Library Sculpture

Cathy Wakeman's 12/28 Dryden Town Talk column in the Ithaca Journal included a section on the addition to the Southworth Library, and the sculpture "Abraham Lincoln reading to the son Tad", which will become a bronze relief to hang in the library addition.

The Southworth board again exercised careful attention to detail and excellence by choosing local sculptor Jacques Schickel to create a masterpiece for the library. During [a mid-December] tour, Jacques displayed some of the many photos and resources that he has studied as his inspiration for this truly phenomenal work.
While we have to wait for the library to open in the spring to view this latest Schickel masterpiece, a tour of the Maryhill Clayworks website is an artistic delight in itself. Visit there for a dose of visual and verbal joy, and a photo blog of the sculpture in progress: www.maryhillclayworks.com. After the debut at the library, a limited-edition run of five bronze and five plaster sculptures will be available for sale.
Do check out the blog, and read Cathy's complete column.

Seward on State Government Overhaul

State Senator James Seward had a guest column in the Observer-Dispatch yesterday.  Some quotes:
Homeowners in New York state pay the nation’s highest property taxes. Last year, despite my objection, the legislature made matters worse by enacting the largest income tax hike in state history, hiking health insurance taxes and raising fees on everything imaginable. It is time lawmakers end this disturbing pattern. Adopting a real cap on school property taxes and restoring the STAR tax rebate checks would be a start toward providing true relief for overwhelmed homeowners. Further, rolling back some of the extreme new taxes and fees adopted over the past two years would be an appropriate thank you for all New Yorkers.
While cutting state spending and reducing taxes will provide a solid foundation for overall recovery, the only way to truly revamp New York is through economic revitalization. Commerce-crushing policies enacted over the last two years need to be rescinded and replaced by new guidelines that show government’s willingness to partner with the business community and change our negative economic culture.
Seward called for the state to "consolidate redundant or underutilized state agencies."  It would be great to get a list of which agencies are in these categories.
 
He also called for a full assault on Medicaid fraud and other abuse.  Why does this come up over and over?  Again, can we just get a list so we can rattle people's cages about this?  Instead of a "full assault", how about we deal with, say, one issue of financial abuse so we can get some traction?  Then we'll come back for the next, rinse and repeat.
 
Also on his list: a state spending cap "to transform a culture of undisciplined state budgeting".  This is a great idea, but how do we get enough votes to make it happen?
 

The Elephant's Child

OK, O Best Beloved, I waited until midnight to post this cartoon.  Let's hope for all our sakes that this little elephant has 'satiable curiosity:

(h/t Townhall and Rudyard Kipling)

Happy New Year!

snowmanThere's tons of fodder for blogging today, but I think I'll just save it for next year and simply say:

Na zdrowie!    Sláinte!    Ваше здоровье! (pronounced just like it looks)   Salute!    Prosit!    Sveiks!...

Hanna meets with Seneca and Cayuga County Officials

As reported in the Finger Lakes Times, Congressman-elect Richard Hanna (R-NY24, which includes Dryden), met December 27 with regional county officials to hear their concerns about the Cayuga Indian Nation plans to put land into a federal tax-exempt trust, and their failure to charge and collect sales taxes on cigarettes and gasoline which they sell to non-Indians.
 
Hanna was quoted: "I promise I will carry your concerns with me to Washington. I campaigned on opposition to land in trust, so you should have no anxiety about that continuing."
 
In a letter read at the meeting, Robert Pagano, president of ITT Gould Pumps of Seneca Falls, said that a federal tax-exempt trust would cause increased taxes for other property owners.  Area officials reflected this view and cited effects on property values and the provision of core services.
 
The Cayugas were not a tribe under federal jurisdiction when Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.  Hanna was asked at the meeting to oppose so-called "Carcieri fix" legislation which would override the 2009 Supreme Court case named for Rhode Island Governor Carcieri and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.  That case affirmed that several tribes not under federal jurisdiction in 1934 were not eligible for trust status.  The trust status permits tribes to be exempt from most state and local laws and taxes.  Congress has been trying to slip various versions of a "Carcieri fix" into legislation since the 2009 decision.
 
There are many issues here: undermining local budgets by taking land off the tax rolls, creating privileged victim classes who are beholden to government bureaucrats, creating uncertainty in local real-estate markets because of the possibility of arbitrary federal action, the possiblity of casinos and other ventures which are incompatible with local zoning appearing in local communities.
 
It's sometimes fun to look at original sources... the Indian Reorganization (Wheeler-Howard) Act of 1934, 48 Stat. 984 is attached below.  I'll try to also post the amendment, 25 U.S.C. 461-79 (1970).
 
Update:  The amendment is now attached below, along with the text of the Carcieri Supreme Court decision.

Redistricting--everything's connected

The post immediately preceding this one reminded me of a little blurb in the Ithaca Journal a couple of days ago:

Laura Ladd Bierman, executive director of the League of Women Voters New York State, and Barbara Bartoletti, legislative director, will describe how electoral district lines have been established, the reasons they believe reform is needed and what state residents can do to influence change in New York state government at an event in Ithaca Jan. 26.

The sessions will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at the second floor annex of the First Unitarian Church of Ithaca, at Buffalo and Aurora streets. The sessions will be based on data obtained from the New York Public Interest Research Group and additional material from the Brennan Center for Justice and Citizens Union of the City of New York. Legislative districts are due to be redrawn following results of the 2010 Census.

In order to get the gist of where this is probably going, here's a quote from the Brennan Center for Justice website:

The conservative movement rose, in part, because it relies on a pinched and narrow view of the role of law, the Constitution, and government.

Hmmm....might be interesting to go hear what these folks have to say. January 26th is a Wednesday; I presume they're presenting the same program twice (once in the afternoon, once in the evening).

New Year's Resolution...

..for Tompkins County Republicans? I was reminded that we should be making (at least) one by this article a couple of days ago from Gallup:

December 27, 2010

All 10 States Losing Congressional Seats Tilt Democratic

Five of the eight states that are gaining seats skew Republican

by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ -- Each of the 10 states losing congressional seats as a result of the newly announced 2010 census reapportionment process is politically Democratic, based on a Gallup political identification measure from the first six months of this year. Five of the eight states gaining seats skew Republican.

Political Identification in States Losing Congressional Seats in 2010 Census Reapportionment, January-June 2010

I recalled the November 2010 statistics from the Tompkins County Board of Elections (not from some phone poll). Pubs in the county are 26% of all registered voters and 33% of party-affiliated voters; Dems are 46% of all registered voters and 59% of party-affiliated voters—an even worse situation than for the state as a whole, according to Gallup, although that comes as no surprise to anyone who lives here. Lose weight in 2011? Nah, we Republicans need to resolve to gain weight in terms of numbers of voters in the county. All hands on deck!

And for those among us who have trouble coming up with New Year's resolutions all by ourselves, the gubmint is here to help (via American Thinker). Sheesh.

Just like a Silverado, no?

I really like the little hitch—would work great for pulling a camper over the Rockies, say, wouldn't it? wink

(h/t  Rich Terrell)

Optimists 2, Malthusians 0

From a Heritage Foundation blog and as a follow-up on an earlier post:

...I took him up on it, not because I knew much about Saudi oil production or the other “peak oil” arguments that global production was headed downward. I was just following a rule learned from a mentor and a friend, the economist Julian L. Simon.

As the leader of the Cornucopians, the optimists who believed there would always be abundant supplies of energy and other resources, Julian figured that betting was the best way to make his argument. Optimism, he found, didn’t make for cover stories and front-page headlines.

No matter how many cheery long-term statistics he produced, he couldn’t get as much attention as the gloomy Malthusians like Paul Ehrlich, the best-selling ecologist. Their forecasts of energy crises and resource shortages seemed not only newsier but also more intuitively correct. In a finite world with a growing population, wasn’t it logical to expect resources to become scarcer and more expensive?....

As they say, read the rest.

"Poet's Landing" meeting, January 6th

About a week ago, the following article appeared in the Ithaca Journal:

Dryden planning board delays vote on development near high school

BY AARON MUNZER •CORRESPONDENT • DECEMBER 22, 2010, 8:20 PM

DRYDEN -- The village planning board postponed to Jan. 6 a vote on the proposed Poet's Landing subsidized low-income housing development.

The development would comprise 10 apartment buildings and a larger seniors' complex with a total of 144 units. It is proposed for a site at 111 Freeville Road, on 11 acres of a 45-acre parcel that includes wetlands across from Dryden High School.

Board members said during Tuesday's special meeting they need more time to assemble conditions for the developers, Rochester-based Conifer Realty, after concerns were raised about safety, flooding, traffic calming and other issues....

"Traffic is a safety concern, and flooding is a real issue in town, but most of all it's the proximity to the school. There's a high correlation between poverty and social issues, and to gamble with our kids is not what I want to do," parent and resident Brad Rauch said....

The Dryden Village Planning Board normally meets on the 1st Thursday of each month at 7:00 P.M. in the upstairs meeting room of the Village Hall (at 16 South St.).  The "Poet's Landing" development is on the agenda for the meeting on January 6th—to finalize some items, then to vote on the approval of the project.  While the public can certainly attend, this is NOT an open hearing in the sense of accepting comments from the public (h/t Kathy). So if you have something you wish to communicate to village planning board members on this topic, those board members are Chairperson Gene German (844-8802), Doug Brown (844-3611), Deborah Hattery (844-4361), Les Cleland (844-4442), and Edward Bugliosi (844-8743).  And you should contact them before January 6th.

Planning Board meeting minutes are available to the public at the Village Clerk Office at the Village Hall.

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