Saturday, October 8, 2011

This Week the Weather Was Much Better

    Today was splendid to walk around neighborhoods, so I chose the areas around Clinton Street, Mullin, TenEyck and Dimmick....There were some very nice people but many were not home due to the weather...
    I stopped by the home of Councilman Butler, so we got some time to discuss current issues. One thing about Joe is he is very analytical on issues and seems to have the judgement and temperment for mayor if he chooses to run in four years...I was surprised he didn't run this year, but its tough to balance such a busy career and family.
     After the door to door, I visited the Bravo Fest and met the new Miss Italia, Chiara Alteri....I took a picture of her and her court.
     I also chatted with Supreme Court candidate Michael Young who said he is coming to BJs this Wednesday for Meet the Mayor Night....Good move.

WDT: 27th annual Bravo Italiano Festival attracts 4,000 on first day

There was not universal agreement on moving the Bravo Fest to the State Office Building from its longtime perch on the westside at the Fairgrounds Arena. Many enjoyed the tradition of an Italian event held in the "flats".....However the public seems content with the downtown venue as big crowds herded into the Washington Street site for opening night that included the crowning of Miss Italia.
Tonight a Mass and dinner highlight events and good weather should make it all the better.
Enjoy !
Watertown Daily Times 27th annual Bravo Italiano Festival attracts 4,000 on first day

Looking for a Way Out...State and PEF Talk

Most people I talk to hope Governor Cuomo stands firm on the matter of the PEF union rejecting a contract similar to CSEA. Now we have the union representing SUNY employees emboldened to say they want across the board raises...
Don't we all. I would like to raise my prices across the board. I would like my Mom's Social Security raised....and I would like free canoles at the Bravo Fest....however the real World says otherwise.
The Governor is offering a way to preserve jobs for current workers and their families in exchange for what many who are out of work would consider modest concessions.
I know there has to be face saving after the contract defeat...but a revote needs to happen soon and the Governor needs to be resolute.
PEF, state still in talks - Times Union

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dirt to Fly....Film at 11

      The long knives are out...Last night a local gadfly was at the GOP dinner telling everyone I arranged for a convict  to get a Congressional nomination...Not true....and it goes both ways, as I am getting comments (that I didn't post) about my opponent and events current and past.
     Its going to be a rough month ahead, but politics is not beanbag...but is instead a contact sport...Don't believe everything you hear about the "issues"....Its about comparison shopping and sometimes being downright nasty.
    Just for the record...I have no unpaid child liens or bankruptcies.....and my taxes and water bills are current, and that includes sales tax and payroll. Sometimes its a struggle...but they are paid.
     The thing to remember is that there is life after the election and we have to get along come January....
    But for the time being, I cannot believe the number of people asking about the Public TV debate....WPBS may have their largest share since Plumpton and I hosted Public Eye.

WDT: Tuesday Night Fights in Ogdensburg

This is silly season in the Maple City as some lawmakers are using a censure motion and an "investigation" to further erode Mayor Bill Nelson's electoral prospects. Whether Mr. Nelson or his challenger, Mr. McGrath should win is up to voters on November 8. Silly resolutions on the docket for Tuesday are not needed.
Watertown Daily Times Get ready for fireworks at Oburg council meeting

Public workers retire in record numbers - Times Union

The number of local and state workers who retired last year was 26% higher than the previous high water mark in 2002.....An aging work force is part of it...This places more pressure on the pension system and is part of the reason contribution rates from local governments are going sky high....
Any meaningful pension reform will take decades to work present imbalances and liabilities out of the system.
The retirements offer a chance to reduce work forces at a time when governments are struggling.
Public workers retire in record numbers - Times Union

America's anomaly: Where war is a constant -

The presence of the long wars far away shows in the Watertown area in ways you don't always see on the surface. This CNN piece does a good job chronicling the effect the wars have had on the Fort Drum community. Just the other day I visited a home as I didn't realize the previous owners whom I knew for years had sold the house to a young military couple.
That's not unusual for sure, but as I chatted with the lady of the house, her husband slowly edge to the door with a cane and his brain injury became readily apparent. Despite the bad hand life had dealt, these two people were thinking about their life ahead together and how they could do some weatherization on their home so the winters ahead would be easier on the budget.
My point is that the effect of the wars on the nation and our town in particular goes well beyond the list of 270 or so killed in action. I met the CNN reporter, Moni Basu,  who worked on this piece and was impressed at how much effort and time she put into her piece...Its an interesting read and video.
America's anomaly: Where war is a constant -

Technology Allows Public to Follow Their Elected Leaders

      Yesterday a couple of little things happened that in a community our size is important, but not necessarily a big enough deal to make the evening news.
      That's where I think something like this blog is a great way for me or anyone else in office to let the people they serve know what they are doing.
     The flag raising for German Reunification Day is an annual event that attracts the local German community. I show up to raise the flag with them and if he is up to festivities I bring Zeppelin along as the German ladies like to see him. It's a little slice of life event, I can herald here.
     Later in the day I went over to the Italian American Civic Association for the dedication of their new kitchen. It was packed and on the way in the building I ran into Joe Rich and we joked that never had a new kitchen attracted such attention.
   The IACA is one of the few remaining civic clubs and its doing well. They raised the $200K for the kitchen addition through cash and in-kind donations, and now newly hired chef Geoff Puccia will have a modern facility to turn out even better meals.
     Doing a blog is work, if you want it to be interesting enough for people to read. However, I think it's a great way to tell people what you do and promote transparency and openness in local government.
     Of course penning a blog requires responsibility and judgment, but by and large keeping people informed is a good thing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WDT: In a Year With Few Races, Anything Interesting is News

The tone was captured although there are lots of other great quotes to enjoy when you watch the whole half hour Friday night at 9 on WPBS...This, I got kids and you don't argument seems like a loser to me, especially when you claim to have vision but have no ideas to present.
This is the one and only TV debate and it went by quickly...There is a radio debate on November 1.
It was a pretty good rat-a-tat-tat of attacks and I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to debate.
Watertown Daily Times Candidates for Watertown mayor trade barbs

Wednesday Night Highlights

      I will wait till the MSM weighs in on the briefing from former Liquor Czar Anthony Casale who told City Council tonight the arrangements used for the sale of alcohol on public property are a "mess.".
      It would be gloating to say I feel vindicated...but I do....
      In public session tonight lawmakers met with Mr Casale who is a player in NY politics and a former Assemblyman. Council also heard on progress in hiring new Recreation Department managers and that the separation from Public Works has already ocurred per instructions from City Council.
      Also Wednesday night I spent some time talking with other folks who are or know people who are not married and don't have children.
     My opponent spent the day Wednesday telling the World what a disqualifier that is to be mayor. Hope Councilwoman Macaluso never wants to run for mayor.
      Stopped in at a GOP dinner but was careful not to have Mr. Coon introduce me...Former Miss NY Jessica Renzi is leading a group of young GOP woman called Red Hot Republicans.  You can't take the runway out of a pageant girl.
     Found some time for a burger at Petes before heading to Fort Pearl to work.

Casale to Address Council

   An interesting and informative City Council meeting is slated for 6PM this evening as the man studying the City's sale of the devil's brew on city property delivers his findings.
   Former Assemblyman and NYS Liquor Authority boss Anthony Casale was retained by the City to review what has been happening as far as alcohol sales go.
   It should be an interesting meeting.

Thirty Minutes Gets Feisty as Challenger Goes on the Offensive

     As a mayor who believes in open and transparent government, I am offering up my reflections on today's videotaped debate on Public TV between me and my opponent.
     Councilman Jeff Smith went on the attack at one point basicly calling me a liar and demonstrating the strident tenor he wants to bring to the job of mayor. The back and forth was spirited with Mr. Smith taking aim at this blog.
     He says the blog is bad for government. I say people have a right to know what their mayor is doing and thinking. He says secrets are revealed here...I say, discretion is always the order of the day and there are lots of things I do and talk about you don't read here. In any event I would rather err on the side of open government.
     Moderator Jeff of three Jeffs on the set....tried to pin us both down for failures that occured during our watch.
    I stressed temperment and judgement, as well as an ability to make the council/manager system of government work well....And when it doesn't work well, I know how to correct a situation.
    My opponent said he has the values a citizen can respect and that he is a "family man" and father of four children.
    Mr. Smith also touted alternative energy and claimed he is living the dream by having solar panels at his home.
    It was spirited and likely worth watching....

Runciman-Ritchie Establish Cross-Border Group

The traditional bonds between NNY and our "neighbors to the North" have ebbed and flowed over the years....Senators from both sides of the border are former a cross-border group, just as earlier this year Assemblywoman Russell set up a cross border discussion group I participated in. This summer former Mayor Walker and I attended a concert at Fort Henry.
There is lots to do across the imaginary line and the "fish gate" controversy this summer soured relations leading to this latest initiative by Senator Ritchie and Senator Bob Runciman.
Runciman Establishes Cross-Border Group - Ogdensburg, New York - Our Hometown

A Long Day Getting the Job Done

     This morning I did a candidate forum for Morning Rotary and the American Association of University Women. The session was held at the new Hilton Garden Inn.
    No revelations. I stressed my ability to lead the Council and my relationships with others in government. My opponent stressed he is a family man and supports alternative energy, recreation and debt reduction.
    Candidates for County office also spoke.
    Later in the morning, after putting up a couple more signs I joined with the German American Club for a flag raising at City Hall.
    This afternoon, I tape a debate with Councilman Smith.....attend a ribbon cutting and then we have a Council meeting tonight.

WDT: SLU Students Take Part in Occupy Wall Street

The "its all about me" generation is worried life won't be so they are railing against Wall Street on campuses like St. Lawrence University in Canton. A local Facebook post from a friend said professors were making participation mandatory.
Actually most SLU students are doing fine. Thank goodness their parents who perhaps work on Wall Street can afford those tuitions.
Watertown Daily Times 100 students protest as part of 'Occupy Wall Street' in north country

Albany politicians get 'time to kill' emails warning of violence if tax on rich expires

Legislators say they are getting "kill the rich" emails as a decision nears in December on extending the Paterson era tax on well to do folks. Governor Cuomo had refused to seek an extension during last springs budget deliberations...However the national dialogue is emphasizing a "balanced" approach which is basicly tax the rich without the death threats.
The 'occupy Wall Street' protests in NYC and elsewhere are ratcheting up debate on the stratification of wealth in our culture.....
Of course, lost in all this is if you kill the rich, it will be harder for them to pay taxes.
Albany politicians get 'time to kill' emails warning of violence if tax on rich expires

Dead Animal Show and Tell Kicks Off Another Season on Newzjunky

Another bit of marketing genius begins its second season as Deer of the Day is back on Newzjunky, allowing hunters to show off their kill. What used to be just the guys gathered around the pick up truck is now seen by the masses via the Internet.
Makes you wonder what other trophy-like activities could be chronicled and sponsored by a couple of car dealers...I won't be too flippant by listing my ideas. :: Deer of the Day

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sarah Palin 2012 decision: Not running

Sarah Palin has joined Govenor Chris Christie as a non candidate for 2012.
Sarah Palin 2012 decision: Not running - Reid J. Epstein -

Judge Race Has Lots of Candidates

  The four open seats in the Fifth Judicial District has produced a complicated field with one candidate solely on the Conservative line and two Dems on the C line...
The four Republicans are all on the Indy line, but that's being challenged in court so stay tuned.
    Most observers think the lone female Erin Gall...and NNY favorite sons Jim McCluskey and Charles Merrell are the favorites for three of the seats...The fourth is up for grabs.

Good Friends Gather for Successful Neighborhood Rally on Southside

    Karen and Jasper's Bistro did a great job Wednesday night hosting my Meet the Mayor Night....Lots of people were there including two candidates for State Supreme Court in the Fifth Judicial District.
    Utica girl-next-door Erin Gall was there as was our hometown favorite Jim McCluskey. Because they came to my event, they immediately rocket to the top of my favorites list for the four open seats.
     Walt Young stopped by and Jessica Caprara sported a Graham for Mayor sign as she bartended...
      Thanks to Karen Tufo for being a great host...
      Next week its on to BJ's Tavern on Mill Street for some blue collar fun and politics.
      For me this week, a taping of a debate on Public Eye with Jeff Cole and some more door to door work fills out the week.

Apple's Steve Jobs dies at 56

A man who shaped all our lives in a way few have has died at age 56. Apple founder Steve Jobs has succumbed to cancer after a long battle with the disease.
Apple's Steve Jobs dies at 56

Bistro Hosts Meet the Mayor Session Tonight at 6

      The public is invited to join me tonight at Karen and Jasper's Bistro in the Washington Street Plaza for what is called retail politics.
      The Meet the Mayor Night is the first of three my campaign will hold prior to the November 8th election.  Stop by and enjoy the great food courtesy of Karen Tufo who is being kind enough to host the event.
       In a campaign like this where the candidates and their records are well known, finding ways to touch the voters is important as it reaffirms their choice.
       As many events and meetings as I go to there are also many people who have not met the mayor and  events like these provide the chance to meet on neutral ground in a social setting.
       Stop by the Bistro tonight from 6 to 8.....I look forward to seeing you.

In a Small Body, You Can Expect Big Things from Everyone

   While there are some differences in the role of mayor and council member in Watertown's  council/manager form of government, its also very much true you don't have to be mayor to initiate and lead on issues.
    Some cases of that this year include Councilman Joe Butler Jr's spearheading of a noise ordinance. He advanced the idea and pushed for it until he had built a consensus to get it passed. He showed similar leadership in his participation in the deliberations over a city clerk.
   Meanwhile, City Councilwoman Roxanne Burns stepped up recently on the dog issue and earlier this year in proposing and pushing for an independent audit that led to a reorganization of the parks and recreation operation.
   Whether you agree with their stance on these issues, they showed that individual councilmembers can do as much as a mayor in advancing and achieving an agenda.
    The mayor is expected to perform additional ceremonial and other duties that are time consuming, but there is absolutely no reason the public should not expect to see a record of legislative accomplishment from their mayor and council members.
    My point is the title doesn't bestow "leadership and vision."  It's the person making things happen regardless of their title.
    The small size of the body, its non-partisan form, and the equal authority of the five members doesn't necessarily relegate anyone to being a back bencher...unless they choose to be.

Report: Less Drunk Driving...Economy Blamed

Despite scouring the highways for drinkers, drunk driving arrests are thirty percent the past five years....
That's good news and while some argue its because people can't afford to go out, I think its changing attitudes about making other driving arrangements as well as fear of getting caught.
Either way its the trend society ostensibly wants, although the mini-industry that's grown up around arrests, courts, cops, counselors and the like will surely have to double down and that could mean lower BAC threshholds.
News from The Associated Press

WDT: School Board Scampers to Put Undisclosed Mess Behind Them

Just why can't a reporter see the letter of resignation of a top manager in the Carthage Central School District ? What possibly could be in such a letter that the public footing the bill for all these six figure salaries that the public cannot see it ?
The School Board now sees the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent leaving at once. Classes will go on without them and maybe its a chance to trim the ranks of administration. And these "ethical" problems that chased people out on short notice....since when do people scamper out that quickly unless there is something that makes them wary of staying and anxious to avoid some kind of sanctions ?
Someone at that level should announce their departure and aid in the transition. Seems like the people on Planet Education want to write their own rules.
Watertown Daily Times Carthage approves LaRock’s retirement

Judge to Decide Where to Count Inmates

The battle continues to gain the edge in redrawing legislative boundaries for the 2012 election. One battlefield is a courtroom where Republicans want to overturn a law passed in 2010 to count prison inmates as living in the communities they came from and not count them where they prisons in upstate counties.
On the surface it makes sense that districts reflect who actually lived there when the census was taken, just as it is with college students or nursing home patients who may not think of themselves as residents of where they happen to have been counted.
However, Democrats want inmates counted in NYC as it provides a subtle shift that could shift one Senate seat their way and that's all they need.
Judge weighs constitutionality of inmate vote-count law - Times Union

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

WDT: Mayor Trying to Herd Cats in the Maple City

Then there is Ogdensburg, where the Maple City's Keystone Council wants to blame its city manager for the Knox Street/Rent Free flap...but they won't side with the mayor who wants to get rid of the manager.
That's because they would rather prop up the managers reign rather than side will Mayor Bill Nelson, who is fighting a long odds fight for reelection.
As the song says, 'how can anyone be right when everybody's wrong."
Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg council members oppose sale of Knox Street property

SeeThroughNY :: Payroll-Cities

Transparency is available on municipal salaries through the SeeThroughNY website....In cities like Yonkers there are tons of people making in the 200s and upper 100s.
In Watertown, the top pay is the City Manager at $103,000 followed in second place by police Lt. Frank Derrigo at $93,037.
To me the most interesting aspect of reviewing Watertown salaries was learning that Jodie Foster earned $1,538.......I love her movies and wish I had known and I would have got her autograph.
SeeThroughNY :: Payroll-Cities

WDT: Million Dollar Carthoid

Another Carthage resident has won big on a scratch off ticket...That's a lucky village.
Watertown Daily Times Carthage man wins $1m from scratch ticket

Gov. Chris Christie will not run for president |

A wise move by NJ Governor Chris Christie to stay out of the 2012 Presidential race...who needs the hassle ? Besides he knows that his commitment is to the Garden State for at least a term. By getting sucked into the national dialogue, I think he hurt his effectiveness at home just as the Palin foray into national politics set in motion problems back home.
When you are staying local and doing a good job, you are OK...when you reach too far, it becomes about party and about protecting the Obama Presidency at all costs...That's a race that would debilitate Mr. Christie who still has to prove himself.
When he said he was not ready, he was right...One need only look at the current occupant of the White House to see the danger of thinking otherwise.
Gov. Chris Christie will not run for president

Signs Point to More Signs !

       As I was putting out signs today, I ventured into one of the more remote corners of our great city...West Street is on the far western boundary off West Main....Its a street where some well known people live like Ray John, the Kissells, and others.
       I had a lady offer me a sign location today and for her sake I turned it down as she has a dispute pending before city lawmakers. I don't like to trade locations for consideration real or perceived. It puts everybody in an awkward spot. She meant well, and I told her I will take her vote over a lawn anyday.
      Now its off to the south side to place a few signs we got requests for of late.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Schedules News Conference For This Afternoon « CBS New York

Not since Mario Cuomo's 1984 "Hamlet on the Hudson" have seen the likes of Governor Chris Christie's public angst and musings about whether he should answer the call....make his Decision on the Delaware....and announce for the final, I mean it, absolutely last time his intentions. Mr. Christie will hold a presser today in Trenton to do that.
Being asked to run is a lot easier than actually running and the hype surrounding the Garden State governor is tremendous. If he says yes, he becomes the flavor of the week and will jump to the front of the polls...Then the drama starts...the gaffes...the digging...and they one-half term governor becomes like all the rest and we will look for our next flavor of the week.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Schedules News Conference For This Afternoon « CBS New York

Other Council News from My Perspective

    City Council got some good news last night when the owner of the Sunoco station on Washington Street wisely withdrew a zoning change request bitterly opposed by neighbors. The plan would have extended commercial zoning will in to a block of residential zoning on Elm Street so that a new gas station could be built.
   The measure would have been defeated so the station owners decided to try and sit with neighbors and work out a solution. Clearly that's the best method.
    Council also suddenly is faced with a way to dispose of the former Berow and Monroe shoe store on Court Street. The previous owner lost the building for taxes while in bankruptcy proceedings and wants to buy it back at private sale so he can sell the deteriorated structure. Council said no to that and may go to an auction or request for proposal process instead.

How ‘Obama Girl’ Almost Became ‘Clinton Girl’ - ABC News

Along with Joe the Plumber, one of the campy figures from the 2008 campaign was Obama Girl...aka a then 26 year old actress named Amber Lyn Ettinger. Obama Girl was all over the Internet professing her crush on the would be President.
Now its reveal Hillary Clinton aide Terry McAuliffe took Ettinger out to dinner in a bid to sway her to his candidates side.....Interesting bit of 2008 trail mix, but maybe Terry was looking after his own interests more than his boss'.
How ‘Obama Girl’ Almost Became ‘Clinton Girl’ - ABC News

Monday, October 3, 2011

Roxy Grabs the Leash at Council Meeting

    City Councilwoman Roxanne Burns urged Council to support her efforts to draft a common sense ordinance restricting dogs from large public assemblies on public property. While I supported her effort, other members said nothing in a show of silence reminiscent of Silent Cal Coolidge.
     Lawmakers took a wait and see approach to the former Berow and Monroe property on Court Street after an owner who lost it due to back taxes wanted to buy it back. Council likely will auction the property or try to work with Neighbors of Watertown on a development plan.
    Other than that a fairly benign meeting.

Report: Madonna to perform at Super Bowl halftime

Madonna is a safe bet nowadays...As a true doyenne of the music business well past her crazy days the Super Bowl can use her as a halftime show without fear of a wardrobe malfunction....Years ago...not so sure...but now Madonna is a successful businesswoman and mom...Not prone to problems or making a statement.
I know the feeling.
Report: Madonna to perform at Super Bowl halftime

Dogs, Snakes, Alpacas, Wolverines....You Name It and There Are Places You Don't Need to Bring Them

     Tongiht City Councilwoman Roxanne Burns will attempt to formalize her suggestion for common sense restrictions on dogs being brought to crowded events held on public property. The recent mauling of a two year old at the Farmer's Market and a request by market organizers has prompted Mrs. Burns and me to explore legal options that make sense for attendees at the events as well as the right of pet owners to enjoy the company of their animals in most circumstances.
     The fact is it just doesn't make sense to bring pets to high density events, especially ones where food is served.

Before You Sign a Dissolution Petition, Read Up on NY Governance

Here is your homework if you want to govern in New York...a complete list of all the political subdivisions that can and do exist in the Empire State. It's interesting as I find few people understand how government is delivered and why there are systemic issues that result in more cost than needed.
Administrative divisions of New York - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

WDT: Is It a Wonderful Life ?

Residents of Potsdam will soon learn whether they are in for "A Wonderful Life" as the mayor of the village that inspired the famous Frank Capra movie comes to St. Lawrence County to answer questions about what happened to Seneca Falls after voters opted for dissolution under a new state law designed to reduce the number of political subdivision.
Mayor Diana Smith will end up being the last ever mayor of Seneca Falls and surely has a list of unintended consequences of dissolution, including who pays for the services the village provided and the people still want...
I was in Potsdam last week and that's one busy place on weekday afternoons.
Watertown Daily Times Seneca Falls village mayor and administrator to speak in Potsdam on dissolution

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Vignettes

   This is a day when the Headquarters of the Tenth Mountain Division comes home and we welcome MG Terry back to NNY.
    I stopped into Shootie's today and I see Steve has a new hi def TV over the bar...Technology coming to Shootie's... Who woulda thought ?
   Some door to door today in the Thompson Blvd area...One lady opened her door and exclaimed "you look great."  That was worth the sore feet and occasional rejection. Another lady was very impressed with the letter mailed to voters. We worked very hard on that.
   Claudia Dunk had a good day filling in at Fort Pearl....
    I've got to grab a quick bite at Pete's, then off to work tonight at the bar.
UPDATE: A customer came in and wanted to show us his deer killed by bow in Barnes Corners...In a rite of fall, I went outside and looked.

WDT: Maple City "Implosion"

What started out as turmoil in Ogdensburg, escalated to mayhem in the Maple City and now the hyperbole of the headline has raised the matter to something more apocalyptic.
"City's Implosion Began Months Ago" screamed the headline in this morning's WDT. I thought maybe the 'burg had sank into the St. Lawrence under the weight of a gazillion shad flies.
There is only one issue in the municipal elections this year in Ogdensburg and that is the city manager, Art Sciorra. I only met him once and twice and have no insight beyond what I read and hear from 60 miles away.
Mayor Bill Nelson is planted out on a limb and maybe as more comes out, he will be vindicated. For now, he seems to have made a cardinal mistake that I have told others on our Council not to do unless they are sure of the results, and even then they should think about it.
The mayor's job is to make the system work and if the city council (rightly or wrongly) wants to retain Mr. Sciorra (for qualitative or political reasons), then being extranged from the manager and indeed being attacked in the media by the manager is a serious problem.
The city council seems content to let this boil fester until the election consumes (presumably) the mayor.
The best way to avoid this dilemma under a weak mayor form of government is to not let it develop in the first place. After the election those who want to keep the manager now in order to defeat the mayor, will be pressed to explain why they want to still keep the manager when many of them have privately called for his head.
The most troubling line in this Times story is the allegation the mayor asked the manager to sit on a personnel issue until the deadline for filing petitions had passed.
I know this year for me, there were some issues that could have been swept into obscurity quite easily, and some would choose to avoid all controversy in an election cycle. I think you still have to govern, and if you do a good job the elections will take care of themselves.
Watertown Daily Times Dispute between Ogdensburg manager, planner began over grant program

The Value of Knowing the Job...And Doing the Work

     With just five weeks left until the election, let me begin making the summation for why I should keep the job as mayor.
      This is a council/manager form of government with the mayor serving as presiding officer of the City Council, which in turn oversees the hired city manager, who is the actual CEO.
       Over the two eight year stretches I have held the office, I have come to learn what the office is all about. I would divide it into three areas.
       The first is policy and decisions. I have set the tone by advocating for the broad issues that matter. Lower taxes, fiscal restraint, setting prorities for spending and balancing what we would like against what we need. A mayor cannot spend valuable time or political capital tilting at windmills by pursuing pet issues.
       The second aspect is leadership, but I prefer to think of it as making the system work. This involves managing the CEO and working with City Council on that and other policy and legislative matters.
        As Mayor, I know the value of having the confidence and trust of Council members, as those relationships allow for compromise and consensus without which little happens.
       Also a part of leadership is developing the working relations with others in government and local industry. I think about the Fitzpatricks, the Wrights, the Ritchies and Russells, the Cuomos and Duffy's ....The list goes on, but a mayor needs to represent the city and promote the city through those relationships.
     Finally, the third leg of the stool is hustling and working hard. That means attending all the meetings and being prepared. It means being at all the ribbon cuttings and visits by dignitaries. Keeping relations with Albany and Canada and Fort Drum all involves significant committments of time and effort.
     Even though its sometimes called a "weak mayor" form of government, I have set the standard for working hard at these three aspects of the job.
      Twelve years ago I lost a mayoral race because I lost sight of the three legged stool. I was cocky and didn't have the issues nailed down or the relationships in place. I learned from the loss and since being elected again in 2003 have never lost sight of the very real duties and expectations of the job.
     Voters should ask if the candidate they are considering is willing and able to fulfill the duties.  I have, and it would be risky to assume others share that sense of duty and work ethic.
     Some things to consider as we begin counting the days to November 8.