Friday, November 30, 2007
I don't know about you, but I am not convinced that management people, styles or attitudes are significantly different from what Uticans have put up with for years.
What IS significantly different now is that a bonanza is about to be literally dropped into their collective lap -- some $300 million in state funds -- more money in one shot than the school district has ever received - - - AND THEY DON'T WANT TO LOSE IT.
While Mr. Pellegrino might have sounded tough, I heard posturing and desperation. He so wants to convince you that the Utica City School District has changed . . . that it can now be trusted with your tax dollars. . . . SO YOU WILL APPROVE THEIR SPENDING PLAN . . . And to prove it they make the show of toughness on the leaking roofs.
But what about the $37 million Millenium fiasco? From the stories emanating out of Proctor, people are suspicious that perhaps that money might not have been well spent either. That project never quite seemed to work as intended, with personnel seemingly shuffled more than a deck of cards in a poker game. Remember the scheduling nightmare? And did Proctor ever find its text books?
And how about that Krazy Kernan Skewl with its Kollege Daze? and Yoga Klasses? and seminars on Kommunity service . . . and Health Klinics. Anything but Reading 'Riting and 'Rithmatic!
The Utica public has put up with years and years of watching its school district's incompetence, nonsense, and waste. UCSD knows it. So now UCSD fears that the voters may reject the $300 million even though it will be entirely state funds.
After wasting millions already given, why give these people more? They will probably bite off more than they can chew, saddling the taxpayers with unneeded facilities to maintain. The kids will see no results anyway.
Payback would be soooo sweet.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
It seems that the Town has been selling "surplus" vehicles, with at least one sale made following questionable procedures. But the license plates from the vehicles have not all been turned in . . . Eagle-eye Cathy spotted one on a former-Town vehicle parked at the mall. When Cathy FOILed the receipts for the plates for vehicles sold, she got 29 -- all indicating that plates had been surrendered in March '07-- for vehicles supposedly sold as far back as 2003!
If the plates were not turned in until March '07, it raises the question whether or not the town has been insuring the vehicles attached for years while in private ownership.
Read all the details in "Case of the Missing FS-6T Receipts . . . contd." An amazing story!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Great! We'll take all the help we can get! . . . . But . . .
“We just had a terrible situation where Lowe's wanted to put one of its major warehouses in Oneida County. And they couldn't come because there was no water or sewer and there was no money for water or sewer to build what was necessary. To build this major warehouse that would have employed eight hundred to a thousand people,” said Schumer."Now where does that story come from? Rome has plenty of water, sewer and space . . . so there should have been no problems in locating in Oneida County.
If the Loews planned to use the Sauquoit Creek Sewer Line of the O.C. Part County Sewer District, or MVWA water outside of MVWA's current service area . . . there might be problems. But those would have nothing to do with the lack of funds and everything to do with local incompetence and mismanagement.
Who is feeding Mr. Schumer such a tale?
"Route 840 was built with the idea that it would help invigorate economic growth."Where did that idea come from?
"Development in these areas must be encouraged."WHY?
" . . . we also have the obligation to protect the prospective developer."Since when? . . . and from what?
The editors seem to be working from a set of preconceived notions about the "benefits" of "development."
If New Hartford can be used as an example, residents and taxpayers will pay the price in forms such as (1) bond issues to remediate storm water problems, (2) extending services, (3) traffic congestion, (4) more town government, (5) loss of crop land, and (6) the loss of the semi-rural character that brought them to the town to begin with.
"More" is not always good.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Per the Post-Standard, "Gender-Neutral" housing is the latest trend on college campuses. Cornell, Colgate, and Ithaca are considering it.
The term "gender neutral" comes from advocates for students who are transgender who don't consider themselves completely male or female. That applies to just a few students who might be uncomfortable being required to live with someone of the same sex.It's hard enough to leave home and go to college to master the academics while dealing with new people at a volatile time in one's life. Shoving sex under everyone's nose only complicates things further.
But the result is that if rooms or suites are designated as gender neutral, it takes coed living to a level not seen yet on Central New York campuses: Men and women could be roommates. [emphasis supplied]
Is it any wonder why college graduates these days seem to know so little, and why this country is not self-sufficient in the more academically "difficult" professions such as medicine or engineering.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Calling on the Governor to stop the increase is a step in the right direction. But how about supporting Mr. Valesky's proposed legislation that will require the Thruway Authority to get legislative approval before any increases?
Is it too much to ask that you cooperate with the other party to accomplish something for your constituents?
"Thank yous" will be reserved pending success.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
This is an interesting display of priorities when Oneida County (and, therefore, his Senate District) has NO scheduled airline passenger service, having lost it three or four years ago.
Mr. Griffo, if you want to do something meaningful for your constituents, why don't you co-sponsor Mr. Valesky's legislation to require the Thruway Authority to get legislative approval before every toll hike? Or is party loyalty more important?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We will wait and see if this is a meaningful change . . . or mere window dressing.
Pressure works. Governor Spitzer just postponed a bus and subway fare hike in New York City in response to the Daily News' "Halt the Hike" campaign. Ahh . . . the power of the press . . .
Senator Valesky has met the O-D's challenge by proposing a law that would require legislative approvals of all toll hikes.
But Mr. Valesky is part of a minority party in the Senate.
Where are Sen. Griffo and Mrs. Destito on this issue? They are members of the controlling parties in their respective houses.
Does their silence mean they have been bought and paid for by their party leadership ... which benefits from the Thruway Authority patronage mill? When will we hear from them?
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Unfortunately he achieved little success. Now both Buffalo and Erie County are run by State Control Boards, their financial houses in disarray.
Per last Friday's Buffalo News, lame duck Giambra has called upon Governor Spitzer to use the state control boards to act “as tools to achieve a firm new state policy on consolidation and government efficiency.”
To be sure, changes in state policy are needed. And Mr. Giambra is on the right track. But ramming consolidation down people's throats doesn't seem right -- not that we're not used to government ramming junk down our throats anyway. But government, particularly New York State government, has shown an uncanny ability to do the wrong thing, especially where Upstate interests are concerned.
No, Albany government ramming consolidation down our throats is not the answer, because whatever Albany does, it does not work. That is the wrong approach.
The right approach is for consolidation to come from the people themselves. Consolidation will come, and come in the proper form, when people see that it gives them more, not less, control over their government . . . and when people have a hand in designing it.
But this will not occur until after the impediments to consolidation are removed.
The biggest impediment to consolidation are our politicians and the denizens of local governments, many of whom would be out of their jobs if it were to take place. They will refuse to make the hard decisions needed for consolidation. The same can be said for any other government reform because people learn to live off the current system, what ever that may be.
People must be given the power to make change more directly.
Initiative, referendum and recall maybe the only way New York will be able to reform itself because it gets around the vested interests. But people in New York have been denied these tools, though we've been promised them by various politicians at various times.
We're sick of ineffective government. Albany, at least give us these tools so we can make needed changes ourselves.
Monday, November 19, 2007
In yesterday’s Observer Dispatch article, a resident was reported to have had some real concerns regarding why there was no Mohawk Valley Water Authority customers asked to serve on the commission? ( Griffo: Area water changes needed - Officials discuss short- and long-term solutions - Nov 16, 2007 @ 10:31 PM - By BRYON ACKERMAN - Observer-Dispatch). “During the public comment period Friday, Barneveld resident Kathy Kellogg expressed concern about the make-up of the working group.” However, Herkimer County Administrator James Wallace and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, as well as Senator Griffo will be the ones representing their interests. Both Picente and Griffo reside in Rome. Rome is not located in the affected Nine Mile Water Shed. Why not ask someone from Botswana or New York City to sit on this commission?
Somehow, I can see the residents of Utica getting screwed . . . again. Why wouldn’t the Mayor and Mayor-elect of Utica be asked to represent the interests of the Utica residents? Some direct accountability would be nice.
In another Observer Dispatch article it was reported that Congressman Arcuri was able to secure $400,000.00 in federal funds for the design, land acquisition and construction of a Centro transit garage and maintenance facility in Utica. The new Centro Bus garage facility will be built in Utica to house busses that serve the greater Utica and Rome areas. (Arcuri secures $1.45M for projects - Nov 16, 2007 @ 08:03 AM - By ROCCO LaDUCA - Observer-Dispatch)
Utica Mayor Tim Julian questioned why this facility should be built in Utica? “When this was being talked about two years ago, I said I didn’t want to give up a multi-acreage parcel of land in Utica for a bus garage, and I still stand by that today: Put it somewhere else, not in Utica,” said Julian, adding “the facility should be located between Rome and Utica.”
I feel that Utica Mayor Tim Julian has a good point. It would be logical for this facility to be located in the Town of Whitestown. Perhaps in the “shovel ready” new State Route 840/Judd Road corridor. (Whitestown Supervisor Matt Shannon’s quote “We’re prepared, and we’re shovel-ready for the growth.” Route 840 spurs growth - Nov 14, 2007 @ 12:31 AM - By STEPHANIE VEALE - Observer-Dispatch). This location would optimally serve the transit company in three ways: First, it would be centrally located conveniently between the cities of Utica and Rome. Second, this location would be convenient to where the busses are manufactured. Orion Buss Industries is located in the Whitestown Business Park at the former Oneida County Airport just off of Judd Road. And third, Busses need room in terms of their sheer size. The Whitestown location would be able to provide the additional acreage that this facility would demand.
Those dam Walesville alliens are hard at work again!
---Greens and Beans
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Part-County Sewer District and Consent Order - The Highway Superintendent has been talking with Oneida County’s consultants about all the initiatives that need to be submitted and agreed upon between the County and DEC by year’s end
Consent Order – Rayhill Memorial Trail – Oneida County was required to pay a $150,000 fine related to the Part-County Sewer District and the County was successful in DEC agreeing that 20% of that fine could be allocated toward a local environmental beautification project; instead of paying $30,000 to DEC, the money will be made available to the Sauquoit Creek Basin Inter-municipal Commission who will administer the installation of a dedicated parking facility for trail use at the Middlesettlement Road BOCES property. Most likely, inter-municipal agreements will need to be executed among DEC, BOCES, the Town of New Hartford, the Sauquoit Creek Basin Inter-municipal Commission and possibly the Town of Whitestown. This project has been submitted to DEC and preliminary indications are that the project will be approved by DEC.
Trailhead Funding – Philip Rayhill Memorial Trail
Councilman Reynolds and the Highway Superintendent confirmed that the Town of New Hartford has received funding approval for the trail head at the Philip Rayhill Memorial Trail. (NOTE: Refer to October 10, 2007 Town Board minutes.)
So let me get this straight: (1) Oneida County violates the law by allowing sanitary sewers to be hooked into its combined sewer overflow on the Mohawk River; (2) New Hartford approved the plans for the developments that made these hookups; (3) New Hartford greatly expanded its tax base and reaped tremendous financial benefits from the hookups and violations; (4) Oneida County manages to offset its fine by rewarding its accomplice, New Hartford, with parking for its Rayhill Trail. So New Hartford contributes to an environmental violation, gains financially, and is now rewarded with a parking lot! What an abomination!
New Hartford must have friends in high places at the DEC!
I have a better idea on how the money could be spent:
Build a picnic area adjacent to the County's outfall in Yorkville.
The people in Yorkville have been dumped upon . . . and will continue to be dumped on until at least 2014. When the weather is good people will have a pleasant place to go.
And when we get rain, we will be reminded by the floating feces of how government has failed us.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Yow! If I stop posting, look for me in Roswell!!! :-O
Okay, you have been successful in exposing me and my extraterrestrial comrades. You are so very cleaver. Our mission has been to stifle any and/or all positive economic development activity in the Central New York corridor. We have been successful with getting the most incompetent earthlings to run for all of the various elected offices. In turn, these elected officials have filled the entire political hack appointments with the utmost arrogant narcissists and babbling idiots found in this universe. This undertaking was not easy. We even we had to import some of them from other cities where they have exhibited unconditional ineptitude. We are particularly pleased with our appointments to the Mohawk Valley Water Authority, EDGE/GLDC, Oneida/Herkimer Solid Waste Authority, Utica Municipal Housing Authority and the multitude of State Agencies that have been so successful in confounding any and all community economic progress. We have been awarded the coveted economic development “black-hole” award from our Martian Superiors back home. We have been chronicled on the Martian “Red Planet 60 Minutes” counterpart news show. We are proud to say that we are the Martian college model for extraterrestrial interference in terms of confounding economic progress on external planets.
However, now that you have exposed your recognition of having discovered our existence here in Walesville, New York, we have no other alternative than to sever any and all communications with you. We will not jeopardize our mission by having some smart aleck – like you – exacerbating our untarnished success rate by simply exposing our existence. A large part of our success has been how we have been able to instill complacency and apathy on the residents of central New York with the extreme low expectation from all public officials.
For the above reason we have no other alternative than to relegate you to NUT status. Therefore, we have decided to relegate you, along with all the other kooks, to Roswell, New Mexico status. We have alerted the highly successful “Skeptic Squad” to watch for your letters to the editors and internet postings. They will neutralize any rational utterances you may offer to ‘wise-up” the general populace. So give up before we drive you crazy!
Farewell Intrepid Earthling!
Your Favorite Martian
CEO, Earthlings Impediment Division
Mohawk Valley Economic Encumbrance Mission
Walesville Covert Central Office Complex
Such development will bolster the assessment roll and provide more opportunities for residents, Whitestown Town Supervisor Matthew Shannon says.What opportunities? Another quick stop? More office space that will simply mean moving work from other parts of the region to Whitestown? We are an area of DECLINING POPULATION, remember? This is not growth -- repeat, NOT GROWTH. It's moving the deck chairs on a sinking ship. But Mr. Shannon wants Whitestown to be like New Hartford.
“That atmosphere is going to soon migrate over to the town of Whitestown,” Shannon said. “We’re prepared, and we’re shovel-ready for the growth.”So we get another quick stop. But what do we lose? Perhaps an organic garlic farm? The region has plenty of quick stops, but not many garlic farms. In fact, anyone who can remember back 40 years when we had 85,000 more people in this County we also had a lot more active farm land.
What will happen when a plague or some other calamity hits the California vegetable bowl? Or the cost of transportation simply becomes too high? We will want farmland nearby-- but by then it will be paved over. But that's thinking long term -- something that we've learned not to expect from our local officials.
How about short term?
Per the O-D the Roberts' garlic farm is already threatened by runoff from the site of the proposed quick stop, caused by the apparently unregulated dumping of fill on the property. Echos of New Hartford! And, like in New Hartford, the negative impact falls hardest on particular individuals. These are the kinds of problems the residents of Towns expect their government to prevent from developing. . . not pay to fix damage caused by developers later. Town government should not worry about serving the interests of some entrepreneur in Arizona.
"Providing opportunities for residents" is a crock. Bolstering the assessment roll is the real deal here . . . providing opportunities for government officials. That's been the story in New Hartford, and Whitestown wants to emulate it.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Per the O-D:
A fake DNA report created by Utica police investigators last year to pressure a suspect into confessing has raised questions about whether some investigative tactics go too far. . . . “I told him that I believe what was done was an investigative tactic that was totally unacceptable,” McNamara said recently. “It rose to a level that would violate the principle of fairness, and that tactic should never be used again.” Pylman agreed. “If you feel that strongly about it, we won't do it anymore,” Pylman recalled telling McNamara.So, it is undisputed that a "fake DNA report" was created by Utica police as an "investigative tactic."
What a tactful way of putting it . . .
Local attorneys and officials had better brush up on their Penal Law. It's written in plain English, and there are few elements, so even they should understand.
§ 170.05 Forgery in the third degree.
A person is guilty of forgery in the third degree when, with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, he falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument. Forgery in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.
The fake lab report is a "written instrument" as that term is defined in PL §170.00 (1), and the intent to deceive the suspect is evident from how the instrument was used.
The "investigative tactic" appears to have been the crime of forgery -- and (at least) a misdemeanor.
Although investigators did create a phony DNA report in September 2006 to indicate a match with Wright's DNA, they did not falsify an official document, Pylman said. He also emphasized it is not against the law for police to lie to suspects.Although a state lab report would seem "official" to most people, there is nothing in the law that requires the forged item to be an "official document," so Chief Pylman's defense is irrelevant.
“They did what any good cop would do, but they pushed it a little too far,” Pylman said of his investigators. “But what's got to be realized is that they did not have any malicious or evil intent.”Whether the intent was "malicious" or "evil" is irrelevant because the penal law does not require "malicious" or "evil" intent. What it requires is only an intent to deceive -- and that clearly was what was intended here.
McNamara at first was concerned investigators may have committed a forgery by including a forensic scientist's signature on the last page of the falsified DNA report, he said.The lack of a signature appears to be in dispute. O.C. Public Defender LeLand McCormac certainly thought there was a signature:
But he determined police never presented the signature to Wright as a means of authenticating the report, he said. Thus, in his mind, no crime had been committed.
“The fact that police officers would tamper with an official document … signed by a forensic scientist, and use such in a vain attempt to elicit a confession by (Wright) demonstrates outrageously deceitful, manipulative and coercive conduct shocking to the conscience and undermining the public's faith in the integrity of … our criminal justice system,” McCormac wrote in the Feb. 8 document.But there is no requirement in the law for the forged item to contain a signature, so DA McNamara's defense is also irrelevant.
So we clearly have a crime that is at least a misdemeanor that has been committed. But it may actually be worse . . . a lot worse.
§ 170.10 Forgery in the second degree.Here is where the "official" nature of the instrument and whether or not it contained a signature become important: when we look at a forgery as a "felony." A state police lab report would seem to meet the criteria of an "official" document under §170.10(3). A "signature" would be evidence that the document "purports" to be an official document. As indicated above, the O-D article contains enough information to suggest that these things were also present.
A person is guilty of forgery in the second degree when, with intent
to defraud, deceive or injure another, he falsely makes, completes or
alters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is
calculated to become or to represent if completed: . . .
3. A written instrument officially issued or created by a public
office, public servant or governmental instrumentality; . . .
Forgery in the second degree is a class D felony.
There is possibly more than forgery. How many hands knowingly dealt with the falsified report, used the report, and or directed its use? There are also crimes of possession specified at both the misdemeanor and felony levels. From the text of the penal law Article 170, how many can you identify that may have been committed here?
A misdemeanor is clearly evident and is bad enough. A felony is worse. A felony committed by a government agent as part of his or her official duties is outrageous. The situation suggests that several people may have been involved, and that both forgery and possession of a forged instrument may have been committed.
The reputations of Utica and other police agencies, manned by many good, brave, and noble men and women, are tarnished by such behavior.
An investigation is needed, all involved need to be identified, culpability needs to be determined. . . .
And some heads need to roll.
Tax traffic on Main Street? Yep: The Thruway is Upstate's Mainstreet -- and Tax it New York State does. But Not for the L. I. Expressway. Not for the Southern Tier Expressway. Not for the Northern, Southern, Sagtikos, Meadowbrook, or Taconic State Parkways. Or I-81. Or even I-84 (which is partially supported by Thruway Tolls).
They talk about wanting to help the Upstate economy? -- Nah! Don't believe it!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
"1) there is no consequential environmental benefit to industrial wind power, and 2) it is being promoted because it is an extremely lucrative business opportunity."The problem with wind energy is that without TAXPAYER/RATEPAYER subsidies, it would not be financially feasible -- and it has a HUGE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT.
One reason why electric rates are so high in NYS (contributing to our region's decline) is the state requirement that major suppliers must buy any renewable energy that is developed, and must buy it at a certain minimum charge which is in excess of the cost of other forms of energy. This means that you, the rate payer, are being forced to subsidize a method of energy production that is not cost effective. If so called "green" energy were cost effective, there would be no need for forced purchases at guaranteed minimum prices.
Wind farm purveyors often seek property tax breaks from their host communities. The tax breaks have been cited as necessary to make these projects financially viable. Again, that should tell you that wind farms are not cost effective, and that you, the taxpayer, are being forced to subsidize private business -- business that will create no jobs to speak of. To make matters worse, if any of the turbines were to catch on fire, or if there would be vandalism, the burden to resolve these problems would fall upon the local municipality -- the municipality that is not collecting a fair share of taxes from the business.
Coal is to the US what oil is to Saudia Arabia. There is plenty of it and it is more cost effective than wind power. Someone said they would rather have 20,000 wind turbines than 20,000 coal plants. How about 2 coal plants instead of 20,000 turbines? That is probably closer to the truth. Environmentally, thousands and thousands of acres will be affected by wind farms, while a few strategically placed coal fired plants would produce a more reliable stream of electricity, at lower costs, and affect only a fraction of the acreage. Technology has progressed to the point that these coal-plants do not have the impacts they once did. Nuclear, of course, is another option.
If the power from these wind farms were needed locally, it might be reasonable to tolerate them. But the fact -- often cited by NYRI -- is that Upstate NY has more than enough power for its own needs. Anyone who finds thousands of turbines strewn about our landscape acceptable must also accept miles and miles of power lines to get the power to the downstate market. And that is why politicians who push tax breaks by Herkimer and Oneida Counties for wind farms while opposing NYRI are not making sense. You cannot have one without the other.
The bottom line, echoing Mr. Droz, is that, at least for Upstate, wind farms are not about protecting the environment, and not about producing power efficiently. Rather, they are about producing "profit" for certain well-connected companies and people.
There is nothing wrong with "profit" as long as ALL those bearing the costs share in it -- but that will not happen. NYRI is not planning to reimburse homeowners along their power line for losses in property values, must less than give them a share of the profits.
People who are talking about going "green" are not looking at all the consequences and who they will fall upon.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
". . . the crew confirmed the object was a weather balloon at an altitude ofAn astute reader led me to this recent news story: "US unveils non-lethal heat ray weapon."
8,000 feet, but when they dropped down for a closer look, the cabin temperature abruptly shot up and the fire warning light lit on the instrument panel. UFO enthusiasts have maintained that the object fired a blast of heat at the F94."
"Anyone hit by the beam immediately jumped out of its path because of the sudden blast of heat felt throughout the body. While the 54 C heat was not painful, it was intense enough to make the participants think their clothes were about to ignite."Interesting!
One thing about this election that I think we can agree upon: most races gave the public some real choices this time. The public is getting the government that it wants.
And that is a good thing.
Monday, November 05, 2007
He tells the story well. If you like this, he has many other stories on his website, a number of which are sure to invoke memories of growing up in mid 20th century Utica.
Take a break, and read something enjoyable!
- Approximately 120 acres that can accommodate up to 1,000,000 square feet of development.
- Access from Route 5, Woods Highway and a new intersection with the new Judd Road Extension (Rt. 840).
- A brand new three level 130,000 square feet building for The Hartford on approximately 14 acres. Approximately 600-800 jobs will stay in New Hartford at this office – occupancy is slated for November 2008.
- Further development including a 15,000 square foot medical office complex. Negotiations are under way for a hotel (national flag) of approximately 100 rooms – both expected to break ground in Spring 200
Question: Where is all the sewage from this development going to go? If it's going to go to the Sauquoit Creek Pump Station, isn't the Town required to remove 5 gallons of storm water for every gallon of sewage that will be produced? Where/how has the Town done this? or will the 100 room hotel use "subsurface waste disposal" a/k/a cesspools?
A new intersection on 55MPH Rt. 840? Just what we need: another light. When did the state DOT decide to permit this abomination? and how did it decide this?
Some people in New Hartford won't be happy until every large parcel of vacant land is developed and paved over.
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot. . . . . . . . . Joni Mitchell
Another take on this story is on New Hartford Online Blog.