Let the Games Begin!

December 24, 2009

As Mario of Nintendo fame would say,

“HERE WE GO!”

The Daily Gazette and The Albany Times Union Newspapers have filed a joint lawsuit against The Schenectady School District for withholding information regarding the investigation of former school facilities manager Steven Raucci and his alleged terrorist activities.  HT Daily Gazette.

When the school district released the report most of it was blacked out.  So now the papers are suing the district to get the full report.  Clearly the district and superintendent Eric Ely have something to hide.  They’re covering their own backsides and perhaps some others as well.

So now that the suit’s been filed, “Let the games begin!”

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It’s true.  Sometimes I feel like I live in a third world country.  With the way Schenectady officials boldly display their corrupt practices for all to see.

So it doesn’t help that New York State goes right along.

This from The Albany Times Union.

Former city schools facilities director Steven Raucci will receive a state pension of $79,067 every year for the rest of his life for his work with the school district.

Raucci is in the Schenectady County jail awaiting trial on a 26-count indictment that alleges he placed explosive devices at homes and on cars, spray-painted homes and slashed tires in an attempt to harass and intimidate co-workers and others since at least 1993.

State law is clear that even those convicted of crimes are entitled to their share of the state retirement system, thanks to an amendment to New York’s constitution in 1940.

It must be nice.  Commit crimes for union officials.  Have your conduct covered up by the school board.  And  even if you’re caught you’re set for life with a cushy pension.

Meanwhile The Daily Gazette had a story that sounded like a plot from a grade B movie about the depression.  It was all about city workers sacrificing to help close the cities’ budget gap.

Harry Brand said that every city employee should check 10 parking meters before going home every night — although it’s unlikely the fines would make up for the $2.5 million that the mayor has proposed to collect in new taxes.

But with the idea that every penny helps, Vince Riggi also offered to give back the $300 promised to his wife Donna for showing up every day as a crossing guard. The incentive was added to get guards to come to work in foul weather, but Riggi said his wife would be willing to forgo it.

“My wife doesn’t need an incentive to go to work,” he said. “Add that into the budget; maybe it will help somebody.”

Pat Zollinger suggested that the council members begin with some personal sacrifice — giving up their health insurance.

The council agreed in 2007 to start paying 20 percent of its insurance cost, but only in exchange for a $4,000 raise. Zollinger told them that they should now give up the perk altogether.

“We just can’t afford it anymore,” she said.”

I’m not sure where the paper’s coming from.  Do they want us to feel guilty about complaining about hight taxes?  Or just to realize it’s not the regular city workers fault.

To me it all sounded like a B movie.

“Don’t worry Maw, we’ll make it.  Uncle Joe can sell his tractor and Aunt Millie can get a couple hens so she can sell their eggs.

Me an’ Sissy can sell papers.  Don’t worry Paw.  We’ll git by.”

Either way I’m living in the third world.

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City of Schenectady, New York
Image via Wikipedia

They must be smoking crack and I’m not talking about the Nobel prize,  I’ve already given my opinion on that.

This is about something going on in my city.  Now before you ask why should I care about what’s going on in New York’s Capital District hang in there.  Even if you can’t find Schenectady on your map let alone pronounce it this is is going to hit your funny bone.  (For the record it’s pronounced schuh-NECK-tah-dee)

There’s this ongoing investigation regarding a former Schenectady School District employee and if the school board knew how bad this guy was.  It all boils down to what did the school board know and when did they know it?

From the Albany Times Union . . .

“The school district commissioned the report to investigate what knowledge staff and administrators had about alleged misconduct by Raucci, a former employee who is facing criminal charges of arson and terrorism for allegedly placing explosive devices at the homes and on cars of his perceived enemies.

Prosecutors allege Raucci, a former state Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) union head and retired school manager, for decades used violence and vandalism against perceived foes who got in his way. Raucci, 61, faces a 26-count indictment, including terrorism, arson, conspiracy and weapons possession related to alleged incidents in Clifton Park, Glenville, Rotterdam, Colonie and Schodack dating back to 1993. The Niskayuna man has pleaded not guilty to the charges, but has been denied bail three times. The matter has spawned several lawsuits or people asking the court to take civil action against Raucci.”

So here they are waiting for a report about who knew what and when it comes out 90% of it is blacked out!

SAY WHAT?!

“SCHENECTADY – Dozens of pages are entirely blacked out in the school district report on an investigation into possible workplace misconduct by retired facilities director Steven Raucci.

The 192-page document, dated June 15 and released Thursday, dashes hopes of those who anticipated learning new information about Raucci’s interaction with senior administrators and staffers he supervised. In several instances, all but one word — “employee” — is blacked out on a page, with no context to give it meaning.”

Did they think they could get away with this?

They must be smoking crack!!!

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A Tale of Two Town Halls

September 9, 2009

It certainly isn’t the best of times but at least it isn’t the worst either.

This is not a tale of two cities. It’s a tale of two congressional districts, near Albany New York,  and how Town Halls are run in each of them.

First we have Paul Tonko. (D-NY-21) He preferred to hide during the summer recess and only would do a Town Hall when forced out by the media kicking and screaming.

Then there’s his neighbor to the north Scott Murphy,(D-NY20) who toured his district like a rock star. He even did two town halls on labor day.

Why do these two men take such an opposite strategy when doing their required Town Hall Meetings? I suspect it has more to do with Democrats pulling the strings in Washington than their personalities. After all Paul Tonko can afford to hide in his deep blue “yellow dog” Democratic District. But Scott Murphy may face a very hard rematch in 2010 against Republican challenger Jim Tedisco. So he pounds the pavement during the summer while Tonko can afford to hide.

To make matters worse The Times Union is fawning at Scott Murphy’s every move.

http://archives.timesunion.com/mweb/wmsql.wm.request?oneimage&imageid=8631330

Murphy, D-Glens Falls, said he’d never seen so many signs. His calm demeanor helped keep the crowd from disintegrating into a shouting match. A few couldn’t keep their emotions in check and disrupted Murphy’s analysis of a House bill, H.R. 3200, which attempts to address the problem of more than 40 million uninsured Americans while holding the line on escalating health care costs.

Murphy voiced support for additional options for health insurance. He said he favors a “value-based pricing” model of health care delivery rather than the current “transaction model” that forces physicians to rush patients through an assembly-line system to boost reimbursements. He spoke like the former venture capitalist and small business owner he is.

Oh please, spare us. Perhaps the best thing about this tale is, now that Congress will be back in session, it’s finally over.

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How on earth can I connect an obscure character from The Bible to a Schenectady School Board member?

You may remember the story from Sunday School. King Belshazzar of ancient Babylon is throwing this big shindig where he decides to use the sacred golden goblets plundered from The Temple in Jerusalem to drink from. Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appear and write 4 words on the plaster of the wall, nearby. The only one one who can interpret the meaning of the words is the prophet Daniel. Only he can understand the proverbial writing on the wall.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+5&version=TNIV

The message in a nutshell was

“Just because you’re all that now doesn’t mean you can mock God. Your judgment day is coming!”

Jump to the 21st century and we have Schenectady School Board member James Casino and his wife Donna who threw a couple of parties for their son over the summer.  He had just graduated high school.

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=836815&newsdate=9/2/2009

There were several guests at the party below the legal drinking age of 21.  Not only was their alcohol served at the party there was serious binging going on by both James Casino and his wife who just happens to be a sixth grade teacher at one of the city’s elementary schools.

The reason we know all is because they posted pictures of the party on Facebook!  Talk about hubris and thinking you’re so all that!

They’re all like,

“We party in front of our kids and we let the world know on Facebook what great examples we are!

Woo Hoo! (cue The Beastie Boys)

Paaaaaaarrrrrrrrtaaaaaay!”

So who will read the writing on the wall for the Casino family?

Is it Carl Strock, the Daily Gazette columnist who broke the story?

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2009/aug/30/0830_strock830/

Will it be the other members of the Schenectady School Board who may have to decide what’s the right thing to do in this case?

Or will it be the citizens of Schenectady?  Someone will certainly bring this up at tonight’s board meeting during the time  for public comments.

Or perhaps the writing on the wall will be in May at the next school board election.

How much is it going to take before my fellow voters in Schenectady get off their fannies and vote all the rascals out?

Lord help us!

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It’s reading more and more like a plot from the TV series “Law and Order.”  When newly reinstated Schenectady School board member Linda Bellick gave her acceptance speech Wednesday night she had to be silenced for saying too much.

From Thursday’s Times Union

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=835426&category=YTSCHENECTADY

Bellick, who was attempting to correct what she feels is unfair media coverage about herself and the school district, at one point began to discuss Raucci, who has been indicted on charges of arson and terrorism for placing explosive devices on cars and at the homes of his perceived enemies.

Bellick went on to say the internal report, which the board initially said would be released, is now secret because attorneys found there is personal information contained in the interviews. When Bellick began to say the sentence “We know no one who was interviewed,” school attorney Shari Greenleaf made a noise from the audience, followed by board President Maxine Brisport telling Bellick she couldn’t continue to read from that part of her speech.”

Dong Dong!  Cue the music from “Law and Order!

When did the school district know they had just put a known terrorist and union hitman into a  district wide position?

The plot thickens!

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Tonko’s Town Hall

August 26, 2009

Once again it seems like two organizations covering the same event were not in the same building. Capital News Nine had their reality while the Albany Times Union had theirs.

In universe one Capital News Nine said their town hall meeting crowd “was behaved with only a few incidents.”

http://capitalnews9.com/content/top_stories/480615/tonko-holds-town-hall-meeting-on-health-care-reform/?RegionCookie=2131

The crowd was split with 60% pro Obama’s plan and 40% against.

Meanwhile the T.U. made it sound like there was pandemonium at their town hall meeting with poor Congressman Tonko barely able to get a word in edgewise.

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=835039&TextPage=2

Plus super-kudos to radio station WGY’s Al Roney for getting Congressman Tonko to finally hold a real town hall meeting.

http://www.wgy.com/pages/onair_roney.html?feed=133292&article=5881178

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