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

Friday, October 8

TGIF: emptying our inbox into your brain

It's a three-day weekend for most of you, but not for reporters and definitely not for the fine folks on the campaign trail. Here's the latest from our inbox and a little fact check on some negative campaigning in the race to represent the 43rd Senate district.

Scott Murphy is taking a 9-stop Route 9 road trip tomorrow (ask me, 10 stops on Sunday, 10.10.10 would have been even more poetic, but we'll take what we can get here at the city desk). Here's where he is headed, if you're interested in shaking hands or have a baby that needs to be kissed:

8 am, Pumpkin Festival at the Glens Falls Farmers Market
9 am, Saratoga Springs Farmers Market
10:30 am, Kinderhook Farmers Market
12 noon, Stewarts on Route 9, Clifton Park
12:15 pm, Spare Time Bowling, Clifton Park
1:10 pm, Malta Diner
2 pm, Saratoga County Democratic Headquarters, Broadway, Saratoga Springs
2:45 pm, Home Depot, Saratoga Springs
3:30 pm, The Peppermill Restaurant, South Glens Falls

And what, you ask, does Murphy's opponent, Chris Gibson, have planned for tomorrow?
Three stops, none in Saratoga County though:
Pine Plains Agricultural Day, 9:30 to 11 am, Pine Plains
Village of Kinderhook Fall Festival, 12:15 to 12:45 pm, where he will judge a baking contest
Oktoberfest, 2 to 4 pm, Palentine Park, Germantown

Alright, on to something a little less dry.

Remember the kid you went to school with who got the Perfect Attendance award at then end of the year (like this girl, who never missed a day of school ALL 13 YEARS!) I never got one, but I didn't mind, it always seemed like a hollow victory to me. I coveted my 'mental health days' when I was in school and I don't think I've gone a whole year without getting strep throat since.... ever.
Well, Perfect Attendance takes on a whole different meaning when running for office and in the race for the 43rd senate district incumbent Roy McDonald and challenger Joanne Yepsen are both pointing out alleged lapses in their opponent's attendance records.

Let's start with a CBS6 interview of Yepsen, now on Youtube. I have no idea when or where the interview occurred or whether it actually aired, it just appeared in my inbox sent from Scott Reif, a spokesperson for the NYS Senate Republican Committee.

In the video, the reporter alleges that three-term Saratoga Springs Supervisor Joanne Yepsen has missed half of the full Board of Supervisors meetings this year. Yepsen denies the charge, saying that she hasn't missed any and a little later amends that, saying maybe she missed one meeting for a family reunion.

So what's the truth?
I gave Barbara Plummer, clerk of the Board of Supervisors, a call today and she gave me Yepsen's complete attendance record.
Of the 10 full board meetings held so far this year, Yepsen has missed two. Both were in July -- one was a special board meeting called July 14 to name a new Republican commissioner of elections after the previous commissioner died suddenly, the other was the regularly-scheduled meeting July 20. Yepsen has missed 4 of the 9 agenda meetings held this year.
Plummer also had Yepsen's attendance record for the 4 county committees she sits on:
Social Programs, present at all 5 meetings to date in 2010
Public Health, absent at 1 of 7 meetings in 2010
Veterans, absent at 1 of 6 meetings in 2010
Racing, absent at 2 of 5 meetings in 2010

So, although the video was not sent directly from McDonald's campaign, it did come from a representative of the Senate Republicans, and the allegations it contains are particularly ironic because of the next item in my inbox:

Scott Reif again, and this time he is calling on Yepsen to pull a radio ad with claims similar to the ones in a mailer -- sent by the NYS Democratic Senate Campaign Committee -- that you've likely seen. The Times Union's Capitol Confidential blog dissected the ad and found most of it was playing a little fast and loose with the facts. On their blog, a DSCC rep said there were "accounting errors" in the mailer, which accused McDonald of having one of the 10 worst attendance records of all state Senators. (Read a little more about the mailer here). According to CapCon, McDonald missed just 2 votes in 2009 and 2010. Yepsen said she is sticking behind her assertion that McDonald has missed numerous Senate sessions, even if he hasn't missed actual votes.

Yuck. Neither side is completely right, and neither side is completely wrong. So I guess the lesson of the day is when you hear your name called, make sure you say 'present'... you never know who is keeping score.

Anyone else counting down to Nov. 3 when this nonsense will be over and we can focus on important stories again, like the disputed custody of a potato shaped like Jay Leno?

-- Emily

[Update Oct. 11: Yepsen's camp offered a statement in response to this post. The misleading information on the pro-Yepsen mailer was a "mistake," the misinformation in the anti-Yepsen video is "purposefully misleading the public," spokesperson Erin Dennin says.

The statement continues, in part: “If Roy McDonald spent as much time speaking out on behalf of his constituents as his campaign has spent spreading lies and innuendo, the 43rd District would not have suffered as much the last two years. Our campaign has knocked on thousands of doors in Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties, and we are consistently confronted with the same question: Who is our senator? Who is Roy McDonald?"

Are you as hard pressed as I am to see the difference in the two pieces of misinformation? Seems like they are both "purposefully misleading the public" ... ]

2 Comments:

Blogger Northwaver said...

Great Investigative job, Emily.

I find it very ironic that our supposed 'champion' of Racing in Saratoga was absent for 2 out of 5 meetings of the County Committee that deals with the issue. I guess since it's not a rally or a press conference, it doesn't really matter??

October 10, 2010 at 9:09 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lets try to get our facts straight.
Going all the way back to 2007, Joanne has missed 1 that is right 1 general meeting.

October 11, 2010 at 3:25 PM 

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