Despite local opposition, legislature eases absentee ballot process

Rick Karlin of Capitol Confidential reports that this morning the New York State Senate passed an absentee ballot bill 35-27. The bill, previously passed by the Assembly, will make it easier to cast an absentee ballot, removing requirements to “disclose the special circumstances requiring his absence,” among others. Not surprisingly, Greene and Columbia counties’ Republican legislators are against the bill. Both local Assemblyman, Marc Molinaro in Columbia and Pete Lopez in Greene, voted against the bill. Both Senator Jim Seward (Greene) and Sen. Steve Saland (Columbia) voted against the bill this morning. Recently, Republicans in Columbia County have challenged many absentee ballots, targeting second-home owners as the voting totals have turned from slightly Republican to slightly Democratic in the county.<

Local state legislators report income

The Albany Times-Union asked all New York state legislators to disclose their household incomes. Locally, the Senators did not respond and the Assemblymen disclosed. Below is information from the senators and assemblymen representing Greene and Columbia counties:

James L. Seward, Senate, R-51
Responded: No
Reported 2009 income: Minimum of $94,000
Comments: Lawmaker declined to respond but legislative leader income is public record. Assembly pay of $79,500 plus $14,500 as Vice Chair of Minority Conference.

Tim P. Gordon, Assembly, I-108
Responded: Yes
Reported 2009 income: Up to $158,300
Comments: Assemblyman responded saying he makes his legislative pay of $79,500; $3,000, interest and dividend income of approximately $800. Wife works for Price Chopper in Schenectady for a salary of between $50,000 and $75,000 per year.

Stephen M. Saland, Senate, R-41
Responded: No
Reported 2009 income: Minimum of $92,500
Comments: Lawmaker declined to respond but legislative leader income is public record. Assembly pay of $79,500 plus $13,000 as Assistant Minority Whip.

Marcus J. Molinaro, Assembly, R-103
Responded: Yes
Reported 2009 income: $122,700
Comments: Assembly pay of $79,500 and ranking minority member pay on Election Law Committee of $9,000; $1,500 LILAC Realty Corp. sales referrals; Riding Tide Communications pay of $3,700 as associate publisher; wife is a registered nurse at Health Quest, makes $29,000.

Peter D. Lopez, Assembly, R-127
Responded: Yes
Reported 2009 income: $134,500
Comments: Assembly pay of $79,500 plus $9,000 as ranking Republican on the food, farm and nutrition committee. Spouse makes $46,000 per year as career counselor at SUNY-Cobleskill.

Local state senators vote against same-sex marriage

Local New York State Senators Jim Seward (who represents Greene County and other areas) and Steve Saland (who represents Columbia County and other areas) both voted “No” today on the Same-Sex Marriage vote in the New York State Senate. The measure failed, 38-24. In May, local Assemblyman Tim Gordon, D-108th, voted “yes” on the bill, while Pete Lopez, R-127th, voted “no”, and Marc Molinaro, R-103rd, was absent.

Today’s local headlines

(NY State Assemblyman Peter Lopez interviewed by Cairo-Durham High students Michael Davis and Jordan Smith at the Catskill Community Center Sat. Aug. 22, 2009. Photo by Galen Joseph-Hunter.)

Politicians turn out in Catskill despite rain
Click here to listen to or download mp3 interview of NY State Assemblyman Peter Lopez by WGXC’s Jordan Smith and Michael Davis at the Catskill Community Center. WGXC interviewed members of the community yesterday in the Catskill Community Center.
Catskill and regional politicians and artists turned out Saturday despite the rain to celebrate the Quadricentennial (400 years of European folk on the Hudson River) Parade in Catskill. Organizer Fawn Potash wrangled all sorts of fabulous sorts such as singer Lex Grey as a mermaid on a float, a Rip Van Winkle impersonator, Kelly Benjamin on WGXC’s Radio Bike, Catskill Community Center‘s Drum and Bugle Corps, bagpipe player Ian Rawlinson, and the Freehold Civil Air Patrol Vanguard Squad, as well as local politicians such as Vincent Seeley (Town President), Peter Lopez (district Assemblyman), Greene County Legslators Keith Valentine (R, majority leader), Karen Deyo (R), and Forest Cotten (D), Catskill Town Supervisor Peter Markou, Town Councilmen Patrick Walsh and Michael Smith, and many others. Hilary Hawke has a good overview of the day’s events and more images on The Daily Mail’s web site.

Today’s local headlines

(David Woodin and Jonathan Woodin performing at Cairo Open Mic 081409. Poet Nancy Henry reads her recent work, including one that topped the library’s poetry contest. Photos by Tom Roe.)

Cairo open mic night
Click here to listen or download mp3 of Jonathan and David Woodin_081409 performing at Cairo Open Mic.mp3
Click here to listen or download mp3 of Tony Fallon_poetry_081409 performing at Cairo Open Mic.mp3
Click here to listen or download mp3 of Nancy Henry_poetry_081409 performing at Cairo Open Mic.mp3
The Town of Cairo Public Library and WGXC, your new community radio station, co-sponsored the second Cairo Open Mic last night in the Cairo town park. Lots of performers, including the three audio clips above. We will post the band 7 Second Delay’s set tomorrow.

Seward/Lopez in Athens Saturday
From Seward’s office
New York State Senator James Seward and Assemblyman Peter Lopez will join the West Athens-Lime Street Fire Company for community inspection day as officials unveil two new fire trucks at 1 p.m. Sat. Aug. 15 at the West Athens-Lime Street Fire Company, 921 Schoharie Turnpike, Athens, NY.

Second attempt, but with 3rd party
From The Daily Mail

DURHAM – The Democrats knocked Republican Linda Overbaugh off the Catskill ballot and she is starting a new political party to stay on the ballot for a Greene County Legistlature seat; in Durham, the Republicans are keeping one of their own, Les Armstrong, off the ballot, and he is starting the Grassroots of Durham Party, to stay on the ballot, for the Legislature seat now held by Democrat Sean Frey. In 2006, Armstrong beat GOP challenger James Karkheck in the Republican primary, but Karkheck was on the general election ballot on the Conservative line, and Frey won by 11 votes.