Money honey

In politics it’s said that victory has many fathers, more so in a razor-close election, while defeat is an orphan.

The state board of elections still doesn’t have final figures on state senate races, but unofficial senator-elect Republican Mike Martucci figures he defeated incumbent Democrat Jen Metzger by something like 500 votes (out of more than 130,000 cast) in the 42nd Ulster-Orange senatorial district. Metzger agrees, apparently, having conceded to Martucci three weeks after the election.

Martucci, for his part, believes it was Metzger’s views on bail reform that put him over the top. “That’s all I heard during the election,” he said on the Mario and Me GHQ radio show a few weeks ago. But it might also have been her position on fossil fuels. “When you win by 500 (out of almost 80,000 votes cast), it could be anything,” the winner said.

To her credit, Metzger, a former Rosendale councilwoman, hasn’t sulked off in a corner or demanded a recount. Rather, she’s kept up with her senatorial duties even now with only weeks to go in her term.

Last week, Metzger, who hails from the left wing of her party, seized an opportunity for a parting shot by piggy-backing on state comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s announcement that the state pension fund would no longer invest in fossil fuel companies.

DiNapoli, a Democrat, is the sole trustee of the state’s $226 billion (general) retirement fund. Teachers are in a separate fund. DiNapoli’s anti-fossil commitment drew praise from people like Metzger, concern from others who noted that oil stocks traditionally pay handsome dividends and that the comptroller should be mostly about producing return on investments rather than partisan politics. As political disputes go these days, this one was fairly civil.

Gilding the lilly, perhaps, Metzger reminded readers (and her soon-to-be former colleagues) in a press release that she had sponsored this year’s “Fossil Fuel Disinvestment Act (S2126)” and urged its passage in the legislature’s next session.

Fact is, neither the legislature nor the governor control pension investment policy, Napoli does, and he’s the only one. But maybe Metzger was in fact firing a shot across the comptroller’s bow, reminding the sole trustee that while powerless to make investment decisions, the legislature remains tuned into what decisions are made.

Something else may be at work here as the legislature confronts what the governor says could be budget deficits north of $10 billion in the coming fiscal year which begins April 1. Might they be angling for a cash infusion – to be paid back with interest – from a pension fund coming off one of its best years, ever?

Stay tuned.

Ready, aim – I said when the story broke last July that Kingston aldermen have set themselves up as a circular firing squad in attempting to bring the state attorney general into charges by them of fiscal misfeasance by the mayor and his wife.

Space nor normal attention spans do not permit a rehash of unspecified allegations that Mayor Steve Noble was paying his wife Julie, the city’s environmental director, money she didn’t deserve. Both claim in recent published reports that their reputations have been irretrievably damaged. I think they protest too much, but the mayor should not be stunned if primaried next year.

This is the kind of small-town back and forth – one with no apparent proof of any wrong-doing – should have been left on the cutting room floor. About the only interesting thing is that all parties are Democrats. So much for party solidarity.

In any case, Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat and very ambitious, has much bigger fish to fry. Like locking up ex-president Donald Trump on any charge that will stick.

With Trish (as she’s called) designating the salons’ petition to the circular file, the aldermanic firing squad may have shot itself in the feet. With the exception of co-conspirator alderwoman-at-large Andrea Shaut, the rest of the suspicious quartet is up for reelection next year. They’d better hope voters forget this fiasco.

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