The Vortex... Urban Legend or Is It Real ?

The Vortex... Urban Legend or Is It Real ?
Second Annual Event Starts at Five PM Friday at Thompson Park

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Roller Girls on the Prowl

  While I didn't make the match at the Fairgrounds, I appreciate the Black River Rollers stopping by Fort Pearl this evening.


   The Roller Derby team is made up of local women and is one of the many activities at the Arena that provide entertainment.

Pavillion Opens to Enthusiastic Growers

   The shade and congenial surroundings were much appreciated this morning as the Weekend Farmer's Market set up shop in the new pavillion in the JB Wise Parking lot.
    There were fruit and produce growers, Amish folks, a lamb rancher and there was the Spicy Wench owned by Christine Hoffman. She makes a variety of jams and jellies, some spicy, some tame.
   
 The covered walkway and restrooms are the end of the latest phase of downtown redevelopment which included a remake of Public Square.
    Since the projects began there has been considerable investment in downtown, which the latest to be finished is a set of upper floor apartments built by Joyce and Steve Bradley of Abbey Carpet fame.
     The Pavillion project was first formulated under the admnistration of Mayor Joe Butler.

George W. Bush to skip GOP convention in Tampa

    Democrats are staying away from the DNC and two term former President George W. Bush is passing on his party's party in Tampa.
     Of course, conventions do not serve their original role as gatherings of party poobahs for the purpose of selecting a candidate. Remember 1924, when Democrats took 103 ballots to select a man to get beaten by Calvin Coolidge.

That Was a Convention ! Mayor Daley Makes '68 Gathering Something to Remember
      In the case of Mr. Bush, he seems not interested in politics the way fellow President Bill Clinton is. It's also thought his presence would not help Mitt Romney's efforts.
       I remember the days of gavel to gavel coverage and we all watched these events all day.  With no excitement left, the only drama is the acceptance speech and what will be an entertaining keynote by Gov Chris Christie.
George W. Bush to skip GOP convention in Tampa

So what really ingredients really go into a sausage? Read on and you may never eat a frankfurter again | Mail Online

      They always say there are two things you don't want to watch being made...One is legislation (like Obamacare ?), the other is sausage.

 Pink Slurry Made of Ground Up Chickens and Other Stuff to Become Hot Dogs

Massacre suspect James Holmes 'trolled' web for sex, and apparently posted image showing red hair - NYPOST.com

      The shooter in Aurora, CO fancies himself as the "Joker" in the Batman movie shootings that killed 12 and wounded 58.
        James Holmes is, of course, also described as a loner with few friends who was trolling the Net for sex.
         He didn't "snap".  He was planning this for some time.
Jessica Ghawi was One of the Dozen Killed at Batman Debut
         Figuring him out after the fact is fairly easy, but what do you do ahead of time ? I wonder if you can do anything. Surely some people with issues do get help and you never hear any more because they never do anything, or what they do affects few and isn't national news.
         A handful go down this road and its so random, one wonders how you could predict it.
Massacre suspect James Holmes 'trolled' web for sex, and apparently posted image showing red hair - NYPOST.com

Friday, July 20, 2012

Change Ain't All It's Cracked Up to Be

    This is the weekend the last of the HSBC customers abandoned by the folks in Hong Kong or London or wherever get moved over to Community Bank.
     I already moved much of my extensive holdings to Watertown Savings and have been happy, but I kept a couple accounts at HSBC because I like the tellers.
     Now I have to set up new on-line passwords and all that stuff.
      Banking made simple ?  No, it's banking that's a pain in the ass.
       I am going to write payroll checks Sunday using new checks...Hope they work.

Bath Salts Summit ? Sure, Why Not ?

   Everybody is jumping on the "bath salts" issue, although a couple of months ago the same people were talking about "spice".  Senator Ritchie holds a town hall meeting on the issue on Monday.
    I like to listen to people on the front lines who aren't in a special interest group, so I was pleased to hear from 'Gun Nut" on the show today. He told me in his job the new designer drugs are rampant and the cure may not be more laws and more doors kicked down.
   Gun Nut tells me the demand for these products comes from people who have nothing they care about. No careers, no ambition, no hobbies, no spritual framework, no nothing.  The threats to 'cuff and stuff' don't seem to hit home, he says, just like the guy in the paper today with his sixth DWI....
     People with no initiative...no moral underpinnings..no sense of shame are ripe for the latest bout of escapism.
     Instead, we will get a new law named after someone who had their face gnawed off by someone on bath salts.
      And so it goes.

A Liquidation Without all the Sadness

       Have you noticed all those signs for a liquidation sale at Smith Restaurant Supply on Court Street...Well turns out it's just a clearance sale and they are not closing.
     Good thing as they have things you can't find elsewhere.
      Today I went in to look around and there were lots of dishes and glasses, but don't afraid to dicker as 70% off can mean different things to different people....I bought enough high ball glasses to get me to retirement.
Friendly Staff at Smith's, Where They Aren't Really Closing
    Don't forget you can get to Court Street via the new JB Wise secret passage.
    I also not Abbey Carpet has finished the luxury apartments above their Court Street store, so that's a good addition to downtown.
     

Explosion at booby-trapped apartment of lone gunman James Holmes, 24, who killed 12 at midnight Batman premier in Denver | Mail Online

      A 24 year old man with no military background...no ties to terrorists...not on a watch list...and with no criminal record went on a brutal shooting spree early today at a Colorado movie theater killing around a dozen and wounding dozens more.

A Mom Consoles Her Son Who Witnessed the Shootings at
an Aurora, CO Movie Theater
       He was active in Operation Wall Street protests, so does that mean we blame the left for this one or just realize we have another loner, nut whose crime may make some sense afterwards but could not be predicted.
      Terrible day in CO where the Columbine Shootings occured just a few miles away.
Explosion at booby-trapped apartment of lone gunman James Holmes, 24, who killed 12 at midnight Batman premier in Denver | Mail Online

WDT: Can't Keep Old Media Happy It Seems

   Is there such a thing as too much publicity, too much self promotion, or too many press releases and Facebook posts ?
    A Times editor thinks there is and that Senator Patty Ritchie is guilty of putting out a release for any and everything, and that sometimes the positions are inconsistent with the stated goals of the GOP.
    Editor Perry White may just not like that the Senator has discovered a path around the gatekeepers.  We get to follow what the Senator does and what she believes in.

Senator at a Recent Parade in Mexico, NY
(which means she is doing her job....many pols don't)
    That's the positive side of social media and a prolific press office.
     The downside is that it can trivialize the office holder and subject them to ridicule such as is leveled at Senator Schumer (the most dangerous spot in DC is between Senator Schumer and a camera).
      Nonetheless, we know what the Senator is up to and the same is true of Ms. Ritchie. 
      Keep sending out those photos. Those of us without strict standards are glad to use provided materials, even if we do sometimes chuckle at the content.
Watertown Daily Times | Ready, fire, aim

Race is Close, But Bam Continues Edge as November Nears

      Eight to ten states will be electing the President if current trends continue.
     Forty states plus DC produce a 221-191 edge for President Obama. In a close national race, those states are a lock.
     Ten so called swing states are mostly leaning to Mr. Obama and if that holds the Electoral College margin is to 332 to 206.  Mr. Romney has to win Florida, Virginia, Ohio, NC and one other state like an Iowa to win. Currently only NC is in his column.
      2012 Election: Swing State Map - POLITICO.com

Tiny Village About the Size of Carthage Sure Does Pay Well

   Another pension probe but the recipient is in the clear although the matter of Village of Green Island employee Jack Brown reveals how much some officials make by bundling jobs in small municipalities.

Village of Green Island
    Green Island has 2620 people and occupies less than a square mile near Albany.
    Mr. Brown clocked $117,117 in his final year working as head of the Green Island Power Authority, the local planning board, and some work he did for the Green Island Industrial Development Agency.
    He retired but kept one of his jobs going for an extra three months. That was ruled OK as he didn't exceed the $30K annual earning limit on those collecting a pension.
    Gaming the system is a fine art and a system that encourages it is a big reason we have such an underfunded system.
Blame game in pension payout - Times Union

JETS Coach is NFL's Biggest Loser

      The JETS may have two starting quarterbacks this year, but they have one-third less coach as Rex Ryan is showing off his new figure, sans 106 pounds since undergoing Lap Band surgery.

      Let's hope Rex's newfound energy can be put to good use.
Jets coach Rex Ryan tells of Lap-Band weight loss - NYPOST.com

WDT: Addie Not Raising Much But Doesn't Have To

     Assemblywoman Addie Russell doesn't have much in her campaign coffers.....but then again she doesn't need it as she is unopposed in her bid for reelection.
     The $10K in her "war chest" is not even enough to run a campaign for mayor of Watertown, but her biggest protection is not cash but that there really are not many people who aspire to the office.
      In fact I can't think of anyone with the blind ambition, money and time on their hands to spend a year going to parades, doors and fundraisers in the long shot hope of unseating someone who seems to be doing a decent enough job.
      The same could be said of Assemblyman B-bush, who is also running unopposed.
Watertown Daily Times | Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York.

McCain defends top Clinton aide against Bachmann accusations on Muslim Brotherhood ties | Fox News

    Huma Abedin is usually in the news for being married to defrocked Congressman Anthony Weiner, but now the longtime aide to Hillary Clinton is in the middle of a political firestorm after a group of Members of Congress suggested her family has ties to the "Muslin Brotherhood". 

     Rep. Michele Bachmann is the best known of the members who penned a letter demanding a probe of Muslim connections deep within the Obama Administration.
     Several Republicans, including Sen. John McCain and Speaker John Boehner have criticised the claims.
      Muslims have become the new "Reds under the bed" for a new generation of people who may not be thinking before they talk.
McCain defends top Clinton aide against Bachmann accusations on Muslim Brotherhood ties | Fox News

Six Killed as Tractor Trailer Plows Into Vehicles at Antwerp Construction Zone

    A horrible moment on a sunny summer day as a wait at a construction zone turned deadly as six people, four of them from one family died in a chain reaction crash on Route 11 near Antwerp.
      The Dana family was young and its hard to comprehend how suddenly life ended when a runaway tractor trailer plowed into a string of vehicles stopped for a paving project.     
6 killed in chain-reaction crash in NY work zone - 24 Hour National News - The Buffalo News

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guys....Shoes May Matter More Than You

   One of the fundamental truths I have learned is that women have a fascination with shoes and handbags.
    Those Coach purses have become pervasive, although my more sophisticated friends have Louis Vuitton.
     As for shoes....I learned late in life the effect shoes can have on women....Learn the size and don't be afraid to buy.

Amy Hunt Raises the Ante on Kari's Shoe Domination
    So, I get regular lessons on five and six inch heels from my fashion advisor, Kari Plumpton. But today, Internet sensation and IHC grad Amy Hunt was home for a visit and her shoes were awesome.
    I sent a picture to Kari, who immediately dismissed them, but I have to say I was impressed at the elevation these spats offer.
    

Syria: Assad Sends Bride to Russia as Situation Gets Worse.

   Can we please stay out of this one and just let it play out?  The unraveling of the Assad regime in Damascus may be soon or it may take a while.
    The President's wife has fled the country.
     Hey, it she needs refuge, Mrs. Assad can come to Pearl Street....She is British born and would blend in quickly...Maybe afternoon shifts to start.
Syria: Embattled Assad spotted in Damascus as his British-born wife 'escapes to Russia' amid fifth straight day of clashes with rebels | Mail Online

Pols Bend the No Photos With Booze Rule

      It is always a given in politics you don't want to be photographed with an alcoholic drink on your lips but when the Governor is in town to pose at the local brewery, the rules are bent.
      It also helps to have no opposition.
      Senator Joe Griffo is pictured with bottle to mouth as he joined the Governor for a bill signing on a measure to promote craft brewers.
      I didn't see our Senator with the governor even though she has promoted the bill as well. When you have a race, your handlers are more cautious about the beer shot that could appear in an ad.
      Since we now know Senator Griffo drinks the 'devil's brew', I look forward to his promised visit to Pearl Street.

yfrog Fullsize - http://yfrog.com/od2zowdj

New York City small-business owners take exception to President Obama’s statement that they didn’t make it on their own - NYPOST.com

   Small business owners must be scratching their head at President Obama's recent remarks in Virginia to the effect that entrpreneurs should not think they built what they have but that it was the work of others who gave them what they have. He was referring to government.
    The remarks have become the latest outrage in the back and forth between the President and challenger Mitt Romney.

Small Business Owners Puzzled Over POTUS Disconnect
      Hard work, ingenuity, perserverence, long hours are the keys to success in business.  Government is something you deal with and in some cases put up with.
      The President has never managed or owned a business. One can see why he sees the world through a different prism.
New York City small-business owners take exception to President Obama’s statement that they didn’t make it on their own - NYPOST.com

Anthony Weiner begins Operation Comeback with a puff piece and baby photos in People magazine - NYPOST.com

   The rehabilitation of Anthony Weiner continues as the Post continues its clever headlines and People magazine is invited into the Weiner home to do a photo on the defrocked Congressman, his wife Huma Abedin and their newborn.

     There are lots of denials that Mr. Weiner wants back in politics, but he definately likes being in the game. His family man photos make a great image, but its going to be hard to overcome the giggling over his bulge posts and worse his lies over them.
      

Anthony Weiner begins Operation Comeback with a puff piece and baby photos in People magazine - NYPOST.com

HSBC to Exit on Friday

    While it's parent company is making news for an international money laundering scandal, HSBC quietly exits the North Country tomorrow as its remaining branches are transferred to Community Bank. Earlier this year the bulk of HSBC upstate banks were sold to First Niagara.
     HSBC and its prior name Marine Midland were for decades a dominant force in local banking, but with a sale pending many customers have migrated elsewhere as confusion and uncertainty shrouded the sales.
      The HSBC branches will remain open under their new name, but since they are adjacent to existing Community branches, one has to assume at some point that will change too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

For the First Time, Canadians Now Richer Than Americans - US News and World Report

   Canadians are now wealthier than us.....OK, we really welcome them to visit us an shop then.
For the First Time, Canadians Now Richer Than Americans - US News and World Report

Police Called as Dog Owner Refuses to Leave

    A stir at the Farmer's Market today as police had to ask a woman with a German Shepherd to leave as dogs are no longer allowed in places of public assembly.
    A vendor told me the dog was interacting with children and the owner claimed she was training the animal to be a search and rescue dog. When asked to leave she refused. The matter was later defused after the woman met with the new Manager.

    Let me be as plain as I can. The organizers of the Market don't want dogs. Most people don't want their small children exposed in such close quarters to strange dogs...and finally, the Market is a place to sell food and animals are not appropriate or allowed in restaurants or supermarkets. Also, people don't want to be part of anyone else's animal training regimen.
     Please show respect for the ordinance. Most of you are.
   

Doheny Has Marching Band

   If Matt Doheny doesn't win the NY21 race this fall it won't be for lack of trying. His incessant campaign schedule led him to the Lewis County Fair where he has his own travelling Doheny for Congress marching band and legions of supporters in T-shirts.
   I am not one to care much about the "issues" as I am cynical and jaded. However, I do like political theater and this is good stuff.
    Enthusiasm counts for something and I haven't seen much in the Owens world. They never send a picture and this blog is the easiest place to get a free plug seen by the political cogniscenti.
    

WDT: Three city projects competing for regional economic development funding

     A new round of competition for state funding will have localities and local groups submitting what are called CFA's (combined funding applications) in hopes of something for nothing.
      The applications in part are reviewed and rated by the Governor's Regional Councils.
     The City is once again seeking help on making upgrades to the Fairgrounds Arena which has become a popular venue for many events and will now be home to the Privateers hockey team.       

Watertown Daily Times | Three city projects competing for regional economic development funding

Arpaio: Obama birth record 'definitely fraudulent'

     Why is a sheriff in Arizona continuing to conduct his own probe of President Obama's birth certificate ? Maricopa County's Joe Arpaio continue to pursue the issue, which for most is resolved. The Sheriff says the certificate is false and claims an interview with a 95 year old former birth records person from Hawaii proves his case.
    Aren't the birthers already voting against the President ?
Arpaio: Obama birth record 'definitely fraudulent' - Yahoo! News

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blistering Heat Doesn't Stop the Political Class from Heralding Half Way Mark of Nursing Home

   In sweltering heat on the top of Washington Street Hill, pols, hospital execs, nursing home patients and others gathered to mark the half way point on construction of the new nursing home that will open next March and result in the final closing of Mercy Health Care.
    It looks like a gorgeous facility, and work has proceeded quickly.
    It was so hot, I don't think anyone wanted to hear speeches and I had to leave early to get back to work.
Pretty in Pink Senator Patty Ritchie greets  Sam/Keep residents attending ceremony
     The Tuesday afternoon ceremonies included a "topping off" of the beams holding up the four story complex.
       

WDT: Too Hot Today for Anything But Swimming...Cooler WX Towards Weekend

    Today's heat nixed many Recreation activities in Watertown, but this Saturday the weather will be great as the JB Wise Pavillion opens for public use.
     The Saturday Farmers Market will hold their weekly event.
      The pavillion is part of a series of downtown projects now completed. Indviduals or groups are welcome to use the facility and it is expected downtown events will find a home there.
Watertown Daily Times | City recreation activities scrubbed due to heat

Jefferson County: High Heat Warning

    Take extra care today as the great summer weather also creates risks for the more vulnerable.
     A heat and humidity alert has been issued and temperatures are expected to be near 90 today...That's a lot for NNY residents.
Jefferson County: High Heat Warning

Kate Spurns New York Athletes for MoTown Pitcher

      It's clear the JETS Mark Sanchez couldn't keep up the pace and underage and underdressed model Kate Upton has opted for baseball, taking up with Detroit Tigers star pitcher Justin Verlander. The hurler is 29. Kate is 20.

       The Sports Illustrated model loves athletes. Verlander is 10-5 this year but was Cy Young Award winner last year with 24 wins.

Is Kate Upton dating Justin Verlander? Sports Illustrated supermodel spends weekend with star Detroit Tigers pitcher | Mail Online

Jet-setting Hillary Clinton breaks travel record - NYPOST.com

       The hard worker in the Obama Administration is the person Democrats rejected for the top spot in favor of The One.
        Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has broken travel records on behalf of the nation by visiting 102 countries and traveling about 850,000 miles since taking the top foriegn policy post in 2009.
Jet-setting Hillary Clinton breaks travel record - NYPOST.com

WDT: Sales Tax Increases Allow Government as Usual to Continue

     Robust sales tax numbers and the formulas used to distribute the local share are touted a a means to hold the line on property taxes, but the revenue stream is also a disincentive to changing anything.
      The use of sales tax as the primary revenue source for local government has allowed the cost of local services to be spread over a much larger base than solely using property taxes which garner controversy when raised.
      Jefferson County's (and the City and towns) haul on sales tax was up 11% in the last quarter compared to a year ago.
      Imagine if someone proposed a 20 to25% increase in property taxes, as that is what would be needed to achieve the same increase in revenue.
      Since sales tax is a flat tax, escalating gas prices or overall inflation actually increase governments take meaning things that are tough on the folks are looked at differently by government bean counters.
Watertown Daily Times | Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties’ sales tax revenues jump slightly in second quarter

NCPR News - Is New York "Open for Business"? Kind of.

      Despite the PR campaign, New York State is still struggling with its national image as being hostile to business. CNBC ranks the Empire State 50th in business friendliness and 34th in overall business climate.

       Governor Cuomo says he doesn't deny that has been the image but says his administration gets it and is trying to change things. 
NCPR News - Is New York "Open for Business"? Kind of.

WDT: You Are Now Ready to Hear the News

   The deal had been cut weeks ago, but details are finally spoon fed today thru a local political blog.
    County Legislator Steve Harter has resigned his seat and a fellow named Mike Montigelli has been annoited to succeed him.
     Mr. Harter has moved out of District 5 and the resignation comes too late to force an election to fill the remainder of the term. That's good, as we would not want anyone having to run for the remaining year on the term.
     If little old me had heard Mr. Montigelli's name two or three weeks ago, why did it have to be under wraps til know ?
     

Watertown Daily Times | Harter steps down

Monday, July 16, 2012

History Made....Graham and Gorman Have Meeting of Minds

   After two years of discussing a way to renovate the Zoo Aviary into a new use, it was economics that ended the plan and prompted City Council and the Zoo Board to agree on a different way to improve neglected aspects of the Thompson Park facility.
    Plans to turn the unused bird house into a classroom proved too difficult and expensive, forcing the relook.
    I outlined a plan for an open air pavillion at the aviary site complemented by overdue city help on fixing up the adjacent Children's Zoo.  Thompson Park Conservancy Vice President Bob Gorman embraced the plan as a way to continue a quarter century partnership between the Conservancy and the City, while also staying within numbers originally budgeted for Zoo improvements.
    Both bodies will meet in two weeks to firm up the proposal.
    When a million dollar price tag surfaced for the aviary rehab, everyone realized it just didn't make sense to continue, but still wanted to work together on building a better facility.
     Looks like that is going to happen.
     As for Bob's visit to the Council Chambers I preside over....well, they say only Cold Warrior Richard Nixon could have made the trip to China to thaw relations.

Finally, A Bobblehead We Can Believe In.....Liz Edges First Gal

      As Charlie Rangel knows a plurality is just as good as a majority when you win...So it is with YNN political pundit Liz Benjamin as she edges out the Governor's girlfriend Sandra Lee in our straw poll to see who should be the next subject of Bobblehead Night at 'The Joe' in Troy.
       I would be proud to have a Liz bobblehead next to Sarah and Yolonda on my desk at City Hall.
   Sarah Palin and Yolonda Vega Bobbleheads Next to a Photo of Zeppelin
    Recently the ball team in the Collar City gave away 1500 Andrew Cuomo bobbleheads, prompting my on line poll on whether readers prefer the Governor, his girl Sandra , Liz or curmedgeonly NY Post State Editor Fred Dicker.
         Liz With Former YNN Screen Mates During 2010 Election Cycle
         If the Lottery can put out a bobblehead for First Lady of Numbers Yolonda Vega, surely Time Warner could do the same for their popular anchor. 

City Stuff on a Hot Monday

      City revenues got a bit of good news today as quarterly sales tax numbers continued to perform ahead of budget...That's good because the dry summer is going to decimate hydro revenues at the Marble Street plant.
      With ten properties to auction off that were taken for taxes, the City will exceed the modest $20K budget for that line item.
       I was busy today talking about Zoo matters in the wake of the sky high bids on the former Aviary. I will have more to say on that tonight.
        The new manager and I chatted early today and she was immersed in policy stuff all day. Sharon Addison is on the job as the permanent manager.
        Tonights meeting will see yet another request for fee waiving. Good grief.
       

WDT: Endorsement Time

   Let the endorsements begin...the annoiting with political oil....
    The Chamber of Commerce backs Doheny...Every union on the planet will endorse Owens.  Republicans will endorse the Republican and Democrats will endorse the Democrat.
      Everybody will claim to be the Great White Hunter to get the NRA nod.
      Don't pay attention to any of it, and vote for who you want...That's the endorsement you should be concerned with.
       Although if Catwoman weighs in on NY21 I may have to take notice.
Watertown Daily Times | U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorses Doheny

NPR: Kooky or Quirky ? Or Living in a Different Paradigm, Green Candidate Soldiers On in NY 21

   The revolution is gaining steam. That's the message of eclectic Green Party candidate for Congress Donald Hassig. Mr. Hassig was interviewed for Public Radio and gave some insight into his long shot candidacy, which he admits will not result in him being in Congress come January.
    Mr. Hassig rails against the two party duopoly and the corporate interests they take turn bowing to.

     The candidate has been an environmental activist for years and is dimissed by most in the media as a kook. Of course the media is well marinated in the two party scam Mr. Hassig talks about.
      We will see if these much touted debates offer the third vision of Mr. Hassig. I suspect they will not.
      Is it because he is a kook ? Or can't win ? Or has no prospect of buying air time ?
NCPR News - Congressional campaigning as a tool for the revolution: Don Hassig and the NY-21

WDT: Doheny offers health-care alternatives, which Owens dismisses

   Wow, some rationale and measured talk on health care reform without the usual hyperbole and platitudes heard in the national debate on the issue.
    Republican Matt Doheny has taken a stab at explaining where he would like to see the nation go if and when ObamaCare was repealed.  I think there is a market for calm voices because I for one am tiring of the FOX-MSNBC shouting match....And if someone like me is sick of it, you know its over the top.
     Doheny has the blessing of being a smart guy who understands the core issues and rhetorically can cut to the bone if he has to (obviously he has an idealogical bent which some disagree with).  Like most candidates, he runs the risk of having his message muddled by the filter of political professionals, which their bushel baskets of BS, cliches and talking points.
       Unfortunately there are few arenas for candidates to talk directly to voters. I once urged the candidate to adopt those old Perot flip chart style commercials which were very effective until the candidate imploded for other reasons.
         That idea was dismissed as the incoherent ramblings of someone around politics for too long.
Watertown Daily Times | Doheny offers health-care alternatives, which Owens dismisses

Gov. Cuomo uses BlackBerry pin-to-pin messaging system to contact key staffers when they can't talk on the phone - NY Daily News

    I am with the Governor on this one. I don't like using e-mail either, and in fact it's not that effective a way to communicate unless you are constantly checking it and sorting through the hundreds of junk emails. Then there is the security issue, as whatever you muse about is public in theory and routinely ends up as part of litigation and court cases.
      Many times e-mails just don't get read, or at least read in a timely manner. 
Gov. Cuomo uses BlackBerry pin-to-pin messaging system to contact key staffers when they can't talk on the phone - NY Daily News

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Transition Happens Quietly As Hiring Makes Way for the Real Work Ahead

   With the passing of midnight the administration of city government has another smooth and seamless transition as John Krol's stewardship gives way to new manager Sharon Addison.
     Everybody involved did a great job in ensuring a successful hiring and transition.
For me, there is a welcoming meeting at 8:30 and then Ms. Addison is on her own with a busy first day ending in the 7PM Council meeting.
      The new manager has the cooperation of staff who seem anxious to complete the transition put in motion by City Council's actions last January.
      I have heard only positive and supportive comments about her hiring and arrival, and I know there were those skeptical we would get to this point so quickly and smoothly.
       City Council is directly responsible for only the hiring of two people...The manager and the city clerk.   In a rare confluence of events, both had to be done by this Council in the span of a year. I will leave it to residents to judge the results.
        I am glad the task is done.

Big Cats Story Gets Many Responses

    I received many comments and e-mails from animal lovers and activists over my skeptical view of the big cat show at the County Fair.
    While many people watched the lions and tigers crowd into the fenced in show ring, there are those who see these shows as cruel.
     It's an inconvenient truth to speak your mind on such shows, as you are immediately guilty of berating an institution and our agrarian past. However I appreciate the kind comments from those also uncomfortable with this use of wild animals.

Weiner Ponders Run for Mayor

      People severely into politics sometimes find it difficult to adapt to "civilian" life. So it probably is for political junkie Anthony Weiner, the former Congressman who resigned last year after texting one too many provocative photos and then lying about it.
       Weiner still has a $4.5 M warchest and could run for Mayor of NYC next year or could seek the office of Public Advocate and use that as a springboard to 2017.
         It's hard to keep a good weiner down.
EXCLUSIVE: Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner 'seriously considering' running for NYC mayor - NYPOST.com

MGV: Over Two Years Has Passed Since Aviary Made News

     Time flies...but in the case of the former Zoo Aviary, it's dragged on. I looked up my initial post on the proposed razing which surfaced in April 2010, over two years ago.   All the discussions since then come full circle Monday night as Council talks about bids to renovate which are clearly too high to accept.
       Wish I had a nickel for every time I asked staff how the project was coming, although I did not participate directly in the talks involving staff, architect and zoo people.
        My strong comments in favor of keeping the structure angered some at the time, but I thought we had a consensus going on a new use for the 1978 building. Originally, the thought was to due the long overdue repairs to make it more functional.
       What I regret is the length of time this took. Council will make the next move after discussion over the next few weeks.
        As for the turkeys living there now...It was Ben Franklin who wanted them as the Nation's symbol. 
Mayor Graham's View: The Night They Tore the Aviary Down !

Doheny Has Lots of Donors Too, Although the Profile Differs

     While I was looking over Rep. Owens' latest finance reports yesterday, I took a look at the year to date donations for opponent Matt Doheny, at least up till June.
      The differences are there although I did see one man had donated to both candidates.
      The Doheny donors include lots of people from his occupation. Bankers, finance folks, and lawyers. Most are from the NYC area and are in the $2500 range. Some are surely friends and acquaintances. Others may be GOP givers who were told who to donate to.
      There were PACs, including the Eye of the Tiger PAC.  Mostly they were conservative groups aimed at keeping Republicans in charge of the House.
     The 'Every Republican is Crucial' PAC or the "Prosperity" PAC are among those listed.
     Of course the Doheny report is devoid of big labor money, although Cape Vincent Supervisor Urban Hirschey did drop two grand, while popular Watertown attorney Lee Hector donated $250.  There was a similar donation noted from the Mayor of Watertown, and one was in there from the head of the local hospital as well.
      There were the Kruegers from Connecticut who combined for $12,500 in donations. Not Freddy, I hope.

WDT: Council Likely to Have Lots of Questions Why Zoo Project Ended Up So Costly

      The way-over budget bids for converting the aviary in the Zoo to a venue for public assembly was surely a disappointment for City Council and an 'I told you so' moment for those who two years ago announced they wanted to knock down the thirty year old exhibit space.
      The structure was built during the years of Mayor Karl R. Burns and was in it's day a bid at breathing life into the Zoo at a time of serious problems there.
      In 2003, a fund raising campaign was held  to improve the aviary. There is still a plaque with names of donors on the building, which now houses a pair of turkeys and nothing more.  The proposal to demolish came in a perfunctory memo and surprised Council members who grew up in a Watertown where the building was at the center of the Zoo.
       A unanimous City Council wanted to provide renewed use for the building and authorized plans to be drawn in conjunction with City and Zoo officials.

Aviary As It Is Today Houses Just Two Turkeys
       Initially, Council wanted to correct the stated deficiencies which had been allowed to accumulate over time, but the project morphed into an enclosed learning center and that prompted lots of codes issues including adding rest rooms even though the building is about 30 feet from the main Zoo building where there are such amenities.
       More recently, the Zoo had suggested addition of technology to allow for "distance learning" efforts with area school districts unable to make field trips.
       The bidding process allows Council to reassess where the project has evolved and that will certainly not include a million dollar rebuild.
       Step one is to find out why bid estimates were so far off and step two is for rational people to sit down and discuss  what direction to head next.
       Those discussions will include Zoo Director John Wright and incoming Zoo Board Chair Bob Gorman.
Watertown Daily Times | Council members to discuss high bids for zoo’s aviary project

WDT: Ritchie Campaign Has an "Oops"

   A dispute over an improperly printed campaign check that included a phone number at the County Clerks office represents an error for sure, but Democratic reaction to it is an indication they intend to try and make a race of it in the 48th District, where Senator Patty Ritchie is being challenged by Oswego County Legislator Amy Tressider.
       Democrats have jumped on the miscue, charging it is a lapse in ethics and judgement. Republicans acknowledged the error and say it has been corrected.
        The Tressider campaign was aided last week by a story where the candidate's image was digitally removed from a ribbon cutting photo by someone presumably trying to not offend the Senator.  It was a bush league move....but one Ms. Ritchie's office denies any involvement with.
           Ms. Tressider is a long shot candidate, but she is a St. Lawrence County native who now holds office in Oswego County, giving her some traction on both ends of the three county district. She is being aided by the wily Middle Class Mike (Michael Flynn), an old style, shrewd pol not afraid to mix it up.
          In the end, these kind of free stories provide an opening for Ms. Tressider, but it still comes down to money and organization, both of which Ms. Ritchie has a large lead in. 
          Then there also is the issue of who voters want in charge of the Senate....Republicans, or Democrats headed by current minority leader John Sampson, who just wrecked a new state owned vehicle in an accident in NYC.
         

Watertown Daily Times | Ritchie denies ethical lapse