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Movement In NYS 24

The Cook Political Report reported improved chance for a Democratic takeover in the open seat NY 24:

NY-24 Open Seat Toss Up to Lean Democratic

What I Would Do About Transportation Finance

Would-be Governors Eliot Spitzer and John Faso are saying the right things about transportation finance. That is the good news. They want to see major mass transit projects built to support the Manhattan-based economy that is the tax base of the entire state. Spitzer called the finances of the MTA the “greatest transportation concern” and said fare and toll increases, increased local funding, and other tax increases, as well as efficiencies, would be required – reversing 12 years of policy. Faso agreed. They both called for weaning the MTA off debt by going to pay-as-you-go financing; hopefully they have the same idea about financing road construction elsewhere in the state. The candidates even mentioned making tough decisions, a big change after the something-for-nothing-now, then move-to-Florida-later policies of the recent past. All good.

Of Spitzer, Faso, Hevesi, Pirro, Gay Marriage, Gatemouth, Wonk and Cheap Shots.

Right here on Room Eight- over a month ago (9/28/06) - I proffered that John Faso was absolutely correct in calling for Alan Hevesi’s resignation as State Comptroller (see my column “Faso/Spitzer”). I also felt that up to that point in time Eliot Spitzer had downplayed the seriousness of Hevesi’s actions. I proffered that Hevesi had lost his credibility and had abused the public trust. I stated flatly that I couldn’t vote for him. I even went further to state that he was unfit to hold this office. I also said that Spitzer should be moving “to establish and uphold higher standards of ethics, decency and behavior” (observe that I never used the word ‘morality’ here) for public officials. That was over a month ago.

Why is there no NYC law against jumping from (or climbing up) tall buildings?

New York City has many tall buildings. Is there really no law at all against climbing up or jumping off tall buildings?

A BASE jumper who tried to jump off of the Empire State Building made the front page ofthe Daily News ("Holy Chute!"). In his defense this week, his lawyer argued that there's no law against what the BASE jumper was planning to do (from the NY Times article):

"Mr. Heller said that his client, Mr. Corliss, had made more than 1,000 jumps around the world, without hurting anyone. Besides, the lawyer said, there is no law against jumping off a building in New York State."

Robert Novak - Wrong Again!

Saturday’s Robert Novak column included this whopper -

"Recipients of mail from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) were surprised this past week to receive a fund-raising appeal signed by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright."

"Secretaries of state, by tradition, stay away from partisan politics while in office. Former holders of the position generally follow the same practice. Nobody can remember fund-raising solicitations from Colin Powell, Warren Christopher or Henry Kissinger."

The "Son of Star" (aka Bruno's) Check Has Arrived

It came in today's mail. It is for $57.82.

Gee, perhaps despite just about the highest state and local tax burden in the United States (including a virtually unique local income tax), schools I for the most part couldn't send my kids to, libraries open a few hours four days per week, and an infrastructure future threatened by soaring debts, perhaps the State of New York isn't so bad after all. WRONG! And the "bastard child of STAR" proposals by the candidates for Governor to expand the system don't thrill me either.

Barack Obama as a Presidential Candidate

Okay Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois, is all over the news. He's considering running for President and has a lot of people encouraging him. Oprah Winfrey practically begged him to run. George Clooney endorsed him. Even David Brooks, the conservative new york times columnist, is encouraging him to run. Donna Brazile, Al Gore's campaign manager, is reportedly already advising him.

So the question becomes, is Barack Obama the real deal? Should he run for President? Would his lack of experience be a factor? Charlie Krauthammer said in his op-ed piece in the Washington Post that he encourages Obama to run, but that he can't win because americans don't elect inexperienced people to the Presidency during wartime.

A Message from Vice President Dick Cheney

I got this email yesterday, and I thought it was amusing and clever:

Date: Fri Oct 27 11:47:29 2006
From: Dick Cheney, MoveOn.org Political Action <moveon-help@list.moveon.org>
To: [Redacted]
Subject: DO NOT go to a MoveOn party this weekend

"Dear" MoveOn member,

I've commandeered the MoveOn email system to deliver an urgent message from the White House: DO NOT go to one of these MoveOn Pre-Halloween phone parties this weekend!

According to my intelligence briefings, MoveOn members will be calling progressive voters in key congressional districts and asking them to vote. That could tip the election!

These insidious phone parties are all over the place. There's even one right near you. So whatever you do, DO NOT follow the link below to find and R.S.V.P. for a phone party this weekend.

BLoomberg, Independent Candidate For President?

Bloomberg's press secretary has said that his principal is not running for president, but this quote in today's NY Times makes it sound like they are at least road testing the framing for a run.

“There is no independent network,” said Stu Loeser, Mr. Bloomberg’s chief spokesman, who played the same role in the re-election effort. “To a certain extent, we were the last independent campaign.”

And perhaps the next one?

Balls on the Pope

Early last week, busy campaign workers from the Working Families Party (WFP) began dropping flyers in coastal Brownstone Brooklyn encouraging people to vote for Eliot Spitzer. How puzzling!

The victory of the candidate these hours of house to house physical labor were ostensibly being expended upon was such a foregone conclusion that he was already being treated as the Governor-Elect in all but name even by the opposition party (and sometimes even they slipped and called him Governor). Moreover, since there were no local races in serious contention, this clearly wasn’t a ruse to draw out votes to help other candidates. Perhaps this was an effort to draw votes to the Party’s statewide AG candidate, currently leading by only 20 points, or the party’s candidate for Comptroller. But, even if firmly committed to Hevesi, surely the real passions of the Party’s volunteers lie elsewhere (although the Comptroller has made innovative strides in ensuring that New York State provides para-transit services to the differently-abled; clearly he is committed to the cause of "Economic Just-us"). And, if one were doing this for GOTV purposes, surely one would be trying to juice the vote in low turnout areas rather than among the sort of affluent white voters who never miss a general election (and, if Hevesi were the cause, might be likely to join the Times in jumping ship).

A Little More on Near-Upstate Overdevelopment

The day after I posted a proposed solution to over-development issues in the portions of Upstate New York closest to New York City, both the New York Times and the Poughkeepsie Journal had articles on the subject. They are worth a read if you are interested in what people are concerned about elsewhere in the state. From the Journal:

"Increasingly I see it. You look up on a hill or a mountain and all of a sudden there are houses there that weren't there before. It feels like New Jersey. It's worrisome," said Carolyn Torella, a lifelong Dutchess County resident who lives in LaGrange. "I appreciate the landscape and the beauty of the area. It's a shame to see it go so quickly. My hope is there can be some middle ground between open space and development."

Home Aides

Govenor Pataki, I am sure, can't help but feel compassion for Alan Hevesi. After all, if Hevesi had only followed the Pataki model and arranged to put Mrs. Hevesi's driver on the state party payroll...

I don't quite have this link thing down, but here's the URL for the Times story in which the Governor conceded that the Republican Party was paying $50,000 for his wife's personal assistant.

Note also that once again, a woman getting paid less than a man for similar assignments.

LunchBox: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

In today's LunchBox, host Adam Green on: Alan Hevesi, Chris Callaghan, Eliot Spitzer, John Spencer, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Max Shreck, nerds, cheerleaders and more...

New York Times endorsement shocker: Callaghan for Comptroller

We were all wondering what the New York Times would do. Wonder no more.

Hevesi has reached that "Nixon moment," that time when even your friends tell you to pack it in. Wow!:

But one of the main jobs of the comptroller is to make sure people who handle taxpayers’ money understand the very clear line between their personal expenditures and the public treasury. There is no way Mr. Hevesi can fulfill that vital role anymore.

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.