We New Yorkers are so overburdened with taxes and fees that it really is no wonder that some of us could be fooled by an online hoax announcing one more fee – this one to register lawn mowers.
As reported in The News, this supposed $10 annual fee for a sticker so people can cut the grass went viral. And if they missed the Aug. 15 start date, failed to keep their mower rust-free and operating at “less than 85db, sound level,” and wear OSHA-approved safety gear, they would be in for a $50 fine plus a $30 surcharge. Plenty of people thought it was real and called the Chautauqua County Clerk’s Office in a panic.
The scary part is the thought that a registration fee could actually catch on in Albany. Please, don’t give them any ideas.
There are three important points to be made about Hillary Clinton’s speech last fall at the University at Buffalo and the cool $275,000 she pocketed for a half-hour talk and additional time answering softball questions.
• Clinton’s ability to walk away with that kind of money is no more scandalous than the salaries commanded by star athletes or the fees demanded by top musical acts. If someone offered you $275,000 to talk for 30 minutes, would you turn it down? Plus, it’s in line with other speaking fees she has received. The money at least went to the Clinton Foundation, which has been operating at a deficit.
• If Clinton was wise to take the money she could command, UB was crazy to offer it and then to refuse to reveal the terms until Wednesday. It could have put those dollars to much better use than to entertain a celebrity politician. What were officials thinking?
• As a candidate for Senate and then while in office, Clinton visited The News’ editorial board on several occasions – at least six times, at a guess, and each time staying about an hour. We didn’t have to pay anything, though now we’re worrying the invoices got lost in the mail. Anyone have a spare $1.65 million?
Couple of rich guys go out for some ice cream and the whole world notices. They’re in Omaha, Neb., which happens to be the home of billionaire investor Warren Buffett – also the chairman of The Buffalo News – and near Lincoln, where Paul McCartney, probably the most successful songwriter ever, was about to perform a concert on his recently restarted “Out There” tour.
The two men had dinner, then an ice cream, but their meeting was immortalized by a lucky 16-year-old who heard about the mini-summit, raced to find the pair and quickly took a selfie of himself and the two rich guys in the background. What could be cooler?
Just one thought. Buffett is in Buffalo occasionally for business reasons involving The News or GEICO, which his company also owns, and McCartney has never performed here, either as a solo act or with that band he used to be with. Buffett’s company also owns Dairy Queen, of which the Buffalo area has many. So, boss, next time you want to have ice cream with Paul …