Saturday, May 28, 2011

Arena Hosts Roller Derby and Crowd is Large and Enthusiastic

     For the first time in a long time, I saw roller derby...I went to the Fairgrounds Arena to see the Nitro Rollers play ladies from Cortland. There were about 700 people there and it was all ages...The crowd seemed enthusiastic and this looks to me to be a different type of attraction but one that is a good fit for the facility.
    The concession stand was doing well and everybody seemed to be having a good time. Thankfully there was no beer and no repeat of events earlier in the week when, as related to me by staff, people were visibly intoxicated and urinating in the sinks.
     I am increasingly of the opinion that alcohol does not have to be a part of family events and with few exceptions, the Arena is there for those type of events.
     Congrats to the Rollers and to their sponsors at FX Caprara....

Out of Office and Staying Out of Jail, Joe Bruno Loses Partisan Patina

Times change...While as majority leader, he never allowed a vote and once referred to homosexuality as a 'devant lifestyle' , Joe Bruno is no publicly supporting same sex marriage and is said to be quietly lobbying GOP lawmakers in the Senate.
Mr. Bruno, who has faced corruption charges that drove him from office, now says its just a matter of fairness and free expression to allow for 'marriage equality.'
Mr. Bruno is also praising the job Andrew Cuomo is doing as governor.....Was it a close brush with prison life that prompted Joe's epiphany ?
Capitol Confidential » Joe Bruno backs Cuomo, same-sex marriage

Puppy with broken legs crawls home after surviving tornado

He was on his own for two weeks following a tornado in Alabama last month...Mason, a terrier mix crawled home with two broken legs after being swept up in the maelstrom...Mason survived two weeks before being found.....
Puppy with broken legs crawls home after surviving tornado News

Politics Claims Another Marriage

All that time spent upstate trying to pick off Congressional districts has apparently taken its toll on a political marriage on Long Island....Rep. Steve Israel has split from his NYS Supreme Court Justice wife. The cost of spending time at Jumbo's with June talking DeDe into jumping ship....
Rep. Israel has been active in the DCCC.
LI Democrat Rep. Steve Israel and acting Supreme Court judge Marlene Budd announce split -

WDT Compares Owens Views to Those of Rand Paul

Our Congressman says he opposes the extension of portions of the Patriot Act out of fears the government will get too nosy and intrude on the privacy of citizens...In fact in this story, the WDT compares Rep. Bill Owens views to those of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, the tea party backed libertarian.
Is that a low blow or what ? Can you imagine what June O'Neill and Steve Israel must think, having the man they worked so hard to elect, compared to Senator Paul ?
If the Congressman is moving in that direction, that's fine with me.
Watertown Daily Times Owens still concerned over Patriot Act provisions

Oswego store clerk accused of selling alcohol to a minor |

How many state employees on overtime does it take to manufacture a crime at one convenience store in the middle of nowhere ?
Oswego store clerk accused of selling alcohol to a minor

Huntsman's Are a Team in Running for Presidency

With so many blasts from the past populating the GOP Presidential ranks, national newcomer and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman could break through. Huntsman, who recently completed a stint as ambassador to China, was joined by wife Mary Kaye in New Hampshire this past week and they both seem in it to win it.
Mr. Huntsman will have to reconcile his service in the Obama Administration with his sudden run against his old boss. Meanwhile the Huntsman's are able to enjoy the quaint retail politics of the Granite State.
Mary Kaye Huntsman: The unreluctant spouse - Kasie Hunt -

WDT: State to Audit County

Everybody is being audited, although the City's recent look at one department was initiated by City Council after becoming aware of circumstances that needed attention.
I don't really know what the State Comptroller's proposed audit of Jefferson County is all about, but it seems to stem from the circumstances that prompted the previous Treasurer to leave office amidst her allegations about purchasing practices.
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli was recently in Watertown for a Democratic event.
Watertown Daily Times County to be audited by state

Friday, May 27, 2011

Arena Concessions Doing OK

Sometimes I feel like my head wants to explode when I hear and read about the issue of concessions at the Fairgrounds Arena....Yes, I was the one who pushed to renovate the concession stand.....It had been operated for years by a variety of outside groups and it frankly did not meet Health Department standards. Now it does and the folks operating for the City are doing a great job....
At this Wednesday's concert, the stand did about $2500 in sales and that's darn good....Yes, there is a need for better controls and at the risk of sounding like a micro-manager I just want to go down there and help them organize it...However chains of command, unions and politics prevent that.
The accounting deficiencies are well documented, but the potential is there and the people involved are dedicated.
City taxpayers have an investment in recreation facilities and have a right to expect that concessions will be operated in their interest...That is why I am in favor of an appropriately managed concession operation instead of the ad hoc arrangements over the years.....
I own a bar...There, I said it....But I think we need events at the Fairgrounds and the Arena that don't revolve around beer sales....And if we do have such sales, it should be done in a manner consistent with law and good judgement...There should be sufficient restrooms, so people are not urinating on the floor and when I hear about someone getting punched out at a city facility, I am angered...
The time has come for a business manager for this type of facility and not someone marinated in the ways of government...We need people who understand business and regulation.....The pieces are there for a successful venture that will help fund the important recreational programs we provide...However, it should be not based on every Tom, Dick and Harry coming in and wanting to make a quick buck....
Sorry for my candor.   (Oh and at the concert, at least 50 people asked about an ATM....They want to spend money...Can we let them do it ?)
Watertown Daily Times Arena concession barely makes profit

Since I Have Been Asked, I Will Attempt to Explain the Nuances of Selling the Devil's Brew

   Now that City Council resolved the beer franchise issue and no such matter is before the body , let me discuss some of the questions posed to me of late, as I have a better knowledge than most of the nuances of the laws on the sale of the "devil's brew."
    First, alcohol being consumed on site (a restaurant, bar, club, etc.) is the domain of what are called "on premise" licensees. They apply for a two year license and must pass the requisite background checks and what is licensed is the designated area specified in their license....That license is not able to be "used" by someone else at some other location, any more than you cannot drive a car using my license.
   Further, the scrutiny extends not just to the owner, but also those managing the operation who also must be examined and approved by the NYS Liquor Authority.
    This creates an aura of accoutability as the license is something to be taken seriously and protected by adherence to the law....Many of you depend on that accountability when your children are denied sale.
     When a site is licensed the owner must submit floorplans and diagrams of the neighborhood, and municipalities have to be put on notice so the public has the right to weigh in on a license granting. Physical locations with a history of problems can actually be denied a license, no matter who is the applicant.
    An exception is carved out for licensing locations that are remote from the licensee...This is called a catering permit, which is issued only to existing licensees...The permit allows an on premise licensee (bar or restaurant owner) to operate on a specific day at a specific location pending the submission of a security plan and permission of the person owning the site.
    I used this on a couple of occasions years ago. Once when operating at the Irish Festival and once when handling the concession for a concert. The operator of the event or the promoter in essence contract with the licensed operator to provide the vending. The "caterer" is licensed to sell all legal products. By the way, the collection of sales tax applies to all such events, no matter who benefits. The licensee would have to report and pay those taxes.
      Why is this privileged reserved for existing licensees ?  Simple...They have demonstrated their competancy and accountability by being granted a license.
     There is a provision in state law allowing not-for-profits and perhaps others to apply for a "special event permit" up to four times a year. This allows  a venue not normally licensed to be used for beer and wine sales on a specific day.  Multiple dispensing locations require separate permits. All other provisions of law apply including the exclusion of anyone under 16 from the event and the enforcement of the 21 year old law.
     It should also be noted the "special use" permit specifically forbids the proceeds from the sale of alcohol from going to persons or organizations other than the applicant. That is because this permit is not considered a means to pursue a commerical enterprise, but is instead an occasional permit to allow an organization to raise money for itself.
       Many folks think of beer like I do...just a product to be enjoyed...However, society has decided it must be sold according to rules...Sometimes the rules are bent...sometimes broken...
        There is a theory that if a greater good is achieved by bending the rules, then that's OK....I might suggest that's a theory that leads to a slippery slope.

The Grizzly That Roared

The hype is palpable for Sarah Palin's bus tour and the political media can't help itself even though she likely will not actually run for President...She is still on FOX...has no organizations in key states....and carries high negatives....
But Ms. Palin is still a draw and she released a video today showing preparations for the bus trip.
The Grizzly That Roared

DSL Still Not Working and I am Annoyed

       Just to show how we depend on technology to entertain us, I have been out of touch all morning as Verizon's DSL service is out in the 315 area. Am updating from the radio station.
        We depend on technology to amuse us 24/7 and when it goes down, it is traumatic.
         Anyway I hope they get it fixed....
        Looks like heavy traffic as the Memorial Day weekend gets underway. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hop on the Bus Gus...Palin Readies Tour

Sarah Palin is buying a house in AZ and has a bus all decked out for a tour of the Northeast...Gee, what's it all mean ?
Sarah Palin readies bus tour amid 2012 speculation - The Washington Post

Whats Happening in My World

-This Saturday evening at the Fairgrounds Arena, the Black River Rollers perform...They are a women's roller derby team.....Maybe you saw them in the recent Armed Forces Parade....I remember the sport on TV when I was a kid, and really thought it was history until the local team surfaced....
During the parade a local Assembly Member chirped that this is the Mayor's new favorite sport....Actually, it would be only if Palin and Bachmann were on the same team.
-An irreverant scribe covering todays Senatorial visit to the City's main fire station ask Senator Ritchie's aide if the Senator would slide down the brass fire poll. The request was denied.  Whatever happened to media decorum ?
-The Brew-Ha-Ha is going to serve Hoffman Hots made on the dog rotisserie they hopefully are buying from me...
-A Democrat called me today and said the Dems may have a DA candidate to run against Cindy Intschert. I think they are blowing smoke, I have never heard any complaints about her.

Ritchie Visits Smoke-Eaters in Watertown

      Senator Patricia Ritchie toured Watertown's primary fire station today and learned about the high level of training and equipment in the North Country's largest department
      Fire Chief Dale Herman showed Senator Ritchie all the special response equipment as well as the front line vehicles. Ms. Ritchie also talked about her bill to provide added penalties for assaults on first responders.
      With media in tow, the Senator also talked about the tax cap and some ATV law....
      More important to me, the visit cements relations between the new senator and the largest city in her sprawling district.

WDT: Democrat or Not, Maybe the Sheriff Should Be Listened To

County Legislators should not be so dismissive of Sheriff John Burns and his efforts to expand the County Jail and halt the expensive outboarding of inmates to other counties.
I remember when the current jail was built, we were told the expanded capacity would be sufficient. However, we either have more crime or at least more people to lock up, so this is a good time to heed the Sheriff's request. County finances are strong and all or most of the expansion could be paid for up front without burdening taxpayers with 15 years of debt service.
It's important to remember, the Sheriff, unlike any Legislator or administrator, was elected countywide, Last year Mr. Burns won against a talented GOP opponent and the margin was clear. While I would chide my friend the Sheriff as well on his love of recreational vehicles, the jail is a core mission for a Sheriff.....In fact, constitutionally it is his primary job.
I respect those who win elections and realize that their victory reflects a will of the people as expressed through a competitive election....Doesn't make 'em right all the time, but in this case Sheriff Burns deserves to be listened too.
Watertown Daily Times Idea for jail expansion in trouble

For All The Punditry and Analysis, Could It Be Hochul Won Because People Liked Her ?

    Since everybody who fancies him or her self a talking head or a pundit is weighing in on NY26, a few observations of my own.
     Rep-elect Kathy Hochul in large part did well because she was a hard working, good candidate who came across well to voters compared to her self financed and mistake prone opponents.
    The craven exploitation of the Medicare issue helped, as so did the juvenile attempt at an ambush of the elderly third party candidate by a staffer for GOP candidate Jane Corwin, who reacted pitfully to the incident.
     A variety of factors enter a race like this, but as many times as the favorite may err, it still requires a solid campaign effort by someone to take advantage of it. Ms. Hochul, regardless of issues, did a good job and was able to take advantage of her opponents weaknesses. A lot of people liked her. That is often why people vote for someone.

WDT:| Internet journalism is Elementary

A new generation of potential MSM is getting a chance to learn on-line journalism at Sherman School in Watertown.....Kids will be using I-pads to put out a news product......I know back in the day, I was able to participate in a City School District program called Redesign, then run by Mr. Williamson. We had access to portable videotape equipment, which I hate to say in those days was cutting edge...Nowadays, tape is passe, in favor of other media.
While the news business is so different in many ways from a generation ago, it still exists to meet a basic appetite for information and entertainment. As much as we old schoolers lament the passing of the mimeograph machine and the 16mm projector, the new gadgets are there to do much the same thing.
Best wishes to the Sherman students on their project.
Watertown Daily Times Internet journalism is elementary

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another black eye for N.Y. GOP - Maggie Haberman and Molly Ball -

New York's GOP is getting a Keystone Cop moniker for losing its third special election in a House race....Jane Corwin now stands aside Diedre Scozzafava for taking a safe seat race and fumbling it away....In Scozzafava's case, she moved into the Democratic camp and is living comfortably there. Ms. Corwin has to decide whether to give up her Assembly seat to run against Rep-elect Kathy Hochul in 2012.
I don't think there are any "ruby red' upstate districts anymore.
Another black eye for N.Y. GOP - Maggie Haberman and Molly Ball -

Sarah Palin’s Moves Suggest She May Run After All -

There's more than just a house in Scottsdale, AZ to suggest Sarah Palin may indeed run for President. The NY Times reports there are lots of behind the scenes symbols of perhaps a campaign in the offing... It will be tough for her as the party old guard and the MSM are united in opposition....
Right now its really Romney, Pawlenty and Bachmann in that order....That's a field Palin may find inviting to take on...
Sarah Palin’s Moves Suggest She May Run After All -

Capitol Confidential » Duffy to mayors: I feel your pain

Former Rochester Mayor and current LG Bob Duffy is the Governor's point man in convincing mayors the tax cap is that pathway to mandate relief...They may or may not be buying it.
Capitol Confidential » Duffy to mayors: I feel your pain

TV 7:State Tax Cap Would Have Allowed Watertown To Exceed 2%

As Jude has calculated, the so called 2% tax cap really is not...An analysis of last year's (not the one just agreed to) City of Watertown budget says the exclusions in the current tax cap bill would allow a 4.96 % hike. Things are not always as they seem....Especially in Albany.
State Tax Cap Would Have Allowed Watertown To Raise Taxes More Than It Did WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

WDT: DA To Run for Reelection

No surprise here...popular local District Attorney Cindy Intschert is running for another term...Its likely there will be no opponent.....The other countywide race is for Treasurer and newly appointed treasurer Karen Christie will likely be without opposition...
In the City, voters will find opposed races for Mayor and Judge.....and maybe contests for State Supreme Court Justices....That's about it.
Watertown Daily Times Intschert will run for re-election

NYSUT Withdraws From Teacher Evaluation Confab

The union representing teachers doesn't want to be involved in the Governor's plan to evaluate their members...So NYSUT is staying home...
NYSUT Withdraws From Teacher Evaluation Confab

Noise Law in Court Friday

    The City's new noise ordinance gets its first test Friday as the owners of Audio Arsenal appear to defend against neighbor's complaints....The shop owner called me today and I advised him to seek counsel as I can't give him tips on such a matter.
    The owner told me the police are called daily and they have told him if he is convicted, tickets will rain down on the shop.
     That could force a move, which would seem to be the objective.

Should A Congressman Be Ticketed ?

   Two thirds of readers say it should not be in the news if a public official gets a traffic ticket. The 84 in a 55 for Rep. Bill Owens has resulted in little media interest as well.
    I think 30 miles over is extra bad and the ticket at 29 over may have been a break.....
One NNY political gadfly called today and said there is likely no way the officer didn't know he had a Congressman...but I said with today's level of civic awareness, that could well be the case...
    He may have been a frequent speeder cut slack before or it may have been an anomaly.
     One theory is the police union having it out for Mr. Owens because in 2009 they supported Doug Hoffman, whose son is on the force....I think that stretches conspiracies too far...
     I think it was an egregious speeder who got caught and his name happened to be Bill Owens...Half the people don't know who the President or Governor is...How the heck can you expect them to recognize a freshman Member of Congress ?.
     Anyway, I won't write anymore, since 66% of you think its not news....I can put my finger in the air as well as anyone.

Jail Getting Expensive

As long as we want to lock up so many and as long as there are state imposed standards on prison crowding, Jefferson County will continue to spend a lot of money putting prisoners elsewhere. Thats not all, either....There must be a cost carting inmates back and forth to court appearances. The gasoline tab much be staggering.
Its hard to make this a political issue since at best two or three of the fifteen County Legislature seats will be contested. Nonetheless, it does seem like we need to either have fewer people in jail or more room to keep them.
Watertown Daily Times Neighbors too full to take Jefferson's prisoner overload

Four Month Coverup of Serious Speeding Infraction Makes You Wonder

     I remember as a teenager, getting my first ever traffic ticket and it was written up in the local paper....The days of tickets being news are passed, unless there is an accident related to it or unless the offense is a DWI. 
    Maybe its because there are so many tickets, there are not enough column inches available to print them all...Maybe its because its hard to rationalize not reporting on the names of people of privilege or influence.
    The four month hiatus on coverage of a speeding ticket by the local Congressman is interesting as the ticket alleges 84mph in a 55 zone. That's considered a major offense by today's standards.
      That kind of speed on Route 3 in the Adirondacks could easily lead to tragedy and its hard to understand why the MSM sat on the story and why the State Police downplayed it.  Four months later, one TV station reports on it because someone tipped them on the court proceedings.
      I suspect in many markets, this would be news and the tamping down of publicity wouldn't happen. We live in an area where such things are called "personal" and not part of performance in office. That is quaint but not the way its done elsewhere.
     By the way, its all over. Two points and a fine of undisclosed amount. The case was ajudicated this week in Town of Colton court.

Buffalo News: Not So Fast on That Cap

Funny how last night everyone was reporting a deal on a tax cap, but the Buffalo News reports no such deal...Instead this report on the same set of events indicates Senate Republicans say there is a long way to go in working out the details....So, pick your version of reality. I suspect the pressure to pass something will result in a bill, although the loopholes in the Assembly version do not provide as much motivation to address other issues like mandate relief and pension reform.
State leaders fail to reach deal on tax cap - Politics - The Buffalo News

Senator to Visit Fire Station on Thursday Morning

   Yes its a photo op, but its also a way for the City of Watertown to build a relationship with the new State Senator, Patty Ritchie.
    Ms. Ritchie wants to visit the Emma Flower Taylor Fire Station Thursday morning at 10AM...She will talk about legislation she has proposed, but its also a shout out to the largest city in her district.
    With the tax cap settled, the Senator and others need to push for mandate relief and other issues of interest.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Will Republicans Get Wobbly on Medicare After NY26 ?

Democrats are crowing that the election of Kathy Hochul as Member of Congress from NY 26 in western NY is a sign that Medicare is off limits and still a third-rail issue with voters. Medicare became a problem for the GOPs Jane Corwin as she embraced the Ryan plan for introducing significant changes to the financially troubled program. Corwin had other problems including a self funded third party candidate and her own campaign's mistakes.
The Hochul win does mean Medicare will be a difficult issue to address as this result will prompt others in the GOP to be cautious about what is billed as "radical" change, no matter how needed.
DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz On ‘Far-reaching Consequences’ Of NY-26

Liz, You Were Wrong, I Was Right

   A few months back I was hauled on the Capital Tonight carpet for asserting that Liz and the MSM were awry in their constant references to budget "pain".  My point is that the media was complicit in a 'poor pitiful me' cadence from the supporters of big government...
   Well Liz, I was right....The City of Watertown budget just agreed upon calls for a 2.5% tax levy decrease...a further reduction in City debt, an expansion of Library staffing and a preservation of all City services and programs....And the City still has a very "healthy" 8-figure fund balance..In fact I wanted the tax decrease to be larger, but a more cautious City Council held it to 2.5%.
   We don't need no damn tax cap ! (but I support it anyway). Reports Tuesday night say the Governor and Legislature have reached agreement on a cap.
    The reasons are cost containment and expansion of other revenues including sales tax (our agreement with the County ) and hydropower (we have improved the City owned plant to increase production).
     So, next time the MSM prattles on about the "pain", remember, there are places that have pursued another path.

TV 7:Feedback: Congressman Has Date In Court Over Lead Foot

When I read Congressman Owens got a speeding ticket in February for doing 84mph in a 55...My first question was whether I could get away with that with no publicity for four months....The St. Lawrence DA says the Congressman will get no preferential treatment...
He already did...Why weren't the Troopers leaking this the way they did with another Congressman in an adjacent district ? The name Sweeney mean anything ?
It's hard to imagine a United States Member of Congress getting such a ticket and the MSM says nothing.......
The Congressman's office says he won't do it again....Hopefully he will have a driver....And after all it is a big district...I wouldnt' want to make that drive from Plattsburgh to Watertown...In fact I haven't since I went there to cover a news story in the 70s....
     Just to put it into perspective....NASCAR's Kyle Bush has been ticketed this week for doing 128 in a 45....So the Congressman may not be ready for the NASCAR circuit yet.
Feedback: Congressman Has Date In Court Over Lead Foot WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Whitmore Resigns From Watertown Chamber Of Commerce | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY | Local News

He told great jokes at Chamber dinners, and really seemed on track to replacing me as entertainment at otherwise dour affairs...Now Peter Whitmore has resigned as Chamber of Commerce director...He cited family reasons...
Whitmore Resigns From Watertown Chamber Of Commerce WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Tuesday Morning in 13601

   -This morning I asked the recreation audit be posted on line so that residents can read for themselves, and I look forward to next week's testimony before Council by the CPA who did the audit.  This is a serious matter, but should not be merely an avenue to settle scores or grandstand. 
  -Had a couple of comments about the way the Treasurer post was announced...One person said lots of people knew about it and that the blurting out on the HOTLINE was no big deal....Exactly....I was no Bob Woodward on was handed to me...
My point is why there was not a coordinated roll out of a gubernatorial appointment that was of considerable interest to all.
  -The resolution of the baseball contract issue papers over a very nasty behind the scenes series of  accusation and retribution over what apparently are considerable amounts of money being transacted at events on City property.  The deal ratified was not a continuation of the past contract, but was deemed an acceptable interim measure to allow certain events to occur this summer.
   -Senator Ritchie will be visiting the Emma Flower Taylor Fire Station Thursday Morning at 10AM. I am sure the Fire Department looks forward to the opportunity to show off what they do to the Senator. I look forward to her visit.

Hochul Can't Vote for Herself As She Doesn't Live in the District

There is nothing illegal about it, but usually it becomes an issue...The Democrat now favored to win the Congressional special election in western NY does not live in the district...but just outside...Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul cannot vote for herself today, a phenomenon we saw in 2009 when Doug Hoffman lived outside the boundaries of NY23.
As Contested District Votes, a Candidate Can't -

New Treasurer Once a Republican ?

I was told Jefferson County's new treasurer only became a Democrat in 2009...In retrospect a good decision as it allowed her to be appointed treasurer by the state's Democratic governor. Karen Christie is an affable and intelligent person who will surely do a good job.
Her job is more than just being an accountant. She supervises an important office and as an elected offcial is the only person elected countywide to oversee the public's interest. Her predecessor unsuccessfully sought to bring fiscal concerns to light...Ms. Christie must understand she doesn't need anyone's permission to report to her bosses....And her bosses are us, not the County Administrator.
Jobs like this require watchdogs, not lap dogs.
As for her election prospects this year, I don't see any problem for her, but I still think she needs a strong message and a strong commitment to telling the money story to the people, How about a website like the debt clock that shows the key numbers on taxing and spending....Make a mission out of explaining fund balance and all the other things too often considered "inside baseball".
The proliferation of unelected administrators has marginalized offices like Treasurer. Ms. Christie needs to change that.....Also, the Legislature needs to set the salary for the post and not try to pay her less than her predecessor as has been suggested. That needs to be done by the 13-2 Republican legislature, not because they are taking care of their own, but because its the right thing.
Watertown Daily Times Cuomo names Christie to post

The push for wine sales is on again - Times Union

It's hard to imagine WIGS not passing this year....Big donors (Wegmans) want it, the public wants the convenience and the state would generate millions more in license fees. The only downside is a bunch of liquor store owners who think they may fold or suffer.....
It is still absolutely silly that lawmakers will not just lift the product restrictions on liquor stores, so they can compete.
Tell me again, why is it a liquor store cannot sell beer or cigarettes ?
The push for wine sales is on again - Times Union

Monday, May 23, 2011

City Hall to Cut Taxes in Final Plan to Be Adopted June 6

    City Council has agreed to cut property taxes by 2.5% in the last move before adopting a budget in a week...Lawmakers also approved a contract with the Wizards basesball team that grants concession rights for concerts to the organizers of the event and allows the baseball team to play this summer.
    Council also agreed to a simplified two tier system of water rates that will slightly lower residential rates.
    The budget season was busy but in the end the City has a spending plan that preserves services, enhances the Library and reduces taxes, while still maintaining a healthy fund balance. The City's debt load is also reduced as a result of  the spending plan.

Audit Details Troubled Finances at City Facilities

   City Council received its copies of the 22 page audit on the Parks and Recreation Department. Staff and media also received copies of the document delivered late this afternoon from CPA Laurie Podvin.
    Council has set a meeting on Wednesday June 1 to discuss the audit with her once everyone has digested the contents.
    The document outlines sloppy offices, disorganized records, services not invoiced and checks not deposited. Dozens of checks were discovered in a drawer.
     A series of recommendations includes billing being centralized in the Comptrollers office, making daily deposits, using a cash register at the concession stand, taking credit and debit cards,  reconciling money weekly, proper staffing and more.
    The report cast a wide net of blame including poor supervision and communication by management as well as the actions of individual employees.
     The next job is to take the actions needed to correct the situation.

HOTLINE Has Day in the Sun With News of Treasurer Appointment

   Governor Cuomo has appointed an Academy Street woman as Jefferson County Treasurer through 2011.....Karen Christie works for the accounting firm of Sovie and Bowie and is a graduate of SUNY Oswego and General Brown...She and her husband are frequent diners at Pete's Restaurant...
    Despite that, I never knew she was being considered.....I learned of the appointment shortly before noon today from a County official who had seen the email from Governor Cuomo's office.
   I ran the story on the HOTLINE, prompting a media flurry. For the record, my knowledge of the appointment was in no way due to proprietary information available to me as mayor...It was news and I recognized it as such when it bit me.
    Ms. Christie likely will run for a full term and I doubt there will be any opposition.

Obama's camp digging up dirt on NJ governor Chris Christie in case he decides to run for president: sources -

Because a scandal is something that needs to be cultivated and nurtured, the Obama campaign is said to be digging for dirt on the one man they apparently fear could catch on in 2012....New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the Republican just about every Republican wants to run...So far he has said no.
Its testimony to Christie's appeal that the Obama campaign would be this worried this early...
Perhaps its because they know their guy benefited in 2007 from a lack of scrutiny and they don't want their potential foe to have that advantage.
Obama's camp digging up dirt on NJ governor Chris Christie in case he decides to run for president: sources -

Politicians and sex scandals: What makes them stray? -

A couple of sex scandals involving political people and the analysis starts on how "powerful men" wield a reckless sexual energy that threatens to destroy otherwise talented and gifted leaders....I don't buy it all...I think we just hear about it because politics is largely hyperbole about "values" and a level of publicity that makes it seem more prevalent.
Locally, we have had state and federal lawmakers with disolving marriages and it never gets covered. Its just not considered news....That's largely true in Washington and Albany....Once in a while a high publicity case comes along and then all the media pop psychologists proclaim it a trend...
Sins of the flesh affect everyone...Its more a question of who gets their personal lives made public.
Politicians and sex scandals: What makes them stray? -

WDT: Latest PILOT Vexes District

Why pay anything you don't have to ? A request for a more lubrative PILOT for housing is more difficult as those who do pay taxes are getting more reluctant to pay....These big developers getting breaks is a case of the makers taking from the takers. Its not new...remember all those 801 task forces back in the 80s ?
It's a tough call, as its all wrapped up in "creating jobs" and caring for Army families.
Local pols see all the suits from developers and big government coming in asking them for some free stuff...It tough to say no, because for so many years we have said yes.
Watertown Daily Times PILOT request frustrates district

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Go with Jack Davis » Opinion » Niagara Gazette

Nowhere is conventional wisdom and the sanctity of the two party oligarchy more frozen in amber than in the halls of those who write editorials...But the Niagara Gazette has endorsed Tea Party candidate Jack Davis in NY26......The edgy septegenarian is called "spoiler" by most in the MSM, but he has spent at least $3M so far and that alone makes him a factor.
Go with Jack Davis » Opinion » Niagara Gazette

Putin decides to retake presidency | The Australian

If I were Medvedev, I would hire a food taster and body guards....And if anyone pokes you with the tip of an umbrella, your reelection prospects will dim.
Putin decides to retake presidency The Australian

Proofing Seniors

    I was at the Nice and Easy this AM to pick up a couple of newspapers and a coffee...An exasperated woman of some years was lamenting the clerk was asking to proof her even though she claimed she was 72 years old.....I would have pegged her at early 60s, but she needs to realize the corporate world is paranoid over the gotcha nature of todays law enforcement and advocacy groups.
    Back in the day, when a minor could get served at Major's Market, things didn't seem all that bad...then there was the era when clerks were told to proof anyone who looks under 30....Now, it has to be proof everybody, to eliminate any need for judgement.
    I don't think the lady had proof....If I had been gallant, I would have bought the Bud Light Lime and taken it out to her in the parking lot....But they have cameras and this is an election year.

Cher Not Able to Turn Back Time

   Putting up with your own birthdays is hard enought, but then you have to read about the celebrities of your youth getting ancient....
   Cher has turned 65

Specials are a Window into Voter Frustrations

If you follow politics (and since you read this blog , you do) this NY Post article on the NY26 race in western NY is a good one......
Republicans had a wealthy Assemblywoman whom the Post says looks like Christie Brinkley's studious younger sister, dressed in the chic clothes and with flowing blond hair....Democrats had a shorter county clerk who is "badger like" in appearance and whose claim to fame is fighting governors on DMV issues..(sound familiar)....Kathy Hochul has trouble piecing together the talking points and mistakenly said Nancy Pelosi had done a good job, but Ms. Hochul does connect well and she has done three Capital Tonight interviews while the GOP's Jane Corwin steers clear of the MSM. Putting parties aside, it may be sort of Patty Ritchie vs movie star looks Darrel Aubertine...That may be a stretch, because Ms. Hochul does go on Liz' show.
Third party, quirky millionaire Jack Davis rounds out the field in the role the MSM likes to call a "spoiler"....I am sure the MSM (especially TV) likes the $3 M he dropped so far.Republicans are using the Pelosi scare ads, protraying Hochul as a puppet of the former Speaker....Corwin is having trouble telling her old voters why Medicare needs to be overhauled, as austerity stops when it affects me. The cheesy effort by her staffer to ambush the elderly Davis provided a "treasure trove" of bad press for her.
Recent polling shows Hochul coming on and the result will be as much about personality and local issues as anything...
Lessons ? "One of us" candidates have an appeal and you can be too slathered in money and fine clothes. Another lesson is that America doesn't believe either party and is not going to vote in patterns to suggest they do.
Just watching, I think it will be Hochul by 5....Tuesday will tell the tale.
An election on the cutting edge -

Tax Break on Docket

It's an eternal argument, but I am one to believe that the City's solid financial condition in recent years should result in lower property taxes for homeowners. There are challenges ahead, with the pension fund contributions being first among them....There are always public works projects one could do...But a policy of intentionally overtaxing people and building larger than normal fund balances is a questionable process.
There is also the argument that the people are best suited to spend their own money once the needs of the public sector are met.
That's the matter Council will consider Monday night.
Watertown Daily Times City to decide on tax break for properties

DiNapoli Says Opinion on IDA Hirings is Imminent

There's a story hidden in a story in this piece about Saturday's Democratic luncheon...Comptroller Tom DiNapoli told the WDT and opinion is forthcoming on a practice at the local IDA that has drawn some scrutiny. The practice of other public economic development agencies having the IDA employee people who are in essence leased via a contract has garnered attention because of participation in the State Retirement System.
Audits were conducted some time ago and one agency I head had sought to participate directly in the system but that was rebuffed in favor of a more detailed employee contracting arrangement.
It's definately a topic needing clarity, but a fair and sensible approach is needed as well.
Watertown Daily Times Democratic hopefuls seek support

Despite Careful Calculations, the World Does Not End -

If Rapture occured, very few were taken. The much ballyhooed end of the World didn't seem to get underway yesterday, but there was no shortage of fuss over the prediction by a broadcast minister.
Is it faith or just having fun ? There was lots of humorous chatter, but in the end, we all have to go back to work on Monday.
Despite Careful Calculations, the World Does Not End -

Another GOP Heavyweight Takes a Pass on Battling 'Bam

With Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana dropping out of the Presidential race, its pretty much Mitt Romney or anyone of a number of riskier newcomers to the national scene...Daniels had been considered a policy heavyweight, but apparently yielded to personal considerations.
Another report from AZ has Sarah Palin buying a home in the Scottsdale area, which may be just a quest for a warm weather abode, but also may be a sign she is setting up a base of operations in the Lower 48, as she learned in 2008, commuting to AK is no small task.
Rep. Michelle Bachmann is expected to hop in the race this week, although she is currently considered a long shot. Businessman Herman Cain also got in Saturday, and former MN Governor Tim Pawlenty declares tomorrow.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels says sorry, not running for president -