Saturday, October 31, 2009

Last Minute Dirty Trick

Our own Philbrick wrote that Joe Morelle and the Monroe County Democrats will go even dirtier than they've been so far, in the last three days of the campaign.

What I wonder about is: How about the Democrat and Chronicle?

What dirty trick have they been holding back, to use at the last minute? They've worked too hard with Morelle and his party to flip the county legislature. They have to have a last-minute Republican-smearing to pull out of the hat. Especially if they think the serial campaign ethics violations by Democratic legislature candidates could be hurting Democrats in the home stretch.

The newspaper capable of this is capable of anything.


It's One-on-One in CD-23

Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the special congressional race in New York's 23rd Congressional District, leaving a head-to-head contest between Conservative Doug Hoffman and Democrat Bill Owens. With Hoffman and Owens in a statistical dead heat in the most recent polls, this development bodes very favorably for Hoffman.

Realizing the odds against him, Owens is now hitting hard against Hoffman. The only sensible strategy for him now.

It means the Republican candidate did the only thing she could do to pull off a Republican victory in this race: drop out.

Here's Dede doing the right thing:


Exception to the Rule

Analyzing the 2007 local elections in our Almanac of Monroe County Politics, we said:   "In nearly every instance, candidate selection and candidate performance explain the outcome."   (We were speaking of races in competitive towns and districts.)

Interestingly, one local race this year seems to be defying the principle of candidate quality determining outcome.   But you'll have to wait.   Analyzing it before election day could give counsel and guidance to enemies of the people.


Friday, October 30, 2009

ANOTHER Verdict of Campaign Fraud Against a Democratic Candidate for County Legislature

First came this, on Wednesday.   Now, today, the Fair Election Practices Committee has issued another ruling against a Democratic candidate for County Leguislature.   This one against Democrat Mark Coon, running against incumbent Legislator Rick Antelli for the seat in Greece.

The Fair Election Practices Committee actually found three separate violations by Coon:

1.   Coon violated the provision to conduct his campaign "accurately and honestly."   A Coon campaign mailer fraudulently tried to associate Antelli with events that occurred before Antelli ever joined the legislature.   The mailer implied Antelli excused corruption and scandal, when in fact, as the Committee noted in its finding, Antelli had voted to terminate the county's contract with Robutrad and had sponsored legislation to protect whistleblowers.

2.   Coon violated the provision not to attack his opponent's character.   The Committee found that Coon's accusation of excusing scandal and corruption, in addition to being false, amounted to an attack on Antelli's character.

3.   Coon violated the provision to not use quotes or images out of context, or in a way to misrepresent his opponent.   The Committee found that Coon used a doctored image of Antelli in a campaign mailing, thereby committing a violation.

The Fair Election Practices Committee is a nonpartisan organization established by the League of Women Voters and the Interfaith Alliance.

We think today's finding of further campaign violations by Democratic candidates, and the findings, on Wednesday, of campaign violations by Coon and Democratic legislature candidates Moscato (Gates) and Condello (Henrietta), suggest that Joe Morelle is feeling control of the County Legislature slipping out of reach.   He's engaging in acts of desperation.

And if you think what he's done already is dirty, brace yourself for the next three days before the election.   Any further violations will come too close to the election to be able to be reported widely.   From now through Tuesday, Morelle can lie to voters with impunity.   Our prediction:   the weekend and Monday will be a bumpy ride.

Little Joe's going for broke.   And as these multiple ethical violations show, he's not too choosy about how he does it.


Wrong Message in Greece

The scene: candidates' night last Sunday, at the First Bible Baptist Church in Greece. This is an evening of feel good speeches. Tell them who you are, what you stand for and ask for the vote. The audience are people of faith, with little tolerance for negative comments. Any candidate who engages in mudslinging does so at his own peril. Two Greece Democrats couldn't figure it out.

Supervisor Candidate Dan Maloney and Legislator Candidate Mark Coon seemed to be trying to prove that they are out of touch left liberals with a nasty streak, lacking the temperament and sensitivity to lead a municipality of any size, let alone our largest town, Greece. Both came out swinging with rants that left the crowd speechless, with most just shaking their heads in disbelief. Somehow they reminded me of a pair of medieval executioners, each swinging a mace aimlessly and wounding only themselves. Entertaining in a creepy way, like an ultimate fighting match, but too brutal and painful to watch with pleasure.

A big contrast to a strong leader in touch with his community and his audience, like Supervisor John Auberger.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Poll in CD-23 Shows Hoffman in Statistical Dead Heat

Our thanks to Rottenchester, proprietor of The Fighting 29th and all-around expert on New York's 29th Congressional District, for bringing to our attention the latest poll in the 23rd CD.

A new Research 2000/Daily Kos poll shows basically a tie between Owens (D) and Hoffman (C).

Rottenchester tells us:

Whatever you think of Kos, his polls are high quality, done by a good polling organization.   He publishes his crosstabs, and it's a bigger sample (600).

Special elections are hard to poll in general.   But at this point, it looks like Scozzafava is out.


Hissy Fit

We've learned that Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle stormed out of a meeting of the Fair Election Practices Committee in a hissy fit yesterday  --  after the Committee found Democratic County Legislature Candidates Moscato (Gates), Condello (Henrietta) and Coon (Greece) guilty of falsifying a quotation on a campaign mailing.

The Fair Election Practices Committee is a joint effort of the League of Women Voters and the Interfaith Council of Rochester, organizations with impeccable liberal credentials.

Story here.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Albany on the Genesee

What kind of government can we expect in Monroe County after Democrats take the County Legislature next Tuesday?

For starters, we'll see the sensibilities, priorities and, worst of all, policy approaches of the state government in Albany transplanted right here to Rochester.

One reason we expect Democrats to take the legislature is because of failure by the County Republican Party to hit this message hard. Their "taxes" ad hits it only as a secondary issue, focusing only on one part of the problem.

What Republicans should be running are ads saying:   "If you like the State Legislature in Albany, you're going to love the County Legislature under the Democrats."   Consider:

  • County Legislator Harry Bronson is an employee of the New York State Assembly.   He's the Leader of the Legislature's Democratic Caucus.   Bronson works directly for Susan John, who chairs the Assembly Labor Committee, which he serves as legal counsel.   John could have Bronson fired on a moment's notice.

  • Democratic Legislator Vincent Esposito is also an employee of the State Assembly, working directly for Assemblyman Joe Morelle.   He also can be fired at any time for not towing the line.

  • Democratic Legislator Glenn Gamble's day job is with the Baden Street Settlement, whose major funding comes directly from grants from Assemblyman David Gantt.   Nice little job you have there, Glenn.   Be a shame if anything happened to it.

  • Democratic Assistant Leader Calvin Lee holds the "Gantt seat" in the Democratic leadership of the county legislature and is a long-time Gantt loyalist.

  • Democratic Legislator Carrie Andrews is an employee of the United Teachers union, the State Assembly's conjoined twin.   They'd fire her in a heartbeat if Morelle, Gantt or John ordered it.   Just as Assembly members can't afford to upset UT, the union doesn't want to upset the Assembly.   A classic symbiotic relationship.

  • A majority of Democratic County Legislators have districts in the City.   Morelle or Gantt easily could take out any of them in primaries if either wanted to.   The Democratic county legislators all know it.
In short, most of the Democratic County Legislators risk losing either their jobs, or their office if primaried by Morelle- or Gantt-sponsored candidates.

The State Assembly owns these people.

We're about to become, more directly and tangibly than ever before, a colonial outpost of the worst state government in the country.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Margaret Trevett -- Standing Out!

Endorsing Democrat Margaret Trevett for Penfield Supervisor, the Democrat and Chronicle called her the candidate who "stood out most."

I'll say. How's this for standing out: being the candidate for Supervisor who doesn't know when the Town Board votes on the annual budget!

Monroe Rising reports this exchange, at a public forum at the September 9 meeting of Penfield Town Board:

Trevett: Will it ever be possible to vote on the budget before election?

Supervisor Wiedemer: We will vote on it before election.

Councilwoman Linda Kohl: We do every year.

Trevett: I thought it was always voted in November.

Wiedemer: No, no.
Here it is on video, courtesy of Monroe Rising

There's a candidate who really stands out.


Second Poll Shows Hoffman Ahead

A Neighborhood Research/Mountainside Media poll taken October 25-26 of 366 likely voters shows Hoffman (C) at 34%, Owens (D) at 29% and Scozzafava (R) at 14%.

Looks like a 2- way race between Hoffman and Owens, after this and yesterday's poll.

The New York Post endorsed Hoffman today.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Momentum for Hoffman in CD-23?

A poll released today shows Hoffman (C) in the lead with 31.3%, Owens (D) at 27.0% and Scatterbrain (R) or whatever her name is at 19.7%.

We didn't know the Club for Growth did polling.


Is the District Attorney's Office Regaining its Ethics?

A week or so ago we wondered if, in the withdrawal of fraudulent felony charges against the County GOP Executive Director, we were witnessing District Attorney Michael Green's conscience struggling with the demands of Joe Morelle to deliver Democratic election victories through abusive prosecutions.

Now comes news that Green says he won't bring any more indictments before the November election.   Apparently Green made this statement recently on Bob Lonsberry's radio program.

We only first heard of it this weekend.   That's what we get for listening to low-brow drivel like Diane Rehm instead of the sophisticated, educational Lonsberry show.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lifeline from the Pope

Last week Pope Benedict gave a lifeline to long-suffering traditionalists in the U.S. Episcopal Church and Anglican churches worldwide. The Vatican announced that Anglican dioceses and parishes can convert to the Roman Catholic Church. They can continue to worship using Anglican liturgy.

This is good news to many Episcopalians/Anglicans. For the Catholic Church, it brings in the beauty of the Anglican liturgy. First Things points out, "This may accelerate the already-growing movement within the Catholic church to correct some of the liturgical excesses and errors we’ve seen in the last 40 years."

For dioceses or parishes that convert to Rome, the Episcopal hierarchy will naturally respond in its usual Christian way, by suing to take these parishes' churches away from them. SOP for a church whose "inclusiveness" somehow has no room for people of traditionalist views.Leroy Yentuar


Friday, October 23, 2009

Concealing the Albany Connection

We're struck by the risible deception in a Democrat and Chronicle endorsement this morning.   The paper describes County Legislator Harry Bronson's occupation as "attorney who specializes in social justice."   Whatever that means.

What the paper carefully omits is Bronson's actual employment:   staff member of the New York State Assembly.

That's what pays the mortgage at chateau Bronson.

This omission is deliberate.   The D&C knows better than anyone that people are "fed up with Albany," so they're careful to suppress the connection, lest voters realize the same crowd that runs Albany will be running the County government if the Democrats take the County Legislature.

We're working on a post on this very subject, to appear shortly.

We're not criticizing the endorsement.   Just pointing out the significance of this particular suppression of truth by the Democrat and Chronicle.

In any event, the endorsement is superfluous.   Bronson has one of those City districts where the Democratic candidate for anything can blow up a kindergarten and still get elected.   That's yet another problem in local government.


"And We Endorse Bernie Madoff for Chair of the SEC, Too"

The Democrat and Chronicle today endorses County Legislator Paul Haney, "based largely on his experience in government finance."

And what extraordinary experience it is!   Haney was architect and mastermind of the infamous $40 million budget deficit coverup in 1992, when he was County Finance Director.   Architect of the deficit he covered up, too.   Just a foretaste of life under the legislature's coming Democratic majority.

O brave new world, that has such people in't!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

He is Shocked. Shocked!

County Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle is upset because Republican candidates for County Legislature are talking about the County budget -- of all things! -- in their campaign mailings.

Morelle says it's a dirty trick.   Right, Joe.   A dirty trick.   Not like the honorable campaign tactic of orchestrating fraudulent indictments, timed to an election.

We've seen before at least one example of Joe Morelle apparently assuming stupidity on the part of voters.   Morelle's successive re-elections no doubt have trained him to think that way about his Assembly District.

But really, Joe.   The whole county?


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mex in the City

Venus and I visited Mex, at 295 Alexander Street, last Saturday. Our first visit since Mex resumed its restaurant operation.


Mex's edgy yet inviting ambience is especially congenial as the weather turns cooler. Its outdoor patio area does the trick in warmer weather. Good wine selection and good selection on tap. The bar is laid out with a sitting area on either side of the central, curved bar. Both sitting areas have comfy chairs, evoking a slightly disreputable Starbucks. In other words, just the right bar atmosphere. Candle sconces add to the mood, and it's fun to sit in the front alcove with a drink and watch the passing scene on Alexander Street.

The bar crowd is a younger, convivial group. Age-wise typical of the night scene in the East/Alexander area, yet we baby-boomers felt right at home.


Mex's restaurant is upstairs. The experience begins with highly superior nacho chips and salsa. Red white and yellow chips offer the right medium for Mex's home-made chunky salsa. Their salsa is the real deal. None of this out-of-the-jar-from-Wegman's stuff.

Venus had the two-enchilada plate, with cheese and chorizo enchiladas (a deal at $10.50). I had the chorizo burrito (with rice and beans, $12.50). The burrito seemingly defies gravity. I don't know how Mex turns out a light, delicate burrito, given all the goodies it's stuffed with -- chorizo, cheese, sour cream, tomato, lettuce, white onions and pinto beans -- but it does. The result is totally filling while seeming lighter than air, with a wonderfully unique chili sauce overlay. Together with a nourishing tumbler of Dos Equis -- primo.

The enchiladas had a depth and substance lacking in your typical "Mexican" calorie mill's dry tortilla wrapped around the filling. Mex's menu says their enchiladas are "wet." That has to be part of the difference, that and the superior Mex house chili sauce.

Mexican fare as interpreted in the Northeast U.S. often differs little from one place to the other. Mex in Rochester distinguishes itself from the pack. At a most reasonable price.

If you live outside of the City, ditch the suburban chain-swill and see what something genuine tastes like, at Mex.

A superb choice for drinks, but you're missing something special if you don't dine there, too. The restaurant floor's "Mexican skull art" motif is just the thing for a night out in the Halloween season.

295 Alexander Street, Rochester
closed Sunday and Monday


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Credit Where It's Due

Yesterday we asked what prominence the Democrat and Chronicle would give the story about the withdrawal of the felony charge against County GOP Executive Director Moore.

We had the answer today:   front page.

Not the top headline, but given the substance of the story and the competing news, we'd call it fair reporting.


Next Political Indictment Any Day

Watch for it, maybe even today.   We're within a day or two of the next political indictment.   We don't think any later.

As we've explained before, it fits the Democratic campaign plan.

Moreover, it's now necessary, in order to push from the news cycle yesterday's embarrassment to the District Attorney's office, of having to drop the felony charge against Andrew Moore because the charge was never warranted in the first place.

Let the games continue!


Disciplinary Rule 3.8

"The DA says he reviewed the case himself.  DA Michael Green said, 'After doing that I personally didn't feel that the evidence we had supported a felony charge.'

From the New York Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys, adopted in April 2009:

Disciplinary Rule 3.8:
Special Responsibilities of Prosecutors
and Other Government Lawyers

(a) A prosecutor or other government lawyer shall not institute, cause to be instituted or maintain a criminal charge when the prosecutor or other government lawyer knows or it is obvious that the charge is not supported by probable cause.

Assistant District Attorney William Gargan, who presented the felony charge dropped yesterday by DA Green, should take note.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Wondering

When Monroe County GOP Executive Director Andrew Moore was indicted in September, the print edition of the Democrat and Chronicle carried the story as its top headline, front page and above the fold.   The lead story.

We'll be waiting to see on what page, and where, tomorrow's edition carries the news of the District Attorney dropping the felony charge against Moore.



District Attorney Michael Green this morning withdrew his felony charge against Monroe County Republican Executive Director Andrew Moore

"[F]rom the outset, the substance of the felony charge appeared in question," the Democrat and Chronicle observed in its story on this morning's development.

Of course it did.   Because, as we've pointed out on numerous occasions, all Moore did was to write a mailing piece for a political campaign.   For that, he was arrested for violating a law that requires offering or giving a reward to a public official, who then engages in misconduct.

To date, the DA's office has never said what the alleged reward was.   It has not responded with a "bill of particulars" on any of its charges against Moore.   A "bill of particulars" is a statement by the prosecutor describing what the accused person actually did to break the law.

Now we know why.   As the DA himself admitted to reporters this morning, after reviewing the evidence presented to the grand jury, he concluded that there isn't evidence to support the charge.   (Just what we've been saying for the past five weeks.)   No wonder Moore's indictment was described by a professor of criminal law as "funny," except for the person going through it.

This is a major embarrassment for the Monroe County District Attorney's office, as it is whenever a prosecutor's office presents an indictment to a grand jury, only to have to withdraw it later for lack of substance.   We give credit to Mr. Green for correcting this matter after his recent review of the charge, which was brought to the Grand Jury by Assistant DA William Gargan.   But, as reporters asked Green this morning:   Why wasn't a charge this serious reviewed before presenting it to the Grand Jury?   Channel 10 has video of Green's defensive and less-than-convincing response.

Today's action seems more characteristic of the Mike Green to whom we looked up and admired, until his office fraudulently indicted Mr. Moore in an action reeking of politics.

Nevertheless, Green still has not withdrawn the three misdemeanor charges against Moore.   If Assistant DA Gargan misrepresented the felony charge to the Grand Jury, that taints the entire Grand Jury presentation   The misdemeanor charges require proving coercion and showing that Moore acted as an accomplice to Robutrad ringleader Robert Morone, when Morone allegedly pressured a county employee into signing a letter to be used in a political campaign.   Yet all Moore did was to write a campaign letter  --  an act no more criminal than going out for a cup of coffee.

Mike Green holds an office distinguished by predecessors such as Howard Relin and Don Chesworth.   Today Green began to redeem it, and himself, from an unworthy act.   We may now be witnessing a struggle between Green's conscience and the demands of Joe Morelle to deliver Democratic victories next month through abusive prosecutions.

Listen to your conscience, Mr. Green.   Fire your rogue prosecutor William Gargan, whose overreaching in the Moore matter has damaged your reputation and credibility.   Vindicate your reputation by dropping the remaining misdemeanor charges against Andrew Moore.   You'll sleep better, and you'll be able to look in the mirror without wincing.

Credit to Green for not doing this on a Friday, when the story would be buried because of the weekend.   Credit to him for reversing the action of Assistant DA Gargan, who should have known better.   Gargan has now set himself up for unethical conduct claims, for presenting to a Grand Jury a charge lacking "probable cause."


Friday, October 16, 2009


We told you last Sunday, and today comes confirmation straight from the Assemblyman's office.   Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, Joe Errigo definitely is running for re-election next year.

Our next prediction about to come true?   The one about a new political indictment from the Monroe County District Attorney's office for the Democratic election campaign.


New Contributor

We welcome our newest contributor, Lucy's dad, Steve Zodiac.   Steve came on board to write restaurant reviews, but we see he couldn't resist the bite of the political bug his first time out.   Great work, Steve.   Like your video.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hope They Believe It

First entry on Mustard Street! I signed on to review restaurants and bars. But I caught Bob Smith's WXXI show today. I like Bob's show. Today he talked about the citizen protests against the Obama/congressional health care restructuring. Bob said something like, "We know who planned them, orchestrated them and paid for them." Bob has swallowed whole the mainstream media myth on the protesters, that they aren't ordinary citizens. Maybe he's just trying to promote it.

If Bob is an example of mainstream media mindset, I hope he really has swallowed it whole, and really believes it. It shows how disconnected from citizens the media is. If they are so disconnected, they are less able to affect events. Nothing like this since Reagan was elected. The press and the bi-coastal elites were totally shocked. They never saw the conservative tidal wave coming. Because, like now, they are completely out-of-touch.


A White House Shaky in its Convictions?

The White House's attacks on Fox News recall an observation by Democrat, feminist and Obama supporter Camille Paglia:

What is this morbid obsession that liberals have with Fox? It's as if Democrats, pampered and spoiled by so many decades of the mainstream media trumpeting the liberal agenda, are so shaky in their convictions that they cannot risk an encounter with opposing views. Democrats have ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time and 98 percent of American humanities professors to do their bidding. But no, that's not enough -- every spark of dissent has to be extinguished with buckets of bile.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Throwing Away an Election

It's becoming clearer that Monroe County Republicans don't know how to run an effective campaign this year.   They're using the same playbook as they have in past years for their county legislature candidates.  Because of the election indictments, it requires more than that.

Local elections like town races and county legislature seats are a ground game.  Get your candidate to campaign door-to-door and support her or him with appropriate mailings.

The indictments now make this an air war as well.   By which we mean a larger thematic issue that's used by one side.   Democrats are doing this with the Robutrad indictments.   In response, county Republicans so far have been totally passive.   They have ample material for such a campaign against the Democrats, to augment the individual races.   But so far, nothing.

They have the money to do it, but apparently not the smarts and definitely not the guts.

Weakness never wins.   If you're weak because you can't help it, that's one thing.  If you're weak because you choose to be, you shouldn't be governing, or running political campaigns.

This has been a disturbing trend on the Republican side for the past couple of years (both pre- and post-Minarik), and we'll have a more detailed analysis in an upcoming post.


Let the Sun Shine In

Since this is the kind of story the Democrat and Chronicle suppresses when it involves a Democratic candidate (and promotes when the candidate's a Republican), we provide this link to today's post by Cincinnatus of Monroe Rising.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Connecting the Dots

The local Democratic election effort has moved from party headquarters to the District Attorney's office.   As we await a fresh indictment this week or maybe next, it's time to connect the dots.

We've relied on a former downstate prosecutor for help in understanding the legal side of what's going on with the political indictments of the last month.   She's made us aware that the Democratic campaign plan for county elections, currently being executed by District Attorney Mike Green, involves more than just the charges against individuals we've seen and will see in the next week or two.

Taken together, the indictments so far and the indictment to come form a legally significant pattern:   one person in Republican headquarters, one in the Republican County administration, the one to come in Republican fundraising.   Each allegedly related to "Robutrad."

Our ex-prosecutor friend says this pattern is not mere happenstance.   It's by design.

Understanding it explains why DA Green had to go so very far out on a limb in bringing an indictment against GOP Executive Director Andrew Moore.   That's the indictment in which the conduct alleged doesn't even fit the conduct requrement of the law under which Moore was charged.   (The statute requires coercion and direct quid pro quo payback in some form.   All Moore did was write a letter as a campaign piece.)

Creating this pattern is necessary, however, as a legal requirement for the next big step in the Democratic effort to take over the County Legislature.   Next week, or the week after, will come the charge that purports to tie it all together.

Green will charge the whole Republican organization with conspiracy and racketeering, under state racketeering laws.   Or alternatively, he will have established the basis for federal authorities to bring charges under the racketeering law known as "RICO," the "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act."

Racketeering laws like these can be invoked where a prosecutor can allege "conspiracy," which is to say, two or more engaged in allegedly criminal activity that's somehow related.   That can amount to a "pattern of racketeering" that forms the basis for the charge.   That's why Green had to create a pattern touching the three major bases:   party, administration and fundraising.

And if the authorities don't bring a criminal racketeering charge, someone working with the Democratic organization can bring a civil charge under the federal RICO law.

This next step will permit the Democratic campaign to tar with the brush of "racketeering" the entire Monroe County Republican organization, and by implication, all Republicans running for all offices.

Look for that word to appear in Democratic campaign advertising in the final weeks of the current campaign.   And look for the "racketeering" charge, either criminal or civil, a week or so after the next individual indictment.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Urban Legend

For as long as we've paid attention to local politics, the same rumor pops up every two years:   Joe Errigo is not running for re-election.   Right on time it's turned up again, causing whispers to circulate, and asipiring successors to aspire even more.   And raising the question:   Real?   Or urban legend, like those stories about alligators in the New York sewers?

We say urban legend.   If the affable Assemblyman isn't running next year, his staff knows nothing about it.   They'd be the first to know.   Also, a mailer just went out to voters in his district, touting Errigo's position on certain budget issues.  A contact in the district scanned it and sent it to us.   It looks very much like a campaign piece you'd send voters when you're running again.

Therefore, for residents of the 130th Assembly District, we'd say The Joe Show is coming in 2010, to a voting booth near you!


A Question of Priorities

Obama's priorities lie not in [Afghanistan] but in America:  Why squander your presidency on trying to turn an economically moribund feudal backwater into a functioning nation state when you can turn a functioning nation state into an economically moribund feudal backwater?


Friday, October 9, 2009

State Constitutional Convention? No Way!

Assemblyman Brian Kolb recently introduced legislation calling for a constitutional convention to address certain matters. He's been pushing it in newspaper essays around the state. There's a website, full of noble purpose, at

Locally, journalist Chris Wilmot pushed the idea in the Smugtown Beacon earlier this week, citing all the right reasons for having a convention.

Convention backers should relax.   A constitutional convention is never, ever going to happen in New York.  At least not in the lifetime of anyone reading this.

That's because to have a convention requires a vote of the state legislature.   The state legislature is the source, the guardian and protector, of all of the problems that make a constitutional convention necessary.   It would never vote away its power to preserve New York's unique and debilitating status quo.

Aristocracies and oligarchies do not cede power voluntarily.  The state legislature is wholly-owned by New York's aristocracy:   public employee unions and a host of other special interest groups forming the core of support for the state Democratic Party.   An aristocracy to which Republicans in Albany, especially the State Senate, have been sucking up for decades.

The rest of the populace works to support the aristocracy, as in feudal times. Which is exactly what New Yorkers do, paying among the highest taxes in the country.

The public employee unions spent millions in anti-convention TV advertising the last time it came up on the ballot in 1997.   They won.

So it comes down to this:   if New York had the kind of legislature that would allow a constitutional convention, we wouldn't need a constitutional convention.   And, conversely, as long as we need a constitutional convention, we'll never get one.

Besides, any constitutional convention the legislature might approve would include current state legislators as delegates, and therefore would be a presumptive fraud.

No.   The only way out for us is for the counties of western New York to coordinate and organize, draw up a plan of self-government, and apply to the federal government for statehood, citing the West Virginia precedent.  

Supporters of such an effort of course will be ridiculed in the traditional media as extremists, for the sin of wanting jobs, and wanting to to live in a place with policies more like the 49 other states.

In any event, the effort would have to wait for a Republican congress.   Because New York is the model of where national Democrats are now trying to drag the rest of the country.   Wanting out of the poisonous brew of New York's state policies is an implicit rebuke to what national Democrats hold dear.

Until this happens, western New York remains, in economic terms, the Cuba of the United States:   a dead economy, frozen in time.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Love Among the Ruins ...

...isn't going to be the title of the book Bus Authority CEO Mark Aesch is writing. Even if e-mails from bus company workers after our story on Renaissance Square said it could be.

We learned today that, through intermediaries, Aesch has wangled an introduction to his book by none other than Rudy Giulani.

Rudy's a good candidate for something, but backs the loser for state Republican Chair, now gives a book blurb to a guy disliked in a rare bipartisan way here in Rochester.

Rudy, I love ya, but get a grip on local situations before you go out on a limb.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Teeing Up the Next Indictment

With all the subtlety of a car bomb in Kabul, DA Mike Green hinted on the radio news today about an indictment "in another area" related to Robutrad.

Today he got government (Smith).   Last month he hit the GOP political organization, with the fraudulent Moore indictment.   So ... government ... political ... and what's the third leg of the tripod?   Money!

Will we see an indictment of someone involved in GOP fund-raising?   By next week?

For the Democratic election campaign, that would give them the media hit at the beginning of September, the media hit this week, and a media hit next week.   To be followed by another surprise hit the week after?

By the way, we think this explains reports we've been getting about how little, compared to prior years, many of the Democratic candidates for County Legislature are doing the door-to-door leg work that's usually the deciding factor in these local elections.   They know that this year, the District Attorney is doing their work for them.


The Estimable Exile

For no particular reason I got to thinking tonight about a blogger we don't hear from any more. "Exile on Ericsson Street" was a major presence on Rochester Turning, one of the blogs we link to, in its early years. He left it to blog for The Albany Project, but we haven't seen his work there in a while.

Exile thought very differently from us on many things, but he was thoughtful, principled and fair, with a sense of humor and what seemed to us to be a generous spirit. Our public discourse locally has been the poorer for his absence.

I hope we're just looking in the wrong place and he's still active. Whatever you're doing, Exile, we wish you well.


Right on Schedule

As we predicted last week, and right on schedule for the coming election, today brings another "Robutrad"-related indictment.

This time it's James Smith, former Deputy County Executive.

Amazing how, after sitting on it for months, the Democratic-controlled District Attorney's Office suddenly needs to bring these indictments just before an election!

And exquisitely timed for late morning, assuring coverage in both the Noon and evening local newscasts!

There's more to all of this than the individual indictments, the politically-motivated timing and the career ambitions of the District Attorney.  We'll discuss it in an upcoming post.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rahn Indicted

Though shamelessly timed to affect elections in Greece, the charges against Merritt Rahn appear to have at least enough substance to make indictment plausible.   That, at least, departs from actions of the Monroe County District Attorney that we've criticized recently.


Solving Two Problems at Once

According to WCBS-TV in New York (via Drudge), state Democrats are contemplating what do do about scandal-ridden Rep. Charles Rangel and what to do about 2010 ballot albatross David Paterson.

The solution under consideration?   Get Rangel to step down after this term, and have Paterson run for his seat next year as a graceful way out of the governorship.

Interesting.   Can they pull it off?   Here, we're guessing that nothing could convince Rangel to retire.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Update on NY Times News Scrubbing

Newsbusters shows the New York Times scrubbing embarrassing Obama and Emanuel quotes from its original piece on the Olympics trip was anything but routine revision of a story.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

NY Times Scrubs Quotes Embarrassing to Obama and Emanuel

Like we said yesterday, "President Obama gets a free pass from the media on lots of things." Proving the point, today the New York Times removed Obama's claim that he'd cap off his "second term" with Chicago Olympics from its original story.   Scrubbed Rahm Emanuel's boast that White House will make sure Republican critics "get some good seats once Chicago does host the games.”

Blog Weasel Zippers shows original and scrubbed stories back-to-back.

Our fearless, independent press.  Ever vigilant!   Speaking truth to power daily!   Times editors must have interned at the Democrat and Chronicle.


Friday, October 2, 2009

The President in Copenhagen

Can anyone explain to us why it was such a terrible thing for the President to have gone to Copenhagen to plead the case for the Olympics in the USA?   Sorry, folks, but we just don't get it.

He didn't have to go.   Politically it would have been a lot safer to have done nothing.   That way, you don't risk being turned down.  

But he was willing to put himself on the line.   Given the possibility of failure, that's courageous.   How many other political figures can you name who have done anything courageous lately?

President Obama gets a free pass from the media on lots of things, but he's subject to some of the most ridiculous and unreasonable criticism on many others.

We know this is heresy to many of you who follow our rantings here on Mustard Street, but we're proud of our country when this President represents us abroad.

A feeling we never, ever, had about his predecessor.


The Election Indictments

With local elections just a month away, the next political indictments from the Democratic District Attorney's office will be coming shortly.   Not today.  Today's Friday, and you don't get as good publicity on a Friday.   People go out Friday nights; many are too busy on weekends to watch or read the news.

The federal authorities brought their Robutrad indictments many months ago, in the ordinary course of their investigation.   The feds identified the people who appear to have committed actual wrongdoing:   some county employees who, effectively, stole from taxpayers.

But the ostensibly Robutrad-related indictments from the Monroe County DA's office are election-driven.   That imposes a timetable geared to election day, November 3.

So the next indictments can't wait beyond next week -- about as close to the election as County Democratic headquarters can get and still have time to design and print the brochures and mail pieces, and to prepare the broadcast material, that will repeat headlines about the coming indictments to be provided by the party's partner, the Democrat and Chronicle.

Showing a headline saying "Joe Blow Indicted" is much more effective than just saying "Jow Blow's been indicted," since it shows that somebody else is saying it.   All just in time to hit mailboxes and airwaves in the weeks before the election.

District Attorney Mike Green has additional reason to move quickly.   His farce of an indictment against Republican official Andrew Moore has left Green hanging out there for a month, subject to criticism for abuse of office by Nifonging Mr. Moore.

The Moore indictment makes Green, once respected as a straight-arrow, look more with each passing day like the disgraced and disbarred Duke rape-case prosecutor.   Amazing how lust for a lifetime appointment can disfigure conscience and character.

Green needs to obfuscate his disgrace over the Moore matter by bringing quickly some additional indictments bearing claims of wrongdoing that, this time, are at least superficially plausible.

So we have two dynamics at work here, mutually complementary. Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle wants to indict his way to the County Legislature majority that the political process so far has denied him.   District Attorney Green, hoping for a federal judicial appointment, wanted to curry favor with his party by bagging a scalp from Republican Party headquarters; hence the indictment of GOP Executive Director Andrew Moore.   An indictment described by a professor of criminal law as a joke.  Except, as the prof said, for the person who has to go through it.

The next election indictments are coming next week.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Memo to Chairman Reilich

You need to fire the person at County Republican Headquarters who instructed your candidate for County Legislature in Henrietta, John Howland, to refrain from going door-to-door to Independence Party voters in the month before the Independence Party primary, and to stick instead with the door-to-door plan tailored for the general election.   We just learned of this today.

Howland followed the advice from Headquarters and lost the Independence line to his Democratic opponent.   Knowledgeable political types tell us the Independence line is worth 300 - 600 votes in the general election in that district.

Just a reminder:   candidates need to go to where the votes are.   In an Independence primary, that means Independence Party voters.

If you lose the County Legislature by losing the Henrietta seat, and if you lose it by fewer than 600 votes or so, you won't really have lost it.   Your own side will have thrown it away.