MEETING SET OVER LARKIN CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT
See Chris McKenna's "Our Region" on p.3 of today's Times Herald-Record for a follow-up to the Carmen Dubaldi scandal:
LDCOC to honor NY State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
at their annual Fall dinner dance on Saturday, October 10, 2015
Keynote speaker NYS Senator/Democratic Conference Leader Hon. Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Awards to Carla Burgos, Constance Calderin and Esteban Ramos
Cocktails at 5 PM [open bar], dinner and program 6 PM [cash bar],
entertainment and dancing [cash bar] 7 PM
Patron [10 tickets] $550 - Sponsor [2 tickets] $250 - Friend [1 ticket] - Individual ticket $65
Checks payable to Latino Democratic Committee of Orange County and mail to
LDCOC, PO Box 1145, Monroe, NY 10949
845-566-4336 for more information and to advertise in the Dinner Journal
Editorial: VICTIMS OF POLITICAL CRIME DESERVE EQUAL TREATMENT
JOIN THE OCNYDEMS FOR OUR FALL PICNIC!
Saturday, October 17, 2015 in the Picnic Grove Shelter at Thomas Bull Memorial Park
211 State Route 216, Montgomery, NY 12549
$15 per person, $40 for the family, and those under 8 are free!
RSVP to Vanessa Tirado at email@example.com [845-566-4336] or Mickey Morgano at firstname.lastname@example.org
Aileen Gunther urges Gov. Cuomo to sign the Anti-Stigma Bill into law
Stigma is considered one of the leading reasons people who experience symptoms of mental illness don't seek help sooner.
ULSTER COUNTY D.A. CONFIRMS DUBALDI PROBE
Mid Hudson Times - August 26, 2015
The Ulster County District Attorney’s Office has confirmed an investigation of Carmen Dubaldi. According to the DA’s office, the case is pending.
The investigation follows Dubaldi’s resignation as treasurer for Orange County Legislature Chairman Steve Brescia, County Clerk Annie Rabbitt and former county Executive Ed Diana over the summer. Dubaldi also recently stepped down as chairman of the New Windsor Republican Committee.
As of Tuesday, Dubaldi maintained his job as an assistant safety and loss control specialist for Orange County. Staff from state Sen. Bill Larkin’s office did not return phone calls this week asking whether Dubaldi still worked as Larkin’s treasurer.
Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright did not convey specifics on the case.
However, last week Carnright told MidHudsonNews.com the investigation originated in Orange County, but was assigned to the Ulster County DA’s Office after the Orange County district attorney expressed concerns over a potential conflict of interest.
When the Orange County DA’s Office was asked if it was investigating Dubaldi earlier this month, the Mid Hudson Times received a tight-lipped response.
“As a matter of policy, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office does not confirm or deny the existence of investigations in any matter unless or until charges are filed publicly,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Borek said.
Dubaldi is currently a defendant in a 2013 lawsuit filed by former New Windsor Councilwoman Bonnie Brennan. The suit resulted from a 2012 political campaign during which the New Windsor Republican Committee, then chaired by Dubaldi, used a mug shot of Brennan in political mailers and ads appearing in The Sentinel newspaper.
The photo was obtained from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Dubaldi’s signature appears on documents requesting the photo from the police agency. The mug shot was taken after a 2009 domestic incident at Brennan’s home. All charges against her were later dismissed.
By SHANTAL RILEY
Broge seeks probe of Larkin campaign finances
- Chris McKenna's blog, The Fray, at recordonline.com [Times Herald-Record] on Aug. 22, 2015
Orange County Democratic Chairman Brett Broge is asking a state attorney to investigate Sen. William Larkin Jr.’s failure to report his campaign contributions and expenditures from January to July, an accounting that he was supposed to file by July 15 and is now more than a month overdue.In a letter on Thursday to Risa Sugarman, chief enforcement counsel for the state Board of Elections, Broge noted that Larkin set up a new campaign account on July 8 and transferred his money there, but never submitted a semi-annual report itemizing the transactions that occurred before then. Broge asked Sugarman to investigate both of Larkin’s campaign committees and pointed out that violations of state election law are subject to fines of up to $1,000.
Larkin’s staff hasn’t responded to questions from the Times Herald-Record about when the report will be filed. Its absence appears tied to an ongoing criminal investigation of Larkin’s former campaign treasurer, Carmen Dubaldi, a longtime Republican insider who recently quit his posts as New Windsor Republican chairman and as campaign treasurer for three other politicians. The matter has reportedly been transferred out of Orange County to avoid potential conflicts and referred to the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office.
The Times Herald-Record reported on Dubaldi’s resignations and the wall of silence surrounding them on July 23.
In a press release accompanying his letter to Sugarman, Broge said that Larkin “is obligated to provide the public an explanation as to why he has not complied with the mandates of the election law.”
“If it has to do with the potential criminal activity of his former campaign treasurer and consultant, Carmen Dubaldi, then he should simply say so and not remain silent, which suggests some type of cover-up,” he said.
Congratulations to the Town of Woodbury, voted by Money Magazine as one of the Country's Best Places to Live in 2015: http://time.com/…/woodbury-newyork-best-places-to-live-2015/
August 10, 2015
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
With August underway, I hope you’re in the midst of enjoying summer. There is a lot of information to share from this year’s legislative session and I’d like to take a moment to keep you up to date on important issues.
Annexation Oversight Bills
As most of you know by now, annexation oversight bills I crafted, introduced and passed were vetoed by the governor. These bills would have injected a sense of accountability into the Kiryas Joel-initiated annexation bids as well as all far-reaching annexations across New York State. I spent months working with my colleagues to build support for the bills and ultimately passed the legislation by overwhelming margins. Unfortunately, strong support in the Legislature and nearly 10,000 petition signatures – including many from residents of Kiryas Joel – was not enough to keep the governor from playing politics with the Hudson Valley.
I remain steadfastly opposed to the local annexation bids, and you can be sure I will continue to work with all of our stakeholders as the process moves forward.
Property Tax Relief
While not the full property tax circuit breaker I had backed, a version of the plan I was proud to help pass will deliver significant relief for Orange and Rockland county residents. Here are the details:
- In year one (2016) relief is modest with homeowners in our area receiving a flat $130 credit.
- In years two through four, the plan becomes tied to income and the Basic STAR program - so make sure you sign up for STAR!
Property Tax Credit (as a % of STAR Rebate)
Year 2 (2017)
Year 3 (2018)
Year 4 (2019)
$75,000 – $150,000
$150,000 – $200,000
$200,000 – $275,000
These numbers reflect hundreds – if not, in some cases, thousands – of dollars returned to taxpayers' pockets. The money comes from this year's budget surplus and future years' projected surpluses. At a time when so many working and middle-class families are living paycheck to paycheck, this program makes progress toward ensuring you keep more of your hard-earned money.
Investing in Our Infrastructure
I made local infrastructure improvements a top priority this year, particularly in light of the devastating effects this past winter had on Orange and Rockland counties’ roads.
First, I successfully fought to secure $3 million in this year’s budget to repair Route 207, which runs through the heart of Goshen. The village’s downtown main street, in deplorable condition, will soon be getting a complete facelift, a boon for residents who travel the road every day as well as the business community as it continues to attract new commerce. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is currently designing plans for the work which will begin in early spring 2016.
I also secured significant funding for the north section of the Palisades Parkway. One of my colleagues, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, and I held a press conference in February to call on the DOT to prioritize this long-overdue project and repair this very dangerous section of the parkway. Moving forward, we worked with the DOT during the agency’s capital plan negotiations and secured over $10 million to get the job done. The area from the Bear Mountain Circle to the Palisades Parkway Bookstore will be repaired this fall; the stretch from the bookstore to Exit 13 (Haverstraw) will be repaired next year.
One major, ongoing issue is the MTA Capital Plan. I remain dedicated to including two significant upgrades for Orange and Rockland riders in the plan: (1) a midway yard located between the two existing yards in Suffern and Port Jervis; and (2) double tracks or, at a minimum, sidings between Suffern and the new midway yard, allowing trains to travel in both directions simultaneously.
These two upgrades will enable Metro-North/NJ Transit to provide more rides to and from Central/Eastern Orange as well as Rockland. I’ve been working with the Legislature and MTA leadership, including our local MTA Board representative, to fight for our fair share in the forthcoming capital plan.
Making Education a Priority
Education was a significant issue during the legislative session and budget negotiations. I fought to secure a $27 million or 6.1%increase for schools in our Assembly District. I was proud to help deliver this historic increase in aid to our schools because we cannot expect our children to succeed without providing them with the small classroom sizes and tools to do so.
While the funding was a major win, this year’s education budget – which I strongly opposed and voted against – unfortunately, increased the emphasis on testing. The governor pushed to “reform” the teacher evaluation system by tying a larger portion of an educator’s rating to their students’ performance on state tests. This move is a disservice to our students, as it would ultimately force more educators to “teach to the test.”
Through an effort to stop the attack on our schools, we fought back and were able to pass reforms to help our students and teachers thrive. I was able to help create a content review committee to ensure standardized tests are fair and grade-level appropriate, ensure the release of more test questions and answers, so teachers can better prepare students for future tests, and enable teachers and administrators to discuss the contents of exams after they’ve been publicly released. Additionally, our agreement required that teacher evaluations will consider poverty and other outside factors that can affect academic performance.
I will continue to fight to deliver the quality education all students deserve.
Holding Public Officials Accountable
I voted for and will continue fighting for a much needed constitutional amendment to strip public pensions from corrupt politicians. I also strongly supported new laws that strengthened the rules on the use of campaign funds to prevent abuse, reformed the travel-pay system for legislators to prevent fraud and required increased disclosure of legislators’ outside income. However, more needs to be done to combat the seemingly endless stream of indictments and convictions because the public deserves a government they can trust.
One item I strongly supported and the Assembly passed is closing the so-called “LLC loophole.” Currently, one individual that owns multiple LLCs can skirt campaign finance law and donate hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars to political campaigns. Unfortunately and inexplicably, the Senate refused to take this legislation up for a vote and the loophole persists.
In addition to the many important issues I’m involved with, my office and I have assisted countless constituents with casework – anything from fighting wrongful insurance company decisions to cutting red tape at the DMV or other agencies. If we can be of any help, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at the number below or this email address. I sincerely thank you for affording me the privilege to represent you. I will continue being your strongest voice both in Albany as well as in Orange and Rockland counties.
From the Mid-Hudson Times PM News Report, August 5, 2015:
Appellate Court rules Orange Legislature’s Valley View vote was illegal
GOSHEN – The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court has ruled that the Orange County Legislature was wrong when it voted by a simple majority to create a local development corporation to sell the county’s Valley View nursing home.
Opponents who sued, who included residents and employees of the facility, challenged the legislature’s decision claiming lawmakers violated the provisions of the county charter, which says a two-thirds vote is needed.
State Supreme Court Justice Elaine Slobod had earlier ruled in the petitioners’ favor, in a matter represented by attorney Michael Sussman, that a two-thirds vote was needed.
The county appealed the decision and now, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, in a unanimous 4-0 vote, rejected the county’s motion to affirm the simple majority vote of the legislature.
County Legislator Michael Anagnostakis, who was among those who led the charge to keep Valley View in county hands, said this latest decision should put the issue to rest.
“As far as I am concerned, this five-year shameful saga to get rid of a service for our elderly, the nursing home, so that others could profit off the seniors, is now finally over. The people have won and the corruption has lost,” he said.
If the County so chooses, it could appeal to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
QUESTIONS SWIRL IN WAKE OF ORANGE COUNTY POLITICAL OPERATIVE'S RESIGNATIONS
Dems support Campaign for a Cleaner Hudson Vigil
COUNTY COURT RETIREMENT ADDS ONE MORE JUDICIAL RACE TO 2015 BALLOT
On June 3, 2015 Orange County Court Judge Jeffrey Berry officially retired from his County Court Judge position. We were not able to include this position at our June 1, 2015 convention because it was not an officially vacant position until the retirement became official on June 3, 2015.
It is possible that one or more candidates will attend the next meeting on Tuesday, June 10 Committee support for a 2015 run, the Committee will not endorse any candidates for County Court before the end of the petition period. However, if a candidate does come forward, Committee members will be encouraged to carry for the Democratic County Court candidate despite not having an official endorsement.
On Monday, June 1, 2015 at 7:30 PM at the Holiday Inn in Middletown, NY the OCNYDems held their2015 Endorsement Convention. Endorsements for the two Orange County Family Court Judges were Christine Stage and Maria Patrizio, and Richard Roberts for the 13th Legislative District.
The new Town of Montgomery Democratic Committee is actively seeking members interested in running for office, or helping other Democrats get elected to state and local office. All interested may contact
Gregory Anderson at 845-541-0258.
CHRIS EACHUS, Orange County Legislator, honored with the Lifetime Service Award by Hudson Valley ALF
Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation held its 9th Annual Labor Heroes Celebration on Friday, June 19 at
Falkirk Estates & Country Club, Central Valley.
Democratic Legislative Report on the Government Center: an update
The following is from a recent presentation to the Executive Committee of the Orange County Democratic Committee by Legislator Matt Turnbull [District 11], who spent many years in the construction industry.
The building was constructed in the late Sixties. It leaked when first occupied, but the leaks were fixed and it didn’t leak again until the roof ran its useful life and was replaced in 1985. It started to leak again around 2000, and again, that roof ran its useful life but has not since been replaced.
Instead, buckets and tarps became the main strategy for making the case for demolishing the building and constructing a new Government Center. [more ... ]
DICK ROBERTS ANNOUNCES RUN FOR SPECIAL ELECTION
TO ORANGE COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 13
Former Orange County legislator and City of Port Jervis Mayor Richard Roberts has announced his intention to run for the open seat in the Orange County 13th Legislative District this year.
Dick Roberts is an ideal candidate who has dedicated his life to serving the people of Port Jervis. For most of his life, Dick worked in the Port Jervis School District, where he served first as a teacher at both Port Jervis High School and Middle School, then as the High School dean of students, summer school principal, Middle School principal and assistant superintendent for instruction. After he retired, Roberts continued to serve the district as a member of the Board of Education. He was also elected to the Port Jervis High School Hall of Fame / Class of 2013.
A committed public servant, Roberts served the City of Port Jervis as a councilman, councilman-at-large and mayor. He also served with distinction as Orange County Legislator for eight years. Additionally, he has held leadership positions in numerous local organizations to include the Tri-States Chamber of Commerce Board, Port Jervis Free Library Board of Trustees, Laurel Grove Cemetery Association Board of Directors, Port Jervis Fire Department, the Orange County Planning Federation and Kiwanis. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Port Jervis Community Development Agency.
Dick presents a great opportunity to change the composition of the Legislature from 11-9-1 to 10-10-1, thereby bringing more parity to the Legislature and give the Legislative Democrats greater leverage to drive the progressive agenda.
Dick was endorsed by the Orange County Democratic Committee on June 1.
April 4, 2015
Letter From Assemblyman JAMES SKOUFIS on the NY State Budget
Dear Friends & Neighbors:
As you may know by now, the 2015-2016 state budget was passed earlier this week. During the months-long negotiation, right up to the time of the votes on various budget bills, I did my best to fight for the serious priorities we have here in the Hudson Valley all the while advocating for our share of resources and attention. Here are some of the highlights – and, unfortunately, lowlights:
In January, the Governor proposed reforms that strike at the heart of education and the teaching profession. While some of my colleagues and I worked tirelessly to make a terrible situation better, the end result is not something I could support. That is why I voted "no" on these education proposals.
Teaching is one of society's most noble professions and I am truly saddened that some are compelled to attack those in our classrooms. Likewise, the vast majority of our schools are places of excellence - not "failing," as some have suggested.
I am further extremely concerned that the potential for a greater reliance on testing exists for both our students and teachers as part of these proposals. There is already over-testing in our classrooms - a greater emphasis on testing, in my opinion, will not yield an accurate or fair assessment of our educators' or children's abilities. You can be sure I will be lobbying the Board of Regents over the coming months as they begin their new task of assembling a revamped teacher evaluation plan.
Unlike the above proposals, I was proud to support and vote for a significant increase in state aid to our local schools - I helped bring back an over $27 million increase in funding to the districts I represent. This is something that will lead to smaller classroom sizes and truly help our students.
And I stand with the teachers in our district that work day in and day out for our children. Thank you, teachers, and you deserve better.
There was some good news on taxes in this year’s budget but there is yet much to be desired. In January, the Governor proposed to eliminate the 2% cost of living increase associated with the STAR property tax rebate program, a measure that would have cost thousands of families I represent. I am pleased to say that like-minded colleagues and I were successful in pushing back on the Governor’s attempt to flat-line the STAR program and a 2% increase remains.
Other good news includes the further chipping away of the unjust MTA payroll tax. While I continue to support legislation that completely repeals this tax, this year’s budget includes an exemption for our libraries.
The bad news is what was not in the budget. I am very disappointment that a much-discussed property tax relief measure called a circuit breaker was not included in the budget framework nor was a cut in the small business income tax rate. These items will be taken up post-budget and remain a top priority of mine.
Lastly, a salary commission was included in one of the budget bills, tasked with looking at pay raises for legislators and agency officials. As I have always pledged, I voted against this measure and do not believe it is appropriate.
The Hudson Valley scored a win when it comes to preserving open space. Included in this year’s budget is $20 million specifically for farmland protection in the Hudson Valley. Also included were significant increases in the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and the establishment of a $200 million program to assist municipalities in funding water quality infrastructure projects.
$1.5 billion was included in the budget for economic development north of New York City. While I strongly objected to the “hunger games” or competitive nature of this proposal – pitting regions of the state against one another – I plan to work with local stakeholders as we pursue our fair share of this funding. The opportunity exists to inject significant resources into local projects that will lead to job creation, infrastructure, and a stronger Hudson Valley.
I am here to serve you 24/7 and welcome any and all input. Always feel free to call my office at 845-469-6929, email me email@example.com or set up a time to meet in-person. Likewise, be sure to follow me on social media at these links: Facebook: facebook.com/james.skoufis and Twitter: twitter.com/jamesskoufis
Thank you for affording me the privilege to serve you.
Democratic Caucus Leader's response to the State of the County 2015:
WHAT OUR COUNTY NEEDS
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus delivered the annual ‘State of the County’ address on Wednesday, March 18th. Though the speech was ‘sunny’, projecting many highlights that the County accomplished over the past year, it was very short on specifics for the future. County economic difficulties from last year, and deficit budgeting for this current year, have not simply disappeared.
‘Good, positive stuff’ will only continue occurring in Orange County if there is proper leadership and if the County finances are dealt with in a clear, concise and logical manner. This action must take place immediately as the County is already through one-quarter of its current fiscal year and has not successfully to date addressed its deficits. Leaving the economic and financial future of this County to imaginary solutions and to unachievable hopes and wishes is not the means of ‘righting the ship’.
The County needs a bona fide business plan to guide us through the present and into the future. The recent past has shown that all stakeholders in the County, especially the County Legislature, must be part of the decision-making process. Many positive actions have been undertaken by the County legislature in cooperation with the County Executive’s office in order to fill fiscal deficits and start producing a viable financial future. No ‘crisis budgeting’ nor inflammatory rhetoric is necessary. Hundreds of County workers do not need to be laid off, nor essential County programs and services cut, to achieve our goal of financial fitness.
Valley View Nursing Home is the County’s most successful department over this past year. By drastically cutting costs, maintaining staffing and sustaining its excellent reputation for patient care, it is a model that the County must review and duplicate in other areas. There is complete agreement that the change in administration has been the focal point of these improvements at Valley View and that giving jobs based on nepotism or favoritism does not give the County the resources it needs to be successful.
Compromise throughout County government is also necessary for success and has gotten movement on the Government Center issue. It is essential for any more progress to be made relative to this issue. Neither private companies, nor individuals, should be deciding the fate of the Government Center - or randomly wasting taxpayer’s dollars.
The health and safety of our County residents are of premier importance and has to be kept in the forefront of any planning and decision-making. Services and programs cannot be randomly cut throughout the County. Any County staff reductions must have a thorough analysis done to determine their effects on services and programs.
As the Democratic Caucus leader I am calling on Steve Neuhaus, along with all my compatriots in the County Legislature, to come together to produce a viable and acceptable business plan for the County to address current and future years. This must be done within the next two months in order to properly address the immediate issues in our County. As quoted by our County Executive, “We are not out of the storm”, and we won’t be out unless there is a plan and proper leadership to guide the way.
See video of Neuhaus address at http://bit.ly/1D6rTeF
CHRISTINE STAGE ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR FAMILY COURT JUDGE
With the retirement of Democrat Judge Debra Keidaisch this year, and Republican Lori Currier Woods up for reelection, Stage [a Senior Assistant County Attorney in the Child Protective Unit] will renew her bid for the seat.
Can we get an “Amen!”?
EDITORIAL: Cost and credibility down at Valley View
Times Herald-Record, posted Jan. 31, 2015 @ 3:27 pm
The Valley View story is not only about quality care and taxpayer costs. It’s about credibility. People in Orange County need to know they can trust the bottom line and those who make the calculations.
This week brought another spreadsheet, another set of numbers accompanied by another round of explanation and interpretation. The numbers themselves are important, but even more important is the talk surrounding them. [more ... ]
CHESTER DEMOCRATS ELECT LEADERS TO NEW COMMITTEE
By Hema Easley - posted online Jan. 23, 2015 @ 5:54 pm
After years of disarray, Democrats have organized to create the Town of Chester Democratic Committee, and have elected leaders to head it. At their organization meeting Dec. 15, Chester Democrats elected Barbara Murrow, a 21-year Chester resident, as chairperson, and Stephen Diffley, an electrician, as co-chair, the committee said in a press release earlier this week. The committee has 15 members.
“I really like my town. I really want to see it better,” said Murrow, a 21-year resident of Chester and an information technology systems project manager by profession. “We need to find some good Democrats who can be on the Town Board.”
Democrats have an edge in Chester, with 35 percent of voters registered as Democrats. Republicans are 32 percent of registered voters and 24 percent are independents. However, Republicans have long controlled the Town Board and other elected offices in the town.
Diffley said lack of a Democratic committee contributed to this. Efforts to start a committee picked up when Diffley ran for Town Board in November, along with Lenny Silver for supervisor. Both candidates lost, but the effort to start a committee continued.
“An active committee definitely helps,” said Diffley.
At their December meeting, registered Democrats also voted in Eileen Hand as secretary, Noel Spencer as treasurer and Vincent Finizia as Sergeant at Arms.
VALLEY VIEW COSTS PLUMMET
January 22, 2015:
The end-of-year report says the County nursing home is $7 million under budget; see the Chronicle report here: http://bit.ly/1BLLsJ4
January 2, 2015:
BREAKING NEWS: Orange County Civil Asset Forfeiture Law vetoed!
Both our elected Democratic leaders and our rank and file members strongly opposed the Asset Forfeiture bill being sought by District Attorney David Hoovler and Republican members of the Orange County Legislature. Every Democratic member of the Orange County Legislature voted against this bill and many of our members spoke out against it in the press and at public comment. As such, the Orange County Democratic Committee strongly supports the decision to veto Mr. Hoovler’s Asset Forfeiture bill.
In that County Executive Steven Neuhaus was for this bill before he was against it, we now call upon him to impress upon his Republican colleagues to change their minds on this bill as well, so it is not brought back to the Legislature to attempt an override of the veto. The Asset Forfeiture bill would have been an unconstitutional overreach by the Orange County government and the Republicans should end their attempts to force this law onto the residents of Orange County.
- Brett Broge, Chair of the Orange County Democratic Committee
The Orange County Democratic Committee mourns the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo
He was the quintessential New York Democrat. The son of immigrants, his experiences gave him empathy for those who were not born with stature. His governing reflected those ideals. Governor Cuomo's intellect and work ethic enabled him to become one of the most powerful men in the United States. We express our sympathy to his family. He will be missed.
- Brett Broge, Chair of the Orange County Democratic Committee
My View: Times Herald-Record Sunday, December 28, 2014, p. 11
Seizing addicts’ property won’t help
The war on drugs started under President Nixon. Think about that. For over 40 years, we’ve been trying to eliminate the use of narcotics from our society.
We’ve spent billions of dollars, locked up so many people we have a higher rate of incarceration than the Soviet Union did, done real harm to some of our most fundamental Constitutional protections, and for what? The heroin epidemic now under way in New York is pretty good evidence that we have not succeeded. Politicians wanting to look tough on crime keep telling us the solution is to go further. More money. Stiffer penalties. To coin a phrase: How’s that working out for you? [more]
Christopher Eachus to be Democratic Caucus leader in Orange County Legislature
Orange County Legislator Chris Eachus of New Windsor will become the new leader of the Legislature’s nine-member Democratic Caucus in January, replacing Middletown’s Jeffrey Berkman, who served for five years as Minority leader. Berkman will remain in the Legislature.
Eachus teaches physics at the Newburgh Free Academy and was elected to the Legislature in 2006. He represents District 15, which encompasses the eastern half of New Windsor.
Schumer: More oversight of railroad bridges is needed
By James Walsh - Times Herald-Record - Dec. 23, 2014 and at recordonline.com
CITY OF NEWBURGH -- Sen. Charles Schumer on Tuesday called for more federal inspections of railroad bridges after deteriorating conditions were found at two Cornwall bridges and another in Kingston that routinely support trains hauling millions of gallons of crude oil.
Crumbling concrete foundations were found by Riverkeeper at the Kingston bridge over the Roundout [sic] Creek. Two in Cornwall just south of Storm King Mountain had similar concrete deterioration, as well as exposed rebar and missing or loose bolts. Schumer wanted all three immediately subject to federal inspection. [more ... ]
A True Blue Tribute on October 12, 2014
Jonathan Jacobson: Celebrating the Past - Looking to the Future
We celebrate and thank Jonathan Jacobson for his leadership as Chair of the Orange County Democratic Committee for almost 22 years. [more ...]
The Orange County Government Center: Where do we go from here?
By Matt Turnbull, Orange County Legislator representing Hamptonburgh, Washingtonville and New Windsor
I did not vote for the BB option design for the Orange County Government Center [OCGC]. I always thought it went too far in defacing the building. The two Democrats on the ad hoc building committee weren’t even aware that the rib face block was being removed in its entirety. Seems that the secret meeting had secrets being kept from some on the committee. And this at a cost of several million dollars to the taxpayers of Orange County. The reason given? There might be mold inside the walls.
Are you kidding me? [ ... more]
Residents of Valley View Center at the public hearing on the County Executive's plan to transfer ownership to an LDC [April, 2014]
NEUHAUS AND THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY: SHAMEFUL BROKEN PROMISES ON VALLEY VIEW
There is not too much more to be said about the shameful transfer of Valley View Nursing Home to the Local Development Corporation. It was unnecessary and unwise and was one of the biggest betrayals of the public trust ever seen, given the last campaign. [ ... more]
From the May, 2014 Orange County Democratic Committee Bulletin:
REPORT FROM HON. JEFFREY BERKMAN, LEGISLATIVE MINORITY LEADER
The Orange County Government Center Building has been closed by Executive Order since the fall of 2012. Rather than blindly submit to wasteful Republican demolition plans, our Democratic Caucus worked diligently to implement cost effective alternatives. Former County Executive Diana urged demolition of the entire historic building that Paul Rudolph designed, initially suggesting that the cost of his plan would be $125 million. After further analysis cost estimates increased to $136 million!
From the beginning of this process the Democratic Caucus had a different vision. [ ... more]
APPLES AND ORANGES:
CONCERNING THE RENOVATION OF THE GOVERNMENT CENTER
The Democratic Party saved the taxpayers of Orange County at least $75 million from the original Diana proposal to tear down the Orange County Government Center - and at least $30 million from the most recent proposal.
Republicans are trying to promote the myth that the final renovation plan is almost as much as the second plan to build new. But they are not comparing apples to apples.
There is an additional 20% of “overrun costs” built in to the renovation plan which had not been included in the new construction plans. Neither were the costs of the expanded parking and drainage repair. And the renovation project includes some new construction as well and has over 5,000 more square feet than the smaller two projects. Now it’s up to the Democrats in the County Legislature to make sure that the built-in overruns are not a sure thing and that we get the biggest bang for the buck.
- Jonathan Jacobson, OCNYDems Chair
May, 2014 Orange County Democratic Committee Bulletin