Relax. Your Brain is not “Eating Itself.”
1 month ago
The taxpayers of Greece know who Christa Construction is. Christa Construction profited from a botched renovation venture valued at $119.5 million. In all, Christa Construction made over $5.3 million from the deal.
So why does all this matter? Ask Sen. Joe Robach and the Senate Republicans. Today, Robach was called out by his Democratic opponent Rick Dollinger in a press conference where Dollinger called on Robach to return the contributions he has received from Christa Construction.
From the press release:Democratic State Senate candidate Rick Dollinger today was joined by Greece taxpayers who slammed Robach and the Republicans, and demanded that these contributions be returned immediately.
Dollinger explained, “People can tell when someone is speaking out of both sides of their mouth, and that is exactly what Joe Robach and his Republican cronies are doing by taking this money and condoning this kind of unethical behavior. Robach and the Senate GOP must return this tainted money—particularly as our neighbors are working so hard to recoup these wasted funds.” Today’s event came days after citizens’ groups filed an audit request with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office as part of their financial recuperation effort.
Christa was originally set to profit $3,999,400.00 for serving as contractor, but actually pocketed an additional $1,375,761.00.
So far, Christa Construction (through Christa Construction, LLC., Christa Development Corp. and David Christa) has donated more than $24,000 in recent years to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee (SRCC). An additional $50,300 was given to Senate Republicans, including $1,850 directly to Robach whose campaign coffers have been filled with $143,900 from the SRCC for this year’s election.
For the record, not a single contribution has been made by Christa Construction to Dollinger or the Senate Democrats.
So why is this important? Here is a company being accused of robbing taxpayers of their money and who are they giving to? The Senate Republicans. Other Republicans have been on the receiving end of contributions from Christa Construction as well, but obviously the impact on Greece makes for an interesting story in SD-56.
Democratic State Senate candidate Richard Dollinger demanded Thursday that his incumbent opponent Joseph Robach, R-Greece, and his Senate Republican colleagues return more than $74,000 in campaign contributions from Christa Construction, the construction manager of a botched $120 million capital renovations project at the Greece Central School District completed in 2005.
Dollinger's campaign said Robach received $1,850 in contributions from Christa over the past six years, while other GOP Senators received $48,450 and the Senate Republican Campaign Committee received $24,000.
"The message, it seems to me, is very clear," Dollinger said Thursday outside Longridge Elementary School in Greece. "Senate Republicans and Joe Robach need to give back this ill-gotten taxpayer money to the town of Greece and the taxpayers in this community."
According to auditors, the project was over budget and incomplete. Numerous aspects of the work were changed without proper Board of Education oversight.
Over the summer, the district was forced to temporarily close portions of 13 schools due to shoddy project-related work.
Christa was originally set to receive $4 million for the project but received an additional $1.4 million, Dollinger's campaign said. Christa officials could not be reached for comment.
Robach rambles on about all the problems that have been created since he was elected to the State Senate. At one point, he even talks about redistricting — an issue which is completely irrelevant in this election because redistricting only happens after a census is taking at the beginning of each decade. The last redistricting plan for New York was approved seven years ago, and the next one will happen in three years. It’s hardly a pressing issue like the financial markets.
How can Robach bring about change if he has only been part of the problem in Albany and if he doesn’t even know what change means?
Joe Robach showed up more than 45 minutes late. I though it showed a great level of disrespect, but he was allowed to give his speech anyway. He said he was fighting for change for the better, even though he has been part of the same old Republican majority in the Senate for years now. He talked a lot about legislative redistricting, which is hardly a pressing issue given that the redistricting happened at the start of the decade.
Dollinger said he fit the definition “Made in Rochester” and that “Rochester is in my bones.” He mentioned the loss of jobs, the need for “prompt and affordable healthcare,” education, and reform in Albany. He gave the Woody Allen definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result) as the concluding remarks of his speech. Robach has failed and his record speaks for itself. Dollinger closed by saying that “the way you make change is to vote for change.” It was also the first time for this entire campaign that Dollinger and Robach were in the same room.
Rick Dollinger unveiled his new economic plan. I'll put up the details as soon as I figure out how to upload a word doc here. For now, here's the outline from the press release.
The plan is divided between the ideas of innovation and reform:
INVESTING IN INNOVATION:
· Form a Green Jobs Investment Fund for Rochester. Rochester could become the Silicon Valley of renewable energy as our nation transitions from foreign oil to more sustainable forms of energy such as fuel cells, bio-fuels, and solar panels. Our region has the advantage of top-flight research institutions with a highly skilled industrial workforce, and testing has begun already. Rick Dollinger proposes a Green Jobs Investment Fund that jointly uses public and private investments to start up new research projects and build the manufacturing facilities necessary to bring the newest generation of jobs to Rochester.
· Create an Emerging Technologies Research Institute. Our region must continue its reputation of leading the world in the study and development of new technologies. Our research facilities will allow Rochester to take the lead on development of new technologies with will cure diseases, improve urban infrastructures, and develop technologies marketable worldwide. This institute will establish education majors, programs, and research facilities in a collaboration of state and private investment with Rochester area universities. Major areas of study could include stem cell therapy, water purification, and waste management.
· Form a New York "PRIDE" Authority (Public Roads, Infrastructure, Development, and Efficiency) by combining the NYS Thruway Authority, NYS Bridge Authority and NYS Department of Transportation. The PRIDE Authority would be charged with creating jobs via projects to improve New York's aging transportation infrastructure and maintenance operations. The projects undertaken by this agency would provide a substantial number of good paying jobs to the region, which would be partially paid for by combining three authorities with similar missions into a single entity with legislative oversight.
REFORMING FAILED STATE POLICIES:
· Prohibit Tax Breaks to Companies that Outsource Jobs. New York State has continued to provide tax breaks to companies even after they have outsourced jobs. These tax breaks come largely from incentives offered by Empire Zones and Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs). Dollinger proposes a ban on any tax break given to companies that ship jobs overseas and a requirement that all aid be tied to the number of new living wage jobs actually created in the region.
· Opening New York for Business. Businesses have left our region as New York has done little to curb out-of-control spending or reduce the property taxes that force businesses to move away. Rick Dollinger supports reducing the property tax burden through a property tax cap and supports a constitutional amendment to cap state spending at the rate of inflation. Reducing state deficits and fighting wasteful spending allows New York to demonstrate a willingness to open its doors to good paying jobs once again.
Update: Here's video of the Dollinger presser.
Gov. David Paterson is endorsing his first Democratic Senate candidates in November’s elections that will test Republican control of the Senate.
Paterson is supporting Democrat Richard Dollinger over Republican Sen. Joseph Robach in the 56th Senate District in Monroe County. Dollinger had previously held the post before leaving to take a judgeship.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee also confirms that Paterson is endorsing Democratic New York City Councilman James Gennaro over Republican Sen. Frank Padavan in the 11th Senate District in Queens.
Paterson had said he wouldn’t use the clout of his office to go after the Republican majority as a high-priority mission, the way his predecessor, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, had.