Press release – June 12, 2015

For more information contact:
Bernard Ment, Publicity Chairman
(315) 278-8927
The Onondaga County Conservative Party would like to issue the following statement to the press regarding the upcoming County Executive race.

It is fairly evident to us that the selection of Toby Shelley as our candidate is sour grapes to his opponent who obviously feels that she deserves to run an unopposed race to re-election.

We believe that the County deserves a choice and the obvious gamesmanship being developed out of the County Executive’s office proves that she has no desire to run a fair and unbiased race.

Statements that she has made to the press about the Conservative Party stated that we have some disturbing planks in our platform. What we are disturbed about is the spendthrift manner in which she seems to believe that our tax dollars are hers to spend entirely as she sees fit.

Early in her term, the County Executive proposed that the people that actually do the work in Onondaga County should take a 14% cut in their pay to help balance the County budget, yet recently, a raise was proposed for her that exceeded the amount that is paid to those same workers who were asked to sacrifice for the good of the county. She stripped the sales tax revenue from the communities that generate it so that she could proudly say that she’s saving money for the taxpayers while most of the communities that lost the revenue are still struggling today to balance their books in the wake of that move.

More recently, she has supported and pushed through the legislature a proposal to build an amphitheater that she claims will make money. Interestingly, though, no other similar publicly owned venue ever has. Nearly half a million dollars is being spent to fund a dog kennel at the Jamesville penitentiary, a facility that even the SPCA and the Humane Association have spoken out against since they have empty facilities already that are ready to go for the same purpose.

Now she wants the county to authorize her to move her offices and those of her favorite departments into the old Carnegie Library building, a move almost certainly designed so she doesn’t have to ride the elevators at the Civic Center with ordinary folks. As the County Comptroller has pointed out on numerous occasions, even staying put in her current location, there’s more than enough vacant space in the Civic Center that isn’t being utilized now. There’s no good reason to acquire additional square footage that won’t be used for the Carnegie Building’s charter purpose which was as either a library or educational space.

In her efforts to undermine the legitimate challenge that she faces against Toby Shelley, the County Executive’s operatives have dug up a Conservative from Baldwinsville named Oscar Peterson. There is a clear line of friendship running directly from Mr. Peterson back to the County Executive’s office and the motive for his candidacy is obvious. It is his intention to run a primary against Mr. Shelley, promoting himself as a true conservative in an effort to disenfranchise a legitimate and viable candidate from running a campaign against the County Executive. If Mr. Peterson wins the primary, he will simply step aside to allow her a free ride to re-election. It should be noted that Mr. Peterson never sought out legitimate lines of communication with the party leadership to express an interest in running for this position.

Coincidentally, we would also like to ask members of the press that have a bias towards the County Executive to remember that, as reporters, they have a responsibility to fairness and the truth. For instance, we know that one columnist has written articles favorably touting the County Executive’s record and re-election since her policies have lined the pockets of a company he owns to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. At the same time, he has unfairly twisted Toby Shelley’s statements to paint him in an unfavorable light to members of the public. This is an overreach of his stature as a member of the press and abuse of the public trust.

The public deserves the opportunity to pick from qualified candidates for any political race in Onondaga County. This year, it’s obviously gamesmanship as usual and only time will tell if the County Executive’s tactics will pay off. The Conservative Party has always been a voice for change and backing that voice is the ethics and integrity of the leadership of our party. We work very hard to ensure the public has a choice, and we will do so yet again this year. There’s a reason we’re on row C and that reason will be to offer the voters of Onondaga County a clear choice.