Newspaper Endorses Funiciello....

Newspaper Endorses Funiciello....
Grateful Dead and the Walking Dead Endorse Him Too

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NY23: What's Up ?

Even though I obviously follow politics more than most, it's still not easy from my perch to gauge just what is really happening in the race for NY23.
I know Republican Matt Doheny has a staffed HQ in Watertown and the candidate himself is traveling daily to parts of the eleven county district. Doheny has done a couple of fundraisers and has some printed material like bumper stickers in addition to his popular and innovative nerf footballs. Doheny also has the backing of GOP leaders from just about every county.
The other Republican (and likely Conservative nominee) Doug Hoffman seems not to be doing anything, but on reading Jude's blog yesterday, there does seem to be a cadence to his effort with endorsements and appearances outside the Watertown media sphere.
Democrat Bill Owens is playing the role of incumbent, holding a town meeting Sunday and issuing press releases on his doings in DC. With his central casting Congressional look, and his ability to influence events and people through his incumbency, Mr. Owens is on track as well. And he is attracting RINO's like Dave Mance to his cause.
It certainly appears we are headed for a three way race....I had thought for a time, Mr. Hoffman would be chased out of the race by petition time, but here we are and that has not happened.
The next benchmark is mid-July when petitions are handed in.....Will Mr. Hoffman have them done without the county chairs helping him ? Will Doheny produce a massive number of GOP signatures to demonstrate momentum ? Will he get the 1000+ Indy signatures needed ? Will Mike Long follow through and only issue a Wilson/Pakula to Mr. Hoffman? Indeed will Mr. Hoffman have the Conservative Party signatures needed since he does not appear to have a network of people to do that ? (there are no teams of notaries from GOP lawfirms supporting Hoffman).
What is clear is that its hard to judge what is happening in NY 23, so I recommend checking all the blogs in order to get as complete a picture as possible.

Budget Extender Will Be Passed

By including a few of the spending cuts proposed by Senate Republicans, Governor Paterson will surely get his budget extender bill passed in time to avoid the so called "shutdown" on Tuesday. This budget by brinksmanship approach, in the absence of the Legislature doing anything, does seem to be making progress on getting an overall spending plan.
Freed from the shackles of having to run for office, Governor Paterson's more aggressive approach to the budget process may be ugly to watch but the alternative is getting nothing done.
With political season underway, the handful of lawmakers who are in close races also are getting skittish and want this thing to end.
Once passed this latest extender will put off the crisis for a short time and the next extender, with education cuts, will further test lawmakers to see if they will endure a "shutdown" in order to prevent the modest cuts being offered by Mr. Paterson.
What a shutdown consists of is unknown.
Budget Extenders

Friday, June 11, 2010

Indy Party Sought To Quash Grand Jury Subpoenas

None of this surprises me as the relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been awash with money for years for anyone who helps him out. What did he spend on his last campaign, $100M ?
Same was always true for Bruno and Pataki.....Those who dabble in politics locally in remote upstate areas don't really have any idea how the game is played in all parties. It's not all evil, but the existence of a large stash is hard to pass up since politics is not a game you get to play for free.
Indy Party Sought To Quash Grand Jury Subpoenas

Sore Loser Can't Accept Pathetic Showing Against an Unknown

A veteran pol who lost to an unknown, underfunded man in the SC Senate primary is now claiming unusual voting patterns and making the suggestion that the fix was in....Vic Rawl just cannot understand why he lost to Alvin Greene, a 32 year old unemployed black man....The way the Democratic establishment is denigrating Mr. Greene's lack of employment or the suggestion this particular man of color is not smart enough to win is an incredibly blatant display of racism and disregard for the will of the people.
Mr. Rawl lost because a bunch of people voted for an unknown alternative to his very well known career pol persona. The fact that the absentees voted differently means little as they are cast by more establishment voters and cast weeks before the primary election.
Republican Senator James DeMint is the favorite in November and would have been if Mr. Rawl had been his opponent.
This is a sad spectacle in the Palmetto State...a state long known for its affinity to Strom Thurmond and the Confederate flag.
Experts review S.C. Senate ballots - David Catanese - POLITICO.com

One Man's Scandal is Another's Good Government

For those who say I only pick on the WFP, there is a controversy over the Indy Party in Oneida County, and Liz writes about it.
It has to do with money spent out of the "Chairman's Club" account.....
For those who don't know these are accounts filled with money from pols who are currying the endorsement of a party...and the County Chair controls the spending.
One can make a case that all money in politics is evil, but frankly this is what comes down....Assemblymen, Senators, Congressmen, DA's, Judge's, you name it want to win elections and in NY's system of fusion voting, the third party cross-endorses have both political and monetary value.
While we don't do this in Jefferson County, most county's hold fundraisers where the political class shows up with checks and after due consideration of the issues and other less tangible factors, Wilson-Pakulas are handed out.
Any county chair can be made to look saint-like or corrupt depending on how the media or their opponents choose to characterize their activities. In short, in this kind of politics there is no right or wrong, only the perception of right or wrong.
In that world, a headline that includes the words "probe" and "launched" is sought after.
Such is likely the case in Utica, where the same pols calling for the probe are also ones who have been glad to write the checks.
MacKay: Oneida Indy Case ‘A Local Issue’

FOXNews.com - Army Forces Top Two Administrators Out Over Mismanagement of Arlington Cemetery

It was up to former NNY Congressman and now Army Secretary John McHugh to make the public apology for gross mismanagement and disrespect for the dead at Arlington National Cemetery. Over 300,000 vets, including my own father, are buried at Arlington and there were repeated instances of improperly handled remains.
While it was not Mr. McHugh's fault per se, it was good to see an admnistration official just apologize for the government's error and not blame it on the Bush Administration.
FOXNews.com - Army Forces Top Two Administrators Out Over Mismanagement of Arlington Cemetery

TGIF Postings

-Yesterday, I said blame me for a kerfuffle over a water line on Public Square...The reason is not that I had particular knowledge of the installation of a one inch instead of a four inch line...but sometimes its just better to say to the public we wish it hadn't happened this way and we will work to fix it.
-Thanks to Joe Rich for sending an edible bouquet. I was pleased to send a letter recommending Joe be given special honors at SUNY Canton. I was glad to put in a good word for Joe and while it wasn't necessary to send the fruit, it was delicious.
-I am tired of hearing about how dire a state shutdown would be. We all know it wouldn't really happen....The gates to prisons would not be thrown open and the bridges and subways would still run.....I am worried about this talk of a quick end to the budget impasse as the taxes coming out of it will be staggering.
Look for the soda tax to be in....and who knows what else.

-

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dan Collins: New York's Third Party Mess

This article in the HuffPo is a good synopsis of New York's system of fusion voting that results in third parties that are little more than closely-held corporations that trade in nominations. The history of third parties is always the same...Idealism...Pragmatism....Opportunism....Followed by extinction as the reason for the party evaporates. Remember the Liberal Party and the Right to Life Party.
Dan Collins: New York's Third Party Mess

Mance......RINO Man !

Today Dave Mance stopped by and was all aflutter about a gathering of the elite this Sunday at a St. Lawrence River estate to raise money for.......Democratic Congressman Bill Owens.
A year ago Dave didn't know who the Plattsburgh attorney was and now his cooing over him borders on a man crush.
Remember when guys like Dave just routinely signed up as Republicans....Now Dave is a Republican In Name Only (RINO).
Dave and his wife are each paying $200 each to rub elbows at the home of a Mark Yenawine, who Dave says used to own Eastern Ambulance in Syracuse...
The tony section of the river is known as 7 Islands and most of us won't be going there soon.
According to Dave there are a lot of prominent Republicans attending although he provided no names.
Despite the fussing by Dave, this is not really high dollar....In the Hamptons folks would be maxing out at $4800 a couple....Dave says he doesn't like the Congressman that much.

Abby Sunderland, Teen Sailor Possibly Lost at Sea - ABC News

How come if your kid has a beer, you get charged with endangering their welfare.....but if you let your 16 year old daughter circumnavigate the globe alone on a sailboat, that's somehow OK ?
Abby Sunderland is the victim of child abuse....There is no way she should have been allowed to take a forty foot boat out to sea....Now she is lost in the Indian Ocean and a massive and expensive search is underway....All to get into a record book....
Am I the only one who thinks this is foolish and wrong ?
All we can do is pray for her rescue and wish the worst for her enabling parents who supplied the boat and allowed this to happen.
Abby Sunderland, Teen Sailor Possibly Lost at Sea - ABC News

Now Its SC Dems With Egg on their Face

This is a funny story and a real slap at party politics.....
Unemployed Army vet Alvin Greene got on the ballot for the Democratic primary for US Senate in South Carolina...He had no website and spent no money, but won the primary with nearly 60% of the vote and will face Senator Jim DeMint this fall.
Mr. Greene also got in trouble last year for showing obscene photos to a college student and faces charges for that. He is oblivious to issues.
Mr. Greene is black. I don't like raising race, but there is a high percentage of black voters in a SC Democratic primary. Race often becomes an issue as it did in 2008 when Rep. James Clyburn didn't hestitate to play the race card by charging Bill Clinton with racism in an effort to sink Hillary's Presidential bid against Barack Obama. No doubt many Democratic primary voters cast ballots with no knowledge of this man other than they assumed he was a fresh face, or in some people's view a fresh, black face.
I suspect Mr. Greene benefited from the years of identity politics promoted by folks like Mr. Clyburn. Mr. Greene also likely benefited from anti-incumbent sentiments.
Democrats say he was a GOP plant (so what, he still won, and Greene denies that he is a plant) and that his placement on the ballot confused voters....(talk about contempt for voter's intelligence)
Mr. Clyburn wants an "investigation" in an effort to frighten Mr. Greene into resigning the nomination......Guess Mr. Clyburn doesn't care much about Mr. Greene's civil rights when it gets in the way of the party.
Fact is he won...and was not vetted by the party leaders....What an embarassment to the establishment candidate he beat !
Greene vows to stay in race - Jessica Taylor - POLITICO.com

Poll: Aubertine Was Right in Chucking that Acorn

In our blog poll, 69% ended up feeling Senator Darrel Aubertine was correct in refusing the Working Families Party nomination and 64% feel other NNY Dems should as well.
For Aubertine, its very risky and going against conventional wisdom to run solely on the Democratic line. However, his political instincts have been on the money more often than not and that's why he holds the seat in what the GOP thought was drawn to be their most bullet-proof.

WXXI: Mayor Duffy Confident on Juggling Dual Roles (2010-06-09)

Why is the MSM asking Mayor Duffy if he will stay on as mayor during the campaign for LG, but nobody suggests Andrew Cuomo not stay on as AG......Pols at this level never leave one platform till they have landed on another....And if Duffy quit he and his family would have to live solely on his police pension till the end of the year. Given the ticket he is on, his election is a certainty and the Mayor's best bet would be to lay low,enjoy the lilacs in Highland Park or take a wine tour in the Finger Lakes.....while continuing to be as good a mayor as possible...
WXXI: Mayor Duffy Confident on Juggling Dual Roles (2010-06-09)

Batavian: DA Squirms in Deciding What to Do with Adultery Ticket

The Batavia case of a 41 year old woman charged with adultery after police are said to have caught her doing the wild thing in a city park is an interesting example of a law on the books that nobody enforces. When it gets enforced, there is amazement and a routine case of public lewdness becomes international news.
The Batavia case now has prosecutors scrambling to get away from a story that started with an officer writing a ticket and now is a debate on the Constitutionality of the law. The woman's husband says he is cool with whatever happened, so if he is the victim of the crime and if prosecutors like to listen to the wishes of the victim, then it sounds like no prosecution.
Whatever happens, this is a case of a story that went viral and within hours was a worldwide matter in the tabloid media. Remember how fast the tiff between Pastor/Councilman LaBouf and a female church lady spread, even though it got scant coverage locally.
There is a chuckle factor here....What if police agencies set a "performance objective" for adultery tickets the way they do for traffic tickets ?
Friedman: No decision made yet on whether to pursue adultery charge against Suzanne Corona The Batavian

Talk of Shutdowns: Does it Mean Anything More than a Snappy Headline ?

Everytime there is one of these budget fights, there is this threat of shutting down the state. It's really a red herring, as even the GOP in the Senate has no said it will indeed provide the votes needed for budget extenders if Pedro Espada or any other Democrat rebels refuse to support the measures.
And just what does a "shutdown" entail ? Nobody knows, but rest assured it is not to be taken in the literal sense.
The functions of government would continue and some high profile things would close so as to scare the public into accepting higher taxes.
Much like school districts do when they threaten first to cut sports programs.
I watched Pedro Espada's interview last night on Capital Tonight and despite his previously demonstrated shortcomings, he came across well and his decision to call the bluff on these extenders is a good idea.
The other day, someone ask me what would happen if City Council did not adopt a budget on time ? I don't know, because I believe as have many before me that the statutory deadline is to be followed. To do otherwise just creates a series of lawyerly rationalizations for the failure to perform.
One the state found a way around the April 1 deadline, urgency was lost and performance dwindled. Regardless of what is done, the dealine is important as if provides structure for doing a job...
Since a "deadline" is not a deadline...why should anyone believe a "shutdown" is really a shutdown ?
New York State Government Shutdown Would Have Statewide Impact - WCBS NEWSRADIO 880

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting to Know the New Guy on the Block

Today I got my first chance to chat with Assembly candidate and Lowville native Brian McGrath.
He wanted me to know he is not wealthy; used to be a Republican; enjoys football (Dolphins fan): and is conversant in NASCAR.
Mr. McGrath is the Democratic candidate for the 122nd Assembly District now represented by Diedre Scozzafava (who clearly supports McGrath).
He has extensive family roots in the district and grew up on a family farm and hit me with a bunch of farm terms just to make sure I realized it. Affable and confident at age 34 he says the people he talks to are interested in a new generation of political leadership instead of his 62 year old opponent.
The candidate had some good stories about his law career in NYC including a stint with the Brooklyn DA doing a little prosecuting here and there.
He also has been involved with arbitration cases involving pro athletes.
Now he lives with his partner in a recently purchased house in Martinsburg, looking at windmills and doing a little legal work out of his home.
He is the 2010 project of Democratic boss June O'Neill who hopes to grab this seemingly safe Assembly seat and there is reason to believe it can be done.
The Dems are expected to spend close to a half million on this effort against Jefferson County Legislature Chair Ken Blankenbush, whom McGrath describes as "beatable."
McGrath is a likeable, smart fellow who seems to understand the NNY way of life. He will be a formidable candidate.
One impolitic moment...When I told him I had to get a photo of him, he volunteered to stand next to my Palin stand-up....and he said he finds her smart....That moment would have made my friend June cringe.

Patty Plate on Pearl Street (Again)

Must be political day at Fort Pearl...An Aubertine operative stopped by this morning and this afternoon who stops in but Patty Ritchie....She was sort of asking if I would sign her petition, which I won't for either candidate.
You see the operatives scour those documents for such names and it would create too many hard feelings among those who give a hoot about parties and blind loyalty.
I took one of her blanks and told her I'd get her some signatures as I will for her opponent if he wants. I noticed her vacancy committee consisted of state leaders indicating there have been discussions about backing her even though the official position is that there is no endorsement and both candidates can circulate. So I suppose the possibility exists of a primary.
In the past, with the Bruno-led Senate, it was an easy call as the state party had cast its lot with the GOP.....Now control of the Senate is a jump ball.....
Jefferson County's Indy Committee supports Senator Aubertine....but how it ends up in the end is anybody's guess and one of life's lessons is you don't worry about things you can't control.

Petitions are Getting Old

I went out this week and gathered a few signatures on petitions but with nobody registered in the Indy party is interested in doing anything, my effort will be limited....I had kept things organized through this year so I would be able to help out the Sheriff.....Funny thing..all the people who tell me who they want endorse won't take one Sunday afternoon to go do the work of democracy.
Plus without knowing for sure who gets the authorization to run in the state races, I really don't want to bother gathering signatures for someone who will get nixed in July. I do plan to go out Sunday with Ted Ford...Its easier if one person drives then I could look for the addresses and go to the door.....
Trying to flip through those sheets while driving is worse than texting while driving even though there is no law against it
The worst part is paying to have someone work for me on a Sunday at Fort Pearl........How dumb am I ?

Gov. Paterson eyes painful menu of cuts, including mental health, PLUS extra $1 on cigarettes

When all else fails....hike the tax on cigarettes...How long will Albany be able to go to that well before voters wise up to the nonsense that passes for a budget in the Capital ?
Governor Paterson is getting tough by putting cuts and tax hikes in his budget extenders meaning there is at least some consequence to not having a budget.
Lawmakers want to get back to campaigning, so lets see if something gets done.
Gov. Paterson eyes painful menu of cuts, including mental health, PLUS extra $1 on cigarettes

Arena Thoughts Now that the Budget Debate is Over

One of the initiatives I fought for in the recent budget was a decent concession stand in the Fairgrounds Arena.For the thousands of people who visit the facilities for hockey, trade shows, concerts,etc. the concession has been a hodge podge arrangement of home cooking utensils placed in a dark corner of the lobby. Now those improvements will be made as the City will take over operation of the food stand.
A properly laid out and equipped concession stand run by the city will be a revenue source as well as an enhancement of the facility.
It will be a challenge, but I am certainly willing to spend time serving those nachos until the facility gets up to speed.....I would hope other Council members would be similarly inclined as we are all employees who need to give the maximum value to the taxpayers.
Another aspect of the Arena I would like to see addressed is the inventory of skates for rental. It may seem small compared to more grandiose plans for a second sheet of ice, but I really feel we must find ways to make the most of the great facilities we have and that involves paying attention to the little details.

Public Authorities: Close ‘em down - Capitol Confidential

A source of high paying patronage jobs may be threatened if some lawmakers have their way...A bill is on the way to pick the low hanging fruit and eliminate 129 public authorities ranging from parking authorities to operators of civic centers and local economic development agencies. There will be howling from those who have burrowed deep into these agencies.
I didn't see any on the list from around here...But there must be some somewhere.
Public Authorities: Close ‘em down - Capitol Confidential

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NY Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. says he'll risk state shutdown by voting against emergency spending bills |

This is a good idea...proving that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn.
NY Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. says he'll risk state shutdown by voting against emergency spending bills

Little love for the loonie over here : Home: The Buffalo News

This is just plain crazy and I hope it's not happening here in Jefferson County.
The Buffalo News reports Niagara area businesses are refusing or at best discouraging the taking of Canadian money....That's a heck of a message and one that in the long term will hurt area businesses.
The fluctuating value of the dollar is something every business needs to keep track of, but if its close just take it at par....Except perhaps for gasoline which is a very thin mark-up we should be happy folks took the time to come here.
This year our area stores have been loaded with Canadians and with most purchases on credit cards, I suspect the exchange is taken care of....But cash is still king and nobody should send the message that we don't want their trade here....We need it.
I have suggested that area small businesses should be made more aware of the relative values of the currencies....why they vary and the best way to deal with it.......The last thing we need is for a store clerk to look at a visitor as an alien just because their currency has a hole in it.
Little love for the loonie over here : Home: The Buffalo News

First Day of Petitions and a Bit of Mystery in the Senate Race

On this first day of petition gathering, the GOP claims to have an extensive network of petition gatherers and first among those are the legion of supporters for St. Lawrence County Clerk Patty Ritchie.....
The almost cult-like devotion of her supporters will be needed to garner the signatures of voters in the three parties she is competing for.
Of most interest is the Independence Party where no decision is expected for some time on who to back, if anyone.
The party's state leadership could issue two out-of-party authorizations...one to Ritchie and one to Darrel Aubertine...If they both garner the requisite signatures a primary would occur. There have been hints of this since control of the Senate this year is a jump ball and nobody wants to pick the wrong side.
Democrats historically have problems fielding large numbers of notaries,so getting the petitions done may be more difficult for them.

Another Dem Says No to the WFP

Lewis County native and Assembly candidate Brian McGrath told me today he is joining Senator Darrel Aubertine in saying no to the controversial Working Families Party.
Mr. McGrath told me he wants to be independent of the kind of agenda the party brings. Normally a Democrat takes the extra line on the ballot in hopes of picking up some extra votes and accessing the logistical support from the WFP.
Democrats from Andrew Cuomo on down have been skittish of the party for a variety of reasons.
Assemblywoman Addie Russell should do the same, but may find the line more appealing due to the core liberal areas in her district including Massena, Potsdam and Canton.
I suspect Congressman Bill Owens will say yes to the line as his campaign has ties to the SEIU which is a key component of the WFP.

Gov. Paterson wins a round in budget battle with 'make cuts or shut down government' threat

Our lame duck governor is forcing the Legislature into doing the unthinkable....Making cuts....And with campaign season starting today, those lawmakers who have reason to be nervous are less likely to participate in an endless delay in getting a spending plan approved.
Gov. Paterson wins a round in budget battle with 'make cuts or shut down government' threat

Cuomo Running Mate 'Double Dips' - WSJ.com

There is nothing uncommon about this although to a private sector person it seems odd......retiring from one government job, collecting the pension and then taking another government job at full salary...Such is the case with Rochester Mayor and Cuomo running mate Bob Duffy.
A $70,000 pension and a $127,000 salary.
It is common to retire from the NYS retirement system and then go back to working the same job you had. There is a restriction on salary but that doesn't apply to elected jobs and for other jobs like a school superintendent where waivers are often granted.
A spokesman for Andrew Cuomo says its all legal, and it likely is.....but it was this AG who bridled against abuses of the pension system.
We have been reassured that Mayor Duffy didn't pad his police pay with overtime in his final years, but as chief he likely couldn't do that.
The best idea would be to end the defined benefit plan in which people game the system in a very lawyerly manner.
Individual and perhaps mandatory IRAs would be better but it is unlikely to happen when the current system is so rich.
Perhaps folks like the Mayor who know the system so well can be effective in pointing out the reforms that are needed.....Rapidly escalating pension contribution rates for local governments is currently driving up taxes and will for several years to come as the current bloated system attempts to right itself.
Cuomo Running Mate 'Double Dips' - WSJ.com

WDT: Other Dems wary of Working Families backing

Other local Dems are thinking twice about accepting the nomination of the Working Families Party after Senator Darrel Aubertine said no to the WFP.....And for the campaign of Republican Matt Doheny, the Cape Vincent Senator did them a favor by creating an issue against Rep. Bill Owens who likely will accept the nod from the Family.
Assembly candidate Brian McGrath seems to be leaning against seeking the nod and Assemblywoman Addie Russell hopefully will do the same.
My experience is you can be supportive and fair to unions without signing oaths of allegiance to a set of policies that is bankrupting the state.
As one Republican told me, the WFP is the party of evil-doing ACORNS, and the party of "free sh--." In other words the party that advocates more programs, giveaways, and entitlement capped with an anti-business, tax the rich mantra.
The WFP also has had swirling controversies that has led to investigations of corruption...but I think the biggest problem the party presents is that to embrace its platform, you have declared war on business....Jack Kemp once said you can't claim to love jobs and hate the job-creaters.
The hierarchy of the WFP does just that and that is why Darrel Aubertine showed leadership in dumping them, even though it leaves him only one line on the ballot.
For Mr. Owens, it will be tough to dump the line because of the money and logistics the Family provides, plus he does not want to antagonize union bosses who see the line as a symbol of power.
No doubt about it, Mr. Aubertine changed the complexion of the North Country races by his decision...which I thought was in political terms kind of gutsy.
Watertown Daily Times Dems wary of Working Families backing

Monday Madness

-City Council approved the budget for the coming year and with some last minute adjustments the the levy increase was 1.95%. The spending plan reduces the number of positions by three, but maintains services at current levels
-Supporters of Congressional Candidate Matt Doheny gathered at Maggies tonight.The candidate says about a hundred people showed up.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Haley, accuser spar over polygraph - Andy Barr - POLITICO.com

South Carolina Gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley has a couple of operatives claiming to have had sex with her......Now these goons are demanding she take a lie detector test...
A test to prove what ? This is like these people getting on blogs charging someone is gay in hopes they will deny it publicly. Why should you have to answer these questions ?
Well, you shouldn't and neither should she.
This kind of stuff makes me more likely to vote for someone.
It does remind me of the old LBJ story from Texas....Johnson made some scurrilous charges against a foe in a Senate race...When confronted about their veracity, Johnson said he didn't care, he just wants to see his opponent deny them.
Haley, accuser spar over polygraph - Andy Barr - POLITICO.com

New Bishop Making a Difference

Just because you are part of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church doesn't mean you can't be "one of us" and newly installed Bishop Terry LaValley is certainly proving that.
I had the pleasure of meeting the head of the Diocese of Ogdensburg last night at the retirement dinner for IHC principal Pat Fontana. It was a very nice affair attended by about two hundred at the North Side League.
During dinner I chatted with Kevin Mastellon who is for lack of a better term the operations manager at St. Patrick's Church here in Watertown. Kevin said there has been a sense of relief and joy that Bishop LaValley, a NNY native, got the post after a year long vacancy.
The Bishop was dressed no differently than any other priest in attendance and in talking to him he clearly is not into the trappings of the office and is very affable and down to earth.
He will have his hands full managing this sprawling Diocese, but as a native who is young and enthusiastic, Bishop LaValley is off to a good start.
Given the important role institutions like IHC and the local parishes have in our city, we wish him well.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Use of WFP as a Club has Begun..Wilson Slams DiNapoli for Taking Line

Darrel Aubertine looks like the wise man of the Democratic Party by jettisoning the controversial Working Families Party......
Wilson Slams DiNapoli On WFP

Liz: WFP Hopes to Deal in September

The decision of the WFP to nominate placeholders for statewide office means they are hoping the Democrats will deal in the Fall, swapping Supreme Court seats for the WFP nomination. Normally a candidate nominated in June is stuck on the ballot...unless that person is an attorney and gets nominated to run for judge by one of the Supreme Court Judicial Conventions that meets in the fall. If Andrew Cuomo refuses to play ball in September, the WFP is unlikely to get the 50,000 votes needed to maintain ballot status.
This is a real test of Mr. Cuomo's commitment to a reform agenda.
State of Politics Blog

Surging NNY Dems Best Be Careful of the Third-Rail WFP

I know the repudiation of the WFP by Senator Aubertine is not the kind of story the MSM finds interesting, but I guess that's why there are political blogs.
As you can see by the poll Mr. Aubertine's decision is seen as the right move by a large majority of readers. The folks also think other NNY Dems should spurn this line with its hint of scandal and radical views.
Everybody likes families and most people admire people who work, but the Working Families Party ties a candidate to policies that are bankrupting NY.
Yesterday I heard someone say there is a view that the Indy Party is increasingly becoming the "me too" party for Democrats now that the GOP Senate majority is likely a thing of the past.
I don't know if that's true, but I do think from what I hear, any smart Republican candidate would use a WFP endorsement as a club against a Democrat. Aubertine could see it coming and took the chance of going it alone on the "A" line.
It is doubtful others will follow his lead. The one to watch on this is Brian McGrath because that line could be a curse in that neck of the woods. It would be so easy to tie him to radical left views which he says he doesn't believe in.
This will be a first test of where he stands,although he may look at it as just another line on the ballot.

WDT: Massena Mayor Ponders Dissolution...But at What Price ?

The Village of Massena was once a symbol of late 20th Century middle America...
Alcoa, Reynolds, GM the Power Authority projects and lots of union members with big paychecks to buy homes in the burgeoning housing tracts of this remote but seemingly prosperous industrial center. A decision to pursue municipal power further enhanced the liveability there in the 1970s.
Massena's flower has wilted a bit over the years and the area's biggest draw is now a casino on the nearby Akwasasne Reservation. There are still industrial jobs but things have changed and the emphasis is falling on what to do with those vacant plants and how to live without the fat tax revenues from them.
Now there is talk of dissolving the Village in what is touted as a cost saver.
It is true that if all the services offered by the village were brought to the same level as the surrounding rural areas, you could indeed save money.
I doubt that is what is meant by dissolution. What would happen is that certain service like police, fire, street lighting, recreation, etc would likely still be wanted so a special assessment district would be set up for each specific purpose. Surely the tax base of the Town of Massena is not going to absorb a share of the cost of policing the village at a level beyond what the Sheriff and State Police are willing to do.
This is what has happened in Seneca Falls, NY where a campaign succeeded in dissolving the village but now there is a push to create specific districts to provide certain services.
The end result is a loss of community cohesion and a tax bill littered with lots of district charges. And the problem with districts is you have no elected board to oversee and provide a bit of democracy when the "professionals" go astray.
In the end the way to save money is to cut services and the staffing that is associated. Short of wanting to do that, dissolution does little to help. Maybe Massena should start listing its good points, which are many, and make the case for why they are worth supporting.
Watertown Daily Times 'WE'VE COME TO A CROSSROADS'

NY passes students who get wrong answers on school tests - NYPOST.com

How long is a two-foot long skateboard ? If you said 48 inches you still get half credit on tests being given by the NYS Education Department. (The correct answer is 24 inches).
This NY Post expose shows many questions on competancy tests will net a youngster half credit for a wrong answer.
Is it because be can't bring ourselves to say there is a right and wrong ? Don't want to hurt young psyches ? Or the professional educators have just found a better way...
Let the professionals do it is the mantra of the progressive movement...This story might suggest the old notions of right and wrong are worth reviving.
NY passes students who get wrong answers on school tests - NYPOST.com

Do "Roots" Mean Legitimacy or Just Stuck in One Place ?

The Doheny campaign must cringe just a little when they hear fellow Republican Ken Blankenbush excoriate his opponent for not living and making a living in the district.
Blankenbush is framing that argument against Lewis County native Brian McGrath who had gone on to earn a living elsewhere before deciding to move back to the area and seek office.
Matt Doheny too had been successful elsewhere and returned to the area to live and work. He registered to vote in Watertown in May,2009. In fairness, Doheny has been back here a year longer and has his business office in Watertown. (I went and looked at it and it is what it appears to be)
The key in both cases is "successful."
So what if they had ambition and had the experience of living and working somewhere else ? They both seem committed to the North Country and have strong family ties here.
We live in a mobile society and we all like to be parochial now and then...But the fact these gentlemen prospered elsewhere is not a disqualifier.
They both seem to come from pretty average NNY backgrounds so while successful now, they likely know what life here is like.
Now If I were Mr. Blankenbush, I wouldn't hesitate to use the argument...I am just suggesting for the GOP it may be a tad duplicitous.