fighting the darkness

It's been a draining week for us here in the Mohawk Valley. Last Monday, a local jewelry store was robbed.

Now, around here, the robberies are occassional banks but usually mini-marts where the robbers grab a handful of candy bars on the way out.

But Monday, 3 or 4 armed gunman handcuffed the store employees and got away with 1 million dollars worth of jewelry, including unmounted diamonds (according to the Observer-Dispatch). From the robbery came a car chase, a foot chase, police helocopters, canine patrols, and residents being warned to stay in their houses. We're just not used to that around here.

And that made the death of Officer Joseph Corr that much harder to bear.

Friday, we held a funeral the likes of which has never been seen here. Due to a prior committment, I was unable to attend, though I watched as much as I could on television. Hundreds of police officers from across the North East, including Canadian Mounties marched. Fire departments were also represented by the hundreds. They closed school for the day in New Hartford and set up remote sites for people to watch the funeral on closed circuit TV in the schools. The funeral home and church were about half a mile from each other, yet it took over half an hour for the funeral procession to finish. I was out of town by the time the church service ended, but can't imagine the procession to the cemetary.

Joe Corr is 30 and he leaves behind a wife and 1 year old daughter. He comes from a family of police officers and public service was a virtue in the family. He also served in the volunteer fire department and his wife is a nurse.

Sometimes, it feels like there's a very thin line that keeps Evil away. People like Joe Corr keep that line intact for us, so we can stay in our homes, locked and secure, but while he and his brothers remain outside with what we hide from.

No words of thanks can ever repay what law enforcers give all of us, no word of sorry can ever ease the pain of of Officer Corr's passing, but may his memories comfort those who miss him and may his and the brothers' efforts continue through all those they touch.


Les Roberts wrote a letter to me and all I got was annoyed.

It is annoying enough when it’s the Republicans that treat me like an idiot, but now a “fellow Democrat” is doing it too. What’s that saying about “friends like these”?

Saturday, I received a letter from Congressional candidate Les Roberts who’s running in the NY 24th. I’m a member of the Oneida County Democratic Committee. Now, it’s no secret that I’m supporting Michael Arcuri. But I do think that political discussions are important and there is value in different people coming forth with ideas and opinions. But this is a challenging election in a pretty red part of the state with a 12th term incumbent. Experience, integrity and leadership, I feel, is what will make the difference this year.

Les Roberts, even should he become the endorsed Democratic candidate, will not get my support because of the letter I received from him. At best, he does not understand the political process. And if a person can’t take the time to learn the process he is stepping into, I doubt he would be able to learn quickly enough to be an effective Representative for the one term he’d be elected for. If he doesn’t take the time, he’s not ready.

Roberts starts his letter by informing me of a “straw poll” being held by the Oneida County Democratic Committee on Tuesday, March 2nd. I work at a college and write a monthly column in a newspaper and I know how important proof reading is. And I also know that some things do slip through, so the error of the day-date I can live with.

But for a candidate screening by the Executive Committee before they make their recommendation to the general Committee as required by our bylaws to be tagged a “straw poll” trivializes the task the Committee has of endorsing the best candidate and ignores the importance of his involvement. Besides which… I don’t serve on the County Executive Committee, so I have no vote to cast in any direction. At least I understand the process the Committee must follow. Roberts’ statement could be taken by someone unfamiliar with our bylaws to imply exclusion and hijacking as most of the people who received the letter would not have known about or been able to attend the screening.

Then there’s this sentence in the letter:
“I am fortunate enough to have a supporter who is a political fundraiser in Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s
(Chair of the DCCC) Congressional District and is hosting a fundraiser for me this weekend”

For no valid reason, I’ll share with you that I am fortunate enough to have a friend I’ve known her entire life who is an artist in Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s (Chair DCCC) Congressional District and who has sent me artwork and poetry for over 20 years. I don’t know if she knows Emanuel, but I don’t him, have never met him and he hasn’t endorsed me or my friend for anything (at least not that I know of).

Sorry, Les. Both working brain cells read your sentence and unfortunately for you, I understood it for what it was.

He also invited me to look at the events listed on his website. But looking beyond just that link also showed more worrisome problems. A stated strength of his candidacy is his research and scientific background. The one concern the website raises that I’ll point to now is the lying by omission in referring to a web poll conducted by WKRT out of Cortland. Granted, the blog entry is written by Josh Lozeman, but it’s on the Official Campaign site. He writes:
“It is – of course – always wonderful for any campaign to see a poll showing them in the lead. It is even

Then he invites readers to look at the radio station’s site with the actual poll. I clicked on the link and found yes, Roberts is just 4 points behind Sherwood Boehlert. But neither is in the lead.

Yes, it is wonderful to see the candidate I’m supporting in the lead. The breakdown, as of February 27, 2006, 9:30PM is:
Sherwood Boehlert – 25%
Brad Jones - 12%
Les Roberts - 21%
Bruce Tytler - 5%
Mike Arcuri - 37%

I’ve been an active County Committeemember for 14 years, so I’m hoping that these serious errors in the Roberts letter are due to inexperience and ignorance. I’ve worked on a previous Congressional race and know that those two aspects alone can implode a campaign before the Republicans do anything.

Too much is at stake this year to start that much in the deficit.