Sunday, April 26, 2015

NY's pork-barrel spending alive, and may thrive

    Unfazed by the fake sanctimony in Albany about cleaning out the swamp, Speaker Carl Heastie says its time to bring back the member items....money squirreled away in the budget for pet projects.
     A lot of corruption scandals have stemmed from channeling money to not-for-profits linked to lawmakers. 
     Speaker Heastie may be on to something. The public expects lawmakers to deliver and member items are a great way to do so as well as a way for leadership to exercise control over the flock.
NY's pork-barrel spending alive, and may thrive

WDT: Council's "Walking Around" Money May Disappear

       One of the areas Council has said it may halt spending is appropriations to groups based on a perceived linkage to tourism.  So called 'bed tax' money would help pay debt service on the Arena, arguably an attraction that brings dollars to the area.
        However, committing to this policy is not something the Council can do beyond its current term as the City Attorney has repeatedly, although not always, opined one Council cannot bind a future Council in the execution of its legal duties, which includes appropriation. In other words a decision by the current Council to not fund other groups doesn't prevent a future Council from doing so without having to "repeal" the policy.
        In the past, these funds have been used for tourism promotion and gifts to various entities Council chose to support.
 Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Waitress Mistaken for Capital Tonight Host

This Afternoon a couple people walked in and when I looked across the room I thought, OMG ,that's Liz Benjamin ....Of course why would Liz be at this Pearl Street Pub?
Brownville Resident Says She is Mistaken for News Gal
Turns out it was a woman named Becky who teaches dance and works at the Crystal on Sunday's.
Becky tells me people recognize her as Liz' Doppelgänger and ask to have their picture taken with her.
Maybe a Kate Welshofer lookalife will stop in next Sunday.

Sen. Warren calls on Obama to declassify trade deal details | Fox News

     While it's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton not being her party's nominee for President next year, the swirling over this new book is pervasive well beyond the usual critics, and I don't discount Senator Elizabeth Warren's prospects if Mrs. Clinton stumbles.
     Senator Warren is a progressive popular with Obama Democrats and she has a populist streak when she speaks out about secret trade deals and rapacious banks.
     Senator Warren is very left of center, but could well be the fall back if the Clintons unravel.
Sen. Warren calls on Obama to declassify trade deal details | Fox News

Thousands storm Baltimore streets in Freddie Gray protests | Daily Mail Online

       Tens of thousands of baseball fans were delayed in leaving Baltimore's Camden Yards as police struggled to clear protestors outside. The demonstration was linked to the police-custody death of 25 year old Freddie Gray, who died of unexplained injuries sustained while in a police van.

      There was some violence, although even one FOX reporter this morning had to correct his anchors by telling them the mayhem was pretty isolated and not that bad. Nonetheless, these cases are a simmering caldron in many cities, where anything that goes awry will be seen as more of the same narrative.

       Thousands storm Baltimore streets in Freddie Gray protests | Daily Mail Online

Preet Bharara Says His Investigations Will Fix Broken Political System | Observer

   No one is safe form Preet Bharara. So the crusading US Attorney said in a speech this weekend, where he claimed his probes and prosecutions will change a calcified and corrupt government in Albany where wrongdoing is pervasive and not just episodic.
     That means they are all corrupt....Silver, Skelos, Heastie....but pervasive also means they are all corrupt, so by implication you'd have to conclude the US Attorney labels Cuomo, DiNapoli,Schneiderman, Ritchie, and Russell as being part of the corruption cartel.
     I am not sure an appointed prosecutor with ambitions replaces voters as the moral and ethical arbiter of all of government. That seems to be how Mr. Bharara sees himself.
Preet Bharara Says His Investigations Will Fix Broken Political System | Observer

WDT: We Don't Need Two More Counties.

     I was reading a story about Lewis County qualifying for a state program that requires demonstration of savings in local government in exchange for a stipend for taxpayers.

     The story said there are 64 counties in NY.  There are 62.  We don't need more political subdivisions.

Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

DC Celebrates Itself

    It's Saturday night and I am watching the White House Correspondents dinner. This is DC at its incestuous best....Lovin' each other....handin' out awards.....
     Mrs. Obama had a new hairdo, and the crowd anxiously awaited the chance to hear from their chosen one....President Barack Obama.
     Mr. Obama was engaging as usual and owns this crowd. He joked about his Presidency being in its final days. A lot of what the President said was funny....some was just returning fire. 
   

A Stop at the Old Haunt

   I stopped by WPBS today to see Colin Burns, who is now working there after his stint at FX.  The building on Arsenal Street has changed a bit inside since I worked there in the late 70s. Much nicer employee lounge now and their equipment is top notch.
    The Auction was going on. I remember doing those up on the "Hill"....Champion Hill when WNPE was located there. At first the studio cameras were the original WWNY image orthicon cameras that required the light of a nuclear blast to work.
    I met the new Bill Saiff.....Her name is Dana Reid, a Calgary native, who is now hosting Expedition Outdoors.
     Looking around, I realized the only broadcasters older than me are Joe Brosk and Glenn Gough. Oh, and I can't forget Ted Ford. Wasn't he the Texaco weatherman ?

Post Star: Maury Updates Us on MOC's Social Networking

       My interest in social media ebbs and flows. I pretty must lost interest in Twitter, but I probably should pay more attention.  With these live feeds from Meerkat, who knows what I might be missing.

Stefanik social networking update

The Town Was Tasty Today

   A nice crowd and great food at the Taste of the Town to benefit the Victim's Assistance Center. Local eateries set up sampling booths and the public filed through.
   The Pete's booth was so busy, the line snaked around the room at the State Office Building. No doubt our relentless promoting of Pete's helped.
   I ran in Miss Thousand Islands and the Times food critic, Hungry Shelby.
UPDATE: Pete's won First Place in the food competition.

Chinese Students Help Out

 Exchange students from China took part in today's tree planting at JCC. About forty students from the Orient are attending IHC.
 This is great to have people from so far taking part in our community activities and all today's volunteers deserve kudos.

Trees Planted at College

   Dozens of volunteers braved an icy April morning to plant forty trees on the JCC campus.  Students from local high schools helped Noon Rotary members with the annual project that coincides with Arbor Day. The trees come as many trees were cut down to make room for construction.
     Meanwhile the Heart Walk was also being held at the college.

Bruce Jenner: ‘I am a (Republican) woman’ | Page Six

     Former  Olympic  athlete and sports icon Bruce Jenner went on national TV last night to tell Diane Sawyer he is a woman. The Kardashian step dad also said he is a Republican and doesn't care for President Obama.
      Audiences were captivated by the ABC exclusive as Mr. Jenner revealed he could hide his inclinations no longer.
Bruce Jenner: ‘I am a woman’ | Page Six

WDT: Once Bustling Island to Get Final Cleaning

   What is hopefully the final phase of remediation for Sewall's Island begins soon under a state sponsored program.
    Sewall's Island was home of Black Clawson till the company began a gradual fade in the 79s and 80s and 90s.  Gradually buildings were abandoned and caught fire and were demolished. The City acquired the land and cleaned it up.
    When the final cleanup is done, it will be available for development.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

WDT: NNY Lawmakers Back Party Leaders But .

     North Country lawmakers aren't saying a lot about the most recent round of scandalous stories out of Albany, other than to offer perfunctory support for their respective parties.

     Recent news accounts involving Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Speaker Carl Heastie brought no response from Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, who did take time this week to speak out against the Cuban regime.

     Senator Patty Ritchie through a spokesperson said all she knows is what she read in the papers and didn't want to comment on that. Sergeant Schultz couldn't have said it better.

     Assemblywoman Addie Russell said the Speaker's real estate dealings were when he was a young man, but did call for restrictions on outside income for legislators.

     Senator Joe Griffo defended leadership of his party, because that's what you do in a partisan system.

      Meanwhile another charge was laid on Sheldon Silver this past week by the US Attorney, who himself was criticized for his conducting in grandstanding prosecutions at the expense of a right to a fair trial.

      Is anyone interested in Albany any more ?

     



Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Friday, April 24, 2015

WDT: Jenner Interview Widely Watched in NNY

      The gender reassignment of former Olympian Bruce Jenner drew more than passing attention tonight at ABC's Diane Sawyer interviewed the newly minted woman.

     Customers at my spot and at Pete's were chattering about the story, and it didn't really freak anyone out.....It prompted stories of transgender in local businesses and even in a local NYS prison.

     It's not something the media covers....But it goes on as society quietly addresses these issues.

Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

John Hinckley Jr's psychiatrist testifies Reagan shooter wants to start band | Daily Mail Online

   Assassination attempts you survive are the things of legend...For Presidents Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt, it made them stoic and invincible.
    Now Mr. Reagan's would-be killer my be let loose, as he was found crazy at the time and its tougher and tougher to argue he needs to be restrained.
    John Hinckley Jr. wants to start a band. Somehow I think the Gipper would get a kick out of that.
John Hinckley Jr's psychiatrist testifies Reagan shooter wants to start band | Daily Mail Online

GM CEO Mary Barra earns $16.16M in 2014

      As the good old boys in Watertown said to me when I nominated Judge Palermo..."shouldn't that kind of money be reserved for a family man ?"
      The top echelons of the car business were as clubby for guys as the old Black River Valley Club was for lawyers and judges.
      That's changed on both counts.
GM CEO Mary Barra earns $16.16M in 2014

River Generates $22K Per Day At Watertown Hydro Plant | WWNY

      If it were $22,000 a day every day that would be great but the Marble Street Hydro Plant still produces over three million dollars a year of excess power (at the rates proscribed in the contract) and it powers through a wheeling agreement most city buildings.  
      As the rates climb further in the later years of the contract, the City should pursue a systematic plan to reduce its own consumption at every building so the end of the forty year contract.
       The hydro deal has been a predictable source of money (when averaged over time), truly a rainy day funding source.
River Generates $22K Per Day At Watertown Hydro Plant | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

25 Year Old Murder Remembered

  No arrest was ever made in the murder of Tina Rose Hosmer Smith whose body was found in a driveway on Goodale Street behind the then police station at City Hall .
    Those who remember covering the crime have them suspicions on what happened and while the family still grieves , the prospects for an arrest , well they are not too high

Reports: Comcast plans to walk away from Time Warner Cable deal

     Time Warner will still be a part of most of our lives now that media giant Comcast is reportedly walking away from its merger after regulatory angst grew over the pairing.

     Big Cable or even bigger cable. What's the difference ?

Reports: Comcast plans to walk away from Time Warner Cable deal

Thursday, April 23, 2015

WDT: Rose to Take Part in All Star Game

      Since we only have one life to live, a lifetime ban from a game seems Draconian. Pete Rose is being let back into baseball gradually this year by the new Commissioner.   He should be.

Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

The Price Of Fighting The Drug War | WWNY TV 7

     Officials say after decades of the War on Drugs, they are losing ground They are making arrests but this seems like the Vietnam War when every Thursday on the news, they'd have the kill count and the enemy always had more dead but they won anyway.
     The reason is this is not a matter of right and wrong.....good and evil as defined by the mores of my generation.      This is a case of people seeking escape, and they aren't being rebels.  They don't think what they are doing is wrong or that is has consequences.  We used to get drunk and do some stupid things, but we still went to work in the morning.
        With their baby daddies and baby mommies....their tats and piercings...and their aversion to work or ambition, a new underclass is doing their thing.
         A lot of it is values and upbringing and a permissive, drug-slathered celebrity culture.   That's not what I am supposed to say, but its what I believe.
        The good news is there are a lot of good folks out their trying to make a difference for their generation. They are just overshadowed by the slackers and miscreants.
The Price Of Fighting The Drug War | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

City 4-23-15

   A busy morning at City Hall after the radio interviews on Mulling Street.,...both of which went well. I appreciate the hospitality.
    I met in my office with Brandon Webb, who is running for Mayor. We had a nice chat about the race ahead.
     Also met with Middle Class Mike and had a meeting about a water line on outer Bradley Street.

WDT: Heastie's Actions Alleged the Latest in Albany Misdeeds, but Is It ?

     So many of the downstate political scandals swirl around "not for profits'", a blanket term for entities that often receive government money that somehow ends of benefiting the people who arranged for the money getting there.
    Up here NFP's are spoken about in reverential terms. Not so in the Bronx.
     Speaker Carl Heastie is under fire for not selling an apartment building his late mother and he had bought in the late 90s with money she embezzled from , you guessed it, a "not for profit,"
     Now the media says Mr. Heastie used his mom's death to skate out from a plea deal requiring the building be sold and the proceeds given to the NFP
     No one would know or care if the previously obscure Assemblyman had not become one of three men in a room.
     So what do we do about it all 15 years later ? 
      Nothing. It's history.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Heastie Says He Acted Correctly in Repaying Restitution | WXXI News

      Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie's mother is dead, but she lives on in media accounts alleging the Speaker benefited in some manner from his late mom's embezzlement that led to her arrest.

       Meanwhile down the hall, Senate Leader Dean Skelos is being asked if he will give up his leadership post because of an investigation of his doings.

       We should let the US Attorney and the NY Times run state government.

Heastie Says He Acted Correctly in Repaying Restitution | WXXI News

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sales Experience in Small Dealership More Relaxing

. During the 2008 Recession many small town dealerships were put down by the Big Three, but Caprara's in Alex Bay survived and it's a comfortable place to shop.   No hordes of hungry salesmen and everybody is friendly especially Crazy Ray Lear.
     I was there today to service my Compass and knew I would be ordering a new car.   No pressure and helpful staff.  This is the third time I have come here to buy and recommend the drive.

WDT:.Drug Busts Send Message to Would Be Dealers

       Drugs continue to be a problem, but a busy two days of arrests hopefully sends the message, there are risks to bad choices.

        Two alleged meth labs and a stash of heroin resulted in eleven arrests.

Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Thursday Morning Radio Showdown ?

   Thursday, Diana will be coming in early on Pearl Street as 7AM interviews at the Mullin Street studios of 790 WTNY  will keep me busy talking budget with the AM boys...Am hoping for an audience with Jay Donovan.
    I have an Israeli flag raising at 9 AM and visitors to City Hall after that. Also this week there are Arbor Day activities on Friday and Saturday I will be calling Sue in early so I can attend a Rotary tree planting and the Taste of the Town festivities.
     Getting back to Jay.  Mr. Donovan has been an opinion leader in Watertown of late and I would cherish the opportunity to answer his queries about any issue he wants.

Kelly Stinnett Statistics and History | Baseball-Reference.com

    

Kelly Stinnett is no stranger to big time ball with 14 seasons in the Majors with various teams. He hit 65 homers and batted a career .234 as a catcher.

      Many in Watertown will remember Kelly's time with the Yankees.

      Kelly Stinnett Statistics and History | Baseball-Reference.com

Former Major Leaguer to Manage the Watertown Bucks

   Things are coming together at the Fairgrounds. After a championship hockey season the newly minted Watertown Bucks baseball team is making news with word former major league player Kelly Stinnett will manage the Bucks.
     Professional ball should help make the Bucks an attraction and best wishes to Matt McClusky and the the staff for a great season.
Former Major Leaguer to Manage the Watertown Bucks

Renegade Ordered.....Color Choice is Anvil

    After lengthy deliberation and consultation I went to the Bay today and ordered a new Jeep Renegade.  I got the Trailhawk version in anvil, a blueish gray color. It's one of those colors that looks different depending on the lighting.
    I was at FX Caprara in the Bay for an oil change and wiper blades and decided to get it over with. It's not all that over with as it takes six or seven months to get one. I am hoping the folks over in Melfi, Italy step up the pace, but I should be all set by winter
     The color choice is dignified and conservative enough I can still be friends with the Congresswoman who suggested Silver.
    

Topless women posing with underage kids in Times Square | New York Post

      Only under Mayor deBlasio, would such a thing happen. 

Topless women posing with underage kids in Times Square | New York Post

Cuomo Shouldn't Have Gone To Cuba, Blankenbush Says | WWNY TV 7

       What do Patty and Addie have to say about Governor Cuomo's trip to Cuba ?  Who would even think to ask Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush his opinion ?...He has a right to one, but let's get everyone's.

      When I run into the Assemblyman I never thought to engage him in a thoughtful discussion of human rights around the world. Usually we just talk about Andy and the Dems not allowing those monster UTV's at the SNIRT Run.

Cuomo Shouldn't Have Gone To Cuba, Blankenbush Says | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

WDT: It's Earth Day

   On Earth Day, little is done locally to commemorate it and the usual suspects tout the successes and failures of the movement.
   The Cuyahoga River hasn't caught on fire recently, but we are still an indulgent species creating mountains of trash, as the inconsiderate and frugal still think nothing of using the car window as their garbage chute.
     "Sustainable" is a word now used everywhere..Didn't used to be.
      There are the trendy gadgets for harnessing wind and sunlight, but vast numbers of people labor trying to pay to run less efficient lighting devices, appliances and leaky homes and buildings.
       In honor of the event and the city budget, I had a chat with the Manager just yesterday about the need for renewed interest in cutting consumption as a hedge against not just higher taxes but the end of the hydro windfall contract in 15 years.
       What's wrong with the old 1970s switchplates reminding us to turn off lights, not to mention the need to convert lighting to LEDs and new technologies.
        The message never changes. To protect yourself and the environment the best course is to inoculate yourself by using less.  A solar panel on a house with leaky windows and doors is hardly green
        We are all culprits. Get gas under three backs, and we all want to buy a Hemi..
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sandra Lee clams up on marriage talk during Wendy Williams show | Page Six

       New York's First Gal is still no closer to the alter five years after boyfriend Andrew Cuomo became Governor. Sandra Lee was evasive on the subject of marriage during recipe sharing on the Wendy Williams show.

       It wasn't many years ago living together in sin was a political sin as well, but now everything is OK

Sandra Lee clams up on marriage talk during Wendy Williams show | Page Six

Cuomo In Cuba, Day Two

    Governor Andrew Cuomo is back in NY after his brief trade visit to Cuba.  I don't mind him going, but he should have stayed longer and checked out all the old cars.

Cuomo In Cuba, Day Two

Tuesday

  The gentleman running against me for Mayor called this week to ask for a meeting to discuss the job and city issues. I had offered when he announced and am more than pleased to welcome Brandon Webb to the office for a chat.
   Mr. Webb has proved a conscientious candidate, attending meetings and taking notes.
    Cindy Habeeb will be filling in for me on May 13 as I attend the Armed Forces Day luncheon. Later this week we have a flag raising for Israeli Independence Day and a couple of tree planted events related to Arbor Day.
     Today I was at City Hall for some meetings and signed a bunch of papers.
      I filled out a questionnaire from Waste Management. It was one of those endless series of questions on how they are doing....Fine. They empty a dumpster once a month.
       Jet needs to go on a diet The winter was too full of treats and winter lethargy.
        I called the NY Conference of Mayors today to ask some questions about an issue. Its part of the service provided for the $6600 in dues in my budget. To relieve some confusion, that money does not go to me. 
     

WDT: Bus System Seen as Changing as Aid Increases

   New federal funding status should lead to changes in the City's bus system and ultimately I hope coverage of a wider area results In the meantime a new fare structure is being proposed and that will be the subject of discussions.
   Another area of budget discussion will be the Library where expanded hours are being threatened.
    Again, Council last night committed to staying within the 1.88% tax cap, something media has been reluctant to report on given the need for more spicy headlines.
     As for explaining the budget more fully, I offered to do so on Glenn's show today and he politely declined, saying people are not interested
     The other radio host commenting a lot on the budget of late has ask for no explanation for his listeners either.
      Meanwhile the hottest budget chatter is on Facebook.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Mayor's IQ Revealed....No Mensa For Hizzoner

   Today we discussed pupil testing on the HOTLINE and during the show the subject of IQ tests came up. I didn't know mine as I am sure those Iowa Tests in the 60s measured it, bit Big Education doesn't reveal such things.
    I took an on line test during the show and scored a 128. In the interest of transparency, I am immediately revealing the results even though I suspect such a low score will subject me to some ridicule.
   I just thought it was important the media have this information rather than have to call Bob Freeman again.
Free IQ Test - Fast, Free and Accurate Online IQ Test

WDT: Troopers Find Andy a Cash Cow

   The recent "Operation Hang Up" netted over 17,000 traffic tickets for various infractions, and that's a nice haul for not only the state but for town courts with a piece of an Interstate passing through their jurisdiction.

    Money raised may help fund those ten year tax abatements for the folks who created 76 jobs across the state.

Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

How foreign cash made Bill and Hillary ‘filthy rich’ | New York Post

       Who says government isn't run like a business ? A new book rails on the Clintons for making money in their later years. They are not the first and won't be the last. People are willing to pay for them to speak, as they did for Ronald Reagan when he left office and as they will for Barack Obama when he leaves office.

    All a far cry when Bill Clinton toiled for years as governor of a state for $30,000 a year . That's what Arkansas was paying at the time.

How foreign cash made Bill and Hillary ‘filthy rich’ | New York Post

Take if to the Bank....Lack of Override Law Assures Levy Hike Capped at 1.88% | WWNY TV 7

   By halting the introduction of a local law to override the tax cap, it's game, set, match and the adopted budget will surely be at or under the 1.88% cap proscribed by state law.
    The local law was in the agenda because it had to be given the Manager had proposed a levy increase above the cap.
    By meeting time, all five members had decided not to put their name even to a perfunctory introduction of the law and it went nowhere.
    Some line items will be reduced and revenue assumptions adjusted to span the $260K difference.
    Can I say this with metaphysical certainty ? Yes I can based on my knowledge of budget process and experience with these matters.
     The significance of the override not being introduced was the newsworthy event of the evening, as no one would bring it up now.
    Budget Needs To Be Trimmed, Council Members Say | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Monday, April 20, 2015

Good-Government Groups: Don’t Stock Review Panel With ‘Usual Suspects’

      Let's put Carl McCall and Stan Lundine on the review panel, and maybe some lawyers from well connected firms. Don't forget academia and at least a couple of the regular panelists on Liz' show.

     Don't put anyone with real life experience or anyone who has seen the deals come down and knows right from wrong.

     Good-Government Groups: Don’t Stock Review Panel With ‘Usual Suspects’

: 'Kids sit like zombies on their iPhones' | syracuse.com

     It's not just kids...Tonight at Pete's around closing time, a server off duty was sitting in a trance with the glow of the screen reflecting off her angelic face.....We were talking about her but she was oblivious.

     Now don't get me wrong. I bring a laptop to the bar.

      As adults we are guilty as being mesmerized by mobile devices. So much so, that I have removed the phone and laptop from workplace and put them out back...Check them when you have time, but pay attention to the non texting customers...The other ones are in a trance.

Your comments on fighting obesity: 'Kids sit like zombies on their iPhones' | syracuse.com#incart_river#incart_river#incart_river#incart_river#incart_river

Council Rejects Tax Cap Override

      City Council dismissed the recommendation to approve a tax cap override which would be required if the proposed city spending plan were adopted as is.  That would suggest Council is not inclined to raise the levy more than the 1.88% dictated by the cap.
       The proposed levy increase is 5.06%.
        The local law to authorize the override did not have an introduction or second.
        The first budget review session is a week from Thursday with an emphasis on revenue items. Included in that discussion will be bus fares, but also various projections and assumptions incorporated into the spending plan.
         Lingering in the background is the assertion by the Manager that the city's finances are unsustainable in the long term. Central to her belief is Fire Department manning and the minimum manning language in the union contracts for decades. 
          But also looming large is the end of the hydro contract and the continued high costs of public employment in NYS, including pension premiums expected to remain high for years to come.
           There is $260K difference between the proposed rate and the cap rate. That's a number to $260 in a family budget of a $41,300 wage earner  So, the difference is easily bridged by minor adjustments.
           The longer range issues need to be fleshed out beyond budget platitudes. I expect that will happen.
           Meanwhile the man who enacted the tax cap was in Cuba this evening.
Watertown Budget Calls For Staff Changes, Bus Fare Hikes | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick | New York Post

    Wow....Does the mayor really think he's the default candidate to Mrs. Clinton ? Is that why he wouldn't endorse her ?

De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick | New York Post

Lights On !

The power is back on Pearl Street.  Very quick work by Grid to clear the tree and straighten the pole.
    It was interesting to watch the foam collar used to hold the pole in place once straightened .

Dark Day on Pearl Street

Ambient light was what we had this AM for customers after a tree fell up the street hitting primary wires and plunging a swath of the northeast side of the City into darkness.    Outages are rare here but it looks like this may take a while
UPDATE.  Grid foreman says it shouldn't be long now Only our block is off now

Squawk Box Meets the Tyro


    Got a text from a DC person this morning while watching Imus. My friend told me to turn to Squawk Box on CNBC.  Knowing this guy I thought maybe it was an interview with his fav model, Emily R.
     But turns out it was Rep. Elise Stefanik on the business show.  Our MOC  did fine, and its good to see someone who has been on Pearl Street on national TV.
     Now back to Imus.

LOVETT: Is Bharara going after pols' kids to press parents? - NY Daily News

    Everyone knows if you want to get at someone, threatening their kids is a good way to get their attention, and when you have the infinite resources of the state, the possibilities are endless for US Attorney Preet Bharara.

     If the subject doesn't have children, what do you do, poison their dog ?

     LOVETT: Is Bharara going after pols' kids to press parents? - NY Daily News

WDT: Spezzano to Aid Dog Park.

     To make something happen, you have get beyond the political aspect and into the practical. The offer by Heather Spezzano to assist in the Factdory Square Dog Park project brings the kind of street cred needed to assure the public this is worth donating their own money to.

      Ms. Spezzano ran the drive to build an SPCA adoption center at Petco when she managed the store and Ms. Spezzano has the passion for animals and the skills and connections to be an asset on Councilman Jennings fundraising committee.

     With a site designated and plans drawn, now is the time to move forward.

      The NNY Community Foundation is accepting the tax deductible donations and this should also be an assurance this is all on the up and up.

      Thank you Heather for stepping up.

Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

WDT: Sunday Beer League Becomes Sunday League.

    Guess you can't call it the "beer league" anymore, as consumption of the Devil's Brew will not be allowed at the Sunday softball league, and you know what ?, there's plenty of time for that after the game.
     A little athleticism in the fresh air of summer can go on without vices and while "a cold one" sounds innocuous enough, it can wait till later in the day.
      Those who had run the league ask Parks and Rec to take over the administration of the league due to the usual challenges of running such an endeavor. They kindly donated their assets of a bit over $3K and hopefully some of the other issues will be resolved including complaints of foul language and arguments.
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