Lest you have any doubt about who the cops and jail guards like for Schenectady County sheriff, it’s Dom Dagostino, the candidate of the Democratic and Conservative parties, who recently retired after 20 years as a Rotterdam police officer.
That’s hardly a secret, since the Conservative Party is to a large extent the political arm of the police unions, but records of campaign contributions on file with the state Board of Elections make the picture as clear as can be.
Dagostino has so far received $2,500 in contributions from the “Schenectady County Police Conference,” which has the same address as the Schenectady police union, the PBA, and whose listed “contact person” is Bob Hamilton, president of the PBA.
He has also taken in $2,500 from the county jail guards’ union and another $2,500 from the union’s parent organization, Council 82.
Not to mention $700 from the current undersheriff, Gordon Pollard, whom he has publicly pledged to retain in his post, despite widespread rumors earlier on that he would hire Bob Hamilton.
Interestingly enough the Glenville PBA also kicked in $140 to his campaign — interesting because it shows the bipartisanship of the police.
For sheriff they and their party like the Democratic candidate, but for supervisor of Glenville they like the Republican, Chris Koetzle, to whom they gave another $500 through the aforementioned Schenectady County Police Conference. (Koetzle has promised to maintain services, as opposed to the current Democratic supervisor, Frank Quinn, who voted to cut police pay and positions.)
On the other side, the Republican and Independence Party candidate for sheriff, Joe Lazzari, has gotten no organized police contributions that I can detect from his filings, despite having spent 25 years of his own as a Schenectady police officer and member of the PBA.
He did, however, get $1,100 from the city firefighters’ union, not to be totally excluded from public-safety beneficence.
Total contributions to the candidates for sheriff candidates are $36,034 for Dagostino and $27,512 for Lazzari.
Voter enrollment in Schenectady County is weighted similarly: 38,801 for Dagostino (in the Democratic, Conservative and Working Families parties); 31,828 for Lazzari (in the Republican and Independence parties.)
To further illustrate how the Schenectady playing field has tipped in recent years, on the City Council the three Democratic candidates are running unopposed.
The Democratic district attorney is likewise unopposed, and so are two Democrats who represent the city on the county Legislature.
The three Republicans running for the county Legislature from elsewhere in the county, meanwhile, were the targets of my favorite mailing of this campaign, sent out the other day by the county Democratic Committee.
It shows three pigs feeding at a trough and conversing via cartoon bubbles about the alleged misdeeds and shortcomings of those Republicans — Tim MacFarlane of Glenville, Kurt Semon, and Michael Mansion of Niskayuna. As if they weren’t outgunned enough already! Now to be savaged by Arnold, Porky and Wilbur the pigs!
(Being savaged is a little in-joke, strictly for connoisseurs of Schenectady politics.)
I remember not so many years ago when Republicans controlled both the city and the county governments of Schenectady and Democrats had to beg for admittance, so these things do not last forever.
One thing that has lasted, however, is the power of the police unions, exercised mostly through the Conservative Party. I have watched over the years as one candidate after another has humbled himself to win that party’s ballot line, and it has been an enduring source of entertainment for me.