Friday, May 28, 2010

A Serious Suggestion

Republicans Should Cross-Endorse Andrew Cuomo

Instead of putting themselves and some hapless sacrificial lamb through the paces this year, why don't New York Republicans cross-endorse Andrew Cuomo for Governor?   Seriously.

Have you ever heard -- in your lifetime -- a more Republican-sounding nominee of a major party for Governor of New York?   Channeling Ronald Reagan, yesterday Cuomo said -- literally -- that government isn't part of the solution, it's part of the problem!

Lieutenant Governor nominee Robert Duffy, taking a much-deserved break from multiplying the loaves and fishes, yesterday expounded the central tenets of the Cuomo agenda to the state Democratic Convention:

"Andrew has a plan:   First, freeze state taxes;   Number two, cap local property taxes; and   Three, cap state spending -- and that's critical."
Normally this kind of talk would get you kicked right out of the Democratic Party.

It also raises serious questions:
•   How can Cuomo succeed with an agenda resolutely opposed by all core constituencies of his party?

•   No matter who's Governor, Sheldon Silver calls the shots in Albany.   Silver opposes all of this, so how can it get through?   So far, Cuomo has not been able to answer that question.

•   Is Cuomo's party tolerating all this Republican-speak because they know he's faking it, to get elected in the political climate du jour?   Just doing the kind of shape-shifting we can expect from Democratic candidates across the country this year?
Nevertheless, the Cuomo campaign is articulating desperately-needed policy initiatives with more likelihood of creating public buy-in than any candidate for the Republican nomination.   Unlike any of them, he has a better chance of getting them enacted, if he means what he says, than a Republican who managed to get elected.

That's because New York's governorship, under current circumstances, bears similarities to a European constitutional monarchy.   The King or Queen is Head of State, but has little or no ability to make law or effect change.   All real power rests in the hands of Prime Minister Sheldon Silver.

In such circumstances a GOP candidate, if elected, would be consigned to four years of ribbon-cutings and fruitless speechmaking.  Remember the Pataki era?

At least Cuomo, if he's not faking it, and if he can exert influence with his party's Assembly members, as even a dominant personality like Eliot Spitzer couldn't, has a theoretical chance of changing New York for the better.

In the 1980's, New York City Republicans cross-endorsed Democratic Mayor Ed Koch.   We think 2010 is the year for the State Republican Party to follow their example.   They could then focus on taking back the State Senate and eliminating the Democrats' veto-proof majority in the Assembly.   Then, if Governor-to-be Cuomo means what he says, we might finally make some progress in the most backward state in the country.


Thursday, May 27, 2010


What does it look like when the local press is really, really, in the tank for a politician?   Something like this:

--   Democrat and Chronicle lead headline today.
All they left out was
"[he] ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father:
And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end."
Now we can look for the Resurrection of the dead:   And the Life of the world to come.   Amen.Leroy Yentuar


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Duffy

It's official.   Duffy for Lieutenant Governor.

Say hello to "Mayor Lovely Warren."


Duffy Said To Be Finalist for Lieutenant Governor

Albany sources have told us that Andrew Cuomo has narrowed down the Lieutenant Governor search to two -- and that Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy is one of them.

The State Democratic Convention starts later today. The Mayor left for New York City early yesterday morning.   The convention is being held in Rye, a short distance from the New York.

An announcement is expected as early as this morning.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Everything Changes On Day One

Announcing for Governor, Andrew Cuomo says he's in this race to fix the way Albany works.   He wants independent redistricting, caps on state spending, a cap on property taxes, a new and cheaper pension tier for state employees, raising the limit on the number of charter schools allowed in the state, and of course, "No new taxes."   He'll end corruption in Albany, too.

Somewhere, Sheldon Silver listens and laughs, quietly, to himself.


Worrying About The Oil Spill

Let's not go back to this:


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lying to the Public Again

So the Democrat and Chronicle opines this morning that County Executive Brooks needs more public input -- perhaps another budget commission such as she assembled in 2004 -- to advise on fixing the County's looming budget problem.   Fine.   Great idea.

Now, let's suppose ...

  that the new public input consists exclusively of brilliant solutions no one ever came up with before;

  that 100% of these new solutions are practical and do-able and

  that the County has the power to implement all of them;

  that, once in place, all of these solutions will be immediately effective;

 that every one of the new solutions will attain or exceed their goals for cost saving.

And if every one of those things were true   --   then the County would still be stuck with nearly all of the deficit problem it has now.

Because the County government only has control over 19% of its own budget!

The State dictates the other 81%.   And its in that 81% that the structural deficit resides!

Yet the D&C's editorial conveniently fails to mention that fact.

We know this newspaper's agenda, and how it operates.   If it were honest, and actually interested in seeing an end to County budget woes, it would be calling not for public input, but for public action and protest to get Albany to repatriate Monroe County's budget to Monroe County  --  to give the County control over its entire budget.

Because that's the only thing that's going to repair the budget problem of this, and every other county in the State of New York.   As the administration of every county, whether Democratic or Republican, will tell you.

Yet the Democrat and Chronicle carefully omits any mention of this central, overwhelming fact of life of the County budget:   that the State controls nearly all of it and hands us the bill.   To neglect it is to attempt to mislead the public.

As the Democrat and Chronicle has done, once more, today.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More on the Bus Terminal

Responding to our recent essay, 131st Assembly District Candidate Harry Davis has weighed in with some interesting comments on City Council's vote to approve a bus terminal on Mortimer Street.   Well worth your time to read (toward the end of the comment list).

Thank you, Mr. Davis.


Back to the Future

The President in upstate New York!   What an exquisite symbol of his administration's domestic agenda.   Here he stood, just last Thursday, in New York, the showcase of all the domestic policies he'd like to impose on the whole country:   over-taxation, over-regulation, runaway spending, a welfare state more expansive on every front, and politics controlled by the public employee unions and the trial lawyers.

Here in upstate, we've been living the Democratic dream agenda and its consequences for years:   a dead economy, no job creation, highest costs of doing business in the country, and those who can heading for the exits, with resultant population decline.

To the rest of America:   Behold your future!   Obama's administration proposes to do to the nation what the policies of their Party have done to New York.   In that sense, Thursday's visit was not merely a trip from Washington, but a trip in time -- to the future, to see what the whole country will look like if the President's agenda prevails.

For New Yorkers, at least it will cure the problem of population flight.   Once conditions in New York are nationalized, New Yorkers will stop moving out.   Because then it won't make a difference.   There will be no place to go.


Imagine the News Reports if Republicans Did This

The Rochester Housing Authority scandal, the overtime pension scandal, the quarter of a million dollar catering bill for City School higher ups, the extremely high salaries paid to school officials, the Molly Clifford deal, the building department issues.

Is there anyone looking out for taxpayers in the City?


Monday, May 17, 2010

School Board Elections

This Tuesday we will be not only voting for school budgets but also for the School Board Members.   Since in most districts the School Board Members are volunteer, we really don't get much information about them.   My question is, how do we know who to vote for?

I have come up with a simple answer, voter imposed term limits. I browse the D&C and other websites and I find the guy that has been on the School Board forever ... every school has one.   That is the guy that has been raising my property taxes until I squeal like a pig and then he raised them again because he enjoyed the sound my squeal.   That is the guy that I want to go down so that I can hear the thud, a sound that I enjoy!


Friday, May 14, 2010

New Jersey Will Be Running Rings Around Us

Why can't we have a Governor like this?


Mystery Candidate Goes for Family Court

Last night the Monroe County Democratic Convention nominated LaMarr Jackson for Family Court.

Will this nomination prompt a repeat of the still-unsolved mystery of The Case of the Missing Judicial Ratings?

Last Fall, the Monroe County Bar Association suppressed results of the attorney ratings for Jackson and fellow Democratic judicial candidate Paloma Capanna, after completing the rating process for both.

No explanation from the Bar Association and, of course, since the candidates in question were Democrats, not a word in the local media about this mysterious occurrence.


Heart of the Problem

As I read today's editorial in the D&C a vision came to me.   I saw the editors of the D&C sitting around the table, scratching their tilted heads and asking themselves "We don't get it.   The Governor, the Assembly and the Senate are all Democrats.  Why can't they get together to make a frickin' budget."

Allow me to enlighten you:   it's because THEY DON'T CARE!   The Democratic Party in New York State is a free-for-all, run by greedy politicians interested only in staying in office.  They number about 140 suits with no direction or desire for direction.   To top that off, they are led by 3 very selfish suits playing a 3-way tug of war.  New York state government is all about the the 140 Democrats who control Albany.  They have no time to worry about a stupid budget or anyone else, especially their upstate poor relations.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paterson's Gesture of Contempt

Governor Paterson has made an open gesture of contempt to the people of the 29th Congressional District.

The Governor set the date for the special election for the New York 29th Congressional district on ... Election Day itself -- six months away!   His excuse is that this installs a new congressman right after the election.   Great.   We get a new Congressman just in time for Congress to go on Holiday.

When I close my eyes, why do I envision Governor Paterson extending his right arm to upstate and raising his middle finger?

Obviously Paterson's been promised a soft landing in a desirable government appointment after his term ends, for doing his Party's bidding and trashing the interests of the people of the 29th.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Coup in the County Legislature?

There are rumblings that Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature might be about to dump Harry Bronson as Minority Leader.   Reportedly, Carrie Andrews and Vinnie Esposito are both eyeing the minority top spot.

By far their best choice would be Legislator Ted O'Brien, but we hear he's not part of this.

Bronson is running for Assembly.   Maybe they want someone whose focus is on the County Legislature.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nail in the Coffin

Press reports suggest City Council tonight will approve the Mortimer Street bus terminal proposed by the Transit Authority.

Renaissance Square offered the commendatory advantage of cloaking a bus terminal within a performing arts center and a college campus.   These comprised the sugar-coating for an otherwise unappetizing pill.

Wishful thinking doesn't trump human behavior.   Like it or not, to the people the City wants to be attracting downtown, to spend money in restaurants, shops and places of entertainment, and to get nabbed by red light cameras, a bus station is something those people want to stay away from.   It may be unfair, but it's the reality.

Bring in a bus station and you devalue the immediate area and blight it.

City News opines, "... the large groups of unruly young people who've been congregating on Main Street haven't helped things.  The presumption is that they've either come downtown by bus or are deliberately gathering at bus transfer points - and that they'll simply move to Mortimer Street if there's a bus station there."

Echoing City News, the Democrat and Chronicle says:   "The presence of buses idling, coupled with riders milling about, is a hindrance to creating an inviting Main Street of specialty shops and businesses."

If these are problems, then the newspapers, by their own terms, merely seek to relocate the problem to a different venue.   To a venue where, as City News points out, significant development already is underway, in the form of the redevelopment of the Warner Building, the Michaels Stern Building and the Cox Building.   These are residential projects, one of them high-end.   A bus station will nip that in the bud.   Perhaps even more damaging, it will tell potential downtown investors: "Make an investment here and we'll put in something next door to kill it."

If "riders milling about" and "groups of unruly young people" are a problem on Main Street, then site the venue for transferring buses to a place where it won't harm actual or potential development.   Yet with a whole City to choose from, the Transit Authority and now, perhaps, City Council, want to put the bus terminal where it can kill off development that's actually occurring.

If City Council tonight accedes to the Transit Authority's request, it will just be driving another nail into the coffin of downtown Rochester.


Governor Paterson And The Furloughs

Is It Me, Or Is This Guy A Real Stunod?

Despite my extensive involvement in the legal system, I don't consider myself a legal expert. But Governor Paterson's plan to furlough state workers is one of the dumbest things I've seen since he warned about the dire consequences of increased spending in last year's state budget shortly before signing it.

Newspaper reports show that almost everybody feels that the furloughs are illegal.

I think ultimately the courts will overturn it, because I think it interferes with a collective bargaining agreement under federal and state law. I don't think that's appropriate," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.
I'm in the unusual position of agreeing with Speaker Silver. Here's my take: The unions are either going to go to court and be granted an injunction, or(what I would do) let the furloughs take place for a few weeks and have a judge declare them illegal and grant the state workers back pay for the days they had off!

What could be better for union leaders? Not giving an inch after obtaining a 4 year 13% wage increase (during the greatest economic downturn since the depression)for their members and getting them additional paid days off.

If my Uncle Vito was really looking out for me when I was a kid, he would have steered me away from the family business. After all, this episode really shows that it isn't crime that pays. In New York State be a unionized state worker is really where it is at!


Friday, May 7, 2010


To Protect Collect and to Serve

Driving to Syracuse on the Thruway last week, two things were unmistakeable:   (1) we were in New York; and (2) it was near the end of the month.   You could tell by the seemingly exponential jump in the number of state troopers, our armed tax collectors of the road, collecting road tax from hapless citizen-victims in the ostensible form of speeding citations.

Since the State's fiscal crisis became acute, the number of troopers on the Thruway has increased to an extent that's startlingly apparent, and so have the ticket quotas imposed on the troopers.

Around the country, states are imposing unrealistically low speed limits and increasing enforcement.   Or installing red-light cameras, then cutting back on the duration of the yellow light.   Often they no longer even bother with a pretext of doing it for any reason other than raising cash.

Remember Rochester City Council President Gladys Santiago's first statement, after last summer's presentation to Council by the firm hired to install red light cameras in the City?   "We're going to make a lot of money."

Think about it.   Red light cameras create a direct conflict of interest for the City.   Law enforcement is about ensuring compliance with the law.   The City now has a direct pecuniary interest in the law's violation.

The cameras are installed, and are about to be activated, according to the City's Chief of Police.

Locally, municipalities petition Albany for permission to reduce town and village speed limits even further.   Gotta keep the cash machine humming.

Gov. Paterson proposes, as part of the State budget, speeding cameras for main state roads.

And this is one area where many other states are just as bad as New York.   In Michigan, municipalities are openly defying a state law requiring them to recalibrate speed limits to realistic levels, defining "realistic" as a limit set at the 85th percentile of free-flowing traffic on a road segment.

That's how a government focusing on public safety, rather than raising money, behaves.   If New York followed Michigan's 85th percentile standard, the speed limit on the Thruway would be 80.

Ticket revenues have a way of going way up, once states and municipalities find themselves in the red.   Maybe the spreading practice of turning public safety on its head and converting traffic laws into a cash machine will be the next major focus of citizen pushback.   It's happened in some places already, with red-light cameras.

Until it happens here, remember:   You're not driving a car.   You're driving an ATM for the government.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


It's been a while since we've heard much about our favorite political dynasty since the Duvaliers were kicked out of Haiti.

Now comes word that Assemblymen-for-Life David "Papa Doc" Koon is laying groundwork for the next big move for Hizzoner Jason Koon, Mayor of East Rochester.

The plan is for Baby Doc to run for County Legislature next year, taking on incumbent Republican Mike Barker in the 13th Legislative District, covering East Rochester and Fairport.

It's a plan of necessity as much as ambition.

Things settled down after Baby Doc shot himself in the foot over and over in his early days.   But he's had the unique disadvantage of being on a Village Board whose proceedings not only are televised on ER's cable access channel, but have unusually high viewership.

We'll be merciful, and leave it at saying that verbal/presentational skills are conspicuously lacking in the younger Koon's repertoire.   TV coverage of the Board meetings have made it brutally apparent.   Between that and some other publicly-known embarrassments, Baby Doc is now unelectable in East Rochester.   When this term ends, that's it.

Unless he can get before an electorate that hasn't seen him in action.   Hence, Papa Doc's plan to run him for County Legislature.   With the ultimate goal of having him one day succeed Papa as Assemblyman-for-Life.

Will history repeat itself?


Monday, May 3, 2010


The deliciously vulgar display of nouveau riche exhibitionism in Saturday's Democrat and Chronicle prompted one of our readers to offer his own recent memoir.

Herewith, our correspondent's report on his own Rochester "staycation."

"Arriving at the Greyhound terminal, our hopes and dreams were dashed.   Severe flooding in northern New Jersey had forced cancellation of our long-awaited trip to Atlantic City.   Although we'd miss the friends from Bayonne we planned to travel with, it was an opportunity to enjoy, right here in Rochester, some of the things we might have done in A.C.

"First things first.   Day one found us heading east, to the reservation outside Syracuse for discount cigs. Then came the hard decision of the day, choosing among our favorites for dinner -- Keystone Light or Genny Cream? (Tops had the best price).

"Hangover can't spoil a celebratory mood.   Our second day was for livin' large.   Off to Walmart -- new seatcovers for the pickup and formal dress rhinestone flip-flops for the little woman.   OK, maybe not so little anymore, but in the words of Spinal Tap, "the deeper the cushion, the sweeter the pushin'."   You know what I mean.

"Then off to a fun urban evening.   Bringing out the Harley (only 12 more years of payments!) from behind what we proudly consider the finest mobile home in the park, we roared into Rochester with the wind in our hair and the bugs in our teeth.   Ripping down Monroe on the Hog, the sweet smell of maryjane beckoned us to an old favorite establishment.   How better to celebrate than with . . .  new tattoos!   No such thing as 'too many.'

"On to the Woodshed, where we compared new tats and piercings with friends who had been to an RPO concert.

"As the third day of sunshine dawned, the government check arrived.   The old lady decided this made it a day for family.   We rounded up her kids, their fathers, my kids, their mothers and all the grandkids for a three keg blowout.   Family's what counts.   That and my very special lady, soon to be a great - grandmom at 39!   Hey -- "The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand," to quote Spinal Tap again.

"And her grandkids!   My favorite, little Kortnee, barely 14 and looking smokin' hot these days, beckoned me to linger for more tequila shots.

"Sadly, the time flew by, without visits to Batavia Downs or the Finger Lakes Racino.   While disappointed by our cancelled trip, only Rochester could offer such a terrific alternative."

We're delighted to publish this affirmation of our region's delights, as a more dignified counterpoint to the regrettable essay in Saturday's D&C.