Saturday, February 2, 2013

San Francisco officials brace for Super Bowl aftermath

      Such a shame that a city has to brace for vandals and thugs in the wake of something as exciting as the home team going to the Super Bowl.
      So it is in the City by the Bay as officials cross their fingers hoping criminals feigning fanhood don't go on a rampage like last year's Giant's World Series win.
      Too bad the little guy, small business owner has to bear the brunt of such behavior which is all to common these days.
San Francisco officials brace for Super Bowl aftermath

Former First Dog Barney Dead at Age 12

     The Scottish Terrier George and Laura Bush brough with them to the White House has died of lymphoma at age 12.  The announcement of Barney's passing came in a statement today from the Bush family.
George W. Bush’s dog Barney dies

Magazine: Watertown "Insane"

     This article in Firehouse Magazine isn't exactly true but there is no doubt the Watertown Fire Department is being proactive in telling the world something was taken from them that wasn't.
    Building inspections are done by the Code Enforcement Office which happens to have two firefighters assigned to it. They are trained and authorized to issue citations that can be prosecuted.  There was an April 17, 2012 letter from the then city manager to halt unannounced courtesy inspections on grounds I won't go into here. It was indeed done on the way out the door, but the two succesive managers have affirmed support for the action, which actually occured some years ago.
     In fact, the current city manager has offered to create a separate "mapping" program in which the Department can visit places of public assembly with the prearrangement of the property owners. No one disputes the advantage of being familiar with the turf. In fact the manager has met personally with the various battalions to establish a rapport.
    She has also outlined her take on the upcoming city budget, which is really what this may all be about.  We would be glad to discuss that topic with anyone, including Firehouse Magazine.    
Watertown Firefighters Ordered to Stop Inspecting and Pre-planning

Chili and Fire Dancing Highlight Chilly Day

      It was a respite from a bitter Groundhog Day today as folks crowded the State Office Building for the annual Chili Cookoff sponsored by the Volunteer Transportation Center.
Food Galore at Chili Cookoff

        Amidst all the food was also an interesting stage act. Local fire dancers called FireMagick were performing. They couldn't actually light up today as last weeks Brazilian nightclub fire made officials skittish. Actually what they do is not at all the same but maybe its just as well.
Dancer from FireMagick
     In any event the chili smelled good and it was definately appreciated on such a chilly day.
      Today the groundhog did not see his shadow, signalling an early spring...Didn't seem like the rodent has his mojo today as the forecast is anything but.

Lady Gaga Best Watch Out or Her Aides Will Unionize -

   This Lady Gaga trial with the former personal aide now demanding to be paid overtime is what's wrong with society.
    Gaga may be demanding and eccentric as that is what gives her the show business genious to be a worldwide icon and multimillionaire.
     If you want to work for her, you either accept the deal offered or you don't, and like any job, if you don't like it, there's the door. (This did seem a rather demanding job, but hanging out with a pop diva 24/7 is a unique opportunity).
     This is not a traditional job or a typical job regulated by wage and hour legislation.
      It is funny the liberal supporter of our President is accused of exploiting workers in a very non-union sort of way.
Lady Gaga’s assistant has had enough and is taking it to court -

WDT: Meet the New Redistrictors...Same as the Old Ones

       In 2014 NY residents will vote on a constitutional amendment  to "reform" the decennial redrawing of legislative districts by creating a ten member body to recommend maps. The notion is to take the "politics" out of the process, although one would think it's hard to take politics out of politics.
        Eight of the ten members will be chosen by the legislative leaders, people who are well marinated in the increasingly spurned world of elephants and donkeys.  They will be people with a June O'Neill-like devotion to party.
       The four Republicans and four Democrats will then pick two other members who are not aligned with a party (not registered in a party for previous five years).  Gee, that could be me.
       Those members will then be subject to all sorts of influence peddling and deal making. 
        People who think an independent, bi-partisan commission can function outside of party influence need only ask President Samuel Tilden.
        Besides, if you look at the new 46th Senate District, even a gerrymandered map can blow up in the face of the perpetrators.

Watertown Daily Times | N.Y. redistricting

Friday, February 1, 2013


     I was sitting at Pete's and there was a candle on the bar.. I like a little scent so I ask the nice lady next to me if she had a match. We lit it and were promptly informed it had to be extinguished as it might mask the smell of the food..
   Sure the food is good, but we are in the bar. Anyway, I respect the owner's wishes and will live without the scent.
    Anyway, that afront aside, what is up for the weekend ?
    Well, I have asked Council to review the job being done by the manager and clerk as the Charter mandated review of the pair is due by March 1 and spring break will deplete our ranks, so it needs to be done soon.
    We had a nice gathering today for Wear Red for Women Day and City Hall turned out, although one person confused fuschia with red.
     Oh, and I thought you might like a glimpse inside the Mayor's office. Here is a photo. In my last campaign, a Ward Street resident confronted me with the charge he had "heard" that there was a picture of Sarah Palin in my office. There are two.

NY state's racing, lottery agencies merge -

    A consolidation proposed last year has taken effect. The Racing and Wagering Board and the Lottery are one. Don't know what it means..Maybe one less executive director job to appoint to ?
     Meanwhile this year's argument is who gets to pick the locations of the Governor's proposed new non-Indian casinos.
     You would think Rochester would get one for the LG....Sullivan County for all the people longing for the Borscht Belt and Henny Youngman....and maybe the Capital District so the Legislature will have something to do when they are not acquiescing to the will of the Governor.
NY state's racing, lottery agencies merge -

NYC Mourns Loss of Colorful Mayor Ed Koch Who Died Early Today

   "How Am I Doing ?"   You did just fine Mayor.
    Ed Koch died early today, ending the storied career of a quintissential mayor of the Big Apple.
    After a fiery 12 years dealing with the City's fiscal problems in the 70s and 80s, Mayor Koch remained on the scene, in most recent years as a truth teller about the dysfunction in Albany.
    Mayor Koch was a talk show host and on-TV judge on the People's Court.
Speaking at the 2004 RNC

    Most of all Ed Koch epitomized New York with his feisty, but ebullient attitude.
     Hizzoner gave me a highlight of my political and radio career with a live 2010 interview on the HOTLINE.
     Ed Koch was the mayor who was there.  RIP.

Edward I. Koch, Ex-Mayor of New York, Dies -

WDT: Jefferson County Historical Society made a $14,000 profit in 2012

   The Jefferson County Historical Society is a quiet organization that cherishes and promotes local history and maintains a quaint and interesting museum downtown in a mansion that allows us to see up close the way it was in an earlier time.
    The Society has marshalled its resources and is operating in the black. It seems a responsible way to run a "not for profit". 
Watertown Daily Times | Jefferson County Historical Society made a $14,000 profit in 2012

Caps on arbitrated pay stokes fire - Times Union

      A minor proposal by Governor Cuomo to limit wage awards in cases of binding arbitration for police and firefighters has brought rage from the union representing smokeeaters. They say the cap on awards is a frontal assault on labor by a "purportedly progressive governor in a state that is a citadel for organized labor."
      In New York, you only get to call yourself progressive if you never cross the public employee unions and that's why the Governor was only able to make modest progress last year on pension reform.
      The state's Taylor Law granted binding arbitration to the uniformed services in exchange for their right to strike.
Caps on arbitrated pay stokes fire - Times Union

Thursday, January 31, 2013

NYS driver’s licenses to be printed in black and white - YNN, Your News Now

          So the new licenses will be black and white....Progress.
NYS driver’s licenses to be printed in black and white - YNN, Your News Now

Obamacare Starts to Take Hold

      So next year on your tax return you have to declare where your health insurance comes from, or face a whopping $95 fine.....Ooooooh!
      The penalties get larger, although only two percent of Americans are expected to be fined for not bowing to Obamacare. As the particulars of the plan take effect, it will be interesting.
Few may pay for skipping health insurance, new regs show - Vitals


    Today, I stopped by City Hall and chatted with the manager on a few topics and complimented her on the job done on negotiating a new Privateers contract for next season.
    I am   glad this year went well and the compensation to the City is fair and seems to end the notion that everything has to be "free for me."   We can support a worthwhile venture without being oblivious to market forces.
     I also visited a new business today. The new tavern on State Street called The Hub is where Hamilton's Poor House used to be.
     There are once again two bars on this block after a period in the 90s when a neighborhood citizen's group worked to sink the two taverns that had long been there.
     The young couple owning the Hub has done a nice job on the property and you can see the hard work and investment when you visit.
     This year we have seen several neighborhood taverns open in town and hopefully people will rediscover the value of gathering with friends at a place where they know your name. After that I went to Great American and bought some limes and lemons  and one orange just in case somebody wants a Blue Moon with fruit....Remember when you just cracked open a Schaefer or a UC and that was it ?
      After that I went to Smith Restaurant to buy a couple of things. Earlier in the week I was at Seaway Sales and Black River Paper....I like to do business everywhere, it's the politician in me.
      Also had a visit from NCC Systems today to inspect my fire alarm and I passed although they say new state mandates will force the little guy to buy lots of new sensors in the next couple of years.
       Guess I better get that empty apartment rented to help pay for what Albany wants.
        Tomorrow I have a proclamation for Wear Red day, so I have to find my red dress shirt....and Saturday, its the Chili Festival at the SOB. That's a milestone as it marks the beginning of the downside of winter.

Bill Owens draws bipartisan crowd in Glens Falls

       North Country Congressman Bill Owens was in Glens Falls this week meeting with constituents in counties he didn't carry last fall in his reelection bid agianst Republican Matt Doheny. For the Congressman, after winning two reelection bids against a spirited opponent, its a chance to consolidate his incumbency as it looks like there will be no significant opposition for some time.
Rep. Bill Owens Meets Constituents in Glens Falls Office

    Press accounts say Mr. Owens was well received and tried to address local issues in the Lake George area including getting rid of Asian clams in the Lake.
     Winning the district three times three years is no small fete and I am sure Mr. Owens looks forward to a political breather.
Owens draws bipartisan crowd in Glens Falls

Labrador retrievers pass Yorkshire terriers as most popular purebred in NYC -

   With the Westminster Dog Show on top, a survey in NYC shows tiny Yorkies have yielded to the Labrador Retriever as the city that never sleeps top dog.
    New Yorkers may be wanting a more substantial animal and not one they can put in their Louis Vuitton hand bag.
Labrador retrievers pass Yorkshire terriers as most popular purebred in NYC -

Will gun owners go along with NY's tough new law? | NCPR News

   Gun owners dressed in camo showed up this week at an informational session in Lake Placid on the new Cuomo gun law.
   Nobody seemed to walk away happy and this NPR piece asks the question, will NNY gun owners comply with the law on so called assault weapons.
    My guess is mostly yes as folks up here are law abiding. There are lots of laws in this state that don't leave you warm and fuzzy, but with so many cops, it would be hard to get away with it unless you plan to never take the weapon in question out from under the bed.
Will gun owners go along with NY's tough new law? | NCPR News

WDT:St. Lawrence County legislators support minimum wage increase

    I don't see any point in a local county legislature passing a resolution on the minimum wage increase likely to come down from Albany, but St. Lawrence County did just that, by a 9-4 margin.
    Funny, lawmakers in the Big County want to raise wages and raise the sales tax. Who gets ahead under that scenario ?
Watertown Daily Times | St. Lawrence County legislators support minimum wage increase

Could the JETS Win a Senate Seat ?

   With the swirl of scandal getting closer to Senator Robert Menedez of New Jersey, those in politics who enjoy picking the carcass are already speculating on who Governor Christie would appoint to the seat should Mr. Menedez really be in trouble.
   Last night, there was speculation NY JETS owner Woody Johnson would be a choice. He has money to run for reelection, is respected in the Garden State, and has been talked about before as a possible GOP candidate.
    Woody Johnson owns the JETS and like so many team owners has had to endure teams that just don't cut it. This year Gang Green were 6-10 with fans fleeing over the Mark Sanchez melt down.
     A lot would have to happen for Woody Johnson to become a US Senator, but the chances are likely greater than the JETS winning a Super Bowl.
RealClearPolitics - Republicans Raise Prospect of Johnson Senate Bid in N.J.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rihanna admits to dating Chris Brown: A mistake? It’s my mistake -

    All the time and money spent prosecuting  rapper Chris Brown for roughing up girlfriend Rihanna and the pop star is back with him.
    Next time he beats her, should the police respond ?
Rihanna admits to dating Chris Brown: A mistake? It’s my mistake -

Feds raid office of doc who allegedly provided male escorts to Sen. Menendez -

      With the rumor mill swirling more intensely around NY Senator Bob Menendez, I wonder if Governor Chris Christie is already musing over appointing a replacement ?
       The prostitute story has now migrated from right wing blogs to the MSM...Not a good sign for the Senator, considered a top Democrat in the upper house.
       Feds raid office of doc who allegedly provided male escorts to Sen. Menendez -

Courtesy Call on an Important Neighbor

    On this balmy January day, the city manager and I took some time to visit with the newly intalled president of New York Air Brake, Michael Hawthorne.
    Mr. Hawthorne is a Harrisville native and took over from Paul Morgan. The Air Brake employs over 400 people in the manufacture of a series of high tech braking systems for railroads around the world.
     The firm is still a great addition to our community and we salute all those working there.
      It is good to see a local firm competing so well in such a sophisticated market.

Is Cuomo making the state look good at county taxpayer expense? : News :

   Of course he is, but nothing will ever change without a crisis.
Is Cuomo making the state look good at county taxpayer expense? : News :

NYPD cops handcuff and interrogate innocent 7-year-old for 10 hours over $5 dispute at school, says his mom -

   A playground dispute over $5 has now become a big lawsuit and public relations black eye for the NYPD after the handcuffing and interrogating of a seven year boy has led to front page news.
    As usual, the government compounds the matter by insisting all was done properly and appropriately. Meanwhile school officials are wringing their hands of the matter as well, although you wonder why such a minor incident required even calling the police.
NYPD cops handcuff and interrogate innocent 7-year-old for 10 hours over $5 dispute at school, says his mom -

WDT: Jefferson County seeks Attorney General’s help to investigate Sheriff’s Department

      Republican lawmakers are looking to Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to get them out of a political thicket by investigating the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department's handling of the case of an apparent drunken deputy who got a pass when a fellow deputy responded to a 911 call about a cop slumped over the wheel of his cruiser.
     To me, the events are self apparent and finding a state agency willing to do a free probe will not accomplish much, nor will it provide insight to other incidents which have piled up and created editorial board pressure on lawmakers to do something.     
Watertown Daily Times | Jefferson County seeks Attorney General’s help to investigate Sheriff’s Department

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Every Parent Should Be Buying

       The perfect gateway gift for your toddler to get them into the culture of tattoos.
      Available at Seaway Sales at Factory Square. Pick some up and get started.

Cuomo Plan Takes Friendly Fire

    Meanwhile the pension proposal...which for local governments is the biggest part of the Cuomo getting a cool reception from Mr. Cuomo's handpicked co-chair of the Democratic Party.....
   Mayor Stephanie Miner of Syracuse says the plan may not be viable and could saddle municipalities with unknown future liabilities.
    Trouble in Democratic paradise.
     Not all mayors are opposed...the Hizzoners in Albany and Yonkers have praised the Cuomo plan.
Morning Memo: Pension Problems?

Cuomo Dings DiNapoli Over Pension Rate Plan...

   Governor Cuomo's proposal to smooth out pension increases into a fixed rate for cities,towns,villages and school districts may put him at odds with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli who actually is responsible for managing the pension system.
   The Governor may have the upper hand. Mr. Cuomo started running commercials statewide today urging prompt passage of his budget which includes the pension plan designed to give relief against staggeringly high contribution rates.
   Here in Watertown the check stroked this week was for $3.9M, up from $3.1M last fiscal year...Yikes !
    It's going through the roof because the oft-sweetened plan is a case of chickens coming home to roost.
    Supposedly the Tier Six adopted last year will help down the road, although I think it will take more tiers to put a realistic plan in place.
     That being said, the Governor's plan to allow localities to fix rates far below where they are now may be a good deal as more changes will surely come down long before the 25 year rate fix is completed.  In short, the rates proposed will force a further look at a defined contribution plan, which ultimately is where we want to be.
      As things stand now, the city budget coming out this spring reflects those realities...and while other city's are far worse off, the Cuomo pension deal of "smoothing rate increases" may be the best alternative short of reductions in force.     
Cuomo Dings DiNapoli (Updated)

Mali: Angry Looters Hit Timbuktu's Streets

    Those Islamic militants are stirring up trouble from here to Timbuktu...literally.
Looks like the war on terrorism isn't going as well as the White House has been saying since Joe Biden declared 'Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive !"
Mali: Angry Looters Hit Timbuktu's Streets

Blighted home that says Detroit is going bankrupt: Families flee leaving whole streets empty and broken because governor has not made enough cuts | Mail Online

        An eerie site in what was once a bustling population center....In Detroit people are fleeing blighted neighborhoods as entire streets empty out and the city teeters on the edge of insolvency.
           How's that hope and change you voted for workin' out for you, Motor City ?
Blighted home that says Detroit is going bankrupt: Families flee leaving whole streets empty and broken because governor has not made enough cuts | Mail Online

Brother of “rubber room” teacher who earned $1 million for not teaching says: “What do you expect? He’s union.” -

   New York City's longest occupant of the "rubber room" has now clocked over a million dollars in salary while not having taught in a classroom for over 13 years after being yanked on charges he sexually acosted students.
    The man's brothers tells the Post its the City's fault.
Brother of “rubber room” teacher who earned $1 million for not teaching says: “What do you expect? He’s union.” -

Governor Tells Whining Mayors: No More Cash

   Governor Cuomo says upstate cities squeezed by years of cushy contracts, declining population and devalued properties will not be getting more aid in the form of cash from Albany.
    Instead the Governor says the cities broken business models may need to be addressed by financial control boards if mayors don't do the trick.
     The clamor for cash has pitted Democratic co-chair and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner against the Governor.
     Meanwhile two mayors, from Albany and Yonkers, are on board with Mr. Cuomo's pension plan to shift payments out to het future, thus lowering current year obligations.
Fiscal fix for ailing cities - Times Union

Mayor Dracula ? -

    Too gothic ? Too edgy?  Too avante garde ? Too much like Dracula ?
     All questions asked by the Post today as a routine cover story for New York Magazine becomes a publicity boost for likely mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn.
      While the male candidates to succeed Mayor Bloomberg will not be accused by being too "fashionista",  the glamor shot of Ms. Quinn may play well in Manhattan, although maybe not in the outer boroughs.
      In the off year of 2013, the Big Apple selection of its first new mayor in 12 years will be of interest.
       Especially since back here in Watertown, there are no likely contested elections this year for anything.
Christine Quinn vamps it up for an edgy cover photo -

WDT: Corporate park plan at Watertown airport gains momentum

     With the demise of traditional industry, a government run plot with cheap land for businesses is now called a "corporate park" and Jefferson County officials are planning one for land surrounding the Watertown Airport.
      Its actually not a new idea. I remember decades ago, then Mayor Karl Burns headed the former Airport Commission and was an advocate for airport-based incubator businesses at the site near Dexter. There are actually one or two buildings across from the airport resulting from that effort.
      So, there is nothing new under the Sun and we renew the debate. I only know its not new because I have some of that institutional knowledge that you read about every day in the obits.
Watertown Daily Times | Corporate park plan at Watertown airport gains momentum

Post Standard End Daily Print Editions This Week

    The venerable Syracuse Post Standard ends its run as a daily paper this week, dropping to Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday with a beefed up on-line presence, all in an effort to preserve its brand in an industry that has gone sour in the Internet age.
     Talk to anyone under say age 45 or even look at your own media habits and its no secret why papers are scrambling to do something.
     Classifieds, sports scores, obituaries,weather, stocks,matters of public by one the reasons for reading a paper have been stripped away by newer media just as broadcast media stripped away breaking news over the past fifty years.
     While the depth and institutional knowledge of a community-based paper is important, the market forces are in a different direction. We see that in Watertown, where the upstart Newzjunky, basicly run by one man out of his house, has swung like a wrecking ball through NNY media.
       It's kind of like the Post Office, which this week is again being talked about as a very sick patient. We are all used to six day a week delivery and greeting the postman everyday to see what's there. However, there is less and less of substance arriving and frankly if it came two or three days a week it wouldn't impair my life.
      There are lots of things that have changed, that we just have to accept. I still remember as a small child the doctor making housecalls. Dr. Pearlman was his name...Funny I remember that but little else from the era. Nowadays, there are cell phone APs that diagnose you.
       Well, it's after 5AM now, so I can check the WDT website to see what their stories are for today.
Inside Advance’s Post-Standard newspaper as it transforms this week to digital first | Poynter.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Privateers Season to Continue With the Devil's Brew

    City Council agreed to shutter the city concession stand during remaining Privateer hockey games and yield all food sales to Savory Restaurant, holders of the license to sell alcohol during the games. The City will receive $300 for each game to make up for some of the loss.
     The City stand was doing well during games but the State Liquor Authority proclaimed the licensee only can sell food. It was a ruling that didn't coincide with  common sense, but this is not an agency anyone can afford to feud with.
     While beer is a common substance we have all sorts of little nuances concerning the sale of it, dating back to the end of Prohibition, when it was thought if alcohol would be legal it had to be carefully controlled.
     I was reading a newsletter from my trade association today about the matter of felons being employed in a licensed establishment. Did you know its illegal if I knowingly employ a felon but its OK if the Legion does for the same job ?. If a bed and breakfast licensed for sale of booze employs a felon, its illegal, but if one is employed at a recreational facility, its OK.
     All of this fuss in a nation where states are starting to legalize pot. Go figure.
     So this kerfuffle is behind us and for the hockey-watching public, the transition will be seemless. 

Probation Department Debuts Hand Held Big Brother

   Another Orwellian advance comes to Jefferson County. Some gadget you are confronted with out in public...blow takes your picture...and tells Big Brother where you are and what you are doing....
The Sober Keeping Tabs on the Not Always Sober ? County employee demostrates new tracking gadget.

    We are a society obsessed with sobriety, but generally are not very sober most of the time.
Probation Department Reports Success With SOBERLINK | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Hundreds Plunged into Darkness...or at Least a Chilly Dimness

       Electricity was cut to a broad swath of the city's northeast side this morning due to a pole woe on Huntington Street.  The power was restored about an hour later after some chilly moments at homes and businesses in the neighborhood.
     Yes, it included the Pearl Street Pub, but its the first outage in many years and at least I know the emergency lights work.

No players for state gaming commission - Times Union

   On this issue of gaming in NYS, I have noticed newspaper editorial boards have been dusting off their editorials from the 1990s about Quick Draw, now that they have learned its sold in stores (been there for a while, but that's another story).
   That's a minor issue as few tickets are sold in those venues. What the media mavens may want to look at is this high dollar "gaming commission" the Governor says will pick who gets the non-Indian upstate casinos the Governor wants built.

    These Meccas for gambling are touted a economic development and a revenue enhancer for the state. They will be good for some and good for some communities.
     Their value to most upstate communities is dubious and who will be behind the decision making on who is granted the franchise should be of interest to all.
No players for state gaming commission - Times Union

Obama says he has fired guns

       President Obama says he has fired guns. He tells the press he has shot skeet while at Camp David, the Presidential retreat in Maryland.
        The President made the remarks in the context of the debate over gun control in which Mr. Obama and his critics are talking past each other.
        Obama says he has fired guns

Devil's Brew a Vexing Issue

   There are many people, some lawyers, some not, who make a living helping prepare applications of various kinds for the NYS Liquor Authority. Here is one link I saw advertised in the NY Post.
    There are complexities if you are to comply with the law...and the law is not always a fixed target, depending on a variety of factors. I have over the years routinely filed amendments to my license as a floorplan or trade name changed and usually find the best path is to call an ask what to do, get your stuff filed and don't just assume you can get away with doing nothing.  Most recently,I filed a trade name change with the Department of State and the SLA and got the approval promptly.  In this case, I didn't spend any money, mine or the public's, on lawyers.
          Nonetheless, the most recent flap over a license on public property ended up consuming taxpayer dollars on legal help because  the private entity hoping to sell on public property ran afoul of what does at times seem a Byzantine structure for selling a product that's part of people's day to day life. Byzantine as it may be, its the responsibility of those hoping to gain society's permission to sell the product to comply with the law. 
                    This latest incident is a blip on radar and will be resolved, but the amount of time being spent on alcohol issues, ones that make the media and ones that don't, is getting problematic.
                                  Liquor license New York

WDT: Army Outlines What Could Happen If Somebody Really Decides to Cut Spending

    For all of us who in theory would like to see the federal government balance its books, it's always with the unspoken proviso that it's not done by cutting anything we get.
   Possible scenarios for cutting the Army at Fort Drum are being floated and of course the impact could be profound.
   Our local economy is very dependant on the federal installation, but there is a lot of political weight behind keeping it the way it is.
    There will be a lot of lobbying in the meantime.
     Watertown Daily Times | Army outlines financial, environmental impacts of force restructuring at Fort Drum

WDT:Flower Memorial Library announces legacy fund

   The Flower Memorial Library and the NNY Community Foundation have set up a legacy fund to allow those who want to donate to the Library a means to do so in a way they may feel more comfortable with.
    The Library is an autonomous body with its own Board of Trustees, but it is also reliant on City Hall as its primary funding source and provider of logistical support on matters from payroll to building maintenance.
    A fund run by the Foundation may give people a means of giving they feel more comfortable with.
      Watertown Daily Times | Flower Memorial Library announces legacy fund

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Danica Patrick says she's dating Ricky Stenhouse - ESPN

     In another one of those double standards, the media feels obliged to report who the pretty female driver is dating, but then again its the star power that makes Danica Patrick all that money without ever winning a race.
    Ms. Patrick has rebounded from her divorce from her 47 year old hubby and now the thirty year old driver is in the cougar seat, dating 25 year old Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
    Don't be too lovey dovey....Its bad for business....and whatever happened to the workplace bromide, "you don't s--- where you eat."
Danica Patrick says she's dating Ricky Stenhouse - ESPN

NY looks at license suspension for tax delinquents : State

    Good idea, why would you keep doing business with people who systematically fail to meet their obligations.
     Another one is corporate welfare...No more loans or grants to people not paying "their fair share".
NY looks at license suspension for tax delinquents : State

WDT: Watertown City Council ends firefighters’ inspections

Watertown Daily Times | Watertown City Council ends firefighters’ inspections

Inside Ravens LB Ray Lewis’ parking-lot brawl murder case -

    He is one of the stars of the game with all sorts of trophies to show for it, so his involvement in a double homicide thirteen years ago should not cast a shadow on next week's Super Bowl, should it ?
    No it won't. Ray Lewis close call was when he was a 24 year old millionaire athlete out clubbing in Atlanta with his 37 foot limo and full length mink coat....His date was his girlfriend, not his pregnant fiance....He was the center of attention and remained so in the parking lot when all heck broke lose and two died.
    Lewis fled...ditched the blood soaked clothes and with the help of the Ravens, lawyered up and was acquitted. In fact no one was ever convicted.
     Mr. Lewis went on to a legendary NFL career and looks forward to a commentators job in retirement.
     He will be fawned over on the air next Sunday, as America loves redemption, or so we are told.
Inside Ravens LB Ray Lewis’ parking-lot brawl murder case -

New Yorkers Struggle With Tax Hikes and Prepare for More-

“I thought Obama was supposed to save us,” he said. “I thought the rich [were] supposed to get taxed. I know everything went up, I just want to know why. ”
    The words of one NYC worker quoted in the Post this morning as grumbling continues over the New Year's Day tax hike that leave's average earners a thousand dollars lighter than they were last year.
     More surprises to come as various aspects of Obamacare take effect as workers are required to prove they have a legitimate health insurance plan and learn that plans for insurance exchanges are way behind schedule and many hidden costs loom.
      Americans will be getting the government they voted for and in the next decade will be paying for it, either through higher taxes or inflation.
      Get ready to streamline your life.

New Yorkers struggle to make do following fiscal-cliff deal that didn’t curb Social Security payroll-tax hike -

WDT: Counties, Towns Wary of Cuomo Pension Proposal

    Governor Cuomo has proposed a plan for municipal pensions that essentially borrows against hoped-for future solvency for the retirement system in order to lower the very high amounts of money local governments are paying into the system in order to sustain the current benefits of retirees.
      The Cuomo plan has yet to be embraced by the Comptroller or the Legislature, but it would allow towns, cities and school districts to adopt a fixed 12% contribution rate (18.5% for police and fire)  for a span of 25 years.

       This does give predictability and much lower rates in the next few years. Last year the City of Watertown contributed over $3.1M to the system compared to $1.7 just two years earlier. If adopted City contributions in the coming year could easily be decreased by a million dollars.
        Pension contributions have rendered the 2% tax cap a ruse as the pension costs are not part of the computation of the cap..
         Last year the state adopted a sixth "tier" for the defined benefit system, but lawmakers refused to embrace a coversion to a defined contribution, "401K-style" plan.
(One state lawmaker told me this week, the 401K is bad because workers cannot be entrusted with managing their retirement)
Cost containment may happen over time, but at some point in the next 25 years there will be more "tiers", so locking into a rate poses a risk.
      Despite all the hoopla about pension reform last year, the system is still fiscally dicey as its viability is largely based on unreal rates of return on investments. The system is legally gamed, creating liabilities far in excess of whatever was contributed.
      In the City, every one dollar contributed by employees last year is matched by about $320 from the employer. That's true in every local government across the state.
      The Governor's plan has merit as a tool for containing local taxes, but it doesn't answer the question of whether the system can sustain itself.
Watertown Daily Times | Counties, towns aren’t convinced Cuomo’s pension proposal is a good deal

Palin: 'We can't just preach to the choir' -

   Sarah Palin uttered the truth when she said conservatives need to quit preaching just to the choir. Unfortunately she said it in an interview with Breitbart news, one of the echo chambers for the right.
     Conservatives need to take chances and go beyond safe territory like Hannity.  Their views will be challenged and ridiculed, but there needs to be a bigger audience for fiscal sanity.
Palin: 'We can't just preach to the choir' -