By the dark of the moon I planted, but there came an early snow; There's been a hoot owl howling outside my window now for six nights in a row
NOV. 11, 2010: Election post-mortem, deux:
A lot of people have been blaming Doug Hoffman for ruining Matt Doheny's chances of being elected congressman over Bill Owens. If you do the math — in a creative, political sort of way — you can conclude that Doheny would have beaten Owens if Hoffman's people had simply voted for Doheny.
But the real spoiler was George Pataki. You simply can't ignore his handiwork. Six days before last year's special election, the former governor endorsed Conservative candidate Hoffman rather than Republican Dede Scozzafava. It was the sucker punch of all sucker punches. Here was Republican Pataki, who in many ways is farther to the left politically than Scozzafava, abandoning a long-serving, stay-in-the-same-orbit Republican in favor of a white hot conservative shooting star, who seemed destined to make history.
And who doesn't want to be on the winning side?
But in politics, throwing somebody under the bus is easy. The hard part is keeping someone there. And Dede didn't go gently into that good night.
Today, Hoffman has flamed out. But Scozzafava, who eventually became refueled by the Pataki snub, actively encouraged St. Lawrence County voters to support Owens. And wouldn't you know it? The 4,000-vote advantage Owens enjoyed in St. Lawrence County over Doheny just about mirrors the 4,000-vote margin he ended up with district-wide. Conservatives who rejoiced last year thinking that Dede was road kill now know that rumors of her demise were slightly exaggerated.
And they can thank George Pataki.
Much will soon be made about reapportionment, which can be loosely translated to “drawing district boundaries to ensure my own re-election.”
The process produced our Assembly seats conveniently known as the River District (118th, Assemblywoman Addie Russell) and the Snowmobile District (122nd, soon-to-be Assemblyman Kenneth Blankenbush). They were drawn a little more than eight years ago to create a district that a Democrat could win, namely Darrel Aubertine.
The names are cute, but the lines are screwy. Watertown and Massena are in the River District. Sandy Creek and Brasher are in the Snowmobile District. And Jefferson County will soon have two residents in the Assembly while St. Lawrence and Lewis counties have none.
Russell and Blankenbush live about 20 miles from each other. But the districts they represent together cover an area about the size of Connecticut. It's a big chunk of real estate and in the four corners there are no representatives in sight.
Here's an early request that Russell and Blankenbush work to bring some geographic integrity to the process when the reshaping of districts begins in earnest next year.
The re-election of John Burns as sheriff means something that nobody really likes to talk about: we still have a sheriff who is really, really irritating to other county officials.
During his past term of office Burns has been butting heads with County Administrator Bob Hagemann and District Attorney Cindy Intschert. Burns wanted to bring animal cruelty charges against the county's dog control officer and charges of misuse of funds against the county fire and emergency management director. Hagemann and Intschert investigated the complaints and decided to... decided to.... decided to... who knows?
Consider this: the county's chief law officer has alleged that two county employees were acting improperly at best and criminally at worst. Was Burns right? Was Burns Wrong? Hagemann and Intschert never said.
Let's just say Burns is doing a slow burn.
So let's all join in a cheer: Four more years! Four more years!