Saturday, January 7, 2012

Santorum Slams Obama 'Hubris' and 'Snobbery'

He got where he is in the campaign by being a social conservative, but now that he may be the sole impediment to a Mitt Romney nomination, Rick Santorum is stressing economic populism and a rethinking of America's industrial policy.
Mr. Santorum is a former two term Senator from Pennsylvania who comes from the ravaged industrial heartland of Western PA. He is able to relate to hardscrabble, blue collar sentiments, and he has taken to lambasting the "hubris" and "snobbery" of the current President.
It's hard to imagine him winning the nomination with so much of the party poobahs in the Romney camp. He does have some interesting themes on jobs that could gain traction enough to be considered for a VP nomination.
Santorum Slams Obama 'Hubris' and 'Snobbery' - Matthew Cooper -


   I understand people like to comment anonymously....I understand why....and if it's somewhat resonable and based on accepted fact, I let them go through. Even the ones somewhat critical of me or the City....within reason..
   But I just deleted a comment about a NNY chief elected official that states the person has stolen from the public for years and now runs with a 17 year old.
   Our standards and practices folks say that's over the line. So, if you want to be that far out there, let's have a name and some documentation.

WWNY TV 7:What's Going On In Gouverneur?

Gouverneur is the new Ogdensburg when it comes to turmoil....The former mayor who was hired as a part time administrator because the new mayor is a felon who can't sign checks....well she up and quit.
Mayor Chris Miller is reportedly looking for someone else to help out. If it's just signing some checks a couple hours a week, I've got a clean record, no convictions and a good credit score...I sign checks now for a public agency, so for the $500 a week you were paying the former mayor, it would be worth the drive up once or twice a week.
Actually, hiring former Mayor Dorothy Vorce was never a good idea as she was the one defeated by Mayor Miller...One presumes if a candidate with a politically sketchy past defeats an incumbent mayor, there is some level of dissatisfaction with that mayor. Mayor Vorce should have left the stage at least until the next election. Elections have consequences, or at least they should.
Because Gouverneur is not a media hub, the saga there gets little notice in the MSM, but I am sure all of this is the talk of the coffee crowd at Jumbo's and the Genesee afficionados at Ninah's.
Feedback: What's Going On In Gouverneur? WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Virginia lawmakers could remove public notices from newspapers - Chatham Star Tribune: News

One of those steady income streams for "papers of record" are official or legal notices.....Governments have to place them to make sure the public is informed of all sorts of things from auctions of public assets, to election results, to litigation, to tax forclosures, and solicitations for bids......
The old premise is that this was the central spot to disseminate this information.
Along came the Internet and an unraveling of the publishing industry as we knew it and there are calls to allow local governments to be able to post their announcements on municipal websites.
It's usually a taboo subject as traditionally its bad politics to incur the wrath of the local publisher by attacking his income.
Newspapers make a different case for keeping it as it is.....They say the "net" approach would force consumers to search cumbersome and hard to navigate government websites and they say the public wants this information in the papers.
This is not an expense line item readily visible to taxpayers and I doubt the press is going to point it out. Therefore since there is no public clamor, and the downside is annoying the media....My educated guess is things stay as they are.
Virginia lawmakers could remove public notices from newspapers - Chatham Star Tribune: News

LATFOR Makes It Official: We’re Going To 63 (Updated)

We are going to get an additional State Senator as redistricting moves along. The addition would create an odd number of Senators but that's not the real reason. After all, we 150 Members of Assembly, so ties are possible.
The reason is by crafty drawing of lines an extra district can be squeezed into traditional GOP areas so the party can keep its slim majority in a normally Democratic state.
Many speculate Governor Cuomo wants the GOP Senate to help advance his own agenda.
In New York, Senators are basicly just like Assembly members only the districts are bigger. Just over 300,000 in a Senate district and about 120,000 in an Assembly district.
New proposed boundaries are to be out soon and that is the talk of Albany right now.
LATFOR Makes It Official: We’re Going To 63 (Updated)

George’s diner shut down after owner tried to record visit from city health inspector -

These day if you get a traffic stop it can be videotaped and sold by the government to a reality show....but don't try that yourself when dealing with government enforcers.
A NYC diner owner who had scored an "A" on health inspections five months ago was shut down this weekend after the owner used his I-phone to videotape an inspector he thought was being a ....well...being overzealous.
The result was a slew of violations and a shutdown over the weekend that put a dozen people out of work. For some reason, we are all subject to taping but government agents are not.
George’s diner shut down after owner tried to record visit from city health inspector -

Sunoco customers offered refills on beer - NewsChannel 9 WSYR

Beer on tap at gas station/convenience stores ? That's a new marketing technique at some Sunoco stations as so called "craft" beers are sold in a reusable sealed container called a growler. It's no different than a six pack or quart bottles, but anti alcohol activists say it makes alcohol too easy to consumer....So do pull tabs and twist off tops, I suppose.
I'm not sure it's worth the hassle of keeping draft beers for the amount you would sell, but everybody is looking for an edge in selling the devil's brew.
Sunoco customers offered refills on beer - NewsChannel 9 WSYR

Friday, January 6, 2012

Zep Celebrates With Jager on Sweet 16 !

   Watertown's First Dog celebrated his 16th birthday with friends this evening and savored a bit of his Master's Jagermeister.
    The affable dachshund, who has never bit anyone, bellied up to the bar at Fort Pearl and drank his Jager from a pewter shot glass.
     Zeppelin was born in 1996 and came from the Petco Store in the Salmon Run Mall. He has never had a health issue and eats dry food and the occasional pig ear.
     Experts say age 16 is the equivalent of 80 human years in a dog that size.
      Zeppeling resides on Pearl Street with his girlfriend, Panzy, a calico cat.

FX Leads Car Surge that Puts America Back on Top

Back in the saddle again......My friends and former work mates at FX Caprara are leading a surge in Jefferson County car sales that had December new car registrations at over 400....twice the average of December sales in recent years and nearly three times those of recession ravaged 2008.
Further, since getting the Chrysler/Jeep franchise for Watertown back, US brands of JEEP and Dodge have surged to number one and three in cars and Dodge is topping new truck sales. Another FX brand, Kia, logged second place in new car sales.
Over recent years, foreign brands had been leaving domestic sales in the dust.
The retail auto industry employs hundreds in the county and rebound has been pronounced of late. In particular, the Caprara rebound came after decades of competition. My read is that the consistent, plodding style of the dealership has won in the long run and the Chrysler comeback is downright newsworthy. : Jefferson County Clerk :: New Vehicle Registrations

Fabius-Pompey, LaFayette to share business administrator to save money |

Two adjacent school districts are sharing a senior staff position in a bid to cut costs. The longest march starts with one small step.
Fabius-Pompey, LaFayette to share business administrator to save money

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gillibrand Raising Money in Geneva.....Switzerland That Is

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand represents Geneva, NY....but when she needs big donors for her campaign, it's off to another Geneva....The one in Switzerland.
New York's junior Senator is going overseas to do fundraising for her campaign this year for election to a full six year term in the Senate....It's legal, but it shows how far lawmakers have to go to raise money.
She is virtually assured of reelection as GOP insiders say they don't have a serious challenger........A challenger would be wise to hold a presser in Geneva, NY the day our Senator is the other Geneva.
The Senator should stay home. Her trip only reminds us of how corrupt the system is.
Gillibrand Raising Money Overseas - Shane Goldmacher -

WDT: Mayor appoints first female Watertown City Court Judge

I don't make it a point to call a reporter and compliment him on a story...a lot of times that's viewed as insincere. However I did call the WDT's Craig Fox for the fair article he did on the newly confirmed appointment as part time City Court Judge.
For me, it's not gender, but it's getting back to something I have always felt...People who do not have access to the system need a chance too, if they are willing to step up and make their case in a persuasive manner. While it was my job to make a nomination I did rely greatly on Councilwoman Macaluso who grew up in a family marinated in the law. She helped me make sure the outside the box choice was the right choice.
It's about a desire and ability to do the job. I wasn't friends with any of the lawyers seeking the post. I found my conversations with all of them interesting and informative. They could all do the job. I chose the one I thought would best advance the interests of justice and the court system.
Watertown Daily Times Mayor appoints first female Watertown City Court Judge

First Dog to Turn 80 on Saturday

       While at City Hall today we were talking about Zeppelin's pending 16th birthday....The general feeling is that we are all younger than my dog....
        But how much younger ?
        The old bromide about seven years for each one human year is not valid....Taking into account weight categories, Zep will be the equivalent of 80 on Saturday....
        A one year old dog is the same as a 15 year old human and the ratios change over time.....
        Zep still enjoys pig ears if you are gift shopping.

WDT: County Redistricting to Follow State Standards on Inmates

The State's plan to not count prison inmates for purposes of redistricting will affect our own County Legislature boundaries. That could lead to even more carving up of the only two municipalities that can be split. That would be the City of Watertown and Town of LeRay which have populations in excess of the size of an average district....
The Town of Watertown houses a prison meaning a piece of the City may have to be added to District 11 to keep it the right size. Routinely the Town of LeRay with all its Fort Drum citizens is used to balance off population variations in the districts that border it.
There are 15 seats and by the time you get them all equal in population and protrect incumbents from primaries....well that involves a lot of slicing and dicing on the County's CAD system.
Watertown Daily Times Counties will have to follow suit with prison population change

Announcing a Done Deal ?

Looks like the Governor's fancy convention center in Queens is not such a new idea....The artists renditions are already done and it looks out of this World.......It's still Queens.
State of Politics Blog

North Country Children's Clinic Director Stepping Down

Citing budget cuts and increasing workloads, the director of the North Country Children's Clinic on Arsenal Street is calling it quits. Aileen Martin said the 70 hour weeks are too much and that office staff has to do janitorial work to save money.
I know how she feels . I have to empty trash and mop floors too even though I like the title of entrepreneur.
Budget issues are also a concern. Hopefully the clinic stays afloat as it provides a needed service and is an anchor tenant in downtown.
North Country Children's Clinic Director Stepping Down WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Casino gambling OK, but not in western NY - Senecas - WRGB Channel 6 News

Governor Cuomo's embrace of casino gambling will not provide the private sector hospitality industry a shot at the immense prosperity select Indian sites have seen and there will be pressure to protect existing gaming halls.
A proposed constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling anywhere will not be what it seems because prospects for its passage are not certain and in the end the state will parcel out permission for sin to select high dollar firms.
Indians will demand zones of exclusivity and in the end little will be achieved by the change.
Casino gambling OK, but not in western NY - Senecas - WRGB Channel 6 News

Reaction Muted to Governor's Address

I didn't find time to watch Governor Cuomo's State of the State address, but I have been scanning Newzjunky the last day or so for highlights and haven't really seen where too much was said...This $3.6 billion convention center in Queens doesn't catch my fancy....nor does spending a billion on Buffalo.
There is no real talk of mandate relief or other issues of interest to me. There was a story about increasing the minimum wage again, but no reference to pension reform. There was talk of a commission on education, but what's that going to accomplish ?
The budget is yet to come and that may have more specifics. We will wait and see.
Local Pols Reflect on Governor Cuomo's Address

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Extra Senator ?

       Chatter in Albany is that the Senate will grow to 63 members, an addition of one.
        Back in the 90s there were 61, then one was added in 2002 to aid Republicans in redistricting as it would allow one extra seat to be stuffed into upstate.
       It's that time again and word is it will go up by one again, presumably for the same reason and to prevent the ties that occur with an even number like 62.
       Of course this means more government...

Cuomo Speech to Be Watched With Interest

    Governor Cuomo delivers his second State of the State Address today and his message will start to define the 2012 Legislative session.
     Mr. Cuomo has been lavished with praise for his handling of events last year, but it gets tougher.  We will all be following Mr. Cuomo's remarks today and the budget coming out in the days ahead.
        Pension reform is needed, as is reworking of the big areas of spending like Medicaid and education.
         These are big issues and the expected proposal to allow non-Indian casinos will not solve the problems.

Local Attorney Named Part-Time City Court Judge

The appointment of a part time city judge is not something that comes up very often. It was nine years ago, Mayor Joe Butler chose from half a dozen city lawyers and nominated 33 year old Eugene Renzi to the post. Now with Judge Renzi elected as the full time judge, the job fell to me to nominate a new judge.
My approach was to talk to many who use City Court and listen carefully to determine the duties of the job and the qualities needed to succeed.
I chose not to run the applicants through a public "pageant" and spent considerable time on discussions with a range of people, as well as the candidates.
The appointment of Catherine Palermo will provide an efficient and fair judge to help Judge Renzi handle the heavy case load in the Court.
I thank those who participated and helped me, especially Councilwoman Macaluso, who grew up in a lawyer's household and offered me counsel and perspective on the appointment. I also thank those interested in the post, as all were sincere in their interest and knowledgeable on the law and the courts.
Local Attorney Named Part-Time City Court Judge

WDT: Sciorra Hearing a Rough Way to Start the New Year

What will this hearing accomplish ? The Maple City's sort-of fired city manager will get a public hearing on the personnel charges leveled against him in the effort to fire him for cause. Manager Art Sciorra has to play the scenario out in a bid to be paid severance.
The charges of willful neglect are tough to prove in a scenario like the Knox Street home which played out over a couple years.
For the new City Council, this is an ugly process right off the bat.
Watertown Daily Times Embattled Ogdensburg city manager given public hearing

Mitt Wins by a Hair...Santorum Soars and Declares "Game On"

With Texas Governor Rick Perry headed back to the Lone Star State to rethink his campaign and Rep. Michelle Bachmann too far gone to recover, the field is winnowed and Iowa caucus co-winner Rick Santorum has an opening.
An opening to stay in the race a little longer as the former PA senator becomes the rival to Mitt Romney.
The final margin was 30,015 to 30,007 in favor of Governor Romney.
News from The Associated Press

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dog Law Moves Forward....And Other Council Action

           City Council has agreed to move ahead with a limited ban on dogs at public assembly events. Lawmakers ask an ordinance be formally drawn for the next meeting.
            A child mauled by a dog last summer at the Farmer's Market prompted the discussions.
            The Watertown City Council voted 3-2 in favor of my nomination for part time City Court Judge. Attorney Catherine Palermo gets the six year term as backup for newly minted judge Eugene Renzi.
            Over the past six weeks, I have reviewed applicants for the post and conducted numerous interviews before reaching a decision on a nomination.
                Council also abandoned plans to rehab Palmer Street Extension.

WDT: Cone of Silence to Be Lifted in Maple City ?

Incoming Councilman William D. Hosmer said. “Our discussions about policy can’t take place behind closed doors and in executive sessions.”
So reads the most important line in this story.
Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg councilors want to restore public’s trust

WDT: Council to Take Up a Couple of Leftover Issues at FIrst Meeting

Move along....
That's my message tonght as I am asking City Council to decide on a couple of lingering issues from 2011. One is the dog ban at public assemblies. The other is whether to acquire and fix a section of what is commonly called Palmer Street extension.
With a new year and a new enthusiasm, we have to keep issues moving and leave our monthly work sesssions available for more discussion on bigger issues.
At Sunday's ceremonies I heard Council members anxious to work together.
As for he holidays, it's good to have them over and get everybody back to work.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown City Council to discuss proposed dog ban

Monday, January 2, 2012

Schumer and Snooki Make the Worst Dressed List

Political Fashionista and gadfly Roger Stone has named Senator Chuck Schumer and cable gal Snooki as among the worst dressed of 2011...Mr. Stone...a flashy dresser himself.....says Mr Schumer takes New York's fashion industry down to the level of hand me downs from the Salvation Army with his wrinkled suits.
Roger Stone: The Stone Zone

WDT: I Don't Fight Fires....So You Don't Sell the Devil's Brew

Everybody sees the alcohol business as a quick buck and wants to dip into the biz' when they see a thirsty crowd....But as long as it's a business regulated and taxed as sin, I don't want governments or others masquerading as doing it for the children selling the Devil's brew....I know, it's self serving and duplicitous, but its the way I feel.
Fire Departments don't need bars like the one in Massena...I love our own smoke eaters and like having them there....but my deal is , I won't run into burning buildings, and they don't run bars when there are real ones nearby they could frequent.
Fair enough ?   They could visit the nearby Hotel Nadeau bar managed by Mayor Hidy and co-owned by the Town Supervisor.
Watertown Daily Times Massena liability report cites Fire Department bar

Keep ‘em or Dump ‘em - NY Daily News

Respondents to a Daily News survey show NY fans more willing to forgive controversial, foot-loving, coach Rex Ryan than interception-prone quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Have to give credit to the cross town Giants for their division title, but the JETS should not have lost their final three and something needs to change...
I like Ryan, but have lost interest in Sanchez. I like Plaxico, because like Gouverneur, it's good to have felon on the team.
Keep ‘em or Dump ‘em - NY Daily News

the circus: Proposal to Dissolve The Village of Alexandria Bay

When it comes to "streamlining" local governent, all Albany offers is the meat cleaver approach of dissolving villages. I am not convinced all of that is such a good idea as many small villages serve as mini-hubs in rural areas and are run at pretty low cost.
There are some that could go and those adjacent to one another probably offers a chance for consolidation.
However, local government often is quite frugal, and I think folks like the identity and the ability to decide at close range certain issues.
There are lots of things that could be dissolved or all though water and sewer districts.
Offering village dissolution as the sole method of change is a failure of Albany to lead on the issue.
the circus: Proposal to Dissolve The Village of Alexandria Bay

And The Consolation Prize is a Boatload of $$$

        Talk about marital assets...most guys would say pop star Katy Perry has them, but her hubby of just 14 months, actor Russell Brand, will reportedly get something he can take to the bank...
       Money and lots of it. Estimates are Brand could access some $30M as he may be entitled to half of what his famous wife earned during their marriage. There are no kids and he is well off too.
      The race to the altar can be expensive.
       Love can be ephermeral, but money can be taken to the bank. It would be tough to maintain a marriage to someone that sought after, so the "B" actor is better off cashing out and enjoying his memories.

Gov. Cuomo to announce state education commission to reform schools- NY Daily News

Governor Cuomo is expected to announce formation of a commission on education reform at his State of the State Address on Wednesday....Maybe he could start with the extraordinary calcification hardening of the arteries in the education hierarchy.
I chatted with a senior school board member yesterday about my suggestion for a land swap to even out the problem of what schools kids attend as new housing is developed in long vacant areas.
Good idea I was told, but just can't do it because of "education law" and the bureaucracy in Albany, as well as the static nature of local educators.
That'll teach anyone trying to be progressive in that system.
I don't know what the Governor has in mind, but there is no more calcified, top heavy and seemingly illogical structure than the education system, which is charged with the important job of educating kids and in the process spending a lot of money.
Mr. Cuomo will find his first year accomplishments are a day in the park compared to changing education and achieving pension reform.
Gov. Cuomo to announce state education commission to reform schools: sources - NY Daily News

January 2 and We Await the First Big One...Or at Least "Significant Accumulation"

   In the old days, its would just snow and we would deal with it....Now the forecasters get to whip us up and the water cooler chatter has people musing about the latest "Storm of the Century."  
    One thing is for sure this year is we haven't had to go through the ritual of firing up the snowblower and getting dressed for the elements.
     Once you do it a couple of times, we will all be back in the swing of things. Just remember to be careful on the roads.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Let's Drive Shootie Crazy ! A Little Tebowing at Pearl and Water ?

    With Watertown's most rabid Steeler's fan sure to be tuned in next Saturday to the Pittsburgh/Denver wild card playoff game, some "Tebowing" may be in order. Those who want to say a prayer can grab some sidewalk in front of Shooties Tavern on Pearl Street, where owner Steve Romig hosts Steelers fans every week and especially in the playoffs.
     While the Broncos 8-8 record and lackluster performance to end the season doesn't bode well for their prospects, the power or prayer may be all that could defeat the Steel Curtain.

City Ceremonies Available to All on Internet

Today's ceremonies at the Flower Memorial Library were recorded by Steve Weed Productions so all in the City can view the remarks by those sworn in today. It's an opportunity to hear from your officials without the filter. Take the time.
Steve Weed Productions - Live Media - Sports - Local Government

Inaugural Vignettes

    -My inaugural speech had a frightening moment when one onlooker collapsed on the marble floor of the Library Rotunda...Fortunately it was a case of spectator fatigue perhaps due to heat in the room or locked knees, a phenomenon familiar to anyway in formation.
    Anyway,  I think it was an inspiring speech and am glad the young lady was OK...Fortunately there were lots of helpers including Councilman and Mrs. Smith who are both physcian's assistants.
   -There was a nice reception afterwards at Pete's and many people attended. The buzz was the engagement of Matt Doheny.
   -City staff did a nice job staging the post ceremony refreshments and congrats too go to Elliott Nelson, the assistant to the city manager. Elliott also got engaged this past week.
     -The MSM kept asking me my plans for 2015. Can't I have a few minutes to savor the moment ? Besides I thought I made myself clear enough in the text of the speech......
     -Monsignor Robert McCarthy did his usual stellar job with the invocation...The fifth time he offered remarks at my inaugural.
     -The JETS lost to Miami....Gang Green is Done for the Year....

Exclusive: Matt to Marry Mary

   Watertown businessman and Congressional hopeful Matt Doheny has decided to end his bachelor days with a New Years Eve proposal to his beautiful and charming beau, Mary Reidy.
     The announcement came to me via a text message and was accompanied by a visit to a downtown jewelry store.
      Matt's fiance is a lawyer working in NYC.
     Mr. Doheny is challenging Rep. Bill Owens in the race this year for Congress.
      We approve of Matt's choice.

Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham's Inauguration Remarks

A large crowd packed the Flower Memorial Library Sunday at Noon as the City. Mayor, Council members, judge and clerk were sworn in.
My remarks are attached, but all members sworn in spoke of the comity and cooperation in the past session that led to decreases in taxes and debt.
Tomorrow the last of the swearing occurs as Supreme Court Justice Jim McClusky is sworn in at the State Office Building.
Thank you to those who attended.
Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham's Inauguration Remarks

When the Same Old Becomes New Again

     Today's swearing in ceremonies at the Flower Library are just that, ceremonies. Terms of office actually began twelve hours earlier at midnight. All the winning candidates actually took the oath when they signed the oath of office book in the clerk's office last month.
     However, ceremonies are lines of demarcation as well as ways for friends and families to enjoy the fruits of victory.
     Its a way to put the past where it should be and look ahead, with a little lofty rhetoric designed to inspire and create the tone for accomplishment in months ahead.
     That's why inaugurals are important, as even incumbents should remember they are beginning a new franchise agreement with voters and results are expected.
      Hope to see you all at the Library today at noon.

Maps Will Keep Lawmakers Busy for a While

As much cooing was done over perceived successes of 2011 in Albany, everyone knows there is still much to do on many fronts...from pension reform to medicaid reform to hydrofracking to mandate relief....
The deeper you go in trying to solve the State's chronic woes, the harder it gets as the special interests are more dug in.
Also in 2012, the decennial exercise in incumbent preservation must occur...It's called redistricting and it will dominate the attention of lawmakers and then all 211 legislators are up for election.
Granted, most of them are in safe seats, but no one takes an election for granted.
Here in NNY, our two senators and two assembly members look safe, but its not so much the prospect of an opponent, but the prospect for ending up in the same district that's a slight worry. I don't see it happening, but the whole process will take up much of Albany's energy in the month's to come.
We have redistricting locally at the county legislature level, but no one seems to take much interest in the process. This year there will be three districts wholly contained in the Town of LeRay, but drawing them in a way to protect the incumbents while keeping adjacent districts equal in population will require skills not taught in school.
Plenty to do in Albany in 2012 Democrat and Chronicle