Friday, September 25, 2009

Cheddie claims First Ward seat
By Jamie Larson
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 1:16 AM CDT
Geeta Cheddie has beaten incumbent Carole Osterink by one vote for the Democratic nomination for First Ward alderman. The race between the two was decided by six absentee ballots, counted Tuesday morning by Board of Elections officials.

Sarah Sterling won one of the two Common Council seats for the First Ward outright on Sept. 15, the night of the Primary election. Cheddie and Osterink, however were only separated by two votes at the time, with Cheddie holding a slight lead of 44 to 42.

The six absentee ballots, counted Tuesday in the County Board of Supervisors chamber, awarded Cheddie three more votes, sending her total to 47. Osterink picked up four more votes, leaving her one shy of tying Cheddie at 46.

Had the two candidates tied, the Board of Elections stated that the tie-breaking vote would be cast by the Hudson City Democratic Committee. The committee had already endorsed Osterink and Sterling, and city Democrats said they felt this meant that in the case of a tie, Osterink would have won.

Cheddie forced the Primary by collecting petition signatures, allowing her to challenge the two committee-endorsed Democrats. While she considers herself a lifelong Democrat, had Cheddie not received the Primary victory she would have stayed in the race, as she has also secured the endorsements of all other Hudson political parties.

With Osterink out of the race Sterling and Cheddie will run unopposed in the November general election.

This was Cheddie’s first time running for elected office and s\he said she was extremely excited Tuesday when she found out the results. “Three great people ran,” Cheddie said, “and I’m grateful for the voters, and I can’t wait to serve the city of Hudson and especially the First Ward.”

Sterling, who campaigned with Osterink, congratulated Cheddie. “It was a very tight race,” Sterling said. “(Cheddie) did very well, particularly for her first time out. Geeta will be a new face on the council, which will be interesting for all of us.”

CHDC Chairman Victor Mendolia said Cheddie proved herself to be an adept politician by fighting for the primary, and now has the committee’s support. “We congratulate her,” Mendolia said. “It was a good win.”

Some tension was created during the final days of the primary campaign when Mendolia sent an e-mail to First Ward Democrats telling them why they shouldn’t vote for Cheddie.

Cheddie felt that the e-mail misconstrued the circumstances around her tenure as deputy Democratic commissioner of the Board of Elections. Mendolia said Cheddie’s time at the board was “fraught with acrimony and problems,” going on to say she colluded against other Democrats, leading to one commissioner’s resignation, and her firing months later.

Cheddie said that Mendolia’s comments were spurious and untrue and hoped Mendolia will apologize. The committee chairman said before the election that he stood by the comments in the e-mail. Mendolia said that he will support Cheddie now that she has won the party’s nomination.

“I want to move forward without the bickering,” Cheddie said. “I think everyone did their best.”

Mendolia said he hopes the past won’t get in the way of the working well with Cheddie. He said campaigns sometimes become contentious but once they are over they have to put their differences aside. “You have a campaign, then you get down to the people’s business,” Mendolia said.

Osterink could not be reached for comment Tuesday but Mendolia said Osterink’s presence will be missed. “Carole is one of the hardest working people on the council,” Mendolia said. “I think she’s a solid, really thoughtful person.”

Copyright © 2009 - The Register Star Online
Sterling wins; second seat too close

By Jamie Larson
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Wednesday, September 16, 2009 1:15 AM CDT
Sarah Sterling has won her Democratic Primary bid for one of the two First Ward Alderman Seats on the Hudson Common Council. The race for the second seat was too close to call Tuesday night, with Geeta Cheddie leading incumbent alderman Carole Osterink by two votes, with six absentee ballots left to be counted.

Sterling won her seat with 51 votes, Cheddie received 44, and Osterink ended the night with 42. Eighty-four votes were cast in total in the ward Tuesday and the Columbia County Board of Elections did not say when they will count the remaining absentee votes.

Sterling and Osterink had received the Hudson City Democratic Committee endorsement and Cheddie forced a primary by collecting petition signatures. Cheddie has also received the endorsement of all other political parties in the city, but says she is and has always been a Democrat.

After the votes were tallied late Tuesday, Sterling said she was happy for the victory but having the identity of the second First Ward Democrat candidate still undecided leaves many unanswered questions for the election. If Osterink beats Cheddie when the absentee votes are counted the two Democrats will still face Cheddie in the general election on the other party lines. If Cheddie wins, she will run along side Sterling and both will be unopposed.

“I am pleased,” said Sterling, who held the position once before from 2006 to 2007. “It’s a great affirmation for me. I’m honored that the voters want to bring me back.”

The only other primary race in Hudson was for the Independence Party and Conservative Party nominations for Fourth Ward Supervisors. Incumbent Democratic Supervisor William Hughes won the Independence Party nomination four votes to none, and Republican backed Samuel Santiago won the Conservative Party endorsement four votes to Hughes’ one vote.

Tuesday also brought political bickering between HCDC Chairman Victor Mendolia and Cheddie.

Cheddie took offense to an e-mail sent by Mendolia to First ward Democrats on Sunday. The e-mail said Cheddie needed the Democratic nomination despite being backed by all other parties in the city because in the strongly Democratic ward the “conservative philosophies or erratic behavior” of the other party leaders could get in the way of her winning a seat on the council.

In his strongest comments Mendolia also denounced Cheddie for being difficult to work with when she served as deputy Democratic commissioner of the Columbia County Board of Elections.

“(Cheddie’s) tenure at the Board of Elections was fraught with acrimony and problems.” Mendolia’s e-mail states. “One commissioner even resigned, citing her withholding of information and a conspiracy to undermine his authority. When Virginia Martin became commissioner, she made every effort to retain Ms. Cheddie... When it became clear that Cheddie would continue being uncooperative, she was terminated. We as Democrats can not allow the partisanship and rancor that ruled the BOE during Ms Cheddie’s tenure to find it’s way into the Common Council chambers.”

Cheddie called Mendolia’s claims “spurious” and said he was spreading false information at the last minute to influence the primary vote. “There was no partisanship and rancor,” Cheddie said. “I in fact bent over backwards to help any party. The previous commissioner, David Cohen’s difficulty was with the Board of Supervisors not just me.”

Cohen, reached by phone, said that Cheddie had enjoyed increased responsibilities under his predecessor Ken Dow, who has praised Cheddie publicly for her professionalism. Cohen said that Cheddie hid information from him. “She wanted to run her own show,” Cohen said. “There was no way to have a working dialogue.”

Cohen said when he wanted to fire her he received resistance from Democratic county supervisors. He said he believes this was because her husband is Hudson First Ward Supervisor John Mussall.

Cheddie disputes allegations of being difficult to work with and said that she did not understand why Cohen didn’t feel he could fire her if Martin did so after only working with her for a month, two weeks of which Cheddie said she was on vacation. “Virginia came on with an agenda from the party,” Cheddie said. “It was foolish. I was stunned. Any rancor that was felt was only on victors part. We worked to help him.”

Musall said he was disappointed in Mendolia’s e-mail. “I’ve spoken with the chairman about my feelings,” Musall said. “I find it regrettable that false allegations, based on personalities, came into this campaign while my lovely wife Geeta tried to stay above board, above the fray.”

Mendolia said he had no issue with the timing of his e-mail and was doing his job by bringing the issues of Cheddie’s past to the voters. “I had long advocated for her dismissal from the BOE. We had a big problem with her. There was a general lack of cooperation. As the chair of the Democratic Party I felt it my obligation to demonstrate to Democrats in the ward why we were displeased with her and why we feel Carole and Sarah are our choice.”

Mendolia said that if Cheddie wins the nomination he will support her but it is his duty as committee chair to aid his committee-endorsed candidates. The e-mail, he said, was just politics. Cheddie said if she wins she hopes Mendolia apologizes for the claims.

Copyright © 2009 - The Register Star Online

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sarah Sterling is running for the position of First Ward Alderman a position she held for the 2007-2007 term. A long time resident of the first ward, she feels ready to get back to her old position, now held by Carrie Haddad who is retiring.
Sterling was the majority leader during her term as Alderman. She was also chairman of the Police, Fire, and IDA committees, a member of Finance, Legal, Youth and Aging, Arts and Entertainment, HDC and HCDPA. Some of the projects she worked on during that time were: City insurance review, parking meter revisions, proper parking signage, police contract negotiations, assessment issues (grievances, B & B problems, search for new assessor), IDA negotiations, HCDPA by-laws and employee benefits, establishing checks and balance in HCDPA, HDC and IDA, annual budget reviews, zoning revisions, LWRP.
Other community involvement, before she was elected as Alderman, kept her busy with the Columbia County Council on the Arts (as chairman), the Hudson Beautification Committee, the Hudson Opera House Board of Trustees and Advisory Boards as well as serving on the Hudson Zoning Board of Appeals, the Historic Preservation Commission and the Hudson Waterfront Committee.
Sarah is a graduate of Cornell University with a BA in Zoology. She currently is a real estate broker with Halstead Properties and a well known local fine art photographer. You may also have seen her out this spring helping with the Census as an enumerator.
There are always plenty of issues facing Hudson. The LWRP, rezoning, the need for a new Police/Court building, senior center needs, beautification and being a liaison to the business community are all concerns that Sarah expects to be involved with along with the ever present need to keep taxes as low as possible!


Sarah Hoe Sterling
Hudson NY 12534 518 828-0148

Professional Experience
• Real Estate Associate Broker, Halstead Property, Hudson NY 2008-9
• Census Enumerator 2009
• Fine Art Photographer and Printer - ongoing
• Real Estate Salesperson, Tomm Eaton Real Estate, Hudson NY 2005-7
• Alderman - Majority Leader 2006-7 City Of Hudson, NY
o Chairman: Police and Fire committees - Member: Finance, Legal, Youth and Aging, Arts and Entertainment Committees
o Chairman - IDA , Treasurer - HDC, Secretary – HCDPA
o Projects worked on: City insurance review, parking meter revisions, proper parking signage, police contract negotiations, assessment issues (grievances, B & B problems, search for new assessor), IDA negotiations with pilot holders, HCDPA by-laws and employee benefits, establishing checks and balances in HCDPA, HDC and IDA, annual budget reviews, zoning revisions, LWRP
• Cornell University, BA - Zoology Major
• Columbia Greene Community College, International Center of Photography, NYC, Maine Photographic Workshops, School of Visual Arts, NYC, California College of Arts and Crafts
• Columbia County Council on the Arts 2001-2005 – Board member, Treasurer, Chairman
• Hudson Opera House Board of Trustees and Advisory Board
• City of Hudson: Hudson Zoning Board of Appeals ,Historic Preservation Commission, Hudson Waterfront Committee

Sterling seeks 1st Ward supervisor spot  (Note error this is Alderman spot!)

By Jamie Larson

HUDSON — Former Hudson 1st Ward Alderwoman Sarah Sterling has announced that she will seek the Democratic endorsement to run for the position again. The 1st Ward has the only council seats with three candidates vying for the two possible party endorsements.

Sterling will interview with the Hudson Democratic Committee Tuesday along with current 1st Ward Alderwoman Carole Osterink, and former Deputy County Democratic Commissioner Geeta Cheddie.

Sarah Sterling
Current 1st Ward Alderwoman Carrie Haddad will not be seeking re-election.

Sterling said Haddad told her last week that she was not running and encouraged Sterling to try and take her place on the ticket.

Sterling gave up her seat in 2007 to run for council president, a race she lost to current Department of Public Works Superintendent Robert Perry. She said in her two years out of City Hall she has missed representing her ward and being a part of the process.

“I love being here,” she said. “I get along with all segments of the population, I have a good financial background, [and] I feel like I can make a difference.”

When Sterling, a local real-estate broker and fine art photographer, represented the 1st Ward she was council majority leader, chaired the Police and Fire Committees, as well as the Industrial Development Agency. She was also a member of the Hudson Development Corporation, the Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency, and the council committees for finance, legal, youth and aging, arts and entertainment, and worked on the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

The LWRP and the Hudson Beautification Committee are two issues Sterling said she cares about deeply. She is also volunteering at the Hudson Youth Center’s new garden.

Sterling said she also has good ties to the local business community and would like to work on getting them to work together more to better the Hudson economy. “Right now they’re a group of individuals, and it’s been traditionally unconnected,” she said, adding, “I think more can be done.”

Sterling said when she previously held the seat she had worked on new zoning for the city, and would like to continue that task if elected. She said there are inconsistencies and old constrictions in the zoning law that need to be changed. She would also put the creation of a new city Police Department and City Court high on the list of priorities.

Sterling had considered running for council president again this year but said she feels the Democratic selection of Donald Moore to be their candidate was the right one. She said the entire Democratic ticket is strong and backs Osterink to remain endorsed by the Democratic Committee.

“I think her experience is invaluable,” Sterling said. “She’s been a tireless worker on behalf of the city.”

To reach reporter Jamie Larson, call 518-828-1616, ext. 2269, or e-mail