Who is a fiscal Conservative?

In a recent post I made a comment about how absurd it is that the Conservative Party of Ulster County nominated and endorsed Terry Bernardo to run for County Executive. Well, if it wasn’t for the fact that Chairman Ed Gaddy is friends with Bernardo, this never would have happened. Why? Because Conservatives first and foremost are interested in fiscal conservatism and Terry has proven by her past actions that she is not a fiscal conservative.

Once again there are no principles, but rather favors and friendships. If the Conservatives need another reminder about the waste of taxpayer money that Bernardo was responsible for how about this? Holding a special session of the Legislature at UPAC (approximate cost $1,500) to host a public gripe session about the Safe Act, drafted and passed by the State Legislature. Since Ulster County and its residents had absolutely zero control over this law – whether an idiotic one or not – it was a dog and pony show and waste of taxpayer money.

And don’t get me started on their taxpayer subsidized business via tax credits through the IDA. Anybody want to buy a skating rink?

Or how about her votes against Hein’s budgets that cut taxes? She voted against Hein’s budget, but not once did the Legislature under her direction take Hein’s budget and cut more. At best all they did was move money from budget line to budget line. So who is the fiscal Conservative? I’ll give you a hint. Initials are MH.

Go ahead and read it. This is from March 2012 when she first took over as Legislature Chairwoman.

Bernardo Math Made Easy


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Share my laughter

Well, the story finally broke in the Daily Freeman by Patricia Doxsey that – OMG, you’re kidding – the WFP candidate for County Executive Fred Rasmussen has problems with some documents he signed. Namely the Independence Party designating petition for none other than…wait for it…Terry Bernardo. It would appear that not only was Rasmussen not a member of the Independence Party when he signed Bernardo’s petition to get her name on the IND ballot line, but he wasn’t even registered to vote. Oh boy. Bernardo then signed the petition as a notary because she is not a registered member of the Independence Party. Ah well, just another technicality I guess.

So Rasmussen is yet another disgruntled Catskill Mountain Railroad supporter who is having a tantrum about Hein’s plan for a rail trail that interferes or mostly eliminates the railroad. More important is you’d think someone who aspires to being County Executive would at least be a registered voter who has participated in the process. Well, one would think anyway.

Matt Masterson, Bernardo’s campaign manager who was paid $3,500 out of her whopping campaign coffers ($6,250 according to the July filing), apparently had no response to Doxsey’s inquiries about the IND petition, Rasmussen’s non-eligible voter status or Bernardo’s witnessing.

And the money continues to pour in for Bernardo whose fundraising account called Terry for Ulster on Giveforward.com has increased by $100 to a grand total of $620. In politics, money talks. Reality is you cannot run a campaign without money.

And the last laugh goes to the former illustrator of this blog, Jon Dogar Marinesco, who had the insight (if not the dark humor I appreciate) to purchase the terryforulster.com domain name thus preventing her from using it. Even funnier is that it links to his blog when you type it in! Hilarious.

UPDATE 7/26/15: Well someone has a sense of humor, but it is apparently not Jon as I mentioned above. He has posted a disclaimer that he was not responsible for the domain purchase or pointing to his blog so my apologies. Whoever did it – I wish I’d thought of it first!

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Too close to call

Big news is that Terry Bernardo for County Executive has raised a whopping $520 toward a $100,000 goal in her online fundraising efforts. Well that’s pretty good considering it was at zero yesterday. Hey, that $520 is nothing to sneeze at since it came from eleven of her supporters. If this keeps up she’ll be at $5,000 in no time flat while she dreams of a too close to call race.

More interesting is a tip I got last week that Bernardo and Company were out getting Working Families Party signatures. The story unfolded this week as a “phony” candidate for County Executive – guy by the name of Rasmussen – was circulating petitions on the WFP line. Word is that Bernardo and her team (count ’em on one hand) were assisting. Claims that Bernardo put Rasmussen up to his run for exec have been denied by Rasmussen according to The Fray (Times Herald Record blog).

In Bernardo’s deepest REM sleep affording wild and crazy dreams, picking off WFP votes by way of Rasmussen still doesn’t get her 15% of the total votes cast. Wait and see.

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281 to 1

I’m not sure how anyone expects to run a race for countywide office with $1,200, but apparently Terry Bernardo does. For those who think that campaigns don’t require money to win – think again. First you need to be a viable candidate with a lot of people ready and willing to support you, but you also need money and a lot of it for a countywide race.

If you haven’t seen the numbers, campaign finance disclosure reports for candidates running for office in New York were due this week and they are available online. In a nutshell, County Executive Mike Hein has $281k and Terry Bernardo has $1,200. Perhaps Bernardo, who raised approximately $6k and spent $5k,  has a bigger plan, but with only three and a half months to go until Election Day she better start sharing the plan. Despite that Hugh Reynolds (former Daily Freeman political columnist and current columnist for Ulster Publishing) describes Bernardo as a “well funded credible candidate” Bernardo is apparently having a hard time convincing anyone else but Hugh that she is. In politics, money talks and strong financial support demonstrates strong voter support.

If you’d like to read the detailed numbers, please see Daily Freeman article on Hein and Bernardo fundraising. You can also view the complete disclosure reports through the New York State Board of Elections website. Bernardo’s county executive account is titled “Terry for Ulster”.

I am convinced that this “run” for County Executive is only a mask for a bigger Bernardo plan. Like I always say – we shall see.

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Holy signatures!

Well I guess having Terry Bernardo (R-Rochester) on the ballot challenging County Executive Mike Hein (D-Hurley) was enough to get the Democrats out of the lazy days of summer and hitting the sidewalks to collect signatures. James Nani, of the Times Herald Record, is reporting that 4,200 signatures were turned in for Hein and McGinty (Family Court Judge). Since only 1,000 signatures are required I’d say the Democrats did a lot of door knocking. Some foolish people would say that’s a lot of extra work, but smart people would recognize that the more doors you knock on the more you remind people to get out and vote on November 3rd, which is now less than four months away.

Last day to submit petitions is Thursday, July 9th, which happens to be the date of Mike Hein’s annual birthday party fundraiser. It’ll be a big one both in attendees at Wiltwyck Golf Club and also that it is a celebration of Hein’s 50th birthday. I’m sure it will be well attended and too bad for Bernardo it wasn’t held sooner because I’m sure she could have skulked around the parking lot soliciting signatures from the many Republicans who will be there supporting Hein.

By early evening on Thursday we’ll know how many Republican signatures were collected for Bernardo and shortly after that it will be clear if any anti-Bernardo Democrats (there are many) challenge the skimpy number of signatures she will likely turn in. If my memory serves me correctly there were a large number of questionable signatures on her petitions for County Legislature back in 2013 when she lost her seat to Lynn Archer, who is seeking reelection in District 21.

The question of the hour is will there be Independence Party petitions filed for both candidates? Time will tell and wouldn’t that just be so fun?

Be on the lookout for Campaign Finance disclosures which have a cut-off date of July 11th and need to be filed by July 15th. I’ve been told that Bernardo is struggling to raise money around the county. Hmm…I can’t imagine why. Meanwhile Hein is sitting on a fairly sizable sum of approximately $175k as of the January filing and that’s before the birthday bash. To view the disclosure reports go here Campaign Finance Disclosure Reports and click on View Disclosure Reports on the left and then search by candidate name.

Shortly after the last petitions are filed at the Ulster County Board of Elections on Thursday the birthday festivities will begin for Hein. It will be a celebration on many levels. Too bad I’ll miss it.

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An RV, unaffordable housing and marijuana

The fun continues up there in Ulster County. Yes, I keep receiving links including this one to Hugh Reynolds’ column. I’m not sure which part I find funnier – the Bernardos buying an RV to travel the country but instead will spend that money on Terry’s campaign (yeah right) or Hugh listening from the hallway in GOP headquarters. Read for yourself.

Hugh Reynolds Kingston Times

Word is that Terry is out soliciting contributions at GOP events of late and since Ulster GOP’s campaign finance filing shows just under $13,000 on hand in January, I’d say garnering financial support for the former Legislature Chair will be a difficult, if not impossible, task. Far be it from me to declare myself a political strategist, but common sense seems to indicate that in politics people support winners. When an incumbent Legislator holding the top post in the County’s legislative body fails to get reelected in her home district, that doesn’t spell winner to me.

Meanwhile folks in Kingston are trying to focus on another RUPCO project funded by who else – the taxpayers. I’d say the high per unit cost of the project should be evaluated and considered. $20 million sounds like a lot of money to me. Perhaps it’s my finance background but $363k per unit for affordable housing seems a bit steep.

RUPCO project for Midtown Kingston

And I’m sure there will be some ridiculous comments and assumptions about the pot growing farm being pitched by NY Growing Partners for Saugerties that County Exec Hein supports. Hey, jobs are jobs. I think.

Marijuana Farm Proposal for Saugerties

And isn’t the internet great? I know what’s going on without even being there. Loving life in sunny Florida. Keep me posted people!

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Baffled, befuddled & bewildered

Oh yes, it could be a new song, but it is my condition following the continued news of Terry Bernardo’s run for County Executive.

Rascoe & Company of the nearly defunct Ulster GOP must be fuming because some, if not many, people will be concerned that Terry’s candidacy will hurt rather than help Legislative candidates this year.

Somewhat shocking, although given the overall state of Ulster County politics I suppose it shouldn’t be, is the Conservative Party endorsement of Bernardo. Are you kidding? Look at her track record in the Legislature – spend, spend, and spend some more. Certainly not a fiscal conservative. Given that the Bernardos and Conservative Party Chairman Ed Gaddy have been friendly for quite some time I suppose Ed had to fork over a favor.

Not surprising is the early announcement that the Independence Party will endorse Terry Bernardo as their candidate, which followed the news story that Len Bernardo knew nothing about Terry running. If there’s any truth to Len – Chairman of the faux-party aka the Independence Party – not knowing his wife was going to run for County Executive, then I offer a big “uh oh.” No one runs for office – and certainly not countywide office – without the blessing and full support of their spouse.

And then one must ask – just what happened to change the minds of the self-appointed Independence Party leaders since this quote from Fawn Tantillo back in 2011 after they endorsed Hein for his reelection bid – “Mike Hein has demonstrated the leadership and work ethic that the residents of Ulster County deserve,” said Fawn Tantillo, Ulster County Independence Party Endorsement Coordinator and Deputy Party Chairman.  “The Independence Party of Ulster County is an organization that believes in pro-business policies and fiscally sound government practices that foster economic prosperity for all.  We believe that Mike Hein shares those values and that is why we are endorsing him for a second term as Ulster County Executive.”

The Bernardo egos grow bigger. The loss will be painful. The further break-up of the Republican Party in Ulster County is inevitable and just when I thought things couldn’t get any more absurd, they do. I remain baffled, befuddled and bewildered.

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