Saturday, July 16, 2011

Casey On the Loose Soon

In hours Casey Anthony is free from an Orlando jail....and her troubles don't stop at the prison gate...Security issues, threats, who knows what kind of issues and drama, and of course people already sueing her....Including a South Carolina inmate claiming he is Caylee's father and he wants to sue for wrongful death....
Good grief, when did he come to this realization....?
Its going to be a circus so stay up late for the show.

How Casey Anthony's release is likely to unfold - CBS News

Cuomo and PEF reach contract deal w/ furloughs

Governor Cuomo has achieved labor peace with another major player with tentative agreement for a 5 year pact with the Public Employee Federation, or PEF.
The deal includes furloughs and is similar to one inked with CSEA.
For Mr. Cuomo, this is another victory and for the union it means layoff notices are rescinded.
The next big battle for the Governor is enactment of pension reform, although Mr. Cuomo's starting place is to retain the defined benefit system, which will lessen union resistance.
Capitol Confidential » Cuomo and PEF reach contract deal w/ furloughs

WDT: Mercy Proposal Brings Positive Response

     Terms like "vision" and "leadership" are thrown around a lot, but in the end the challenges we face as a community require ideas and solutions.....Hopefully we have an opening on the Mercy front with the holder of tax sale certificates willing to reliquish their claim, opening a path for City ownership in 2012 instead of 2013..
    The reason is complicated, but the City was the default bidder on the Mercy parcels in the most recent tax sale...that was because the high bidder last year stopped paying taxes.
     The long and short of it is if the City holds the sole certificate, it could get title while the buildings are still in use and it would be easier to make plans for redevelopment. Of course the current deed holder or its creditors could step in and redeem the property...That's a long shot and if it did happen the City would recoup bills long considered a lost cause.
      I had suggested approaching the certificate holder to discuss a variety of properties and we got a positive response.
      Throughout recent discussions on Mercy, the issue of title has been an impediment....With no one interested in the buildings and taxes not being paid anyway, I feel the City should seek an arrangement on Mercy and on the Masonic Temple building.

WDT: Flower Memorial Library trustees hash out plan to increase staffing and library hours

When City Council added funding to the Flower Library, the clear intention was to increase hours of operation to better serve the public....A library is not a bank and therefore must be open hours outside the 8 to 4 paradigm on Monday through Friday.
This is the time to negotiate being able to have part time employees hired, as long time employees apparently don't want the new hours. Such a move would give the Library Board much more freedom in staffing to meet the public's needs.
There are lots of occupations that require flexibility in hours.....Nurses, firemen, bar owners....just to name a few.
With Libraries under competitive pressure from other sources of information and entertainment, serving the public is needed more than ever.
Watertown Daily Times Flower Memorial Library trustees hash out plan to increase staffing and library hours

State of Politics Blog: Cuomo Cash

Northern New Yorkers just don't know how to play the big time, big money political game...A review of pages and pages of donors to Governor Cuomo this year shows the leaders are Lucy Waletsky and the Empire Dental PAC at $60,800 each.
I didn't see any recognizable names until I got down to $1000 when a saw a Robert Johnson, who might be the local doctor who ran for Congress up here.....Of course, its a common name, so it could be someone else....
Heck, when you read up on these reports, you will find a town supervisor in Suffolk County with a $2million dollar war chest.
These reports are on file at the NYS Board of Elections website. All that transparency is a reminder that we are the "little people" the big time pols always talk about.
State of Politics Blog

Schneiderman Pays Himself Back

Thank goodness he got his money back. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman loaned his campaign $550,000 and through diligent fundraising since his 2010 election, the AG has paid himself back.....
Mr. Schneiderman was a state senator at the time he ponied up the money to further his AG campaign.
Now if he had lost that primary to Kathleen Rice, and didn't have an office to use as a platform to raise the money, what would happen ? I guess that's the risk he took in seeking to become a "public servant."
Schneiderman Pays Himself Back

Friday, July 15, 2011

Governor signs bill banning bath salts

Yesterday it was texting (not sexting), today it was bath salts, hooka pipes and ipecac syrup the Governor signed laws outlawing.
How long before getting out of bed is illegal ?
There is no sense of humor in this state...Yesterday when I arrived late for the Governor's bill signing, I got to talk to him and told him I was sorry I was late but that I had tried to text him....I thought it was funny, but he didn't crack a smile...Guess that's part of staying on message.
Governor signs bill banning bath salts - NewsChannel 9 WSYR

Town clerk: I do not do 'I do' - Times Union

Here's a town clerk who is not going to perform marriage ceremonies anymore because she objects to same sex marriage...However, she will issue licenses to same sex couples and let the Town of Guilderland judges do the "I do's".
That's kind of splitting hairs but I guess she wants to keep her job in the township near Albany.
So far only two or three out of who knows how many are running to the MSM to object to the SSM law that takes effect July 24th.
Town clerk: I do not do 'I do' - Times Union

Patty's The One for the GOP

   At least four fellow Republican state senators came to Patty Ritchie's fundraising soire on Caprice Island in the St. Lawrence River...
    From listening to them, you would think the freshman senator from Heuvelton is the Second Coming...And for the GOP she may have been...
   Her successful snatching of the NNY seat back from popular Democrat Darrel Aubertine was what gave Republicans their slim 32-30 edge in the upper house...And they need her again next year as they cannot lose this seat and stay in charge.
     It's all true...she's the straw that stirs the drink, and after meeting her two aunts who are regular readers , I wouldn't dare say anything but.

Hochul Keeps Up Fundraising Pace

More fundraising news...Newly minted Member of Congress Kathyy Hochul of Buffalo is raising lots of cash...and it turns out loaned her own campaign $250K back when she was still Erie County Clerk....
Those county clerks do pretty well, I guess....
Hochul Keeps Up Fundraising Pace

Weiner is a Cash Cow

In a sign of what's wrong with our political process, disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner reports over $3.9 million in his campaign account for Mayor of New York City......That election is not till 2013 and most observers don't think Mr. Weiner can play in that race....
One candidate, one race, in one city....Think of all the other large caches of cash...
Makes what is done in NNY politics small by comparison.

City Council Members Burns and Butler Get a Pass

   Two City Council members up for reelection this year will apparently get a free pass for another term.....Only Joe Butler Jr and Roxanne Burns filed petitions for the City's non-partisan elections, and there is no mechanism for getting on the ballot after this yesterday's deadline. In recent years there has been a pronounced lack of interest in local elected office. I can remember one year when seven candidates ran for two seats.
   As expected, City Councilman Jeff Smith and yours truly filed for Mayor....But for Mr. Smith, the stakes are mitigated....He has two more years left on his Council term, so win or lose he will be on the Council come January.
    In the open race for City Judge,  Eugene Renzi and Keith Caughlin will compete this September in primaries for the Independence and Conservative Party nominations.
Mr. Renzi and Mr. Caughlin will appear on the Republican and Democratic lines, respectively.
     Surprisingly nobody filed for the Working Family or Green lines.

N.F.L. Talks Clear Last Major Obstacle -

Looks like there will be football this fall as a settlement to the lockout is being reported...I never really followed the issues, but definately wanted to see the Jets have another bite at the apple, after twice making it to the AFC Championship Game...
Besides, when you look at the money and largesse we slather on pro and college sports every fall, its hard to believe or take seriously all the dire predictions about economic calamity.
Really, how can the nation be broke when so much is spent on players, stadiums and overpriced hot dogs and brewskis.
N.F.L. Talks Clear Last Major Obstacle -

WDT:City of Watertown looking for options for bus station relocation

Moving the central bus stop downtown is not as easy a job as one might think. The logistics of getting busses in one spot and allowing convenient loading and unloading is difficult. Locations like JB Wise are inconvenient, and frankly the current Arcade Street location is a good one.
Trouble is the space it takes up may hinder plans to renovate the vacant Woolworth Building...That project has been a priority and a developer is trying to get the final pieces together on a plan to put apartments in the historic structure.
Options are being looked at, and any good ideas are appreciated.
Watertown Daily Times City of Watertown looking for options for bus station relocation

Is President Obama losing rich liberals?

Some of the people who voted for President Obama in 2008 are peeling away...We know the Duff has repudiated his vote, and so apparently are some of the "limousine liberals" who supported him as well.
Our good friend Dave Mance is still with the President.
A lack of enthusiasm on the left and an erosion of center/right GOP leaners is what could lead to a defeat of the President in 2012. Also, there has to be an alternative voters view as competant and somewhat interesting to have in their living rooms for four years.
So far that hasn't happened and that is why the President still has to be considered a favorite for reelection...Maybe not by the seven points he had last time, but by two to four points with an electoral college margin much smaller.
Is President Obama losing rich liberals? - Matt Negrin -

Showdown on debt: No Resolution in Sight

I don't think the issue is resolvable, so maybe the best thing is to keep borrowing until the interest costs and/or the inflation from an expanded money supply convince the American people the present course is not sustainable.
We are not there yet and the prospects of a change through an election is still 18 months off.
Showdown on debt: Geithner demands deal in days as Republicans propose cuts to match $2.5trillion loan increase Mail Online

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Didn't He Hear I Was a Conservative for a Day Many Years Ago

     Legendary St. Lawrence County Conservative Hank Ford was pitching me to become a Conservative Party member, since I have pretty much lost interest in the Independence Party.  Hank was attending the soire on Caprice Island. I ran into him in the basement bar.
     Hank said I was conservative and he didn't even care when I told him I was OK with the SSM bill so opposed by State Conservative Chair Mike Long.  Wow, that's a big tent party.
     I am not making any hasty decisions, as I like being in a party that really doesn't stand for anything in particular...An "I'm whatever you want me to be" kind of party.
     I told him I would ponder his offer.

From Cuomo to Caprice...a Busy Day.

    A very political day for me....I submitted nominating petitions for reelection as Mayor. 
     746 signatures were on the sheets and I enjoyed meeting many people over the last month.
     I did my last HOTLINE program till after the November 8th election. I will try to work some more at the tavern to make up for the income loss.
     Governor Cuomo was at the airport for a well-attended bill signing. I got there as it ended, but his aides set up a little face time. I complimented him on the recent session and pitched the need for pension reform.
     In the late afternoon I went to Caprice Island in the St. Lawrence near Kring Point State Park in the Town of Alexandria.  That's the summer home of Matt Doheny and this place was very well done. So was the hospitality as 350 people were ferried to the Island for a Patty Ritchie rally and fundraiser.
     Lots of politicos there including several State Senators including Deputy Majority Leader, Sen. Tom Libous of Binghamton.
      Some real pretty judge candidates were there and other local glitterati like the former Miss NY clinked glasses with the well connected and those who think they are.  Mr. Doheny was a great host, but hovering over the kind words for Patty was his own candidacy next year against Rep. Bill Owens...
     My friend Tammy of Wicked Wench fame was there. Roxanne Burns....and Carolyn Fitzpatrick...You can tell I have been kicking around awhile...People from Syracuse recognized me...The power of YNN !
      Senator Ritchie led a group of us on a tour of the upper floors....All the showers spray you from about six directions.....It was a lot fancier than you see on Pearl Street.
      Which is where I am now that I have returned from a very fun and beautiful evening on the River.

Filing This Afternoon Will Make Me a Listener and Not a Talker

   Today during the noon hour I will do the HOTLINE show as always and this afternoon, I plan on filing nominating petitions to run for reelection as Mayor of the City of Watertown.
   That being the case, I will not be hosting the HOTLINE until after the election. This is a proper decision for a broadcast outlet as these are public airwaves and candidacies pose too many problems in the quest for compliance and fairness.
    While I will miss the daily discourse, and nobody likes giving up a job even temporarily, my absence will be most fair to the process of electing a mayor.
     Keep calling as those filling the void in the weeks to come will need your continued support.
    Best wishes, and I look forward to talking to many of you individually during the campaign ahead !

WDT:Cuomo vetoes bill on school district pension costs, which Ritchie, Griffo and Russell had voted to approve

So school districts won't be able to borrow money to pay expanding pension costs.....The Governor vetoed a measure to allow that kind of borrowing...
Good for him. Pension contributions are a current expense, not a capital cost. There is no good reason to bond for them.
Watertown Daily Times Cuomo vetoes bill on school district pension costs, which Ritchie, Griffo and Russell had voted to approve

Cuomo Visit is During Last HOTLINE For Me Till November 9

Governor Cuomo is in Watertown today (or at least the airport in Hounsfield) to sign a bill on texting....In the spirit of the occasion, I won't text on the way there to see him.....
I think I will be able to go, as his visit is during the HOTLINE. Todays edition of America's Favorite Noontime Talk Show will be the last for me for a time as I plan to file nominating petitions to run for reelection. Joe Brosk and maybe some other guest hosts will fill in. I will miss you all but rules are rules and giving up the job during the campaign is a good thing.
As for the Governor, he is setting pension reform as his big issue for 2012.
Cuomo Says He Wants to Tackle Pension Changes in 2012 -

Cantor: Obama Stormed Out of Debt-Ceiling Talks - Billy House, Katy O'Donnell and George E. Condon Jr. -

Things are testy in DC as the debt talks continue.
Cantor: Obama Stormed Out of Debt-Ceiling Talks - Billy House, Katy O'Donnell and George E. Condon Jr. -

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Forms

   New wedding license application forms have been delivered to clerks...At the top of the columns for each participant it no longer says groom on the left column and bride on the right....
   Each side now says   "Bride/Groom/Spouse".

WDT:Cuomo, Skelos and Libous will be in the north country tomorrow

Some of my GOP friends say I shouldn't go visit Governor Cuomo when he visits Watertown Airport on Thursday....but you know what...I don't care...I think its my job and I think the Governor is doing a decent job...So i will go see him, if I can skip out of the HOTLINE a little early...
Thursday is my last day on the show until November 9th...All due to a desire on the part of station management to comply with not just the letter but also the spirit of the Communications Act of 1934.
Later in the day, its time to visit the soire on the Isle of Caprice. Matt Doheny is hosting an event for Sen. Patty Ritchie, featuring the top two leaders in the GOP Senate majority.
If I were a political junkie I would consider this a perfect day....
Watertown Daily Times Cuomo, Skelos and Libous will be in the north country tomorrow

New City Clerk Hired...Let's Welcome Ann Saunders to City Hall Family

   City Council has hired Ann Saunders as the next City Clerk, and Ms. Saunders will serve as a deputy to the current clerk till the end of the year for training purposes.
   Ms. Saunders is office manager for a local physician and will learn the specifics of the position starting August 29 as she works for current clerk Donna Dutton as a deputy clerk.
   The Council started with 24 applicants for the job and whittled it down.
    I am confident Ms. Saunders will do a great job and wish her only the best in succeeding Ms. Dutton.

Kingston Mayor Visits City to Foster Good Will

   Kingston Mayor Mark Gerretsen gave an upbeat view of US/Canadian relations, saying the stain left by a recent fishing incident pales in comparison to the many positive interactions between citizens of Canada and the United States.
   His Worship, the 95th mayor of Kingston, spoke to Noon Rotary in Watertown at the invitation of former Mayor Tom Walker, who also invited me to join him at the luncheon.
   Mayor Gerretsen lauded recent inter-city sessions between Watertown and Kingston and says he is an avid shopper on this side of the border.
   The Mayor's father was Mayor of Kingston when Mayor Walker served here.
    Mayor Gerretsen praised the 12 year old amalgamation of Kingston with adjacent townships and hinted that kind of synergy might work well in New York State.
     Another visit by Watertown area leaders to Kingston will happen in the fall.

Fee Schedule | New York State Liquor Authority

Wow, a three year license to sell beer in a ball park is only $676. Funny, nobody ever thought to look that up before...or apply to get one.
For some time, I have been the voice in the wind suggesting that people with franchises should be licensed and thus accountable. In fact, it surprised me to find out in recent months that the facility in question had not been licensed before.
I know its a complicated issue if you are not in the biz, but we have all had to jump through the hoops at some point to comply. That's why its only natural that when you are in the business, you expect others who want to be, to do the same thing.
Kind of like a lawyer or doctor who don't want those without a license to practice in their field.
Two days ago I learned of another request for a franchise after I thought Council had already dealt with requests for this year. That will have to get looked at.
  A uniform licensee, with a facility in place all the time, and a City policy on sales is what I have proposed be worked on for future seasons.
   That would involve a competitively bid RFP.  For those concerned the City will profit, I don't think the municipality responsible for enforcement should have a direct monetary interest in the volume of sales. Besides, our cut on that is the portion of sales tax that comes our way.
    The City should formulate the policy, sell the franchise and rent the facilities at rates that reflect costs. That's my view for those who like to characterize it elsewhere.    
Fee Schedule New York State Liquor Authority

Some Key Hirings Coming Up and One is Very Key....

      Today is a day when City Council looks to take steps towards hiring of a new City Clerk to take over for Donna Dutton when she retires at year's end. The action comes at a special meeting I called for 5:30 today.
        It's future hirings by the City Manager that are important too...Key management posts like water and purchasing are being vacated due to retirements. Then there is the newly restructured and independent Recreation Department with two key slots to be filled.
     One is a "tested" position for program supervisor, which is really a replacement for Superintendent Jamie St. Croix who has retired. Obviously overseeing the core functions related to youth sports and the like is very important as these have benefited so many over the years.
     The other job is to run the department and act as overseer of facilities and the business side of Recreation. This includes marketing and planning for the Fairgrounds and the large number of high dollar events now being held there.
       Formulation of pricing and policies are among the most important things as well as setting the tone for operating the dollars and sense side of recreation.  Those who seek to use the facilities need to be accommodated.
       There are people available at hand who have the skill set, which needs to stress some skills more aligned with private sector business than traditional public sector roles.
       City Council wants the right person in this post because there is much to be done and much of it cannot wait. There are decisions to be made soon.
       Council is to be applauded for quickly agreeing on a consensus for reorganization, but now its time to carefully but quickly put in place the people who can hit the ground running and tackle the challenge. The message is needed that change is happening.
        I also want to thank an old friend, Dennis Honeywell of Clayton, who offered some well spoken and well timed advocacy for the notion of a facilities manager for the Fairgrounds.  I shared his letter with Council and believe it was helpful in reaching the decision.

First Photo Inside Cave in Decades Revealed

   I got some photos from spelunker Kim Maley who was one of three people in Watertown last Sunday to do preliminary investigation of the soon to be explored caves along the Veterans Riverwalk in downtown Watertown.
    The trio picked the spot they want to install a permanent access gate that is yet to be manufactured. The gate will be put in next month so exploration can begin.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

County Fair Opens on a Warm Summer Night

    Beautiful weather and a big crowd combined with smooth operations to make for a great opening day to the Jefferson County Fair.
    Its the 194th edition and the Nation's oldest continuing operating Fair.
    Among those attending the opening ceremonies in addition to me were Assemblyman Blankenbush, Sheriff Burns, Clerk Lane, Board Chair Fitzpatrick and several Legislators.
     Congratulations to President Bob Simpson and his staff on keeping the Fair going all these years.

Obama says he cannot guarantee Social Security checks will go out on August 3

Now this is a nice threat sure to bring the GOP to its knees....Threats not to send SS checks will get the seniors calling their GOP members of Congress to beg them for higher taxes and bigger deficits.
Its high stakes for President Obama, but scaring seniors is always good politics.
Obama says he cannot guarantee Social Security checks will go out on August 3 - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Refusing To Enforce Marriage Law, Clerk Resigns

A town clerk in Broome County has put her own beliefs ahead of livelihood and has resigned her post rather than have to grant same sex marriage licenses...The clerk in the Town of Baker probably wouldn't have had many occasions to issue them, but if she can't do the job because she is a consciencious objector then she was right in stepping down before Eric Schneiderman came after her.
Refusing To Enforce Marriage Law, Clerk Resigns

Equal Rights Means an Equal Wait

Wait the one day like everyone else....Same sex marriage is legal on July 24, which means licenses can be issued that day...There is a mandatory one day waiting period to prevent impulsive weddings...or "gin weddings" as they were called in 1936 when the state set the limit at three days (later shortened to one) because one lawmaker said the institution of marriage was "under siege."
The concern was young people falling in love and marrying on a whim........Waiting one day doesn't stop the whim as the effect of the "gin" can easily last 24 hours.
Judges should not be bothered with requests to waive the waiting period...Anything worth doing is worth waiting a day for....
Same-Sex Couples Criticize Waiting Period for Marriages -

Nobody Wants to Eat the Peas

Brinksmanship will continue over the deficit, the borrowing limit, spending and taxes.
There likely will be no grand agreement, but the President has the edge in that people like spending money and resent the rich whom Mr. Obama says do not pay enough taxes.
Meanwhile in Europe, economies are teetering and debt overseas is making many jittery.
Politics Obama, Republicans trapped by inflexible rhetoric Seattle Times Newspaper

Casey Anthony juror, 60, quits work and flees town in fear of her life | Mail Online

Who in their right mind would want to sit on a jury after a public incited by the likes of Nancy Grace is threatening jurors in the Casey Anthony trial over their surprise acquittal of the 25 year old mother accused of killing her baby Caylee ?
The invective hurled at jurors just trying to do their job as they saw fit is inappropriate and a threat to the system as well as the individuals.
Casey Anthony juror, 60, quits work and flees town in fear of her life Mail Online

Miscellaneous Stuff on a Tuesday in July

      -The Jefferson County Fair starts today with the midway open at noon and a parade tonight.....Its a good time to indulge in some food you shouldn't eat year round and see all the animals we city slickers sometimes forget are so important to our agrarian life.
      -For the second Council meeting in a row, one lawmaker referred to alcohol at concerts in a strange way that almost mocked people of faith. "Its a concert, not a bible class" and "its not a conclave to elect a Pope" were the phrases used to suggest some of us were being prudish in our concern over the scope of consumption at these events. In fact an Internet rumor was started yesterday to the effect that last nights meeting was supposed to result in a cancellation of concerts, when in fact it was to reorganize the Recreation Department so in the future, events at the facility would be better managed.
     -The City Clerk reports only two inquiries so far about same sex wedding ceremonies which can be held in NY starting July 25. I only had one inquiry about a ceremony but it was for outside the city limits where I cannot perform ceremonies anyway. Look for many ceremonies and much media hoopla in the big cities, especially NYC.  Our own City Hall is home to hundreds of weddings each year.
     -A special City Council meeting has been called for Wednesday at 5:30.

WDT: Rumor Mill Was Right...District 12 Race Possible

I heard about this yesterday afternoon and I guess it was true. A former lawyer at Fort Drum named Carl Disalvatore says he is collecting petitions to run for County Legislature in District 12, an in-City seat now held by board Chairperson Carolyn Fitzpatrick.
Republicans were all aflutter over the possible challenge which would only become official if the Democrat files nominating petitions by Thursday.
There was another rumor yesterday of a possible City Council challenger although no name has surfaced.
So far in the City, there look to be contested races for mayor and judge.
Watertown Daily Times Unexpected candidates to run for county seat

ABC News Plays Gotcha With Michelle Obama

I wouldn't blame the First Lady for calling ABC News part of the "lame stream media" after reading this piece about Mrs Obama ordering a burger and milkshake at a DC diner. Somehow the network computed the lunch as having 1556 calories and suggested that it was wrong for her to indulge a little since Mrs Obama has been an advocate for healthy eating and eliminating childhood obesity.
The First Lady is doing the right thing in raising awareness of that issue and the "gotcha" journalists need to get a life. Enjoy your lunch Mrs. Obama.
Spotted: Michelle Obama Indulging In 1,556-Calorie Lunch - Political Punch

Tea Party groups to target lawmakers on debt ceiling -

North Country Rep. Bill Owens is one Democrat targeted for extinction by Tea Party advocates....
Tea Party groups to target lawmakers on debt ceiling -

Monday, July 11, 2011

Council Makes Changes to Recreation

    City Council has agreed on a plan to remove the Parks and Recreation operation from under Public Works and hire a director to spearhead management of the Fairgrounds facilities as well as general oversight. There will be a separate program manager to handle duties similar to what the retiring Superintendent  now does.
    There was general agreement among lawmakers on the need to provide better management of the events and business side of the facilities which have undergone much change in recent years. The end agreement was an almalgamation of different suggestions.
     Council also pledged a look-see at alcohol with the city attorney to help craft an overall policy and a means to have a common licensee for all events.
    Events in the pipeline are being handled on an event by event basis.

Sarah Palin: " I Can Win !"

Sarah Palin continues to fuel Presidential talk, with the latest Newsweek cover proclaiming she says, "I can win."
I don't think she can without some persona changes, cut I still like her feisty attitude and focus on small government. Hers is an important voice in the debate, whether she runs or not.
Sarah Palin on 2012 presidential election: 'I can win', Republican field is 'not yet set'

Political Tid Bits on a Monday in July

 -Somebody was talking today about a mystery candidate for City Council. I got an inquiry about petition requirements from a veteran operative from West Carthage. 
 - I heard from a Democrat today they have a candidate for County Legislature in District 12, but its such a secret even current lawmaker Carolyn Fitzpatrick wasn't aware of it.
   Ms. Fitzpatrick is a hard worker and has risen to chair the body. She deserves to stay and this seat is an unlikely pickup for Dems who look like they will end this year with only one of 15 seats.
   -In a recent post, the guy known as "Middle Class Mike" said he has been a part of my opponents campaign since February. Nice how I have still let him speak his piece despite his clear agenda.   -

WDT: Mayor: Parks & Recreation Action Needed

Now that pretty much everything that can be known is known about the issues related to Parks and Recreation, its time to talk about solutions and the future. That is why I set tonights work session as a one topic meeting.
Its a chance to talk about various ideas lawmakers and staff have talked about individually, but in a group setting. My challenge will be to pilot the meeting away from recriminations and grandstanding and towards an emerging consensus.
I feel the key is the Fairgrounds complex needs to be run like a business with someone responsible to City Hall for bottom line and smooth and efficient operations. That likely means another person has to ride herd over programs like youth leagues, lifeguards, and routine scheduling of fields.
The issue of the 1993 decision to place Recreation under Public Works can be revisited, but its important to remember the reasons for doing that. Many of the buildings and grounds functions were enhanced by access to DPW staffing and equipment. This was apparent in recent years when the Fairgrounds has undergone many improvements.
However the overseeing of programs and policies seems to have suffered under this arrangement.
I would like to see a consensus on issues like pricing, alcohol, concessions and future capital improvements.
I have high hopes for tonights work session.

Watertown Daily Times Mayor: Parks & Rec action needed

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tufo Gets an Ace

    Veteran car salesman and former restaurant owner John Tufo this weekend shot an ace on the fifth hole at the Thompson Park Golf Club....John wielded a nine iron on the 138 yard hole.
     John is one of the top salesman at FX Caprara Kia.  Given the momentus nature of his shot, if I were Billy...and I'm not....but if I were, I would give John a $100 spiff for his stellar performance on the links !

Robert Congel's 'fallout shelter' a refuge from taxes |

Among the deals none of us get is the one Syracuse mall developer Robert Congel got when he built a parking garage in 1991....A basement storage room was designated a fallout shelter and under a law passed in the Dr. Strangelove 1960s, the presence of a shelter entitles a building onwer to a 20 year tax exemption. The basement room is used for storage and not geiger counters or rations for the big war.
Economic development is now the excuse granted for the bogus shelter exemption. I got empty space in my basement...How about an exemption ?
Robert Congel's 'fallout shelter' a refuge from taxes

A First Look at Underground Watertown in Decades

   I heard the spelunkers from Western NY were going to do preliminary work this morning on the cave entrance at Veterans Memorial Walkway on Newell Street. So I went down to look.
   The trio of underground enthusiasts were there about 930 this AM to poke a hole in the bricked up opening.  Their goal was to check around the inside and see if this is a good spot to install a gate for permanent access. After measurements the hole will be resealed until the gate is fabricated by spelunker Joe Armstrong.  Team leader Joe Giunta was also there this morning with explorer Kim Maley.
    Cool air could be felt coming out of the hole and I didn't stay around to see Joe go inside. I looked inside and sure was a cave.
    This and other access points to a purported underground network of caves were sealed off decades ago for safety reasons.
    City resident Doug Anderson led the charge to allow exploration by experienced hobbyists.  Mr. Anderson had told me the trio might be there this weekend.
     The Geraldo moment should come later when the gate is installed and the cavers go in for real to get a look at what's inside.
     UPDATE- The trio stopped to see me this afternoon and said they gathered the information they needed and will work with City staff on the gate design and installation, with an actual trip into the caves slated for some time in August.

Boehner Backs Away from Big Deal Plan Due to Tax Fears

Once they started talking trillions, you knew it was bad. The so called 'big deal' deficit reduction plan isn't going to happen, but a smaller plan may pass...The issue is taxes and the refusal of many GOP lawmakers to support higher taxes as part of the deal, while the White House insists on taxing the rich more.
I don't pay that much attention to the debate, as I don't believe most of what anybody says.
Under pressure from right, John Boehner steps back on debt deal - David Rogers and Jake Sherman -

WDT: Racino Unlikely, and Is It Really Needed ?

For years one Alexandria Bay businessman has pursued the dream of big time gambling coming to the Thousand Islands. At one time it was feigned Indian ancestry and now its the hope the State of New York will grant one remaining "racino" license to the Bay.
That's doubtful as the downstate interests competing for the license are strong and its doubtful this area's prison-centric lawmakers are going to annoy the powers that be and take on this cause.
I also do not feel the State granting exclusivity to one business is particularly fair to the range of business people in the area trying to live of tourism. Look at the economic hegemony in Oneida County granted the Indians while local business people nearby watch a steady flow of dollars drive by their door.
There are currently casinos in Gananoque, Massena and Turning Stone. Putting aside morality, I just don't think the economics make sense and from a fairness viewpoint, this does not particularly benefit all, which is what the actions of the State are supposed to do.
Watertown Daily Times Anti-gambling group opposes racino

Canadians Fearing Retribution for Fishing Flap

Its tough to organize a boycott, but there is likely some impact to the recent fishing flap that has soured anglers on trying to drop a line in Canadian waters along the St. Lawrence River.
Canadian media is talking about boycotts by Americans and that's not the kind of thing either side wants to hear, particularly the small business people who try to earn a living off the notion of a relatively open border for commerce and tourism.
The fishing incident combines with anecdotal stories about the difficulties, real or imagined, of crossing the border to creat a potentially damaging scenario. Add to that nationalism which could lead some in Canada to resent US arrogance, real or imagined, and suddenly people stop traveling as often.
We in the Watertown area are currently benefiting from Canadian retail trade due to current exchange rates.
Whatever the end result is on fishing policy and border checks, the challenge for tourism promoters is to make sure visitors know and understand the rules, so there are not further fishing flaps.
The last thing we need is talk of boycotts.
N.Y. residents boycott Canada over border dispute - Brockville Recorder and Times - Ontario, CA