The unexpected should have been expected


For the progressive, forward-looking and (mostly) non-native types we like to neatly wrap up with the handy label “new Kingston,” the mayoral primaries couldn’t have come out worse. Both their candidates — Hayes Clement and Andi Turco-Levin — went from being the presumptive nominees (and their parties’ hierarchies’ anointed choices, by the way) to out of it, as in totally. (To be fair, the Democratic primary is still not fully decided, as there are about two-dozen disputed absentee ballots, the status of which will be decided by a judge next week. Unless the parties agree to drop their challenges and have them counted sooner, like the Republicans did.) Making things even worse, neither Clement nor Turco-Levin will return to the Common Council, removing them from government completely.

So, from a movement on the cusp of getting someone embracing of their vision of working toward a greener and cooler Kingston into the city’s Big Chair, “new Kingston” faces a 2012 without any clear bearer of their standard. Kind of like that Giants game last year against Philly when everything looked so good, then went to poop at the very end, or like a beautiful garden wrecked by woodchucks the day before harvest. Disappointment, turned up to 11.

Lessons? Is the progressive message just the wrong one at this point in K-town history? Hard to say — after all, they were elections as close as elections can be, so “new Kingston” must be resonating with a lot of people. Maybe the down-the-middle division of the electorates mirrors the down-the-middle split of the country as a whole. (I thought the Clement-Gallo race in particular echoed the Obama-Clinton struggle in 2008; a choice between a fresh face who would end the old way of doing things versus and established old hand who knows how the power-levers work.)


Could also be that for just enough voters, greener and cooler is less of a priority than safer and gainfully employed. While the police say they have stats that prove, dammit, that crime is down, nobody feels that way; in politics, and life in general, perception is reality. There might have been a gut feeling that Gallo and Polacco would be tougher on crime, and better at getting jobs into Kingston. Certainly, any campaign that pushes those buttons and makes those issues its emphasis is going to have a lot of success in this city.

While you could predict Clement vs. Gallo was going to be close, Polacco’s win was unexpected, to put it mildly. The Ward 6 alderman put his abundant free time to good use, reportedly going all over the city soliciting votes, especially absentee ones. I’m reminded (and maybe Giants’ fan Polacco is too) of Super Bowl XXV, where no one expected the gritty, old-school Giants to have much of a chance against the flashy, supercharged Bills. But Giants’ defensive coordinator Bill Belichick (before he became King Tool of the NFL) drew up a defensive plan that emphasized hard work and — with a little help from “wide right” — the underdog scored a stunning upset.

So, new Kingston is seemingly back to square one. But its message is still important, and truly, those who participate in the system sooner or later get their chance to call the shots. As our friend and colleague Brian Hollander says, “there’s always another election.”

There are 4 comments

  1. gerald berke

    It was unusual for KIngston to have such talent… Hayes, Andi, Fuentes… it wasn’t “just another election”… actually, it was a surprisingly good thing that both Andi and Hayes were the parties’ selections… that even with that support, citizens of Kingston managed to shoot themselves in the foot… that is quite an accomplishment. Sottile actually quits, and this is what happens? What a town.

  2. Bruce Margopoulos

    I was so hopeful that at last this city was going to turn around. The good ole boys club gone and some new talent in City Hall with fresh insight as to how fix this city. What a disappointment. What a disgrace and the citizens of Kingston that did not go out and vote on Primary Day should be ashamed of themselves. We had the opportunity for change and you blew it.

  3. Dan Gartenstein

    In truth, the city of Kingston saw through the hype and recognized that Hayes was the hand picked choice of the real old boy network. The voters of the city saw past the misrepresentations being spread by the party and recognized that based upon qualifications, the choice was clearly Gallo. A comparison of qualifications showed a clear advantage for Gallo. People were not fooled into believing that he was part of the old boy club just because of his name. Shayne is not TR,he is actually better qualified to be mayor than his brother ever was. He has never run for public office and he has devoted his entire career to public service. His love and commitment to this city shows every time he speaks. That is what the citizens of this city saw when Shayne went door to door. He worked harder than his opponent because he wanted the job more than his opponent and he did not listen when the party officials told him that he had to promise jobs in exchange for support. That’s that the people saw, that’s what they voted for.

    Don’t make the mistake of underestimating our next Mayor. When he is elected without the support of the party,he can run the city without owing favors and can make decisions based upon what is right rather that who will benefit. The people of this city listened to the candidates and voted for the hardest working,most dedicated and qualified candidate without regard for what the were told to believe by the pundits. It’s that simple.

  4. nopolitics

    Come on Gerald, “Andi and Hayes”–you are equating the two(no difference at all between them?)? What happened to the Gerald Berke of old, did he scurry into the closet never to so much as peek his head out even a tad?(the “tad” is my Florida tennis loving self coming out–not my golf loving self of course, that would be “too Sottilian” not to mention too “Gor-slimian”). Andi is nothing special and never tried to pretend to be…but Hayes most certainly is. Get a CLUE, Gerald boy….”Andi and Hayes up in a tree….” well, let’s stop there before we complete that song and THEN make it quite so completely untrue by so doing…hahaha. “Apologies but not really to Mr. Levin., who, if he has never been so insulted in his life, should realize it is early in the campaign yet”.
    However we have heard the “qualifications” routine all too often–clear evidence the Catholics still run most everything despite others clearly “Sojourning for another Truth” here. I don’t care if you are qualified up and beyond the kazoo because if you have no practical skills, you might as well have learned Microbiology backwards and forwards but can’t run the first test in a medical lab to save your life(or you say stuff like Sottile’s “We’ll get a DNA analysis of the stool and find out who did this!” NB:stools usually do not reveal any DNA of the human host at least–and then Sottile behaved the anti-stool pidgeon on the witness stand-good Lord Almighty!)!! Nevertheless there is actual evidence that Gallo’s head may be on much tighter than either his father’s or his brother’s:witness the fact he is divorced and hasn’t either come apart at the seams or lost most Catholic Faith in him. That’s QUITE an accomplishment(better expressed as a TWIN ACCOMPLISHMENT)–the LAST time we saw something(indeed “ANYTHING”) like THIS—- George Carlin was STILL ALIVE and continuing his life witness that something like this is actually POSSIBLE!!

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