On Election Day in November 2018, voters across New York State voted for a new direction for the 63-member New York State Senate. With some races remaining close and needing to be finalized based on a count of absentee and provisional ballots, it appears that Democrats have elected 40 Senators and Republicans just 23. There is no way to overstate just what a sea change this is for New York State politics.
There is also no way to overstate the questions that this sea change raise for the Adirondack Park, which is cut up into four State Senate districts, each steadfastly represented by a Republican. These four Senators – Betty Little, Joe Griffo, Patti Ritchie and Jim Tedisco – led by Little whose 45th Senate District has the majority of the Adirondack Park, were members in excellent standing in the exclusive club of the Republican Senate Majority. With a membership of around three dozen they unrelentingly, efficiently and ruthlessly wielded power and thoroughly enjoyed their political spoils. » Continue Reading.
The polls are now closed, most of the votes have been counted, and there were winners and losers. In Washington, power is once again split between the Republicans and Democrats, while in New York, Democrats will take over control of the Senate, putting the state under one-party rule. As the largest non-partisan organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of our Adirondack Park, the Adirondack Council keeps a full-time presence in Albany advocating for policies and resources that will benefit the Park’s waters, wildlife and communities. We are willing to work with any and all elected officials to make the Adirondacks a better place, regardless of party affiliation. What follows is a comprehensive review of federal and state election results from this year. Winning candidates begin their terms in January. » Continue Reading.
Donald Trump carried nine of the ten North Country counties that lie entirely or partly in the Adirondack Park and won 55.4 percent of the region’s votes. All told, 110,730 people in those ten counties voted for Trump. Their votes were counted, of course, but they did not count.
That’s because Hillary Clinton easily won the statewide vote, and in our antiquated system of electing presidents, that means she will be awarded all of the state’s votes in the Electoral College when the state’s electors meet this Monday. » Continue Reading.
One hundred years ago, on October 22, 1916, Inez Milholland Boissevain gave a powerful suffrage speech in Los Angeles. At one point, she directed a question at Woodrow Wilson: “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” As those words echoed through the hall, Inez collapsed on stage.
Today, New York State prepares to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage and the nation approaches an historic election – a woman is the presidential nominee of a major political party. The importance of casting a vote on November 8, 2016, seems obvious, and the right to vote taken for granted. But consider that women in New York State could not vote in Congressional or Presidential elections a hundred years ago. However, after decades of campaigning for women’s suffrage, it appeared that momentum was building in 1916. One woman from New York helped spur the forces to move “forward into light.” » Continue Reading.
The election last night in Lake George was a referendum on protecting the lake and the lake won. Last night, the team that was swept into office in 2011 on a platform of real change in town government built around protection of Lake George was handily re-elected.
Dennis Dickinson won as Supervisor and Marisa Muratori and Dan Hurley won for the Town Board. Dickinson and Muratori narrowly lost the Republican primary in September, but were elected on the Reform Party line. This is the second time that Muratori has been elected on a third party line. Hurley was elected as a Democrat. » Continue Reading.
Protect the Adirondacks sent a questionnaire to each of the three candidates running for Congress in New York’s 21st Congressional District, which includes the Adirondack Park and northern New York, about their positions on climate change issues.
The questionnaire included seven questions and was sent to Green Party candidate Matt Funicello, Republican Party candidate Elise Stefanik, and Democratic Party candidate Aaron Woolf. The climate change questionnaire was sent to each campaign on September 25th. Woolf and Funicello submitted their answers, while the Stefanik campaign has been unresponsive despite repeated emails and phone calls. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Council published our annual State of the Park Report today, covering the year 2014. It is a comprehensive and informative review of the local, state and federal government actions affecting the largest park in the contiguous United States.
You won’t find anything like this for other major American parks. We believe that the Adirondack Park is a special place, deserving of special attention.
Long time Adirondack Council members may be scratching their heads about the release of our State of the Park report just a day or two after Labor Day. Normally, our annual review of the actions of local, state and federal officials comes out in October.
This year, we decided to complete the report a month early to give our members the information they need to judge the efforts of any candidates who may be on the ballot for primary elections, normally held in mid-September. Up for election this year are the entire Legislature, the Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General, as well as candidates for the 21st Congressional District, which covers the entire Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
If the existential issue of our time is climate change, the Keystone XL pipeline project is the decisive political issue of the day. As Bill McKibben has said, “If we’re trying to do something about climate change, which theoretically all our governments are committed to doing, then (Keystone) is a very big deal. It’s the equivalent of adding six million new cars to the road.”
Other analysts say the impacts would be even greater over an extended period of time – the equivalent of 1 billion vehicles or 1,400 coal-fired power plants in greenhouse gas emissions. Legislators’ position on the Keystone project, which would extract oil from Canadian tar sands and pipe it through midwestern states to the Gulf Coast, is then, an indication of how seriously they take the threat of climate change to the communities they represent. » Continue Reading.
In an interview with the Lake George Mirror, as well in interviews with other newspapers and in an op-ed piece published by the Watertown Daily Times in November, Congressional candidate Elise Stefanik stated that she favors the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
She added that she would replace it with, among other things, measures that allow people to purchase health insurance from out of state insurers, purportedly on the grounds that the costs of health care would thereby drop. But anyone familiar with the Affordable Care Act knows that it does permit people to purchase health insurance across state lines. » Continue Reading.
Addressing the concerns of the opponents of the proposed federal constitution, who worried that members of Congress would not be sufficiently representative of the interests and opinions of their districts, the authors of ‘The Federalist Papers’ pointed out that a candidate without local connections would be unlikely to get elected.
They could not win the esteem of their neighbors without having already demonstrated merit and sound judgement. They will be acquainted with local issues, because in all probability they will have served in the state legislature, “where all local information and interests of the state are assembled,” or in some other local office. » Continue Reading.
Democratic Representative for New York’s 21st congressional district Bill Owens has announced that he will not seek reelection. The 21st district is the state’s largest and most rural. It includes most of the North Country, as well as the northern suburbs of Syracuse. Owens was the first Democrat to represent the region since 1873.
In 2009, Owens, then registered as an independent, was chosen by the Democratic Party to run in a special election to fill the House seat vacated by incumbent Republican John McHugh, who was appointed Secretary of the Army. Originally, Owens faced Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Doug Hoffman who had failed to get the Republican Party nomination in favor of the more socially liberal Scozzafava.
High-profile conservatives, including Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh were vocal in their support for Hoffman, who also had the support of the Tea Party. Under increasing pressure from conservatives Scozzafava dropped out of the race just days before the election. The Watertown Daily Times, which had originally endorsed Scozzafava, switched its endorsement to Owens and on the same day Scozzafava endorsed Owens. Owens won 49 percent; Hoffman 45 percent, and Scozzafava six percent. » Continue Reading.
NYCO Minerals spent $662,000 to secure passage of Proposition 5, whereas opponents of the measure spent hardly anything. Yet the proposition passed by a fairly narrow margin, earning only 53 percent of the vote.
Opponents of Prop 5 have portrayed the ballot battle as a David-versus-Goliath confrontation in which David almost won. The assumption is that, despite spending almost no money, the little guys persuaded 47 percent of the electorate to vote against the proposition.
Since November 5, when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution to permit a mining company to mine 200 acres of Forest Preserve lands, we have learned much more about the proposition than we knew before the vote. We always knew that the company proposed to mine the Forest Preserve, and everyone, proponents and opponents alike, thought it at least noteworthy that two environmental protection groups dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the constitutional clause that states that Forest Preserve lands will remain “Forever Wild,” supported the proposition.
But we did not know that the state officials who were lobbying the legislature to place the proposal on the ballot were unaware that the mining company already had access to a second mine on its own land, which it has not yet begun to utilize. We did not know that the company was spending at least half a million dollars to win passage of the proposition. And that’s not including the thousands of dollars it donated to the campaigns of Senator Betty Little, who sponsored the bill that put the proposition on the ballot. » Continue Reading.
Much is already being made about the great victory in passing Proposition 5 – the controversial Constitutional Amendment known as Proposition 5 that was approved by New Yorkers on November 5, 2013 to sell 200 acres of forever wild Forest Preserve in the Jay Mountain Wilderness to NYCO Minerals, Inc., a mining company that plans to incorporate it into its adjacent open pit mine.
I believe that some who are jubilant now will come to rue this day. If Forever Wild can’t be saved from the jaws of a mining company to be clearcut, blasted and mined, then when can it be saved? » Continue Reading.
What follows is an open letter issued today to Adirondack Almanack readers.
Dear Adirondack Almanack Readers:
Voters reaffirmed that the Adirondack Park belongs to all New Yorkers. Proposition 4 (Township 40) was approved by a wide margin. Voters also approved Proposition 5 that expands the Jay Mountain Wilderness as part of a land swap with the NYCO mineral company. The approval of this constitutional amendment expands access to all sides of the Jay Mountain Wilderness and adds important new resources to the Forest Preserve.
Election results show that New Yorkers care deeply about the Adirondack Park. Clearly the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and the New York League of Conservation Voters’ collaboration with local governments, unions, and property owners can produce victories and results that benefit the Forest Preserve and communities. » Continue Reading.
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