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Weekend in review

Jun 01, 2015 6:00 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., May 29 through Sun., May 31

Arthur Cusano reported in the Register Star the Columbia County Democratic Committee has chosen Ken Golden to run against incumbent district attorney Paul Czajka (ch-EYE-kah) in the November election. The 65-year-old former assistant DA was chosen at a meeting held in Ghent, Thu., May 28, over Gene Keeler, a former district attorney who ran against Czajka in 2011. Keeler said previously he would run as an independent if not endorsed by the Democrats. Golden practices law out of his Valatie home. He spent the past two years as a private pro bono attorney for a Veteran’s Administration program with the American Bar Association. Golden served as an assistant district attorney under Czajka's predecessor, Beth Cozzolino, from 1997 to 2003. Golden said if elected, he hopes to improve outreach to the community and to engender an environment of greater cooperation between the DA’s office, local law enforcement and the courts. In related news, Sam Pratt reported on his blog longtime chair of the Columbia County Democrats, Cyndy Hall, has temporarily stepped down from that position. Kinderhook committee member, and former town board member, Peter Bujanow (BOO-jah-noh), will assume Hall's duties in her absence.

Casey Seiler reported at Capitol Confidential Cardinal Timothy Dolan will join a delegation of the state’s Catholic bishops at the Executive Mansion, Mon., Jun. 1, for meetings with members of the Senate and Assembly. The luncheon discussions were organized by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office as a final push for the retooled Education Investment Tax Credit. The EITC would provide tax credits for individual and business donations to public schools and non-profits that support public educational programs, including charter schools, and to non-profit organizations that award scholarships to students enrolled in pre-K through 12th grade. While the Republican-led state Senate supports the credit, the Democrat-dominated Assembly remains opposed. Advocates for traditional public schools, including teachers unions, and progressive groups, have slammed the credit as an improper use of public funds. When the credit failed to gain enough support in the Assembly during budget negotiations, the governor rebranded the measure as the Parental Choice in Education Act. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said last week the retooled package has still failed to win sufficient support from his conference. Program note: Cecilia Tkazcyk will hold an in-depth exploration of the campaign around the EITC during "The Albany Report" at 10 a.m., Mon., Jun. 1, with guest Jasmine Gripper of the Alliance for Quality Education.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="90"] Robert K. Libby
(Courtesy rcscsd.org)[/caption]

Brian Rowzee reported in The Daily Mail the Ravena-Coeymans [KWEE-mans]-Selkirk Central School District Board of Education has appointed Robert K. Libby to the district's top spot. He will serve as interim superintendent through the end of the summer. Libby replaces Dr. Alan McCartney, who died in May from a heart attack. Libby comes to the job with years of administrative experience and came out of retirement to lead the district. In April he retired as superintendent of the Cohoes city schools, which he led for seven years. At a meeting last week, board president James Latter acknowledged McCartney and his contributions to the district. He attributed the positive changes in the schools during the past year to McCartney's leadership.

Will Brunelle reported at Capital New York Republican state Senator James Seward has proposed a bill to amend the SAFE Act gun control law. Under Seward's proposal, family members could pass guns and high-capacity magazines down to immediate relatives. In addition, pistol permit applications and supporting records would not be subject to Freedom of Information Law requests. However, some statistical data would still be made publicly available. At the time of its passage, the SAFE Act was touted by Democrats as a sweeping package of changes to make identities of gun owners more transparent, and to prevent the mentally ill from accessing guns. Republicans decried the measure as unconstitutional and fought against it on the grounds it infringed on their Second Amendment rights.
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