Friday, November 17, 2006

First Post: Roads and Stripes (DMM #1)

Hello to the reading audience of Dryden Democrats (I'll have to ask Mary Ann to update the header)!

A few hours after the election results were made public I received my first constituent phone call. I quickly started to search for the answer and here's a brief synopsis for the public.

Issue: Stripes on roads faded and missing from some town roads

Notes: In the last week with all of the precipitation and changes in temperature we in Dryden had a lot of fog roll in. The most noticible fog was on the roads and driving visibility was around 20 feet in some places (sometimes less!).

Answers (via Mary Ann Sumner, Town Board Member and Jack Bush, Dryden Highway Superintendent):
  • When a municipality decides to stripe a road it then has to continue to maintain the striping
  • There was a time when none of the Town roads were striped
  • As with everything in the Highway business it is expensive
  • Last year approximately 18 miles were striped and the year before 22 miles (There are 163 named roads in the Town making a total of 117.3 miles of Town highways)
  • Every year it is difficult to get the striping companies to stripe Town roads
  • They are limited to their window of time to apply paint to the roads because of weather conditions & equipment failure
  • State & County roads become higher priority obviously because of higher traffic counts and miles being painted
  • The Town does not own a paint striping truck & it would not be cost effective to buy one
  • The Town uses the contractor that has the Bid with Tompkins County
  • This year has been a difficult one for the contractor who received the bid because of rainy weather & a truck breaking down & it looks like they may not ever get to us
  • Three other contractors have been contacted by the highway department and they are all behind because of the weather
  • The weather will continue to get colder & snow will fall; this probably will mean no striping this year

Jack mentioned that he recieved 5 phone calls on Tuesday because of fog on Monday night. When he personally was driving through the fog he knew he would be getting calls. He tries to be proactive with highway issues however he is at the mercy of both the striping contractors & mother nature.

For a complete set of Town highway projects completed in 2005 and the goals for 2006 see the Town of Dryden Highway Department homepage and scroll down:

Welcome Dave Makar

In my enthusiasm for the local Democratic sweep, I glossed over the election of Democrat Dave Makar to the Dryden Town Board. I'm bowled over by the amount of work Dave did to get to know people and issues in Dryden. I'm looking forward having him on the Board. With his help I won't feel like I'm swimming upstream all the time.

Dave has offered to share his thoughts here at Dryden Democrats. Welcome, Dave, and congratulations!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The Senators and Congressmen who lost their seats in this election are not just a random group. Five of the six losing Senators have 100% approval ratings from the Christian Coalition. And three of those also have 0% ratings from the League of Conservation Voters.

Of twenty-three Republican Congressmen who are being replaced by Democrats because they either lost or retired, seventeen (74%) have Christian Coalition ratings of 80% or more. All but two (69%) of those have League of Conservation Voters ratings of 20% or less.

The Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy at Cornell University has a website called Theocracy Watch. Both Republicans and Christians should try harder to distance themselves from the Christian Coalition. Not because they oppose reproductive rights and clean air, but because they reject facts and believe they can create their own reality.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Republican's Wake Up Call

Congratulations to Democrats for sweeping every contested race on the ballot in Dryden: Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, State Assembly, US House and Senate, Sheriff, NYS Supreme Court judge and Town Board.

Republicans have allowed religious fundamentalists to drag their party to an incredibly dangerous position. I hope the results of these elections energize conservative and moderate Republicans to regain control of their party. I'm happy to work with and compete with honest Republicans. But the arrogance and authoritarianism and irrationality of a large part of the Republican Party are way over the edge. What I don't understand is why so many people started recognizing this the day after the 2004 election and not the day before the election.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day Reading

This morning I spotted a couple of Carnivals new to me. A Carnival in the blog world is a collection of posts on a particular subject. There are Carnivals on every topic under the sun.

The Carnival of Divided Government makes a strong case for the importance of a balance of power in the legislature.

The Carnival of the Decline of Democracy is interesting, though more partisan. Why is it that only Democrats are concerned about recent threats to Constitutional checks and balances?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

There's a Change in the Air

It's been a tough month with campaigning, town business and the change of seasons at home. Dryden Democrats have been much busier than this blog suggests.

It snowed during the Town Budget hearing last week. My thanks to whomever left this adorable little snowman on my car. I turned off the heat and moved the little guy to the floor of the back seat and rushed home to put him (or her) on the deck outside my window where he lifted my spirits for hours and into the next day before he succumbed to the sun.

I want to write more about the town budget, but I won't have time today. Let me summarize by saying the bottom line is no increase in the tax rate. There is a 4% increase in the tax levy because of increasing assessments. That 4% is a comfortable amount to cover 4% cost of living salary increases as well as some new projects. In 2007 we will begin a lengthy review of a very old and awkward zoning ordinance. We'll undertake a review of some personnel policies and a townwide assessment recreation facilities, programs and needs. We're planning for a public audit for the first time in several years. We'll be moving into the new town hall, continuing work on the Freeville-Dryden trail and much more. It will be an exciting year for the town.

All this will begin approximately the day after elections. This month's Town Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15 at 7:00 PM. This is a change from our usual Thursday meeting time. There is also a meeting of the Conservation Board Tuesday, November 14 at 7:30 PM and a meeting of the Planning Board Thursday, November 16 at 7:00 PM.

Speaking of elections... Of course, you know Tuesday is election day. If you're not sure where or when to vote call me. I'll help you find out. If you'd like help getting to the polls, call me. I'll help you get a ride.

It's no secret that I'm supporting Dave Makar for Town Board. I've worked well with his opponent, Dan Tier, and his thinking about fire department issues has been interesting. But Dave's business experience, commitment to the community, basic good sense and incredible hard work are irresistible to me. And besides, he's a Democrat. Read Barack Obama on Democrats' sense of obligation to the community.

I've also campaigned with Mike Arcuri for Congress in the NY 24th district. I disagree with him on a couple of issues and I've talked to him about it. I don't know yet if I've influenced him, but I know he's heard me. I wanted to meet his opponent, Ray Meier, but at the last minute Meier cancelled his appearance at the reception I'd been invited to.

I feel strongly about re-electing sheriff Meskill. His professionalism has brought strong improvements in fiscal policy and effectiveness to the department.

Don't forget Hillary Clinton for Senate, Barbara Lifton for NYS Assembly. And if you haven't met Elizabeth Garry, take my word for it. You'll like her and she'll be an excellent NYS Supreme Court Judge.