Monthly Archives: January 2008

Spitzer: “Fight for your money”

Any warm fuzzies between Upstate and Downstate generated by Spitzer’s State of the State talks (plural) – were there really any? – seem to have dissipated as Mike Bloomberg wants New York City’s contribution to the $1 billion Upstate Revival Fund cut down. The Rochester D&C opines:

The backdrop for Bloomberg’s complaint is the faltering performance on Wall Street, the mortgage crisis that has hit the financial sector hard and the likelihood that New York City bonuses won’t be the treasure trove for the state that they’ve been in recent years. The Big Apple’s shine has lost its luster.

Meanwhile, Spitzer is doing the usual drop-in visits on Upstate businessmen, but with a new message: “Let’s you and him fight.” (Meanwhile, Frank Cammuso’s cartoon this morning in the PS is just wicked.)

“You have to form a coalition to go to Albany and fight for this fund,” [Spitzer] told a meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York at Syracuse Research Corp. in North Syracuse. “I am personally dedicated to making it real.” … “If we are going to succeed, I need your voices,” he said. “You need to go to Albany in person, by telegram or by Pony Express.”

In other “news,” Peter Vallone is at it again with the NYC secession talk. So much for a new age of Empire State unity.

Nevertheless, I find Spitzer’s fighting talk worth taking to heart on some local issues. “Fight for your money” is going to have to be internalized by anyone who wants to get anything done in a general economic downturn. That goes for any terrific local ideas about free college for city students. Locally, money for initiatives is going to start drying up. Jim Walsh is leaving, and that means the pork faucet is being shut off. Private corporations will have less cash to promise. Alumni donations to universities will falter. Some people, unused to not having plenty of cash to burn, will move on to greener pastures. Now is the time when we’ll see who is really in it to win it, or just in it for the easy going. Nobody will win this fight unless they get out of their remote towers and engage their own people during the hard times, rather than retreating at the first sign of the money drying up.

Giuliani

With Giuliani’s crushing loss in the Florida Republican primary, his national political career appears to be over (unless McCain or some other Republican becomes president and he becomes — gack — head of H@^&$*@land Security). First of all, before anyone gloats too much about this being a ringing defeat of his shameless and extended and increasingly hollow shilling of 9/11 — it’s much more likely that “America’s Mayor” really wasn’t. He was New York City’s mayor, and I don’t know why political pundits will never get it through their heads that New York City’s political icons just don’t have legs nationally. Never have, never will.

From a purely political standpoint, Giuliani represents amazing waste and miscalculation. For his leadership during 9/11 was pretty exceptional, though imperfect, and he — like America at large — had a golden opportunity to seize the moment and make something lasting and constructive out of what had previously been a none-too-perfect record. He didn’t, and we didn’t. Instead, the impulse was to overdramatize very real losses in exactly the wrong way, to confabulate, to self-promote, to just not get that there are some places you’re not meant to go — be it invading Iraq or just Florida (in hopes of running the whole country).

Perhaps an all too predictable outcome, but still worth a moment of silence before the gloating continues. With the Democrats busy destroying themselves on racial and gender issues they’ve foolishly ignored for the past 30 years, we still don’t have any logical captain for the ship, and the worst rapids are just ahead.

New York votes for paper ballots

What’s the saying? “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day?” Bo Lipari of New Yorkers for Verified Voting celebrates and explains the state’s decision to approve only paper balloting and optical scanner systems for the long-overdue fulfillment of HAVA requirements. The new systems will begin appearing this year, and lever machines are now scheduled to become extinct in 2009.

Those of you who were with us at the beginning five years ago know what an enormous victory this is. When I first started traveling, presenting and advocating in New York, election officials, political parties, and machine vendors assumed that New York State was going to be a DRE state. Precinct scanners were not under discussion, and only DREs were offered by vendors. Our experience over these five years reflects the truth of Gandhi’s statement – indeed we were ignored, then laughed at, then fought bitterly by the voting machine vendors and their supporters in the election establishment. But finally, truth has prevailed, and what seemed like an impossible dream in 2003 has been made real by our hard work – New York State will be a paper ballot state.

I have never been one of the Diebold conspiracy theorists, but this is pretty good news. Amazing what a good judicial spanking can accomplish. And none too soon, since had it been left up to the counties, CNY was looking to be Touchscreen Central.

Blue is the new green

It’s kind of hard to think much about water at a time of year when it’s mainly lying around frozen on the ground, or has to be scraped off the windshield. When there isn’t much precipitation in winter, you tend not to notice. (They notice these things at the Golden Snowball.) But as a designer (tired of bamboo products) said in the NYT recently:

Environmentalism 2.0 is all about the planet and water. Those are blue images. We’re not saying green is going away — it’s just going to be a subset of blue. And also there are negative connotations to green — all that greenwashing. I think the word has lost a lot of its meaning.

Now that we’ve received the official blessing of the trendoids, let’s continue with the water discussion… Continue reading