Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alesi to Flip?

The current rumor going around Monroe County political circles and Albany is that Sen. Jim Alesi is getting ready to switch parties, to become part of the new Democratic majority in the State Senate.   Does anybody know more about this?

If true, this could be one of the most interesting political developments locally until Bob Duffy and Joe Morelle duke it out in 2012 to run for the Rochester congressional district to be carved out for Morelle after the next census.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Putting the P in Politics

Alan ClarkIn his Diaries (one of the Sacred Texts) the late Alan Clark recorded a whimsy entertained in his ministerial office above the streets of London:

23 June, 1983
  --  "It is a glorious summer morning, and I have drawn back to their maximum extent the sliding windows.  ... There is a tiny balcon, a gutter really, with a very low parapet, below knee height.   Certain death on the Victoria Street pavement eight floors below.   Sometimes I get a wild urge to relieve my bladder over it, splattingly on the ant-like crowds.   Would this get one the sack? ...  I might do it on my last day."

The unlikely fulfillment of this fantasy occurred Friday when Jersey City Councilman Steve Lipski did the wet and wild thing from a second-story balcony over a crowd of concertgoers in Washington, D.C.

We mention this only to illustrate that most orthodox rule of the Mainstream Media Style Book.   The original AP story mentioned no political party affiliation.   As seasoned observers recognize instantly, this means he's a Democrat.   When Republican politicos misbehave, the Style Book mandates that party ID become part of the mischief-maker's title and name, never to be omitted in any future reference discussing the unpleasantness.

After several conservative blogs pointed out the omission, the link to the original AP story, that appeared on the WNBC-TV site disappeared!   A quick Google search of "Steve Lipski" and "assault" disclosed a revised AP story that now contains, shockingly, bladder boy's party affiliation.

What's that saying about lighting one candle in the darkness ...?


Friday, November 7, 2008

Still Pimping

Unrelated to the election just ended, but potentially related to the next, is a reprise by the Democrat and Chronicle of one of its most notorious partisan stunts ever.  Consider this another submission to The Tobin Challenge.

You may remember when, in 2007, the D&C turned its front page over to a free promotion for the Democratic candidate in a closely contested election, with no mention that the subject of its puffery was a candidate for office in an election just eight weeks away.   Just a citizen striving heroically to improve his neighborhood.

We were reminded of this disgrace by the paper's Real Estate section a couple of months ago.   On its front page (of course!) appeared a story about how to beautify your lawn and gardens when you prepare to sell.

Conventional stuff for the Real Estate section.   Nothing out of the ordinary.   Except ...

Instead of the photos you'd expect to illustrate such a story -- a freshly planted tree, perhaps, or new shrubbery in the front garden -- the D&C made the curious choice of . . . sellers and their realtor talking about sprucing things up.

And of all the realtors in Monroe County and all the property sellers out there, the Democrat and Chronicle, in an astonishing, totally random coincidence like the one last year, chose to give publicity to these people:

The realtor on the left?   That's Tom Wega -- Chairman of the Democratic Party in Pittsford (at least as of last year).   Democratic candidate for Pittsford Supervisor in 2007.   And if this little trick by the D&C offers a clue -- maybe the candidate again next year?

No doubt even the D&C realized the timing of its 2007 candidate pimping was just a bit too obvious.   So do it a year early!   That leaves time for repetition.   To really build that all-important name recognition!

And the happy house-sellers?   Well how about this for another completely accidental, mind-boggling coincidence:   that's Gerry Minerd, a Democratic agent provocateur at a Pittsford Town Board meeting last year.   Has the D&C tipped us off to a possible running mate if Mr. Wega runs again in 2009?

Perhaps, if the D&C's track record for pimping Democratic candidates is any guide.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Putting Sweet Massa in the Ground

If, as we expect, Eric Massa's vote margin holds, it's time to subject the new Congressman to the same in-his-face tactics with which Randy Kuhl's detractors dogged Kuhl.

Go to YouTube.   Do a search, first for "Eric Massa."   You find only Massa campaign commercials and releases, or sympathetic videos. Then do a search for "Randy Kuhl."   Nearly all you find are videos intended to portray Kuhl in a bad light, nearly all by local left-wing activists.

Now it's our turn.  Specifically, those interested in booting Massa in 2 years need to start now by:

• attending Massa's public meetings and appearances and asking tough questions;

• taking video of his answers.
Always respectfully.   But holding him to account.

This will require coordination and organization, so it's time to get a "Committee of Correspondence" going among like-minded people throughout the 29th district.  The conservative and libertarian blogs can play a big role in this.

Personal action like this is not a part of our culture in the way that it's ingrained in the culture of the Left.   P.J. O'Rourke recounts when a friend, driving by a massive "Blame America First" demonstration in Washington D.C., asked, "How come our people don't do things like this?"   "Hey," P.J. replied, "our people have jobs."

Our people are home taking care of their families, instead of going to public forums to ask the government to do it for them.  Our people often seem to have a higher proportion of their own lives, and friends, and sources of satisfaction in their lives, outside anything having to do with politics.  Our people tend to have been brought up to be polite, and view with distaste doing anything "in-your-face."

Well, we're just going to have to overcome our disadvantaged upbringings.

Anyone who's interacted with Massa in unscripted circumstances is aware of limitations of intellect and social personality skills that set him up nicely for public embarrassment.  And merely by asking questions that any citizen is entitled to ask her Congressman -- which is all we're proposing here.

Let's get moving, folks.

Welcome to Congress, Eric.  And to the same level of scrutiny to which your supporters subjected your opponent.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

OUR President


When right, to keep him right.  When wrong, to put him right.

Above all, with respect and admiration as the new leader of our country.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Dave Garretson: Call Your Image Consultant!

Hilarious. Who runs like that?

Thanks to reader Adrienne, who passed this along.


Arrivederci Tommy?

Our sources in Albany are speculating that political paisan Tom Golisano is angling for the job of U.S. Ambassador to Italy in an Obama administration.

This would explain his $10 million donation to the Bill Clinton Global Initiative back when Hillary was expected to win the Democratic nomination.   It would explain his $1 million donation to the Democratic National Convention.

Of particular interest to us locally, it would explain the otherwise incomprehensible schizophrenia of his "Responsible New York" PAC.   Golisano funded it with $5 million to push for a set of principles, then put the PAC's money behind Democratic candidates committed to the opposite of all of those principles.   The PAC has endorsed some Republican candidates for state senate and assembly, but it has funded its endorsed Democratic candidates almost exclusively.

To cite just one of the internal contradictions of "Responsible New York," if any of the Democrats funded by the PAC endorsed the proposed 4% property tax cap -- let alone Golisano's public criticism that a 4% cap isn't good enough and should be at zero percent -- they'd be kicked right out of their own party.

But in cozying up to the Clintons, Tom backed the wrong horse.   To spend the next four years in Roma, if that's the plan, he'd have to do things to make not just Obama happy, but also the Democratic Party establishment in New York.   Helping to tip the State Senate to the Democrats should get someone like Chuck Schumer, for example, to put a good word in, shouldn't it?

For months we've wondered why the PAC has funded candidates opposed to its own goals:   Was Golisano clueless?   Disingenuous?   Suffering from viagra-induced dementia brought on by Monica's delectable demands?   We'll have much more respect for Golisano if what it's really all about is just the time-honored practice of angling for an ambassadorship.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

The (Stifled) Voice of the Voter - Part 2

We've criticised Voice of the Voter, a joint effort of the Democrat and Chronicle and WXXI, for crafting questions to shape the results of its surveys.   Here's another example, from the same recent survey.

The Democrat and Chronicle, mounting once more its favorite hobby horse, says Monroe County voters are ready for widescale consolidation of local governments.   That part makes the headline.   What doesn't is the question designed to get that result.

We're fully in favor of local government consolidation that provides substantially more efficient, more responsive local government.  But that won't happen.   Why?

Let's draw a picture, so even Gannett editorialists can understand. As an example, here's where each property tax dollar paid by the average homeowner in Penfield goes (with thanks to the reader who passed this along from the town newsletter):

So.   Let's suppose that local governments effect all of the government consolidation that the Democrat and Chronicle editorial board would like.   Resolving all possibilities in the way most favorable to advocates of consolidation, let's suppose these consolidations are 100% efficient in reducing costs of government and that 100% of this savings passes directly to taxpayers.   Suppose as well that this saves fully half the cost of both local governments (county and town) combined.

Even then, this would save the average taxpayer only 16% of his or her property tax bill.

And what question did Voice of the Voter ask to elicit the response that Monroe County residents support wholesale consolidation? :

If it meant a substantial savings in your tax bill, would you support or oppose merging some layers of county, municipal and township governments?

Sixteen percent is substantial savings?  For people who pay the highest property taxes in the country -- more than double the national average?   For New Yorkers, a 16% reduction is nowhere near substantial.   And does anyone really think that we'd get 100% cost reduction efficiency, or -- in this of all states -- that 100% of any reduction realized would really go to the taxpayer?

Look at the dollar note above.   Until school taxes are addressed, not merely by a real cap, but first by rollback, the property tax burden on Monroe County residents has no potential whatsoever for "substantial" change -- except for substantial change higher.