Tag Archives: paterson

A Hundred Million Here, a Hundred Million There…

12 Dec

…and next thing you know, you’ve got a waterfront in downtown Buffalo that people will bother to visit.

[HTML1]

We’ve got the building blocks. The development of the area around the canal terminus proves that the inner harbor can be an attractive, fun place to visit. Concerts and fireworks during the summer help make it a brand new and integral part of Buffalo’s warm-weather repertoire of venues. The Aud is down and gone. The Donovan is poised for re-use. The plans are there.

People just need a reason to go down there.

Now, winds whipping off the lake at hurricane force aren’t conducive to wintertime waterfront fun, but we can’t ignore the fact that other cities in cold climates make the most of their wintertime weather. Quebec City’s Winter Carnival, Ottawa’s Rideau Canal rink – it happens. The pond hockey tournament at Erie Basin Marina proves we can do it, too.

And so it is that Governor Paterson comes to town and holds a press conference with Congressman Brian Higgins, County Executive Chris Collins, and NYPA President Richard Kissel to announce that they’re going to get something built down there that will make it worth people’s while to go down there.

Paterson said, “I want to make this crystal clear. We are going to revitalize this harbor, and we’re going to do it in the next few years.” Part of the announcement today had to do with some financial hocus-pocus to transform 50 years’ worth of NYPA relicensing fees into a 20 year plan that means $8.5 million per year to ECHDC, rather than $5 million. The price tag for Canal Side is said to be $315 million, which is really probably closer to a half a billion in New York dollars. But it’s hoped that by compressing this NYPA resettlement will make it easier for the project to find private financing.

As an aside, Bass Pro still hasn’t signed anything yet, and there’s no guarantee that it will come. I realize that Bass Pro owner John Morris is fishing buddies with Bob Rich, but perhaps other anchors should be pursued. The closest Bass Pro to Buffalo is in Vaughan, ON (103 miles), and Auburn, NY (126 miles).

The nearest LL Beans, by contrast, are 173 miles away in Pittsburgh, or 283 miles away in Albany. Just saying.

Three Point Two Billion Dollar Deficit [UPDATED]

24 Nov

That’s what our alleged legislature in Albany is arguing about.  How to cut $3.2 billion from a bloated budget using an out-of-control, petulant adolescent of a legislature.  They all hate each other, says Fred Dicker in the New York Post.  Who needs Republican opposition when the Democrats run the state, and they hate each others’ guts?

I saw someone write a blog post somewhere about receiving a piece of literature from Assemblyman Mike Jim Hayes, a Williamsville Republican, and in it he patted himself on the back for fighting the Democrats and their free-spending, high-taxing ways.  That’s all well and good, and to be expected from an Albany politician, because Albany is all about facile, lowest-common-denominator politics.

Consider the fact that Washington is resembling Albany more and more each day.  Fucking douche chills, right?

The blog post I can’t find and therefore can’t link to (I thought it was Burton’s Briefs, but I don’t see it there), went on to become an open letter to Assemblyman Hayes, and therefore by extension all Albany politicians.  Don’t send us lit telling us how you’re fighting Shelly Silver tooth and nail.  Don’t tell us you’re halting the Democrats in their socialist tracks.  The state budget crisis is very palpable and real, and now is the time for Albany politicians to start acting like fucking grownups.

Sorry, let me rephrase that.

It’s time for Albany politicians to snap out of it and stop acting like Albany politicians, and start acting instead like intelligent adults (to the extent possible) and reach across the aisle, and find some common ground to reduce the size, cost, and scope of state government.  $3.2 billion is just 2009’s problem.  It’s believed that next year’s problem will be three times that amount.  We obviously can’t, for instance, force a rapprochement between the state Senate’s African-American caucus and its Latino caucus (the rift, incidentally, that brought about the absolutely imbecilic “coup” attempt”.  We can’t force politicians to stop facilitating casual corruption.  Not now, anyway.

Stuff like this almost-there-authority-reform shows that they know exactly what the problems are, but they don’t have the political will to do everything that’s needed to fix them.

Albany is such a pile of fail that its politicians who have recently made attempts to run for political office in competitive races have failed pretty miserably.  Jim Tedisco and Dede Scozzafava remain in the Assembly, and they were supposed to be sure bets for congressional seats, both.  It’s not just the fact that Albany is no record to run on, but that gerrymandering ensures their easy re-election to their Albany seats over and over again.

So, it’s time to pay attention and start evicting the troublemakers and the cretins.

New Yorkers are like battered spouses.  Albany keeps giving us a shiner, but we always tell the ER that we fell down the stairs, and then take our abuser back. WTF.

UPDATE:  A commenter wonders whether this is “bipartisan” “ire”.  Last I checked, Albany featured failed leadership from both parties, and I’ve never shied away from making the point that everyone is to blame for the pond of tar and shit that Albany has figuratively become.  The reason I used Jim Hayes as an example is that I saw a blog post somewhere that I can’t find that specifically mentioned him by name.  Maybe it was on Speakup.  I have no idea, but that was the genesis of this post.   The use of my Maziarz photo has to do with the fact that (1) Maziarz gets away with the same crap everyone else in Albany gets away with, yet he also gets away with fronting like he’s a reformer; and (2) there’s like three levels of Fail shown in that photo.  I consider it to be a masterpiece.

Paterson Shaves

25 Sep

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Lieutenant Governor Ravitch – Just In Time!

23 Sep

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Obama & Paterson

21 Sep

Obama asks Paterson to just stop it. Just stop running for Governor. His poll numbers are tanking, he’s a caretaker governor, no one thinks Albany is running well, oh, and coup.  2010 is the year Paterson’s term is up, and it’s also a Congressional election year.

Obama asks Paterson to stop running for Governor. People feign surprise, ignoring the fact that the next governor of the state is going to be Italian-American with a last name that sounds like “Giuliani”, “Cuomo”, “Lazio”, or maybe even “Suozzi”.

SS Taxpayer

14 Apr

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Paterson Gets an Earful

5 Mar

Governor Paterson’s town hall meeting in Niagara Falls ran 85 minutes.

Regrettably, Channel 4 – which was the only local TV station airing the event – cut away at 6:30 for Katie Couric’s “Nightly News No One Watches”. Everything from Paterson’s staff’s pay raises to Grand Island tolls to Medicaid were discussed – sometimes loudly and out of turn. Paterson, to his credit, let the yellers yell, and he answered their questions. Jacquie Walker tried to maintain some semblance of control but there was no way.

Paterson is under fire by the increasingly angry, equally repellent public sector unions. (You know, the syndicates that protect state workers from the state, which is owned by the people? Marx is rolling in his grave.) Paterson made much of “shared sacrifice”, indicating that he and other lawmakers ought to take a 10% pay cut to set an example. The public sector unions, however, are pleased to scare the living crap out of you with predictions of horrific disaster. Paterson asked the public unions to take a 3.2% pay cut during one of the worst fiscal crises in recent history. If they don’t, layoffs and furloughs will result. He blasted them for all that. Good for Paterson.

It’s high time the public sector unions were no longer sacrosanct and untouchable. Not because I’m anti-union – they definitely have their place when protecting workers from private-sector management. I’m talking about the union workers who are paid with our tax money. Public workers doing the people’s work and being paid with the people’s money do not need protection from the people, and do not need to bargain collectively with the people. Instead, they can either perform a public service for a fair wage and fair benefits, or depart for the private sector.

Put it this way – at least one two-NYSUT-member household makes enough public money per annum to justify their inclusion in the proposed “millionaire’s tax” bracket.

The state’s problems are catastrophic, widespread, and need immediate attention. I think people in Albany understand this, but that’s about all they understand. Paterson seems smart and tough enough, but he’s politically toast, and we pretty much have a lame duck governor until 2010. That means, however, that he can take risky positions. Here’s to hoping.

Paterson’s Town Hall Meeting

4 Mar

It’s on now in Niagara Falls.

The video and audio quality on Channel 4 remind me of video of our high school plays. In 1985. On horrible, neanderthal equipment. Watch WNYM’s feed after the jump Continue reading

Who’s Talking Reform Now?

20 Feb

I sincerely hope that the New York State Republican Party runs one George Pataki (R-Obscurity) for United States Senate to replace Kirstin Gillibrand. Gillibrand’s own problems notwithstanding, I cannot stress how apt it is for the state Republicans to be so rudderless that they can only look backward to 90s-era glory days. Gotta run someone for Governor? How about damaged goods Rudy Giuliani? Gotta run someone for Senator? How about damaged goods George Pataki. I realize that nostalgia is one commodity that we don’t lack in this state, but the 90s are well over, and it says a lot that this is the best the GOP can do. Hell, why not bring D’Amato back from the pasture?

On that same note, it seems that it’s the Democrats – the Democrats – who are talking about conservative things. Things like our crippling tax burden and the crushing cost of so many redundant taxing governmental entities. Where was Pataki on this? What has Giuliani ever said or done about this? Where is the new Republican blood in New York State?

Assuming Cuomo runs for governor, he would crush Paterson in a primary, and he’d crush a Giuliani in a general. Cuomo’s on the way up. Giuliani’s old hat, looking to suckle again at the public teat.

New Yorkers are interested in a comprehensive review and overhaul of the way state and local governments operate. They are responding to a growing clamor for fundamental reform – not piecemeal headline-grabbing pseudo-reforms that do little. Cuomo understands this.

And make no mistake – this speech is Cuomo’s unofficial gubernatorial announcement:

During a press conference at the University at Buffalo, Cuomo said the time has come for New York to streamline its laws so the state’s 10,500 governmental entities can be consolidated at a savings to taxpayers.

“That’s why the state of New York has the highest local taxes in the country,” Cuomo said of the state’s burdensome system of government.

Cuomo called on state officials to join him in supporting legislation that would simplify New York’s system of laws in an effort to make it easier to eliminate state authorities, special districts and other governmental entities that are often expensive and, in some cases, totally obsolete.

And from the UB Spectrum:

Cuomo also felt that reorganizing local municipalities would also provide a better answer to the state’s fiscal woes rather than the traditional practices of raising taxes and cutting spending, sensing that these acts in reality are counterproductive.

“You raise taxes now, you are going to be redistributing the burden on individuals and families and it will be so negative that it will make the state of New York less hospitable,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo noted that New York residents pay the highest amount of local taxes in the country, roughly $73 per $1,000 of income. This is sharply higher than the average of $43 per $1,000 of income by the rest of the country. By cutting down the estimated 10,500 governments in the state, he thinks that this will allow the Empire state to become more competitive economically.

Cuomo also cited the fact that school districts in New York have dramatically condensed their numbers over the last several decades. He stated that in the 1930s, there were 10,000 school districts in the Empire state and there are now fewer than 700.

“If you can tackle and manage the consolidation of school districts then you can do this [reform],” Cuomo said.

I think the momentum for this sort of thing is growing. If we can keep it up, the people who will be traditionally opposed to it, who will be running inflammatory ads throughout the state about it, can and will be defeated.

Kirsten Gillibrand Is New York’s Newest Senator

23 Jan

Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY-20) has been appointed by New York Governor David Paterson to fill the Senate Seat Hillary Clinton vacated when she was confirmed as the US Secretary of State.

The NY Times has the details

What do we know about Gillibrand, a second term congresswoman from a sprawling, heavily Republican district from the eastern part of the state?  NY-20 encompasses all or parts of Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.  The district is 7,018 square miles and contains large sections of the Hudson Valley, the Catskill Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains. With over 4,000 family farms, the district has a large agriculture base.

Coming from a district where the overwhelming majority of elected officials are Republican and a constituent base that is center-right, it’s no surprise that Ms. Gillibrand is decidedly centrist on rural issues like agriculture subsidies, green technology and gun rights.  She has a 100% approval rating from the NRA on gun legislation, which is important in a rural district.  She voted against both versions of the TARP bill, voted to offer immunity to telecoms for wiretapping and voted for the 2007 War Funding Bill.

However, she is not your typical blue dog Democrat.  She received an 80 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign scorecard and supports federal civil union legislation, hate crimes legislation, repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, equal tax treatment for domestic partners, funding for needle-exchange programs and increased funding of Medicaid coverage for HIV-positive people.

Gillibrand has a reputation as a top-notch fundraiser and is known for transparency to constituents with monthly “Congress On Your Corner” events and posts her daily schedule online.

She was a logical compromise pick for Paterson after the implosion of Caroline Kennedy as Gillibrand will carry some crossover appeal with upstate Republicans while still courting the lefties with her support of socially liberal policies. Her voting record, experience and cross party appeal are strikingly similar to Buffalo’s own Rep. Brian Higgins (D, NY-27).  It would appear that Gillibrand’s higher profile committee assignments, fundraising prowess and gender had a lot to do with her selection as Gov. Paterson had stated his preference to replace Sen. Clinton with another woman.

Gillibrand will undoubtedly face a primary in 2010 from a liberal downstate Democrat, but she has two years of lead time to build a statewide operation and make her mark in the Senate.