November 3, 2014

Those Pesky Proposals

Another year, another set of constitutional amendments on the New York State ballot. We don't go as far as some states, but occasionally it gets interesting.

This year's Proposal 1 is the "fake independent redistricting reform" option. It's basically the same terrible broken system we have today with a little bit of window-dressing and a fallback to the usual corruption. Please vote against it. Or listen to Kathy Zahler or Mike Lane's gentler tellings.

Proposal 2 makes me sad, because the temperature of the freshly-copied legal papers hitting legislators' desks combined with the lateness of their arrival is a historically important indicator of how broken last-minute legislation will be. I'll probably vote no, but Kathy Zahler's take on why to vote yes is a saner approach.

Proposal 3 is also a bad idea. Technology is magical, and needs no maintenance right? So let's go into debt and it'll all be fine even if the debts last longer than the tools. Er, no. Again, Kathy Zahler has the right idea.

Posted by simon at 5:06 PM Comment

Howie Hawkins for Governor

I finally saw a Cuomo sign this weekend, in Freeville. Someone is cheering for the Governor, but finding strong Cuomo fans is surprisingly difficult.

Here's how I read this year's ballot for Governor:

  • Astorino (Republican / Conservative / Stop Common Core) - GOP for real, forever

  • Cuomo (Democratic / Independence / Women's Equality ) - GOP-lite, bent on controlling everything

  • Cuomo (Working Families Party) - GOP-lite but desperately hoping that he'll be nice or something and that the Working Families Party will get the 50,000 votes they need to keep their ballot line despite endorsing someone out to destroy them.

  • Hawkins (G) - Wow! Someone with ideas about how New York should be different!

  • McDermott (Libertarian) - Well, I can't see libertarians voting for anyone else here.

  • Cohn (Sapient Party) - Their principles are an odd mix of "sounds great" and "what does that mean?"

I'm happy to support Howie Hawkins. As a Syracuse resident, he'd break the curse of Nathan Miller, our last Governor from Upstate (1921-22). He's a Teamsters member loading trucks for UPS, and he would push New York away from the continuing capture by New York City financial and real estate interests that is drowning our politics in empty advertising. There's a lot more in this introduction.

Isn't a vote for Hawkins a protest vote? Isn't Cuomo guaranteed to win?

Does it matter? I don't mind lost causes at all, though. Sometimes they're the best causes. And sometimes they even yield pleasant surprises, especially in the long run.

Posted by simon at 6:58 PM Comment

Martha Robertson for Congress

Want to make up your own mind? Here's the debate.

This is one of the easiest endorsements I've ever made.

Martha Robertson has impressed me since she first came to my door to ask for my vote in her first run for County Legislature. We don't always agree, but when I ask questions she either has a thought-out answer or takes the time to find one.

I'm jealous of her energy. She's about the hardest worker I've encountered in politics. She reaches out on a regular basis, she takes advice well, and she's good at finding common points among people from very different backgrounds. I hadn't realized she was a kindergarten teacher, which I take to be a good thing. She's learned lessons from that but doesn't talk to people like they're five.

She's been able to tell the difference between her own views and those of the people of her district a number of times, and built bridges the people in her district and the people inside government. That's been especially helpful on Varna-related issues, but I've also found it important on highway issues and the lightning rod of fracking.

She's worked with every level of government, from town through county to state and federal. She's worked with Republicans, including Chemung County Republicans, through the Association of Counties, and fought together with them to make Albany take a saner approach to Medicaid.

I knew Tom Reed growing up, and nothing he's ever done has made me think he should be a Congressman. We share a hometown of Corning, but little else. His politics irritate me, and his campaign strikes wrong note after wrong note. His constant contempt for Tompkins County, where I now live, makes me embarrassed that we share a hometown.

As much as I talk about Upstate New York, my heart is in the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes. Robertson will make sure we still have a Southern Tier and a Finger Lakes to love, with jobs that last longer than a gas boom and at less risk of being exported. It's an easy choice for me.

Posted by simon at 7:27 PM Comment

November 4, 2014


Polls will be open in Dryden today from 6:00am to 9:00pm.

Current election district boundaries in the Town of Dryden.

Once you figure out what district you're in, you can figure out your polling place:

  1. Etna Fire Station - 26 Wood Road, Etna (map).
  2. Freeville Fire Station - 21 Union Street, Freeville (map).
  3. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  4. Varna Community Center - 943 Dryden Road, Varna (map).
  5. Etna Fire Station - 26 Wood Road, Etna (map).
  6. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  7. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).
  8. Bethel Grove Church Activity Center - 1749 Slaterville Road, Bethel Grove (map).
  9. Varna Community Center - 943 Dryden Road, Varna (map).
  10. Dryden Fire Station - 26 North Street, Dryden (map).

If you'd like to see a sample ballot before going in, the Board of Elections has them.

Most of all, vote!

Posted by simon at 6:00 AM Comment

November 25, 2014

Free Thanksgiving dinner in Varna

The Varna Community Association will be putting on a free Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday, November 27th from noon to 3:00pm at the Varna Community Center, 943 Dryden Road (Route 366). Come enjoy the turkey and much more!

Thanks also to the Town of Dryden for supporting this with a grant.

Posted by simon at 8:27 PM Comment