Inside My Head


2009 Penfield Elections

by on Oct.27, 2009, under Observations

Not since my schizophrenic days of working on the campaign of Barry Goldwater (1964) and supporting George McGovern (1972) have I been overly involved in the political process (I just couldn’t get excited about either Nixon or Humphrey in 1968).

However, the current situation in our country has gotten me to think about public service, politics and electioneering.

In one week, the town of Penfield will elect a new Town Supervisor, two Town Board Members, the Town Clerk and Town Justice. For town residents, these elections have direct impact for the next two years. Know the candidates – who they are, what they stand for, what they propose to do if elected.

This year, the candidates are:
Town Supervisor
     Tony LaFountain (
     Margaret Trevett (
     Steve Nazarian (
Town Board Members:
     Paula Metzler and Andy Moore
     John Albright and Lynne Crawford
Town Clerk:
     Robyn Miller
     Amy Stecklof
Town Justice:
     David Murphy
     Jim Mulley

With the Internet and local TV, it is so very easy to become an informed voter.
     1. Visit the websites listed above.
     2. Use Google.
     3. Read the Penfield NY Bulletin Board for the 2009 Elections (
     4. Watch PCTV Channel 15 – there are two Candidate information programs to be broadcast between now and Election Day:
          Forum hosted by the Green Initiative on 9/29/2009 – airdates:
               10/27/2009 01:30 PM Candidates Green Forum: 01:38:14
               10/29/2009 04:00 PM Candidates Green Forum: 01:38:14
               11/01/2009 08:00 AM Candidates Green Forum: 01:38:14
               11/02/2009 08:00 PM Candidates Green Forum: 01:38:14
          Meet the Candidates hosted by the Penfield Business Association on 10/13/2009 – airdates:
               10/28/2009 07:30 PM PBA Meet the Candidates: 02:10:41
               10/29/2009 07:00 AM PBA Meet the Candidates: 02:10:41
               10/30/2009 03:30 PM PBA Meet the Candidates: 02:10:41
               10/31/2009 12:00 PM PBA Meet the Candidates: 02:10:41
               11/01/2009 08:00 PM PBA Meet the Candidates: 02:10:41
               11/02/2009 12:00 PM PBA Meet the Candidates: 02:10:41

Town Government is no place for political partisanship, razzmatazz and jibber-jabber (I never thought I’d be able to use those two words in the same sentence).

Campaigns that mention hobbies, school attendance, and living in the same place a very long time as pseudo-qualifications are insulting to voters.

Be wary of the “Throw the Rascals Out” strategy, which usually results in voting in new rascals.

Or the TAX GAMBIT. We all would like well managed taxes. But after all the “fat” has been cut out, the only places left reduce are services, equipment and facility maintenance, and town improvements. Eventually, as my Aunt Tillie used to say, the pigeons come home to roost and the NEXT GUY has to spend the money to replace, fix and maintain all those things that were left undone. And that bill should be a whopper.

The election of town officials should be viewed as a job interview. We are asking them to work for us to manage our town. Determine what qualifications are important to you. Do they have a plan? Are they interested in public service or a political career? What are their priorities and do you agree?

An informed voter is, to quote Mickey Goldmill , “a very, very dangerous person”.

Remember, you get what you vote for.

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The Lawyers Needed Better Writers – Part 1

by on Sep.29, 2008, under Observations

Recently, I got a look at the Justice system up close and personal from a new perspective – a juror.  I have been called for jury duty many times in my life, but have successfully managed to dodge the bullet.  I was either lucky enough not be chosen as a prospective juror on a case, or I was dismissed by either one of the attorneys or the judge for reasons that, to this day, are unknown to me.  However, this time, I was selected for a criminal case.  I was officially Juror #2.

Let me tell you – it ain’t like on TV. 

Some quick impressions of real court – the judge looked bored most of the time (when his face wasn’t subconsciously reacting to the antics of the ADA or defense attorney – I would love to play poker with this man).  Both attorneys were in dire need of better scripts.  And they seemed to have developed their strategy 5 minutes before court started. 

The defense lawyer must have gotten his degree from DeVry – he seemed unclear on how to act in a courtroom, what were the grounds for objections, how to ask appropriate questions, and so many others things.  He dressed like Atticus Finch, but looked like Beaker from the Muppets.  And his name was Funk (I rest my case). 

The ADA was dressed for success – dark blue suit, well groomed, and an an air of competence about him.  He seemed to know a little more about “lawyering” than Funk (gotta love that name), and probably graduated from a real law school – I assume somewhere in the lower tier.  His name was Mr. D*n**nville (through the whole trial I never really caught his name). 

During jury selection they looked like they were trying hard to get the best jury for their side, but were unsure of how to do that.  Of the first 17 prospective jurors (the judge kicked 3 during his questioning), only 3 were chosen (remember, I was Juror #2). 

Those that were not chosen were sent back to the jury waiting room.  Those they were (like me) were sent home – the judge felt that the rest of this day and all the next would be taken up with jury selection, so we didn’t have to come back until Wednesday morning (early enough to get there, park, get through the metal detectors and up to the 4th floor by 9:30am when the trial began).

NEXT – The Lawyers Needed Better Writers – Part II  (The Evidence Wars)

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