Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Celebrating Nonsense . . .

Oneida County "celebrates" the One Millionth Gallon of jet fuel sold at Griffiss "International" Airport with a big press release.

Does this mean that the Airport is finally self-sustaining?  . . . . I didn't think so.

The number of "operations" at the airport continues to fall.  The only reason O.C. did so "well" in the fuel department is due to military -- i.e., government -- flights.

But how "well" did we do?  As of 12/11/14 OC took in $84,473.46 . . . just about what we are paying the new airport commissioner.

Perhaps O. C.  celebrates this "non-event" to distract from the fact that O. C. has to chase down Mid-Air to collect $700,000 it is owed.

What nonsense!

Monday, December 08, 2014

NYS Single Payer: No Choice, No Jobs . . .

From the Rochester D&C: Supporters call for universal healthcare plan in NY .

The proposal is to replace private health insurance with New York State Health Insurance -- insurance without premiums, deductibles, co-pays, etc.

No one likes dealing with premiums, deductibles and co-pays!  Health care should be Free!!  It is a "Basic Human Right" -- No?

It is easy to make promises that sound good . . . it is quite something else to deliver on them.

For some politicians, the fact that insurance companies make a "profit" on providing a "basic human right" is downright wrong . . . and they intend to fix the situation by replacing the health insurance companies with government. [Never mind the fact that NYS heavily taxes this "basic human right" in hidden ways.]

"Free" health care ultimately has to be paid for.  With a "single payer" system in New York, the "government" becomes the payer . . . You can surmise where the government will get the money from.  Who pays ultimately will be determined by  . . . politics. Do you trust NYS politics?

If it is "free" healthcare,  you will pretty much have to settle for the health care you are given. "Beggers can't be choosers" we used to say . . . If the government is doing the paying then the government will determine what health care you are allowed.  What you get will ultimately be determined by . . . politics. Again, do you trust NYS politics?

And if the government is the sole payer, the pay of the people working in the health care system will ultimately be determined by . . . WHAT?  And if the healthcare workers don't like their pay, then what happens?

Frankly, I do not want politics -- especially NYS politics -- determining who pays for my health care, what my health care provider is paid, and what health care I will be allowed to receive.

But there are a couple other issues here, perhaps even bigger . . .

Insurance companies compete with each other for your business.  If you do not like the service you get from one, you can choose to do business with another.  If NYS politics makes the government your insurance company, if you don't like the service, where will you go?  YOU WILL HAVE NO CHOICE to go elsewhere for your insurance unless you move elsewhere.   

But why stop with health insurance?  Why not Workers' Comp. insurance? It's not that different.  Or auto insurance?  Or life insurance? Or homeowners?  Etc. Etc. If NYS politicians can go after health insurers, they can go after the whole insurance sector.

Insurance companies are big employers in New York,  including ones employing many in this area. We've seen what NYS politicians have done to the arms businesses in New York because they don't like guns.

It looks like the insurance sector is next.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Their Piece of the Pie . . .

A couple months ago Oneida County Executive Picente complained about a proposed casino in Tyre, Seneca County, and announced a coalition to fight it. Seneca County Chairman Hayssen shot back

“Picente and Halbritter know we have the best model for our casino in our zone, and it will rival theirs someday,” he said. “They just don’t want it to happen.”
But Mr. Picente said
that the placement of a casino in Tyre goes against the intent of the Oneidas’ exclusivity agreement with the state, even though Tyre is just outside the Nation’s exclusivity zone.
The agreement is the agreement. If Tyre is outside the Oneida Nation exclusivity zone, then it is a legal location. Is Mr. Picente afraid of a little competition?

Now these same top officials in two counties battle over Turning Stone's planned luxury retail center.

Is Mr. Hayssen afraid of a little competition?

You have to love the spectacle of Government types (both Hayssen and Picente) battling over "their" piece of the "pie." 

But the problem is neither Turning Stone nor Tyre. Rather, the problem is with how Government (State, Federal and Local) allows certain entities (such as Turning Stone) to operate free from the rules that everyone else has to live by.

It is cronyism that WE THE PEOPLE wind up paying for  . . . sometimes in subtle ways  . . . like Utica area sewer users funding sewers for uncommitted nanotech companies . . . and Utica area water users funding a pipeline to Verona for Turning Stone.

WE THE PEOPLE need to put a stop to cronyism by getting rid of the government officials who engage in it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oneida County Is Coming for Your Wallets!!!

"Sewer rates could increase 10% in Oneida County."  This headline is misleading. The sewer rates are not increasing for everyone in Oneida County -- just for those users of the Oneida County Part County Sewer District . . . which is centered on Utica.

About $442,000 of the money generated will go to pay debt service on the $11.6 million project to accommodate increased sewer use expected from nanotechnology enterprises in Marcy.
The population of the sewer district is down.  The current users do not need to "accommodate increased sewer use." 

Leave it to the Oneida County Legislature and the County Executive to find a way to tap Utica-area citizens for County-sponsored development.  We should all be so lucky to find a way to pass the costs of our pet projects on to someone else!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gotta Hand It To These Guys !!!

 Turning Stone Resort Casino announces $100 million luxury retail outlet, entertainment complex . While MV EDGE is running around like a bunch of losers spending Oneida County taxpayers' money trying to stifle potential competition for Turning Stone from Seneca County,  Turning Stone has moved on to beat any potential competition.

Love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admire Turning Stone's entrepreneurial spirit playing their fair or unfair advantages for all their worth.

Let's face it.  There is no way the Utica/Syracuse market alone could support such an outlet center. Now the well-heeled of the region won't have to travel to Manhattan for luxury items.

This is a PLUS for US.  

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Global Warming Baloney

Gotta love this guy . . .    :-)

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Should Upstate Split from NYC?

This was a question someone posted on Topix, generating the "we can get along without them" vs "we need them" type of discussion.  One person posted that both regions need each other.  I agree with the last view.  (I remember in the 1970s when NYC was in an incredible amount of debt, but the Upstate economy was fine and kept things afloat for all).

The problem now is that the needs of these different regions are no longer reflected in state policies. The Downstate majority runs everything to its favor. The Upstate perspective is inadequately represented.

Before the NYS Senate was reapportioned in the late 1960s to reflect a "one man one vote" US Supreme Court interpretation of the "equal protection" clause of the US Constitution, State policies had to be good for both Upstate and Downstate to get past the NYS Senate. A bit like the US Constitution's giving each state 2 senators regardless of population, the NYS Constitution gave Upstate regions more representatives to ensure that differing regional perspectives had a voice in policy making. The result was state policy that was good for the entire state. Compared to now, Upstate was booming back then.

This balance was done away with by the US Supreme Court. You can point to that event as marking the beginning of Upstate's descent both financially and in population, and the entire state's loss of representatives and importance in Washington. Now it is the "tyrrany of the majority" found in a pure democracy that rules us ... something that the framers of both the US and NYS Constitutions sought to avoid.

Restoring the Balance would resolve the issue, but how to get there is a big question. Getting the US Supreme Court to revisit and reverse its past decision -- and then NYS restoring the old Senate representation formula -- would be one approach. Splitting the state administratively into Upstate and Downstate regions with laws having to be approved by the representatives of both regions to become effective might be another approach.

But if the balance cannot be restored, then the only hope for Upstate survival is to break away and make its own policies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Year, Another Rate Increase for MVWA . . .

Water rates rising for fifth time in five years. Will it ever end?

Probably not.

The board controlling the Water Authority is appointed rather than elected by the public.  They answer to politicians.  Therefore, decisions are likely to advance the local (read County) political agenda (formerly New Hartford expansion, now Nano Utica/Marcy, but always crony favoritism) rather than the interests of the consumers. Take a look at the rate structure . . . it heavily favors the high volume industrial users rather than the typical stay-at-home consumer, yet the cost to treat each gallon of water is the same for all.

The board also depends upon Water Authority officials for their information -- officials whose expertise is limited.

Since the paying-public has already lost control of the system, perhaps now is the time to consider selling the water system to a large waterworks corporation such as American Waterworks or Aqua America. These corporations serve many regions rather than one, have developed an expertise that cannot be matched by our local utility, and, most importantly, would be answerable to the  NYS Public Services Commission when they try to increase local water rates.

Will you ever see persons that think this way appointed to the board?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The McDermott Surprise . . .

I don't know about you, but after watching the NY Governor debate last night the Libertarian candidate, Mr. McDermott, was  the big surprise! 

Mr. Astorino came across as being plastic... He presented nothing that we haven't heard before. While he is against Common Core, he would "replace" CC standards with New York State standards . . . but we've already had NYS standards that didn't help.  He would, at best, be another Pataki . . . appealing to more conservative voters, but not fundamentally transformative.

Mr. Hawkins was the big disappointment. Based on the last debate I expected a more intelligent discourse from him, even though I disagree with him on almost everything .... But all I heard was his Utopian wish list . . . and his accent!  . . . Where did that come from?

As for Mr. Cuomo ... The state is a mess.  The targeted corporate welfare on steroids only spends taxpayer money.  It will not create a sustainable economic revival because the structural problems that created NYS' malaise are never addressed (high taxes, over regulation, high utility costs, etc.).
Mr. McDermott nailed both the Common Core and the Charter Schools issues for me. I know some of my conservative leaning friends will disagree on the Charter Schools issue because Charter Schools create choices for parents.  But Charter Schools are still Government Schools.  They may create choices for now, but they are tuition-free competition for the truly independent private parochial schools. After the parochial schools get killed off, there will only be government schools -- and they all will be promoting the government's agenda rather than a diversity of thought.

Mr. McDermott is really a long-shot to actually win because he is not of a "major" party.  But in this era of three Republican County Executives (including our own) endorsing Democrat Governor Cuomo, are the Republicans really a viable party in New York State anymore?  The People have no real choices any more. . . . 

Unless they seize power for themselves.

That was Mr. McDermott's overall message last night:  Give power back to the People, and they will fix things themselves.

That Idea, is truly something new

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Trophy Project" . . .

A healthy dose of pure skepticism was on display last week in Buffalo's ArtVoice over Gov. Cuomo's deal with Solar City (the subject of a post here) and whether it would be a "game changer." Using local economic statistics, writer Jim Heany demonstrates that while the project might be nice for Buffalo to have, it really doesn't change anything.

Deals like SolarCity provide Cuomo with the kind of trophy project that politicians pine for. 
But they also underscore how uncompetitive the business climate in Western New York and New York State remains. What’s more, these deals are a stark reminder that Cuomo and the rest of the Albany crowd have failed to enact reforms that would give us a fighting chance to improve our economic plight without having to ply companies with corporate welfare.
While taxpayers are being forced to pay to manufacture solar panels in Buffalo, the governor is working dutifully to expand the customer base for solar panels, also at taxpayer expense, right here in Oneida County.

Our money is being spent to create an unsustainable false economy . . . unsustainable because these projects do absolutely nothing to change the conditions that have caused NY's economic decline.

Mr. Heany is correct.  Trophy projects change nothing until state policy is reformed.