County Executive 2007

11 Apr

Quick & Dirty Analysis:

1. Bill O’Laughlin. Doesn’t have the endorsement of the GOP. In fact, pissed them off by running ads as early as January.

2. Chris Collins. Not Joel Giambra. Successful suburban businessman. He presses all the buttons that the WBEN constituency love – business owner who will run government “like a business”; will have a lovey-dovey relationship with the control board; not a politician, has never held elective office before.

1. Jim Keane. Former Gorski Deputy is no spring chicken, and he’s never held a job in the dreaded private sector. Has an early endorsement from Byron Brown (which means an endorsement from Steve Casey / Grassroots / Steve Pigeon / all of the above).

2. Paul Clark. Stood by Giambra. Has raised taxes loads in West Seneca. Not a chance.

3. Lynn Marinelli. Despite her recent efforts to usher in reform in county government, she has also held public office for over 10 years and was there during the unanimous budget passages of the early Giambra years. Has baggage.

4. Mark Poloncarz. Fresh face, good ideas, smart, and people like the job he’s doing. Negatives would include the fact that he’s only been Comptroller for a little over a year, and the fact that, according to Illuzzi, he’s not running.

5. Dan Ward. He’s running, but he isn’t raising anywhere near enough money to win. He won’t be in long.

So, my prediction is that Clark and Keane bloody each other throughout 2007, but Marinelli will have trouble doing a slalom around them.

In the end, no matter who the Dem candidate is, Collins will win in a squeaker because he’s got the private sector experience, and is a fresh, non-political face. What say you?

30 Responses to “County Executive 2007”

  1. FancyWow April 11, 2007 at 2:53 pm #

    totally not related, but remember when folks were trying to convince ___ to open up in downtown. Read this post to see where density and activism could take Buffalo

    Maybe, this consultant should be considering Delaware and Chipp too?

  2. 1776 April 11, 2007 at 3:05 pm #

    My quick and dirty analysis of your analysis:

    1. Bill O’Loughlin–really disliked, with a reputation for anger and public bellyaching. No way.

    2. Chris Collins–Seems to have co-opted the Sabres colors for his campaign. I know people think a “fresh face” is a good idea, but it is not. It’s like hiring a math student to be your accountant. They may have good basic skills, but will have such a HUGE learning curve from lack of real experience that the potential for disaster is too high.

    1. Jim Keane–A genuinely good guy, who has been a decent public servant. He has baggage, but he is open about it. Certain to win the City of Buffalo–not sure how he will do in the wider suburbs. The wingnuts at WBEN will surely rip Jim to shreds, but I don’t think that will ultimately matter. I think he has the best chance to win the nomination, though Clark is going to throw money around to try and knock the snot out of him in the Primary. Yes, the Brown machine and the truly detestable Steve Pigeon are not the greatest people, but their money and feet on the street can be really important to win. Wishing the Brown machinery and the Pigeonistas were less despicable doesn’t negate that (though hopefully we will get to a point where their influence is lessened, we are not there yet).

    2. Paul Clark–VERY mean campaigner, but not a lot going on once he gets into office. Backed by the new machine in Cheektowaga, the Frank Max group. Also secured the Independence nod, which was a bit of a coup.

    3. Lynn Marinelli–Has yet to officially declare her candidacy or raise any funds in what is sure to be an expensive race. Has a clunky leadership style in the Legislature–in fact, showed no real leadership during the red/green budget debacle. Thinks she will coast in to office by virtue of being a woman. If she’d had a strong opponent in 2005 she might not even be in the Legislature right now.

    4. Mark Poloncarz–A great guy with a good mind, and a solid public servant. Running for CE now, when whoever succeeds Giambra is going to have to make very tough and unpopular choices, would kill what promises to be a great career. It is very smart for him to sit this one out.

    5. Dan Ward–Seems like he is not even really running. Not sure what his deal is, aside from being the “I told you so” guy.

    I know I have been beating this drum on this blog for awhile now, but for such a significant position, experience matters. None of the candidates who are running are perfect, but voting for a non-politico just because people have a seemingly visceral hatred of career politicians is really just foolish. That being said, I look forward to hearing what all of the candidates have to say over the next few months, and happily count down the days until Giambra is gone.

  3. CB April 11, 2007 at 3:36 pm #

    1776…I was about to write

    POLONCARZ 2007

    the I read your analysis…I think that is why Judge Nowak decided not to enter the race too…

    Oh what the HELL…

    POLONCARZ 2007

    I know that the follow up person to JG is going to have a tough job, but MP is a guy who can do it!!!!

  4. 1776 April 11, 2007 at 4:12 pm #

    Judge Nowak is so desperately needed where he is, and so very good at what he does, that it would really be worse to move him out of that position. I feel the same way about Mark. I would just hate it if he had to raise taxes (as will probably have to happen) and make really tough decisions that are necessary but painful, in turn killing his popularity and making him a one-termer. Mark is young enough and talented enough that he has plenty of time to run for CE down the road. So, I would rather say, Poloncarz 2011 or 2015.

  5. hank kaczmarek April 11, 2007 at 4:33 pm #

    I’d love to see Collins win. But If I was he, I wouldn’t go about saying I’d run government “like a business”. Government is NOT A BUSINESS.

    A business offers a product for sale, or offers a service that people pay for out of their disposable income, and the business sets a price for that Product/Service that is competitive in the marketplace and will generate profits for the business.

    Government, on the other hand, is not interested in profit, NOR DOES IT GENERATE ANY. It sets arbirtrary rates to remove citizens money from their wallets against their will, and sets prices by no logical standard, to provide services for the citizens that they may not want themselves, do not feel necessary for their fellow citizens, and in many cases simply waste the money biopsied from their incomes by taxes.

    The only difference between Collins, and say, Keane—Is that Collins is not a career politician. Keane is a cog in the dreaded Status Quo Buffalo Political Machine, which has engineered 50 years of economic decline in the area. That record I would NOT want to run on.

    Dan Ward–What a joke. Probably couldn’t get a majority in Amherst.

    Alan, I hope you’re right.

  6. Watchin Stuff April 11, 2007 at 5:46 pm #

    Chris Collins is playing squeaky clean now, but there is plenty of ammo to use against him. Remember this isn’t the first time he ran.

  7. Mr. Pink April 11, 2007 at 5:53 pm #

    I think people will want “anybody who isn’t Joel” which means if you are tied to the mess you are done. I think that knocks out Clark for his past support and Marinelli who was part of the red/green debacle. For all his baggae, Jimmy can say he was part of the Gorski team that knew how to manage the county properly. Collins can claim to be the outsider who will bring a fresh perspective. I think those are two messages that can sell.

  8. Starbuck April 11, 2007 at 6:19 pm #

    Collins has very little chance and to the average voter here a very wrong message. The county-wide Dem enrollment advantage of 144,000 voters is not an accident. Elections over many years have proven the majority in this county likes big government and does not like politicians who propose more limited spending. As shown in the last county legislature election, the “WBEN ideology” of tax revolt is a vocal but fairly small minority.

    Whomever wins the Dem primary (except Ward or Marinelli – both hopelessly weak candidates) will criuse past Collins in the general election by 10 points or more.

    The smart money would bet on Clark. I don’t think there’s any big issue that Keane or Polincarz differ with Clark on, and attempting to differentiate only by resume (or by who hates Giambra most) will be hard to build a campaign around.

    So in absense of any big difference on issues, it will come down to organization and Clark has built a strong suburban organization over the years. Keane has been out of office so long that he’s depending on Brown’s people but that won’t help him much county-wide.

  9. Erie Watcher April 11, 2007 at 6:35 pm #

    Starbuck: you smoking crack? Clark has no support outside of Frank Max in the party, and even party people who hate Keane will go with him rather than Clark and his Giambra cronies. Pretty much all department heads and management in the Rath Building are siding up with Clark (I know, I’m a longtime civil servant that works in the building). Hell, Paul was at Joel’s birthday party last winter. A vote for Clark is a vote for more of the same. Only way Clark wins primary is if its a 4 or 5 way race. Anything less and he is done.

    Poloncarz causes headaches for all, that is if he is in it. He probably blows by Collins in the general, but if he is in its anybody’s ballgame during the primary. If not then probably keane in the primary and then who knows what happens in the general.

  10. Ford Beckwith April 11, 2007 at 7:08 pm #

    I’m willing to bet that Collins is banking on a race against Keane. Keane will call Collins inexperienced and Collins will call Keane a career politician who helped get us in this mess. Either way it’s a dirty campaign coming up and Clark will already have lumped up Keane pretty good before the main fight starts.

    A lot of people are watching the IP story unfold because it changes the entire outcome of the CE race should the IP become insolvent. Look for the lawsuitt be filed in the next 2 weeks.

  11. Ford Beckwith April 11, 2007 at 7:15 pm #

    One more thing, I have been told that there is a candidate coming forward on the IP line for the sole purpose of removing Clark from the line. I trust the people who gave me the info. So if Orsini survives the lawsuit he will be scrambling to save his endorsement because Higgins and Lenihan aren’t protecting him any longer. After screwing them both by endorsing Clark, Orsini has dug himself into the proverbial grave if the lawsuit survives or Clark loses the line.

  12. George Stevenson April 11, 2007 at 8:10 pm #

    I agree with your take. When you start talking about baggage, understand Keane negotiated many of the contract that hang as a noose around the County’s neck but yet the Democrats seem to bear his record as a badge of honor. How sad to hold the taxpayers in such contempt. Collins sole motivation appears to be helping his hometown thrive. He can and will come off like an English-speaking Dr. Mohan. Government can and should run like a compassionate business and treat its constituents as customers. People like Marinelli, Clark, Keane and company suck far more off the public tit than they would ever get in the real world. They are, indeed parasites that need to be exorcised.
    I’m waiting for “Watchin Stuff” to roll with something other than veiled threats. Collins looks squeaky clean to me.

  13. thesportsroadtrip April 11, 2007 at 8:50 pm #

    Don’t agree with your scenario Pundit…dems will have a primary and then will heal things up nicely behind the winner and steamroll in November…Kathy Callan and dems HQ know how to run and win campaigns. And a quick reminder the two big fiscal meltdowns here happened under republican watch… the Rutkowski penny of the 80s and the Giambra 3/4 penny of 2005 .

    And as for the dem primary, don’t discount Cheektowaga and our Chairman Frank Max as Clark’s “only” support. We have beefy democratic districts on steroids here; they vote in primaries and they are astute voters. All good things in politics start in our rough and tumble political institutions and neighborhoods here. Should be a hoot, as always!

  14. Buffalo Hodgepodge April 11, 2007 at 9:40 pm #

    George: perhaps you meant to say that Dr. Mohan speaks “accented” English. He certainly is “English-speaking” and I don’t think he would have garnered 53% of the Amherst vote had he solely campaigned in Hindi.

  15. George Stevenson April 11, 2007 at 10:13 pm #

    Call the language thing as you like. Dr. Mohan is a man of character who did not grow up speaking English. Philisophically, I believe he and Collins to be similar.

  16. Watchin Stuff April 11, 2007 at 11:11 pm #

    Oh George, it wasn’t a threat 🙂

    And philosophically Chris Collins is more like Tom Reynolds than Sathish Mohan.

  17. Rifle Dude April 12, 2007 at 8:50 am #

    Mayor Mike Bloomberg had ZERO political experience before he was elected in 2001, yet, he will go down as one of NYC’s best mayors. The whole mantra about experience is overstated. Very few of the aforementioned names have accomplished much other than being elected by adult versions of middle school student councils.

    Griffin had experience… was he a good mayor? Giambra had experience… has he been a good CE? Vinnie Annello had experience… has he been a good mayor of the Falls?

    The fact remains that the current field candidates for CE are lackluster at best.

  18. Mike Hudson April 12, 2007 at 10:39 am #

    got a chance to spend some time with collins covering his run for congress against lafalce in the late century. smart guy with a ton of his own money, spent more than a million of it in that race and pulled respectably. got killed debating in front of a business friendly tonawanda audience because lafalce was a smart guy too who knew a lot more about the issues, a benefit of long term incumbancy. i’m certain erie county could, and probably will, do worse.

  19. James Baker April 12, 2007 at 10:40 am #

    Anyone who has been following this race knows that it comes down to four very distinct choices:

    Jim Keane
    – Voted against making Martin Luther King Day a holiday, not going to help him in a Democratic Primary.
    – Called the Black members of the Buffalo Common Council, “the tribe.” I wonder if Byron Brown knew that when he endorsed him??????
    – Campaigns on yesterday, but don’t we want to know about tomorrow???

    Paul Clark
    – Endorsed Joel Giambra, not going to help him in a Democratic Primary
    – Raised taxes in West Seneca, not going to help him anywhere.
    – His brother is a card carrying member of the Giambra Friends and family plan.

    Mark Poloncarz
    – Won’t get into the race because he doesn’t have the guts to run in a primary with more than one person. It’s too bad though, because he’d be a great candidate.
    – Can run as a “watch dog,” but he cannot raise money to save his life.
    – Doesn’t really matter what his positive attributes and his negative attributes are (refer to my first point).

    Lynn Marinelli
    – As Pundit said, she does have a record of reform, but she also has the baggage of voting for the budgets.
    – Red/Green budget actually may have helped her in that it gave her good exposure.
    – There are countless articles in the Buffalo News Editorials excoriating her for being an “obstructionist” to the Giambra Administration when he was riding high (Great call ed board, great call). You can’t really blame someone for speaking out against Joel, then also blame them for being there when it happened, seems somewhat hypocritical.

    I think it is a tough call if Poloncarz actually antes up, but if he’s out, I gotta go with Marinelli…

  20. Haterade April 12, 2007 at 11:01 am #

    Truth be told … they ALL s#&k.

  21. SB Guy April 12, 2007 at 11:38 am #

    Ford Beckwith is righ on,,,,,Orsini cant protect the endorsement,,,,Flynn proved it in 05 with no money and still beat Orsinis ‘non-machine’,,,,,,if Beckwith can pull Flynn, Higgins and anti-Orsini forces together, he kills Clark big time!!!


  22. Erie Watcher April 12, 2007 at 11:50 am #

    hate: why do they all s#&K? What is it about each that you dislike?

    Poloncarz I like and I hear his employees respect him as well. One told me they’d hate to see him leave the comptroller’s office, but think he’d make a fine executive so they would still vote for him. Collins I could warm up to, the rest are old school.

  23. Hawk (Not Hank) April 12, 2007 at 11:54 am #

    I hear Ed Rutkowski’s looking for a job as he is about to be replaced. Why not give him another chance? Oh wait a minute, didn’t he preside over the last fiscal crisis? What is it about republican executives, they say they can manage better but the track record is poor at best (Rutkowski, Giambra, Pataki and W).

  24. hank kaczmarek April 12, 2007 at 2:01 pm #

    Dr Mohan, as most Indians and Pakistanis do, learn English as a 2nd language. A few hundred years of English Colonial rule does that to a country. Most of the islands and countries that were part of a British Empire that began breaking up in the late 1800’s still cling to many of the traditions of their “Conquering Occupier”.

    Dr Mohan may have the accent that most do that hail from the Indian Sub-Continent, but he didn’t get a job teaching at a NY University with a GED either. He’s easier to understand than Snoop Dog, and many other citizens who’ve never left the country.

  25. 1776 April 12, 2007 at 2:26 pm #

    James Baker–your information regarding Jim Keane being a “racist” is from a letter to the editor of the Challenger (almost word for word). Those charges were since clarified in that same publication by no less a source than George K. Arthur. Just in case you haven’t had a chance to read this week’s issue.

    Just to further clarify, Keane DID vote for making MLK Day a holiday. The initial ‘no’ vote for which he is being criticized would have required all of the contracts with the City of Buffalo’s employee unions to be re-opened and holiday time re-negotiated.

    As for Satish Mohan’s status as some sort of folk hero executive genius, I suspect his most vocal allies don’t actually have to live/work in Amherst under the man’s executive decisions. He is not doing a good job as Supervisor. He has consistently made bad decisions and his poor management style has significantlydecreased morale. If you think that doesn’t matter, then you probably don’t have to deal with many public servants (which includes police officers). More important, where are the REAL savings from his stewardship? I have never understood why people single him out as a great new model of politician.

  26. James Baker April 12, 2007 at 4:21 pm #

    1776: First of all, I didn’t call him a racist, I just pointed out facts, that you and George Arthur do not refute, just make excuses for. So Keane voted against it before he voted for it???? That sounds eerily familiar… If that is the case, I’ll give him a pass, but why did he vote against naming the section of the 198 after MLK and why did he call the Black Council Members, “the tribe?”

  27. Starbuck April 12, 2007 at 4:42 pm #

    Erie Watcher, hey I could be wrong and really I don’t care how it turns out but here’s why it looks to me Clark is best organized at this point:

    As you alluded, Cheektowaga Dem org seems solidly behind him (not just one guy but him and his key people, right?). And Cheek is a Dem stronghold so that’s not a small factor. And W. Seneca town party org is solidly behind him as well (correct?) since he’s controlled it for many years. So that’s aslo a fairly large Dem town. Add in that the Independence leader is behind him, which shouldn’t matter much but in reality it does. And as you said whatever’s left of Giambra’s machine is also working hard on his behalf. Sleazy crowd no doubt, but a lot of serious behind the scenes expertise in political fights. And by having the largest campaign fund so far, it’s a safe guess a lot of future patronage seekers will jump on his bandwagon also.

    Meanwhile it’s been so long since Keane has run for anything, and he just seems a lot less organized right now.

    As a superficial thing, compare the web sites of Clark and Keane at this point. Day and night.

  28. 1776 April 12, 2007 at 8:11 pm #

    James Baker:
    You did not outright call Keane a racist, you merely listed almost verbatim the key points of a letter to the Buffalo Challenger that was calling Keane a racist. My mistake for putting words in your mouth–I am sure you meant to imply something else that what I interpreted. As to the “tribe” comment, as I was not even living in Buffalo during Keane’s tenure in the Council, I have no idea what he said. However, George K. Arthur spent a lot of time in those chambers, and refuted the claim that Keane said anything of that sort. As to the MLK Day “no” vote, that is simply a red herring being thrown out to make Keane look bad. What he voted against was creating a holiday that would necessitate reopening union contracts, when there was a simpler way to achieve the same objective. I think I stated that pretty clearly in my previous post.

  29. SB Guy April 13, 2007 at 4:23 pm #

    Word on the South Buffalo bar scene is Former County Independence Chair and 2005 IP Mayoral candidate Charlie Flynn will primary Paul Clark for the IP line in the County Executive race,,,,,,,,,very interesting!



  1. Chris Collins and the Dictatorship of Petty Bureaucracy | Artvoice Daily - October 17, 2012

    […] to reform county government, rebuild our economy, and restore jobs. I predicted that he would win as early as April of that year. During the campaign, it was revealed that Collins had loaned money to an East Side […]

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