Republicans, Democrats, and Whores

10 Jan

There is no longer a single, functioning Democratic Party apparatus in Erie County. The Erie County Democratic Committee exists, of course, and Len Lenihan is strong and healthy, but turncoats have been stabbing him in the back repeatedly for years now. Lenny and his allies have tried time and time again to bring the Brown/Casey folks back into the fold, but no dice. Why would they agree? They don’t want to work with him – their aim is to replace him, full stop.

The party heirarchy has bent over backwards to accommodate the wishes of the Brown/Casey coterie several times. See, e.g., : Keane, Jim. When you add Steve Pigeon to the mix, together with Tom Golisano’s millions, you’ve now poisoned the process beyond help. (See “Independence Party”)

And so it is that turncoat Democrats will lump in with the six Republicans and Chris Collins in the county legislature. Barbara Miller-Williams is touting reform? No, she isn’t. She was bought and paid for with a $300,000 county donation to the Colored Musician’s Club – the only funding Chris Collins didn’t screw with or veto last year.

When Collins took his stand on cultural spending, he said he would protect the $300,000 that Democrats included for a project at the Colored Musicians Club. The spending was promoted primarily by Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams, a Buffalo Democrat in line to become chairwoman next year with support from Republican lawmakers in league with Collins.

Collins did not veto that money, even though it was approved by a narrow majority, 8-7, too few to override a veto. Legislator Betty Jean Grant, D-Buffalo, said the frugal Collins should have seen it as “low-hanging fruit.”

Grant, who does not support Miller-Williams’ quest to become chairwoman, said that during the summer, Collins signaled he would not veto the Colored Musicians Club money if Democrats added it to the budget.

“He didn’t have the courage to let the people in his community know that he supported it,” she said.

Why was this particular entity so important to Miller-Williams? Well, it’s certainly a Buffalo landmark important to the African-American community. Also, her husband is the Vice-President of its Board of Directors.

When you hear the name “Barbara Miller-Williams”, which reform agenda item comes instantly to mind? Yeah, me neither.

This coup is a win for the forces of transactional, bad politics and poor government. This coup is a win for those who would replace the current ECDC regime with people allied with Steve Pigeon and Steve Casey. Reverting back to a period when the Democrats routinely lost elections, and the party’s finances were disarray would seem to me to be misguided. The fact that Pigeon and Casey so casually and routinely ally with Republicans for no other reason than to maximize power and dole out patronage jobs is beyond troubling.

Say what you want about Lenny, but he backs Democrats.

Yesterday, Ellicott District committeepeople selected the Rev. Darius Pridgen to replace Brian Davis in the common council. Although he’s a man of the cloth in a poor neighborhood, Pridgen is a millionaire, and he flaunts it. I don’t know whether Pridgen is the best choice for political office, and I acknowledge that his church does a lot of good for a lot of people. But the Grassroots organization that backed Pridgen over Bryon McIntyre held a meeting late last year that devolved very quickly into a bullying, bordering on fisticuffs. Ask someone who was there about the way in which McIntyre’s small children, who were present for the meeting because McIntyre couldn’t find someone to babysit, were treated by the Grassroots thugs trying to strongarm the process.

When you resort to physical intimidation to promote your political candidate, that too smacks of a coup.

Pridgen narrowly won, and that’s another loss in a week of losses for the Democratic Party in Erie County. People like Pridgen, whose surrogates physically intimidated the county chair and screamed at a candidate’s small children, making them cry, is a Democrat in name only. So are the thugs who helped him. So is Steve Casey. So is Steve Pigeon.

And that’s what it’s down to here. All those people who wanted a third party, you’ve got one now. I’m not talking about the corrupt minor parties that rely on electoral fusion for their existence and their patronage jobs. I’m talking about the fact that we have three distinct parties that actually run candidates.

On the one hand, we have the Democratic Party, currently in disarray and with decreasing fortunes. Democrats hold a minority in the Legislature, and only one countywide seat.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Republican Party. It believes in notions like party unity and loyalty. It is ascendant in Erie County despite the fact that, when you get down to it, they are fundamentally no better than the Democrats when it comes to taxing, spending, reform, and patronage.

In the middle, we have the political whores. This is the loose grouping of opportunists who may have major party labels next to their names, but their allegiance is for sale to the highest bidder. Barbara Miller-Williams sold herself out for $300,000 for her husband’s organization. She talks about reform and transparency, but can’t be expected to fill out a financial disclosure form accurately. Tim Kennedy sold himself out for Golisano’s money so he can run against Stachowski. Christina Bove is tight with Pigeon and the detestable corruption pit known as the “Independence Party”, so she’s a longtime resident in this camp.

The primary aim of the politicians and hacks in the Whore Party is to amass political power, mostly by handing out jobs to their close associates. The pretense of good government and transparency is thrown out there because people like to hear it, but it never happens. And the Republicans are all too happy to ally themselves with the Whore Party because they only have isolated pockets of political power, and the Whores can weaken the real Democrats while simultaneously assuming their mantle.

My only hope in all of this is that the people of Erie County wise up and start demanding better. Because this ascendancy of the Republican-Whore coalition doesn’t bode well at all for progress, growth, or reform in this region.

{Photo by David Torke via Flickr. See his blog at FixBuffalo)

27 Responses to “Republicans, Democrats, and Whores”

  1. Ward January 10, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    So, your point would be that the old Democratic Machine far better served the needs of WNY than the emerging “Rebublican-Whore coalition”?
    I’ll take a look around the City and let you know if I agree.
    (BTW–did I miss the post when you called Arlen Spector a whore for flipping to the Dems? Must have.)

    • Adam K. January 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

      Yes. The Democratic “Machine” will prove to have been better than the Republican-Whore coalition. Actually, I think it blows it out. 

      P.S. What machine? The party is infighting so much that there could never be a machine, just some occasional coalitions

    • Tim January 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

      Ward you missed that Spector article? It was right before the one about Harry Ried’s racial remarks about Obama…

  2. Pete@BS January 10, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    @Ward – flipping your allegiances is not necessarily whoring. Seevral politicians have said….I am more closely aligned with the other side, so I am changing…not necessarily whoring… I’m gonna stay where I am but sell out the party machine for my own personal gain…whoring.

    • Ward January 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

      The only thing more risible than switching parties for one’s own personal gain is to have your new leadership reneg on its promises–viz., Arlen Spector and Harry Reid. Also, one’s constituents sometimes think poorly of it, and toss you out on your ass–viz., Spector.

  3. Mike In WNY January 10, 2010 at 9:25 am #

    The “people” have spoken, chalk up another one for the tyranny of the majority. The solution is so simple that everyone overlooks it, limit the power and scope of government. Until then, stop crying over a system you support.

    • Christopher Smith January 10, 2010 at 11:35 am #

      Actually, the people “spoke” for a 9-6 Democratic Majority and Pigeon spoke for a 9-6 Pigeon majority, which is the entire point. I love how deliberately obtuse you and Jim become when the Republicans win.

      • Mike In WNY January 10, 2010 at 11:58 am #

        My comment is not meant to be supportive of the Republicans, it is meant to highlight what happens when government goes beyond its proper function and scope, specifically the increased negative affect enabled by “democacy”. Democracy only works when inalienable rights remain inalienable.

      • Dave January 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

        “Democracy only works when inalienable rights remain inalienable.” I agree, to a point. Democracy only works with an attentive and caring voting public. When the voters stop paying attention, or bothering to vote, you get… well, you get this.

  4. Jenny January 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    Not. A. Fan. Of. Miller-Williams.  When she was a council member in Ellicott, who was her chief of staff?  Brian Davis.  He stepped into that position when she vacated it.  Where do you think he learned his whoring.   She is all about self interest, not REFORM, or representing people.

    Oh and such a racist she is.  Such a shock to her system when she found out that there were/are actual WHITE people living in Ellicott (20 or so years ago) and she was obligated to represent them.  This from personal experience with her as my council representative.

    • RaChaCha January 10, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

      Just followed the link to your blog, and loved your post about your adorable newborn — congratulations and best wishes 😀

  5. Facts Plz January 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    BMW’s alleged sell out is far eclipsed by that of US Senator Ben Nelson. Why is BMW’s the one that so incenses?

  6. Colin January 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    I’ll just do my usual here and stress that it doesn’t make any sense to lump the WFP in with the other minor parties. We’re a party of issues, not a patronage pit.

    Otherwise, right on.

    • Starbuck January 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

      Didn’t the WFP cross-endorse Byron Brown instead of running one of their own members to advocate their issues?

      • Colin January 11, 2010 at 10:20 am #

        Yup. I was outvoted.

  7. Jon Pierowicz January 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    Thank you for your reporting over the last few days. WNY Media has proved to be an invaluable resource to those trying to stay abreast of this whole sordid affair.

  8. Facts Plz January 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    I recall a few interesting pieces of recent that are omitted from the article and those that preceded it. (1) Marinelli cobbled together a coalition that was dependent upon the republicans when she held the Chair in 2008 (2) such a coalition would not have existed without Collins’ consent, which points to a cozy agreement between Marinelli and Collins, not unlike what appears now with BMW; and (3) When Marinelli wanted to run for CE in 2007 Lenihan dissed her and she and Pigeon were cozy for quite awhile. So, live by the sword, die by the sword. And shame on Alan for forgetting these inconvenient facts in his current pique. But then again, these facts just get in the way of Alan’s good story.

    • Alan Bedenko January 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

      I would have no problem with a simple reach across the aisle such as what happened 2 yrs ago. You’ll note that I had little, if anything to say about that then.

      Because there was no Steve Pigeon aspect to it.

  9. Carl January 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    Alan: Bravo.

    And to your last paragraph of we, the people, demanding better: part of that means we all should consider running for office-if for no other reason than to boot these SOB’s AND the people that back them out of County Hall.

  10. tom January 11, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    lololololololololololololololol at Colin for claiming the WF party is a party of the issues and not a patronage pit. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    • Colin January 11, 2010 at 10:23 am #

      Can you name someone from the WFP who has a patronage job? If not, then eat a bag of dicks.

  11. greygoose January 11, 2010 at 12:16 am #

    Let’s stop wasting time and start connecting the dots. Mayor Byron Brown does not get endorsed by Lenihan for mayor , which is fine with him because he was itching for a way to effect a relationship with Chris Collins. What better way than to deliver Kennedy to Tim Howard’s sheriff campaign? How about the mayor shutting down the city by not backing Glascott for sheriff, Polancarz for county comptroller and Judge Shirley Troutman for State Supreme Court? I think any council district in Buffalo reached a voting percentage higher than 12%. The big payback is Collins gets to control the legislature, therby eroding the power of both Marinelli and Lenihan. Bown, Casey and Pigeon get a weakened Erie County Legislature to take control of. The same Jack Odonnell who is a political strategist just happens to be Darius Pridgen’s campaign advisor and Pigeon’s friend and is also rumored to be being groomed to take out Lenihan. The same Barbara Miller-Williams who is now the legislative chair, is the same woman who dellivered the the three Republicans to Lynn Marinelli two years ago. I can’t understand why Marinelli is so quiet on this. Brown, Casey, Pigeon and Collins hands were in this from the beginning.This take over of the legislature was in the making over two years ago. The Marinelli/Republicans takeover coalition was just a practice run by these thieves. In this big picture, what I don’t understand is how and why Rev. Prodgen is allowing himself to be prostituted in this way. I am sure he needs neither the money nor the perceived power associated with being a councilmember. He is rumored to be a millionaire, two times over.

  12. jesse January 11, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    Look what happens when there’s too much power available: humans act like asses trying to get some of it for themselves.

  13. sjj January 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    how about a little digging into bm-w’s police life? there is a rule that caps outside employment at 20 hours per week. so being a county legislator is part time? check her county payroll sheets, check her bpd payroll and you might find you CAN be two places at once. bm-w worked lots of ot last year, how did she manage to be everywhere at once? btw her husband once got caught using the state police records to use in one of her campaighs, real nice polite people they are.

    • Greygoose January 11, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

      Wasn’t it the campaign when she was running for the Buffalo Common Council and her opponent had a record for domestic violence on his wife? Barbara Miller-Williams husband ran a check and leaked the results to the people in the know. Shameful and classless but what do you expect from people who fraternize in the Pigeon Coop.


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