Thursday, April 17, 2014

WDT: Demolition at former Mercy Hospital complex to start May 1

      What will be a transformational project for downtown Watertown accelerates May 1 when demolition begins in earnest on the sprawling Mercy Hospital site on Stone Street.
      Officials of COR Development outlined their plans for the next phase of what will be a $70M residential/commercial endeavor.

Artist Rendition of What Likely Will Replace Mercy
      For months, COR has been cleaning out the complex in advance of a staged demolition that will begin on the far west side of the city block.
       This is a sign of great progress for the City and relieves the community of an enormous white elephant.  The last remnants of Mercy closed last year as nursing home patients were moved to a new facility.
Watertown Daily Times | Demolition at former Mercy Hospital complex to start May 1

Syracuse Green Party Star from 2012 To Help Howie Save the Line|

      Ursula Rozum won't be running for the Syracuse Congressional seat this time, but the feisty Green Party candidate from two years ago has a bigger role. She will run the statewide campaign of Howie Hawkins for Governor as the party seeks to garner 50,000 votes in order to retain its spot on the NY ballot for another four years.
     What distinguishes what the Greens do is run their own candidates rather than participate in the state's dubious system of fusion voting.
      Two years ago Ms. Rozum garnered 8% of the vote but made a difference in the issues she raised as she went toe to toe with the major party candidates.
       Too often third party candidates are dismissed by the oh-so conventional mainstream media, but hopefully Ms. Rozum and Mr. Hawkins will succeed this year in retaining ballot status for what is an exercise in democracy.
Ursula Rozum, Green Party, will not challenge Rep. Dan Maffei for seat in Congress |

State bill would require $15 an hour minimum wage at chains and large businesses - NY Daily News

      There is a Senate and an Assembly sponsor for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for employees at the nation's largest retail chains.   Why ? because those chains are making so much money on the backs of the working folks.
        Of course, those with little sense of economics argue this will create new money for the community.
         As a wealthy business owner, there have been many times I wish I was making $15 an hour.
State bill would require $15 an hour minimum wage at chains and large businesses - NY Daily News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jason and Gert are Jerks

   Poor Steve Burke...Nice , thoughtful guy...77 years old and wants to run for Congress, but he has Aaron Woolf's boot on his throat...or is it Steve Israel's boot...or June O'Neill's....

   Well, we wish Steve the best. He was always nice to me and I hope at 77 he gets to run.

Burke waiting on petition challenge

Water, Water, Everywhere.

   Spring runoff continues to rage down the Black River and in the City we are monitoring possible flooding and limited evacuations on streets near the river.
    Please be careful near the river and  understand there may be some inconvenience.

It's 2014 and We Will Learn about the NY 21 Race in a Different Way....Get Used to It

   Today, my good friend Kari Plumpton thanked me for the blog as she said this has been the place to follow the tick tock of NY 21.  Kari even said she thinks I am fair, despite my slant.
    Also today I noted the WDT has started an on-line section with all the stuff about the candidates, including bios, recent stories, links to Facebook, and most important a link to this humble blog.
     All rivalries aside, this is an interesting race with some very bright, aggressive and interesting candidates.
Whoever wins has a lot of responsibility and will be with us a while. It's worth following.  It's good to see everyone gearing up. Now, if only I can convince Scotty that politics matters.

Woolf Report Filed.

     Democrat Aaron Woolf relied heavily on donors from New York City and around the Northeast for the $200+K he raised in the first quarter of 2014.
     Mr. Woolf also is in good with the Cullman family, whose members piled up over $24,000.  There were a few donations from with NY21, including $2600 from Brian Ruder of Ausable Forks.
     There were several donations out of Cambridge, MA. too.
      Mr. Woolf's complete report is available on the Federal Election Commission website.

Rothenberg: NY 21 a Toss Up as Woolf Prowls and GOP Bumbles

        A key political analyst is among those now ranking our Congressional district as a toss up. The Rothenberg report  lists NY21 among a very short list of true tossup seats.
        Aggressive fundraising and grass roots work by Democrat Aaron Woolf combined with a horribly debilitating and divisive GOP primary has thrown what was widely considered a Republican pick up into a toss up.
      Surely the changing winds will bring more Democratic resources in...
      It's game on in NNY this year !

House Ratings | The Rothenberg Political Report

This summer will be miserable, Farmer’s Almanac says | New York Post

     I don't think there will be too many complaints after the unrelenting cold, except for the A/C bills.  It looks good for the next week or so after this morning's resurgence of winter.

This summer will be miserable, Farmer’s Almanac says | New York Post

Stefanik Finances Show Big and Small Donations

     Earlier we looked at the Doheny FEC report, and this AM I checked out Elise Stefanik's.  Like her competitor, she had donations from a wide geographic area from CA to San Juan, PR. Kelli from Dallas gave 2600. Mr and Mrs Ricketts from Illinois each gave the same.
     There were more donations from the district, including some leading business owners from the eastern front,  than Mr. Doheny but there were addresses in NYC and CT as well. Several DC area addresses also.
      A name that stuck out was 2010 Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino who gave $2600.
      There were some PACS including ones from Ford Motor Company, Boeing and KPMG.  The Wild and Wonderful PAC gave a grand, and Women Under Forty gave too.
       When in Watertown last month she stayed at the Fairfield Inn, and the expense side showed little that was unusual.
        I would think the recent Conservative Party nomination would bring a lot of that cash her way this month.
       The next report is just prior to the primary.
        I tried to access Mr. Woolf's report but for some reason couldn't. Will try later.
         One thing is for sure. Just keeping track of all this is quite a job.

Doheny Report Has Lots of People from Somewhere Else

   They are not local names for sure but in today's campaign world money comes from all over.  Darren Hawking from Selmar, TN, or Jim Walsh in Overland , KS, or Eric Winston in LA....All contributors to Matt Doheny for Congress , according to the FEC report filed today...
     These are the thousand plus people...Most at $2600 max...
      There are some NNY folks...Doug Dier in Clayton at 250....Lawrence Dolhof in Lyons Falls at 500....Susan Kasprzak in Plattsburgh at 250 and Charlie Lamon in Dexter at 500. There/s Mark Morgia in Clayton at 250 and Gina Poggi ta 500...Count Milly Smith at 500.  The only local who gave the max of $2600 was John Gaus of Watertown.
      Lots of people from the City of New York and its suburbs    at 2600 each....the maximum. Donations from DC area, Florida too.  Most come from those in the finance field or law.
     To be sure, all campaigns depend on donors from afar as raising money in NNY is nearly impossible. But since the campaigns all tout their dollar haul  as some validation of their qualifications, it's interesting to see where the money comes from.
      Kudos to those local people who helped out a candidate as that is a means of civic involvement.
       We have come to expect these elaborate campaigns to play out  every two years and to do so, everyone needs to spend so much time raising money.
        The reports from everybody are available on the FEC website..

Stefanik 'taking a good look' at Ryan budget plan, Doheny Says Its Just a Priority List

    Rep, Paul Ryan may be the budget deep thinker of the GOP , but his latest proposal isn't getting a wet kiss from those running for office this year.  Both Republican Congressional candidates tell the Post Star they are cautious in reviewing the plan with Matt Doheny saying its just a priority list since a temporary budget resolution is in place. Elise Stefanik, who this year is endorsed by Mr. Ryan, says she is wary of aspects of the plan, particularly ones related to those at or near SS and Medicare age.

    Meanwhile, Democrat Aaron Woolf sees the Ryan plan as a free fire zone for concerns over entitlements and other federal baubles here in NNY

Stefanik 'taking a good look' at Ryan budget plan

Jason and Gert Are Doing It For Woolfie

     I have been sort of following petition challenges in NY21, but unless you're there its hard to know whats up....I must have erred on the Jason and Gert reference. Seems they may be Democratic shills and that's why they objected to Stefanik, Burke and Funiciello petitions as the race the Democrats want is Woolf-Doheny.
     Top DCCC operatives have cackled about the race on Twitter.
      With finance reports in and a couple months of watching him its clear the GOP smugness about this seat being a slam dunk is premature.  Aaron Woolf surprised the conventional wisdom crowd when he appeared out of the ether, but he is much better positioned now.
       When everyone was mocking Mr. Woolf as the Brooklyn green grocer, one stake holder in the race refused to chime in, telling me "the Democrats are not stupid. They known what they are doing."
       He has hurdles to overcome, but it's clear some smart people see a path to victory.

Just a Hobby.....Don't Substitute for Professionally Prepared News

     Readership is up a bit of late,  which always happens in a political season as the candidates, the hacks, the camp followers, the hangers-on and the political chattering class take a peek to see if there is something different here.
      The other day, someone dropped a note calling this the best news/political blog in NNY, and even suggested a career at, the well read national chronicle of politics.  While I appreciate the kind words, this is just a hobby.
      I don't want to work too hard or have some crazy editor ripping me everyday.
      As for the content here, it's meant to augment, not replace a regular diet of news, as my take on things is fair but not balanced.

Derek Jeter dines with gal pal Davis’ parents | Page Six

     We know Derek Jeter will not be playing baseball next season, but will he have to stop being a player off the field ?
      The 39 year old Yankee favorite is back together with 22 year old gal pal and model Hannah Davis and the two dined out in NYC this week with Hannah's parents, who also attended a recent game.
        It's not a May-December romance, but the all but certain Hall of Famer won't have the star power with the ladies once he turns 40 and hangs up the cleats.
Derek Jeter dines with gal pal Davis’ parents | Page Six

WDT: CDBG Funding Now Stable for City

     While not nearly enough money to run a  campaign for Congress, the City's allocation of CDBG money can and should go towards trying to turn the corner on the most blighted neighborhoods where declining properties discourage private investment.
      While the $790 K  allocation is small compared to the problem, devising the right projects in the right areas could be beneficial.
Watertown Daily Times | Watertown should use Community Development Block Grant funds to enhance neighborhoods

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Keep My Transcripts in my Desk Drawer at City Hall Just in Case

    When I ran for Mayor back in 1991, no one questioned where I went to college.  I said I went to the University of Missouri and that was that. No transcripts or note from the registrar required.
    But was that wise of the media ?. Some in the comment section have raised the issue of whether the Watertown-based media is questioning the educational bone fides of candidates from Congress. Or at least some of them.
    It's kind of like Trump's birther demands.  We didn't learn that at Mizzou's  J-school.

UPDATE- I Was informed tonight the WDT has indeed confirmed Elise Stefanik graduated from Harvard.  Did the guys in the race have to provide proof ?

Why New York Democrats Have Turned Against Andrew Cuomo - Alex Seitz-Wald - The Atlantic

  Wonder why NY is in trouble...Poor Andy Cuomo has passed gun control, expanded Head Start, advocated for inmates going to college and slathered more money on school districts, yet his party's base is rebelling when they should be huggin' and kissin' him.
   His chief foe is Bill Samuels who says he doesn't have a Democratic friend who likes the Governor.
    We will see if these "progressives" are the real deal....Will they run their own candidate on the WFP line ?
I say no and come November, Andrew Cuomo will be all comfy on the D line.

Why New York Democrats Have Turned Against Andrew Cuomo - Alex Seitz-Wald - The Atlantic

Study: We Peak at Age 24 - In terms of our cognitive motor performance

     But in terms of cunning and deviousness, when do we peak ?...I know people older than me who have not peaked in those categories. A couple of them I see frequently around dinnertime usually.

Study: We Peak at Age 24 - In terms of our cognitive motor performance

Doheny Claims the Most Money

         Congressional candidate Matt Doheny has loaned his campaign $250,000 and claims to have raised another $291,000 in the first quarter of 2014.
         In a press release Mr. Doheny declares himself the clear frontrunner for NY21.  Mr. Doheny recently hosted a $21 a head fundraiser in Watertown,   Since I doubt there were 13,857 people there, a look at the actual FEC reports from all the candidates will shed light on finances for the top three candidates, which include Elise Stefanik and Aaron Woolf.

Cuomo Approves National Popular Vote Bill

   Governor Cuomo has signed the ill advised National Popular Vote bill that commits New York's Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
   The bill takes effect when adopted by states totaling more than half the nation's 538 electoral votes adopt the law.
    The measure is an end run around the Electoral College system because it would be impossible to get the needed three quarters of the states to approve a Constitutional amendment.
     Governor Cuomo will sign this in the name of reform and all it does is take away the rights of New York voters to participate in the election of a President.
      But he favors retention of Wilson/Pakula.

Cuomo Approves National Popular Vote Bill

City Hall News

   Too much of a good thing on the Black River this week as flows are so high they actually impede production at the city-owned plant on Marble Street.  At 32,000 CFM production drops and one of three turbines is not running.. the best flow is around 10,000 CFM.
    Right now the plant produces $362 of electricity and hour for sale to Grid.....Last week it was $600 an hour. On balance the spring is expected to be above average.
    Kite Day is official !.....June 14th in Thompson Park with lots of bands and fun for all.
    And for those who want to remember the good old days in the City Hall lock up , the crowbar motel reopens tonight for those we have to hold until arraignment...It's all spruced up...For a room, call 911.

What's In That Truck ?

      A Premium Plywood truck was spotted in the eastern portion of NY21.  That's the family business of Elise Stefanik.  Watertown media is investigating to see if there is really plywood inside. Seems they got a tip from a Senator's office.

    Premium Plywood  was founded in 1992 by Ken Stefanik and to this day markets high quality hardwood productions through the Northeast, according to the firm's website.  

Hassig Gone..No Green Primary

   The name of Donald Hassig is now off the BOE list of valid candidates for the Green Party in NY21, presumably because it was filed late...Anyway the only candidate listed now is Matt Funiciello,the Glens Falls businessman.
   Also in the petition intrigue, specific objections were filed against Elise Stefanik's Indy line petitions, although its moot since she didn't have the Wilson/Pakula anyway.
   No other specific objections have been filed so far.

REPORT: NY to Fine Businesses (of course) for Allowing EBT Cards to be Used for Booze, Gambling or Strippers

   This makes for a great headline, but there are no strippers accepting EBT (welfare) cards. But on the topic in general what stops an EBT card holder from buying me a sub, a copy of the NY Post and a bag of Chips Ahoy and in turn I buy them an 18 pack of the Beast ?. We can even be polite and make the exchange outdoors.

     I don't think those cards are even negotiable, except at accepted locations and the Nice 'n Easy doesn't have strippers.

     Back in the day people would play poker with food stamp coupons...usually $2 for $1 cash.  It's human nature. If you give somebody something they should be able to do what they want,.

    I remember the first year I worked at WWNY the Johnsons gave us each a turkey. What did I want with a frozen turkey as I ate Christmas dinner at my friend Marty Kelly's house ?  So I sold the turkey to coworker Danny Hall for five bucks.

    Its a market decision we all make as consumers.

     Recipients of public assistance will do the same.   

NY to begin fining businesses that accept welfare debit cards for booze, gambling or strippers |

Post Star: Conservative endorsement solidifies Stefanik local support

    I don't know if an endorsement from Tom Scozzafava is  or is not a big deal in Franklin County, but what is clear that in areas of NY21 where it was reported, the Conservative Party nod has blown the dog whistle that its OK to support Elise Stefanik.
    Up till last week Mr. Scozzafava was telling the Post Star  he was neutral after seen in a photo with Ms. Stefanik.  That's how high-anxiety it gets in politics.
With Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava

    There will be more endorsements of course and the big name state legislative names will be sought. Those are people who could actually bestow a little momentum and at least a block of votes. Right now I suspect if you ask these people about it all, they quickly start talking about what a rough winter it was.
     Newspaper endorsements are at this point predictable, but publishers like to be insiders and be able to call a MOC whenever. They will be cautious. Often no endorsement is quite revealing.
      In 2009, the unexpected win of Bill Owens left many local officials with no relationship to their MOC. To his credit, Mr. Owens was very cordial and accommodating, but that race was a signal the old days of GOP pols moving up through the chairs like it was an Elks Club, are over.
      One thing is for sure I no longer hear any dismissive pejoratives about Ms. Stefanik from the local chattering class. No point getting into the phraseology here.
Conservative endorsement solidifies Stefanik local support

WDT: Doheny claiming to best opponents in NY21 for campaign finance collections in first quarter

     Maybe the critics are right. Look at the headline focusing on what hasn't happened versus the real announcements by Woolf and Stefanik on what did happen.
      So what is happening behind the scenes ? thing very public yesterday was a Twitter dust up between a GOP county chair calling for Mr. Doheny to stand down and a long time Doheny loyalist who spends his days in the public employ on Twitter and Facebook.
       While most of the districts 720,000 souls don't care or choose to know what's up, a lot is happening behind the scenes.
       There was a missive from the Astorino campaign I saw somewhere that Mr. Astorino will be campaigning somewhere today with Elise Stefanik. Her campaign didn't publicize it likely not wanting to put him on the spot in a contentious race here.
       Since all politicians keep score, its getting to the point in the campaign for those who like to dabble in politics to wonder whether they are on the right side of history.
Watertown Daily Times | Doheny claiming to best opponents in NY21 for campaign finance collections in first quarter

WDT: Jefferson County projects $1.5 million sales tax deficit

   Just to put these things in perspective as a budget has a lot of moving parts. A downtick in sales tax revenue is not something to overlook, but it's like earning a quarter million dollars a year from different sources and having the aggregate drop by $2K . You'd rather it didn't, but you are still living well.

    I think with winter over, sales tax will rally. The stores are still full. This evenings heavy raid should also help  City residents with the hydro revenue at Marble Street.

Watertown Daily Times | Jefferson County projects $1.5 million sales tax deficit

Monday, April 14, 2014

WDT: Politicians for state and national office tour Slack Chemical in Carthage

   I was reading this story and what struck me is that what was supposed to be Rob Astorino's first visit to Jefferson County was just a story about three guys touring a chemical plant and the bulk of the story was about what's going on at Slack Chemical.
   What about a rally...some people with signs....a stem winder of a speech....?
    I wanted to learn more about Mr. Astorino because Dicker was reporting this week that he might win and the Governor has not had a particularly good year politically.
    Oh well, maybe next trip.

Watertown Daily Times | Politicians for state and national office tour Slack Chemical in Carthage

Challenges....The Ultimate Insider's Parlor Game

      Jason and Gert have added Steve Burke to the list of petitions they are challenging, meanwhile the Republican, Conservative and Independence petitions of Matt Doheny are also being challenged  by a Doug Beaty and a Mark Westcott.
     Donald Hassig's Green petition is now listed on the BOE website as valid. That's the latest.  So in summary, everyone is challenging everyone, except Aaron Woolf. No one is bothering him.
     After filing general objections, an objector has a week to produce specific objections. Sometimes that never happens.
     Why would you challenge Stefanik's Indy petitions when she doesn't have the Wilson/Pakula anyway ? Well if you get them ruled insufficient for number of signatures, that's the subject of a press release.   Same with Doheny's Conservative petitions, which privately have been criticized for having hundreds of signatures from non-party members added at the last minute to make numbers look good. That would be a really good press release.
     This is all such inside baseball, even those paid to cover the race don't bother with this unless something important happens.

Putting Politics Aside for a Barn Star

    While the Twitter, Facebook and email wars raged across NY21, I was out shopping for a barn star.
You know those metal five point starts on people's houses nowadays that at first we all thought was a cult but now know its just North Country Chic.
     When you are not looking for one, they are everywhere, but today not so. Home Depot, Lowes, Big Lots ,even the Adirondacky place in the mall where the owner told me the Chinese are behind the shortage.
     I eventually found a nice selection at Sonny's Market in the Town of Longway.
      Now I have to find a friend with a ladder to put it up.
     Tomorrow is tax day. I can't believe the number of people who don't get it done and sent in early.  I did and of course I am waiting til tomorrow to send the payment in to Uncle Sugar and his friend Andy.
     My fair share...pulling my weight...
      At least the market was up today and took a little of the sting out of writing the check.
       And there is no Council meeting tonight as our work session is on the fourth Monday this month. We also have a special meeting in early May to chat about the courtroom..
       Am at Pete's. Hope Big Ed doesn't bring up politics.

Astorino Campaign: We Are Not Taking Sides

   The Astorino campaign just emailed me to say their candidate is not taking sides in NY21. I only deal in impressions, and that's how it looked this AM....But I take Jessica Proud at her word and thank her for reading this humble blog.

Woolf Will Report $400K In Cash On Hand, Loans Himself $200K

      Democratic Congressional candidate Aaron Woolf is off to a quick start with fundraising and has shown a willingness to pony up his own cash, something the stingy NNY political class likes.
     Mr. Woolf will be more of a contender than the GOP chattering class has thought. He has a ways to go to win, but let's see the lay of the land on June 25 and how much Republican blood has been spilled.
     It might be more like Verdun than Bastogne.
Woolf Will Report $400K In Cash On Hand, Loans Himself $200K

Doheny to Long : NUTS ! (or a Bridge Too Far ?)

      In a brash retort to Conservative Party Chair Mike Long , Matt Doheny's tart-tongued press flack has sought to compare his candidate to 101st Airborne troops under siege at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. A release out today screams "NUTS !", the same retort used by Brigadier General Anthony NcAuliffe when German forces demanded his surrender in December 1944.
Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe

     After endorsing Elise Stefanik for Congress last Friday, the Conservative Party boss said Mr. Doheny should end his race Others reportedly have suggested that since.
      But Mr. Doheny has soldiered on, today stumping with GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino who is expected to get the C line on the ballot.
       As for the comparison to Bastogne, it is unclear who will play the role of Patton's Third Army and this analogy to history may for the D'Amato brain trust prove to be "a bridge too far."

Press Republican: GOP Headed for Perilous Schism

  Is it Five  or is it Six.... ?   As of this AM no record on the BOE site of Donald Hassig in the Green Party, but we will give it another day.

   As for the major party's veteran political scribe Joe LoTemplio over the Press Republican provides an interesting perspective on how the prospects of a GOP schism help the Democrats in what is now a competitive district.

   I am surprised the old bulls of the GOP haven't interceded. Maybe there are none left. You don't need to be a political science major to see where things are headed.

Five vie for 21st Congressional District seat » Local News » Press-Republican

Stefanik Raises $$$ and She Will Need It As Bitter Primary Battle Looms

      Congressional candidate Elise Stefanik raised over $268,000 in the first quarter of 2014, according to the report she is filing with the Federal Election Commission.  This brings to over a half million raised so far, in a district notoriously difficult to raise dollars in.
       Of the 831 donors, 701 were donations of $250 or less. The campaign has $350,000 cash on hand.
       However, what she raises will surely be dwarfed by opponent Matt Doheny's ability to self fund. With a raucous primary now in the offing, much will have to be spent on that effort and thus diverted from the fall campaign.
      The Woolf is eyeing all this with great interest.

Is Astorino Taking Sides ?

   As a casual follower of politics I am not as astute as some, but it would appear today the Republican Party is  kicking the C line to the curb (except when they aren't) as likely GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has scheduled a day long campaign tour with Republican Congressional hopeful Matt Doheny.
    So says this release this morning from the Insider.

Share this:
For Immediate Release: April 14, 2014
Contact: David M. Catalfamo | | 518-729-0469


NOTE: Matt will be campaigning all day with Westchester County Executive and GOP candidate for Governor Rob Astorino

TourSlack Chemical465 South Clinton StreetCarthage, New York9:30 - 10:45am
TourKnowlton Technologies213 Factory StreetWatertown, New York10:45 - 11:30am
(media Avail after the tour)
Tour and BriefingFort Drum12:30 - 1:30pm
(Closed to Press)
VisitCurrent Renewable Energy20 Commerce DriveMassena, New York4:45 - 5:30pm
Meet and GreetSergi's Italian Restaurant38 Market StreetPotsdam, New York6:00pm


      The Astorino and Doheny tour comes three days after Conservative Chair Mike Long gushingly endorsed GOP candidate Elise Stefanik after she received overwhelming support from the party's state executive committee. 
      This looks like state GOP establishment taking sides or at least the remnants of the Pataki/D'Amato years are.
      It is clear the emerging strategy will be to run to the center, particularly in the western end of the district where Republicanism is often entwined with the Scozzafava wing of the GOP.  
      A local conservative told me that at an election night GOP party in 2009, many Jefferson County Republicans were actually cheering Bill Owens win over Doug Hoffman.   
     What is curious about Mr. Astorino's kumbaya tour with Mr. Doheny is it appears to be a case of taking sides and for his first trip up here, the focus will not be on Mr. Astorino.
     But he is not expected to win anyway and this is a way to "dog whistle"  to the RINO's on where they should land in June.


Astorino in Jefferson County Today

   Jefferson County will get its first look at GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino today as the candidate visits Slack Chemical in Carthage and then takes a tour of Fort Drum, something now SOP for those wanting to curry favor with the political leadership of this region.
    Mr. Astorino is the Westchester County Executive, elected twice to that position. He will be formally nominated next month to run against Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Here and Now

Democratic leader: GOP base ‘animated by racism’ | New York Post

   The man in charge of Democratic Party efforts to win House seats and a long time Long Island Congressman says the base of the Republican Party is animated by racism.  Rep. Steve Israel made the remarks on CNN.
    The Sharpton-like comment is typical of Democratic Party dogma as the race schism is is an important part of their electoral strategy.
Democratic leader: GOP base ‘animated by racism’ | New York Post

WDT: Watertown residents complain of aggressive salesmen from Brooklyn-based Kiwi Heating

   The door to door salesman is nothing new, but these energy companies at your door and on your phone are an annoyance. Sometimes  they are more , such as with one firm generating police complaints about their taxes. Let's face it, it must be pretty bad to call the cops.
     Most of us grew up in a world where there was one power company and one phone company. Now we have all these options and there are no savings, just annoying sales pitches.
     Above all, no one is ever going to show up at your door wanting to do you a favor. Learn to say no matter what is offered.
Watertown Daily Times | Watertown residents complain of aggressive salesmen from Brooklyn-based Kiwi Heating

Sunday, April 13, 2014

New York State Gaming Commission hears testimony on problem gambling | WRVO Public Media

   I love it when NYS government hold hearings on the deleterious effects of gambling when its the same state that runs all the games at great profit.  They always bring in the heads of the not for profits and mental health professionals, then they come up  with rules and 800 numbers to provide the political cover.

   Pols need cover for what they are doing. They are expanding gambling opportunities on several fronts, but need to tell the Protestant ministers that they have taken the measures needed to prevent "problem gambling".

    It's a business with risks. Harm will occur to some. If you accept the premise that the greater good is it creates more revenue for government, then its all OK. If you think its wrong morally and preys on bad judgment then no 800 number or pak of counselors will change your mind.

New York State Gaming Commission hears testimony on problem gambling | WRVO Public Media

More Photos of Fear and Loathing in NY21

Since the media doesn't have the horses or the inclination to cover the tick tock of the NY 21 race, we will continue our policy of posting photos of what the major candidates are up to. Our prime source is their own Facebook pages, so there is nothing run here that is a gotcha nature.

Cahill criticizes Schneiderman as he weighs run against him - Politics on the Hudson

   The Democratic candidates for statewide office seem secure, to the point its hard for the GOP to find challengers. 

    While most voters don't know who AG Eric Schneiderman is, it also means its hard to say why not to vote for him. Republicans seem to have a candidate and his issue is going to be the anemic effort at ethics reform this year that included the disbanding of the Moreland Commission. Former Pataki aide John Cahill of Yonkers is the likely contender.

Cahill criticizes Schneiderman as he weighs run against him - Politics on the Hudson

WDT: Taxes An Unpleasant Task for Many

    Another tax day on Tuesday. I have never filed an extension although many do.  The challenge is paying for it.

    I will be mailing my tithe to Uncle Sugar and Uncle Andy on Tuesday. Thank goodness the federal government can borrow to cover expenses. Imagine if we had the pay the whole thing.

Watertown Daily Times | Filing income tax returns with IRS each year not a pleasant experience

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Campaign Resumes

For all the fussing in political circles about the Conservative Party, you'd never know the endorsement happened today as the two GOP candidates campaigned on opposite sides of the sprawling 12 county NY21. Elise Stefanik was at an Easter egg hunt in Plattsburgh, while her foe Matt Doheny worked the crowds at the SNIRT Run in Lewis County. With two months till the primary there will be many appearances, lots of calling and meeting likely primary voters, fundraising, mailings, commercials, robocalls, GOTV and at some point some nastiness, and not just the small time snarkyness on blog comment sections. The next marker will be seeing who buys the first and biggest banner ad on Newzjunky.

OKCupid's most popular date Lauren Urasek claims attention is ruining her life | Mail Online

    Nice to be popular but when you are the most popular woman on OKCupid, well that's an honor I guess. Lauren Urasek has the look that lets you overcome dislike of tattoos.

OKCupid's most popular date Lauren Urasek claims attention is ruining her life | Mail Online

With Big Brother Mike Long Gone...Is a New Strategy in the Offing ?

Imagine if you will a blank slate. Barren, devoid of thought...bereft of principle... A chance to write the sheet of music over again with no encumbrances to the stricture and dogma of one Michael Long. That is the liberating position of being spurned by the Conservative Party of New York No more sheepishness at 260 when the moderate shiboleth is laid forth. No more looking about for listeners when you tell a voter you are pro-choice, ambivalent on SSM or pro-medical pot. Free at Last ! And cast away for all time is the need to argue who is the true conservative. Hit the reset button... You're a moderate now !

WDT: Watertown man urges Northern New Yorkers to get vaccinated after wife dies of flu

   There is no stronger testimony to the dangers of influenza than this past winter's untimely and too-soon passing of Sara Martin.....Sara was a patron here and a very astute local businesswoman.

    Sara died suddenly of complications of the flu in February. Her husband and family are trying to raise awareness of the dangers of influenza, which kills more people every year than you would think.

Watertown Daily Times | Watertown man urges Northern New Yorkers to get vaccinated after wife dies of flu

Jason and Gert at it Again

    Two people who objected to petitions filed by Elise Stefanik are also objecting to the Green Party petition of Matt Funiciello.  Jason Clark and Gertrude Daly filed their latest objections yesterday with specifics due on the 17th.
    Meanwhile, at close of business on Friday, Mr. Funiciello was the only candidate who filed for the Green line, although St. Lawrence County activist and John Moore classmate at Lisbon Central Donald Hassig says he mailed his in.
     Jason and Gert really need to get a life.

Scorched Earth Ahead ?

  What does yesterday's Conservative Party endorsement of Elise Stefanik mean to the NY21 race now that Matt Doheny is fighting on to win a GOP primary and then try to win a three way race in the fall ?
    A lot did happen yesterday.  Joe Gilbert dropped out, making the June 24 primary a two way race that even with turnout on the high side of expectations means one could win with just 12,000 to 15,000 votes. A well run, data base driven campaign could produce a win regardless of what the public perceives.
     However, Mr. Gilbert's absence is widely thought to favor the more conservative Stefanik and there is a momentum and validation that comes from the Mike Long endorsement. (Although it wouldn't shock me to see  Mr. Doheny attempt to mount an opportunity to ballot primary bid.)
     Republican primary voters, who include those who actually do follow such things, will weigh whether they want separate candidates on the B and C lines.
     The Conservative nod will energize the eleven county committees in the GOP who back Stefanik and the C line win gives Ms. Stefanik currency with the media.
      However, there is the money advantage Mr. Doheny has. He wants this win and sees it as within his reach. That kind of money keeps a lot of media folks interested in making sure the race goes on.  The implied circumstances with the Conservative petitions sends the message, anything goes.
       Ms. Stefanik got a boost this week. In many cases it would have prompted a reassessment by her opponents. One did, the other is doubling down.
      The challenge for Ms. Stefanik is to stay focused on November while now fending off a spirited, even frantic primary challenge that likely will get heated and if she wins will leave a cadre of GOP voters estranged come fall.
       Someone should consider the wisdom of what lies ahead.

High Power Bills ? Gotta Pay 'Em

     The high electric bills this winter are tough to swallow and everyone and their brother is calling for a probe, but National Grid says they charged what they had to pay to get the juice.
       We all will have to make do with a little less this summer.
Feedback: National Grid Bills Skyrocket, Utility Welcomes Probe | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

WDT: New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli wise to opt out of public financing measure

   One of the strangest portions of this year's state budget was the plan  to offer a pilot program of public financing of a campaign, but only for one race, that of NYS Comptroller.
    First of all there won't really be much of a race this year as Tom DiNapoli is as close as you get to a shoo in. Second, the financing proposal  provided the cover to ditch the Moreland Commission, the Governor's own anti-corruption panel that was getting to be a pain in the neck for a lot of people in Albany.
     The current system of campaign financing certainly has its problems but a system of public funding is rife for abuse, as I have seen firsthand with NYC's public finance system.
    Mr. DiNapoli has wisely opted out of the system for this year and since he faces no significant opposition, this year's test will demonstrate nothing other than Albany's aversion to Moreland.
Watertown Daily Times | New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli wise to opt out of public financing measure      

Friday, April 11, 2014

City Hall Lock Up Reopens

     The old City Hall lock up is being dusted off as part of an interim solution (who knows we may keep it open).   The state induced kerfuffle over arraignments prevents the City from using the holding cells in the County jail, so if needed we will house pre-arraigned prisoners in the two cells still remaining at City Hall.
     Back when common sense dictated the running of things, the City had its police, holding cells and court all within a few feet of each other.
     Then progress reared its head.
      We also have an arrangement with the Fifth Judicial District to help out with urgent arraignments when our own judges are not available. Through cooperation, we may find we don't need all that progress we were sold in the 80s.
       Remember in Mayberry when old Otis would just let himself in and out of the cell ?

The War Drones On

     When you are awarded a minor party line, it's the "will of the people"....That's what I was told by a Doheny insider (not the Insider) after the Indy line was given to him on the day he announced....But now that the Conservative Party has gone the other way, they are suddenly "Big Brother" subverting the will of the people...I't's amazing what people pay for such predictable writing..
    Elise Stefanik won the Conservative line because she is conservative. she worked hard for a year doing outreach and she is a fresh face with skills who could win NY21 back from the Dems. That's how Mike Long saw it.
    Now you can disagree and some do. I had a couple conversations tonight with those passionate for Mr. Doheny's candidacy. They feel he can win without Mike Long.
     Today's decision was cast some time ago but recent events raised doubts about what would happen. In the Watertown media echo chamber, this was shocking, but when you talk to a range of people from elsewhere , it was not. Of course you never know till its over and frankly we are all suspicious of the doings of minor parties. Trust me, there is reason to be.
     Somebody ask what my DC insider said today. He's the one who last week was confident Long would go for Doheny.   This insider said its time for the tap on the shoulder.  But Mr. Doheny's Insider sees it differently as was outlined in a release in which the Capital Tonight "Insider" warned us about DC Insiders.
      One of my in-district insiders who is solid for Mr. Doheny says he was surprised at the Stefanik effort, but he says if his candidate wins the GOP primary, Conservatives will follow his guy to the E line.
      Since the circus moves on to June, time will tell. I suspect the happiest candidate tonight save Ms. Stefanik is the Woolf man.
Conservatives Back Stefanik In NY-21 (Updated)

Chairman Long discusses Conservative Party endorsement

      It really wasn't close. 19-2 among those present and 49-6 when you count the proxied votes. And there is a comment in his Post Star interview by Chairman Long about the unusually large number of signatures claimed in petitions. He says its a discussion for another day.

       None of it matters now, but its an interesting back story.

Chairman Long discusses Conservative Party endorsement

Long Hooked on Stefanik , Doheny Pledges to Fight On

    The New York State Conservative Party has endorsed Elise Stefanik for NY21, placing her on Line C of the ballot and giving her a strong talking point should there still be a GOP primary for the 12 county district.
Citing her hard work and year long outreach to Conservative voters, the party leaders decided today they were hooked on Stefanik.
. “As a principled conservative, I understand that we cannot win back the North Country as Republicans without the help and support of the Conservative Party.  As the only candidate in this race endorsed by the Republican Party and Conservative Party, I intend to make the case to voters that we must unify the parties to win this fall.,"  Ms. Stefanik said.
     New York State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long stated, “Elise Stefanik has a clear vision on how to resolve the problems facing America and New York’s 21st Congressional District. Elise has the energy, enthusiasm and most importantly the principles to bring about the changes necessary in the halls of Congress. She will fight for what is right for the citizens of New York’s 21st, the military at Fort Drum, stand firm for our Constitutional rights and protect our natural resources for future farmers and generations to come. Elise Stefanik will be your strong voice when she gets to Congress and will represent you with honor and integrity.

   Meanwhile through a spokesman, rival Matt Doheny said he was disappointed but will soldier on to the GOP primary. 
“While disappointed with today’s decision, we are not deterred and with the Republican and Independence party lines our campaign will continue,” Mr. Doheny said in a statement Friday. “Together the will of the people will win out over the will of Washington insiders.”
     Any decision toleave the race would have had to happen quickly as there is a three day declination period. Meanwhile Doheny supporters are attempting to challenge Stefanik petitions and will have to produce specific objections by April 16.

WDT: Gilbert Ends Run for Congress

      Republican Joe Gilbert has wisely opted not to pursue the GOP nod ,citing difficulties getting petitions and also family concerns.
      Mr. Gilbert had a clear following, but his presence in a three way primary would have split the more conservative votes, something the Stefanik campaign likely would have worried about.
      Those who saw Mr. Gilbert speak have said they were impressed with his sincerity and passion for issues.
       His absence makes the June race very clear and focused.

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

Hassig Says Its in the Mail....More Doheny Objections to Stefanik

     Green Party Congressional hopeful Donald Hassig says he mailed his petition to Albany, but so far the BOE website has no record of it.  Matt Funiciello is so far the only listed candidate.
     Among the protests, it so far is just Doheny supporters protesting Elise Stefanik's petitions in three parties. Add Jefferson County Conservative Party member Harold Studenmeyer and Lewis County Indy member Karen Schue Baruth to the protesters listed earlier.
     Candidates have to use someone registered in the party to make the objection.

Easy Reporting...I Just Looked on the Website

      Both Democrats who said they are running for their party's NY21 nomination have filed nominating petitions in Albany, according to the NYS BOE website.  Aaron Woolf and Steve Burke would face off in the June 24 primary if no objections are filed and upheld. So far there are none.
    On the GOP side, general objections were filed against the GOP, Conservative and Independence petitions of Elise Stefanik with specific objections due April 16.  It is common to file generals to preserve the right to file specifics and also its often a way to get a press release as media is largely unfamiliar with the process.
    The objections, likely on behalf of principle challenger Matt Doheny were filed by a Jason Clark and a Gertrude Daly.  There is a Jason Clark in St. Lawrence County who used to head Massena's economic development agency and has been quoted in the WDT as having an interest in politics...I don't know if its the same one....No idea who Gert is.
      Both principle candidates have election law lawyers working on petitions with  Ms. Stefanik using Ballston Spa attorney James Walsh, who specializes in ballot access. I haven't been able to confirm the name of Mr. Doheny's election lawyer, but the name I heard is very prominent as well in Albany circles.
     One interesting note. Only Matt Funiciello has filed for the Green line, although petitions mailed by yesterday would still count. Former John Moore classmate Donald Hassig had said he was gathering signatures.
      Also, Aaron Woolf was the sole filer for the WFP.

Are Albany policies "starving" upstate NY cities? | News from North Country Public Radio

   As hubs for commerce, culture, medicine and lots more, cities are important across upstate. Without them entire regions lose their identity.
   One study out this week says Albany's policies are undermining the rediscovery of city life by a new generation.  It isn't so much a lack of direct aid to cities as it is the continuing failure to provide relief from the many mandates and rules local governments face.
    Look at the expense being ladled on local government over this prisoner arraignment issue.

Are Albany policies "starving" upstate NY cities? | News from North Country Public Radio

Lobbying in New York hit $210 million in 2013--3rd highest total ever - NY Daily News

    Lobbyists spent $210M (that we know of) on lobbying efforts in Albany, according to a state ethics board. It was the third largest year for influence buying, or effective political speech if you prefer.

     Among the winners this year is Park Strategies, the firm founded by former Senator Alfonse D'Amato.   The former 'Senator Pothole' saw a 61% increase in business.
    Some lobbyists didn't fare as well. Two firms with close ties to Speaker Sheldon Silver saw decreased haul, perhaps due to the Vito Lopez scandal swirling around Mr. Silver.

Lobbying in New York hit $210 million in 2013--3rd highest total ever - NY Daily News

More young women choosing dogs over motherhood | New York Post

       The old Harry Truman line about if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog may apply for women these days...If you want a man in Watertown, get a dog.
        This might be true or it might be one of those pop culture stories the Post likes to do. Come up with the cover photo and then think up the story.
Yael Friedland and Her Dog Harley

         I am sure there are those who transfer parenting skills and desires to their animal. Whether that's a trend is for greater minds to decide.
More young women choosing dogs over motherhood | New York Post

Panel Considering Regional Locations For Bills’ Future Home

      The Buffalo Bills do not play in Buffalo and may not play in Erie County someday if some have their way. A working group chaired by Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy is studying whether Ralph Wilson Stadium has to be replaced. Niagara County is being touted by....surprise..the mayor of Niagara Falls.

       Those who preach regionalism must realize everybody is going to pitch their piece of real estate to have hundreds of millions of dollar spent on.

        Meanwhile the team hasn't won in years and taxpayers will surely be footing the bill. 

Panel Considering Regional Locations For Bills’ Future Home