Sunday, November 04, 2018

Win, Place, or Show -- 3 Ways to Win by Voting for Larry Sharpe...

In case you missed the 4-way debate for NY Governor (Cuomo absented himself) held by the League of Women Voters, here is a link.  The awfully-moderated earlier debate between Cuomo and Molinaro may be painfully watched here. (It only demonstrates Cuomo's big mouth and lack of self control).

We know that Cuomo's policies have produced zilch results economically for Upstate NY, in spite of spending unprecedented amounts ($Billions) of tax dollars on buildings for industries, airports, and public infrastructure. How many times does the Communist approach to economic development (public ownership of the means of production) have to be tried before it is relegated to the dust-bin of history?

Mr. Molinaro, while more moderate than Mr. Cuomo, is unconvincing that he would bring needed changes to New York. On social issues he expresses more concern about maintaining abortion rights than he does about protecting 2nd Amendment rights (his running mate is pro-SAFE Act).  He may wear the Republican label but acts like a "Lite Democrat."

Most telling, and concerning, was Mr. Molinaro's side-stepping any endorsement of President Trump's economic policies, even after at least 3 challenges by Mr. Cuomo to do so.  Does Molinaro not see the significant improvement in the Nation's business climate brought by Trump's tax changes and regulation reductions?  The economic numbers are the best the Nation has seen in Decades! Why would the State's GOP pick for Governor not embrace the President's policies that have worked so well, particularly in "flyover" parts of the country that are similar to Upstate NY? Why would the GOP pick for Governor not show how NY could profit from these policies?  Is he OK with the Nation leaving NY behind?

Libertarian Larry Sharpe, with the "less government" message, offers the best hope for New York to advance economically, especially in the Trump era.  He is the ONLY candidate that recognizes that turning New York around will require a "culture change" toward less government in Albany.  He has demonstrated his willingness to take on that challenge given the map of all the places in New York State that he has visited during his campaign. I don't think we have ever seen a candidate for governor work this hard!

Mr. Sharpe is clearly in this race to win -- and if he does, New York will become a much better place to live by shrinking the size of government and its control over our lives.

But if you vote for Mr. Sharpe, you will win Something even if he comes in second or third.

In New York, a Party's placement on a ballot depends upon the number of votes cast for the Party in the governor's race.  If Sharpe places second, the Libertarian Party will take over the second line on the Ballot, sending a strong message to Republican leadership that it needs to change in a "less government" direction.

There have been a LOT of funny (ha ha) radio ads asking voters to vote for Mr. Molinaro on the Conservate Party Line "to show support for President Trump" - which makes them "funny" in a "weird" sense since Mr. Molinaro does not support President Trump.  The ads show Conservative Party desperation to hold on to that 3rd Ballot line -- which is too often squandered on candidates that are not really conservative. If Sharpe places 3rd, which he can do very easily, the Libertarian Party will take over the 3rd line, telling the Conservative Party that it needs to move in a "less government" direction.

Culture change in Albany will not come easily.  A vote for Sharpe gives the voter 3 chances to start that culture change.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Bigger than Tenney v Brindisi . . .

Tuesday's congressional election is bigger than Tenney v Brindisi and Gillibrand vs Farley.  It is about who will control the Congress.  Here's your real ballot (from a Facebook meme):


It is also directing your own life vs government running your life, and taking care of Americans vs taking care of the world. 
The Democrats have moved to the radical left.  "Medicare for All" means taking Medicare from Seniors who have paid into it for a lifetime and using it to pay for medicare for everyone else. It won't be healthcare between you and your doctor -- it will be between you and your government. Proposed Democrat "middle class tax cuts" (see Kamala Harris) will be "Welfare for All" because they are designed to make the middle class as dependent upon government checks as the poor. Democrats want to control you and everything about you, including what you think, say or do.  They will use every means necessary to take power and lord it over you -- including turning government agencies against those with differing ideas, spying on phone conversations, invading personal computers, harassing individuals and their families, filing spurious or false charges and lawsuits, and character assassination. Once they have power, they will not cede to contrary wishes of the voters because they will populate the government with civil servants that will be obedient only to them. These are things that have already been done, or will be done.  

The election is no longer about who will represent you, but  in what direction do you want the country to move.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

My Apology!

I love it when people comment on my posts, even when they disagree.  I approve probably 95% of the comments coming my way, usually within 24 hours.

However, I discovered this morning a cache of 17 comments going back several weeks that somehow escaped my notice (i.e., I never got an e-mail that someone had commented.)  They have now been approved and posted.

So to those of my readers who posted comments and did not see them, I was not ignoring you.

My Apology!

Friday, August 31, 2018

OD Conflating Acid Rain with Climate Change . . .

In Response to OD's VIEW: New energy plan bad for ADKs, environment

It is wrong when an editorial board plays upon people's ignorance to advance a political agenda.

The culprit in acid rain is SO2 and NOx, NOT Greenhouse Gases, and it is misleading to conflate the two.  The mechanisms producing Acid Rain are well understood, SO2 and NOx emissions have already been limited, and the benefits are capable of being calculated and documented. 

The Obama Clean Power Plan, however, was targeted to preventing Climate Change, not Acid Rain, by curbing Greenhouse Gas emissions (mainly CO2).  While many claim that CO2 is driving climate change, the mechanisms producing climate change are not as clear as those producing Acid Rain, and the benefits of restricting CO2 through the Clean Power Plan are speculative.   Accepting UN calculations, the Paris Accord would only shave an imperceptible fraction of a degree from world temperature -- meaning that US citizens would have been forced to suffer a reduction in their standard of living to achieve virtually nothing.

Unfortunately those of us in Upstate NY have been forced to sacrifice our economy for the "environmentally virtuous" policies of Andrew Cuomo and his predecessors going back to Mario Cuomo. 

"Protecting the Environment" is emotionally appealing, but unintended consequences to Ordinary People need to be determined and understood, too, if public policy is to be sound.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Net Neutrality: Unneeded and Counter Productive . . .

Per today's OD: Lawmakers: New cable operator should observe net neutrality
"Democrats in the New York state Assembly say any broadband provider picked to replace Charter Communications in the state should be required to observe net neutrality. . . 

"The lawmakers say whichever company replaces Charter should be prohibited from altering web speeds or traffic to favor certain sites or apps."
Good luck finding a provider willing to do this without an outlandish NYS-style taxpayer or ratepayer subsidy to finance defiance of the laws of economics. Net Neutrality may sound good, but it is really the opposite.

Requiring "Net Neutrality"  unnecessarily extends government control,  worsening service, raising rates for most people, and inhibiting expansion and innovation. 

"Unnecessary" because new technologies (eg., 4G LTE) are introducing competition into the marketplace, giving customers options of doing business with another internet provider if they feel their current provider is being unfair to them.

"Worsening service" and "raising rates" because non-affiliated content makers (eg. TV channels, movie industry, news sources, etc. ) will siphon income that the internet provider needs to maintain its network. Remember that Spectrum/Time Warner Cable/ and Harron Communications (locally) began with delivering content (TV), not internet, and their wired networks' well-being depended upon the income received for content.  

"Inhibiting expansion and innovation" because a provider will not make the needed investment if an investment will benefit competitors more than itself.
It's like the old "Fairness Doctrine" of 40-50 years ago which required that broadcasters give "equal time" to opposing viewpoints.  The result was that many broadcasters simply stopped disseminating any viewpoints at all in order to avoid the government's paper work.  Instead of providing the public with alternative viewpoints on an issue, the public would up receiving less information.

With apologies to Mies van der Rohe, "Less (governmental control) is More (public benefit)"    

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

PSC: Substituting "Politician" for "the Public" . . .

Continuing on the subject of "Short Circuiting Upstate," the NY Post opines that "Consumers are going to lose in Cuomo’s bet on wind energy." The Post explains that the Cuomo-PSC Order will require NY utilities to purchase offshore-wind power that will cost FOUR TIMES the current average cost of power in NYS -- with that current average being already 40% higher than the national average! The Post suggests that damages to the environment, the fishing industry and grounds, and navigation will also result from the Cuomo-PSC action.

The environmental impact statement (EIS) for the PSC Order avoids assessing specific environmental impacts with a statement that the order is not tied to any particular site. The EIS only considers "no action" as a reasonable alternative, with nuclear power -- particularly the  continuation of existing Indian Point nuclear power (which Cuomo has vowed to shut down by 2021) -- conspicuous by its absenceIt certainly looks like the SEQRA process, which in barest essence is supposed to ensure that decision-makers will know the environmental consequences of what they are doing, has been bent to fit the governor's notion of what is in the public interest. But, as the Post editorial suggests, it is not just SEQRA that is being bent:
During his successful 1932 run for the White House, New York Gov. Franklin Roosevelt campaigned hard on the issue of electricity affordability. In a speech in Portland, Ore., he told voters that as governor, he had made sure that the New York Public Service Commission was acting “as an agent of the public.” Because electric utilities are monopolies, government’s job was to ensure consumers get a “fair deal” — “adequate service and reasonable rates.
Gov. Roosevelt's view reflects the "traditional" view of why we have a PSC: Certain services are so expensive to implement that they would never be built without the builder being assured that competitors will not prevent the builder from recouping its costs.  The government grants the builder a monopoly in return for government control of rates to keep consumers from being gouged. How times have changed!

Does PSC forcing Utilities to purchase power that costs 4 times the current inflated average sound like ensuring that "consumers get a 'fair deal?'" 

Now the Cuomo-PSC is at the center of another controversy.  Per WKTV "Public Service Commission orders Charter/Spectrum to leave New York State" because, supposedly, Spectrum has not lived up to promises to expand its broadband network to underserved areas.  Assemblyman Brindisi was quick to jump on the bandwagon.
"It’s high time New York cut the cord with Spectrum Cable and provided residents with more competition. Over the past several years, I have heard from literally hundreds of constituents who have called me and signed my online petition, and they are absolutely fed up. They’ve had it with poor customer service; sudden surprise rate hikes they cannot afford; and promises that are not being kept by Spectrum. What is just as bad is that thousands of New Yorkers who are waiting for the broadband access Spectrum keeps advertising it is providing are still stuck with 20th Century technology. I am pleased that the PSC is taking these serious concerns to heart, and is looking out for the hundreds of thousands of Spectrum customers across the state being shortchanged when it comes to cable and Internet service.”
First, how does kicking a company out of the marketplace provide residents "with more competition?"

Second, per Ars Technica, the "poor service" and "surprise rate hikes" cited by Mr. Brindisi are NOT the basis for the PSC's order.  In fact, the PSC acknowledges that it does not regulate the rates that seem to bother people.  Rather, PSC is in a snit because broadband is not being extended quickly enough -- in its opinion. However that dispute involves potential customers, not those of us who are already paying the bills.  In other words, PSC is NOT "looking out for the hundreds of thousands of Spectrum customers being shortchanged when it comes to cable and Internet service" as claimed by Mr. Brindisi, but, rather, for those hoping that the government will give them the opportunity to become customers at someone else's expense.

If water and sewer service extensions are a guide (the subject of many blog posts here) , extension of wired services into sparsely populated areas will lead to higher rates for us all because someone will have to pay to install and maintain all that additional wire and other equipment, and there are not enough someones in the rural areas to do it. In essence, this is a redistribution scheme where more money will have to be taken from those with broadband to give broadband to those without it.

In addition, the Cuomo-PSC directive forces Spectrum to spend money on a (wired) technology that will become uneconomical in rural areas as newer (wireless) methods of product delivery become available - ensuring that the builder will not be able to recover its costs. (See the difference between FDR in 1932 and now?)

These two stories indicate that the role of the PSC has changed from an organization that nurtures development while protecting the public from gouging, to one that defies the laws of economics to advance political agendas.

The Public Service Commission's name should be changed to the Politician Service Commission because its mission now, apparently, is to make politicians look good.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Short Circuiting Upstate . . . Again

Gov. Cuomo, local representatives in the Senate and Assembly, and local officials who count state dollars spent here as "success,"  spare us your "economic development" schemes that cost NY taxpayers billions of dollars supposedly to lure big jobs to Upstate New York. They haven't worked because you have never addressed any root causes of our businesses leaving.

Instead, if you were really interested in improving the economic conditions Upstate, you would stop harebrained schemes such as this: Governor Cuomo Announces Plan Directing the Procurement of Approximately 800 Megawatts of Offshore Wind to Jumpstart Industry

While this may sound nice, per the Empire Center:
"Upstate New York ratepayers will pick up more than half the multi-billion-dollar tab for a massive offshore wind turbine project that will provide very costly power for Long Island and New York City."
This is just the latest assault on the cost of doing business and living in NY that will have an outsize negative impact on Upstate as compared to Downstate . . . But the Downstaters make all the rules.

For the analysis read "Wind Costs Will Blow North."

Friday, June 29, 2018

Followup to Dazzling and Disgusting . . .

Here's a followup to the Downtown: Dazzling and Disgusting post earlier this year . . .

The rain forest . . . I mean rain garden in front of my barber's shop is still disgusting.  It contains junk, and is overgrown with weeds, one over five feet tall.

Maybe it will get cleaned up for the Boilermaker. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

New Term to Learn: Project Labor Agreement

"Project Labor Agreement (PLA)."  I had never heard the term before until a friend called yesterday to relate that the term had been used by some of the Union demonstrators in favor of the Downtown Hospital Project the other night.  No sooner did I hang up the phone when I heard the term used again during an interview with Tommy Carcone, President of the Utica Fire Union on WUTQ.

WikiPedia defines a PLA as
"a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project. Before any workers are hired on the project, construction unions have bargaining rights to determine the wage rates and benefits of all employees working on the particular project and to agree to the provisions of the agreement. The terms of the agreement apply to all contractors and subcontractors who successfully bid on the project, and supersedes any existing collective bargaining agreements. . . " (superscripts omitted)
PLAs can be good things, ensuring that workers on taxpayer-funded projects have protections against being taken advantage of (pay, working conditions, hours, safety, etc.,etc.).  However, the website The Truth About Project Labor Agreements calls them
"special interest schemes that end open, fair and competitive bidding on taxpayer-funded construction projects."
So like anything well intended, abuses can occur.

How does this relate to the Downtown Hospital proposal? It can be presumed that since taxpayer dollars are involved and since NYS favors the use of PLAs (24 states apparently take the opposite view), there would be a PLA no matter where the hospital is built. So why was the term was used by demonstrators?  Is there a PLA in existence for the proposal? If so, who signed it and when, and what are its terms? Is there a PLA that requires the hospital to be built Downtown -- or one that is conditioned upon the hospital being built Downtown?

At this point it is unclear why the Union demonstrators have chosen sides in the hospital location debate, or whether it is related to a PLA or not, but maybe someone out there can clarify with a comment.

Mr. Carcone's interview, however, is another story -- a troubling one.
Beginning at around 13:00 he talks about the Utica Ambulance service being a revenue source for the city of Utica and having a Certificate of Need to serve Utica (exclusively?). He argues that this somehow will make up for the loss of tax revenue that will come into the city due to the hospital being tax exempt.  [Of course, that loss of tax revenue to Utica would be totally avoided if the hospital were built at St. Luke's].

The Utica Ambulance Service has already gone into competition against private ambulance companies. If my memory serves me correctly, that was done supposedly to increase revenues into the City of Utica (by tapping deep-pocket insurers). But if the costs to customers are going into balancing the city budget in addition to the supply of the actual service, CUSTOMERS ARE PAYING MORE FOR THE AMBULANCE SERVICE THAN IT IS WORTH IN THE OPEN MARKET. In addition, the service will be subject to the same abuses that we see often in local government as compared to private businesses, further increasing costs. See "Ambulance Chasing" from March 2011. I do not think that the Utica taxpayers have ever been given a breakdown of the actual cost of their ambulance service.

Mr. Carcone talked about an agreement with Utica College and proposed that the hospital should buy an ambulance for the UFD. (Why should our regional hospital buy an ambulance for Utica?) Maybe I am wrong but it sounded like putting the hospital in Utica would somehow be used to get suburban residents to contribute to Utica. Could patients some day be faced with a Utica law that says "All persons travelling to hospitals in Utica by ambulance must be transported by the Utica Fire Dept?" That seemed to be what this guy was implying but maybe I misunderstood him. Yet we've seen how the rules and laws can be manipulated both in regard to the ambulance service and other things.   This would increase benefits to the Utica Firefighter's Union, put the squeeze on private businesses, increase local insurance rates, and do nothing to improve healthcare.

Mr. Carcone also discussed negotiating "Project Labor Agreements" after the project is built.  My understanding is that hospital workers already have their bargaining representatives.  What is his interest in this?  Is he thinking that Utica's municipal workers' unions will somehow get involved?

It sounds like putting the hospital in Utica is going to subject its operations to Utica special-interest politics.

This is probably the best reason for KEEPING THE NEW HOSPITAL OUT OF UTICA. Who thinks that forcing the Hospital to deal with Utica politics will benefit their healthcare?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Balloon has Burst . . .

A few days ago area officials were whining about this area losing out as a drone testing site.  Tonight we are hit with this bombshell: Premier Aviation in Rome to close, 150 jobs lost.

No Drones . . . No Aircraft Maintenance . . . So what do we have to show for the Taxpayer $$$$$ invested at Griffiss "International" Airport? 

Meanwhile we gave up our old County Airport in Whitestown for a "Homeland Security" Training Center that has created how many jobs? ...  that is used how often?

We destroyed what we had that met our needs to build something "better"  -- and more expensive to maintain -- 5 miles away. Did that make sense for a region of shrinking population?

We are doing the same thing now in Utica where two existing hospitals will be closed and consolidated into something "better" at an entirely new site -- yet the old hospital sites will remain and the existing tax-paying businesses at the new site will be destroyed. Does this not waste the prior investments made at both hospitals and businesses?  Aren't we increasing future expenses for the taxpayer?

We seem to be building for the sake of building - - like pumping air into a balloon.

What will we have when the balloon bursts?