Festival of Trees Coming Up

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Despite Heat Wave, Good Size Crowds at Irish Festival

   I popped into the Irish Festival after work today (about 6:30PM) and ran into a few people I know...The County Treasurer, an old friend Marty Kelly, some City employees and others.
    Ran into the Newzjunky reporter who told me he was one of 15 or so people trapped in an elevator earlier in the day for about 15 minutes. Apparently if was overloaded and locked up between floors, as its supposed to, I guess.
    I told him that would make a great first person story......Fear and loathing in the Dulles Building....The good news is there was no duck taping.
     There were a lot of people in green and several very pretty women of Irish extraction. I drank half a beer and left for dinner.

Shorts the Fashion for this St. Paddy Parade

      All our snow is gone....the heats off...the street sweepers have already come and gone....So it is with the historically warm Winter of 2011-12.
      St. Patrick's Day has in the past been at least chilly and sometimes horrendous. This year the Sunday Parade on Washington Street will feature 70 degree temperatures and no impediments to enjoying the day.
      No wondering if it's too harsh a day for kids on floats or whether the band can play.
      More of same in the week ahead. Enjoy the warmth and the energy savings....Will Grid want a rate hike to make up for not selling as much ?

Tanned and Rested...Dean of NY Mayors Now in His 19th Year

   When I was in Albany the other day, I noticed the City's Mayor Gerry Jennings was introduced as the "dean" of mayors in the state. Mayor Jennings is in his fifth-four year term. He is in his 19th year as mayor while I am in my 17th year.
     Mayor Jennings also sports a much better tan than I.
Mayor's Bio - The Official Site of the City of Albany, NY

After Albany All-Nighter, Lawmakers Say: No More - NYTimes.com

      They don't get much done during the day, but when the Governor makes them work all night....They complain about that too.
      Meet the NY State Legislature which  early Thursday passed an array of bills they hadn't read.....The Governor know if you create a frenzy...get people antsy and wanting to go home...then stick a bill in front of them, they will cry uncle.
     That's why juries rush to verdicts on Friday afternoons.
      Lawmakers say no more all nights, but they will be doing it again next year. These folks are out of shape...In the good old days the Legislature did all nights all the time...not in the chamber but in the bars lining State and Pearl Streets in downtown Albany.
After Albany All-Nighter, Lawmakers Say: No More - NYTimes.com

Scribe Says When It Comes to Wretched Excess, St. Pat's Day is the New X-mas

    Like every holiday, the hype, the cliches, the blarney, if you will, is over the top....So much so that this Chicago Sun Times columnist is decrying St. Paddy imagery the way wags have long decried the commercialism of Christmas.
    As if to start hectoring us all that there is a deeper meaning to March 17, the way we are always reminded that Christmas is really about the birth of Jesus and not stampeding the malls.
cringing at the way every year “Irish” becomes synonymous with “adorable wee folk” and “public urination.” Pot o’ gold! Always after me Lucky Charms! Something something blarney!
    The Irish are intense this time of year, but they were wise enough to connect their celebratory holiday to the end of winter (except this year).  It is a chance to socialize and many critics rightly point to the excesses, but life is about occassional and measured excesses...That's what religion and government do...They parcel out fun in increments so as not to unravel the social fabric.
    So, if there are excesses related to this holiday, it's all part of God's plan.
I’m Irish, but spare me the grotesque St. Pat’s blarney - Chicago Sun-Times

WDT: Albany Celebration Brings Mayors Together

  Geting up 5:30 to drive to Albany and then drive back again is a drain, especially on short notice, but I enjoyed the opportunity to network with the state's other mayors, including NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
       It was Mayor Bloomberg's effort to organize local officials in support of pension reform that showed local elected officials can have an impact. Governor Cuomo said as much during a private meeting with the locals prior to the bill signing in the ceremonial Red Room on the Capitol's second floor.
        While no compromise is perfect for everyone, this resolution achieved by Governor Cuomo is on balance a good thing. Among the mayors there seemed some relief that finally there is some public understanding of the dubious finances of the current system.
        It will be interesting to see the Governor's agenda for the coming year in the areas of mandate relief.
       By the way, Mr. Cuomo has done a great job renovating the Hall of Governors in the Capitol. It's worth a look-see if you are visiting the seat of government.
Watertown Daily Times | Graham, Bloomberg, Cuomo celebrate pension changes

Miss Ireland 2012 Crowned at North Country Goes Green Irish Festival

     Today is St. Patrick's Day, and the revelry will be in high gear as will the celebration of Irish heritage at this year's North Country Goes Green festival at the Dulles State Office Building.
Miss Ireland 2012 Crowned at North Country Goes Green Irish Festival

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Team Folded Quickly

    My bracketology floundered tonight with my choice of Missouri as the ultimate winner crashed and burned in the Tigers first game. Duke lost too.
    Looks like I lose the PBR.

Meeting Mayors Always a Great Time

    While in Albany, I met a few new faces. One was Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, whom I had never had the pleasure of meeting before....When I introduced myself, Herzzoner said, "I have read about you..."    Wonder what that meant ? Hope Steph's not a Gorman reader.
     I also met Onondaga County Exec Joanie Mahoney...We had some common ground as she is also a supporter of Matt Doheny.  In fact Ms. Mahoney is hosting a breakfast fundraiser for Matt.....I'd be glad to do one too...but the campaign didn't want a 3am soire at Mo's Diner.
    I also chatted with Plattsburgh Mayor Don Kasprzak.....great guy, but I gotta Google him everytime to check the spelling.
    

Getting Your Irish Up for the Weekend

   The Irish Festival got underway this afternoon at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown. The annual event is a celebration of all things Irish and also a harbinger of the end of Winter.
    Folks enjoy the social aspect of the festival and the chance to deliver a knock out blow to cabin fever.
    I couldn't make the opening ceremony due to my trip to Albany, but I look forward to walking the Sunday parade....and I look forward to the 70 degree temps...I have seen much worse.

Mayors Rally for Andy in Albany

        A celebratory mood enveloped mayors and county executives who met with Governor Cuomo at the Capitol today for the pension reform bill signing.
        The compromise reform bill ratchets back future pension costs for local governments. Current problems still exist, but it will help in the future.
        A lot of people choose to ignore the outrageous economics and the rampant abuse in the current system. This year pension reform passed, in part due to the efforts and leadership of local electeds.
        Thanks to Mayor Michael Bloomberg who organized municipal officials. I also met Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner for the first time and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.
         Also a shout out to our NNY delegation who voted for the measure.
         It's not a perfect solution, but as Mayor Bloomberg said, "if the Governor got all he wanted, he didn't ask for enough."
         A pension system as reckless and unaffordable as the one that has developed in NY needed to be changed...and that change benefits taxpayers, and yes, 'working families'.

Governor Takes a Lap After Pushing Legislation to Action on Key Issues

   Governor Cuomo is basking again....this time in the light of a whirlwind legislative compromise that allows gerrymandering just one more time but supposedly eliminates in future redraws of districts. Since self service and manipulation are human nature, we'll see in 2022 what happens.
     Mr. Cuomo will surely spin events in terms of his ability to make the system bend to his will, although many of his promises that hinge on Constitutional amendments are certainly subject to change.
      The Governor even defended the quick and under cover of darkness conclusion to Legislative talks by saying "you can't live life in a fish bowl."
       I am off to Albany today for a bill signing on pension reform and will report back on the mood in the capital later today.Cuomo says redistricting is fixed, and on transparency: 'You can't live your life in a goldfish bowl' | Capital New York

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Albany Takes No Action on State and Local Primaries

    Tough times ahead for the few party faithful left...Tuesday marks the beginning of petitioning for Congressional candidates, while all other races are still on a June timetable. Federal races now have a June 26 primary, while other state and local offices are picked in September.

WDT: St. Lawrence County Has Seven Legislators in Albany

   The "Big County" doesn't have enough people for one Assembly district, but under redistricting parts of four ADs are in St. Lawrence County. Three state senators have districts touching the county.
    On one hand this seems like the county is an afterthought...a way to balance off gerrymandering throughout the region...On the other hand having four Members of Assembly and three Senators is not all bad.
    While the chair of the County Legislature doesn't like it, she may want to think of the silver lining when examining the cloud.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

WDT: Minister wants St. Patrick's Day lights taken down from church

       If the goal of controversy is to garner publicity, the organizers of the Irish Fest are brilliant. The old Dave Mance bromide comes to mind...Say what you want, but get the call letters right.
      Now the pastor at First Baptist Church is on record against a green lit clock on the tower above his ministry.
      Watertown Daily Times | Minister wants St. Patrick's Day lights taken down from church

DiNapoli On Tier Six: ‘No Quick Fix’

   Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is holding his fire on the Tier VI plan set to become law.
 Mr. DiNapoli was the carrier of the flame for the present system and is pleased a full bore defined contribution plan was blocked.
    The Comptroller is right when he says the bill provides no quick fixes, but the politics of the moment prevent doing anything that affects current employees.
DiNapoli On Tier Six: ‘No Quick Fix’

Pension Bill To Be Signed Tomorrow

     Governor Cuomo and mayors will gather in Albany tomorrow for the bill signing for the the compromise Tier VI pension plan approved by lawmakers last night.
      The measure achieves many of the Governor's plan to reduce pension costs to local governments as new people are hired. Existing employees are not affected.
      Here's my statement:
      "On behalf of the taxpayers of Watertown, I commend Governor Cuomo for his commitment to real, sustainable pension reform for New York's cities and providing the means to contain taxes in the years to come."
      I plan to attend the bill signing Friday.
Addie Russell Press Releases: Assembly passes compromised Tier VI legislation

Capitol Confidential » Tier VI just passed in the Assembly

    Governor Cuomo's pension reform plan has passed although it had to be watered down a bit for Albany's liking.
   The Governor is billing it as a big win for long term cost containment, although it is not providing the transition to defined contribution plans some wanted.
    Retirement age will go to 63 from 62.
    The Governor claims the measure will reduce costs by $80billion over 30 years.
Capitol Confidential » Tier VI just passed in the Assembly

Last Minute Sausage Making in Albany Yields a Little of This and a Little of That

     A watered down pension reform bill, new legislative boundaries and a constitutional amendment to allow non-Indian casino gambling are among the flurry of last minute deals in Albany as budget season winds down.
       As is often the case, a range of compromises come together at once. The pension bill is a big win for public employee unions who had fought the notion of a transition away from the current defined benefit system.
       Landmark bill will save city $22 billion in public employee pension costs - NYPOST.com

Flash: GOP Gets a New Member Under 50

    Don Coon should be thanking me. I registered a Republican for him yesterday, as I know its getting more difficult for the GOP to maintain a lead in local registration. I made sure our new Fort Pearl employee was registered and she opted for the party of Lincoln, Hoover and Reagan.
     I no longer encourage those at the tavern to register third party as I am no longer active in that movement.
      In any event, Emily will get to vote in the possible GOP Congressional primary and may get invited to Matt's wedding and various fundraising soires.  I told her at her young age, that kind of networking  can't do any harm.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jay: Limbaugh controversy causes no stir in north country

   Jay Donovan should know a thing or too about offensive comments, so as program director for WTNY, its no surprise he says recent Rush Limbaugh comments are "much ado about nothing."
    The long time shock jock was asked by the WDT to comment on Limbaugh's labeling of a Georgetown student as a "slut" and "prostitute" after she testified before Congress.
    Jay did say the remarks were wrong but paled compared to things said by the "other side".
    As a long time talk show host myself, I know you cannot afford to have your standards defined by the most low brow of your opponents.
     It's been years since networks and stations had departments committed to standards and practices.


Watertown Daily Times | Limbaugh controversy causes no stir in north country

WDT: Luck of the Irish for Doheny as Hoffman Finds Another Hobby

   Doug Hoffman just wants to win something and is willing to lower his sights to an Assembly seat to do it...Mr. Hoffman is seeking a seat in Essex County and that's great news for the Doheny for Congress campaign that had at the very least prayed vigorously for Mr. Hoffman to find another playground.
    That leaves the former Hoffman legions likely to help out Doheny GOP challenger Kellie Greene...unless there's some promised support for Hoffman in hopes the CPA will tell his peeps to lay off.
Watertown Daily Times | Hoffman makes Assembly bid official

Lawmakers To Draw Lines They Like

   One thing legislative boundaries should be is incumbent-friendly and tonight lawmakers in Albany are expected to adopt district lines they like....None of this goo-goo (good government) stuff for our boys and girls in Albany.
    One this is certain...They need to get it over with, because even a political junkie like me is tired of reading about it and looking at maps.
Legislators trying to redraw district lines - Capital Connection - The Buffalo News

No Noise When I Was There

        Today's exercise in problem solving involved a visit to Audio Arsenal on Arsenal Street. This business has been in a tussle with neighbors who auto stereo woofers are rattling their house.
        At the time of my unannounced visit, there was no noise. There have been regular police calls from neighbors who want  the store gone.
        I tried to urge some dialogue by the owner directed towards the neighbors and I was told the business does try to limit noise.
        It's clearly a neighbor dispute, but the usages of the property are consistant with zoning. The City's current noise ordinance has been deemed unenforceable.
         Short of mediation, I honestly do not know a way the City can resolve the deep differences.

Doheny Makes a Pass at JETS Fans With Green Footballs

      Footballs thrown to spectators at parades didn't get Matt Doheny elected in 2010 but the candidate thinks the sporty imagery wasn't the reason to Rep. Bill Owens narrow win.
      Mr. Doheny is going to the well again with an order of green footballs to be thrown out at various St. Patrick's Day observances throughout the district.
      The Doheny campaign is also sporting a new store front on Court Street.
      Meanwhile, all Congressional hopefuls await the final district boundaries which are expected to be the ones drawn by special master, Judge Roanne Mann. Those boundaires maintain a NNY district with some changes along its southern border.
      All talked about candidates would reside in the new NY-21.

Most teachers support 401(k) choice - NYPOST.com

   These must be math teachers. A survey shows widespread support for some kind of defined contribution pension system even among those most vested in the current system.
    Over 70% of teachers support such a plan, even though public employee unions oppose Governor Cuomo's effort to change the pension system.
Most teachers support 401(k) choice - NYPOST.com

Governor Retreating on Pension Reform

      The Governor's proposal for a 401k style pension alternative for new hires is apparently dead and Mr. Cuomo reportedly may consider exempting NYC police and firemen from any pension reform that does pass.
       Given the watering down, it might be better to just leave Tier V in place. Public employee unions had said "no mas"  to what they called radical changes like channeling workers into a defined contribution system.
      Oh well, maybe Mr. Cuomo can sign a redistricting bill so we can have elections this year.
Gov. Cuomo may exempt NYPD and FDNY from pension reform plan - NY Daily News

Freshman Congressman Bob Turner announces bid for US Senate | The Empire

     The man who won the Anthony Weiner Congressional seat likely would not retain his seat of six months as redistricting eliminates Republican Rep. Bob Turners district. Against that backdrop, Mr. Turner is running the his party's nomination for US Senate to run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
     Mr. Turner ran a solid effort to win his seat in Congress against long odds, but the Senate race presents even longer odds.
    Republicans meet in Rochester in the coming days to designate candidates.
Freshman Congressman Bob Turner announces bid for US Senate | The Empire

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Romney Cannot Close the Deal....Santorum Eclipses Newt in Dixie

    Primary wins tonight in Alabama and Mississippi give Rick Santorum a boost and Mitt Romney's twin third place finishes speak for themselves.
   Mr. Romney had all the establishment and much of the money behind him but still cannot score above 30% in the Deep South.
    Tonights races change little in the delegate calculus because everybody picked up some and Romney still leads.
    Newt Gingrich finished a close second in state's he needed to win....Ego may keep him in the race and prevent Santorum from getting the one on one he needs.

Mayor's Brackets Have Mizzou the Winner

   Shivvers went through NNY males today with news Syracuse's Fab Melo is nixed from the NCAA Tournament for unspecified academic reasons, although a turbulent relationship to a  Lewis County woman (rumor) is said by some to be a part of the current issue.
   In any event, SU fans looking to take Thursday afternoon off from work are wondering whether its worth it.
   As for the bracketology, I only did one pool and ended up with Kentucky, Cinnicinati, Kansas and my alma mater Mizzou in the Final Four.
   In the end I took Missouri over Kansas for the championship.

Syracuse's Fab Melo won't play in NCAA Tournament | syracuse.com

Indy Line Goes to Doheny

       With petition gathering just days off, no one other than Matt Doheny need circulate for the Indepedence Party on Line E of the New York ballot.
       Mr. Doheny will get the sole out of party authorization for the line on the November ballot. The only possible challenge could be an in-party candidate, but that's not going to happen.
      Mr. Doheny will also get the Conservative nod as his inevitiability tour continues in advance of a possible GOP primary against Kellie Greene of Sackets Harbor.
      The Indy nod was bestowed today during a visit by State Chairman Frank MacKay.
      While I am not active in Indy Party stuff anymore, I am glad he got the line as Mr. Doheny's business background gives him a feeling for entrpreneurs and taxpayers.
       Mr. Doheny will be sharing the E line with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who was also annoited this week.


Watertown Daily Times | Doheny gets Indy nod

New Roof Ornament on Councilman's Building

   City Councilman Jeff Smith and his bride Millie have placed a windmill on the roof of their Washington Street medical building.
    In what is a 21st Century incarnation of TV aerials on roofs, the energy saving gadget may become commonplace....Let's see if it stays up there in a wind storm.
     Don't let those people in the Cape know about it...Everyone will want one.
     Kudos to the Councilman for trying this thing out before the rest of us see if we want to drop six grand on one......But if I can get a grant........
   

Drum Brass Visits City Hall on Courtesy Call

    Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division Commander, Major General Mark Milley visted City Hall today to meet with the City Manager, Police Chief and me.
    The wide ranging discussion touched on community relations and recent concerns the high command has expressed over the sale of Spice and other synthetic hallucinogens.
     We also talked a bit of hockey as MG Milley is an avid player and said he likes the notion of the Privateers possibly coming to Watertown.
     General Milley had high praise for relations between Watertown's military and civilian communities.

WDT: Scribes Best Stay Off the Ice

    The high command at the Times has been known to throw some elbows under the basket, but apparently their sensitivities are challenged by some Indians fighting during a hockey game.
    The WDT opines that the City should not seek the Privateers moving to the Fairgrounds because of a fight at a weekend hockey game in Alexandria Bay.
     Granted the fracas is not what you want happening and if the team from Akwasasne cannot behave, they should be dealt with.
      Hockey is an edgy sport, but its exciting and enjoyed by many in this area. The possibility of a team makes improvements to the arena more plausible and increases the recreational activities available to all.
     Times....lighten up.

Watertown Daily Times | Brawl game

Advantage Watertown Kerfuffle a Long Simmering Issue on Council

      The  ad hoc advisory group called Advantage Watertown was created nearly a decade ago as part of a process to plan for revitalization of he City's waterfront. It's a once a month meeting of business and community leaders.
      For some time, there has been a slow burn over the group over fears the public thinks Advantage Watertown is discussing and deciding on issues the elected officials should.  It's the same argurment used against the increasing trend to marginalize elected leaders in favor of the unelected agencies.
     On the other hand, its a chance to bring different ideas into the governing process.
     What has been nettlesome is that the MSM routinely covers Advantage meetings, so that what happens has the imprimatur of official action. That's not the media's fault, but it has annoyed some Council members. In particular, those "City Eyes -------" headlines that may result from an Advantage meeting.
      Council members Smith and Burns want it gone, and that may happen as those serving on the body are not likely to be a part of something they are criticised over.
      As Mayor, I participate in the meetings and find it useful to hear differing opinions, as the perspective you get at Council meetings is pretty limited. It is a bit of a debating club atmosphere and I have tried to advise the body over Council sensitivities over turf issues.
       Often, I find the range of meetings I am in on leave me with a baseline of knowledge that Council members not at City Hall every day just don't have. Last week I met with Chamber leaders, hockey enthusiasts and today the CG from Fort Drum stops by.
     Ultimately, City Council is the decider on major issues, and its been a while since I heard the words "shadow government."

Cuomo Says He Will Call Bluff....But Unions Pledge to Turn Up Heat on Pensions

   The AFL-CIO will begin running TV ads soon in opposition to the Governor's pension reform plan. This after Mr. Cuomo said he will let April 1 pass without a budget and put his pension plan in the extender bills needed to keep the state in business.
     It will be an interesting showdown, and the Governor's plan does not affect existing employees, only future hires.
      Everybody understands the deal in place now will be honored for those hired under those terms, but only some acknowledge the future hinges on controlling costs. Local governments are raising property taxes to pay for what's been going on for decades.
The pension deadlock - Times Union

Monday, March 12, 2012

Erin Gardner Named Parks and Rec Superintendent

    Some long awaited news tonight as Manager Mary Corriveau hired Adams native Erin Gardner to the job of Superintendent of Parks and Recreation.
    Ms. Gardner will oversee the eleven person department which includes the Arena, the Fairgrounds, three pools, Thompson Park, and several playgrounds and small parks, trails and fields.
     She has a varied background and a solid education and says she looks forward to the challenge of providing direction to a department faced with challenges and problems.
     I am pleased with the choice which followed two lengthy searches.

     Council fleshed out the negotiating priorities for a meeting tomorrow between the City Manager and the ownership of the Privateers hockey team. There seemed to be a consensus on making it work, but only doing those capital improvements that have long term and widespread benefits.
     City Councilman Smith took aim at the ad hoc advisory group called Advantage Watertown. Mr. Smith suggested the group is an illegal usurpation of the authority of Council. Advantage Watertown is a group of civic and business leaders that brainstorms ideas monthly with the mayor and city staff. Among those on the body is Watertown Daily Times publisher John B. Johnson, Jr., whose paper endorsed Mr. Smith in the mayoral race last fall.
     Council learned the St. Patrick's Parade route will remain on Washington Street and the Town Clock will get some green lights although a detailed briefing showed some different fixtures will have to be devised due to safety concerns climbing around the glass faces 90 feet above the sidewalk.
    County Democratic Chair Sean Hennessey sat in the audience.
   

WDT: "Slap Shot" Alex Bay Style

      It's the fine line hockey always walks between athleticism and legalized assault and battery.  The old line about watching a fight and a hockey game broke out.
      The more egregious behavior needs to be reigned in. Sounds like Akwasasne doesn't mind living up to the stereotype.
       Obviously behavior is a subject to be addressed as discussion begin on the possibilty of games in Watertown.  It's no more a disqualifier than any single set of incidents in my mind as long as you try to do better next time.      
Watertown Daily Times | Privateers eliminate Warriors after brawl erupts

Watertown, NY - Manager Listing On Website

   The advertisement for Watertown City Manager is posted on the City's website and the in International City Manager's Association site. Other ads in the Times and Newzjunky will also appear as soon as recruitment facilitator John Krol makes the arrangements.
Watertown, NY - Official Website

Fort Drum To Businesses: Stop Selling Synthetic Marijuana

       Fort Drum is placing businesses off limits for sale of so-called 'synthetic marijuana'.
I assume that means the High Life which advertises Spice on television.
       Like the whole War on Drugs, it's all a bit of a Sisiphyan act as young adults have come to the conclusion that escapism of some sort is what they want....Since our much heralded 21 year old drinking age has only resulted in a cottage industry of busting elderly convenience store clerks, I doubt this will stop the sale of real or artificial pot.
        However, as responsible adults we have to enforce society's constraints and strictures, even though we know its not a war to be won.
Fort Drum To Businesses: Stop Selling Synthetic Marijuana | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

The Softer Side of Tricky Dick

   Before he became a brooding and vindictive Presdent, Richard Milhouse Nixon was a sensative courter of wife Pat. So says his love letters now made public.
   Do we need to see these ? Probably not. It bursts our bubble about Tricky Dick.
    Do people even write love letters anymore ?...With FOIL laws, you don't want to put anything on paper, least your emotions and passions of the moment.
    Better off Twittering your lust and getting it out there from the git go.
Richard Nixon's love letters revealed - CBS News

When the Library Board Says No, Mom Says Yes....Why I Think Sunday Hours Are a Good Idea

   When viewing public policy matters we are all victims of our own experiences and associations. So it is with Library hours as I got my view on Sunday hours from my Mom in North Carolina who is still an avid library user and even still reads the Raleigh paper cover to cover every day.
    At the West Regional Library in Cary, NC, Mom says the library is packed on Sunday afternoons when it is open from 1 to 5.  Many fathers with kids, she says, taking advantage of a day off from work to expand the mind.
    They have automated self service book checkout, but there are still Library staffers on duty.  The system notifies users by e-mail when books are coming due. "Might as well use technology if its there, it allows people to do other things," said Doris R. Farrell.
    "There is always plenty of help," she said, adding there are still staffers behind the desk and roaming around.
     "Sunday hours give access to more people . I see an awful lot of parents with children on Sunday. It beats a lot of dumb things you could be doing on Sunday," Mom said.
      "It works here, but that's just my opinion," she said.
West Regional Library

Allegedly disabled retired firefighter hired as fire-safety chief for 9/11 memorial - NYPOST.com

   Fairly or unfairly, pension stories are in the news. Today's offering is a former NYC firefighter who retired on a $107,780 a year tax-free disabilility pension for a knee injury. He has now been hired in a similar job at six figures by the 9/11 Museum and Memorial at Ground Zero.
    Disability pensions for police and firemen are generous and people have a right to move on to other endeavors in retirement. However, the whole pension debate is about affordability as well as fairness.
      Disabiity double dips are but one example of a system in need of reform.

Allegedly disabled retired firefighter hired as fire-safety chief for 9/11 memorial - NYPOST.com

WDT: Sunday Hours at Library Debated

  
  With the Wal-Marting of America, the notion of Sunday being a day of rest is gone. Those entities providing a service or product to the public need to be available on the public's schedule. This includes Libraries, which serve such an important eduational and cultural role but nonetheless compete for market share when it comes to the public's attention.
     That is why City Council has urged the Flower Library Board to adopt Sunday hours, as so many other communities with major libraries do.
     Since the City is the primary funding source for the Library, City Council has wanted to see the best return on its appropriation, and that includes the expanded hours.
     The Library Board has requested funding for two additional positions in order to achieve the four hour Sunday opening.
      Reasonable people should be able to extend hours by half a shift without adding ten shifts a week of manpower.
Watertown Daily Times | Watertown library board wants to add positions for seven-day operation

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Ramparts of Inevitibility....Or Is It an Aura ? Well Anyway, Matt Has It in the Bag

    As an aura of invulnerability builds around GOP Congressional candidate Matt Doheny, his possible Republican primary challenger is said to be increasingly remote from media.  I am told Kellie Greene thinks the media is unfair to her candidacy and is in the tank for Mr. Doheny.
    Actually, they are mostly in the tank for Rep. Bill Owens.
    Regardless of how well the MSM has been prepped by the Doheny folks, the real challenge for the challenger is to come up with the petitions to force a GOP primary in June.
    Ms. Greene has eschewed the typical county committee meetings in favor of hoping her own outside the establishment people will help her out.
    My guess is her petition drive will be tough to mount and challenged in court ad nauseum.
     However, within the GOP, Mr. Doheny still has work to do getting beyond the 'I already have a state pension' insiders who run the party.
      If it happens, I predict a 68-32 primary win for Doheny and plenty of time over the summer to bind up the wounds.
       Meanwhile in the coming days, look for everyone with a pulse to be enlisted to endorse Mr. Doheny in hopes foes will figure out a continued fight is not worth the effort.
      Frankly, its not. Matt wins the nomination because he has worked the hardest and the longest. His prospects againt Mr. Owens are 50-50, so it should be an interesting year.

It’s 5:30 p.m., Do You Know Where The Redistricting Deal Is?

   Redistricting and pension reform are the only real issues left to talk about in Albany and the former is only of interest to the political class, while the latter will go nowhere as the unions have a jackboot on the necks of lawmakers of both parties.
    I think we need to get some districts in place and move on, but even the court proposal which is very fair is being rapped by the grievance crowd as being discriminatory against minorities and women....Judge Mann is a woman....Maybe the name confused the feminists.
     It’s 5:30 p.m., Do You Know Where The Redistricting Deal Is?

Maple City Mayor in Nation's Capital

      The Mayor of the Maple City is rubbing elbows with mayors from across the country at the League of Cities pow wow in DC.  Mayor Bill Nelson is President of the NY Conference of Mayors as well as Mayor of Ogdensburg by eleven votes.
       Mayor Nelson is widely thought to have further ambitions, perhaps an Assembly run at some point.
        Meanwhile, I do respect the mayors who take the time to get involved in organizations like NYCOM and it's good to see NNY center stage.
        

Smoke Eaters Don Smoother Look for Young Man with Leukemia

    Watertown firefighters have shown solidarity with one of their own as they shaved their heads in a fundraiser for Grant Mullin who host his hair during treatments for leukemia.
A Different Type of Challenge for Watertown City Firefighters | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

WDT: Bloomberg and I Rapped for Pension Stand....

   Critics of pension reform in the public sector are fond of saying 401k style plans rely on the whims of Wall Street as payoffs are predicated on getting investment yields well above fixed rate investments.
   The current public sector pension is also highly dependent on the Wall Street "casino".  The Comproller always boasts of the investment income from Wall Street when things are going well, but is quick to hike contribution rates to local government when stocks don't yield at the unrealistic levels needed to meet obligations.
     The problem with the present system is that it is so easily gamed (legally) to produce benefits that bear no relation to what was put in over the years.
      One thing I do agree with critics of the Governor on is that the succession of "tiers" is confusing and creates multiple classes of employees depending on when they were hired. The call for a "Tier 6" so soon after "Tier 5" was created speaks to the depths of the problem in paying for all that's been promised.
  

Watertown Daily Times | Close tax loopholes to pay for pensions