Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012 !

     A member of the MSM asked me today my resolutions for the coming year....Gee, I was kind of stumped....I'd been busy trying to be uplifting and optimistic in my speech, I forgot all about the most common of cliches of the season....New Year's resolutions....
      Let me think about this.....
      With the holidays over I want to bear down on the diet front and lose that last ten I didn't get off before the election.
      I want to focus on making Fort Pearl....or The Pearl for short....more successful....All that campaign stuff is a distraction.
      Without sounding lazy, I want to be less frantic this coming year and enjoy things and people more...
      That's probably enough for the non-city side of life....
       Of course resolutions in city government are things we vote on every week....So we'll have plenty of those without me adding to them.
       As the hours of 2011 wane, it was a fun and challenging year that ended just fine...I did meet a pack of new friends and reconnected with old friends...Despite the travails, it went pretty well.
     I hope yours went well too and that 2012 is all you could hope for....

In Albany.....They Count Down to New Tax Code

Governor Cuomo has a countdown clock on his website to herald new tax rates in NYS....They are sort of lower because the temporary surcharge on the rich was reinstated but at a lower rate....
Mr. Cuomo was able to settle the tax issue was was becoming a problem for him as the Legislature was talking itself into a soak the rich mood, so the Cuomo plan does a little of that and throws a bone to the little people too.
NCPR News - Cuomo sets up "countdown clock" for new tax changes

The Journal | New Councilors Take Office Sunday

In the Maple City, three new City Council members take office and Mayor Bill Nelson is sworn in to start a fourth term. The Mayor will also take over as President of the NY Conference of Mayors, the primary lobbying arm for the states cities and villages.
Ogdensburg officials say they hope to move beyond the headlines of 2011 which swirled around a house on Knox Street and former city manager Art Sciorra.
The Journal New Councilors Take Office Sunday

WDT: Sunday Ceremonies Open to Public

Tomorrow's swearing in of Eugene Renzi as City Judge formalizes an interesting phenomenon as his brother David also became Town of Watertown justice. Actually Eugene is already a judge, as he has been the part time city judge for nine years, but was elected to the full time post last month.
The part time post must be filled by mayoral appointment with the advice and consent of City Council.
It's not unusual for members of one family to pursue a common career and in the Renzi family, it's the law.
The other swearing in of note on Sunday is that of Anne Saunders, who becomes the new City Clerk on January 1st. Ms. Saunders was hired by City Council in August as a deputy clerk so she could work for retiring clerk Donna Dutton in advance to taking over stewardship of the City Seal and records.
The swearing in ceremonies are Sunday at noon at the Flower Memorial Library and the public is invited.
Watertown Daily Times Eugene and David Renzi: Watertown’s brother judges

Canadian shoppers, drawn by the variety and prices of products, flock to Syracuse to shop, dine, stay -- and fly |

The incursion by Canadian shoppers is being noticed in Central NY as well with lots of Loonies being spent at the Carousel Mall and the outlet stores in nearby Waterloo, NY.
The phenomenon has long been noticed in Watertown, but apparently bargain hunters are willing to drive even longer distances for lower prices and selection.
Favorable exchange rates and the belief that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence has long fueled the shopping and in a more sparsely populated area like NNY, the additional revenues are more easily noticed.
Canadian shoppers, drawn by the variety and prices of products, flock to Syracuse to shop, dine, stay -- and fly

Friday, December 30, 2011

OD: Two Judges Take Oath in Oneida County

The MSM take on the Gall swearing in....and earlier in the day another Oneida County resident was sworn in as a justice..Patrick MacRae also won a seat and did so by only spending a couple of grand and never visiting most parts of the Fifth Judicial District. Good ballot position and the endorsement of the fringe "Conservative" party helped Mr. MacRae.
Seems the O-D missed the high heels angle, although it was pointed out by speakers at the event and not me.
Gall sworn in as state Supreme Court justice - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York

With Liberty and Justice for Gall

     The male candidates grumbled during the campaign, but in the end Justice Erin Gall got the last laugh over the attention she got wearing heels while walking many parades this past summer.....The wise use of footwear was just one of many reasons this hard working, smart and personable candidate bypassed the hacks and poobahs and won a 14 year term on NYS Supreme Court.
     In a Utica courtroom packed by friends and her Oneida County faithful, Justice Gall thanked everyone and explained her belief that "justice doesn't come easy and sometimes it doesn't come at all." The newly minted judge donned her robe and explained her win is not only a personal victory but a signal of the need for more women to be represented on the mostly male benches in the region. Come to think of it she is right on that one.

Marist Poll: Younger Americans More Likely to Make New Year's Resolutions

A survey shows those under age 45 are far more likely to make New Year's resolutions.....Maybe it's because those with more years have broken so many over the years, they don't want to let themselves down.
Also, it could be the old people are more content with themselves and don't feel the need to change.
In any event, I have no resolutions.
Younger Americans More Likely to Make New Year's Resolution Home of the Marist Poll: Pebbles and Pundits

WDT: Swearing In Ceremonies Slated

For people who win an election a swearing in ceremony is a chance to preen a little and a chance for family and supporters to enjoy success they contributed to. It's also a chance for the public to note the transition or in the case of incumbents, a reaffirmation of support.
This afternoon I will attend ceremonies in Utica for Supreme Court Justice Erin Gall who begins her 14 year term. On Monday I hope to get to Judge Jim McClusky's ceremonies at the Dulles Building.
Our own City of Watertown ceremonies are slated for noon on Sunday at the Flower Memorial Library and there is an informal gathering afterwards at Petes Restaurant.
Watertown Daily Times McClusky to be sworn in as state judge on Monday

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cuomo Catches Shoppers Off Guard in Lake Placid

So the Adirondack media is covering the Governor's visit to a Price Chopper in Lake Placid....I guess that's not real big news, except that he is in a small town acting like one of the folks....People just walking up to Andrew Cuomo in the cheese section or hitting up his partner Sandra Lee for an autograph.
If he were in Alex Bay or Henderson, I don't think the MSM in Watertown would pay attention to them....too shallow and superficial they would say....But when the Governor visits a small town, it is a big deal and I think its great the ADE seeks out his visits in excruciating detail.
Governor spends holiday week here - News, Sports, Jobs, Saranac Lake region — Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Sometimes I Think I am Under Siege

   Sometimes small business is a challenge...In a month where I spent $5K on new restrooms, and a bunch of green on dental work and last week had a bill for refrigeration....all of a sudden its furnace problems....
    Good grief !
    Well, I am going to hunker down and try to have a good New Year's weekend and see if we can get all these things paid for......
    This is the world the big government crowd just doesn't understand....The Middle Class Mike's of the World just think it all happens....and someone else pays for it.....

Cuomo relaxes in the North Country with family - WRGB Channel 6 News

Maybe that's why the North Country Regional Council won all that money...Governor Cuomo likes coming here...This week he is vacationing in Lake Placid with Sandra Lee and his daughters. The media has to rely on spottings in stores as the Governor's schedule is not public, unlike the President who is craving photo ops while relaxing in Hawaii......
Governor Cuomo is sending a better messagel by staying close to home. Maybe he will vacation in Plessis next year.
Cuomo relaxes in the North Country with family - WRGB Channel 6 News

More Laws Take Effect Sunday

   As of Sunday, you can no longer legally possess gall bladder bile from bears in NYS...Why would I want to ?
   That's just one of many new laws taking effect from the tax cap on local governments to the a ban on minors buying "hookah" water pipes.
   You now have to change lanes when you see a tow truck on the side of the road....I figured that out long before Albany.
    There are lots of new laws....dentists now are required to have a defibrillator....You mean I can have  a heart attack getting a filling.....When I had  my root canal this month,  the shock came in writing the check.
    You cannot possibly obey all of what Albany don't worry about it...If the state needs money, they will ask for it......

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chavez: U.S. May Be Behind Leaders’ Cancer - Bloomberg

Talk about dirty tricks....Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez says the US may be behind several cases of cancer among Latin American leaders....
Chavez has been undergoing treatment and this week the leader of Argentian was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Chavez: U.S. May Be Behind Leaders’ Cancer - Bloomberg

Are You Stopping at Fort Pearl on Your Way Out on the Town ?

    Sometimes being fashionable is what some would consider risque.....I saw on a friends Facebook post a dress for New Year's Eve wrapped in a very small package....
    This woman, who is a teacher, voted for me. 

Whole Lotta Swearin' Goin' On

   Judge Merrell was sworn in today in Lowville, kicking off several days of swearing.
On Friday, I am headed to Utica for Judge Erin Gall's swearing in. She was supportive during the campaign last year and I am convinced our appearance at Mo's Diner pushed me over the top.
    I asked when the County Legislators are being sworn in. They had nothing formal planned. That's too bad as we shouldn't devalue our electeds like some in the bureacracy and the media elite would like. These are important occasions when the will of the people is expressed through elections. It's something to celebrate.

Perry: Obama Should Have Held Parade to Honor Iraq Troops

Rick Perry is asking a question others have ask...With the withdrawal from Iraq complete, should there have been parades for the returning troops ?....The Pentagon has said it sends a mixed message since troops are still fighting in nearby Afghanistan. Governor Perry says it political and that Democrats who opposed the Iraq War don't want to celebrate the withdrawal.
Parades sometimes seem to be more for the politicians than the troops....I wonder if after all those tours over there, troops aren't just interested in seeing home and family. They worked hard and deserve a break.....not a show...
There are other ways you can show your by just saying 'thank you.'
Perry: Obama Should Have Held Parade to Honor Iraq Troops - Rebecca Kaplan -

Mitt Romney in striking distance of Iowa win -

With Newt going negative...and Ron Paul getting more scrutiny...and the others by the wayside....It is looking now like Mitt Romney will get an easy path to the Republican nomination for President. The man nobody has warmed to and the Tea Party is suspicious of is on the verge of winning Iowa and New Hampshire and perhaps shutting down the process.
There are no certainties but its looking more and more like its either Mitt or someone else has to step up soon.
Mitt Romney in striking distance of Iowa win - Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns -

Newzjunky: Other Renzi Gets Robes Too

The husband of a former Miss NY is donning the robes of justice in the Town of Watertown. Local attorney and one time Assembly and Senate candidate David Renzi has been appointed to the vacant justice slot in the town. Mr. Renzi is the brother of City Judge-elect Eugene Renzi and the husband of the former Jessica Lynch, a one-time Miss New York State and currently a staffer for Senator Patty Ritchie.
The Renzi's are clearly a family that places education and accomplishment high on their agenda, with many lawyers and doctors in the clan.
David Renzi Named Town of Watertown Justice

WDT: Could My Land Swap Idea Help With Latest Housing Talks ?

This is the housing project on Route 202 where my suggestion for a school district land swap could gain some traction. The land near Sam's Club is in the Watertown School District but the kids living there are physically closer to General Brown schools.....While not a party to the PILOT talks, I had suggested the districts swap land, putting this section in General Brown and then putting the Creekwood/Plaza Drive area in the city district where the housing is within eyesight of schools.
This swap would be good for kids and save the City district from the angst of debating what they may see as a giveaway PILOT to Morgan Development. The last PILOT was passed by the school board 5 to 2.
I heard the suggestion of a land swap was being talked about in some circles.
Watertown Daily Times Talks to begin with Morgan, Albany developer for area housing projects

WDT: Love for Andy Abounds in GOP

Republicans can save a lot of money, time and effort in 2014 as they don't have to even bother nominating a candidate for Governor, now that so many key GOP lawmakers are just about making out with Andy in public.
Lawmakers in Albany like not having to explain gross dysfunction to the folks back home after a seemingly smoother budget session this year. The budget and just about everything else was pushed through by the force of will shown by Governor Andrew Cuomo. What a switch from 30 years ago when Governor Mario Cuomo could get an automatic gush of nasty from the North Country Republican team. I was in the news business and we would always joke about the perfect sound bites about Mario's "tax and spend" policies you could always get in affable tone from Bob Nortz.
Everyone is so "on record" gushing over the new governor it would be hard to imagine anyone standing with a GOP candidate for governor in their home district....Come to think of it, not too many stood with the last GOP candidate....Remember Crazy Carl ?
The Governor is popular and for many good reasons including overall competance and political acumen. That could change, but will there be a serious Republican willing to stand up in 2014 when so few are willing to stand behind him ?
Governor Cuomo needs to get a few things done this year, but with a bit of success he will win a crushing relection in 2014 and be well poised to run for President in 2016.
Is it too early to start taking sides in the Duffy-Schneiderman race for the Democratic nomination in 2018 ?
Watertown Daily Times Legislators reflect on successful 2011 in Albany

Let's Try out Those New Tax Rates

New York has a new millionaire....Tax him.....The $206 million prize in the multi-state MegaMillions lottery is from the Empire State.
$206 million Mega Millions jackpot won in New York

Councilor for the Ages ?

      In his farewell address via Facebook, one term Ogdensburg City Councilman Nick Vaugh tells us he has fought, led, been humbled, retooled, re-staffed, made the Maple City a better place, put the people first, been an outspoken advocate, been a public servant who rebuilt the waterfront, challenged the status quo and lived through a period of progress, innovation and development in a city now without a city manager and by implication still saddled with one time Vaugh friend and mentor Bill Nelson as mayor.
      Mr. Vaugh says he brought hi tech jobs to the 'burg and fostered better relations with the area's colleges. He did so much in fact, he decided to retire at age 24 to take a step back and admire the fruits of his labors.There is no mention of the horror on Knox Street, which is really the take-away event as the Maple City's legislative calendar draws to a close.

Getting Ready for Sunday's Show of Shows

    I was taking a first stab at writing a speech for Sunday's inaugural ceremonies at the Flower Library where I take the oath for a fifth term. People don't come out on New Year's Day to hear you drone on, but they do expect something pithy and precise about where one sees the City headed and how I see us getting there....All that in five to seven minutes, max.
     I ran the first draft by a couple friends with pretty good command of the language as its so easy to fall in love with the written word, especially your own.
      Too corny, too pompous, too biting and edgy, too bland and sullen.  Then there's the spelling and syntax and all that other English teacher stuff.
       I will take my marked up draft and give it a rewrite or two so I can get something worth listening to on paper.
        It's not that these pearls are words for the ages, but if people take the time to come hear what you have to say, you should take the time to put some thought into it.
         By the way, you are all invited to attend the swearing in ceremonies for the clerk, judge, Council members and I this Sunday at noon at the Flower Memorial Library.
        Pete's Restaurant will be opening early at 1PM for those in need of food and drink after the ceremony....Maybe a little football too on the large hi-def TVs at the Breen Avenue eaterie.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Market for Horns Created Here ?

       A friend from Hoard Street just stopped by to say she had bought four air horns at Seaway Sales, and that others had been buying them too as a home made crow hazing solution.
       The horns were first revealed here and operate manually with a plunger and put out quite a shrill noise that store clerks say moves the pesky birds right along.
       Many City residents are frustrated by crows nesting on their house or trees and causing a mess with their droppings.
       Municipal crow hazing takes place in many upstate cities including Watertown with some success, although the only sure cure is spring time.

Green Christmas Not a Predictor of Rest of Winter

Despite all the caveats about how the green Christmas and snowless November and December will haunt us later, there is also a 50-50 chance the rest of the winter will be light. Statistical data over the last hundred years reveals that, and that's rough new for businesses depending on snow and cold.
The mercury (do they still use that ?) will crest in the 40s again today, as Watertown readies for a green New Year's Day as well.
The current story about town is that this is how the Blizzard of '77 season got started. Honestly I can't remember the nuances of that whole winter. Maybe someone wrote it down and can accurately refresh our memory.
Green Christmas has some businesses feeling blue

WDT: Sciorra Opts for Due Process

With no election on the horizon, and three new City Council members coming on board, there is no real reason for the City of Ogdensburg to go through with the theatrics and expense of trying to sustain firing for cause for its six year city manager in a bid to avoid paying six months severance pay.
Council has the right to just say 'we want a different manager and want to move in a different direction.' That simple declaration means under his contract Mr. Sciorra is entitled to the compensation. At age 64, one assumes he would retire anyway and surely from his point of view the severance provides a transition.
In the recent campaign, advocates of his dismissal did not want to be seen spending money to pay him off, but now they are spending money anyway. Given his $99K salary, six months pay with related taxes and benefits would likely amount to about an $80K tab plus a fair amount of hassle. The festivities will also detract and distract from whatever recruitment process will get underway if the Maple City decides to continue with this form of government.
Watertown Daily Times Sciorra requests public hearing in wake of firing

Did Nixon have a gay affair with a Mafia fixer? Forget Watergate. A new book claims America's most corrupt President hid a far more personal scandal... | Mail Online

History cannot get enough when it comes to bashing Richard Nixon....Now a new book explores the shadowy relationship with Bebe Rebozo, who was close to the President and hosted him at his exclusive Key Biscayne home.....Remember it was Nixon who had a White House....a San Clemente White House and a Key Biscayne White House.
Gay and a drunk, with Mafia ties....Makes for a good book, but it's not like the Nixon legacy will suffer by more revelations.
Did Nixon have a gay affair with a Mafia fixer? Forget Watergate. A new book claims America's most corrupt President hid a far more personal scandal... Mail Online

Report: Newt Gringrich’s Divorce Papers Don't Aid the Cause

With the Iowa caucus a week away, Newt Gingrich is finding out what it's like to play "This Is Your Life", presidential style.....Details of his divorces are dripping out and unlike races in NNY, nothing is off limits.
The most spicy revelation this week is that the former Speaker reportedly declared his first wife too old and not pretty enough to be a first lady, an early indication of Mr. Gingrich's ambitions.
Newt has withered in Iowa under the weight of millions of dollars in attack ads and its hard to imagine him clawing back...But with Mitt Romney unable to nail down widespread support, its still an open field.
The Gingrich tale of broken marriages doesn't compare well to the optics of the Obama family vacationing in Hawaii and looking very much the opposite of the Speaker's life.
Of course, not all voters are obsessed with the Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle and may focus on Mr. Gingrich clear grasp of issues and his ability to articulate his views.
Report: Newt Gringrich’s divorce papers contradict his claim wife Jackie wanted split She told judge she didn’t want to dissolve marriage - NY Daily News

Monday, December 26, 2011

Miner-Mahoney Grudge Match Planned

Put my money on the Mayor....Call it institutional bias, but in a contest between Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.....I'm on Steph's side....
YNN reports the two may be squaring off in a celebrity boxing match to benefit youth programs in Central NY.
In the nightclub business, this is called "foxy boxing" when you get two women in the ring....but since its for a good cause, we will overlook the allure of the catfight in the pursuit of the greater good.
The local DA and Syracuse Police Chief may also battle...but they have been warming up lately anyway...
Many Onondaga county towns think the Mayor already KO'd the Executive in last year's sales tax distribution deal...
If this comes off, the Mayors of all 62 cities in the state should make a pledge in support of one of our own......
Local leaders could square off for charity - YNN, Your News Now

Final Mandate Relief Report Quietly Released

The Governor's report on mandate relief was released this week with little fanfare...I read that as 'don't look for much of this to happen.'
One sure dead on arrival is a proposal to allow local governments to post announcements on line instead of having to buy legal notices in newspapers.
Currently, the most mundane of announcements have to bet set in print and it's automatic business for papers. As long as pols feel obliged to visit editorial boards, this plum will not get repealed....Fact is, all mandates have a constituency that will fight their repeal...
Things like the Wick's Law is the darling of contractors and trade unions....They won't let it go.
Mandate relief sounds good in a press release...but in reality, it rarely happens.
FInal Mandate Relief Report

Chinese Instead of Turkey and Stuffing

Talk about the liberal media and the War on Christmas...Liz Benjamin chirps in today's blog that again this year she went to a movie (unspecified what it was) and then dined at a Chinese restaurant on the day Christ was born.
What kind of a Christmas is that even if you are Jewish ? Who wouldn't want to sit around with relatives you don't like....get into an argument or two...drink too much and eat too much and suffer guilt over it....max out your credit cards on gifts of dubious need and value......and decorate your house with an energy busting light show ?
Maybe the ascetic scribe and Capital Tonight host is siding with the Pope Benedict in the belief there is too much "glitter" in Christmas these days.
As for me, I worked on the holiday and did a little blogging but did have some turkey brought in by a thoughtful customer.
Here And Now

Familiar Tones Return to Mullin Street But Just for One Week

     WSYR Radio celebrity and former Watertown radio bad boy Kevin Schenk took a week's vacation from his Syracuse job and is filling in this week doing the news on WTNY-790.  Mr. Schenk is a well known voice in Watertown but ran afoul of the power's that be in the early 90s when he made fun of Canadians and Channel 7 on-air attire, among other things.
      It's good to hear Kevin back on Watertown air waves and I have long felt local media would be enhanced by his return on a full time basis.
      Kevin did an interview with me today about goals for 2012 and about crows, one of the common man issues he loves to focus on.
      Hope I don't get "Schenked".

WDT: College Looks to Keep Building on Success

Jefferson Community College continues to prosper and plans for dorms are afoot seem to be moving along. That could be a help to both students, the college and the local housing market stressed by the demand by Fort Drum and a relatively vibrant local economy.
Over the past year, I have worked on setting up a working relationship with President McCoy and look forward to her efforts to expand the Coffeen Street campus.
Watertown Daily Times Jefferson Community College sets record for fall enrollment

Retailers Brace for Shoppers as Life is Back to Normal After Christmas

Christmas is over and retailers are hoping the day after is a big day ,and the media looking for "optics" that involve little journalism, are out covering shopping on Boxing Day. People using holiday money, gift cards and bargain hunting for sure....Plus shopping is something to do and buying stuff is a bit of a narcotic that's socially acceptable.
For me it's business as usual as I am just now opening the tavern and then headed off to do the HOTLINE on AM-1240. It's a week in which I will work on remarks for Sunday's swearing in ceremonies and meet with people interested in city appointments.
Retailers brace for flood of shoppers as unwanted gifts, after-Christmas sales to spark surge - NY Daily News

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Governor's Journal: Cuomo Runner Up to Wisconsin's Scott Walker

.A Newsletter that claims to be all about governors, all the time has named controversial Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as Governor of the Year.....But New York's Andrew Cuomo gets first runner up in the rankings published this weekend.
Governor Walker is facing a possible recall effort for taking on the public employee unions, but he gets credit for facing his state's fiscal woes. Governor Cuomo made far fewer waves nationally, and did recently enact a tax hike, but still gets good reviews for facing problems forcefully.
It gets tougher for a reformer to keep performing in the second year, once the honeymoon is over...That will likely be the case for both these men.
Top News

Jacobs to Rex: Scrooge you

No Christmas cheer on the field in NJ after the Giants demolished the JETS and virtually ended Gang Green's playoff hopes after two straight years in the AFC Championship game.
The Giant's Brandon Jacobs couldn't be gracious in victory and used the occasion to get in coach Rex Ryan's face. Hey Jacobs...shut up and play the game....It's Christmas, be happy you won and don't have to spend the holiday mourning a season lost.....
We like Rex because he is feisty. In the spirit of the season, we in JETS nation wish the Giants well in their game against the Cowboys next week and in the playoffs after that.
Jacobs to Rex: Scrooge you -

Pope Chides World Over Commericalism at Christmas

Is Christmas too commercial ?
Pope Benedict thinks so and told the World that in his Christmas message. He is by virtue of his position correct as church doctrine says the Pontiff is infallable. Easter is commercialized too, what with all the rabbits and the like...But Christmas trumps everything because it's such an economic engine with such a fuss made over retail sales, Black Fridays, stampedes at the mall and a bunch of other things that have little to do with the birth of anyone in a manger.
There probably is too much consumerism, but Christmas is still a time for people to gather and be nice to one another. Enjoy your day and my wishes for a Merry Christmas
BBC News - Pope Benedict XVI attacks Christmas consumerism at Mass

Former personal assistant sues Lady Gaga for unpaid overtime and damages -

Seems Lady Gaga would have trouble being the HR person in a union shop. A suit by her former personal assistant (body person) claims thousands of hours in unpaid overtime as the diva demanded round the clock attention, fussing and service.
This sour grapes lawsuit should be dismissed on one simple legal premise......She is a "diva". That's what divas do and if you take a job working for a diva, you don't get to be a slacker.
Former personal assistant sues Lady Gaga for unpaid overtime and damages -