Jan 31st
A follow up article, I had to post the whole thing.

January 30, 2006 --  Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver turned a blind eye to sexual harassment by a top aide, who then later sexually assaulted an intern.

The aide, Michael Boxley, pleaded guilty to misconduct, and the intern promptly sued. Last Thursday, her lawyer announced a settlement: She'll get $500,000.
And guess who gets to pay for most of that award: That's right — you: Mr., Mrs. and Ms. New York Taxpayer.

Make your blood boil?
It should.

Bad enough that Silver did nothing about the complaints against Boxley. Particularly, given that Silver's the most powerful Democrat in Albany, and that Democrats claim to champion women's rights. (Or doesn't that include the right not to be assaulted by one of . . . them?)

Certainly, the intern deserves every penny of her winnings.

"I felt this lawsuit should be not just about what happened to me, but about others who have suffered and who may suffer the indignities of sexual harassment," she said Thursday.

But the guy who is guilty of misconduct is Boxley. And the guy who set the environment for it was Silver. Why should taxpayers pay for their misfeasance?

Under the terms of the settlement, Boxley will split the bill with the Assembly and the state of New York.

Silver gets off scot-free: He won't have to pay one cent toward the settlement.
Now something is definitely wrong with that picture.

True, the speaker was not directly involved with the sexual misconduct. Equally true, employers in the private-sector sometimes pick up the legal costs for top managers named in workplace-related lawsuits.

But then, private-sector employers fire managers who allow such abuse.
Will taxpayers, Shelly's ultimate employer, fire him? Not likely, which helps explains the problem.
Remember people our elected Democrat assemblymen allow this man to stay in power. Tokaz and Hoyt have the guts to stand up and remove this man from his leadership position.

Vote-machine bonanza

Lobby firms paid $1.5M by vendors
Lobbyists raked in nearly $1.5 million in fees in recent years from vendors hoping to cash in on the still-stalled modernization of voting machines throughout the state.

New York City, with 7,694 machines to replace, will be the state's biggest customer for new voting machines.

Based on a federal deadline, city voters are supposed to get a limited exposure to new machines this fall, but that timetable remains in doubt. Critics blame years of bureaucratic and political gridlock in Albany.

But that gridlock apparently has been golden for lobbyists, according to a report by Common Cause/NY, a watchdog group.

Voting machine vendors spent $468,346 last year alone, just shy of the $491,713 they spent in 2004. Lobbying fees totaled $1,469,402 over the past four years.

So it appears the lobbyiest that pays the most will be picking the voting machines for us.. What is wrong with picture? Lobbying must be made illegal!

Politicians Sent Scrambling As Court Rules on N.Y. Judges

New York's political cognoscenti will be scrambling this week to sort out the winners and losers in the wake of a court decision handed down Friday by a U.S. district judge in Brooklyn overturning the way political parties nominate justices to the state Supreme Court.

Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District ruled that the state Legislature needs to change the current system to make these elections more democratic. He ordered that on an interim basis, until the Legislature acts, these judges are to be elected in direct party primaries.

Unlike other elected posts - including party positions - state Supreme Court justices have been nominated not by a direct vote of enrolled voters in a primary election, but by party judicial conventions. Delegates to these conventions are elected in the primary, but voters have not a clue to whom these delegates are pledged. More often than not, the delegates, running in slates in each Assembly district, don't know for whom they will be voting either. That word comes at the convention from the county party bosses.

The judicial slates are often headed by popular local political figures in order to ensure an easy victory from a confused electorate. More often than not, these slates run unopposed. Voters rarely gain the opportunity to participate, even indirectly, in this process.

I hope they force this change and allow the people to choose..

Spitzer Has Just Taken in $1 Million From Lobbyists He Aims To Reform

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who has positioned himself as an enforcer against special interests, has turned to lobbyists who represent special interests to help him raise money for his gubernatorial bid.

At a major fund-raising gala in December at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City, lobbyists raised nearly $1 million for Mr. Spitzer's campaign, according to sources. The amount that lobbyists brought in at that one event is equal to about 5% of Mr. Spitzer's entire campaign war chest.

Some of the most powerful lobbyists in the state were on hand that evening, collecting checks from their clients or donating thousands of dollars themselves.

It's perfectly legal for lobbyists to give money to a political campaign or round up bundles of contributions. But the amount of money being raised by Mr. Spitzer from those who are paid to influence policy is raising questions about his pledges to stamp out what he has called the "pay-to-play culture" in Albany.

I think Spitzer should resign his position as Attorney General.

Anti-incumbent group reveals 81 Statehouse challengers

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The anti-incumbency movement in Pennsylvania Statehouse politics marked a milestone Monday with a rally attended by more than 60 prospective candidates running under one banner.

The event was organized by a group formed in response to the governmental pay raises the Legislature passed in July. The group, PACleanSweep, said it currently supports 81 candidates and expects more will follow.

PACleanSweep announced it is backing the candidates based on their personal and political profiles. The anti-incumbent candidates support legislation to submit future pay raises to voter referendums and pledge to give the public 10 days to review bills before passage.

"Pennsylvania is tired of villains. We need heroes," PACleanSweep founder and chairman Russ Diamond told dozens of supporters at a rally in the Capitol Rotunda. "I'm proud to bring you some of those heroes today."

I wish we could have this much participation in this state but I guess we have to sink lower into the abyss before the people are enraged enough to actually do something about the corruption. Either that or all the good people have left to go south and only a small group hangs tough..

Jan 29th

A roughcut trailer for our film INDICTING HILLARY: One Man's Quest to Hold Hillary Clinton Accountable can now be downloaded from google videos.


   This trailer is only a roughcut, and we hope to have an improved version out soon. It only touches the surface in exposing the largest campaign finance fraud ever. We are working furiously to have the first version of the film ready for a conference in Washington, D.C., in early May. Thereafter, we hope to have an extended version of the film for theatrical release. It's all a function of money. No big time Hollywood producer has come forward to open a checkbook as they did for the anti-American's crockumentary of President Bush. Our film really is different. It is filled with something called the truth.

Peter Paul still needs financial help with his civil case. It would have been much easier and he would have been much further along had Judicial Watch actually spent the millions they collected for his case.

   We have been working with a very honorable man from the United States Justice Foundation, Gary Kreep, Yes, Hillary, Bill, and others are going to be under oath in a Los Angeles courtroom sometime later this year. Spinning attorney David Kendall is making his last gasp effort to have Hillary removed from the case.

For those who do not know the story, here are 26 episodes of
Great info is available on HillCAP.org.  HillCAP Hillary Clinton Accountability Project..

   NOTE TO HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON - this is not going away. You have denied, delayed, dissembled, and distracted for far too long. You have been in this scandal from your fat ankles all the way up to your eyeballs. We have the smoking guns to prove that you allowed your campaign treasurer, Andrew Grossman, to file a third fraudulent report to the FEC on July 30, 2001. Your denials are BS. Even you cannot hide forever.

   We are exploring the idea of pre-sale orders for the DVDs and allowing people to pay a fee to have their real name or screen name in the final credits with a one-sentence message to Hillary. History of this project can be seen here..

WOW! Incredible video trailer and well worth the wait for it to download. If you want to help with this effort to get the film out, I will supply you with a contact.

Jeanine Pirro's Political Death May Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Zogby via BBSNews 2006-01-27 -- A new Zogby New York poll of likely voters in the Empire State finds the GOP Senate candidate-turned-attorney general candidate on the comeback in a fluid race against Andrew Cuomo, the former HUD Secretary and scion of a powerful New York Democratic family. While Pirro trails the Democrat by 11 points, she is holding Cuomo to 45% -- and 18% of voters have yet to make up their minds on the likely November contest.

The gap in the Pirro-Cuomo race has closed by seven percentage points since a Zogby New York poll conducted six weeks ago. While Cuomo has dropped five percentage points during that time, Pirro has improved by 2 percentage points.

I could never see myself voting for Cuomo, isn’t he involved with the corruption scandal with HUD in New York State? I consider him a has been and just a political hack, sorry just my humble opinion.

Proposal Limits Lobbyist Gifts To Legislators

NEW YORK---State Senator Kiz Krueger (D-Manhattan) has commended Majority Leader Joseph Bruno for his recent statements supporting rules banning legislators from accepting gifts from lobbyists, while reminding him that no such rule actually exists".

"This proposed rules change is a necessary reform in order to protect the integrity of the legislative process and to restore public confidence in state government," stated Sen. Krueger. "I am pleased to hear that Sen. Bruno agrees with me, but he is under the mistaken belief that such a rule already exists. I assume that we can now pass these rules changes with no opposition next week."

Lobbyists and clients seeking to influence legislators can give them as many gifts as they wish, as long as no single gift is worth more than $75. And when lawmakers accept a gift valued at more than $75, they can be found to have broken the law only if it can be proved that gifts were intended to influence or reward them for something they had done. As a practical matter, this loophole renders the law impotent and unenforceable.

This will be fun to watch, will they vote for this limit? Who will vote against and who will vote for it will be interesting to watch.. We need to limit the influence of all lobbyists first, then make them illegal altogether.

Then and only then will we start to see things happen and possibly change the direction in Albany or the best scenerio would be to see the corrupt ones start to leave as their ability to line their own pockets will be limited, if not stopped.
Now, wouldn’t that be nice. It’s no wonder they don’t want me to run for office, I want to stop all this crap. It’s criminal !

Silver and Bruno fail our kids

The charter school movement, easily among the most promising avenues for improving education, has been halted in New York State, depriving tens of thousands of children, most of them minorities, of shots at first-rate learning. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno ought to be ashamed.

Thanks to the two legislative leaders, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, as of Tuesday, New York reached the maximum number of charter schools permitted across the state - a minuscule 100. When the SUNY Board of Trustees approved plans for the last four schools that day, greater school choice came to an e

Charter schools are publicly funded but operate independently of traditional school systems. Closely scrutinized by educational authorities, they generally admit applicants based on a lottery and face closure if students fail to learn. In 1998, the Legislature approved opening 100 charter schools as an experiment. If they performed well, it was said, Albany would give the nod to more.

Perform well they did. Students have regularly done better on standardized tests than their peers in traditional public schools. Last year, for example, 62% of charter kids scored at or above grade level on the state English exam, compared with the public schools' 55%; in math, the scores were 61% versus 50%.

With that kind of success, politicians should be doing all they can to foster the growth of charters. But they are not. Silver's Assembly has long been cool to charter schools, in no small part because the politically powerful teachers union is miffed that the charters operate outside its sway. And, for his part, Silver says he believes that charter schools have succeeded largely because the kids have supportive parents. To which we reply: So what?

The state Senate, meanwhile, has gone skittish on charters because some upstate districts are worried that parents will abandon their schools and cost them funding. To which we reply, again: So what?

What count here are the futures of real, live children. Not the perks and powers of educrats. Gov. Pataki has called for lifting the cap on charters. Silver and Bruno say they'll study the issue in due course as negotiations over the state budget progress. Which is just dead wrong. The charter school limit has nothing to do with the budget. Silver and Bruno should stop the finagling and scrap the cap, because it's the right thing to do.

I say let's open a thousand Charter schools.. Give the lousy publically funded school system some real competition. Better still, let's have the voucher system put in place so we can have access to the 13 to 17 thousand per year to send our kids to good schools, normal people can't afford to pay for both.

It's the PENSION and HEALTHCARE that is killing us with these school budgets and we can no longer afford to pay out these kind of benefits..

Assembly pays $500,000 to settle sexual harassment suit

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state Assembly has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former staffer who charged she was sexually abused by an aide of Speaker Sheldon Silver.

The former staffer, now 24, sued the state saying the Assembly encouraged, condoned or approved of the sexual harassment by Silver's former Chief Counsel, J. Michael Boxley.

The woman, whose name has been withheld by The Associated Press, charged Boxley raped her at her apartment on June 10, 2003, after the two partied at Albany bars. Boxley denied raping her.

Attorney Hillary Richard said the $500,000 "is a substantial amount of money and it reflects the severity of the offense."

Changes to the Assembly's sexual harassment procedures were also made as part of the settlement agreement.

"It was very important to her that something be done to protect future victims of harassment at the Assembly," Richard said. "We feel the Assembly did the right thing, though many years too late."

Boxley pleaded guilty in late 2003 to one count of sexual misconduct. As part of the plea bargain, he was sentenced in February 2004 to six years probation, fined $1,000 and had his name added to the state's sex offender registry.

Boxley left his $130,395-a-year job as Silver's counsel in late June 2003, just a few days after he was led out of the state Capitol in handcuffs. He was indicted Aug. 1, 2003, on two first-degree and two third-degree rape counts.

Similar allegations against Boxley were made in 2001 by another female Assembly employee. She had contended Boxley sexually assaulted her at his apartment after a night of drinking. Criminal charges were never filed in that case and an internal Assembly investigation ended without sanctions against Boxley.

"This is just an indication, I think, that Albany is a terribly broken place," said William Stern, the campaign chairman for Mario Cuomo's 1982 campaign for governor who is now affiliated with the Manhattan Institute, a conservative fiscal policy think tank. "The dysfunctional government that exists there," Stern said, "is really a detriment to the state having a hopeful future."

Not only is Silver taking his time with the sexual abuse issues before the assembly, he is protecting his own perverted staff and WE have to pay? What a bunch of crap, why should the taxpayers of this state have to pay? Silver allowed this to go on and on while woman have been trying to get him to stop these abuses.

Control Board Rent

The county comptroller wants to know why the control board is paying 30,000 dollars a year in rent at the Ellicott Square Building in Buffalo, when they could have stayed for free at the Rath Building.

Even a control board member says it was a mistake in fiscal judgement.

Erie County Control Board member Sheila Kee: "It was a missed opportunity because even though $30,000 on a billion dollar budget doesn't seem like a lot, ya know what? The only way we're gonna solve this problem is lots of $30,000 savings issues, and that's how you get to the big number."

Mark Poloncarz says he'll examine the board's lease at the Ellicott Square Building to see if they can legally leave and move to a county facility.

$30,000 let's just throw more tax dollars around, why not, it's not yours. Hell you want some more?  I'd say it was a missed opportunity, if the control board can't control their own spending, who can we depend on to control the counties spendong, surely not the legislature. This wonderful group belongs with the legislature, run on reform and cutting costs, or come into town and advise us how to save coats, and neither one can do it..

But I'm not qualified?  Get a life, one of your own and leave the taxpayers of Erie County alone.

Jan 27th

About that Chief of Staff the Democrats just hired at the County, remember the one for $78,000 a year. I am told he was Maria White's campaign manager. And a very close ally of Len Lenihan and Sam Hoyt. I have found out that Lenihan had the Democrat's caucus in Democratic HQ, Hmmmm another illegal meeting? And each staffer must work/volunteer for the party to keep their jobs.

When the City had trouble the Council started by cutting 43% of our Council budget. Maybe the County could learn from the City Council. Sounds a little funny but with the control board in place, the City of Buffalo is doing better

We need to pick this up and run with it...If true, the the Legislature need to be called out on the carpet for it.

Jan 26th
Suozzi: Democratic Establishment Part of the Problem

The Nassau County executive, Thomas Suozzi, took on the state Democratic establishment last night, saying party leaders like the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, and the state party chairman, Herman "Denny" Farrell, were part of the problems plaguing Albany.

Appearing on New York 1, Mr. Suozzi, who is considering a run for governor, said Mr. Farrell and other party leaders were "upset" at him for saying that Democrats in the Assembly were "as much to blame as Republicans in the state Senate for the dysfunction in the New York state Legislature."

Gov. George Pataki has at long last signed into law a measure aimed at bringing more accountability to public authorities following a string of scandals.

This is a good first step toward reform, but neither the governor nor the Legislature should stop there. The new law will launch a series of changes, setting up an authority inspector general to review financial issues and creating new rules for ethics, among other features.

The state Assembly and Senate passed reform legislation last year, but the governor waited and signed the measure after his office created an oversight department to carry out the law's intent. Nevertheless, state Comptroller Alan Hevesi must continue his reform-minded efforts by identifying problems in periodic audits of the authorities.

Over the years, state authority problems have ranged from an inappropriate contract awarded by the state Canal Corporation to a private developer to the accounting procedures at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Over the years, the authorities have had too much freedom from independent oversight. Still, this reform measure could have been better in two substantial ways:

Since the governor already makes appointments to the public authorities, the new independent inspector shouldn't be under executive control, but rather should be appointed by the Legislature or comptroller's office.

More importantly, this law does nothing to reduce the number of authorities in the state. More than 700 public authorities operate in New York, and it's hard to imagine they are all needed. Not only do they spend about $30 billion each year, they have racked up more than $100 billion in debt, most of it not subject to public review.

Ironically, the authorities were created, in part, to bring more efficiency to government. State leaders should review the missions of the authorities and eliminate any outdated or unnecessary ones.On the Web: www.poughkeepsiejournal.com

Time to dismantle the authorities... They continue to bury us in dept and are not accountable to anyone. Suozzi is right except all in Albany are to blame.. It sure is nice seeing him call out his own party though.. Well they do run the assembly and hold us hostage on a yearly basis.. First one that needs to go is Silver.

Weld Urges Political Reforms

ALBANY — Republican gubernatorial candidate William Weld rolled out a reform plan for New York on Tuesday that includes capping campaign spending, denying state contracts to political contributors and banning fundraisers while the Legislature is in session.

The former Massachusetts governor said New York government needs a shakeup so badly that he would propose a constitutional convention on his first day in office.

His reform suggestions were part of a larger package including some previously announced proposals, such as school choice and a "taxpayers' bill of rights" to limit state spending.

Weld advocates giving voters the power to place issues on the ballot by petition and to make law by initiative and referendum. He proposes an independent commission to draw legislative districts, and he would limit governors and state legislators to eight years in office.

Taxpayers' bill of rights? I wonder if he means this one from David Penna's site.. We have been pushing for this for years. The link's been here on this site for a couple years..  NY needs more than a shakeup, it needs a complete restructuring from the top down. Redistricing from non politicos and yes a constitutional convention.

Associated Press
Update 1: Hamas Official: Israel Not on Our Agenda

A senior Hamas official on Thursday said recognizing Israel and negotiations with the Jewish state are "not on our agenda" after the group apparently won a decisive victory in legislative elections.

"Negotiations with Israel is not on our agenda," said Mushir al-Masri, who won election in his home district in the northern Gaza Strip. "Recognizing Israel is not on the agenda either now."

Earlier Thursday, officials from both Hamas and the ruling Fatah Party said Hamas appeared to have won a majority of parliamentary seats in the elections. The Palestinian Cabinet then resigned en masse. Official results were expected later Thursday.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who remains in office, is expected to ask Hamas to form a new government. "This victory proves that the path of Hamas is the right way. We will not fool our people," al-Masri said.

This election could spell civil war, one terrorist orginization trades power for another worse one. Hamas has called for the complete destruction of Israel.. They are already fighting amongst each other as Hamas has attempted to take over the government buildings, each group throwing rocks at one another... Maybe they could all donn their suicide vests and have a great big hug..

Jan 25th
GOP asks crackdown on County Legislature

Nine Republican candidates in last year's election for the Erie County Legislature joined Thursday with Robert E. Davis, the party's county chairman, in calling on the county control board to supervise the Legislature more stringently.

In a letter to Edward V. Regan, control board chairman, the nine, most of whom failed to win election, said the Legislature's Democratic majority is "duping" voters by pledging reform but adopting a "same old, same old" agenda.

"Instead of reform, we have reversion - reversion back to the games and fiscal gimmicks that the Democrat majority have always used to build their party's strength at the expense of the taxpayer," Davis said during an afternoon news conference at GOP Headquarters in the Statler Towers.
The Republican group specifically objected to the majority's:
Hiring a new chief of staff at $78,000 per year.
Appropriating an additional $100,000 to increase district office staffing.
Trying unsuccessfully to put former Legislator Raymond K. Dusza on the legislative staff.
Hiring former Legislator William A. Pauly in a part-time position.

Boy are they behind the times.. I posted on this Jan 8th.. as did the other blogs.         The first thing they did was to vote on more spending for district offices, new jobs etc.... What we needed we didn't get, we got the opposite of what they campaigned on.

Theater hires ex-principal who left job over drug case
Riviera board names Cannata to interim post

NORTH TONAWANDA - The Riviera Theater's board of directors dismissed the theater manager Jan. 14, just as he was to return to work after treatment for colon cancer.

They replaced him with a former Grand Island elementary school principal who lost his job after pleading guilty to federal drug possession charges.

James Kretz, 55, of the Town of Tonawanda, said he was sacked in a Jan. 14 special meeting of the board, only two days after he had informed the board he was ready to return to the post he had held since 2000.

Frank J. Cannata is the interim executive director. He was placed on two years' probation by a federal judge in September after pleading guilty to possession of small amounts of Ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine.

Kretz, who underwent surgery after being diagnosed with colon cancer in November, said he has been given a clean bill of health but still faces a precautionary round of chemotherapy. He said, "I had an issue with the timing," but added that the board was within its rights to dismiss him because his contract had expired Dec. 31. He was earning about $40,000 a year.

Seems like a pretty rotten thing to do to James Kretz just to give Cannata a job..
Cannata's issues go much deeper than just small amounts of drugs. He was never certified to hold the job he had as Principal at Sidway, apparently could care less what kind of an influence he had on the students and teachers at Sidway Elementary School.
The Grand Island School Board accepted the resignation of Cannata as rerported Jan 15.
To review all the articles on Cannata see this page.. Cannata continued to collect his salary of nearly $100,000 a year until his resignation. So much for justice, get a year off with pay.