Redistricting Nonsense-apalooza Begins

26 May

Note: This article looks much different from the version published at 1PM.  We use a scheduling system for posts and this was supposed to be released yesterday at 1PM, not today.  It has been updated to reflect reality.  Sorry for the confusion. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, all the better. 🙂

Yesterday, the Erie County Legislature hosted a public hearing to debate the merits of two competing redistricting proposals.

The first proposal (Local Law 3-2011), was assembled pursuant to the efforts of the Erie County Redistricting commission, which was chaired by Hodgson Russ attorney Adam Perry. The law is sponsored by Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller Williams.  This proposal also has the support of the six member Republican minority and the tentative support of West Seneca Legislator Christina Bove, who together make up the remnants of the much ballyhooed “reform coalition“.  Click here for a link to the map of the proposed new districts.

The second proposal (Local Law 4-2011), was designed by the Democrats and is sponsored by Betty Jean Grant. Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan was able to pull rogue Democrat Tim Whalen out of the “reform coalition” to support this proposal.  This bill has the support of the ECDC-loyal Democrats in the legislature, which gives them seven votes.  Most notable in the proposal is the redistricting punishment that will be given to “Reform Coalition” leader Barbara Miller-Williams.  Click here for a link to the map of the proposed new districts.

So, the battle is for the vote of Christina Bove, who again finds herself the subject of a political tug of war. Whichever group offers her the most comfortable level of “protection” and/or “lulus” will undoubtedly secure her vote.  If the Democrats can bring her back to their side, this will put County Executive Chris Collins in the unenviable position of vetoing the plan for downsizing and redistricting that was so central to his re-election plans.  A veto would provide a sizable political victory for Lenihan, the Democrats and County Executive candidate Mark Poloncarz leading into the fall.

So, Tina, what’s it gonna be?

We’ll find out at a special meeting of the Erie County Legislature in Old County Hall, 4th Floor, 92 Franklin St., in the City of Buffalo, N.Y.  14202 on Wednesday, June 2nd at 2PM when the final vote is taken on the competing proposals.  We’ll stream that meeting here on WNYMedia.

7 Responses to “Redistricting Nonsense-apalooza Begins”

  1. Brian May 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Anyone thinking Americans or Erie Countians have ANY say in politics is whack. As Dick Durbin said, “The banks own this place.”

  2. Jayne May 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    The link for the Erie Co. Dems is to Erie County, PA. See Now who’s saying rut-roh? lol

    • Christopher Smith May 26, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

      Fixed. Damn it, just not my day today…

  3. RaChaCha May 26, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    I was at the hearing last night, and as I tweeted from chambers (@HeyRaChaCha), it wasn’t entirely citizen-friendly. First, the main entrance guards not only did not have information about whether a public hearing was being held, but actually had strict orders to leave their posts at 5PM sharp. (No processee, no entrancee). For a few minutes I wasn’t sure I was going to get in, and I wasn’t alone. Not a criticism of the guards BTW, but whomever issues their orders.

    Secondly, someone was posted at the entrance to chambers under orders (by the president of the legislature) to get names of everyone attending even if they weren’t planning to speak. I’ve never been asked to do this before.

  4. RaChaCha May 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Some of the best writing I’ve seen on the redistricting commission fiasco is the editorial in the Bee, “Committee’s Sleight of Hand Costs Residents,” which takes aim at Adam Perry’s cynical machinations — such as making an excuse to not seek citizen input on the front end, then pulling a surprise vote out of his hat resulting in the cancellations of the three public hearings planned for the back end.

    For those who don’t follow as closely, Perry is the president of Mayor Byron Brown’s Fund to Advance Buffalo who tells the Buffalo News, “do not print that I am aligned with the Mayor.” He was also involved in the Sundra Ryce (non?) candidacy to replace Lenihan as chair of the Erie County Democratic Committee — although no journalism that I’m aware of has yet pinned down exactly who played what role, most likely because why devote much effort to what amounted to a non-event.

    Also, as I wrote on Buffalo Rising (follow link in my comment name), Adam Perry is the lead attorney pulling in 6-figures of toll-payers’ money to fight elected officials’ efforts to get some basic, simple answers from the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission about a rumored-sweetheart compensation package given to a fired executive.

    So: Adam Perry wants to keep you from having your say, and wants to keep you and your elected representatives from having information the public has every right to know. And (current) legislature chair Barbara Miller-Williams appointed him to head the redistricting commission.

    Christina Bove: with friends like these, who needs enemies–?

  5. Kevin J. May 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    To add to your point, RaChaCha, Adam Perry is also the general counsel of the Community Action Organization. The chairman of that organization is John Calvin Davis, the Chief of Staff of the Erie County Legislature Majority Office, who was appointed to that position by Chairperson Barbara Miller-Williams, who also appointed Perry to chair the redistricting commission.

    To be fair, Davis, who is also the brother of Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, is the person who delivered the letter and the message firing me from my County Legislature staff position from then new Chair Barbara Miller-Williams.


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