Redistricting, DNA database, Tier VI and other major policy decisions reached in legislative all-nighter, ballot fraud mistrial cost county $150 grand, APD arrests family while searching for armed 15 year old

Legislators were up all night hammering out a handful of major policy decisions. The legislative all-nighter involved some Albany style backroom dealings. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign off on the legislative redistricting maps approved by the Senate and Assembly last night. Cuomo, who has promised since his campaign that he would veto any maps that were gerrymandered, softened his position in exchange for a constitutional amendment that would restructure the process after the next census in ten years. Lawmakers reached a deal on the maps and the amendment, though Senate democrats walked out in protest first. Legislators also approved a deal to to expand the states DNA database to include nearly every convicted criminal, an amendment that will allow up to seven full-fledged casinos on non-Indian land, teacher evaluations and a slightly modified version of Cuomo's proposed Tier VI pension plan. [TU] [Record] [NYT] [Fox 23] [Record] [CBS6] [Capital Confidential]

The Rensselaer County ballot fraud trial has already cost the county more than $150,000 already. The case resulted in a mistrial earlier this week. Jurors told Special Prosecutor Trey Smith that the case resulted in a mistrial because of a lone juror who refused to convict Edward McDonough and Michael LoPorto, but they also said they were overwhelmed by the number of counts. [YNN] [WNYT] [TU]

Albany police went searching for a 15 year old boy with a handgun on Lark Street and ended up arresting an entire family. The 15 year old was found under a bed in 53 year old Salah Osman's apartment. Osman jumped on a detectives back and his daughter, 18 year old Aia Osman tried to keep them out of the room. Osman's two sons were in the bedroom helping to hide the handgun. [APD] [TU]

An Army National guardsman will face charges today for allegedly going door to door in uniform to solicit money for the troops, then spending it on himself. [TU] [YNN]

The Pine Hills neighborhood is putting together Albany's first Community Accountability Board, empowered by the courts to deal with quality of life crimes like vandalism, public drunkenness and loud parties. [TU]

A Rensselaer County man either can't remember or isn't telling police where he crashed his car. A breath test showed Paul DiDonna was nearly four times over the legal limit when police found him behind the wheel of his smashed Hyundai Sonata, stopped in the middle of a city road. [TU] [Record]

One of three teens hospitalized after taking the synthetic drug K2, a drug state and local legislators are trying to ban, at the Glenmont Job Corps training center was banging his head on the ground and "screaming for his god." [TU]

The Glens Falls mother stabbed 13 times by her 18 year old son asked a judge for leniency for sentencing the teen, blaming his actions on the synthetic marijuana he was taking at the time, but the judge sentenced Dearian Morgan to five years in prison for his actions. [WNYT] [Post Star]

The Albany County district attorney's 2007 investigation targeting companies that illegally distributed steroids has led to a $15,000 fine for a Plattsburgh pharmaceutical company and its president. [TU]

Work on Saratoga's new $4.7 million parking deck on Woodlawn Avenue is expected to start on Monday.[Gazette]

Stong winds last weekend destroyed the 12 foot tall Uncle Sam Pavillion in Troy's Prospect Park. [YNN]


Albany police arrested a 15 year old First Street resident last night after for possessing a handgun and ammunition.

The suspect, whose name is not being released because of his age, was standing in front of 25 Lark Street when he was approached by Albany detectives and a Albany County Probation officer conducting home visits. The suspect immediately ran into the second floor apartment of 25 Lark Street with officers in pursuit.

Salah Osman, who lives at the apartment, opened the door and allowed the officers inside at first. They found the suspect in a bedroom inside the apartment. When they went to take the 15 year old into custody Aia Osman stood in front of officers and would not let them into the bedroom where he was hiding.

Salah Osman, Aia's father, then also jumped on a detectives back while they were trying to arrest the suspect.

After a brief struggle the 15 year old was placed into custody and brought outside. When he was searched they found a .22 caliber bullet inside his pants pocket.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for the apartment and found a .22 caliber handgun. The revolver was located under the bathroom sink next to the bedroom where the 15 year old was hiding.

The suspect, who currently is on probation, was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd. He was taken to Albany County Juvenile Secure Detention Facility last night and was arraigned in Albany County Family Court this morning.

Salah Osman, 53, was charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration 2nd. His daughter, Aia, 18, was charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration 2nd and was also arrested on an arrest warrant for Petit Larceny from 2009.

During the investigation detectives also determined that Salah's two sons, Nomin, 16 and Tilal, 17, were in the bedroom with the suspect and helped hide the handgun. They were both charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon 4th.

All four adults were arraigned this morning in Albany City Criminal Court.


"Legislators also approved...a slightly modified version of Cuomo's proposed Tier VI pension plan."

This should only be interpreted as a victory in a power struggle by business and industry over all employees, private and public. Why? Studies have documented that public employees already receive less overall compensation than comparable private employees. The passage of a new, reduced Tier VI public pension plan further reduces public employee compensation for new hires and gives the private sector more leverage to continue to depress compensation for private employees.

The outcome? We all lose.


If public employees are so hard up, why do so many of them stay in the public employ for their entire lives?

Because the jobs are far easier, with no chance to be fired and limited accountability. Statistics can lie, and I can produce one study that says they're over paid for every one you can produce that says they're underpaid.

The real proof of how cushy your job is is how long you and your co-workers all stay as public employees. If you don't like your pension, then go someplace else and receive more "overall compensation", but be prepared to work past 430, oh and you'll be retiring at 65, just like the rest of us working stiffs.

And spare me the "this is going to hurt private sector workers too" BS. First, I thought the private sector was so much better paid, how can POSSIBLY be true with the evil capitalists "continu[ing] to depress compensation for private employees?"

And Second, If public sector pensions where such a vital cog in the defense of private sector retirement security, then you've done a piss poor job of it, since private sector pensions haven't really existed for decades.

The bottom line is, you're not special. You shouldn't get special perks no working stiff gets anymore when its those working stiffs who have to pay for those perks.


ike: "since private sector pensions haven't really existed for decades."

Bob: Not true, ike. A number of corporations still have a defined benefit plan. It's just that those that do offer DB plans dwindle year by year.

ike: "how can POSSIBLY be true with the evil capitalists "continu[ing] to depress compensation for private employees?"

Bob: But true it is, unfortunately. Pretending it isn't doesn't make it go away. For example:

"Economists pointed to a telling statistic: It was the first time since the Great Depression that median household income, adjusted for inflation, had not risen over such a long period, said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard. “This is truly a lost decade,” Mr. Katz said. “We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.”

ike: "And spare me the "this is going to hurt private sector workers too"

Bob: I'd like to spare all of us this outcome. But simple supply and demand won't allow it. As compensation for public employees is reduced, interest in public service by prospective employees is reduced. Conversely, demand for private sector employment is increased, allowing private employers to either maintain compensation at current levels, or, to increase it more slowly than otherwise would be warranted.

What a joke. State workers get hammered again, while the NYC police and firefighters that are the biggest source of corruption and abuse are again exempted.

Did anyone even get hired under Tier V, since the hiring freeze extended across its entire tenure?

How long until Tier VII gets rammed down our throats?


you don't understand the first thing about supply and demand. You've got it all backwards.

The fact of the matter is that SUPPLY of workers interested in working for the state vastly outstrip the DEMAND for their services, even with these reduced benefits. There are people clamoring for state jobs, there always are, because the world is full of ambitionless drones who would happily work from 830-430 five days a week in a job they can't be fired from absent egregious behavior and then collect a pension. This means that compensation for those services should decrease, until an equilibrium is reached. The fact is that they aren't having trouble finding qualified applicants, and still won't even after Tier VI....

In a theoretical perfectly free market, where employers and employees were able to set their own prices with maximum liquidity, the costs and benefits of public sector employment and private sector employment would be nearly perfectly aligned. Rational actors would seek employment in one over the other until the demand and supply generally evened out; resulting in similar benefits for both.

Unfortunately, unions, by their very definition, exist to distort the supply and demand curve for the benefit of their members. This is particularly troublesome for PUBLIC unions, who in NY (and elsewhere) very much carry the imprimatur of state law to do so. This, inevitably scraps any semblance of our theoretical perfect free employment market. Over time, the political power of the unions inevitably results in addition benefits, perks, and bonuses not available to the private sector. Because wages are THE stereotypically "sticky" variable, they do not decline to accordingly to compensate for these politcally "earned" benefits, perks, and bonuses.

I don't really care to respond in depth to the rest of your post because its a waste of time, but your butchery of basic economic literacy was too much for me to pass on.

@ike: I was wondering how long it would take before you broke out the "evil union" defense. Not long, it turns out. But I am glad you had a chance to vent your spleen -- it adds so much to the discussion.

Man, is there anything funnier than people making projections based on people being rational actors and then accusing other people of being unrealistic?

Austerity in any form is a naked power grab by financial interests, a process visible in the events going on in Europe right now.

I've never heard of people going crazy like that over actual marijuana.

Nothing evil about unions, per se. Particularly private sector unions who rely on their right of association to extract concessions from their employers. Private sector unions who overreach may wind up killing the goose that laid the golden egg, but that's no different from any number of poor business decisions which might ruin an employer.

The problems really arise only in public sector unions, where the employer (the state), doesn't have the same motivation to ensure an overreach doesn't occur. There are no shareholders, no market, no sophisticated oversight with an eye on the bottom line for the state. All to often overreach by unions occur and there's nobody with money in the game to push back. In an normal company, when labor costs become unsustainable the company folds, and its competitors pick up their business and life moves on. The state of course cannot fold, and there's no competition to replace it when it collapses under the weight of its bad decision-making.

Again, nothing evil about it, just public unions maximizing their benefit (rationally), while no one is minding the store at the state (rationally). Now you can shit on me all you like, but that's the way the world works. Just not the way I think the world should work. And it looks like 68% of NYers agree...

Ike, do you have any experience working in the public sector?

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