Hudson Valley News & Politics

News & Politics

Chronogram publishes sections covering local, national, and environmental news, including columns from Larry Beinhart, Brian Mahoney, and Jason Stern. From the Hudson Valley and beyond, check out our take on news and politics.


8 Major Hudson Valley Development Projects We're Watching

Almost $2 Million in State Funding to Local Projects Spurs Major Economic Development
In the eighth round of Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) funding, 122 Mid-Hudson Valley projects received a total of $87.1 million in state grants. Here’s a look at some of the Big Doings afoot.

Tags: General News & Politics

Editor's Note: Some Birthday Advice

Editor Brian Mahoney shares the do's and don't of Birthday celebrations based on recent, personal experiences.

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Letters to the Editor | February 2019

Readers respond to recent Chronogram articles.

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4 Strange Headlines You May Have Missed

National news which did not make it into public consciousness.

Tags: National

Body Politic: A Humbled Poodle

Columnist Larry Beinhart points out President Donald Trump's tendency to Putin's interests over his own country's.

Tags: National

A Conversation with Antonio Delgado

NY19's Congressman-Elect Talks about His Campaign and His Plans for Washington
NY19's Congressman-elect Antonio Delgado discusses his campaign, the state of politics, and his priorities for Washington.

Tags: National

Editor's Note: Amsterdam to Copenhagen

Editor Brian Mahoney recalls a memorable bicycle trip from Amsterdam to Copenhagen with his friend Karl.

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Body Politic: All in the Family

Columnist Larry Beinhart lays out President Trump's legacy of criminal behavior.

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5 Strange News Headlines You Might Have Missed in December

From self-imposed jail time to the Fortnite baby-naming trend, here are 5 headlines you might've missed in the busy month of December.

Tags: National

Editor's Note: Everyone Knew Her as Nancy

While sorting through his late mother's belongings, editor Brian Mahoney finds a letter written by his grandmother Nancy, humbly detailing her extraordinary life and career.

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7 News Headlines You Might Have Missed

Law changes under Trump and record amount of women in politics.

Tags: National

Body Politic: Only People Are People

Beinhart calls for a couple of constitutional amendments that would take money out of politics.

Tags: General News & Politics

Antonio Delgado makes history

Dubbed a "big-city rapper" by his Republican opponent, Delgado tapped into progressive fury and energy to pull off a hard-fought victory in a red-leaning district.
Dubbed a "big-city rapper" by his Republican opponent, Delgado tapped into progressive fury and energy to pull off a hard-fought victory in a red-leaning district.

Tags: National

The River: Regional Journalism of National Relevance

Support the Kickstarter Campaign for Our New Newsroom
Hudson Valley communities need reliable news, now more than ever. We want to make that a reality through our new project The River, a newsroom dedicated to regional issues of national relevance. Support our Kickstarter Campaign and Become a Member today.

Tags: General News & Politics

John Faso has one problem, and it’s Antonio Delgado

The Democratic nominee in NY19 has gotten the better of several clashes with Republican John Faso. Can he take it all the way?
The Democratic nominee in NY19 has gotten the better of several clashes with Republican John Faso. With an enormous fundraising advantage, a lead in the latest poll, and the wind in his sails, can Delgado take it all the way?

Tags: General News & Politics

While You Were Sleeping

8 News Headlines You Might Have Missed
From lonely teenagers to happy virgins and pot-smoking Canadians, here are 8 strange news headlines you might have missed.

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Body Politic: A Problem of Revenue

Larry Beinhart expounds on the US's growing deficit and the cornerstone cause: revenue.

Tags: National

Caffeinated Politics: Democracy Coffee Raises Money for Campaign Finance Reform

Company using proceeds from their growing operation to promote publicly funded elections through online advertising and coffee.

Tags: General News & Politics

Women’s Work: Female Candidates on the 2018 Ballot

Women are on the ballot in record numbers the election this November, stepping into the political fray with zeal and enthusiasm, and running in tough districts against long odds. The Hudson Valley is a proving ground for a few of the current generation of energized and ambitious Democratic women.

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The Sixth of November

Body Politic October 2018
Larry Beinhart sends a rhyming note reminding everyone to exercise their democratic franchise on Election Day.

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Editor's Note: Eventually Quarter-Century

Chronogram turns 25 in November
Join us for Chronogram Conversations on November 1 and our 25th birthday party on November 10.

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6 News Headlines You May Have Missed from September 2018

The rise of STDs, climbing retail vacancies in Manhattan, olive oil as a cure for erectile dysfunction, and other juicy tidbits.

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How Competitive is NY18 Without Sean Maloney?

The popular Hudson Valley congressman is running for state attorney general. With polls showing him running strong, it's worth asking what happens to his congressional race.
The Hudson Valley is in the electoral spotlight this season. New York’s 19th Congressional District is at the epicenter of an effort by national Democrats to retake the House of Representatives, the Republican nominee for Governor is Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, and two Hudson Valley residents are running for State Attorney General. One of those residents is facing tough questions from constituents and voters over what he’s giving up to run for higher office. That is Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who represents New York’s 18th district, which covers Orange County and areas between northern Westchester and Poughkeepsie. (Full disclosure: I worked for Maloney several years ago.) Then there’s Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor turned politician who challenged Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary before moving to the Hudson Valley to run for Congress in 2016. She lost both races. Also running are New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and Verizon Vice President and former Hillary Clinton staffer Leecia Eve. They are all vying to replace disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who stepped down in haste after the New Yorker reported that he had sexually abused several women. Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood eschewed calls to run for a full term. The primary is crucial; given the ideological makeup of New York, whoever wins the Democratic primary is expected to coast to the office. The Chance Early polls showed James leading, thanks to massive institutional support from Governor Cuomo, the state Democratic party, and many other prominent New York politicians, unions, and political clubs. Maloney, who lacks any institutional support in New York State politics but wields a $3 million war chest from his congressional campaigns–which, through much controversy, he was able to channel towards his attorney general run–was in second. He narrowly led Teachout who is backed by fellow progressives Cynthia Nixon and Andrea Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Times and grassroots organizations like Indivisible. Leecia Eve was trailing by a large margin. As a white male with a moderate voting record in Congress, Maloney was considered an unlikely choice to replace Schneiderman in the midst of the #MeToo movement and a surge of progressive energy. (Though, it should be noted, he would be the first openly gay male state attorney general in US History). However, he is now leading the pack narrowly in the latest Siena poll. This could perhaps be chalked up to the fact that James, Teachout, and Eve are all drawing from roughly similar pools of voters–young, diverse and progressive–whereas Maloney has a very different appeal that attracts a more well-to-do, suburban base. Another factor has been Maloney’s ability to blanket the airwaves, thanks to his massive campaign coffers. With over 40% of voters undecided in the early polls, that has probably made a huge difference. With 30% still undecided in the latest poll, it may just tip the election in Maloney’s favor. The District But one big question swirling around Maloney’s attorney general candidacy is “what happens to his congressional seat if he wins?” Many voters have expressed uneasiness about the idea of nominating Maloney for fear that the district–which voted for Donald Trump in 2016–would fall into Republican hands. The issue has not been isolated in the Hudson Valley either; voters at one of Maloney’s town halls in the Upper West Side expressed an equal concern about the vulnerability of his seat and the balance of power in Congress. Maloney has said he "has a plan" for the seat, but has declined to elaborate further. It’s fair to say that this issue will be a crucial one for primary voters, and is therefore worth taking a look at. Although Maloney won a third term by a formidable 11-point margin in 2016, dispatching an underfunded and obscure Republican candidate, Trump also narrowly won his district. The 18th district contains Orange County, which is a swing county, portions of Southern Dutchess and Northern Westchester, which lean Democrat, and all of Putnam County, which leans very Republican. This all evens out to make it very competitive. But despite the electoral evenness of the district, Maloney has had it locked up ever since he narrowly defeated former Rep. Nan Hayworth in their 2014 rematch, after initially defeating her reelection bid in 2012. In the former, he was outspent by Hayworth, but he has since consistently led his opponents in funding by seven figures. He was, and still is, widely expected to coast to reelection this year if he were to remain on the ticket. The Replacements If Maloney wins the Democratic nomination for attorney general, and subsequently stands down from his seat, that shakes the congressional race up a lot. This is due in no small part to none of his potential replacements on the ticket looming nearly as large in the district as he does. [page] One name that has been floated is actor Richard Gere, who would probably bring Maloney’s name recognition—and then some—and some semblance of his fundraising potential. However, considering the performances of celebrity candidates like Diane Neal and Cynthia Nixon this cycle, the local Democratic parties may be wary of going down that road. He's also a 69 year old white man which, in this political climate, is hardly an asset for a Democrat. His publicist has also said that rumors that he is interested in a run are "not true." Other possible contenders are Orange County Legislator Jeff Berkman, veteran Patrick Davis, and Assemblyman James Skoufis, though he is running for State Senate and has said he will not stand down from that bid. One name that hasn’t been mentioned much is Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander who, like Maloney, is a gay man with a moderate streak, having been cross nominated on the Republican ticket several times in more than a decade in office. He previously ran for the seat in 2012, losing to Maloney. His background would bring the most continuity. (Full disclosure: I also worked for Alexander.) However, with all their relative strengths, none of these folks have nearly as good a chance of winning as Maloney. While Maloney’s incumbency advantage shouldn’t be more than “the standard 2%,” according to election analyst Noah Rudnick, an election analyst for OH Predictive Insights, he does have a few individual electoral boosters. He is very charismatic, and is enormously popular in the district thanks to a combination of robust constituent services, bringing pork barrel spending to the district, and an adeptness at political theater. That’s in addition to his fundraising, which is robust even for an incumbent. All those things considered, Maloney probably has a larger built-in advantage than a standard incumbent. The Opponent The Republican nominee is James O’Donnell, who lacks both funds and name recognition relative to Maloney. Maloney dismisses him as a “nobody,” however, O’Donnell does have some creds that boost his candidacy. In addition to being a Lieutenant Colonel in the New York State Police, he served as an Orange County Legislator. In this cycle, a candidate with both law and order and elected experience is nothing to scoff at. By contrast, Maloney’s opponent in 2016, Phil Oliva, was an unelected advisor for the Westchester County Executive. He had nowhere near the resume of O’Donnell. Moreover, O’Donnell has already raised $30,000 more at this point than Oliva raised in the entire campaign. We can also expect that, if Maloney steps aside, outside groups such as the NRCC and the Congressional Leadership Fund will give a newly competitive O’Donnell a cash infusion. This is a win the Republicans desperately need. The Trumpiness factor The 18th is an Obama-Trump district, having swung from voting for Obama by about 4 points in 2012 to voting for Trump by 2 points in 2016. There’s no reason to believe that trend has slowed, let alone reversed. Polls of several districts in upstate New York have shown that, despite a roughly 9 point Democratic advantage on the generic congressional ballot—coined the “blue wave“—Republicans are still strong in this particular region, which contains many of the rural and blue-collar voters that Trump strongly appealed to. A poll by Siena Research—a reputable Albany-based polling firm—showed that John Faso, a particularly weak Republican incumbent from New York’s 19th district, is up 5 points over his Democratic challenger, Antonio Delgado. The 19th district, just north of the 18th, would be expected to vote about 5 points Republican in an even year. Considering that this is a heavily Democratic year, and Faso is a particularly embattled incumbent, it’s reasonable to think that areas like the Hudson Valley are at least somewhat immune to the blue wave. Polls in the 25th and 22nd districts, both in upstate New York, showed similar Republican strength relative to the national environment There’s also the coattails factor. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is the Republican nominee for governor. Cuomo’s unpopularity in upstate New York, and Molinaro’s cross-partisan popularity in the Hudson Valley, may just serve to benefit down-ballot Republicans in the Hudson Valley like Faso and O’Donnell. That said, an Obama-Trump district like NY18 might easily go for O’Donnell by a slim margin if Maloney is out. Rudnick notes that “it tilts blue of the nation,” in terms of recent down-ballot races, but concedes that “it's all about the Benjamins.” Essentially, Maloney’s money has been key to keeping the district in Democratic hands. Without that cash, it’s anyone’s game. The Rating [page] Most analysts and scholars are hesitant to consider this district any more competitive than leaning Democratic, even without Maloney. “The Democrats still would be favored if Maloney won the AG nomination,” says Richard Born, a professor of political science at Vassar College, who notes that while “a GOP upset would be possible,” he would “classify a Maloney-less race as lean Democratic.” However, much of that hinges on the assumption that O’Donnell is a weak candidate with few funds, and that the Democrats could field a strong replacement for Maloney. But that’s far from certain. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the opposite could very well be the case. If local Democrats can field a strong contender like Gere or Skoufis or even Alexander, they are probably favored to keep the seat. But they could easily end up fielding their own Oliva or O’Donnell. For those reasons, a win for Maloney tomorrow likely makes NY18 a tossup. ...

Tags: National

Jen Metzger for NYS Senate

Vote for Metzger on 9/13 to Support Cleaner Energy, Universal Healthcare, and Reproductive Rights
Rosendale resident Jen Metzger is a Democratic candidate seeking election in the State Senate’s 42nd District to replace R. John Bonacic, who retired earlier this year. Metzger, a Rosendale Town Councilwoman and mother of three, has built her campaign around fairness in utility rates and an affordable, locally based clean-energy economy.

Tags: General News & Politics

Picking Winners and Losers

Body Politic September 2018
Larry Beinhart talks global trade in September Body Politic.

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Editor's Note: Clancy the Cane Corso

For Thanksgiving that year, the family had decided to hold the event at my mother's house (the ancestral Mahoney estate), even though it was Dad's turn to host. Mom, who was in Florida, gave her blessing, so off we went. Our little domestic unit—Lee Anne, Shazam, and I—drove down to Queens early. Lee Anne and I spent the day preparing dinner with family while Shazam got acquainted with Mom's new dog, Clancy. Lee Anne, always wiser than me, suggested we keep close watch on the dogs, as Shazam had never met a canine he didn't want to make a beta, regardless of its size. (Shazam had also put a number of notches in his collar for his ruthless takedowns of small mammals; and frankly, some were not that small.) Everything was going fineish—Shazam was putting up with Clancy's aggressive puppy bonhomie, which involved following him around the house and licking his face and inciting Shazam to chase him—until it wasn't going fine at all. After a couple hours of harassment, Shazam wheeled around and snapped at Clancy. (In Shazam's defense, I believe it was in warning. Others are not so sure. History will be the judge.) Clancy, sensibly trying to avoid a nip on the nose, whipped his head to the side, sending his ear across Shazam's angle of attack, a hairy black crêpe sailing Frisbee-like between Shazam's jaws. Coincidentally, I had recently begun training Shazam to chase and catch Frisbees, though I don't believe the outcome would have been different if the dog had never seen a flying crêpe-like object before. A few words on Clancy before I get to the, er, meat of the tale. My mother adopted Clancy a few months after her previous dog, Hershey, a chocolate Lab, had died. She trotted out to North Shore Animal League and picked up a puppy that looked like a Lab mix, albeit with XL paws and a slightly squared-off head—perhaps a little Boxer or Pit thrown in there. When Mom went to the pet supply store for a crate, the owner looked at the dog, laughed, and said, "The paws lead me to believe he's a Great Dane. You're gonna need the biggest crate I got." Thus began the saga of Clancy, the-ever-expanding puppy. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, Clancy was 90 pounds of affectionate rambunctiousness, ready to lick the epidermis right off any exposed skin—or hump you, if you were my brother Conor. Back to the story: The hairy black crêpe landed in Shazam's mouth, Clancy's ear was punctured, and all hell broke loose. I jumped in to restrain Shazam and Clancy galumphed off, jumping on all the furniture in the living room, three siblings chasing him, pumping blood like a water main burst in his ear and shooting it on the white-painted walls—the effect looking as if the house was being styled for a Target commercial. Once the dog was "under control," we tried to stop the bleeding. We left this to our cousin Sean, who had studied organic chemistry in college, which we all agreed conferred something akin to medical authority on him. But the bleeding just wouldn't stop, and we ended up taking Clancy to the emergency vet, who stitched up the ear but made no promises that his work would hold, as ears are notoriously hard to sew. We went back to the house, me $800 poorer, Clancy locked in the cone of shame. As my mother wasn't due back for another three days, I was tasked with watching Clancy over the holiday weekend. Our little domestic unit drove back Upstate with one additional passenger, Shazam in the back seat beside a massive dog with the bulging eyes of a mad king in a ruffed Elizabthen plastic collar. I promptly came down with a high fever and spent the weekend laying on the couch as the dogs chased each other around the ground floor of my house, Clancy scraping the paint of the walls as he ran by. As soon as Mom was wheels down at JFK, I threw Clancy in the car and drove to Queens in a feverish blur. Fast forward four-and-a-half years, May 2018. My mother has just died. My siblings and I are trying to figure out what to do with Clancy. None of them have dogs, nor want a dog. I'd love to take home this adorable palooka, but Lee Anne is against it, given the history of the Thanksgiving Day Massacre. Both Lee Anne and I can envision a scenario in which we go out one day, leaving the dogs home alone, and return to find the furniture in splinters and Clancy's body bent and broken while Shazam calmly sits in a corner, every inch the stone-cold killer, giving us a look that says: I told you not to bring that dog into this house. But as there seem to be no other options available, I convince Lee Anne that we should "foster" the dog while we try and find Clancy a new home. Lee Anne makes me promise to post an appeal on Facebook. I do that, cute photo and all. I get a number of responses from people asking me what breed Clancy is. I write that he's a Lab mix and get a flurry of responses, with links to photos, offering evidence that Clancy is in fact a Cane Corso—an Italian mastiff. And knowing what an Italian mastiff looks like (thanks to the photos), it's hard to deny it. I also get a few people who are serious about meeting Clancy. I put them off for a week while I let Clancy work his magic on Lee Anne, who succumbs to his slobbery charms soon enough. As for Shazam, well, let's just say he tolerates Clancy and lets him know when he's had enough. (Use your barks, Shazam.) Clancy now has a forever home. Here's another thing I found out recently about Clancy the Cane Corso—Shazam likes to ride in the back, like he's being chauffeured, but Clancy prefers to ride shotgun. Dog is my copilot. ...

Tags: Editor's Note

Letter to the Editor | September 2018

No More Wire Hangers To the Editor: This letter is in response to Richard Murphy's letter in the August issue. Fact: By the age of 45, nearly one in four women will have had at least one abortion. I am one of those women. I became pregnant twice using birth control that failed. I was a married woman both times and had no children. Decades later, I am extremely grateful I was able to go to an excellent clinic with my husband and have a safe, legal abortion after two weeks of pregnancy. My 34-year-old son was planned; my life has been blessed. I am also grateful to Planned Parenthood, not just for the three percent of their necessary work involving abortions, but to the other 97 percent: providing inexpensive health screenings and birth control for both women—and men. This fine organization helped thousands of us through our college years. Had I been born earlier, I would have not had a right to my own life or the ability to control my body. Some members of new generations seem to have no idea what "The Days of Wire Hangers" were like. Richard Murphy will never become pregnant nor lose control of his life due to his biology. He doesn't believe in abortion? Perhaps his wife, his sisters, and his women friends will obey his dictate, if faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Thankfully, they have the freedom to decide. Richard Murphy's beliefs will never impact those of us who believe in choice—but only if we speak out about our abortions and stay vigilant regarding our constitutionally protected right. Choice is no longer guaranteed in the American future. We may return to a shameful era when women died at the hands of back room abortionists. Let us not be complacent. Joanne Michaels, Woodstock Michaels is the author of 10 books and publisher of Back Rooms: Voices from the Illegal Abortion Era by Ellen Messer. ...

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8 News Headlines You May Have Missed From August 2018

Tortilla fires in Texas, Steven Seagal named US envoy by Russia, Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship not all its cracked up to be, Resorts World Catskill casino posts $58 million loss, and other juicy tidbits.

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Luminary Media Condemns SuperPAC Attack Ad

Chronogram is quoted out of context in an attack video advertisement against NY-19 Congressional candidate Antonio Delgado.

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Black Stories Matter: An Evening of Stories from Across Generations @ Pointe of Praise Family Life Center

Black Stories Matter: An Evening of Stories from Across Generations

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