Hugh Reynolds: Welcome to an interesting year

I have been advised by the most web-savvy of our editors that the Chinese never said anything about living in interesting times. Nonetheless, the immediate future will at least be interesting.

Around these parts there will be lots of new political faces tackling long-standing problems, plus a plethora of retreads to offer guidance and pundits who occasionally get things right.

On the Ulster County level, we’ll have five new legislators, but the 18 returnees will call the shots.


Terry Bernardo of Rochester looks to be the new chairwoman, but as Phil Sinagra will attest to his dying day, you never know until they count the votes. Back in ’99, Sinagra was so sure he had the votes to oust incumbent chairman Dan Alfonso, he had stationary printed up. What he didn’t have was 17 votes. Politicians being naturally sneaky, devious and cunning, Bernardo will not reach for the gavel on (Jan. 3) until it’s handed to her.

How this new 23-member legislature matches up against the powerful county executive will of course be a work in progress. It can’t be any worse than a previous doormat legislature the late radio editorialist Harry Thayer dubbed “The Fiddlers 33.”  The executive will not give an inch — pledges of “cooperation” to the contrary. He will more likely seek to expand his influence.

Seeking a balance of power, Republicans are expected to appoint as majority attorney Orange County no-neck (he doesn’t choke) pit bull Langdon Chapman as their counter to the imperious Queen Bee, county attorney Bea Havranek. Many a forest will be sacrificed in the coming exchange of legal briefs.

Though little surprises me any more, I was amazed at how quickly the air went out of the pro-nursing-home balloon after the legislature voted to sell the place. Scores of defenders attended every county legislature meeting for more than a year, many of them pleading passionately for preservation, but December’s meetings looked like a ghost town.

There is one comment

  1. nopolitics

    Artsy-Fartsy Dept.:I am really hoping you will go into show business, Hugh. I wanted them to start making the movie “Honey, We Shrunk Jeannette Provenzano!”, subtitled “To Try to Make Room For Someone Else Who Needs To Sit Down” based on the seating arrangements the other day at city hall, starring you, with your costar in this film Ms. Bernardo, but of course, had they tried this before, Sottile would have taxed the production company so much it would never be made. [YNN tells me they have a shot that could be used as a promo poster for this film–if it is made]. Joe Marchetti whispered to me “I can PAINT a promo poster for it!!” I said, “that’s not high tech enough”, to which he replied, “Look–what COMPUTER can paint a donut hole–or any hot air at all for that matter?” I was left…..devoid of words with which to reply just like the first time I met him years ago on Hasbrouck Ave. (As for the maintenance man given credit by Mr. Noble who left the seating a stupid situation leaving most people having to stand…Enh–they did it right for the opening ceremonies of the place but certainly not this time around) Quigley was up and down more times than a man with BP in the middle of the night,and his wife wouldn’t move over one time to let him in on the opposite side–could it be she preferred him NEXT to her? And Hinchey had a WHOLE bench to himself–is this the “democracy” ideal touted by Mr. Noble?!)This reminds me of the time I was told a pack of lies by a bunch of neighborhood kids who told me in a baseball game:”It’s a PRIVILEGE to play the BENCH.” But it is noted that even though this may NOT work AT ALL in childhood, this DOES seem to work at times in adulthood and HERE is a prime example of this!! Maybe the Yiddish kid in the Rabbi’s story SHOULD have asked for a BENCH of his own— IN LIEU of “all three things”!!

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