Thursday, July 24, 2014

Moreland Commission . . .

The New York Times has a lengthy -- but well worth reading -- article about the life and death of Governor Cuomo's "Moreland Commission."

After you read it, you may come to the conclusion that the Commission was created to be nothing more than a "tool" to be used, not to root out governmental corruption as advertised, but, rather, to intimidate opponents of the administration in power.

Gee . . . Where have we heard that before?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's a . . . . Permit!

Finally, after more than 10 years the Army Corps of Engineers has issued a permit for the Marcy Chip-Fab . . . or should I say Marcy Nanocenter . . . site. Per the OD . . .
Cuomo said the news is an important step forward in his plans to make the Utica area a hub for nanoscale science research and manufacturing. 
“This new hub will recreate in Utica the success we have seen in Albany, with international investors taking note of innovation and development in Upstate New York,” he said in a release, referring to the successful nanotechnology sector that has developed in the Capitol Region. 

Let's hope so!

While we should be skeptical whether NY's venture into "state capitalism" a/k/a "public-private partnership" a/k/a "crony capitalism" will pan out into sustainable economic recovery, we can at least celebrate the end of a ridiculously convoluted process (thanks to the Federal Government) and, hopefully, the beginning of some accomplishment.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Not the Immigration of Old . . .

Mayor Stephanie Miner has opened Syracuse's doors to accept immigrant children from Central America who have illegally entered the country.  The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is standing by, ready to help. While they may be commended for wanting to help children, is their compassion -- indeed, is America's compassion for helping the downtrodden -- being used against US?

In the decade following the 9/11/01 attacks -- during the alleged "War on Terror" -- it made no sense that our southern border was never sealed. It made no sense that Mexico, the US' supposed ally and trading partner, would facilitate illegal immigration by publishing a pamphlet in comic book style on "how to" best do it. It made no sense that the US tolerated actions by the Mexican government and Mexican government officials that would undermine US interests and sovereignty.

The nonsense has only gotten worse.

We are told that "coyotes" are paid $8,000 to $12,000 a head to smuggle people in. A person with a good job in Mexico, such as an auto worker, makes $20 A DAY. $10,000 would represent about 2 years' work.  It would be more difficult for people in the poorer countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to amass this sum.

Where is the money coming from?

Why should it be so expensive to go, perhaps, 1,500 miles, when airline tickets (not to mention bus tickets) are cheap?

Why are parents willing to let their children go on such a journey?  Or are they?

Why has Mexico entered into an agreement with Guatemala giving Guatemalans 72 hours in Mexico to facilitate travel to the US?                                                                                                                          
Utilizing a law designed to oppose human trafficking, the taxpayer now, somehow, is required to afford these children a hearing.  A hearing on what?

Somehow the taxpayer is now expected to pay to "reunite" these children with loved ones.  With who? The family that placed them in harm's way?

US citizens have to show all sorts of ID to be allowed on a plane, but these illegals merely have to show a copy of their letter to appear in court?

There is so much here that makes no sense . . . unless you open yourself to the possibility that this has all been planned.

Allen West has posted a disturbing interview with a former Border Patrol agent Zack Taylor who says that the immigrant surge bears the hallmarks of "asymetrical warfare" -- which seeks to destroy the infrastructure of a nation from within. It is well worth the 15 minutes watch time.

Whether you agree with Mr. Taylor or not, one thing is clear . . .

The immigration we see now across our southern border is not the immigration of old.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Now It Makes Sense!

OD: State: Extended school day mandatory.  Now the 90% participation rate grant requirement for the schools proposed for extended hours makes sense. Attendance will be compulsory. A 90% participation rate could never be achieved on a voluntary basis.

Students need unstructured time to explore their own interests, and non-school time for various activities like sports or scouts, a part-time job (eg. delivering papers or in the family business), or volunteer activities.  Parents need time to develop their own relationships with their children and inculcate their values.

More time in compulsory education means less time for families and individuals.

This is a step toward longer school days for everyone. . . more government dependency (school breakfast, lunch and now dinner?  School health clinics.  School babysitting.)  In short: more government control over the population.  

Enough already! 

EFC & Tappan Zee Update

Following up on Sunday's post, the Public Authorities Board has decided to give the Thruway Authority half a loaf (a $255M loan) -- this year -- and Thruway will be allowed to apply for the remainder in 2016.

This sets the unfortunate precedent that a funding source intended to aid communities in dealing with wastewater issues can be used to construct a new bridge .

. . . Just more of the same old same old in the "new" New York.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Biting Off More Than It Can Chew?

Per the OD Utica Schools are asking for a year before implementing a longer school day at select schools. Originally this was going to be started this fall on a voluntary basis.  What happened?
The hope is that longer days might lead to higher test scores. But in order to receive the full $4.1 million, the district must have 90 percent student participation in the voluntary program.
90% student participation?  Is there 90% student participation in the compulsory (regular school) program as opposed to a "voluntary" program?

Let's face it, the students who need "extra help" the most are probably the same ones who think school is a waste of time because they get little out of it.  Why would they volunteer for more of the same?

A compulsory extended-day program would only "trap" such students, lead to behavior problems, and, perhaps, deprive them of time for other (non-school) activities, such as a part-time job, that might be of bigger benefit to them in the long run.

Rather than extended time, the school district should explore how it can make better use of the time that it already has. There is more to education than going after grant money.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

EFC & Tappan Zee: A Misuse of Funds

In a story little noticed west of Albany, but which involves two Syracuse-area politicians, the state's arm for financing municipal waste water and drinking water projects, the State Environmental Facilities Corp., approved on June 16th a $ 511 Million loan to the Thruway Authority toward the Authority's $4 Billion re-do of the Tappan Zee Bridge ("The New New York Bridge").

Per the Times Union, EFC President (and former Syracuse Mayor) "Matthew Driscoll said $511.4 million from the state Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund will be loaned to the Thruway Authority to pay for work including disassembly and removal of the existing 59-year-old bridge and dredging of the river bottom at the new bridge site."

But the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRLF) "provides low-interest rate financing to municipalities to construct water quality protection projects such as sewers and wastewater treatment facilities" . . . which sure does not sound like "disassembly and removal"of a bridge!

Environmentalists are blasting the proposal. Water quality experts are up-in-arms and filing objections. Riverkeeper has posted a letter from the US EPA's regional office raising several questions about the proposal.

While some may dismiss this as a "downstate" issue, WE should be concerned.  

Both Oneida County and the City of Utica are relying upon CWSRLF funding in carrying out their obligations to clean up the Mohawk River under a Consent Order and Long Term Control Plan -- over $300 million-worth of projects!  This is an extreme burden on local sewer users who need every penny of relief that the loan fund can provide.

Years ago older municipalities with combined sanitary-storm water sewers (such as Utica) were given a reprieve from the stringent requirements of the Clean Water Act because, if imposed at once, they would have caused financial ruin. However, the plan was that over time, these communities would be brought into compliance.  Low cost loans were part of that plan.  Most older communities (both upstate and downstate) have infrastructure that needs to be upgraded under the law.

This loan is not for a wastewater system upgrade.  Rather, it is being used to keep tolls low... which only benefits the downstate region.    

The money needs to be reserved and kept available for its intended purpose, to relieve municipalities all over the state of some of the burden of complying with the Clean Water Act.

The 3-member Public Authorities Control Board still must approve of this loan by a unanimous vote before it can be implemented. Only one member, State Senator John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, has publicly raised questions about the loan. 

The loan comes up for a vote this Wednesday.  Stay tuned!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Griffiss Albatross . . .

Per the Rome Daily Sentinel, MidAir USA, one of the aircraft maintenance companies at Griffiss "International" Airport, owes Oneida County almost $450,000 in back rent and other charges! With a base rent of about $50,000/month, the tenant is roughly 9 months behind.  While O.C. legal counsel sent a letter demanding payment, neither a deadline nor consequences were mentioned.

Of course not.  Having sunk well over $100 million of taxpayers' funds into the Airport, the County doesn't dare risk MidAir's 210 jobs by taking specific action. . . So taxpayers are held hostage. 

$450,000 spread over 210 employees means that the taxpayer has loaned the company (in violation of the State Constitution, B.T.W, but no one pays attention to that anymore) almost $2150 per job!

Add to this the value of the money spent constructing and maintaining the County Owned facilities being occupied, one has to wonder just what the taxpayer is getting for all this spending?  The last we heard, the airport was losing over a $million a year (which undoubtedly did not include the time-value of the millions already spent on facilities).

Do the County Taxes paid by the holders of taxpayer-subsidized jobs make up for the costs? When will taxpayers be provided with the true costs and returns on their airport "investments?"

If I'm wrong, please correct me, but Griffiss "International" Airport seems to have become an over-sized albatross hung around O.C. taxpayers' necks.  I'm tired of paying and waiting for the next "big thing" (drones?) that supposedly will make the spending all worthwhile.


In another vein but related, it is disappointing to constantly have to turn to the Sentinel for County news.  I like the Sentinel --  it is a good newspaper -- but because I live in the Utica area rather than Rome, I tend to check the Utica news more often and sometimes miss County news in the Sentinel.

The Utica paper just got a  new publisher who is interested in listening to people's suggestions for improvements.  Here is mine:  We need more County news, particularly the activities (shenanigans?) of the County Legislature.  Utica is the County Seat, and Greater Utica pays the bulk of the taxes that keeps the County -- including Griffiss "International"Airport  -- going.  Greater Uticans want to know how their County tax dollars are spent, and what they are getting in return.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Threats to Freedom . . .

Seemingly escaping the mainstream media (except FOX of course) comes the story: EPA claims it has the power to garnish wages without court approval. The process is called "Administrative Wage Garnishment" -- because it is being done by an administrative agency.

This is only the latest step is what has been brewing for a long time (decades)  . . . indirectly abolishing the three branches of government under the guise of administrative agencies.

Another recent phenomenon is the militarization of government agencies with SWAT teams, as written about in the National Review.

Big problems are in store for us when government agencies can act as lawmakers, judges, juries, and executioners.

If you have not been a long time reader of Fault Lines, please read  this post from 2009 where it is all explained: The Ominous 4th Branch of Government.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Time to Impeach?

In a Breitbart exclusive: Sarah Palin: It's time to impeach President Obama
Without borders, there is no nation. Obama knows this. Opening our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his fundamental transformation of America. It’s the only promise he has kept. . . . 
Palin powerfully summarizes why the border crisis is the tipping-point of this presidency.

Do people care?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Getting Closer . . .

A few days ago, we noted that the Federal Government was looking at sites in Buffalo and Rochester to house illegal immigrants.   Now Capitol Confidential reports that a location in Albany is being considered as a "potential refugee relocation" site for housing some of the thousands of children from Central America illegally pouring over our southern border.

Breitbart posts a video revealing that many illegal immigrants are given, at OUR cost,  bus tickets to the interior of our country.

How is this not ENCOURAGING more to come?

This is a crisis that has been created by our own government for the purpose of justifying congressional or executive action to somehow legalize what is happening for political reasons.

We don't need "immigration reform," we need enforcement of our existing laws!

Ultimately we will bear the cost of all this.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Fracking: Bad News and Good News -- At the Same Time!

The New York State Court of Appeals has upheld Home Rule when it comes to municipalities being able to ban hydrofracking.

The bad news is that it becomes more difficult for companies to hydrofrack in NYS . . . more difficult for NYS to obtain the economic benefits of same . . . and more difficult for the country to achieve energy independence from some not-so-nice countries in the Middle East.

The good news is that the governments closest to the people, local municipalities, can act to protect the interests of their citizens.  And isn't that why we have government, to protect our well being?

Read the complete decision here.