Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Patty's Decision Just Got That Much Easier!

We would be shocked if Patty Ritchie didn't decide to jump into the race for the 1-1-8 by the end of the week.

She would be a good representative for us and I think Burns getting out might just be the final straw; he would have likely been the strongest Democratic candidate the donkey's could have put up! Lets see.

Burns drops plan to run for Assembly
118TH DISTRICT: Jefferson County sheriff has other commitments; others vie for Democratic nomination

After what he called "long and serious consideration," Jefferson County Sheriff John P. Burns decided that running an Assembly campaign this year wasn't for him.

"I have some important family commitments that I think the Assembly race would take time away from," he said. "When I ran for sheriff, I made a commitment to be the sheriff. I feel that over the last six years we've come a long way with the department and I want to continue that."

Mr. Burns, who lives in the city of Watertown, said a campaign for the vacant 118th Assembly District seat would take away time he spends with his son Dane, 7.

"He's at the age where he needs my time now," the sheriff said. Mr. Burns also noted that his oldest son, Karl C., will be starting college in the fall.

With Mr. Burns out of the equation, his supporters are now looking more like contenders for the Democratic nomination.

Jefferson County Legislator Addie J. Russell, Theresa, said the sheriff's announcement "is making me take a second look at things."

Mrs. Russell is uncommitted toward running, but will talk to party leaders this week to discuss a candidacy. She expects to make a decision "well before" June 3, the first day on which candidates can collect signatures on petitions.

Pamelia Town Councilman Timothy E. Kelly also was in favor of Mr. Burns's candidacy; he has previously said he is interested in the Democratic nomination.

Sean M. Hennessey, Jefferson County's Democratic Committee chairman, said another candidate from the county could emerge soon. He said the party hoped to make a final decision "within the next few days."

Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier, registered without party affiliation, has told Democrats he would like to be their candidate. The chief has support from St. Lawrence County Legislator Gregory M. Paquin, D-Massena.

Massena Town Councilman John M. Wicke also is considered a potential Democratic candidate, but he downplayed a bid Tuesday.

"At this point, I have no plans on running," he said.

The Republicans already have an announced candidate, Robert W. "Bobby" Cantwell III, with another, St. Lawrence County Clerk Patricia A. Ritchie, expected to declare her candidacy soon.

Donald J. Lucas, an Alcoa retiree and Massena fishing guide, will run as an independent. Both he and Mr. Currier have sought the Working Families Party endorsement and line.

Times staff writer Corey Fram contributed to this report.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Where is Tom Scozzafava (and his sister Dede?)

Over the last several years, I have been following the story of "local boy done good", Tom Scozzafava. For those of you who may not know, Tom is the young CEO of Seaway Valley Capital, the company that merged the Wisebuys and Hacketts stores last year, and is currently completing the process of merging with North Country Hospitality. I was very impressed when I first heard of Tom returning to his roots and his plan for developing a holding company in an area of the state that has typically been economically depressed. I confidently invested a goodly sum of money in him and his vision for the North Country, and have watched him quickly grow the company from nothing.

But now after 9 months, cracks are beginning to appear in the foundation.

It seems in all the whirlwind of the company's recent financial activity, Mr. Scozzafava has forgotten the common know, the only ones that are paying for all his high flyin', wheelin' and dealin'. There are genuine concerns of how all of his acquisitions are going to be paid for, and the methods of financing being used. The market has responded by crushing the price of common shares. Common shareholders, in some cases, have seen the stock price drop by as much as 95% since last fall. The share price today is less than 1/2 a penny, while outstanding shares have increased 600% since July of last year. In my opinion, it appears that the insiders, Mr. Scozzafava, his sister Dede (the State Assemblywoman), and various other family members and friends, are the only ones who stand to make anything on this venture. While protecting their own interests in the firm, IT APPEARS that they are using common shareholders to pay for millions of dollars of debt reduction carried over to Seaway from several earlier unprofitable business arrangements that Mr. Scozzafava had been involved in several years ago. If that wasn't bad enough, Mr. Scozzafava seems to be either unable or unwilling to communicate with anyone who wants a straight answer about where this is all going to end.

Don't get me wrong - what Mr. Scozzafava is doing may be above board, but there are enough unanswered questions to set off more than a few alarms. Even the market bears witness that few think much of Tom's corporate plan; the relentless erosion of the share price has been going on now for 7 months. If Mr. Scozzafava continues to avoid answering the difficult questions, then shareholder lawsuits are certain to surface in the months ahead, and the cloud of uncertainty will spread from Tom to his sister, Dede, who is a minority partner in the firm.

If anyone up there in the beautiful North Country of upstate New York sees Tom, please inform him that he has the fiduciary responsibility to step up to the plate and address shareholder concerns. A shareholder's meeting would be a welcome venue to clear up these issues and restore investor confidence in the company's CEO.

(From a SWVC Shareholder... Ouch! I am sure DD is going to have a field day with this one.)

This is from the contributor to this interesting post, which has sparked a fair amount of discussion I might add. Ahhhh, democracy in action! Here it is: "I have spoken with Ms. Scozzafava and need to correct information on the original letter (phrases not being factual). Not sure if that is possible, but I would appreciate whatever you recommend.

I have also posted the following retraction in the comments section of the blog:

Dede Scozzafava has no controlling interest in Seaway Capital, nor is she involved in any of the operations of the company. Her investment in the company is strictly passive in nature. I apologize to Ms. Scozzafava and to the readers of this blog for being uninformed about her role in the company."


Timothy Mercier
Champaign, Illinois

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We've Got News/Advice for the NY GOP

We've got some advice to give the state GOP, and most importantly for our readers, regarding New York's 48th Senate seat, which is currently held by Darrel Aubertine (keep in mind that we are not Darrel's biggest fans here at UGOB).

Stay tuned because our advice is on its way!!!

And just a quick hint
: it won't be good news for Dierdre Scozzafava (Rino from Gouverneur)!

Of course we have to be brutally honest here at UGOB... after all we are a group of good ol' boys with some witty/insightful thoughts.

Sorry Dede; readers, stay tuned for our BREAKING NEWS/ADVICE.

Currier Aligns Himself with the Democrats For All the Wrong Reasons

There was a story in today's WDTs that Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier was seeking to become the next Democratic Assemblyman from the 118th district of New York.

One wonders why Currier would choose to associate himself with the Democratic Party instead of the Republican Party? One might think that Currier's experience in law enforcement would make him a natural fit in the Republican Party, which values the respect for law and order. So here are some of the possibilities me and my friends thought up:

1) The GOP county party structure in upstate NY is in shambles and Currier doesn't want to be a part of it.

2) Currier, if he won, would be in the majority as a Democrat.

3) Currier could really be philosophically in line with the principles of the Democratic Party, the same party that is going to nominate an inexperienced liberal, Barack Obama, to the presidency soon. (Watch for those results in NC and Indiana.)

4) Currier knows he could never win the GOP primary. (There are some rumors that there will be some very good candidates coming out to fight for that seat - we will update you on that in the coming weeks.)

5) Currier doesn't even know what either party stands for because his only experience is in law enforcement. He doesn't have a solid handle on policy issues like taxes. Democrats in the Assembly have no real interest in trimming the size of the state budget or lowering taxes on small businesses and the middle class...

So below and linked here you can find the article. We report, you decide.

Massena official eyes seat in Albany
CHIEF CURRIER: Police veteran plans run for 118th Assembly post

Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier is lobbying to become the Democratic candidate in the 118th Assembly District race.

"I have always had an interest as my police career wound down in getting involved in politics," said Mr. Currier, who is a registered voter without party affiliation. "Given the fact I've been in public service for 20 years, continuing that in some form is my purpose."

While the chief awaited word from the Democratic Party, he applied for the endorsement and the line of the Working Families Party. Mr. Currier will be interviewed, along with other hopefuls, by that party's North Country West chapter by month's end.

Mr. Currier, 42, said he has been "long concerned" about the inequities of the property tax system, which is one of his reasons for running.

"There is too big of a burden placed on the middle class and working families in New York state with respect to property tax," he said.

Mr. Currier said he brings a "unique perspective" to the race because he has not been affiliated with any party.

"I first and foremost consider myself to be a centrist, not far left or far right," he said. "Generally speaking, with the vast majority of issues that are out there, I tend to lean Democratic."

The police chief said, if elected, part of his agenda would be to push "pro-public safety" and "pro-law enforcement" initiatives.

Mr. Currier said he has "no imminent plans" to leave the department, but added: "Anyone that reaches the minimum retirement age in law enforcement very likely looks to other opportunities. I still very much love my job and very much appreciate the opportunity of serving the village of Massena."

Donald J. Lucas, a Massena fishing charter operator and Alcoa retiree, is the only other candidate to formally declare his intentions for the Assembly seat. He also is seeking the Working Families Party line.

Besides Mr. Currier and Mr. Lucas, the Working Families Party has had five candidates request an interview so that they could be considered for the party's endorsement and line.

■ Darrel J. Aubertine, Cape Vincent, for the 48th Senate District. Mr. Aubertine, a Democrat, has served as senator since February.

■ Danny M. Francis, Watertown, and Michael P. Oot, Stockbridge, for the 23rd Congressional District. Mr. Francis, a Democrat, is a retired Marine officer and former Army recruiter. Mr. Oot, a Democrat, is an attorney.

■ Dierdre K. Scozzafava, Gouverneur, for the 122nd Assembly District. Ms. Scozzafava, a Republican, has long been rumored as the potential opponent of Mr. Aubertine.

"At this point we're still in discussions about possibilities," the 10-year Assembly veteran said.

Ms. Scozzafava said that she tried to apply for the interview without designating a position sought, but the party would not accept the form without it.

■ Jeremy Barlow, Herrings, for the 122nd Assembly District. Mr. Barlow, a Democrat, is a lawyer and former child abuse and neglect prosecutor for Jefferson County Department of Social Services.

Mr. Barlow, 31, was noncommittal about his candidacy when asked Friday.

"I just wanted to keep my options open," he said.

Mr. Barlow started his own private practice in January after recently earning his master's degree in entertainment law. The lawyer, who has no government experience, has previously considered runs for the 23rd Congressional District and the Jefferson County Legislature.

Louisa N. Pacheco, the Working Families Party's lead organizer for its North Country West chapter, said chapter leaders will make endorsement recommendations to the state executive committee. The state committee will formally endorse during the first week of June.