Hurricane Sandy Victims Receive Citations for ‘Failure to Maintain’ Property

December 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm (Cavaliere, Citation, Department of Buildings, Failure to Maintain, Michael Bloomberg, New York, New York City, Queens)

In a recent statement to residents of his city, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “For those faced with the hard work of rebuilding after the storm, we are doing all that we can to provide assistance and relief.”

Apparently the Department of Buildings didn’t get the ‘provide relief’ memo, as residents in Queens were recently delivered citations for a ‘failure to maintain’ their property.

Via CBS New York:

Residents in one Queens neighborhood are crying foul after they were written up for failing to clean up the city’s own mess. It is yet another new complication in life after Superstorm Sandy.

Rosanne and Joe Cavaliere are still trying to clean up from the hurricane.

They have branches through their roof, busted front windows, and, to add insult to injury, they recently received a citation notice from the city.

“It makes me angry, but it’s also ridiculous!” Rosanne Cavaliere told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.

They got it on Nov. 9, cited with “failure to maintain” their property.

But as they pointed out to CBS 2’s Schneider on Tuesday night, it’s a city tree that they were waiting for the city to remove.

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New York Ready to Take Another Toll on Business?

December 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm (Business, Governor Cuomo, New York, Steve McLaughlin, Thruway Authority, Toll Hike, Truckers)

Not merely content with holding this year’s position as the least business-friendly state in the nation, or ranking dead last for business tax climate, or even being named to the Top 10 list of states that Forbes considers to be in an economic “death spiral“, New York is showing once again that they remain unwilling to rest on their laurels, finding new ways to drive businesses away from the Empire State in droves.

The latest tactic?  A proposal by the Thruway Authority to enact a massive 45% toll hike on trucks – a concept that would cripple the trucking industry, pass costs on to consumers, and increase safety hazards while tangentially creating untold problems for the state’s highway infrastructure.

All the while referring to the plan straight-faced as a “modest” increase.

State Assemblyman, and vocal opponent of the plan, Steve McLaughlin, tells FreedomWorks that referring to the toll hike as “modest” is simply dishonest.

“It is anything but,” he opines.  “It’s a massive toll increase that follows on the heels of repeated toll hikes over the past years.”

McLaughlin, explains that the plan isn’t simply an economic burden on truckers and businesses alone either.
“It is nothing more nor less than a massive tax hike on the people of NY,” he said.

It was a little over a year ago that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a new marketing initiative called, “New York Open For Business“, which according to a press release, had the following aim:

The goal of the “New York Open for Business” initiative is to promote the many assets of investing in New York so the state can regain its reputation as a business-friendly location.

While the state itself may be open for business, the Thruway Authority is apparently trying to make conducting business as difficult as possible.

Via the Buffalo News:

The New York State Motor Truck Association insists that a 45 percent toll hike would cripple some firms and most assuredly result in trucking companies and their clients passing along the cost of the toll increase to consumers. Or some truckers could decide not to take the Thruway, cutting into the anticipated revenue stream.

McLaughlin also notes that a business decision to avoid the Thruway would create less-noticeable issues for the state.

“This action will lead to greatly increased wear and tear on roads that were not designed to handle big rigs, which in turn will result in increased cost’s to localities and the state to maintain those roads,” he says.
“Additionally, there is most definitely a safety issue involved if greater numbers of big rigs are using surface roads and a much greater risk of serious accidents.”

McLaughlin summarizes the impact, stating that the 45% toll increase on trucks “would be a disaster across the board”.

On this, there seems to be some bipartisan pushback against the Authority. Most notably, a former supporter of the plan in Governor Cuomo, is now referring to the possibility of a toll hike as “detrimental”, and urging officials to “get creative” in their efforts and avoid raising tolls on the 570-mile highway.

While some would see such a shift by the influential governor as damning to the Thruway Authority’s plan, McLaughlin says the fight is far from over.

“I believe they still intend to increase tolls and the fight now is over how much they will increase,” he says.  “Given the chance and given their past behavior, I firmly believe the Thruway Authority will hold a meeting and slam an increase through.”

Can a state ranking dead last in business-friendliness currently afford a toll increase that would devastate businesses and consumers alike?  Certainly not. And certainly not now in this economic client.

McLaughlin is urging Mental Recession readers to take action in the fight against a New York State Thruway toll increase.

“Please continue to spread the word about this issue and keep this in the spotlight,” he asks.  “Public pressure is vital.”

Now, more than ever.

Cross-posted at FreedomWorks

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Merry Christmas: Fire Victim Billed $1400 for Water Used to Fight Blaze

December 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm (Al Roney, Brunswick, Fire Victim, Firefighters, Mike Petrio, New York, Poestenkill)

Mike Petrio’s house was consumed by flames last Monday.  Firefighters fought the blaze for nine hours, but the house is likely to be classified as a total loss. 
A few days later, Petrio’s mailbox, one of the few things left intact on his property, brought more bad news – a bill from the city, charging him for the water used to put out the fire.
Via the Times Union: 

… the mailbox at 375 Garfield Road is now full, with a $1,400 bill from the Town of Poestenkill for the water used to combat the blaze that consumed his home on Monday. Petrio lives in the Town of Brunswick and firefighters traveled a mile down the rural road to fill their trucks at a Poestenkill hydrant. 

It took multiple fire companies nine hours to knock down the inferno, Eagle Mills volunteer fire department chief Tom Martin said. The home was set a quarter-mile off the road and flames ripped through the structure. The roof collapsed into the home and the windows blew out. Firefighters set up temporary ponds and zipped down the road to fill their tanker trucks at the best hydrant.

Unfortunately for Petrio, that hydrant happened to be in Poestenkill, which buys its water from Brunswick.

Local media personality,  Al Roney writes, “Talk about kicking a man when he’s down”.
Roney goes on to explain that there is in fact a reason for the billing, but that it really should not have applied in this case.

There’s a reason for the billing, one that in my opinion doesn’t hold any water at all. 

See Poestenkill buys its water from Brunswick and Troy, and Town Supervisor Dom Jacangelo seems to think it’s only fair they try to recoup the money “lost” in gallons of water to help the town’s tax-payers. 

Wrong target Mr. J!  Major misfire. 

Charging this guy for the water used is beyond ludicrous, especially since he has ZERO control over what hydrant, or what water source, is being is used.  Even if he did, it’s still nuts. 

So sorry your house was destroyed, here’s the bill for the water.

Just another heartwarming Christmas present brought to you by a bureaucratic lack of common sense.

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Sad State of Affairs: 16% of Kids in NY are Neither Working Nor Going to School

December 3, 2012 at 8:55 am (College, Dropout, Economy, Jobs, New York, President Obama, School, Unemployment, Youth)

And yet the youth vote nationwide helped propel the man whose economic policies have extended such trying times to another four years in office.

Via the Associated Press:

Sixteen percent of teens and young adults in New York are neither in school nor the workforce, part of a national problem that could lead to “dire consequences” for the younger generation’s financial stability, according to a new report.

The latest Kids Count report released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation said high school dropouts are having a harder time landing traditional entry-level jobs in retail and fast-food restaurants due to competition from older candidates with more experience. Front-line service providers add that the recent recession has added to the problem.

“You’re competing with people that are in the workforce now that have diplomas,” said Jeff Nixon, youth services manager for the Buffalo Employment and Training Center. “You’ve got people with college degrees that are competing for some of these lower-wage jobs. And obviously for an employer, if they have a choice between somebody with a college degree and a kid that’s a dropout, that’s a no-brainer.”

Nationally, there are 6.5 million youth 16 to 24 years old who are neither in the workforce nor in school — about 17 percent of that age group, according to the report. New York accounts for 406,000 of those young people, according to the foundation.

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Embarrassing: Quite Possibly the Weakest Excuse For Negotiating Your Way Out of the No-Tax Pledge – Ever

November 30, 2012 at 11:57 am (Chris Gibson, Grover Norquist, New York, No Tax Pledge, Tax Pledge)

Embarrassing doesn’t begin to tell the story.  And we don’t make this criticism lightly.  That said, this is a move more fit for an amateur politician, than an outstanding Army veteran and rare successful member of the Republican party in New York.
WGY was the first to report on Republican 

Congressman Chris Gibson’s willingness to cave in on tax hikes to avert the fiscal cliff.Another Republican signals that he’s willing to consider tax increases in dealing with the fiscal cliff. This time, it’s Capital Region and Hudson Valley Congressman Chris Gibson. He signed the no tax hike pledge when he ran for Congress two years ago in the 20th District and won.

Mention of the district Gibson was victorious in is key here, as he is now citing redistricting and the re-numbering of that district as a reason for no longer being beholden to the pledge.
The National Review reports: 

Representative Gibson now says he signed his pledge in 2010 when he was a candidate for Congress. But the pledge was made to the people of New York’s 20th congressional district. Since then, the new Census mandated a redrawing of the district lines which included changing the number of the district Gibson was in. So his office now claims: “Congressman Gibson doesn’t plan to re-sign it for the 19th Congressional District, which he now represents (the pledge is to your constituents of a numbered district).”

The absurdity of that statement is so egregious that Mr. Gibson owes an apology to the roughly 50% of district 20’s constituents that still fall under his representation for not keeping his no-tax pledge, and a separate apology to his new constituents in district 19 for insulting their intelligence.
The Review article continues:

This comical maneuver should make Representative Gibson a laughing-stock. What if the New York legislature had kept his district number the same? Would he then be bound by it? 

About half of his new constituents were also in his old 20th district. Doesn’t his pledge to them still hold? 

The technical loophole that Gibson claims to have found doesn’t even hold up. The ATR pledge, which all but six House Republicans had signed in the run-up to this November’s election is addressed “to the taxpayers of the ____ district,” with candidates expected to fill in the blank. 

But the next line says the pledge is also made “to the American people.” Grover Norquist of ATR says the pledge was worded in that way to account for the fact that district numbers would change.

It’s tempting for the Republicans to panic right now and abandon their principles.  But don’t weasel your way out of it with an intellectually dishonest excuse.  At the very least, admit that you’re willing to negotiate your principles based on election results.
For the rest of the conservative Republicans out there – it’s okay to stick to your guns.  It is okay to maintain your position on something you believe in.  Devolving morally is for the other party.  Keeping your word should still matter in ours.

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NYPD Officer Buys Barefoot Homeless Man Boots, Image Goes Viral

November 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm (Boots, Holbrook, Homeless Man, Larry DePrimo, Long Island, New York, Socks)

Nice to have a feel-good story every once in a while.  And this one is pretty damn good…
Via Fox News: 

An NYPD officer’s act of kindness has gone viral on Facebook. 

Jennifer Foster, a Florence, Ariz., tourist, posted a photograph of the officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots and socks on a frigid night in Times Square on Nov. 17. 

The image became an instant hit on the NYPD’s Facebook page. More than 308,861 users “liked” his generosity as of Thursday morning. 

Newsday identified him as Larry DePrimo of Holbrook, Long Island. He’s assigned to the 6th Precinct in Manhattan. 

The homeless man said he’d never had a pair of shoes. DePrimo purchased a pair of insulated boots and thermal socks and put them on the man’s feet. 

DePrimo said the man “smiled from ear to ear. It was like you gave him a million dollars.”

Thanks for the reassurance in the kindness of humanity,  Officer DePrimo. 

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Democrats in Voter Fraud Scandal Targeted Recent Stroke Victim Because He Would Have "A Hard Time Getting to the Polls"

November 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm (Ballot Fraud, Dan Brown, Ed McDonough, Nadine Lagace, New York, Terrance Conway, Trey Smith, Troy, Voter Fraud, Working Families Party)

Democrat and local school board member, Ed McDonough is on trial in upstate New York for his alleged role in a voter fraud scheme that has already seen numerous colleagues implicated, of which four have already pled guilty.

One of those colleagues, Dan Brown, brother and former campaign manager for Democrat City Councilman John Brown, received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.  Monday’s testimony may have revealed new depths to which the Democrats were willing to stoop in order to win elections.

Mind you, we’ve already heard prior testimony that gives insight into just who the Democrats felt were the most vulnerable members of society, those making easy targets for their voter fraud scheme.

For instance:

  • They targeted immigrants who struggled with the English language and had little knowledge of the U.S. election process.
  • They targeted college kids with little money, paying them for their voter registration cards.
  • They targeted people living in low-income housing because there was a sense that poor people were “less likely to ask any questions”.
  • They tricked mentally disabled individuals into signing over their absentee ballots.
Until yesterday, these stood as the worst examples in the upstate New York voter fraud scandal.  Brown’s testimony however revealed that the Democrats were willing to sink to new depths – by targeting a man who had recently suffered a stroke and was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer.  Why?  Because “he would have had a hard time getting to the polls”.
Via the Troy Record:

Armed with a clipboard and walk sheet — showing the names, addresses, and other information about the “friendlies” — Brown headed to District 1 with Thomas Aldrich, a WFP operative.

Among those the pair solicited to fill out absentee ballot applications were Nadine Lagace and Terrance Conway, a couple living on Third Avenue. Brown knew they had not been intending to vote because Conway, due to a recent stroke, would have had a hard time getting to the polls.

After convincing Lagace and Conway to sign their absentee ballot applications, Brown set about filling in the excuse field for them, and without their knowledge.

Acting as a voting agent, Brown said he filled in the box indicating “illness” on the application.

Special Prosecutor Trey Smith then showed Lagace a copy of her ballot application which not only had the box for illness indicated, but also stated she would be in Vermont on the day of the primary. He asked her if she had, indeed, been in Vermont on the primary.

“I don’t know how to get to Vermont,” testified Lagace, nor, she said, did she and Conway have the ability to get there as he was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer.

The act of having her vote stolen left Lagace scarred, claiming she’ll never vote again.

Voluntarily anyway.

Remember, this was a targeted voter fraud scheme that one Democrat claimed was “commonplace” over multiple decades, “a normal political tactic”, and “an accepted way of winning elections”.

Stroke victim or cancer patients be damned.

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Biden Tells Sandy Victims ‘You’ve Got a Homeboy’ In the White House ‘Who Gets It’

November 19, 2012 at 10:00 am (Connecticut, Delaware, Homeboy, Hurricane Sandy, Joe Biden, New Jersey, New York, President Obama, Vice President)

If there is any silver-lining to the re-election of President Obama, it’s four more years of comedy hour from Uncle Joe.

While victims of Hurricane Sandy were probably hoping to get a professional politician who has a plan to restore their power, assess damage to their properties, and has a delicate manner about them with which to console them in their time of need.

Instead, they got Vice-President Joe Biden who said this…

“If you’re not an Easterner it’s hard to understand that the ocean to us is the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park and everything else combined. It is a gigantic part of not only our economy but who we are. It’s a gigantic part of the culture as well.

“And every time the rest of the country is in real trouble, New Jersey and Delaware and New York and Connecticut, et cetera, we respond, we respond. And it’s going to be a heavy lift. These are difficult times in terms of budgets but the president has made it clear that we are going to do everything we can to make sure that the Corps is fully funded, that FEMA has their needs and that all the programs that exist under the auspices of the federal government not only continue to exist but are funded so that we can make sure that this area of the country is fully fully fully restored.

“So as the president said when he was up here with the governor, we’re not going anywhere. We’re not going anywhere. And you’ve got a homeboy in the deal who gets it.”

Homeboy Joe.  Do legit homeboys use the word malarkey?  Ever?

Doug Powers writes:

Some think the “homeboy” Biden was referring to was Barack Obama, and others believe he was talking about himself. Either way, as usual, it was a cry for psychological help while the struggle continues for thousands and thousands of people.

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Former Dem Party Boss Solicits Boy For Sex, When That Doesn’t Work, Tries to Solicit His Mother

November 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm (Democrat, Ed McDonough, Florida, James Germano, Jim Germano, Jimmy Germano, Mother, New York, North Greenbush, Solicitation, Son, Stalking, Vero Beach)

Leaving commentary to a minimum, since this guy is really only well known for his past in the local political scene.

Former political boss Jimmy Germano, a North Greenbush Democrat, apparently propositioned a boy for sex in Vero Beach Florida.  When that plan didn’t go so well, Germano decided to proposition the mother who had confronted her son’s stalker.

Germano was arrested and released on $15,000 bail.

Via the Times Union:

Former North Greenbush Democratic political boss F. James “Jimmy” Germano was arrested in Vero Beach, Fla., for asking for sex from boy and his mother.

The Vero Beach Police Department confirmed that Germano, 83, who controlled the Democratic Party in the town for decades before retiring to Florida, was arrested Nov. 2 on felony charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and soliciting a prostitute. He also was charged with two misdemeanor counts of stalking.

He is free on $15,000 bail, officials said.

Germano was active in town Democratic politics and patronage for four decades and lead the town party for 31 years, before he stepped down Aug. 26, 2002.

According to a report by Vero Beach Detective James Kelly, Germano approached a 12-year-old boy who was walking to his bus stop at 6:54 a.m. that day. In a statement to police, the boy said an older, heavyset man approached him driving a black Cadillac with New York license plates.

“He stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride and sexual stuff and I kept walking to my bus stop,” the boy said in a written statement.

The boy then used his cellphone to call his mother, who rushed from her home to the bus stop. The mother, 31, said in the statement that she was then approached by Germano in his car and repeatedly propositioned for sex.

Jim Franco has a copy of the police report, and his own accounts of Germano’s erratic behavior dating back to the ’90s, including this gem:

While he was trying to take over the Democratic Party Committee back in the 1990s after Ed McDonough resigned there was a battle on the floor and one person called him a thug. He stood up and said: “You call me a thug again and I’m going to break their F***ing knees.”

Nothing quite says peacenik like a threat of knee-capping.

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Man Imprisoned For Stealing From State Archives Gets New Job … At a State Museum

November 13, 2012 at 10:00 am (Abraham Lincoln, Archives, Artifacts, Civil War, Daniel Lorello, eBay, John Calhoun, New York, New York State Library, Revolutionary War, Roosevelt, Saratoga Military Museum)

Only in New York, and only in the state government workforce does this happen.

As recently as 2008, Daniel Lorello was sentenced to anywhere between two to six years in prison, and forced to pay over $125,000 in restitution for second-degree grand larceny.

His crime?  Lorello was an Archives and Records Managment Specialist, with a side specialty of theft that included over 1,600 artifacts belonging to the New York State Library.

Lorello stole the artifacts and then sold them for profit on eBay or at collector shows for tens of thousands of dollars.  Some of the items stolen included documents penned during the Civil War, letters to and from Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, a letter written by Vice-President John Calhoun, and a railroad timetable for Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train.

With that kind of background, what did the good folks at a state military museum in Saratoga decide to do?  Why, put him in charge of the bookstore of course.

Lorello is now in charge of running the bookstore at the Saratoga Military Museum, “a state-owned facility with a vast collection of memorabilia dating from the Revolutionary War and tied to New York forces.”

The Times Union reports:

The Saratoga Springs institute holds uniforms, weapons, artillery pieces and art, much of it from the Civil War. It is the repository of the largest collection of state battle flags in the country and the biggest collection of Civil War flags in the world. The site boasts more than 6,000 photographs, unit history files, broadsides, scrapbooks, letters and maps highlighted by 2,300 Civil War photographs and newspaper clippings.

Here’s hoping they don’t end up on eBay.

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