Saturday, November 21, 2009

News 10 Now; Whiz Quiz Turns Thirty

Talk about things that make you feel old....Public Television's Whiz Quiz is 30 years old. The high school competition has been promoting academic excellence for three decades.... I remember working at Public TV when Glenn Gough debuted the show. They have a celebrity quiz show coming up with local media luminaries, which I guess I am no longer. Good luck to the News 10 Now Team.
News 10 Now | 24 Hour Local News | TOP STORIES | Whiz Quiz celebrates 30 years

Mayors Sound Alarm Over Drop in City Revenues -

Mayors around the country are sounding the warnings you have been hearing locally about the deteriorating revenue streams in many cities. The prime culprit is sales tax revenue which is linked to the declines in retail activity caused by the recession.
This is forcing cuts in programs and staff which may have been overdue but are still painful.
For the City of Watertown, the cuts have been in capital projects and staffing. There has also been an effort to hold down labor settlements. A recent zero and three percent, two year contract with firefighters is one example. In New York State, public employee law favors employees so it is essential public officials enlist the support and cooperation of public employee unions in holding down costs.
The sales tax drop will soon be joined by cuts in state aid to municipalities since the State Legislature has declared school districts immune from cuts and that leaves cities as the low hanging fruit when looking to save money.

Mayors Sound Alarm Over Drop in City Revenues -

Technology isn't All its Billed As

"Several county machines froze on Election Day, forcing inspectors to switch to paper ballots. Other machines didn't print out results when inspectors closed the polls. At some locations with multiple districts sharing one scanner, poll workers were unable to break down the votes between the election districts when they pulled the count register out of the machines."
This was out of a story this morning by Alex Jacobs of the WDT concerning vote tally problems in St. Lawrence County.
Now I don't think for a minute there is an ACORN virus or that the WFP tampered with the machines.
I do think there just always seem to be too many problems in holding elections. Problems that make it easy to argue there is something amiss.
Modern voting technology reminds me of the electric chair which was invented to make the messy job of state-run execution less messy and more efficent. It all seemed great till the condemned starting smoking from the ears while still awake.

Harry Reid Wins....Gets 60th Vote as Blanche Lincoln Caves

Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) provided that last little bit of drama with her last minute announcement she will vote for the cloture petition and put Sen. Harry Reid's health care bill up for debate. While its called a procedural vote, it really ensures passage of a version of the Reid bill as only 51 votes will be needed for that.
Lawmakers in need of political cover will then be allowed to vote no. In other words....they can vote for it before they vote against it.
The cloture vote will be held tonight and the Democrats are unanimously in favor while GOP senators are all against it.
For Senator Lincoln there really was no choice. The party is what put you there and there are just some times you have to suck it up and do what the party wants.
The Arkansas Democrat says she opposes a public option, but her vote today pretty much ensures that is what happens.

Reading Rogue: Interesting Insights into a National Phenomenon

In a tip of the hat to common sense liberalism, Sarah Palin lauded the opportunities provided her under Title IX. The civil rights measure required equal opportunties in athletics for women and for Palin, she says that was a boon for her growing up in AK.
The revelation came in Palin's new book, "Going Rogue." For those who portray her as a hard line reactionary, such stories don't fit the script from the elite media.
"I was the direct beneficiary of the civil rights efforts that has begun gaining traction only the decade before," Palin rights.
Like anyone new to the national scene, the biography is a window into that person that the cursory and critical eye of a campaign misses.
This week the ADN reports that the AK Public Offices Board has unanimously dismissed another of those ethics complaints that critics dogged her with in 2009. This one concerned her husbands marketing agreement with Arctic Cat.
And the mother of Levi Johnston this week was sentenced to three years in prison for sale of OxyContin. Hope Levi can take time off from his media tour to see mom before she heads to the big house.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Publicity tour turns fresh page on ‘Palin Power’ - Times Online

The hockey moms become hockey mums, but that's the only difference as British press follows the Palin phenomenon that is astounding the MSM (or LSM). Meanwhile the latest Gallup poll has President Obama's approval rating under 50%. A lackluster tour of the Orient, budget deficits that are crazy, new health care taxes, an electorate getting antsy.....all part of the recipe for a Palin Renaissance ?

Publicity tour turns fresh page on ‘Palin Power’ - Times Online

Times Calls GT Virus Story a "Hoax"

The Watertown Times and the Gouverneur Times continue their light-hearted sparring today with Jude writing the piece to debunk yesterday's GT story about viruses in NY-23 voting scanners.
In this story by Jude there is even a debunking of the GT story rapping Rep. Bill Owens for purportedly breaking campaign promises within hours of his swearing in.
This is manna from heaven for the upstart Internet paper having the Old Gray Lady of NNY journalism clipping their wings at every turn.
If its an Owens-Hoffman race again next year, the undercard of GT vs WDT may be just as interesting to watch.

Watertown Daily Times | Election watchdog debunks NY-23 "virus" hoax

Gillibrand Works the Gay Marriage Issue

As I said two posts ago, Sen Gillibrand is working hard on her liberal street cred, as Liz presciently points out here.

The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

Owens Pulls Ahead Further

Nearly final totals for Congress show Rep. Bill Owens lengthening his lead on basis of strong numbers from St. Lawrence County, home of the June O'Neill political machine. It's all over but the certifying and thanks to Jude Seymour for his running totals this week.

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

Her Guns Gone, Can Gillibrand Fend Off Rudy ?

In 2010, New Yorkers get to do something unusual. They will elect two United States Senators in the same year.
Senator Charles Schumer's second six-year term comes due and he is widely thought to be a cinch for a third term.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is running to fill the remaining two years of the term of now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Senator Gillibrand was the surprise appointment made by Governor David Paterson. It was a move that infuriated the family of perceived front runner Caroline Kennedy and ticked off the NY press corps who wanted a return to Camelot.
Gillibrand came from an upstate Congressional district and was thought to be a blue-dog Democrat, given her opposition to TARP and her endorsement by the NRA.
She was quickly rapped by downstate liberals who were mad at the Kennedy snub and thought her too conservative. The unelected senator in need of a primary free run this year quickly lurched to the left and even voted against cutting off funding to ACORN when this summer's flap developed over the community organizer group.
Senator Gillibrand is now in trouble. The Kennedy's hate her....the press ridicules her....she has scuttled her blue dog and become a lap dog for the most liberal elements of her party.
Along comes Rudy Giuliani, America's Mayor, but rejected as America's President.
Rudy needs to do something and running for governor against Andrew Cuomo was too high a hurdle for a guy who wants back on the national stage. Besides, governors have to work while senators just have to make sure they are booked on the Sunday shows.
2010 is likely a favorable year for the GOP, after losing so many seats in 2006 and 2008. Concern over the deficit and the expanding federal government create an environment where a Republican can win statewide office....even in NY.
Giuliani, while quirky, has a following and is able to discuss national issues. The recent decision to try terrorist suspects in Manhattan is a made for Rudy issue.
Gillibrand is in the race by virtue of running as a Democrat in a blue state.
But this race is competitive for Republicans and is one of their best chances to pick off a seat.
Senator Gillibrand needs only to keep the base in line...but much of that base voted for Rudy in for her it will not be easy. Plus it may be a year when swing voters say 'lets send one of each' and vote for Schumer and Giuliani.
We know what Rudy is all about. We still don't know much about Gillibrand.
I remember when she became senator, Newsday ran a story about her keeping guns under the bed at her Columbia County home. I thought that a great message upstate.
When I joked about it at a Schumer press conference, the Senator politely elbowed me to let me know the junior senator would not be keeping guns under the bed any longer.
With that elbow she became less upstate in my eyes.
Gillibrand's Guns Aren't Under Her Bed Anymore | NBC New York

Watertown Daily Times | Bill seen as threat to family farms

The Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act is the handiwork of, among others, the state's Working Families Party. That's the party that elected the North Country Democratic Team to Congress and the state legislature.
The bill would require farmers to pay overtime...provide rest days...provide worker's comp...and facilitate collective bargaining on farms. Farmers, including Senator Darrel Aubertine, say farming is not the same as other lines of work where such protections are in place.
Why is farming different ? Is it the old plantation notion where you work and live on your employers land and are more like family than employee ?
Do farm workers suffer from working in remote rural venues where nobody sees their plight ?
Now this bill comes along and its a dilemma for those who like the WFP's ability to get Democrats elected upstate, but cringe at their progressive legislative agenda.
Look for this bill to be a centerpiece of GOP efforts to defeat Darrel Aubertine next year as it will be portrayed as the anti-upstate, anti-rural, agenda of Senator Pedro Espada and the downstaters running the party and the state.
While Aubertine opposes it now, it has gotten this far and the GOP will be busy trying to link Aubertine to his "radical" friends in the WFP. I'm not saying it will work....just saying that will be what they try.

Watertown Daily Times | Bill seen as threat to family farms

Our Schools are so Perfect They Are Immune from Budget Scrutiny

With New York State facing insolvency if major budget changes are not made, we can all be pleased one aspect of government spending is administered so perfectly that our lawmakers say any cuts are off limits. That is education aid, which along with funding for healthcare programs, comprises 55% of state spending.
Now its tough to make major cuts when so much of the spending plan is off limits for political reasons. Lawmakers have been blustering about no cuts to school aid, because that is such a sensitive and eaily exploited subject in upstate and suburban areas where school taxes are a bit political issue. The presumption is any decrease in state aid must be accompanied by a concurrent increase in property taxes. Oh really ?
If that's the case, then the remaining 45% of the budget will have to be cut substantially. That means programatic changes as in functions the state has always been involved in....We will see what they do.
Maybe we could just raise sin taxes again.

The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sarah Palin rolls 'Going Rogue' book tour to Fort Hood, will donate royalties to victims' families

Two key Army posts will be on the book tour for Sarah Palin, whose son Trak is a soldier just returning from Iraq. Ms. Palin will appear at Fort Bragg, NC and Fort Hood, TX.
The Fort Hood appearance comes in the wake of the slaying of 13 soldiers by an Army Major with suspected ties and sympathies to terrorist groups.

Sarah Palin rolls 'Going Rogue' book tour to Fort Hood, will donate royalties to victims' families

Owens Trying to Reassure Skeptics With Strong Drum Statements

With the race for Congress won, Bill Owens is consolidating his victory by securing two key committee posts....Armed Services and Homeland Security. He is also making the assurances that will make him tougher to beat next year.
“As a member of Congress and as a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will fight tirelessly for the base, the surrounding community and for our entire district, all of whom benefit from Fort Drum’s presence,” Owens said Thursday.
That quote from the Press Republican is reassuring to Watertown area residents, many of whom voted for Owens but knew precious little about him.
The political establishment in the the western counties thought their local candidate, Diedre Scozzafava would win and that she had the affinity for Drum to work for its survival. After her demise most locals split down the middle between Owens and Doug Hoffman.
Bill Owens, who like Hoffman pretty much hid during the campaign, is coming out strong for Drum and that's not only a smart move but the right move.
The next key is what kind of presence Owens creates in his Watertown district office. Constituent work and liasons to local government are important. That is handled at the staff level and the coming weeks will be where the rubber hits the road for Owens and his new staff.
Mr. Owens is supporting the liberal agenda his opponents accused him of, but even his opponents on that front will be muted by effective staff and constituent work plus a bit of that pork the administration will provide their newly minted Congressman.

Bill Owens Lead Over Doug Hoffman Swelled to 3105....Thats More Than Whats Left

A tally by the Watertown Daily Times shows there is no longer any way Doug Hoffman can catch up. Bill Owens lead exceeds the number of absentees outstanding. There could be some kind of further challenge but for all practicle purposes its over. It will end up a 48-46 race.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

VIRUS in the VOTING MACHINES: Tainted Results in NY-23

Its game-on in the effort to at least discredit the results of the November 3rd election. The Gouverneur Times reports the presence of a virus in some of the optical scan tabulators used in this years election. Add to that, tabulation and transcription errors on election night and allegations from Team Hoffman that ACORN and Company tampered with the process in some unknown and unnamed way.
Before you know it Glenn Beck will say it's the Chicago Way at work in NNY and while it won't change Bill Owens election, it will make Doug Hoffman a victim and I suspect he hopes provide the impetus for a rematch next year. The press coverage over the purported election miscues will stimulate fundraising and may allow Hoffman to enter 2010 with a hefty war chest that could scare off challengers. It could also make him look whacky.........
The good thing about this voting system is it does leave a trail of paper ballots that could be recounted by hand......150,000 of them.
VIRUS in the VOTING MACHINES: Tainted Results in NY-23

Sarah Palin gives Oprah biggest audience in two years--The Live Feed | THR

Sarah Palin is drawing large television audiences and big crowds are lining up at her book tour sites. Supporters seem enthusiastic...even some liberal elites in media like Andrea Mitchell and Oprah pal Gayle King are praising Palin for her life story and performance in interviews this week.
But for those hate-filled precincts on cable television, its time to double down just in case this woman starts getting a little popular. Chris Mathews makes a fuss that the line of autograph seekers is all white.....He says that's OK but....but what Chris ? Playing the race card again on MSNBC in what is billed as the post-racial era.
Olbermann and Maddow are as insulting as Hannity is fawning.
Regardless of idealogy, it is obvious Palin sells. There is a market for those who love her (FOX) and a market for those who detest her (NBC.) Seems Sarah is the perfect marketing machine for all audiences.

Sarah Palin gives Oprah biggest audience in two years--The Live Feed | THR

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WDT:ACORN Alleged to Massaged the Results

If as this article suggests, Team Hoffman is alleging ACORN and labor union interference in the election, its not because they believe it....Its because the allegation plays well with the base...which is folks like Hannity who tonight repeated the fiction that Hoffman may yet win the election. The assertion is more about positioning for 2010 than it is to change the results of three weeks ago.
The role of ACORN and unions is debateable, as these groups did indeed mobilize for Owens. I don't think they fixed the race by messing with the counting process. However, the suggestion contributes to Hoffman's cause celeb status among the folks who watch Hannity and Beck. Good for fundraising.

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

Ritchie: Coy But She Sure Sounds Like a Candidate

After todays HOTLINE call from St. Lawrence County Clerk Patty Ritchie, I can say, based on my experience, that she is running for State Senate next year. However she would not take the bait and say it herself.
Coming off a spate of publicity over stopping the license plate tax, Ms Ritchie called today to amplify her fight against those taxin', spendin' over regulatin' SOB's down in Albany.
Yesterday Ms. Ritchie visited the office she hopes to occupy in 14 months. The visit to Senator Darrel Aubertine's Watertown office got Patty a hug from Aubertine staffer Drew Mangione. After that awkward, yet sincere display of affection, Drew accepted petitions Ritchie gathered in opposition to the plate tax.
Today's interview was by telephone of course, but the clerk from Oswegatchie sounded smoother than her 2002 Assembly bid against Aubertine. She had a conversational tone and drew on facts gleaned from her current post as head of County Clerks across the state.
I still think running against Aubertine is tough, as he now adds experience to his down-to-earth persona.
An Aubertine-Ritchie race would be interesting and from what I heard today, it seems a likely scenario.
Note- Jefferson County Legislator Barry Ormsby of Ellisburg is also being mentioned, setting up a possible GOP primary

You Don't Need A Pollster to Take The President's Political Temperature

A year ago Barack Obama was elected President with 53% of the popular vote. By recent standards a decent margin. Obviously there was good will at the time of his Inauguration and his poll numbers were high.
Now a poll is out this morning putting his approval rating at 48%....You'd think the sky had fallen from listening to the talking heads.
The President is still well liked and a popular man, but his policy initiatives have divided the glow came off and he is back to normal.
In a nation with high unemployment, there is obviously no lack of work in the polling world....They take them everyday and while its inevitable to talk about them, they really don't mean alot unless Mr. Obama falls into the David Paterson range.
In a closely divided electorate, I always have thought Mr. Obama's win came as a result of what I call Dave Mance Republicans who crossed over and voted for change over McCain. You all know some of those type voters.
When it comes to judging whether the President is beatable in 2012, I will not be looking at polls or listening to the talking heads.
I will continue to monitor the Dave Mance voters whom I know. When they start peeling off, then I'll know the President's 53% majority is in peril. Last I heard, Dave is still solid for the President.

Thanksgiving is Here Already

I read today the city of Pontiac, Michigan just sold its stadium, the Silver Dome, for $583,000. Talk about deflation...this was a $55 million structure when built in the early 70's.
That's a community in trouble....and tie in the fact the iconic auto brand sharing its name has been discontinued and you have a depressing situation.
Meanwhile, back 25 years ago, when places like Pontiac were doing well, it was our town with double digit unemployment and property values in the tank.
I remember back then buying my first house for a meager $20,000 and it was a decent home on Arlington Street. Now property values in the city are holding at a much higher level and we see businesses holding their own.
This month we can look at a couple of renovated restaurants on the verge of reopening in Denny's and Colemans. People are investing in businesses in the city such as the Beef n' Brew and the former Red Lion.
We see construction and progress on housing. A lot of it is our dependence on government jobs which provides a leveling force on the local economy.
Yet we do have those struggling. Just yesterday we read of a homeless man accused of starting on fire in an empty building.
On balance as we ready to enter Thanksgiving week, Watertown has much to be thankful for despite the challenges posed by a sputtering national economy.
As we remember to lend a hand to those in need, let's give thanks for how well off we are.

Ritchie OP/ED in NY Post

Patty Ritchie may not want to call the HOTLINE today as promised now that her OP/ED piece has been published in the New York Post. We will see if a humble small town talk show is still on her radar as she basks in victory after staring down the Governor and Legislature on the plate tax.
Making Albany hear the people

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Newsweek is no Longer a News Weekly

In a country of over 300 million people, the once iconic Newsweek magazine has seen its circulation fall to about 1.5 million.
So picking a fight with Sarah Palin over their cover photo is clearly a good move.
By printing a photo from an article in Runners World showing Palin looking hot they sent their core message to their core readers that she is a superficial, intellectual-lightweight whose only appeal is physical beauty. She is truly an affront to the serious thinkers who read their magazine.
This will sell extra copies, but it does nothing to solve Newsweek's central problem. It is no longer a weekly summary of news and it is no longer that relevant to the news conciousness of the nation.
There is a solid case that Palin should not have posed for this photo several months ago, knowing it would be used this way. It is also fair to say the use of the American Flag as a prop is contrary to Palin's authentic love of country.
So while I am willing to criticise Palin for the photo session, Newsweek's use of the pose is clearly sexist.
Whatever you think of Palin she has no record of posing or conducting herself in a lewd or suggestive manner. Case in point is that the only bikini shots the media was able to run were photo-shopped.
Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham is often on shows like "Morning Joe" being treated like some uber-intellectual able to transcend the pedestrian values of middle America and tell us what is really important.
In this case, Meacham chose the cheap and arrogant shot that will gain him kudos in the Georgetown haunts he no doubt enjoys, but he is sorely out of touch with large swaths of America who live in the fly-over states Meacham sees only from a safe altitude.
Magazines often choose cover photos with an eye towards enticing buyers. That is why Barack Obama was often a choice in 2008. Putting Palin on the cover helps sell copies too.
However, the image Newsweek chose was not only borrowed from a months old publication but also represents an effort to diminish Palin based on a suggestion she is only a sexual icon.

Chatter from the 122nd

-Just ran into County Leg Chair Ken Blankenbush. He wants to be Assemblyman from the 122nd and is looking for a communication expert for his campaign. I think he wants to Twitter his platform but doesn't know how.
-Look for fellow bar owner Rick Lucas of Montague Inn fame to also run for the Republican nod in the 122nd. He is PIV-endorsed.
-Everyone is assuming Dede Scozzafava doesn't run. She did turn a some of the lemons into lemonade with her post election media tour and status as the lone voice for a centrist GOP. I suspect she doesn't run, but if she does it will likely be as a Republican despite all the talk of party change.

Absentees Tilt Cape Race.....

Absentee tallies determined winners in some local races, including Town of Wind (Cape Vincent) where the outsiders beat the insiders with a rash of absentees. Well to do cottagers (aka summer homes) have been registering to vote in the Cape to influence decisions on wind power.....That gave Urban Hirschey the win...but he's a nice guy. The Town board cut his pay before taking office , a rather downscale thing to do.....But since he is anti-wind, I guess they figured he could afford it. Urban is the former owner of Climax Manufacturing which he recently sold.

Will Patty Call Wednesday ?

Patty Ritchie just called to say she heard she was being talked about on the HOTLINE.....Must be she got the word while placing an order for flowers.
Ms. Ritchie was in Watertown to that's not was to lobby Senator Aubertine and Assemblywoman Russell on the license plate tax.
For Patty the spat over new plates was a gift from Heaven. A chance to garner publicity....stick up for the little guy faced with a "fee too far" ...float her name for the GOP state senate nomination....and by the way make it look like it was all part of her duties as a diligent, caring and compassionate county clerk.
Now some would say this is craven politics...I say its seeing an opportunity and sensing a rage in the electorate.
She will face a tough opponent in Sen. Darrel Aubertine, the likeable former farmer from the Town of Wind.
Patty faced Aubertine before in the 2002 Assembly race...a close battle that ended for her locked in a rest room distraught over the loss. (That's what the media said...I wasn't there)
I am sure Ms. Ritchie learned from the experience and will run a spirited campaign next year. One thing she brings to the race is the "one of us" moniker so effectively used by Aubertine.
Unless of course we discover she has been charging folks to fish on the Oswegatchie River.
Ms. Ritchie has pledged to call the HOTLINE on Wednesday....Hope she does.

Paterson: Sacred Cows Face Ax Too

He may never win a term of his own as governor, but David Paterson can serve the state well by continuing to preach the gospel of fiscal restraint. Today Mr. Paterson said the unthinkable.....that health care and education are sacred cows that must be cut. The Legislature does the state wrong by declaring certain areas are immune to the budget ax.
WCBS NEWSRADIO 880 - New York Governor David Paterson Talks to WCBS Newsradio 880, Says Tough Cuts Must Be Made

These Darn Blogs Make People Think They Are Real Journalists When They are Not

-Sometimes I need to be slapped across the head by the MSM. Yesterday I got roughed up by a print reporter who made it clear that if I thought NY23 wasn't well covered, there will certainly be lots of coverage of the next mayoral race. The scribe was responding to a recent commentary on this blog. He seemed to imply I shouldn't be writing a blog. Come on....what I say here is not swaying anything...its just my views and observations doled out to a circulation measured in dozens...not tens of thousands. Get over it.
-As I have said on the HOTLINE, my career in journalism was not a successful one, so when technology allows a journalist wannabee the chance to practice his writing, please don't disparage that.
-I do try to be helpful to journalists. Last night a reporter insisted on a post meeting interview on the State Street property which is the subject of a public hearing for a special use permit. That hearing and council action is three weeks away and I tried to explain that tonight Council had done nothing on the matter and there might be other things that did happen (lower sales tax & a flap over snow dump permits) that were more newsworthy at this moment. The reporter told me her boss said she had to come back with a sound bite on the gas station and what happened spontaneously was off limits. Rather than argue, I gave her the 20 seconds on the gas station. Point is , I was trying to be helpful...not obstreperous.
-I think I wouldn't want to be in charge of an "old media" outlet. There is way too much seepage of information and opinion which doesn't have to pass through the gatekeepers of days gone by. Without lock-step control of information its more difficult to control the newsmakers and news consumers necessary for a successful business model. I think thats called a paradigm shift and its vexing to deal with when your job is to run a business that employs people.
-One thing I would do. I would teach reporters to report on what happens and not write what the boss thought was going to happen. Damn, there I go again trying to be helpful.

Dede Supporter Threatened By Jerks

Good editorial from the Press Republican about the nastiness that the electronic age facilitates in politics.

The Press Republican - Article: EDITORIAL: Politics no place for hatred

Monday, November 16, 2009

Paterson Rips White House For NYC 9/11 Trial -

Wow Governor Paterson has ripped the Obama White House for wanting to try five terror suspects in New York City. Paterson....whom Mr.Obama tried to muscle out of the race....says the mobe by the administration will create too much anxiety.
Paterson Rips White House For NYC 9/11 Trial -

Updated 23rd District Election Counts

The Gouverneur Times reports three counties have completed counting absentees in NY 23 and the margin of Bill Owens has shrunk slightly, but not enough to suggest his apparent victory is in danger. Mr. Owens lead dropped by 200 when votes from Oneida, Madison and Hamilton counties were tallied.
Updated 23rd District Election Counts

Oprah and Sarah Hit it Off in Congenial and Informative Interview

This will likely not surprised the regular readers of this blog, but I took time this afternoon to tune to Oprah at 4PM to see the Queen of Talk interview Sarah Palin.
It was nice to see an interview outside the crucible of a campaign where everybody has an agenda or a mission.
It seemed affable and Oprah asked the right questions without trying to play "gotcha."
Ms. Palin did coin a term for Katie Couric....calling her "the perky one."
Palin declined to speak about 2012 ambitions, clearly wanting to make a name for herself campaigning in next year's mid term elections.
Palin's book "Going Rogue" goes on sale at midnight and is already a best seller in the pre-sale market.

Hoffman Spotted in the Capitol

In another example of how Doug Hoffman does not plan to go quietly into that dark night, he showed up at the State Capitolin Albany today, just to look around. Seems his high school class never got to go to the state capital.
Doug Hoffman, Effusive as Ever | The New York Observer

New Apartments Highlight River Development

Todays tour of River Front Apartments on Newell Street was an exciting look at what will be a nice addition to the City's housing market.
The 30 unit rehab of the old Bradley Warehouse was accomplished in part with state money and that brought NYS Economic Development Czar Dennis Mullen to Watertown for a look-see.
Mr. Mullen got to see a lot. The rehab is nearly complete and its an impressive sight. The apartments are well designed and executed and along with the soon-to-reopen Maggies Restaurant (Red Lion) will provide the impetus for redevelopment of the water front.
Oh yes, there is the $18 million cleanup on nearby Engine Street that will also hopefully improve the neighborhood.
For all the debate over the Whitewater Park project, make no mistake, this effort will accrue to the benefit of the City and this neighborhood.
Good job and I enjoyed the tour today.

Patti Ritchie Wins Plate War and Sets Up Her 2010 Senate Bid

St. Lawrence County Clerk Patricia Ritchie was seemingly just doing a PR stunt when weeks ago she agreed to be the face for a GOP Senate-led offensive to force Democrats to back down on a small but symbolic portion of their state budget. The $25 license plate tax had struck a chord with New Yorkers angry over a series of fee and tax hikes that have left the public poorer and the state still carping about lack of money.
The plate charge is being nixed by Governor Paterson and Legislative leaders and that's a win for Ritchie who is widely thought to be Republican choice for next year's effort to unseat popular Senator Darrel Aubertine.
In the scheme of things, New Yorkers are still getting hosed by an increasingly confiscatory system of taxation in the Empire State. The plates were a great symbol upstate since downstate lawmakers in NYC don't care since many of their constituents do not drive.
For Ritchie, it's an opening and a realization that public rage against the machine of government is a motivator in the 2010 elections.
However, she cannot merely repeat her 2002 Assembly Campaign with speaking appearances that were painful to watch, a la Hoffman in '09.
For candidates like Hoffman or Ritchie to get across the line they need more polish and a perceived conversancy on more than just the plate issue.
Nonetheless....Ritchie is in a good spot to start building her campaign, although it will clearly be a long shot effort against Aubertine.

Gov, Legislature agree to ax plate fee

Cape Air proposes service to Owens HomeBase AlsoKnown as Plattsburgh

Smart move by Cape Air to include the home base of the new Congressman in their bid for essential air service money. Cape now services Watertown, Massena and Ogdensburg. Plattsburgh attorney Bill Owens recently became Congressman for the North Country. Essential air service money is one of the high profile "bring home the bacon" items that Members of Congress love to tout.
By including Plattsburgh, Cape Air maqy been gaining a voice on their side in the new Congressman.

Cape Air proposes service to Plattsburgh -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY:1446:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let’s make the right decisions

Here is an op/ed by my Assemblywoman Addie Russell.....And she chose the conservative Gouverneur Times to print it....Good for you Addie.....Ezra has you talking outside the echo chamber.

Let’s make the right decisions

Hoffman Speaks to 912'ers in Madison County

While he apparently didn't win the race for NY 23, it seems Doug Hoffman has not faded away. This weekend he was in Madison County to speak to a gathering of 912 and Tea Party activists. You won't read or hear about it in the MSM, but this would seem to indicate Hoffman is staying poised for 2010....
Here is a report from our person on the scene in Canastota.
Nov 14, 2009
The first STATE wide 912 Tea Party Meeting was held in Canastota, NY at the Rusty Rail Restaurant. The groups in attendance included; CNY 912, Oneida County 912, Albany 912, 912 of Greater NYC, Croghan Meetup, Ithaca Teaparty Meetup, CNY Campaign for Liberty, Lafayette We The People, Westchester County We Surround Them, NNY912, Rochester 912, Buffalo 912, Suffolk County 912, Dutchess County 912 and CNY Patriots!
Also in attendance were Conversative candidate of NY23 Doug Hoffman, David Gay, Conserative Candidate for NY25, Glenn Beck's sister in-law Yvonne Donnelly, Jennifer Bernstone CNY 912 organiser.
Over 200 people attended this event to educate and learn to pass the word

These people are considered nuts, racists,whackos, and even worse by the MSM and the political establishment. I think they are patriots concerned over taxes, deficits and freedom. Seems they are motivated and Hoffman may be their guy again.

Let's Face It...Nobody Had the Resources to Truly Cover this Race

Here's where I infuriate the local MSM. This column by WDT Managing Editor Bob Gorman rightly points out the value of local political reporting when an important office like Member of Congress is being filled. In today's Internet world, outside media also plays an extraoridinary role as we noticed in the coverage of the race in NY23.
There was some diligent work done on the Times blog posted by Jude Seymour. He did videos of events and provided links to other entities with interesting coverage. His blog was a good resource for an informed voter, but hardly the only resource. In fact much of Jude's work should have been developed and featured in the print edition
This was an Internet election and the analysis and coverage elsewhere was insightful and informative. There was misinformation as well.
The WDT crows about how they solely fought the battle to force the inclusion of local issues in the race. In fact there is a tone to Bob's tome that suggests a measure of pride in the clear role the Times played in the last minute derailing of Doug Hoffman's candidacy.
In fact Time's coverage of a contentious editorial board meeting with Hoffman did indeed shape national coverage with many national talking heads referencing the incident as evidence of Hoffman's lack of qualifications to be our Congressman. Similar scrutiny of the ultimate winner of the race was not evident, but Mr. Owens did receive a last minute sight-unseen endorsement even though top Times folks say he had blown them off during the camapaign.
The events of the final weekend of the campaign had an almost choreographed nature to them.
Scozzafava's campaign as the local candidate had faltered badly and she was headed for defeat as embargoed numbers from Siena College showed the Friday before. A planned rally for Scozzafava quickly became a withdrawal announcement Saturday morning, thus dominating the Sunday news cycle. Then a non-endorsement by Scozzafava became an endorsement Sunday morning in an editorial backing Bill Owens. A formal endorsement came in the afternoon, just in time for the Monday cycle and an appearance by Vice President Biden. It was a political ballet that led the NY Times to later report that the local newspaper endorsement was not a coincidence, a charge they deny.
In his op/ed today Bob Gorman warns Hoffman that if he runs again, the residency issue awaits him....An issue never seriously raised this year, as from his home in the Village of Lake Placid, he can see the 23rd from his porch.
Those local issues like Drum, winter navigation, zebra mussels,etc may be legitimate, but they should be raised by a candidate and then reported on as news. Days before the election the Times ran a front page piece alleging Hoffman indifference to big labor. Where did that allegation come from ? Not hard to figure out but it is not the job of reporters to brew up the talking points opposing candidates don't want to raise.
I had written frequently in this blog that I thought Scozzafava should play the Drum and geography cards early on...That was not done for whatever reason. It should have been.
Actually, there needed to be far more coverage, print and television, about who these two interlopers were who were trying to take away our Congressional seat. In the end, I didn't see local reporters in Plattsburgh and Lake Placid looking into these fellows. That's the local coverage that was needed, and it was sorely lacking on both sides of the Adirondacks. The one televised debate was covered by the AP.
I know fellows like Jude worked hard on a race that was far-flung with candidates so amorphous it was tough to know what was happening.
Other local sources like provided an extensive list of links and original coverage. Other blogs and sources added to the mix.
There was in some ways plenty known about the race, but at the same time little known.
It is frustrating for followers of a race to see one campaign so unable or unwilling to frame the debate as it perhaps should have been. Should it be up to reporters to fill that gap ?
Beats me...I am not a journalist.....Apparently some who are think it is.

Watertown Daily Times | Congressional race highlights value of local political reporting

Mayor's Ball a Howling Success

A sparkling evening of fun last night at Jefferson Community College as the 26th Annual Mayor's Ball was held to benefit the JCC Scholarship Foundation and the Jefferson Rehabilitation Center.
This year the event had a new look courtesy of Ball co-chairs Phil and Margaret Reed. New bands and a Copacabana/South Beach decor really was a welcome change to the always successful event.
Since moving to the college, the event is much improved as the student center allows several band and refreshment venues and easily accesible parking.
A great job by the Reeds, their committee and the college !

Hillary to Sarah: Let's Have Coffee - George's Bottom Line

Hillary Clinton says she would like to meet Sarah Palin ? That's awfully open-minded isn't it ? In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopolis, the Secretary of State says she would like t meet over coffee with Palin, with whom they share the bond of being female candidates for national office in the Year of Obama.
Most career Democrats are content to accept the party orthodoxy that Palin is the political equivalent of the Anti-Christ but I am sure the two would have some notes to compare on the issue of treatment of women in politics.
Palin kicks off her national book tour tomorrow with an appearance on Oprah. Ms. Winfrey was criticised by the left for having Palin on the show, underscoring the intense feelings the former AK governor brings forth in some circles.
Hillary to Sarah: Let's Have Coffee - George's Bottom Line