PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen, Volker vs. Maziarz

29 Mar

Dale Volker

In 1973, the UK joined the EEC, George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, Roe v. Wade was decided, Nixon was inaugurated for his second term, construction began on the CN Tower, the first oil shock shook, the Watergate scandal began to unravel, and the music charts are topped by “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”, “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”, and “Crocodile Rock”.

1973 was, in other words, 37 years ago. It was also the year Dale Volker first went to Albany as an Assemblyman. He was then appointed to the state Senate in 1975. The amazing thing about people born in 1940 is that some became prematurely elderly reactionaries, and one became John Lennon. Volker obviously chose the former.

A former Depew cop, Volker’s stock in trade is fear – it’s what he continually runs and wins on. Volker is a strong proponent of the antiquated, unnecessarily brutal Rockefeller drug laws, signed, coincidentally enough, in 1973. The state made the decision that it was as bad to possess four ounces of marijuana as it was to commit second degree murder, resulting in 15 years to life in a state penitentiary. As you might expect, Rocky’s drug laws did nothing to stem drug use. Volker isn’t so much anti-drug, as he is pro-penitentiary and pro-fear:

State Sen. Dale M. Volker defends the Rockefeller Drug Laws by raising the specter of neighborhoods “under siege from drug dealers.” The drug war’s collateral damage hardly justifies New York’s draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Volker probably doesn’t hang around on the corners of the east and west sides of Buffalo – neighborhoods, y’know, under siege from drug dealers. The draconian Rockefeller law failure stayed on the books until last year, over Volker’s objection.

Why is he so in favor of imprisoning casual pot users for 15 years to life? Even though the prisoners in Attica can’t vote, they’re counted as Volker’s constituents. Without the prison population in the 59th State Senate district, it would be underpopulated and cease to exist. To put it differently,

Of Volker’s constituents, 3% are incarcerated (4% of his adult population is in prison). Of his “constituents” who are Black adults, over 75% are disenfranchised. Thanks to the traditional gerrymandering in New York, Volker’s district is smaller than it should be, but with 8,951 prisoners he can safely ignore, Senator Volker can devote himself to the needs of his real constituents with a kind of individual attention that his urban colleagues cannot.

Volker is also known as a thug and a bully. Most recently, when David DiPietro was running in a Republican primary against him, one of his myriad staffers, Harry Wahl, harassed a family supporting DiPietro, making vicious, borderline criminal threats against them. When Volker won the Republican nod, his goons went after Kathy Konst and her family in an equally vicious and pointless way.

As far as being in Albany is concerned, one gets the impression that Volker is in Albany for its own sake. After all, how else do you explain the fact that his staff – even as a minority legislator – costs the state almost $1.1 million per year. And for what, precisely?

Remember when Volker and Esmonde fought when Volker tried to take credit for the removal of the 190 tolls, which happened thanks to Mike Powers and Carl Paladino?

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When he’s not taking credit for stuff he hasn’t done, his entire schtick seems to be demonization of New York City pols – repeatedly, over and over, even if it makes no damn sense. Hint: It’s no excuse for having no record of your own whatsoever, especially given the fact that you’ve been in the majority for most of your career.

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It’s safe to say Dale Volker is fecklessly useless in direct proportion to the length of his tenure in state government.

Yet people continue to re-elect this malignant, despicable failure. That’s the real crime.

George Maziarz

It was this past weekend that the Rus Thompson waterfront tea party was reprised, and one elected official who appeared and spoke at last year’s fete was noticeably absent. State Senator George Maziarz, who placed himself inexplicably and unfortunately in front of what became an ironic sign, didn’t show up.

A do-nothing lump of carbon who shuttles between Newfane and Albany to, well, do nothing, Maziarz has been in elected office since the 70s, and his staff costs the state in excess of $900,000 per year.

Pause to reflect that Maziarz and Volker, two guys who do nothing in a needless legislative house, cost the taxpayers more than $2 million per year. Unlike Coca-Cola, it’s the pause that infuriates.

The tea party crowd conveniently ignores Maziarz and gives him a pass, but he’s frankly only slightly less useless than Volker himself. How do the tea partiers defend their hands-off policy towards Maziarz when he’s held $500/plate fundraisers in New York City featuring Pedro Espada, of all people?

And when the tea partiers make their handy lists of who “owns” certain legislators, one wonders why Maziarz’s generous union donors are omitted.

Maziarz, that paragon of Republican good-governmentism, has been in appointed or elected office since first becoming a town clerk in North Tonawanda in 1975. In the senate since 1995, Maziarz’s wikipedia entry lists one singular legislative victory – the passage of Megan’s Law. The thuggery we see with Volker may not be as well-publicized because it’s not in Erie County, but it’s there nonetheless.

During the time that the Senate was in the majority, Maziarz had a reputation as being a patronage boss par excellance. Upon becoming a minority member, he predictably railed against Democratic patronage hires.  While Maziarz made some noise criticizing NYPA since joining the minority, when he was in the majority, he was on the Energy Committee, which oversees NYPA.  Think he made a big stink about NYPA’s dealings with WNY then?

You’re right – no, he didn’t.

Faux populism is quite tiresome.

We can also point to one very recent event that resulted in utter madness – the 2009 Senate flip by people like slasher Monserrate and corrupt scumbag Espada. Maziarz was instrumental in setting up the whole thing. When Golisano’s henchman, Steve Pigeon, needed to meet with Republicans to set up the Monserrate/Espada switch to give the Republicans a majority again, Maziarz was the guy to whom they reached out.

If you’re for good government, and you’re willing to make a deal with Steve Pigeon, Pedro Espada, and Hiram Monserrate all so you can re-gain a majority after literally a 40-year majority’s worth of doing absolutely nothing, you’ve failed.

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2 Responses to “PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen, Volker vs. Maziarz”

  1. Chris from OP March 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    Like Statler and Waldorf but without the charm…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Who’s worse, Volker or Maziarz? | Political Class Dismissed - March 29, 2010

    […] Who’s worse, Volker or Maziarz? Written by James Ostrowski on March 29, 2010 – 8:30 am – WNYMedia’s FAILboat contest. […]

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