Tag Archives: election

#NY26 Special Election to be Called This Week

8 Mar

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo was in Rochester and he revealed that the special election for Chris Lee’s vacant congressional seat in NY-26 will be called by the end of the week.

That will help to stanch Tweets like these:


To which I replied:


I mean, let’s not pretend like all of this took place in a vacuum, you know?


9 Nov

HT Marquil at EmpireWire.com.  Follow him now on Twitter.

Go Vote Today

2 Nov

Never take your freedoms for granted.

Writing in candidates or voting for a third party (out of conviction and/or as a protest) is infinitely more acceptable than staying home and not voting at all. If you aren’t informed, check our endorsements for a refresher. If you have kids, take them with you (like I do) and teach them that being a citizen involves not just rights, but responsibilities as well. Today is your chance – go vote.

And then tonight, ignore the deadbeats and has-beens on other networks and tune into WECK 1230 AM (streaming online as well) to catch Brad Riter and the WNYMedia team dissect the results as they come in. We’re half the age and much better looking than our competitors, though we do have faces for radio. Should be an irreverently good time.

Hopes and Fears on Election Day

28 Oct

It is to the consternation of reformers and the delight of conservatives (small c) that little changes on Election Day. In an election season based upon fear – of The Other, the status quo, taxes, healthcare, immigrants – it should be reassuring to know that the world will not end on the evening of November 2nd, no matter the results that appear.

Based upon the issues receiving the most attention nationally, it may come as a surprise that the status of witches, an armed insurrection, and the banning of mosques will not appear on the Congressional agenda in the next term. Our legislatures are naturally reactionary, as members only vote on the bills presented, and most have little power to have any substantive effect, especially as a freshman Senator or Representative. The President has the ultimate power to set the agenda, only partially shared with Congress in the cases of divided government. So if Christine O’Donnell (a long shot), Sharron Angle (a better chance), or Mark Rubio (put money on it) win next Tuesday, what effect will they personally have on the Senate? Almost none.

Image courtesy podbop.org

The base of each party is either blissfully unaware or purposely self-delusional about the most basic of truths of our legislative system: a vote for or against a bill is of no more or less effect if the legislator is a pragmatic centrist or a die-hard ideologue. There is no Tea Party vote that is worth two. There is no Liberal vote that automatically doubles the appropriation of every line item in the spending bill. The Tea Party is about to have their heart broken, the way the grassroot Netroots did years before. Elect a barn-burning Tea Party champion, and they will have the same practical effect as 95% of other Republicans. In Utah, reliable Republican Senator Bob Bennett was dumped for purer Tea Party candidate Mike Lee. How will his voting record differ when elected? It won’t. Even if the Senatorial stenographer is forced, by Tea Party decree, to use a red pen (made in America by non-union non-illegal immigrants) when recording his votes, it counts no different. And he will introduce less legislation, and have less effect in committee, than Senator Bennett did. Sorry.

No pure Tea Partier will be elected enough times to rise to a leadership level to make a serious impact, and any Tea Partier elected next week that does last that long will be nothing more than an insider, corporate Republican by the time they take a committee chair.

No, instead it is in the margins and at the leadership level that some small change can occur. The House is currently composed of 256 Democrats and 178 Republicans, the Senate 59-41. . Where are the Republicans, pundits and Democrats ask, for us to work with on the other side of the aisle? Why are they so recalcitrant? The Republicans they used to work with were voted out of office in New England, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina. The 178 Republicans left are in safe seats. The members in those 178 seats never reached out across the aisle, and their constituents don’t want them to compromise. Democrats, last year you had something better than a Republican from New Hampshire to work with – you had a member of your own party. The failure of that overwhelming and filibuster proof majority to enact legislation will be recognized next week, as those swing seats return Republican overwhelmingly.

Likewise, Democratic leadership is in trouble. New Yorker’s should cheer for Harry Reid to lose – Chuck Schumer, a strong Democrat from a strong Democratic state, would likely take over leadership. A prime example of how the Democrat’s are unable to effectively govern is that they choose leaders like Reid and Daschle, in weak positions at home, who have no room to either compromise or take bold positions. Hyper-partisan and embittered Nancy Pelosi is another matter – she has the political capital and strength of seat to be a leader, but not the social skills, patience, or aptitude to drop a grudge to win a vote. No matter – Pelosi is about to be demoted, and in or out of office, Reid seems destined for a smaller role. Closer to home, Rep. Slaughter should be fired for her abuses in the Rules Committee alone – for the first time in 221 years, not a single piece of legislation was brought to the floor open for an amendment. That’s the post-partisan Hope and Change I know Obama was going to instill to Washington. Unfortunately, she has as much chance of losing as O’Donnell has of winning.

Americans of pure motive and progressive (small p) spirit should hope for one thing next week: a Republican take over of both the House and Senate. Any other combination produces two years of gridlock. If power is truly divided, both parties share responsibility for the country’s problems. John Boehner becomes Gingrich, and Obama becomes Clinton, and taxes and the deficit have a small chance of being addressed. If the Democrats keep both houses in a weakened state, then we endure 111th Congress Redux, a sequel with less action and more fighting, and everyone waits for 2012. Worse, if only one house swaps, then nothing will ever come out of conference committee, and both parties will argue they need full control in 2012. President Obama has always been more of an individual force than a Democratic insider – more Change will occur if he places his 2012 fortunes above those of his party, and deals with Republican leadership for the next two years to strengthen his own hand (at the expense of Democrats as a whole).

In New York, there is even less change coming. The Assembly is stuck. The Senate will swap to a minor advantage for the Republicans, and Dean Skelos may not survive as leader. Andrew Cuomo is going to enter into office in the peculiar position of having a large electoral victory, but no mandate to actually do anything. Rarely is the faux incumbent placed in office simply for not being “The Other Guy.” Cuomo’s campaign technique of staying low and letting Paladino self-destruct will work politically, but leaves him, unlike Spitzer, weak entering office. The strongest man in the Albany three-way is Sheldon Silver. Woe to Western New York.

Karla Thomas blasts Steve Casey as a “Cancer” in Mayor Brown’s Cabinet

23 Oct
Byron Brown speaking at Medaille College
Image via Wikipedia

The Buffalo Challenger doesn’t have much of a web presence, so a lot of what gets published there flies under the radar, but a reader directs my attention to an “open letter” that Buffalo HR Commissioner Karla Thomas published in the Challenger this past week.  The theme of the letter is that Byron Brown isn’t the leader he could be thanks to a “cancer” in his cabinet: Mayoral underboss Steve Casey.

Thomas’ letter follows, verbatim as printed in the Buffalo Challenger:

The Karla Kronicles
An Open Letter to the Mayor:
There is a Cancer in Your Cabinet…

Dear Byron,
This letter is not intended for Mayor Brown.  It is addressed to the man whose leadership I have followed for over two decades.  Its’ intent is not to be mistaken as malicious, but to be accepted with the love it is being sent.  On behalf of myself and our community, I am appealing to the sensibilities of the man who this community entrusted their safety and caretaking through the electoral process.

Byron, there is a cancer in your cabinet.  Its name is Steve Casey.  His presence in your camp has derailed the direction of your purpose.  It has inflicted pain and confusion on innocent people and employees and brought organized chaos to your leadership.  His quest to become powerful through your anointing must be stopped.

If there was ever one thing our peers always believed about you, Byron, is that you were fair.  In evaluating the up and down side of a situation, you always opted for what was right.  That was your leadership style, pre-Casey.

Your decision however, to fire me without due process and refusal to pay out the remainder of my term is reflective of Deputy Mayor Casey’s influence on your decision making.  This decision serves no real purpose nor is it politically prudent.  It is, however, definitely politically motivated.  The timing of my termination (right before Golembek’s primary) speaks volumes about the real purpose behind your actions.  You simply gave in to some heavy political pressure from people who had nothing to do with getting you re-elected.  I am respectfully requesting you return to the leadership style hat got you elected Masten District Councilman, NYS Senator and Mayor of the City of Buffalo.

This Social Security Death Master has been given God status.  The $800,000 spent on health care premiums for dead retirees is not lost.  It was stolen by those families who knowingly used insurance they were not entitled to.  Our Comptroller should be trying to get that money back from those families–not trying to help fire me.

Relations with our labor unions are greatly improved.  The new Director of Compensation and Benefits is making phenomenal strides in finding and correcting decades old systemic problems with service delivery and overall division functioning.  The Civil Service Division is operating efficiently and the Personnel Division is gearing up to conduct collective bargaining agreement training.  All of these things have occurred under my watch.  I have no more business being fired than Casey does remaining your Deputy Mayor.

Our detractors are ecstatic watching us prepare to commit suicide on the spirit ofour beloved Grassroots legacy and do irreparable damage to any opportunity or dreams you may have for higher office.  I besiege you – look for an exit route for Steve Casey.  As long as he breathes in your cabinet, it will be on life support, leaving our city gasping for air as he continues to negatively impact your leadership with clandestine poison.

The final destination of this journey we have embarked on is a place called disaster.  Neither one of us will arrive safely if you opt to take this trip to the end of the road.  While the outcome for me may impact my employability, it will leave an indelible mark on your political career.

Byron, the best chemotherapy you can give your advisory cabinet is to change its composition.  Give it a make over.  Replenish it with diversity and some good old fashioned Buffalo born and bred loyal statisticians.  Then and only then will this community’s confidence be restored in your leadership of the City that loves you, embraced you and that God has strategically placed you at the head of.

Respectfully submitted,
Commissioner Karla Thomas


20 Oct

These posters have been popping up all over town:

Here’s who paid for those:

The Committee for Economic Growth is nothing more than another name for “Unshackle Upstate”, the Partnership-led group that hates taxes and hates state spending even more.  It hates Democrats and lurves Republicans.

A quick scan of its donor list from the BOE website shows it receives names from Bob Wilmers, Andrew Rudnick, Jerry Zemski, Lou Ciminelli, and Mark Hamister.  I’m all for getting rid of Antoine Thompson and for UB2020, but there’s something so disingenuous about the Partnership moaning and whining about state spending (on Medicaid, e.g.,) while advocating for a UB2020 program.

But as a separate note, it’s quite important that donors to PACs that participate in the New York electoral process play by New York’s rules and disclose their funding.  It might be free speech to give money for political action, but it doesn’t violate free speech to require those names to be disclosed.

The Faily Bunch: Gubernatorial Liveblog

18 Oct


Manhattan Grand Jury Indicts Paladino Petitionmeister

14 Jun

I’m looking around, and I think it’s safe to say that this site was the first and only news portal of any kind in WNY to report on the legal troubles surrounding John Haggerty, whom Carl Paladino tapped several months ago to coordinate his petition-gathering effort.

Just 10-ish days later, a Manhattan grand jury has indicted Haggerty for allegedly misappropriating, laundering, or otherwise converting about $1 million in campaign contributions made by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the state Independence Party.

One of the attractions of the Paladino campaign is that he will ostensibly run an ethical administration, pledging to clean Albany up, with blunt instruments, if necessary. He accuses Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of crimes for which he should be sent to Attica, yet Silver has been indicted by a grand jury on zero occasions. Mr. Haggerty, on the other hand, is under indictment for grand larceny, money laundering, and falsifying business records.

You’ll note that Haggerty is the member of a rogue group of Republicans that has broken away from the Queens GOP establishment – a group which includes Paladino’s running mate, Tom Ognibene.

One would expect a reform campaign that bases part of its platform on transparency, openness, and responsive government would disassociate itself from an indicted alleged felon, if for no other reason to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Instead, they’re doubling down, as seen here in the reviled comments section of the Buffalo News:

The Republican Convention

2 Jun

Unfortunately, I was unable to traipse off to Manhattan to enjoy the goings-on at the state Republican convention, but that’s why we have Bob McCarthy, right? Here’s his take on what happened yesterday, and this paragraph stood out:

Levy faces a tough challenge, since party leaders, including Erie County Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy, say they do not want to support a candidate who in the past has supported the likes of Silver, former Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer and Obama.

Langworthy is the chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee, which is the sole county committee to have endorsed Carl Paladino for Governor going into the convention. If ECGOP didn’t want to support someone who had previously supported Silver and Spitzer, (and while not Obama, he has given to Hillary Clinton), why did they support Carl Paladino?

While Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy hunts around for the nomination of a party to which he doesn’t yet belong, he talks tough, touting his credentials over Rick Lazio’s.

Here is the video that kicked off the state Republican convention:


Clearly that party’s state designees, such as comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, Senate candidate Gary Berntsen, and AG candidate Daniel Donovan will be running against a caricature of President Obama, whose stimulus law has quite literally kept New York State – run for decades by idiot Democrats and idiot Republicans alike – afloat this past year.

You may recall Ed “don’t call me Mr. Tricia Nixon” Cox touting the openness and non-backroom-dealness of the GOP convention in front of last week’s Democratic confab. In this case, “openness” is merely a euphemism for “dysfunctional clusterf*ck”. The Democratic convention took literally an entire afternoon to manufacture a roll call vote to enable all five AG candidates to appear on the September primary ballot without having to take the time and effort to petition. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates are trying to out-backroom-deal each other to guarantee a slot on that ballot and deny it to others. Seriously, neither side has clean hands when it comes to claiming it’s cleaner than the other, so they should each stop pretending. But here’s some funny video of Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy showing off his Republican bona fides:


Finally, here’s a brief interview the Daily News’ Celeste Katz held with Buffalo’s own Carl Paladino. It seems a bit disingenuous for him to accuse others of being zebras trying to change their stripes, because “once a zebra, always a zebra” might apply to Mr. Paladino, as well. (Also, what’s with this talk of zebras?) Paladino thinks he has a shot, and that’s just special.


It will be fascinating to see whom the Republicans designate as their candidate today. (Image HT Marquil at EmpireWire.com)


17 Mar

In a small sign that there’s hope for New York yet, slasher Hiram Monserrate was defeated last night in a landslide by Assemblyman Jose Peralta. Monserrate was recently expelled from the New York State Senate in connection with his slashing-related conviction, lost his court battle to reverse the expulsion, and has now lost his electoral bid to return to the Senate.

Being rid of Monserrate is a small step towards eliminating the stench of corruption, failure, and insanity from the New York State Senate. There’s still a long way to go.

But ultimately, we have no need for a state senate whatsoever. It performs absolutely no useful function of any kind. It is a full-employment plan for hacks and thieves, ill-serving their constituents and the state.

A nonpartisan, unicameral, democratically elected and democratically operated (small “d”) legislature is the best way to return sanity and representative democracy to a legislative entity that no longer serves the people.