Featured Posts

What I Would Do About Upstate: Part 4

My previous posts on Upstate concerned the portion of the region that is too far away to receive any economic benefit from proximity to Manhattan, the area roughly north and west of State Route 10 and, in the mid to northern Adirondacks, Route 30.  South and west of there, in the eastern Adirondacks, the Catskills, and the Hudson Valley, the economic conditions are different, and so is the issue.  The issue is over-development, and the loss of the natural and rural attributes that draw people to the area to begin with.  When I was a child, my parents took me to northern Westchester County to pick apples.  We brought our children to Northern Dutchess County to do the same.  Projecting current trends forward, our grandchildren will have to head for Washington County to find the first pick-your-own orchard.

Not Rushing Into HAVA

Earlier this year, a federal court ruled that New York State must choose new voting machines by the beginning of 2007. Because of this, many are calling for New York's immediate compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act, not least of which are the lobbyists representing the electronic voting machine industry.

I believe we should take this time to learn from the mistakes of states who rushed into compliance with 2002 federal HAVA standards, including systems absent a voter verifiable paper-trail and inadequate facilities for voters with disabilities. Rushing is not the answer and has undermined the voting process in many parts of the country.

LunchBox: Hevesi Spoke

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: Alan Hevesi and Chris Callaghan

Scott's First 300 Days


Scott, like all the Manhattan Beep candidates last year, promised to do more with the office than Clara did. Granted that this is very low hurdle to jump, I'm wondering how he's doing. The standard measure of how well a new elected is doing is the first 100 days, well, this week Scott will have had 300.

We know that post Charter Revision, the Beeps have very little power and in the Mayor Mike Era, the Beep's budgets were seriously cut. Thus, it might be difficult to accomplish even the same amount that Clara did (which would be, basically, nothing).

"Forgotten New York" is now a book (or, forget those tourist buses)

Kevin Walsh's "Forgotten New York" website is now a book. Forget those double-decker tour buses and their "entertainers"! (See prior post.) Read a book and walk NYC yourself!

Francis Marrone has written wonderfully on New York himself, and he reviews Walsh's book in today's New York Sun:

Kevin Walsh started his Web site,"Forgotten New York," in March 1999. It rapidly became one of the most popular New York City-related Web sites, with a core viewership of fanatical devotees who, like Mr. Walsh himself, see and live in another New York, a city with a past, and a city of parts, where the small, the local, and the authentic exist in as great abundance as you please.

What I Would Do About Upstate: Part 3

I exited college during the severe recession of the early 1980s, making graduate school seem attractive, and then exited graduate school during the housing bubble of the late 1980s.  Having had a housing markets class in graduate school, realizing the bubble (like this one) would burst, but unsure how long it would take, my wife and I had a plan.  We would live as cheaply as possible, save our money, and then move to a metro area in reasonably-priced Upstate New York, where we had attended college and actually liked the cool summers, lovely falls, and snowy winters (we won’t talk about March, April, and May).  For a variety of reasons – our increasing ties to the city and the end of the bubble here included – it never happened.  But one factor was we found that none of the Upstate metro areas had a large and diverse enough labor market to allow us to have careers.  Perhaps we could get a job, but it might be the job, and it would be very difficult to get another one without moving.  In other words we didn’t move to Upstate New York, in part, because none of the Upstate Metro areas, by itself, is a significant place anymore.  That is a problem Upstate will have to overcome.

Reality Check Needed: Can Wave Sweep Republicans? No. Can the Democrats Gain a Majority? Maybe.

Let’s start out by saying that this election is nothing like 1994 or any other wave mid-term election, whether or not it has been nationalized by events or issues.  In reality, to think of ’94 as a wave caused by a couple of bad years for the Clinton presidency combined with a revolution involving a shift of  ideology in the electorate to a more conservative agenda is too simple. 

Those two factors were a part of the reason so many seats changed sides, but reapportionment of district lines and party organization were more responsible for making the win so big; and those later two facts are making it hard for the Democrats to repeat the Republican success in this year’s election.  It also exposes a continuing problem for the Democrats.

LunchBox: Half-Pounder

Because of all sorts of technical difficulties (pls excuse our mess; we're upgrading the site), we present you only half of today's scheduled LunchBox performance - in the raw and uncut.

Tax Cutter Joh Faso's Running Mate Proposes Tax Increase

Vanderhoef proposes sales tax hike for 2007


You can read all about it, here.

Spitzer Raps Congressional Delegation For NY's Unfair Share

via the Examiner

"We have not had a delegation that has been as organized as the delegations of other states in focusing on what we need to bring back for New York," said Spitzer. "We have to do a lot better at getting our fair share from Washington."


An Endorsement For Comptroller

On September 26, 2006, I became the first prominent partisan NY Democratic blogger to declare he could not vote for Alan Hevesi’s re-election. This was two days before Rock Hackshaw, who given his September 18 endorsement of Jeanine Pirro, is obviously somewhat less driven than I am by rigid standards of ideology (and given that he still supports Pirro, is also seemingly somewhat less driven by rigid standards of morality, at least on subjects other than same-sex marriage)[OK Wonk, you owe me dinner].

I [Heart] Adam and Ben

Adam Headroom
Here are two unrelated thoughts:

1) Who is Adam Green and where did he come from? I've been very amused by the LunchBox and look forward to it each day. But, I repeat, who is he and where did he come from? Was he lurking on the blogs since the Politicker was the only game in town, only to recently reveal himself? Is he related to John Stewart? Does he think maybe it's time for a haircut? Is he really a computer generated character, a 21st Century Max Headroom if you will, created by Gur? Hmmm, maybe he's the elusive Gatemouth? I must know! (and not just cuz I have a little crush going on).

What I Would Do About Upstate: Part 2

How does this sound for an economic development slogan:  “Upstate New York, we’re just like everyplace else, except we’re older, we’re colder, we have lots of toxic contamination left over from the industrial era, we have high taxes not for services but to pay for the debts and pensions of the past, and we are highly unionized and expect higher pay and more restrictive work rules than other parts of the country.”  Well, that’s the truth isn’t it?  It isn’t the whole truth, not by a long shot.  But if Upstate New York continues position itself in the economy based on being “just like everyplace else,” it is the only truth that matters.

Hillary's Humanization

Perhaps the only underreported byproduct of John Spencer’s ruminations on Hillary Clinton’s alleged physical transformation is that it opened a door for the soon-to-be two-term Senator to act in a way rarely seen since she blew through upstate on her Senate “listening tour” in 2000 and captured a supposedly impossible chunk of votes from north of New York City – she seemed, well, real.

There is little doubt that the former first lady is wildly popular throughout the state and will win re-election be a healthy margin in two weeks. But if one complaint consistently crops up from the barrooms of Buffalo to the steakhouses of Staten Island, it’s that nothing comes out of her mouth until it’s been polled, mulled and triangulated to death.