The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Friday, April 07, 2006


We all enjoy Letters to the Editor in the area papers. Sometimes, though, it helps to know who's writing those letters: concerned citizens or political flunkies? Please welcome our newest staff member.....

By Politicus Ebonus Abyssus (bonus points for those of you who remember your Latin)

In last Tuesday’s Times Union, Shawn Van Wert had a letter to the editor on the recent pay raises, stating that Democrats in the fall election promised to work to reduce costs, yet voted for the pay raise. With appropriate moral indignation, he stated that the Democratic legislators would never get his vote again. Since Shawn is from Troy, I am sure that Peter Grimm, the lone Democratic Legislator from Troy, is shaking in is boots.

Yet, what does Peter have to worry about? Shawn has had several letters in various papers throughout the last few years, most likely penned by Crist, Buell, Mirch, or some other Republican operative. We know that Shawn worked for the Troy Department of Public Works and enrolled in the Working Families Party in 2004 at the behest of Mirch. At least while Mirch still controls jobs and these minor party lines, it is unlikely Shawn will take a step or put his name to a letter without Mirch’s approval.

More important, however, the analysis in the letter is faulty, regardless of who wrote the letter. None of the Democrats Shawn supposedly voted for in the last election voted for the pay raise. The pay raise was voted in prior to Peter taking office, when six Republicans represented the City of Troy. If you are going to be morally outraged, Shawn, direct it to those representatives of yours that actually voted in the raise.

If Shawn wants to feign moral indignation, maybe he should look at what has been going on with “Flora’s Law.” The Rules Committee killed it based on the potential impact it would have on county judges and the district attorney, whose salaries are set by the State, as Mirch pointed out. The truth is Mr. Mirch that a minor language revision, indicating that salaries not set by the county are not affected by this legislation, would remedy the issue. The truth is Mr. Mirch, that you are hiding behind word-smithing rather than doing what is morally and ethically right. Shawn, why are you not morally indignant about this game playing? Shawn, another thing. When you found out that Mirch made a total of $125,000 from three different government entities, where was your letter to the editor with appropriate moral indignation? Oops, I am sorry. Mirch would not have had you sign that letter.

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