More politics, sex, and drugs because @ellowrites approves
I was at the E and A meeting Monday morning. For the record, E and A boards are nothing more than rubber stamp organizations designed to deceive the public. “Well, we discussed at the E and A meeting.” Whatever.
So this week at the end of the meeting, all of a sudden Comptroller Morehouse has an announcement. He wants a vote taken, obvious to do with money, taken after the Harbor Point presentation Thursday night at 5. He says that Vince Gilroy will “clarify.” How is that even possible?? Council President Galime and Councilor At-Large Bucciero did not seem to be amused.
There are a couple of points to be made here. First, the scheduling of the Harbor Point presentation is not ideal. You would not even get away with this in a community like Fall River, MA which is similar to Utica economically. ALL meetings should start at 7 p.m. or later so taxpayers can attend. Secondly, the public has a right to be informed of any proposed vote with at least 72 hours of notice. That notice should include the language of the vote and impact of the outcomes. This way, you can lobby your member of the Common Council.
Beyond that, no vote in favor of anything for the Mayor should be taken by the Council until the Mayor releases ALL the PILOT agreements currently in force. I addressed this point in a letter to Comptroller Tom Dinapoli which you will read tomorrow. The idea that Council members are being asked to vote in the dark is outrageous. The idea that some of them might vote in the affirmative under such conditions is offensive and insulting to every voter and taxpayer.
Obviously, whatever it is, I would like it voted down. It would seem that a bunker mentality has taken over the Mayor’s office and for good reason. If he will not release the PILOT agreements, he must have something to hide. Please notice that he is obviously interested in selling the Washington Courts property way below value. I can only offer a few reasons as to why these things might be true:
Perhaps he has heard that the Hotel Utica deal may not close. Right now, all Visions Hotels are being negatively reviewed. More on that on a second. The Mayor put the revenue from the Visions/Hotel Utica deal in the budget. Based on the history of other deals falling apart combined with the idea that the downtown hospital location might cause Visions’ original projections not to work, a problem the Mayor could fix but refuses to put in the effort, this was unwise and reckless. It was just as unwise to put the water board money, another case where the Mayor wants to take a $5 million dollar lump sum instead of an $8.6 million dollar series of payments, adjusted for inflation, over years. That is a $3.6 million dollar difference just to announce that you can pave some roads. What member of the Common Council would approve such shallow thinking?? I can name 3 and maybe a 4th. Thankfully, before engaging in the unwise and reckless act, the Mayor needs 6 votes.
The relationship with Visions is complicated because they have not done anything “wrong”. However, the disruption of the Hotel Utica death would cause the current Mayor to stop circling the bowl and instead engage in a death spiral. So while a Visions background check would come up clean and Home2, more on that later, is a tremendous property, pulling this deal apart has real and political value. The Visions people have told that if they should close on the Utica, my associates and I will back off. Until they do, we are going to mess with them.
Matt Gaetano is kind of a hothead. It would be neat if we could get one of the Visions people to say something derogatory about him and that blew the deal up. Creativity is encouraged when taking on challenges.
It is kind of like in the 90’s when I was a hot shot salesman. I would never tell my girlfriend at the time how much crack I was smoking. It would never fail that my boss would bring his wife around the office because she was lonely. He would bring her to the sales floor and ignore her there too. I would see the opportunity, pay her just enough attention, and turn her into a crack smoking buddy. Of course, when two people smoke crack together, other things happen. After a while, you begin to forget which girl is which and which one happens to have a relationship with the boss. Hilarity ensues.
The Mayor might be bunkering down because the public sees through all those stories about the comeback of the downtown that are published in the OD. Why the OD would risk its credibility with this Mayor is beyond me but it obviously does. We have further evidence that the whole thing smells since the Community Foundation is offering a “mini-PILOT”.
If things downtown were as advertised by the Administration why would an incentive of $25,000 have to be offered to get someone to move a business to an up and coming location?? Why would you spend another $25,000 in advertising trying to give away the first $25,000?? If Alicia Dicks is not careful, she is going to end up on the Thomas, DiMeo, Gilroy, Durso, Different Gilroy, Scalise, Episcopo list. She needs to remember we have a screen capture of alleged rapist Larry Hajdasz, same alleged rape technique as Vincent Scalise, from her website. You never know who might be the unsuspecting recipient of said picture with an explanation of who it is and why it matters. Perhaps when the Community Foundation competes for something that would be a good time to buzz the tower.
Maybe the Mayor realizes that since the Election, he has become incredibly unpopular. Giving away tax money for businesses that will never replenish the tax money will do that. I hear from veterans, seniors, and other unhappy folks daily. Who is the only person who seems not to complain?? Sonny Greco. Why does Sonny not complain?? Because not only does Sonny not live in Utica, he does not live in Oneida County. Living somewhere else will cause you not to complain about rapacious public policy behavior here.
While I was running around putting this together yesterday, somebody asked me to put forward my plan for the Harbor Point Moratorium and the plan in toto going forward. I believe in two things when you criticize: first, sign your name to it. Any bitch can challenge you to make bets or criticize you from an anonymous position. These are all douche moves. Second, make it clear what you would do differently. You owe the person(s) you’re criticizing that much.
Regarding the Habor Point Moratorium:
- The moratorium only has to run to June 1st. I’ll get to why in a minute. Add people to the Harbor Point effort who have actual boating, tourism, and farm experience. Right now, no one has these skills. The closest guy, well, you can’t swing a dead cat in West Utica and not hit someone he has stolen from. He says he has reformed and his appointment was a last minute thing. For now, I will take him at his word but others are not so trusting. You bring in the right people instead of trophy wives and political cronies looking to handle kickbacks and something positive might happen. The right people could have it online by June 1. Then both plans could be subject to townhall meetings and charrettes. The Mayor hates public meetings and charrettes because it’s easier to process kickbacks in the dark. He really should have run for Assembly when he thought about it for those ten minutes. That move would have saved all of us agniesh.
- The Home2 property should be exempt from the moratorium. Leaving it in the moratorium is that nose/face deal.
- When re-done, the design should be handled from the water in, not the shore out. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that his favorite memory of America was created on his first trip into America. He would write to everyone he knew that the lights in Newport Harbor at night would be something he could never forget. This image has been captured on many book covers. Everyone everywhere else knows this. Those two morons Gilroy and DiMeo do not know it. Get out of the way already. Watching this cluster you know what is annoying.
- Since we are working water in, a fueling station should be developed immediately. Why we are missing out on this revenue is beyond me.
- Design and approve some mixed use housing first. Yes, we should have mixed use housing on the waterfront. Not all mixed use housing has to be in Cornhill. It exists in both Newport and Provincetown.
- Put together a real tourism plan – not like the one the Mayor promised the Master Plan Committee promised and never delivered. You will need an addiction plan to go with it. Rule out 1 PILOT and you can pay for these things we actually need. Our tourism plan should be designed after Savanah and Wisconsin Dells.
- Immediately develop design standards for the entire parcel. The idea that Brian Thomas thinks it is appropriate to just turn 13 acres over to an untested developer without design standards is appalling.
- Dump the underwater ballfield idea and stick to tourism. Farm to table would be perfect in that spot.
- Come up with a plan to be submitted to the County to refurbish the current stadium so a Single A team could play there. Unlike Mr. Gilroy, I have talked to a few leagues. They see the Comets’ success. These leagues would love to locate in Utica once we hit a few metrics.
- After the town halls and the charrettes, make sure the process stays open. One of the reasons for this Thursday night session is Mr. Gilroy claims he has been hiding things.
Moving forward, I want to remind everyone that this is a great place to live. I could live anywhere on the planet and I choose to live here. Ok, I can’t live in St. Croix because my buddy is no longer managing the resort there, but you get the idea. We have to present these thoughts because we are at a crossroads. If we do everything right this community will be what it was immediately following after the Civil War. Squander the opportunity and it will be what it was a decade ago. Sometimes we forget how special Utica and Oneida County are. Those morons: Scalise, DiMeo, Gilroy, Durso, Gilroy, Episcopo, LaPolla, Elefante, et al are living 64 years ago. Let’s leave them there are move on to what our future is supposed to be.
With that in mind, please allow me to close with a few notes about cool things that are happening:
Ran into Beth Irons in my travels. Everyone at the Master Plan Advisory Committee loves her efforts and with good reason. Sounds like there is another exciting season on the way. We also talked about her efforts to help Mr. Reed fix the food desert problem in West Utica. The more we support what she is doing, the more attractive we become.
You might remember about 6 months ago I was fighting for a new polling location. One is almost in place thanks to someone else picking up the ball and putting in the necessary effort. That person is . . . .County Legislator Lori Washburn. She continues to outperform expectations.
In case you are wondering, Legislator Washburn is treated as an individual, not as part of the Mayor-Meola axis of disappointment. As long as she continues to perform appropriately at the County level, she should not be slighted for their indiscretions. Yes, for the sake of messaging we would like her son to get arrested as quickly as possible. However, you can only expect a mom to be a mom. I suppose this is where I tell the story about my father running to the country club to look for judges on multiple occasions, again.
Lastly, more people on Oneida County are talking than ever before. They are sharing ideas on and offline, at work, in coffee shops, and the little bodegas where I buy my Vanilla Cokes and Reese’s. The more people exchange, armed with the facts, the more likely it is we can beat this Mayor back and get him to be normal again. If not, I have sent away for “mock recall petitions”. Just for ya’ know – displaying to Common Council members, complete with their names on them, and practice purposes. I like practice.