Fighting for our Freedom in Western New York
An in depth look into the politics of Erie County, Albany and Western New York.
BUFFALO, N.Y., March 25 (UPI) -- A bookseller in the Buffalo, N.Y., area is clarifying for its customers where their sales tax money goes.
Mike Gurr, who manages the mobile book store Books N More of WNY, says he started more than a year ago to explain to customers where the 8.75 percent sales tax collected by retailers is distributed.
Receipts from Gurr show the amount of Gov. George Pataki's tax -- 4 percent to the state of New York -- and Erie County Executive Joel Giambra's tax -- 4.75 percent to Erie County -- the Buffalo (N.Y.) News reported Saturday.
It kind of surprised me. I thought it was pretty funny, said Sandra Wilson, who recently bought copies of Treasure Island and Swiss Family Robinson and was charged $8.98 for the two books -- plus 36 cents state sales tax and 43 cents county sales tax.
A lot of people laugh when they see it, Gurr told The News. A lot of people chuckle, or say 'I've never seen that before.'
The news hits India, Daily India.com..
As the 2006 political season unfolds, the economy upstate is certain to be a bell that gets rung often
By TOM PRECIOUS
ALBANY - In the editing rooms where political campaigns are put together, images of dying neighborhoods and shuttered manufacturing plants are being cataloged.
Speechwriters for candidates are dueling for the most descriptive words to describe the dire state of New York State.
And candidates for governor, U.S. senator and other statewide offices are spending hours each day muscling each other to convince voters of who is most sympathetic.
Welcome to the 2006 political season, where, once again, candidates running for statewide office have latched on to the upstate economy as the central theme.
We will be the subject of the campaigns but will anything be done after they are elected? Highly unlikely. Hillary, Schumer, Tokasz, Volker, Silver, Bruno etal, could care less about what goes on here. We are a burden to their agenda..
What ever downstate wants is what the state is stuck with. Downstate politics dictates what goes on across the state and it hurts us economically here.
Time for serious change in Albany..
Local leaders are calling it a case of highway robbery. Businessman Carl Paladino and County Executive Joel Giambra are already suing to remove the tolls from the Niagara Thruway. And Call 4 Action's Al Vaughters reports some county lawmakers are jumping into the fight.
Carl Paladino said, "Our state government has looked the other way."
and our New York delegation has let us down year after year.. One thing I continue to pick up on is none of them are talking about the Grand Island Tolls. Talk about a commuter tax, we have no choice but to be caught up in traffic everyday.. It is against the NY Constitution to charge people to get home.
Also in less than 2 years we will be down to one bridge due to the reconstruction of one of the south bridges and on 2010 they will do the north bridge. We must eliminate the tolls or traffic will be at a standstill for hours and hours everyday..
Where is my legislator Michelle Ianello/Ward on this issue?
New York State Assembly credit proposal: One step forward, three steps back for private and public educated New York children.
Either the New York State Assembly doesn't get what we're fighting for or it wants to pretend that it doesn't. Its compromise tax credit counterproposal, which would deliver welcome tax breaks to parents, would simultaneously derail what has become the most successful push thus far for aid for parents of children who attend private school.
The assembly continues to ignore the people of this state, they are crying out for school choice and continue to get shot down.. When there is something like this to even give us parents a break they shoot it down.
It is Sheldon Silver dictating to the assembly what HE wants to do to suck up to the unions and tell the people to basically go to hell.
Erie County Executive Joel Giambra took to the airwaves Sunday to answer questions from taxpayers. As News 4's Alysha Palumbo shows us, he had plenty of explaining to do.
Erie County Executive Joel Giambra was grilled by taxpayers on WBEN radio about everything from budget obstacles to garbage totes to local taxes.
One caller, Bridget from Tonawanda, said, "I'm looking at $4,800 that I pay a year in taxes, and I look at other states, and they pay $800 a year in taxes."
Giambra said, "Local property taxes are much too high, and again, the reason for that is redundant layers upon layers of government."
Giambra also blames government -- state government, that is -- for making it challenging for the county to close the $40 million projected budget gap for next year.
Giambra said, "Part of our financial plan requires Albany to take action on certain fees and other revenue enhancements, and if they're not going to do their part, it's going to be very difficult for the taxpayers of Erie County."
Once again I missed Kevins show and will have to figure something out..
Giambra so far has been the only one to call out Albany and he is dead on right. Albany is the root of the problems we face here in this county and counties across the state and until we can force them to get their fiscal house in order we are doomed to continue our downhill slide and remain in fiscal chaos..
I am not saying that our own Legislators are in the clear at all, when they continue to put forth things like the apprenticeship law that just cozies up to the unions and eliminates the possibility of competitive bidding. They need to grow up and remember who they represent and not who donates to their campaigns.
ALBANY — Gov. George Pataki and state lawmakers have pushed New York $1.7 billion farther into debt by borrowing money to pay for projects like Little League fields and parking lots in affluent communities through a secret, politically driven system, a watchdog group says.
The grants, doled out between 1997 and 2005, have benefited professional sports teams, corporations, local governments, universities, churches, libraries and youth sports teams.
Among the projects were
• $90,000 to replace the roof and renovate the Anthony Maggiacomo Lodge of the Sons of Italy in Yonkers in 2005.
• $350,000 in 2001 for parking lots in Scarsdale.
• $2.5 million for a football and soccer stadium at Stony Brook University, SUNY, in 2002. The complex was named for the legislator who directed taxpayer funding to the project, state Sen. Kenneth Lavalle.
Most of the money has gone for bigger projects. The state's five Centers of Excellence, university-business high-tech ventures created by Pataki in 2001, have been allocated $529 million.
We have to stop this nonsense.... When this state is back on track fiscally, taxes are brought down to be at least equeal to the national average, then we can think about PORK, we have no room for pork spending at this point.
ALBANY - A former aide to state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who left his post amid charges he sexually assaulted a former Assembly staffer was readmitted to practice law yesterday.
A decision by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court said J. Michael Boxley "has complied with the provision of the order which suspended him and with the court's rules regulating the conduct of suspended attorneys."
In late 2003, Boxley pleaded guilty to one count of sexual misconduct. As part of a plea deal, he was sentenced to 6 years' probation, fined $1,000 and had his name added to the state's sex offender registry. Boxley left his job as Silver's counsel in June 2003. He was later indicted on two first-degree and two third-degree rape counts. In January, the Assembly agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the former staffer who charged she was sexually abused by Boxley.
That $500,000 was not paid out of the pockets of the assembly, Silver's or Boxley's... It was paid by the taxpayers of New York State. This is outrageous that he with his history of sexually abusing women, a registered sex offender and is now able to practice law again...
ALBANY — With their leaders at loggerheads over a state budget as the April 1 deadline looms, two rank-and-file senators yesterday urged public discussions on key issues dividing the Assembly and Senate.
"If we're going to resolve these issues, we have to start having discussions," Sen. Nicholas Spano, R-Yonkers, told the legislative leaders.
His words were echoed by Sen. Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County. "As these issues are presented to us, can we have fair, open discussions to resolve them?"
It was the first time in memory that lawmakers had publicly challenged their leaders, who have enormous power over everything from what bills are voted on to how much lawmakers are paid.
Are they finally getting a backbone? My God I would hope so. These two leaders? have all to much power. A year ago I said it was time to file a lawsuit to get control of our government back. It appears now the only way we can is to take it back ourselves but that cannot be done alone, one group cannot do it, all reform minded groups must work together and speak with one unified voice and take our government back.
Kudos for sharing Comptroller Alan Hevesi's warning about the state's dire financial condition, and admonition against wasting this year's ephemeral surplus ("New York's surplus Santas," March 2).
A total lack of control over state spending and debt imperils the financial condition of the state and the economic security of its populations. In this, you are right.
But our agreement stops there.
Most Americans believe that they pay for their government with the sweat of their brow. Your editorial works from the opposite assumption, one where taxes are resources the government has dibs on in the first place.
That's what you suggest when you equate tax cuts with state spending.
The reality is that New York can no longer afford not to cut taxes. The litany of things wrong with state government is nearly endless, but it starts with too much spending. Being tops in the nation in spending has meant leading in population loss and urban decline.
Today, we are the highest taxed state on a per capita basis in the nation. We have the second highest workers' compensation costs, and health care is so expensive few businesses can afford it.
We have archaic regulations, like Labor Law 240-241 (that makes commercial liability insurance unaffordable) and the least business-friendly tax code in the nation, according a Tax Foundation study in 2006. In sum, we have created a completely unattractive business climate, and now create jobs at half the national average.
Gov. George Pataki and Senate Republicans have done the right thing in proposing tax cuts of $8 billion and $3 billion, respectively, and they've placed these in the hands of Sheldon Silver and the Assembly Democratic majority. They should agree to cut taxes and begin rebuilding our communities before another job leaves the state.
Right On!Sounds like this guy has been reading my site.. Kidding of course.
WHITE PLAINS — Teachers are continuing their fight against state proposals that would return taxes to parents to spend on private and parochial school tuition.
Education tax credits, proposed by Gov. George Pataki and two state legislators, would violate the concept of the separation of church and state, said Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers.
They would also take away money needed by the public schools, Iannuzzi said, during a visit yesterday with the Editorial Board of The Journal News.
Failing schools and they continue to deny Parents the ability to chose schools other than theirs. Money is their only thought. After reading an article concerning their salaries, benefits, pensions, sick days, vacations etc... I no longer feel they are short changed in the least bit. The students on the other hand are the ones that get the short end of the stick.. I think "tenure" was the worst thing that could have happened in the school system.
This editorial work perfectly with the newest talk in politics about the comparision of Upstate and Appalachia. I posted the original story on the 22nd, it's down below. But what a firestorm of words have started. I think our elected reps in Albany are scrambling for words but you know, The truth hurts.
Misery, it seems, really does love company - especially in upstate New York.
You can't help but draw that conclusion when you look at the employment trends across upstate. While the struggles of the Buffalo Niagara region have been well documented, the sad reality is that we're far from alone in our troubles.
Job growth upstate last year was less than one-seventh of the increase nationally. Put another way, for every two jobs that were added upstate, 15 were created across the United States.
In the other 10 upstate metro areas, job growth wasn't even half as strong as the 1.5 percent increase across the country, according to state Labor Department statistics.
Over the last 15 years, for instance, the number of jobs upstate has grown by a measly 4.2 percent, less than a fifth of the 21.9 percent increase nationally.
It's an even sadder story in the Buffalo Niagara region, which is in the midst of what could be termed a double-dip recession after losing 1,700 jobs last year - the fourth year of job losses in the last five.
• In Appalachia, the poverty rate (people living below the poverty line) was 15.4 percent in 1990, and it improved to 13.6 percent in 2000. The upstate poverty rate worsened from 10.4 percent to 11 percent over the same period, according to the Brookings Institution.
• In Appalachia, unemployment was 5.8 percent in 2003, up from 5.0 percent in 2001. Upstate New York's unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in 2001 and rose to 5.4 percent in 2003, according to the state Labor Department. Statewide, New York's unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in 2001 and 6.3 percent in 2003.
• Appalachia's population increased by 9.1 percent from 1990 to 2000, while upstate grew by just 1 percent.
The article is excellent and the comparisons disheartening. More and more proof that the politics of this state is rotten to the core. The jerry mandering of districts assures the re-election of the incumbents by making it virtually impossible for the opposing party to win in a general election.
As I said before as much as I dislike Spitzers politics, he is dead right on this issue and more reason to change the leadership in Albany. Albany is the core of the corruption that has bled into the counties, cities and towns of New York.
On Monday night I was at a meeting with Tim Wenger and some invited folks from the insiders club at WBEN. Great meeting and this is the first type of meeting like this I have ever been invited to. We were asked our opinions of the local talk shows, News, traffic reporting etc... I hope Kevin Hardwick doesn't mind but I had a special request for his show. It is the subject of my newest poll. I personally think Kevins show Hardline with Hardwick is the best political radio show on the radio. Not to slight Tom and Sandy, they have great shows. Kevin is like the Tim Russert of local shows. Problem is the time he is on. 10 till 12, how many people are in Church during those two hours? I am, If I'm lucky I will catch the last 20 minutes. I completely missed last weeks show and what I have heard the callers had alot to say to Lynn Marinelli.
I am convinced Kevins show will double his listening audience..
My question is... Should Kevins show be moved to a new time slot? Yes - No
I get tired of listening to repeat shows of Laura Ingrahm..
Results of the last poll are this..
Primary for Senate
Dale Volker Incumbent46% Leonard Roberto Primary Challenge54%
Today, we published our NINTH study--
Free Buffalo News Alert No. 6
Public Authorities Have Failed the Public
By James Ostrowski
March 22, 2006
It is time to recognize that the authority system of public administration in New York has failed.
We spend too much time critiquing the particular acts of particular authorities-the Power Authority, Peace Bridge Authority, Water Authority, NFTA, BMHA and Thruway Authority-without grasping why these secretive agencies so often disappoint us but always manage to serve themselves. It's not an accident; it's their very nature.
The authority system failed because authorities are not subject to the discipline of the marketplace or the ballot box. When things go wrong, those in charge are neither voted out of office nor do they lose their investment.
Please check out our new website design--a vast improvement. freebuffalo.org
Excellent report by Jim.. FreeBuffalo/FreeNewYork is doing fantastic work on behalf of the taxpayers of this state. Please consider supporting them..
Another E Mail..
Seems that the town of Orchard Park will only buy its insurance from well connected brokers, even though other brokers have offered to sell the town insurance for as much as $160,000 less according to the Buffalo News. When confronted with uncomfortable questions about such dubious goings-on, the accused claim to be offended, saying that such comments and questions "border on the slanderous".
I always love it when they bring out the slander charge, as you can be sure you're hitting very close to the target when that happens. One insurance broker who is not a member of the good old boys club claims that it is "almost impossible to bid on the town's account". Those involved have promised to investigate. Of course, they will be investigating themselves but, I'm sure they will work hard to get to the bottom of the whole thing - and go right back to doing things just as they have always done. I guess there is no shame in Orchard Park.
Anybody seen Satish?
I am quite sure this goes on in every community.. I have some of my own thoughts concerning Grand Island. FreeBuffalo is being invited to Orchard Park, I think I will invite Jim to Grand Island next.
ALBANY, N.Y. Eliot Spitzer's comment comparing impoverished upstate areas to Appalachia continues to stir controversy at the Capitol.
The Democratic attorney general, who's running for governor, said at a recent campaign stop that the upstate economy is devastated. He said if you drive from Schenectady to Niagara Falls, it looks like Appalachia.
As much as I dislike Spitzer he is right on this one. Just goes to show us how bad the policies coming out of Albany are effecting us. When NYCity politics dominate the state we are left with higher taxes, labor rates and union policy.
Yesterday, the Legislature's top Republican, Senator Joe Bruno, said he agreed with Spitzer on upstate's dire economic straits. He said the Senate Republicans' proposed tax cuts are aimed at helping that situation by creating jobs and improving the economy.
It is not your job Joe to create jobs. The only jobs politicans create are government jobs or tax payer funded jobs. The private sector in WNY grew at the slowest rate in the country while government jobs grew over 40%. If that's your idea of creating jobs then keep them.
But Republican Governor Pataki called Spitzer's comparison an insult to upstaters.
G-O-P candidate for governor Bill Weld said the Appalachia image is not only inaccurate, but will turn businesses away.
Scuze me Gov... When is the last time you took a long drive across this area? You fly in and fly out. Things look a little different at street level. Businesses are turning away because of the taxes, high utility costs, workers compensation rates, union influences, restrictions, regulations, must I go on???
Spitzer's campaign noted that from 1990 to 2004, Appalachia's population rose 12 percent, while upstate rose only one 1 percent. Upstate's job growth was lower than any of the 12 Appalachian states, and upstate poverty rose while it declined in Appalachia.
What does it tell you when we can't even get a company that will bring 1500 jobs to WNY because we can't supply the electric power. I live 5 miles from Niagara Falls and what good does it do us? It costs us more money than it's worth.
The battle over the “Red Budget” was intense and sometimes bitter.
A litany of lawsuits was filed when the Legislature and Erie County Executive Joel Giambra slashed jobs.
Instead of using lawyers in the Erie County attorney's office, lawyers already on the public payroll, Erie County hired two private law firms to defend the lawsuits. Harter, Secrest & Emery and Magavern and Magavern.
The amount paid to two private law firms to defend budget lawsuits according to records from the Erie County Comptroller's office: $480,122.
"The amount is outrageous. Every one of those lawsuits was either lost or settled. And we got nothing for our money," said Erie County Legislator Dr. Barry Weinstein.
Here’s the breakdown of how much the two law firms billed Erie County according to records released by the Comptroller’s Office... rest here.. Kudo's to Stef for this story. This is outrageous. Why do we have Lawyers on the payroll if they can't do something like this. If we have to go out to get lawyers then get rid of all the lawyers on the county payroll. We could just get rid of all the l;awyers and we would all be better off anyway.
State Assembly rules residents don't want to help Hamas-led Palestinian government
In a rare move, the New York State Assembly on Tuesday unanimously decided that New York State residents will not help the Hamas-led Palestinian government, Israel's leading newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported on Wednesday.
The Assembly’s 150 members said they view with “contempt” Hamas’ victory in the legislative elections “without being asked to denounce terror and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” and noted that since 2000 Hamas was responsible for 425 terror attacks in which 377 people were killed.
“We support and stand by Israel, in declaring the closest friendship,” legislatures said. The Assembly quoted a similar law passed by the Washington State Senate which banned direct assistance to the Palestinian government so long it is calling for the destruction of Israel.
I had no idea we were even sending any aid to the Palestinians or any other foreign government.. Why? Doesn't the federal gov send enough in foreign aid.
At least they did the decent thing in agreeing on this..
From a recent E Mail..
When Lake Shore superintendent Ken Connolly "retired" last year. He was supposed to retire on July 8th, 2005. Earned "only" $154,466 per year (PLUS benefits)
However, by staying another 7 days (retired on July 15) he accrued an additional 12 days "sick" time (well over $1,000). His total unused "Sick Time" plus vacation gave him a going away present of $58,214 paid by the taxpayers. (I realize every time our School Taxes increase it is "For the Children".)
The $58,214 made Connolly's Lake Shore salary in 2005 a whopping $ 145,325 for less than 7 months "work". (1/1 till 7/15)............ Not Bad ?????
Compare that with what you earned ??????
You will not believe the following ...... !!!!!!!!!!
Now Ken Connoly has "UNRETIRED" to another School District in Lakeland NY . His new Superintendent's salary .. Only $199,700 PLUS BENEFITS $$$$$ Big New York State Pension, Life Insurance, Sick Days, Vacation Days, etc. Paid by Whom ? TAXPAYERS !
I hope he can make "ends Meet REMEMBER .......... It's "FOR THE CHILDREN" !!!!!
This is sickening.. To blatantly take advantage of the very system that is supposed to teach our children.. It's the mindset of these people across the state that has to change, I find myself saying this constantly. The abuse, the corruption has to stop.... May God help us.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. George Pataki said Tuesday his $127,000-a-year state insurance superintendent, who lost the 2004 U.S. Senate race, has been called on the carpet for continuing his personal political fundraising even while on the state payroll.
"We don't believe that people in appointive office, commissioners or others working for the state should be in a position of raising those funds, period," the Republican governor told a state Capitol news conference.
Shortly after the governor's news conference, Howard Mills said that, at the governor's request, he was suspending all fundraising activities of his "Citizens for Mills" campaign committee, "so long as I remain as superintendent."
The sad thing here is that he was doing it knowing that it was unethical if not illegal. Our NY politicans have to have a serious change in their mindset. It is not ok to be raising campaign funds on taxpayer time.
Primary Challenge should be a state wide effort, not just here in Erie County. Lenny Roberto had a Press Conference yesterday and it was an opportunity passed up. We should have had one in Albany and in New York City at the same time. We need to put the Leadership in Albany on notice that we are coming after all of you, not just the reps in WNY..
Just a quick post to let you know about a six-page memo from Senator Reid’s office to Senate Democrats that surfaced over the weekend. The memo titled “Real Security” directs Democrat Senators during the Congressional recess to hold events at military bases, with active military personnel to attack President Bush on national security issues. Here are some direct quotes: “Ensure that you have the proper U.S. and state flags at the event, and consider finding someone to sing the national anthem and lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the event,” the memo states. “Hold a town hall meeting with state officials and a local National Guard unit at their armory to discuss the security impact of long deployments….Ask National Guard members to offer input on how security and disaster response at home is compromised by long deployments.”
“Visit the home of a military family that has purchased body armor on their own for a family member serving in Iraq or Afghanistan and hold an open press ‘conversion’ on this issue….Ask the family if they would be willing to hold the open press conversation/town hall meeting in their yard, on their front porch or in their home.”
In case Senate Democrats do not know, it is illegal to hold political events at military bases. Not to mention despicable to use the military and their families in this way.
When asked about this memo by the Washington Times, a staffer in Senator Reid’s office said, “It’s an effort to paint the White House and the Republican Congress as having a failed effort on national security issues, which is a direct result of their misplaced priorities and mismanagement.”
Let's keep an eye on our delegation and see if they follow the marching orders passed down from Reid. If this isn't a slap in the face to our Military, I don't know what is.
The president of the state AFL-CIO said he has heard nothing in the renewed debate over workers' compensation in New York that would make him agree to a cap on the most expensive benefit package in the system.
Denis Hughes said he believes there are cost-savings available for employers in the workers' comp system without limiting open-ended "permanent partial" disability payments.
"No, you don't want to cap it," Hughes said. "Let's put it this way: We're not going to give it up. If there's waste, if there's things that are not going well, we'll look at it. It hasn't been proven to me that that's the only savings you can get."
Gov. George Pataki has proposed a 500-week cap. Forty-two other states have caps on benefits, generally after about 10 years.
Why does he have anything to say about workers comp? Isn't this why we are forced to carry disability insurance? Sorry but there are issues that I feel these union's have no right being involved in. This is one of them.
A traditional slam on the Legislature has been that almost everything of importance goes on behind closed doors and that many rank-and-file members don't have much impact. It's a charge they're eager to refute, with elections less than eight months away and the word "reform," everyone's mantra during the 2004 campaigns, still a potent cudgel on the campaign trail.
The Legislature does have important budget work to do. The Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-run Assembly want to have their budget ducks in a row when they go up against Gov. George E. Pataki, who thinks both houses would spend New York even deeper into the red.
Insiders say, Bruno and Silver are close to reaching a budget accord that includes massive new spending hikes and multiyear tax cuts. Suprised? You shouldn't be, New York is getting worse and worse every year these bozo's remain in office.
We need to get candidates from across New York State to run Primaries against the Leaders in Albany. In Pennsylvania they have 81 candidates to run against the entrenched corrupt politicans, why not here? Are all the brave people gone?
They have been likened to the dot at the top of an “i” and to tiny soccer balls. Some see them as the beginning of life, others as building blocks for medical miracles and still others as medical debris. And while most politicians would be hard pressed to define or spell blastocyst, these tiny bits of matter sit at the center of one of the most contentious policy disputes of our time – the fight over embryonic stem cell research.
Now the fight has come to New York. Ever since President George Bush banned most federal funding for most embryonic stem cell research in 2001, some states have sought to pick up the slack and so entice researchers and possible new industry. New York seems a likely location for this kind of research. Almost 55,000 people in the state work in the pharmaceutical and bio-tech industries, and the city is home to many top research institutions. With the construction of a new bio-tech center on the East Side, the Bloomberg administration hopes many private companies will bring their cutting-edge bio-tech businesses to New York.
To keep New York in the forefront of bio-technology, some members of the state legislature, including most prominently Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, hope to obtain state funding for embryonic stem cell research.
WHAT IS STEM CELL RESEARCH
Although embryonic stem cells have not yet cured a single disease, it is hard to overstate the hopes that many experts have for them.
The above statement says it all! When you look at the successes of Adult Stem Cell research it is mind boggling why the continue to persue embryonic stem cell research. There is other reasons why they are persuing this, read my page for the answers.
The Catholic Church as well as Bible teaching Churches across the country are on the Adult stem cell side of the issue. There is no reason for governments to fund such failed research, if there was a promising future I am sure private investment would be overwhelming.
By Julia Gorin
The War on Terror suffered a major blow three years before it was ever announced. It happened when the people of this democracy were misled into attacking the sovereign, emerging post-Communist democracy of Yugoslavia, over rumors of genocide and ethnic cleansing that proved false. In so doing, we delivered the Balkans to al Qaeda.
Today we are being asked to seal that historical blunder, the repercussions of which are still escalating seven years later. The people we "rescued" have turned their weapons against United Nations and NATO forces.
Here is the size of that hole so far: In November, 2001, what should have been an explosive article appeared in the European edition of the Wall St. Journal. Headlined "Al Qaeda's Balkan Links," it read: "For the past 10 years ... Ayman al-Zawahiri (bin Laden's second in command) has operated terrorist training camps [and] weapons of mass destruction factories throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia ... Though the Clinton administration had been briefed extensively by the State Department in 1993 on the growing Islamist threat in former Yugoslavia, little was done to follow through ..."
Wow, quite an eye opening article..
But, this is Bush's war, this is all Bush's fault... He lied to get us into this War..
Time to stop all the nonsense and finger pointing at Bush.
Can the New York GOP be Salvaged?
There is universal agreement that the NY GOP is, at best, surviving on life support these days. As Republicans ability to influence the policy decisions affecting New York State slips away, we must ask ourselves some very difficult questions:
* How did we get to this point?
* Is it too late to change our fate?
* What can we do to fix our party?
In an attempt to answer these questions, Republican clubs and leaders from around the city have come together to present this very timely discussion on this urgent topic.
For more information or to RSVP:
I really don't know how.. Sad that so many Republicans have sold their souls to the RINO wing of the Party. This is exactly what happens when you campaign as a Republican, get elected as one but when it comes time to govern they forget what got them there.
Republicans are supposed to be the Party of smaller, less intrusive government.
Business friendly, less regulating and low taxes. Not in this state, worst part is when a Real Republican, with Conservative values steps up to the plate as a candidate, the ones in power work to defeat them. Oh, memories of my run for County Legislature last year.
High cost of living, few job prospects blamed in Chemung County.
“It isn’t the weather,” Santulli said. “Population only leaves for one reason — the lack of opportunity to make a living. It isn’t rocket science.”
The high cost of energy, taxes and health care are driving people out of upstate New York in general and Chemung County in particular, Santulli said.
“We used to sit well over 100,000 people,” he said. “If you look at Monroe, Erie and Onondaga, their losses are far greater than ours.”
The only way to reverse the trend is to make the state a more attractive place to invest by reducing the cost of Medicaid, lowering property taxes and reining in energy costs, Santulli said.
“Upstate New Yorkers pay 70 percent more in state and local taxes than the national average,” he said.
I have lived in 5 other states and by far the Western New York area is one of the highest taxed, highest regulated and most unfriendly to business than any other. I lived in Massachusetts when it was called Taxachusetts, they seem to have gotten their taxes under control but the housing is expensive, even the tolls are at a minimum.
Best was Virginia, low taxes, plenty of work for all and the building industry is growing like crazy. I met many, many New Yorkers down there and they said it was the high taxes and restrictions and regulations on businesses that drove them from here.
“New York hospitals are charging uninsured patients and others who are unable to pay their hospital bills more than two times the cost of providing health care, more than $1.1 billion in overcharges a year,” said Richard Kirsch, executive director of Citizen Action of New York. “Hospitals send the highest bills to those patients who are least able to pay.”
"New York State's indigent care system is a disgrace," said Assembly Insurance Committee Chair Pete Grannis (D-Manhattan), who sponsors a package of bills passed by the Assembly earlier this week to reform the program.
So we pay, the taxpayers are soaked by the same hospitals we run. We are getting doubly screwed.
BUFFALO - The state Department of Taxation and Finance has advised a Buffalo cigarette wholesaler it can ignore a new law requiring tax collection on tobacco products sold to Seneca Nation and other Indian businesses.
That eased tensions on Indian reservations in western New York where nervous suppliers cut off shipments to smoke shops earlier in the week.
Indians accuse the state of ignoring their sovereignty.
Good news for shoppers at the Reservation.. The focus should be on Albany to cut taxes, not force Indian Businesses or the wholesalers to collect taxes for the state.
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - The chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature says the apprenticeship law will be re-worked, and she says the legislature will work with all interested parties.
Lynn Marinelli tells WBEN's "Hardline with Kevin Hardwick" the aim of the law was to promote skilled trades and safety, not eliminate competition. Marinelli says Tim Kennedy will use his economic development committee meetings to meet with lawmakers, union representatives, and non-union groups to come up with a revised law that will satisfy everyone and get approval from County Executive Joel Giambra.
They have a lot of reworking and rewriting of this Law if and when it returns to the floor for vote. We will keep an eye on it and as soon as it reappears we will cover it, From start to finish..
HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - A big vote was scheduled in the Erie County Legislature Thursday afternoon on the apprenticeship law which had been vetoed by Erie County Executive Joel Giambra. But, lawmakers never took a vote.
As dozens for and against the apprenticeship law looked on, the issue came and went without debate, as it was ultimately sent to committee. Democrat Cindy Locklear tells Newsradio 930 WBEN that means the bill is essentially dead. Lawmakers have 30 days to override Giambra's March 3rd veto, but they don't meet again until April 6th.
The law's sponsor, Tim Kennedy, says he will try again to bring in the law that would limit county projects to workers who have completed a state certified apprenticeship program.
The issue is dead for today but will return as Kennedy promised. Congratulations to Cindy Locklear for educating the legislators. I think if they had the votes it would have gone forward and passed it. Then we would be looking at class action lawsuits.
Thanks to Joel Giambra for Vetoing this Law. Thanks also to Scott Zylka and ABC for bringing this issue forward. I can only imagine how the next one will read.
New legislature, same if not worse than the last one.
The county has placed an ad seeking proposals for the design of two golf practice facilities at Como Lake Park and Ellicott Creek Park.
Erie County Parks Commissioner Angelo Sedita said the idea is in the exploratory phase, and is "just to explore the feasibility of whether it makes sense, to get some plans, to get some cost estimates, (and) cost benefits." He said part of the $7 million from the state for such initiatives could be used to pay for the feasibility study.
Commissioner Sedita said the facilities would likely just be outdoor driving ranges, which require less maintenance. Ultimately, the Erie County Legislature would have to approve the venture.
They can't be serious.. What's with the 7Million for a feasibility study, a payoff for some political friends? Why are we even in the golfing business, all they end up being is a place for jobs for friends and family.
To better get the message out about the performance of members of the New York State Legislature, a political policy institute purchased ads through Google AdWords to publicize the grades the institute feels those politicians merit.
So in the name of accountability, today we are not only releasing our scorecard, but also a 30-day Google Ad word campaign highlighting the scores of every member of the legislature.
If you Google your state legislator, or discuss a New York legislator on a "GMail" email account, you will be instantly informed of his/her grade on DMI's scorecard and provided a link to follow for more information.
Bruno Earns A "D" Grade
Silver Earns An "A-"
Non Partisan?? Just look at the board of directors.. RFK Jr, Martin L King III
Looks just a tad to the liberal left to me.. How can Bruno get a D and Silver an A ??
Chambers of commerce here and across upstate New York are asking to be “unshackled” from laws and regulations they say disproportionately hurt businesses outside the New York City region.
Leaders from the Niagara USA Chamber, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and nine other chambers of commerce met with legislators Wednesday in Albany to present the reform agenda of the newly-formed “Unshackle Upstate” group.
A report compiled by the group — available at www.unshackleupstate.com — states that upstate New York’s population grew more slowly than every state except North Dakota and West Virginia during the 1990s.
And the business climate is to blame, according to the upstate group. State and local taxes per capita were the highest in the nation in 2002 at $4,645, about 48 percent higher than the national average.
This effort is growing and gaining support.
Today is the day they vote.. Please sign this petition and email and call your legislators. This lunacy must end..
To: Members of the Erie County Legislature
The Erie County Legislator will vote to override County Executive Giambra's veto of an apprenticeship law requiring all bidders on County construction projects to have a NYSDOL certified apprenticeship program.
This law will SEVERELY restrict competitive bidding on County construction projects, resulting in higher construction costs.
The undersigned encourage ALL Erie County Legislators to VOTE AGAINST overriding the veto. We believe Erie County is in no position to pay more for construction projects, and there is a way to ensure training for future workers, while not restricting competition and increasing costs.
All their email addys..
firstname.lastname@example.org, ErieCoDistrict2@hotmail.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Keep these for future use! You will need them
State Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno declined comment, but state GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik said: "This is one of the most fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans strongly believe that murderers, rapists, and child molesters gave up their right to vote when they committed their heinous acts against law-abiding citizens."
Minarik aide Ryan Moses said the party chairman would favor legislation to permanently ban such felons from ever voting.
The Democrats just want the votes.. More insanity from Albany, they committed a Felony.. They have lost their Right to vote..
Buffalo is Only Upstate Urban Area Subject to Tolls-State's Weakest Economy Unfairly Forced to Subsidize Roadways in Other Regions
In a letter to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) called for assistance on the part of the federal government in removing the tolls on Interstate 190 in Buffalo.
Don't forget about the Grand Island Tolls!!!!
Maybe we could get Higgans to go after voter fraud, campaign financing, fraud waste and abuse... Highly unlikely.. how sad he wouldn't.
Remember the vote on the Veto overide is Thursday, call or email you legislators and tell them not to overide the Veto!
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's state Republican chairman said Tuesday it would "probably make more sense" for the GOP to give its nomination to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer than to newly minted contender Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland.
Stephen Minarik, in an interview with The Associated Press, said given Spencer's conservative credentials, he "would be a good person on the ticket for us."
"It's less about KT McFarland and more about the strength I think that John Spencer brings to the ticket," Minarik added.
Minarik said he was not formally endorsing Spencer's candidacy, but also did not rule that out.
Smart move, the Conservatives are sick of listening to Bruno and his attitude..
Hillary Clinton has done Nothing, Nothing for Western NY. She has spent more time traveling around the country raisisng money for her run for President.
It’s something most commuters in Western New York have to deal with: tolls to drive in and out of the City.
Considering the fact that $11 million in toll revenue leaves the area for Albany.
2 On Your Side’s Stefan Mychajliw: "Isn't this just a commuter tax? A different way to tax people?"
(R) N.Y.S. Senator Dale Volker: "Commuter taxes in New York City are way above this, I'll tell you that. You can call it a commuter tax. Fine.
The attitude of this guy just infuriates me. This the guy that says that Joe Bruno is his boss.. Not the people he represents, Joe Bruno. Just because a commuter tax in NYC is higher doesn't make it right for WNY Mr Volker.. Why aren't there tolls on the thruways that run thru Hudson Valley..
Okay, we'll try to help it.
NYC is also thriving and we are dying economically. Fine, we'll try to help? Tell you what Mr Volker I will try to help get you and Tokasz out of office, get someone in that can do their job, you two clearly can't.
And then we could turn the roads over to Buffalo and Erie County. Of course that would be a crusher for Buffalo and Erie County."
Just like you to threaten to turn the roads over to Erie county, that's your remedy? I think not. We have been paying for these temporary tolls for 46 years.
The Thruway Authority has claimed they can't get rid of the tolls because they need to pay off bonds, loans they took out for road repairs.
"You can do all the lawsuits in the world you want; it's not going to do much good. Because you can't order an agency to get rid of tolls that have bonds, that are backed up by those toll booths," said Volker.
So these toll booths are paying for all those bonds? You have allowed these agency's to run wild and inaccountable for years. They spend and spend with no checks and balances. It's time for things to change..
The Governor's office referred comments to the Thruway Authority. A spokesperson could not answer our questions. But they did release this prepared statement:
"The Thruway Authority prides itself on operating one of the safest and best maintained highways in the nation. Without tolls, we would not be able to continue to maintain our roads and bridges."
I seriously doubt hat, I have driven across this county 6 different times. Roads across the country are better maintained and they do it with out tolls.
Great coverage Stef.. I just had to add to it a little..
Bridges? Sore subject with me, in two years we will be down to one bridge to Grand Island, with the toll booths commuter traffic will be a nightmare. It's bad enough now with the bottleneck sometimes backed up and onto the 290..
Speaking of the 290, how bout that bridge, ya the one that was maintained so well it dropped 4 inches and was on the verge of collapse because of your inept inspectors..
That story was coverd by Luke Moretti.. Thanks Luke now look into the Grand Island bridge tolls and upcoming construction..
The chorus of those fighting to take down the Ogden and Breckenridge tolls is growing louder. But if you want someone on the Thruway Authority board to hear you, you're going to have to shout to other parts of the state.
Tired of the tolls? You can drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will send it along to Albany.. Or you can go here and get all the email adresses for the Assembly and Senate and send one to all of them at one time.. Copy and Paste..
An island, says Paladino, created by politicians. "Paul Tokasz," we say, asking his assessment of the State Assembly Democratic Leader.
"I think Paul does pretty much what Shelly Silver and the downstaters tell him to do," he replies, referring to the Assembly Speaker.
Tokasz thinks his boss is Sheldon Silver, he has the same misconception that Volker has..
"Dale Volker?" we ask.
"Dale's had his day," Paladino says of the Republican State Senator from Depew. "Maybe it's time we replaced these guys with some young, energetic people who will think out of the box and bring home the bacon for this community."
You are exactly right... I just wish I lived in either one of their districts. I would run agains both of them. They can be defeated in this Primary folks.
Pentagroup plans to open a call center in a 15,000-square-foot office at 3065 Union Road in Orchard Park, with help from a $270,000 grant from Empire State Development and $61,000 in sales tax breaks approved Monday by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.
Amherst Supervisor Satish Mohan questioned the need for offering incentives to a call center, although he later voted in favor of the tax breaks in the board's unanimous vote for the incentives. "Are we not handicapping other call centers that are in competition with this one, just as we do with office buildings," he said.
I like the way Satish thinks.. He is a great guy.
Martin's Fantasy Island was granted $40,500 in sales tax breaks to help it buy a $500,000 "cannon bowl water ride" for the Grand Island amusement park.
The only thing growing on the island it seems, probably because they don't have to deal with the building and zoning departments.
ALBANY - The Republican-controlled Senate proposed a state budget yesterday that rejected Governor Pataki's marquee plans to expand school choice in New York.
The Senate wants to strip away from Mr. Pataki's executive budget his proposal to lift the cap on charter schools in the state to 250 from 100 and to turn the governor's tuition tax credit plan into a more generally applied credit offered to parents with schoolchildren.
With the Senate and the Assembly showing resistance to both tuition tax credits and to an increase in the number of charter schools
How much is enough? How much? The public school system is failing our children, People want a choice.. Charter schools is at least the middle ground instead of school vouchers. I heard Antionne Thompson on the radio with Tom Puckett, he was in Albany crying that Buffallo schools are suffering because they don't have enough money.. Waa, waa... 750 Million is not enough money to teach what 40,000 kids? Please. I grew up with classes with 30 to 35 kids in them. These people are complaining and want smaller class sizes, and Millions more $$$$..
How much is enough? Please tell me, How much is enough?