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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Camera Never Blinks

One of the rather surprising comments arising from last week's town board meeting came from, who else, Al Spain. The Republican Majority Leader, who is a registered Democrat has apparently little regard for the local media. In fact, he stated his belief that North Greenbush gets far too much media coverage compared to "other towns".

Precisely what he was getting at appears to be that there is no good reason for the media's interest in North Greenbush government. Sitting in the audience was a Troy Record reporter whose attention was garnered in a crack against his editor, Jim Franco, who writes a weekly Monday column called "Talespin". Spain was recently on the receiving end of a Talespin criticism and we all know that Al Spain does not tolerate criticism well. Hence, Franco, the Record and Talespin were on his mind as he proclaimed the town to be on the receiving end of too much media coverage.

In that particular column, Franco referred to the political retaliation engineered by Spain and Desso against the new Town Supervisor by cutting her full time secretary to a part time position just a week after both had argued passionately for the need to keep the office open full time and not tie the hands of the new Supervisor. We think the word for this turnabout, dressed in the new political cover of financial distress, is hypocrisy. That's what Spain called those commenting on his desire to hire non residents for town attorney positions when we have qualified town residents available for the jobs.

But don't think for a minute Spain sees any hypocrisy arising from his do as I say, not as I do votes to first retain the full time position in the Supervisor's Office and then just a meeting later, lead the charge to cut it back to part time in the name of fiscal restraint. We presume that it took a another week for the long standing financial mess and deficit to finally grab Spain's cognitive resources in a manner which required him to contradict his vote of just a week earlier.

The Record's editor referred to the budget cut as "inane". "We’re all in favor of cutting the size of government, but there has to be better places to start than someone paid to keep the supervisor’s office open from nine to five", stated Franco. Would hypocrisy be voting one day to establish town business hours as 9 to 5 weekdays and then a week later, vote to force the Supervisor's Office to close for 20 of those 40 hours by cutting the only staffer in the office to part time status in retaliation for things Spain and Desso don't like being engineered by County Democrats fighting a legal battle with Desso over whether he can legally hold two elective offices.

That's real good thinking boys. Keep the other offices in town hall overstaffed and underworked while forcing someone you perceive as a political opponent, the Supervisor, to close her office for half of the town's designated business hours. Never mind that she's bent over backwords trying to work with you. Just show her who's boss Al!

Incredibly, Spain has yet to figure out why North Greenbush government is getting all that attention from print and electronic media, far more, from his perspective, than other towns in this media market. Dahhhh, did he ever think that stupid, inane actions by Board members on so many issues of public interest, might just play a role in media decisions to cover events at Town Board meetings??? Does Spain think that TV crews and print reporters just show up because they have nothing better to report or write about?

News Channel 13's Dan Bazille covered a recent board meeting when Spain decided to pass his version of the Comprehensive Plan to benefit a particular contributor and land owner's desires at the expense of common sense and what was good for the town as a whole. How dare they come here and cover such things! The media has covered his repeated disdain for the Open Meetings Law while Chairing the Comprehensive Plan Committee just as it covered some of the antics of former Supervisor Mark Evers. It's the stupid things politicians do that provide fodder that attracts cameras and reporters, not the picturesque scenery found in the Board Room.

Well, we hope some day that Mr. Spain will begin to understand that the media makes decisions on what to cover and not any one person on the board or in the community. Assignment editors decide based on whether it is in the public interest to cover a story, not on whether Al Spain or any one else for that matter, feels is an appropriate topic. So when you decide to do something stupid like change a residency law so you can hire a couple of your out of town buddies, don't be surprised if a reporter or camera or two show up to tell the community what kind of politician you are. That's why they call it NEWS!

A Letter in Today's Record

Here's a link to a letter published today by the Democratic Party Chairman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems that the two newly elected Legislators from East Greenbush are shying away fromtaking any official steps until the lawsuit is completed. Why is Mr. Desso so arrogant to think he should not do the same?