All politicians carry baggage, Schreibman less than most, I thought. Schreibman broke a few eggs as Ulster County Democratic chairman and lost a few elections he should have won over a three-year term ending just before he declared for Congress in January. But mostly he has been an unknown quality. The first fundraiser was an opportunity for party faithful with c-notes to spare to get to know their presumed congressional nominee.

This is not to plug Schreibman or to appear parochial, but Democrats, absent a miraculous surge by shoestring Dutchess County legislator Joel Tyner — “we are the 99 percent” —  in the June 26 primary must appreciate that the only hope they have of retaining their resident Democratic congressman is to jump on board with Julian Schreibman.

Tenacious Tyner will hold his first fundraiser next Wednesday at Wok ‘n Roll Chinese restaurant inWoodstock.

Schreibman seems nonplussed by his stumbling start. In a campaign where millions will be raised and spent, Schreibman’s focus is on the money people inWashingtonwhere the new 19th CD is considered a swing district.

Meanwhile, Schreibman’s all-but-certain opponent, Republican Congressman Chris Gibson of Kinderhook, was in Kingston Tuesday night to introduce himself to local Republicans. Gibson, a retired Army paratrooper colonel with a doctorate in government from Cornell University, had broken big in his first foray into politics two years ago, bouncing Democrat Scott Murphy in the heavily Republican 20th CD.

So solid was this Republican-Conservative district, of which Northern Dutchess was the southernmost part, former congressman John Sweeney, twice convicted of drunk driving, once declared that no Republican should ever lose there. Sweeney did just that after challenger Kirsten Gillibrand raised questions of spousal abuse the weekend before their 2006 contest for Congress.

Reapportionment has cost Gibson his big enrollment edge, but he’s still an incumbent. Co-sponsored by county Conservatives and Indies, UlsterGOP Chairman Roger Rascoe was expecting a standing-room-only crowd for Gibson’s first formal appearance in the county he hopes to represent. And it didn’t cost $100 to get in.

Here and there

It took the mighty New York Times at least six months to get around to the Ulster-generated dispute over excessive turbidity in the Esopus Creek. The Gray Lady broke its rehashed version of the story with a near full-page story in its March 30 editions. Not to cast stones here, but it would appear even The Times can at times stoop to the lowest of journalistic devices, the staged photo. One of the shots showed County Executive Hein, primary critic ofNew York City’s water-release practices, kneeling in GQ suit and tie at the banks of what (was) the muddy Esopus at Saugerties village beach. A smidgeon of mud on Hein’s shined shoe suggests the morbid conditions he has been railing against.

But hey, it’s The New York Times, baby, big time exposure for any backwater politician.

Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo, in one of those you-know-what-he-meant compliments, was introduced as a “bull in a china shop” at a White Eagle Men’s Society communion breakfast on Sunday for his activist approach to government. Bully Gallo, after subjecting his audience to some of the corniest jokes ever heard, took the intro as a positive.

It’s good that the city is investing some $500,000 in patching leaks in the tower atop of City Hall on Broadway. But why did they have to wait five years while leakage made its way into the council chambers? Yuk. Any responsible homeowner would have acted at the first sign of water damage. This graphic case of obvious neglect — at City Hall, already — will cost taxpayers additional thousands.

I would like to see the pinnacle of one of the city’s highest edifices formally named T.R. Gallo Tower in memory of the man who restored City Hall in 1998-2000. Ironically, former mayor Gallo, who died in 2002, was afraid of heights, and never went up into the tower.