Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Health Care fiasco

Why has all the hoopla died down about health care in the news? This isn't over. They have to reconcile (read water down) the Senate proposal with the House version. There is still time to challenge this fiasco!

Where is the outrage about Senators selling their votes? The last remaining Democratic Senators literally sold their vote and the leadership(?) bought them. The new bill seems to be so watered down that no one will benefit from the changes. This is ridiculous and blatant!

Terrorist Attack

Janet Naploitano says, the system worked. Really? The terrorist who tried to blow up a Northwest Airliner was 80% successful! He got on boar with a bomb and ignited it. Thank God it was defective. Just how did the system work that allowed this person to get on a plane with a one way ticket which was reportedly paid with cash and had little or no luggage. He was on a watch list, but not a no-fly list. This is the same list Ted Kennedy was on, remember that? So just what part of the system worked? The other passengers and crew jumping the guy (and hopefully beating the hell out of him)?

I wonder what the liberal press would be saying if this happened on George Bushes watch, where is the outrage about the lack of controls on suspected terrorists? After all this guys father pleaded with our embassy to watch his son!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I just watched the History Channel about the Nazi regime and the assassination attempts on Hitler by some members of his army. As a first generation American of a German born jew, I have grown up with movies, stories and first hand accounts of the horrors of the Nazi regime. The similarities of how Hitler rose to power and the hunger of the German populace to embrace change is eerily similar to how our current President rose to power. I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL LEAD US INTO ANOTHER HOLOCAUST AND/OR WORLD WAR, but I am concerned with the move to a socialist platform for our country. Will we go as far as the Third Reich went to make the population dependent on a central federal government? Are the right winged Democrats following the same path (knowingly or unwittingly) bad mouthing those who would challenge their motives? Can we get to a point of rioting and civil disruptions causing class, race or religious wars within our own boundaries? I am scared! I am concerned for the future of this country. We ALL need to get involved, as citizens, in our governing. We can do this most effectively in our towns and cities where we can have a direct input. We need to get involved in the existing parties rather then attempting to create a third or fourth party. By getting involved at a grass roots effort (real grass or astro turf)we can have a say in party platforms and candidates for office. If we stand by the sidelines, we will never have a say in anything.

Republican, Democrat, liberal or conservative, get involved. Get educated and help put the right people (your choice) into office to straighten out the mess we are in. Only by having a vested interest in our future can we affect change. Keep the debate based on facts, fair and open. If you have a different point of view, learn about the issue and debate the issue, don't attempt to smear the opposition. Please, we are all Americans. I truly believe none of us want to destroy our country or our way of life, but we need to get back to the basics. Get a copy of the Constitution and READ it. This is the blueprint we need to follow. The federal government is getting too big and destroying our rights. We need to take responsibility for ourselves, our families and our neighbors and not look to the federal government to look after our families and neighbors in tough times or natural disasters. We need to take care of each other and take responsibility for our actions and inactions.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bruen Rescue Squad update

At the December Town Board meeting, I reported seeing a Bruen ambulance responding to a call and the driver was talking on a cell phone as he navigated through the intersection of Red Mill Road and Route 151. Apparently, Rick McCabe gave my letter to Brad Rose, of the rescue squad, and Brad called me the next day to get more information on the call. Apparently there was no call at the time and date that I witnessed this incredibly poor showing of judgment on the part of the driver. Brad stated there was only two calls that day and neither were at 3:30 pm. That tells me that either I can't tell time or the driver was utilizing the lights and siren for a non-emergency event. I would like to believe that I can't tell time as I not only saw the ambulance, but two EG police cars and and EGFD chief's car responding. But I digress.

Brad assured me he spoke to the crew that was on duty the day in question and further indicated that he told them it was not wise to operate an emergency vehicle in emergency mode with the driver talking on the phone. If it is a call related to the response someone else should be on the phone and if it was a private call, simply hang up! That said, I expect not to see this repeated.

I do appreciate Rick McCabe and Brad Roses rapid response to my concern.
East Greenbush now has a junk bond rating! All of a sudden we are in debt to the tune of $2.6 million! What is the first reaction from a spokes person from McCabe’s office? A 15% tax increase!!! That’s right Fred Nero stated they knew about this all the way back in 2008! Well why didn’t you do something? The town supervisors office also sited several developments that are on the planning board that will raise income for the Town. Really? Do they have any tax breaks for building in Town? How much will they add and how much more will it cost for infrastructure. Hoping that non-built developments will bail us out of this is like the State using next year’s stimulus to pay this year’s shortfall.
Rick Matters and Phil Danaher, both of whom I like on the board, said they were unaware of this deficit and that they were recently told that everything was financially fine by the Supervisor. That is unbelievable! Doesn’t the Town Board, you know the governing body of our local government, ever review the income and expense sheets? These should include amounts of borrowed money etc.? If not why aren’t the board members either demanding to see them and/or making it public that they are not allowed to see the books? Why is McCabe apparently able to hide things from our other elected officials?
Now is the time people. We need to tell our elected officials we have had enough! Call and write to our officials and tell them NO TAX INCREASE! Here’s an idea, do what we have to do in our homes! Cut the budget, that’s right 15% to start across the board! Yes that will include layoffs, cut services and reduce expenses. It means opening contracts and renegotiating union contracts. How about the dispatchers $1,000.00 per year, every year for longevity pay. Yep, every year the dispatchers get paid up to $20,000 each in longevity! How many get $20,000? At least two that I know of. That’s $40,000 savings right there, plus the lesser amounts for the other dispatchers with less seniority probably another $10,00- right in one department. What would we save if we closed down our dispatch center and paid the County to dispatch our services (like most of the rest of the county municipalities)What do the other contracts look like? How about clothing allowance for DPW workers? Do they need all the uniforms they get or can we cut the budget a little there? The Town board took less of a cut in pay then other boards in the Town (per Dean Kennedy), let’s have another look at their salaries and covered expenses. This is the level of government where we have a direct say. Get involved! Attend Town Board meetings and discuss your concerns!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Contacting our Legislators

I have been fed up with the State politicians for a long time. I have written emails and received responses from their offices. My latest complaint is the lack of responsibility for closing the State shortfall and the Governors plan to not pay state aid to localities so there is enough money to pay the bills. Well, it is my opinion that state aid to localities is indeed a bill that the State must pay. I contacted my Senators office and a very polite person listened and stated someone would get back to me regarding my concerns with the legislators lack of proper fiscal responsibility after speaking with the Senator. I then called my Assembly person, Ron Canastrari. I was told the Assemblyman was out of the office until Monday and would get back to me regarding my concerns. On Friday morning I was driving to the Cape to help a friend move and listening to tunes in my pickup. The music was good and loud and I missed the call or the Berkshires blocked yet another signal, anyway, I had a voice mail not from Canastrari's office, but for Canastrari himself! He indicated he was traveling, but wanted to discuss my concerns. WOW! I called back to the number he left which was different then his main office number, and left a message. Say what you want about politicians, but here was a man, who I don't agree with a lot of his choices, but took the time to listen to one of his constituents personally. He has my attention. Once I speak to him, I will follow this post up. My concern revolves around utilizing next years stimulus money for this years debt and not getting enough money to close the entire gap.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

poor snowplowing

With the first snow event of the season out of the way and a dismal showing of road clearing ability, I read the Times Union article stating that budget cuts had no effect on the snow removal. They quoted Albany County Public Works Commissioner, Michael Franchinni, as saying it was a fast moving storm of short duration that led to the early morning commuting problems. I don't doubt that the timing of the storm played a part of the problem, but if budget cuts become an issue, as he further stated some positions have been eliminated in the 2010 budget, perhaps they can follow the example of the fire service. Put a contingent of volunteers to work to augment the paid staff. In fact you could replace all the paid staff with volunteers. After all you know when a storm is scheduled, as we have highly paid T,V, meteorologists and their predictions. Simply page out the volunteers to drive the plows and sand trucks. Come on now, we all know someone and some have said ourselves, we could do a better job at plowing. Think of all the money you would save by not paying professionals to do the plowing and replace them with volunteers.

Gov withholding local aid.

Well the Governor will not be paying the localities state aid so he has enough money to pay the bills. Well, isn't state aid to localities a bill? It seems to me that the Governor needs to pay the bills as they come due and when there is no more money, stop paying. He would need to go to the Legislature and ask for more money to pay off our debts. Why is no one in the media asking our legislators what their plan is for paying our bills? They are the ones who refused to address the shortfall of cash. They voted to close most of the budget cap but not the whole gap. What do they think will happen? Call you legislators and ask them.

It's nice to see Patterson is backing Spitzer for his return to politics. For someone with polling numbers so low, does he think it will really help?

Public meeting

On January 13, 2010 at 6:30 PM at the EG Town Hall there will be a public meeting to discuss proposed amendment of the current contract with W.F. Bruen Emergency Squad and the proposed disposal of Rescue Vehicle 62. BE THERE PLEASE!

EG Town Board meeting

Last nights Town Board meeting was the last for Dean Kennedy and he took the time to address some issues he wanted to get off his chest. I don't know Dean, I don't think I ever had a personal conversation with him, but I was quite moved with his farewell speech last night. There were things in the elections he reportedly were behind that were dirty and underhanded. Those affected decided to keep those out of the public and I will not repeat the charges here because, 1. I was not involved and if the parties involved don't want them brought up, I won't. 2. The election is over and it is a time for healing.

What I will give Dean credit for is how he addressed the use of anonymous and screen names in blogs. I have stated before and will repeat, if you have something to day, take credit for your point of view. If you are afraid of repercussions for your thoughts and/or beliefs, then you are apparently not passionate enough to take a public stand. There is a reason the Town Board requires you to state your name before you speak and why the TU requires you to sign your name in letters to the editor. Where Dean and I disagree is that I believe the blogs are useful and in today's world of no forum for debate, the blogs can be useful.

Dean, You stated you don't read the blogs, unless someone calls your attention to them, well if you read this one, I thank you for your service to the Town for the last eight years. You spoke about it is sometimes a thankless job and you are right. It takes a person who is passionate about his community to continue to stand up and keep getting hit. Regardless of your political alliegence, you have made a difference in this town and I am grateful.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tiger in the tank

Well another one bites the dust! Here is Tiger Woods, a man who found his passion (no not that - golf), and appears to have thrown it all away. His beautiful wife has left him, gone back to Sweden, he is now facing allegations he was driving, well attempting to drive, while either intoxicated or stoned or both. At last count 10 women have come out and claimed to have been "with him". On Fox today I heard that there were parties where women were "imported" to meet his tastes to be available on his road trips etc. Now Gater Aid has dropped him and will no longer sponsor him. Is this the first of many? I think so.

My point? Here is a man who seemed to have everything and just tossed it all away while throwing away his integrity. That's right. He threw his integrity away and everything else is now going out the window with it. Tiger, at least it seemed, was unique. He was a quiet superstar. He never appeared to be a partyer and was not airing his dirty laundry in front of everyone. He seemed to be a man of integrity, honest and proud, not so much anymore. Once you give away your integrity, that's right no one can take it from you, you stand to lose everything. What ever you do, learn this from Tigers mistake. No matter what opportunity is presented to you, think. Is my integrity worth what I can take advantage of for the moment? I'm sure that Tiger had women throwing themselves at him as he is successful, handsome and rich. I can't speak of his personality, but I'm sure it was nice, but by not thinking about his integrity, he has now lost so much of what he loved. His professional career will be always scared from this. He has apparently lost his wife and now possibly so much of his earning potential and his net worth.

Can Tiger recover from this? Of course, but it is going to be oh so hard. He will need to work so much harder to get his integrity back and be trustworthy again and so much more difficult than if he had made the hard choice and asked himself about what his actions would do to his integrity.

The lesson, ALWAYS ALWAYS ask yourself the most important question before acting, How will my decision and actions affect my integrity? The more you practice this questioning, the easier it will be. I think if you asked Tiger now, was his choices worth all that he is in the process of loosing, he would answer NO!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Health care cost that no one is talking about

As the health care debate continues to churn the stomach acid, no seems to be giving much thought to the cost of the bill for the first four years. Sure people are talking about having to pay for the proposed health care plan for four years prior to benefits beginning, but what they appear to be missing is that while we pay for the plan to be, we still need to pay for our existing plan! How does anyone expect the general public to be able to pay for our current plans AND the proposed plan at the same time? Please let me know if you have thousands of dollars available in your personal savings accounts as I could use a bail out.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fire District Elections coming up

Don't forget the elections of Fire District Commissioners is coming December 8th for the East Greenbush Fire District. This is for Sherwood Park, East Greenbush Village, Route 4 corridor areas. (The date might be the same for the other two districts, not sure).There are three fire districts in the Town. If you don't know which one you are in, find out! Get involved and vote. These elected officials are generally voted in by active members of the fire departments and their family members solely because not enough other residents know about the elections. They are also members of the departments they are in charge of, but don't have to be. This is letting the fox guard the henhouse. If the only people voting for you are the people in the fire departments, how would you as a commissioner spend money? The fire districts are the closest thing we have in politics that residents have direct control over. Look at your tax bill! There is a fire tax listed on it as well as and ambulance district. These are volunteer organizations but not a free service. Generally, the commissioners are responsible stewards of our tax spending, but not always. Ask yourself why does the City of Albany with 90,000+ residents and double that during the work day and a paid fire department run 8 engines, 4 ladder trucks 3 paramedic squads and a heavy rescue for 20,000 calls versus East Greenbush Town with approx. 11 engines, 2 ladders trucks, various utility vehicles, 2 or 3 ambulances and at least 6 Chiefs cars for (guessing here) approximately 7,000 calls (be careful here as car accidents with personal injury or assumed PI will count as a separate call for the FD and for Bruen so simply adding all department totals together will inflate the number). The City of Albany has eight fire stations and our Town has 8 fire/ambulance stations. Clinton heights are less then a mile apart and East Greenbush North station and Bruen Ambulance less then half a mile apart! If we reduce the number of engines, we could reduce the number of stations. The Fire Districts, our tax dollars, own the fire equipment and pay the Fire Companies rent to house the trucks in the independent company stations. The fire fighters "work" for the company, but most of the funds are from the rent paid for by the districts. Other funds for the companies are from fund drives and rentals of fire halls, etc. Did you know that the paramedics in town are paid, not volunteer? Did you know that the Town fire chiefs utilize their department vehicles to drive to and from work with work locations within town and outside? Why are we subsidizing their commuting expenses? for the rare possibility that a call may come in on their way home from work? Can they actually leave work to respond to a call? There are many ways to save money in the fire districts, but only if you get involved. Did you know that the fire fighters earn credits for their time and rank that they collect as a "retirement" after age and service time requirements are reached? It may not be a lot of money, but they are being compensated for their efforts. Did you know, once they start collecting these "pensions" they can continue to serve? These are just some of the things going on that we as voters have control over, but only if we get involved! Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves! With three separate fire departments in the Town, at any given time approximately half of the available volunteers can't respond to a call because it is in the other fire district. If they need help, they will call out the other department(s), but with fire doubling in size every minute, seconds can make the difference between life and death! Don't get me wrong, we have some of the finest fire fighters and EMS personnel in the region and I am proud of the service they provide, but why don't we watch the costs of these services just because they are volunteers?