Saturday, June 18, 2016

The "Fourth Term" of Richard Hanna?

An invitation crossed my desk today … an invitation to a fundraising cocktail reception at the Yahnundasis for Steve Wells. Nothing usual about that. Fundraisers are held for candidates all the time.

But a $150 minimum? Isn’t this a bit exclusive? Exclusive of the rank-and-file Republicans who have been financially harmed by Local, State, and National economic policies?

More telling, however, is the list of sponsors for this event, a Who’s Who of our local Republican Elite.

You know "Our Elite:”
  • the ones who have no problem with a Sales Tax that is head and shoulders above surrounding counties …
  • the ones who have no problem with some of the highest property taxes in the nation …
  • the ones who had no problem closing down a perfectly-sized and well-maintained airport in return for a boatload of Federal funds, an oversized behemoth, and multiple opportunities for well-connected contractors to profit …
  • the ones constantly dumping County taxpayer money into an “International” airport with no scheduled flights …
  • the ones who used County tax money to build a passenger terminal that can only be used by those fortunate enough to fly private planes …
  • the ones who have no problem taking water from Herkimer County and the residents of Greater Utica and sending it, at the people’s expense, to the Oneida Indian Nation and western Oneida County …
  • the ones who support removing hundreds of acres from the local tax rolls and placing it into Federal Trust for the benefit of the Oneida Indian Nation …
  • the ones who favor taking properties permanently off Utica’s taxrolls and closing city streets to grab $300 million in state funds for a new hospital, which can be built on sites nearby without the negative impacts …
  • the ones who have presided over a drop in regional population of Biblical proportion …
  • the ones who stood silent while the Republican County Executive appeared in television and radio advertisements against the Republican Gubernatorial candidate and actually endorsed Democrat Governor Cuomo …
  • the ones who stood by while the voters of several Oneida and Herkimer County towns had their representation diluted by Suburban New York City voters in a Gerrymandered, string-bean shaped Assembly District in a blatant, but unsuccessful, attempt to depose the local Assemblywoman who had become a thorn in their side and a threat to "business as usual" …
  • the ones who must have had a bad case of agita when that same Assemblywoman almost beat the incumbent Congressman in the last primary for the position.
Ahh, Our Elite . . . the ones who supported Congressman Hanna through two re-elections even though he:
  • told Republicans to donate to Democrats to advance women’s issues …
  • campaigned as a “fiscal conservative” yet opened the door to more spending by voting to increase the Federal debt ceiling every time it came up …
  • campaigned as a “fiscal conservative” yet proposed new big-spending programs of his own …
  • pushed for a larger role of the Federal government in education …
  • voted tens of times in “show votes” to “repeal Obamacare,” yet shrank from using the power of the purse to neutralize Obamacare by voting to fund it …
  • encouraged illegal immigration by voting against cutting off Section 8 housing subsidies for illegals …
  • advocated for more visas for foreign workers with technical degrees at a time when the number of American technical graduates far exceeded the job supply and when companies have used foreign workers to displace Americans …
  • approved of several "free trade" agreements that caused the loss of local jobs to foreign countries …
  • aided the potential infiltration of our government by Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers when he attacked Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann’s call for an investigation of how Huma Abedin (a top aide of Hillary Clinton) was able to get a security clearance …
  • routinely mocked conservatives who disagreed with him, including a 4th grader!
Ahh, Our Elite . . . the ones desperately conducting a smear campaign against Claudia Tenney, mischaracterizing her record.

No one can seriously question Ms. Tenney’s bona fides as a Conservative, although in the dysfunction that is Albany, votes can be misconstrued any way you want. The trumpeted “missed votes” is a distortion: She DID vote – on paper – as was her right while attending to personal family matters. When that should have been the end of the story, those intent on making a smear discussed that she may have been campaigning while she was away from Albany to care for her mother . . . So What? Her constituents were already served by her written votes. Simply, she did not have to be present.

Ms. Tenney is well known, even in the national media, as a person guided by conservative, Constitutional, small-government principles that is not beholden to special interests -- especially Our Elite.

Mr. Wells claims to have supported the Republican candidate in the last gubernatorial election, yet admits that his company, which has contracts with the state, made a large donation to Andrew Cuomo. Isn't that duplicitous? Isn't that more of what we currently have representing us in Washington?

Since Mr. Wells has no record in the public eye, he can only be judged by the company he keeps – which is the same company kept by Mr. Hanna: Our Elite.

If you like the job Our Elite have done, and if you like the job done by Richard Hanna, then by all means vote for Mr. Wells. They, and he, give us no reason to believe they will do anything different.

Even though Mr. Phillips comes across as a knowledgeable candidate above the frey, he has not been under constant attack and lacks the legislative experience of Ms. Tenney.

If you are tired of “business as usual” politics and tired of Republicans promising to do one thing and then doing the opposite, then consider CLAUDIA TENNEY as your choice this Congressional primary on Tuesday, June 28th.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Summit is Nice . . . a New Reservoir is Better!

Per today's OD Editorial:  Our View: Summit is needed to discuss Hinckley's future 

Absolutely!  A "summit" is needed! 

Among "players" seemingly left out of discussions thus far and who should be invited to the "summit" are the many with actual legal rights to the water. 

At common law landowners along the West Canada Creek below the Hinckley dam, such as Brookfield Power, are entitled to the Full Natural Flow of that Creek subject only to the State's superior right to divert water for navigation purposes. Diversions for other purposes, such as MVWA's use as a drinking water supply, are NOT protected at common law and potentially expose the State to liabilities for damages unless the water removed is replaced with "excess" water taken out of storage. 

To that end, prior to 2012, the MVWA was required to hold approximately 120 days of its water use in a storage reservoir upstream of Hinckley, and to use that water during drier weather to replace the water MVWA removed from Hinckley. In 2012 the State excused MVWA from this requirement. 

To maintain uses of the West Canada Creek below the dam, Hinckley must now perform the function of MVWA's storage reservoir in addition to its usual function of feeding the Canal. This "double duty" increases the likelihood that water levels on Hinckley Lake will be lower during drier weather than if Hinckley were just used to feel the canal. 

The situation for lake recreation will worsen as MVWA draws increasing amounts of water to serve the nanotech industry, and to serve western portions of Oneida County. 

If current uses of West Canada Creek water are to be maintained and new ones added, the only solution appears to be an engineering one: a new storage reservoir upstream of Hinckley capable of holding 120 days of MVWA's water useage. 

Given the terms of its 2012 agreement with MVWA, the State would seem to be responsible for this

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Federal Transgender Bathroom Mandate. . . .

The Federal government has issued "guidance" (backed by threats of lawsuits and loss of Federal education aid) to local school districts that requires them to allow students to use whichever bathroom (locker room, showers, etc.) matches the gender with which they "identify."  Liberals view this as another "civil rights" frontier in their war against "discrimination." They mock anyone who objects, dismissing objections as homophobic, bigoted, and provincial.

Objections have primarily focused on the sexual predator risk: that predators will use the Federal directive (or similar local laws) as "cover" to commit crimes in restrooms. But parents know their objections run deeper in ways they may not be able to articulate.

The American College of Pediatricians recently placed into words what most parents intuitively know: "Gender Ideology Harms Children."  In a nutshell, policies that support "gender confusion" behavior in children inhibit the mental development process that normally leads to acceptance of one's own biological sex, and leads to a host of mental problems as adults, including a significantly greater risk of suicide.  

Far from advancing "civil rights," those running the Federal government (most Democrats and a significant number of Republicans) are advancing a political agenda to further divide the nation against itself, to break down all institutions that could potentially challenge Federal authority: families, churches, bodies of religious beliefs, school systems, lower levels of government, and social groups and customs. Even persons who are self-sufficient can pose a threat (thus the need to "tax the rich").

This is only the latest of a multi-generational effort to condition the population to accept Federal control of all aspects of life without question . . . and without resistance. 



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Utica Will Be A-Maze-ing!

What might a combo sports facility/apartment complex on Whitesboro St. look like? The Catalyst's Facebook page contained the rendering below.  It looks great! The rendering serves its purpose to demonstrate that a sports and apartment complex can co-exist on the same site. BUT there are some troubling aspects to the rendering that, if not fixed, could spell more trouble for the future City of Utica.

The rendering shows more street closures that will make getting in and out of the proposed sports/apartment complex and Baggs Square West difficult. 

The project site can currently be accessed from the heart of Downtown via both Cornelia St. and Broadway. These streets run south all the way to Court St., which is part of a major East-West thoroughfare across town.  Cornelia and Broadway also provide an important visual connection between the project site and Downtown, helpful to both drivers and walkers making their way.  The site can also be reached via Washington and Seneca Sts; however, these streets, which formerly ran to Genesee, have been blocked by the Radisson and Ellen Hanna Park, and now only provide limited connectivity.

The rendering shows that the segment of Cornelia north of Oriskany Blvd will be eliminated, cutting off access to the west end of Whitesboro Street  and the west end of the project site. (Cornelia may also be cut off by the proposed hospital according to renderings of that project).  The north ends of Broadway and Seneca Sts. are being cut off by medians or a park from those streets to the south making access to these areas from the southern direction more difficult. This will reduce access to both the project site and Baggs Square West (which is already difficult to reach because of the N. Genny bridge).

It looks as though planners are depending on Washington St for site access to the south, but it's connectivity only runs to Lafayette -- and the value of that connection gets threatened if the proposed Hospital blocks Lafayette!

Whether the street closures are proposed by the developers, the city, the State DOT, or all of them, they spell trouble. It is as if they are deliberately creating a maze for people to navigate through! 

Utica should be re-connecting its streets, not cutting them off into small isolated segments, if it wants them to be accessible for economic activity.

Will the new Utica be Amazing . . . . or just a maze?


---
P.S.  Some afterthoughts . . . The connectivity problems on this rendering appear to be easily solvable by closing one block of Charles St., which has limited connectivity, switching buildings "a" with "e" and "f," re-configuring the existing connection between Cornelia and Whitesboro Sts. to give access to the proposed parking garage, and maintaining the existing connections of Broadway and Seneca.

The connectivity problem with the proposed hospital can be similarly improved by designing  the buildings to maintain the current street grid. (This is NOT an endorsement of that project, but it will at least reduce some of its off-site impacts.)

The city should be applauded for trying to make this work -- but wouldn't it have been better to simply lay down some general principles in the Master Plan (like: "maintain the street grid
") and let the developers use THEIR creativity, instead of the government involving itself with the intricacies of a design? The less government needs to be involved, the more developers will be encouraged to come to town. "Freedom" (within an ordered structure) sells!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Is It Time to Abolish the Board of Regents Yet?

The headline in The Journal News today:  NY to let undocumented workers become teachers.
Undocumented immigrants in New York will be able to apply for teacher certifications and professional licenses, the state Board of Regents said.

The board that oversee education policies in New York voted Wednesday to allow people who can't get legal residency because of their parents' immigration status to seek teacher certifications. They will also be able to apply for a license from among the 53 professions overseen by the state Education Department, including a variety of medical professions.
Today those who cannot get legal residence because of their parents' illegal immigration status will be allowed to teach (or become pharmacists, or any other profession licensed by State Ed Dept.) . . . Tomorrow it will be anyone who is illegally present because the rationale presented can be applied to them as well (see the legal memorandum linked in the article that justifies the Board's action).

The will of the people has been codified in our laws that have been duly enacted by Congress and the State Legislature. Both State and Federal laws prohibit this . . . but "caselaw is evolving" that seems to justify whatever those in power want to do.

Only legislative bodies can enact laws. Courts may strike down laws for one reason or another, but the act of striking down a law does not automatically make the opposite action an authorized one. The Board of Regents cannot, on its own, override existing law because its powers are limited by the state laws AS WRITTEN.

"We the People" are suffering another assault at the hands of the Board of Regents. 

No wonder there is so much anger at government and disrespect for law these days. 

The very institutions we have created to administer our laws are, themselves, lawless.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Apple Controversy: Involuntary Servitude?

It is amazing that in all the discussions over the government forcing Apple to create software to unlock a terrorist's cell phone, no one raises the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution.

Amendment XIII Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Per Wikipedia:
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution makes involuntary servitude illegal under any U.S. jurisdiction whether at the hands of the U.S. government or in the private sphere, except as punishment for a crime: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

While usually thought of in terms of slavery, per the "usegal.com" website . . .
Involuntary servitude refers to being forced through coercion to work for another.
Is this not what is happening to Apple? Apple is being forced through coercion (a court order) to work for another (the US Government).

Yes there are certain duties that have been held to be not included within the prohibition of the 13th Amendment, but they do not seem to apply here.

If Apple can be directed to aid the US Government, where is the limit to what the government can force anyone to do? 

I would be interested if any of my attorney friends could shed light on why the 13th Amendment seems to be left out of the discussion.  What am I missing?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Settling the Refugee Lawsuit: Politics of the Worst Kind. . .

Both the OD and the Syracuse newspapers have reported that The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees' Newcomer Program and the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES Alignment of Pathways and Programs for Learners of English will be shut down at the end of this school year. As discussed previously on this blog, these programs were the subject of federal lawsuits filed against the Utica City School District by the NY Civil Liberties Union, and by the NY State Attorney General because certain 17-20 year old refugee students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) complained that they were placed in the programs instead of being allowed to attend Proctor High School.  [Note that the UCSD Superintendent's response to the latter suit echos my question of why the AG was bringing suit against an entity regulated by the State Education Dept.]

The complaining students came to Utica in their late teens, spoke little English, and appear to have been virtually uneducated having spent most of their lives in refugee camps.  Yet, somehow, they knew enough to contact an NYCLU lawyer, demand to attend the local high school as a matter of right, and complain that UCSD was denying them the opportunity to become doctors, nurses, engineers, etc.

Obviously a bit of "mentoring" was going on.

With the closure of the programs and sending the students to Proctor, the AG and NYCLU lawyers are getting their wish, the students are getting what they were told is best for them, and the UCSD will hopefully get these costly bogus lawsuits dismissed.  Everyone will be happy...BUT...

Are the refugee students really better off? 

If, like the complainants, you were 8, 10, or 12 years behind your peers in education achievement and did not speak the language of your fellow students, you would likely waste your time attending regular school because you would be unprepared for it. Without preparation, encouraging you to attend regular school would be educational malpractice!

It was my understanding that the courses complained of concentrated on teaching as much English and American customs and culture as possible to these students in their limited time left in the school system.  Because of the actions of the AG and the NYCLU, the students will lose access to programs designed to position them to assimilate into American society.

A political connection was mentioned in my NYCLU post and political motivation suggested in my AG post. Now the political objective comes into focus:

Preventing assimilation would create a permanent underclass that will always be dependent upon its political mentors. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

An "Award-Winning" Racket!

According to today's OD,
Companies throughout the Mohawk Valley are being rewarded for their positive impact on the local economy.  
(Don't 'cha love the positive spin the OD puts on things? You would think that the "MoVa" was positively booming!)
ReCharge NY, a program through the state Power Authority, awards low-cost power to state businesses and nonprofit organizations.
(In other words, this program "awards" special deals for special businesses . . . needed because NY State policies have required that cheap-to-produce Upstate-created hydropower must subsidize NYC-metro area electric rates . . . an area that insisted on closing one power facility just before it was turned on (the Shoreham, LI nuke plant), is insisting on closing another (the Indian Point nuke plant) and is closing down a myriad of fossil-fuel based plants.)
Some of this year’s big recipients include Revere Copper Products in Rome (6,600 kilowatts), Special Metals Corp. in New Hartford (4,900 kilowatts) and GUSC Energy in Rome (6,730 kilowatts).
GUSC should catch your eye.  GUSC Energy "is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Griffiss Utility Services Corporation (GUSC)." "Griffiss Utility Services Corporation (GUSC) distributes steam heat and electricity to the tenants of Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, New York."

So GUSC Energy and GUSC (the parent corp.) are really "middlemen" in getting electricity from the producer to the end users, the captive tenants of the Griffiss Business and Technology Park, that the other recipients of ReCharge NY's largess do not have to go through.  GUSC Energy and GUSC are part of the "alphabet soup" of Mohawk Valley EDGE-related corporations operating with 'complete transparency' (an attempt at humor here) up at the "International" airport . . . and people running these 'middleman' organizations are obviously being paid.  

Have you heard people raving about the good deal they get on utilities at Griffiss Park?  I didn't think so.

Only in the Mohawk Valley would forcing people to go through a middleman to purchase their electricity be considered a "positive impact on the local economy."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Regional Hospital (or "Transformational Opportunity District"): Lacking an Environmental Review?

Yesterday it was noted here that the MVREDC, in its application for funding of various economic development projects, proposed the creation of a 34-acre "Downtown Utica Transformational Opportunity District." The application showed a large sprawling building covering portions of Lafayette, Cornelia, Carton, and Pine Streets and Sayer Alley; two parking garages; and other buildings. The site depicted is the same as that picked for the proposed Regional Hospital.

Environmental Conservation Law 8-0109(2) states:
2. All agencies (or applicant as hereinafter provided) shall prepare, or cause to be prepared by contract or otherwise an environmental impact statement on any action they propose or approve which may have a significant effect on the environment. . . . 

6 NYCRR 617.3 (a) states:
No agency involved in an action may undertake, fund or approve the action until it has complied with the provisions of SEQR. . . [Note: SEQR means State Environmental Quality Review]
6 NYCRR 617.4 "Type I actions" lists those actions that are more likely to require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement if they are to be directly undertaken, funded or approved by an agency. Among those are:
a project or action that involves the physical alteration of 10 acres
6 NYCRR 617.7 "Determining significance" lists illustrative criteria for determining whether an action may have a significant adverse impact on the environment. Among those are:
(iv) the creation of a material conflict with a community's current plans or goals as officially approved or adopted;

Here we have MVREDC applying for funding of a project (a) that will involve the physical alteration of more than 10 acres and (b), as previously noted here, that will be in material conflict with the Utica Master Plan -- " a community's current plans or goals as officially approved or adopted."

There is nothing in MVREDC's submission to indicate that an environmental review of the proposed "Downtown Utica Transformational Opportunity District" was ever performed. Since the State would be prohibited from funding such a project without the requisite environmental review, is that the reason why the funds for the hospital no longer seem to be available?

It would not be the first time that our region lost out because it ignored its environmental compliance obligations.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

People With Vision!

A couple stories this past week reveal that our area has people with vision, able to take ideas and turn them into plans and renderings instantaneously!

Per the OD "Talk of a new town hall came up again at a recent Town Board meeting" in New Hartford.  But it was more than just talk.  The talk came complete with conceptual drawings of what the new town hall would look like and a description that it would be "about 28,000 square feet and located partially on town-owned land behind the New Hartford Public Library on Oxford Road."  New Hartford Online Blog has a video of the meeting where the plans were presented.  With the plans seeming to have come out of nowhere, one might wonder WHO authorized them?

Per the "No Hospital Downtown" website we find out that last fall's Mohawk Valley REDC submission to Gov. Cuomo's "Hunger Games" economic development contest (the one we just lost) on page 137 contained a graphic and description of a 34-acre "Downtown Utica Transformational Opportunity District" which showed a large sprawling building covering portions of Lafayette, Cornelia, Carton, and Pine Streets and Sayer Alley; two parking garages; and other buildings -- all located in an area with existing businesses and uses. The submission claims that
"... the City of Utica in concert with other government, business and community partners is looking to transform approximately 34 acres of a largely vacant, underutilized and functionally obsolete area in downtown Utica and transform this area into a technology oriented development that is linked with nano-bio opportunities emerging at SUNY Poly and Masonic Medical Research Laboratory, healthcare, offices, medical education, recreation and entertainment opportunities at the nearby auditorium, gateway site and nearby Harbor Point."
WHO on behalf of the "City of Utica" determined that these 34 acres were a "functionally obsolete area" and WHO on behalf of the "City of Utica" authorized a "transform"ation of it? WHO said it was OK to broach a proposal that requires closing streets? Utica's only official planning document, the Utica Master Plan, says nothing about these things.

Just WHO's vision do the New Hartford and Utica plans implement?