Posts Tagged ‘crime and justice’
Unprecedented restrictions on American freedom of travel on the northern and western borders of the Adirondacks have apparently not been reflected in the recent 2006 tourism study [pdf].
Still, the story of 66 year-old Andrew Feldmar, a well-known Vancouver psychotherapist, is indicative of the increasing misuse of the USA Patriot Act that threatens the Adirondack tourism industry. » Continue Reading.
There was a scary revelation in Sunday’s Glens Falls Post Star by Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland in a story about Adirondack hermit Alan Como. According to Cleveland, his department has access to your tax records, they know who your relatives are, if you hold any licenses, and your prior addresses – all pretty well expected, but they apparently have ANOTHER 20 PAGES of your life stored away somewhere as well. 20 pages… that’s a lot of info.
“We used one of our global (background) searches on [Alan Como] and found almost nothing — no prior addresses, no relatives, no taxes, licenses, nothing,” Cleveland said. “When you do a search like that on most people, you get back 20 pages. With him we got three. We all looked at it and said, ‘Wow, that’s it?’ There’s nothing there.”
No wonder it takes them so long to.. ahem… “run your license.”
According to a New York State Police document unofficially obtained by the Times Union [pdf] Corporate Republican Congressman John Sweeney‘s wife told police last year that he was “knocking her around the house.” According to the TU:
Sweeney’s wife, Gaia, [twenty years his junior] placed the emergency call to a police dispatcher in Saratoga County at 12:55 a.m. on Dec. 2, according to the document.
“Female caller stating her husband is knocking her around the house,” a dispatcher wrote. “Then she stated ‘Here it comes, are you ready?’ and disconnected the call. Upon call-back, the husband stated no problem … asked the wife if she wanted to talk. Wife (caller) then got on the phone and stated that she’s fine and that she’s drunk. Caller sounded intoxicated. She advised that she was endangered for a moment, but everything is fine.”
He’s claimed the report is, if you can believe this, fake! What’s more, he’s threatened any media that reports on it:
“If any media outlet plans to run a story based on this unauthentic, false and concocted document the outlet should be prepared to deal directly with our counsel.”
There is really no surprise here. Just two weeks before the alleged wife beating incident Sweeney’s son seriously beat another young man in a fight:
Less than two weeks earlier, his son, John J. Sweeney, then 19, pleaded guilty to felony assault charges for his role in a fight that left another young man with skull fractures and blurred vision. The younger Sweeney initially faced the prospect of spending up to 15 years in prison, but a plea deal gave him youthful offender status and a sentence that included four months of weekends in jail and community service.
No surprise there either. Remember that bar fight from almost a year ago?
New York Daily News reported Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, took a blow from a Red Sox fan who’d had enough of Sweeney’s pro-Yankees banter one evening earlier this month at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Washington, D.C. Sweeney spokeswoman Melissa Carlson flatly denied the report, saying the alleged incident was nothing more than a “heated discussion about Yankees vs. Red Sox.”
No suprise there either – remember the Miami-Dade County Board of Elections Republican riot? Guess who couldn’t keep his anger in check there either; guess who “gave the signal”?
The suddenly prominent Mr. Sweeney is credited for giving the signal for last week’s productive Republican fracas inside the Miami Dade county offices, after which the canvassing board abruptly canceled a hand recount of votes that would have helped Al Gore.
How about his refusal to answer questions about the ORDA sweetheart deals he was passing to his lobbyist buddies?
How about his lies regarding why he won’t debate?
How about his lies about his opponents place of residence?
How about his attempt to distance himself from his record of supporting the Bush Administration.
Or his voting in support of the positions of the Christian Coalition 69% of the time.
Or his voting for prayer in public schools on numerous occasions. The National Education Association gives him only an 18% approval rating.
Or his voting for making it a federal crime to transport minors across state lines for an abortion. His record is 90% anti-abortion.
Or his voting to ban adoptions by gays or other individuals who are not related by blood or marriage (HR 2587). Sweeney has just a 21% rating by the ACLU.
Or his support for free trade, tax cuts, and social security privatization.
According to his wikipedia entry:
Sweeney also opposes environmental protections and was given a “D” grade by EANY for opposing GE dredging of PCB aka Polychlorinated biphenyl from the Hudson River.
In 2001, Sweeney voted against a bill that would require increasing average fuel efficiency standards and offer incentives for alternative fuel vehicles. (Bill HR 4).
Sweeney received an “F” on the Drum Major Institute’s 2005 Congressional Scorecard on middle class issues.
According to EMILY’s List, Sweeney has taken more campaign contributions from special interests than any other of New York’s 29 Representatives.
Sweeney is also the seventh largest recipient of contributions from lobbyists out of all 435 House representatives.
Then there is the January 2001 trip Sweeney made to the North Marianas with Tony C. Rudy, an associate of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Sweeney has said that the North Marianas Islands government paid for the trip, but the government denied that. And just what is the Jack Abramoff – Lake George – John Sweeney connection?
Then there is also this:
On April 11, 2003, Sweeney began paying a company called Creative Consulting for fund-raising. The company had been founded a day earlier by Gaia (goes by the name Gayle) Ford. Between April 2003 and December 2003, Sweeney’s campaign paid $42,570 to the firm.
Sweeney’s wife, who had no previous fund-raising experience, gets 10 percent of whatever she raises. Between January 2005 and April 2006, Ford was paid $30,879. And that’s not all the fundraising scandals.
And there was this classic:
On April 22, 2006, Sweeney reportedly appeared at a registered party at the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity of Union College. Witnesses reported that, after leaving a bar, he appeared to be intoxicated. Photographs and videos captured some of the events. Sweeney denied being drunk and denied drinking at the party.
All of this seems to pale by comparison, if that’s possible, to his alleged drunk driving incident:
On the night of January 23, 2001, around 10:00 p.m., Sweeney lost control of his 2001 Jeep Laredo and hit a utility pole on a rural upstate road, shutting down power to the homes of several residents and to the nearby Willard Mountain ski resort, stranding skiers aloft on the chairlifts. Sweeney was not charged or ticketed, and the state trooper on the scene refused the offer by a volunteer-fire-department chief to send a crew to the site to direct traffic (instead, a local resident did this, for an hour and a half, with downed and live electrical wires about). In early February, a local newspaper reported that Sweeney had been in a bar before the crash. Witnesses came forward to insist that Sweeney had only one or two glasses of wine. The newspaper noted that Sweeney was not given a sobriety test by the state trooper on the scene.
Now for the resignations:
State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett
Awarded for allowing Sweeney to get away without a sobriety test in 2001 and for covering up the domestic abuse incident.
Saratoga County Republican Chairman John “Jasper” Nolan
Awarded for lying to the citizens of his county by stating that the domestic abuse document was forged and saying “In my mind, that certainly came from the Gillibrand camp. And I think it’s low and disgusting.”
Warren County Republican Chairman Michael Grasso
Ditto, though he said “It’s obviously garbage”
The Editors of Glens Falls Post Star
Awarded for failing to protect the citizens of their community by endorsing Sweeney.
“Kirsten Gillibrand is a strong candidate and has waged a solid campaign. But she’s just not experienced enough to have her first elected position be congresswoman. If you want a candidate who has the political clout and experience to help the region, then put aside any misgivings you might have about his conduct and vote for John Sweeney on Nov. 7.”
Yeah… sure – exactly what job did he have before being elected in a heavily germandered district held by the retired Gerald Solomon? That’s three years as Executive Director & Chief Counsel of the New York Republican Party and then two years appointment by George Pataki as New York State Commissioner of Labor.
What he does have experience in, as someone at the TU Capitol Confidental blog pointed out:
No oversight of Bush
No oversight of the war in Iraq
No oversight of the war in Afghanistan
No oversight on whether or not we are torturing detainees
No oversight of the Dept of Homeland Security
No oversight of the Katrina reconstruction
A Congressman who turns a blind eye to sweatshops
A Congressman who thinks that NYS taxpayers should pay for junkets for his campaign contributors
A Congressman who, through his wife, collects a percentage of all the money that is donated to his campaign fund.
But hey, at least he’s experienced. He may be a disgrace to his office, but he’s an experienced disgrace.
We couldn’t agree more – the people of New York’s 20th Congressional District, perhaps one of the most important of the Adirondack election districts deserve better that one of the 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress. Even veterans don’t like him any more – but that’s ok with Sweeney, he likes millioniares more than veterans anyway.
Oh.. and one last resignation – Sweeney Spokeswoman and North Creek resident Maureen Donovan, the former Warren County Development Corp [read scam development corp] leader who seemingly opposes both the rights of women and the electorate. The first volley in the Sweeney Gillibrand campaign was fired by Weeney in May 2006:
“You can’t take a resumé and a pretty face from New York City and say to people this is good for you simply because we can spend a lot of money and raise a lot of money,” Sweeney told the Troy Record.
“Someone should tell John Sweeney that it’s 2006, not 1906,” Former State Democratic Chiar Judith Hope said, adding that “the remarks jumped out at me because I think it’s so inappropriate for the congressman to use. … As a woman in politics, I call on Mr. Sweeney to represent the district and address the issues and provide accountability and some answers.”
What was Donovan’s response?
Sweeney campaign spokeswoman Maureen Donovan fired back that Hope “needs to lighten up a little bit.”
That’s no suprise either. Anyone who’s met Donovan’s husband – who is the notorious owner of Casey’s North bar on Route 28 – can probably already guess what the Donovans think of local Adirondackers, male or female.
We only hope local Adirondackers will remember what Sweeney thinks of them.
We recently received a note from a reader about the Ku Klux Klan presence in the Adirondack region. A Wilmington (Essex County) woman had the following story to tell. She believes it dates from the 1930s –
My mom had told me how when she was a little girl the kkk had burned a house down just up a ways on the Whiteface Memorial Highway, and had run the family out of town. » Continue Reading.
Labor Day gives us a great opportunity to think about the historical memory of class in the Adirondacks.
For modern Adirondack workers Labor Day is little more than the season ending three-day weekend that signals the start of the annual southern migration of tourist everywhereis. » Continue Reading.
The Glens Falls Post Star is reporting that there will be a “bumper pot crop” in Washington County thanks to hot and humid weather this summer. “We’re hearing it’s a great crop,” said Saratoga County Undersheriff Michael Woodcock, “It was jungle-like weather, and it is a tropical plant.”
The PS reports: “With its prodigious farmland, Washington County has long been one of the biggest producers of marijuana in the Northeast, though the advent of indoor growing operations has led to a drop in seizures over the past decade or so. In the early 1990s, 10,000 to 15,000 plants were pulled up annually in the county.The agricultural areas of Saratoga County have also been significant pot-producers over the years. This summer, local police will be able to employ a new, old weapon in the search for illicit pot patches.”
It seems that the Iraq War has taken qualified helicopter pilots out of the local pot-busting action, but starting this year the old helicopters will be back thanks to the newly established Northern Branch of the Capital District Drug Task Force which covers Saratoga, Washington and Warren counties.
“We’re hearing it’s going to be a pretty good year,” said Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell. Cambridge was the site of the biggest seizure so far this summer, when State Police pulled up 103 plants last month in the hamlet of Center Cambridge.
The question is – when will they start prosecuting all those poppy growers in our region? As Jim Hogshire pointed out a few years ago in an article in The Atlantic Monthly, poppies grown by millions of home gardeners are fully capable of producing opium. Here’s an excerpt from his book Opium for the Masses:
Very potent, low cost opium is available in virtually every town in the country. It is entirely possible that it is carried by your local grocer. It’s even possible that you could walk into a grocery store and come out with all the ingredients you need to make your own morphine and perhaps even heroin if you’re clever.
Look out grandma!
If the Bolton Police Department debacle wasn’t enough – now we have news of a “veteran” Warren County Sheriff Deputy who whips his gun out for a little wild west action:
Officer Jeffrey Clarke committed a “blatant and gross violation” of department policy by firing his department-issue handgun at the fleeing car, Sheriff Larry Cleveland said. Cleveland said the department may seek his termination over the incident.
He hit a tire with one of the shots but still was not justified in firing at the vehicle because he was not in danger at the time, the sheriff said.
“Our policies specifically prohibit the discharging of a firearm at a vehicle,” the sheriff said.
Clarke fired his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun during a chase that began on the Northway shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday.
The pursuit began when sheriff’s officers and State Police tried to stop a vehicle for speeding. They later learned the vehicle had been taken without permission from the parking lot of a Lake George motel.
The driver of the car led them through Diamond Point and along Route 9 before turning onto Finkle Farm Road, a dead end.
When the fleeing car got to the end of the road, it stopped. Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Breen approached the vehicle on foot in an attempt to grab the steering wheel, Cleveland said.
As Breen tried to grab the wheel, the driver gunned the engine. The car’s side view mirror then struck the radio on Breen’s equipment belt, spinning the sergeant around but not injuring him, Cleveland said.
Clarke then fired several times at the car as it sped down the road. It was not known how many shots were fired, but it did not appear anything of significance was hit other than the car tire, the sheriff said.
The shot that hit the tire did not stop the vehicle, police said. Instead, the car ran out of gas minutes later, with the driver running off into nearby woods.
He was suspended without pay – a small price to pay for an officer who is obvisouly out of control. He should be glad he didn’t kill someone (an 18-year old no less) and we should be wondering what else he’s been up to that we haven’t heard about.
It really began about two years ago. That was when the Bolton Police Department began its harassment of local businesses in Bolton Landing, on Lake George in theAdirondacks. It started with slow drive-bys of the local businesses, particularly the only two places left in town that attract locals – the Sagamore Pub and the Brass Ring. Cars leaving town after 11 pm were pulled over constantly. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough,Bolton police began stalking tourists and locals who were walking down the street minding their own business. They asked for IDs and if someone walking down the street was intoxicated, they were automatically arrested – even if they were minding their own business.
Last summer Bolton Police began parking directly in front of the Sagamore Pub and the Brass Ring and waiting for patrons to leave – if they drove they were followed and stopped; if they walked they were asked for ID. A police sting which sent two undercover police into both bars ended in the closing of the Brass Ring after a new bartender, just 21 years old herself, served two people who looked obviously over-age, but were undercover and trying to deceive the bartenders into serving them. The Sagamore Pub is now closed and the Brass Ring is under new ownership (among other issues these changes mean neither establishments have a presence on the web any more).
So the Bolton Police have decided to move on to parking in addition to their usual tactics . Last Sunday night, the most popular night for locals in town, Bolton Police issued tickets and warnings to every car parked in the public parking lot – the reason? No overnight parking. Cars have to be moved at 2 am, never mind the Brass Ring (now called the Lakeside Pub or some such thing) doesn’t close until 4 am. Lots of locals stood by and cursed while their cars were ticketed afraid to confront police or move their cars from a near-empty public parking lot for fear of police intimidation. Of course, anyone who works at The Sagamore Hotel will tell you that they never see the Bolton Police – you see, the super rich of Bolton are exempt from the pestering the locals and “regular” tourist face.
So it’s no surprise that the overzealous Bolton Police have all resigned this past week. The Glens Falls Post Star speculated on the reason:
Earlier this month, there was talk around town of changing the Bolton department’s duties, [Warren County Sherriff Larry]Clevelandsaid. Rather than focusing on making arrests and writing tickets, the officers were asked to make their presence known to business owners during the day and assist people crossing busy streets.
When they can no longer drive away business and hassle locals the Bolton Police resign – I, and a whole lot of residents and business owners in Bolton, say Good Riddance! Until the Bolton Police can perform their job more appropriately, they ought to stick to what they do best – giving directions and helping tourists cross the street (oh, and hunting aliens).
UPDATE 8/15/06: The ComPostStar is reporting more about why the officers resigned. Apparently they “notified the town they planned to resign Friday, three days after a Town Board meeting that focused on an effort to create a written policy outlining the duties of town police officers. Some Town Board members wanted the department — whose officers work a total of 1,200 hours a year, most of them in the summer — to perform more foot patrols, spend more time directing traffic and assisting pedestrians crossing the street, and issuing more warnings instead of citations.”
The Brant Lake General Store was one of those classic places found all around the Adirondacks – part deli, part bait shop, part hardware store, newsstand and convenience store. It only recently changed hands (the new owners added a liquor store) when it caught fire sometime after midnight on August 1. The store’s former owner, Roger Daby, was among firefighters from six local companies and who fought the three alarm fire. » Continue Reading.
Brian’s recent rant on the 20th Congressional District race
Democracy in Albany – “Someone’s lying“
From the WFP Blog: “Sweeney misfires“
NY Cowboy Looks at “Sweeney’s claims” he’s an upstater
And while we’re at it:
The Green Party of New York State is in petition mode – help out.
And remember these gems?
Still have doubt? Check out the Washington Post’s Congressional Votes Database (goes back to 1991)
Happy Super Bowl Sunday! er that is unless you happen to live in Detroit.
Nearly 2 million people lived in Detroit in the 1950s; today it has fewer than 900,000. According to the Census Bureau, more than a third of those people lived at or below the federal poverty line in 2004, the largest percentage of any U.S. city with a population of 250,000 or more.
Detroit’s 2005 unemployment rate was 14.1 percent, more than 2 1/2 times the national level.
The city has announced deep cuts in services over the past year to cope with an enormous deficit. Hundreds of municipal employees have been laid off, bus service has been scaled back, nine recreation centers have been shuttered, and bulk trash pickup has been canceled.
374 homicides last year! This year – one Super Bowl!
This year has been one of the hottest on record, scientists in the United States and Britain reported yesterday, a finding that puts eight of the past 10 years at the top of the charts in terms of high temperatures.
Scientists said… that the world is experiencing serious climate change, driven in part by human activity. Researchers recently found by drilling ice cores that there is a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than in any time in the last 650,000 years, which reflects that humans are burning an increased amount of fossil fuels to power automobiles and utilities.
It’s seems clear here at the Adirondack Almanack that the War of Christmas is a distraction from sinister attacks on American Civil Rights, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
An outrageous attack on civil liberties has occurred in Albany, where student activists are being watched by the our new secret police.
So let’s get this straight:
Say Merry Christmas! Or Else! You athiest commie hippie homo immigrant welfare mothers on drugs!
Even if he wasn’t actually involved in full-blown fist-a-cuffs, this story says something about the kind of man representing [a-hem] us in Washington.
A gossip column in Thursday’s New York Daily News reported Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, took a blow from a Red Sox fan who’d had enough of Sweeney’s pro-Yankees banter one evening earlier this month at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Washington, D.C. Sweeney spokeswoman Melissa Carlson flatly denied the report, saying the alleged incident was nothing more than a “heated discussion about Yankees vs. Red Sox.”
Sweeney has been criticized for failing to meet with any of his constituents, and refusing to discuss his (and his party’s) plans for Social Security. Apparently he’s been too busy over the past five years with the much more important “heated discussion about Yankees vs. Red Sox.”
I know one local newspaper editor who no doubt finds it an important and timely debate at a critical time for America.
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