Candidates on the Record
County Court Judge, Republican
DeAngelis declined to be interviewed for this series.
County Court Judge, Democrat
are you running?
running because I believe I have a lot to offer to Rensselaer
County based on my prior experience. I spent eight years as
a judge in East Greenbush and [have been] practicing law for
31 years in Rensselaer County and the Capital District. The
position requires maturity and insight, experience, and knowledge,
and I’ve got the basis for that. The second reason being that
I looked at the alternative and felt that that was unacceptable.
I felt someone needed to step up to the plate and present
to the voters a viable alternative.
Rensselaer County need this judgeship?
rationale for the new judgeship was the increased caseload.
My understanding, from the current county court judge, is
the caseload has doubled. My own experience with the system
would be that it seems to be functioning in the same manner
it’s been for the 31 years I have been practicing. I have
no reason to doubt it. In the event we were able to catch
up we would be able to help out in other counties or help
out in family court where there is a giant workload.
a highly political climate, how do you stay impartial?
you’re 62 years old you’re not beholden to anybody, and they
didn’t come begging me to take this job. I went up there and
said I want this job. The amount of support I’ve gotten has
been minimal, so I really don’t owe anything to anybody. I
have a degree of independence based on the fact I’ve had to
stand up, take it and then agree to finance it, because ultimately
it’s all about the money.
do you think the lawsuit against DeAngelis will affect the
campaign? [A lawsuit was filed against Rensselaer County District
Attorney DeAngelis on Oct. 14 by former Assistant District
Attorney Jennifer Sober, alleging she was wrongly fired for
questioning unethical practices in the D.A.’s office.]
think there will be some effect. It’s one more thing that
the voters will consider when they make their determination.
We are experiencing out in the field, going door to door,
that it does affect people’s thinking. The people who mention
the article, it’s had an impact upon them. I was out in Troy
with an elderly gentleman, I said I’m running against DeAngelis,
and he said, “Well, I don’t think it’s much of a race anymore.”
you support giving the Commission on Judicial Conduct more
experience with them is that really the individual rights,
the judges’ rights, need to be protected as well as the rights
of the public to know what’s going on.
a judge address patterns of crime in the county?
you can, in terms of the type of sentencing you administer.
Anybody can sentence you to jail. What you need is someone
who can apply the sentencing statutes and the resources and
the probation department and social services, unified services,
whatever you have available. Many people don’t really like
to get up and go to work every day, especially the ones in
trouble a lot. One of the things I liked to do when I was
a town judge was sentence people to weekends and nights and
make them go to work during the day.
will your experience as an attorney influence you as a judge?
a defense attorney, my job is to make sure [my client] is
accorded his constitutional rights of due process, of equal
protection and effective assistance of counsel and to make
sure the presumption of innocence till proven guilty is actually
implemented. When you are in court you frequently feel the
judges listen to the D.A. and as an afterthought listen to
you as a defense attorney, because the D.A. is there more
often, sometimes every week. What I need to do is make sure
that the courtroom is a place where everybody is on the same
status. I could care less if I know the D.A. or the defense
attorney. God knows, I’m going to know most of them. The fact
is, though, my job is to interpret the law and apply it appropriately.
conducted by David King
Doing the Hijacking Here?
Motivated by the indictment brought against Dick
Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Democrats on
Tuesday took Congress into closed session to investigate
intelligence pertaining to the Iraq War. “The
Libby indictment provides a window into what this
is really all about, how this administration manufactured
and manipulated intelligence in order to sell
the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those
who dared to challenge its actions,” said Democratic
minority leader Harry Reid before invoking Senate
rules that led to the closed session. Republicans
responded by calling the closed session a “hijacking”
and a “political stunt.” In the end Republicans
agreed to have a bipartisan group check into how
the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation
into prewar intelligence is going.
Speaking of Friday’s indictment of Lewis Libby,
there is still a fair amount of speculation that
more charges are to follow. Thanks to prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald’s comment that “it’s not over,”
Washington insiders are reportedly abuzz with
rumors that Karl Rove may still be in danger.
The likelihood of a Rove indictment seems to be
increasing, especially now that New York Times
reporter Matthew Cooper claims he learned of Valerie
Plame directly from Rove. “Before I spoke to Karl
Rove I didn’t know Mr. Wilson had a wife and that
she had been involved in sending him to Africa,”
said Cooper. Cooper insists that if a trial goes
ahead, he will name Rove as his source.
Things to Do in Denver When You’re Stoned
Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is legal
for adults now in the city of Denver thanks to
an interesting argument. The Alcohol-Marijuana
Equalization Initiative received overwhelming
support due to proponents’ arguments that marijuana
is safer than alcohol. Supporters cited national
statistics that showed that alcohol fuels car
wrecks, violence, binge drinking and—guess what?—alcoholism.
Don’t trade your keg for a dime bag yet, though,
as pot is still illegal according to Colorado
Disease Has Not Gone Away
of the Nor’easter Caravan of the Campaign to End AIDS posed
outside the Legislative Office Building in Albany before heading
off to Washington, D.C. One of 10 caravans in a nationwide
movement that has been nearly a year in the works, this group
will join thousands of others this weekend (Nov. 4-7) for
four days of lobbying, prayer, and other activism on AIDS-related
“front burner” issues.
movement is a major push to bring AIDS back into people’s
awareness. It even brought the designer of the well-known
pink triangle with the phrase “Silence Equals Death” out of
retirement to create a new logo. The overriding theme of the
movement is that the tools to end AIDS are available, and
only the will and resources are lacking. The top issues are
reauthorizing and fully funding the Ryan White Care Act, preventing
Medicaid budget cuts or changes that would affect coverage
of people with HIV, funding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
backing debt cancellation for poor nations, and reviving HIV-prevention
efforts based on science, not ideology.
After a press conference at which both local service providers
and caravan members with HIV spoke, the group gathered on
the steps for an interfaith prayer service led by the Rev.
Jill Farnum of Emmanuel Baptist Church. Farnum led off the
service by saying that to end stigma you had to go back to
its source, and that much of the stigma around AIDS had come
from the churches. She and other participants read prayers
from various traditions, called out names of people who have
died of AIDS, and sang “Amazing Grace.” Closing with a “message
from the Hopi Elders” before people trooped off to cars plastered
with the campaign logo, Farnum read “The time of the lone
wolf is over. . . . We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
Your Electoral Bed
a newspaper aggressively handicaps a race, does it end up
handicapping its own coverage opportunities as well?
the last month, local media have been buzzing about Albany
Mayor Jerry Jennings’ style of communication—or, more accurately,
his lack thereof—with the press. Where it was difficult before
the Sept. 13 Democratic primary to avoid seeing or hearing
the mayor’s name in the region’s daily newspapers, radio shows
or television news, now the silence is deafening from the
incumbent’s camp. And while some could argue that this sort
of communication pattern is not only a wise political move
but also business as usual in Albany, it may be worth noting
what such a shift posits about the media’s relationship to
On Feb. 18, the Times Union announced the candidacy
of Archie Goodbee Jr., a retired broadcast executive, in the
mayoral race. The article described Goodbee’s professional
and political history, and cited a few reasons why he should
be considered a viable candidate. The headline of the article,
however, makes no reference to Goodbee, but rather to his
opponent—reading simply, “Jennings’ foe vows fight.”
Over the next few months, the format of the paper’s headlines
echoed this initial editorial decision, with story after story
describing the campaign—or, in some cases, providing a profile
of the mayoral challengers—but rarely allowing the name of
any candidate save Jennings to make it into the bold print.
In one such article, published in April, it wasn’t until the
second paragraph of the story that Goodbee’s name appeared,
and only after he was first referred to as “the democratic
challenger to Mayor Jerry Jennings.” Given the well- documented
habit of readers to skim headlines in lieu of actually reading
the content of stories, it becomes clear what important piece
of information many Times Union readers may have been
left lacking: the names of any candidates other than Jennings.
After the Democratic primary, however, media headlines took
a dramatic turn. Where before the primary, even stories about
Jennings’ opponents were headlined with references to the
incumbent, phrases like “Green hits mayor on police policies”
and “Green would tie residency to jobs” began peppering mainstream’s
media’s coverage of the general election. Before the primary,
Alice Green was consistently referred to merely as “activist”
So why the sudden about-face in editorial policy? Well, some
might argue that the Jennings camp hasn’t given the local
mainstream media much to work with these days, as the mayor
has chosen not to return calls or engage in any form of debate
with his general-election challengers since winning the primary.
With all of the silence from Jennings 2005 headquarters, it
might seem logical that the papers begin wagging their fingers
at the incumbent’s camp and place more emphasis on Green Party
candidate Alice Green and Republican candidate Joe Sullivan.
Yet, while such an answer might seem appropriate, it could
be argued that the media coverage itself might bear some of
the blame for this lack of political discourse. In fact, the
overwhelming silence of the general election could be considered
a monster of the media’s own creation.
One aspect of the local mainstream media’s election coverage
that has remained fairly consistent this year is the frequent
reminders that, for the city of Albany, the winner of the
Democratic primary usually goes on to win the general election.
In at least one Times Union story, the paper reports
that “winning the Democratic nomination is tantamount to winning
office.” While hammering this point home among readers could
be seen as an effort to fuel public interest in the primary
race, there’s no question that this constant reminder has
become a double-edged sword, causing many voters to lose interest
in elections now that the primary is over.
Faced with a readership that has lost interest in the general
election and an incumbent that refuses to engage in any drama-generating
debate with his challengers, the headlines (and opinion columns)
have begun aggressively calling out Jennings for his silence
and giving his challengers’ accusations a hefty amount of
Yet, questions remain about whether the silence from the Jennings
camp is a blemish on the incumbent’s campaign policy or the
mainstream media’s style of election coverage. There’s an
argument to be made that the Times Union’s suddenly
indignant attitude is a bit hypocritical, given the level
of importance the newspaper placed on the primary and all
the attention paid to the incumbent in their pre-primary headlines.
Would the public have abandoned its interest in the general
election if they weren’t constantly told that the primary
is the be-all-end-all in Albany elections? Would the mayor
be more open to public discourse if he didn’t receive so much
ink during the primary? This election, the public may never
In fact, the mayor’s silence, it could be argued, might simply
represent his belief in what media like the Times Union
have been saying all along: that the election has already
been decided. And in taking such a hard stance against the
mayor after the damage is done, critics wouldn’t be off-base
in waxing Shakespearean about the media’s role in the election.
Simply put, one has to wonder whether the Times Union
doth protest too much.
Something bad happened there.”
—CDTA Route 18 bus, in the midst of a discussion
of haunted houses.
Nader, at a press conference Tuesday supporting
Alice Green, in response to a question about how
Green could convince Mayor Jerry Jennings to participate
in a debate.
Ellis [“The Candidates
on the Record,” Trail Mix, May 19], who lost Albany’s
Third Ward Common Council Democratic primary by
17 votes, is challenging incumbent Michael Brown
to a “rematch” in the general election. Calling
the primary a “virtual coin toss,” Ellis will
run on the Working Families Party line on the
Nov. 8 ballot. . . . A bid by Friends of Hudson
to get the comment period extended a second time
on a proposal to burn tires at the Ravena LaFarge
Cement plant [“What a Week,” Sept. 29] came
to naught as the state DEC closed comments on
Oct. 3. Next, LaFarge will get to respond to the
comments received, which were overwhelmingly negative.