Ben Kieran 
Member since Aug 31, 2016


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Re: “For Louise Slaughter's seat: Joe Morelle

City - the alt-news weekly that is as alternative and newsworthy as a Sinclair TV channel. As predictable and cowardly as an industry shill. Who could have ever guessed that City, that bastion of independent intellectual political thought, would pick the most entrenched, corporate lame-duck in the running. Oh right, anyone paying attention. So many opportunities over the years to endorse the change candidate, and you consistently refuse and stump for the insider. Out one side of your mouth you say we desperately need change to upset the status quo, and out of the other you endorse one of the most establishment, corrupt, conservative, tone-deaf Democrats in the area.
Rachel Barnhart is the obvious endorsement for this seat. She's the clear choice to carry Louise's mantle. She's shown dogged loyalty to the area, she speaks her mind, hunts down the truth, and advocates and endorses policies based on her own research and analysis. Meanwhile Morelle recently told my wife that he wouldn't back a bill that would give Nurse Anesthetists the power to practice their full scope, and cited, word for word, the talking points of the biggest Anesthesiologist's lobbying group. Is that what City wants for this area - someone who can't even think or speak for themself?
Perhaps the sorriest part of this endorsement is that in 2018, in the face of the #MeToo movement, City Newspaper would choose the one candidate that called a woman a liar for calling out her abuser. He never even properly apologized. It seems to me that a paper like City really only survives on having its finger on the pulse - yet this endorsement shows how numb and out of touch this paper is.

22 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Ben Kieran on 06/12/2018 at 7:21 PM

Re: “Barnhart responds to CITY's Assembly endorsement

To Mary Ann Towler's response - your defensiveness is unfounded. Rachel's point was not to question the ethics of you and your husband and the choice to endorse Harry. It was to make clear that you haven't reached out to her to cover the primary, but you have reached out for ad space. To put it another way - you clearly know a race is being run, but haven't bothered to cover it until this endorsement.

And while your defensiveness is unfounded, it is quite telling. I'd love to see your defense of endorsing Bronson when he represents the very problems with state government that you address in your paper every single week. Every week your paper discusses what is broken in Albany, and then when it comes time to endorse a state politician, you effectively say, "Let's not fix what isn't broken." Well is it broken or not?

I'll point it out again - how you endorsed Zephyr Teachout for Governor, but not Rachel Barnhart for State Assembly, is really puzzling. Like Barnhart, Teachout had no government experience, but did have leadership experience - Zephyr with Occupy Wall Street. Like Barnhart, Teachout represented clear change for an obviously broken system. And with both of them, the public was excited and energized for someone who wasn't part of the old guard. Bronson, on the other hand, is the very definition of the old guard - Susan John's Chief of Staff, Morelle's stooge, Cuomo's party line vote, etc. The only difference is that everyone has heard of John, Morelle and Cuomo but very few seem to know who Bronson is.

One does wonder exactly what the standards are over at CITY paper. I don't think it has anything to do with ad space, but I'm not really sure what they are, or even where to begin figuring it out, either.

19 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Ben Kieran on 09/05/2016 at 6:02 PM

Re: “It's Bronson, hands down

"... that many of his constituents don't know him, and that he's not engaged. These are all standard attacks for someone challenging a sitting state legislator. And in this case, they are wrong."

In this endorsement, City gets it wrong. I helped petition to get Rachel on the primary ballot and of the 32 signatures I obtained, across several neighborhoods, only 3 people knew who Bronson was. Only one of those people refused to sign for her. He isn't known to his constituents. To pick one person that he worked for and say that proves he is known and engaged is not convincing.

This is a puff piece for Bronson (I understand that is what endorsements usually are), but it's pretty sad for City Paper. You rarely get endorsements wrong, even when you pick someone who fails to win (Zephyr Teachout comes to mind), but in this case you just don't seem to get it. I read in your paper week after week about how broken Albany is, but then I turn around to read an endorsement for an entrenched pol who achieves little except for voting for what his party tells him to vote for. If Albany is to change, we need a challenger, not someone who takes orders.

And though you brushed it off - we also need someone who respects taxpayer money. Those mailers and his attitude towards travel expenses prove he feels the taxpayer owes him and not the other way around.

You want us to take your word for it that he is working for our area, but provide almost zero evidence. Do you really think your readers are so analytically weak? That is pathetic, City - you just lost some credibility with this longtime reader.

Rachel has proven her effectiveness as a leader via her career in journalism. She worked to get an innocent man out of jail. She did stories on transgender people in our community. She criticized StartUpNy and other failed/failing business initiatives that were sketchy to anyone with a critical eye. Clearly Rachel has shined a spotlight on the area's issues - dwindling population, failing schools, government corruption both local and state, teacher evals, standardized testing, etc. But just as importantly she has celebrated the area's strengths - our history with Douglas and Anthony, our amazing business accomplishments with Kodak, B&L and Xerox, our culture and arts, our fantastic festivals and all that our beautiful downtown has to offer.

This endorsement came as a real surprise and I still can't really make sense of it. "Hands down" is right - as in, put your hands down Rochester - Albany doesn't want to hear from you, put your hand down Bronson - the Dems will tell you what to think, put your hands down readers, we're phoning this endorsement in.

Ben Kieran

31 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by Ben Kieran on 08/31/2016 at 9:37 AM

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