Monday, January 30, 2012

Larger Lessons from Kodak's Fall?

Kodak's example shows that nothing is forever.   Does that apply to methods of government, too?   These authors think so.

There is a positive correlation between an organization’s former dominance and its present inability to cope with 21st-century change   ...  "Industries that have had monopolies or highly profitable duopolies are the ones most likely to be completely gutted when a more powerful, more efficient system comes along.”   We need to hasten the inevitable arrival of that more efficient system on the doorstep of America’s most stubborn, foot-dragging, reactionary sector -— government at the local, state, and especially federal levels, and its officially authorized customer-hating agents, the Democrats and Republicans.


Saturday, January 28, 2012



Friday, January 27, 2012

Proposed Redistricting Maps

Information on the proposed new district lines announced yesterday for New York Senate and Assembly seats is available here.   It's the website of the ponderously named New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment, known in Albany as LATFOR.

As a creation of the New York State Legislature, LATFOR presents information on the proposed new districts in the way that makes it as difficult and time-consuming as possible to get the essential, bottom line information most of us are looking for:   which incumbent has what district, and how is that district changing.

We'll start posting visuals showing all this data together, for each Rochester-area Senate and Assembly district.



Here's the map of proposed State Senate districts for the next ten years.   More redistricting news today on Mustard Street.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gannett Conference Call on Monday

Gannett Co., Inc., largest contributor to the Monroe County Democratic Party through in-kind services by its subsidiary, the Democrat and Chronicle, will hold its quarterly conference call to discuss earnings results next Monday, January 30 at 10:00 a.m..

Dial 1-800-967-7138 at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled 10:00 a.m. start of the call.   Use confirmation code 9051644.

Or go to the company's website and use the webcast link.

You should call in, or link to the webcast, at least 10 minutes before the call start.

Unless you're on their list of financial analysts, call-in is listen-only.

The company will release its fourth-quarter 2011 financial results before the call.

A recording of the call will be available for two weeks, starting about two hours after the live session.   Dial 1-888-203-1112.   Confirmation code for replay is 9051644.   Or listen at the “Investor Relations” page at

Can Gannett, "never a standout in journalism performance," be a standout in financial performance?   Call in Monday and find out.


Saturday, January 21, 2012



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Tips Pour In

Who has a better idea of what's going on in Monroe County's troubled District Attorney's office than anyone relying on traditional media?

Readers of the comments pouring in to Mustard Street, that's who.

More information in the last day in comment sections of the following posts:
Investigate the DA Scandal

Firings and Cars in the DA's Office

Transition Watch

Not Even Trying

Real Journalists in Rochester, After All

An Apartment on Water Street

Signs of Panic

Totally Non-Political


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Real Thatcher Legacy

Wasted admission money on The Iron Lady on Sunday.   A shaky fantasy parable about spending too much time at the office, featuring a character that happens to be named "Margaret Thatcher."   That and la Streep doing her Rich Little cabaret turn.   For a hint of the greatness of the real Mrs. T, check out this:


Monday, January 16, 2012

Comments, Comments, Comments

Our readers have responded robustly with comments to many of our recent posts.   In case you've missed them, here are comments on the the items that have attracted the highest volume of reader responses in recent days.

The truth is out there.

Maybe not in every comment, but it's out there.   This blog exists to frustrate those media outlets that suppress it.

Investigate the DA Scandal

Transition Watch

Not Even Trying

Real Journalists in Rochester, After All

An Apartment on Water Street

Signs of Panic

Totally Non-Political


Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Civility" is for Other People

Froma Harrop is president of the "Civility Project" of the National Conference of Editorial Writers.   She has called Tea Party critics of Obama's policies "terrorists" and compared them to "Al-Qaida bombers."   The Daily Show's John Oliver asks her about it.   Ms. Harrop is not amused.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Civil Disservice
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook


Saturday, January 14, 2012



Friday, January 13, 2012

County Legislature: Investigate the DA Scandal

Monroe County's outgoing District Attorney Mike Green is hired to head the Appeals Bureau in the DA's office.

Nothing wrong with that; maybe even a good idea.   Green's smooth lying about it in a press conference and subsequent lying to explain the original lie doesn't change that.

Yet he then states he's not doing the work for which taxpayers are paying him $110,000 per year, plus benefits.   It just happened to be an open slot in an organizational chart.   "I'm here for one purpose," Green told the press:   new DA Doorley gave him the job "to help with the transition."

The clock's running at nearly $4,000 per week, inclusive of benefits, for a job its holder admits he isn't doing.

After a few weeks, that's more than cigar-and-strippers money.

For unclear transition services that remain unstated.   Transition services the world would have thought unnecessary for a new DA with 20 years of experience in the office, most recently as second-in-command.

Democratic and Chronicle news editor Karen Magnuson, following standard procedure for news putting her side in a bad light, did the usual one-off story, then total silence.   Down the memory hole.   Our self-proclaimed "watchdogs" are off somewhere, maybe sniffing each others hindquarters as dogs will.

There's nobody left to stand up for taxpayers footing the bill, or to ask the questions on their behalf.   Except for our County Legislature.

Since no one else is acting, getting to the bottom of this scandal is as much a part of their job as keeping property tax rates flat.

County Legislators:   Ask District Attorney Doorley for the information.   If you're stonewalled, file Freedom of Information Law requests.   If that doesn't do it, form a special committee to investigate, using your subpoena power to dig out the truth.

Such action isn't necessary in situations where the whole weight of the media is cranking out stories day after day.   (Again, cigars come to mind, or a single incident of bad judgment at a Christmas Party by a competent and otherwise respected airport director).

Here, it's just you.

If you don't do it, apparently no one will.

Meanwhile, for taxpayers, the meter's running at four grand a week.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Upstate Vote Fraud

Council members forged absentee ballots; cast them as votes.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First They Came for the Cigarettes

... and I did not speak out
because I don't smoke.

Then they came for the trans-fats
and I did not speak out
because I don't eat junk food.

Then they came for the salt
and I did not speak out
because I don't like it.

Now they're coming for the booze
and they'll get it when they pry it
from my cold dead hand.

Update:   Mayor Bloomberg backs off, quickly.


Firings and Cars in the DA's Office

  Another firing in the DA's office.   This time in the Homicide Bureau.

  Has Appeals Bureau Chief Mike Green, who's collecting the pay of appeals chief, but says he's not doing the work, turned in the County car he had as DA?

Sources in the Hall of Justice say, "Not yet."

Maybe another perk of office for a job you're not doing.

Update: A commenter tells us the car was turned in.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Transition Watch

Since January 1, former District Attorney Mike Green has held the position of Appeals Bureau Chief in the DA's office, at $111,000 per year.   But not to actually do the Appeals Chief's job.   "I'm here for one purpose.   She asked me to help with the transition," Green told the press.

Thus, since January 1, the Transition has cost taxpayers $3,032.00.

Figure in benefits (most employers use 30-40% of salary) at 30%, and it comes to $3,942.00.

Will DA-in-Transition Sandra Doorley please describe the transitional services we taxpayers have received to date?


Senator Brooks?

Glad the state GOP picked Rochester for its convention.   But why? Population distribution would mean more delegates from downstate -- NYC, Long Island, Westchester and the Hudson Valley counties.   That might give more reason to hold it further east and further south.

The convention's only business will be to nominate a candidate for U.S. Senate to face Sen. Gillibrand.

Is the convention in Rochester because there's a move afoot to make County Exec. Maggie Brooks the senate candidate?   Just wondering.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Not Even Trying

An Airport Director needs more than management and administrative experience.   More than financial experience.   An Airport Director needs experience in these areas in airport operations.   So the Democrat and Chronicle's David Andreatta wrote Saturday.   Sounds reasonable.

Let's apply it to other public positions.

1. Office of District Attorney

Adam Bello, Executive Director of the Monroe County Democratic Party, and Democratic campaign manager in the recent election for DA, has just been appointed as Chief Administrator of the DA's Office.

Bello has no experience in operation of a prosecutor's office.

No material administration or management experience at all.   A Party Executive Director is a political strategist who runs campaigns.

By the D&C's "Airport Standard" he's utterly unqualified.

Moreover, why would experience like Bello's be relevant to an office supposed to be totally non-political?   The D&C hasn't asked that question, and won't.

A party chairman puts into the prosecutor's office one of his top political operatives.   The D&C remains stubbornly uninterested.

Instead, it tried to slip quietly past the issue.   It buried news of Bello's appointment in last Thursday's article about Mike Green staying in the DA's office.

Reporter Gary Craig's article described Bello as someone who had been "active with the county Democratic committee," rather than by his title, Executive Director of the Democratic Party.

If the Republican candidate had won and appointed his party's Executive Director -- can you imagine the hue and cry from this impersonation of a real newspaper?

2. Rochester Fire Commissioner

Mayor Duffy appointed Molly Clifford to be City Fire Commissioner.   She holds the job still.

Clifford's only discernable qualification?   She knows how to light a match.

But she was close to Duffy.   And served as his Campaign Manager.

She had been Chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party.

Yet can you remember any D&C story calling out her lack of credentials in anything more than a perfunctory manner?

Any story asking fire departments in, say, Florida, whether a Fire Commissioner needs fire department experience?  (As Andreatta asked a Florida airport officer about airport directors?)

Can you recall a D&C editorial saying the job requires someone with fire experience?

Just the opposite.   The Clifford appointment, a scandal anywhere else, exemplifies the D&C's "one-off" policy for news embarrrassing to its side.   One story, maybe two.   That way they can say they reported it.

Then that's it.   Nothing like the drum-beat of repitition of anything, however trivial, that it deems detrimental to the administration of Maggie Brooks.

3. Public Defender

The County Legislature, to its credit and in defiance of bullying, in 2008 selected Tim Donaher as the new Public Defender.

Experience as a criminal defense lawyer?   Check.

Experience specifically as a public defender?   Check.

Someone who met the D&C's "Airport Standard" many times over.

Yet the newspaper itself led the ugly partisan and divisive opposition to Danaher's appointment.   And isn't over it yet.

Our point isn't that reporters and editors at the D&C haven't applied to their own side a standard they've set for their targets.   From the dishonorable, one expects dishonorable conduct.

Our point is that they're not even trying, anymore, to conceal the double standard.

Didn't The New York Times call it, though?


Sunday, January 8, 2012


Steve's out of town and didn't give us a cartoon for this week.   In his honor, we'll do a Music Weekender.   One I know Steve, our most senior contributor to Mustard Street, will appreciate.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Real Journalists in Rochester, After All

No sooner had we put up this morning's post about the scam in the DA's office, than we found this excellent reporting by Sean Carroll of 13 WHAM News.

Update 1:51 pm:   And then we found this, on Rachel Barnhart's blog, about Doorley's appointment of Democratic Party Executive Director Adam Bello .


Green Light to Green Stuff

Three weeks ago we told you that then-District Attorney Mike Green would return to the office, as head of its Appeals Bureau.   That came straight from inside the DA's office.

In a press conference the next week, Green denied it.

Yesterday local media reported that ... Green's going back to the DA's office.   As head of the Appeals bureau.

Not to worry, reports the Democrat and Chronicle's Gary Craig.   You see, Green won't actually be doing the work of the Appeals Bureau Chief.   Just getting paid for it.

At $110,000 per year.

"I'm here for one purpose," said Green to the D&C.   "She asked me to help with the transition," referring to the new DA.

Green will be Chief of Appeals only because that slot just happened to be open "in the office personnel chart," explained the former DA.

Of course it was open.   The old Chief of Appeals was fired last month.  By Green.  For being a Republican, and to open the slot for Green!

Believe Green's absurd explanations, equivocations and excuses and you're eligible to be a reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle.

The D&C, of course, spouts the official party line, that at the time of the press conference on December 19, Green "did not forsee" going back to the DA's office.

Of course not.   See, kids, as late as December 19th it had just never occurred to anybody involved that they'd want the outgoing DA's help in transitioning to a new DA.

And there just wasn't any other "open spot in the personnel chart" whose work Green could not do, at less expense to the taxpayer.   Only a spot that pays $110,000, in order for Green to not do its work.

Yet D&C reporter Craig swallows it whole, not asking any of the blindingly obvious follow-up questions or mentioning them in his story.   That, or as is more likely, Editor Karen Magnuson cut the part of his story that asked the questions or connected the dots.

The D&C collaborates in the whole shambling pretense, beginning with the fine bit of anticipatory justification in its headline, saying Green's staying on only "briefly, to help Doorley."   Thereby seeking to explain away Green's lie at the press conference, and to say, "Hey -- it's only for a little while."

At $110,000 per year, we bet the "little while" will cost taxpayers a lot more than David Damelio's cigars.

What's surprising is how, when our self-proclaimed "watchdog," the newspaper, rolls over on its back to have its tummy scratched, our local broadcast journalists don't step up to the mark to ask the obvious questions.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

An Apartment on Water Street

Thanks to our readers who responded to our requests for background information on various subjects.

If anyone can offer further information on the significance of an apartment on Water Street in the City, which may relate to a matter we've written about, please contact us at:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Last Kiss-Off

Last Spring, then-DA Mike Green antagonized the Democratic hierarchy by refusing to step down from office, to permit Chairman Joe Morelle's choice for DA, Judge Frank Geraci, to be apppointed to the vacancy and run in November as an incumbent.

For the Party the story ended happily.   Candidate Sandra Doorley won big and appears willing to work reasonably closely with Chairman Morelle and Party HQ.

Then came payback, with Morelle pulling the rug from under Green's nomination for federal judge.   It wasn't for the sake of vindictiveness alone.   Although public discussion has focused on City Court Judge Theresa Johnson as replacement nominee, an alternate possibility now being discussed is ... Judge Frank Geraci.   It would be one final kiss-off from Chairman Morelle to Green.

A cosmic, nearly mathematical, symmetry.   Green blocked Geraci from getting the DA job Morelle wanted Geraci to have.   Now Geraci would get what Green described as his "dream job."   Green loses the judgship and Chairman Morelle can advance the career of Geraci, something Green prevented last year.

Don't be surprised to see now-County Court Judge Geraci, who is widely respected among lawyers and judges, as our next federal judge.

One does not defy Chairman Morelle with impunity.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Signs of Panic

Rochester's Democratic-Media Complex must be worried.   The real story of Mike Green's judicial nomination keeps spreading by word-of-mouth, radiating outward from the Hall of Justice like a rising sun.

In the last 10 days three Democrat and Chronicle stories and an editorial recite rigidly the Official Story that unspecified "Republicans" blocked Green.

But truth, like sunshine, has a way of seeping through the smallest cracks.

In one more effort to seal it off, the paper today trots out widely-admired former DA Howard Relin to lend his prestige to the Party Line.

We don't think for an instant that Mr. Relin would state publicly or privately anything he didn't believe to be true.   We think he's being used by people whose word he thinks he can trust.

Mr Relin's op-ed piece tells us "the nomination never came before the full senate for a vote."   But it never tells us why.

No senator put a "hold" on Green's nomination.   No filibuster was tried or threatened.   One or the other had happened to every other judicial nomination the Democratic leaders of the Senate sent back to the President.

Neither happened to Mike Green.   Yet the Senate Democrats sent it back.

Mr. Relin tells us "there was a local push back" against Green's nomination.  

Not from local Republicans, there wasn't.   Local Republican Party leaders wanted Green on the federal bench, to eliminate him as competition to any of their upcoming candidates for state judgships.

What the people who briefed Mr. Relin didn't tell him was that the pushback came from local Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle.

Democratic Senate leaders were happy to give in to it, as it avoided embarrassing information about Green coming out had the nomination come to the floor for a vote.

Morelle is furious at Green for not cooperating with Morelle's effort to make Judge Frank Geraci the next DA.

Defying Morelle, Green reportedly told the Chairman that he didn't owe anything to the Democratic Party.   That was in the spring.   Morelle then had to find a candidate and run a campaign.   Payback would come later.

It came two weeks ago.   And don't confuse Morelle's payback to
Green with petty vindictiveness alone.   It's payback with a specific purpose.

As we shall report to you tomorrow.