Thursday, November 17, 2005


I have a problem with New York State and Monroe County GoP Chairman Steve Minarik. That isn't news. When people in his own party have a problem with him, then that's news.

A LEADING national Republican, citing sweeping losses in last Tuesdays elections, has declared the New York GOP a disaster area and says shell close her enormous checkbook to the party next year.
"There was no investment in New York in developing future party talent, no investment made in building the partys future," added Mosbacher, the Manhattan-based CEO of Borghese, an international cosmetics firm.
"Who is responsible for this? You hold Gov. Pataki, [former state GOP Chairman] Sandy Treadwell, [current Chairman] Steve Minarik, all of them, responsible."
Asked if she planned to contribute to New York Republican candidates in 2006, Mosbacher responded, "Contribute to what? Im always ready to step up when theres something I believe in and see is worthwhile."
I'm looking forward to seeing Minarik on Need To Know going on about how encouraged he is by this year and how the GoP will sweep elections next year.... in Fantasyland.

City Newspaper Does an Election Postmortem

City Paper posted Krestia Degorge's write-up concerning the fallout from the Monroe County elections. There is a strong emphasis on the Democrats reactions and very little in terms of Republicans. I think I have something I can post concerning the New York Republican fallout in a little bit.

I highly recommend it to anyone that is even remotely interested in party politics. Degorge does a great job covering multiple facets in the story.

Check out the article here.

Revisiting Medicaid

On Tuesday, State Assemblyman Dave Koon (D- Perinton, Penfield, Webster) was on the 1370 Connection on WXXI just taking calls concerning the election and general what-not. I built up a little nerve in the parking lot outside of Burlington Coat Factory in Henrietta and called in. I was the last caller taken.

I thanked the host, Bob Smith for taking my call and then directed my question to the Assemblyman. It was about Medicaid. My question was something like, "New York is number one with a bullet when it comes to state expenditures on Medicaid. We spend 33% more on the program than the next state, California, which has the 8th largest economy in the world. I'd like to know what the Assembly is doing, or what the Democrats are planning to do in order to rein these costs in?"

The Assemblyman didn't really evade the question or hemmed and hewed around it. He didn't really address it either. His answer concerned two things: the problem needs to be examined very closely, and they need to make changes without reducing the level of benefits. Host Bob Smith added to my question by addressing the potential that around 20% of state Medicaid expenditures are due to fraud. Again, the response was, it's something that needs to be looked at.

I'm not getting the impression that this is a real priority in Albany.

First, legislators need to start looking at the problem and finding ways to make sure that benefits are granted to those who need them. They shouldn't shy away from denying benefits to those who do not require assistance. By stating that we don't want to reduce benefits before even doing any serious accounting for where the cost centers are, is like tying our hands before we start bailing water out of our sinking boat. New York State is spends more than any other state. Why are we so out of alignment with states our size with similar demographics? This requires benchmarks. Ideally, we want to be right there in the middle of the pack.

Spending more than California should be a major wakeup call to everyone. Instead it's just not sinking in. The Rochester-based Rump Group has a great position paper concerning steps that can be taken to bring New York back in line with where it should be. The Democrat and Chronicle also runs special reports concerning Medicaid which they archive in one place. I highly encourage both social progressions and fiscal conservatives to examine these resources. This is a case where New York State can be doing more with less.

Furthermore, the allegations of fraud in the Medicaid system falls squarely to the State Attorney General to investigate and take action upon. Let it never be said I go easy on Democrats. Elliot Spitzer needs to tackle Medicaid fraud squarely in the next year or I will find it very hard to take him as a genuine advocate for the people of New York. I will not diminish the things he did on Wall Street, but if he isn't addressing the potential of fraud costing the tax payers of this state in the ballpark of $8 billion, I'm not sure what his motivations for seeking the Governorship are. I will tell you this, Golisano will be addressing Medicaid (he is a member of the previously mentioned Rump Group), Bill Weld will be addressing Medicaid (Massachusetts had sky-rocketing Medicaid costs before Weld reined them in. Now Massachusetts is considered one of the states New York should benchmark itself against.), and they will both look to Spitzer and ask why he hasn't done more to address the fraud in the system. It infuriates me to see Spitzer allowing such a huge opening for which his two major opponents will be able to directly flank him and hit him on a major issue.

What's more important though, is that the problem gets fixed. If Spitzer isn't willing to do it, he should sit down and get out of the way of people that are willing to. If that means I vote for someone else for Governor next year, than I'll do so happily.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Firefox versus Internet Explorer

I use both IE and Firefox. Mostly I use IE at home because it's what my wife likes, and I like her to be happy. On my antiquated laptop, I've got Firefox and Opera because I'm doing the linux-using-rebel thing there.

Let me tell you, this blog and many other sites are rendered much better in Firefox. I was actually getting upset with how the site was layed out in IE and was considering changing some things, when I surfed over to it in Firefox. The left hand column is a more managable size, the links look and behave better, and the body content just reads better. That sounds kind of strange.... Yeah, I think reading my stuff in Firefox makes it better, which means Firefox makes me a better writer. It also makes me taller and better looking. Nevermind all that. Now I'm being silly.

If you haven't surfed using Firefox I highly recommend it. Surf over to and download it. You really won't be sorry. I even replaced Outlook Express with their e-mail application, Thunderbird.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Back from the Dead

Real life got in the way of this blog at the most inopportune time, keeping me away from giving my insight and commentary during one of the more interesting local elections in a very long time. That isn't really true though. I don't consider myself one of the liberal illuminati, one who electronically downloads what you should think directly into your soul by way of a Pentium chip. No, I'm probably a lot like you. I surf around, read some articles, and then respond to it. No ulterior motives other than I like to write. That's it.

That should be quite enough about me. I have better things to write about, and I insist that you must have better things you could be reading.

So let's get to the interesting stuff, shall we?

Over at The Political Notebook, Mike Caputo pens this article which takes stock in how things shook out following the election, and the fallout in the wake of Irondequoit supervisor upset. Democratic challenger Mary Ellen Heyman beat incumbent Republican David Schantz in what was likely the big upset of this year. Mike starts down an interesting path with this:

The County Legislature is still in the hands of the GOP, but they have a lot of new faces in the mix. Perhaps they will still have a common interest with County Executive Maggie Brooks' administration and they will let her take the lead. But maybe, if the budget situation remains bumpy, they will start breaking away.
But doesn't take it to its next logical step. With the tobacco settlement money gone, which I wrote of here, it will be increasingly more difficult to hold property taxes constant and continue to balance the county budget. This presents a real opportunity for competent democratic candidates to make inroads in the County Legislature. I think that is the greatest pitfall facing the Monroe County GoP, considering how much they've banked on their ability to keep property taxes low (or more accurately, their growth in check).

Caputo also teases at the fallout within the County Democrats ranks with the election of Duffy as Mayor.
It's progress. But Democrats still have to craft a message that will work in places outside the city. And the mayor's race picked at the scab of dissention among Democratic leaders. Should internal division linger over the next few years, and should the Duffy administration stagger out of the gate, well, that would make things far more difficult for the party in the coming years.
It could come to pass that if the county budget should start to give under its own weight, the message could craft itself. But there is some time before that happens.

Nico penned some results from around the 'Cuse and all of western NY that involved party changes like we got in Irondequoit. Also you can read the Prop 1 postmortem here.

Krestia Degorge still hasn't posted anything over at City Paper yet. When he does, I'll be sure to link to it.

What do I think about the elections? I'm flattered you asked. I think people made the right choices. Ultimately, with the exception of Irondequoit, people voted in favor of keeping things in the same hands as they were previously. Mayor-elect Duffy is the logical extension of the Johnson administration (which voters largely agreed with, Duffy being the only candidate that thought the city was on the right track), the county legislature stayed in Republican hands, and most towns continued dancing with the dates that brought them. This also indicated something else. Despite the spate of violence, Kodak's layoffs, and Delphi on life support, there hasn't been anything in the community that has really changed the dynamic of power. If anything, that should be a good sign that life in The Flower City is not as perilous as we sometimes think it is. Hopefully, things will improve. Whether they do or not, I promise I'll be around to say something about it.