Thursday, November 3, 2011

TPW endorses: county legislature

No one seems to have a clear idea what goes on in county government, which is something I can only blame our current legislators for.  Now that we are switching to single-member districts, the new representatives will, I hope, start feeling like they are accountable to their constituents.

District 20

includes the village and those areas that you always thought should be part of the village:  I'm running in this district, so I won't spend a lot of time telling you why you should vote for TPW.  In fact, I said it best in the New Paltz Times, so go ahead and read it there.  It's time for a change, and I'm the change we need.  'Nuff said.

District 17

includes all the rest of New Paltz and a smidgen of Esopus.  We have three choices there:

  1. Les Kalmus, an Esopus resident who owned an IT business for many years.  Les has classic Republican values (don't spend what you don't have, privatizing always makes things better) and a low-key demeanor.  I don't expect Les to grab the spotlight for political gain.  Nobody hates him.  He's doing this to try to make a difference.
  2. Steve Greenfield, New Paltz resident and former school board member.  Steve is an excellent researcher with an inflammatory style.  He came out firing both barrels against Susan Zimet before she left this race, and then took her WFP line when she did.  I've crossed swords with Steve, even on issues where we agree.  Steve is a polarizing force who always backs up his positions with facts.
  3. Ken Wishnick, the replacement for Zimet on the Democratic line.  Ken has a lot of experience with planning and administration which could be put to good use on the county level.  He also has expressed questionable judgment in the past; when he was on the Town Council he helped write the job description for Town Planner, and then resigned to apply for the job he created.
I can't support Ken for the same reason I can't support Jean Gallucci - he doesn't see a problem with how he handled that issue, and I fear that other morally grey matters will trouble him in the future.  Despite the fact that when we disagree it's explosive, I like Steve and his ideas; I just wish that "explosive" wasn't such a common part of his equation.  I know that I won't agree with Les on some issues, such as whether we really know enough to decide Golden Hill's fate, but I can tell that he is someone who can work in a diverse group without it getting personal.

I believe that both Steve and Les will work hard, and that I could work with either of them, so for a tie-breaker I look to the town itself.  We have seen how bad things get when our supervisor and mayor hate each other; do we want legislators that can work with our community?  I do, and I am really not sure if Susan Zimet dislikes Steve Greenfield or Hector Rodriguez more - the evidence of disharmony with both men runs rampant through the news and letters pages.  With collaboration as the tiebreaker, I am recommending a vote for Les Kalmus in District 17.


Martin McPhillips said...

Zimet dislikes Hector Rodriguez? Why is that?

Terence said...

This article has pretty much all the info she shared with me, although I'm sure she will provide more details if you ask her:

Martin McPhillips said...

That's pretty funny stuff.

Rodriguez responds like it came out of the blue.

But she accuses him of untrustworthy behavior with regard to her during a family crisis.

I'm trying to imagine what she believed he had done. Did he criticize her attendance at the legislature? That was an increasingly popular charge to make around that time.

Better yet: She heard a *rumor* that he had criticized her attendance. That would explain why he didn't know what she was talking about. That is how things really work in New Paltz, after all.

Terence said...

Susan volunteered slightly more information in a conversation we had some months back, but I don't play the "anything you say to me is on the record" game. Give her a call, I'm sure she'll tell you.

Martin McPhillips said...

I'll compromise on that. She can call me if she wants me to report (here in the comments at Gadfly) her reasons for her statement about Rodriguez.

Realtor Ken Wishnick said...

Like Steve Greenfield, you pride yourself on the research that goes into your opinions, but fail to do enough investigation to make an intelligent position. Les Kalmus is a long time wall street banker that got huge bonuses at the expense of the rest of us. Just check out his resume on the Ulster County GOP website. He was a vice president at Lehman Brothers that went bankrupt for shady dealings, was a vice president at Drexel, Lambert-- the firm that went out of business for criminal wrong doing including the work of Mike Miliken in improperly trading junk bonds. This is the person you prefer to oversee our county budget?

Denice Johnson

Realtor Ken Wishnick said...

Before you attack someone's moral judgement, you should first be certain of your facts. This issue was reviewed by the ethics board at the insistance of a town board member with an agenda. Although my name was cleared, that same town board member prevented the ethic board's report from being released to the public. I am confident that this document will become available with the new administration in January and help to stop the smearing.

Whether or not you choose to endorse your fellow republican in this race, in my opinion it is unethical to blow away anyone's moral character without being certain of what you are saying.

That being said, I wish you the best in the election.

Ken Wishnick

Terence said...

Ethics codes are, by design, very narrowly defined. I have no doubt that you did not break any laws, Ken; I was questioning your judgment, which must always come from within, not be governed by the laws around us. I sincerely wish you well in your coming term and hope that you quickly come to understand that a significant minority in New Paltz wishes its elected officials to rise above and do the right thing, even if the law doesn't require it.

Part of the "right thing" in this case isn't to assume that I mindlessly endorsed someone for sharing a party line with me. It would have been easy enough to endorse Holley Carnright in that case, but some of us don't play politics with our votes. That assumption says more about your mindset than mine, Ken.

And Denise's assertion that it's better to avoid voting for Les Kalmus because he is a member of a class of people whom she doesn't like, when her preferred candidate did something quite specific that still makes me very uncomfortable, is bizarre. That's like people in the South 60 years ago not voting for someone because of his color, or the present witch-hunt against teachers because they happen to be members of a union.

I don't pick candidates like that.

All the best, Ken. I know you won't break the law. I will be watching carefully to see if you do the right thing.

Martin McPhillips said...

Terence doesn't like that Wishnick helped create a planning position and then resigned the town board to apply for it. That falls into the "I could care less" category for me, to distinguish it from "no, I was never comfortable with that" with regard to Gallucci's conflict. It is not, however, a "smear" for Terence to say that he doesn't like it.

On the other hand, having Denice Johnson run in here posting from Wishnick's account to attack candidate Kalmus based on the business he was in and the companies he worked at, followed by Wishnick himself coming in to accuse Terence of smearing him, is just too bloody bizarre.

Les Kalmus said...


Talk about not doing your homework. You don't know me yet you have chosen to deride me with negative comments, all of which are untrue.

First, I never worked at Lehman Brothers.

Second, I was not a wall street banker, I was a programmer. I rose to senior levels because of the quality of work I did along with my coworkers. I was headhunted into all of my jobs because of my reputation for doing good quality work and running first class operations.

Unfortunately, I didn't get out-sized bonuses, and when Drexel collapsed, I lost whatever life savings I had at the time because I, like all my peers, were convinced by management that we should buy Drexel stock.
Instead of crying over spilled milk, my wife and I started an IT consulting and staffing business. The same hard work I did for others, she and I did for us. In the process, we created over 550 jobs in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and we became of of the fastest growing companies in the US. Our people were well paid with company provided benefits. Our care for them generated such loyalty, that even today, years later, many have remained friends and our reputation still stands as one of the best companies of our kind to have worked for.

That is what I stand for.

I undertook to run for the legislature not because of any ego trip but because I genuinely wanted to do what I could for our county to create jobs and undo as much of the damage that has been done here by the existing legislature over the past years.

And by the way, I can hold my own in financial management with anyone you care to bring to the table. That what was I wanted to bring to legislature.

I hope the new legislature shows more initiative and business acumen than the current one has. We might all be better off.

Les Kalmus

Martin McPhillips said...

Good for you, Les.

Well said.

You probably didn't know that New Paltz runs on rumors and innuendo.

Let's have a drink sometime.