Tag Archives: Assembly

Gabryszak Exits

13 Jan

Assemblycreep Dennis Gabryszak can now add “former” to his title.  He finally resigned from the state Assembly Sunday, picking a busy news day on the eve of the opening of the legislative session to bow out. He issued a detailed statement, taking little responsibility for anything, and claiming that he engaged in “banter” with these women who were troubled enough by his behavior to publicly air their grievances. 

Now, a large number of his former constituents are unrepresented, there’s no word on a special election, and Gabryszak will lose nothing – no pension, no nothing. He may be subject to at least six lawsuits from women whose claims fall within the applicable statute of limitations. (A seventh woman’s claims are time-barred). 

But he couldn’t even be bothered to be candid: 

Just a few days ago, I was provided the last in a series of allegations made by a group of women who were members of my staff. I have not replied until now because I had not even seen all of the allegations until two days ago. It would have been foolish to respond to allegations I had not yet seen.

The first three sets of allegations were brought in mid-December. He could have, you know, commented on (or denied) them a month ago.  In any event, his resignation was inevitable, and it came a month too late. 

So, who’s next? 

Mazurek v. Gabryszak, At Last

8 Jan

If you were paying attention to Tuesday’s blizzard, you may have missed the fact that a seventh woman has filed a notice of claim with the state, indicating her intention to bring a lawsuit accusing Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Creepytown) of sexual harassment. That woman is Kristy Mazurek, of the 2Sides political TV program and Steve Pigeon’s AwfulPAC

Mazurek worked for Gabryszak between October 2008 and June 2009. Her notice of claim is here, and it details similar types of lecherous, obnoxious, misogynist harassment that the other six women have claimed. 

The problem is that the statute of limitations for any claim Mazurek might make expired, at best, 2 years ago. She can bring the notice, and even bring suit, but there’s no merit to any of it. So, one can only surmise that it’s been brought to bolster the existing allegations, or to make an extra headline or two. 

But here’s something that’s been nagging at me. Of all the various and sundry complaints that have been brought against Dennis the creep, only one accuser made her allegations under oath.  Attorney Johnny Destino signed for Freling, Snickles, and Campbell. Attorney John Bartolomei signed for Trimper and Tardone, as he did for Mazurek. Only Caitrin Kennedy verified the allegations in her claim, under oath

I don’t think it necessarily means anything substantively, so I point it out for its own sake. What is notable is the fact that Gabryszak has been completely silent on the matter since it became a thing in mid-December – he has not even deigned to deny the allegations in any way. 

Assemblyman Steve Katz on the Bills Stadium

13 Mar

The next time you get all parochial and upset about something that’s happening in some other part of the state, and think to yourself, “why should we pay for that?” consider this.

Assemblyman Steve Katz (R-Yorktown) represents the 94th Assembly District, and is a Republican representing extreme northern Westchester and part of Putnam Counties. (He happens to be my parents’ Assemblyman). When confronted with a bill to send $60 million in state funds to renovate Ralph Wilson stadium, he said,

Manhattan Democratic Assemblyman Herman Farrell, Jr., (D-Washington Heights) the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, brought up the examples of the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn and the Jets and Giants playing in New Jersey. A Democrat from Manhattan defending your hobby fandom against a Republican from the rural New York exurbs? Consider that, Buffalo.

 

Endorsements: And the Rest

12 Sep

Please note: these are not Artvoice endorsements, nor are they to be cited as such. They have not been approved or made by the Artvoice editors, publisher, or any combination thereof. Any endorsements are mine and mine alone. They are preferences – not predictions. 

See Erie County Senate Race endorsements here. 

The primary elections are taking place this Thursday. Please vote, if you can.

State Senate: 62d District (George Maziarz (R) Incumbent)

Republican Primary: George Maziarz

Yesterday, I accidentally omitted this race, since I was working off an Erie County list. In Niagara County, longtime incumbent George Maziarz has suddenly found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of hatred and vitriol spewed his way by the likes of Carl Paladino and his compliant sidekick, Rus Thompson. For more about this – and how it’s degenerated from exposing Maziarz’s cronyism to outing him as a closeted gay – click this link and this link

I have no doubt that Maziarz is yet another Republican careerist officeholders who talks up private enterprise while being unencumbered by it; who wants to reduce the size and scope of government while ensuring that he continues to be coddled and supported by its largesse. He is no different in that respect from any of them. He even went so far as to pander to the tea party movement a few years ago, which was quite odd. 

Senator Maziarz and the tea party in happier times

I don’t know the ins and outs of Niagara County politics, except to say that what little I know makes Erie County look urbane by comparison. I’m sure Maziarz’s opponent, Johnny Destino, is a swell guy, but in this case the support of his campaign by the abusive Paladino tea party inures against him, and – leaving most observers amazed and shocked – actually makes Maziarz out to be a sympathetic figure. 

It’s reminiscent of what Pigeon and his collection of goons tried to do to Sam Hoyt a few years ago – in trying to help Barbra Kavanaugh, they unleashed a barrage of negativity on Hoyt that was so relentlessly vicious, that people felt sorry for Hoyt and Kavanaugh lost. I called it the “Kavanaugh flip” – that moment when a negative campaign injures itself, rather than its intended target

That’s what Thompson and Paladino – two guys who couldn’t get elected, and have had little success helping others do the same – have done with Maziarz. 

Assembly 147th District (New)

Republicans: David DiPietro

David DiPietro may be something of a tea party loon and a perennial candidate, and he is unfortunately associated with the likes of Paladino, but I’d actually like to see him go to Albany and have a chance at accomplishing something. He’s a lot of talk, let’s see some action. The rest of this collection are no great shakes, anyway. Dan Humiston? Really? 

Independence Party: Christina Abt

Setting aside for a moment my natural aversion to electoral fusion, given that Abt is up against IP member Humiston, I think it apt that you go to the polls and support her. She is good people and needs the IP line. 

Assembly 149th District: (Sean Ryan (D)Incumbent): 

I’m torn by this choice. On the one hand, I like what Sean Ryan has done since going to Albany, and I think his mission to re-invent IDAs and the way they encourage inter-regional poaching of businesses through weak, poorly vetted promises that are seldom kept. By the same token, I am a huge fan of Kevin Gaughan‘s – more for his promotion of regional government than for his downsizing effort – and would very much like to see him get elected to public office, so that we can see him in action. 

So, I’m not making an endorsement in this race, except to urge Democrats to go to the polls and not vote for Mascia

 

Paladino Calls Utica Assembly Candidate “Mob-Connected”

6 Jul

Republicans Throughout New York Seek Paladino's Endorsement

I have no idea why Carl Paladino’s Ellicott Development is busy emailing anything to me, nor do I give a crap about a special election in the 116th Assembly District, wherever that is.  But in that email, touting the candidacy of one “Greg Johnson”, a Republican who has just killed his chances by seeking and obtaining the endorsement of a toxic failed gubernatorial candidate and bully, Paladino describes Johnson’s Democratic opponent thusly:

On the contrary his opponent is a personal injury lawyer in his family’s shady mob connected law firm.  On the Utica School Board, he’s raised taxes and increased spending ever year.  He is just not ready or tested to take on the challenges of Albany.

He will use his family’s vast resources to distort Greg’s record and smear his name.  This is the only course of action he has as his experience and record as a injury lawyer and tax and spend school board member do not match up to Greg’s.

The emphasis there is mine.

A quick Google search reveals that the Democrat is 32 year-old Utica school board member and attorney Anthony Brindisi. This interview reveals him to be anything but a New York City, Upper West Side, mob-connected socialist Paladino smears him as.

I’ll be contacting the Brindisi campaign today to ask them to respond to Paladino’s poorly chosen and defamatory accusation.

BREAKING: Sam Hoyt to Cuomo Administration (UPDATED)

30 Jun

We’re trying to get additional confirmation, but sources tell us that Sam Hoyt will be resigning his Assembly seat to go accept a job with the Cuomo administration.  We’ll update the site as more information trickles in.

UPDATE: It’s confirmed. Sam Hoyt has resigned the Assembly seat he’s held since 1993 and will be accepting a job with the Cuomo Administration at the Empire State Development Corporation. The now-vacant Assembly seat in A-144 will be filled by special election to be called by the governor. Names are already popping up, including City Councilman David Rivera, former Erie County Legislative counsel Sean Ryan, former State Senate candidate Sean Cooney and City Councilman Joe Golombek.  The winner of the special election would serve through the end of 2012, and a regular election would be held in November of that year.

We’re also hearing that this move is part of the same Erie County Democratic peacemaking that led to Len Lenihan’s resignation from his county party chairmanship, and unity more or less across the Democratic ticket for 2011.

UPDATE 2: I’m hearing that Sean Ryan is the likely nominee, already determined as part of the Democratic detente between ECDC, City Hall, and Grassroots.

UPDATE 3: Sam Hoyt has issued a statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:             June 30, 2011

 

STATEMENT FROM SAM HOYT

REGARDING HIS RESIGNATION

 

Dear Friends:

Governor Cuomo has offered me an exciting and important opportunity within his administration, a senior position with the Empire State Development Corporation, about which more details will be available tomorrow. I have accepted his offer with enthusiasm, which necessarily means that I will also be stepping down after 19 years of service in the New York State Assembly. After the most productive legislative session I have experienced – both for me personally and the Legislature as a whole – I can hardly imagine a better moment to make this transition. The last few hours of this last session were by far the most thrilling I have been a part of in all of my years in the Assembly. I was proud to help Governor Cuomo pass key elements of his legislative agenda including SUNY 2020, the strongest property tax cap in the nation, and most historically, marriage equality for all New Yorkers, an issue I have advocated for years.

While the work of the Legislature will never be finished, this session marks the successful completion of many of the projects I have worked on throughout my career. One of my primary goals has always been revitalizing our upstate cities, with a focus, of course, on Buffalo. In the past three years, I have authored and passed into law three bills in particular that I believe will have a transformational impact on our upstate cities. They are the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, the State’s first Smart Growth law, and most recently the Land Bank bill that was passed by both houses just two weeks ago. These three pieces of legislation have the potential to make a significant impact on the repopulation and revitalization of Upstate New York.

Over the past 19 years, I have worked hard to represent the interests of the people of the 144th District, not just in Albany but here at home as well. For me, elected office has been about more than legislation alone. It has been about helping the people in my district when they need it the most, and about making Buffalo a better place to live and work. Over the years, that has meant things like helping protect and preserve the historic H. H. Richardson Complex, stopping the closure of Children’s Hospital, and fighting for community-driven projects like the Jesse Kregal Bike Path along Scajacquada Creek and Black Rock Canal Park. It has also meant hours and hours of constituent service, helping the people of Western New York straighten out bureaucratic problems with Medicaid or unemployment insurance, lending a hand to block clubs in their efforts to clean up problem properties in their neighborhoods, and fighting to ensure that above all, the government works for the people.

Of course in my duties as a Legislator, I have also worked hard for my legislative successes. From the Protections for Health Care Workers Act to the Local Government Consolidation Law to Race to the Top education reform to the Main Street Grants Program and more, I have consistently fought for economic and social justice legislation that would benefit all New Yorkers. All of this work has culminated in the great accomplishments of this most recent legislative session.

It is no coincidence that the Legislature’s most successful year coincides with Governor Cuomo’s first year. I have long felt a sense of partnership with Governor Cuomo, indeed long before he was Governor. There has been no daylight between his priorities and my own. It has therefore not been difficult to conclude that the best way to advance those priorities further on behalf of Western New York and the entire state is to join his team.

I was first elected to the Assembly under sad circumstances – the seat opened upon the premature passing of my father, Bill Hoyt.  My initial motivation was to continue the family legacy – that of both Bill and my mother, Carol of progressive leadership. During the ensuring two decades that motivation has married well with the needs and aspirations of the people of Buffalo and Grand Island, who I have had the honor to serve. And while I enter this new phase under much happier circumstances, those motivations will continue to inspire me every day I will be working for the most dynamic leader this State has seen in generations.

Although this moment marks the end of my career in the Assembly, it is far from a goodbye. More than anything else, every success attributed to me has been a team effort. I am so grateful for the many dedicated staff members I have had over the years who made enormous personal sacrifices to serve along side me to help improve the lives of the people of the 144th District. Both in Albany and throughout the district, they worked long hours behind the scenes on legislation, local projects, constituent service, and beyond. It is through their efforts that I was able to represent the interests of the people of Western New York, and for that I am thankful.

All of you have been my partners in so many of those efforts as well, and Governor Cuomo and I will continue to need your support going forward. The future has never looked brighter. I am grateful for this new opportunity to get to that bright future, and I am eternally grateful for your help, support and friendship in our shared goal of getting there together.

Sincerely,

 

SAM HOYT

 

Sam Hoyt’s Re-Election Announcement

21 Mar

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Mandate Relief ? !

12 Nov

From a press release received today:

Assemblymember Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo) announced that the Legislature passed his bill providing mandate relief for municipalities (A.2 Extraordinary Session Assembly Bill) that will streamline government, cut wasteful spending, and save taxpayers millions…

…Hoyt’s legislation, one of two bills voted on during Tuesday’s special session, would reduce the cost of local government through state mandate-relief and increased flexibility for local governments to empower municipal leaders to find operational efficiencies. Specifically, this bill would:

· Reduce the minimum number of municipal corporations needed to establish a health insurance cooperative from five to three;

· Facilitate highway shared services agreements among municipalities, and between municipalities and state agencies;

· Allow one public health director to serve more than one county;

· Increase the local competitive bidding threshold for all contracts for public work involving an expenditure of more than $20,000 to $35,000

· Authorize the Municipal Bond Bank Agency to purchase municipal bonds for public improvements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and allow them to issue pooled municipal bonds to achieve lower interest rates;

· Treat municipal employees the same as private sector employees by prohibiting them from seeking recovery against a public employer for damages otherwise covered by insurance; and

· Protect parties to the settlement of tort claims from certain unwarranted liens, reimbursements and subrogation claims.

“This legislation will enable all units of local government to accelerate economic development projects in both the public and private sector. It will provide greater efficiencies and lower the cost of government at the local level,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “As sponsor of this governmental reform measure, Assemblyman Hoyt was instrumental in leading this bill through a complicated legislative process, and county leaders appreciate his tireless efforts to make this happen.”

“I am committed to reducing the excessive and unnecessary tax burden currently borne by working families across this state, which is why I fought to create a new law earlier this year that will enable people to reduce the size of their local governments. That law, combined with this one, are important to streamline our government, give municipalities greater flexibility, and put more money in people’s pockets instead of paying for wasteful, unnecessary services,” Hoyt concluded.

Cars in the State Senate, Cars in the Assembly

18 Feb

It is true that with the transfer of Senate control from the Republicans to the Democrats, there’s been a transfer of cars from GOP leadership to the Dems. The Dems intend to get rid of the Brunomobile, but Bill Stachowski will get a 6 year-old Crown Vic. Via the Times Union.

That Ford, incidentally, is built in Ontario.

The Senate only issues 12 vehicles, including the Brunomobile. The Assembly, however, issues a whopping 16 vehicles to its membership. The difference there is that, although Democrats hold the majority, 12 of those cars go to minority Republicans.

James Tedisco, who is running for Kirstin Gillibrand’s vacated Congressional seat has been commuting 21 miles from his home to Albany in a taxpayer-funded, gas-reimbursed Buick Rainier. A reskinned, more “luxurious” version of the Chevy Trailblazer GMT360 platform.

Jim Hayes – the Williamsville Republican who is the epitome of fiscal prudence and conservatism? He drives from a dysfunctional WNY to a dysfunctional Albany in a spanking-new 2008 Chevy Impala.

How does one reconcile his endless demands for low taxes and low government spending with fleecing the taxpayers for a car that he is more than well able to afford?

I realize that the cost of an Impala or a Rainier or a Crown Vic is but a miniscule fraction of the total state budget. Those costs, however, are quite symbolic. When the state leadership tells us that there are tough times ahead, that taxes might go up while services might be cut, then every single piece of needless spending needs to be examined and eliminated.

Our pointless, clueless, and tone-deaf “representatives” in Albany, just about all of whom merely rubber-stamp what their corresponding “man in the room” has preordained, don’t need or deserve a taxpayer-funded car. They are well remunerated – in WNY they generally make well above their districts’ median salaries – and can well afford to use their own personal vehicle to shuttle back and forth to Albany and lobbyist-provided luncheons and cocktail parties.

The days of company cars are long gone, for the most part, unless someone’s on the road on a regular basis. These guys just happen to have a long commute that they chose to assume. Use your own damn car and just get reimbursed for your mileage. Don’t they already get a per diem for every day spent going to and being in Albany?

In tough economic times, in the midst of economic crisis, a taxpayer-funded car is the most glaring example of privilege and excess. Just ask Joel Giambra.

Red Light Cameras

4 Feb

Since local governments are strapped for cash nowadays, there’s a big push – in Buffalo, among other places – to amend state law to permit the installation of red light cameras.

Red light cameras take away police discretion and are susceptible to mischief, as this story out of Italy demonstrates.

But this is New York State, right? So, naturally the decision as to whether you have a red light camera law, and what it looks like (i.e., what the specifications are), comes down to whom you know.

For instance, the same lobbying firm that Collins retained to represent the County in Albany is pushing for red light cameras for the NYS cities that want them.

Last year, Assemblyman David Gantt, Democrat from Rochester, (and chair of the Transportation Committee) switched his longstanding opposition to a red light camera bill. Why? It was later revealed that a former aide of his was lobbying on behalf of a camera company that wanted the contracts. It wanted the contracts so badly that it wanted the bill to be drafted in such a way to guarantee that it would get them all.

So, aside from the possibility of malicious hacking and the allegations of favoritism and patronage, what could possibly be wrong with this?