SD-59. Crowded.

5 May

Yesterday, former Erie County Republican Committee chairman Jim Domagalski announced his candidacy for what has for 40 years been Dale Volker’s state senate seat. In that 40 year period, WNY and Volker’s district has rapidly declined despite his – and senate Republican – “leadership”. It’s safe to say that no matter who wins, the people of that zig-zagged gerrymandered district may be better off.

Of course, I don’t think we need a state senate. And if you thought about it, you’d reach the same conclusion. Last year, we asked Bill Stachowski and Antoine Thompson why we needed a state senate, and the reply was comically free of substance. Yesterday, asked Domagalski essentially the same question, but we rephrased it to use the term “bicameral legislature”. Here’s Domagalski’s response:


Good answer, and he’s technically right that the Senate acts as a de facto check on the more populous Assembly.

But a unicameral legislature doesn’t mean abolish the Senate and leave the Assembly as is. Unicam means abolishing both legislatures in their current form, and creating something completely new out of whole cloth. Everyone out, nonpartisan redistricting based rationally on population, and nonpartisan election with no party caucusing. See Nebraska. If you couple that with the Brennan Center’s recommended reforms to ensure that there is freedom to propose bills and free debate, then you have an opportunity to genuinely return the government to the people.

Across-the-board tax and spending cuts address the symptoms, not the disease.

Also entering the race is a lone Democrat, Chris Sasiadek. You can check out Chris’ Facebook page here.

The war within the local Republican party is embodied by the apparent entry in this race by former Erie County Sheriff Pat Gallivan. It’s rumored that a faction of the local GOP loyal to Tom Reynolds (rolleyes) is upset at Domagalski for the way in which Volker was allegedly pushed out of the race by the former party chairman, and Gallivan is their revenge.

In addition, there is a genuine birther in the race. David DiPietro primaried Volker last time around, and won in Erie County. DiPietro hosts a weekly radio program where he takes phone calls only from his good friends in the Tea Party movement. If you want to know what radio shows sounded like in dictatorships, that’s your show. He has since become a leader in the fractured local tea party movement (he is aligned with the Paulist Ostrowskiite faction), and his name popped up in the group of Paladino emails received last month.

Check out that idiotic, ignorant birther email. “Heeza Muzlim”, for God’s sake. One glance tells you it’s false. Snopes confirms it. As a matter of fact, Snopes counts 47 urban legends being created about George W. Bush. For seekrit kenyan muzlim frum indoneezha Barry Soetoro, there are now 87. Of those, 43% of the Bush rumors were true. Only 9% of the Obama rumors are true. The birther movement is a particular strain of xenophobic, ignorant conspiracy mongering, and its adherents don’t deserve to be treated seriously.

Primary Challenge founder Len Roberto had earlier decided that his annual run for office would be for Volker’s district, but he’s since decided to run for Congress against Brian Higgins (NY-27). Roberto belongs to the rival, Palinist wing of the local tea party movement.

There has also been a rumor spreading about former IP chairman Tony Orsini running as a Democrat. That would be humor of epic proportions.

Open Senate seats only pop up in this case once every two generations. It’ll be interesting to see if the campaigns rise above the angry pablum that seems to be in vogue now (See Paladino, Carl) and actually begins discussing serious ways to fundamentally change how Albany does business.

13 Responses to “SD-59. Crowded.”

  1. Rob May 5, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    Is “birther” the correct term for someone who thinks Obama is a secret Muslim? Just wondering.

    So – the “Ostrowskiite faction” includes Allen “Cleanse Humanity of Welfare Slackers” Coniglio and Dave “Heeza Muslim” DiPietro.

    It’s a diverse group!

  2. Greg May 5, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Obama is a pretty smart guy, so my guess is he’s a closet atheist.

    • BrianS May 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm #


      Most people I know who have any brains don’t believe in fairytales, no matter who’s teling them.

  3. Chris Sasiadek May 5, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Thanks for the mention Alan. I would add my facebook group:!/group.php?gid=115726275125778 where I encourage Western New Yorkers to start discussions, ask questions and propose solutions.

  4. Nate-Dog May 5, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    Just a heads up (not trying to be a “gotcha” guy) – Sen. Volker served in the Assembly from 1972-1975 when he won a special election for the Senate Seat (though I don’t know when he actually took office and don’t feel like digging further). He has been SD 59 for thirty-five years, not forty years. (

  5. Fat Tony May 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Your clarification on your views for a unicameral Legislature is the first time I’ve actually thought maybe that’s a good approach. The Assembly is a cesspool of incompetence far worse than anything in the Senate. I’m friggin tired of the Senate Dems saying the state if screwed up because Republicans controlled the Senate for the last forty years. The fact is Senate Republicans, while not exactly a bastion of leadership, have been locked in pitched battle with the Assembly Democrats for thirty-six years.

    It’s the Assembly Democrats who watered down the civil confinement sex offender law that has put our children at risk. It’s Assembly Dems who refuse to reform workers’ comp reform, who wont’ touch Taylor Law, who prevent public private partnerships for infrastructure improvements that are getting things done in Canada and Europe.

    Anything that blows up that body that has ruined this state and starts over from square one is OK in my book.

  6. Joe Blow May 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Domagalski looks like such a …Republican. This guy looks like the living embodiment of the stereotypical Northeast Republican.

    Sorry for commenting on his looks.

    Just sayin.

    • BrianS May 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

      I apologize as well for not being able to help commenting on the guy’s looks, but I cannot help but also notice he has that Republican “way about him”. Not a compliment. He looks like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade float. If in Albany, how’s JD gonna refuse future deficits when he cannot refuse a simple doughnut.

      • Kay May 7, 2010 at 10:45 am #

        I know the few comments about Jim’s appearance were not mean-spirited, or meant to insult him. I’ve known Jim since 1995. His politics and mine couldn’t be farther apart, and I am in no way amongst his circle of close friends, or a supporter of his campaign or agenda. However, for the record, in the past, Jim suffered from a common medical condition that over 20 million Americans have, which is likely the cause of his appearance. Please don’t let his appearance influence your decisions about him.

      • Marc Odien May 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

        Let me guess… Republican-itis? I should probably clarify that my jokes about jim’s look stems from the idea someone mentioned below. If someone asked me to draw a picture of a your standard republican, I would draw Jim. Maybe with a cookie. But christ sakes, we never implied he was the missing link. Besides, i don’t think any of the Adonis’s here at wnym have much room to talk about looks in the first place.

        Mmm. Did someone say cookie?

  7. tim May 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

    Alan, I’m sorry if I missed it, but why exactly would a unicamerial legislature work better?

  8. ccruckus May 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Anyone who has read my comments here before knows that I’m a Democrat and wouldn’t vote for Jim Domagalski if someone put a revolver to my head….but enough with the jokes about his appearance. I am fat myself, should that disqualify me from holding office?

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