Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York Clerks’ Offices Gird for Influx of Gay Couples -

The good thing about having so many political subdivisions is that if there is a surge in weddings starting July 24th, I am sure they can handled...And frankly, not everyone has to get married the first day...
In the City of New York there may be a mini-surge, but I don't anticipate any more than a trickle of same sex marriages dotting North Country clerk and town justice offices....I don't know which churches, if any, will participate in this societal change. So most of the SSM weddings will be civil and while clerks will have to make some changes in forms any surge is not going to exceed the number we get in Watertown prior to a major deployment of soldiers overseas.
What will be interesting is to see if anyone in official capacity refuses to do ceremonies. I don't see it happening as most clerks are professionals who are used to obeying the law as written.
New York Clerks’ Offices Gird for Influx of Gay Couples -

Runciman: U.S. boater deserves an apology - Brockville Recorder and Times - Ontario, CA

A Canadian lawmaker anxious to lessen resentment over the actions of his country's border agents is sticking up for the Syracuse area man shaken down in Canadian waters. Senator Bob Runciman says the man is owed an apology for overzealous enforcement of immigration laws that resulted in the man being fined $1,000 in exchange for getting his boat back.
Senator Runciman has more sense than our own State Department which defended the actions.
Runciman: U.S. boater deserves an apology - Brockville Recorder and Times - Ontario, CA

WDT: Ho Hum Reaction to SSM

In the ever challenging quest to divine the will of the people, a Times scribe ventured to the lion's den to seek out opinion on NY's new same sex marriage law....The reporter went to the Mount Carmel Feast, the signature event for St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Watertown....The Bishops have blasted the new law and one would think these fine Catholics would follow suit...
However, Brian Amarel reports the people he talked to are either in favor or indifferent....Of course the bitterly opposed are not likely to talk to a shaggy haired, liberal-looking reporter, but I am sure Brian took that sampling bias into account when writing his local reaction piece.
I have sampled opinion too in my talk-show, bar room, seat of government world. The reaction is pretty much the same except for one senior radio announcer who is indeed ballistic over this latest bit of heresy and blasphemy.
Some think its a silly distraction...but as far as virulent homophobia, I hear none, as even the most rightious is anxious to tell us they 'have a gay friend.' In that sense gay is the new black.
There will be a media scrum on July 25 when the first gay couple ventures into the gazebo in front of City Hall or into the chambers of a town justice and repeats the vows in front of God and Channel 7.
After that the only evidence will be weeks or months later when same sex names show up in the published divorces...A list that rivals obits and DWI's for popularity in news-starved NNY.
Watertown Daily Times North country weighs in on gay marriage

New York's Political Chasm Evident in SSM Vote

     The debate over same sex marriage can best be described by who voted for it and the reaction to it.
      Crowds of revelers celebrate in Greenwich Village while across upstate and the Island it was just a rainy Friday night..The Albany press corps seemed downright giddy in their coverage as it became apparent Senator Steve Saland was going to become the 32nd vote pushing the measure over the top.
    A map shows the votes in favor came from the City of New York and from urban centers upstate. Rural areas and suburban Long Island senators were united in opposition.
     Many New Yorkers did not feel a sense of urgency on this matter and indeed were ambivalent about it.  The tax cap and rent control shared the news spotlight.
     There may be court challenges and those four Republicans who voted yes might be targeted, but in the end 2012 will be a fight for control of the Senate and the calculus will be about who can retain the seats and not about this issue.
      With NY now the sixth and largest state permitting SSM, it is yet to be seen if our state is a harbinger of change or just a liberal enclave out of step with elsewhere.

Cuomo Signs Marriage Law...Takes Effect July 24

Governor Cuomo wasted no time in signing into law the same sex marriage bill, meaning assignment editors can mark July 24 as the day to stake out municipal clerk offices to get a picture and a story about the historic cultural change authorized by the Legislature last night.
There will surely be a rush of people availing themselves of the new option, and no doubt many of them are sincere folks with long term relationships. There will be those who think its neat and do it on a lark. But that happens in marriages now.
The threshold for making this most profound of decisions is low...Its only slightly more onerous than buying a pack of cigarettes and less so than getting a drivers license.
Historic gay-marriage vote in Albany; cheers at birthplace of gay rights movement in Greenwich Village -

WDT: Canadians Call Man at Center of Fishing Flap

The 22 year old man at the center of an international mini-incident over a customs shakedown has gotten a call from the agents who recently ruined his day of fishing and relieved him of $1000 under threats of seizing his boat.
The guy best confine his angling to clearly American waters and don't try to enter Canada, as his name is likely in a data base. While our State Department rolled over and affirmed the actions of Canadian authorities, the fuss has caused concerns in the tourism promotion arena as word quickly spreads about the hazards of fishing in foreign waters.
Watertown Daily Times Canada officer phones boater

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gay Marriage is Now Just Plain Marriage in NY

Marriage is a daily event at City Hall and for the City Clerk and her staff its nothing out of the ordinary....With Clerk Donna Dutton retiring the next clerk will now preside over a new kind of wedding.....Same sex couples will be able to wed after a vote tonight in the State Senate....a 33-29 vote in favor of same sex weddings.
Governor Andrew Cuomo will surely sign the bill which takes effect 30 days later.
The same sex bill might have had more votes, but Republicans were skittish about taking the risky vote...29 Democrats and four Republicans ended up voting yes....One Democrat and 28 Democrats voted no.
Senator Patty Ritchie and Senator Joe Griffo voted no.
New York gay marriage bill passes - Reid J. Epstein -

Police Chiefs Take a Hit in Mandate Relief

In the big bill before lawmakers tonight there are little tidbits...One is elimination of the requirement that municipal police chiefs get a pay raise in dollars at least equal to what the highest paid union member gets....This has created a situation in which a police chief has always gotten a larger raise than other management regardless of what a City Council wants.
My read of the bill is that this statutory setting of a chief's salary is gone....It was a good deal while it lasted.
Document Drop: It's Big. It's Ugly. New York Daily News

CPSNY Chair Mike Long: Gay Marriage Will Pass - UPDATED | New York Daily News

You don't have to wait to find out if the marriage vote passes. While it may happen late at night, the head of the state's Conservative Party has reportedly thrown in the towel, telling the Weekly Standard that there are enough Republican Senators to pass the measure.
As a matter of conscience, think what you want... Politically one veteran of the Albany scene told me tonight at Pete's that with the matter so close, its best to pass it and get it off the political stage....That's the hard, cold political calculus that so enrages those who feel such a vote is and should be based on heartfelt moral beliefs....
CPSNY Chair Mike Long: Gay Marriage Will Pass - UPDATED New York Daily News

Game On...Marriage Vote to Happen Tonight

    Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has confirmed the Same Sex Marriage Law will come to a vote now that language on religious exemptions has been agreed upon.

SSM Religious Exemption Amendment Language

The language for religious exemptions for same sex marriages is out of the closet after an apparent agreement between the Governor and Legislative leaders. The language has been considered essential to getting the last couple of votes to pass the measure if the GOP in the Senate allows the bill on the floor for a vote.
One assumes they will vote on it or this language would not have seen the light of day....but the measure still has to go through the Rules Committee, so its fate is by no means a certainty.
The other big piece of legislation released late today is the compilation bill on a variety of unresolved issues...Its called the "big ugly' and covers rent control, the tax cap and a variety of other topics.
SSM Religious Exemption Amendment Language

Supreme Court Hopefuls Strut on the Judicial Catwalk

   The big news at the Italian American Club last night was not Jim McCluskey's soire fundraiser for Supreme Court Justice...It was the news announced the night before that Ives Hill chef Jeff Puccia was bringing his culinary talents to the Club....The menu will be expanding soon  !
     On the political front Mr. McCluskey is the Jefferson County hopeful for the three seats open in the six county, Fifth Judicial District.
    These races are in essence lawyer beauty pageants for the right to a 14 year term in office to cap off your career.  No more hustling for work or paying office overhead.
    Voter criteria is  party, likeability and looks.
    Republicans are also fielding Lewis County attorney Michael Young and Oneida County lawyer Erin Gall.
    I told Ms. Gall to use billboards as my experience watching these races is that attractive people plastered all over the countryside get more votes.....Just the way it is.
    I didn't recommend billboards for Mr Young.
    I have already said I personally like McCluskey and Democrat Charles Merrill of Lowville....They are nice guys who always were pleasant to me even before they were candidates. I don't know if I will cast a third vote.

No Interest in Mercy, Masonic or the League

       A couple of dozen people bid on properties this morning at City of Watertown tax sale. High profile properties including Mercy Hospital, the North Side League and the Masonic Temple attracted no interest and the City now holds the tax sale certificate.
    That means if the taxes are not redeemed within two years the holder of  certificate gets the property.
     Various houses, vacant lots and commercial properties were on the list...Most will be redeemed, but the certificate holder earns 12% yield on his money resulting from fees levied against the overdue tax bills.

WDT: Poll Show NNY Wants Something for Nothing

A poll conducted by a college that shows people want more spending on education and higher taxes on millionaire's. I could have done that poll without asking anyone anything.
This JCC poll has very predictable results.

Senators sport matching seersucker suits - CLICK -

Great idea...Senators wearing seersucker suits on Thursdays to shed their dour dark suit image...Where do you get a seersucker suit these days ?
    Straw hats and white spats may be next. While some would say this is a juvenile activity among a group of people out of touch with how bad things are...I wouldn't say that...but some might.
Senators sport matching seersucker suits - CLICK -

Obama says gay couples deserve same rights as all, but doesn't endorse gay marriage -

President Obama was forced to weigh in on New York's debate over same sex marriage, telling gay donors in Manhattan that gay couples deserve the same rights as everyone else...That sounds like an endorsement of gay marriage to me, but the White House says its not.
Mr. Obama's appearance at the fundraiser at the same time the Legislature is grappling with a gay marriage bill provided a large spotlight on the issue and while he says his position is "evolving", Mr. Obama's remarks and the venue in which he made them seems to indicate his evolving position has completed its evolution.
Meanwhile up the Hudson in Albany, lawmakers will continue their debate on a marriage bill with the tally at 31 yes...28 no and three still undecided. The real question is whether GOP lawmakers allow a vote to happen..If there is no vote or if there is a tie, the measure dies for now.
Obama says gay couples deserve same rights as all, but doesn't endorse gay marriage -

Burns Only Elected Who Meets President Obama

Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns was the only local official who met the President during yesterday's visit to troops at Fort Drum. The Sheriff tells me he enjoyed the chance to meet Mr. Obama and says he shook his hand and had his picture taken with him.
The quick trip to Drum generated national media coverage, and following the visit, the President jetted off to Manhattan for some fundraising.
President Obama at Fort Drum: Obama thanks soldiers at Ft. Drum for Afghanistan efforts -

WDT: Nightclubs Shuttered By State

The State's action to shut down a two Factory Street nightclubs came after a long history of problems at the establishment. Running a nightclub is not easy. It's the frantic, edgy atmosphere that appeals to customers, but nonetheless its important to keep the incidents to a minimum, as having your name in the news and on the blotter repeatedly is the attention that can lead to the strong action taken by the SLA. The specific things cited in the closure may not sound that serious but they are the underlayment to a pattern of incidents that brought attention from regulators. Not a good thing to do.
Places that serve alcohol are required to have a license in large part to generate the accoutability only achieved by the prospect of losing your livelihood if you don't play by the rules. That is in part why I have argued that if the 'devil's brew' is to be sold on public property, it be by duly licensed vendors, who have that license on the line.
Its not easy in the bar business, as someone is always trying to pull one over on you. The desire for something for nothing, people trying to bring other problems into your business, people who behave poorly...and of course society's decision to impose a drinking age that's routinely ignored outside the walls of a licensed establishment.
Running a place on the edge has numerous hazards but the money can be very good...A taste of that kind of cash leads to taking risks, and that's why there are rules and consequences.
In this case correcting the problems will involve lots of fines and billable hours.

WDT: Addie's Disappearing Rainbow

Uh oh....Addie Russell had a small rainbow flag on her desk in Albany and when a WDT scribe came to visit, she removed the flag before a photo could be taken......You can vote however you want when you are from NNY as no one writes a 72 point headline about it...So Addie Russell could have gotten away with voting for gay marriage but since a picture is worth one thousand votes, she didn't want that flag seen.
Her position on this issue is no surprise to me. I ask her about it on the HOTLINE the first year she ran...She answered and there was no MSM coverage. Addie Russell is a liberal...just like her protege Mr. Ford. I don't hold it against her or Ted, but I am not surprised to read about it either.
Watertown Daily Times Russell's redecoration

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Capitol Confidential » Ball: A "No" Who Flirted With Gays and Lesbians

GOP Senator Greg Ball is so gay in his announcement tonight he will vote no on same sex marriage after flirting with the idea in recent days...Senator Ball now says he was only thinking of voting yes because he wanted to prompt a debate on religious exemptions because he knew the measure would pass anyway...
If you are against it, leave it at that like our Senator did...Senator Ball kept listing himself as undecided until today the pressure was too great and he suddenly says he is against it but only suggested he might support it in order to spur debate on religious carveouts.....
That behavior is so totally gay.
Capitol Confidential » Ball: A no who’s proud of his work on the issue

Senate Can't Resolve Marriage Issue

     Republicans are just beside themselves over this gay marriage thing and want to be so progressive yet still be acceptable to Mike Long and the Conservatives...
     That's why they just keep debating and debating the gay marriage proposal...They don't want to vote as they smacks of taking a stand ....Yet they can't let it fester as this is an issue that could cost them the Senate next year...
    Its not about sacraments, its about control of the Senate...So look for the GOP to keep debating.

No Meeting With Bam for Me But I Did Meet Some Judge Hopefuls

Since the local elected glitterati were not invited to meet President Obama, I can only rely on my one contact who was invited....Sheriff John Burns was one of seven locals invited to the President's meet and greet with soldiers....No other local electeds were invited. Sheriff Burns says the President looked tired but that he enjoyed the event.
I went to an event for Supreme Court candidate Jim McClusky...It was well attended...Of course I am on record as saying I support Mr. McClusky and Lewis County Democrat Charles Merrill...But there are three seats open....I met an Oneida County law clerk named Erin who is running as well as Lewis County attorney Mike Young......
Outside The Wire – Obama flubs at 10th Mountain meet-and-greet

WDT: Educators Block Newzjunky

The MSM should be happy over this...The next generation won't easily be getting used to visiting aggregator as school districts are blocking the popular site over alleged concerns over viruses linked to ads posted.
Newzjunky has become a phenomenon and a primary source of news for younger demographics. With various other instruments like I-phones and I-pads now leapfrogging hard-wired computers, the product will still seep into the schools.
I don't buy the stated rationale for banning this site. I think it has more to do with banning a popular product that is a distraction in the workplace. Content could also be an issue as adherence to the education orthodoxy is not as strong at newzjunky as it is at other mass media outlets.
Watertown Daily Times School districts block access to

Obama gay marriage stance in the spotlight - Julie Mason and Glenn Thrush -

President Obama is in NY today to visit the troops and the gays, but not at the same time. Following his visit to Fort Drum, Mr. Obama will head to NYC for a fundraiser with gay and lesbian supporters.
The appearance is not without irony as Mr. Obama and his "evolving" position on same sex marriage will be placed in the middle of the debate and possible vote in Albany on the matter.
Will the Governor weigh in ? While in front of this core and dollar-laden constituency it will be difficult for Mr. Obama to avoid addressing marriage. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Obama gay marriage stance in the spotlight - Julie Mason and Glenn Thrush -

Cuomo's Gay Push Has Little Downside for Him

By leading a charge for gay marriage, Governor Cuomo also protects his left flank if and when he pursues national ambitions. The Governor has rankled core Democratic constituencies like teachers and other public employee unions. But by lobbying hard for a liberal signature issue like marriage equality he stays in good stead with the left....If gay marriage passes, its the Legislature that is tagged with any negatives...If it doesn't come to a vote, Mr. Cuomo can say he tried.
Many of those skeptical of same sex marriage as an issue will not hold it against Mr. Cuomo as they see him doing good things on budget and tax issues. Getting a tax cap and restraining the unions along with some other issues like ethics reform will give Mr. Cuomo a pass on the marriage issue.
If the issue dies because the GOP won't allow it to the floor, that is the best deal for the Governor as it motivates the Democratic base for next years races for the Senate while not really tagging Mr. Cuomo as the gay marriage guy.
I know it sounds cynical to discuss the political calculus of it all, but thats what we do here.
NY Gov. Cuomo makes major push for gay marriage - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Obama to Cut Afghan Forces by 33K

On the eve of a trip to Fort Drum, President Barack Obama announced a 33000 troop reduction in force for Afghanistan, but the move will still leave 70,000 troops in the country by the end of 2012;
Mr. Obama has been under increasing political pressure to scale back US foreign entanglements. The President a year ago had announced a surge in troops and now says the desired effect has been achieved. - Obama Announces 33,000-Troop Cut From Afghanistan - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SLA Said to Whack Watertown Nightclub

   Word trickled through the bar and nightclub industry today that a City club had been closed for repeated fights.

Final Preps Underway at Fort Drum for POTUS Arrival

    President Obama's visit to Fort Drum is strictly a military affair, and the public is not invited to the festivities on Division Hill.   A soldier told me tonight that Vice President Biden was on post a couple weeks back and there was no coverage on that either...
    Best bet is to watch the speech on TV anyway...
    In any event, Welcome to the North Country, Mr. President ! 
    (Probably the Palin billboard will keep him away from Fort Pearl)

Obama To Net More NYC Cash Tomorrow Night | New York Daily News

After squeezing in a visit to Fort Drum for a photo op with soldiers, President Obama flies to NYC for political fundraisers...The Big Apple is fertile ground for Mr. Obama who is expected to raise and spend a BILLION dollars on his reelection.
Obama To Net More NYC Cash Tomorrow Night New York Daily News

Silver: I’ve Seen Gay Marriage Draft Amendment, It’s ‘Acceptable’

Latest word today is that an acceptable version of the same sex marriage bill may come before the Senate and because its a new version the Assembly would also have to vote on it...The religious "carveouts" would protect churches from litigation for refusing to participate or perform such nuptuals.
Meanwhile opponents of the concept continue to up the pressure on a handful of wavering lawmakers....The final hours will be interesting to watch.
Silver: I’ve Seen Gay Marriage Draft Amendment, It’s ‘Acceptable’

Long No Longer Wants A Same-Sex Marriage Vote

The tail that wags the GOP dog now wants no vote on gay marriage. Sensing he can live to fight another day, Conservative Chairman Mike Long now is telling his flock he doesn't want the bill to come to the floor. Perhaps he feels if it did it would narrowly pass and no vote would allow him to its doubtful anyone wants the issue raised in the 2012 session.
Mr. Long is powerful man who is feared by Republicans who feel they need Line C to get elected. With the marriage bill deadlocked at 31-31, Republicans can still block it being voted on and in the rush to get business done and go back home, Mr. Long surely hopes lawmakers have lost their appetite for more controversy and will just punt on this one.
UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was said to be waffling this AM on whether there will be a vote, perhaps reflecting Long's pressure on the caucus.
Long No Longer Wants A Same-Sex Marriage Vote

Barack Obama and Pentagon split on Afghanistan pullout

The President tonight orders a reduction in troop strength in Afghanistan as public support for the ten year old war wanes and Barack Obama's poll numbers dip into the mid 40s. His generals want another "fighting season" at current troop levels, but the political pressure is real and the public is weary. There will still be a war, just with fewer troops and if you believe the Taliban can be eradicated by this Vietnam style war of attrition, it will be more difficult to finish them off.
If you believe the mission is unachievable, then the troops remaining will still be too many.
The President speaks tonight and visits Fort Drum tomorrow. Many will be listening.
Barack Obama and Pentagon split on Afghanistan pullout World news The Guardian

WDT: Moot Case a Years-Long Annoyance

A case like that on Ward Street at the home of Martin Moot really tests your belief in the Fourth Amendment and the concept that a 'man's home is his castle.' For years an eccentric, but shrewd man suffering from a mental illness known as 'hoarding' has taunted neighbors with an overgrown, garbage strewn, stink to the rafters home on a tightly packed, neat middle class street. The immediate neighbors have suffered the most and continue to bear the brunt even though Mr. Moot now resides in a nursing home.
It's a sad personal story as the former librarian and apparent heir to a considerable family fortune has lived a life the likes of which you now see on the TV show "Hoarders."
With a knowledge of his rights and a brother who is an expert in 'elder law' Mr. Moot has confounded all by perverting his rights into a perpetual nuisance and killer of property values and neighborhood quality of life.
Four years ago outrage brought a court-ordered cleanup of over $40,000 which was paid for by Mr. Moot. He has the resource,s knowledge and cantankerous demeanor to keep up the controversy without actually living there.
Now City inspectors will try to see if there is sufficient external evidence of a nuisance to obtain a court order. It won't be easy as there has been just enough exterior cleanup to make it difficult to establish. The cat and mouse game continues, as this nightmare-next-door continues.
I saw the interior of the house in 2007. It was shocking and since the TV show about the behavior has been on, one realizes how common this is. This is beyond 'pack rat' and truly is a disorder. What's frustrating is this is not the result of poverty or ignorance. Its a choice of how to live that's outside the bounds of a reasonable standard. When that plays out on a street like this, its a hardship for all.
Nobody likes to turn in neighbors or sign sworn statements about other people. That is what is happening again as frustrated neighbors want the smell to go away. It is easy to say, 'oh let the old codger have his way', but when you see the toll on everyone else, you soon conclude 'enough is enough.'
Watertown Daily Times Neighbors take complaint about offensive odors to city

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Collect All Nine !

New and graphically gross anti cigarette messages will be on packs beginning next year...Pictures of rotten teeth and blackened lungs...dead bodies and a guy exhaling smoke through a hole in his neck. People smoking less ? Think again, the blood-on-their-hands government in Albany is celebrating a court ruling allowing them to force consumers to buy cigarettes in the tax heavy non-Indian arena...
If this product is so bad, why are they sold ? In part because the government has its own nicotine addiction.
Government Chooses Nine Graphic Images for Cigarette Packs -

Cuomo: State On Cusp of Historic Progress | New York Daily News

Governor Cuomo is claiming victory on a wide front, but is admitting to no pension reform and hedging his bets on gay marriage. The Governor claims his "three men in a room" deal has many things....including mandate relief, although we don't know the specifics...
The measures also are said to have increases the next five years in SUNY tuition.
A tax cap and rent control are in there....I don't know about being the cusp of history....In the capital, one man's cusp is another man's business as usual.
Cuomo: State On Cusp of Historic Progress New York Daily News

Gay Marriage for This Year Slipping Away ? Sure Looks Like It

Proponents of same sex marrage improved their showing in the Senate from 24 to 31 over the past two years, but with the issue deadlocked at 31-31 and with a couple new polls showing NYer's narrowly against it, I suspect lawmakers will leave Albany without even voting on it....Other issues are headed towards resolution, but with non stop demonstrations by both sides of the marriage issue, it's increasingly unlikely anyone will offer to jump into that briar patch.
In Albany, all discussion is about marriage and those handful of other issues...But out in the real world, people are not as fascinated by the debate raging in Capitol hallways.
NOM Poll Says 57% Of NYers Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

The First Dog Day of Summer

YNN called and needed a sound bite on the President's visit to Fort Drum for tonights edition of Capital Tonight. Well, I like to accommodate Liz when I can, so I did the interview.
Did the interview on Public Square at the Fountain....There were kids with hula hoops...Are those back in style ?
Also took Zeppelin to Best Friends Grooming for a nail clipping and then to the Clerk's office for license renewal. Unlike some elected leaders he takes his  canine civic duties seriously.
Zep is getting old and at 15 and a half doesn't like to walk long distances, but is always up for greeting the public.
I read where the Legislature may wrap up tomorrow, an thank goodness those city folk will get their rent control so they don't have to pay market rent like the rest of us. We will follow closely the final events in Albany, and of course the best way to do that is to watch Capital Tonight at 8:30 on Time Warner channel 10 !
Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver try to make en-of-session deals with New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos

Its still 'three men in a room' and the one of the newer members is being compared to an old pro....Senate leader Dean Skelos is labled "the new Shelly" as he holds up a deal to secure key points for his caucus...Why insult him by comparing him to the Speaker ?
Senator Skelos is legislating and at the end of session, issues get bundled together. There are problems trying to link unrelated issues like thax caps, rent control and same sex marriage....And its tough to get lawmakers to offer up their vote on marriage as it is a more emotional issue than setting a threshold for rent limits in NYC apartments.
It is possible no agreement is reached but history suggests otherwise and the rent regs are an extemely important issue to an influential group in the Democratic Party. That is why the regulations have always been written to sunset, so that leverage is there every few years.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver try to make en-of-session deals with New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos

WDT: Ahoy Yank...Let's See That Credit Card

This fisherman shakedown by the Barbary Pirates, known as Canadian Customs, is developing into an international fester. It is odd that a boat is seized and the owner is made to pay $1000 by credit card on the spot to get back underway. Hope the angler has better luck getting a refund from the Canadian government than I have had getting a refund from the state of NY.
Watertown Daily Times New Yorks wants Canada to return $1K to fisherman

Afghanistan war, Obama: Obama expected to announce major Afghan troop reduction -

In a week when President Obama is slated to come to Fort Drum, he is also expected to announce a drawdown in troops in Afghanistan where so many members of the Tenth Mountain Division have and are serving.
The 30,000 troop reduction would occur over the next year.
Afghanistan war, Obama: Obama expected to announce major Afghan troop reduction -

Monday, June 20, 2011

Silver: Yes, Frustration Is Setting In

Albany is in a tizzie...unable to reach a settlement on the three or four issues remaining....
Silver: Yes, Frustration Is Setting In

Council OK Bird House Remake...Free Chairs...and the Moot house Smells Again

       City Council approved an engineering contract to move ahead with design of a rehab of the Zoo Aviary. The low bid of Bernier Carr received the work despite some controversy over the selection process.
       Council also approved a two tier sewer rate system but failed to act on water rates, continuing to deny a break for homeowners who were slated to receive a rate cut.
       Lawmakers approved site plans for a pair of new restaurants adjacent to Stateway Plaza and adopted my recommendation to drop fees for chairs and tables at the Arena until a comprehensive discussion can occur on fees.
      And Council got a dose of Deja vu when Ward Street residents came in to complain about the property of Martin Moot, the hoarder who four years ago spent over $40,000 on a City Hall ordered cleanup of his property...Now Mr. Moot lives elsewhere but the house is a mess and neighbors say its open to the elements and reeks of rotting garbage.

Still Waiting for Justice from NYS...But Too Afraid to Formally Complain

   I called Taxation and Finance today and asked about those cigarette retailer refunds...They said they are working on them but gave no timetable...
   I'd best be satisfied with that answer for now and not roil the waters by complaining...
    UPDATE: Senator Ritchie texted me ( I said TEXTED) and told me I would have the money by September 1st.  Oh.
    Guess I shouldn't have bothered paying my water bill and sales tax on time today....I could wait three months without penalty, couldn't I ?
     Not blaming you Senator, and I appreciate the shout out !

ChairGate Just the Latest Kerfuffle

I have asked a couple of options be available for City Council tonight in response to a request table and chair fees be waived for a group holding several concerts this summer.
The Disabled Persons Action Organization says the fees, which are on the books, was never charged in the past....Pressure to start invoicing according to the code prompted the billing.
I am not interested in arguing about this year's concerts....But the options should not include a wink of the eye...Lawmakers need to either repeal the section of the code or approve a contract for the concerts which deviates from the code...Either scenario is allowed under the law.
I know I sound like a nit-picker, but one of the many factors that led to fiscal issues at the Fairgrounds is an unclear message from lawmakers on what should be collected. My message is the code should be followed and if lawmakers don't like the fees, then amend the code.
Newzjunky - Mayor Graham: City 'Shouldn't Have Enacted' DPAO Table and Chair Fees

NYP: Marriage Vote Looms

The Post reports the same sex marriage law is just about a done deal with the Governor and Senator Majority Leader Skelos near a deal on religious carveouts...Demonstrations on both sides have wracked the Capitol today and the pressure is on a couple of fence sitters....It's all about a deal with face saving language, as no one wants this issue to linger into 2012.
Gay marriage vote expected this week -

TV 7: Obama Coming to Drum

    President Barack Obama will reportedly visit Fort Drum on Thursday to meet with members of the Tenth Mountain Division who have been crucial to his policies in Afghanistan.
    Mr. Obama will not leave the post and further details have not been released.

TV 7 Asks to Interview Me About Marriage Equality...Wanted Me to Wear Fuschia Shirt

   This morning I was at City Hall and got a strange call from TV 7....Their reporter wanted to interview me on the subject of same sex marriage...
    Well, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck and know there is no reason to get in the middle of that issue since its not really a City issue..Kind of like abortion...Obviously if the Legislature approves gay marriage, our clerk will issue licenses in accordance with the law and those authorized to perform services would do them.
    What I quickly realized is that this was a "gotcha" story....TV 7 advanced the premise they had "heard" I would refuse to do such a ceremony (presumably in a bid to be interviewed on 'Fox and Friends'). I, of course, said that's not true and that I do not do weddings anyway. I certainly would not refuse on that basis if the union is deemed legal by the state and would expect municipal governments to abide by the law. (I think the carveouts for organized religions are fine).
     Obviously I declined the interview as plopping myself in the middle of the issue serves no purpose politically and I personally may not care if the measure passes, its not something I publically advocate.
      Of course, I suspect the gist of the story was to get me on camera saying I would or wouldn't perform a service...Either way its a good story...The clincher was when the reporter asked me to wear the afforementioned fuschia shirt for the interview.
       That's when I realized what was up. Like I said...I can be quirky and iconoclastic...but am not that stupid.

President Obama's Views on Gay Marriage 'Evolving' -

President Obama said in a 1996 state senate campaign that he favors sames sex downside to being so candid when running from an inner city district....By 2008, he was against gay marriage when he was trying to piece together 270 Electoral College votes. Now the President is considering whether he should come out in favor of what is now called "marriage equality."
The President is appearing at a couple of major gay pride events in coming weeks and the feeling is that its safe to come out in favor of same sex marriage now.
Mr. President, we accept your 1996 position as indicative of your views. You were like all other pos, in that you took the position you had to in 2008 in order to win Indiana and North Carolina.
As is always done in politics, you fudged your stand in order to achieve the greater good of getting elected. Happens all the time.
President Obama's Views on Gay Marriage 'Evolving' -

WDT: Restaurant Boom Continues

The surge in restaurants continues with plans for a pizzeria in Stateway Plaza and the business' owners have wisely arranged private funding for their project after a lively discussion at a recent Watertown Trust meeting about whether public funds should be leveraged in that industry. The food and beverage industry is tough and its a challenge to make a go of it. It sounds like the New Haven pizza being offered is a good product and we look forward to the restaurant opening.
Watertown Daily Times Brothers plan to bring New Haven pizzeria to city

Sexting: It's Not Just For Congressmen Anymore

In its continuing effort to be at the cutting edge of societal change, the MSM has now discovered that lots of people "sext", or send saucy and erotic messages on the Internet. After Anthony Weiner walked the plank over his antics, we now learn lots of people sext, although its not considered good for marriages....Imagine that.
Social media makes it too easy to be social and people no doubt will do things they wouldn't do if they had to hook up in person.
Sexting: Not just a teen phenomenon, as rampant trend goes mainstream with celebs, politicians

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tobacco Retailers Still Being Hosed By Albany...But Do I Really Want to Say Anything ?

    If you have read this blog you know one of my pet peeves was the money the state collected from tobacco retailers in violation of a court order and now their intransigence in returning the overcharges....In my case this was $1400 which I know is lot a lot of money to many, but it would be nice to have back.
    I wrote a draft of a letter to the local assistant attorney general protesting the state's lawless behavior which would not be tolerated if done by a private sector business.
    I haven't sent the letter to Ms.Nelson as I don't really want to taunt the bear and have them "launch a probe" or decide I need an audit of my own.
     As the former assistant AG would say, fighting the state is like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill.
     The State had sent a letter almost two months ago pledging to repay the illicit collections.  Maybe I should be patient, as I don't need Eric Schneiderman mad at me....
But the letter is written and it felt good doing it.

Cuomo Expects Approval of Same-Sex Marriage Bill -

Chattering continues on the same sex marriage bill with protections for religious groups really all that stand in the way of passage....May GOP senators don't want it to come to a vote as they don't want to have to take a public position on the issue...But come on, it will be an issue in the 2012 races with a handful targeted for defeat by the left if the bill fails.
Put it to a vote and let the chips fall where they may...
Cuomo Expects Approval of Same-Sex Marriage Bill -

A Quintesenntial Perfect Day to Campaign

   It was a glorious day to be out campaigning this afternoon...Today it was the North Side with trips to Superior Street and the area around Sacred Heart.
    The absolute most beautiful spot in town is the house at the far end of Cayuga Avenue, nestled in the woods beyond Kelsey Creek....It was good to see some old friends and the response was good...One lady praised me for my position on crows...Funny what people notice..
     Seeing the neighborhoods up close and meeting the people is the best part of retail politics that is still a part of small races in a town the size of Watertown.
     The Congressional and Senate races are such media spending fests that candidates don't have the contact they need to govern.
      Its a pleasure and honor to represent people in Watertown.....I look forward to seeing more of you soon.

Ritchie and Canadian Counterpart Want Probe of Watery Shakedown

If true this is a modern shakedown any southern sheriff would be proud of....An American fisherman with a Canadian fishing license boarded by Canadian authorities and ordered to pay a thousand dollars on the spot to get his boat back....Good thing these government pirates took credit cards....
Going out to catch a fish seem so inoccuous but nothing is these days as governments scramble for money at every turn. There are the requisite calls for a probe by lawmakers, who in the end are powerless to stop this kind of piracy on the low seas.

WDT: Bears Invade Sackets

Well, infiltrate might be a better word, but an inflammatory headline gets your intention.
Whether its the quaint, historic ambiance, the fine dining or the scenic vistas of Lake Ontario, there is something atttracting bears to this sleepy village. It could be some uncovered trash cans attracting the furry animals, but this is no laughing matter as Sackets has become a popular spot to live and visit. A bear is not something you want to run into.
Watertown Daily Times Black bears seen in Sackets