October 27, 2009


Hmm, election's Tuesday and I'm out of town this weekend, so just the important endorsements.

1st District: Joe Coleman. From the Post-Standard: "Joseph Coleman is a retired schools superintendent with decades of experience in education... he stresses the need for better communications with constituents and more partnerships to make government work better... Coleman is a fine candidate who would bring leadership experience and a spirit of comity to the Legislature." Yet they endorse Lesniak. Boo to the PS for once again being too beneficial to incumbants. That said, a good example of Coleman's partnerships, the partnership he made when he was in Cortland between the school and social services. Because 20 % of 7th graders weren't making it to the end of 9th grade, Joe formed a partnership with social services. Families were referred to a hands on, but educational summer program, and not only did the kids make it to 9th, but the county reduced foster care costs.

Joe's post is long because I typed it in draft form first, and also because I've decided to help him out with canvassing, so I invested the time.

4th district: Dave Stott. Mr. Stott continues to vehemently argue for his citizens, and now I've seen it live on TV.

7th distict: Tom Buckel. Yeah, he's not running against anyone, so the endorsement seems less than necessary. But it's Tom, so there.

13th district: Not Bob Warner. Don't know quite enough about Scaramuzino for an endorsement, although by election day I'll have looked up more, and will probably vote for him. But Mr. Warner's way too casual dismissal of his constituents that happen to be county workers earns a vote in another direction. Always the write in possibility if nothing else.


That's a quote from an ad from an old movie. Bonus points if you name it. No more cookies for the bonus, I'm hoarding those. Anyway, without further ado
SYRACUSE MAYOR: Steve Kimatian. Ms. Miner, despite the fact I still find her kind of irritating, earned a close second. Otis Jennings was in the lead, then I saw articles where he started off by saying "Go Destiny," and saluting the project for creating $60000 a year jobs. Sorry Otis, those jobs were a publicity stunt, and they never had any intention of keeping those positions. That you were fooled by such a thing quickly rushes you from first to last in my support. I picked Steve for his business sense. Really, all three candidates have things that make me excited, and things that make me worry. Should be interesting. That's all for now folks, I'll be back on Monday in plenty of time to vote, don't worry.

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE and for god's sakes use the internets and find out something about who you vote for. If you found this site you can find the info.

October 23, 2009

Endorsements, round 1

Lets start with those dramatic judge races! Judicial contests are supposed to be about experience and qualifications, and in fact candidates are not allowed to speak about issues, which makes for a weird race. Still, here we go:

Onondaga County Court: Tony Aloi. Judge Aloi is already in this position. Crisafulli has experience as a lawyer and as a hearing examiner for parking violations, but that in no way trumps Judge Aloi's 38 years working with Onondaga County Court (10 as judge and the rest as law assistant). Aloi hands down.

Supreme Court, 5th Judicial district: Walter Hafner Jr. and James McCarthy. This is a vote 2. Judge Hafner has worked 10 years as an Oswego County Judge, has worked as a ADA, law clerk to surrogate's court, and city attorney, proving he has the experience. Judge McCarthy has been an Oswego County Judge since 1993, an acting Supreme Court Justice for 10 years, and has presided over many courts. Perhaps most notable is the first sex offense court in NY. He's also been a city attorney and served in the army and army reserve. Judge Jim Tormey is the current chief administrative judge in Onondaga County, but I haven't always been impressed with his decisions, so Judges Hafner and McCarthy get the nod.

Soon I'll start with the legislature, and then mayor of Syracuse.

October 19, 2009

Democrats in Lysander? Hearings we can't attend

Sorry I didn't get to the endorsements yet, but I just started a new job. I can tell you in advance the first district endorsement will probably go to Joe Coleman. Having lived in Lysander for much of my life (not currently), it is nice to see yard signs that don't say Lesniak for once. It be nice to have a democratic candidate for legislature in Lysander that can make their presence known, and even nicer to finally have one I think could handle the job. Previous candidates, not so much on either of those areas.

The state wants to cut lots of funding, most of which will then fall on the counties and hurt them even more. There's a meeting on it in the Onondaga County Legislative Chamber, 401 Montgomery St on Friday 10/23/09, but it's at 10 am. Way to make it so working taxpayers probably can't go and voice their opinion.

October 9, 2009

Onondaga County Budget Forum

There was a lot more interest at the annual budget forum than last year, which apparently drew nine speakers. You can read about it here.

Joanie Mahoney did not have the decency to show up at the meeting. She thought it was more important to go to the museum than to listen to her constituents. She sent some lackeys in her place, including the deputy county exec, and the chief fiscal officer. Workers meanwhile commented that while she wanted to cut our pay she could pay thousands to redecorate her office with Stickley furniture.

Bernie Kraft's widow showed up to basically say to the legislators, hey, my late husband would be ashamed of you and this budget proposal. “This is unfair, and you and I both know it is unfair,I can say without hesitation that my husband would never have backed such a proposal.”

There were many good arguments against the furloughs and budget cuts, some particularly good ones coming from the probation department in regard to monitoring sex offenders. Some good ones were also made from social service employees in reference to child and adult protective issues.

Lots of people advocating for the Human rights Commission and the Student Assistance Program, the former being proposed to be dissolved and the other proposed to be cut down. SAP folks commented that most of the funds are paid by the schools, not the county, and therefore the county gets 8 full time positions for the $80000 a year it wants to chop out. Seems like school counseling for troubled kids is a great return on an investment that small.

That's my summation. I expect soon to start posting my endorsements for County Leg, County Court Judge, and Syracuse Mayor.

October 6, 2009

Updates on County budget

The town hall with County Legislators about the budget in Onondaga County has been moved. Same date, this Thursday at 7 PM, but now in the Oncenter Ball room due to expected high attendance. Which of course would be good. Show up at 6 to sign up to talk, or just come and listen and show your legislator that you are paying attention.

While on the subject of Legislators, I hear from a former co-worker that she wrote Mr. Bob Warner of district 13 and his response was basically get your union to accept there won't be a raise next year. Which I would say OK to if we didn't already have it signed and in writing. If I decided I wasn't doing as well as previous and I didn't want to honor a previous contract, but I had $63 million in a rainy day fund, ain't no court in the land that's not going to tell me to pay up. Why should Onondaga County be any different?

October 2, 2009

Kudos Dave Stodt

From the Tuesday Post Standard:
To the Editor:
One of the only good things to come out of the county executive's proposed budget is the increased level of interest expressed by taxpayers and county employees. I've received over 100 calls, e-mails and letters expressing concern about how this proposed budget will affect employees, their families, and those they serve. Let me shed light on one of the darkest proposed budgets in decades.
Onondaga County government and residents are experiencing the same financial crisis as nearly every other area. The proposed 2010 budget calls for a 2.9 percent property tax increase, $5 or $10 automobile fee, massive cuts in staffing and programs such as pregnancy care.
Regardless of the reasoning, these proposals are not reasonable. Some employees have been dubbed "non-essential," and they have expressed how that was just plain rude. It has resulted in a significant reduction in employee morale.
Increasing taxes, reducing services and moving 2,100 full-time employees to part-time while we maintain a more than $63 million "rainy day" fund is totally unreasonable. It is "pouring," and that rainy day fund is your tax dollars. We should use more of it to meet this horrible fiscal crisis.

David Stott
County Legislator, 4th District, Salina

Way to go Dave. Glad to finally hear someone proposing a solution other than violating already set up contracts. To those who declare that county employees must suffer like every one else, if there weren't a contract I'd say fine, but you can't just go back on a signed contract. Despite no obligation, the county workers have agreed to talk about possible solutions to the fiscal crisis, but Ms. Mahoney has refused to talk about anything other than pay cuts and layoffs. I haven't really had the opportunity to canvas this year, but Dave may have just earned some walking time.

Other news in brief: Regarding the recent taserings in city schools, without having been there, I will not comment on the individual incidents, but those who flat out rule out tasers in such cases clearly have not spent much time in a city high school or dealt with young offenders (both of which I have done). It is unfortunate that there are violent people who are so young, but there are, and therefore officers need to be able to defend themselves when appropriate. To have an option that can avoid death is a definite plus.

Also like to bring up that City Council president and Democrat Bea Gonzalez has refused to endorse Democratic candidate Stephanie Miner. Per the Post-Standard, Gonzalez said "I've seen how (Miner) behaves in public and in private and I'm concerned." The article also references Gonzalez stating that Miner does not always treat people with dignity and respect. Of course, it should also be noted that Gonzalez has expressed anger with the Democratic party for gearing up for a Miner run for mayor instead of a Gonzalez run for mayor. Perhaps a fair point since they both are term-limited out I believe, but Gonzalez holds the higher position on the city council.

September 28, 2009

Update, also 40 Below

An update on the budget issues: First off, I hear there is a public forum on 10/8/09 at the old courthouse (Montgomery St., next to the civic Center) at 7 PM. Second, I additionally sent a copy of my email regarding child protective's role in the budget to Legislator Bill Meyer, as he is chairman of the legislature.

Also, last Friday I attended the 5th annual 40 below summit. I enjoyed it quite a bit and got to reunite with a lot of members of the Young Democrats. Congressman Maffei was there, as well as all three mayoral candidates. Shook each candidates hand, the Congressman was only there at a time when I was heading to an informative session. Lots of organizations came, offering ways to volunteer and help in the community. Of the three mayoral candidates, I think I still like Otis Jennings, although the fact that one of my friends works with Ms. Miner and finds he agrees with her on most things does reassure me. Here's hoping for an interesting race!