Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ogdensburg Hosts Vietnam Wall

    The Vietnam Memorial Travelling Wall came to Ogdensburg this weekend and many including one troupe of 400 bikers came to honor the 50,000 + names on the Wall.
    Mayor Bill Nelson says the Wall was well received and an honor for the Maple City to host.

Dicker: Ethics Bill a Big Deal

Dicker says Governor Cuomo's new ethics law will indeed clean up Albany....I guess Fred is less cynical than the rest of us.
Cuomo's ethics reform could shorten political careers -

Palin Heads to New Home in AZ for Some R & R

She still doesn't have as many homes as Dave Mance, but Sarah Palin took time out from her bus tour to visit her new crib in Scottsdale, AZ....The $1.7M house is walled and has lots of toys including a home theater, billiard room and a pool.
Ms. Palin says she is not moving there full time but instead wants a getaway from AK's cold winters.
Palin denies new Ariz. home is for Senate run - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

For Sale By Owner....Mance Tries to Sell City Homestead

    Semi-retired radio baron and Shapiro Award winner David Mance is pulling up stakes in the City and is trying to sell his Thompson Blvd. home for $219,000. Current assessment is $167K.
    He is trying to do it without a realtor to save the commission and pass the savings on to you. It is a lovely home in a wooded setting...There is a garage in the house and a nice deck...It really is a bargain at that price compared to other homes listed in the neighborhood.
    Dave has homes on Tennis Island and in Florida, so he won't be homeless. He has done a lot for the City over the years including running the hospital and the Chamber of Commerce. He even ran for City Council once, but lost.
    Dave is still registered to vote here so hopefully his house doesn't sell till after November 8th.  I suspect his next vote for President will be in the Sunshine State where his vote for Barack Obama will have a real chance of influencing the awarding of Florida's electoral votes.

Obama: ‘You Shouldn’t Put Ketchup On A Hot Dog’ « CBS Chicago

While I support the right of all Americans to choose, I agree with the President on the issue of using ketchup on a hot dog. I will go a step further and say I have no relish for relish either.
Mustard, with its many variations, is and should be the condiment of choice.
Obama: ‘You Shouldn’t Put Ketchup On A Hot Dog’ « CBS Chicago

Katie Couric could announce ABC syndicated show as soon as Monday -

Deposed CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric is reportedly headed to ABC to become the new Oprah.
Ms. Couric would host an afternoon show designed to fill the daytime void left by the end of Oprah Winfrey's longtime show.....
Katie Couric could announce ABC syndicated show as soon as Monday -

Friday, June 3, 2011

WDT: Vaugh Bows Out

An up and coming GOP lawmaker is packing it in after one term on the Ogdensburg City Council....Nick Vaugh is only 23 and a recent Clarkson grad....Elected at 19, the Vaugh lad tried to do lots of political type things in his term....Assembly run (sort of), campaign operative, blogger, name it...
Vaugh is a nice enough fellow who is dating an Albany lobbyist. (I don't know how the Times knows that, but I will take it at face value.)
He may be smart to step aside, as I don't know if he would have won reelection and his desire to run for mayor is complicated by Mayor Bill Nelson already telling me he is running.
At 23, Mr. Vaugh will be a former councilman who is 1-0 in elected politics...There is plenty of time for a comeback.
Watertown Daily Times Vaugh won't seek re-election

64 Year Old Teacher Gives Punk What He Deserves

Good for Her !
Shocking video captures moment teacher, 64, punched student in the face (but she is cleared of child abuse charges) Mail Online

Weinergate | Roger Stone | Weiner should heed Stone's Rules | The Daily Caller

Roger Stone knows politics and his advice to Rep. Anthony Weiner is to deny everything......Too late for that, although there are varying approaches to potential scandals....
Sometimes you have to just say nothing...especially if saying something puts you in a position where you are contradicitng the facts....
The best advice is do not get caught in a lie...Lieing is worse than having yourself photographed in your boxers or briefs....even if you are, as our City ordinance says,  in a "discernibly turgid state".
Rep. Weiner had to cancel a speech in Wisconsin today...Immediately Newzjunky runs the headline "Weiner Pulls Out." The Congressman can't win on this one.
Weinergate Roger Stone Weiner should heed Stone's Rules The Daily Caller

Parade Thrills Crowds in Watertown

    Thousands lined Washington Street in Watertown on a sunny and pleasant Friday evening for the annual Jefferson County Dairy Parade.
     High school bands, floats, politicians and more entertained the crowds lining the street. NYS Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine was there , as was Senator Patty Ritchie, and Members of Assemly Russell and Blankenbush.
    Both City judge candidates were in the parade with large entourages.

New Law Bans Baggy Pants In Schools - Education News Story - WKMG Orlando

In Florida they need a law for schools to ban exposed underwear or body parts...All a lawyered up effort to get those baggy, falling down pants out of school.......
Remember when Mom would take you out shopping for school clothes back in the Ozzie and Harriet world of my youth ?
Now, its a fashion nightmare as kids dress in a Halloweenish manner year round....
This law will be labled racist, but you are doing the kids a favor by teaching them appearance matters. Everything is more casual these days, but these pants are ridiculous.....Of course, I remember the raging debate at WHS over culottes.
New Law Bans Baggy Pants In Schools - Education News Story - WKMG Orlando

State income Tax Beats Estimates- So Let's Spend !

There is a little uptick in revenue to the State of NY, so the first reaction is to introduce bills to spend more....Meanwhile Governor Cuomo says the higher levels of income tax are not enough to conclude more spending is warranted.
That national economic news this week shows a continued flagging national economy and the last thing Albany needs to do is trot out more spending....Even if its for the children.
State income tax beats estimates - Times Union

Sarah Palin's Bus Tour Leaves GOP Old Guard Cold

The party poobahs and elders are unhappy with Sarah Palin's bus tour because she is not engaged in "party building." Has anyone noticed that the numbers who care about parties diminish exponentially the further you get from places like Albany County and the District of Columbia.
While the process favors those with organizations, those George Will, bowtie, white-shoe- in-Summer type Republicans a re poh-pohing a bus tour that doesn't include county chairs and party operatives....Those people have already latched on to the conventional (Romney) style candidates.
I don't think Ms. Palin runs, but she is evidence of the decreasing public concern over those anachronisms we call 'parties'.
Sarah Palin's bus tour leaves GOP cold - Alexander Burns and Dan Hirschhorn -

Who Will Chatter to the Chattering Class

Will the Golden Age of local political blogging end with the decision of Jude Seymour to move from journalism to political operative ? Syemour's efforts with the WDT and briefly with TV 7 provided the back channel buzz and look at local politics that exists at the state level through the efforts of Benjamin, Katz, Vielkind and others.
The WDT blog by Brian Amaral is the only regular political tome offered now and while an interesting writer, he has yet to achieve the panache as Mr. Seymour among the chattering class.
I doubt WWNY will continue an interest an politics as to do so requires someone on staff with that particular interest. There is a difference between a political reporter and a reporter who sometimes covers politics.
WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Ethics Coming to a State Capital Near You

We are led to believe there will be an ethics reform package announced in Albany today....That is one leg of Governor Cuomo's legislative triad for the current session...The tax cap and gay marriage are the other two.
Lawmakers think they need an ethics law because they cannot help themselves. That's OK, its human nature to seek an advantage in life and the absence of rules and expectations lead to self interest trumping the public interest.
State of Politics Blog

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New life given to Stateway Plaza - YNN, Your News Now

Watertown's Stateway Plaza has been around for as long as anyone can remember.....Fay's, Joe Powers, the Animal House....All gone now and the plaza was struggling...
Now, some new stores are breathing life into the plaza...and that's a good thing...
New life given to Stateway Plaza - YNN, Your News Now

Palin Entertains Political Junkies and Annoys the Old Guard Candidate on His Big Day

In what even her critics would have to call a master stroke of publicity, Sarah Palin rode Freedom's Trail into Boston, visited Bunker Hill and Paul Revere's House...Then on to New Hampshire for a clambake with top Republicans on the day frontrunner Mitt Romney announces coincidentally in.....New Hampshire.....
Since I occasionally enjoy politics as theater, what Palin is up to is great theater...Before you head home, bring that bus here and pose in front of the Palin for President billboard on Pearl Street !
Palin takes a swipe at Romney along Freedom Trail -

Mitt and Sarah Hit the Granite State

In what may be a preview of the race for the GOP 2012 nomination, Mitt Romney and Sara Palin were both in New Hampshire today....Romney was announcing his candidacy...Palin was sightseeing and reminding voters of Mr. Romney's health care reform bill passed while he was MA governor.....
These two both have the money muscle to compete.
'Obama has failed America': Mitt Romney launches bid for White House Mail Online


Tonight at Pete's I will have to order some wine sorbet now that Patty Ritchies law has been signed by Governor Cuomo....
Only problem is nobody in Watertown feels the need for sorbet to cleanse their palate.

Now That I Vented a Bit....

  The recent City audit of the Recreation Department kind of picked a scab off many other issues. 
 Let me comment on the range of events held at the Fairgrounds.  In general, many of them are good events and provide a lot of entertainment and culture.
     They are in many cases commercial events that are expensive to put on in term of support and logistics from City staff. That is why I have been concerned with the financial arrangements and the accuracy of what is reported, billed and collected.
      Certain complaints I heard recently about inadequate sanitary facilities are also worth addressing.
      The Joe Rich concerts have been well received and the idea of a baseball team is something many people value.  While the city's problems are manifest, there has been much back channel backbiting and arguing over who gets how much of the take from events. I have heard it from all sides.
      I blew off steam at last nights meeting, but it doesn't mean I won't work with anyone who has a reasonable set of ideas for handling concessions in the future.
      While I personally favor city operated food concessions like the new one in the Arena, I understand the need to have promoters of major events share in proceeds if it is deemed beer concessions are warranted..
      Many of this year's arrangements were already in place.
       My desire, for the future is to work out fair solutions that are consistent with the best interest of taxpayers and consistent with the law.  

Plan Presented for Tight Controls on Money is a Start

    I read through the "action plan" for shaping up billing practices and collections in Recreation and ultimately all City departments.  The proposals are fine and set up the required markers for timely billing (within 5 days), collections (including denial of use for non-payment) and daily deposits.
    Also small transactions will be handled using new POS gear with credit card capability.  Software designed for Recreation scheduling will also be properly used...All of this and more is needed and the challenge is getting it done....
      City Council needs to set fees and stand behind them.....Whatever culture said it was OK to let things slide needs to change, and we in office need to worry about City finances instead of whether other individuals can operate commercial ventures on City property.
     This facility is for recreation first and foremost. Its not a nightclub.
      While select events require commercial endeavors, things like alcohol sales need strict guidelines, starting with requiring the licensing of those who sell the product like happens elsewhere.
       Among the further improvements I see needed is more complete transparency on who owes the City money. 
        There will surely be more changes now that the scope of the problem has been laid out.  CPA Laurie Podvin did a thorough job explaining the mess and was also candid in her observations.  Council had ask for that, and not a sanitized version of events.

Weiner non-denial hints Twitter picture is him -

As usual, its not as much the act (although tacky for a newly married Congressman) its the obvious cover up....Rep. Anthony Weiner has not been straight about this Twitter tittilation photo....Even the liberal media and comedians are calling him out...
Like most with ambition, the first inclination is to deny doing something not part of your campaign marketing plan. It probably makes little difference in his NYC Congressional District, but his expected run for Mayor could suffer if this story lingers...
Weiner non-denial hints Twitter picture is him -

WWNY: Watertown's New York Air Brake Sees Booming Business

A long standing pillar of Watertown industry is reportedly on the upswing again. NY Air Brake has expanded its workforce due to a surge in the call for rail cars which used the company's product.
In my years as a neighbor of the firm, I have seen many changes but am pleased the firm has continued to be a source of innovation in its industry and continues to provide jobs for many families.
The Air Brake, along with Knowlton Technogies are two old line plants in Watertown that continue to do well. Congratulations to the employees who make it happen.
Waterotwn's New York Air Brake Sees Booming Business WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

WDT: City Council Adopts budget with tax decrease

City Council approved the proposed tax decrease, although a realignment of water rates that would have cut residential rates slightly was laid over under the rules when Councilman Joe Butler Jr voted no on a unanimous consent resolution. The issue will be acted on at the next meeting on Monday.
Council also heard an explanation of who appoints to the position of City Clerk and the two deputy clerks.
Council has considered creating an overlap by temporarily staffing a third deputy slot to be filled by the next clerk until the retirement of current clerk Donna Dutton at the end of the year. Technically the deputy slots are filled by the clerk and not the Council.
The current form of government proscribes Council actually fills but two positions, city manager and clerk.
Watertown Daily Times City Council adopts budget with tax decrease

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No Criticism Spared in Brutal Report on Fairgrounds

     She didn't pull any punches....Didn't gild the lily or try to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear....
      Accountant Laurie Podvin delivered a blistering critique of finances in the City's Recreation Department....Using phrases like "gross negligence' the woman hired to uncover just what's gone on at the Fairgrounds left no stone unturned...Ms. Podvin criticised management up and down the line, as well as detailing egregiously bad bookkeeping in the department....
       A plan for corrections of the problems was presented and a long list of back creditors was presented.  Thousands owed by many, including dollars owed by  individuals nobody knew.
     It was a brutal and honest report.
     Council also approved a new City budget that included a tax cut, and tabled a realigning of water rates.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Takes State Helicopter To Son’s Baseball Game

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lost a lot of credibility with his decision this week to use a State Police helicopter to shuttle him and his wife to see a high school baseball game his son was playing in.
This was an especially egregious misuse of state resources at a time when austerity is an issue....
I have been criticle of the President's status as vacationer in chief.....We should have expected more from the the Governor who is billed as the last best chance for conservatism....
This was indulgent and showed bad judgment.....
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Takes State Helicopter To Son’s Baseball Game « CBS New York

Symphony to Perform in Park for Independence Day

Even though the Syracuse Symphony is out of business, the musicians who played for them will perform at Thompson Park this July as is custom....Thanks to The NNY Community Foundation and former Mayor Walker for leading the charge, as well as those who donated to underwrite the cost of the event.

Farmers Market and Super Weather Make for Great Politics

     Lewis County Court Judge Charles Merrill is no stranger to the law or the bench....He says he is a fifth generation lawyer and fourth generation judge...Now he is seeking a seat on NYS Supreme Court from the Fifth Judicial District.
     Judge Merrill visited all six counties in the district today, including a stop in Watertown at the NYS Office Building.
    On hand were Assemblywoman Addie Russell, Sheriff Burns, retired Judge Lee Clary, Legislature hopeful Ron Cole, professional model and family friend Maggie Rizer, along with others who gathered at the Farmer's Market site.
    The gathering caught the attention of Republicans cloistered floors above in Senator Ritchie's office...A staffer called me to ask what was going on down there.
     So far there are three Democrats running and six Republicans seeking the three GOP nods....The fight is over whether Onondaga County lawyers will honora deal to allow a local judge in each county....

State Politics Gets Ready for Summer With Balls Still in the Air

A new Member of Congress from Buffalo is sworn in today (Kathy Hochul). Lawmakers begin their three week stretch drive before the summer recess in Albany.
The tax cap is still in the air and gay marriage is six votes shy of passage in the Senate. Prison closures are still a mystery....The Legislature is still proposing bills to sweeten pensions while the Governor ponders reform of that bloated system.
Ethics reform will have to wait.....I have six fundraisers to attend tonight at the Crown Plaza.
Here And Now

WDT: Hearing Tonight to Focus on Arena Woes

The acquisition of cash registers is a small part of addressing issues plagueing the Fairgrounds Arena and the Recreation Department. Tonight, the CPA who did the audit of finances there will answer questions about her report from City Council.
While it won't rival the Army-McCarthy hearings for drama, it will be a pointed questioning about just what is happening in a City government where a macro look at finances looks great but a micro look is staggeringly bad.
I have noticed different constituencies blaming different people, with some calling for "heads to roll" and others insisting if the Recreation operation were its own department that would solve issues.
What I do know is that as commercial operations have flourished where it used to be kickball and swimming, we have seen a fight over money and the means to make money. We have seen outside interests push and push hard a small staff to get use of facilities for commerce.
When the hearing is done, my focus is on two things. The core mission of providing recreation services; and an adherence to the law and good fiscal practices to protect the taxpayer's ability to fund those programs.
Tonight's discussion will be illuminating as its the chance to flesh out the 22 page report last week from CPA Laurie Podvin. Her in-person observations will add much to that document.
Watertown Daily Times City: 2 cash registers coming for ice arena will satisfy audit

WDT: Wet Land Hampers SMC Project

Samaritan Medical Center's new nursing home on Washington Street has encountered several site plan issues as development of the land is hampered by topography, environmental and utility issues.
The expense of dealing with this site is adding much to the cost of the project and one veteran City official recently called the site the worst place in town to try and build something.
It will surely look nice when done, but its too bad title issues prevent a similar reinvestment on the current Mercy site.
I am sure once the wetland lobby has some money spent on the issue, the project will move ahead as planned and a groundbreaking will be held soon.
Watertown Daily Times Samaritan plans dampened

New York state Supreme Court races grow more crowded

As Lewis County's Charles Merrill visits six counties today to announce his bid for a seat on NYS Supreme Court in the Fifth District, the Post Standard reports there are as many as nine lawyers looking for work by seeking one of three seats up for grabs.
Unfortunately Supreme Court nominations are determined by an archaic practice called 'judicial conventions' and on the GOP side its a fight between Onondaga County lawyers and bench seekers from the "out" counties, in this case that includes Jefferson and Lewis.
It's a closed process. Add to that the minor party nods. One landmine is which lawyers will trek to Utica to see Indy Party convention organizer John Doti, who last I heard had been indicted in a pay to play scandal. (not convicted as best I know).
This is a year local voters will spend more time deciding on the career paths of lawyers than other offices......In Watertown the contested races on the ballot will be for Supreme Court, City Court and Mayor.
New York state Supreme Court races grow more crowded

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Palin visits Trump in NYC while on her motor tour -

Perhaps the two most exciting flirts of the Presidential season met Tuesday night for a chat...Palin and Trump....that's a powerhouse of media hype although so far neither says they are running.
Palin visits Trump in NYC while on her motor tour -

Is Weiner a Pinocchio on Twitter Story ?

For what is a harmless prank and a diversion, Rep. Anthony Weiner is getting a little testy about the Twitter picture that went to a 21 year old Seattle woman. - Weinergate Gets Weirder: Weiner Angrily Refuses to Answer Questions About Twitter Hack - Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gay Marriage 2011 Prospects Fade

The prospects for same sex marriage passing this year are not good....The Yes's have picked up a couple votes from last time around, but its still 26 yes and 28 no with eight on the fence...But all eight of those voted no two years ago..Governor Cuomo says it won't come to a vote unless passage is assured...For many, not coming to a vote is the best thing.
Tracking where senators stand on same-sex marriage - YNN, Your News Now

WDT: How Did Jude Treat His Boss Then and Now ?

The new dean of NNY political reporters has done a nice bit of research on just how and in what manner Jude Seymour covered his news boss Matt Doheny, back when Doheny was running for Congress and Seymour was a scribe and blogger for local media.
This is good stuff to look lease for those of us in the political class....Another story that never gets much scrutiny is campaign finance...Where the money came from in some of these recent Senate races is a hoot....
The loss of Seymour and his contacts will be felt in the quality of local political reporting..
Watertown Daily Times The paper trail

Dozens Of Authorities Could Get Ax

The Watertown Urban Renewal Agency is among a list of defunct or dormant public authorties targeted for the dust bin of history....
So is the Potsdam urban Renewal Agency....
Once these are disposed of, let's start in on the active authorities, many of which are just parking places for patronage.
Dozens Of Authorities Could Get Ax

Sarah Palin to meet with Donald Trump

What's a sightseeing trip up the East Coast without a visit with the Donald....The Sarah Palin Magical Political Mystery Tour hits the Big Apple Wednesday with stops at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, plus a stop at Trump Towers.
What will they talk about ?
Sarah Palin to meet with Donald Trump - Maggie Haberman -

Our Diverse Readership

   Got some great comments from our Roller Derby friends in Cortland, NY......Sounds like an accomplished group of athletes and a credit to that great city !
    Skaters are always welcome in Watertown and especially at Fort Pearl, my tavern on Pearl Street......
     Best wishes for a successful season !

After 132 Years, City Gets a Cash Register

The first cash register was invented in 1879 by a saloon owner tired of getting ripped off by employees...The simple device had a bell to alert that a transaction was underway and functioned as a simple adding machine....
Retail has searched for the answer to "leakage" ever since and machines are way more complicated today, keeping track of much, much more and hopefully helping with age old problems caused by the confluence of money and people. Actually the couple who work the stand do well and have lOng wanted a register.
The City of Watertown has purchased two Samsung POS units from A&B Office Supply of Watertown, a local firm whose principles are actually users of the Arena facility for their families. The Nevins will service the product and provide the follow up needed to correct at least some of of the auditor's criticisms of operations there.
City Council meets Wednesday with CPA Laurie Podvin to talk about her other findings as the effort continues to correct a series of shortfalls.
US English

Hey Jude...You're One of 'Them' Now

The revolving door of politics, media and government rotated furiously this morning as TV 7 political reporter...(some say the Liz of Watertown) Jude Seymour left WWNY to become a spinner and advisor to likely Congressional candidate Matt Doheny.
Jude professed his love of Republicanism and fiscal restraint and I had always thought he was part of the Obama-mania media....Guess least anymore...
Mr. Seymour will be the message man for Mr. Doheny who is expected to mount a second run at toppling Rep. Bill Owens. Last year, Doheny barely lost to the Democrat.
Mr. Seymour and his wife live in the City of Watertown, which makes them good and wonderful people. Congrats on the new gig and hope life is good on the Dark Side.
Jude's departure from media leaves a void in local political reporting with Times scribe Brian Amaral now the senior political scribe in the region and he's only been at it six months. For TV 7, its likely back to the days when covering politics was at best a necessary evil.
    And Jude is not the first media giant to jump to greener pastures in politics...Former Ogdensburg Journal Editor Jim Reagen moved to the press flack position for Senator Patty Ritchie.   A former Times reporter, Drew Mangione, had worked the press gig for former Senator Darrel Aubertine.
Tuesday: Doheny To Run For Congress Again WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

20-year-old New Jersey Man Killed..Media Blames Beer Pong

It's not beer pong per se that led to this killing of a 20 year New Jersey man....It's stupidity and its unsupervised drinking because house parties are pretty much it for those under 21 years of age.
While anti-alcohol activists have led a crusade to "outlaw" beer pong, the game is very popular among college age men and women. But its not the activity, just as pool or darts or pretty girls are not the cause of a killing....
Its people acting like idiots and doing so in a setting where there is no one serving who has skin in the game...
This is why a host of college presidents and many police chiefs have spoken out in favor of returning to the 18 year old drinking age....It won't happen, because its politically a third rail...But it should.
20-year-old Cherry Hill man charged with killing another over a game of beer pong « CBS Philly

What's Wrong With Roller Derby Girls ?

    So when I went to the Roller Derby at the Fairgrounds Saturday, I snapped some pictures as you can see here on the blog....
    Heck, I even ran into the City Manager at the event, and there were lots of kids there too....
     I posed for a photo with a couple of the skaters from the opposing team and they were gracious as were others I met from Cortland....
     I sent the photo to some friends and one writes back telling me not to let the media get a hold of it....I am thinking, uh-oh, I already sent it to Newzjunky (but I texted back that I hadn't).  I really didn't think there was anything wrong with a souvernir photo with some roller derby ladies, but I guess there is an element so prissy they may not like it....
   You know what...I don't care...I am tired of worrying about what the judgmental and overly unctuous have to say.
    In fact when I came to Pete's tonight, Tommy had printed and framed the photo for me.  So I guess it passed moral muster down here...My Mom even liked it and if she doesn't appreciated an association she will tell me.
     So being seen with roller derby girls is OK and I am sorry I thought for a time it was not.

Proposed law: Blast a school budget, attach your name - Times Union

It has never happened here, but I guess school budget votes are the subject of political campaign style spending...Things like mailings and robo calls and some NY lawmakers want that little bit of free speech to be subject to campaign finance style regulations.....
I am not sure more regulation of speech is needed...but first let's move school elections to the regular election day so the maximum number of voters participate. Right now the system is such that votes on budgets and boards are held in relative obscurity and the process is controlled not by campaigning but by low turnout...
The teachers union says those who advocate defeats of budgets are "enemies" of education....
I would say they are merely wasting their time, as the time to change things needs to come long before the window dressing votes in which a defeat is just viewed as an ill informed abberation.
Proposed law: Blast a school budget, attach your name - Times Union

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rowdy Drunks at State Fairgrounds....

Somehow when you get drunk and disorderly on public property, its OK.....Such was the case at a radio station concert at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.....What this Post Standard article doesn't explain is who is the licensee....who was overserving...who is responsible ? Guess it doesn't matter on public property...since its the government that enforces the law on such matters.
Police charge three patrons at K-Rock Dysfunctional Family BBQ

Sarah Palin's Bus Tour Still Mysterious

Day two of the Sarah Palin bus tour has created as many questions as answers... but the goal of getting publicity is being achieved.... I don't know what it is all leading to...who know's, maybe she will stop in Watertown to see the billboard on the side of Fort Pearl. I know from talking to the media here, the reception would be hostile...Since I doubt that would happen, I think its a moot point.
Sarah Palin's bus tour prompts confusion on Day 2 - Andy Barr -

Obama Goes Golfing on Memorial Day

The President braved 95 degree heat on this Memorial Day to go golfing for the ninth weekend in a row...Mr. Obama hit the links after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown.  Hey, once I fulfilled my official duties, I worked all afternoon and went to Pete's for dinner.
    I don't have a problem with the golfing, and I am not part of the Obama-mania media.
Obama Goes Golfing on Memorial Day The Blog on Obama: White House Dossier

Dicker: Skelos and Silver Can't Stand Each Other.....No S--- !

Oh great....Fred Dicker has burst my bubble and reported the Legislative leaders hate each other and consider one another liars....Darn!
I really thought Dean Skelos and Speaker Sheldon Silver really had an affinity for one another....
Thanks, Fred for reporting the obvious.....Next thing you'll do is tell us the tax cap is not as it appears to be......
Frigid relations between state Legislature's two most powerful leaders is killing any progress on issues: sources -'ll

Why I Go Every Year....

     My first Memorial Day of note was in 1963, four months after the death of my father and his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.  We were living in DC at the time and so the trips to Arlington were possible and poignant...
     You cannot have visited Arlington and not understand that when you are mayor of a city like Watertown, there is no room for skipping Memorial Day observances in favor of the beach or a picnic or just sitting around.
     Today in ceremonies at the Legion, Jefferson County veterans coordinator Pete Fazio and I spoke to those assembled...
     I know many of them. Dave Bush, Obie, Bob Austin, Marsha Coppola, Dan Brady, Doc" Danks....Others don't attend any longer and this is definately as we say in radio a 50-plus demographic.
     The veterans appreciate their local leaders being there on these occasions...It's not that you say anything new or different each's that you are there and by extension a grateful nation is as well.
     May God bless these brave warriors past and present and may He bless this great country.

Weiner on the Grill for Memorial Day

The dangers of 'social media' are evident to Rep. Anthony Weiner are evident after what appears to be a prank escalated in the media. Apparently a buxom and willing to be interviewed Seattle woman who was a fan of Wiener and followed him on Twitter was a the object of a lewd photo purporting to be the Congressman. Rep. Weiner's office says it was the work of a hacker, while the woman says it was the work of a stalker.
It does point out what can be done with social media....If you lack judgment you can end up like former Rep. Chris Lee. Or you can be the victim of a prankster with some computer saavy...Or how about a media that will glom on to the most inane of topics for the story of the day.
In this case, Mr. Weiner is one of those who likes to be flamboyant and likes to be on TV.....He got a lot of attention over his wedding last year and has been in televised dust ups with GOP rivals.
Now he reaps what he sows.
Congressman takes heat on Weinergate -

Congressman Says Hacker Sent Lewd Photo From His Account -

Even the New York Times felt obliged to report on the matter even though Rep. Weiner is a Democrat.
Congressman Says Hacker Sent Lewd Photo From His Account -

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sarah Palin swarmed at first bus tour stop - Andy Barr -

The mystical and mysterious Sarah Palin bus tour is underway, with the possible candidate and certain celebrity attracting a crowd to a DC biker rally.....
Sarah Palin swarmed at first bus tour stop - Andy Barr -

WDT Food Critic Pans Chain When Compared to the Hype

Well, what did you expect ? It's corporate dining and its the wave of the future....WDT food critic Walter Seibel gave at best a passing grade to the new Olive Garden, and given the hype and expectation, his review was essentially an invitation to dine elsewhere.
I don't know Mr. Seibel but he seems to have all the fancy food nomenclature down pat, so I believe what he writes...From the fake Tuscany exterior to the crowded, chaotic interior, Walt and his friends were more impressed with their waitress than where she was working...Three forks for corporate America.
A couple three weeks back someone from Olive Garden called my office and said they wanted to send over some bread sticks and other things to City Hall....Appreciation for the warm welcome and they must not have realized their store is on the other side of the imaginary line....
Anyway, I was not interested due to dieting, but the rest of the office was so we set a date.....nothing came......out of curiosity a staffer called and another date was set up...No bread sticks...
I didn't care as at this stage in life I have finally realized the intimate relationship between bread and obesity. Since the sticks never arrived, our forks were unused.
Watertown Daily Times Dining at Olive Garden, with great expectations

The Economics of the Devil's Brew When People are Thirsty

When I was at the Roller Derby last night, I chatted with with a variety of people and learned from one observant city employee that the Papa Roach concert held there Wednesday resulted in the sale of 25 kegs of Anheuser Busch products plus quite a few cases of Seagrams Wine Coolers....
With 16oz drafts selling at $5 each, that's about $600 gross per keg or about $15K...Add in the wine coolers at $5 a bottle and total sales were probably 16 or 17 grand...Maybe a little more..
Under the terms approved by City Council, the licensee would owe the City about $1600 commission and the sales tax owed on the tranactions would be about $1100, of which the state, county, city, towns and villages all share.
The type of special event permit used for this event prohibits proceeds from sales to be distributed, but that's one of those widely ignored provisions.
Even if all this is paid, and past practice suggests it is not...and taking out cost of product (about $2500 at most) and labor, it would not be unreasonable for the operator of such a concession to net 10 or 12 grand.
Not bad for a night's work at what was a realtively minor concert, and one can see why there is so much interest in seeing who controls such matters..

Congressman Questions Mechanical Signature of Bill

When is a signature a signature ? Its a tradition in society that a person's signature validates a document. That is why people like me take a test and an oath as notaries, in order to validate that the person signing a particular document is who they say they are.
Now the President has ordered a bill signed by a mechanical device called an "auto-pen" which is I guess used routinely to sign letters from the White House. The reason is that Mr. Obama was in Europe and wanted to sign an extension of the Patriot Act before a midnight deadline.
There was talk of flying the bill to France.....After all, look at all the chefs, hairdressers and hangers-on who were flown to Europe for the trip...
Maybe the Congressman who questioned this can just be dismissed as racist, but the President should sign the bill. Next time fly it over...a little more carbon footprint won't hurt...Or better yet, cut back on the globetrotting.
Rep. Graves questions Obama's autopen signing of Patriot Act extension - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

Bill Would Ban Butts in State Parks

Stop already with this drip by drip approach to banning smoking...Talk of banning the nasty habit is now extending to state parks with one of those "press release lawmakers' from NYC pushing a measure....Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz of the Bronx has taken a page from Assemblyman Felix Ortiz of Queens in getting his name in the news for such a matter.
Aside from enforceability, if the product is legal and as long as the state salivates over cigarettes as a revenue source, the state does not have the moral imperative to get on its high horse over the product.
Maybe we should ban alcohol from the parks, and lets ban making out and playing cards too.
Bill would stop smoking in statewide public space -

Human Cockfighting Gets Nod From Senate

The State Senate has approved a bill allowing mixed martial arts, also known as 'human cockfighting' in NYS....The Assembly has yet to take up the matter.....The rationale for allowing this coarsening of human behavior as entertainment is that it will make the state more money....Amazing what one will do when you can rationalize it as being 'for the children.'
     One of our local representives, Senator Griffo, sponsored the bill.
Watertown Daily Times State Senate passes bill OK'ing mixed martial arts