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BALLSTON: Spring brings political heat to town

Let the games begin, again.

It's been less than six months since Town of Ballston political rivals put down their weapons of choice election signs littering roadways and front lawns, political mailings to residents, and allegations of unfair campaign practices.

Last November, in what may go down in town history as one of the most contentious, vocal, and muddy races for town council, Republican candidate and incumbent Mary Beth Hynes nosed out her opponent, Democrat Patti Southworth, by a margin of six votes.

But don't write those history books just yet.

The fires are once again being fanned in the political climate in town. The strongly vocal opposition between Republicans and Democrats moved from a slow simmer on the back burner, to a steady rise in temperature that could reach the boiling point by this November's elections.

Up for grabs are the town supervisor's position, as Ray Callanan will retire after 20 years of service, and council member Robert Boice prepares to give up his seat.

Callanan has said the job has become much more complicated over the years, a point that can't be argued by anyone who has attended a board meeting in recent years and witnessed the steady stream of dissenting points of view on everything from water to commercial construction. Voices have been raised, and many of the emotional debates have brought the media into the hot, cramped meeting room to capture the drama firsthand.

At issue: planning board appointment

The town board's appointment this week of an alternate planning board member has drawn criticism. Lee Ramsey, owner of Capitaland Glass, was selected from among four candidates for the seat.

Another candidate, David Stern, a member of the Independence Party and a vocal supporter of town Democrats, decried the board's decision, citing political affiliations for the selection of Ramsey.

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