Saturday, February 19, 2011

Patrick Makes Progress, and Stewart Wins - NYTimes.com

Danica Patrick is one marketing genious...She finishes 14th and leads for only one lap and pushes race winner Tony Stewart out of the news lead and into the second graf in this NY Times race story...Not only that, Danica was in every commercial break, not just for race sponsor GoDaddy.com but also for other products.
She could be the Anna Kournikova of NASCAR, but hopefully she will put her considerable talents to good use and win a race. It was exciting to see her lead for a lap.
Oh and Mr. Stewart did a good job too.
Patrick Makes Progress, and Stewart Wins - NYTimes.com

Michelle Obama Goes Skiing in Colorado

While her husband is siding with labor in the Wisconsin dispute, the First Lady and her daughters are at a swanky resort in Vail for some skiing. The Bidens are in the Florida Keys. Why aren't they standing at the side of those fighting for working families?
Michelle Obama Goes Skiing in Colorado The Blog on Obama: White House Dossier

Tea Party Descends on Madison...Public Pension Debate Extends Even to Watertown

Crowds swelled to over 70,000 and the weatherman says snow is on the way in Madison today as Tea Party protestors were bussed in to support Governor Walker in his battle with public employee unions.....
Those on both sides of the issue...fueled by dueling national media coverage...surrounded the state capitol. Meanwhile the ones not there are the Democratic state senators who are hiding out in another state in order to deny the votes necessary to convene a quorum and vote on the Governor's proposal to require greater contributions to pension and medical plans along with a rollback of collective bargaining rights.
I think the debate is a good one....In fact this week on channel 7 in Watertown, reporter Jessica Shaw begins a sweeps piece titled "The Pension Mess."
The title is itself a commentary on the system being addressed in Wisconsin.
It's not often the MSM takes the stance that a government program is a "mess" or a problem. This may be a sign that more people are questioning the viability of the system we have.
While some seek to make it personal....make it an attack on public employees...that's not the case...
A whole generation has been raised with the notion you can spend more than you take in....that government can "create" jobs....that gaming the system or calling in "sick" when you are not is OK....
Well you can't spend more than you make...government doesn't stimulate anything....and its lying to say you are sick just so you can go to the beach or to picket in the state capital.
Tea Party Descends on Madison Protests - ABC News

WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Crows Swarm Factory Street Convenience Store

While It's been around for over a hundred years, Crows are out in force in local stores...perhaps a reflection of Watertown's special relationship with the birds.
The licorice confections have been made by Tootsie Roll since 1972 but first appeared on the candy shelves in the late 1800s. The theater size boxes of Crows are available at the Nice n Easy on Factory Street and I am sure the owners noted the irony when they placed the display smack dab in front of the door !
The Official Candy of the City of Watertown....could be.
Crows Licorice Flavored Gumdrops - Candy Favorites

WDT: They Are Back...Big Wind Wants NYPA Deal

The business of manufacturing or selling a product is made a lot easier when the government agrees to guarantee the purchase of whatever you are selling....Wish I could get a deal to make sure all my beer and liquor is purchased regardless of demand.
So the developers of the Galloo Island wind farm will push the New York Power Authority for such a deal.....They have to, because wind farms like so many of these exotic forms of producing energy are essentially non-starters in the market place.
It's the subsidies and tax credits that make it attractive. Of course, while it's never uttered in the corridors of power and the high priced lawyers who brief lawmakers will never say it...These deals are paid for by all of under the guise of "green jobs" and "renewable energy".
I think there is a place for new technologies in the mix but I am highly skeptical of the economics of this entire industry...Especially since every project from wind to solar involves subsidy.
Watertown Daily Times Galloo developer pushes NYPA deal

Russell: Don't Fool Yourselves. Prison Beds Are Going To Be Cut

Assemblywoman Addie Russell takes issue with Governor Cuomo on how 3500 beds will be cut from the state prison system. The Governor wants lawmakers to pass a budget and the he says he will decide on the logistics of the budget with the help of an appointed panel.
Ms. Russell tells Jeff Cole on the Public Eye that the Legislature should make that decision in the budget document. Ms. Russell has three prisons in her Assembly district and two just outside it.
Russell: Don't Fool Yourselves. Prison Beds Are Going To Be Cut WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Friday, February 18, 2011

Queens man busted for animal cruelty after family's 8-pound Chihuahua dies - NYPOST.com

265 pound Queen's man said to be frustrated over the behavior of the family dog, beat the 8 pound Chihuahua. The dog was euthanized due to severe head injuries.
What kind of a jerk would do this ?
A big jerk, that's who.
Queens man busted for animal cruelty after family's 8-pound Chihuahua dies - NYPOST.com

Manhattan DA Details Indy Party ‘Cover-Up’

I really don't know what happened in the Indy Party with all this Bloomberg money.....but there is so much money and so much wheeling and dealing that nothing would surprise me.
Manhattan DA Details Indy Party ‘Cover-Up’

Classy Library Board Shows How to Lobby

I love the Flower Library and am proud to be a part of a City supporting such a fine Institution...I like it even more that it has such great stewardship and management. I always said the best appointment I ever made was Jayn Graves as a Board member as she really got things on the right track and the current board under Maxine Quigg is doing the same.
When the Library Board hosted City Council last Monday, I noted the attention to detail in having a Sarah Palin audio book in the middle of the display table...A little tip of the hat not lost on me, since I had donated two copies of 'Going Rogue' to the Library so they wouldn't have to be seen at Borders buying them.
So today I got several very nice personal notes from Library Board members thanking me for the visit and I assume Council got the some treatment.
It's good manners, which is not always seen in politics....It's also very good politics....which is also not often seen in politics.

Canadian Press Room – Kristin Davis, former Manhattan Madam, inspires Canadians and promotes tolerance

How did she go from hanging out at the Wicked Wench to 'inspiring Canadians and promoting tolerance ?'
Beats me, but I guess people just like to write about Kristin Davis, who took a special interest in Jefferson County last fall in her run for Governor.
Canadian Press Room – Kristin Davis, former Manhattan Madam, inspires Canadians and promotes tolerance

Facts Can Challenge the Conventional Wisdom When It Come to Municipal Finance

My recent post on better than expected sales tax receipts has prompted a discussion in the community about just what is the fiscal picture in those local governments dependent on this source of revenue.
The latest numbers out today show a continued 7% better than expected performance, on top of audited numbers for the last City fiscal year that showed sales tax had rebounded nicely from the 2008 recession.
I think its an important conversation...not just the issue of how much taxation is enough...but how different governments are in different positions based on how they derive income.
Despite the rosy sales tax numbers, we still suffer from a lack of pension reform and other issues. However, my message is that the standard mantra about bare cupboards and "pain" are not always true.
Today the WDT and TV 7 interviewed me on the topic. If one little post here sparked interest in a topic people need to understand....Then by golly, maybe there is some good that comes of these here blogs.

Group in Crosshairs of Cuomo Budget Cuts Take to the Airwaves - WNYC

First of all, how could Liz of all people...sensitive Liz allow a link to this headline with the words "crosshairs" on her blog. Truly a Palinesque moment for our favorite blogger.
Now to the meat on the bone...The teachers union is taking to the airwaves to tell us their side of the story....Good for broadcasters I guess...I hope they buy the HOTLINE so their important message of spending and taxation can reach the poor and huddled listeners of AM-1240....Betcha they only do TV...That way they can show pix of the children.
Wouldn't it be neat if they turned on the superintendents ?...there is rage against too much fat at the top and teachers could...oh wait, its the superintendents who negotiate the contracts...don't bite the hand that feeds you.
Guess we will stick to the core message...keep things as they are or the children are toast.
Group in Crosshairs of Cuomo Budget Cuts Take to the Airwaves - WNYC

Wisconsin Is Ground Zero for What's Happening Everywhere

Teachers and their union have shut down Wisconsin schools so bigger crowds of public employees can attend rallies in Madison. At issue is a new governor who wants the right to collective bargaining limited and changes made to a system where public employee benefits are paid almost solely by the state.
What's happening in Wisconsin is the tip of the spear of labor issues as fiscal reality intersects with years of labor largesse, that now cannot be paid for without cutting staffing.
Since laying people off is anathema in the public sector, there is a move to force employees to pay a portion (about 12%) of the cost of health care premiums. This likely represents about $1500 a year given the cost of an average health plan. Most in the private sector pay more and many in public jobs pay that amount or more already.
The issue and its rage is being fueled from the President on down, but its really just a reality check....No one is suggesting some great hardship here....just the first step in what will be a dose of reality.
One cannot continue to spend and then be amazed at the consequences.
A resetting of labor-management relations is underway and for the moment ground zero is the Badger State.
Voters who elected the new Governor and Legislature I am sure are pleased they have to suddently arrange day care so teachers can run off to Madison to protest paying what those parents likely are already paying.
Wisconsin is 'ground zero' for battle over unions - USATODAY.com

WDT: City Clerk Dutton to Retire at Year's End

City Clerk Donna Dutton announced her retirement this week, and while expected, its still a melancholy moment for those of us who have depended on the diligent and dedicate keeper of the city seal.
While Ms. Dutton has been a more than able clerk, she has been a valuable advisor and friend for me and City Council members. Her chance to retire is well deserved and her desire to aid in the transition to a new clerk is appreciated and typical of her desire to put the City first in all she does.
City Council will appoint a new clerk before the first of the year.
Watertown Daily Times City Clerk Dutton, in job 2 decades, set to retire

WDT: Not a Road to Nowhere...It's a Road to Sam's Club

County Route 202 is known to me as the Sam's Club Expressway as it allows a quicker (by two to three minutes !) route from my house to the discount store. It extends from outer Coffeen Street across the great divide to outer Arsenal Street. It is a handy and quicker way to avoid whatever traffic one might encounter on such trips. The road is so new my car is moving on a blank field on the navigation screen.
While flattered the County would want to facilitate my trips to Sam's Club, I was always perplexed the road was built without sewer lines and now may have to be dug up to put them in. It seemed like a lot of money for a road not immediately slated for development.
The land along the road seems appropriate for a variety of things including housing or commercial, but now the Town government finds it needs to secure an easement from a citizen they have been sparring with.
This is a classic 'build it and they will come' project....it's yet to be seen if that will work.
Watertown Daily Times Town needs easement for sewer line

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jude: Treasurer Picked...But Its a Secret

Nancy Brown has delayed her resignation from the Jefferson County Treasurer's post....Now she will leave March 31. And she says local Dems have decided who to recommend to Governor Cuomo as her replacement until the Fall election.
Sean has the cloaking device at full strength.
Have Jefferson Dems Picked County Treasurer's Replacement? WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Budget Battle: Democrats Who Left State are Located ....Wisconsin Boils as Governor Demands Union Concessions

In a slap to the face of representitive government, Democratic members of the Wisconsin State Senate boarded a bus to Illinois today in order to deny a quorum that would allow Republicans a vote on a bill to limit collective bargaining for state workers.
This same thing happened in Texas a few years ago.
The Badger State...once home to the Progressive Party of Robert LaFollette, faces a $3.6 billion budget shortfall and the new governor is taking on the public employee unions.
Meanwhile bitter demonstrations raged in the capital of Madison and teachers in some areas stayed home.
A sign of things to come in NY ?
Budget Battle: Democrats Who Left State are Located Today's TMJ4 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Weather, Sports, WTMJ Local News

Sarah Palin, on Long Island, Answers Budget and Worldview Questions - NYTimes.com

Oh, Sarah Palin was in NYS today, so that alone gets a post on this blog. Ms. Palin was on Long Island where she spoke at length to business leaders...While she gave her views on many issues, she left the world waiting about her own ambitions....I was one who thought she wouldn't run...Now I am in the 50-50 category....
But I am a Palinista and so my views are anathema to Middle Class Mike and most of the rest of you.
Sarah Palin, on Long Island, Answers Budget and Worldview Questions - NYTimes.com

Hard Times at Jefferson Concrete Are a Good Thing

When I was at the Chamber After Hours event last night at Jefferson Concrete, I of course talked a little politics. One candidate for City Judge says he may petition to get on all six party lines on the ballot, including the newly minted Green Party.
Didn't run into any other other pols while there...Former Councilman Steve Bradley and his lovely bride Joyce were telling me about the major upstairs renovation they are doing on their Court Street property....Loft apartments are what they are building...Sounds like an interesting project.
I was wondering who buys those concrete picnic tables. Why would you buy something you can never move ?...They do make some neat stuff though, especially the decorative walls....The cemetery vaults were kept in the back room...No point casting a pall on such a nice event.

Senate Dems Hop on Cuomo Redistricting Bandwagon...That Should Tell You Something

Redistricting is a dark art only know by the insiders...so when I hear about an "independent" redistricting process, I just don't believe it.
It will be the same constituent groups, the toniest and priciest law firms, and the academics with ties to politics who decide this...There will be no common people in this process, because it is believed by the political class that the 'great unwashed' don't have the sophistication to deal with apportionment.
I favor an end to shading district populations to gain an extra seat or two for the majority. I also believe districts should be block-like and have easily understood boundaries that create and sustain a sense of community and common interest.
I just think by definition these independent panels are filled with the same old interests and people....
Maybe I am wrong...but I don't think so.
Sampson On Cuomo’s Redistricting Bandwagon

Obama Proposes Fee for Canadians to Come See Us

He wants to do what ? A fee for Canadians to enter the US ?
I don't know the specifics, but that kind of talk is sure bad for us. We need to welcome Canadians and we do welcome them everyday. People go back and forth all the time.
Let's not send the wrong message to our neighbors by trying to charge to get into the US. Even if it is just on air or sea entries, its just the wrong message.
Obama proposes fee for Canadian visitors to the U.S. - thestar.com

Newzjunky - Graham: 'Flexibility of Schedule' Is Needed to be Mayor of Watertown

OK,'nuff said about all this for a while. Events said I had to do the interview, but its way too early to be getting into all this.
Besides, there are important things to concentrate on including Mercy and the pending city budget.
Newzjunky - Graham: 'Flexibility of Schedule' Is Needed to be Mayor of Watertown

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Graham For Mayor 2011

My long time Treasurer Melissa VanBrocklin posted a Facebook page for 2011.....Guess she wants to get a start on things before the formal kickoff later this year.
In any event, you can help out...It's Graham for Mayor, Box 673, Watertown,NY 13601.
Graham For Mayor 2011 (1)

Teachers Union Honchos Tossed From Albany Eatery

Top honchos of the United Federation of Teachers had to have the Albany cops called on them for refusing to pay their bill and causing a ruckus. The dispute was over the size of an entree and the incident even caught the attention of Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings who called the teacher's behavior "unacceptable."
Tensions are running high, to be sure.
The European style restaurant had served a $40 prix fixe meal, which is a series of courses served for a set price. Apparently not familiar with more sophisticated dining , the teachers union bigs carried on about the size of portions.
Union fat cats like to eat well.
Teachers union bigs tossed from Albany eatery as rep Paul Egan wonders: Where's the beef?

Sen. Ritchie Hires GrahamWise as Chief of Staff

The more things change the more they stay the same as the chief of staff for former Senator James Wright is now doing the same to Senator Patty Ritchie.
Graham Wise is well known in local political circles and has a grasp of the issues and terrain of Watertown.
He is a familiar face and will help the new Senator do the things needed on the local level.
Sen. Ritchie Hires Graham
Wise as Chief of Staff

Report: Kirwan Wins 100th AD

Last November's election is finally over....The last disputed vote count in a Mid-Hudson AD gives the GOP a gain of a seat....leaving Dems in control by a diminished 99-51 margin...technically not enough to sustain a veto override.
It says something about our voting systems that the result took three and a half months.
Report: Kirwan Wins 100th AD

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! | New York State Senate

Senator Patty Ritchie is putting out a survey on the state budget and while I don't normally answer those things, I did with this one....That's because I'm mad as Hell.
I also noticed the Senator's official Senate photo is out....Much better shot than that wedding photographer shot used during the campaign....Must be that image-meister Jim Reagen at work.
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! New York State Senate

Has Obama set GOP entitlement trap? - Glenn Thrush - POLITICO.com

Another federal budget with volumes of red ink and the President purposely avoided the area of entitlements because he doesn't want to be the one to initiate changes that will not be popular....POLITICO says its a "trap" for the GOP...Let them first utter the phrases that "don't poll well."
Some wags would say this is a lack of "leadership" or "vision". Seems like the President has concluded its good politics and maybe good policy as his own core constituencies would not tolerate the changes likely needed.
Mr. Obama and Speaker John Boehner will have to craft whatever deal is to be struck just on President Reagan and Speaker O'Neill brokered the last Social Security deal in the 80's.
It's just that in Washington today, nobody wants to go first.
Has Obama set GOP entitlement trap? - Glenn Thrush - POLITICO.com

WDT: New Zoo Czar to Start March 7

Congratulations to the Thompson Park Conservancy Board on its selection of a Hattiesburg Mississippi man as new director at the Zoo. John Wright will take over the facility next month following last year's resignation of John Scott Foster.
Mr Wright, his wife and daughter will live on site in the superintendent's house and has experience in small town zoos.
City Council is looking forward to meeting Mr. Wright as the City and Conservancy have long had a collaborative arrangement on running and funding the Zoo. Among the matters on the docket is the quarter century old aviary that Council wants to retain, after last year some made a proposal to demolish the structure.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown zoo welcomes new director

Study: Zinc Does Work....A Little Bit

Finally an affirmation of conventional wisdom and wives tales. Taking zinc pills does help lessen the impact of the common cold.
For quite a while, I have bought into the marketing of products like Zicam. When the leading edge of a cold starts, I always load up on the metal as well as those vitamin bombs like Airborne, or just plain old vitamin C tablets. I really think it does mitigate the impact of a cold and now research shows there is some truth to it all.
Colds were always an interesting malady as all the wonders of medicine couldn't help....Now its good to know dropping some cash at the drug store at the onset of symptoms does do some good.
Zinc, colds: Zinc found to be effective in treating colds - latimes.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Governor Offers Schools "Waste Reduction Teams"

The Cuomo administration is offering to send "waste reduction teams" to any of the 700+ school districts who want them. The Administration also says all those districts (aka fiefdoms) can cope with the proposed reductions in state aid called for in the Governor's budget.
Meanwhile, the education high command at the NYS Education Department is threatening to cancel Regents exams if the Governor does not relent and allow business as usual.
I assume these waste reduction teams are free, so why don't we be team players and ask Mr. Cuomo to send them into the eleven or so districts in Jefferson County ?.....If it saves one dollar, what the heck ?
What if someone said, "why do all these districts need their own collective barganining agreements even though the cost of living is the same throughout the region ?"
Now, if you did that, it would not affect the "children" but it would cut the bill for lawyers and management.
Bussing, purchasing, administration....as long as you are replicating the same non-teaching functions every five miles, it seems there are some lack of economies that when corrected will have no effect on academics.
Some of the reforms require legislation so its not as easy as it looks, but If I were a superintendent, I'd want a waste reduction team......oops , no I wouldn't want one of them messing around on my turf.
Oh, and that ex-cop, ex-mayor, politician we have for a Lieutenant Governor should not be telling the professionals how to run those districts.
LG Bob Duffy says districts can cope with cuts....Who is he to be saying such things?
Schools can deal with aid cuts, lieutenant governor says - Schools - The Buffalo News

WDT: Big County Promotes I-98

One Medicaid claim can easily eclipse this $20,000 St. Lawrence County is spending on promoting the long talked about, but never to be built Interstate 98 from Watertown to Plattsburgh. So we know its not a huge amount of cash.
The County Legislature voted to spend the money on printing brochures and the like for I-98....It was a controversial move, and frankly the printing could have come out an existing County line item and no one would no the difference...
It is a small amount, but I agree we don't need and cannon afford the road....Ernie LaBaff says I-98 will transform the county from Appalachia to prosperity.
This road only makes sense when using the argument, "if they don't spend the money here, it will go somewhere else."
Watertown Daily Times County OKs $20,000 to promote I-98

Lady Gaga Makes a Point

Love the different looks of Lady Gaga...but lets hope these facial bumps are not subdermal implants...something we are told is in vogue....Putting pointy lumps under the skin just doesn't seem necessary...I don't like to see butt cap tattoos on women,so I am not a fan of disfigurement as art.
Tell me they are just make up...please.
Lady Gaga sports bizarre flesh-coloured facial horns on Jay Leno Mail Online

Even the Double Dip Now Has Its Critics

All the sacred cows are under fire these days...Even the time honored practice of double dipping on public pensions....A group has put up a website to draw attenti0n to the issue.
Pension reform continues to be one of the vexing issues in Albany, as so many people have a stake in the system.
The Daily Politics New York Daily News

Cuomo On Budget...School Districts not Fiscal "Swiss Watches"

Governor Cuomo has responded to a poll showing most New Yorkers want no cuts to education....Mr. Cuomo told Dicker today he rejects the notion that the 700+ school districts all run like "finely tuned Swiss watches".
The Governor asks whether these districts can find enough savings for the 2.7% cut in spending needed to balance things out.
The educational establishment continues to resist any cuts.
Cuomo On Budget, Ethics: ‘It’s Not Horseshoes’

Billy is Back in the Saddle Again With Chrysler/Jeep in Watertown

FX Caprara on outer Washington Street has the Chrysler/Jeep franchise back in a freshly renovated store. For the nearly four decade old family business its a tribute to the value of old fashioned business values.
After losing the franchise to the upstart Dealmaker Group, the Caprara family concentrated on building it's KIA line, which now is in its own store up the street. The Volkswagen franchise has also been a steady performer.
After the demise of Dealmaker, the Caprara's won back Chrysler/Jeep and Dodge trucks and now are perched atop the local auto industry with stores in Watertown, Alex Bay and Pulaski.
I bought my Jeep from the Bay store, and have always been happy with the service at FX.

Library Scions Make Their Pitch to City Fathers.

I appreciate good politics when I see it....Tonight the Flower Library Board hosted a visit by their benefactors, the City Council....At a display of Library offerings was a group of audio books and in the middle was Sarah Palin's new book....
Now that's pandering I can appreciate and I give the Library director credit for the gesture.
In a spirited presentation by the Flower Library Board of Directors, the stewards of the city's signature institution appealed for more City support to expand hours and meet the increasing demand for various programs.
Led by Board President Maxine Quigg, board members explained their efforts to expand programs in a tough fiscal environment. State cutbacks hurt and while fundraising helps, the facility is still mostly reliant on its stipend from the neighbors at City Hall.
One of the challenges is the inability to use volunteer labor due to collective bargaining agreements....I was told I couldn't read books to children there as it would be a breach of labor law. That sounds bizarre. I generally support collective bargaining....but its anathema to me to think you can't volunteer to help at the Library.
We will have to work on that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chili con carne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This Wikipedia post on chili con carne lists lots of variations on the dish with lots of ingredients. There is not discussion of the public health issues some have alleged, although like any food you should follow guidelines for temperature. I don't see why that's so hard to do.
When I make chili, I empty the can into the pot and turn up the heat. I then place a thermometer in the stew until its 150-160 degrees. There's a red line on the thermometer that tells when its OK. Ladle chili into bowl and add crackers. Oh yeah, wear your gloves if you are being paid for the product.
Chili con carne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saying No is Hard to Do

In a letter to the Governor, Assemblyman Blankenbush is asking $1.2M to be restored to various agruculture organizations. Is he just trying to curry favor with the people asking him to ? Or is he really helping to erode Governor Cuomo's effort to instill fiscal reality in the Empire State.
I know how it is when people come in and ask for things. Nobody likes to say no, because the people standing there are nice people. I know the Governor's plan will be amended, but we shouldn't miss this moment in state government.

A Conversation is Needed on Fund Balances

I was reading through the recently completed independent audit of City finances and the numbers are an encouragement considering the nation's economic malaise.
The strong sales tax numbers are combined with expenses coming in under budget by well over a million dollars.
The result is an expanding fund balance which in the general fund now exceeds $13million (that includes $1.9 M in health insurance reserves and $126K in risk retention funds)
While the temptation might be to start spending, the move should be in the direction of tax relief. While the property tax levy represents less than a fourth of general fund expenditures, it is the only revenue stream we control.
Sales tax is determined by contract and state aid is determined by Albany.
While prudence dictates some reserves for emergencies and proper cash flow, it is clear the robust sales tax has resulted in an overtaxing vis-a-vis expenses..
It's not a sinister thing, but the result of good budgeting and cost containment.
Nonetheless, there is ample evidence of where revenue streams will be, even in challenging times. We have to be willing to let some money go back home.
A portion of the fund balance must be used for significant property tax levy relief this cycle. Reducing the balance by say $1.8 million would drop the current property tax levy by 20%. That would be a positive boost to the local economy and a rightful repatriation of funds to the people who own them.
Now is the time to start this dialogue at the city, county, town and village level.
Every set of finances is different as not all entities are funded in the same way, but I suspect the city and county are not the only ones seeing fund balance increases.

Siena: Cuomo Surges But the Public Still Likes to Spend Other's Money

A conflict looms (conflicts often loom, don't they) over the popularity of Governor Cuomo with his New Jersey-esque rhetoric over spending and the natural proclivities of the masses to not want to cut school aid and to tax those pesky millionaires.
A Siena Polls pegs Andrew at 77% approval but also says New Yorkers want no cuts to education and a continuation of the so called "millionaires tax." on people like my good friend Dave Mance.
When it comes to schools there has to be a consensus that reforming the system to obtain cuts is not tantamount to saddling the next generation with ignorance.
The public..or at least a majority of it....still responds to the children as human shields advocacy by the spenders.
This creates a dichotomy for the new Governor as meaningful change will die on the vine in the Legislature as the tin cup brigades of municipalities, school districts, unions, social agencies and others wear down the will of anyone serious about change.
Siena: Cuomo Hits All-Time High, Even As NYers Digest ‘Painful’ Budget

Patty Hearts Chili Buffs in the Dead of Winter

Frankly, I never realized what an issue chili is. Our new state senator is negotiating with the NYS Health Department, an agency that says thousands each year get sick from bad chili, on ways to ensure chili cookoffs continue. In particular, one slated for Morristown that Senator Ritchie's press flack calls the "granddaddy" of chili festivals.
These type of events have run afoul of regulators over sanitary practices, while organizers say they are down home, family-style events that have been held for years.
It would be easy to make fun of this, but a legislator intervening with the bureaucracy is part of what a repressentitive does, and since Albany is still run by three men in a room, there is plenty of time to focus on chili.
The Journal Sheila A. Patterson

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rule Would Bar Judges From Hearing Donor’s Cases - NYTimes.com

How many years did it take to figure out the corrosive effects of campaign nominations on the state's judges...Well, it's long been known but only now are some rules being drafted to stop the more egregious cases.
One of the common quid pro quo's in the judiciary is the awarding of receiverships for financially troubled entities...the whole Mercy ownership was the result of such politics.
The way we nominate and elect the state's trial level judges is loaded with pay to play. Spend some time in a minor party where you can see it up close a little better.
Rule Would Bar Judges From Hearing Donor’s Cases - NYTimes.com

Monday Meeting to Feature Library Visit

Monday night's City Council meeting starts a half hour early in the jewel of our inventory of buildings, the Flower Memorial Library.
Library Board President Maxine Quigg is hosting a briefing on library issues as they relate to the budget.
It's hard to believe there was nearly a deal a few years back to close the Library as part of a budget deal. Libraries may be changing, but as a symbol of the value of intellectual pursuits, there are still very much in vogue.
In short, I am so in support of the Library...We need to continue to invest in this signature property and community resource.
Council will also conclude its annual review of the City Manager and look over the recently completed audit of city finances.

Feb. 13 is "Valenswine's Day," ...When Creeps and Cads Double Down on Love

For those who need a reminder, tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so don't forget the posies from Gray's for wife or steady ( or partner or significant other, or whatever else denotes a level of seriousness).
There is for the cynical (and I would suppose Members of Congress) something called "Mistress Day" or "Valenswine's Day"....This is when the men pamper their paramours with lingerie and dinner before settling back into the conventional tomorrow. It's not all men...the advent of cougar nation has created a different twist on something very old.
It all seems a little creepy that this event is institutionalized, but it is to the point where the Post wrote about it.
Does Scott have different arrangements for the mistresses as opposed to the wives ?
The expense of two separate romantic holidays means you better have a good job if you are to afford this path in life.
Feb. 13 is "Valenswine's Day," when cheaters take out their mistresses - NYPOST.com

WDT:Skill with Minutiae Gets Woman on TV

It's always so nice to see a bright local person perform on a national stage and as one who is himself laden with tons of often unused but interesting facts, I salute Quinn McDonald of Lowville on her performance on "Jeopardy".
Ms. McDonald is an employee of Otis Technologies, the Lyon's Falls firm owned by Tilted Kilt owner Doreen Garrett. Ms. McDonald and her mom recently travelled to LA to tape episodes for air next month, although she is contractually bound not to say what happened. Her coworkers were very supportive and gave her a going away party.
She says she brushed up on her knowledge of state capitals. I like a person who can tell you the capital of Oregon is Salem....I wonder how many can tell you the capital of NY.
Jeopardy is a show that celebrates knowledge and mental acumen. That's a good thing.
We will wait to watch our local contestant next month.
Watertown Daily Times Skill with minutiae gets woman on TV

WDT: Smith to Run for Mayor

Last night about 10PM I got a call from the Watertown Daily Times and a reporter ask me to react to Councilman Jeff Smith's announcement he is running for mayor of the City of Watertown.
I have made no secret of my intentions to seek another term.
My response was not to respond.
Such an event is surely an exciting time for the Councilman and his family. I congratulate him on his decision .