Saturday, August 6, 2011

WDT: Opposition Rising to Money Grab

The public hearing is Tuesday morning at 11AM if you want to speak out against the transfer of revenues from users of the Black River and using them for court ordered repairs to the Hudson River regulation system.
Operators of power plants, including the City of Watertown, pay a fee for what a regulated flow of water that allows for more production of electricity.
The board of the Hudson-Black River Regulating District....one of those "public benefit corporations".....meets Tuesday at City Hall in Watertown to vote on the "loan".
Its a bad idea and just a case of the camel getting its nose under the tent, as I suspect this could begin a trend. As City residents, we benefit from our hydro plant and expect our fees to be used on the Stillwater Reservoir which is used to regulate the Black.......
Watertown Daily Times No to loan

Taliban Gets a Measure of Revenge Against Navy Seals

Some 22 of the 31 Americans killed in to shoot down of a US chopper in Afghanistan are members of Seal Team Six, the unit that carried out the killing of Osama bin Laden. It is not clear if any of the specific Seals in the bin Laden raid were among those killed in todays downing of a helicopter in the Wardak Province near the Afghan capital.
Officials are in the process of compiling the list of victims.
News from The Associated Press

More Bad News...31 Americans Among Dead in Downed Chopper

A sad announcement from the front lines in Afghanistan as 38 soldiers, including 31 American special forces troops, were kill in the crash of a helocopter.....The chopper is thought to have been shot down by Taliban forces.
A great tragedy and a day for us all to pray for the lost.
News from The Associated Press

The Journal | Economic Council Holds First Meeting

The Governor's ten economic development councils around the state will each meet six times between now and November 14. In addition members will be attending smaller working group sessions. The plan is to develop a plan to compete with other regional bodies for state funding.
Those of us on the North Country Panel held our first meeting yesterday in Potsdam, and in addition to me, Jefferson County Legislature chair Carolyn Fitzpatrick and DANC czar Jim Wright attended. There are six people from Jefferson County, which is one of seven counties in the NNY region.
Among the topics raised were the need for jobs, better connectivity, government efficiency and cultural development.
Recently, when HSBC Bank announced the sale of its upstate branches to First Niagara, the latter announced it did not want the NNY branches. That was an anecdote I pointed out as showing that in business decisions, the North Country is often the area considered too remote and too rural to bother with.
There was agreement the image of the area needs some work. Inefficiencies like the school district graduating one student a year was also noted.
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy chaired the meeting and said future sessions will be open, so you will be able to follow the discussions. There will also be public hearings for comment as well.
The councils form the core of the Governor's remake of the state's economic development programs, which includes consilidation application processes for state aid.
The Journal Economic Council Holds First Meeting

Friday, August 5, 2011

S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating for first time - The Washington Post

The Obama Administration is saying Standard and Poors used flawed data in lowering the Nation's credit rating from AAA to AA+.
That's the problem....The Administration is in denial...Its not flawed data...its too much debt...It happens to you too...If you have too much debt your credit score goes down....
The recent debt deal was not enough for the ratings agency and the result will be higher interest rates and surely a stock market hit on Monday...Its no coincidence the news came down on a Friday evening. The other two major ratings agencies have retained the AAA rating...That means the S&P action may have little immediate impact.
The political establishment is frozen like a deer in the headlights....Just get used to the new reality.....Besides we are still a country where a guy can walk out of prison and sign with an NFL team for $3million. As long as that keeps happening, I know everything is OK.
S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating for first time - The Washington Post

WDT: Ritchie is One Frugal Bird Lover !

 She is an animal lover and frugal too ! What more could you want in a senator ? Patty Ritchie hoisted a parrot on her arm in Oswego...It was a rescue bird named Kirt.....With no regard to her designer jacket or the prospect of being bit, our Senator made a feathered friend...Count me in for Patty 2012.
Watertown Daily Times Ritchie among most frugal

Council Meets for First Time...and a Bear Spotted on Campus !

       It was an interesting trip to Potsdam today for the first real meeting of the Governor's North Country Economic Council. The session was presided over by LG Bob Duffy.
       There were a lot of familiar faces but new ones too as the Council comes from a seven county  region.  The effort is part of the revamped economic development effort from Mr. Cuomo. You can read the full story in the MSM as there was a press conference.
     There are numerous meetings between now and when a regional plan is complete in November, so I will be traveling Route 11 a lot in the coming weeks.
     As an aside the college was finishing an interesting work of art in the floor of the entrance to Barrington Hall.  An image of the college mascot....a bear...was made by cutting different color tiles with a laser...The workmen were just finishing it, so my photo is an exclusive....

Cuomo Slashes Big Pay Commission Plums for Insiders

No more cushy jobs at the Liquor Authority and the Civil Service Commission.....Is Governor Cuomo taking away all hopes and aspirations of the political class ?
Cuomo slashes pay 90% for political plum state commission seats - Times Union

Former Sackets Resident Opines on Evils of Today's Politics

My old friend and former Oswego Mayor John Sullivan has penned an op/ed in the TU...First congrats are in order.
Sullivan, who also lived in Sackets Harbor when he worked as an Assistant AG in Watertown, decries the extremes in the current two party duopoly that rules the country. John longs for the days of Everett Dirksen, Gerry Ford and Tip O'Neill. Affable, willing to compromise, respectful of the office they hold.
Now John opines politics is too polarized and raucous. John wants publicly financed campaigns and a return of the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting to prevent the proliferation of Limbaughs. In other words, let's reign in all that free speech we have right now.
It's true that cable, talk radio and social media tend to turbocharge passions and lead to some really off-color attacks that make people shy away from public involvement and discourse.
The old days of select media gatekeepers and no ubiquitous 24 hour news cycle do seem charming, but if that were the norm, I would have never read John's piece which he trumpeted on, of all places, Facebook.
While John is musing about Senator Dirksen and watching the Honeymooners, I wonder if he longs for a return of Senator McCarthy or Father Coughlin. I am not so sure the clock can be turned back to a simpler time just by bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.
Trying to to be that retro is a little like our friend Sisyphus and the rock.
Two-party system more like two extremes - Times Union

WDT: People Moving Out, Not Up

So the anecdotal evidence is true....There is an out-migration of people from NNY. That's no surprise and should be on the minds of attendees at today's Regional Economic Development Council meeting in Potsdam.
Out-migration is not unique to NNY but it is still a concern, which in Jefferson County has been masked by the economic engine called Fort Drum.......
In this story it is noted there recently was one Adirondack school district with only one member of its graduating class. That kinda tells it all.
Watertown Daily Times Over the decade, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence county residents have fled by the thousands

WDT: SUNY Management Bloat Sparks Action..What About Local School Overlap

Maybe there are more sinister motives, but it is hard to argue with the notion of saving money by combining administrative overhead at SUNY campuses near one another. There are 64 colleges in the system and SUNY chief Nancy Zimpher is ordering colleges in Potsdam and Canton to share administration, but she insists the schools will retain their identity.
Of course this caused a stir in Canton, as the former Canton ATC is a major employer in the village. Colleges are to Canton what prisons are to Ogdensburg, a holy grail of the local economy and political scene. SUNY backed off a little and is allowing the Canton college prez to stay a little longer.
This exercise should point out the other obvious management bloat in education and thats the 20 or so school districts in St. Lawrence County, with a superintendent every five miles.
Education is important at all levels, but imaginative solutions are needed at all levels to keep resources in the classroom and not in the front office.
Chancellor Zimpher's initiative may or may not work, but its a laudable effort, or so it seems to those of us outside the educational establishment.
But make no mistake, if the Canton college president was a friend or relative of mine, I would see if differently.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

NY sets misdemeanor for attending animal fights - WSJ.com

Remember the "Chicken Man"....He was the fellow who used to call the HOTLINE years ago. He also raised fighting cocks at his home near Calcium. Well, its always been illegal to stage animal fighting in NY, now the its a misdemeanor to even attend such an event.
Anyway, the Chicken Man passed some time ago and his family moved away. Cockfighting, or dog fighting, doesn't seem to be part of the culture in NNY, so I don't think there will be many of these arrests up here.
NY sets misdemeanor for attending animal fights - WSJ.com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Roxy to Take On Callers Monday at 5

   Outspoken City Council member Roxanne Burns is the guest host Monday on the WATN 1240 Live at 5  program normally hosted by Glen Curry.
    Ms. Burns is unopposed in her bid for reelection, so she can pretty much speak her mind, which she has vowed to do on the Monday program.
     It should be an interesting show.

Fort Drum's Incoming Commander No Stranger To Local Post

Time to change the top brass at Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division. MG James Terry is getting a bump upstairs and MG Mark Milley takes over soon.
Fort Drum's Incoming Commander No Stranger To Local Post WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

One of Those Things Guys Don't Have to Do

      I've been in lots of parades and enjoy the walk....but I sure would hate to have to walk from the high school to Public Square in high heels...That's where the women politicians trying to be extra attractive have it tough.
     I saw this picture (on Facebook) of a Supreme Court Justice candidate in a parade in Central NY. Can't imagine marching around in those...But then again nobody is looking at my calfs.
     At least behind the bench, she can opt for comfortable shoes.

Poughkeepsie School Board Makes Gutsy Move

Tell me this won't end up in court...The Poughkeepsie City School Board has made uniforms mandatory in order to keep students focused on academics....increase school spirit and reduce bullying....
What, no baggy pants or backwards hats...or streetwalker attire ?...Just navy, white, black and khaki....
That's why so many employers have dress codes..because the alternative is ghastly.
These Poughkeepsie kids are being done a favor, and lets have the teachers wearing ties too.
Poughkeepsie schools to require uniforms - seattlepi.com

New Panel Kicks Off Tomorrow in Potsdam

Tomorrow in Potsdam is the organizational meeting for Governor Cuomo's NNY Regional Economic Development Council. Selected business, academic and government people are gathering to begin drafting a document due in November outlining needed economic initiatives for the region.
Six people from Jefferson County are slated to attend, although at this point no one is quite clear on the process.
It is thought the ten regional councils will devise strategies that form the basis for awarding state aid and grants. Its a similar model Mr. Cuomo used when he was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton Administration.
The Governor is trying to integrate the operations of several state agenices that deal with economic development. We will see how it goes.
Meanwhile, a new poll shows New Yorkers with very mixed feelings about their state.
NY1 Exclusive: Poll Finds New Yorkers Support Cuomo, But Have Mixed Feelings For State - NY1.com

Vendor Takes Shot at Council on City's Own Sign !

I was watching the YNN coverage of the Wizards story and saw the moveable copy price sign at the ball park concession stand.
It had an apology for high prices caused by paying the City 10% on concession sales. Nice shot...Clever....Not likely to ingratiate one self to the people providing the venue.
In any event the $5.00 for a 16oz draft minus commission is $4.50 to the vendor. I charge $2.50, so how dumb am I ?
City leaders respond to potential Watertown Wizards sale - YNN, Your News Now

WDT: Addie: Tax Mance Now !

Assemblywoman Addie Russell is beating the drum for the millionaire's again...Ms. Russell wants the higher taxes on higher incomes to help bridge a lingering budget shortfall looming for next year.
My Assemblywoman no doubt realizes there are few uber-rich in her district and there is little downside to advocating the soaking of the rich. Of course, like the President's class warfare rhetoric, its largely just that...The amounts raised don't bridge the gaps.
However, with the advice of her socialist study group in LaFargeville, Ms. Russell persists in her view that we have a tax problem and not a spending problem.
Watertown Daily Times New York will face a $2.4 billion budget gap in 2012

WDT: Come On Judge, Don't Make Me Vote for That Lady from Utica

Few things look worse than a candidate for judge or DA getting dinged on issues related to campaign finance filings. Judge Merrill's a great guy, but like all the rest of us politicians and hacks, he should have registered his campaign before raising and spending....He did file his report by the right date but had not registered from day one.
Just apologize, pay the fine and promise to pay more attention next time. The good news is the term for State Supreme Court justice is 14 years so there is plenty of time to brush up on the law.
Watertown Daily Times Judge Merrell’s campaign committee prematurely accepts donations

Mubarek Trial Has Arab World Gawking

Nothing like a good trial....We spent weeks wondering whether Casey Anthony's poker face would fail her and over in Egypt, folks are being entertained by their 83 year old former president being wheeled into court on a gurney to face trial he ordered protestors fired upon.
Hosni Mubarek ran Egypt for thirty years...Now he is ready to stick a fork into...Is this the same Mubarek whom so many US Presidents stood with ?
UPDATE 1-Trial of fallen Mubarak grips Arab world News by Country Reuters

F-35B aircraft: Is it worth the cost?

Here is something the Pentagon can spend money on. The F-35B is a verical takeoff stealth fighter that at $150M a copy costs six times what a Harrier goes for.
If you are spending far more than you earn, do you still go buy that Hatteras or Bentley ? You do if you are the one printing the money.
F-35B aircraft: Is it worth the cost? - Charles Hoskinson - POLITICO.com

Peacock returns to Central Park Zoo and after flying to Fifth Avenue perch - NYPOST.com

The rogue peacock is back in its cage at the Central Park Zoo, proving that animal stories always amuse us.
Peacock returns to Central Park Zoo and after flying to Fifth Avenue perch - NYPOST.com

The Journal | SUNY Canton President To Stay Through Year

Local officials have saved the $185,000 salary of the President of SUNY Canton for a year....Joseph Kennedy will be employed another year even though at 65 he could retire.
The SUNY Board wanted the President of nearby SUNY Potsdam to oversee the Canton campus as a consolidation move....
Here in NNY, there is nothing we hate more than consolidation and the little people will always gather with pitchforks in hand to save the jobs of the highest paid...
The Journal SUNY Canton President To Stay Through Year

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WDT: River Ripoff Coming Downstream

Few things are as arcane as the Hudson Black River Regulating District....They control water flows on the two rivers and charge a fee to operators of hydro plants...including about $30K a year from the City of Watertown...
Now the board is talking about taking the money from the Black River operations and give it to the Hudson operation to pay for their expenses...That's outrageous !
The agency board meets next Tuesday in Watertown to vote on the transfer of funds...The North Country should oppose this blatant money grab.
Watertown Daily Times Black River regulating district funding may be used for Hudson River back taxes

Governor Cuomo Orders Statewide Review of Executive Compensation at Taxpayer Supported Not-For-Profits | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Andy won't have a friend left on the inside, but the rest of us will love him...Governor Cuomo is targeting not-for-profit agencies that are all about profit for their top employees......
The release says it all, and the examples make you scratch your head. The average pay at some of these not for profits is the same as what the Governor of the State makes.
When I think of something that's doing good work for no profit, I think of the Salvation Army....Not these agencies where the tax free status flows right to the bottom line....that's the line with executive salaries.
Governor Cuomo Orders Statewide Review of Executive Compensation at Taxpayer Supported Not-For-Profits Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Sarah Palin: Tea Party aren't 'domestic terrorists'--If we were we'd be better pals with Obama

Did Joe Biden really call the Tea Party, "domestic terrorists' ?
Sarah Palin: Tea Party aren't 'domestic terrorists'--If we were we'd be better pals with Obama

Wizards Story Has The Sizzle But Sewer Story May Be Bigger Stink

The MSM got a hold of me today to ask my views on the Wizards story yesterday on TV 7. Needless to say I don't agree with all said, and I have been talking to them today. A couple of people called me today with an interest in helping create a scenario for local ownership so there is that possibility. Also, I am sure the new P & R superintendent when named will be charged with working on seeing whether a team can play here. The accusations made yesterday don't make it any easier, but in the end its about making the facility useful and productive.
More important at the moment is a ruptured 30 inch sewage pipe at the plant located right behind the Fairgrounds. I stopped there for a briefing as its a possiblity repairs to the line will force a diversion of sewage into the Black River on a temporary basis. Obviously we hope we don't have to. Crews are working on the matter.
As for Councilwoman Burns statement, it speaks for itself. I might add the contract with baseball approved in May was changed in two ways from one that expired last year. One requirement was to allow a city finance employee to be present to audit sales at major events. The result of that was sales figures reported that were significantly above last years.
The second change was there was no longer an exclusive beverage franchise as other groups with events (DPAO) were concerned they were not allowed to benefit from such sales. For the summer of 2011, promoters were able to choose there own vendor until a more structured policy was adopted for 2012, including possible open bidding on alcohol concessions. City Council, the Manager and staff stood by committments for this summer and all events were held save one the promoter decided to move.
It goes without saying, City Hall will work with any potential tenants for facilities and in fact we just approved a two year pact with the Red and Black.
Councilwoman Burns Comments on Wizards Being Put Up for Sale

Birthday bashes for Obama’s big 5 - 0 - The Washington Post

If invited to such events Watertown residents with $35,800 each could soon fly non-stop to Chicago for fundraisers to celebrate President Obama's 50th birthday. That's the advantage we will have with American Eagle direct service to the Windy City.....
The President's fundraising juggernaut had been rudely interupted by the debt and deficit flap...Most pollsters say Mr. Obama was hurt by the debate but then again so was everybody.
Thursday is Mr. Obama's fig 5-0, so we wish him a happy one.
Birthday bashes for Obama’s big 5 - 0 - The Washington Post

Fitzpatrick: American Eagle 'One of Best' Things Ever for North Country

Despite tweeking from the Chicago Tribune, here in Jefferson County the announcement of non-stop air service between Watertown and Chicago was called 'one of the best things ever for the North Country."
County Legislature Chair Carolyn Fitzpatrick and other lawmakers joined in announcing the service from American Eagle, which is receiving federal subsidy under the essential air service program.
The County has taken seriously the challenge of making the former city-owned airport into a more viable facility. Various carriers have come and gone. Let's hope this effort creates a link people will use.
Meanwhile, let's hope those smarty pants folks from the Tribune come visit us.
Fitzpatrick: American Eagle 'One of Best' Things Ever for North Country

It's No Surprise Voters Said No to Borrow and Spend

Well-to-do suburban voters have rejected in a referendum borrowing $400million to rebuild the Nassau (County) Colisseum in an effort to hold on to the NHL team that plays in the facility. Despite a well funded campaign by construction unions and others, a wary public said they don't want government borrowing and this may signal a retreat from long-established public sector spending on behalf of sports teams.
Now the Nassau County Executive is asking for private sector proposals for rebuilding the stadium. Why should the taxpayers be on the hook for building facilities for multi-million dollar athletes to earn their living ? Why can't paying for the venue be part of the economics of high level professional sports ?
Nassau County is under supervision of a state oversight board for its fiscal problems. The county is broke.
In that climate, one wonders why anyone thought it a good idea to ask voters to borrow and spend more.
Long Island Business News » Mangano calls for Nassau Hub proposals

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chicago...My Kind of Town

   I got a response from the Chicago Tribine....Let's see if they take that flight to Watertown and bring Rahm with them.

Attention Getting Way to Reach Out to Parking Scofflaws

The Mayor of the Lithuanian city of Vilnius has his own solution to people who park where they should not.
He runs them over with a tank...Our only problem is we don't have tank...unless Fort Drum will lend us one.
Arturas Zuokas, Vilnius Mayor, Crushes Car With Tank To Send 'Message'

Chicago to Watertown: Tribune Makes Fun of Us

Sometimes you have to go elsewhere to get the perspective you are not allowed to say locally....Just why is the federal government subsidizing "essential" air service between Watertown and Chicago ?
The new service from American Airlines starts soon and surely will be convenient for certain connnections and it provides service to an from Watertown....
But at the Chicago Tribune, they are making fun of it...asking why Windy City residents want direct connnections to the home of the Five and Dime and the Little Trees.
Don't get me wrong....Jefferson County has done a great job with the airport, but its still humorous as the media in Chicago asks..."Why Watertown ?"
Chicago to Watertown: New airline reoute connects Chicago to Watertown - chicagotribune.com

WDT: ACORN Comes to the Cape

The Times reports on a massive effort to register seasonal residents as Republican voters in the Town of Cape Vincent...all in an apparent effort to deliver the GOP primary for Supervisor to anti wind town Supervisor Urban Hirschey. A lot of people think property ownership in a municipality is what gives you voting rights, but it is actually residency...
Where you lay your head most nights.
In representitive government, the people in the jurisdiction elect people and then try to lobby them on the issues....While these people have some claim to residency, it seems to be stretching the intent of voting in the community where you live.
Will Watertown residents with cottages in the Cape be able to vote there in the primary in September and then re-register back in the city in time to vote in our municipal elections ?
Watertown Daily Times Seasonal residents could determine the outcome of Cape Vincent’s Republican primary in September

New York’s Net Population Continues To Slide

You only need your own eyes to have seen what's in this report...New York continues to watch residents leave for greener pastures...The out-migration of young people has been codified in census data for years, and the reasons are the usual culprits...Opportunity and jobs elsewhere.
New York’s Net Population Continues To Slide

Putin says U.S. is parasite on global economy | Reuters

Russian Prime Minister and tough guy Vladimir Putin is weighing in on the US debt crisis....Mr. Putin says America lives beyond its means and is a "parasite" on the World economy. This is from a country where the leading cause of death is vodka...
The plain spoken Mr. Putin says the dominance of the dollar in World finance is not a good thing as well.
Putin says U.S. is parasite on global economy Reuters

Newzjunky - City Attorney Seeks Advice of Former Liquor Authority Chair for Alcohol Franchises

     In a town where anti-alcohol advocates crusade against beer pong, it must have seemed strange that a public facility would host events featuring over $60K in beer sales on a given night, or events by groups not licensed to sell said product, or even the total lack of a debate on whether alcohol sales are even suitable at a venue meant for "family" recreation.
     That is why I am pleased the City is seeking advice from an expert and not depending on a dubious patchwork of one day permits and other arrangements that have created a defacto bar business on property where an open container law is in effect.
      Goodness knows, I am not against alcohol, but now that the city attorney has concurred there are real questions about past practice, the hiring of Anthony Casale to help craft a policy is sound advice.
      Mr. Casale ran the NYS Liquor Authority and was a former Assemblyman and close friend of the late Bob Nortz.
       In fact, he was referred to us by Supreme Court hopeful Mike Young of Lowville, who gets a shout out for reading about our concerns and calling us with the recommendation.
       City Council also received an update Monday on the hiring process for new staff at the City Recreation Department, as the process of correcting issues in the department continues.
     
Newzjunky - City Attorney Seeks Advice of Former Liquor Authority Chair for Alcohol Franchises

NNY Bank Branches Appear Doomed

It sounds like the new prospective owners of HSBC branches across upstate have no desire to do business in mostly rural Northern NY.....Top brass at First Niagara said as much to the Buffalo News.....
The implications are obvious. What about the NNY branches like the one in downtown Watertown that are an anchor tenant within a pitcher's throw of the Governor Flower statue ?
Will these branches just close, or will they be sold to someone else....but who? If HSBC doesn't want the North Country...and First Niagara doesn't either, who will ?
Half of HSBC branches could be closed - Business - The Buffalo News

WDT: Justice is Always Measured in Years

Some people would take one to three in jail in exchange for $800 K.....Of course there is the humiliation and shame, but once you get over that the exchange seems reasonable....I mean you get to be a big deal..a high roller...years of being the guy who bought the rounds of drinks. And if caught, you get your standard white collar sentence. Of course he doesn't really get to enjoy retirement once out as he will be tailed by lawyers in a civil case and will be unable to get a job...So I guess the white collar sentence is harsh as it effectively ruins his life..
Watertown Daily Times Former Knowlton employee sentenced to prison for embezzling $790,000

Owens Backs Debt Deal

The House voted 269-161 in favor of the debt deal....Our Congressman, Bill Owens voted yes....Many liberals voted no, as did Tea Party favorite Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle of Syracuse.
How NY House Members Voted On Approved Debt Deal

Gabby's Back.....

An emotional moment in the Capitol tonight as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the House floor a little more than six months after a gunman shot her in the head in an assasination attempt at a Tucson shopping center.
Ms. Giffords walked in under her own power and voted in favor of the debr compromise, even though she had voted against debt ceiling increases in 2009 and 2010.
The shooting of the Congresswoman was a horrible affront to our democracy and her brave fight back is inspiring and humbling.
Debt vote brings Gabrielle Giffords's return to Washington - Laura McGann - POLITICO.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

TV 7: North Country a Waste of Time

For a long time I have banked at HSBC (before that Marine Midland). Now the North Country branches are thought to be expendable as western NY bank First Niagara buys out HSBC and hints that NNY is not part of their strategic plan........
I have been in business for a long time and realize that all customers are important....For me, the guy who picks the change up off the bar is important, just like the heavy tipper. People in NNY need banking and investment services and if there is a decision to ditch the North Country, that's not a good thing.
HSBC decided upstate was not worth the time of day and wants to concentrate on big city banking. First Niagara is an upstate bank and needs to remember.....Buffalo ain't no better than Watertown......In fact our city's credit rating is better.
Now, this TV 7 report may not be accurate....Niagara may want to make a go of it here....If so, that's great....If not...well you go figure how I feel.
North Country HSBC Branches Apparently Not Part Of First Niagara's Plan WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

WDT: Economic Council to Convene Friday

The first meeting of the Governor's regional economic development council is set for this Friday, with the group tasked at coming up with a proposal by November. There are five members from Jefferson County, three appointed and two ex-officio based on office.
Each member of the six county body received a questionaire to fill out that includes lists of challenges, assets, solutions and priorities.
We will see what comes of it all.
Watertown Daily Times North country council to meet Friday

D.C. Adults Top Alcohol Abusers

They are often accused of spending like drunken sailors and that may be a little bit true, as studies show higher than average alcohol abuse in the Nation's Capital. Combine that with record high temperatures and you can see why there is such termoil in DC !
D.C. Adults Top Alcohol Abusers NBC Washington

Buerkle on the Bubble as Likely Upstate Sacrifice to Redistricting....

With New York losing two seats in Congress, the question is which seats disappear as lines are redrawn....Looks now like the district of deposed Rep. Anthony Weiner is an easy choice for the downstate seat...Adjacent Democrats see it as a way to protect themselves against primaries.
Upstate, the attention is now on Syracuse and Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, a Tea Party activist who won an upset race last year and is considered highly vulnerable in 2012.
Geography and empty space favor our district staying as is....The NNY seat is bordered by Vermont, Canada, and Lake Ontario making it difficult to redraw. It also has no really population centers...So the 23rd is likely secure with a few additions to its southern border to get us to the right population.
As Redistricting Plays Out, Lawmakers Face Uncertainty, or Even Extinction - NYTimes.com

Read All About It...Pretend You Are a Congressman

The text of the debt deal is posted on line in case you want to read it. Of course if you read it, you are disqualified from serving in the Congress as they have leadership to tell them what to do.
 So far the deal is being panned by the left while some in the Tea Party say the cuts are phantom. 
   It is voodoo math, but thats always the case in DC, so this is probably as good as it gets.
TEXT: Updated Budget Control Act (As of 1:45 a.m., August 1) - Dan Friedman - NationalJournal.com

Nassau to Vote on Coliseum Plans

Voters in fiscally bankrupt Nassau County on Long Island are headed to the polls today to decide on a referendum to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the Nassau Colliseum, an aging sports and concert venue.
Its costing a lot more money to hold the vote on a Monday in August than in November, but that's OK. There's always money when some need it.
Municipalities everywhere struggle with the costs of these venues which always go over budget, don't deliver the spin-off promised and saddle local governments with massive operating costs that are absorbed into the tax rate.
Nassau County is under the supervision of a state oversight panel and hardly needs to be spending more on a home for the Islanders.
Nassau to Vote on Coliseum Plans - NYTimes.com

Bam to Celebrate Birthday With Three Trillion Dollar Debt Deal

This is the week of the debt ceiling....but also the week the President turns 50 years old. Mr. Obama celebrates on Thursday.
Another term like his first one and he will be 60 in no time.
Happy birthday Mr. President.
News from The Associated Press

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Capitol Confidential » Cuomo lauds First Niagara – HSBC deal

Capitol Confidential » Cuomo lauds First Niagara – HSBC deal

HSBC Sells Upstate Branches

Guess its time to get used to a new bank...Looks like HSBC (formerly Marine Midland) is indeed being sold....Fellow Buffalo-based First Niagara Bank is buying HSBC's upstate NY branches for a reported billion dollars.
Its unclear from the story what their plans are, but it sounds like they plan to keep most branches operating. There are seven HSBC branches in Jefferson County including three in the City of Watertown.
Meanwhile in a move likely related to the expected sale, locally owned Watertown Savings Bank has launched an ad campaign aimed at getting customers to switch. The Internet ads feature access to forms needed to transfer accounts, and touts how easy the process is.
As for First Niagara, the takeover isn't expected until early 2012.
HSBC sheds U.S. branches in $1 billion First Niagara pact Reuters

City of Watertown Property Transactions Filed in July 2011

I see a house on Harris Drive assessed for $255,400 sold for $320,000. Several other above assessment sales in the July roster....Dave Mance should be able to sell that honey of a house on Thompson Boulevard for at or near the $219K he is asking.
City of Watertown Property Transactions Filed in July 2011

JETS Take a Shot on Plaxico

Receiver Plaxico Burris is now a NY JET....A one year, $3million contract sent Burris back to NY where he starred witht he Giants before doing prison time for a weapons rap in which he shot himself in the leg.....
Plaxico Burress agrees to one-year deal with Jets - NYPOST.com

WDT: Teachers Doing Good

Here are a pair of teachers taking the initiative to improve their lesson plan by teaching local history. What people of all ages know about the structure and workings of local communities is abysmal, and what these teachers have planned for the Village of Philadelphia can only do good in the long term.....
Give these teachers an apple !
Watertown Daily Times Philadelphia teachers localize history lessons with local landmarks

Sunday Morning

      I stopped at the Fairgrounds Arena last night to check out the kickboxing exhibition going on. Looked like a very well run affair and a decent crowd on hand. Crews did a nice job on set up and it was one of those smaller but great events for those so inclined.
      While walking to the Nice and Easy this AM, I came across a car parked straddling the sidewalk with the vehicle on the front lawn and the median. I believe there were three code violations .  It was moved by 9AM.
       At dinner last night I was chatting with a local salesman for Big Pharma and he was telling me what a fan of Sarah Palin he is and that he has donated three times already to Rep. Michelle Bachmann's campaign for the White House. Its good to see people supporting their choice, whoever it is.  So many who comment on blogs ever pry their wallets open to help the candidates who make their legs tingle.
      City Council meets tomorrow night at 7.

"Default" Effects Would Trickle Down Fast

An even more sluggish economy with fewer jobs; higher interest rates for consumers; declining values for retirement plans and eroding credit ratings for municipalities highly dependant on federal largesse. Those are some of the warnings of what a "default" could do.
The August 2 date is a little arbitrary as some say the crunch day is perhaps as late as the tenth, but the issues are the same. "Default" may not be exactly the right word, as the government still has revenue, but just not enough to cover everything. Debt service and entitlements could be funded but sooner or later large aspects of the federal system would grind to a halt and the ripple effects are likely hard to guage, other than the fact its politically unacceptable.
So everybody (almost) is in favor of more borrowing, as its the path of least resistance, as in kicking the can as opposed to bending over to pick it up.
U.S. default could deliver swift hit to consumers - The Washington Post

WDT: Judge Race Expands

There are now four seats open for state Supreme Court justice in the Fifth Judicial district, which includes Jefferson County. A resignation of a judge based in Herkimer County makes the wider field possible. The race is interesting as justices who sit in Jefferson and Lewis Counties are not running, and a scramble is on to keep local people on the bench...Jefferson County's Jim McClusky is running and Lewis' Michael Young and Charles Merrill are seeking seats. Others from central NY may run, although actual candidacies are determined at judicial conventions held in September.
The conventions will determine nominees for all parties including the minor ones.
The conventions are seldom wide open affairs with the nominees likely already picked by party bosses or by the candidates themselve who usually help get the delegates selected.
Delegates usually get a free dinner at a nice Utica or Syracuse restaurant, so there is redeeming value to the process.
The opening of the fourth seat likely will bring a Herkimer area lawyer into the race.
Watertown Daily Times Fourth seat becomes available in crowded state Supreme Court race