Friday, September 19, 2014

Herwinder Singh, Mexican Border, Illegal Immigration, Arrest, Release, Rape, New York.

April 2013:
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 17 year old Herwinder Singh is arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents in McAllen, Texas.

He is scheduled to face removal proceedings in Immigration Court in March 2015.

Summer 2014:
18 year old Herwinder Singh is living in Amherst, NY.

July 28, 2014:
Herwinder Singh rapes a 14 year old girl in Clarence, Erie County, New York.

September 9, 2014:
Erie County Sheriff's detectives arrest Herwinder Singh.

Singh is released on bail.

September 18, 2014:
Herwinder Singh has court appearance in Clarence Town Court...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PUSH Buffalo, NY real estate, People United for Sustainable Housing

----------

"We are the ones who need to be at the table when these decisions are made affection our children."
- Jennifer Mecozzi-Rivera, organizing director of PUSH Buffalo, on PUSH's opposition to charter schools, 10/15/2014

----------

6/5/2014:

People United for Sustainable Housing, PUSH Buffalo, has announced that their Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company, in conjunction with Syracuse based Housing Visions, will develop 46 rental units aimed at Buffalo's West Side immigrant and refugee community at a cost of $11 million to be completed by August 2015.

Funding the project is the City of Buffalo, KeyBank, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and New York State Environmental Facilities Corp.

The project will renovate seven existing structures and build nine new structures.

The cost per unit is $239,130.  ($11,000,000 / 46)

PUSH has 27 employees.


-Based on a Buffalo News article by Mark Sommer on 6/3/2014

----------

12/24/2012:

The Buffalo News 12/24/2012 front page above the fold print edition:

One of Buffalo’s most well-known housing organizations is preparing for its most ambitious project yet, with a goal of providing a warm, affordable place to live for dozens of lower-income West Side residents.

But as PUSH Buffalo beautifies a targeted 25-block area by buying up problem properties and making them attractive again, property values are on the rise, which makes pricing longtime residents out of the neighborhood a real risk.

“We’ve built these great houses, almost makes it look like we’re stepping on our own toes,” said Jen Mecozzi, PUSH’s director of community organizing. “Building affordable housing that people can live in and be safe and feel warm and not have to pay crazy bills – now we might be the reason other people can’t do that.”

PUSH’s mission is in its name – People United for Sustainable Housing – and the group is committed to helping people who already live on the West Side get into housing that is energy-efficient and affordable, while empowering people to create the neighborhoods they want, organizers said.

Ultimately, PUSH wants to make sure that people who have been living in the neighborhood can stay there, and the organization is building as affordably and sustainably as it can, said Jenifer Kaminsky, housing director of PUSH’s Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company.

...

The Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors last year reported that home values on the West Side had risen dramatically in the last decade.

“There’s nothing wrong with people making money off of real estate transactions, but our first concern is just regular working people in the neighborhood,” said Lonnie Barlow, a PUSH member and community resident.

As part of its $12.4 million Massachusetts Avenue Community Homes project, a much larger undertaking than anything it has done so far, PUSH is planning to build nine new structures and rehabilitate seven others. The project’s 46 new units will be rented to people who earn between 40 and 60 percent of the area’s median income, which is about $65,300.

[Median Price of Home Sales is $65,300.  Median hosehold income in 2010 was $27,869.  Thus, people who earn between 40 and 60 percent of the area's median income make between $11,476 and 16,721.] 

The sites are within the organization’s “Green Development Zone,” a 25-block area centered on Massachusetts Avenue and bounded by Niagara Street, West Delavan Avenue, Richmond Avenue and Vermont Street.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom units will rent from about $385 to $525, similar to the rents of PUSH’s 18 existing units. The new project includes one four-bedroom unit, and several units will be built to accommodate people with physical disabilities, including hearing and vision impairment.

PUSH has been buying up properties, such as 257 Massachusetts Ave., an imposing three-story structure with blond masonry, bay windows covered with boards, and concrete steps, which it purchased for $6,200 last year. In other cases, PUSH has reached development agreements with lot owners, such as the city.

The 26 parcels – some adjacent lots will be the site of a single new structure – were selected with community input. The neighborhood was canvassed, and residents were asked which properties they would like to see improved.

Part of the reason the scale of the project is so large is to accommodate as many people as possible, Mecozzi said, noting the growing interest in the neighborhood, which is causing property values to rise.

The project will be funded partly by the state’s Homes and Community Renewal agency, partly from bank loans, and PUSH is hoping to get some money from the city. PUSH will apply for state funding in January and hopes to get started on the work in the fall. Before all of the grant applications can be made, the project’s approvals from the city must be in place.

PUSH also purchased the long-shuttered Club Utica at the so-called “five points” intersection of Brayton, Rhode Island and West Utica streets.

Resident surveys showed a strong desire for retail businesses at the former country-western bar, so PUSH is planning a fresh-food market, stocked by the Massachusetts Avenue Project, which promotes urban farming, and a storefront for a new or expanding business. The rear of the first floor will be a community meeting space and property management offices, and the second floor will house apartments.

Demand for the apartment units is high, Kaminsky said. In the first month that PUSH started to market 11 new units this fall, more than 100 applications came in, and people continue to inquire at PUSH headquarters on Grant Street.

The changes in the last five years in the Grant-Lafayette area – located in PUSH’s Green Zone – have been evident, from the rise in property values to the addition of businesses to those that have been there for decades.

...

In addition to PUSH, Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Jericho Road Ministries, and Westside Ministries are some of the active organizations in the area.

Delores Powell, who lives on Massachusetts Avenue in a new home revealed on “Extreme Home Makeover” in 2009, credited her block’s transformation to PUSH’s slow and steady progress, but also to the reality show experience, which also improved properties around her own.

“There was a lot of violence, and all of that has changed,” Powell said, noting that the corner of Massachusetts and Normal avenues was particularly dangerous.

The city demolished problem properties around her in 2009, which drove away drug users and other criminals, Powell said.

PUSH encouraged people to take pride in their neighborhood and also gave them a voice, she said.

The neighborhood remains a work in progress. PUSH’s surveys found that residents desire more health care providers, and Mecozzi said differences between classes – the neighborhood is a destination for many immigrant communities – has prevented certain groups from patronizing certain stores.

“Our goal is to get people to stay in the same lane and hang out together,” she said.

At a Planning Board meeting in November, three of PUSH’s neighbors spoke in favor of the project, though real estate broker David Weitzel said that, while he liked what PUSH is doing, there needs to be more opportunities for homeownership.

The concern that the neighborhood’s success is drawing new interest and causing property values to rise is a good problem to have, but one that must be addressed, said Henry Louis Taylor Jr., director of the Center for Urban Studies and a School of Architecture and Planning professor at the University at Buffalo. “We’ve been waiting for a long time for this problem to reach the shores of Buffalo,” Taylor said.

As a way to keep neighborhoods affordable, Taylor suggested establishing land banks, which PUSH has done to address rising property values, or levying property taxes based on income.
...

“The challenge of PUSH is to create a community that will not push people out,” he said.

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9/8/2012

Based on Buffalo News article by Jill Terreri

PUSH Buffalo (People United for Sustainable Housing) received $1.7 million to rehabilitate three properties assessed at a combined value of $90,000.

The three houses have a total of eleven apartments which will be rented for between $375-500 per month.

The three properties are located at 397, 398 and 460 Massachusetts Ave. and are worth $15,000, $20,000 and  $55,000 respectively.
The houses are owned by Massachusetts Avenue Housing.

The $1,700,000 was funded by:
State Division of Homes and Community Renewal
City of Buffalo
Federal Home Loan Bank

$567,000 per house
$155,000 per apartment


UPDATE:
Montanez, 35, moved with her sons, Rakhim, 18, and Zaindre, 15, a couple of weeks ago into an affordable-rate apartment on the West Side recently rehabilitated by PUSH Buffalo. With only a love seat and TV set in the virtually empty home as the holidays approach, the family has a desperate need for the basics.  Rakhim usually stays with an aunt, because there he can sleep on a box spring.  Her two daughters, Jakayla, 11, and Ky’asia, 9, live with their father and stay with her on the weekends.  Montanez must make do with $800 a month in Social Security Disability, plus $400 a month in food stamps that resumed this week, now that she has a permanent address.  She also works at Goodwill, but the piecework pays her less than minimum wage, she said.  Nor do the boys’ fathers help – one is incarcerated, while the other is not involved with the family, Montanez said.

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4/21/2012

 

PUSH Buffalo receives public money and tax-free profits...
Concerned citizens want to see the accounting of where that PUSH money goes.


















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10/22/2010

PUSH Buffalo and HomeFront are trumpeting the "green restoration" of a house on Buffalo's west side. The house is owned by PUSH (People United for Sustainable Housing) and has an assessed value of $40,000. PUSH and HomeFront have secured $163,000 from the New York State Homes and Community Renewal's Urban Initiative Program to replace the roof, remove asbestos, replace insulation, and landscape the property...
Again: PUSH is receiving $163,000 of tax payer money to fix up a $40,000 house that they own and pay zero taxes on...
Once again: $163,000 of NYS tax revenue is being spent on a $40,000 house that PUSH owns tax free...






Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Obama: I, Me, My; Pronoun

June 12, 2009:
"In his speech honoring the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, for example, Obama made 10 first person references.
...his recent speech in Cairo was peppered with 68 first person references (I, me, my, or mine).
In his aforementioned national security speech on May 21, President Obama made an astounding 147 first person references."
-Tom Bevan

September 7, 2009:
President Obama's speech to the students of America:
"I" is used 56 times
"school" 19 times
"education " 10
"country" 7
"parents" 5
 
September 23, 2009:
During the 5 TV interviews given on Sunday he mentioned himself 387 times in 82 minutes...
That's 1 every 13 seconds.
 
October 8, 2009:
Both Obamas gave heartfelt speeches [to the International Olympic Committee] about . . . themselves.
In the 41 sentences of her remarks, Michelle Obama used some form of the personal pronouns "I" or "me" 44 times. Her husband was, comparatively, a shrinking violet, using those pronouns only 26 times in 48 sentences. Still, 70 times in 89 sentences conveyed the message that somehow their fascinating selves were what made, or should have made, Chicago's case compelling.
-George F. Will
 
December 2, 2009:
President Obama in his Afghanistan speech to the cadets of West Point used the word
"I" 45 times...
"Victory" was mentioned 0 times.
 
January 22, 2010:


January 27, 2010:
State of the Union Address:
70 minutes
7080 words
96 uses of the pronoun "I"
That is an "I" every 43.75 seconds

August 9, 2010:
On Monday, President Obama hosted the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints at the White House and talked about his own exploits on the gridiron last year with Saints quarterback Drew Brees. "He tossed me a nice tight spiral that I then lateraled to a kid on [Dallas Cowboys linebacker] DeMarcus Ware's shoulders," the president recalled. "I also want to point out I beat [Pittsburgh Steelers safety] Troy Polamalu over the middle on that throw." Obama turned to Brees. "You remember?"


March 28, 2011:
Obama's Libyan speech...
Word frequency based on 3,382 words spoken:
40 - people
26 - I
18 - military
16 - world
11 - power
10 - international
09 - allies
09 - free
07 - freedom
06 - violence
06 - Iraq
04 - my
02 - me
01 - Congress
01 - taxpayers
01 - war

March 30, 2011:
Obama's Georgetown energy speech:
[3,514 words spoken]
39 - oil
35 - I
20 - clean(er)
15 - gas
12 - electric(ity)
11 - cars
09 - my
09 - economy
08 - prices
08 - vehicles
08 - jobs
07 - reduce(ing)
07 - fuel
07 - biofuel
06 - trucks
04 - supply
04 - produce(ing)
04 - drill
01 - slogans
01 - me

April 13, 2011:
Word Count Frequency of POTUS National Debt Speech at George Washington University...
5,198 words spoken...
62 - I
33 - tax(es)
28 - deficit(s)
23 - spending
21 - you
17 - afford
17 - pay
16 - debt(s)
14 - trillion
12 - budget
10 - me
9 -- my
8 -- Republicans
1 -- fix
1 -- repair
1 -- scalpel
1 -- Reagan

May 2, 2011:
President Obama speech on killing of Osama bin Laden:
1,370 words spoken...
15 - Laden
10 - I
03 - my
02 - me
01 - military
01 - Bush

May 6, 2011:
President Obama word cloud & count frequency; Fort Campbell, Kentucky Speech:











1,999 words spoken:
36 --- I
33 --- you
12 --- America
07 --- me
06 --- thanks
03 --- mission
02 --- Laden
02 --- commander-in-chief
02 --- Depression
01 --- D-day
01 --- moon

May 10, 2011:
Word count frequency and cloud for President Obama El Paso, Texas speech on immigration...












3,339 words spoken...
28 --- I
21 --- America(n)
21 --- border(s)
16 --- reform
13 --- country
12 --- immigrant(s)
09 --- United States
09 --- immigration
08 --- jobs
07 --- families
06 --- broken
06 --- laws
05 --- rules
05 --- Dream Act
04 --- Mexico
03 --- fence
02 --- global
01 --- NASA
01 --- Einstein
01 --- votes

May 19, 2011:
Obama State Department Speech May 19 "A Moment of Opportunity" word count frequency...
5,450 words spoken...
30 --- must
27 --- Israel (i/is)
22 --- Palestine (ian/ians)
20 --- I
20 --- change
15 --- security
12 --- transition(s)
11 --- power
11 --- Middle East
10 --- conflict
07 --- international
05 --- hate
03 --- Jewish
03 --- home
03 --- Gaddafi
02 --- combat
02 --- oil
02 --- homeland
02 --- religion
01 --- ethnicity
01 --- Google
01 --- Muslim
01 --- rebellion

May 20, 2011:
Obama speech thanking CIA for Osama bin Laden kill at Langley, VA word count cloud & frequency:











1,735 words spoken...
53 --- I
16 --- CIA
12 --- thank
11 --- America(n/ns)
06 --- my
05 --- intelligence
03 --- law
03 --- terrorist
02 --- al-Qaeda
01 --- barbacues

June 3, 2011:
Obama word count frequency & transcript link for speech to Chrysler workers in Toledo, Ohio:
2,451 words spoken...
39 --- I
30 --- America(n/s/ns)
11 --- industry
11 --- future
09 --- jobs
09 --- Chrysler
07 --- economy
06 --- year(s)
06 --- my
05 --- recession
04 --- GM
03 --- auto
03 --- workers
03 --- billion(s)
02 --- taxpayer
02 --- dollars
01 --- recovery
01 --- debts
01 --- China
01 --- chili dogs
01 --- gas

June 22, 2011:
President Obama's Afghanistan speech transcript link & word count frequency
2,030 words spoken:
26 --- Afghan (istan)
22 --- America (n)
15 --- Al Qaeda
14 --- war
13 --- I
09 --- troops
06 --- bin Laden
06 --- Taliban
03 --- Iraq
02 --- 9/11
02 --- Libya (n)
01 --- Islam
01 --- Navy SEAL
01 --- victory

June 23, 2011:
President Obama's Fort Drum, NY speech 6/23/2011: word cloud & count frequency, link to transcript text:












1,054 words spoken...
28 --- I
07 --- Afghan(istan)
05 --- America(n)(ns)
05 --- sacrifice(s)(d)
04 --- Taliban
03 --- al Qaeda
03 --- 9/11
02 --- bin Laden
02 --- President
02 --- commander-in-chief
02 --- my
01 --- history

June 28, 2011:
President Obama speech at Bettendorf, Iowa Alcoa factory word count frequency and transcript link:
2,385 words spoken:
38 --- I
19 --- America
12 --- workers
09 --- future
07 --- manufacturing
06 --- me
05 --- economy
03 --- market
02 --- moon
01 --- profit

July 25, 2011:
Word count & transcript link for President Obama's East Room Address on debt ceiling & House Speaker Boehner's response:
President Obama:
2,301words spoken...
21 --- approach
17 --- I
11 --- tax
10 --- debt
09 --- deficit
09 --- spend(ing), spent
09 --- Republican(s)
07 --- money
07 --- government
07 --- balanced
06 --- compromise
03 --- trillion(s)
02 --- Earth
01 --- patriotic

Speaker Boehner:
931 words spoken...
11 --- spend(ing)
09 --- debt
07 --- Washington
07 --- President('s)
05 --- job(s)
04 --- limit
03 --- Obama
02 --- money
01 --- trillion
01 --- tax
01 --- trajectory

July 29, 2011:
President Obama statement on debt crisis in WH Diplomatic Reception Room word count, video, transcript link:
889 words spoken...
12 --- I
06 --- America(n)
05 --- Republican(s)
05 --- Democrat(s)
05 --- Congress
05 --- Senate
05 --- time
05 --- solve
05 --- credit
05 --- problem
03 --- solution
03 --- compromise
03 --- tax
02 --- spend
02 --- plenty
02 --- money
02 --- no
02 --- deficit
01 --- drama
01 --- party


Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to properly support an increase in the minimum wage; activism:

Do not [only]
purchase, buy, use or operate
products, goods, foods and services
that pay, fund, use or utilize
labor that is
less than, under and below [more than, over or equal to]
what you think is
fair, just and proper.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Global Warming, Lake Erie, The Buffalo News, Jerry Zremski, August 8, 2002

[Editor's note: This article helped cure me of the Global Warming hysteria I was afflicted with since the 1980's.] 

Imagine the Buffalo summer in 2050. It's hot the way summers used to be hot in the Maryland panhandle, before it got hotter there, too. 

Broad sandy beaches line Lake Erie. Bathers enjoy this new weather extreme as if it were an antidote to Buffalo's other new weather extreme: a big increase in precipitation, sometimes in the form of blizzards, but mostly rain.

One thing is missing from this lakeside scene: the ships. They disappeared as the beaches appeared, driven out of business by the new low water levels. 

These new hot summers are imperfect in other ways, too.
Shallower water means pollutants are more concentrated, wreaking havoc for local water authorities. 

The Niagara flows so slowly now that the river's great hydropower project is a historic relic. 

And the woods to the south and the east of the city aren't what they once were since the maple trees started dying off. 

Welcome to Western New York in the age of global warming. In some ways it's oddly reminiscent of 2001 and 2002. 

Just like then, winters pack an early wallop, and summers range from sultry to stifling. 

In other words, the Buffalo of your children's future is likely to be very different than the one you know, the Buffalo of consistent but not crazy lake effect snow, the Buffalo of soft summer breezes and radiant fall colors. 

Of course, that future scenario is just that - a projection of what very well could happen if the scientific models prove to be true. If they do, global warming will remake Western New York. 

"It's going to affect everything," said Rich Thomas, chief of water management at the Army Corps of Engineers in Buffalo, where the impact of climate change is a growing concern. 

Those concerns reflect a dramatic change in the global warming debate. A decade ago, the question was whether "greenhouse gases" - the kind that spew out of your car and into the atmosphere - are increasing temperatures across the globe. 

Yet after the warmest decade in recorded history, most scientists regard global warming as a reality, though there's still a political debate about what ought to be done about it. 

In fact, after the Environmental Protection Agency recently produced a report spelling out dire consequences, President Bush dismissed it as the product of "bureaucrats" and defended his own plan to limit the increases in greenhouse gases rather than cut their output. 

Those bureaucrats predict some big changes ahead. 

"For the Great Lakes region, the next century could bring one of the greatest environmental transformations since the end of the last Ice Age," the EPA said in a study on global warming in the Great Lakes. 

Temperatures are expected to rise, on average, from 31/2 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. Temperatures in Western New York might come to resemble what western Maryland experiences today, according to David Easterling, chief scientist for the National Climatic Data Center. 


Changes in Lake Erie

As temperatures rise, Lake Erie as we know it would be transformed. Like the rest of the Great Lakes, it would start to evaporate, meaning water levels would fall by as much as five feet over the next century. Most scientists expect the bulk of the drop to occur in the next few decades. The remaining water would be warmer and might never freeze during winter. 

There is a plus side. 

"You'd have some nice wide sand beaches," said Frank Quinn, retired head of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. 

But that's about where the plus side ends. 

Fed by greater evaporation from the Great Lakes, overall precipitation could increase 10 to 20 percent, the EPA says. 

"A lot of scientists mention getting fewer storms but of greater intensity," said Helen Domske, a researcher at the University at Buffalo's Great Lakes Program. "What could be a better description of last winter?" 

In the first few decades of warming, lake-effect snowstorms could be more frequent, thanks to Lake Erie's refusal to freeze. But Easterling said temperatures will probably warm to the point where lake-effect rain is increasingly common. As a result, lake-effect snow could decrease by half within a century. 

What's unknown is exactly when it will be warm enough for the snow to diminish. 

Essentially, the warmer temperatures would pick up more of Lake Erie and deposit it on the land. And that would create all sorts of problems. 

Great Lakes ships have to reduce their cargo load every time the level of the lakes drops, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers' Association. And if the lakes dropped by five feet, the smaller loads would boost the cost of shipping so much that shippers might have to switch to the rails or trucks. 

"This could conceivably put the Great Lakes shipping industry out of business," Nekvasil said. 

It could do the very same thing to the New York State Power Authority's Niagara Power Project. When lake levels fell last year, the project's power output fell by as much as 20 percent. And last year's lake drop was minuscule compared to what's expected in the future. 

As a result, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory predicts "greatly reduced electricity generation there under low flow conditions." 

Things don't look much better for municipalities such as Buffalo that get their water from the lake or its adjoining rivers. Thomas, of the Army Corps of Engineers, said most water intakes in the Great Lakes basin are located in spots where the water would likely be much more polluted if lake levels were lower. That could force hugely expensive improvements in local water plants. 

"The biggest problem will be the water intakes," Thomas said. "The quality of the water won't be as good." 

You might think that all of these problems might be solved through increased dredging, but that's unlikely. Costs would easily reach well into the billions of dollars, and by solving the water-level problem, the dredging could cause another: finding a safe place for all the contaminated sediment that would be removed.

Wells might run dry

Scientists say the shallower, warmer water could pose problems beyond the lakes, too. People who get their water from shallow wells might find them running dry. 

Brook trout could become increasingly rare in the Great Lakes basin, pushed aside by warmer-water fish such as bass and walleye. 

And Western New York's forests would come to look far different, too. Maple, beech and birch trees now dominate much of the forest cover in Western New York, but many researchers expect oak and pine to come to dominate over the next century. Fall would be far less colorful. 

"No, you're not going to have a dead-looking forest," said Ann Fisher, an environmental economist at Penn State who headed the study of the Mid-Atlantic region in a recent national assessment of global warming. "You'd just have a gradual change." 

Of course, that's just a prediction. Scientists caution that they're basing their descriptions of the future on climate models that may or may not be accurate. And there's debate among the scientists about those models. 

Brent Lofgren, a scientist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, doubts that there will be a huge drop in lake levels. He notes that some of the most prominent studies look at warming on a strictly global basis and never fully consider the role of the Great Lakes. 

Nevertheless, scientists generally regard warming as a matter of fact now. "The consensus is getting very solid," said Reg Gilbert, senior coordinator at Great Lakes United, a Buffalo-based environmental group. 

What's less certain is exactly what should be done. 

Bush has proposed a plan that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent, relative to the size of the economy, over the next decade. "The president's plan is predicated on ensuring the strength and growth of the American economy," said James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. 


Bush plan "science fiction'

Political opponents and many environmentalists say the Bush plan won't do nearly enough to curb greenhouse gases. For one thing, the administration refused to sign the Kyoto protocol, an international agreement to curb global warming. And for another, the plan it did put forward would allow overall emissions of greenhouse gases to increase. 

Add it all up and the Bush plan for addressing climate change is nothing but "science fiction," said Sen. John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who may run for president in 2004. For scientists looking toward the future, though, climate change is already a reality. Fisher, the Penn State economist, notes that she looked for benefits that might spring from global warming in the Mid-Atlantic. "It was very difficult to identify benefits," she said. 

"The damaging impacts tend to be larger."

Friday, February 28, 2014

Buffalo School District, Mary Guinn

Buffalo's deputy superintendent position vacant since Folasade Oladale resigned in 2011.

3/2013
Mary E. Guinn hired as interim deputy superintendent of Buffalo schools to June 2013.

Not directly employed by the district, her salary paid from $550,000 donation raised by:
-Cross & Joftus education consulting firm located in Danville, CA
-grant money from Say Yes to Education
-John R Oishei Foundation 
-Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

6/21/2013
Guinn hired by the district as a consultant.
The school district agrees to pay her $290,359 plus expenses for traveling and lodging through June 2014. 

HealthNow's CEO Alfonso O'Neil-White volunteers his company to help with search for deputy superintendent position, agreeing to work with Guinn for six months.

HealthNow, not being supported by the district, presents three potential candidates and ends its efforts.

Guinn's work with the district raises questions among board members - taking too much authority as consultant: signing off on payroll documents, directing employees, presiding over meetings.

Summer 2013
Guinn, spearheading the district's central office reorganization, recruits and hires Yamilette Williams as chief of curriculum, assessment and instruction and Faith Morrison Alexander as a district chief of school leadership with salaries of $130,000 and $135,000 respectively. 

Guinn, Williams, and Alexander (all from out of state) are all connected to the Arizona-based Evans Newton educational firm from which all three worked as consultants.

Neither Williams nor Alexander have the required state certification to hold their jobs.

Williams and Alexander oversee numerous education proposals, contracts, and employee evaluations (without having technical authority to do so).

Buffalo district spends $12,997 in local leadership grant money to cover tuition costs for Williams and Alexander to attend the accelerated superintendent development program through Greater Southern Tier BOCES. *

10/8/2013
Cross & Joftus asked to cancel its $432,000 year-long contract with the Buffalo school district amid questions about Guinn's role and responsibilities.

Consulting firm president Scott Joftus said the search for a deputy superintendent was conducted by an interview team that included representatives from HealthNow, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the district’s human resources director and chief financial officer, and the superintendent Pamela Brown.  Guinn was also on the interview committee, but as a nonvoting member.

10/16/2013
Guinn applies to the state education department for administration credentials needed to fill the position of deputy superintendent.

10/22?/2013
Superintendent Brown denies that she plans to re-hire Guinn.

2/2014
Guinn is appointed to the position of deputy superintendent until June 30,2014 at an annual salary of $175,000. ($58,333 for four months if she lasts until June 30.)

3/2014
Brown claims that HealthNow led the initial search to fill Guinn's spot.
HealthNow's director of corporate relations Julie Snyder denies this.

Brown says the district received 35 applications and conducted phone interviews but, she claims, candidates did not want to come to Buffalo because of the political climate.

----------

Mary E. Guinn

-1977 to 1981 speech and language development specialist at a Head Start program in Arkansas

-1981 to 1984 speech pathologist in Little Rock school district

-1984 to 1985 principal of an elementary school in Little Rock

-1985 to 1998 held a number of administrative positions in various districts in Louisiana

-1998 to 2004 superintendent in Gary, Ind., a district about half the size of Buffalo
--citing decline in test scores, board voted not to renew her contract

-2004 to 2009 deputy superintendent in Tulsa, Okla., a district about the size of Buffalo
--lost her job in a restructuring
---private donors provided the $188,000 to buyout her contract

-2009 to 2012 a “deputy superintendent/consultant” in Falcon, Colo.
---news reports from February 2011 indicate that she was in line to become the district’s chief education officer, but she irked school board members by asking for a raise for taking a job that would have involved fewer responsibilities

-July 2011 to June 2012 head of a charter school in New Orleans.
--news report published on March 29, 2012, indicated she had resigned. Her boss in the charter school network told a reporter at the time that he and the charter school board had doubts about the school’s goals under Guinn’s leadership

-July 2012 to 2013 an educational consultant for Evans Newton Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ. 
--she works with number of administrators who eventually come to Buffalo

-2013 senior associate at Cross and Joftus

Guinn holds a bachelor’s in speech pathology and psychology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; a master’s in special education from the University of Central Arkansas; and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.




* The Buffalo News 3/22/2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ACC, Anthropogenic Climate Change, Global Warming, Survey, 97%

2010 PNAS Survey

Abstract:
Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

Authors:
William R. L. Anderegg --- Department of Biology, Stanford University
James W. Prall --- Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto
Jacob Harold --- William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Palo Alto, CA
Stephen H. Schneider --- Department of Biology & Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University


Excerpts from the survey:

"We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers based on authorship of scientific assessment reports and membership on multisignatory statements about ACC...

Between December 2008 and July 2009, we collected the number of climate-relevant publications for all 1,372 researchers from Google Scholar (search terms: "author:fi-lastname climate")...


We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers and classified each researcher into two categories: convinced by the evidence (CE) for anthropogenic climate change (ACC) or unconvinced by the evidence (UE) for ACC. We defined CE researchers as those who signed statements broadly agreeing with or directly endorsing the primary tenets of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that it is "very likely" that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for most of the unequivocal warming of the Earth's average global temperature in the second half of the 20th century...

We then imposed an a priori criterion that a researcher must have authored a minimum of 20 climate publications to be considered a climate researcher, thus reducing the database to 908 researchers...

We ranked researchers based on the total number of climate publications authored. Though our compiled researcher list is not comprehensive nor designed to be representative of the entire climate science community, we have drawn researchers from the most high-profile reports and public statements about ACC...

The UE [those unconvinced by the ACC evidence] group comprises only 2% of the top 50 climate researchers as ranked by expertise (number of climate publications), 3% of researchers of the top 100, and 2.5% of the top 200, excluding researchers present in both groups...

Regarding the influence of citation patterns, we acknowledge that it is difficult to quantify potential biases of self-citation or clique citation in the analysis presented here...

Ultimately, of course, scientific confidence is earned by the winnowing process of peer review and replication of studies over time. In the meanwhile, climate science, we must seek estimates while confidence builds. Based on the arguments presented here, we believe our findings capture the differential climate science credentials of the two groups."


Saturday, November 23, 2013

RiverBend, Buffalo, New York, Cuomo, SolarCity, SCTY; Timeline


[Updates are below.]

7/2012

Treasury inspector general issues subpoenas to SolarCity asking them to justify use of federal funds received under Obama's stimulus bill; if they over-charged for solar energy installation completed under the program.

Justice Department Civil Division joins the Treasury Department probe.

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11/2013
Governor Cuomo commits $225 M for Fremont, CA companies Soraa and Silevo to locate in Buffalo, NY.

The proposed solar panel facility would be an anchor to the yet to be developed RiverBend clean-energy hub in South Buffalo.

Soraa and Silevo commit $750 M each for the Buffalo project and pledge to hire 850 employees.

Soraa:
founded 2008
makes LED lights
250 employees
financing raised: $100 M

Silevo:
founded 2007
makes solar panels
200 employees
financing raised: $72 M
has yet to turn a profit

Sorra and Silevo have a combined workforce of 450 employees and have raised $172 M in financing over five years.

Remarkably, we are told that these two companies will raise $1.5 Billion to finance a Buffalo project that will create 850 jobs.

When Buffalo News reporter Jerry Zremski asked the Governor about the plausibility of such a project he was admonished and dismissed for being cynical.

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12/2013

Silevo generated a net loss of approximately $18.8 million for its fiscal year ended December 28, 2013.

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4/2014

SolarCity sells bonds worth $70.2 million.

For the Second Quarter 2014 SolarCity posted:

Net Profit Margin:   -144.23%
Operating Margin:   -121.12%
Return on Assets:     -11.69%
Return on Equity:     -31.48%
Workforce:                 4,312

At the end of the second quarter, the company had $577.1 million in cash, $238.6 million in long-term debt, $230 million in convertible senior debts, and $49.8 million in solar asset-backed notes. Going forward, the company has to repay debt worth $1 million this year and $100 million by next year.

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6/2014

SolarCity Corp of San Mateo, CA acquires Silevo for $200 M in stock with the potential for another $150 M in additional payments if certain performance targets are met.

SolarCity's chairman is Elon Tusk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. 

SolarCity's CEO Lyndon Rive is Elon Musk’s cousin (Musk also serves as the company’s chairman).

Chris Beitel, Silevo's executive vice president, claims that instead of the 475 jobs promised, there will now be "well over 1,000 jobs" created at a factory that will now be five times as big as originally planned.

SolarCity's 2013 sales were $164 M resulting in a loss of $1.69 per stock share (SCTY).

Estimates for SolarCity's 2014 EPS is -$3.92.

Earning for Q1 2014 compared with Q1 of 2013 is down 78.26%.

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7/2014

SolarCity raises $201.5 million by offering $160 million in senior debt and $41.5 million in junior notes.

EYP Architecture & Engineering, the biggest architecture firm in Albany, has been designated by Cuomo to design the RiverBend project - no details of the bidding process or price was given.

SolarCity executives are seeking additional state aid to because of their expanded factory plans.

SolarCity's panel systems typically require hefty federal tax subsidies - a 30% tax subsidy that expires at the end of 2016 - to be financially viable.

New projects at the site must comply with state requirements that at least 20% of the contractors be minority or women owned businesses, that minorities and women must comprise at least 25% and 5% of the construction workforce.
The state will purchase and own equipment that the companies will use, local colleges and universities will have access to the facilities, equipment and partnerships.

After SolarCity acquired Silevo this year in June, development of the solar factory became less likely. However, the state of New York increased its investment in the project by three times to $750 million as SolarCity came on board and promised to create more jobs than the 425 permanent jobs Silevo had initially promised.

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8/2014

Department of Labor initiates a probe to determine if SCTY violated labor laws and regulations.

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9/2014

SolarCity reveales plans to raise $500 million through its fourth debt offering, in less than 12 months. The convertible bonds will mature in 2019, and the company is discussing interest rates with initial buyers, who will have an option to acquire additional notes worth $75 million.

According to Governor Andrew  Cuomo:

Solar City's planned factory would be the largest solar panel factory in the Western Hemisphere and could be open by early 2016 (15 months).

New York state is now planning to spend $750 million on the project; $350 million to build the plant and $400 million in funding for equipment.

The state will own the building and the equipment and SolarCity will lease the factory for $1 a year.

SolarCity plans to invest $5 billion over the next 10 years ($500 million a year) and to employ 3,000 people at the factory.

96 acres purchased by the state across from RiverBend will be part of Start-Up New York program that allows new business within the state's university system to operate tax free for ten years.

SolarCity's success depends on hopes of solar energy system prices falling to the point where government sunsidies are no longer needed to by profitable.

The state is holding discussions with Soraa about potential new sites for their proposed Buffalo facility.

“SolarCity is getting into a business it has never been before,” said Angelo Zino, an analyst with Capital IQ. Historically, it had outsourced panels from Chinese makers, and it entering the solar-panel making business brings fresh execution risk and capital needs, Zino said.

"This is by far the sweetest such deal that we are aware of and is effectively a massive transfer of taxpayer money to a private entity...
Our expectation is that almost several Chinese solar companies will be on par, or ahead of SolarCity, in terms of costs and efficiency, by the time SolarCity reaches volume production at the new facility.
The Riverbend agreement, on the other hand, is a sweetheart deal. The Company is able to build a state of the art solar manufacturing facility on the backs of New York state taxpayers with very little of its own investment...
We marvel that Elon Musk was able to engineer a $750M transfer of money from the state of New York taxpayers to SolarCity shareholders. As SolarCity shareholders do not get the benefit of depreciating the facility, we expect the economic value of this deal to SolarCity shareholders at about $500M. This deal effectively increases the valuation of SolarCity by about $6 per share bringing the intrinsic value of this Company to a mid-teen level.
Our Sentiment: Avoid"
-Seeking Alpha

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Buffale News, NY State of Health, Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, enrollment

*11/13/13 front page above the fold:

48,000 Enroll in State Health Exchange
number of applications for insurance are on target

New York ACA tallies:
  48,162  ACA exchange enrollees
- 23,653  new Medicaid enrollees  (reported in paragraph 24 of the article)
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  24,509  new paying enrollees  (calculated using article figures)
-137,000  cancellations of private insurance policies  (not reported in article)
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-112,491  change in # of NYers paying for private health insurance

+ 23,653  new Medicaid enrollees
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- 88,838  change in # of NYers with health insurance coverage


[HHS report:  All state exchanges (including NY's) account for 79,391 enrollees]



*11/15/2013 front page above the fold:

Obama acts on letting health plans be restored
Wants states to resolve problem of cancellations


*11/26/2013 section B page 6:

   41,021  new private insurance enrollees

   35,156  new Medicaid enrollees



*2/10/2014 New York State of Health press release:

Enrollment of New Yorkers on NY State of Health Tops 412,000
[the 412,221 enrollments include public and private coverage --- 251,000 are private plans]

66 percent of enrolled New Yorkers were uninsured when they applied

Nearly 70 percent of those who have enrolled thus far have qualified for financial assistance to help pay for their coverage