Marc Coppola for State Senate SD-61 #WNYVotes

22 Sep

By way of full disclosure, I ran against Mike Ranzenhofer for the county legislature in 2007.  I think he’s just as ineffective and feckless now as he was then.

Ranzenhofer has been in elected office for over 20 years, and has helped preside over the precipitous decline in WNY’s fortunes during that time.  While he was in the minority during most of his tenure in the county legislature and state senate, someone who believes in good government can still make a positive difference for his constituents beyond just saying, “no” and proposing pie-in-the-sky tax cuts without actually doing the work necessary to get it done.  During his short time in the majority, he advocated for, and passed, the Giambra budgets that led to fiscal meltdown in 2004.

Marc Coppola, former Buffalo City Councilman and pre-Antoine SD-60 senator has moved into Tonawanda and is running to replace Ranzenhofer in SD-61.  He made a splash when he announced by renouncing our corrupt system of electoral fusion, refusing to accept or seek the WFP or IP or CP lines.  He pledges to work to abolish fusion. By contrast, Ranzenhofer sought and received the endorsements of the IP and CP, and no doubt some IP and CP low-level, semi-intelligent apparatchik will get some sort of state job or contract in exchange for that endorsement.  You scratch my back politics is de rigeur in New York if you play the fusion game.

Coppola is the first person with a high profile to so vocally criticize and renounce fusion – a system that helps and is helped by the party establishment.

Yet Ranzenhofer goes to the Senate, helps the Republicans cut deals with corrupt friend-of-Pigeon, Pedro Espada, and criticizes the budget process in Albany.   He has zero independence whatsoever and goes along with whatever the minority does.  Coppola rightfully criticized Ranzenhofer’s disingenuous complaints about the budget process thusly,

There are 62 members in the New York State Senate and it only takes 32 to pass a bill. Even with nine members absent, the remaining 53 are more than enough to get something accomplished. The fact that nothing is getting done is due to senators like Mike Ranzenhofer who would rather accomplish nothing so that they can play partisan blame games.”

Ranzenhofer has also been missing in action when it comes to the battle to pass the UB 20/20 legislation. The university is the district’s largest employer and in desperate need of help.

“I challenge the incumbent senator to show some independence and work for the people who elected him, not his party leader. I challenge him to do something for his district and WNY. New York State is in its most difficult financial crisis since the Great Depression. This is no time for partisan politics. It is a time for all members to act like adults and work together for the good of all New Yorkers.”

Coppola isn’t just blowing smoke.  During his abbreviated (4-month session) tenure in the state Senate, Coppola submitted many  bills, four of which passed and were signed into law by the Governor, all while being in the minority and the most freshman member of the Senate at the time.  That’s about the same number that former state senator Byron Brown passed during his entire 5 years there.

The fiscally conservative Republican incumbent, isn’t.  Just yesterday, Coppola pointed out that Ranzenhofer is all too happy to spend public money when it directly benefits his re-election campaign.

[Ranzenhofer] is an outright hypocrite, claiming to be a fiscal conservative, while spending like a liberal.

“Ranzenhofer continues to call for budget cuts and less spending, but what does he do? He spends, and spends, and then spends more taxpayer money,” Coppola said.

Ranzenhofer sent out taxpayer-funded mailings through his government offices. This most recent mailer simply invites people to come and meet his staff. Another mailer informs people to be safe on Halloween.

“Are these messages really important enough to spend thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on?” asked Coppola.

The practice is widely criticized as wasteful.

Coppola believes Ranzenhofer is misleading the public when he sounds the alarm about state spending and reducing taxes, yet he continues to spend more than any other WNY Senator in his conference on useless mailers.

Ranzenhofer wants it both ways contends Coppola, “He’s telling his constituents that he’s trying to reduce state spending, but nobody will listen to him. He is ineffective because he has no credibility and doesn’t practice what he preaches.”

Coppola also criticized Ranzenhofer for using the system to further his re-election campaign with mailers close to the election at taxpayer expense. Ranzenhofer should have used campaign funds, said Coppola.

“He has over a quarter of a million dollars in his campaign war chest, why not lead by example and use that, rather than taxpayer money when the state is virtually bankrupt,” he added.

Ranzenhofer really is just a suburban, Republican variation on the Antoine Thompson theme.  He gets a free pass on everything he does (or, more often than not, doesn’t do) because he’s a Republican with a gaping enrollment advantage in his district.  But can you name a singular Ranzenhofer legislative success?  Can you name one initiative that he’s brought forth to make your life better?  Hell, can you name a time he actually accomplished something – whether it be lowering taxes or controlling spending?

A cynic would say that Ranzenhofer’s political tenure are mere efforts to get great benefits and a sweet pension – something his small Akron law firm could never offer and remain solvent.

By contrast, Coppola wants to return to Albany and actually bring about some political change that would matter.  Abolishing electoral fusion would matter. Changing the way in which the state budget is passed would matter.  Instituting rules changes to render the legislative process in New York more democratic and fair would matter.  The highlights of his platform include,

  • A Constitutional Budget Deadline, ending late state budgets forever.
  • A Mandate Relief Task Force, that will review and recommend changes to state laws that increase property taxes
  • A Regional Economic Development plan that will grow jobs by consolidating agencies, streamlining the process, and adding consistency
  • Adding full investigatory powers and abilities to both the State Board of Elections and the Legislative Ethics Commission in order to hold elected officials, candidates for office, and their staffs accountable for violations
  • An end to Fusion Voting, which allows candidates to run on multiple party lines. This has become a breeding ground for corruption and has outlived its usefulness in New York State

When you talk to Marc Coppola, you sense his passion for good government and public service.  He knows the importance of that work, and understands the process and its nuances. He’s a guy who would go to Albany and actually do something – not just cut deals with Pedro Espada, then sit back and do nothing.  Coppola is hosting a fundraiser at Caputi’s on Sheridan in Tonawanda tonight, and you can contribute to his campaign here via ActBlue.

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3 Responses to “Marc Coppola for State Senate SD-61 #WNYVotes”

  1. BuffaloGirl September 22, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    You hit the nail on the head when you say that when you speak with him “you sense his passion for good government and public service. He knows the importance of that work, and understands the process and its nuances.” He is public service personified. When he was in office he was one of the only elected officials that was not a politician, not out for himself or his friends, but working hard, very hard, for the people of his community.

  2. Arthur Welser September 22, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Who does (will) Ranzenhofer ( Quinn, Domalgalski and Grisanti) represent on the Senate floor? His (their) constituency, clients or his (their) law firm?

    Perhaps the reason Marc was able to pass so much legislation in such little time is that he needed to answer to no one but his own conscience and constituents.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Coppola Challenges Ranzenhofer to Debates « WNYMedia.net - September 23, 2010

    […] SD-61, Democratic Challenger Marc Coppola challenges incumbent Republican State Senator Mike Ranzenhofer to a series of debates – […]

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