10/31/2011

Tucker - Pilot

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported on the Tucker - Pilot mayoral race.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker realizes that the city election Nov. 8 is shaping up as a referendum on him.
“The longer you’re around, your margin gets smaller,” Tucker said in an interview. “I think everybody has a shelf life. I haven’t reached mine yet.”
Tucker, a Republican who has served for eight years, is facing retired Police Officer Michael J. Pillot, the same Democratic candidate who opposed him in 2007, when Tucker rolled up 72 percent of the vote.
“I don’t think that has any bearing on this race,” Tucker said.
Of his last race, Pillot said, “I don’t think I did stuff the right way. I don’t think I talked to enough people. I didn’t get out enough.”

“I want you to ask yourself: Is the city better today than it was eight years ago?” Tucker said at a candidates’ forum Monday at the Dale Association. “I think we’re in a good place.”
Pillot doesn’t....
 Most of us know of Tucker's record the past 4 years. Anyone have a link or documents on Pilot's running platform? (besides100% bad garbage system and answering our calls at night?).

I grow tired of the hard-times smaller government platforms. No Duh. Does anyone ever run on more spending? How about some actual ideas and plans for getting this ship turned around? I'd be even more inclined to listen to someone running on such a platform since it would show some courage. If they actually have a plan for that spending I could possibly vote for them.

When it all comes down to it, the biggest change in the city will come from us, the residents. It will be our civic involvement that pushes forward our ides and desires for our city. The best we can usually hope for is not too much resistance from those we elected and vocal minority who seem opposed to almost any change.

45 comments:

george2012 said...

This is not a referendum on Tucker, it's a battle of which candidate is the least offensive. If/when Tucker wins I hope he doesn't take it as a vote of confidence since if a qualified candidate had run against him he would be done. Just look at how close Green came, and she definitely wasn't an ideal candidate.
Tucker doesn't get that he's not 'king', he's an elected mayor. And it's amazing he's taking credit for biting the bullet and re-assessing, where by raising everybodys assessment he can claim that our 11% tax increase is only 2%! And the parks and highway dept is a complete mess, how about Allen complaining he's only making $80,000 or $45 per hour for a 35 hour per week job.
And we NEED smaller government and less services. With this 11% tax increase, does anybody really believe we can afford to create new jobs for the 10 garbageman that should have been laid off?? I still believe he didn't lay them off due to his son's seniority. Talking of cutting costs, can we really afford to have a person full time working who's only duty is to clean the courtroom, and rumors are out there that he has a restriction he can't lift more than 10 pounds, i.e. he can't even move a table?
But, I do believe he will win, I just hope he does start listening to the people.

gijoe2012 said...

It's nice to hear the Mayor suddenly become "Socrates" and get all philosophical on us.

he'll win by 16 votes and call it a referendum.

I'm certain he could do a better job of running the city...but at what cost??. More of the same old stuff, more of George Maziars' sticky fingers into everything? 4 more years of backroom deals?
Small government? we could stand a smaller local government.

With Pilot... at least we get a clean start.

But neither one has the courage to deal with the two major "money-eaters" in the budget and they are....

Fire, and Police.

MJ said...

In the last 30 years the city has shed roughly 1/3 of its workforce even though population has only fell slightly. I'd call that smaller gov't. The question comes in how small do we want it? How far do you cut back until you do more harm than good?

Someone can claim to desire to listen to "everyone" but when it comes down to it those 100 different opinions need to be whittled down to 1. There needs to be someone in a leadership position to make those decisions and see them through.

As for the assessments "he" can't "claim" anything nor did I see any comment where tucker did. It's well reported how much the budget has gone up and what the resulting tax rate will be. Those who's assessments have dropped or stayed the same will have savings and those that did not will be paying more. It all comes from the same pie. Even if the assessors came in tomorrow and cut everyone's assessment 20% we'd still be paying the same amount in taxes. If nothing the 10 yr delay helped those whose assessments otherwise would have went up. consider it 10yrs of tax savings. They just received a shock in the 10th year.

Again, the biggest hindrance to our tax load is lack of investment. Until we make the structural changes and funding priorities to increase investment in the city the budget process will be a losing process year after year.

gijoe2012 said...

two things...
you never hear anyone suggesting anything other than taxes as a way to rise needed revenue.

As long as politician (99.5%)are motivated by money and perks that go with the office, we'll continue to have all of the same problems we have today. The office holders are basically interchangeable with the people seeking to be their replacements.

The only exception I can think of is Andy Chapman.

george2012 said...

Population might have only fallen slightly but how about the total assessed value of the city, hasn't it fallen tremendously (taking in to account inflation), especially with Delphi's super reduced value? I remember hearing once the percentage of city taxes Harrison paid vs property owners and it was huge. We used to be able to afford a lot more than we needed now we need to get to bare bones.
I am not saying Tucker is only saying a 2% raise, I am saying the uneducated will only read the headlines of a 2% raise.

george2012 said...

MJ- LOL!!! It's Pasceri in todays paper thats actually calling this a tax cut!!!

Wow!!! what can I say more????

MJ said...

Yeah I saw. I'll post it up top later. It actually IS a tax rate cut with a budget increase. The question people want answered is what their total tax bill will be.

From the LUSJ article from this post after the assessments were released:
http://lockportforum.blogspot.com/2011/04/city-assessed-value.html

"Half of all commercial properties, and about one-third of residential properties, in the City of Lockport will experience a markup in 2011-12 assessed value."

This means that less than 1/3 of residential properties will see an overall tax bill increase. So Pasceri is 2/3 correct if you want to apply her statement to total tax bills taken alone. ;)

I care less about how much we are spending and more about how we are spending it. We can "bare bones" the budget as much as want but it will never turn this city's fortunes around and just allow the slow decline to continue.

There needs to be money in the budget to take proper care of infrastructure and basic services plus money for grass-root groups who are usually the actual ones to get things done.The city should mostly be an organizer of services (private garbage for example) and a facilitator for it's citizen's (providing flowers for volunteers to plant for example

Xavier said...

I agree with MJ 100%. It IS a rate cut with a Budget INCREASE.
Those who can't, or won't, bother to understand the method by which these terms are used are only going to bang on the table rather than know the truth. That's a sad indictment of our citizenry.
One person in the Mayoral race has only spoken out about garbage - literally. There's a lot more to being Mayor than saying "I hate the new garbage plan!"
The "new guy" undoubtedly has good intentions, but what he would do or not do as Mayor frightens me.
He's not up to the job.
Nor is Mrs. Pasceri's competition. Unless she understands, and puts forth, the truth that a tax rate cut with a Budget increase is a "win."
George, I think you're a heck of a lot smarter than you appear. If you really don't "get" this - call City Hall and ask them to give you my number. They have it due to my serving on the Commission. (Volunteer by the way.) Better yet, leave your number and I promise I'll call you back.

george2012 said...

I'm sorry, no matter how you spin it you can't raise a budget 10% and because you increased your total assessments then reduce your tax rate and call it a win. The total amount collected from the peole will still be 10% more. Yes, maybe some people whose assessments didn't change will see a break, but overall they will still be collecting 10% more!
This is defintely not rocket science, you raise your budget you need more money. That's a tax increase.
And wait till next year and see what happens. But then again, thanks to our four year mayor terms they are able to push the huge increase back one year to the first year of a four year reign, and by the 4th year (election year) it will all be forgotten.
And I do know how to get with you X (and MJ), I am very close to all this mess.

MJ said...

The scarier one is going to be this years school budget where they are already starting from behind with $4M of one shot funding last year.

The biggest disappointment here for me is the continued lack of available budget documents and explanations to the public through eLockport or some other site.

MJ said...

I don't see anyone proclaiming a "win". It is what it is.

The biggest issue is labor (with the pension and healthcare premium increases.) As the quote from Dick in today's paper pointed out if you let someone go you end up paying the unemployment anyways plus face lawsuits etc. It is not a right-to-work situation where the city can easily "right size".

"“Dollar for dollar, you’re paying their wages in unemployment and (history shows) they go to court and get their jobs back anyway, so you’re not saving any money,” he said. “It is far better for you to negotiate” benefits and job changes."

The early retirements etc are helping reduce the labor pool. We need to get the most out of who we are paying. Their effort could be multiplied by working close with city volunteers.

george2012 said...

The difference with the school budget is the people vote on it, the board would never get a 10% increase passed by the 60% margin needed to override the 2% law. It's too easy for the city to overide the 2% max by just having the council vote.
If people are laid off following proper procedures (i.e. the opposite of how Tucker has gotten rid of people so far) they can be let go the city is no different than any industry with union contracts. I do wonder though since he signed the contract to not lay anyone off with the garbage deal if there is a legal way to let anyone go. We sure aren't getting our moneys worth out of Allen, he keeps asking for more and more money.

And at least one person (Pasceri) is declaring it a win, that it is a tax cut - c'mon you can't really defend that logic, can you?

MJ said...

1) The public "voted" last year for a budget that used $4M in one time funding that will need to be replaced this year. If similar raises/health premiums etc all raise the same $4M this year we will be stuck with an $8 gap to fill. It is not going to be pretty and I hope the public realizes their "yes" vote last year set it up.

2) I don't see her calling it a "win". If she used the word, so be it. From what I read she was claiming it was a good balance of services vs a decrease in the tax rate (not adjusted for assessments). If that is her stance, that is her stance. We can make our opinions on it.

3) Trying to get my hands on the budget as it stands to post before tonight's council meeting.

gijoe2012 said...

the 3 keys to the "Budget Kingdom" seem to be.

Fire
Police
Legacy/healthcare pension cost

Am I wrong?

All of this beating around the bush is a waste of time. When "we" are ready to seriously deal with these three items....wake me up.

Xavier said...

MJ and I both serve on City Commissions for no pay. We do it because we're interested in the future of our City for our children and grandchildren.
Sorry, George, but I'm not going to voluntarily put my name, address and # on a blog.
I know exactly who you are. You should be able to figure it out. (If anyone out there gives him this information on the blog I will be angry and will do something about it. Please don't - it's a pain in the neck and can be frightenting. Thanks.)

MJ said...

No you are exactly right on your "Keys".

That's why I'm doubtful when people want to skin the rest of the budget to offset those costs. You can only put off maintenance on the roof before the interior of the house becomes wrecked and worthless. Gutting parks, forestry, inspections etc will only make the area less desirable.

Most employees are governed by state rules. I believe it will take changes on the state level to ease the burden on shrinking cities with legacy costs from their headier days.

And as an FYI, I get $20 per Planning Board Meeting for $240/year. I believe it comes out of the fees that are paid by people coming before the board. I believe it is also set somehow by the state.

MJ said...

cleaned up 2 comments

george2012 said...

Why did my comment get deleted? I simply said that I don't need Xavier's address, everyone knows she is Patti S. I did not flame, call anybody names, or anything controversial. Is it because I don't believe in your plan for the city you are being tough on my comments?
I also agreed with you and Joe on the key points. I don't think police level should be touched but do think we can't afford the deluxe fireman package now that Harrison is not paying for it.

MJ said...

Giving out addresses streets etc. Maybe over reactionary on my part but it started sending the topic astray with her reply. So i grabbed them both. As always I am more than happy for peoples ideas even if they don't agree with mine.

george2012 said...

OK thanks. Maybe I over-reacted too, sorry. I was upset because I carefully didn't take Patti's bait and just stated a fact back to her.

gijoe2012 said...

The Common Council Meeting "Live"
is my favorite "Reality Show"

Ya gotta admit,THAT is some good comedy.

Xavier said...

George - as you know, I offered to help you understand how it came to be that it was possible to have a TAX RATE CUT together with a BUDGET INCREASE. Instead of you contacting me you chose to be rude to me on this blog.
My offer was genuine. I won't be that stupid again.

george2012 said...

Patti - it's because that statement makes absolutely no sense. You can have a RATE cut after you increase assessments, but with a budget increase you have to be paying increased taxes.

Xavier said...

George I'm afraid I have to withdraw my offer, but I'll leave you with this basic point in Accounting (which I dropped 1/2 way through because I didn't understand it). A debit is a GOOD thing while a CREDIT is a bad thing. I was a BANKER at the time and that premise just didn't sit well with me. Still doesn't. But that's how it's done.
Perhaps your inability to understand the rate cut, budget increase position is similar to my problem with basic accounting principles, but it is what it is and I'm correct.
Patti

MKR said...

Lockport Forum- I am a Political "newbie" looking to become a more informed voter & member in the community. Therefore I have questions:
1. Im aware of whose running, but where can I find an honest list of their positions & track records/ stance on issues?
2. I found the new map of "Wards" for Lockport and need a map where I can actually read the streets- please direct. Thank you all, Melinda

Karen said...

Melinda,

Good luck to becoming an informed voter. I have tried also but unfortunately most of the politicians are not as transparent in their positions as they should be. But you will definitely be able to find reasons to NOT vote for the opposition.

If you go to the elockport.com website and click on common council, the ward maps are in PDF form so you will be able to zoom in on your area.

Xavier said...

Melinda if you have time between now and Tuesday try "Googling" the people in the races you intend to vote in. As they all are political animals, this will provide you with SOME information.
If you want more specifics on an issue or something like that, this will give you a start.
Good luck and heaps of praise for attempting to become informed. Give yourself a pat on the back!!!

Xavier said...

Melinda - another thought... I know Richelle Pasceri has a Facebook Page. I haven't looked at it lately but will do so now. When it went up it didn't have any info because it was the first day, but I reckon it has more now.
I think you can do a Facebook search of some sort and find these pages. (If you haven't noticed, I'm not very computer literate.)

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