that a petition submitted by GOP rival Andre Barnett was invalid for two reasons: it was received late, and had too few signatures. With the discounting of 86 invalid signatures, Barnett had 1,166 names, short of the 1,250 threshold to get on the ballot, board spokesman Tom Connolly said Thursday.

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Van Blarcum to seek third term as Ulster sheriff

Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum announced Thursday that he plans to run for his third term as the county’s top cop.

In a prepared statement, Van Blarcum, a Democrat, said he’s proud of the management of the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center, the comprehensive community policing program and the relationships and cooperation his office has built with other police agencies.

“But there is more to do. The job is not done. My goal in my third term will be to build upon our successes with a team approach toward maximizing the effectiveness of law enforcement and through the continues development of cooperation with all police agencies,” Van Blarcum said.

Ulster County Legislature Chairman John Parete is listed as the campaign manager of Van Blarcum’s campaign.

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Castricone wins United Monroe line for Assembly race

Former Orange County Legislator Dan Castricone won a guaranteed place on the November ballot for the 98th Assembly District Thursday when the United Monroe citizens group endorsed the Tuxedo Republican and promised him its ballot line.

“Dan is the clear choice, and for us the only choice,” United Monroe Chairwoman Emily Convers said in a press release from Castricone. “He has great ideas for fixing the economy and keeping government open and honest. Dan Castricone has shown great interest in, and has the ability to help resolve the annexation issue in the Town of Monroe.”

Castricone is one of three Republicans currently competing for the 98th District seat, which has been open since Annie Rabbitt left it in January after being elected Orange County clerk. The other two Republican contenders are Deerpark Supervisor Karl Brabenec and Mike Morgillo, a retired New York City police officer and union official who lives in Monroe.

Orange County Republicans plan to endorse a candidate in that race at a May 21 convention at the Meadowbrook Lodge in New Windsor. Votes will be cast there by GOP committee members who live in the district, which spans southern Orange from Port Jervis to Harriman. The district also encompasses part of the Town of Ramapo in neighboring Rockland County. When Rockland Republicans will make their endorsement is unclear.

Brabenec appears to have the edge for the party endorsement in Orange. He announced last month that the Minisink, Deerpark and Port Jervis Republican committees had unanimously endorsed him, that 90 percent of Monroe’s committee had backed him and that 44 percent of Warwick’s supported him.

Regardless of who wins the party’s backing, all Republican contenders remaining in the race will compete in a Sept. 9 primary.

Krystal Serrano of Monroe is the lone Democrat who has announced plans to run for the 98th District seat. Kevin Hudson, a Republican and former Washingtonville mayor, declared his candidacy earlier this year, but hasn’t contacted Republican Party leaders about seeking the endorsement, Orange County Republican Chairwoman Courtney Canfield Greene said Thursday.

United Monroe delivered around 6,000 votes for each of its candidates in last November’s heated town elections, but was outgunned by Kiryas Joel’s giant voting blocs. Convers, who was the group’s supervisor candidate, said Thursday that United Monroe interviewed Castricone, Morgillo and Serrano before making its Assembly endorsement. Brabenec didn’t return their call, she said.

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Tkaczyk’s anti-fracking waste bill goes down in committee

A state bill sponsored by Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk that would have prevented hydrofracturing waste from other states to be used in New York was defeated in committee Tuesday.

Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, is blaming the loss on Senate Republicans in the Committee on Environmental Conservation, who voted against the measure and “who receive millions of dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas corporations.” She said she was “very disappointing” in the defeat but intends to fight to raise awareness on the issue.

“We know that wastes from other states are being dumped here in New York, and we know those wastes contain toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. I was shocked to hear the Chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation say he is not sure this is occurring,” Tkaczyk said.

The measure was assigned to committee after Tkaczyk introduced it in May of 2013. It was defeated 7-6 along mostly party lines.

Tkaczyk says she forced a vote on the bill by using a procedural maneuver called a “motion to consider,” after Senate Republicans refused to put it on the agenda.

Senators each has three opportunities to use a Motion to Consider to place one of their bills onto the Committee agenda. Senators use the Motion to Consider to move priority measures that have been stalled in committee.

Tkaczyk says that thousands of tons of toxic hydrofracturing waste, also known as fracking, contains hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals and compounds. She says the waste is imported into New York each year, despite the fact that there’s a moratorium on fracking in New York while it’s being studied.

Waste products from hydraulic fracturing can legally be disposed of at municipal water treatment plants because the waste is currently exempt from the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws, according to the bill.

Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif hit back at Tkaczyk, saying that the takeaway from the loss was that Tkaczyk “didn’t effectively do her job.”

“Instead of issuing disingenuous press releases accusing people of having dark motives for voting the way they did, maybe Senator Tkaczyk should have spent a little more time making the case and trying to earn the support of her colleagues,” Reif said. “Simply put, this legislation lacked the votes it needed in committee to be brought to the floor of the Senate for an up-or-down vote.”

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Zimet seeks Cahill’s assembly seat

Here’s reporter Jeremiah Horrigan’s story today on New Paltz Supervisor Susan Zimet’s primary challenge against fellow Democrat, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill:

New Paltz Town Supervisor Susan Zimet’s decision to challenge fellow Democrat Kevin Cahill for the state assembly seat she once helped him win is a matter of choice, she said Tuesday.

That seat, the 103rd Assembly District, hasn’t been subject to a primary in recent memory. Cahill has held it — on and off — for 16 years; before him, Democrat, and former Rep. Maurice Hinchey held the position for 18 years.

“It’s been a very safe Democratic seat for years now,” Zimet said. “The only way to give people a choice is by forcing a primary.”

Zimet once campaigned for Cahill; her husband, Steve Auerbach, once served as Cahill’s campaign treasurer. But their political relationship has been strained, at best, for years. Her announcement on Tuesday came as no surprise to political observers.

Zimet highlighted several issues in a campaign video, including her support for anti-fracking legislation, the need for property tax relief and ethical scandals in the Assembly.

She described herself as a reformer, and accused Cahill as being part of an “Albany culture” in which he is reliant on corporate donations from industries he oversees as a member of several Assembly committees.

But the issue that she said convinced her to challenge Cahill in the September primary isn’t mentioned in her campaign video: Cahill’s controversial decision to block the county’s request for a 1 percent sales tax increase that Zimet says has cost the county and its municipalities $5 million in receipts since December.

“And that was money needed by social services, not-for-profits like Family of Woodstock,” she said. “What he did was just unconscionable.”

Cahill declined to comment specifically on Zimet’s charges Tuesday; a spokesman said he was engaged in legislative work.

However, shortly after Zimet’s announcement, Cahill issued a statement. Without mentioning her by name, he said “We are very fortunate to live in a free democracy. That means we often have elections where different people run for the same office.”

He said he was proud of his record and welcomed the chance to discuss any issues with his constituents.

Posted in Ulster, Up in Albany | Leave a comment
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