Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Long Overdue Post

Today I would like to ask you, if you have not yet already, to find some way to support the people of Haiti. You can donate to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross or another organization that provides meaningful assistance to that country which is suffering so much right now.

Please also try to find some time to say a prayer for the people, the volunteers and our military who are assisting in the relief efforts. The earthquake and the complete disorder that has taken ahold of Haiti should remind us all of what is most important -- our friends, our families, our safety and our health. Please be generous and take some time out of your weekend to be thankful for what you have.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Former Mayor of Oswego was for Democratic Primaries Before he was Against them?

Earlier this week the former Mayor of Oswego, John Sullivan, whines about not getting a real opportunity for the Democratic nomination in NY-23 against Bill Owens last summer. Sullivan puts it this way, "there had been some discussion before the process began as to who the candidate would be. Unfortuantely before I got on the train it had already left the station. That's why God made primaries we just didn't get to have one."

But if Sullivan really believes in an open primary process then why does he go on to slam Harold Ford who, just like Sullivan, only wants a primary opportunity. How can you criticize the process, then take it back and do it with a straight face? That doesn't sound like a balanced position to me. Then Sullivan goes on to say the jury is out on whether Andrew Cuomo should run for Governor. I guess it just depends on which race you are talking about and which candidate you support for higher office. Listen for yourself.

Scozzafava Scores Earmarks for Local Universities

News was announced, and actually reported favorably in the Watertown Daily Times, today that several colleges were awarded funding for campus improvements through the state Higher Education Capital Matching Grant program. Two universities in NY-23, St. Lawrence University and Paul Smith's College, were recipients of the state government money for renovations.

And how were these two universities, along with only 20 others, awarded grant money among all of New York's other post-secondary education institutions? Without knowing all the details on how the state Dormitory Authority determines its winners and administers these grants, it seems reasonable to ask whether Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, a proponent who sought assistance for the projects and whose district includes St. Lawrence University, used her influence and political capital to make the money available. It is also worth speculating whether Scozzafava's support for the earmarks was a direct political kickback to a university of which she is currently financially liable. Call me a skpetic, but I keep asking myself if there is more than meets the eye between St. Lawrence University and Dede Scozzafava.

It's no secret that Scozzafava's public image has suffered a tremendous amount in the last few months. Just today she announced she may decide to run for re-election to her 122nd district assembly seat, and that she is working under the assumption that she will run again for that seat. There are at least five different Republicans interested in taking over the seat though, which has to causing some anxiety among Dede's closest supporters. So what next -- if you are trying to remake your political image and right the biggest political train wreck of 2009, where do you go for help? Step one: damage control on a pending lawsuit. Step two: rebuild a strained relationship with one of the biggest employers in your district. Step three: use your political influence to win earmarks for people you have upset and shift the debate back in a favorable light.

When we filed a story about the pending St. Lawrence University lawsuit against Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava and some of her associates we inquired to the university whether they had any statement on the timing of their lawsuit against Scozzafava. They responded that they do not comment on matters of litigation. But today, less than a week later, St. Lawrence University President William L. Fox says he is, "very grateful for the support of our New York state representatives, Senator Darrel Aubertine, Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russel and Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, for supporting the university in seeking assistance for these projects, which will benefit our students and the community."

With that statement and its publication in the biggest newspaper in her district, Scozzafava may have completed her three step program to begin the process of re-branding herself as an effective legislator for the North Country, a key go-to person who can shake down the trees in Albany for more and more government money. Can I get a check from the government too? Please!

New York State Senate Races to Think About

There are more races than we can count in this region and we will cover NY-23 continuously. But I am also considering following some of the New York State Senate races more closely because the balance in the Senate is so tight right now. If Democrats maintain a majority in the State Senate they will have a lot of power. They could possibly have both US Senate seats, the Governor's office, a huge majority in the Assembly and a tight majority in the State Senate. Most of the seats in upstate and central New York are held by Republicans, but if they could flip one or two they might have a shot at having some say in Albany next year. That may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you view things...

These are the districts in the State Senate I would be willing to look more closely at and continue following:

- NYS Senate District 44: Incumbent Senator Hugh Parley (R)
- NYS Senate District 45: Incumbent Senator Elizabeth "Betty" Little (R, C, IP)
- NYS Senate District 47: Incumbent Senator Joe Griffo (R, C, IP)
- NYS Senate District 48: Incumbent Senator Darrel Aubertine (D)
- NYS Senate District 49: Incumbent Senator David Valesky (D, WF)
- NYS Senate District 51: Incumbent Senator James Seward (R,C, IP)

Obviously you can see that districts 48 and 49 are the only seats held by strong incumbent Democrats. Both races, I think, will likely see multiple Republicans making a run for it. I know of a few Democrats considering making a bid for some of the Republican held seats as well. But let's consider this an open thread to discuss who might be the best candidate to mount a challenge for any of these races, or whether you think the incumbents will maintain control. Or, if you know of a candidate that has yet to announce who you think might or should please put their name down below so we can share it with the rest of the blogosphere to see.

Who is the Real Buggs Buddy?

Yesterday Mayor Graham asked callers to dial 755-1240 to call into his always-entertaining talk show, "The Hotline." The reason to call in -- Mayor Graham wanted help in unmasking the identity of yours truly, Buggs Buddy, the author of What's Up NY-23?

In response to the good mayor I have to say nice try sir, but my humble identity will not be revealed anytime soon. Of course, I understand and appreciate your curiosity, and when you said that you wanted to know who I was so that you could, "give me credit because my blog is well-done," I took the compliment privately. I write anonymously in response, "thank you for the credit you offered me on your blog and your radio program. I hope you will continue to follow my writing and comment on it." And I also admit that I appreciate your opinion that people should rarely put their names on such outfits as mine -- so that anonymity be used as sparingly as possible. I appreciate your opinion even though I'm not sure exactly why it is so important. But since it apparently is, here is my deal... my compromise -- instead of telling you my name I will tell you and all my reading fans why I will and must remain anonymous and the reasons why.

First, let me say I am greatly humbled by the amount of visitors this site has been able to attract in just two short weeks since its online birth. Many thousands have come to visit and almost a hundred, I think, have already commented. Thank you for that! I hope you will enjoy the many posts to come.

I like to say that life is all about carrots and sticks. In other words I believe, that in life, you must look at incentives and disincentives, weigh the pros and cons, of your decisions. That is why when I started this blog I had to make a choice -- put my name on everything I write, or keep it all anonymous? I decided after much deliberation to keep my identity anonymous for a few reasons which I hope the mayor and all the fans of What's Up NY-23 will graciously respect.

I would like to start by quoting an anonymous commenter on this blog from just a few days ago. That anonymous person wrote, "When the mainstream press stops using anonymous sources to write their crap then Buggs should announce who he/she is. But not until then! So I guess you're safe forever Buggs." I feel as if I could end this entire post there because I believe that person's statement provided what I think is a beautiful theme or framework for the whole idea behind anonymity in reporting on blogs generally. However, for my faithful followers and the beloved mayor of Watertown I think I can add more to my explanation.

I love local politics and I enjoy the give and take of the debate whether it be at the local watering hole (I do recommend Ft. Pearl by the way), the workplace, at home, out and about in the local community or anywhere else. But politics can turn personal, debates can be blurred and the fun can very quickly turn ugly when people choose to manipulate the facts and the people involved in the process, causing undue harm and damage to one's reputation and civic livelihood. We have all seen it happen time and time again. So for someone who loves politics and writing and who feels compelled to share their thoughts, it makes little sense to me then, to burden the process and the prose with personality and superficial stereotypes, which often deflects from the true value of an honest political debate. Besides, it is not as if I am lying about my anonymity -- it is quite obvious to anyone who comes to read it.

But as long as I am being honest, many of you have to admit that if you knew my decades year old SAT scores, my sex, the color of my skin, my height, my education, my profession, my family, the way I dress or countless other personal characteristics, you would be distracted in some way from the real words I write and that show up every morning on your computer screen.

Furthermore, I must admit that I am very wary of political establishments and their elitist members whose political retribution can return so quickly in ways you would never expect. What I mean to say is that I have learned that no matter how unbiased and legitimate my work is (which is a lot, of course) some of the head politicos on the left, the right, the middle and everywhere in between will try to find some reason or way to tear me down. How many callers have you heard on the mayor's program, "the Hotline" do this recently?

You see, many political established types are concerned mainly with power and controlling their message and keeping control of their message. They tend to rely on the old grey lady and they shun any attempt to circumvent outside opinions and new ideas. They would prefer we not talk about controversial issues and they shut out candidates with whom they disagree, access to media, political money and events.

If the elite knew my true identity they would be quick to pull out the long knives to intimidate my freedom of speech. Granted, I don't think they would try to intimidate me physically per se simply because they don't like me as a person. But established types often don't care about the person -- they tend to primarily care only about themselves and their grip on power. As you might be able to guess, several people who have a clear vested political interest have already e-mailed me about my identity to see how I might be able to further their agenda or cause. The truth is though that nobody cares who I am, they just care about what I write. Everyone just wants to control the message and their ulterior motivation is to influence my writing to fit their chosen ideology or cause.

Most importantly, however, I remain anonymous because I would hate to fall into the ugly trap that politics has laid out for so many good men and women over the years. The trap is, of course, falling into the very establishment that I despise.

That is why I decided to refuse the temptation to become a self-promoter. I refuse to prostitute my name. I refuse to fall a victim to that fatalism which has ruined the integrity of honest politics. People always pass but politics will always continue. Remaining anonymous actually raises the profile of my writing, it creates a broader interest in political debates and increases my ability to spread a message because people do not see me prostituting my name all over town. This way the words have more legitimacy and I can maintain my integrity.

I firmly believe that the temptation to sell out to one particular political interest is as real a threat as political intimidation is, especially when your name is on the line. Remaining anonymous means that no person can drag my good family's name through the mud for what they might believe is some misconstrued political slight or ideological disagreement. Remaining anonymous can create a following deeper and more passionate and more committed to the real reason I write -- the truth of the written word. Mr. Mayor and faithful readers, my motivation is legitimate. I hope you will agree.

And so I hope to remain respectfully known (only in your web browser) and truly yours, Buggs Buddy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hoffman Still the Favorite Son Among NYS Conservatives

Today I am very pleased to be able to bring you a short interview with the Chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, Mike Long. You can see their party website,, for additional information on the NYS Conservative Party. Chairman Long's answers to our questions provide a good sense of what his party is about and where they are moving.

I was really excited to do this interview because I had heard some political spectators and insiders say they believed that Mike Long was done supporting Doug Hoffman for whatever reason late last month. Those Republican insiders argued to me on multiple occasions that the Conservatives and Mike Long would likely abandon Hoffman and dangle the Conservative line out for the highest Republican bidder. Not knowing who to trust I went to the find out from the horse's mouth myself and it sounds pretty obvious to me now, based on my interview documented below, that Mike Long is serious about his continued support for Doug Hoffman. He says the Conservative line in NY-23 is Hoffman's for the taking if he wants it, which really forces Will Barclay, Matt Doheny and other potential candidates into a corner to compete for a more narrow demographic of Republican voters and certainly whatever conservative defectors they can pinch off.

Remember Doheny said back in mid-December that, "I'm absolutely going to actively seek the Republican and Independence and Conservative party lines and we'll be working diligently to maximize my chances of getting those lines." There is no doubt that this is big news that might further entice Hoffman to closely consider another run for NY-23. If Hoffman enters the race the Conservative line will be taken. And for now we have to assume that Congressman Bill Owens will maintain the Independence line. So now it looks like Doheny's strategy to aggressively reach out to moderates will have to be very focused and successful in order for him to have a shot at the Republican nomination this year. While I am the first to admit that this news doesn't fall into the same category as the national "Game Change" news, it is still quite relevant and interesting news for local politicos as well as all other fans of NY-23 politics like me. Beyond the explicit statements of support for Hoffman, Chairman Long also talks about Scozzafava, the Republican Party and his own party's goals, specifically mentioning plans to spearhead a campaign to cap state spending and tax cuts. Now onto the juice of the interview!

Buggs Buddy Question: Chairman Long, thank you very much for agreeing to taking the time to participate in our interview. Now Chairman, I don't mean to say you didn't have a great deal of influence over New York politics before 2009, but your influence has expanded greatly in upstate New York after recruiting and supporting Doug Hoffman in NY-23 this past fall. Can you tell us a little bit about your start in politics and why you decided to become a conservative rather than a Republican?

NYS Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long Response: I started in politics in 1964, in the Barry Goldwater Presidential Campaign. I initially was a registered republican when I witnessed the lack of support for then Senator Goldwater by the New York Republican Party. Both my wife and I registered conservative and became active in the NYS Conservative Party.

BB: It seems like the Republican Party in NY-23 has some real problems it needs to work out if it wants to be successful in 2010. What direction do you think the local Republican establishment and the county chairs should take in managing the competing interests between moderates and conservatives? Can the Scozzafava's and the Hoffman's of the GOP coexist? And if you want to answer this -- is the New York State Conservative Party committed to supporting Hoffman in 2010 if he decides to run, or would you be open to supporting a different candidate?

ML: I think the republican establishment has to understand that truly moderates and conservatives can work together and co-exist. The problem that the republican establishment has to understand is that their republican membership, namely the rank-and-file, are moderate to conservative, not liberals. If Doug Hoffman decides to run in 2010 you can rest assure the NYS Conservative Party believes he deserves the opportunity to run again and will support him.

BB: Very interesting to hear that commitment from you. What are the top three issues for your party in 2010? What do you hope to accomplish - your goals - in 2010? Is it to move Republicans towards the Conservative line or winning with conservative candidates outright or something else?

ML: To win four to five congressional districts with conservative republicans including and especially Doug Hoffman in the 23rd CD if he chooses to run. To regain control of the NYS Senate with conservative republicans. Third, to spearhead a campaign to cap state spending and tax cuts.

BB: Has the Conservative Party changed since Hoffman beat Scozzafava and came close to winning in NY-23? If so, in what ways? And how do you respond to critics who say that the Conservative Party often plays a spoiler role in many New York elections?

ML: Doug Hoffman's campaign in the 23rd CD re-energized the conservative party statewide and clearly energized the conservative movement throughout the nation. In regards to the critics who claim that the conservative party often plays a spoiler role in New York elections, this couldn't be further from the truth. In last year's election the republican candidate, Dede Scozzafaza, was totally out of step philosophically with the rank-and-file members of her own party, therefore, playing the role of not only being the spoiler but after the republican congressional committee spent $1 million on her campaign she endorsed the democrat. She was the true spoiler in the race.

BB: What candidates or local leaders are you most excited about and who do you see as rising stars of the Conservative and Republican Parties in Upstate New York?

ML: There are many local leaders and activists in the conservative and republican parties and members of the tea party that will become the next wave of leaders. Too many to name any individuals.

BB: What is the best political advice you have ever been given?

ML: The best political advice I was ever given was by my wife who advised me to run for State Chairman of the New York State Conservative Party.

BB: What do you predict in Dede Scozzafava's future? And do you think the Republican Assembly leadership have done anything different once she endorsed Bill Owens for Congress?

ML: I'm not in the business of predicting any individuals future, nor do I want to involve myself in giving advice to the Republican Assembly leadership.

BB: Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or the Republican Party in NY-23 that might be of interest to our readers?

ML: Thank you for the opportunity for this online interview.

BB: Best of luck to you Chairman Long, and thanks again! It has been a real pleasure and I am proud we had the rare opportunity to interview you. You can learn more about the New York State Conservative Party through their website,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ford Counting on Independence and Passion to Beat Gillibrand

I'm not saying I do or do not support Harold Ford's primary challenge against US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010, but I do think it is fun and worth speculating how Ford is trying to get a leg up on his competition. If Ford asked for political advice, most any political operative would advise him to find another state to run in or switch parties because the Republicans can't find a candidate.

But since Ford isn't willing to do either of those two things I would have to suggest to Ford that he prove to the Democratic Party that he is more than just serious about his challenge, and then I would also have him immediately start playing off of Gillibrand’s key vulnerabilities on important issues. But Ford didn't need my advice. He got a head start on that project today.

Re-introducing himself as a shrewd politician, with confidence, an attitude and a strong willingness to lead New Yorkers on an energized political crusade against the moderate Democratic establishment, Ford puts himself in the center of the New York media kitchen table with an op-ed in the New York Post. And in a move that would make a sandal blush, Ford quickly flipped-flopped on a string of social conservative positions from his Tennessee days in the US House.

Yesterday, Ford was a Republican dressed up as a Democrat – a rare breed among national Democratic Party politicos. But today, Ford showed New Yorkers that he really wants to represent the concord of liberalism on all of the key litmus test issues: abortion, gay marriage, labor unions and gun control.

What makes Ford almost sound convincing though is that he didn’t change the tune of his music one page at a time, week by week. Instead, he flanked Gillibrand on the left instantaneously, in just one 426-word op-ed. The reason for the sudden conversion is simple – New York’s demographics and the Democratic Party’s ideology dictate a strict adherence to social liberalism.

Beyond that, Ford’s willingness to run as a liberal strikes at the heart of Gillibrand's core vulnerabilities – mainly that she is too moderate for New York City, too slow to lead a progressive agenda, too friendly to gun owners, to unfriendly to immigrants and people of color and maybe – in a phrase – a little too upstate for the rest of New York.

That's why Ford uses politically charged, yet simple and subtle language, to make his introduction,

I know New York is unique... In my three years here, I've learned that New York does not go along to get along. New York does not follow… New Yorkers deserve a free election… expect a politics where politicians do what's right based on independent judgment, free of political bosses trying to dictate.

If you can read between the lines Ford is simply saying: I am one of you and I have learned from you. Let’s not let a small cadre of establishment Democrats tell us who is going to run this unique state we both love. I am a leader, not a follower like Gillibrand, and I will rally the team.

Ford’s introduction to New York voters also includes a disclaimer to the Democratic establishment – keep an open mind. Ford’s candidacy is reminiscent of the Obama campaign in terms of style and substance. And if the politics of Obama taught us anything, it is that no one has to “pay their dues” to rise to the top. In 2010 the establishment doesn’t determine political succession – voters do. In NY-23 voters ultimately rejected the candidate who had “paid her dues,” worked hard to curry favor with the establishment but failed to offer inspiration and passion for the base.

When a political candidate declares their independence and freedom from the political elites, as Ford did today, it often leads to a critical mass of populist support. Maybe Ford is tapping into something that the mainstream media and the political establishment have never fully understood all along – that passion and energy drives politics.

Fielding Statewide Candidates for Senate & Governor

Here's a brief update of the statewide political news from yesterday that we didn't get a chance to really cover. Races are heating up so you better buckle your seat belt for some bumpy political roads ahead.

It looks like lobbyist Susan Molinari won't be running for US Senate after all. Neither will Congressman Peter King. Molinari conveniently cited family reasons, as did King. But in King's defense he does have a pretty good job. What Republican would honestly give up a key post on the Homeland Security Committee for a chance to meet Gillibrand/Ford in round 2? And Lazio made it crystal clear that he just isn't interested in US Senate race either. Love him or hate him, Lazio's response to former Senator Alfonse D'Amato's appeal to switch races yesterday was simply funny to read. Lazio basically gave Al an upper-cut to the chin with the statement below, even though according to the New York Post it looks like Ed Cox favors Chris Collins for Governor. Here is Team Lazio's response to D'Amato,
Today's story only proves how nervous Andrew Cuomo is about Rick Lazio. His camp knows that Rick Lazio represents something new and fresh while Andrew Cuomo is part of the same old Albany gang that has failed us. To be clear, Rick Lazio is running for Governor, and under no circumstances will he switch to run for Senate. End of story.
I would believe him, except his press aide didn't put an exclamation point at the end of the statement!!! But really, it does now looks like the winner of the Lazio/Collins match-up will face the winner of the Paterson/Cuomo/Levy brawl.

And for the record, we here at What's Up NY-23 don't believe that the Levy criticism, that he is a "stalking horse" for Cuomo, is fair or warranted at this early juncture of the race. Everyone is entitled to run for public office. Whether Steve Levy's candidacy is or is not really a "stalking horse" for another candidate is a debatable point, yes. But in the end it is really Levy's choice. Besides you can never tell what might happen in those three-way races. Stranger things have happened -- remember the history of NY-23! With that said, I conclude that this is truly What's Up in NY-23. It's what I live for -- it really is New York politics at its best.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Big Wind Becoming a Big Political Issue in NY-23

One of the biggest local issues people seem to be following is the PILOT in Jefferson County. Today we have the chance to get a broader sense from a private citizen named Jonathan Hirschey from Cape Vincent who has done some research into some of the issues associated with "Big Wind." And he brings forth some very compelling arguments against its expansion into Northern New York.

Mr. Hirschy also makes the claim that a majority of Cape Vincent town board had contracts with the wind developers when his father ran for Town Supervisor, and that those board members stood to gain financially from the expansion of Big Wind. This interview begs the question as to whether small town politicians and Big Wind are colluding in an effort to sell out our jobs, federal tax dollars and our environment for some personal financial gain. As political races in NY-23 build steam it will be interesting to see which candidates side with or against Big Wind. This is developing into a major local issue that candidates will eventually need to take a clear position on (don't count on the Watertown Times to keep them honest). To see why all the politicians are so quiet and why ordinary citizens are so outspoken, read on!

Buggs Buddy Question: Thank you for your time Jonathan. I am interested to know what are some of the most important things you have learned about wind development since the debate came to the eastern shores of Lake Ontario?

Jonathan Hirschey Response: Sure, I started researching wind energy after my father ran for office of Town Supervisor to address blatant conflicts on the Town Board. Otherwise, I hesitate to admit, I may not have given this the time and energy I otherwise would have. Thank God I did.

The most important thing I have learned is that wind energy is grossly misunderstood by the general population and that most people, like I was, are under the false assumption that it will lower our energy costs, our taxes, and significantly reduce greenhouse gases - it will not do any of these. I have learned that wind energy is not a good source of renewable energy - actually, considering the expansive amount of land you have to use, which is a finite resource - it shouldn't qualify as renewable at all. I have learned that people who thought that pursing wind energy is a good idea, didn't know all the facts, and, as I was, were very surprised when they heard them. I have learned wind energy is a very complex subject (I struggle even with a master's degree) and the developers rely on this to deceive the general public. I have learned that wind energy is a way for foreign companies like British Petroleum (UK) and Acciona (Spain) to tap into our Federal Stimulus dollars. There are plenty of subsidies in Great Britain too, but it should be of interest that they are still pulling out of those markets because our subsidies make the US market even more lucrative. I have learned that wind energy is about money, not pursuing a renewable resource. I have learned a single turbine would not be standing if it were not for the enormous economic subsidies our government has made available - probably because they are misinformed, just like I was. I have learned not a single turbine would have been erected without huge subsidies because economically, it does not make sense.

I have learned that, contrary to popular belief, producing power with wind will not decrease our dependence on foreign oil. I have learned that a major pretext developers are using to push wind energy is to say it will reduce our carbon emissions - it won't. I have learned that if humans were eliminated from the earth, there would only be a 0.28% reduction in greenhouse gases, since most of the greenhouse gases are naturally occurring anyway. And what part of that 0.28% do you think building turbines will have an effect on? A very small part. I have learned that the promises made by the wind developers in terms of the jobs they will create and the prosperity they will bring are empty promises. They don't create the jobs, and the efficiency is less than they claim it to be.

I have learned that the Maple Ridge developer in Lewis County, Flat Rock, is suing the municipalities to get their money back because they lost their Empire Zone status. The same law firm that is suing Lowville to get their money back is representing the wind developer for Galloo Island. They lost empire status because they didn't really create jobs, like they said they would. Instead they lost their status because Flat Rock "claimed it created jobs when it actually just transferred employees from one entity to the other." I have learned that building hundreds of turbines it is not environmentally responsible and changes the surroundings for generations. I have learned that wind energy just doesn't produce that much power, relatively speaking. One nuclear plant can produce about 1500 megawatts with a capacity value of almost 100 percent. This is extremely important because you need "base-load" power. We will always need to rely on traditional power plants other than wind, since the wind doesn't blow all the time. The capacity of wind factories started out at 8% but is probably less. All I have said so far pertains to land-based wind turbine installations, in general, such as places like Maple Ridge in Lewis County. This does not account for any additional sacrifices, such as the visual pollution or any of the numerous health problems that they create for people living near them. When you add the opportunity costs of what Jefferson County will lose in terms of tax-base from property devaluation, tourism and sport-fishing revenues, I am flabbergasted we are even considering such a course of action. And as staggering as the costs for land based turbines are, water based turbines are twice as expensive! So if it didn't make sense before, it definitely doesn't make sense in the water. Who do you think is paying for this nonsense? We are. I have learned there are numerous adverse health effects associated with turbines, but haven't had a chance to read all about them yet.

I have learned that on April 8th, 2008, Governor Paterson made a speech opposing the Broadwater energy project in Long Island Sound because of all the same concerns that people opposing wind projects on or near the water have here. He said, “One of my goals as Governor is to protect Long Island Sound, by preserving it as a valuable estuary, an economic engine for the region, and a key component to making Long Island’s quality of life one of the best in the country,” said Governor Paterson. “Broadwater does not pass that test. Shame on us if we can’t develop a responsible energy policy without sacrificing one of our greatest natural and economic resources.” How does that differ from Lake Ontario?? Shame on us is right.

I have learned that your views on wind energy should have nothing to do with being a Republican or Democrat or whether you are wealthy or poor. I have learned enough to know for certain that we should not be rushing into building industrial wind turbine complexes in Jefferson County any time soon - if ever.

BB: Some activits who oppose the PILOT say other local citizens who are also opposed to wind development are scared to speak up, that people are fearful of being targeted by elected town officials. Do you think there is any truth to that? Do you believe town officials are vindictive or that they have a real financial stake in the wind project? And have most of your inquiries been answered by local officials, regulators and developers who have an interest in seeing the project move forward on Galloo Island?

JH: I don't think local citizens are scared to speak up. I think that local citizens are just unfamiliar with how poor wind is as a "renewable" energy, or perhaps that they don't realize what is at stake, or they just don't care. I wasn't very motivated to learn about it until my father ran for public office in Cape Vincent so why would anyone else be? My father ran for Cape Vincent Town Supervisor because a majority of the town board had contracts with the wind developers and stood to gain financially, which most people would classify as a blatant conflict of interest. If you had asked me, before my research, if I thought Maple Ridge in Lowville was a good idea, I would have said, "Of course...," because of how uninformed I was. However, wind energy just doesn't make sense, no matter how you slice it. The state is just trying to meet some arbitrary Renewable Portfolio Standard and foreign wind companies are trying to cash in on our tax dollars (stimulus money).

I think it's incredible that almost all the major politicians, such as Darrel Aubertine, whose home town is Cape Vincent, and who, in June 2006 wrote a letter encouraging the conflicted board members to vote on the issue, have remained silent on the most controversial issue I have ever been a part of. I don't think any of the major politicians have taken a position on the issue. I mean, I know you're supposed to ride the fence, but come on.

BB: Will you be working to replace any legislator that supports the PILOT or other measures that would allow for expanded wind power development? What is your next plan of action in dealing with the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency?

JH: I don't have any leadership role in an organization fighting the PILOT, but as a constituent, I don't think there is any excuse for a politician to be ignorant of these facts I found time to learn or make a decision that is so irresponsible to the citizens of Jefferson County.

Doheny's Aggressive Play for Moderates in NY-23

NY-23 congressional hopeful, Matt Doheny, may be making making an early and aggressive play for moderate support in his bid for the GOP nomination this year. And it might make good sense politically now that Will Barclay has unexpectedly entered his name into the contest. And if Doug Hoffman enters the race for the Republican nomination, as many are predicting, then Doheny will have to turn somewhere for support.

Doheny may have already built some trust among moderates in the district with his active support of Dede Scozzafava in 2009. Doheny supported Scozzafava's run financially and was very public in his support of Scozzafava once she won the support of the county chairs charged with nominating the GOP candidate. The Watertown Daily Times reported that Doheny "praised her as 'terrific' and said he would work towards her election. 'I'm giong to do everything I can for her, and more.'" It would be interesting to see if Scozzafava decided to support a Republican candidate in 2010 or whether she will maintain her support for Congressman Bill Owens, who she endorsed just days prior to the special election last fall.

But Doheny's reach to the left of the party goes beyond just public support for Scozzafava. Mayor Graham leaked a rumor that Doheny's team has reached out to former congresswoman-turned-lobbyist, Susan Molinari. Graham wrote that the Doheny camp is expecting Molinari to campaign for Doheny this summer in the North Country. Some might know Molinari as a close advisor to Rudy Giuliani who recently revealed her interest in a US Senate bid against the victor of the Gilibrand/Ford match-up. And that's not a bad endorsement if you are trying to shore up moderate support either.

Just days ago Molinari invoked the leadership of Senator Charles Schumer in news report out of Long Island. Molinari makes no apologies for her pro-choice positions and was also closely associated with the now defunct Republican Unity Coalition, a gay-straight alliance that believes the GOP can only expand its influence by reaching out to gays and lesbians who share basic Republican positions and goals. And when she was president of Ketchum Public Affairs and it's lobbying firm, The Washington Group, her firm received over $300,000 to lobby on behalf of Freddie Mac (a mortgage company that now receives billions in US taxpayer bailouts).

Molinari knows the establishment players, has money, influence and communications connections in both New York City and DC. So if Doheny is looking to spread a moderate message to the North Country he may have found the person to help him do it. One insider explained the strategy this way: it sounds like Doheny is lining up his ducks to build establishment and moderate support to hold everything together and force Barclay to reconsider NY-23. Doheny's team knows that if Hoffman secures the conservative base and if Doheny can shore up the moderates early it leaves Barclay with a very small constituency to go after, making it a two person race that favors Doheny.