Dec 24, 05
WHITE HOUSE — It's almost Christmas, and U.S. Navy chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt is on a hunger strike that includes nightly prayers outside the White House.
Lieutenant Klingenschmitt, an Evangelical Episcopal priest, says he won't eat until President Bush signs an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their beliefs.
Klingenschmitt, who began his fast on Tuesday, says Navy admirals have told him that he can't pray publicly in Jesus' name unless he's wearing civilian clothes. He's continuing to pray as the Bible says Jesus instructed, but not in uniform.
More than 70 members of Congress and 170,000 petitioners also are calling on President Bush to let chaplains pray according to their faith instead of being limited to generic invocations.
May God bless this courageous chaplain. Pray that President Bush will reverse the rule.
This is unbelieveable to me, a Christian Pastor, a Catholic Priest, a Episccopal Priest cannot Pray and use the name of Jesus Chirst, Jesus is the base of their religion. If Jesus is not allowed then there is no use in having them. It is one thing to be politically correct in everyday lives, you cannot be politically correct in Praying and in Christian Religous services. I am a Baptist, Jesus Christ is what being a Christian is all about, without Christ we have nothing. Christmas is about His birth, Easter is about his Death and Ressurection.
Who ordered this? Who is behind this? I would like to know. The vocal minority is at it again and this nonsense must and will stop.
Friday, December 23, 2005 08:10 AM - WBEN Newsroom
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Some Erie County political leaders are grumbling about a job a former legislator is getting, calling it quid pro quo for a key vote.
The controversy is swrirling around Lackawanna Democrat Ed Kuwik, who is leaving the county legislature after 11 terms. He's been appointed to a $94 thousand a year job with the Erie County Water Authority.
County Executive Joel Giambra claims Kuwik got the job -- which was not advertised -- in exchange for voting for two water authority commissioners.
Kuwik and his supporters say Kuwik -- who has an engineering degree -- is well-qualified for the job, and had enough support to get it without making any deals.
So he is getting paid back for being a good soldier for 22 years and more than doubling his salary with this promotion. Who pays? We do, we have paid for all his votes to raise our taxes, continued pork and patronage and with this we will be paying him for the rest of his life with a higher pension. It disgusts me that this type of crap continues.
This from Jim Ostrowski's blog.. This story reminds me of rumors that the recent election of Lynn Marinelli was engineered by the Water Authority to maintain their power. Was this appointment delayed until the right people voted the right way the other day?
and his new post... § 200.00 Bribery in the third degree.
A person is guilty of bribery in the third degree when he confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a public servant upon an agreement or understanding that such public servant’s vote, opinion, judgment, action, decision or exercise of discretion as a public servant
will thereby be influenced.
I think Jim is onto something here and deems further investigation into this Quid Pro Quo.
Dec 21, 05
Democratic members of the incoming Erie County Legislature on Monday night anointed Lynn M. Marinelli as the new chairwoman of the Legislature and named Maria R. Whyte as majority leader.
George A. "Butch" Holt Jr. of Buffalo, the outgoing Legislature chairman, was not present.
Marinelli, of the Town of Tonawanda, the current majority leader, received eight votes on the first ballot. Kathy Konst of Lancaster, who won the seat now held by Republican Denise M. Marshall, received three votes. Konst was supported by fellow newcomers Michele M. Iannello of Kenmore and Cynthia E. Locklear of West Seneca.
Holt and Thomas J. Mazur of Cheektowaga withdrew from the chairman's race before balloting began. Lenihan said Holt's leadership saved the county at the end of a very difficult year.
"Butch has taken a lot of hits this year," Lenihan said. "But in the last budget process, he acted and really led in a very superb way. He prevented the county from having a [hard] control board. He minimized the property tax increase by shepherding through the [sales tax] package. And if he hadn't been totally focused on that budget resolution, it could have been a disastrous result. We could have had a default budget and a [hard] control board. He kept everybody together and got it done."
Butch has taken alot of well deserved hits this year, for Lenihan to say Holt led and acted in a superb way is so far off the mark it isn't funny. Holt worked hand in hand with Giambra and Swanick. They completely dissed any and all resolutions submitted by the Republicans. I was at one meeting when Barry Weinstein submitted 9 pages of commonsense cuts and reforms. Holt handed out 9 blank pages and consistantly sent resolutions to committee.
The only thing Holt wanted was a new revenue source.. No cuts, no reforms, nadda.
Marinelli constantly referred to the Republican County executive and the Republican caucus as having no ideas and all they want to do is cut. That is an outright lie, once again focusing on "The Republicans" and the "Republican County Executive" all the time working with the Republican County Executive and Holt to get another revenue source, blowing off any and all cuts and reform resolutions submitted by Weinstein, Ranzenhofer, Marshall and Cusak.
I do not trust marinelli, I saw her upclose at the legislature. When she goes along with Holt to just toss out all the cuts and reform measures and only looked for revenue, she just proves she is part of the problem. I don't expect to see her do anything different as Chairman of the Legislature this year. Only time will tell if I am wrong.
Employees of the State Legislature routinely use comp time to work on campaigns. Legislative employees are prohibited from doing political work on state time, however.
"There is absolutely no problem, no issue with the use of this time," Brown said. "It is proper and legal according to the policies and procedures of the New York State Senate."
"I was smart about everything I did," added Casey, in line to be one of Brown's two deputy mayors. "I made sure everything I did was legal."
Brown, however, has refused to turn over payroll records to substantiate his claim.
This is wrong, plain and simple I don't care if it is proper and legal according to the policies of the senate. You ran for Mayor of the city of Buffalo not re-election to the senate. Just like all of them using their staff to put together their quarterly mailings and us paying for them just in time for an election.
Is it legal? Oh yes most likely our lawmakers create and use laws that benefit themselves and cost us thousands. Abuses like this put other candidates at a serious disadvantage as Kevin Hardwick said this morning on WBEN, He is correct.
Assemblyman Kirwin called it "scandalous" and I agree. But as I have said many times, we have to focus our attention on Albany, they use and abuse our tax $$$$ for their own benefit and have put us into so much debt our grandchildren will be paying for it as adults.
I trust people until they lie to me, I have caught B. Brown in a lie more than once so I do not trust him. He is the consumate politican and knows very well how to use words to not answer a question.
Clinton administration secret search on Americans- without court order.
Carter Executive order: electronic surveillance without court order.
ALBANY, Dec. 19 - One of the main sticking points in the transit contract negotiations this week has been the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's effort to reduce pension benefits for future transit workers. But by state law, such pension changes are supposed to be decided by the State Legislature, not at the bargaining table.
And it is far from certain how a proposal to reduce pension benefits would be received in Albany. For one thing, lawmakers, by and large, tend to try to sweeten pension benefits, not cut them. For another, any plan to reduce pension benefits for transit workers would set a precedent that could apply to other public unions. That could end up alienating labor, a key constituency of both the Democratic-led Assembly and the Republican-led Senate.
Officials from both houses said they would have to approve any proposal to change the pension system. The transportation authority, which is controlled by Gov. George E. Pataki, wants to raise the age at which future transit workers become eligible to receive their full pensions to 62, from 55. But just this year both houses of the Legislature tried to go in exactly the opposite direction, attempting to lower the retirement age for some transit workers.
Is there something wrong with this?? This is exactly what we have to do every where. In order to have some type of pension reform changes like this have to happen and NOW! I just asked the question below, what ever happened to not getting your retirement untill you were 65? We have double and triple dippers all over the state, Hevesi is the prime example, two pensions and a salary.
We also need to have co-pays for healthcare, state taxes must be paid on pensions, people retire, move to Florida and pay back nothing to the people that have paid their salary. It's lunacy and must change... The only way is to Focus on Albany!
In his speech at the Naval Academy, President Bush drew attention to how the terrorists in Iraq are using the media to accomplish their objectives. The terrorists, Bush said, "have nothing to offer the Iraqi people. All they have is the capacity and the willingness to kill the innocent and create chaos for the cameras." The President's remarks came on a day when the Washington Post reported on how pro-terrorist Sunni Muslims in Iraq "love Cindy Sheehan" and get energized by watching anti-war protests from America on satellite television. That should have been the lead in the Post article, but it was buried inside the paper.
Oh memories of Jane Fonda, John Kerry and the anti war movement of the 70's.
Same crap, different decade. Cut and run just like Vietnam that's what they want.
Most New York voters want legislators out of the business of redrawing the lines of their electoral districts, according to a poll released Tuesday. By a 3-to-1 margin statewide, voters say that a nonpartisan commission, not the state Legislature, should handle redistricting, according to the Quinnipiac University poll.
Across partly lines, a large majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents in all areas of the state agreed that would make elections more competitive for Congress, as well as the state Assembly and state Senate, said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Like my senate and assembly districts. Democrats out number republicans 2 to 1
ALBANY, NY -- (12/20/2005; 1300)(EIS) -- "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver continues to prevent passage of legislation - supported by the New York State Senate and Governor Pataki - which would toughen the laws on illegal trafficking of guns. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association supports the effort to remove illegal firearms and those who possess them from our streets.
We need to punish criminals who illegally own or traffic in guns, not criminalize the legal use and sale of firearms. Speaker Silver and the Assembly's proposed legislation try to shift the focus to blame legal gun owners and sellers instead of protecting our law enforcement officials and apprehending those who illegally use, possess or sell firearms.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005 06:36 AM - WBEN Newsroom
WBEN Reporter Steve Cichon
Amherst, NY (WBEN) - Two weeks ago, Amherst lawmakers put off a vote on union contracts they hadn't had a chance to review. Last night, that vote was finally taken, but not before at least one heated exchange.
Board member Bill O'Loughlin hoped to delay a vote on the three contracts by gaining an extension of a deadline with Independent Health.
"There's no need to rush tonight for the sake of the health care contract and protecting that $2.5 million in savings," O'Loughlin said.
Supervisor-elect Satish Mohan asked to speak against the contracts, but rules barred it. Board member Bill Kindel took exception.
"We have rules in this country, and the rules are this: we've had this on the agenda for almost two months -- anyone could've spoken (on this) before," Kindel said.
Dr. Mohan took exception to Kindel's term "in this country," which he used twice.
"I found it very offensive...very insulting that he said that," Mohan said afterward.
After the meeting -- Kindel apologized for his remark, an apology which Mohan said he accepted.
As far as the contracts, Mohan is disappointed that all three passed.
"This was the opportunity for us to renegotiate and correct the (problems in the) contracts. We missed that opportunity."
Am I to understand that after 5 years of employment, employees get healthcare for the rest of their lives? Just look at the article below, it will continue until "WE" stop this. No wonder they wanted to pass this so quickly without people knowing what was in the contract.
Dec 20, 05
Erie County Legislature Democratic Caucus has elected Lynn Marinelli as Chairman and Maria Whyte as Majority Leader. So much for a change in leadership.
Tonight I attended the Grand Island Town Board meeting, it was over with in 25 minutes, what a waste of time. They blow thrrough the agenda with "Consent items" that consisted of 85% of the meeting. I long for the days of open meetings where the decisions were made in front of the people and the meetings really meant something.
We cannot sustain this, but of course, it's not like that ever stopped a stupid idea in New York in the past.
I speak of the system of providing pensions and health care for public employees. It's broken and getting more broken. Friends, we are rapidly headed for a financial debacle akin to that facing the domestic automakers and the airlines.
In a lot of cases, no one even knows how much taxpayers will be on the hook for in coming years. Municipal leaders across the nation and, without question, in New York state have made oodles of promises about lifetime health care for retired workers and, often, elected officials.
Rarely have the municipal leaders booked those costs, set aside the money, that kind of thing. Often, the costs are simply paid out of current revenues. A week ago, in a piece both thoughtful and alarming, The New York Times called this problem "the next retirement time bomb."
Lifetime health care. Do you realize how much that costs? Around $11,000 annually for a family policy, often more.
His final statement is the way we here in New York are dealing with this problem.
Overpromise for years. Fail to account for and finance these liabilities. Expect someone else to pick up the billions and billions of dollars in costs when this structural problem can't be ignored
And who picks up the tab? We do, the taxpayers.
We are financing not just ourselves into oblivion but our children, for years rather decades to come we will be paying for the retirement plans and the healthcare plans our supposed elected representatives have given themselves and the union controlled government empolyees.
We have got to get these costs under control, concessions will have to be made as in co-pays, paying taxes on the state retirements and yes even witholding a pension when they retire from one government job to go to another. Alan Hevesi is a perfect example, he collects two pensions from the state and is on the payroll as the State Comptroller.
What ever happened to the days when you didn't start collecting a pension untill you were 60 or 65? How can an elected offical collect two pensions and a paycheck at the same time? This is lunacy and shows just how corrupt thesystem is.
BTW, Hevesi makes well over 300,000 a year from us taxpayers.
Finally, the Democratic Party has two good-government titans. Get ready for them to tear each other apart.
Tom Suozzi should have entered the 2004 Democratic National Convention to cheers. He’d recently broken a three-decade Republican stranglehold on the office of Nassau County executive. And since winning the job, Suozzi had made strides toward cleaning up corruption and showing that a Democrat could balance a budget without completely dismantling the county’s social programs.
But as Suozzi strode onto the floor at the FleetCenter in Boston that July night, he was met with puzzled looks from members of the New York delegation. That’s because Suozzi had spent much of the summer waging war on Albany and was in the middle of leading a loud and partly successful campaign to unseat incumbents in the State Legislature—one of them a fellow Democrat. Suozzi claimed he was frustrated by the Legislature’s unwillingness to ease the burden Medicaid was forcing on local budgets, and that he’d realized the only way to get the attention of the leadership in Albany was to challenge it in the voting booth. He’d come up with a beautifully simple slogan—“Fix Albany”—and he was eagerly tapping into public anger at the dysfunctional, three-men-in-a-room state-government power structure.
When you make war on Albany, however, one of the generals you threaten is Sheldon Silver, speaker of the Democrat-dominated State Assembly.
This is building up to be a great election year,
In the Democrat cornerSpitzer vs Suozzi In the republican cornerWeld vs Golisano
New details that emerged yesterday about William F. Weld's tenure at a small Kentucky college, which collapsed in a financial scandal two months ago, threatened to push the issue closer to the forefront of his campaign for governor of New York.
Several of his opponents, Republicans and Democrats alike, seized on the revelations to either raise questions about Mr. Weld's managerial competence or warn that the federal investigation of possible student loan fraud at the school, Decker College, would hobble his chances of winning the Republican nomination in 2006.
"If Bill Weld becomes the nominee, he will be on the defensive talking about the Decker College fiasco from now until November, instead of being able to address the issues New Yorkers care about, like jobs and cutting taxes," said John Faso, a Republican former assemblyman and a candidate for governor.
It was unclear how much it would hurt him among the senior Republicans whose support he needs to secure the nomination. He received more votes than the other candidates when Republican county leaders met last week to consider contenders for statewide office. He also has the support of the state party chairman, Stephen J. Minarik III.
A spokesman for Mr. Minarik did not return calls yesterday. Neither did a spokesman for Joseph L. Bruno, the Republican majority leader of the State Senate
Once again this proves the leadership is out of touch with the people.. Weld received 42% of the vote mainly because some chose not to attend in protest.
I liked Weld until I saw how he disolved the counties in Massachusetts, I am in favor of eliminating county governments but it must be done correctly and not in haste leaving the bloated expensive beauracracy in place.
Everyone needs to get a grip on the supposed President Bush's NSA program as being the one to implement it, this program has been around for years. Where the hell was the outrage when Clinton used it as stated below???? Clinton clearly abused it when he used it as a tool economic intelligence, monitoring millions of phone calls and ATM transactions.. His program was called Echelon an I screamed about it way back then. Am I for it? No.. Is it useful when used properly to monitor Terrorist activities? Yes.. To point the finger at President Bush as being the only one to use the NSA is completely disingenuous and misleading. Hello folks, we are in the middle of a War, and trying to rebuild the intelligence community that was dismantled during the Clinton years. Is there any wonder why we didn't know about the planned attacks in time? All we have to do is look at the Clinton years and exactly what went on during his reign.
During the 1990s, President Bill Clinton ordered the National Security Agency to use its super-secret Echelon surveillance program to monitor the personal telephone calls and private email of employees who worked for foreign companies in a bid to boost U.S. trade, NewsMax.com has learned.
In 2000, former Clinton CIA director James Woolsey set off a firestorm of protest in Europe when he told the French newspaper Le Figaro that he was ordered by Clinton in 1993 to transform Echelon into a tool for gathering economic intelligence.
"We have a triple and limited objective," the former intelligence chief told the French paper. "To look out for companies which are breaking US or UN sanctions; to trace 'dual' technologies, i.e., for civil and military use, and to track corruption in international business."
As NewsMax reported exclusively on Sunday, Echelon had been used by the Clinton administration to monitor millions of personal phone calls, private emails and even ATM transactions inside the U.S. - all without a court order.
During the 1990's under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon.
On Friday, the New York Times suggested that the Bush administration has instituted "a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices" when it "secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without [obtaining] court-approved warrants."
But in fact, the NSA had been monitoring private domestic telephone conversations on a much larger scale throughout the 1990s - all of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks.
In February 2000, for instance, CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft introduced a report on the Clinton-era spy program by noting:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi confessed late Saturday that she signed off on President Bush's decision to have a top intelligence agency conduct "unspecified activities" to gather intelligence on possible terrorists operating inside the U.S. in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
"I was advised of President Bush's decision to provide authority to the National Security Agency to conduct unspecified activities shortly after he made it and have been provided with updates on several occasions," Pelosi admitted.
On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also admitted he kept silent about the controversial program, even though he was briefed on its existence "a couple of months ago."
The fierce effort by the state's Republican leaders to end Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro's bid to unseat Sen. Hillary Clinton next year has nothing to do with the fact Pirro has almost no chance of winning.
Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno's attempt to push Pirro to run for attorney general rather than challenge Clinton has everything to do with Bruno's real goal: delaying the all-but-inevitable end of his slim eight-seat GOP Senate majority. Bruno's majority will come closer to vanishing if, as expected, state Sen. Michael Balboni (R-Nassau) resigns his seat to run for attorney general.
Two Queens Senate seats, currently held by Frank Padavan and Serphin Maltese, also are expected to go Democratic when these GOP stalwarts, both of whom are over 70 years old, retire. Sen. Nick Spano (R-Westchester), who won reelection by 18 votes, is another Republican in danger.
Dems expect to win all four seats - and control of the Senate - by 2010 at the latest. Meaning it may be Bruno, not Pirro, who's fighting a truly hopeless battle.
See what is going on here, inept leader Bruno is so worried about losing control he wants to keep Balboni in the senate. Just more proof that if they were doing their job and acted like the Republicans they are supposed to be, Bruno wouldn't have to worry about losing the senate to the Dems. When are they going to learn? But getting elected is all these guys worry about, get elected as a Republican then govern the way your told to, don't keep your focus, be controlled.
While most party sources expect Delaware Council Member Marc A. Coppola to receive the nod, Lenihan said Saturday he is committed to no one and cautioned that "anything can happen."
"We had several people make good presentations today," he said.
Besides Coppola, those addressing the committee Saturday were former mayoral candidate Kevin P. Gaughan, Ellicott Council Member Brian C. Davis, businessman Emin "Eddie" Egriu, Buffalo State College Professor Ellen T. Kennedy, former state Sen. Alfred T. Coppola and Board of Education Member Ralph R. Hernandez.
Dennis Ward asked me why I haven't filed to run for the seat. Ha, what a joke and a complete waste of money for any Republican to run for this seat. The district is overwhelmingly registered Democrat, a Republican does not stand a chance.
I was told that the annointing will go to Cappola, he has been called Senator for weeks if not months. I was hoping to see Ken Hamilton from Niagara Falls run, he would represent us well in the senate. Come on Ken I know you read this blog, throw your hat in the ring for the Primary in September.
Sharon has suffered a stroke.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been taken to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital after feeling unwell while working in his office.
Channel 2 TV report said roads around the hospital were closed before Mr Sharon, 77, arrived in his official vehicle.
There was no word on his condition or what was wrong with him.
Channel 10 TV, quoting police sources, said Mr Sharon apparently lost consciousness.
He was taken to the emergency room of the hospital.
Officials in Mr Sharon's office were not available for comment.
He may have suffered a minor stroke.
Channel 10 said Mr Sharon regained consciousness shortly after arriving at the hospital and quoted unnamed hospital sources as saying he apparently suffered a minor stroke.
Hospital spokeswoman Yael Bossem-Levy said Sharon was undergoing tests, and added that as far as she knew, Sharon was conscious.
AMMAN, Jordan -- Key Sunni Muslim leaders in Iraq's violent Anbar province have concluded that their interests lie in cooperating with the United States, and they are seeking to extend a temporary truce honored by most insurgent groups for last week's elections.
A prominent Sunni religious leader in Anbar province, Sheik Abed al-Latif Hemaiym, told The Times in an interview in Amman that Sunnis were prepared to work with the Americans.
"We now believe we must get on good terms with the Americans," Sheik Hemaiym said. "As Arab Sunnis, we believe that within this hot area of Iraq, facing challenges from neighboring nations who want to swallow us, especially the Iranians, we feel we have no alternative."
This is good news, finally the Sunnis are getting the message.
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.
This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country.
This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power under our laws and Constitution to protect them and their civil liberties. And that is exactly what I will continue to do, so long as I'm the President of the United States.
No matter how you feel about the war in Iraq, no matter how you feel about this President and the Patriot Act, everyone must understand the importance of our National Security and the Classified and Secret intellegence that has protected this Nation for a couple hundred years.
Who ever leaked this information to the NY Times and or to the media, Democrat or Republican must be found out and punished to the fullest extent of the Law. This is an act of Treason IMHO. Although just a cook, I was stationed with the Military Intellegence Agency School in Ft. Devens Mass. Just to get into the school I needed a Security Clearence with background and FBI check, if we don't have Intellegence, we don't have National Security. If we don't have National Security, we don't have a Country.
If we can't trust our elected officals in Washington DC to protect our Classified material then we are wide open to attacks from any and all enemies. When I entered the Armed Forces we swore to Protect and Defend the Constitiution aganst ALL enemies, Forgein and Domestic. It appears we have an enemy within set on destroying our Security.
Russ Feingold immediately followed on CNN claiming that the President, in his efforts to stop terrorists, was breaking the law. "No one is above the law," says Russ Feingold, who is obviously trying to lay the case for impeachment.
Feingold seems to think that terrorists are entitled to due process and privacy while they are plotting their attacks.......
Four Democrats want to occupy one of the most powerful jobs in county government, which would let them hire and fire all Legislature staff and decide which items come up for a vote. Aside from Konst, there's Majority Leader Lynn M. Marinelli of the Town of Tonawanda, newcomer Thomas J. Mazur of Cheektowaga and current Chairman George A. Holt Jr. of Buffalo.
I am all for anyone that has not been in the legislature,
No to Holt, He is working hand in hand with Giambra and bringing the wrong agenda to the legislature.
No to Marinelli, her only desire is to position herself for her future run for higher office either County Ex or Congress.
Neither will allow any type of reform ie cuts, reduction in the size of leg, cuts in employees, etc. onto the floor for any debate or vote. All they are looking for in any increase in revenue. Anything else goes to committee to die.
We need a new face, new ideas and a leader that will allow “OUR” agenda to the floor for “open debate and votes”…. All this needs to be done in the public eye, not behind closed doors where the little influential groups meet and decide what is and what isn’t on the agenda.
By WILLIAM L. KINDEL
We now are at a crossroads of the future of Erie County. We have a control board and a deficit of millions of dollars. Next year promises to bring higher property and sales taxes and new deficits. We have three options to fix these problems:
We can keep on going as we are and stay the course without change.
We can have a massive big brother - a regional government for all metropolitan areas.
We can have a new 21st century model to consider.
In my opinion, the first option would not work. We would be expecting the same old tired machine that failed us before to somehow perform miracles now.
As for metropolitan government, I believe the majority of county residents would not want to surrender their rights to one big metro government.
Or we could consider adopting a new 21st century model of better government that already has been proven in states such as Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Services would not disappear, but the providers would change. Basic services such as roads, police, fire protection, tax collection, etc., could be performed by towns, villages and city governments. Revenues now assigned to the county for these functions would be transferred to the appropriate local agencies.
Things not necessarily associated with individual community governments - Dunn Tire Park, HSBC Arena, Ralph Wilson Stadium, ECC, ECMC, the district attorney's office and social services - could be taken over by the state.
There still would be a need for management. A county business manager and staff would be appointed by the state.
Article 9, section 1 of the State Constitution allows the transfer of governmental functions between levels of government. Specifically, it authorizes transfers of function by a county to cities, towns and villages or from them to a county.
In addition, transfer of functions from a county to the state is allowed if authorized by the State Legislature. The transfer is subject to a "double referendum." It must be approved by a majority of county residents residing outside the cities of the county plus a majority of those residing inside the cities.
Let the voters decide in November 2006 if they want to keep the government as it is now, replace it with a metropolitan government or choose a better option that has been proved in other states.
Bravo! Mr. Kindel I agree with you!
Responding to the Daily News' "Stop Crimes Against Cops Campaign," Gov. Pataki is calling the state Legislature back into session to toughen gun control laws and stiffen penalties against those who attack police officers.
Pataki scheduled the extraordinary session for Wednesday. The News called for such a session earlier this week after the murder of hero off-duty Police Officer Daniel Enchautegui in the Bronx Dec. 10.
In a page one editorial Monday that recounted the killings of Enchautegui and Officer Dillon Stewart and the wounding of nine other cops this year, The News called for an urgent special session to crack down on crimes against the police.
On Wednesday's agenda will be two bills, the Crimes Against Law Enforcement Officers Bill, which calls for the death penalty in the line-of-duty killing of a police officer, and the Illegal Gun Trafficking Bill.
"These are both bills that tell our police that we understand that without their courage, without their sacrifice, without their willingness to put their lives on the line to defend us, we wouldn't live in the greatest city in the greatest state this country has," Pataki said.
The governor noted that under current laws, a person convicted of selling 19 illegal guns can get off with probation. "Under my proposed legislation, sell one gun and you will go to jail for up to seven years," he said.
It must be added of course that Giambra want the legislature to vote on our sales tax increase in this special session. I would urge you to contact your Assemblyman and Senator to vote NO! Not for the reason that Buffalo or any other communities will not get any money out of it, because it is wrong. Giambra and some in the E.C. Legislature are bent on spending more of our hard earned money and hire Hartman for 90 grand a year and create a county manager position for $200,000 a year to do the job they were elected to do.
We do not need any more jobs created, nor do we need to fill vacant positions.
Saddam Hussein moved his chemical weapons to Syria six weeks before the war started, Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom says.
The assertion comes as President Bush said yesterday that much of the intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was incorrect.
The Israeli officer, Lieutenant General Moshe Yaalon, asserted that Saddam spirited his chemical weapons out of the country on the eve of the war. "He transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria," General Yaalon told The New York Sun over dinner in New York on Tuesday night. "No one went to Syria to find it."
I have really gotten to the point that I am so tired of hearing the Bush lied theme.
All of the members of Congress saw and read all the same intelligence, they al;l voted for the resolution to go into Iraq, my only question is, Why have they not declared War since WWII? Not Korea, Vietnam, 1st Gulf War etc....
If they had signed a Declaration of War some members of Congress could and should be brought up on charges with some of the statements being made.
As a Veteran, post Vietnam, I remember Kerry testifying in front of Congress about the autrocities he saw in Nam, I remember Jane Fonda and her antiwar protests and also her meeting with the N. Vietcong and this same gang is trying to turn the American people against this war as they did Vietnam. The Vietcong took advantage of the public protests in the 70's and we cut and ran and the Veterans were treated like the enemy when they came home. Why are they doing the same thing now? Support the Troops, they are doing what is asked of them and we are winning and a democratic government could very well be put in place there and we can come home. Aren't we still in Germany, Korea and other places around the world? Seems those wars aren't over yet.
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Erie County Executive Joel Giambra is calling for the county to hire a professional County Manager. "I believe this is going to bridge the gap between the executive and legislative branches of government, whereby the legislature would have a hand in picking a county manager and then the county manager would have an obligation to both report to the executive and legislative branches of governemnt."
Giambra says 38% of counties across the country have a county manager, and he tells WBEN's Barbara Burns that such a position "would help take some of the politics out of the day-to-day operations of running the county government, freeing-up the county executive to focus more on policy."
Legislature Chairman George Holt tells Buffalo's Early News he has no problem with the idea of such a position. This is "an idea that is part of several others, including cutting legislator's pay (and) term limits."
How stupid can he/we/they get? This cannot be allowed, talk about redundancy..
Holt says "cost saving ideas", how is this cost saving? Susan was right to ask about Santa's park being canceled and parks being closed or operate under limited hours but we allow them to add people to the county government. This nonsense must stop.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqis voted in a historic parliamentary election Thursday, with strong turnout reported in Sunni Arab areas and even a shortage of ballots in some precincts. Several explosions rocked Baghdad throughout the day, but the level of violence was low. The Iraqi election commission extended voting in the country by an hour because of the high turnout.
The heavy participation by the Sunnis, who had shunned balloting last January, bolstered U.S. hopes of calming the insurgency enough to begin withdrawing its troops next year.
This is great news! I wish we could get that kind of voter turnout here....
Hartman would be County Executive Joel A. Giambra's "director of management initiatives" earning about $95,000 a year. He will have the responsibility of implementing the money-saving ideas put forth by Giambra and by consultants to the state-appointed Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority.
"I've chosen Jim because he's a consummate professional," Giambra said Monday, emphasizing that Hartman has the needed relationship with the County Legislature to turn many ideas into reality.
Consumate professional? No, he agrees that we need a "new revenue source" Why was he appointed by the legislature because of his position on this. They all get along because they cannot and will not cut taxes, cut the size and scope of government, reduce the size of the legislature, blah, blah, blah.......
Among the more than 100 suggestions: charging towns for Sheriff's Department road patrols starting in 2007, stressing home confinement over jail to ease crowding at county lockups, bringing county fees into line with what other counties collect, and selling advertising on county-owned surfaces.
"It is a very ambitious reform agenda," Hartman said, "probably one of the most ambitious ever undertaken by a county government in New York. I will do my best to make it happen."
Very ambitious reform agenda? Ha, all they are doing is looking for new revenue.
Home confinement, geez can only make me wonder if Holts buddy will get the contract to monitor them. And charging towns for Sheriff's road patrols? We already pay for their services ie: County Taxes.
In past months, Hartman has panned some suggestions from the authority's consultant, the PFM Group, saying they are unlikely to save money in the near term. Testifying before a County Legislature committee, he said that some of PFM's later initiatives did not pass "the smell test."
They may not save money in the near term but will in the long run and that is where we have to start focusing our efforts. Short term and long term, we have to get them out of their current mindset that the only way to turn is raising taxes. Who's smell test? Yours? You don't pass my smell test. This position is a complete waste of taxpayer money and is simply a political pat on the back from Giambra and the legislature at our expense, $95,000 a year..... When will the people ever wake up?
I can only wonder if Dennis Gorski will be there to introduce him again, Is this one hell of a party or what.....
I think this is a political move for Golisano and not entirely a bad one as others think He is going to run for governor, I feel confident about it. He changed to Republican, and he is not stupid. He will need to garner support from all parties to win. It may or may not hurt him in the primary, I don't think it will. I see Golisano as an outsider and that is a plus for me. The Republican leadership are completely out of touch with the people, proof is in the turnout in Albany Monday. If the people see him as a independent and able to work with both sides and not a political hack, he will win.
ALBANY - Gov. Pataki's reign as the King Kong of the New York State Republican Party came to a crashing end yesterday as Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno started clambering up the side of the Empire State Building.
The changing of the guard became obvious when half of the GOP county leaders, at a gathering to plan for next year's elections, defied the governor and did essentially what Bruno wanted: They withheld their full endorsement from Pataki's preferred gubernatorial candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, and left the door open for Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano to jump into the race.
The chairmen also followed Bruno's advice on Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, urging her to give up her feckless campaign against Sen. Hillary Clinton and run for attorney general instead.
Pataki and his hand-picked state GOP chairman, Steve Minarik, had hoped yesterday's confab would unify the party behind consensus candidates, putting them in the best possible position to take on Clinton and the other Democratic juggernaut, Eliot Spitzer, in 2006. Instead, the get-together did exactly the opposite, showing Republicans to be hopelessly divided and confused.
COLONIE, N.Y. - State GOP leaders tried to give Jeanine Pirro the heave-ho from the Senate race yesterday, while William Weld emerged as the strongest candidate in the governor's contest.
At a convention of party chairmen, Republican bosses said openly they may urge Ed Cox, President Nixon's son-in-law, to get back into the race against Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Pirro, who insisted she won't drop out, tried to put a positive spin on the crisis by noting the party wants her run for state attorney general instead.
"I greatly respect the opinion of the county chairs and their confidence in my abilities as a statewide candidate," she said.
Time is running out for Pirro to make a switch, party pooh bahs said. "We're interested in her making up her mind as soon as possible," said state GOP Chairman Steve Minarik
Still trying to figure this one out. I don't care for either candidate Pirro or Clinton but when it comes down to it it's anyone but Clinton. Sorry but I get sick of people using the state as a jumping stone for higher office. Do your job, she has not done anything for WNY....
Monday Dec 12, 05
While county Republican chairmen from across New York are meeting in an upstate hotel to pick a candidate to endorse for governor, two key downstate GOP leaders have decided to stay home.
In an indication of the turmoil within the state Republican Party, Joseph Mondello of Nassau County and Harry Withers of Suffolk County aren't attending today's gathering at a suburban Albany hotel.
The Long Island county chairmen are two of the state's most powerful local GOP leaders. Their counties represent more than 20 percent of the party's weighted vote at Monday's meeting.
Some of the county chairmen have said any voting for a candidate for governor should be delayed until Thomas Golisano makes his plans known.
The billionaire owner of the Buffalo Sabres is considering running for governor but isn't expected to make an announcement until next month.
Others seeking the Republican endorsement are former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso, former Secretary of State Randy Daniels, and Assemblyman Patrick Manning.
Forty two percent-or thereabouts-of the chairmen voted in favor of Weld while the rest either abstained, voted against him, or didn't bother to show up in order to participate in the vote. In other words, Weld received a plurality of a minority.
For the second time in a week, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has a compelling reason to call his house back to Albany to pass meaningful measure to get illegal guns off the sidewalks of New York. That reason, sadly, is another funeral for a hero NYPD cop.
Tragically, Silver even has an opportunity to reverse his standing policy regarding murdered cops ("I don't go to cops' funerals"), and to personally pay his respects to the family of Officer Daniel Enchautegui — slain early Saturday in a burglary gone bad in The Bronx.
Whether he shows up Tuesday for Officer Enchautegui's funeral will be between himself and his conscience.
But, had he attended services for Det. Dillon Stewart last Tuesday, he'd better feel the pain caused by illegal guns.
And if he had been on hand for the funerals of NYPD Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews two years ago, he'd more clearly understand the real-life consequences of his willful obstruction of gun-trafficking reform.
What a dispicable man he is. What is he doing to us in this state?
Anyone out there in his district want to primary Sheldon Silver, this man must be defeated and removed from his leadership position as the most distructive man in New York.
Sunday Dec 11th
Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv, and Sarah Baxter, Washington
ISRAEL’S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed.
The order came after Israeli intelligence warned the government that Iran was operating enrichment facilities, believed to be small and concealed in civilian locations.
Iran’s stand-off with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear inspections and aggressive rhetoric from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who said last week that Israel should be moved to Europe, are causing mounting concern.
We can only hope the people of Iran will rise up and overthrow the tyranny of the mullahs.. I think the statements are intended as a final effort to make Iran turn back from its present inclinations and to prepare world public opinion for an attack if that is necessary
When you read what was said by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the article below it is no wonder Sharon would prepare for this.
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday expressed doubt that the Holocaust occurred and suggested Israel be moved to Europe.
His comments, reported by the official IRNA news agency from a news conference he gave in the Saudia Arabian city of Mecca, follow his call in October for Israel to be "wiped off the map", which sparked widespread international condemnation.
Tehran calls Israel a "terrorist state" and has developed missiles which can reach the Jewish state. It says it would use them if Israel tried to bomb its nuclear facilities.
"Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
I support Israel, always have, always will !
A great Blog called Regime Change Iran for daily updates as to what is happening inside Iran. Articles you will not read in the main stream media..