Posted by: Dawn Powell | October 12, 2011

Putnam Valley Politics

Election 2011


Politics in the Valley are so strange.   This year is no exception.  It is a local election, and the Dems who have reverted back to their stale, old keelless state have not disappointed.  They fielded no candidates of their own for 3 seats.  At the county level, they did not field a candidate for District Attorney.  And the Republicans have given us the same old, same old, same old…..same old.  The bully Bob, and his boys.  It has been 9 years of Bob.  It won’t get better unless you make it better.

 But beyond the numbing tedium of the Tendy/Leibell /Oliverio politics, it is like turning over a rock, and finding life teeming beneath.

 First there was the Highway Superintendent race.  For years, it was Earl, and for the last 3 terms, everyone talked about his retirement.  The plan was that he would retire a little early and his deputy highway superintendent would be next in line.  That is not just an Earl mandate.   There are lots who believe it is up to them to predetermine how things will happen when they move on, or when someone else does.  That’s how Bob got there in the first place.  There were a few challenges to Earl, not the least of which was a noteworthy effort from Mark Pawera last time.

 Gary’s a nice guy.  He is a good shopper, online, seeks out good equipment at good prices.  He is the reason that Lake Peekskill was able to get sturdy and affordable equipment for their garbage routes.  He has good computer skills, and probably better budgeting skills than his predecessor.  He learned his way around MS4 – that all important stormwater program that tries to address the flooding and pollution that comes from destroying wetlands, stream buffers, hills and valleys, building houses and roads.  And he has worked hard on the Lake Oscawana plan.

 Then, there was that pesky tailgate that was reported stolen and rumored to have turned up in the possession of another PV player.  The Highway Superintendent was arrested.  Bob said that the Sheriff was wrong.  The judges recused themselves, and once it was out of our Town Court, it was never heard from again.  The Highway Superintendent retired, and the issue just rolled around in the brains of townsfolk who never knew quite what to think.  It’s an election year.  Stuff like that does not smoothly disappear.

 So then, our infamous bully made it clear who the next Highway Superintendent would be.  But in that arrogance, he didn’t help his pick.  And others were already grumbling about not wanting Bob’s selection.    And so a revolution of sorts was born.  Oddly, the Democrats picked Bob’s pick.   Then the Republicans picked Bob’s pick even though the challenger is a Republican and Gary is not.  That never seems to work.  And it didn’t.

 But the backfire was stronger than that.  The Conservatives, who seem more like the old, stale Democrats, retaliated too, and gave the nomination to the challenger, as well as to the Democrats.   Hmmmm…..

The Conservatives hold a caucus.  I think that the rules should change.  Everyone in a party that caucuses should be notified of a caucus, and the rules should be set by the state, and consistent.  It is hard to know if the Conservatives were driven by the Highway Supe race, or by Sam Oliverio, always a Cons favorite, or by Sal Santamorena, the head for quite awhile.  He’ll be taking over the Dem party next.

You have to wonder what their point was or what their underlying convictions are.

So now Larry Cobb, a very nice guy, who has been a solid part of this town, has endorsements from the Republicans, the Independence party, the Conservatives, and out of the blur, the Working Families Party.  The very odd manifestation of the Working Families Party in Putnam County has only endorsed one candidate in the county.  I find that to be rather odd, but in this county, their behavior has been very odd.

And good guy Gary finds himself off on his own, with only the Democratic line.  But it is at the top of the ballot now, and will be easier to find because the petition party, We The People,(ya gotta love the shamelessly patriotic slogan that doesn’t actually mean anything), will clutter the ballot for the other Democrats.

Then, there was that other race that got interesting when the Republicans endorsed someone smart and competent to oppose Sam Oliverio.  Sam should have term limited out this year, but I conjecture that the price of his vote for term limits was giving him one more term.  Maybe some of you aren’t tired of Sam’s politics, his party affiliation born out of his support for the police force that no one except the old Democrats wanted.  I do think that his flyer for criminal Leibell in the last election cycle should give you pause.  Sam says that he only made the mistake that the voters made, but they didn’t send out a flyer to everyone telling them to vote for Vinnie.   And he seems to think that because he has held public office forever that his opponent’s lack of political entrenchment should make you vote against the opponent.  When you are there forever, I guess you don’t know that it makes no sense.

While I do not appreciate Dr. Beals’ connection to Nan Hayworth, probably born of medicine, not politics, I see some signs in Beals that he can rise above the political fray, and represent the Town well at the County level.  Putnam Valley really could use some representation.  I hope at some point that he will rethink the  creature sacrifice thing. 

So back to Vinnie Leibell – the Republicans in our town were very tied to Vinnie’s politics, and after all, Sam hasn’t been a Dem all that long in the scheme of things.  And BobTendy likes Vinnie so very much, he wrote a letter to tell the judge that it was wrong to put him in jail.  He’s one of the best people Bob knows.  That tells you something.

So the Vinnie love was part of the Cinque, Yetter, Tendy regime, and Sam O’s reign, and Priscilla’s sway, and none of us has been the better for it.    

And then there was the whole distorted Gibbons’ affair.  The old widower is out of his house and none of the guys who are well tied to Zarcone did or even said anything.  Sometimes all you can do is speak out against an injustice.  They didn’t even do that.  Sam O testified against the sick old guy, and he is Marie’s pick.  He’s family.  Tendy was John Zarcone’s law partner.  Bob Cinque is in his office.  So is Mike Raimondi and Jackie Annabi’s husband.  So there you’ve got the Town Board and the Planning Board.

But the oddest thing in this sordidness is that the Independence Party was staunchly opposed to Vinnie, and recognized him as a crook before his election.  Thus their support of Mary Ellen Odell, who stepped up to oppose Vinnie.  But then they endorsed all the Leibell boys on our Board.  And Greg has been here, so that we will forget that they were solidly in the Leibell camp.  We have a $15K monument on Singer Beach and a plan for a $250K office for Bob to remind us that Leibell has been a big favorite for the Republicans and Sam O.

So Putnam Valley has made the most of a small understated election with little noise.

Meet the Candidates in Lake Peekskill on October 17 at 7PM at the Lake Peekskill Community Center.  Have fun. 

And where you have no choice, it’s very easy to write in on the new ballots.   

Adopt cats.  Buy bagels.  Save sea turtles.

Free the turkeys.


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