Search results for 'ricchiazzi'

Politics is About More than Just Process

9 Jun

Jim Ostrowski responds here to my post criticizing him (or, as Jim terms it “viciously attacking” him).

It starts out with a faux outsider’s lament:

I did not want this to go public but since I have been repeatedly and viciously and falsely and personally and now publicly attacked, I must respond.

If Ostrowski really didn’t “want this to go public”, he shouldn’t have made it public by leaking attacks on Rus Thompson to the political class’ own media outlet. Did he really think people wouldn’t react to his attack, and defend themselves?

The lord of the local glibertarian manor takes issue with my conclusion that the tea party split is due to substantive policy; Hayek vs. Palin or Libertarians vs. Reaganites.

Looks like I gave Ostrowski too much credit.

His public betrayal of Rus Thompson isn’t about policy or substance, he says. Instead, it is about process and purity – a standard of purity that, incidentally, only Ostrowski himself can ever hope to meet. Oh, when Ostrowski recruits a candidate, he is invariably retained as a consultant for them. But if that candidate is taken under the party apparatus’ wing, that consulting gig is in jeopardy or ends altogether, since Ostrowski isn’t well regarded by the local Republican committee. It’s a hate-hate relationship.

When Domagalski decides he’s going to run for Volker’s seat (thus prompting Volker to drop out), despite what Dave DiPietro does, Ostrowski lashes out. That’s because Ostrowski managed DiPietro’s last campaign against Volker, and appears to still be doing so.

While Ostrowski denigrates Rus Thompson and Lenny Roberto for being “regular office-seekers”, Ostrowski admits to only having run once “with the intention of winning”. I guess that handily omits the mid-90s run for governor. Instead, Ostrowski is a regular hanger-on to regular office-seekers. Not for nothing Ostrowski shows up and unexpectedly collects thousands of dollars at a tea party rally in 2009 that Rus Thompson organized. I’ve not seen Rus Thompson go to a Free NY thingy and do the same.

Lenny Roberto has actually garnered serious attention from the Republican Party committee, as well as the endorsement of the Conservative Party. It doesn’t get much more serious than that in local politics-land. And that’s why Ostrowski wants nothing to do with Roberto anymore. Roberto has, in his eyes, become impure – sold out to the political machine.

In other words, Roberto is trying to win an election.

Interesting to note that Free NY/Free Buffalo, under whose auspices Ostrowski collected the money, has never released a smidgen of financial information to show where its funding comes from, how much it takes in, how much it spends, and more specifically where the money went. I don’t have my economics primer, do you?

Setting aside the fact that Ostrowski’s ire is also partly due to the fact that his management of Jill Rowland’s campaign is now over due to the fact that she is running against Louise Slaughter, in whose district Rowland lives, reading between Ostrowski’s lines, the whole split boils down to some sort of irrational obsession and visceral hatred he has for Brian Higgins. The machine took away my candidate! Rus and Lenny Roberto sold out to the party apparatus! Well, to the extent they are working with the ECGOP to elect Republicans, I guess that’s true.

So, Thompson and Roberto are bad for being “regular office-seekers” and also bad for aligning with the party that can best help them attain public office. They are bad for trying to win. Notice the complete absence of substantive policy narrative in Ostrowski’s explanation. It doesn’t matter what they think, just how they operate. Only Jim and the Jimistas are pure.

While Ostrowski launches into an attack of Republican taxation and spending once they’re in office, he ignores the fact that his own group’s endorsed candidate for State Senate in district 60, Matt Ricchiazzi, writes this on his website:

So, it’s ok for Ostrowski to support a kid who backs a “massive state investment” in local infrastructure and expansion of “government schools”. That’s meets Ostrowski’s standard of purity because Ricchiazzi is eschewing the ECGOP. It’s about process, not policy. That’s why Ostrowski backs Mike Kuzma for Stachowski’s seat. He is procedurally pure, running without the support of any established political organization.

Ostrowski is in many ways the very embodiment, to its extremes, of the typical boomer trajectory. Liberal Democrat during Vietnam, morphed into a Libertarian during the “me” generation’s decade, which has ultimately morphed over time into various political constructs, all with the same underlying theme of “leave me alone so I can do whatever I want to whomever I want.”

Hence, the tea party was born, to fight the machine the GOP had become.

So I ask you, how can people who play ball with the machine remain part of the real tea party movement? They may be “winning” but they are not achieving the goals of the movement.

The Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, is a coalition. The Republicans are a coalition of diverse and various conservative, and right-of-center people and ideas. It incorporates people like Nelson Rockefeller and Rand Paul. The point of politics is to win elections in order to effect policy changes that you believe in. Not to engage in idiotic purity pissing matches.

Ostrowski will forever be disappointed by others, because no one but he can live up to his own standards of political procedural purity.

The whole “explanation” is an embarrassment.

Rus Thompson Draws Formerly-Friendly Fire

8 Jun

Ordinarily, you’d expect me to further cheer the daily deepening of the rift between the two competing local tea party factions.

On the one hand, you have conservative Republican wing represented by Carl Paladino and Rus Thompson. Tea New York is registering voters, getting petitions signed, recruiting candidates, supporting and promoting them, and working to a certain degree with the local Republican party apparatus to facilitate all of the above.

On the other, you have a strange amalgam of Jim Ostrowski’s glibertarian cult and Allen Coniglio, a person of such unintentional hilarity that quite literally no one takes him seriously. Their so-called “tea party coalition” finds its home here, at Ostrowski’s own book-plugging site, and on Coniglio’s listserv. They haven’t had much luck recruiting candidates, or keeping them once they do, they have done poor promotion and desperate support, and refuse to cooperate with those in a position to assist them.

The Thompson/Paladino wing is winning. The Ostrowski/Coniglio wing isn’t.

I like Rus Thompson even though I don’t always agree with him. He is a guy who is involved politically for the right reasons. He has been active on the tolls issue, on pushing for reforms and better government for years.

The whole thing blew up in a very dirty and politically vicious way this past week. One of Ostrowski’s clients is an online publisher, and it became quite evident over the weekend that Ostrowski, or someone who is part of his faction, fed that website a great deal of hateful things about Rus Thompson, calling him a “political whore”. It seems that Jim Ostrowski’s personal Higgins opponent, Jill Rowland, was convinced to run instead against Louise Slaughter, leaving Len Roberto to battle Higgins in his annual failed campaign.

Ostrowski’s group held a candidate’s night event a few nights ago and among the people it endorsed is Matthew Ricchiazzi for state senate. It appears that Ostrowski’s “coalition” consists of five old guys. You may recall Ricchiazzi ran for mayor of the city of Buffalo last year for a brief time, gaining little traction but attracting some attention, particularly online.

Monday morning, Ricchiazzi blasted off an email to just about every local media email address he could harvest – even the kid who covers the online-bargain beat for the Channel 2 morning infotainment hour got an email. In it, (see it here in its entirety), Ricchiazzi pleases his new political ally – Ostrowski – by blasting Erie County Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy for, among other things, endorsing “Democrat Rus Thompson”. (Ricchiazzi’s website is here).

Say what now? Rus is a lot of stuff, but to make him out to be some kind of liberal democrat is patently nuts, assuming that the reader is a complete moron. Thompson switched his party enrollment in 2009, expecting to run a primary against Antoine Thompson this year. With Carl Paladino’s entry in the governor’s race, Thompson opted instead to help that effort. Ricchiazzi strikes:

…Langworthy is left impotent, powerless, and unable to deliver.

Such was the case last week, when he failed to garner any significant level of support outside of Erie County for his endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, at the state’s GOP nominating convention. Sources tell me that Langworthy pushed hard to nominate Democrat Rus Thompson in the 60th senate district (as a favor to Carl) at a hastily convened meeting of the Republican Party Committee last Saturday morning, on May 29th. He was flatly denied, (no fault of Rus’s) and was unable to garner a majority to nominate.

Really, Nicholas? You’re going to pull an Ed-Cox and try to give the Republican line to a Democrat? Wasn’t it you telling us that Chairman Cox shouldn’t endorse a Democrat?

Rus Thompson isn’t Steve Levy. Steve Levy was brought it by Ed Cox to help Cox’s son in the NY-1 congressional race. Rus was doing what Lenny Roberto (currently running against Brian Higgins) said people ought to do – run in primaries, rather than general elections. After all, most WNY electoral districts are gerrymandered to the point where general elections are seldom relevant – it all comes down to what happens on primary day.

I contacted Nick Langworthy, and he sent along this statement in response to Ricchiazzi’s rant:

I am simply focused on electing Republicans. I had reached out to Matthew by email after meeting him at a Paladino fundraiser last month. I asked him if he would like to have formal discussions regarding his candidacy. He declined my invitation.

So, it would seem that while the local Democrats are self-destructing into three warring factions, the Republicans have their own three factions. So in actuality we have what amounts to no fewer than six distinct political parties locally, so that’s fun. But ultimately, when a self-important media slut-cum-political prince takes to the nomenklatura’s muckraking site to impugn the integrity of a Rus Thompson, I think that’s beyond shameful and despicable.

A One-Point Action Plan

23 Sep

It’s easy to whine and cry, it’s easy to kick and scream. It’s hard to actually make genuine change.

Matthew Ricchiazzi, who is a registered Republican with good ideas and youthful energy, ran for Mayor of Buffalo. Being only 23 and a political newbie, he didn’t really have much of a chance of winning. His chances got even worse when the Buffalo Republican Party refused to back him, opting instead to “run” someone who has no intention of running.

Ricchiazzi got enough signatures to qualify on a custom-made party line, but forgot to submit a logo for the party, thus disqualifying him.

I’ll leave the argument about making ballot access easier in New York for another day. Ricchiazzi’s platform:

· Eliminate the Property Tax’s Investment Penalty
· Meaningful Reduction of the Extraordinary Tax Burden
· Aggressively Sell Buffalo Niagara to the World’s Most Promising Companies
· Issuance of Same Sex Marriage Licenses in Defiance of State Law
· High Quality Urban Planning and Urban Design
· Venture Capital Fund and the Robust Cultivation of High Growth Industries
· Mayoral Control of Buffalo Public Schools

Ricchiazzi sent this press release out yesterday, threatening to take over the Buffalo Republican Party. He’s got a point, and it’s not completely far-fetched. When the party is disappointing you, change the party leadership. Here’s what he sent out:

Let’s hijack the City’s Republican Party.

Let’s bring democracy and real elections back to Buffalo. We suffer from the incompetence and ineffectual leadership of a one-party machine that continues to squander our future. The smallness their thinking, the poverty of their ambition, and the pettiness of their politics cripples our City and pushes our potential to the wayside. But that’s due—in very large part—to a Republican Party that offers an unpalatable alternative with no agenda, nor even a candidate.

So let me make this admittedly radical proposal: let’s hijack the Republican Party, oust the current executive committee, and rewrite the Party’s agenda. Continue reading

September in an Election Year in Buffalo

3 Sep


The entire county legislature is up for re-election.  Nothing much to talk about.

Mayor Brown versus Mickey Kearns?  While it’s certainly a stark choice between Brown’s secretive empire and Kearns’ pledges of openness, no one’s been lighting the world on fire.  I remember the 2005 mayoral race, where a slate of Democrats and a Republican or two battled it out to replace the lame Masiello administration.   When the challenger is not well funded and the incumbent is reluctant to debate or otherwise acknowledge the existence of a challenge, it’s not going to be much of a barnburner of a race.

A town hall was held the other night, and the Answer Lady attended.  She says Brown was stiff, spouting talking points, and that Kearns did a good jobs and hit on the right technical ideas.  She criticized Matt Ricchiazzi for using flowery language when simple phrasing will do just fine.  Everyone knows you’re young, inexperienced, and well-educated.  But the flowery language thing didn’t help Kevin Gaughan much at the polls, ever.

The Democratic primary is in just a couple of weeks.  Let’s go, people.  Someone do something.

The Buffalo Mayoral "Race" 2009

7 Aug

I guess it’s time to start focusing on this “race” for Mayor given that primary day is about a month away. Artvoice did a piece on Mickey Kearns, indicating that he’s taking the gloves off in his criticism of the Brown Administration.

Paul Wolf writes:

In my opinion Mickey Kearns has dropped the ball in his campaign for Mayor by running a campaign that lacks bold ideas. Don’t tell me what you are against and what Brown has done wrong, tell me what you are for and what you are going to do as Mayor.

That’s true.  But bold ideas don’t win elections for mayor of the city of Buffalo.  Just look at the current and previous few occupants of that office.  Just ask someone like Kevin Gaughan. What wins that election is a careful tightrope walk, promising change to the progressives and maintenance of the status quo to entrenched interests. This way, everyone is equally disappointed.

But Paul is right.  Kearns’ mayoral platform reads like he’s running for town board of some small town somewhere.

If you haven’t yet, check out Matthew Ricchiazzi’s page.  He’s a young kid with little experience, but lots of good ideas.  I hope to hear more from him in the future.

(Image courtesy Flickr user outofcontxt)

Things that are news but aren't

13 Jul

1. Pigeosano taking credit for reforms that haven’t happened in an effort to deflect blame for a monthlong fiasco they created in an irrelevant governmental body.  “Persona non grata” indeed.

2. Brian Davis under investigation for doing bad things.   I don’t know why, but I just can’t pull it together to care about this story.  The fact that a councilman allegedly did stuff that is bad or illegal is also not particularly sexy stuff. Here’s a prediction – he wins re-election handily.

3. Between BERC, HUD problems, block grant malfeasance, pressuring of City Hall employees to do campaign work, the notion that Buffalo is a pit of patronage, idiocy, backstabbing, and backslapping is not news.  The fact that it’s being investigated is.

4. Mickey Kearns hasn’t got a shot.  This is a fact, but whether it be from a poorly reasoned, poorly run Kearns campaign, from a hyperactive Ricchiazzi campaign, or a sacrificial lamb Gattone campaign, at least the people of Buffalo will have a choice.  They’ll overwhelmingly choose Byron Brown, but there will at certain points be other selections on the ballot.

What would be a great mayoral race?  Byron Brown versus Sam Hoyt.  Not because of the substance – because of the fireworks that would ensue.