Transcript: Need to Know Rochester for March 5, 2010

THANKS FOR JOINING US.  I'M PETER IGLINSKI. THIS HAS BEEN A BAD WEEK FOR NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATS. WE'LL START WITH THE GOVERNOR. ONE SCANDAL HAD ALREADY FORCED GOVERNOR PATERSON TO WITHDRAW HIS CANDIDACY FOR ELECTION TO A FULL TERM. A SECOND SCANDAL SURFACED DURING THE WEEK-THIS ONE INVOLVING WORLD SERIES TICKETS ACQUIRED BY THE GOVERNOR. THE TWO SCANDALS ARE CALLING INTO QUESTION PATERSON'S ABILITY TO GOVERN. JOINING ME ARE TIMOTHY KNEELAND, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR AT NAZARETH COLLEGE, AND PATRICK MALGIERI, LOCAL ATTORNEY, FORMER STATE DEMOCRATIC COMMITTMEEMAN, AND ADVISOR TO THE MONROE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE.

Can governor Patterson survive?

 

(Kneeland) If you're asking can he survive, he can absolutely stay in office until he's driven out by legal procedings. But can he govern, that's really the question, I don't think he can govern right now, with this scandal surrounding him I think he's lost the support of the leader of the state assembly, by the charges against him by the state senate clearly he's losing the support of that group as well which makes his ability to put together a budget very difficult if not impossible.

 

(Peter) if you were advising the governor what would you say at this point?

 

(Malgieri) I think it goes back your question can he survive? At the end of the day he's gonna have to make that decision.  Legally he can stay, his term,  he still has several months remaining.  He has responsibilities he has to carry out. At the end of the day I think he has to ask himself what the real answers are to the allegations they remain allegations at this point.  He has to go through that process internally with himself and with his family as well this governmental and political colleagues and and I think they all have to weigh in and be part of that decision.  what I would advise him to do? what I would Advise him to do would be to go through that process and that the decision is his to make.  if he does stay his responsibility is to carry out the work as a governor he has chartered to do and is directed to do and there are a lot of responsibilities the state faces today.

 

(Peter) how about a quick recap of the scadals the first one is a domestic violence situation, one of his top aides was accused of domestic violence and the governor is accused of interfering to get the woman to not to press charges in the second case he wound up with world series tickets, there were worth alot of money New York Yankee world series tickets this past season and there is a question if he ever intended to buy the tickets and there's a question of back dating a check which is also criminal defense, potential.

 

 (Malgieri) what you said Peter is correct, all these are allegations I'm not minimizing the seriousness of the allegations and the consequences of them but they point to two things.  They are allegations, there are processes in place both civil and criminal to investigate and determine whether those allegations will bear fruit and in fairness to all concerned not just the Governor, but all involved that you have to let these processes play themselves out.  In the meantime I think it's most important for the people of good faith to focus on issues that are most important to taxpayers and to teh residents of New York. We have a serious budget crisis estimates of 9billion dollars we have job losses, Birdseye closing its headquarters here in Rochester,  these are serious issues that really demand the attention of all public officials at the federal, state and local.  that's the important issue than New Yorker's have to face.

 

(Peter) The Governor has been convicted of nothing, he's not been indited but is it possible, people need faith in their institutes, in their government, is it possible that even without convictions that you could./should lose the moral authority to govern?

 

 (Kneeland) I think in the court of public opinion decision making of the governor in the past has come into question.  His ability to lead the constituent groups that form NY state government have clearly been weaker and now is weakening even further Now here's a man who couldn't even get the Senate to come together last summer during the upheaval there now he's supposed to lead us into a budget right now there's real questions about his ability to take the lead in that or to serve.   the Leader of the state Assembly has actually asked Ravege to leave the negotiations which seems to me has the authority has already devolved after the lutenant governor.which  again I think David Patterson has to do what is best for the State of NY not what is best for David Patterson right now I would encourage him as he's going through this process to listen to those voices who really can see the political landscape quite clearly because this is a question of politics not legality.  The court of public opinion versus the court in which these issues will be played out.

 

 

 (Malgieri) I think what you said underscores the fact that there are institutions in place and people who are occupying the  positions of leadership in those institutions that are prepared to, and have the ability to lead the state through this process,   even in this difficult time whether you agree with their politics or not, shelly silver, John Samson, malcolm Smith and even the minority leadership in both of the houses are people who are committed to the welfare of the state and seeing the state through it most difficult times these are institutionsin place that are prepared to respond in a crisis even if the leadership or the governors office isn't as strong or is entirely absent I think we can do that wuith the people and institutions in place.

 

(Peter) why do the World Series tickets matter? ANd I'm asking that because  a lot of people baseball fans were thinking if I were given World Series tickets you bet I would take them, why do the world series tickets matter?

 

(Kneeland) Because the Yankees have invested interest in NY state providing funds to build new stadiums, which they did recently, so there is a question of ethics whether there is a quick pro quo.  It's important for the voter to believe that their  government is acting on their behalf and not just on the behalf of a special interest who happens to get world series tickets. And then there's the question of whether or not the governor allegedly lied to the ethics panel about this which again hinders his ability to earn respect of those people who are decision makers  in Albany.

 

(Peter)Let's put this in perspective alittle bit this is not isolated this follows Elliott Spenser's prostitution scandal which forced him out of office two years ago. That came around the same time former state controller Allen Hevesy had his problems.  Then former senator leader Joe Bruno his corruption conviction what is this doing to people's faith in government?

Our government had already been considered one of the most dysfunctional governments in the country and all this keeps happening.

 

(Malgieri)  The examples you mention point out that Neither political party has a monolpoly when it comes to vice or virtue.

 so we can point to a laundry list throughout the history of American politics but even NY politics where members of both parties line up are people would actually betrayed their public oath in office or have at least lost the confidence of the people.  when you have instances like this that occur, even allegations they do try people's confidence in the system and perhaps even discourage people of good faith people of talent people who are committed to public policy to consider entering into the system but at the end of the day you have to believe that the institutions matter more that the theory behind these institutions transcend even the short coming of a public official  You have to recognize the fact that although we have some notable examples the you've mentioned, that's a small handful compared to the thousands of people we elect to office every year through the nation and the state and thousands of people who go to work everyday in government at the local, state, and federal level, who put in an honest day's work and are committed to making the lives of the people they serve even better.  And it gets lost  understandably it gets lost, it's not a sexy story to tell but that is the real story.

 

 (Peter) People have already been cynical in NY voter turnout has been unimpressive but certainly we've known that for so long these scandals keep coming up and they keep coming up with people who have the most influence maybe noone investigates the people on the bottom

 

(Kneeland) and they happen locally too.We just had the robotron scadal herein Monroe county so it's not just the center of politics, see our government is Built on philosophy of legitimacy and that people will respond not to cohersive power but persuasive power but if there are people who are corrupt and are not charged, convicted and punished for their behavior then you begin to create a climate of corruption,  a climate of corruption not only gets the good actors who are coming into the system but it can lead to the citizens of the state, to begin to look for vested interests of power rather than the legitimate sources in their government we see this worldwide that's one of the reasons why we need be very careful about allowing, just turning a blind eye to this and in fact if it is at the highest level we do need to uncover it fare t out and make a spectacle of it  because its not merely entertainment it actually has a function.

 

 (Malgieri) two quick points,as much as it challenges the confidence people may have in Government to have instances like this, what challenges you even more which is not an effective response to thats so that people feel like they "got away with it"  it's important to maintain confidence in government, it's important for government to be able to respond to this effectively and  it's critically important that, I  mentioned it before,  we're in such extraordinary economic times, challenging the government to provide us with basic services that we've taken for granted,   I think it's critical it's one of the great challenges and thats' to keep people's confidence is to see past these instances and see what's most Important.

 

(Peter) Democrats,  both members of Congress,  chairman of the House stepped down in a corruption scandal that he was on corporate payed trips, questions about rent-controlled Mahattan.  Congressman Nessa and I'm careful with this one because it's only an allegation, we don't know officially what the allegation is, that he stepped down because of health reasons he will not run for reelection.

 

 13-30

 

TIME NOW FOR A LOOK AT THE BUSINESS SECTION WITH THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE.

 

 

(Peter) Joining me now is Matt Daneman, business reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle Welcome Matt.

We'll start with the bad news Birdseye had an announcement about local quarters whats going on?

 

(Matt) As you might recall Blackstone Group a major NY investment group, equity group bought Birdseye food months ago for 1.3 Billion Dollars.  Blackstone was already a major player in the food world they brought their business lines which included such properties as Duncan Hines and hungry Man dinners, things of that nature, now word has come that Pinnacle and Blackstone are going to close down the Monroe County headquarters,  jobs lost,  moving local corporations to New Jersey.  The job layoffs will happen starting June to end of the year so there will be no corporate functions of bird's-eye in monroe county anymore.  The company will still have a food-processing plant in the region but the end of birdsyes as a rochester  based company its gone.

 

(Peter) Any idea of the effect it might have on the agri- business?

 

 

(Matt) the Ag world in the Rochester region,  farmers were major supplier and all indications are that those contracts and those deliveries are going to happen at least through 2011 so at least for the agricultural community won't have an immediate impact but long term,  remains to be seen.

 

(Peter) unemployment numbers are just out what do they tell us about Rochester?

 

(Matt)  they tell us that the economy was a little worse off than we actually thought in 2009 and  its not getting any better in at least one metric Jobs,  for 2009 overall the unemployment rate averaged 7.9% in for January 2010 it went up to 8.4% in the Rochester region .  SO you can see that jobs are actually getting a little bit worse indications being that seasonal hireing that happened during Christmas time are being let go as of January, we've seen some indicators that the economy is starting to turn around in some ways such as orders for companies, to building up inventory that sort of thing, but the one key area is going to be when are they going to start hiring again and there's no indication that will be happening anytime soon.

 

(Peter)  there were some expectations that the unemployment rate would increase a little bit more.

 

(Matt) there were definitely some expectations this is not out of the blue that the unemployment rate is not turning around right away and there have been expectations and a lot of talk that NY wide and nationally  that recovery from this recession could be a long slow haul with not a lot of job growth for some time.   these are always Crystal Ball projections But when we  look back and we might not be surprised if it takes a long time to get out of the jobs hole.

 

(Peter) Let's go to the other end of the spectrum, some good news, a new beer product coming out a new Labatts product what does it mean for North American breweries

 

(Matt) What it Means is 50 extra jobs and a real sign of continuing economic life for the St. Paul brewery, Gennesse products have been a facet of the Rochester Economy and sort of an icon for Rochester for so long.

North American breweries is going to start doing line of a  Labatt blue lime it's going to have a Lime Infused flavor, you've seen so many other Beer companies doing Lime beer, corona made its brand off of them.  Labatt Blue Lime is going to start coming out on a couple weeks adding 50 jobs at the St.Paul brewery it's going to be the first time since 2002 they ran over night shift service so you're seeing alot of signs of hopefully the continued turnaround of that brewery, it's been in financial strains for so long and then North American Breweries came along bought it and what you're hopefully  seeing are some signs of rejuvenation for that company

 

(peter) let's finish up with Kodak, they see an opportunity apparently packaging ,printing,  tell us what it is and what is the  opportunity for them?

 

 (Matt) This company has been in commercial printing for some time packaging printing is one subset, it's basically the printing of boxes, puches, all the stuff that stuff comes inside.  your toothpaste tube to your Rahman noodles Kodak is starting to make bigger for rate packaging printing they're hoping by 2012 the becomes a three hundred million-dollar business for them.  they've got some hardware on the market right now for making the actual plates for printing there looking on focusing much more on this as a business line, back in early February in NY city, CEO of Kodak was meeting with Wall Street analysts and some investors and laying out here is where this company's going, this is what we want to do  to make this company strong again,  I don't know how many times he talked about packaging printing, but it seemed to come up again and again so you really see it as a direction, is it  ever going to replace the cash cow  that camera film was? No, But you can see that as a direction that this company wants to go into, they're banging a lot of buck on the packaging printing world and it makes sense in that 'here's a line of printing that can't be replaced by stuff  going on the internet, or just reading things in your laptop replacing so much of the dead tree, the paper,  but you can't do that with a box or a pouch.

 

(Peter) Until the ramen Noodles goes virtual...

 

(Matt) until it can right click and download it right  into my stomach..

(Peter) as always Matt thanks for joining us,

Matt daneman Business reporter for Democrat and chronicle

THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF NEED TO KNOW.  I'M PETER IGLINSKI. JOIN US AGAIN NEXT WEEK FOR MORE IN-DEPTH COVERAGE OF THE ISSUES AFFECTING GREATER ROCHESTER

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