Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Empire Strikes Back


A Drama in One Act

SCENE:   Editors' Conference Room at the Rochester DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE.   Early December, 2009.   As the CURTAIN rises, ALI ZOIBI, Publisher, KAREN MAGNUSON, Editor, and JAMES LAWRENCE, Editorial Page Editor, consult together at the conference table.

ALI: A disaster, that election. We have to get a grip on this thing.

KAREN: Ali, I have a grip on it. What do you call the Robutrad Strategy?

ALI: Something that worked about as well as the Water Authority Strategy.

JIM: And the FAIR Plan Strategy.

ALI: And the MCC President Strategy.

JIM: And the Public Defender Strategy.

KAREN: Well don't look at me! I don't need attitude from the publisher's suite and the editorial office!

ALI: Chill. We're cool.

KAREN: Who turned some nickel-and-dime employee malfeasance into the big, bad Robutrad Scandal? News! That's who!

ALI: OK, Karen.

KAREN: Who spiked the follow-up on City Council expense reports? News!

JIM: We get it.

KAREN: Who turned an innovative, out-of-the-box solution to the County budget problem into a vicious assault on "our children?" News!

ALI: You did? FAIR's legality was suspect before it was passed.

JIM: So are Paterson's unilateral budget cuts, and we told him to go for it.

ALI: Let's not get sidetracked, Jim.

KAREN: Who killed coverage when the County Bar Association suppressed "Not Qualified" ratings of Democrats running for Supreme Court Judge?   And that just scratches the surface!

JIM: Karen. ... We know you're trying.

ALI: Maybe we need to simplify the stories. You know, notch it down, the reading comprehension level.

KAREN: We're already at Sixth-Grade level!

JIM: (chuckling) I thought that was just for Morelle.

VOICE: (offstage) I heard that!
(Enter Monroe County Democratic Chairman JOE MORELLE. Taking his usual seat, he throws a bundle of papers on the conference table.)

MORELLE: Sorry I'm late. Here are my edits for Sunday's lead.

JIM: (looking at Morelle's papers) Wait a minute. This isn't the lead.

MORELLE: It is now.

KAREN: Are you serious? You're really gonna bump "Getting Ready for Kwanzaa"?

MORELLE: Relax ... Now, look ... it's been a hard month since the election. For each of us. (They nod.) We've all been hurting, especially me. But now -- Joey's back! And bettah' than evah'.

JIM: What's with the Noo Yawk accent?

MORELLE: Shelly likes it.

ALI: But Joe, you want to run this? The update on the County Sports Commission for the local section?

KAREN: Plain vanilla. Says it's well-run and brings in a lot of tourist dollars. $33million. How do we whack the Rethuglicans with that?

MORELLE: You losin' your edge, baby?

KAREN: What do you mean?

MORELLE: Read the fine print. The Commission's annual report shows the money all sports events bring in, not just events the Commission brings in.

JIM: (perking up) A clear case of misrepresentation!

ALI: But aren't they supposed to report that?

KAREN: Yes...but we don't have to emphasize it, do we?

ALI: (with dawning awareness) No ... Just downplay it. "Accidentally" on purpose.

JIM: One of our specialties.

ALI: What about that professor?

KAREN: Who?

ALI: In the article. Says the Sports Commission has an obligation to report the economic impact of all sports events, the way it does.

MORELLE: Put it near the end. Who reads that far into the story?

KAREN: Right. Leave the prof. in. Gives us cover. We'll spin it like we always do -- with headlines and "highlight" boxes.

MORELLE: You're back on track, cookie.

ALI: Here's another one -- the County pays less to the sports promoter, LeBeau, because it gives him some office space instead.

KAREN: Where?

JIM: That brick building at Frontier Field.

MORELLE: So what? The County saves cash. Doesn't help us.

KAREN: (brightening) But this does -- Headline: "County Gives Promoter Free Office Space."

MORELLE: (quickly) Is he a Republican contributor?

JIM: You bet.

MORELLE: How do you know without checking?

JIM: Because all these contractors give to both parties. They like City jobs too, you know.

KAREN: But we don't have to mention that part.

ALI: I love it when a plan comes together!

MORELLE: OK. Let's juice it up. (He ponders momentarily.) How about a federal investigation of "County Sports Commission abuses?"

KAREN: Call Louise.

ALI: Washington office or her Rochester office?

MORELLE: Rochester office.

ALI: (speaking into intercom) Miss Flaybum, get me the Quatela Clinic.

KAREN: (aside, to MORELLE) What are they lifting now?

MORELLE: Hard to tell; she's a permanent work-in-progress.

KAREN: What do you mean?

MORELLE: Like painting the Triborough Bridge. They start at one end and when they're done, it's time to go back and start over.

ALI: Just wheeled her out. She's still under.

JIM: What about Massa? Call his press secretary.

MORELLE: No good. She's out of town.

KAREN: Where?

MORELLE: LA, kiddo.

ALI: Not to worry. Let's just get it out. Front page.

MORELLE: I'll prep our people in the County Leg.

ALI: To do what?

MORELLE: The usual. Demand an investigation, press conference, you know.

JIM: And I'll do the editorial calling for an inquiry.

ALI: We've got our groove back!

MORELLE: And our game plan for the next two years.

KAREN: Just a minute. (Steps offstage, then returns with a 40-ounce and four tumblers.)

JIM: Yours, Karen?

KAREN: No. Gantt's. Left it behind last time.

ALI: Have one, Jim! It'll help you editorialize.

MORELLE: (chuckling) Is that your secret, Ali?

ALI: That would be telling.

(KAREN and MORELLE pour drinks)


JIM: (aside, to ALI) That Joe! What leadership!

ALI: Looks like a County Executive to me!

(They turn back to the others, and join the convivial merriment.)


CURTAIN

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Liberals Call It "Selfishness"

Why should we be forced to pay for the costs of other people’s irresponsibility?

That's the theme of the very best discussion of universal health care I've seen anywhere.

If you're only going to read one thing today that's longer than a few paragraphs, read this.

Some highlights:

There’s a much deeper philosophical objection to “socialized medicine” that is so un-PC that it is rarely if ever voiced in public. And for that reason, the opponents of socialized medicine never even mention the real flaw in the concept that nags the unconscious of most Americans:

Not all ailments are equal.

I feel a deep-seated resentment that the rest of us should pick up the tab to fix medical problems that never should have happened in the first place.

I’m speaking specifically of medical problems caused by:
• Obesity
• Cigarette smoking
• Alcohol abuse
• Reckless behavior
• Criminal activity
• Unprotected promiscuous sex
• Use of illicit drugs
• Cultural traditions
• Bad diets
Now, I really don’t care if you overeat, smoke like a chimney, hump like a bunny or forget to lock the safety mechanism on your pistol as you jam it in your waistband. Fine by me. ... I would never under normal circumstances condemn anyone for any of the behaviors listed above. That is: Until the bill for your stupidity shows up in my mailbox.
You really need to read it.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

... And Now It's Official

Leadership of the Monroe County Legislature for 2010-11:

Dan Quatro - Majority Leader
Jeff McCann - Deputy Majority Leader
Steve Tucciarello - Deputy Majority Leader (new to this position)
Jeff Adair - President (new to this position)
Mike Barker - Vice President (new to this position)
Anthony Daniele - Ways and Means Chairman (new to this position)

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Leaders In County Legislature Coming Soon

Any day now, Republicans in the County Legislature will meet to choose leaders of their caucus, and nominees for the positions of President and Vice President of the Legislature.

Expect to see respected Majority Leader Dan Quatro continue in that role.

Openings are created by the retirement of the current Legislature President, Wayne Zyra, and Deputy Majority Leader John Driscoll.

Likely choices? Sources tell us that current Vice President Jeff Adair - Wheatland, is seen as a strong contender for President.   Other up-and-comers who are liked and respected within the GOP caucus, and about whom there are rumblings of advancement to positions of leadership, are Anthony Daniele - Pittsford/East Rochester, Ciaran Hanna - Perinton, Mike Barker - Perinton, and Steve Tucciarello - Gates.

Tucciarello is regarded as a hero for his tremendous effort over the past 2 years that resulted in a massive re-election win in Gates, which had been seen as perhaps the Democrats' prime target for taking over the legislature.   Tucciarello realized this after the 2007 election, and from that point put forth an exemplary effort to win re-election.

Barker and Hanna, both said to be admired by colleagues for their intellect and judgment, seem to be overdue for promotion to greater responsibility.

If Adair becomes president, look for any of these four to emerge as the new VP, or as Driscoll's replacement as Deputy Majority Leader.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grim Prognosis?

Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano just returned to Washington, after running in the Democratic primary to fill Edward Kennedy's senate seat.

The Wall Street Journal's John Fund reports:

Asked what message he had brought back from voters for fellow Democrats, Mr. Capuano tersely replied: "You're screwed."


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Whiners

Apparently Mayor Duffy took the opportunity of a public forum last week to disparage bloggers, who, he said, "throw rocks and hide their faces."

We hold the Mayor in good regard.   No more egocentric than any politician.   Even so, his comment recalls the dictum of the late, great Quentin Crisp:   "To an egomaniac, fair share of anything is always starvation diet."

Isn't it enough for Mayor Duffy to pursue his political career, and undertake his mayoralty, in a consequence-free zone of media protection?

Isn't it sufficient that the local press places anything involving City government beyond the pale of serious, sustained scrutiny?   (We distinguish between City government and the City school board.)

It is no criticism of the Mayor to recognize these perfectly apparent circumstances.   But really, Your Honor.   With a deal like that, a few local blogs get under your skin?

Just a symptom of all that pampering by the press.

Democrat and Chronicle editorial page editor James Lawrence endorsed the Mayor's comment in the newspaper's editorial blog, which is where we learned of it.

Mr. Lawrence, we and other local bloggers are here because you created us.   We're here to discuss information your newspaper suppresses because it doesn't fit your agenda.   We're here because of the D&C's propensity for deceiving the public with partial truths (recent examples of which are teed up for upcoming postings).   We're here because your newspaper's committed advocacy for one political party, its officials and candidates, sometimes goes over the top, even for the D&C.

Want to know why we bloggers are here -- all of us, from left to right?   Step into your own newsroom, Mr. Lawrence.   And look around.

We think the Mayor and the Editor complain about anonymity, because it compels them to confront ideas, rather than individuals.   Ideas, of course, are not in the least anonymous.   They have shape, substance and weight.   Who wants to grapple with ideas when you can slip around them so easily with ad hominem attacks, or eliminate them by using your power and influence to pressure the writer, the writer's employer or family?

A City government operating without scrutiny now has such modest scrutiny as we bloggers can muster.   The self-appointed press "watchdog," notorious for its political tunnel vision, now has watchdogs of its own.

And both are showing a very thin skin about it.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Hanukkah!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Media Manipulates Mandates

The Democrat and Chronicle took a shot Tuesday at deceiving the public on the central reality of the County budget.

That reality is that Monroe County, like every other county in New York, doesn't have control over most of its budget.   That spending is dictated by the State -- the infamous "mandates."   Monroe characterizes 81% of its budget as mandated spending.

That's true.   That 81% includes grant money that is "mandated" in the sense that it must be used for a stated purpose, once obtained. Mandates those are, if not the kind of mandates that should trouble us as much as others, since these don't require spending local tax revenues.

Yet, even counties that don't count such funded, grant-directed spending as "mandated" report mandates accounting for half or more of their budgets:   Erie County at 54%; Onandaga at 52%.   A tremendous proportion of each county's budget, and of its local tax burden.

As we pointed out recently, this is a reality that allows the minority party in every county -- whether Republican or Democratic -- to take the regulation-issue, intellectually dishonest cheap shot at the governing party for "spending too much," or for "fiscal irresponsibility."

To be sure, the D&C article included comment from Kent Gardner, who as head of the Center for Governmental Research has studied mandates, that he has no problem with the way County Executive Brooks and her administration characterize the problem.   "The core message, I completely agree with ...," Gardner commented.

Still, leave it to the D&C to attempt to create doubt about this key fact of life for county government, which explains much, if not all, of the budgetary problem this county faces.   Leave it to the paper to do it the morning of the vote on the County budget.   Leave it to them to let all the threads of their story hang, instead of resolving them in the only honest way:   that even if we count as "mandates" only those dictated programs the state forces local taxpayers to pay, it still accounts for more than half the entire budget.   Still a whopping problem, and another colossal failure of State -- not county -- policy.

Anything to undermine public officials who belong to the wrong party.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright ...

The Web and the traditional media seem, fitfully, to be settling on a division of labor: The major media will focus on celebrity scandals and bloggers will focus on things that actually matter.

-- Allysia Finley
Wall Street Journal
Ms. Finley noted that in the two weeks after Climategate broke, emails casting doubt on global warming were the subject of exactly four stories on the morning and evening news shows of NBC, ABC and CBS. However, she continued, over the same period the network shows aired 62 stories on Tiger Woods' auto accident and rumored infidelities.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thank You, Main Street Scoop!

Mustard Street is one of six blogs chosen from around the nation to be included in the launch of Main Street Scoop, a site featuring news feeds from quality blogs focusing on local matters.

The other featured blogs are Salisbury News in Maryland, Halfway to Concord, Elk Grove News and Mayor of Concord in California, and Niagara Times over in Niagara County.

Thanks for the recognition!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Gargan Declines To Seek County Court Vacancy

We've learned that Assistant District Attorney William Gargan declined consideration for appointment to the County Court vacancy created by Judge Alex Renzi's election to state Supreme Court, apparently some weeks ago.   We discussed recently the scenario for such an appointment.

The Assistant DA withdrew out of concern that such an appointment would be recognized all too clearly as reward for his corrupt prosecution of Monroe County GOP Executive Director Andrew Moore, in order to help the Democratic Party in the recent local election.   Public perception matters, since the appointed judge would have to face voters next year.

We expect that Gargan will wait until a decent interval of time helps to obscure the quid-pro-quo, and eventually will be rewarded with the Democratic nod for a City Court judgeship.

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Bruno Found Guilty

Former State Senator Joe Bruno has been found guilty on two of the eight charges brought against him.

Story here.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Truth Is Getting Out

About the State of New York's central problem, that is.

We've been saying it for a while.   So has the Democrat and Chronicle.   Now from Chris Smith's Intelligencer column in this week's New York magazine:

That the car-tag gimmick was even floated points to the larger problem. The state’s feckless legislators are beholden to campaign donors, particularly the unions representing teachers and health-care workers.

No governor will make real progress on reform unless he can alter the composition of the State Assembly and Senate, or at least make its members more dependent on the governor than on the unions. More likely, the budget problems will need to sink to truly Californian desperation before we can aspire to be as good as … Arkansas.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

You Hired WHO?

Almost as disturbing as the report of a Rochester City employee committing a rape (does it really matter whether it was on duty or not?) is the information that this employee had been convicted previously of several felonies, including criminal possession of a weapon.

How did someone with that background make it through the City's hiring process?

We hope the incident and the related disclosure about the employee's background motivates City Council to look into the hiring practices of the City's human resources department.

Had it been a County employee, already there would be calls from the political opposition, among others, for investigations.   In the one-party City government there isn't an opposition party.   Let's hope some of the Councillors have enough character and courage to demand an inquiry into the hiring practices that let the accused rapist, with that background, slip through.

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Good Call by the Guv

Last Thursday we said the State Legislature wouldn't vote Governor Paterson authority to cut spending unilaterally, so he should just up and do it:

Everyone, including the State's Attorney General, said you couldn't constitutionally appoint a Lieutenant Governor. But you did it anyway. And the Court of Appeals said, "OK."
Now, according to James Lawrence, editorial page editor of the Democrat and Chronicle, writing in the newspaper's editorial blog, the Governor told Mr. Lawrence yesterday that he's going to do just that.

Good for him, to do it, and lucky for us that he will. Let the cuts to bloated spending on education employees and Medicaid begin!



Update

More on this
at N.Y Daily News.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

D&C Gets It Right. But Will It Follow Through?

The Democrat and Chronicle gets it very right in this morning's editorial.   Criticizing the partial state deficit reduction passed yesterday by the legislature as too little, they note that lawmakers failed to touch education and health spending, "because powerful public employee unions insist on it."

Just as we've been saying here on Mustard Street.   And here.   And here.   And ... you get the idea.

To date, the paper has shown its understanding of the problem, as exemplified in this morning's editorial.   But then it goes ahead and endorses for re-election every lapdog of the public employee unions:  the Morelles, Susan Johns and David Koons who perpetuate the very status quo the paper criticizes.   And the Republican state senators who suck up to those unions every bit as greedily as the aforementioned Democrats.

Will the D&C do the same thing in its endorsements in 2010?

In this regard the paper has behaved remarkably like the legislature it so properly criticizes.   It understands the problem, but can't bring itself to take the action it knows is necessary to fix it.

We'll know how "fed up with Albany" the D&C really is when we see their endorsements for state legislature next year.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reluctant Dragon

What's with this?

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The Prez Blows It


When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.


-- Kipling
The Young British Soldier (1897)
And nothing much has changed since then.

The British tried it in the 19th Century, and the Russkies in the 20th.   Both with substantially greater investment of men and money than the President proposes now.

If we could win this thing and eradicate Al-Qaeda with 30,000 troops in 18 months in Afghanistan, then OK.

But it seems unlikely we can fully defeat the Taliban under the proposed circumstances.   Even if we did, Al-Qaeda still exists in numerous other countries, not all of them ending in "-istan."

So every U.S. soldier who dies over there in the next 18 months will die for nothing.   For an abstract ideal, yes.   But for an attainable result supporting the national security interests of the United States, no.

It's time to get out, but the President blew it.

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Wrong Target

The unseating of Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi raises this interesting question:   Why is it that county government so often seems to be the focus of discussion and criticism of high property taxes?

We thought this might be peculiar to Monroe County, but it seems evident in Nassau County as well, and, therefore, seems likely to prevail elsewhere.

The Nassau County Executive vote may have to do more with voters' higher trust in Republicans than Democrats on the issue of taxes.   Nevertheless, why is it in relation to county government that the issue seems to resonate?

In Nassau, (as The New York Times points out in today's sour editorial), county property tax accounts for only 16% of property taxes collected.   Here in Monroe its about the same.   It's the school taxes, of course that comprise the whopping portion of the tax bill:   over 60% in Nassau County, even more here in Monroe.

Part of it has to be fallout from ordinary partisan give-and-take.   The minority party in any county, whether Democrats or Republicans, will criticize for high property taxes the majority it seeks to displace  --  conveniently omitting that county government accounts for less than one-fifth of the tax bill.

The mechanics of paying property tax in New York has been set up deliberately to diffuse responsibility for the biggest component of the tax.   It's not by accident that school taxes are aggregated together with city, county, and town taxes in the same bill.   Or that the property tax is paid at town halls, or at City Hall.

Anything to obscure the lines of responsibility for sky-high property taxes.   Anything to conceal as much as possible the cause-and-effect.

What else do you expect when the lobby spending the most in Albany each year is the Teachers' Union?   Remember that New York has only the superficial trappings of democratic government.   This is the key to understanding the New York Problem.   New York, in substance and operation, has an aristocratic form of government, with a public-sector labor aristocracy supported by the population outside the aristocratic class.

Another cause of misplaced focus on county government in regard to property tax derives from reporting on the subject.   A county or town property tax increase that's trivial gets front-page treatment.   School tax hikes routinely exceeding the rate of inflation are treated as  ...  routine. Dog-bites-man stuff.

These represent some of the reasons why it's county government in New York that seems so often to be the focus of property tax discussion.   Together with the understanding of most voters that they have some actual control over their town and county governments.   Something New York's meticulously-crafted Third World-style school budget elections don't allow.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Does Suozzi's Defeat Tell a Larger Story?

Thanks to today's piece by Cincinnatus of Monroe Rising, we became aware of the recount going against Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.

Suozzi conceded the election this afternoon.

Granted that voters across the state are fed up with taxes in general and property taxes in particular, Suozzi's loss is surprising.

There's probably no Democratic office holder in New York who has identified himself in recent years more thoroughly, or more credibly, as a champion of property tax relief -- and specifically, a property tax cap -- than Tom Suozzi.   Although his loss was a squeaker, by fewer than 400 votes out of 250,000 cast, he was widely expected to win.

It raises the question:   if this Democrat, who surely established his bona fides as an opponent of high property taxes can't win, does this indicate an an even more focused backlash against Democrats in New York than last month's other election results suggested?

Stated differently, if a Democrat like Tom Suozzi can't prevail in a race where property taxes are the big issue, is there a Democrat in the state who can?
 

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What Became of Robutrad News?

Just a short month ago ... every Robutrad-related development, no matter how small, appeared prominently in the Democrat and Chronicle. Usually front page.

But that was before the local elections. The D&C was helping its side to win. Then came the Democrats' election night meltdown. All the paper's effort came to nothing.

So ... today's report about a Robutrad employee being sentenced? With no election at stake?

Back on page 3-B. In one of those sidebar columns. Without even mentioning Robutrad in the headline.

Now that it's not politically useful, it looks like Robutrad news goes where it belongs.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

"Working Families" Party's Matrix of Deception

The New York City-based publication City Hall has unearthed the complex structure that the state's "Working Families" Party uses to evade the law.

There are, in fact, four arms:   a political party, a for-profit and two different ... non-profits. ...[T]hrough these four arms, ... Working Families has the benefits of a political party (legitimacy in voters’ minds, ballot line), a non-profit (tax-exemptions, uncapped donation limits and tax deductions) and a for-profit (no disclosure requirements, ability to collect fees backed by taxpayer-supported matching funds from candidates).

Working Families has non-profits groups and a for-profit entity that lack donation caps, disclosure requirements ... and other regulations that political parties face.
City Hall obtained internal Working Families documents revealing a straight pay-to-play policy for the party's backing:
...a system of weighting votes based on money for endorsements and nominations.   These indicate that the more money a union contributes to the legally separate non-profit (the Working Families Organization), the more votes the union gets in ... deciding which candidates to back.
An important and revealing investigative piece.

 

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Our Vigilant Watchdogs at Work

The report that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo took campaign cash from lawyers with matters before him seems to have disappeared down the memory hole.

No mainstream press follow-up on this story whatsoever.   Another example of the media protecting a favorite son by suppressing negative news?

There seems to be an awful lot of that going about.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving's Eternal Lesson

Human nature.   A constant through the ages.   As in the timeless lesson of the first Thanksgiving.

"Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner."

(A reprise of our Thanksgiving weekend posting a couple of years ago.   Run again this year as a public service to humanity.)

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just Do It, Dave

Governor Paterson's heroic effort to persuade our regrettable State Legislators to face fiscal reality represents a pearls-before-swine moment if ever we've seen one.

The Guv had a great idea in proposing he get power to cut the budget unilaterally.

His mistake was in asking the Legislature to give it to him.

Of course they'll never do that.   If a legislator can't protect the funding entitlements of the teachers' union and the health care employees unions, that legislator is useless to both.   And all the donations and other goodies the unions provide to guarantee continued incumbency then disappear.

So, Dave, just go ahead and do it.

Order your budget director to make the cuts.

Everyone, including the State's Attorney General, said you couldn't constitutionally appoint a Lieutenant Governor.   But you did it anyway.   And the Court of Appeals said, "OK."

So do it.   At least it gives you a chance to make it happen.   Versus the certainty of it not happening if you cave.

You're a brave and good man.   Right now it's you alone, standing up for the people against the public-sector labor aristocracy and its bought-and-paid-for legislature.

Do the right thing.   Go for it.
 


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fiddling While Rome Burns

The Albany crisis continues. State spending's up 9% since last year. Albany slapped on 138 new taxes and fees. The state legislature meets in special session to reduce the deficit. The responsibilities of the Governor and state legislators have never been more critical.

And where do we find Monroe Democratic Chairman and State Assemblyman Joe Morelle last night?

Just where you'd expect a New York state legislator to be under the circumstances -- at the Syracuse vs. Cornell basketball game!

Joe:   Do you get that per diem for service at the Carrier Dome?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Case of the Missing Judicial Ratings

What happened to the Monroe County Bar Association's ratings for this year's Democratic candidates for New York Supreme Court?

For all judicial elections, the Bar Association rates each candidate's qualifications.   It interviews each candidate, surveys hundreds of attorneys, conducts research, then confers one of three possible ratings:   "Highly Qualified," "Qualified" and "Not Qualified."

In May the MCBA rated all candidates running at the time.   This was before the two people who ran in November as Democratic candidates, Paloma Capanna and Lamarr Jackson, announced their candidacies.

Once they did, the Bar Association went through its customary ratings process.   And the ratings of the Democratic candidates were ...  ?

No one knows.   At least, no one other than Bar Association staff and the candidates.

The Bar Association never released the results.

• Did the MCBA suppress "Not Qualified" determinations?

• Did the candidates withdraw from the vetting process?   Is that even permitted?   What would be the point of a supposedly impartial ratings process if candidates could avoid disclosure by "withdrawing" before a rating is made public?

• Did the candidates receive favorable ratings, but withdrew out of some principled objection to the ratings process itself?

Probably we'll never know.   Certainly no one in the local media ever reported on the strange case of the missing bar ratings.   Given the issues it might have raised regarding qualifications of Democratic candidates for judicial office, who'd have expected our local media to even ask the question?

The County Bar Association, an ostensibly neutral institution, seems well down the path of corruption by partisan influence.

Two years ago the MCBA shilled shamelessly for Democrats by breaking an agreement it made with the County regarding its participation in selecting the Public Defender.   It willingly aligned itself with David Gantt's street thuggery that turned the entire process into a circus.   But then, of course it would.   The Bar Association receives grants of state money from Assemblyman Gantt.

Now the MCBA appears to have suppressed information intended to be public, regarding Democratic judicial candidates.

Lawyers talk about avoiding "even the appearance of impropriety."   We think some lawyers who mean it should get active in the Monroe County Bar Association.   And take it over.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Gargantuan Disgrace -- Part II

There's a judicial vacancy coming up in Monroe County.   It's the County Court seat that current judge Alex Renzi will vacate at the end of the year, to take up his new duties on the state Supreme Court bench.   Renzi's election to Supreme Court was regarded as a virtual certainty by leaders of both parties.   The Governor will appoint his replacement.

We view this as related directly to the prosecution of former County GOP Executive Director Andrew Moore, instituted by Assistant District Attorney William Gargan.   It's a prosecution so flimsy that Gargan's boss, DA Mike Green, overruled his subordinate and withdrew the most serious charge, the felony claim.

Timing has been central to this prosecution.   It was brought shortly before the recent election, to help local Democrats tar their Republican opponents with the brush of Robutrad, in support of the Democrats' failed bid to take control of the County Legislature.   Timing continues to drive it.

Last week, Assistant DA Gargan contrived a postponement of a long-scheduled hearing to consider Moore's motion to dismiss the charges.   He contrived it by filing his responses to Moore's motions late, not producing them until the hearing itself.

Judge Richard Keenan asked why the prosecutor was so late with his response, but the damage was done.   The judge had little choice but to postpone the hearing.   An attorney with Gargan's experience knows this.   A judge needs time to read both sides' papers.   Court calendars are busy.   With the holidays in the mix, the hearing was postponed to January.

Gargan knows his charges against Mr. Moore are junk.   DA Green's withdrawal of the felony charge raises questions about just what Gargan told the grand jury about the remaining misdemeanor charges as well, throwing the entire proceeding into question.

The delay to January can spare Gargan from further professional humiliation in the form of the judge throwing out the remaining charges, or having them pulled by DA Green, in anticipation of such a ruling.

Because Mr. Gargan won't be holding the bag as prosecutor if, by January, he's Judge Gargan, appointed by the Governor to the County Court vacancy, on advice of Monroe Democratic Chair Joe Morelle.

As reward to Gargan for abusing his office in service to the Party.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Gargantuan Disgrace

Assistant District Attorney William Gargan distinguished himself recently for questionable conduct and incompetence.

Both were prominent in his bringing a fraudulent felony charge against former Monroe County GOP Executive Director Andrew Moore, then suffering the almost unheard of professional disgrace of having the charge pulled by his boss, DA Mike Green, following Green's review.

True to character, Gargan yesterday made excuses for submitting the bill of particulars in the Moore case substantially late and for his unusual delay in submitting filings for yesterday's court hearing.

Gargan said he didn't want to file papers describing evidence claimed against Moore in order to avoid pre-election media attention:

“The last thing our office would want to do is to inject politics into a prosecution.”
Right.
  If you didn't want to inject politics into a prosecution, Mr. Gargan, then why, in the first place, did you bring this prosecution just before an election?

  If you delayed the filings that describe the very basis for your prosecution in order to avoid pre-election media attention, then why didn't you file the day after the election, instead of half a month later?

Surely you knew why you were indicting Moore before you did it, right?   Or is it that, as we've suspected all along, you decided to indict first, and figure out why later?   When you have no case and are making it up, it's hard to contrive something that looks like more than a joke, isn't it?   Creative writing takes time.

  And Mr. Gargan:   If politics has nothing to do with it, why were you boasting last summer that you really wouldn't want to be a Republican running this year, after what you were going to drop on them before the election?

These things get around, dear boy.   You need to be more discreet.

Next up:   The political payoff for this indictment, and how it relates to the prosecutor's deliberately late filings.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

If It Ain't Broke ...

Learning an acquaintance had surgery for a tumor found to be benign, author Evelyn Waugh famously quipped:   "It was a typical triumph of modern science to find the only part of Randolph that was not malignant and remove it."

We recalled this last week, reading a story in USA Today describing residents of towns near Buffalo so frustrated with government in New York that they want to reduce the size of their Town Councils.

It's yet another poignant, maddening irony of the farce passing for government in this state that the levels of government that citizens actually have power to change are the levels that work best.   (Maybe that's why they work best.)

Those levels of government that cry out to be changed -- the State government and that 80% of County government functions dictated by the State -- citizens can't touch.

In New York, it's the town and village governments that work best, irrespective of party control.   They're the most responsive to citizens, and the most fiscally responsible.   Surely the very worst town government in the state looks exemplary compared to the Albany regime.

It is a symptom of the frustration and despair to which the worst state government in the country drives its beleaguered subjects, that they target the only part of government they can affect, even though it works well.   Apparently around Buffalo they've found the one part of government in New York that's not malignant -- and want to cut it out.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New York State Legislators: Not As Stupid As We Think!

Testimony in the trial of former State Senator and uber-sleazebag Joe Bruno has  brought out this stupefying, but completely believable, information:   State legislators for years have deliberately hand-delivered their financial disclosure forms, because false information contained in the forms could be prosecuted as a federal crime if the documents were sent through the mail.

The noble legislators received advice to this effect from legislative legal counsel!

Again we say, "Bring on the Revolution!"

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jack the Ripper says: "Reduce the Murder Rate."

That was our first thought on seeing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's essay in Sunday's Democrat and Chronicle, with the risible headline, "Protect Families from Higher Taxes."

Is there any more determined, intransigent, immovable tribune of the status quo supporting New York's aristocracy of public employee unions and their dependents than Sheldon Silver?

It's immediately apparent in his essay, pretending to support budget cuts to protect taxpayers.   The Speaker can read the recent election returns.  He understands the mood of New York's electorate toward taxes.

So Shelly attempts some serious posturing, because he, his union masters and his allies don't want anything to change.   Silver makes it clear that the biggest spending items, the ones driving the State's brutal tax environment, are off the table.   After detailing some trivial cost-cutting proposals, he continues:

[W]e must continue to invest in ... public schools ... and health care."
"Invest."   Right.   The day this stunningly dishonest piece ran in Rochester, The New York Times called for cutting spending in precisely those areas, to bring them into into line with other states, and with reality:
New York spends twice the national average on Medicaid at $2,283 per person.  That is the highest average in the country, with Rhode Island a distant second at $1,659.  Mr. Paterson wants to scale back the health care budget by $471 million.  That seems the least the state should do.  Education is even more costly.  The national average per student is $9,138; New York spends $14,884.  Mr. Paterson’s plan to cut education costs by about 3 percent, or $686 million, is clearly in line with what’s necessary.
New York's status quo is unique and debilitating.   The aristocracy it supports, like all oligarchies, will not, as we noted last month, relinquish its privileges easily.

Bring on the Revolution!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Sore Losers

The Democrat and Chronicle is not accepting gracefully its side's massive loss in recent local elections.

Yesterday the paper belatedly gave some prominence to the fact that falsely-accused GOP Executive Director Andrew Moore passed a lie-detector test, showing he was telling the complete truth about the events used as the basis for his indictment in a Robutrad-related matter.

The headline ran, "Moore 'truthful' on test".

That must have been too much for someone at the D&C.  Maybe it even prompted an annoyed phone call from the District Attorney's office.   By this morning, the paper had changed the headline in its online edition to "Polygraph results expected to be part of Robutrad case."

The D&C forgot to make the change in its online index of archived stories, which still carries the original headline that shows Moore's innocence.  (We wonder, who at the D&C's going to get chewed out today for this slip-up?   Not to mention the slip-up on the original headline.)

Leave aside quibbles about the quotes around the word "truthful" in the original headline, which never would have appeared had this been about, say, a drunken Democratic City Council member trying to beat a rap on DWI.   In that case of course, the successful lie-detector test would have been front and center, in repeated articles appearing before the election, not after.

In order to not lose the original headline to posterity, we've scanned the print edition of the story below.

Reading it, we savor all over again one of the sweetest moments of election night:   Andrew Moore's successful reelection to Penfield Town Council, despite everything the Democratic Party - Democrat and Chronicle machine threw at him.




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Sunday, November 15, 2009

We Welcome Joshua to Mustard Street

An overdue welcome to new contributor Joshua.   Josh describes his idea of fun as "finding injustice and wrongdoing and spotlighting it for all to see."

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” Justice Louis Brandeis famously observed.   Glad to have on board an acolyte of the great Justice.   Thanks to Joshua for shining the light on questionable conduct of the Rochester Business Alliance and on the need for an integrated, countywide 911 database for law enforcement.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Compulsive Tax Increase Disorder

An Islamic terrorist murders 13 soldiers and wounds dozens more.  National news media and the administration can not bring themselves to call it an act of Islamic terrorism so they invent a psychological ailment to excuse it:   the poor chap had “Pre” Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PPTSD.   Excessive lap dances at the local strip club exacerbated the condition.

As it's now fashionable to contrive psycho-medical conditions to excuse bad, inept, even homicidal behavior, my entry in the medical lexicon is CTID:   Compulsive Tax Increase Disorder.

This terrible disease strikes elected officials.   It is pandemic in the Federal, State and even local governments, with School Districts showing the highest rates of affliction.

A debilitating malady, CTID attacks the central nervous system, preventing reason from entering the cranial cavity.   In a typical progression of the disease:  (1)  You watch a recession destroy business income, consumer confidence, economic vitality, jobs, and sales tax revenue.  (2)   You fall substantially behind in your budget, because the previous year you caught a case of BADD (Budget Analysis Deficit Disorder).   (3)  You desperately seek a new source of revenue instead of cutting your budget.  (4)  You are blinded to the reality that an increase in tax, especially property tax, will contribute to negative economic growth, thus reducing your overall tax receipts.  That is to say, you think the serfs who pay the tax will continue to fork it over, without consequence.   (5)  You increase taxes.   This is the final and most deadly stage.

If you suffer from these symptoms and hold elective office, you have CTID.   Immediate treatment is required.

Effective therapy for this disease involves a brutal, two-step treatment.   First, read the entire text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  After grief counseling, pour three fingers of Glenlivet in a glass and add a splash of hard-boiled reality.   Drink and repeat.   Repeat again if needed.   If treatment is fully effective, you will be cured.   You will at last understand that constantly increasing taxes depresses an economy and erodes the tax base.  You will realize that lowering the tax burden stimulates growth and investment and increases net tax receipts.   Even a partial cure should at least relieve the urge to vote for a tax increase.  This is just as good.  

An emergency treatment kit is in development, consisting of an inhaler and a pocket-sized coloring book featuring inspirational quotes from Robert Mugabe, visionary architect of Zimbabwe’s stone age economy.   Once available, it is recommended that local officials take preemptive treatment before budget meetings.

Show concern and support for elected officials afflicted with CTID by wearing an awareness ribbon on your lapel.   The proper color scheme is red ink fading to black.

Be vigilant for symptoms of this disease and its related affliction, TPBRS, Tax Payer Bewilderment and Resentment Syndrome.   I think I feel symptoms of that one coming on right now.   The Glenlivet anyone?
 

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Here's An Even Greater Tragedy: A General Who Thinks This Way

The U.S. Army’s Chief-of-Staff, General George Casey, says the mass murder of soldiers at Fort Hood is preferable to compromising the Army's politically correct obsession with "diversity."   "As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

Does Casey get his talking points from The Onion?

"As a crazed Palestinian gunman, I feel hurt by the negative portrayal of my people.  None of us should have to live with stereotyping and ignorance."

He then began screaming and firing into a busload of Israeli schoolchildren.

Al Hamad  . . . stressed the importance of understanding and celebrating the cultural differences between crazed Palestinian gunmen and non-crazed, non-Palestinian non-gunmen.  . . . "Our diversity is our greatest strength."
Bill Clinton was years ahead of us, but with Generals like the unworthy Casey, we're beginning to loathe the military ourselves.
 

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

City Needs to Join Countywide Public Safety Data System

The Monroe County 911 center is upgrading its field data base system. This is the database police access from their cars for information on a car they may be following, or may have pulled over. The database is comprehensive, and every police department in the County should be on it.

Imagine that the Rochester Police Department police didn't use it, but instead set up a parallel system that couldn't interface well with the countywide database. Imagine somebody pulls an armed robbery in the City. The City police have a car description and plate number. It's entered in their separate system, but the 911 system doesn't get the information accurately, or in real time. The car then enters an adjoining town, where it's pulled over for speeding. The town police officer has no idea what went down in the city 30 minutes before   --   and is now in a very bad situation.

The City needs to join the 911 system so this, and events like it, couldn't happen. If the City joins, access to information as needed becomes seamless. In the scenario described, the Town cop accesses the info, knows the whole story, calls for back-up   --  and makes it home to his family. The criminal doesn't.

Which leaves me wondering why the City doesn't want to join the 911 system. Some say that the City P.D. is really run by its IT department, that's not very good and doesn't want to come near anything it can't fully understand. Maybe another possible explanation is that the City doesn't want to make access easy to its crime stats, which may be heading in the wrong direction.

In financial terms, the 911 system, consolidated with all police departments countywide, is by far the least costly option for the City. It would cost about 25% of the expense for an independent system for the City P.D.:   $500,000 to join 911, versus $2-3 million for an independent system. (The City's estimate of $1.5million for their own system is unrealistically low).

Let's hope that when the decision reaches Mayor Duffy's desk, he understands the need for his force to be on the 911 system -- and the public's need for it as well.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All the King's Horses and All the King's Men

Here's just one indication of how bad a drubbing Democratic candidates for county legislature took last week.

The 7th Legislative District includes part of Greece and part of the City of Rochester. Incumbent Republican Rick Antelli faced Democrat Mark Coon. This was one of the districts Democrats thought they could take.

Mayor Duffy himself walked door-to-door with Democratic candidate Coon in election precincts in the the City portion of the Legislative District.

Republican Antelli carried the entire City portion of his Legislative District, notwithstanding the popular Mayor's help for his opponent.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where Would We Cut?

The Democrat and Chronicle asks readers to say where they'd cut the State budget.

My two cents:   Look at a truly progressive state, meaning one that's prosperous and that people are moving to.   Like Texas.   Find out what Medicaid benefits it offers.   Then cut back New York's Medicaid benefits to match.

Bet we'd cut NY Medicaid spending in half.   That would be an 8% cut in state spending right there.

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Politics in the City Doesn't Matter

The City matters a lot.   But politics in the City of Rochester doesn't matter.

Just suppose.   Suppose Mayor Duffy and City Council succeed brilliantly.   In the next four years, business moves in and thrives, refurbished neighborhoods attract thousands from suburbs, restaurants and night life flourish, crime is negligible, taxes are cut, the budget's in surplus and there's loads of free parking.

Result:   Duffy and Council get re-elected.
Now suppose the City's next four years make the last four look like the Golden Age of Pericles.   Taxes compete with the murder rate as to which jumps higher or faster.   Big business exits.   From new headquarters in Birmingham, Kodak orders its State Street building dynamited, rather than pay the property tax.   Small business collapses.  Restaurants shut as crime drives remaining patrons away from the City.   The School Superintendent quits, finally acknowledging, "It's hopeless."
Result:   Duffy and Council get re-elected.
Analyzing the death of Renaissance Square in September, we noted, "Once cities degrade to permanent Democratic rule, decay accelerates without political consequence."

A letter to City News recalled the idea.   In the issue of October 21-27, a Tom Elston, recently moved from the City to Georgia, responded to a City News essay comparing Rochester to Austin, Texas.   Among Elston's points about Rochester:   "... [T]he city school system is seen as an intractable failure and waste of money."

We take exception only to the "seen as" part.  

It doesn't make one bit of difference who is elected to the City School Board.   You could have all Cynthia Elliots, or all people of wisdom and vision.   The State wouldn't allow either group to change any one of the fundamentals that need changing to make the schools work.   The result's the same:   another generation of illiteracy and failure.   Moreover, whether wise or clueless, the Democratic candidates get elected regardless of outcome.

With the School District as with the City government.   Each a sanctuary for policy failure free of consequence to elected officials.   Unchallenged by an opposition party, because it's pointless, or by press scrutiny.

An e-mail asked us yesterday, "Why don't you follow politics in the City like you do in the Towns?"

This is your answer, Heather:   because politics in the City doesn't matter.   That's why.

It's why people vote, instead, with their feet.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Local Elections 2009

On Saturday, we began our analysis of general election results in Monroe County with a look at the Ciaran Hanna  -  Nora Bredes race for County Legislature in Perinton.   In the weeks ahead, we'll be updating our Almanac of Monroe County Politics to discuss all the significant races.

Until then, the best succinct take we've seen on last Tuesday's local results is a reader's comment at Rochester City News:

Maybe voters looked at Joe Morelle's votes in the Assembly, and the Assembly backgrounds of the Democrats in the county legislature (at least 5 of them basically work for Sheldon Silver, directly or indirectly) and concluded they didn't want the Monroe County legislature to raise the budget and taxes quite as fast as the Assembly does.   Or maybe they don't want their towns run with the same quality schools and low crime rate as the City of Rochester, which the Democrats have done such a fine job with over the past 20 years.

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"Workers of the World, Unite!" -- Karl Marx

On November 9, 1989, they did.


"Soviet communism might not have endured for 70 years had it not been for enablers in academia, religion and journalism."

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Kiss of Death in Webster?

In March, 2009, Monroe County Legislator Carmen Gumina publicly endorses two Democratic candidates for Village Trustee.   Both endorsed candidates are trounced.

More recently, Legislator Gumina endorses Patrick Christopher for Webster Supervisor.  
Christopher loses by 34%.


For Webster Town Board, Mr. Gumina publicly endorses Democratic Town Council candidates Tammy Gurowski and Michael Garbin.   Both get wholloped by Webster voters.

Webster voters, largely Republican, are telling the legislator that they're not buying his party's brand.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bambi Meets Godzilla

The race that really surprised us this year was the contest for County Legislature in the 18th Legislative District, in Perinton. It wasn't surprising in the result, which the politically sophisticated anticipated, but in the unexpected trajectory of the campaign that, as it proceeded toward election day, made the ultimate result apparent.

Republican politicos have kept a nervous eye on Nora Bredes ever since she moved here from Long Island ten years ago.  
It could not have been happy news to incumbent Republican Ciaran Hanna to learn that Bredes would be his opponent.

A former Suffolk County Legislator and one time Democratic candidate for Congress, Ms. Bredes became a public figure in the New York City area years ago, as leader of the citizens' group that fought for nearly a decade to stop operation of the Shoreham nuclear plant.   She stopped it.   A graduate of Cornell, Ms. Bredes directs the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership at the University of Rochester.   She has won numerous state and national awards for accomplishments in environmentalism and public health.   Smugtown Beacon described her as "ridiculously overqualified" for the county legislature.

Legislator Hanna, a businessman in Fairport, has a low profile outside of his district.   Political insiders in both parties consider him one of the smartest and best members of the County Legislature.   Hanna's gentlemanly, modest demeanor accompanies a towering sense of responsibility to his constituents and a steely resolve to protect their interests.   Hanna's bolting of his own party on a point of principle got him stripped of a committee chairmanship a few years back.   This won him even higher respect in his district.   He continues the tradition of his admired family, the Hannas, whose members have distinguished the family name through high-minded public service spanning decades.

Ordinarily, a candidate of Hanna's quality would have little to worry about, especially in a Republican-leaning district. It does not in the least disparage his record or abilities to acknowledge the noteworthy accomplishments of his opponent, or her strong experience.   It's as if the winning yacht in the America's Cup found itself facing the Battleship Missouri, with all guns blazing.

One nervous Republican wag chose a different metaphor.   In a nod to Hanna's soft-spoken manner, he worried that this race had the potential to be "Bambi meets Godzilla."

As we now know, he was right.   Except that the roles were reversed.

All along we thought Hanna had the ability to defeat the challenge from Bredes, but we felt that Bredes's strengths as a candidate were daunting.   It's rare to see someone with a resume of her quality running for local office, rarer still someone of such accomplishment.

On Tuesday Hanna didn't just beat Bredes, he humiliated her:   62% Hanna to 38% for Bredes.   The Democrats' brightest hope  --   not just for getting elected but for her obvious capacity for forceful, articulate leadership once elected  --   held to under 40%.   She won little more than the base Democratic vote.

How did this happen?   Especially in a district which, though it leans Republican, voted routinely for Louise Slaughter and for David Koon?

From start to finish, Ms. Bredes ran the wrong campaign. Local elections in towns and districts with populations of the size found in Monroe County are won by door-to-door campaigning by the candidate.

Legislator Hanna understood this well, starting a vigorous door-to-door schedule as soon as Bredes announced her candidacy and never stopping until election day.   He canvassed every neighborhood in the district.

Bredes thought she could win with mailings, literature drops and coffee gatherings in people's homes.   She did little or no canvassing.   Nor did she participate in the parades and similar public events comprising part of the routine schedule for a local candidate.

Walking door-to-door, a candidate can visit 50 or more homes in the two hours it takes to meet a dozen people at a reception in someone's home.   Inevitably such gatherings tend to involve people who already are disposed to vote for you, since they're friends of the candidate's friend who arranges the gathering.   The only finite resource in a campaign is the candidate's time.   Home-based meet-and-greets are sucker bait for the inexperienced.

Yet Ms. Bredes is no inexperienced candidate.   Years ago the New York Times told her story as an example of how a candidate succeeds in getting elected for the first time.

We have to believe that a campaign for public office on Long Island, with an appreciably larger population for each county legislative district, is a very different proposition from a similar campaign in Perinton.   Probably it involves broadcast media as well as mailings.   Home-gatherings may well complement the mix in a useful way, where population size makes meaningful door-to-door campaigning impractical.   Such a campaign probably looks a lot more like our county-wide campaigns here.

However, in races for legislative districts in Monroe County, if one good candidate goes door-to-door and another good, even astonishingly accomplished, candidate does not, the candidate who goes to the door wins, absent overriding issues.

Commenting in Rochester Turning on Tuesday's result, Ms. Bredes blamed a "lack of civic culture" in the Rochester area, among other factors, for her loss and for the loss by fellow Democrats, suggesting most citizens aren't engaged in thinking about political matters.   Now, as people interested in politics ourselves, we'd say there's much truth to her observation, though not as a reason for her big loss.

But that's the equivalent of an unsuccessful Monroe County Republican candidate complaining, for example, that he lost because the local press is hostile.   Of course it's hostile if you're a Republican.   That's just part of the deal when you run for office under the GOP banner in Rochester.   You didn't know that before you ran?   Didn't factor that into your planning?   What were you thinking?

In addition, the Bredes campaign suffered from the defect of all the Democratic legislative campaigns, in that it criticized Republican management of the County but offered no solutions whatsoever.

It is at least possible that Ms. Bredes's instincts, or the character of her social and professional circles, led her to run what could be viewed as an elitist campaign.   We give her the benefit of the doubt, going no further than observing that she misread the constituency insofar as assessing what was necessary to win.   Maybe the general expectation on the Democratic side that they could indict their way into office had something to do with it also.   We confine our conclusions to the fact that she didn't campaign door-to-door as her opponent did, a failure representing a fundamental misreading of the voters.

Perhaps the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership can offer a course on getting to know your constituency before you run for office.




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Friday, November 6, 2009

A Guy Who Understands the Election Returns

Congressman Eric Massa, according to Rochester Turning, announced this morning he'll vote against Pelosi's currently proposed health care bill.

Did some posturing as to reasons, in order not to alienate his liberal base, but looks like he got the message.

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Rochester Business Alliance: Undermining Its Own Cause?

What was with the Rochester Business Alliance endorsing Democrats Mark Coon and Frank Muscato, a liberal educator, over incumbent County Legislators Rick Antelli, a business owner, and Steve Tucciarello, also a business owner?

The two candidates the RBA chose to not endorse are in fact business people -- part of the RBA's constituency. Election of Muscato and Coon would have flipped the County Legislature to the Democrats. That's the party whose core constituencies insist on the status quo of anti-business policies that have made New York the business equivalent of a toxic waste dump. A Democratic-controlled local legislature would raise taxes and dismantle what little county government can do to offset the poisonous effects of state policies on business.

"Unshackle Upstate" is an RBA effort to get Albany to change its business-killing policies. So why would RBA want to put into power locally the minions of Albany political bosses Morelle, Gantt and John? These are the same people who have helped create, and work to preserve, the unbearable tax and spend government that is New York State.

Sandy Parker, the RBA's CEO, has been a willing stooge for various anti-Republican / anti-county government efforts in the past, in mostly behind-the-scenes or low-profile roles.

Why did she let RBA endorse the Democratic candidates in two of the most competitive races? Word is she was buying favor with Joe Morelle, in hopes of the Democratic nod for a future run for political office.

She should stick to RBA's business. After all, despite all the talk, we haven't seen much unshackling going on, have we?

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