Briefs March 2, 2006)
Schoharie Reservoir dam repairs that have necessitated the
New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s
funneling of an extra 575 million gallons of water a day through
the Shandaken Portal and Esopus Creek into the Ashokan Reservoir
moved a few steps forward, ahead of schedule, this past week,
according to the city’s press office. According to a
press release last Friday, February 17, a 200-foot by 5.5-foot
notch at the Gilboa Dam was to be completed by Saturday, February
18, to help lower levels in the Schoharie Reservoir, decreasing
its chance of flooding, and facilitating the installation
of anchoring cables over the coming months to bring the dam
up to modern safety levels.
Also mentioned by the DEP was the fact that testing for a
series of siphons at the dam was set to begin this week, with
each set to start removing 125 million gallons a day from
the reservoir, for a total of 500 MGD, when all the siphons
are set to be operational by March 3. A smaller, interim notch
had been cut into the 80-year old dam the previous week to
help with the current work, although DEP spokesman Ian Michaels
noted this week that much work was completed by the contractors
for the job, Jett Industries, while water levels were still
“I am enormously pleased that the notch has been completed
ahead of schedule. This significantly reduces the possibility
of a dam failure,” noted DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd
in the February 17 press release. “I hope this will
lessen the concerns of area residents.”
Late last fall, the City DEP discovered that using updated
flood level statistics taking into account the 1996 deluge
that wreaked havoc throughout the Catskills, its Gilboa dam
was in need of upgrading far in advance of the 2008 date it
had been scheduled for. After alerting local communities and
counties downstream from the reservoir, and including an area
as far north as the Mohawk River citiy of Schenectady, both
evacuation and remediation plans were set into motion.
With recent progress, the DEP has said, they have upped the
number of anchoring cables they are planning to drill through
the existing earthen dam into bedrock from 47 to 79, with
34 anchoring cables set to be put into place to secure “potentially
unstable parts of the dam” by the end of July and an
additional 45 cables by November. Full repairs are still scheduled
for two years hence.
As for possible flood actions, the DEP has announced that
it has installed full surveillance lighting at the Gilboa
Dam “for continuous nighttime monitoring,” and
a joint DEP/Schoharie County effort “has distributed
weather alert radios to residents of the downstream areas,”
which could go under up to 40 feet of water, in a worse-case
Water flow out of the reservoir towards New York City, via
the Shandaken Tunnel, Portal, and Ashokan Reservoir, will
not be abated by the ahead-of-schedule work in Schoharie County,
according to Michaels… at least for the foreseeable
In recent press releases, the City DEP has carefully pointed
out the low snowcover figures for this winter in comparison
to recent years when flooding has occurred.
Ulster County is looking to cut its workforce by 10 percent
over the coming two years to counter a cash flow deficit and
impending budget crisis based on a projected fund balance
deficit of $1.15 million left by its predecessor GOP legislature.
The county currently has about 2,000 full-time equivalent
county employees and could save about $3 million from a total
payroll of $70 million. Action is needed immediately, county
officials are saying, to avoid a reduction in Ulster’s
bond rating for future borrowing.
The projected deficit would be the third consecutive decline
in the county’s fund balance, after an unencumbered
year-end balance of $16.01 million in 2004 represented a reduction
of $8.9 million, or 35.7 percent, from the year before, and
then last year’s year-end fund balance was $6.88 million,
down $9.13 million, or 57.05 percent.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer recently unveiled a plan to create
a direct rail connection from Stewart International Airport
to midtown Manhattan to streamline
commutes that now require city fliers using the airport to
take Metro-North’s Port Jervis and Pascack Valley rail
lines and transfer at Secaucus Junction in New Jersey to get
into Manhattan. The proposed new project by New Jersey Transit
and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, known as
“The Tunnel,” would see the construction of a
new tunnel under the Hudson River that would make possible
a direct Metro-North ride from Orange County to a new 34th
Street station in Manhattan, with a rail link from Salisbury
Mills on the Port Jervis line to Stewart.
Schumer said the new tunnel would be federally funded and
would not directly affect New York taxpayers.
With Ulster County also facing development pressure, Schumer
said a shuttle for residents to the non-stop train service
at Stewart might be possible, along with an unstated, but
hoped for, opening up of eventual rail links up this side
of the Hudson.
“As the region grows, mass transit is very important,”
the Senator said. “This is the first step.”
Ulster County decided in recent weeks to finally cut its ties
with Bovis Lend Lease, the company that’s been overseeing
construction of the county’s long-delayed new jail now
over $12 million over budget and nearly two years behind schedule.
Members of the county Legislature’s Law Enforcement
Center Oversight Committee voted in February to terminate
the county’s month-to-month contract, effective Feb.
28, and replace them with Ralph Johnson, who already has been
retained on a per-diem basis of $175 per day out of a $40,000
line item already approved by the Legislature.
The delays and cost overruns at the new jail were key issues
in last year’s election of a new 21-12 Democratic majority
to the county legislature.
The Ulster County Legislature’s Administrative Services
Committee is pushing a provision in New York State Real Property
Tax Law (Section 469) to allow families an exemption in assessed
value if they build or renovate living quarters for senior
parents and grandparents. The measure is allowed by New York
State Law, and must be adopted by individual towns, cities,
villages, counties and school districts in order for families
to receive the exemption.
This matter was brought to Chairman Parete’s attention
by Marbletown Supervisor Vincent Martello. The Town of Marbletown
adopted this exemption, which is enacted by the passage of
a local law last year. Martello has since informed neighboring
towns about the measure and has been lobbying the towns, the
Rondout Valley School District, and now the County, to follow
Under the provisions of the law, families wishing to take
advantage of the exemption must comply with specific conditions
in order to qualify. Basic qualifications are as follows:
The living quarters must be for a senior parent or grandparent,
62 years of age or older. It must be the senior parent/grandparent’s
primary place of residence. The family must apply to their
local municipal assessor, with the proper documentation, and
must reapply for certification on an annual basis. The construction/reconstruction
must meet local zoning/building requirements. The total exemption
may not exceed the lesser of (a) the increase in assessed
value attributable to the new construction/reconstruction
(b) 20 % of the total assessed value of the property (c) 20%
of the median sale price of residential property in the County.
The Legislature would need to adopt a local law in order to
enact the exemption. Should the Legislature adopt the measure,
it would be in effect for 2007 County taxes. For further information,
please contact Robert Parete, Chairman of the Ulster County
Administrative Services Committee at 845-340-3627 or by e-mail
Also proposed is possible state legislation which would permit
Ulster County to give volunteer firefighters and emt's up
to a 10 percent reduction in their real property taxes. If
the State Legislature enacts the requested legislation, then
Ulster as well as municipalities and school districts within
the County would be eligible to enact the tax relief.
Frost Valley YMCA, along with Senior Girl Scout Troop 358,
is organizing “It’s All About Me,” the first
annual Teen Girls’ Wellness Weekend on March 11-12.
Topics will include Natural Skin Care; Yoga: Learn a new,
relaxing way to stay in shape and improve flexibility; How
to Deal: Discussions on how to handle emotions regarding both
the physical and emotional aspects of dating, body image and
self-confidence; an Open Forum: “Teen Talk,” in
which girls pick the topics and anonymously ask the questions
they might otherwise be afraid to ask; Self Defense and Safety
courses; and a host of outdoor activities including hiking,
climbing, cross-country skiing, snow tubing and broomball.
The Teen Girls’ Wellness Weekend package includes one-night
accommodations in Frost Valley’s Quirk Super Lodge with
linens, five meals (Saturday breakfast through Sunday luncheon),
all workshops and activities, plus a welcome breakfast for
participants and their families. Limited financial assistance
is available for this event.
The program drop-off time is 9 a.m. Saturday. Participants
should bring warm clothes for outdoor weekend activities,
fun games and music, an extra blanket and a great attitude.
Spaces are limited.
For program information on or to make a reservation for the
Teen Girls’ Wellness Weekend, please contact Bob Eddings,
Community Programs Director, at (845) 985-2291, ext. 305 or
e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A National Counterterrorism Center, or NCTC, government database
of alleged international terrorism suspects or associates
includes 325,000 names, four times more than when the central
list was created in 2003. The NCTC name repository began under
its predecessor agency in 2003 with 75,000 names. Civil liberties
advocates and privacy experts have expressed surprise over
the size of the NCTC database and said it heightened concerns
that large numbers of innocent people may be included on government
The NCTC database is a compilation of reports supplied by
the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency and other agencies,
the report said. Officials refuse to say how many names on
the list were linked to the NSA’s controversial domestic
Meanwhile, about a fifth of Americans think federal agents
have listened in on their phone calls, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup
Poll suggests. Twenty-one percent of the 1,000 adults who
replied to the survey said it was very likely or somewhat
likely their conversations had been wiretapped, while 52 percent
said it was not at all likely. Twenty-four percent said it
was not too likely.
Shortly after 9/11, President Bush authorized the National
Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance of communications
— phone calls, e-mails and text messages — between
people inside the United States, including Americans, and
terrorist suspects overseas, bypassing a secret court set
up to provide warrants for such surveillance. The Bush administration
has said the program is designed to monitor terrorists, while
critics say the spying is illegal and may infringe on the
civil liberties of Americans.
According to the poll, Americans appear to be split over the
legality of the domestic eavesdropping program. About 49 percent
of respondents said the president had definitely or probably
broken the law by authorizing the wiretaps and 47 percent
said he probably or definitely had not. Those numbers were
similar to a question about whether the program is right or
wrong — 47 percent said it was right and 50 percent
called it wrong.
A federal judge has ordered the Bush administration to release
documents about its warrantless surveillance program or spell
out what it is withholding, a setback to efforts to keep the
program under wraps. At the same time, the Republican chairman
of the Senate Intelligence Committee said he had worked out
an agreement with the White House to consider legislation
and provide more information to Congress on the eavesdropping
For Americans troubled by the prospect of federal agents eavesdropping
on their phone conversations or combing through their Internet
records, there is good news: A little-known board exists in
the White House whose purpose is to ensure that privacy and
civil liberties are protected in the fight against terrorism.
Unfortunately, however, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight
Board, initially proposed by the bipartisan commission that
investigated the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, andwas created
by the intelligence overhaul that President Bush signed into
law in December 2004, has never met and exists today only
Foot-dragging, debate over its budget and powers, and concern
over the qualifications of some of its members — one
was treasurer of Bush’s first campaign for Texas governor
— has kept the board from doing a single day of work.
Critics, including the Sept. 11 commission, say the inaction
shows the administration is just going through the motions
when it comes to civil liberties.
Scientists at the recent American Association for the Advancement
of Science, the nation’s largest gathering of scientists,
didn’t just defend evolution - they rallied in support
of it. Many spoke out over the weekend against what they called
religious pressure in public schools. And they enlisted the
help of about 300 teachers from across the Midwest who attended
the conference to discuss the national debate over evolution.
“We are not rolling over on this,” Alan Leshner,
chief executive of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal
Science, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s
too important to the nation and to the nation’s children.”
Some teachers told of parents who insist they abandon high
school biology texts in favor of biblical creationism or intelligent
design - the theory that life is so complex that it must be
the work of a supernatural designer. They told of school board
pressure in the science classroom.
Scientists also announced the formation of the Alliance for
Science, a new organization of scientists, scientific groups
and supporters. The goal is to fight what they see as an assault
on science from religious conservatives.
The new organization will seek to create graduate fellowships,
increase funding for research, train math and science teachers,
and build tax incentives for research and development.
Mead Johnson and Co. is recalling about 41,500 cans of its
Gentlease powdered infant formula because they may contain
small metal particles. The Evansville, Ind., company has not
reported any injuries, but the metal particles could seriously
harm a baby’s throat and respiratory system. Symptoms
could include coughing and difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Any symptoms would be likely to appear within three to four
hours of feeding.
The recalled 24-ounce cans of formula were stamped on the
bottom with lot code BMJ19 and “use by” date 1
Jul 07. They were sold at major retail stores nationwide.
If you have fed some of this batch of Gentlease to your baby
and are concerned about the child’s health, contact
This recall is being conducted in cooperation with the Food
and Drug Administration. Consumers who have cans of this batch
of Gentlease should stop using them immediately and call Mead
Johnson for more information at 888-587-7275.
Populations of boys born in stressful times enjoy an advantage
their whole lives, living longer, on average, than males born
in times of peace and prosperity. A new study adds to earlier
findings that pregnant women are more likely to miscarry male
fetuses than females fetuses during times of stress. It shows
that this tendency to miscarry males has a culling effect,
said Ralph Catalano of the School of Public Health at the
University of California, Berkeley, who led the study.
“The populations are hardier because they lost the weak
ones earlier,” Catalano said in a telephone interview.
“No individuals got stronger — it’s just
that the weak ones aren’t there.”
The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, also solidify what biologists have long
known — that males are the weaker sex.
“Statistically, it is clearly true,” Catalano
said. “Compared to men, (women) are biological fortresses.”
On average, around the world, about 105 boys are born for
every 100 girls. But males are more likely to die young in
general, and by the time couples are courting the ratio is
fairly even. Except after hard times.
There are two competing theories as to why, Catalano said.
One was that a stressed pregnant woman produces more of a
hormone called cortisol, which in turn damages fetuses. Damaged
fetuses are frequently miscarried. “Because male fetuses
are more fragile than female fetuses, they are more likely
to be damaged,” Catalano said.
Cortisol often makes a male fetus kick and squirm, and a second
theory holds that a mother’s body will miscarry a male
fetus that does not kick or wiggle strongly enough and which
is, presumably, weak.
“It’s not in her evolutionary interest to have
a weak son in times of stress,” Catalano said. “He
may not survive or may not be competitive for females.”
Both theories predict that fewer boys would be born, but they
would have different long-term outcomes, Catalano said. Either
all the male fetuses are damaged a little, and the boys who
are born are weakened, or the miscarriage process culls the
weak fetuses and leaves the strong ones.
So they looked at the data. In Sweden, which has been keeping
records since the 18th century,after the most stressful times
such as a famine, men’s lives were four months longer
than in happier times.
“The weak boys got culled out and those boys that survived
are hardier on average. They live longer,” Catalano
For an individual, this might be a small difference but over
a population it is significant, Catalano said.
Catalano said he has seen the same effects in action today.
“In California after 9-11 we reported that the sex ratio
in California went down,” he said. “Many more
males than you would expect died after September 11 in utero.”
Similar effects were seen after the collapse of East Germany
in 1991, he said, when unemployment soared in the former socialist
In a recent upstate power play over New York City, the State
Senate, under John Bonacic’s lead, has passed legislation
stripping city regulators of the power to determine how much
water four of its Catskills reservoirs should hold. Several
New York City Democrats joined with the 45 lawmakers voting
yes to giving the state Department of Environmental Conservation
power to lower reservoir levels in an effort to reduce flooding
As of now, it’s up to the city’s Department of
Environmental Protection to make the call on lowering the
water levels. But that bureaucracy has been under fire of
late for alleged bogus dam inspection reports, poor dam maintenance
and perceptions in the Catskills that it neglected actions
to control recent flooding throughout the region.
Bonacic’s bill was first introduced in the Senate in
1997 but was never before voted on. Assembly Democrats, who
must noe enact a similar bill to bring the measure to lifem
held a hearing on DEP reservoir oversightrecently and several
other bills imposing new regulations on the DEP are pending
in both house of the Legislature.
“3Enactment of this legislation would cripple the city’s
ability to operate its water system” DEP Commissioner
Emily Lloyd said in prepared testimony at the hearing. City
officials contend the legislation would put city residents
‘The bill threatens the public health and safety by
asking millions of people who rely on the city’s system
to accept the possibility that sufficient water may not be
available,” stated an opposition memo Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s
office sent to lawmakers.
Bonacic said the legislation would give DEC more control over
the water levels in the Neversink, Rondout, Ashokan and Schoharie
reservoirs, two of which were listed as at or above 100 percent
capacity in recent weeks.
Dissent often carries a price in official Washington, especially
in the war years of the Bush presidency. Since the Sept. 11
attacks, the number of insiders alleging wrongdoing in government
- either through whistle-blower channels or directly to the
press - has surged, as have reprisals against them.
That’s the message from a recent congressional hearing
on protections for national security whistle-blowers - the
first in more than a decade. “The system is broken,”
says Rep. Christopher Shays (R) of Connecticut, who chaired
the House Government Affairs subcommittee hearing.
Disclosures of flawed prewar intelligence, secret prisons
and prisoner abuse, and warrantless surveillance by the National
Security Agency have launched a debate on the conduct of the
war on terror within Congress and the American public. Critics
say some of those disclosures also compromised national security.
“At the Central Intelligence Agency, we are more than
holding our own in the global war on terrorism, but we are
at risk of losing a key battle: the battle to protect our
classified information,” wrote CIA director Porter Goss
in The New York Times.
The struggle over dissent in dangerous times is not confined
to national security matters, however. It appears to be settling
deeper into the federal bureaucracy, where government scientists
and even analysts at the scholarly Congressional Research
Service - who are not actually blowing any whistles but who
are staking out positions that deviate from the administration’s
- report efforts to control their contact with the press and
If whistle-blowers and others “do not see an option
for dissent within the system, then the system is in bad shape,”
says Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government
Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “Secrecy
has become a growth industry.... It makes it harder for ordinary
citizens ... to ask questions ... and to hold officials accountable.”
While federal workers have had whistle-blower protection since
1989, a 1999 US court ruling requires these workers to have
irrefutable evidence of waste, fraud, or abuse to be eligible
for protection. Last year, House and Senate committees each
passed bills that strengthened protections for whistle-blowers,
but neither bill has come to the floor for a vote. Only the
Senate version includes national security whistle-blowers.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency last month proposed
a big change in how companies report pollution data. If the
Bush administration gets its way, companies will tell the
public a lot less about pollution by reporting less often
on fewer chemicals.
In the Capital Region, 16 facilities would no longer have
to report anything to the EPA about the toxic substances they
emit, according to analysis from OMB Watch, a Washington D.C.-based
open government group.
Environmentalists and elected officials, including Attorney
General Eliot Spitzer, are urging the feds to back off. They
say the Toxic Research Index has helped communities and researchers
investigate threats to local health and safety while encouraging
companies to cut pollution.
The proposal is designed to reduce the paperwork burden on
companies and would save 165,000 work hours each year, according
to the EPA. The agency points out that most information would
still be public, except for relatively small amounts of chemicals
from certain facilities.
Advocates aren’t buying the burden argument. They point
out that the EPA’s own data shows it costs companies
just $430 to $790 for each chemical they report on.
Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know
Act in 1987, in the wake of the release of the deadly chemical
methyl isocyanate in Bhopal, India, which killed nearly 3,000
The TRI data, available at http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer,
is heavily used by researchers, community groups, journalists
and even state and local officials. The state Department of
Environmental Conservation has urged the EPA to maintain the
A Death Test?
There’s a new test for baby boomers and their parents,
and it’s one where you definitely want a low score.
The 12-question test measures risk of dying within four years,
and the more points you get, the greater your risk.
Created for people older than 50 by researchers at the San
Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the quiz is designed
“to try to help doctors and families get a firmer sense
for what the future may hold,” to help plan health care
accordingly, says lead author Dr. Sei Lee.
“We know that patients and families want more prognostic
information from doctors,” said Lee, who helped develop
the test. “It’s a very natural human question
of, ‘What’s going to happen to me?”’
The test measures risk factors linked with mortality, including
2 points just for being male. Diabetes, smoking, and getting
pooped trying to walk several blocks each also get two points,
and points accrue with each four-year increment after age
60. Zero to 5 points says your risk of dying in four years
is less than 4 percent. With 14 points, your risk rises to
The test doesn’t ask what you eat, but it does ask if
you can push a living room chair across the floor.
Roughly 81 percent accurate, the test can give older people
a reasonable idea of their survival chances, the researchers
say, warning not to try it at home, saying a doctor can help
you put things into perspective.
The test is based on data involving 11,701 Americans over
50 who took part in a national health survey in 1998. Funded
by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, the researchers
analyzed participants’ outcomes during a four-year follow-up.
They based their death-risk survey on the health characteristics
that seemed to predict death within four years.
He Has Power!
Vice President Dick Cheney says he has the power to declassify
government secrets, raising the possibility that he authorized
his former chief of staff to pass along sensitive prewar data
on Iraq to reporters. Cheney coupled his statement in a TV
interview with an endorsement of I. Lewis “Scooter”
Libby, his ex-aide. Libby is under indictment on charges of
perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about disclosing
the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.
In a recent court filing, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald
revealed Libby’s assertions to a grand jury that superiors
had authorized him to spread sensitive information from a
National Intelligence Estimate. The administration used the
NIE assessment on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction as
part of its justification for going to war. Fitzgerald did
not specify which superiors Libby may have been referring
to when he testified that higher-ups had authorized him to
spread sensitive information. But in the interview, Cheney
said an executive order gives him, and President Bush, power
to declassify information.
The indictment against Libby says Cheney advised his chief
of staff on June 12, 2003, that the wife of Bush administration
critic and former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson worked at
the CIA in the counterproliferation division. Libby was indicted
last October on five counts of perjury, obstruction and lying
to the FBI about how he learned of Plame’s identity
and what he told reporters about it.
A defense that Libby was authorized to leak sensitive data
about Iraq would not appear to provide any defense against
the charge of making false statements regarding Plame.
An authorization defense in the CIA leak case would mean that
“much of what Libby was trying to do was aid and protect
his boss Cheney,” lawyers have suggested. The downside
to employing such an approach is that it “almost comes
with a defense that I did it.”
Plan D Nightmare
The complexity of the new Medicare drug benefit is keeping
many seniors from signing up. For others, it’s simply
the math. After weighing the specific plans available to them
under the new benefit, seniors are concluding that they’ll
end up paying more for the medications they currently take
than if they continue with no coverage at all. Taking into
account monthly premiums and co-payments — which under
some policies can run as high as 50% to 75% of a drug’s
retail price — they think they can get a better or equal
deal doing what they’ve always done: asking doctors
for samples and ordering from pharmacies in Canada.
It is unclear how many people have made such calculations.
But of the 14.3 million people enrolled in the drug benefit
as of January, only 3.6 million signed up voluntarily. (Others,
like low-income beneficiaries who were in both Medicaid and
Medicare programs, were automatically enrolled in a drug plan.)
The deadline for enrolling is May 15. Anyone who wants to
enroll after that faces a “penalty” in the form
of higher premiums.
To some extent, the government has encouraged people to compare
and select plans based on their current drug expenses. Both
Medicare and the federally subsidized health plans offering
the new drug benefit suggest seniors use their current list
of drugs to calculate their best option. Medicare’s
online drug-plan finder sorts and compares plans for them
the same way. But this approach may be short-sighted, because
it neglects to take into account a senior’s future drug
needs, which are likely to be more expensive. Consequently,
making a decision based on current needs could prove costly.
There are also potential legal issues for some people who
are deciding to go it alone. The Food and Drug Administration
says it’s illegal to import medicines from abroad, but
so far it hasn’t moved to intervene in the mail-order
pharmacy operations or prosecute individuals. Generally, the
agency turns a blind eye to purchases for personal use. The
FDA does support the U.S. pharmaceutical industry’s
warning that buying drugs from foreign pharmacies carries
safety risks, a claim that Canadian pharmacies reject.
More Gay Bans
Efforts to ban gays and lesbians from adopting children are
emerging across the USA as a second front in the culture wars
that began during the 2004 elections over same-sex marriage.
Steps to pass laws or secure November ballot initiatives are
underway in at least 16 states, adoption, gay rights and conservative
groups say. Some - such as Ohio, Georgia and Kentucky - approved
constitutional amendments in 2004 banning gay
Florida has banned all gays and lesbians from adopting since
1977, although they can be foster parents. Mississippi bans
adoption by gay couples, but gay singles can adopt. Utah prohibits
all unmarried couples from adoption.
Critics say the move reeks of GOP politics that is looking
for a distraction from ethics problems and the continuing
problems in Iraq.
and draw out conservatives in close Senate and governor races
in states such as Missouri and Ohio, says Sherry Bebitch Jeffe,
University of Southern California political scientist.
The aim is to replicate 2004, says Julie Brueggemann of the
gay rights group PROMO: Personal Rights of Missourians. She
says marriage initiatives mobilized conservative voters in
2004 and helped President Bush win in closely contested states
such as Ohio. Republicans “see this as a get-out-the-vote
Republican pollster Whit Ayres is skeptical. Adoption, he
says, “doesn’t have the emotional power of the
gay marriage issue because there is no such thing as the phrase
‘the sanctity of adoption.’ “