Friday, June 27, 2014

Running Gov't Like a Business??

New York Workers Get Extended Lunch Break to Watch Team USA 

Not sure that many of our NYS civil servants actually took advantage of this "perk" -- but it is troubling how it was handed out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NY-22: A Post Mortem: 47% are Not Extremists . . .

The results in the NY-22 Republican primary are in and Mr. Hanna has won the right to continue to call himself a Republican.  Mr. Hanna's views, thus, represent the direction that the majority of Republicans want to move their party in.

The Republican machine was out there in full force for the incumbent. The barrage of negative ads, and the lack of a one-on-one debate, were calculated to keep the focus on the personalities and avoid the issues.  The calculations and hate speech worked -- and the majority of Republicans were OK with it. 

One would like to say that as Republicans we should now all come together for the good of the party and the good of the country.  But after a campaign such as this one, how is that possible?

47% is almost half --  a number of voters that cannot rationally be regarded as "extremist" - but that is what Mr. Hanna has called us ... and listening to Mr. Hanna's declaration of victory last night, I heard no reaching out to us. 

Mr. Hanna can no longer be called RINO. He represents the direction of the party.  Given the general failure of "Tea Party" candidates nationally (excluding Texas and excluding the aberration of Cantor's loss caused by Democrats voting in the primary) , and Mitch McConnell's declared war on the Tea Party,  constitutional conservatives apparently are no longer welcome in the Republican "Big Tent."

So what are constitutional conservatives to do?  The Tea Party needs to think long and hard about what is next.  Tea Party issues are not seriously considered, and Tea Partiers are dismissed as [racists, extremists, fringe -- you fill in the blank].  

Organization is the key to getting our issues discussed -- and to countering the negative stereotyping propagated by the mainstream media.
The time has come for Tea Party oriented individuals to seriously consider forming a Third Party to get that organization. 

While this will likely ensure that Democrats will be elected for a time, to quote Hillary Clinton, "What difference does it make?" when the difference between Republicans and Democrats has become harder and harder to discern?   

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bretbart: Hanna, in Primary Battle, Supports Amnesty

On Bretbart: Hanna, in Primary Battle, Supports Amnesty
"Why would we want to make criminals out of dairy farmers simply because they want to run their business, when we know there are people available to do the work," he said. "It's important that New Yorkers find a legal way to help people come here, do the work they want to do, know who they are, where they are how they contribute, what they cost, have a way to find those people and if necessary send them back," said Hanna. "But our process today is out of control." 
The New York Republican believes that foreign immigrants do not take American jobs. 
"Much immigrant labor is highly skilled and thus presumably not differentiated," he told The Washington Post. "Why would wage competition not incur in the labor market?" 
Utica, which serves as a large chunk of Hanna’s district is among the top ten cities in the state with a current unemployment rate of 6.4 percent or above. That number once skyrocketed to 10.5 percent in 2012.
Mr. Hanna fails to see why immigrant labor is needed on local dairy farms while the region has a sustained high unemployment rate:  It is easier to sit home and collect welfare than work on a farm.

There is a lot more in the Breitbart article about Mr. Hanna and our local area.  Please read.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Refugee Camps . . . Coming to Facilities Near US?

If you think that we won't be affected by the border crisis, better think again.  The Blaze and the Buffalo News report that the Feds have been scouting hotels in Grand Island (near Buffalo) and Rochester to house the overwhelming number of children from Central America that crossed the border illegally without their parents.

Why New York State? The word is out that NY wants illegals.  Per news reports last week New York State is considering one-upping the Federal Government and rolling out the "Welcome Mat"  with a "New York is Home Act" that would grant all sorts of State Benefits to illegals.

If the Feds are looking at Buffalo and Rochester, how long will it be before the Feds cast their eyes a mere 150 miles east to Utica-Rome with its "International"Airport that is hardly used, shuttered prisons and other empty state facilities, reputation for welcoming (legal) immigrants, and a bevy of politically connected cronies who will jump at the chance to make a quick buck on the backs of the taxpayers?

Our immigration policy is in shambles BECAUSE THE LAW IS NOT ENFORCED. The Federal Government has failed us and both political parties have failed us.  They are all acting on behalf of special interests and not for the benefit of individual citizens and taxpayers.

Keep that in mind the next time you vote.

My Take on NY 22 ...

We are hearing lots of radio ads and TV ads, and our mailboxes are inundated with campaign literature -- mostly negative material on behalf of the incumbent with little substance on his record.

Mr. Hanna's claims of being fiscally conservative and wanting to reign in federal spending are belied by his votes to raise the debt ceiling several times and his proposal of an expensive new Federal Pre-K program. But it gets much worse.

Last Tuesday he voted against an amendment that would have cut off Section 8 housing for those in the country illegally -- perpetuating federal benefits that have attracted illegal immigrants and contributed to the humanitarian crisis now on our southern border.

Mr. Hanna advocated for more visas for foreign workers with technical degrees at a time when the number of our technical graduates far exceeds the job supply.  This deprives Americans of jobs.

Mr. Hanna approved of several "free trade" agreements that caused the loss of local jobs to foreign countries (see Revere's Mr. O'Shaughnessy's Paid Ad on p 5A of Sunday's OD).

Although Mr. Hanna claimed in yesterday's OD  that he is "not negative to people" he routinely mocks those that disagree with him.   Just last year Oneida Dispatch documented how Mr. Hanna behaved condescendingly to a 4th Grader who expressed concern over the National Debt. A 4th Grader!

Mr. Hanna's negative mindset becomes dangerous when he lets his ideology impede communication with colleagues. Mr. Hanna called fellow Republican Rep. Michele Bachman an "extremist" for questioning how the daughter and sister of Muslim Brotherhood operatives (Houma Abedin) became the top assistant to our Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton).  Not only did Mr. Hanna disrespect a fellow Member of Congress, he displayed a naivete that risks our national security.

With such a record is it any wonder why Mr. Hanna smears his opponent with lies while denying the public a debate that would allow the voters to discern who the real liar is.

Ms. Tenney has earned in the Assembly a reputation as a tenacious, no-nonsense conservative who stands for smaller, limited government and lower taxes.  Ms. Tenney articulates with passion the founding principles of our nation that guide her.

I believe it is time we get our government "back to the basics" that our Founders intended, and get it out of trying to run our everyday lives.  That is why I am supporting Claudia Tenney for NY-22.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hanna Favors Welfare Benefits for Illegals . . .

This is an example of why many people don't believe Mr. Hanna when he calls himself "conservative," and asks for "fiscal responsibility." Via Breitbart: HOROWITZ: FORGET AMNESTY, CONGRESS VOTED TO GIVE WELFARE TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
On Tuesday, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) offered an amendment to the FY 2015 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 4745) to cut off Section 8 housing for those here in the country illegally. . . . Amazingly, 70 Republican House members joined with almost every Democrat to defeat Gohmert’s amendment.
Not so amazing, Mr. Hanna was among the 70 "RINOs"  who think it's OK for the US taxpayer to subsidize housing for illegals.  No wonder why we now have a full fledged humanitarian crisis at our southern border . . . likely to be followed by a health crisis . . . and even a security crisis.

The actions of Rep. Hanna and his ilk give incentive for people to flood our border and illegally cross.

This lunacy must be stopped.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Michelle Malkin is Right Again . . .

Conservative nationally syndicated writer and frequent talk-show guest Michelle Malkin usually gets it right . . . and she did it again today in this article in National Review Online: Laughable Lies of Liberal Republicans.
"How do you spell “sidesplitting chutzpah”? In New York’s 22nd congressional district, it’s spelled: R-I-C-H-A-R-D H-A-N-N-A. He’s the liberal GOP incumbent trying to cling to public office by smearing the Marine mom, small-business owner, lawyer, and conservative state assemblywoman poised to take his seat next week.

Claudia Tenney is as rock-solid a Republican as they come: pro-life, pro-limited government, pro–Second Amendment, pro-entrepreneur, pro–American worker. . . ."
Malkin then proceeds to dismember Hanna and his special-interest backers while highlighting Tenny's efforts for the common citizen. . . . A succinct summary of all that is at stake in the NY-22 race in a very entertaining read.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"The Special Interests Are Mighty Desperate" . . .

That's the thought that went through my mind as I heard 3 attack ads in a row on the radio yesterday against Ms. Tenney during lunchtime . . . repeated again at dinnertime.

Perhaps these will be effective elsewhere, but in this part of the 22nd district -- unless you've been asleep -- Ms. Tenney's reputation as a "no-nonsense" conservative and Mr. Hanna's reputation as a man who regularly trashes his own party are pretty well established.

There's the Wall St./pro-gay rights America Unity PAC,  Oneida Indian Nation's Patriot's Prosperity PAC, and "establishment" Republican Main Street PAC: special interests hard at work, protecting their man.

What are they afraid of losing?  Money ...  and the power that it brings.

Let's face it, we often judge our congressional reps on the money they bring home.  In that regard Mr. Hanna has been rather typical and not much different from his two predecessors:  doling money out to various groups, government contracts to local businesses, and keeping DFAS in Rome. Republicans and Democrats both do similar nationwide, "horse trading" with each other to reach "deals" and, despite Congress' incredibly low approval ratings, managing to get re-elected because people don't want to risk losing their federal "lifelines."

The end result, of course, is mountains of Federal Debt and an Ever Expanding Federal Government that becomes ever more intrusive into our everyday lives, usurping the roles of state and local government and injecting itself into things as piddling as what we give our children for their school lunch.  No wonder so many Republicans and Democrats agree that NSA spying on us is "no big deal."

When someone like Claudia Tenney comes along to point out that our Constitution stands for a limited federal government -- now THIS IS A THREAT to Congress' slimey "business as usual" that must be crushed.  That is why there is so much "superpac" action on radio and TV now. The status quo must be kept in place.

It will be interesting to see whether the people who fear losing their "federal lifeline" will prevail.  If they do, they should not complain later when their rights, and the value of their savings and pensions, are eroded away. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

H-1B Visas - Destroying Citizens' Jobs

From "Computerworld" (of all places) comes this bit of info: This IT worker had to train an H-1B replacement
At A.B.'s company, about 220 IT jobs have been lost to offshore outsourcing over the last year. A.B. is telling the story because, initially, there was little knowledge among fellow employees about H-1B visa holders and how they are used. They didn't know that offshore outsourcing firms are the largest users of H-1B visas, or exactly how this visa facilitates IT job losses in the U.S. 
"I think once we learned about it, we became angrier toward the U.S. government than we were with the people that were over here from India," A.B. said, "because the government is allowing this."
Read the full article to get the details. . . . and know that our local congressman is behind increasing these visas (see sec 201 of HR 2131).

Michael Vasquez has more on this issue.

A Route 5S Wishlist . . .

We read last week how the State has awarded a $7.8 million project to re-do Route 5-S from Broad St. westward to the Aud, and that the project will reduce traffic lanes and pavement area.  Sounds good, but the "devil is in the details" which could not be found at the DOT website.  A map showing the proposed configuration would be nice . . . adding public hearings and the opportunity for public input into the design would be even nicer.

When 5S was "arterialized" in the 1960s it significantly contributed to the decline of Downtown Utica by taking scores of businesses, destroying an intuitive street grid, and creating a "no man's land" of traffic that had to be crossed to walk from the Busy Corner to Baggs Square.  Reversing these ills will hopefully be objectives of this project.  Here are some things I would like to see . . .

1) Creation of develop-able parcels of land with street frontage that can be turned back over to the City and marketed, hopefully to recapture some of the tax-base and economic activity previously destroyed.

2) Addition of full intersections at Cornelia and 1st Streets to partially restore the street grid and make it easier to drive from point to point Downtown.

3) Crosswalks at Franklin Sq. and Hotel St. to enable pedestrians to walk directly between those locations, perhaps creating some synergy between developments at those locations.

4) A crosswalk on the west side of John Street.  (Currently if you are walking northward on the west side of John and want to cross 5S to the other side, you are forced to cross to the east side of John, then cross Jay, then 5S, then recross John to get back on the west side of John . . . a frustrating waste of time waiting for lights to change).

5) Putting the median between Oriskany Blvd. and Liberty St. to a productive use that enhances developments along both sides . . . a landscaped parking area, perhaps, that could serve the Gerbers Tavern  - Hotel St. area.

6) A street configuration that encourages a 30 MPH limit along this stretch.  There should be no need to rush through this 0.7 mile stretch - which should be considered a destination.

Perhaps you have some ideas of your own . . . Feel free to share them here.      

Monday, June 16, 2014

Canal Corp. Calculations . . .

The NYS Canal Corp. claims that it generates over $6 billion dollars in non-tourist economic activity in a new study that has just been released.

The study examined the economic benefits associated with 9 business sectors.  Other than the obvious "Commercial Shipping for transport of goods and materials," the remaining 8 involve "water used" by Industries, Research and Development, Agricultural, Hydroelectric Facilities, Quarries and Mining, Public Water Supply, Waste to Energy Facilities, and Golf Courses (!).
"The economic impact (benefits) of all businesses, industries and farming operations that rely on the Canal System for its abundant, reliable and inexpensive supply of water has been totaled in terms of the economic output values consisting of direct employment, total employment, total personal income, tax revenues and total economic impact."
Canal Corp estimates almost 9,000 jobs are at businesses that directly rely on the Canal System and over 26,000 jobs when "indirect and induced effects" are included; that these jobs generate almost $1.7 billion in personal income and $702 million in state, local and federal taxes -- for a grand total of over $6 billion in economic impact!
"These impacts were measured using the IMPLAN economic model.  Direct employment was used as the input into the model . . ."
Redflag! Warning!  Computer model involved!  IMPLAN uses "multipliers" and various assumptions about how money moves through the economy.  Here, the "direct employment" was input into IMPLAN, and the computer "model" generated all the other numbers in the "study" that are sure to impress people with the "benefits" of the Canal Corp.

This all sounds suspiciously similar to another computer model in the news recently (the one that produced a "hockey stick" graph no matter what data was input).   Like that other computer model, key pieces of information are being left out of the Canal Corp's study that would place the study's findings (assuming the findings are correct) into a perspective that would be meaningful to most people.

The canal "water used" to create jobs is water that is available in the environment anyway.  The water could still be used whether or not the canal exists if the users build appropriate facilities. (E.g. MVWA would not need Canal Corp's Hinckley Reservoir if it had its own "compensating" reservoir.)  Should not all these water "users"  pay for the facilities they need to get the water?

There is no mention of the 500+ employees of the Canal Corp., what they cost, and the costs of parts, equipment and materials to keep the canal operational.  There is also no mention of the revenues to the Canal Corp., nor where they come from.  Most people would want to know costs and revenues in deciding whether or not Canal Corp. is worth keeping around.

And shouldn't the revenues be paid by those reaping the so-called benefits?  That does not seem to be the case.

It is understood that the Canal Corp. cannot make ends meet on its own, and that a significant part of its operating budget comes from Thruway Tolls. "Thruway" is no where to be found in the study. Thruway users get no benefit from the portion of their Tolls that are used to buoy Canal Corp.

Computer models can cut both ways.  Where is the estimate of the negative "multipliers" associated with Tolls on an interstate highway that in most other states would be free?  How many truck-shipping jobs have been lost to the tolls?  How many manufacturing jobs have been lost to the tolls? How many jobs that would otherwise have been "induced" have also been lost?  How about value of potential farm products made unsaleable because New York's truck-transportation costs have been increased to pay for a Canal Corp that is on the dole?

The Canal Corp study is merely there to present numbers that will make people "feel good" about the Canal System and distract them from the numbers that really count: costs and revenues.
You know what you can do with the Canal Corp Study!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Post Mortem

The Stewarts' zoning change went down to defeat, while the Brewery's zoning change was approved.  Both could be characterized as "spot zoning."  The difference?

Stewarts got buy-in from the city administration which immediately pushed for it before engaging the neighbors.

The Brewery reached out to the neighbors early-on and got a buy-in from them.

People don't like to be pushed around and will respond accordingly even after concessions are made.

Utica and Developers: Learn the lesson! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Short & Sweet!

As seen on the N-S Arterial, Utica, this evening

MVWA's 4 Towns Permit -- An Update

The Mohawk Valley Water Authority has been granted a permit by the Department of Environmental Conservation to expand water service within the Towns of Frankfort, Schuyler, Westmoreland, and Kirkland.

The New MVWA Permit

DEC's Responses to public comments

The MVWA's responses to public comments

My comments on this development will be posted on a future date.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Stewarts: A Voice of Reason . . .

Finally someone, Jason Flemma, "gets it right" on the Stewarts issue . . . and the fact that this comes from one of Utica's newest councilpersons raises hope for Utica's future.

Mr. Flemma points out that Stewarts has scaled back its Culver Avenue proposal from 6 pumps to 4, that the entire project will be shifted toward the (commercial) Culver Ave. side, that a "green space" with plantings and privacy fence will buffer the residential area to the west, and that Stewarts will extend a fence on city property to prevent children from running out in traffic.

Isn't this how the planning process is supposed to work?  The developer listened to the public, and changed its project to meet the public's needs!

Go to Culver Avenue and see that other businesses have buffered their impacts to neighboring residents in the exact same way.

Granting a variance is not "running roughshod" over the zoning ordinance. Variances are contained in the zoning ordinance to allow worthy projects to go forward when adjusted to meet conditions on the ground.  This is a worthy project.  It will bring in property taxes and sales taxes, beautify a non-descript parcel of land, transfer ownership to a party that will be capable of dealing with any contamination that might be on site . . . and quite possibly break the stranglehold on gas prices created by the limited number of purveyors in the city.

The revised Stewarts project on Culver Avenue should be approved.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Whither the Debate Mr. Hanna? - Part 2

From Time-Warner Cable News: Hanna, Tenney Battle for Votes as Republican Primary Approaches
Time Warner Cable News invited the two candidates to a debate, Tenney accepted the invitation immediately, but it took months before Hanna's office eventually denied the request. 
"I'd rather have a straight forward debate with someone from the other party, the Democrat, it would be interesting, it would be fun actually. I've done it many of times. There's value in that, but somebody who just lies to your face, I'm not going to engage that. It's just something I'm not willing to do," Hanna said.
So let me get this straight, there is "value" in Mr. Hanna debating a Democrat, but "no value" in debating another Republican for the right to wear the party's label?

No value to whom, Mr. Hanna? Are we talking about rank-and-file Republicans who must make a difficult choice on June 24? Or are we really talking about the Republican "elite,"  such as the billionaire hedge-fund manager, Paul E. Singer, whose "American Unity PAC"  is funding some of your worst "attack" ads against Ms. Tenney.

As far as "lies," Ms. Tenney could have easily slinged that mud at you, Mr. Hanna, but she has taken the high road and refrained from doing so.  Besides, using alleged "lies" as an excuse for not debating your opponent in a Congressional race is - simply- laughable! Mr. Hanna, do you seriously expect your constituents to believe that everyone you debate in Congress is truthful?  In 2014?  Especially with the current administration? Debating "liars" would seem to be a qualification for the job!

Ms. Tenney has given the voters of the 22nd Congressional District the gift of a "choice" between two experienced politicians with records, each of whom have been tested by re-election.

Mr. Hanna, obedient to his handlers who apparently don't want to risk losing out on the gravy train, would deny rank-and-file Republicans the opportunity of a side-by-side comparison.

Side-by-side comparisons afforded by public debates usually assist voters in determining who the real "liars" are. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Climate Cringe . . .

Here we go again . . . Big power-plant pollution cuts are ordered
In a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming, the Obama administration unveiled a plan Monday aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years . . . 
"This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "This is about protecting our health and our homes. This is about protecting local economies and jobs." . . .   
Environmental groups hailed the proposal, praising both the climate effects and the public health benefits they said would follow.
First of all why is Carbon Dioxide -- a naturally occurring gas that is exhaled by all living things (including plants at night) -- considered a "pollutant"?

Second, how does cutting back on CO2 protect our health and homes?  How does cutting back on CO2 protect our local economies and jobs?

Third, what exactly will be the environmental change we will get by cutting back our CO2 emissions by 30 %?

There are a lot of bold claims made here but little -- other than public ignorance -- to support them.

Independent Journal Review a few days ago published 25 Images Show That Climate ‘Changes’ – Whether or Not Man Does Anything About It

After reviewing the images, you have to ask yourself what will be accomplished by the latest EPA effort?