Helsmoortel’s time has come and gone
I respect old Saugerties Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel for his past service to our town. However, I lost respect for him when I learned he left his successor, Kelly Myers, with a completely cleaned out office with every file removed. Kelly had to pick up the key to the office at the police station.
If Mr. Helsmoortel truly cared about Saugerties, he would have assisted in transition of power to Kelly. Instead, he failed to inform her of the town’s negative fund balance and that the town had $400,000 in unpaid welfare and election expenses. He failed to inform her of the steps being taken to repair the damages to the town caused by Hurricane Irene. In short, Mr. Helsmoortel left Kelly with an absolute mess.
After reading his press statements, I am also having a hard time figuring out why Mr. Helsmoortel is seeking the supervisor position again. I hear he spends more time these days in Maine than Saugerties. Ego? Vanity? Who knows. The only thing I know is that Kelly has made great strides in cleaning up the mess Mr. Helsmoortel left behind and she deserves another term to finish the job.
I would like to make a comment or two about last Tuesday’s (7/9/13) Democratic Caucus. One can get some idea about it by comparing it to the Republican Caucus as describe in Gaetana Ciarlante’s letter (Saugerties Times, 7/4/13).
1. There were no delays in admitting people to the room and validating their right to vote. Attendees were encouraged to stay through the whole process—people did leave the caucus early but not because they felt that the process was going on forever. More likely they left because the particular candidate they were interested in had been voted on.
2. The order of voting dealt with the least controversial offices, town clerk and receiver of taxes first, then town justice, highway superintendent, Town Board, and supervisor in that order. This facilitated timing and was consistent with the usual pattern of organizing the voting.
Of the six offices (with the Town Board office requiring two candidates) four were contested calling for four ballots. All of this procedure—nominations, seconds, candidate addresses, distribution of ballots, voting, depositing ballots, counting ballots and announcing results—was accomplished in two hours. The air conditioning had been started several hours before so that the temperature in the room was very satisfactory. Floor fans helped circulate the cooled air.
3. Balloting was controlled by different colored ballot papers. Ballot box watchers required to see hand stamps to validate that only Democrats where depositing ballots and the distribution of subsequent ballots was generally well controlled preventing double voting.
4. Finally, as Mr. Harkavy (Saugerties Committee chairman) promised, and in contrast to the Republican Party Caucus, all were welcomed to observe the Caucus irrespective of party, particularly the media. The Democratic Party in Saugerties has nothing to hide and welcomes all to this important step in the democratic process.
The Democratic Committee process is so open and transparent that even five candidates who sought the Republican nomination for a town office of their interest presented themselves for consideration at the caucus confident that Democrats would give their request thoughtful evaluation unbiased by party affiliation. Even the most conservative of the five received 25 votes in her quest for nomination for the supervisor’s office. Three of the five, in fact, received the Democratic nomination. And what of the “ …employee [of]. . . the Ulster County Legislature [who] was in the parking lot making phone calls from her car [to supporters of Kelly Myers who had not arrived]” mentioned in Ms. Ciarlante’s letter? She presented herself for nomination as a candidate for the Town Board as well.
One last point, several of the political figures we support are, or have been, registered Republicans with the latter leaving the Republicans because their party leaders demanded special favors from them particularly in hiring. This kind of corruption rots the democratic process. Therefore, if you are tired of this behavior, come over to the Democratic Party and help us build a better community here in Saugerties and in the rest of the nation.
Thank you to the Democratic Party for allowing me the opportunity to stand before you at your caucus. I am grateful for the nominations from Don Avallone and Sherry Dunham, two very fine people. Thank you for your kind words. In addition, I humbly appreciate the support that I received from my Democratic family and friends.
The writer is a candidate for town highway superintendent