Tag Archive | "Randy Altschuler"

East Hampton Republican, Conservative & Tea Party Leaders Endorse Altschuler for Congress

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At Hook Mill on Friday, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilpersons Dominick Stanzione and Theresa Quigley endorsed St. James businessman Randy Altschuler’s second campaign for New York’s First Congressional District.

East Hampton Republican Party Chairman Kurt Kappel, East Hampton Town Conservative Party Chairman Vincent Downing and East End Tea Party Chair Lynda Edwards also endorsed the candidate who is vying for the Republican Party line in hopes of facing off against Congressman Tim Bishop for a second time. George Demos, a Ronkonkoma attorney who waged a primary battle against Altschuler in 2010, is also running for the seat.

“I am very grateful for the endorsement and support of East Hampton’s most important elected officials and party leaders,” said Altschuler in a statement. “East Hampton, under Bill Wilkinson’s leadership, is a model for the country. In the midst of the Obama-Bishop national economic calamity, Bill Wilkinson, Theresa Quigley and Dominic Stanzione have rescued East Hampton from fiscal ruin and the irresponsible management practices of the past. I also acknowledge the efforts of Vince Downing, Lynda Edwards, and Kurt Kappel, whose steadfast support of the Wilkinson administration’s policies are critical to East Hampton’s continued success.”

“[Randy Altschuler} will bring to the United States Congress, extraordinary intelligence, integrity and a solid record of job creation success,” said Supervisor Wilkinson.

Weir Tapped to Lead Altschuler’s 2012 Campaign for Congress

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Wainscott resident Diana Weir, a longtime public servant on the East End of Long Island, has been tapped to lead Randy Altschuler’s 2012 Congressional contest campaign, according to a press release issued by Altschuler’s office on Monday morning.

Altschuler, a Republican, narrowly lost his first bid for a Congressional seat against incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop in 2010.

Altschuler cited Weir’s “deep roots in the community and vast private, public and political experience,” as the reason he has selected her to serve as his campaign manager in his second bid for a seat in the United States House of Representatives.

Weir is the former Executive Vice President of the Long Island Housing Partnership and is currently a member of the Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees.

She was the first Hispanic councilwoman elected to the East Hampton Town Board and formerly served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Michael Forbes, directing his offices in Washington and Long Island before resigning when Forbes became a Democrat in 1999. Most recently, she has served as the chairwoman of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to the East Hampton Town Board and is also a new member of the town’s planning board.

“Diana is widely-respected across Long Island in the private, public and political arenas,” said Altschuler. “I am thrilled to formally announce her hiring today as the person leading my team on the ground. Today’s news continues the positive momentum my campaign has demonstrated since I announced my plans to seek a rematch against Congressman Bishop last spring.”

Prior to serving in government, Weir served as Senior Vice-President at the Bank of The Hamptons, and prior to that, as Senior Vice-President and Corporate Secretary for Smithtown Bancorp. Weir was appointed by Governor Pataki to the SUNY Stony Brook Council, served as a Suffolk County Human Rights Commissioner and co-chaired the Economic Development panel at the Long Island Hispanic Leadership Summit. Weir’s honors include New York City El Diario / La Prensa’s “Distinguished Latinas,” Suffolk County Hispanic Heritage Month’s “Hispanic Role Model” and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Minority Advocate of the Year.”

“Given the depressed state of our local economy, Long Island is in desperate need of a representative with Randy’s business experience and proven track record of creating jobs,” said Weir. “Raised by a single mother, Randy overcame his humble beginnings to turn himself into a successful entrepreneur. Randy embodies the American Dream and I couldn’t be more excited to take on this challenge and lead the charge to defeat Tim Bishop in November.”

Sights are Set on Bishop’s Seat

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by Karl Grossman

Election 2011 is over, and on eastern Long Island the activity has already begun in what will surely be the mostly hotly fought contest here in 2012: the race in the lst Congressional District.

Democrat Tim Bishop of Southampton was first elected in 2002 to represent the five East End towns, all of Brookhaven and part of Smithtown in Congress. Competing — and aggressively so — to be the GOP candidate to oppose him are Randy Altschuler of St. James and George Demos of Ronkonkoma.

Suffolk Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle and Suffolk Conservative Chairman Ed Walsh, along with several GOP town leaders and all the Conservative town leaders in the lst C.D., have already announced their backing of Mr. Altschuler to take on Mr. Bishop again.

Mr. Altschuler lost narrowly to Mr. Bishop last year. It took weeks, but after errors were found in the reporting of votes, a recount and tallying of absentee ballots, the incumbent was credited with winning by 593 votes out of 196,039 cast — the closest Congressional race in the U.S. in 2010. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put Mr. Bishop on its endangered list for 2012.

Mr. Demos, who tried to be the GOP nominee in 2010, is pushing hard again to be the candidate. An attorney, he has been zeroing in on a sensitive area for Mr. Altschuler: outsourcing.

Mr. Altschuler’s greatest vulnerability last year was a business he founded, through which he made millions, that outsources jobs to India and other foreign countries. Mr. Bishop made it the major election issue. Mr. Demos recently blasted Mr. Altschuler “for lamenting the loss of American jobs after personally exporting thousands of those jobs to India….Randy Altschuler demonstrated once and for all why he has zero credibility as a candidate for U.S. Congress.”

Mr. Bishop, former Southampton College provost, has kept it up on outsourcing. In Congress this year he sought, as his office describes it, “to prevent the federal government from contracting with companies that outsource American jobs.” His move was defeated by House Republicans.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bishop could have something else to worry about — protest votes election day against members of Congress.

A New York Times/CBS poll in October found, as the Times put it in its headline: “Americans’ Approval of Congress Drops to Single Digits.” Only nine percent of respondents approved “the way Congress is handling its job.” Some 84 percent disapproved. (Seven percent weren’t sure.) It was the lowest approval rating for Congress ever recorded in the poll’s history. Both Democratic and GOP incumbents are being blamed.

An expose last month by “60 Minutes” revealing how former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, now Democratic minority leader, and GOPer and current House Speaker John Boehner, and other members of Congress, took advantage of insider information to buy stock that benefited from Congressional action (and inaction) has likely boosted the negative perception.

Being in Congress is a “venture opportunity…to enrich yourself, your friends, and your family,” said Peter Schweizer on “60 Minutes.” He’s the author of a new book, “Throw Them All Out.”

Making the rounds on the Internet in recent times has been the suggestion: “Members of Congress should be compelled to wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so we could identify their sponsors.” And the posting: “Now I understand! The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for various groups of animals. We are all familiar with a herd of cows, a flock of chickens, a school of fish and a gaggle of geese….Now consider a group of baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not—a congress. I guess that pretty much explains the things that come out of Washington!”

This low opinion of the Congress isn’t new. Mark Twain a century ago wrote that “there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.” And Will Rogers said: “The country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”

With Congress having gone to its lowest point in citizen satisfaction, how will this play out nationally and in Suffolk in Election 2012?


Demos Announces Candidacy for Congress

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Republican and former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer George Demos officially filed papers this week to run for Congress, sending an email and video to supporters and media Monday morning announcing his decision.

Seeking to unseat Congressman Tim Bishop, Demos will have to face off in a primary next year against Saint James businessman Randy Altschuler, who bested Chris Cox and Demos in a primary battle in 2010. Altschuler narrowly lost to Bishop in one of the closest elections races in the country last year.

“More than ever we see how important it is, not just to elect someone with an R next to their name, but to elect a real Conservative with steely determination who will not fail us, who will not falter, and who will not waiver when he gets to Washington,” said Demos in a statement.

Altschuler, who announced his decision to run for Congress in 2012 in June, already has the garnered the support of the Republican and Conservative party leaders in Suffolk County.

“We need to learn from last year’s mistakes and not let divisions within our own party allow Tim Bishop to sneak back into office again,” said County GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle said in a statement released to media on Monday. “Our country is in the midst of a severe economic and fiscal crisis, and we need a business leader like Randy Atlschuler in Washington to fix it.”

“Today’s announcement by George Demos has no impact on our strategy moving forward,” said Altschuler spokesman Chris Russell. “Randy is humbled by the broad support he’s receiving from Republican and Conservative Party leaders, and he’s focused on holding Tim Bishop accountable for the mess in Washington and defeating him next November.”

Bishop, currently serving his fifth term, has already said he will seek a sixth term in 2012.

26 Acres in Wainscott Purchased by East Hampton Town

The East Hampton Town Board approved a $3.2 million purchase of 26-acres in Wainscott through the Community Preservation Fund after holding a public hearing during its Thursday, August 4 meeting.

The property consists of exactly 25.7 acres at 198 Six Pole Highway near the intersection of Route 114, just outside the Village of Sag Harbor. The purchase was supporting by the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society at the Thursday evening meeting.

An additional acre on the same property has already been promised to an adjacent cemetery, which will be given the land through a lot line modification, according to a resolution passed by the board on the purchase of the land.

Thiele Continues to Survey Local Gas Prices

In his ongoing crusade to bring fair gas prices to the East End, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. submitted a third report this week to the State Attorney General detailing illegal zone pricing of gasoline on the Twin Forks.

However, according to the survey, gas prices have become more equitable and have stabilized over the last two weeks when compared to other regions in New York.

In the August 7 survey, the most prevalent price on the South Fork for gasoline was $3.99 a gallon or lower at nine stations located on Montauk Highway between East Hampton and Sunrise Highway. The lowest price was $3.97 and the highest $4.09. The average price is about $0.05 lower than the Long Island Average, and $0.04 more than the state average.

“Gasoline prices are still too high,” said Thiele in a written statement. “However, they have remained stable over the last two weeks. The differential between the South Fork and the rest of Long Island remains small with prices between East Hampton and Southampton slightly lower than the Island-wide average. The differential with the North Fork, which has the lowest gasoline prices on Long Island, was around $0.35 on the South Fork on Memorial Day. It is now about $0.10.”

However, the Assembly added that Amagansett and Montauk continue to face higher gas prices than the rest of the region. There, according to Thiele, gas prices are more than $.30 cents above the Long Island average.

“Amagansett and Montauk are clearly paying too much,” said Thiele. “This is why we need a stronger zone pricing law and open supply legislation.”

Thiele first contacted the attorney general’s office after Memorial Day weekend gas prices on the South Fork remained at $4.25 cents per gallon, while the rest of Long Island averaged around $4.08, and the rest of New York State averaged $4.02.

Thiele has also sponsored legislation to strengthen New York’s existing law on zone pricing of gasoline – when an arbitrary price is assigned to gasoline based on geography rather than the wholesale or legitimate cost of the product.

Thiele has also sponsored open supply legislation that would enable gas stations to purchase cheaper motor fuel on the wholesale market from alternative suppliers and pass the savings on to the consumer.

Governor Signs Southampton CPF PILOT Legislation

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that resolve some of the issues raised in a state comptroller’s audit of the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) PILOT payments by the Town of Southampton.

The legislation was sponsored by New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and New York State Senator Ken LaValle.

The audit, completed in November of 2010, found that in the years 2008 and 2009 the Town of Southampton had made payments from the CPF to school and special districts that exceeded the amount permitted by State law by $664, 647. In particular, the Riverhead School District and the Eastport-South Manor School District received excessive payments, according to the report. The State Comptroller directed the town to resolve the issue in his report.

Under the proposed legislation, the overpayments would be legally validated and the school districts would be absolved from having to make any repayment. The town will be legally responsible to restore the excess payment to the fund either by dedicating land or providing non-CPF funds equal to or greater than the overpayment.

“The Town of Southampton made overpayments of CPF monies for PILOTS in 2008 and 2009,” said Thiele “This has been confirmed by the state comptroller. It was imperative that these funds be restored to be used for the rightful purpose of land preservation. This legislation insures that will happen. It also insures that local school taxpayers will not be punished for a mistake that they did not make. The school districts will be held harmless. Further, the Town will be permitted to use funds, such as impact fees collected from developers, to replenish the fund. This legislation will maintain the integrity of the CPF, while insuring that neither school nor town property taxpayers have to bear the burden of the repayment.”

The legislation also establishes additional requirements for PILOT payments in the future to ensure that such overpayments never happen again. The new law provides that in determining payments to each school and special district, each parcel eligible for a PILOT payment shall be assessed in the same manner as state land is and that the assessment for each parcel is approved by the state. The new law also states that not more than ten percent of the CPF may be used for these purposes. The maximum percentage of 10% for such purposes may be reduced by a proposition approved by the voters.

Finally, the new law requires the town board to adopt an annual plan, after input through a public hearing, which specifies each eligible parcel and provides the amount of payment for each eligible parcel.

Altschuler Will Vie for Bishop’s Seat in 2012

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By Kathryn G. Menu

St. James businessman Randy Altschuler has decided to seek a rematch against Democratic incumbent congressman Tim Bishop in 2012. Altschuler lost his congressional bid against Bishop last year in one of the closest election races in the country.

Altschuler, who was the Republican and Conservative Party candidate in the 2010 congressional race, announced his candidacy in a press release and via his Facebook page on May 25. The announcement came shortly after he withdrew his name from the list of Republican hopefuls vying for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s seat this fall.

“After serious consideration, I have decided to run once again for Congress in the 1st District,” stated Altschuler. “With the help of all of my loyal supporters and the taxpayers of Eastern Suffolk County, I am certain we will be successful in unseating Tim Bishop in 2012 and starting down a path towards job creation, lower taxes and a robust economy.”

Last time, after battling his way through a three-way Republican primary, Altschuler narrowly lost his bid for Congress, with Bishop earning just 593 votes more than Altschuler. The race stretched weeks past election day and was ultimately decided by a significant number of absentee ballots that swung in Bishop’s favor.

Bishop, a five-term Democrat, will be seeking his sixth term.

While Altschuler appears to have Republican and Conservative parties support, both issued statements this week praising the candidate’s business experience, he will face at least one contender on his way to representing the Republican Party on the ballot. Ronkonkoma attorney George Demos has also thrown his hat in the ring to run for Congress in 2012. He came in second in the three-way Republican primary in 2010.

Schneiderman Will Face Kelly

This fall, four term Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman will face off against title agency owner Cornelius Kelly, a resident of Southampton Town, after the Republican Party announced Kelly as its candidate for the second district seat last week.

A native and resident of Montauk, Schneiderman served on the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals from 1991 to 1999, the last three years as board chair. He left a career in education to seek office as East Hampton Town Supervisor in 1999 and served two terms there.

Schneiderman was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature in 2003 and in his last election, in 2009, won 100 percent of the vote after being cross endorsed by all parties. A former Republican, Schneiderman is now a member of the Independence Party, but will run on the Democratic Party line as well this fall.

Kelly, who is 39, is also a native of the East End having been born and raised in Westhampton Beach. He now resides in Southampton Town.

A former bond analyst, in 2005 Kelly founded Liberty Property Services, Inc., a title insurance company which he currently runs.

“I believe in a strong, efficient, limited government,” said Kelly in a press release issued after his nomination. “As a small business owner I know first hand the fastest way to promote job growth is low taxes.”

In other county election news, last week the Republican Party nominated Suffolk County Treasurer Angie Carpenter to run for county executive. She will face Democratic hopeful, Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone.

Charges of Price Gouging

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. fired off a press release this week charging that major gasoline suppliers and wholesalers price gouged South Fork residents over the Memorial Day holiday weekend in a direct violation of the state’s prohibition on zone pricing for gasoline.

According to Thiele’s office, a month ago the American Automobile Associate stated the average price of regular gasoline at $4.135. Today, it is about $4.028. Thiele noted that in every major market in New York, gas prices have declined from $0.07 to $0.15 in the past month, a trend reflective of the fact that oil prices have dropped, now stabilizing around $100 a barrel.

This week, Thiele said that while prices have dropped across Nassau and Suffolk counties, on the South Fork “gasoline prices have seemed frozen in time for the last month,” averaging around $4.25.

“It is obvious that when it came to gasoline prices in one of the most popular vacation communities in America, ‘Big Oil’ has chosen to not only ignore the zone pricing law but also repeal the law of supply and demand,” he said.

“In response to the decline in oil prices, retail gasoline prices have declined across the state and nation, except on the South Fork. Prices haven’t moved in a month,” continued Thiele who added, “It is clear that prices were kept artificially high to exploit the big holiday weekend.”

Thiele intends to contact the New York State Attorney General to investigate the matter and will pursue stronger zone pricing legislation through the State Legislature.

Passenger Ferry Discussion

On Friday, June 3 at 4:30 p.m. the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee to the Town of Southampton will host local transportation expert Hank de Cillia, who will discuss a proposed passenger ferry route that aims to use Sag Harbor as one of its hub ports.

In a letter to the editor earlier this month, de Cillia argued that traffic and parking are already issues within the Village of Sag Harbor and that the ferry could alleviate some of those issues while supporting the village’s rich maritime history and culture.

Jim Ryan’s firm Response Marina has proposed the Peconic Bay Passenger Shuttle Service, a year round service between the North and South Forks. According to a proposal submitted to the village in February, a dedicated passenger ferry route and schedule would connect Greenport to Sag Harbor, branching out later to connect to Southampton and Riverhead.

The shuttle would be a year-round, seven day a week service. The company plans to use a 40-person passenger shuttle, but said it would increase to three shuttles if demand was there.

According to the proposal, the ferry would be scheduled to arrive at transportation hubs like Riverhead in time for passengers to connect to the Suffolk County bus line, which could bring them further west or connect them to the Long Island Rail Road.

Under village code, a passenger ferry service on private property is against code and would require a variance. Ryan has said he would instead seek a public, village-owned dock space to run the operation.

Sag Harbor Village Trustees have not ruled out the possibility of the ferry shuttle service, but have continually noted it is against village code as of now.

Altschuler Concedes Congressional Race to Bishop

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By Bryan Boyhan


Ending the last contested race this year for a seat in the U.S. Congress, Republican candidate Randy Altschuler conceded the election Wednesday morning, offering his congratulations to Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop in the First Congressional District.

“I entered this race because I was worried about the future of our nation,” Altschuler said in a release from his campaign. “The problems America faces are many and will not be easily solved. I plan to stay active in politics and continue to speak out on the issues that affect the residents of Suffolk County, our state and our nation.”

Four-term Congressman Bishop said Altschuler called him at about 8:45 a.m. “to give me a heads up that he was going to make the announcement.”

“We had a very gracious and cordial conversation,” said Bishop in an interview Wednesday. “I said even though we had gone head to head pretty hard during the campaign, I had great respect for him and wished him well.”

Depending upon which camp you spoke with, Bishop led Wednesday by either 263 or 270 votes. Both campaigns were in the middle of counting through more than 2,000 challenged ballots — after approximately 11,500 absentee and affidavit votes had been cast —  and were expecting to be in front of State Supreme Court Judge Peter Mayer today to move further through the count. As of Tuesday, about 1,100 of the contested absentee ballots remained to be judged. There were more than 194,000 votes cast in the race.

“After consulting with my family and campaign staff, I am ending my campaign and offering congratulations to Congressman Tim Bishop on his victory,” Atschuler said in his statement.

“Although Newsday, The New York Times and the Bishop campaign have all called for a hand recount of all the ballots cast on Election Day, I will not support such an action as I feel its cost will place an unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Suffolk County,” the candidate said.

The Altschuler campaign also dropped its legal challenges to the remaining uncounted absentee ballots, allowing the county’s board of elections to count the remaining ballots, said the release.

“While the Altschuler campaign has uncovered numerous instances of absentee ballots that may have been unlawfully cast, the campaign is confident that the proper authorities will take the appropriate action concerning them and that their number is too small to alter the outcome of the election,” the release said.

In a press conference Wednesday, Bishop called the allegations of broad voter fraud “a red herring,” and said his campaign was not pushing for a full recount.

“We would have a very high bar to reach,” to begin a recount, said Bishop adding he was satisfied with the bi-partisan and Suffolk County Board of Elections-ratified count.

Of the 1,100 challenged votes remaining to be counted, “about 800 were presumed Bishop votes and about 300 were presumed Altschuler votes,” said Bishop Wednesday morning. “I just think they figured the numbers didn’t add up.”

“Mathematically, it just did not seem possible to win,” Altschuler agreed in an interview Wednesday. “It was really unnecessary to prolong the effort.”

He said he intended to remain active, but said it was too early to consider another run for congress, and added he had not decided what role he may play politically.

On offering advice to Bishop, Altschuler stated: “One thing I had said when I was leading the race is that this is a divided district; so whoever wins must make an effort to represent all of our district.”

Acknowledging the closeness of the race, Bishop said the First District is a difficult place for a Democrat to get elected.

“There are 30,000 to 35,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats in the district,” Bishop said, adding there are more registered Conservatives in the district than anywhere else in the state.

He also acknowledged that, nationwide, Democrats were fighting off a tremendous Republican wave, with more than 30 of his Democratic colleagues losing their seats in the House.

“I’m delighted, frankly, to have withstood what amounted to be a Category 5 hurricane,” Bishop said.

The congressman credited the work he and his staff have done as one of the reasons for his victory.

“I see it as a validation,” he said and added during the press conference Wednesday morning that “you elect a representative to solve problems, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Bishop acknowledged that, since the election changed so many seats in the House, “I now have a very different job. I’m going to try to use the relationships I’ve developed to influence my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. And I’m going to have to resist that which I think is detrimental to my constituents.”

The concession marks the end of a race that has fluctuated wildly over the past month. Unofficial Election Day results had given Bishop a 3,500 vote lead, only to have Altschuler claim a 383-vote advantage after the county’s new electronic voting machines were re-read. It wasn’t until after the absentee votes had been tabulated that Bishop regained a narrow lead that built until Wednesday morning’s concession.

On the narrow margin of victory, Bishop concluded “If ever anyone needed a civics lesson on the platitude that every vote counts, this is that civics lesson.”




Opportunity Missed

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For some time, we thought the rest of the world had gotten past the idea that the East End was the poor stepchild to the rest of Long Island. Apparently congressional candidate Randy Altschuler didn’t get the memo.

As it has done for years, the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons has invited the candidates for public office to meet and debate on the South Fork for the benefit of local voters. These are consistently well attended events, regularly televised and in many cases the only time some candidates get to meet face to face in front of East End residents to discuss local issues.

Such is the case with the race for U.S. Congress here this year, between Mr. Altschuler and incumbent Tim Bishop. It is arguably one of the most competitive, controversial and closely watched races on Long Island, if not the country.

Late last week Mr. Altschuler declined to appear, citing scheduling conflicts, long after League volunteers had requested him to save the date. His decision means that, for the first time in many years, Hamptons residents will not be able to see their congressional candidates face off.  It is, we think, a wasted opportunity on Mr. Altschuler’s part, and a disservice to the voters of East Hampton and Southampton towns.

As we have done for about ten years, the editors of the East Hampton Star, the Southampton Press and the Sag Harbor Express were invited by the League to prepare and ask questions during the debate (we will do so for the candidates for state assembly and senate on October 25). Instead we will draft a letter to Mr. Altschuler expressing our disapointment. For some, apparently, we will always just be the poor stepchild.