Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cities, counties take back corporate tax breaks

The Old Guard still isn't hearing it but the public is increasingly tired of bailouts and breaks for the well-to-do, while their own lifestyle is being crushed by recession and higher taxes.
This story talks about the trend elsewhere, but the message is...or should be....clear to Jefferson County lawmakers as they ponder the latest Ponzi scheme to "create jobs."
Cities, counties take back corporate tax breaks

Hoffman Reaches Out in Prelude to 2010 Run

It certainly appears the man who was nearly our Congressman does not plan to go quietly into that dark night.
I got a hand written thank you note today from Doug Hoffman.

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a happy and healthy New Year !
I cannot thank you enough for all your consideration and support last year. I look forward to continuing the conversation in the coming weeks.
Best regards,
Doug Hoffman

Good manners aside, it sounds like he plans another run. For the record, I also got a thank you note for attending Matt Doheny's recent event in Watertown.
This week, Congressman Bill Owens comes to Watertown to address the Noon Rotary Club.
The 2010 campaign is underway and the smart candidates are doing the not so glamorous spade work of cultivating local leaders in the many tiny communities making up the 11 county 23rd CD.

What’s so special about today? It’s a palindrome - The Boston Globe

For those who can't stand all things Palin, today is a day best overlooked...01/02/2010 is said to be a rare arrangement of numbers to form a date.
What’s so special about today? It’s a palindrome - The Boston Globe

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lawmakers With Ambition Caught in Wind Storm

Since he has become the focal point for the anti-wind crowd, Jefferson County Legislature Chairman Ken Blankenbush may be watching his prospects for a NY Assembly seat fading fast.
As an apparent supporter of the Galloo Island wind project, Blankenbush is in a pickle. Because he alone can deliver the verdict of a deeply divided County Legislature, the Chairman is highly vulnerable should he seek higher office.
Support of a PILOT agreement invites future opponents to ask,...."why did you vote to give away $60 million of the people's money ?".....or "why did you support the seizing of private property for a transmission line that benefits rich investors elsewhere ?".
Shepherding through an unpopular PILOT has no downside to the agencies and bureaucrats who operate away from accountability to voters.....Not so for Mr. Chairman. He has ambitions and this issue could easily change that.
The waters are choppy on the way to Galloo Island for this veteran lawmaker.....and the same may be true for fellow Legislator Barry Ormsby, who openly admits interest in the GOP nomination for State Senate.
Meanwhile the anti wind folks continue with television ads pinning Big Wind to the Chairman of the Legislature.....And don't look for Big Wind to pay for the commercials to refute the claim.

City Lawmakers Raise their Right Hand

For the first time in history, two women serve on the Watertown City Council, after today's inauguration of Teresa Macaluso to serve on the body. She joins Roxanne Burns on the five person panel.
Macaluso and Councilman Jeff Smith took the oath of office in ceremonies today at the Flower Memorial Library. The pair were elected last November.
For Smith, its a continuation of a 17 year career in politics that at age 40 had him musing about the changes in his own demeanor since he was first elected to the County Board of Supervisors in 1993. Smith says he is more polished but is still committed to change. He affirmed support for his two signature issues....alternative energy and a second sheet of ice.
In a brief but heartfelt address, Macaluso thanked family, friends and supporters and pledged to do her best for the people. The coffee shop owner and former nurse was new to politics but easily won the seat vacated last year by Councilman Peter Clough.
Their first meeting of 2010 is Monday night.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Local Stories of 2009

So what are the top local stories of 2009 ?.....Here's a few of them in no particular order:

-The resignation of Rep. John McHugh to become President Obama's Secretary of the Army.
-The raucous race for NY 23 that brought national attention to an area with few seriously contested races.
-The State of New York....once the Empire State...ends the year with no money.
-The New York State Senate embarrasses us all with power struggles...personal failings and an inability to put public above party.
-Fort Drum and its soldiers continue to fight and die in America's foreign entanglements
-Controversy over wind turbines percolate up and the issue looms as a major confrontation of 2010.
-Same sex marriage is defeated in the NY Legislature despite empassioned pleas to approve it.
-An Ogdensburg woman surfaces as one of those having an affair with golfer Tiger Woods.
-Local media continues to evolve away from old media to new media that is mostly Internet based.
-Coffee shop owner Teresa Macaluso surfaces to win a City Council seat.
-Governor David Paterson stumbles badly and faces political extinction before reviving his prospects for the 2010 election.
-Murder of EMT Mark Davis who was responding to a call for help.

I am sure you have ideas as well !

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jets Promise Win and Playoff Appearance

The hopes and dreams of New York football fans rest on Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets this Sunday night against the Bengals. Stop by and watch the game in HI DEF at Fort Pearl on Pearl Street. Giants and Bills refugees are welcome !
Jets Edwards we wont lose to Bengals - NFL News - FOX Sports on MSN

Why the County Legislature Needs to Stand Up to The Giveaway

Some folks have been writing in here and calling the show suggesting I am a shill for Big Wind. Well, let me offer the opinion that should have been obvious to the astute listener.
I oppose the PILOT being considered by the County Legislature and if fact believe the Leg should rescind its "standard PILOT" legislation that allows many such agreements to avoid individual votes. Clearly this places me at odds with others who are in local government.
My reasons are many.
-PILOTS....or payment in lieu of tax agreements....are not free money...They represent a shift of tax burden from those who pay to those who don't. There are many stated rationales for this...being a veteran...being a in a certain area....or in the case of business, "creating jobs."
Quite simply many Americans are tired of bailouts and subsidies and if a break is to be given it should go to all.
As for wind farms, they are already subsidized by the federal government and if they cannot make sense economically, then they need not exist.
So often, the subsidies or tax shift is a vehicle for owners to take more dollars to the bottom line....Our dollars.
Those who want tax breaks for business should start advocating for smaller government.
-As for wind farms....I am not in the NIMBY crowd if they pay their own freight and adhere to reasonable set back requirements.
The County Legislature is split down the middle on the wind PILOT. They should oppose it.
So should every town village and city in this county. The obviation of sales tax on building materials for these "job creaters" erodes the primary revenue stream to local government....That means dramatic service cuts and or higher property taxes.
Enough is enough with bailout nation.

Will FOX Disappear Under the Blue Moon Tomorrow Night ?

Will the dispute between FOX and Time Warner result in the Murdoch network pulling the plus on its signal and programming to T/W subscribers. I think not, as these are both huge corporations who in the end will find a way to make the public pay....
TW will get to say it fought the good fight on programming costs on behalf of embattled consumers....And FOX will hide its costs in your cable bill, so they won't get blamed either.
So will the folks on Arcade Street turn off FOX tomorrow night....
Of course not....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scouts shocked at Hoch arrest - We're Always On!

The Boy Scouts say they are shocked....shocked I tell you at the party enabled by a county legislator now charged with providing the devil's brew to a group of Venture Scouts under the age of 21....And the cops say there are pictures....Well, where is the TMZ of NNY so we can see it all ?
I am shocked that anyone thought it a good idea to send their kids to a remote camp with a single chapperone....The back channel talk from those licensed journalists who resist the urge to gossip is this was an interesting party that will be remembered for some time to come. And the defendant tried to text the attendees to get their stories straight. How Tigeresque !
If Legislator Hoch wanted a couple of cocktails, a trip to Pete's to hang out with her Jefferson County counterparts would have been more appropriate.
Scouts shocked at Hoch arrest - We're Always On!

Moons as Omens....or Just a Bad Moon Rising

-An interesting omen for interesting times ahead in City Council....The new year and a new member of Council will arrive Thursday at midnight under a Blue Moon....not the beer....instead the heavenly phenomenon of a second full moon in the same month...
The moon is not really blue, but it is a rare event so one has to suspect the orb will be a talisman for something supernatural like lower taxes.
-Giants fans must be grieving.....I texted an old friend who follows the Giants to invite him to join we Jets fans in hoping for deliverance Sunday night against the Bengals. I never got a response.
With the Giants and Bills eclipsed this year, its a good time to root for the Jets, who with a win can put a NY team in the playoffs.
-Will our beloved former Senator get heat over the underwear bomber ? President Obama did admit the federal government screwed up in disregarding the warnings from the bombers father, a wealthy Nigerian banker. Dad told the US embassy staff his son was radicalized....Must have been serious for his own dad to blow him in....
Hillary Clinton's State Department didn't take the measures to place the guy on the no fly list....Should the blame fall on Foggy Bottom ? Hey somebody has to take the blame, don't they? Can't just blame the man on the Moon.

Obama: We Screwed Up

Speaking in an audio only feed from Hawaii, President Obama today said the federal screening system for ailines failed and he is pledging corrective action.....
In particular, the President confirmed the troubling details about the father of the Detroit Underwear Bomber.....Seems influential Nigerian banker...did indeed go to the US Embassy to warn officials of the radicalization of his son.
That and other slip-ups has led to criticism of the system for screening terrorists out of airliners.

Judge: Palin Custody Dispute is the People's Business

A big win for opponents of Sarah Palin as a family court judge in Alaska has ordered records be open to the public in the custody case of the one-year-old offspring of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston.
Johnston had argued he feared young Tripp's grandmother would be vindictive and run roughshod over him. Levi's attorney's argued a public custody dispute would keep Sarah Palin in check publicly. Meanwhile the attorney for Bristol says the former Governor is not involved except as a grandmother and that the child's interests are not served by a public feud.
The resulting depositions and testimony will provide a steady stream of gossip and that's good news for comics and commentators who have found Levi a font of material.
Judge orders records opened in Palin custody case: Former Gov. Sarah Palin |

Tea party movement could become part of the political establishment -- South Florida

The MSM likes to dismiss the Tea Party movement as a freak show, but there is increasing evidence in parts of the country that the anti-deficit, get government out of my life folks are becoming a bit of a movement. It may be just a flash in the pan as such movements often are....but even in defeat Ross Perot had an impact on policy for years to come and Tea Partiers could do the same.
Old guard Republicans are in peril unless they adapt to the new ideology on the right.....2010 will be an interesting year indeed.
Tea party movement could become part of the political establishment -- South Florida

FLASH....Teens Drinking in Remote Lewis County Camp...Legislator Charged

Another drinking teens story....This one involves teens drinking beer at a camp in the Lewis County Town of Watson.....Normally not all that unusual, but this one involves a sitting member of the County Legislature who was the sole supervisor of the Scouting group gathered there. Legislator Joyce Hoch is just finishing her term and along with a 19 year old is charged with providing beer to the youngins.
Obviously a dumb thing to do when you are responsible for other people's kids; are an elected official; are also an employee of the school district; and are old enough not to rely on the discretion of kids excited to tell their whole school about their rite of passage experience with Ms. Hoch.
Make no mistake, I favor a return to the 18 year old drinking age, as I believe the transition to adulthood involves learning responsible consumption....something that can't be done with all the surreptitious drinking that now goes on.
However, the issue here is trust. When you are in charge, you have to perform....And even if you don't think having a beer at age 17 is bad, you have an obligation to set some kind of example as far as adherence to the law. Ms. Hoch seems to have dropped that ball.
Watertown Daily Times | Legislator charged over teen drinking

Gov. Paterson's dad warns Cuomo -

As I have written about, the politics of race is simmering below the surface as Governor David Paterson hopes AG Andrew Cuomo backs off an expected run for governor for fear of reigniting racial resentments caused by Cuomo's short-lived bid to defeat Carl McCall for the 2002 Democratic nomination.
Veteran pol and gubernatorial dad Basil Paterson knows better than anyone how identity politics drives the Democratic party and Mr. Paterson's not so subtle remarks are a clear effort to pick at the scab SCuomo thought had healed over.
Gov. Paterson's dad warns Cuomo -

Monday, December 28, 2009

Coon Backs Collins...Spurns Lazio

Erie County (Buffalo) Executive Chris Collins has some significant support in his apparent bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination....Among the 15 county chairs backing Collins is Jefferson County Boss Don Coon.
Collins would face off against former Congressman Rick Lazio who has a head start on campaigning for the party nod.
The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

Troopers: Governor Trying to Look More Gubernatorial

Troopers have turned on the Governor....accusing him of padding his personal security detail while leaving the state without enough officers to handle crime. The accusation from the PBA union is a stark contrast to a year ago when Governor David Paterson agreed to a four year labor deal giving officers an aggregate raise of 13%. The NY POST reports the PBA says Paterson wants more officers because the size of the detail makes him look more gubernatorial.
This isn't the first time Troopers have become embroiled in gubernatorial politics. In 2007, Senator Joe Bruno and the GOP said cops were tailing the former majority leader at the behest of then Governor Eliot Spitzer.
The PBA has a large political action committee and had formerly contributed to Governor Paterson's political efforts. As part of the budget crunch, Paterson has curtailed training of new officers.
This is evidence of how quickly the major public employee unions will turn on a state official who suddenly fails to do their bidding.
As for the Governor, if the allegation is true, he will have to answer that charge before the voters.
Gov. Paterson has doubled his security team to make him look more 'gubernatorial,' political foe alleges -

Big Wind Suffers a Fall from Grace

Opponents of wind farms have a powerful tool today after the weekend collapse of one of the 187 ton behemoths in Madison County near Syracuse.
Officials are mystified at what caused the toppling which was well away from houses and caused no injury or damage except to the mangled tower.
Add toppling towers to bird kills, egregious PILOT giveaways, aesthetic concerns, interference to TV reception and long term use issues and opponents of wind farms have a quivver full of arrows to bring to their battles against Big Wind.
Of course, one has to wonder, if a wind tower falls and no one is there, did it make a sound ?
187-ton windmill topples in Madison County - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Watertown Police Cite Seven at Underage Drinking Party

So why did these underage folks get caught drinking at home ? It's because licensed vendors and on premise servers do such a thorough job of proofing. Drinking for most 18-20 years olds has successfully been driven underground....Whether that's good or bad is a decision for society.
Many in education and law enforcement continue to question the 21 year old drinking age including some very senior members of area police departments. Nonetheless, its the law of the land and the migration of drinking to unregulated venues carries its own consequences.
Watertown Police Cite Seven
at Underage Drinking Party

Black Ice and the Slippery Slope of State Politics in 2010

-Kind of a surprise when pulling out on the street this morning on the way to buy some Sunday papers (WDT and NY Post). Black ice was everywhere and roads that just looked we were in fact icy and caution was necessary...There were some accidents before the balmy weather of this Winter and bright Sun melted the hazard and we are treated to another nice day before temperatures drop this week.
-No City Council meeting this week....but still things going on including a meeting Wednesday of the Watertown Local Development Corporation, and some orientation meetings for the new Council member, Teresa Macaluso.
-It's getting to be fish or cut bait time for candidates for statewide office, including Attorney General Andrew Cuomo who needs to say soon if he will take on Governor David Paterson....Problem for Andrew is the Governor's numbers are improving on he is on the right side of budget and spending issues...If Paterson becomes viable on his own...even if only marginally viable, then it is difficult for Cuomo to take on his own party's governor.
-As it stands now, Cuomo looks like a go but Paterson is not making his decision any easier. My guess is there will be a renewed effort to buy off the governor with an offer of some kind of job...but I think Paterson stays put and runs....Seems people are starting to like him again, and with the current state legislature to run against
Paterson may have a chance. Talk about a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
-Meanwhile on the GOP side, Rick Lazio is looking for like the candidate of destiny as more and more county chairs line up behind him. We will see if his wilderness years in a conservative think tank have created a new Lazio compared to the one who bobbled the ball in the 2000 Senate race against Hillary Clinton.