Saturday, February 12, 2011

WDT: Health Department are Party Poopers When Its Our Party

There was frustration last week in Canton when the Winterfest Chili Cookoff was KO'd by the NYS Department of Health...The event was to be in its 18th year, but suddenly the state took a keen interest in the health of all who may attend...I assume the hitch is that food served in a public venue must be prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen....Like a restaurant...
On the service it makes sense in that such kitchens are already under regulatory control and deemed clean. A tub of chili made at your house offers no imprimatur of legitimacy from the Empire State.
People were mad, including this newspaper columnist who decried the State for spoiling the fun. After all a similar event is held in Watertown each year with no such intervention. Organizers say the Watertown event is done under the rules and inspected. Most of the participants are restaurants.
People in a rural area think nothing of pot luck style. A game feed at a rural hotel and bar ? A Super Bowl party where customers each bring a dish ? Its all illegal and sometimes cited.
We like to think because something is run by a "not for profit" that society's rules don't adhere.
When alcohol is sold at these events, the supervision is scant and people are regularly overserved. Sales tax is not reported or paid even though its supposed to be.
We like to overlook the football pools when its at the VFW or the Legion....but its illegal......
Somehow we think because something is done among friends that its outside the control of the all powerful state with its many laws...And when they don't have laws, they have what they call declarative rulings to outlaw what no legislature ever outlawed.
In a society where people clamor for laws and are encouraged to snitch, the Winterfest Chili Festival got hoisted on society's own petard....
As for me, I think Health Department rules are there for a reason, and when they tell me to correct a problem, I do it.
Watertown Daily Times Health Department rules can make an event organizer sick

A Bay Website Rips Mayor Who "Doesn't Get It"

The rift in the sleepy riverside Village of Alexandria Bay grows as the premier Bay website,, came out today and ripped Mayor Terry Robb for his remarks about an upcoming motorcycle rally in June.
The editorial comes down hard on Mayor Robb, and since I don't know him, I have no opinion of him, other than to say its important always to respect the duly elected representitive of the people. There's always another election if the rift cannot be healed.
The Mayor's opposition to the bike event has gone viral and brought attention of all kinds to the Bay. The event will be held as the Village Board OK'd the logistics of the June event.
Mayor Robb expressed concern over "Bad Bikers" in a recent board meeting. Because of the Internet and bloggers the remarks became known and the fur has been flying.
Since the event is going on, I would urge opponents of the Mayor to keep it civil and deal with their concerns through the electoral process. Some of the comments have been intense. - More on the Alexandria Bay Mayor's biker comments.

Sarah Palin hired chief-of-staff Michael Glassner--indication she's running for President in 2012?

If you hire a chief of staff, that strongly suggests you plan on having a staff...right ? That's a pretty solid indication Sarah Palin will run for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2012.
She does have a busy schedule so I assume she already has someone riding herd over that stuff...Hiring a player like this Michael Glassner is the most solid clue yet on her intentions.
I think she will still wait and that a run is not a certainty...
Sarah Palin hired chief-of-staff Michael Glassner--indication she's running for President in 2012?

Weigh In Today on the Hottest Issue Ever on This Blog !

Given the extraordinary traffic on my post about the biker flap in Alexandria Bay, I have posted a poll on the issue.
There has never been a topic or issue that has generated the page views and comments this has.
It's like a news story happening in a parallel universe.

Big School Will Make Big Wind Look Lame When it Comes to Lobbying

The drumbeat has begun...Ritchie misses a legislative hearing on education to tour a prison possibly closing and she is excoriated....Ads have begun attacking Mayor Bloomberg for asking for an end to last in, first out hiring.
The superintendents are calling the reporters married to teachers to get their message out...
That message is simple...We will not tolerate austerity in our industry...Cut something else or raise taxes.
The children will be the human shield to protect a bloated and bureaucratic system...And since most people want whats best for their kids, the message will resonate.
The notion that some people want whats best for kids through reform and accountability is not something you will hear much of in the weeks ahead.
State of Politics Blog

Army Eyes in the Sky Circle Adirondacks

The solitude of a camping trip may be no more as you could have your picture taken by a high resolution camera on one of the military drones doing training flights out of Fort Drum.
The post is host to a surprising number of the hi tech devices used in Afghanistan and Pakistan to spy on and sometimes bomb adversaries. The Adirondacks are the training route for these aircraft and its considered by the military a good place to do training. Meanwhile the ACLU wants to monitor the process to ensure citizen privacy.
While standing in a mountain stream, you might be watched by those in the bunker at Drum. Just don't be skinny dipping.
'Big eye' has Adirondack sights - Times Union

Cuomo Prepares for New York's 2014 Election -

Andrew Cuomo has renamed his finance account listed with the Board of Elections from 'Cuomo-Duffy 2010' to 'Andrew Cuomo 2014.'
Since fundraising and spending are a continuum in politics it makes sense to amend the name, although the LG is surely reminded that his place in the equation may not be there for another cycle.
Lieutenant Governors often lose interest or get sacked when a governor seeks another term. It's a tough office to remain enthused over.
Cuomo Prepares for New York's 2014 Election -

WDT: Another tax for Small and Large Business

It's hard to keep track of all the nuanced ways government grabs more money while Presidents and governors claim to be reducing taxes on America's working families.
The WDT reports President Obama is proposing a change in unemployement premiums. Instead of employers paying a premium on the first $7000 of income, that would rise to $15,000. For small business, this penalizes employers who keep their employees on for longer periods, don't lay people off and don't burden the unemployment system.
Currently, employers like me pay a percentage of the wages paid to an employee, up to the $7K threshold. If you have high turnover and people leave or are fired regularly, the employer pays more because everyone is in the initial $7K range. If I hire good people and keep them (thus not burdening the system) my reward is the obligation ends at 7K....The President wants me and other small businesses to keep paying.
But of course he's not raising taxes on America's working families , now is he?

Watertown Daily Times Another tax

Friday, February 11, 2011

Presidents Honored at Historical Society Event

I went to the Jefferson County Historical Society tonight to see their display of Presidential documents...Very impressive display and a great crowd.
Kudos to Society President Roxanne Burns and Museum Director Bill Wood for a great event. So great that HOTLINE icon, Samantha Parker attended.
I was so surprised to see Samantha, I forgot to take a picture of the soire !

Internet Reaches People in a Way Nothing Else Can

Two things amazed me about the Internet today....and provide some insight into the way things are.
I posted Jim Cummings piece from Alexandria Bay about the Mayor's alleged swipe at motorcyclists who attend the bike fest in late June.....So far over 7500 views and climbing...way above my previous high...
The number of comments is staggering too.....The link to Newzjunky helped, but also there are just some topics that go viral....All of this flies under the radar of the conventional wisdom folks, but it is being talked about in a way that leaves the MSM in the dust.
Then there was my little ad I placed on Craig's List to find a bartender to work a couple afternoons a week. A great part time job for someone who lives nearby and needs some extra cash and is dependable and honest....
Holy Cow !... The response was staggering...I must have 40 responses and from what is written many are quality responses...
I never had such response and now I have to wade through it all...I hate to have two dozen people come in to interview for a part time gig, but I guess I will have to.....
No doubt about it, for certain applications, the old ways don't work...

McMillan At CPAC

Last year's gubernatorial sensation is marketing himself as a deficit hawk with an appearance at CPAC being held in Washington.
So far Jimmy McMillan and the Donald have caused the most stir there...perhaps an indication of no clear conservative favorite for the 2012 race against President Obama.
McMillan caused a stir last year at the seven way gubernatorial debate with his Rent is Too DAMN High routine. He garnered over 40K votes while spending no money on his race.
He says he is seeking the GOP Presidential nomination in 2012.
McMillan At CPAC

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Resigns

President Mubarek's speech last night didn't go over well and his pledge to hang on evaporated over night. After 30 years Hosni Mubarek has resigned and fled Cairo.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Resigns - CBS News

The Pajama Party Is Over, Ethics Group Tells Congress -

Rumor was we had a mayor sleeping at City Hall decades ago...Don't know if its true.
I just hope there are suitable sanitary arrangements for our Members of Congress sleeping in their offices...It's not what I would want to do...Can't they just find a lobbyist to shack up with ?
The Pajama Party Is Over, Ethics Group Tells Congress -

LWRP Meeting Exposes Roadblock to State Approval

Zoning is one of those issues talked about a lot on the inside but most people don't think about it until a change is proposed.
Zoning is the process of regulating land use in communities to protect the value of properties and prevent the placing of noxious activities next to things like residential.
An obscure and arcane process many cities are involved in is the Local Waterfront Redevelopment Program and that includes rezoning waterfront areas with an eye towards encouraging future development to be consistent with today's vision for making the most of rivers and lakes.
Many years ago, water was a source of industry and blight....Now urban waterfronts have a recreation and residential focus.
The devil in the details for places like Watertown is the possible objections to changes in zoning that property owners fear may limit future use and value of land.
This week City Council heard the state is requiring zone changes be made up front in order to get any future grant money.
This may threaten the LWRP program as making zone changes is very difficult and contentious.

That's Professor Paterson To You

Former Governor David Paterson is now Professor Paterson. He is taken a post at New York University, al though its not known what he is teaching.
Mr. Paterson also continues frequent radio appearances on WOR and is doing advocacy work for the blind.
It's good to see the former Governor finding productive things to do...He always seemed a decent enough person and fought some tough opening battles in the budget war that is only now getting into high gear.
That's Professor Paterson To You (And Me): Updated x 2 New York Daily News

Patty Prison Tour Shows Vulnerability of Dry Hill

Senator Patty Ritchie was touring the Dry Hill Prison this week in anticipation of proposed closure of facilities....Seems that is what she should be doing as part of representing her district. Senate Democrats started in on her,criticising her for missing a hearing on education.......
Well you can't be everywhere, and the prison closure process is on a fast track. If the new senator is learning more about something that affects her district, that is a better use of time than another hearing at which the narrative is surely predictable.
Like I have been saying, the unreported issue in all this is the vulnerability of Dry Hill in this process....something totally missed in a all the chatter about Ogdensburg.
Dems Hit Ritchie, Other GOPers On Absence WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day: Is Mr. Gray Passe' ?

Is Scott Gray the equivalent of "old media" vs the Internet ?
Used to be a batch of posies from Gray's Flowers and some Russell Stover's from Kinneys was the Valentine Day ticket.....
Now lingerie is huge, along with pj's and Vermont Teddy Bears.
Scotty, what are you doing to compete with Victoria's Secret ? That teddy will last longer than those roses.
Valentine's Day: Forget saying it with flowers - underwear is the best-value present Mail Online

With Kyl Out, Giffords a Possible Contender for Arizona's Open Seat

Talk about putting the cart in front of the horse...GOP Senator Jon Kyl of AZ says he is not running and there is speculation about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords running for the seat...
I'd like to see her be able to run and win, if for no other reason than to beat the senseless and brutal act of the SOB who shot her.
However, her prospects are still very much in doubt....Can she recover and be able to serve...and will she want to ?
Over 90% of those shot in the head die and most of the survivors face a long and incomplete recovery. If she recovers and is functional, she would win...I think it would be tough to run against her.
I fear thinking she could get to that point is wishful thinking...but she has been a trooper so far, so you never know..... - Giffords a Possible Contender for Arizona's Open Seat - Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jefferson Tea Party Sets Location for Kickoff Meeting | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY | North Country Politics

Local Tea Party activists will gather March 1 at the Italian American Civic Association for an organizational meeting. Last year's sheriff candidate Chuck Ruggiero is the organizer.
It's good to see people active and believing in something.
Jefferson Tea Party Sets Location for Kickoff Meeting WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Legislature Shooting For An On-Time Budget

If past is prologue there will be no April 1 budget....I don't think there will be one this year...Its easier for the Governor to get his way through continuing resolutions that leave stuff out....Look for a revival of WIGS and other revenue schemes at that time.
Also there are still all these committees on prisons and authorities and Medicaid and school aid...They have to report and be fussed over....I can't see it happening in seven weeks...
Legislature Shooting For An On-Time Budget

Tuggers: Why Were We Singled Out ?

As the campaign is underway to save the Tug Hill Commission, its advocates say they want to see an analysis of the hundreds of state agencies and authorities before their favorite is put on the chopping block.
The Governor has slated Tug Hill for elimination at a savings of about a million dollars. Advocates say the agency helps local governments consolidate services and meet planning and zoning requirements they cannot affort to do on their own.
I think the agency was cut because it was low hanging fruit.....A single purpose agency serving a defined area that doesn't garner a lot of publicity.
On the other hand, if you are cutting government, you have to start somewhere.
I understand why Tuggers feel singled out as there are lots of entities you have never heard of tucked away in the budget. The Governor has proposed a commission to study those, but apparently felt Tug didn't need a second look.
With the political scramble on for local lawmakers to save prisons, saving Tug Hill is a heavy lift....But the question of why it was singled out does deserve an answer.

Is There More to Lee Affair Than One Photo ?

Yeah, it was stupid to post a shirtless cell phone photo on Craig's List and banter with a woman you didn't know.....It was arguably morally wrong to be flirting on line, but there is no evidence Rep. Chris Lee ever met the woman.
Now Rep. Lee has quickly resigned...It took only three hours from photos on Gawker to appear to a letter of resignation on the Speaker's desk.
The dangers of on-line anything are manifest and you have to be very careful. Best advice...stay away from such things.
However, are we too quick to run off and resign ? Unless there is more to this caper.
It seems there would have to be.
The Daily Politics New York Daily News

Blogger in the Bay: Mayor Worried Bout BAD Bikers

New media shows its worth in little places like Alexandria Bay, where the nuances of a Village Board meeting can become know through blogs like the "circus" or by websites like
This debate about motorcyclists is interesting as the village mayor talks about those bad bikers coming to town...I had an email this week from a many interested in a Kite Day type concert in Thompson Park. Once those got too successful years ago, city leaders were spooked at the site of a lifestyle they couldn't fathom or control and the event died off.
In Alex Bay the debate is over the village "losing control" if all these people come to town. It's a lot of money and all that highly asssessed commercial property has such a short season to be viable. Except for "Bull Connor Night" in the Bay three decades ago, I can't remember the village being even close to being out of control.
the circus: Mayor Worried Bout BAD Bikers

WDT: Counties Kick Off Albany's Tin Cup Brigade for 2011

The Tin Cup Brigade is descending on Albany, with officials from counties there now grumbling about pain and uncertainty.......Fortunately, in Jefferson County there is a $40M fund balance that should provide ample buffer to make transitions to a new reality....
The reason the Governor is short on specifics is because he just took office and needs to take bold action without yet a chance to devise all the details.
Counties are the deliverers of state programs under the current system...So as welfare and Medicaid have grown, counties have been consumed by that function more than others. Its a double edge sword...the local governments get bigger and deal with more money, but in the case of Medicaid a quarter of the cost is borne by the county's tax base.
Since these are state programs, they really should be run by state agencies but with so much of the function institutionalized in local government hierarchies, there is little chance of that changing.
That means the locals who come from conservative backgrounds are always in the awkward position of advocating for more largesse from Albany and bigger government back home....Amplify that by 57 counties and the City of New York and it's a recipe for the kind of fiscal shortfalls we are seeing.
Cities and villages have their Tin Cup Brigade which will go to Albany the end of the month. So do school boards.
Watertown Daily Times Counties meeting offers few details

WDT: Kessel: Galloo Won't Get Pact

Makes you wonder whether this thing will ever get built, with all its promise of free money and jobs. As I understand it, without a guarantee of power being purchased at certain rates, these wind deals don't make enough fiscal sense to get financed.
In this story the head of the NY Power Authority says no purchase agreement is under consideration. NYPA head Richard Kessel also says he has no hard feelings towards the Jefferson County Legislature for their opposition to shallow water wind development.
A year ago, county lawmakers narrowly approved an enhanced PILOT after intense lobbying from Big Wind, Big Labor and others.
Watertown Daily Times Kessel: Galloo won't get pact

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NNY GOP Takes Up the Cause of the Tug Hill Commission

The push is on to lobby for the saving of the Tug Hill Commission, an obscure agency headquartered in Watertown where ten or so staffers help local governments deal with the maze of state regulations that a rural town or village doesn't have the resources for.
Governor Cuomo has proposed its elimination, and it seems to be the only such agency on the block...Others are waiting for the SAGE committee on efficiency in government to make recommendations but Mr. Cuomo didn't wait for SAGE before proposing the axe for Tug Hill.
Frankly an agency like this is very much "inside baseball." Most people have no knowledge of the Commission, but the agency does provide expertise and assistance to local governments which have no idea how to draft a zoning law or apply for a grant.
It is perhaps a sign of the Governor's view of Tug Hill that he bypassed his own advisory board to send this agency packing. I think the agency goes back to the Rockefeller Administration and its a GOP based agency....I suspect it has little constituency in the new administration and whether the GOP Senate goes to the mat over his one line item is yet to be seen.
The Commission operates under the umbrella of the Department of State, where former Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava recently assumed a top post related to dealing with local governments.
As a member of the Administration she clearly supports the Governor's proposal and one wonders if she helped initiate it since Tug Hill's constituent governments were largely in her old Assembly district. Just musing...I have no inside info on this, just an informed hunch.
GOP to Gov: Whydja Single Out the Tug Hill Commission? WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Crazy Carl for Congress ? Could Be

Rep. Chris Lee's body politic had not reached room temperature when a long list of possible special election candidates was put forth for NY 26.
Among them is failed Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino who lost to Andrew Cuomo but did very well in Western NY where he is very popular. Mr. Paladino lives in the adjacent 27th, but there is no residency requirement to run and Paladino could relocate once in office.
Lots of other party leaders are also being talked about, including Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and former Rep. Tom Reynolds are among the names in the hopper.
This is a district many thought would be lost in redistricting as the Census requires NY lose two seats.
As we know up here, a special election for Congress is a big deal. The Governor decides the date. Mr. Lee was just reelected to a third term last November.

A Member's Member Gets Him in Trouble

Up till the last election he was only of only two Republican Members of Congress in NYS....Now he is the latest Member to succumb to sins of the flesh for his spicy communication with a woman he met on Craigslist.
Rep. Chris Lee resigned his Buffalo area House seat today after revelations on gossip website Gawker. He says he has to work on matters with his wife and so the 46 year lawmaker leaves an open seat that will be filled in a special election to be called by the Governor.
What are these people thinking ? Responding to Craigslist personals...with shirtless photos no less....Like the 34 year old at the other end won't want her 15 minutes...How about JETS QB Sanchez "hooking up" with a 17 year old, who was shrewd enough to snap photos in Sanchez' bedroom including identifier shots of his college and pro helmuts on the dresser ?....There's Charlie Sheen partying with a porn star who was texting from the scene and hasn't missed a talk show since.
Rex Ryan's foot fetish posts....Brett Favre's Internet penis...on and on...
Congressman Lee had even taken to the House floor and gave a speech on the dangers of the Internet for young people...How about the dangers for sex-crazed adult men with no judgment.
Last year it was the Massa Moment in the adjacent district in another case of 'tickle me Congressman' antics.
Rep. Lee was considered one of the more conservative Members of Congress....but that was conventional wisdom which isn't always right.
Lee Resigns

Jets QB Mark Sanchez "hooked up" with 17-year Conn. HS girl Eliza Kruger in his Jersey home: report -

Guess I can't razz Shootie on the exploits of Big Ben.
Jets QB Mark Sanchez "hooked up" with 17-year Conn. HS girl Eliza Kruger in his Jersey home: report -

Sandra Should Tell MSM to Butt Out

Do we need to know First Girlfriend Sandra Lee's finances ? No, I don't think so. She is her own woman with her own career. This ethics talk can cross the line into media voyeurism.
I am sure she makes good money, but unless she has direct dealings with the state or with key vendors doing business with the state, she owes no explanation.
Ms. Lee didn't run for office, and doesn't perform a function other than whatever ceremonial things she may choose to participate in. Obviously her status with a sitting governor is worth noting, but we don't need to see her investments or finances.
Should Gov. Cuomo's Girlfriend Have To Reveal All (Her Investments)? New York Daily News

Finally A Steamroller We Can Believe In

It never hurts to have people wonder if you are a little bit crazy and willing to do the unconventional......Governor Cuomo is mixing charm with threat in cajoling the Legislature to adopt his budget.
Andy the real 'Steamroller' -

WDT: Local School Mandarins Blast Cuomo for Salary Snipes

And to Think They All Voted for Him.
NNY school superintendents are aghast at the tumerity of the new governor. To suggest the educational hierarchy is spending too much on itself.. All the many layers of superintendents, and deputy superintendents for this and that, the principals and vice principals, the BOCES poobahs and all the rest in 700+ districts are descending on Albany as part of the "Tin Cup Brigade" demanding more money from an empty pot.
This story suggests that because a superintendent may have to get up during the night to see if its snowing is somehow different from so many other private and public workers who have to do the same to make decisions related to weather.
Things like how do I get my store opened and staffed to wait on all the people who have the day off due to snow ?
At least I didn't read in this story that they are doing it for the children.
Quit defending an unaffordable system and start coming up with ways to change. Don't worry about the next generation of superintendents, and be secure in knowing your positions are secure. And leave the Governor alone on this one, as he is correct in his observations.
Watertown Daily Times Cuomo blasted for salaries criticism

The Rise of Do-It-Yourself Redistricting

In the digital age, an "app" has been created so you can do your own redistricting. Now that's the ultimate video game for the politically obsessed. Census data, demographics and geography all are taken into account as you can pick your state and play political God.
We know the app used in redrawing our state boundaries will take into account the other intangible....self interest. Protecting incumbents and preserving party majorities have to be taken into account as lawmakers pick the people they represent in a way that will encourage us to keep picking them on election day.
Then there are the anomaly districts like Jefferson County Legislature District 8....It has the same 7500 people as the other 14 districts, but because nearly all of them are Fort Drum people, who choose not to vote in local elections, the number of people needed to get elected can be counted on one persons fingers and toes.
This year's census data is expected to create another one of those type of districts with many people, but no voters....Then there is the added twist of prison inmates, which the Dems want counted in a place they do not currently live.
Technology may bring redistricting to the masses, but it will still be the insiders who have the pencil.
The Rise of Do-It-Yourself Redistricting

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ten Million for Whom ?

What is this $10 million dollar hush money payment the Governor wants to give communities where a state prison is closed.
First of all, who gets it ?
What are the strings ?
If it's just money given to local governments....that's not accomplishing anything other than allowing an additional year of spending as usual.
Is it money to just businesses reliant on the social agencies...
Who knows....$10M is not a lot of money and at best it could go towards demolition of a facility.
However in a closely divided Senate, the cash may be enough to bring along the votes needed to pass a budget.

FLOTUS: Bam Has Quit Smoking

Good for him....It was so hard for the libs to know what he was doing in the privacy of his (our) own home.
President Barack Obama quit smoking for past year, First Lady Michelle Obama reveals
Pebbles Katz recuperating after hospital stay.

Superintendent Salary Cap Support Grows

School superintendents are the whipping boy of this year's budget debate...I have no problem with a cap, as long as state aid is being given...However, lets look at the intricate structure of 700+ districts which provides not only high paid administrators...but a different one every five miles.
Superintendent Salary Cap Support Grows

Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis Plans to Start Nonprofit Hope House for Victims of Sex Trafficking

Last year's gubernatorial hopeful Kristin Davis is directing her efforts in a different direction....She will use her knowledge gained as a high end madam to help victims of sex trafficking.
Ms. Davis plans to open a safe haven called Hope House to help out those victimized by the sex trade.
Kristin's campaign for governor came in the wake of her arrest and four month stint in jail for promoting prostitution. She was released from probation four years early due to her turning things around in her life.
I suppose the campaign helped serve as a transition.
Davis is a former hedge fund manager who opened a very successful escort service catrering to the rich and famous. Her reign abruptly ended in 2008 at about the same time as the fall of one of her clients, former Governor Eliot Spitzer.
Congrats Kristin and best wishes on your endeavor.
Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis plans to start nonprofit Hope House for victims of sex trafficking
NYDN News mascot Pebbles Katz is hospitalized. Details as they are available

Miss NY...The Current One, Not That Former One, Lobbies for Same Sex Marriage

She lost out to a precocious 17 year old at the Miss America Pageant, but reigning Miss NY Clair Buffie is joining the push for marriage equality in NY.....Miss NY is joining with Senator Gillibrand staffers in pushing for a Senate approval of the measure this year.
There's a former Miss NY working in the office of Senator Patty Ritchie...I wonder if Clair will prevail on her fellow crown holder to lobby Ms. Ritchie who would be one of the key votes needed to pass the measure.....
There's that bond between beauty queens the rest of us just cannot appreciate.....
Gillibrand Aides, Miss NY Advocate For Gay Marriage

Newzjunky - Council Sets Public Hearing Date for Proposed Noise Ordinance

This is one of these curious public policy issues...Noise.
Yes, there are times when we are all startled by a loud exhaust, rattled by a clanging flatbed truck, or vibrated by a booming stereo, but is there a need for a law...And if there is, is there any reasonable expectation of being able to enforce the law.
Mufflers and car stereos are already regulated in the NYS vehicle and traffic law, but the hitch is in authenticating the offense. That would require the acquisition of noise meters for each patrol car and training...Price tag about $20K.
Councilman Joe Butler Jr says he has received considerable public feedback on his proposal for a new ordinance based on a standard of "resonableness." I personally have heard a couple of calls for a law...One from a man concerned over car stereos and another who has a neighbor who plays the drums while she is sleeping.
Most legislative decisions are made in a vacuum as the vast majority of people do not in any way participate. A public hearing in March on a proposed law will likely draw few people...Public hearings seldom do and those in favor of doing nothing are even less likely to feel the need to venture to City Hall to say so.
Then there is the law itself. Does it pose Constitutional issues or unintended consequences. For instance, a Syracuse statute is used mostly provide a probably cause for pull overs in that crime ridden city. Is that our intent here ?
Newzjunky - Council Sets Public Hearing Date for Proposed Noise Ordinance

Volt Owners Get a Jolt for Evading Gas Taxes

Nothing annoys the system more than someone getting away without paying those niche taxes hidden in the cost of everyday products....It galls NYS that consumers get around the cigarette tax and with electric cars hitting the roads, Washington State lawmakers suddenly discovered owners of cars that hum are not paying all those road taxes hidden in the price of gasoline.
The answer..a new tax on "green" vehicles.
Local News Electric-car owners might face $100 state fee Seattle Times Newspaper

Bloomberg Takes on Teachers Union in Sisyphian Task

Mayor Bloomberg faces a heavy lift in going to Albany to try and convince the Legislature to repeal a law that requires seniority prevail when laying off teachers. The Mayor says pending cuts will result in many good, young teachers headed down the road while some lousy teachers with seniority will stay.
Of course, that's why you pay dues to a union..To protect your job, wages and benefits...Allowing the mayor an easier path to canning non-performers is anathema to what the union does.
NYC schools have frequent exposes done about "rubber room" teachers sitting around doing nothing everyday for years while awaiting discipline that never comes. Mayor Bloomberg wants staff cuts to be based on merit, not seniority. The recently departed chancellor of schools in NYC has said teachers are harder to fire than getting a death penalty sentence.
The Mayor has irked many in his own delegation by supporting GOP candidates in last year's Senate races and while Mr. Bloomberg commands attention, I doubt he wins this one.
The union answer will be..if you want to keep those taxes, raise taxes and appropriate the money to do so...But don't be thinking you are taking tenure and seniority from our membership. If I were in that union, that's exactly what I would want too.
Bloomberg urges state legislators to repeal the "last in/first out" law -

WDT: Fitzpatrick Makes Mercy a Priority for County as Well

It's good to see the new chair of the Jefferson County Legislature has an agenda and priorities for her stewardship of county government. Carolyn Fitzpatrick has long been active in civic affairs and her interest in projects like Mercy Healthcare is a hopeful development. She currently represents the district Mercy sits in and developing strategies for the future is something we all are working on.
That is why I felt it so important for all decision makers to tour the facility which is slated for closure in 2013 and both Ms. Fitzpatrick and I have listed it as the top item on priority lists for our respective bodies.
There are honest differences of opinion on how we got to this point, but as a believer in playing the hand your are dealt, it is important to have this broad consensus that something be done.
The next step are meetings of various stakeholders to sort out where we are and the first of those meetings will occur shortly.
Ms. Fitzpatrick is well known and liked in government circles and has the stature needed to lead the County on several fronts.
Watertown Daily Times From Mercy to the airport

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dry Hill Prison Now Being Mentioned for Possible Closure

While the prison in Ogdensburg regularly is talked about in budget chatter about closings...a YNN report today mentioned the Dry Hill Prison in Watertown as one under-utilized upstate facility on the block for possible closing.
This was the first time the facility has been mentioned among likely closing scenarios.
A proposed $10M stipend to local governments affected by a closure is not being embraced by anyone, including Senator Patty Ritchie who told YNN the hush money won't fly.
Assemblywoman Addie Russell says downstate prisons are far better candidates for redevelopment than ones upstate.

TV 7: Family Fight Over Snow Shoveling Ends In Assault & Arrests

This is why my NY Post mentality would be so unwelcome in the upper reaches of the local news business....
This story about family members fighting over snow shoveling and taking bats to each other is the kind of story I think attracts readers and viewers...It may not be the most important thing to happen today...But in the news business, you gotta play this stuff up...Get 'em in the church, then worry about the sermon.
There was a lengthy discourse at tonight's City Council meeting about inmate transports and who should pay what....You'd never pick up a newspaper or tune to a newscast to see or hear about what was said...even though its worth reporting on..
But the nutty family from the Big County beating on each other over who shovels the driveway...Now that's news !
Family Fight Over Snow Shoveling Ends In Assault & Arrests WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

NYDN: Rep. Michael Grimm On The Perks Of Being A Congressman: Chicks Dig It !

"Chicks dig it."
That's what newly minted Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm says about the perks of DC....While his remarks were light hearted, its likely true in the nation's capital where as Kissinger once said, "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." Rep. Grimm is single, so his remarks are harmless except for the slightly sexist and 1950ish use of the word "chicks." (or was it "dames" in the 50s and "chicks" in the 60s")
As one of only 435 in America, a Member of Congress is a rarity for one looking for power and position in their relationship. Of course in DC, many of those "chicks" are also operatives, lobbyists or aspiring bureacrats with their own agenda.
Usually, government and politics casts a pall on a date...By the time anyone hears me segue from the Governor's tax cap to the nuances of redistricting, that date is a goner. People in or near politics tend to be of a single focus...not a lot of Renaissance types.
So in DC where so many are climbing the ladder and gaming the system, it would be easy for a freshmen Member to conclude that "chicks dig him."
Lose the next election and you will know for sure.
Rep. Michael Grimm On The Perks Of Being A Congressman: Chicks Dig It New York Daily News

Capital Tonight: Addie Russell to Appear Tonight to Talk State Budget

Assemblywoman Addie Russell will join GOP State Senator John Flanagan as guests of Liz this evening on YNN's Capital Tonight. The program airs on cable 10 at 8pm and 1130pm.
The pair of lawmakers will talk about the proposed state budget.
Last week when I was on, I advanced the premise that "pain" is a relative term and that the Governor is to be lauded for talking about the radical change needed to set the straight right. Ms. Russell is more the product of the public employee unions and is by most accounts liberal....It will be interesting to see how she handles the queries from Ms. Benjamin.
In any event, congrats to Addie for being selected to appear. Persons from our area speaking to the wider audience are helping the region. We need to be extra vocal to be heard in the cacaphony of Albany.
Wonder if Liz will ask her about the weather ?
Capital Tonight « NY's only statewide political program

More Tea Partiers Back Cuomo’s Version Of ‘Carl Lite’

Wow, I was right in my analysis on Cap Ton and other places...Andrew Cuomo is becoming "Carl Lite" and attracting Tea Party activists to his mantra of less government and cutting budgets.
Former Carl Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo and others are warming up to the new Governor, perhaps creating a challenge for Mr. Cuomo....As he curries favor with Tea Partiers he risks losing the allegiance of his base...which for Democrats is still public employee unions, minorities and the more tony precincts of the upper east and west sides of Manhattan.
Necessity is forcing Mr. Cuomo into saying at least some things liked by those who voted for "Crazy Carl." However, the reforms needed in NY are substantial and I don't know if the body politics in this state can endure what really needs to happen.
More Tea Partiers Back Cuomo’s Version Of ‘Carl Lite’

Super Bowl half-time show 2011: Black Eyed Peas with Slash and Usher

Even though Christina Aguiliera muffed the lyrics to the anthem, it was still a great rendition....while I thought the half time show with the Black Eyed Peas was much better than recent ones...In particular the theatrics..the optics as we say in politics.
Lots of stagecraft and the glow in the dark dancers were stunning.
The chattering class will find fault and there were some audio glitches, but I enjoyed the show, the game and the commercials.
How about you ?
Super Bowl half-time show 2011: Black Eyed Peas with Slash and Usher Mail Online

Everybody Says The Dems Have Our New Treasurer....Come On Sean, Tell Us

The local Democratic Party hierarchy knows but won't say who they will ask the Governor to place in the office of Jefferson County Treasurer after last week's resignation of long time Treasurer Nancy Brown.
They are say in unison they don't know, and that the knowledge is vested with County Chair Sean Hennessey. Some say they heard the name but forgot who it was, as if to suggest its a relative unknown.
Gee, I am in politics and if I hear who is getting appointed to one of the few countywide elected positions, I would be inclined to remember. This person has to run in November in the only countywide race the party might win. This person also has to take over the fiscal oversight job so needed in the wake of the current treasurers allegations of fast and loose finance in the county building.
I guess we can wait till Sean tells us, unless somebody breaches the cone of silence surrounding this.

Cuomo Criticizes School Officials’ Salaries

There are an easy target....Those school administrators Governor Cuomo is poking fun at...Yes they are paid a lot, but the argument is they are smarter and more qualified for what they have to do than a politician like Andrew Cuomo.
Superintendents, the argument goes, are at the top of their game and should be treated like hospital administrators and captains of industry...After all, they have in their hands the fruit of our society....the next generation of children.
They are a collegial group, these 700 plus supertindents, dotted across the Empire State.
They preside over and perpetuate a crazy quilt system of school districts, laden with administrators all executing the same set of educational guidelines from the state.
The volunteer school boards are a scant match for these professionals, who when in a bind just quietly move to another district. That happened in Carthage a couple years back when a superintendent who had a multi year contract got in hot water and the hullabaloo was secreted as he was hired in another district as if nothing had happened.
You see the superintendents are so unique in talent and important in function, a local school board made up of the great unwashed considers itself lucky to land one of the professionals, and money is seldom an object.
Then here comes Andy the Governor making fun of those salaries.
Just who does he think he is ?
Cuomo Criticizes School Officials’ Salaries -

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Packers Win 13th League Title With 31-25 Win Over Steelers

Aaron Rodgers has put Brett Favre squarely in the rear view mirror with a solid performance and an ability to take advantage of turnovers to score a 31-25 Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy comes home to Green Bay.
The Pack played relatively error free ball while the Steelers endured three key turnovers that all resulted in Green Bay scores.
All in all a good game...The commercials were very funny. The halftime theatrics were splendid except for some microphone problems.
Now its time for spring training !

Massachusetts Now a Relief from NY Taxes

In 1972 Massachusetts was the only state to vote Democratic for President. It was home to the Kennedys. The Commonwealth had gained the moniker "Taxachusetts."
Now Massachusetts is a respite from taxes compared to NY...Read On !
Massachusetts offers less-taxing lifestyle - Albany - The Buffalo News

Golisano Wants to Spend His Sabres Proceeds on Blowing up the Electoral College

Occasional political gadfly Tom Golisano may be taking a portion of the proceeds from his sale of the Buffalo Sabres NHL team to fund a national lobbying effort to change the present system of electing a President through the Electoral College...He wants to lobby state legislatures to end winner take all apportionment of electors, which is done that way in all but two states. There is also a movement to get state's to agree to support the popular vote winner, thus preventing a repeat of 2000.
The approach of changing the system at the state level is an alternative to amending the US Constitution, something unlikely as it would require ratification by 38 state legislatures.
Golisano spent nearly $100 million on his three unsuccessful runs for Governor and in recent years the Paychex founder has been funding various charities.
The Rochester native now lives in Florida after concluding taxes for rich people in NY are too high.
Pigeon set to take role in election reform effort - Politics - The Buffalo News

Rapid Response to Storms a City Tradition

Last night as the snow piled up fast, city streets were being cleared quickly and by this AM, it was business as usual for those headed to church, or later to Super Bowl festivities. The good job done was noted in a WDT editorial written in response to the last storm...The circumstances and sentiments are the same for this storm.
Watertown Daily Times Not snowbound

Busler's Looking for a Beauty in Alaska

Local TV sports anchor Mel Busler says his trip to Alaska this summer will include a pilgrimage to Wasilla, home of former Governor and national conservative icon Sarah Palin. Mr. Busler is the marquee traveler on the trip being marketed on WWNY. About 40 people will travel with Mel on a boat tour of coastal AK and an inland journey to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Denali Park, the AlCan Highway and of course the formerly obscure small town of Wasilla.
Mel says he hopes to run into Ms. Palin during his visit, and that he is looking forward to his complimentary trip to the Nation's 49th state.

WDT: Surprise Storm Baffles "Experts"

We are used to such precisi0n in forecasting, we are not used to the old days when all of a sudden a storm just appears. The radar, computer models, staff meteorologists, computer graphics and omnipresent weather reports on TV have left the impression the elements have become as predictable as late budgets in Albany.
As it just kept coming around the dinner hour last night, local restaurants were packed as no one had been frightened away by any 'storm of the century' hyperbolic yelling from the weather community.
While a challenge to deal with, it was like the good old days of a more unpredictable Mother Nature.
Watertown Daily Times Surprise storm slams NNY