Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

It's the Christmas season, so let's take a look at who has been naughty and who has been nice in Upstate NY.

This year, I confess I was stupid. I decided to run against, as it turned out, a machine politician for the Oneida County Board of Legislators. With the help of the machine (a State Senator who turned out to be her $75,000 bagman and the County Executive who worked for her behind the scenes), she won. As I have always believed, people deserve whomever they elect. Let's take a look at Oneida County and see what the people are going to get in their gift bag (aka the tax bill that will arrive in your mail shortly before next year):

Your first present is the salary increase of 91% that the Board of Legislators gave themselves. Timing being important, they somehow managed to vote on it after the election. Gee, I wonder why. One of the best reforms that could ever happen would be moving election day to a week or two before taxes are due. $16,000 per annum (more for plum positions) for 12 official meetings a year is ludicrous. Knowing that there are people in the district I ran in that live at or near poverty wages (take a walk through Chadwicks; it's not 90210) that live (in some cases) at or below that $16k a year, I'm embarrassed to live here. As I learned after 12 years on New Hartford Town Board, there are quite a few people living one paycheck away from disaster. Every elected official should experience what it's like to live on a shoestring at some point in their life so as to know the impacts their decisions may have on those they govern. Sadly, when I ran I addressed this by promising  I would not vote for any increase larger than what the rank and file workers got. It's a pretty safe bet nobody else got 91%... and if I'm not mistaken, there are 2 unions at an impasse with county government and they have not had any pay increase for quite a while ... years, if what I'm told is true. But, ain't nobody got time for that.

Your second present is the big increase the County Executive wants, and most likely will get considering how the dog and pony show is run. He thinks he's worth a raise of 22%, which in real dollars is over $25,000. $114k to $140k? Ain't nobody got time for that, Mr. Picente. You're not doing a great job even though you think you are. (Humbleness is not your forte.) Looking at your (yes, YOUR) Marcy-Nano failure, your refusal to submit a budget that lowers the sales tax (I'll get to that in the next present), your blowing the OC budget up ~ $15 million in one budget year ... And other idiotic ideas, like touting how you're trying to get Amazon here .. As if we're in the running! FWIW, Amazon has been courted by better than us. Chicago has offered to let Amazon pocket $1.3 billion dollars in income taxes paid by it's employees to do whatever it wants to with the money. Chula Vista has discussed giving Amazon $100 million in free land along with a 30 year exemption on property taxes (worth $300 million). Boston is willing to get in bed with Amazon with a task force of city-paid employees. Fresno has pledged to set aside 85% of all taxes and fees generated by Amazon into a fund partly overseen by company executives. And you think Oneida County is in the running? What can you offer them that even begins to compare with these things? And the real question is, if we have to bribe companies by giving away everything, why would we even want them here? Employment is nice and all, but infrastructure load and support costs could easily put us in the red. But yet, we (the taxpayers) still pour money into your going-nowhere projects. Look how your AMS deal in the Marcy project went bad: A nice big, new building with a big lighted sign that proudly said 'AMS' was constructed ... and after it was built, they pulled out. What, you built the building and put the sign there with no inked commitment? No good faith money? Please correct me if I'm wrong because we're going to pay for these boneheaded ideas for decades to come regardless if what happens.

Your third present is the 8.75% sales tax (highest in Upstate NY) that could have been reduced by half a percent so easily in this budget. Watching a $15 million dollar increase in any one years budget tells me that the money was there to reduce the sales tax levy and the County Execcutive refused to do it. He chose to spend it. According to one legislators website, a quarter of a percent equals about $7 million dollars in revenue; this means $15 million is easily able to wipe out half a percent. Considering our immediate bordering counties can run their governments with a sales tax rate ranging from 7.75% to 8.25%, the question is obvious: Knowing we are over-taxed and over-regulated and it is the most identifiable cause of our population loss (10,000 people every 10 years since the mid-1970s), the question begs: What course of corrective action should government be taking to stem that loss? The answer is obvious, of course. But again ... Ain't nobody got time for that.

Your fourth present is the bill you are going to pay for a downtown hospital that is going to come in (after everything is totaled up) at about the billion-dollar mark. I can understand why the Utica Mayor wants it, but looking at it from outside, I ask myself why county leadership is pushing for it also. It is obvious most people in the county do not want to go into the inner city for healthcare. It is clearly unpopular considering that if we really, really need a new hospital, the existing St. Lukes Hospital complex can easily accommodate it. St. Luke's is already tax-exempt which would save the city from removing four or so city blocks of taxable property via the eminent domain process, there is already a separate power plant at St Luke's and traffic wise, it is more centrally located. But the county and the city are already moving ahead by approving the construction of a parking garage there ($45 million before change orders and cost upgrades) ... I really don't want to pay for this and most certainly I will go to Cooperstown, Syracuse or Albany before I will consider going to downtown's new hospital. And I'm not alone. This new hospital is going to be such an issue of contention that it will take a generation or two to get comfortable with. In the meanwhile, it will have to be paid for and we all know where that money is coming from. I feel sorry for Uticans who own property because they will get to pay for it twice: Once in their city taxes and again in their county tax. Why county leadership turns a deaf ear to vox populi is beyond me and I just add it to the raw stupidity of those who are better at running political campaigns than they are at governing. Lastly, a very smart person told me long ago not to put all of your eggs into one basket. Currently, we have three hospitals serving the region. If there is a major catastrophe and it impacts one of the hospitals to the point of closing, we still have two others to rely on. Do we really need a new hospital, and is it wise to have only one hospital in the area? If for any reason it is forced to close (use your imagination, bad things have happened to hospitals before) ... are we protected? Uticans, again your future is being mortgaged: They have eyes on the Police Station and Court Building, and if they get what they want, you are going to get to pay for a new multi-million dollar facility to replace these. The rumblings are already there; last week the newspaper ran an article about how the police station is old and has problems. You're being softened up, do you see it coming? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Your last present is that this area is going to continue to suffer and that is directly a result of the decisions of those you have elected over the last three or so decades. A look at the political personalities almost guarantees it. You have a County Executive who loathes our (same party) Congresswoman and has gone out of his way to throw every stone possible in her path, you have a State Senator who has hurt her in the past by helping redistrict her previous Assembly district into oblivion (how did that turn out, Joe), and you have both of them seemingly putting her almost-guaranteed opponent into the limelight lately. How these people will function together is a mystery to me. Meanwhile, about 1,000 people a year are voting with their feet and leaving for greener pastures. Some head to states with no income tax and (much) lower sales tax rates, some head to states with much lower property taxes and some just look at the bleak employment picture and head out. All of this is happening, btw, while thousands (estimated over 25,000 so far) of refugee immigrants are moved into the area. No, I'm not against this resettling. Filling the empty inner city housing and getting people here is a better solution than continued atrophy. We need better leadership. But, as somebody once said ... Ain't nobody got time for that.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Now for National Politics: The Humor is the Profit

Last week I received an unexpected piece of mail. It was a request for a political donation from a US Senator from the Boston area. Yes, Ms. Elizabeth Warren has somehow decided that I am friendly to her views and that I might be inclined to donate money to her "grassroots" cause. Ms. Warren couldn't be more mistaken; I am not one of her supporters and if there ever was a lesson in grassroots politics, it came from the current 45th President who recently demonstrated how to get elected as a populist. Here is some of her propaganda:

Yeah, I couldn't help but laugh. Ooh scary! The GOP's heavy hitters are here and We'll win if we're united were real gut-busters, but the best one was Thank you for being a part of this. ... Which almost is as humorous as your claim that Breibart is taking aim at you and using some billionaire to do it. Why, the nerve! I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess it's not Bloomberg or Soros. To add insult to injury, you resort to the politics of fear in your message and of course, that's page two out of Saul Alinsky's handbook for anarchists. Or is it page three? And FWIW, Breibart is taking aim at all of the liberal left, not just you. But really, aren't you taking aim at each other every day?

No thanks, Elizabeth. You are one of the last people I will consider donating to in this upcoming political season. I'm thinking more that I'll contribute to the Conservative Republican representing the Congressional district I live in next year. So that you don't think I'm some sort of sexist white supremacist, my Representative is Claudia Tenney and she's much more in tune with how Upstate NY thinks than you are.

But thank you for sending out a mailing to somebody that doesn't think very highly of you or your politics. It is always good to see the opposition at work, and it's good to see you work so hard 'protecting Americans' as if your party is the only one interested in doing so. (They're not, FWIW.) The last time I mentioned you online, I used a term to describe you that upset some of my kin: I called you Fauxcahontas and they expressed displeasure. Personally, I can't think of any one word that describes you better and it comes from ... ah, let's say you got mixed up in the Brian Williams era and conflated the claim that you were part native American. I'd like to congratulate you for choosing Cherokee; it's the same tribe Bill Clinton used when he said one of his grandmothers was Cherokee. I can't find a popular male native name to put faux in front of that quite has the ring of your popular nickname, but we all know Bill Clinton and his wife as ... well, let's just say they are economical with the truth just as you seem to be.

There’s a running joke in Indian country: If you meet somebody who you wouldn’t necessarily think is Native, but they say they’re Native, chances are they’ll tell you they’re Cherokee.

Thank you for choosing the left fork of the road in claiming your false heritage. I read your two-page letter and I already know about the "fight." Problem is, Ms. F. Cahontas, the side in the fight you've been waging since Election Day 2016 (I love the Youtube videos showing you say Donald Trump will never be President)  is not the side I'm on. Frankly, I view you as an obstructionist.

And after researching your net worth online, it appears you are one of the 1% ! A $2.4 million dollar house in Cambridge and a DC Condo at 3/4 of a mil don't really put you in the trenches at a 9-5 job every day. Looking at net worth is always subjective, but yours seems to be quite a bit more than mine. I'm not sure how Harvard law professors who taught one class get to be worth ... $5 to $10 million, but it seems your luck got better since you were elected. Now tell us about giving you money again. All I can think of you at this point is as a mendicant begging for alms when in fact you've never been in the bread line in your life.

So please forgive me for not sending you money. It seems you have plenty already, and as I always say, put your money where your mouth is, Ms. Cahontas.

Your friend,


PS: I'm going to go out on a limb here and paraphrase you: You will never be President. God help us if you ever are.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Paul Miscione, you deserve a round of applause

On primary day (last Sept. 12) two certainties were established: One, Mrs. Pratt was going to be the 16th-District County Legislator in 2018 and that current 2nd Ward New Hartford Councilman Paul Miscione is going to the the Town Supervisor in 2018. The third contest (First Ward Council) will be decided on November 7.

Let's talk about Paul: First elected in 2012, he campaigned hard against the incumbent and beat her. That's unusual in itself. I had the pleasure of sitting with him the last 2 years of my term. Sometimes we disagreed, sometimes we disagreed vigorously but out friendship persevered. I considered him somebody easy to work with because we agreed most of the time.

As I sized up my race and decided to run for the county legislature, a well-placed town Republican called me practically begging me to run for Supervisor. We discussed Paul but he had not made a firm commitment as yet; I said let's wait and see.We ended the conversation with me saying I would get back to them. I did, and defined the parameters that would have to be met for me to consider doing so. Remember, I ran for Supervisor 4 years ago and lost. I did well outside the village but lost too much in the village.

What I asked for was not on the ala-carte menu, so when I called him back we agreed I was out.

Luckily for New Hartford, Paul Miscione stepped up to the plate and threw his hat into the ring.

If you don't know how local political committees determine who they like (via the endorsement process), they meet and screen potential candidates expressing interest in carrying their party banner on election day.

Paul couldn't be there that day. He was with a family member in New York City attending to their medical care. But Mr. Tyksinski screened, answered questions and most everybody in the room knew he had the endorsement in the bag. When he was done, the chairperson asked if their were any more nominations.

After an uncomfortable pause (I was wondering if anybody else was going to stand up), I stood up and nominated Paul Miscione. A long-time friend of mine seconded the nomination and discussion ensued. It didn't matter; after the vote Mr. Tyksinski walked out the building with the endorsement.

I could talk about how the vote went down, but I won't. That's a breach of trust.

When I talked to Paul, he was disappointed. But he took it well and went on. He persevered. He campaigned. He advertised. He went door to door and (with my constant nagging him to do so) spent a considerable amount of time in the village. Remember, this was where I took a beating 4 years ago.

We sat down a few times before the election to measure progress. It was clear his message was hitting home. Still, nobody knew if he was going to win or lose. It's just an unknown and as the saying goes, the voters can be fickle. You never know.

More and more signs on both sides went up. When a 4x8 billboard sign went up for Mr. Tyksinski immediately adjacent to a property I own on Oneida Street (a well-traveled road), I asked the usually-friendly neighbor to remove it. He wouldn't, so I did the next best thing: I called Paul Miscione and invited him to place a 4x8 sign on my side placed so as to block Mr. Tyksinski's sign. We met there with another town councilman and put the sign up together. I could tell he was getting tired putting up signs and campaigning; when I said this one was worth it, he laughed. To me, it was worth it.

There was a reason Mr. Tyksinski wanted his sign there and it was because I had so many times put my own signs there. He was hoping people would think I'm supporting him by seeing his sign in my usual spot. The codes officer was even fooled and called Paul saying Did you see the sign Backman put for Tyksinski?

To put that false message to bed, the sign had to go up. Watching New Hartford slide over the 2 terms of Mr. Tyksinski's leadership, I knew I had to make a statement. Thank you, Paul for having one sign left and placing it there.

Looks like it worked wonders.

Ok, signs don't vote, people do.... but that one was worth it. On primary day, you beat Mr. Tyksinki by a good margin and you earned it.

Here's my hearty applause for a job well done, Paul. My heartiest congratulations. I was proud to place your name in nomination even though I knew it would take a primary vote to oust the incumbent.

By the way, you did something in New Hartford politics that has never been done before: You won the Supervisor's chair as a Councilman. Before this, not one Councilman has risen to the seat, even though many have tried.

Thank you for running. Thank you for working for it. And most of all, thank you for winning.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lies, Damn Lies, and Outrageous Lies

My previous blog discussed Primary Day (Sept 12) and how Mrs. Pratt erupted in anger calling me a liar as she shook a water bottle in my face. She said I lied about the communications tower (I blogged about it early on); she claimed she did not abstain but voted against it. She also said she did not read my blog, but seemed to be very up-to-date with what I have written, so I'm not sure how she knows what I write. If somebody else reads the blog for her as a proxy, to me it's about the same as reading it live.


I am researching this and will post more about this. The information sent to me from a usually reliable source said both she and Jim D'Onofrio abstained from the vote claiming they did not have enough information.

There are two possibilities here; one of them is my information is wrong. If so, I will correct what I wrote before about her vote, but still hold the rest of what I wrote as a lesson to future law makers: When items of consequence such as a tall tower are being considered, inform your residents, hold public meetings and look for viable alternatives.

That did not happen on Mrs. Pratt's watch.

Now for Mrs. Pratt's other claim that I did not help the Willowvale firemen:

In 2003-2004, the Willowvale Fire Company was looking to build a new firehouse. They had a site, they had plans and were in the process of borrowing money to get it built. This is done via the bond process. They talked with financiers and were offered a rate. I knew the municipal rate was lower and asked if there was a way we could allow the fire company to borrow at our favorable (tax exempt) rate. Bond counsel came back with the answer: Yes, we could help them through the TEFRA process (and I have no idea what that is an acronym for). So I took it to the board and worked it up for action, and here is the section of the April 2003 official town board minutes reflecting how the Willowvale Fire Company was helped by Town Board action which I initiated:

    April 2, 2003
    Page 10

    PUBLIC HEARING8:00 P.M. TEFRA Hearing – Willowvale Fire Co., Inc.
    Tax-Exempt Obligations
    The Town Supervisor opened the Public Hearing at 8:00 P.M. and announced the purpose of the Hearing was to consider the Willowvale Fire Company’s application for TEFRA eligibility for issuance of tax-exempt obligations to fund a new firehouse and to offer the Public an opportunity to speak in favor of, in opposition to, or comment upon this matter. The Town Clerk presented the Notice of Public Hearing, Affidavit of Posting, and Proof of Publication (Observer Dispatch, March 17,2003 edition).

    G. Kevin Ludlow, Attorney for the Willowvale Fire Company, Inc., expressed the Fire Company’s appreciation for the support that the Town Board has given them over the years. He also thanked the Board on behalf of all the Fire Department members, present and not present, that they are also very grateful for Town’s support on their new venture – a new firehouse.
    The following persons were present in support of the TEFRA hearing and issuance of tax-exempt obligations by the Willowvale Fire Company, Inc.:

    Lawrence Bastien Charles Bastien Richard Catlin
    Chad Powers William Smith Margaret Jones
    Roger Jones Malcolm Lusby Edward L. Thomas
    Milo Perroch Joseph David Donald Maikranz
    Justin Sorrentino Joseph David, Jr. William Snyder
    Gerald Linck Matthew Jones William Hinman
    Kristina Hinman Gary Edwards
    April 2, 2003
    Page 11
    Councilman Backman commended the Willowvale Fire Company as a very hardworking group who has held numerous fundraisers for various Fire Company projects and expressed his belief in their cause. He noted that firemen are a community’s best resource and their unpaid volunteerism speaks for itself.
    Supervisor Humphreys apprised those present that the issuance of tax-exempt obligations to fund a new firehouse will be subject to a permissive referendum. Because of the projected tax increase for properties within Fire District No. 4, there may be property owners who oppose this project and they will have the prerogative to submit a petition. Thereafter, the Supervisor closed the hearing at 8:10 P.M.
    The following Resolution was introduced by Councilman Backman and duly seconded by Councilman Waszkiewicz:
    (RESOLUTION NO. 134 OF 2003)
    WHEREAS, the Willowvale Fire Company, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation, with a Certificate of Incorporation having been filed August 9, 1950; and
    WHEREAS, the Willowvale Fire Company, Inc. is interested in seeking access to federally tax-exempt financing for a capital improvement project, namely, a new firehouse; and
    WHEREAS, the New Hartford Town Board conducted a TEFRA Public Hearing on April 2, 2003 at 8:00 P.M. in Butler Memorial Hall on the question of whether a tax-exempt bond should be issued by the Willowvale Fire Company, Inc. to finance the cost of the construction of a new firehouse including original machinery, apparatus and equipment necessary in connection therewith, said firehouse to be located at 3459 Oneida Street, in Chadwicks, Town of New Hartford, New York, and which maximum aggregate face amount of the obligation to be issued with respect thereto will not exceed $1,000,000; and
    WHEREAS, approximately twenty-five (25) members of the Willowvale Fire Company, Inc. attended said Public Hearing in favor of a tax-exempt bond being issued for the aforesaid purpose and no one having appeared in opposition to this proposal;
    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the New Hartford Town Board does hereby authorize and direct the Town Supervisor to execute an APPROVAL CERTIFICATE, a copy of which is set forth as Schedule "A", relating to the issuance of a bond and which obligation will not constitute debt of said Town.
    A roll call vote was duly held as follows:
    April 2, 2003
    Page 12
    Councilman Waszkiewicz - Aye
    Councilman Woodland - Aye
    Councilman Butler - ABSENT
    Councilman Backman - Aye
    Supervisor Humphreys - Aye.
    The Resolution was thereupon declared unanimously carried and duly adopted.
    ******Now who's the liar again, Mrs. Pratt? And for Jim Messa: You claimed I did nothing for 12 years. Add this to the long list of things you are going to have to play catch-up on before you claim how much you've done ...which, after rejecting 4 bids to build a storm water project in Chadwicks, you somehow still manage to convince yourself you're doing great.Whatever.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Let us stop talking falsely now...

Last Tuesday (Sept 12) was primary day in New Hartford. There were 3 Republican primaries and 1 Democratic primary. The incumbent Supervisor in NH was being challenged by the 2nd Ward Councilman, the incumbent 1st Ward Councilman was being challenged and I was challenging the appointed incumbent County Legislator. I lost... by about 90 +/- votes (a few absentee ballots have yet to be counted but will not change the outcome). The 1st ward incumbent won. The incumbent Supervisor lost. Let's talk about the Republican races:

Backman v. Pratt for the O/C 16th Legislative seat: Since there were 3 races in New Hartford, that is where the most voters came out to vote (percentage-wise of registered voters). It is hard to get voters out on Primary Day; the turnout is usually less than 20% of voter registration. NH had the highest turnout, the Towns of Paris and Bridgewater were less than 10%). Primary Day boils down to friends and family affairs for the most part. The average unconnected voter usually could not care less about voting in September; they consider their voting responsibility satisfied by their presence in November.

I'll take the responsibility for losing this one. Running against a machine-supported candidate is challenging; let me boil it down to a few reasons:

  • Mrs. Pratt got out and worked. Her past history of getting a few signatures on petitions for other candidates in past years changed when she ran.
  • She outspent me.
  • The machine worked for her both carrying petitions (the ethics dilemma I already wrote about) and letting her take credit when the State Senator porked the Town of Paris to the tune of $75,000... aka buying votes at election time with your own tax dollars.
  • Having and losing the Republican endorsement in the Town of Paris. (Yes, Mrs. Pratt, now I'm going to tell "LIES! LIES!" as you screamed at me on election day, but since you knew everything I blog about yet deny reading this blog, I guess some more "LIES" are in order). This story is beyond bizarre but I tell it as the bits of information came back to me from some of the people present:
I lost the endorsement of the NH Republican committee and it is because Brian Miller used not only his vote to support Mrs. Pratt, but his wife's committee proxy to vote for her also. Thanks, Brian. Both triggers of the double-barrel at once? I hope Mrs. Pratt carries as many petition sheets as I did for you when you're up for re-election next year. Here's your sign, Brian.

I won the Bridgewater Republican committee endorsement handily; they are tired of being forgotten and looked to new blood for help.

Ah, the Town of Paris endorsement ... What a cluster-frog that turned out to be. When I called their chairman asking to screen before them, he dropped the informative bomb that 'the Town of Paris was supporting Mrs. Pratt' ... but of course, I was welcome to screen. The date was set for June 5, 1 day before petitions can circulate. I didn't expect to receive their endorsement, but as a good soldier I showed up and screened. The conversation was polite and we discussed my views, my 12 years on the NH Town Board, the things I got done ... and what I hoped to do on the OC Board. I got up, shook hands, thanked them and departed knowing I probably didn't have their endorsement.

Afterwards, my phone rang numerous times and 'a man or woman whose name I will not expose here but it's not who everybody thinks it is' told me ... I won in a 3-2 vote. I was stunned. But then this person added that another person who was 100% in the bag for Mrs. Pratt objected saying the meeting was not proper because it had not been advertised and they should meet in another week after advertising to consider any other candidates. This, of course, was a ploy to put it off a week and get the person who switched to me to switch back. As it was told to me, a few phone calls came in (to a certain elected officer in Paris)  mentioning the $75,000 grant money for their pool repairs and how important it is that they support Mrs. Pratt.

The message was received loud and clear: If you want the $75k, give Mrs. Pratt your endorsement.

And so, the following week, Mrs. Pratt won the endorsement 3-2. Surprise surprise... Not really.

This is tantamount to blackmail and it is reprehensible. But I did not blog about this until now or put it in my printed handouts. Since I am not on the ballot in November, I have no problem with its public airing. There will be only one choice on the November ballot and that will be the machine candidate, pure and simple.

But I did enjoy watching Mrs. Pratt lose it on Primary Day. She came over, shook a water bottle in my face while yelling at me. May I suggest anger management classes. Mrs. Pratt? Oh yeah, that's right. You don't read this blog or so you told me.

Baldwin v Messa for the 1st Ward Council seat: This is the seat I sat in for 12 years. When I ran for Supervisor 4 years ago and lost, Messa ran for the seat unopposed. The first time he ran, I beat him for the seat but he likes to tell people 'he really didn't lose.' What was that I said about political lies before? Let us stop talking falsely now, the hour's getting late ...

Anyway, Mike Baldwin, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, F-106 fighter pilot and successful local businessman decided to run for the 1st Ward Council seat. I saw Jimmy Messa as a complete failure; I sat down with him before I left office and explained to him the job, responsibility and we actually drove around the ward with the Highway Superintendent to show him the problem areas. I had a stormwater project in the ward in early engineering and communicated my desire to see it come to fruition after I left. When it came to bidding, at the request of the Supervisor he rejected the bids ... 4 times! When the July storms wiped out half of the affected areas this year, I couldn't support his inaction any longer. I helped Mike Baldwin campaign and looking at the numbers (he lost), he didn't do bad. He came much closer to the incumbent than most people expected. And he will still be on the ballot in November, and again I will keep campaigning for him because I see him as a better person to get things done on the Council instead of the Dudley Do-Nothing that's there now.

This gem of a story has to be told about Jimmy Messa. He snapped at me also just before Mrs. Pratt got unhinged and lost it. Since I am a non-violent person (I use words of truth, not fists) ... Here's another great story, and remember Jimmy, I thanked you for giving me such a good story to write about:

Election Day is long a grueling day if you are a candidate and choose to stand outside the polls to greet voters. This year, I brought a wooden high-chair to sit in so I wouldn't have to be standing for 9 hours. I plunked it down next to Jimmy's truck with his signs and American flag to greet voters just like they did. He didn't much care for that and came over; his intent was to get me to move. If he had been polite, if he had used the word please, I would have gladly moved. But he didn't. He came over Gestapo-style and ordered me to move, as if he had some badge of authority. He said he didn't want his truck scratched. I got out of the seat and turned the swivel part of it to make sure it wasn't close enough scratch his truck. It wasn't and I sat back down. He got between the chair and the truck and pushed the chair (with me sitting in it) over. It might have moved an inch or so. Apparently there was enough room for him to get between the chair and the truck, so there's your indication of how close the chair was to the truck. He kept on insisting I move. I sat there and told him Don't touch me, Jimmy ... he responded I didn't touch you, I touched the chair.

It's the same thing to me, Jimbo.

And then, as I sat in the chair unmoving, he leaned over me glaring with his chrome dollar-store sunglasses on. I took it he was trying to intimidate me. But I didn't move. I sat there. So much for your claim of "dignity," Jim-boy. Hey, here's an idea: Maybe you and Mrs. Pratt can get a package deal on those anger management classes I so highly recommend you attend.

Act 2: We started trading barbs. I mentioned his record of doing nothing on the Town Board and what his political nickname was (Dudley Do-Nothing). He said I did nothing for the 12 years I sat there, which I laughed at.

Dudley, I paved 4x the road miles you did annually because I fought for real paving funds, not 1/4 of what we used to allot to paving at budget time (like you do when you sit there and say nothing at the board table). I replaced every town-owned bridge in the 1st Ward and most of the box culverts. I spent well over a million dollars in Ward 1 storm water projects (Beechwood Road or Woodberry Road ring a bell, Jimmy? Sauquoit creek cleanup? Oh yeah, you weren't there - you lost the election to me, remember? ) ... I built a multi-million dollar water system while I was in office. I made sure potholes were filled,  had traffic studies done in problem areas ... You have a long way to go before you even can come close to matching what I got done in the town. A new library and a new firehouse in Chadwicks were built while I was on the board, Jimmy. Tell us again of what you've done. A flashing traffic signal? Wow, gee thanks.

Can you tell us ANYTHING (feel free to use the comment section here, I promise I will post it unedited) you have done for the 1st Ward in your almost 4 years on the board?

I thought so. Dear readers, if I do not post any comments, it will be because there were none left for me to post.

So, the Balwin v. Messa race is still on for November, and again, I make no bones about it: I am supporting Mike Baldwin even though Jimmy paid for advertising space slamming his $300,000 airplane! I guess he has something against the American success story and if I lived in one of the estate class houses in NH, I'd think dimly of Jimmy slamming somebody's personal success. What is wrong with other people having money if they worked for it, Jimbo?

Besides which, I am also an FAA-licensed commercial pilot and when I fly with Mike in his airplane, I ask him where the other engine is and where do we put the JP-1 (jet fuel) in? I mean, $300,000 and it only has 1 piston engine? I think Mike might have overpaid a tad, and I'm wondering how much Jimmy knows about airplanes about now. I suspect he couldn't fly a .25 cent balsa-winged toy glider successfully. Mike has a good sense of humor about it and laughs.

I'll close this section out by telling of Jimmy's daddy walking over and sticking his face into mine. He used toilet-language, let's just leave it at that. And those sunglasses must be a family thing: He looked like a bug-eyed Martian wearing those as he stuck his face into mine. Like his boy, I thought he licked too many testosterone lollipops. He waddled away shortly after. Hey! Another candidate for those so badly-needed anger management classes. Enroll early, it looks like the list is filling up quick!

Miscione v. Tyksinski: This one brought satisfaction to many people. Paul beat Pat (I lost to Pat 4 years ago) and it was a good win with a good spread. I could tell you many stories, but I'll save them for the book I'm writing about NH politics (poly = many and tics, blood sucking parasites).

This post is too long already, so I'll close by saying how happy I personally was to nominate Paul Miscione at the Republican screening knowing there were too many Tyksinski loyalists on the committee to win at the committee level. Paul won the primary handily, and I am happy about that. I think New Hartford has a good chance at moving forward with him in the Captains seat.

About the Conservative Party: I have never had the outright endorsement of the Conservative Party and considering that I am one of the most conservative-philosophy based persons ever to hold public office, that is somewhat of a paradox. When I got into office in the late 1990s, the endorsement in New Hartford was pretty much controlled by one person ... who loathed me and the feelings were mutual. In the book I'm writing about local politics, I call him the Rufus Elefante of New Hartford. Anyway, they never even came close to endorsing me until the New Hartford Rufie up and died. Then they listened to me, but never came close to endorsement...until this race. When I screened with them, it was clear they had no love whatsoever for the current county executive. I made it clear I considered him a Republican in name only (a RINO) and was not his biggest fan either. They full well knew Mrs. Pratt was one of his most loyal allies but yet they chose not to solely endorse Mrs. Pratt or me. They threw us into a primary, and I lost that one too. But if I'm not to have the Republican line at election time, my biggest nightmare was losing the Republican primary but winning the Conservative line. Then I would have the lovely experience of being beat up twice at the polls this year. In this heavily-Republican district, it is clear that without that line you are not going to be elected in November. So while I really like some of the Conservative leadership around here, all I can say is you are now going to deal with a solid Picente Legislator in D-16 running on your party line... and you could have avoided it. Ah well, no big deal.

Whats on the horizon for Oneida County: While I do not lay claim to having an infallible crystal ball, I can predict some things with a fair degree of certainty:
  • We will continue to lose population even with a large refugee influx because of the current tax climate
  • The likelihood of the county portion of the sales tax rate ever dropping is non-existent
  • We are going to have a downtown hospital and parking garage shoved down our throats and we are going to pay for it in many ways besides being patients
  • The Picente-Halbritter alliance is going to push for the casino downtown
Last but not least, I suspect you will not see Mrs. Pratt speaking out against any of this. She will show up and vote the company line.

I want to close by thanking those that voted for me, worked for me and honored me by allowing the placement of my sign on their lawns. Yesterday I picked up over 100 of them and I'm sure there are still some out there somewhere that I will catch up with in the next week or so.

I had fun running, I enjoyed knowing how deep under Mrs. Pratt's and Jimmy Messa's skins I got ... and to answer the question of whether or not I am ever going to run for office again ...

We'll see.

Thanks, and I apologize for the length of this blog.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Heading into Tuesday, Sept 12 - Primary Day

Let's begin to wrap this up: Oneida County has been losing businesses and as a consequence, population since the mid-1970s. People leave when the going gets too rough. Businesses leave when they're not profitable anymore. It's a vicious circle and the escalation of taxes over the last 4 decades is primarily responsible. According to google, Oneida County has lost about 43,000 people in the last 45 years and the number would be twice that without new refugees (and counting prison inmates!).

That's almost 3 people a day moving out of Oneida County for the last 4 decades. If 12 move in, 15 move out. If 1 moves in, 4 move out -EVERY DAY for over 40 years! This rate of loss cannot continue much longer.

As I've already emphasized, we're overtaxed and over regulated. I propose the following:

  • Immediate lowering of the sales tax rate (we are the highest upstate!) from 8.75% to 8.25% to match Herkimer County. I propose using the Oneida Indian Nation settlement money to do this.
  • Putting together a committee of retired professionals to look at where those who choose to leave are going and why. If we don't know why people are leaving, how can we begin to change things to stem the loss?
  • Reform our Industrial Development system. DUMP EDGE is the first step. In this I find myself agreeing with the County Executive - we need better. All EDGE seems good at doing is moving existing businesses around. This accomplishes nothing.
  • Implement term limits on the OC Board of Legislators so we do not end up with 25-year incumbents who have lost their zest and new ideas. The deadwood needs to be culled out and it looks like the only way that will happen is though legislation making it so.
  • Make the Oneida County Clerk follow the Open Meetings/Freedom of Information laws by forcing her to electronically transmit FOIL requests at no charge (as the law already says). Revenue is nice, but her "policy" violates state law and that needs to be addressed.
  • Visiting and rewriting the ethics policies so that elected officials cannot prey on county workers to advance their own political careers and elected legislators cannot feast at the table they set by vending to the county with the rules they create.
The definition of insanity is doing things the same way and expecting different results.

We need change. Somebody has to stand up. I promise you, just as I stood up and fought for you on the Town Board, I will stand up and fight for you on the Legislature. District 16 (Bridgewater, Paris and part of New Hartford) need a Legislator that will not knuckle under to the machine currently running things.

I am not the machine candidate. I am somebody that will work hard for you. The (appointed not elected) machine candidate has already voted repeatedly to take more money from you (Increased cell phone taxes and $44 million dollar downtown hospital parking garage) while failing to protect you (see my older post about the 195' communications tower).

Once more and then I'm done for a while: Primary day is Tuesday Sept 12 and the polls are open from noon until 9pm. If you are a District 16 Republican or Conservative, please come out and use the best method of expressing your political desires there is: Please vote.

Thank you.


For the cruciverbalists in the #nohospitaldowntown group: