Archive page 1

Albany pay raise?

Yet another great editorial about our Albany representatives..

Anyone waiting for the return of the old-style citizen state legislator, something along the lines of a Mr. Smith Goes to Albany, might sooner see the Hudson turn into Jello pudding. Truth is, the Jimmy Stewart-as-legislator types, if they ever existed, were overrun long ago by career-minded representatives more adept at winning re-election than the people's battles. After all, a legislature doesn't get branded "dysfunctional," as ours has, when it routinely puts the people's business first.

The lobbyists and their bankrolls have everything to do with the lame state of legislative affairs, and likewise the controlling party majorities in either chamber. And don't forget the incumbent-friendly gerrymandering of district lines, as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer recently focused on. Attorney General Spitzer knows a fraud when he sees 212 of them — that's how many Senate and Assembly districts there are. Of course, the voter also may safely be blamed, since the electorate is the ultimate enabler, continually settling for nothing and less.

  Must the UN stay in Manhattan?

Alexander Casella International Herald Tribune

Is it necessary for a cash-strapped organization whose mandate is to preserve world peace and fight poverty to occupy one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in one of the world's most costly cities?

This is the question that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan failed to address when he requested that the General Assembly approve a disbursement of $1.6 billion for the necessary refurbishment of the UN headquarters building in New York. A subsidiary question, which has also not been entertained is why imaginative and less onerous solutions have not been investigated.

I am all for the corrupt United Nations to leave this state. Please go and do it now!

Nov 29th

Today I filed my official complaint with the Erie County Board of Elections
against the Grand Island, the 10th district Republican committee
and the Bruce Kaiser campaign for violating NYState Elections Law.

for full text and list of Violations submitted click here.


Things are really starting to get interesting with the power struggles coming up in state politics. Bruno's power being threatened, Tedisco taking over the power slot from Nesbit. Even more about the way they pick judges, which of course I think should be a more open process and I know the judge candidates do.

Bruno facing challenges to his command of state Senate
I just took pertinent parts to western new youk, well what effects us anyway.
Just to show what areas are represented in Albany politics....

Neither the new terminal at the Albany International Airport nor the new Amtrak station in Rensselaer would likely have been built without infusions of taxpayer money from Bruno.

Bruno has also helped funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into the state University at Albany's Albany NanoTech and new East Campus research center in Rensselaer, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's new biotechnology center in Troy.

Sheldon Silver of Manhattan, the Democratic speaker of the state Assembly, has from time to time skewered Bruno for his Capital Region-centric attitude. Silver scoffed that Bruno believes the "center of the universe" is in Troy or Saratoga Springs, the anchors of Bruno's district, and not Wall Street, which is in Silver's district.

Bruno said his determination to enrich this area is merely a natural exercise of his prerogative as a legislative leader, and recognition that Assembly Democrats are going to deliver for New York City so someone has to look out for the Capital Region.

"I'm in a position where we can help direct some money, instead of it going to New York City, out west, to Long Island," he said during a recent announcement of a $1.5 million Senate grant for a new Eclipse Aviation jet repair and servicing center at the Albany International Airport.

Bruno's largesse toward the Capital Region is the envy of the rest of the state, said Daniel Walsh, president of The Business Council of New York State.
I am living my life as if I expect to be around here for the next several years, at least."But events outside the Republican conference room in the Senate could affect Bruno's plans.

As you can see, Bruno takes care of his area and rather well I must say, same goes for Silver, Manhattan is not hurting at all. So who represents us? Tokash and Volkash take care of themselves,  Hoyt and B. Brown look after the union interests. It seems to me that the only one fighting for us here is Jim Hayes. Look at the districts and how jerry mandering will keep them in unless someone can take them out in the primary.
Assembly districts party registration as of Nov 05
Senate districts party registration  as of Nov 05

Tedisco headed for Assembly GOP top job

ALBANY, N.Y. -- James Tedisco said Monday that as the new leader of the state Assembly's beleaguered Republican minority he would "be more aggressive" than his predecessor.

Tedisco, a 22-year veteran of the Assembly, made the comment after his chief rival for the job as Assembly minority leader said he would not contest the vote to be held Tuesday by the 45-member GOP contingent in the 150-member Assembly.

The job, of limited value given the Assembly's partisan imbalance, opened up after Republican Gov. George Pataki nominated current Assembly Minority Leader Charles Nesbitt to head the state Tax Appeals Tribunal. That nomination was expected to be confirmed Tuesday by the GOP-led state Senate. The job will pay Nesbitt $126,000-a-year for up to eight years. The minority leader's job pays $114,000 a year.

In April, Nesbitt survived a mini-revolt led by Townsend and other GOP Assembly members upset with the power the minority leader had given to GOP staffers and the continued loss of seats to Democrats.

There oughta be a law

Rebuffed by the Democratic political machine, Mayor Bloomberg has only one hope of reforming how judges are selected - and it resides in Albany. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno must act to ensure that judicial candidates are at least qualified for the bench.

Democrat Silver and Republican Bruno have been at odds over judicial reform legislation for years, the result being that nothing changes. Bruno's Senate allies would abolish the rigged electoral system that allows party leaders, not the voters, to select Supreme Court justices. Silver would keep that system, but he would subject all would-be justices to independent screening.

The GOP Senate has the better approach, but Democratic chiefs would never permit such a usurpation of their patronage powers. That reality makes Silver's plan, by default, the one to go with. Surely not perfect, it would still be a whole lot better than the status quo.

November 28th
Returning power to the people

This is a great editorial,  it shows once again how broken and corrupt the political system is here in this state. Another perfect example of why I helped Lenny Roberto found Primary Challenge. No matter what others may say, Primary Challenge is the only way we can think about breaking into the system. Although the results of the elections weren't as good as alot of us expected, I think the true victories came when 6 legislators,  the Sheriff and Comptroller bowed out and decided not to seek re-election.

Only in a state capital that's rigged to reelect the same lawmakers term after term after term, no matter how they botch their jobs, would a legislature permit the vast waste and fraud that sloshes around in New York's $44 billion Medicaid program.

Armored by byzantine election laws, porous campaign finance rules, pork-barrel spending and - most importantly - ruthless gerrymandering, members of the Assembly and Senate face zero consequences for mismanaging Medicaid to the point that it fritters away billions of tax dollars. The latest evidence comes courtesy of The New York Times, which showed how lawmakers have repeatedly refused to rein in wasteful outlays for prescription drugs.

Albany's incumbent protections are so strong that even the worst hacks and do-nothings can hold onto their seats for life. Of the more than 2,300 legislative elections held statewide over the past 22 years, only 30 incumbents lost their seats in a general election - a track record that would have made Josef Stalin blush.

Thus immunized from the electorate, legislators kowtow to party leaders and rubber-stamp bills without reading them, let alone holding public hearings. Until this year, when the Legislature was branded the worst in the country, the pols didn't even have to be in their seats to vote. They were counted as voting yes on every measure as long as they were hanging around somewhere in the vicinity.

The majority parties - Democrats in the Assembly, Republicans in the Senate - maintain this noxious status quo by carefully drawing legislative districts to protect their own members and squash the minority parties. They further oil the incumbent-protection machinery by lavishing millions in public funds on self-promoting newsletters and grants for pet projects back home. Meanwhile, they fill their campaign war chests with payola extorted from the interest groups and lobbyists who are, in effect, their real constituents.

This stranglehold of the incumbents will end only if lawmakers are driven to scrap how they draw districts every 10 years. They will fight tooth and nail to avoid having to compete for votes because competition will mean some lose seats - like in a real democracy.

They refuse to change the system themselves,  so we must do it for them. A primary challenge against as many assembly and senate members as possible. A Dem cannot win in a Republican district and neither can a Repub win in a Democrat district.  The challenge is for all of us, not just the candidate. Money and manpower, they have it, we need it. If you want to see changes in this state, you must get behind and help support the challengers to the system. The broken corrupt system called New York State politics, it can be done. We cannot do it alone, the choice is yours.

I think the people in Erie County finally realize that the only agenda we had with Primary Challenge was to help people, Democrat or Republican, have a choice to whom they are able to vote for and not just the hand picked candidates the party has to offer.  I happen to have been defeated by the system, that doesn't mean I am giving up the fight as the politicos would like. I am here to finish what I helped start. If you are willing to help, please email me and get involved.


I figured I'd start off this week with the challenges facing the failing leadership in the Republican Party, yes my party as now I am registered one. If you remember I changed from Conservative to run against Swanick in the primary.

There looks to be a lot of disgust and dissatisfaction with the leadership and some say we are eating our own, I agree, we are and for good reason. I don't even know Faso but he is right on the mark with the statements below, the only one in La La Land is Minarik. He chooses Weld for Governor, I say let the people choose.
Let the Primary begin!

New York-Notes and quotes from the campaign trails

November 27, 2005,
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A week after Republican candidate for governor John Faso took his own party to task for drifting away from conservative values, the GOP shot back.

Two weeks ago Faso, a conservative Republican and former Assembly minority leader, told his party it "is vital for our party to return to its roots and represent the aspirations of middle-class New Yorkers who want lower taxes and a growing economy that produced more jobs for our people."

That didn't sit well with state Republican Chairman Stephen Minarik, who has personally endorsed candidate Bill Weld. Minarik figured the values Faso talked about were right out of the GOP playbook.
Of Faso, Minarik subtly told New York 1 TV: "It's like he lives in La La Land."

State election shapes up as challenge for GOP

Will it be Jeanine Pirro who challenges Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton?
Can William Weld mollify the skeptics and claim the GOP's gubernatorial nomination?
Does Eliot Spitzer have a clear path to the Democratic nomination for governor, or will he have to fight off Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi?
These questions and others like them, partially obscured by the just-concluded 2005 election campaigns, are now dominating New York's political discourse as attention turns to the marquee election battles of 2006.

Another voice / Election Day 2005
Voter denied right to cast a write-in ballot

We are all familiar with the line "there's something rotten in Denmark." I don't know about conditions in Denmark, but I'd opine there is something rotten - even malignant - in Erie County.

This past Veterans Day became more poignant than usual. Every ballot we cast on Election Day was purchased, and is maintained, by the service and sacrifice of our veterans. Three days previously, that dearly paid for privilege - the right to vote for the candidate of my choice - was denied to me.

This would be the first time I would cast one of my votes on a write-in ballot, or so I thought. I asked the poll workers how one went about casting a write-in ballot. Surprised looks and murmured conversations passed between them, then they asked whom I wanted to vote for. Believing the question was illegal (our votes are supposed to be secret), I nonetheless replied Rus Thompson, who was a write-in candidate for the 10th District in the Erie County Legislature. They stated not only ignorance of the procedure, but specifically that I could not vote for him. I finally gave up and cast my ballot for all but one of the candidates of my choice.

Speaking afterward with Sandy Beach on-air at WBEN radio, I relayed what had transpired. Other listeners called in and reported that they, too, were denied the right to vote for Thompson.

Subsequently, I was informed by the Thompson campaign that all the way back to Primary Day, voters were told it was not possible to do a write-in. When contacted about the matter, the Grand Island town clerk denied the claim, in direct contradiction with authentic testimony. Thereafter, Board of Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr denied the Thompson campaign permission to distribute generic write-in balloting instructions to poll workers; nonetheless, as is their right, they distributed these instructions to all town clerks.

All voters have a right to cast their ballot - including a write-in. All voters have a right to vote for the person - any person - of their choice. It is illegal for poll workers to ask voters for whom they wish to vote. Veterans have made countless sacrifices to secure these voting rights and to protect us from these illegalities.

In correspondence, Thompson wrote: "I stayed in this race as a write-in candidate . . . because of the violations of the law. We have laws; we may not agree with them, but the law is the law and should not be broken. They want me to give up the fight, but I will not. We need to take back control of our government."

If you were the victim of, or witnessed, voting irregularities, it is crucial you contact the New York Civil Liberties Union at 332-4658 as soon as possible, and also file a grievance with the Board of Elections.

In my opinion, the election of the Erie County legislator from the 10th District must be declared null and void due to election irregularities. A runoff election should be held. The veterans did not give up the fight, Thompson did not give up the fight and we must not give up the fight. Too many people have sacrificed too much for us not to fight for a fair and clean election.

Susan Osberg lives in Tonawanda.

Most of suit over treatment of legislators is dismissed
Kirwan is pleased 3 counts still stand
By Yancey Roy  Journal Albany bureau

ALBANY — A lawsuit alleging state legislators in the political minority of the state Assembly and Senate get unfair treatment has been largely dismissed.

A judge Tuesday threw out 17 out of 20 claims alleged by Assemblyman Thomas Kirwan of Newburgh and Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan. The judge said she'd hear arguments about three counts, covering unequal staff sizes and distribution of political pork.

Kirwan said Wednesday the legislators would appeal the dismissals. But he also said he was pleased the court would take a look at staff sizes and office resources.

"I thought the main one was that (those in the political majority) get so much more staff allowances than we do," Kirwan said. "Since that was the one thing I wanted to take them to court on, I'm happy with that."

There in lies the biggest problem, the Judge. Where in this state can you take a court case that will actually be seen and judged according to it's merits? The judical system in this state is as corrupt as the political system. When the political parties choose the judicial candidates, behind closed doors and away from the public eye. We can only guess what kind of deals are being made. We desperately need an open process in the selection of Judges without political influence. But, when the political party bosses get so much of their party funding from that sort of a process, reform is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.  Sad but true.

Withdrawal from Iraq ? Here Is the Timetable
In the circles opposed to the toppling of Saddam Hussein one word is making the rounds these days: timetable.

Having failed to stop the war that liberated Iraq, and with their hopes of the insurgents marching triumphant into Baghdad dashed, they are now focusing on one issue: the withdrawal of the US-led coalition forces. Some want this to happen immediately, while others are prepared to grant a few weeks or months.

Those Democrat politicians in Washington, who had backed the war with as much enthusiasm as George W Bush, are now using the issue of withdrawal as a means of distancing themselves from their initial positions. The Arab reactionaries who shuddered at the thought of a despot being toppled by foreign intervention are now clinging to the withdrawal slogan in the hope of sabotaging the process of democratisation in Iraq. In Europe, professional anti-Americans of all ilks are trying to cover their political nakedness with the “ withdrawal” fig leaf.

The truth, however, is that a timetable has been in place from the first day of the war that ended the Ba’athist tyranny in 2003. In that timetable the coalition’s military presence in Iraq is, as it should be, linked to the programme for the nation’s political reconstruction. In other words the coalition forces are in Iraq to accomplish a precise political task and not to provide the United States or any other foreign power with a forward base in the Middle East.

Asharq Al-Awsat Home page
Albany abuzz with talk of pay raise

State legislators haven't seen a salary increase in seven years.

ALBANY - Want a pay raise but can't even talk about it, let alone complain about it? That's the position New York state lawmakers find themselves in after seven years with the same salary.  In an era in which "reform" has become a buzzword, a salary increase is the elephant in the room. But with the cost of living steadily increasing, some lawmakers feel it's time to broach the topic.

$79,500 is the  base salary for lawmakers. Raise? I think NOT!

Legislative Lawsuit Against "Three Men" Moves Forward

I wrote an article about this in November of 2004.

NEW YORK----New York State Supreme Court Judge Jane S. Solomon ruled Tuesday to allow for three complaints from the lawsuit against the "three men in a room" over dysfunctional legislative practices to move forward. The complaints that were sustained include the unequal funding of member resources, unequal member items and abuses of messages of necessity.

In February, New York State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and Assemblyman Tom Kirwan (R-Newburgh) sued Gov. George Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Senate, and the Assembly, challenging the constitutionality of various rules and practices that contribute to the Legislature's dysfunction. The plaintiffs are represented pro bono by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and its partner and former counsel to Governor Mario M. Cuomo, Evan A. Davis.

In her decision, Judge Solomon wrote, "this lawsuit addresses important issues central to the health of New York State's government. Studies and newspaper editorials describe New York's Legislature as 'dysfunctional,' and as the worst state legislature in the country."

"I am pleased that the court has recognized the importance of the issues addressed in our lawsuit, and that there is a role for the judiciary in addressing legislative dysfunction," said Sen. Krueger

Erie County Lawmakers OK Sales Tax Increase

Legislature Chairman George Holt tells Newsradio 930 WBEN it was not easy. "I would hope the residents of Erie County embrace the decisions that we had to make,"
Well George we would be if this was the only option, it isn't, it hasn't been and until the day comes, that you have done your job, and submit to the legislators all of the proposals, that have been given to you by the Republicans with substantial and commonsense cuts. This tax increase is unacceptable.

Passed twice... passed three times and off to Albany.

Today the Erie County Legislature voted to raise the sales tax, passing the bill for a second, and third time. It wasn't an easy decison for most legislators. "Nobody who votes for a tax is thrilled to be voting for a tax," said Majority Leader Lynn Marinelli. "But you can't do nothing. Doing nothing is not an option."
No doing nothing is exactly what you and your co-horts have been doing for over a year. There have been plenty of chances for you as the majority leader to do your job too. You and Holt have pushed off any reforms, you continue to claim there is no place else to cut,  at the same time you work to put the jobs back that were cut last year. This spring you boasted about cutting 3 million, yet at the same meeting you voted to fund Bass Pro with 14 million, where or where is that money coming from? NO ONE CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION, are we are borrowing it????

Legislature Passes Two More Approval Votes for Half-Penny Boost

Democratic legislature chairman George Holt said, "What you're seeing today is the courage and the will of ten members who thought this is right thing to do."
No these ten members are cowards that refuse to reform, restructure government
at any level....
But a few Republicans who still voted 'no' said the county is heading in the wrong direction. Republican minority leader Michael Ranzenhofer said, "You're acknowledging that you're unwilling to make any cuts, and you're looking to just continue to increase sales taxes and property taxes, year after year after year. That's what this vote says."

But even with the half-penny increase, the '06 budget may be tipped out of balance
Out of balance is right, when all is said and done the debt will be found to be much higher and the tax increases will not be enough. So what will they do when we find out that another 60 to 80 million is needed? I can only hope and pray that this new slate of legislators will have the wherewithal to do the right thing.
Democratic majority leader Lynn Marinelli has let it be known she wants to be the next chairman.
Setting up her run for County Executive? Please don't, you have shown no leadership so far in the legislature.

Is it possible to vote for the sales tax increase twice in one meeting? Shouldn't the votes be seperated into different meetings?

Albany accountability

Excellent editorial as a follow up to Hevesi's press release on the accountibility of our wonderful state Authorities

The ink wasn't dry on the press release before Pataki's office was challenging the comptroller's authority. Pataki spokesman Kevin Quinn said: "The comptroller made some positive suggestions, which we will certainly take under advisement; however, we remain unconvinced that he has any actual legal standing to require these changes." A cool reception from Pataki is to be expected because it is the governor who appoints the patronage, er, people, who run the authorities.

State authorities are created by the governor and Legislature for various purposes, such as operating the Thruway. They account for the bulk of long-term amassed state debt, all of which circumvented the public by back-door borrowing. New York is the nation's No. 2 debtor state behind California. Authorities employ some 107,613 state workers. A Hevesi report issued last year documented 55 instances of scandal, waste and mismanagement in state authorities.

GOP leaders to decide Dec. 12 on governor, Senate candidates

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Senior New York Republican Party leaders, coming off local setbacks in this month's elections, met behind closed doors on Monday and decided to endorse 2006 candidates for governor and U.S. Senate in just three weeks.

State GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik said New York's 62 county chairmen would be called together Dec. 12 for a meeting in Albany to debate the merits of their favorite candidates.

This could get very interesting, on the slate for Governor,  Bill Weld -  John Faso - Randy Daniels - Patrick Manning - Thomas Golisano (I see a great Primary coming, Go Tom!)
on the slate for Senate,  Jeanine Pirro - John Spencer -

The only announced Democratic candidate for governor is Eliot Spitzer, but he faces a potential primary challenge Thomas Suozzi.  Minarik appeared giddy on Monday at the thought of a Spitzer-Suozzi slugfest."There would be a lot of blood spilled,"

General Motors' Wagoner to Close 12 North American Locations

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, who said in June he would eliminate 25,000 North American manufacturing jobs by 2008, today said he will close 12 facilities and cut 30,000 jobs.

Sunday Nov 20
Weinstein: County Budget Still Bloated
WBEN Newsroom - Sunday, November 20, 2005 04:35 PM

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Erie County Legislator Dr. Barry Weinstein told WBEN's Kevin Hardwick today that there are still funds that could be cut from the county budget.

A sales tax increase has been approved by lawmakers, but Albany has yet to give the go-ahead for the hike.

Weinstein says he's uncovered about $27 million dollars that could still be cut. Weinstein says he reviewed the budget "and I penciled out jobs that I thought were unnecessary and expenses that were unnecessary. I added up department by department and then I created a work product which I had a press conference on and distributed to the staff of the democratic side of the legislature and all the legislators who wanted a copy."

Weinstein says that the submission is due to be clocked in.

I think that when all is said and done we will find out that we are in debt more like 60 to 80 million. This after all the tax increases and fee increases. Just how will the new legislature deal with this? We will have to see if the people that got elected will have the wherewithal to cut government like they should, or attempt to raise taxes.

It will be very interesting if Barry Weinstein decides to run for County Executive, I could just see him running against Lynn Marinelli. I choose Dr Barry Weinstein and will help him in his efforts.

Why do we have the 2nd highest electrical rates in the country? Second only to Hawaii, it is sickening and just another reason to keep businesses and people from coming here.  New York is the most unfriendly business state in the nation, Insurance, Comp, Utilities, Taxes blah, blah blah.  With layer upon layer upon layer of corrupt, incompetant government and authorities that answer to no one.

With this local election over and done, we need to start looking for people that are willing to step up and run against the politically entrenched Albany machine across the state.  We need to start focusing on the Primaries and the general elections. With the districts set up the way they are if you win the Primary, you will most likely win the seat.

No extra cash for city, but authority gives $100 million to state

WASHINGTON - The New York Power Authority says it doesn't have enough money to give Buffalo a windfall from the relicensing of the Niagara Power Project.

But the agency had enough money to give the state treasury $100 million in the last two years. It also earned about $9 million in 2004 by selling excess power that was supposed to go to Western New York.

And in the same year - in which the nonprofit agency reported an $82 million surplus the authority spent $2.9 million on lawyers alone.

Enforcement Actions Include 15 Percent Increase in Deportations and Hundreds of Criminal Arrests

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Department of Homeland Security

Pataki To Keep 12 Sex Offenders Committed to Mental Hospitals

By ELIZABETH SOLOMONT - Special to the Sun  November 18, 2005

The Pataki administration said yesterday it would keep 12 sex offenders committed in mental hospitals as it reevaluates their mental fitness per a court order, even as it plans to appeal a judge's ruling that the governor's actions went beyond the scope of the law.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Jacqueline Silbermann ruled Tuesday that Governor Pataki had improperly committed the 12 men to mental hospitals without following proper procedures. A spokeswoman for the governor, Jessica Scaperotti, said the administration will reevaluate the men by November 20, but also is planning to appeal the decision and will "push Assembly leadership to vote on the governor's civil commitment legislation."

New incentives will insure Downtown remains the financial capital

While the Buffalo waterfront lays stagnent, politicos and groups incapable of deciding anything like waterfront development, a Peace Bridge, to tear down the Skyway, to raise or lower taxes, to live or to die, Manhatten thrives with all sorts of projects going on, millions upon millions being spent to ensure the area continues to thrive..

We can't do anything but point the finger of blame...

Governor George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno recently developed a broad new incentives package that provides substantial benefits to businesses that sign leases in Lower Manhattan

Several significant capital projects are also underway in Lower Manhattan. On the World Trade Center site, construction of the world-class Calatrava PATH station has begun, with completion scheduled for 2009. This grand terminal will serve as an important public space, a critical transportation hub, and a retail center for the Downtown community. Construction of the Freedom Tower and the World Trade Center Site memorial are both slated to begin this spring. The Fulton Street Transit Center, which will connect the maze of subway lines that currently converge at Fulton St. into a rationalized, centralized transit hub, is also under construction and expected to be completed in 2008.

This spring, the New York State Dept. of Transportation will complete the Route 9A Promenade South project. This $70 million project will dramatically improve vehicular and pedestrian conditions on West St., from Battery Place to West Thames St. The entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel will be rebuilt, as will wider sidewalks, pedestrian plazas, decorative plantings and a bikeway that links the Hudson and East River greenways.

In addition to these projects that are underway, the Downtown community is looking forward to the revitalization of the East River waterfront, which received a $150 million funding commitment earlier this year from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The plans call for improved lighting and pedestrian access, as well as new piers and retail development. These long-awaited improvements will be welcome additions to Downtown’s spectacular waterfront.

Officially Filed?

Buffalo, NY - Buffalopundit received word that an official complaint has been filed with the State Board of Elections in regards to Mr. 5000 and his deceptive advertising practices and selling of favorable stories to political candidates.

Hopefuls criticize N.Y. GOP

Republicans say state party isn't true to values
"Voters are tired of Republicans who act and govern like liberal Democrats," he said.

This seems to be the running theme across the state, after the recent elections results. The Republicans want Republicans, not RINO's....

Hevesi orders strict fiscal reporting by state authorities

ALBANY, N.Y. -- State Comptroller Alan Hevesi on Wednesday began reining in what he called Albany's "immense shadow government."

Hevesi said his regulations will publicly open the budget process of hundreds of authorities that borrow and handle billions of dollars. The proposals will be final after a public comment period of as much as six months. That could result in some changes to the regulations, which don't require approval by Gov. George Pataki or the Legislature, he said.

"Public authorities are an immense shadow government that have offered continuous and unambiguous proof of the truism that, when no one is watching, the increase in mismanagement and corruption is dramatic," Hevesi said. "It is absolutely absurd that these public authorities are still not answerable to any public body."

Authorities are created by the Legislature and governor to borrow for specific tasks, including maintaining the state Thruway and running mass transit in New York City. Over the past several decades, the number has grown to more than 700.

Hevesi said more public accountability of the entities is needed because authorities aren't directly responsible to elected officials. He said spending and debt service by authorities increased 10 percent over two years, according to 255 authorities that responded to his survey.

Overall spending in 2004-05 totaled $31.3 billion, with an amassed debt of $125.3 billion paid through fares, tolls and other revenue. Authorities also employed 107,613 state workers.

I am happy to see Hevesi take the lead on this issue, the authorities are out of control and will continue to drive us further into debt. At the bottom of the article it says that Pataxme has led fiscal reform efforts of authorities including legislation. Yet the legislation, passed in the Legislature but still sits in the senate at Pataxme’s request. It looks like he doesn’t want to sign it.

The Senate hasn't sent the bill at the governor's request, said Mark Hansen, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had no immediate comment.

Well now isn’t that special

Ceiling Crumble Shuts State Senate Chamber

(ALBANY) For New York's state Senate, the sky may not be falling, but parts of the ceiling certainly are.

The Senate chamber won't be used for a one-day session later this month because of structural problems discovered with one of nine, huge wooden trusses that support the room's ornate ceiling, officials said Tuesday.

The sky needs to fall on the in Albany

Keep talking Mr. Weld..
Weld pitches state, local taxing limit plan


November 15, 2005, 4:54 PM EST

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Republican candidate for governor William Weld on Tuesday proposed a cap on state and local taxes in an "Empire State Taxpayers' Bill of Rights."

Weld called for limiting state taxes under a formula using the previous year's level and factoring in inflation and annual population growth. Half of any surplus would be rebated to taxpayers and half would go to a "rainy day fund." If the fund reached 10 percent of the state budget, the Legislature could use it to reduce state debt or for further tax rebates.
We have been calling for a Taxpayor Bill of Rights for a few years, on the left side there has been a link to NYTABOR for a few years. David Penna former candidate for the 144th assembly seat signed onto it and put up the website to try to inform NYers about it.

I spoke to Dennis Ward yesterday and asked about the write in vote tally. He said Monday they will start counting the absentee ballots and the write ins. So we have to wait yet another week.

I rec'd an email this morning from NYCLU..
  We are assisting a number of people who had problems exercising their franchise to vote for write-in candidates. Unfortunately, a number of the callers that had similar complaints were fearful to attach their names to formal complaints.
I am sure the statement is true due to the fact that some people did not want to put up signs in fear of political retribution,  how sad. What is the old saying..
When the government fears the People we have Liberty,
when the People fear the government we have tyranny!
We are close folks, very close.

Tax Reform
"a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain
men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise
free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and
improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor
the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday 4:45 PM Nov 15
Vote taken 10 to 5 Sales tax increase, meeting wasn't even 5 minutes, quick vote it's over. No Reform here, move along nothing to see, just the same old crap.
How disgusting. 06 budget on the books. Only if we can get Albany to say NO!
Call your Assemblyman and Senators and tell them to vote NO on salestax.

Your Assembly members
Your State Senators

8.75 sales tax and 15% property tax increase. The state takes away a 1/4 and the county takes it back from us. Every time the sales tax is changes it costs businesses to reset their cash registers. It will also cost business as people will go to Niagara Falls or another county to purchase big ticket items such as cars.

Last  year we helped defeat the sales tax, this year we lost. We would be in worse shape than we are now if we hadn't stopped it last year, yet we hear Holt telling us they have reduced the size of the county employees, of course he doesn't mention that they are trying to hire them all back, and some will get rehired with this 06 budget, some 100 will be called back.

Sales Tax Increase Approved
WBEN Newsroom - Tuesday, November 15, 2005 04:16 PM

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - By a vote of ten to five, Erie County lawmakers have approved a sales tax increase of a half percent. That means there will be a property tax hike of 15 percent.

Republican Steven McCarville told Newsradio 930 WBEN's Barbara Burns before the meeting he would vote for the increase. "Speaking with members of the control board, they felt very strongly this is the avenue to go," says McCarville.

He believes with the sales tax increase passed, it will be enough to avoid a hard control board. The board meets Wednesday.

Interesting article posted at WNYMEDIA.NET
An Open Letter To Erie County Legislators

10/23/2005 - New tax moves recall past vows of frugality

The link is dead but if you can search it, go for it.
When they voted to raise the sales tax by a quarter-cent four months ago, Erie County legislators gave a nod to the taxpayer by passing another measure touted to save $5 million.

Departments would cap their spending at 75 percent of authorized levels and alert the Legislature if they planned to exceed it. Now, with the government well into its third fiscal quarter, not one department has sent notice that it consumed three-fourths of its budget, Legislature aides said.

The measure, created by Legislator Charles M. Swanick, had been safely de-fanged in closed-door bargaining with other legislators and with Laurence K. Rubin, a key adviser to County Executive Joel A. Giambra. In its final version, the rule is little inconvenience to the hierarchy.

This is an old story but one that needs to be read and understood.  In front of everyone in the leg chambers they pass these cuts, looks good to the viewing public but when behind closed doors they undo what they just did. It's disgraceful and just another example of how our current legislators have acted over the past 2 years and longer.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) --
It's another steep rise in pension costs for the state's school districts.
The New York State Teachers' Retirement System this month notified districts that their rates will be in the 8-point-5 to 9-point-5 range in the 2006-2007 fiscal year. The rate was less than one percent just a few years ago. Rates haven't been above 8-point-5 percent in 17 years.
At Guilderland Central in the Capital Region, the projected 2007 rate will spike pension costs by up to 600-thousand dollars.The New York State School Boards Association called for the creation of a task force earlier this year to study pension reform. The call followed several years of steep rises in pension costs, which were blamed on poor stock market earnings.
Once again it appears the taxpayers will be paying for their bad investments.

No one is really discussing the Tonawanda  Town Council race. This is just more proof of the Republicans self distruction with it's involvement with Giambra hacks like Sedita. All 3 R's lost.

R,C RIDER, DAVID H     8,428 14%
R,C SHIAH, JOSEPH M         8,275 14%
R,C SINCLAIR, RAYMOND E    8,653 15%

D, W, I BARGNESI, JOHN A JR      10,783 18%
D, W, I  CHIMERA, LISA M     11,653 20%
D,I  EMMINGER, JOSEPH H SR      10,585 18%

The City of Tonawanda had the same results.
Ward One
R, I  WHITE, JOHN L     373 45%
D, C, W PERKINS, COLLEEN R      452 55%
Ward two
R BOYLE, BLAKE R         328 49%
D, C  RYAN, LYNETTE L          343 51%
Ward three
R, I, CSALTARELLI, MARK E    327 43%
D KOSSOW, JAMES P     434 57%
Ward four
R, I   MCCORMICK, DAVID B  554 49%
D, C, W   DAVIS, RICK D JR  581 51%

As did the Legislative race, funny thing how my prediction was right on the money with this one. I told them that Iannello would win right down party lines. The only way a Repoublican can win in this race is to have a track record of working with both sides of the aisle. Iannello-Ward is a Democrat hand picked from the inside as Kaiser is a Republican hand picked from the inside, despite the request from Calabrese, Davis and Bill Naab to endorse me. 
The "Over my dead body" statement from Planavsky about my getting the endorsement turned out to be "Over my dead Party" for them.

R, C   KAISER, BRUCE A  6,537 45%
D, I, W   IANNELLO, MICHELE M         7,861 55%

Like I have said from the get go, they would rather sacrifice the ability to win this seat for the Republicans over pure hate and revenge for me. They just hate the fact that I have worked with both sides here on the island to get the Right person elected into office, regardless of their party affiliation.

To that end we were destroyed in this little corner of Erie County, Only a few Republicans won. Cooke, Dlugokinski and Frentzel on Grand Island,  Pilozzi in the City of Tonawanda. It also appears that the two Democrats won in Kenmore.

I feel bad for all of them, their only recourse is to replace the leadership in the committees. The 10th district has been fractured and in an uproar since the election between the Primary Winner Kevin Hardwick and the anointing of Swanick. The same committee that gave you Swanick gave you Kaiser, nuff said.

I will be running for this seat again in 2 years, my committee has become bigger and better because of this and more people have become aware of the corrupt leadership. Join us please.

Order in the courtEditorials
Fresh from reelection, Bloomberg takes dead-on aim in today's Daily News at New York's boss-dominated process for electing judges. The game is rigged to exclude voters and lets party leaders put cronies on the bench without regard to qualifications. Many are not the best and the brightest by a long shot, and some have proved to be downright corrupt.

The back-room deal Bloomberg writes of to create the new judgeships, including a new, unneeded Brooklyn surrogate, was cooked up by Gov. Pataki and legislative bosses Joe Bruno and Sheldon Silver, who divvied up the spoils.

This is a good read and just explains the problems we have with the judicary in this state. I am not speculating that all judges are corrupt but this article should raise your eyebrows. This is why we need an open process during the selections.
I am sure the judical candidates would agree.

Mayor writes op-ed piece pushing for judicial reform
Some judges have been selected because they paid off a local political leader or agreed to hire a particular law clerk."

Bruno: Voters were confused, we were outspent on budget amendment

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state Legislature's most powerful Republican lashed out Thursday at opponents _ including Gov. George Pataki _ of the proposed state constitutional amendment on budget powers defeated this week, claiming the naysayers confused voters and vastly outspent his side.

We weren't confused, we were educated.
Silver and Bruno are determined to take power away from the governor in  Prop One, it went down in defeat at the polls by 60% but determined as they are, it will be back on the ballot in 07.Reminds me of the school budgets, vote it down and a few weeks later they try it again, they just don't listen to the people.

Bruno, facing more setbacks, claims to retain grip on power

November 12, 2005,

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The 2005 election has dealt another blow to Joseph Bruno, the state Senate's Republican majority leader who in the 2004 balloting saw his GOP advantage cut by three seats in the Legislature's upper house.

Despite the most recent setbacks, Bruno says he remains firmly in control of his Senate leadership post and expects to run in 2006 for at least one more term. Nonetheless, Bruno also is aware there are a number of ambitious senators waiting in the wings and, from personal experience, knows it is not good for a leader to look vulnerable

I suppose I should be careful what I say about fellow Republicans, I was chastized by Dick Planavsky for calling Pataxme and Bruno dictators in a letter to the editor I wrote a couple years ago, I think I still have it somewhere. I should post it again.
The elected republican leaders have ruined Republicans across the state. Just look at the results state wide, lost 3 seats in the senate, Erie county lost 4 in the legislature. If something doesn't happen soon with the leadership, the Party will be doomed.

From WGRZ TV2:
NYCLU Files Complaint With Erie County Board Of Elections
I was made aware of this by a friend, they did this without my knowledge. I have no problem with it, I hope something get's the attention of the voters.

Posted by: Sally Durwald, Producer
Created: 11/9/2005 10:47:56 AM

NYCLU has filed a complaint with the Erie County Board of Elections over the
alleged actions of poll workers in the 10th legislative district.

Officials from the New York Civil Liberties Union says its Western New York
office received several complaints from voters who in that district who
wanted to vote for a write-in candidate. Some were allegedly told by poll
workers that it was not allowed.

The NYCLU says that's a violation under the State Election Law. The group is
looking for anyone who may have encountered a similar problem. If you have
call the NYCLU at 332-4658.

Thank a Veteran today for your Freedom !
God Bless America

The cowardess in the Legislature..
We are still stuck with the same cowards at the legislature. Time after time they have had the opportunity to do the right thing and cut and down size county government. They refuse. More revenue is the only thing they can do. They are so wrong.

Now they have forced them into a corner, with Swanick calling for the 06 budget to be put on the table and a vote for it to be called Tuesday it forces their hand to either vote for the sales tax increase or risk a 60 to 70% property tax increase by default.
I smell Giambra's hands all over this move. He  is controlling the leadership ie: Holt, Marinelli and Swanick.

NOW, more than ever the Control Board MUST vote to become hard and force cuts. But do they have the wherewithal to do it? I have a feeling they will want to persue deficit financing which is the wrong way to go.

To Little to late
By now you have most likely heard that the county Republicans have finally divorced Joel Giambra. To little to late. The majority Democrats in the legislature successfully tied all to many people to him. They, like Marinelli effectively used the Republican County Executive to the Republicans in the legislature, when they work hand in hand with Joel to persue more and more revenue.

The statement I am tired of  them saying is, "the Republicans want to cut, cut, but have no plan". I beg to differ, Weinstein, Ranzenhofer and Marshall have submitted resolution after resolution wit good commonsense ideas on how and where to cut, Holt just sent them to committee where they died.

So Mr Davis, I openly call for your resignation. You have effectively destroyed the Republican party and it started here in the 10th district when you all made a deal with Chuck Swanick to switch. This district continues to go down and is still being run by the same people that ran the campaign against Kevin Hardwick and gave you Swanick.
Jeesh, they are same committee that refused to endorse me, gave you Kaiser, thus giving the election to Iannelo. RINO's must be removed from the party throughout.

Thank you all!

I just want to Thank everyone that worked so hard on this campaign. Many long hours of walking, talking, calls, meetings and just plain hard work went into this 11 month battle. We have been from highs to lows, from the leader in the race to last place.

I have talked to so many wonderful people since Tuesday, many calls and emails encouraging and asking me to please not get out. I assure them I will not stop fighting for the people in Erie County.

I will never understand why the Republicans in the 10th district would fight so hard against us. We had the race won, internal Dem polls showed it, but when they refused to get behind the tax revolt candidate and forced Kaiser to take me on they effectively gave this seat to Iannelo. She will vote to raise your taxes.

Voting results

The investigation continues into the corruption with CPS, I will update as things come in. This will be bigger than the furniture scandal.
Text of my Press Conference Nov 2, 05