Tag Archives: Election 2009

Election 2009 Live Stream & Blog

3 Nov

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Starting around 8:30-ish

Scozzafava Endorses Owens

1 Nov

Well, NY-23 just got a whole hell of a lot more interesting.

UPDATE:  Let me start off by quoting this from John Cole:

You know the thing that I find most amusing about the NY race is that what they are basically telling every moderate Republican across the country is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve been a loyal Republican for decades, it doesn’t matter if you know the district and the people, it doesn’t matter if you fit the district, and it doesn’t matter that you have given decades to the party. It just doesn’t matter. If the teabagging wingnuts and the shrieking lunatics like Malkin don’t like you, high profile crackpots like Palin and Dick Armey and others are going to swoop in and back some clown who doesn’t even live in the district and then shit all over the area’s voters, telling them their interests are “parochial.”

There’s no way of knowing for sure who’s going to win, but odds are it’ll be Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate.  After all, there’s a 50,000 person Republican enrollment advantage.

Scozzafava’s rationale for endorsing her former Democratic opponent? Partly principle, partly payback.

Some of it has to do with a traditional tug-of-war among Congressional candidates – macro versus micro.  While House reps certainly are called upon regularly to weigh in on national issues, they are also expected to serve the constituents of their district, know their issues, and consider them carefully. Hoffman is an abject failure on all of those fronts, and he’s proud of it.  Sure, he doesn’t live in the district he wants to represent, but that’s perfectly legal and small potatoes.  (Lake Placid’s issues aren’t going to be altogether too different from those in Plattsburgh or Watertown when all is said and done).

Scozzafava is right to be butthurt about what’s happened to her, because no one ever said she was somehow subpar or ineffective as an Assemblywoman since 1999.  (Well, as effective as a Republican Assemblyperson can be, but I digress).  She’s garnered the support of her constituents regularly for a decade.  One would presume that people like her, or like what she’s done.  Her campaign was beset by failure and missteps, which only helped to hasten its demise. She claims, rightly, that her campaign was hijacked by people who care not one whit about the people and issues of NY-23, but are more concerned with the big-ticket national issues.

Even former Gov. George E. Pataki decided to endorse her conservative opponent.

“George Pataki is probably to the left of me on some issues,” Ms. Scozzafava said. “It leaves me a little baffled.”

No shit.

Upon learning of Scozzafava’s withdrawal, the Owens campaign issued this statement:

Over the course of her career, Dede has always committed to serving the people of Upstate New York before serving a partisan agenda,” he said in a statement. “Now more than ever we need bipartisan solutions to help bring jobs to Upstate New York to get our economy back on track and move our country forward. Those are the kinds of priorities I will fight for in Congress because that’s the kind of leadership Upstate New York needs right now.

The Hoffman campaign, however, was less gracious or conciliatory:

This morning’s events prove what we have said for the last week; this campaign is a horserace between me and Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked candidate, Bill Owens. At this moment, the Democratic Party, the Working Families Party, ACORN, Big Labor and pro-abortion groups are flooding the district with troops and they are flooding the airwaves with a million dollars worth of negative ads. They are throwing mud; they are trying to stop me

Given the juxtaposition of those two statements, on top of everything else, it makes sense that Scozzafava would give Hoffman a massive, “fuck you, too, buddy”.

After Scozzafava’s endorsement of Owens was confirmed, spokespeople for the Hoffman campaign delved into serious self-parody and a complete lack of perspective or sense of irony.  After everyone from Sarah Palin to Fred Thompson to the execrable George Pataxme Pataki jumped on the Hoffman bandwagon, this:

This afternoon Dede Scozzafava betrayed the GOP. She endorsed a Pelosi Democrat who will spend more, tax more, and push the liberal agenda that is dragging down this nation.

The GOP true believers all but got through calling Scozzafava a Marxist whore for the past three weeks, and she betrayed them?  Keep talking, guys.  Also, Pelosi!

If I was a voter in NY-23 and on the fence, the kicker for me would be this item from the Watertown paper.  More to the point, today the Watertown Daily Times switched its endorsement from Scozzafava to Owens:

The Watertown Daily Times initially endorsed Ms. Scozzafava as the best-qualified candidate in the race. We still think she is. However, in suspending her campaign she released her supporters’ commitment to her. That left voters to choose between Mr. Owens and Mr. Hoffman.

Of the two, Bill Owens is by far the superior and only choice.

The Democratic candidate has demonstrated a willingness to listen to people about ways in which he could help the district as their representative in Washington. Mr. Owens has remained focused on the economy and job creation throughout his campaign. At the same time, he has shown an understanding of the military, a keen desire to help dairy farmers, an ability to work with labor unions and an eagerness to learn more about the vast, 11-county district that he hopes to represent.

Mr. Owens seems to approach politics and challenges with an open mind, a generous spirit and a can-do attitude. He has conducted a dignified campaign in comparison to Doug Hoffman.

Mr. Hoffman is running as an ideologue. If he carries out his pledges on earmarks, taxation, labor law reform and other inflexible positions, Northern New York will suffer. This rural district depends on the federal government for an investment in Fort Drum and its soldiers, environmental protection of our international waterway and the Adirondack Park, and the livelihood of all our dairy farmers across the district, among other support. Our representative cannot be locked into rigid promises and policies that would jeopardize these critical sectors of our economy.

For a member of Congress, there may be a time to promote reform in Washington, but there is also a time to work within a system that best serves the people you represent.

It is frightening that Mr. Hoffman is so beholden to right-wing ideologues who dismiss Northern New Yorkers as parochial when people here simply want to know how Mr. Hoffman will protect their interests in Washington.

The race has changed, but voters still face an important choice. Northern New York must send to Congress a representative who serves their interests first and foremost.

The Times endorses Bill Owens for Congress.

Emphasis mine.

Hardline: Last Sunday Before Election Day Edition

31 Oct

Sunday from 10am – 12pm on WBEN AM-930, tune in to Hardline.  Dave Debo’s in-studio guests will include:
10:00 am: Alice Kryzan, Bill Kindel & Barry Weinstein, running for Amherst Supervisor

10:45 am: Hamburg Supervisor candidates Dennis Gaughan, Patti Michalek and incumbent Steve Walters

11:30 am:   Lancaster/Elma/Marilla county legislature candidates Dino Fudoli & Diane Terranova
My first question to Dino Fudoli:  Why did you fight so hard to keep your opponent off the ballot?
Note that on Friday, appellate orders did the following:

Michael Abramo on IP Comptroller line.  Diane Terranova stays on Democratic line, Konst back on IP line, no one on Conservative or WFP. (Konst had the Conservative endorsement, Fudoli has Republican and Taxpayers First).

Wednesday November 4th

29 Oct

Here’s a scenario:

It’s Wednesday November 4th. Bill Owens has very narrowly won a seat in Congress from NY-23.  Dede Scozzafava, the endorsed Republican candidate finished a distant third.  All the smart #TCOT kids wearing Banana Republic have left town with their Blackberries and laptops no longer taxing the local coffee shops or Verizon towers.

Now what?

Are they going to stick around NY-23 and help #rebuild the party apparatus there?  Are they going to run to become local committeemen, eschewing their small apartment in NW for a ranch on a rural road with propane heat and a septic tank?

No.  The Republican voters of NY-23 will wonder how the hell they blew a pretty safe seat, and probably be pretty pissed off that all these tools came in from out of town to fuck it all up.

Sedentary Lit

26 Oct

This is how you win an election!

If by “win” you mean “lose”, and by “election” you mean “credibility”.

Legislative District 12: Incumbent Bob Reynolds

26 Oct

Bob Reynolds was elected to the Erie County Legislature in 2006, in the wake of the budget crisis. He worked for Ford Motor Company for 30 years. He is running for a third 2-year term.

Regionalism has turned into a four-letter word, but independent studies show it as the best way to save costs, encourage growth and plan smartly. Do you favor a regional metro government, and what areas would it cover?

We have a regional government already established but very few people realize this. The Association of County Governments meets monthly and passes resolutions and forms active committees. They send representatives to state level organizations as well. I believe this organization needs to take a much more active role on the regionalism issue if it is going to take hold here in Erie County. I currently am working through this organization to look at “Watershed Districts” being established in Erie County – this would be a great first step to towns working together across town lines…

What about a unified school district for Erie County, but preserving/returning to neighborhood schools?

School districts should be forced to use a more BOCES-type organization structure in New York State. We could use them (BOCES) for administrative and backroom office matters as a good starting point. I like neighborhood schools as the norm.

What is your opinion on downsizing the county legislature? Would you include term limits? Would you support extending terms from 2 to 4 years?

I voted for the downsizing and the four year term – so I am supporting it. As for term limits, we need more discussion on this matter since the commission set up to review us did not support term limits…

What is your opinion of Kevin Gaughan’s push to downsize other town and village legislative bodies?

We have taken an initiative in the village of N. Collins and the Farnham to downsize the village into the town – it will take a public vote to see if it happens. We need to be careful on how far we go to three people running government, if it happens in the Town of Hamburg – the council people will be representing 56,000 – even divided that is 28,000 residents each for a part-time representation.

It’s not the money that mandated, but the services. How would you go about reducing the cost of providing county services that are mandated by the state?

I would like to see what is the total cost to run the program and find out what New York State and federal aid are brought into the program and its breakdown for the public to see. We can use the SIX SIGMA approach but it must be done properly. Reduction can only be achieved where the County share can be eliminated in each program where there is no matching funds or as County Executive is doing now stop offering the program.

In 2007, Erie County residents voted in favor of charter reforms that included implementation of performance-based budgeting. Would you push for that?

We are always pushing this item; we have many reports that are required to be given to the Erie County Legislature from our ECRAB organization and other organization that we fund through the budget.

Looking forward, should redistricting be done in a nonpartisan way, avoiding gerrymandering?

To stop gerrymandering we need to set up stronger rules on the breakup of large towns and Election Districts, that is where it occurs.

Give me two big ideas you’d like to promote while in office. Ideas that have the potential to fundamentally change WNY.

I am already working on change; the foreclosure process, county-wide housing court and third is watershed districts

Democrats: Two things about Chris Collins administration that you like. Republicans: Two things about Chris Collins administration that you don’t like.

The Budget director and support of the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors’ Bureau.

Quick questions:

a. Consolidate IDAs? Not sure it solves the problem

b. Creation of a professional regional planning entity with the authority to enforce its decisions? Have to change home rule law first – state issue…

c. Expansion of rail service to the airport/suburbs? To the Ralph? All ready have the rail road tracks, need a bridge over the buffalo river to get to the southtowns – about 25 – 40 million dollars.

d. High speed rail: to Albany, or to Toronto? Which is more important and why?
Toronto – it would be the first step to regional high speed rail between our countries and would be a better economic engine for the area…

Election 2009: The Interviews

26 Oct
Photo by skyliner2008 at Flickr.com

Photo by skyliner2008 at Flickr.com

In many of the contested legislative races, I have sent out a series of questions to the candidates. So far, I have heard back from Brian Wirth, Christina Bove, Bob Reynolds, and Michele Iannello. I have not yet heard from Lynne Dixon, Dino Fudoli, Kevin Hardwick, Shelly Schratz or Tom Loughran.

I had done a post last week soliciting your questions, but literally no one spoke up. A few of the questions used were suggested by my WNYMedia.net colleague, Brian Castner.

I don’t think that the legislature races ever get the attention they deserve. People treat these races like an afterthought, and candidates frequently get away with repeating platitudes and sound bites. I don’t want to hear “run government like a business” or “we only get to decide how to spend 12% of the budget”.

I’ll roll these out as they come in.

Meanwhile, in Nassau County

22 Oct

A teabagger of a Republican candidate for County Executive has a Butch Holtish problem, but what I liked from this Albany Project post is these ads.  We seldom see ads that are quite so devastatingly clever and effective around here.  Wonder why.

Also, note their similarities with Erie County reality.

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Erie County Races: Your Questions

21 Oct
Photo by skyliner2008 at Flickr.com

Photo by skyliner2008 at Flickr.com

In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to offer up my blog to candidates for the Erie County Legislature.  I have a list of about 5 questions that I’d like to ask, but I’m opening this particular thread up to you to offer up your own suggestions.  If you have questions that are directed only to specific candidates, please label them as such.

No, I don’t want passive-aggressive attack questions, and I don’t want “why didn’t you do X” questions.  I want prospective questions that deal not only with issues – but offer the candidates a platform to discuss not just procedural changes to how the legislature does business, but substantive questions that deal with the business of running the county.

So, what do you want to know?

Symbolism

7 Oct

County Executive Chris Collins released his proposed 2010 budget last week, and the Answer Lady posted a picture of its cover:

Collins utilizes some stimulus funding to keep spending essentially the same, and maintaining the same tax rate; tax receipts are expected to rise thanks to reassessments. In addition, Collins has been quick to jettison work that the county is not somehow mandated to do. Responsibility for WIC was transferred to Catholic Charities. Now, Collins is planning to shunt responsibility for day care registration for the working poor to some other charity, and county health clinics are to be run by Sheehan. All of the actual money spent on these programs is reimbursed by the federal government, except for pensions and other legacy costs for the county employees who administer them. That is the net savings.

With that, Collins and his political ally, the beleaguered semi-competent Sheriff, have plans to build a multimillion dollar lockup, which would not require them to provide dreaded toiletries to inmates, thus showing those pesky librul bureaucrats at the Justice Department.

Priorities – jails over health clinics. Lockups over day cares. That’s how Collins prioritizes spending money. I think that the role of government is a bit more involved than administering Medicaid and other mandates, and jailing people. But I’m one of those bleeding heart commieHitlers.

And what’s the real benefit here? Spending goes down for legacy costs for these programs, but it doesn’t go down overall. Collins finds places to spend the money. And taxes don’t go down – they technically stay exactly the same. Savings with no savings. That doesn’t seem to me to be how businesses get run.

But Collins is playing to his base – fed-up suburbanites. They love to hear that the poors are losing their welfare queen benefits like health clinics and day care. Collins doesn’t have to compete for city votes, because that’s not his constituency – not by a long shot.

Set aside for a moment that the Collins crew of legislative candidates have willingly and knowingly accepted the endorsement of a group of people who hold some very questionable beliefs. We’ve been over that. How about the fact that these guys are all bleating on about diminishing the size of government, yet the 2010 budget won’t really do that. Collins has had the opportunity to diminish the size of government since 2008 and he hasn’t done it. He tried to raise taxes, he exploded the effort to downsize the legislature, he’s eliminated a few services that are crucial to the survival of the county’s working poor, but taxes stay the same and so does spending.

The Answer Lady concludes that, as far as Chris Collins is concerned, Buffalo isn’t in Erie County. Collins’ cuts may adversely affect city poors, but gosh darn it, he’s running a business here!

All, told this (along with dumping the City parks back on Buffalo) accounts for about 258 positions out of about 4600. (That’s a 5% reduction, mostly from part time parks workers) Brag about it as if it actually means something.

What’s important, OTOH, is that the County eliminate actual welfare for people who need it, but increase the welfare handout to the Buffalo Bills by 15%. Smaller government! Kids and women: go find a church to help with your WIC. Millionaire sports outfit: is there anything else we can do for you?

Meanwhile, the Buffalo News praises all this as being somehow brilliant, despite the fact that its own editorial states:

The budget proposal, now in the hands of the County Legislature, keeps spending virtually in check, increasing by only 0.2 percent. And it maintains the tax rate steady at this year’s $5.03 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Actual tax collections are expected to rise by 4 percent because of higher assessments and new construction.

Status fucking quo. Spending stays the same. It stays the same.

The cover of that budget book might as well look like this: