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Quality

28 Oct

Reading the Buffalo News’ endorsements this cycle has been entertaining, if nothing else. Last week, we had a lackluster semi-endorsement of our hyperpolitical caretaker mayor. More recently, the News has slapped our embarrassing Sheriff, Tim Howard, who has been dramatically bad at his job. To top it off, he effectively appointed himself to the bench, and declared the NY SAFE Act unconstitutional, without ever donning a robe or passing the bar. 

To say that Howard’s position on the SAFE Act is fundamentally undemocratic is an understatement. Howard needs to go, even if his SAFE Act declaration was a cheap ploy to get gun-huggers’ votes. By contrast, I hadn’t heard much from Dobson, but he was especially impressive at a recent candidate forum he attended in Clarence

Then turn to the endorsement for the County Legislature, District 8. Republican Ted Morton is up against Democrat Wynnie Fisher. How’s this for an opening

This became a difficult race to call with the revelation that the Republican candidate for this open seat, Ted B. Morton, violated ethical rules as a financial planner by borrowing money from his clients between 2009 and 2012. For that infraction, the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency fined him $5,000 and suspended him from acting as a financial planner for six months.

His employer, LPL Financial, fired him. He mentioned none of this in his campaign or during an interview with the News editorial board.

This is an egregious violation that should disqualify Morton from public office, at least for now. We cannot endorse him, even though he is, in other ways, the better candidate, having more experience and a surer sense of the task at hand.

So, Wynnie Fisher may have inexplicably admitted her own naivete, but even in doing so she’s more open and transparent than her unethical opponent. Simply amazing. 

Finally, the News’ endorsement of Kevin Gaughan is critical of the incumbent

Mychajliw’s image as a self-promoter who is preparing for higher office is inescapable. The image is burnished every time he criticizes even the tiniest action of the county executive and ensures the media is there to cover it. Mychajliw trumpets that he hasn’t called news conferences to discuss his findings, but he’s not shy about alerting the media at the same times he sends his findings to county government.

I saw Mychajliw, who has carefully formulated this “good guy” image, has started airing negative ads against Gaughan. While Gaughan’s tax problems are embarrassing, there’s plenty of embarrassing stuff about Mychajliw’s background, too. The doctrine of clean hands should estop Mychajliw from this sort of nonsense. At least Gaughan has taken responsibility for his debt, and paid it off. This shouldn’t negate his 20+ years work trying to help turn western New York into a more cost-effective place for taxpayers to live. 

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