Some Responses To The Democratic Committee Resignations

A friend recently suggested to me that the Democrats who are about to take control of  the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee bear a certain resemblance to the White Walkers in the HBO series Game of Thrones.   If by some fluke you are not familiar with the White Walkers, they are an army of creatures in the series on a relentless mission to destroy the Seven Kingdoms.

Our local Democratic White Walkers have spent the last three years on a ceaseless campaign to convince the public that our elected officials (ironically mostly Democrats) are both cunning schemers and incompetent fools. Logic and consistency have never been  strategies used by White Walkers.

Now it appears we may be facing another army of White Walkers in the form of our local Republican Committee. The Committee has new leadership and is attempting to make a comeback, but they seem to be in danger of becoming the mirror image of the Democratic White Walkers by adopting their tactics of  disinformation and hyperbole.

Below is a screen shot from the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee Facebook page responding to the resignations by the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee leadership.

The text of their page indulges in over the top accusations such as:

“[The city Democratic Committee]…is being taken over by an extreme far left, socialist group”

“This extreme group clearly does not value the safety of our children and citizens.”

“This socialist group favors raising our taxes…”

“The people of Saratoga Springs need to band together and voice its opposition against city Democrats and their socialist movement…”

The word socialist has to be the most abused word in the English language. Most socialists have trouble defining it or agreeing with other socialists on its meaning. I myself am a self described socialist, but people reading this blog would probably not gather this based on what I usually write about.

While I am sure there are a smattering of other self-described socialists on the Democratic Committee,  I can assure the readers of this blog that the following “insurgent” members would never describe themselves as socialists:  Ann Bullock, Sarah Burger, Mary Carr, Ralph Burger, Marcey Taylor, B. K. Karamati, Ruth Fein,  Holly Schwartz, and Peter McTygue. 

I am hardly the person to defend the people who are about to lead the city’s Democratic Committee. In fact I don’t think they would consider it a defense of them for me to argue that they are not part of a “socialist movement” but a group of angry individuals who are heros in their own self created dramas. Their dramas inflate both the danger of those they oppose and the importance of their own role in combating the threat.

So the charge that socialists are taking over the Democratic Committee is simply untrue.

It appears to me that the Republican Committee is trying to adopt President Trump’s national strategy by trying to paint the local Democrats as socialists in order to fire up the Republican base and tarnish the Democrats. Most Democrats are not socialists and today the word does not generate the kind of panic attack the Republican release is meant to engender.

With respect to my Republican friends, I think they are trying to hammer a large square peg into a very small round hole.

In the more than forty years I have lived here,  Saratoga Springs has morphed from Republican red into Democratic blue. The city’s registered voters have shifted from Republicans greatly out numbering Democrats to Democrats out numbering Republicans.

But local elections rarely involve the kind of hot button national issues like abortion, combat in the Middle East, or immigration that divide the parties on the state and national levels.

If the Republican Party wants to revive itself in our city they need to avoid mirroring the ruthless and shrill behavior of the Democratic White Walkers. Instead, they need to focus on local, concrete policies that will make this city a better place to live. Making it a better place to live includes improving the political culture by eschewing name calling and contributing to a thoughtful dialogue in the “public square.”

I solicited responses to the Democratic Committee resignations from all the current serving Democratic elected officials along with the Democratic candidates. I also solicited a response from Committee members Shafer Gaston and Ellen Egger-Aimone and Todd Kerner who is the Saratoga County Democratic chair. Regrettably, only six responded.

1. Todd Kerner emailed me declining to comment.

2. Tara Gaston: “As an elected official, I am always focused first and foremost on the needs of my constituents and their representation at the county board.”

“I am grateful to all the Democratic committee members who serve and am confident that the we will find a strong path forward in service of our Democratic values and the best interests of Saratoga Springs. I look forward to working with the committee and its dedicated members as we seek to elect Democrats to continue leading our city forward.”

3. in an article in the Times Union it reports that Patricia Morrison sent a statement to the newspaper stating: “If they feel they are out of line with the voters, I understand giving the Democratic committee the opportunity to change direction,” Morrison said. “It is my hope the new committee leadership will be able to work with all of us to continue to promote Democratic values. Our goal now is to listen and represent all voters in this city, regardless of political affiliation.”

4. Mayor Meg Kelly emailed me the following statement:

“First and foremost, I want to personally thank the members of the Democratic Executive Board, Chairwoman Courtney DeLeonardis, 1stVice Chair Ellen Kiehl, 2nd Vice Chair Jeffrey Partridge, 3rd Vice Chair Kathleen Wilson and Secretary Joanna Zangrando, for their dedicated and passionate service to the Democratic committee. This team has served the City of Saratoga Springs with the utmost Integrity and moral standards.”

“At this time, my candidacy for mayor is not impacted by this leadership shift in the city democratic party.”

“My commitment and platform has always been to do what is right for all citizens of Saratoga Springs and this has not wavered. As we all move forward, it is important to understand that all of us must keep the best interests of the entire city at the forefront. We cannot focus on specific groups that divide us. I am hopeful that we can embrace what we have learned historically to create a cohesive political system that reflects the will of all citizens of Saratoga Springs.”

“Thank you again to the Democratic Executive Board for all of your support and leadership in this remarkable city.”


Ellen Egger-Aimone:

EE:John, I am not authorized to speak about this issue. 


JK: Authorized by whom?
EE: By the resigned chair. I’m not comfortable speaking on the record. Sorry 

Peter Martin: “I am very concerned and sorry that many members of the Executive Committee have resigned. Although I have not served on the Committee for several years, I know and respect each of the resigning members. Courtney, Ellen, Jay, Kathy and Joanna have each poured their hearts and souls into the  city democratic committee. They have done a great job and deserve a heartfelt thank you from every voter in Saratoga Springs.”

“I strongly disagree with the quote from Mr Obstarczyk in today’s TU. The Democratic Committee has not been taken over by an extreme far-left group and it still does a better job of reflecting the values of our city residents than any alternative.” 

Robert Millis for Kendall Hicks:

We all know that they got themselves into a bit of a “pickle” here on this one. 

But the resignations showed a certain degree of integrity : the right thing to do systemically is to accept the will of the party’s primary voters, which is in motion.  But the resulting candidate from that process is not the one certain folks support and can get behind, personally, however. Hence the perceived need to step aside and let others that are more aligned to her step in and join the effort with full support.

So, in a sense, the system worked. 

We’re just disappointed that these folks felt the need to leave the general committee altogether.  There should be room , under a Big Tent approach, for all to remain, while maybe putting the more proper people into active campaigning mode.  We at the Hicks campaign are sorry to see the party lose some strong human assets. Maybe we can get them back.

But the more interesting aspect to all this is the Republican reaction.  As shown but the GOP City Chairman’s announcement today, apparently the local Republicans are now following the national party’s “Trump and Fox News” model of electioneering; which is currently crying “Socialists!” with every breath.   Sad,,,

Saratoga is not deep red flyover country.  These dogwhistles won’t fly with the citizenry  —  Dems, Reps and Indies — here in our great city.  The gentleman’s comments are not helpful in solving local needs.  That’s OK; we will solve them over here.


Robert Millis

7 thoughts on “Some Responses To The Democratic Committee Resignations”

  1. As a Democrat, I will likely receive push back on this and while I think the Republican response is exaggerated, I see where they are coming from:

    “This extreme group clearly does not value the safety of our children and citizens.” – This group of Democrats were vehemently against having armed resource officers on school grounds. No, I don’t think all that were against this don’t care about the safety of our kids though I disagree with them in their thinking.

    “This socialist group favors raising our taxes…” Ms. Morrison clearly stated in her quest to get the Democrat nomination that she thought it was time to raise taxes – in particular, property taxes.

    “The people of Saratoga Springs need to band together and voice its opposition against city Democrats and their socialist movement…” This group of Dems is very vocal about their self-described stance as being very progressive and while not the same, I can see how the Republicans have taken this to the extreme in this.

    My point is that while I don’t agree with the extent to which the Republicans are describing this group, their assessment is based in at least some truth as they see it.


  2. I put this in response to another post yet think it needs repeating here:

    There was one statement that hit home – not in the way Ms. Morrison and her minions will appreciate but so very appropriate. He stated:

    “But the resignations showed a certain degree of integrity : the right thing to do systemically is to accept the will of the party’s primary voters, which is in motion. But the resulting candidate from that process is not the one certain folks support and can get behind, personally, however. Hence the perceived need to step aside and let others that are more aligned to her step in and join the effort with full support.”

    It is unfortunate that Ms. Morrison and all those that supported her – including Mr. Hicks – didn’t have the same level of integrity when they decided not only could they not support the endorsed candidate for Finance Commissioner, they choose to challenge her to a primary. When they made that decision the right thing to do would have been to resign and take their opposition outside of the committee (as the endorsement was the result of a vote within the committee). So, now they want the committee to respect the primary where Mr. Morrison one by a very small percentage in a very small sampling of the registered Democrats in this city.

    I smell hypocrisy!


  3. Republican response is pretty hokey and retro. Are they living in the 1950’s?? Whoever is telling them that this will appeal to now blue Saratoga in 2019 should be replaced with someone more in tune with today’s Saratoga.


  4. White Walkers are zombies, right? As a recent arrival on the SSDC (I joined after the Tr*mp election because I could not stand by and watch our country go down the tubes) I resent the characterization. I work hard to support my constituents and uphold Democratic principles and I think the same is true of most members, new and old.

    I am sorry for the mass resignation which is playing havoc with our ability to serve our constituents. I respect the principles involved but sometimes it is more effective to work from within than from the outside. I expect some or most of the resigned members will rejoin in time and we will welcome them back.


  5. Let’s translate: John acknowledges he is a socialist, which explains his sensitivity to the new Republican chair’s statement. His acknowledgement, however, undermines the point he is trying to make. John is also the chair of the Working Families Party who endorsed Tara Gaston. To some extent John is sticking up for his endorsed candidate who was one of the subjects of the statement. Kudos to the new Republican chair for showing some backbone. Local Republicans seem to have always played nicey nice with the Dems to their detriment. Not anymore apparently. Good to see the playing field change locally.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: