Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beat the Deadline for Ann Marie Buerkle!

Hit Ann Marie's Money Bomb at her website.


"An Equal Opportunity Prick"

That's how veteran New York Post correspondent Fred Dicker described himself a few years ago.

Those of us familiar with the Rochester press are unaccustomed to the idea of a straight arrow - tell the truth - call it like it is journalist like Dicker, but that's who he is.

For years, and long before it became fashionable, Dicker's been hammering away at Albany dysfunction, special interests and the blighted state policies that have driven New York to ruin.   His reputation, background and body of work alone make absurd any suggestion that Dicker's carrying water for the Cuomo campaign, or was doing its bidding in confronting Carl Paladino last night.

All Dicker asked Paladino was, "Do you have any proof for your claim about Cuomo and his wife?"   Not just a reasonable question, but the first thing that comes to mind in response to Paladino's allegation.   Nothing offensive about it.

So that's all Dicker asked, and Paladino blew his top.

Here's the deal, Carl:   if you're a candidate for anything, and especially if you're the governor, you're going to be criticized.   A lot.   So if you can't take the heat ... etc., etc.

If you're going to be governor of this state, you're going to need to negotiate, compromise, and work with others.   Or did you miss the part of kindergarten where they talked about that?

So take a step back and learn, quickly, to accept or at least endure criticism without getting into the face of the critic.   Maybe take a look at how Chris Christie, down in New Jersey, handles criticism and makes himself look good doing it.   And he's just as tough as you want to be.

You gave the Cuomo campaign a million bucks worth of free advertising last night, Carl.   If you can, grow up.


How Bad is the Economy? This Bad ....

" ... at every level of society, philanderers are being forced to make cutbacks ..."

"Even in Paris ... hoteliers have declared a curious emptiness during the traditional "cinq-a-sept" period – those unexplained hours in between men leaving the office and appearing, smiling and dishevelled, at the dinner table."
Mon dieu!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fight Back on Red Light Cameras

So what can you do to defend yourself against the City of Rochester's sleazy money-grab through the use of red-light cameras?

First, know the affected intersections.   The first, starting some time next month, will be at North Street and Clifford Avenue, State and Jay streets, and Broadway and Alexander streets.

Second, expect the yellow light to change to red much quicker than before.   It may be so quick you can no longer get through the intersection on the yellow light.

Third, when turning right on red at the affected intersections, come to a full dead stop.   It means changing the driving habits of a lifetime, but this, more than anything other than shortening the yellow light, is how they expect to fleece the ordinary driver.

The last thing they want is for us all to obey the law strictly.   When we do, the money stops.

Fourth, consider legal devices you can get to thwart the red-light cameras.   This news report discusses some devices intended to do just that:

If these devices are legal and work, better to buy them than pay $50 to Duffy and his looters.

The cost amounts to money you now won't be spending in a restaurant or on entertainment in the City.   Way to go.


"Unshackle Upstate" to Endorse Candidates it Graded "F"

Word is coming in now that, as anticipated here, endorsements to be announced by the ostensibly pro-business group "Unshackle Upstate"include candidates whom Unshackle itself graded "F" in its own "report cards" on legislators.

Developing ...


Hypocrisy from City Hall

"We're going to make a lot of money."
-- City Council President Gladys Santiago, quoted in City News story July 22, 2009, following presentation by red-light camera vendors
"I don't think we'll ever see much revenue from these."
-- Mayor Duffy, quoted in Democrat and Chronicle story September 28, 2010, announcing start-up of red-light cameras next month
"City officials have estimated revenues at $3.5 million in the first year that all 50 intersections are active."
-- same Democrat and Chronicle story, next paragraph

It's amazing how, at yesterday's news conference where the Mayor and Police Chief Moore announced next month's start of the red-light camera ripoff, not one of our ever-vigilant press watchdogs thought to ask the Mayor or the Police Chief whether they had shortened the yellow-light duration at the red-light camera intersections.   That's standard operating procedure in jurisdictions that install these red-light money machines.

The D&C story we cite went up on the web yesterday afternoon.

Maintaining, as ever, its protective cocoon around Duffy, the Democrat and Chronicle scrubbed from the print version of the story in today's paper the Mayor's embarrassing lie, shown above, about "not believing we'll ever see much money" from the red light cameras.   Embarrassing because the Mayor's clumsy dissembling was followed almost immediately by the official city estimate -- from Duffy's own administration -- of $3.5 million!

As of this writing, the paper hadn't yet got around to scrubbing it from the story appearing on the web.  Our links above are to our screenshot of the web story in its original form.

Ninety-eight percent of people caught by red-light cameras aren't scofflaws who run the light.   They're people caught by shortened yellow-light times, and people turning right on red in the way that you do every day, and so do all the rest of us when there's no traffic coming from the left, by a "rolling stop" rather than a complete halt.

When government criminalizes more and more ordinary behavior, it collects more and more money.

And where are the civil libertarians and self-appointed press "watchdogs" while all this is happening?   Looking the other way, apparently.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Can We Become A Colony of New Jersey?

Christie Announces Sweeping N.J. Education Reform
Governor ready to test teachers in reading and math.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Running Scared

Spotted this morning on channel 13:   Joe Morelle's first TV ad in the campaign.

As predicted, the Assemblyman's campaigning as a full-fledged political drag-queen, bursting out of the political closet right on TV.   Did you know that Joe's been a dedicated opponent of his own party's policies for the twenty years he's been in the Assembly, and has kept it a secret until now?

You know -- all the Albany policies that make New York's the worst state government in the country.   All the policies that Joe's party, and every one of its core constituencies, have cherished and supported for decades.

Including the decades Joe's been in the Assembly.   But he must be a reformer, because he's voted against the budget for the last two years!

See, that whole career's worth of votes for free-spending, high-taxing state budgets before the last two years, and that whole career's worth of voting for bad policies, or to extend them, or to make the damage they cause even worse   --   Joe was just pretending!   He really knew better all along, and just waited 20 years to let us in on the big secret!

Who knew?   Hey, whatever it takes to get to hang out with Shelly Silver, right?

Are Morelle's constituents dumb enough to fall for the reformer act?

If so, there's bad news and good news.   The bad news would be another two years of lousy representation.   The good news is that constituents so gullible would be qualified to run the Democrat and Chronicle or Unshackle Upstate, both of which, we may expect, will endorse Morelle despite their own calls for true reform, and despite Morelle's failing grade on the business group's legislative report card.

When a twenty-year incumbent like Morelle starts TV advertising this early, before his opponent starts, it means he's good and worried about his re-election.   Joe's running scared.   He should be.   He has a whole career to run away from.


Lazio's Out

To drop out of Governor's race today, according to the Daily News.


Saturday, September 25, 2010



Friday, September 24, 2010

Unshackled from Its Own Report Card?

How Many Legislators Graded "F" by Unshackle Upstate Will Unshackle Endorse for Election?
Recent comments by Sandy Parker, Rochester Business Alliance CEO and boss of the ostensibly pro-business Unshackle Upstate, suggest that Unshackle will not rely solely on its own scorecards for legislators in determining its endorsements for election.   It is set to announce endorsements next week.

Unshackle scored state legislators on a 100-point scale.   In school, a score below 60 gets you an "F;" we'll call it the same way.

State Assembly:   Out of 105 Democrats (including 2 independents aligned with them), 103 got an "F" on Unshackle Upstate's legislative scorecard.
Most weren't even close.
Of the 103 "Fs," only 12 scored higher than 17 -- that's 17 points out of 100.
Of the 103 "Fs," only 4 scored higher than 40.
State Senate:   Out of 32 Democrats -- 32 "F's"
Again, not even close.
Of the 32, only 2 scored higher than 13.
Of the 32, only 8 scored above zero.   The others -- 24 -- scored in negative numbers, because Unshackle took off points for especially bad behavior.
Rochester Delegation:   Four Scored South of 60.
David Gantt - F
Susan John - F
Joe Morelle - F
Joe Robach - F
Remember, it was Unshackle Upstate itself that scored these legislators.   Scores based on each legislator's actual votes and bill sponsorships.   And why else are they in the legislature?   What do they do as legislators more important than that?

So the question is:   If there's more to it than the report card, which of the legislators it graded "F" will Unshackle Upstate be endorsing next week?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Will Lazio Do?

Apparently Rick Lazio is being offered a judicial nomination as inducement to drop out of the race for governor.   This would have to be done in the next few days, in order to let the Conservative Party substitute Paladino for Lazio on its line in the November ballot.

Surely this will be necessary if Paladino is to have a chance.   A Sienna poll released today shows Lazio taking 8% in a three-way race.

And maybe it won't make any difference.   That same poll shows Cuomo with a huge lead over Paladino.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is Rochester Getting an Intermodal Transportation Center?

So last night City Council voted on Int. No. 382 (Authorizing an application and agreement for funding for the Rochester Intermodal Transportation Center).

Boy, was I surprised and excited to think they had woken up.   Finally they had figured out that a silly bus barn on Mortimer Street was NOT the answer to the problem.   Not only was I wrong, but I was even more upset to hear what was really taking place.

I want to take one step back and say that I agree we need a center for folks waiting for the bus.   If we are going to run a hub and spoke system, which I understand can also be debated, then we need a facility for folks to wait for transfers.   I do not agree that putting it in the middle of a street that City Council itself designated back in 2003 to be a retail and residential area is the right place.

So here I was, excited that City Council knew what they were doing, and decided to follow many cities, domestic and international, by locating all public transportation in a single center.   Train, Greyhound, taxis, and yes, the RTS buses.


I asked Council member Carolee Conklin after the meeting about this.   She explained that the train station is in need of being rebuilt.

So I asked the logical question, "Are we going to see the error of our ways and locate all public transportation within one center?"   She advised that this is not the case.

For the record, Conklin is the only person on City Council to vote against Mortimer Street.   She too has more than an ounce of logic.   I asked if there is a chance to redo all of this and do the logical thing.   It doesn’t look like this is going to be the case.

All I ask is this:   what is City Council doing?   Is it not able to look to the future?   Most members of City Council are younger and, I would think, are able to look down the road a bit.   Apparently not the case.   All on City Council are in the Democratic Party.   The party that calls itself "progressive."

Definition of "progressive:"

1. Moving forward; advancing.

2. Proceeding in steps; continuing steadily by increments: progressive change.

3. Promoting or favoring progress toward better conditions or new policies, ideas, or method.
Does this latest poor choice look in any way progressive?

I hope that all Council members think long and hard about the choice they have to make.   They get one more bite at the apple, I believe, to be able to do some good for the City in connection with Mortimer Street and an intermodal hub.

May they choose wisely.


About That Paladino Poll ...

The one showing him within 6 points of Status Cuomo.   It just polled Paladino and Cuomo head-to-head, without offering Lazio as a choice.   Lazio will have the Conservative line on the November ballot, unless he opts out soon.

So, to the extent that one poll doesn't mean much on its own anyway, this one means even less.


Debate the Issues!

So the Democrat and Chronicle demands in this morning's editorial, and it's right.

Debating the issues is exactly what Carl Paladino seeks to do.   It's exactly what Andrew Cuomo seeks to avoid, wan protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, because in a discussion of issues, rather than personalities, he loses.

Yet the D&C denounces Paladino's "verbal grenades," either ignoring, or failing to comprehend, that their purpose is precisely to shame Cuomo into engaging in debate.

Nor can the D&C leave the subject without a tiresome, gratuitous swipe -- that we expect will become automatic -- about Paladino's "racially charged comments in recent weeks."

What "racially charged comments" in recent weeks?   We haven't heard any, and we have to believe that had Paladino made them, that's all the mainstream media would be talking about.

The Democrat and Chronicle's "Fed Up With Albany" campaign has been an ongoing exercise in cognitive dissonance -- simultaneously holding two mutually exclusive thoughts.

The paper's editorialists seem to understand that the tax-and-spend, big government, public employee union-dominated model of state government hasn't worked; that it kills jobs, drives people out of state, burdening those who remain with the nation's highest taxes in an economy more dead than alive.   Yet, acting in accordance with this understanding would force the editorial staff to oppose those candidates and interests whom they are ideologically predisposed to support.

As the election draws nearer, watch the editorials become even shriller than this morning's, as the tension between the paper's two mutually exclusive impulses becomes more troubling for them, and less sustainable.   In the end, as surely as the sun rises in the East, the paper will endorse candidates Andrew Cuomo and Joe Morelle who personify the New York Disease, and others like them.

Meanwhile, back in the world of reality, Paladino has pulled within 6 points of Cuomo in the poll released today.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Tea Party in Rochester

From Yahoo News:

The speakers were a diverse lot.   A young black woman, Ayesha Kreutz, drew lots of applause when she announced -- tongue in cheek -- that she was one of those "racist tea baggers."
Read the whole thing.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Louise Slaughter Interview

Editor's Note:   Rich Tyson participated in the recent interview of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter by the Democrat and Chronicle's Editorial Board.
To write a full review of the interview and my feelings would take up too much room.  So I am going to attack this issue by issue.   Here we go.

Healthcare and the stimulus:

She surmised that they would have done better if they didn’t have to compromise so much.   She was also discouraged that only half of Congress was actually working on it.   Nancy Pelosi was “masterful” on health care and when the history of this legislation is written, the President will end up on the wrong side for allowing Baucus to hold it up for six weeks.   (In my opinion she hated the calls she was getting from people upset about what her party was doing.)

Dropping Poll Numbers for Democrats in Power:

Quote:  “It is the one of the greatest phenomena of our time.”   She described that the main reason people are turning against them is that they are not able to get their message out.  According to her “AM Radio” and “The Fox News” is running a campaign against them.   When I challenged her on the fact that anyone other than the AM Radio and Fox News are in the bag for the Democratic Party she denied it and said that no one is getting out their message of the great things they are doing.

"Fairness" Doctrine:

She wants it instituted and she wants it now.   “People need to hear both sides of things,” according to her.   My opinion:   if they wanted to find left wing talk they can tune into MSNBC.   There is no need to tell someone what they can and can’t play on their radio or TV station.

Social Security:

To his credit Jim Lawrence pushed her on this topic.   He asked that if the Republicans can be accused of being the party of NO with all that is going on, wasn’t that the stance of the Democrats on Social Security reform under Bush.   “Republicans hate it because of who created it,” she advised.   When I asked her why I, as a 27 year old, can’t take a portion of what I am putting in and invest it in a way of my choosing she said essentially, How would we pay to the folks who are collecting it now?   According to her, “Within the first four years of collecting S.S. you get back all that you put in”.   Now I still don’t know if she was touting that as a good or bad thing but I had to then ask, “Well how can a system like that be sustainable?”  She said “we need to get people back to work and keep them working so that there are more people paying into S.S.”   So I asked if that isn't by definition a Ponzi scheme and if so how could we allow for something like that to continue.   I am still waiting on an answer.

The Tea Party:

Last, but not least, she was asked of her thoughts on the Tea Party.   She said that she read something that points to a few individuals funding the entire thing and was upset that this is the case.   I asked if she was equally upset about the George Soros’s funding the left wing machine.   Her answer was that the people with money on the left don’t have as much money as the ones on the right.   So I guess if you are a billionaire you had better be a smaller one than your opponents or else?   The thing that stood out to me most, and in a way scared me, is that she said, “One thing I do know about the Tea Parties is that they are all white. I have seen the pictures.”   Now, I had to advise her that I have been to many of the Tea Party events as a guest and spectator and have seen a very diverse crowd.   She said she was happy to hear that.   Now, even if she did think that all of the Tea Party was white people, for a sitting Congresswoman to openly say that really does scare me.   As if she doesn’t have the time to look into something more before making a comment like that?

Lastly I asked her if she would be challenging her opponent, Jill Rowland, to a debate on the issues.   “I haven’t heard from Jill on this” she said.   I asked again if she would be spearheading the effort to get in touch with Jill.   She responded that she has a lot to do in Washington and would look into it in the next few weeks.   She didn’t forget to let us know that she is not afraid to debate though.

My opinion from this endorsement interview:   it is time for Louise Slaughter to do as many good New Yorkers do at her age:   buy a condo in Florida and enjoy her golden years.   Thanks for your service but we don’t want to see you miss that much deserved time off.


"Productivity-Killing Idiocy"

I’m attending a technology trade show at Chicago’s McCormick Place. My cell phone battery is low, and so I look for an electric outlet. Spotting one, I remove the charger from my bag and discover it won’t fit into the outlet. In fact, the outlet is oddly shaped, unlike any outlet I’ve seen. It looks like some kind of foreign outlet. I ask a security guard about the funny outlets. He says: “I’ll call up the man with the connectors.”

“The man with the connectors?”

“It’s in the union contract.”

McCormick Place installed odd electric outlets so that a union worker would have to be summoned each time you wanted to use the outlet.
Read the whole thing.


Saturday, September 18, 2010



Friday, September 17, 2010

More on Unshackle Upstate

We continue to get comments to our piece last Friday, raising questions about the legislative "report cards" issued by Unshackle Upstate.   Worth a look.


Rev. Wright's Comment at his Rochester Stop

I have heard many in the media point to Obama’s dropping poll numbers as a sign of the "racism" that "still haunts our society."   From City Newspaper's article about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's visit to Rochester:

Wright’s sermon was followed by a brief question-and-answer period with the Rev. Rickey B. Harvey, Mt. Olivet’s pastor. Harvey asked why Obama’s poll numbers are sagging, and the previously loquacious Wright gave a short, measured answer.

“We are not in post-racial America,” he said.
So let me try and understand this concept.   People weren’t racist enough to stop them voting for a black man for president, but after they did, their racism “kicked in” and now they hate blacks which is reflected in the President’s poll numbers?   This is absurd.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gov. Chris Christie on the Teachers' Unions

"They use the words "the kids" when they want to evoke an emotional response from you to get you to open your wallet."
Worth watching it all, especially the part starting at 4:45 on what the unions really think about "the children."


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wolford Won't Win

Kelly Wolford, the appointed judge hand-picked by local Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle and DA Mike "Nifong" Green, was not just beaten, but trounced in two primaries last night, for the Conservative and Independence nominations, getting little better than a third of the vote of her nearest competitor in the Conservative race.

In what's become almost a tradition, whereby one judicial candidate every year makes bad campaign spending decisions, it looks like Wolford blew over $10,000 on TV advertising, including what must have been a major piece of change for an ad during Monday Night Football.

Suffice it to say that the judge and her campaign advisors badly misunderstood the nature of registered Conservative Party voters in going for their nomination.   A quixotic effort that distracted her campaign from the Independence primary and cost her that nomination as well.

With but one line on the ballot, and the D line at that, in this year of all years, we think this is a judge who will be returning to private practice next January.


It Takes Four Reporters to Produce Journalism of This Quality

Revealing once more a mastery of facts equal to its understanding of public policy, the Democrat and Chronicle reported this today, in print and on its website, in a story on Harry Bronson winning the Democratic nomination for State Assembly:

Bronson first was elected to the county Legislature in 2005, and always has been in the minority party.  In the Assembly, Democrats hold a 32-29 edge (with one vacancy) but all seats are up for re-election this fall.

No.   It's the State Senate in which Democrats hold a 32-29 edge, and where there's one vacancy.   The State Senate has 62 members.   The State Assembly, for which Bronson's been nominated, has 150 members.   Democrats have 105 (including 2 others who conference with them).

Uncovering data like this requires the most intensive research by skilled, professional journalists, digging deeply through sources the rest of us could neither find nor interpret.

That's why it took not one reporter, but four, to produce copy of this quality.   In addition to the work of reporter Brian Sharp, the story "Includes reporting by staff writers Meaghan McDermott, Jill Terreri and Ernst Lamothe," the D&C tells us in an end note.

UPDATE - 1:30 pm

The D&C has removed from the online posting of its story the sentence stating that Democrats in the Assembly hold a 32-29 edge.   We're glad to render editorial assistance whenever we can help.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Station Reports Paladino Wins GOP Primary

According to WNYC in New York City.

Update -- 11:35pm
New York Times calls it for Paladino.


"Pay, Sit, Barf"

Okay, I know Mustard Street is about our own writing and we avoid just posting links to other content, but this is too good:

"Here is what Eat, Pray, Love is about:   Julia Roberts is a successful travel writer with a house, a million bucks, and a handsome husband.   Naturally, she is also paralysed by abject sorrow ..."
It gets better from there.


How Much Does It "Cost," Again?

You're held up on the street at gunpoint.   The mugger grabs your wallet and runs, leaving you with the $20 in your front pocket.

The hoodlum just gave you $20, right?   And the holdup cost him that much.   Right?

If you answered yes, you have a future in government or the media.   You can even be President!

On the other hand, if that seems ridiculous to you, you're probably like the rest of us whose blood boils when we hear government apparatchiks, big media and the President talk about how much a tax cut will "cost" the government.

It only "costs" the government if you believe that your entire income belongs to the government in the first place, and they just let you keep some of it.

The reality is the other way around.   Taxes are a cost for the people who pay the taxes.   It's their money to start with.   When the President talks about having to go out and borrow money to "pay for" a tax reduction, he's engaging in the intellectual dishonesty that denies this reality.

That's how the ruling class thinks.   Things really are worse than we imagine.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Alesi versus Wilmot

Over the weekend we received a lot of very good comments responding to Philbrick's posting on Friday about Unshackle Upstate's scorecards for state legislators.   As comment strings do, they took on a focus, in this case observations about Sen. Jim Alesi's re-election bid and his challenger, Mary Wilmot.   If you haven't read them already, they're worth a look.


Those Scary Tea Partiers

A letter to the editor of the Democrat and Chronicle a week or so ago commented on the August 28 rally of conservatives in D.C. with the Sinclair Lewis line about how, if fascism comes to America, it will be "wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible."   Oh, yeah.   You better watch out for those fascist Tea Partiers.  They want to take over the government -- and make it leave you alone.


America's Best Governor

Repoman beat us to the punch in posting about this video of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but it deserves as wide a viewing as possible.   It's worth watching the whole thing, especially Gov. Christie's response, toward the end, to the questioner's comment about his "tone."


Saturday, September 11, 2010



Friday, September 10, 2010

Unstainable Wages

Does anyone understand what "unstainable wages" means?   Apparently the people do who run Unshackle Upstate.   It's how they describe Assembly Bill A 3659 in their recently released "legislative scorecards" for state legislators:   "A 3659 Requires unstainable wages on IDA financed projects."   This appears on the report cards of legislators who sponsored it, such as Susan John and Joe Morelle, as an example of "anti-taxpayer legislation."   At least Unshackle got that part right.

Googling Assembly Bill A 3659 to learn just what on earth an "unstainable wage" might be, we learned that the bill was organized labor's #1 priority in this year's legislative session.   It would have imposed prevailing and "living wage" requirements on companies locating or expanding in New York with incentives from Industrial Development Agencies.   This would have driven costs for upstate projects 28 percent higher than in comparable out-of-state communities.   To its credit, Unshackle Upstate played a significant role in defeating this bill.

We think "unstainable wages" in Unshackle's report cards for legislators -- it appears throughout -- is just a typo.   A search of the bill did not find the word "unstainable" in it.   Perhaps Unshackle meant to say "unsustainable" wages.   Yet even then, it's a rather weak and non-explanatory description of what the bill was all about.   Why not say:   would force businesses with IDA support to pay 28% more to build in upstate than out of state?

Maybe this is just another aspect of Unshackle's sloppiness in preparing its report card project.  Yet it, and other ambiguities in Unshackle's "report cards," raise for us once more the doubts we've expressed about Unshackle, about its effectiveness and the political motives of its Executive Director, Brian Sampson and his boss, Rochester Business alliance CEO Sandy Parker.

We've wondered whether Unshackle isn't really in the business of trying to build a firewall between voters and some upstate Democratic officeholders with career-long anti-business records.

Under "Budget Advocacy," the Report Cards tell you, for example, "Assemblymember John voted for 12 out of 12 fiscally unsound budget bills," concluding that she "Voted to support taxpayers' budget priorities 0 out of 12 times."   But it would be nice to know just what those budget bills were, so we could see for ourselves.

Unshackle's report cards consider legislators' votes only on the most recent state budget.   But this is an election year in which career-long anti-business legislators have suddenly become political drag queens, posturing desperately to appear as opponents of everything they've supported for most of their careers.

If Unshackle really wanted to issue a useful tool for voters, they'd have included a ranking about each legislator's career record on the budget as well.   A far more effective way to let voters distinguish between genuinely pro-growth, pro-job creation legislators, and this year's ample crop of phonies.

Moreover, we view as suspect the easy "out" the report card provides to legislators who got an "F" on their report card (like school, we view a grade below 60 as an "F.") In addition to the numerical score, Unshackle ranks legislators in each house, Senate and Assembly, in relation to the other members.

In a body such as the New York State Assembly, where the great bulk of the members are from downstate, and the great bulk of those probably would be on welfare or in jail if they didn't have their State Assembly gig, that comparative ranking makes even legislators getting an "F" look good by comparison.

Consider Susan John, who managed to get, on the 1 to 100 scale, an overall score of -1 -- yes, that's minus one.   Yet compared to her fellow Assembly members, that gives John a ranking of 95, out of 150 assembly members.

An Assembly member scores -1, and there are 55 members of the body who score even worse than she does!

What Unshackle's ranking shows us is that only 33 Assembly members got passing grades.   Out of 150 members, 127 got an "F" -- a grade below 60!

These rankings are more of a statement on the deplorable overall quality of the Assembly than a reliable comment on individual legislators.   Yet they provide some cover even for the worst.

Joe Morelle scored a solid "F" with 45 points out of 100.   But comparing him to the other assembly members gives both Morelle and a complicit daily newspaper something to work with in his support, something to distract from his failing grade.

It also will give Unshackle's leaders Parker and Sampson, both Democrats with close ties to Morelle, ample wiggle room in shaping Unshackle's upcoming candidate endorsements.   For this, Parker has abundantly laid the groundwork:

CEO Sandy Parker ... cautioned that [the Report Card] was just one tool that will be used for Unshackle's endorsements. Other factors will be a candidate's historic support for the organization's agenda, input from the candidate's local chamber of commerce, in-person interviews and a candidate questionnaire.
Right.   A most impressive collection of loopholes.   Anything to provide an out from the objective data of the Report Cards, however shakily presented by Unshackle Upstate.

Note to Unshackle Upstate:   Here's another error for you to correct.   You score Assemblyman Joel Miller at 70%, but rank him at 123 out of 150. Yet Jim Tedisco scored 68 and you rank him at 30; Nancy Calhoun scored 66 and she's ranked at 32.   So Miller has to be in the top 30.

UPDATE - Evening

Unshackle Upstate has corrected its entry for Assemblyman Miller.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

That $16.5 Million Paetec Loan

I have been discussing this topic for the last few weeks with some of the parties involved.   Guess what?  It's a great idea!   I believe the media have not done this topic any justice at all, in the manner that they have reported it.

One major problem in Rochester, and especially with its media, is that people are constantly looking for “the person” to take care of making this place successful.   Nothing has changed about Rochester in years with regard to what has made it a boom town.   Natural resources are the same as they were.   Location is the same as it has been.   Weather has remained stable.   Stop trying to hang any person who is willing to go out and create success here.   We put too much on their backs.   Then, when things don’t go as originally planned, we seem to take it personally.   Not a good attitude at all.   Now back to PAETEC.

PAETEC is a home grown success.   Arunas Chesonis could have chosen anywhere to locate his HQ, anywhere.   And in this day and age with service jobs being moved down south or overseas we ought to be happy to have them here.   In the essence of full disclosure I worked for PAETEC for about 5 years.   PAETEC was the only reason I was able to move back to Rochester when leaving the military.   Had it not been for that career move I would have probably stayed in Virginia and I was terribly thankful for the opportunity to move home.

Within my first few months of working there the new hires at the time were invited into Arunas’s office for a breakfast with the CEO.   We were told to come prepared with a question to ask him.   My luck, I ended sitting directly to his left and the questions started directly to his right.   Thirty people and a handful of questions later that I had in mind to ask, it was my turn.   So I asked, “Why Rochester?   You could be anywhere with this company.   Why not some place friendlier to business?.”   His response without hesitation: “The people. I needed the people and didn’t want them to have to move away from their families and home.”  So the focus from the beginning at PAETEC was on the people here.

We need to continue to facilitate businesses like PAETEC that choose to remain here in Rochester.   As I understand it, we did that with the $16.5 million loan.  But it is not a loan from the City of Rochester taxpayers directly to PAETEC.   Essentially HUD is loaning the money but cannot do it directly to a business.   They can loan it to a government which in turn can pass that through to a company.   The huge benefit to the HUD loan to PAETEC is a much lower interest rate than that from a traditional lending source.   The only obligation to the City of Rochester would be if PAETEC were to go under.   In my opinion, that is not going to happen.   There are too many other companies out there that would love to purchase PAETEC.   If anything, they would sell out before going under which means the loan is sold as well.   For the first time in a while the City of Rochester was able to facilitate a proven company without using any tax payer dollars.   We were able to facilitate without cost unlike the Fast Ferry and High falls.   We need to continue to look for these opportunities and foster them.   To the nay sayers about PAETEC moving downtown, you ought to rethink your position.   If you disagree, ask one of the many Rochesterians that are able to remain here because of the jobs that PAETEC offers.

Remember, India does a great job with Customer Service as well.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drag Queens

There's a new drag act sweeping New York that's about to give even Rochester's legendary Pandora Boxx a run for the money.   We're talking, of course, about this year's statewide Democratic election campaign.

Last week, Republican-impersonator Mary Wilmot took her political bump-and-grind routine to Bob Lonsberry's radio show.   Before running for State Senate, her last gig was as director of the Democratic State Senate Majority's regional office in Rochester.   Costumed in full faux-Republican get-up for Lonsberry's softball interview, Ms. Wilmot sounded more like Ronald Reagan than a Democratic candidate for State Senate.   Same for her piece in last week's Messenger-Post papers.

Across the state, Democratic candidates posture as opponents of policies they've supported for years and even decades.   The same policies, demanded by public employee unions and other core constituencies of their party, that killed upstate's economy and that drive the mass exodus from New York.

Putting the camp in campaign, Andrew Cuomo minces across the state in rhetorical lipstick and bustier.   Wherever you turn, there's Joe Morelle vamping in the political equivalent of halter top, hot pants and 6-inch stilettos.

All together now, girls:   here's an example from a pro   --   a foretaste of the election campaign to come:


Saturday, September 4, 2010



Friday, September 3, 2010

Stop Reading the Blogs!

At least for a few days.   IT'S THE LAST WEEKEND OF SUMMER, in case you haven't noticed.   And it's Friday.

Go out tonight.   Weather permitting, to one of the summery, out-of-doors type places.   You'll miss them when the weather gets cold.   Or check out the band at Abilene, or at Dinosaur, or elsewhere.

Have lots of drinks.   (Bring designated driver or cabfare).   You deserve it!   And it's good for you!

If going out isn't in the cards, fire up the grill.   Make up a big pitcher of margaritas, to lubricate the machinery while you grill up something simple but special, like these great burgers from the New York Times food section.

Do this, or do something else, but whatever you do, no more staring at a computer screen until Tuesday.   You only get one life.   Live a little, already.

Cheers, Prost, Salute and L'Chaim!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Incumbents

We don't want to throw out all incumbents, just the ones responsible for policies that turned upstate into an economic dead zone.   Still, we like this commercial by the people who produce Smugtown Beacon, a blog we recommended.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Happened to the Churches?

A local association of Christian denominations, the Greater Rochester Community of Churches, has announced its support for the mosque near Ground Zero.

I have nothing to say about the mosque that hasn't been said, but it made me wonder.

Think as far back as you can remember.   Can you recall even one occasion -- just one time ever -- when the mainstream churches took a position on any public issue that came down on the conservative or traditionalist side?

I can't think of one.

The Roman Catholic position on abortion doesn't make the cut.   Outside the right-to-life movement, conservatives I know mostly share the consensus view:   they don't like it, but it shouldn't be illegal.

How about this one:   again, as far back as you can recall, can you remember any disputed issue regarding the Middle East -- ever -- when the mainstream churches came down on the side favored by the State of Israel?

I can't.

By now we've all become almost reflexively conditioned to expect, the moment any group calling itself "interfaith" or "faith community" opens its mouth, that we're about to hear something left-wing, or support for something detrimental to Israel.

How can institutions so alienated from the values and culture of most people wonder why they're losing members?

Or why they've become irrelevant to the lives of so many, to whom they once meant so much?

I miss the church.   Where did it go?

The executive director of the Greater Rochester Community of Churches told the newspaper she welcomes the mosque project "as a way to build bridges between all people of good will."   As others have pointed out, if that's their goal, then by their own terms, they've failed already.

So many of us were raised to respect and look up to the church and its clergy.   Maybe that's why the political corruption of the mainstream churches brings such disappointment, and such sadness.
Leroy Yentuar