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February 9, 2010: Why a People’s Convention?

9 February 2010 | 208 Comments »

1.  It’s been 70-odd years since we’ve had one (last one 1938); prior to that NYS citizens held one about every 40 years

2.  Taxation without representation (unless your elected official is in or totally supportive of the leadership he/she can’t get bills out of committee)

3.  Taxation without representation (partisan gerrymandering stymies competition and favors incumbents)

4.  Taxation without representation (the people do not have the right of initiative, that is, bringing proposed laws or constitutional amendments to general election) Continue Reading

February 4: Constitutional Convention Overdue?

6 February 2010 | 182 Comments »

The constitution of New York State isn’t a musty old parchment preserved for eternity behind reflective glass.  It’s a living document, encoded with DNA that permits and even invites its evolution. Its framers and stewards for over two centuries envisioned the periodic need to amend or re-write the constitution based on changes in society and the people’s sovereign right to redress perceived misgovernment.  Consequently, New Yorkers have seen more than 100 amendments and five distinct constitutions, the first one drafted at convention by John Jay in 1777.  Intervals between new state constitutions were 44 years (1821), 25 years (1846), 48 years (1894) and 44 years (1938).  If New Yorkers were to hold a citizens’ convention and adopt a new constitution in 2012 (the earliest possible timeframe) that would be an interval of 74 years between constitutions—or nearly twice our state’s historic average.  Thus the human tides of history itself suggest that a convention may be long overdue.  Ironically, even those people who fear constitutional change, today enjoy its benefits.

January 27: November looms

27 January 2010 | 260 Comments »

Various people, media outlets and groups have proposed respectable ways out of our current state governance woes.  To recap potential solutions:

  1. Term limits & ethics reform (You’re kidding me, right?  These Albany guys aren’t going to censure themselves.)
  2. Vote in new representatives (Even if a host of incumbents get beat it probably won’t change the leadership.)
  3. Vote out the legislative leaders (Will the new partisan leaders be any better?  We can’t vote out partisanship.)
  4. Build a strong 3rd party (Longggggggg fuse but a great idea to create decisive swing vote scenarios) Continue Reading

January 26: Budget Smarts

26 January 2010 | 396 Comments »

Have you seen Empire Center’s “Blueprint for a Better Budget?”

January 25: Chutes & ladders

25 January 2010 | 326 Comments »

Behold the wailing about the Guv’s ‘10-’11 budget that calls for a less than 1% increase.  Every special interest is revving up its whine.  Brace your ears for the caterwauling!

Get over it, kids.  Everyone spent too much in the Big Run-Up that preceded the Great Recession.  The bubbleized U.S. economy got overheated.  Flush and greedy, we spent our home equity money and pseudo stock profits on cruises, condo’s, and more stocks, bonds, and gold.  Federal and state governments and authorities dramatically overspent the seemingly infinite tsunamis of taxes pouring in from banks and brokerages. Continue Reading

January 23: Guv should channel JFK

23 January 2010 | 223 Comments »

Guv Paterson touts his new Excelsior Jobs Program as the “most innovative” in state history.  Its goal is to ”create” jobs in high tech and clean energy jobs.  No argument so far (except that we need a massive number and diversity of jobs to employ about 1 million New Yorkers who want to work; hey, not everyone is a rocket scientist).  But he could certainly use more innovative, energizing language to excite public and entreprenurial imagination.  Continue Reading

January 22: Where’s Waldo?

22 January 2010 | 360 Comments »

I had dinner with my mentor last night, Walt Roberts, founder of Roberts Communications, one of upstate’s more successful advertising agencies.  Walt’s in his 80s and has aged like a great cheddar — sharp with a satisfying, nutty flavor.  He loves people, philosophy, political debate, journalism, linguistics, marketing and good thinking.  Walt squinted and asked me what I am trying to accomplish with this blog.  “What do you want to happen?” he asked. Continue Reading

January 21: Whine Flu?

21 January 2010 | 294 Comments »

Guv’s ‘10-’11 budget?  Realistically, not bad considering that no Democratic leader will promote lower spending.  But the already crushed taxpayers must be protected by an immediate 2010-11 property tax cap.  Otherwise schools will simply pass on their “losses” to property owners.  Talk about a regressive tax!   Neighbors are leaving the state over this.

Let schools whine over their 5% budget cut.  They’re holding $1.5 billion in undesignated thus mostly illegal reserves according to Comptroller DiNapoli.  Let them whine.  Just don’t let them increase taxes.  A levy increase cap of 2% or the CPI, whichever is lower, seems about right for’10-11.  (Note:  I was a school board member for 13 years.)

Enjoy your day.  Paul

January 20: Can capitalism save democracy (and New York)?

20 January 2010 | 199 Comments »

Today I’m returning to my roots as an entrepreneur and marketing man.  My blog’s fundamental premise:  New York competes in a marketplace of states . We vie with other states for population, talent, jobs, and especially for taxpayers.  Therefore we would be best-served by organizing and conducting ourselves like one very big, very smart modern brand-oriented company.  Today’s winning products and companies become leaders through innovation, through meeting real customer needs, and by delivering great service.

Does this sound like our state government to you? Continue Reading

January 19: The message is not the meaning

20 January 2010 | 74 Comments »

When do politicians mean what they say?   Bitter reality would indicate hardly ever. (”Read my lips, I will not raise taxes.”  “Weapons of mass destruction.”) Too many politicians shade, posture, twist, dissemble, and outright lie to manipulate us and the media.  Continue Reading