Walter vs. Miller-Williams – PolitiFAIL Tourney 2010

24 Mar

Stranger bedfellows there probably haven’t been in county government in quite some time, but here we have two members of the county legislature’s “reform coalition” of eager Republicans and opportunistic Democrats.

Ray Walter is the 6th seed in the county bracket, and was selected to replace Mike Ranzenhofer in the 4th LD upon his election to the state senate. Walter is a somewhat libertarian Republican who is pretty much the perfect legislator for a district that doesn’t really care about or have much use for county government. As a former member of the Charter Revision Commission, he was involved in many of the changes that swept through county government a few years back, but upon ascension to the legislature, he was one of three very lonely Republican legislators who didn’t do much else but complain and sigh. That is, when they weren’t busy mouthing Chris Collins’ words. With the creation of the reform coalition and after the 2009 election, Walter’s clout grew somewhat and while some legislators (un)affectionately call him “Rush”, he’s the guy in the leg who seems wicked annoyed by what everyone else is doing and saying. He’s only been in elected office for a term and a half, so his opportunity to FAIL and grow our FAIL has been limited.

Barbara Miller-Williams has no fewer than three jobs, none of which are in the private sector. A national guard volunteer, a cop, and a legislator, she will be set for life when she retires. It came to light that Miller-Williams must have been quite overworked last year, as she maximizes her overtime so as to inflate her lifetime state-tax-free pension. As the Chairwoman of the legislature, she gets a nice little stipend, Lynn Marinelli’s scorn, faint praise from her temporary Republican allies, all while stumbling and bumbling through procedure. She joins the prestigious ranks of other Democrat-pisser-offers like Joel Giambra, Chuck Swanick, and Chris Collins. Evidently, Collins bought her cooperation with a $300,000 county check payable to the Colored Musicians’ Club, where Miller-Williams’ husband is VP of the Board. Miller-Williams was also an appointee to the legislature, selected to serve out the remainder of convict George Holt’s term. While procedural nonsense may be going on in the Leg, most of Miller-Williams’ substantive votes have been with the remaining Democrats. Adding to the overall FAIL, when Miller-Williams ascended to the chairmanship, she jettisoned a group of dedicated Democratic leg staff so that Pigeon-friendly and Grassroots-friendly folks could waltz in, some of whom had no other qualification other than knowing someone powerful. The legislative payroll appears to have gone up significantly under Miller-Williams’ strange definition of “reform”. The FAIL is strong with this one.


7 Responses to “Walter vs. Miller-Williams – PolitiFAIL Tourney 2010”

  1. Ray Walter March 24, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Tough matchup for me, but I won’t be sad if I make an early exit from the tournament. I get more annoyed at what is said versus what is done becuse so little is actually done. Take a look at our meeting agendas. Get rid of all of the Resolutions honoring this person and that group and those supporting this Assembly/Senate bill and opposing that one and what do you have left? On top of that add 80%-90% state mandated budget and the County can be run by 5 part-time legislators and an appointed County Manager. That would at least limit the opportunity for FAIL. And who knows, someday BP’s dream of eliminating County Governments entirely may become a reality.

  2. Christopher Smith March 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    The above statement is why we like Ray Walter.

    • Ray Walter March 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

      You are going to kill my East Amherst / Clarence “street cred” with comments like that!

  3. Hapklein March 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    As they say the proof is in the pudding.
    This guy is like what we had in the Bush administration. A person who is determined that government is a bad idea so why make an effort.
    If you do get too close to the actual government work it does take a lot of effort. All short term government officeholders just yearn for that one summing accolade,”Attataboy Brownie,” so they can be on their way with another resume entry.

    • Christopher Smith March 24, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

      I’ll defend Ray on this. He cares about things that matter, we may not agree with him, but he puts in the work on matters of import. We’re talking about his disdain for the ceremonial stuff that makes up a good percentage of the daily work at the County Legislature.

      His district is not one in dire need of service delivery, so his level of constituent outreach does not compare to Maria Whyte or Betty Jean Grant.

      • Betty Jean Grant March 25, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

        Hey Chris:
        Thank you for recognizing the time I spend to keep my constituents informed and engaged. I hope you attend the State of the County meeting I am hosting @ the Merriweather Library, 1324 Jefferson Ave. Tuesday, March 30th, 5:30-7:30 p.m.The Erie County Prisoners’ Rights Coalition will be a part of the panel discussion.

  4. Mark Poloncarz March 25, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    Ray’s not bad, just misguided 😉

    But we both agree that there is no good reason to keep the control board around any longer than necessary. So he must be like Darth Vader, seduced by the dark side but still some good in him. Sorry Ray, that was too good to pass up 🙂

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