Reviewing REV: New York’s Transformational Energy Proposal

Reviewing REV: New York’s Transformational Energy Proposal

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is a New York initiative that would create a radically different electric system and change the way power is generated and distributed in the state. Utilities would direct the distribution of electricity produced by thousands of smaller entities.

REV encompasses areas such as regulatory reform; load/peak demand management; consumer management of energy use; and the development of solar and other distributed energy sources, including electricity production by customers.

The state Public Service Commission is currently working with investor-owned utilities in New York on “demonstration” projects that have been developed for potential statewide deployment. These and future REV projects encompass micro grids, smart grids, and the marketplace.

 

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Kremer’s Corner: Mets, Yankees offer hope; but county?

Kremer’s Corner: Mets, Yankees offer hope; but county?

Things are looking up these days in one of our worlds. Not the  political world,where confusion reigns supreme. I am talking about the sports world. For a change,our two local baseball teams are in competitive races and at least one of them, the Mets, looks like they are going to be in the playoffs

The surprising rise of the Mets is not only welcome but long overdue. For the past 10 or so years,Mets fans have been faced with defeat after defeat and a team strangled by lack of cash due to the owners losses of their money to Bernard Madoff.

At the beginning of this season there were few sportswriters willing to predict that the New York Mets were going to be a competitive team.

 

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Iran Nuclear Deal Our Best Option

Iran Nuclear Deal Our Best Option

I must confess that like many other Americans I learned my lessons about foreign affairs by watching movies like “Casablanca” and a host of others that focused on corruption, deception and all the other unspoken evils.

The average citizen is too busy raising children or holding on to a job and has no time for intense discussions about international politics.

But the current debate over whether the United States should enter into an agreement with Iran is quite important based on its potential impact on our families for years to come and it deserves notice by the public.

I am not going to use the statements by all of the Republican presidential candidates as a guide to making smart decisions.

All of them are against the deal because they detest President Obama and want to appease the pro-Israel  pressure groups whose support they want in 2016.

I would like to say that President Obama has made a good case for approval of the pact, but like in many other instances, he has been a very poor salesman.

You can’t win an argument by bullying the other side with name calling and threats. Victory is often won by honest discussion and not being a nasty proponent.

Having spent the greater part of my life in government and being a curious reader of anything and everything on the subject of the Iran agreement, I have raised a number of questions to people who know the facts and feel like there are some real answers.

First of all, let’s say the agreement between the United States and Iran collapses. What happens then?

The sanctions that we have put in place against Iran will still be in effect, except all of our allies will be rescinding theirs.

Our allies have their own agenda and removing their sanctions suits their purposes.

Under that scenario, Iran gets a substantial amount of relief and our sanctions become meaningless.

Opponents of the agreement say that after the 10-year period of inspection and curtailment of nuclear activities, Iran will be free to quickly get access to a nuclear weapon.

Let’s think about what happens if the multi-nation agreement falls apart this year.

If you think the leaders of Iran are going to take an extended vacation and shut down their race to get a bomb you are totally off base.

Without any inspection process and none of the safeguards in this agreement, Iran will be free to work towards a nuclear presence in a lot shorter time than 10 years.

That possibility worries me even more for the future of my children and grandchildren.

Opponents argue that Iran will gain access to billions of dollars to use to further destabilize the rest of the world.

But that only happens after inspection of sites, full transparency and verification on how far Iran has gone to produce any type of weapon.

Without an agreement, they will continue doing exactly what they have been doing up to now and get a bomb much sooner.

Another of my deep concerns has to do with relations between the two countries.

Never before, in my lifetime, has a foreign country ever inserted itself into our national affairs.

The Prime Minister of Canada or any other leader wouldn’t even think to lobby the Congress for or against some matter before it.

I resent the continuing efforts of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to try to sway American opinion on this difficult issue.

The bond between the United States and Israel has always been strong and meaningful. We have been a generous supporter of Israel and they share many positive advancements with our country.

Netanyahu has done his country a “disservice” in its long-term relationship with America.

Luckily for the world the bonds between the two countries will not be ruptured.

The feelings on both sides of the issue are strong but I would rather have an imperfect agreement than none at all. Isn’t that what compromise is called?

New York Has Flushed Away $1.5 Billion

New York Has Flushed Away $1.5 Billion

Empire Government Strategies Chairman Arthur “Jerry” Kremer writes in The Huffington Post about the billions in tourist dollars that New York City has lost over the past few years. Current legislation before the New York City Council can change this and stop the loss of dollars from the City.

$1.5 Billion Flushed Away By New York Since 2010

By 

New York City’s economy and nearly 360,000 members of its workforce rely on tourism for their jobs and income (*1). Yet it’s stunning that this month alone, the Big Apple lost out on over $23 million in local tourist spending, having nothing to do with the reasons one might expect (*2).

In 2014, a record 56.4 million tourists came to New York City, helping to generate jobs at theaters, hotels, restaurants, shops and in the transportation sector. So when the city recognizes a roadblock deterring thousands of new tourists each and every month, costing it more than $1.5 billion in lost revenue over the last 5 ½ years (*2), that issue needs to be addressed.

Last year cities including Washington, D.C., Boston, Miami, Chicago and New Orleans attracted hundreds of thousands of youth travelers, ages 15 to 30, at the expense of New York, largely because those destinations had already taken actions to adapt to an evolving tourism marketplace. That revolutionary change is documented by the United Nationals World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)(*3) finding that the international youth travel sector is growing rapidly from $173 billion per year currently to $320 billion by 2020, and will soon account for an astounding 25 percent of ALL international travel.

It’s for a peculiar and easily corrected reason, why New York City is missing out on this tourism boom. In 2010, the State of New York amended the city’s Multiple Dwelling Law and Administrative Code. An inadvertent casualty was the forced closure of about 50 youth hostels that hosted some two-million overnight stays each year (*4).

An immediate and drastic falloff happened because preferences and expectations of younger budget-conscious travelers differ from those on business or family vacation. The younger tourists may be traveling pre-or-post-college, alone or in a group, going to multiple cities where they require lower cost lodging that does not cut into their ability to afford significant cultural experiences.

So over the last 5 ½ years, youth travelers have simply avoided the Big Apple, because it lacked reasonably priced places for them to rest their heads at night (*5).

While the significant loss of local economic, job and cultural exchange is disturbing, the New York City Council and the Mayor have a new opportunity to bring new, affordable temporary tourist housing via a new law to legalize the construction, regulation and operation of properly sited, licensed youth hostels within commercial districts. What’s more, the opportunity to be located across all five boroughs should more evenly distribute the long-term economic benefits, which previously only Manhattan gained.

Time is truly of the essence, as travel industry studies show that tourists who patronize hostels in their youth are more likely to return to those cities in later years, for business and vacation, and will then stay in full-service hotels. It means, if our city gives these young visitors a favorable experience, they will return for more of the food, culture and great architecture that New York has to offer.

The international hostel industry has been growing steadily over the last several decades and in 2014 the United States was the number one destination for its customers, with in excess of 300,000 U.S. bookings (*6).

Once dowdy, boarding house style facilities long-ago gave way to a new modern urbanism that millennials demand, while cities that permitted the addition of such modern hostels have experienced a boom in tourism. If New York City follows that national trend, youth travelers will surely be its next big hospitality market dispersed across the city’s diverse landscape. The next move, “it’s up to you, New York, New York.”

Jerry Kremer is Chairman of Empire Government Strategies and served 23 years as a member of the New York State Assembly, including 12 years as Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee and served by appointment of the Governor on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Capital Review Board and the Public Authorities Control Board. He is also a spokesman for Hostelworld, the globe’s largest reservation service in the hostel industry. Hostelworld does not own or operate hostels.

# # # # #
*1 Source: NYC & Company, the city’s tourism and marketing organization.

*2 Source: Hostelworld.com: Supporting the Regulation of Hostels in New York City. Page 6: “The value of the hostel sector to the City was in the order of $280M in 2014.”The 2014 $280M dollar value of the hostel sector was used to find the $23 million monthly loss to the Big Apple and the estimated 1.5 billion lost since 2010.

*3 Source: Youth Travel Market Research, analysis conducted by student marking which is an affiliate member of UNWTO.

*4 Source: Hostelworld.com: Supporting the Regulation of Hostels in New York City. Page 7: “Since 2010 alone, approx. 50 hostels have closed down in New York City as a direct result of the legislation. We estimate that this has meant a decrease in excess of 2 million available bed nights in the city on an annual basis based on the bed capacity of these properties.”

*5 Source: Hostelworld.com: Supporting the Regulation of Hostels in New York City. Page 8: “The impact of hostel closures is evident from recent data compiled by the company. Key trends include: Travellers increasingly choosing other destinations in the US over New York City.”

*6 Source: Hostelworld.com: Supporting the Regulation of Hostels in New York City. Page 3: “The hostel industry has been steadily growing over the last several decades. In 2014 The United States was the number one destination for hostel customers with in excess of 300,000 bookings into U.S. hostel properties.”

Crowded Field Threatens the GOP’s Chances

Crowded Field Threatens the GOP’s Chances

[as posted on The Island Now]

The male star of the Broadway show South Pacific sang about an enchanted evening when he spotted his true love “across a crowded room.”

Nobody really likes a packed room, so you can imagine how uncomfortable it is going to be for the 15-plus announced Republican candidates for president to fit onto one platform starting this August.

Anyone who follows presidential politics recalls the mob scene at each of the 2012 Republican presidential debates when eight potential candidates tried to respond to the questions posed by some media personality. There’s nothing more boring than watching a bunch of grown men trying to score points at the expense of the other panelists.

By all accounts, leaders of the national Republican Party agreed that the last series of Republican debates hurt their eventual candidate, Mitt Romney, who became a target for all of the other contestants.

It’s tough enough to go one-on-one in a debate but to find yourself being attacked by a swarm of other candidates is an exercise in futility.

The eventual loser, Mitt Romney, has stated on numerous occasions that he felt the party’s debate system was seriously flawed and it was one, among many reasons, that he eventually lost to President Obama. He described the debates as “chaotic and often out of control.”

Most people would agree that debates with a large number of candidates leads to someone being embarrassed by some pressured answer. It’s hard to forget Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s famous discussion of his three-point platform for the future and forgetting the third point.

Opponents of Mitt Romney managed to blur his business record, his accomplishments as a governor of Massachusetts and smear him for his offshore holdings.

By the time Romney got to face President Obama he was a wounded candidate with few prospects of healing.

Having too many announced candidates also leads to tons of television money being spent knocking the other opponent with slick commercials and below-the-belt tactics. As the crowd gets bigger there is less a possibility that any one person will emerge unscarred.

Sensing disaster in the making Republican National Chair Reince Preibus has pledged that the number of debaters will not exceed 10.O.K., that eliminates at least six at this time and possibly another four or five when Chris Christie, George Pataki, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal come forward to save America.

But doesn’t that resemble something like the 2012 debacle?

 

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