Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Upstream Has Moved.

Upstream will no longer be posting to this blog. Please go to our wordpress blog for new posts. Comments are no longer posted on this blog. It may take some time, but eventually we will move all of our links from this blog to the other one.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Tale Of Two Alans.

“I hurt for Hevesi. I know that many of you are with me on this. I pity those who are not.”--Alan Chartock

Upstream was right. The woman Glenn Heller alleges that Alan Chartock sexually harassed is Karen Perozi-Guistina. Heller did not let the cat out of the bag. A former employee of WAMC, Josh Cohen, left a comment on Upstream, stating that he was the person who left an anonymous comment recently on Glen Heller’s blog stating that Guistina was the alleged victim of Chartock. Furthermore, Cohen says in his comment on Upstream that he personally witnessed Chartock harassing Guistina.

Up until now, the news media have refused to investigate this story, claiming there was a lack of information, among other things. Now, however, we have the name of the woman who allegedly was harassed and paid $20,000 to keep her mouth shut, and we have the name of a man who claims to be a witness of the harassment. With these two new pieces of information, it seems to me that it’s time that the media investigate this story. (A FOIL request for financial records might reveal a $20,000 pay out).

Before I continue, I have to state my usual disclaimers. Other than a few e-mails back and forth and one telephone conversation, I don’t know Glenn Heller. Furthermore, I have no beef with Alan Chartock or WAMC. I listen to WAMC and feel that if the station did not exist, the Capital Region and the Mohawk Valley would be the losers. What I can’t abide is people in power abusing their power. If you have been a regular reader of this blog, I am sure you are aware of that by now.

One problem the media have with the above story is its source--Glenn Heller. They feel that Heller has an axe to grind, therefore, the story is not valid. But that didn’t stop them from covering and investigating State Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s alleged misuse of a state car and driver, even though the story’s source was Hevesi’s political opponent, Chris Callaghan. Talk about having an axe to grind.

Chartock himself discussed the other Alan in a recent Legislative Gazette piece that then appeared on his blog on October 10.

Alan Hevesi is now under tremendous fire for having used state funds to protect and escort his ailing wife. He knows that there is really no excuse for what he did. Rules are rules. Apparently when he was the New York City comptroller, the rules were different. The truth is that his wife is in bad shape and the poor guy has been worried sick over her. Worry, with its accompanying pain and anxiety, can sometimes cloud the reasoning process. Who among us can’t relate? Hevesi has tried to make it better. He has owned up to his mistake and repaid the money that was spent using his personal (not campaign) funds. It’s all made worse because as comptroller, he is the guy responsible for making sure that everyone else in the state plays by the rules. He has done that well and many of the people he caught did not get second chances.

Alan Hevesi has acknowledged his mistake and is desperately trying to move on. His opponent is doing what opponents do. He is trying to beat Hevesi in this election. That’s the nature of the beast. Elections are adversarial events much like trials where the defense and prosecution try to murder one another. The truth is that if you have any dirty laundry you proceed at your own risk. You just have to assume that any past sins will find their way into the public eye. It is refreshing to see gubernatorial and presidential candidates fessing up to having smoked pot in their younger days. Not too long ago, newspaper columnists would have murdered them for less.

I know that newspaper editorial boards are exasperated by this. They like Alan Hevesi, too, and want to endorse him. I think many voters find themselves in the same situation. They wonder how much slack they would be granted if they had found themselves in a similar mess. Now what should have been a runaway election victory for Hevesi will be a closer race. We’ll have to see what happens and what new developments emerge. But assuming it stops here and no new entanglements emerge, my bet is that Hevesi still manages to win in this Democratic tsunami year. But I do admit, from a personal point of view, my heart is heavy. The tabloids may love this stuff but I hate it.

I agree with Chartock’s assessment. I too pity Hevesi. I don’t believe he should do prison time if ever indicted and found guilty. On the other hand, I don’t think he should be our State Comptroller.

Do I pity Chartock? Not at the moment. But should the media ever investigate Chatock’s alleged sexual harassment and should Chartock ever come under the same pressure that Hevesi is now facing, I will pity him.

I’ve always found it hard not to pity the hare when the hounds are on his tail, even if the hare once ran with the hounds.

Note: This post was written on October 30, 2006, but I have dated it a later date. I have done that so the post will remain at the top of this blog. Because I feel that it is time that the media looked more closely at these allegations against Alan Chartock, this post will remain at the top of this blog until I feel it‘s time to move on.