June 30, 2010

Always Look for the Union Label (If What You’re Seeing Defies Common Sense)


If you’ve paid for any licenses or other documents at Niagara Falls City Hall lately, you may want to make sure your documents were properly filed.
That’s because Tina Pugh, an account clerk in the City Clerk’s office, has been fired for stealing from the public. For the second time.
We would like to lay this all at the feet of the Dyster Administration. After all, this sounds like something that the spineless jellyfish running Niagara Falls Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster might do without prompting. But, it turns out that the city didn’t have a lot of choice here.
A couple years back, after Pugh was fired the first time, when it became clear she’d stolen $30 from city coffers, the city did the sensible thing—the thing that would happen to you and me, out here in the private sector. They fired her.
Enter the unions. Steelworkers Local 9434-00 (which, of course, makes perfect sense as a union to represent government bureaucrats whose greatest on-the-job danger is a paper cut, but I digress) immediately went to bat for Pugh, saying that firing her over a $30 theft was “excessive punishment.”
Um, not where I come from. I’ve worked jobs where employees returning late from lunch were docked pay and warned about their future employment prospects. I’ve seen employees fired for having bad attitudes. So, I don’t think losing your job over a $30 theft is excessive punishment! But again, I digress.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the union thugs won, and Pugh was reinstated by an arbitrator. And promptly returned to her life of crime.
Yesterday, Pugh lost her cushy job. For the second time. Mona Miller, the arbitrator who overruled the city, should lose hers as well. Miller said Pugh seemed really remorseful, and she paid back the $30, so what’s the big deal? OK, that’s a slight paraphrase. But only slight. We’re still inclined to think Miller’s a more serious threat to the public than Pugh. How many other bad decisions will she offer up as an arbitrator?
We could plumb the depths of this story further. We could point out that Dyster and City Clerk Carol Antonucci could have assigned Pugh to a job where she would no longer be allowed to handle money. We could urge Antonucci to take down Pugh’s contact information from the city webpage. We could point to numerous other cases where local unions, instead of standing up for the little guy, stand up for the crooked one. But we won’t.
Instead, we’ll just let this story stand as a sad testament to the cliff that public-sector unions are driving us all over in New York State.

June 29, 2010

Ceretto 1, DelMonte 0

With this piece from yesterday's Buffalo News, it's evident that the race for the 138th Assembly seat is going to be an interesting one. It's also quite apparent that John Ceretto, who is challenging incumbent Francine DelMonte, is taking this race very seriously.

Ceretto was unabashed in his criticism of DelMonte's failure to bring substantive legislation to the floor of the Assembly to address the topic of sex offenders, and more specifically, Level 3 sex offenders. Ceretto puts her on the defensive repeatedly throughout the piece, forcing her to continuously explain herself. In politics, when you're explaining, you're losing.

The bottom line is that Ceretto is right. In 2005, the Senate did pass a much more stringent civil confinement law, a law that would have kept the most dangerous offenders behind bars where they belong - we checked - the bill was sponsored by Dale Volker. But the legislation never saw the light of day in the Assembly because DelMonte and her Assembly colleagues didn't see fit to lock the most dangerous members of our society in jail.

While we're impressed with the fact that Ceretto is doing is homework on the issues, we are more impressed with his willingness to wage an aggressive campaign against DelMonte because beating an entrenched incumbent like her will be a significant challenge. But, if it's going to happen, this is the year. The anti-incumbency movement is strong.

We've made our feelings on DelMonte abundantly clear over the years, so we're solidly behind Ceretto's effort to unseat her. We hope this is a sign of things to come from Ceretto, as there is plenty of ammunition to use against DelMonte.

June 28, 2010

Biden The Dumbass

By now, you've likely seen the clip, which can be found below, of VPOTUS Joe Biden calling a custard shop manager a smart ass during their brief exchange last week. The shop manager jokingly told Biden that if he (Biden) lowers their taxes, he'll call it even. Biden, being the arrogant asshole that he is, then retorted with the offensive remark.

Obviously the manager was attempting to interject humor into the exchange, but more than that, he was expressing the frustrations of millions of small business people that are continuously facing barriers put in front of them by government. Biden didn't like that.

Did Biden use the opportunity to tout the success of the stimulus plan? Nope. Did he talk about the Obama agenda to address the economic crisis that has gripped the country? Negative. Did he for one second attempt to empathize with the plight of the small business person? Not a chance. He used the opportunity to show just how disconnected he, his boss and this entire administration are from real world challenges.

June 25, 2010

There Is Too Such a Thing As a Free Lunch.

News reaches us this morning that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has suspended the ability of welfare recipients in the Golden State to make cash withdrawals from their benefit cards at casino ATMs.
We are still shocked and confused by this news. We are regularly told, particularly by advocates for increased social spending, that people on welfare are good, honest people who truly need their benefits, and that those of us who look askance at them are “haters.” So, how could there possibly be any abuse in such a system? It just doesn’t compute.
(We could launch into a lengthy soliloquy about the various body odors emanating from the disheveled bums who have death-grips on the slot machine levers at the Seneca Niagara Casino, and offer our speculation on their source of income. But as that would be pure speculation, we’ll decline to offer our observations for now. After all, maybe they’re just hygiene-challenged urban professionals, right?)
We recall back in the 1990s Bill Clinton imploring the Republican-controlled Congress to, when addressing welfare, “mend it, don’t end it.” No, fucking end it.

June 24, 2010

McChrystal

By now, you've most likely learned of the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal from his position as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan after he and his aides made disparaging remarks about Barack Obama. Now, we're not going to delve into whether or not asking for McChrystal's resignation was the right move or not, or if McChrystal has earned the right to express himself. No, we're going to look at the sickening hypocrisy of the whole affair.

Obama has no military experience, no one can dispute that. Not even all of those years as a community organizer can compensate for the fact that he McChrystal has forgotten more about military strategy than Obama could ever understand. But still, he is the "commander-in-chief", so we'll accord him the respect that comes with the title, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of military personnel have little or no respect for his minimal military acumen.

What is simply astounding is that if McChrystal had made these comments about GW Bush, the psychotic lefties would be having a field day. They would be praising McChrystal up and down. They'd be calling him a hero. They'd be calling for GW's resignation, not McChrystals. The entire situation would be playing out completely different. But because McChrystal chose to challenge the chosen one, he is made out to be unqualified to continue in his leadership role.

The difference is that McChrystal would not have made those comments about Bush because Bush was respected by the vast majority of military personnel. Obama is viewed as a joke, and many believe that he has made a mockery of that commander-in-chief title. Bush earned the right to command the military, and he gave his military strategists the leeway to do what they do best. And he knew his limitations. Obama would never cede such authority; his ego won't allow it. Instead, he will continue his failed foreign policies.

This war, the war in Afghanistan, is Obama's war. He campaigned on it, he has made it a focal point of his administration and he is leading the effort. But he is once again allowed to slide on policy decisions that would have created a feeding frenzy on Bush. It's a sickening double standard.

June 23, 2010

Timothy Serwinowski

We want to send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of 2007 North Tonawanda High School graduate Timothy Serwinowski. A Marine Lance Cpl., Serwinowski was shot and killed by a sniper in Afghanistan earlier this week.

This is indeed a very sad day for our community, and a a reminder of the sacrifices that so many young men and women make every day to protect the freedoms that too many in this country take for granted.

Thank you to everyone, past and present, who is serving or has served in the United States Armed Forces.

June 22, 2010

"More taxes the better"

We all know it's true, but it is nonetheless shocking when you read of the Democrat's sickening desire to tax and borrow. After all, this is the party that has given us the unmitigated disaster that has been Barack Obama. Although you'll never see it on CNN, the national debt has increased by $2.4 TRILLION since Obama took office. Just so we're clear, that's $2,411,578,667,199. Hope and change, right Barry?

Now, with the state facing a multi-billion deficit, what is the plan of the state Dems, who control every statewide office in the state, the Assembly, the Senate and the Governor's office? Could it be to reform the most expensive and generous Medicaid program in the country? Wishful thinking. Nope, more taxes and more borrowing.

This point became abundantly clear yesterday when Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch (I know, who?) made the statement, "More taxes the better". Considering this is the guy who has virtually destroyed the MTA, while advocating that Paterson address the state's budget fiasco by borrowing billions, one wonders how the hell he can show his face in Albany.

One really has to wonder how long this will continue. Then again, considering how strong Albany stalwart Mario Cuomo Jr. is doing in the polls, people of this state must not be too concerned about the liberal tax, borrow & spend policies of the party that has put us in this position.

June 17, 2010

Kessel's Ignorance Shines Through

I've come to the conclusion that New York Power Authority President & CEO Richie Kessel isn't too smart. He acts like he's smart, but when the rubber hits the road, he's dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. What, you may ask, has driven me to this conclusion? Simple - he opened his mouth.

In this piece from the Niagara Gazette, which focuses on the fact that Niagara County has spent $216,000 in its lawsuit against the Power Authority, Kessel is quoted as saying, "It’s a loser for the county, ultimately. A lot of money will be spent, a lot of time will be spent, and in the end, I believe NYPA will prevail. It can go on and the lawyers all will be happy."

What Kessel is obviously incapable of comprehending is that the county has already won the battle. They've won because this litigation has brought to light the injustices brought down on this county at the hands of NYPA. What he is also is incapable of understanding is that this lawsuit will force the Power Authority to change the way they do business. Not at this moment in time, but I can assure you, it is coming.

As the lawsuit moves forward, NYPA will be forced to open their books. Richie Kessel will be forced to explain how a state authority can amass a fortune that reaches well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Most importantly, he will need to explain how the Power Authority, which legally is not permitted to charge for electricity any more than it costs them to produce, does business. Richie Kessel does not want to have to answer any of these questions.

It is also simply astounding that he thinks $216,000 is going to turn anyone off. Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars that NYPA has primarily generated on the backs of the people of Niagara County, $216k doesn't amount to a drop of piss in the Grand Canyon. Whatever it takes, Richie, we, the public, are going to get a look at your books.

So you keep trying to put your spin on the litigation, Richie, that's what you get paid for. The rest of us, well, we'll continue to support the county legislature in their efforts to stop the raping of our community at your hands. In the end, we'll see who prevails. It won't be the Niagara County Legislature, it will be the hard-working, underpaid people of this community.

Kimble Chooses Sides


“In my world, anything that decreases the power of the police department is a good thing.”
—Legislator Renae Kimble (D-Niagara Falls)

We must confess to being more than a little taken aback when we read in the Niagara Gazette that long-time Niagara County Legislator Renae Kimble was backing a ludicrous bill that would require cops to “shoot to wound.” We had previously trashed this bill, introduced by Francine DelMonte’s Assembly colleagues, some time back. After all, we honestly thought that most people, given a choice between supporting the thugs or supporting the police, would have an easy time choosing sides.
Turns out, we were right. We just never imagined which side Renae Kimble would choose.
Kimble seems to think that, if police use deadly force to subdue an assailant, they should face criminal charges. And not just slap-on-the-wrist stuff, either. Cops who kill perps would face a class C felony charge of 2nd-degree manslaughter. Despite how crazy that sounds, though, our favorite passage in the bill may be this one: “An officer would have to try to shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg. The bill will not penalize a good faith effort to shoot with this intent.” What? Nothing about making them shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand?
Kimble’s reason for going gangsta was a resolution introduced by Legislator Paul Wojtaszek of North Tonawanda to oppose the Assembly’s crazy pro-crime bill. The North Tonawanda Republican, who was a successful prosecutor under former Attorney General Dennis Vacco, actually brought the resolution, we are told, to support Democratic Sheriff Jim Voutour, who has been lobbying DelMonte to oppose the Assembly’s shoot-to-wound bill.
Interestingly, the bill passed 18-1. That means Kimble’s, er, logic was so unpersuasive that not even the gaffe-prone Ric Marasco could support her. Heck, even the Greater Niagara Newspapers are running in the opposite direction. Our county should truly be embarrassed that Wojtaszek’s resolution failed to gain unanimous passage.
In the meantime, all we can offer those police officers patrolling Renae Kimble’s neighborhood are the immortal words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues:

June 16, 2010

Take The CWM Money And Run

I don't know what it is about Lewiston but they are definitely a different breed up there. The latest head scratcher for me is the vote by the Town Board and the expected vote by the Lew-Port School Board to refuse to accept any funds being offered by CWM...the company that owns the hazardous waste landfill.

This moronic decision is being done upon the advice of attorney Gary Abraham, who is paid for by Lewiston and Niagara County taxpayers but seems to take his marching order from Amy Witroyl and the other band of self-anointed, self-important community czars. We'll have more about Abraham and his sweetheart contract on your dime, but that's a story for another day.

Back to the point. The collective wisdom that Abraham has shared with town officials and the school board is that accepting this cash somehow negates the resolutions they've passed opposing CWM's expansion. We believe it's time to start another conversation on this expansion at some point (i.e. if Democrats control all levels of state government then why can't Francine and Antoine simply get them to say no expansion. The answer is because Dems in Albany will never close the Lewiston landfill and Francine, Antoine and Witroyl know it. But that's also for another day.)

Well, folks, here's what you do. You pass a resolution accepting the money and add a clause that says nothing in accepting this money should be construed to support CWM expansion or to negate the earlier position adopted by the board. Whamo, a few extra dollars for the community and no other issues.

Really, is this stuff that hard to figure out? In these tight times, is it wise to turn down free money? And who the hell told Gary Abraham to go to the school board? We've heard neither the town or county, so who is he answering to?

We are adding this issue to the things we watch very closely and are going to start exposing the hypocrites and liars involved in this issue. Consider that fair warning.

June 15, 2010

Dem Congressman Assaults Student

Ahhhhh, yes, more of that "Hope & Change" that we were promised if we elected Obama. The promise of a more open government, more cooperation and just an overall love fest for our government. Apparently Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge didn't get that memo.

If you haven't seen it, Etheridge goes berserk when a student asks him the simple question of, "Do you fully support President Obama's health care agenda?" To most people, that's a pretty reasonable question. To most constituents, that's a question that they demand an answer to. To Etheridge, it's obviously such an offensive question that he need to assault the individual that would have the gall to ask such a thing.

This is indicative of the arrogance perpetrated by Obama and his flock. They are so arrogant, they do not believe that they answer to anyone. I give this kid a whole truckload of credit for maintaining his composure. Me? Well, if Etheridge had put his hands on me, I'd have, in the famous words of Principal Richard Vernon, knocked his dick in the dirt.

June 14, 2010

County Manager Search Turns Comical

I couldn't help by chuckle while reading this article in the Buffalo News about the county legislature's search for a new county manager. What I find so humorous is the antics of the Democrats on the committee, namely Dennis Virtuoso and Renae Kimble, to completely derail the process of finding the replacement for the man they chose, Greg Lewis.

Considering that Lewis has been an unmitigated disaster during his time in Niagara County, I'm not sure that Virtuoso and Kimble, the two legislators that were instrumental in the hiring of Lewis when the Dems were in the majority, truly have the intellect necessary to make decision of this magnitude. In addition, Lewis has been the biggest union killer to ever step foot into county hall. Do the leaders of the county unions, who've seen their membership numbers plummet under Lewis, really want to place this decision in the hands of Virtuoso and Kimble again? I wouldn't think so.

And let us not forget that during the interview process to hire the county's first manager in 2003, Lewis' prior success in closing a county-run nursing home while serving as county manager in Minnesota was a huge factor in the Dem's extremely poor decision to hire this guy. We all know that Lewis was ultimately successful in shutting down Mt. View, the nursing home previously run by Niagara County, after Lewis was told that the facility's closure was a priority by the interview committee, which included Virtuoso and Kimble. Way to represent, guys.

So now the Gruesome Twosome want to toss out every one of the 26 applicants for consideration. What exactly are they looking for? One can only surmise that they are being pressured to make up for their union-busting decision to bring in Lewis in 2003.

Now, while their efforts are indeed comical, we all know that they're nothing more than show. After all, the GOP has a 15-4 majority in the county leg. While Virtuoso and Kimble can chirp all they want about this process and this decision, they have not earned a right to make this decision because they are too weak intellectually and politically - their numbers and their history of making horrible decisions reinforces this.

So while the rest of the search committee spend the time to look for someone who is actually qualified to fill the position of county manager, we can expect more of the same ol' boring political rhetoric from these two...and as always, we'll consider the source.

June 11, 2010

A Sign Of Things To Come

This video was originally posted in May of 2008, and it further highlights the goal of Democrats in this country to do everything within their power to socialize these United States.

We've already seen their socialization of the health care, automotive and financial industries, and this slip of the tongue by California Congresswoman Maxine Waters provides a haunting insight into the true intentions of the Democratic Party.

Now, with the BP oil leak having been turned into an ecological disaster of unprecedented proportion by the unmitigated failures of Obama and his administration, you will surely hear more calls like this one by Waters to have the government run more private sector industry.

God Bless Amerika.

June 10, 2010

This is Why Everyone Hates Boomers

The article in today’s Buffalo News longingly recalling the “Allentown Riots” is just another example of why Baby Boomers can’t die off fast enough.
That first sentence may sound a bit harsh, but let’s be very clear here: there is no honor in trashing a town and assaulting cops. That a drunken brawl is memorialized by that generation just proves how insipid Boomers are as a people.
I normally don’t tee off on an entire generation like this, but I’ve had it. I never bought into the whole “Greatest Generation” mystique, but at least the generation that fought World War II had worthwhile things to commemorate. You know, like D-Day. (Incidentally, it’s really pathetic that the Buffalo News devoted this much ink to commemorating a drunken brawl at a hippie art festival, but could only run four paragraphs from the Associated Press on the anniversary of arguably the most significant military battle in modern history. But I digress.) And yes, I know that members of my generation have engaged in reprehensible behavior as well. The difference is, we don’t name our bar brawls and celebrate their anniversaries. Only a generation whose symbol is Bill Clinton and whose time on earth has been otherwise meaningless would do something like that.
But back to the event that the Buffalo News thinks is worth commemorating: “Things got a little too big and out of hand, but then you mature and settle down,” Mary M. Myszkiewicz, the current Allentown Society president, told the Buffalo News.
That’s awesome. In other words, dirty hippies eventually learned the value of being investment bankers and mealy-mouthed yes-men and school administrators, and having money to spend on Volvos and BMWs and the art from their silly little festivals, so their disgusting mob riots became a moment to celebrate from their youth. Because eventually you mature and settle down.
Of course, the same nonsense that the Grooviest Generation saddles the rest of us with today prevailed after their little “Riot”: Allentown residents held public meetings to discuss the riot and the police action. When police Lt. Thomas F. Higgins, who 16 years later would become Erie County sheriff, walked into a June 15 meeting at Shaw Memorial Church, the crowd made it clear that he was unwelcome…More public meetings followed the one attended by Higgins — including a June 17 meeting that attracted nearly 350 people and at least one man who claimed to be a member of the Black Panther Party.
Yeah, good job, losers. Your parents liberated a continent and defeated fascism. You liberated your sexuality and called cops fascists.
I can’t wait to see the monuments you’ll build to yourselves when the Great Boomer Die-Off begins.
Scratch that. I can’t wait to see the Great Boomer Die-Off begin.

June 9, 2010

Life Lessons

As I've gotten older, I've found that there are life lessons to be found at virtually every turn. Take, for instance, my trip to Wegman's yesterday. Standing in line to pay for the sub that I had ordered, I got a lesson in just how fucked up this state is. Who'd have thought that Wegman's could be so educational.

Now, if you've ever ordered a sub from Wegman's you know that there is a single line with a single register to ring customers out. Having gathered up my delicious lunch-in-waiting, I proceeded to the register where I encountered a woman taking an incessant amount of time to get the hell out of the way.

She had a huge tray of subs. She had ice cream. She had ice. She had four bottles of hot sauce. She pre-cut fruit. In fact, through my superb powers of observation, I ascertained that the lady who clearly violated the maximum limit of items to be brought through the sub line was going to a party. I'm good like that.

After waiting for 10 minutes to get to the front of the line, the lady in question was ready to finalize her purchase. Lo and behold, she whipped out her card, swiped it through the machine and consummated the purchase of her cart full of goodies. None of this do I really care about, except one part: that card she swiped for her purchase was a Benefits Card. In case you don't know what that is, it's the electronic card that the state gives to welfare recipients to pay for food.

So here's me, the schlep that I am, taking a few minutes out of my 10 hour work day to run to Wegman's so I can scarf down a sub before I return to work, but this piece of shit gets to buy the makings of what was surely a nice, little shindig, in the middle of the work day, on our dime. What the hell is wrong with this picture? And how does the state of New York allow this to continue?

Look....there are people in this state who legitimately need assistance, and I'm okay with that. But it's people like this piece of shit, people who abuse the system, that make the blood of people like me boil. And where is the pride of these people? Where is the desire to be a productive member of society? Unfortunately, I fear that it has been replaced by a multi-generational dependence on "the man" to take care of them, coupled with their warped sense of entitlement; a sense of entitlement that is fed by a state government dominated by New York City politicians that must enact such policies to placate their constituencies. And that is where the problem lies.

As long as people like Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver exist, and as long as people like Francine DelMonte continue to elect people like Silver to lead their caucus, as she has done for years, upstate New York is screwed. What it will take for people who live north of the Tappan Zee Bridge to realize this, I have no idea. I guess we'll see how pissed off people are come November.

June 8, 2010

Thompson's Unabashed Arrogance

Ya gotta love WGRZ. They are so relentless with their hounding of elected officials, it's often comical. But every so often, they catch lightning in a bottle.

Such was the case in the below video, when, while attempting to get some answers as to the status of the overdue budget, they tracked down Senator Antoine Thompson. The result is priceless.

Watch for yourself, but in a nutshell, Thompson adamantly refuses to answer any questions related to the budget, telling Ron Plants, "I have a press person, he's not here, funnel them (the questions about the budget) through my press person." And he drives away.

Look...no one is obligated to answer questions from a reporter, but frankly, I've never seen anything like it from a New York State Senator. If a situation occurs when they don't want to answer questions, they'll try to find some graceful way to extract themselves from the situation. Not Thompson. He flaunts his unabashed arrogance like no other. I mean seriously...the budget is over two months late, but Thompson doesn't believe that the the people that he allegedly represents in Albany don't deserve some answers? That is downright sickening.

Someone, somewhere please run against this guy - he is not worthy of his position.

June 7, 2010

Dyster Needs A "Specialist"

It is simply astounding that someone can make so many erroneous statements and still have the audacity to think he's credible. Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster must think that the people who follow the news are incredibly stupid. Then again, maybe that plays in his community.

In case you missed it, Dyster has been pushing to hire the National Development Council to assist in attracting businesses to the city. Now, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the city needs help. A drive through virtually any part of the city will tell you that. But it's Dyster's twisted justification that boggles the mind.

Dyster already got his way when he brought in Peter Kay to head the city's economic development efforts, at a salary of approximately $100,000 a year. Needless to say, Kay has been an unmitigated disaster. After bashing the hell out of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, Kay went on to list a slew of NCIDA projects in the city as his accomplishments. On his own, he has not a single substantive economic development project to cite as an achievement.

So Dyster wants more help. He attempts to explain the need to bring in the NDC to assist Kay by stating, "I trust my doctor and my doctor is very competent. But if my doctor says it's time to hire a specialist, I go to a specialist to look for a cure". Absolutely, Paul...anyone would do the same thing. The problem is, you have that "specialist" on your staff in the form of Peter Kay. He was brought in for the explicit purpose of cultivating economic development projects and nothing else. By stating that your development guru needs a specialist to help him, you are acknowledging that the Kay era has failed. And the whole concept makes you look foolish.

Maybe if you held your state representatives, Antoine Thompson and Francine DelMonte, accountable, you might get something out of them for the city. Maybe of you didn't stand so close to NYPA boss Richie Kessel every time he blows into town that you have to wipe the shit off of your nose, you might get some ED dollars from the Power Authority. Maybe if you lowered the staggering tax rate and water rates in Niagara Falls, businesses would express an interest. Maybe of you forced Cordish and Niagara Falls Redevelopment Corporation to stop holding the city hostage, you'd see some economic development projects materialize. And maybe if you didn't keep your head buried in the damn sand anytime anyone tries to offer some constructive criticism, you might see some positive things happen. We won't hold our collective breath waiting for any of these things to happen.

Instead, you keep looking for new and innovative ways to spend the money of what taxpayers you have left in the city, like bringing in more "specialists". The rest of us, we'll just keep crossing the Rainbow Bridge so we can understand what a real government is capable of doing for a world-class destination.

June 4, 2010

Thompson Blindsides DelMonte

In the latest version of As NYPA Turns, we have New York State Senator Antoine Thompson doing an end-around on Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte.

Our saga begins with the fact that the Power Authority currently has two openings on their Board of Trustees. Over the years, Niagara County Legislator Renae Kimble has been one of the most vocal members of the legislature in calling for NYPA to name a resident of Niagara County to the Board. That's where things get interesting.

DelMonte despises Kimble, and vice versa, despite the fact that they're both Democrats. However, Thompson is close with Kimble, and he has been lobbying for her to get named to the NYPA Board. Apparently, he is having some success.

Kimble was in Albany last week, with Shirley Hamilton, meeting with Marty Mack from Governor David Paterson's office to discuss her appointment. Paterson is close to naming her to one of the two vacancies. And all of this is happening behind the back of DelMonte.

Needless to say, DelMonte will be none too happy to learn of these developments. Kimble has been a thorn in her side for years, and putting her in such a power position will not sit well. Regardless, Thompson is fully intent on getting Kimble on the Board.

How this shakes out remains to be seen. If nothing else, it will have the makings of the most dramatic of soap operas.

June 3, 2010

Odd Strategy By State Dems

I'm finding the video below quite odd. It is a promotional video put out by the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to tout what they believe to be 11 candidates for state senate that they claim will "end the dysfunction". As if the 18 months that the Dems have had the majority hasn't been one of the most dysfunctional and corrupt period in history.

But the video is presented in a very interesting format. Each of the candidates talks about why they became a state senator. The problem is, none of them are a senator yet. So it comes off very misleading.

But the bigger problem with the theory of presenting each if these candidates speaking as if they're already in office is the state Dems complete lack of understanding the political climate in which they're working. I mean, Albany has never been more dysfunctional than it is right now, and the anti-incumbency movement is as great as it's ever been. So what is the logic of presenting a slate of new candidates as incumbents?

If there is a reasonable rationale for this strategy, I'm not getting it. I'm thinking the voters won't either.

June 2, 2010

Three Years And Counting

As we have done for the past two years, we'd like to take a moment to thank those of you who've enjoyed Niagara Times. After all, it was three years ago yesterday that the first post was done on this blog.

Needless to say, it's become a regular read for many of you. The stats above tell us that over the past three years, this site has had 161,056 page loads and 123,921 unique visitors, which consists of 56,564 first-time visitors and 67,357 returning visitors.

Thanks again for tuning in, I hope you enjoy the site for many years to come.





June 1, 2010

Virtuoso’s Proposal Merits Serious Discussion

It’s a rare day when we think an idea put forth by Dennis Virtuoso has merit. After all, the hyper-partisan minority leader of the County Legislature has had a tendency, during his tenure, to alienate nearly everyone except his own mother.
That qualifier being given, however, we applaud the thought that Virtuoso put into a proposed local law to require disclosure of home oxygen cylinders, which some local firefighters fear could turn into deadly bombs in a blaze.
For more than a decade, as the home oxygen canisters have become more pervasive, there has been concern that the canisters can, at a minimum, add to the intensity of a fire, or worse, explode like bombs, as happened in this New Jersey fire a decade ago. And just a year ago, an oxygen canister in a parked vehicle in Kansas destroyed both the car and a nearby home.
Perhaps of most concern, locally, is a recent near-disaster in rural Lockport: “Frontier Fire Company Chief Gary Hunt, chairman of the county Fire Advisory Board, said firefighters’ concerns were magnified by a mobile home fire in March in the Town of Lockport, where several oxygen tanks exploded.
For those reasons, we worry that County Legislator Pete Smolinski of North Tonawanda is rushing to judgment on the matter by announcing his unequivocal opposition out of concern for medical privacy. While we understand the pain that HIPAA and associated laws have caused our legal system, that does nothing to mitigate the potential danger from an exploding oxygen cylinder—or the concerns local firefighters, and especially volunteer firefighters rushing into unknown situations, no doubt feel.
Virtuoso’s local law is far from ready for passage, and some of the legal headaches Smolinski is concerned about must be dealt with before such a law can come to fruition. But a conversation on this topic needs to take place, and we hope Virtuoso and fellow Niagara Falls Democrat Jason Cafarella, a professional firefighter with a seat on the County Legislature’s Community Safety and Security Committee, will take the lead on the issue and explore reasonable compromises that satisfy both sides’ concerns.
Incidentally, for those who think Virtuoso is overreacting on this issue, the video below graphically shows the potential for damage and destruction from a pressurized oxygen cylinder exploding: