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Friday, March 21, 2008

American Saga

On Tuesday March 18th I attended Congressman Michael Arcuri's fundraiser. I was honored to be among the several hundred well wishers gathered to support the first Democrat elected to office in the 24th District of New York for 40 yrs.

Arcuri just returned from a trip to Afghanistan. He spoke out against war. He called for a return of the troops.
But lets face it- he's a politician.
Before he was elected to his current office I developed a good rapport with him as the Oneida County D.A.. I was fortunate enough to have few discussions with him. I was quite confident giving him my vote.
He is a level headed guy.
But at the banquet I saw politics at work.
I heard careful language, I saw gratuitous gladhanding.
How do they do it?
I know there are times when he just wants to shoot from the hip and say what he means the way he wants to say it. I'm sure he is sick and tired of faxing his press releases to some party guy like Rahm Emanuel for national approval.
Howard Dean and the memory of his HOOOOAAAAH would quell any spontanaiety for the foreseeable future.

Submitted copy:

NEW HARTFORD - On Tuesday, March 18, 24th District Congressman Michael Arcuri held a fundraiser at Daniele's Banquet Hall in New Hartford.
The standing room only event attracted a political who's who of the Mohawk Valley.

There was plenty of back slapping and witty one line jokes thrown around the room by the hometown crowd. No one in attendance was a stranger. There was nothing but familiarity and friendship. A happy hour atmosphere.

This event could have easily been mistaken as a celebration. The newly elected Mayor of Utica, David Roefaro, could not help but share the high profile spotlight that events like this provide. Both elected officials, Arcuri and Roefaro, were not the favorites in each of their races, but the results could not be denied. Their presence was a shining example of what the American political process is about.

Arcuri's wife, Sabrina, confidently worked the room on behalf of her husband, who was engaged in the meticulous meet and greet with every guest in attendance.

Imminently accessible, Arcuri must have been exhausted after shaking so many hands and smiling for so long.Despite the demand for his attention he stayed at ease and appeared to be genuinely interested in everyone he met.

This was not about the issues. This event was not about Iraq or Afghanistan. This was about the people of Mohawk Valley, the constituents that helped elect him to office. This was about the future of upstate New York and its strengthening tether to Washington D.C.

Larry Tanoury Jr. purchased a whole table for the event."I want my constituents to have an opportunity to be a part of the process and I want the rest of the legislators to know my constituency cares as well."

Tanoury's efforts paid off. The group of mostly African Americans, sequestered in a far corner of the room, was singled out by Mrs. Arcuri who made a point of greeting everyone at the table stifling any possible murmurs of discontent.

Politics at work.

Arcuri recently returned from a trip to the middle east. He boldly took a side when he admitted there is a need for gradual troop withdrawal.

"We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and have lost far too many lives embroiled in what has become a political quagmire. I believe it is time to return responsibility for Iraq back to the Iraqis, with a true redeployment of troops. Iraqis will stand up when we stand down," Arcuri said. "People in Upstate New York know what is best for America: bring our troops home, provide for our veterans, and invest in our local communities. In a recent trip to Afghanistan, I saw first-hand how fewer resources can be invested with greater returns. I believe it is time to refocus on al Qaeda in Afghanistan."

No one envies the tough job Arcuri has in front of him. The backdrop of war, an economy sliding into recession and an undecided and fractured Democratic party can all frustrate a first term congressman. For now, there is nary a kink in his shining armor.

Yeah I give him the benefit of the doubt.
Like I said before, he is a cool guy.
I remember there was a self defense murder case while he was D.A.. Initially, before I did my research, they were going to throw this guy(Spano) under the jail. The week prior a diferent guy had been aqcuitted on manslaughter. The guy(the acquitted), during a ongoing dispute, lost his temper, jumped out his truck and beat an old man to death with a softball bat.
So Spano gets charged with murder after he is attacked in his own living room while eating a bowl of Fruit Loops.
Double Standard perhaps?
Maybe I need to explain more.
Spano is black.
Anyway, when the middle aged, white softball killer was initially charged they could not decide if it warranted murder.
Somebody help me out here. I get out of my car in a rage and beat a old man to death with a bat and the defense was: "he verbally abused me daily and I lost my temper"
I'm black, experience tells me we do not even need to speculate if I would be charged with murder. Look at the poor (black)guy in Long Island who had to deal with a racist mob on his property and is still going to jail.
Post racial right?
To their defense the D.A. was embroiled in an ongoing dispute with the Police Department(Arcuri was investigating the embattled Police Chief).
The Police department charged Spano without consulting the District Attorney, that is like going to war without asking the people, or telling them the whole story.
Arcuri stepped in, cleared the air.
Spano was given a lesser charge and is doing three years on weapons possession( he was charged for being in possession of the murder weapon).
To this day the ada on that case hates me.
I will never utter his name in public.
Spano's lawyer could have thanked me-but he didn't.
I have a thankless job.


Jen said...

Wow that whole baseball bat story but a little damper on my day :(. But that's sweet you were invited to that fundraiser.

Anonymous said...

This a great story Dave and I think you understand that the nature of politics, once elected, is to give the people a little bit of what they want. Some call it compromise. Others call it pandering. But the fact is our system is set up for this type of pragmatism. In my mind, the alternative is what we have in place now at the Federal level -- a President who does not give two shits what Congress thinks. He has the Supreme Court in his pocket, so anything he does that is blatantly unconstitutional will be deemed constitutional. It's a pretty simple equation if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Consorting with the enemy Dancy? SHAME, SHAME hehehehe.

Don't be too charmed by that dog arcuri, he's still a member of one of the two parties of the apocalypse and will do us no good...

Sorry I've been MIA for a while, but I'm back starting with todays post.

The scientifically impossible I do right away
The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer