Posted by: Dawn Powell | July 1, 2009

Those who do not learn from history…..

An historical perspective on musical chairs,

also known as politics in Putnam Valley.

 You may need a flow chart for this one.

 Six years ago, the local Democratic, Republican, and Independence Party committees conferred and decided that they would support Republicans Fred Finger and Bob Tendy for Town Board, and the Town voters would have no choice.

 This decision so inflamed Democrats, they rose up and found their own candidates to oppose the Tendy menace and the hopeless control of one party rule.  They came up with Democratic candidates for that election, and the Putnam Valley Party.  And they mounted a campaign to overturn the powers that be, and restore democracy in Putnam Valley.

The Tendy supporters challenged the Putnam Valley Party petitions. Specifically, those challenges were brought by Don Laurence, Charlie Ferrante, and George Gallinger, an interesting confederation of political allies.

 While there were questionable aspects to their legal challenge, they succeeded in throwing the Putnam Valley Party off the ballot.

 Mr. Laurence continued his tenure on the Democratic Committee, without ever supporting the local Democrats, until his decision to be on the local ethics board.  While he cited a conflict between politics and ethics board service as a reason to resign from the Democratic Committee, he soon appeared as campaign manager for Wendy Whetsel’s divisive and nasty primary, aimed at getting Bob Tendy elected as Supervisor. Predictably, since her primary “supporters” were “Democrats for Tendy”, Ms. Whetsel lost her election by a notable 2 to 1 margin. Now, Mr. Laurence and Ms. Whetsel have teamed up again to try to defeat the Democrats. Again, this year, her committee voted affirmatively not to endorse her, but, ungracious in defeat, she is still determined to damage the Democrats.

“I am entrenched in my community,” Ms. Whetsel said to the Journal News.  We can see that.

 Mr. Ferrante continued his Republican Committee activity.  Also, of note on the Republican end, one of their endorsed candidates is a member of the Ethics Board.  Another member of the Ethics Board sought the Republican endorsement.  And yet another has served as an officer for the Town Republican Committee and the County Republican Committee, and works for the County Legislature, and our Republican State Senator.  The roots of political favor are long established in this Town.

It’s difficult to say which alliances are the most entertaining and/or disconcerting, but the Independence Party certainly contributes some flair.  Mr. Gallinger, with his wife, Jeanne, ran the Town Independence Party until some felony convictions for petition fraud stopped his overt rule.  But the candidate they were pushing (aside from Tendy) was Independence Party member Bob Cinque, who worked for the Sayegh Law firm, where Jackie Annabi now works.  Mr. Sayegh was the county Independence Chair.  As I understand it, Mr. Sayegh, Mrs. Annabi, and Mr. Cinque are all family members (An anonymous poster on lohud, putnam10579, has reported that Mr. Cinque and Mrs. Annabi are not related).  And, of course, Mr. Annabi, who works in John Zarcone’s office, ran a stunningly unsuccessful campaign against Gina Capone last time around. Mr. Zarcone, you may remember was the law partner of Bob Tendy.  Mr. Cinque, while at the Sayegh Law Firm represented the Cabots in the matter of Cimarron Ranch, against the Town of Putnam Valley.

Now, Mrs. Gallinger is running Mr. Tendy’s event on Lake Peekskill district property, with contributions from Mr. Tendy’s political allies. Mr. Tendy finds it convenient and politically advantageous to have a gala in Lake Peekskill, even though he isn’t entitled to use the property.  He is doing so with Mrs. Gallinger’s help.

 All roads lead to Mr. Tendy – well, not all roads.

 The roots are deep, but not invulnerable.  The public can use their votes wisely.

It is time to throw out the old guard and vote for some real Democrats. 




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