Tag Archives: 2009

2009 As Seen By Marquil

30 Dec

A selection of Marquil’s best.  I consider him to be one of the best political cartoonists in New York State focusing on state and local politics, and am honored to carry his images here.  His site is visible here, and he also contributes here.

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Quick Post-Election Post

4 Nov

This is being written quickly on 6 hours’ sleep, so I’ll try to flesh it out at a later time.

1. I thought Hardwick would win.  I didn’t think he’d obliterate Iannello. Congratulations to him.  As I said last night to Chris, I hope he does look at the substantive, incremental regionalism that’s been shunted by the wayside in the last few years.

2. Dino Fudoli beat Diane Terranova, whom he tirelessly worked to keep off the ballot.  Well, it’s somewhat easier to win elections when you figuratively gag and tie your opponent up.  Kathy Konst, whose name stayed on the ballot on the Independence Party line, pulled 20% of the vote, so a separate eff you goes out to her and Collins for colluding to get Fudoli elected.  Fudoli was supposed to be some kind of reformist businessman, but he acted thuggishly during this race, and as far as I’m concerned, his win is tainted.

3. Lynne Dixon blew the doors off Bob Reynolds?  I didn’t see that coming.

4. I didn’t pay much attention to NJ and VA, where Republican gubernatorial candidates won.  They won.  Yay them. Apparently, Republican turnout was as strong as November 2008, but Democratic turnout collapsed.

5. NY-23.  I privately told Chris yesterday that I thought Owens would eke out a win by 2 points.  He won 49.3% vs. 45.2%.  I think Robert Harding’s analysis here is pretty spot-on, and I’ll return to what I said last night: the American people are generally in the middle.  Party activists can tend to be on the political extremes.  Our system of candidate selection, including through primaries, favors the true believer extremists.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate well when you open it up to the general population.  Make no mistake – this loss is a huge blow to the Palinist wing of the Republican Party, which pulled out every single available stop to make sure Hoffman won. When they start the purge of Olympia Snowe, they’d better remember this day.

6.  Chris Collins won some, lost some today.  He gains friendly seats in the legislature.  Veto overrides will be harder now.  He lost the comptroller’s race, and will now have to stand up to more of that pesky scrutiny he so dislikes.

7. Tim Howard.  The Democrats need to recruit someone to run against this guy immediately and start building a credible, strong, well-funded campaign a whole lot earlier than March of 2013.

8. That’s enough, Alice Kryzan.

Your thoughts & observations in comments, please.

Lieutenant Governor

22 Sep

Will Leonard Stokes get free public money and have Byron Brown’s cell phone number when Brown becomes Andrew Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor?



17 Sep

We all heard the rumors of groceries being handed out in some key East Side election districts on Tuesday – vote for Mayor Brown, get free food!

WNYMedia.net checked it out, and we can categorically claim that the claims of groceries-for-votes are all bullshit. It’s just not true. Stop it.

What I am concerned about, however, is the allegations being made by many in Kearns-friendly districts that their names were, for some reason, expunged from the voting records. Newell Nussbaumer’s Facebook update on Tuesday read:

If you have not done so already, please, please go out and vote in the primary! This IS the election!!!!!! Make a difference – if you’re a Republican, then tell your Democratic friends to get to the polling booths. My name was mysteriously missing from my place of polling. So I filled out the necessary paperwork and voted the old fashioned way. Please vote today. PLEASE!

That’s something that needs to be looked into. It’s not the only such story I’ve heard.

UPDATE: I looked into it. Newell’s a registered Republican. That explains why he couldn’t vote in a Democratic primary.

WNY Primary Night Coverage

15 Sep

Stop by some time after 8pm.



Cartoons courtesy of Marquil @Empirewire.com

Liveblog Tuesday

14 Sep

Starting around 8:00 or 8:30 Tuesday featuring the usual suspects.


Kearns for Mayor of Buffalo

13 Sep

For all intents and purposes, election day for Mayor of the City of Buffalo falls on Tuesday of this week.

Of course, I am but a lowly suburbanite with no ability or right to vote in this election. My opinion is completely worthless, and I recognize this 100%. However, I do believe that what happens in the city of Buffalo can have an affect on the rest of the region, including my town. A well-run city attracts people and businesses. A poorly run one repels them. It’s as simple as that. So, as a proponent of regionalism and metropolitan government, I will opine in this race, as I did in 2005 when I urged the people of Buffalo to vote for Kevin Helfer.

Here’s what I said then about Byron Brown:

He’s a nice guy and I’m sure he’s a hard worker and loves Buffalo. I have no doubt about that. But I fear that he would maintain the status quo. When interviewed on the WNY Progress Report about patronage and Ray McGurn, Brown said that patronage wasn’t such a bad thing, and that Ray McGurn isn’t his problem. The constant illegal parking outside his downtown campaign office is emblematic of an arrogance of power and a complete disregard for the rules by which the rest of us live by.

But above all, Brown has no executive experience whatsoever, and has done little during his tenure in the State Senate. History has proven time and again that a driven politician with good ideas can make his mark against even the most difficult odds. Brown didn’t go to the Senate to shake things up and reform it. He went to play along. Out of 4 bills that he co-sponsored in the Senate, three involved the changing of street names. Not a record of achievement.

When Brown headed up Grassroots – the political club he helped found to wrest political influence from people like Arthur Eve – $80,000 in money went unaccounted-for. Brown is receiving a great deal of support from his buddies in Grassroots like Maurice Garner and Clarence Lott. Ultimately, a Brown administration would replace the South Buffalo patronage mill with a Grassroots patronage mill.

By contrast, Helfer pledges a meritocracy, whereby only qualified people get hired – not the best-connected people.

Ah, meritocracy. What a quaint concept.

What Byron Brown brought to the city was a hyper-political environment where who you know is more important than what you know. An environment where you are ordered by your supervisor to do campaign work. The idea of meritocracy in City Hall is all but dead, as underscored by the myriad good people hired for important positions whose departures were attributed to the ham-handed, arrogant, offensive interference by Brown’s ultra-political, Pigeonesque deputy.

While some progress has been made fiscally and in other areas, as pointed out in the Buffalo News’ non-endorsement endorsement, the problem isn’t whether or not Byron Brown has been a failure. In many ways, he hasn’t. That is, if your measure of success means that things plod along with the same old ad hoc battles being waged and same old problems being band-aided by the same old “solutions”.

Four years in, and there’s still no plan.

The problem is that Byron Brown is above all a disappointment. He was the first new mayor elected to lead the city in a decade. He is young. He is a transplant to the area. He is smart, bright, and seemingly inquisitive. One would think that someone such as this might bring new ideas to the office – ideas that might help Buffalo abandon its post-industrial rust belt malaise and begin its journey towards whatever’s next.

Instead we get Citi-Stat and its accompanying show-trials of department heads. We get BERC handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars to inexperienced restaurateurs who are friendly with the Mayor, but poor credit risks. We don’t have Smart Code. We don’t have a comprehensive plan for the city’s future and a path to get there. We have Brown instead taking credit for everything good, and passing the buck on every mistake and misstep.

Seriously, the last time Brown acknowledged a mistake was after he tried and failed to cover up his kid’s late-night joyride. Everything with the Brown Administration is a state secret of the highest order. There is no accountability, no candor.

These things count for something in this day and age. In this place.

So, we turn to Mickey Kearns. He made a splash last year bucking Mayor Brown and Brian Higgins on the Route 5 changes now underway. Frankly, I think he’s wrong on that. He has a tendency to fumfer and filibuster, and he’s a relative newcomer to city government. He has been waging battle against a small-picture mayor by countering with his own small-picture ideas. These are problematic for me, because a city like Buffalo needs vision as much as it needs honesty and competence.

Kearns has that honesty. He’s a straight talker. When he tells you something, it’s unencumbered by embellishment and excuses. He promises to be open-minded and learn not only from the city’s past mistakes, but from other cities’ successes. He recognizes that the closed-mindedness in City Hall is a problem, and he pledges to change that. Kearns lists Jimmy Griffin as one of his political influences, but is quick to point out the good in Griffin and jettison the bad.

Rather than re-hashing Kearns, read what Jim Heaney has to say. It’s dead-on.

So, the choice becomes whether you want honesty and openness in city government, or four more years of ultra-politicization, cover-ups, half-steps, and malevolent political coercion? Look, I don’t harbor any illusions about Mickey Kearns being the hope for a new, progressive, forward-thinking Buffalo. But we took a chance on Brown. Now it’s time to take a chance on Kearns.

Vote Kearns on Tuesday.


The Speech

9 Sep

Barack Obama let the Congress and the talk radio cretins and the talking heads flail around for a month while he sat back and watched.  As the Republican Party slowly became equated with people screaming rudely at town halls, blatantly lying about what was and wasn’t in the President’s proposal, and while various people referred to each other as HitlerStalinGoebbelsMengelePolPot, etc., the President came back to work and sent all the kids to their room.

He blew the lies out of the water, and called them exactly what they are.  Obama’s speech was masterful in that it addressed not only the lies, but also addressed the Republicans directly, explaining that they can’t just stand on the sidelines and hope for failure.  There are certain things they wanted in health care reform, and those things are in this bill.  If they are for competition, it’s in this bill.  If they’re for protecting Medicare, it’s in this bill.  If they’re for tort reform, they’ll take another look.

Here’s the text of the speech.

Framing the changes being sought as consumer protection issues is perfect, because that’s what this is all about at its essence.  Protecting people and making sure that they get the care they contract and pay for.

I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans can’t find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice.

For the progressives, that was his guarantee that there would be some public option.  Restructuring the market, regulating the industry, and offering up a non-profit, public alternative to keep insurers honest.

Obama is staking his Presidency on this most important issue.

That’s called leadership.

Wheee goes the Boomerang

9 Sep

1. Why is the Mayor’s spokesman – a city employee – commenting on a poll concerning his boss’ re-election?

2. Why is the Mayor’s spokesman – a city employee – commenting on Carl Paladino’s probably-too-little-too-late support of Mickey Kearns?

Finally, for the Mayor to whinge about “dirty politics” is droll, considering the guns-a-blazing attempt by the Mayor’s political allies, Mssrs. Casey and Pigeon, to annihilate Sam Hoyt last year.

What goes around comes around, Mr. Mayor.

Karma’s a bitch, Mr. Mayor.

You reap what you sow, Mr. Mayor.

Insert karma/boomerang cliche here.

The Senior Senator

26 Aug


This is the Senator Ted Kennedy that I will remember.

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