Fighting for our Freedom in Western New York
An in depth look into the politics of Erie County, Albany and Western New York.
A New day is dawning for the Erie County Republicans
Last year was a tough year for the Erie County Republican Party, they were defeated in many races, reasons are many and different in each district but many were defeated because they had gone astray, abandoned the platform of the Republicans and the voters sent a message that they were fed up. Alot of Republicans stayed home on election day feeling abandoned by the candidates in their districts. But a new day is dawning and the new Chairman is leading the Party back where it belongs. Their first step in that direction will be the new candidates that will be running for office this year. I am one of those new candidates. I asked for and received the Republican and Conservative endorsement. After a long discussion with Jim Domagalski, I have decided to run for the Assembly seat that has been controlled by Sam Hoyt for to many years. An offical announcement will be coming shortly and I am looking forward to running, winning and casting a vote against Sheldon Silver. Sheldon Silver runs Albany with an iron fist and Hoyt has been a puppet for him. Sam has a record of voting against the people of Western New York and the people of this district. By voting with Sheldon Silver 97% of the time, Sam has done a better job representing New York City than our area. New York City is thriving while Erie County suffers. The last two years budgets were on time but reform stops there. This years budget is over $112 Billion dollars. There is no reform, none. Our Medicaid system is almost $50 Billion of the budget, twice as high as Texas and California. The workers compensation rates rank among the highest in the nation. There are many, many issues that will come out in the very near future, most importantly is the excessive unfunded mandates, the Taylor Law, Triborough Amendment
Nothing has been done to correct any of these issues that continue to drive up our taxes and drive the good people of New York State out just to be able to survive. On average we lose 35.5 thousand people every year and in the past 5 years 153,000 more jobs have been lost.
The economy of the rest of the country grows at staggering rates yet the economy of Western New York is stagnent and we still stay in the recession that started in the year 2000. We never even had a chance to benefit from the good economy of the 90's. Things must change and I will do my part by taking away a vote from Sheldon Silver by defeating Sam Hoyt. Keep up with my daily updates by visiting my other website AlbanysInsanity.com
Results of the last web polls
60th Senate seat
Rus Thompson (Primary Challenge)(7)50% Marc Coppolla (incumbent)(3)21% Antione Thompson(4)29%
Jim Liegl (Primary Challenge)(30)79% Brian Higgins (incumbent)(8)21%
Free Buffalo’s Second Annual
Saturday, June 3, 2006
Noon till 8:00PM
at Central Terminal
495 Paderewski Drive, Buffalo NY
Admission is $10 for adults, free for children under 18 if accompanied by an adult
Eight hours of live music, great ethnic food, numerous community organizations promoting their activities and special events for kids early in the day.
All candidates and parties are welcome. Any publicly-announced candidates will be introduced and will be allowed to speak. Time allotted will depend on the number of candidates attending.
I will be setting up a table for NewYork Coalition. Help support FreeBuffalo!
Things are changing quickly as time gets closer to start getting signatures for the petitions to run for state offices. I am compiling a list of candidates that are running across the state, some for assembly and some for senate. I have decided to seriously look at the senate race in the 60th district. The objective of NYCoalition is to try and get enough reform minded people in the senate to change the voting. As you know there has not been much difference between Bruno and Silver. Once again a budget is passed with no signs of reforms and then Bruno and the Republicans want to buy our votes by sending us a check just before the elections. As I have said time and time again, if they had acted and voted as Republicans they wouldn't have to worry about losing control of the senate. Instead we get RINO's who like to spend our money as bad as the assembly. We still need someone to run against Bruno and Silver.. The time is now for change, their approval ratings are in the low 20's. So, do I stand a chance running for Senate? Only time will tell, I have no representation, Coppolla and Hoyt do not represent the people from Grand Island their power base is Buffalo and that has got to change. At the least, I will bring out the issues that need to be brought to the forefront. That will not happen if there is only Democrats running.
Well Hoyt doesn't have much support here..
144th Assembly race
Rus Thompson (Primary Challenge)(26)93% Sam Hoyt (incumbent)(2)7%
Now if we only had someone to Primary him.
I sent out this update letter to the NewYorkCoalition database.
Sorry for the delay in updates, I like to send out weekly updates or more often if things break our way. Actually things have been slow trying to find candidates. We have a couple up here in WNY talking about running against Volker, Tokasz, Schimminger, DelMonte, Maziarz, but no one has made a definate decision. I feel a little, well more than a little frustrated as Albany is out of control.
We have had some Democrats wanting to run against Republicans and vise versa but with the gerrymandering of districts victory in these races is difficult if not impossible. Some districts have been changing as people leave the state for greener pastures.
Last year I told my wife and campaign staff that I refuse to allow another seat in my district go unchallenged again. When Byron Brown got elected mayor of Buffalo I threw my hat into the ring for his senate seat. Of course the Republicans looked right past me and endorsed Chris Jacobs. He lost and now has been appointed to a job as Sec of State by Pataki. The Democrats are going to be ripping themselves apart in this primary as there is 4 or more wanting to run this Sept.
I have been looking for some one to run against Sam Hoyt and cannot find any takers on the Democrat side. He almost lost last year as Joe Golombek ran against him. He is vulnerable. If we cannot find anyone, I am considering it, I really didn't want to because of the district and the majority Democrats.
Time is getting short as petitions will have to be started next month. We need to write letters to the editor, blog looking for candidates, advertise in local papers and ask everyone you know if they want to run. We cannot let these people just walk back into office unchallenged.
I also still maintain the others and people from across the state are hitting them everyday. They know we are out there, we just need to get louder and get back into the front line.
Help do what you can to get the word out.
This is the layout of the district..
Demo 48,396 Indep 2,851 Working Families 395 Green 597
Repub 18,107 Conser 1,131 Right to Life 432 Libertarian 13 Blank 15,081
If all the above on the "Right" voted including the "Blanks" the total is 34,764
That's over 4 thousand more than Hoyt in the last race.
Blanks can change the face of politics.
Results from the last race..
State Assembly - District 144 Reporting: 100% Sam Hoyt, Dem (i) 30,278 (72.3%) David L. Penna, Rep 11,602 (27.7%) This next week will be tough for me and my ability to post on both sites, this one and AlbanysInsanity The software for the blog allows me to update that site very quickly from anywhere so please, for daily updates go there. I am doing a bathroom remodeling job and need to have it done in record time as my customer is having visitors and we want to have it done in time.
I should get another one and call it Erie Counties Insanity..
My Blog is being picked up by NewsTex and is being sents around by RSS feeds.
What a way to start the month. Illegals will be protesting across the country on the same day the former Soviet Union used to march and show off their Military hardware..
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Monday’s national day of action for immigrant rights has reached the halls of state government.
New York’s 16 Hispanic lawmakers and its one Asian lawmaker say they’ll walk out of Monday’s legislative session to join the national day of boycotts and rallies.
Several black lawmakers will join as well, which means about 25 members in all will leave Monday’s session and will not return, said Guillermo Martinez, a spokesman for the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.
He said this is the first time task force members have walked out of a session over an issue.
The walkout is one of several immigration-related events planned around upstate Monday. Latino-owned businesses in Poughkeepsie and Newburgh will be closed, and rallies are planned in Buffalo, Rochester and Ithaca.
Martinez said Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are aware of the lawmakers’ plans.
“We’re not sure if they will participate in any fashion,” Martinez said.
A press conference immediately will follow the 2 p.m. walkout, with comments from Assemblymen Peter Rivera and Jimmy Meng.
Then don’t let them back in, if they walk out to support illegals they are supprting violators of the Law and that is against the oath they took when sworn into office.
These Lawmakers are in session for 168 days a year and make a ton of money for it. The governor or Party should immedialely appoint someone to complete their terms.
The 2006 Daemen College Academic Festival will present a debate, “Civil Liberties and National Security Post 9/11: How Do We Strike the Balance?” featuring commentator Patrick Buchanan and ACLU President Nadine Strossen. The debate will be held 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 25, 2006, in Wick Center on the Daemen College campus, 4380 Main Street, in Amherst. Rest here at North Buffalo Journal and Review..
Thanks for this Mike!
Results of poll.
Should Gov Pataki Veto budget?
New York State is losing more residents than any other state in the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released early today.
Based on surveys taken between 2000 and 2004, the figures show that New York replaced California as the net migration outflow leader, with an average of 182,886 people leaving a year, nearly double California’s average for the same period.
California led the nation between 1990 and 2000.
The findings track the state-to-state movement in America.
They do not include international immigration numbers.
The New York City metropolitan region - which includes Long Island and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania - also leads the country in migration outflow, with an average of 211,014 leaving a year.
The number is higher than the state figure because many of those leaving the metropolitan region resettle in other areas of New York.
Despite the tremendous outflow, the overall city population, at 8.2 million, is growing due to increases in international immigration and a birthrate that is greater than the death rate.
“There are three reasons people are leaving: taxes, taxes, and taxes,” a Republican candidate for governor, John Faso, said.
His recommended solution: “Cut taxes, reduce spending, put the state budget on a diet." Another Republican candidate, William Weld, also stressed the need to cut taxes.
“For New York to retain its young people and talented work force, it must corral and bridle New York’s government spending, cut taxes, and reduce imposed business costs such as health care and worker’s compensation,”…
These are simple changes that will provide the key to keeping our seed corn: good jobs at good wages.”
Great isn’t it….. more people realizing that this state is just to expensive and we are taxed everywhere we can see and in many places we can’t. Problem is we are losing good hard working people what everyone likes to call the best and brightest. Alot of them leave because of the education and the lack of jobs after the kids graduate. That’s why this site is called Albanys Insanity… They continue to do the same thing over and over expecting different results. I suggest, do not vote for any incumbents, vote in the Primary for the challenger. Vote Suozzi vs Spitzer…. Republicans still don’t know what their doing so when some one I see that I like and isn’t part of the problem, I reccomend them too. We need to find more candidates to run in the Primary against the senate and assembly.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Legislative districts in New York drawn by lawmakers in the majority parties of the Senate and Assembly to protect incumbents are denying fair representation, according to government watchdog groups.
The advocates on Thursday called for an independent commission to shape Senate and Assembly districts before the district lines are redrawn after the 2010 Census.
“With this rigged system, lawmakers are choosing their voters rather than voters choosing their lawmakers,” said Rachel Leon of Common Cause.
By law, the population of Senate and Assembly districts can vary no more than 10 percent. That means Senate districts vary from about 291,000 to 321,000 people.
But U.S. Census trends show that the upstate Senate districts with the smallest populations controlled by Republicans are losing voters while districts held by Democrats are growing. Yet Republicans still control the chamber.
In the Democrat-led Assembly, where districts ranged from 121,000 to 133,000 people, the differences likely shrunk as New York City gained in population and Republican upstate areas lost residents. But on Long Island already high-population Republican districts grew, according to the new study by New York Public Interest Research Group and other groups.
The study pointed out that only 34 incumbents in the Senate and Assembly have been defeated in general elections over the past 24 years, a period in which more than 2,500 legislative contests were held.
Exactly what we at Primary Challenge and New York Coalition have been saying for years.. While we’re at it we need to eliminate counting the prison population and counting the illegal population. If they are illegal or in prison they deserve no representation.
First published: Thursday, April 20, 2006
Thank you to the editors of the Times Union newspaper for their April 11 editorial, “Custody challenges: It’s time New York embraced the concept of shared parenting.”
As we all know by now, the Children and Families Committee vote to bring the shared parenting bill (A330) that is currently in our state Assembly was delayed once again because of the line-item vetoes occurring with our state budget by our governor.
When the vote on the shared parenting bill will occur in committee is still unknown, but hopefully the vote will occur sooner than later.
As the Times Union’s editor has stated in the past, sticking one’s head out of the fox hole can be very dangerous but it’s a necessary task of the job. The subject of shared parenting in New York state makes emotions run high as everyone comes to the plate with a different perspective on the subject.
I assure you after speaking with many of the legislators and with individuals affected and not affected by the legislation of this bill that this is a just and good law.
The content of the bill takes into account the most important people in the situation — the children.
This is not about gender, and it’s not about money as some would make you think.
It’s about doing what is right for the children.
As for those who have concerns about this legislation, I invite them to read the bill posted on the New York state Assembly’s Web page and make their own decision if it’s in the best interests of children.
Isn’t it time the public call legislators and tell them we need shared parenting in New York, not for either parent but for the children?
I have to find out what this is all about before I comment, shared parenting? Makes me wonder.. Isn't that supposed to be between Mom and dad?
While Governor Pataki was hanging out with one friend in a Westchester forest, two former pals were tearing him apart in a Manhattan hotel ballroom.
Republican Joseph Bruno, the Senate majority leader, and Dennis Rivera, president of a powerful health care union, used to call themselves Pataki supporters. No more.
They are battling to restore nearly $1.5 billion in health care money slashed by the governor from the budget passed by the State Legislature. Rivera is concerned about jobs for his members. Bruno is afraid the budget that included the money will collapse, leaving senators with little to brag about in a crucial election year.
Anybody tired of hearing those commercials…… Gov Pataki did the right thing here and as far as I am concerned has not gone far enough. What is wrong with the health care in this state is that hospitals across the state are running with full staffs and 60% empty beds. We have got to close down and consolidate hospitals. Why are we paying for full staffs from the janitors to the highly paid administrators, it’s senseless and we continue to run in the red year after year. Of course Rivera, Bruno and Silver will do everything possible to continue this and override the veto by Pataki.
ASSEMBLY BILL URGING FREEZE ON NEW LIQUOR LICENSES
MOST EXISTING LICENSES ALSO IN PERIL
New legislation has been proposed in the Assembly in Albany, which has already passed one committee, which will freeze liquor licenses at their current locations in cities and towns with a population over 20,000. This will make it impossible to apply for a license at a new location if there are already three or more existing liquor licenses within a 500′ radius (that is about 2 blocks). Since virtually all of Manhattan as well as most commercial areas around the City and State already have that number of licenses, this will mean no new licenses issued anywhere a restaurant or bar or club is allowed.
To make matters worse, if that is possible, this law, if passed, would also prohibit the transfer of any liquor license issued after November 1, 2003 if there are now three or more liquor licenses in a 500′ radius, making the sale of that business all but impossible.
Instead of punishing irresponsible operators, this is an overly broad, blanketing legislation that is anti-business, anti-growth, anti-revenue and will knock NY even farther back in its quest to remain the #1 tourist destination in the USA.
If businesses cannot obtain liquor licenses at new locations, this bill will mean no new hotels, no new commercial developments, no market place ebb and flow of neighborhoods. It will also lock in those areas currently complaining of saturation as permanent liquor locations. It will be a disaster for New York State.
This is a perfect example of the assembly passing a Law that is clearly aimed at New York City that can and will have devastating effects on the rest of the state.
The smoking ban has killed Taverns and restaurants in Upstate and Western New York, this will kill the possibility of some of those now vacant places from reopening.
All this just came to me Via EMail..
Appraisal.com / Mark Yellen appear to be very good at securing public funding. Appraisal.com received $550,000 to create 125 new jobs. (Dec 30 2003) Two years later, how many jobs were actually created? Now Mark Yellen is making more promises about Wendt Beach Park. What is his track record on keeping promises?
Appraisal.com is a Foreign Business Corporation. (see below) Generally, a Foreign Business Corporation is set up to avoid paying taxes.
Yellen proposes charging county residents for parking. Parking fees are a use tax. Should a person adept at getting taxpayer dollars, possible avoiding paying taxes, be given the power to tax park goers?
Governor George E. Pataki today announced that Appraisal.com, the nation’s leading provider of real estate appraisal software for the appraisal and mortgage lending industries, will invest $1.75 million in equipment and training and expand its current facility in Lancaster. The company will retain all 53 workers and create 125 new jobs at their Upstate location
Senator Dale M. Volker said, “Governor Pataki continues to invest in our western New York communities by working with our local governments in retaining and creating well-paying jobs. By partnering with the State of New York, our communities will continue to see economic growth, job retention and creation, and opportunities that will improve our region for future generations of western New Yorkers and their families.”
Assemblyman Paul Tokasz said, “This investment by Appraisal.com shows their commitment to western New York, and I am encouraged by their intention to continue to grow their business here. I will continue to support economic development initiatives that retain and attract companies to our area.”
Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra said, “Appraisal.com understands that Erie County has one of the best possible workforces. That's why Appraisal.com has invested in expanding their operations here in Erie County. I'm pleased that Governor Pataki has been able to assist Appraisal.com with its efforts to grow its business. The expansion of Appraisal.com will create good paying jobs for upstate families.”
Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra today announced that his administration has proposed funding of $100,000 to assist with the retention and expansion of Appraisal.com, which will create twenty-five new jobs.
Additionally, the New York State Department of Labor is providing $100,000 in funds to assist with the project.
Appraisal.com provides the software, services and internet-based infrastructure for the creation, delivery, management and use of real estate appraisals. More than 98 percent of Appraisal.com's revenue is from clients outside of New York State.
County Executive Giambra pointed out that Appraisal.com employs fifty Western New Yorkers and this expansion will create twenty-five additional jobs.
"Appraisal.com understands that Erie County has one of the best possible workforces. That's why Appraisal.com has invested in expanding their operations here in Erie County. I'm pleased that my administration has able to assist Appraisal.com with its efforts to grow it business," said Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra.
The County will redirect surplus funds that were originally allocated to Tower/FedEx for job training.
The funding is pending legislative approval.
Division of Corporations
Selected Entity Name: APPRAISAL.COM, INC.
Selected Entity Status Information Current Entity Name: APPRAISAL.COM, INC. Initial DOS Filing Date: OCTOBER 19, 1999 County: ERIE Jurisdiction: DELAWARE Entity Type: FOREIGN BUSINESS CORPORATION Current Entity Status: ACTIVE
Highlights From Proposal To Privatize Wendt Beach
(187 Acres) By Precision Park Services
1) $2,000,000 Investment ($200,000 A Year Average)(Estimated)
2) Minimum Of 10 Years
3) Maximum Of 30 Years
4) Precision Park Services Is A New Company With No Track Record.
a. Try And Find Precision Park Services On Google Or Webcrawler!
5) Precision Park Services Would Get Control And Use Of All Building Including The Waterfront Mansion
a. Public Can Be Denied Access To These “Heritage Areas’.
6) Revenue Paid To County
a. 20% Of Parking Fees ($5.00)
b. County Bed Tax
c. No Rental Fees
d. No Taxes To Be Paid
e. Precision Park Services Would Build New Concessions Stand
i. Percentage Of Concessions To Be Paid To County Was Removed From Proposal By Legislature
ii. Chase Second Motion
7) Utilities: County Would Pay For All Utilities Then Be Reimbursed By Precision Park Services
a. This Would Mean They Would Avoid Paying Taxes On Utility Bills And Possibly Pay Lower Rates.
b. What Is Cost To Implement & Audit This Arrangement?
8) Additional Revenue To Town Of Evans: None
9) County Taxpayers Would Still Pay For Lifeguards & Maintenance
10) Precision Park Services Was Hand Picked By County Parks Department For This Proposed Project
11) Only One Proposal Was Received
a. Why Didn’t The County Seek More Proposals?
12) Is This Another Giambra Friends & Family / Budget Gimmick?
13) No Mention Of How This Affects Youth Soccer.
14) Is A Projected Few Hundred Thousand Dollars A Year And Giving Up The Public’s Control And Access To Wendt Beach For 30 Years Really Worth It?
Send An Email To Bob Reynolds And Voice Your Opinion About This Deal
Robert B. Reynolds, Jr. - District 12
District Office: 3 Buffalo Street
Hamburg, Ny 14075
Phone - 649-2640
Fax - 648-1757
WOW! I think some heavy duty investigating needs to be going on here..
To ease property tax burden, repeal the Wicks Law, cut spending and freeze school taxes
In this statewide election year, property taxes are the hottest issue on Long Island and through much of New York State. The problem gets worse every year. If recent history holds, school districts will raise taxes by twice the rate of inflation in the budgets they present to voters next month.
What to do about rising property taxes? One idea that should be ruled out is, instead, gaining serious attention - imposing higher income taxes.
Albany must reform archaic rules such as the Wicks Law, which drives up school and government costs by more than $500 million a year by requiring multiple "prime" construction contracts. Unfortunately, the Senate and Assembly rejected a proposal by Pataki to repeal Wicks as part of this year's state budget.
Members of both the state Senate and Assembly have introduced legislation along those lines. In February, the influential New York State United Teachers urged lawmakers to hike income-tax rates back to 1972 levels, raising New Yorkers' taxes by $8 billion.
A determined effort to control Medicaid, employee benefits and other costs would free up billions that could be used to relieve overburdened property taxpayers while leaving room for further reductions in Albany's own taxes.
After a multiyear freeze on school taxes, current tax levels would be more affordable due to normal economic growth and rising incomes. Ultimately, a permanent, inflation-level cap on local tax hikes to cover reasonable increases in wages, energy and other expenses would be an essential part of the plan.
Good advice, can you imagine the current legislature doing this? Me either. I can’t see the NY State legislature do anything but grow government at our expense until there is nobody left to pay for it.
Leave it to the "Influential Teachers Union" to come up with another idea to raise taxes.. The state legislature does the same thing, they continue to raise the budget at twice and sometimes 3 times the rate of inflation.. Time for change, serious change and the complete restructuring of state government. Silver and Bruno need to be replaced.
An $80 million retirement community has been proposed to replace the empty, dilapidated Kensington Heights housing project on Buffalo's East Side.
Planned is a three-part project on the 17-acre site, owned by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, to accommodate senior citizens at any level of nursing care needed in their lifetime
At least two sticking points could derail the project. One is that the partners want the city to raze the Kensington Heights towers, at an estimated cost of $5 million. Without the city's cooperation, the project could move elsewhere, Mansouri said.
Masten Councilmember Antoine Thompson, whose district includes the site, has proposed that the city amend the capital budget to cover the cost of the demolition. He said his resolution is gaining support in the Common Council.
"The city is thirsty and hungry for shovel-ready sites," Thompson said. "This is an ideal site for redevelopment."
The whole city is ideal for redevelopment and the best way to do that is to reduce the size of all government across the state especially Erie County. Layer upon layer of government and services has made this place unaffordable for us.
Downstate policies dictates policy through out the state, we must seperate the two ends of the state.. Weighted voting may be one way..
Currently in campaign mode, for both re-election to her Senate seat this fall and the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008,Hillary Clinton has found her signature issue. And just what issue is that? The expansion of the 12 year-old Family and Medical Leave Act. You know the one pushed by her husband that gives people time off to care for a kid or a sick relative. Yeah, that one.
Only now, The Hildabeast wants to expand it. Get this...she wants to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to include time off from work for participation in parental activities. Need some time off to attend a school play or a PTA meeting? No problem! The federal government is going to require your employer to hold open your job so you can go. She also wants to include more personal time to care for aging parents. How nice.
Hillary says "there should be time available for teachers conferences and doctors appointments, to be involved in your children's' lives and to increasingly care for your aging parents." Isn't that special. She didn't say how much all of this would cost employers...but that doesn't matter. All of this sounds good, though doesn't it? Who could be against the federal government requiring all of this free time off?
Ahh, Queen Hillary, the woman that will supply all your needs and wants.. She wants to take care of you from cradle to grave at our expense..
This from a woman that has lived off tax dollars most of her life. Her house in Chappaqua is paid for by us. How? When they moved in the X-President is given Secret Service protection but in order to do that “We” had to put an addition on the house, after “We” did that “They” charge the Secret Service rent that covers the entire cost of the house payment, I beleive it is $10,000 a month.
By DONN ESMONDE
It is like one of those recurring dreams. Only in this one, your mind doesn't go blank at the start of a big math test, or you aren't falling off a cliff.
In this one, one of the state's shadow mini-governments suckers us out of millions of dollars while some of the politicians we pay to watch our backs sit idle, or - worse - defend the enemy.
Sadly, it is no dream. It is the reality we've been stuck with.
Good article by Donn Esmonde..
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Representatives of the state Senate, Assembly and Gov. George Pataki's budget division routinely sign a pact barring them from disclosing how millions of dollars are spent on "member items," a newspaper reported Sunday.
A document obtained by the Times Union of Albany mandated secrecy around the process of choosing who would get $200 million in taxpayer money last year from the Legislature's member item account _ the discretionary spending account critics say is used for "pork barrel" spending.
"Each party will treat information regarding any proposed project as confidential and will not share it with any individual or entity," says the agreement public officials have signed for years, according to the "memorandum of understanding" obtained by the newspaper for member items in 2005.
Taxpayers may eventually find out how that year's member-item pot, which can fund things like youth baseball fields and community groups, is going to be used when a member of the Legislature or the governor conducts a ribbon-cutting, issues a news release or gives a speech.
"It's indefensible," said Blair Horner, lobbyist for the New York Public Interest Research Group. "It's the people's money. They should know how it's spent. They find out after the fact, but that's hardly the transparency the public should expect and deserves."
Charles Carrier, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, said he believes the confidentiality only lasts during a five-day period that the three parties are negotiating projects. However, the MOU lists no expiration date for the secrecy pact, and it is unclear whether the other parties have the same interpretation.
Spokesmen for Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno would not discuss the matter with the newspaper.
Our government in action... remind anyone else of a soviet block type government? It's all about protecting their fifedoms and secrecy, we do not deserve this type of government.
For more than a decade, Medicaid has been the fastest-growing item on many state budgets. Unfortunately, state and federal efforts to uncover and stamp out the astonishing amount of fraud in the program (whose costs the states split with Washington) have lagged. Experts estimate that abuses of Medicaid eat up at least 10 percent of the program’s total cost nationwide—a waste of $30 billion a year. Unscrupulous doctors billing for over 24 hours per day of procedures, phony companies invoicing for phantom services, pharmacists filling prescriptions for dead patients, home health-care companies demanding payment for treating clients actually in the hospital—on and on the rip-offs go. The cheating is brazen because scam artists have figured out that years of lax oversight have made Medicaid easy plunder.
Our politicans have been talking about this for years, they even counted millions upon millions toward this years budget, yet they can only fight over who will have the right to appoint the staff.. Get over it boys, make a decision. Daily millions of our tax dollars are being wasted with fraud.
There's some encouraging news in the fight to take out tolls in Buffalo.
Western New York's most powerful state senator says he is confident the Ogden and Breckenridge tolls in Buffalo will eventually be torn down.
Question: Do you think it will happen in the next ten years?
Sen. Dale Volker (R-Depew): "Yes. Sure. Absolutely. No question. As soon as we get Williamsville in motion, I think we can deal with Breckenridge."
The Thruway Authority is working on a plan to move the Williamsville toll barrier east toward Genesee County to alleviate traffic tie-ups in the Amherst and Clarence areas.
Only time will tell if these spineless politicos like Volker and Tokasz will do anything about the tolls. Notice no one mentions the Grand Island bridge tolls. Although I did find a small article from Hoyt and Coppola in isledegrande.com
Senate GOPers give $2M in bridge-tunnel coupons
BY JOE MAHONEY
DAILY NEWS ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF
ALBANY - Area cops are about to get a free ride from Senate Republicans.
The lawmakers sponsored a $2 million helping of election year pork that gives NYPD and other officers free coupons to pay MTA bridge and tunnel tolls.
The Special Revenue Commutation Ticket Book would bear the names of the senators, according to one mockup of the coupon pack, first disclosed yesterday by the Albany Times Union.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has agreed to print and honor the coupons, each worth $2.25, but the task of handing the booklets out to cops will be left to the Senate, MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said.
All police agencies in the MTA region would get the booklets, he said. One-way cash tolls on the bridges and tunnels range from $2.25 to $4.50.
Good government advocates said the 19 senators shouldn’t be using public dollars to promote themselves.
“These senators shouldn’t be engaging in a crass electioneering effort aimed at self-promotion instead of the public interest,” said Richard Dadey, director of Citizens Union.
But Lisa Black, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer), insisted no decision has been made on whether the senators will get credit on the coupon packs. She said five other drafts of the packet do not name the sponsors.
Legislative insiders noted the ticket pack ended up in the Albany newspaper a day after Bruno accused Pataki of hurting taxpayers with “unconscionable” vetoes of a budget plan backed by lawmakers.
New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association spokesman Al O’Leary said the coupons will enhance public safety by encouraging off-duty officers to use tunnels and bridges that are potential targets for terrorists.
“Our officers are among the lowest paid police officers in New York State, and this represents a real value to them,” said O’Leary.
But will the senators get much bang for the bucks by ladling out the toll freebies?
“I doubt the officers will even read the back of the booklet,” the PBA spokesman said.
Legal Bribery?? Just like the tax rebate checks coming in the mail just befor election day?
They freely use our tax dollars to buy their re-elections. Bruno is so worried about losing the senate he will do what ever it takes to keep control. He runs the senate like a dictatorship as does Silver with the assembly, this reckless use of our tax dollars must be stopped.
Senators acrtoss the state are using their pork money to send out mailers to their voters telling them how great they are by sending us some of our own money back, yet they have a 4 billion dollar surplus and spend another 6 billion in this budget.
Pataki will veto some of it but not enough of it, the legislators are already lining up their votes override the vetoes..
…..and now they want a raise to boot! Are we awake yet New York?
Step up and be a candidate to run in the primary against your senator or assemblyman, volunteer to help out a candidate, donate, make calls, do what ever it takes to remove the corruption….
Here's another one....
A plan to subsidize trips for cops on downstate toll roads is more about political survival than public safety
Take Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno at his word for a moment. Suppose that it actually is a good idea, in these days of heightened concerns about security, to have off-duty police officers traveling on the bridges and in the tunnels of downstate New York -- and to even lure them there with $2 million worth of free or discount passes at the toll gate.
The question is why these perks have to be provided in such a brazen and unashamedly political way.
If the cops -- and why not, say, nurses or doctors or anyone else who needs to rush to work in a genuine emergency
Apr 13 th
Spitzer promising a Billion dollars for stem cell research if elected? All I have to say is do not vote Spitzer..