Tuesday, March 31, 2015

WDT: DQ Advances

   The proposed Dairy Queen in the Town of LeRay has passed another regulatory approval.

 Pinch me, so I know it's real we will have a DQ and a Sonic.



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

Pence: 'Was I expecting this kind of backlash? Heavens no.' - CNN.com

      Another old white haired Republican has created their own 'roommate law."   It has nothing to do with religious freedom, which is enshrined in the Constitution. It's about pandering to the trailing edge of social change.
     Governor Michael Pence of Indiana is squirming. But he will stick with the law and try to dress it up.
Meanwhile all day on even FBN the economic fallout rained on Hoosier Nation.
  
Pence: 'Was I expecting this kind of backlash? Heavens no.' - CNN.com

A Touch of Heat Coming

    A two day respite from cold comes Thursday and Friday as temperatures climb into the 50s with some rain. This will cut the snow fast and buoy spirits, before another chill on the weekend.
    March to April sees the largest one month change in average temperatures, 15 degrees...
Needed warmth in a year consistently below  average.
     Not as warm as for the Wench, vacationing in Florida.

Cuomo Bans Non-Essential State Travel To Indiana

       I've been to Indiana. In fact I spent several weeks there once.  Banning travel there is not denying anyone anything essential.  Now a ban on California wouldn't be so easy for the progressives to live by.

Cuomo Bans Non-Essential State Travel To Indiana (Updated)

Lufthansa Now Says It Knew of Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz’s History of Depression - NYTimes.com

   Wow !

Lufthansa Now Says It Knew of Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz’s History of Depression - NYTimes.com

The Power of Radio, Salesman Senses Prospect

   I always appreciate heads up people in their field. I got a call at the office today from a fellow named Dan at Fucillo's Jeep in Adams. He had heard on the radio I was looking for a Renegade and called to say he had one in the color I was looking for. The option package wasn't what I wanted and I did tell him I am a Caprara loyalist.
     If that Caroline had called, it would be tougher to remain loyal, but I think I would. 
     Because Renegades are made in Italy, you can't order one they say...just have to hope one you like floats across the pond. 
     There are so many slackers these days, it's good to see a hustler like Dan. Hope he sells lots of them.

Did Cuomo overreach in the state budget? | WRVO Public Media

     Yes the Governor had to retreat or compromise on some things.....maybe things he didn't want that badly anyway. But he got it done on time and there isn't much complaining.

     Better than the way it used to be. 

Did Cuomo overreach in the state budget? | WRVO Public Media

Indiana Gov. Stunned by Number of People with Gay Friends - The New Yorker

   Satire aside, Indiana is in the news.
And how many terms was he in Washington before taking over the  statehouse ?
    Today Governor Pence has a presser to talk about the religious freedom law. Intentions aside, this is one dumb fight to get into, now that corporate America is hammering the Hoosier State.

    Indiana Gov. Stunned by Number of People with Gay Friends - The New Yorker

An Explanation on Rules, Which May or May Not Be of Interest| WWNY TV 7

    Regardless of your feelings on the Arena, the headlines about the decision being put off again tell a part of the story. Since the project would require passage of a bonding ordinance, the introduction of the ordinance at the special meeting on Monday would have required unanimous consent to reach the floor for a vote. With one member absent, the ordinance is held over under the rules and is available to vote on next week,, where it requires a four-fifths vote for passage.  It was known going in that was the case.
     There are three options now under consideration. The project as proposed requiring a $10.3 M bonding ordinance.  A rival plan that would have to be re-bid, but is estimated at $9.1 M, and the third choice is to pay for the plans and proceed perhaps at some later date.
    There is no $7.9 M. There is an estimate of $7.9 M contractor cost on the $9.1 M overall proposal, just as the contractor cost is $9.1 M on the much talked about $10.3 M plan.
      At Monday's meeting action was taken on accepting bids, and as it has been all along the decision
hinges on the bonding ordinance, because it requires a super majority.
      As with any set of rules, strategies reflect those rules, just as it is with the cloture rule in the US Senate.
       Monday's action crystallized the issue to the bonding vote next Monday and it will fall either 3-2 in favor in which it fails, or 5-0 in favor, at least as I see the matter developing.
      In any event, the primary job of legislators is to vote on things and I was pleased that process got underway last night.
    Meanwhile ice due for removal today may be left a few more days for open skating for kids as staff awaits a decision on what comes next.
No Final Decision Yet on Arena Project | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

WDT" School Aid Numbers Coming as Hatred of the Governor Wanes in Big Ed.

   Some of the best paid among us.....educators.....have stopped "calling out Cuomo" and now are "cautiously optimistic" the Governor is giving them what they want....more money....

    School superintendents in the state's 700+ school fiefdoms are like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors...."FEED ME !" they chortle every year.

    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 Council Will Compete for Upstate Money.

    With a thumbs up in the State Budget, the stage is set for the Upstate Economic Revitalization competition proposed by Governor Cuomo.
    The North Country, which has hosted two Olympic games, will be in the hunt for cash, although the Regional Council program is very much 'inside baseball' and little understood by the masses.
    Governor Cuomo sought the appropriation to focus attention on Upstate, which has seen a flagging economy lead to declining or stagnant populations in many areas, while downstate continues to do well.
     The Council's are a collaborative effort among those in the region charged with development.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Council Votes to Accept Bids....But......

    City Council voted 3-1 to accept the bids on Arena renovations. Those measures are contingent on passing a bond ordinance to pay for it, and that comes next Monday. A four-fifth vote is required.
     The issue of  changing the scope of the project through change orders was rebuffed by city staff and legal counsel , leaving the $10.3 M  project poised for next week.
      Councilman Joe Butler Jr was not there tonight due to an out of town commitment . His vote is needed to continue. Otherwise the project is likely off the table for 2015.

Secretary Carter: Fort Drum is Not Leaving

   The Secretary of Defense boldly said Fort Drum is going to remain. Ashton Carter made the comment during a visit to the Post.

    Good news and encouragement for a community freaked out by the prospect of a sequester inspired closure.

US Defense Secretary: 'Fort Drum Isn't Going Anywhere' | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Stefanik Returns to HOTLINE

     Rep. Elise Stefanik swooped into the HOTLINE today and made a little news as she reaffirmed her desire to end sequestration and said she participates in the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, but does not use the subsidy the Act gave Members of Congress. Ms. Stefanik says she is still committed to replacing the law.
     Ms. Stefanik said the apparent move to have Senator Schumer replace Senator Harry Reid as head of the Democratic caucus in the Senate is good for NY.
     When asked to pick a color for the car I am looking at, the Congresswoman said she prefers silver. That's an answer I would have expected from Assemblywoman Russell.
     The Congresswoman went on to meetings at Samaritan Hospital, and Fort Drum where she met with newly minted Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
      The HOTLINE is a popular stop for Ms. Stefanik when in town. Observers say her first appearance on the show in 2013 turbo charged her then nascent bid for NY21.
     

NNY is More Like the Bronx than Ritzy Burbs When it Comes to Healthiness

Jefferson County and the North Country are among the least healthy areas in the state with our county ranking 52nd of 62 counties in health factors and 44th in health outcomes.

   Rockland County is the healthiest.  The Bronx is #62, and they are right next to each other.

   How healthy are New York's 62 counties? See how each one ranks | syracuse.com#incart_river

NY state budget deal reached | syracuse.com

      More school aid, more disclosure of legislator outside income, toned down teacher testing and no minimum wage hike for now.
     Those are among the budget highlights announced late Sunday by the three men who were in the room. Four if you count Senator Klein.
       This means another on time budget for Governor Andrew Cuomo who also gained approval for his $1.5B upstate economic competition dubbed the Upstate Hunger Games by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
         In all , enough meat on the bone for the Governor to claim victory and can the school superintendents stop "calling out Cuomo'.
    NY state budget deal reached | syracuse.com#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1

Martin O’Malley goes off on Hillary Clinton | New York Post

   Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley says the Presidency is not something to be exchanged between two families as he ramps up criticism of Hillary Clinton, who polls say is still the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nod in 2016.
    Look for more criticism of the former First Lady and Secretary of State, but she does seem to be unstoppable as recent scandals only annoy those who already don't like her.
    Meanwhile on the GOP side, the other family seems on track to get Jeb Bush the nomination.
Martin O’Malley goes off on Hillary Clinton | New York Post

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Says Controversial 'Religious Freedom' Law Won't Change - ABC News

   While such laws are not new and many states have passed similar laws, another culture war battle in Hoosier Land over a so called religious freedom law.  Critics claim it would allow discrimination against gays like a florist refusing to sell flowers to a gay wedding.
    I don't know of any florist who would refuse to sell flowers to anyone, but threatened business boycotts of Indiana are serious business.
     Attitudes have changed over such issues very quickly, and religion can survive without new laws just like marriage survived with or without a defense of marriage law.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Says Controversial 'Religious Freedom' Law Won't Change - ABC News

Ritchie Hopeful for On-Time Budget | WWNY TV 7

     It's routine in the news business to suggest the April 1 state budget deadline is important, but remember how for years it didn't matter ?  Governor Cuomo has delivered on-time spending plans, but not on-time tax refunds.
      So while we fuss over school districts, a lot of families would like the courtesy of getting their tax returns so they can conduct their lives.
       The issue of reporting outside income for lawmakers ?. For our lawmakers, being a Senator or Member of Assembly is their job, because there is a lot to do. If we knew the income of a Silver or a Skelos, would it change anything ? 
Ritchie Hopeful for On-Time Budget | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The HOTLINE Mystery Question for the MOC

      As I mentioned in the previous post, I am planning on buying a new vehicle for my upcoming birthday which happens to be between 59 and 61. So I was considering the new Jeep Renegade, available in several colors.
    My problem is I have a real problem deciding. I've been asking friends and customers what is appropriate.
     Black is classy, black is hard to keep clean. White is great, white is bland.  Red is too flashy. Orange is too avante garde,  tan means its time to buy a Buick.
     On and on it goes, and since I function in a public arena, I need validation from those of prominence.
     So, my mystery question for the Congresswoman on Monday on the HOTLINE is.....which color Renegade should I buy ?
     

Remember Four on the Floor ?

   As one who is looking for a new vehicle as a birthday present to myself, I am frustrated at the demise of the standard transmission. A stick shift adds a little fun to driving which has been so homogenized by modern 'all the same' vehicles.
     The stick shift , or God forbid 'three on the tree' just doesn't fit into today's world. The automatics are better and smoother and with all the high tech deliver good mileage. Also, today's youth, even the men, are sissified and insist they can't drive standard. 
     In the few products where a stick is available, it's confined to the lower trim packages, so if you want leather seats, no stick shift.
      It's the end of the world, but it was nice when you could get what you want......but today there is no real need for a standard transmission.
    

Class action lawsuit claims Dinosaur Bar-B-Que doesn't pay fair wages to tipped workers | syracuse.com

        When you set up all sorts of rules for pay and benefits, someone will try to get around them to gain an advantage.  Under the table, subminimum wage, not paying OT, etc.  Of course workers in the hospitality industry get around lots of taxes because only a portion of that gets reported.
         It's going to get tougher if we get that $15 an hour wage to go with all the other rules. Those who follow the rules go broke and workers will travel from job to job as they do now. Those who hustle and show up will do well, those who don't will lobby for a higher guaranteed wage.
        And those who have the means to sue , will. The rest of us will take what we get, and pay for everyone else.
        Sometimes employers do screw you and if you don't have a lawyer doing on contingency , you are faced with paying the freight yourself.
         Having been faced with those situations, you know, if you can, spending a bit to stick it to the man isn't a bad investment.

Killer co-pilot was an ‘insecure control freak': ex-girlfriend | New York Post

      How many of these guy's have been in the lives of women ?  Telling you who you can talk to, what you can wear down to the skirt length, and where you can go.
      So it is with Andreas Lubitz, the pilot murderer and his school teacher girlfriend Kathrin  Goldbach  who is now talking about her ex beau who may have impregnated her recently.
      I've known people in those type of relationships and in one case it went to the next level just like last week. You see it a lot in hospitality work where the new 'boyfriend' can't bear his 'old lady' being attractive in front of guys who are hitting on her. Sometimes you see the employee dressing dowdy all of a sudden or the guy trying to hang around, texting constantly or finding other ways to control.
      And while in retrospect doing something may seem appropriate, turning someone in for the threat they are is usually met with disbelieve and inaction.
       This petty drama escalated into something that affected many. That's the tragedy. And if the pregnancy stories are true, there will be a constant reminder for the girlfriend who likely could have done better.
       Killer co-pilot was an ‘insecure control freak': ex-girlfriend | New York Post

Monday's Inquisition


   So I have about 15 minutes on the HOTLINE Monday for a live interview with Rep. Elise Stefanik, as she is in town for the SecDef's visit.
     Any questions you want asked ?....I will try to weave in legit questions as I doubt we have time for calls.  Taking out time for amenities and the mystery question, we probably have a good 10 to 12 minutes for substance. That's for than enough substance in today's shallow and ephemeral world.

Post Star: OP/ED Claims Stefanik Not Bi-Partisan....First Shot in 2016 Campaign ?

    George Washington University law professor David Fontana has an OP/ED in the Post Star accusing Rep. Elise Stefanik of not being bi-partisan.  Mr. Fontana is a frequent writer for the Huff Po.  (Also a reader of this humble blog, as he quickly chimed in with a comment in this Sunday morning.)
        Mr. Fontana says the Congresswoman's bi-partisan efforts have been limited to minor bills of little consequence. As Mr. Fontana should know, it was Mao who said the longest march starts with one step.
Stefanik Critic David Fontana
        I'm not a fan of rank partisanship or the clubbyness of it, but we elected people that way, and in order to get things done, you have to play the game to an extent.
        As for Mr. Fontana, I recall reading the chirps of a GWU prof last year, and I think it was him. Those who embrace his tome, should remember he really is a DC insider.
Guest essay: Has Rep. Elise Stefanik been bipartisan? : Ragged

Stefanik: Thanks for Support Shown for Drum.

     In a letter to the editor , Rep. Elise Stefanik thanks local residents for their demonstrated support for Fort Drum.  The message of appreciation not only shows good manners, it underscores a political reality and that is leadership responds to what they people want.  Rep. Stefanik has had the importance of Drum related to her since her first visits to the western end of NY 21 two years ago.

     A string of actions and statements by Ms. Stefanik has proved to even her most ardent critics where her priorities are.

   So thank you Congresswoman for listening and following through.

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

WDT:.A Time to Pine and a Time to Vote

      A I stood in line at the one three urinal men's room last night at the Fairgrounds Arena, I frankly wondered why the patrons didn't deputize the three unused sinks in the tiny loo. Next door, women and small kids were slowly filing through nature's call.  It was a healthy crowd for the Federal Hockey League Championship game.
     Today, on the eve of a vote on Arena reservations, the WDT aptly opines on what's being debated. It's not rival groups, one says do it , the other says don't do it
     It's about a long debated proposal everyone agrees to, but some are scrambling to be seen as cutting the project because of concern over long term debt.
     The low bidding general contractor has publicly pledged to work with the city on holding down costs, and that might save a little.
      I was glad  I attended last night's game. Not just to share in the win, but to hear comments on the lips of just about everyone there. 
      For years, Parks and Rec was in its own orbit as facilities deteriorated and practices were an accounting nightmare.
      The ArenaGate scandal in 2011 was the reason current Superintendent Erin Gardner was hired and charged with whipping the program into line and improving the product delivered.
       The give and take of public policy making has resulted in what will be voted on tomorrow. Time to vote, says the WDT, and I agree.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wolves Win in First Season

The Watertown Wolves capped their inaugural season with a Federal Hockey League trophy with a 6-2 win over the Danville Dashers in front of a full house at the Fairgrounds Arena.
   It was a great game .
   The subject of Arene renovations was on the minds of many fans and visitors who commented to me as a walked around the crowd.
    One banner implored Councilwoman Macaluso to reconsider.

Night Club to Reopen Downtown

   This Friday another bar reopens downtown. The Club Rio on Franklin Street is reopening with the promise of clubbing it in Watertown, with 18 downstairs, and 21+ upstairs.  (Too bad we can't just get over the denial that "21" is all about).
     The sometimes troubled location hopefully will provide an outlet for a younger generation. Lately bars have been opening and closing with two others downtown, now down for the count.

WDT: Editorial: "Fudget" Masks Need to Repeal Sequestration

   While the Times lambastes Rep. Elise Stefanik again for supporting the GOP budget move to effect an end run around sequestration, we say, let me ask her about it Monday when she stops by the HOTLINE.
    A lot of times various machinations are needed to achieve an end and I am pleased the "Tyro" was able to arrange for the SecDef to pop in to Fort Drum although I suspect Mr. Carter will not be stopping at 260.
    I am working on a couple of questions for the Congresswoman when she comes to Wealtha Avenue. I mean like beyond the usual, "How ya' doin ?",  Will you cheer for a team that fields A-Rod at first base ? and "Are the cherry blossoms in bloom yet, cause the weather back in the 315 absolutely sucks ?
     I have a mystery question, we will elaborate on in a later post.
     But I will ask her if the vote is indeed a "fudget", but most of all I will thank her for her exemplary efforts on behalf of Fort Drum, as in local politics, people forget such pleasantries.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

'I'm planning a heinous act that will be remeymbered forever': Killer pilot's ex-girlfriend says he shared chilling prophecy before Alps crash and woke up from nightmares shouting 'we're going down' | Daily Mail Online

   What about the flight attendant girlfriend who jilted her crazy pilot boyfriend Andrea Lubitz ?  Didn't she have an obligation to report his erratic actions and threats to someone ? Would anyone have listened ?
It all makes sense after the fact, but a long history of erratic behavior and mental health issues never came to a head, at least not till this week's horrible murder flight over the Alps.
    Patient privacy laws may have hindered the situation from coming to the attention of Lufthansa or regulatory authorities , so a lot of people are dead.
'I'm planning a heinous act that will be remembered forever': Killer pilot's ex-girlfriend says he shared chilling prophecy before Alps crash and woke up from nightmares shouting 'we're going down' | Daily Mail Online

Reid Backs Schumer as Next Caucus Leader

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada will not seek reelection next year and has endorsed New York's Chuck Schumer as the next caucus leader.

   Mr. Reid is 75.

Reid exit sparks leSadership shake-up

Friday, March 27, 2015

Watertown Fire Department Study Released | WWNY TV 7

     The Fire Department study is out and it's posted on the web, so I recommend you read it as I did. I don't have any particular comment until the consultant formally presents it next month at a work session.

Watertown Fire Department Study Released | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

How Much Would Arena Project Cost Watertown Taxpayers | WWNY TV

      What's missed in the investigative piece alleging a $62 a year increase in taxes due to the Arena is the other moving parts in a budget. Every purchase and every project has a cost, which if superimposed over the current levy could produce such a number.  Mitigating factors like enhanced revenue and other debt being retired is a factor. And other decisions on spending affect the overall picture.

    And the budget hawks who say they will support a project two million less are advocating for a $50 per home increase according to Channel 7's math.

    Suffice it to say any renovation has a cost and in a vacuum can be seen as increasing taxes.  According to this formula lawyers cost a homeowner about $30 a year, the City Manager about $14 a year and the Mayor a modest 2 or 3 dollars.

How Much Would Arena Project Cost Watertown Taxpayers | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Foxy Knoxy Conviction Overturned - CNN.com

    Free at last. An Italian court has overturned the murder conviction of Amanda Knox, sparing our government the decision on extradition if the conviction held.

     The bewitching Washington Stater may have done it but there is so many years of confusion in between, it's best to just end it.

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned - CNN.com

Arena Season Ends With Big Game

    The Arena will get a final workout for the winter season on Saturday as the Wolves faceoff against the Danville Dashers in the rubber match of Federal Hockey League Championship series.

     The first four games were split two each and Saturday is the night to rock the house.

     

WDT: Monday Won't Be the End, But Perhaps the Beginning of the End.

   Monday's special Council meeting to discuss the Arena project does not offer the prospect of settling the matter for good due to the inability to vote on a bonding ordinance. Under the rules an ordinance introduced that night would require unanimous consent to proceed to vote Can't happen as one Member is out of town.
    Without that it is held over under the rules till the next meeting, when a four-fifths vote will be needed to pass it.
    Resolutions to accept the bids are worded so as not to be valid unless the bond ordinance is approved. So they could be passed or everything could be at least introduced and seconded and held over.
    So, because there is a special meeting called, does not mean there will be closure, but if there is consensus, it certainly can be resolved by the April 6 meeting.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

Rahm Emanuel floats naming Chicago airport after Barack Obama - Adam B. Lerner - POLITICO

   Faced with a tougher than expected reelection fight for Mayor, Rahm Emanuel had to pull back from his own suggestion one of Chicago's two airports be named for President Barack Obama, who began his political career in the Windy City.

   O'Hare is named after a WWII pilot and Midway after the atoll in the Pacific where a decisive sea battle occurred in 1942.

   Mayor Emanuel is a gushing supporter of the President, but let his man-crush get the best of him when he proposed the name changes while Mr. Obama is still in office. The former National Airport in DC is named after President Reagan and the former Idlewild in NYC is now JFK after President John F. Kennedy.

Rahm Emanuel floats naming Chicago airport after Barack Obama - Adam B. Lerner - POLITICO

DEA agents had 'sex parties' with prostitutes, watchdog says - John Bresnahan and Lauren French - POLITICO

   No doubt the stress of America's longest war prompted the DEA to seek refuge in the arms of Columbian hookers. 

DEA agents had 'sex parties' with prostitutes, watchdog says - John Bresnahan and Lauren French - POLITICO

Arena Supporter Touts Value of Facility to Community and Economy

   For seven years, City Council has discussed Arena upgrades, toured other facilities and received input from many users, citizens and experts and while private talks Thursday were productive, questions remain.

    Council Member Roxanne Burns put out a statement Thursday on the legacy of such facilities and the value to quality of life and the local economy.

    More on that later.

    Roxanne Burns Press Release

WDT: Stefanik to Welcome Defense Chief to Drum.

    Rep. Elise Stefanik will be in Watertown and Fort Drum Monday to welcome Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to the post. Both are expected to voice opposition to budget sequestration, a series of across the board cuts in spending that threatens to reduce the size of the Army by tens of thousands of troops and possibly result in local cutbacks as well.

     Secretary Carter's visit comes on his first domestic journey since taking office and the visit here is more evidence of the attention Drum is getting from the Congresswoman.

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

WDT:.School Budget Includes Proposed Staff Cuts, as Officials Blame Governor for Holding Them "Hostage"

    City school officials say the lack of specific aid figures from Albany is forcing them to consider the cutting of 15 teaching and custodial jobs in crafting a $68M spending plan.

    School Board members say Mr. Cuomo is holding them "hostage" in the budget battle over teacher testing and ethics reform.

     The roughly $1M budget gap may shrink in a final budget deal as the heat is on in the capital to get a budget in place by Wednesday's "sort of" deadline.

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

Gillibrand disapproves of soda tax to fight obesity | Capital New York

   Finally a bit of common sense from the left as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says proposed taxes on soda and junk food are not a way to fight obesity and in fact the taxes are regressive in who they seek to target.

    A soda tax in NYC was overturned by the courts after it was deemed executive overreach by the Bloomberg Administration.

     The state does tax cigarettes at a high rate ostensibly to promote better health. In the end, its just a money grab against those who can  afford it the least. A large percentage of cigarette sales are now through other means outside the grasp of Albany.

Gillibrand disapproves of soda tax to fight obesity | Capital New York

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Watertown Police See Surge In Counterfeit Money | WWNY TV 7

     People who pass counterfeit money are scum bags on many levels. Yes, its against the law, but it also targets small business who can't afford the hit when the money is no good. It also targets unsuspecting clerks and servers who may face discipline or job loss over it.
    Only once in thirty years, did I get hung with a bogus bill. You want to pass one ? You'll get a chance to meet the security team, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.

Watertown Police See Surge In Counterfeit Money | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

State Senate passes bill to speed up tax refunds | WHEC.com

   I doubt the Assembly will vote for it, but prompt returns would be appropriate. While the Feds had mine to me in six days, weeks go by with nothing from Andy.  I get my taxes paid on the right days.

State Senate passes bill to speed up tax refunds | WHEC.com

Secretary of Defense Carter to Visit Fort Drum on First Domestic Trip - Stripes

    Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will visit Fort Drum next week, in what is surely no coincidence as efforts continue to keep the post on the collective radar of the DC establishment.

    Secretary Carter was recently confirmed and will also be visiting Syracuse in his first domestic trip as Secretary.

Secretary of Defense Carter to embark on 1st domestic trip - News - Stripes

Officials: Crash Deliberate

   Officials in France say the most likely scenario in the plane crash on Tuesday that claimed 150 lives is that the co-pilot locked himself in the cockpit and intentionally crashed the plane into the French Alps.
    The theory results from tape in the "black box" revealing the pilot pounding on the cockpit door to no avail.

Drum Welcomes New 10th Commander | WWNY TV 7

 
Fort Drum's new commander is named Jeffrey.   MG Jeffrey Bannister  took over the post this week from MG Stephen Townsend who is moving up to the 18th Airborne Corps.
   The outgoing boss has done a super job and has been a big booster of NNY. Best wishes to the Townsends in their new locale.
Drum Welcomes New 10th Commander | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Poll: Cuomo should ditch $1.5 billion economic development contest among Upstate cities | syracuse.com

     I wouldn't think most people understand what has been dubbed Cuomo's "Hunger Games" for upstate. Understand it or not, they oppose it according to a poll.
    The Legislature has yet to include the plan in the budget. Communities desperate for cash are hesitant to oppose the measure, except for Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who put out a post ridiculing it and comparing herself to Jennifer Lawrence.

Poll: Cuomo should ditch $1.5 billion economic development contest among Upstate cities | syracuse.com#incart_story_package#incart_story_package#incart_story_package#incart_story_package#incart_story_package

Various Things on Thursday Morning


   Looks like the plane crash in the Alps has a strange twist as one of the pilots found himself locked out of the cockpit and pounded on the door to get back in to no avail. This could be the source of mystery as it suggests catastrophic mechanical failure may not be the reason for the crash that claimed 150 lives.
    Looks like Sgt Bo Bergdahl is now charged with desertion and faces hard time. A far cry from when his parents were welcomed at the White House after his release was negotiated.
   The revision to the Arena project would trim $1.2M from project , not the $2.4M reported.
   The NNY Community Foundation is going to match up to $20K of the community donations for the Fort Drum monument in Thompson Park.
   The long awaited study on the Fire Department will be formally presented at the next work session on April 13.
    I have some visitors from HUD at City Hall today. Meeting with them at 10AM.s

NY speaker: Minimum wage hike should be a part of state budget | syracuse.com

   Teacher evaluations and disclosure of legislator outside income seem to dominate the public part of the state budget negotiations, but you never know what will end up in the final package as the flurry of activity starts in advance of the April 1 deadline.
    There is pressure for a substantially higher minimum wage to make NY the worker's paradise. There is also expected to be increased aid for education, although at the local level superintendents and NYSUT have been "calling out Cuomo" claiming they have no money.
NY speaker: Minimum wage hike should be a part of state budget | syracuse.com#incart_river#incart_river#incart_river#incart_river#incart_river

Speaker Beams at Andy's Hug

   A photo showing Governor Cuomo hugging Speaker Carl Heastie and lifting the shorter Mr. Heastie off his feet tells a lot about Albany. I am just not sure what.

    The image shows a smiling Speaker lifted in the air following an agreement on an ethics package. Other reports have indicated the Governor believes the Speaker is controlled by former Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Heastie Shrugs At Cuomo’s Hug

Census; Most of Upstate in a Malaise....Jefferson Growth Ebbs | syracuse.com

   New Census projections show Jefferson County losing about 500 people last year but still up 2.5% over the 2010 Census. This places us eighth among 62 NY counties in growth from 2010-2014. Jefferson has 119,103, according to the Bureau of the Census.
    NYC is the growth center, up some 300K since 2010, signaling a continued shift of political power downstate.
    Governor Cuomo has proposed various upstate development programs to stem the malaise.
New Census data: NYC grows the most in state; rest of NY shows little change in population | syracuse.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Feedback: New Arena Plans Save $1.2 Million | WWNY TV 7

   A revised proposal for the Fairgrounds Arena lowers the cost by $1.2M....That would reduce the overall cost to $9.1 M, but it would also require a re-engineering of the project w would cost a  portion of the savings.

   The revised proposal trims the second florr from the project.

Feedback: New Arena Plans Save $1.2 Million | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Cold Ride to Adams Center

    I made the trek to Adams Center today to drop my Honda off for the recall work. It's always a pleasant visit to FX Harley/Honda where I chatted with Dawn and others.  I decided to leave it there as it was a cold trip down there , so they got me a courtesy driver to take me home. (I took the back roads as it was cold enough at 40 mph).
   He happened to be a loyal HOTLINE listener and knew I had an interest in the new Jeep Renegade. He insisted I stop at the store to see the first two that arrived today. I obliged and took a quick drive down to the plaza with my old friend Mike Perkins. Drives nice.
    I plan on buying myself a car for my birthday this spring as I am lapping a decade. Can't decide if I like the Renegade, another Wrangler or one of those VE Beetle R-lines. I'd like a stick as it's a generational thing although no one else wants one now.
     I'll give it some thought in the next couple of weeks. My birthday is May 12. When I got back home, Crazy Ray stopped by with the rap sheets on the Renegades coming to the Bay. Ray is a hustler.

In New York, you can't have these 6,942 dirty vanity plates

   There are nearly 7000 offensive vanity plates you can't have, including the understandable IH8NY.

    My Patty plate of 55SL is still OK.

In New York, you can't have these 6,942 dirty vanity plates (search for banned licenses) | syracuse.com#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1#incart_m-rpt-1

Cuomo is quacking up | New York Post

      A hasty retreat on the education front, and a host of other issues has left Governor Cuomo weakened according to long time observers of the capital. 
        "Nobody is afraid of the Governor anymore," barks the NY Post.  But a lion in winter is not without fangs or claws.  He may not be on track to be President, but he is still a formidable politician with control over an entire state government.
        The AG may be measuring for drapes at the mansion, but let's not count Andy out yet.

Cuomo is quacking up | New York Post

Heinz, Kraft to merge with Buffett's support

   A major NNY employer is merging and its good news for shareholders. Kraft is set to merge with Heinz.  Kraft operates facilities in Lowville. Kraft stock soared on the news.

Heinz, Kraft to merge with Buffett's support

WDT: The Sky is Falling, Maybe

   Today's media screed on Fort Drum is the alleged effect a 16K cut in troops would have on older housing stock in the city. That's a theme I've heard before, but actually such a cut has to be having an effect on investment in anything here, old or new.
    While the prospect of economic calamity is dangled in order to keep the political class scared to death to the point of getting rid of sequester, there is no solid reason to think that number would be cut. Some lesser number ? Probably or maybe not. Congress will decide when the heat gets high enough.
    Remember though, many MOCs don't have a military component in their district so the imperative rests with those who do.
     The worry one has over the recurring talks of cuts and closures is property is a dicey investment. The older housing stock that's already built might not suffer as much but the number of doomsday scenarios with that kind of cut could result in news stories about a variety of industries.
       I don't expect to see any stories written about 'troop cuts threaten gin mill owners'.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

WDT: City Court Project Moves Forward Slowly as Sparring Continues Over How to Rearrange First Floor.

       The X-Ray machine is in the house but coming up with a workable floor plan to enhance security has proved difficult to do in the fifty year old City Hall.  The City is under orders to do something to accommodate a second full time judge, but the tougher challenge is how to design a means to get in-custody prisoners in and out safely.
     The current entrance foyer is still missing a window after an inmate bolted and head-butted the glass.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.