Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lawyer: Monserrate to wed gal at center of abuse case

If she can marry the creep why can't the Dems just keep him in the caucus.....Such a major league joke our state capital is.
Lawyer: Monserrate to wed gal at center of abuse case

Looking for a Macaca Moment: Scozzafava Campaign Annoys MSM

Today's opening of the Doug Hoffman HQ on Court Street seems to have attracted a dirty trickster from the nearby Scozzafava HQ. WDT Political Reporter Jude Seymour tells us about it on his blog.

The Scozzafava camp sent a tracker to the debate with a camcorder. I doubt they'll try to deny it, especially since we watched the kid walk back to their headquarters. He was abusive to Mr. Hoffman - and his questions came during the media scrum, which gave us all a black eye by extension. If you're going to send a spy into enemy territory, keep us out of it. Bravo to North Country Public Radio's David Sommerstein for cutting the kid off.

Hoffman Marshalls Tea Party Crowd in Final Push

When you don't have an "R" or a "D" after your name, you need some other way to win on November 3, and for Congressional hopeful Doug Hoffman, that means a better ground game.
Mr. Hoffman opened a Watertown campaign office today, one of several he is to open in the coming days in his longshot bid to win the vacant 23rd CD.
The Lake Placid CPA and part owner of Dragon and Benware CPA located in Watertown was pleased to hear I am a client of his firm. Hoffman visited yours truly at Fort Pearl after his event downtown. Republican opponent Diedre Scozzafava has already stopped by.
Mr. Hoffman was affable and interested despite the DeDe sign perched on my lawn. I view these visits as a courtesy to introduce potential Members of Congress to the individuals and issues in each town.
The Conservative Party candidate says he is increasing his media buys but also has en enthusiastic crew of followers placing signs and doing door to door.
Many Hoffman signs are up in Watertown today.
Like any 3rd party hopeful, Hoffman knows he will either fade or surge in the next two weeks....He is counting on that ground game for the surge.
Time, and the efforts of the other two candidates will tell what happens.
What is for sure is that to beat Democrat Bill Owens, either Hoffman or Scozzafave will have to slip considerably. History suggests its the third party guy who falters, but don't tell that to Governor Jesse Ventura or Senator James Buckley.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scozzafava Suggests Owen's Election Threatens Fort Drum

Went to the GOP dinner in Alex Bay tonight.....Food was great and I had the pleasure of sitting with the Walkers and the Thompsons. Tom won a door prize...pasta basket I believe.
Lots of people there are blog fans...from state legislators....to city councillors...to operatives there was an awareness that what is said to me could end up here. Even the WDT's Jude Seymour chatted me up looking for a kind word.
Well, the lead I suppose is Diedre Scozzafava taking a sharper edge as she tries to rev up the faithful who will have to turn out the voters on November 3. She rapped her two foes for ducking debates, which they have......And made the thinly veiled suggestion that Bill Owens will be bad for Fort Drum, in part because he can see Vermont and not the post from his home.
Scozzafava's 122nd Assembly District includes Fort Drum and she pointed to her experience with base closure rounds as evidence she can better preserve the post.
The crowd was as enthusiastic as Republicans can get without an extended open bar. There was also the feeling that the Scozzafava campaign is being retooled for the stretch run.
Equally interesting to me were the remarks of State Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos. Mr. Skelos, in a calm and rationale demeanor gnawed on the Democratic leadership which he pointed out is all from NYC.
He also laid out the plan for taking the Senate back and made clear our seat is at the heart of the strategy. Skelos seemed to have learned the lesson that personally attacking likeable Senator Darrel Aubertine will not work. Instead, Skelos pledged to remind voters of Aubertine's record which includes voting for a budget chock full of tax and fee hikes. Said Skelos, he could have blocked it and he didn't.
And who might be the candidate of the GOP against Aubertine ?.....I think I got it right days ago when I named St Lawrence County Clerk Patricia Ritchie as a likely choice. Ms. Ritchie was coy talking to me, even saying she never heard of this blog before confessing she is a reader. The fact that Senator Skelos singled her out for attention was enough to tell me my hunch was right.
Grabbed a couple of lawn signs for Judge Tormey and was on my way.
Oh, DeDe said she is coming on the Hotline this week. What that's a sign of I will leave for you to ponder.

Tea-Party Activists Complicate Republican Comeback Strategy - WSJ.com

Pretty Good Wall Street Journal piece on our race. Lot of attention coming our way.
Tea-Party Activists Complicate Republican Comeback Strategy - WSJ.com

Watertown Daily Times | Candidates for Congress raising funds in Washington

You would think they are running for mayor of Washington, DC with all the time they are spending there. But we all know it's what you have to do. Note again the gratuitous and hypocritical shots at Owens. Knock it off. You're all down there working the same street corner.
Watertown Daily Times Candidates for Congress raising funds in Washington

Free Gas in the Bay !

This isn't what a candidate for Town Supervisor needs to come out two weeks before an election, but it does beg the question, why did it take so long to come to the public's attention ?
Regardless of what the fuel was used for, it was taken for personal vehicles under the premise those vehicles were used for town use. Town governments are often run by a supervisor with little or no oversight. Could this have gone on so long and at such a level in the City. I don't think so. And we should remember the Alexandria supervisor was being paid some $60,000 salary at the time.
The proper method is to use a town vehicle to drive around; use your own vehicle and keep a log for reimbursement of mileage; or do what the rest of us do and just use your own car and gas for routine trips in the course of your duties. A long trip to Albany for instance may be worth a mileage claim, but that's it
This year we have learned about elected officials in another town accused of illegally mining dirt fill to sell to a housing development and still another town official on the verge of having a series of wells for a water district located on his property, with the prospect of a massive payday.
The fact that 6,700 gallons of gasoline can be used in this manner tells me there is too often no meaningful public or press oversight in the many, many towns, authorities, special use districts and God knows what else that is part of the crazy-quilt mosaic of local government in this state.
Watertown Daily Times Audit: Sutton did not pay for fuel used

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NY Sen. Monserrate Acquitted & Other Political Fodder

State Senator Hiram Monserrate of Queens dodged the felony and was convicted of misdemeanor assault. That means he keeps his seat and Democrats will not see an interuption in their one vote control of the Senate. Thank goodness for NY...We wouldn't let slashing a woman's face get in the way of more taxes and regulations.

OTHER STUFF
-Steve Bradley held a campaign soire on TenEyck Street tonight. A nice crowd that included rival Jeff Smith, Councilwoman Burns and myself. GOP Chair Don Coon was there too.
-Republicans say their Congressional Candidate Diedre Scozzafava will do more barnstorming across the district in the stretch drive. A measure of the fire in her will come tomorrow night in Alex Bay when she speaks to party faithful at the GOP fall dinner.
-Prediction: The first candidate to start speaking for themselves instead of using a PR flack will go on to win. These candidates couldn't even react to a poll today without having their mouthpiece speak for them.
-I am told Scozzafava will come on the Hotline at some point. A caller promised to get Hoffman on.
-Council and County Legislative Candidates will be visiting the show as well.

NY Sen. Monserrate Acquitted Of Felony Assault - wcbstv.com

Debate on TV-9 & 50 to be Shown November 1

Finally, a debate with all three candidates......Funny, our North Country District has its candidates debate outside the District. The 29th is on a Thursday and the event will not be live. The tape may be shown on Sunday, November 1. The event will be made available to fellow Newport Television Station WWTI, Watertown.
I hope this is not interpreted as a "dark obsession", but where I come from the debate is news when it happens. Holding something for three days is of kind weird.
Owens Agrees to Oct. 29 Debate on WSYR-TV

Scotty and I.....Brooding Caldrons of Middle Aged Angst

My good friend, TV 7 News Director Scott Atkinson, delivers high praise of this blog's observations on the elusive and evasive candidates in NY-23. Since the goal is to win, I guess any strategy that achieves that is OK. However, the MSM and I agree on this one. The public are about to get a Congressman they know nothing about other than the fleeting and well-delivered images of 30-second spots.
Politics Thursday: When The Music's Over... WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Owens Does a Rope-a-Dope Worthy of Ali

I was over at the Italian American Club tonight for a fascinating speech by Wil Haygood, a Washington Post reporter who just wrote a biography of boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Sugar Ray of course had ties to Watertown and boxed at the former Starbuck Arena. Great speech, great dinner.
As sometimes happens when you are seated next to WWNY anchorman Brian Ashley the talk turned to politics and the race in NY-23. I started out by scolding the media for what I have seen as a leisurely, detached effort at covering a truly historic event, the election of a new Member of Congress.
I, of course, have been appalled at the total lack of coverage of this race and the ability of the candidates to totally avoid any tough questions; debates; or interviews. I suggested a reporter be dispatched to Plattsburgh to find out about the man observers say will be our next Congressman.
Brian pushed back and said the media has been trying to pin these guys down but that the campaigns, particularly that of Bill Owens, have been adept at ducking, weaving, bobbing and obfuscating. He says Plattsburgh media says the same. In fact the Press Republican recently editorialized that Mr. Owens ducked a forum in his home town.
The Owens speech in Cape Vincent was covered only by me.....Brian says the weekend trip was only announced to the press after it was over. I was there only by coincidence as I was invited by Harold Wiley to the event. Brian says requests for interviews are routinely denied in favor of prepared statements. He also says the Owens campaign is assiduously avoiding anything that smacks of a debate.
Not that Doug Hoffman is all that available and the Scozzafava campaign is seen by media wags as a complete lay down.
Then I was chatting with the publisher of the WDT. He too has never met the next Congressman. Its very unusual for a person running for such office not to do the editorial board meetings. I know newspapers are not as important in some minds, but its part of running. Publishers represent the institutional knowledge of the area and should be met with.
So Bill Owens is being kept in a bubble and all we see is the carefully scripted image of his TV commercials. Not me saying it...The professionals you depend on every day for your news are saying it.
A lot of people who read this blog plan to vote for him, and he is known in the legal community as a smart, somewhat quiet attorney always associated with the GOP through the law firm of former Senator Ronald Stafford.
It should be pointed out that for the honor of succeeding John McHugh in representing this district, Mr. Bill Owens has undergone no vetting, and exposed himself to no questions by the media or by the people he seeks to represent.
A lot needs to happen in the next 17 for the voters of the 23rd to be truly in a position to wisely choose their next Member of Congress.

Polls, Governors & More !

-Sienna College will release a second poll tomorrow on the race in NY-23. The last one on October 1 showed Scozzafava 35, Owens 28,Hoffman 16.......The chattering class says Owens is likely even or ahead....Who knows ? But if Hoffman tops 20%, a 3rd party upset scenario could occur.
- Governor David Paterson was phantom-like in his trek across Jefferson County yesterday, stopping only for a closed door meeting at the Watertown Daily Times before heading off to SUNY Canton for a Democratic Party dinner at which the Governor spoke and endorsed Bill Owens for Congress.
-As for Mr. Owens, he spoke but offered nothing new according to attendees. Response was described as polite and one Dem told me, "DeDe has a lot of friends in St. Lawrence County,"
-Since when is it appropriate to hold a party dinner in public buildings ? Guess its OK if the Governor is there.
-Showing frugality, Councilman Jeff Smith told me he is using leftover lawn signs from his last campaign. Mr. Smith also says he is not holding a fundraiser as are his two opponents. So I save $50 as I am attending functions for all three, but now only have to go to two.
-Steve Bradley is holding a soire tomorrow night and Teresa Macaluso already held one.
-Several calls on the Hotline today asking about debates....Had to be the bearer of bad news for a curious public.

Wanted: Game Changer, Apply at GOP HQ

The major party candidates for Congress are in NYC and DC refilling their campaign coffers, but its obvious Democrat Bill Owens is having a better time of it, outspending Diedre Scozzafava by an estimated 12 to one margin.
Imagine what the cadre of Dem sacrificial lambs would think of this. Steve Burke, Margaret Ravenscroft, Michael Oot, Dr. Bob, and of course Danny F.....They all faced-off against the once invicible North Country Republican machine, which we now know isn't what it used to be.
Time is running out for the GOP. National leadership is in many cases sitting this one out.....That includes RNC chair Michael Steele and a good chunk of the Republican Congressional delegation.
To be fair, Ms. Scozzafava does have a lot of supporters both individual and institutional, but there is not the organization or staffing painfully evident in the Owens effort.
What's odd is how little any of these candidates actually speak in public.
With no debates, forums or long-form interviews, it's strictly TV and on that count, its Owens hands down. His spots are slick and its having an impact.
A GOP lawmaker yesterday said to me..."Isn't that Owens a nice man.."
Now here in the heart of the western end of the 23rd, I also have spoken to many Democrat leaders and operatives who are staying with one of their own....in this case DeDe. What I also notice are the number of Republicans who are either going with conservative Doug Hoffman or actually voting with Owens on the basis of his longtime registration as an indepedent.
For Ms. Scozzafava, who was the clear favorite coming into the race, her prospects are sinking fastest in the media-costly precincts of suburban Syracuse. Nobody there knew any of the candidates coming into this and the only antidote is money, something the Dems have no shortage of.
Republicans optimism seems perfunctory, with scenarios hovering around a narrow 42-41 type win.....Others are talking in terms of whether their candidate finishes second or third.
Time is running out and for the first time in memory, NNYer's may indeed have a Member of Congress who can see Vermont from his house.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

DeDe needs something to breathe life into her effort and a trip by Giuliani might at least provide some news coverage.....When is she going to start speaking in public ?
The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

Old Media in Syracuse Does Nice Candidate Profiles

Nice job by the Post Standard on their intro of candidates in NY 23. Would have liked more of this early in the campaign so folks can focus before the negative ads define the candidates. Make sure to read about all three candidates and start making your choice.
Meet the 23rd Congressional District candidates: Dede Scozzafava Political Notebook - syracuse.com

NY 23 Stuff on a Rainy Day

-In the wacky world that is the 23rd CD , the New York State United Teachers has endorsed Republican Diedre Scozzafava based on her support for card check and her liberal stand on social issues, presumably gay marriage and abortion. It also indicates the Democrat, who is endorsed by the Working Families Party, will not get universal support from the unions.
-Doug Hoffman for Congress signs are cropping up in the City of Watertown, as local GOP elected offcials privately are worried about trouble in the Scozzafava campaign. One high ranking elected official said his offers to help were met with unreturned calls.
-TV 50's John Moore, now the dean of North Country broadcasters, hinted today there may indeed be a Congressional Debate on his station, WWTI. He said details are not yet firm and would not say if it would be a live event. An effort by Time Warner to stage a debate was met by claims of schedule conflict by Democrat Bill Owens, who as the best funded candidate has the least to gain by the media actually doing their job.
-On the Hotline today, I broached the off limits topic of this campaign. Do we want our next Member of Congress coming from so far away that they can see Vermont from their porch ? That's the issue that Scozzafava can win on, since its clear the other side has far more money and organization.
-Watch for falling acorns....Operatives for the Working Families Party will be in the district soon to start canvassing and phoning on behalf of Bill Owens.
NYSUT endorses Scozzafava - Capitol Confidential - New York Politics - timesunion.com - Albany NY

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is "One of Us" Enough ?

Diedre Scozzafava may indeed be a typical Albany politician as the Dems say in their latest TV ad, but there really is not another Albany scandal as implied by the ad.
The attack ad sponsored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee looks like the type of ad Republicans cobbled together to use against Darrel Aubertine.....Unflattering photos, catchy graphics, sorta true but not illuminating.
The tax break she voted for was the extension of the Empire Zone program for which her brother's business did get consideration. To be fair its a program championed by many local pols and bureaucrats because it provided an out to rescue select businesses from New York's horrific tax code. (This just came to me.....is there an EDZ in Plattsburgh ? And was it used in the alleged creation of those 2,000 jobs....?)
There were lots of abuses of the system engineered by crafty lawyers good at corporate shirt changing. That was not something that involved Scozzafava.
Then there are the 190 tax hikes she supported....Mostly, according to the WDT, just votes for home rule bills that allowed local governments to impose or extend sales and bed taxes.
Legislating creates a record....which is open to interpretation. The other candidates don't have a record, so without exhaustive opposition research, we know little about them.
Now Scozzafava's record is fair game and most of us have a pretty good feel for what she is all about. I also know her as a neighbor...."one of us" if you will.
Is that enough of a reason to vote for someone ?
Only time will tell...if the more numerous voters in the western end of the district go with "one of us" she wins.....If one of our own isn't good enough, she loses.
The election is really all about her.

Learn More On Line

First of all thanks for taking time to read this blog.
If you are interested in being a more informed voter for the November 3 election you cannot count on the MSM to deliver through their normal print and broadcast vehicles....My goodness, there will not even be long-form interviews with the candidates, and don't be thinking about joint forums.
Some good alternatives in the modern age are aggragators and blogs. Jude Seymour of the Watertown Daily Times has a very good synopsis of what's happening, but you have to go on line to get it. Of course, Newzjunky.com has a collection of links to important stories about the 23rd. And the doyenne (although not chronologically old) of political reporting, Liz Benjamin, who can be reached thru the Newzjunky BLOG section. There are others worth reading as well.
There is little in the way of boots on the ground coverage of the tick-tock of this campaign, so your best alternative is alternative media.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Great Dinner in the Cape and I Got to Meet Bill Owens

A very confident Bill Owens worked a friendly crowd of Democrats Sunday night at the Sand Bay Inn in the Town of Cape Vincent. The occasion was a $16 a head dinner courtesy of the Town Democratic Committee.
For me it was a chance to meet the man who frankly is now considered a slight favorite in the short and vacuous race to succeed Rep.John McHugh.
Good thing I went because like most of this campaign the media was absent and I had gotten tired of relying solely on TV spots for my knowledge of Mr. Owens.
Besides, the $16 for a great dinner and meeting him was a lot less than the $4800 you have to pony up for the events with BHO.
I met Bill Owens while sitting with a couple city residents in the lounge while we awaited the dinner. He is tall, and both he and his wife are pleasant looking people.....I introduced myself and we talked a few moments. He was confident, indicating polls are to his liking and said he looks forward to working with me.
I felt he was suggesting my presence was an endorsement and its not. It was curiosity and what I feel is making sure there is a familiarity established since while Watertown is small, it is the largest city in the 23rd.
We talked about Fort Drum and the need to assure its survival. He related the story of the closing of Plattsburgh AFB and said he didn't want that to happen to Watertown. I suggested I was concerned that after years of a city native as our Member of Congress, I wary of our Member being from so far away. He said he would try to reach out and assured me of a continued district office in Watertown.
In his speech, Mr. Owens stuck to his talking points on jobs and his work on economic development in Plattsburgh. The speech was competent, and workmanlike....but not flashy or inspiring. The crowd of 50 or so was supportive but not wildly enthusiastic.
I got the impression from him and his aide that they feel they are ahead. It was not just phony bravado. They feel their high dollar, positive and well executed campaign will work. Phone banking is going on and the full-color door hangers left on the tables were first rate printing.
At least I know him and with the election three weeks off, I felt I needed to find out more, as a voter and a local official. Later this week is the GOP dinner. I will try to go and check out the mood. As for Conservative Doug Hoffman, I will keep an eye out for him should he visit Watertown. I don't think Conservatives have dinners.

Sunday Musings

-Hearty congratulations to Coach George Ashcraft and the Watertown Red & Black on winning this years Empire Football League championship. The 6-0 hard-fought win over the Plattsburgh North Stars came before some 3000 fans at the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds.
This is the first championship since the memorable 1980 season.
The City appreciates those dedicated coaches, athletes and fans who have kept the Red & Black tradition alive for 113 years as the nation's oldest semi-pro team.
-As we told you a few days back the local newspaper is raising their single copy price from 50 to 75 cents. I know....that's a 50% hike in the midst of a recession and that's what you will hear from those longing for the demise of the WDT. As I told Times staffers, a dollar would be fine....it's not so much the amount as much as it is content.
I buy a NY Post every day for a dollar and don't gripe. I happen to think there is a role for print journalism in the electronic world, although it will require imagination and innovation to find the model that works.
Clearly no amount of price hikes will alter the realities of declining circulation, but I can sympathize with the difficulties of continuing a publishing tradition in this market.
I wish publishers well in devising plans to bring content to the community, because in the end it's content not the medium that is important.
-Speaking of content, Jude writes in today's WDT that the major party candidates for Congress are ducking the "public option" debate. That means Mr. Owens wants to be the Blue Dog Democrat endorsed by the far left Working Families Party......And for DeDe, she just can't say no to all those labor people her husband keeps introducing her to. To be upset about equivocation on this issue would be the same as being outraged to discover gambling in a casino.