DON’T LET THEM DIVIDE GARDINER!

Despite county legislative boundaries changing every ten years to accommodate population growth as measured by the U.S. Census, Gardiner has always resided within a single County Legislative District (currently Legislative District #16, now represented by Tracey Bartels).  This has enabled residents to take their concerns to a single county legislator who represents all parts of Gardiner.  The Ulster County NY Commission on Reapportionment was appointed to reassign legislative districts based on the population shifts in the 2020 census.

On April 26, that commission released a “final draft map” of county legislative districts for the period 2024-2033.  That map divides Gardiner into two different legislative districts.  It takes those portions of Gardiner that lie both north of Rt. 44/55 and west of the Wallkill River (currently Gardiner Election District #3) and assigns it to New Paltz.  Further, it combines a large portion of Shawangunk’s population (much greater than ever before) with the remaining parts of Gardiner.  If this map is accepted as final, Gardiner will be represented by two different county legislators.

   

This presents a host of problems including changed polling places and two different legislators (perhaps of different parties and governing philosophies) needing to agree on complex issues in order to represent Gardiner in the County Legislature.  This is BAD for GARDINER!  Gardiner’s interests are different from the interests of residents of New Paltz and Shawangunk.

Our only hope of keeping Gardiner undivided, in one county legislative district, is to make our voices heard to the seven-member Reapportionment Commission.  There are two public input meetings where we can do this:

  • 7:00 PM – Monday, May 16th at the Modena Firehouse, 1953 Route 44-55, Modena, NY 12548
  • 7:00 PM – Thursday, May 19th at the Saugerties Senior Center, Cantine Memorial Field, 207 Market Street, Saugerties, NY 12477

PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND ONE OR BOTH OF THESE CRITICAL PUBLIC COMMENT MEETINGS so the commission can hear your voice and KEEP GARDINER WHOLE!

If you can attend, please contact keepgardinerwhole@gmail.com to
join with others in our community and get more information prior to the events.

Redistricting Woes in Gardiner Explained

As you may have heard or read, this week a NY Court of Appeals ruling has struck down district lines for Congressional seats as well as State Senate seats that were redrawn earlier this year by the State legislature.  In addition, the County Legislature’s Commission on Reapportionment released a map of new County Legislative Districts this week with, we think, very negative implications for Gardiner.

Congressional and State Senate Districts Ruled Unconstitutional

New York’s highest court, the NY Court of Appeals, issued its ruling on Wednesday, to the shock and dismay of Democrats all over the state as well as all over the country, as detailed in this NY Times article. It held that the lines drawn by the State Senate and State Assembly earlier this year for State Senate and for U.S. Congress were unconstitutional and failed to comply with a NYS constitutional amendment passed in 2014 to curb partisan gerrymandering.  State Assembly districts were NOT affected by the ruling.

The court’s decision also thew into question (as it did not address) any modification to the state’s election schedule (with a primary scheduled for June 28) necessary to comply with the ruling.  Here is what we know, based on information received by the Gardiner Democratic Committee from Ashley Dittus, our Democratic Elections Commissioner:

  • The current plan is to hold, as planned, the June 28th primary for those contests not affected by the court ruling. This includes statewide offices (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, U.S. Senate, etc.) as well as any Assembly districts with contests, including the race for Assembly District 103 in which incumbent Assemblyperson Kevin Cahill is being challenged by inexperienced newcomer Sarahana Shrestha of the Democratic Socialists of America.  Also as planned, Democrats will be voting members of the County Democratic Committee.
  • The court ruling requires new districts for State Senate and U.S. Congress to be drawn by an independent “Special Master,” who will be Jonathan Cervas, a redistricting expert at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Cervas is well regarded and must produce new maps by May 20.
  • There will be an additional primary held sometime in August (possibly on August 23rd) for the State Senate and U.S. Congress. When the new district lines are known, Gardiner Dems will need to repetition to get our candidates on the new ballot.  So, you can expect another round of door knocking by members of our committee to get your signatures on new petitions.  When that will happen, we do not know.
  • We also do not know whether Gardiner will fall into our current Congressional District 19 (currently represented by incumbent Antonio Delgado, endorsed for reelection by the Ulster County Democratic Committee) or some other congressional district. Neither do we know whether we will continue to be in the previously planned State Senate District 48 (represented by incumbent Michelle Hinchey, endorsed by the Ulster County Dems) or some other Senate District.  That’s up to the Special Master, who has until May 20 to issue his determinations.

None of this is ideal for Democrats.  Getting voters out for two primaries as well as a general (off-presidential year) election in 2022 is a heavy lift that no one had planned for.  It is more work for our committee as well as for voters who want to exercise their civic duty.  It will undoubtedly affect turnout in a negative way.  Moreover, the new districts to be drawn by the Special Master will likely not favor Democratic candidates, making it more difficult for our party to hold the U.S. House of Representatives in the fall election.

More Bad: Gardiner is Split in Two by Draft County Reapportionment Map

To make matters worse for Gardinerites, this week we found out that the County Legislature’s Reapportionment Commission, charged with re-drawing new County Legislature districts in the wake of the 2020 Census, has—in its DRAFT planfor the first time in history split Gardiner into two county legislative districts.

The northern approximately one-third of Gardiner will be lumped into a legislative district (proposed legislative district 17) with most of New Paltz, while the southern two-thirds of Gardiner will be combined with a much larger portion of Shawangunk than was previously included in legislative district 16, currently represented by U.C. Legislature Chairperson, Tracey Bartels.  As such, the new LD 16 is much more red and thus much more likely to flip to the Republicans.

If this final draft map is implemented, it will change election districts within Gardiner and it is very likely that those voters lumped in with New Paltz will have to go to New Paltz to vote.  In addition to the fact that Gardiner issues and interests are not New Paltz issues and interests, we feel changing voting locations for a large part of our town is a great imposition on Gardiner voters.

Before the changes are implemented, however, there are two opportunities for public comment.  They are as follows:

  • Monday, May 16 – 7:00 PM – Public Hearing – Turtle Creek Golf Course, 219 Plattekill, Ardonia Road, Wallkill, NY
  • Thursday, May 19 – 7:00 PM – Public Hearing – Saugerties Senior Center, Cantine Memorial Field, 207 Market St., Saugerties, NY

The Gardiner Democratic Committee is hoping for a strong showing at BOTH comment sessions to testify to the negative impacts on Gardiner of the proposed map and to propose new configurations leaving Gardiner whole.  If you are interested in attending one or both sessions, you are encouraged to attend the meeting of the GDC on Thursday, May 5 at 7:00 pm in the Gardiner town hall and/or contact GDC Chair Tom Kruglinski at chair@gardinerdemocrats.com.  There will also be a Zoom option for this meeting.  If you would like login information, please contact Tom.

Whatever the final outcomes to these challenges, the Gardiner Democratic Committee will keep fighting for Democrats as well as our shared Democratic Values.  Stay Tuned.

GDC Holds First Town Hall Meeting

 

By Paul Kuklinski and Valerie Gross

The rainy day on Sunday April 3rd didn’t stop an overflow crowd from attending the first GDC-sponsored Town Hall meeting of 2022 on featuring Ulster County Executive, Pat Ryan and Ulster County Legislature Chair, Tracy Bartels.

GDC Chair Tom Kruglinski welcomed everyone and reminded those present of the importance this election year, which includes a primary contest on June 28 for our state assembly district (the Gardiner Dems have endorsed Assemblymember Kevin Cahill for reelection).  Before GDC Vice Chair Debra Clinton introduced the speakers, she noted their recent accomplishments in office, especially their excellent handling of the pandemic, and also mentioned with pride that they, as well as our new State Supreme Court justice, David Gardin are all Gardiner residents, with our Sheriff, Juan Figueroa, being from close-by Plattekill.

Pat Ryan and Tracy Bartels both spoke briefly before taking questions from the floor for the next two hours, addressings constituents’ concerns on issues ranging from access to healthcare, especially mental health care, election security, affordable housing, traffic safety, school infrastructure, budget allocations, and how the county can address the high cost of gas.

After the conclusion of the Town Hall meeting several attendees remained to engage the speakers in the ordinary neighborly banter one can expect in a congenial setting such as this was.

After the meeting, about a dozen people stayed to learn more about the Gardiner Dems’ Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) initiative. If you are interested in getting to know your Democratic neighbors, and engaging their concerns, please contact the GDC for more information, as there are volunteer spots left.

The next Town Hall Meeting will be held on Sunday, June 12 at 2:00 pm.  It will feature GDC endorsed candidates for Assembly (Kevin Cahill), State Senate (Michelle Hinchey), and Sheriff (Juan Figueroa).  Those interested in attending (at the Gardiner Town Hall) must RSVP to chair@gardinerdemocrats.com with the names of the individuals attending.

You can find the Mid Hudson News article on the event here.

Paul Kuklinski is an Associate Member of the GDC
Valerie Gross is a Friend of the GDC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes to Absentee Ballot Procedures

Big Changes to Absentee Ballot Processes to Begin with June 28 Primary
This year the NY State Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a sweeping package of election law changes designed to make it easier to vote.  One set of provisions affects absentee ballot procedures, so if you regularly vote by absentee ballot or if you anticipate doing so this year, please read on.
A Key Change for Absentee Voters
The new law requires that absentee ballots be counted prior to Election night, rather than afterward as has been the case.  It used to be the case that someone who requested and received an absentee ballot could show up to the polls on Election Day (or at early voting) and cast a regular ballot which would then negate their absentee ballot (whether or not it had actually been returned to the Board of Elections).  That is no longer the case.
In the future, beginning with the June 28 primary, anyone who is issued an absentee ballot will not be able to cast a regular ballot on Election Day or at Early Voting.  They may, at their discretion, cast only an affidavit ballot at the polls.  If the completed absentee ballot was received by the BOE, then the affidavit ballot would not be counted.
You Will Be Able to Track Your Absentee Ballot
Also, voters who request absentee ballots will be able to track their request and whether their ballot was issued, received, or counted via a special website run by the BOE.  This website will be live on April 1,.  Stay tuned to either this website or the County BOE site for more information on the absentee ballot tracking site.
Below is a chart, prepared by the BOE, to summarize these key changes in the law.

For all voters who have previously applied for an absentee ballot, including absentee voters who have selected the Permanent absentee ballot option, ballots will be issued on May 13. After May 13 applications will be approved and processed within 48 hours of being received by the Board.

 

To stay up to date on information regarding absentee balloting, or to request an absentee ballot, visit the Ulster County BOE website.  The BOE will also be conducting a public relations campaign to communicate changes to voters.

Gardiner Dems Update–March 2022

Dear Fellow Gardiner Dems and Friends:
 
You have not had an update from us since shortly after the last election. We have actually been quite busy since the first of the year and this email is intended to bring you up to date.
 
Democracy Under Siege
If you follow politics and public affairs at all, you know that since the Trump administration, our (small-d) democracy has been under assault, most significantly by the January 6, 2021 insurrection and by a raft of new laws, predominantly in red states, seeking to disenfranchise voters and swing elections toward Republican candidates by actions by state and local election officials and legislatures.  In Congress, efforts to reverse these measures have not been successful, predominantly because of the slim majorities Dems hold.
 
Accordingly, we MUST defend our incumbent Democratic office holders from a Republican onslaught and increase our majorities in both the House and Senate at the national level, as well as shore up our Democratic majorities in both houses of the the New York State Legislature.
 
The 2022 Election
This year our excellent Congressman Antonio Delgado is up for re-election, as well as our Senator (and Senate Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer.  In addition, the first woman Governor of the State of New York, Kathy Hochul, is up for election.  We must keep New York solidly blue by re-electing these extraordinary leaders in November.
 
In the State Senate and Assembly, districts have been redrawn in accordance with the 2020 census and all of Ulster County will be Senate District 48, represented (should she be re-elected) by Michelle Hinchey, a young and dynamic legislator who has a strong record of accomplishment in Albany.
 
While there were changes to State Assembly District 103, it still includes Gardiner.  That district is represented by incumbent Kevin Cahill.  Kevin has a strong 20-year record of legislative accomplishment and is one of the most influential members of the State Assembly.  He is being challenged in the June 28 primary by a candidate of the Democratic Socialists of America who hasno public service experience.  The Gardiner Dems have endorsed Kevin Cahill for re-election.
 
For a complete run-down of all the election district changes, please visit www.ulstervotes.com.
 
What the Gardiner Dems Are Doing
In January, the Gardiner Democratic Committee held a strategic planning session to get ready for an election year that will hold extraordinary importance for our democracy.  We identified three action areas that are of prime importance to us here in Gardiner:
  1. Voter Outreach.  The Gardiner Dems have decided to take part in an Ulster County Democratic Committee effort called Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N).  N2N is a program of “relational canvassing” designed with three goals in mind: to build community, to engage voters, and to increase turnout.  To learn more about N2N and understand how you can be a part of it, visit our website at this link:
    http://gardinerdemocrats.com/neighbor-to-neighbor-initiative/
  2. Constituent Communication.  The Gardiner Dems will build a concrete communications infrastructure to communicate effectively with all of our voters.  We are doing this primarily by developing a new and strong database of our voters to communicate to them not just messages like this, but also timely updates from our Democratic Elected officials at all levels of government.  Stay tuned for more.  In addition, we are hosting a Spring Town Hall Series, the first of which will be on April 3 in the Gardiner Town Hall, featuring County Executive Patrick Ryan and Gardiner County Legislator and Chair of the Ulster County Legislature, Tracey Bartels.  Future town halls will be held on May 22nd and June 12th and are in the planning stages.  Stay tuned for details.
  3. Fundraising.  Winning elections cost money: signs, advertisements, printed material (palm cards and other literature, newspaper inserts), lawn signs, political events, and direct monetary contributions to our endorsed candidates. The Gardiner Dems have set an ambitious goal of raising locally $8,000 by October 2 and spending all of it on electing Democrats.  Our only fixed costs are our website, the email service that got this message to you today, and a post office box.  We don’t pay for space or employees or anything else.  We are powered by 100% volunteer labor and are always interested in attracting more volunteers to make our work lighter and more effective.

    We will hold at least two fundraising events this year, which are in the planning stages.  Please stay tuned.  Also, please consider making a generous and secure donation at our website.  Every dollar is well-spent on electing Democrats and is greatly appreciated.

THANK YOU for reading this long message and for your ongoing support.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
 
Tom Kruglinski, Chair
Gardiner Democratic Committee
 

Gardiner Dems to Host FUNdraiser to Honor David Dukler

Retiring Gardiner Town Board member, David Dukler

The Gardiner Democratic Committee will host a fundraiser in Majestic Park on Sunday, September 26, from 1:00 to 4:00 in the Pavilion.  The guest of honor will be David Dukler, who is retiring after serving two distinguished terms on the Town Board.  Dave is known all-around as a team player who worked best forging consensus as well as championing issues such as his work on the Transfer Station, the kennel law, and achievements in parks and rec.  As an avid biker, he is also a champion of maintaining and improving the rail trail.

The event is billed as a FUNdraiser focused on family.  There will be yard games for kids (those -12 and under are free), good food and drink, and fellowship with other Democrats.  The signature event will be a live auction with a wide variety of items donated by local and area businesses and individuals.  The highest value items include a session with award-winning photographer, Michael Gold, valued at $400, and a skydive donated by The Ranch in Gardiner, valued at $300.  The marquis item on the auction block will be one week (seven nights) at the Marriott Orlando Cypress Harbor resort, June 4 – 11, 2022. It has two bedrooms two bathrooms and accommodates up to eight people. The value is $1750.  The winning bidder can trade it for any other available week (any time prior to that week) in the Marriott timeshare system, including Kauai, Oahu, Virgin Islands, Mallorca, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Scottsdale, and many others. Transportation is not included.  These highest valued items will be available for advance bid.  For more information, contact Tom Kruglinski at chair@gardinerdemocrats.com.

Also set up near the FUNdraiser and available to anyone in the park will be the Democracy Tent, an project of the Ulster County Democratic Committee.  It is a tent with a variety of information on progressive causes as well as voter registration and absentee ballot requests.  It will have kids’ activities such as “kid voting” and campaign button making.

A number of elected officials will be in attendance, including County Executive (and Gardiner resident), Patrick Ryan, Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, County Comptroller March Gallagher, our County Legislator (and Gardiner resident), Tracey Bartels, Candidate for Supreme Court (and Gardiner resident), David Gandin, Candidate for Ulster County Family Court, Sarah Rakov and Marisa McClinton, candidate for County Legislator representing Plattekill.  The event will also include all local (Gardiner) town candidates, including Supervisor Marybeth Majestic, Town Board member Warren Wiegand, Town Board candidate Carol Richman, Town Justice Bob Rich, Town Clerk Michelle Mosher, and Highway Superintendent Brian Stiscia.

Advance registration is necessary.  Admission is $25 for adults (18 and up), $5 for teens (13-17), and kids are free.  For more information and for registration, please go to: gardinerdemocrats.com/fundraiser .  Attendees can pay securely online via PayPal with their credit cards or PayPal account.

The event flyer is here.

June 22nd Primary: Vote for Richman and Wiegand for Town Board

We are doing a primary this year on June 22nd instead of our usual caucus to choose town candidates.  For more information on what that’s about, click here.  David Dukler is retiring from the town Board after two  productive terms (Thanks David!).

All voting will be at the Town Hall (no voting at the firehouse this election) from 6 am until 9 pm. Please plan on coming out to vote for the Gardiner Democratic Committee’s two endorsed Town Board  candidates,  Warren Wiegand and Carol Richman. 

Carol Richman is running for election to the Gardiner Town Board.  Carol is a local attorney who has made Gardiner her home for almost two decades. Like many of us, Carol was initially attracted by Gardiner’s exquisite landscape with its unique biodiversity.  She is committed to protecting this legacy and preserving Gardiner’s rural character and environment for future generations. To this end, Carol has served on Gardiner’s Environmental Conservation Commission from 2008 to 2014, including holding the position of Chair for a two-year term. Since then she has been a member of the Gardiner Planning Board, which applies the town’s zoning law.

Carol was an artist and designer before her law career. As a lawyer, Carol has practiced in variety of public-interest law fields. She will bring to the Town Board her legal expertise to help protect high-priority land, vitalize Gardiner’s business center and family farms, increase green infrastructure, and promote smart development and inclusive and affordable  housing.

Carol’s email is cprichman@gmail.com

Warren Wiegand is running for re-election to the Gardiner Town Board.  Warren needs no introduction  in Gardiner, having spent the last eighteen years working to make Gardiner a good place to live and to raise a family.  His contributions include:  being a leader in building the Gardiner Library, saving farms and open space from development and providing smart financial management for the town.  Warren served on the Town board for twelve years, including eight years as the Deputy Supervisor.  Also, he served on the board of assessment review, chair of the library’s fundraising committee, chair of the Open Space Commission, and as a member of the Gardiner Planning Board.

Warren’s public service career was preceded by a successful career as a businessman and marketing executive.  His top priorities for his next term include protecting Gardiner’s rural character while allowing sustainable development, maintaining the town’s financial strength while controlling taxes. Warren also prioritizes promoting diversity and inclusion in Gardiner as well as helping less affluent community members continue to live in Gardiner as housing values rise..

Warren’s email is wiegandwarren@gmail.com

June 22 Primary Election 2021: What’s Happening this Year in Gardiner?

As you probably know, in years when there is no congressional election (odd-numbered years) there are elections for local offices.  In 2021, Gardiner voters will elect officials to the following offices on November 3 (Note: we do not know, at this point, whether our Democratic nominees will face opposition by Republicans or Conservatives):


This Year for Gardiner Democrats, It’s a Primary, Not a Caucus

Traditionally, for the town-level positions, the Gardiner Democratic Committee has held a caucus in late spring, with candidates for all town offices being nominated, giving speeches, and voting by all registered Gardiner Democrats in attendance.  That’s a tradition we like, because it is visible participatory democracy in action.  HOWEVER, this year, because of COVID, in January we decided to nominate local candidates via petitioning, with any (Democratic) contested offices decided in a June 22nd Primary Election. This year, the Gardiner Democratic Committee endorsed a slate of candidates in February and carried nominating petitions for those candidates in March, all of whom gained access to the November ballot for the Democratic Party.

Our endorsed candidates were generally unopposed, except in one instance, Town Board Member, where our two endorsed candidates, Carol Richman and Warren Wiegand were contested by a third candidate (for two seats), Todd Baker.

The only decision Gardiner Democrats will make at the June 22nd Primary Election is which two of the three candidates for Town Board will gain access to the Democratic ballot line in November.

We encourage you to support Carol and Warren in the June 22nd Democratic Primary.  We will soon send out more information on their backgrounds and qualification in another message.  Please stay tuned for that.

ONE MORE THING: Location, Location, Location

Voting in the June 22nd Primary Election will be at the Town Hall only.  If you are a registered Democrat in Gardiner who usually votes at the Firehouse, this year you will vote at the Town Hall.

Questions about any of this can be referred to Tom Kruglinski (914) 475-3601 or tom.kruglinski@gmail.com.

Call for 2021 Candidates

 

Candidates Sought for Gardiner Offices

Gardiner, NY— 1/3/2021 — The Gardiner Democratic Committee (GDC) is looking for Gardiner residents interested in running for town offices this coming November and being endorsed by the GDC.  The positions on the ballot include County Legislator (UC District 16), Town Supervisor, Town Board Member (two positions), Town Clerk, Highways and Roads Superintendent, and Town Court Justice.

Residents interested should send an email to chair@gardinerdemocrats.com expressing interest and, briefly, their reasons for possibly seeking office.  A resume is also requested if available.  Questions can be sent to the same address, but be sure to include a phone number for a return call.  Those interested will need to complete a questionnaire that will be sent to them shortly after their initial email.