Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ted Ford and I Agree on Something.....

This farm worker rights bill is interesting...Liberals like it because it extends things like overtime pay to what they believe is an exploited group.....But even with a Democratic Senate, it was killed as a sop to upstate Dem Senators like Darrel Aubertine who fear its passage would alienate enough farm voters to cost them their seat.
I happen to think there is merit to farm workers getting the same worker protections as the rest of us...It's hard work...That places me....a Sarah Palin, tea partying, conservative in the same room as avowed socialist (oops progressive, his wife's the socialist) and dear friend Ted Ford.
Meanwhile, Senator Aubertine, as a nominee of the Working Families Party, opposes the measure on the grounds farmers would be inconvenienced and forced to spend more money.
Just goes to show all those labels we are fond of don't mean a darn thing.
Their word is dirt: State Senate Dems betray the farmworkers again

Spitzer Swings At Cuomo

Now the Dems are gnawing...with former and disgraced Governor Eliot Spitzer saying that his party's likely nominee this year is too Albany for the job....Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo have never been the best of friends, but the criticism of the man likely to be the next Governor is unusual. As for Spitzer , he is due on the red carpet tonight for the debut of a documentary about his philandering.
Spitzer Swings At Cuomo

WDT: Club for Growth on Fence..No $$$ for Hoffman

A Times story taking a swipe at Doug Hoffman is nothing new, but it is true that fundraising is being made into an issue.....Not because there is too much outside money...that was the rub against Hoffman last year...But because the Lake Placid CPA is raising so little....Reports show only $13,000 while GOP primary opponent Matt Doheny is north of a half million and says he is among the nation's most prolific fundraisers in Congressional races.
The confluence of outside influences last year took Hoffman's third party bid into a mission for conservatives nationwide frustrated over the new administration but without any elections to dabble in. This year all 435 House seats are up and groups like Club for Growth are not going to fund a candidate in NY 23.
The Doheny campaign points to fundraising as a measure of the candidates's viability against Rep. Bill Owens. They dismiss talk of outside money, argueing that is the only way to come up with the millions needed to run a campaign.
Team Hoffman has said they have a list of 20,000 donors from last year's near miss bid for the seat. There is no guarantee that money will come in with Doheny in the race. The Alex Bay native is considered conservative enough by many of those who conspired to sink GOP nominee Diedre Scozzafava last year. He has also been relentless in working the party regulars across the sprawling district and will likely get the endorsements of all eleven county committees in NY 23.
Since money is the mother's milk of politics, Mr. Hoffman will have to show some fundraising chops soon or else dump a substantial part of his personal fortune into the race....Try explaining that to your wife and family.
And while Mr. Hoffman could try to use the big money issue against his opponent, the irony is that to do that you need big money.
As for me, I am just hoping to rustle up enough cash this week to pay the IRS my quarterlies due in the mail by next Saturday, and wondering how long I will last if that national sales tax idea actually does happen.
Watertown Daily Times Club for Growth on fence

DEC ruling is a big fracking deal

From the sounds of this, New York's hydrofracking industry may be in for some slowing down as the DEC imposes regulations designed to protect water supplies for all those downstaters....There has been a lot of pushing in Albany to halt the process for recovering natural gas by pumping chemically treated water into shale formations.
This may mean our City Council decision to continue to accept the by products of this process at the sewage treatment plant may wither as well. Council recently voted three to two to continue treating the water from the state's Southern Tier.
By making the testing of wells so expensive, the process may cease to be profitable.
DEC ruling is a big fracking deal

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ladder Truck or Bird House....Hey, We are Bird Lovers !

Everything must be viewed in the context of the times they occured....
The Thompson Park Aviary was the mission of Mayor Karl Burns in the late 70s at a time when the City wanted to breath life into the deteriorating Zoo....It has since become an iconic architectural symbol of the facility now run by the Thompson Park Conservancy.
I am told tonight by a retired fireman that at the time smoke eaters wanted a new ladder truck....but there was a political desire to build the Aviary...Then City Manager Ron Forbes presented it as an either/or proposition and the $180,000 bird house won..... The ladder truck came a couple of years later.
" You couldn't put out fires with an Aviary," the fireman tells me...."It was a priority at the time."
I love hearing about the tick-tock of decisions reached long ago....Every issue like this has a subtext.
Mayor Burns is gone now and the only city-sanctioned memory of him is a street in East Hills. This "bird house" is his legacy and I just hate to see it fall victim to todays styles and whims.
But, for the record, I have an open mind.

OMG- Blankenbush to Announce at Keddys....Across the Street from the Wench !

Bad Karma on Day One as Ken Blankenbush chose a bar across the street from Indy Vice Chair Tammy Bramhall to announce his Assembly bid....And in a further in your face, he chose the Village of West Carthage, where his possible opponent Scott Burto is mayor.
Burto may run as a Democrat and almost changed his GOP registration to Dem last fall but was talked out of it, according to a high place Republican.
Lowville is the closest thing to a geopolitical center for the 122nd....but maybe the food is better at Keddy's.
Republicans are confident Chairman Blankenbush will not face a primary or a serious Democratic foe in November. At this point he is the only announced candidate for the 122nd. State Republicans are said to have insisted the candidate pledge the first $30K to be spent on a campaign.....About 40% of what the first year salary would be.

Espada Calls Out Cuomo On The Coup

Better watch Liz tonight at 8 and 1130 to see Pedro Espada do his Rod Blogojovich imitation...He rips into Andrew Cuomo and it should be entertaining if not incriminating !
Espada Calls Out Cuomo On The Coup

New York's Next First Lady? And Good in the Kitchen to Boot !

New York's next First Lady will likely be the host of a cooking show on the Food Network and she could be taping episodes in the Governor's Mansion on Eagle Street in Albany by this time next year. Sandra Lee is the 43 year old live-in girlfriend of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. They have been involved for four years.
With Mr. Cuomo a virtual certainty to be the states next chief executive, it will be interesting to see how the MSM and the political establishment treat the lack of a marriage certificate.
Does co-habitation mean the media refers to Ms. Lee as First Lady of the State. ? Obviously views about marriage have changed since dad Mario married Matilda decades ago.
I think she will be a great first lady and bring some haute cuisine to the "steak house" crowd in our state capital.
Will she campaign with him and will she be a star at times eclipsing the candidate ?. With Mr. Cuomo so far coy (understatement) about his intentions, Ms. Lee has not been talked about. But when he accepts the nomination at convention in six weeks, will she stand beside him or will he fly solo in front of the delegates.
This may not be about the issues, but so far no one much cares about that....So come June the evasive campaign of Andrew Cuomo can shift into celebrity mode with the glamorous Sandra and his still charming and effective dad on the trail for him.
Will Rick Lazio be much of a match for that ?
New York's Next First Lady? - Page 1 - The Daily Beast

WDT: Few rush to succeed Scozzafava

What if nobody wants the job ? While there is the usual chatter among the political class about who will succeed Assemblwoman Scozzafava in the 122nd AD, sit back and think about it...Who would want the job ?
First of all, it is a job.....It's not public service.
You get paid $79,500 a year and can boost that through the per diems you get while in Albany and maybe a little bit more from getting a leadership stipend (lulu) for chairing an obscure committee. You might get a car, but probably just mileage. Figure you will make in the 90s to about a $100K
For a lot of folks, that's a good job and from what I hear except for the travel and time away from home, the Albany end of it is not that demanding. You will get a chance to sample the Capital's nightlife.
Back home, you have to make sure the constituent work is done and its important to appear at events..People expect that.
The 122nd is a sprawling end-product of gerrymandering and is not thought by the map-meisters to be competitive..
Back to the 'who wants it ?' argument.
Imagine you are 40 or 50 years of age....have a career, a family and a bit of an interest in public policy. You like people, and want to make a difference.
How do you tell your boss you want to take a few months trying to secure a new job but if you lose you want to keep what you have ? How do you tell your spouse you want to take the life savings and dump it into advertising ?
If you win, you can build a nice career and retirement compared to what you have now, but do you really want to bother ?
And of course, how many people really know how a bill becomes a law and even know that the job is ?.
Its actually a good gig for a lawyer who can do the Legislature thing and a bit of private practice on the side...But even among lawyers, you have to ask , couldn't I make more doing real estate closings ?
And of course, whoever steps up, like Mr. Blankenbush, will be excoriated for being too fat, too corrupt, or too interested in a pension (who isn't ?).
Let's see what happens, but rest assured, no matter who it is, the Internet will provide ample opportunity to discuss every aspect of that person's life. It's not hard to see why people are not lining up for this one.


Watertown Daily Times Few rush to succeed Scozzafava

Grant Whomps Reagan For Fifty

Four of five Americans do not want Ronald Reagan to replace Ulysses Grant on the $50 bill. This survey shows the common sense of the masses. This is not about Mr. Reagan....its about tradition and history.
There is a generation of Republican politicians who cannot utter a sentence without wistful rememberences of Mr. Reagan, who is certainly a significant historical figure. In 25 or 30 years , if there are still parties then, you will see the same effort mounted by wistful Democrats wanting to memorialize President Obama.
Let's stick with history. Who knows, the presence of a figure on a bill might prompt someone of the younger generation to ask who it is and learn about Grant, Hamilton, Jackson, Lincoln, Washington or Franklin.
Grant Whomps Reagan For Fifty

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrity Exodus

The other day when being interviewed on the budget, TV 7 reporter Jessica Kane told me she is leaving for a job in Syracuse and her cohort Caroline Tucker is taking a job in Rochester.
Its good to see such talented and upstanding young reporters moving up. Congratulations to you both.....
Oh and a memo to John Moore...Can you pick up the pace a bit...?

Hillary Clinton again says she's tired - Laura Rozen - POLITICO.com

Sounds like Hillary has had enough of the nonsense and wants to relax....Madame Secretary....I say go ahead and kick back...Enjoy Chelsea's wedding this year and travel to some places that are not war torn and dirty.
Hillary Clinton again says she's tired - Laura Rozen - POLITICO.com

Burto for Assembly ?

Where do vulture's hang out when they are not picking the carcass ?.....They blend in...But with an open Assembly seat suddenly available there are lots of birds swooping in for dinner.
One to watch is West Carthage Mayor Scott Burto.
Mayor Burto was an ardent DeDe supporter and didn't like the events of last year. He also was rebuffed for consideration to run for the 122nd when it looked like Ms. Scozzafava would be the next Member of Congress. He is not a conformist in the GOP like other family members.
In Judes blog, Mayor Burto expresses interest in the race, but lets take it a step further.....I am not so sure he sees the GOP as the path to take and that might explain reports of a a mid-day meeting in Watertown with high level local Democrats.
Conventional wisdom is that this is a noncompetitive district for Democrats. In this year of upheaval I don't rule out anything.

Forlorn Blog Reader Calls for Advice

Wow, this crazy blog must get read....Last night I wrote a piece on the GOP meet-the-candidate night in Ogdensburg.
GOP Comptroller Candidate Harry Wilson spoke in a bland manner and I pointed out as much...I was a little more harsh than that, but you have to make this stuff interesting.
Today Mr. Wilson called and ask how he could improve his demeanor....He was very polite and had read my blog.
Mr. Wilson is from Westchester County and I gave him some suggestions and told him to call the HOTLINE. He called and he gave good answers...With some tips on speaking and his self esteem restored, he's ready for anything Tom DiNapoli throws his way.

Aubertine & Valesky Call On Espada To Step Down

For upstate Democrats it's a careful game of outrage. Senators Darrel Aubertine and David Valesky say Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada should give up his leadership post....but not his Senate seat in the wake of allegations the Bronx Democrat looted the not for profit health care operation he runs.
The upstate Dems surely roll their eyes at the hijinx of caucus collegues embroiled in scandal and allegations of thuggish behavior. But...these Senators also have to be loyal to their caucus and its leaders. Dems hold a slim 32-30 edge in the Senate and would be unable to pass a budget without all their members in the house.
Its time for these Senators to declare the downstaters are unfit in some cases. For Pedro Espada, its been a case of behavior and actions that have hobbled the ability of the body to operate and have brought discredit on the institution.
Another Upstate Dem Calls On Espada To Step Down

Love Your Comments....But There are Limits

We are into the silly season, where personal invective overcomes common sense and decency and it is not my intention to promote egregious, unproven and anonymous personal attacks.
If you want to call someone a drunk...a drug dealer...a wife beater....gay...a philanderer....a thief..make fun of their name, religion or ethnicity..or the like. here is what you need to do
PUT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS ON THE POST in which you make the assertion, and offer some documentation.
I think it best to start curbing it early in the season.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Party Faithful Get News By Proxy Their One Time BFF is No More

Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava faded from the landscape of GOP politics last night where at a party gathering in Ogdensburg, Chair Nancy Martin announced to an emotionless crowd that the six term lawmaker was not seeking reelection. The news didn't seem to evoke much of a response although Ms. Martin was quick to tell the crowd there is plenty of time for the field of replacements to change.
The one man who hopes it does not change is Jefferson County's Ken Blankenbush who came to the 'Burg to tout a challenge to Scozzafava and now he is the only announced candidate to succeed her.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maple City Welcomes Humble Blogger with Palin Look-a-Like !

I love visiting Ogdensburg....Everyone knows me and nobody hates me ! At least that I know of....Folks at the charming Freighthouse Restaurant were so friendly and many said they love this blog !
As a political hobbyist, you can imagine how intrigued I was at a lady with a Tina Fey name tag who looked like Sarah Palin...Actually she is local chiropractor Angela Rufa who was dressed for the part and posing for photos.
OK, Angela gets the lead on this story...That's the difference between me and my friend Jim Reagen who was covering for the newspaper !
Getting down to serious stuff....Republicans seemed enthusiastic about their prospects this year, and I have been to plenty of their events of late that were anything but energetic.
Make no mistake....its hard to imagine Andrew Cuomo not winning the Gubernatorial race, but I believe Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is the more competitive choice for the GOP. Mr. Levy is a municipal executive who has taken on the unions and special interests and has a plan to shake up state government.
Rick Lazio was just there....A former Senate candidate whose turn it is...
The Congressional candidates are both focused on sending Rep. Bill Owens back to Plattsburgh....But the difference between Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman is 20 years.....Doheny projects energy and ideology while Hoffman is sincere but doesn't ignite a crowd.
Doheny wowed the crowd with an off the cuff recitation of the names of the county's 32 towns.... Mr. Hoffman, a CPA, said with tax season over his travel schedule will shift into high gear.
A local union boss who goes to these events told me after seeing Doheny, he thinks Matt wins the primary. I find it valuable to consult my Marxist friends at times.
Hometown sweetheart Patty Ritchie was warmly received as she ask her neighbors to hold down the fort in St. Lawrence County while she tries to woo Oswego and Jefferson County voters. Mrs. Ritchie's speaking is better than in 2002 when she narrowly lost to now Senator Aubertine in an Assembly race.
The Assembly candidates spoke but by then I was checking out the G Guage model train on the bar used to deliver drinks to customers.....
The closest thing to novocaine was state comptroller candidate Harry Wilson who didn't speak loud enough to be heard....Some guy I never heard of was there running for lieutenant governor....Is that something you actually run for ?
Republicans are revved up in the Big County......I will ask my other Marxist friend Ted Ford when the next Democratic event is so I can report on it.

Scozzafava Bails, Leaves Race for 122nd Wide Open

Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava may be ending her time in the Assembly and even her husband tells me he doesn't know what's next for the six term state legislator. She tells the WDT she will not compete in the GOP primary for AD 122 and that leaves open the possibility of a run on another party line, including the Independence Party. Her comments to Jude Seymour would suggest a departure from politics entirely.
Ms. Scozzafava suffered through a brutal meltdown in the race for Congress in NY23. She went from early favorite to pariah in the GOP after she folded her cards three days before the election and endorsed the Democrat and ultimate winner, Bill Owens.
Scozzafava seemed a candidate this year having held fundraisers and town hall meetings. After the entry into the race of Jefferson County Legislature Chairman Ken Blankenbush, she got out...Perhaps the prospect of another internecine battle in the GOP soured her.
Despite party problems, Scozzafava is still popular and may have won a primary, but decided to bail only hours before a Republican candidate forum tonight in Ogdesnburg.
It will be interesting to see if other Republicans who chose not to challenge Scozzafava will get back in, including Montague Inn owner Rick Lucas, who is also a Lewis County Legislator.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Cuomo And Feds Raid Espada’s Soundview

I will betcha Pedro Espada wishes he had passed on the opportunity last year to lead a GOP coup of the State Senate that resulted in Espada becoming Majority Leader.....Now that he is back to being a "good" Democrat, Espada is the postal child for Senate corruption and dysfunction....He is a major threat to Democratic hegemony in state government.
He has to go and this morning's raid of his non-profit, taxpayer-supported health clinic in the Bronx is a ratcheting up of the pressure to get him out......
Ironically, all this fuss has generated no commments from Senate Dems, who need his vote now to pass any budget they agree on.
Cuomo And Feds Raid Espada’s Soundview

Former Prison Worker Cleared In Inmate Sex Scandal | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY | Local News

And where does this lady go to get her reputation back..or do we just accept that notion that like OJ Simpson, she really did it but just got away with it through a "technicality" ?
In this case the judge dismissed the case, which means it was really weak..
Former Prison Worker Cleared In Inmate Sex Scandal WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Numbers Are What You Make of Them

Even in a carefully prepared budget, setting the property tax levy and rate is a result of not just spending but also the assumptions made on the various revenue streams.
In the case of the City of Watertown budget the biggest single variable is sales tax...It's also the largest single source of revenue, about doubling property tax revenues.
THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH IN BOLD PRINT HAS BEEN CORRECTED DUE TO AN ERROR ON MY PART. I am Deeply Sorry, but don't feel the gist of this posts changes.
Two years ago sales tax (plus a tax settlement on PILOTS) yielded city government $17.8 million but last year the recession and the lack of that one time payoff had pushed the take down by about two million dollars. In the last few months sales tax has been on the rise again due to higher gas prices, a return of consumer confidence as shown in the auto sector and an influx of Canadian shoppers due to a favorable exchange rate.
So the fairly conservative budget projection of $16.1 million for the coming year is likely on the low side. That means even with the proposed spending scenario there may well be no need to generate the $350 thousand in additional property tax revenue.
It really depends on your comfort levels with predictions. Indeed a $400K increase in sales tax expectation would obviate the proposed $4.8% tax levy hike. If you feel the sales tax comes in the same amount short you would need to increase the levy further to keep the budget in balance.
For all the talk of state aid, it is likely the Governor's proposed numbers will hold and hydro revenue should be steady due to new equipment to keep the intake canal clear of debris.
There are other variables like fees and fines, the latter of which can be affected by policy.
There are expense variables. The proposed budget has a bulk amount for contingency, which is primarily pending changes in pay for city workers.
As for the rest of expenditures, the only real changes would be achieved by adding or subtracting persons or programs.
Arguing over the number and price of supplies and equipment is pointless as one needs confidence staff will seek to be as frugal as possible. That has been the case during the recent spending freeze.
The effects of variables on the budget process are rarely discussed by media or politicians who prefer to talk about the tick-tock of reviewing line after line of expenditures, most of which will not be changed as they are well prepared by staff anyway.
The city budget review will get more coverage than the many other local governments simply because the city is easy to cover and of interest to the largest single group of news consumers.
We will see what happens, but I think institutionalizing property tax hikes when other revenues are likely to rise may not be the way to go this year. I guess we will find out next month.

Espada Trashes, Bashes, Smashes At Cuomo#more#more#more#more

This is great stuff...Pedro Espada holding a news conference to excoriate his party's likely gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.........Espada claims Cuomo's investigation of his family's health care consortium and the resulting accusations are payback for Espada's role in last year's Senate coup.......Going after Espada is only a win for Cuomo in the eyes of all but the Senator's hard core fans, who are all Democrats and will vote Cuomo anyway.
Espada Trashes, Bashes, Smashes At Cuomo#more#more#more#more

Making Espada A Campaign Issue

Meanwhile in upstate Senate districts look for Pedro Espada to be made into an issue, as is being done in the 49th SD near Syracuse.
I am sure the same tactic will be used up here against Senator Aubertine. It will tough to attach the sins of Pedro to Darrel, as the Cape Vincent native is so different in image and demeanor to Senator Espada.
That won't stop Patty Ritchie from trying,as her best chance to win is a repudiation of the Democratic Party in general , not Senator Aubertine individually.
Both Aubertine wins were in the low 50s, so the feeling is not too many will have to be swayed to make a difference. Republicans are also counting on a big home county lovefest for Ritchie. I'm not so sure left-leaning St. Lawrence is all that willing to go the other way, but we will see.
Making Espada A Campaign Issue

AG Sets Sights on Espada

The Dems are determined to take out their two baddest apples in the Senate....Hiram Montserrate (Senator Slasher) is gone and unlikely to get back in office this November.
Now Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is after Majority Leader Pedro Espada for alleged diversion of millions from his taxpayer supported health clinics in the Bronx....The money is said to have greatly enhanced the Senator's lifestyle.
Monserrate and Espada put bull's eyes on themselves with their GOP dalliance last year that left the Dems temporarily out of power. Espada leveraged his position to get the leadership post. However all of this made him a comical figure and his sleazy dealings could no longer be overlooked,
The Democrats know if they want to hold the Senate, they need to clean out these two. Espada already has a primary opponent bangin away on him and the AG's action will make it worse.
Funny thing is if these two had layed low and been loyal to the party last year, none of this would be happening to them now...Politics is not bean bag.
Pilgrim-Hunter on Espada's "Shameful Story"

Its April 20th....Time to Send Scott Some $$$

First thing this morning I was over at Grays Flowers to deliver some scratch-off tickets for use in arrangements. Mr. Gray believes in shopping locally.
So who do I run into but Jim Wright. He was there picking up posies for his female staffers and I assume his lovely bride Carol as well.
The flowers were for Administrative Professionals Day....A holiday manufactured by Mr. Gray and his ilk solely to move flowers that didn't sell at Easter but won't last till Mother's Day.
Like Mr. Wright, I am fully trained and had already had sent flowers to my administrative professional, whom I call a secretary.
You see, I don't see that term as a perjorative. A good secretary is a blessing and Mrs. Corriveau and I have been blessed for many years with great secretaries.
I enjoy sending the flowers in recognition of a job well done, but it does make me chuckle that I am sucked in by this incredibly transparent florist enrichment program.
If you haven't sent yours , call Scott today !

How About: Man Critical after Gruesome Arsenal Street Wreck

Easter is over but in the local MSM a resurrection nonetheless.
Yesterday, the WDT in a banner headline, front page, above the fold said a man was "presumed dead" in an accident on Arsenal Street. Turns out the deceased didn't get the message and is today perched in s Syracuse hospital with "non-life threatening" injuries. It was a great way to jazz up the Monday morning edition.
Now the accident was serious and looked bad. Rescue workers and medical pros got the man treatment and while I am sure he is hurting, he is very much alive.
We don't have media watch dogs in Watertown, except for consumers of news....but several people I talked to said to me, "whats that all about" when comparing the headline to reality. Yet when I joked about it to a couple of MSM staffers, the defense mechanism was in place.
"Well we said 'presumed'," as if that absolves them of guilt.
Why not just say.....'Boy we screwed that one up !"
You won't hear that. You will only read a small story that the injured is in stable condition.
Watertown Daily Times Man hurt in Arsenal Street crash stable at Syracuse hospital

Pew poll: Rage against government - Tim Alberta - POLITICO.com

We are all Mad as Hell these days...This Pew Poll show how distrustful the folks are about government..especially the central government in Washington. Also today USA Today reports Americans are less and less interested in affiliation with either of the national political parties.
This is disconcerting to the political establishment and media who are marinated in the current system and view the people in a tribal sense. You know...which side of the aisle are you on ?
Meanwhile, the legislating and taxing goes on in Washington and Albany. Now that health care is done, its back to jobs, as if the government really creates them....and we are going to beat down greedy Wall Street even though here in NY we like greedy Wall Street paying taxings into our state coffers.
But as mad as some people are, we are still a docile group not given to revolution or upheaval....
When the elections are over, it will still be mostly the same faces in both capitals and they all will do what the leadership tells them to do.
We will have some new taxes by then...some more regulation and as long as you can still afford the latest I-phone or a new SUV or watch the NFL in high def in your man cave, most of you will go about your daily business as usual and the political class will have weathered the storm and the few who have been defeated will relocate to K Street for their lobbying gig.
But it is therapeutic to be Mad as Hell once in a while...so go ahead...express a little rage against the maching...but don't be late for work.
Pew poll: Rage against government - Tim Alberta - POLITICO.com

Monday, April 19, 2010

Budget Proposed...Deliberations Will Start in May on Spending Plan

City Manager Mary Corriveau Monday night proposed a spending plan that increases spending less than one percent, eliminates three vacant positions and raises the property tax levy by 4.8%. Water and sewer rates would be unchanged.
The spending plan is aided by health insurance costs that actually went down and a resurgance in sales tax revenue. Huge increases in retirement system contributions and cuts in state aid tugged in the other direction.
Lawmakers will review the budget next month and adopt a final plan by June 1.
Lawmakers also approved a much small than expected low bid to rebuild Breen Avenue and renewed employment agreements with Mrs. Corriveau and City Clerk Donna Dutton.

WDT: Local Indy vice-chair calls on Doheny's behalf

Tammy gets her name in the paper...or the virtual paper at least....following a meeting with Congressional hopeful Matt Doheny, local Indy Vice Chair Tammy Bramhall has asked the state chair to consider him for the nomination...Any formal recommendation from the Jefferson County Committee would have to come at a meeting, but both Bramhall and County Chair John Rice have said they like Doheny.
Watertown Daily Times Local Indy vice-chair calls on Doheny's behalf

Blankenbush Runs in Possible Dustup with DeDe

Jefferson County Legislature Chairman Ken Blankenbush has confirmed weekend rumors and told the WDT's Jude Seymour he is indeed seeking the Republican nomination for Assembly in the 122nd.
Current Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava has not stated her intentions, although it is widely thought she will run.
If she does the race becomes a grudge match pitting grumpy Republicans against DeDe over how she handled her disastrous Congressional race last year, including her withdrawal from the race and endorsement of Democrat Bill Owens.
Mr. Blankenbush represents the Black River area and was deeply involved in the recent PILOT deal with Big Wind.
He is an affable fellow and has been easy to work with from my perspective.
At 62, I cannot fathom why he wants in this briar patch, but to each their own.

Cuomo Yet to Announce But Maintains Big Lead

Another poll is out and Andrew Cuomo is up over all three potential GOP rivals by 35 points....Voters surveyed say he is the one who can clean up Albany....Wow, we've heard that before....
Cuomo's demeanor is aggressive, but he is more politically astute than Eliot Spitzer who within weeks of taking office was liked by few and headed for a fall even without Ashley Dupre.
I would think at some point, the GOP would worry about how much of a drag their gubernatorial candidates would be on the rest of the ticket.
The Daily Politics

Feud Over Wall Street, Another Espada Probe, Still No Budget, and Guess What...Our Taxes are High

-New York pols like Senator Chuck Schumer are finding it hard to reconcile their desire to hop on the bash Wall Street bandwagon while in fact its the financial services industry that is a major employer and tax generator in NYS. That has left Mayor Michael Bloomberg...normally a big government liberal himself....defending his city's golden goose while Mr. Schumer has his eye on a national stage and is supporting new regulatory legislation in DC.
-Mayor Bloomberg claims a deal with teachers will eliminate the "rubber rooms" where suspended teachers spend years collecting full pay.
-More trouble is swirling around NYS Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada. Reports are that a new probe is on concerning payments to his family owned health services provider based in the Bronx. Democrats desparately want Espada and his bad press eliminated in order to preserve their one vote majority in the Senate.
-A report out this weekend showed what he all know. Property taxes in NY are among the highest in the nation and in recent years have increased at a rapid rate, causing folks to vote with their feet and flee the state.
-Dicker reports Andrew Cuomo may announce soon for Governor...The whole process has lost much excitement because he has in fact been a candidate for so long.
-Patti Ritchie held a fundraiser over the weekend in Red Mills and has been making appearances in Oswego County. GOP insiders continue to insist she is viable in the race against Senator Darrel Aubertine.
-And in NY23, the Doheny campaign is more than happy to point out that in a recent FEC report, foe Doug Hoffman raised little money despite his national notoriety.
-Oh yes, still no state budget and no prospect for one. The big question for New Yorkers is just what new taxes they will be hung with.
Who can Wall St. bank on? Schumer and Bloomberg don't play nice over proposed reforms

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Time Warner's Pygmalion ? Liz Becomes Albany's Eliza Doolittle

Two weeks on the down low has left former print political reporter and blogger Liz Benjamin a remade woman, much like the character in My Fair Lady based on the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion. Not since Greta got a CNN to FOX makeover have we seen such a transformation. Liz debuts on Capital Tonight, Monday at 8PM.
Transformation Complete!

For the Money Manager a Review of 1992 Might Be in Order

The American people do respond to reason....and most of us remember 1992 when Ross Perot pulled out the pie charts to draw attention in graphic detail to a then outrageous federal deficit.
It worked....Perot lost but the message carried on and by Bill Clinton's second term the deficit had become a surplus.
Then along came the Bush years and a return to deficit spending. The 9/11 tragedy followed by two wars and a Medicaid prescription program enacted without funding.
Then along comes Barack Obama with even less aversion to spending and deficits unimaginable in the '92 campaign.
We need people running who understand money and economics and can articulate the problem and what needs to be done.
That's what has impressed me about Matt Doheny for Congress. In the times I have talked to him, he has shown a conversancy with economics that impresses. The guy needs some pie charts and a script....
Honesty about the situation would play. Sure, nobody wants to hear about the next generation getting a higher retirement age.....But really, this is generational.
Few people under 35 really believe what they see as the myth of Social Security waiting for them in the wings at age 62.
For a younger guy like Doheny, pie charts and bar graphs might work.
If its just going to be flannel shirts and coveralls in slick commercials it will be tough to out do Rep. Bill Owens who mastered the art last year.
This is a year that cries out for content.
Let's see if we get any.

Budget Time at City Hall

Just finished the pre budget release interview on television about the spending plan to be proposed tomorrow by the City Manager.
That new reporter from Texas, Jessica Shaw, grilled me and tried to move me off the Obamaesque platitudes....Dang that mainstream media trying to ask tough questions !
I think the comparison she was seeking was with the headline yesterday about St. Lawrence County and a $9 million shortfall...
My point is the spending plan is not a set it and forget document, it is something that's updated as events warrant....That is what the City has done in the past nine months.
I cannot imagine that any alleged shortfall in Canton is really something no one knew about until the WDT uncovered it one Saturday morning.
City finances have been the subject of public discourse for months and everyone knows state aid is down...sales tax is sluggish but recovering and expenses in areas like pension funding are up. Some positions have been vacated and left that way for the time being and maybe permanently. Purchases have been put off or cancelled....End result is we don't get a headline about multi-million dollar shortfalls.
That doesn't obviate the need for structural changes in the way things are done and I will be interested to see what proposals the Manager may have in that area.
So I am content to see what is proposed and look forward to working with the Council, the manager and staff in the weeks to come to refine the proposal.