Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wall Street Gurus and Rainmakers Fight in the Trenches of Politics

High finance types frustrated with how the politicians run the government and manipulate the economy are now seeking office....Our own stock picker Matt Doheny...Comptroller candidate and hedge fund guy Harry Wilson and a suddenly well heeled challenger in Manhattan named Reshma Saujani, who has worked for three hedge funds and loves to talk derivatives over dinner.
Saujani is brazenly challenging one of the doyennes of the Democratic party, Rep. Carolyn Maloney. She is piling up the $2400 max donations from the banker crowd and has raised nearly a million dollars already. She is openly questioning Maloney's fitness for office in NYC where the financial services industry is so important and powerful. Saujani has the tacit backing of billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg. All these banking and Wall Street regulation bills are making some think twice about Obama-mania.
The Democratic Party's anti Wall Street rhetoric has some coming to the defense of the business world.
Used to be those successful in finance wouldn't want to settle for the mundane and often ill informed life of the politician....You know, the ones fighting for our working families while playing golf with corporate donors.
Now the finance crowd is bringing their expertise to the table....Imagine trying to explain to a Carolyn Maloney that you really cannot continue spending trillions more than you take in....That's a heavy lift for her to be sure.
But will these fiscal Svengali's understand that politics takes some pretty intense calculating too ? Maybe Matt, Harry and Reshma could have lunch at the Four Seasons (jacket required) and chat about how they will change the world.
Wall Street Buys Itself a Primary Challenger: Reshma Saujani FDL Action

118th All Quiet on the Western Front

Little has been said of late about the GOP candidate for Assembly in the 118th AD....David Forsythe is the insurance man from Lisbon who is taking on Assemblywoman Addie Russell.
He came to mind as Ted Ford told me he saw a lot of lawn signs for Mr. Forsythe in Ogdensburg. Forsythe and fellow Republican Patty Ritchie are no doubt popular in the Maple City as they both live nearby and are well known there.
Unlike Ms. Ritchie, Mr. Forsythe has not been seen much in the Jefferson County portion of the district. He hasn't called the HOTLINE, which is a free way to reach Watertown's political class.
Given regional loyalties, Ms. Russell has a decided edge in our end of the district and should poll well in the college towns of St. Lawrence County.
They are both likeable people. Their outlook on issues differs, with Mr. Forsythe a true conservative. Ms Russell is a liberal, but in the Schumer mode she is also visible and attentive to constituent issues. That counts for a lot, since ideology counts for little in Albany.
We have talked a lot in the last few weeks about the pending raucous race pending in the 122nd. Hopefully when petitions are done, we can begin learning more about the 118th race.

Fringe Party Petitions are Out There

This past week the period began for circulating what are called independent (not Independence Party) nominating petitions. This allows a candidate to get on the ballot under a party name that does not have ballot status like the Big 5 (Democrat, Republican, Independence, Conservative and Working Families)
There are at least three of these efforts for statewide candidates that are of note....
One is the Taxpayer party petition headed by Carl Paladino who is also seeking the GOP line.
There is a Freedom party that is being formed solely to endorse black candidates.
Then there is the Anti-Prohibition party headed by former madame Kristen Davis who is running for Governor.
There may be others too.
These candidates need to get the signatures of at least 15,000 registered voters with 100 each in each of 16 Congressional districts.
If any of these candidates get 50,000 votes in November, their party has ballot status for 4 years. That's a valuable commodity under NY's fusion voting system.
Since the major parties all nominated through convention, anyone can sign these things, but it is doubtful anyone up here would circulate for fear of being ostracized. Imagine a local liquor store having the audacity to have a petition on the counter for the Anti-Prohibition Party.
The deadline for filing independent petitions is August 17.
Candidates for other offices can also file these. That would include Congress, Senate, Assembly or even highway superintendent. Betcha some do.

REPORT: Showering with gays? Military poll creates stir | Seattle Times Newspaper

The Pentagon commissioned a $4.5 million dollar survey of 400,000 service members and then was amazed news of the poll leaked out and was covered in the MSM.....The survey was all about attitudes about gays in the military...Questions like, would it bother you to shower with a gay soldier ? It's all part of the run-up to scrapping don't ask/don't tell.
Should a survey be kept secret ?...No, of course not...and do they need a survey ?...well, I would say no to that also.
Fact is some people want DADT repealed...some don't....
Since people are already showering with gays and shopping at the PX alongside gays, the question is not a question of 'have you ever met a gay person?'
The question is whether there are the votes for repeal....
I guess the I miss the point as at my age with gym class a distant memory, I can shower alone without pondering who is standing next to me.
Nation & World Showering with gays? Military poll creates stir Seattle Times Newspaper

Ritchie-Aubertine Spar Over T-Shirts

The gist of this story is Dems are mad workers at the Oswego County Fair are wearing Patty Ritchie T-Shirts......They argue the sanctity of Fairdom precludes partisan displays....OK, workers shouldn't be wearing shirts that advocate a candidate, but it did provide Senator Aubertine's office the chance to argue the Senator had secured some member item money for the Fair....Apparently Patty is handing out shirts like candy down there and I didn't get one to put on the Fort Pearl mannequin.
When I saw the Patty license plate replicas all over her campaign paraphernalia, I figured someone would call for the launching of a probe into the use of state symbols in that manner. Impersonating a license plate is the crime, I believe.
On another SD 48 note....The last scramble is on for the remaining third party annoiting....The Indy line has not been awarded to Ritchie or Aubertine, mainly because with control of the Senate uncertain, nobody wants to hop on the wrong train.
Both candidates are gathering the signatures needed and given the signature requirements and the difficulty in finding people at home in the summer, it will be tough to have two sets of petitions that can withstand the likely challenges. That likely won't matter as it is doubtful any minor party would allow the great unwashed to pick a candidate in a primary.
So the coveted Wilson/Pakula authorization will be awarded after petitions are handed in and a measure can be made of who will survive a challenge. That's my read on the process.
The Valley News Online

New York's Shadowy Shadow Governments Paying Bonuses

A report on public authorities in NYS shows the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency pays bonuses to five of its employees. In 2009, the extra pay for five employees amounted to $8,400.
Of the $6.7 million paid out in bonuses by various local agencies , some $4.5 million went to employees at the Erie County Medical Center Corporation. $450,000 went to employees of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.
The Greene County IDA with only 4 employees paid out $175,000 in bonuses, with all of it going to one person.
The report is the result of a recent law requiring information from public authorities. The law is unpopular with those running the agencies.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stop Already with the Guilt Trip over Vetoes

I was watching Capitol Tonight sans audio at Pete's and I could feel the nonsensical presentation of how Governor David Paterson's vetoes are hurting the children...aka education...
A fellow who was executive director of the NYS School Boards Association was on and the "B-roll" of kids and the sub heads on the screeen told me the story without hearing a word.
It was the children who are the victims of the sadist Paterson.
After all it is individual programs that school boards say they will cut.....
Hear is the real story...If there is less money appropriated to schools, the districts will either raise taxes or prioritize their spending. That could mean eliminating a reading program or it could mean a smaller raise for administrators...These are in the private sector called choices...
Now there is this linked story from the WDT that says the vetoes are no big deal....Who are we to believe ?....Thank you , Governor.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Governor Paterson: LeBron Made a Mistake

Whether he made a mistake by not signing with the Knicks is debateable, but what was sad was watching NYC officials fawn over a basketball free agent who in the end chose a no-income tax state where he figured he could get a couple of championship rings. Governor Paterson says it was a mistake...Governor, people do it all the time.
LeBron James left Cleveland even though the money was said to be better there....He cast off team loyalties for titles...
What I wonder is if he is so darn wonderful, why can't he get the Cavs a title....I realize there is more to a team than one man...but you would never think so by the media fussing over this signing. Since everybody else felt obliged to post on the topic, I figured I better as well.... So there. Now back to the Yankees pending championship season.
State of Politics Blog

Macy's is Linking to Gimbels !

Judes political blog at the Times features openly noted links to coverage provided by rival Newzjunky (I am not a rival, just a hobbyist). This is a positive sign as the rift between these two new sources has been dumb at times...It's all about product and if Jude acknowledges political insight from elsewhere it keeps his blog a go-to place for politics. This is much the same as bloggers like Liz Benjamin, Celecste Katz and Jimmy Vielkind have done in developing large followings.
Even the best reporter or observer isn't going to get everything. A kumbaya moment in the MSM...How refreshing.
$30 billion into small business sector

Next Assembly GOP Survey Emphasizes Issue of Same Sex Marriage...Wonder Why ?

A federal judge this week ruled the national Defense of Marriage Act is constitutionally flawed as it attempts to usurp the state's traditional regulation of marriage by deeming it solely as a union of men and women.
If upheld, this will keep the debate over same sex marriage in the statehouses, and I was forwarded a local GOP survey put out by Assemblyman Will Barclay that features lots of questions about gay marriage.
Mr. Barclay's survey , which was sent to GOP faithful, states that a prime goal of the pending Cuomo administration is same sex marriage and the survey queries voters about whether the issue would affect their vote or that of their friends and neighbors.
By making same sex marriage a signature issue this year (it is not currently), the GOP may be trying to raise in a roundabout way an issue they feel may help them retain the 122nd AD, which is the open seat race between Ken Blankenbush and Lowville attorney Brian McGrath.
Mr. McGrath is gay and has a partner, and is open about the topic.
The Republican candidate in the race did raise the issue in a meeting with a local media mogul and was quickly shot down....but it is still one of those issues where you hear someone say..
"I don't have anything against it, but I am just not sure the North Country is ready for......"
A calculus may be in play to turn conservative relgious factions in Lewis County.
Frankly, if this is a strategy , it is a bad one and folks don't want to hear it....but if this survey is a predictor, the GOP is at least trying to find out if it can become an issue.
I would say let it lie.

Newzjunky - Gillibrand Announces Plans to Help Small Businesses in North Country

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's visit to Watertown featured a discussion of jobs. As expected, she touted a federal program that will "create" jobs and help beleaguered small business.
During a business roundtable sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce,it was apparently all a perpetution of the notion that political leadership can actually create jobs. The consortium of business and government folks in attendance, along with the MSM continue to shop the fiction as truth.
The greatest single impediment to local business is expanding regulation and taxation and the looming hyperinflation and high interest rates waiting in the wings of the current federal spending binge. Not that one Senator can change that, but it would be nice to acknowledge it.
Newzjunky - Gillibrand Announces Plans to Help Small Businesses in North Country

Madame Davis Kicks Off Her Petition Effort

For those with a tolerant attitude that includes the legalization of pot, prostitution and gay marriage, you have a home.....Former madame Kristin Davis has chosen "Anti-Prohibition" as the name of her party and the ballot symbol is a marijuana leaf.
Ms. Davis is being assisted by GOP icon and operative Roger Stone. She must obtain the signatures of 15,000 New York voters in order to gain a spot on the November ballot.
The attached link has a copy of her petition if you want to help out.

TEA Party Activists Boost Hoffman Bid, While Doheny Keeps a Watchful Eye from Afar

The Doheny for Congress camp sent an observer to Thursday night's TEA Party meeting, and he was happy that Tea Party favorite Doug Hoffman said Matt Doheny is identical to himself in terms of being conservative. Mr. Hoffman went on to tell Tea Partiers they should do more than take a cursory look at the two GOP primary challengers. Hoffman urged they look under the hood and don't just choose the best talker or the best looking...Talk about self deprication !
Isn't it the job of a Congressman to be an effective speaker ?
It is getting down to crunch time for Doheny and Hoffman who have to submit petitions by next Thursday.....There are still questions about whether Mr. Hoffman will have enough Republican and Conservative Party signatures to withstand a near certain legal challenge.
Hoffman supporters used the Tea Party meeting to get some needed signatures. The event was held at the Ramada Inn in Watertown.
Mr. Doheny campaigned Thursday in Madison County where he visited the county fair.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Political Chads

-Democratic State Senator Diane Savino of NYC got the Indy nod...another indication Senate Republicans may not solely have the attention of the party's state chair.
-The Working Families Party was in town this week and got petitions done for Assemblywoman Addie Russell....Meanwhile in the Congressional race, Matt Doheny says he is disturbed the far-left party is backing Rep. Bill Owens.
-Ted Ford was seen gathering Indy petitions for Addie Russell tonight in Clayton with former County Clerk candidate Gert Karras.
-A rush is on to finish up petitions in time for next Thursday's deadline.
-Will Barclay says he did a survey that shows Doheny trounces Hoffman...Of course, Young Will thought he would trounce Aubertine too.

Utica Officials Hear Testimony from Yours Truly on Non-Partisan Government

I had a very nice experience this afternoon testifying via conference call to the City of Utica Charter Revision Commission. Some members of the Commission are seeking to let voters decide whether to adopt a non-partisan system of government similar to the City of Watertown.
While second nature to those of us in Watertown, our system is foreign to most who are used to first judging their local officials on party label.
Watertown's system was adopted in 1922 as an outgrowth of the Progressive Era and the concern over Tammany style politics at the local level.
Watertown elections were established by an act of the State Legislature and have chugged along ever since.
The Utica commission members ask lots of great questions about our form of government and how it works.
I stressed that its a matter voters there should be given a chance to weigh in on, although there is considerable pressure from the parties not to allow that.
I wish the City of Utica well in its deliberations...It's a great town !

Russian Vixen to Head Home after Plea Deal

Looks like she doesn't even get a gig on Letterman...Sexy Spy Anna Chapman and nine of her fellow alleged Russian spies will likely plead guilty today in a deal that involves immediate deportation. For Anna, that means a quick plane back to Moscow and an end to the fascination with the vixen made popular by the lurid stories and photos released by her ex husband.
10 Russian 'spies' set to plead guilty: report -

Republican super backs Democrat for Congress - AdirondackDailyEnterprise

Judas Town Supervisor Backs Other Party Candidate for Congress....And the strange coincidence is the man's last name is Scozzafava....They say no relation, but it makes you wonder....
Actually, I expect to see some of this in the Congressional race as folks in the eastern half of the district naturally align, or at least don't work against, Plattsburgh resident and current Congressman Bill Owens.
Its been a long time since the Clinton County area had the Congressional flag planted in their soil, and that explains the equivocating by the City's GOP mayor when ask who he is backing.
The western counties have the edge in population and the Watertown media market is very important, so expect to see our area as the final battle ground once again.
Republican super backs Democrat for Congress - News, Sports, Jobs, Saranac Lake region — Adirondack Daily Enterprise

How Am I Doing ? Ed Koch a Role Model as He Tries to Change Things

Gotta Love Ed Koch....And Hizzoner's New York Uprising group is testimony to the former Mayor's sense of public service.
I am glad four local candidates have signed on to the list of reforms Mayor Koch is advocating, including stricter ethics and fiscal accountability for state government.
This idea of non-partisan redistricting sounds nice, but those signing on will learn a quick lesson if they make it to Albany. It's all about parties....and the leadership to tell you what to do. The best way to keep the party in charge is to control redistricting and that's true for next year when the drawing of Senate districts will shape the body for decades to come.
It's all about nuances when drawing those lines and the notion of letting some non-partisan person have control just isn't going to happen in Shelly Silver's Albany.
The fact that incumbents Russell and Aubertine didn't sign may be a reflection they know how the system works.
Daunting as the task of reform is, it is still worth a shot and embracing these goals is a good thing. They should sign.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Success Not a Virtue to Some This Year

What's so bad about success ? This year the American dream of making a lot of money is under assault in political circles particularly if the money maker has ties to Wall Street and the financial sector being villified for creating the Nation's purported economic woes.
What's funny is that those doing the villifying, like President Obama, were recipients of Wall Street largesse as the wealthy business class has increasingly become cozy with Democrats.
Doug Hoffman is attacking Matt Doheny for Wall Street ties, but really, what is wrong with being successful in a field ? The amounts of money one can make are shocking, but it's only a matter of scale after a certain point. Just adding zeroes.
I don't see Doheny looking or acting very Wall Street. He still drives that old Ford Explorer, which I first thought was some kind of 'one of us' affinity for a vehicle he gives a name to.
But make no mistake...all the canidates are running to be a Member of Congress, not to be your next door neighbor.
We generally look for someone more successful, smarter and more suave (too a point) than we are. Mr.Doheny is certainly the first two.
Wall St. ties a top political target -

Owens Reminds Voters He is the Incumbent

A year ago, who was Bill Owens ?.....Now slowly, he is building the image of being the North Country Congressman with trips like yesterday to Ogdensburg and Clayton. Owen's predecessor, John McHugh, had been a fixture in local government for years, so it is hard to gain that kind of notoriety overnight, but Rep Owens is building relationships that will make him a tough opponent in the fall.
I really think this year's races will take on a parliamentary tone with voters more interested in voting for what party they want controlling the Congress. Given the partisan divide in DC, more people might feel obliged to take sides between the parties, although normally most people vote for the individual in these races.
To that end, likely GOP nominee Matt Doheny will surely want to make national issues important in the race, while at the same time demonstrating knowledge of parochial issues so he doesn't end up like a deer in the headlights.
Doheny is a stronger opponent on issues than rival Doug Hoffman simply because he is well read and genuinely studious. I have seen his office in an unannounced visit and there are lots of books, position papers, and other stuff related to issues. Mr. Hoffman continues to be a concept...a vessel for ftustrations and the old school values some long for.
In either case, it will be a tough race in the fall. What is important are the impressions made over the summer when nobody is paying much attention, but voters still like to see their candidates working hard.
Wednesday Video: The Owens Tour WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Matthews: Palin can win GOP nom - On Media -

Wow, this is good news...Chris Matthews thinks Sarah Palin can get the 2012 GOP nomination ! I have been among those who say the party is too interested in awarding the loser from the last this case either Romney or Huckabee.
But, Palin is audacious, just like Barack Obama was and she has dedicated followers...Unlike Mr. Obama, Palin does not have a sycophantic media with a tingle up its leg.....
A lot of things have to fall into place for even the chance of President Obama not winning a second term..But who thought Barack Obama would be the next President in 2006. ?
Matthews: Palin can win GOP nom - On Media -

Paladino, Berntsen, Malpass Want To Appear On New "Taxpayers" Ballot Line

New York's newest political party will be named for the people who make it all possible....The Taxpayer Party will appear at the bottoom of the ballot and feature Carl Paladino as its candidate for Governor.... Candidates for the other statewide offices have been named.
With Paladino at the top of the ticket, he could easily score the 50000 votes needed for a line on the ballot for four years. A new party now and then is a good thing.
Paladino, Berntsen, Malpass Want To Appear On New "Taxpayers" Ballot Line

Vetoes Delivered Safe and Sound

Governor Paterson followed through on his $522 million in vetoes, delivering stacks of vetoed line items to the Legislature...An override is virtually impossible as long as the GOP minority in the Senate hangs tough. Some 7000 line items were cut as Paterson insisted the spending plan was not balanced. It was education appropriations that got cut...Something no Governor except a lame duck would have done.
Lamakers are expressing false indignation for the benefit of the teachers union, knowing all along the vetoes would hold.
State of Politics Blog

Various Stuff on a Hot Day

- Another hot day with the mercury (oops can't use that anymore)...the thermometer hitting 90.....Today at Councilwoman Burns suggestion we sent out a release from City Hall reminding citizens to be careful in the heat and feel free to use the city pools or city buildings to cool off.
-I went over to West Main Street today to meet with neighbors along Edmund Street, an undeveloped dirt road that services three properties. One family wants to buy a piece of city land for parking and a neighboring business is balking at that.
- It looks on the surface that selling the land to the family makes sense, but we have to staff it before Council decides.
-I got a text to the effect a story about Rep. Bill Owens finances was in error due to a staff error in filling out forms. If that is true, I would be glad to run a correction.
-Today, GOP comptroller candidate Harry Wilson called into the Hotline today...his second time....So far only Mr. Wilson and Rep. Bill Owens have taken advantage of the opportunity to speak to the masses for free....What's wrong with the other candidates ?
-Why did Ken Blankenbush think it was a good idea to run boilerplate platform rhetoric as if it was his own manifesto ? Now another GOP candidate in the Hudson Valley has aired the "same" ideas. Good grief.
-All the Indy Line endorsements are in place except the one for State Senate in out district.

Leader Gets Fancy SUV, State Still Has No Budget

There is no state budget passed yet....Yes, it's true..despite all the histrionics of last week, a key revenue bill is not passed in the Senate, but budget or no budget, the Senate's top Democrat is driving a new Chevrolet Tahoe. The $49K behemoth replaces a Ford Crown Victoria the state was providing Senate Conference Head John Sampson. The claim is the Tahoe saves money on gas.
Only in the fantasyland of Albany would such a statement be made with a straight face. Democrats had earlier blasted Sampson predecessor, Senator Joe Bruno for his lavish ways and fancy state vehicle.
As for the state budget, there are no plans for lawmakers to return to the Capital this summer, meaning the spending bills adopted last week are not balanced by sufficient revenue, thus there is no budget in place. Lawmaker paychecks are being withheld pending adoption and some say the revenue bill may wait till after the November election.
Meanwhile, the Democrats thin 32-30 edge in the Senate is wavering again with efforts to un-unroll Senator Pedro Espada in the party. A similar effort in 2002 failed and at least one other senator has come to the aid of Espada, meaning getting 32 votes for anything is that much tougher.
Sampson 49G SUV after 'Brunomobile' rip -

Rain Dance Continues at City Hall

The City's hydro plant on Marble Street had a surge in production with last month's rain, but the facility still fell 7% under budget for revenue in the fiscal year that just ended.
The plant generated about $2.7million in revenue through the sale of excess power to National Grid. That was about $200,000 under budget. Hydro revenue is the city's fourth largest source of revenue behind sales tax, property tax and state aid.
During the year that ended June 30, state aid was also cut, but this year's uptick in retail activity will leave sales tax slightly above budget.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Yorker: Dems Look to Pot Heads for Salvation

Democrats enthusiastically hiked taxes on cigarettes this year....So hard core smokers may not be their top demographic.
The folks who may vote Democratic are the pot smokers. New Yorker Magazine says the high may view Dems as their best chance at getting medical marijuana approved...That's the camel's nose under the tent and could set the stage for legal pot.
not nearly as enthusiastic as Republican voters

Tuesday Night Governing

- City Hall will pay $4800 to settle a five year old lawsuit from an eye doctor who claimed malicious prosecution after he got into a dispute with fellow doctors at his Washington Street office. The Board of Audit had approved the settlement by a two to one vote, with me voting no.
-A reconstruction project on Riggs Avenue was approved after bids came in under budget.
-Council will pursue funding for rehailitation of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument on Public Square.
-Councilwoman Burns urged overheated City residents to use City Hall as a cooling center.
-Plans for work at the JB Wise lot are moving ahead as National Grid will be on the hook for pollution cleanup on a corner of the site.
-Councilman Smith says solar panels will be delivered soon to his Keyes Avenue home.
-County lawmakers say they approved a JCC budget that includes a 5% tuition hike....That's not city news...but the Legislators happen to be at Petes after our respective meetings

Enough Aleady Senator...That's Not Why They are After Him

If Democrats are going to hold the Senate, they best hope they up their majority by a couple seats...The effort to oust Senator Pedro Espada from the party is being met by charges of racial discrimination by fellow Senator Ruben Diaz Sr, also of the Bronx... Party leaders cannot continue to have to depend on keeping folks like Diaz and Espada in the fold.
The party is playing hardball with Espada because he is such a profound liability to the party's prospects this fall. Even an upstate race like ours could have been affected if the GOP were able to effectively use people like Espada as a talking point.
His corruption problems hurt now but nobody cared as long if he hadn't made waves by staging the coup last summer.
Senator Diaz' assertion that this is anti-Hispanic is typical of the politics of Albany where there are caucuses based on race as well as party.
Espada is getting the heave-ho because he put his own good fortune ahead of the party''s in a way that brought all 32 Dems a lot of negative vibes. He has no friends left...except for Senator Diaz.

Congressman Wanted...Po' Folk Need Not Apply

Politics changed in NNY when a decade ago an unsuccessful candidate for Assembly marked the day when our political backwater joined the rest of the money-dominated political process in this nation.
Darrel Aubertine ran against Bob Nortz. He lost but the effort was robust enough that along with redistricting, Mr. Nortz didn't run in 2002 and Aubertine won.
The North Country had always been a simple place with the GOP team routinely reelected with little effort. Democratic candidates were mediocre and underfunded. Unlike elsewhere candidates were not millionaires or lawyers.
Now we see race after race funded by outside interests and the people who live here are just bystanders in campaigns run by operatives and funded by groups and individuals who couldn't name a city in NY23.
Such races escalated with the open seat special election for Senate in February, 2008.....In a district where a $20 spaghetti dinner passes for fundraising, candidates were spending millions of dollars.
Really, now many of you have ever given more than 100, or 500, or 1000 dollars to a campaign ?
Now in 2010, we have bonafide millionaires running for Congress and all the local races will be a festival of spending that so pleases local broadcasters.
Our current Congressman openly admits this is his best gig ever and enjoys the trappings of life in Congress, including getting to play softball in a major league ballpark.
His primary challenger is a hard worker and is aggressive in seeking the seat. Beyond that he is an unknown who still doesn't have the comfortable fit a John McHugh had by the time he moved up to Congress.
People don't move up anymore. They drop in at a point in life where they can. Most people can't fit that into a busy life making a living. They don't make more being a director of a bank than most people here make in a year...They don't sell their law practice for $4million or get performance bonuses in excess of $6million.
The candidates are going to have to show a connection to people...Not just a commercial with the candidate dressed like a gentleman farmer or trite assurances of "North Country values."
Now I like these folks and have had the pleasure of meeting them all, but you have to admit politics has changed in these parts the last few years.

This Just In....It's Hot in July !

The easiest news to report on is that which is just there...all around you....and everybody has an opinion....
Of course I am talking about the weather.
Millions of Americans are on the griddle today as an inferno of hot air blankets the East Coast , leaving officials cautioning on the dangers heat can cause to the elderly, children and pets.
In other words:
Topping the news today....It's July and it's hot.
This has been a weekend of stating the obvious for reporters who love those weather stories. Now the previous weekend was even hotter down south but this was a holiday weekend and other than parades there was nothing to report on....Nothing as easy to report on as the weather that is.

WDT: Candidates Obviously Not Slouches When It Comes to Making Money

The House of Representitives must be a heady place to work. Rep. Bill Owens often talks about how much he loves the job and how playing in a company softball game this week in Nationals Park in DC was the most special thing he had ever done.
To be one of only 535 Americans in Congress and to be treated with such defference is something the guy or gal with everything can really enjoy.
Finance reports released of late show Mr. Owens enormously successfull in his personal life, earning millions a year alone off his Plattsburgh law office.
And the Owens take is exceeded by his opponent Matt Doheny who reported over $6 million in income as a stock picker.
Doug Hoffman also does well in his accounting firm, but is not as wealthy as his opponents. Remember this spring Hoffman was criticised for not campaigning enough because he said he was busy during tax season. Just who does he think he is ?
The special call of politics is in play here. Some get rich in politics....many cash out after "serving" and some are successful people already who are looking for that special gratification and ego boost that only a job like this can five.
"North Country Congressman..." is a nice title to precede your name.
Watertown Daily Times Hopefuls disclose finances

Monday, July 5, 2010

CC: Authorities See a Little Sunlight

If you serve on or near any of these agencies overseen by the Authorities Budget Office, you will hear disdain for the oversight. There is a lot of paperwork, but there is reason authorities don't like oversight. Most have been set up far outside the sight of any elected body, and they like it that way. The added scrutiny, while cumbersome in some cases, is long overdue.
A reduction in the number of these agencies is in order and what is left should be under the direction of county, city, town and village governments, where there is still a link to voters.
Although a cushy job on a parking authority for a couple of years is a good capstone to anyone's career.
More from ABO report: Salaries over $100,000 - Capitol Confidential

Tea Party Group Finds Paladino A Tough Sell

Circulating independent line petitions is not that hard, as any registered voter can sign. However in this day and age, few people see the need for the kind of political leg work that is needed. The Tea Party folk should get some petitions up to Iron Block and use that as a starting point to at least get a couple hundred in this CD.
Tea Party Group Finds Paladino A Tough Sell

Will Hoffman Whither a Week from Thursday ?

With a week to go in gathering petitions, I have a hunch this purported three way race in NY 23 this fall may not be.
With the stated support of Conservative Chair Mike Long, it should be a lock that Doug Hoffman will again have the Conservative line, thus cinching a three-way race in the fall even if Matt Doheny, as expected, wins the GOP primary against Hoffman. Unlock last year's special election, this year's nominees of any party must gather valid petition signatures.
Hand-wringing, head-shaking Republican leaders say a three way race ensures the reelection of Democrat Bill Owens. I am not so sure on that, but it is conventional wisdom so let's for the moment assume it's true.
Then a week ago, the Hoffman campaign announced their candidate was to be gathering signatures at the State Street Burger King in Watertown. I have been to that BK and it's hardly a hotbed of Republicanism.
Petitions are best obtained by taking a walking list of party members and going to their home and getting the signature. That way it's a bullet proof signature. This is especially true in a minor party where the petition threshold is higher (5% of enrollment).
A candidate who thinks it's good to visit Burger Kings (or a Wendy's for that matter) to get petitions may not have the organizational resources to get solid sets of petitions in an eleven county district.
I don't know if Doheny is also circulating for the Conservative line as a backup for Long....But if Hoffman fails to file or files a low enough number to be challenged, the D Line could go dark this year and for Doheny that would be fine. Then he doesn't have to dance around the abortion issue.
Of course, if Hoffman bobbles the Conservative petitions, his prospects in the GOP are DOA as well.
I have a tenant upstairs who is a Conservative. I will have to ask him if anyone had stopped by.

Dems ready to give Pedro the heave-ho -

Poor Pedro...If only he had done the party thing when Dems took the State Senate two years ago. If he had just voted in the majority instead of teaming with slasher Senator Hiram Monserrate in the 2009 GOP coup that faltered when Pedro "came home" in exchange for the title (but not the duties) of Majority Leader.
Senator Pedro Espada could have blended in...but he couldn't bring himself to be discreet.
A string of scandals, including non-residency and the doings of his health care company have emboldened party leaders to seek his expulsion from the party of Andrew Jackson, FDR, JFK, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Democrats, who carefully shaped a mainstream image at their recent convention, know he needs to go...A primary is not a certain method in a district where folks might reelect Espada to send a message to The Man.
Dicker reports the Dems this week will seek removal from the party rolls....The Big Tent doesn't have room for this kind of embarassment.
A subsequent Liz posting says Bronx Democrats deny knowing about the ouster bid.
Dems ready to give Pedro the heave-ho -

OMG: MSM (except ours) Uses Sexy Spy in Shameless Bid for Higher Circulation

It caught my eye on the news stand at the Nice 'n Easy.....The better Red than Dead spy girl from Russia in a provocative front page pose......
This is the conundrum of the news you play up this tawdry eye-catching faux news in an effort to get folks in the church so they can hear the sermon ?
Only if you are appealing to those who don't hear a sermon elsewhere on Sunday would be the answer of some....
We report, you decide.
Russian spy babe's hot affair: Anna Chapman was kinky and 'great in bed,' says ex husband Alex

Great Deals That Are Anything But

A day hardly goes by when I don't get a phone call asking to talk to the person in charge of the National Grid account....or the Verizon account....
I don't get to hear the pitch as I hang up and tell my employees to do the same before they inadvertantly sign me up for something.
Saturday a couple of young ladies stopped in to cool off and before long they tried to engage in the sales pitch for the energy company that will let me lock in rates for five years. I cut them off politely but firmly....I don't want to hear it.
I believe in using the power and phone companies God gave you at birth and the notion that something is going to be cheaper under one of these deals is too good to be true...
The presentation is slick and pushy and I have known folks who signed up for something they didn't know anything about. Kind of like selling a car, but on steroids.
I am tired of hearing from all these folks....How about you ?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gov keeps pen poised for even more vetoes -

After nearly 7000 vetoes last week, Governor Paterson's veto hand is rested and he says ready for more.
Gov keeps pen poised for even more vetoes -

Party's over for now at the Capitol and other Sunday Thoughts

-With the prospect of a "shutdown" fully evaporated, one might think lawmakers are out of Albany for the summer.....Not so...While the Assembly Speaker says his body's work is done, the Senate has yet to pass a revenue bill and without that the work isn't done....
The sticking point is one senator withholding his vote in exchange for inclusion of the SUNY Empowerment Bill, which the Assembly opposes. A compromise will have to be reached unless this one senator can be made to back down.
There are also bills on no-fault divorce and a moratorium on hydrofracking on the docket.
-This is the last week ahead to gather petition signatures. I have to get out and do some more.
-Lots of big name entertainment coming to the City. Weird Al Yankovig is this week and Alan Jackson next week.
-Some of my smoker customers who buy the Indian brand cigarettes thru the mail say a judge has stayed the state's effort to stop the practice so they can continue to get for $23 a carton what the loyal NYers pay $100 a carton for.
-Now it's $10 counterfeit bills being passed locally.
Party's over for now at the Capitol -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY

Finally a Coroner Who Will Fight for our Working Families !

So I was reading Jude's blog this AM and see the Working Families Party has endorsed James Sienkiewycz for the office of St. Lawrence County Coroner (funny how we get to elect the coroner and not the county's chief executive).
Getting back on point, what is the WFP position on coroners ? I know they believe in cradle to grave socialism...But is that extending to the Beyond ?
I know one year the WFP endorsed an Assembly candidate also backed by the Conservative Party.....I assume then that Mike Long would want to weigh in on the coroner race....Would he want a pro-life coroner ?
Of course such endorsements lay bare how vacuous third party lines are in NY. It's just a second line on the ballot, nothing more.
Then again, do you really want the remains of your loved ones in the hands of those who profess an allegiance to false idols like a Nancy Pelosi or a Sarah Palin ?
I urge St. Lawrence County voters to pay attention to what parties are backing their coroner candidates.

Owens Takes the Collar in Dem Win at Nationals Park

Democrats will likely see it as a harbinger of things to come in November as they beat the GOP 13-5 in the Annual Congressional Softball Game at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.
Of course, the Dems have a bigger bench with their large majority in both houses.
This kind of game is one of the lingering manifestations of the notion that America lines up as opposing red and blue teams on opposite foul lines. Most people don't think of things in these terms anymore.
But as long as there is going to be such a game, I am interested in the softball skills of the Rep. Owen's challengers. Our Congressman told the WDT he was prepared to play right field....If so, he may want to reconsider some of his recent votes.
Annual Congressional Baseball Game

Scribe Doing Her Job Is a Reminder of What the News Business Is

Watertown Daily Times School board member putting cell down
I like to see a reporter breach the cloistered, often nonsensical sanctity of 'executive session' at public meetings. This story by Times scribe Jamie Munks picked up on some executive shouting behind closed doors at a school board meeting as one member, Peter Monaco, was yelling at another member, Cindy Bufalini over her purported overuse of text messaging during board meetings.
Let me stipulate I like both the participants and have myself had to grapple with the addiction known as texting. I can also appreciate Cindy's need for mental diversion during the tedium of a meeting. On the matter of manners, Mr. Monaco is right and use of the phone is rude in that setting. I know the desire to stay in touch with family or a business is great, but this is a temptation to be avoided.
I have had the same dilemma breaking employees of the habit which becomes second nature like one of those twitches people with OCD have. I have been guilty myself but have reformed after a discreet reminder. So Cindy, I can relate.
Actually covering the shouting match is a positive sign in journalism. It's OK to overhear. I remember as a reporter sitting outside the mayors office trying to pick up tidbits of then Councilmen Rehley and Cooke arguing over municipal power in Mayor Walker's office. I broke some stories doing it and hopefully added to the public understanding of a process that was unfairly being sequestered. Another time I was doing an interview with an administrator at the then troubled hospital in A-Bay and I was placed in an office to wait...While looking out the window at the scenery I saw a bunch of spreadsheets in plain view on the window sill...
I looked them over and as a result ask much better questions when it got to the interview.
It's OK for reporters to be nosy and intrusive............Ms. Munks was doing her job.