Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dunk: Down With the Weather Guessers

I was talking to the Dunks of Iron Block today as they came to visit with about a dozen bikes as part of the dealership's 25th anniversary....
It was hot and humid in the late afternoon with a breeze and a sprinkle here and there....
It had been a quiet day at his store and Erik was lamenting the "weather guessers." Those are the media folk who never seem to miss a chance to hyperbolize the forecast and panic the public into staying home.
"They are killing retail," Dunk said of the MSM weathermeisters.
I have noticed it too...the extra spicy forecasts that make watching their weathercasts more essential....There are a lot of storms and calamity predicted that doesn't pan out or just isn't that bad.
I have sat many a winter night when the public was scared away by predictions of storms and blizzards that are just a snowy day in January.
So it was Saturday with the forecasts for rain...Surely, it was raining...somewhere...

Doheny Needs to Big Foot Doug....Like by Two to One

The decision of the Independence Party to back Matt Doheny makes a three way race in the fall a certainty....With Doug Hoffman the Conservative choice and Rep. Bill Owens on the Dem and WFP lines, its a three way...The only variable is who wins the GOP nod in the September primary.
The Doheny campaign has ramped up with advertising and an aggressive campaign schedule. They feel their biggest problem is Doug their belief is that Mr. Owens is not a formidable opponent, but Hoffman's post primary actions will be key.
While it's widely felt that the party regulars and media backing of Doheny gets him a primary win, there is no certainty Hoffman waves a white flag....Even with a modest effort on the Conservative line alone and Hoffman gets 12 to 15 percent.
As you recall last year, it was when Hoffman started past the 15 to 20% range that Diedre Scozzafava ran out of gas and Owens surged into the lead.
Now if the other scenario happens and Hoffman wins the GOP nod, I don't see a Kumbaya moment in the Grand Old Party. In that case, Doheny could run on, on the Indy line.....
As for Mr. Owens I don't buy this argument that his vote for health care reform dooms him....I think he has been building relationships and as an incumbent is a formidable candidate.
This is a tough fight and a hard one to figure out. I do know, Mr. Doheny needs to crush Mr. Hoffman to have a chance to be the unity candidate for the right. That's why he has started spending now and will spend much more before September.
This is going to be a great race to watch.

Summer is Here in a Few Days, But You Can Start Enjoying it Early

Time for those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer.....Among upcoming events is the July 2nd Concert in the Park and next weekend there is a big catered soire in the Park for Freeman Bus
75th Anniversary.
City Council meets Monday without the posturing and bloviating about the budget as that document is put to bed.
A new issue...well it's also an old one....has cropped up with debate anew over the Masonic Temple on Washington Street. For the moment its privately owned however and the current owners have to decide what to do.
We are keeping on eye on the Army Reserve Center for possible reuse....And there is a spate of development on the City's west side that is good news for us all.
The issue of new rules for city parks is done, with most of the old rules still in effect. The deck is still in lawyer limbo and all the barflies are awaiting the reopening of Coleman's Corner.
Preliminary reports on sales tax revenue has city finances back on track and recent rain has helped with production at the Marble St. Hydro Plant.
Some key public works projects are underway and our local unemployment continues to stay below the national average.
The last two summers have been riddled with uncertainty and doubt but this year looks a bit brighter although there's still no state budget and the federal debt is leading us to a Thelma and Louise moment...but you can't spend all your time worrying so enjoy the summer....
Start it out by visiting Fort Pearl later today for the Iron Block Harley 25th Anniversary Party !

Friday, June 18, 2010

If Lawmakers Want a Temporary Extender, $1.60 a Pack Comes With It

The next extender includes a $1.60 a pack cigarette tax....That may make it too toxic to pass so the Legislature will opt for their own budget settlement...That's likely the plan as Governor Paterson continues to use new and aggressive tactics to move lawmakers towards a spending plan.
I remember a term used in economics class...."elasticity".....if you double the tax that may not double the revenue and the Legislature is having trouble grasping the concept...What if this politically popular tax hike is no longer the 'Get out of Jail' card for lawmakers...What will they do then ?....Well, a soda tax of course....then a salt tax...a deep fried food tax....There are plenty of vices these guys can go after.
Hey, it's all for the children...Can't wait for that ultimate fighting !
Capitol Confidential - A behind-the-scenes look at New York politics

Doheny Finally Makes a Splash in Race for NY23

Today's Indy endorsement of Matt Doheny came after the candidate went through the paces of meeting the handful of activitists who litter the 23rd CD. He made an honest effort and even though the ultimate decision rested with the state chair, there was genuine support for Mr. Doheny.
In their own way, I respect all three candidates for the seat and respect their love of country and the region they live in.
As for Doheny, what impresses me is his enthusiasm, drive and intellect. I have had occasion to talk to him in a variety of settings...He does know a lot about real issues and reads alot...His acumen in finance is especially appealing in these crazy economic times.
He is a savant on sports trivia...He even knew what college team has an anteater as a mascot. (University of California at Irvine).
This is one of these years when even independent voters look at the election in parliamentary terms....In other words, parties.... I think that while the GOP has been a big disappointment on more than one occasion, the current regime in DC doesn't even seem to understand this charade of spending just cannot go on.
We need enough people to apply the brakes....And call me parochial, I like the idea of someone from Jefferson County as my Congressman....Guess I got used to having a Watertown native in the office with John McHugh.
You won't see me saying much more about my preferences in this race as I recognize the need to work with them all and as a blogger and talk show host, I am a believer in being fair and balanced.
Ultimately, Mr. Doheny will have to make his case to all of you over the coming months as will Rep. Bill Owens and Doug Hoffman. Please take the time to listen to all three.
Jefferson's Leaning Left: Matt Doheny, a congressional candidate from the beautiful Thousand Islands.

Silver: Tax All Tobacco

In Shelly Silver's world the state can profiteer off Ultimate Fighting....Reap more blood money from taxing killer tobacco products....allow the sale of 192 proof alcohol....but you can't play Quick Draw between 3PM and 4PM.....Go figure...
What are we going to do when butt-leggers take over the overtaxed cigarette market and this cash cow dries up. There has to be more than to this budget process than gouging the poor souls whom Albany desparately hopes keep smoking at any cost.
Silver: Tax All Tobacco

Take That Patty Plate !

Senator Darrel Aubertine says he has brought home the bacon to the Maple City with a budget deal to ensure continued operation of a state prison in Ogdensburg. In a release, Aubertine says language will be in the budget deal expected to be complete by the weekend. The proposed closing of the facility had sparked community concerns over jobs and a lobbying effort by Mayor Bill Nelson and GOP Senate hopeful Patty Ritchie.
It had been suspected the proposed closing was a red herring that would allow local Dems to save the day, but nonetheless the move will play well in Greater Ogdensburg where Ritchie lives and was hoping to run up the score in her favor.
I don't know if keeping facilities open for the sake of keeping them open appeals to everyone, but it will certainly allow Senator Aubertine to be seen as a player in the corridors of power in Albany.

A Party Just to Nominate Blacks ? Incredible,but that's the Goal of One NYC Councilman

At a time when many are ceasing to identify with political parties, one NYC Councilman is hoping to use a run for Governor to establish a new party on the NY committed to electing black candidates. Councilman Charles Barron announced his bid for the top office by protesting the lack of a black running on the Democratic slate for any of the statewide offices. Mr. Barron says he will circulate independent petitions under the banner of what he calls the Freedom Party. If he gets on the ballot and receives 50,000 votes then he has established a party for the next four years.
For sure such a party would be another cross-endorse mechanism used to pressure the Democratic Party to nominate more blacks...However, a party solely dedicated to race-based nominations would be of dubious values outside the City of New York.
An effort like this exposes what parties, particular the minor parties are. They are a group...likely a very small group who use New York's ballot laws the way a Hollywood movie set makes you think you are looking a real village instead of painted fronts to buildings with nothing behind them. The media then reports on the doings of these parties as if they are a real entity refelecting the thoughts, hopes and dreams of a segment of society.
Controlling a line on the ballot is important in New York's system of fusion voting, but holding one solely to elect candidates of one race is a troubling development at a time when the Nation has its first black President and the State its first black Governor.
'Up You, Mighty Race,' Barron Tells Crowd at Campaign Kick-Off The New York Observer

S.C. Dems reject Rawl appeal - Shira Toeplitz -

Alvin Greene will get to run against Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina....His primary foe, Vic Rawls, who lost 59% to 41%, pleaded for the party to bump Greene based on a bunch of vague but unproven charges of mischief......Fact is Mr. Rawls was the establishment candidate and voters said they wanted someone else, even if it meant voting for an unknown who never campaigned.....Losers should just go home to lick their wounds and quit crying about it....Rejection isn't easy but we have all been there...
S.C. Dems reject Rawl appeal - Shira Toeplitz -

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Media Money Faucet is Opening in NNY

The period for party dinners and one on one schmoozing is giving way to mass media, with a display ad appearing today on Newzjunky for Congressional Hopeful Matt Doheny.....Radio ads begin tomorrow and I assume there are other media buys.
Media sources say Doheny's move is prompting interest from other candidates in what is expected to be a media bonanza this fall.
The Congressional race will be huge and ditto for both State Senate races in our area....The Democrat in the 47th is already on TV.
The open Assembly seat in the 122nd will generate money in a district that never generates any. A snappy door hangar from Brian McGrath was showing up today. The 118th will produce some cash.
Then there are the statewide races, for Governor, two US Senate seats, Comptroller and AG (including a five way primary). There will be a little action from the local races like Sheriff.
The kind of spending that will occur will bring our local broadcasters cash like they haven't seen in some time....For TV 7 it may seem like the Tony Malara days when they were on the Ottawa cable.
Getting back to Congress....Doheny will try to put Doug Hoffman away as he feels last year's phenom doesn't have access to big money this year. Also, Doheny needs to win the GOP primary with 60%+ to have the momentum to oppose incumbent Bill Owens in the fall.
Hoffman has said he will run on the Conservative line while it is widely thought Doheny will be the nominee of the Independence Party.
Better up size your mailbox too....Likely to be a lot of direct mail this year as well.

MSM Pans Sandra Lee's Lasagna

The New York Times will surely endorse Andrew Cuomo for Governor, but his girlfriends lasagna gets a thumbs down from the Old Gray Lady.
Sandra Lee is Mr. Cuomo's long time girlfriend and a star on the Food Network....A recent (probably contrived but still funny) spat has developed between Lee and Andrew's mother, Matilda.
Mrs. Cuomo says Sandra doesn't know how to make lasagna and the Times calls Ms. Lee's cuisine "cafeteria style." Ouch !
Putting Sandra Lee’s Lasagna to the Test - Diner's Journal Blog -

Budget deal cuts Empire Zones to save money : Albany : The Buffalo News

I used to think Empire Zones were a good outgrowth of Jack Kemp's notion of encouraging investment in blighted inner cities....Then it became Free Sh-- for the well-to-do.
A way to mask in a small way the atrocious business conditions in the state as a whole...
Not that everything was abused...but a lot of it was...gerrymandered boundaries that ignored the core reason for the program....corporate shirt changes that exempted whole properties for no legitimate reason.... the outright selling of exemptions the way the Church used to sell indulgences....a shifting of burden to the rest of us in the name of 'creating jobs', many of which either didn't exist or would have happened anyway.
Whatever the scaled back replacement program is, there will be an immediate press to take it down the same road. Meanwhile the problem of being a high tax, high hassle state will continue....But we will have Ultimate Fighting.
Budget deal cuts Empire Zones to save money : Albany : The Buffalo News

Family Remembers Beloved Dad With Contribution to the Square

In a moving ceremony in Public Square's Peanut Park, the family of the late Albert Kaler dedicated a bench in his honor....The 86 year old City native and former Public Works employee died in February...but his family says the Olympic Apartments resident loved to sit in this spot on the Square and observe the human condition....Even when his sight was failing he would come down on his motorized wheelchair and view the shadowy images from his fading eyes.
Albert was also an avid listener to the Hotline and Live at 5.....His family says everyone had to be quiet during those two hours a day.
His family donated the money for a bench in his favorite spot on the south side of the island, across from Dino's Shoe Repair.
For this large and close knit family, the loss of Albert and his wife shortly before him has made for a tough year. The bench will provide a chance for him to live on every time they pass by.

6-figure retirees jeopardize $tate -

You don't need a business degree to figure out that with burgeoning number of six figure pensioners, New York's retirement system and the state finances are in big trouble.
Even Joe Bruno gets $96,000......And he will get it if he is sentenced to jail time......
There is seldom much said about any of this...That's because most in the MSM aspire to such a deal or have relatives who are in the system...As my good friend Dave Mance always told me, "Marry a teacher ! The benefits are great."
6-figure retirees jeopardize $tate -

Paterson Goes Job Hunting

When you are a lame duck, you have to start thinking of what's next...So it is with our governor after his party kicked him to the curb.....
Governor Paterson has shown an affinity for radio talk shows of late...and maybe that would be his forte' !
Paterson Goes Job Hunting

Get Ready to Rumble...Senate Says Yes to Human Cockfighting

Call it mixed martial arts or Ultimate Fighting, our State Senate has narrowly said its OK in NY....The matter must still be decided by the Assembly.
Now that the Senate was weighed in on human cockfighting, perhaps they can get back to more mundane items, like deciding on a budget.
Forty Four other states allow this kind of entertainment and I have even seen it on our local home town, family-oriented television station.
Enter the octagon: Senate OKs MMA (updated) - Capitol Confidential

Cats and Dogs Living Together Contemplated in Twin Villages

Remember when the City of Watertown was three separate villages...Then they invented bridges and in 1869 we became one municipality....For years there was the Northsider bug-a-boo but now even that artificial distinction has mostly faded.
It's often been said it is unthinkable to merge Carthage and West Carthage, but if a combined PD joins their combined water/sewer operation there essentially is no longer a difference. It will have been a de facto merger.
Watertown Daily Times Twin villages hear options on police

Paterson calls for end to budget process by June 28 -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY

Governor Paterson continues to press for a budget resolution and is forcing lawmakers to accept some changes each time one of these shutdown deadlings comes along...The latest deadline is June 28 when Mr. Paterson, a lame duck, says it must end.
One of the schemes for quick cash is to refinance tobacco settlement bonds to provide more money this year but a longer payback term for the bonds. The original bonds were a quick cash scheme by borrowing money on a settlement that was to be paid over time. Seems the biggest addiction to cigarettes is right inside the Capitol.
Paterson calls for end to budget process by June 28 -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Highest-Paid State Pensioner Rakes In $261,037 A Year

This story speaks for itself.
Highest-Paid State Pensioner Rakes In $261,037 A Year

Butt Tax in Next Extender-GOP Senate Candidates May Suffer from Bloomberg Rage

- The next budget showdown will be over the proposed dollar a pack cigarette tax proposed by the Governor....It is expected Mr. Paterson will place the tax in the next extender package sent to the Legislature early next week...It may be packaged with a promise to go after Indian sales of butts...That may provide cover for GOP Senators who like to say they are against taxes.
Remember when the Canadians raised cigarette taxes to the point where a black market flourished in the Cornwall Island area near Massena ?....When they wised up and dropped the tax, the violence abated....No, our Legislature still thinks taxes can be increased to any level without consequences.
Other tax hikes are said to be on the way.

-Even though he voted against etching bullets, Darrel Aubertine may not be punished politically...Mayor Bloomberg is said to be angry with Senate Republicans over failing to support his gun bill...The Mayor is a benefactor to the GOP Senators and may rethink that, according to sources....Without Bloomberg's cash, the GOP and those who like being a part of the Mayor's largesse may cast their lot with the current thin Democratic majority...
Gov eyes emergency cig-tax hike -

Aubertine: Don't Stamp My Ammo !

I am not a member of Mayor Bloomberg's 'Mayors Against Hand Guns' group, so I really don't have a problem with our Senator voting against microstamping of ammo.....
However...Am I the only one who reads day after day of budget stories and wonders how the Legislature can do anything other than the business at hand ? OK, I am the only one who wonders that.
A funny aside...a spokesman for Aubertine's Democratic Caucus called votes against the bill a "victory for gun criminals" and an undercutting of police. Ouch !
Aubertine: Vote Upholds Rights of Sportsmen, Gun Owners New York State Senate

If We Can Land a Man on the Moon, Why Can't We Build Windmills on Lake Ontario ?

President Obama talks so much and is so omnipresent on television, that the value of a "major speech" from the Oval Office is diminished....
That did not stop the President from delivering with passion his pitch for a new world order of energy led by government spending and intervention in the marketplace. Against the backdrop of oil-soaked pelicans, it all sounds appealing.
Mr. Obama took his obligatory shot at the Bush Administration by saying the Minerals Manangement Service was averse to regulation for the past ten years.....But of those ten years, the most recent two years are under his watch and that scapegoating is getting old.
The President said he is going to hold BP to task. We know that and we know the firms liability in the courts is substantial.
For the moment, the most important thing is to "plug the damn hole." Nothing said on television will do that as what we have is the stuff of Prophecy.
By tampering with the Earth in this manner we have sewn the wind and reaped the whirlwind.
Mr. Obama's solution is to build more windmills in Cape Vincent.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Ran Into Mr. B at Petes....There's a Shocker

I ran into Ken Blankenbush tonight...He had just returned from a meeting with Lewis County IP Chief Joseph Baruth.
Any meeting with Joe is interesting, but the wind issue separates them, and that's that.
Chairman Blankenbush says his campaign is going well anyway and he seems committed to the long haul ahead. Best wishes to him....

Gun Microstamping Proponents Target Senators....But Not Ours

Senator Darrel Aubertine has escaped the wrath of wealthy Mayor Michael Bloomberg who is buying radio ads to oppose state senators who do not support his plan for "microstamping" hand guns. Mayor Bloomberg runs a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns and favors stricter control on firearms.
Gun Microstamping Proponents Target Senate GOP in Ads The New York Observer

Andrew Cuomo's Ex-Wife Teams Up With His Foe On Farm Workers

Darrel Aubertine's new foe is the ex wife of Andrew Cuomo....Kerry Kennedy was in the capital today with Senator Pedro Espada to stump in favor of the farm workers bill which Aubertine has worked hard to derail despite strong Democratic support.
For Aubertine, it's his ticket to stay on the good side of his rural constituents...Senator Espada doesn't have too many farms in the Bronx and for Ms. Kennedy its a liberal cause she can dabble in.
Aubertine has adopted a risky strategy to run away from his party's left wing including the Working Families Party....All in hopes of grabbing a center-right coalition in the 48th.
Andrew Cuomo's Ex-Wife Teams Up With His Foe On Farm Workers

Cuomo ‘No Reason Not To Be Confident’ In Indy Endorsement

For all the chatter about the IP or the WFP, for most its still just an extra line on the ballot and there is no real reason to spurn the line....Unless of course you are really, really squeaky clean to the point where you put principle over expediency.....How many of those people are there ?
Cuomo ‘No Reason Not To Be Confident’ In Indy Endorsement

Money Can Buy Political Happiness...Till You Get Caught

The indictment of GOP operative John Haggerty for allegedly stealing over one million dollars in campaign funds donated by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is likely only one small thread of a larger tapestry involving the mayor and his lavish spending on campaigns and the people who run them.
Last year the Mayor is said to have spent $108 million of his own money on a bid for a third term. That came after Bloomberg oversaw a reversal of referendum-imposed term limits that allowed him to extend his tenure beyond eight years.
Mayor Bloomberg is a media darling and is popular in Democratic circles and in the Obama administration. He did get testy when questioned yesterday about the Haggerty affair.
The scrutiny of Mr. Haggerty and where it will lead could show the largely untold side of how campaigns are funded and where the money goes.
In his first bid for office , Bloomberg was tight with the NYC Indy party which provided the margin of victory for the then-Republican nominee. That was the group fronted by activist Dr. Lenora Fulani and the man behind the curtain, Fred Newman. These are not people afraid to take other people's money for their pet project of treating those with psychiatric problems by engaging them in political activism.
He later was a benefactor to the state Indy party, particularly in 2008 when he was considering a third party Presidential run and needed ballot access connections nationwide. He was the nominee of that party again in 2009.
I assume he has lubricated the wheels of politics in many venues. The little moths in politics often are attracted to the bright lights of those with lots of cash...How often have any of us had a billionaire willing to write us a seven figure check for our "expertise?"
Campaign finance laws are very porous and in some cases things being "probed" are merely wrong because someone says they are wrong. When someone of the Mayor's wealth opens the checkbook, the abuses that are common become egregious, and it would be a full time job to track all of the money this man has spent on his political endeavors.
John Haggerty Indicted Over Bloomberg Campaign Funds -

Army Center Offers Possibilities But Lots of Challenges Too

The Army Reserve Center on Massey Street was built in 1955 and for 55 years it has been a good neighbor in a quiet neighborhood. About two dozen people work there every day and there is one busy weekend a month...The buildings have been well maintained and didn't pose a problem in a an area zoned residential A.
That's why it's sad to see the Army leave and move to a new facility on Fort Drum. A few years back the nearby Naval Reserve Center moved out and left a Mullin Street building vacant. Fortunately the good folks at Bernier Carr saw the opportunity and bought and refurbished the structure for their offices.
Happy Ending.
This morning I joined city staff and other local development agenices in taking a peek at the complex. These are well maintained buildings suitable for a variety of applications. Lots of garage and parking space....a commercial kitchen....buildings clear of the usual toxins of its era.
There has been talk of moving City Police there, and while the facility is perfect, the location is not what has been envisioned for when the current PSB lease runs out.
Private sector activity is a possibility but current zoning would be hard to change in this middle class neighborhood only a block from Ives Hill CC.
Finally, there are the federal property disposal procedures which give preference to homeless shelters above other purchasers....Can't you just see Congress writing that into a statute ?
The Army moves out this summer, but sifting through options cannot start soon enough.

Does a Cell Phone Make You a Reporter ?

Did you see that North Carolina Congressman who had to apologize for manhandling a "student" doing a 'gotcha' on the street interview ? It was a confrontation on video tape (and on purpose) that went viral once on the Internet.
It's yet another example of how new technology creates news and can be used to affect politicians and how we perceive their actions.
This week, a local man who went to a fundraiser for Rep. Bill Owens, emailed cell phone photos of the event. There was nothing horrible, except the defacto "reporting" of who was at the soire on the St. Lawrence River.
It was an insight into the political process that the MSM either chooses or is unable to cover.
In some ways it is more interesting than the traditional 'made for media' town meeting the Congressman had held earlier in the day.
To me, knowing who is backing a candidate is as insightful as any press release or staged event.
The strong presence of health care executives at the fundraiser was insightful given the developments unfolding with the advent of ObamaCare, which the Congressman voted for.
These vignettes do provide an insight, but are not the whole story and that is one of the dangers in the new "citizen journalists."
The MSM reporters, who are also now bloggers, serve a vital role in compiling all this information, sorting through it and following up on it. In that sense a resourceful MSM can find a market for reporting that goes beyond the stream of conciousness that is "new media".

Monday Night's Goings On- State and Local

-The latest budget extender is in place and as all of us knew all along, there would never be a so called "shutdown." Now its on to the main event....a state budget...Here's a new poll out showing New Yorkers oppose the soda tax...That means its too risky for Democratic Senators in marginal districts to support....Look for the easy hit of raising the tax on cigarettes...
-Manhattan DA Cy Vance says his probe of the political donations from Mayor Bloomberg do not make the mayor a target.....Who is ? The state's Indy Party is being looked at as Hizzoner sent lots of money that way during his prospective 2008 Presidential bid.
-City Council is going to bid out the project at JB Wise Place which would include new entrance roads to the downtown lot. Construction bids have been low this year and Council hopes this long standing and partially funded project can be done for less than expected.
- Council also decided to stick with the current system of issuing permits to consume alcohol in designated city parks. Council also said no smoking or pets on children's playgrounds, and settled on 10PM as closing time for Thompson Park, and no closing time for the Fairgrounds or Whitewater Park. Other parks remain at 9PM except for the Veterans Riverwalk which is 11PM.
-Elected officials must not like our Flag. Only Sheriff Burns and Congressional candidate Matt Doheny took the time to join me in participating in the Elk's Flag Day Parade today.
New York Soda Tax Not Popular with Consumers - Metropolis - WSJ

Monday, June 14, 2010

Indy Party Under Investigation For Hanna Contribution Endorses Hanna

That's why Liz calls Jefferson County a "rogue county".....because we are not a party to all this nonsense. (Or all that money)
Indy Party Under Investigation For Hanna Contribution Endorses Hanna

Siena: Cuomo Slips, Independents Abandon Dems

A new Siena poll shows independent voters fleeing Democrats...that's independent and in no way should be confused with the Independence Party. The result is a slight erosion in Andrew Cuomo's numbers...He doesn't have to worry, but Democrats in marginal districts (like the 48thSD) need to take note.
Come November Ted Ford will vote for all Democrats and Graham Wise will vote for all Republicans. Folks like that are not in play.
There are increasing numbers of voters who are not as well marinated in party politics and they could care less about the party moniker in front of the name.
Darrel Aubertine knows's those independent minded voters who elected him. Now he is deeper into Albany and runs the risk his 'one of us' patina has faded.
"He wears cuff links now," said one Dem.
Siena: Cuomo Slips, Independents Abandon Dems

Dems Now Drink Wine Instead of Beer and Like It

Lots of Democrats have run for the local Congressional seat over the years including retired Marines and practicing physicians.....Certainly not a group that could in any way be compared to the current Democratic Senate candidate in South Carolina.
Yet it is only now with Bill Owens in the seat that we see many in the establishment lining up. Sure his incumbency and smooth lawyerly demeanor help, but there continues to be a real sea change in local politics.
Yesterday's cocktail party/fundraiser for Mr. Owens at the St. Lawrence River home of Syracuse ambulance baron Marty Yenawine makes my point.
This was an event sponsored by media leaders and the director of Watertown's only hospital. A major property developer was also seen there.
There was a time when it was suicide to be seen at such an event for a Democrat. Even Mike Schell didn't like to get too close to some of the NNY candidates over the years.
That's all changed now...The party of the working man is now the party of the River elite as well.

Brinksmanship But Nobody Would Push the Button’

Don't believe the hype about a "nuclear option" that will shut down the state and prevent you from buying a Lotto ticket. The budget extender....the eleventh one since April 1st will pass today.
And there continues to be talk of a permanent budget by week's end..The latest to say that was Assemblywoman Addie Russell.....
Like most taxpayers and small business owners , I am forced only to be concerned with the handful of issues that directly affect me....That would be the soda tax....higher cigarette taxes.....the wine in supermarkets bill, which includes things that affect on-premise licensees, and the proposal to eliminate the one hour siesta in Quick Draw sales from 3pm to 4pm.
Most of you don't care about any of those items and that is the plan....There will be no uprising against incumbents based on these few parochial issues......I am sure all of you have a handful of pet issues important to you but not to the rest of us.
While I personally cannot support those who across the board vote against me and my business.....and some other business people feel the same way, such rage against the machine is not enought to defeat anyone, unless it were a very marginal seat. There are a couple of them in the state, one is said to be nearby.....Certainly none of this affects the prospects of Andrew Cuomo for governor or the continued reign of Sheldon Silver as Speaker.
I recently ask a lawmaker about the lottery hours of operation issue, which does produce only a modest revenue increase. I was told 'what's the big's only an hour.'
And I say to that."what's the big deal, I am just one vote."
Espada Will Vote ‘Yes’

Sunday, June 13, 2010

State Wants to Borrow From Pension Fund, to Pay the Fund -'s a bad idea...borrowing from the pension fund in order to make payments to the fund !
State Wants to Borrow From Pension Fund, to Pay the Fund -

Retail Politics on a Warm June Day

Riding Through Brownville, Chaumont, LA, Theresa and Philly in Ted Ford's Taurus is as good a way as any to spend a Sunday afternoon...On the way we squeezed in an unannounced visit to Ted's boss, Assemblywoman Addie Russell who lives with her husband and two children in a modest fixer upper with a gorgeous view of the Indian River in Theresa. (Got a text message from Patty Plate while I was chatting with Addie)
We were gathering signatures for the Independence Party and while it was a day when many were not at home, we did OK before I tired around 6PM.
It's always good to get out and see people in their communities. It's the most grounding experience in elected office, especially for the state and federal officials who live and function in a world foreign to the people they represent.
I don't know how much actual petition work the big shots do, but I have been doing it every year for the last 20. It's not something most people understand and certainly not something anyone is willing to do. It does allow you to show a level of committment to your political endeavors, although most people nowadays see it all as busy work.
I will try to head out Wednesday with GOP operative Graham Wise...and I want to call Mayor Burto to see if I can get a guided tour of the two Carthages.
After that the pols can finish up themselves in getting Indy line signatures.
After all, I have a blog to write !

As Long as We Are Talking About Water Service....

The Village of Clayton is implementing a change to its water rates that the City of Watertown has also been edging towards. The idea is to move away from from a tiered system where certain users pay significantly less for water while homeowners shoulder more and more of the cost of operating a water and sewer system.
The use of tiered billing means the unit cost for water drops as usage increases. This was likely started at a time when industries would routinely use treated water in large quantity for cooling of equipment. Water was also being sold to outside districts for far less than a homeowner on Sherman Street was paying for the same product,delivered through the same system.
Over the past few years, most of the city contracts with adjacent water districts have been renegotiated so that those districts pay the same amount for a gallon of water as that homeowner on Sherman Street.
This year, I suggested we started reforming the inside rate for city customers by eliminating the fourth tier for high volume users. In recent years I have also advocated that any raise in rates be a flat dollar amount across the tiers instead of a percentage which was only making the disparity greater over time.
By seeking equity in water and sewer rates over time, any ill effect to the very small number is mitigated and it becomes easier to maintain the current cost of service to homeowners and small business. A law to eliminate that fourth tier is to be considered at the next meeting of City Council.
This is an arcane issue that doesn't lend itself to a 40 second voice over on the evening news, but it is one of those "vision" or "leadership" issues that folks like the current leadership in Clayton or Watertown are pursuing.
Watertown Daily Times Water, sewer costs may fall

Congressman....When Do We Start Paying the Tanning Tax ?

Remember the health care bill....One aspect of it was a 10% surcharge on tanning sessions.....With so many tanning salons, you wonder how effectively could that levy be collected ?
Well, it appears there is no methodology to collect it and why would there be right now, prior to the mid-term elections ? That would be an interesting question for Rep. Bill Owens at his town hall meeting.
The taxes secreted in the health bill, and the inherent folly of the World's superpower running around trying to collect a tax on tanning solely because the nation's leadership likes to tell us they are cutting taxes for 95% of working families.
Somehow I don't see that question being asked. Not by me...At the time of the meeting I will be with Ted Ford working on petitions for the coming election.
GOP: No notice on tanning tax? - Jennifer Haberkorn -