January 27, 2008

First, the good news...

10 term congressman James Walsh has announced he will not run for reelection. (insert trumpets)

Of course that makes the race a bit more wide open on both sides of the aisle. Dale Sweetland has been mentioned (windmills for America?). I don't think he would win, but the mere mention still scares me. On the Democratic (technically) side, Tim Green was mentioned, and that scared me until he said no.

What about those who might actually be the candidate? On the Republican side, Bill Fitzpatrick is the most notable name. Yes, after having been DA forever he's managed to get a lot of people who hate him and not just the criminals, but he's also got lots of money having never really had a well funded opponent. In fact he's been so over funded he apparently can buy really nice dinners. Add him to the list of people who's names being mentioned scared me.

Among Democrats, Dan Maffei is the only name on either side to say that he's in, having said that quite a while ago and amassed quite a warchest after his last run for the office pulled up just short. Our term limited Mayor hasn't said if he'll run for the congressional district, rating his odds at 50-50. Either one would have good odds at the seat going into the race.

An additional positive, apparently Governor Spitzer vowed to take away Empire Zone benefits from places that haven't created jobs. About time. Somehow I missed the article in the paper and only now noticed it online while looking for something else.

That something else is the bad news. Spitzer has apparently agreed with Bruno to include a pay raise for judges in the budget of 24% and an undisclosed % pay raise for legislators (Bruno asked for 21%). The judges tend to make in the $90k to $140k range, plus they get to be called your Honor and throw people in jail for disrespecting them, but apparently this is too little to get by on. Legislators, essentially a part time job, as many of them are also members of law firms, earn a starting salary of $79k, with more if they are on committees or hold other positions. I'm sorry, but on my current salary I just do not feel their pain. This is an outrage, and I fully intend to formulate a plan to tell my legislators what I think of this. Stay tuned for details. Offers of assistance appreciated.

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