Dems back Bartlett for Shandaken Board

By Jay Braman Jr.
The tiny American Flag tacked up on a ceiling beam at the Glenbrook Park Pavilion was a hint that the Shandaken Democratic Caucus, though necessary, was going to be as informal as such an event could be.
The 30-plus party diehards that came out for the evening last Tuesday pledged their allegiance to that mailbox sized flag, and within a few minutes cast one vote to unanimously endorse current town council member Doris Bartlett to run this November to continue her term for one more year, that year being the remaining part of current Supervisor Peter DiSclafani’s four-year term on the council.
When DiSclafani won the supervisor’s race last fall he vacated that seat and the Democratic majority appointed Bartlett to it until the coming election.
With not one Republican observer in sight, Bartlett accepted the nomination. In her very brief speech she was strictly partisan, opting to avoid specifics about the actions to date of the new Democratic town board majority and instead urging listeners to keep the majority this year and even expand it in 2009 when Councilman Rob Stanley, the boards only Republican, has his first four-year term end.
As for the current board’s accomplishments she only said, “We will continue to do the best we can.”
Party chair Dave Pillard said the Democrats were “making progress” in town and urged continued strong support both at the polls and at town board meetings, where he said things are different now that the previous administration run by former Supervisor Robert Cross Jr. is gone.
“You’ve really helped change the tenor at town hall,” he said.
Under Cross, town board sessions were usually high, with the supervisor working hard to keep a lid on pubic participation. DiSclafani, who campaigned on a platform of more open and inclusive government, allows considerable time for public input.
Pillard also announced his “friendly face campaign,” in which he encourages all Democrats to be at town board meetings to show support for the board’s majority.
He said there were still anti progress types at the meetings being vocal and that a larger show of Democrats could offset that.
The only town board members present besides Bartlett were Democrat Tim Malloy and DiSclafani, who was pleased with the smooth running, non-controversial even-ing.
“Thank you everyone for showing up — a short and sweet caucus….this was fun,” he said.