Tag Archives: A-145

Kearns Defeats Fahey in A-145

21 Mar
Kearns, LoCurto, Rivera

Photo by Flickr user Whitney Arlene

Mickey Kearns? Really? 

The 15% of the electorate who turned out elected a Democrat running as a Republican whose only recognizable platform plank was to do battle with Shelly Silver?  Kearns has said he’ll caucus with the Democrats – so Republican efforts to spin this as a victory will ring particularly hollow. 

The New York State Assembly is a particularly malignant and useless construct. On the one hand, you have majority leader Sheldon Silver, who rules his Democratic caucus with an iron fist. On the other hand, you have a collection of the most useless political castrati – the Assembly Republicans. To call the Assembly a legislature is an insult to the notion of democratic representative lawmaking. To call a member “independent” is synonymous with “impotent”. 

That’s why, when I have in the past advocated for a nonpartisan unicameral legislature, I’ve made it clear that we can’t just abolish the Senate and supplant it with the Assembly. Each redundant body is dysfunctional in its own way. 

Yesterday I posted a perfectly benign reminder that an election was taking place and that people who live in that district should go out and vote. I didn’t endorse or attack either candidate, except to say that Kearns’ run as a “Republican” was, to me, inexplicable. Of course, I had some knuckle-dragging Republican attack me for that, and longtime commenter Starbuck, who is quite reasonable although I disagree with him, pointed out that it was “quite explicable” because of party bosses and giving people a choice and Sheldon Silver and Len Lenihan. 

Yes, I understand that Kearns’ ambition would not be stopped by such trivial matters such as party loyalty or ideological consistency. Such is the nature of politics and politicians – win at all costs, even if you jettison your principles.

(By the way, if Carl Paladino and his insult billboardatorium really want to be rid of Sheldon Silver, perhaps he could help find, fund, and support a challenger to Sheldon Silver down in Manhattan. That might actually work.) 

Chris Fahey isn’t a Higgins puppet despite his ties to Higgins’ office, and so what if he was? Brian Higgins is – and has been – among the best representatives of Buffalo and Western New York throughout his political career. While not perfect, he has done tremendous good especially when it comes to waterfront revitalization. Fahey is a bright guy and he’ll do great things – he’s a well-respected and thoughtful behind-the-scenes policy researcher and formulator – a wonk’s wonk. 

Much was made of Kearns’ ties to Carl Paladino, but that support amounted to a few thousand dollars and a Palinesque Facebook post here and there. 

The winner here isn’t Paladino, it’s Byron Brown, who has rid himself of another troublesome common councilmember. Kearns’ vacancy will be filled by the other councilmembers – and the council is now made up primarily of Brown allies, so Brown has an opportunity to further consolidate his control of the city’s policies. Probably one of those unintended circumstances we often read about.  I suppose this indirectly benefits any Republican running in a countywide race, thanks to the longstanding, well-known but denied agreement between Brown and the GOP that no Republican challenger will come to the plate in November, thus suppressing city turnout.

Funny how similar it is to write about Erie County politics as it is to write about, say, organized crime. 

The coverage of this contest was a ridiculous recitation of who’s ahead, who’s behind in the horserace. Aside from his rejection of Sheldon Silver, what’s Mickey Kearns going to do in Albany? Aside from his ties to Brian Higgins, what would Fahey have done there? Well, Fahey outlined a few plans he has to make the environment better for creating jobs. These guys deserved pointed questions about reform, Albany dysfunction, the Cuomo agenda, abolishing authorities, reduction of state corruption, etc. Instead, we got questions about party labels and who was whose puppet. 

Being a maverick isn’t policy – it’s politics. 

Congratulations to Mickey Kearns. I look forward to the analysis of his almost-inevitable rapprochement with Shelly Silver, or his switch to the Republican Party (one of these is going to have to happen if Kearns is going to accomplish much else besides becoming a master Sudoku player.)

Now, let’s see whom Paladino recruits to run against Higgins himself this November.  


Who’s Ahead?

14 Mar

The sole debate between former Higgins staffer Chris Fahey and Common Councilman Mickey Kearns took place yesterday in the Buffalo News’ newsroom. The two were questioned by veteran reporters Bob McCarthy and Brian Meyer, but the vast majority of the questions surrounded horse race crap. Why is Kearns running as a Republican? Fahey is Silver’s puppet! Kearns is Paladino’s puppet! Kearns has kids! By the way, did you know he has a wife and kids? Downstate Interests! Republicans! Sheldon Silver! 

Incidentally, a Democrat running as a Republican whose sole platform plank involves not voting for Sheldon Silver as Assembly Speaker is utterly useless. Seriously, if elected to the Assembly, Kearns will be able to hone his Sudoku skills and little else. (This is why we need a nonpartisan, unicameral legislature and a completely new Albany political structure, but that’s something for another time.)

Horse race inside baseball who’s up, who’s down crap is McCarthy’s specialty. He doesn’t seem to understand or care that the horse race is just the path to attaining and exercising some sort of political power. 

Discussion of actual issues was almost non-existent. The handful of people who watched this mid-day screw-you-no-SCREW-YOU brawl learned almost nothing about the candidates’ positions or platforms. 

This state has some problems. This region has some problems. What are your priorities to fix some of them, or at least ease them? Maybe next time someone ask that. 

Kearns Accused of Campaign Finance Illegality

6 Mar

Chairwoman of the Tonawanda Democratic Committee Gayle Syposs has filed a formal complaint with the state Board of Election against nominal Republican Assembly candidate and Common Council member Mickey Kearns. 

In her complaint, Syposs makes the following allegations: 

Mr. Kearns is currently an elected member of the Buffalo Common Council. In pursuit of said office, Mr. Kearns maintains a campaign finance committee under the name of “Friends of Michael P. Kearns” (filer ID # C22901). 


In addition, Mr. Kearns is the Republican party candidate in the special election for the vacant 145th district seat in the New York State Assembly, scheduled for March 20. For that election, Mr. Kearns has established and maintains a campaign finance account under the name of “Kearns for Western New York” (filer ID # A86775). 

The following specific complaints are made under the sections of the New York State Election Law as detailed below:

  • Mr. Kearns’ campaign committee “Kearns for Western New York,” utilized for election to the New York State Assembly is in violation of Section 14-126 of the Election Law. To wit:
  • The campaign has accepted multiple contributions in excess of the legally prescribed limit for individual and corporate donations for the Special Election. 
    • In his 32 day pre-election campaign filing, the campaign reports that he has accepted no fewer than six contributions from corporate entities in the amount of $5,000.00 each. 
    • One corporation, Red Earth LLC, donated a total of $10,000 on February 3, 2012 – an amount $5,900 in excess of the legal limit.
    • The legal limit for such donations for this special election is $4,100.
    • Accordingly, the campaign has violated section 14-146(2) of the Election Law. 
    • Mr. Kearns has accepted no fewer than five $5,000.00 donations from corporate entities operating from two different business addresses. The acceptance of these donations constitutes a violation of the Election Law as detailed above, but also represents a violation of the spirit of the Election Law, which seeks limits to the amount of influence one corporate entity may have over the political process. The fact that corporate entities operating from one business address (PO Box 25, Gowanda, NY 14070) would contribute $15,000.00 to Mr. Kearns within 10 days’ time raises substantial concerns as to the propriety of such donations.
    • Following an investigation, the state of New York is entitled to seek administrative relief in the form of (i) refunds to the contributor of the amount contributed in overage; and (ii) investigation of the circumstances of the contribution for potential criminal prosecution in accordance with Section 14-126(4) of the Election Law.
  • Mr. Kearns’ campaign for election to the Buffalo Common Council in 2011 is in violation of Section 14-126 of the Election Law. To wit:
    • Candidates for public office in New York State that meet certain fundraising thresholds are required to file campaign finance reports with the New York State Board of Elections at regular intervals. As a candidate for public office on no fewer than three occasions, and as a candidate whose campaign committees have in the past filed reports with the state BOE, it is clear that Mr. Kearns is aware of the requirements of the Election Law with respect to campaign finance disclosure. 
    • In 2011, Mr. Kearns failed to file three (3) consecutive campaign finance disclosure reports with the New York State Board of Elections. These reports are:
      • 32-day pre-General Election report, due on or about October 6, 2011;
      • 11-day pre-General Election report, due on or about October 27, 2011;
      • 27-day post-General Election report, due on or about December 5, 2011.
    • Mr. Kearns’ 2011 campaign is in violation of Section 14-126(1) of the Election Law. Moreover, given that the violation occurred on three consecutive occasions, the campaign filer appears to be in violation of Section 14-126(3), and may thereby be guilty of a misdemeanor. 

Honorable Commissioners, the fair and open conduct of public elections is your charge, and is a responsibility you undoubtedly consider with a tremendous level of importance. Through both his actions and his lack of action, information contained within the New York State Board of Elections’ website for Filer IDs C22901 and A86775 demonstrate prima facie evidence of multiple violations of the Election Law on the part of Michael “Mickey” Kearns and his associated campaign committees. Because of the importance of the conduct of fair and open elections, I ask for the maximum level of civil and criminal relief provided by law. 


The election takes place on March 20th.