Tag Archives: County Government

Siena Poll on the Erie County Executive Race: Dead Heat

6 Nov

Things I find interesting from the Siena Poll for the County Executive’s race that was released last night, apart from the fact that the race swung from a statistical dead heat of 49/46 for Collins with a MOE of +/- 3.4%, to a genuine dead heat of 48/48 with a MOE of +/- 2.7%.  Undecideds went from 6% to 5% overall.

Low & High Earners: County on Wrong Track.

49% of Erie County Residents think the county is going in the wrong direction. 45% think it’s going in the right direction. Among those making over $100,000 per year, the split is 49/47. Among earners of less than $50,000, the split is 53/42. The only earners who think the county is on the right track more than wrong are those earning $50k – $100k, where the split is 48/47.

Poloncarz Has Higher Favorables and Lower Unfavorables than Collins

Collins’ overall favorable/unfavorable is 51/45. Among those making more than $100,000 per year, Collins is less liked than among those earning less; among people making $100,000, Collins’ favorable/unfavorable is 49/50.  Among earners of less than $50,000, the split is 52/49, and among earners of between $50,000 – $100,000, that range is 53/44.

Poloncarz’ overall favorable/unfavorable is 52/44. Among $100k+, that split is 55/42. Middle earners? 53/41. Less than $50k give Poloncarz a favorable/unfavorable of 52/37.  Compare that to October, when Poloncarz’s overall favorable/unfavorable was 49/27 – the last 3 weeks of lies and negativity from Collins have hurt, but not badly enough that Poloncarz’s favorable went up 3 points. By contrast, Collins’ favorables dropped from 55%, and his unfavorables went up from 41%.

Dead Heat

48/48 as between Poloncarz and Collins. Men prefer Collins, women prefer Poloncarz 49/46. 5% of voters remain undecided.  Interestingly, those making under $50k and those making over $100k prefer Poloncarz – 49/47, and 51/45 respectively. Those earning between $50k and $100k prefer Collins 50/46.

The sample this time reduced people from the city of Buffalo from 25% to 19% of the sample, reflecting what Siena says is the fact that city voters said they were less likely to vote. The largest income bracket sampled is that middle one that prefers Collins, and note that people across the board overwhelmingly think that Collins is going to win, in spite of the fact that the race is a dead heat with Democrats coming home and undecideds breaking more for Poloncarz.

GOTV

People are locking in their votes, and there’s less room for the candidates to maneuver. Everything now comes down to party apparatus and getting out the vote. This should be interesting, since Poloncarz and the Democrats have entire machines ready to hit the streets on Tuesday, while the Republicans simply won’t have the same amount of boots on the ground.

In 2007, only 291,244 votes were cast in Erie County, and Keane only won the City of Buffalo, where 46,517 votes were cast in total.  16% of the turnout was in the City of Buffalo, where Clark smeared Keane in the African-American press as being a Klansman, or worse.  No such shenanigans will be taking place on Tuesday, where Poloncarz has strong support in the city, and turnout is expected to be higher than in 2007.  Collins and his allies know they’re in trouble because they can’t match the Democrats on turnout, which explains the last-minute push to pin the absentee voter fraud on Poloncarz and turn it into an issue – an effort that’s failed completely.

As far as predictions, I think it will be as close as the SD-60 race between Grisanti and Thompson. In other words, I think that Poloncarz will have a 3-digit edge in the unofficial BOE tally, and it will come down to hand-counts and absentees.

County Government: What a Treasure!

1 Nov

1. Did you see the story about Barbara Miller-Williams sending her county legislature staff out to do personal errands for her? Did you see that she didn’t deny it, but instead suggested that those workers were doing it – apparently without remuneration – on their own time?! Did you see that she treats legislative staff like a personal bank of servants? Did you see the accusation of sexism and colorism? What nobility we have running County Government! No wonder she gets along so swimmingly with the Duke of Cobblestone Lane.

2. Tom Precious picks up again on the real central issue in this year’s County Executive race. No, silly – it’s not roads or clinics or schools or regionalism or planning or Medicaid or mandates. It’s fundraising! Poloncarz has raised $10,000 per day over the past couple of weeks, which means his campaign is gaining momentum, while Collins remains largely self-funded.  Also don’t forget that the Democrats’ get out the vote effort is less dependent on spending money that the Republicans’.

Podcast the Third: Candidates’ Night

26 Oct

As promised, the podcast I recorded featuring interviews with Maria Whyte, Ed Rath, and Mark Poloncarz.

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You can click here to subscribe to it on iTunes.

The Buffalo Question

11 Aug

I’d like to pose a couple of questions to the entirety of Western New York.

  • As a city, what are we doing well? Do we excel at anything?
  • As a region, what are we doing well? Do we excel at anything?
  • What broad based municipal goal(s) are we moving toward?
  • How will we know when we’ve achieved that goal?
  • Who is measuring progress towards achievement?
  • Who is held accountable if we fail to achieve that goal?
  • What do we want to look like as a region in 2020?

Let’s start with government for now and we’ll use Chicago as an example.

Ten years ago, Mayor Daley’s stated strategic goal was to build one of the most diverse economic environments in the world. A healthy mix of financial services, education, health care, construction, manufacturing, retail, etc.

He believed that planning for such an environment ultimately creates the opportunity for arts and culturals to succeed and a tax base is grown to foster the delivery of public services. This is all done in the confines of a greater regional framework in which the city exports wealth to the suburbs. They value urban planning and place a premium on excellence. Their approach is such that the government creates the opportunity for the market to thrive. Unlike Buffalo, most decisions in a city like Chicago are not made on an ad hoc basis; there is a vision, plan, goals and success. Measurement and accountability? Fuck, it’s Chicago, no one is held accountable. But, they get the bigger picture.

Or lets focus on our neighbors to the near north, Toronto. Those crazy canadians are silly with plans.

Here is the strategic vision laid out for 2010 by the Mayor.

Building upon that framework of ideas, the city council and other city agencies built their own plans and established measurable goals and markers for progress.

Chicago and Toronto are models for planning excellence. What can we learn from them? What are we doing that is similar? In this instance, size of the metro doesn’t matter, it’s the planning and the execution.

So, as a city and region, what are we doing well? Are we marching toward an overarching, unified goal?

We might be doing something well in town/city/county government, arts and culturals, urban planning, economic development, private sector business, anything.  Seriously, what are we doing well?

This exercise has a dual purpose.

  1. If we can’t readily identify what it is that we are doing well, we have a larger problem.  We’ll need leadership interested in setting goals, establishing measurements for progress and building a consensus to accomplish them.
  2. If we can identify a core list of successes, we should find ways to transfer the methodology to other projects and issues.

This month marks six years since I moved back to Buffalo. After all of that time, I’m still not certain what it is we are trying to accomplish in this region. Nor do I know who is empowered to make decisions to move the region forward. Nor do I know if anyone is doing anything well.

So, lots of questions, but a jumping off for a discussion for the rest of the week.

County Executive Chris Collins

9 May


Do you think he’s run county government like a business? If so, what specific policies of his do you support?  Chris Collins How many – and which – taxes do you think

Let them Wear Contacts!

12 Jan

King Collins du Lac has evidently decided to completely disrespect and ignore a legitimate judge’s ruling.

We know he has contempt for the democratic process as manifested through the legislature and the checks that it places on his power.

We also know he has contempt for the comptroller’s office and the checks that it places on his power.

We knew he had contempt for the federal government and its meddling in the affairs of his jails.

But now we also know that he has contempt for the third branch of government  – the courts.  The problem is that “contempt of court” – where, as here, someone knowingly disobeys a judge’s order, one wonders whether his royal highness might be haled into court to answer for his contempt and possibly end up locked behind federally-investigated Erie County bars.

The tax bills are going out now. Tax officials have printed them with a rate calculated as though [Supreme Court Justice Joseph R.] Glownia had never ruled, except for that $457,000. The rate remains at about $5.03 for every $1,000 of assessed value, before certain charges that vary by municipality.

What it means is that county tax bills that are going out soon will be $8 million higher than they’re legally supposed to be.  So, Collins gets his spending cuts, but grants no tax reduction?  That should play well in November.

He has also decreed that the destitute deadbeats can buy their own goddamned optometrist visit and their own goddamned glasses.  Collins doesn’t wear glasses, so I don’t know if he realizes how much all of that costs, but his decree must now simply wait out the pesky political process he so despises. Let them wear contacts!

2011 County Budget: Getting Ready for More Rumbling

8 Dec

Chris Collins only wants a very select list of 10 cultural organizations to receive county funding, and slashed money for the libraries.  Over the past couple of weeks, the county legislature worked through a process whereby it restored funding to the culturals and the libraries one by one, oftentimes by veto-proof majorities. The library re-funding was unanimous.

In the process the Collins-friendly “reform coalition”, (three Democrats who for various reasons aligned themselves with Collins and the Republican minority on the legislature, thus forming a de facto Republican majority), seemingly broke down.  Tim Kennedy has no use for the coalition anymore, since it’s outlived its get-me-t0-the-Senate usefulness.  Next, West Seneca’s Christina Bove dissented leaving Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams alone, warning lawmakers to beware Collins’ veto pen and/or wrath.

Last week’s shenanigans lead to this week’s bickerfest, with Collins firing the opening salvo.  Although the Democrats were careful to balance the budget through its re-funding of culturals and libraries, Collins claims that all of this will lead to a tax hike. He pledges to veto $400,000 for youth programs and $1.2 million for culturals – money that goes to help fund our very way of life.

But when you reduce “life” to numbers on a balance sheet, as Collins does, those arguments will fail.

And while Collins can’t veto legislative reductions to his budget, made to help pay for the cultural re-funding, he’ll try to declare them “null and void”.  The Buffalo News reports:

When pressed by reporters Tuesday, Collins refused to specify the percentage of increase he saw as necessary. In total, the Legislature moved around $8 million of a more than $1 billion budget that relies on about $235 million in property tax income. Even if all $8 million was in dispute, which it’s not, that would require a property tax hike of around 3 percent, or $15 a year on a $100,000 home.

After Collins issues his “veto message,” the Legislature will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday for its “veto override” session, which gives the Legislature a crack at mustering the two-thirds majority needed to override a county executive’s vetoes. The key will be the six-member Republican conference, which has been all over the board.

Democratic Majority Leader Maria Whyte points out, however, that the budget as-amended by the Democratic caucus spends $100,000 less than Collins’ proposed budget.

The “fun” continues Thursday.

The #ECLeg Downsizing Debacle: In Court Now (Liveblog)

6 Oct
Erie County Hall. Buffalo NY

Image via Wikipedia

I am in State Supreme Court right now for the hearing before Justice Sedita on the Erie County Legislature downsizing “which clerk is the right clerk” debacle.

Currently in the chambers are Legislators Walter, Dixon, Kennedy, Bove, Loughran, and Kozub, as well as County Clerk Kathy Hochul, Clerk of the Legislature Bobby Graber, EC BOE Commissioners Dennis Ward and Ralph Mohr. Rich Grimm III and Ned Perlman are representing members of CE Chris Collins, as well as the following legislators: Mills, Fudoli, Hardwick, Dixon, Rath, Loughran, Bove, Walter, Kennedy, Walter, and Kozub. Mike Perley is representing the BOE. Kevin Gaughan has not yet arrived.

Updates to follow, top to bottom.

UPDATE 10:49: Kevin Gaughan has arrived and the proceedings are beginning, with several items being placed into the record. A few legislators have added their names to the lawsuit today, including Kozub. A majority of the legislature has signed on to the suit.

Judge Sedita notes that Matt Spina’s article in the News yesterday indicates that the BOE has opted not to be represented by the County Attorney (that office agrees that there is a conflict of interest between it and the BOE), but that the County Attorney had rendered an opinion about this issue. He contacted acting County Attorney Wheaton about bringing in those memoranda to make them part of the record.

None of the attorneys object, but the BOE argues that the litigants only should enter materials in the record.

UPDATE 11:09: Judge Sedita notes that it doesn’t matter who transmitted the referendum, is it certified, and is it accurate?  The key is whether or not the referendum to be placed before the voter is accurate; i.e., does it accurately reflect what the legislature passed.

Judge Sedita notes that Kevin Gaughan got very quick service from the court on this matter, and that a decision should be entered later today or tomorrow.  Argument begins with Attorney Timothy Lovallo, representing Mr. Gaughan.

LOVALLO (for petitioner Kevin Gaughan):  The BOE is guilty of nitpicking.  Judge Sedita rebuts that their job is ministerial, and asks LoVallo to address the issue of improper certification of the referendum by the wrong clerk.  LoVallo notes that legislature clerk Robert Graber certified the proposed ballot question, but that no formal reply was received from the BOE – it was instead through the press.  That there is nothing in writing directly from the BOE – the BOE’s attorney Michael Perley notes that a written determination hadn’t been issued, but the BOE “waives” any objection as to ripeness for this argument.  LoVallo argues that Leg Clerk Graber certified the proposed local law in August, and the Election Law section 4-108(1)(b) requires “and a statement of the form in which it is to be submitted”; i.e., an abstract of the referendum – the law doesn’t require the transmittal to the BOE to be certified by anyone.  The Election Law text is:

b. Whenever any proposal, proposition or referendum as provided by law is to be submitted to a vote of the people of a county, city, town, village or special district, at an election conducted by the board of elections, the clerk of such political subdivision, at least thirty-six days prior to the election at which such proposal, proposition or referendum is to be submitted, shall transmit to each board of elections a certified copy of the text of such proposal, proposition or referendum and a statement of the form in which it is to be submitted. If a special election is to be held, such transmittal shall also give the date of such election.

Taken in conjunction with the Municipal Home Rule Law secs. 25 – 27, the clerk of the legislature is authorized to make the necessary certification.

Kevin Gaughan doesn’t add to the argument significantly.  The County Attorney’s memorandum is in support of the plaintiffs’ position.  Ned Perlman clarifies that the BOE will not rely on the affirmative defenses of ripeness or statute of limitations based on the fact that there hasn’t been any written determination from the BOE about whether this proposition shall be on the ballot.  Michael Perley notes that the only formal rejection is the board’s certification of the ballot itself, and that the proposition does not appear on it.

UPDATE 11:30:

PERLMAN (for the governmental Petitioners): Arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, notes that the municipal home rule law defines certifying clerk as, among others, the clerk of the board of supervisors, which is synonymous with clerk of the legislature.  He reads it in conjunction with §4-108, which contains the “clerk of such political subdivision” language – he argues, that this means city, town, village, county…  Section 28 of the Municipal Home Rule Law holds that, when there’s a disagreement on which clerk does what –

§ 28. Law applicable to conduct of elections at which ballot questions
  are  submitted  to  all  the  voters  of  a  city. The provisions of the
  election law or any other law relating to the submission of questions at
  general  elections,  so  far  as  the  same  are  applicable   and   not
  inconsistent  with  this  article,  shall  apply  to  the conduct of all
  elections at which questions are submitted to all the voters of a  city.
  Where  a  specific  provision  of  law  exists in any other law which is
  inconsistent with the provisions of the  election  law,  such  provision
  shall  apply  unless a provision of the election law specifies that such
  provision of the election law  shall  apply  notwithstanding  any  other
  provision of law.

Perlman argues that §28 of the Municipal Home Rule Law holds that, when there’s a disagreement on which clerk does what, the Municipal Home Rule Law permits the clerk of the legislature to make the necessary certification, because it “shall apply”.

PERLEY (for the BOE):  The Home Rule Law section cited by Mr. Perlman doesn’t apply here because this is a county referendum, not a city referendum.  “The Home Rule Law and the County Charter have at their core a concession that the Election Law shall be the governing law for questions to voters, except where otherwise specified…the relevant parts of the Home Rule Law was enacted in 1963, and the Election Law 4-108(b) was amended in 1985”. So, the legislature knew what they were doing viz. the Home Rule Law.  Thus, §4-108(b) refers specifically to the county clerk as the clerk of the relevant “political subdivision”; i.e., Erie County.

Note: based on his questioning of the attorneys, it would appear that Judge Sedita’s biggest problem is that Kathy Hochul did not certify the proposed referendum as being a true copy of what the county legislature wants to put before the voters.

The plaintiffs concede that they never sought or obtained Hochul’s certification, and the proposal is not legally permitted to be placed on the ballot as a ministerial issue.

Note:  Both Democratic BOE Commissioner Ward and Republican BOE Commissioner Mohr are putting up a united front in this proceeding – they are making the same sotto voce comments in the same way to the same arguments.

The attorneys are arguing what the case of Lenihan v. Blackwell & Mohr from 1994.  Judge Sedita states from the bench that the Lenihan case does not provide him with any guidance in this case – he states that this case before him is a matter of first impression.  (The Lenihan case involved a disagreement among the BOE commissioners, and the fact that the text of the referendum wasn’t clear and complete enough – neither situation is alleged here).

PERLEY (for the BOE):  There are four steps of compliance, and the BOE must have the certified proposition to be submitted, certified by Kathy Hochul.  The proposal in this case was not certified by anybody – not Hochul or Graber. Perley argues that the only document that has been certified – in August by Graber – is the proposed local law that would go into effect if the referendum passes. There is no evidence in the record that the form of the referendum/ballot question was ever approved by the legislature.

Judge Sedita responds: “Where’s the Beef, Mr. Perley?”  The Judge notes that the County Attorney rendered an opinion that the legislature could do exactly what it did.  “Where’s the certification” versus “this is how it’s been done since 2002.”

Finally, Perley argues that Mr. LoVallo’s “substantial compliance” argument won’t wash, but that this requires strict compliance with the text of the law.

UPDATE 12:04:

LOVALLO (for Kevin Gaughan): The court is right to distinguish the Lenihan case, because the issue of certification was tangential.   The only thing there was an affidavit from Comm’r Mohr indicating that nothing had been certified – neither the law nor the abstract of the referendum text.  Mr. Perley is confusing 4-108’s requirement about certification, because the “proposition to be adopted by the voters” must be certified – that is the local law. The ballot question – the abstract – does not need to be certified reading 4-108 strictly.

There should be a presumption of regularity and compliance when the local law is certified by the clerk of the Erie County Legislature.  The BOE’s role should be to presume that everything is in order – and this is “ridiculous and unfair to the taxpayers”.  The proposition itself – the local law – was properly certified.  Ned Perlman stands to echo what LoVallo said. The statute doesn’t say that the clerk of the county must certify the document – just that the document that’s transmitted must be certified.  Judge Sedita counters that 4-108 requires the county clerk to make the certification – Sedita believes that the “clerk of the political subdivision” is Kathy Hochul – he asks Mr. Perlman, “where’s the beef?” Perlman responds, “I don’t have one, your honor”.

PERLEY (for the BOE): The procedure must be strictly followed.  Judge Sedita again brings up the Matt Spina article that it’s been done this way since 2002.  Mohr and Ward can be heard muttering,”not true” from the defense table.

JUSTICE SEDITA: There’s nothing ambiguous here.  This was a 2-year battle in the legislature.  “Why shouldn’t the people of the county have the right to vote up or down on this?  Isn’t there a sense of justice or estoppel” that if it’s been done one way for years, why is a technicality being brought up as a barrier now? The hard-letter law as to the purpose of the law is to ensure that the referendum is what the legislature wanted – “is it an accurate recitation of what the legislature did?” Judge Sedita would answer that question in the affirmative. Perley notes that the law does not countenance estoppel against governmental entities.  Judge Sedita wonders whether it pertains to hypertechnical opposition to referenda.

There is no law of the state of New York on this that the court can find.  There’s nothing in the 4th App Div or the Court of Appeals, and the Lenihan case is not on point, and it’s 16 years old and has to do with the people not  knowing what they’re voting on – a different set of facts.  So, the judge recognizes that his decision and order will make new law. He notes that the legislature asked the County Attorney what to do, and they followed that advice on behalf of the people.  Does the statute really care who certifies it?  The county clerk?  The clerk of the legislature?  Kathy Hochul states that her office would only certify the results of the referendum – not its text ahead of time.  The judge notes that if the issue is accuracy, Graber’s certification is as good as any.

The Judge is preparing to adjourn for the day.  The lawyers will have an opportunity to submit additional papers.

At 2pm, 3pm tomorrow, the Judge will give his decision from the bench.

(Thank you to Justice Sedita for granting me permission to liveblog from his courtroom)

On “Fairness” and Collins

29 Jul

1. I was told yesterday that one of the plaintiffs in the new Bass Pro lawsuit did not want to speak with Chris or Marc or anyone from WNYMedia.net because I hadn’t called him (or any of the plaintiffs) for comment before writing this blog post. Well, here’s why. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve called someone for comment on anything I was going to write – because this isn’t news. This is editorial commentary. If I’ve read the text of the lawsuit, haven’t I already consumed their “side of the story?” If I’ve read the straight reporting from the News or Artvoice or Channel 2, I’ve absorbed the facts I need to see in order to formulate an opinion and reach a conclusion.

In the case of the professional plaintiffs’ society, the lawsuit text speaks for itself. What could the Fishers, e.g., possibly add except some pro-Fisher, anti-ECHDC spin?

The reason we still maintain a comments section, and the reason my email is available on the site, is so that anyone who cares to do so can leave a comment on the site or via email. If any of the plaintiffs want to respond, they could do so in any one of those ways. Ray Walter is smart – his opinion differs from ours on just about everything, but he’s secure enough in his convictions to mix it up with us – even yesterday on Brad Riter’s show on WECK.

If you have something to say, say it. Passive aggression is silly.

2. (Hey, look! I’ve included two blog posts in one. I have streamlined the blogging process and thus saved you about 20 seconds’ worth of clicking.)

“Pundit hates Chris Collins”. I realize that my audience is much, much bigger than it was when Joel Giambra was county executive, but if you compare what I wrote then to what I write now about Collins, you’ll note that my current material is quite tame and reasonable in comparison.

I don’t hate Chris Collins. I don’t have any emotional response to Chris Collins. What I think is that Chris Collins is a bland, uninspiring technocrat – a micromanaging, hyperpolitical, beancounting pencil-pusher who is perpetually frustrated that he can’t just run the county like a dictatorship. He is neither used to, nor tolerant of, opposition or criticism. He can solve any personal or political problem through free spending, yet Erie County’s poor and working poor have their desperately needed, federally reimbursed services cut or privatized.

Not to bring up Ray Walter’s name again, but he called in yesterday on Brad Riter’s show to defend Collins and the budgetary choices he’s made. To Walter’s mind, Collins has “reformed” county government by virtue of his careful choices with respect to taxes and spending.

But that’s not reform. I don’t define reform as “playing the same old rules a bit differently” or “pinching pennies”. When you’re talking about a prospective $30 million + budget deficit that’s been forecast for months, penny pinching isn’t obviously solving the fundamental problems.

Reform to me means things like implementing performance-based budgeting – something that was added to the Erie County Charter overwhelmingly by the voters via 2006 referendum. This isn’t a partisan attack, by the way. Clarence’s Democratic Town Supervisor, Scott Bylewski has seen to it that Six Sigma process improvements have gone hand-in-hand with performance-based budgeting to reduce waste in both time and money. Reforms introduced in the legislature by long-ago names like “Locklear” and “Konst” and “Iannello” still languish in committee limbo, never to be debated or voted on.

And above all, the micromanaging Pigeon ally technocrat is more concerned with power and image than he is with making important changes to the very structure of Erie County through regionalism, consolidation of taxing entities, which would improve interagency, inter-entity efficiency and lurch our governmental structure out of the 19th century and into the 21st. Yes, I know that Erie County is a legal construct and subsidiary of the State, but state legislators have been working on making it extraordinarily easy for counties to change how they are structuredright down to abolition.

It’s nice that Chris Collins wants to save money, but it would be nicer if he looked at the big picture, fundamental changes that might save millions rather than thousands, and bring about reforms (or at least advocate for them) that would help make Erie County more competitive.

Say what you want about Giambra’s two terms of fail, but at least he was out there using his bully pulpit for big ideas like regionalism every once in a while.

Reform isn’t defined by the way in which you play the game. It’s defined by changing the game itself.

Collins’ “Course” is Equal Parts Dictatorial and Transactional

28 Jun

Here’s a short review of Chris Collins’ first 29 months in office. Some successes, some failures. Running county government “like a [closely-held, non-public] business”.

I don’t fully understand why the Democratic “majority” hasn’t yet taken Collins to court over his repeated refusals to carry out decisions and make appropriations for which the legislature has voted. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that three of them are aligned with him, and their staffers are busy sending “let’s get her!” texts to legislators whose names happen to appear next to “Grant, Chris” in their address books.

Collins runs county government not so much like a business – because there are several kinds and constructs of businesses – but more like a petit dictatorship. The most telling part of the News’ article:

I let people picket me, chirp at me, editorialize against me, write letters about me. It doesn’t matter.

I let?!” The only thing missing there is the majestic plural. Chris Collins all but admits that he thinks he has the power to place prior restraint on press and criticism he doesn’t like.

What the Buffalo News doesn’t do in this piece is pull the trigger on the only clear conclusion to be drawn from Collins’ tenure.

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While running, he pledged to not be “chief politician”. Yet he is the most hyper-political, transactional person in county government today, cutting deals with Grassroots and Steve Pigeon in order to weaken the Democratic establishment. Cutting deals with the ECFSA to get one over on the county comptroller he so detests.

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