Monday, April 29, 2013


'Rome Sentinel: County executive, mayor back missle system.

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Rome Mayor Joseph R. Fusco have sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel requesting that Griffiss International Airport be considered for a new multi-billion dollar missile defense system on the East Coast.
That's nice, but does Griffiss "International" qualify?

According to the Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) program site
... would contain launch stations (silos), Interceptor Receiving and Processing Building, Interceptor Storage Facilities, and additional support facilities. Approximately 243 hectares (600 acres) would be required to support the GBI missile field and associated technical facilities. When the GBI site and associated technical facilities become fully operational, total site related employment would be approximately 150 to 200 personnel. Explosive Safety Quantity-Distance (ESQD) criteria would be used to establish safe distances from explosive hazard areas, such as solid propellants, to nonrelated facilities and roadways. These regulations are established by the Department of Defense. For the GBI silos, there would be a minimum 380-meter (1,250-foot) ESQD from inhabited buildings. In addition, the Interceptor Receiving and Processing Building and the Interceptor Storage Facilities would also have a 380-meter (1,250-foot) ESQD from inhabited buildings.
Six hundred acres is almost a square mile, which is a lot of space. Perhaps more restrictive is the 1,250 minimum distance required from inhabited buildings for each silo. Just what can be fit into Griffiss "International" Airport?

When you get down to it, is it really worth taking up all this space -- and (again) making us a prime target for intercontentinental missiles -- for a mere 150 to 200 jobs? That's only 1/4 to 1/3 of a job per acre!

Ball-istic . . . or Un-Real-istic?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Taking on the Army . . .

Army Corps of Engineers, that is! There's more in the Observer-Dispatch.

THIS needed to be done years ago by a former Republican Congressman who was on the House Armed Services Committee . . . when we had a Republican President and a Republican Governor . . . The odds would have seemed to have been in favor at that time for the Marcy Nanocenter site to get a federal wetlands permit.  . . . But then, again, perhaps it was the last mentioned Republican and his former Republican NYS Senate Majority leader that kept the former Republican Congressman from saying what had to be said (if he said anything, we did not hear of it).

Nevertheless, hats are off to Mr. Hanna for doing a great job in putting the heat on the A.C.E.!

Things really have gotten out of control with both ACE and the EPA, with the Federal Government's reach extending far beyond what our Founding Fathers had planned for the Federal system.

A.C.E. also is overreaching even within the context of its own regulations.  I already blogged about that last summer, so refer to the article for the legal context : Marcy NanoCenter in the Balance Pt. 1.
In a nutshell, ACE is trying to change the purpose of the NanoCenter Project without the statutory authority to do so.

Per the OD:
After Hanna’s description of the situation, Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick said he would “be happy to take a look at it and follow up with you on whether from a legal perspective we have any ability to work outside the bounds in this case.” 
Undoubtedly, the General will return to his legal team and get justification for the overreaching that has been done in the past, and will likely continue in the future, until some white knight takes up the gauntlet and takes ACE to court.  That is unlikely to be done by Oneida County, and perhaps shouldn't be done given the money the region has already wasted on legal maneuvering in the past (MVWA v Canal Corp, The NYRI proposal come immediately to mind).

We can only hope that with continued political pressure, A.C.E will come to understand that it is really pushing the envelope where the law is concerned, and that if it pushes too far, at some point a decision will come down somewhere that will severely undercut Federal Authority everywhere.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Strange NH Public Library . . .

Per the OD: Negatives outweigh positives during library board meeting

But don't expect to figure out the headline by reading the rambling article with snippets of conversations thrown in.  Frankly, the article reads like it was either highly massaged to make certain people look good, or it was written by a committee.

If you want the straight scoop on the New Hartford Public Library shenanigans, always visit New Hartford Online Blog.  Here is the LATEST.... about poo poo.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pie In The Sky . . .

More pie in the sky from our Oneida County leadership:  Griffiss Vying for FAA's New Traffic Control Center . But the OD article on this story has  this important bit of information:
"The FAA's background information also said the site must be within 150 miles of New York City . . ." 
Read the specs guys! Griffiss does not qualify. Wonder how much $$$ the taxpayers will be expected to cough up to "lure" this non-starter to O.C.? It's sorta like trying to put a nanocenter in a federal wetland!

In the "Good Idea" department, Dave Gorden Proposes Name Change to Griffiss International Airport
Gordon says he wants to see Griffiss’ name changed to the Utica-Rome Metropolitan Airport at Griffiss International, in an effort to “tie the two major cites together.”
Gordon seems to have learned something our Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce has not:  The "Utica" name places the facility on a map, which is important for marketing, particularly in a geographic-sensitive industry like transportation.

Strikeslip, however, has an even more appropriate non-geographic name for Griffiss International:

White Elephant!

Look it up on the link provided.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

County Competence . . .

Oneida County 911 center seeks help with budget.
As Oneida County searches for ways to help fund its 911 emergency dispatch system, local officials have pointed the finger squarely at the state 
New York collects $1.20 per month on cellphone bills, and local officials say the roughly $190 million collected is supposed to be distributed to the many local 911 centers in the state.
But as explained in the article, the local officials got it wrong.  There was never a guarantee that the money from that $1.20 charge would go to the county's 911 center.  In fact, it can be argued that the county has already benefited from the $1.20 charge because it "won" the Homeland Security training center occupying the old OC Airport since Homeland Security is partially supported by that charge. Sounds like the County expanded 911 without knowing how to pay for it . . . and now it is the State's fault?

 County claims unfair treatment in business bid
Oneida County was not treated fairly by the state when it went up against Onondaga County in hopes of landing a fruit processing plant, say local officials ...
But as indicated by the article, the local officials appear not to have been aware of the advantage that the competing site had because it was a state-owned facility.  So now it is the State's fault that OC lost?  (Isn't government-created "unfairness" pretty much the norm in New York -- and hasn't Oneida County raked in $millions from state and federal programs for economic development that other areas might regard as "unfair" to them?  There seems to be never enough -- money or excuses.)

 From last August: NanoCenter project denied wetland permit
Work has already been completed on roads and water and sewer lines, but without the wetlands permit, the site can't be made shovel-ready. . . . EDGE is consulting with legal counsel and federal, state, and local officials to find out where to go from here.
Meanwhile the County has doubled down committing more money to infrastructure using the non-permitted nano-center as justification, including hitting up the State for a cool $5 million and hitting up sewer users for another $7 mil. This money is just piled on top of millions more spent while they've known of the permit problem for 8 years!  Is it smart to prepare a site that might never get a permit?

Airport, county seek operator for tower
Griffis International Airport is taking steps to line up its own air traffic control tower operator should the Federal Aviation Administration make good on its plan ot end tower funding June 15 . . . 
More taxpayer money thrown at an "International" airport with no scheduled flights -- on top of $10s of millions already spent on this white elephant.  It seems every 3 months there is a new need to tap the taxpayers.

At some point you just have to scratch your head and ask:  Does anyone in County government do more than a half-[baked] analysis before getting us deeper into these schemes?

But wait,  it gets much much worse . . .