The Buffalopundit Podcast, Episode 1: Clarence Shenanigans

8 Sep

What follows is a first for me – a podcast. It’s a bit long, and done mostly because the information I have to convey to you is in an audio file. It has to do with the Clarence IDA, its chairman, David Hartzell, and the fact that Hartzell is running for town supervisor as a Republican against Democratic incumbent Scott Bylewski.

It’s a tale about hypocrisy and politicization of nominally apolitical body.

Jeff Feinen applied to do marketing work for the IDA. Feinen also happened to execute a general objection to certain of Hartzell’s Conservative Party nominating petitions, because he’s helping the Bylewski campaign. What follows is commentary, followed by the entire exchange between Hartzell, Bylewski, and town attorney Steve Bengart over what Hartzell calls Feinen’s and Bylewski’s politicization of the IDA:


Download the audio file here.

9 Responses to “The Buffalopundit Podcast, Episode 1: Clarence Shenanigans”

  1. Jim Milles September 8, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Is this going to be on iTunes? It’s the easiest way to listen, for me. 

    • Alan Bedenko September 8, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      Submitted it to them earlier today, Jim.

  2. Buffalo Blood Donor September 8, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Wow, speaking of pre-judging, I think your conclusions at the end of the podcast have a similar taint. Hartzell’s ethics board recommendation seemed related to simply asking for help (the “2nd opinion”) to make sure he himself wasn’t stepping over a line. Didn’t at all sound like a threat to me. Was Hartzell looking at Bylewski in a threatening manner? Or was his body language more of curiosity and a genuine concern for the matters of his board and board members? We weren’t there, I guess we won’t know that.

    I can’t imagine that if I were in Hartzell’s position that I would be asking different questions. It’s way too easy for either side to claim political bias (this is obviously done a lot before every election cycle) and I think Hartzell was trying to be thorough and gain as much opinion and knowledge as possible from his fellow board members. These types of discussions are immensely helpful in understanding rationales and shaping current and future decision making, especially on boards where membership is in constant flux.

    I thought this was a very rationale, mature discussion. Neither Hartzell nor Bylewski sounded tense or angry or upset with anything other than it perhaps not being a board-level issue that shouldn’t be taking up time on the agenda.

    Were you on a fishing expedition? Reminds me of how the MSM decided to make hay with DateGate last week. It would have been nice had you asked the two members what they thought about how that meeting went, and included it in your remarks.


  3. STEEL September 8, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Plus, why does Clarence even have its own IDA?

  4. Small town goofball September 8, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    David can’t seem to compartmentalize.
    Unprofessional and embarrassing.
    These IDAs are out of control

  5. Jus'sayin' September 8, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Thanks for posting this. There is a persistent strain in Clarence politics of an inability to distinguish between due political process and personal attack. I call it ‘the politics of umbrage’. Ian McPherson dragged the board into a state supreme court over a supervisor’s ruling that he didn’t like, even though he was clearly ‘misguided’. I think Weiss’ actions were also questionable. Here, I think it’s amusing that David Hartzell wants a ‘second opinion’. He would ‘lose’, but he would also avoid direct responsibility for his actions.
    Feinen has a perfect right (as does any citizen) to ensure that nominating petitions comply with the law, and if Hartzell has a problem with that, then he can just keep his mouth shut and not drag it into the public sphere, as he has. The elephant in this room is that the possession of the Conservative line is (or has been) extraordinarily important for success in Clarence elections.

  6. Ed September 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Nice audio. I think that getting a 2nd opinion on the vote from the Ethics Board is a good idea. If Mr. Feinen is assisting Bylewski politically, should Bylewski be voting on matters benefitting Mr. Feinen? Conversely, should Hartzell be voting on matters that involve his political opponents? Sounds like a good question for the Ethics Board to evaluate. Isn’t that why there is an Ethics Board? For the record, I think that Mr. Feinen should have not interjetced himself into politics while trying to do business with 2 board members. Its just not a smart idea.

    Regarding the firework debate that you referenced, should Bylewski have voted on Snyder’s firework permit after he received his largest political donation in his 10 year career just 2 days prior to the scheduled vote from Snyder? Particularly since Snyder had not made any political donations in the past and Bylewski was positioned to be the swing vote after the permit was rejected in 2010. If you are going after Hartzell for this, I couldn’t image how you would react if he took $2000 that times out to look like political pay for play. SHENANIGANS ALL RIGHT!!!!

  7. Peggy September 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Clarence politics are becoming an embarrassment for the community. Deep pocket developers appear to be backing Hartzell a self admitted side show act “Mr. Hartzell toured with Circus Kirk in 1974 and 1975, setting a Guinness World Record for lying on a bed of nails during the Westminster Renaissance Fair”. (Quote from Hartzell’s own website). Volunteer firemen and others are attacking Joe Weiss, Councilman, who is a strong Hartzell supporter Weiss in turn is attacking the Supervisor because he was praised for doing an outstanding job helping our community deal with the terrible tragedy of Flight 3407. Republicans seem to be bent on eating their own trying to regain exclusive control over every elected Town office.

    If Hartzell felt there was any conflict of interest he should have looked in the mirror showing prejudice in the way he handled the issue. As Chairman he should be a neutral party not trying to influence the Board. Also, from what I heard there was no vote being taken on the matter so there would be no reason for anyone to recuse themselves until the item is brought to the floor for a vote.

  8. Jesse September 9, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    @STEEL: Absolutely correct.

    A government-sponsored agency gets politicized?  WTF did anyone expect would happen?? Suggesting any of these agencies could be “apolitical” is either naive or just plain dumb.

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