Friday, May 6, 2011

5-6-11: DA race, only one issue, public corruption

Judge Czajka to run for DA. Thanks for pointing out how big a story this is Victor.

However, the way I see it, Columbia County is not over run with street crime. The more pervasive and pernicious crime is happening in town halls. Yet the current DA has yet to charge a Republican with an crime in three terms as DA. Would Judge Czajka take public integrity and official misconduct seriously? Would he prosecute fellow Republicans if the evidence so warranted? Would he study the audits publicly available on the comptroller's website to consider whether such charges may be warranted? Would he insist on an active and functioning ethics board and take the recommendations of that board seriously?

Nothing about these issues in his public statement. No crime among public officials? None? Yet these audits are as bad as they are?

I am not saying there is anything criminal in these specific cases. Or in this case. Or in this case. Or in this case. Or in this case.

I'm not saying that the fact that this letter was ignored and that I got no response means that the Columbia County Board of Supervisors is tolerant of abuse of power, a situation that would allow corruption to fest. Or that these cases mean that the Ethics Board has not be operating according to state law:

In Columbia County, the Ethics Board did not respond to ethics charges against Deputy County Attorney Robert Fitzsimmons submitted in 2010 regarding election manipulation and conflict of interest. In 2011, Art Baer, Hillsdale Supervisor, wrote an opinion piece in a local newspaper about real estate irregularities that resulted in an Ethics Board process without Mr. Baer actually filing an official complaint about matter but no hearing ever occurred.

No, I can't say whether there is a pervasive tolerance of corruption and routine criminality in governments around the county. But then again, I don't have the power of subpoena.

At the very least, I would have thought Mr. Czajka might mention the issue of government ethics in his statement announcing his candidacy.

The State of New York has no system to control public integrity at the local level. The DA can make a big difference. The DA has to care about this because the state legislature has not cared for 20 years.

No idea if Mr. Czajka realizes how bad this problem is or care. By "this problem" I mean government corruption in Columbia County.

If he did mention this issues, public corruption, I would be happy he is running and his candidacy might not be just about the personnel and who gets to hold the job. In his statement to date, I see no issues, no politics, that make me care.

This is THE issue of the next DA race. THE ONE AND ONLY ISSUE that matters: public corruption. Will it continue to be tolerated or not?

Thanks again Victor for the story idea.

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