EDITORIAL: Peter Bujanow for Kinderhook town supervisor

KINDERHOOK IS THE LARGEST municipality in Columbia County, with a couple of thousand more residents than the City of Hudson, the second biggest community. Kinderhook is also the only one of the 18 towns in this county that has two villages within its boundaries. It’s got a national historic site too.

By Columbia County standards the town has a large retail business sector, plus farms and suburban developments. And because the town has nearly 14% of the county’s population, the supervisor of Kinderhook can have a lot to say over what happens at the Board of Supervisors—the county’s governing body.

Running this town is a big job that calls for a variety of skills and experience, which should make it easy to pick the best qualified person for the job. It reflects well on the town that this conventional wisdom does not hold true this year. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Czajka for district attorney

IT’S THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL office in the county. One person, the district attorney, for four years at a time, determines who will face trial for alleged crimes committed here. That person has the responsibility to convince a jury and judge that the people he has charged are indeed guilty.

Or not. Data confronts us with the facts that much of our criminal justice system nationwide is outdated and ineffective. We pressure police, prosecutors and courts to handle those who are sick or damaged alongside the people who need to be locked up for our safety if not theirs.

This year Columbia County voters choose a DA. The incumbent, Paul Czajka, is running for reelection and is challenged by Eugene Keeler, the county DA for a term in 1980s. On experience alone, Mr. Czajka, who also served as a county judge, would be the obvious choice. But experience is not the single factor that should determine your vote. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Lull for Chatham supervisor

TWO CANDIDATES SEEK ELECTION as supervisor of the Town of Chatham. That in itself is an important fact for Town of Chatham voters to keep in mind, because a third candidate, Richard W. Hallock, has withdrawn, though his name remains on the ballot’s Conservative line. The two active candidates are incumbent Supervisor Maria Lull, a Democrat, and Donal Collins, running on the Republican line.

As is typical in Chatham, it gets more complicated. Early voting begins this Saturday, October 26, but to take advantage of this new opportunity, Chatham voters must cast their ballot at one of the three early voting poll locations–Valatie, Hudson or Copake–until November 3. The traditional Election Day polls are open November 5.

Keep in mind also that only about half the voters in the Village of Chatham live in the Town of Chatham. The other half live in the Town of Ghent and cast their ballots for Ghent officials. If you have more questions, call the Columbia County Board of Elections at 518-828-3115. Read more…

EDITORIAL: No more voting excuses

DID YOU KNOW that this year November 5 is actually October 26? Or is it the other way around? It doesn’t matter. You will soon have to set your internal clocks to Eastern Early Voting Time because in this state, at long last, Election Day means Election Days.

This is not some secret double-talk cooked up by the latest crop of Russian internet trolls. And it’s definitely not meant to suppress voter turnout. Just the opposite.

The official Election Day for this year’s general election remains November 5. But this year, regular voters (as opposed to those who use absentee ballots) can cast their ballot on any one of nine early voting days, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, October 26 and running through Sunday, November 3 at 2 p.m. Read more…

EDITORIAL: This money goes a long way

IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG to give away $107,500. Less than two hours, to be exact, and that included refreshments and informal conversation among the roughly 100 people who attended the report and reception by the HRBT Foundation at Columbia-Greene Community College Monday evening.

The foundation was created in 1998 when a local savings bank went public and became, briefly, the Hudson River Bank & Trust Company. The new banking company donated $5 million in stock for a foundation and it’s been a good investment ever since.

The bank was absorbed in a merger years ago, but the original $5 million has grown… by a lot. Over the last 20 years the foundation has made grants to local non-profit organizations totaling $15 million with $18 million more to spend on all kinds of projects in the years ahead. Read more…