Posted at: 09/06/2012 12:26 AM
| Updated at: 09/06/2012 4:41 PM
By: Dan Levy
COLONIE - Two men vying to become Albany County's top prosecutor squared off in a primary debate Wednesday night in Colonie.
Lee Kindlon is trying to follow in the footsteps of current District Attorney David Soares. Yes, Kindlon wants to take over the job, but he's also trying to do to Soares what Soares did to then district attorney Paul Clyne in 2004, which is to knock off a party-backed incumbent in a primary election, a happening that the New York Times called "one of the most stunning upsets in New York political history."
When asked which personal trait makes them most qualified to be Albany County's district attorney, challenger Lee Kindlon came up with a one-word response, "humility."
David Soares used two words, "patience and wisdom."
Soares pointed to his handling of the Occupy Albany protests as a prime example of his "patience and wisdom", where hundreds of arrests were made and no one was prosecuted.
"I would handle it the same way I handled it the first time," Soares, trying for his third term in office, asserted. "I believe that Albany County set an example for the entire country where it is possible to have peaceful coexistence."
"Granting block immunity to a certain group of individuals may be politically convenient," Kindlon said, "But it's irresponsible as a district attorney."
Kindlon also argued that the DA's office needs to speed up the judicial process in order to reduce violent crime.
"Imagine if we could cycle through fast enough, take care of those victims, take care of the witnesses and get to the point where we're actually putting people in prison in less than five months," Kindlon stated.
"Violent crime is the area that we are most proud of," Soares responded. "Mister Kindlon talks about a Rocket Docket but unless he's running for judge, I don't know who else controls our docket."
The one hour debate at the Holiday Inn Turf on Wolf Road, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, included a brief kumbaya moment when each candidate was asked to say something nice about their opponent.
"I have a lot of nice things to say about my opponent," Soares said. "I think he's a gentleman."
"It really struck me how much his kids love him," Kindlon countered. "I know he's a good father."
But it was a brief moment.
"There needs to be an effective way to drive the crime rate down because all David Soares is doing is saying, "More of the same will be fine. Some day we'll get there."
To which, Soares responded, "I have very thick skin and his opinions of me don't really matter."
Albany County republicans have not entered a candidate in the race which means the winner of next Thursday's primary will become the next district attorney.