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January 12, 2012 - Jim Walton
This is my first attempt at blogging. I have felt that there is a lack of a progressive viewpoint in Chautauqua County since the untimely passing of Ray Hall. Let’s get something out of the way, first. Ray was my friend for over thirty years. And as I said during his memorial service, “He will always be my friend and mentor as long as I live.” We didn’t always agree completely on every subject, but that never intruded on our friendship. He was one of a kind and, for those of us who knew him as a friend, we are all better for having known him. I can’t help thinking what he would have said about events in Mayville last week. In his last blog he had expressed his support for Legislator Lori Cornell to be the next Chairwoman of the Legislature. She would have been the second woman to Chair the Legislature and from the same district as the first Chairwoman, Jane Fagerstrom. It seems inconceivable to me that the Democrats would let this opportunity slip through their fingers. The inability of the Democratic Caucus to agree on a candidate when they would have apparently had the votes to put a Democrat in that post, with Mr. Duff’s support, is not only disappointing but unforgivable. Where’s the leadership in the Party. I am flabbergasted that the former Chairman of the Legislature, when it was under Democratic control, would instruct his fellow caucus members to come together behind anyone but Lori Cornell. She had 10 votes in her pocket and would have undoubtedly picked up the support of Mr. Duff. All Keith Ahlstrom would have had to do was vote the same way as every other member of his caucus was prepared to do. What ever happened to majority rules. As the head of the County Democratic Committee Mr. Ahlstrom’s first allegiance should be to the party. His personal goals to advance his own political career should not overshadow the needs of the party. I have long believed that the Chairman of any political party should not hold elected office. The temptation to feather his own bed can be all too seductive. Mr. Ahlstrom should resign immediately from the chairmanship of the Democratic Party and I question whether he has the moral turpitude to continue as a legislator. This legislature will have to deal with reapportionment in our county. The issue of the County Home is looming. There will be financial challenges that will be daunting. I wish the new legislators and the new Chairman, Mr. Gould, the wisdom to work together for the people of Chautauqua County and deal with the problems as they arise. Good Luck! And here I thought this first attempt would be shorter……….
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