Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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October 30th, 2009

Now it’s our turn to vote and be heard

We have seen all the signs, read all the campaign rhetoric, and stashed away our supply of pens and pads to last us until next November, now it is time for us to make some tough decisions.

On Tuesday, we will decide who is in charge of Sullivan County’s law enforcement for the next four years as we elect a new District Attorney and Sheriff. Local town leadership positions will also be up for grabs.

During the past several weeks I had the honor and privilege, along with Town of Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini, hosting the political debate series on Thunder County radio. We were joined by an esteemed panel of journalists including Sullivan County Democrat publisher Fred Stabbert III.

The debates were lively, hard-hitting, and informative. They provided the opportunity for voters to hear objectively from the candidates.

District Attorney Steven Lungen after 28 years of distinguished and respected service is retiring. His Chief Assistant Jim Farrell and lawyer Glenn Kroll are vying for the position.

Farrell is strongly endorsed by Lungen and Sullivan County’s law enforcement community. He ran a campaign based on his qualifications and experience as a prosecutor.

Kroll said if elected District Attorney he would initiate various crime prevention programs, and focus his attention more on violent crimes and prosecuting those criminals apprehended.

Both men were pretty passionate during the Thunder Radio debate. Their differing style and focus was quite evident, as was their drive to be District Attorney.
The Sheriff’s race will once again pit incumbent Mike Schiff against Frank Armstrong. Armstrong, who has since been elected to the legislature, ran a somewhat quiet campaign, while Schiff ran on his record.
Unfortunately, Armstrong chose not to appear on the Thunder Radio debate. He claimed debates were “boxing matches” and did not present an accurate account for the electorate to determine whom to vote for.
Three town supervisor races have drawn the most attention. In Bethel incumbent Dan Strum will once again be facing former Supervisor Harold Russell, Calicoon incumbent Linda Babitz will be running against Councilman Tom Bose, and in Fallsburg attorney Steve Vegliante is running against businessman Joe Perillo.
The outcome of two town council races will also be attention-grabbing. In Thompson there is a field of four competing for two seats, while in Bethel there is a war brewing between different Democratic factions.
It will also be interesting to see how Legislator David Sager’s group challenging the Hassidic bungalow colony registration drive turns out.
There is also an important amendment on the ballot that would allow prison inmates to do community service work.

Governor Paterson recently announced a plan to discontinue prison workforce programs statewide. The prisoners from Sullivan County correctional facilities have provided much needed labor for our towns and villages. The amendment if passed will allow the Legislature to provide by law that prisoners may voluntarily perform work for nonprofit organizations.

In Sullivan County, Renaissance programs often need labor for clean-up or planting projects. The law currently allows inmates to perform work for state and public institutions but does not for not-for-profits.

All of the candidates running for political office have clear-cut positions on the issues, and all argue they will get things done if elected. No matter who wins, everyone must work together for the betterment of Sullivan County. There are tough times ahead and there is no time for petty political bickering.
There are no national or statewide races to motivate the electorate this year. The election will boil down to voter turnout. The candidates who get their troops out will win. Remember, signs do not vote, people do. Please vote on Tuesday.

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