Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weather Guy Gets Married in Watertown

  Former TV weather guy Rick DeFranco was said to be back in Watertown this weekend to get married to that Montana lady who stole his heart....A source tells me Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson performed the ceremony which would have  been a reenactment of a real ceremony done in the Maple City. A mayor can only do weddings within the municipality where he serves.
   Earlier this year Bill had ask me about getting appointed as a marriage officer for the day, but a read of the law shows you have to reside I am sure the nuptuals were done in the 'burg and repeated here for effect.
    Hey for someone that important I would have done them.
    Speaking of celebrity weddings, I almost lost it when I saw a headline on Newzjunky that read "Liz Engaged".
    I clicked and was relieved to learn it was actress Elizabeth Hurley.

Campaign Saturday

    Had a great day in the rain today...visiting many homes under a light drizzle on the city's far south side.
    I also visited my friends at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse where there are many HOTLINE listeners.
    Thanks to Corri Dartnell who filled in at the bat for me...She was runner up in the 2008 Miss TI Pageant I judged....I am so sorry I didn't help you win !  Corri just registered to vote in the City....
   Tomorrow its Harley Day at Fort Pearl as Claudia from Iron Block fills in while I do some more door to door.

Corri and Claudia Lend a Hand This Weekend at Fort Pearl

       We have a guest bartender this afternoon at Fort Pearl as former Miss Thousand Islands Corri Dartnell fills in for me so I can do some campaigning. Stop in and see Corri. 
       Tomorrow Iron Block Harley's Claudia Paddock fills in for the same reason.
       My thanks to both, and a reminder this Wednesday is a Meet the Mayor night and fundraiser at Karen and Jaspers Bistro in the Washington Street Plaza.
       Today is the first day of October and its time for some politics.

WDT: Answers Needed in Carthage

The flap in the Carthage School District revolves around the issue of granting tenure to someone who had agreed to resign a job...There may be more, but that's what I understand is at the heart of the matter.
Meanwhile a local group of people headed by West Carthage Mayor Scott Burto are holding a meeting Monday at Keddy's Restaurant to try and seek answers to the sudden departure of six figure administrators over "ethical" issues.....Nobody gives up those kind of pay checks in this economy unless there is a risk to staying.
The Times rightfully points out the most immediate ethical problem is the secrecy surrounding this matter.
Watertown Daily Times Answers needed

WDT: Maple City Mayhem Leaves Council Unwilling to Act

Ogdenburg Mayor Bill Nelson's call for the resignation of the city manager is unlikely to result in his City Council firing the manager. Lawmakers seem content to let the mayor twist in the wind as keeping manager Art Sciorra in his job for now keeps controversy in the headlines and aids the independent election challenge of mayoral hopeful Jack McGrath.
A controversy over a housing rehab project is a classic case of the event not being fatal but the cover up and handling of it is. A drumbeat of news stories about internal memos, the firing of a city planner who is still on payroll but not working, a mayor and council caught flat footed by the manager's actions....its all bad in the context of a campaign. Whether the mayor is right in saying the manager has lost the confidence of the people may be true, but there is no reason Nelson's political foes will acquiesce in his call to can the manager.
Also, Mr. Sciorra surely has an employment contract which calls for a severance payment in the event of firing. Why would he just resign and forfeit that ?
In the context of this controvery, a better move might have been to raise termination at a Council meeting and force the seven members on the record.
Bottom line is the city's chief elected official is now estranged from the city's administrator. In a council/manager form of government, the mayor's primary job is to make the system keep the council doing its job and allow the manager to do his.
That cannot happen now and the manager has become enmeshed in politics by creating his faction on City Council willing to keep him for political reasons. Its a mess for sure.
For a city of 12,000, this is a lot of press....At a meeting I was at yesterday, a person from Plattsburgh ask me what's going on in Ogdensburg....The Maple City is making news for sure.
Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg council members accuse mayor of obstructing investigation

Friday, September 30, 2011

Live Debate Slated for AM-1240

   Community Broadcasters Czar Jim Leven just called to see if I would participate in a live radio debate a week before the election with my opponent, Councilman Jeff Smith. The session would be moderated by Watertown Daily Times political reporter Brian Amaral. Jim says my opponent agreed to the format.
   Earlier, Mr. Smith had refused to be interviewed by longtime broadcaster and nice guy Joe Brosk....
    As for me, I had already said I don't need to pick my interviewer and am happy to have Mr. Amaral moderate.....He is a bright guy but has his faults, chief among them an affinity for the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox....
   After what happened to the BoSox this month, I am sure Brian needs to focus on something else.
    By the way...I hope the other radio shops in town get a chance to hold an event too.
    I look forward to the session. And I am still willing to do the Donovan show.

Regional Meeting My Second Out of Towner This Week

   Today's meeting of the Regional Economic Development Council in Potsdam started to bring some focus to a process the Governor is putting in place to dole out state dollars.
   Critics say its an extra layer of review for grants, and in some ways it is....However, its the plan in place and we have to make it work.
    LG Bob Duffy...who is a nice attending all ten council meetings when they occur...He says he is putting 1600 miles a week on his vehicle...But I bet he has a Trooper to drive, so he gets there quicker.

Patty Keeps an Eye Out for Us

Senator Patty Ritchie is a DMV warrior....this week she got those eye tests reinstated as a safety measure....That's OK, they are not hard to pass..One thing I like about Senator Ritchie is she will get involved in something like is about the little things.

Chris Christie’s big problem - The Washington Post

I am not sure liberal columnist Eugene Robinson is concerned over Governor Christie's health, but the matter of the governor's weight and fitness for the Presidency is now being talked about.
President Taft was a big fellow too and he went on to serve on the Supreme Court after the White House...I do think Mr. Christie, who struggles with his weight as we all do, should take a stab at losing some pounds, but its really up to voters to decide if weight is a disqualifier for office.
Chris Christie’s big problem - The Washington Post

Chris Christie Keeps Flirting

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is being more Palinesque than Shermanesque as he cannot stand to have the national media spotlight turned off. Everytime he says he is not running for President, another "source" comes out to fan the flames.
The outspoken first term Governor is being urged to run but has strongly eschewed doing so, even to the point of saying he is "not ready" for the Presidency.
Like President Obama, Mr Christie is a national media phenomenon with scant credentials for the White House. Instead of lofty and soaring rhetoric like Mr. Obama, Governor Christie sports an appealing to some, in your face demeanor that may or may not play to the nation.
The media elixir about running is potent and intoxicating. Mr. Christie is close to being over the legal limit and he may want to take a cue from a neighboring governor who will run in 2016. Andrew Cuomo purposely is laying low...doing his job...and staying away from the national spotlight.
Governor Christie would find a run difficult and once in the race would find it consuming and debilitating. Go back to Trenton and run your state, sir.

Chris Christie seriously considering run for president in 2012

WDT: As the Maple City Turns

It's called a "council-manager" form of government for a reason. In cities like Ogdensburg and Watertown, an elected council hires a city manager to be the chief executive of the municipality. The mayor is certainly first among equals and has a special leadership role given the title, but the resolution of the current Maple City controversy must come from a council decision.
City Manager Art Sciorra has reportedly refused to heed the Mayor's call for his resignation over a free rent squabble at a Knox Street home.
Maybe termination by the Council is anticipated, but that really should be what happens, as otherwise you have a manager estranged from the chief elected officer, twisting in the wind.
Usually what would happen is that if a majority of a city council planned to topple the CM, the mayor would broach it privately and if there was no resignation, a termination would occur at a public meeting. That's a big step and needn't be done just because people are mad over a given incident. But make no mistake, the system in place means the elected council decides on the employment of the manager.
If it's going to happen, it needs to happen quickly.

Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg mayor calls for city manager’s resignation

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Open Government a Hallmark of My Years as Mayor

Up in Carthage they are struggling with intrigue at the School Board with secret meetings and lack of candor.
While there is a time for discretion, one of my proudest achievements is open and transparent government in the City of Watertown. From limiting executive sessions to commissioning an audit to bare all in one city department this year, I have opted on the side of transparency.
That's why you don't see stories asking Open Meetings czar Bob Freeman to comment on our actions.
In this case, not making news is getting the job done.
Watertown Daily Times West Carthage mayor, others want details

Fear and Loathing in the Maple City: Nelson Calls for Manager's Scalp

A long simmering sense of angst and anger about City Manager Art Sciorra in Ogdensburg and the certainty doing nothing was a ticket for defeat has led Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson to call for the manager's resignation. Mr. Nelson says the manager has lost the confidence of the people and was not straight and open with the Council.
A dispute over the handling of a housing rehab project was the latest straw on the camel's back. Mr. Nelson is seeking a fourth term against independent Jack McGrath, a retired Johnson and Johnson executive.
Sciorra will have to go...While the mayor is just one vote on a seven person council, this kind of public rebuke will send Mr.Sciorra packing. I suspect other Council members privately concur. My suggestion would have been that if you came to that conclusion, line up the votes, call a special meeting and pull the trigger effective immediately...Then appoint an interim manager and begin a search process.
This method could leave a period of lingering and that's not good.
When a CM becomes a central issue in a campaign, there's trouble in River City.....and Sciorra, who didn't seem to have many friends politically, is surely a goner.
Statement From Mayor Bill Nelson City Manager

Pageants and Bikers Support Campaign

Here's a great way to help out a campaign and make a few bucks in tips. Our next goal is to move up the pageant chain and maybe get a former Miss NY to fill in !
Visit Fort Pearl Saturday afternoon and meet Corri and on Sunday its Claudia. A big thank you to them both for helping out.
Its supposed to be chilly all weekend...Great bar weather !
Graham For Mayor 2011

Watertown Airport Faces Challenge in American Rollout

This link takes you to a decent website that promotes an airport in the heartland...The airport in Manhattan KS is served by American Eagle, the line soon to begin non-stop service between Watertown and Chicago. Putting aside whether its needed, the local airport owners (Jefferson County) made the pitch for the federally subsidized service in hopes it would make passenger service viable in Dexter.
The County has done a great job fixing up the airport and the larger tax base makes more sense than when it was city operated.
However, to take the facility to the next level, there needs to be a marketing plan and management plan for promoting the new service...So far there doesn't seem to be.
Our airport call letters are ART.
How about Fly With Art !
I was talking with a fellow today who has been involved in marketing airports in other small cities and counties. Does anyone know when this new service starts or how to book flights through the Windy City ? It's in November.
Recently, Assemblywoman Addie Russell hosted a discussion group on the matter and it was clear what's in place will not ensure success. The airport has a $5000 promotion budget overseen by a secretary in the Highway Department.
Like I said, the County is doing good work with the physical plant, but from what I am told this rollout with American needs some TLC.
Manhattan Regional Airport - Official Website - (MHK) Manhattan, Kansas

HOTLINE Caller Passes at 94

A fixture on the HOTLINE some years ago has died at age 94. Bernard Beck of Cape Vincent passed this week. We are saddened to hear of his family's loss. :: Newzjunky NNY death notices

Speaking As Taxpayer, Black River Mayor Says Carthage Board Should Resign | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Watertown, NY | Local News

What's going on in the Carthage School District. ? Administrators are spurning their six figure salaries just ahead of reported "ethical" revelations. There are calls for Board members to resign...And it's all done in the cloister of executive session where the little people can't find out what's going on the court of education royalty.
There's a lot of money spent on all these people and things should run smoothly....Maybe they just don't need that many administrators to get caught in these "ethical" dilemmas.
A local group of citizens is holding a public meeting at Keddy's in West Carthage....After hearing what's up, I suggest all retreat across the street to the Wench.
Speaking As Taxpayer, Black River Mayor Says Carthage Board Should Resign WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Complex calendar gives Romney edge

After a scare, its looking more like a Mitt Romney candidacy int he cards for the GOP...Governor Rick Perry has to make up ground after his poor debate performances and the other candidates just don't seem to have the horsepower to break through.
The schedule of state contests seems to favor Mr. Romney unless Mr. Perry can score come early knockouts.
New Jersey Governor Christie is not running and there is no one else in sight.
Complex calendar gives Romney edge - Ben Smith and Emily Schultheis -

Gov. Cuomo begins process to lay off 3,500 workers after union rejects tentative contract

It's a test of will and resolve for Governor Andrew Cuomo after members of the Public Employees Federation rejected a contract and Mr. Cuomo now says he will follow through with plans to lay off 3500 workers....Earlier this year the CSEA union had approved the same deal which calls for no layoffs in exchange for a five year agreement with modest wage restraint.
The PEF may reconsider, but for senior members not concerned with layoffs, the deal was something they could afford to vote against....Mr. Cuomo needs to stand firm. The modest spending restraint he has achieved this year is a down payment on turning NY around...
One thing about Mr. Cuomo...Affable as he can be, he is very intense. When you look at his sunken eyes and piercing stare, he doesn't look like someone who likes being crossed.
My guess is PEF backs down...
Gov. Cuomo begins process to lay off 3,500 workers after union rejects tentative contract

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A List of Creepy Things Facebook Will Remember Forever

Goodness knows what they know about all us...and the girl on Criminal Minds can look it all up in an instant...Or so the would have you believe...
At some point there is just so much data, where do you keep it all ?
A List of Creepy Things Facebook Will Remember Forever

Graham For Mayor 2011

What can I say...other than let the people listen and decide.
Graham For Mayor 2011

Mayor Campaign Heats Up

   A mailing went out today to nearly 4000 city households that are home to prime voters....people who frequently vote...The slick 8 and a half by eleven flat includes an open letter to voters and information on upcoming campaign events.
    A television debate is being taped next week and there is an offer for a live radio debate, which is likely to be rejected by my opponent.
    There are a couple of joint appearances before small groups and an expected TV ad blitz coming.
     Today, I took some time to visit downtown business owners and employees and this weekend will hit the neighborhoods.

WDT: Fitzpatrick Works for Health Funding.

I ran into Chairwoman Fitzpatrick at the Times today for a photo op and she was telling me about this health clinic funding....Mrs. Fitzpatrick said she may have to travel to DC to lobby for the funding and that is the kind of committment you often seen from our part time lawmakers who are routinely derided as "politicians."
People like Carolyn care and she does a great job representing County government. We live in a world that's run by those who show up and Mrs Fitzpatrick takes her job seriously. I enjoy working with her and if I lived in District 12 would support her reelection.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Andy Rooney leaving “60 Minutes” role - On Media -

One of the last reasons to watch 60 Minutes ends Sunday with the retirement of Andy Rooney at age 92. Mr. Rooney's humorous, thought-provoking words have been a joy for years. He will be missed.
Andy Rooney leaving “60 Minutes” role - On Media -

WDT: NYPA Dumps Crazy Expensive Galloo Project

A big fight over a PILOT was all a waste of time as the NY Power Authority has pulled the plug on off shore wind farms...The reason...the subsidies for alternative power schemes like the one on Galloo Island just doesn't make sense...dollars and cents that is.
The headlong run into so called "green energy" has been predicated on government subsidies and guaranteed power purchases.
When it comes to all the hype over wind and solar energy, I am reminded of the saying 'you don't get something for nothing.'

Watertown Daily Times NYPA will not pay for offshore wind, Galloo Island Wind Farm

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Clinton: Spend Your Money on Insulating First...

   President Bill Clinton spent a lot of time speaking on energy and the economy at a gathering Tuesday in Albany for the Governor's Economic Development Councils.
    Mr. Clinton made it clear before you spend money on wind or solar projects, the best energy policy is retrofitting older buildings....Its the best way to save energy and create jobs doing the work.. The Nation's 42nd Presdident quoted numbers showing conservation was the better bet financially.
    Mr. Clinton also praised recently signed legislation that allows consumers to pay for energy savings by using the savings on their electric bills.
    The matter of conservation vs. solar panels has been an issue in our race for Mayor here in Watertown...
    I'm with Bill on this one.

Jobs Pow Wow in Albany Attracts Many

   I was pleased to represent Jefferson County at the Governor's Regional Economic Development today in Albany....The event featured a keynote address by President Bill Clinton and an announcement by the Governor of a new high tech project by IBM and Intel.
    The session comes amidst a flurry of activity by the ten regional councils around the state to come up with plans for creating jobs....I have a meeting with the North Country Regional Council to attend Friday in Potsdam....

Mayor Jennings Says No Dogs at his City Hall Park

   I  would not have noticed this if it had not been for the recent debate in Watertown over where its best for dogs to be and not be....As I was walking back from the Governor's Economic Development Conference in the Egg, I noticed a peaceful little park tucked in behind City Hall just off Lodge Street in Albany....It was nicely landscaped and a woman was sitting on the bench enjoying the 80 degree day...
    There was a sign that said "no dogs."
     Hmmmmm...I am sure no one objected to the reasonable restriction....

Hilton Garden Inn Opens Doors In Watertown NY

A solid boost to the Watertown economy today as the 136-room Hilton Garden Inn opened adjacent to Stateway Plaza...The upscale hotel is a great complement to other hotels and will fill a niche in the market. The large dining room will also allow many events to be held there.
The hotel is in the City of Watertown on land owned by developer Pat Donegan, who has orchestrated other development on the site. The City helped recently with sewer flow rerouting that allowed the development...A new restaurant is also under construction.
Hilton Garden Inn Opens Doors In Watertown NY

Busy Day

      It's a busy day of meetings today, so don't look for any updates here till evening....
Have a great day.

Newzjunky - Local Teachers Blast Cuomo's $1.3 Billion in Cuts

I have not seen any schools close as a result of the state budget passed this year. There is still a superintendent every five miles, and no collective bargaining agreements have not been honored. All that happened is Governor Cuomo made some modest reductions in state aid to schools in an effort to at least put a lid on job killing taxes in NY.
People want good schools, but you don't need a real fancy education to know there are economies to be had. At least that's what I heard when chatting with the assistant superintendent for diversity and turf fields.
Newzjunky - Local Teachers Blast Cuomo's $1.3 Billion in Cuts

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sarah Palin Threatens to Sue ‘Rogue’ Book Publisher - ABC News

Threaten all you want Sarah...The First Amendment says the media can say whatever they want about you as you are a public figure....Well, a celebrity, since you don't hold office...
To bring a libel or defamation suit requires a lot of money and lawyers don't take those cases on contingency...
When it comes to unscrupulous or unprincipled journalism, you just have to grin and bear it...That's the price you pay for fame in a free society...and the people who print it have $500 an hour attornies on unless you can outspend them....You lose.
Sarah Palin Threatens to Sue ‘Rogue’ Book Publisher - ABC News

Obama makes a gaffe by confusing Jews with janitors in speech to Congressional Black Caucus | Mail Online

If it's Mr. Obama with a gaffe, we have to read about it in British media....Not that our Obama-mania media should fixate on his gaffes....maybe just not fixate on the gaffes of those running against him.
Obama makes a gaffe by confusing Jews with janitors in speech to Congressional Black Caucus Mail Online

The Sad Legislative History Of The War Of 1812 Bill

I am with Andy on his latest veto of money to commemorate the War of 1812....Its not a lot of money, but how about the communities with a historic link fund what they want to do. We don't need a state commission to handle the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
There are lots of links to the War in our area and I know for a fact that officials in Kingston are more than willing to work jointly on commemoration....They think they won the war.
The Sad Legislative History Of The War Of 1812 Bill

Lady Gaga Attends Obama Fundraising Event - ABC News

Lady Gaga shelled out the big bucks to attend one of President Obama's west coast fundraisers...And she got to ask a question....It's testament to the ability of the President to attract star power....Mr. Obama had been concentrating on Manhattan fundraisers and is now working the left coast...
Wonder if he raises any in the fly-over states.
Lady Gaga Attends Obama Fundraising Event - ABC News

Primary Aftermath

    I took a look at the final primary results and see that a John Peck will be the new Kent Burto in District 7 of the County Legislature and Mayor Scott Burto of West Carthage will be reelected after winning a primary in his new party, the Democrats...He beat his neighbor Erica Leonard 53-18...The least he could do is offer to mow her lawn as a peace offering.
    The final numbers in those City Judge primaries were Renzi over Caughlin 58-17 in the Indy primary and 26-3 in the Conservative. While these were generally ignored in the aftermath of all things Cape Vincent, the margins are telling as these are activists for the most part...
     Next year it looks like primaries will be moved to August.

Barack Obama warns Republican president would 'fundamentally cripple' U.S. | Mail Online

President Obama told folks attending an $18,000 a head fundraiser in Washington State that a GOP president would cripple America....How ? By surrendering to big money and the well to do....
The President is expected to raise millions on a west coast swing of campaign fundraising. Mr. Obama is ramping up his campaign for reelection.
Barack Obama warns Republican president would 'fundamentally cripple' U.S. Mail Online

Schumer: OnStar invades privacy - CBS News

All that fancy satellite technology can allow you to be monitored...where you fast...did you wear seat belts ?
Senator Schumer says the On-Star service on GM vehicles will keep monitoring you even after a subscription ends and the information could be sold.
Mr. Schumer wants the FTC to investigate.
Schumer: OnStar invades privacy - CBS News

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Journal: NNY Kids Love The Devil's Brew

Here's a study done by the anti alcohol crowd that shows what a total failure the 21 year old drinking age has been...86% of high school seniors have drank and 58% do so regularly in NNY schools...The numbers are high even in the eighth grade...
The conclusion...drinking is more socially acceptable....You wouldn't think so with all the preaching about it and the convenience store stings that puts some 60 year old clerk out of a job while the business of drinking goes unabated.
Of course a cynic could argue these studies present a worse case scenario as a rationale for funding the groups doing the studies...That's what a cynic could think.
The Journal Research Finds Younger Kids Drinking

Tiny Gathering Names Indy Judge Hopefuls

As expected the Independence Party nominated the four GOP candidates for Supreme Court in the Fifth Judicial district....At a small gathering today in Geddes, the small party named Erin Gall, Jim McClusky, Michael Young and Prescott Klosner as its candidates for the four seats open this November....
One caveat, the Post Standard story left it unsaid if the requisite number of delegates showed up for a quorum.....If not, the party may still file its nominations in hopes no one challenges it in unlikely scenario if the voting was flawed...Not saying it was, just that it could be. a message that there was a quorum. Thanks for writing in.
In order for a quorum to be there, delegates loyal to spurned GOP judge hopeful John Stone would have had to show...If they did, that's a sign Stone will stand down on his Conservative Party line...If that happens look for Mr. Klosner to pick up the C line....
The other Conservative nomination is held by Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who insiders say is trying to find a way to defeat Erin Gall by putting two attractive women on the ballot...Not my scenario...that's what I was told....
Judicial candidates set to square off in Nov. 8 elections for state Supreme Court seat

Cathy, Where's the JETS ?

   So I was watching the Bill beat the Pats with great excitement in anticipation of seeing the JETS/Raiders game at 4PM....In the NY Post, it said it was a CBS game, so I just assumed our local Tiffany Network affiliate would have it...They didn't...Instead some rodeo....
   Who do I complain to about that ?
UPDATE= Down two TDs....Maybe its best I didn't get to see it.

WDT: Congressional Race Focused on Geography

Its true the NNY Congressional seat will remain largely the same after redistricting...but some changes are giving the GOP hope for a win....Because the district borders Vermont, Canada and Lake Ontario, the only way to expand it geographically is to the south.
That could mean some Republican leaning areas coming into the district like the remainder of Fulton County (Johnstown), parts of Oneida County or the northern suburbs of Syracuse. In a 2010 race in which Rep. Bill Owens beat Matt Doheny by a mere 1800 votes, these subtle changes in turf could matter, as will the expected absence of Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.
Before the GOP gets too giddy, 2012 is a Presidential year which changes the turnout model and suburban voters have not been all that reliably Republican of late.
Bill Owens is a strong campaigner and has straddled enough issues not to be terribly controversial. Doheny is banking on traditional Republican leanings in rural NNY and a revulsion with the policies of the Obama Administration.
If only they could redraw all the college towns out of the district, things would be better for Doheny...The faculty lounge crowd so enamored with Mr. Obama has been heavily Democratic in areas of Madison and St. Lawrence County (aka June O'Neill County).
An area Mr. Doheny needs to work on is his home base in Jefferson County and finding a way to get the GOP back in the saddle in Oswego County which voted Obama in 2008.
On balance the map changes and the absence of Hoffman make this race very competitive.

Watertown Daily Times Bill Owens, Matt Doheny agree: north country won’t split

Putin to return as Russian president -

America loves comback does Russia as Vladimir Putin will become President of that nation again when he switches jobs next year with the current president......
Mr. Putin was president and had to leave office due to term limits, but he went on to become prime minister while his placeholder candidate for president served long enough for Putin to come back.
As a throwback to the good old days, Putin has an appeal to a country with its share of problems, but it's also certain that those who challenge Mr. Putin do so at their own risk..Running against former KGB always has its risks.
Putin to return as Russian president -

Expand gambling? Most Lawmakers on Fence

Some polls show New Yorkers favor allowing more casinos...particularly privately operated ones...That would require an amendment to the NYS Constitution which requires legislative approval in two sessions and a public referendum.
While some Legislators are in favor, others are wavering and waffling because this is a controversial issue like gay marriage. There are people and organizations with strong feelings.
The argument in favor is personal choice and an end to business opportunities limited solely to Indian nations. The argument against is the social cost of more gambling.
For politicians the rationale is always the same...
'I am concerned over the social cost, but as long as it produces needed revenues to the state, I will hold my nose, wince, and reluctantly go along.' That was the original argument in favor of the Lottery.
I don't like the Indian monopoly...Its either a legal field of business or its not and anyone should be able to pursue it if it is......I am not sure there is an endless market for casino products. There are a lot of casinos now....Turning Stone, Niagara, Massena, Gananoque....and those are just the ones near by.
The argument that is increasingly hollow is that casinos are a panacea for unemployment and high local property taxes.
Sin taxes tend to expose some core hypocrisies in our government...The notion that what's wrong is OK as long as the government benefits.
Expand gambling? Most of CNY's state legislators say they are undecided