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

Monday, June 30, 2008

More On Energy, Opposing Viewpoints, & McHugh Has It Right

Gas prices and energy cost is the most important topic on the minds of voters. It is affecting every aspect of the lives of people, from food cost to getting to and from work to looking ahead at heating their homes.

A energy proposal by Congressman McHugh was posted a few posts back, click here for a review.

Karen Harbert, executive vice president and managing director, Institute for 21st Century Energy, writes a piece titled "Dear 44: Taking Back Our Energy Future" to read it, click here.

Here is a highlight.
What most Americans do not realize is that many of our nation’s energy troubles are self-inflicted and that they can responsibly be remedied right here at home. A substantial amount of our nation’s resources lie beneath federal lands and off the coasts of the United States. Recent estimates indicate that approximately 116 billion barrels of undiscovered recoverable oil resources and more than 650 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas resources lie in these areas. To put these figures in perspective, that's enough oil to replace U.S. oil imports for 40 years and enough natural gas to warm all American households, heated with natural gas, for well over a century. 

Daniel J. Weiss, a senior fellow and director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund puts out an opposing viewpoint on an energy plan title "Dear 44:  Drilling only benefits Big Oil" to read it, click here.

Here is a highlight.
With only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, and one-quarter of its consumption, we cannot drill our way to lower prices. Instead we must reduce demand to reduce costs. Mass transit can reduce gasoline use. But transit remains inaccessible or too costly to many people. The Highway Trust Fund provides only 16 cents of every gas tax dollar for transit while the rest goes for highways. Congress should significantly increase the transit share. These funds could expand rail and bus availability and reduce costs.
Weiss points out
What’s more, big oil companies have failed to develop their existing offshore leases. The Natural Resources Committee found that they produce oil or gas from only one-quarter of the 44 million acres of leases held in the western Gulf of Mexico. Before giving Big Oil access to our shining seas, they ought to develop what they already have.


One note to clarify this point made in his article.

It is existing law that a company forfeits their lease within 10 years if they fail to produce and imposes mandatory penalties if they do not start drilling. There is a price to pay for Big Oil companies failures.

Further exploring and surveying needs to be done in order to determine if sufficient quantities exist to drill for, this combined with paying billions to lease the land from the federal government is enough prompt oil companies to act in a timely manner before the lease expires.

Leasing the land and spending billions for a defensive posture in order to drive consumer prices higher, would be an irrational position.

Most of the energy rich areas are currently off limits for exploration, that is what needs to change.

McHugh is on track with his proposal!

New York Dems Even More Chaotic?

Fred Dicker has a good article today on the chaos that will take place if the Democrats win the Senate majority in this fall's election.

The dynamics are typical, much like Eliot Sptizer or even more like St Lawrence County, the Democrats have a difficult time managing themselves.

A portion of the article worth pointing out;
The main reason is that after 44 years of being out of power, Senate Democrats don't have the knowledge, skill or talent to be an effective majority. And many Democrats - including some close to Gov. Paterson - agree. 

Senate Democrats are also so liberal and so disproportionately from New York City that some of Paterson's aides fear a Democratic majority will refuse to join the governor in his effort to cut state spending, cap skyrocketing property taxes and improve the state's harsh business climate.


The latter part where it states "disproportionately from New York City" this really speaks to the North Country, even if conservative Democrat Aubertine wins, he will not be able to fairly represent us against New York City and a liberal agenda, he is simply a pawn, the means to an end result.

Nothing really has to be said for the Senate Democrats refusal to cut spending, it is a given and read their ally, the Working Families Party, agenda, anyone could tell we are in for more state spending. If New York could become more bloated and more difficult to do business in, it will. 


Yahoo/AP Interactive Poll

AP and Yahoo News are conducting a survey and tracking the moods of selected individuals. The individuals were originally selected back in November and have been provided web access so AP and Yahoo may track their changing moods.  It is a unique method, read here for more.

To take view questions and take the poll that the selected people are participating in click here.

The results from the polling are found here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Obama vs. McCain On Israel

Obama or McCain, depending upon who wins will determine how quickly Israel strikes Iran. Contrary to Obama's claim that he wants to sit down and talk with the leader of Iran, Israel says diplomacy will not work and they are prepared to strike and sooner rather than later if Obama wins.

Read More Here

Read A Similar AP Report Here

McHugh Offers Extensive Energy Package

Late last week Congressman McHugh announced an extensive energy package that he was proposing. Below is the full press release distributed by his office.


Congressman Announces New Legislation, Energy Package to Help New Yorkers

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John M. McHugh (R- Pierrepont Manor) unveiled today his energy legislative package, which addresses the rapidly rising energy prices that are so negatively impacting residents across Northern and Central New York. Congressman McHugh’s energy package includes a bill he introduced this week, the Home Energy Affordability Tax Relief (HEATR) Act of 2008, which would allow Americans to take a new tax deduction to help offset the high cost of home heating bills. The legislative package also included seven additional pieces of legislation that will increase the production of American-sourced energy while providing relief at the gas pump and in home fuel costs for consumers across the country.

Congressman McHugh released the following statement about his energy plan:

“Individuals and families across Northern and Central New York struggle to meet their home heating costs every winter. We need to take action now to help prevent an emergency situation this winter in light of the skyrocketing oil costs. The HEATR Act would provide a needed break for consumers by allowing individuals with high heating costs, particularly in our district, to receive up to a $500 tax credit to offset their high bills. This act would apply to both homeowners and renters, providing relief for consumers across the board. Being a lifelong resident of the region, I understand the gravity of the current situation and this tax credit is absolutely necessary.

"While this legislation would be extremely valuable to residents, we also need to address the key underlying issue in this crisis: the lack of American-sourced energy. I am fully supportive of renewable energy sources, particularly the research that is being done at our colleges and universities like Clarkson, Morrisville, and Oswego. But, we must recognize that our economy relies on traditional energy sources. We need to couple the focus on renewables with more oil, more nuclear, and more clean coal. This includes exploring deep sea energy resources and domestic locations such as the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“Increasing domestic sources of energy will have a real effect on the prices we pay at the pump here in New York, and we cannot afford to wait. The answer cannot be more taxes on the American consumer; the answer has to be more energy. Geological studies show us that America currently has hundreds of billions of known and untapped energy reserves - the vast majority of which are located on currently off-limits federal lands. This includes 1.5 trillion barrels of known shale oil reserves alone. It’s time for America to put these resources to work for all of us.”

Congressman McHugh’s legislative package includes:

* H.R. 1569, the Gasoline Tax Relief Act: Congressman McHugh introduced this legislation last year in March 2007 that would temporarily suspend the federal gas tax when the price per gallon exceeds a certain level. This would provide an 18 cents tax break for consumers on every gallon of gas. This bill was similar to a proposal introduced by Congressman McHugh in April 2006 as well.
* H.R. 3089, No More Excuses Energy Act of 2007: Reduces the price of gasoline by opening new American oil refineries; invests in diverse energy sources such as wind, nuclear, and clean coal-to-liquid technology; and makes available more homegrown energy through environmentally sensitive exploration of the ANWR and America’s Deep-Sea Energy Reserves.
* H.R. 6108, Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act of 2008: Reduces the price of gasoline by enabling the United States to responsibly explore its own deep ocean to produce American energy. The bill would grant coastal states the authority to keep exploration 100 miles from their coastlines and it would also allow states to share in the revenues received. This includes exploring for oil in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
* H.R. 6107, American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act: Reduces the price of gasoline by opening the ANWR to environmentally sensitive American energy exploration. The development footprint would be limited to 0.01% of the ANWR (2000 acres out of the 19 million acre refuge), and revenue received from the new leases would be invested in a long-term alternative energy trust fund.
* H.R. 5656, To Repeal the Ban on Acquiring Alternative Fuels: Reduces the price of gasoline by allowing the federal government to procure advanced alternative fuels derived from diverse sources like oil shale, tar sands and coal-to-liquid technology.
* H.R. 2208, Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Act: Reduces the price of gasoline by encouraging the use of clean coal-to-liquid technology by authorizing the Secretary of Energy to enter into loan agreements with coal-to-liquid projects that produce innovative transportation fuel.
* H.R. 2493, Fuel Mandate Reduction Act of 2007: Reduces the price of gasoline by removing boutique fuel blending requirements and onerous government mandates if they contribute to unaffordable gas prices.
* H.R. 6321, the HEATR Act of 2008: Congressman McHugh’s legislation would provide up to a $500 tax credit for individuals and families facing more than $1500 in home heating costs during the winter season, with a maximum of one credit per housing unit. For homeowners and renters with home heating expenses below $1500, the bill would provide one-third of the total cost of heating in a tax credit. Individual tax filers making under $50,000 would be eligible for the credit as well as joint filers making under $100,000. Above those income levels, the credit would phase out at $60,000 and $110,000 respectively. Additionally, the credit can only be used for fuel costs, which include propane, heating oil, kerosene, wood, and wood pellets.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

DANC: Landfill Is Cash Cow, No Monpoly Game

Danc
The Development Authority of the North Country, (DANC) was recently presented their audited financial
statements for the 2007-2008 year. Highlights are presented below from the auditor’s presentation to the DANC board of directors .
  
The auditor’s presentation included the Authority’s financial operating statement. The Authority had a net gain in income of $9.5 million, which is greater than 40% of their revenue, which by any measure of the public sector is very healthy and almost unheard of in private sector.


The auditor reports that DANC is operating with a “very healthy surplus”

The Authority has relatively low debt service according to the auditor

  
DANC has several lines of services, housing, water, sewer, landfill, and fiber optics. The landfill alone represents a large portion of the Authority’s total bottom line, with a profit of $4.5 million that represents nearly half of all their net income.

DANC is requesting their partners consisting of Lewis, St. Lawrence and Jefferson County as well as the City of Watertown to approve flow control legislation that restricts a hauler from transporting waste outside the region to another landfill. Flow control is a monopoly style of managing the landfill, versus free market enterprise, flow control forces haulers to use DANC, when DANC should be attracting haulers based on competitive tipping fees.
  
With a $4.5 million dollar profit at the landfill and low debt service for the entire Authority operation, it would be prudent for local governments to reject DANC’s request for flow control and press DANC to remain competitive in the market place, which will ultimately benefit the end user of the landfill, the consumer.
  
DANC wants to pay cash for their landfill expansion, which means current users are paying excessive tipping fees and paying for future user’s services when such an expansion that is estimated to last 50 years should be bonded. Paying cash would eliminate the public’s participation in the process by bypassing local governments where their voices can be heard, just what DANC desires. Instead of stockpiling large profits and paying cash for something they should bond for, DANC could benefit current users by a rate reduction and profits that are more modest.

The increase population and economic activity in the North Country with the expansion of Fort Drum will result in an ample supply of waste. Monopoly is a board game, not a way for a public authority to operate.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Rules Americans Have Right To Own Guns


In its entirety.

Classy Commercials

North Country candidates pay close attention.

Sandy Treadwell candidate for Congress in the 20th district challenging Kirsten Gillibrand has put out a new and very classy commercial. The north country will be very attune to the marketing style of the candidates and the candidates are addressing style in their early platform speeches.

His newest ad





Sandy's first ad

JCC Destine For Dorms?


Focus groups citing a desire for a "true college" experience and a Steering Committee's placement as one of their top 3 priorities, JCC is evaluating the practicality of dormitories on the their campus.

The plan for dormitories as well as other possible upgrades to the campus, such as Higher Education Center and Collaborative Learning Center are part of JCC's proposed master plan.

The plan is the same plan that garnered attention early this year during the state budget talks because JCC missed the state deadline for submission and therefore was not funded in capital projects.

Citing the need for new and improved classroom space, as well as study and lounge space JCC outlines several new areas for development over the next few years, such as a Collaborative Learning Center, Higher Education Center and Dormitories.

The Collaborative Learning Center will become the new hub of the campus combining new classrooms, library, counseling, classrooms, tutoring, cyber cafe' and other features into a single building.

The Higher Education Center will feature space for more classrooms to focus on higher and continuing education, a resource for other colleges to function in order to provide 4 year degree programs, workforce development and space for larger community activities.

Dormitories will place JCC in the company of the other colleges in the area along with the majority of colleges in the state who have dorms for student living. The dorms will bring a "true college experience" to the campus.

The cost of renovations will require support from the state, county and a capital campaign in order to accomplish the goals.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Day, Another Darrelism

Several posts ago P IV referred to Senator Aubertine as the "Silent Senator" and this video reinforces the tag as the "SS Aubertine" holds up voting during a slow roll call vote.




For those who may wonder; a slow roll call is a method of recording a vote that requires the physical response of a Yea or Nay, versus a fast roll which requires a Senator to sign in, then votes become automatic.

(Reform minded individuals prefer slow roll call voting.)

Briefly, on another issue being pursued, SS Aubertine recently had a dust up of some nature with an office staff member in the 2nd Floor of the Capital where the Governor's office is, the dust up required the intervention of State Police to some degree. More as details develop. This is likely tied to Aubertine's NYPA-gate.

Aubertine Takes a Thrashing

Upstate Good Old Boys blog gives Senator Aubertine an absolute thrashing.



Click Here and read people like DD will come to appreciate P IV's kind and gentle approach (insert sarcasm) after reading this piece.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Honesty Issue

Obama has a case of Clintonitis, people are voting on whether he is honest or not?

A majority of people think he is not as honest as McCain. Over the long haul of this campaign this issue will begin to play a bigger role and be emphasized more by his flip flop on such issues as campaign finance.


An Opinion From The Left

Even the left wing blog The Albany Project, TAP sees the Aubertine debacle in the very same light. A no win situation for Aubertine and the Democrats.

TAP raises the question if Paterson wants the Senate to remain Republican and why Aubertine, what qualifies him?

A commenter on the blog notes how damaging the press release was to Aubertine.

Click here to read it

DD normally copies and paste a lot from this blog and links to it, but some reason he did not reference this posting today or yesterday.

Arrogance

The lefties complained of Bush's swagger in his walk as a sign of arrogance, and yet MoveOn.org and company produces as much or more in arrogance with this guy. He thinks he deserves a seal before being elected.


What Does Not Add Up

According to Senator Aubertine's press release (see here) he states:
"The offer to Sen. Aubertine would have more than doubled his current compensation as a lawmaker."
According to the Watertown Daily Times Mr Aubertine confirms this morning his salary:
"A move to NYPA would have boosted Mr. Aubertine's salary. NYPA's chairmanship, the job Mr. Aubertine said he was offered, pays $90,800 annually, while the president/chief executive officer position pays $259,000, according to NYPA spokesman Michael Saltzman.
$90,800 from NYPA is not double his $79,000 legislative salary.

Governor Paterson offering Senator Aubertine a job at NYPA would imply that the Governor prefers to keep the Senate in the hands of the Republicans. The top State Democrat preferring the GOP company bodes well for the Republicans during an election season.

New York Times
Republicans are fighting fiercely to hold their one-seat majority in the Senate, which is their last statewide power base. Wooing Mr. Aubertine from the Senate would be one more sign of the burgeoning political truce between Mr. Paterson and Joseph L. Bruno, the State Senate majority leader.
This is a no win situation for the Aubertine and the Democrats.

He either was offered the job (and not for double the salary, which means the Senator can't do math) and the Governor prefers to keep the Senate in the hands of the Republicans

OR

He was not offered the job and Senator Aubertine made a serious serious error in putting out a press release and announcing the Governor offered the job and then later chose to publicly dispute the Governor's claim about the whether or not the job was offered, which means he does not understand, a Governor trumps a Senator every time.

GOP Transitions, Bruno Out, Skelos In

Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno announced his retirement late yesterday rocking the political landscape in New York.
click here

The heir apparent to be majority leader is reported to be Senator Dean Skelos of Long Island.
click here

Senator Tom Libous from Binghamton is likely to become the #2 leader in the Senate.
click here

Monday, June 23, 2008

Aubertine Retracts His Statement On NYPA Offer

In a late press release (hmmm P IV didn't get it but linking to DD) Aubertine retracts his earlier press release about the NYPA job offer.

Many Tales of Senator's Aubertine's Misunderstandings

The Watertown Daily Times, citing anonymous sources, reports Saturday that Darrel Aubertine has been offered -- and turned down -- a lucrative offer to become the new NYPA chairman, more than doubling his salary and giving him unprecedented say over the economic future of North Country people, jobs and communities.

Less than 24 hours later, he confirms the offer in a widely distributed press release, saying he turned down the offer -- flattered though he was to be considered -- out of a sense of duty to the Senate district and in deference to the wishes of his wife and family.

This morning, he confides to the New York Times that, of course, he gave the offer serious consideration and agonized over the decision, and even named names on where and when the offer was made.

This afternoon, the Governor practically denies knowing Darrel (see video posted below), and says no such offer was on the table.

Misunderstandings?

Did Darrel misunderstand when he prematurely announced a deal to save A. L. Lee Hospital in Fulton (the hospital is scheduled to close in seven days, and there is still no solution in sight and Darrel now says he's not involved in negotiations.)?

Did Darrel misunderstand when he said he never voted on wind power, then confirmed he was in line for a $100k annual payout from a wind concern, that he supported several bills and that he was already receiving payments (that he failed to disclose in his legally required ethics reports)?

Did Darrel misunderstand the ethics law that he voted for as an Assemblyman when he violated it by employing his sister in his office?

Did Darrel misunderstand when he said in January he opposed nuclear power, then supported a new plant in Oswego during his February campaign?

Let's take a look at what's at stake --

NYPA employs hundreds of North Country residents, and supports thousands more with its low-cost power allotments.

The recent announced closing of the GM plant in Massena is a case in point. What will happen to the power alloted to GM?

NYPA factors in heavily on maintaining the jobs at the ALCOA plant in Massena so the same does not happen there as it did at GM.

When do misunderstandings become reality in Senator Aubertine's world?

Governor - Aubertine Who?

Well folks, it doesn't get much stranger than this. After Senator Aubertine declines the top position at the NYPA the Governor says it had never been offered to him in the first place. In fact the Governor hasn't spoken with, emailed, or seen Senator Aubertine in the last two months.

Another Aubertine Fishing Story?

Senator Darrel Aubertine has a tendency to get ahead of himself with his self importance. Press release after press release he is saving this or saving that, now it turns out maybe Darrel Aubertine was not even offered the NYPA top position as released in his press release over the weekend.

More to come later, but the question remains who is telling the truth; Darrel or the Governor.? The Governor today denied Aubertine was offered the job.

Could this just be another one of Aubertine's fishing stories?

LATER ADD: The Daily Politics blog reports

An Aubertine spokesman, Drew Mangione, said:
"We're aware of the governor's comments, and at this time we cannot comment any further."
Drew, as a reporter, would not have accepted that line.

Another Example Of Albany & Silver Gone Bad

This email was just forwarded to P IV and highlighted toward the bottom are parts of what is particularly disheartening about the process in Albany.


Subj: NYFB Agricultural Alliance Update on the "Canned Hunt" bill


Hi all,

I just wanted to update you all on what transpired last night in the Assembly. A bill that we have long fought against came up in the Assembly last night at around 10:00 pm – the deceptively entitled “canned hunt” bill.

As you know, we have fought against this bill for over five years and, if you recall, in 2003 it passed both houses and we were able to secure a veto from Governor Pataki. We have been working very closely with our Agricultural Alliance members, the Deer and Elk Farmers Association, this year and chose to focus our efforts on the Assembly to kill the bill.

The first time the bill came years ago, we won less than twenty votes in opposition, but we have been gradually winning votes to our side over the years. This year, we put on a full court press. Last night, the bill was debated for about and hour. Bill Magee spoke on our behalf and when the vote was tallied on the board, it was clear that we had killed the bill, as the vote was about 72-65 in our favor. It is very rare that this happens (maybe once every two years) and when it does the Speaker typically withdraws the bill from consideration in order to prevent a public loss. This is what I expected to happen last night.

This time it was bit different. Speaker Silver was clearly notified of what was happening, because he emerged from his office and spoke quietly with eight democratic members or so, who then switched their vote (It was found out later that a number of the members that switched did so after being threatened with losing member item money or campaign funding from the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee). We ended losing after this, 76-59. A very close vote still, but the deck was clearly stacked. A disappointing defeat.

We will now fight this bill in the Senate and work with the Governor’s office to set up a possible veto opportunity.

Just wanted to keep you all updated.

Thanks!

Jeff Williams
Deputy Director/Legislative Director
Division of Public Policy
New York Farm Bureau

What Is Wrong With New York State Government

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is the poster child for what is wrong with New York State Government. Everything that occurs in New York State is at the mercy of acceptance by this man or it does not happen.

You might remember that a while back P IV wrote on a transfer station on the Gansevoort peninsula just south of W. 14th St on the Upper West Side. Specifically, the P IV posting was wondering why Darrel Aubertine opposed a New York City plan to manage their own waste, but that is off subject now. Last year the Assembly blocked a vote on this transfer station, while the Senate passed it, much like they passed it again this year.

Silver killed the transfer station in the Assembly last year, the same way he killed congestion pricing in the Assembly this year, by not allowing a vote on the legislation.

Aside from being Speaker of the Assembly, who is Silver to allow or not allow legislators to debate and vote on bills. What makes him the be all, end all of New York State and for him to know what is best for different parts of New York State?

A year later and the Gansevoort transfer station is back after being passed by the Senate and now in front of the Assembly, but this year is different. Silver has an opponent, a democrat, Paul Newell and Mayor Mike's Deputy Kevin Sheekey has been sniffing around Silver's opponent possibly to help him.

Therefore, Silver faced with a primary appears to be willing to make peace with Bloomberg and pass this legislation on Gansevoort transfer station this year.

Control by a single person to bring or not to bring legislation before a body of government in New York State is flawed government and in need of reform.

Addie Jenne Russell should recognize and denounce this if she is concerned that New York State Government works properly.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Photo "OP" or Not


Photo Op (short for opportunity) might not be the correct term for this! One might think Bruno would have picked another truck besides one that reads
"BS Express"


Friday, June 20, 2008

Darrel, Do You Prefer A Boot Or Egg?

Here is Darrel's announcement of a pending deal with A. L. Lee Memorial hospital in Fulton to keep it open.



A few short days later this article appears and P IV follows up with a post here

Oswego Health ‘Blindsided’ By Senator’s Announcement
Posted by Nicole Reome on 05 Jun 2008 at 7:26 am


Today this story has come full circle with the announcement that there is NO DEAL, so Darrel do you want help wiping that egg off your face or pulling that foot out of your mouth?

Read the text of Oswego Health's announcement; click here

Darrel claims they have been working on this since he took office in February, "We've been working on this since February."

Ok, then why the delay in getting the proposal to Oswego Health as stated in their announcement?

This is a HUGE mistake for Darrel and staff to have made the claim that he put so much time into this and touting its success before it was even close to a final deal and to see it fall apart after his claims.

Convention Committee Broke


The DNC convention committee is beyond broke, they are in the hole by about $15 million and they might stick the city of Denver with the bill. The committee was charged with raising slightly over $40 million and have only raised $25 million to date.

The convention committee is canceling events, several welcoming events will be iced.

To read more click here

Danger Democrat was going to blog from there, DD they may have to charge you to blog now!

Wonder if they will charge Obama a parking fee for his motorcade?

Instead of a balloon drop they will have a beach ball they bounce around like people do at ball games.

The Pepsi Center appears it is going to be watered down a bit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

DANC - Needs Accountability

Bob Juravich, Executive Director of the Development Authority of the North Country put two proposals on the table at their board meeting today that was webcast at danc.org. The proposals are simply not in the best interest of the people of the 3 county region.

DANC is looking into a gas to energy project that will produce a major revenue stream in carbon credits, possibly $1 million or more and as well from selling products from a greenhouse operation. Their intent is to establish an account segregated from the landfill accounts and prevent users from benefiting with lower tipping fees. The fact is - there is not a gas to energy project without a landfill and separating revenues from the landfill is not in the best interest from the users - the people of Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties.

The people of the 3 county area should benefit from possibly reducing tipping fees as a result of any increase revenue from the landfill operations. John B. Johnson, editor of the Watertown Daily Times and board member of DANC made the suggestion that all revenue should be attributed to the landfill and for administration to prepare a rate stabilization plan that includes ALL revenue. He is precisely correct, diverting monies from landfill or gas to energy operations for some other reason than to benefit the public is flawed thinking.

The other suggestion from Bob Juravich of DANC is to pay for an expansion of the landfill out of current cash flow. Paying for expansion out of cash flow is nothing short of charging current users too much in tipping fees. This idea coupled with flow control provides no incentive for DANC to remain competitive and every opportunity for them to continue to ignore the market place. A landfill expansion is projected to be utilized for the next 50 years, yet Juravich expects today's customers to pay for tomorrow's users.

One of the stated reasons for not bonding for the landfill expansion is the process involves "politics." The Development Authority of the North Country would need the support of the 3 counties and the City of Watertown for bonding, thus they would be exposed to the public and have to answer questions from the representatives of the government bodies, something DANC does not want to do.

If the Development Authority pools the resources they collect from all operations as a result of the landfill then they would be able to make their tipping fees competitive enough that given the current cost of gasoline or diesel it would be prohibitive for waste haulers to transport trash outside the area and thus eliminate any need for a monopoly style of business such as flow control.

DANC needs accountability and needs to be more responsive to the public.

How Can Darrel or Addie Accept Their Support

Working Families Party has some positions that will make it hard for Darrel Aubertine, who is endorsed by them, and Addie Jenne Russell, who wants their endorsement, to explain to voters.
The WFP opposes the tax cap
The WFP wants to increase NY's income tax
The WFP wants increased funding for NYC schools
The WFP supports gay marriage
The WFP supports weaker drug laws
The WFP supports licenses for illegal aliens
The WFP supports 12 weeks paid family leave for every worker
The WFP supports increasing NYS spending

Here are excerpts from an email from WFP to Democrat Senate Minority Malcolm Smith.
"First, we think that the tax cap proposal is ill-conceived, and we are shocked that you would endorse not just the 4% cap but an even harsher 2% version."
"...We acknowledge that you have not supported our proposal in favor of the high-end PIT increases as a way to pay for property tax relief and other needed spending," WFP Co-Chairs Bertha Lewis and Bob Master wrote to Smith."
The Smith Flip Flops on the tax cap according to the email.
"I’ve got a real problem with the hard cap, said Smith...To then read that you have changed your mind entirely less than two weeks later is distressing, to say the least."
The endorsed Senate Democrats, such as Aubertine, were copied in on the the letter. Aubertine needs to rectify these positions.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Renzi's Position On Tax Cap, Where Is Darrel's?

Dave Renzi for Senate
Republican
48th Senate District
Jefferson, Oswego, St. Lawrence Counties
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, June 18, 2008
CONTACT: John Morgia (315) 777-7917
RENZI: WE NEED A PROPERTY “TAX CAP” NOW!
State Senate Candidate Backs Governor’s Plan to Protect Taxpayers;
Wants More State Aid to Strengthen Local Schools
David A. Renzi, candidate for State Senate in the 48th District, today called for passage of Governor Paterson’s “tax cap” on property taxes as a way to provide long overdue relief to families who are at risk of being taxed right out of their homes.
Renzi said the Legislature’s top priority must be to provide relief for overburdened taxpayers, and he insisted that more state aid – not higher taxes – will help strengthen our local schools.
“Skyrocketing food and fuel costs are stretching family budgets to the breaking point, and rising taxes add to the burden of hardworking families who are desperately in need of relief,” said Renzi. “It’s time for our elected officials to stand up for overburdened taxpayers and pass a tax cap that provides genuine relief.”
And Renzi said that, along with the tax cap, state government also must increase its commitment to local education by providing a fair and adequate level of aid to schools in the North Country and Central New York.
“The tax cap represents real relief for homeowners. But we also must work to make sure our schools receive a fair and adequate share of state aid to make sure our children get the great education they deserve. Unfortunately that’s not the case right now,” Renzi said.
In this year’s state budget, schools in the 48th Senate District received $1 million less in state aid than originally proposed by Governor Spitzer, even though the Legislature increased total funding for schools statewide by $400 million.
“More state aid went to schools downstate and outside the 48th Senate District, and our school districts sought to backfill that loss with higher property taxes.
“As Senator, I will work to make sure that schools don’t have to choose between higher taxes and cuts in the classroom by working to make sure that every school gets the aid and resources it needs to give our children a great education,” Renzi said.
New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in the nation – 49 percent higher than the national average, Renzi said.
The 48th Senate District includes Jefferson, Oswego and part of St. Lawrence Counties.
###


Ted (Danger Democrat) Ford Would Be In The Cell On The Left

(lift from MSN)

By Cathy Beers
Jun 18, 2008

Blogger Arrests: University of Washington Study Shows Speech Squelched


A study by the University of Washington shows an increasing number of blogger arrests. In 2007 three times as many people were arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006, it revealed. The University of Washington study also found the majority of arrested bloggers were men between the ages of 21 and 45 years old.
Blogger Arrests: University of Washington Study Shows Speech Squelched


More than half of all the arrests since 2003 have been made in China, Egypt and Iran, said the report. Since that year at least 64 people have been arrested for publishing their views on a blog.

***

According to the report, "Time spent in jail varied from blogger to blogger with the least amount being a few hours and the greatest eight years. We recorded punishment by adding all time in jail in months and finding the average amount of time spent in jail. During the five years we researched, bloggers spent a total of 940 months in jail, while the average prison time for a blogger was 15 months."

The BBC reports that that many nations, perhaps as many as 30, imposed technological restrictions on what people can do online. In nations such as China this made it difficult for people to use a blog as a means of protest.


Campaign Workers On OT

There is little doubt that everyone can remember the hoards of campaign workers that were here for the special election. Well when they begin to appear this election season coming up they may be on overtime if the New York State Assembly has their way and passes this bill.
A07251
Requires that legislative employees receive overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 in each week at one and one-half times their hourly rate.

Does that mean they will be punching a clock in Addie Jenne Russell's campaign office or Cantwell, Aubertine and Renzi's office?
JUSTIFICATION : Currently legislative employees cannot receive time and one-half for overtime. Rather, they must take compensatory time to work on campaigns. We would not allow private industry to do this. Our loyal employees deserve no less.
The suspicious part of the bill is the following.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : To be determined
If this bill is passed there will be no such thing as a campaign "volunteer" from Albany, it will be big bucks and paid by the taxpayer!


Extending Foreclosures Is Bad Policy For Consumers

The Wall Street Journal had a brief opinion piece on the foreclosure action in the state, specifically the Assembly. It rightly raises concerns about extending the foreclosure period. It is a short, but good read, click here.

To read an early post on P IV about the foreclosure action, click here.

Lobbyi$t

Lobbying in Albany is big business and it got bigger this year.

Spending by 3,271 clients on their lobbying from 5,357 lobbyist increased from $151 million to $171.2 million this year.

The big spending sectors:
Health and Mental Health Organization $26.7 million
Real Estate and Construction $21.3 million
Education $13.2 million

Corporations spending the most:
Verizon $3.2 million
Trustees of Columbia University $2.2 million
New York State United Teachers Union $2.1 million

The read the full newsletter from the Commission on Public Integrity click here

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Seen Roaming the Capital

Nearly 6 months since his resignation from the New York State Senate, Former Senator James W. Wright was seen meandering through the halls of the State Capital.

Was he seeing how much has changed since he left? NO

Was he lobbying? NO

Was he talking strategy is case he really wants to run? NO

Did he leave a set of car keys in his office? NO

He was touring, say what, touring?

Yes, he was on a fourth grade class tour with his son, enjoying his day spending quality time with his son. The former Senator was asked to describe his reaction to his return to the Capital and he responded "It is a nice place to visit."

Candidate Cantwell Kickoff

GOP candidate for the 118th Assembly seat, Bobby Cantwell will officially kick off his campaign at 2 different events scheduled for Thursday.

10:30 at The General Store on Bradley St in Watertown followed by a 2:30 event at the Ogdensburg City Hall.

Cantwell is expected to be accompanied by former Assemblyman H. Robert Nortz and former 2002 candidate and widely considered 2008 front runner, St Lawrence County Clerk Patricia Ritchie.

Ogdensburg Mayor, Bill Nelson is expected to join Cantwell in St. Lawrence County while it it unlikely Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham will attend the Watertown event, given the fact he is considering a run for the same seat.

It is not known at this time what state and local issues Cantwell will address in his kickoff announcement, there are plenty to pick from and this would be the appropriate time to convey his platform of issues that he thinks the North Country voters value.

The North Country will be listening to this political newcomer for a fresh vision, thoughts, and what type of an Assemblyman he believes he will be.

Gas Prices



This little chart ought to ruffle feathers of some people the likes of Ted Ford.

Siena Poll On State Issues

A Siena Poll For June 2008 regarding issues facing the state. Here are some of the questions and responses. Click here

Property tax cap is necessary to help people who have seen property tax bills increase by 7% per year over the last 5 years.

Upstate 79% agree - 13% disagree

Property tax cap is unnecessary since local voters have ability to determine school budgets and size of property tax increases.

Upstate 35% agree - 55% disagree

Property tax cap is necessary to force school districts to budget and spend resources more carefully

Upstate 67% agree - 25% disagree

A mandated cap on property tax increases will hurt education in New York

Upstate 23% agree - 66% disagree

By a 46-40 percent margin, voters support a law to legalize same sex marriage in New York.

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about David Paterson?

57% Favorable, 17% Unfavorable, 25% Don't know, no opinion

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jeff Graham For Assembly?

The word this afternoon is that long time Watertown lawyer, sports fanatic, and faithful Republican Jack Scordo is encouraging Jeff Graham to run for the New York State Assembly in the 118th district.

This is the not the first time Jack Scordo has asked Graham to run, he has made a couple of request to Graham and the source is saying Graham did not rule out the possibility of a run.

This would also not be Jeff Graham's first flirt with an Assembly run, having previously challenged former Assemblyman Bob Nortz.

If Graham is to run he would likely be running solely on the Independence Party line, line C. If the state committee, namely Frank McKay, who Graham currently is experiencing a relationship as cold as ice, were to give Bobby Cantwell the out of party authorization, Wilson-Pakula, then this would set up a primary for the IP line.

As Jeff himself would say, make up your mind and announce if you have the fire in your belly to run step up and say so.

If You Don't Think Obama Is An Elitist Watch This.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Foreclosure Laws

The legislative session is due to end in a little more than a week and as the session comes to close, there is a variety of issues still in the balance. The unresolved issues include, but limited to, a property tax cap, mortgage foreclosures, nursing shortage and brownfields.

The Governor and Legislature are approaching the mortgage situation from very different directions. The Governor, Assembly and Senate should recognize that the responsibility of the foreclosure situation rest to a certain degree with both the borrower as well as the lender.

Borrowers should possess knowledge of their own finances and their ability to pay back a loan. The borrower needs to accept responsibility for seeking a mortgage they can afford and comprehend the details of that mortgage. People have the responsibility to be an astute borrower and shop for a mortgage that minimizes the interest versus always focusing on the lowest payment.

The financial institution has the responsibility by law of disclosing all the details of the loan. They have a responsibility to lend people money who can afford to pay it back, and not necessarily lend money to anyone who crosses their doorstep.

Banks and other lenders have a responsibility to "shock" adjustable rate loans in order to determine whether the borrower can afford them in rising rate environments. Subprime and predatory lending by banks is short sighted; it is a disservice to consumers and if the financial institutions have any foresight, it does not serve them well as being seen now. This type of activity deserves any punitive effect legislation may pose.

Assembly Speaker Silver wants to freeze foreclosures, while Governor Paterson wants new rules imposed on the mortgage industry.

Freezing foreclosures will do nothing to solve the problem; actually, it will negatively affect the consumer even further than they are now. A foreclosure proceeding already takes over a year to complete. Forcing banks to carry non-earning assets on their balance sheet even longer will only drive up the cost of doing business and ultimately cost the consumer more for a mortgage.

Paterson has it right; protecting the consumer from subprime and predatory lending needs to be the focus. Although, as they say, the devil is in the details, the legislation should strike a balance between consumers and guard against making lending too onerous as to constrict the access to mortgages.

Banks that have lent people money within all the correct parameters should be allowed to proceed with foreclosures if people are not paying and banks that loaned money based on dubious practices should have a moratorium on foreclosing affected loans and be forced into workouts on these classified loans.

Protecting the consumers means eliminating poor lending practices by banks, yet maintaining access for consumers who pay their loans to institutions who have good lending principles.

If this issue and the other issues are not completed in the remaining days of the legislative session in Albany then the candidates for the seats in the 118th Assembly district and 48th Senate district should have positions on the best way to proceed.

Ask them, people deserve their thoughts.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Interesting Perspective On Open Government

The leaders in the state capital gathered for a group grope session in front of the media the other day to lay out their agenda for the remaining days of the session which ends June 23rd.

Frankly, after watching the media event one would be hard pressed to identify the purpose of such a gathering. The Governor, Speaker Silver, Majority Leader Bruno, Minority Leader Tedisco all spoke and gave a laundry list of items they would like to see accomplished in the remaining time, and they used the time to take jabs at each other.

The Governor was asked for some detail on the items they are working to get a deal on and here is his response.
"I am sure that we will accomplish a number of pieces of legislation that we are working on right now in negotiations," Gov. David Paterson said.

He would not provide any details, saying announcing things publicly could compromise potential agreements. "We have to draw a distinction between open government and open negotiations," he said.

That is an interesting concept on open government, not even revealing what our government is negotiating. If the Governor is not interested in revealing what they are working on, why even hold a press conference?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Red State Update

Smoker's Hotline Heats Up

New York State raised the tax on cigarettes by $1.25 a pack. The intention of the raise was to increase revenue, which it probably will do, but one thing it definitely did was raise calls to the Department of Health Quitline.

The increase tax took effect the week of June 2 and calls to the hotline were four times that of a year ago.

Here is the report from LoHud
The Quitline is 800-NY-Quits

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beside Still Waters

No, this is not a lesson in theology, but the Commissioner of the DEC, Pete Grannis, a resident of the upper east side of New York City, may just as well become the disciple, he wants to make everything but New York City off limits to public use, Northern New York will be a post card when Grannis gets done.

New York State is less than friendly lately with regard to outdoor recreation, early this year the Division of Budget swept money collected from snowmobile registration fees designated for the trail fund to balance the budget. The DEC continued their anti-recreational actions by closure of the ATV trails, now as reported they want to restrict use of their land by snowmobiles, and restrict motors from various lakes and ponds along with a new permitting process for any use of their land.

This is nothing more than bureaucracy at its worse by an out of control state agency, not allowing Boy Scouts to participate in a supervised hike on state land without a permit is unreasonable and inflexible.

Now, Grannis is introducing "Quiet Waters Working Group for the Adirondack Park" in conjunction with the APA to evaluate lakes, ponds and rivers in the Park for potential designation as quiet water which means no motors to be used on those waters.

Land use restriction is acceptable to a certain extent, but big brother appears to closing all land activity as fast as it is raising taxes to fund these unfriendly, bureaucratic agencies that impose such action like the DEC has recently.

A lot of concerns were raised locally when Spitzer tapped Grannis to head DEC, the concerns are making the people that raised them, prophets.

Enough Already!

To Mandate Nursing Overtime Or Not

The legislative session in Albany is winding down with only a few days to go, but they still have some issues before they slide out onto the campaign trail.

In a typical "hey hey ho ho... (insert issue here)...has to go" rally on the Capital on Tuesday legislators addressed nurses on the issue of mandatory overtime imposed on them by health care facilities.

Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno acknowledged there is negotiating going on between the Senate, Assembly and Governor to eliminate mandatory overtime.

The measure would be pro union legislation that health care institutions will adamantly oppose. They oppose it on the basis of a couple of reasons; mandatory overtime is only a very small portion of the the overtime worked and patient safety due to a nursing shortage.

The dilemma is the actual solution to the nursing shortage will take money and that is a scarce resource in Albany these days. Investing in nursing education jointly by the state and health care institutions will provide people necessary to reduce the shortage of nurses.

What exacerbates the problem is mandatory overtime keeps nurses from working in institutional settings in order to avoid being forced to work overtime.

It is reported a deal on mandatory overtime could be reached this session, but in the event a deal is not reached, this will be another topic to add to the column of issues the candidates in the 118th Assembly and 48th Senate District will have to show leadership on with ideas.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Veep Vetter

This is a post from the other day. Obama's campaign just announced the man in charge of vetting the Veep selection, Jim Johnson, has stepped down.

Sometimes you have to look a few layers down to find the players in the political parties and Jim Johnson is one of those up to now obscure power brokers. He served Walter Mondale and John Kerry and now is Barack Obama's Veep Vetter.

But who vetted the vetter? This guy has a relationship with the CEO of Countrywide Financial who is embroiled in the subprime mortgage battle and he is responsible for hefty compensation packages for a variety of CEOs whose compensation committee he sits.

Snippets:
On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson received at least $7 million worth of home loans from Countrywide through an informal program for friends of company CEO Angelo Mozilo that offered rates below the market average. At least four of the loans were issued while Johnson was employed either as the CEO or an outside consultant for Fannie Mae.

In 2006, five companies where Johnson served on compensation committees came under fire from Institutional Shareholders Services and The Corporate Library, two corporate compensation research companies, for accounting errors and failing to sufficiently tie executive payment to performance.

"There is nothing 'overblown and irrelevant' about millions of Americans facing foreclosure and Barack Obama entrusting his most important decision as a presidential candidate to a man who has accepted millions in special loans from a subprime mortgage lender.”

NYSUT Goes After The Gov

The New York State Teachers Union goes after Governor Paterson on the tax cap. Click on the audio below to listen to their radio commercial.

Hillary's 5 Stages


Candidate's Position on Tax Cap

The race for the 118th Assembly seat and the 48th Senate seat are in the early stages. Candidates should be out introducing themselves to voters and circulating their petitions. The candidates have challenges during this portion of the campaign, they have to meet voters with petitions, but also address the issues as well as set up their organizations.

Voters in either district have yet to hear or read about the positions of the candidates on Tom Suozzi's special commission proposed 4% tax cap supported by the Governor.

118th Assembly Candidates
Addie Jenne Russell
Bobby Cantwell

Senate Candidates
David Renzi
Darrel Aubertine

It is time to issue your position on this important proposal, candidates in other districts are beginning to do so, see here. Candidates cannot make their positions on issues like their decisions on running, they have to be more decisive and show leadership. Senator Aubertine, as the only working member of the legislature should no doubt by now have a position on this issue.

Renzi Meet And Greet

David Renzi, candidate for the 48th Senate, seat held a meet and greet last night at Pete's Restaurant in Watertown and pictured here is Mayor Jeff Graham talking with John Doldo.


(This photo was not submitted by Paul Warneck)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Baby Factor In 48th

This is good enough for a direct lift from Capital Confidential, so hat tip to them.

Baby factor in the 48th?
June 10, 2008 at 2:15 pm by Irene Jay Liu

Democratic Sen. Darrel Aubertine (SD-48) may have less to worry about now that former Sen. Jim Wright isn’t challenging him in November, but he may have to contend with a new factor with his announced challenger Republican David Renzi - babies.

Renzi’s father, Eugene Renzi, is a retired OB-GYN who had his practice in Watertown. Over the years, he’s delivered thousands of babies, confirmed challenger David Renzi.

This may or may not be the tipping factor in the race that spans three counties and has 172,233 voters, but it certainly brings up an interesting question. Would you vote for the son of the doctor who delivered your children? And it doesn’t hurt in for name recognition in some parental quarters.

Renzi is a Watertown attorney who helped with Assemblyman Will Barclay’s campaign against Aubertine in a senate special election in February to replace Wright. For some time there was speculation that Wright would seek to reclaim his office this November (Aubertine’s victory was a huge boon to Democrats - the district has a significant Republican advantage), but he ultimately decided not to run.

The stats on SD-48: Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Darrel Aubertine

  • Republican: Watertown attorney David Renzi.
  • Enrollment stats: 47,737 Democrats and 78,429 Republicans
  • Record: In a stunning upset, Aubertine beat Republican Assemblyman Will Barclay in a special election in February. The race would have been considered highly competitive, given the significant Republican enrollment advantage, if Wright or Scozzafava decided to run; with both of them out, the Republicans will have a tougher time overcoming Aubertine’s name recognition and incumbency.

Some Things Never Change

Then Assemblyman and now Senator Aubertine and his office staff are notorious for not responding to people when they contact his office. One of the biggest complaints heard is about people contacting Aubertine's office and not getting a response.

This is a snippet from a letter in today's Watertown Daily Times that illustrates his office inaptitude.
On April 15, I wrote to state Sen. Darrel Aubertine regarding the following. To date, I have not had a reply even after talking to someone in his office. Perhaps he can answer it in the paper.
The letter was written by Frank Lent, Dexter

NYS Senate GOP Push School Accountability

Taxpayer Empowerment and Accountability, "TEA" plan is making its way through the New York State Senate.

The plan would require disclosure on school administrator salaries and pension benefits. This plan would require the salaries to be posted on the school's websites and put in place reforms to prevent school lawyers from receiving health and pension benefits which has been a target of AG Cuomo.

“This far-reaching proposal will prevent excessive and wasteful spending, and mitigate problems that have resulted from school districts paying exorbitant salaries and generous pensions to school superintendents,” Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said.

A measure like this will add accountability; with salaries, school boards and more scrutiny for budgets. It might even bring some attention to consolidation of smaller school districts or the very least centralizing administrative functions.

UPDATE: Click to read the Senate PRESS RELEASE and the Empire Center's new NY Public Payroll Watch website details the plan (here) and makes the claim this does not go far enough.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue fighting finally proving Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cannot get along with anyone. Silver fought with Spitzer when Spitzer first came to town, now Silver is fighting with Paterson, Silver is an obstructionist. The New York Post reported on the rift.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Our Deepest Sympathy

Tyler Pickett was killed Sunday in an attack while on duty in Iraq. Tyler is the husband of Republican Deputy Election Commissioner Kristy Pickett.

WWNY TV is reporting the story here.

Kristy is a dedicated office member and dedicated GOP worker, but regardless of your political affiliation, leave your thoughts and prayers here, it would be appreciated for Kristy and her family.


(NOTE: Anti-war rhetoric or anything less than a thoughtful expression of your sympathy for the Pickett family will be removed, this is not the time or the post to debate the war. Thank You)

Morphing News

The Editor's Weblog (that would be blog for short, hmmmm that would be old media participating in a new media forum) published results from the Newsroom Barometer survey conducted a while back by Zogby International. Here are small of the results:
- 86% believe integrated print and online newsrooms will become the norm, and 83% believe journalists will be expected to be able to produce content for all media within five years.

- A plurality - 44% - believe on-line will be the most common platform for reading news in the future, compared with 41% last year. Thirty-one cited print (down from 35% last year), 12% mobile and 7% e-paper. The rest were unsure.

- Two-thirds of respondents believe the importance of opinion and analysis pages will increase.

Looking 10 years into the future, what do you think will be the most common way of reading the news in your country?
If provided resources to invest in editorial quality, what would you do first within the newsroom?
Across all categories, the responses illustrated two clear concerns for editors, which superceded all others: their staff needs to be attuned to new media (36% of the respondents would first train their staff in new media), and they need more journalists to produce quality coverage (30%, up from 22% last year). As more newsrooms face layoffs and tight budgets, editors are increasingly seeking to safeguard one of the main conditions to quality journalism: a team of qualified journalists.

One of the Editors at the Watertown Daily Times actively participates in blogging, and being an editor gives him access to reporter's raw notes and that information appears in the anonymously authored Northern New York Follies. That would be a good blog for the paper "Reporter's Notebook" not real original but it is at least a launch into the new media.

Obama Veep Watch

There is a lot of this kind of talk going on out there.
Hillary Clinton gave a great speech yesterday. And Unity is at hand . . .

I'd like to interrupt this Unity Day message with a small reminder to the Barack Obama campaign and the Democratic Party - unless he picks Hillary Clinton as his running mate - the day he announces his Vice Presidential candidate will be a day of disunity.

I hope someone is thinking about that. Because since today is "Why Hillary Lost" Day in the Media, they need to remember that Hillary Clinton got half of the votes. Yes, she lost . . . barely. Obama is in a tight race with John McCain and needs a unified Democratic Party and if he is set on NOT picking Hillary Clinton as his VP, I hope he has a plan for re-unifying the Party the day after he insists on NOT unifying, indeed, in dividing the Party by not choosing Hillary Clinton as his VP.

By Big Tent Democrat
If Barack Obama picks Hillary as his running mate, his creditability is shattered. His "Yes We Can" slogan should be changed to "Yes, We Had To." Hillary does not represent even a smidgen of change.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Blocs Of Voters Are Up For Grabs

A couple blocs of Clinton voters are up for grabs, while a lot of her 18+ million voters, the largest catch ever for a primary, will naturally vote for Barack Obama, there are two big blocs that will be up for grabs.

Women and the blue collar workers are two major blocs of voters up for grabs and the McCain campaign will begin moving in on them. The New York Times published an article on the woman bloc.
Cynthia Ubaldo, 44, a Clinton supporter in Columbus, Ohio, just switched her registration from Democratic to independent and donated $10 to Mr. McCain. The endorsement on Saturday is a mandatory, empty gesture, Ms. Ubaldo said.

“I’m sure Hillary’s cussing Obama out to Bill and Chelsea as we speak,” she said.

The Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean is attempting to heal the wounds of sexism toward Mrs. Clinton.
“Many of the most prominent people on TV behaved like middle schoolers” toward Mrs. Clinton said Dean.
This problem will only get worse if Obama attempts to put a female on the ticket and that female is not Hillary.
“Hillary is not interchangeable,” Ms. Black added, warning Mr. Obama not to select, say, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas as a gesture to please women.
The other bloc of voters, blue collar workers, will be hard pressed under any circumstance to support Obama, considered by many as a metrosexual pretty boy with a thin resume' who cannot relate to their problems. And blue collar workers are less likely to fall into a daze with his topical fluff at the podium.

Need anymore be said about this elitist?

McCain Team Blogs

McCain Team has a new blog

Saturday, June 7, 2008

GOP Chair In Trouble

GOP Chairman Joe Mondello is taking heat and feeling threatened in his position as the state GOP leader. In multiple media reports Friday (one here) NYC Mayor Bloomberg is advancing his candidate for chairman retiring Congressman Tom Reynolds and Rudy Guliani is advancing his longtime aid Tony Carbonetti.

Chairman Mondello is an ally of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Mondello's departure will be all but guaranteed if the Senate does not keep the majority after this fall's election.

Party Chairs rarely survive losses in elections, this is their primary job; raise money, build the party and elect their candidates.

The same could hold true for local GOP Chair Sandy Corey, she has pressure to perform this fall. The 118th Assembly seat is open and there is no advantage from the Democrats as they did not have a candidate groomed to take over from Aubertine. Corey chose not to back the GOP candidate who had the most favorable public polling, now she has an uphill battle to get little known Cantwell elected.

The 48th Senate district race is a hotly contested race between Aubertine and Renzi with Renzi having a real potential to win this seat. The GOP Chair, who was absent for the special election and heaped on the criticism afterward for how that election was run, has plenty to make up for her absence.

Likewise, the State Chair criticized the candidate Will Barclay, after the special election. Therefore, State and Local GOP Chairs both have their work cut out for them and pressure to win the Senate and Assembly in the North Country, failure to win this fall should rightfully result in change of leadership.

State Flags At Half-Staff Wednesday

The Governor has ordered the flags to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday in honor of 3 Fort Drum soldiers killed in the line of duty.
Governor David Paterson has directed that flags on State government buildings across New York be flown at half-staff on June 11, 2008 in honor of three members of the 10th Mountain Division who were killed in action in Iraq on June 4, 2008.

Army Sgt. Shane P. Duffy, of Tauton, Massachusetts; Army Specialist Jonathan D. Emard, of Mesquite, Texas; and Army Sgt. Cody R. Legg, of Escondido, California, died when their unit came under attack in Sharqat, Iraq.

The soldiers were conducting search operations. All three were members of the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum., N.Y.

(h/t LoHud.com)

Farewell!

We bid you adieu!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Gas Cap

Onondaga County is eliminating the gas cap, which limited taxes after $2 per gallon price. A recent study conducted there found the benefit was not reaching the consumer. The Onondaga County legislature decided the extra sales tax revenue received would be best used to reduce the property tax burden.

Closer north, Oswego County legislature is entertaining the same idea. The Palladium Times in Oswego is reporting today (click here) the county legislature is examining the viability of the sales tax cap.

In Oswego County the entire county is capped except the City of Oswego where they are not capped and a study found prices in the city to be lower.

Jefferson County Legislators Robert Boice and Addie Jenne Russell, candidate for the 118th Assembly seat, have supported the cap but have been vocal critics of the effectiveness. Perhaps the issue should be raised again.

Carrot or Stick

Which way works the best for a sidewalk program, the perceived stick approach of Watertown or the carrot approach being used by Lowville.

Hizzoner Graham and the City Council of Watertown approach their program in a more punitive targeted way. The City selects certain neighborhoods and issues ultimatums to replace the sidewalks or they will replace them and bill you.

Lowville on the other hand is encouraging people to replace their sidewalks and using a cost sharing program in order to accomplish their goal. The Watertown Daily Times reported (click here) on the Lowville program just the other day.

Hizzoner Graham, take note of Lowville's approach it is note necessarily innovated, it is more common sense, a friendlier approach. Watertown has the capabilities of thinking like this!

Watertown should be heavily focused on fixing up streets, curbs and sidewalks.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

More Dubious Claims By The Senator

Senator's Press Release:
“Since I was made aware of the situation at this hospital in February, I’ve worked daily with DOH officials and A.L. Lee to work out a solution. This facility is an economic engine in the heart of Fulton and vital to this community’s health care needs.”

Reality:

Richard Abbott, who became chairman of the board May 21, said the hospital has enlisted the help of state Sen. Darrell Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent.


Senator's Press Release
:
“We are thankful to Sen. Aubertine for making this opportunity possible. He recognized the critical importance of this issue to the Fulton community and immediately offered his support as our senator.” said Richard B. Abbott, chairman of the A. L. Lee Memorial Board of Directors.

Reality:
Members of the A.L. Lee board of directors had been discussing a possible merger with Oswego Health, the parent company of Oswego Hospital. The two sides haven't met for months and the talks aren't going anywhere right now, Abbott said.
This is Abbott in Saturday's Post-Standard.

OOPS, Senator Acts Before Thinking!

Senator Aubertine may want to run the idea of saving A.L Lee Memorial Hospital by Oswego Health before he announces it. "Blind sided us" was the specific quote used

Here is the article in it's entirety, normally a link would be provide but with putting out a press release before a deal is reached is nothing less than a dimwitted move.

There is no doubt a risk for Aubertine now, if the A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital deal falls flat, then he can assuredly seal his fate in Oswego County in this fall's election, and even if it goes through, at the very least his press release is premature and it can be noted that he had nothing to do with the deal, he was only rushing to take credit. His creditability is seriously questionable and damaged now and his actions are irresponsible. Here is a quote from the article from Oswego Health's Board President Nancy Bellow. “It would be irresponsible of me to just say we can. … We are going to do our jobs.”


Oswego Health ‘Blindsided’ By Senator’s Announcement

Posted by Nicole Reome on 05 Jun 2008 at 7:26 am

OSWEGO, NY - Oswego Health knew nothing about a plan that gives it less than a month to help save some services at Fulton’s Lee Memorial hospital, Oswego Health’s board of trustees president said.

Tuesday, Senator Darrel Aubertine put out a press release that said he is working with A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital and the state Department of Health to negotiate an agreement to save emergency and acute care services in Fulton through an affiliation another hospital.

While Aubertine’s release did not specifically name Oswego Health as that hospital, a spokesperson for the state Health Department did. As that news came out Wednesday, Nancy Bellow, the head of Oswego Health’s board of trustees, said it was news to her.

“Oswego Health has not been part of the discussions between the Senator, Lee Memorial or the Department of Health,” Bellow said. “The department of health spokesperson said that a deal has been struck without the knowledge or input of Oswego Health.”

Claudia Hutton, director of Public Affairs for the New York State Health Department, said Tuesday evening that it was possible for Lee Memorial to keep the emergency room open “if they enter an agreement with Oswego Hospital.” She noted that the affiliation was the key element.

“Though we’ve been working with Lee Memorial over the past 16 months, talks for the past few months have been only between Lee Memorial and Senator Aubertine,” Bellow said. “His press release blindsided us.”

Bellow said that Oswego Health and Lee Memorial had reached a memorandum of understanding and sealed a confidentiality agreement several months ago. She pointed out, however, that due diligence between the two sides has not started.

Bellow noted, too, that the senator was at Oswego Hospital this past Friday. “He never said a word,” she said.

Aubertine said he spoke with Bellow Wednesday.

“I am hopeful they will be able to work things out,” Aubertine said. “There has been negotiations between the two groups. They had slowed down a bit. Hopefully they can pick back up.

“There certainly is a hard deadline of June 30,” he added. “I am hopeful they can make some progress between now and then.”

Aubertine confirmed that while he has been talking with the health department and Lee Memorial, he has not had discussions with Oswego Health on the issue.

Aubertine stressed, however, that he believes that there is an opportunity in Oswego County similar to the situation in Westchester. Aubertine pointed out that the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry struck and agreement with Riverside Health Care to maintain services and operate in compliance with Berger.

“I’ve worked only to put together an opportunity to rekindle the talks,” Aubertine said. “There is an opportunity for Lee Memorial and Oswego to pick up on their discussions and try to put together a resolution or a collaboration based on the Dobbs Ferry model. The possibility exists. … We will know more as those talks go forward.

“I think it would behoove everyone to let negotiations and talks go forward at this point and see how it goes,” Aubertine added.

Bellow said the Dobbs Ferry model has been discussed.

“We have discussed Dobbs Ferry,” Bellow said. “This is not new news. … We talked over Dobbs Ferry with Lee and jointly with the Department of Health in a conference call. The DOH said, ‘Let‘s see a proposal.’”

Bellow said that a group of Lee Memorial officials are slated to meet today with a group from Oswego Health.

But is it possible to reach and seal an agreement before June 30?

“I don’t know,” Bellow said. “We are going to give this our best efforts. We will meet, have a good conversation and figure out what our potential next steps are.

“There are more than just a few details to be ironed out,” Bellow added. She pointed out that the group would have to reach a formal agreement first to get to the point that it is ready to proceed with due diligence and work through that process.

Bellow said because the two sides have been in talks since January 2007, she doesn’t believe it is a process that has to start from scratch.

“Hopefully we can regroup on some frameworks that we talked about a few months ago,” Bellow said. “Then we would need to come to an agreement on what it would be and get a formal proposal to the Department of Health that is in compliance with Berger. It must be Berger compliant.

“That is the ultimate challenge,” she stressed. “This is not only an agreement but an agreement that has to meet the Berger Commission recommendations.

“Can we get it done by the end of the month? I don’t know,” Bellow said. “It would be irresponsible of me to just say we can. … We are going to do our jobs.”

Lee Memorial Executive Director Dennis Casey declined comment.

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