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Archived stories from Sunday, February 7, 2009 through Tuesday, April 6, 2010
TIDBITS
3/22: Notes on the health care bill that now seems all but destined to pass... I had a feeling this was going to happen... but I also have a feeling that this isn't over. Call it a hunch, call it unwarranted optimism, but I have an inkling suspicion that much of this bill-- particularly the unfunded insurance mandate that doesn't take effect for another four years or so-- will get repealed at the first opportunity and will never be implemented. I don't know if it'll be through the congressional process (post-November elections) or if it'll be by the courts, but that's just my gut feeling on it.

3/10: More thoughts on the whole Massa thing... how was Michelle Malkin supposedly able to turn the entire conservative establishment media against Massa so easily? Does she really have that much power there...?

3/6: Too strange to be fiction: Flashback to early 2008-- Eliot Spitzer endorses Eric Massa (Courtesy of John Batchelor)

3/4: I'm getting very annoyed at local newspapers. The first few hours had local reporters scrounging together what news they could put together. However, by this morning, everyone cut-and-pasted the AP article, which did not include much of the information that had been posted in various places. Do local writers put any effort into their work anymore? I think I did a better job pulling this stuff together and I don't get paid a dime for this!
RELATED: ERIC MASSA RESIGNS

2/15: Saturday's Times-Herald had a story on the Little Valley town board's budget whoops. Part of the problem, in my opinion, stems from the fact that town clerk Sue Koch hired her daughter Jill as her assistant instead of the most qualified candidate. Also, pardon me if I am distrustful of any committee led by a key member of the Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School administration, given their shady dealings in trying to get their building expansion (in lieu of the new building they had promised) passed.

2/11: What do the Pinball Wizard and David Paterson have in common? They're both deaf, dumb and blind. Paterson's deaf to anybody who tells him he has virtually no chance of winning re-election. He's dumb enough to believe the stuff that comes out of his mouth. And he's blind-- well, let's just say that one's obvious.
Only in a small town: Power outage caused by raccoon (WESB)... 4/6

Democrats say they have a candidate for NY-29, and although they won't admit it yet, it is believed to be the last candidate standing, Matthew Zeller (WHAM)... Zeller is virtually unknown. He's 28 years old, works for the CIA, is an Afghanistan veteran, but most importantly, does not live in the 29th Congressional District or even New York State. His residence is Washington, D.C., and is expected to claim eligibility by listing his parents' house as his residence. 4/6 (Comment: Now watch how quickly the governor calls a special.)

CAN HE SUCCEED WHERE OTHERS FAILED? BUFFALO'S CARL PALADINO (R) OFFICIALLY ENTERS GOVERNOR'S RACE, SEEKS TO BE FIRST UPSTATE GOVERNOR IN DECADES... 4/5

Lindsay Lohan is not dead... despite Perez Hilton's claims to the contrary... 4/1

Catharine Young puts political points ahead of the interests of her constituents
(Dunkirk Observer)... 3/31

Governor suspends school aid payments and road construction projects... would presumably include the 219 as well (WIVB)... 3/31

Cattaraugus fireman pleads guilty to embezzlement of at least $30,000 from an internal gambling scheme, using two sets of books... another implicated for up to $50,000 more
(Sharon Turano)... I have to admit. I sat on this story, not because I wanted to hide it (heck, I dislike Cattaraugus as much as anyone-- it's a long story), but because I didn't have enough information on the topic to put together a story. 3/29

If you had an unfamiliar teenager roaming around your yard while high on pot Saturday night, you can rest a little easier-- the kid is in custody (WESB)... 3/29

More NY-29 news:
WLEA reports that the Democrats currently have seven potential candidates. The surprising news is that only one of them, assemblyman David Koon of Perinton, is from Monroe County. The problem is, Koon lives in the exact same town as sitting Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (Slaughter's district contains a short gerrymander into Perinton), which would be very awkward having two congresspeople from the same town. That would also eliminate five of the other names floating around the district: John Batiste (Rochester), Mary Wilmot (Pittsford), David Nachbar (Pittsford), Susan John (Rochester), and Sandra Frankel (Brighton). The announcement leaves only three of the candidates known: Ellen Polimeni of Canandaigua, Koon, and John Tonello of Elmira. Of the four others, at least one is from the southern tier... 3/28 Update 3/31: We have an update from the Democrat and Chronicle that identifies two of the unknown candidates as Michael McCormick of Allegany County (we still don't have much information on him) and Matthew Zeller, identified only as a Southern Tier resident (update later the same day indicates that he's actually a resident of Washington, D.C. and that his parents live in Victor, Ontario County). Said source, however, puts Nachbar and Wilmot back into the running, but Wilmot at least has withdrawn her name from contention. Update 4/2: Koon has pulled out of the race.

STALL TACTICS: DEMOCRATS ALLEGEDLY STALLING ON PICKING A CANDIDATE, PUSHING GOVERNOR TO SHIRK HIS CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY AND IGNORE THE ONGOING VACANCY IN NY-29... WANT TO LEAVE THE DISTRICT WITHOUT REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS UNTIL JANUARY 2011... (WLEA)... 3/26 UPDATE 3/31: PATERSON COMES SORT-OF-CLEAN, BUT CLAIMS THAT HE'S MORE CONCERNED ABOUT COST AND MILITARY ABSENTEE BALLOTS (?!) AND THAT'S WHY HE'S STALLING... SPECULATION RUNNING RAMPANT OF WHAT WE'VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG: THE GOVERNOR IS SPOTTING FOR THE DEMOCRATS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T FIND A CANDIDATE...

YES!
Governor raises specter of a government shutdown (Jimmy Vielkind)... 3/23

Local radio station owner's Finger Lake eyesore
(WKPQ)... Robert Pfunter has owned WQRS, WGGO, WMXO and WOEN in Cattaraugus County since 2006. You may recall that before Pfunter (d.b.a. Pembrook Pines) took over the station, there was at least some semblance of local talent at all of those stations. Now, all but WMXO are all-satellite, all the time, and they've taken huge hits in the Arbitron ratings.

Unofficial census estimates: Cattaraugus County loses 5% of population in past decade, second-most in the state, falls below 80,000... while downstate counties flourish
(statewide numbers by county)... 3/23

HOLD THE PHONE: ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS ARE PROPOSING A WAGE FREEZE ON TEACHERS??? 
Unfortunately, it's voluntary, but it's a start (Buffalo News)... also worth reading: Phil "we support the law only when we can take advantage of it" Rumore's arrogant response (WGRZ)... 3/23

Stabbings erupt in southeastern part of the county:
including one in Allegany that was perpetrated by someone who may be the daughter of a CLV teacher (WIVB) and another involving two local college basketball teams (Olean Times Herald)... 3/22

NY-29 update:
Democrats are set to meet this coming weekend in Hornell to decide on a candidate to run against Tom Reed for Eric Massa's old seat... Steuben County Democratic chairman Shawn Hogan claims that there are Southern Tier residents interested, even though all of the potential candidates mentioned up to this point, with the exception of one, are from the Rochester area... a new name being floated around the Democratic pool is retired general John Batiste, who apparently makes his home in the Rochester area, but hasn't publicly stated his interest... a report from the Canandaigua Messenger-Post states that the Democrats have been holding conference calls since the resignation and still don't expect to settle on a candidate until this coming weekend... THE GOVERNOR IS BASICALLY SPOTTING FOR THE DEMOCRATS AND WILL NOT CALL A SPECIAL ELECTION UNTIL THEY SETTLE ON A CANDIDATE... ominous sign: Hogan declares that "the anointing of Tom Reed as the next congressman is totally premature." The last time this was said was April 2005... when the Cattaraugus County Democratic chairman said this quote near-verbatim about Catharine Young after Pat McGee died... Young went on to defeat her opponent in typical 70-30 fashion. Source: Olean Times Herald... 3/21

We MAY be getting somewhere on a state wage freeze... except Pedro Espada's behind it (James Odato)... he says it'll save half a billion dollars... now, if we were able to allow school districts to freeze pay as well, do you realize how many more billions in dollars-- not to mention jobs-- could be saved? 3/22

Tories endorse Lazio for governor:
In the face of the Republicans trying to back Democrat Steve Levy as their candidate, the Conservative Party (or, as I like to call it, the Michael Long Party) jumped to recommend Rick Lazio as their candidate by a vote of 14 to 5. Lazio, Long's handpicked choice, will not receive an official party endorsement until the state convention in June, though Long is attempting to force a move up to May to avoid defectors. Buffalo developer Carl Paladino is also seeking that party line (New York Post)... 3/21

HAPPY SPRING... 3/20

RANDOLPH (57-11), EAST RANDOLPH (125-13), PERRYSBURG (60-9) ALL OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVE DISSOLUTION... IN L.V., POOLE 91, KEENAN 60... TURNOUT UP 54% FROM IDENTICAL RACE AS LAST YEAR, WHICH ENDED IN TIE...

Half the senate Democrats refuse to support any cuts in education, fail to explain where the money would come from when, even including them, there are still billions of dollars in holes to fill
(Albany Times-Union)... 3/18

Hey, I have an idea...
how much money would it save if, instead of issuing "continuing budget resolutions" that are likely to begin April 1 until (unless) the legislature is able to agree on a budget, the governor declares a shutdown instead? (see also: Fred Dicker)... 3/16

...somebody check out a window to see if there are any flying pigs around... for once, Chuck Schumer and I are on the same side of an issue (Albany Times-Union)... but seriously, Chuck, if you were serious about the threat of communist China then maybe you'd consider, oh, you know... maybe NOT RUNNING A TRILLION DOLLAR PLUS BUDGET DEFICIT?! Do you realize how much we borrow from the communists just to keep the American government solvent? 3/16

Exhibit A in why the New York Republican Party is in shambles:
state party chairman Ed Cox (who, if I need to remind everyone, I opposed when he was running for that position when he was against Henry Wojtaszek) is now known to be trying to give the party nomination to Steve Levy, a Long Island Democrat, over members of the party that are actually interested... that, and there are accusations floating around that he's using his power as state party chairman to force a Long Island congressional district to nominate his son as a Congressional nominee... needless to say, the county chairmen are not happy (Liz Benjamin)... 3/16 UPDATE 3/18: A report from the New York Post indicates that Levy may indeed switch to the Republican Party to seek their nomination... we'll see how well that one flies over... UPDATE 3/19:  It's official, Levy is in the race... and Cox is demanding that nobody speak ill of him (Liz)... Once again, for the record, I am a registered independent and am not a member of the Republican party, though I have a passing interest in the internal party politics because it's one of the few places where upstate still has some influence.

Two more Republican candidates in against Gillibrand:
Former congressman Joseph DioGuardi, and David Malpass, a former Bear Stearns analyst who has never held elected office (keep in mind, Bear Stearns is now bankrupt)... keep an eye on DioGuardi, I'm starting to like his ideas (Gannett)... 3/16

Route 219 quickly becoming a highway to nowhere
(Olean Times Herald)... 3/15

Your illustrious state senate Democrats at work: trying to find a workaround so that schools can say "screw you" to the budget voters when they reject a budget and force them into austerity (Albany Times-Union)... 3/15

Kirsten Gillibrand, who has, ever since being elected to the senate, been accused of being a puppet of Chuck Schumer... isn't helping her case here (WROC-TV, hat tip to Liz Benjamin)... 3/15

A story from East Otto that will likely gross you out (WBEN)... 3/15

This is just too funny to pass up:
NYC assemblyman Felix Ortiz, known for his rather outlandish attention-seeking legislative proposals, has come up with another one: banning all salt in restaurants... Ruben Diaz, one of the more renowned race hustlers in the state senate, calls his proposal (which has about zero chance of even getting out of committee) racist (Liz Benjamin)... 3/13

Cuomo appoints a crony to investigate Paterson wrongdoings
(Jimmy Vielkind) (Liz Benjamin)... Lazio praises?!... 3/11

This is unbelievable and unacceptable:
Cattaraugus-Little Valley's graduation rate for boys is a mere 55%-- the lowest in the county and one of the lowest outside Buffalo in WNY-- compared to 85% for girls! (Business First)... 3/10

Governor Paterson, do you seriously consider high fructose corn syrup and sugar "dangerous substances" on par with explosives and cigarettes? (New York Post)... 3/8

What exactly are Seneca bosses and U.S. senators doing behind closed doors?? (New York Times)... 3/6 Update 3/12: Apparently not enough to block the ban on cigarettes by mail from passing the Senate, and the Seneca bosses are fuming mad (Buffalo News)...

First Limestone did it... Perrysburg is exporing it... and now both Randolph AND East Randolph are proposing dissolution into the town of Randolph (Jamestown Post-Journal)... By the way, did I mention all of these were done without Kevin Gaughan's "help???" 3/3

A word of condolence for those who knew Robert "Bob" Bigelow, who untimely died yesterday morning at the age of 49, the result of a rapidly spreading terminal cancer. As I understand it, he was well respected in the village, particularly among the younger generation. 3/3

Beware those of you who plan on attending the "Save Allegany State Park" rally-- it's an astroturfing publicity stunt orchestrated by Catharine Young (Bradford Era)... 3/3

One two steps back: Governor Paterson acknowledges he may consider dropping out of the race as things continue to get worse for his public image... but he's still angrily denying he's out-- at least for now (New York Daily News)... UPDATE 2/26: Upon further review, Paterson will withdraw from the gubernatorial race, but will not resign, according to Paterson ally Carl McCall (WGRZ)... Eric Massa already endorsing Cuomo, even though he still refuses to get into the race (WGRZ)... 2/26

Dunkirk ablaze (Jamestown Post-Journal)... 2/26

PARDON MY FRENCH, BUT HOW THE **** ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BALANCE A STATE BUDGET WHEN OUR ILLUSTRIOUS GOVERNOR IS CUTTING BACK DOOR DEALS WITH UNIONS PROMISING NO REDUCTION IN THE WORKFORCE AND HE WON'T CUT OR EVEN FREEZE SALARIES??? (TU)... 2/24

Former/shadow governor Spitzer's solution to the budget crisis? Just keep raising taxes-- it won't do a bit of harm! And I've got to love the fuzzy math he uses (Slate)... 2/24 For one, he uses a scale that makes the percent change in GDP look tiny compared to the tax rate. Second, he uses a % change in GDP as a dependent variable-- that is, a first derivative in calculus terms-- when it'd be better to use the actual GDP numbers, adjusted for inflation. Tax rates, like interest rates, affect the available amount of money in the economy; the higher it is, the less there is available. When taxes are raised, it will eventually cause a drop in the GDP, but as inflation sets in, it naturally rebounds. I know that many of you might not understand the whole calculus and economics of it all, but Eliot Spitzer is fudging the numbers.

Cattaraugus County Fair announces Billy Currington as the fair's headline concert (WPIG, no link)... 2/24

PATERSON TO THE SENECAS: YOU HAVE 45 DAYS TO CONVINCE ME NOT TO INSTALL A CIGARETTE EMBARGO ON YOUR TAX-FREE STORES... YOUR TIME STARTS NOW (BN)... 2/23

New York State's pension system is awash in cash compared to the rest of the nation
(Gannett)... 2/23

New York's high court: yeah, we'd like a raise, but we have no power to force the legislature to do it (Gannett)... 2/23

Cat fight in Albany (again)!
David Paterson says he will ignore the comptroller (New York Post)... 2/23

THE TAXPAYER-FUNDED TEACHERS' UNIONS ARE BACK AND COMING TO A TV SCREEN NEAR YOU (TU)... QUICK QUESTION: WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE FOR MEDIA OUTLETS TO STOP TAKING THEIR MONEY???

You cannot make this stuff up! Union demands taxpayers foot the bill for $11k worth of booze (WKBW)... 2/23

Kevin Gaughan... still around... still as obnoxious as ever that governments don't bow down now to his demands
(Buffalo News)... 2/21 Where was he during the Limestone negotiations? Does he say anything about Perrysburg (which is exploring dissolution), without any of his help? Of course not. This is all about him, and him having the power to bully a smaller amount of people to do his bidding. He has said nothing about reduction of employees.

How did Midway miss the cuts???
Long Point State Park on Chautauqua Lake to close, as will much of the Quaker side of Allegany State Park... of course, Catharine Young is crying like a stuck pig (Jamestown Post-Journal)... 2/20

THE RUMBLINGS BEGIN: WEST VALLEY RESIDENT RAISES THE SPECTRE OF A UNIFIED COUNTYWIDE SCHOOL DISTRICT
(Springville Journal)... 2/19

Double up your state business trips with your campaign trips, and make the state foot the bill:
that's what governor Paterson intends to do (Fred Dicker)... 2/16 Dicker's pro-Cuomo machine has been very quiet the past few days...

Eliot Spitzer, still governing from the shadows, with Paterson as his puppet
(New York Post)... 2/17

Thank goodness:
State party chairman says there are others willing to run for Senate against Gillibrand, meaning Bruce "Oleana" Blakeman won't be the only one running on the GOP line (Albany Times-Union)... 2/17

Eric Massa (kind of) admits the stimulus was a failure for the area, passes the buck, blames the state for diverting the funds to New York City
(Olean Times Herald)... 2/16

NOW HE'S CROSSED THE LINE! Governor Paterson proposes he keeps tax refund checks (er, withhold) so the state can use it as a slush fund (Staten Island Advance) (WRGB)... you owe me $100, governor! 2/15

Someone has a LOT of explaining to do...
Town of Little Valley passes a "bait and switch," passes budget with 8% property tax increase, then comes back a month later and says it's 20%, comes up with a boatload of excuses, including blaming the county for adding additional worker's compensation fees, sticking the bill in the wrong folder (??? That's the lamest excuse I ever heard!), etc... Paul Stetz, principal of Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School, is leading an unofficial audit, and so far the evidence shows that Little Valley has the highest per-mile expenditure on highways... (Olean Times Herald)... 2/15 More in the "Tidbits" section at right.

Former Brooks Market employee charged with grand larceny, allegedly stole $3,200 from the store, and furthermore, did not report the "extra income" to social services (Springville Journal)... 2/15

Paterson capitulating to the unions, actual quote: "we're trying to save every [government] job we can" (Liz Benjamin)... 2/15

It's looking less and less likely that Andrew Cuomo will run for governor-- his hacks are now reporting he won't announce until April (New York Post)... 2/15

Rick Lazio doesn't get it: Actual quote from the wannabe gubernatorial candidate-- "The solutions to downstate will be the same for upstate." Right. One size fits all. Not. (Plattsburgh Press-Republican)... 2/12

Allegany State Park is NOT among the state parks being considered for closure, but a few others may be... especially Midway Park, the previously privately owned park that the state had only (and rather hastily) acquired a few years back in a supposed effort to save it (Jamestown Post-Journal)... 2/12
Only in a small town: Power outage caused by raccoon (WESB)... 4/6

Democrats say they have a candidate for NY-29, and although they won't admit it yet, it is believed to be the last candidate standing, Matthew Zeller (WHAM)... Zeller is virtually unknown. He's 28 years old, works for the CIA, is an Afghanistan veteran, but most importantly, does not live in the 29th Congressional District or even New York State. His residence is Washington, D.C., and is expected to claim eligibility by listing his parents' house as his residence. 4/6 (Comment: Now watch how quickly the governor calls a special.)

CAN HE SUCCEED WHERE OTHERS FAILED? BUFFALO'S CARL PALADINO (R) OFFICIALLY ENTERS GOVERNOR'S RACE, SEEKS TO BE FIRST UPSTATE GOVERNOR IN DECADES... 4/5

Lindsay Lohan is not dead... despite Perez Hilton's claims to the contrary... 4/1

Catharine Young puts political points ahead of the interests of her constituents
(Dunkirk Observer)... 3/31

Governor suspends school aid payments and road construction projects... would presumably include the 219 as well (WIVB)... 3/31

Cattaraugus fireman pleads guilty to embezzlement of at least $30,000 from an internal gambling scheme, using two sets of books... another implicated for up to $50,000 more
(Sharon Turano)... I have to admit. I sat on this story, not because I wanted to hide it (heck, I dislike Cattaraugus as much as anyone-- it's a long story), but because I didn't have enough information on the topic to put together a story. 3/29

If you had an unfamiliar teenager roaming around your yard while high on pot Saturday night, you can rest a little easier-- the kid is in custody (WESB)... 3/29

More NY-29 news:
WLEA reports that the Democrats currently have seven potential candidates. The surprising news is that only one of them, assemblyman David Koon of Perinton, is from Monroe County. The problem is, Koon lives in the exact same town as sitting Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (Slaughter's district contains a short gerrymander into Perinton), which would be very awkward having two congresspeople from the same town. That would also eliminate five of the other names floating around the district: John Batiste (Rochester), Mary Wilmot (Pittsford), David Nachbar (Pittsford), Susan John (Rochester), and Sandra Frankel (Brighton). The announcement leaves only three of the candidates known: Ellen Polimeni of Canandaigua, Koon, and John Tonello of Elmira. Of the four others, at least one is from the southern tier... 3/28 Update 3/31: We have an update from the Democrat and Chronicle that identifies two of the unknown candidates as Michael McCormick of Allegany County (we still don't have much information on him) and Matthew Zeller, identified only as a Southern Tier resident (update later the same day indicates that he's actually a resident of Washington, D.C. and that his parents live in Victor, Ontario County). Said source, however, puts Nachbar and Wilmot back into the running, but Wilmot at least has withdrawn her name from contention. Update 4/2: Koon has pulled out of the race.

STALL TACTICS: DEMOCRATS ALLEGEDLY STALLING ON PICKING A CANDIDATE, PUSHING GOVERNOR TO SHIRK HIS CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY AND IGNORE THE ONGOING VACANCY IN NY-29... WANT TO LEAVE THE DISTRICT WITHOUT REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS UNTIL JANUARY 2011... (WLEA)... 3/26 UPDATE 3/31: PATERSON COMES SORT-OF-CLEAN, BUT CLAIMS THAT HE'S MORE CONCERNED ABOUT COST AND MILITARY ABSENTEE BALLOTS (?!) AND THAT'S WHY HE'S STALLING... SPECULATION RUNNING RAMPANT OF WHAT WE'VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG: THE GOVERNOR IS SPOTTING FOR THE DEMOCRATS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T FIND A CANDIDATE...

YES!
Governor raises specter of a government shutdown (Jimmy Vielkind)... 3/23

Local radio station owner's Finger Lake eyesore
(WKPQ)... Robert Pfunter has owned WQRS, WGGO, WMXO and WOEN in Cattaraugus County since 2006. You may recall that before Pfunter (d.b.a. Pembrook Pines) took over the station, there was at least some semblance of local talent at all of those stations. Now, all but WMXO are all-satellite, all the time, and they've taken huge hits in the Arbitron ratings.

Unofficial census estimates: Cattaraugus County loses 5% of population in past decade, second-most in the state, falls below 80,000... while downstate counties flourish
(statewide numbers by county)... 3/23

HOLD THE PHONE: ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS ARE PROPOSING A WAGE FREEZE ON TEACHERS??? 
Unfortunately, it's voluntary, but it's a start (Buffalo News)... also worth reading: Phil "we support the law only when we can take advantage of it" Rumore's arrogant response (WGRZ)... 3/23

Stabbings erupt in southeastern part of the county:
including one in Allegany that was perpetrated by someone who may be the daughter of a CLV teacher (WIVB) and another involving two local college basketball teams (Olean Times Herald)... 3/22

NY-29 update:
Democrats are set to meet this coming weekend in Hornell to decide on a candidate to run against Tom Reed for Eric Massa's old seat... Steuben County Democratic chairman Shawn Hogan claims that there are Southern Tier residents interested, even though all of the potential candidates mentioned up to this point, with the exception of one, are from the Rochester area... a new name being floated around the Democratic pool is retired general John Batiste, who apparently makes his home in the Rochester area, but hasn't publicly stated his interest... a report from the Canandaigua Messenger-Post states that the Democrats have been holding conference calls since the resignation and still don't expect to settle on a candidate until this coming weekend... THE GOVERNOR IS BASICALLY SPOTTING FOR THE DEMOCRATS AND WILL NOT CALL A SPECIAL ELECTION UNTIL THEY SETTLE ON A CANDIDATE... ominous sign: Hogan declares that "the anointing of Tom Reed as the next congressman is totally premature." The last time this was said was April 2005... when the Cattaraugus County Democratic chairman said this quote near-verbatim about Catharine Young after Pat McGee died... Young went on to defeat her opponent in typical 70-30 fashion. Source: Olean Times Herald... 3/21

We MAY be getting somewhere on a state wage freeze... except Pedro Espada's behind it (James Odato)... he says it'll save half a billion dollars... now, if we were able to allow school districts to freeze pay as well, do you realize how many more billions in dollars-- not to mention jobs-- could be saved? 3/22

Tories endorse Lazio for governor:
In the face of the Republicans trying to back Democrat Steve Levy as their candidate, the Conservative Party (or, as I like to call it, the Michael Long Party) jumped to recommend Rick Lazio as their candidate by a vote of 14 to 5. Lazio, Long's handpicked choice, will not receive an official party endorsement until the state convention in June, though Long is attempting to force a move up to May to avoid defectors. Buffalo developer Carl Paladino is also seeking that party line (New York Post)... 3/21

HAPPY SPRING... 3/20

RANDOLPH (57-11), EAST RANDOLPH (125-13), PERRYSBURG (60-9) ALL OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVE DISSOLUTION... IN L.V., POOLE 91, KEENAN 60... TURNOUT UP 54% FROM IDENTICAL RACE AS LAST YEAR, WHICH ENDED IN TIE...

Half the senate Democrats refuse to support any cuts in education, fail to explain where the money would come from when, even including them, there are still billions of dollars in holes to fill
(Albany Times-Union)... 3/18

Hey, I have an idea...
how much money would it save if, instead of issuing "continuing budget resolutions" that are likely to begin April 1 until (unless) the legislature is able to agree on a budget, the governor declares a shutdown instead? (see also: Fred Dicker)... 3/16

...somebody check out a window to see if there are any flying pigs around... for once, Chuck Schumer and I are on the same side of an issue (Albany Times-Union)... but seriously, Chuck, if you were serious about the threat of communist China then maybe you'd consider, oh, you know... maybe NOT RUNNING A TRILLION DOLLAR PLUS BUDGET DEFICIT?! Do you realize how much we borrow from the communists just to keep the American government solvent? 3/16

Exhibit A in why the New York Republican Party is in shambles:
state party chairman Ed Cox (who, if I need to remind everyone, I opposed when he was running for that position when he was against Henry Wojtaszek) is now known to be trying to give the party nomination to Steve Levy, a Long Island Democrat, over members of the party that are actually interested... that, and there are accusations floating around that he's using his power as state party chairman to force a Long Island congressional district to nominate his son as a Congressional nominee... needless to say, the county chairmen are not happy (Liz Benjamin)... 3/16 UPDATE 3/18: A report from the New York Post indicates that Levy may indeed switch to the Republican Party to seek their nomination... we'll see how well that one flies over... UPDATE 3/19:  It's official, Levy is in the race... and Cox is demanding that nobody speak ill of him (Liz)... Once again, for the record, I am a registered independent and am not a member of the Republican party, though I have a passing interest in the internal party politics because it's one of the few places where upstate still has some influence.

Two more Republican candidates in against Gillibrand:
Former congressman Joseph DioGuardi, and David Malpass, a former Bear Stearns analyst who has never held elected office (keep in mind, Bear Stearns is now bankrupt)... keep an eye on DioGuardi, I'm starting to like his ideas (Gannett)... 3/16

Route 219 quickly becoming a highway to nowhere
(Olean Times Herald)... 3/15

Your illustrious state senate Democrats at work: trying to find a workaround so that schools can say "screw you" to the budget voters when they reject a budget and force them into austerity (Albany Times-Union)... 3/15

Kirsten Gillibrand, who has, ever since being elected to the senate, been accused of being a puppet of Chuck Schumer... isn't helping her case here (WROC-TV, hat tip to Liz Benjamin)... 3/15

A story from East Otto that will likely gross you out (WBEN)... 3/15

This is just too funny to pass up:
NYC assemblyman Felix Ortiz, known for his rather outlandish attention-seeking legislative proposals, has come up with another one: banning all salt in restaurants... Ruben Diaz, one of the more renowned race hustlers in the state senate, calls his proposal (which has about zero chance of even getting out of committee) racist (Liz Benjamin)... 3/13

Cuomo appoints a crony to investigate Paterson wrongdoings
(Jimmy Vielkind) (Liz Benjamin)... Lazio praises?!... 3/11

This is unbelievable and unacceptable:
Cattaraugus-Little Valley's graduation rate for boys is a mere 55%-- the lowest in the county and one of the lowest outside Buffalo in WNY-- compared to 85% for girls! (Business First)... 3/10

Governor Paterson, do you seriously consider high fructose corn syrup and sugar "dangerous substances" on par with explosives and cigarettes? (New York Post)... 3/8

What exactly are Seneca bosses and U.S. senators doing behind closed doors?? (New York Times)... 3/6 Update 3/12: Apparently not enough to block the ban on cigarettes by mail from passing the Senate, and the Seneca bosses are fuming mad (Buffalo News)...

First Limestone did it... Perrysburg is exporing it... and now both Randolph AND East Randolph are proposing dissolution into the town of Randolph (Jamestown Post-Journal)... By the way, did I mention all of these were done without Kevin Gaughan's "help???" 3/3

A word of condolence for those who knew Robert "Bob" Bigelow, who untimely died yesterday morning at the age of 49, the result of a rapidly spreading terminal cancer. As I understand it, he was well respected in the village, particularly among the younger generation. 3/3

Beware those of you who plan on attending the "Save Allegany State Park" rally-- it's an astroturfing publicity stunt orchestrated by Catharine Young (Bradford Era)... 3/3

One two steps back: Governor Paterson acknowledges he may consider dropping out of the race as things continue to get worse for his public image... but he's still angrily denying he's out-- at least for now (New York Daily News)... UPDATE 2/26: Upon further review, Paterson will withdraw from the gubernatorial race, but will not resign, according to Paterson ally Carl McCall (WGRZ)... Eric Massa already endorsing Cuomo, even though he still refuses to get into the race (WGRZ)... 2/26

Dunkirk ablaze (Jamestown Post-Journal)... 2/26

PARDON MY FRENCH, BUT HOW THE **** ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BALANCE A STATE BUDGET WHEN OUR ILLUSTRIOUS GOVERNOR IS CUTTING BACK DOOR DEALS WITH UNIONS PROMISING NO REDUCTION IN THE WORKFORCE AND HE WON'T CUT OR EVEN FREEZE SALARIES??? (TU)... 2/24

Former/shadow governor Spitzer's solution to the budget crisis? Just keep raising taxes-- it won't do a bit of harm! And I've got to love the fuzzy math he uses (Slate)... 2/24 For one, he uses a scale that makes the percent change in GDP look tiny compared to the tax rate. Second, he uses a % change in GDP as a dependent variable-- that is, a first derivative in calculus terms-- when it'd be better to use the actual GDP numbers, adjusted for inflation. Tax rates, like interest rates, affect the available amount of money in the economy; the higher it is, the less there is available. When taxes are raised, it will eventually cause a drop in the GDP, but as inflation sets in, it naturally rebounds. I know that many of you might not understand the whole calculus and economics of it all, but Eliot Spitzer is fudging the numbers.

Cattaraugus County Fair announces Billy Currington as the fair's headline concert (WPIG, no link)... 2/24

PATERSON TO THE SENECAS: YOU HAVE 45 DAYS TO CONVINCE ME NOT TO INSTALL A CIGARETTE EMBARGO ON YOUR TAX-FREE STORES... YOUR TIME STARTS NOW (BN)... 2/23

New York State's pension system is awash in cash compared to the rest of the nation
(Gannett)... 2/23

New York's high court: yeah, we'd like a raise, but we have no power to force the legislature to do it (Gannett)... 2/23

Cat fight in Albany (again)!
David Paterson says he will ignore the comptroller (New York Post)... 2/23

THE TAXPAYER-FUNDED TEACHERS' UNIONS ARE BACK AND COMING TO A TV SCREEN NEAR YOU (TU)... QUICK QUESTION: WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE FOR MEDIA OUTLETS TO STOP TAKING THEIR MONEY???

You cannot make this stuff up! Union demands taxpayers foot the bill for $11k worth of booze (WKBW)... 2/23

Kevin Gaughan... still around... still as obnoxious as ever that governments don't bow down now to his demands
(Buffalo News)... 2/21 Where was he during the Limestone negotiations? Does he say anything about Perrysburg (which is exploring dissolution), without any of his help? Of course not. This is all about him, and him having the power to bully a smaller amount of people to do his bidding. He has said nothing about reduction of employees.

How did Midway miss the cuts???
Long Point State Park on Chautauqua Lake to close, as will much of the Quaker side of Allegany State Park... of course, Catharine Young is crying like a stuck pig (Jamestown Post-Journal)... 2/20

THE RUMBLINGS BEGIN: WEST VALLEY RESIDENT RAISES THE SPECTRE OF A UNIFIED COUNTYWIDE SCHOOL DISTRICT
(Springville Journal)... 2/19

Double up your state business trips with your campaign trips, and make the state foot the bill:
that's what governor Paterson intends to do (Fred Dicker)... 2/16 Dicker's pro-Cuomo machine has been very quiet the past few days...

Eliot Spitzer, still governing from the shadows, with Paterson as his puppet
(New York Post)... 2/17

Thank goodness:
State party chairman says there are others willing to run for Senate against Gillibrand, meaning Bruce "Oleana" Blakeman won't be the only one running on the GOP line (Albany Times-Union)... 2/17

Eric Massa (kind of) admits the stimulus was a failure for the area, passes the buck, blames the state for diverting the funds to New York City
(Olean Times Herald)... 2/16

NOW HE'S CROSSED THE LINE! Governor Paterson proposes he keeps tax refund checks (er, withhold) so the state can use it as a slush fund (Staten Island Advance) (WRGB)... you owe me $100, governor! 2/15

Someone has a LOT of explaining to do...
Town of Little Valley passes a "bait and switch," passes budget with 8% property tax increase, then comes back a month later and says it's 20%, comes up with a boatload of excuses, including blaming the county for adding additional worker's compensation fees, sticking the bill in the wrong folder (??? That's the lamest excuse I ever heard!), etc... Paul Stetz, principal of Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School, is leading an unofficial audit, and so far the evidence shows that Little Valley has the highest per-mile expenditure on highways... (Olean Times Herald)... 2/15 More in the "Tidbits" section at right.

Former Brooks Market employee charged with grand larceny, allegedly stole $3,200 from the store, and furthermore, did not report the "extra income" to social services (Springville Journal)... 2/15

Paterson capitulating to the unions, actual quote: "we're trying to save every [government] job we can" (Liz Benjamin)... 2/15

It's looking less and less likely that Andrew Cuomo will run for governor-- his hacks are now reporting he won't announce until April (New York Post)... 2/15

Rick Lazio doesn't get it: Actual quote from the wannabe gubernatorial candidate-- "The solutions to downstate will be the same for upstate." Right. One size fits all. Not. (Plattsburgh Press-Republican)... 2/12

Allegany State Park is NOT among the state parks being considered for closure, but a few others may be... especially Midway Park, the previously privately owned park that the state had only (and rather hastily) acquired a few years back in a supposed effort to save it (Jamestown Post-Journal)... 2/12
UPDATE 2/17: ALLEGEDLY, THIS IS THE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE THAT ALL THE FUSS WAS ABOUT. IT DESCRIBES PATERSON'S APPOINTMENT OF A MAN WITH A CHECKERED PAST INTO HIS INNER CIRCLE... THIS DOES FIT THE DESCRIPTION OF THE ORIGINAL RUMORS BEFORE THEY RAN AMOK, THOUGH CERTAINLY THIS RANKS CLOSER TO THE MILDLY EMBARRASSING SIDE OF THE SCALE THAN THE APOCALYPTIC, BUT IT SHOULD GIVE THE GOP SOME FUEL-- IF LAZIO HAS THE GUTS TO USE IT. The Times certainly did not help their case when they refused to address them and claimed that by denying the rumors they would only fuel them more... because, as we all saw, ignoring them fueled the fire even worse... but between this and the Aqueduct investigation, this story may have spawned a life of its own.

UPDATE 2/9: PATERSON SCHEDULES MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT FOR NEXT WEEK, ACCORDING TO WALL STREET JOURNAL...OSTENSIBLY TO ANNOUNCE HIS RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN (DIDN'T HE DO THAT ALREADY???)...
(hat tip: Liz Benjamin)
UPDATE 2/11: FBI IS INVESTIGATING PATERSON, AMONG OTHER STATE OFFICIALS, REGARDING DEALINGS WITH A RACETRACK OPERATOR... PATERSON CONTINUES TO STUBBORNLY DENY... MALCOLM SMITH, #3 IN LINE FOR GUBERNATORIAL SUCCESSION, IS ALSO UNDER THE INVESTIGATION... SHELDON SILVER IS NOT... I SUSPECT PATERSON IS BLATANTLY MISCHARACTERIZING (I.E. LYING ABOUT) WHAT'S GOING ON FOR WHATEVER SLIM POLITICAL BENEFIT HE CAN MUSTER. I can tell you this much: anybody who claims this is about sex, drugs or gambling has no idea what they are talking about and are just making stuff up. Paterson and his friend Smith are in deep. However, I don't think Paterson's willing to resign as quickly as Spitzer was, because it would throw the state into absolute chaos. The question is... why should we (and why do so many New Yorkers, according to the polls) believe Andrew Cuomo is any different? I really don't.
A report from blogger/political insider Joseph Illuzzi, along with the Albany Times-Union, claims that the New York Times is sitting on a story on Acting Governor David Paterson, that could range from "mildly embarrassing" to "politically apocalyptic" (if he wasn't dead in the water already!)... according to the TU, the story involves Paterson's "inner circle" and their influence on his decisions... hasn't come out yet... Paterson's spokespeople are angrily denying everything, saying the article in question is a profile for the Metro section that will have nothing of general interest to the public (??? Then why would they want to publish it?)...  but it is, allegedly, making the governor consider resignation. Mike Gormley of the AP reports that Paterson has been making phone calls with Democratic Party leaders, basically saying "read into that what you will." Rick Lazio's chiming in now, demanding the Times pubish or deny the story, defending what Paterson has had to go through (I'm sure Republicans are absolutely thrilled with his lack of competitive spirit)... Paterson himself denies the rumors of sex, drugs and gambling (he admitted sex and drugs when he took office), but notably leaves corruption off the list of denials... Times refuses to comment... Allegations abound that Andrew Cuomo's supposed "shadow campaign" was behind the leak (one one hand, I have a hard time believing that, since Fred Dicker of the New York Post is obviously Cuomo's newsman of choice, but on the other, the Times has more credibility, if only on regional affairs). If-- and this is a big if-- he does choose to resign, it leaves his appointee, Richard Ravitch, as governor, a move that has dubious legality. It would surely face yet more legal challenges and possibly more legislative gridlock-- in the middle of a session with serious budget problems, no less. Not to mention third-in-line Malcolm Smith had promised to resign and pass the reins to John Sampson, but never did...


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