Monday, July 21, 2008

Some Mornings You Need a Laugh

I like to read Overheard in New York occasionally. It reminds me of stories Maggy tells - especially on those late night cab rides home. It's always good for a laugh. But some stories are just sad.

ed 7/31/08 A friend, whose mother reads the blog, pointed out that the laugh I linked to above was - well - pretty vulgar. So here's another. And another. Maggy's been in New York long enough to be a bit snarky about tourists - including me and my inability to swipe my Metrocard. Though, I must say at least I know what a Metrocard looks like. It says METROCARD in huge letters across the front. Come to think of it... Maggy was only in NY about a week when she started being snarky about tourists.

And the comment from Anonymous is right. Overheard in Ithaca is funny too - and less vulgar. I should send in my favorite: Overheard in the toy aisle of Wegman's. Wistful five-year-old girl, "Mommy, why don't you like Barbie?" Exasperated mom, "Because no one really looks like that." I wonder if she feels that way about Cabbage Patch dolls, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

EPA and Global Warming

On West Wing staffers referred to Friday press releases as "taking out the trash." Stories released on Friday don't get as much attention over the weekend as weekday stories. That seems to be the fate of Friday's story about the EPA's report on the public welfare threat of global warming. I heard about it on The News Hour. But PBS didn't post it on the website. This LA Times article is very similar to the PBS story. This NY Times article has a different perspective.

As I understand it, last year the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act. If the EPA finds they are a threat to the public, the court said, the agency is required to produce regulations to reduce the risk. Apparently, the EPA report found that indeed, greenhouse gases are a public threat but that the Clean Air Act is inadequate to address the issues. Incidentally, the report released Friday called "Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" triggers a 120 day period allowing for public comment.

All this relates to a comment Councilperson Makar made last week just prior to the Town Board meeting: "Why can't we get anything done?" (He might have said it louder than that.) His frustration surrounds a number of good ideas that have grown into proposals and stalled there. Several of these hinge on putting to use a substantial fund the town has accumulated from repayments of former HUD loans.

David did a great deal of research for these proposals last year. And Jason Leifer has joined in the effort to put together proposals for:
  • teaming with Tompkins County Area Development to make at least one substantial economic development loan,
  • teaming with AFCU in a program to make matching grants to small businesses
  • small grants to low and moderate income households to make home improvements related to energy conservation.
Given all the development work David did last year, you'd think seven months in 2008 would have been enough to get the programs off the drawing board. But, no. One of the obstacles is that we don't have a staff member committed to economic development or housing. So, all the work has fallen to board members who have other full time occupations because their town salaries are about $500 a month. Furthermore, the Town Board meets only once a month. In addition to these three programs, last week's agenda included at least ten other major issues and several less critical ones. We try, and often fail, to keep the meeting under four hours from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM. That doesn't leave much room for discussion and action.

(Crossposted at Dryden Democrats)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


My elected position doesn't pay much (about $16,000) but thanks to the efforts of the previous decade's elected officials and taxpayers, I have a really nice office. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing particularly luxurious about it. It's an 8 x 10 room with a desk, a bookshelf and a computer. But the window has this terrific view.

This picture was taken in January when I moved into the office.

In March, after I saw bluebirds swooping over the field, we contacted the local Bluebird Association and they came to put up bluebird nest boxes.

Bluebirds moved into one of the boxes, hatched eggs and are now busily feeding them.

I'd never seen a bluebird before March (tho' Bill insists he once pointed one out to me.) Now I have my very own picture.