Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saland "Responds" to Ethics Complaint

Senator Stephen Saland has recently responded to the ethics complaint filed by Hudson City Democratic Committee Chair, Victor Mendolia and Lloyd Hamilton, a Dutchess County Firefighter.
Saland dismissed the charge as an "outrageous lie" then tried to imply that Mr Hamilton is not a firefighter, telling the Mid-Hudson News, that he wrote to the (ethics) commission on Friday, saying the complaint came from a "Democrat chairman or committeeman and a Democrat activist who says he is a firefighter”

The Senator said the allegations are “a lie and completely without merit.”

But the facts speak for themselves.

Lloyd Hamilton is indeed a volunteer Firefighter with the Hillside Fire Department in Rhinebeck and has been for 25 years.

Mr. Hamilton did not understand why a sign supporting a political candidate would be posted in the front case of his Fire Company's firehouse.
When he asked his superior officer about it, he was told that the sign was “payback” for grants that the Senator secured for the Fire Department. That is when he decided to come forward. “Firefighters should not be subject to this kind of political pressure.” he said.

Following Saland's comments to the press, Mr. Hamilton issued an open letter to the Senator which can be viewed by clicking:

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •
Separately, on October 20, 2010 the following letter was given to Mr. Mendolia by a concerned Columbia County resident. The letter is written by James Van Deusen, Fire Coordinator for Columbia County. In it, Mr. Van Deusen clearly states "Senator Saland has asked for your help by putting a message of Support on your outside signs." He added, "The Senator has over the years supported your Fire Co. with grants and monies."
Exhibit - Request from Saland on Official Columbia County document urging messages of support at Firehouses...                                                            
The source of the letter was shocked at the Senator's request. Particularly since it was on Columbia County letterhead and the request was made by a government official. Presumably the time and costs involved with printing, mailing and distributing the requests were paid for by taxpayers as well.

Firehouses are public property and Fire Departments are public agencies. As such, they are prohibited from participating or advocating in any way in partisan elections.

Senator Saland knows that.

He just thinks that the rules don't apply to him.

It is no coincidence that Senator Saland always asks for a "message of support" just prior to Election Day.

But it shouldn't come as any surprise either. Anyone who lives in his district knows that Saland has long campaigned for office using an inordinate amount of thinly veiled "legislative reports". These are nothing more than campaign literature which he prints and mails with taxpayer's money. In fact he spent more than $125,000 on postage costs alone last year, all on the public's dime.

The fact that many firehouses also serve as election poll sites or are very near them, makes these signs particularly egregious. Since in some instances they could be considered electioneering.

In exchange for giving the Fire Companies grants, the Senator expects expressions of support for his candidacy at election time, without question or dissent.

This is nothing less than a quid pro quo.

The loose interpretation of quid pro quo is: I give you something that you want, and you give me something that I want. But not only is it wrong for someone in a position of power to use that power for personal gain. It is also illegal.

So rather than posturing with faux indignation, Senator Saland should be apologizing to his constituents for having over-stepped his boundaries as a legislator.

30 years in Albany seems to have that effect on a lot of people.

You can read the full ethics complaint along 
with the supporting documents by clicking below

Friday, October 29, 2010

NY Daily News - Steve Saland Hit With Ethics Complaint

NY Daily News - Steve Saland Hit With Ethics Complaint - Pressured Firefighters To Promote Re-Election 


The head of a Democratic club and a Dutchess County volunteer firefighter have joined forces to file a Legislative Ethics Complaint against incumbent GOP 41st SD State Sen. Steve Saland, saying public property was used to promote Saland's re-election bid and local fire authorities were muscled into doing so with a "friendly" reminder about Saland's control over local grants.

Read more: The Daily Politics

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Senator Saland

Senator Stephen Saland made demands that Fire Companies thank him on outdoor signs leading up to Election Day as pay back for grants received.

The complaint was signed by Hudson City Democratic Committee Chair Victor Mendolia and Dutchess County Firefighter Lloyd Hamilton.

Mr. Mendolia came into possession of a letter from the Office of Fire Coordinator for Columbia County which stated that he was contacted by Senator Saland to request that the firehouses in Columbia County post a message on their outside signs indicating their support of Senator Saland in the upcoming election.  The letter, dated Oct 11, 2010 on official county stationary, requested that a sign be posted in appreciation of Senator Saland's years of awarding them "grants and monies". 
View the entire letter here.

Lloyd Hamilton is a volunteer firefighter with the Hillside Fire Department in Dutchess County. When the Hillside Fire Department posted "Firefighters for Saland" outside the Hillside Firehouse. Mr. Hamilton objected to the use of the sign, feeling that it was improper to use tax-payer owned property to support any candidate to the company President and Chief. He was told that it was done because the company received grants from Senator Saland and that this was "payback" for those grants. In 2008-2009 the Fire District received $25,000 in appropriations from Senator Saland. 
View photos here.

The complaint by Mr. Mendolia and Mr. Hamilton states "In requesting that (fire companies) display signs bearing his name in appreciation for his years of support of grants, Senator Saland has used his official position to secure unwarranted privileges for himself, raised suspicion that he engaged in acts that violate his trust and has created a reasonable basis for improper influence. 

Read the press release here.
Read the full complaint here.

The complaint has also been sent to the Columbia and Dutchess County Attorneys for further investigation.

Read More  
NY Daily News 
Sam Pratt
The Albany Project
Mid-Hudson News
Poughkeepsie Journal 
Dutchess County Dems

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New York Times Endorses Didi Barrett

Didi Barrett, a community activist, is challenging Senator Stephen Saland, a Republican who has been in the Legislature 30 years, the last 20 in the Senate. Ms. Barrett supports a long list of reforms that Senator Saland has rejected. She promises to push for real ethics reform, real campaign finance reform, including public financing, and to protect women’s reproductive rights.

We support Didi Barrett, the Democrat, in District 41.

Read the endorsement

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dr Matt Asbornsen endorses Roberta Davis RN for County Coroner

Beloved longtime Kinderhook Primary Care Family Physician, Former Stuyvesant Supervisor and Town Councilman
Dr Matthew Asbornsen MD
has endorsed
Roberta Davis RN for County Coroner

Read the full endorsement on the campaign website, 
Good Government for Columbia County-

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Radio Ads for County Clerk and County Coroner Races Begin Airing

Peter Donahoe's campaign for Columbia County Clerk and Roberta Davis' campaign for Columbia County Coroner, have begun running radio ads. The ads will run from now until Election Day.

You can listen to the ads and see some of their campaign materials.
Roberta Davis for County Coroner here
Peter Donahoe for County Clerk here
Photo courtesy of B. Docktor © 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Didi Barrett Radio Ads Go Live

Didi Barrett speaking at The Inn at Hudson.
© B. Docktor 2010
State Senate candidate Didi Barrett's campaign has begun airing radio ads on 5 Stations throughout Columbia and Dutchess Counties.  
The ads are running on: 93.3 (WBWZ), 97.7 (WCZX), 100.1 (WDST), WPDH (101.5) and
107.3 (WRWD) through election day.

Hear the ad and see some of Didi's campaign materials below.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Help Get Out The Vote!

Less than a week until Election Day

There are a number of races locally that will all come down to voter turnout.

Scott Murphy's race is neck and neck and the Republican machine is throwing millions of dollars into the race.

Didi Barrett is within striking distance of taking the State Senate seat that has not been held by a Democrat since it was held by FDR exactly 100 years ago. If she wins, she will be the first woman to ever represent this district.
Peter Donahoe can take the Count Clerk seat that has been held by Republicans for 98 years.

Roberta Davis is the most highly qualified candidate for the new third County Coroner seat and will be the first woman coroner in Columbia County.

All of them need your help. 

Can you spare a few hours making calls or visiting your neighbors?

There are still shifts needed for canvassing this week and weekend and for Get Out The Vote for next Thursday-Monday.

Please contact Megan at or 518-256-3349 or 845-514-3767 if you have any time to help. 

Or just stop in at Campaign Headquarters.
Campaign headquarters is located at 731 Warren Street in Hudson (in the ground floor of the Warren Inn) and is open every day from 9am to 9pm.