Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Albany's Three Card Monte Game: Pols Attacking Their Own Actions - Students are Pawns

Albany's Three Card Monte
Game: Pols Attacking Their Own Actions

Students are Pawns

Last night was full of pols on in the media attacking the MTA for cutting services. Tears were flowing as elected officials joined with students told the media and public that it was outrageous to eliminate student bus passes. What the news conferences of outrage did not say it was the responsibility of Albany and City Hall to provide funds or implement cost cutting measures to run the trains. Paterson was on TV last night declaring that if tax receipts pick up in the new year, he will personally restore the children's school bus passes. With Saks cosmetics staff face cuts at flagship don't hold your breath. Meanwhile everyone is dealing for the press and public. The MTA is proposing cuts that would hit riders on an emotional level may be the best chance for the cash-strapped agency, which is facing a nearly $400 million budget shortfall, to eke out additional money from the political powers that often hold it at bay. The state, slashed its annual subsidy for bus passes to $6 million from $25 million in November as part of a broader cost-saving plan. Two weeks ago lawmakers stole $143 million of the MTA's money for their own deficit. Albany was also overoptimistic about what taxes and fees on taxi rides would bring in to save the MTA. DN Editorial: Masters of the disaster The DN Editorial "The millions of New Yorkers who ride the subways, buses and commuter lines are first up for the numerous punishments about to be inflicted on the public, thanks to gross and enduring mismanagement of state government." * Poll: People Don't Like the Legislature. Really They Don't Care The state Senate puts language in the DRP to ease their ability to dole out pork. (DN) The Public Does Q Poll: Legislature Hits All-Time Low

Quinn's Democracy?
The city has not increased it payment to the MTA despite rising costs since the Giuliani administration. Copenhagen Mike see the bus pass crisis as a way to implement congestion pricing Seeing Politics in Plan to Cut Student Transit Aid. Sen. Brian Foley proposes a way to cut the MTA payroll tax, as the agency faces massive deficits. (Newsday$). Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, denounced the authority’s decision-making as “undemocratic.” Would it be democratic for the city to pay it fair share of the student's bus pass costs? She did not mention at her press conference or was not asked by our aggressive press about former Councilman Martinez statement "I was able to engage in these schemes because I was a New York City councilman." after he got 5 Years for Stealing $100,000 The press enables corrupt in the council when it allows the pols to continue their version of the cop's "Blue Wall of Silence," about corruption in their ranks. “Martinez betrayed his office and violated his oath of office, and did so over a prolonged period of time,” the Judge Crotty said. Would it be interesting to know what the speaker feels about Martinez and the dozens of other councilmembers who used the city's slush fund and member items to pay family members and get themselves elected. The City Council Dishonor Roll - The Shame of New York * Ex-Councilman Miguel Martinez Sentenced to 5 Years in Theft of $106,000 (NYT) From True News: Member Item Slush Fund Cover Up * Cover Up At City Hall Continues * Controlling the News: What Happen to the Council Slush Fund Investigation?

MTA Capital vs Labor
Trainwreck Pols' Rx for MTA is disaster Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign has actually called for the MTA to divert funds from its capital spending to cover its labor costs. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn agrees. Russianoff was a moving force to get the city to restart the 2nd Avenue Subway where he now wants to take the money from or does he want to take it away from the maintenance and upkeep of the system? NYP wants the MTA to solve more than half the problem by freezing wages. A freeze for the unionized city workforce alone would save $193 million next year -- and $272 million the year after (NYP) * Student MetroCards get priority

State arbitrators decided the raises based on what other unions have got -- specifically, the city's DC-37. Last fall (a month after Lehman Bros. fell), Mayor Bloomberg awarded DC-37's 100,000 workers the same generous wages as the TWU later got (albeit for two years, not three) *** Bus fuss in Bronx Cuts to strand 1000s

I was against it before I was for it Flip-flop gov is now a 'charter' member Paterson changed his mind and now supports increase in the number of Charter Schools

The Only Agent of Change in NY FBI It not the Goo Goos, Pols, Editorial Boards or the reformers. In the last years alone the FBI put half of the leaders in the state in jail or out of office. Now they have turned there attention to the political activist party have has taken over the city Working Families Party Documents Subpoenaed * Working Families Party Documents Subpoenaed The press continued their role as corruption enablers by not asking the two new citywide elected officials and councilmemebers their opinion of the FBI actions against the party that elected them. * US Attorney Subpoenas Working Families Party, and Bill de Blasio Too * Liu Gets the Working Families Party | The New York Observer * Working Families » WFP Announces NYC Endorsements * More recently, the party has come under scrutiny for allegedly floating city campaign rules on spending and reporting requirements. Will de Blasio subpoenas be the nail in the coffin that finally kills the Public Advocate position?

When a campaign finance law is not really a law
The leader of the WFP spins that his party did not break any campaign finance laws. What Canter fails to include in his spin press release is that pols write those finance law with loopholes so that nobody is in violaton of the law. "We welcome this inquiry," said Dan Cantor, the head of the Working Families Party, in a public statement. He said the probe will prove "[o]ur work has complied with both the spirit and letter of New York City’s Campaign Finance Law as well as all relevant state and federal election laws, tax and not-for-profit corporation laws." The WFP first post election victor is not being met with must with the level of support it received in the council by the press. The council did not judge the Kingsbridge Armory but voted on it in their normal pattern of your scratch my back and I will yours. This is the system that allows the slush funds and rip offs of member items Bronx blackmail City Council voted 45-1 to reject the bid from developer Related Cos. to refurbish the decaying Kingsbridge Armory and fill it with retail outlets (NYP) *** The Bronx's unemployment rate stands at a whopping 13.4 percent -- the highest in the state. Some 29 percent of Bronxites use food stamps -- compared to 18 percent citywide.*** Many left debating canned Armory plan * Limited clout of Bloomberg, Quinn doomed Kingsbridge Armory deal The Peoples Republic of New York? Gary Larbera notes "In late negotiations that broke down between the Bloomberg administration and City Council, a living wage wasn't even on the table. Instead, discussions focused on a package of subsidies to bridge the gap between wages typically paid to retail workers and a living wage." * Oliver Koppell said, "I'm very annoyed at the mayor's office" because they withdrew a plan to boost pay for some Kingsbridge jobs * Dance of the Dunces Council Rejects Stores At Kingsbridge Armory, Losing $310M Investment, Three Thousand New Jobs Over Demands on Wages (Henry Stern NY Civic)

Wall Street is clueless and does not care
A Tax Break for Citigroup With Payback of Bailout

Gov of La Mancha Albany
Paterson warns of 'real debacle' for funding New York City's cultural institutions are on red alert in anticipation of cuts in government funding next year. And that's not all *Paterson warns of 'real debacle' for museums, education, seniors if budget gap isn't closed ** Gov. signs foreclosure law to protect homeowners *** Voters are divided on many issues from gay marriage to how to fix the state legislature. (TU) *** Legislators are criticizing Paterson over school payment delays. (Kingston Daily Freeman) *** Government watchdogs want Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch to seek an opinion on soliciting foundation money for his staff. (DN) *** Paterson backs a doubling the state’s school charters. (NYP/ DN) *** Paterson shows no sign of stepping out of the 2010 race, in fact, according to his consultant, Bill Lynch, he's "stepping up his game."Election 21010 Thompson runs strong vs. Gilly

Pay to Play
New Yorkers want restrictions on state lawmakers outside work

New York and Terrorism
Fed task force for 9/11 trial *** A troop surge won’t work in Afghanistan unless there is a parallel surge against those who promote jihadism online (Friedman NYT) *** Zuccotti: Green shoots at Ground Zero *** Split opinions over 9/11 terror trial at Cadman Plaza courthouse
New York Economic Melt Down Saks cosmetics staff face cuts at flagship *** New York’s Fiscal Crisis New York is in dire straits; Gov. David Paterson is rightly trying to cope by delaying $750 million in payments to schools and local governments *** Paterson: Museums face nightmare from state budget gap *** "We are in an era of threadbare ambition," writes Jim Dwyer, who questions spending $19.5 million in stimulus funds to build a Bronx parking garage *** Thruway toll hike in January Law and Order Jugheads, beg off AG Cuomo put a lid on the UHO yesterday when a judge granted an injunction forbidding the allegedly bogus charity to solicit spare change *** Devil thief rips off Astoria church gems *** Take a whack at your hack New website lets riders make instant complainants *** Busts in 3 states, including NY, over Medicare fraud *** Cuomo accuses NJ firm of preying on unemployed *** United Homeless Organization Told to Remove Sidewalk Tables *** Woman pleads guilty to loud sex; told to stop screaming (DN) *** Assailant listed on Adelphi Academy's board

You Want to Bet Future Pay to Play Bingo! for LI tribe -- could get casino *** U.S. Eases Way to Recognition for Shinnecock *** U.S. Clears Way to Recognition for Shinnecock Tribe

More City News
Atlantic Yards bonds sell for $511M *** Moody's gives $500M in Nets bonds thumbs up *** NYC BigApps competition draws a crowd *** New Bedford bike protest will keep cops abreast

White House O-ptimistic on health bill after Dem confab *** Doubts About Certitude Defense Secretary Robert Gates helped create the mess in Afghanistan decades ago and now has to try to clean it up *** Obama Pitches 'Cash for Caulkers' *** Obama Health Care Meeting Aims to Rally Senators *** In a Federal Case Over ‘State Secrets,’ a Question of Whether Evidence Is Too Secret *** Couple 'crashed' Obama breakfast just 2 weeks before Salahis *** There could be up to 56,000 more contractors in Afghanistan to go along with the 30,000 troop surge. (WP) *** Obama Urges Senate Dems to Pass Health Bill - Michael Scherer, Time *** Obama Admin Resists Breaking Up Wall Street - Michael Hirsh, Newsweek *** Can Obama Make America Go Green? - Klaus Brinkbäumer, Der Spiegel *** The 35-Year War on the CIA - Arthur Herman, Commentary *** U.S. Advances Plans to Close Guantanamo - Anna Fifield, Financial Times *** Last Sales Pitch: Obama's False Urgency - New Hampshire Union Leader *** Why Obama Needs To Make 2010 The Year of the Jobs - Joel Kotkin, Forbes *** The Pessimists Are Wrong: Jobs Are on The Way! - Daniel Gross, Slate

Congress The Million-Dollar Man Senator Joseph Lieberman’s support for health care reform seems hypocritical. He’s has taken $1 million from the insurance industry and is now against an over-55 Medicare buy-in *** Democrats Put Off Some Difficult Issues Until 2010 *** New Immigration Bill Is Introduced in House *** Bernanke Tells Senate Panel Rising Inflation Is Unlikely *** U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer reportedly gets fresh with a US Airways flight attendant over using his cell phone *** The Senate rejects a plan to allow prescription drug imports. (AP) *** Chris Cilizza breaks down why Joseph Lieberman “rules the political world.” (WP) *** The House votes to turn down noisy tv ads. (AP) *** Public Cools Further on Health Plans - Balz & Cohen, Washington Post *** We Need Bipartisan Reform - Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Union Leader *** The Search for 60 - Steve Benen, Washington Monthly *** In Need of a Watchdog on Health Spending - Ruth Marcus, Washington Post *** Hide the Decline ... and More - David Harsanyi, Denver Post *** House Keeps Spending Like There's No Tomorrow - Detroit News *** Even in Faltering Economy, Health Reform Needed - Houston Chronicle *** Schumer refers to female flight attendant as the b-word *** WATCH Colbert: Senile Lieberman Suffering From 'Joe-Mentia'

Political Party Democrats' Ads Slam Republicans as Cozy With Wall Street
Wall Street Economy bubbles up with wholessale inflation *** Best Buy sinks on Wal-Mart threat *** Goldman suit over bonus $ *** As Goldman Thrives, Some Say an Ethos Has Faded *** Obama writes letter to his new pen pal -- dictator Kim Jong Il *** WATCH: Stengel Unveils Bernanke As TIME Person Of The Year *** Economics 101: How Little They Know - Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe *** The Case for Optimism on the Economy - Alan Blinder, Wall Street Journal *** How Likely is Hyperinflation? - Peter Bernholz, The American *** Reinstate Tougher Rules on Bankers - Seattle Times *** The Bond Market's Locust Cycle - Doug Kass, *** Fed's Road to Neutral Is Riddled With Potholes - Caroline Baum, Bloomberg *** Assets at Funds of Hedge Funds Drop by Nearly Half Since Peak *** E*Trade Sees Trading Volume Slump in NovemberPay to Play Wall Street Feds charge Raj *** Billionaire indicted in Galleon case

Environment 'Pollution victim' Mike gasping *** UN climate sham - evil Mugabe an honored guest *** Police Clash With Climate Protesters *** State Energy Plan Promotes Clean, Efficient Alternatives *** Survey Finds Street-Level Air Pollution in Manhattan