Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, a glorious Kwanza and a great Festivus – we hope the holidays were great for you. The holidays are a time for giving, but thankfully, some politicians kept on giving all year long.
A look at some of those who made everyday in 2008 a day for giving:
Troy City Council Democrats – Democrats won the Troy City Council in 2007, but since then, have not been able to get anything right. Their spiritual leader, Bully Bill Dunne, started the year off nicely by circulating an e-mail threatening city employees. Not to be outdone, At-Large Councilman John Brown secretly "negotiated" an agreement that would have let his fellow Democrats in Rensselaer off the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in water debt money owed to Troy. They blocked the sale of City Hall, were criticized for threatening development progress by prominent city business leaders and repeatedly broke promises to keep their operations open. As the economy went south, Council Dems actually backed a plan to impose a special library tax on Troy taxpayers. Most notably, Council Dems picked a bunch of fights with Tutunjian over salaries and the budget, and lost every battle, either caving before an issue went to court or after he issued a veto.
It's tough to recount every goof made by Council Dems, and believes us, there are more, many more, but feel free to stroll through our archives for a complete review of their goofs. Here's hoping the Council Dems are just as entertaining in 2009. No question, locally, Troy Council Dems blew it big time, taking a back seat to no one in the political self-destruction sweepstakes.
Rensselaer County Legislature Democrats – Not content with being ineffective and irrelevant, Democrats in the county often had the very weird Kevin Harrington acting as spokesman. Harrington suggested having the county spend down a surplus for some reason that was only apparent to Harrington. That was nothing, however, compared to the bone-headed move of legislative Dems in voting against a county budget that held the line on taxes, and Harrington's fellow Dem Keith Hammond tried to justify the whacko move with some typically confused statements. Any wonder why Democrats have been in the minority so long in the County Legislature?
The Day One Spitzer-Paterson Team – In 2006, they promised us a return to ethics, prosperity, walks in the parks, ponies and liberal brilliance. Every Rensselaer County Dem endorsed the Spitzer-Paterson team. And then, in one of the greatest acts of political suicide, the effing Steamroller himself got implicated in a stunning hooker-sex with black socks on scandal, leaving the top job to Paterson. And Paterson has been personable, but personality isn't going to 137 new taxes and fee increases included in Paterson's proposed 2009 state budget past the State Legislature or tax-weary residents. To say nothing of the Senate seat vacancy mess.
Boss Wade – Terrible Tom finally got his wish, landing Brian Premo the Democratic nomination to run for the Senate seat vacated by Joe Bruno. And then in a masterful display of his get out the vote capabilities, Wade's guy Premo got beat in every Rensselaer County municipality except two – by a guy from Saratoga County. And by a wide margin, a really wide margin, in the primary, not to mention the trouncing Working Families Party Champ Chris Consuello gave to Premo in the WFP primary.
DA McNally – Did Democrat District Attorney Rich McNally win anything in 2008? Loss after loss, in cases big and small, and far and wide, all just a short time after McNally promised to improve the office and fired the experienced prosecutors in the office. McNally lost a case in which a furloughed state inmate shot an ex-girlfriend, with the defense not introducing a single witness, and ending the year with allegations that McNally may have blown another murder case by not identifying the right victim. From cases getting dismissed to losses in the courtroom, to say McNally is not off to a good start is putting it lightly.