North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
Fighting For You!

Friday, October 27, 2006

NG Democrats Hold Fall Dinner

N.G. Democrats Hold Fall Dinner

The North Greenbush Democratic Committee will hold their annual fall dinner on Saturday, November 4th at the American Legion on Main Avenue in Wynantskill. The theme of the dinner is party unity after the very divisive primaries within the committee.

This year the Committee will honor Highway Superintendent Mark Premo for his years of community service with a special award  to be presented by our new Rensselaer County Chairman Thomas Wade.

Tickets are available at the door or by calling Dan Ashley at 542-3118. Cost is $40 which includes a cocktail hour beginning at 6PM with dinner at 7PM to follow.



Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ashley reacts to Germano-Cotrona complaint on meeting

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley reacted to a statement from would be Democrat and professional lobbyist Lou Cotrona complaining about the party’s pre-primary reorganization. It is ironic that a man who lied to the State about his residency and was removed from a public office would make such a complaint about our integrity.

“It’s humorous to think that in his zeal to lead this GOP inspired takeover attempt of the Democratic Party, that Mr. Cotrona neither read the Democratic bi-laws or consulted with his candidates”, stated Ashley. If he had he would have realized the bi-laws permit reorganization “within 20 days of primary” and within offers the option of before or after.

Cotrona should have also consulted with his leader, Conservative James Germano and his other running mates Doreen Connolly, Kyran Devry and William O’Neil, all of whom signed proxies for a pre primary meeting in August 2002 and all of whom voted for Dan Ashley.

Is Mr. Cotrona saying it was wrong for his candidates to vote in August of 2002 or that it’s just wrong now?

Ashley concluded by saying that Cotrona’s would be Democratic slate inspired by Germano who was forced to admit under oath his role in gathering signatures of Democrats on their petitions, lacks any credibility. “If they want to be Democrats they should start by reading Democratic bi-laws and then ridding themselves of the advice of their true leader, F. James Germano and his long history of questionable activities.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO GERMANO’S LOBBYIST


It is no coincidence that registered lobbyist Louis Cotrona would choose the Democratic Committee’s golf day fund raiser to begin his client’s smear campaign to regain what he lost through an indictment several years ago, control of the town Democratic Committee. While our committee people work hard to raise funds for the party, this lobbyist who contributes nothing to the party, works instead to damage this highly successful annual fund raiser.

Chairman Ashley noted that the Democratic Committee rejected the candidacy of this lobbyist for Town Supervisor last year when he asked for our endorsement. “We felt it would be unseemly for the party to endorse a lobbyist to run the town and it’s just as unseemly to have a lobbyist run the Democratic Party”, concluded Ashley. It’s something the State Lobbying Commission should clearly examine, a lobbyist trying to gain control of a political party to further his financial interests and those of his clients.

I have stated repeatedly that lobbyist Cotrona’s self appointed and proclaimed “non partisan” Citizen’s Club was a front for former Chairman James Germano’s drive to recapture control of the Democratic Party. The non partisan club is now fully exposed as a highly partisan mechanism manufactured to infiltrate and control the Democratic Committee with a lobbyist as its chairman and a defeated Republican Board candidate, Lou Desso, as its Vice Chairman with engineering provided by the disgraced former Democratic Chairman James Germano, (now a Conservative) who personally gathered Cotrona’s petition signatures at the doors of town residents.

There is an inescapable irony in lobbyist Cotrona complaining about dual residency arising from his 1991 lawless act of running for the East Greenbush School Board while residing in a different school district. The State Commissioner of Education removed him from the school board after issuing a stinging June 1992 decision in which Cotrona was found to have made contradictory sworn statements regarding his residency on a Federal loan application in which he applied for a loan by declaring his North Greenbush home as his primary residence. The Commissioner noted that the form contained language declaring it a “federal crime to knowingly make false statements” on the application (Fannie Mae 1003). Cotrona also made sworn statements in his petition that his separation from his wife was “temporary” while swearing on his federal loan application that he was “UNMARRIED”. His candidacy for the Democratic Committee is a stain on this party that is best described by the finding of the State Education Commissioner that “I find that he lacks credibility”. Cotrona should explain why he did not either commit fraud on his application or on his sworn statements to the State Education Department. If he fails to explain his contradictory sworn statements he and his slate should with draw from the race and his slate denounce his fraudulent acts.

North Greenbush does not need a Jack Abramoff lobbyist with Jim Germano as his client running the Democratic Party. They should stay in the Republican Party which adopted them after Germano’s indictment with Henry Zwack resulting from his efforts to corrupt the Civil Service system by exchanging political favors to get his grandson a retest for the police job he finagled for him. Nor do we need people on the Democratic Committee who support candidates who make contradictory sworn statements for profit and power.

As for my vote for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, I was in Florida at the time of this critical election and was told I could cast a vote there rather than in New York where Kerry won with double digits. As a committed Democrat, I proudly cast my vote for Kerry and think often how sad that Gore lost in 2001 by 500 votes in Florida. Especially sad in light of the price of the Bush presidency and its thousands of casualties in a manufactured war in Iraq.

Unlike Mr. Cotrona’s run for school board, the so called tax breaks we receive are legal. They are nothing more than a type of Star Program my wife is eligible for as the owner of a home in Florida where she resides most of the year and maintains legal residency. If lobbyist Cotrona wants to talk about who pays more taxes he need only look at the investment I have made with my children in North Greenbush where we have built 4 homes investing more than a million and a half dollars and paying tens of thousands of dollars in taxes which support our schools and community.

I note for the record that the State Education Commissioner’s decision documents that Cotrona admitted to transferring property to his wife when they were separated “solely for tax purposes”. He acknowledged that he did so while living apart from his wife while offering no explanation for listing his residence in Troy. Lobbyist Cotrona should recognize tax fraud when he sees it stated Ashley. He was after all a member of the New York State Tax Commission!

Ashley concluded by thanking his allies in lobbyist Cotrona’s inner circle who keep him informed of his intentions, including meetings and press conferences.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

North Greenbush Democrats Endorse Andrew Cuomo for Attorney General


North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley announced his support for Andrew Cuomo to succeed our great Attorney General, Elliot Spitzer as New York’s State’s top law enforcement officer.

“North Greenbush Democrats are excited about the quality of the candidates our party will endorse in this year’s crucial State elections. I believe Andrew Cuomo offers the right combination of honesty, integrity and intellect to become a great Attorney General in the tradition of Elliot Spitzer and Robert Abrams who truly defined this office” , stated Ashley.

Ashley also reaffirmed his support for Elliot Spitzer’s quest to be the party nominee for Governor as well as the re-election of Alan Hevesi for State Comptroller. “A Spitzer-Cuomo-Hevesi ticket is a dream come true for New York Democrats who place a high value on candidates who seek public office to be a voice for those who cannot speak”. He expressed confidence that this will be the ticket that emerges from the State Democratic Convention.

The North Greenbush Democratic Committee is committed to producing a grass roots effort on behalf of this outstanding slate of candidates. Ashley predicted a sweep in North Greenbush for New York Democrats and stated his committee is excited as never before.

I’m proud to say that each of these candidates has come to North Greenbush and were warmly received. Now it’s our turn to come to them with our maximum efforts to produce a sweep in North Greenbush in the 2006 election.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Chairman responds to Evers


Chairman responds to Supervisor Evers

The May 4th edition of the Advertiser contained a letter from North Greenbush Supervisor Mark Evers which deserves a response.  First, the Supervisor should be no more surprised that I can speak as Democratic Party Chair when in Florida than he can as Town Supervisor when out of town several days a week pursing his private sector job.

I have acknowledged that the Supervisor kept his pledge to the implement several components of the Party’s Platform, including the passage of a Ethics Law, creation of a town web page, and open government by broadcasting meetings on television, etc. These initiatives were passed unanimously and I am grateful to each Board member.  For the record, I gave credit to the Board for these initiatives in the Advertiser. What is intolerable is the Supervisor’s  “about face” in dealing with a developer who has been threatening this town in cooperation with a defeated town board to have his way regardless of community sentiment.

As for his charge that the Party “defies State Law and violates the rights of individuals”, I note that the Supervisor failed to cite sections of law because there are none violated. He states, however, he has “been advised” that State Law indicates “that a Town Board cannot overturn previous Planning and Zoning Board decisions”. Who advised  Mr. Evers, the developer’s attorney or perhaps Ms. Clemente, the prior town attorney? His statement is bizarre and would tie the hands of the Town Board in addressing these matters in Court and this developers efforts to annex our lands to Rensselaer.

The Supervisor did not receive this advise from the Town Attorney anymore than he consulted with fellow Board members, who as a majority,  hold the “Executive Authority” of the town to make all appointments, change job titles, approve purchases, etc. His use of an unaccountable, outside and secret attorney amounts to a “shadow government”, one that this town cannot afford. Permit me to cite specific laws violated by the Supervisor. Sections 60 & 63 of Town Law provide that an individual board member may not act unilaterally on behalf of the town board.  Yet the Supervisor without the knowledge or consent of the Town Board “appointed” his secretary to a job title that only the Town Board had authority to exercise. In addition, he sent numerous requests to the County Civil Service Commission to unilaterally change the job titles of other employees, falsely stating that he was acting as the “appointing authority” of the Town.

His actions mean taxpayers are paying about $15,000 more for a job than necessary.  When added to a $23,000 truck he permitted unsupervised employees in the Building Department to purchase without Town Board budgetary approval, I think the record of who is violating laws becomes clear.

     
     

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ashley seeks disclosure from Supervisor of Source of Legal Brief

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is calling upon the Town Supervisor to disclose from whom he obtained a copy of a legal brief prepared by former Town Attorney Linda Mandel-Clemente which he sent as an unlawful ex-parte communication to the State Court of Appeals in an effort to undermine the Town Attorney and a majority of Board members.

This brief of the prior defeated administration argued against the mandate of the recent town election and the position of a majority of Town Board members pertaining to the prior Board’s rezoning of the 4 & 43 intersection from PB to Commercial. This act also ignored a Super Majority Petition filed by town residents. This petition would have required a four fifth’s majority to rezone the area which would have prevented the proposed Van Rensselaer Square Mall from being approved.

“When Mr. Evers came before the Democratic Committee last year seeking our endorsement, he assured us that he opposed the big box retail proposed by Mr. Nigro and the controversial rezoning of the area done for his benefit”, stated Ashley. In fact, on July 26, 2005, Evers joined our slate of Board candidates in a press release supporting the Supreme Court decision declaring the rezoning to be illegal. It reads in part,

“Democratic candidates for the North Greenbush Town Board reacted to the Supreme Court decision declaring illegal their opponents re-zoning of the Rts 4 & 43 intersection to accommodate the wishes of their developer supporters as “a major victory for the people of this town and a clear setback for the development interests running this town board majority”. … They called on the majority NOT to appeal the decision and funnel more money into the pockets of the town attorney who is being paid extra for all legal work on top of her salary. “The Courts are the last protection that town residents have until the November election when voters will have an opportunity to take their government back from the developers currently running the town board majority.”

Mr. Evers’ flip-flop invites the developer to get behind the wheel of the Supervisor’s Office by using the old legal briefs and advice needed to undermine the election mandate he ran on, concluded Ashley. By attempting to submit this appellate brief, he has sold to out the developers he campaigned against by supporting the rezoning of the intersection to commercial. “He violated his word twice, once to the Democratic Committee and now again to the voters who elected him with this letter to the Court of Appeals.”

“ Democrats were astonished to learn that he was working behind the backs of both Board members and the Town’s Attorney in an attempt to have the Town’s legal position support the defeated Board’s position rather than the mandate of his own election”.

The Supervisor somehow knew that he needed to submit 25 copies of the brief to the Court of Appeals and precisely where to find a copy, stated Ashley. The question is from whom did he get this legal advice and the old brief previously submitted to the Appellate Division by the defeated administration?

Ashley concluded by stating that if the Supervisor obtained this brief and advice to send the letter to the Court of Appeals from one of the attorneys in the case, they might have violated professional ethics and standards by encouraging a ex-parte communication by a client (Evers) of an opposing attorney (Town Atty) without the attorney’s knowledge.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Chairman Declares Evers Has Abandoned Core of Campaign Platform

In light of recent actions and comments by the party’s candidate for Supervisor, North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley has concluded that Supervisor Mark Evers is no longer faithful to our core platform issue of opposing the development polices of the prior administration as driven by former Town Attorney Linda Mandel-Clemente.

Beginning with a 3-2 vote in the prior administration, Democrats, then in the minority, voted against the controversial rezoning of Rts 4 and 43. The Republicans ignored the rights of its citizens when they permitted the rezoning of the intersection despite the filing of a Supermajority Petition by town residents.

We also learned that the Supervisor had stonewalled a request from the Town Attorney to sign a consent form to change attorneys from the old to the new administration as this case was accepted by the State’s Highest Court. Our new Town Attorney, who is paid a fixed salary, without additional cost to taxpayers, is prepared to argue against the actions of the prior Town Board in illegally rezoning the area. Mr. Evers prefers that an attorney from the prior administration “defend” the Town at the State’s Highest Court by arguing against the issue upon which he was elected to office while spending untold thousands of dollars in the process.

I was stunned to read comments in a newspaper in which the Supervisor defends the presence of Linda Mandel Clemente as a legitimate Planning Board member. The Town Board has already determined she was illegally appointed to the Planning Board. Mr. Evers further supports the payment of untold thousands in taxpayer funds to permit Mandel-Clemente to hire her own attorney to defend her 11th hour appointment to the Planning Board. Ms. Clemete has cost this town enough money, with every lawsuit filed adding to her personal wealth by charging the town for thousands above her salary for her work. To make matters worse, this attorney was caught taking 17 boxes of records from Town Hall and now faces a criminal investigation by a Special Prosecutor. In spite of these facts, Mr. Evers wants Ms. Clemente to have her own attorney and have taxpayers foot the bill!

As Chairman, I cannot support a Supervisor who advocates spending taxpayer funds on a former GOP official whose actions placed the profits of her husband’s company ahead of the interests of our town. Her presence on the Planning Board presents a conflict of interest so severe as to threaten the very integrity of planning process. Ashley pledged that the Democratic Party will oppose Mr. Evers’ efforts on behalf of Mandel-Clemente and her allies who spent thousands of dollars in their failed effort to control the Town Board.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Democrats fulfilling Campaign Promises

Democrats fulfilling Promises in N. Greenbush
 
In just two months, a majority of Town Board members elected to implement a broad platform to improve the quality of life in North Greenbush have come together to begin fulfilling the promises made during the election.
 
Beginning in March, government will become more open and accessible with the broadcast of monthly meetings on Time Warner Cable Channel 18.  This openness will be expanded with new web page under construction which will make more information readily available than ever before.  It will be located at townofng.com.  
 
Democrats promised to reinstate an Ethics Board and improve the town’s ethics law. A Board of Ethics has been appointed and a new improved law has moved along the process of passage with a public hearing and likely adoption at the March meeting. After adoption, the Ethics Board must be dissolved and then reappointed under the new law.
 
In addition, Democrats promised and delivered a new Comprehensive Master Plan Committee representing each election district of our town.  This team of outstanding professionals has volunteered their time to help produce a comprehensive plan for the future growth of North Greenbush. This plan will serve us well into the future and hopefully provide the community input on development that will avoid the failures of the prior administration. They have also applied for a $5000 state grant to help underwrite this effort.
 
The Democratic Platform also included a commitment to celebrate this town’s 150th anniversary, ignored by the prior administration,  and this too will occur sometime in mid year.  Progress will also be made to purchase a new sign for the gateway to North Greenbush at the Troy-Wynantskill line on Main Avenue. The cheap plastic banner bearing the town’s name will soon be replaced by a sign expressing the pride residents have in this community.
 
Town government continues to fight the annexation efforts of a developer who sued the town after the new administration took office and whose legal maneuvers continue to permit the prior administration to control the Town Planning Board. The town’s legal department is fully engaged in the court’s to keep these lands in North Greenbush and our children in the schools they currently attend. The new Town Board has also withdrawn the negative declaration of the prior board that would have paved the way for the RTs 4 and 43 land to be annexed to Rensselaer.
 
Certainly much more could have been done had Democrats received cooperation in transition from the outgoing administration. Instead, the prior town board majority brought a politically connected union into the building. The GOP also appointed three of their allies to Planning and Zoning Boards, all of whom were involved in the unauthorized removal of boxes of town files from the building, blinding the new administration. This action resulted in the appointment of a Special Prosecutor who will determine through a Grand Jury whether charges will be filed against those involved, all of whom continue to sit on these appointed boards. The town’s new Police Commission and Police Department, particularly the work of Captain Durivage, deserve great credit in pursuing this investigation.
  
The Democratic Party will continue to support these changes as town government reorganizes to address the needs of our community.  Dan Ashley, Chairman