Saturday, May 21, 2011

Various Post Parade Asides

     -Combat veteran bikers roared past the reviewing standing with mufflers (or lack of) leaving a cacaphony that clearly violates the City's new noise ordinance....No one was cited and the crowd seemed to get a kick out of the show of civil disobedience.....I did too.
      -Brittnee the Polar Bear Dip girl sent a message to say she is back working at the Kilt.
     -I walked across Washington Street in front of Case Jr. today and despite the sign in the middle of the road, several motorists failed to yield...Come on folks, its a school zone.
      -Both City Judge Candidates had entourages in the Armed Forces Parade.
      -Larry from Prague is angry over the post about him 'endorsing' Eugene Renzi...He did say on the HOTLINE both candidates were good choices but Mr. Renzi had the edge due to experience on the bench. It was just a funny aside...No one really will be swayed by an endorsement from the capital of the Czech Republic....Will they ?
     -Lewis County Judge Charles Merrill made official what I said earlier...He is running for Supreme Court. 

GOP About to Lose a Safe Seat

Republicans have driven down the numbers of the Tea Party candidate in NY26....but its not helping their candidate who is now trailing the Democrat at four points in a Siena Poll....Kathy Hochul leads Jane Corwin in a race everyone thought Corwin had in the bag six weeks ago...
State of Politics Blog

Watertown's Newest House is Now a Home

   A Watertown family of five took the keys to their new 5-bedroom home on Bradley Street today, courtesy of volunteers at Habitat for Humanity...
   Carlos and Norma Pachedo were very emotional when Habitat building committee chair Brian Drappo handed them their key...Extended  family and friends along with other Habitat families looked on...
   It's a beautiful home on a site where a run down structure used to be.
   Habitat plans to break ground in June for a home on the corner of Cooper and Lynde Streets on the north side.

Dems Find One Candidate to Run for County Leg

   Former City police officer and ex Town of Rutland supervisor Ron Cole has announced his candidacy for Jefferson County Legislature from district 11....That is the district now held by freshman legislator Robert Ferris.
    Former County Treasurer Nancy Brown told the gathering she will not compete for County Leg from District 11.  Ms. Brown says she hopes Mr. Cole will initiate probes into the operations of county government.
   Also speaking was state comptroller Tom DiNapoli,  who thanked the locals for their help last year in electing him. Mr. DiNapoli also said the state is seeing a tentative economic revival, including rising home values and  increasing sales tax revenues.

Dems Rally at Ramada

   Democrats gathered for their spring luncheon today at the Ramada Inn, but without a promised replacement for former County Treasurer Nancy Brown....
   Lots of luminaries and the Times scribe said he was surprised to see me here..Shouldn't be.
   I frequently break bread with different parties and have strong working relationships with many Democrat officials...Those who define their lives by a party label miss out on a good piece of life.
    I see Mike Schell...Judge Merrill, Assemblywoman Russell and lots more...Gotta go socialize.
    NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli just walked in...and  I just ran into Middle Class Mike...Wonder if he thinks I am a progressive or just an interloper

Watertown Salutes Military

   Thousands lined Washington Street in Watertown as the North Country paid tribute to men and women in uniform, particularly the Tenth Mountain Divsion at Fort Drum.
   Soldiers, high school bands, politicians, roller derby girls, kids, robots, fire trucks and lots more marched the route under overcast skies.
    This has been a wet month, but everyone was glad to kick off the summer season with such a wonderful and well attended event.

WDT: Audit of Recreation Department Due on Monday

The much anticipated audit of operations at the Fairgrounds and the Recreation department will indeed be available Monday and its my intent to make sure the Council, staff and others receive it simultaneously. I had a call Friday afternoon from the auditor saying she expected to have it ready Monday and will call when it is. The Council meets at 6Pm, so that is as good a time as any to distribute it.
The report is a thorough look at the issues that recently came to light and contains recommended changes in procedures and practices. Accountant Laurie Podvin conducted the audit and will meet with Council at a future date to discuss the findings and answer specific questions once everyone has digested the report.
At Monday's Council meeting, lawmakers will discuss revisions to the water rate schedules, decide on a tax levy and take up the matter of beer concessions at the Fairgrounds.
Council is also continuing to work on reviewing applications for City Clerk.
Watertown Daily Times Audit of rec department due on Monday

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dems: No Treasurer After All

     I was told today that Democrats have no Jefferson County treasurer to unveil on Saturday....Dems had advertised they would have the replacement for the recently departed Nancy Brown...But no such luck....
    Republicans also have no candidate...although I was talking to someone in the financial planning business who said she was thinking about it. No candidates...that will make for a great election.
    Oh, by the way...Did you know the county pays the electeds like a union employee...They get step increases in office..So a new treasurer doesn't make what the previous one did...
    That should change. But it won't..
Editor's Note- If there are no posts Saturday, just assume rapture.

Hochul Brings in the Big Guns, Corwin Rivals '64 Phillies

Governor Cuomo and LG Duffy are weighing in on the NY26 Congressional slugfest...Democrat Kathy Hochul is poised for an upset win over GOP Assemblywoman Jane Corwin...A third party candidate named Jack Davis is polling well after spending millions of his own dollars.
My prediction is Hochul wins as Corwin's effort has been bedeviled by infighting and a childish ambush of the elderly Davis by her chief of staff. (These special elections are great entertainment for people like Liz or maybe even me.)
If she loses, Ms. Corwin's demise will rival the '64 Phillies.
State of Politics Blog

WDT: First, wine in desserts; next, wine in grocery stores!

The camel's nose is under the tent..
Watertown Daily Times First, wine in desserts; next, wine in grocery stores!

State DEC seizes 6-foot alligator and 8-foot python from Syracuse home |

An alligator and a large snake were seized from a Syracuse home...DEC agents collared the reptiles today...What are people doing with these kind of animals in their house ? It would give you the creeps knowing they were next door, although there are some big snakes living near Crazy Ray.
State DEC seizes 6-foot alligator and 8-foot python from Syracuse home

Zoo's Mountain Lion Retiring

An exciting year at the Thompson Park Zoo and a little better today with the help of a $6000 check from the Heather Freeman Foundation....Ms. Freeman had been an active Zoo supporter until her death in a motor vehicle accident.
The Zoo also announced its mountain lion will no longer be on display due to age.
At the next regular City Council meeting lawmakers will act on awarding the engineering contract for rehabilitation of the Aviary, which when done will be a major improvement to the facility.
Zoo's Mountain Lion Retiring

Ritchie Does Not Support Voiding Outside Gay Marriages

In a show of independence from Senate leadership, Senator Patty Ritchie will not support a bill to void same sex marriages done in states currently allowing them...That would include three New England states.
Ms. Ritchie has said she will oppose a gay marriage bill for NY, but her stand suggests she is not as strident on the topic as some....
Two years ago, a marriage equality failed in the Senate by a 38-24 margin and the Governor has said he will only allow the bill to come to a vote this year if he is sure of passage......
Prisons anyone ?
Ritchie Does Not Support Voiding Outside Gay Marriages WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Ritchie To Visit Watertown Firefighters Too

     The really good news is our State Senator reads this humble blog and saw our suggestion she visit Watertown firefighters since she recently visited City of Ogdensburg smoke eaters.
     Senator Patty Ritchie's office called and asked for a chance to tour the Emma Flower Taylor Fire Station on Massey Street next week.. We are working on the details (or as they say in government, 'efforting the logistics').
      The Senator wants to talk about issues like the law to protect first responders from attacks while doing their job.
      We look forward to the Senator visiting City facilities next week and will keep everyone posted on the details.

If the Fire Were There...She'd Be In Already

Every since Mike Huckabee said he didn't have his heart in it, the focus is on the belly...Do you have the fire in the belly to run ?
It's a question all candidates must ask at any level, but its especially important at the Presidential level....
Giving up your life, livelihood, privacy and dignity to run for office is not for everyone...That's why there is but a limited pool of people seeking it.....As we saw in 2008 with so many sitting Senators and millionaires running, you have to have the flexibility in life to give up everything for this singular quest....
Trump and Huckabee couldn't pull the trigger and I do not think in the end Palin does either...
Everyone loves being fussed over as a potential candidate...but there is a time when you cannot play Hamlet any longer and that time is nearing. The attention shifting to another woman, Michelle Bachmann, surely tugged at Sarah Palin's ego.....For the record she is still considering it...In the end, she will pass this time and preserve her brand for another day.
Sarah Palin Presidential Candidate Fire In My Belly The Daily Caller

Russell: Brides and Grooms Should Register Locally

Wait a Brian Amaral reporting that Assemblywoman Addie Russell held a press conference to ask prospective newlyweds to register for gifts locally in order to help local vendors and artisans ?
I'd like confirmation of this, as I cannot believe a sitting Member of Assembly would hold a presser to say that...I know the June wedding season is just around the corner, but come on....
Watertown Daily Times Scraps from Russell presser

Katie Couric , Right Wing Target...or Just Not Popular

Is Katie Couric off the air because she ticked off the right ? Or is it poor ratings ?
I think its the latter. Even in the shrinking pie of network nightly news, you still have to garner viewers and Couric didn't get enough for the Tiffany Network. Some are speculating that she had become a punching bag for the right, unhappy with liberal media, In America's cable driven, polarized view towards news, the broad based, fatherly, appeal-to-all anchor may be gone. In the end, Ms. Couric didn't perform well enough in the marketplace, as this is a business....So she had to go...
At least the network bosses didn't get rid of her in the manner of Howard Beal.
Katie Couric, media-bashing's 'poster child,' exits CBS - Keach Hagey -

Insiders On Trump: We Never Believed It

A survey of political operatives and insiders shows the vast majority never believed Donald Trump would really run, even though some in the media couldn't resist reporting on the prospective candidacy as real.... In the end, Mr. Trump opted to stay in show business an shied away from the rough and tumble world of a Presidential race.
The media liked the sizzle of the outspoken Trump, who forced the President to hold a press conference to reveal his birth certificate. Mr. Trump also spoke candidly on issues like trade relations with China, while other candidates said little.
While the chances of him running may seem slight in hindsight, Mr. Trump made a splash, although in the end he served mostly to illustrate how bland the GOP field is.
Donald Trump would like to continue to fuss and attention of a run, but ultimately did not want the scrutiny, the grind, or the expense. That's why running for office is not for everyone.
Insiders On Trump: We Never Believed It - Hotline On Call

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Arts Crowd Making a Difference Downtown

    I was pleased with a proposal from the North Country Arts Council to put a small theater in the Franklin Building for showing artsy films and documentaries. They seem to be an aggressive group and are also planning a swanky soire this summer in Thompson Park.
    The Franklin Building project has also won awards for urban reconstruction...Yes I know it was expensive...but it is a jewel in downtown.

One of Us Wins Big

This is the story the Lottery loves to tell...A small town school cafeteria worker winning three million dollars...Actually its $150K a year for 20 years or about $99K each year after taxes....
Ms. Furney seems pretty level headed and plans for her first purchase a gazebo for the back yard in Natural Bridge...This is the second big scratch off winner this year in Jefferson County.
I thought you were not supposed to ask a lady her age, but the Lottery says its OK and put 43 in the press release.
This is just enough money to be is a good haul but nothing to go crazy over...
We hope Barb enjoys her new gazebo...hopefully it will have a hot tub inside...
Natural Bridge Cafeteria Worker Wins $3,000,000 in 'Lunch Money'

Library Teen Room a Hit

     After visiting the Flower Library today to see the new teen center on the second floor, I felt even better about Tuesday's decision to increase funding for the facility....
    Increasing hours of operation is important as so many people use the Library....Also we can be proud of our City's support for the Library...There is no economy in being dumb.

Larry From Prague Backs Renzi

   Democrat Keith Caughlin is advertising his bid for City Judge, only a day after Republican Eugene Renzi help a well attended fundraiser to launch his effort to succeed retiring judge James Harberson.
     Mr. Renzi got a boost on the HOTLINE today with the endorsement of long time attorney Larry From Prague, who called the show.
    Larry said both men are good candidates, but cited Mr. Renzi's year's as part time City Judge as giving him an edge in experience.
     The term of office is ten years.

Newzjunky - McClusky Announces Bid for State Supreme Court Justice

This is no surprise but it does set up a battle in the Fifth Judicial District as Town of Watertown Justice James McClusky is in the hunt for a Supreme Court seat...There are three up this year in the six county district and the battle will be whether the GOP hierarchy led by chief admnistrative Judge James Tormey will honor a long standing deal to keep a seat in Jefferson County...The alternative would be to give the lucrative nomination to a lawyer friend in Onondaga County....
Already, Democrat Charles Merrill is planning to run on a platform of keeping a seat in Lewis County...Lowville attorney Michael Young is also said to be pondering a candidacy. UPDATE-He is Running
Justices in Jefferson and Lewis County are retiring and the third vacancy is in Oneida County (Utica).
Supreme Court candidates are chosen at judicial conventions which are very much "inside baseball." I used to go to them on the premise it was a good idea to know judges....I have since concluded it's not that important to me.
Newzjunky - McClusky Announces Bid for State Supreme Court Justice

Wine Ice Cream Gets OK

Senator Ritchie says the Assembly has passed her wine in desserts bill and that its on its way to likely signing by the Governor. Let's put aside the do-gooder arguments about putting alcohol in a family food like ice cream....Who get's to sell it ?
The reports suggest the product will appear in the frozen food aisle, but doesn't wine have to be sold in liquor stores in NY ?
If an alcoholic product is sold as ice cream, might not the children reach into the home freezer for a fudgicle and end up getting tipsy.
We are told this will create jobs....
Actually its not all that new. Prior to dieting I have experimented with pouring creme de menthe on ice both items are off the list to will wine ice cream. Too fattening...I will stick with just wine...
Anyway, not since lacing brownies with pot has such melding of food and drugs occured.
Wine-flavored frozen treats approved in New York - YNN, Your News Now

Watering Down the Tax Cap

Talk in Albany is that the 2% tax cap may get some exemptions you can drive a truck through....Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos says his caucus is willing to consider an exemption to allow for expanding public employee pension costs....
Wait a minute...that's part of paying for government...If you are going to exempt commonplace expenses, the cap becomes mere window dressing...Of course, the Assembly is demanding a watered down cap....
The cap is going to be a heavy life for Governor Cuomo and even as proposed it has loopholes.....We will have to decide if we want a cap that is real....or symbolic...The Assembly at best clearly prefers the latter.
Capitol Confidential » Skelos: Will look at suggested tax cap changes

Arnold's Image a Bit Tarnished By Details of Secret Love Child

Former CA Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar is not getting great reviews for his affair with domestic help that led to the birth of a "love child" a decade ago and the apparent end of his marriage this year...Turns out the Terminator's gal was pregnant concurrently with wife Maria Shriver and Ms. Shriver actually attended the baby shower for the woman although never knowing who the father was till recently.
After a failed governorship, Arnold has proven to be a failure as a person....His movie career revival will likely go on, but his box office appeal is diminished...
Sarah Palin: Arnold Schwarzenegger is 'disgusting' - Andy Barr -

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hi! In three days you will all be dead

With the World set to end in three days, there are a lot of things rapture would spare me from...Monday's City Council meeting with its long discourse on water rate plans...Missing that would be a blessing...
The End of Days would eliminate the need to read the recreation audit. .No need to keep arguing for tax relief....And no need to worry about who the next clerk is...
There are a lot of maintenance items I could forget about  at Fort Pearl if the World ends this weekend.
Maybe I will wait and see.

Hi! In three days you will all be dead

WDT: B-Bush Reject Hypocrisy Charge

I ran into Assemblyman Blankenbush at Pete's tonight...He didn't look hypocritical...Listen, this feigned Democratic outrage over taxes is just that....And the GOP has done the same thing over the years.....Blankenbush opposes the millionaire's tax, even though I don't think he is one...
He supports the home rule legislation allowing Jefferson County to continue the sales tax a 7.75%.....
I suspect, if elected, Brian McGrath would have also supported the sales tax....but he would have supported the millionaire's tax too...Does that make him consistent and less hypocritical...I suspect so, but so what ..
Politics is full of contradictions and compromises....The locals wanted the sales tax to make their job easier and hold down property taxes...Blankenbush and Senator Ritchie carried their water...
Mr. Blankenbush is not a hypocrite...He is a politcian...and I don't consider that a perjorative....He made a judgement on each set of cirumstances.
   One aside...I ask if he was supporting Senator Ritchie's bill on wine sorbet.....The Assemblyman gave me a blank stare...He hadn't heard of the bill and I don't think he knew what sorbet is....
    In the 122nd they cleanse their palate with a can of Genny, so I understand.
Watertown Daily Times Blankenbush rejects tax-extension hypocrisy charge

Renzi Soire Kicks Off Judge Campaign

     The race to succeed retiring City Judge James Harberson ratcheted up a notch tonight at Pete's Restaurant as a crowd gathered in support of attorney and current assitant judge Eugene Renzi.....Judge Renzi is running against Watertown attorney Keith Caughlin for the ten year term.
      While Mr.Renzi is the expected GOP nominee and Caughlin the Democrat, there likely will be primaries for the minor party lines.
       Eugene is the brother of fellow lawyer David Renzi who has run for Assembly and Senate.
       Judge Renzi's father is well known local physician Dr. Eugene Renzi.
UPDATE: Crowd at Pete's is enormous...Big turnout. Candidate plans to compete for Republican, Conservative and Indy lines.
       Former Miss NY present, as well as many other political luminaries.

Bachmann and Palin..The Ultimate Cat Fight ?

With Trump and Huckabee out...Gingrich faltering...Romney waffling and Daniels declining so far, it looks like a choice between Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin for the GOP nomination....At least that's my view and since I am not a Republican, I am not able to vote in the process anyway....
I still don't see Gov. Palin making the move this year, but I do think Rep. Bachmann will get in as she is an Iowa native who may be able to garner the Huckabee vote in the Hawkeye State. An early win brings early money, but its hard to overcome the institutional bias against women candidates...In 2008 we saw race trumps gender among the left and that a conservative woman is an especially large target for the media still infatuated with Barack Obama.
It will be a tough race for either Bachmann or Palin, and the standard bearer is still most likely to be Romney, Daniels or if he will run, Gov. Chris Christie.
hinted that she may be lacing up

NYSUT Praises Millionaires Tax, Skelos Declares It Dead

The "Millionaires Tax" lives....but the head of the GOP held Senate says not so fast...
The state's largest teachers union (NYSUT) is busy trying to revive the tax they say will allow for higher spending on education. The tax is often referred to as "Michael's Law" , a reference to Middle Class Mike, who frequently takes up the teachers cause on blogs and talk shows.
NYSUT Praises Millionaires Tax, Skelos Declares It Dead

Six Figure Retirements the Norm for Many Supers

My favorites are the superintendent getting $316,000 pension and then working for another district in retirement (likely an exemption was granted). My other favorite is the Superintendent with a $174,000 pension who did prison time for stealing $2M from the district he worked for....
Its a great system, and it's all for the children.
The Empire Center for New York State Policy

Newzjunky - Liability Questions Raised Over Fairgrounds Alcohol Sales

Maybe a compromise would be to sell some of that wine sorbet instead of the devil's brew.
Newzjunky - Liability Questions Raised Over Fairgrounds Alcohol Sales

CAPC Tour Highlights Morning for Me

      This morning I took a tour of the Community Action Planning Council facility on Davidson Street where I saw Headstart classes, their food pantry, and met with staffers who explained the range of services provided.....
     Its a nice building...the former Cooper Street School and it is well maintained.....The people were helpful. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about what is done there.

WDT: Parties Struggle to Find a Treasurer Candidate

Why is it getting so hard to fill the County Treasurer job ?
The answer is few people want to go through a public spectacle in order to get a job as an accountant...And there are no people in politics with the vision to see that the post should be that of a fiscal watchdog answering to the people and not the county administration.
The resignation of Nancy Brown has left Democrats explaining why they have no immediate successor while the GOP is whistling past the graveyard as they are unable to convince a candidate to run.....The only name I have heard is a woman from a prominent Town of LeRay family with holdings just up the road from me.
A Democratic luncheon this Saturday may provide insight into what the Dems are up to....
Watertown Daily Times Parties working to fill position

Corwin avoids "camera ambush" questions |

Despite adding another $300K of her own fortune to the campaing this week, Republican Jane Corwin continues to be dogged by questions about her staffer's apparent attempt to ambush third party candidate Jack Davis. Corwin had all but been sworn in weeks ago after the sudden resignation of randy Representitive Chris Lee. The race is in NY 26 a suburban/rural district between Buffalo and Rochester.
The ambush of the 78 year old millionaire Tea Party challenger has made Corwin look bad as she hustled the aide out of state to keep him from reporters.....Its the kind of incident that will fester in the final days of the campaign, and experts now give Democrat Kathy Hochul a slight edge in the race.
Corwin is picking up the endorsement of Carl Paladino, who did poll well in Greater Buffalo in last year's gubernatorial race.
Corwin avoids "camera ambush" questions

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

McGrath Takes After the B-Man

Looks like Lewis County's Brian McGrath doesn't want to give up on an Assembly bid...He has put out a press release ripping Assemblyman Kenneth Blankenbush for holding an Albany fundaraiser...McGrath rips Mr. B for hanging with Albany fat cats while our schools are being cut...It's rhetoric right out of the WFP handbook..
The Albany fundraisers are seedy affairs, but they all have them...That doesn't make it right, but its hardly exclusive to the B man....
If Mr. McGrath is thinking of running again, this kind of class warfare, faux outrgage will not carry the day...McGrath is a bright guy who knows how the system works...Gratuitous press releases are not his best approach if he is running again...
I am not saying that to be mean...but the fact is Blankenbush has worked hard since he got in...Whether he is right on the issues is open to debate and Blankenbush' recent statements on marriage equality certainly would rankle some.
These days everyone assumes Albany is's whether you are a nice guy who relates to my problems.....
McGrath For the North Country :: Press Room

Council Supports Library and Wraps Up Bulk of Budget Talks

    City Council wrapped up the nuts and bolts of the budget by adding a Librarian to assist in expanding hours at the Flower Library..Council also agreed to fix the fountains out front of the historic structure.
    Lawmakers also cut a pick up truck from the Fire Department and appropriated one time stipends for two local food banks.
    Council opted to pay for the Aviary project out of current year funds and on Monday will set the tax levy as I and other members have discussed the notion of tax relief.
    Council will also discuss on Monday a simplification of water rates but pledged the reduction in tiers will be revenue neutral.
     There are still a couple issues being worked on in a busy season...One is a proposed contract for baseball at the Fairgrounds, although I am recused from the process on that one so I don't know whats up. The other issue is the hiring of a City Clerk, which is proceeding as well, although the next discussion will not be till Monday.

Will Tier 6 Offer a 401 Option ?

There is speculation the Governor's pension proposal might include an option for a 401-K style plan....The so called Tier 6 will likely be a more austere form of the present defined contribution system as paying the tab for those now in the system depends on a new generation of workers and employers paying in...There is no stash of cash waiting somewhere...
It would be tough to ween off this system, but there may just have to be a period of 30 or so years of sucking it up for the governmental entities funding the system.
Let's see what the Governor is proposing....unless you are among those who think what we have is just fine, thank you.
Capitol Confidential » Will Tier VI move toward a 401k?

Down Memory Lane....

   Ah, the value of good record keeping.  I was reading through the minutes of Council meetings from May, 1993 that Councilman Smith had requested copies of...This was the period when Recreation was placed under supervision of the Public Works Superintendent...It was also a time when 14 positions were cut, management pay lost steps and longevity, and other changes were made or at least talked about...
   It was a crunch year and the fund balance was only a couple hundred thousand dollars...
   There were many names in the minutes as back then people commented on things...That doesn't happen much now...
    There were many names still familiar to us all...Dan Francis spoke at two meetings that month. He said the Council didn't know what it was doing...He may still feel that way...
    It was an interesting look at no matter how much we many things remain the same...

Schwarzenegger paternity: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with longtime member of household staff -

Arnold's recently terminated marriage to Maria Shriver comes into focus now that we learn of his 'love child' with a household employee a decade ago.....This was kept a secret all during his years as the 'Governator' and brings Schwarzenegger' overall character and honesty into question...Makes you wonder how many media and political insiders knew about this...It would seem a hard thing to conceal...or maybe it was not thought to be relevant....
The old 'what he does on his own time' is his business argurment.
Schwarzenegger paternity: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with longtime member of household staff -

WDT:Deputy to run Jefferson treasurer's office until Cuomo makes appointment

While Democrats say they will introduce the new Jefferson County Treasurer at a fundraiser this weekend, the continued lack of a gubernatorial appointment may suggest they are having trouble finding a person for the job....
One party leader told me yesterday even waterboarding could not get him to reveal who the person is who will replace Treasurer Nancy Brown, who resigned the post effective last week.
Republicans have already privately said they will not have a candidate to be the County's fiscal watchdog.
Watertown Daily Times Deputy to run Jefferson treasurer's office until Cuomo makes appointment

Gov. Cuomo's Pension Plan Drawing Fire From..You Guessed It..The Public Employee Unions

Governor Cuomo's realistic and common sense plan to scale back the state's pension plan is angering the union who say Mr. Cuomo is insensitive to the needs of working people. It's almost like they are saying it is in the interest of working people to continue to raise property taxes and drive people and business out of the state.
The Governor's plan raises the retirement age, raises employee contributions, ends pension "spiking" and makes other changes to the defined benefits plan. Current workers benefits will not be affected.
It seems Mr. Cuomo is promoting dialogue on responsible financing. Some have suggested even further changes, including going to a defined contribution, 401-K style program.
It's important that Albany does not perpetuate a system in which we have two classes of workers....those in police and fire versus those like the CSEAS workers. The pension plan costs are far more for the uniformed services.
By 2015, local governments employing a firefighter or cop at $60,000 in wages will be paying about $20,000 a year into the system for retirement.
The fact that we are about to adopt a "tier six" to the system is evidence of the periodic epiphanies that we cannon affort what we are doing....
Gov. Cuomo to unveil sweeping new pension reform to save the state $93 billion over the next 30 years -

New York Independence Party chair backs gay marriage : News :

The other minor party that routinely supports Republican candidates for State Senate has its chairman publicly backing gay marriage...That's a counterpoint to Conservative chair Mike Long strongly opposing same sex unions and threatening to withhold the C line from candidate supporting the issue.
Indy Chair Frank MacKay says he personally favors same sex marriage although he says the Indy Party has no position.
Chairman MacKay is clearly extending a hand to Governor Cuomo who needs some help in getting the last few Senators to jump the fence.
I don't think it will make difference as the Conservative Line proved itself more important last yearl
The Indy Party stands for little. That was on display as in this pseudo endorsement
.New York Independence Party chair backs gay marriage : News :

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Brain Dead Broadcasters

Broadcasters in Western NY are as challenged by their craft as those in NNY...A debate between Congressional candidates Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul is being taped Wednesday at WXXI in Rochester and being aired on Thursday.......
Let me say it for all to hear...News happens when it happens...A political debate is not like an episode of Two Men and a Boy, which can be taped and showed later....
Corwin and Hochul will debate in Rochester - Politics Now - The Buffalo News


It was Senator Patty Ritchie who proposed legislation to allow frozen wine desserts....That's what it is called.....In Heuvelton, there is no one eating sorbet...and I freely admit the same is true on Pearl Street in Watertown.
   I love the part in this release where the Senator tries to reassure us that wine sorbet will not cause traffic accidents or contribute to the deliquency of  minors...
I hope the Assembly passes this. It will help our wine industry and introduce some culture to places looking for a higher level of culinary sophistication.

Council OKs Water Supply Scenario

   Got out of the Council meeting a little before everyone else as I recused myself from discussion of the ballfield lease because of the nexus to alcohol sales, of which I am a competing licensee. Councilwoman Burns is filling in..
   Before that Council did agree to the water supply scenario requested for the proposed senior village on Washington Street behind the savory cafe. There was spirited discussion, especially about the City's exclusion was talks leading to the proposal and the resulting demise of Mercy...However, as I pointed out, that is history and you cannot mess up water access as punishment for perceived past grievences...
The senior village will be a nice facility and its in the city limits. Case closed.
    We also held the public hearing on the city budget...There was little comment except for some curbing issues. No public comment on spending or taxes.
     Media interest before the meeting centered on the ongoing audit at the recreation department. As I told the TV reporters, the audit is the result of a series of things Council became aware of this spring....
I will defer making conclusions in public until the results are outlined along with recommendations.

Chairs to Dine with Andy....And Sean, Who Is That New Treasurer ?

Sean Hennessey and other Democratic big wigs are breaking bread with Governor Cuomo this week...So far the Governor hasn't paid much attention to party politics, but he has to keep the flock happy......
Meanwhile Jefferson County Democrats are set to announce our new county treasurer...In the interest of open government and ethics reform, it is being kept a secret.
NNY Dem Chairs Dining With Governor WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Trump Drops Out

It should be no surprise, but the Donald put on a convincing show...It actually appeared he would run for President....although I think he was enjoying the publicity and doesn't have teh temperment to run or put up with politics.
As the GOP hurd looks to me like Romney or Daniels are the frontrunners.
Donald Trump says he won't run in 2012 - Maggie Haberman -

Governor Wants New State Hires to Pay More, Retire Later

Governor Cuomo is said to be readying a pension reform proposal designed to end aspects of a system that is threatening to for much higher taxation by all the municipalities that contribute to it....
Higher retirement early retirement...higher contributions...and an end to pension padding is all said to be in the program....
It will have trouble flying, but it really is a compromise as many feel getting away from the current defined benefit plan in favor of a 401 style plan would be more affordable.
Obviously the Governor has a long series of reform to accomplish if he is to live up to his lofty rhetoric.
Gov. Cuomo proposes cost-cutting NY pension: officials -

You Are Always a Marine and You Are Always Miss New York

    At the CAPC breakfast this morning I had the pleasure of sitting with Julia Robbins of Assemblyman Blankenbush' office and Jessica Renzi of Senator Ritchie's office.
     We were there to acknowledge the fine volunteers who prepare tax returns for seniors as part of the VITA program administered by the Community Action Planning Council.
     Ms. Renzi is always affable and informed and always gets mad at me for referring to her by her former title, Miss New York...She was crowned some years ago to represent our entire state on the national stage at Miss America...
    I know these pageants have lost the fascination of many, but it is an accomplishment...I know some people try to dismiss pageant winners like Ms. Renzi or Sarah Palin (runner up for Miss AK).  It's like pointing it out is a putdown..
    It's not...Its a unique honor and takes a lot of skill, charm and education to win one of these...If it was just looks, I'd vote for J-Lo over Jessica.
     Ms. Renzi has gone on to raise a family and stays involved in government and politics.
     Don't let the nattering nabobs make you feel the crown is anything less than something to be proud of.

Brooklyn on the rise as a baby name -

With Ethel, Bertha and Beulah still in decline, one name for little girls is on the rise and its good public relations for NYC's most populous borough..
Brooklyn is climbing the list of names handed out by parents and its not just a Big Apple phenomenon....Parents in western states are leading the way according to numbers from the Social Security Administration.
Geographic naming is not new...Remember when 'Dakota" became a big deal.
Its interesting to look over the list from our local hospitals on births to see what people are naming their kids...The most common trend is to come up with an offbeat spelling for existing names...That's just a cross to bear for a lifetime..
Brooklyn is a good name, but beware.....Not all 'place names' are beneficial to a youngster, thus explaining the paucity of girls or boys named "Jersey".
Brooklyn on the rise as a baby name -

Paterson Speech Hits Right Note

Good advice from the former governor on dealing with tough situations...and David Paterson certainly had them...Speaking to students at Paul Smith's College, Mr. Paterson spoke of the importance of keeping you head held high during a storm...
"Keep your head up and your mouth shut" is advice I have gotten in tough times....There is lots of advice given out by commencement speakers this time of year...
Governor Paterson's is as good as any.
My other favorite is "the World is run by those who show up."
Dependability, honesty, hard work, tempered by compassion....Those are things I would stress if asked to do such a speech...
Since I do a talk show everyday, those interested in my view of life can tune in during the noon hour on AM 1240 for the HOTLINE.
Capitol Confidential » Paterson: When you walk through a storm, keep your head up

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Buffalo News: NY 26 Race Slipping from GOP.

Congressional hopeful Jane Corwin makes a big mistake in trying to dismiss the inappropriate behavior of her Assembly chief of staff by saying he was "off duty" and not acting in his official capacity....The aide has been hidden out of state after a twdry incident in which he ambushed and tried to provoke an incident on camera with the 78 year third party candidate who had skipped a debate between Corwin and Democrat Kathy Hochul.
All of this is happening in the suddenly wild and wooly special election in NY26, which includes a swath of suburbs and small towns between Buffalo and Rochester.....
Candidate Corwin is quoted in the Buffalo News as saying the aide is a "volunteer".....No he's not, he is the chief of staff for her Assembly office and his actions are costing his boss big time....
This was supposed to be an easy GOP win...Now its looking like Hochul could win as third party candidate Jack Davis is polling well and Corwin has been shaky....
After picking up half a dozen seats in NY last year, the GOP doesn't want to lose this one...a seat they have always held....
   Republican insiders say their candidate will win by a point or two...Hardly ringing optimism....And now the millionaire GOP hopeful is being out funded by the Democrat who is Erie County Clerk.
   Tea Party candidate Jack Davis is the 78 year old...and he is very wealthy and well known..He is spending freely.
Republicans join attack on Corwin aide - Special election - The Buffalo News

New Book: Area 51 Once Dubbed "Watertown" by CIA Boss Dulles

A new book reveals one of the nicknames for the super secret military base called "Area 51" was 'Watertown' named by then CIA Director Allen Dulles, who is from Watertown, NY.
There have been several other coded references to the purported home of aliens and secret weapons. "Paradise Ranch", "Container", "The Box" and "Dreamland" are other monikers that have referred to the base located about 100 miles from Las Vegas in the Nevada desert.
It's interesting Director Dulles used the name of his hometown...Perhaps because we are isolated or maybe he felt there were aliens here...
It's an interesting aside to history that is in a new book about Area 51.
Behind the curtain of the United States' most secretive military base, Area 51 -

Pawing Thorugh Yesteryear

      In a spate of cleaning and sorting I went through gobs of newspaper clippings and old photos....Among the findings was my birth announcement in the Palo Alto newspaper, which should help corroborate the recent release of my birth certificate...
    I also found a photo while at MU of an erstwhile anchorman posing on the set of the University owned NBC affiliate, KOMU....
     Who would have known the rest of the story.

WDT: The Oscar for Labor Rabble Rousing Goes to........

Labor chief Ron McDougall likes to go to "events"....Whether its a political dinner, a press conference or a 'workers of the world unite" style rally in Canton....Mr. McDougall is a longtme labor activist and husband of former Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava. Ron was the guy who got in the dust up with a reporter from the Weekly Standard that helped hurry the demise of his wife's Congressional campaign in 2009.
Ron is a political hobbyist and in Canton yesterday, the WDT reports he had his class warfare game face on as he and others said it is the bankers and corporations who are to blame for the perceived slights against workers. Ron and other speakers at the rally say teachers and unions are being unfairly blamed for economic woes.
I saw Ron on Thursday at the Aubertine presser at JCC. I see him at Democratic events and GOP events. He is a UAW poobah paid by GM even though a lot of years have passed since he fastened a fender to a car....Privately he talks differently than when the cameras are on. Publicly he plays a latter day Walter Reuther.
All of us are actors on the stage of life.....for his efforts Ron McDougall deserves an Academy Award.
Watertown Daily Times Workers rally for rights