One of the beauties of our Chenango County is its size. Since we are small we only get one County Judge. Therefore our “County Court” Judge presides over all three courts. County/Criminal, Family, Surrogate. I equate it to electing three judges, but one person and one vote.
Back in February, when this all started, I had concerns about both candidates. I had these concerns because I know and dealt with them both as lawyers and in the community. Yes, I’ve been in courtroom when both are doing their jobs, I’ve seen them in action. I can state some good and bad about either, so I set out to find out who should I vote for. Here are my thoughts and findings.
Work experience. Where better to find working experience than the phone book? I found only one candidate listed out of the three. As the DA, Mr. McBride does not even currently practice in two of the three courts he’s running for. He touts his 13 years experience, 10 years ago. People, Family court has changed a whole lot in 10 years. And he had one case in his entire Chenango County career in Surrogate court.
Also I read what others are saying, and draw my own conclusions. Mr. Wren makes a valid point as to the public support of the law agencies. Now I have no problem with Joseph Angelino, or Ernie Cutting, telling us who they support. But when they make it come across as the Chief of Police or County Sheriff because of his work in my opinion is wrong. And Mr. McBride being the ethical and integrity man you claim, I believe you should of distant yourself from that. Same goes with the premature endorsement of the Republican Committee. Now it looks like you are indebted to these “Good old Boys of Chenango County” and I don’t think Chenango County needs a judge like that. In the community, both candidates are dignified citizens, each has coached the children’s teams, sat on numerous boards.. Both will wave to you on the street in passing. In this respect I don’t find one better than the other.
Now, you must look at McBride’s time as DA. It is him who touts this as the most important experience. I find some troubling points here. Peter Wlasiuk’s first trial was in part appealed on prosecutor misconduct. I read in the paper about criminals being arrested over and over for the same crime. Now I understand the need and usefulness of plea bargains, but there has to come a time when we say you did the crime, you do the time. In Chenango County, where he is the DA, we have a lot of repeating offenders and a large drug problem. As Judge will he correct this problem? Looking at his record probably not.
If I could I would ask Howie Sullivan, which court has given him the most of his grey hairs? Then based my vote on who had the best experience in that court. So as I was still up in the air of who to vote for, I went to The Evening Sun’s Forum, I sat and listened to each of the candidates’ answers. The one thing that hit me like a brick was when Mr. McBride did not seem to know which court handled adoptions. His words were “It is my understanding that adoptions are now handled in Surrogate court.” And he wants to be the Judge.
As they listed their experience, I realized I have more experience in Family and Surrogate court in the past five years than Mr. McBride has.
Thank you Evening Sun for allowing the public to the ability to hear the candidates themselves talk.
Clifton Ketchum Jr.