Saturday, November 19, 2011

Back to Normal With a New Face

    With the need for fair and balanced campaign coverage in the past, we return to weekend visits from TV 7....This time a new reporter dipatched to Pearl Street to ask me about stuff on Monday's agenda.
    Her name is Caitlyn Cissne, a Philadelphia native with previous broadcast experience in Fayetteville, NC. She is a Hofstra grad and according to her bio a distinguished one at that.
     I know the mandarins of news hate it when I critique things they do just because I had some training decades ago in the field.
     One thing Ms. Cissne did do is know her topic ahead of time and only ask the question on camera needed to get the bite for the story. That's the way we did it in the day when film through the gate cost real money. (Ted Ford would know what I am talking about)
     With tape, too many reporters are less precise and drone on with question after question they will never use. 
      I only say this because I read in the Times recently that I went to a prestigious J-school, so I feel obliged to put the training to use.

Helping to Pay for Scott's Trip to Aruba

    I stopped at Gray's Flowers this AM to drop off a lawn sign to Corrine (sic) who has a relative named Graham and thought a sign would be neat.
    I really didn't intend on buying anything, but she ended up selling me three orders for people who helped my campaign...And she up-sold me to arrangements, as I am a simple soul content to send a poinsettia.
    I like sales people who do their job...They are hard to find.

Zoo Learning Center to Be Acted on Monday

    A much more austere version of renovations for what will soon be the former Thompson Park Zoo Aviary will be formally presented to City Council on Monday although details were in the Council agenda released Friday.
    The circa 1980s structure some wanted demolished but Council wanted saved will serve as a learning center in the future with the space to be used for classroom and some social functions.
     Hopefully on Monday, Council will affirm again its support for the revised and less expensive plan as well as designate the project as the Karl R.Burns Learning Center in honor of the late Mayor so instrumental in building the structure at a time in the Zoo's history when its future was in doubt.
     While taking a little longer than expected, the Council and new Zoo director have stayed focused on creating a useable and affordable structure which is at the center of the Zoo.

WDT: A Candidate for President Should Read the Morning Papers, Watch TV and Check Out Newzjunky

It does seem there have been some people running for national office with a lack of understanding of certain things you figure a President should either know or know how to bluff around.
However, there is a lot of "gotcha" or "gaffe" mentality in the rival media. If the President says something factually off, its a major gaffe on FOX and if a GOP candidate says something that could be interpreted as not knowing what he should, it's a big deal on MSNBC.
However, after sorting through the "gotcha" moments in journalism, it is still clear the public has a right to expect a certain conversancy in history and world affairs from those seeking the Presidency.
But its also true that many recent Presidents have not had direct foreign policy experience, including the last two.
It's true a good manager, a good listener and a person with temperment and judgment are what is needed for office, whether its the Presidency or a local office. Voters will decide that, although for the Oval Office a good 85% will just be voting for party and won't care if their candidate didn't know China has nukes or if America has 57 states.
Watertown Daily Times Foreign policy quiz

SU Coach at Center of Latest College Sports Scandal

I don't follow SU hoop that closely and know nothing about Bernie Fine, but how can you be molested over a thousand times over 16 years fating back to the 1970s and suddenly in the wake of the Penn State scandal its time to come forward?
Maybe its true, but something doesn't seem right about this whole matter.
And again my are you a "ball boy" for that many years ?
Now a guy is corroborating the story which was brought to the media in 2005....The guy backing up the story is a step brother who now says alleged victim Bobby Davis was molested by his former hero and a "father figure."
Meanwhile Mr. Fine is suspended and a probe has been launched.
Syracuse police investigating Bernie Fine about molesting boy in 1980s - ESPN

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saudi women with attractive eyes may be forced to cover them up, if resolution is passed | Mail Online

Now even eyes are off limits...Will the Muslim World ban seductive eyes ? looks like they might...Hope Not.
Saudi women with attractive eyes may be forced to cover them up, if resolution is passed Mail Online

Results are In....Incumbents Win

      Bill Nelson won a fourth term..and I won a fifth in final results released today by the local Boards of Election.
     Mayor Nelson won a second squeaker...An eleven vote mandate against Jack McGrath.  Frankly, I disagree with some of Mayor Nelson's approach to KnoxGate....but he is a great guy who in January will be head of the NY Conference of Mayors and that's something the Maple City can be proud of.
    As for me, the final total was 2137-1969.   The people who wanted to vote did vote and the result is the City Council remains the same.
    It was a tough race, and for all my opponent did right in terms of GOTV, the key mistake was going negative against someone most residents think has done a good job, even if they thought it was time for a change.
    A positive vision for change does not include being nasty. Race over...time to move on.

After Seeing This, I Want to See a Hockey Game

   Today I discovered the difference between a private college and a public college...Our meeting of the Regional Council was held today at Clarkson's Cheel Hall where the hockey team plays.
     It was one gorgeous facility and we met in a conference room overlooking the ice. All our previous meetings were at SUNY Potsdam and no offense intended, it was a lot more pedestrian....And the lunch was ....well Tony Collins puts on a good lunch....
    I can't talk about the nuances of the meeting as the media doesn't like that...But I can talk about the ambiance and the menu....
    Clarkson wins hands down.

WDT: More Maple City Madness......Release the Report Already.

In the area of "freedom of information" the role of lawyers is usually to find a rationale to limit public access to documents.....Usually it's through cooking up exemptions to the FOIL laws or finding creative ways to stymie or slow-walk requests for information.
That's good for the lawyer business, but usually bad public policy....It's a waste of money and it undermines the public's inherent right to know what's going on.
Up in the Maple City, the City Council keeps debating the release of a report on the conduct of the city manager relating to the Knox Street house.
There is no longer an election pending to create reasons for making the wrong decisions....The right decision is to release the report. Hiring an out of town law firm is not needed. This is a judgment issue and we elect people to make judgments.
By the way...whatever happened to that mayoral race that was so close....Did the winner get announced and I missed it ?

Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg council close to decision, far from consensus on attorney hire

WDT: In-Fill Project Finally Sells...But Its a Boost for the Neighborhood

One of the projects I have always liked and supported is in-fill housing....When there is a vacant lot due to whatever reason its like a missing tooth...You notice it. The collaborative project on Ten Eyck Street was a chance for Neighbors of Watertown, DANC and the City's local development agency to work together and builds on another in-fill project a few years back on Michigan Avenue.
There was a small deficit between the cost of building and marketing the home and what it sold for. However, the notion of rebuilding housing stock on vacant lots is good for neighborhoods.
Everybody talks about property maintenance issues and the like. In-fill projects like this one or like ones done by Habitat for Humanity are one piece of a larger picture. Look at the nearly completed Habitat home at Cooper and Lynde Street. That was one serious piece of blight for a long time and the rest of the neighborhood is fine.
Building new in an older urban neighborhood sometimes needs a nudge.

Watertown Daily Times Neighbors of Watertown gets purchase offer for Ten Eyck Street home

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Demi Moore....Will She Lose the "Cougar" Moniker ?

When you are a cougar who holds her vows sacred and the hubby 16 years your junior is a hot Hollywood player....well things just don't last...But Demi Moore is single again as her third marriage..this one to Ashton Kutcher is kaput.
She doesn't have to be a cougar...As long as she dates someone less than eight years her junior she is not by definition a "cougar".
Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher Divorcing: Actress Cites 'Vows That I Hold Sacred' TheWrap TV

New Firm Welcomed to City

    I was at the ribbon cutting today for Afgritech...a new British animal feed company that has chosen to locate in Watertown at the former Blue Seal Feed plant on Willow Street.
    It's a nice get for Watertown as the firm invested over $4M in the plant.
    While there I schmoozed...I know that's a bad word to some...but people seem to like a convivial and congenial mayor...I even posed for a prospective publicity shot with News 7s Katie Alexander in case Scotty wants a new anchor team...I was warned by Ashley not to run the photo...which made me want to run it all the more.

Passengers Arriving Wonder "What's the Fuss ?"

       Air Service began with a flurry at Watertown Airport late this afternoon as passengers coming and going on American Eagle to Chicago's O'Hare packed the tiny but nicely remodeled post War (WWII) terminal.
      Local pols and others were a football field away in the hangar cooing to each other over the service....It actually is a job well done. Jefferson County lawmakers and management have enthusiastically embraced running the airport....Originally they felt they were strong-armed into taking the aging Aerodrome by Senator James Wright in exchange for sales tax legislation...Well, that's what did happen, but to their credit, County poobahs, led by Leg. Barry Ormsby and Board Chair Carolyn Fitzpatrick have done a great job.
       I chatted up some people getting on and off the first flight including a man from Texas who came here on a hunting trip and a woman from the Lone Star State who came here to visit her daughter and son in law at Fort Drum....Her path was clear from the copy of the Chicago Sun tucked in her carry-on and the inaugural flight certificate she got as a momento.

Final Votes Being Tallied in City Race

    I spent a couple hours at the Board of Elections today watching the counting of absentee ballots....One for for him....A count of LDs 12 & 13 netted 117 additional votes for me and 113 for Councilman Jeff Smith.  Canvassed totals showed I won LD 12 (the old Fifth Ward) by 781-709. That was a key battleground in the election and I worked it hard.
    Mr. Smith fared better in LD 13 but I held his margin down there.
     The results are still unofficial but the counting of absentees had me up by 176 with about 90 to count.
     The turnout of just over 4000 was on the low side, perhaps because of lack of interest in the race or a feeling things were going pretty well.

More NYC Tax Dollars to be Spend Babysitting Occupiers

Workers of the World unite ? Well, anyone who has spent the past two months lounging in the squalor of Zuccotti Park isn't all that associated with working and now the displaced advocates for the 99% will venture to Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge with veiled threats of violence to advance their agenda......whatever it is.
With billionaire Mayor Bloomberg as their new nemesis, the Occupiers of Wall Street are picking up their tarps and tents and trying to disrupt the one industry that provides much for New York State.
This is European style Marxism on display and their 'tax the rich' mantra could evaporate quickly if as one protestor said, they plan to throw a Molotov cocktail into Macy's.
City prepares for worst at new OWS protest -

WDT Letter: Rooftop highway is legislators’ daydream

I have followed the I-98 issue a bit more closely of late due to my proximity to the debate as one serving on the North Country Regional Economic Council. I think this letter sums it up.
Lapel pins, bumper sticker and pep rallies for a road that will never be built and indeed doesn't seem to exist in any real sense is the stuff of local pols and others seeking the panacea for economic malaise.
Even in St. Lawrence County, there is not universal support for continued lobbying. There is a rival group committed to the more modest but achievable goal of upgrading the Route 11 corridor. There are also many who realize the routing and impact on the environment would be horribly contentious issues even if there was six, eight or whatever number of BILLIONS of dollars to build the eighth wonder of the World.
Endorsing such projects is pro forma for lawmakers. However, not all electeds have reflexively said yes, although the pressure to do so from some quarters in intense. Our City Council has not and privately most involved with the Regional Council say the same.
There is no panacea or silver bullet for real or perceived economic woes, but prudence says focusing on the achievable makes more sense than just donning a lapel pin for your next trip to a chamber dinner or to the labor council meeting.
Watertown Daily Times Rooftop highway is legislators’ daydream

WDT: Salvation Army Thanksgiving Day dinner will occur, thanks to community support

Thankfully , the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner for some 500 people at the Salvation Army will come off as planned due to community support and donations...............
This is a reminder that the Holidays are suddenly upon as and while the nice weather has masked the date, it is a time to remember the needs of those with special challenges in life.
Don't forget to help a friend or neighbor and remember as fun and joyous as the Holidays are, they can also punctuate the challenges of the needy, lonely and otherwise down and out.
Special thanks to the Salvation Army and others who are committed year round to this good work.
Watertown Daily Times Salvation Army Thanksgiving Day dinner will occur, thanks to community support

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Banks Pursue Business With Enthusiasm

      All of a sudden the banking industry is crazy...everybody wants to steal you, especially since HSBC is being sold to who knows who, and everybody thinks they will be homeless and destitute when it happens....
      Lately the WSB crowd has been very friendly and tonight at the Business After Hours, I met Sybil from Key Bank.... Anyway, Sybil and her husband just bought a house in the City'
      So Sybil, who runs the Mill Street branch, found out I was with HSBC and it was like opening a Slim Jim in front of my dog Zeppelin.......
      This is a lot of attention. Banks are anxious for customers these days.

NOTE- Apparently I offended Sybil with this column and it was in no way my intention....She runs a great branch on Mill Street and I urge people to go there and  open an account.

Sarah Palin on Jerry Sandusky, ex-Penn State  assistant coach in child sex abuse scandal: ‘Hang him’  - NY Daily News

When Sarah Palin says pedophile Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky should be hanged (metaphorically) the MSM is quick to come to the defense of who ???? Well the pedophile of course.
Ms. Palin said she would bring the rope......I am sure it will soon become "lynching" imagery and therefore racist....
To me Ms. Palin was expressing the outrage we all feel over the acquiesence the college sports crowd provided the guy who now tells NBC he shouldn't have showered with ten year olds.
You go Sarah !
Sarah Palin on Jerry Sandusky, ex-Penn State assistant coach in child sex abuse scandal: ‘Hang him’ - NY Daily News

WDT: Come Fly WIth Me

I remember the days when Mohawk flew into the Watertown Airport with big planes......That darn Interstate didn't help and the ease of going to Syracuse's Hancock Field left Watertown with a string of carriers and no continuity.
The City of Watertown transferred ownership to the County of Jefferson a few years back and the County has made improvements and the facility is a better place...This week's debut of American Eagle non-stop service to Chicago is the latest attempt to build a market here.
Its not without controversy. The federal "essential air service" program is under fire as government attempting to pick the winners in the marketplace. However, some argue the opposite and the EAS money is there.
Hopefully the service takes off and continued improvements can be made at the facility.
I am looking forward to the kickoff ceremonies Thursday afternoon. Maybe I'll fly out and join Rahm for dinner.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown airport to welcome American Eagle on Thursday

Facebook tracking is under scrutiny –

How much is known about what we all do. What we look at and where we shop on-line. Apparently, Facebook keeps track of sites visited through some means.
Everyone knows what's on the Web is there forever and you watch what you say in emails and social networking sites. However, when is enough enough ?
Facebook tracking is under scrutiny –

WDT: Council Wants Its Initiative Put in Place Pronto

Parks and Recreation was one issue in the recent campaign, but it would have been issue number one if it weren't for the fact both mayoral candidates were long time city lawmakers and neither could leverage the issue to the hilt. Had my opponent been an outside challenger, the events and audit at the department would have been the petard on which I was hoisted.
With holidays coming and a new year of activities ahead, there is a desire to move forward, as articulated this week by Councilwoman Burns. I wouldnt' say its sparring over the hirees, but it is clear the City Council wants the policies it has agreed to to be implemented.
Watertown Daily Times City manager, council spar over park dept. hirees

WDT: Anti Wind Candidates Blow Away Wind Advocates in Cape

The counting of some 400 absentee ballots in the Town of Cape Vincent put the anti-wind crowd in Cape Vincent in the driver's seat and makes it more doubtful wind farms will be built. The absentees are the result of summer home people who have declared the Cape as their primary residence for the purpose of voting.
Watertown Daily Times Cape Vincent anti-windies win

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Wonder No Lawyers Run for Mayor or City Council Like Everywhere Else

One day a week and you make $27,200...Not a bad deal and that's the arrangement for the part time City Judge...
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

North Country Regional Economic Development Council Submits Strategic Plan, Announces Priority Projects

Governor Cuomo's ten regional economic councils are releasing strategic plans this week and the one for the North Country is on the street.....Included are a list of priority projects, many of which were already in various pipelines. The ten regions are competing to have projects funded, but there was also a fair measure of confusion in the first year of the Council, as funding submissions were due prior to announcement of a list of priorties and criteria.
Two projects in the City of Watertown did not make the list of priority projects. That included Fairground Renovations and an application on behalf of NY Air Brake.
There is another meeting of the Regional Council this Friday in Potsdam.
North Country Regional Economic Development Council Submits Strategic Plan, Announces Priority Projects

New York's Biggest One Percenter Clears the Park

Rich man Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $109M of his own money on his last reelection, and that would make him public enemy number one in the eyes of the anti-rich protestors at Occupy Wall Street....
Maybe that's why it took the wealthy Mayor so long to order police to clear occupiers out of the park....
He justified it on the basis of health concerns........But Hizzoner ended up a johnny come lately as officials in other cities acted sooner and New York had to do something fast to save face.
New York Mayor Bloomberg defends clearing of Occupy Wall Street -

Teens using vodka tampons to get drunk - CBS 5 - KPHO

That 21 year old drinking age is really working well....Teens in Florida are soaking feminine hygiene products in vodka before inserting them....Back in the day, you just waited till you were18 and consumed like adults in a social setting......
Teens using vodka tampons to get drunk - CBS 5 - KPHO

Awesome Progress....But Is She Fit To Run Again ?

You can't help but be inspired by the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). She was on ABC last night but while her progress is astounding after a madman shot her in the head at close range, she still has trouble forming complete sentences and may have trouble with performing the duties of a Member of Congress.
Ms. Giffords says she will decide when the time is right and its hard to imagine someone running against her in AZ-8.
In the meantime, we can only marvel at the long odds recovery she is making.
Gabrielle Giffords wants to run again, Mark Kelly says - MJ Lee -

Eating pizza with Herman Cain (skip the veggies) - Election 2012 - The Washington Post

Embattled GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain is being rapped for another less than stellar answer to a foreign policy question...but when it comes to his former forte' ex Godfather's CEO has unequivocal views.
Vegetable pizza toppings are for sissies....Mr. Cain tells GQ he likes the meat toppings piled high. Hate to think of what he thinks of pineapple on a pizza.
Eating pizza with Herman Cain (skip the veggies) - Election 2012 - The Washington Post

Creepy Coach Tells Costas of Showering With Boys....Calls It Locker Room Hijinx

NBC's Bob Costas got the interview and even he was shocked the indicted pedophile coach from Penn State would consent to be interviewed. The admissions are telling and its obvious the Penn State scandal won't be going away soon.
Sandusky Bob Costas interview: Penn State coach denies abuse allegations, admits to showering with boys - NY Daily News

NYPD clears Occupy Wall Street protesters out of Zuccotti Park - NY Daily News

Two months of increasing squalor and some unsavory activity finally prompted Mayor Michael Bloomberg to put an end to the "occupation" of Zuccotti Park in Manhattan. The ad hoc village of protestors against the "one percenters" was dispersed and cleaning crews are scrubbing up the mess.
The occupy Wall Street adventure became a darling of the left and of Democratic leaders and the media. However recently the enclaves have proved to be messy and crime ridden and not so politically popular.
Even traditionally tolerant cities like Portland, OR have broken up the occupations. For Mayor Bloomberg, it was overdue.
NYPD clears Occupy Wall Street protesters out of Zuccotti Park - NY Daily News

WDT: Clayton Hotel Project Seems to Have Some Momentum Behind It

Whether it can thrive and prosper in such a short season and in such a bucolic, but quiet village is not known. However the proposed hotel on the Frink site in downtown Clayton is creating a lot of chatter and it sounds to me like it will be made to happen as its become a project with friends in high places.
The conversion of an empty industrial property in the downtown of this riverside village makes sense, but making this proposal fly would seem to require a lot of public sector lift.
Meanwhile, getting here gets a little easier later this week as the latest incarnation of improved air service comes to the Watertown Airport as American Eagle begins its non stop service to Chicago.
A ribbon cutting on that service is planned for Thursday, I believe.....Meanwhile here in Watertown, some good news as the former Blue Seal Feed buildings on Willow Street are being recommissioned by a new firm in ceremonies Thursday.
It's all activity in the area and a sign there is work being done in and out of government on economic development.
Watertown Daily Times Clayton wants community input on proposed hotel; public meeting set for Saturday

Development Projects to Compete for Money From New York State -

Next Monday is the day the State's ten Regional Development Councils will have to adopt their plan for economic development proposals that are competing in a statewide competition for dollars.
It's supposed to be a radically different way of doling out state grant dollars with an emphasis on leveraging private sector dollars and of course job creation. That's not good news for local governments applying for grants to do this and that. However that's the new paradigm Governor Cuomo has set up.
Four of ten regions will be chosen to receive $40million to fund their priorities, but since the regions are large, there is still a political (with a small P) need to spread money around, and no matter how you slice it, $40M doesn't do a heck of a lot over seven counties (or five boroughs).
There is lots of talk of "mission" and "vision" in these plans and most of the writing is still being done by staffers and bureaucrats. It has been a lot of work for participants and for Regional Council members attending plenary sessions.
The list of funding prorities is a cake that was pretty much already baked, but its been an interesting intellectual pursuit and a chance to encounter people and ideas.
This NY Times piece gives a pretty good overview of the statewide process, which the public doesn't really have much of a feel for.
There is another meeting this Friday in advance of Monday's deadline for plan submissions and the winners will be announced in December.
Despite the long cultivated hopes that dreams and hopes can be made real through getting a "grant", the process really underscores the need in most cases for communities to make their arrangements locally, even though that is more politically difficult than saying "it was paid for with grant dollars".
Development Projects to Compete for Money From New York State -

Monday, November 14, 2011

City Council Like's Roxy's Dog Law....But Wants More Precise Language

     City Council seemed favorably disposed to Councilwoman Burns dog ordinance....But they wanted some more precise language to make sure the ban on pooches doesn't extend too far.
     Roxy's Law would ban dogs at public assembly events on city property and is designed to prevent a repeat of a sad incident this summer in which two year old Indigo Mullin was mauled by a pit bull at the Farmer's Market.
      Council also gave its blessing to a revised fence ordinance......deferred action on Palmer Street and heard the "process" is continuing towards the hiring of a Parks and Recreation Superintendent. Council members made it clear they want the hiring done quickly.
    And finally City Council issued a help wanted ad for those interested in being part time City Judge.....The election of current part time judge Eugene Renzi to full time creates the opening.
     Those interested are asked to submit a letter of interest to my office.

Red Ink=Tax the Rich

Mid year figures put the state budget in the red and that means lawmakers are more likely than not going to look at tax the rich schemes as the solution.
Governor Cuomo is threatening to call the Legislature back into session to deal with the shortfall.
The so called "millionaires tax" expires the end of the year and there is significant pressure to extend it.
DOB: Deficit Now At Least $3B

Astafan, Rarick Hold On With Absentees Counted.

     Democrats have unofficially won  a second seat on the 15 member Jefferson County Legislature.
     Michael Astafan won a four vote victory over Jonathan Hirschey in District 6 (Carthage).
     Absentees counted today upheld the election night lead Mr. Astafan had...although it was reduced from six to four votes. The Democratic seat in District 4 where Allan Drake was reelected without opposition.
     Republicans grabbed a town supervisor seat in Orleans (home of Ted Ford). Kevin Rarick win the seat increasing his margin from one vote to four votes with absentees counted today.
     Technically, absentees can arrive by mail as late as tomorrow, but its not expected any will arrive that late or that it would make a difference.

Absentee Count Begins Today

    The counting of absentee ballots began this AM on the fourth floor of the county building. First up is County Legislative District 6 in Carthage where Democrat Michael Astafan was clinging to a single digit lead on election night with about 40 or so absentees in the balance.
      A one vote race for Orleans Supervisor is also of interest.
      The Mayor's race in Watertown has 322 absentee ballots and I have a margin on Election Day of 172 votes. That means if all 322 were deemed valid and if all voted in that race, 77% would have to go to my opponent to change the result.
       That's why the Channel 7 Decision Desk called the race Tuesday night.
        Election officials say final tallies will not be available till next week. Remeber the old days when district by district results were in the paper by two days after the election. Now everything is under wraps for two weeks. Progress ?

WDT: Elections Over, Back to Work

Its back to business for City Council after an election that changed nothing in terms of the people on the body....At a work session tonight, lawmakers will look at draft ordinances on dogs and fences. Council needs to clean up several pending issues before year's end and that job starts tonight at 7.
Most matters before Council continued to be discussed and acted on during the campaign, but now no one has to be as careful what they say lest it become an issue.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown City Council get draft legislation on banning dogs at public events

WDT: Maple City Madness Continues After the Election

Truth be known, with the election over, it doesn't matter much what's in that report on Ogdensburg's Knox Street home. Both candidates in the undecided mayor's race have already gone on record as wanting the city manager gone and so have most Council members.
The continued arguing over whether to release the report is ill-advised. It should be released and the Council should give up on thinking they can get rid of Manager Art Sciorra without paying the severance in his employment contract. Hiring outside counsel to try and fire him for "cause" will cost almost as much as the severance and result in a long dispute.
It would be hard to imagine Mr. Sciorra remaining, considering the public utterances made by all. So the Maple City's best bet is to pay him off, release the report and move on.
Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg council to discuss publicizing report Monday

Court Notebook: Was it ballot placement, money or geography that led to Supreme Court race results? |

There are a lot of reasons one candidate or another wins a given race. In the Supreme Court races, it was such abstract issues like placement on the ballot and how many lines on the ballot that played a part.
Obviously money helps. Advertising on television is huge. Geographic loyalties help and hurt. Ethnic loyalties matter. If you don't know anybody or what they are running for but like being Irish, that might make you like a McClusky.
And there is the taboo topic the Post Standard doesn't address but the male judge candidates all talk about. A female candidate, especially an attractive female candidate like Erin Gall, gets a lot of votes for just that. Give the woman candidate a break and by the way, did you see her walk that parade in Lowville in heels ? (the guy candidates privately lamented that fact)
Of the four candidates who won, I had met three of them. the fourth winner, Patrick McRae was unknown in Watertown and to the best of my knowledge never came here.
Lowville's Mike Young did pretty well in all six counties, when when you add all the totals came up a close fifth place, out of the money.
Even though those ads that tell you a candidate is "well qualified" are a little phony. Each candidate gets their home county bar association to say that, but nobody knows the criteria or what it means.
Each judge will be paid about $175K plus benefits for 14 years and they get to hire a friend as law clerk for six figures. What one judge won on November 8th is worth more annually than the  money spent on all 15 members of the Jefferson County Legislature and our City Council combined.
In the end, most of us just voted for either party or for someone we knew or liked....Maybe we just thought their teenage daughters were charming talking about dad's nine oclock curfew.
We'll never know for sure what the motivators were, but congratulations to the winners. Enjoy you 14 years, and we'll see you again in 2025.
Court Notebook: Was it ballot placement, money or geography that led to Supreme Court race results?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cops clear 'Occupy Portland' camps, hours after protesters claim victory in standoff -

Occupy movements are being cracked down on...In Oakland and in Albany where 24 were arrested this weekend as they howled about Governor Cuomo siding with Wall Street.
Cops clear 'Occupy Portland' camps, hours after protesters claim victory in standoff -

Monti named to head new Italy government | Reuters

Italian President Silvio Berlusconi is finally out of power just in time for someone else to figure out Italy's fiscal crisis. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Monti named to head new Italy government Reuters

Cape Vote Covers a Wide Area

    Just a little perspective in absentee voting from Cape Vincent....I was told last night there are some 400 to be counted there, compared to about 320 for the entire City of Watertown.
Of course we don't have precincts in Rochester and Buffalo.
     That counting will happen this week and is expected to amplify Tuesday's win by anti-wind forces.

Mayor Graham Defines Focus for Next Term | WWNY TV 7

There are many things that need to be done over the next four years and what happens will depend on many factors, but when TV 7 ask me this weekend for my priorities, the answer was clear. Complete the hirings of new management at Parks and Recreation so that stakeholders and users of the Fairgrounds have a point of contact to work with on events for 2012.
Its not the mechanics of the department I worry about. The fields, the ice, the pools...they all operate properly and current staff can handle that. Its oversight, accountability, customer relations and marketing we need to be concerned with. That is why I have advocated for the hiring of someone who can handle people, money and programs.
Other short term priorities include a decision on the Aviary renovation, and what to do with a recently inherited building on Court Street. I was able to make key appointments to the Planning Board before the election, but now have to consider filling a pending vacancy on the Library Board.
It's back to work as usual this week with a Council work session on Monday to discuss among other things, a law on dogs at public events and changes to the city fence ordinance.
On Friday, there is another Regional Council meeting in Potsdam, and Thursday I will chair a monthly Watertown Trust meeting.
It will be nice to be able to do all these things without the burdens of a campaign...It was fun, but I'm glad its over.
Mayor Graham Defines Focus for Next Term WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Mayor's Ball Benefits College on 50th Anniversary

      Jefferson Community College celebrated its 50th anniversary last night at the annual Mayor's Ball which benefits the college and other charities.
       A good crowd was on hand for the festivities which were supported by a healthy turnout from the Fort Drum community.
       Two bands,  Atlas and Fred & the Eds,  entertained the revelers.
        I got there early and greeted as many people as I could. I sampled some of the food which was excellent.
        I am sure the hard core revelers kept going till the wee hours.