Tag Archives: Democratic Party (United States)

Byron Brown to Andrew Cuomo: Take Your Deal and Shove It

22 Jul

Why would the caretaker mayor of a depressed city that is dependent on state aid, programs, and control board, choose to betray the most popular governor in America?

WNYMedia.net has exclusively learned that, in a stark betrayal of Governor Cuomo’s express wishes for Democratic peace among all the various factionstop City Hall apparatchiks circulated Conservative Party nominating petitions on behalf of Republican County Executive Chris Collins and a Family Court Judge candidate.


The people who certified that they circulated these petitions are:

The petition on the first page has an illegible signature, but we are led to believe it belongs to none other than Byron Brown’s right-hand man, Steve Casey. For comparison’s sake, here is the signature shown on that petition:


Click to enlarge

And here is Casey’s signature (dated 2006), taken from the Board of Elections:

Click to enlarge

In my opinion, the signatures match.

These petitions were reportedly filed on Collins’ behalf, and they contain glaringly few actual signatures – as if the people circulating them weren’t really looking to ensure Collins’ inclusion on the Conservative line, but instead sending a message. The message here is, quite figuratively, a massive middle finger to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who went out of his way to broker a Democratic peace for the 2011 election cycle. This is Byron Brown and Steve Casey saying, “we’re not making peace with anyone” and underscoring the fact that their dealmaking and quids pro quo with Collins are far more important than actual policy or Democratic electoral success or unity; it’s possible that these petitions were circulated with Brown’s deals with Collins in mind.

But on the surface, it’s a frank betrayal of any Democratic bona fides Brown and his gang purport to have ever had, as they are clearly supporting a county executive who goes out of his way to do economic and social harm disproportionately targeting the poorest residents of the city Brown likes to think he represents as Mayor.

Prior to publishing this report, I reached out to City Hall through Brown’s spokesman, Mike DeGeorge.  I sent him the following email:

Mr. DeGeorge:

Tomorrow morning, WNYMedia.net will be running a story evidencing that top members of Mayor Brown’s cabinet, as well as someone in the law department and two people affiliated with citizen services, circulated Conservative Party nominating petitions for Chris Collins and a Family Court judge.

The reason for writing is to determine whether any of the following people: [names omitted] might have any comment on the matter, or whether the Mayor may wish to comment or issue a statement in some way.

As you’re no doubt aware, Governor Cuomo and Charlie King brokered a negotiated peace between the rival factions in the Democratic Party. Although the peace is messy, this is quite an interesting breach of it indeed.

My questions to these people would be:

  • What purpose would there be for these city officials to so brazenly disregard the Governor’s wishes, yet only collect a tiny handful of signatures?
  • What is the message being sent here to Andrew Cuomo? To Brian Higgins, ECDC, Grassroots, and city Democrats?
  • Will Mayor Brown be endorsing Chris Collins for County Executive?
  • Will Mayor Brown be endorsing Mark Poloncarz for County Executive?
  • Will Mayor Brown be endorsing anyone for County Executive?
  • Is there some quid pro quo or dealmaking underlying this apparent public support of Chris Collins?
  • Is Mayor Brown (or do any of these people) in favor of Collins’ policies, despite the fact that the poorest city residents have been most directly (often adversely) affected by them?
  • Has the Mayor heard from Governor Cuomo regarding this issue?
  • Is Mayor Brown thinking of changing his party affiliation?

The article is scheduled to run at 7:30 tomorrow morning.  Any statement/comment or response(s) to these questions would be appreciated before then.  I am specifically not asking for confirmation or denial or comment about the fact that the petitions were circulated and filed – the documents, which I will post, will speak for themselves. Mr. Casey’s signature appears on one of them, although I cannot be 100% sure. Perhaps he would like to confirm or deny that fact.  The documents – in pdf format – are visible by following this link. http://www.scribd.com/doc/60554311/CON-Petitions

Thank you in advance.


I did not receive a reply .

An Ode to Democratic Unity in Erie County

8 Jun

Not long ago,
King Andrew (Cuomo)
demanded unusual action.

He made it well known,
by mail and by phone,
all Dems ought to quiet their factions.

Sam, Mayor Byron,
the Steves, and the Brian
waged battles for numerous years.

But Cuomo, it’s said,
for Collins feels dread,
so time came for the air to be cleared.

A mediator arrived
from a party revived,
and he ordered the factions to talk.

That other King – Charlie
brought news from the party
and spoke with the various flocks.

Negotiations were held,
where some of them yelled –
and rancor? Oh, yeah, there was plenty.

As peace came within sight,
and the future looked bright,
the discussion became about Lenny.

Of fighting, he’s tired –
so he was inspired
to help bring the peace, and resigned.

The factions approved,
and then they were moved
to decide who should be next in line.

The names flew by fast,
and finally – at last,
a name on which they all could agree.

Before Lenny and Pigeon –
you’ll know him a smidgen,
A Crangle the chairman will be.

But this isn’t Joe,
who retired long ago,
It’s his nephew from fair Tonawanda.

John Crangle for chair?
Well everyone swears
He’s a guy Democrats are quite fond of.

This push to make peace
will piss off not least
Chris Collins, who kept Dems from uniting.

He had counted upon
his favorite con
To keep all the Democrats fighting.

But now, all has changed.
Deck chairs, rearranged.
No more mutinies on board this Bounty.

The battle ahead
will certainly spread
throughout all of the parts of the county.

Whyte? Clerk for her.
Comptroller to Schroeder.
And Bove has returned to the fold.

Redistricting fight?
It’s over, alright.
Even Pigeon is on board, I’m told.

So an era has ended,
and fences are mended.
Who knew? This could really get done!

The party’s united,
King Cuomo’s delighted,
now let’s finish what we’ve just begun.

With Charlie King helping,
and everyone begging
for me to stop writing this rhyme,

Poloncarz has the backing,
and nothing is lacking,
for peace to arrive in our time.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan at the 2010 Democratic State Convention

Rejecting the Range Rover Republicans

16 May

Kathy Hochul for Congress:
Vote Against Right-Wing Social Engineering

I am going to be voting for Kathy Hochul.  It’s not that I don’t like Ian Murphy, or even that I disagree with him. I like him and respect him for what he’s doing, jokes and all. But I’ll be voting for Kathy Hochul because right now she’s the center-left candidate who has been working very hard for a very long time indeed on behalf of western New York’s dwindling working class and struggling middle class.  Hochul is a thoughtful, hard-working civil servant who is a reasonably conservative Democrat; i.e., she and her positions reflect those of the reasonably centrist people in this district.

When a Republican tells you a Democrat is engaging in “class warfare”, thank him. It means you’re sticking up for the less powerful, the less influential in our society, and that you’re somewhat sick of benefits and welfare going to those who are already rich.

Chris Lee and Tom Reynolds were basically placeholder Republibots. Reynolds came from a background where he had to work for a living, so his main function in congress was to grow his own political clout and power, which has since enabled him to go to work as a lobbyist. He was always more interested in the Beltway game than western New York, except when Jack Davis’ campaign spooked him in 2006 (along with the Foley scandal), and Reynolds brought home some FEMA money to shut us up. Chris Lee, on the other hand, didn’t have to work for a living, and was a wealthy, privileged millionheir. He went to congress because it’s the next best thing to a knighthood for the superwealthy in this country; it would look good in the family tree. He occasionally did the right thing with shared border management and Flight 3407, but he was a millionaire looking out for the interests of millionaires everywhere.

I think it’s time we had a representative from NY-26 who served the interests of a middle-class, aging, rural/suburban district.  I think it’s time we had a representative who believes in good government, rather than spouting facile platitudes about “smaller government”.  I think it’s time we had a congressperson who wasn’t spouting some Randian pablum about growing business through the tax code; i.e., further lowering millionaires’ income tax rates to better grow the ranks of household help throughout America.  I think that it’s time we didn’t elect a political empty vessel with no credentials, no accomplishments, negligible experience, and whose first campaign act in this congressional race was to demonize gay people.  Also, Corwin is just a repeat liar. Her campaign has been relentlessly, viciously, and falsely negative almost in its entirety.  She has no serious positions and is no more or less of a joke candidate than Murphy himself.

Of the three millionaires in the race for NY-26, Hochul is the least millionary. She’s been running a serious campaign on serious issues, and she’s been looking out for us as clerk, doing a fantastic job there. The series of videos the Buffalo News posted, showing the three non-Murphy candidates’ meetings with its editorial board show a stark contrast between the candidates. Hochul’s positions are thoughtful and polished. Davis is like some Gilbert & Sullivan character at war with China. Corwin has, at best, a very superficial grasp of the substance of her “positions”, and the procedure in which to implement them

Jack Davis is unacceptable to me not because he calls for an end to free trade (I would support a candidate who demanded reciprocal rights and responsibilities under trade treaties); Jack Davis is unacceptable because he’s a xenophobe. He is anti-immigration and anti-immigrant. He thinks he’s entitled to go to Congress because he’s paying through the nose for it.

Jane Corwin isn’t some principled conservative thought leader; she’s an extreme right-wing sycophant who came out in favor of ending Medicare and privatizing it into a voucher program.  More incredibly, she doesn’t seem to understand that the bill she supports would do these things. Even more amazingly, she seems to misunderstand that the Ryan budget bill wasn’t just some abstract proposal subject to tweaking, but a bill that the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for to become law – and that she would have done the same. Medicare may need some shoring up, but to get rid of it would be devastating; let’s don’t forget that, at the time of Medicare’s passage, about a third of seniors lived in abject poverty.

If you’re poor or middle-class, health care costs in old age are a very real concern. When you’re a million-heir, they’re not.

Corwin isn’t just someone who was born into success and money, but she is just a Collins parrot, regurgitating his “government like a business” idiocies. Right out of the Erie County GOP central casting, she’s a exurban Range Rover driver who lives a life of leisure (i.e., wealthy unemployed) and has no concept of what regular people throughout the 26th district worry about.

Hochul can work bipartisanly, and is a relatively centrist Democrat whose positions reasonably reflect that of reasonable people. We can fix problems without engaging in what even Newt Gingrich refers to as “right wing social engineering“.

On top of all of that, Hochul has helped remake the clerk’s office so that renewing your license and closing on a house aren’t daylong excursions into a world that resembles Soviet Russia. She is responsive and competent – a higher compliment can hardly be paid to an elected official in western New York.

Please sign up to help make phone calls or canvass for Kathy Hochul through May 24th, and contribute here via ActBlue.

The Mallia Fail

Jane Corwin’s Assembly Chief of Staff, state employee Michael L. Mallia, has apparently disappeared to Florida, which is where the Erie County Republican Party disappears people who may embarrass it. (See Lee, Chris).  Corwin at first denied having seen the video, then refused to utter a critical word against her minion, since he was supposedly off the state’s clock. But what it underscores is the fact that Corwin has no knowledge what her campaign staff is up to, what her Assembly staff is up to, and instead of taking responsibility for her staffers’ misdeeds, she deflects. The buck stops…elsewhere.

“He wasn’t acting as my employee. He wasn’t acting on behalf of the Assembly or myself. He was a volunteer. This was on his own time,” she told the publication. “As his employer, I don’t think I should be telling him what he should and should not be doing with his free time.”

But as the candidate for whose campaign he works, he was representing you when traveling all the way out to Greece – well outside of your Assembly District – to harass and cajole Jack Davis; to call crazy Jack Davis a “coward” to goad him into reacting dramatically. It backfired. Your Assembly chief of staff comes across like a whiny asshole, as does your whole campaign.

Corwin refused to demand that the Erie County GOP release both full videotapes – both Mallia‘s, and the tape from the camcorder being held by a female seen behind Mallia in the Channel 2 video. Erie County Republican Party chairman Nick Langworthy also refused to release the full video, making two simply astonishing statements in the process.

Langworthy told the Buffalo News:

I think the footage speaks for itself.

Yes, but not in the way he thinks.

What it shows is that some young punk Mallia – more Horshack than Fonzie – whined dramatically when Davis swatted his camera away as he was blocking Davis’ way to his car.

Then Langworthy said that the female’s video wouldn’t be released because,

Langworthy said the battery in the camera was dead.

Camcorder viewfinders are little video screens. They’re not optical. The girl in the video is clearly recording something and looking in the viewfinder. This is a lie.

Also, Langworthy invoked the little known reverse-Godwin-law, or “Niwdog’s Law”, likening Michael L. Mallia and the Corwin campaign to accused World War II Nazi war criminals.

Questioning whether Davis has the temperament to serve in Congress, Langworthy added: “Why are we putting Mike Mallia and this campaign through Nuremberg over the fact that one candidate lashed out, lost his cool and misbehaved?”

Seriously, you couldn’t dream up a more ineffective and insincere campaign than Corwin’s. She might be self-funded, but that’s all she is.

I want to see Mallia‘s video in its entirety.  I want to see the video – in its entirety – that was recorded by the woman behind Mallia, shown above. To suggest that her battery ran out assumes we’re all idiots.

Let’s Talk Tea Parties

There’s a lot of misinformation on Twitter and elsewhere regarding whether Jack Davis is a true Tea Party candidate. Make no mistake about two things: 1. Anyone who pays tens of thousands of dollars to Jim Ostrowski and David DiPietro to help run a campaign is a bona fide tea partier; and 2. I love that Davis is in this race because he helps Hochul.

When the tea parties sprang up in 2009, they went out of their way to portray themselves as non-racialist, non-partisan grassroots groupings of people who opposed health care reform and other Obama initiatives. As time has gone on, however, that grass has turned Astroturfy, and mainstream Republican committees have gone out of their way to try and consume the tea party movements and run them under the party umbrella.  That happened here in western New York during the Paladino campaign, during the campaign to replace Dale Volker, and is happening now in NY-26.

While the mainstream Republican/Palinist wing of the Republican Party backed Corwin as the establishment Republican who made mouth-noises that vaguely resembled what they wanted to hear, the libertarian wing of the local tea party endorsed Jack Davis. I think they’re all wrong, but to suggest that Davis isn’t a bona fide “tea party” candidate is factually inaccurate. No one owns the copyright on that term. Corwin partisans would do well to tell the truth and simply state that Davis’ wing of the tea party hasn’t yet been subsumed by the ECGOP. At least that would be honest.

Bellavia Resurfaces : Hell Hath No Fury…

Remember David Bellavia? The combat veteran of the Iraq War quite vocally endorsed Jack Davis at the very event that ended with Michael L. Mallia’s overdramatic, girlish antics. Bellavia is a conservative Republican with whom I disagree about … well, about everything. But I don’t doubt that Bellavia is sincere, and that he’s honorable. These are rare traits in politics, and political hacks don’t know what to make of it, or him.

Bellavia is the guy Paladino and Collins tried to convince to leave the race, and pave the way for Corwin. Bellavia couldn’t be convinced to leave the race, so the establishment Republicans instead threatened him. They assailed him by threatening to ruin his reputation, his credit, his job, his life. After having all but promised Bellavia the endorsement “next time” in exchange for his exit from the race and endorsement of Chris Lee in 2008, they turned their backs on him in favor of Range Rover Republican Jane Corwin.

Combat veteran Bellavia tried to make his way onto the ballot by soliciting the assistance of another guy who got royally screwed by the western New York Republican Party bosses and elites, combat veteran Gary Berntsen. Bellavia is out for revenge against the Range Rover Republicans and their accomplices in the party hierarchies – the middle-class guys who love being so close to money.  To guys like Bellavia, principles and honor are worth more than all the money in Collins’, Lee’s, and Corwin’s bank accounts, combined.  He is supporting Jack Davis, and is actively recruiting tea partiers, Republican activists, and veterans to join him.

Strange Bedfellows

If you haven’t yet read this article, which appeared on Politicker NY on Friday, do. It’s a fun read. The joint mission is Corwin’s defeat, and Caputo has a keen sense of humor, strategy, and timing.


NY-26 One Day After Lee

11 Feb

First and foremost, I’d like to urge anyone with the last name “Konst”, and anyone pushing a “Konst” for any elected office in Western New York to lose my number, my email address, and my Twitter handle. I am absolutely appalled by the aggressive trial ballooning of Kathy Konst, who abandoned a pretty safe Democratic seat to go work for Chris Collins, setting up an almost impossible election campaign for Diane Terranova, thus paving the way for antidemocratic tea partier Dino Fudoli to win. (Konst left the legislative race too late for her name to be removed from the ballot, and litigation was required to do so. It was a colossal middle finger to the Democratic Party). The notion that Konst, who is working for an authoritarian Republican administration, might be authorized by the Democratic chairs of the counties touching NY-26 is beyond laughable. Erie County has the second-largest weighted vote in the process, and Lenihan wouldn’t advance Konst – even under duress – any sooner than he’d advance Ray Walter. She was just embroiled in a mini-scandal just a couple of short months ago, for God’s sake.

Within minutes of yesterday’s Lee resignation, Konst loyalists were relentlessly pushing the notion that DCCC had already identified Konst as a front-runner for the NY-26 race, and that the chairs of the rural counties were either already behind a Konst candidacy, or were actively pushing for it. In my discussions throughout the day, I discovered that none of this was true. I’m sure they contacted DCCC, but there’s no chance D-trip would go against the wishes of the party chairs. When I tried to put a lid on what was starting to be ignorant speculation by out-of-town media regarding Konst, I was met with aggressive good-cop, bad-cop pushback. (I had one Konst loyalist calling to try to reason with me while another threatened me with a defamation lawsuit – SIMULTANEOUSLY). All done! Good bye! Please don’t ever contact me again! Have a nice day!

So, let’s turn from the race for the Republican seat in Cuckooland to NY-26.

The jockeying yesterday was intense – a Congressional seat is a big get for any political person, for any political faction.

The Reynolds faction was pushing State Senator George Maziarz. However, Maziarz was just recently appointed President pro Tem, which comes with some choice lulus (including a $30k stipend). In addition, Senate President Skelos wasn’t all too happy about losing a member of his caucus when the majority is only 2 seats deep. By the end of the day, a Maziarz candidacy seemed rather unlikely indeed.

The Collins faction was promoting Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, who is a relative newcomer to politics, having used her Talking Phone Book fortune to replace a disgraced Mike Cole. She’s been in the Assembly minority, is a solid Republican, is uncontroversial and well-liked, and is self-funded. It’s a win all around. Even the people who suggestively grunted Paladino’s name for this seat were met with their leader backing Corwin.

There had been talk of Collins running, but he is focused on re-election as County Executive, and frankly he wouldn’t work well as just one freshman member of Congress. His ego is too big, and his elbows are too sharp.

Unalloyed lunatic Jack Davis’ name popped up with the added information that he had recently switched party affiliation to the Republican Party. He has been doing a humorless Willy Wonka act out in Akron since losing the Democratic primary to Jon Powers in 2008. You know the millionaire save-jobs drill, but I can’t imagine the county chairs would authorize Jack Davis over a perfectly reasonable Jane Corwin. Non-starter.

On the Democratic side, apart from the Konst circus I outline above, the stars were beginning to align for County Clerk Kathy Hochul. Sources say she was very interested and was working the phones, looking for pledges of financial and logistical backing.  Mark Poloncarz has also been mentioned, and is still exploring the possibility. Hochul has a good ground operation, a great reputation among Democrats and Republicans alike, money in the bank, President Obama appointed her husband as Assistant US Attorney, her Democratic bona fides are unimpeachable, and she has the ability to raise money. It’s a win all around.

Other names that popped up included Jon Powers, who was very popular in 2008 with the Netroots, and whose candidacy was deliberately torpedoed by a vicious and unscrupulous Jack Davis campaign. The problem is that Powers has lived in DC, promoting veterans’ issues since leaving the area (a bit late in some people’s opinions) in an effort to hand Alice Kryzan his minor party line. Kryzan herself has expressed interest, but she’s 0:2 in regional political campaigns and doesn’t have anywhere close to the base of support that Hochul does. A Working Families Party officer named Sam Williams expressed interest, but let’s be honest – this is a R+6 district, and you can already hear the shouts of “ACORN!!!1!”.

Buffalo-area native and Obama Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton was mentioned, but he indicated that it was “unlikely” that he’d enter the race.

But in the end, the Democratic bench for this seat is rather slim. Cuomo has yet to call a special election, but the sooner the parties get their candidates in line, the better.

As for Chris Lee? All evidence of his existence has been scrubbed from his local offices, and he’s hiding out with his extended family in Florida, not taking calls. The Craigslist story has let open the floodgates about old stories, confirmed and rumored, about Lee’s past womanizing. Nobody was ever able to pin them down, but chances are that this wasn’t the first time Lee trolled Craigslist for dates, and that his sudden nationwide notoriety might jog other women’s memories in the greater DC area.

Lee has left his family in tatters, his constituents unrepresented and unserved, and damaged his own reputation. That’s pretty stark, but not irreparable. America loves comebacks and second chances, so long as the wrongdoer expresses the right amount of contrition and does his penance. Don’t count Chris Lee out in the future.

Lawyers Should Stop Funding the #NYS #DSCC & Antoine Thompson #SD60

25 Oct

Another mailer from the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee hitting Antoine Thompson’s opponent, Mark Grisanti, for his job as a lawyer.  Absolutely despicable, and the title of this post says it all.

Antoine Thompson would presumably deny the accused their constitutional right to a zealous defense against, among other things, police misconduct, inadequate or inadmissible evidence, etc.

This one attacks Grisanti, (who ran last time as a Democrat) for being a *gasp* Republican.  I’ve read Grisanti’s positions on the issues and find nothing to quarrel with.  But this first image, especially, strikes an almost WW2-era propaganda tone.

Here, the word for Antoine’s anti-downstate rhetoric is “chutzpah”. He’s benefited most handsomely since the fiasco-laden Democratic senate majority has been – then wasn’t – then returned to a leadership position.

Seriously, this is just lazy going-through-the-motions crap.  The notion that it would be persuasive is ridiculous.

The head of communications for the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee should be able to come up with something better than this.  Perpetuating the downstate/upstate cleave is lazy bs.  Attacking a guy for his job (what job has Antoine Thompson ever held in the dreaded private sector?) is ridiculous.

Vote Mark Grisanti – if getting rid of Antoine Thompson from elected office means the Democrats lose control of the execrable and needless state senate, that’s a price worth paying.

Hoyt Declared Winner in A-144

24 Sep
New York state flag

Image via Wikipedia

From a Sam Hoyt press release this afternoon:

After a final count completed today by the Erie County Board of Elections, Assemblymember Sam Hoyt is the winner of the democratic primary. Unscanned, affidavit and absentee ballots were counted, which all showed an increase for Hoyt. The Board of Elections oversaw the unbiased process with representatives from both the Hoyt and Golombek campaigns present.

“I am grateful that the primary is finally behind us and that the Democrats in my district have chosen me to represent them in the fall election,” Hoyt said. “It is time to end the fighting and the bickering and to work together on solving the enormous problems facing this region. I am hopeful that my opponent and his supporters will join me in my quest to defeat my Republican challenger and then work with me as I return to Albany to fight for our great community.”

The initial count from the voting machines was 5,168 for Hoyt and 5,001 for Golombek. The combined count of the unscanned, affidavit and absentee ballots increased Hoyt’s lead from 167 votes to 257 votes.