Thursday, March 26, 2009


Some of my posts and associated views have some of my closer friends scratching their heads. It’s not so perplexing if you read ALL my posts. Granted, most won’t ever be able to reconcile some of what I’ll simply characterize as “a moderation of my early beliefs.”

Essentially, my ideology on certain matters has evolved resulting in probably what is a unique bundling of beliefs and views in relation to the typical packaging we’ve grown accustomed to from any of the major party platforms. I’m immersed in the gray, so to speak.

I’m sure some will see it as a nonsensical bundling or an attempt to pander. Whatever. I’m not too concerned. I’ve truly moved beyond any belief in litmus tests or rigid attachment to party ideology. I suppose some would characterize it as being pragmatic. Maybe so, but I see it differently. Pragmatism within the parties means something completely different, I think. It’s not intended as compromise either. It’s more about right and wrong for me. Many will never understand what I mean. That’s okay.

Nonetheless, people are often surprised to learn their preconception of me is not quite entirely accurate. I hope I leave them thinking. Not wondering where I stand, because to find that out, all you have to do is ask me.


Have you ever had anything unravel on you? Not implode or explode, but unravel? It’s a slow progress that winds up gaining unexpected momentum. The results can often be devastating. By the time you realize it’s happening, it’s too late to reverse. Sometimes you realize it’s happening but choose to ignore it, dismissing the significance of the early warning signs.

The truth is that almost every single thing is vulnerable to an unraveling. That’s right…almost everything.

It takes care to avoid complacency. Most things are more fragile than thought. An unraveling begins imperceptibly. There is an advantage gained by those who perceive it first.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


A little earlier today, the candidacy of Libertarian Eric Sundwall for the 20th Congressional District race was invalidated. Although he collected upwards of 6700 signatures, well exceeding the required 3500, something on the order of 3700 signatures were called into question.

NYS Election Law is intentionally quite complicated and convoluted. It is designed, in part, to make it prohibitive for independent third-party candidates to challenge the two major parties. I never much liked that. It limits voter choice.

In this case, you have a person who would like an opportunity to be included on the ballot and from what I can tell, genuinely tried to comply with the rules. He even went to lengths to provide over double the required number of signatures. To be sure, there might very well be legitimate exclusions, but 3700? Why are the major parties afraid to have another name on the ballot?

I can’t say I’m surprised though. This type of thing has occurred in many previous elections. I am sensitive to it in my own contemplated attempt to be included on November’s ballot. I’ve read and re-read the pertinent election law. I’m pretty sure I can navigate it successfully but I’ve already been to the Board of Elections for clarification once and intend to go again at least once more. I won’t have my efforts undone on technical challenges.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lobby Time

And so it begins. This effort by the Town of Colonie described in the Spotlight ( ) is exactly the type of pro-active approach I advocated in my post, Infrastructure , last month. If you want/expect the money, then you’d better demonstrate the need for it before it’s all spoken for. I’d make this a priority task of our newly appointed Economic Development Specialist.

Strap It On

Many months ago, I wrote about a higher standard. ( It’s an understatement to say there is a lot of warranted finger-pointing occurring at the national level as the various interested parties wrangle over missteps taken in dealing with the country’s fiscal crisis. In my opinion, there is certainly plenty of blame to go around, but determining who it belongs to is secondary to fixing the underlying problems.

I was personally impressed by President Obama’s willingness to step forward and declare, “The buck stops with me.” Again, many will dismiss his comment out of hand as just words that don’t matter. I disagree. They do matter. These are important words. Why? Because it’s an acknowledgement that missteps occurred. As top man, he is ultimately responsible and accountable. It will be his task to right the ship and ensure that eventually those most directly responsible for the missteps are held accountable in whatever sense makes most sense in the context of fixing the underlying problem.

Read my old post. To expect a higher standard from others, you’ve first got to exhibit that standard yourself. Does anyone else find it a bit disingenuous of our various politicians claiming outrage about the taxpayer being taken advantage of? These same guys across the political spectrum have been doing exactly that for as long as I can remember. They ride in taxpayer paid vehicles, enjoy per diem expenses to accomplish nothing, routinely fail to pay their own taxes, etc. In my opinion, it’s false outrage to distract from their own shortcomings. The bottom line is we’ve got to fix it. How we do that will be no easy feat. It certainly couldn’t have been realistically expected by anyone that understands economics that it would be fixed in short order.

The fix begins by “owning” the problem. So far, the only person willing to do that is President Obama and I respect him for it.

Too much finger-pointing. Too much name-calling. Too much nonsense. It can’t continue if we want to move forward.

I end with one question: Can you hold yourself to the higher standard you expect from others, or are you part of the problem?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

High Gear

If you’re anything like me, you’ve noticed the multitude of branches piled at curbside throughout town. That ice storm sure wreaked some havoc, didn’t it?

Anyway, be patient. The Highway Department will certainly have their hands full getting to it all. In fact, I saw them rolling the heavy equipment quite early this morning in efforts to do just that.

The town website had this bulletin posted yesterday:

***** I M P O R T A N T B U L L E T I N *****
Posted: 3/18/2009

BRUSH PICKUP: Since the ice storm in December, we have been picking up brush when possible and are now going section by section and will continue until the debris is cleaned up. We appreciate your patience as we complete this task and ask for your cooperation in getting your debris curbside as soon as possible. THERE WILL BE NO SET SCHEDULE.

NOTICE: If you hire a contractor to work in your yard and/or cut trees, the contractor is responsible for removing the debris. The Town WILL NOT pick up debris left by contractors.

STREET SWEEPING: Street sweepers will be out by the first week of April.

COMPOST FACILITY: The Compost Facility on Princetown Road will be open to the public Monday, March 30, 2009.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I’ve been involved in some worthwhile dialogue recently about political realities encountered when contemplating a run for office. My view has always been idealistic, I suppose. I appreciate the two-party system. I am often enamored by serious third-party candidates, however. My disappointment with the status quo has led me to believe that real solutions will be offered not by either of the major parties, but by a new independent movement. Though the idea is appealing to many, the same people tell me it’s virtually impossible. I understand the arguments but find myself unwilling to accept them anymore.

I’ve been a registered Republican since I came of voting age many years ago. Increasingly, I’ve found myself pulling the lever for candidates of all stripes – Republican, Democrat, Independent, Conservative – especially at the local level where ideology often counts for less. The cumulative effect of the political bickering and maneuvering between the various parties has achieved very little other than consistently increasing the tax burden. I’ve had enough.

I’ve discovered recently that party structure and decision-making is rigid and controlled, driven by motives and mechanisms I don’t have any interest in. I mistakenly believed that our interest as citizens was paramount. I’m disappointed to learn otherwise.

I find myself at a political crossroads of sorts. I’m not a politician. A purely independent run is daunting and appealing in the same breath. But if I don’t win, then what was the point? I’m not looking to make a valiant stand for idealism – I’m looking to make a real contribution to the betterment of my community. I want to make a positive difference toward preserving, protecting, and enhancing the Quality of Life of my neighbors. I think I have something worthwhile to contribute to that end. I need a stronger voice than the one I’ve been exercising as a voter and concerned citizen.

In the end, labels are irrelevant. If elected, I’ll serve everyone – Republican, Democrat, whatever – equally anyway. Does it really matter what my label is? To some, surely. To most, I hope not. I won’t be beholden to anyone other than the residents. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?

My message will be concise and understandable. The path I take to deliver it might wind up being a bit unorthodox but I’m intent to deliver the message.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Solar Eclipse

The Rotterdam Town Board took another step recently toward operating in the shadows when they ceded power to appoint engineers to the Planning Commission. Of course, the move was touted by the majority of the Town Board as a means toward expediency. Developer interest was served over resident interest. The sole dissenting vote was cast by Mr. Mertz.

The problem with this procedural change is that it undermines ultimate Town Board accountability and pushes engineer selection further into the shadows. Transparency and open government are among the most fundamental and important aspects of effective governance. The passage of this measure seriously erodes those principles.

Who will ensure that potential conflicts of interest are properly scrutinized and disclosed? What are the criteria that will be used to qualify for the “preferred” engineer list? What are the criteria that will be used to be selected from the list? Will this selection process be uniform and public? Is it proper that the Planning Commission is the only unelected town body with the ability to hire/fire now? Who will be accountable to us, the taxpayer, when things go awry as a result?

Transparency in Rotterdam just became more opaque. I still have not heard a convincing argument for why this change is necessary and how it will benefit me as a taxpayer. I don’t like it.