I look forward to reading the two local newspapers every morning; first The Daily Gazette and then, my former employer, The Times Union. It's the best time of day -- black coffee and newsprint are an enriching breakfast.
But there's one part of that diet that regularly gives me early-morning indigestion; makes me sick more times than not. It slithers down the far left column of the Gazette's local section and goes by the name Carl Strock.
I'm not quite sure what motivates Mr. Strock. He's not clever, not witty and very predictable. He doesn't like police, teachers, municipal workers, politicians, the court system and organized labor. Interesting choices, given the geographic area he covers.
If his editors prohibited him from writing about any of those topics -- hint, hint -- well, the B-1 layout editor would have to get creative with white space because the Strock columns would be few and far between.
In his column on Sunday, Jan. 27, Mr. Strock unleashed his venom on former Schenectady County Legislator Ed Kosiur and the entire State Legislature.
I suppose members of the state Assembly and Senate are easy targets, and Mr. Strock is not one to pass up an easy target. And, when you're talking about political pay raises (and don't I know this!), that target gets even bigger and more tempting. As for Mr. Kosiur, well, Mr. Strock is not adverse to kicking a guy when he perceives him to be down.
That was Sunday's column. Again. And, unfortunately, despite warnings otherwise, there are still some readers who believe anything and everything that appears in print. For those people, and for those who think like Mr. Strock, let me toss in a dose of reality:
There are some politicians -- past and present -- who are jerks. They are the bums for whom the phrase "throw da bums out" was invented. By luck and the good judgement of the voters, they don't last long and are eventually thrown onto the trash heap of politics.
But I've worked with and known political types for 30 years -- as a journalist, campaign volunteer and elected official -- and I can honestly say most of those who put their names on a ballot do so for the right reason. They care about their community and their neighbors. They are willing to make sacrifices to better the society in which they live. Some are better at it than others; some screw it up and move on. But it does them a tremendous disservice to continually question and disparage their commitment and motivation.
As for Ed Kosiur, full disclosure here: Ed is one of my best friends. I've know him and his family socially and I was instrumental in recruiting Ed to the political game. That remains one of the best things I did during my time in politics.
Ed Kosiur doesn't have an insincere bone in his body. He is deeply committed to Schenectady, especially to its youth. He works harder than almost any public servant -- elected or appointed -- I have ever encountered. And he does much of it behind the scenes, without fanfare or congratulations. Schenectady's children will be well served by Ed Kosiur's skills, dedication and, most of all, his heart.
Mr. Strock forgot that part.