Apparently this pair of geniuses from Brooklyn, Assemblywoman Annette Robinson and Assemblyman Darryl Towns, would prefer that police aim for perps’ arms or legs, rather than shooting center-mass. In fact, their bill would even criminalize police who do take kill shots.
I can’t even begin to fathom what was going through their minds. No, wait, I can: a nearly-lethal dose of crack cocaine. That’s the only explanation for thinking this warped.
The most succinct summarizing thus far was by New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who said the bill“makes no sense to anyone who knows anything about law enforcement.” The Commish could have thrown in some other descriptions: insane, batshit, animal crackers. Any of them work.
Robinson, the genius behind this proposal, thinks that police are deliberately shooting criminals intent on killing them: “Not being a police officer, I would not be able to discuss the instance or the time that happens, but I do know that it happens, most often in the communities that I represent, and it happens too often.” What she fails to grasp is, for most of us, a dead criminal is a very satisfactory ending to any crime.
What race Towns and Robinson checked off on their Census forms will come as no shock to regular readers of this space, of course. Like so many other soft-on-crime New York pols, these two are members of the black community. These are the same kinds of people who see higher black incarceration rates and conclude that the criminal justice system is singling out the brothers. It’s fairly clear that Robinson and Towns are too dumb to understand the word “introspection,” but they’d do well to consider whether their tough-on-cops, soft-on-criminals approach is encouraging such disparity—and worse, for them, encouraging the astronomical rates of black-on-black crime. But hey, blame the cops. It’s easier.
One thing’s for certain, though. The Assembly’s Democratic majority can always be counted on for bad ideas. It would certainly be comforting if Assemblyperson Francine DelMonte would make her stance on this bill clear, because her position in that misguided majority means she may be called upon to support this monstrosity. Local media would do well to make her explain why she’s a part of a majority that apparently has more compassion for cop-killers than cops.
There were howls of indignation yesterday in certain political salons in Buffalo when it became known that Boy Cuomo took a pass on the campaign to name Mayor Byron Brown his running mate. After all, despite the requisite denials, Brown’s camp had been in overdrive this past week campaigning to add him to the presumptive Democratic ticket.
Incidentally, we’re told that Buffalo’s failed chief executive was so distraught over Cuomo’s sudden coming to terms with reality snub that he stayed at home and didn’t even go to the Democrat Party’s statewide convention this week. And, since Buffalo remains the second-largest city in the state, and the largest city in the Upstate, it’s kind of sad that Byron’s ruffled feathers mean his city will have no influence at his own party’s convention.
Still, we got a chuckle out of the leftwing ArtVoice’s take on the matter:
Buffalo MayorByron Brownhad been considered a candidate for the lieutenant governor slot, too, but [Rochester Mayor Robert] Duffy—who took office the same day as Brown—has built a strong case for himself: Rochester, for example, unlike Buffalo, is well regarded for its housing programs and its use of federal community development block grant funds.
And it should be noted that Cuomo got to see Byron Brown’s Buffalo miracle up-close-and-personal less than a month ago. We’re wondering if the Buffalo he saw looked like the one in this video, from the “Filthy Buffalo” blog:
Now that this year's school district budget votes are done, let's take a moment to analyze the results:
Barker: Yes, 223; no, 29
Lewiston-Porter: Yes, 1,968; no, 714
Lockport: Yes, 1,089; no 1,211
Newfane: Yes, 875; no, 344
Niagara Falls: Yes, 1,329; no, 694
Niagara-Wheatfield: Yes, 665; no, 191
North Tonawanda: Yes, 1,083; No, 387
Royalton-Hartland: Yes, 537; no, 262
Starpoint: Yes, 736; no, 516
Wilson: Yes, 378; no, 175
There are 10 school districts in this county (which is ludicrous, but a topic for another time), and all but one passed by an overwhelming margin. Only the voters in Lockport saw fit to reject the district's bloated spending plan.
So the question begs: Where is the outrage over the massive tax burden that the people of this community bear, a tax burden that is most heavily driven by school taxes? Supposedly people are fed up. I read it on the blogs, I hear it on the radio and I see it on the news. People are sick and tired of the bloated bureaucracies that their school districts have become. Districts that continuously add personnel while enrollment drops. Districts that reward their administrations with massive golden parachutes.
So what is the message that nine of the 10 districts send? Good job, keep taxing us to death - we're okay with that.
Me, I voted "no". Congratulations to the 1,210 fellow Lockportians who joined me in sending a message to the school board and the district's administration, even if in the overall scheme of things it doesn't change the budget, that we are sick and tired of your taxing us right out of our homes.
As for the residents of the other nine communities, well, all I can say is don't fucking complain about your taxes if you can't get off your lazy asses to do something about it.
I love the headline from this USA Today piece, which is "Government puts pressure on BP to stop Gulf spill". Pressure? Exactly what type of pressure are we talking about? Well, they held a press conference. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano waddled her ass up to the podium and spouted of BP, "they will be held accountable." Stirring.
The leak, which occurred over a month ago, has spewed over six million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. BP officials are no closer to plugging the leak than they were 34 days ago. But government officials are going to get tough with BP. "We will keep our boot on their neck until the job gets done", said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
With all of this rhetoric, one person seems to be conspicuously absent: Barack Obama. Now, some might say that he is doing the right thing in allowing his chiefs to take the lead on this environmental disaster, and I might not disagree, except for one glaring problem with that theory: George W. Bush was crucified for his handling of Hurricane Katrina.
To make matters worse, Katrina was a natural disaster, out of the control of any mortal man. Nevermind that some idiot thought it was a good idea to build a city in an area that's below sea level. Or the fact that the entire planet knew that Katrina was coming and the smart ones evacuated the city, leaving the nutbags who didn't leave. They then blamed the federal government for their plight. But Bush was to blame for all of it - what a crock of shit.
Now, less than five years later, we have a man-made disaster that has been allowed to continue to ecologically devastate the United States for 34 straight days, and no one dares to mention Obama's utter failure to handle this situation properly. It is a sickening double standard to have blamed Bush for Katrina then allow Obama to slide on BP.
Obama wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to lead when it is convenient for him and when he gets him the golden photo op, but turn things over to his lieutenants when the fire gets to hot for him. He needs to realize that if he wants to be considered an effective leader, he needs to lead all of the time, through good times and bad. Unfortunately, he seems to get a free pass from the media on his repeated leadership failures, including this one that will take decades to recover from. It seems voters, based upon the results of recent significant elections, are not giving Obama the same free pass. Good for them for getting it.
Sorry for the late start this morning, the finales of Lost (which I found extremely disappointing) and Celebrity Apprentice made for a late night.
This story on the WIVB websiteof volunteers maintaining the Wilson-Tuscarora State Park getting kicked out is offensive on so many levels. These are people who are willing to give their own time and spend their own money to preserve a vital part of their community, and the state is going to tell them to get out, they're not welcome.
As the piece says, if the state wants to close the park, so be it. But don't forbid members of the community who have nothing but the best of intentions from coming in and doing the cleanup and maintenance that is needed.
Kudos to Wilson Supervisor Joe Jastrzemski, Councilman Tom Thompson and the rest of the volunteers who took the lead on this. With Gov. David Paterson hinting towards keeping state parks open, this will hopefully be the last time this situation arises. If the parks stay closed, let's hope Jastrzemski, Thompson and the rest of the volunteers keep doing what they're doing. After all, what's the state going to do, arrest them for mowing?
Last Friday, we broke the story of North Tonawanda Democratic Committee Chairman Mark Houghton landing a groundskeeper position at the New York Power Authority at about $50,000 a year. A week later, Buffalo News staffer Aaron Besecker jumped on our bandwagon, doing a follow-up story about the hiring.
In Besecker's piece, Houghton defends the hiring, saying, "Nobody got me a job.” Houghton went on to tell the News that he applied for a janitor job at the power authority in October and passed the test. We don't have any reason to believe that he didn't take a test, nor would we have any reason to doubt that he scored well enough to pass.
What do have a concern with is the massive inconsistencies in the hiring practices of the Power Authority. In fact, what we have learned should be cause for concern for the entire region.
It seems that NYPA does indeed have a test for critical positions such as groundskeepers and maintenance staff. What they don't have is a test for security personnel. It stems from Senator Antoine Thompson's repeated attempts to get his friends and family jobs in the security department within the Power Authority, and the repeated inability of these people to pass the required exam.
So Thompson had the New York Power Authority waive the security department exam that had previously been required for the sole purpose of ensuring employment for his friends and family. Yes, you read that correctly.
Since the waiving of the exam, Thompson has had NYPA hire a bevy of family and friends at the Niagara Power Project.
The Lewiston Power Project is the single largest terrorist target in the state. Because Antoine Thompson is bound and determined to find employment for his idiot friends and family, and because they're too stupid to pass a basic skills test, that facility is now at a greater risk than it was 18 months ago.
Let's get right to it. Today's post is straight out of the "are you freakin' kidding me?" book. New York State Senator Antoine Thompson, who has provided us much content over the years, is at it again.
This time around, WGRZ's Scott Brown pinned him down outside of a Thompson fundraiser, and the following exchange ensued: Scott Brown: "Senator, the budget is more than 40 days late, you're having a fundraiser, how come we're not working on the budget here?" Senator Antoine Thompson: "Well first let me say that many legislators are running for election this year, myself included, and I'm very committed to getting re-elected, as well as in addition to making sure we get the budget done too. "
Did this moron just say that he's not in Albany working on a budget because he's committed to getting re-elected? I believe he did. And I believe that this man is the epitome of everything that is wrong with this state. That answer shows exactly where his priorities are, and they don't include what's best for you and I. Just his own sorry ass.
This guy has a reputation in the press of not being the least bit accessible. He doesn't return media inquiries and he has his staff lie to the media to avoid questions like the one Brown posed. We all know why; because he is too damn stupid to know better. He can't handle it when a microphone is in his face.
Once again, he has shown that he is not fit to hold public office. Please join me in a little impromptu prayer to the political gods to get this lowlife out of Albany - say it out loud:
Lords of the political world,
hear my words today;
Take this incompetent asshole out of Albany,
there is indeed a way.
He has lead us down a path of destruction,
so let the voters of the 60th district be strong;
Show them the evil of this man's ways,
that a vote for him is oh so wrong.
The man is a thief, liar and cheat,
and only cares about himself;
Holding fundraisers while Albany burns,
concerned only with increasing his wealth.
He brings nothing of substance to Albany,
he doesn't know how to write legislation;
He only cares about his next photo-op,
and improving his tarnished reputation.
He votes against his own bills,
repeatedly looking like a damn fool;
He is unable to think for himself,
living his life as Sampson's mule.
So lords of the political world,
open your hearts and hear my pleas;
help us rid our lives of Antoine Thompson,
for he is a fucking disease.
Sadly, that last gallant figure is regularly overlooked by military historians in one of the great tragedies of our time. The name may be unfamiliar to you, but Field Marshal Lewis is the hero who saved the Niagara Falls Air Base.
No, really. Apparently that’s what Ol’ Guts-and-Guts told the county commissioners of far-off Lake County, Fla. He probably figured no one would ever fact-check him.
Let us be very clear here: Field Marshal Lewis was AWOL during the 2005 fight to protect the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Actually, it was a little group called NIMAC (the Niagara Military Affairs Council) that did all the heavy lifting on that one.
Still, we’re always willing to give a hero of the Field Marshal’s caliber the benefit of the doubt, so we did an exhaustive Google search to see if we could even find his name in any article referencing the 2005 fight to save the air base. We came up empty.
This article at the respected globalsecurity.org website, for instance, makes no reference to Field Marshal Lewis’ supposed heroic efforts to save the base.
Nor does this article in the Niagara Wheatfield Tribune announcing that the air base had been saved. You’d think the local media could spill a few drops of ink to honor, or at the very least quote, the man known in Lake County, Fla., as the Savior of the Falls Air Base.
Actually, a search of contemporary news articles fails to turn up any trace of the Field Marshal. Lots of volunteers fought to save the base. We found references to county legislators who carried water on this one. We even found an occasion when lots of other local leaders linked arms to defend the Falls Air Base—but the Field Marshal apparently didn’t emerge from his foxhole to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Sen. George Maziarz, Rep. Louise Slaughter, and then-Rep. Tom Reynolds.
The war with the BRAC commission was hell. There were lots of heroes that day, at the battle to save the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Many of their names are forgotten, lost to history. A few are remembered. All gave some, but some gave all.
Except Field Marshal Lewis, who was huddling in his bunker.
If you're not familiar with the name Mark Houghton, don't be overly concerned. After all, he hasn't done anything memorable as the Chairman of the North Tonawanda Democratic committee. In fact, it was under his watch that the Republicans in NT swept every single office in the November elections. Not exactly something that he would want to repeatedly reflect upon. Obviously his close working relationship with county Dem Chairman Dan Rivera, hardly known for his ability to win local elections, was reflected in the Republicans unprecedented achievement in November.
Houghton did manage to find his way into the news after newly elected North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt appointed John Long to the position of city market clerk, a $6,000 part-time job running the city market, which was previously held by Houghton. Unhappy that Ortt had appointed Long, even though Ortt had told Houghton that he could apply just like anyone else who might be interested in the position, Houghton has threatened the city with a federal civil rights lawsuit over his termination. For a $6,000 a year part-time job.
Really it's not surprising. The Dems in North Tonawanda and Niagara County have had an extremely rough go of it lately. With 15 of 19 county legislators, nearly every town supervisor, two of three mayors being Republican, coupled with landslide victories in Lewiston & North Tonawanda, the Democrats are scurrying for any chance to stay relevant. Under Rivera's leadership, the party has become virtually extinct in Niagara County. So if the opportunity to protect a member of their party's faithful presents itself, Democratic leaders in the county will do their best to ensure that this person is taken care of.
Re-enter Mark Houghton. Odds are that we're not going to hear much about Houghton's lawsuit threat any longer. Party leaders have taken care of Houghton.
In a story that you won't read anywhere else (yes, that is an indictment of the local media), Niagara Times has learned that Houghton was hired about three weeks ago to a position in the Building & Grounds Department of....you guessed it, the New York Power Authority. Considering that his position at the Niagara Power Project pays him just about $50,000 a year, we think it's pretty safe to assume that Houghton won't be pursuing that lawsuit to get his $6,000 job back.
Once again, we have Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, the top Dem in the county, using the Lewiston hydroelectric facility as her personal employment agency. Is it any wonder that she has refused to condemn the multitude of horrendous actions taken by NYPA against our community? Remember, she voted to relieve the Power Authority of their obligation to fund state parks in our community, and she supported the sweep of $550 million in NYPA revenues from our community. She would not dare question the actions of the one organization that she knows she can always rely on to bury one of her moles into without much fanfare.
I suppose the one positive from this is that North Tonawanda won't have to come up with the money that would have been needed to defend Houghton's ludicrous lawsuit. Of course, the downside is that the taxpayers of Niagara County now need to come up with another $50k to take care of DelMonte's latest lapdog. Just wonderful.
Flipping through yesterday’s Buffalo News, we were more than a little irked to read that an Assistant U.S. Attorney General came to Byron Brown’s Buffalo to detail a litany of why white people are bad.
For one thing, we’re white people. For another, we pay this clown’s salary. Seeing a picture of him klatsching with Byron Brown after telling folks in Buffalo to hate whitey, well, it kind of irks us. We’re not defending racism—it’s real and it’s a horrible sin. But this assistant AG, Thomas E. Perez, sees a white devil’s conspiracy in every seeming disparity. Consider one of Perez’s major talking points:
“Two high schools in a South Carolina community were a study of racial inequality: One school that was 100 percent black offered five Advanced Placement courses, while the other with a more-even mix of black and white students and offered about 10 Advanced Placement classes.”
We’re trying to understand Perez’s complaint. Is the message that blacks who mix with whites are treated preferentially? Because unless you have an overwhelmingly white student body treated better than an overwhelmingly black one, you’re going to have a hard time proving racism.
Perez also complains that “On the same night Obama won the presidential race, a group of white racists on Staten Island attacked a group of black people for no other reason than a black president was elected.” Well, if that occurred, that’s unfortunate, but one incident is hardly proof of widespread racism—particularly against the backdrop of a majority of Americans electing a minority president at the exact same moment. (On a side note, Mr. Perez was strangely silent about the Black Panther militants who seized a Philadelphia polling station the same day—which, we might add, strikes us as a far greater threat to race relations than an isolated fight in Staten Island.)
Still, we could brush this off as little more than a collective whine about what an unfair society we live in, that a black man can’t get elected mayor of Buff—uh, a black man can’t be gov—er, um, a black man can’t become pres—dammit. We’re having a hard time validating Perez’s notion of what a terrible racist place America is. But as we were saying, we could brush all this off, except for this line in the story:
The conference was hosted by the City of Buffalo’s Commission on Citizens Rights and Community Relations, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary of service. The theme was the Unfinished Business of Civil Rights.
We briefly hoped this was one of those “commissions” that doesn’t cost anyone anything, and exists just to shut up a noisy group.
Nope! Turns out that someone named Crystal J. Rodriguez is the commission’s executive director. And in the state fiscal year ending March 31, 2009, she brought down $61,298 in salary, plus an executive assistant (and, presumably, benefits). Buffalo’s taxpayers are really getting their money’s worth there!
$61,000 to bash whitey. Nice work if you can find it.
In honor of Obamination being in Western New York this week, we'd like to share with you the full length version of "The Obama Deception". To date, this video has had nearly six million views.
The Obama Deception is a hard-hitting film that completely destroys the myth that Barack Obama is working for the best interests of the American people. The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery.
We have reached a critical juncture in the New World Order's plans. It's not about Left or Right: it's about a One World Government. The international banks plan to loot the people of the United States and turn them into slaves on a Global Plantation.
Covered in this film: who Obama works for, what lies he has told, and his real agenda. If you want to know the facts and cut through all the hype, this is the film for you.
Watch the Obama Deception and learn how:
- Obama is continuing the process of transforming America into something that resembles Nazi Germany, with forced National Service, domestic civilian spies, warrantless wiretaps, the destruction of the Second Amendment, FEMA camps and Martial Law.
- Obama's handlers are openly announcing the creation of a new Bank of the World that will dominate every nation on earth through carbon taxes and military force.
- International bankers purposefully engineered the worldwide financial meltdown to bankrupt the nations of the planet and bring in World Government.
- Obama plans to loot the middle class, destroy pensions and federalize the states so that the population is completely dependent on the Central Government.
- The Elite are using Obama to pacify the public so they can usher in the North American Union by stealth, launch a new Cold War and continue the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The following is a video from a rally in Los Angeles at which a teacher calls for a Mexican revolution right here in the United States. His quotes include:
This a global struggle against imperialism and capitalism
Where we now stand is stolen, occupied Mexico
Why is it that these pail, racist, white people want to keep us out of this country
Our commandante, Fidel Castro
They know that we will no longer fall for these lies called borders
We see ourselves as the northern front of a latin American revolutionary movement
There are more than 40 million of our people north of the Rio Grande-that's 40 million potential revolutionaries north of the border inside the belly of the beast
Regardless of your political beliefs, you need to watch this video. Since it was posted on May 8th, it already has over 268,000 views. You should also be very, very scared. This is a speech by a teacher in U.S. schools who is advocating a violent revolution within this country. Make no mistake, it is coming. Will you be ready?
I did something earlier this week that I haven't done a quite some time: I watched a Niagara County Legislature meeting. I know I should watch more, but even for a political junkie like me, watching the Leg isn't exactly the most exciting way to spend a few hours.
I happened to catch the part of the meeting when they were debating a resolution put forth by Legislator John Ceretto which asks the state Inspector General to investigate the recent hiring of Elise Cusack to a newly created, $77,500 part-time position with the New York Power Authority.
Now, I completely agree with this resolution. Cusack resigned from her position as a Trustee with NYPA just four weeks before getting this new gig. NYPA bylaws say that Trustees cannot use their position for personal gain, including employment. If someone were to tell me that Cusack and NYPA President and CEO Richie Kessel didn't talk about the new job prior to her resignation as a Trustee, I'd tell him that he's dumb as a rock, naive as hell or both.
But that's not where we're going with this.
Shockingly, all four Democrats in the county legislature (yes, four out of 19, but four nonetheless) voted against the measure. Obviously Minority "Leader" Dennis Virtuoso is still taking his marching order from incompetent Francine DelMonte, then making sure the minority caucus of four get the message. That message, of course, is don't fuck with NYPA.
That being said, idiot Virtuoso had the audacity to stand up on the floor of the legislature and present the argument that the Leg shouldn't be wasting the state's time with such actions. Let's take a quick look at other measures Virtuoso, who moonlights as the Senior Building Inspector in Niagara Falls has brought forth. Actually, that reminds me - Virtuoso has worked in the City of Niagara Falls as a Building Inspector for decades, while serving on the county leg for 20 years. Some might say that he has been the most consistent presence of any single person presiding over the massive decline of what was once a great city more than any other person.
But I digress - back to Virtuoso's moronic assertion that the county legislature shouldn't be wasting the state's time with such "minutia", as he called it. (I hope someday someone offers me an unearned $77,000 gig at taxpayer expense and it's labeled "minutia". Of course, I have something called "pride", so I'd probably pass on the offer, but again, I digress).
Knowing that Virtuoso has spent more time than anyone whining to the state about anything and everything he can get his paws on, I decided to do a Google search, and this is just some of what I came across. Each of these measures was either sponsored or supported by the hypocrite Virtuoso:
Criticized Empire State Development Corp. for assisting in the move of First Niagara Bank’s corporate headquarters from Pendleton to Buffalo
Blasted the state on the multitude of sex offenders living in Niagara Falls (thanks, Francine)
Asked for state investigations into a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement brokered by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for AES Somerset
Requested the state attorney general and comptroller to look into the Niagara Power Coalition
Asked the state to investigate former treasurer Dave Broderick
Wanted the state Attorney General's office to investigate the legality of the county's use of casino funds to cover its legal expenses in the lawsuit against NYPA
Protested a state policy abolishing the requirement for an in-person interview between a caseworker and a Medicaid applicant or his representative
Passed a resolution encouraging the state to pass a texting while driving ban
The above examples are really just the tip of the iceberg. Virtuoso once again proves that the only rule that applies to him is the "do as I say, not as I do" rule. Amazingly, he thinks the public is too stupid to catch on. Then again, considering the morons of his legislative district continue to send him back every two years, it must me working for him.
This piece from WGRZ further highlights just what a slimeball New York State Senator Antoine Thompson is. It describes how Thompson has made a full-time job out of delivering those over-sized checks we see all the time from politicians. The problem for Thompson is that many of the organizations that Thompson stood with for the precious photo-ops have not gotten their (our) money, and it has created a multitude of problems for those organizations. Watch the video in the link - watching Thompson squirm as the reporter questions him is priceless.
Former New York State Senator Joe Bruno was sentenced to two years in federal prison after being found guilty on two federal fraud counts. Although I am personally saddened because I've always respected him, Bruno had to get some jail time. Anything else would have unequivocally sent the wrong message that betraying the public's trust is acceptable. That being said, the Dems are already pouncing on the sentence for political fodder, which is a joke. Lest they forget about Espada, Monserrate, Spitzer, Rangel, Hevesi, Diaz, Smith, Paterson, Peoples and on and on. Of course, to expect anything else from Democrats in New York State would be expecting them to act like human beings.
I couldn't help from laughing out loud at this piece from the Buffalo News. A townhouse complex in Lockport is devastated that they won't be able to cheat the system by converting their units to condos, a move that would give them a huge savings on their city and school taxes. Too damn bad-pay your fair share just like everyone else. And the selfishness of attempting to do something like this knowing that the rest of the city's residents would have to pick up their share is sickening.
So the scumbags at the Niagara Gazette think the county legislature should stop picking on the New York Power Authority. Despite the fact that NYPA created a $77,500 part-time job for Elise Cusack, a Republican, the Gazette thinks the Leg is being political. Despite the fact that NYPA rapes this community at every turn, the Gazette thinks the Leg is being political. The reality is that the only reason the Gazette is criticizing this resolution is that it's sponsored by Assembly candidate John Ceretto, who's challenging Francine DelMonte, and the Gazette will do everything they can to protect her. The irony is that 90% of the people agree with the action, so by highlighting it in their paper, they just bring more positive attention to Ceretto.
After years of trying to sell the old infirmary on Davison Road with no success, Niagara County is finally going to try a different tactic, selling the property in an online auction. Whether or not it is the way to go remains to be seen, but letting it sit there off of the tax rolls surely wasn't working. What they need to do next is take the same approach with the Mt. View complex. The main building has now been vacant for years, and with a multi-million price tag, it will sit vacant for many more years to come. Take into consideration that the county has dumped hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars into maintaining the Shaw Building, which sits on the Mt. View campus, and you've got a recipe for taxpayer disaster. Hopefully the next county manager and Public Works Commissioner will understand this.
We talked about Malcolm Smith's comments about redistricting the GOP into oblivion if they hold the Senate majority this year. As diplomatic as we've been (okay, not so diplomatic) Ed Koch sums up Smith's comments quite succinctly when he calls Smith a "dope" in the interview below. Never at a loss for words, the colorful Koch is dead-on.
A few interesting notes of interest: the county legislature's decision to raise the salary of the next county manager to up to $120,000 from the current salary of $105,000 is absolutely the right move. In fact, if anything, the number is still too low.
People tend to forget that the county has a budget that tops $300 million. As what essentially amounts to the CEO, the county manager position, if filled with the right person, is extremely valuable to the county. People always crow about running government more like a business - no qualified CEO would consider managing a $300 million company for $105k.
Of course, the key word is "qualified". Let's hope the current crop of legislators do a better job of recruiting the next county manager than the Democrats did in 2003 when for some godawful reason they chose Greg Lewis. And by the way, good luck to Lewis, who we understand is a finalist for the county manager position in Cortland County. The sooner this schmuck gets the hell out of Dodge, the better we'll all be.
Secondly, it was good to see some common sense prevail in the debate over "no smoking" signs in county parks. This was a bad idea from the get go. The decision to scrap this ill-conceived plan, despite pressure from anti-tobacco groups, was absolutely the right thing to do.
The bottom line is that smoking is still legal, and it will always be legal - the government relies on the tax revenue. But if there are those who believe that it should be outlawed, take your argument to the FDA. Rinkydink ideas like signs in parks that serve no real purpose do nothing but increase costs for taxpayers and potentially set the scene for conflict.
After all, if I was in a county park enjoying a smooth Newport and someone came up to me and said, "Can't you read the sign, no smoking!", they'd get a big fat "fuck off" from me.
Lastly, the series of reforms implemented by new county treasurer Kyle Andrews in response to a scathing report of the department by the state comptroller is a strong first step by the rookie treasurer.
While we still contend that comptroller Tom DiNapoli's motivation for tearing apart former treasurer Dave Broderick was purely political and in time Broderick will be vindicated, the steps taken by Andrews will go a long way in addressing the perception of a loosely run operation.
The news that former Niagara Falls City Council member John Accardo has decided to run a primary contest against do-nothing State Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte is great news...for John Ceretto. The lone announced Republican challenger of DelMonte, Ceretto will be the beneficiary of what will likely be a hard-fought and expensive primary between DelMonte and Accardo.
Accardo will be a formidable candidate. He is a proven vote-getter with a well known name. More importantly, he has the ability to raise the resources necessary to win this race. DelMonte will certainly have the resources; after all, Sheldon Silver isn't going to let his lapdog from Niagara County go down without a fight.
All of this works to Ceretto's advantage. A bruising primary will only expose DelMonte's multitude of weaknesses, setting the stage for what could be a new representative for the people of the 138th. Lord knows they could use one.
The indispensable Drudge Report linked to the following video overnight, and honestly there is something really creepy about it:
I'm not one to have a lot of sympathy for tax cheats, but somehow government trying to scare the hell out of citizens with messages that proclaim "We know who you are" bothers me far more than whether my neighbor is current on his taxes. "We know who you are" sounds like a declaration right out of George Orwell's 1984.
If this is the message from Big Government, it's no wonder that Sarah Palin and the Tea Party rallies have both caught on with their anti-government message.
The City of Niagara Falls played host to a multitude of Democrat Party bosses from around the state, including several upstate senators, who came to cast ballots in a “straw poll,” this weekend.
Shockingly—no, stunningly!—Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Boy Cuomo won lopsided victories. The suspense in the room must have been palpable.
Anyway, something calling itself the “Rural Democratic Conference,” which, we suppose, is kind of like the Republican Hip-Hop Caucus—in other words, a very small gathering of people whose influence on the core of their party is nil, and whose organization’s name is designed more for PR value and shock purposes—gathered together in the blighted urban landscape of Niagara Falls, to hear from such rural leaders as Antoine Thompson*.
We actually read Smith’s words in a Downstate publication, apparently because local media was too busy lining up for free cocktail weenies and samples from the Niagara Wine Trail to notice. We reproduce Malcolm’s verbal diarrhea here for anyone who doubts the stakes in this November’s election—especially if they will have the honor of helping to turn out Senator Bill Stachowski (who was on hand to applaud Smith’s remarks):
“With the Democrats in control of the State Senate, we are going to draw the lines so that Republicans will be in oblivion in the state of New York for the next 20 years,” Smith said, as applause whipped up through the proudly partisan crowd at the Crowne Plaza in Niagara Falls.
Just in case anyone is unclear here: Malcolm Smith just said he plans to do a partisan gerrymander. There will be no attempt to draw lines that are fair. There will be no attempt to draw lines that allow Upstaters to send representatives to Albany who will fight for the Upstate.
Instead, if Malcolm Smith has his way, we can expect more Antoine Thompsons holding sway over public policy, and more Bill Stachowskis sleepwalking their way to retirement. Moreover, though, we can expect a tainted process that will perpetuate this representation imbalance:
*Incidentally, the only authentically rural member of the entire Senate Democratic majority, Darrel Aubertine, who used to actually milk cows, decided to take a pass on this event. Not that his absence makes Antoine Thompson and Bill Stachowski any less authentic as rural Democrats.