Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sweeney abuses his GOP 'friends'

Old Sweeney treating his friends so nicely. From the 2 December Register Star:
Sweeney decision labeled as 'punitive' Supporters still laud congressman for job well done By John Mason, Hudson Valley Newspapers, Register-Star, Friday, December 2, 2005 COLUMBIA COUNTY -- Supporters of U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, defended the congressman Wednesday against accusations that he was exacting retribution in removing county Republican Vice-Chairman Kenneth Wilber from his military academy selec tion committee. County Republicans chose Supervisor Angelo Valentino of Copake to replace Tod Grenci as their chairman Sept. 28, over Sweeney's candidate, Paul Kisselbrack. Grenci told the Register-Star Monday that Sweeney was being "punitive" when he informed Wilber a few days later that his services on the committee were no longer required, since Wilber had supported Valentino. Sweeney chose Canaan Supervisor Gary Flaherty to replace Wilber. Columbia County Conservative Party Chairman Matthew Torrey said Grenci's argument didn't make sense, since Flaherty had also voted for Valentino. "You can cover it all you want, but why would they make this move prior to the expiration of his term at the end of the year?" Grenci said. "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." "It's unfortunate these gentlemen haven't gotten over the election for chairman and continue to take cheap shots at John Sweeney," Kisselbrack said Wednesday. "[Sweeney] has done a tremendous amount of work and continues to do a lot for Columbia County. I wish they would get over it." Flaherty said he enjoys the volunteer position. "The thing is a natural for me," Flaherty said. Retired from 23 years in the military, he has been serving on the committee of veterans and retirees that advises Sweeney on legislation, and also, with Wilber and several other people, started the Honor-A-Vet Committee that conducts ceremonies after local veterans die. Flaherty, appointed to the 14-member military academy selection committee in October, said, "When they approached me, my thought was I was filling a vacancy." Flaherty said he and Wilber have been friends for years, and Wilber is his district commander in the VFW. He said he contacted Wilber when he was appointed, and Wilber told him Columbia County needed representation. He's already been conducting interviews in Valatie, Saratoga Springs and Dutchess County. "These kids are absolutely outstanding," he said. "Everyone has been superb. I feel so honored to be part of it. I don't want it to be a political thing where these kids get caught in the middle." Hudson Republican Chairman Daniel J. Grandinetti cast his vote for Kisselbrack, but called Valentino "a man of great integrity. You can't help but be optimistic about the Republican Party's future." "Congressman Sweeney has always been there for Columbia County," Grandinetti said. "Most recently, he delivered a $100,000 grant for the Hudson Police Department and assisted greatly in the city's receiving $400,000 in Small Cities money. "Over the years, he's brought millions of dollars into this county," he said, "and quite frankly, he deserves a heck of a lot better than to be second-guessed by a man of Tod Grenci's caliber. "Although the Columbia County Board of Supervisors managed to accomplish great things over the last several years, we did that despite him," he said. "Politically, Tod Grenci presided over a period of stagnation in the Republican Party where new ideas and innovation [were] deliberately forestalled and targeted for retribution." Kisselbrack said the "old guard" is resistant to allow "energetic and ambitious younger Republicans to be active and participate, myself included. The majority of the old guard doesn't want to embrace change at all. They're very comfortable where they are." Grenci said the only new idea Grandinetti presented to him was that he wanted to be vice-chairman. "Danny doesn't have much substance behind what he's saying," Grenci said. "He's blowing hot air into the wind. There are no new ideas or innovations." Grenci accused Sweeney and his friends of trying to divide the party with "distortions and mistruths. The problem is, if they don't feel you're going to be a puppet for them, they don't like it." As for Kisselbrack, Grenci said his "old guard/new guard" philosophy didn't heal the party's rift in Hillsdale. "If Kisselbrack and that group had such great mediation powers, why couldn't they heal that?" he asked. "It takes work and cooperation. It doesn't fare well to go in heavy-handed. Typically, it's their way or no way."
Now, that's a great way to make friends.

Tags: John Sweeney ( )


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