Filling a Vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor: History and Hochul’s Opportunity

Kathy Hochul is the ninth New York lieutenant governor to become governor through the state constitutional process to fill a vacancy.* But she will be just the second to appoint a successor to the office she herself vacates. David Paterson was the first. This  provides her a unique opportunity to Read more…

Form Follows Function, Now the Ulster County Budget

Legendary Chicago School architect Louis Sullivan was famed for his aphorism: “Form ever follows function.” This was true, Sullivan said, in the natural environment, “whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, [or] the winding stream.” Read more…

The Ulster County Budget: What Will Happen When the Other Shoe Drops?

Earlier this month Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan proposed a $333.8 million budget for 2021 that requires neither a property tax levy increase nor employee layoffs, and with a smaller withdrawal from the county’s savings account (the fund balance) than was made in 2020. At first glance, this seems like Read more…

Academic “Neutrality” and the Future of Our Democracy: One Political Scientist’s Two Cents

I really did not want to open the semi-annual survey invitation from Bright Line Watch when I found it in my inbox this past August. This was the eleventh time since 2017 that this team of political scientists surveyed colleagues about the state of the U.S. government, to “monitor democratic Read more…

Why Ruth Bader Ginsburg was Right to Speak Out in 2016

This opinion essay was originally published in the Times-Herald Record during the 2016 presidential campaign. Gerald Benjamin is no longer an enrolled Republican. Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been widely and wrongly condemned for her critical remarks about Donald Trump’s fitness to be president. “Partisan.” “Inappropriate for Read more…

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