Tag Archives: Antoine Thompson

Antoine Thompson: Alleged Assailant

15 Sep

A campaign worker went down to Antoine Thompson’s campaign HQ this past Thursday – two days after Thompson lost a primary to incumbent Crystal Peoples-Stokes – and says he got the crap beat out of him

Christopher Patterson, 37, said in a police report that Thompson held him down at his Assembly campaign headquarters on East Delavan Avenue, two days after the candidate’s defeat in the Democratic primary for Assembly. He also said two others, Neil Mack and Rashad Howard, punched and kicked him. He said that the assault caused him pain and abrasions to the back of his neck and that he needed to seek treatment at Sisters Hospital.

That whole thing will play itself out on the criminal and civil dockets, but congratulations seem to be in order for Mr. Thompson, who has evidently recovered nicely from the injuries he allegedly suffered in a fender-bender; injuries that were so mild that he used the experience as an effort to weaken the state’s no-fault threshold of “serious injury” for car crash lawsuits

The most amazing thing about Thompson’s attempt to re-enter the political arena is that Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Byron Brown basically gave him the best gift – a job when he needed one, a couple of years after Mark Grisanti kicked him out of the State Senate. 

Maybe he can get a job advising the Weppner campaign? They seem made for each other. 

The Antoine Thompson Hire: Look on the Bright Side

11 Dec

The Buffalo Employment and Training Center (BETC) is a Buffalo city agency that exists to help people find jobs. It works with applicants to try and match them with prospective employers, and has a roster of companies and agencies with which it works. It would make sense that the person whom the city retains to operate BETC would have some significant and meaningful experience in the field of hiring, human resources, or recruiting. 

Antoine Thompson spent his political adolescence being groomed by the Grassroots political club to be the next Byron Brown.  His ambition often seems to be in adverse proportion to his abilities; he started out in the Common Council as Brown’s appointed replacement, and within just 4 years was sniffing around Louise Slaughter’s congressional seat because he was upset that the party leaders had not picked him to replace then Mayor-elect Brown in the senate. Thompson eventually made it to the senate in 2006 when, with the support of Brown and Grassroots, he defeated Marc Coppola. It should come as no surprise that the Thompson/Coppola battle of 2006 forms the genesis of the hostility between the Lenihan and Brown political factions. Thompson then defeated then-Democrat Mark Grisanti in a primary race for the 60th Senate District seat in 2008. Grisanti ran as a Republican in 2010 and defeated Thompson that year. 

Since leaving government, Thompson has worked on the periphery of politics, nominally a real estate agent but also operating a newspaper and writing web pieces for former Joe Illuzzi associate Glenn Gramigna.

Actual ad on BlackWNY.com

 Throughout his short walk in the wilderness, Thompson has been seen at so many fundraisers and political gatherings that it was merely a matter of time before he jumped back into the life. In recent months, Thompson and Grassroots had been estranged from Byron Brown and his city hall political faction. Apparently, there’s been a rapprochement. 

This week, Mayor Brown appointed Mr. Thompson to become the head of BETC. The job pays almost $80,000 – more than what a state senator makes, exclusive of per diems and lulus – and Thompson’s experience in the private sector amounts to the last two years during which he’s been working as a real estate agent. Investigative Post’s Jim Heaney surmises that this hire gives Brown some cover against charges that his administration is overwhelmingly Caucasian. Perhaps, but this also placates Thompson and effectively removes him from politics, and therefore as a threat to Brown. It releases a pressure valve that would have conceivably seen Thompson challenge the Mayor in 2013, or one of the mayor’s allies in some other race. 

What can’t be forgotten in this instance is that Antoine Thompson’s tenure in the state senate was pockmarked with scandal. There was the bizarre  junket to Jamaica, where Thompson claimed to be on a trade mission, paid for with campaign funds. During the short-lived and wildly corrupt Democratic leadership of the state senate, Thompson’s behavior became brazen and strange. He got his staff to lie for him, had been accused of accepting money in exchange for influence on Racino management, and developed a reputation for being thought of as a statewide laughingstock.  He stiffed groups that relied on his member item handouts.  In his own life, Thompson stiffed his creditors to the tune of $5,700.  Thompson gave $1000 to the legal defense fund for convicted fraudster and woman-slasher Hiram Monseratte.

Thompson arranged for a $400,000 subsidy to Howard Milstein’s Niagara Falls Redevelopment, an outfit run by a billionaire chairman of the Thruway Authority that has redeveloped absolutely nothing. When Thompson suffered a minor pulled-muscle injury in a car crash and discovered that he wasn’t hurt enough to meet the tort threshold and file a personal injury suit, he tried to change the law

Then there was this

They claimed to have nobody on staff called John Taylor. They said the Albany staffer is Shawn Curry, a recent hire as a legislative assistant.

So who is John Taylor? That’s what we wanted to know. So we called him up.

The Post: “Hi, is this John Taylor?”

“Yes”

The Post: ” But isn’t your name really Shawn Curry? And if so why are you giving out a fake name from the Senator’s office?”

“Could you hold please . . .[in the same voice] This is Shawn Curry.”

The Post: “Why are you using a fake name from the Senator’s office, Shawn?”

“I am very busy, I have business to attend to, I can’t answer your question.”

Just the strangest.  

Antoine Thompson’s qualifications to run BETC are non-existent. Given his track record in elected office, I am at a loss to explain what position he may be qualified to hold in any arena. This is clearly a patronage hire, and a lucrative one, at that. But it’s the mayor’s position to fill, and he can select whomever he pleases. If Thompson’s track record of ineptitude continues, it will be Buffalo job-seekers who will be victimized by it. Thankfully, this isn’t one of those patronage scandals where a new position is created out of whole cloth in order to placate or reward a political associate; he is being hired to fill an existing position. 

Perhaps this is a good thing. Perhaps containing Antoine Thompson is the best way to limit the damage that he can do. Think of it this way – while this hire may be simply horrible for people who turn to BETC for help, it may be good for the community at-large. With Antoine Thompson running a city agency for a decent salary, he has been effectively removed from the world of elected office. That means that we won’t have him running around trying to position himself for a return to the state senate or some other representative office.  Micro loss, macro win. 

There’s much more about Mr. Thompson’s past performance at our archives. Back in 2009, when asked why we need a state senate, Mr. Thompson gave this answer: 

 Maybe we collectively dodged a bullet here, folks. 

Oh, My God

19 Apr
Buffalo City Hall

Photo by Flickr user W Alex Fisher

Consider this scenario: 

Antoine Thompson returns to Albany, replacing Tim Kennedy. 

Byron Brown goes to Washington, replacing Brian Higgins. 

Tim Kennedy moves into the 2nd floor of City Hall, replacing Byron Brown. 

All of these rumors are floating around town, gaining steam. So my question is, are we living a Stephen King novel? 

Tea Party Factionalism and Exclusion

8 Apr

We’ve enjoyed endless schadenfreude over the last couple of years, watching the local tea party factionalize and bitterly fight over stupid crumbs. (The root of the rift seems to center around last year’s crowded race in SD-59 to replace Dale Volker). One wing features libertarians and birthers, while the other wing features Palinists and birthers. One would think they could at least find common ground on Obama being an Indo-Kenyan Communist usurper.

The glibertarian tea party is run by characters such as Jim Ostrowski and David DiPietro. They claim doctrinal purity, outsiderishness, and expressing hatred at some “political class,” which they are both firmly members of.

The Palinist tea party is run by tricorner-clad Rus Thompson. They are more closely aligned with the Republican establishment, but tend to skew more right-wing and somewhat less pragmatic than the GOP committees. The Ostrowski wing denounces the Thompson wing as “TeaGOP”.

Meanwhile, 99.9% of western New Yorkers couldn’t give a crap about far-out glibertarian thought, nor about fringe wingnut theory.

Yesterday, the Ostrowski wing held an event at Brennan’s Bowery Pub to announce that it was endorsing Jack “I hate the browns” Davis for congress in NY-26. If you’re wondering how that may have come about, you should know that both DiPietro and Ostrowski are on the Davis campaign payroll. They claim to have abstained from the vote (results of which aren’t revealed), but really?

At the same time, the Thompson-led group held a “candidate’s forum” near Niagara Falls within the 26th district. It was an event in a public hall, openly advertised as being open to all candidates and prospective voters. Except Ian Murphy from the Green Party. He was not permitted to speak, and instead was left handing literature out in the parking lot. The only candidate to show up and speak to this collection of political misfits was, of course, Jane Corwin. Miraculously, she got their endorsement!

Wow! You can feel the excitement at the Corwin campaign as she dives headfirst into a stupid feud and panders to people driving 15 year-old Oldsmobiles defending the rights of billionaires to not pay taxes. And you can imagine the high-fives and sheer joy at Davis HQ when it was revealed that Davis’ own campaign staffers endorsed him! Wow! This politics thingy is fun!

Corwin went so far as to Tweet her thanks for being endorsed by a bunch of conservative Republicans.

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Jack Davis’ Twitter feed seems to be filled with pandering to the gun fetishist vote.

But what we’ve established is that the Palinist wing of the local tea party is fundamentally undemocratic and exclusionary. By excluding the Green Party candidate for being not “serious” they’ve betrayed the democratic process they so claim to defend and love. Ian Murphy may be using humor to run for office, but he’s also talking more substantively about issues than any of the other candidates right now, who rely on carefully crafted, focus-grouped messages designed to be sound and fury, but signify nothing.

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Thompson Extends his Middle Finger to Grisanti in Friendship

4 Jan

Destroying documents so that your incoming replacement is at a disadvantage, and instead merely handing over to him the “book of achievements” that helped you lose in the first place, is the mark of a protodictatorial egomaniac.

Good riddance.

Family Feud

10 Dec
Antoine Thompson on the night of the United St...
Image via Wikipedia

Byron Brown and Len Lenihan had a falling out in 2006 because Byron Brown insisted on hand-selecting Antoine Thompson to succeed him (pun intended) in the State Senate.  Lenihan refused, noting that neither Jimmy Griffin nor Tony Masiello had been given that opportunity when they shifted from the senate to become mayor, and that the interim replacement in the state senate would be the committee’s choice, and they chose then-councilman Marc Coppola.

Coppola ultimately lost the primary in September 2005 to Thompson, who most recently lost his senate race against Mark Grisanti.  Thompson lost that race in a district that skews overwhelmingly Democratic – a seat he would have normally kept for as long as he wanted.  Now that Thompson has blundered his way out of office, and the underlying cause of the feud is rendered moot, there’s room for rapprochement.  (Perhaps the diplomatic mediation communications between both camps should be published by Wikileaks and the Buffalo News).

Brown and Pigeon re-aligned and have acted in an oft-concerted effort to motherf*ck Lenihan and ECDC at every turn since.

The feud is ridiculous and petty and counterproductive and stupid.  Paterson is right to bring it up, but wrong to bring it up so damned late.  It’s astonishing that Brown’s camp took a “who, us?!” stance of gotta-be-feigned incredulity.  Pigeon is probably busy trying to find a new sugardaddy to fund his ruination of WNY and state politics now that Golisano is firmly ensconced in Florida and Pedro Espada is cooling his heels in Mamaroneck, waiting to see how that whole indictment thing plays out.

“[It’s] competition to see who stands on the smallest hill,” indeed.

Grisanti Wins in the 60th Senate District

1 Dec

Antoine Thompson will not be the State Senator for the 60th Senate District next session.  Still trailing by 527 votes, and losing the financial support of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, his campaign withdrew its challenge and the court case was dismissed.

On election night, I predicted that this race would go to a recount.

Republican Mark Grisanti will go to Albany, and I wish him well.   He says that Thompson has not called him to congratulate him or concede, nor did Thompson mention his successor in his press release yesterday afternoon.  Sore loser.

Although this result may end the Democratic state senate majority, that’s ok.  That majority was rife with corrupt people doing corrupt things, led by tone-deaf dummies.  Among them was majority whip Antoine Thompson.

The last two Buffalo mayors had basically used the 60th District senate seat as their stepping stone to City Hall.  It had widely been anticipated – and feared – that Thompson may do the same; that he was the Mayor-in-Waiting until Mayor Byron Brown found a better gig.  With a big Democratic enrollment advantage in that district, Thompson should have easily held on to that seat barring some horrible scandal.  That he let this get away from him is a massive failure, and underscores how dissatisfied his constituents were with him and his “service”.  He was pilloried constantly for his profligate spending on mailers and turkey giveaways and other palm-greasing.  He was the very embodiment of the sleazy Albany pol. Although he was a proponent of gay marriage and the environment, that hardly made up for his self-aggrandizement.

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Mark Grisanti has done the entire region a huge service.  By possibly putting an end to that despicable Democratic failure of a senate majority, he may have also done the state a huge service.

Grisanti vs. Thompson

3 Nov

In Erie County, Thompson is up by 3,332.  In Niagara County, Grisanti is up by 3,074.  That’s net +258 for Thompson with two election districts still unreported.  This is epic, not only because Thompson is very close to being ousted, but because the balance of the state senate remains unclear this morning.

We had a late night last night, so I’ll have more later.

Vote Grisanti in SD-60

2 Nov

Without comment:

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2010 WNYMedia Endorsements

1 Nov

Since we have a divergence of opinion on our site, we thought we’d take a different approach to our annual endorsements.  We’ll give each of our political writers an opportunity to endorse their candidate of choice and use majority rules to give a final sitewide endorsement to candidates.  We feel this is the best way to give the fullest picture and the most information about each candidate.

SPOILER ALERT – The liberal media elites at WNYMedia have endorsed THREE republicans.

Governor: Andrew Cuomo, Carl Paladino, Howie Hawkins, Warren Redlich, Jimmy McMillan, Charles Barron, Kristin Davis

Alan Bedenko: Based on the race he’s run for governor, – especially since becoming the Republican nominee – Carl Paladino is hardly qualified to be elected to anything that doesn’t end in “the Clown”.  It was something to behold – the most tween-whiny, petulantly horrible statewide campaign ever waged by a serious major party candidate.   I endorse Andrew Cuomo for Governor of the State of New York.  From the very beginning, he understood that grown-up crises deserve grown-up solutions.  His plans for reforming New York State Government may not be perfect, and they may not go far enough in some instances, but the problems are too dire to let us play games for another four years, after the Spitzer/Paterson holding pattern we’ve been in.

Marc Odien: Duh… Andrew Cuomo

Chris Smith: My choice is Andrew Cuomo.  New York State has serious, fundamental problems that require the attention of an experienced hand with serious proposals and remedies.  Cuomo has set himself apart from the other candidates with his thorough proposals and dedication to reducing the number of governments in the state.  He favors many of the Brennan Center reforms and has the political skills and credibility with the legislature to accomplish many of them.

Brian Castner: The only way to vote for Carl Paladino is to believe that the dysfunction in Albany is more disgusting than racist emails, horse pornography, low grade sexism, and possible homophobia. I believe it is. Paladino isn’t going to take a bat to anyone, or reduce government to One Man in a Room. But his default position is to cut spending and taxes, and there are very very few places in the Albany budget where both are not appropriate. Cuomo is not only all talk and no action (how many governments eliminated since his signature bill passed?), but would enter office with no mandate to push for any particular reform, as Carl has been the focus of the campaign, not policy. This strategy will probably get Cuomo elected, but it does not serve the interests of the state.

Colin Eager: I’ll be voting for Andrew Cuomo on Row E, despite the fact that he’s dating Sandra Lee.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Andrew Cuomo

Attorney General: Eric Schneiderman, Dan Donovan

Alan Bedenko: By way of full disclosure, I’ve known Schneiderman for about 20 years on a personal level, so I know him to be a good friend as well as a strong voice for progressive causes, someone who is dedicated to getting government right, fixing legislative anachronisms, and I know that he’ll aggressively prosecute people who cheat New Yorkers and break the law.  He will be the next in the line of activist AGs in the Spitzer/Cuomo model.

Marc Odien: What Colin said. Eric Schneiderman seems like he’s a guy that can get the job done

Chris Smith: My choice is Eric Schneiderman.  He has proven his commitment to ethics reform with his leadership in expelling Hiram Monserrate from the State Senate and has pledged to revisit and reform the Rockefeller-era drug laws that cripple our prison system and clog our courts.  He has a strong record fighting for women’s health clinics and is an advocate for sensible housing law which can help clean up neighborhoods and deal with vacancy issues in Upstate New York.

Brian Castner: As Cuomo is likely the next governor, New York is going to need some opposite party watchdogs to keep the Democratic onslaught in line. I’m sure both candidates are quite qualified, and I’m no fan of the Rockefeller drug laws. But vote Donovan to keep an eye on whether all of Cuomo’s Wall Street money is not buying undue influence or special treatment.

Colin Eager: Schneiderman helped reform the insane Rockefeller drug laws.  He gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Eric Schneiderman

New York State Comptroller: Tom DiNapoli, Harry Wilson

Alan Bedenko: I give this one to Harry Wilson, who has an actual record in the private sector, versus DiNapoli who has been the accidental heir to an office whose most recent elected officeholder is now a convict.  Wilson helped turn the embattled GM around during carpocalypse and has the education and work experience that’s needed to keep the fiscal house in check. I think DiNapoli has done a pretty stand-up job during his tenure, so it’s sort of close.

Marc Odien: I have no confidence in a guy that lost millions on Wall Street, I endorse DiNapoli

Chris Smith: Harry Wilson has a long and distinguished resume in the financial industry and is my choice.  He has serious plans for ethics reform and reducing the $350 Million spent each year in managing New York State’s pension fund.  He has an accountant’s eye for audits and will help bring about efficiencies in state agencies.

Brian Castner: I am a fan of DiNapoli’s pension fund investment strategy, which provides capital infusions to New York start up companies. It is one of the few truly progressive things New York does. However, for the reasons provided above for AG, go opposite party. Vote Harry Wilson.

Colin Eager: I’m writing in Mark Poloncarz: perfect teeth, nice smell, a class act all the way!

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Harry Wilson

United States Senate: Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe DioGuardi

Alan Bedenko: Kirsten Gillibrand has taken this gift of a promotion she was handed, and ran with it.  The reason why Paladino’s “little girl” crack was stupid – apart from being rank misogyny – is that Gillibrand has really gone out of her way to stake out a path separate and distinct from Schumer’s.  And in most cases, Gillibrand’s voice has been the more progressive, more aggressive one for meaningful legislative change that would help upstate’s middle class.  Also, DioGuardi’s campaign has been clownishly awful.

Marc Odien: I heart Kirstin Gillibrand

Chris Smith: Kirsten Gillibrand has established herself as a leader in the progressive caucus in the US Senate.  She has taken a lead on health care reform, financial reform, and transparency.  In a short period of time, she has focused on the work of the Senate and spent little time growing her name and brand recognition.  If the Republicans had put forth a serious candidate, her lack of attention to building that name recognition could have hurt her.  However, Joe DioGuardi is not a serious candidate and Gillibrand deserves another shot.

Brian Castner: I should be endorsing Rudy Giuliani, Chris Collins, or George Pataki for this seat. But instead, the state Republican party failed to provide legit opposition. In the north east, Republicans need to pounce on these seats when the incumbent is still vulnerable. Total and complete failure of imagination or planning. Vote for Gillibrand, but don’t kid yourself that she’s an Upstate senator, or representing your interests vice NYC.

Colin Eager: Is this even a race?  I’d vote for Ronnie James Dio before this DioGuardi person.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senate: Jay Townsend, Chuck Schumer

Alan Bedenko: Marc and I interviewed Townsend the other day when he came to Buffalo, and I had to ask him who he was and what he did.  He could be standing right next to me and I’d have no clue who he was.  Most likely, neither do you.  But you do know Schumer, who is all about serving all New Yorkers and excellent constituent service.

Marc Odien: Jay who? Can you say Majority Leader Schumer?

Chris Smith: Chuck Schumer, I don’t really feel the need to justify it.  A leader for centrist democrats and an early leader in the clubhouse to be the Senate Majority Leader in the event that Harry Reid loses to wingnut Sharron Angle in Nevada.

Brian Castner: There is something to be said for a politician accurately reflecting the values, positions, views and interests of his or her constituents. I may not agree with Schumer on everything (or much), but he is Mr. New York, and represents that in the Senate. He’s also a bit OCD on local interests and issues, and would call anyone in the world if it got one more job in New York. Vote Schumer for Minority Leader.

Colin Eager: Is this even a race?

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sen. Chuck Schumer

US Congress, NY-26: Chris Lee, Phil Fedele

Alan Bedenko: Chris Lee, but only by default.  I’d love for there to be a competitive and serious Democratic challenger to Lee, who has occasionally aligned himself with Higgins and Slaughter to help the middle class, but has voted against the interests of the 26th District’s recession-addled middle class time and time again.

Marc Odien: Until Chris Lee grants WNYmedia an interview I cannot endorse him, even with his nice hair. But then again, I can’t endorse a placeholder either. Here’s to redistricting that seat out of existence!

Chris Smith: Write-In Candidate Scott Bylewski, Clarence Town Supervisor.  The race we should have had.

Brian Castner: Chris Lee earns top marks from friends and enemies for being thoughtful, interested, easy to work with, and bi-partisan on Western New York issues. A great addition to the House and the WNY delegation. Lee should walk away with this one.

Colin Eager: Krusty the Clown once bet on the Washington Generals because he thought they were due.  That worked out about as well as the Fedele campaign will.  In the words of Buffalo’s own Nick Bakay, “Push: there are no winners here.”

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Chris Lee (Maybe now we’ll get that interview)

US Congress, NY-27: Brian Higgins, Lenny Roberto

Alan Bedenko: Lenny Roberto is hardly qualified to be Lenny Roberto.  He’s a loudmouth teabagger whose idea of moving the 27th forward is to undo stuff.  Higgins is probably the most intelligent and well thought-out politician in all of WNY.  Although he sometimes gets himself embroiled in silly power politics here at home, when it comes to the big stuff that matters – the waterfront, health care, Fuhrmann Boulevard – Higgins is right there with not just the right votes, but smart and forward-thinking ideas.

Marc Odien: Len Roberto is a lunatic. Brian Higgins

Chris Smith: Rep. Higgins is a centrist leader in the House, more concerned with matters in the district than with rubbing elbows and increasing his profile in Washington.  A thoughtful congressman who unflinchingly supported healthcare reform and serious financial reform.  Also, owner of the best political suits in Buffalo.  His opponent is so fed up with politicians that he has now run for every office he can possibly fun for and lost miserably each and every time.  Your choice, centrist Democrat who fights to bring federal money home for projects to improve Buffalo or a crazy ideologue who wants to repeal the 14th and 16th amendments?  I think I’ll go with Higgins.

Brian Castner: You could vote against the King of the Waterfront, but there is no point. Buffalo could do a lot worse than Brian Higgins.

Colin Eager: I’ve had my beefs with Higgins over the years, but he’s one of a select few local pols with a brain in his head.  And he’s got a sweet mullet covering that head.  He gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Brian Higgins

US Congress, NY-28: Louise Slaughter, Dr. Jill Rowland

Alan Bedenko: Louise Slaughter.  Because she’s awesome, and because Jill Rowland is nowhere doing nothing.

Marc Odien: Louise Slaughter is and has been one of the greatest representatives we have in Western New York. And she has a lot of clout in Washington to do great things for this region.

Chris Smith: Rep. Slaughter is one of the most senior and respected members of Congress.  She doesn’t take any shit and has full command of issues like health care reform, high speed rail, alternative energy proposals and economic development.  She is a true advocate for Buffalo, Rochester, and Niagara Falls.

Brian Castner: Slaughter’s entrenchment is the only reason she has not been voted out for her laundry list of FAILures. As head of the Rules Committee, she has not allowed a single bill to appear on the floor of the House open for amendments, the first time that has happened in 221 years. Hope and Change! Hyper-partisanship aside, she got chump change for NY for high speed rail, was bureaucratically inept on the healthcare passage (anyone remember the Slaughter Solution?), and stops by WNY only when its time to get re-elected. She is a true advocate for Rochester, but I am skeptical about the rest. Dr. Rowland is a bit too Tea Partyish for me, but she is better than Slaughter.

Colin Eager: I really like Slaughter.  She’s got a great accent, and I saw her respond to a question about high speed rail with a 10 minute technical discussion of the engineering challenges of the project.  She’s a smart lady, and her staffers were always great, too.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Louise Slaughter

New York State Supreme Court, Eighth Judicial District (Vote For 5): Kevin Dillon, Eugene Fahey, Hank Nowak, Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, Mark Montour, Deborah Chimes, Mark Rodgers, Cheryl Green, Paul Wojtaszek, Jeff Voelkl

Alan Bedenko: I’m going to recommend the Democratic slate, but want to especially give props to three candidates.  I’ve been in front of Kevin Dillon and Gene Fahey.  Dillon is one of the most respected jurists in town, and appearing before him, or conferencing a case in his chambers is a treat.  He’s one of the most knowledgeable judges when it comes to both procedural and substantive law, and it’s a pleasure to work with him.  The same can be said for Gene Fahey, who is also one of the smartest and most thoughtful – and thought-provoking – judges on the bench.  While we miss him in Buffalo, it’s always pleasing to see him on the panel at the App Div.  Vote for both of these outstanding jurists.  I also hold out special regard for Hank Nowak, who has really made a name for himself handling housing matters in city court.  He sees the law as a reflection of society, as something that should be helping people solve problems rather than creating winners and losers.  When you ask him a question or speak with him, he listens.  Then he gives you a relevant answer or poses a relevant counter-question.  Welcome to excellence.  Nugent-Panepinto has been the confidential law clerk for Tracey Bannister, and was a trial lawyer before that.  I also endorse Mark Montour.

Marc Odien: We shouldn’t be voting for judges in the first place and there is no way in hell I would ever vote for a conservative or republican judge. Line A (Democrats) all the way!

Chris Smith: I will endorse Hank Nowak as he is one of the most thoughtful, innovative, and credible legal minds in the region.  His management of Buffalo Housing Court has proven to be a model of efficiency and reform which is being exported to housing courts throughout the rust belt.  I’ve also read several glowing endorsements of Judges Fahey and Dillon for their work on the State Supreme Court which are reflected by their top ratings from the regional bar associations.  Judge Mark Montour is a well regarded legal mind who has demonstrated excellence as a judge in Lancaster.  Catherine Nugent-Panepinto has quality experience as a law clerk, attorney and member of the Buffalo Board of Education.  If it’s possible to give an anti-endorsement, it would be for Cheryl Green.  Her demonstrated contempt for the rule of law during the Erie County Holding Center debacle earlier this year and rating of “Not Recommended” from the Erie County Bar speak volumes about her skills and credibility.

Brian Castner: I challenge anyone to give me credible opinion on what any one of these judges would do to distinguish themselves if elected, or what policy I am voting for or against in selecting any one of these candidates. This is why we shouldn’t vote for judges at all. Vote for Green if you want to see the Court of Appeals busy.

Colin Eager: Kevin Dillon, because I’ve always liked “Heaven Help Us.”  Eugene Fahey, because my mother still can’t believe that he lost to Tony Masiello back in ’93.  Hank Nowak, because he’s actually a good choice.  And Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, because her husband almost got me and 100 of my closest friends arrested in the Boulevard Mall back in 2002.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Judge Kevin Dillon, Judge Eugene Fahey, Judge Hank Nowak, Judge Mark Montour, Catherine Nugent-Panepinto

NY State Senate 58: Jack Quinn, Tim Kennedy, Bill Stachowski

Alan Bedenko: I haven’t always agreed with Tim Kennedy on procedural or substantive issues he’s brought before the county legislature, but I respect the fact that he’s brought issues there at all.  He won’t sell the working class up the river, and he says he’ll vote in favor of gay marriage.  Jack Quinn has been in Albany and done bugger-all except complain about stuff.  I’ll take the guy I don’t always agree with over the guy who’s done little/nothing.

Marc Odien: I’m glad I don’t live in this district. Kennedy is a known Pigeonista and I’m not one for reaching across the aisle for personal political gain, which is what he did to create a Chris Collins controlled legislature. He recently changed his stance on Marriage Equality simply for the endorsement of the Stonewall Democrats. Tim Kennedy wants to create jobs in WNY but sent his campaign and commercial work to a company in San Francisco. Like his commercial said “THREE STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT”. Sorry Tim, but you still have a lot to prove to this member of the “liberal elite”. No Endorsement

Chris Smith: Tim Kennedy is an advocate for several causes I believe in (gay marriage and support for trade unions) but has demonstrated a questionable level of ethics in his prominent role in the Steve Pigeon organized and Chris Collins-led takeover of the Erie County Legislature this year.  While I would ordinarily avoid a guy with questionable ethics, Kennedy’s position on issues that matter to many in WNY gives him the edge.  It’s a shame, because this seat should rightfully have gone to Assemblyman Mark Schroeder, who would make a fine addition to the state senate.

Brian Castner: Tim Kennedy is the poster child for a sell out politician who puts the desires of his donors above those of the region. A flawless shill for union interests, Kennedy isn’t smart enough to realize when his public positions are so blatantly exposed and opportunist as to be embarrassing. Albany would only provide a larger stage for his ineptitude. I’ve never heard anyone (except for Kennedy on tv ads paid for with questionable donations) say anything bad about Quinn – give him a promotion.

Colin Eager: Ugh.  Kennedy is a weasel who threw the County Legislature to Chris Collins, Stachowski is a homophobic dinosaur, and Quinn is a Republican.  Kent Brockman was right: democracy just doesn’t work.  Push.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Tim Kennedy

NY State Senate 59: Patrick Gallivan, Cynthia Appleton, Dave DiPietro

Alan Bedenko: Cynthia Appleton for the win.  Her platform is as rational and fiscal conservative as anyone’s, and she’s neither a careerist politician nor a bitter teabagger hack on a vendetta. She is the only one of the three candidates who is able to not only speak to the unique issues affecting the rural counties of the district, but to include them when discussing how she’d help create jobs, or at least improve the job-creation environment.  Awareness plus innovation equals endorsement.

Marc Odien: Dave Dipietro is an indecisive lunatic birther. Pat Gallivan gave us Tim Howard. I’ll go with the up and coming nurse. Apples for Appleton.

Chris Smith: I’ve met Cynthia Appleton and I don’t think I’ve ever met a more sincere candidate for public office.  She has a deep knowledge of the issues that matter to this far-flung and complex district and would be a true “citizen legislator”.  Appleton is a strong advocate for non-partisan redistricting, women’s rights, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and significant changes to regulations which hamper the family farms in this district.  She is the thoughtful choice, neither an insane wingnut with an agenda nor a lifetime politician who hopped in the race at the behest of the political enemies of Jim Domagalski.

Brian Castner: Remember what I said about politicians accurately reflecting the views of their constituents? It’s true for Schumer, and it will be true for Gallivan. This is a rural and suburban district, and a good fit for Gallivan. If the State Senate is to go Republican, an admirable goal, then this seat needs to stay GOP.

Colin Eager: a haircut, a lunatic, and a nurse.  I’ll take the nurse.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Cynthia Appleton

NY State Senate 60: Antoine Thompson, Mark Grisanti

Alan Bedenko: Antoine Thompson is a joke and a disgrace.  His tenure in the state senate is distinguished only by failure and embarrassment.  He is a hack who is out for self-aggrandizement and self-promotion.  The very few instances where he’s cast the right vote (gay marriage, for instance) don’t come close to making up for how horrible he is at everything that isn’t “promoting Antoine”.  Mark Grisanti is a smart guy who promises to be ethical and accountable.  That’s enough for me.

Marc Odien: The fact that Grisanti was once a democrat gives me hope that with a little convincing, he would come to his senses and ditch the GOP. And I can’t endorse a guy who takes a trip to Jamaica when the shit hits the fan and calls it “economic development”. He couldn’t answer the basic question of why we even need a state senate and couldn’t do the heavy lifting in college let alone now in the senate. Here’s to the upset but seriously, I think we are stuck with Thompson. No Endorsement

Chris Smith: I cannot support the re-election of Antoine Thompson under any circumstance.  His presence in public office is an affront to the people of this region who believe in competent government.  The litany of reasons why Antoine is unfit to serve can be found with a simple google search of his name and he represents everything horrible about local politics.  A ham-handed political grifter who is in government to get what’s his, not to do the people’s business.  One cannot be a credible advocate for reform and vote to send this man back to Albany.  I’ll endorse Grisanti and immediately begin raising money for Rory Allen, Maria Whyte or David Rivera to take him on in the next primary.

Brian Castner: No one needs to be voted out of office more than Antoine Thompson. His incompetence and sense of entitlement are unequaled. He can’t find 3/4 of his district on a map. His goes to Jamaica at budget time. He tries to change the law to help his personal injury case. Should I go on? The only defense I have ever heard of Thompson is that he is a friend of the environment. This is a liberal state – don’t worry, the environment has plenty of advocates. It doesn’t need Antoine. A Grisanti victory would be a model of how to defeat entrenched incumbents – skip the primary, and take the fight to the general election. Don’t let Colin convince you to stay out of it. No vote at all only enables Antoine. We need to get rid of him as soon as we can.

Colin Eager: Antoine, Antoine, Antoine . . . what’s left to say?  Not gonna support Grisanti, though.  I hasten away from the carnage.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Mark Grisanti

NY State Senate 61: Marc Coppola, Mike Ranzenhofer

Alan Bedenko: Mike Ranzenhofer has snoozed his way through legislative win after legislative win for 20+ years because he’s a boring Republican in a Republican district.  He can go and do whatever his leadership wants him to do, make few waves, take no initiative, and keep collecting a sweet public paycheck, sweet public benefits, and a sweet public pension.  Name one single, solitary thing that Mike Ranzenhofer has stood for – what is the Ranzenhofer record? The Ranzenhofer plan?  The Ranzenhofer initiatives?  Oxymorons, all. Marc Coppola has a record of achievement, of innovation, of hard work.  He takes legislative work seriously, as a way to do good work for his constituents.  His call to abolish electoral fusion would take us thousands of miles down the road of reform and fighting corrupt minor party patronage.  A vote for Coppola is a vote for a state senator who shows up, pays attention, and does good stuff.

Marc Odien: Ranzenhofer is as useless as tits on a bull. Marc Coppola for State Senate.

Chris Smith: I know that Colin will say that Coppola’s stance against electoral fusion is bullshit, but it’s a principled stand against a corrupt system.  Coppola has a firm grasp of the issues and has a record of cutting spending and taxes while a member of the Buffalo Common Council.  He was aggressive as a freshman state senator and is an advocate for reform and transparency.  Ranzenhofer is a do-nothing legislator and has literally nothing to show for 21 years in office in the Erie County Legislature and the state senate.

Brian Castner: Coppola’s stand against fusion voting is admirable and correct. However, he doesn’t need to be a state senator to get that message out. The only reason to endorse Ranzenhofer is to help make the Senate Republican. I can’t name anything useful he has ever done, but he’s not a cancer like Antoine. Vote Republican.

Colin Eager: Coppola’s “no minor party” stand is bullshit, but he’s not Mike Ranzenhofer.  What a claim to fame!  Marc “the other” Coppola gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Marc Coppola

NY Assembly 140: Robin Schimminger, Kevin Stocker

Alan Bedenko: Schimminger is a long-time incumbent, but he doesn’t always toe the party line.  He votes his conscience, and gets my nod.

Marc Odien: Robin Schimminger is the Democratic version of Mike Ranzenhofer. If I get one more duplicative piece of mail from him I’m gonna shove them up his ass. But I can’t vote for Kevin “California dreamin” Stocker, since its 2010 and he looks like a guy straight out of the Alpha Beta frat house who wants to beat up those “lambda lambda lambda nerds” who saw his girlfriend naked. So Robin “I’ve lived under the radar for 30 years” Schimminger will get my vote.

Chris Smith: While it’s difficult to send a 34 year incumbent back to Albany, Robin Schimminger has a firm grasp of the issues facing the district and has worked to reduce spending and reform Medicaid.  He has voted no on recent budgets and has worked to introduce ethics reforms.  His opponent, Kevin Stocker, is an all-rhetoric Republican with little substance behind the standard line of “cut spending”.  The fact that Republican Party cannot develop legitimate candidates to take out long term incumbents like Schimminger is a disservice to the voters of WNY. Change for the sake of change is not a good thing, Schimminger gets sent back again.

Brian Castner: I had to look up the Republican challenger in this race. Stocker who?  No matter – no one should be in Albany for 34 years. No one.

Colin Eager: The old shortstop for the Phillies?  Push: there are no winners here.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Robin Schimminger

NY Assembly 143: Dennis Gabryszak, Patrick Mandia

Alan Bedenko: Dennis Gabryszak, because his Facebook status updates about Farmville and going to the gym are what I want to read about when the Assembly is working on a very late budget.

Marc Odien: A guy named Mandia is not going to beat a guy named Gabryszak while trying to represent Cheektowaga, Sloan and Depew. Enough said.

Chris Smith: Dennis Gabryszak is a strong advocate for gun rights and is opposed to gay marriage legislation.  He is pro-labor, an advocate for streamlining economic development agencies and is a leader on environmental conservation and green technology.  A mixed bag for Democrats, but a sensible choice.  His opponent, Patrick Mandia, holds many of the same positions as Gabryszak, but is also in favor of term limits, increased legislative transparency and the full slate of Brennan Center reforms.  Gabryszak is a conservative democrat who should face a primary next time around and I’ll give him a begrudging endorsement.

Brian Castner: Who could possibly have an opinion on such similar candidates? I’m over it. Vote Mandia because at least we’re sure he’s read the Brennan Center report.

Colin Eager: Gabryszak’s a homophobe.  Fuck him.  No winners here.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Dennis Gabryszak

NY Assembly 144: Sam Hoyt, Brian Biggie, Joe Golombek

Alan Bedenko: Hoyt deserves it for the work he does to help improve Buffalo, whether it be preservation tax credits, progressive causes, charter schools, and other issues near and dear to the hearts of the west side intelligentsia.

Marc Odien: Sam “The Man” Hoyt

Chris Smith: No one should start off their political career by getting their ass kicked, but that is what Biggie signed up for.  Hoyt is a leader on progressive issues and his increased seniority and passion for urban issues will only serve to benefit the City of Buffalo.  As an added bonus, Sam is one of the most approachable, intelligent and thoughtful politicians in the region.

Brian Castner: The Entitled Incumbent hater in me wants you to vote against Hoyt. But the Bring Home the Bacon lover and Buffalophile says to keep him around. Hoyt has shown leadership in an otherwise aimless Assembly, stands up to Silver (when given permission), advocates for preservation and economic development, and visits his entire district at times other just election season. I feel bad for Biggie, and Golombek is a nice guy who painted himself in a corner. Go Sam.

Colin Eager: Uh, Sam.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sam Hoyt

NY Assembly 146: Brad Rybczynski, Kevin Smardz

Alan Bedenko: I have no clue, so default Democrat: Rybczynski.

Marc Odien: Won’t someone please think of the CHILDREN! Brad seems like a good enough guy, but needs to lighten up a bit. It was just an “oink” for god’s sake it wasn’t like he was turned into a pig. If he wants to keep running for office, he’ll need to grow some thicker skin and a sense of humor. Hopefully he’ll find one in Albany.

Chris Smith: I preferred Rybczynski’s primary opponent, Mike Amodeo, but Brad is a competent and educated candidate for office.  Reform-minded and progressive.  Also, as a side note, how awesome is it that Buffalo is one of the few places in America where a guy named Rybczynski can show up on a ballot and not have his weird name be an issue?

Brian Castner: Brad’s a WFP guy. Go Smardz.

Colin Eager: Brad’s a WFP guy.  Good enough for me.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Brad Rybczynski

Erie County Clerk: Kathy Hochul, Cliff Bergfeld

Alan Bedenko: There’s no politician in WNY more in touch with how to improve the services her office provides to the taxpayer than Kathy Hochul. Her eye is always on the ball.

Marc Odien: Two words. KATHY HOCHUL. This Cliff guy isn’t even in the same league and I’m not sure he even knows what the county clerk does.

Chris Smith: If you like principled leadership and good government, Kathy Hochul is your choice. Her opponent is a quality candidate, but Hochul has proven to be an excellent public servant.

Brian Castner: Hochul is competent, and not a push over. Good enough.

Colin Eager: Why is this even an elected position?

Final WNYMedia Endorsement: Kathy Hochul