Who pays to spy on voters?

THERE WE GO AGAIN, revisiting the legal dispute between Republicans and Democrats over which absentee ballots from the November 3 election should be counted. The squabble deserves a second look because over the last two weeks the terms of the debate have degenerated into a much uglier and more fundamental struggle over the right to vote without fear of intimidation.

The county GOP, with Chairman Greg Fingar named as the lead litigant, filed suit after the election challenging the legitimacy of ballots in five towns. The basis of the objections in most cases involved people who have homes or maintain addresses in both Columbia County and some other place, often New York City or its suburbs.

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Time to finish the LWRP

OUTSIDERS MUST WONDER about the bathtub-toy-like whale logo that lingers on some City of Hudson signs. Some sort of upstate joke? Whales don’t swim in the river.

Actually they do sometimes, although the rare sightings are mostly around New York City, where the water’s still salty. As most local people know, the logo is less about whales than whalers, the seafaring Quakers who fled their homes on the islands off Massachusetts during the Revolution and settled here. They laid out the grid for the City of Hudson and engaged in various maritime activities, including whaling. And though it’s hard to believe from the vacant land and derelict industrial buildings there now, the city once had a bustling waterfront.

Can it have one again?

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Time to count all votes

DO YOU LIE… much? Experts say lying actually makes social interactions easier, as in: “Yes, dear, I think the tattoo on the end of your nose does kind of look like my mother…” But what about bigger fibs, the type that could affect the outcome of an election?

County Republican Party leaders say a lot of local voters–245 of them–lied on their paper ballots in this month’s election by swearing that they were eligible to vote here when they actually do not live in Columbia County. These challenges raised by the GOP have left the outcome of several close local elections in doubt.

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Where’s that $9 million?

$9 MILLION is missing from the county treasury… kind of. The money was never there, or it was, but not from the sources that the people in charge led the public to believe. But nobody took the loot, so, really, what’s the big deal?

Confused? County supervisors professed to be when it became clear in 2008 that for many years county government has claimed reimbursements from the federal and state government that neither Washington nor Albany were required by law to pay. The county’s game of make-believe artificially inflated what they reported its fund balance–the amount of money the county keeps in the bank for a rainy day or to help cushion the tax impact of big projects.

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Murphy’s law?

ON A HOT DAY last summer Representative Scott Murphy (D-20th) stood before a couple hundred people gathered at the Golden Harvest farm store in Kinderhook. The main topic that day was healthcare, and Mr. Murphy said he favored reforming the nation’s healthcare system. Using what seemed like irony at the time, he told the crowd that this country has the best health care in the world “for the people who can afford it.”

Even before he narrowly won election to Congress to fill the seat vacated when Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to the U.S. Senate, Mr. Murphy could afford good care. As a member of the House of Representatives, he has all the care he needs. And the irony now is that Mr. Murphy voted No on the bill adopted late Saturday by the House that would reform the nation’s healthcare system.

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