At the August 14, 2012 Legislative meeting, a few legislators chose to explain their vote on a local law amending the Ulster County Charter, but Legislator Aiello’s speech took the biscuit:
“I would like to commend anybody that volunteers and spends the amount of time that was spend on this Charter revision. Unfortunately, in my particular case and… and… look, I’m not crying over… trust me.
I think everybody in this room knows me well enough that I’d run in China if I had to, I really don’t care, that’s the way I am. But when you take five houses in a different voting district, and you take those five houses and you put them in another voting district, and you cross voting districts, and you make me part of a housing development that I’m really not part of, and people who wanted to really vote for me couldn’t vote for me because the part that I have was on the wrong part of the street, and I got four different plans from Chairman Wadnola at the time. He said I think you’re losing your mind Bob… I mean I’m trying to think who was… was it Vicky who sent me a map that was probably ten by fifteen? Am I right? OK… And it clearly said Bob Aiello was in District 15, I believe that Joe Roberti, no, not Joe, that Dean was in District 16, and our third candidate Mr. Frey was in… in… another district.
So, I didn’t come to the meetings to question my… my district because there were three candidates with three separate districts… Fair enough? Right? If it were under the old rule, Joe Roberti lived down the street from me… Primary – that’s fine…
In my particular case there was a move to dismantle me from this body, it’s not the first time, it’s not going to be the last… and, you know, I’ve been through a lot of things in my life… You know… I challenged the United States Government in Federal Court in a military case and won my case… by myself… 22 years old… married one year.
I tried to address the Commission, by that time 2 minutes was up and I got one of these (cutthroat gesture)… time’s up. I didn’t have enough time to explain my position so I ended up with 3 elections, OK? and no money, and no help, OK?
The night of the Convention it was an attempt at switching boats to get me off the ballot. I had members in my own community take me to the Supreme Court, trying to get my petitions taken off the ballot – they all failed.
When I was sick and dying in the hospital… they said, well… we’re going to get him this time… he’s gonna die… and I was criticized and I hold the record for the highest amount of absences in this Legislature because I had cancer.
And I had emails at home yet, nasty emails being home seven days, eight days from MRSA and sepsis and peritonitis, and I lost 55 pounds and I weighed 118 pounds when I came out of that pig pen that they call a hospital in Albany… with lawyers and doctors and had their own selfish interest and their own case in mind, and not me… and not about what was right..
If I had cancer in Kingston I should have had cancer in Albany, but the two pathology reports didn’t say that… and this may not have anything to do, and I know, with redistricting – but it goes to show you that I’m not a dummy… you don’t have cancer one day and you go to Albany to remove it and it’s nothing in there… So I went through all this for nothing. I’m lucky to be alive… I’m thankful to be alive… but I’m a fighter.
And I don’t care who knows it, I went thru hell in this last election. I couldn’t walk, I wasn’t… I paid somebody $500 to walk – and I don’t have $500 to spare – but I did that, OK? Because they added five houses from Bishop’s Gate to the 500 where I live, OK?… and gave me the village… which I willingly took and I will willingly take everything… and I appealed to this Commission at the last minute and got, as I said, that… (cutthroat gesture).
So, do I think it was fair, in my case? No. Am I complaining? No. Put five people on that ballot, I don’t care if you put fifteen people on that ballot, but don’t say you did it fairly, don’t tell me somebody from where Rich Gerentine lives, can come up to Saugerties and say oh, Jeez, that kind of looks like it belongs over there, and I lived here for 64 years… What the hell does he know about Saugerties when he is from Marlboro?
So, by that time, if it wasn’t for Ms. Doxsey’s letter… article, because I wasn’t following it – because remember, we had three separate districts with three separate candidates – until Ms. Doxsey wrote the article “Something suspicious going on in Saugerties.” It caught my eye and I saw my name in the paper. And unfortunately it involved my friend Dean Fabiano, who sits next to me, and it’s got nothing to do with Dean Fabiano, and what it said was that would cause a Primary between Dean and myself. Well, Dean didn’t live there either.
We had three separate districts so somebody decided to change it to force me into a primary; so I won the Primary election, Mr. Frey decided to stay on until Christmas Eve, he’s known the election was over before Thanksgiving. Come General Election time, I was running against Mr. Frey, I was running against – I don’t even remember my opponent’s name, who funded herself with over $10,000 for a Legislative race – and I won.
So, am I happy with my district as it… and the process in evaluating my district? No. Does it matter at this point? Did it matter in November? No.
I don’t feel, and Jeanette was here that night, and Jeanette told me, because I said to her you have a Primary and I believe Mr. Donaldson may have one too at that time and Jeanette, her district has changed, and I said to Jeanette I’m going to let… just make an appeal and I called Ms. Thompson at home because she’s the one who made the quote that Pat Doxsey wrote in the paper about “Something fishy going on in Saugerties.”
So, I’ll leave it at that… and leave you with how I feel about the Charter and being in this new Commission it’s like… it’s like a chimpanzee living in a one room cage waiting for my next banana.
That’s all this is like now! You know… And I’m still not used to this system of government, I’m really not used to it yet… you know, where I can’t ask a department head a question… The levels of people you go through in order to… one simple question…”
At this point Minority Leader Donaldson reached for help: Madam Chair!…
Legislator Aiello turned to David Donaldson:
“OK, OK, I know… I know I’m off… I’m gonna leave Dave… You know… My wife is going to email you some nice pictures from Ireland, because she had the pleasure of going and just came home last week. And you have a beautiful country… So, thank you very much!”
To hear Legislator Aiello, click here, then choose the August 14, 2012 webcast. The speech starts at 67:06.
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco