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, February 16, 2013

19-year-old college student dies after boozing in East Village; she had heart condition - NYPOST.com

      Who knows where this unfortunate young lady was drinking, but the fact is a 19 year old drinking is only news to those who think the 21 year old drinking age is effective or even desirable.
       Last night I had a 20 year old lady come in whom I knew was that age and comes from a great family. She looks older is and very used to getting served, particularly sporting a fake ID. She's an adult who supports herself and is very responsible and likely would cause no problems to anyone, but I had to say no....not because I thought I was holding the line against "underage drinking" but because I can't take the chance.
     We all operate every day wondering whether one lapse in enforcing the law parents and society look the other way on will come back to bite us.
    There will be a clamor to pin this East Village death on a licensee. How about the actions of the individual...their friends who enable....their parents who don't supervise...the society that says a pretty girl who looks older can be bought drinks by the boys....until something bad happens...then the sanctimony begins ?
    

19-year-old college student dies after boozing in East Village; she had heart condition - NYPOST.com

Cities near a tipping point....Those Closest to Tipping are Nervous - Times Union

       The kerfuffle between Mayor Miner and Governor Cuomo is in some ways the inevitable result of years of policies neither was directly a party to.
       Cities....as in shining cities on a hill....are finding it tougher to live up to expectations and all the mandates, policies and labor laws piled on over the years are the chickens coming home to roost. Despite years of calling for mandate relief, Albany is paralyzed by special interests and local governments are not that high on the list.
       When Mayor Miner talks of "gimmicks", she is right in saying there is no free lunch and pension smoothing is just borrowing against the future in return for lower expenses now. Lower expenses that defer or eliminate the need to decide whether a city has three pools or two, two hundred cops instead of three hundred, or fire staffing some argue harkens to the days of alarm pull boxes on the corner.
     However, the word "gimmick" implies dishonesty or deception. What the Governor is proposing is neither.  It is what it is. Sort of like when I bought my first car (a '74 Pinto) and the maximum term available was 36 months...Now it's 72 or 84 months to keep the payments in line. It's borrowing against the future, but it's not a gimmick....It may or may not be good practice, but its clear what you are doing.
       I have been to NY Conference of Mayor's meetings for some time and the same things are discussed every year. Wick's Law, binding arbitration, AIM aid, CHIPS money.  Now pensions eclipse everything.
        The Governor seems to be saying, solve the problems yourself...make real cuts..and there is a natural resistance to that as nobody ever got a Shapiro Award for closing a fire station or a playground or taking away a tax exemption for seniors. 
        The Administration accuses Mayor Miner of just angling for more state money and not making the tough decisions. Her honor thinks otherwise.
       What do you think ?
        
Cities near a tipping point - Times Union

Syracuse Council Member To Cuomo: Sorry

      What an obsequious weasel this guy is....The Syracuse City Council member who took it upon himself to apologize to Governor Cuomo because the Salt City's suddenly feisty mayor spoke against the Cuomo pension "smoothing" plan, calling it a "gimmick."   Tough talk, especially in the hegemonous Democratic Party of NY.
       Stephanie Miner took to the NY Times and Capital Tonight to give voice to sentiments no one else dared utter.
        Democratic hacks are aghast and Council Member Patrick Hogan hopes to run for mayor. His slithery performance in trying to suck up to Eagle Street doesn't make him likely to win.
         Mayor Miner is up for reelection this year and her spat with the Governor brightens her star politically and expressing her concerns was a refreshing turn towards free speech again in NY politics.
        Anyway, if you appreciate the mayor's gutsy move, you can help out her reelection bid at www.minerformayor.com
        
Syracuse Council Member To Cuomo: Sorry

Christina Aguilera Overcomes Her Garish Decorating and Sells Home for $13.5M

     They say location, location, location in real estate and while that's true, some oddball decorating tastes can slow the sale as well. Songbird Christina Aguilera discovered that as she tried for two years to peddle her garish home...
But she succeeded in getting $13.5M. From the looks of it, the new owners better have a few million more for redecorating.
Christina Aguilera sells Beverly Hills home for $13.5 million after two years on the market | Mail Online

Jesse Jackson Jr. plunders $750,000 in campaign fund scam, feds charge - NYPOST.com

      Big city politics, non-competitive elections, doting media and a strong sense of entitlement nurtured throughout his life has taken Rev Jesse Jackson's Congressman son down in Chicago.
       It must have been blatant to go after someone like former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Jesse Jackson Jr. plunders $750,000 in campaign fund scam, feds charge - NYPOST.com

WDT: FDRLO nears completion of local response to Army force structure assessment

      At installations around the nation, the lobbying and politicking is well underway as the current federal budget woes spark talk of military cutbacks.
      Here at Fort Drum, the effort has been continuous through various base closure efforts in the past three decades.
      It was heartening to hear the post's commander tell a civic group last week that Fort Drum is in good shape to avoid major cuts, but since everybody will be locked and loaded for the lobbying effort, there is no certainty.
     However, given the facility available, its location and the politics of it all, there is reason to think Major General StephenTownsend is correct.
Watertown Daily Times | FDRLO nears completion of local response to Army force structure assessment

Friday, February 15, 2013

Libertarian Candidate for Mayor a Familiar Face

   The four contenders for the Democratic mayoral nomination in NYC are in the real race for Gracie Mansion, as there is no Rudy Giuliani or Mike Bloomberg running on other lines.
     Christine Quinn is the frontrunner followed by Bill deBlasio, Bill Thompson and John Liu.
      My old friend and former madam, Kristin Davis writes a nice critique on the race to promise more spending by the four Dems, as she outlines her pending Libertarian candidacy.
      Kristin also pledges to drink a supersized soda at her announcement to protest the growing nanny state in the Big Apple.

      Kristin always had a good grasp on issues and with the distraction of her madam days further in the rearview mirror, she will be a good addition to the conversation on who will succeed Mayor Bloomberg.
EX-MADAM THROWS BRASSIERE INTO NYC MAYOR’S RACE « Libertarian Lady

Stripping mom halts school assembly - NYPOST.com

        Some things just never happened when I was in school...or I was too dense to notice.....
Stripping mom halts school assembly - NYPOST.com

County to Call for Repeal of SAFE

    The Jefferson County Legislature's General Services Committee is expected to approve a resolution opposing the SAFE Act....New York's new gun control law.
    This week lawmakers in Oswego County voted 25-0 urging repeal of the measure.
     These 'sense of the body' resolutions are largely window dressing, as the Legislature in Albany is unlikely to revisit the matter..
      However, it will be interesting to see how all this plays out in next year's gubernatorial race. While Governor Cuomo is a shoo-in for a second term, he will likely take some grief from a Paladino-like candidate.
     

Miner: Andy's Pension Plan is a "Gimmick" OUCH !

      Salt City Mayor Stephanie Miner is either making a name for herself as an independent, truth teller......or she is crippling her political future by taking on Governor Cuomo and calling his pension "smoothing" plan a "fiscal gimmick".
      Mayor Miner is raising Democratic eyebrows with her op/ed piece this week rapping Albany's actions that imperil local finances.
      Ms. Miner is also the co-chair of the NYS Demcratic Party.
  Miner: ‘Not Just A Syracuse Problem’

Kids Hear Mayor Read Dr. Seuss

    Youngsters taking part in the Recreation Department's winter play sessions in Thompson Park got to hear from the Mayor of Watertown talk about the challenges the Mayor of Whoville had in trying to save his community from a dousing in Beazlenut oil.
     Local TV news came up and covered the positive event as reading is especially important in his gadget age and the Dr. Seuss books are still among the best.
    It was a fun event and the kids seemed to enjoy the experience.    .

Passengers disembark after Carnival’s cruise from hell arrives in Alabama port | Fox News

     Over three thousand passengers seemed in good spirits after reaching shore after their ill-fated Carnival cruise.
Vacation Over...Going to Back to Work a Treat After This Trip

      The ship finally arrived in Mobile after days at sea without many essentials after an engine room fire disabled the vessel.
        Passengers were very complimentary of the the job the crew did in keeping everyone safe and in good spirits without the creature comforts one expects on a cruise.
       Passengers disembark after Carnival’s cruise from hell arrives in Alabama port | Fox News

WDT: Watertown Family Y to host weight loss challenge

       The local Y is looking for Watertown's biggest loser as it lauches a springtime weight loss competition with weekly weigh-ins and seminars designed to help the pudgy stay motivated.
        No doubt the regimen will not include trips to Jake's Wayback for a nine-patty burger.
Watertown Daily Times | Watertown Family Y to host weight loss challenge

WDT: PILOT forces Air Brake to pay $183,726 more in taxes

    New York Air Brake's PILOT agreement is an oddity as it resulted in taxes higher than what would be paid under normal taxation. The firm has the option of just ending the PILOT, which would seem the most logical and simple resolution as we all want the firm to continue as a cornerstone of local employment.
   Watertown Daily Times | PILOT forces Air Brake to pay $183,726 more in taxes

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

      You know I'd like to be on that Carnival Cruise...That's a vacation you can talk about for years !
       I see the NYS Assembly is now pushing a $9 minimum wage with indexing....Let's make it $10. End the madness !
       I am at Pete's where Caitlyn got a dozen roses (11red and one white) from Gray's.
       I have to work tonight...hope its busy.. tomorrow night too...
        Tomorrow I have an early meeting and then I am reading to kids up at the Park.
        My new tenant moves in this weekend, which is great. Other than that , nothing big happening.

Watertown the Test Market for Nine-Patty Super Burger....And We Ate It Up

      Let me write the lead for this British tabloid story.
    
      A national chain famous for big burgers used Watertown's Salmon Run Mall as the test market for a nine-patty, grease and cheese-laden hamburger....It went over so well here, Jake's Wayback Burgers is going to start offering the 2,000 calorie monster at all its 64 stores.
      Watertown consumers are known for their super-sized appetites. Remember how everyone used to fuss over the Barnes Corners Hotel, because the meat was served hanging over the side of the plate....Well, the tradition continues, but I really wonder whether being test marketed for wretched excess and gluttony is a good thing.
Jake's Wayback Burgers: Fast-food chain begins selling hamburger containing NINE patties | Mail Online

Love is in the Delivery Truck

   Like a general presiding over a far flung military operation, Scott Gray cruised through his State Street florist shop today marshalling his troops as they deliver thousands of roses.
   When you think of how many florists there are and how far the product comes from, it really is amazing how posies show up at your home at the appointed time.
     Mr. Gray says he received several shipments this week of roses in all colors and had burned through them all by today.

New Owner Hopes to Turn Around Two Buildings

      Two downtown buildings got a look see from City staff and other area leaders this morning as new owner Brian Murray outlined plans to rehab both the Lincoln Building and the former City Center Plaza underneath Stream International.
      The Lincoln Building is on the north side of Public Square and is largely unused and looks like a bygone era as little has been done there in decades.
      Meanwhile the City Center Plaza is in better shape and Mr. Murray hopes to make it more viable.
      Mr. Murray has bought several buildings in the city including the now refurbished Agricultural Insurance Building, the Top of the Square and apartment complexes on the city's west side.
      

WDT: Watertown Trust continues to work on Mercy’s closure

       One of the major priorities for the past couple of years has been to work behind the scenes to deal with the pending problem of what to do with Mercy. I'd be the first to say its a vexing issue and answers are elusive for the still privately owned building due to go dark within six weeks.
      Recent discussions I had with LG Duffy placed this issue to the fore as the state was a player in why this situation came about and must be part of the solution, as do county and city governments.
Watertown Daily Times | Watertown Trust continues to work on Mercy’s closure

The Big Lie Pension Myth....Wall Street Did It

     The media keeps discovering this pension cost story and is perpetuating a myth in all of it......
     The rapidly rising contribution rates for local governments is not because of the stock market, or a surge in baby boomer era retirements. Those were givens in life.
     It's because for decades the state presided over an underfunded and overly generous system routinely gamed (legally) and now coming home to roost.
      Contribution rates were low in many years as the Legislature added "sweeteners" such as the elimination of employee contributions in Tier 4 after ten years, leaving the system with little joice but the rapidly rising rates now as this years payouts are not coming from any "lock box", but instead are mostly funded by this years revenues.
      I won't burden some of you with the case for further pension reform.
      I am merely saying the media narrative (perpetuated by government seeking to place blame) that this is a stock market issue is a hoax.
Rate rise new worry - Times Union

Post: Playing Hard to Get Still Good Advice for Love Starved on V-Day

    Is today's social media-based "hooking up" culture ruining the traditional courtship model of dating where a woman is well served by playing hard to get ?
    That's the theory of this veteran Post columnist, who says a generation of females will spend today without their $100 wad of roses, a box of chocolate or a special date because men are too into the mantra of getting the milk without buying the cow.
     Hence the revolving door of marriage these days and the proliferation of single moms and people who meet on Monday and have moved in by Friday.
      So even with love in the air on this Valentine's Day, play hard to get, and its better to be hard to get than just getting had.
Old-fashioned dating advice from ‘The Rules’ authors Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein still holds: play hard to get - NYPOST.com

Happy Valentine's Day !

                            It's Valentine's Day and a hearty cyber hug to you all.
     

WDT: Lewis committee shows little interest in tax installment plans

        Allowing a property owner to pay taxes on a monthly basis may not be for everyone, but its one more way for local government to be customer friendly. Offering people options is done in the private sector and there is no harm in a local taxing entity doing the same.
      Lewis County sounds like they are going to reject such a plan. I hope its not just because the bureacracy doesn't want to bother setting it up.
Watertown Daily Times | Lewis committee shows little interest in tax installment plans

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WDT: Journalism By The Numbers

         "Curse the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, the belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserable sodding rotters." (D. H. Lawrence)

         A little of the old invective bubbled to the surface this week, courtesy of the varied and numerous scandalettes at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.
         While not as dripping with venom as in days yore, Times Managing Editor Bob Gorman took an interesting and clever tack in describing the many foibles by parenthetically listing the pay of the principles.
          It does lay bare that many people making good money are drawing undue attention to their actions.  From posing topless, to posing a la Brett Favre (allegedly) to polishing off a bottle of Red Stag in a patrol car, there's lots to write about.
          I think Bob's technique could be applied on a wider scale.
          For a month it would be enlightening to place pay after everyone's name appearing in the paper, so we can judge the relative worth society places on us all.
          From the medical administrators, and those who empty the bed pans, to the educators, to the journalists, to the heads of all those "not for profits".   Include the soldiers fighting in a hopeless war...include the clergy.....and those like Samantha, who don't work at all but still get paid.
          Include the pols like me ($16,700), of course.  And all the unelected heads of this and that. Don't forget the lawyers and the gin mill owners.
          This tome on the Sheriff's Department is a good start, but inquiring minds want to know more.
Watertown Daily Times | Jefferson County WILL take action... eventually

Cuomo: Better To Do Minimum Wage Increase On Federal Level

     Of course, Albany wants DC to do the minimum wage thing for them. That way NY isn't seen as a tax Mecca....It is and this just one more hidden tax.
     In keeping with New York's progressive tradition, perhaps we can make the minimum wage , a "living wage" equal to say, the average state employee. I am sure Middle Class Mike is on board.
Cuomo: Better To Do Minimum Wage Increase On Federal Level

New York State Comptroller: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget raises debt by "backdoor borrowing" | syracuse.com

        Dems gnawing on Dems about fiscal responsibility....Comptroller DiNapoli says the Governor's budget is chock full of "back door borrowing" and unrealistic expectations.
        The Cuomo budget does have one unfunded mandate. A higher minimum wage. And it includes the pension "smoothing" proposal that the Comptroller has to pass judgement on.
New York State Comptroller: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget raises debt by "backdoor borrowing" | syracuse.com

WDT: Where Were the Parents ?

    I suspect it was more than "a" drink that led to the 22 year old begin charged in giving a wee-hours-of-the-morning cocktail to a 14 year old girl. We all know you are not supposed to do that but shouldn't the parents be charged for not knowing where their 14 year old daughter is that time of day ?
Watertown Daily Times | Police: Watertown man gave girl, 14, alcoholic drink

Refund Pending

   I got a letter from the JCJDC today telling me I can get a pro rated refund of the dues I paid last year to this agency. According to the letter, the agency had $391K in assets upon dissolution recently. Guess that's not the property of the members of JCJDC.
    I am going to send in a request for a pro rated portion and will let you know what I get.

   

Feedback: Tiffany's Law Would Close Drunk Driving Loophole | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

       Another law (this one proposed) that the media will reference like we know who Tiffany is....Or Leandra....or Mark or whomever.  Three needs to be a pamphlet put out with all the laws named after people. I can't keep track anymore.
     No disrespect intended for the deceased, but it is hard to follow.
Feedback: Tiffany's Law Would Close Drunk Driving Loophole | WWNY TV 7 

WDT: Y indoor tennis courts needs Watertown City Council, state approvals

      The Fairgrounds complex is situated on what is described in the State Constitution as park land. Land in the public domain reserved for public use.
       We routinely allow commercial endeavors on the property. Everything from trade shows, to hockey to concerts. There is always a question of where the line is between the public good and opportunity to use park land for commercial gain. A privately held entity months ago began seeking investors for an indoor tennis court which would be built on City property now used for equestrian events. There apparently was an assumption Heaven and Earth moved be moved when the time came to seek approval.
             That is why there is a high bar to turning over control of real property now designated as park land. The City of Watertown would have to determine such a move is in the public interest and then request home rule legislation from Albany to allow for lease of the land. That was done some years back for the former Ultimate Goal fitness center now owned by the Y. It's not a perfunctory process, and the process clearly starts with the local government's request.

             I was puzzled Monday when a collegue told me this matter was never brought to City Council because those advocating it were just simple folk who didn't understand the intricacies of dealing with City Hall. Apparently Council Members Burns, Macaluso and I were among those intricacies.
            Poppycock.  The people involved are among the most intelligent, and politically saavy people in the community. There was no naivete here.          
Watertown Daily Times | Y indoor tennis courts needs Watertown City Council, state approvals

Klein: Details Of Minimum Wage Increase Will Be Worked Out

        With President last night calling for a $9.00 national minimum wage, the clamor for an $8.75 state minimum may become a parlor game.
         Nonetheless, official Albany is calling the hike the top priority for 2013. Why you ask ?
        Because it's a way to give something away without appropriating taxpayer dollars.
That's a way to protect the rich from higher taxes and still redistribute money to the little people.
Klein: Details Of Minimum Wage Increase Will Be Worked Out

Obama’s State of the Union 2013: Democrat classic - POLITICO.com

     President Obama wants a $9 minimum wage, more spending on "stimulus", more on education, more spending in general which he says will not increase the deficit by "a dime".
     Emboldened by reelection, Mr. Obama is proposing classic Democratic Party dogma as his policies for the year ahead and his second term.
      Obama’s State of the Union 2013: Democrat classic - POLITICO.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cuomo: ‘Shame’ If Minimum Wage Isn’t Increased This Year

      Funny thing about the "minimum wage".  All the people who are debated it wouldn't ever think of working for either $7.25 an hour or $8.75 an hour.
     It's all about the elites throwing a bone to the little people.
Cuomo: ‘Shame’ If Minimum Wage Isn’t Increased This Year

Fat Tuesday in Watertown

   So, today I entered a Valentine's week essay contest put on by Saranac brand beers, brewed in Utica by the Matt family.  Hope I win, as you get a behind the scenes tour of the West End Brewery and dinner with the Matt's family, plus a bunch of other stuff.
    I will let you know.
    Got a notice today that the closing of Mercy is put off for up to a month, but the end of employment there is slated for March.
     City staff is pleased Council finally came to closure on what to do with the Fairgrounds Arena. The upgrades and repairs will enhance the multi-use facility which is really the only spot for certain types of events.
     I got an e-mail from a person I never met, asking me to sign seven copies of a document sent as an attachment. It has to do with a PILOT agreement with a local firm, and I don't sign things unless approved by City Council.
    This Friday, I will read Dr. Seuss books to children as part of our winter activities in Thompson Park. Horton Hears a Who !
    This is Fat Tuesday, so I have to give up something at midnight.  I think I will give up waffling and mincing words with people I don't like.

Katherine Webb in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

    Brent Musberger's homage to 'Bama Beauty Katherine Webb sure has helped her career...certainly the attention she gained in the boring BCS game was deserved.
Katherine Webb in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: Sexy photos of Miss Alabama USA | Mail Online

It’s DiNapoli vs. taxpayers on pension costs  - NY Daily News

     NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will be the deliveryman of bad news for years to come as the cost of sustaining the state's pension largesse goes up and up.
     Now there is speculation the "sheriff of Wall Street" Eliot Spitzer will challenge Mr. DiNapoli for the Democratic nomination for Comptroller next year.
      New Yorkers will see what the Comptroller does with Governor Cuomo's "pension smoothing" proposal designed to allow local governments a fixed cost for the retirement program.
    As sole trustee of the retirement system, the Comptroller is politically vulnerable for its high cost which is the result of decades of pension sweeteners and legalized gaming of the system.
    
     

It’s DiNapoli vs. taxpayers on pension costs  - NY Daily News

Monday, February 11, 2013

Montana TV station warns of 'Zombie apocalypse' after hacker attack - NYPOST.com

    Much better than Spezzano and Mance' fake wedding photo in the Times....Announcing a zombie apocalypse as breaking news....That takes some real chutzpah.  
Montana TV station warns of 'Zombie apocalypse' after hacker attack - NYPOST.com

Cuomo On Dicker: ‘We Agree To Disagree’

      The lap dog jumped off the lap and all the Governor says is "we agree to disagree."
Governor Cuomo has reacted to Fred Dicker's NY Post column rapping Mr. Cuomo's drift to the left.
       All it says to me is the honeymoon is over....About time, Fred.
Cuomo On Dicker: ‘We Agree To Disagree’

Council Agrees to Rehab Arena...But No Second Sheet of Ice

      City Council has  finally agreed on a series of repairs and improvements to the Fairgrounds Arena as the aging structure has become very busy, but very shopworn.
Council has rejected for the foreseeable future any plans for a second sheet of ice despite pleas from some user groups.
New Roof and Other Repairs Slated for Aging Arena

    The reason...just too costly in tough and unpredicatable times. A second sheet would provide year round ice but would add four million dollars and extra operating expenses.
    Council also heard the latest on what the media loves to talk about. The beer licensing for the Privateers games. Even though sales go on as usual, that's all they want to interview tonight. There was other stuff that happened including a $13M project at Maple Courts being done without a PILOT or other tax avoidance...Now that's news.
     There was an interesting discussion on tennis that surely will make some media soon.
      Council also heard about the City's fiscal adjustments caused by lower than expected sales tax and hydro revenue.
       Finally, Council adopted the performance reviews recently done for the City Manager and Clerk.

Pope Benedict in shock resignation: Pontiff, 85, is first in 600 years to stand down because he 'no longer has the strength to carry on' | Mail Online

       It doesn't happen in the Papacy very often (600 years), but Pope Benedict is yielding to age and stepping down. The College of Cardinals can then begin selecting a new Pontiff.
       Pope Benedict is 85 and will step down on February 28.
Pope Benedict in shock resignation: Pontiff, 85, is first in 600 years to stand down because he 'no longer has the strength to carry on' | Mail Online

Mayors Talk Money, Mandates at Capital Pow Wow- Times Union

     Aid to cities, pension "smoothing", labor issues, CHIPS aid, and old favorites like the costly Wick's Law are among the items local governments are festering about during winter lobbying sessions in Albany.
     It's about money, of course, in the form of direct aid and in the form of money spent on mandates.
      Having attended these affairs on several occasions over the past 20 year, it strikes me how little has changed. In many cases its the same issues.
       I did have a nice chat with T-U blogger Jimmy Vielkind who is one of the key political reports in Albany.
      One change. The Crowne Plaza is now a Hilton, and when I left last night, the parking attendant said I was all set. That's a saving, or maybe he made a mistake. I was so surprised I drove away in amazement at this pleasant change in Albany.
Mayors focus on aid change - Times Union

Dicker: Gov. Cuomo drifts from his reform and pro-business agenda as he looks ahead - NYPOST.com

    The op/ed writers who had been praising Governor Cuomo in his first two years are starting to gnaw on him. It's only natural. No honeymoon lasts forever.
Use of Less Flattering Photos Evidence Media is Rethinking Its Love of Guv
    Dicker is describing the Governor as a testy recluse, obsessed with maintaining high approval numbers and unwilling to tackle tough issues as a result.
     The NY Post pundit also muses the Governor is fixated on national ambition.
      Paralysis over an issue like hydrofracking while indulging liberal agenda issues is cited as evidence of the drift.
      If Mr. Cuomo is as Dicker says, the "stop the madness" screed may have been the best evidence of the Governor's temper and demeanor shifting.
       Of course, this could all just be fodder for an interesting column, as Fred has to help sell newspapers too. The Post can't rely solely on photos of Kate Upton.
Gov. Cuomo drifts from his reform and pro-business agenda as he looks ahead - NYPOST.com

WDT: NNY Democrats Mourn

 Long  before NNY Democrats began winning elections on a regular basis, two men who passed this week were trailblazers in the local party.Assemblyman K.Daniel Haley and partychair Walt Basmajian were ahead of  their time. RIP gentlemen.                                         

Watertown Daily Times | St. Lawrence County Democrats mourn the loss of former Assemblyman K. Daniel Haley

WDT: Second Amendment activists flock to Ogdensburg Freedom Fighters’ Breakfast

     Gun owners and Second Amendment enthusiasts held a breakfast in Ogdensburg Sunday to fund a trip to Albany later this month to protest the SAFENY law.
      I hope they enjoy the trip, because they will not get the law repealed. There might be a chapter amendment to allow cops to have higher volume clips but that's not the change they are seeking.
      There is too much support for the law and not enough legislators willing to vote for repeal. 
      In government, things seldom are repealed. The threshold for doing so is high. That's why this measure was rammed through, as the Governor knows arguing for passage is lot more work than merely blocking repeal.
    Looks like the folks in the 'burg enjoyed there breakfast.

Watertown Daily Times | Second Amendment activists flock to Ogdensburg Freedom Fighters’ Breakfast

Non-Living Wage OK for Local Governments to Pay

   In yet another example of do as  I say,not as I do, I discovered while in Albany today that the new proposed $8.75 minimum wage does not apply to government jobs in NY.
   That means a lifeguard or a playground person hired for the summer can be paid less than a server at Burger King. That's interesting.
  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

NNY Mayors in Albany

    A passle of North Country mayors were in Albany Sunday for the NY Conference of Mayors legislative meeting. Subjects from pension "smoothing" to binding arbitration to aid to cities were on the agenda along with some networking.
                                        
Mayor James Hidy of Massena, Scott Burto of West Carthage, Ron McDougall of Gouverneur, Me, and NYCOM President, Mayor Bill Nelson of Ogdensburg
 
    Even veteran NNY politico Mike Schell was there.The event is at the Hilton, which used to be the Crowne Plaza.
     A variety of sessions are planned for Monday, but I had to get back this evening.
It was a useful chance to catch up on whats going on in Albany and in other municipalities.

No One Apoplectic Here Over Winter

    While the media is in overdrive over a snowstorm they somehow feel needs a name, there are lots of people who just get up and deal with whatever weather God gives them.  Snow....cold...whatever...They just go to work, raise their kids and if there is time left over have a good time like these ice fishermen on Lake Ontario near Henderson.

Syracuse Media: Cuomo to Syracuse: Drop Dead

    As many of the state's mayors gather in Albany the next couple of days to meet and schmooze, one of the questions is how many dutifully kiss the ring and back Governor Cuomo's "pension smoothing" plan which is supposed to bail out local governments by slashing current year contribution rates in exchange for fixing the rates for 25 years.
   Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Mayor Bloomberg have criticised the plan as having dubious fiscal prospects over the long run while others say it is merely a scheme to borrow against presumed "savings"  from last year's Tier Six pension plan. The plan has yet to be embraced by the Legislature or Comptroller.
     Mayor Miner is NYS Democratic co-chair, so she can only say so much, but her candid observations are a sign some are willing to come out and criticise the Governor as the realities of governing eat into Mr. Cuomo's sky high popularity.
      Nothing lasts forever.
#incart_river_default

Fortune cookies lose their romance after complaints from parents - NYPOST.com

   Now fortune cookies have to have their predictions toned down. You can't suggest a coming romance because it sends the wrong message to children ?

     Messages are being made more bland after a handful of morons complained.
Fortune cookies lose their romance after complaints from parents - NYPOST.com

Winter storm : Blizzard dumps feet of snow across East Coast trapping drivers with seven dead | Mail Online

      I think naming winter storms is really......well, I can't think of the right word, but it's odd to say the least.
      Do we start naming tornadoes....or a heat wave that results in suffering ? 
       For those most affected by the storm that dumped up to 40 inches in parts of the Nutmeg State, how about the old designation...The Blizzard of 2013.
      Another example of name creep is "Superstorm Sandy".  Was it a hurricane or not ?
Winter storm Nemo: Deadly blizzard dumps feet of snow across East Coast trapping drivers with seven dead | Mail Online

WDT: Lewis County hospital looking to keep new doctors out of pension system

     In Lewis County, all sorts of machinations are being talked about to find ways for high paid employees  at the county owned hospital to be taken out of the increasingly costly NYS Retirement System.
      Used to be getting on the state system was something local governments could do for doctors, lawyers and other  administrators, but the ballooning costs have officials in Lewis talking about setting up off-budget LLCs to do the employing, in this case to avoid the state system.
      One aspect of Tier Six is an optional defined contribution plan for non union workers making over $75K a year. That plan begins this July and may be helpful as it fixes the employer cost at 8% of salary.
      The Governor is also pitching his "pension smoothing" plan this year, but there are fears that is just more borrowing against the future and the attractive lower rates won't be sustainable.
      Bottom line is there will have to be higher taxes or lower numbers employed as this systemic problem persists.     
Watertown Daily Times | Lewis County hospital looking to keep new doctors out of pension system

Cuomo Signals Retreat on IDA Reform

   Tucked in Governor Cuomo's proposed budget is a plan to stop the controversial practice of local Industrial Development Agencies obviating sales tax for select projects, many of which are of dubious value and are just a freebie to select developers.
    The Cuomo plan only affects the state's 4% sales tax and IDA's would still have carte blanche to give away local shares of sales tax.
     The irony of such deals is that the ability to tax, or in this case not to tax ends up in the hands of unelected boards, not responsible for the funding of local government operations.
     It sounds like Mr. Cuomo will back away as the usual cast of characters is howling about how the tax breaks are needed for jobs, jobs, jobs.
     Those of us who pay sales tax on improvements to our businesses will continue to do so.

Cuomo open to change in IDA reform - Business - The Buffalo News