Thursday, March 31, 2011
In response to a Freedom of Information request for the job description of the deputy, Legislature Clerk Ted Jerrett responded in a March 23 letter that as an exempt class title, there is no job description.
The county is in the process of exempting the position and the New York State Civil Service Department states that until a ruling is made by the Civil Service Commission, the position is not exempt.
“We can confirm that the title Deputy County Clerk of Operations in Oswego County has not been approved by the State Civil Service Commission for placement in the exempt class. As you are aware, placement of this title in the exempt class was requested in a resolution submitted last year, but the request was withdrawn. Since that time no new request to place Deputy County Clerk of Operations in the exempt class has been submitted.” the State Civil Service Department stated in writing Monday.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
“I think these new rules were written hastily and without much thought to their consequences,” Legislator Amy Tresidder said Monday. “The new rules have severely limited the ability of individual legislators to question any motion and to challenge any improper procedure in committee as well as during full session. These rules limit debate, limit discussion and deliberation. This is not an acceptable way to govern. Taxpayer dollars are at stake here.”
The Senate Democratic Conference Leader, John L. Sampson, stated the following:
“Last month, Governor Cuomo proposed a budget blueprint to change the way business is done in Albany. Senate Republicans passed a budget that was business as usual – unbalanced and unsustainable spending without any way to pay for it.
“New York needs a responsible budget to create good-paying jobs, ensure our children are well educated, reform our health care system, and make New York more affordable for Middle Class families. Instead of meeting that standard and delivering on the Governor’s priorities, the Senate Republican budget protects the wealthy, cuts services to our most vulnerable New Yorkers, and fails to provide the relief our Middle Class families need.
“To hide their fiscal irresponsibility, Senate Republicans pushed through a backroom budget without the public oversight or bipartisan debate New Yorkers deserve anytime their money is being spent. Republicans promised change, but we are learning they don’t keep their word even when given in writing. Unfortunately, all we are seeing is more of the same broken promises and costly mistakes taxpayers can no longer afford.”
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
From the Strong Economy for All Coaltion comes this ad, targeting five Republican State Senators, urging them to pass a "millionaire's tax." The ad sounds like two rich guys happy that they can spend boatloads of extra money, thanks to opposition to this tax.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The decision, issued by Judge Maryann Sumi of the Dane County Circuit Court in Madison, temporarily bars the Wisconsin secretary of state from publishing the law, which limits bargaining to matters of wages. The fight over the law has drawn tens of thousands of demonstrators to the State Capitol, and the issue has become a focus of debate in numerous statehouses.
Publication of the law — a procedural requirement needed before it can take effect — had been expected next week. But Judge Sumi’s ruling could delay that until at least later in the month, when she plans to hold a full hearing on a lawsuit that accuses Republican lawmakers of violating the Wisconsin open meeting requirements to push through the bill. State officials said they were pursuing an appeal of the restraining order.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Staffers will be at the Sandy Creek municipal building from 9 a.m. to noon and the Snow Memorial Building in Pulaski from 1 to 4 p.m.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
In a letter sent today to Bonacic and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Koch noted the bill in question – S3331 – “would not apply for the current redistricting cycle to be completed next year and therefore would not meet the requirements of the New York Uprising pledge, which specifies that the reforms apply to the redistricting pursuant to the 2010 Census.”
The former mayor says that if the Republicans want to go the constitutional amendment route, which requires passage by two separately elected Legislatures and a public referendum, after passing a bill that would apply to the 2012 elections, “no one would object to that.”
Koch does not employ the dreaded “e” word – that would be “enemy” of course – either in this letter or at a press conference at City Hall in Lower Manhattan this afternoon. He appears to be holding out hope that a deal might yet be worked out and sticking to the “more flies with honey” strategy for the moment.
There will be robocalls going out, although there’s no date set for those yet, in which Koch tells constituents of senators who signed his NY Uprising pledge that they now appearing to be renegging on that promise.
Friday, March 11, 2011
The survey of 603 adults, conducted by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) between Feb. 27 and March 1, included a question asking respondents whether they are likely to vote in the 2012 elections. Poll respondents typically overstate their true voting intentions on these sorts of questions, and the WPRI survey is no exception: Nearly four out of five respondents (79 percent) said they are "almost certain to vote," while another 8 percent said they will "probably vote," even though the actual turnout among eligible adults in 2008 was 72.1 percent. Nevertheless, these responses provide a crude indicator of intentions, as those who say they intend to vote are more likely to turn out.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Speaking at a think-tank breakfast in Paris, Soros said the budget standoff between President Barack Obama's Democratic administration and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would force severe cuts in public services.
"While currently the U.S. economy is improving, that is going to be a serious brake on that in terms of employment and effective demand," he said.
"So I am a little bit less optimistic for the U.S. economy than most people are currently."
Republicans have so far refused to consider tax increases as part of any deficit-cutting effort.
Lawmakers crafted another stopgap spending bill in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday to keep the government running while the Senate set votes for Wednesday on two longer-term measures that appeared doomed to failure.
Soros, who created the giant Quantum hedge fund but describes himself as retired, said the Republican strategy "has a good chance of succeeding because the policy is very popular. But it is not really feasible to reduce spending to the extent necessary to balance the budget."
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch, the founder of New York Uprising, is pushing for the passage of the governor's program bill (A.5388/S.3419) which would reform New York's decennial redistricting process by having an independent commission redraw district lines instead of the Legislature. The plan is part of an effort to eliminate the drawing of legislative district lines — Senate, Assembly and congressional districts — to benefit a particular candidate or political party.
"For decades, we have been suffering under the crushing weight of a dysfunctional political system where redistricting has been done to protect incumbent politicians and political parties in power. We think that gerrymandering is a perversion of democracy and creates fixed fights where the outcome is predetermined before the first round even begins," said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, who sponsored a redistricting bill earlier this session, but is backing Cuomo's plan now.
Koch and New York Uprising authored the "heroes of reform" pledge that was signed by 84 sitting Assembly members and 54 senators, including Skelos, who promised to pass redistricting and ethics reforms.
This week, Congress could cut a deal on the budget. And if Republicans get their way, billions will be cut from vital programs that millions of Americans count on—while tax cuts for the richest are protected.
But most people don't have any idea what's at stake—and how devastating these cuts would be to their communities—even though the cuts could take effect within weeks. So we're launching an emergency campaign to spread the word. Republicans want to gut programs with enormous public support, and hope no one notices. So it's up to all of us to spark a public outcry before it's too late.
The devastating impact these cuts will have on our country—and on your community—is unprecedented. Check out the list below. If we can get it out to a million people, we can start to sound the alarm and stop the GOP.
The Republican budget would:
1. Destroy 700,000 jobs, according to an independent economic analysis.
3. Cut $1.3 billion from community health centers—which will deprive more than 3 million low-income people of health care over the next few months.
4. Cut nearly a billion dollars in food and health care assistance to pregnant women, new moms, and children.
5. Kick more than 200,000 children out of pre-school by cutting funds for Head Start.
6. Force states to fire 65,000 teachers and aides, dramatically increasing class sizes, thanks to education cuts.
7. Cut some or all financial aid for 9.4 million low- and middle-income college students.
8. Slash $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, a cut that experts say would "send shockwaves" through cancer research, likely result in cuts to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research, and cause job losses.
9. End the only federal family planning program, including cutting all federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood to support cancer screenings and other women's health care.
10. Send 10,000 low-income veterans into homelessness by cutting in half the number of veterans who get housing vouchers this year.
1. "GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says," The Washington Post, February 28, 2011
2. "GOP budget would cut funding for public broadcasting," The Washington Independent, February 14, 2011
3. "NACHC Statement in Response to the Budget from the House Appropriations Committee," National Association of Community Health Centers website, accessed March 4, 2011
4."Bye Bye, Big Bird. Hello, E. Coli.," The New Republic, February 12, 2011
House Republican Spending Cuts Target Programs For Children And Pregnant Women
5. "Obama and the GOP's Spending Cuts: Where's the Outrage?" Mother Jones, February 18, 2011
7. "Deficit Reduction on the Backs of the Most Vulnerable," Center for American Progress, March 2011
8. "The GOP Budget and Cancer—Why New Research Is at Risk," Politics Daily, February 27, 2011
"Republican Budget Cuts at Heart of Medical Research: Albert Hunt," Bloomberg, February 20, 2011
"Durbin: Cuts to NIH put research jobs at risk," Business Week, February 28, 2011
9. "GOP Spending Plan: X-ing Out Title X Family Planning Funds," Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011
10. "House GOP Spending Cuts Would Prevent 10,000 Low-Income Veterans From Receiving Housing Assistance," Think Progress, March 1, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
ALBANY -- State Senate Democrats on Monday kept up their push for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's independent redistricting bill, this time employing a procedural rule designed to prevent legislation from becoming buried in committee.
Bethlehem's Neil Breslin, the chamber's deputy minority leader, was escorted by freshman Democrats Michael Gianaris of Queens, Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx and Tim Kennedy of Buffalo to present a petition to the Rules Committee asking for a public hearing on Cuomo's redistricting bill.
The petition, which had to be signed by a third of the members of Rules to be considered, can be rejected by a majority vote of the full committee -- but that's a potentially embarrassing task for the chamber's majority Republicans, all of whom signed a pledge before last fall's elections asserting their support for redistricting reform.
Monday, March 7, 2011
The recent vow by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) that he "can't compromise" with Democratic legislators on union rights runs sharply counter to preferences of Wisconsinites, according to a new survey of the state sponsored by a conservative think tank.
The poll, conducted last week and sponsored by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), finds nearly two-thirds of the state's adults (65 percent) prefer that Walker "negotiate with Democrats and public employee's unions in order to find a compromise solution" to the "current conflict over public employee benefits and collective bargaining rights." A third (33 percent) prefer the alternative, that Walker "stand strong for the plan he has proposed no matter how long the protests go on."
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
“After the public hearing, a resolution would be adopted and sent to the state commission,” said Tom Falcon, principal municipal personnel consultant for the New York State Department of Civil Service.
“They can classify the position and it can be created and filled but all positions are competitive unless it’s removed from the class,” he added.
The position was questioned during the Feb. 23 of the Legislature’s Community and Consumer Affairs Committee when a resolution was brought forth to recognize the position as non-competitive for the purpose of Civil Service.
Legislator James Karasek asked why the legislature had waited two years to bring forth the resolution in regard to the position.
Personnel Director Carol Alnutt responded that the entire packet that had been sent to the state Civil Service Department had been lost.
That is not true, according to Nancy Kiyonaga, director of commission of operations. She said the county withdrew the request last year.
UPDATE: There appears to be a legal question of the title of Deputy County Clerk. State law does not allow for the title the county is asking for as a deputy clerk. The question then is did the county illegally appoint the deputy clerk?
Friday, March 4, 2011
I wrote two weeks ago about how Gov. Scott Walker's so-called budget repair bill was part of a larger Republican war on the working class. And the events of the last two weeks have backed that up.
Walker's proposed budget, released yesterday, cuts taxes for the wealthy while drastically reducing funds for education. (Apparently Walker admires his colleagues in Southern red states, where low education spending directly correlates with low student achievement.) Howard Schweber did a great job outlining the insidiousness of Walker's budget.
And we were treated to Walker speaking to a blogger pretending to be David Koch, making it clear that he is on a mission to return Wisconsin to the 1920s, regardless of how policies affect the state's non-millionaire citizens. (Not to mention that national far-right conservative groups like Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity are running ads in Wisconsin defending Walker.)
Now, there are worrisome signs that they may break their word.
Mr. Skelos lately seems to be going out of his way not to say that he and his conference will pass legislation that will create a more independent redistricting process before — and this is the key — new lines are drawn. Even Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who many considered an opponent of this reform, says he is willing to come up with a bill that would make it happen this year.
We’re hardly the only ones suspicious that all that fanfare of signing the pledge was just a ploy to get elected and regain the Senate majority. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, whose organization, New York Uprising, promoted the redistricting pledge, declared after a meeting with Mr. Skelos on Tuesday, “He is not going to honor his commitment.”
Mr. Skelos did issue a statement later that gave Mr. Koch some hope. We are not so encouraged.
Here are the relevant parts of his statement:
“It is our intention to pursue a redistricting reform measure that will meet the NY Uprising pledge.
“As the State Constitution gives the Legislature the sole authority to draw district lines, the strongest plan would amend the constitution to establish a process that is truly fair, bipartisan and constitutionally sound.”
Where to begin?
The statement is irrelevant. Not everyone agrees the Legislature holds sole authority here. Even so, it could satisfy the issue by retaining limited power to tinker with an independent board’s proposal.
The statement is misleading. Amending the Constitution takes approval by two consecutive legislatures, and a public vote. That couldn’t happen at least until 2013. This round of redistricting will be long over, which means a constitutional reform would have no practical effect until after the 2020 Census. That’s a decade or more of living with the Legislature’s infamously gerrymandered districts, contorted for no other real reason than to let the majorities in both chambers pick their voters and keep their power.
The statement is evasive. The pledge itself didn’t actually cite when redistricting reform would take effect. It was clear, though, from all the supporting documentation that it referred to the upcoming reapportionment.
This does not have to be an either-or situation. The Legislature could start the lengthy process of a constitutional amendment while also fashioning a temporary solution to employ now.
Nor can the rest of the Senate Republican conference hide behind Mr. Skelos. The other members are obliged to do the right thing, regardless of how much or how little value Mr. Skelos places on his own word.
The Senate GOP should also consider this: Break this pledge, and you may not be able to find enough voters who trust you to fill even one district in this state.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
ALBANY — Last year, Edward I. Koch placed automated telephone calls to voters on behalf of scores of candidates who signed his pledge to support redrawing Congressional and legislative districts in an independent, nonpartisan manner.
Now Mr. Koch, the former New York City mayor, is picking up the telephone again, but with a very different tone. In the coming weeks, he will record so-called robo calls to the constituents of state legislators whom he deems to have reneged on their redistricting pledge.
“Enemies of reform,” Mr. Koch will call them, and he is ready for a fight. “My hope is that ultimately everybody gets behind this, out of integrity or shame,” he said in a telephone interview on Monday. “Either one’s O.K.”
Mr. Koch’s year-old campaign to rid partisanship from the redistricting process received its biggest boost two weeks ago when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo introduced legislation that would create an independent commission to redraw district boundaries. That arrangement was consistent with Mr. Koch’s pledge, which drew the support of a majority of the State Senate and Assembly.
Still, Mr. Cuomo’s bill faces an uncertain future. The Senate Republican leader, Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, introduced the bill through a procedure that has prevented Senate Democrats from signing on as co-sponsors. Democrats have repeatedly accused Mr. Skelos and his conference, which retook a slim majority in November, of trying to wiggle out of the pledge, which all 32 Senate Republicans signed.