Take Back Congress - New York

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Asleep at the Switch

The Sub-Standard reported this today:

Syracuse is among New York's most fiscally imperiled cities, and other Central New York cities aren't doing much better, according to a new report from state Comptroller Alan Hevesi.


"The financial condition of many once-flourishing cities in New York State is truly troubling," Hevesi said in a statement. "For decades, these cities have seen demands for municipal services increase while their tax bases continued to erode. Most troubling, cities all across New York State continue to lose population, which has made achieving fiscal stability even more challenging."


The New York Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials, opening its annual legislative meeting in Albany Monday, released results from its own - similarly ominous - survey of budgets in the 61 cities outside New York City.

The group found 31 percent reported worsening financial conditions in the past year, 59 percent are raising property taxes, and 90 percent get less inflation-adjusted unrestricted aid than they did 15 years ago.

When it comes down to it, this is ultimately about planning and executing a loan term vision to grow our local economy. Jim Walsh has had 17 years in office to come up with a plan, and has we reported before, this is the best Jimbo could come up with.

Luckily, we have two candidates with a real plan to get Central New York back on track.

Here's some of Dan Maffei's vision:

  • Modern manufacturing. While vast factories employing thousands are unlikely to come back to Upstate New York, we must have a plan in place to maintain the streamlined factories that stayed and insist that workers continue to have collective bargaining power to ensure fair wages and benefits for their work.
  • Technology and Innovation. We need to encourage a new marketplace of high-tech industry with tax credits, opportunity grants, and other incentives.
  • Leveraging a Top-Notch Educational System. We need to take better advantage of the educational resources of Syracuse University, Upstate Medical University, SUNY-ESF, LeMoyne College, and the many other colleges and schools in the region. These schools are already hubs of economic activity but Federal policies such as inadequate funding for graduate medical education, wrongheaded limits on stem cell research, and not enough emphasis on environmental research stifle their potential and need to be corrected.
    • And here is some Paloma Capanna's plan:
    • development of a high technology corridor from Syracuse through Rochester into Buffalo,
    • building upon local resources and assets, and consistent with state and local government objectives;
    • expansion of high-quality mass transportation between Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo;
    • encouragement of entrepreneurs and attraction of existing businesses into our region; reduction of business relocation, benefit reduction, and bankruptcy;
      • There is a clear choice in this election between change and more of the same. We can either go with more of the same, an out of touch Congressman who doesn't have a plan for the most important issue facing his district, or change, two candidates with a real desire for a better Central New York. I know my choice.

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Saturday, February 25, 2006

        Will Arcuri and Tytler PLEASE get online?

        From Take Back New York's 24th:

        This whole web site thing is getting silly. It's almost March now, and two of the three serious Democratic candidates for the 24th District seat have yet to get even a simple campaign web site up. Honestly, it's not hard to do. I know that Bruce Tytler and Michael Arcuri have full time jobs that make it hard for them to campaign, but it shouldn't take more than a weekend to set a simple web site that gives basic information about the candidate, provides contact information for those who want to get involved, and has a link that people can use to donate money to the campaign.

        There is no good excuse for these candidates to wait so long to develop this basic tool for voter communication. If they're so slow on their feet in the primary campaign, what hope do they have against incumbent Sherwood Boehlert?

        This is not the norm for primary campaigns. Over in the Hudson Valley, District 19, there are 5 Democratic candidates for Congress. Each and every one of them has a campaign web site up, and has had a web site up for weeks.

        I've been asking the Arcuri for Congress and Tytler for Congress campaigns to get their web sites up for weeks, with no response on their parts. So, now I will add a prod and a promise to my plea.

        I have made a 500 dollar donation to the Les Roberts 2006 campaign. That's not an endorsement. It's a reward for being responsible to the voters and getting a web site up.

        I'd like to give the same financial reward to the Arcuri and Tytler campaigns, but I can't, because they're not online. There's nothing to reward.

        If Bruce Tytler or Michael Arcuri can get their campaign web site online this week, I will send a 500 dollar donation to their campaigns. That's $500 to each campaign, not just 500 dollars split between the two of them.

        If Tytler and Arcuri wait until next week to get their web sites up, the reward goes down to 400 dollars. The week after that, it's 300 dollars. The week after that, the reward goes down 200 dollars. For one week after that, I will send 100 dollars.

        If Bruce Tytler and Mike Arcuri cannot get their campaign web sites up in that time, they get no money from me at all.

        Why am I willing to do this? It's the same reason I write this blog. I want to be represented by a Democrat in the House of Representatives. I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is, and support Democratic candidates who have a chance in hell.

        If Bruce Tytler and Mike Arcuri don't get off their behinds and start running like mad, they don't have a chance in hell. This isn't just about capturing the Democratic nomination. It's about taking on a very powerful Republican machine.

        You can't jog your way into Congress. You've got to push like hell. Arcuri and Tytler are not pushing right now. They're strolling, and it drives me crazy to watch them acting this way.

        The Democrats of the 24th District deserve nothing less than a 100 percent effort. So, Mr. Arcuri and Mr. Tytler, the carrot has been placed in front of you. Now make like good bunnies and run, will you?

        Think of it as a challenge grant.

        Thursday, February 23, 2006

        Passing on Port Security

        Jimbo was outraged, outraged, outraged! at the attempted sale of six east coast ports to UAE. But it seems that Jimbo wasn't so concerned about it before.
        • Jimbo voted to kill an amendment that would have provide $2.5 billion and specifically $250 million for Port Security, $800 million for First Responders, and $150 million to defend against chemical weapons.
        • Jimbo also voted against an amendment that would have added $6.9 billion to the Homeland Security budget and specifically $400 million for Port Security and $13 million for new overseas Port Inspectors.

        I guess this is to be expected when your congressman has this position on security. I wonder what got him so outraged though, maybe Jimbo is a little nervous about re-election.

        Hat tip to the DCCC.

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Wednesday, February 22, 2006

        Everywhere You Turn: Corruption

        When I started this blog, I intended to focus more on Jimbo's poor policy positions, but everywhere I turn, I find Jimbo tied in with more and more corrupt politicians.

        Jimbo, of course, found a corrupt horse to back in the Governor's race, Bill Weld. Mr. Weld is of course caught up in a scandal involving a college he was president of.

        On the legal front, a federal prosecutor said Mr. Weld had not been ruled out as a target in the investigation of student loan fraud at Decker College, a bankrupt Kentucky trade school at which Mr. Weld served as chief executive for 10 months until October of last year. The disclosure, first reported by The Phoenix, a weekly paper in Boston, appears to contradict what Mr. Weld has said in the past.


        The scandal at Decker College has been difficult for Mr. Weld to shake. The school collapsed into bankruptcy weeks after he left his post as chief executive, and it is now the subject of a federal investigation into financial aid fraud.

        In his endorsement of Mr. Weld, Jimbo said this:

        It’s about the future of my state. I’m concerned.

        Apparently Jimbo wants the future of New York to look more like the Republican Culture of Corruption in Washington.

        PS. How out of touch do you have to be to endorse the former governor of Massachusetts to be governor of New York?

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Monday, February 20, 2006

        Censorship, Liberals, and the 24th District Race

        From Take Back the 24th:


        If you're the type who clicks on links, you may have noticed that the New York Progressive Directory listed over on the right hand column of this Take Back Back New York's 24th blog doesn't lead to anywhere any more. Since Friday afternoon, the site has been dead.

        I thought at first that the New York State Progressive Directory might be offline just as the result of the extremely powerful winds that blasted Upstate New York on Friday, knocking out power across our region and killing two people. Actually, the reason for the site's sudden disappearance is much more troubling.

        The progressive directory was the victim of cyber terrorism in the form of a distributed denial of service attack so large that the company that hosted the site, Lunar Pages, could not cope, and shut the web site down, telling the web site's producers that Lunar Pages would no longer be willing to host the site.

        In this distributed denial of service attack, the cyber terrorists set up thousands of fake IP addresses and then, from those addresses, sent such a surge of information requests that the vulnerable system designed by Lunar Pages could not keep up. So, the attack was not a hack in the classic sense of a network break in, but it had a similar destructive impact.

        I have learned that the New York Progressive Directory was really just one part of a much larger network of progressive web sites that included a set of similar directories of progressive organizations and blogs in every state in the USA, a ten year-old progressive site with a prominent blog, web sites promoting Democratic presidential candidates for the 2008 election, a national progressive political merchandising infrastructure, and even a web site that discussed the symbolic-mythological context of current events. In a flash, this entire progressive network was destroyed.

        Apparently, the progressive network attacked by cyber terrorists last Friday had a long list of enemies. Its contributors had spent years vigorously opposing right wing ideology, not just in the United States, but around the world. Among the people angered by various sites on the network were Republican activists, Christian and Islamic fundamentalists, large corporations, conservative Democrats, and Bush loyalists in the federal government.

        The list of potential suspects is too huge to contemplate, but this much is clear: The progressive network was attacked by somebody who was threatened by its clear and honest use of free speech. The attack was intended to enforce censorship on political dissent, and although the network is currently working to get back online, for a few days at least, that censorship has been effective.

        It wasn't just the cyber terrorists who made the censorship possible. Lunar Pages helped the attackers succeed when they pulled the plug on the progressive network of web sites and refused to host the network any longer. Apparently, in the offices of Lunar Pages, a decision has been made that any web site of political dissent that becomes powerful enough to gain the attention of unscrupulous cyber terrorists will be kicked off their servers. Only political web sites so ineffectual as to not to offend or gain the attention of anybody will remain online.

        On a larger scale, such surrender to terrorism would be unthinkable. It would be as if the federal government, after September 11, 2001, said to New York City that Manhattan would have to secede from the Union, because its prominence made it too vulnerable to future attacks, and the USA just couldn't handle the security logistics any more.

        This kind of preemptive censorship has become all-too-common in America.

        Seeing this attack on the online progressive network, and the reaction of Lunar Pages to it, reminded me of the attitude of someone I met with last week, to discuss the 24th district congressional campaign. This person is working on one of the campaigns, and I won't identify who it is, because I don't want to get into personal attacks. It was the ideas that this person expressed that bothered me, not the personality of this individual in itself.

        Discussing campaign strategy, this person said that the campaign on which he/she is working is struggling to prevent its candidate from being perceived as a liberal. The candidate would have to be careful about what he said, this person told me, and would have to be cautious about being associated too strongly with local liberal Democratic groups.

        Now, I happen to know that this candidate is, in fact, a liberal. It has also been clear to me that he is not the only liberal Democrat running in this race. Still, it seems that this candidate's campaign staff has him convinced that letting voters know that he is a liberal is a bad idea.

        It makes me wonder - why is it that people in the 24th District have such little respect for liberals? Is it a problem with liberal ideals? I don't think so. America's traditional civic values are liberal values. Democracy, equality, liberty, fairness, critical suspicion of government power, and empowerment of ordinary citizens are the ideas that have made America great, and are well within the mainstream of political thought.

        The only thing that most people in the 24th District, and across America, don't seem to like about liberals is that they're called liberals. It's quite odd, but when you consider the way that most liberals participate in public political discussions, it's also quite understandable.

        Ever since Ronald Reagan got into the White House, American liberals have been nervous ninnies. The personal presence of President Reagan was so powerful that he convinced liberals that things really had changed, and that the political game had to be played on his terms.

        That acceptance of Reagan's rules was disaster for American liberalism, of course. From that point on, liberals ceased to set the tone for their own agenda. Everything liberal became couched in right wing Republican language, and so liberals became, in the perception of the rest of America, nothing more than weak imitations of Republicans.

        When people say that Democrats don't have any ideas of their own, they're dead wrong. What Democrats don't have any more is their own language - and that includes the word "liberal".

        It has become perceived as a bad thing to be a liberal not because there is anything wrong with being a liberal, but rather because liberals act as if there is something wrong with being a liberal. Every liberal proposal begins with an apology. Liberal politics has become an arena of "Yes, but", in which the fundamental right wing ideology remains unchallenged.

        The people of the 24th District are cold to liberals because they have never met a liberal. Every liberal who runs for office in America these days does so wearing an elephant costume. Is it any wonder so few of them get elected?

        Some voters are ideologues - and that's not a bad thing. Most voters in the 24th District, however, are not. They're open to a persuasive message of any variety. A political narrative that is compelling really can move them, because they don't care enough about party politics to be particularly loyal.

        Most of all, what people in the 24th District look for in a candidate is somebody they can trust. Now, I don't like Republican politics, but the fact is that Republican politicians can be trusted to act like Republicans. People know what they're getting with a Republican.

        Contrast most of our Democrats with that Republican political honesty. Our candidates start out by assuming that they've got the liberal vote wrapped up just by having their name on the Democratic line. So, they spend most of their campaign time pretending to be something that they aren't. They think they're being clever, but they're not. The problem with their strategy is that they can't pull it off.; Voters know they're being insincere, and therefore judge them to be untrustworthy.

        It's a vicious cycle in which the liberal side of politics gets weaker with every lost election, and liberal Democratic politicians, in response, become more dishonest about who they really are, and therefore, even less appealing to voters.

        And so we arrive at the state we are in now, where Democratic campaign workers shiver in fright at the idea that their candidates might be perceived as liberal. Democratic campaigns don't even try to persuade the voters any more. Instead, they begin with an ideological surrender. That's like starting out a chess game by giving up your queen before your opponent has even moved a pawn. It is no way to win.

        It's also a kick in the teeth to liberal grassroots activists in our district, the people who set the foundation for Democrats to run for office, when candidates weasel out of a direct and honest discussion, professing to be moderates, just like everyone else, and eschewing liberal political philosophy, as if it's something to be ashamed of.

        When I heard about the cyber attack on the progressive political network, I took some extra time to think about the importance of honest free speech. There are a lot of people out there, both inside and outside Americ, who want people like me to be quiet, and now I can see that some of those people are willing to act to enforce their censorship upon us.

        I feel relatively protected posting this blog on Blogger.com, which has the power of Google to back it up, but what if I had a blog out there on its own stand-alone server that could become the target of a cyber terrorist attack? Would I think twice about what I write, trying to avoid offending people who might try to hack the site?

        I hope not. Too many people are too afraid these days. It's the goal of terrorism to make us quiet by making us afraid, and the only way to confront and defeat terrorism is to be unafraid and to be unswayed in our course of political action.

        Free speech is not free if we only exercise it when it's easy to speak. If I were to censor myself because I became afraid of someone attacking my web site, or worried that someone might call me a name, like "liberal", nothing I wrote would be worth reading. I would join that campaign worker, and the management of Lunar Pages, in the community of the afraid.

        You may say it's easy for me to talk about free speech. I'm a blogger, after all. I'm not running for public office. I don't have a campaign on the line.

        In a way, you're right. Sure, I'm not the one campaigning. But, if I don't speak, I've got to put up with a government built upon a democracy of silence. If I don't speak honestly, I know that I am part of the problem.

        Besides, does a candidate for Congress really have anything more to lose than I do? If a candidate is running merely for the sake of satisfying their own personal ambition, by all means, that candidate should duck and weave and maneuver without regard to making an honest promotion of their true ideals.

        A more sincere candidate, however, has nothing to lose. The candidate runs for a few months, and if he does not win the seat, he goes back to work in his old profession, having made a name for himself in his community.

        Having a solid chance of losing the race, why wouldn't the candidate want to ensure that he at least lost the right way? A political campaign isn't just about winning. It's also about promoting what you believe in, and getting citizens involved in the democratic process, to make it stronger.

        Opportunists hire political sharks to intimidate opponents and bluster open a path to victory. Opportunists say what they think people want to hear. Opportunists work with whomever they can get on their side, whether those people have the same vision or not.

        Leaders have vision, and work to persuade other people to believe in that vision. Leaders work with other people who believe in the cause. Leaders inspire people into action. Leaders would rather lose than mislead.

        This year, I want to help elect a leader into the House of Representatives. To the Democratic candidates, I say that it is time to be bold and time to be true. Show me your leadership.

        Friday, February 17, 2006

        Sherwood Boehlert's Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

        Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert's re-election campaign is smoking - all too literally.

        Take a look at the attention that Representative Boehlert has been getting in the news lately, and you'll see that his reputation is largely that of being Washington D.C.'s most desperate smoker. The news has been full of stories this year about how, as much as he wants, Congressman Boehlert just can't quit smoking - in spite of the fact that he needed cardiovascular surgery during the 2004 election season in order to deal with the damage he has done to his body.

        Well, that's his business, I suppose, although you'd think that our elected representative in Congress would have enough respect for us constituents to keep himself in better shape. I can't imagine how anyone could do a good job in the House of Representatives with a set of clogged lungs and a heart that struggles to keep up with every drag. It's a wonder that Sherwood Boehlert keeps up even the weakening pace of work that he managed lately.

        No, the real trouble with Sherwood Boehlert is his more public addiction to tobacco. I'm not talking about his bad habit of puffing on cigarettes. I'm talking about a more nasty habit - Sherwood Boehlert's addiction to political contributions from big tobacco corporations.

        Congressman Boehlert has been taking campaign contributions from the Altria Group, a big tobacco corporation, ever since the Altria Group became the Altria Group - a change from its previous incarnation as Philip Morris. Last year, Sherwood Boehlert's campaign committee took the maximum allowed from Altria's corporate political action group, sent in two big checks, one sent in February 2005, and another sent in September 2005. Why? It's not in the business interests of corporations like Altria to just throw away money without some expectation of a significant financial return.

        The last time I checked, New York State's 24th District was not a big center for tobacco farms. Tobacco grows better down south, in places like Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. So Altria's funding of Congressman Boehlert's campaigns has hardly been a matter of just supporting the home town boy.

        We who live hundreds of miles away from Altria's corporate headquarters have the right to ask just what Altria's corporate lobbyists are expecting in return for their money. We also have the right to ask why Sherwood Boehlert is taking this money. He's our representative, after all, so isn't our money good enough for him? If Sherwood Boehlert can't raise enough money from his constituents to fund his re-election campaigns, isn't that a pretty good sign that it's time for him to step aside?

        The only cigarette-related activity that goes on in the 24th District is smoking - including the sale and transmission of cigarettes to kids. It's been a major problem for years that Sherwood Boehlert has not adequately addressed. Is he afraid to offend Altria, out of fear that his fundraising resources will dry up?

        Congressman Boehlert, it's time for you to kick the habit. We, the people of the 24th District, are calling upon you to send back all the money that you've received from Altria for this election cycle. We want to see a clean campaign, with clean money. We're tired of all the smoke and mirrors.


        From Take Back New York's 24th

        Tuesday, February 14, 2006

        Democratic Primary Update

        First, I got this e-blast from Paloma Capanna's campaign:

        Last Week…
        Paloma was a whirl! She met with County Legislators, Democratic leadership, business leaders, Reporters, and - Paloma's favorite - people! A highlight of the week was speaking to the Clay & Cicero Democratic Committees. Q&A was animated, and many new volunteers and connections were made. Another highlight of the week was Paloma's lecture for the Onondaga County Bar Association on domestic violence issues. This is a practice area in which she has been a tireless fighter, both for private clients and for poverty level pro bono clients. Her law practice will now include pro bono cases throughout the District.

        …and Next.
        Magnifique! Paloma is off to Washington, D.C. for strategy sessions with our national consultants, a meeting at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and various meetings with Political Action Committees. Count on Paloma heading straight into a presentation to the Monroe County Democratic Committee on Thursday evening, and then a full day of meetings in Syracuse on Friday.

        Then I was alerted to Dan Maffei's announcement of his steering committee, which includes:

        Headlining the impressive Maffei committee are Syracuse native and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Unity Mutual Life Insurance Chairman John F.X. Mannion, New York State Democratic Party Vice-Chair Ed Szczesniak, Syracuse Common Councilor Stephanie Miner, Syracuse Common Councilor Van Robinson, Monroe County Legislator Stephanie Aldersley, Onondaga County Legislator Mark Stanczyk and Maura Moynihan, the daughter of the late Senator.

        It looks like Mr. Maffei has wrapped up most of the Party apparatus in Onondaga County, so Ms. Capanna may not have much luck in finding supporting here. I think most damaging for Ms. Capanna is the endorsement of Mr. Maffei by 2002 Democratic Nominee Stephanie Aldersley, who hails from the Monroe County portion of the district. I have always been open to all candidates in this race, however the poor fundraising numbers for Ms. Capanna were a set back, but the Aldersley endorsement looks to me like a vote of no confidence. Though, I have always felt that Ms. Capanna's Monroe County residency would be a huge disadvantage.

        As for the other candidates, I have heard nothing further on Jean Kessner and Ken Howland is basically not running besides his website. Any info on either of them, please email me.

        Hat tip to Mike.

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Monday, February 13, 2006

        When Congressmen Attack

        Last week a great letter to the editor appeared in the Post Standard criticizing Bully Jim for the slash and burn attack on student loans.

        Bully Jim decided it wasn't enough to viciously attack students from Washington, now he is striking back at all those who disagree in shrill letters in the Post Standard. Here are a few of the kind words Jim had for a constituent:

        In her letter, it's clear that Ms. Kelly fails to understand what the bill actually does for student borrowers.


        I hope that Ms. Kelly - a professional educator and Le Moyne College graduate student - considered all sides before formulating and sharing her opinion on the matter.

        Way to treat a constituent Bully Jim. I hear that his next step is to find all the people who disagree with him, ring their doorbell and run away before they can answer!

        Bully Jim also had this gem:

        There are some who have good reason to oppose these lending reforms (primarily student loan lenders and banks who have lost the ability to charge high interest rates and excessive up-front fees), but student borrowers aren't among them.

        But among key opponents are United State Student Association and Student Aid Alliance.

        From the United State Student Association:

        The bill generates over 70% of its total education savings from charging higher loan interest rates to borrowers. "Congress plans to swindle students and families by forcing them to make excessive interest payments on their loans," said Jennifer Pae, Vice President of USSA.


        Most federal student loans will be impacted by the interest rate changes. Stafford loans will move to a fixed 6.8% interest rate and PLUS (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students) loans will increase to a fixed 8.5% interest rate. "My current Stafford loan interest rate is 4.7%. With a 6.8% fixed interest rate, I will end up paying thousands more in interest payments over the life of my loans," said Jeannie Biniek, Vice President of Associated Students at the UCLA and USSA Board of Directors Member.

        From Student Aid Alliance:

        • While there are some new improvements for students, the loss of more than $12 billion from student loans could have a devastating impact on the future stability of the program. For example:
        • Student loans contribute 30 percent of the bill's entire contribution to deficit reduction, but represent less than half of one percent of all annual federal spending.
        • Most of the savings come from changes to the student and parent interest rate structure, including a July 1 increase in the parent interest rates from 7.9 percent to 8.5 percent.
        • Under the bill, the congressional pot that funds grants and work-study for needy students would have to absorb nearly a billion dollars a year in administrative expenses for the Education Department, meaning less money for everyone.

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Sunday, February 12, 2006

        Kicking Seniors While They Are Down

        Not only is Jim supporting Bush's backed door privatization of Social Security and funding numerous candidates who want to privatize social security, but now the Medicare law that he felt so important he needed to threaten other members of Congress is a complete debacle. Here's the kind words the Post-Standard had for it in the Saturday Quiz:
        1. The problem with the new Medicare drug plan is:

        a) It will cost the federal government $30.5 billion in its first year and a 10-year total of $678 billion through 2015.

        b) Confusion about the transition has caused lapses in medication.

        c) It prohibits Medicare from negotiating on the prices it pays the pharmaceutical industry for drugs.

        d) Private insurance plans will "cherry-pick" the healthiest seniors, leaving behind a group of Medicare applicants that are far more expensive per person. In the words of Sen. Hillary Clinton, "This will create a two-tiered system and start an insurance cost death spiral that will unravel Medicare's financing."

        And drum roll... The answer:

        1) All these and more.

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Saturday, February 11, 2006

        Bruce Tytler To Run for Congress

        Bruce Tytler is running for Congress.

        Okay, I know, that link isn't exactly active yet. It leads to a placeholder site for now. But, the mere fact that the link has a placeholder reference tells us something. As of January 27, 2006 TytlerForCongress.com was a registered domain name with Network Solutions.

        That's a pretty good sign that Tytler will be running for New York State's 24th District seat in the US House of Representatives, but it's not a clincher. Perhaps Tytler wanted to secure a domain name just in case.

        Here's a more sure suggestion: Bruce Tytler called me last week to let me know that he's going to be making an announcement tomorrow outside the courthouse in Auburn - and again in Cortland. An announcement made in two places is not given when a person decides not to run. When Jeff Miller announced his decision not to run for Congress this year, he didn't go two places to do it. Tytler refused to confirm or deny that he will be running, but it's a clear sign

        Now, some mean-spirited rumor mongers from Cortland have been suggesting that Bruce Tytler's campaign will not be really intended to put him in Congress, but will merely be a fundraising tool to put donations in the coffers of the Cortland County Democratic Committee. Tytler's registration of the domain TytlerforCongress.com suggests that these rumors are complete bunk. The clue: He registered the domain not just for one year, but for three years.

        At the beginning of a campaign, when funds are tight, such decisions are not made lightly. Bruce Tytler clearly believes that he has a reasonable chance of using the TytlerForCongress.com web site not just for a few months, as a candidate, but for a three years at least, as a member of Congress who will be running for re-election in 2008. Tytler believes that he can win the Democratic nomination, and then win against Republican Sherwood Boehlert - or whatever Republican replaces him as the GOP candidate in the general election.

        Here's the clincher for the Tytler for Congress campaign: He's filed as a candidate with the FEC. In fact, Tytler's FEC filing has showed up in the public records of the DCCC quicker than Leon Koziol's have, even though Koziol has already made an official announcemnt, and Tytler has not. Here it is, in the sexy language of bureaucracy, the first official sign of the Tytler for Congress campaign: FEC ID: H6NY29176 FEC Committee: C004192

        Welcome to the race, Mr. Tytler.


        From Take Back the 24th

        Friday, February 10, 2006

        The Walsh Security Plan

        I think I can hear crickets chirping...


        I'm currently updating this page. Please refer back in the very near future.

        Currently, No Related News Articles.

        So Jim Walsh has been in Congress for 17 years now and he has no plan for our economy. It has been over 4 years since 9/11 and Jim has no plan to keep Central New Yorkers safe from terrorism. What exactly are you doing in Washington Jim?

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Thursday, February 09, 2006

        24th District Democratic Candidates on the Web - Update

        A while ago, I wrote about the problems of most Democratic candidates in the 24th congressional district getting their campaign web sites up online. The Les Roberts campaign did a great job of getting a campaign web site up quickly, and filling it with useful information for voters who want to evaluate what Congressman Roberts would look like. The other Democratic campaigns, I've reported, have been slower than molasses in getting campaign web sites up.

        As of this update, the slow pace of the other Democratic candidates' web site development is still impeding their progress. However, there has been a little bit of progress. Bruce Tytler and Michael Arcuri have both registered domain names for their web sites. TytlerForCongress.com and TytlerForCongress.net were secured on January 27, and ArcurifForCongress.com was secured on February 3. No content yet appears on either site, and it appears that the Arcuri and Tytler campaigns have yet to redirect the nameservers for their domains away from Network Solutions, so at a bare minimum it will be a few days before these web sites are up and functioning. Of course it could be longer than that - weeks or months, even.

        As for Leon Koziol, although he told me a couple weeks ago that his campaign was working on a web site, it seems that he has done nothing to actually move toward getting a campaign web site up online. This morning, I used the Network Solutions web site to search for every imaginable domain name that Koziol might use for a Koziol for Congress web site: Koziolforcongress.com , leonkoziol.com , koziol06.com , leonkoziol06.com , leonkoziol2006.com and so on. I found that every domain I could come up with was still available - even ones like Leon06.com. The .net and .org addresses were also unclaimed.

        To be fair, Leon Koziol could have people working on a campaign web site offline. Still, even if that is the case, his failure to have a web site ready for the time of his official campaign announcement must be disturbing to Koziol's supporters. Other than a few short, not very descriptive, newspaper articles, there is no way for voters to find out about Leon Koziol, much less provide him with their support.

        A web site is one of the first things any campaign should make available. A campaign site is extremely inexpensive (usually less than $50 necessary for initial set up costs), and has the potential to reach a large audience without restrictions of physical distance. These sites offer information, but also give the candidate a way to start collecting financial donations and information about potential supporters. Until Leon Koziol, Bruce Tytler, and Mike Arcuri get their web sites up, the only way that they'll be able to collect donations is from direct contact with potential donors. Their supporters in the 24th District wouldn't even know who to make a check out to right now, much less know where to send it.

        In the meantime, the Les Roberts campaign web site has been collecting online donations and volunteer information for weeks. Les Roberts 2006 continues to expand. The blog there is now operational, and is supplemented by a blog written by Josh Lozman, the manager for the Les Roberts campaign.

        This online head start could be narrowed quickly, but every week that these campaigns fail to establish an online presence is another week that they'll have to play catch up. It generally takes between one to two weeks for new web sites to get a foot in the door with search engines like Google - no matter how much they advertise and solicit links. In just three days from now, it will be a mere seven months until the Democratic primary. That's shorter than it seems. The filing deadline for petitions is just a little over five months away, and petitioning is a real test of organizational power.

        Given that we won't know for months what kind of fundraising the Democratic candidates are doing right now, presence in the media, including the Internet, will be an important clue for those of us who are trying to assess the candidates' relative strength. It looks like the online field will soon get more crowded, but for now, we're still waiting.


        From Take Back New York's 24th

        Jim's Plan For Our Economy

        If this doesn't say it all, I don't know what does:


        I'm currently updating this page. Please refer back in the very near future.

        Currently, No Related News Articles.

        Yep, it's from Jimbo's Issues Page on the Economy on his campaign website. Do we really think Jimbo is going to give CNY what it really needs?

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Wednesday, February 08, 2006

        Jim Hates Social Security

        In yesterday's Post Standard Jimbo gave his glowing endorsement of Bush's 2007 budget:

        Republican Reps. James Walsh, of Onondaga, and Sherwood Boehlert, of New Hartford, found much to their liking in the $2.77 trillion spending plan.

        But as it turns out, since Bush couldn't publicly put social security on the roulette wheel, he tried to sneak it into the 07 budget.

        Let's see if Jimbo can get away with another mealy mouth stance on this.

        More on the bumbling budget later.

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Les Roberts Defends 24th District from Budget Cuts

        The Les Roberts for Congress campaign became the first, and so far the only, campaign in the 24th District to come out in opposition to the drastic federal budget cuts in education by George W. Bush. President Bush has referred to his approach to budget matters "the ownership society". All I can figure that means is that if you want to get an education, you own all the expense yourself.

        Bush has suggested cutting the education budget by 3.5 billion dollars, including severe cuts to student loan programs that just last year Bush promised that he would never cut. That affects working families in our area who don't have the wealth of the Bush family to send their kids to college all on their own. The working families of the 24th District aren't asking for a handout, just a loan from the federal government so that their kids can start out their life without a mountain of high-interest debt.

        Now President Bush is saying that it's just too much to ask - at the same time that he is pushing the Paris Hilton Loophole, which gives kids who inherit millions or billions of dollars from their wealthy parents a special exemption from having to pay their fair share. That kind of loophole won't help us out here in the 24th District. How many of your neighbors are set to inherit multi-million dollar fortunes?

        In spite of all that, Sherwood Boehlert loves this budget, because it throws him the promise of a little bone, maybe one million dollars or so, with which Boehlert thinks he can buy our votes. None of the money is guaranteed, you understand, but Boehlert has his hopes, so he's declared that the Bush budget has "bold and much-needed" elements.

        Even I didn't think that Sherwood Boehlert was that far out of touch. The new budget is set to bankrupt local governments and school districts across Central New York.

        Les Roberts sees through the the bull, and is willing to give us some real straight talk. Here's what the Les Roberts campaign blog has to say about the draconian cuts in the new federal budget:

        "This sort of cut would have a disproportionate impact on the 24th District. We have 5 times more 4-year universities per capita than the national average. This represents a great number of students who will have to struggle a bit more to afford a college education. While the President is talking about investing money in math and science education, he appears to be forgetting that for many - if not most - people around the country, college is one of our largest lifetime expenses... As a Congressman, Les would not only use his vote to serve as a check on this White House, but would also use the vital oversight role given to Congress to make certain the President keeps the best interests of the country, not special interests, at the front of his mind."

        Les Roberts has set the standard of integrity on the budget issue for the 24th District campaign. It is now up to the rest of the candidates to join Les Roberts in his stand. I'm waiting to hear what they have to say on the matter.

        Public reports of Leon Koziol's campaign announcement yesterday had more to say about his effort to ban abortion and same-sex marriage than the economic needs of the people of the 24th District.


        From Take Back New York's 24th

        Tuesday, February 07, 2006

        Today's the Day! So Where is Koziol?

        Today was to be the day that Leon Koziol made his big announcement that he is officially seeking the Democratic nomination for the 24th District seat in Congress.

        So far, though, not much of the local media is covering it, just Channel 10 News, which says, well, that Leon Koziol is running. Nothing else. No newspaper coverage. No web site. So far, it's kind of a big pffft.

        Mr. Koziol, if you're out there, we'd love to hear from you with some more information. Drop us a line, okay?

        Update: The Morning After

        It's the morning following Leon Koziol's campaign announcement, and still the only coverage of it I can find is that little Channel 10 blurb.

        Two things are very, very wrong with this. First of all, the Leon Koziol for Congress campaign needs to do a better job of getting the word out. Second, and more importantly, our district's newspapers need to do a better job of reporting what's going on to us. It is outrageous that I should know that yesterday would be Leon Koziol's announcement day, but the area newspapers would know nothing about it.

        It is even more outrageous if the newspapers know about it, and just aren't telling any of us. It looks as if we, the citizens of the 24th District, are going to have to do the leg work ourselves.

        Maybe I'm missing an article. Maybe the Auburn Citizen stuck the story in underneath some stock quotes or something. If anyone finds a newspaper article on this subject, please let me know.

        Weak Kneed Walsh: A Blast From The Past

        Here's a little blast from the past, with Weak kneed Walsh selling out post-9/11 New York when the people he truly serves told him to. From the Almanac of American Politics (subscription required):

        In November 2001 Walsh and Democrat Nita Lowey pushed for $11 billion in aid to New York in the defense supplemental. This was opposed by the Bush administration, and Dick Cheney brought Walsh to the White House to ask him to defer the money until later. Walsh refused. Although Walsh and Upstater John Sweeney crossed party lines, their amendment, reduced to $9.7 billion, was defeated by two votes in committee. Walsh continued fighting and threatened to vote against the rule unless it allowed a vote on his amendment. But in a meeting with OMB Director Mitch Daniels and Deputy Whip Roy Blunt, he gave way, and agreed to accept $1.75 billion.

        Don't we deserve someone who will stand up for us?

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch

        Les Roberts Campaign Manager Blogs the 24th District

        In an expansion of its domination of the online campaign space, the Les Roberts for Congress campaign has added another resource to its web presence. Over the weekend, Josh Lozman, the campaign manager for Les Roberts, started his own blog, chronicling his own thoughts on campaign issues and the process he's going through working with the candidate and local Democratic activists.

        It's called On the Trail With Les Roberts, and it promises to be an interesting combination of personal reflections, political analysis, and professional insights into the working of a congressional campaign.

        I'd like to see this kind of outreach from the other campaigns. Voters need as much information about their congressional candidates as possible, and giving us an insight into the kind of people who would be on their congressional staffs is a bonus. If Sherwood Boehlert would give us this kind of way to get in touch with his own staff, maybe the people of the 24th District wouldn't feel so distant from their own representative in Washington D.C.

        You'll see that Josh has also joined Take Back Congress - New York as a contributor of congressional campaign news, as Les CM. Thanks for adding to the effort.


        From Take Back New York's 24th

        Monday, February 06, 2006

        Crank Candidate or Sincere Democrat?

        Here she comes again: Chris Rosetti has declared her intention to run for Congress against Jim Walsh, in spite of the very strong showing in the 25th District by Democrat Dan Maffei. I seem to remember Chris Rosetti showing up for the 2004 election campaign as well, without being able to come up with the necessary signatures to get on the ballot.

        I'm interested in any comments by the Walsh Watcher on this campaign. How are we best to regard the Rosetti for Congress campaign? Is she a crank candidate, or a sincere Democrat who just has trouble getting it all together?

        Sunday, February 05, 2006

        Michael Arcuri appears in Lansing - From Take Back the 24th

        It was a great pleasure to attend Michael Arcuri's talk at the Lansing Community Center a few days ago. At long last, there is a great deal that I can say about Arcuri's candidacy, other than that he has been absent from the race up until now.

        To be fair to Arcuri and his supporters, I will need to address his speech in several, separate chunks over the next few days. The gathering went on for about two hours, after all.

        For now, as it's a Friday afternoon, I will merely take note of the form of audience participation. There were between 15 and 20 Democrats in attendance, but 13 questions asked, not including my own 2 questions, which I just don't feel that I can fairly report on along with everyone else's. A quick review of the scope of these questions will give us a good idea of the subjects that the primary campaigns ought to address, as the Democrats in that room were probably a good rough representation of the kind of Democrats who are likely to turn out to vote in the primary election.

        The subjects of the questions were as follows:

        2 about how to reform health care
        2 about Bush's warrantless wiretapping against American citizens
        2 about general campaign strategy
        1 about the district's economy
        1 about media consolidation
        1 about the proper balance between federal rights and states' rights
        1 about the Republican Party's support infrastructure
        1 about gay marriage
        1 about the ability to get funding for science for universities in the district
        1 about political role models

        Look at these questions quickly, and you'll see that local issues don't play a dominant role in Democrats' consideration of who they want to support in the upcoming primary election. The large majority of questions dealt with national issues, with actions that can be taken by Congress to impact all Americans, not just people living in New York State's 24th. Campaign organization will have to occur on a local level, but the candidates will need to appeal to a higher level of citizen interest than merely what benefits us in our own back yards.

        From Take Back New York's 24th District!

        Thursday, February 02, 2006

        Team Corruption Loses (Sorta)

        Jimmy backed the wrong horse. Tom DeLay Mini-Me Roy Blunt lost to John "That's not how my last name is pronounced" Boehner. Of course, Tom DeLay Mini-Me Roy Blunt stay Majority Whip and Eric "I only had a sandwich named after me at Jack Abramoff's kosher deli" Cantor stays Chief Deputy Whip.

        Important question though, with Jimbo backing the wrong horse, and Tom DeLay looking for a seat on the Appropriations committee, will Jim lose his subcommittee chairmanship?

        NY 19 - Hall on Page 2 of the NY Post!!

        John Hall continues to attrack huge press attention to the campaign in the 19th District. This ability will be a HUGE asset in defeating Sue Kelly, who yet again voted to slash funding for the sick and students.

        Yeseterday he was on page 2 of the NY Post!
        http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/ 62726.htm

        The story was then picked up by UPI and went nationwide!!http://washingtontimes.com/upi/20060201- 042515-6048r.htm

        Please sign up to volunteer and get camapaign updates at:http://www.johnhallforcongress.com

        Update: (NY Post and UPI's sites aren't letting you click through, if you cut and paste address into your browser it works)

        Team Corruption Can Get The Job Done

        Jim Walsh gave a glowing endorsement of the leaders of Team Corruption, Tom DeLay Mini-Me Roy Blunt and Eric "I only had a sandwich named after me at Jack Abramoff's kosher deli" Cantor. Jim had this to say to Bloomberg News:

        "They've proven they can do the job,'' said Representative James Walsh, a New York Republican. "This is an important time for our party.''

        Jim is right, with Tom DeLay now disposed, the Republicans need someone to step up and carry the Culture of Corruption banner and to sell us out to the out of touch special interest groups that rule Republican Washington.

        The vote for new Majority Leader is coming up soon.

        Hat tip to Lisa.

        Crossposted at The Walsh Watch.

        Wednesday, February 01, 2006

        Sue Kelly goes ga-ga over W!

        Take19 realizes that some people consider W a celebrity and that the State of the Union can be exciting for a few diehards. But, it was a more than a little bit embarrassing to watch our 69 year-old Representative fawn (with a capital F) over W as she sought his autograph last night.

        Note to Sue: he's not Mick Jagger. He isn't even Bono. And besides, with all those votes you've taken that are in lock-step with Bush's misguided policies, like cutting more than $12 billion from federal student loans, it's a bit surprising to us that you had to act like some crazed fan to get a simple autograph.

        Decisive/Divisive Budget Vote

        By a 216-214 the House of Representatives passed a scorched earth budget. Had Jim voted against it, rather than for it, the budget bill would have failed to pass. Here are a few highlights:
        • $8 Billion Cut in Student Loans
        • 70,000 Low income people will lose their health care
        • 225,000 people will lose their food stamps


        On the plus side, Paris Hilton's taxes won't go up! Thanks Jim!

        Les Roberts is Frontrunner of Democrats in 24th District

        This news is just in from the New York Liberal blog: The fundraising statistics from the period ending December 31 last year show that Les Roberts is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. As of New Year's Eve, the Friends of Les Roberts campaign had 48,767 dollars in the bank.

        How about Michael Arcuri, the Oneida County District Attorney who was, in December, widely assumed to be a strong contender for the nomination? He had just more than one-fifth of the amount raised by the Les Roberts campaign: 10,150 dollars. What can you get for ten thousand dollars these days? Not an effective campaign, that's for sure.

        I'm going to borrow the following graphic from the New York Liberal people - don't tell.

        Jeff Miller is shown here raising just twenty five dollars, but to be fair to Jeff, he wasn't even campaigning at the time. Yesterday, Jeff Miller bowed out of the race, leaving Les Roberts, Michael Arcuri, and two possible campaigns by Leon Koziol and Bruce Tytler.

        Tytler and Koziol may be reconsidering their temptation to jump in the race at this late date, given that they would have to make up almost 50,000 dollars just to be competitive... with the figures Les Roberts had one month ago. Who knows what kind of money the Roberts campaign has gathered since the beginning of the year.

        Michael Arcuri will also probably be reassessing his chances of gaining the nomination. What with his campaign victory to a new term as DA just two months ago, and a deficit of over 38,000 dollars compared to Les Roberts, Arcuri will have to work extra hard now to convince the Democratic committees of the 24th District that it is worth their while to endorse him over Roberts. Even the Oneida County Democratic Committee may now be in play.

        Add to Michael Arcuri's problems that he has waited until February to really begin campaigning. Arcuri is giving a speech two days from now in Lansing, and he may well face some difficult questions from the members of the Lansing Democratic Committee gathered there.

        All this confirms my earlier suspicions about the use of web presence as a good indicator of the health of a campaign. As I've pointed out on a few occasions, the Internet profile of Les Roberts easily overshadows all his Democratic rivals. Anyone who wants to take on Les Roberts now will not only have to contend with their relative poverty of funds, but also with their nearly non-existent online presence.


        From Take Back the 24th