"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, May 31, 2008

No Excuses! You Stated You Have What It Takes

From The Palladium Times

"These are just some of the many issues we are successfully working on.” Senator Aubertine.

Senator, success is defined when something is COMPLETED with positive results!

“The message I’d like to send out to the voters, is that I now have over six years of experience between the Assembly and Senate and I certainly have developed a strong relationship with the second floor of the governor’s office and I want to be able to capitalize on the experience I’ve gained and the relationships I’ve made in the past six years to advance on these issues and accomplish the goals that need to be accomplished here in Oswego County and across the entire 48th district.” Senator Aubertine

Senator, you said it, exactly what P IV said. You make the claim for all the experience and relationships with Senate, Assembly, and Governor, then as mentioned in the ATV post below capitalize on it, get the ATV legislation passed!!! According to your comments, there will be no excuses acceptable, you have what it takes to get the job and the ATV community expects it to be done.

ATV (Bill) On The Move

The recent decision by the DEC to unilaterally close several miles of recreational roads to ATV enthusiast has prompted Senators Griffo and Little to take the lead and sponsor legislation in the Senate in an effort to reverse this decision.

Senator Aubertine has introduced over 30 bills and not a single bill is directed at helping the ATV riders or the DEC's decision; he has not even co-sponsored this legislation. Is the relationship of an Aubertine staffer who is the husband of DEC Region 6 Director causing this lack of response from the Senator? Senator Aubertine has only held meetings with ATV audiences as an unavoidable obligation without producing any action these meetings are smoke screens.

This bill S3429 is moving through the Senate and is expected to be passed this year. Here is the context of the bill. The crossed out text is the deleted portion of the present legislation, bold text is language being added to the current legislation.

This legislation gives the ability of local municipalities to open state roads up to ATV traffic. This is the important part of the legislation; "...municipality may designate a state highway, maintained by the state or a highway maintained by a governmental agency, including bridge and culvert crossings, under its jurisdiction as open for travel by ATVs..." This legislation will allow a town locally to reverse the recent decision of the DEC on the closure of roads thus provide access to riding areas.

Senate Aubertine needs to ensure its passage in the Senate and persuade his friends in the Assembly to pass this legislation as well. This is time for Aubertine to show the Northern Country he truly has the political influence to move legislation. This is extremely important to the North Country communities, he needs to move it through both houses.


AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to designation
of highways and public lands for travel by ATVs

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

1 Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 2405 of the vehicle and traffic
2 law, as added by chapter 402 of the laws of 1986, is amended to read as
3 follows:
4 1. Highways. Except with respect to interstate highways or controlled
5 access highways, [the department of transportation with respect to] a
6 governmental agency or municipality may designate a state [highways]
7 highway, maintained by the state [and any other governmental agency with
8 respect to highways], or a highway maintained by a governmental agency,
9 including bridge and culvert crossings, under its jurisdiction [may
10 designate and] as open for travel by ATVs in order to gain access to
11 areas or trails adjacent to such highways and the department of trans-
12 portation shall post any such public highway or portion thereof as open
13 for travel by ATVs [when in the determination of the governmental agency
14 concerned, it is otherwise impossible for ATVs to gain access to areas
15 or trails adjacent to the highway]. Such designations by a state agency
16 shall be by rule or regulation, and such designations by any munici-
17 pality other than a state agency shall be by local law or ordinance.
18 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Currier Kicked To The Curb By Hennessey

Sean Hennessey does not believe in "people's choice," he just believes in "his choice." Hennessey has single handedly kicked Tim Currier out of the race for the 118th Assembly District AFTER he had already announced.

Currier is quoted in a recent article of the Watertown Daily Times announcing his candidacy.

Mr. Currier made his campaign official Tuesday.

"I ask you to walk with me today, walk with me to Albany and have your voices heard," the 20-year police veteran told a crowd of some 80 family, friends and supporters during the official announcement at the Massena Community Center. "It's time for us to get the attention we deserve. We are the north country and it is time for change."

It may be one thing to talk people out of running, but that usually occurs prior to a person announcing, Sean Hennessey, Chair of the Democratic Committee in Jefferson County is taking choices away from the public. According to the Watertown Daily Times "
Jefferson County Chairman Sean M. Hennessey has said that he will not authorize Mr. Currier’s bid"

This is how Hennessey defines the party of the people!

Carthage Central School Budget Woes

The Superintendent and his budget debacle woes continue. Unable to adopt a contingency budget that is satisfactory to the Board of Education, he asked the bargaining units to re-open their contracts. This morning the teacher unions voted and once again Militello faces rejection.

Probably would have helped the cause if Militello would have put an adminstrative pay cut on the table first!

Hillary Doesn't Get It

Her campaign is mired in debt and she is preaching fiscal responsibility.

Is It Really Just Rev. Wright, Or Is It The Church

Was it just Rev. Wright's message that was flawed, or is it the church in general. This video leads you to believe the church is flawed, which means Obama has a lot more explaining.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Currier Is Out

The Jefferson and St. Lawrence County Democrats have emerged from the smoke filled back room and despite long time Democrat Walter Basmajian's support they have bagged Tim Currier as a candidate.

Addie Jenne Russell is the candidate, and the party of the people is clearing out everyone from a potential primary.

LATER ADD: It is Jefferson County Democratic Party Chair Sean Hennessey who is playing hard ball politics and favors limiting voter's choice. Hennessey, according to WWNY TV, refused to issue an out of party authorization for now Democrat Currier. Too bad, surprising Hennessey does not believe his party is the party of the people any longer.

Failing to See Big Picture in A Vote, Downstate Darrel Votes Against Us

To mild observers of New York State government a vote by Senator Aubertine to oppose an environmental bill S5988 to construct a new recycling and environmental education center for schoolchildren at the Gansevoort pier on Manhattan's West Side may seem like, ah so what.

The center, supported by Mayor Bloomberg, DEC, Democrat New York City Council and other elected officials such as Charlie Rangel, is part of long-term vision by Bloomberg for New York City to manage their own garbage produced by residents and to spread the burden of waste management throughout the city and not just in poor neighborhoods.

The new facility would act as a transfer site for recycling materials that would then be shipped by barge to a sorting facility in Brooklyn versus trucking the material through the city. This was a way for New York City to improve handling recyclables and reduce their trash.

Unlike our community and other upstate communities, NYC has no landfills for the 12,000 tons of garbage they produce daily from its businesses and residents, and currently pays to truck the waste to upstate or out-of-state facilities that are fast filling up. The city will face increasing pressure to find new dumpsites as these facilities close or limit the trash that they will accept. Northern New York, not too long ago, was appalled to think the Rodman landfill would be handling trash from New York City.

Darrel Aubertine’s vote against this plan would increase pressure on New York City to find distant locations to dispose of its mountains of garbage. Could Rodman be included? It would not be outside the realm of possibility, especially if the city faces a crisis prompted by closing of one of its destination landfills. According to DEC, Rodman has 5 million tons of available capacity (2006), and charges less than the city pays to dump at out of state sites

Jefferson County residents were literally in an uproar when the Development Authority of the North Country proposed importing trash to Rodman. The residents of Jefferson County choose to manage their own trash; they do not want New York City’s trash in the Rodman landfill. A vote like this from Senator Aubertine will limit New York City’s ability to manage their own trash and put more pressure on places like the North Country to do it for the city!

Darrel Aubertine needs to depart from his downstate liberal friends in the Senate and recognize what he is voting on and that a bill for New York City may affect Northern New York, does he understand Jefferson County does not want NYC’s trash?

He tows their line of garbage hauling in Manhattan, as one of 15 mostly downstate liberals, what will he do when they demand fidelity on issues that may be viewed as more significant?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Watch Your Tax Dollars At Work

The Empire Center for New York State Policy has started a new website that will allow New York taxpayer's watch their money at work.

NY Public Payroll Watch

In an email today announcing the site, E.J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center and senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, said the website "is part of our effort to shine a stronger spotlight on an area with important financial and managerial implications for every level of government in New York State."

"Personnel costs are a major element in New York's sky-high taxes, yet New Yorkers are often unaware of important developments on the government labor relations front," McMahon said. "The goal of the Payroll Watch website is to inform the public by illuminating the issue.

Senate Democrats: Want More, Run Less

The Democrats in the New York State Senate want to move further away from you – the voting public, if they have their way and if they win the majority of the Senate this fall, they will work to make it happen. The Senate Democrats support 4 year terms and a pay raise and that is nothing less than arrogant on their part.

That is right! The Democrats do not want to answer to the voters every 2 years.

The Democrats want to move the 212 State Legislators from 2 year terms to 4 year terms. Malcolm Smith, Senate Minority Leader stated last week in an Albany Times Union article that he favors 4 year terms. As reported in the paper, “Smith also said his next move includes exploring a constitutional change to alter the term of senators and Assembly members to four years, instead of the current two years.”

The other day Danger Democrat noted the legislature was bucking for a raise also, therefore, the sum of all this is that a Democratic majority in the Senate will almost assuredly produce better paid Legislators who do not want to answer to the public very often, every 4 years instead of every 2 years.

"Show Me The Money, Show Me The Money" Democrat Senator Eric Adams

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Landscape Of The 118th Looks Left!

An analysis of the 118th Assembly District race between Jefferson County GOP candidate Bobby Cantwell and Jefferson County Democrat Addie Jenne Russell shows Russell favored for the seat in November.

A break down of the vote total shows Russell will, conservatively estimating, produce a 15 point margin, possibly as high as a near 30 point margin 64-36, in the St. Lawrence County portion of the 118th. Russell will find friendly faces in the towns of Canton, Hammond, Louisville, Massena, Potsdam and Waddington as well as the City of Ogdensburg, while Cantwell should be able to win the towns of Lisbon, Macomb, Morristown, and Oswegatchie and attempt to take Ogdensburg from Russell.

The towns of Canton, Massena, Potsdam and City of Ogdensburg will produce 50% of the vote totals for the entire county. The four areas are dominated by labor unions, with more industrial labor unions in Massena and Ogdensburg and service unions and academic Democrat friendly folks in the Canton and Potsdam, that favor Russell.

Ernie LaBaff, Fred Carter and the constituency of union members will heavily favor Democrat Russell, given the two candidates are virtually unknown in the St. Lawrence County portion. Their support could easily push her toward a 30+ point margin of victory in these areas alone, leaving Cantwell the possibility of winning the remaining portions by 5 points or less, and giving Russell an overall 25-30 point margin for the St. Lawrence portion of the 118th.

Russell will have a substantial lead before counting the Jefferson County ballots and Cantwell will have a steep climb. He will have to win Jefferson County by a similar margin that Russell took St. Lawrence County, 65-35, in order to produce a 50% + 1 win.

Cantwell will win the river Clayton and Alex Bay, possibly losing Darrel Aubertine's hometown of Cape Vincent and nearby Lyme, he will likely lose Addie Jenne Russell's legislative district of Philadelphia, Theresa, possibly picking up only the village of Antwerp, if GOP party chair Sandy Corey has enough juice to deliver it for him.

This will leave the battle ground for votes in the towns of Pamelia, Brownville and the City of Watertown. Cantwell will battle in Legislator Jim St. Croix's area as St. Croix tries to deliver the north portion of the city for Russell. The City of Watertown becomes key to Cantwell winning.

Cantwell has to win Ogdensburg and Watertown if he stands a chance, albeit slim. If the unions deliver Ogdensburg and St. Croix can deliver enough of the city, then that will be enough to keep the gap too close in Jefferson County and prove fatal for a Cantwell campaign.

In an earlier post on April 18, 2008 it was stated that a Jefferson County Republican would have a challenge winning this seat, the analysis remains true and is supported by the numbers.

Russell is building synergy with Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee (DACC) with her trip to Albany that included her photo shoot, while GOP chairs Sandy Corey, Jefferson and Janet Kelly, St. Lawrence have an adversarial relationship with their counterpart in Albany, RACC.

The numbers along with DACC assistance favors a Russell win over Cantwell in the 118th race.

A Brief Departure From Politics For A Community Congratulations

A community congratulations to several college students, from Northern New York, for their performance over the weekend that resulted in Lacrosse National Champions.

Division I National Champions
Syracuse University Students


Kenny Nims #10,

Brendan Loftus #24, Senior
Greg Niewieroski #20, Junior

A special congratulation to Kenny Nims, who like his father the late Tom Nims, won the National Championship. His father was the goalie for the SU team 25 years ago when they won their first National Championship. Kenny Nims wore the same number as his father #10, is part of the SU team, the first team to win 10 National Championships.

Division III National Champions
Kyle Burto #27, Carthage
Salisbury won another National Championship. This would be Kyle Burto's third National Championship title of his career, the most of any Northern New York player. Salisbury is coached by Watertown native Jim Berkman.


Ted (Danger Democrat) Ford

Danger Democrat was caught sneaking up on P-IV today, here is his picture. (Just busting on ya DD)

As DD would say, caption away, send your thoughts to DD!

The Hil - Drinks and Dances

(This may take a minute to load)

118th Announcements - Battle of the Unknowns

Addie Jenne Russell, Jefferson County Legislator District 4, will be making an announcement for her candidacy for the open 118th Assembly District seat by Thursday of this week. Russell is having a busy year, she is a second term legislator, approaching her one year wedding anniversary in August and is a brand new mother as well!

Russell who is the Democrats "fill the gap" candidate after Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns, who was the Democratic Party favorite candidate in public opinion polls, backed out a week ago.

Addie Jenne Russell, according to the latest poll, is an unknown candidate that will likely be matched up against another unknown candidate, Bobby Cantwell, who is the favored candidate of Jefferson County party chair Sandy Corey.

Cantwell is likely to face a matchup in a primary race with David Button, before heading to the general election. Button is expected to make an announcement of his candidacy this week as well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Salute To Those Who Served

Let us honor the sacrifices of those who have served our country or are currently serving and for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Take a moment and pause from the day's activities and be grateful.

Politics is inconsequential today.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Picnic Invite

If you are having a Memorial Day picnic, do not invite Hillary. According to a Quinnipiac University poll she is the least welcome guest of the three Presidential candidates.

Obama is the most favored guest.

The majority of poll (found here) respondents also said likeable personality was only "somewhat important" to them for their candidate.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

NAIS - Where's The Beef...Literally

NAIS is an acronym for National Animal Identification System, a program of the USDA. Here is a brief explanation of the voluntary no cost program, posted from the USDA's website.
To protect the health of U.S. livestock and poultry and the economic well-being of those industries, we must be able to quickly and effectively trace an animal disease to its source.

When a disease outbreak occurs, animal health officials need to know:

  • Which animals are involved in a disease outbreak
  • Where the infected animals are currently located
  • What other animals might have been exposed to the disease

By choosing to participate in NAIS, you will join a national disease response network built to protect your animals, your neighbors, and your economic livelihood against the devastation of a foreign animal disease outbreak.

The program is designed to ensure consumer confidence and protect the health and viability of the nation's livestock. NAIS will allow for continued expansion in the export market of livestock and all producers will benefit when the marketability of their product improves according to CattleNetwork web site.

NAIS protects the animal livestock industry and food market from a disastrous outbreak such as "mad cow" disease. The system would allow food safety officials to track, in a rapid response time frame, the origin and mitigate the spread of the disease like mad cow.

Mad Cow disease would massacre the agricultural industry; animal agriculture is an $80 billion industry, and the impact on the national economy would be devastating if a disease outbreak such as mad cow were to occur.

"Premises registration is an effort to identify all the locations in the United States where livestock and/or poultry are raised or housed. It's the first step in improving animal disease response" according to the USDA website. The program is supported by Farm Bureau and New York State is one of the leading states in the country for the registration of premises according to NAIS premise statistical reports, with over 75% premises registered, New York is ranked #5 in country.

The county fair season is around the corner, which means increased movement of livestock and poultry. The NAIS program is a way to ensure the agriculture industry that such events can continue to occur without concern.

The cost associated with not participating in the NAIS program could be very high for the industry, as witness from the spread of mad cow disease in Europe.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, who supports the program, reports on their long history of "preventing, controlling, and eradicating diseases of animal health and public health significance" and that none of this is accomplished without cooperative "forward thinking" active participants.

New York State Senator Darrel Aubertine, according to a recent article in the Watertown Daily Times is opposed to NAIS. It is ironic he would oppose such a measure to protect the agricultural community while there is overwhelming documented support for the program. He is opposed to a program designed for food safety, while he was so concerned about another food safety issue MPC.

Milk Protein Concentrates was the subject of legislation, A01999, sponsored by then Assemblyman Aubertine that prevented labeling products with MPCs as dairy products. The objective of MPC labeling, COOL (country of origin labeling) and NAIS are all somewhat similar in nature; consumer and food safety and public health.

Why would Senator Aubertine be opposed to food safety and public health?

Friday, May 23, 2008

118th - Ritchie Is Out!

The leading potential candidate for the open seat in the 118th Assembly district race, Patty Ritchie, is stepping out of the race.

It is reported Ritchie had the most favorable showing of both parties in a couple polls of the voters making her the leading potential candidate in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. Despite the showing, Ritchie could not gain the support of the two GOP chairs in either county.

Ritchie is said to be making an official announcement on Tuesday at 10:00 in Canton, and late word from St. Lawrence County is Dave Button, Town of Canton Supervisor is reconsidering his entry into the race. A decision by Button to enter the race would force a primary with Clayton native Bobby Cantwell who has already announced his candidacy.

The departure of GOP Ritchie and Democrat John Burns leaves this race wide open and too close to call for any political observer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The GOP Announces Its Fall Line Up At Their Spring Dinner

The GOP announced its fall line up tonight to a crowd of slightly more than a 100 at the Jefferson County dinner held at the North Side Improvement League.

There appears to be no primaries likely to occur.

Candidate for 23rd Congressional Seat - John McHugh
Candidate for 48th Senate District - David Renzi
Candidate for 122nd Assembly District - Dede Scozzafava
Candidate for 118th Assembly District - Bobby Cantwell

Cantwell's speech was brief and he asked for everyone's support and laid his platform out for healthcare, housing and the St. Lawrence River.

Senate Candidate Dave Renzi

David Renzi delivered a very passionate speech with the hint of his campaign theme; "Everyone will have a voice." He emphasized to the GOP faithful that his campaign will be a local campaign, dealing with the issues that are important to the people at home and letting local people have their say on the issues. The crowd responded warmly and enthusiastically when Dave announced his campaign will be run by local people and the 48th Senate district campaign would no longer be held hostage to outside interests.

Dave looked ahead to his platform in an aggressive and confident manner. He promised a forward thinking and positive campaign that would focus on solutions to lower property taxes, and based in family values while forming a vision for our communities with good jobs. He talked of quality schools and an educational process that produced talented young people who will find better job opportunities closer to their home.

He closed by acknowledging his underdog status and there was little question in his mind this would be a tough fight, but he is ready and this is a fight for his community that is worth having.

Also tonight, the GOP was pleased to announce and welcome friends in labor, Central Tades had a table at the dinner.

Renzi For Senate

Watertown Attorney David Renzi has announced his candidacy for the New York State Senate seat in the 48th District.

Dave Renzi versus Darrel Aubertine will be a competitive race where Renzi is probably favored out of the gate. Dave is young, energetic, and smart person, and along with his family, very popular in Jefferson County. His father Eugene Renzi has a long history of civic service to this community and a well respected Doctor. Dave has a distinguished law practice and resides in the town of Watertown with his wife Jessica, an intelligent former Miss New York State, who is no stranger to advocating for other's needs.


The Daily Politics Blog...probably one of the most astute political blogs in New York State politics had this to say

"Freshman Sen. Darrel Aubertine, who is arguably the Democrats' most marginal candidate as they seek to wrest the majority from GOP hands this fall, has a Republican opponent: Watertown attorney David Renzi."

And the Capital Confidential Blog of the Albany Times Union.

Old Media vs. New Media

Click on the report link within this attached posting. The attached report provides interesting insight into the view old media takes on the internet and new media.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lieberman Speaks

There has been a lot of talk about the re-branding of the Republican Party, but here is a new twist. Former Vice Presidential Candidate, Joe Lieberman, who ran with Al Gore in 2000, talks about retro fitting the Democratic Party to its modern day roots of John F Kennedy, Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt.

Click Here, Lieberman writes an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal

It is a good read.


It is that time of year, graduation for JCC and other area colleges. The graduation signals the near close of the fiscal year in a couple months and the start of another year beginning in September.

JCC is a valuable asset of this community, providing an opportunity to continue learning and strengthening the quality of the workforce in the area. The college has been the successful starting place for many aspiring to attain a quality education and brilliant career.

The community has a great deal of interest in the college's success, they have been supportive of their efforts and they become deeply concerned when it encounters difficult times as it has experienced in the past couple of years.

So where will the college be when this fiscal year closes and what opportunities will it present to enhance the upcoming year? Since the college is funded by local property taxes and student tuition, this is a legitimate question.

The college, during recent years of stagnant or declining enrollment, has increased its revenue by requesting an increase in funding from Jefferson County annually and periodically raising student tuition. The college received a half million dollar increase in funding last year, and despite the increase it was portrayed by some as a cut because the initial request was for a million dollar increase. The outrage of some was better than their math, it was an increase in funding. The main basis from the college's standpoint for an increase in funding from the county is meeting a state mandated formula, which the county has been able to achieve.

The college and the county working to find an acceptable level of funding should focus on added value that will attract and increase student population and enhance their learning. Absent added value, and amid stagnant or declining student enrollment then a simple cost of living adjustment should be sufficient. But, this community cherishes the college and does not want status quo, it desires to see it excel and will not mind funding the college to see that happen. JCC is a jewel and the community enjoys polishing it at every opportunity presented.

The college and county should refrain from making this a discussion solely on some formula, rather they should boast the accomplishments and share a vision for excellence in serving students, that will be reason enough to invest in our future.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Notable Quotes

"Don’t let the Republicans look more enlightened than us, which they do today. Which is unbelievable. I never thought I would see that."
Bill Clinton

The values of those people you diminished are the values of America. And those people don’t like getting patronized, or viewed as an alien species….”

Karl Rove (On Obama's bitter remark)

Clinton Receives Her First 3 AM Call

John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

The results from Oregon will be a wee bit late tonight due to the time difference, Clinton should receive her first 3 AM call tonight.

Mrs Obama Shows Inexperience Also

If Obama is going to put his wife on the campaign trail to represent him and his views, then her statements are subject to critique. Fair game, play ball, again his rhetoric should not get traction.

Polling Data

The polling data for the Presidential election this year might be considered suspect through out this election cycle.

The polling data collected and disseminated this year is possibly going to be skewed and it has nothing to do with the pollsters or methodology and everything to do with respondents and what is referred to as the "Bradley effect."

The Bradley effect is a so called tendency of white poll respondents to overstate their support for a black candidate thereby skewing the pre-election polling. The Bradley effect is a documented effect on polling in biracial contests that has occurred in previous election contests. It received its tag after a gubernatorial election in California, which Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African American, was leading in polls just days before the election and lost.

The polling anomaly occurred again in the Virginia Governor's race in which L. Douglas Wilder, an African American, barely won despite a large double digit lead. In addition, it has already occurred this election cycle in the New Hampshire primary. Obama led in polls leading up to the primary and was projected to win by 8 points, but lost by 3 points while the undecided voters only went for Clinton by a slight margin, not enough to alter the margin to the extent it changed between polling and outcome.

The Bradley effect was suspected in the Rhode Island primary where Clinton had 9 point lead in the polls prior to the primary and she won by 18 points.

Another factor in forecasting this year's election is the large increase in voter registrations and large projected turn out which will make it difficult to model the actual voters.

Some will doubt and dispute the effect on polling results; nevertheless, it is a phenomenon that has to be considered and will leave suspicion in the minds of those that attempt to predict the results.

Monday, May 19, 2008

6 Ways The GOP Can Save Itself

JIM VANDEHEI & MIKE ALLEN of Politico suggest six ways for the GOP to save itself.

1. Get A Clue - establish some principles and stand for them, whether it is smaller government, stronger defense, whatever, but form a vision and stick with it.

2. Cut The Crap - GOP has provided an ample supply of bad spending and scandals, clean it up.

3. Beg For Help - Democrats might appear to be in chaos, but it is well financed chaos. GOP needs support and supporters need a reason.

4. Burn The Bush - Loyalty to a point of fault, time to abandon the Titanic.

5. Change The Pitch And Your Face - the party needs fresh reassuring packaging and diversity and youth.

6. Fan The Fear - Democrats are soft on security and terrorists and with McCain atop the ticket GOP should trump their patriotism and protection for the country.

Presidential Candidate John McCain, a nonconformist, is likely the person who can reinvent the Republican brand. An advocate for controlling government spending is a return to a strongly held GOP principle that has been lost recently, but McCain will be more centrist in other areas such as; the environment, and diplomacy in foreign policy. McCain is a strong minded independent thinker who will cross party lines in order to get things done.

Obama is naive if he thinks he is going to run an anti-Washington campaign and get voters to believe he can change the way they do business, many have said that before him and failed to deliver. Obama said the other day; the war is in its sixth year, Osama bin Laden is still free, al-Qaida is active and Iran is bold. It is logical to ask what is his plan, beyond his soaring rhetoric? Obama will have to answer questions, he will not be able to escape simply by his criticisms of the way things are currently, he needs to articulate his positions.

The right candidate is one who can navigate and work issues in a bi-partisan manner and govern from the center, such is the experience of McCain. There is a difference between the candidates, one is just hope and the other is experience and results, if McCain can re-brand Republicans and present them with a vision, he can win.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mike Flick For Watertown High School Board of Education

Mike Flick deserves the Watertown High School voter's support for school board this year.

Mike Flick is a family oriented leader of the community who is employed at the New York State Department of Transportation and he currently is serving on the school board and has done a fine job in all aspects of guiding the district in quality of education and responsibility to the taxpayers.

Mike has served the students and public well from quality curriculum, lunch programs, extra curricular activities and quality facilities. He, along with the other board members and administration have accomplished all this while remaining mindful of who pays the bills; the taxpayers.

Mike believes the school should be the pride of the community and works to develop a strong bond between the community and the school. Mike believes that strong fundamentals form a foundation for our school, and you can read his principles in a statement posted on newzjunky.com.

Mike was recently quoted in the Watertown Daily Times that his favorite part of being on the board is "the feeling like we have an influence over someone's educational experience. I have some small measure in their success."

Mike is truly there for the unselfish reasons, the success of others, and no more needs to be said on why voters should return Mike Flick to the Board of Education.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kennedy Rushed To Hospital

Ted Kennedy has been air lifted to the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with "stroke like symptoms" Politico reported the news at around noon today.

Clinton Unlikely Veep

Obama's choice for the Veep slot is unlikely to be Senator Clinton.

The corpse of the Clinton campaign continues to make its way through the remaining primaries but she remains in the race for several possible reasons; a possible huge stumble by Obama accompanied by a mass departure of the super delegates, a last ditch chance the campaign can convince the DNC to seat Florida and Michigan according to their disputed primaries, her need to satisfy the delusional supporters still showing up at her rallies in hopes of her pulling off a Harry Truman turn around or possibly she truly believes Obama is not electable.

It is unlikely she remains just for the Veep slot, she has already proven she is a potential candidate for the slot. Yet, Obama will not choose Clinton, he does not need to be overshadowed by her at any time; possibly drawing larger crowds than him or potentially in the White House. She does not bring anything to the table as far as geography or ideology that he does not already possess. Clinton does not shore up any of Obama's shortcomings.

He will pull her voters without her on the ticket, once they have a cooling period, they are true Democrats and their fingers will recoil before they vote for a Republican. She may not have pulled his voters because she made race such a big issue, but he will get her voters in the end.

What Clinton would bring to the ticket that Obama does not want is her polarizing personality where she has as high of unfavorables as just about anyone (except W) and along with Bill, who seems to be a drag on her campaign, are seen as old time slash and burn political operators something Obama has rigorously campaigned against.

Obama's greatest weakness heading into the fall against McCain is foreign policy and absent the economy going completely in the tank, the focus of the election will continue to be that and the war. McCain masterfully shifted the focus and debate back to his strength by announcing 2013 as a date we will be out of Iraq and Bush reinserted himself by taking a swipe at Obama, all in an attempt to frame the issues. The choice of VP will likely be made prior to any more economic disasters, therefore Obama's choice will be heavily favored to foreign policy and shoring up an exit strategy beyond words.

Sam Nunn for VP, a well respected former Senator with foreign policy and defense experience as chair of the Armed Services committee. Nunn is from the south, having represented Georgia and he is thought to be a conservative Democrat. He shores up Obama's weaknesses in just about every aspect; he adds age, experience and stability to the ticket, ideology and geography and hits the gap with foreign policy.

Obama/Nunn vs. McCain/?

Friday, May 16, 2008


There appears to be a political game of chess occurring in the 118th Assembly district,with both sides claiming check while checkmate is down the road a few months.

Rumor has it this appears to be a strategic battle between the GOP and Democrats for a geographical candidate.

This appears to be an infinite decision making process on both sides, but, do the Democrats have a candidate, the general thinking is not yet.

Greg Pacquin was the favored candidate from St. Lawrence County but sources say he backed away from the special election, which resulted in the no call for the special election by the Governor. The queen bee, June O'Neill, lost interest in a Pacquin candidacy after being left at the altar of the special election.

Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns appears to be stalled by a recent wedding engagement according to sources and Tim Kelly's name is circulating but Tim is short for Timid!

St Lawrence County Clerk Patty Ritchie is rattling the sabers of a candidacy but has not made a formal announcement, while the Democrats obviously are taking her serious by issuing attacks already and attempting to scare her off, and far reaching words of a candidacy from Bob Cantwell (Jr or II) son of former top paid full time Clayton Supervisor Bob Cantwell has yet to materialize.

It is likely at this point, that if a candidate just steps out there and says I want to represent you, the voters may appreciate that gesture and reward the person in November for having the fortitude to come forward first.

Outta Here By 2013

Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain wants to be out of Iraq by 2013. An article in the New York Times, McCain began to lay the ground work for a vision and plan to remove the troops. This will remove a political target from his back that the Democrats were aiming at and allow McCain to define himself.

Obama campaign offered a lame response typical of an inexperienced politician. “While Senator Obama agrees with many of the sentiments Senator McCain expressed today, he believes you cannot embrace the destructive policies and divisive political tactics of George Bush and still offer yourself as a candidate of healing and change.”

Obama ran a good primary campaign, but he will need more substance than rhetoric in the general election and the scrutiny of his abilities and youthfulness will continue by voters looking for a person capable of being President of the United States.

The Gov Means Business, Due Day May 16th

Today is the due date for the state agencies to produce their planned 3.35% cut in spending. All eyes and ears are on the Governor for follow through, and to see how much "pain" agencies purposely attempt to produce.

To: Agency Commissioners

From: Governor David A. Paterson

Re: State Budget

Date: April 21, 2008

When I took office, it was clear New York needed to get its fiscal house in order. That is why, in my first act as governor, I called for an $800 million across-the-board reduction in State spending.

With economic storm clouds gathering on the horizon, I knew that this was the only prudent choice. Accordingly, the Enacted Budget requires all State agencies to manage a 3.35 percent reduction in projected spending. Both the State’s Financial Plan and the public demand that we meet our savings target to help ensure a balanced budget.

The Budget does not dictate what actions each Commissioner must take in order to implement this reduction. Instead, I believed it was a better course of action to draw on your expertise, as well as that of your staff, in determining how to improve our government’s efficiency. As such, by May 16, 2008, each agency must submit a detailed plan of action to the Division of the Budget, identifying how it will realize its required share of these savings.

The reductions you propose must be achievable, recurring, and serious. Your plan must reflect the creativity needed to provide the services the public expects at a lower cost.

Above all, you must rethink your hiring practices. Only job openings absolutely essential to your agency’s operations and protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers are to be filled. Positions that do not fit this criterion must be left vacant.

I have faith that each of you will be able to find ways to cut costs and achieve these goals. If, however, I deem that your proposal will not produce the required savings assumed in our State Financial Plan, there are several corrective actions that I am prepared to take. These include withholding an amount of budgeted funding needed to hit your savings target or implementing a hard hiring freeze at your agency. I sincerely hope and expect such measures will not be necessary.

After your plans are submitted and approved, we need to immediately turn our attention to next year’s budget, which promises to be constructed in an even bleaker economic climate. You must use the development of these savings initiatives as an opportunity to fundamentally reevaluate your agency’s operations from top to bottom. I have an ambitious vision for our State’s finances, and these reductions are only the beginning.

In the current environment, complacency is unacceptable. We must change the way the State does business, and start leading the nation as an example of what is right in government. Together, we must rebuild New York into what it once was and can be again – the Empire State. And that starts with a better, more fiscally responsible State budget.

I look forward to your cooperation as we seek to achieve this common goal.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No. No & No

Governor Paterson seems to have a one word vocabulary and that is NO!

Paterson has said he will continue to say NO to the unions to sweeten their pension pot. "This is not the time to sweeten the pot because we're about to lose the whole pot," Paterson said.

Paterson does not want to pick a fight with the unions on this issue, but it looks like it is headed that way. The unions want to protect their own from any health care reductions due to budget cuts and fiscally difficult times the state is facing. According to the New York Post CSEA President "Danny Donohue, says his aim is to make sure 'localities live up to their responsibility to retirees.' And, he says, labor wants New York to do 'what's morally right.'"

Paterson is reportedly prepared to say NO to the gas tax holiday as well. In this case, he believes doing nothing is doing something and he will not take action for reduction of taxes on the purchases of gasoline.

His final NO was to himself, the Governor annually gets a $30 million share of the $200 million member item or pork barrel spending pot, and $500 million of the capital projects spending, which Paterson has said he may not spend his portion. A portion of the $500 million, $150 million to be exact, is previously committed, but the balance $350 million remains uncommitted.

His positions seem firm for the moment, but time will tell, as the election of Democratic colleagues in the Senate gets closer and the battles heat up, he might come under pressure to begin dumping taxpayer money for electoral purposes.

Carthage Residents May Not Agree

This NYSUT pro-school budget vote commercial probably will not get much traction in the Carthage area this year. Residents of the Wilna/Champion area need to send Superintendent Carl Militello, resident of Sackets Harbor, and the school board that they care about their school, but they also care about their taxes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mass Transit

P IV has a reader in New York City who is an advocate of mass transit, of course, by the nature of a person living in the Big Apple, makes one fairly dependent on forms of transportation other than personal vehicles.

The contrast between upstate and downstate is probably most apparent in the method in which the inhabitants travel. Hence, the reason the Assembly Democrats are more concerned about subway tolls rather than thruway tolls, Senate Republican's concerned about gas taxes, while the Democrats look the other way.

A dual purpose proposal was identified by the reader; an attempt to reduce fuel consumption and an effort to reduce the political divide between upstate and downstate the reader suggested the return of train transportation that once flourished in upstate New York.

So here is a reader suggestion, bring back LOSRR.

And to emphasize the lack of concern a downstate Democrat has for the gas prices and taxes the people of this state pay here is none other than the "Queen of Kill that Bill" Liz Krueger spewing her rhetoric.

Take Me Home Country Road

Take me home country road...!

No Fork, No Pork

It must be Darrel is either sitting at the wrong table in Albany or they did not give him a fork when he sat down for the pork serving.

There is very little doubt some readers here like their pork and for those of you who do like your pork with lots of fat, here is a list of pork projects, look close nothing for Northern New York.

Nothing for Samaritan Medical Center and their expansion while other hospitals are included, nothing for Jefferson Community College while other colleges are included, nothing for Jefferson County Historical Society while several other facilities such as the Center for Jewish History or Italian American Museum received money, nothing for the local YMCA while South Queens Boys and Girls Club and YMCA of Rochester take home some money.

Looks like Northern New York is not reaping any benefit of our tax dollars. Keep sending it in, they will keep spending it while we get none of it, attaboy Darrel.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Assembly Republican Leader Blogs

The Assembly Leader is a blogger!


His latest entry speaks to the gas tax relief.

Would you favor saving .30 per gallon and if the federal government eliminates their tax then the saving could be around .50 per gallon?

Sign the petitions for gas tax relief in Tedisco's blog and the Senate petition.

Hybrid Pork Solution

E.J McMahon wrote an article yesterday in the Syracuse Post Standard that called for an end to pork spending. He rightfully points out the abuse of member item spending and how many people simply call for more equity in the system of distribution in order to fix the problems.

McMahon writes " The fundamental problem with member items is not equity but excess" and "The right answer is to do away with member item spending all together."

A hybrid solution to both McMahon and other good government groups calling for equity is needed. The system needs more transparency rather than huge documents of member item listings distributed, with a here you wanted it, go look for it attitude. The system needs more equity among members, but that should go along with equity in redrawing district lines after the new census. Finally, a small sum of money to be used for discretionary purposes by members in their districts is not a bad thing, but not $200 million as budgeted, after all the legislator is suppose to know their district better than anyone else such as Sheldon Silver or Joe Bruno.

McMahon says don't mend it, end it.

A system mending it is a preferred choice.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hizzoner's Birthday

Happy Birthday Mayor Graham
It is the Mayor's birthday today! Hmmmm, thinking it may be 51 or possibly 52, in any event,

Happy Birthday Mayor Graham

Sunday, May 11, 2008

118th Noise Reaches The Sound Meter

Last week a post described how silent the activity from any potential candidates was in the 118th Assembly district. That all changed later in the week.

Jefferson County Legislator Phil Reed is out and St. Lawrence County Clerk Patty Ritchie is still considering her options.

The Jefferson County side of the equation may not remain quiet. The word has been circulating for a while that former Supervisor Bob Cantwell's son maybe interested, but without any name recognition (obvious from this post), it will be a difficult and expensive feat to get elected. At this point, Ritchie remains the candidate with the highest name ID and therefore best possible shot at winning the election.

The Democratic side, there is a little or no roar from or for Greg Pacquin and the indication that county-wide elected Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns' name has seemed to reemerge as a possible candidate is a sign the Democrats may have done some polling.

Let's take a look at the potentials.

Ritchie is an aggressive campaigner, who is affable and charming; she is also very successful at fulfilling her objectives as county clerk and instituting initiatives that have resulted in vast gains of revenue for the department and service to St. Lawrence County residents. She can be mild tempered but very aggressive when necessary. Her performance as County Clerk demonstrates her ability to drill down into issues and figure them out, something necessary of an Assembly person.

Burns is quite a contrast to Ritchie. He has been successful at the law enforcement side of the Sheriff's department leaving little doubt he is a good cop. But, Burns has a natural affinity for spending money that is clearly evident in the Sheriff's department, where it is easy to spend taxpayer's money without any accountability for raising taxes. This lack of fiscal discipline is also evident in past business ventures that were plagued by problems as a result. In sharp contrast to Ritchie's demeanor, Burns is also known to have a hot tempered form of manner. Burns is well versed in law enforcement issues, but depth of knowledge in other areas important to taxpayers of this district will be a concern.

These fiscal situations are fair for the voters to consider as to how an Assembly person would manage taxpayer's money. If this match up comes to be, then residents in the 118th can expect some sharp contrasts between the two candidates.

The next Assembly person should be elected on the ability to do the job, the Democrats, following the lead of Hillary Clinton, have a hard time restraining themselves from negative campaigning and Assemblyman Ron Canastrari has already begun the mud slinging.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Nick Spano, former State Senator from the 35th district has declined a run for that seat this year after giving it some consideration. “This was a very difficult decision. As my father would always tell me, never go back, always move forward.”

John McHugh received a low score 15% from conservative The Club For Growth, but he is in good company as every other New York representative from the House and Senate scored low. This should please Danger Democrat.

Danger Democrat reports 112 people showed up for the spring dinner of the party, that does not seem like a lot of people considering the activity of that party and the big win in the special election. The Republican dinner is in the same place, the North Side Improvement League, sometime soon. It will be interesting to see what numbers they put up for attendance as they seem weaker than the Democrats as of late. "Eighty percent of success is showing up." Woody Allen

The Mayor gets Quick Draw according to the Watertown Daily Times

Ritchie maybe on board for the 118th but GOP Chairwoman Janet Kelly from St Lawrence County is not according to an article in the Times. This would not be the first time Ritchie ran a race and won without Kelly's support, so Ritchie is probably not really concerned.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fireworks in the 118th - RACC Responds

Today Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, Chairman of the Democrat Assembly Campaign Committee, detonated the first land mine of negative campaigning and tonight Republican Assembly Campaign Committee returns fire with the following press release.


For Release: IMMEDIATELY, May 8, 2008

Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 542-2413


Assemblyman Ron Canestrari (D-Cohoes), Chairman of the Democrat Assembly Campaign Committee (DACC) today launched a negative attack against Patty Ritchie (R-Ogdensburg), St. Lawrence County Clerk and potential Republican candidate for the vacated 118th Assembly District.

Canestrari launched the broadside on the “Danger Democrat” blog earlier this afternoon. In the blog post, Canestrari cited a Watertown Daily Times story reporting on the possibility Ritchie may run for the 118th Assembly District and accused Ritchie – who has not even formally declared her candidacy – of “lying” and being “dishonest and disingenuous.”

“It’s pretty obvious that Canestrari is only attacking Patty Ritchie because he and DACC are worried about her candidacy. He knows she has a proven record of accomplishment as St. Lawrence County Clerk and that she would make an excellent candidate for the 118th Assembly District,” said Joshua Fitzpatrick, Spokesman for the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee (RACC).

“North Country voters should decide who will run, not Ron Canestrari. He should butt out of North Country business,” Fitzpatrick said.

“Patty Ritchie has a well-known – and well-earned – record of dedicated, honorable public service to North Country taxpayers. That Ron Canestrari would attack her in such a manner just proves what RACC already believed: Ritchie is the best candidate to listen to – and fight for – North Country families by bringing real change to Albany,” Fitzpatrick stated.


Bye Bye!

Bye Bye is what New Yorker's say each year to their children, neighbors, relatives, friends, and co-workers as New York State continues to lose its inhabitants. The primary reasons are jobs and the economy, which is affected and afflicted by the way New York State is governed.

Therefore, here is where the rubber meets the road for politicians. The continued hemorrhaging of residents from New York State, especially upstate New York, will cost the state representation at the federal level and cost the North Country representation at the state level.

This gets a little tricky here, but the convoluted system of reapportionment is left up to the politicians, which essentially means the Democrats and Republicans will decide and compromise to protect their own seats. This translates into the Assembly Democrats protecting their seats and if the Republicans remain in control of the Senate, they will protect their seats.

How does this effect the North Country?

There is little doubt this will spread the 23rd Congressional district seat out further than it is currently and if Democrats control both the state Assembly and Senate, John McHugh will be a target.

If the winner of the 118th Assembly district is a Democrat, the district is likely to remain fairly well intact, if the winner is a Republican expect that district to be altered enough to push the representative outside the district boundaries or make it more difficult to win re-election, just ask Bob Nortz. This concern should be factored into any Republican candidate's decision.

In the 122nd Assembly the same scenario is likely to occur as in the 118th Assembly district, any changes will favor the Democrats.

The 48th Senate district will change depending upon who has control of the Senate; Democrats will draw the district to favor Aubertine or Republicans will draw it to make it more difficult for him to win re-election.

There is the system, fair and balanced, and if you believe it is truly fair and balanced then there is a bridge for sale in Brooklyn you might like to buy.

The bottom line is Northern New York's representation will take a hit in redistricting and will continue to do so until the elected officials decide to make serious changes in the way government operates New York State.

Pork Data Base

LoHud.com has created a pork data base for ease of browsing.

Here are both for the Senate and Assembly.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Guest Voices From Carthage

Village of West Carthage

61 High Street

Carthage, New York 13619-1326

315-493-2552 * 315-493-2847 (fax)

Scott M. Burto, Mayor

May 7, 2008


The school board has lowered the tax levy increase to 6.8%. We feel it is unfortunate that additional cuts were not made to lower the tax levy increase. The school has made it clear that this is the best they can do at this time. We encourage residents to take a close look at the budget proposal and to get out and vote on May 20th. We also hope that everyone will take a close look at all the candidates for school board before they vote. We have asked that if the budget is turned down on May 20th that the board goes back to work to make additional cuts and allow for a second vote to gain residents approval. Instead of taking the easy way out and implementing a contingency budget.


Scott M. Burto, Mayor Village of West Carthage
G. Wayne McIlroy, President Village of Carthage
Terry L. Buckley, Supervisor Town of Champion
Mike Storms, Councilman
Town of Wilna
Gary Eddy, Supervisor Town of Rutland
Lee Carpenter, Mayor Village of Black River

Bruno Takes A Swing

Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno had a showdown of sorts with a reporter from the Albany Times Union. The confrontation in this case was probably slightly deserved considering it is opening a wound of the troopergate scandal in which the Times Union played a role.

Start with the hypothesis that New York State government is fundamentally flawed simply by the nature of its leadership structures in both the Assembly and Senate. New Yorkers would be better served if rules in both of the chambers limited the time these positions are held by any single lawmaker, the recent distribution of member items are a symptom of that problem; it breeds loyalty, fosters strength and power in the positions. This is simply defending Bruno in this one particular case.

The Times Union was baited into the troopergate scandal in an attempt by Spitzer to get Bruno, while the Albany DA’s report actually claims they made inquires on Spitzer’s travel. It appears they never followed up on the original inquiry but instead took the bait from Spitzer’s people and tried to hang Bruno out to dry on this issue.

Bruno was speaking his peace to the Albany Times Union in this exchange and until they come clean on their sloppy reporting Bruno remarks while lacking in decorum were probably deserved.

It's Eight Belles For Clinton

A stinging defeat in North Carolina and win by a small margin in Indiana has Hillary Clinton face down on the ground again.

There are a couple of signs from Clinton that this maybe coming to a close sooner rather than later. The first signal is she is in Washington today to talk with superdelegates, ultimately her last best chance. The superdelegates may deliver the message that it is time to end the campaign.

The other signal comes in the words she speaks. "People are watching this race and they're wondering . . . I win, he wins, I win, he wins . . . it's so close. That says a lot about how passionate our supporters are . . . but I can assure you that no matter what happens I will work for the nominee of the Democratic party," she said.

Obama had a net gain in vote count last night that equaled what Clinton gained on his popular vote count lead in Pennsylvania. He turned the momentum on its head last night after two of the roughest weeks of his campaign. The Clinton campaign will become more desperate now and the talks will shift back to Michigan and Florida.

It is up to Clinton to manage her end game and meeting with superdelegates will begin that process.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Failing Grade

Amid a year of a historical increase in school aid, a majority of school districts in the 48th Senate district experienced a decrease in school aid from the Governor’s proposed budget to the final enacted budget voted on favorably by Senator Aubertine.

There are 30 school districts in the 48th Senate district and 17 of the school districts experienced a decrease that resulted in a loss of school aid to the area totaling $1,962,541.00. The residents of the district should expect Senator Aubertine to be able to influence fellow Democrat Governor David Paterson in order to prevent such a significant loss, especially given the $1.75 billion increase in school aid included in this year’s budget.

In addition, in the final budget the Legislature passed included an increase in school aid of $400 million from the Governor’s proposed budget, and the 48th Senate still took a loss, the results are equivalent to a failing grade for representation in this area for our fair share.

On February 25th candidate Darrel Aubertine issued a press release that stated, “Darrel Aubertine will fight to make sure we get our fair share,” said Cathy Calhoun, Aubertine’s campaign manager.

The following is a list of school districts, which Senator Aubertine fought hard for, and their decreased aid amount and increased levy percentage, the loss of state aid would have alleviated some of the property tax increases. Residents of these districts will pay income to support the increase in school aid and higher local property taxes to support their districts.

Edwards-Knox ($107,263) 3% Property Tax Levy Increase
Canton ($181,113) 5.8%
Watertown ($236.668) 3.22%
S Jefferson ($69,606) 2.9%
LaFargeville ($39,821) 2.4%

Alexandria ($755) 3.0%
Gen Brown ($48,672) 2.91%
Pulaski ($67,745) 4.54%

Sandy Creek ($117,240) 5.14%
Fulton ($98,263) 2.29%
Mexico ($251,522) 1.97%
Phoenix ($61,260) 5.71%
Hannibal ($5,682) 5.00%
Gouverneur ($294,159) 3.00%

Morristown ($86,134) 3.41%
Hermon DeKalb ($56,523) 3.22%

Hammond ($240,115) 3.41%

Noise From Candidates In The 118th

The noise from the candidates in the 118th Assembly District has not even reached a level on the sound meter. This is like watching a Papal conclave and seeing black smoke from the cigar smoke filled back rooms to mean "no candidate yet" and everyone still waiting for the white smoke and ringing of the bells.

It appears John Burns and Greg Pacquin are engaging on the Democrats side while Patty Ritchie and Phil Reed have encountered each other's desire on the GOP side.

The populace of the 118th anxiously await a signal of white smoke from either side, a gesture meaning they have their candidate.

On To June 3rd, Possibly Even Denver

It is quite likely, once again, today will not be a game changer. This will go all the way to June 3rd and if they split the victories today, as predicted, then this race possibly continues to the finish line in Denver the site of the convention.

Obama will still possess a clear lead of the pledged delegates at the end of the primary season, yet Clinton will clearly have a case to carry on with momentum on her side. A split in victories today positions Hillary to be favored in the remaining six contests, none are caucuses, four are closed primaries and voter demographics favor Clinton.

Obama went on a month long winning streak following Super Tuesday before being slowed down by the March 4th primaries in Ohio and Texas. This is typical of the back and forth this race has experienced with neither candidate being able to put away the other.

Obama is likely to capture only one remaining contest in Oregon, but with the closeness of each contest there has been little change in Obama's delegate lead, but Clinton certainly has been stronger as of late while Obama is damaged by peripheral distractions.

The race moves onto the battle ground of the super delegates and the careful handling of Dean, Reid and Pelosi, despite huge new registrations during this primary season, one wrong move may result in significant lasting damage.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Kotecki On Hillary and "Elite Economist"

Go To School On This Lesson

The Carthage Central School budget appears to be headed for defeat after local town and village officials have raised concerns about the spending increases. The local officials raised their concerns in a letter sent to the School Superintendent Carl Militello and School Board President John Peck a couple of weeks ago and since then there has been claims made and counterclaims raised and a proposed reduction.

The School Superintendent proposed and the Board approved a 9.8% increase in the school tax levy after several years of increasing the levy and several rounds of reassessing for the local property tax payers, making the burden on property tax payers unbearable enough to show signs of budget defeat at the polls.

The letter thus far has resulted in a lot of media attention and awareness but also a private meeting between the school officials and the lawmakers, with school officials subsequently proposing to reduce the levy by $172,000.

There are two points really worth noting. First, if it takes these types of actions to produce reductions in a budget, then the school board needs to be shown the door for passing a budget without asking tough questions. Secondly, for elected town and village officials to get involved in reviewing a school budget looking for reductions is a dangerous precedent setting practice and yet another reason the school board is inept in handling the finances of the district.

"We questioned some of their spending and some budget items, and they'll come back to us with what they decided," Mr. Burto said in an article in the Watertown Daily Times. It should not take elected officials from other taxing entities to step up and question spending, that is not their role, it is the role of the school board and a responsible administration.

The public should be calling the leadership of the school administration into question in this situation as well. Many, faculty included, have described the school superintendent’s leadership style as autocratic, which seldom fosters a productive workplace.

The School Superintendent is irresponsible to claim he cut 21 positions from the school budget, when it is reported from that meeting it was only 4 and the balance of the positions were only requested positions that were not filled.

The Superintendent and school board have also depleted the fund balance. Total fund balance in the 2006-07 school year was $7,209,942 and the school district is projecting only $209,942 by 2009-10 budget year, which means they have spent $7 million dollars in reserve funds since the 2006-07 budget year along with a $4.2 increase in state aid this year.

This issue started with the local official's questioning contradictions in statements by school officials regarding the justification of the increase and cost to taxpayers of new construction occurring at the school in recent years.

This situation bears remembering when voters step in to voting booths to elect school board members. A lesson that a community needs to elect people to school boards that possess some financial background and ability to work with budgets as well as a desire to see kids educated properly.

This is an expensive lesson the Carthage area is learning, all communities should go to school on this lesson.

Carthage voters should reject this budget.

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