Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Thursday, September 30

Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo on Dicker

This release just came through from Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo, who is featured prominently in the now infamous Fred Dicker throwdown video. Here are a few snippits:

"The New York Post sent a photographer to the Buffalo home where Carl Paladino's 10-year-old daughter lives with her mother. This photographer attempted to take photos of the child through the windows and subsequently attempted to follow the girl to a playground."

"We believe this conduct puts Carl Paladino's daughter in harm's way, susceptible to kidnapping or sexual predators. This behavior by The New York Post and their senior political editor Fred Dicker is unacceptable. Endangering the safety of a 10-year-old child is repugnant."

"Andrew Cuomo is on Fred Dicker's speed dial."

"Mr. Dicker gets extra Cuomo Brownie Points by claiming Carl threatened him. Carl has used this exact word choice throughout this campaign and several times on Mr. Dicker's radio show: he'll take out this government. He'll take out the bad guys. He'll take out Sheldon Silver."

"Carl feels the same about Mr. Dicker, who is the best example of the cozy relationship some media have with the ruling elite. This is part of the problem in Albany, and Carl will take out the trash."

Updates from the Inbox: 9.30.10 - "I'll take you out, buddy!"

That Dicker v. Paladino clip is blowing up. Take another look here, and here. [YNN, CBS 6]

And here is Fred Dicker on Fox News talking about the confrontation. []

From the inbox:

The NY Democratic Committee sent this editorial, which rehashes the allegations of misconduct among Paladino's top campaign personnel, including campaign manager Michael Caputo, star for the majority of the Dicker confrontation. [Daily News]

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli sent a release calling the 2011 budget short-sighted.
"Nothing was done to reform how the budget is planned or constructed, and taxpayers will continue to pay the price for the state’s short-sightedness," he says in the release.

In NY-20: Rep. Scott Murphy sent a statement on his vote against a stopgap budget measure that passed with the support of many in the Democratic majority. [NY Times]

"We see time and again that instead of making tough choices and actually getting our spending under control, Congress forces through legislation with little advance notice and little attempt to make meaningful cuts," Murphy said in the release, calling for a five-year budget that cuts discretionary spending by 2 percent and then freezes spending.

Chris Gibson has not yet reacted to the vote. He was in his hometown of Kinderhook earlier at American Bio Medica Corporation’s headquarters as part of his “Jobs in NY-20” tour.

"Congress has spent too much, added too many new taxes, too much new regulation and passed a government take-over of healthcare that will be paid for on the backs of small business," Gibson said in a release on the visit.

Murphy has not towed the party line on every vote, but detractors have said said the opposition is a political tactic approved by Dem. leadership beforehand to keep the district's conservative base happy. What do you think?

Front page: 09.30.10 - budgets, layoffs, and The Post v. Paladino

Condolences to the family of Eleanor Adams. Sources say a body found near Spa State Park last night matches her description. [Saratogian]

City officials are speaking out on the likelihood of layoffs being a part of the 2011 budget. Finance Commissioner Ken Ivins Jr.'s recent voting record and comments made at last week's City Council meeting indicate probable personnel cuts. [Gazette, Saratogian]

Troy officials, who have their fair share of budget woes, will propose a 5.5 percent property tax increase and eight layoffs. [The Record]

Information on the state layoffs cited by Gov. Paterson are beginning to trickle in. Over 200 employees at the DEC are reportedly on the chopping block. [TU/Cap Con]

The 4 percent state sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear items under $110 will end Friday, a move Ass. Jim Tedisco called an example of NYS government gone wild. [Gazette]

NYC Board of Elections officials say problems with new electronic voting machines on primary day were exaggerated. [AP via The Record]

SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher spoke in Queensbury yesterday on the future of the largest public higher ed. system in the country, which included encouraging high tech growth and entrepreneurship. [Post Star]

Hey guys, leave us out of it!

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and long time NY Post state bureau chief Fred Dicker nearly came to blows at a Lake Geoege event. Paladino told Dicker if the paper sent another photographer to shoot his daughter he would, "Take him out." Video included. [NY Post, Daily News/Daily Politics]

Wednesday, September 29

Updates from the inbox: 9.29.10 - Cuomo comes out swinging

In a flurry of emails today, The NY Democratic Committee called out Paladino via two news articles; one describing brushes with the law and political misconduct by his top campaign advisers and another based on a poll in which nearly half participants said Paladino is unfit to be governor. [NY Times, Daily News]

In a statement, Dem Comm Chair Jay Jacobs called for immediate firing of the four staffers, calling their "checkered pasts" a "slap in the face" to New Yorkers.

"Paladino should be associating himself with people with the highest ethical values – not aides who don’t pay their taxes, have been indicted on felony fraud charges, convicted of drunk driving, or linked with billion-dollar pay-to-play scandals," the statement reads.

Paladino received the Conservative Party endorsement today. [Buffalo News]

Spent about a half-hour this morning with Ass. Jim Tedisco in conversation about the upcoming election. Video from the meeting will be posted here shortly.

In NY-20: Chris Gibson was endorsed by Northeast Small Business Group Inc., a bi-partisan small business association with ties to 200 businesses in the district. They cited Obama's health care reform, which was voted for by Rep. Scott Murphy, as being a burden on small business.

Gibson has said he will work to "repeal and replace" the health policy if elected, a position that also earned him the endorsement of Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson. [Saratogian]

Rumor has it Gibson is hosting a $1,000 per plate fundraiser at Saratoga National Golf Club tomorrow night. City charter reformers Saratoga Citizen are partying it up there tonight with a cocktail reception fundraiser.

Scott Murphy issued two statements today, the first of which announced he will host a Saturday morning military academy informational session at Shen High School. Really kids, who needs cartoons and sugary cereal when you could be hearing about all the fun you can have doing drills between classes.

The second statement was reaction to the passage of the James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides funding for a health initiative to monitor and treat responders and community residents for health conditions related to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center.

"It should not have taken this long for us to provide health care for those brave first responders and workers that risked their lives during the aftermath of 9/11. By covering the more than 50,000 responders and survivors, we continue our commitment to protect those that protect us," he said.

Finally, congrats to Thilo Ullmann on his reelection as chair of the Saraotga Springs Democratic Committee. He told me last night at the charter reform forum he hopes to "energize" the Dems in town in time for the election.

Front page: 09.29.10

Good morning charter changers and change haters! Here are today's headlines.

Charter change group Saratoga Citizen and a local anti-Saratoga-Citizen advocate faced off at the library last night. The City Council was notably elsewhere. [Saratogian]

I've got a lot to say about this forum, but I'll keep it brief.

A note to all future forum/debate moderators, lay out the ground rules immediately, to everyone, and enforce them. I understand the content of the questions & answers is interesting and important, but there needs to be set, enforced times for both and a stated rebuttal time.

And to all future debate question askers, for the lovva Pete, keep them to two sentences. Statement, then question, that is all. Let the advocates defend themselves.

I'll take a cue from the City Council and save my comments on the proposed charter v. the current charter for another day.

A lot of NY-20 news:
Murphy and Gibson will debate Oct. 21 at the WMHT studio in Troy. [Saratogian]

Both candidates recieved an 'A' rating from the NRA, but Murphy recieved the endorsement, causing some confusion between a local NRA rep and the Gibson camp. [Saratogian]

In addition to running for Congress, Gibson ran five miles with a few fellow veterans yesterday as part of a cross-country memorial. The runner, Mike Ehredt, will make his way through Husdon Falls today. [Saratogian, Post Star]

Meanwhile, Gibson's campaign manager ran off to a new gig with the RNC. [TU/Cap Con]

Cuomo has also thrown off the gloves in the gubernatorial race, calling Paladino's agenda "extreme." [TU]

Reports say disgraced ex-Comptroller Alan Hevesi is nearing a guilty plea that would likely mean jail time. [Daily News/DP]

Ass. Jim Tedisco will be in the office this morning for an ed. board meeting. He has two challengers this Nov., Democrat BK Keramati and independent Mark Little.

Post your questions for the Assemblyman below, or, as always drop me a line; or 583-8729 ext. 219.

Tuesday, September 28

Updates from the inbox: 9.28.10

NY-20: Murphy and Gibson will go mano-a-mano (or maybe escopeta-a-escopeta if the NRA has anything to say about it) on Oct. 21 on PBS. [Saratogian]

Gov. Paterson announced approval of more than $42 million in funding for 34 rail and port capital improvement projects in New York State.

I know I said it yesterday, but the gloves have definitely hit the mat in the gubernatorial race.

In a release today, Paladino said, "Hiring (Andrew) Cuomo to create jobs is like asking a ballet dancer to do brain surgery." Yikes.

In tech: Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, NYS Chief Information Officer and Director of the Officer for Technology announced New York was recognized as the fifth most tech-savvy state government in the nation. We went from #18 in 2007 to #5 in 2010.

And another day, another NYPIRG release, this time showing the campaign finance numbers on 118 candidates who just competed in statewide primaries. Check it out:

NYPIRG-$ Per Vote, Primaries 2010

Don't forget, tonight at 7 p.m., at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, there will be an educational forum/debate on the city charter change proposed by Saratoga Citizen. I'll see you there!

Front page: 09.28.10

Good morning!

Fifth Avenue from Foxhall Drive to Henning Road will be closed for storm sewer installation. DPW Commish Scirocco says route will be detoured daily for about three weeks. [Saratogian]

Genting New York ponied up the $380 million licensing fee for the Aqueduct racino. Company reps say the building permit process is moving right along. [Saratogian]

Saratoga County eyes $11.6 million for 2011 capital projects. [Post Star]

Officials react to the death of Donald Led Duke, owner the area’s largest construction company, BBL Construction Services LLC. He was 64. [The Record]

NY-20: Scott Murphy and Chris Gibson both get "A" ratings from the NRA. [TU]

Andrew Cuomo's cousin did "consultant" work for a company looking to cash in on state pension fund business. Good government groups cry foul. [Daily News]

Experts say New Yorkers are "MAD AS HELL!" and they're "NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!" [TU]

Monday, September 27

Updates from the inbox: 9.27.10

If you haven't heard, Rick Lazio has officially dropped out of the Governor's race.

The Saratoga County League of Women Voters will hold two nights of debates for county and state candidates, including McDonald v. Yepsen and Jensen Bergan v. Rybak.

From the inbox:

Sen. Roy McDonald was added to the New York Farm Bureau's annual "Circle of Friends" list. This legislative award is granted based upon his record of legislative support for New York agriculture and Farm Bureau.

There has to be a joke in here somewher...E-I-E-I-O...

The gloves are off now that Lazio is out. The Paladino campaign sent this video along with a release this morning.

"Cuomo for sale! Getch'ya fresh hot Cuomo right'eer!"

Meanwhile, Cuomo's office sent a release detailing the felony indictment of the owner of a Buffalo based debt collection company that "targeted military personnel and harassed active members of the military and their families."

According to the release, company reps falsely claimed to be lawyers, investigators, detectives, and mediators, threatened consumers with arrest, jail, and lawsuits, threatened to seize the assets of consumers, and levied unauthorized charges on the credit card accounts of

This comes after last week's arrest of 41 local gang members for their involvement in a statewide drug trafficking ring.

Spreadsheet wizard Bill Mahoney over at the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) sent a breakdown of what both candidates have given to other campaigns over the year.

2010 Gov Cand Donation History

In the NY-20 race: Chris Gibson will run five miles with fellow Army veteran Mike Ehredt as he treks across America for the troops. Ehredt began his 4,514 mile journey in Astoria, OR and will run until his journey ends in Rockland, Maine. The two will run past the intersection of Route 67 and Middleline Road in Ballston Spa.

“I have been personally touched by the loss of fellow soldiers, and Mike Ehredt’s efforts to make sure those soldiers are never forgotten deserve our attention and reflection,” Gibson said in a release.

No word yet, on if Scott Murphy will lace up his sneaks for a few miles for the troops. He did release a statement on President Obama's signing of new small business legislation that includes 100 percent exclusion of small business capital gains, increased Small Business Administration (SBA) loan limits, and the temporary suspension of loan fees for SBA loans.

"We must continue to make sure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to start, expand and hire during these tough economic times," he said in the statement.

Front page: 09.27.10

Good morning. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend that included getting out to the first Henry Street Harvest Festival. It was great fun for a great cause and I hope they bring it back next year.

In the headlines:

Stillwater officials would like to enact term limits, but the public would need to bring forth a petition of referendum to put them on the ballot. [The Record]

Ground was broken on a new commercial condominium project in Wilton. Developers cited the high cost of real estate and rent in Saratoga Springs for their decision to build outside city limits. [Post Star]

Matthew E. Forbes was sentenced to two to six years for his failed May robbery of Saratoga National Bank on West Avenue. [Gazette]

In the NY-20 race, Gibson and Murphy disagree on small business policy and Murphy fires back with new ad claiming Gibson supports job creation in China. [TU/Cap Con]

Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino's wife, Cathy Paladino, "gets over it" and talks about her marriage and the upcoming election. [NY Post]

Gov. David Paterson fired back at SNL this weekend by showing up to Weekend Update. He was pretty good, check it out:

In news from across these United States:

Democrats say they will wait until after the Nov. elections to vote on tax reform. Republicans call the move irresponsible. [Washington Post]

After the success of the Tea Party, moderates are organizing against "hyperpartisanship" as moderate candidates get a boot from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomburg. [Los Angeles Times]

Dems from NY to Texas are breaking out the attack ads early this year as early voting is underway in some states. [NY Times]

And finally; happy birthday my brother, aspiring film auteur Taylor Donges, whose latest works include this art-house gem of me terrifying a ginger during his H.S. graduation. I knew I should have stuck with acting.

Check back in the p.m. with updates from the inbox.

Thursday, September 23

A parting tip from Michele Boxley on charter reform

Outgoing (as in, she is both goal oriented and leaving her post) Deputy Accounts Commissioner Michele Boxley called me today with a parting word on the charter change debate.

She directed me to a national story about a town in Los Angeles Cty., California, where public officials, including a former city manager, apparently weren't too happy with their wages.

Nearly every sitting member of the city council of Bell, C.A., were arraigned on corruption charges after an investigation found they had been writing out illegal private loans with taxpayer money to the tune of over $5 million. They even took out the Mayor's door with a battering ram.

Boxley noted that she thought Bell had switched to a manager-council form of government, the same form being for by Saratoga Citizen, from another form. From what I've read, I am not certain if Bell has ever operated without a city manager.

They did however pull a fast one on voters in 2005 by not mentioning that a referendum to switch from a "general law" to a "charter city" would allow officials to sidestep then-newly enacted state law that limited the salaries of local officials. Only 400 of 40,000 registered residents voted on the measure.

I'm not entirely sure if the Bell scandal can be applied to the current charter debate here in the Spa City. What do you think?

Updates from the inbox: 9.23.10

Cheers to Anon for their (unposted) comment about correcting the date on this morning's post. Editorial support is always welcome.

In the inbox today, some interesting stuff from both sides of the NY-20 congressional campaign:

From Murphy's camp, a pair of releases, one on his hand delivery of a interview recording with local Vietnam Veteran Roger Lefco for the Veteran's History Project to the Library of Congress

"It’s so important that we work to preserve the memories and history of our veterans who have served both at home and overseas for our country," said Murphy in the release.

The Saratogian's Paul Post reported on Muphy's interview with Lefco and conducted an interview of his own.

Also from Murphy, a link to an op-ed he has published on Politico with four ways to strengthen the economy. You can check it out here.

From the camp of Republican challenger Chris Gibson, a release refuting several statements made by Murphy on small businesses and the health care reform.

"The Congressman is wrong," the release reads, "By increasing the cost of providing healthcare coverage, adding more regulatory burdens and further taxing our small businesses, his votes deter job creation and small business expansion."

I got a chance to talk to Gibson at the Saratoga Spring's VFW during his third veteran's rally event.

The latest Siena poll on the race shows Murphy leading Gibson by 17 points.

I'm expecting a guest post from Mareesa Nicosia of In The Biz fame here at some point today about her trip to Albany yesterday for the NYS Associated Press Association annual fall conference, where supposed gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio spoke about his political future.

Front Page: 09.23.10

Hello! Here are my top stories of the day.


Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani endorsed fellow Republican Chris Gibson for Congress at an event in Schodack yesterday. [The Record]

Bob Rybak and Jennifer Jensen Bergan will both have two lines on Nov.'s ballot for family court judge. [TU-Saratoga Seen]

41 members of the Bloods street gang have been arraigned in Albany for charges ranging from drug distribution to attempted murder. [AP, The Record]

A town of Saratoga couple has been asked to take down a wind turbine installed on their property near Saratoga Lake. [Gazette]


Rundown of opinions on why Rep. candidate Paladino has shortened the gap between already hailed Dem. Andrew Cuomo in the NY gubernatorial race. [The Atlantic]

Analysis on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's "shocking" comment that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is the "hottest member." [The Week]

President Obama paused while making remarks in Manhattan to ask AIDS activists to stop heckling him, promised funding would be cut by a Republican controlled Congress. [Reuters]

New health care policy adopted as part of the reform package passed earlier this year goes into effect today. [NY Times]

Watch what you're searching for: federal requests for information from Google are on the rise. [Wired via Slatest]

The California Beer & Beverage Distributors and the brewers of Sierra Nevada are spending money on anti-marijuana legalization campaigns. [Huff Post via Slatest]

Joaquin Phoenix was back on Letterman last night, over a year after he was roasted by the host for appearing dazed, confused and unshaven as his character in mockumentary I'm Still Here. [Hollywood Reporter]

And for all the Saratoga Springs dog lovers (and haters), a story from the Washington Post about the appropriateness of dogs in public.

Enjoy! I'll be back this afternoon with updates from the inbox.

Wednesday, September 22

Updates from the inbox, and the future of the City Desk

Good afternoon readers. I know it has been a while, but I'm back with a few updates from the inbox and a plan to continue with more timely updates.

Thanks to those of you I have run into over the past month or so who have commented on the blog.

First, some notes from Washington D.C. and Troy.

This morning, Rep. Scott Murphy released a statement on the Senate's failure to bring the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on openly gay soldiers to the table for a debate.

"We all know that the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy is outdated, and has no business being on the books anymore. We should not be forcing qualified, patriotic and courageous individuals to lie about who they are in order to serve their country," the statement said.

Also from D.C., Sen. Chuck Schumer released numbers showing over 30% of upstate and Long Island colleges and universities still do not offer a textbook rental programs.

"It is my goal to expand this program so that it may reach its maximum potential. At a time when the cost of college tuition is already challenging household budgets, it is more important than ever to ensure that the costs of textbooks and other course materials don’t unduly add to the burden," wrote Schumer, in an open letter to Brian Cartier, CEO of the National Association of College Stores.

I wish book rentals were still around while I was still in school. It makes perfect sense, especially since new editions are required almost every year.

Locally, Saratoga Springs Supervisor and State Senate candidate Joanne Yepsen kicked off a 43-stop tour of the 43rd Senate District today (43 days before the election).

She took a stroll through Troy with city advocates for improved housing. She also said she will be at Troy Night Out this Friday from 6-8 p.m. Yepsen also has a new blog where you can keep up on here campaign.

On this blog: I am going to do my best to start updating every morning from home with national, state and local political news from around the web. I will also be proactively posting updates once or twice a day from the inbox as the election and budget seasons heat up.

As always, feel free to drop me a line with any tips or story ideas: and 583-8729 ext.219.