Saturday, February 18, 2012

Skating, Blogging and Working Highlight a Saturday for Your Mayor

   Today I joined some other local luminaries as judges in a figure skating competition at the Fairgrounds Arena. There was a nice crowd of skaters from across NNY and Canada and I enjoyed the entertainment and hope I did a good job judging.
   Fellow judges included Jeff Cole, Bonnie Fikes from Senator Ritchie's office, and Lauren Peters, a local skating enthusiast who also bears a ressemblance to race car driver Danica Patrick.
   One feature of the Arena that is impressive is the remodeled concession stand. It's brightly lit, clean and takes credit cards.
   After judging, I went over to the Kilt for lunch and WiFi so I could update the North Country's leading political blog. Too early for Pete's and I have to work later anyway.

Taking Credit For Restoring Linsanity

Pols from Governor Cuomo to AG Schneiderman to Senator Ritchie were out with statements Friday on a channel restored to Time Warner cable.....MSG is back on after a deal was reached after a two month hiatus that led hockey and hoop fans reeling. The recent popularity of Knicks player Jeremy Lin had upped the pressure to get the channel back on.
Politicians know televised sports are the opiate of the people. Would they be so attentive if the Food Network or the Eternal Word Network were dropped ? Well, for the Governor the Food Network does have special meaning.
FOR THE RECORD: Senator Ritchie did not take credit for the MSG restoration, but only expressed her pleasure that it happened.
 My read is that in politics, it's OK for the rooster to take credit for the sunrise. It's what we do, but I was asked to clarify this point.
Taking Credit For Restoring Linsanity

Lobo Becomes Member Of Jefferson County Sheriff's Department | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department has a new police dog named Lobo. City Police are also in the process of looking for a new canine officer.
Lobo was introduced yesterday.
Lobo Becomes Member Of Jefferson County Sheriff's Department WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Local News

Friday, February 17, 2012

Alex Bay Hitches Its Star to Brittnee

     With a week and a day left till Alexandria Bay's Polar Bear Dip, it seems our friend Brittnee is the Bay's number one attraction.
      The 22nd annual dip raises money for the River Hospital, but the sleepy village has become star struck after the voluptuous Brittnee Kriner two years ago stole the show.
      While the salacious nature of the event is shunned by the local MSM, it's clear Brittnee has taken the Bay by storm.

WDT: Gay Marriage Advocate Punished for Sins

A Republican Member of Assembly from Clinton County is the first to face the wrath of Mike Long over gay marriage....Janet Duprey voted in favor of the measure and now can't have the coveted and usually perfunctory Conservative line on the ballot.
Big deal.
Nobody cares about the issue anymore...Even in "conservative' NNY where there are many "practicing Catholics" I hear little outrage over the occasional same sex marriage.
At City Hall, where couples inquire about the "do it yourself divorce kit" prior to marriage, we have a more jaded view on the sanctity of marriage.
Mr. Long, who has made sure all his family got patronage jobs from Pataki, needs to know conservatism is more than wanting to deny same sex couples the change to exchange the same often meaningless vows that the "hets" get to exchange.
Watertown Daily Times Duprey is first to take Conservative ballot hit for gay marriage vote

Busy Friday For Yours Truly....Then Tonight I Get to Bartend

   Today I was in code enforcement getting a sign permit for a new sign on the side of Fort Pearl.  Simply lovely people there and I had a great time. Also learned that the Chipotle Restaurant is coming to Watertown. Plans are submitted for the Mexican eaterie to be built next to Five Guys.
    This morning I had a four hour meeting of the Watertown Trust. That's more meeting than I care for.
     I picked up my Council agenda and had a meeting with Councilman Smith. All in all a full day for the Mayor Who's There.
     Oh...I am working tonight if you are thirsty.

"Three strikes and you're off the road" by Capital Region Scene

It's time for legislators to stop with the laws named after people...or laws that take their cue from the game of baseball and claim that 'three strikes and you are out."
Everytime a new law is proposed claiming to solve a problem that is already against the law, I am suspicious.
Everyone in Albany is a Felix Ortiz wannabe....Including the Republicans.
"Three strikes and you're off the road" by Capital Region Scene

MSNBC drops Pat Buchanan

The Left has silenced one of the more affable and informed voices of American politics. For four months MSNBC has had Pat Buchanan on suspension because they didn't like his more recent book....I had wondered what happened to Pat, who I considered one of the more interesting talking heads of our day.
With his ties to the Nixon Administration and his two Presidential runs, Pat was interesting. Now MSNBC has officially fired him. Hopefully he will resurface elsewhere.
MSNBC drops Pat Buchanan - Tim Mak -

Sarah Palin Surprises The Folks At The Five, Greg Gutfeld Quizzes Her About Red Eye | Mediaite

Sarah Palin stopped by the set of the FOX News show, "The Five", and dropped her name again in the event the GOP convention is brokered and unable to nominate a candidate on the first ballot. That's highly unlikely, but the former AK Governor says if it happens, she is available.
I don't see it happening as the system is rigged against the conventions actually picking candidates on the fly. Either Mitt Romney grinds down his remaining opponents and gets the nomination, or Mr. Romney's troubles persist and someone else jumps in.
Brokered conventions are fun for political junkies. That 1924 Democratic Convention that nominated John Davis on the 103rd ballot would have been great TV, if there had been TV......It didn't produce a winner and Cal Coolidge easily won the race for the big prize.
If Rick Santorum defeats Mr. Romney in Michigan in ten days, the race could change.....But for now, its still Romney's to lose as he has the money and organization to keep piling up delegates, even if he loses here and there.
Sarah Palin Surprises The Folks At The Five, Greg Gutfeld Quizzes Her About Red Eye Mediaite

Day In The Life: Friday

        As a first step in his effort to assist City Council in hiring a new city manager, John Krol is conducting interviews with individual Council members to determine what exactly they are looking for in terms of background, attributes and style of leadership.
        I talked with Mr. Krol at length yesterday and shared my outlook, all of which will help in crafting the recruitment effort and come up with a people for lawmakers to interview.
        As for me on this Friday, I am busy with mayor stuff. A morning long meeting at the Watertown Trust will focus on goal setting for the coming year.  Then its off to the office to check up on things.
         I did get that painting I was working on  at the bar finished. It's a sign of obsessive behavior that when you get the idea to redecorate the exterior doors in the middle of winter, you actually go ahead and do it rather than wait for spring. Tarps and space heaters seem to have done the trick along with a break from Mother Nature on the weather.
        The weekend ahead brings a chance for me on Saturday to judge a figure skating competition at the Arena.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gov. Cuomo Announces Agreement on Evaluation Guidelines That Will Make N.Y. State a National Leader on Teacher Accountability

Governor Cuomo and the union representing teachers have a deal on teacher evaluations. They say it will make kids smarter. Time will tell.
Gov. Cuomo Announces Agreement on Evaluation Guidelines That Will Make N.Y. State a National Leader on Teacher Accountability

Hospice Shows New Facility to Public

    An impressive $4.5M dollar Hospice residence was unveiled today at a ribbon cutting at the Gotham Street facility.
    Fundraising chairs Mayor and Mrs. Tom Walker snipped the red ribbon in front of one hundred onlookers that included Senator Ritchie, Assembly Members Russell and B-Bush, County Leg. Chair Fitzpatrick and yours truly.
    The facility will house those in need of end of life care who do not have a suitable home situation. Hospice will still provide at home care and assistance.
     The complex overlooks Dry Hill and is on a scenic parcel of land on the City's edge.

Q Poll Poll Shows Governor's Teacher Plan Lukewarm

By a modest 50-38 % margin New Yorkers trust Governor Cuomo over the teacher's union to look after the interests of pubilc schools....I am not sure what that even means.
It's the union's job to collectively bargain and protect the rights of its members. It's not their job to look out for the system. It is the Governor's and frankly, his numbers on this are not overwhelming.
Meanwhile Mr. Cuomo's deadline looms for agreeing to a teacher evaluation plan acceptable to him....
Q Poll (Take I): NYers Trust Cuomo More Than Teachers Union

Petco sued for cutting dog's ear off, gluing it back (2:29) - The Washington Post

A woman in Hawaii says a groomer at a Petco store cut off her dog's ear and tried to reattach it with glue. Another plaintiff makes the same claim cncerning a snipped tail. Never happens at Best Friends where I take my pooch.
Petco sued for cutting dog's ear off, gluing it back (2:29) - The Washington Post

Is There a Ford in Your Future ? If So, There's a New Store

The local auto retail business certainly has experienced a Renaissance of late with construction of many new buildings. Davidson Auto Group opens a new Ford dealership today on Outer Washington Street. They even have charging stations for electric cars, as those start to creep into the market place.
Many continue to wonder if the market here will ever support another Honda franchise, but frankly the other brands have picked up the slack just fine.
Rumors of a Honda store bubbled up again recently when a Syracuse dealer bought land at the sight of the former Watertown Bowl (oh the memories).
Following the 2008 recession local new car registrations have rebounded to and exceeded pre '08 numbers.
Watertown Daily Times Davidson Ford to open new location

Boeheim Called Too Powerful in 'cuse for a Fair Trial

Lawyers for the former ball boys suing Syracuse Univeristy over the Bernie Fine matter say Coach Jim Boeheim and SU have too much influence in Central NY to find an impartial jury. They want the civil trial moved to Manhattan. I've experienced that route and its more expensive for the defendant to mount a defense that far away and sometimes that's the goal as well.
Because people bow and grovel and fawn when Coach Boeheim enters a restaurant does not mean there are no fair people in Onondaga County. Surely there are 12 people who are not obsessive fans.
Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim has too much influence in home county, say court papers trying to move Bernie Fine case - NY Daily News

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cost of Pigeon Shooter Eclipses Cost of Krol

A pigeon shooter in Copenhagen, NY has cost the Development Authority $13,000...That's 30% more than City Council is spending on a three to six month search for a new City Manager....Just trying to keep things in perspective.
The marksman wannabee apparently hit a fiber optic line, causing DANC Czar Jim Wright great angst.
Watertown Daily Times Pigeon shooter at Copenhagen costs DANC $13,000

Christie Panders on Whitney

The flag is lowered when the Nation is in mourning....not because Whitney Houston died of possible bad lifestyle choices. Governor Christie is wrong on this one as he ordered flags in the State of New Jersey at half mast in honor of its native daughter.
There are local decisions I could at her high school...but there are other ways to remember this tremendous talent than lowering Old Glory.
News from The Associated Press

The New Team Poses in Albany

    Remember the North Country Republican Team ?  Martin, McHugh, Nortz, O'Neil.
Now the team is bipartisan, but they are able to pose together, much to the chagrin of GOP officials who still believe in what few other still do.
    That is blind loyalty to party.
     Recently when I appointed a non-Republican to a judge position, only one party loyalist carped about it.
      People don't care that much anymore as most North Country lawmakers are cut from the same cloth.  Now those downstaters...that's a different story.

Sports Illustrated cover girl Kate Upton dashes hopes of Daily News reporter Rich Schapiro - NY Daily News

A Daily News scribe asked Sport Illustrated cover girl Kate Upton out for drinks. He was denied. Reporter Rich Schapiro should know his station in life. A print reporter is not an NFL quarterback and not entitled to the very hottest.
Secondly, you shouldn't be asking this teen out for "drinks". She is not allowed to have them at age 19, although I am sure she has no problem getting served.
Sports Illustrated cover girl Kate Upton dashes hopes of Daily News reporter Rich Schapiro - NY Daily News

Andy Takes Swipe at Comptroller Over Lengthy Audits

Governor Cuomo is sparring with Comptroller DiNapoli over state audits of contracts the Governor says are time consuming. Meanwhile the Comproller says his agency provides needed checks and balances to local government.
The Governor seems willing to challenge the way things are and that's good. However, you needn't travel far to see many instances where oversight and accountability if needed given the large volume of money transacted in the public sector.
The balance must be found between alacrity and accountability.
NCPR News - Cuomo seeks to take some oversight powers from Comptroller DiNapoli

WDT: Taps Open...When Appropriate and Done Legally

This issue of alcohol on public property is really quite simple. The first question....Is it appropriate to sell booze at the proposed event ? If so, how can it be done legally as defined by New York's Alcohol Beverage Control law ?
The options are that a "not for profit" can receive a one day permit for their event, but the entity receiving the proceeds must be clearing identified on the application. The other way is for the organizer of the event to contract with an already licensed vendor who can get a catering permit from the SLA.
None of this is onerous....None of this picks on concert goers or promoters. It's just the law. Previous arrangements were outside the law. That's not me saying it...That's the former head of the SLA who advised the City on a new policy.
Properly issued licenses to approved entities provide accountability. Whether its selling securities, doing brain surgery, practicing law, doing car inspections, running a day care, selling food....or any of a number of things, licenses are issued and people engage in these enterprises.
This week I sent my $1882 to Albany to renew my license at Fort Pearl. In doing so, I accept a set of rules and am subject to accountability. While selling beer may seem a harmless enterprise, it is regulated for reasons.
This new written policy for public property allows for the sale of the devil's brew, on the limited occasions where it is appropriate. No one is denied the opportunity to request sale of alcohol at their event. It just has to be done legally.
Watertown Daily Times City to set policies for alcohol sales at fairgrounds

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WDT: Albany Says Do It Yourself on War of 1812

If the War of 1812 is important to about those communities funding a recognition ? Why does everything have to revolve around getting state funding ?
"Can we get a grant ?" is said too often in NYS........It it's worth doing, its worth the local electeds appropriating the money.
If Sackets Harbor wants to celebrate the War, that's great. Just do it and don't wait for the free s--- from Albany.
Watertown Daily Times War of 1812 is important -- just not to New York state government

Tuesday in the Big City

    Today I talked to John Krol about getting started on the manager recruitment and he will be conferring with Council Members to get a composite view of what the body is looking for. I appreciate Council's support of my approach on this issue. The next challenge will be an interim manager from April until a final hire.
     As a multi tasker, I also worked on stripping and sanding the two doors at Fort Pearl in advance of getting new graphics. First I have to paint the doors which will involve rigging a shroud with space heaters. That's what happens when you have an  inspiration in mid-winter. Thank goodness we have a couple nice days ahead.
     I also stopped at Codes to consult on a sign permit for an additional sign I am putting up. I have to stay within an aggregate of 75 square feet. No problem.
     Busy night at Pete's as the Valentine's crowd is out in force. There are three County Legislators here too.


Veterans are being sought for nomination to the Senate Veterans Hall of on-line honor roll featuring one per district per year.....
Our Senator is seeking suggestions.

Model of the moment Kate Upton Shows What Sanchez Is After

A nineteen year old girl is America's new object of affection, and while she is two years shy of having a beer, she is able to appear scantily clad for the delight of those who are old enough for a cold one....Including NY JETS QB Mark Sanchez who is said to be dating the underage lass.
Kate Upton is the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover model. While such pulchritude seems passe in todays erotically supercharged world, its still a media thing and an excuse to run swimsuit photos in newspapers, without fear of being labled lewd.
We run a more modest photo here of course.
Model of the moment Kate Upton shows off her curves by slicing away her clothes in racy Esquire shoot Mail Online

High Tech Courting on This Valentine's Day 2012

On this Valentine's Day, has technology forever changed romance ? Is anyone on bent knee anymore, or is it true that texting is the new love letter ?
Typing KOTL means "kiss on the lips" and Internet romeos claim they can get a date in three texts or less.
Texting has certainly changed flirting, which includes playing "Words with Friends" a scrabble like game which allows side messages serve as a means to make the game personal.
People are speed dating, getting matched up on the Net and indulging themselves in "reality" shows like the Bachelor, which make love the equivalent of shopping for a new flat-screen at Best Buy.
You still have to like somebody, but "hooking up" has replaced the longer courtship as a sense of immediacy is attached to romance in 2012.
People still order flowers from Gray's, but now you can text Scott to place the order.
Happy Valentine's Day !
Who's messing around with romantic courtship? -

Doheny's Water Warehouse the Kind of Business Matt Can Relate To

Congressional candidate Matt Doheny has a source for pool supplies.....if he ever decides he needs a pool at his Paddock Street home. Today I got a catalogue from Doheny's Water World, a Kenosha, WI based seller of pool chemicals, cleaners and supplies.
The 42 year old firm is surely the kind of family owned business built from the ground up that Mr. Doheny would cite in a speech about the wonders of capitalism.
Swimming Pool Supplies, Cleaners, Chemicals & Products - Doheny's Water Warehouse

Justice Stephen Breyer robbed by intruder with machete - Associated Press -

Maybe he will take a tougher stand on criminal rights issues after being robbed this week at the point of a machete. Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed of a thousand dollars at his vacation home in the West Indies. The 73 year old jurist was not injured in the incident.
Justice Stephen Breyer robbed by intruder with machete - Associated Press -

Monday, February 13, 2012

Everything These Days is Three to Two

     City Council voted three to two  to approve a contract with former Ogdensburg manager John Krol to conduct a recruitment process for city manager of Watertown.
     The $10,000 fee is less than what the city paid last year for an audit of the Parks and Recreation and its one-eighth of what was spend on an early retirement plan for City Manager Jerry Hiller when he was forced out in 2002-3.
      Mr. Krol is local, respected and will advise the Council on the hiring of a manager. He will also allow Council to focus on its core duties while seeking a replacement to City Manager Mary M Corriveau who is retiring.
     Council also tonight gave a thumbs up to an alcohol policy on city property and approved the salary for newly hired Water Czar Michael Sligar.
     Lawmakers also reviewed goals and objectives for 2012 which include on-line bill paying and successfully hiring a new city manager.

More Information Than You Ever Wanted or Needed

     On line mapping of those who sell the devil's brew will soon be a feature of the NYS Liquor Authority website.
     The interactive mapping feature will allow you to spot taverns and even includes churches and schools. Information on licensees and their disciplinary records will be available without phone calls and FOILs.
    The mapping was paid for by an appropriation last year for information technology.
     They claim the maps will be updated every night.....Next thing you know customers will be equipped with chips so Albany will know what time you left Colesante's and what time you arrived at the Hitch.

Romance Going to the Dogs for One Couple

As people plan their Valentine's Day activities one couple will combine their hobby with marriage by getting married at the Wesminster Dog Show in NYC. The pair are showing off their Tibetan Mastiff first and then tying the knot.
Local News A Valentine's Day wedding gone to the dogs — at Westminster Seattle Times Newspaper

Police Say They Will Look Into Assault on Senator

The Niagara Falls Police Department says it will look into an incident in which a NYS Senator and his wife were beat up during a social event at the Seneca Indian operated casino in that city.
Meanwhile, Maria Grisanti...wife of Sen. Mark Grisanti....has told the media she felt her life was in danger during the assault in which she suffered a concussion.
The dust up was exacerbated by disputes over gambling and cigarette sales as the State is angling to end Native American deals over those industries.
Let a State Senator and his wife get beat up anywhere else in the Falls and something will be done. On sovereign territory, however, the best we can do is "look into it".
Senator Grisanti was one of four Republicans to vote for the same sex marriage bill, although there is no suggestion that controversy factored into his General Custer moment at the casino.
State Senator Mark Grisanti Injured in Confrontation at Casino -

‘Why Do Some Politicians Go After Teachers?’

The union representing NYC teachers is portraying itself as a victim by running ads asking why some politicians attack teachers. At issue are things like teacher evaluation and a revised pension plan.
To me it's not picking on anyone, it's just a recognition some things have to change a little as the current economic model isn't working. I am not sold on teacher evaluation, but am sold on the need for pension reform, administrative consolidation and tax reduction.
To an extent its a difference in mind set. If you work in an industry where you have to split your health premiums with your employer, it's hard to work up sympathy for those paying little or nothing towards that cost. The cost of the current pension system is nettlesome as well.
Lots of people are pitted against one another as the 1% vs 99% debate shows. Sometimes it gets more personal than we like, but the United Federation of Teachers has represented their membership well and its members are not being picked on. Get over it.
‘Why Do Some Politicians Go After Teachers?’

Neighborhood taverns are fading away in Chicago and other cities –

The neighborhood tavern is in indeed fading away as other diversions and the economic climate work against the place where everybody knows your name.
In some ways, it's like old neighborhoods themselves. The old sense of cohesiveness is gone as virtually no one knows their neighbors and frankly, with things like television and automobiles, there is not the need to find diversion and comaderie close to home. The demise of ethnic enclaves, the erosion of factories and the move towards gentrification come into play.
The costs of the business and drinking and driving laws are certainly another drag on the business model.
There are still a few left, and like corner markets, a new model may develop to fill the need. Things do change. I might be among the last generation to remember as a youngster being treated by a doctor who made housecalls.....Now there's something you'll never see again.
In the meantime, its off to work at one of the survivors.
Neighborhood taverns are fading away in Chicago and other cities –

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Senator and Wife Get Beat Up at Indian Casino

In an ugly precurssor of things to come a State Senator and his wife were roughed up while attending an event at a Seneca Indian run casino in Niagara Falls. Senator Mark Grisanti and his wife tried to intervene in a fight that had broken out when they were turned on and Mrs. Grisanto was pinned to the floor, beaten and suffered a concussion.
The Governor's plans for open casino gambling and efforts to crack down on tax free cigarette sales has left some Native Americans on the war path against Albany.
Warning to Patty and Addie...Stay out of Turning Stone.
State of Politics Blog

Council Work Session Features Varied Topics

   City Council on Monday will act to set salaries for a couple of management employees being named by the City Manager. Included is the filling of the water superintendent post, which is being reconfigured to include oversight of waste water treatment and the hydroelectric plant.
    Council will also act on a revision to its recent revision of the benefit plan for certain employees. Council had set the medical contribution rate at 25% for new management hires, but was since advised the change would force losing a grandfathering of benefits under Obamacare. The new proposed rates at 25% for single persons and 19% for family coverage.  They should be equal percentages in my mind, as the defacto advantage to employers to avoid hiring family plan people is already about seven grand, and the disparity should not be made worse.
     Council will also discuss alcohol policies being proposed for city properties and will talk about a recent analysis of the condition of the city's three swimming pools.
     Layer on top of that the discussion of a process for hiring a city manager and the Monday work session should be a full plate.

WDT: School District Cries Poverty

These school sob stories will continue as long as we insist maintaining a blubbery system of 700 plus sets of administrations all overseeing the same education delivery system dictated by Albany.
The systemic flaws have been papered over by state aid formulas which sort of make education a state program while maintaining the illusion of local control by school boards.
There are lots of other problems that contribute to local shortfalls, which will be made up in local tax rates. Maybe that is how it should be, so that people will have an appreciation of the benefits and costs to good education.
Watertown Daily Times T.I. Central seeks input from community to overcome $1.2 million budget shortfall