Saturday, February 28, 2009

Welcome to The Utica Daily News . . .

If you haven't visited the region's newest news outlet, you should.

The Utica Daily News is up and running . . .

and it looks GOOD for the long haul.

World, national, and local news are easily accessible. There are sports, editorial, photo and video sections.

In a nod to Utica's historic past, the entertainment-lifestyle section is called the "Saturday Globe" (the name of the national newspaper that was published in Utica a century ago) . Be sure to check out the Utica Music Fest section of the Globe.

I've already bookmarked the Utica Daily News for daily reading.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bend Over Utica . . .

Utica residents get reamed by the County again on the Sewer Deal.. . . Uticans will be required to pay to fix suburban created problems . . . but will be left on their own to fix problems with the city's sewers. Larry Tanoury, Jr. has the details. . . .

But if you are a regular reader of this blog, you already knew this was coming, as far back as July 17, 2007. . . .and you also know that the royal screwing Utica residents are getting will get worse.

I've blogged several times about how wrong it is that legislators from outside the sewer district get to decide how sewer users' money is spent . . . especially so because no county funds are put at risk.

But how could Roseanne Convertino support this?

The good thing is that other Utica legislators are finally starting to wise up. Now if only the mayor and city council would start using their Bully Pulpit. How about Utica becoming part of Herkimer County?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Different Treatment?

Tonight's OD article on the New Hartford Scully Site cleanup contained an interesting statement:

While Lockheed Martin recently completed a $20 million environmental cleanup there, site uses for the 2.3-acre property will be limited only by town laws and zoning, said Stephen Litwhiler, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“We would have no restrictions for use,” Litwhiler said. “There is no contamination left.”

Hmm. This site, which was reportedly used for disposal of toxic wastes from other places, gets cleaned up to the point where no restrictions will be placed on future use, while the Bossert Site, which is in the middle of a densly populated residential neighborhood in West Utica, which site was used for manufacturing rather than intentional disposal of wastes, will have perpetual restrictions on reuse.
The City has placed a mulch cover over the soils at the site to prevent any dust migration. The site will continue to have controls in place to prevent any potential future health or environmental effects at the site: deed restrictions regardless of property ownership include limits on groundwater use, an approved "Soil Management Plan," maintenance of a protective cover, and a restriction of use of the site to industrial/commercial purposes.
Sixteen thousand tons of contaminated soil and debris were removed from the 6.9 Acre Bossert Site in Utica, according to DEC's official press release.

Over fifty-four thousand tons of soil were removed from the 2.3 acre Scully Site in New Hartford, according to Lockheed Martin's latest statement.

Perpetual restrictions on reuse are also the order for another Utica site, the Dredge Spoil Area along the canal, which is prime water front property.

These observations beg the question: Why the disparate treatment? DEC requires removal of almost three and a half times the material from a 2.3 acre site in New Hartford than it does from an almost 7 acre site in Utica. Cleanup of a dump in New Hartford results in no restrictions on future land reuse, while cleanups in Utica require permanent restrictions.

Must we speculate on the reasons?

Toxic Cover Up In New Hartford?

News broke on this story in the mainstream media -- from WTVH Channel 5 in Syracuse: "New Hartford's Big Secret" -- this evening.

New Hartford OnLine Blog has the details. From the blog, in a nutshell ...

  • A private dump owned by the Scully family near Valley View Road was directed to be closed by court order in 1961.
  • Twenty five years later in 1986 "severely rusted" 56 gallon drums were found at the site which once contained chemical solvents according to preliminary DEC reports. State officials planned to take soil and water samples.
  • In April 1987 135 people attended a public information meeting at the NH HighSchool on two suspected hazardous waste sites in the town, but DEC and OC Health Dept. officials had few answers on this site because they said more testing was needed.

NH Online notes that Lockheed Martin, which is responsible for cleaning up the site (presumably because its wastes wound up at the site) reports in an online document that industrial waste was transported from GE's French Road plant to this site from 1966 to 1973. NH Online asks:

"How can that be? The Supreme Court ordered the dump closed in 1961."

NH Online further notes that Lockheed Martin's cleanup of the site and Sylvan Glen Creek involved the removal of 1000s of truckloads of soil, and the removal of 300 mature trees and comments:

"No wonder there has been increased stormwater problems in that area of town...300 mature trees removed???"

The WTVH clip notes a cluster of cancer cases/deaths in the neighborhood.

Isn't the Sylvan Glenn area the site of recent flooding events? Could contaminated waste have been transported from the contaminated site into the adjoining neighborhoods by these flooding events?

The Scully Site was on the Town Board's agenda tonight. After all these years, it will be interesting to see if people's concerns are answered.

Update: It didn't take the OD long to put a positive spin on all this.

The Straw . . .

Proposed Utica school budget tax hike: 8.42% screams the headline.

This hike on top of the water rate hike, the sewer rate hike, city tax hike, county tax hike, electric rate hike . . .

35 positions are being added . . . on top of the 60 that were created last year. Included are two $100K administrators.

Sorry, but the increase in immigrants simply does not justify this.

The private sector is shedding jobs. The public sector needs to do the same.

The public will only take so much.
With the arrogance being displayed by the UCSD . . . things could get ugly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hot Air . . .


Yes . . . "They"  will be taxing everything in the name of global warming prevention.  The charges are already showing up in your electric bills as of this past December as part of the "Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative."

32,000 scientists DISAGREE that humans are creating or contributing in any significant fashion to global warming . . . 




Find out more about the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change at The Heartland Institute.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Winter Light . . .

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2009-0201-406a 2009-0201-416a 2009-0201-412a 2009-0201-409a

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They Don't Get It . . .

State Sen. Valesky had a guest editorial in the OD this weekend about how we should spend our federal "stimulus" money.

This guy (along with our other elected state reps who essentially say the same things) doesn't have a clue.

' . . . the relief should help us make needed investments in higher education, especially SUNY'
Now, just, exactly, how will more investments in higher education help us grow the economy? We've seen SUNYIT expand considerably. Although it provides opportunities for our students to educate themselves locally -- and we should be thankful for that -- it has NOT attracted significant numbers of jobs to the area.
'. . . create long-term funding for successful state programs like Power for Jobs a program that has proven to keep manufacturing jobs in our area. '
Another way of saying this is that the taxpayers/electric rate payers should continue to SUBSIDIZE lower electric rates for companies who otherwise cannot make ends meet in New York's unfriendly business climate. If the stimulus is used for this, taxpayers will get some temporary relief, but what happens when the stimulus runs out? The companies go back on the public dole. Using stimulus like this only perpetuates New York's failed government model.
'. . . enable us to move forward on a statewide high speed rail system'
Again, just how will this make New York more business competitive? This needs to be thought through. Is there a market/demand for such service? What will be the maintenance costs? What will tickets cost? Rochester tried something similar with its 'fast ferry' to Toronto, somehow believing that there were thousands of Torontonians just waiting to hop on the boat with bundles of 'loonies' ready to spend in a has-been Upstate New York city. Rochester lost 10s of millions of dollars as the scheme went belly-up within a matter of months.

I'm sick of these politicians spending our money on harebrained schemes. They basically want to use the stimulus to do more of what they have already been doing: growing government, growing government dependency, and growing government control where it is not needed. If we are given money to spend, then at least let's spend it on repairing all the infrastructure things that we failed to maintain . . . . and not use one penny for further expansion in the name of 'growth' or 'economic development.' With our declining population, we already have enough public infrastructure to take care of.

True growth and development will not occur until New York drastically shrinks the size of government, limits its involvement in our day-to-day lives, and casts aside its socialist tendencies.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

In Case You Missed It . . .

The bond vote in New Hartford passed last week 432 to 362. (It's taken this long to bring myself to write about this, it is such a disappointment.) If all goes according to plan, payments in lieu of taxes that this project would generate will be used to pay off the bonds that the Town is issuing for improvements at the New Hartford Business Park.

That's sort of like you being able to direct your property taxes into improvement of your own property, isn't it?

Of course, this project will need police and fire protection, road maintenance, and will receive all the other "services" that residents of the Town receive such as assessment services, Town Court services, Town Clerk services, library access, etc., etc. . . . . and you know who will be paying the developer's share of those since his will be going into his road improvements.

Anyway, this is allegedly promoting "growth" and/or "economic development" so that may be why people voted for it.

I caught Michael Hennessey (Minority Leader on the OC Legislature) talking on WIBX' "First Look" show this morning . . . He was looking for funding to extend water and sewer services into rural areas to promote "growth." SIGH! More of the same mentality . . .

People and businesses will not move into the region because someone will subsidize a water or sewer line. They will move here only if the economic climate is such that their businesses will be sustainable . . . For most, we know that our climate is not that way because people are leaving . . . Other parts of the country have significantly lower business costs because taxation is less.

Extending water and sewer lines, or roads, may foster some new construction (because the developer is passing part of the cost to taxpayers) but it is not "growth" . . . it is just sprawl . . . people and businesses simply trading their old places for new ones . . . and somewhere along the line something gets left vacant. Meanwhile, we've just extended the public infrastructure that we must maintain . . . requiring more taxes and fees that drive more businesses away.

. . . AND NOW the whole country seems to be going our way with the "stimulus" package.

A kind reader directed me to this article: The Stimulus will lead America in the direction of Western New York . Essentially Western NY was way "ahead" of the curve in taxpayer-financed economic "stimulus" -- but the poorly thought out projects only made things worse. While occasionally a government project will result in an economic transformation -- like the Erie Canal -- that is the exception rather than the rule. Most taxpayer financed schemes only dig a bigger hole for us to get out of. When this region was in its heyday, it was the product of private enterprize, not government subsidy.

We need to focus on creating a climate where enterprise can grow . . . and forget the "quick fix."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome to Joe . . .

A new blogger has joined the local blogging scene who may be familiar to some of you -- Joe Bottini, who used to write an education column in the Observer-Dispatch. From a recent post:

Most schools however, are not in dire need of cash. They are in dire need of a seriousness of purpose, structure and an appropriate behavior modification program.

Schools have become too user friendly with few of the elements that kept them on a serious path for years. . . .
Interesting stuff!
Welcome, Joe, to the blogosphere! We're looking forward to your postings on the education scene.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Liars and Thieves . . .

The arrogance of our public officials . . . and their failure to serve "We the People" . . . has reached new heights . . .

Some of our state leaders are generous giving out state (taxpayer funded) cars:

Republican Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco, who's temporarily forsaken that six-figure job to run for Congress in the March 31 special election in NY-20, fancies himself a fiscal conservative/tax-cutter Reagan/Limbaugh type. . . .

"Fiscal conservative" Tedisco gives out 12 cars -- to himself and nine other members and two top staffers.
Why do Assembly members need state cars?

Not to be outdone in the hypocrisy department, Governor Patterson, who has asked state civil servants to forgo their upcoming 3% raise, has been caught giving raises to his friends.
Cassie Prugh, a confidential assistant, was given a 46 percent pay hike in late November, raising her annual salary to $125,000 from $85,721 . . .
Meanwhile, the New SUNY Chancellor will be making $500,000 a year plus a lot of other perks -- a huge increase over her predecessor -- And the state's judges are still seeking a pay raise . . .

Of course, we cannot forget the federal level of government . . .



Open government? The public will have an opportunity to review every bill? No more pork? How many broken promises can you count here in one minute and 58 seconds of speech?

Real "Civil Servants" seem to be absent among our leaders.

Just Whom is government serving these days?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Required Reading . . .

The Year of Magical Thinking by Bruce Fisher in Artvoice is a "must read" for anyone trying to figure out what is wrong with Upstate New York. He talks about Buffalo, but much applies here as well. An excerpt . . .

Two scholars with Buffalo connections are among the observers who have compared Buffalo and other Upstate New York communities to the Third World. ... [They] have each taken a look at the local ownership of the big commercial and industrial institutions here and found that, mainly, there isn’t a lot of local ownership. They concluded that we are set up to export our capital. We’re like a Third World region: Whatever profit is derived from our work is exported to where the owners live, not kept here. . . .

I don’t know anybody who has done the study, but I would venture that the region’s tipping point came in about 1970, which is about when Upstate New York’s population growth stopped. . . .

Ever since then, whatever prosperity the Upstate cities have enjoyed has been built on the twin illusions of rapid suburbanization and the transfer-in of Washington and Albany money via SUNY campuses and make-work projects. Sprawl gave this community the illusion of growth, but sprawl is not growth: The same number of people who lived here in 1970 live here today, but occupy 76 percent more land area. (Cornell’s Rolf Pendall did the definitive studies showing that, as bad as sprawl is in Buffalo, it’s even worse in the rest of Upstate.) We still have astoundingly high rates of new-housing construction, but there is far more supply than demand, and that gives us the illusion that our economy is still cooking along. To keep this illusion going, our political structure here is dominated by the developers, construction firms, construction unions, and banks that all depend upon producing more and more inventory for the same number of people, and that also depend upon massive ongoing infusions of public money to build new infrastructure—and infrastructure that is arguably too large for our needs, even as the pieces of it that the region truly needs (especially sewers) go under-tended.

Folks know that something isn’t quite kosher. . . .
I am not sure how significant the role of corporate colonialism is in Upstate's condition, although it would be hard to deny that export of wealth through "big box" retailers, and export of decision making away from local financial institutions, are bad things. In the past we learned that when companies get too big, the monopolies that result become inefficient and can pretty much do as they please. Government's response used to be anti-trust legislation. We seem to have gotten away from that these days, allowed for a spate of mergers, and now have organizations "too big to fail" about to wreck our economy. This is a national level issue . . . and unfortunately we seem to be going in the wrong direction with the bailouts, because we are encouraging more "bigness".

The technological advance of the automobile made possible the "sprawl" that Mr. Fisher complains of . . . And it is New York's system of local government (which predates the auto) that exacerbated the problem and turned it into a bad thing. The wealthy class could live in a fancy neighborhood and take advantage of all that the city had to offer, but when that neighborhood became developed on the other side of the municipal boundary, their wealth became unavailable to be taxed for the good of the general population. The lower suburban taxes fueled more "sprawl" by encouraging more people to leave the city -- leaving fewer behind in the cities to support a massive infrastructure. That raised taxes there and created a "feed back" loop of sorts. Municipal boundaries need to be redrawn to reflect those regions where people live, work, and shop primarily within. This is a state level issue.

Upstate's demise, however, seems to come from something more fundamental. The 1970 "tipping point" mentioned for population marks the first census following reapportionment of the NY Legislature . . . which meant that New York State from then on would be ruled from the perspective of heavily urbanized, densely populated, dominated by the financial services industry, Downstate, minimizing consideration of the urban - rural, manufacturing - agriculture mixes found Upstate.

Key to working out effective policy is to ensure that all interests are heard and accounted for. New York State's founding fathers designed a system that would do just that . . . a system that worked brilliantly until it was cast aside more than 40 years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court in a slap at State Sovereignty.

That decision needs to be revisited.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Consolidation Push . . .

Long time readers of this blog know that I am a supporter of "consolidation" ... but only when it joins people together that share a common interest and vision, and advances fairness to all.

Sean from "Slums Along the Mohawk" had an interesting post this week: The Forces Behind Consolidation. Some people are considering elimination of the Village of Cobleskill and merging it into the surrounding down.

To those of us who have followed village affairs closely over the past three years and have watched numerous developers unsuccessfully request village water service for projects located outside the village, it is obvious that this is the real impetus behind the push for consolidation. Village officials may attempt to throw sand in your eyes by telling you consolidation will save money and increase efficiency. But this is not true and THEY KNOW IT! The truth is, this attempt to consolidate the village into the town is essentially a smash-and-grab operation to plunder the village’s water and sewer services in order to fuel growth benefitting only a handful of developers.
We've see the "smash-and-grab" happen in Greater Utica . . . only here we called it "regionalization" and created a part county sewer district and a water authority as vehicles for developers to plunder city water and sewer services. The result was the same: sprawl . . . a population spread too thin and an infrastructure that is far too large for the population required to support it.

We learn from Sean's story that consolidation pushed by developers and their friends in government and the media can be just as bad as "regionalization" . . . it all depends on who's interests are the ones being served.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just Say No In New Hartford (3) . . .

Just a reminder . . . 2.10.2009 [TODAY] is the vote, Noon to 8PM. . . . Vote NO on the bonding proposition.

For more info check these prior posts: Just say No, Just Say No (2) ;
Cathy's NH Online posts: Tomorrow is the Day, The More You Know, Mr. Reed You're Killing Us, Special Voting Machines, Tangled Web
And this post on UticaSux.com

J U S T * S A Y * N O ! ! ! ! !

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Maintaining Identity, Advancing a Region . . .

[This article was originally published in the January, 2009 "Utica Phoenix":]

To the editor:

I've blogged many times about the disappearance of the "Utica" name from various organizations, how its replacement by "Mohawk Valley" is often inaccurate and confusing, and how it ultimately hurts the marketing of our entire region. Simply put, "Utica" is easily found on a map, but "Mohawk Valley" means anywhere from north of Rome to Albany. The Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce ("MV Chamber") has been a focus of criticism because it changed its name from the "Utica Area" Chamber a few years ago. How could a group, founded to promote "Utica Area" commerce, choose a name that hides its location?

You recently forwarded to me an e-mail from Mr. Elias, President of the MV Chamber, which indicated willingness to consider revival of the "Utica" brand. Mr. Elias stated "I am supportive of 'The Greater Utica Area Chamber of Commerce'.....but this will ...and has taken time" (ellipses in original). He went on to propose that his organization and the Rome Chamber take the lead of the Oneida County Convention and Visitors Bureau to effectively promote the area, and stated that "This would also force consolidation of other chambers of commerce.... and ultimately force a chamber of commerce structure throughout Oneida County that would better promote our region.....the myopic thinking I am encountering is frustrating!" He also stated that "we have only two true chambers in this region...Rome and Utica!"

Mr. Elias' words gave me something to ponder.

Changing the "MV" Chamber to "Greater Utica" Chamber should be an easy name change. If restoring "Utica" to the MV Chamber's name is going to take time like Mr. Elias says, then it is important to disclose why. Who would resist such a change?

The MV Chamber's website, however, suggests that it is NOT promoting Greater Utica, but, instead, aspiring to be a "regional" chamber. Four pictures flip on its homepage: the Stanley Stage, the Boilermaker, Ft. Stanwix, and Herkimer Diamond Mines. The first two are not identified as being in Utica, and the latter two are not in Greater Utica but are in areas having their own chambers. There is a lot more to showcase in Utica than the Boilermaker and the Stanley: the Utica Symphony, M.V. Ballet, O.C. Historical Society, the Utica Zoo, M-W-P Arts Institute, Children's Museum, and the Brewery. There are interesting places such as Varick Street, Bank Place, Bleecker Street and "Uptown." There is rich history, interesting architecture and one of the most extensive municipal park systems in the state. You can bike on the Canalway Trail, ski and sled at Val Bialis, golf and cross-country ski at Valley View, hike and birdwatch at Utica Marsh, and play tennis for free at several locations. Utica has one of the most diverse populations in the country, and, undoubtedly, some of the best restaurants and pastry shops this side of New York City. All these things are worthy of promotion by our chamber but are not. Greater Utica's assets are lost in the chamber's "regional" static. Is it any wonder why outside businesses such as Standard Chartered Bank do not give Utica a second look? Or why other communities in the region do not want to join the "Mohawk Valley" Chamber? If Utica is treated so poorly, what fate would Boonville or Camden suffer? It is not "myopia," but survival.

While effective "regional" promotion is important, Mr. Elias' goal will continue to be frustrated by a "Top Down" approach that disregards the needs closest to the ground. Unlike other places that may have "regional" chambers, our region contains several distinct areas of commerce, the largest being Greater Utica, Rome, and southern Herkimer County. They draw clientèle from primarily their respective zones rather than each other. Besides being geographically distinct, they are served by separate newspapers and somewhat separate broadcast media. Looking at where their customers reside, businesses might expect their needs to be better served by a local chamber that is familiar with their marketing area over one styling itself as blanketing all three places and more. The MV Chamber, by placing itself in direct competition with the local chambers, would be regarded as an unneeded interloper, and, worse, a threat.

Regional needs would be better met by a "Bottom Up" approach which guarantees that local needs will not be overlooked. In this vein, most of the local chambers have already grouped themselves under the "Chamber Alliance of the Mohawk Valley" (the "Alliance"). While the effectiveness of this group may be debated, it does provide a vehicle for regional promotion, while allowing localized needs to be met by the local chambers. Curiously, the MV Chamber no longer participates with the Alliance. This deprives the Alliance of the strength of the region's largest market. It also deprives the MV Chamber of supportive friends, and the region of effective marketing.

From my arm-chair vantage point, I see organizations competing when they could be cooperating. Here's what needs to happen if the region is to progress.

First, the MV Chamber, the chamber that serves the region's largest city, needs to use that city's name in its own name. That will put itself on the map.

Second, the MV Chamber needs to abandon its "regional" aspirations and focus on its core business: Utica and its suburbs. Too many good things in Greater Utica have not been promoted.

Third, the MV Chamber needs to promote "Greater Utica" as the identity for all of Utica and its suburbs. That includes New Hartford. While some in New Hartford are proud of their recent development, that would not have happened if Utica were not next door. Utica and New Hartford, Whitestown and the other suburbs, are all interdependent, sharing the same marketplace, customer base and more. If the chamber can get the region's largest economic entity (Greater Utica) behaving as one instead of as rival Balkan states, then there will be hope for moving the entire region forward.

Fourth, a renewed "Greater Utica" Chamber needs to do some serious fence mending with its neighbors in Rome, Herkimer County and elsewhere, respecting the others' boundaries while acknowledging their contributions. This may be difficult because the MV Chamber had positioned itself as a competitor organization, but for the region's sake, it must be done. (The Rome Chamber could serve as a model. It's website promotes Rome first, but shows how life in Rome is enhanced with Utica and other Mohawk Valley communities near by.)

Fifth, a "Greater Utica" Chamber needs to rejoin the Alliance, contributing its strength, but as one among equals . . . And the Alliance needs to accept this new member if it has any desire to move a regional agenda forward.

[Be sure to pick up the February, 2009 "Utica Phoenix" to read "The Pipes, The Pipes Are Calling . . . "]

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Readers' Links: Reapportionment and The Fat Tax

My readers are right on the ball and have been sending me links . . . I thought I'd post them while they're still hot . . .

Reapportionment and Upstate's Demise:

Ryan M. was interested in my theory that the NY Senate reapportionment of the 1960s -- caused by a US Supreme Court Decision -- is the root cause of Upstate's demise. I had been been going mostly on memory, but Ryan was kind enough to fill in the blanks with some research on how the whole reapportionment issue unfolded in the US Supreme Court. These make interesting reading:

Congressman Udall's Reports: Reapportionment I Reapportionment II ; WMCA v Lomenzo 377 US 633 (1964)(from Justia.com) ; WMCA, Inc. v. Lomenzo (from Oyez.org)

The decision involving NYS was by a split bench 7-3. The court said that the NY Constitution's apportionment scheme (which gave Upstate a lot of clout) violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause - the Court equating "one man - one vote" with "equal protection." I happen to think they got it wrong, particularly since the US Senate does not follow this scheme. As the Dissent points out, there may be good reasons for a state to ensure that particular geographic areas have a voice, and it's a violation of State Sovereignty for the US Supreme Court to second guess the reasons why a particular arrangement was chosen. Now that we have the "evidence" of the Court's error (i.e., Upstate's economic travails), it might be time to revisit the issue. . . . .Thanks, Ryan!

The "FAT TAX":

Wow, did this issue ever get people riled! I got a lot of links on Gov. Patterson's proposal to tax non-diet soda.

Erica N. submitted a Daily News column questioning why New Yorkers are being targeted for obesity when we're actually one of the healthiest states.

Grant S. pointed out a Rasmussen Poll on "nanny state" issues indicating that 70% of Americans would oppose a tax on soda like the one being proposed here.

Lisa P. submitted a Siena College Poll about Gov. Patterson and his tax proposals including the fat tax, and a Daily News article that some Democrats think the governor's political future is on life support.

Ian R. submitted a Marketwatch article indicating that Gov. Paterson's soda tax will conservatively result in the the loss of 6100 jobs.

Christian C. sent an American Council on Science and Health article: NY Soda Tax: All Politics, No Science
. . . and an article and a video of a "Boston Tea Party" of sorts . . .


only it was Binghamton rather than Boston, the Susquehanna River rather than Boston Harbor, and soda rather than tea that got dumped! This one made my day!

Thanks for contributing guys!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Just Say No In New Hartford (2) . . .

It is interesting how next week's proposition only mentions "improvements to Woods Highway in the New Hartford Business Park" as the object of the proposed bonding . . . .



. . . while the Town Board's resolution talks about many other improvements including curbs, gutters, landscaping and other improvements located in or near the NHBP . . .



So just how much are the taxpayers going to subsidize this private endeavor?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Just Say No In New Hartford . . .

February 10 is approaching, and New Hartfordians have an opportunity to cast their vote on bonding for the New Hartford Business Park. . . . Please . . .

JUST SAY NO . . .

  • to more roads, water and sewer lines to maintain . .
  • to more area to police, more area to cover with fire protection
  • to more traffic, congestion and noise . . .
  • to reductions in agricultural land, wildlife habitat, open space, and orchards

JUST SAY NO to Urban Sprawl

JUST SAY NO to 'Bait and Switch' . . .

  • When the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the New Hartford Business Park was issued in 1999, it was promoted as a site for industrial use, for "new high-technology industries" intended to "meet the economic needs of the entire region . . ." Instead, we are getting more office buildings and a hotel . . . things that the region already has plenty of.

JUST SAY NO to SEQRA Violations . . .

JUST SAY NO . . . to the government playing favorites

  • This office building gets a subsidy but others in the region do not . . .

JUST SAY NO. . .

  • to the real estate developers, national chains, lobbyists, and public finance lawyers who are the only ones that really benefit from this project.
JUST SAY NO . . . for your neighbors' sake . . .

JUST SAY NO . . . for your own sake, to preserve what you moved to New Hartford for.

JUST SAY NO . . . to arrogant public officials who will force a tax increase down your throat if you vote down their plan.

The wrongness of this plan and the manner in which it is being advanced is symptomatic of the way this entire region is governed, which is for the benefit of special interests. The taxpayers will continue to be ignored, put upon, robbed and stepped on by our local leaders -- and the region will continue to decline -- unless we put a stop to them.

J U S T * S A Y * N O ! ! ! ! !

Cathy at NH Online Blog has a lot more reasons for voters to Just Say NO.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

New Hartford Moves . . . And a Questionable Statement

Hans Arnold is stepping down as Planning Board Chairman. This is too bad for New Hartford. A long time public servant in the truest sense of the word, Mr. Arnold was always open to discussion on issues, and understood how the planning process should work.

Supervisor Reed's statement in the story is a bit confusing, however.

“You've got to realize these developers are out to do their projects and we've got to protect the good interest of the town,” Reed said. “We want development, but we don't want urban sprawl and uncontrolled development.”
I think people will find Mr. Reed hard to believe because urban sprawl is exactly what we've got ... and the Town seems to bend over backwards to accommodate developers.

How is the approval of the New Hartford Business Park and arranging to finance associated road construction NOT fostering sprawl? Local government is reducing the developer's cost of doing business, giving him an economic advantage over his competitors. It then would become advantageous for prospective tenants to go to this developer's development, because the taxpayers are subsidizing the project. That will attract economic activity from elsewhere in the area, and move it to this heretofore undeveloped land . . . THAT'S SPRAWL.

As far as protecting the town's interests, that is what an Environmental Impact Statement is for -- so the decisionmakers and the public know what the project's impact on them will be. It must be pointed out that the current New Hartford Business Park is not the manufacturing business park that was proposed and subjected to SEQRA review and a final Environmental Impact Statement in the late 1990s. Development for manufacturing would likely be more acceptable to people than the development of more office buildings and a hotel -- things which are not in short supply regionally. From that perspective, no Environmental Impact Statement for the New Hartford Business Park -- as it is being implemented now -- was ever done. Furthermore, the site of "the Hartford" itself was never made part of the Environmental Impact Statement, as noted last September.

Without a proper Environmental Impact Statement, the "good interest of the town"cannot be protected.

Uh Oh . . . .

In the NY Times . . . Iran Launches Satellite in a Challenge for Obama

We'll Be Back After a Commercial Break . . .

Via Buffalo Pundit:


Wow . . . Someone else who is worked up over our politics!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Another $7.50 Per Person for Debt Service

Per the Sentinel, the Oneida County Comptroller is seeking to borrow another $19.7 Million for construction and equipment. That's more than $85 for every man, woman, and child living in this county of some 230,000 people (and dropping). The annual debt service (which won't kick in until 2010) will be $1.7 million -- that's almost $7.50 a person.

Don't these people know that we are in a recession?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Global Designs . . .

Per Bloomberg: Davos Dreams of Global Cooperation Face Protectionist Schisms

The financial industry’s effort to reduce risks from credit- default swaps is being held up because of regional competition, NYSE Euronext Chief Executive Officer Duncan Niederauer said. A mechanism set up by the London Clearing House has met resistance from banks and authorities in continental Europe, he said. . . .

[German Chancellor] Merkel said the financial industry needs “clear-cut rules worldwide” and “a charter for the global economic order” that could lead to the creation of a United Nations economic council. She criticized “unfettered capitalism”
A global economic order?? Viva la resistance!

A more ominous story was on World Net Daily the other day: Globalists see econ crisis as excuse for 'new world.'
A call to utilize the current global economic crisis as a panic in which governments worldwide can move to nationalize banks is emerging from the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The forum's founder, Klaus Schwab, told CNN yesterday the current global economic slowdown is a "transformational crisis" that should be utilized to shape a "new world."

"Above all else this is a crisis of confidence," Schwab said. "To restore confidence you have to establish signposts that the world after the crisis will be different. We have to create a new world and that is what Davos 2009 will be all about – serving society."

A "transformational crisis?" "Shape a 'new world'?" I don't know about you, but this talk scares me rather than soothes me . . . . Just who is this Klaus Schwab? Why should we trust him? And why should we trust ANY of the leaders (especially Vladimir Putin) attending the conference? This sounds like a plan to concentrate control of the whole world in the hands of a few!

I'm having a hard enough problem dealing with the erosion of "state's rights" just within the US. . Our Founding Fathers understood that in Diversity there is Strength. They insisted on a large degree of State Sovereignty to allow for different ways of doing things. That has been eroded by all the "federal" programs that our Founding Fathers would never have dreamed of, which were never specified in the constitution. Now when a federal program is defective, the entire nation is placed at risk. Things have simply gotten too "nationalized." When something goes wrong, like bad peanuts in Georgia, the entire country gets sick. Can you imagine if the Imperial Valley in CA has a long lasting drought? We'll be out of vegetables because we don't grow them here in NY any more in any great quantity. Now imagine if everything is globalized . . .

So now we should look forward to Schwab, Bill Clinton, Merkel, Putin, and other attendees to give us a new WORLD order? I don't think so. Control of finances will give way to control of other aspects of our life . . . Consider that in Merkel's Germany, homeschooling has been outlawed and parents have been thrown in jail for it (enabling the state to control the next generation).

This is just an excuse for world domination by big multi-national businesses partnering with big government . . . This is for the benefit of the elite ... Not you and not me. Unfortunately, the mindset we have in Washington and the State, and in both political parties, seems to be to play ball with these people.

We will be controlled by elites . . . and the American dream will be dead.

We
are being led like sheep to slaughter.