Posts Tagged ‘Albany’

If you live in Albany, NY – heck, in most of the country, the election polling places this week will experience the sound of crickets, despite the fact that the mayor, president of the common council, and several other positions will be up for the vote.

Including two county coroners. Albany County is among 35 counties in NYS that have an elected coroner. “Although two-thirds of all New York counties follow a coroner system (including counties where the district attorney is the elected coroner), most of the state’s population resides in counties with medical examiner systems. Many major metropolitan areas — including Buffalo, Long Island, New York City, Syracuse, and Westchester — are overseen by medical examiners.”

And coroners are party affiliated, at least here. As a registered Democrat who hates the one-party Democratic party system here, I have traditionally voted for the Republican candidates, pretty much out of spite. For the first time since I’ve lived in Albany County, and that goes back to 1979, I’m voting for one Democrat, the guy I voted for in the Democratic primary in September, albeit on the Working Families line this time. (New York State allows for cross-endorsements.)

I’m HOPING, though, that there will be a larger than average turnout because of the statewide Constitutional Convention vote, one of three items on the back side of the ballot. I went to a debate about the issue last week between women from the League of Women Voters (pro) and the NYCLU (con). Even the LWV advocate admitted that the organization’s support is a combination of hope and frustration with the status quo.

The LWV rep said that, at 55,000 words, far longer than the US Constitution or most state constitutions, the New York State constitution could lose about 20% of its content and have zero impact on anything; regulations superseded by others but the old rules were never removed, for instance.

Watch Constitutional Convention 2017 Explained. A YES vote means that candidates, three per state senate district plus 15 statewide delegates – (63X3)+15= 204 delegates – will be chosen in November 2018. The legislature could theoretically pick the 15 themselves.

Anyone, theoretically, could run, but it would be much harder, as it now stands, for someone not affiliated with a political party to get on the ballot. In the first three months of 2019, the state legislature could theoretically change some of the rules – make three districts within the state senate districts, instead of three at large seats, e.g.

Will state legislators run? They could, but they would be on the ballot twice, once for their legislative slot and one as a delegate, and quite possibly get paid for both. How would the voters feel about that?

Here’s an NYCLU piece against ConCon. Because whatever gets passed in the ConCon ultimately has to be ratified by the voters in 2019, I’m only slightly concerned about some large disruption of rights.

However, the possibility exists of one bill bundling “amendments into ‘the big ugly’ which is what many call the annual end-of-session bill. It lumps scores of often-unrelated legislative compromises into one up-or-down vote. It is the epitome of the worst Albany horse-trading.” That happened at the 1967 convention, which is why it was shot down by the voters.

Presumably the delegates will be more savvy and put up a half dozen packages on different topics, such as election reform and ethics. That is if ConCon passes, which I still hope it does not.

It is difficult to explain to outsiders the pull that the dog Nipper has in Albany. From the Albany Institute of History and Art:

“The twenty-eight-foot [8.5 m] tall, four-ton [3600 kg] steel and fiberglass canine statue anchored atop a warehouse on North Broadway has captured the hearts and minds of young and old alike for three generations.

“Nipper was a real-life dog in nineteenth-century England who was painted by the dog owner’s brother, Francis Barraud. He depicted the curious dog listening to a gramophone and titled it ‘His Master’s Voice.’ It became an internationally recognized logo for several audio recording companies, including RCA.

“Nipper came to his downtown Albany perch at 991 Broadway in 1958 following renovations of a rundown reinforced concrete warehouse built in 1900 to house the American Gas Meter Co.”

It is an iconic figure in New York State’s capital city, believe me.

Recently, it was announced that “the upcoming round of downtown Albany public art projects will be decorated statues of Nipper.

“For this year’s exhibit, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District is accepting submissions from artists who wish to submit proposals to design 36″ tall [0.91 m] sculptures of Albany’s famous canine resident.”

As it turns out, an Albany middle school teacher and some of her seventh-grade students were selected to work on their entry for the “Downtown is Pawsome” project, the only school so honored.

“The project involves twenty local artists putting their creative spin on three-foot versions of Albany’s iconic Nipper statue. Their artistic creations will be placed throughout downtown Albany this month and remain on display until May 2018.”

The “Pawsome” project kicked off with a garden party at Tricentennial Park on June 16. But unfortunately, the artist in my household was out of town, visiting our nation’s capital. Still, I look forward to see these critters around town, and one in particular.

What Is Your Name? Where Are We? Who Is President? Oh God

Trump(Doesn’t)Care cartoon

Poor People Need BETTER Health Insurance than the Rest of Us, Not Worse

The lessons we fail to learn: Warren G. Harding

American ‘Christianity’ Has Failed and I don’t want to preach a faith that can be so easily adapted to self-hatred and self-harm

How the baby boomers destroyed everything

The 1862 Binghamton (NY) Race Riot – something I did not know about my hometown

After Slavery, Searching For Loved Ones In Wanted Ads

Coins of the Rebellion: The Civil War currency of Albany merchants

Jobs, Income, and the Future

A brief history of men getting credit for women’s accomplishments

The Weight of The Last Straw

7 Lies About Welfare That Many People Believe Are Fact

Albany, NY Plane Crashes Into Houses On Landing Attempt, March 1972

Contractor sues for $2 million in unpaid bills on Drumpf’s D.C. hotel

Kellyanne Conway’s interview tricks, explained, and her boss’s 10 steps for turning lies into half-truths

A college course on calling out scientific crap

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Sen. Gillibrand Has Perfect Response To Regime Misspelling Her Name

‘Where I come from’ we claim universal generalities as our peculiar virtues

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About Robert Osborne

Amy Biancolli: woman walks into a sandwich shop

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

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This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life

David Kalish: I am my dog’s seeing-eye person

Coke: Global ad campaign celebrates inclusion and diversity

Alphabetizing Books

Ruben Bolling won the 2017 Herblock Prize

Now I Know: The Boy Who Captured the Wind and How to Claim Antarctica and The Park at the Bottom of the Lake

MEET APRIL THE GIRAFFE, formerly from Catskill Game Farm!

Sammy Davis Jr. Oscar blunder

Cush Jumbo

Lawyer’s Pants Catch Fire During Closing Argument

Garter snakes can be super deadly


Divenire – Composer Ludovico Einaudi

There’s a Platypus Controlling Me (from Phineus and Ferb)

What are the songs that best capture our moment?

K-Chuck Radio: A dose of Northern Soul

Don’t Let Me Down – The Beatles

10 Beatles Covers You Really Need to Hear

Songs about the moon

It snowed – again – in Albany, NY in February 2017. It snowed so little last winter, and indeed this one (less than 17 inches to date by February 9) that when it actually took place, people were SHOCKED. They complained it was cold, in upstate New York, in winter; oh, please.

And they have forgotten how to shovel. If you do it frequently, it’s much easier. If you get down to the sidewalk level, then the pavement gets a chance to dry up. but if you don’t, the covering turns to ice, and it’s pain to walk on. And if you live on a corner lot, clear to the street in BOTH directions!

There were school closings and delays in the area on the 9th and the 13th. The latter in particular got on my nerves. I noticed that Albany schools had a two-hour delay, as did the school my wife teaches in, and I confirmed this at 6:30 a.m. on the Times Union newspaper website. I’m watching CBS News This Morning, which starts at 7, not particularly paying attention to the closing scrolling along the bottom. But I did happen to notice that Albany city schools were shown as CLOSED! What?

I ran upstairs to the laptop in the office and saw that I had an email from Albany SNN (School News Network) that the schools were indeed closed, posted at 7:08 a.m.! I also confirmed on the TU website. It was called SO late that, as I was out shoveling the walk, and my wife digging out the car, she saw a teacher at the Daughter’s old school who had not heard about the closing, only the delay. She was TICKED and rightly so.

There’s a basic arithmetic rule in my household that apply to snow days:
* If the Wife’s school delay/closing is greater than, or equal to, the Daughter’s school delay/closing, this is good.
* If the Wife’s school delay/closing is less than the Daughter’s school delay/closing, this is a PITA.

I rushed to work, took care of a couple must-do tasks, and less than two hours later was taking a bus home and taking 3/4 of a day “vacation.”

And after these two storms, which brought the seasonal total to a mere 41 inches (less than average), it got warm. The snow went away as the temperature reached the upper 60s (upper teens C), breaking a couple daily records, 69F on the 23rd, and 74F on the 24th (!) before going back to more seasonable temperatures. I even rode my bike to work work a couple days. (I need to – ouch – do that more often.)

vote-button-3I’m voting in favor of the two propositions on the ballot on Tuesday, January 10. The school district notes that “enrollment from prekindergarten through eighth grade has grown 26 percent – about 1,400 students – over the last eight years. It is forecast to continue to grow well into the next decade.”

Proposition #1 is a $6.5 million package of updates, providing an “equitable learning environment” for students at 50 North Lark Street, in advance of September’s opening of the new middle school to serve students on the city’s north side. About 400 students will attend in the 2017-18 school year. This will reduce crowding in the city’s other middle schools, one of which my child attends.
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