Saturday, October 29, 2011

WDT: Risk Tolerance an Issue

The flip side of this story is that the current City Council seems to have achieved a modicum of success by reducing taxes and debt, quickly forging a plan to remake Parks and Recreation, and concurring without rancor on a list of priorities on which to seek funding from the North Country Regional Council.
That may be why the Burns and Butler seats are unopposed this year. And it's likely why the Mayor's race has focused on the vague rhetoric of experience vs change and not on individual policy issues.
While people do not directly muse about a January choice to fill a Council vacancy, they do repeat the mantra, "if its not broke, don't fix it." People seem to feel comfortable with the dynamics in place.
The reason for raising the matter is that uncertainty is a cousin to "risk". The certainty of a functioning Council and a Mayor who is there may be what people want.
Is that a warning ? Well, it's certainly the central issue in this campaign. What is the tolerance for risk when the certainty is acceptable ?
Watertown Daily Times Graham warns: A vote for Smith is a vote for uncertainty on City Council

I've Got Mail...and Book-o-Mania at Flower Library

    Today in the mail I got lots of interesting things...A really , really glossy flyer for Judge Renzi.....Its such nice printing, its a shame to have to throw it away...but that's what happens to all those mailers. I got a check for a raffle I won recently and coincidentally I got a letter from Rande Richardson on estate legacies to charity...How did he know I won that raffle ?
    Hey I got lawn signs to pay for first.
    I went to the book sale at the Flower Library....There were over a hundred people lined up when the bulding opened...Wow !
    I remember a few years ago, a local official predicted computers and the Internet would render libraries obsolete.
    So much for predictions.
    Oh, and there were some more protestors on the Square today...These were Veterans for Peace....but when I chatted with them, Wall Street bailouts seemed more ont their minds.  Sounds like Occupy II. Anyway, I took the time to hear their viewpoint and moved on to some door to door.

Educator salaries in New York

Everybody likes to know what someone else is making and now all teachers salaries are in one convenient on-line data base. In Jefferson County there are nearly 1200 teachers making $50,000 or more a year with the greatest grouping in the 70s.....This makes our system of education an economic engine as there are few private sector firms employing that many people.
All of these data bases that promote transparency do little else than satisfy curiosity. Frankly the salaries are little different from cops and firemen and a range of other people in health care.
So if you have one of these jobs, be thankful. Its like Dave Mance always said...."marry a teacher".
Educator salaries in New York

The Journal | McGrath, Dems: Sciorra Should Lose Job

The challenger to embattled Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson is finally on the record calling for the firing of City Manager Art Sciorra. Jack McGrath and the Democrats running for Council agree with Nelson he must go.
Well, if everyone feels that way, why is Mr. Sciorra still there ? All someone has to do is introduce a motion to terminate and get four of seven votes at a Council meeting. Well, the reason is simple.
It's hard to euthanize a puppy who is sitting there staring at you....and no one has the fortitude to vote for paying the man six months pay as proscribed in his employment contract....
Mr. Sciorra has admitted to lying to the Deputy Mayor and that alone is reason for dismissal....However, they want to be able to dismiss for cause and avoid the severance....Establishing cause is not easy.
It's clear that with both candidates for mayor calling for the manager's scalp, he will be getting a haircut one way or the other very soon. 
Those calling for change need to be thinking of the next step as hiring a replacement is a lengthy and sometimes contentious process as well.
The Journal McGrath, Dems: Sciorra Should Lose Job

Post Standard: You Get to Pick Who Wins the Lawyer Version of the Lottery

It seems like a popularity contest to decide who gets a nice paying, cushy judicial job for the next 14 years. For most people casting a vote, that's what it is...Voting for a local guy you for someone who looks nice on a straight party line.
That's what I am doing (not the party line part). I don't know which of these nine candidates will really make the best judge and frankly I do like the idea of someone from my community holding the perch at the Dulles State Office Building.
One candidate is a small county DA who claims a 99% conviction rate.....All DA's have a 99% conviction rate because most of the cases they see are people who are guilty and who plea bargain.
Some claim to be tough on crime, hard working, compassionate, etc.
Actually, someone who is serious about the law and won't just be the "go to" judge for the major firms is a good thing. How you judge that is beyond me. Some friends who cast their absentees this past week had ask me who to vote for among this block of nine judges.....I give 'em my two cents, and believe me just looking at the block of names its not even clear you can vote for up to four.
In this type of race, the candidates themselves surely "bullet vote" for just themselves and you can do that too if one person is your sole, or overwhelming favorite.
While you are trying to figure this one out, don't forget to find my name which is located in the lower right corner of the ballot. : Fifth District voters to make multiple multi-million-dollar decisions in picking four judges

Over 60 Vendors Expected at 'North Country Department Store' Nov. 5

Sometimes our Legislators hold events that are not all about legislating, like Sneator Ritchie's senior health fair and now this North Country Department Store being sponsored by Assemblywoman Addie Russell next Saturday at Indian River Central School. Some 60 vendors of indigenous NNY products will be on hand.
If I were not in the middle of a campaign, I would stop by, but I wish her well on the event.
Over 60 Vendors Expected at 'North Country Department Store' Nov. 5

City Meets Deadine in Applying for Regional Council Monies

     The grant application for $5.5 million in improvements to the Farigrounds Arena was shipped to NYS Friday afternoon after marathon preparations to get it ready by today's deadline to be considered as a regionally significant project.
     The application is also being sent to the North Country Regional Council for their consideration.
     My hope is that the Arena project will interest the Regional Council. Thanks to staffer Elliott Nelson for his work in filing the CFA (combined funding application).
     The Regional Council will determine significant or "transformational" projects for possible funding under  the Governor's new program of ten regional councils around the state.
     The Council's are all preparing economic plans which will compete for state dollars.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Toned Down...U Betcha !

    I was a little bummed today, when a regular reader said this humble blog is a little boring these days...Not enough provocative stuff he said...
    Well, it's a campaign first of all...but I also try to be responsive...I write a blog as Mayor, and some have criticized the blog as too randy....not rande.
     So, we have tempered certain aspects of the blog to address the concerns of some...Hopefully you still find it a good chronicle of what I am up to...That is the main purpose of this exercise, as well as provide an outlet for  a frustrated former journalist who could not conform to the constraints of the MSM.

WDT: Challenger to Spend More, But Both Campaigns are On Track

I just got back from the printers with some new handouts for the final days after burning through the 2000 door hangers and other bits of literature I had in my Jeep.
The most recent campaign finance reports are summarized in a WDT article. Our final fundraiser is Wednesday at Pete's Restaurant from 6PM to 8PM.
I will be up front as I try to be. Our goal for the event is to raise the $1300 to pay the bills coming due. Other than that we have been able to raise all the campaign's costs through small donations mostly.
Fortunately all the planned activities have come off and we have a little more to do before November 8. I appreciate your tremendous support and the help of volunteers with out the effort wouldn't be possible.
With less than two weeks left, it has been a solid effort...Still ahead are the closing arguments before the case goes to the jury.
Watertown Daily Times Jeff Graham, Jeff Smith unveil campaign finance

WDT: Flower Library Book Sale This Weekend

Supporters of the Flower Memorial Library, and I certainly consider myself one, will be out in force this Saturday as the annual book sale gets underway at the iconic structure on Washington Street. Volunteers have been busy putting the sale together and there are some great book and magazine bargains.
Its a great social event too on a chilly October weekend.
Watertown Daily Times Book sale kicks off Saturday at Flower Memorial Library

Supreme Court candidate James McClusky answers |

Let me take a moment out from my own endeavors to offer a plug for a long time friend who is in his own race for NYS Supreme Court. Jim McClusky is featured in this Post Standard Q & A and will need heavy support from all of us in Watertown to push him over the top in the nine way race for four seats on the bench.
Supreme Court candidate James McClusky answers

WDT: Maple City Lawmakers Sequester Report

This does not seem to me the right way to handle this much anticipated report about the doings of public officials. The Ogdensburg City Council has put the report on the Knox Street house under lock and key at City Hall and councillors have to go there to read it prior to another Council meeting next week.
A similar situation faced me last spring when a much anticipated audit of the programs at the Arena was delivered to me by the CPA who did the work. I ordered sufficient copies for Council, staff and the media and handed them out at a meeting within an hour of me receiving them. It's been a fundamental commitment to open government and accountability, even when the information is not particularly flattering.
Keeping one copy at City Hall didn't really require a special meeting last night and I don't agree with the policy. It's not fair to the people involved or to the public which has a keen interest in this matter as an election nears.
Watertown Daily Times Council opens report on housing program, sets timetable for action

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stone Looking to Stick It to GOP...And Spending Dollars to Do It

This nine way race for four lucrative seats on NYS Supreme Court has left one disgruntled Republican running solely on the Conservative line in order to stick it to the GOP.....John Stone is not only still on the minor party line, but he is spending money on signs and broadcast ads.
Mr Stone was passed over by the GOP but is hoping to have the last laugh by drawing off enough votes to make sure there is not sweep by the four Republican candidates. Republican hopeful Prescott Klosner seem the pair most threatened by Stone's gambit. 
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Nine candidates to vie for four open New York Supreme Court judgeships - Herkimer, NY - The Times

Ghost Spotted on City Property....More Possible...Or So I Hear

   This is the kind of story that gets me in trouble because it should be left to the professionals, but I thought it was kind of cute....
   A local landscape and gardening expert, whom I will not name under any circumstances, plans to place ghosts around town, including this one on a small city park on Massey Street.  The ghost may move to other traffic islands, likely causing consternation.
   But don't worry about it...Its all in the spirit of the season !

Fort Pearl Feted for 25 Years of Chamber Membership

    It was a suggestion I gave to Dave Mance when he ran the Chamber of Commerce....Give some recognition to long term businesses...Those who have been in it for the long haul.
   Today the Chamber stopped at Fort Pearl with balloons, a rose and certificate for 25 years of membership...
    I am proud to have been a local businessman for so long and there is a satisfaction to survival. Not everything is a chain business...There are local business men and women who make it happen every day and its good to seem them acknolwedged.

Campaign Finance Reports Show Similar Spending

   I was reading the most recent campaign finance reports and it notes my side has taken a lead in fundraising while my opponent has had to infuse personal funds into his campaign. We have raised about $8700, about $1600 more than my opponent.
  So far spending levels are close. Its always interesting to see the people who feel obliged to give to both campaigns, as well as where money comes from.
   Both candidates have received donations from their mothers. Mothers are great.
   You can check it out yourselves on the NYS Board of Elections website.....
    Meanwhile to help with the stretch drive, our address is Graham for Mayor, Box 673, Watertown or we have a fundraiser/mixer next Wednesday evening at Petes.
   So far local broadcasters have little to show for this year's campaign with only Supreme Court candidates spending on TV.....

Trip to Lucky 7 is Trip Down Memory Lane

      There was a time when the TV 7 crowd didn't like me, but every time I go there lately its like old home week.  I ran into GM Pircsuk, with whom I went to the same college a thousand years ago.
     I spent some time in Atkinson's office, musing about the state of politics and the news....And was interviewed by Diane Rutherford, who covered my first campaign in 1991. I was brash then and she was trying to ask me gotcha' questions....
    We are both more mellow and today's interview was great.
     It was also a pleasure to be on America's highest rated noon news...or so Mr. Cole claims...

What Will You Be Talking About Today ?

   While the media gatekeepers struggle with determining the most important story of the day, I know from my experience that a picture is worth a thousand words and in October, news of the first snow sticking to the hood of a vehicle in Barnes Corners will be the talk around the water cooler.
    I used to be a serious journalist...Even got some of that formal training at a fancy J-school. Now I subscibe totally to the water cooler theory of news.... at 11.

WDT | Watertown to submit fairgrounds, Franklin Building theater projects to council

It's a competitive world and the regional recreation and cultural activities provided in a hub city like Watertown are important regional issues. That is why I asked the City Council to focus on those matters in approving submissions for funding to the Governor's new Regional Economic Council.
I will be at City Hall today looking over the final draft of our proposal on the Fairgrounds and Arena.
A lot of times I don't spend as much time as others on talking about a vision for Watertown. That's because my time is spent helping draft and advocate for the vision we all have of a successful and vibrant community that can host people from around the region.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown to submit fairgrounds, Franklin Building theater projects to council

WDT: Before We Hold This Election, Lets Start Talking 2015

We haven't even held this election and the press is looking at the 2015 race. While I don't see myself running then, I am also focused on winning the election I am in. In 2015, I assume new faces may surface as this year's field consists of two longtime local pols.
The people always have the option of limiting terms through elections. There is no Svengali hold I have on voters. Each time the voters make a decision. My opponent says he will only run for three terms. He is in his third term as a Councilman.
But to run for a second and third term as mayor, you have to win the first term. That's the race we are in now and at this time experience matters and I am sure voters can do whatever is best in four years.
I was pleased the Times ask about a sixth term, as it means they must think my prospects for this year are good. In the absence of polls its very hard to divine the intentions of voters.
Watertown Daily Times Graham says he would stop at five terms

Newzjunky: Council Pauses to Get the Facts Before Making Hasty Deals

The smart move is not to say anything this close to an election, but I kind of think governing must go on and City Hall has to make an informed decision on leasing a facility the Fairgrounds ball field. There are a couple of responsible parties who have expressed interest. The City is in the process of hiring new management for a newly reconstituted Parks and Rec Department. A policy on alcohol sales is being written as is a new contract for using facilities.
Meanwhile day to day business, including the booking of events, continues.
The particulars of collegiate baseball will get worked out, but I don't think City Council will want to vote on contracts without all their questions answered and so far neither of the interested parties has made any detailed request other than to talk to the press.
It will get resolved and I feel there will be this activity in 2012.
Newzjunky - Graham: Still No Obligation to Make Immediate Lease Determination for Fairgrounds Baseball Diamond

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

   A special meeting of the Ogdensburg City Council will be held Thursday evening so lawmakers can see the results of a probe of the circumstances surrounding that Knox Street home was rent free.
   This is crunch time for Mayor Bill Nelson who has called for the departure of the city manager and needs a report that excoriates Art Sciorra.

WDT: Maple City Madness...Councilman Lauches Robocall War on Nelson

Four years ago Nick Vaugh was a GOP he is a GOP pariah hell-bent on destroying his one time ally, Mayor Bill Nelson...Vaugh took to robocalling against the mayor this week as he ends his one and only term in elected office.
The Vaugh lad is ending his tenure on Council on a very sour, self-destructive and vindinctive note.
Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg council member launches telephone attack campaign against mayor

Districts preparing for new anti-bullying laws to protect students - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York

Do we need a new law mandating school district programs for bullying.....What's wrong with just sending the punk to the principal's office for a good whoopin' ?
Districts preparing for new anti-bullying laws to protect students - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York

Rise and Shine...My Morning With Jeff and Beth

     When you get home from that morning interview with Jeff Cole, its still dark outside and you marvel at how bright and cheery Jeff and co-host Beth Hall are every morning...
    When you sit in the WWNY studio waiting to be on air, its also amazing what a slick product they put on with just themselves, a producer and one control room wizard.
     Jeff and Beth are in constant motion and Beth has a radiance undimmed by the hour or the gloomy weather she is predicting.
     Your three minutes on air is over in a heartbeat and you leave wondering if you really said anything, but we will wait for the reviews......This is one of these media hits you always get feedback on as many people watch...
      Now that I have been on TV and wrote this piece, what do I do till the rest of the World wakes up ?

Fracking Permits Next Year? ‘Hard To Predict’ Says Martens

New York State is still moving slowly with permitting for hydrofracking...That's the lucrative but controversial means of extracting natural gas from shale rock by pumping a chemical brew into the ground to force out pockets of gas.
It provides energy and jobs, but some argue it has questionable environmental consequences including ground water contamination.
The NYS DEC has never been known for alacrity, but I remember when this issue came before our own City Council on the matter of acceptance waste by product from hundreds of miles away. I opted for the cautious approach as at first blush its not easy to know all the impacts.
However, the process is used elsewhere and the natural gas industry insists its safe....
Its just a question of who wants to sign off on taking the chance.
Fracking Permits Next Year? ‘Hard To Predict’ Says Martens

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WDT: TV 7 Interviews Candidates at Sunrise

In the AM I get to go to TV 7 for the Jeff Cole inquisition....I saw today they interviewed my opponent and ask him if he would seek to appoint me to the vacant council seat should I lose....
Of course, I don't intend to lose and from my point of view when you lose, its time to get off the stage...You have a right to come back through an election in the future and both my opponent and I have done that as we have both lost city-wide races. So if Mr. Cole was planning to ask that question, I just answered it.
Vacant seats created by incapacity or resignation are filled through appointment by the other Council members. In this case it would be a vacancy created by a decision to run for higher office. Under the circumstances I think its too bad the public loses its chance to pick the person, but I also recognize that's the law.
In a similar situation in 1995, City Councilman Laurence Cooke resigned his Council seat after losing a mayoral bid, but of course there is no obligation to do so...That was his choice at the time.
Wonder what else Cole will ask ? Tune in at 6AM to find out.
Watertown Daily Times Channel 7 has in-depth interview with Smith

Sports Novelties Surface in Judge Race

    Supreme Court hopeful Michael Young is positioned in the fourth slot on the ballot, so he is hoping to be the clean up hitter driving in all four GOP candidates for State Supreme Court in the Fifth Judicial District.
    Mr. Young has added nerf baseballs with his name on it as a campaign eye catcher. The teams lead off hitter, Erin Gall is given the best chance of the four to score a seat, but for those voters who follow the line up to the end, there is the chance Young will put it out of the park.
      Last year, Congressional candidate Matt Doheny used nerf footballs to no avail as Bill Owens snuck in the end zone behind the blocking of Doug Hoffman.

Replacing $1 bill with coin could save $5.6 billion –

I don't see it happening....Yes dollar coins would save money over the more perishable paper ones....But there is a lobby for everything, in this case its to save the iconic image of George Washington and to save fuel in armored trucks that transport currency (a coin weighs more).
Its time to make the change and the only way to do it is to stop use of the paper one....Having both is cumbersome and confusing.
What do you think ?
Replacing $1 bill with coin could save $5.6 billion –

WDT: Fun in the Archives...Read All About It

It could be an in print version of "This Is Your Life" for the mayoral candidates as research drones on for an upcoming profile piece on my opponent and I.
Although we have been in office about the same number of years, I no doubt have the longer dossier.
Among the accomplishments in office are the transfer of the Airport and dispatch functions to the County and a sales tax agreement that has kept our property taxes and debt down.
There was a trip to MSG as a delegate in 1992, a run for US Senate in 2000, and countless petitions gathered on behalf of countless candidates I have helped. There was the imbroglio over the Lottery and various political sojourns. There were somber moments delivering eulogies for Alex Duffy, Mayor Burns and Bruce Dempster. There were happy times including the amazing election night party in 1991 that rocked Pearl Street.
There are pictures of me at various weights and more statements about this and that than I can recall. There is a successful 26 year run as a local businessman on Pearl Street despite the negative impact politics can have on a retail business. There are good times, some not as good, but no really bad stuff like arrests, bankruptcies, divorces or the other things politicos don't like.
There is evidence of a lot of hard work and a concern for people. There are thousands of column inches about what I have done and what I have said.
All good reason to conclude that I have been the 'Mayor who's There', but enough for critics to write about.
There are five editorials endorsing my candidacies but also some columns condemning me.
It is as the media likes to say a "treasure trove" of information about a guy who has done a lot...and plans to do more.
Watertown Daily Times Fun in the archives, mayoral edition

Canadians To Be Charged $5.50 Each To Enter U.S. By Plane Or Boat

President Obama gave a little whack to the NNY economy as he signed a bill that will charge Canadians $5.50 to enter the US by boat or plane. Tourism and business groups fear that will be viewed negatively by our neighbors to the North and could discourage visitors. The measure was part of a trade bill passed by Congress.
Canadians To Be Charged $5.50 Each To Enter U.S. By Plane Or Boat WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Monday, October 24, 2011

Manager Reports Parks and Rec Separation to Occur November First

       The creation of a separate Parks and Recreation Department takes effect on November 1st, per a City Council directive over the summer.
       Tonight Council approved budget changes that reflect the reassignments of staff and codify a new management structure. City Manager Corriveau briefed Council on the new flow chart and indicated hiring is near on a Superintendent and program director.
      Council ordered the realignment after a series of operational snafus were revealed in an audit last spring and summer.
      In the meantime events are being booked and a final draft of an alcohol sales policy is being prepared by Anthony Casale, the former state liquor czar hired to devise a plan consistant with state law.
       All in all the reorganization is going well and I appreciate the work Council and Staff have devoted to this important change.

Cuomo’s Cap on Property Taxes Rankles Communities -

It's not just the "occupy" protestors who are clamoring for more taxes....Local governments are too and are speaking out against the two percent property tax cap as nothing more than a slogan and a gimmick. They claim mandates and other costs make it impossible to live within.
So the Governor is left standing as the sole bastion against raising taxes.....
Cuomo’s Cap on Property Taxes Rankles Communities -

Activists in New York Target 'Governor 1 Percent': Cuomo Under Fire for Refusing to Extend Millionaire's Tax | | AlterNet

It's unknown if Governor Cuomo can continue to resist the politics of taxing the rich....Activists are busy labeling Mr. Cuomo as the governor for the richest 1% of the public and pressure on the Legislature seems to favor extending the so-called "millionaire's tax".
While resisting tax cuts so far, the Governor was still elected as the nominee of the Democratic and Working Families Party......It may get more difficult to oppose those who put him in office.
Activists in New York Target 'Governor 1 Percent': Cuomo Under Fire for Refusing to Extend Millionaire's Tax AlterNet

Jets' Burress back with a bang -

The NFL is the place for redemption....After spending 20 months in jail on a weapons (and stupidity) count, Plaxico Burress is back with a bang scoring three TDs in the JETS come from behind 27-21 win yesterday over the Chargers.
Plaxico has gone from being goat to toast of the town...........
Jets' Burress back with a bang -

Newzjunky - Couple Seeks Lease for Fairgrounds Baseball Diamond

With interest being expressed from a couple of avenues over the Fairgrounds ball field, I feel this brings credence to the plan City Council unanimously approved over the summer that will shortly result in the hiring of not only a Parks and Rec superintendent but also a program manager.
There is a need for those with expertise and knowledge of the facility to deal with the many users and tenants of the Fairgrounds, particularly in view of recent retirements and the loss of institutional knowledge.
The City is anxious to work with the entire range of people wanting to do good things at the facility.
Newzjunky - Couple Seeks Lease for Fairgrounds Baseball Diamond

Dicker: Albany Won't Displace Occupiers Like Governor Wants

Governor Cuomo wants the class warfare "occupy" movement out of downtown Albany but the city's mayor and local DA won't have anything to do with disrupting protestors camped near the Capitol.
Dicker reports Mr. Cuomo is worried lawmakers will be spooked by the protestors as they consider an extension of the "millionaire's tax" later this year. Mr. Cuomo wants the levy to expire while others say extend it and make the rich "pay their share."
Mayor Jerry Jennings has reportedly demurred on efforts to get the protestors to leave.
Cuomo failed to get aid in shutting down the Albany version of Occupy Wall Street -

WDT: No Tricks, Just Treats as Council Works With New Zoo Czar on Aviary

City Council is hardly trying to say "boo" to the Zoo tonight as it discusses helping the facility transform the vacant Aviary into useful space for education and community events.
Council will meet with the Zoo director John Wright and architect Mary Cecil to refine plans for the rehabilitation or replacement of the unique structure built a generation ago during the administration of Mayor Karl R. Burns.
A request to demolish the structure was rejected by Council, leading to acrimony from some quarters, but lawmakers unanimously committed to trying to help the Zoo improve its facility. The question since has been how best to do that.
I have been impressed with the positive attitude and "vision" of the new director and his respect for and willingness to work with the City. Many people had contributed to a project to repair the Aviary just a few years ago, so there are those who see it as a part of the century old facility.
Council has several other important measures on its plate tonight, and the agenda is available this morning.
Watertown Daily Times Zoo dresses up for Halloween

Other Political Things of Interest at the Two Week Warning

      With all the talk of the Mayor's race, one other local race thought to be hotly contested is for county legislator just outside the city limits....The District 11 race pits first term legislator Bobby Ferris against former Rutland Supervisor and one time city cop Ron Cole.
      Mr. Ferris won his first race narrowly two years ago and GOP insiders say its a race very much in doubt. There is a contested legislator race in District 12 as well, although its not considered as competitive yet.
      The countywide races for DA and Treasurer are unopposed, as are two City Council seats.
       The other race of interest is the one for City Court judge.....Eugene Renzi vs Keith Caughlin in a race that will likely be the highest spending race locally.
       Its not a lot to follow, or as Peggy Lee would croon, "Is that all there is, my friend."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

WDT: With Indy Line Out, Its Ballot Position That May Determine Judges

With this fight out of the way, the serious business of deciding which Supreme Court candidates to vote for can begin.
Supreme Court is not the state's highest is instead the trial level court and we elect the justices based on a system of judicial districts....
We are in the Fifth District, which includes six counties and cities like Syracuse, Utica, Watertown and Oswego.
There are four seats and the candidates run as the nominee of various parties. Nine candidates are running.
There are no real issues. Its mostly a popularity contest or a party line contest.
The layout of the ballot matters as which column and row a name is in can matter. Local loyalties also play a role. The fight over the Indy line has some significance but if it wasn't done properly then that's that.
Candidates with an edge are as follows.
Erin Gall- the sole female on the ballot and an Oneida County favorite, she also has great ballot position in the first column. Her critics tout her as unqualified, but I think they are being catty.
Charles Merrell-A Democrat who also drew the first column, he also has the Conservative Party nomination. Mr. Merrell's wife is an aide to Senator Gillibrand and he has the tacit backing of the Administrator of the Fifth Judicial District.
James McClusky- The Irish name and home base in Jefferson County is a plus. So is the Conservative nomination. He is the only GOP candidate to also appear on Line C.
The fourth spot is tougher to pick. I think Syracuse's David Magnarelli gets a boost as his dad is an Assemblyman and the Italian heritage helps.

The other candidates include Lewis County's Michael Young who is working hard but has terrible ballot position. Of the other three only McRae comes to mind as he has the "C" line as well. In the end, who really knows ?
Watertown Daily Times Appellate Court affirms Independence Party’s ouster from Supreme Court judge race

JETS Rally for Win Over Chargers

     The JETS looked in trouble but came back to life for a 27-21 win over the San Diego Chargers.  Gang Green advances to 4-3.  
       A great game and thank goodness it was on TV locally.

Blog as a Monitor

    I found another reason for the blog this morning.  To check on my well being....
    My mom called me while I was at the Synagogue for breakfast to make sure I was OK....She had noticed no updates early today and must have thought my sure as clockwork posting was interrupted by something bad....
    Actually, I was just so busy, but appreciate the concern !

Watertown Daily Times | Under Graham, the city has operated efficiently

Thanks to Lee Hector for the kind letter to the editor. I have known Lee since he was the G-5 in the early days of the 10th Mountain Division.
Today my friend Linda Burkard and I attended the Bagel Brunch at the Degel Israel Synagogue...Councilwoman Burns was there as were the Wrights and many others. This is a great community event, but also a chance to celebrate the contributions of our many citizens of the Jewish faith.
Its two weeks till the election. For me the compare and contrast portion of the campaign is over and its time for closing arguments to the voters. While you may hear from surrogates taking shots on behalf of their candidate, I think this is a time to consider who is there for you...who represents the city whereever and whenever needed, and who has the experience and relationships to continue to make the system work for all of you.
I will make the case for myself in the coming days and encourage my supporters like Lee to continue with their positive message.
Watertown Daily Times Under Graham, the city has operated efficiently