Zephyr Gets Down with Dance Moves at Parade in Brooklyn

Zephyr Gets Down with Dance Moves at Parade in Brooklyn
Meanwhile Andy Refused to Speak When Ask to Debate

No Dancing, Governor Heads Parade on Route to Second Term

No Dancing, Governor Heads Parade on Route to Second Term
Well, That's the Conventional Wisdom

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Despite Cuomo’s Mount Kisco Ties, New Castle Claims Him, Too

Here's a great piece about New York's crazy quilt system of different political subdivisions....
Governor Cuomo claims to live in Mount Kisco in Sandra's home.....That's a village with co-terminous boundaries to the Town of Mount Kisco which was formed in the 70s as the village used to be in two separate townships kind of like Black River is up here...
The Governor has a Mount Kisco mailing address, but Sandra's house is actually in the Town of New Castle, a wealthy township with three times the average annual income of Mount Kisco...
So the argument is on about which municipality can lay claim to the where the new Governor hangs his hat.
I suspect Mr. Cuomo likes being associated with blue collar Mount Kisco and not its tonier neighbor...but the truth is he does live on the other side of this imaginary line.
Despite Cuomo’s Mount Kisco Ties, New Castle Claims Him, Too - NYTimes.com

Multi-Media Mayor

    If you enjoy the commentary on this blog, be sure to join me weekdays during the noon hour for the HOTLINE at AM1240-WATN radio.
    You can also link to the streaming version by visiting http://www.newzjunky.com/
     I am also on Facebook....Although there is little substance there !
    

America's Push Button Wars

    Today I see unmanned predator drones were being flown into Tripoli in the latest attempt to tip a civil war in favor of the so called "rebels."  Senator John McCain was over there this week leading the call for more war.
    All these unmanned weapons seem so antiseptic back here thousands of miles away...Just wonder what its like to be sitting down for dinner and then being vaporized by something you never saw coming...I don't like our involvement in all these entaglements as the logic behind them suggests we head to Damascus next.

WFP: ‘No Fracking Way’

Despite the fact hydrofracking creates jobs, the strangely named "Working Families Party" is dead set against the new energy technology catching on elsewhere in the nation.....Now if those working on the wells were members of the SEIU..well that's a different story....
WFP: ‘No Fracking Way’

WDT: Mance Unemployed Again ! (and other musings)

Now what is Dave Mance going to do ?....Dave is done as head of the Samaritan Foundation and will be replaced by veteran banker Beth Fipps....Congrats to Ms. Fipps. Dave is officially a snow bird these days spending most of the winters in Florida and summers at his NNY homes....
On other matters, I got a couple of earfuls last night at Pete's...One from a retired traffic engineer who told me the Public Square traffic patterns are failing with the left hand turns allowed at each end. I guess when designed (I was not in office) there was disagreement about the plan that allows motorists to avoid circling the square but apparently end up backing up cars on Washington and Mill Streets....And I thought everything was fine...
Then I also got a lesson from the head of a local engineering firm on the issue of geo thermal power...The lesson was the $35K spent on a Syracuse firm studying the issue was a waste of money...I thought so too and had voted against it, but I listened attentively anyway.
And as for Dave Mance...He has done a lot for me and if he needs a job, we can make room for him at Fort Pearl.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Friday, April 22, 2011

WDT: Cuomo Commissions Ignore NNY

Brian from the WDT makes a great point when he shows that NNY is ignored in any of these panels on redesigning government as we know it....It's all about academics, career pols, union honchos and the right law firms....
Its not about small business or people on the front lines of local government....
Good observations...hope your bosses run it in the print editions too.
Watertown Daily Times Cuomo commissions ignore north country

More "Gotcha" for the Donald and a New Blog Locale

In the continuing effort to cast doubt on the candidacy of the Donald, today's story is his voting record, in which he missed some primaries and one general, in 2002.....That's a better record than many...A lot of millionaires have poor voting records, not just out of arrogance, but also of the belief that the phony constructs of elephants and donkeys are not for them....
So the Donald made more elections than most of his ilk. At least he was not 'present, not voting.'
Oh by the way, I broke out of my box tonight and am blogging from the Kilt after finding out from my guest that they have WiFi....I am the only one at the bar with a lap top...I think I will go to Pete's for dinner though as I think I better not be eating a burger on Good Friday.
NY1 To Donald Trump: You're... Not Voting! New York Daily News

Smoking Gradually Being Outlawed

Anti tobacco crusaders say they will have public smoking bans in all fifty (or is it 57?) states by 2020.
They can keep passing laws, but one thing the government is unable to do is stop the exodus of cigarettes from Indian resservations...I had somebody today telling me they bought 15 cartons the other day at Akwasasne at about half the price you pay in a duly licensed NY store...What's that say to a sap like me who pays for a license and pays the long prices for smokes just to make a 50 to 70 cent per pack mark up..? And that's for name brand cigarettes. The native brands are much less.
What it says is most people with both cents and sense will continue to do an end run around the do gooders who think shaking down dumb, addicted people is great public policy.
The Daily Politics New York Daily News

Poll: Trump takes the lead

Another poll out showing the Donald with a decent lead in the early going for the GOP Presidential nomination....Since most think Mike Huckabee is not running and Mitt Romney is too plagued by his MA health plan...Well, who else is there ?
I still think its novelty and lack of enthusiasm for the others....but if the Donald has the organization to win the right primaries and caucuses, he can shut down the process early like McCain did four years ago....
Public Policy Polling: Trump takes the lead

That's Philly as in Pennsylvania for Great Cheese Steak

   Monday morning is one of the duties I am fondest of...cutting a ribbon on a new business....Philly's Finest is in the Top of the Square Building in downtown Watertown, right next to the new Asian Fusion Restaurant.
   In both cases, we have out of town people choosing Watertown as the place to make substantial investments.
    Hope all the smoke-eaters will come out Monday to support one of their own.
     Also Monday, the City Council gets a tour of the Watertown Urban Mission and meets to review City Clerk applications.

Where Is This New Treasurer ?

   Political scuttlebutt in the Jefferson County Office building is that the GOP is coming up empty trying to recruit a candidate for County Treasurer, meanwhile Treasurer Nancy Brown has yet to follow through on her plans to resign early so a successor can be put in by Governor Cuomo....
   My guess is there is no successor put in early and that the normal election cycle prevails.  Petition circulating begins in June. The GOP is said to have hoped a Brown staffer who is linked to a prominent Republican family would run....But that doesn't seem to be working.
   It's a climate where someone with the political skills to run as a fiscal watchdog could win...The idea anyone is going to stand for election just to get an accounting job is a false premise. No one in that field would do that.....And few others are in a position to drop what career they have to pursue this.
     The failure of Democrats to follow through on their planned succession is curious and may suggest the plans fell through.

Owens Dialing for Dollars in Advance of Tough 2012 Race

As a "vulnerable" Member of Congress, Rep. Bill Owens is out there fundraising, even though its another year before he is up for reelection.
Mr. Owens has narrowly won two elections in the previously GOP North Country district.
Most believe 2012 will bring a rematch with Watertown businessman Matt Doheny and if Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman stays out of the race, observers feel Mr. Owens will be on the bubble as his winning percentage last year was 47%.
On the other hand, it is a Presidential year in 2012, and with higher turnout, the GOP registration advantage is mitigated. I see it as a close race with the absence of Hoffman offering Republicans a slight edge and likely there last ever chance to defeat Mr. Owens.
Owens 1Q Fundraising Is Higher Than 68 Percent Of House WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

WDT: We Are Old

Congrats to the MSM on their sesquicentennial. The most interesting part of this story is how the outbreak of the Civil War rendered weekly papers useless as the public wanted more up to date dispatches, thus leading to what is now the daily edition of the Watertown Daily Times.
Ironically, the Times challenge today is dealing with the public expectations for immediacy in the Internet and cable TV world. On the positive side for them is they have the institutional knowledge and archives which have great value and they have the cash to upgrade...On the negative side they are tied to printing technology which leaves you with lots of building, equipment and people to pay for against rivals who have much lower operating costs.
For their sake, let's hope the Johnson's have an app for that.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown Daily Times celebrates 150 years

Why Would Anyone Even Do Politics If It Weren't For a Chance at the Brass Ring

   I have noticed some comments about June O'Neill's $65K reward job for years of service to the Democratic Party. This is on top of her $65K state pension she started collecting in 2001 after years working in patronage jobs.
   The outrage may be misplaced.
    We live in a system where the two parties control government. But those parties don't just exist as part of the ether.  They are the result of the operatives, advocates and true believers who do the work of making a party function as an instrument of power and policy.
    Those who function in those roles understand policy and government and are the types who like doing what most don't even understand.
     Those operatives expect compnsation for their efforts and indeed the parties would not get their labor and expertise if there was not a system of rewards.
      In Ms. O'Neill's case the big double dip may seem egregious, but it is not at all unusual.  It is indeed a necessary part of making the system function.
     

Noise Complaints Bring Citation for Audio Store Owner

   A 36 year old Evans Mills man has apparently become the first to be cited under the recently passed City of Watertown noise ordinance.  The WDT reports Gregory LaDuke got the ticket for alleged offensive noise coming from Audio Arsenal....The Arsenal Street store has been a source of consternation for neighbors on Casey Street who claim the low frequency thumping has made life unbearable.
     We will see what happens.  The ticket was based on the assertions of the neighbor and not on the observations of a politce officer and there was no substantiation through any sound measuring device. The new law relies on a "standard of resonableness".

Obama's ears ring with tuneful S.F. protest

A pricy fundraiser at a ritzy hotel isn't where a President expects anything other than adoring adulation. Yesterday a group of protestors paid (or had it paid for them) $76,000 for tickets to San Francisco's St. Regis Hotel so they could break out in song protesting the lack of change produced by this President. Speaking truth to power doesn't come cheap.
Obama's ears ring with tuneful S.F. protest

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Comptroller Helps Out June O'Neill

You won't see much coverage on this....Simply because what June O'Neill did is what many only dream of ....Since 2001 she has collected a $63,000 annual pension...Now June has been hired to a $65,000 a year post in the Comptroller's office....That means June gets $128,000 a year, joining 2100 state workers who are also collecting a pensio and a salary .County LG Bob Duffy is in that group too.
June has been state Democratic chair in recent years and has been in politics most of her adult life.....
She was recently eased out of that role and many would say she is being taken care of....
The new job in the comptroller's office is also widely thought to be a no show job
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli Hires June O'Neill New York Daily News

The Circus: Newzjunky a Megaphone

I don't like to denigrate anyone's work, as there are many people locally in 'old media' who do a great job....But todays HOTLINE interview with Danielle from the Tilted Kilt was revealing...This was a 4.0 student with the usual lack of awareness of world events but other wise very bright...She works hard, is dependable and is on track for a career in radiology.
When we talked current events she said she gets her news from Newzjunky.com, by checking the site throughout the day... Danielle specifically said she does not read newspapers....It's not because she is being mean or hates them...They just are not on this bright 19 year old's radar.
Its a different world and I am sure there are many like Danielle whose view of the world is squeezed in between real news and two-headed goats and Lady GaGa's latest outfit...
the circus: Newzjunky is Like a Megaphone

iPhone privacy warning: Apple's devices track users' locations and store the data forever | Mail Online

Wow...My I Phone keeps track of everywhere I have been...What an interesting mosaic....Home...Pete's....Home...City Hall....WATN....Fort Pearl....and Back to Pete's.....
What a treasure trove of information....That lady on 'Criminal Minds' has a lot of job security with this device.
iPhone privacy warning: Apple's devices track users' locations and store the data forever Mail Online

WDT: Council to begin reviewing city clerk resumes

The difficulty in choosing a City Clerk is not so much the skill set...it's finding someone committed to the endeavor which is the keeping of vital records and by extension our local history...Combine with that customer relations skills and an ability to be an advisor and confidante to City Council and the selection is a challenge.
I won't repeat that Mrs. Dutton will be hard to replace as she has heard that already....
Watertown Daily Times Council to begin reviewing city clerk resumes

WDT: Kickball Issue Hyperbolized......No Kidding

The WDT's political scribe is outraged over other people's outrage over those playground regulations...Brian Amaral says the media kerfuffle over the NYS Health Department proposed regulations labeling games like tag and kickball as dangerous is misplaced...He says those expressing outrage didn't get their facts straight.
Yes it did come off sounding like Red Rover was being outlawed by pointy head bureacrats and that is not exactly the case....
This story bubbled up first here when Black River officials leaked the memo to talk radio and local politicians jumped on.....Senator Patty Ritchie got it....This is nanny state governence even though I know it started as a law that passed easily. Senator Ritchie distilled the issue to its purest form...Her colleague, Assemblyman Russell jumped on the issue too, but tried to policy wonk it...She tried to nuance it and lawyer it...
This is a visceral issue, not a debating class...
Senator Ritchie played the politics right and sent the message to the faceless bureaucrats we too often pay allegiance to.
I apprediate Brian's desire to outline the facts...but by the time he did so the emotions had run their course and the regulations were dropped....
In the modern age it doesn't take long for a kerfuffle to unfold on the Internet.
Watertown Daily Times If you're gonna be outraged, get the facts right

Tilted Kilt Calendar Contestant Visits HOTLINE

     Had a nice visit today from the Tilted Kilt's entry in the national chain's calendar girl contest.  Danielle Debona is a General Brown grad and is currently a 4.0 student at JCC where she is readying for future studies in radiology at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.
    She is a server at the Kilt on Arsenal Street and is very personable.  Go to http://www.tiltedkilt.com/ to vote for her.
     This interview was a big "get" for the HOTLINE......Danielle chose us over Cap Tonight.

Log Cabin Republicans: Count Us In

Who are the Log Cabin Republicans ? They don't have much influence in the party since all the GOP Senators vote against gay marriage. Anyway...Whoever they are, they are on the bandwagon.
Log Cabin Republicans: Count Us In

Same Sex Marriage to Be Big Issue in Albany This Year...Bigger than WIGS

With the budget decided and issues like the official state vegetable unlikely to see legislative action, the attention of official Albany will turn this spring to same sex marriage....aka 'marriage equality.'
Its not something that's a big issue in upstate districts, but polling data shows increasing acceptance of the change. Two years ago the matter failed in the Senate by a 38-24 vote with a handful of Democrats joining all the Republicans in opposing it.
This year Governor Cuomo is fully behind the change and the LGBT, or whatever the acronym is, is a big deal in NYC politics. Its sort of like the NRA in rural districts as lawmakers seek the endorsement.
Of course I am in no way equating guns and gays. Its just that certain interest groups are important in certain areas......
The composition of the Senate is similar to two years ago, and to pass this will take a couple GOP votes.
I suspect our Senator will not be as quick to post on Facebook about this issue as she was chili or kickball. A lot of people surely favor the change up here too or at least are ambivalent.....A lot are against too.
Where as polling showed support for kickball was north of 90%.
One voice for same-sex marriage - Times Union

Local Pols Using Social Media Too

New media like Facebook are playing increasing roles in politics. Senator Patty Ritchie makes extensive use of social networking to reach her flock outside the realm of the MSM who generally look down on her issues and pursuits as pedestrian and fluffy.....Her political cohort in Ogdensburg, Mayor Bill Nelson also uses Facebook for everything from pictures of his vacation in Aruba to sharing articles that reflect his views on issues and the world.
I have certainly tried to take advantage of new technology to open new avenues to the public.
Politics is being changed by these new media. Making effective use of them is a challenge.
Bill Nelson (12)

WDT: Downtown Continues to Chug Along as Stream Hires

Stream is proving it is the force in a revitalized Downtown Watertown as it continues to secure the contracts that allow hiring of hundreds of people to work in the call center located on Arsenal Street. Now, I know jobs ebb and flow in this business, but by and large the firm has been a major plus for Downtown by providing decent jobs for those who want to make a go of it.
This is a tough and competitive business and it's no small fete to be successful in it.
Other smaller Downtown businesses are an inspiration as well. Asian Fusion and Philly's Finest are restaurants started by people from elsewhere who chose Watertown as the spot to make their stand in small business.
Other local businesses are investing in facades and upper floor restorations as well.
Kudos to the Downtown community for building on public improvements and we wish success to all.
Watertown Daily Times Stream to hire 120 workers in Watertown

Obama: Facebooks's Zuckerberg Can Afford More Taxes

In a tip of the hat to the social media so essential to his political media strategy ,President Obama held a town hall meeting at Facebook in my home town of Palo Alto, CA. He even told Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that the 26 year old billionaire can afford to pay a little more in taxes.
The questions were mostly friendly and it was a good way to meet a generation that may not read and view the more traditional media.
The theme was the same...Republicans are radicals who want to change the social compact. The campaign is underway in earnest.
While I suspect Mr. Zuckerberg can afford more in taxes, so can General Electric which paid none last year. People at this level don't pay taxes in the sense we do, and this notion that we can solve budget problems by soaking the rich is just plain misleading.
But its obvious 2012 will be one of class warfare.
Obama, Facebook town hall: Obama tries to reconnect with youthful supporters at Facebook town hall - latimes.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

June O'Neill....Survivor

June O'Neill has a new gig...No longer NYS Democratic Chair, she is doing something for the Comptroller on a "part time" basis.....I am sure she is already retired from the state so this will be a nice double dip....
I don't want to pick on June per se, but when you read about the soaring rates local governments are paying into the system in the coming year, its important to realize how bogus the NYS retirement system is...
All those Tier Four people not paying anything into it once they get to ten years...Now cities, villages and towns are contributing 20 to 30 percent of payroll to make sure the people who juiced their final year earnings can get their check sent to Florida.
But let me make it clear...I like June O'Neill and wish her well..I wish sometimes I were again a faithful, obsequious Democrat so I could get that cushy no show job for a couple years before retirement...
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

$6 gas? Could happen if dollar keeps getting weaker. - CSMonitor.com

I am really glad the good folks at FX Caprara discovered a software fix so I can use my I Phone on the Chrysler U-Connect system....I may be using it while standing still as a weak dollar and rising oil prices are now prompting predictions of $6 a gallon gas...That's what the Administration in Washington wants...it's all about creating those green jobs for the 21st century...
Too bad the rest of us who don't have a green job can't afford much of anything...
$6 gas? Could happen if dollar keeps getting weaker. - CSMonitor.com

State Dog to Be Proposed for New York - NYTimes.com

When lawmakers get a budget done early....they have a lot of free time on their hands and they can spend time on what should be the state vegetable or official state dog.....
Will Senator Ritchie weigh in ? Will Assemblywoman Russell provide a thoughtful attempt at reaching a consensus ?...
Is Jim Reagen drafting the press release ? Is Ted Ford lining up a spot for his boss on Capital Tonight ?
My nomination for the official state dog is the Tug Hill Commission.
State Dog to Be Proposed for New York - NYTimes.com

Thanks Girls for Getting Rid of Him

I am so glad Ashley Dupre and others in her trade took out Eliot Spitzer....If he had stayed in office, what a disaster...He is using his CNN perch to take shots at the modest budgetary improvements achieved by Governor Cuomo this year....calling it "Chirstie Light." , a reference to neighboring New Jersey's new governor.
Eliot Spitzer would not have been able to tackle the fundamental problems that Mr. Cuomo is at least taking a stab at.
The Daily Politics New York Daily News

Wiffle Ball Maker: What Was NYS Whiffing? | New York Daily News

The makers of whiffle balls have weighed in on those now dropped regulations on common playground games. Whiffle Ball, tag, Red Rover and a list of others were named by the NYS Department of Health as dangerous....
The Connecticut based company that makes whiffle balls said they couldn't believe their harmless product would be singled out....Neither could anyone else.
Wiffle Ball Maker: What Was NYS Whiffing? New York Daily News

DRUDGE: BOOK TO REVEAL OBAMA'S TRUE IDENTITY?

Just when some are tired of the birther debate...(I am not...its a gift from Heaven for radio talk shows)....along comes a new book on the subject...something sure to keep the debate going.
DRUDGE: BOOK TO REVEAL OBAMA'S TRUE IDENTITY?

Bachmann: Time to Move On

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann is coming off as the more sensible Tea Partier with her call to drop the birther debate resurrected by Donald Trump who is in the early stages of a campaign for the White House.....
Ms. Bachmann says its time to move on as there are real issues.....The argument over the President's place of birth is settled in most people's minds including conservative columnists like Ann Coulter who says birthism has been debunked....
The left has sought to keep birther talk alive as it is viewed as a tool for branding the Tea Party as nutty and racist.
NationalJournal.com - Bachmann: ‘Let’s Move On’ From ‘Birther’ Issue - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Operators Lose Control Of Pennsylvania Gas Well

The natural gas extraction method known as hydrofracking has been getting publicity of late...Just today I saw a story on TV about the economic boon in parts of Pennsylvania and of course there is debate in NY about allowing it in the Southern Tier....
But publicity is a two edge sword and today brings word of a well gone awry with fracking liquid spilled and homes evacuated.....While the extent of the incident is not known, you can bet every burp at one of these facilities will get lots of press.
In NY worries over infiltration to water supplies is fueling opposition.
Operators Lose Control Of Pennsylvania Gas Well

Trump Attack Of The Day

Donald Trump is taking it from all sides now that there is serious consideration being given to his latest stated desire to run for President......Every day there are the attacks from the left who consider him to much a Tea Partier and from the establishment right who say he is a liberal in sheep's clothing.
Mr. Trump has certainly stirred the pot and has revealed a lack of enthusiasm for people in the race so far.
I still think Palin is out and so is Huckabee....But even those two may rethink as its obvious Trump has shown that among the base there is a desire for someone who can get them fired up. Somehow Mitt Romney just doesn't do that.
Trump Attack Of The Day

Are Potsdam Residents Being Led By Pollsters on How to Think ?

Surveys are fine but there is no substitute for actual democracy which for the Village of Potsdam comes in November with a referendum on village dissolution. A survey done by academics shows if you tell people it will lower taxes and then ask if they are in favor of dissolution, a majority says yes...If you phrase the question around possible loss of services, its a different answer.
In the rush to get rid of some of the layers of government, I am not down on villages or cities. They represent concentrations of population that allow for more efficient delivery of services. Its urban sprawl and the proliferation of utitlity districts that has made upstate NY more difficult to pay for. I will leave school districts aside for the moment, even though they consume more dollars than the municipalities they are in.
So far villages are the only subdivision of government there seems to be this stampede to get rid of...I think when you look at whole issue, villages are not the most problematic and indeed the dissolution of Seneca Falls has not created a Wonderful Life for people there.
There are many things that could be done to enhance efficiency, but institutionalizing urban sprawl is not among them......
Watertown Daily Times Potsdam residents favor dissolution to lower taxes

Even in the Hospital a Politician Has to Keep Raising Cash

Its no small challenge recovering from the injuries suffered by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) but the Congresswoman also has to seek reelection next year. Ms. Giffords is getting help from friends in Congress and frankly is unlikely to face serious opposition next year, as long as here amazing recovery from a gunshot to the head continues.
The Congresswoman won a close race last fall in AZ's 8th district before she was shot at a shopping center outreach event in January.
So the fund raising moves ahead for Gabby and for other Members of Congress...
I read this AM that our former Congressman, John McHugh still has $108,000 in his war chest, even though he will likely never seek elected office again now that he is President Obama's Secretary of the Army.
Best wishes to Rep. Giffords on her recovery and reelection. The assault on her was an affront to us all.
Giffords Camp Prepares For Re-Elect - Hotline On Call

SAGE Commission Will Have Its Hands Full

We saw during the recent budget cycle the Governor was unable to cut even one small agency as part of his stated effort to eliminate 20% of all those various agencies and commissions created over the eight decades since the last attempt at streamlininig government in 1927.
A favorite techinique is to appoint an independent panel to make recommendations, thus relieving the "electeds" of making a suggestion that would cost the job of a relative or wife of a constituent working for one of these entities. The Governor's SAGE Commission is the body in place for this, but as we saw with his mandate relief panel, such efforts usually do not succeed.
Whether you like the Tug Hill Commission or not, its survival in the budget is testimony to the hesitancy to cut anything.
The SAGE Commission, with all its political donors and corporate poobahs, may end up being dismissed by lawmakers who fancy themselves as listening to the people.
Time will tell.
Business model for renewing government - Times Union

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In Case You Were Looking for Our Campaign Facebook Page

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Graham-For-Mayor-2011/154373987950701

Or our mailing address   PO Box 673, Watertown, NY 13601

Air Traffic Controllers Know How to Impress the Boss

Amidst a weekend of revelations about sleeping air traffic controllers, the President's bride had a close call thanks to a controller's mistake...The plane carrying Michelle Obama came too close to a cargo jet and forced the plane carrying FLOTUS to abort a landing.
Nobody was hurt but its not a good way to ingratiate the controllers to their boss.....
NationalJournal.com - Plane Carrying Michelle Obama Aborts Landing Because of Error - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

SAGE Commission Includes Big Donors To Cuomo | Politics on the Hudson

Reform is the domain of the well to do and well connected...Governor Cuomo's newly appointed SAGE Commission on savings and consolidation is loaded up with campaign donors along with labor and corporate bigwigs...
The rest of us who may want to see a more streamlined state government need not apply.
As they like to say....Leave it to the "professionals"
SAGE Commission Includes Big Donors To Cuomo Politics on the Hudson

Sarah Palin's Web Site Sparks Presidential Buzz

Sarah Palin hates being on the sidelines and has increased buzz by debuting a new version of her http://www.sarahpac.com/ website. The excitement over Donald Trump suggests a market for someone other than Romney and Company so maybe Palin will see an opening...Unless a certain Congresswoman from Minnesota hasn't already filled that void.
Sarah Palin's website sparks White House buzz - Andy Barr - POLITICO.com

Patty Is Playing This Like...Well Like I Would Play It

On her Facebook page, Senator Ritchie trumpets, "Albany says uncle."
Facebook (10)

Patty Routs Faceless Bureaucrats Who Hate Kick Ball

Senator Patty Ritchie goes on FOX to decry the playground regulations and within hours the Department of Health folds its cards....The faceless bureaucrats were in full retreat as the former bureaucrat from Heuvelton routed the forces of evil.
Now the children of New York's working families can play kick ball without feeling they are being bad.
For Senator Ritchie this is her second dust up with DOH....Earlier this year she sparred with the faceless over homemade chili at NNY cookoffs.
Health Department Yanks Camp Regulations

Tuesday Stuff (updated)

   Its corn beating onion in a NY Farm Bureau poll on what should be the official state vegetable. I haven't heard from our local lawmakers on the subject but I am sure Reagen and Ford are formulating positions.

    Speaking of kerfuffles....I was told mid afternoon Assemblywoman Addie Russell will go on Capital Tonight this evening to provide  a thoughtful, policy oriented  explanation on why the faceless bureaucrats in the NYS Department of Health want to deny youngsters the chance to play kick ball.
   Earlier today, Senator Patty Ritchie was on FOX News decrying  the proposed regulations for summer day camps that label common playground games as dangerous.
    Team Russell is portraying their boss's position as reasoned and cerebral, and by implication portraying the Senator's stand as shallow grandstanding.
     With the budget over there is plenty of time for such pursuits.....Heck I'll go on Capital Tonight when I don't have anything to talk about.


My favorite quote of the day comes from the Donald when quizzed on ABC about his personal finances...

"I'll show my tax returns when Obama shows his birth certificate."   The race will be so boring when Mr. Trump decides not to run and we go back to hearing from T-Paw and Newt.

  

S&P Cuts U.S. Ratings Outlook to Negative - WSJ.com

Standard and Poors has dropped the nation's debt rating....That's only a bad thing if you believe in the system as it exists.....If you are in a different paradigm like President Obama and many others, then such things don't matter.
After all the flip side of the debt is stimulus...creating green jobs for the 21st Century.....helping our working families and seniors.....funding health care for all, and a caring, compassionate society......
When in that paradigm, you can dismiss S&P and their pals at Moody's as corrupt agencies that propped up the speculative, Wall Street booms that got us here....You can talk about cuts that are not cuts and balancing the budget in X number of years when you have no prospect of doing so.
The only bad thing about the downgrade is it caused the market to drop..Hopefully that's only for a day or two...
S&P Cuts U.S. Ratings Outlook to Negative - WSJ.com

Red Rover Story Hits Big City MSM

That story we talked about last week about increased playground regulation of commong games like kickball and Red Rover has percolated up to the big city MSM.......Papers like the Daily News made fun of it too by running a photo of a youngster dressed in padding coming home from the playground.
Wonder why the Health Department didn't hold a press conference to outline their initiative ? I think we know why.
Our elected officials were all over this story last week after newsman John Moore broke the story locally.
Just because we are a town still without a movie theater doesn't mean our local newsmen and politicians are not on the ball....the kickball that is.
Classic kids games like kickball deemed unsafe by state in effort to increase summer camp regulation

Capitol Confidential: One of Seven to Leave State

One of last year's seven candidates for Governor of New York is leaving the state for life in the Sunshine State. Libertarian candidate Warren Redlich has reportedly passed the Florida bar exam and is outta here....Mr. Redlich finished fourth, just shy of getting the Libertarians the 50,000 votes needed for party status. He gave a wry and witty performance in the debate but like many candidates was ultimately overshadowed by Rent's Too High canididate Jimmy McMillan.
Capitol Confidential » Redlich ankles NY: Warren, we hardly knew ye

Club for Growth Latest to Rap Trump

The think tank that backed Doug Hoffman for Congress in 2009 has branded Donald Trump "just another liberal." The Club for Growth is a conservative touchstone has joined other GOP establishement types in ripping the Donald and attempting to derail a possible Presidential bid. Must be seeing Mitt's numbers sagging has frightened the establishment. NationalJournal.com - Club for Growth: Trump Is 'Just Another Liberal' - Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Manager Proposes Static Tax Rate Budget for 2011-2012

      Faced with rapidly rising payments to the State's wobbly pension system, City Manager Mary Corriveau tonight proposed a spending plan for the coming year with no tax increase, no water rate increase and a slight decrease in sewer rents. She cited concern over the pension mess with a cautious approach to handling the City's healthy fund balance.
     The spending plan will be reviewed by City Council over the coming weeks with some smaller changes likely and an expected debate over how much fund balance to appropriate towards mitigating property taxes.
      One highlight is a continued decrease in debt service which is a result of several years of less bonding for smaller projects. Debt service this year will be 8.8% of spending compared to 9.5% last year.
      In other action this evening, Council agreed to move ahead with an audit of Parks and Recreation and is sending lists of things to be studied to a local firm. Billing and accounting issues have surfaced that Council felt needed an outside look and recommendations for correction.
     Council also heard from the Watertown Urban Mission about critical needs facing the community and a request for a one time grant for their food pantry.
    

What’s With The Anti-Trumpaganda?

The possible candidacy of Donald Trump has Liz wondering why the GOP pundits are all dissing the Donald...Its simple...Trump can't be controlled and won't be hiring all the usual operatives and hangers on. That's why they are in overdrive trying to derail a Trump candidacy... What’s With The Anti-Trumpaganda?

Just in Time for Summer, The Circus is Back in the Bay

A popular Alexandria Bay blogger felt he had to stand down for the last few weeks as he feared his blunt commentaries on local doings would threaten his job...After receiving assurances from his employer (who he doesn't name) the blog is back up. The Circus and ABay.com were chest deep in the controversy over the winter concerning the Mayor's statements about "bad bikers" coming to the sleepy village later this year for a rally... The kerfuffle sparked the largest number of hits ever for me when I linked to it. the circus

What a Blue Monday

     What an absolutely crummy day this is...Cold and windy.....Glad to see some folks from Fort Drum made it on the View on ABC along with Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. A couple of HOTLINE listeners saw it....
      I got an earful on the show from the Duff and then ran into him Downtown and heard some more...Crazy Ray from the Bay called to say my software fix for the Jeep bluetooth-Iphone mess is in ...So off to FX in the Bay I go tomorrow. I hope that works so I won't have to run over the phone and reactivate my old one.
       City Council meets tonight, as I have said. Hopefully its not too long a meeting. Today is also the last day to receive applications to the City Clerk job. Council will now begin reviewing the applicants.
        And Scott Gray says the azaleas are in at Grays Flowers although when watching the Masters, he couldn't identify one on TV.   He has studied up.
        And some good news. My weekly weighing in the Engineering Dept., yielded a loss after last week's bump up. Hopefully I am back on track to seeing the day when the first number in my weight is a "1".
       I better look good...Tilted Kilt wants a photo op with me and a staffer who is one of 50 competing in a national Tilted Kilt calendar contest. Of course at a certain age no amount of dieting will really make you look "good".
     

Ritchie: Corn Swamps Onion in Poll

Today's Facebook post from Senator Ritchie is an update on her light hearted survey on whether onions or corn should be the official NYS vegetable. Corn is leading and that likely brings onion growers to tears. Homemade chili, saving Red Rover on the playground, picking a vegetable. I see a trend here. Patty Ritchie (10)

WDT: Galloo Project Languishes

Not that any of it matters since lawmakers mostly run unopposed, but Jefferson County's greatest deliberative body must be wondering why they took all that grief over Galloo Island wind farms and the oversized lawn ornaments are nowhere in sight... The developer doesn't have a power purchase agreement with the State and without that no wind power.....As I understand it, part of the subsidy for this type of project is an assured place to sell the power as no one would loan the money without such a deal. I am not as smart as these folks, but its seems like a deal in which the government would agree to buy my beer at Fort Pearl just in case no one else wanted to. In any event the very contentious debate over tax breaks (oh they need those too) caused a rift in the normally colllegial County Legislature. The rift is over and while it was a windy weekend there was no electicity flowing from Galloo Island. Watertown Daily Times Galloo line path remains in limbo

Andy Floated for VEEP After Joe Takes a Nap

Poor Joe Biden falls asleep at a Presidential speech worthy of a snooze and now there is talk of dumping him from the ticket in 2012 in favor of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is a Democratic Party rock star for passing a budget without tax hikes and for a little tough talk about public employee unions.... Vice President Biden does look tired but he is still a seasoned number two who brought substance to the ticket in 2008 as the man at the top had no relevant experience for the job....Nice guy...charming...full of ideas and nice rhetoric but woefully unfamiliar with the skills to be a chief executive....... Now the President's numbers are slipping and he needs some excitement and frankly needs to be associated with someone not known for spending. Enter Andy.....Now Mr. Cuomo in fact has a lot to do yet in order to change NY...But Governor Cuomo knows that beyond the first year or two he will find it gets more difficult to bend Albany to your will...So while talk of Andy for number two is just talk, on some levels it makes sense. Cuomo for vice president? One analyst thinks so - NYPOST.com

Sunday, April 17, 2011

U.S. and Allies Seek a Refuge for Qaddafi - NYTimes.com

I thought we were going to drive Qaddafi to an early grave and install a new regime just by firing a few hundred million-dollar-missiles....Now there's a stalemate civil war in Libya and people are being brutalized in cities like Misurata....Meanwhile the US and its Allies are said to be seeking a safe haven for the Libyan strongman somewhere in Africa where they don't recognize treaties that might leave Qaddafy vulnerable to prosecution for Lockerbie.... Another Mideast adventure for the USA. This is kind of like a latter day Bay of Pigs. U.S. and Allies Seek a Refuge for Qaddafi - NYTimes.com

Property Tax Cap Gets Realtor Support...But Local Pols May Oppose It

      With a huge majority of New Yorkers in favor of it and the NYS Realtors launching a first-ever ad campaign in favor of it, who exactly is against Governor Cuomo's proposed property tax cap ?
      One group fighting it is the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) of which cities like Watertown are contributing, dues paying members. Now the City Council has taken no position on this matter and I am not a fan of "sense of the body" resolutions. I am sure each member can articulate his or her own position
      . NYCOM opposition stems from the steadfast refusal of Albany to pass what they call "mandate relief", much of which are rules and regs about public employees which are costly. There is also a philosophical argument against localities losing control over their tax levy. Routinely there are issues that NYCOM advocates for and against that I personally don't agree with, but hey, that's life.    
       My personal inclination is to support the cap as a means to force mandate relief. However since our City property tax levy represents only about one fifth of general fund revenue, the ability to increase it two percent doesn't produce a lot when you have big expense hikes coming along. That is why I have opposed schemes to lower sales tax without thinking through the implications on local government.
       A two percent decrease in City sales tax revenue is about $330K......Increase the property tax levy by two percent and that produces about $160K.... The other issue with one size fits all solutions like the cap is that every city, village, town and school district has a different composition of revenues that may color their view of the situation....
        I wish it were all as easy as a slogan...But if it precipitates mandate relief, the slogan may be a good thing...In any event, minds greater than mine will make the decision. Local Realtors Support Property Tax Cap WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Donald Trump: Obama will go down as worst president in U.S. history

Maybe the Donald will run and he could well be a factor. I was talking to my Mom today and she likes him and she is normally not the one to latch on to trendy, shallow, flash in the pan candidates like some in her family...That endorsement gave Mr. Trump some gravitas. Left on the dustbin of this campaign for Mom is Mitt Romney who she finally gave up on. I still think Trump is unlikely to want to do the things necessary to win a nomnination...It's a tough life for a person used to having his own way. Donald Trump: Obama will go down as worst president in U.S. history

Sunday is My Day for Soundbites

      I was a little irreverant in my interview today with channel 7 over the proposed City budget coming out tomorrow night...I have seen enough presentations over the years and feel I keep a good enough eye on trends throughout the year, that the power point show isn't really that much of an epiphany for me.
      Obviously the proposal sets a framework for discussion...a paradigm if you will...but there are variables in terms of assumptions and in terms of how to handle things like the "healthy" fund balance.
      Typically a city manager will guage the political winds as well as the fiscal situation in deciding the angle to take....Lawmakers posture in these affairs and often there are differing priorities among lawmakers between say tax relief and more spending.
       So when I did my TV interview I perhaps didn't exhibit the requisite awe and trepidation for the presentation....I am sure it will be complete and well done, but my affection for the document is proportional to whether I agree with the suppositions offered....
        It's that special use permit for another tattoo parlor that has me scratching my head...The reporter interviewing me today said she found my comments the other day on butt caps to be amusing....
I thought every young lady had one these days but the reporter volunteered the information that she did not.
       To which I responded ,"good for you."  What are you supposed to say ?

Things That Make You Shake Your Head

Scandals have a way of developing like this...A sleeping air traffic controller story breaks...gets tons of publicity because it was at Reagan Airport in DC where lots of media is....Then the floodgates open and other instances come to the fore. Previous incidents handled "internally" that we never knew about.... Now the Transportation Secretary Ray LaHoud goes on TV and tells Chris Wallace of FOX that his agency has now told controllers they shouldn't be sleeping on the job.....let me repeat... SECRETARY LAHOUD SAYS HIS AGENCY HAS TOLD CONTROLLERS   THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO SLEEP ON THE JOB. Sir, should we really have to tell them that ?. My Way News - Another air controller naps; new schedules coming

Mega Millions ticket worth $72 million sold on Staten Island - NYPOST.com

Some more economic development for NY State courtesy of the rest of the country...This week a $72M MegaMillions Lottery winner on Staten Island...Last month there was single $316M winning ticket sold in Albany. MegaMillions is a multi state lottery. Mega Millions ticket worth $72 million sold on Staten Island - NYPOST.com

WDT: MSM Wants Tax Relief....We Also Do, But Lets Keep a Focus on Property Taxes

Tax relief is needed, but property taxes should not be overlooked by embracing gimmicky tax exemptions like that on clothing sales tax. The County and City need to use the flush of sales tax revenue to provide property tax relief. I know...I know....If you drop the levy and a property tax cap is passed in Albany, you will never be able to get the rate back up in a hurry.... That's the idea..... The prospect of losing a home is more onerous than a flat tax on all purchases. Remember, school taxes will be going up this year, so other governments should not contribute to the overall by following suit. Cuts, spending restraint, mandate relief, better labor agreements...It's all part of the mix. Sales tax generates enormous sums in this county where we have so many visitors in the form of cottagers, tourists, sportsmen and military visitors. No tax is pleasant, but lets look at property tax relief when we are blessed with extra revenue from sales tax. And if Albany imposes a cap....so what. Watertown Daily Times Tax relief Jefferson County should reduce sales tax

Hevesi gets up to 4 years

A long time member of the political class in NY will do a bit of jail time. Alan Hevesi is getting one to four years for a pay to play scandal involding the state pension fund. Mr. Hevesi was contrite but voters actually encourage this kind of behavior...So does the lock-step party system... In 2006 following his indictment on these matters, Hevesi was easily reelected to his statewide post as voters just pulled the lever for a Democrat. After the election Hevesi was pressured to resign and Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli was appointed by the Legislature. Mr. Hevesi and his family are regulars at the trough. His son is a Member of Assembly and another son is a former state senator. Hevesi gets up to 4 years New York Daily News

Sarah Palin to GOP: 'Fight like a girl' - Andy Barr - POLITICO.com

Just when I thought she was unlikely to jump into 2012 politics, Sarah Palin shows up in Madison, WI and gives a fiery campaign-style speech at Tax Day rally.....Taxes are due tomorrow. Ms. Palin joined other GOP possibles in cranking up the rhetoric. One of the other celebrity hopefuls, Donald Trump held a rally near one of his homes in Boca Raton, FL. This week, President Obama was in campaign mode himself attending fundraisers in Chicago and taking his own shots at the GOP controlled House. Finally it may be game on for 2012. Sarah Palin to GOP: 'Fight like a girl' - Andy Barr - POLITICO.com