2010 WNYMedia Endorsements

1 Nov

Since we have a divergence of opinion on our site, we thought we’d take a different approach to our annual endorsements.  We’ll give each of our political writers an opportunity to endorse their candidate of choice and use majority rules to give a final sitewide endorsement to candidates.  We feel this is the best way to give the fullest picture and the most information about each candidate.

SPOILER ALERT – The liberal media elites at WNYMedia have endorsed THREE republicans.

Governor: Andrew Cuomo, Carl Paladino, Howie Hawkins, Warren Redlich, Jimmy McMillan, Charles Barron, Kristin Davis

Alan Bedenko: Based on the race he’s run for governor, – especially since becoming the Republican nominee – Carl Paladino is hardly qualified to be elected to anything that doesn’t end in “the Clown”.  It was something to behold – the most tween-whiny, petulantly horrible statewide campaign ever waged by a serious major party candidate.   I endorse Andrew Cuomo for Governor of the State of New York.  From the very beginning, he understood that grown-up crises deserve grown-up solutions.  His plans for reforming New York State Government may not be perfect, and they may not go far enough in some instances, but the problems are too dire to let us play games for another four years, after the Spitzer/Paterson holding pattern we’ve been in.

Marc Odien: Duh… Andrew Cuomo

Chris Smith: My choice is Andrew Cuomo.  New York State has serious, fundamental problems that require the attention of an experienced hand with serious proposals and remedies.  Cuomo has set himself apart from the other candidates with his thorough proposals and dedication to reducing the number of governments in the state.  He favors many of the Brennan Center reforms and has the political skills and credibility with the legislature to accomplish many of them.

Brian Castner: The only way to vote for Carl Paladino is to believe that the dysfunction in Albany is more disgusting than racist emails, horse pornography, low grade sexism, and possible homophobia. I believe it is. Paladino isn’t going to take a bat to anyone, or reduce government to One Man in a Room. But his default position is to cut spending and taxes, and there are very very few places in the Albany budget where both are not appropriate. Cuomo is not only all talk and no action (how many governments eliminated since his signature bill passed?), but would enter office with no mandate to push for any particular reform, as Carl has been the focus of the campaign, not policy. This strategy will probably get Cuomo elected, but it does not serve the interests of the state.

Colin Eager: I’ll be voting for Andrew Cuomo on Row E, despite the fact that he’s dating Sandra Lee.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Andrew Cuomo

Attorney General: Eric Schneiderman, Dan Donovan

Alan Bedenko: By way of full disclosure, I’ve known Schneiderman for about 20 years on a personal level, so I know him to be a good friend as well as a strong voice for progressive causes, someone who is dedicated to getting government right, fixing legislative anachronisms, and I know that he’ll aggressively prosecute people who cheat New Yorkers and break the law.  He will be the next in the line of activist AGs in the Spitzer/Cuomo model.

Marc Odien: What Colin said. Eric Schneiderman seems like he’s a guy that can get the job done

Chris Smith: My choice is Eric Schneiderman.  He has proven his commitment to ethics reform with his leadership in expelling Hiram Monserrate from the State Senate and has pledged to revisit and reform the Rockefeller-era drug laws that cripple our prison system and clog our courts.  He has a strong record fighting for women’s health clinics and is an advocate for sensible housing law which can help clean up neighborhoods and deal with vacancy issues in Upstate New York.

Brian Castner: As Cuomo is likely the next governor, New York is going to need some opposite party watchdogs to keep the Democratic onslaught in line. I’m sure both candidates are quite qualified, and I’m no fan of the Rockefeller drug laws. But vote Donovan to keep an eye on whether all of Cuomo’s Wall Street money is not buying undue influence or special treatment.

Colin Eager: Schneiderman helped reform the insane Rockefeller drug laws.  He gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Eric Schneiderman

New York State Comptroller: Tom DiNapoli, Harry Wilson

Alan Bedenko: I give this one to Harry Wilson, who has an actual record in the private sector, versus DiNapoli who has been the accidental heir to an office whose most recent elected officeholder is now a convict.  Wilson helped turn the embattled GM around during carpocalypse and has the education and work experience that’s needed to keep the fiscal house in check. I think DiNapoli has done a pretty stand-up job during his tenure, so it’s sort of close.

Marc Odien: I have no confidence in a guy that lost millions on Wall Street, I endorse DiNapoli

Chris Smith: Harry Wilson has a long and distinguished resume in the financial industry and is my choice.  He has serious plans for ethics reform and reducing the $350 Million spent each year in managing New York State’s pension fund.  He has an accountant’s eye for audits and will help bring about efficiencies in state agencies.

Brian Castner: I am a fan of DiNapoli’s pension fund investment strategy, which provides capital infusions to New York start up companies. It is one of the few truly progressive things New York does. However, for the reasons provided above for AG, go opposite party. Vote Harry Wilson.

Colin Eager: I’m writing in Mark Poloncarz: perfect teeth, nice smell, a class act all the way!

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Harry Wilson

United States Senate: Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe DioGuardi

Alan Bedenko: Kirsten Gillibrand has taken this gift of a promotion she was handed, and ran with it.  The reason why Paladino’s “little girl” crack was stupid – apart from being rank misogyny – is that Gillibrand has really gone out of her way to stake out a path separate and distinct from Schumer’s.  And in most cases, Gillibrand’s voice has been the more progressive, more aggressive one for meaningful legislative change that would help upstate’s middle class.  Also, DioGuardi’s campaign has been clownishly awful.

Marc Odien: I heart Kirstin Gillibrand

Chris Smith: Kirsten Gillibrand has established herself as a leader in the progressive caucus in the US Senate.  She has taken a lead on health care reform, financial reform, and transparency.  In a short period of time, she has focused on the work of the Senate and spent little time growing her name and brand recognition.  If the Republicans had put forth a serious candidate, her lack of attention to building that name recognition could have hurt her.  However, Joe DioGuardi is not a serious candidate and Gillibrand deserves another shot.

Brian Castner: I should be endorsing Rudy Giuliani, Chris Collins, or George Pataki for this seat. But instead, the state Republican party failed to provide legit opposition. In the north east, Republicans need to pounce on these seats when the incumbent is still vulnerable. Total and complete failure of imagination or planning. Vote for Gillibrand, but don’t kid yourself that she’s an Upstate senator, or representing your interests vice NYC.

Colin Eager: Is this even a race?  I’d vote for Ronnie James Dio before this DioGuardi person.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senate: Jay Townsend, Chuck Schumer

Alan Bedenko: Marc and I interviewed Townsend the other day when he came to Buffalo, and I had to ask him who he was and what he did.  He could be standing right next to me and I’d have no clue who he was.  Most likely, neither do you.  But you do know Schumer, who is all about serving all New Yorkers and excellent constituent service.

Marc Odien: Jay who? Can you say Majority Leader Schumer?

Chris Smith: Chuck Schumer, I don’t really feel the need to justify it.  A leader for centrist democrats and an early leader in the clubhouse to be the Senate Majority Leader in the event that Harry Reid loses to wingnut Sharron Angle in Nevada.

Brian Castner: There is something to be said for a politician accurately reflecting the values, positions, views and interests of his or her constituents. I may not agree with Schumer on everything (or much), but he is Mr. New York, and represents that in the Senate. He’s also a bit OCD on local interests and issues, and would call anyone in the world if it got one more job in New York. Vote Schumer for Minority Leader.

Colin Eager: Is this even a race?

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sen. Chuck Schumer

US Congress, NY-26: Chris Lee, Phil Fedele

Alan Bedenko: Chris Lee, but only by default.  I’d love for there to be a competitive and serious Democratic challenger to Lee, who has occasionally aligned himself with Higgins and Slaughter to help the middle class, but has voted against the interests of the 26th District’s recession-addled middle class time and time again.

Marc Odien: Until Chris Lee grants WNYmedia an interview I cannot endorse him, even with his nice hair. But then again, I can’t endorse a placeholder either. Here’s to redistricting that seat out of existence!

Chris Smith: Write-In Candidate Scott Bylewski, Clarence Town Supervisor.  The race we should have had.

Brian Castner: Chris Lee earns top marks from friends and enemies for being thoughtful, interested, easy to work with, and bi-partisan on Western New York issues. A great addition to the House and the WNY delegation. Lee should walk away with this one.

Colin Eager: Krusty the Clown once bet on the Washington Generals because he thought they were due.  That worked out about as well as the Fedele campaign will.  In the words of Buffalo’s own Nick Bakay, “Push: there are no winners here.”

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Chris Lee (Maybe now we’ll get that interview)

US Congress, NY-27: Brian Higgins, Lenny Roberto

Alan Bedenko: Lenny Roberto is hardly qualified to be Lenny Roberto.  He’s a loudmouth teabagger whose idea of moving the 27th forward is to undo stuff.  Higgins is probably the most intelligent and well thought-out politician in all of WNY.  Although he sometimes gets himself embroiled in silly power politics here at home, when it comes to the big stuff that matters – the waterfront, health care, Fuhrmann Boulevard – Higgins is right there with not just the right votes, but smart and forward-thinking ideas.

Marc Odien: Len Roberto is a lunatic. Brian Higgins

Chris Smith: Rep. Higgins is a centrist leader in the House, more concerned with matters in the district than with rubbing elbows and increasing his profile in Washington.  A thoughtful congressman who unflinchingly supported healthcare reform and serious financial reform.  Also, owner of the best political suits in Buffalo.  His opponent is so fed up with politicians that he has now run for every office he can possibly fun for and lost miserably each and every time.  Your choice, centrist Democrat who fights to bring federal money home for projects to improve Buffalo or a crazy ideologue who wants to repeal the 14th and 16th amendments?  I think I’ll go with Higgins.

Brian Castner: You could vote against the King of the Waterfront, but there is no point. Buffalo could do a lot worse than Brian Higgins.

Colin Eager: I’ve had my beefs with Higgins over the years, but he’s one of a select few local pols with a brain in his head.  And he’s got a sweet mullet covering that head.  He gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Brian Higgins

US Congress, NY-28: Louise Slaughter, Dr. Jill Rowland

Alan Bedenko: Louise Slaughter.  Because she’s awesome, and because Jill Rowland is nowhere doing nothing.

Marc Odien: Louise Slaughter is and has been one of the greatest representatives we have in Western New York. And she has a lot of clout in Washington to do great things for this region.

Chris Smith: Rep. Slaughter is one of the most senior and respected members of Congress.  She doesn’t take any shit and has full command of issues like health care reform, high speed rail, alternative energy proposals and economic development.  She is a true advocate for Buffalo, Rochester, and Niagara Falls.

Brian Castner: Slaughter’s entrenchment is the only reason she has not been voted out for her laundry list of FAILures. As head of the Rules Committee, she has not allowed a single bill to appear on the floor of the House open for amendments, the first time that has happened in 221 years. Hope and Change! Hyper-partisanship aside, she got chump change for NY for high speed rail, was bureaucratically inept on the healthcare passage (anyone remember the Slaughter Solution?), and stops by WNY only when its time to get re-elected. She is a true advocate for Rochester, but I am skeptical about the rest. Dr. Rowland is a bit too Tea Partyish for me, but she is better than Slaughter.

Colin Eager: I really like Slaughter.  She’s got a great accent, and I saw her respond to a question about high speed rail with a 10 minute technical discussion of the engineering challenges of the project.  She’s a smart lady, and her staffers were always great, too.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Louise Slaughter

New York State Supreme Court, Eighth Judicial District (Vote For 5): Kevin Dillon, Eugene Fahey, Hank Nowak, Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, Mark Montour, Deborah Chimes, Mark Rodgers, Cheryl Green, Paul Wojtaszek, Jeff Voelkl

Alan Bedenko: I’m going to recommend the Democratic slate, but want to especially give props to three candidates.  I’ve been in front of Kevin Dillon and Gene Fahey.  Dillon is one of the most respected jurists in town, and appearing before him, or conferencing a case in his chambers is a treat.  He’s one of the most knowledgeable judges when it comes to both procedural and substantive law, and it’s a pleasure to work with him.  The same can be said for Gene Fahey, who is also one of the smartest and most thoughtful – and thought-provoking – judges on the bench.  While we miss him in Buffalo, it’s always pleasing to see him on the panel at the App Div.  Vote for both of these outstanding jurists.  I also hold out special regard for Hank Nowak, who has really made a name for himself handling housing matters in city court.  He sees the law as a reflection of society, as something that should be helping people solve problems rather than creating winners and losers.  When you ask him a question or speak with him, he listens.  Then he gives you a relevant answer or poses a relevant counter-question.  Welcome to excellence.  Nugent-Panepinto has been the confidential law clerk for Tracey Bannister, and was a trial lawyer before that.  I also endorse Mark Montour.

Marc Odien: We shouldn’t be voting for judges in the first place and there is no way in hell I would ever vote for a conservative or republican judge. Line A (Democrats) all the way!

Chris Smith: I will endorse Hank Nowak as he is one of the most thoughtful, innovative, and credible legal minds in the region.  His management of Buffalo Housing Court has proven to be a model of efficiency and reform which is being exported to housing courts throughout the rust belt.  I’ve also read several glowing endorsements of Judges Fahey and Dillon for their work on the State Supreme Court which are reflected by their top ratings from the regional bar associations.  Judge Mark Montour is a well regarded legal mind who has demonstrated excellence as a judge in Lancaster.  Catherine Nugent-Panepinto has quality experience as a law clerk, attorney and member of the Buffalo Board of Education.  If it’s possible to give an anti-endorsement, it would be for Cheryl Green.  Her demonstrated contempt for the rule of law during the Erie County Holding Center debacle earlier this year and rating of “Not Recommended” from the Erie County Bar speak volumes about her skills and credibility.

Brian Castner: I challenge anyone to give me credible opinion on what any one of these judges would do to distinguish themselves if elected, or what policy I am voting for or against in selecting any one of these candidates. This is why we shouldn’t vote for judges at all. Vote for Green if you want to see the Court of Appeals busy.

Colin Eager: Kevin Dillon, because I’ve always liked “Heaven Help Us.”  Eugene Fahey, because my mother still can’t believe that he lost to Tony Masiello back in ’93.  Hank Nowak, because he’s actually a good choice.  And Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, because her husband almost got me and 100 of my closest friends arrested in the Boulevard Mall back in 2002.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Judge Kevin Dillon, Judge Eugene Fahey, Judge Hank Nowak, Judge Mark Montour, Catherine Nugent-Panepinto

NY State Senate 58: Jack Quinn, Tim Kennedy, Bill Stachowski

Alan Bedenko: I haven’t always agreed with Tim Kennedy on procedural or substantive issues he’s brought before the county legislature, but I respect the fact that he’s brought issues there at all.  He won’t sell the working class up the river, and he says he’ll vote in favor of gay marriage.  Jack Quinn has been in Albany and done bugger-all except complain about stuff.  I’ll take the guy I don’t always agree with over the guy who’s done little/nothing.

Marc Odien: I’m glad I don’t live in this district. Kennedy is a known Pigeonista and I’m not one for reaching across the aisle for personal political gain, which is what he did to create a Chris Collins controlled legislature. He recently changed his stance on Marriage Equality simply for the endorsement of the Stonewall Democrats. Tim Kennedy wants to create jobs in WNY but sent his campaign and commercial work to a company in San Francisco. Like his commercial said “THREE STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT”. Sorry Tim, but you still have a lot to prove to this member of the “liberal elite”. No Endorsement

Chris Smith: Tim Kennedy is an advocate for several causes I believe in (gay marriage and support for trade unions) but has demonstrated a questionable level of ethics in his prominent role in the Steve Pigeon organized and Chris Collins-led takeover of the Erie County Legislature this year.  While I would ordinarily avoid a guy with questionable ethics, Kennedy’s position on issues that matter to many in WNY gives him the edge.  It’s a shame, because this seat should rightfully have gone to Assemblyman Mark Schroeder, who would make a fine addition to the state senate.

Brian Castner: Tim Kennedy is the poster child for a sell out politician who puts the desires of his donors above those of the region. A flawless shill for union interests, Kennedy isn’t smart enough to realize when his public positions are so blatantly exposed and opportunist as to be embarrassing. Albany would only provide a larger stage for his ineptitude. I’ve never heard anyone (except for Kennedy on tv ads paid for with questionable donations) say anything bad about Quinn – give him a promotion.

Colin Eager: Ugh.  Kennedy is a weasel who threw the County Legislature to Chris Collins, Stachowski is a homophobic dinosaur, and Quinn is a Republican.  Kent Brockman was right: democracy just doesn’t work.  Push.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Tim Kennedy

NY State Senate 59: Patrick Gallivan, Cynthia Appleton, Dave DiPietro

Alan Bedenko: Cynthia Appleton for the win.  Her platform is as rational and fiscal conservative as anyone’s, and she’s neither a careerist politician nor a bitter teabagger hack on a vendetta. She is the only one of the three candidates who is able to not only speak to the unique issues affecting the rural counties of the district, but to include them when discussing how she’d help create jobs, or at least improve the job-creation environment.  Awareness plus innovation equals endorsement.

Marc Odien: Dave Dipietro is an indecisive lunatic birther. Pat Gallivan gave us Tim Howard. I’ll go with the up and coming nurse. Apples for Appleton.

Chris Smith: I’ve met Cynthia Appleton and I don’t think I’ve ever met a more sincere candidate for public office.  She has a deep knowledge of the issues that matter to this far-flung and complex district and would be a true “citizen legislator”.  Appleton is a strong advocate for non-partisan redistricting, women’s rights, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and significant changes to regulations which hamper the family farms in this district.  She is the thoughtful choice, neither an insane wingnut with an agenda nor a lifetime politician who hopped in the race at the behest of the political enemies of Jim Domagalski.

Brian Castner: Remember what I said about politicians accurately reflecting the views of their constituents? It’s true for Schumer, and it will be true for Gallivan. This is a rural and suburban district, and a good fit for Gallivan. If the State Senate is to go Republican, an admirable goal, then this seat needs to stay GOP.

Colin Eager: a haircut, a lunatic, and a nurse.  I’ll take the nurse.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Cynthia Appleton

NY State Senate 60: Antoine Thompson, Mark Grisanti

Alan Bedenko: Antoine Thompson is a joke and a disgrace.  His tenure in the state senate is distinguished only by failure and embarrassment.  He is a hack who is out for self-aggrandizement and self-promotion.  The very few instances where he’s cast the right vote (gay marriage, for instance) don’t come close to making up for how horrible he is at everything that isn’t “promoting Antoine”.  Mark Grisanti is a smart guy who promises to be ethical and accountable.  That’s enough for me.

Marc Odien: The fact that Grisanti was once a democrat gives me hope that with a little convincing, he would come to his senses and ditch the GOP. And I can’t endorse a guy who takes a trip to Jamaica when the shit hits the fan and calls it “economic development”. He couldn’t answer the basic question of why we even need a state senate and couldn’t do the heavy lifting in college let alone now in the senate. Here’s to the upset but seriously, I think we are stuck with Thompson. No Endorsement

Chris Smith: I cannot support the re-election of Antoine Thompson under any circumstance.  His presence in public office is an affront to the people of this region who believe in competent government.  The litany of reasons why Antoine is unfit to serve can be found with a simple google search of his name and he represents everything horrible about local politics.  A ham-handed political grifter who is in government to get what’s his, not to do the people’s business.  One cannot be a credible advocate for reform and vote to send this man back to Albany.  I’ll endorse Grisanti and immediately begin raising money for Rory Allen, Maria Whyte or David Rivera to take him on in the next primary.

Brian Castner: No one needs to be voted out of office more than Antoine Thompson. His incompetence and sense of entitlement are unequaled. He can’t find 3/4 of his district on a map. His goes to Jamaica at budget time. He tries to change the law to help his personal injury case. Should I go on? The only defense I have ever heard of Thompson is that he is a friend of the environment. This is a liberal state – don’t worry, the environment has plenty of advocates. It doesn’t need Antoine. A Grisanti victory would be a model of how to defeat entrenched incumbents – skip the primary, and take the fight to the general election. Don’t let Colin convince you to stay out of it. No vote at all only enables Antoine. We need to get rid of him as soon as we can.

Colin Eager: Antoine, Antoine, Antoine . . . what’s left to say?  Not gonna support Grisanti, though.  I hasten away from the carnage.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Mark Grisanti

NY State Senate 61: Marc Coppola, Mike Ranzenhofer

Alan Bedenko: Mike Ranzenhofer has snoozed his way through legislative win after legislative win for 20+ years because he’s a boring Republican in a Republican district.  He can go and do whatever his leadership wants him to do, make few waves, take no initiative, and keep collecting a sweet public paycheck, sweet public benefits, and a sweet public pension.  Name one single, solitary thing that Mike Ranzenhofer has stood for – what is the Ranzenhofer record? The Ranzenhofer plan?  The Ranzenhofer initiatives?  Oxymorons, all. Marc Coppola has a record of achievement, of innovation, of hard work.  He takes legislative work seriously, as a way to do good work for his constituents.  His call to abolish electoral fusion would take us thousands of miles down the road of reform and fighting corrupt minor party patronage.  A vote for Coppola is a vote for a state senator who shows up, pays attention, and does good stuff.

Marc Odien: Ranzenhofer is as useless as tits on a bull. Marc Coppola for State Senate.

Chris Smith: I know that Colin will say that Coppola’s stance against electoral fusion is bullshit, but it’s a principled stand against a corrupt system.  Coppola has a firm grasp of the issues and has a record of cutting spending and taxes while a member of the Buffalo Common Council.  He was aggressive as a freshman state senator and is an advocate for reform and transparency.  Ranzenhofer is a do-nothing legislator and has literally nothing to show for 21 years in office in the Erie County Legislature and the state senate.

Brian Castner: Coppola’s stand against fusion voting is admirable and correct. However, he doesn’t need to be a state senator to get that message out. The only reason to endorse Ranzenhofer is to help make the Senate Republican. I can’t name anything useful he has ever done, but he’s not a cancer like Antoine. Vote Republican.

Colin Eager: Coppola’s “no minor party” stand is bullshit, but he’s not Mike Ranzenhofer.  What a claim to fame!  Marc “the other” Coppola gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Marc Coppola

NY Assembly 140: Robin Schimminger, Kevin Stocker

Alan Bedenko: Schimminger is a long-time incumbent, but he doesn’t always toe the party line.  He votes his conscience, and gets my nod.

Marc Odien: Robin Schimminger is the Democratic version of Mike Ranzenhofer. If I get one more duplicative piece of mail from him I’m gonna shove them up his ass. But I can’t vote for Kevin “California dreamin” Stocker, since its 2010 and he looks like a guy straight out of the Alpha Beta frat house who wants to beat up those “lambda lambda lambda nerds” who saw his girlfriend naked. So Robin “I’ve lived under the radar for 30 years” Schimminger will get my vote.

Chris Smith: While it’s difficult to send a 34 year incumbent back to Albany, Robin Schimminger has a firm grasp of the issues facing the district and has worked to reduce spending and reform Medicaid.  He has voted no on recent budgets and has worked to introduce ethics reforms.  His opponent, Kevin Stocker, is an all-rhetoric Republican with little substance behind the standard line of “cut spending”.  The fact that Republican Party cannot develop legitimate candidates to take out long term incumbents like Schimminger is a disservice to the voters of WNY. Change for the sake of change is not a good thing, Schimminger gets sent back again.

Brian Castner: I had to look up the Republican challenger in this race. Stocker who?  No matter – no one should be in Albany for 34 years. No one.

Colin Eager: The old shortstop for the Phillies?  Push: there are no winners here.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Robin Schimminger

NY Assembly 143: Dennis Gabryszak, Patrick Mandia

Alan Bedenko: Dennis Gabryszak, because his Facebook status updates about Farmville and going to the gym are what I want to read about when the Assembly is working on a very late budget.

Marc Odien: A guy named Mandia is not going to beat a guy named Gabryszak while trying to represent Cheektowaga, Sloan and Depew. Enough said.

Chris Smith: Dennis Gabryszak is a strong advocate for gun rights and is opposed to gay marriage legislation.  He is pro-labor, an advocate for streamlining economic development agencies and is a leader on environmental conservation and green technology.  A mixed bag for Democrats, but a sensible choice.  His opponent, Patrick Mandia, holds many of the same positions as Gabryszak, but is also in favor of term limits, increased legislative transparency and the full slate of Brennan Center reforms.  Gabryszak is a conservative democrat who should face a primary next time around and I’ll give him a begrudging endorsement.

Brian Castner: Who could possibly have an opinion on such similar candidates? I’m over it. Vote Mandia because at least we’re sure he’s read the Brennan Center report.

Colin Eager: Gabryszak’s a homophobe.  Fuck him.  No winners here.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Dennis Gabryszak

NY Assembly 144: Sam Hoyt, Brian Biggie, Joe Golombek

Alan Bedenko: Hoyt deserves it for the work he does to help improve Buffalo, whether it be preservation tax credits, progressive causes, charter schools, and other issues near and dear to the hearts of the west side intelligentsia.

Marc Odien: Sam “The Man” Hoyt

Chris Smith: No one should start off their political career by getting their ass kicked, but that is what Biggie signed up for.  Hoyt is a leader on progressive issues and his increased seniority and passion for urban issues will only serve to benefit the City of Buffalo.  As an added bonus, Sam is one of the most approachable, intelligent and thoughtful politicians in the region.

Brian Castner: The Entitled Incumbent hater in me wants you to vote against Hoyt. But the Bring Home the Bacon lover and Buffalophile says to keep him around. Hoyt has shown leadership in an otherwise aimless Assembly, stands up to Silver (when given permission), advocates for preservation and economic development, and visits his entire district at times other just election season. I feel bad for Biggie, and Golombek is a nice guy who painted himself in a corner. Go Sam.

Colin Eager: Uh, Sam.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sam Hoyt

NY Assembly 146: Brad Rybczynski, Kevin Smardz

Alan Bedenko: I have no clue, so default Democrat: Rybczynski.

Marc Odien: Won’t someone please think of the CHILDREN! Brad seems like a good enough guy, but needs to lighten up a bit. It was just an “oink” for god’s sake it wasn’t like he was turned into a pig. If he wants to keep running for office, he’ll need to grow some thicker skin and a sense of humor. Hopefully he’ll find one in Albany.

Chris Smith: I preferred Rybczynski’s primary opponent, Mike Amodeo, but Brad is a competent and educated candidate for office.  Reform-minded and progressive.  Also, as a side note, how awesome is it that Buffalo is one of the few places in America where a guy named Rybczynski can show up on a ballot and not have his weird name be an issue?

Brian Castner: Brad’s a WFP guy. Go Smardz.

Colin Eager: Brad’s a WFP guy.  Good enough for me.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Brad Rybczynski

Erie County Clerk: Kathy Hochul, Cliff Bergfeld

Alan Bedenko: There’s no politician in WNY more in touch with how to improve the services her office provides to the taxpayer than Kathy Hochul. Her eye is always on the ball.

Marc Odien: Two words. KATHY HOCHUL. This Cliff guy isn’t even in the same league and I’m not sure he even knows what the county clerk does.

Chris Smith: If you like principled leadership and good government, Kathy Hochul is your choice. Her opponent is a quality candidate, but Hochul has proven to be an excellent public servant.

Brian Castner: Hochul is competent, and not a push over. Good enough.

Colin Eager: Why is this even an elected position?

Final WNYMedia Endorsement: Kathy Hochul

29 Responses to “2010 WNYMedia Endorsements”

  1. Ward November 1, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    “Alan Bedenko: I have no clue, so default Democrat.”

    That pretty much sums it up.

    Nice pick on Comptroller, guys. But when three of the five refuse to endorse Antoine’s opponent simply because he’s running on the evil R line (albeit a lifelong D), you know for sure what you’re getting at this site.

  2. BobbyCat November 1, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    I especially like Colin Eager’s commentary on Dennis Gabryszak: “Fuck him”. I almost fell off the chair laughing.

  3. Jeremy November 1, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Just a brief comment for both WNYmedia and local/state pols who might be reading this.

    Although I wasn’t expecting to do so prior to reading this article, I am going to be taking this list of endorsements to the ballot box tomorrow. What I anticipated was a well-considered but modestly explained collection of endorsements with as little practical value as anything published by the News or other newspapers in the state. Instead, the opportunity for readers to see the separate viewpoints – sometimes a little rough or abbreviated, but in Alan’s case in particular, highly practical and progressive – of multiple interested staff members made your collection of endorsements feel more real and worthwhile.

    This is not blanket praise for the coverage that has led up to these endorsements, which despite good intentions and frankly shocking leadership in discussing Carl Paladino’s ineligibility to serve as governor, sometimes crossed the line into the sort of frothing partisanship that has become so problematic over the past three years in particular. However, given the choice between shrinking violets (News/MSM) and thorny roses (WNYmedia), I’ll take the people who obviously have passion and interest in their subject matter any day. You’ve earned my support and trust; it remains to be seen whether your future coverage of local politics can go further and be worthy of broader respect, as well.

  4. Danielle November 1, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    As I mentioned in the Your Picks column – I’ve personally sat down with Gabryszak re: Marriage Equality. I think his vote could be swung if he heard enough noise from his constituents. He personally supports it, but voted against it because that is what he believes his constituents want.

  5. cashdollar November 1, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I like this format for for endorsements. 

  6. cashdollar November 1, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    I like this format for for endorsements. It reflects the diversity on the site

  7. Scott Bylewski November 1, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Thank you for the insightful writing and the write-in show of support.

  8. Greg November 1, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    I genuine LOLed at Colin’s “fuck him”.


  9. Mike In WNY November 1, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    For the most part, especially at the federal level, voting has become an exercise of absurdity. Both major parties vary little in their objectives which have put us on a path to bankruptcy. The choices we face at the polls are not real choices at all and offer no more change than the voters of Cuba or North Korea are faced with.

  10. JSmith November 1, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I’d be interested to hear your takes on the County Legislature downsizing proposition. On the one hand, the county legislature seems like a generally pointless organization, and getting rid of some seats might save a few bucks. On the other hand, won’t this just consolidate Chris Collins’s dictatorial power and generally reduce representation?

  11. Brian Castner November 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    @ JSmith – Ignore the money, and the “more power in fewer hands” argument. This has nothing to do with temporary Chris Collins either, IMO. Instead, ask the reasonable question: “How many legislators does a county of one million need?” To me, the answer 11 makes more sense than 15.

  12. JSmith November 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    Brian, that’s a good question. I wonder what the average is for metro areas with a similar makeup (i.e., a substantial urban core surrounded by suburbs and rural areas, as opposed to completely rural or urban counties).

    Indianapolis (oft cited as a good example of a city-county merger) has a representation level of about 31,000 citizens per city-county council member. Erie County currently has about 60,000 citizens per county legislator. If the proposition is approved, this will change to one legislator per 83,000 citizens. On the other hand, Cook County, Illinois (bastion of corruption and scandal) only has one county commissioner per 311,000 citizens. Chicago itself has 50 aldermen, each representing an average of 57,000 citizens. I’m not sure that there is a “best practice” for citizens per representative that maximizes representation and minimizes corruption and bureaucratic bloat.

    I understand (and can appreciate) the attraction to “shrinking government” by eliminating elected representatives, but I wonder how much of a positive impact that will actually have compared to the potential negative effects.

  13. cashdollar November 1, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    909,000/11 = 82,636
    909,000/15 = 60,600
    Downsizing the county equals less representation. That’s not debatable. And of course it’s more power in fewer hands.

    Saying otherwise is fuzzy math.

    As for savings, at the most you’re looking at $500,000 out of a $184,000,000 budget that’s .02%. I expect that collins spent more on six sigma then he’ll save here. 

    So bottom line you’ll have to share your rep with 27% more people. So if you vote to downsize, you vote for less democracy, for a statistically insignificant savings. yeah that makes sense.

  14. cashdollar November 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    Already tried to post this once, but it didn’t take:
    909,000/11 = 82,636909,000/15 = 60,600
    Few legislators = less representationFewer legislators representing the same number of people = more power in fewer hands.
    Savings from downsizing = $500,000  (at most) out of a budget of $184,000,000 = a savings of .02%
    What we’re looking at is less democracy for a what is literally a statistically insignificant savings. 
    Saying anything else is fuzzy math.

  15. BobbyCat November 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    I heard that most legislatures of a million people operate with 7 legislators. So we’ll downsize to 11 and still be 20 or 30 years behind the curve.

    And also behind the curve in prosecuting officials who try to impede an election, namely Messrs Mohr and Ward. If we caught someone stuffing ballot boxes they’d be prosecuted, no? So what about these two characters who claimed they were doing their duty, but were chastised for abusing their offices? Who gave the order to try and kill the downsizing election? A Grand Jury investigation could tell us if they acted alone or were higher-up involved. Donne Esmonde seems to think that the County bosses gave their tacit approval and no words needed to be exchanged. I’m not so sure about that. Let a Grand Jury decide. If the DA has a conflict, perhaps the Feds would investigate.

    On a grander stage, I want to know why 2 Supreme Court justices – Scalia and Thomas- who voted in favor of Citizens United, attended a seminar put on by the Koch Brothers – the money men behind the tea parties. That looks like an enormous conflict of interest. Or are the Supremes beyond the law?

  16. eliz. November 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    Alan, you’re part of the West Side intelligentsia. You just happen to live in Clarence, is all.

  17. Eddie November 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Single best line of this post? “Lenny Roberto is hardly qualified to be Lenny Roberto”

  18. Arthur Welser November 1, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I don’t care what the issues are, I want a State Senator that I know with much more assurance then a Senators say so that he or she doesn’t have a conflict of interest and will represent NYS to the best to their abilities and not the best interests of their Law Firm, clients or fellow NYS Bar members.

    It amazes me attorneys are allowed to practice law while serving in the NYS Senate and Assembly and I for one will never again vote for an attorney that isn’t willing to discontinue the practice of NYS Law while they serve in office.

    These attorneys are little more than lobbyists and it is you and I that are paying their $80,000 plus salaries.

  19. Mark Poloncarz November 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    Interesting choices. No matter who you support make sure you get out and vote.

    Colin: thanks for the vote of confidence though my teeth are not perfect and I am not sure what you mean by “nice smell.” Not sure what to make of that. 😉

  20. billpeterson November 1, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    alans tirades against dale volker are absolute bullshit if he supports robin schimminger

  21. Gabe November 1, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    One of the best things I’ve seen posted on this site in quite some time. Political endorsements by panel (much akin to Slate’s deconstruction of each Mad Men episode) is a gift of web 2.0 media format that the lamestream press has yet to adopt. This will certainly set the format for future election coverage.

    As an aside, I’m kind of with Colin in saying “fuck this, no endorsement!” to many of these races with the exception of the critical need to boot Antoine as far away from Albany as possible.

  22. DanB November 2, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    The mendacity of Cuomo is almost pathological.

    He has been posing as some big reformer, telling the Daily News that NYS government is a joke:


    And running commercials about how he will fix the dysfunctional state government:

    But I guess he is confident he has it locked up so yesterday speaking in Albany he stated his true views:

    “That’s what the New York state government is: It’s not a sign of degradation and corruttion and waste. It’s the greatest state government in the United States of America.”

    That is right, he said the NYS government is not corrupt or wasteful but rather the greatest state government in the USA!!!!!!!!

    Wow.  And yeah, he really did say that.  Video here:


  23. Derek J. Punaro November 2, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    I agree with previous comments. This is a good format.

  24. Colin November 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    @Mark:like 90% of what I write, it’s a Simpsons reference. It’s Homer’s description of meeting God — how’s that for an endorsement?


  1. Endorsements 2010 « WNYMedia.net - November 1, 2010

    […] year’s endorsements are a group effort, so click here to see them. Alan Bedenko posted this on November 1, 2010 at 9:08 […]

  2. Vote. « WNYMedia.net - November 1, 2010

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  3. Go Vote Today « WNYMedia.net - November 2, 2010

    […] infinitely more acceptable than staying home and not voting at all. If you aren’t informed, check our endorsements for a refresher. If you have kids, take them with you (like I do) and teach them that being a citizen involves not […]

  4. Fourteen Thoughts « WNYMedia.net - November 3, 2010

    […] 2010 WNYMedia Endorsements (wnymedia.net) […]

  5. On Transparency and Objectivity About Our “Liberal Bias” « WNYMedia.net - November 9, 2010

    […] wrote a post this weekend about Keith Olbermann’s suspension, transparency and the idea that journalists and news organizations should share who they voted for: We have the ethic of journalism exactly reversed from what it should be: Journalists should be […]

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