Saturday, August 7, 2010

Watertown's Expanding Hospitality Industry

Three new eateries will open in the City of Watertown this month. One is an elaborate remake of an old favorite, Colemans Corners, just off Coffeen Street. It is widely thought owner Leo Coleman will open the doors as early as Monday.
The most elaborate is the multi million dollar investment in the Tilted Kilt, a franchise operation owned by a Lyons Falls couple. It is located on the site of the former Benny's Steak House on Arsenal Street.
Across the street, a new Japanese restaurant is opening in about a week.
While many continue to fuss over whether or not an Olive Garden is coming, these three restaurants represent major investments by their owners and exhibit a confidence in the local economy.
Earlier this year another restaurant opened on Newell Street, called Maggies on the River.
This is a competitive business, but its good to see folks willing to take a chance on Watertown....I wish them all well and am sure they will be successful.

Write-In or Run Home

So as we sit here today...just what is Brian McGrath's status as a candidate ?...well according to a judge he does not have ballot status, so technically the only way to vote for him is as a write-in.
Now all that could change at the appellate level, but he has to face to possibility he may be out of luck....In which case would he plow on as a write-in or just leave the seat uncontested in hopes of avoiding a loss ?
If he is bumped there will be notoriety and sympathy for what happened and I don't think in the end this episode helps his opponent's popularity. But would McGrath have the moxie to wage a write-in effort, knowing the chance for success would be akin to winning both Lotto and Powerball in the same week ?
I suspect he would be advised to just lick his wounds and live to fight another day. In other words, don't compete and get tagged with a loss.
The gutsy move would be to run, hit hard and hope for the best, knowing your best shot may indeed be in 2012.
By then, a 64 year old Assemblyman Blankenbush would realize what a vacuous job it is and how miserable it is not spending time at home because you are running back and forth to Albany.

Just What Does Get You in Trouble With Voters ?

My mom is fond of saying that in politics you have to "keep your skirts clean" (old expression that means stay away from questionable activities).
So I was surprised when chatting this AM she said the Doheny 2004 boat trips were "no big deal."
It's hard to know what is bad for a campaign and what doesn't matter...I guess people make their own judgements.
In 1964, Nelson Rockefeller's Presidential prospects were hampered by being divorced. Sixteen years later, divorce Ronald Reagan was elected.
Used to be you had to be married, with kids and some time in the service. That doesn't matter so much now.
Money scandals can get you in trouble as we are seeing with Charlie Rangel, but he may still be elected.
So much of it depends on how the MSM reports it, if they do. A lot of stuff that would be front page fodder in major markets is considered "not news" here. Messy divorces top the list.
Apologies and public mea culpas are always a good idea....So maybe it is no big deal. In which case yesterday's sanctimony from Team Hoffman was wasted on today's more tolerant and forgiving world... September 14th will tell the tale.

Sound Off ! Its the Weekend.

For those who have something to say that doesn't fit the topics at open thread for comments...

WDT: AL Corp Misled Press

This WDT article raises some interesting questions about the Assisted Living (AL) Corporation, which seems to be a county entity bent on solving the laudable goal of ensuring sufficient housing for the aging. The North Country region, like most, is lacking in such housing. mostly because of economics...Elderly housing is expensive.
Jefferson County operates a home for those in need and the County Legislature wants to close it, they say, because other counties have gotten out of the business....
And just what business is that ?....assisting those in need ? When you look at the size of the county's budget for welfare, it would seem that is their job.
The other agenda in play is advancing the notion that Mercy Healthcare on Stone Street is a dead man walking and the carcass is open to picking.
Mercy employs many people, houses many of the most challenging cases that no one else wants, and is a business in downtown Watertown.
As mayor, these are the reasons I pray for Mercy's solvency and survival.
Its demise is common talk in political circles and state regulators are told the "community" doesn't want it to stay. In case any of those in Albany are listening, I want Mercy to survive and be improved upon in its present location. Sorry if I am off the reservation on this one.
Ms. Madden's article in the Times suggest AL meetings were in secret and that the press was mislead. Her anecdote involving a press release on Friday seems to suggest this is true. This is disturbing.
This is a complicated issue, and I certainly don't claim presience on the solution. Most people don't know enough about the AL Corp. to assume they can make that claim as well.
Watertown Daily Times 2 nursing facilities planned in county

Courtesy Patrols Hit the Streets

I had the pleasure of meeting one of those Army courtesy patrols last night as they stopped by while the Sheriff and I were erecting a lawn sign.
They were driving a long passenger van and were dressed in their best to stop by local establishments and remind soldiers to keep their behavior in line.
I saw the list of places to visit and Fort Pearl was not on it, because they told me there had been no reports of problems. Thats a good thing, as many of our customers are soldiers who say they like going to a place where there are not problems.
In the vast majority of cases, people out at night are out for a good time and there are not problems. Hopefully the courtesy patrol will remind folks that getting into trouble is not a good time.

Political Math Isn't Taught in School

Remember when we were younger and there was something called "new math" taught in schools ? Old math had worked well for years but times were changing...
Well, there is another, more obscure kind of math taught, called "political math."
Ogdensburg will get a taste of that as hundreds of people living in the city will not be counted in the Census, because Mayor Bloomberg wants to be able to count some of his more distinguished former residents as his own.
Then there is redistricting, which is just around the corner. While All Men Are Created Equal, the NYS State Legislature does not recognize that when Senate and Assembly districts are drawn.
For instance, guildelines used in NY allow a district to be 10% above or below the average..The average in the Assembly would be the state's population divided by 150.
The majority party makes sure the minority party has all its likely districts loaded with the upper end of the average. Majority districts are skewered to the lower end, or few people. That means thay over all 150 seats the technique can result in two or three extra seats for the Majority beyond what they would get if all districts were precisely equal. Congressional seats are required to be precisely equal.
The prison gambit is another effort to tweak the numbers that way as well.
None of this matters in the Assembly which is overwhelmingly Democratic, but the real 'game on' is in the 62 member Senate where any kind of an edge will ensure hegemony for years to come.
The Journal City To Lose Inmates From Census

'Sarah Palin's Alaska' gets Nov. 14 start date from TLC, you betcha!

Just in time for the holidays, you will be able to get an extensive look at Sarah Palin in her own hood. The eight part series, "Sarah Palin's Alaska" debuts November 14 on TLC Network. The Palin's are described an "incredibly outdoorsy" which means the show should be a hit among the outdoorsy populace in much of NNY...For the record, Ms. Palin was not born in Alaska, but in Idaho which is nearly as outdoorsy. Of course, I haven't seen her birth certificate, but I since I am not a birther, I take her and the President at face value.
'Sarah Palin's Alaska' gets Nov. 14 start date from TLC, you betcha!

Friday, August 6, 2010

McGrath Pledges Appeal...Hires Fancy NYC Lawyer

So to wrap up the day....Ken Blankenbush either got himself a term in the Assembly or a lot of backlash for his lawsuit that resulted in opponent Brian McGrath being tossed from the ballot on the thinnest of grounds.
The ruling did not refute the validity of the signatures on his Dem and Indy petitions but did find the petition flawed in form as it listed the office being sought as New York State Assembly-District 122 and not Member of New York State Assembly-District 122. The judge said the lack of the word "member" denied the signer from knowing what office was being sought.
The judge was indeed a former Renssalaer County executive who after leaving office was an out-the-door judicial appointment by Governor George Pataki in 2006.
For those without the money to buy some more justice, the matter might end there, but Mr. McGrath says he is hiring NYC election lawyer Henry Berger to perfect the appeal which will be heard August 17.
McGrath says he will continue to campaign and is confident the ruling was a political one and will be reversed on appeal.
In a statement, Mr. Blankenbush said the ruling is part of a process.
These kind of battles are a test of wills and checkbooks.
If Blankenbush prevails, he gets an uncontested Assembly seat...If reversed, he gets an even more motivated opponent and a public skeptical of the truly Albany way this was handled.
Nonetheless, the lawyers no doubt told Mr. Blankenbush he had a chance to win this way and so why wouldn't he try it ? Its pure political calculus...and not some sentimental jargon about the will of the people.

Albany Scribes Coin Catchy Phrase for Hoffman Attacks on Doheny

Well, it worked...the Hoffman campaign was able to turn the free media into another day of dubious publicity for rival Matt Doheny....The folks at CapCon were nice enough to coin the phrase "drunkboating" a clear takeoff on the "swiftboating" of John Kerry in 2004.
Doug Hoffman is being badly outspent in the race for the GOP nod in NY23.....
Hoffman's trump card has always been high name recognition and an image of ......well, an accountant...Kind of dull but no dirt.
Matt Doheny has been working hard to become known and by most accounts was making progress...but this kind of story may give some pause while most will likely see it as an event long ago.
For team Hoffman, this was a good method to rain on his opponents parade....However, it also increases Doheny's name ID and some will sympathize with what could be seen as making hay over a six year old mistake that Doheny has gushed an apology over.
I don't think it changes much but the Hoffman camp wisely milked it for more and likely solidified its own base.
Hoffman attempts to drunk-boat Doheny - Capitol Confidential

WDT: Addie's Off Indy Line

Addie Russell is off of the Indy line due to insufficient signatures...She missed by one and the Russell camp will not contest the ruling.
Ms. Russell will be on the Democratic and Working Famlies line and opponent David Forsythe will be on the Republican and Conservative and possibly an independent line as well.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

WDT: Debate On and Doug Tries to "DrunkBoat" his Foe

There apparently will be a GOP Congressional debate in Plattsburgh on September 1, hosted by UNYTEA, the local tea party group supporting Doug Hoffman.
Meanwhile, a spat escalated today between Team Hoffman and the campaign of Matt Doheny as Hoffman's group demanded to see the documentation on two six year old alleged BUI incidents on the St. Lawrence River involving Mr. Doheny.
This is mostly an attempt to drag out the story at a time when voters are just getting to know Mr. Doheny. There were no arrests resulting from the incidents and Doheny has said he regrets his bad judgment.
Watertown Daily Times UNYTEA: We'll host Hoffman-Doheny debate

WDT:| McGrath tossed from Dem ballot

Jude reports a judge has tossed Brian McGrath from the least his Democratic line......That means a trip to the appellate division...At issue is the heading on the petition listing the office sought as New York State Assembly-122nd District....It should read Member of New York State Assembly-122nd District.
That's an important distinction...No, just kidding...
We'll see...It was probably a GOP judge and in election law cases there is less politics at the appellate level.
No word on his Indy petition....
I didn't format that one so I don't know what the heading said...I know Addie's was correct.
Worst case options include trying to get the judges to order an OTB as a compromise so the wishes of petitioners are not denied....An independent line is possible, but that gets you nowhere in November.
If McGrath survives on Line C, he could still run from there.
Watertown Daily Times McGrath tossed from Dem ballot?

Lazio Sees Mosques But is Oblivious to Primaries

Watching Rick Lazio last night plod through an interview without acknowledging his potential Waterloo on September 14 was a hoot.....Mr. Lazio kept telling Liz that he is totally and absolutely focused on the November contest with Andrew Cuomo....Mr. Lazio would not even admit to having Republican and Conservative party primaries and his intereview had discipline...the kind you have when whistling past the graveyard.
He has little money and is clinging to Mosque-Gate in hopes of energizing somebody...
Surging Carl Paladino has usurped the mosque issue and has a commercial out brashly boasting that the November race is between him and Mr. Cuomo....No mention of Mr. Lazio.
His only wordly possession is the convention designee status bestowed by the party establishment who just couldn't work up the gumption to pull the trigger for Steve Levy.
I say Paladino wins the primary...He has excitement,passion, momentum and money in what will be a small pool of voters. The Conservative primary will result in whomever wins vacating for a judicial nomination so that Paladino can have that line....I assume Mr. Paladino will take it, unless he wants to use his Taxpayer Party line to sink Chairman Long and the Conservtive Party for good. That would be a bold move.
Paladino Who?

Voting Records Are Insightful...Up to a Point

Of all the things we take into account when assessing candidates, voting records have become part of the dossier. Perhaps its because its easier to get the information. I always wonder about folks who are running for high office but never voted....Although there is something to be said for better late than never.
A recent WDT story outlined the voting records of the three Congressional candidates...Somehow it was revealed Doug Hoffman voted for George McGovern in 1972....Is that demonstrative of anything? Only that he voted and that's a good thing.
I am sure at the time, the vote for McGovern was not something you talked about at GOP dinners if you were interested in moving up through the system of its day. Hoffman's independence at the time is heroic....Nowadays heresy is commonplace...Look at how many Republicans openly say they voted for Aubertine and Obama....Look at how many this year will vote for Cuomo, Owens and Schumer.
As for me, I have voted in nine Presidential elections and never voted for a winner.
Watertown Daily Times Glad they voted

Yeah..And Make 'Em Sign it in Blood

Should a DeDe Scozzafava have had to sign a pledge when she took the GOP nomination for Congress ? Should Doug Hoffman be forced to sign one too ?
The RNC is looking at making candidates sign a pledge to support the party's eventual nominee. Its in part because of people like Ms. Scozzafava or Florida Governor Charles Crist. Both have functioned for years as Republicans, but bolted when circumstances favored doing that.
People deep in the parties....people whose livelihood depends on party allegiance....people who define the World around them as a place divided by an aisle......Those people carry on about the party.
There are fewer and fewer of those people. Ever been to a GOP dinner under the reign of Don Coon versus one under the reign of Clint Marsh ?......
They used to be must-attend events attended by lawmakers, and government employees of all kinds thankful for their station in life.
Now, the County Legislature is Republican in name only, and despite a registration advantage, office after office is now held by a Democrat.
Prior to a recent visit by a Democrat gubernatorial candidate, I irked the Dems by announcing here the fallacy of signing a pledge on certain issues......This crazy GOP idea for a pledge to fall in line is just as silly.
Never sign anything.....particularly something you are only signing to gain a political advantage at the moment.
44 - RNC looks to new party pledge to avoid candidate defections

Miasma - Liz's Word of the Day

While watching a discussion of redistricting on Capital Tonight, I learned a new in a miasma hanging over the state.....
Which only goes to show how illuminating this show can be.....I am the type who when I hear a word that's new to me, I have to go look it up....
Miasma - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime? - TIME

It was only a matter of time that dash cams would be used by everyone....but now in some areas police are arresting people for recording even a traffic stop alongside the road. Prosecutors say it violates wiretap laws....I will leave you to judge that tactic.
The use of dash cams or the tag along video shows like COPS have long made both the mundane and exciting aspects of police work into entertainment for the masses....Nothing better than the officers showing up to find a Pabst-laden unemployed guy in a wife-beater t-shirt.....A few obscenities and a cuff n' stuff and you have ready made entertainment. (Domestic calls in nice neighborhoods don't get taped.)
Hot pursuit videos are always fun to watch, as are roadside sobriety tests....until it's you who are the laughingstock of TV Nation.
9-1-1 tapes where you get to hear people in distress and at their worst....Now that's entertainment too....
The government has been complicit in the crime and tragedy as entertainment business.....
Government shouldn't be surprised when the camera is turned the other way.
Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime? - TIME

Thursday: Drum Plans 'Courtesy Patrols' Of Bars, Restaurants

As a 25 year veteran of the tavern business, I certainly welcome any suggestions to make my customer's experience safer and more enjoyable.
My philosophy has always been to keep things from getting too far out of hand and many of my customers say they like coming to Fort Pearl because there are not the problems with fights they find elsewhere.
One of the challenges in this business I work on is to keep the pathologies that may exist nearby from coming on my property. I like to think the fact I live on site is helpful as well.
Most customers...particularly those in the Army are very good about making transportation arrangements and looking out for one another. We try to do that too with all our patrons.
When you are in the business of selling a good time, its important to stay within the rules and keep an eye on things. I am not so sure patrols interceding with the operation of a business is what I would do, but like most in my industry, I welcome the suggestions and concerns anyone has. The person best motivated to address those concerns is the one with their livelihood at stake.....
Thursday: Drum Plans 'Courtesy Patrols' Of Bars, Restaurants WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Gubernatorial Candidate Kristin Davis Explains Why She Left Finance for Pimpin’ -- Daily Intel

The video in this story tells an interesting story of the most libertarian of the candidates for Governor of New York. While she is very much a long shot, Kristin Davis brings an interesting skill set to the race...from a career in finance to a stint on the seemy side to prison and now to the race for Governor.
In a year when even the GOP concedes the end result of the election, the interesting fringe candidates may provide the only interest in the race that will result in a Cuomo administration......
Now I see why Ted Ford signed the independent nominating petition for Ms. Davis.
Gubernatorial Candidate Kristin Davis Explains Why She Left Finance for Pimpin’ -- Daily Intel

Dems Use Prop. 8 to Pressure Wilson, Donovan

Same sex marriage is becoming a front burner issue in NY this year with the Senate leadership being pushed to guarantee a vote on it next year. The fuss over Proposition 8 in CA will only add to the enthusiasm of gay marriage activists.
Its unknown how many votes this issue can deliver one way or the other, but a lot of pols are currying favor with gay rights groups as it is no longer a fringe issue. So many families have openly gay members and the younger generation views the matter with much more tolerance. It's still a tough issue in some areas, particularly with Catholic and fundamentalist voters.
AG candidate Donovan takes a safe position saying he believes marriage is between a man and woman but will enforce the law whatever it is.....That may be safe with the GOP base. On the Democratic side, lawmakers are pretty much all in with the LGBT caucus. Except for a few like Darrel Aubertine that is.
Dems Use Prop. 8 to Pressure Wilson, Donovan

Dog Days Dampen Interest in Politics

The NYS Board of Elections is supposed to decide today who is officially on the ballot and if they rule in favor of those local candidates being sued over petitions that will go a long way in court tomorrow.
Addie Russell is thought to be hanging on by one signature for her Indy line and in the other Assembly race, Brian McGrath is confident his candidacy on two lines will be sustained.
-There are a lot of comments about the Doheny BWI incidents from 2004..but of course they are the usual anonymous types....I don't think it affects his prospects that much as it was a one day story in the MSM....It also played out during the dog days of summer.....
-The WDT is leading the charge on wanting debates and keeps running blurbs about how Doheny's guy can't hook up with Hoffman's.....Of course not, it's not in their best interest to do so.
If the MSM wants debates they should host them. Set up a time, date and place and invite the candidates well enough in advance they cannot skate out of it......Get some of your institutional clients like the Air Brake or the hospital to sponsor it so there is some money made.
I remember the big radio studio on Arcade Street in the basement where as a high school student working on a project I worked with Rod Abare to set up a forum. Today's media pooh poohs its own ability to provide an audience and the result are debates in front of twenty people on a Tuesday night in Wanakena. That's one that Team Hoffman would readily agree to.

This AG Hopeful Gets It Wrong for Upstate

Last night on Capital Tonight, I heard the prison inmate/census bill referred to as a "reform". The bill's pusher, Sen. Eric Schneiderman, called it a "basic human rights issue." A way to ensure representation of minority voters by counting them in the traditional minority districts set up under the Voting Rights Act.
It is neither...It is a power grab and a perversion of what the Census purports to be.
People may come and go in local prisons but the fact is there is always a population of people living there.....They may not vote here or pay taxes, but a lot of other people don't do either.
I remember when some didn't want to count the military population, or college students....
The Census purports to show how many people live in a certain place on April 1st of the decennial year....While its clear someone on a business trip or a vacation to another place should still be counted at home....
Thats not the case with a crack dealer serving five years who lists a vacant lot in the Bronx as his home.
Senator Schneiderman is an extreme liberal, who gets it all wrong on this issue......All wrong for upstate, that is.

AG Frontrunners Admit to Cocaine Use....But Its OK as Back Then Everyone Snorted

Four of the six candidates for NYS Attorney General say they have used drugs. Candidates Coffey and Brodsky say they have not....
GOP candidate Dan Donovan says he used marijuana several times in college but didn't like it. Why would you keep doing something you didn't like ?
Eric Dinallo say he tried pot once with a girlfriend, but it was so "painful" he never tried again.
Sen. Eric Schneiderman (through a spokesman) admitted to pot and cocaine use, but rationalized it by saying it was commonplace in the late 60s and early 70s.
Yesterday, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice made news by admitting to her own cocaine use. a couple decades ago.
I am glad to hear there is no drug problem these days and that it all ended with that period of involuntary experimentation thirty years ago.
There seems to be a consensus among prosecutors and the press that the inability to say no is ok. After all Ms. Rice and Sen.Schneiderman are considered the front runners for the Democratic nomination. So one could conclude use of cocaine is no impediment to success.
Since all these people of attornies, they should know the proper answer to a question like this is, "I don't recall."

Candidates for New York state attorney general admit youthful drug use

Getting Paid, New York State Legislature Style

Lawmakers who had their pay on ice since April 1st were giddy Tuesday night as the comptroller unlocked the safe...Some say proponents of the SUNY empowerment plan ended their standoff because there was so much heat from lawmakers over not being paid....In other word, they would vote for anything at that point.
That's the point of the 1998 law that was designed to prevent late budgets...By this week lawmakers were likely $25,000 behind on their pay, but they were still getting the per diem payments...In fact, all the extra budget sessions over the summer actually ended up with legislators making more because of the per diems....Many lawmakers have outside jobs as well, so it is unlikely anyone missed a meal due to the late budget.
Getting Paid, New York State Legislature Style

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Similar Minds With Similar Consultants Think Alike

Here's another case of a this case Doug Hoffman....putting out a statement for Independence Day that is identical to a candidate on Long Island who utilizes the same consultant......
Randy Altschuler in NY1 shares consultant Rob Ryan with Mr. Hoffman and in a canned statement for Indy Day, the two said the same thing...That's not really plagiarism as much as it is laziness, but in the gotcha world of politics, I am sure Hoffman foes will try to jump on this.

Demos hits word-theft charge in NY-1 - Maggie Haberman -

Panthers Prowl NY23

Bear attacks...shark attacks...snakes...crocodiles....and now we find out there are panthers in the Adirondacks.....It's all part of the run up to the End of Days in 2012.
The panther poll - Adirondack Dispatches - - Albany NY

Inmates Live Here But Dont Count Here Anymore

In a blow to upstate, the Legislature passed a law last night that will instruct the Census to count prison inmates not at the place they reside, but at their last known address, usually downstate. That will be a subtle population shift that can help keep the number of seats downstate up compared to us.
Already the redistricting process allows such latitude in the size of Senate and Assembly districts one can make one area of the state get fewer seats than their population would suggest....By putting the opposition party seats at the maximum population and the majority party seats at the low end, one creates a couple of extra seats statewide for the ones doing the drawing. If Democrats control both houses, that will be done to create Democrat hegemony for the next hundred years.
The not counting of inmates will have a subtle difference on County Legislative races.
The premise of the Census is to reflect where people live on April 1 of the decennial year....This law distorts that.
State of Politics Blog

Canadians During Heat Wave: Bottoms Up !

The Toronto Star reports Canadians are drinking more alcohol in this extra warm summer of 2010...I think their reporting is based on anecdotal accounts gathered by reporters hanging out in bars...That's OK, as you get a lot of news in social settings.
My experience is extreme heat depresses business as people like to lay low and not be out in public...But if Canadians are partying more this summer, let's hope they bring those loonies and toonies our way....
By the way, I finally saw a sign that said "Canadian Money at Par." Our retailers have to reach out to our neighbors to the North.

AG Candidate Did a Few Lines and Tokes....But Its OK

Attorney general candidate Kathleen Rice says she "dabbled" in cocaine and marijuana when in her 20s....She is 45. The revelation came in an editorial board interview at the NYDN.
Maybe as a district attorney she should arrest herself....Doesn't "dabblng in cocaine" represent an automatic disqualifier to be a DA, just as certain sex crimes automatically mean you cannot be a teacher ?
In an interview this week, Ms. Rice, a graduate of Catholic University admitted to the use and as usual soft pedaled it.
The War on Drugs regularly exposes itself as duplicitous as these tough as nails prosecutors fess up but say it was OK....It was OK because they didn't get caught...That's really the difference in crimes like this.
In the rationalizing of illegal behavior, there is usually a line drawn between a little pot and other drugs like cocaine....She crossed both lines and voters need to decide if that's OK for offices like District Attorney or Attorney General.
She also took a bizarre stand in favor of equiping ALL cars with ignition interlocks to prevent operation by intoxicated motorists....Talk about intrusive, expensive and Orwellian.....
Ms. Rice did herself no favors with her E-Board interview...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Public Servant is Honored and She Is Only 9 Years Old

There was a great story Tuesday night at the County Legislature it wasn't the fight over telephones, it was the ceremony honoring 9 year old Meredith Rose IHC student who organized a "Petals for Happiness" campaign.....
By soliciting donations from businesses friends and family this young lady organized the potting and delivery of some 400 flowers to nursing home and Meals on Wheels residents.
I wish I had taken a photo at the event...perhaps our friends in the MSM will give this young lady the recognition she deserves.

WDT: Debates Debated in GOP Race

While the GOP Congressional candidates argue over debates, I am reminded of the first time I ran for mayor and how much I wanted my two opponents to engage in public.
I was the upstart who was not thought by the political establishment of the day to have the "gravitas" to follow Mayor Walker in office. The old guard had advanced the candidacy of Amy Saiff, a former school board member and well known person in the community. Long time local lawmaker Jim Brett was also in the race.
I needed a breakthrough and got it through my good friend, the late Bruce Dempster, who was also active at the North Side League.....Back then the League was still a cornerstone for local political discourse and their Friday night meetings were well attended.
Bruce arranged for the League to host as debate as no one else seemed to want to.....There was no way Amy or Jim could refuse the League.
I knew I had an advantage in knowledge of issues from years of covering City Hall as a newsman. I also was a good talker and could turn a phrase. My two opponents were defending records in office.
I wanted the debate and got it. It helped propel me to a shocking primary win and a sweeping win in the general.
Debates are or are not a good thing depending on who you are and what your skills are.
If I were the Hoffman team, I would want the debates late, in remote places and in front of small crowds....Doheny wants them in front of the audiences TV can provide....He figures he can mop the floor with Mr. Hoffman, who last year was ill at ease as a campaigner.
By their own admission, the Doheny camp concedes Mr. Hoffman has improved, so there is also the danger of getting more than you wished for. Let's see what happens.
Watertown Daily Times Two GOP candidates spar over debates

Bristol and Levi split (again) - KIKI RYAN | POLITICO CLICK

Earth to Bristol: Get your life in order...You are young, naive, and immature but enough's enough....Now you have broken up with Levi again....Let it lie...
You are causing pain in your family and hurting your mom, as the MSM is more than happy to continue the Alaska trailor trash narrative that you help perpetuate.
Your family won't get the break some will and frankly some of the bad press you deserve.......Get a job, raise your child and stay out of the news !
Bristol and Levi split (again) - KIKI RYAN POLITICO CLICK

Budget Done !

The arguing, the postering, the back and forth to Albany, the intrigue and obfuscation are over as the State Senate has passed the final revenue bill and the state budget on a party line 32-28 vote. No debate, and no real changes, I gather , except for a deletion of a tax on hedge fund people...That only came after the embarassing spectacle of the Governor of CT wining and dining the finance industry and trying to get them to flee to the Nutmeg State.
Next year another crisis looms, so look for it all again.
Lawmakers can get back to their districts, for vacation or campaigning, or both.
Makes you wonder what was accomplished by all the discord.....
The Daily Politics

Paterson’s New Revenue Bill, FMAP Plan

Senator Pedro Espada is back in Albany, ending his one man protest...protest of what I don't know...
Meanwhile the Governor has a new revenue bill and its been accepted for consideration by both houses, which may be a prelude to passage.
Paterson's bill nixes the hedge fund tax.
I am not smart enough to know what happens next so I will be watching Capital Tonight this evening at 8.
Paterson’s New Revenue Bill, FMAP Plan

Gay Group Comes Out for McGrath

If being gay ends up hurting Brian McGrath's Assembly bid against Ken Blankenbush it won't be because of a whispering campaign. Mr. McGrath is putting the issue out there by seeking and accepting the backing of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a prominent group advocating same sex marriage and other accommodations for gay and lesbian New Yorkers.
Mr. McGrath says he sought and took the endorsement because they represent his views on issues and not because of his own orientation, which he hopes will not become a big issue.
Meanwhile Ken Blankenbush yesterday was backed by a "pro family" group that lauded Mr. B for his 39 year marriage to one woman.
Mr. McGrath called the HOTLINE today and reitterated his confidence that he will remain on the ballot despite a court battle aimed at removing him. He also took another controversial stand by supporting the right to build a mosque a short distance from the 9/11 site in Lower Manhattan.
Though Mr. McGrath is quick to point out his mosque position is based on the First Amendment and not a real desire to see such a structure built.
This will be the race to watch this fall as it could develop into a battle of culture warriors, ......The real test will be if whether this topic shows up in TV ads this fall.
Whats obvious is that the advocacy groups on both sides are more than happy to see this year devolve into a lifestyle debate.......Where the candidates take the race will be something to watch.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Folo Up: Toy Succumbs...$10 Down the Drain

Its always good journalism to follow up on a story...In last nights story about Zeppelin's new collar, I mentioned he got a new squeaky toy while at PETCO. I predicted the squeak would be gone by morning, and so it was.....With surgical precision Zep removed the squeaker like a bad appendix. So another $10 toy is rendered inoperable.
The expression often used these days about doing the same thing and expecting a different result comes to mind here.

Tuesday Tid Bits

The mosque is a go after a historic landmark commission refused to say the run-down property where it would be built is historic...Now protests in earnest can begin.
Senator Pedro Espada says he is staying in his Bronx district to deal with constituent issues rather than waste his time in Albany.....Espada is the 32nd vote Democrats need to pass a budget, so look for the impasse to continue...
The good news is its only a three hour drive from the Bronx to the capital.
Rep. Bill Owens is poking a finger in the eye of opponent Matt Doheny by announcing possible federal funding for port improvements in Doheny's hometown of Alexandria Bay.
The Jefferson County Legislature schism over a phone contract comes to a head tonight...Legislator Scott Gray has estranged himself from the County administration by questioning the deal.

Putt-ering pols play as NY budget burns -

Budget or no budget, this is the time of year the important and those who fancy being important want to golf with "The Senator".....Lots of golf tournament fundraisers going on including $5,000 a foresome tee times for top lobbyists wanting to rub putters with members of America's Most Dysfunctional Legislature.
Lawmakers are said to be angered they were called back to the capital again this week as they want to return to their boats, links, and campaigning.

CT Governor Wines and Dines NY Businesses Upset Over Taxes

Kudos to Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell for making the effort to lure segments of the financial services industry from NYC to the Nutmeg State. A new tax on out of state hedge fund managers was the hook as Governor Rell wined and dined the money mavens last night.
New York pols have increasingly been adopting the soak the rich mantra of the far left, and even the City's left leaning mayor was crying this week about the latest tax schemes.
Governor Paterson says legislation will pass today to eliminate the hedge fund tax...but once they have seen CT, it may be hard to keep the hedge hogs down on the farm.
Paterson To ‘Chershire Cat’ Rell: Look Elsewhere For Cash

WDT: Ahoy ....Candidate Admits to Tipsy Boating

Wow, now we are getting somewhere...the nitty gritty of the lives of the rich and famous. That's what you have to expect when running for high office...or even low office...
I know my foes spent a lot of time investigating me when I got into politics, but for some reason there were no arrests, judgments, defaults, love children, or even overdue library books. I can just imagine how much poking around goes on in a race for Congress.
There's not much you can do with a bad incident except to fess up, apologize and promise to do better next time....I hope he doesn't insist on making his cuff time into a teachable moment. We all can figure out what happened.
There are bodies of water in the Nation's Capital where you can get in trouble...Remember Wilbur Mills and the Tidal Basin. But I guess we can take Mr Doheny at his word and I am sure he feels bad about what happened. The tough thing about being a forty year old candidate as opposed to a sixty year old is that the indescretions are years in the past instead of decades.
Now, as for the other offense, and that is not having sufficient PFD's on board. My boating days are in the past but I believe in wearing one and in fact the time I was rescued by the same Coast Guard, my passenger and I were both wearing them even though it was broad daylight and we had not been drinking. I was just a lousy sailor.
Watertown Daily Times Doheny admits to BWI, says he learned his lesson

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mayor's Dog Goes Shopping

You know you are old if you outlive your friends, or in the case of a dog if you outlive your collar.
My dog Zeppelin is 14 years 7 months and last night his lifelong leather collar fell apart. So for Zep it was a trip to PETCO to do some shopping.....As a dog of the people, Zep buys off the rack and opted for another leather collar...only this time he spurned brown and went a little rogue, getting red !
At his age he doesn't buy green bananas, so he is sure this collar will take him the rest of the way.
Just to splurge he picked up some treats and a squeak toy that will be ripped apart by tomorrow...But hey, it wasn't his money.

Justice Delayed

The court proceedings for Addie Russell's Indy petitions are put off till Friday, probably to see if the BOE certifies candidates, as their assessment may be a factor...Don't know what happened with McGraths case.

WDT: Blankenbush endorsed by "pro-family" group

The endorsements are coming out....Blankenbush gets a pro-family group...well, a pro man-marries-a-girl type of family group....Ken Blankenbush has been married 39 years and in today's world that's a laudable achievement.
His opponent, Brian McGrath what announced four campaign chairs today...two are registered Republicans and two are Democrats.
Meanwhile,the wait is on to see what happens with these petition lawsuits in Albany.
Watertown Daily Times Blankenbush endorsed by "pro-family" group

Mario Cuomo: I moved in with son to cool off randy Andy -

So now we know...Andrew Cuomo's dad had to tamp down his son's libido while he was attending Albany Law School.....Isn't that what you are supposed to do in college ? With appropriate precautions of course.......
Mario Cuomo: I moved in with son to cool off randy Andy -

Key Unions Do a Dance With Andrew Who Isn't Always Singing Their Tune

I love this faux feud between Andrew Cuomo and the states public employee unions....Mr. Cuomo has to propose a few things like a property tax cap or charter schools in order to not just get elected but keep the state afloat....The unions have to act outraged and threaten to withhold their endorsement...But who else do they work for ? Certainly not likely opponent Carl Paladino, who holds the dreaded moniker "businessman" in front of his name.
The unions worship at the altar of incumbency and in NY that usually means Democrats. They have to negotiate the delicate issue of what to do with their Working Families Party nomination now being held by a placeholder who awaits a judicial nomination. If Mr. Cuomo chooses to continue to distance himself from Big Labor and doesnt take the line, the party could fail to get the 50,000 votes needed to stay in the third party business.
Union leaders can do math and they know their policies are wrecking the state, so they have to be the foil, lay low and act like they are angry at a Democrat winning.
Now if he follows through with his promise for fundamental change, Mr. Cuomo will have lots of feuds with the unions ahead....But in the end, the unions know where their bread is buttered and they will learn to get along with whomever is elected.
By the way, not seeking union boss annoitments does not mean one is anti worker...One can respect the role of organized labor without slobbering all over them.
If Mr. Cuomo chooses not to slobber this year, that's an improvement over predecessors of both parties.
Key unions may pass on governor hopeful Andrew Cuomo; AFL-CIO holding convention in mid-August

Jets touch down in Cortland | | The Ithaca Journal

With so many Giants and Bills fans still populating upstate NY, its refreshing to see the state's other team again using SUNY Cortland as their training site prior to the NFL pre-season. The Jets are in town and that's got to be exciting for the people of Cortland, a city about the size of Watertown located an hours drive south of Syracuse on I-81.
The economic spinoff of the Jets in town has to be great and the teams AFC Championship Game appearance last year should help ensure many gawkers at the practice session.
New Yorkers have long overlooked the Jets since Joe Namath's incredible 1969 Super Bowl win. That is starting to change as upstate goes green !
Jets touch down in Cortland The Ithaca Journal

WDT: Councilman Installing Solar Panels

City Counciman Jeff Smith has certainly been talking about alternative energy for some time, so it is not a surprise he is trying out some of the technology at his own home. It will be interesting to take a peak at the solar panels.
The rub on all these technologies is the economics of installing individual systems while still maintaining a connection to the grid. That, along with the subsidies from the government raise many of the same issues we have heard in the wind debate.
However, Couniclman Smith's adventure will give a high profile look-see at the practicle uses of altenative energy system's and we appreciate him sharing his experiences with all of us.
Watertown Daily Times City resident installing solar panels

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Could Never Postulate About This on Capital Tonight

This is a really tough subject to write about because it involves an exploration of male psyche, the id, the ego, the ying and the yang.....It's that deep.
When Sarah Palin said President Barack Obama lacked the "cojones" to enforce immigration law, that went well beyond a criticism of public policy....
Ms. Palin cut to the core of other words suggesting a fundamental deficiency in the male equipment, medically referred to as genitalia.....I hate to even say that in a blog...we are supposed to be talking about petitions and parties...not something that would make Anne Coulter and Maureen Dowd blush.
But that's what Sarah did...As an attractive political icon who depends on her political sensuality to make a point, she has suggested the Commander in Chief is theoretically incapable of impressing her....He has a lack of "cojones" that the First Dude likely does not have....
While Mr. Obama was able to send a tingle up Chris Matthews leg, his inability to perform on immigration, leaves the ladies least conservative ladies.....
Palin's statement is the beginning of a new culture war... a conflict of gender, ideology, and raw emotion....
Can't we go back to arguing about McGrath's petitions ?

Bidens staying in Hamptons with LGBT activist -

Vice President and Mrs. (excuse me, Dr.) Jill Biden may have come to Fort Drum this week to relate to the common folk...but they likely felt more at home this weekend in the Hamptons, staying at the home of a Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transexual activist... That's not my reporting, see the link.
Bidens staying in Hamptons with LGBT activist -

Palin: Obama doesn't have the 'cojones' to enforce immigration laws

Here is this week's outrage...Sarah Palin questioning the President's manhood by saying he doesn't have the "cojones" to enforce the nation's immigration laws...
I trust I don't have to explain the colloquialism, but I do think its clever to inject a Hispanic phrase into the immigration debate.
While most of us can recognize Palin's remarks this morning as just a colorful metaphor, by tomorrow morning the MSNBC crowd will be going nuts.
It is an open question whether anyone should question the President's cajones. For Palin, it's part of her outspoken Mama Grizzly political persona...Already on the lefty blogs, there are starting the complaints about hate speech and making the "teabagger" references about Palin.....
I have to admit, as I watched FOX News Sunday and heard the quip, I was surprised to hear her talking about the President's b----.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reports the last known use of the word "cojones" by a prominent female was by Secretary of State Albright in 1996 in reference to the Cubans shooting down aircraft flown by anti-Castro forces.
Palin: Obama doesn't have the 'cajones' to enforce immigration laws

Bloomberg Realizes He Has It Best Right Where He Is

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has likely come to realize what many others have and that is it is not always about running for higher office. The Mayor is eschewing a 2012 run for the Presidency, even though a couple years back he was spending money on setting up a ballot access aparatus for all 50 states.
Of course, if the Mayor is content to finish out his third term as mayor of NYC, that will be a blow to the many who have been living well off his political spending..
Mayor Bloomberg says he has the best gig in politics now and he is right...Mayor's are the elected head of a defined area, where people know you and you can get to know them. And you have a shot at maybe changing a thing or two for the better. That's why so many mayors and governors are unhappy when they land in something like the US Senate.
Bloomberg: ‘I Would Rule Out A Run’ In 2012

You Ever Wonder if All of What's Coming Really Changes Anyone's Mind?

I think it's the official start of the dog days of Summer....The time when in some countries just about everyone is on vacation...And nobody is focused on mundane things like politics...
On the horizon is a pretty wild election season..Some indications of that is the intensity shown locally in fights over ballot access. We will see a record amount of money spent on local NNY races.....Right now Matt Doheny seems to be spending freely because he has a primary, but incumbent Bill Owens is sittng on quite a stash and will unleash it in October.
Once again, our Senate seat is pivotal for control of the upper house in Albany, so look for a lot of spending there.
Even the Assembly seats will be hotly contestested.
Get ready for the direct mail, the robo calls, the television ads.....In 60 days , these dog days will seem like a very quiet period indeed.