Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And so it begins....

Local businessman and philanthropist Richard Hanna has announced that he'll be running for the 24th Congressional District's seat in the 2010 election.

“I am running as an Independent minded, pragmatic American who believes that it is government’s responsibility to clear the way for individuals to solve problems, to foster all those productive economic and educational elements that create jobs and opportunity, which has allowed our nation’s citizens to enjoy the highest standard of living in the world,” Hanna continued. “We are living at a time of grave consequences as well as opportunity. How we respond is how the future and how our children will judge us.”

This is great news.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Absit Omen

I've decided to take a break and defer to the highest ranked blog in the 24th.

Really, what else need be said?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Arcuri's Bailout Vote Gets Some Attention

On Monday, Congressman Michael Arcuri joined a minority of the House in voting for the abysmal $700 billion dollar bailout plan. Today Mr. Arcuri was targeted by a non-partisan group opposed to the taxpayer funded bailout, No Cash For Trash.

On Friday a revised version of the bailout larded up with even more spending is scheduled to come up for a vote. It doesn't take much effort to figure out how Mr. Arcuri will be voting.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Outside The Walls of Fortress Arcuri

Congressman Michael Arcuri will finally be holding a public meeting with his constituents, in conjunction with Utica Mayor David Roefaro:

October 17th: Mayor Roefaro will be having lunch at The Balkan in South Utica at 12:30, joining him will be Congressman Michael Arcuri.

Make plans to be there. It should be a memorable occasion.

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Sorry about the lack of posts, but I've finally caught up on my workload. Onward!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Blackest Of Blackouts

Today's Observer-Dispatch article on Congressman Arcuri's efforts to portray himself as a political independent didn't have many surprises for anyone that's been following his career. The one thing I did find surprising was this:

Despite numerous requests, Arcuri was not made available for an interview for this story – only submitting e-mailed statements.

Up till now Mr. Arcuri's reluctance to answer questions in an interview could have been explained away, but it's beginning to look like he's actively avoiding any kind of open press availability.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another Pin In The Map

"Unknown Assailant", the most prolific and dangerous gunman in Utica, opened fire again last night:

Two people were shot Wednesday night at the intersection of Jay and Nichols streets, according to Utica police.

Police said Zeffaire Hobbs, 18, and LeShawn Thomas, 17, both of Utica, were being treated for nonlife-threatening injuries at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. Police said the pair was taken to the hospital privately. The shooting happened around 10:05 p.m., police said.

Police are investigating and no arrests have been made.

That means another pin my Crime Tracker map that keeps a record of violent crimes and arsons since the first of the year. It's till horribly undercounting incidents, since I haven't gone back and filled in many crimes from earlier in the year, but it's up to date as far as the last two months are concerned.

Red pins are violent crimes.

Red pins with dots are violent crimes where someone was actually injured or killed.

Yellow pins are arsons.

The blue pin is the home of Mayor David "See no evil, hear no evil" Roefaro.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Morning, America. Rome? Not So Much.

I know this segment about Rome from ABC's "Good Morning America" is causing a bit of a stir, but I'm not sure what the people upset about it are driving at. In essence, the video segment boils down to "This is Rome, New York. There aren't any jobs and people can't afford to live there."

I don't necessarily like the negative portrayal, but you certainly can't fault them for not telling the truth.

No Rest For The Wicked

Sorry about the lack of posts, but I've had a project blow up in my face. I started taking orders for some new artwork on Sunday night and expected to get, maybe, a dozen takers. By Monday afternoon I was trying to keep up with over 40 orders and it's just gotten worse since then.

Hopefully things will slow down a little bit by tonight so I can post something useful. As much as I love you all business has to come first.

Monday, September 15, 2008

NY Times Joins Hanna On Rangel

On Friday, Richard Hanna called for Congressman Michael Arcuri to join him in calling for the resignation of Rep. Charles Rangel:

Congressional candidate Richard Hanna today called on Congressman Michael Arcuri to return donations from embattled Congressman Charles Rangel, D-NY, and join him in calling for Rangel to step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel is embroiled in three separate investigations by the House Ethics Committee, and has balked at calls for his resignation as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Hanna said he believes Mr. Rangel's errors have compromised his credibility and he should step down. He challenged Arcuri to join him in calling for Rangel's resignation.

Now the New York Times has echoed that call:

Mounting embarrassment for taxpayers and Congress makes it imperative that Representative Charles Rangel step aside as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee while his ethical problems are investigated.

This recommendation does not come easily, considering the New York Democrat’s four decades of service in Congress. But Mr. Rangel himself has felt obliged to request three separate House ethics inquiries of his behavior. While denying serious improprieties, Mr. Rangel concedes that he has not lived up to the “higher standard” expected of members of Congress.

His latest admission is that as chief of Congress’s tax-writing committee, he was “irresponsible” in failing to disclose $75,000 in rental income and pay federal and state taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic.

Mr. Arcuri has refused to comment on the matter, much less return the thousands of dollars in political contributions he's accepted from the corrupt Rep. Rangel. Earlier this morning he was scheduled to make on appearance on WIBX's "First Look" program to answer questions on the matter, but a "scheduling conflict" prevented his appearance. Oddly enough, as the hosts of the program discovered when they attempted to carry out the interview over the phone, that "conflict" also shut down his cell phone.

Update: An anonymous emailer claims that Mr. Arcuri's "scheduling conflict" happened because he spent part of the morning shooting a political ad with either or both Sen. Clinton and former Congressman Boehlert. Take that for what it's worth.

New York In Play?

Somewhere on the second level of Hell a long-ignored and lonely winter clothing salesman is raising his eyebrows. Things haven't quite frozen over, but it looks like the temperature is definitely dropping:

BOOSTED by the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, Republican John McCain has experienced a surge of support among women in heavily Democratic New York state - where he has closed the gap with Barack Obama, new private polls show.

The internal Republican and Democratic polls, details of which were provided to The Post, have stunned members of both parties - and produced deep worries among Democrats.

One great concern for Democrats is that the data show a continuous movement toward the McCain-Palin ticket by women, a majority of whom traditionally favor Democrats.

If these polls are accurate it's going to have a huge impact on New York as a whole and, more importantly, our local congressional election. On Saturday I posted that the state was a lock for Mr. Obama, so I should probably Google up some recipes for crow.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hotel Utica Countdown: H+31

It's now been a month since Utica Mayor David Roefaro missed his self-imposed deadline to resolve the Hotel Utica crisis.

Last month, the city's Urban and Economic Development Commissioner, Robert Sullivan, said that he and his crack staff had developed "several plans" to deal with the problem and were in the process of selecting their final solution. Supposedly, as he stated when interviewed by WKTV, we could expect a press conference "in the coming weeks".

Obviously, we're still waiting.

Mr. Roefaro's administration has continued to demonstrate, time and time again, a level of inability to handle this matter that truly boggles the mind. They've now spent months allegedly working on the problem and, despite constant talk of "getting tough" and "cracking down", have absolutely nothing to show for it. In the meantime the city has been on the hook for close to $10,000 a week covering the Hotel's debts.

That leaves us with only two possibilities for why the Roefaro administration continues to hem and haw while the city treasury hemorrhages cash: they're either incompetent or corrupt.

Given Mr. Roefaro's close ties to the owners of Hotel, and his support for the infamous "Friends and Family" plan, we should probably be praying that he's just incompetent.

The Missing Man, Part Deux

Q: Why would a national political campaign ignore a chance to get some free editorial space?

Editor’s note: The O-D invited the national campaigns for presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain to offer commentary on how their election to office would benefit New York state. Repeated attempts to secure a contribution from Obama’s national campaign were unsuccessful.

A: Because they just don't care. Mr. Obama is almost guaranteed to carry New York thanks to the overwhelmingly powerful Democratic machine downstate. Upstate? Not even worth the bother. We just don't matter.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Let The Weekend Begin

Another weekend, another shooting in Utica:

At least one person was shot in East Utica early Friday night.

The victim was being attended to on the porch of 777 Blandina St. before being taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

Utica Public Safety Commissioner Daniel LaBella confirmed at least one person was shot in the 6 p.m. incident.

Police also were believed to be involved in a foot chase with the suspect near Blandina Street but apparently eluded capture, according to police radio transmissions.

And with that, another pin gets added to the Utica Crime Tracker map.

Red is a violent crime.

Red with a dot is a crime where someone was actually injured or killed.

Yellow is an arson.

Blue is Mayor Dave "I'm cleaning up this city, one gum wrapper at a time" Roefaro's home.

View Larger Map

Blame Billy Fuccillo

Over the next few weeks we're going to be inundated with political advertising on both radio and television. You might be surprised to learn that Billy Fuccillo, he of the annoying "Huuuuggggggeeeee!" car commercials, is the reason why.

Mr. Fuccillo spends an absolutely insane amount of money in the local market. In most instances he invites a sales representative from a station in to "discuss" his yearly ad buy, lays a total price and the number of paid and bonus spots he wants on the table, and then walks away. That's it.

What he manages to do using that technique, other than getting an incredible value for his money, is drop his cost per commercial down to almost nothing. In fact, there are some local radio stations where he's effectively charged less than a dollar a spot. The television and cable outlets are pulling in a little more green, but it's still a relative steal. That's why you see and hear his commercials all the time- he purchases so many that stations have to schedule them almost every hour just to meet the terms of their contract.

So why does that mean an avalanche of political ads?

Because stations are forced to sell advertising time to political campaigns at their lowest effective spot rate. At almost every local station that happens to be the price Billy Fuccillo pays, so politicians get the same bargain basement price per spot he does while spending a fraction of the money.