The current session of the county legislature will end on December 31, 2005, instead of December 31, 2004. The lej voted to extend the session at a meeting last week.
The vote was 18-11, with all but two Democrats opposed.
The session now matches the terms of most legislators, which expire on December 31, 2005. The lej took similar action following the general election of 1992, and Republicans say this newest extension provides consistency with the body's previous actions.
Many Democrats, however, argued that the extension will stifle debate on important issues. Under county code, a referral cannot be introduced more than once during a single session. Democrats also say the measure gives the lej president too much power to decide which referrals make it to the floor.
At least one Democrat disagreed. Bill Benet argued that if a referral came up that the Democrats really cared about, they'd find a way to write it so it would be perceived as something new.
Democrat H. Todd Bullard questioned why the referral was considered a matter of urgency, thereby bypassing a full hashing-out in committee.
"This is supposed to be a new era of cooperation and working together," he said.
What kind of crazy, mixed-up world is this?
Last Tuesday's county lej meeting was Jack Doyle's last as Monroe County executive. All smiles and in good humor, Doyle (or someone who looks exactly like him) wandered over to the Democratic side of chambers during a short recess to say his farewells.
He was received like an old friend.
"I wish you well. I do. Serious," said Democrat Fred Amato, shaking Doyle's hand.
Democrat H. Todd Bullard patted Doyle on the back.
"My man, Jack!" he said. "I'm going to miss you, man."
Democrat Kevin Murray offered a back-handed compliment.
"We may look back at your years as the good old days," he said, laughing.
But lest you think some of the magic of the season may have been piped in through the air vents, Doyle couldn't resist a few parting shots when asked to speak a little later.
"This has been a lot of fun for me," he said, adding that he considers most legislators his friends.
Recounting his years in county government, Doyle said --- referring to the ease of the race --- that in 1999 he had the "fortuitous experience" of running against legislator Bill Benet for county executive. He never ran a dirty political ad during that campaign, Doyle said, because there was "no need to."
The full lej gave Doyle a standing ovation at the meeting's end.
Keeper of the local rock 'n' roll torch, Unkle Roger McCall was murdered this past Friday night, December 12, in what appears to have been a robbery attempt. The yet-to-be identified killer robbed us of a dear friend, a great musician, and the only DJ to ever play The Sex Pistols on WCMF.
Roger was involved in every aspect of local music for the past 30 years, playing in the '80s with barroom favorites, The Fugitives. His Sunday-night "Homegrown Show" championed local favorites and just about anybody with a guitar and a dream. On his "All Night Rock 'N' Roll Café," Rog was our C-trick companion, providing the soundtrack for Rochester's wee hours.
A DJ at WCMF since 1974, Unkle Rog was the longest running DJ at a single station in the entire country.
Viya con Dios, friend.
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, an arm of the National Park Service, is on the lookout for new ideas about the Erie Canal and the lands and communities near it. To that end, the Commission recently held public planning meetings in Syracuse, Lockport, Glens Falls, Albany, and Ithaca.
What happened to Rochester, you ask? The Commission will rectify the slight with a public meeting Thursday, January 15, 7 p.m., at Rochester City Hall, 30 Church Street.
The series of meetings is part of a "scoping stage," a framework for determining what people want to see along the entire 524-mile New York Canal System. Each meeting so far, says NPS staffer Frank Dean, has been "a kind of general discussion" prompted by presentations about the canal and its history, resources, and potential for tourism.
The Canal System includes not just the Erie, but also the Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain canals. And the Heritage Corridor contains 220 cities, towns, and villages along the waterways.