Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mayor Tries Fancy Beer

    For $10 an ounce, you can try the very trendy Sam Adam's Utopias beer now available at Pete's.
    The expensive brew is the limited 2012 edition, Tenth Anniversary bottle....Even the bottle is fancy.

     This type of craft beer is called an "extreme beer" with a distinctive ruby red color and hoppy taste.  It's complex and balanced according to the poop sheet attached. It has 25% alcohol by volume.
      Sam Adams is distributed locally by AJ Missert.
      Since I had a good day at the bar today, I am going to try it.
       Now that I have, I can say some things are best done once.

'Unusual' Fla. sinkhole baffles searchers, who end hunt for body; still unsure how deep it goes -

    You'd like to think getting home to go to bed is pretty safe with the only dangers being fire or intruders, both of which can be mitigated by alarms.
From the Outside, No Sign of the Horror Within

     Who would think as you sleep the floor gives way beneath you and you plunge into an abyss as collapsing soil around you buries you alive to the point searchers can't find you.
      Scary thing and prayers for all dealing with what happened.
'Unusual' Fla. sinkhole baffles searchers, who end hunt for body; still unsure how deep it goes -

Last call for British pubs? Ailing ale houses closing

   Today's fast paced life, cheap booze in the supermarkets, corporate chain bars and other factors are doing in traditional British pubs at the rate of 18 a week. The hallmark of British social life for centuries is under pressure as are neighborhood taverns on our side of the pond.
    There has been a mini-resurgence of neighborhood taverns in Watertown of late, but it's a tough row to hoe and few are willing to adopt the lifestyle needed to succeed.
    I think you will see more ad hoc bars in garages and basements operating out of the view of regulators and tax collectors. There already is some of that going on.
Last call for British pubs? Ailing ale houses closing

Pearl Streets are Everywhere, But You Don't Have to Go Far to Find One Here

     If  you like the Pearl Street Pub in Watertown, there are other ones around the country.
     In Boulder, CO the Pearl Street Pub and Cellar is open till 2AM and boasts the best burgers in Boulder.
Boulder , CO

     In Albany, the Pearl Street Pub is a downtown icon and I had a very good lunch there a couple of years ago.
     There are lots of Pearl Streets and every one should have its own neighborhood pub !

Reaction to Daily Mail Piece is Heavy

       Social media certainly amplifies a controversy as people's ability to express themselves is greatly enhanced. Nonetheless for many who are not Internet-dependent, it's a non-event.
       That said, this is not being well received.
(77) Watertown Makes...

Internet Fuels a Story Forgotten Locally

   The Internet and social media furor over a recent City Council decision to suggest limiting the composition of "families" in areas zoned for single family homes has taken on a sack the Council theme such as in this picture posted today. (Ironically one of those pictured is not on the Council anymore.)
Facebook post I saw today

     The zoning law change was I believe motivated by a desire to placate a long time family friend and supporter of a Councilman, and it's not uncommon to try and help out those who you know or who have supported you. That's part of politics.
     In this case, it passed and while land use and zoning integrity may have been the stated objectives, the way its played out it that this is an ineffective measure rife with intolerance towards the many living arrangements in today's world.
    Like an incident some years back involving a councilman and a church lady, the matter went viral when outside, Internet-based media leap-frogged the judgment of local media.
     Sometimes there are unintended consequences and so it is here where the stated concern is not addressed but a new controversy has cast a dim light on the City.
     It would be best to reverse the ordinance recently passed and find another way to address neighbor to neighbor complaints.

Amoral Albany Soldiers On -

    Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was the honored guest at a fundraiser for the chairman of the Ethics Committee "investigating" the Speaker's approval of a hush settlement for the victim of sleazy Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
    The Speaker normally lends his name to invitations for such events which are held non-stop this time of year in Albany hotels and restaurants.
     Silver defends mixing fund-raising and ethics -

Fort Drum soldier helps save man's life at restaurant - YNN, Your News Now

   What's wrong with some good news ? Nothing and the two patrons at the Crystal are to be commended for their heads up help of a distressed diner.
Capt. J Branson and an unidentified woman saved a life Thursday at the Crystal

Fort Drum soldier helps save man's life at restaurant - YNN, Your News Now

WDT: Local pro hockey: With Kirnan behind bench, Privateers win

     While Albany gets ready to debate a women's equality law, there are some talented and assertive women taking progress into their own hands...Such as it was last night at Watertown's Fairgrounds Arena where Privateers owner Nicole Kirnan had to take the coaching reigns for the game as the team's regular coach has had to take to the ice to play.
The Privateers beat Danbuty 3-1.
Privateers Owner Nicole Kirnan (r) Seen Recently
with Parks Superintendent Erin Gardner

     It's reportedly the first known case of a woman coaching a men's professional team in a game.
Watertown Daily Times | Local pro hockey: With Kirnan behind bench, Privateers win

Regular Joe Riding the Rails Once Again -Fox News

   Oh stop....quit telling a presumed gullable nation that the Vice President cannot travel by plane to Delaware on weekends due to the sequester.
    But even if it is politics, getting 'regular Joe' back on the train allows him to do what he likes best. Chew the fat and pose for pictures with whomever he meets on Amtrak.
     It you want to cut travel costs, let's start with a 10% cut in travel expenses for the President and First Family.
Sequester railroads Biden’s pricey plane travel | Fox News

Senator One of Us...If 'Us' Is Into Snowmobiles, Guns and the Great Outdoors.

      Can you have a "first annual"  Snow and Roast ? That issue aside, Senator Patty  Ritchie is holding a fundraiser this weekend at the Happy Valley Inn in Amboy, NY. Activities include a pig roast and a snowmobile ride with the outdoorsy Senator.

Boyle, Voted Yes, Now Would Vote No On Gun Control

    Senator Phil Boyle of Long Island is a Republican who is trying to have his cake and eat it too.
     He voted for the SAFE NY Act, buy now claims he wish he hadn't and that he didn't have time to read the original bill.

     There's some candor for you. Senator Boyle. Any legislator knows once something becomes law, it's a long shot to repeal, so the Senator's vote was reckless.
     Senator Boyle says he will work to amend the law, but casting a vote like this is like losing your virginity while drunk. You can repent, but you don't get it back.
Boyle, Voted Yes, Now Would Vote No On Gun Control

Friday, March 1, 2013

"Debbie's Law" Draws Attention in the UK | Mail Online

     Watertown's Greatest Deliberative Body has made news in the UK as the widely read Daily Mail features a story about the effort to restrict who can live with who in areas of the city zoned "residential A", or single family homes.
       The matter approved by Council on a three to two vote was meant to satisfy a Thompson Boulevard resident who complained about a neighbor who had non-related people living there to help defray cost of ownership in the tony southside neighborhood.
Thompson Blvd. Resident Deborah Cavallario Led the Charge

       The action to more tightly define "family" and bring into the equation the issue of 'blood relations' also raised criticism of intolerance and attempting to dictate an Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle in a time when the old rules don't apply.
        The sole consolation to the PR disaster is that the matter will in practice never be enforced. 
        Zoning, or land-use restrictions, are common ways of preserving the look and character of neighborhoods and the argument is usually over commercial encroachment.
This matter was largely a solution in search of a problem and the end result is one family being dragged through the publicity mill while the City looks a tad backward.
       Remember when the LaBouf flap went global ?  In a Google world we need to watch what comes up when you search 'Watertown'.     

New York town bans unrelated roommates from living together after neighbor complains about man shacking up with his fiancee and two friends | Mail Online

$115 bottle of beer expected to sell out in hours | Toronto Star

     I don't know if it will be available at the Hitch, the Turtle or other local watering holes, but Sam Adams is releasing its $115 a bottle Utopias beer.....It's touted as having a "rich and complex" flavor.
      Maybe I will call Dave Missert to order a couple of cases.
$115 bottle of beer expected to sell out in hours | Toronto Star

Marchione Introduces Bill To Overturn SAFE Act...Issue for 2014 Races ?

     An Albany area senator has introduced a bill to repeal the major portions of the SAFE Act, and while its unlikely to pass it will provide an opportunity for further debate and a chance for those who initially voted against the law to reaffirm opposition.
      The strong resistance may not represent a  majority, but it could be troublesome for some upstate senators who vote for the measure and could become an issue in contested districts next year as the GOP will try to regain uncontested control of the upper house.

      There are a couple of upstate seats held by Democrats where an energized Second Amendment  crowd could be a factor.  An increasing villification of Governor Andrew Cuomo, while not affecting his statewide status, could also be a factor in some areas of the Empire State.
Marchione Introduces Bill To Overturn SAFE Act

Sun Rises Over a Sequestered America

    The sequester is here...The sun rose over Pearl Street with a dusting of snow on the ground. Other than that, no ill effects as some 85 billion dollars in federal budget reductions taking place leave Americans wondering is it all media hype and political talking points ?
      Time will tell. Meanwhile what happens if a month or two rolls by and life continues pretty much as it is now ?
      The next crisis looms later this month with another borrowing limit needing to be increased.
      Meanwhile the stock market continues strong as investors increasingly look at these crisis as more a political parlor game than anything to worry about.
Competing sequestration bills fail in Senate - The Washington Post

Gun Rights Advocates Rap New New York State Weapons Regs -- And Gov. Cuomo | New York Daily News

The estimated five thousand pro-gun protestors in Albany directed their rage at Governor Cuomo who was safely camped on friendly Brooklyn.
   After a couple years of adulation, the gun law flap has created a vocal and dedicated
cadre of Cuomo haters. Such was the case for his father but it took a fourth run before it showed up at the ballot box.
     This issue could swing Hamilton County to the GOP.
Gun Rights Advocates Stick It To New New York State Weapons Regs -- And Gov. Cuomo | New York Daily News

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Utica Beer Queen Ushers in New Era at Venerable Watertown Tavern

     It was a huge success on Pearl Street as Meghan from Saranac helped usher in a new era in the bar I have owned for 28 years.
     Kudos to channel 7's Rachel Spotts for coming over to do a story and interview the affable spokesperson for the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, a fixture in upstate NY for generations.
Beehive State Native Rachel Spotts Interviews Meghan Fraser
         A full house was greeted by all three Pearl Street Pub staffers, Diana, Brianna and Colin as revelers enjoyed food from Pete's Trattoria.
Meghan Sports a Mayor's Bar Hat
Oh, That's Crazy Ray with Keri Plumpton !
The Pearl Street Pub has been operated by yours truly for 28 years since opening in March of 1985.

Bath salts vigilante gets offers for financial help from sympathizers |

     I think the bath salts vigilante deserves support for his legal troubles, although what he did was wrong by the law, there is a level of sympathy for someone pissed off at the indifferent attitude of the head shop owner busted last year for  selling synthetic drugs.
     What was going on was way over the line and I feel sympathy for the vigilante too.
Bath salts vigilante gets offers for financial help from sympathizers |

Gun Rally Hits Capitol

    The gun rights rally hit the Capitol today as thousands crowded downtown Albany to protest the SAFE NY Act.
Rally Participants Arrive in Morning

     Whether the movement becomes any kind of factor in certain upstate elections will depend on candidates and whether people with guns will vote that one issue.
    None of it affects Governor Cuomo's 2014 prospects, but I could see a legislative seat here or there where its a factor.
Gun Rally Hits Capitol

Last Day of the Month

   At the Sunrise Rotary, I had an attentive crowd for my little talk on local government finances and I think my explanation on sales tax and how it works was informative.
You know, the everyday things in life are often just accepted but never explained.
   The breakfast at the Black River Club was excellent and I appreciate the hospitality.
    We talked about the pension situation too and I am hearing many people are appreciative of the leadership shown by Syracuse Mayor Miner in speaking out on the structural problems with how the plan is funded and her criticism of the Governor's patch called "pension smoothing".
     I have to go pick up some printing at Coughlin's today. I threw a fit yesterday over their new on-line proofing system that's hard to navigate and no substitute for just getting a paper proof and marking it up. Change is not always progress.
      Other than that, we are getting ready for the big event at the Pearl Street Pub as the folks from FX Matt Brewery come in to hold a tasting for their Saranac products. A large crowd is expected, so please stop by.

Behind the Curtain: Bob Woodward at war -

   Things are truly testy in the Obama White House now that veteran political reporter and safe Bob Woodward is at war with them over how the sequester is being portrayed by the President.
     It's an unusual situation to have such a pillar of the MSM taking exception to this President.
      Fun to watch.
Behind the Curtain: Bob Woodward at war -

Goal is on-time budget - Times Union

   While protestors chant outside for higher wages, restoring programs, taxing the rich, abortion, guns, fracking and the like it's still the three...check that...four men in a room finalizing a state budget that will be approved on time.
Speaker Silver Talks to Reporters Wednesday

      The remaining skirmishes over casino siting won't obstruct budget passage.
is on-time budget - Times Union

Letter to Editor: Privateers, Arena a win for Watertown

   Thanks to Mr. Cesario from Black River for pointing out how well hockey has done at the Fairgrounds Arena and how much improved the facility is under the new Parks and Recreation Superintendent and her staff.

     City Council has now formally endorsed a series of rehabilitations to the Arena aimed at benefiting all users, including the public. While a recent study makes it clear more elaborate plans are not an economic fit for the area, improving what we have will allow for the more seasons like the one we have just had.
Daily Times | Privateers, arena a win for Watertown

WDT: Ritchie meets with St. Lawrence Pols on Sales Tax

     The proposed sales tax increase in St. Lawrence County is just that. A tax increase.
That's OK if that's what you want to allow the County to continue providing services at present levels with relatively stable property taxes for the next few years.
       It's the politics that's difficult, because no matter how you frame it, it will be the biggest single tax increase in county history, if someone wants to use it against you.
        Getting all sorts of assurances about offsetting other taxes is a parlor game to inocculate against future opponents.
         In fact, isn't the county legislator negotiating all this with Senator Ritchie related to her opponent in the last election ?
         It's going to pass. The current dance is part of the exercise.
Watertown Daily Times | Ritchie meets with St. Lawrence County on sales tax

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cuomo Says Pension Smoothing ‘Financially Intelligent’

    Governor Cuomo says his pension "smoothing" plan is just one option for local governments to consider in dealing with rapidly escalating pension contribution rates. But the Governor is not criticizing the plans critics, one of whom is the state co-chair of the Democratic Party.
      Cuomo Says Pension Smoothing ‘Financially Intelligent’

Capitol Confidential » Cuomo would exempt Hollywood from gun law

     You can't have those scary assault style weapons in the new NY, but if you are Hollywood glorifying them in violent movies filmed in NY...That's OK.
       That's one of the changes being sought in the SAFE NY Act, as gun rights advocates prepare to move on the capital tomorrow.
Capitol Confidential » Cuomo would exempt Hollywood from gun law

Jefferson County Did a Great Job Upgrading Its Pound

   I stopped by the Jefferson County Dog Pound today and may I say the county has done a very nice job remaking the "pound" from a sad place to one where the vast majority of dogs are placed in an clean and inviting setting.
   I was there checking out "Ranger" , a dog I had seen on Facebook and from checking the update on Petfinder, it looks like Ranger is already gone.
    In any event the county pound and the new SPCA adoption center at Petco are examples of better times ahead for man's best friend.
Pet Search Results: Adoptable Pets in Watertown, NY: Petfinder

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward slams Obama's budget cut 'madness' -

   So now Bob Woodward, chronicler of official Washington for more than a generation, must be dismissed as a crazed tea bagger ?
    Guess so, as Mr. Woodward has unfortunately chose to label White House sequester policy as "madness."
    Perhaps the former Watergate journalist should seek psychiatric help for his ill-advised questioning of "The One."
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward slams Obama's budget cut 'madness' -

Schumer to propose 'Andrew's Law' requiring banks to forgive college loans of deceased students |

   I thought the new gun control law was "Andrews Law".
   Anyway, now we have to have a law requiring the forgiving of loans for dead people. Well, if somebody co-signed, there is an obligation. If not, there is none. I thought the issue was already settled.
     All I know, is if I'm dead, no one pays my Best Buy card off.  Isn't that why they charge a lot of interest ?
Schumer to propose 'Andrew's Law' requiring banks to forgive college loans of deceased students |

NYP: Jury Duty as Entertainment

    In Kennebunk, ME the elders must be intent on restoring their lost moral rectitude by continuing with weeks of a trial of the man police say enabled the Zumba prostitute, a comely fitness guru who supposedly provided added value in her lessons.
     There was the testimony of the pizza delivery man who says Alexis Wright answered the door and dropped her towel...Now the prosecution is begging the judge to allow the jury to see 600 salacious photos, like we all don't know what doing the wild thing looks like.
Alexis Wright...The Zumba Prostitute
      Maybe the state is making a big deal out of this to keep the tabloid media there in the winter as tourism promotion. 
       I mean really....we have two entire state's where people are smoking pot legally...Surely Maine can endure an overly exuberant Zumba instructor.
Jury in alleged Zumba prostitution case can see some explicit images: judge -

Patty To Welcome Gun Nuts to Capital

      Our North Country state lawmakers are passing on the Saranac tasting to hang out in Albany with gun rights enthusiasts flocking to the capital to protest the SAFE NY Act.
      The HOTLINE Gun Nut is headed down and you can be sure there will be lots of yapping, but nothing that will change the end result.
      Meanwhile law foes are pledging a court fight, which is their best hope of rolling back at least parts of the law.
(59) Patty Ritchie

New York Tribes’ Casino Revenues Declining....So Let's Build More !

    This plan to allow non-Indian casinos across the state is likely aimed at eventually pushing the tribal casinos aside....It's not that we need more's who is running them. State-sanctioned ones would likely net more for the state and handing out the licenses has more cash value than selling Wilson-Pakulas (political inside humor).
New York tribes’ casino revenues declining - City & Region - The Buffalo News

News from the Other Side: The Kingston Whig-Standard

    Closures and relocation of jobs always is a two way street...those getting feel good...those losing...not so good.
   So the creation of fifty jobs in Watertown at NY Air Brake got good press here but readers of the Whig Standard learned our gain is their loss.

      Kingston operation to close was consolidation but nets gain for Watertown.
Brake plant shuts down | Local | News | The Kingston Whig-Standard

Budget is Weeks Away, But Tea Leaves Are Available for Reading

   Thursday morning I have to get up extra early to give a talk to the local AM Rotary, so I am thinking, what should I talk about ?
    A topic under discussion this week in the corridors of power on Washington Street is what to do with the component of city spending about to spike by nearly another million dollars in the upcoming proposed budget.
   Those would be pension costs which will rise from this year's $3.9M up to nearly five million dollars.
     Given our static revenue sources like state aid and sales tax, this increase can be made up in one of three ways.
      1. Dip heavily into cash reserves to keep the tax rate within the 2% cap (which really isn't a cap, but a laudable goal)
      2.  Cut expenses as in staffing and/or capital spending.
      3.   Raise the property tax sufficiently to cover that million dollars, but that's a toughie politically as the pension spike alone would increase the property tax levy by over ten percent.  Or in more headlinish terms.....CITY FACES DOUBLE DIGIT TAX HIKE....PENSIONS BLAMED
       I spend a lot of time explaining the funding of local government and that only one in five dollars spent comes from the property tax. So the word "taxpayers" can mean different things.
      What is true in this arithmetic is that if the other four-fifths of revenue is static, then making up shortfalls solely through the property tax results in percentages that spook lawmakers.  As in a two percent increase in spending results in a ten percent increase in levy, all things being equal.
       Is that too heavy a topic for a breakfast meeting ?
        I could just wait will the proposed city budget comes out in April and act surprised and outraged at the fiscal direction. Then I could talk about my concern for the "taxpayers" and the need to slash spending to "Draconian" levels.
      But I know the budget drill is just made for TV stuff and the real job of fiscal management is keeping up on trends and developments all year.
     That's why I keep bringing up the pension issue at various meetings, but the press just wants to ask me who's selling beer at the hockey games.
        Anyway, my speech is at 7:30 Thursday  at the Black River Valley Club. I will try to keep it light and airy.

The SLEOCs of Their Day Head to Albany

    Is it a cut or a reduction in the rate of increase and is it a bad thing or just a call to start reining in spending in agencies called 'not for profits' but with layers of high paid executive directors and staff ?
    Governor Cuomo has reportedly called for a 6% cut in funding for treating the disabled. That sounds bad and advocates for these agencies will join the gun nuts, municipal tin-cup brigade, frackers and anti-frackers, and a host of other groups descending on Albany in the coming weeks in hopes of changing things.
     The Governor has his TV spots on demanding an on-time, April 1 budget, so the special interests better get their licks in quickly.
     Remember, thirty years ago when the annual mantra in the Watertown media was whether SLEOC would be saved......?  NNY news consumers were actually conditioned to be worried over the fate of this obscure patronage mill which is long gone.
     I guess, my point is this annual ritual has a sameness to  it.
Jobs at risk in services for disabled - Times Union

Spring Break hits Cancun... in February! Your Kids May Make the News

     Rite of passage or reckless holiday. Parents are bracing for photos of their kids to make media coverage of spring break in Cancun, Mexico.  Their sons and daughters can be seen doing what they can't do back home, like dressing up all slutty and getting hammered and indulging in indiscriminate sexual liasons. Oh wait, that's just a 'weekend' out for many.
Stand Up So We Can Read You....Sun Seeking Teens Hit the Beaches and the Bars

      The proliferation of visual and social media mean what was once vague suspicions of wild and crazy is now there for all to see.
Spring Break hits Cancun... in February! Marines patrol streets as hard-partying American students roll in | Mail Online

Summit Village Impresses Visitors | WWNY TV 7

   A $64M home for seniors had its ribbon cut yesterday and the facility will begin filling up next month with nearly three hundred people. County officials were on hand for the ribbon cutting at what is called Summit Village.  It says in the TV 7 story the new home even has a bar.
    They will soon be demolishing the existing county home for the aged on Coffeen Street to make way for an expected field house and activity center being planned by Jefferson Community College.
     Summit Village Impresses Visitors | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kelly Wins Dem. Nod For Ex-Rep. Jackson Jr.’s Seat « CBS Chicago

   A woman with a grade of "F" from the NRA has won the Democratic primary and likely the Congressional seat held by disgraced (in some minds) former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
    Robin Kelly won the nomination easily with lots of money help from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
    While Ms. Kelly has to face a Republican in April, the overwhelming Democratic district should hold and she will be a Member of Congress.
Kelly Wins Dem. Nod For Ex-Rep. Jackson Jr.’s Seat « CBS Chicago

Prominent Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage -

   It's still too risky...or thought to be too risky for the risk-averse among us....for most GOP electeds to back same sex marriage...But dozens of prominent party leaders did that today by signing on to a brief in a Supreme Court case on the matter.
    Government sanctioned marriage long ago ceased to be a sacrament and one can see that in viewing the parade of people coming to municipal buildings.  
    New York already has SSM, so it's no big deal here.....And the World as we know it has not come to an end.
Prominent Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage -

Judge Deals Blow To Galloo Island Wind Farm Project | WWNY TV 7

    All that fuss...all those billable hours....all the angst and hard feelings....and nothing will come of the much talked about Galloo Island Wind Farm.
     Judge Deals Blow To Galloo Island Wind Farm Project | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

WDT: Air Brake Shuffle to Bring Fifty Jobs Here

    A long time neighbor of mine....New York Air consolidating its Kingston, Ontario operation at its Watertown plant and that could mean fifty additional jobs.
      The company's new president is a bright guy who is local and is committed to making the facility prosper here.

I have been a direct neighbor to the plant since I opened my business on Pearl Street in 1985. Throughout the years, NYAB has been a good neighbor and it looks like that will continue.
Daily Times | Air Brake closing Ontario plant; 50 jobs moving to Watertown

WDT: St. Lawrence Lawmakers Pass Feel-Good Resolution Against Gun Law

       It won't matter in the context of the entire state, but its clear there are rural pockets of resistance to the state's new gun law and that came out last night as the St. Lawrence County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution opposing the NY SAFE Act.
      It's an easy vote for lawmakers, but interesting as St. Lawrence County is among the most liberal in upstate and votes heavily Democratic in state and local elections.
      Organizers of the protest at last night's county leg meeting vow to oppose politicians who supported the SAFE Act......But before  she worries, Assemblywoman Addie Russell knows what anyone knows....You don't beat something with nothing and there is no real potential challenger.
       And despite the hoopla, I'll make a wager with you....St. Lawrence County will vote for Governor Cuomo in 2014.
Watertown Daily Times | St. Lawrence County okays resolution opposing NY SAFE Act

College Events Center Study on the Street

    The report on the feasability of an events center/indoor turf field facility at Jefferson Community College is a documents that will be seen through the eyes of whomever is reading it.
     What I saw is how prescient the City Council was to reject the building of more ice as this report clearly comes down against the economics of it.
       The 99 page reports was commissioned by JCC as a means to justify planning for more facilities on the land now known as Whispering Pines, a soon-abandoned nursing home.
JCC Ponders Another Expansion

       There are interesting aspects of the report, including the sampling of those interviewed.
        I read it, and it's clear this is a college initiative as only the college would have the financial backing and program basis for even attempting a close to $50M project.
Study Shows Feasibility Of Multi-Purpose Complex At JCC | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Monday, February 25, 2013

CBC To DiNapoli: Reject Pension Smoothing

     Pension smoothing has some new enemies with a citizens budget watchdog group urging rejection of Governor Cuomo's plan on the basis it will undermine future solvency of the plan that covers all state workers and employees of local governments.
     The Cuomo plan has its supporters including the NYS Conference of Mayors.
     Meanwhile, a group of county executives from around the state are urging the Governor to be more assertive in pursuing mandate relief for local governments.
      Sounds like a little posturing for 2014 may be happening.
CBC To DiNapoli: Reject Pension Smoothing

Study says too many Americans still drink too much - Yahoo! News

     With the Sequester coming this weekend, it's absolutely essential you visit your neighborhood tavern and drink.....
Study says too many Americans still drink too much - Yahoo! News

Meghan's On Tap for Thursday on Pearl Street

      Just heard over the weekend from FX Matt Brewery marketing coordinator Meghan Fraser who is looking forward to her visit to Watertown on Thursday to offer a preview of the latest seasonal brews in the Saranac line.
Meghan Fraser

    There a new stout for St. Paddy's day and a delicious Red India Pale Ale....All that and more will be available at a tasting Thursday from 5 to 7PM at the Pearl Street Pub in Watertown (Also known as the 'Mayor's Bar).
     The public is invited to come meet Meghan and hear about all the fine FX Matt products. Pizza from Pete's Trattoria in Watertown will also be on hand.
     Thursday is also the weekly Lottery promotion featuring 50% larger prizes.
      You won't want to miss meeting Meghan from Utica this Thursday at 5PM at the all new Pearl Street Pub.....on Pearl Street in Watertown !

Jimmie Johnson Wins Daytona 500 - Danica Patrick Is Eighth -

   A return to the norm for race fans as veteran driver Jimmy Johnson won at Daytona and rookie female driver Danica Patrick had to be happy finishing eighth, although she led at times during the race.
     For Johnson, it was old hat, having started in some 400 races at the sport's highest level.
    For Danica, it was 500 miles of solid driving in which she stayed near the front and brushed aside critics who dismissed her as a novelty.
    Meanwhile, the boost to the sport from her ascent is very real.
Jimmie Johnson Wins Daytona 500 - Danica Patrick Is Eighth -

Capitol Confidential: Consolidation Happens Without Happening

    While there is always talk of regionalism and the alleged costs of New York's layers of local government (10,500 at last count), a study aimed at consolidation of two capital area municipal fire departments has gone nowhere.
    The $45,000 study has produced the conclusion that Cohoes and Watervliet should stay separate, although areas of cooperation have developed, including cross-border ambulance service.
     It's easier said than done to achieve consolidation and frankly its not always a certainty of money savings to the amount needed to overcome boundaries frozen in amber for centuries.
     New ways of doing things will evolve but not quickly as the political inertia is with the status quo. Those interested enough to get involved are also well marinated in the way things are.
Capitol Confidential » Sharing: Consolidation efforts grow

WDT: Two Million Dollar Fire Station to Open Soon in Town of Watertown

      The completion of a nearly two million dollar fire station in the Town of Watertown is supposed to serve a rapidly growing area of commercial development with hundreds of new housing units and areas of commercial sprawl. Looks like a nice building and certainly the Township has sufficient tax base to easily afford it.
       The future of fire protection is difficult to discuss as it always gets down to emotional issues. However, as urban sprawl continues and the rural areas are populated by folks not inclined to be a part of a volunteer fire service....can the network of dozens of departments survive ? 
      Conversely, can communities with full time paid departments continue that expense immediately adjacent to rapidly developing areas without those expenses ?
      We have seen the market force changes in ambulance service as calls were going unanswered in some areas and the private sector is now expanding service to those areas.
       For better or worse, services like this need the kind of training and immediacy of response not easily done by good, well intentioned volunteers in a busy world.
       Kudos to those who volunteer, but its going to get tougher to staff these type of things on this basis, and yet its getting tougher to provide the same thing full time to only a narrowly defined geographic area.
       Watertown Daily Times | New town of Watertown fire station nearly ready to open

NY Daily News- Cuomo Seeks Soros Money to Promote NY Agenda

       Polls show the public supports Governor Cuomo's agenda and a multi-million dollar ad campaign is keeping state residents in that state of mind.
       Now reports the Governor is seeking more money to buy more spots and billionaire George Soros is among those being tapped.
Is Hard Left Money Funding Ad Campaign ?

       Following the money will reveal the agenda and its clear the "progressives" are  in charge and that means a continued rope-a-dope on fracking approval, higher taxes and more government.
       Governor Cuomo has been using paid media effectively, and no one has the means to counter it. Let's hope its a force for good, but be clear, its government for the rich as they are paying the tab.
Gov. Cuomo using state Democratic Party to raise money to promote his agenda, a departure from reliance on a secret lobbying committee  - NY Daily News

Will 32 senators spur wage hike vote? - Times Union

       Opposition to the proposed $9 minimum wage may be slowing its passage, but it clearly will pass in Albany, and Republicans will only be able at best to phase it in or claim they got some "tax credits" for small business.
        Being in small business, whenever lawmakers say they are giving you tax credits, they are giving you nothing. We have to pay our bills with real money.
          Funny thing is the argument that this will help small business. An argument coming from Senator Jeff Klein, a lawyer and big city Senator, who knows little about small business.
          The indexing to inflation aspect is troubling as it institutionalizes inflation.
           But, it's passing, so get it over with and you can keep the tax credits.....I've been served that meal before and its not very filling.
Will 32 senators spur wage hike vote? - Times Union

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mayor: Winter is Done

   I walked down to the Nice n Easy this AM and while there were a few flurries in the air and some still unshoveled walks on Factory Street, I definately am feeling that winter is done.
   Sure there will be some chilly mornings and dustings ahead....but given recent climate history and the forecast for the week ahead, I am confident in predicting the end of winter.
    No St. Paddy's snow storms or "two feet on Mother's Day" like we always hear about.
    Winters years ago may have been on average a little more harsh, but I am still waiting to hear just what year it was we had "six weeks in a row of thirty below weather and it never got above zero."   

WDT: King's Message Apropos to All

    "We have to learn to be more civil", Dr. King's son told a crowd in Watertown last night.
     We could start with the carte blanche some feel when they are anonymously commenting on blogs.
Watertown Daily Times | Martin Luther King III speaks to full house Saturday

Two Liter Bottles and Pitchers of Soda Among the Casulaties of New Law-

    The Mayor Bloomberg soda ban takes effect March 12 and NYC's nanny cops are ready to make sure merchants and restaurants don't sell anything larger than 16 ounces in one serving.
    Gone would be the two liter bottle of Coke with your pizza, a pitcher of soft drink at a child's birthday party, or a carafe of cranberry juice if you get bottle service at a ritzy night club.
    This is the kind of rule easily mocked and easily grasped by voters in the mayoral election this fall.

     One wonders if those considered close to Hizzoner, like Christine Quinn, will suffer from the Mayor's latest attempt to regulate lives.
    A shrewd candidate could get a lot of mileage out of this, but then again a majority may support nanny state politics. We will see.
Customers to suffer as Bloomberg’s soda ban prohibits mixers, pitchers, 2-liter bottles -

WDT: SLC Continues to Put Different Shades of Lipstick on Their Pig in Bid to Satisfy Patty and Joe

     How much tax is too much tax ?  In SLC, the local governing class is trying hard to convince state lawmakers to let them have more.
      The problem with the proposed tax hike in St. Lawrence County is that it comes admidst so many other government mandated increases and it really cannot be justified on the basis of several years of alleged no increases in the local property tax levy.
     What the higher tax does is institutionalize a higher level of government and somewhat mask it all by having a larger share of local government covered by sources of revenue other than the property tax.
     When we all talk about the taxpayer, just who are we talking about.
      In Watertown, only one in five general fund dollars comes from property taxes. In some area school districts it's less than one in ten.
      So while we talk about property tax stability and relief, we are all being terribly misleading.
       The infusion of extra money from the sales tax will mask for a time the cost of so much government, and it will avoid the unpopular subject of cutting public sector positions.
      All the talk of satisfying state lawmakers that the "taxpayers" won't be affected by the largest single tax hike in local history is specious.
       The real reason is this hike eliminates the need for any tough decisions for the next five or six years. If that's sufficient rationale for doing it, then go ahead.
        If you are saying that's exactly what you did ten years ago in Jefferson County, I would say, 'yes we did'.
Daily Times | St. Lawrence County adjusting five-year tax plan