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Letter to the Editor: “A Carpetbagger, an ‘Engineer,’ and a Republican-Hating Feminist Walk into a Village Bar…”

I wish the title of this letter was the beginning of a joke, but unfortunately, it represents the truth of local Democrats this election season. I write this partially in response to the letter of Ben Walter (Baskin) (March 5, 2017, The Ballston Journal Online), and to

support Ron Henry and Bruce Couture in their campaigns for the two Village Trustee positions and Michael Morrissey’s re-election bid for his current post of Village Justice.

First, the bad news — the Democratic Party locally apparently has become the party of Smart Growth Ballston (“SGB”), with Mr. Walter and Elizabeth Kormos spearheading the campaigns locally. Mr. Walter suggested in his letter that he “saw firsthand how [candidates Shawn Raymond and Noah Shaw] applied themselves…[related to] issues threatened by big box development.” That’s odd — Mr. Raymond, who is now referred to as a “civil engineer” held himself out to be a traffic engineer during the Town of Ballston’s Walmart discussion (we cannot verify this on the State of New York’s licensing website). His letters had minimal effect in the process because they were flat-out wrong in many respects. In his FOURTH attempt at local office, he’s trying to use some sort of anti-Walmart platform to win.

Spoiler Alert: Shawn, Walmart isn’t coming, and it isn’t because of anything you did.

And as for Mr. Shaw, I believe he moved here around August 2014, after being a fundraiser for both Obama campaigns and after coincidentally landing a Federal government job as “Senior Advisor to the General Counsel” at the U.S. Department of Energy in June 2012 (was this political patronage in play?). I don’t remember Mr. Shaw being involved in the Walmart discussion to the degree Mr. Walter suggests, and I doubt he’d know who I am.

So, why is Mr. Shaw is seeking the Village Trustee position? He works inside the Cuomo Administration as General Counsel at NYSERDA (NYS Energy Research & Development Authority), and frequently retweets Andrew Cuomo’s glowing tweets about the Cuomo Administration’s policies on his own Twitter handle (@ncshaw). Yet, Mr. Shaw has been interestingly silent on Cuomo’s plan to consolidate municipalities. For those folks who don’t know, the Governor wants to do away with what he feels are “redundant” municipalities like the Village of Ballston Spa in order to save a few dollars of administrative expenses. It sounds great…until you realize the Village would disappear, and its residents would lose their autonomy and influence on matters related to their home area.

Case in point: the Walmart discussion. Mayor Romano was able to give the Village a special place at the table during the Walmart discussion by naming Ballston Spa as an “interested agency” during our Walmart environmental review. While that made my family’s life more difficult with additional review, it showed the Mayor’s concern to ensure the Village’s residents would not be adversely affected by such construction. He took that role seriously and was able to achieve certain gains in the process that would have specifically protected Villagers if Walmart built their store. So, while SGB leaders appear to be supporting Mr. Shaw, they might want to rethink their seemingly hypocritical position; Mr. Shaw is knee-deep in an Administration that is fine with the Village disappearing from the map — a Village that had a meaningful seat at the table that SGB relished for 16 months.

Finally, I’d say more about the Democrats’ Village Justice candidate — Erika Tebbens — but the sparse information available concerning her on social media seems to boil down to this: she’s a feminist, she hates Republicans, and it’s okay to publicly state these things on social media around the time she’s running for a position that relies upon an open mind, a lack of bias, and a trust from those who live in the jurisdiction a Justice will preside over.

Is this really the best crop of candidates the Democrats could put forward this year? If so, WOW.

Now, the good news: the Republicans have a slate of candidates to be proud of this election. Ron Henry has worked with the Mayor in his role as Village Trustee over the last year and helped oversee successful events and the handling of major issues like the notification of residents of the State and Federal activities surrounding the Rickett’s and Angelica sites. Bruce Couture, who is no stranger to local government, especially in the Town of Milton, is a long-time resident who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty when it comes to knocking on doors and speaking with residents in the area about what their needs are. His respect for our military veterans and seniors is unparalleled based on his own service and his family’s service to their country. They both will do tremendous work as Village Trustees. And while I’ve been lucky enough to not face Judge Morrissey in his capacity as Village Justice, I’ve asked several people over the last couple of months for their opinions of him. The word that each has stated is, “Fairness.” As an attorney, I can say that such an assessment is the greatest compliment anyone can pay to a Justice at any level of government.

On March 21st, you have a choice. You can vote for two Village Trustee candidates who don’t have the Village’s future in their personal interests and who don’t seem be able to find Village Hall for twice-monthly Board meetings even as candidates (Mr. Shaw admitted on his Facebook page that he’s too busy in his work and parenting life to attend the current schedule of Village Board of Trustee meetings — how would this suddenly change if he’s elected?). These candidates have made the central platform of their campaign how ineffective they feel the Village’s website is — despite appearing to lack the knowledge of using Google for their own campaign flyers to see that the Mayor and his team have already undertaken the tasks they propose. Or you can vote for two Trustee candidates who, with the Mayor, are ready to continue bringing the Village’s government TO THE PEOPLE, through Board meetings on the road, door-to-door information sessions related to environmental issues, and dedication to protect and preserve the Village’s existence at minimal expense to the Village’s residents.

You can vote for a Village Justice candidate who thinks bias and prejudice are acceptable attributes for a Judge, or you can re-elect a life-long resident trusted and respected for his experience and fairness across the board.

The choice should be easy: on March 21st, vote for Ron Henry and Bruce Couture as Village Trustees, and re-elect Michael Morrissey as Village Justice. In doing so, you’ll send a message to Mayor Romano that you appreciate his hands-on approach and open-door policy he and the Village Board have embraced for many years, and you’ll send a message to the Democratic Party that they need to do much better in their selection of candidates. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Frank Rossi, II
38-Year Full-Time or Dual Resident of the Ballston Spa, NY Area

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