Ranidaphobic Clarence Man Writes Blog
1. Did you know that, thanks to a petition that more than 3,000 people signed, and thanks to a big turnout and lively speakers at last night’s Amherst Town Board meeting, the town’s ridiculously restrictive proposed food truck regulation has been scrapped and the town is going back to the drawing board. It’s something of a pyrrhic victory because while Amherst’s lawmakers go back to make their sausage, the food trucks will continue to operate under the anachronistic peddling law that’s on the books now.
While imperfect in many ways, the Buffalo food truck ordinance should be a template. Perhaps different circumstances may require certain towns to make minor tweaks, and perhaps some more business-friendly communities might introduce much smaller licensing fees, but this isn’t brain surgery. From the News’ report,
Board members said they agreed that changes were necessary but were concerned at the timetable required to make changes. Building Commissioner Thomas Ketchum said it would take at least two months to make the needed changes.
Supervisor Barry Weinstein said he doubts the matter will be resolved so quickly.
“Two months is excessively optimistic,” Weinstein said.
Hm. And here I thought two months is excessively pessimistic.
2. Someone in Governor Cuomo’s office trial ballooned a story to the New York Post’s Fred Dicker about ousting Sheldon Silver as Assembly Speaker. In the wake of new, electoral fusion-related indictments, metaphorically cleaning up Albany has become something of a priority. Not surprisingly, Assembly Democrats wouldn’t dare go on the record to bash Silver. It would be political suicide at this point – you (again, metaphorically) throw Shelly under the bus when the bus is moving. Dicker writes,
Silver’s possible ouster comes as Cuomo — who campaigned for governor in 2010 promising to end “pay-to-play” in Albany — plans to announce broad ethics reforms.
“This is a rare moment for sweeping change,” Cuomo told his aides this weekend.
The overhaul could include a Moreland Act Commission that would put influential lobbyists under oath to testify on how the system of corruption works.
Also under consideration is a ban on the “cross endorsement” of candidates of one political party by another party.
Cuomo is also eyeing a repeal of the “Wilson-Pakula” law, which allows candidates from one party to run on another party’s ticket.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith planned to run for mayor on the GOP ticket but was busted by the feds last week for paying off Republican county chairmen in exchange for endorsements.
There you have it. Wilson-Pakula, electoral fusion, and the open market for cross-endorsements in New York are the manure that fertilizes New York State’s culture of corruption. It is a culture that keeps government bloated, dishonest, and opaque – lawmakers acting in their own best interests, rather than those of their constituents. This corrupt fusion system enables tiny political “parties” and their bosses to wield incredible power and clout. As for the “Independence Party”, it isn’t, and it should be banned simply for the confusion it creates for people who intend to register as “unenrolled” voters. Abolition of electoral fusion and cross-endorsements is the first, critical step to disinfecting Albany.
3. Monday’s Buffalo News carried a big headline declaring that a “Clarence man with frog phobia wins $1.6 million verdict“. I saw plenty of Tweets and Facebook posts ridiculing the idea that someone could win so much money because he was afraid of frogs, or something. Upon reading the article, however, I discovered that the story was really about a Clarence man, Paul Marinaccio, whose property was rendered unmarketable because an adjacent development diverted water runoff onto it.
The issue of Mr. Marinaccio’s fear of frogs was perhaps a humorous anecdote, but had nothing whatsoever to do with the merits of the case that he won. He won because a developer and the town destroyed his land. This was quite an important result and victory in an area that all but deifies developers. The Buffalo News’ headline was misleading and turned an important issue into a joke. It also falsely left the impression that a ridiculous lawsuit with an outrageous outcome had taken place, and that the legal system is out of control and scumbag lawyers and litigious society, etc.