Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Murphy votes to block Congressional pay raise

Congressman Scott Murphy, who represents New York's 20th Congressional District, voted in favor of a bipartisan bill today that stops the automatic pay raise of members of Congress.

In a press release, Murphy said his vote represents common sense.

"Instead of giving ourselves pay raises during these tough economic times, Congress should be focusing on creating jobs and helping the economy get back on its feet."

Race and Politics: see the video below

At yesterday's meeting of the state Senate Finance Committee Mark O'Luck -- an African American businessman -- was in attendence to take questions from senators about his pending nomination to the state Power Authority.

Republican Senator John DeFrancisco took huge exception with a 2009 blog post bearing O'Luck's name that suggests the dolling out of state contracts are bias towards businesses owned by well-connected whites.

After about 15 minutes of peppering O'Luck with questions more about policy than personal stances, DeFrancisco suggests that many whites are also not well connected and that O'Luck -- a friend of Governor David Paterson's -- is an example of blacks "making it" in New York State.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CSEA President calls Paterson's furlough plan 'nuts'

So Governor David Paterson released his furlough plan for state employees today.

Here are some of the details:

"Under the Governor's proposal, state agency commissioners will be given the discretion to schedule their employees' one furlough day per week, beginning the week of May 10. Employees will not come to work on their furlough day and will not be paid for their furlough day. Employees would not be allowed to charge their accruals to offset this salary reduction and agencies would not be able to use overtime to make up for loss of productivity."

A foot of snow... then 70 degrees and sunny?

I love the poster that shows a typical day in the Adirondacks.

It starts in the morning with snow, then shows mid-morning, mid-afternoon as hail and rain, and then ends in the afternoon with brilliant sunshine.

The caption reads: "Welcome to the Adirondacks. Don't like the weather? Just wait 15 minutes."

Police: Use off-street parking during storm

With a winter weather advisory in effect for the Adirondacks, the Saranac Lake Village Police Department is encouraging residents to utilize off-street parking.

Chief Bruce Nason said the request was made in order to facilitate snow removal efforts by area highway departments.

The municipal lot off Dorsey Street had been closed for cleaning, but is currently open. Nason said motorists should feel free to park their vehicles there.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Village removes utility vehicles from parking lot

The village of Saranac Lake has taken action to remove several vehicles from a municipal lot.

According to officials, village police removed three large utility vehicles from the village’s parking lot at the intersection of Broadway and Bloomingdale Avenue.

The owners of the vehicles were fined $9,300 for accumulated parking violations.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Politics and pancakes

Republican Rick Lazio stopped in Saranac Lake Thursday morning to meet with constituents and discuss the upcoming gubernatorial elections.

The former Long Island Congressman munched on pancakes at the Blue Moon Café while addressing the problems he says are forcing New Yorkers to leave the state they love.

"People say they’re embarrassed to be from New York – I’m not embarrassed to say I’m from New York," Lazio said. "I’m proud to be a New Yorker; I love this state. This state has got great people, it’s got the hardest working people in America, it really does. I often say this: I think we’ve got the most entrepreneurial, hardest working, most dedicated, the greatest, most candid and toughest people in America, and the worst state government in the country."

Lazio’s platform focuses on addressing what he views as the state’s two biggest problems – its economic situation and corruption in Albany.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fire towers may stay put

The Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners met today at their headquarters in Ray Brook. I've posted below portions of the text from Jon Alexander's story regarding the fire towers on St. Regis and Hurricane mountains (the full story will air tomorrow and appear on the website, too):

Adirondack Park Agency commissioners directed agency staff Thursday to find a way to let the fire towers remain atop St. Regis and Hurricane mountains – provided that a non-taxpayer-based funding source for their upkeep can be found.

Located in a state-owned Primitive and Canoe areas, both towers are considered non-conforming structures under the current draft of the State Land Master Plan.

Do not pass go, do not collect $200

A former upstate congressman is behind bars today after turning himself in at the Saratoga County Jail earlier this week.

John Sweeney once represented New York's 20th Congressional District. Now, he's in prison to serve a 30-day sentence for driving while intoxicated.

Sweeney entered into a plea deal earlier this year. The agreement let him avoid a potential felony conviction and allows him to continue practicing law.

Lawyers convicted of felonies in New York face losing their license.

Once his 30 days are up, Sweeney must wear an alcohol detection ankle bracelet so his probation officer can monitor him from a computer. The device costs $4,000 annually, a price Sweeney is required to pay out of pocket.

Sweeney was arrested last April when troopers pulled him over for going 59 miles per hour in a 40 zone in Clifton Park. He refused a breathalyzer test.

He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI charges in 2007.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sheehan, Valesky do battle over Hornbeck

The battle to get Minerva boat-builder Peter Hornbeck seated on the Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners has gone public in central New York as Democratic state Senator David Valesky and Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan are trading jabs in the region’s press.

On Monday, Sheehan blasted Valesky in his own district’s largest newspaper, the Syracuse Post-Standard, for his role in stalling Hornbeck’s appointment.

Sheehan noted that the Democrat’s lack of support for Hornbeck’s nomination is at-least partially the result of the complaints of a member of the minority opposition party, Republican Senator Betty Little.

“What is New York State Sen. David Valesky thinking? At the request of a minority-party senator who doesn’t even live in the Adirondack Park, he is opposing the governor’s latest nominee to the Adirondack Park Agency,” Sheehan writes.

And he didn’t hesitate to take a shot at Little either.

Malpass to challenge Gillibrand

The Associated Press is reporting that GOP economist David R. Malpass will run against Gillibrand in next fall's election.

Malpass is a former adviser for 2008 presidential candidate Rudy Guliani. He also worked for former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

GOP pundits see Gillibrand as vulnerable because she was appointed to the post by an unpopular governor -- plus, her approval ratings really haven't budged since she took over for now-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

Former Governor George Pataki has been viewed as the strongest potential candidate, but he says he won't run.

Malpass faces primary challengers in former Long Island legislator Bruce Blakeman and former Westchester Congressman Joe DioGuardi.

Paladino causing quite a stir

Not everyone is going to like gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.

In fact, a lot of people are going to really dislike the conservative Buffalo businessman.

Earlier this week, a western New York-based political website released emails forwarded by Paladino that contained racist material and bestiality. Some are calling it "politically incorrect" -- I call it really bad PR when you're planning a run for governor.

Paladino has pledged to run as a third party candidate, possibly representing the Tea Party line. Tea Party leaders are already tying to distance themselves from Paladino.

Then there's this from the Associated Press:

"Republican leaders say they've withdrawn their invitation to the Buffalo businessman to attend Friday's regional forum for statewide candidates. GOP officials said in a statement Tuesday that there was 'no chance' Paladino would receive the group's endorsement."

So here's my question: if Paladino is losing support from the GOP and from the Tea Party activists he claims to represent, what's the point of continuing his candidacy?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trustees to discuss village manager's future

The future of the current village manager in Saranac Lake will be up for discussion during a special meeting later this week.

The Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees will meet Thursday at 5 p.m. in the offices on Main Street.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau said trustees will address three items during the meeting – but the main purpose is to discuss the future employment of Village Manager Marty Murphy.

Duprey, Sayward endorse Lazio

Rick Lazio announced today he's picked up endorsements from a pair of North Country Assembly members.

Janet Duprey and Teresa Sayward both pledged their support for the former Long Island Congressman in his bid for governor.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's flip flop season!

The weather is getting warmer, which means it's time to break out the sandals.

But GOPers across the country are talking about a different sort of flip-flop:

The Flip Flop Five.

No raises in Paterson's emergency spending plan

The Associated Press is reporting that Governor David Paterson will not include scheduled four percent raises for union employees in his emergency spending plan:

"A state official says Gov. David Paterson won't include scheduled 4-percent raises for unionized public employees in a new emergency spending bill.

The emergency spending would take effect next week if the Legislature and governor have no agreement on a budget, which has been overdue since April 1.

The administration official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the action hasn't yet been announced.

Union leaders have rejected Paterson's requests for concessions to save the state money as it faces a $9.2 billion deficit in the continuing fiscal crisis.

Paterson had included $250 million in union concessions in his proposed 2010-11 budget, but so far has secured none.

The raises could be restored in an adopted budget or in subsequent emergency spending."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Maroun out, field narrowing

Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun won't seek the GOP nomination ahead of this falls 23rd Congressional District race.

Read Jon Alexander's story here.

That leaves Jefferson County banker Matt Doheny and Lake Placid accountant Doug Hoffman in the mix.

Both men aim to unseat newly-elected Democratic Representative Bill Owens.

Doheny issued the following statement following Maroun's announcement:

"Paul has become a good friend, and as a Franklin County Legislator, remains a great advocate for the people of the North Country. I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeking his counsel in my bid for Congress."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gates not open yet on forest preserve roads

Outdoor enthusiasts will have to wait a little longer until the gates on all forest preserve access roads are opened.

David Winchell is spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 office in Ray Brook. He tells WNBZ the gates are presently closed for mud season and motorized vehicle traffic is prohibited.

"The gates will remain closed until conditions allow for motorized vehicle traffic without any damage to the roads," Winchell said.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Video of U.S. Military killing journalists in Iraq in 2007

After numerous unsuccessful press inquiries and Freedom of Information requests, has gotten its hands on a U.S. military video that shows an Army helicopter engaging and killing over a dozen people in Iraq, including 2 Reuters photographers, in 2007.

Before engaging, the Army helicopter crew misidentifies the photographers' cameras as weapons.

Internal U.S. Army investigations have found no wrongdoing by any military personnel involved in the attack.

Some of the Iraqis killed alongside the journalists can be clearly seen carrying weapons, but no aggressive posturing is visible in the footage. A van that arrives and attempts to remove the injured is also engaged by the Army Apache crew. Two children were wounded in the attack on the van.

When the children are discovered, the Apache gunner says, "It's their fault for bringing their kids into battle."

Immediately after the incident, U.S. military brass said American ground forces were engaging insurgents at the scene. Reuters is using the footage as evidence that this is not the case.

Reuters is calling for another investigation of the events surrounding the attack.

Wikileaks got its hands on the video through an anonymous source.

This 18 minute video is graphic in nature and includes strong language. It may not be appropriate for all viewers.

FYI, the Apache engages the crowd with a 30 millimeter cannon. For reference purposes, the average deer rifle is 7.62 mm.

Who will run against Gillibrand?

Election season this fall is going to be busy. In New York, candidates are lining up for the gubernatorial race; challengers to Representatives Bill Owens and Scott Murphy are also licking their chops as both Congressmen are up for reelection this November.

But no one seems interested in challenging U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.