As Time For Special Session Wanes, Cuomo Says he Wants Ethics, Finance Reforms

andrew cuomo

Legislature are planning a sneak attack on the taxpayers with special (after the election) session to pass secret undeserved pay raise …….. hoping voters will forget in 2 years.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he wants ethics and campaign finance reforms on the table if legislators are going to come back to Albany before the first of the year to seek a pay raise.

“I’m interested in campaign finance reforms, public finance,” he said. “Additional ethics, rules on how your outside income is earned, who your clients are, etc. So I’m interested in pursuing those items. The Legislature is interested in increasing their pay, which frankly you could make the case for. … The pay structure of our agencies is upside down because there haven’t been adjustments to pay.”

Cuomo said he hasn’t had discussion with leaders about how much a pay raise would be worth. The likely ideas that have been floated are an increase from the current $79,500 salary to something near or more than $100,000 or to levels above that of New York City’s Council (more than $100,000).
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NFTA’s Financial Future Looks Bleak

NFTA busses

With reserves empty, agency seeks state help

A gloomy financial future faces the agency that runs public transportation in Erie and Niagara counties.

As Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority commissioners consider a proposed $217 million budget for the next fiscal year, they learned Thursday that:

• All financial reserves are drained.

• The agency faces a $10 million shortfall for new construction projects.

• Ridership is dropping significantly.

• Commuters are returning to their cars as gasoline prices drop.

Even with all those problems, no fare hikes or layoffs are included in the new budget, scheduled for a vote on Dec. 18.

But NFTA Chairman Howard A. Zemsky hinted such actions may be discussed and capital projects could be on the table, if Albany fails to respond to the local agency’s needs.
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This may slow the LRRT extension anywhere ~ however they could be just crying wolf because they can sniff out that Albany has a surplus and want to get to the head of the line for their “fare” share

If things are so bad, why are there no budget layoffs?

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Cruz: Stop Blaming Bush for Things He Did

by Andy Borowitz

(The Borowitz Report)—Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted his Democratic colleagues in the Senate on Thursday, telling reporters, “I’m sick and tired of people blaming George W. Bush for things he did.”

In the aftermath of the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture, Cruz said, “Democrats have been busy with their favorite game again: bringing up catastrophic things that President Bush did and then blaming him for them.”

The Texas Senator raised the invasion of Iraq as an example of something that “Bush gets blamed for simply because he did it.”

“Just because President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, costing thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, does that mean he should bear the blame for it?” he asked.

“America is not a place where you get blamed for things simply because they never would have happened unless you did them.”

He urged each of his Democratic colleagues “to look in the mirror and ask yourselves whether you want to be blamed for disasters you have personally created? In my case, the answer is a resounding ‘no.’”

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Late-night Votes by Williamsville School Board Lead to Discord

Williamsville school logo

Tension on the Williamsville School Board continued Tuesday during a late-night meeting in which board members voted to bring disciplinary charges against an employee and took the unusual step of removing a board member from her post in a parent organization.

Board members said little in the public session regarding their 7-1 vote that they had found “probable cause” to begin the hearing process required to fire a tenured employee.

But they then spent more than 20 minutes in a bitter debate over whether Robert’s Rules of Order allowed them to vote to remove board member Toni Vazquez from her post as liaison to the Transit Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association.

“I’m very heartbroken over this because this board used to be a cohesive board,” said board member Carrie W. Kahn.
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ACLU Asks President Obama To Pardon Bush and Cheney For Permitting Torture

ACLU

During the Republican Primary debates, each and every candidate stood before the voters and promised if they were elected, they would resume the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which we all know is Republican for “torture.” The only reason they were able to proudly make such a promise is because the Obama administration refused to pursue charges against any of the torturers or torture enablers in the Bush administration. Can you imagine that same debate stage if Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney had been charged and tried and were sitting in a federal prison?

“The spectacle of the president’s granting pardons to torturers still makes my stomach turn. But doing so may be the only way to ensure that the American government never tortures again.” - ACLU Director Anthony Romero

Today the Senate Intelligence Committee will release its report on torture during the Bush years, and we will all be reminded of what we allowed to be done in our name. With that event as a backdrop, Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, has written to President Obama, asking him to grant pardons to the torturers as a means of telling the world, and enshrining in history, the American ideal that torture is something we do not do.
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Maybe it could be stuffed in the immigration bill the Reps are going to pass….

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All Dogs Go to Heaven

Pope Francis "All animals go to Heaven"

Apparently it’s true and the Pope says so, and not just dogs.  Pope Francis quoted the apostle Paul, stating:

“One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ’.

Last week, the current pontiff, Pope Francis, bucked a portion of traditional Catholic teaching when he addressed his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square. According to Friday’s publication of Express, Pope Francis indicated that all animals go to Heaven.
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NYCLU Sues Erie County Sheriff’s Office

The New York Civil Liberties Union is suing the Erie County Sheriff’s Office over its use of cellphone surveillance. The Stingray device is used by law enforcement to locate and track people; it mimics a cell tower, prompting a cell phone to transmit its location and identifying information.

Although a warrant is not always needed for some surveillance, sometimes it is.

The problem isn’t just broad-based surveillance of people’s cell phone signals, but the fact that law enforcement agencies refuse to comply with Freedom of Information requests seeking data on how and how often the Stingray is used.

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As You Glaze At The Beautiful Christmas Decorations Stop And Praise The Lord

Jesus in manger

How many people realize whose birthday is December 25th?   There are only a precious few days left before we celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday.

As I drive around the Amherst area what I see are signs encouraging you to buy, buy, buy things.  There aren’t many images of our Lord or the manager scene.

If people were asked to list 5 images they see pushed in their face in grocery or department stores they would say models, actors, actresses, gift items and delicious foods.  The manger scene wouldn’t be in the top 5!

The people who have the pulse of shoppers know how to give the glitz and glamour out while avoiding anything which references Jesus’s birthday.

Many people go to church on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day out of tradition.  My Christmas wish is that people would go to honor and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior and that when they leave they would continue that feeling and be guided by it all year long.

written by James Tricoli,Editor of the Amhersttimes.com

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Editorial: The Day I Saw The First Drone In Williamsville

drone close up

Senator Charles Schumer gave a speech yesterday warning of the dangers of small drones.  At present there are no rules to govern small drones. There have been several close calls between toy drones and real planes.

A few weeks before OLD HOME DAYS in Williamsville this year we posted the first photograph of a drone and eye witnesses viewing of a red and white drone in the parking lot of the Beach-Tuyn funeral home on Main Street in Williamsville, NY.

I took that photo to the authorities who told me to contact the FAA.  There I was told that drones are toys and there were no rules governing them.  Senator Schumer now wants rules before an accident can happen.

It’s not IF an accident can happen, it’s WHEN it will happen.  Let’s get busy people!

by James Tricoli

Editor: Amhersttimes.com

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Republicans Question Obama’s Motives for Fixing Economy

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Two days after the release of an unusually strong jobs report, prominent Republicans appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows to question President Obama’s “suspicious motives” for repairing the economy.

“When there have been so many months of job growth, it does make you wonder what he’s up to,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “You add in the rising stock market and falling gas prices, and the whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Appearing on Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the President of “cynically fixing the economy to distract the American people.”

“This country faces serious problems, and I don’t think they can be swept under the rug by creating prosperity,” he said.

But the sternest rebuke came from House Speaker John Boehner, who warned, “If President Obama doesn’t stop fixing the economy, Congress has ways to make him stop.”

“If the President thinks he can fool the American people by putting them back to work and raising their wages, he’s headed for a rude awakening,” he said.

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