Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend Fluff

-Its hard to believe the only movie theater in town is closed till Spring pending renovations....I don't go to flicks anymore, but I know there are a lot who do..
-I will be interested to read tomorrow how today's Funny Cide visit to Sackets went...I would have liked to have gone, but I am sure there will be coverage.
-Let's see if pictures are released of Chelsea Clinton's wedding. Although its none of our business, everyone like's to follow such events in our First Families.
-Although, I suspect its off the MSM radar, it would be an interesting story to hear how the Tilted Kilt casting call went.
-I think the call from Rep. Bill Owens to HOTLINE caller and local gadfly Steve Duffany was such incredibly good politics...Someone like Steve will tell everyone how the Congressman called in response to Duff's on-air criticisms.

Detail Matters...Even Though Petitions are Not Understood By Most

On this issue of nominating petitions and "technicalities" that determine who does and who does not get their name on a ballot...let me say it used to be worse...
When I first got involved in politics, even formatting petitions was difficult as computers were not as available and getting lists of voters was not easy either.
There were more potential pitfalls on the petitions, including the requirement to note the election district of each signer in addition to the town they live in. How many people know they live in Clayton 2 and their neighbor across the street is in Clayton 4 ?
Witnesses could not do so outside the political subdivision they lived in, except for county committee.
There was no process for the BOE to notify candidates of obvious errors so they could be corrected...Things like mis-numbering a page. There was always a fester about how the pages were bound together.....No stapling.
One learns the process over time by making errors or by seeing youself or others nicked by the lawyers and operatives....
Once you learn the routine, then you can , if you want, play gotcha with a whole new generation...Only problem is the new generation has no concept of the rationale for petitioning or how its done. They will complain about the politicians but won't take one Sunday afternoon in June to go out and work on a method for changing things.
It'a an exercise in precision, following the rules and paying attention to details. Those are good attributes when you get in office too.
I know the Aubertine people were very picky on their petitions and brought sloppy penmanship back to the witnesses for correction. Me sloppy.
In any event, you just don't grow up knowing how to do all this...Maybe they should teach it in the schools...But don't count on it.

Figures Lie and Liars Figure

Now here's a technique to grease the skids for higher taxes...
Run an unscientific poll based on a false premise and get the MSM to print a headline declaring higher sales tax is the best option.
St.Lawrence County's 7% sales tax is a charming anachronism and county lawmakers can't wait to raise it to 8% as a quick fix for a budget shortfall....
Make no mistake,a hike in sales tax will provide extra revenue that will allow a temporary stabilization of property taxes....but the property taxes will be pushed up in a few years once the sales tax hike in absorbed in the system.
Watertown Daily Times Survey: sales tax option is best

An Ill Wind Blowing....But Will it Blow Over ?

This latest round of budget impasse has caught the eye of citizens who may not normally follow Albany's nonsense.....No budget...sessions called to gavel in and gavel out....fighting in court to get people off the ballot....Nobody speaks up in the majority for fear of offending "leadership."
Just in normal socializing the last few days I have really start to hear anti-incumbent chatter...
Maybe I just happened to run into a few angry souls, but it seems more intense...In the political class and the media chattering class, this is still more of same, just a little more intense.
What will be interesting is seeing whether the challengers can really take the fight to the incumbents.....
I haven't seen it so far.....

Friday, July 30, 2010

WDT: More Courtroom Drama over Petitions

Another law suit.....The Republican candidate in AD118 is going to court to get Assemblywoman Addie Russell off the Indy line....A NYS BOE review gave Russell just enough signatures, but GOP foe David Forsythe wants her off the line and a judge will decide promptly.
Ms. Russell had only a few signatures over the minimum and frankly should have gathered more. It's not known if the judge assigned the case is a GOP judge, but there is always the Appellate Division where politics is a little less pronounced than at the trial level.
Watertown Daily Times Albany court will decide fate of Russell's Indy petitions

Source: Paladino To Reconsider 3rd Party Run (Updated)

Carl Paladino is wisely backing away from the ridiculous statement on Monday that he would politely fold his cards and go home if somehow Rick Lazio won the Republican primary. At risk is the Taxpayer Party ballot line that Paladino supporters are circulating petitions for. Many other candidates are hoping to run under that moniker, including perhaps Patty Ritchie, who is said to be circulating an independent line petition.
If Paladino loses the GOP primary, he can and should run on the Taxpayer line to get the 50,000 votes needed to form a new party. That would shake up the system and that's what people want.
Recent polls show Paladino gaining among likely GOP voters, but frankly this is one of those years when some, not all, want to vote for something other than the vanilla RINO candidate......
I still believe Andrew Cuomo wins no matter what......But a candidate who can express the rage against the machine many feel, may influence the policy makers who do win.. Remember the effect Ross Perot had on the issue of deficit reduction, even though he didn't win.
That's one of the functions of third shape the issues and push the major parties in a direction they would not go otherwise.
Source: Paladino To Reconsider 3rd Party Run (Updated)

Queens Voters Get Another Chance to Send Montserrate to Albany

In NYC you can't keep a good mysoginist down...Former Senator Hiram Montserrate is on the ballot again...this time running for the Assembly in district 39 in Queens. Montserrate was booted from the Senate after his assaulting of his girlfriend...He, along with other members of the Democratic Party Thugocracy have prompted party leaders to try to get rid of them....Hiram didn't get the memo.
TheDailyPolitics - NY Daily News

Levy Takes Final Bow Out Of Gov’s Race, Backs Lazio

Steve Levy took a chance re-registering as a Republican in order to run for governor....Now he has to be a good soldier to keep open his options. That means swearing off an independent run and backing the sure loser and party designee Rick Lazio.
Levy likely would have beat Lazio in a primary if it had been allowed and still has more cash left over from his last run as Suffolk County Executive than Lazio has raised for the statewide race.
Levy sees himself running in the future and has to fold in line with the party....Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Levy Takes Final Bow Out Of Gov’s Race, Backs Lazio

Massive asteroid might hit Earth in 2182, warn scientists | Mail Online

I am not worrying about 2182....It's December 21, 2012 that has my attention. There are a lot of implications to the End of Days. Should you really worry about your credit score ? Is a second Obama term even possible ?....Maybe redistricting won't be such a big deal after all. Do I need to try to lose those extra pounds ?
Massive asteroid might hit Earth in 2182, warn scientists Mail Online

Hospitality Industry Growing in City

On the non-political front....I see that new Japanese restaurant on Arsenal Street has their signage up. It would be an interesting MSM story to find out who the owners are and what kind of menu will be offered, since this is a new concept in Watertown. Same is true of that "casting call" at the Tilted Kilt. That's a good weekend story about a multimillion dollar investment being made by local business people.
In the hospitality business, everyone always asks when Coleman's Corner reopens....and there was a nice bar opened recently on State Street on the site where years ago City Hall went on a jihad to close down a joint.
And of course there is the sewer deal that will result in construction of the much awaited Olive Garden.
Back when I was in the news business, the job I enjoyed most was that of assignment editor at TV 50....There are just so many things you see and hear about that never get a look-see by the MSM.
(For the out of town readers, a new restaurant opening or a different menu is a big deal here)

Governor....Take a Hint People Don't Want Your Soda Tax to Save 1000 Jobs

OMG...a thousand people on the street foraging for food and cable TV......Quick get the media to act outraged and dismayed....New Yorkers should all dig a little (or a lot) deeper to prevent this.
Somehow the Governor saying he will layoff one thousand workers out of a work force of a couple hundred thousand (many more if you count the authorities) is not that unsettling. Most will take early retirements or bump to somewhere else where there is a vacant position.
When is there outrage over a small private company of say 200 people...lowering their workforce to 199 ? Come on...
Those of us who pay the taxes are not swayed by the crocodile tears over layoffs....Do it Governor.....In a government where your office could employ a six figure "body man" to be your BFF until he roughed up his girlfriend....surely a government with that much money could trim a workforce by one half of one percent.
Gov. Paterson calls for at least 1,000 layoffs : News : WSTM NBC3

Legislature’s coming back on their own on Tuesday - Capitol Confidential

It sure looks like the budget impasse will be resolved next week as lawmakers plan to return to the capital. Presumably, a SUNy empowerment compromise will be part of it to provide the needed cover for one Buffalo Democrat to get back in the fold.
It is important that those lawmakers with close races get this budget monkey off their back before their opponents start bashing them with it. It is likely some issues will have to be revisited, but not will after the election. That's when WIGS or tax hikes could occur.
Legislature’s coming back on their own on Tuesday - Capitol Confidential

Courts Willing, Lots of Nastiness Brewing in 122nd

There must be some passion in the 122nd Assembly District. After posting the story late yesterday about Ken Blankenbush going to court to remove opponent Brian McGrath from the ballot, there had been a whopping 58 comments by early this morning. That's a lot, as most people who visit the blog, just scan whats there without comment.
Maybe it is because its an open seat race or because the two candidates represent different generations. It is clearly personal as there has been little development of issues or policy differences.
But that's how it always is. We elect people, not policies. In the 122nd, if the courts allow it, it seems there will be a knock down-drag out race and this ballot gambit will make sure the acrimony stays high.
And to think, when drawn, this district was seen as an automatic for the GOP.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two upstate officials take the Fifth

Here's a couple of economic development experts in tiny upstate Fulton County (Johnstown) who certainly created some good paying jobs...for themselves...Now they don't want to tell the rest of us about their job creation efforts...
Two upstate officials take the Fifth

Paladino: It’s about stopping Muslim conquest - Capitol Confidential

Time to stop this Mosque talk.....It may not be the most sensitive spot to build it, but the two Republican gubernatorial candidates are wrong in making it a big issue this summer....The issue is dysfunction and deficit..........If folks want to protest the mosque, let them picket City Hall...Its only a few blocks away.
Paladino: It’s about stopping Muslim conquest - Capitol Confidential

WDT: Blankenbush Goes to Court

Brian McGrath is getting a lesson in NY politics....He is now being sued by opponent Ken Blankenbush (technically some stand-in plaintiffs )who wants McGrath off the ballot on the Democrat and Independence lines....I am sure getting him off the Dem line is more important since nobody is going to win solely on a minor party line.
At issue are the nominating petitions submitted on behalf of the candidate...After a Board of Elections challenge, McGrath had barely enough Democratis signatures.
One very weak move by McGrath was notarizing a handful of petitions when his notary had expired.....He did renew it but apparently the signatures obtained in the interim are invalid. It's just a handful, but its a troubling sign that someone running for high office with the annoitment of June O'Neill would make such a rookie mistake.....
Meanwhile Republican Kenneth Blankenbush is trying to win a seat gerrymandered to be safe for the GOP.....but a seat Blankenbush was viewed as vulnerable in.
At the very least, Blankenbush will dust up McGrath and portray him as a lightweight unable to do simple political tasks...Or if Blankenbush is successful, he will win the seat in August.
Meanwhile, McGrath says he is certain he will stay on the ballot.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Silver: Koch Is Too Old To Criticize

Whatever happened to respecting your elders ?....Speaker Sheldon Silver is ripping Mayor Ed Koch...not for his reform ideas....but because he is 85 years old... Thank God, Hizzoner can still be such a force for good at his age.....And at age 66, Speaker Silver should be ashamed for attacking Mayor Koch.
Silver: Koch Is Too Old To Criticize

Patty....Get Over It

I keep hearing Patty Ritchie is mad. The Times says she and her campaign won't return phone calls. Another GOP candidate says its all about not getting the Indy line.
My advice is don't obsess over it. I know there was a lot of work done on petitions and I have heard there was an assurance (or a perceived assurance) that she would get the Wilson/Pakula.
If there was , then obviously something changed. Chances are it was the perception of a deal.
In any event, it doesn't matter.
The Senate race is all about voter rage at incumbents and the current dysfunction in Albany. It is not about people, per se and its not about how many party labels you have.
Recent polling shows in a generic sense, voters oppose even their own incumbent lawmakers. That alone should provide the basis for a run against even a likeable incumbent like Senator Darrel Aubertine.
The continued failure to achieve a budget and the need for specific reforms is all good fodder.
A deal gone sour on an endorsement is no big deal...Happens more than you think.
Patty...Be Happy ! The lay of the land is on your side if you execute the right battle plan.

Paladino Blunders and Tells Press He Will Roll Over Quickly if Lazio Ekes Out GOP Primary Win

Insurgent Republican Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino made a mistake yesterday when he declared if he lost the GOP primary to Rick Lazio, he would roll over and abandon his candidacy on a newly formed Taxpayer Party. That will make it harder to gather signatures for the new line if activists see Paladino as willing to acquiesce to the system.
Under NY law a major party candidate who loses a primary can resign the independent line, but cannot be removed from a party with ballot status party unless he is is lawyer nominated for a Supreme Court seat. In 1994, the courts upheld a candidate's slot on an independent line being filled through a vacancy committee, but its unlikely the Taxpayer moniker would do Lazio any good and Conservative Chair Mike Long would likely not let him take another third party designation.
Paladino's statement is wrong on a couple levels. First, you need to project confidence. Candidates who talk about what they would do if they lose, are themselves prone to losing. Second, the appeal of the plain spoken Paladino is that he is an outsider and has been harshly critical of Mr. Lazio.
Paladino'a statement sent his aides scurrying to clarify. It was a curious thing to say as a new poll shows Mr. Lazio's lead over Mr. Paladino eroding and Lazio if reportedly shaking up his moribund campaign.
The MSM is always asking candidates if they would support the major party nominee. There is time to consider that later, but not when in the hunt. In a year when only Paladino is generating excitement, this was the wrong message to send to supporters, many of whom are not interested in the bland, business as usual message of Rick Lazio.
In their own ways both Paladino and Andrew Cuomo have been talking about reform issues.....Mr. Lazio has been talking about a mosque.
Paladino says he won't remain in race if he loses Republican primary - The Buffalo News

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Are Sarah's Plans in NY23 ?

It would not be the narrative some would want written, but former AK Governor Sarah Palin is casting a shadow over the Republican nomination for Congress in NY23....Ms. Palin endorsed candidates today in NY2 and NY 13, both downstate. She has weighed in on NY 25 in Syracuse.....But so far no endorsement in NY 23, where last year her backing of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman gave him a surge in fundraising and notoriety.
This week in an interview on FOX Business Channel, Mr. Hoffman said he had been assured of a Palin endorsement....BUT none came today....
Meanwhile, rival Matt Doheny would certainly like the same backing but I doubt he expects it....Probably no backing before the primary would be best for him, but its hard to see that happening. As long as Hoffman is viewed by FOX as the guy to talk to in this race, and as long as Hoffman does an acceptable job appearance-wise, he probably does get her nod. Remember, Ms Palin works for FOX.
In any event, both sides are lobbying the Palin organization..
I don't think its the final decider in the race, but the infusion of money Hoffman would get over the Internet, would be enough to make the race that much more challenging for Doheny.
The big difference this year is that Matt Doheny is not DeDe Scozzafava. Beating the RINO (or perceived RINO) was a cause celebre on the right.....Given Doheny's views on everything save abortion, he is not likely to stoke Hoffman's fire as much as DeDe did.....
But it is fair to say Palin's influence will be felt...How much is yet to be seen.
Palin endorses Grimm

From Buffalo to Montauk, Paladino Picking Up Steam

The chair of Rick Lazio's home county looks like he is playing footsie with Carl Paladino....That's bad news for Suffolk County's Rick Lazio. Read on.
State of Politics Blog

Link Now Provided

Watertown Daily Times Congressional candidates are regular voters

New Test Scores Show New York Students Struggling -

Good news ?...Not really .......Standardized test schools in NYS schools are getting worse....In Rochester only one in four are proficient in reading. No wonder Mayor Duffy wants permission for City Hall to take over the school system.
Take a look at the sign I saw today....That says it all.
New Test Scores Show New York Students Struggling -

State Police launch their own internal investigation - Capitol Confidential

Save us the money of another probe. Paterson is leaving office and we know the results of the investigation already...Let it drop.....
State Police launch their own internal investigation - Capitol Confidential

WDT:Owens Started Voting at the Age Jack Benny Stopped Aging

For a brief time in the late 90's , Matt Doheny was registered to vote in both Jefferson and New York (Manhattan) Counties, according to a story put together by Jude Seymour of the WDT.....Doheny did first register at age 18 and has been a regular voter since. The overlap was likely unintentional as he wasn't purged from here till after he had registered there.
An interesting aside is that Rep. Bill Owens did not register to vote until age 39 ! I can't believe that. He was a military officer and an attorney in a politically charged law firm. That doesn't seem right.
As for Doug Hoffman, the WDT reports he seems to have been a regular voter since turning of age in 1971.
Now that set of facts is interesting. A journalist could take the Doheny overlap....pressure a BOE official on whether a law was broken...get the official to say he will check on it....and then run a banner headline about Probe Launched into Candidate Voter Fraud.
But you only do that when the subject of the story is someone you don't care for. (Of course you could always write, "Hoffman Casts String of Votes Outside the District.) If you were so inclined. LINK TWO STORIES ABOVE

Wine in Grocery Stores Crowd Makes Last Ditch Effort

Those in favor of WIGS are making their last pitch to lawmakers called back to Albany today for an "extraordinary session" that will in the end be quite ordinary. Governor Paterson wants the measure and liquor store owners have opposed it....even though a compromise would allow the stores to sell medallions to supermarkets and pocket the cash.....
Others in favor include on-premise license holders who like a provision that allows them to buy direct from liquor stores instead of being hosed by distributors.
Most think WIGS won't pass because it would involve thinking through the issue and debating it....These guys and gals want to pass what is put in front of them and get back on the golf course. Meanwhile nervous store owners get to spend some more time wondering what will happen to them....
State of Politics Blog

Paterson Free to Leave December 31st

Once he got out of the race for Governor and cleared the field for Andrew Cuomo, the investigation was just a formality....Today Judge Judith Kaye let David Paterson off the hook for meddling in the domestic violence case against one of his top aides.....It was bad judgment, she said...
The incident provided the wedge to force Paterson into political retirement as he wouldn't step aside for Mr. Cuomo.
And it was poor judgement, especially at that level.
Capitol Confidential - A behind-the-scenes look at New York politics

Lawyer: Blago's not 'sharpest knife'

Sometime's you have to throw your client under the bus to save him...and for defrocked Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the hope is that the jury buys the argument that Blago is not the brightest light on the Loop.
What is fascinating is that Blago had been a Member of Congress and twice was elected governor of one of the largest states in the Union. Gotta love Chicago politics!
Lawyer: Blago's not 'sharpest knife' - Andy Barr -

Your Legislature at Work, Except for Malcolm

It's a busy day what with the VP coming, the new AZ law takes effect, Blago goes to the jury, a new Russian spy vixen has surfaced, Charlie Rangel faces the end, and perhaps missing in all the excitement is the World's Greatest Deliberative Body doing a brief 'gavel in, gavel out' and once again failing to finish off the NYS budget.
Governor Paterson called the lawmakers back to Albany for an "extraordinary session". He forgot to check with Smiling Malcolm (Senate President Malcolm Smith) who was on vacation and without his vote nothing can pass anyway....That is even if there was an agreement.
But they do get their per diems for being there, so its not all lost.

Pair Ponders Their Future, or lack of, in the Grand Old Party

Will they jump ?....they are so far out on the limb, their status with the Republican hierarchy is in peril...They can no longer be longer be depended on...."Judas" is likely the word being whispered in the GOP inner circles....Outside the rarified air breathed by those few at the top, there is little concern....but in the major parties,leaving is viewed upon as heresy and treason.
But when the final judgment comes, does God care what box you checked on a registration form ? Probably, to the two Scotts, go ahead and jump......In many ways, you already have.
Watertown Daily Times Gray, Burto looking at Independence shift

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Paladino Looking and Acting More Gubernatorial

Just watched a Capital Tonight interview with Carl Paladino and he has definately honed his message. He looked sharp and had a focused message with a lot of specifics. Gone is the taking a baseball bat to Albany and the other gruff talk....But Paladino was clear in what he will do to deal with Albany's dysfunction.....
Given his ten to one money edge over Rick Lazio, if Paladino can shake the image of being unstabled and ill informed....which he did in this interview....his prospects will continue to rise.
It's all very important as the GOP must get the top of the ticket into the low 40s or its down ballot candidates will not be able to win.

High Times Backs Kristin Davis...Wonder Why ?

Some candidates spend a lot of time talking to editorial boards in an effort to land newspaper endorsements... but one candidate for Governor seems to have locked up the endorsement of one publication the other candidates wont be fussing over.....
Anti-Prohibition Party candidate Kristin Davis seems to have the lock on the endorsement of High Times, the pro marijuana magazine.
Ms. Davis is the most libertarian of the people seeking the State House. She is attempting to garner 15,000valid petition signatures to get on the November ballot.
Davis is the former high priced madame who spent four months in Riker's Island for her business venture and is thought to have been the supplier of the young lady who took down Governor Eliot Spitzer.
Kristin Davis is running for governor of New York

Tuesday Tid Bits

-According to Jude's blog the specific challenges to the nominating petitions of Addie Russell and Brian McGrath are in....I would say Addie's Indy ones are in trouble and McGrath's Democratic ones will be tight, although sometimes you can get a judge to order an OTB as a compromise. Who know's
- Scott Gray and Scott Burto are two Republicans pondering a change to IP and they have talked to Jude, thus giving their plans the patina of legitimacy.
I don't think its a GOP takeover gambit, because those two are at odds with their party anyway.
-I stopped by the Doheny bunker today and they have giant 4 by 8 lawn signs for the family for whom bigger is best.
These monster signs will be used on high traffic roads.
Primary battleground counties seem to be Madison with 10% of all the Republicans and Oswego with 20%. Jefferson is considered Doheny country and I assume the eastern counties are more fertile for Hoffman.....I really don't know but I am able to speak with authority on such subjects if asked.
-Legislature supposed to meet tomorrow, but don't look for anything to happen. Here's the deal....pass the cap (its good politics), let SUNY Buffalo do what it wants with tuition......say no to soda tax....and yes to WIGS with Paterson's medallion proposal....The budget is still in the red, so let Paterson fire some workers before Cuomo takes office....

Who Ever Said Politics is Not About Quid Pro Quo ?

When is it networking and when is it pay to play ? When is it helping a friend and when is it a bribe ? When is it party building and when is it politics as a business ?
Often the answer depends on how media or prosecutors frame the facts or perceptions. Blagojevich, Bloomberg,MacKay, Long, or me for that matter.
If you have worked to get yourself in a position to decide on something...a job..a nomination...a college admission....Isn't it only natural those who have a relationship with you get a boost ?...Who wouldn't help a friend ? Who doesn't expect one hand to wash the other ?
As for deals...That is politics. We always have an ebb and flow on what's acceptable. There are lot's of people reading this who are in a job because of politics, either with a large or small "p".
Life is politics.
So yesterday, when YNN Inquisitor Liz Benjamin tried to get me to say something bad about Indy Party leaders, I demurred......
Often outrage is justified, but outrage is usually because one out of a thousand poltical transactions becomes the subject of scrutiny. To dwell on a loan here or an endorsement in Buffalo misses the broader issue. The people who get written up are usually symptoms, not the disease.
If DeDe Scozzafava gets a commissioner job next January in the Cuomo administration, will anyone call for the launching of a probe ? No, of course not and nor should they. That's politics, often spoken in coded words and winks....
As I told Liz yesterday, those outraged are likely also surprised to find gambling in a casino.
However, its her job to ask the questions and it was my job to answer without singling out one person for what is common practice.

Cuomo Joins Hunt for nun on run -

Wow, a panhandlng nun impersonator is a big deal in an election year. This NY Post story featured a woman who was dressing up as a sister and collecting money for an orphanage that does not exist. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is now in full pursuit.
Hunt for nun on run -

VP Coming to Drum

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden will be at Fort Drum on Wednesday to welcome Tenth Mountain Division troops home from combat. Mr. Biden was in Watertown last year on behalf of the campaign of Rep. Bill Owens.
Watertown Daily Times Vice President Joe Biden to welcome troops home

Review Says More Sympatico needed in Interview with Liz

Here is the first review of my appearance on Capital Tonight....Jude thinks I was too polite and lacked a "rhythm" with show host Liz Benjamin....What does that mean ? It's a political interview, not Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Anyway, there is a link to the actual video in this WDT piece.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Grilling By Liz and a Successful City Council Meeting...A Great Monday Night

Wow...I am still recovering from my first ever interview with Liz Benjamin....pretty tough but I did my best against the best the MSM has !
There are a lot of tough questions about third parties as they exist in NYS and whether they are even needed as cross endorse vehicles....The recent bad press in the Indy Party is evidence of what happens when the endorsement is more a commodity than matter of principle.
I am at Petes to watch the interview in case I need consoling. Just watched it ....It went fine....

Meanwhile City Council approved Design "D" for the fountain at Lachenauer Plaza....The soothing design features a water theme in shades of blue and circles resembling bubbles.

And in a meeting at Thompson Park Council decided to keep the Aviary and will await a recommendation from the Conservancy on potential uses. Lawmakers agreed to partner with the Conservancy on coming up with the best use of the building.
Council wants to fulfill the vision of Mayor Karl R. Burns who speerheaded construction of the Aviary in 1978 in an effort to revitalize the flagging zoo.
The members of Council are rightly committed to preserving Mayor Burns memory and his committment to the Zoo at Thompson Park.

Partisan ? Not a Bone in My Body

Its everyone for themselves as the statewide candidates bag the party labels when it suits them...Andrew Cuomo is trying to get non-Democrats at his rallies...Comptroller hopeful Harry Wilson refuses to endorse the GOP candidate for Governor for fear the stench of death might envelope him. In these cases the pols are catching up with the public, most of whom do not rely on party for their life and sustenance.......Everybody's an independent these days....when it suits them.
State of Politics Blog

Busy Monday Night for Your Humble Public Servant

So I talked to Councilman Smith today to let him know whatever fountain design he sides with, I will support and would expect the Council to stand in unison behind it. No need for a three to two vote here. Hopefully the fountain as art exercise can move to the next stage.
Regardless of the result, the Council and the community appreciate the efforts of 14 artists and we all understand 13 of those will not be chosen.
Before the Council meeting which is being held at Thompson Park, I will stop by Time Warner to tape my interview with Liz Benjamin of Capital Tonight.
The topic is the dissolution of the Independence Party in Jefferson County, although if Liz needs time filled, I have an opinion on just about everything. This is the first time she has interviewed me. Previous Cap Tonight appearances were with Brian Taffe or Erin Billups.
Liz is a tough interviewer.......I'll try my best to keep up with her.
The main body of tonights Council meeting is a discussion with the Thompson Park Conservancy about the future of the Aviary in the Zoo. A request to tear the structure down went over like a baby crying in church, as lawmakers have a whole different appreciation of the history of the Aviary than do others.
There is a legitimate concern over crafting an exhibit for the structure, but I am sure the creative and consciencious minds at the table can work it out.

NARAL Embraces DiNapoli, Questions Wilson

For NARAL to endorse the Democrat is no surprise and why would Harry Wilson fill out a survey on abortion rights when the office he is running for is that of Comptroller.
Mr. Wilson is the Republican running against Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
Watching these unions, advocacy groups and special interests dole out their "endorsements" is such a hoot. What has Tom DiNapoli do to advance abortion rights.....we might want to be concerned over the candidates fiscal skills and world view on economics........
If you are voting for Comptroller based on the NARAL endorsement, then don't ever act surprised at how bad our finances are.
NARAL Embraces DiNapoli, Questions Wilson

Republican governor hopeful Rick Lazio lagging as GOPers show support for Carl Paladino

Everyday more and more Republicans gingerly take the walk away from their hopeless gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio, with many now openly trying to align themselves and appear on the ballot alongside Carl Paladino's newly formed "Taxpayers Party."
This is a further affront to the Conservative Party, which has been the traditional "me too" party for Republicans but may have erred this year in backing Lazio, who may well lose the GOP primary and could lose the Conservative primary to an unknown internal party candidate.
Riddle me this....Are any NNY Republicans circulating independent line petitions under the Taxpayer banner ? Is that what Patty Ritchie is up to ? Are Hoffman or Doheny shrewd enough to try an link themselves to the movement ? What about Blankenbush or Forsythe ? Or would a select Democrat like a Darrel Aubertine cozy up to Taxpayers now that he has dumped the WFP ?
In any event, if the Taxpayer party is on the ballot, and if Paladino stays on regardless of the GOP primary results, this could be a major blow to the old paradigm of R-C candidates pledging allegiance to the same bosses.
Meanwhile the other unknown is whether Andrew Cuomo throws a lifeline to the WFP by agreeing to replace the placeholder currently on the ballot.
And what of the Indy Party.....Their leadership wants to retain Line C, and view Mr. Cuomo as the best vehicle. For them anything that sinks the WFP and diminishes Conservative line votes is good as a party needs 50,000 votes for ballot status and the order of finish determines line placement for four years. Unless of course this Taxpayer line gets a little too popular and takes Line C itself....Now that would throw the insiders a curve.....
And you though it was all about the issues.
Republican governor hopeful Rick Lazio lagging as GOPers show support for Carl Paladino

Paterson Calls 'Em Back for Wine and Soda

Just when you thought it was safe to stop following the goings on in our state capital, here come the taxes again.....Governor Paterson's soda tax is revived, and to no one's surprise, WIGS is back on the table.
In a special session called for this week, the Governor of the State Without a Budget is again calling on lawmakers to enact a soda tax and put wine in the supermarkets. He also wants a property tax cap and the ability of some SUNY campuses to set their own tuitions.
The devil is in the details on some matters. Wine in Grocery Stores (WIGS) can be done more fairly if the governor's plan for a phse-in using medallions is adopted to lesson the burden on liquor stores.
The soda tax is just an excuse to spend while maintaining the illusion of cutting taxes on 'New York's working families." In fact, such taxes are very regressive against lower and middle income residents.
The SUNY deal is what derailed the original revenue package and is needed to buy off Sen. William Stachowski of Buffalo who has made it a signature issue.
New York obviously can operate without a complete budget in place, but with dysfunction looming as an issue in a handful of races, there is a PR value in getting business done before the political season begins in earnest.
NY gov. renews call for tax cap, sugar tax » Local News » Press-Republican

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hamlet Didn't Have Choices this Difficult

-It really wasn't a nice thing to do to Councilman Jeff Smith....putting him in the sole and exclusive role of deciding how to adorn and fancify the fountain at Lachenauer Plaza......
With Smith absent last week, and with the help of the Arts Council, lawmakers whittled down 14 designs to just two....Then we deadlocked between design "C' and design "D".
That meant adjourning the meeting a week and letting our colleague Mr Smith cogitate, ruminate and equivocate over which design breaks the tie.
Awesome and solemn responsibility for the three-term Councilman....I am anxious to hear his decision.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Isn't Pro Choice When It Comes to His Own Election

The role of the veteran incumbent is to protect the "integrity" of the electoral process by using their knowledge of the system, their financial resources and their Rolodex of go-to judges to make sure even a 62 year old widow with no chance of winning doesn't defile the ballot also containing the name of one Sheldon Silver.
Joan Lipp could have given some political lip to Speaker Silver, but with a $2million war chest the Speaker can avoid all those annoyances of democracy and see that this uppity woman is put in her place....which is, off the ballot.
Now, I don't know what the deal is with her petitions but they could have been challenged at the BOE, but instead the Speaker is dragging the woman into court where the rules and resources are in his favor. Its tough to find justice in an election law case at the trial level and surely most people don't have the cash to take it higher.
Ms. Lipp will lose....maybe she should if her petitions were deficient.....and the Assembly Speaker and his district will be spared the burden of having to choose.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sues to boot Republican challenger -

Are People Glad to See Their Relatives Die this Year ?

The passing of Yankee owner George Steinbrenner has prompted many in media to point out that 2010 is, as our own paper did this AM, a "Great Year to Die." The reason is a quirk in the law on inheritence tax that allows heirs to avoid a hefty tax on high dollar estates.
The implied suggestion is that the bereaved somehow got a break and were fortunate their loved one died sooner rather than later. Maybe so....heirs often do not wait long to ponder their new stash.
However, I think its in poor taste to take one family to personalize the tax issue. To suggest it was a great year for Mr. Steinbrenner to die ignores the sentiments of family who have to read the headlines.
It is possible they may have traded the tax for more time with their loved one.....
Chalk one up for media cynicism on this story.

WDT Kicks off Series on Congressional Hopefuls with Look at Businessman Hoffman

This is a very good, non-gotcha piece on Congressional hopeful Doug Hoffman that gives an insight into the man. It is the first of three to appear in the WDT. I am looking forward to reading the other two about Matt Doheny and Bill Owens. In the tick-tock of these campaigns it is seldom we get to learn much about these candidates and its good to see a little of that type of reporting.
Watertown Daily Times RAGS TO RICHES & RUNNING

Gray Ponders Party Change in Wake of Indy Void

Longtime GOP County Legislator and prominent businessman Scott Gray says he is thinking about registering in the Independence Party, after its current leaders announced the party will go out of existence after twelve years of having a constituted committee in Jefferso County.
"There has got to be a place for people not marinated in the two party system, " Gray said Saturday. He has said before he was thinking of changing parties and told me he would like to help reorganize the party on a local level.
The Indy party and its sought after Line C on the ballot has been in need of some new people to work on keeping the organization in place as current members like Chairman John Rice said they just don't have the time or inclination at this moment.
Mr. Gray had been a GOP candidate for Assembly in 2004, but increasingly does not believe in the constraints and strictures of life in a major party.
"People want centrist, reasonable and non-party restricted government," Gray said, adding there are local Democrats he works with as well or better than some of his Republican collegues.
Gray said he is still pondering the move, which would be unconventional in a County Legislature currently 13 to 2 Republican.. He would have to decide soon for the change to be effective for the 2010 cycle.