Saturday, December 10, 2011

Soires a Plenty as Holiday Nears

   Holiday Parties are in full swing...In fact, Pete's was thinly populated tonight because so many of the faithful were are Rick and Paula Scee's party at their Harrison Street home...
   There was a tremendous spread of food and many local pols....Ralphie was spotted as well.
    The house party phase of the holidays lasts another week or so till folks retreat to the bars for the final run up to Christmas.

Bottom's Up ! Council to Consider Alcohol Policy Monday in Plenty of Time for 2012

   Monday's City Council meeting will feature the follow up visit by former NYS Liquor Authority Director Anthony Casale. A list of questions posed at the last visit have been anwered and Council is being asked to adopt its policy guidelines for sale and use of alcohol on City properties.
     This came after a hodge podge methodology described as a mess by the consultant. Council ask for clarity from Mr. Casale in the area of the who, what , where and why of licensing.
      His recommendations will likely include getting a ballpark license for that facility and individual catering permits for lesser used facilities like the Arena. By using existing licensees who are eligible for a catering permit, a portion of the proceeds can be legally shared with the entity staging the event, like a concert.  Look for a welcome scrapping of the City garnering a percentage of sales in favor of an auctioning of overall concession rights, thus taking the City out of being the beneficiary of the sale of lots of the "devil's brew". 
     Of course, the licensee is responsible for the conduct of the premises and compliance with the State's Byzantine Alcohol Beverage Control Law.
      A list of questions and answers to questions was attached to the agenda for Monday's session.  You can save yourself the keystrokes on the smart ass comments about what happened Thursday, as I won't clear them for publication.   

Governor's Spin Machine

Governor Cuomo not only has his personal political skills to help push his agenda, but he has a multi-million dollar advertising effort put forth by the Committee to Save NY, a pro-Cuomo lobbying and advocacy group.
It sure makes life easier when you can go over the head of the usual gatekeepers that guard the public against spins you don't like.
So far, the Governor and Legislature have successfully protrayed the tax deal as a cut in taxes and watching the commercials wouldn't lead you to think otherwise.
State of Politics Blog

The Journal | City Manager Files Notice Of Claim

I know there can be disagreements and disputes between lawmakers and appointed administrators, but the Maple City's latest twist and turn baffles me. The City Manager has filed a notice of claim against the Mayor and Deputy Mayor alleging defamation among other things.
In this system, I fail to see how governing can even happen when these schisms in Ogdensburg exist.
If the electeds feel so strongly about manager Art Sciorra's performance they have an obligation to end the relationship consistant with the terms of his contract. I just don't see how you can govern with this level of antipathy and apparent contempt. The situation in the Maple City may have gone too far for repair.
The Journal City Manager Files Notice Of Claim

Schneiderman Does Something I Agree With

Good for Eric Schneiderman and shame on a variety of police agencies for their dubious and misleading telephone fundraising campaigns. The Attorney General has gone after a firm that routinely calls businesses and individuals and preys on fears over crime and fears of cops....These shakedowns sound like the cop on the corner calling and often there is the suggestion that giving money aids in law enforcement and that there is an implied favor for those who give.
The fundraisers actually take 80% of the money themselves and the rest does not fund law enforcement, but funds police unions. Unions should be funded from the dues of the members and not an unsuspecting public and these frauds have gone on for years as no one dares speak out against them.
For businesses answering the telephone is now a minefield of various pitches, scams and things to be wary of.
Watertown Daily Times State AG bars company that raised funds for Watertown, Jefferson County police unions

Donald's Debate on Thin Ice

With only two candidates willing to participate, the Donald may have to cancel his December 27 debate with him as the host. That would prevent Mr. Trump from inserting himself in the middle of the GOP Presidential contest.
With only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum willing to debate, it would be very risky for the former Speaker as Mr. Santorum could roll the dice and spend the whole show trying to displace Gingrich as the alternative to Romney candidate.
Former Governor Jon Huntsman, who is not doing well despite his resume, summed it up best when he said he will not kiss Trump's ring or any other part of his anatomy.
Donald Trump looks into canceling GOP debate he's set to host - NY Daily News

Friday, December 9, 2011

Troopers Galore at Pete's

        I am in a security bubble tonight at Pete's as there is a Christmas party for retired Troopers...Many of them were familiar faces to me as I interviewed them in my newsman days.  One of them, a Trooper from Clayton who once lost a car through the ice on the St. Lawrence was an old college era buddy of mine....(we don't say 'old drinking buddy' anymore)
       It's clear the Holiday spirit is in the air and I will head back to Pearl Street a bit later to go to work.....Running into people you dealt with in the past in a different capacity is fun since as you get older the roles change and what was important then isn't now....
      

Hotline: Burns DWI Arrest - YouTube

It was no surprise to me last nights DWI arrest of a sitting member of City Council would be a topic on the HOTLINE today. Many were supportive of Councilwoman Roxanne Burns who obviously got involved in a difficult and troubling situation that while no one was hurt, there are consequences. Other callers were troubled and critical of her actions.
She has to work through this matter. Ms Burns has long been a friend and colleague of mine and if there is anything I can do to offer personal support to help her out, I will.
As for the legal process she is now a part of, that is a matter I am not in control of and as for politics, she has to answer to constituents.
In the meantime, I expect her active participation in Council matters as she was just reelected.
And really, that's all I expect to be saying about it for the time being....
Hotline: Burns DWI Arrest - YouTube

WDT: State Joins Housing Hunt With Dollars...Solution to School Issue Sought (one offered here)

State funding will join the chorus of dollars in support of building housing to address the housing shortage that is vexing Fort Drum families and leaving non-military families scrambling to find and pay for adequate housing.
The housing issue was likely a driver in the State picking NNY as a preferred region for economic development funds under the Governor's Regional Council initiative.
Meanwhile the WDT reports the heat is on the local school district to approve a PILOT deal, with even Rep. Bill Owens urging approval.
I still think my suggestion the city district swap areas it doesn't want to service to an adjacent district with closer schools like General Brown is a good idea that the inside the box crowd hasn't thought of. A land swap could also eliminate the absolutely silly situation of bussing students at Creekwood from the shadow of two elementary schools to schools miles away.
Oh, that's changing boundaries that are sacrosanct ? No it isn't. Those boundaries were arbitrary when drawn and are still today.
Watertown Daily Times DNAC, state give $8.9 million to Fort Drum housing projects

WDT: Another Proposal for Masonic Temple

My feelings on the Masonic Temple haven't changed, and the latest set of ideas for an arts center, while laudible, are a heavy lift when it comes to finances. Also there is an effort at an arts center in the newly renovated Franklin Building nearby, where funding is being sought for a downtown theater for arts films and performances.
Rebuilding a structure like the Temple would require an all-hands-on-deck approach to financing it, to the point of not moving ahead with other initiatives. While I laud Mr. McCarthy for his suggestions, I don't see how it works financially in the current environment. His idea to acquire and mothball the building for now is interesting, and we will have to see if someone is willing to acquire title and fund that effort.
In yesterdays announcement of state economic funding there was several hundred thousand for work converting upstairs over retail to apartments and that may a way to revitalize some buildings on Court Street.
Incrementally, a variety of projects are improving Downtown Watertown.
Watertown Daily Times Henderson artist eyes Watertown Masonic Temple as an arts center

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Michele Bachmann Says no to Trump Moderated Debate

Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have joined the ranks of those rejecting the Donald Trump hosted debate in Iowa on December 27.
Only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have agreed.
Michele Bachmann Says no to Trump Moderated Debate

Christmas Soire in Adams Thrills Radio Crowd

   Another fantastic dinner at the Cafe Mira in Adams tonight at the radio station Christmas party. Jim Leven and Bruce Mittman hosted the soire at what may be the nicest dining spot in the area run by my old friends Lisa Reed and Lori Wells.
    Everyone had a great time and gifts were exchanged....There was no serious debauchery.  I sat at a table with the Curry's, Johnny Spezzano and the owners.
     We are in the heart of the Christmas party season, so be extra careful on the roads and don't take any chances.
      Management said it was a very good year and the crew from the stations in the Maple City also joined us.
  

Patty on the HOTLINE....

   I was pleased to have Senator Patty Ritchie call the HOTLINE today to outline the grants made available to Watertown through the consolidated funding application process and the new Regional Councils.
   Aside from the pleasantries and mutual admiration Ms. Ritchie outlined her rationale for supporting the Governor's tax deal and made her case on live radio.....And she did it well. Despite my taunts, which I feel obligated to do. Still, most of these pols don't do anything live.....Jim Wright never called the HOTLINE, but I get to talk to him now at Pete's so it doesn't matter.
    Through her calls to the show, her Facebook posts and press releases, she is proving to be accessible and someone who relates to all of us.
     That's why I declared her to be my favorite Senator today...but had to amend that to State Senator since I already had told Senator Schumer he was my favorite Senator.

North Country Wins Competition

      The North Country is one of four regions to be awarded extra economic development funds as a result of a three month process in which ten regions prepared competing plans to the Cuomo Administration. The extra $40 M in funding will help spur some 16 projects deemed "transformative" by the North Country Council.
       Awards were made today in Albany, with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo brought in to provide star power for the Governor's new way of doling out money.
       In all some $103 million in projects will get funding in the seven county NNY region.
       Other winners include Long Island, Western NY and Central NY.

And The Winner Is…

If I had known it was such a star studded event, I would have gone.....but it would be a budget buster for my travel account...so I passed....
CNBC's Maria Bartiromo....aka the "money honey" ,....was MC for the awarding of Regional Economic Council honors at the Egg in Albany.
Governor Cuomo's new world order for economic development continues to roll out with lots of hoopla.
I will wait for Liz and company to report on what happens.
UPDATE: Just Got an update from Senator Ritchies office that NNY got quite a few awards of cash...Not as much as Albert Pujols got for signing with the Angels.
And The Winner Is…

The Journal: Report Splits Council Members

Talk about awkward...After all that talk about City Manager Art Sciorra being toast, he is still there and may have survived Knox-gate and the election in which everybody openly called for his head.
City managers often incur the wrath of lawmakers frustrated over mistakes and policies they are not able to influence as much as they would like under a system that limits the powers of the legislators.
In Ogdensburg, the current disdain for the known is tempered with the reality of what to do if Mr. Sciorra is suddenly gone. It's not that the sun won't rise the next morning, it's just that you don't know if you will get what you want out of change and all the work it entails.
In any event, some on the Maple City's Greatest Deliberative Body may want to reduce their frequency of talking to the MSM about Mr. Sciorra, as it doesn't look that good from a distance.
The Journal Report Splits Council Members

Addie...From Outlier to Mainstream in Record Time

   Assemblywoman Addie Russell said from the beginning she wanted the millionaire's tax to continue...That they needed to pay their fair share and support the blubbery system of education and other programs that are popular in her district.
    So Ms. Russell doesn't have to rationalize anything to support the Governor's new tax scheme.
     One thing about NY politics...More often than not, you can adopt the liberal stance and be assured the political center of gravity will come to you, and what was once radical is now mainstream.
      Its the politics of Ted Ford.....That's why I keep an ear cocked towards LaFargeville to know what's really up.

WDT: Flip and a Flop in Record Time for NNY Lawmakers

With only thirty millionaires in the three county region they serve, NNY Republican lawmakers have quickly kicked the well to do to the curb and embraced Governor Cuomo's tax the rich realignment of income tax rates.  Press releases are out trumpeting a middle class tax hike....I get it, but I still appreciate the ironies of politics.
It's brilliant politics by the Governor as the GOP had been so committed to 'no new taxes.' Now the new taxes have been packaged up as middle class tax cuts which sell up here....and a soak the rich component which appeals to the "occupy" crowd.
For Republicans it relieves them of the politically awkward role of defending those 30 millionaires against the rest of us. And it allows lawmakers to say they are saving the schools from Draco.
However, the new tax rates are a $1.9 billion revenue enhancer...aka tax hike....
So this is a flip flop.......Or an epiphany....Take your pick.
Watertown Daily Times North country lawmakers support income tax changes

Free Money Today in Albany

     In ceremonies in the Egg in Albany, Governor Cuomo will announce the awarding of economic development monies to the state's ten Regional Councils.
     Its a process called CFA's, or consolidated funding applications that's in play as the plans developed by the ten councils are judged.
     Four regions will win $40 million prizes to fund what are called "regionally transformative projects."
     Over the past three months the regional plans have been developed by representitives of academia and various agencies and development consortiums.
      

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sound Law Deemed Unsound

    Earlier today I learned the City's noise ordinance took a dive when a judge dismissed charges against an Arsenal Street stereo shop and ruled the law to be too "vague" to be Constitutionally enforceable......
    I have to read the decision for the details, but its not a big surprise to me. I had voted against the law last year, in part over concerns about its enforceability.
    (I learned about the decision about noon today and waited till now to write something after media had picked up a copy of the decision)
 

Guilty of Chicago Politics...Blago Gets 14 Years

The former Illinois governor convicted of trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat was sentenced to 14 years hard time today...I think Blago is symptomatic of the political machine that produced our current President and really became the fall guy for a culture of corruption in the Windy City.
He has suffered enough....and has a young family.
Chicago Tribune: Chicago breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic - chicagotribune.com

Oh, You Mean She's Not a Right to Life Bimbo ?

I was watching Morning Joe today where the political elite and allegedly well informed reside and pontificate....Its even hosted by an ostensibly conservative former GOP Member of Congress....
Yesterday they had Rep. Michele Bachmann as a guest and today they were all chirping about how smart she is and what a nice person she is.....The guy from the Boston even went as far as to apologize for their caricatures of her over the months.
Ms. Bachmann was invited on after the recent slight on the Jimmy Fallon late night show.
I understand the bent of MSNBC, but you would think the political cream who analyze every day wouldn't have to apologize for being so ill informed about a major candidate this late in the process.
It makes me wonder how much else the experts don't know.

Alec Baldwin kicked off American Airlines flight for 'playing iPhone game' | Mail Online

I play Words with Friends a lot too. Not on planes though...just while I am driving. It's not texting, or sexting, so it's OK in NY.
Alec Baldwin kicked off American Airlines flight for 'playing iPhone game' 

Dicker: Cuomo Shrewdly Raises Taxes

Governor Cuomo will likely not suffer politically from his abandonment of "no new taxes."
That's because he bundled it up with cuts to middle class rates and a lessening of the MTA tax which is a big deal downstate. All this allows Senate Republicans to also abandon their pledge and embrace the two billion dollar hike as polls say the public is all about taxing the rich.
We can tax the rich a little more, then give them a PILOT or a low interest loan, so it all equals out anyway.
Dicker calls the Governor's move "political ju jitsu." That's a new cliche among political reporters.
One local scribe used the same phrase about me in the recent campaign, so I guess I am in good company.
Gov. Cuomo leaps political hurdles to boost taxes on the wealthy - NYPOST.com

Top 10 lists for 2011

Back when I was a real reporter, this was the time of year for retrospectives.....top ten story lists....an excuse to use file video (film in my early days) to fill time on holiday newscasts when staffing was short and we were all feeling lazy.
I don't bother much anymore trying to think of the top ten stories of the year. If somebody else wants to, thats fine, I'll be glad to read it.....
Facebook's Top 10 lists for 2011

WDT: School District Gets Wobbly on PILOT

I am not sure I buy into the arguments about the "worst case" scenarios being advanced in discussions about a proposed PILOT agreement for new housing proposed for outer Arsenal Street. School board members are getting cold feet about a possible 296 new students and the purported cost to educate them over the ten year term of the PILOT.
The addition of more students represents growth and vitality in the community. We are currently spending a lot of money to subsidize the building of a new nursing home to accomodate that demographic, and nobody calls the it "worst case" scenario.
There likely won't be that many students but in a district of over 4000 students, surely the marginal costs of say 5% more students is balanced by the benefits of overall growth.
The PILOT as a reward to the already well to do is certainly a valid issue, and in a perfect world I would rather see housing built in proximity to schools as that's the world I grew up in.
Another scenario would be to cede the land in question to the Sackets Harbor or General Brown district.
In any event, I know its a tough issue for the School Board.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown City School District puts brakes on PILOT

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cuomo: New Tax Revenues Needed To Stave Off Devastating Cuts | New York Daily News

You can only fight the spenders for so long and Governor Cuomo had to give in today by cutting the deal to raise taxes as the primary means of closing a new round of deficits.
The hikes are masked in a revamp of the tax code, and it was made sweet as pie by lowering the rate for middle income earners.
New York's working families get a break while we ask the most fortunate among us are asked to pay their fair share....That would be the preferred mantra in Albany this week.
It will be spun in a way to have everyone believing to not raise taxes would so decimate the programs and so punish the children that the previous disdain for taxes can be put aside...
It didn't take long for New York's experiment with conservatism to go up in smoke.
Cuomo: New Tax Revenues Needed To Stave Off Devastating Cuts New York Daily News

WDT: Schumer, Owens Sponsor Bills on Border Tax

While Senator Charles Schumer has introduced legislation to repeal the $5.50 tax on Canadians entering the US by boat or air, the companion bill in the House introduced by Rep. Bill Owens could face obstacles.
House leaders may find it difficult to allow such a measure to come to the floor as passing it would hand the Democrat Owens a ready made issue to run on next year.
The tax is a good issue for Owen's challenger, businessman Matt Doheny.
House Republicans will not likely want to give it up and place a feather in Mr. Owen's cap.
Of course Mr. Owens introduction of the bill may be a means to tee up the GOP as being obsructionists and craven in their partisanship.
And you thought legislation is debated and acted upon based on its merits.
Watertown Daily Times Schumer, Owens introduce border-fee repeal legislation

Free Escorts Follow Free Obits as the Dead on the Short End of Tight Times

We still provide them.
Detroit Ending Free Police Escorts For Funerals « CBS Detroit

Tax Breaks for Housing Debate in Competing Media

I love the irony and the ying and yang of news coverage. The WDT is hectoring (not Lee) the local electeds to get in line behind housing PILOTS, while TV 7 runs a story trumpeting that said housing could cost the children millions of dollars...Who to believe ?
Watertown Schools Could Lose Millions In Tax Deal WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Governor Taxes the Rich and Gives to the Less Rich

Governor Cuomo has reached a deal on a tax the rich plan but masked it in a scheme to reduce income tax rates slightly for middle income earners....The deal is called a "fair" tax code and allows the current "millionaire's tax" to expire and be replaced by a revamped code that includes higher rates for those making over $2million a year...that's not me.
There has been increasing chatter in Albany to soak the rich....or as they say...make them pay their fair share....
Either way, insiders say the deal will net the state an extra two billion dollars a year.
This is what happens when the sausage making of legislating collides with the occupy movement.
New York Legislature reaches deal on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to create a ‘fair’ tax code - NY Daily News

Chamber Taps Coe as Shapiro Winner

   Long time community activist Ben Coe has been named winner of this year's Israel Shapiro Award for citizenship.
     Mr. Coe and his wife Peggy are well known in the Watertown community.  Mr. Coe will be honored February 2 in a Chamber of Commerce dinner at the Ramada Inn.
    Mr. Coe has been a Rotarian for over 40 years and has been active on the boards of the Tug Hill Commission and the Jefferson Rehabilitation Center.
    Ben is a deserving recipient and I congratulate him on the selection.

Displays of faith put Tebow in spotlight – USATODAY.com

This is more media than anything...How many people are really upset over Denver QB Tim Tebow expressing his gratitude to God for his latest good fortunes on the gridiron ?
In media where one network trumpets the "War on Christmas" as something that is really happening, the matter of personal faith becomes something to talk about....there is no prohibition on the mixing of religion and football and displays of faith are part of the diversity in views on religion.
I don't mind the end zone dances the NFL tries to outlaw in order to be sensitive to the feelings of others.....I don't get upset over Tebow....but I am excited over his style of play and the 5-1 record it has produced.
Displays of faith put Tebow in spotlight – USATODAY.com

WDT: Ogdensburg Housing Report Finally Released

Wow, that was a lot of time, effort and money just to come to the conclusion that was obvious weeks ago. The Maple City's city council paid a fancy out of town lawyer money to tell them to release a report on that house on Knox Street.
Meanwhile a local good government group has listed Ogdensburg and Watertown as worthy of note for recent scandals. Ogdensburg for Knox Street and Watertown for the Recreation accounting affair.
The difference is that while mistakes were made in both cases, Watertown immediately got an outside look at the matter and released the results the moment they were available to the press and public.
Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg Releases Housing Report

Apology accepted: Utica and Watertown seem to be back on good terms - YNN, Your News Now

YNN has brought closure to the kerfuffle caused by Johnny Spezzano's intemperate remarks about Utica. The coverage of the rapprochemont between Mayor Roefaro and me was extensive and while it was not a story in Watertown, the perceived slight did make the news in Utica.
Apology accepted: Utica and Watertown seem to be back on good terms - YNN, Your News Now

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Doggie Debate Tonight

    This had to be a killer for the MSM...all set to report on the dog ordinance and then one Councilman ask to table the matter and it will be discussed at the next work session.
    I did provide some fodder with my renewed call for 7 day a week hours at the Library....We hired an extra librarian this year and want to work towards that goal.
     There was some good news as I have a nominee for Library board member and will offer it up at the next meeting.
      Other than that, nothing much happened at the Council meeting. Oh yeah, we passed revisions to the fence ordinance.

Your Vote is Worth a Fin to Me

       It was about $5 a vote....Campaign finance reports filed this week list my side as spending $10,587 on the campaign, less than a quarter of what the new mayor of Ithaca spent....That's a city about the size of ours.
       We raised $9547 and had $1185 carry over from 2007. 
        It was a well done campaign within the resources. Fortunately we never faced the TV onslaught we figured was coming. My opponent did spend ten times what I did at the WDT, for whatever that means.

Roefaro: Apology Accepted

     Utica Mayor David Roefaro called the HOTLINE today and accepted my apology for comments about his city made by radio bad boy Johnny Spezzano.  The Mayor was gracious as he and I talked about the image problems older cities face.
     Utica grew by three thousand souls in the past decade and has many neighborhood renewal efforts afoot. Its home to a top rate hospital, a brewery and many cultural exhibits.
      YNN covered the event so Uticans will know how much we appreciate the pride they have in their town.
      

Occupy Wall Street protester lands a job on Wall Street - NYPOST.com

At least one of the Occupy Wall Street protestors has found the value of halting her rage against the machine. Tracy Postert landed a job in a nearby office on Wall Street and now has the chance to get a little closer to the one-percenters. Let's hope she makes the most of it.
Occupy Wall Street protester lands a job on Wall Street - NYPOST.com

North Country Now: Ritchie Gets High Marks for First Year

I hope people don't think this humble blog is a house organ for Senator Ritchie, but the freshman Senator is getting praise for her first year in office.
I am impressed with the way her staff pumps out pictures and text on what she is up to.....I think people like to know they have a Senator who is there, although that phrase doesn't flow off the lips like a 'mayor who's there.'
Social media, blogs and the like provide the chance for the public to see their electeds in the "grip and grin' settings so often dismissed as fluff by regular media.
Senator Ritchie looks to be out there representing the people, and that's the first and foremost means of judging a politician.
Patty Ritchie’s first year in state Senate high profile NorthCountryNow

Post: Is Andy Getting Watered Down by Albany ?

The adulation of the first year is fading a bit for Governor Cuomo as talk is shifting away from no new taxes, to well maybe the rich can pay if its dressed up as providing middle class cuts.
Columnists and commentators are backing away from the giddy pronouncements of Mr. Cuomo as a new type of Democrat, capable of governing without breaking the bank.
Part of it is the system tends to wear you down and the Governor has a lot of constituencies wanting to spend.
Now there are proposals to use pension funds to pay for infrastructure like the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuilding. That sounds like the kind of creative financing Mr. Cuomo's dad was familiar with.
Gov. Cuomo abandoning his hard stance against tax hikes - NYPOST.com

Facing bankruptcy, US Postal Service plans unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring - The Washington Post

It's being described as a failing business model, and in an effort to save it, the Postal Service is planning to close hundreds of processing centers and thousands of local post offices by next summer.
Letters will take longer for delivery, and its widely thought the cuts will speed the switch to other means of delivery including other carriers and the Internet.
Facing bankruptcy, US Postal Service plans unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring - The Washington Post

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The GOP’s front-runners: Bad and worse - The Washington Post

George Will is sort of a stuffy Republican but he cuts to the bone on the dubious choice now facing GOP voters....Mitt (Tom Dewey) Romney and Newt (Winston Churchill and Maggie Thatcher all in one) Gingrich.
There is something disingenuous about Mr. Gingrich...a career bloviator and self appointed pontificator of the human condition...Then there is the conservative of convenience and chronic flip flopper Mitt Romney, whose father you will recall was brainwashed by the brass in Vietnam.
I think the President needs to be defeated, but I really don't know about these two....I sort of liked Romney till he made those patronizing comments about having a sip of beer as an errant teen. As for Newt, I just can't get over never liking him.
I don't get to vote in any primaries as I didn't re-register for the 2012 cycle. So it doesn't really matter what I think....Other than the President can look ahead with confidence to 2012 while he and the MSM enjoy their 17 day vacation in Hawaii....all on expense account.
The GOP’s front-runners: Bad and worse - The Washington Post

Cuomo Proposes Economic Agenda

More casinos...higher taxes on the wealthy...and a reduction in tax rates for the middle class highlight an expected agenda from Governor Cuomo outlined this weekend in an Op/Ed piece.
While techinically he will allow the "Millionaire's Tax" to expire, the new rates may do much the same thing and by coupling them to a middle class rate reduction, it will be tempting fruit among lawmakers.
As for the casinos, the think that will require an amendment to the State Constitution which would take three years at least to pass two sessions of the Legislature and a referendum....
Cuomo Proposes Economic Agenda

Lib DA Caught With Pants Down

Albany County's ultra liberal DA David Soares is 42 and is doing the wild thing....oops is in a "committed" relationship with a staffer 16 years his junior. Mr. Soares says its not newsworthy and is a personal matter.
Normally a liberal would say this creates a hostile and predatory work environment, but when you are the law, I guess its a different standard, although voters will have the chance to weigh in next year.
Albany DA Admits Intimate Relationship With Jr. Staffer

New State Law Bans Rechargeable Batteries In The Trash | wgrz.com

Who doesn't just throw a battery in the trash and who would think to take a tiny camera or cell phone battery to a special recycling bin? Just how much paperwork will retailers and the battery industry have to indulge the DEC because of a new law that takes effect Monday ?
This law is like hundreds of others passed in Albany. Nobody really knows about them and its virtually impossible to police them. However, some advocacy group felt good getting it passed and signed into law.
Maybe an extra bin at the curb, albeit a tiny one, for batteries.
New State Law Bans Rechargeable Batteries In The Trash wgrz.com

WDT: Clayton Hotel Deemed "Regionally Transformative"....But Also Very Expensive

This looks like a mighty fancy looking hotel for the Clayton waterfront, someone is out there selling the project concept. In its recently released plan the Governor's North Country Economic Council listed this projects as one of a handful of "regionally transformative" projects slated for special funding if the region is awarded monies as a result of the statewide competition between ten regions.
It's clearly a prime piece of real estate in a nice, pleasant village.
I can see why there is wondering about the viability of such a hotel in that market, and I agree with those who say the marketing study should not be secret.
As for getting the $2 million back....Good luck. No new owners want to pay for someone else's mess. However, development of some kind on this property would seem to have value for the village, although the grandiose cobblestone-facade hotel isn't something likely to be open for business too soon.
Watertown Daily Times Clayton must sell Frink site in the “$2 mil range” to recoup the cost of cleanup, officials say

No Bars Open All Night for New Years

     For those who like to party all night on New Year's Eve, you had best find someone's house or your own living room.
     There will be no all night licenses issued this year because New Year's Day is a Sunday and Sunday mornings are off limits for drinking in bars. No permits will be issued as to do so would run headlong into the no drinking before noon in bars rule.
    

The Journal | Prison Lawsuit Thrown Out

It was a long shot anyway...trying to go to a state court to overturn a state decision on where to count prison inmates for the purpose of drawing legislative boundaries.
The lawsuit was tossed this past week, meaning NNY districts just got less populous as inmates will now be tallied in the districts they lived in before they were caught.
AG Eric Schneiderman praised the ruling..No surprise there....When he was a Senator from Manhattan, it was Mr. Schneiderman who championed the counting sleight of hand.
In the Senate where it's 32-30 GOP, any slight shift of body count could flip one or two seats.
The Journal Prison Lawsuit Thrown Out