Claverack, New York
9 November 2017 08:23PM
Enid Futterman

The headline of the Register-Star story about the election reads “GOP holds firm, but Dems make inroads.” But those inroads are in New Jersey and Virginia, and the lede goes on to proclaim that “the Republican party held out in Columbia and Greene counties.”

Except when you look at the (unofficial) results, another picture emerges.

While the incumbent Sheriff David Bartlett beat his Democratic opponent, Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkman, Cricket Coleman, the Democratic candidate for Coroner beat her Republican opponent, Roy Brown by nearly two thousand votes.

As for the town elections, Democrats have thus far won in Ancram, Austerlitz, Chatham, Greenport (2 out of 3), Hillsdale, Hudson, and Taghkanic.

Clermont and Copake were split. And the Republicans took Claverack, Germantown, Livingston, Kinderhook, and Stuyvesant.

So the old boy network isn’t dead yet, but a slow-growing, life-threatening tumor just hit a nerve.

PHOTO (by Chatham Democrats): Kevin Weldon + John Wapner, winning Democratic candidates for Town Board in Chatham

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David De Santo 16 November 2017 09:35AM

As a relative newcomer to Claverack, I thought I would provide my personal insight regarding the recent town election. I would like to say that I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Rather, I am a registered Libertarian. Therefore, I feel I can offer a different perspective.
On the the whole, I thought the campaigns of both parties were pathetic and robbed the voters of the information and true political discourse that they deserved. Successful campaigns are characterized by good “retail politics”. That is, meeting the voters directly, listening to their concerns, discussing the issues, and offering solutions. With the population the size of Claverack, getting to know the voter should not be to challenging. My own view is that knowing the people and discussing the issues are crucial. Alas, these factors were woefully missing in this last campaign. The emphasis should not on petty sniping and complaints about the size and location of a candidate’s sign. Rather, the focus should be on meaningful issues.

This last contest was lacking so many of the characteristics of a truly sophisticated and comprehensive campaign.

Despite the fact that there were eight candidates, I only met two, and one was my neighbor ! This shows a woeful lack of desire to connect with the voter. Such arrogance and apathy on the part of the candidates and their parties should not be tolerated.

As I said, there should have been more retail politics. There were no debates, candidate forums nor opportunities for questions and answers. To say that there was no discussion of the issues would be a true understatement.

Once again, BOTH parties share the blame. Despite the oblique reference to a “Master Plan” for the Town, no specifics were provided. The public has the right to answers to precise questions. What were were the conclusions reached ? What issues were discussed ? What solutions have been proposed ? What is the time frame for implementing any recommendations ? What problems may be encountered, and how will they be resolved? Information such as this is important to a voter and new resident such as me. It is not my responsibility to find the answers. It is up to the candidates to provide them.

Some mention was made about so called “smart growth” and preserving the family.farm. Yet, I never heard any meaningful discussions about these issues.

The dearth of campaign literature was shameful. What there was of it was not at all informative.

I personally think the citizens of Claverack deserved more from the candidates.

David De Santo

Joanna Tipple 11 November 2017 08:10PM

Congratulations to all the winning candidates. In the interest of full disclosure my bias is to my fellow Democrats. Cricket, John, Kevin and everyone else, it was a
very meaningful experience. To the Claverack Dems Committee – Stephanie and our guide, Cyndy, Dave, Stephen and Laura, and all the volunteers like Pat and Maureen, Diane, Enid for helping us get our message out, Virginia and Jim for your work and the spouses that encouraged us through the journey, Sam, Peter, Stephanie and of course Dave, thanks for the experience and the memories. Thanks EVERYONE.

Joanna Tipple 11 November 2017 08:03PM

Brian –
Perhaps you did not read the letter that my opponent, Mary Jean Hoose posted the day before Election Day. She herself mentioned the us/them – long timers/newcomers split. I think her point was along the lines of why do people come to a community, like it, move there and then try to change it?

I am making note of this in response to your comment which starts out, “Why do you Democrats (I changed to the upper case D) always complain…” To reiterate, it is not just us Democrats who do this. I also would like to note it is not useful to couch things in terms of “always,” and “never.” There is very little that occurs “always” or “never. occurs” It is unnecessary to use these phrases as it is an over exaggeration which dilutes your point.

I also disagree with your final point that “good candidates…and their popularity” will get them elected. I think November 2016 proved that a good candidate may not get elected thanks to sketchy voting practices and the undue influence of money. I happen to think that politics, while falling short of the ideal is a noble profession but it has surely been marred by the election of far too many not good candidates. We can even take the 2016 election out of the picture and the same holds true. There are good politicians and not so good politicians and there are god-awful politicians who yet get into office. It is helpful to look at the causes, any cause which generated one group of winners over another, generated one winning candidate over another. It is naïve to think a “good candidate/popular” will always be the one elected but perhaps that is the goal to which we all attain…electing the “good” candidate. I’ll leave the discussion over what the definition of a “good” candidate is for another time.

Brian Jennor 10 November 2017 07:23PM

Why do you democrats always complain of the “pitting newcomers against those living here for years” as a bad thing, yet you clearly denigrate the same group by claiming there is some magical significant change wherein you believe the elections signal “… the old boy network isn’t dead yet, but a slow-growing, life-threatening tumor just hit a nerve.”

Can’t you just end the divisive posts and instead just indicate that when a better candidate is placed on the ballot, and not an extremist, then they fare much better? Isn’t this what it should be. Oh, wait. It has always been that way, except when divisive politics comes into town. Often, from either Albany or NYC. Then you wonder why the negative connotations persist.

Just get good candidates, and their popularity will get them elected. Pretty easy process that works. Despite your narrow mindedness, there is no real “good old boy network.” Just people trying to do the right thing. If it is as you say, then no where is it more prevalent than in…..NYC. Huh…..you trying to move the bad old boy network here? Wink wink….see.


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