Tag Archives: endorsements

Buffalopundit Endorsements 2014

2 Nov

Caveat: Artvoice does not do political endorsements. Nothing written in this post should be interpreted, construed, or cited as an endorsement by the owners or editors of Artvoice itself. This endorsement is mine alone. No person or campaign has directly or indirectly paid for or otherwise sponsored any post or endorsement.  I do not know whether any candidate or party has ever paid for an advertisement in Artvoice, nor would I be in a position to know. I am an independent contractor and have no involvement or employment with Artvoice or its advertising or editorial staff. Any questions or issues can be directed to me at buffalopundit[at]gmail.com. I recommend you click the links – especially in NY-27. Now, on with the countdown. 

United States Congress (NY-26): Brian Higgins

I did this already, I’m sure you all know.

I posted it here just a short week ago

Kathy Weppner talks nonsense, her utterings, laughable; 

Congressman Higgins belongs in the Capitol

United States Congress (NY-27): No Endorsement

I admit that this pick came to me as a shock, 

but I got information I can’t simply mock.  

It shows that the Democrat, not long ago, 

worked for the campaign of Paladino

He helped with debate prep – and this made me cross –

he helped Carl defame a planned downtown mosque

Chris Collins is there, and he’s one of the worst. 

But principle matters; it ought to come first. 

Chris Collins? You kidding? At least he’s consistent. 

Not “Democrat now!”, but once Carl’s assistant

The incumbent, he voted for Cruz’s shutdown, 

harmed our economy and then, like a clown, 

claimed to be against it, despite his own vote

And (of course) blamed Obama, repeat, edit, rote. 

But Collins was for it, before he was not; 

he blamed the “extremists”, rejected the plot

Although Collins’ tenure has been ineffective

I won’t back a Carl guy, he must be rejected. 

Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York State: Cuomo/Hochul

Listen, Cuomo’s got flaws, and of that I’m aware. 

But Rob Astorino I just cannot bear.

His running mate –  Hochul – I respect a great deal,

and the great things he’s done for our region are real.

The Buffalo Billion and Startup New York,

should not be dismissed as cheap welfare and pork.

Never before has an Albany pol,

done this much for Buffalo, as I can recall.  

I do want to see much more effort to end

corrupt fusion and graft – those Albany trends. 

Transparency now is the name of the game, 

and Cuomo’s too secretive, to his own shame. 

After all that he’s done, though, I can’t just reject, 

Cuomo and Hochul, whom I hope you’ll elect. 

Attorney General: Eric Schneiderman

Did you see the debate? Whoa, that Cahill’s a twit. 

He screamed, interrupted, behaved like a shit. 

And kudos to Bob – wow! A substantive question!

I’m voting for Schneiderman this coming election. 

His office protects every one of us from, 

fraud and abuse, and the criminal scum. 

For those who take pills for pain they can’t stop, 

he set up I-STOP, so they can’t doctor shop

Schneiderman’s strong on consumer protection,

And Cahill deserves this year’s voters’ rejection.

State Senate District 63: Tim Kennedy

Given the choice between sellout or dummy, 

the outlook for voters just isn’t too sunny. 

Tim Kennedy isn’t my favorite guy

his opponent, however, should make you ask, “why…

“…would local Republicans beclown themselves so…

“…by running a guy who’d make Weppner say, ‘whoa’“.

Kennedy may have some bridges to fix, 

but Donovan? Please, voters, no, nada, nix

State Senate District 62: Rob Ortt

Oh, great. For fuck’s sake. What a choice – I’m aghast. 

Two Republicans, one Paladino backed last.

Ortt is the Mayor of North Tonawanda,

Destino’s a Dem whom I’m not wholly fond of. 

Paladino endorsed him the last time around

and that’s generally something I can’t just write down. 

Destino was backed by the goons who had tried

–  in a spurious way that I cannot abide – 

to smear Maziarz as a closeted gay

and failed, like the cretins they are, by the way. 

Ortt is a vet with conservative views. 

But defeated that Gia – so, he’s reasonable, too

When assholes supporting you campaign on hate, 

it behooves you to answer with outrage, and state

something where you reject their assistance and views,

and you do it quite loudly, and make it big news.

I’m sorry you didn’t, and I hope that you’ll scorn

that loudmouthed old hater who forwards horse porn. 

State Senate District 61: Elaine Altman

Hah! Mike Ranzenhofer? Career politician. 

Dear reader, what was his agenda or vision? 

Say “no” and do nothing, for 20-odd years? 

It’s time for a change, and it’s time to switch gears. 

Altman’s a teacher, she knows Common Core, 

and she’ll fight to fund schools, and absolutely do more

to help out a district that’s been represented 

by someone who’s done not a lot, I’ve lamented. 

Send a teacher to Albany!”, that’s where she belongs. 

Ranz’s tenure in government’s two decades too long.

State Senate District 60: Not Stocker

I mean no disrespect to Dem Marc Panepinto, 

I don’t mean to leave him out hanging in limbo. 

Think Again, Turn Away

A vote for the Dem would be great and just swell,

but Grisanti deserves to go back for a spell

As senator, he’s been unfazed and courageous. 

“Profile in Courage” would not seem outrageous. 

He helped us to pass same-sex marriage, and took

a risk to pass SAFE Act after Sandy Hook.

It showed us that people don’t need a damn armory,

and schools should be havens of peace and of harmony. 

So, whatever you do, and don’t think it’s a shocker

vote for anyone, just not the tea party’s Stocker

NYS Assembly 146: Ray Walter

Did you know that Ray Walter is in a real race? 

Against a young Dem with a fresh, stubbled face? 

I’m sure that Steve Meyer’s an earnest young chap, 

with ideas and energy. Aside from all that, 

I have to agree that he’s lacking know-how, 

and has yet to consider what furrows our brow. 

He’s just out of school, and has loads of more time, 

to get a career, pay some taxes and climb

up to a level where he really can get, 

the problems that we New York families fret. 

Ray and I see eye to eye on the tolls, 

that the Thruway Authority always controls, 

with antiquity formed in the shape of a booth, 

within it a person, who I doubt, in his youth, 

Imagined his life would be handing out slips.  

Yet throughout the world, the traffic just zips, 

through camera tolls without stopping to pay.

This dreary old system, it pisses off Ray, 

So, send my friend back to fight Albany pols, 

besides, the Assembly’s in firm Dem control. 

OTHER

For a number of races, there is no opponent. 

For a real democracy, that’s a missing component. 

For all of these races, you have a blank check,

vote whomever you please, except for Mazurek

I’ll note, on the side, that Ray Walter’s a friend, 

and he’s running against a young Dem 

 

But no matter what, do not let the time pass. 

Just remember to vote, and Donn Esmonde’s an ass. 

General Election Endorsements 2013

3 Nov

Greetings, citizens of Goodenoughistan, where good enough is good enough

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

This has been an exhaustingly ugly campaign season. It is ever thus, when Pedro Espada’s patronage hire, Steve Pigeon, decides to interject himself, his friends, and their dirty money into an election cycle. As always, these efforts are replete with personal destruction, negative campaigns, lies, deceit, and widespread allegations of brazen election law violations.

This happens more often than not, and it underscores the need for Governor’s Moreland Commission on public corruption, as much as it does the commission’s typical, politically motivetaed reluctance to carry out its stated mission.

New York politics are dirty by design, and the people who benefit therefrom have zero incentive to change that; Cuomo included. Tea Party nudniks and good government hippies can whine and cry about whatever outrage – SAFE ACT! IDA ABUSE! – but all of it stems from a common denominator of a horribly broken political system. In 2014, you and I should be more strident in demanding that the Moreland Commission on public corruption do its job. Abuse of the fusion system should be ended. Election law violations should be punished. Campaign finance rules must be followed, and complaints ought be acted upon. 

COUNTYWIDE

Erie County Sheriff (DICK DOBSON)

During primary season, Bert Dunn and Dick Dobson squared off in a Democratic primary. Steve Pigeon’s WNY Progressive Caucus threw a hundred thousand dollars into Dobson’s defeat of the self-funded Dunn. Since then? Nothing. One could credibly argue that Pigeon doesn’t care about Democrats being elected, but only that the Democratic county committee being embarrassed.

Dick Dobson, as it turns out, is a thoughtful and credible professional. Incumbent Tim Howard is running for a third term, and has been nothing but a bitter embarrassment and disappointment. When he wasn’t screwing up the Joan Diver search or letting Ralph “Bucky” Philips escape from custody, he was catching the attention of the federal Department of Justice due to conditions at the county holding centers. Howard needs to go.

Dobson sure could have used another influx of cash in October from whoever bankrolled Pigeon in September, but it didn’t happen. That’s a shame, so let’s just call the Pigeonistas “Democrats for Tim Howard”. I saw Dobson speak at a candidate forum a few weeks ago, and came away impressed. Neither Dunn nor Howard deigned to show up, and Dobson spoke compellingly about his time setting up a professional police force in a third world nation, and how it’s imperative that the holding center be safe because of its duty to hold inmates and deliver them safely to court.  

Dunn got himself a minor party line, and appears on the ballot (way down on the ballot) on Tuesday. Don’t look for him. He should have abandoned the race when he lost the September primary, but didn’t. Call it hubris or cash-fueled ignorance, but when Dunn should have rallied his support and money around Dobson, he was just as absent as Pigeon. 

Dobson deserves your support and your vote. 

COUNTY COMPTROLLER (KEVIN GAUGHAN)

This is a tough one. On the one hand, Gaughan had his personal tax issue. On the other hand, incumbent Stefan Mychajliw has no idea what he’s doing. The edge goes to Gaughan, who has a legal and financial background and has worked for a generation to help make western New York run better and more efficiently. He spent years promoting regional cooperation, to eliminate governmental layers of taxation, and to bring about economies of scale. He then spent time urging smaller governments to downsize, saving taxpayer money while underscoring the fact that a 3-person village board is just as competent as a 5-person board. 

Mychajliw’s tenure has been little more than a year-long campaign, chasing headlines rather than results. Audits take about three months to complete, and in his 10 months in office he’s released one flawed audit of a county gas card system, which uncovered no monetary waste and saved taxpayers nothing. Promised audits of the water authority never came about. A DSS audit was effectively rendered incredible thanks to his deputy comptroller’s made-up claims that confidential records were left out in unsecured totes for anyone to access – they were behind locked doors in a Rath Building sub-basement, and the county had the testimony and video to prove it. 

Mindful of his lack of experience and education, Mychajliw promised to hire the best and the brightest. His deputy comptroller for audit – a CPA – left the job after the DSS tote scandal, and hasn’t been replaced. To top it off, Mychajliw hasn’t reached out to the rating agencies to hustle for an improved credit rating for Erie County – something that the Comptroller routinely does to help show that the county’s finances are in good order, and to help bring about cheaper borrowing rates. This hasn’t happened, and is a dereliction of duty. 

And don’t kid yourself about Mychajliw’s inevitability – if he was so secure in his re-election, he wouldn’t be spending all his TV money on negative ads against Gaughan. To his credit, Gaughan hasn’t done the same. 

Don’t send amateurs back in to do the work of professionals – vote Gaughan. 

MAYOR OF BUFFALO (SERGIO RODRIGUEZ)

Incumbent Byron Brown is running for his third term as mayor of a struggling, poor rust belt city who runs a hyper-politicized, allegedly corrupt petty fiefdom. With a million in the bank, he can steamroll over most challengers and has built an interdependent political machine, cavalierly flaunting the laws that ostensibly limit municipal employees’ electioneering, and his ability to compel it.

Byron Brown is a nice enough guy and people like him, but I don’t think he’s the mayor Buffalo needs. Sergio Rodriguez has run a strong, issues-based race against Mayor Brown, and he’s done so despite being forced to navigate a figurative minefield to do it. He has no support from the county Republican committee, and doesn’t have enough money to do much of anything. He’s bought some lawn signs, but doesn’t have the scratch to do a set of mailings, much less to get on radio or TV.  Instead, he’s been wearing out his shoes, going directly to voters, and he’s been using social media in a town where promotion on Instagram or Foursquare isn’t going to go far. 

Because of the feudal system that Byron Brown has inherited and enhanced, big donors know that helping Sergio is the kiss of death – Brown and his consiglieri would shun you, and no one wants to get sidetracked to discuss what’s happening. Being a Brown outlaw and attempting to do business in the City of Buffalo – any business requiring a permit or license – is untenable. The political class in Buffalo, which is dependent on Brown for its livelihood, knows better than to back Rodriguez. 

Almost all of the major projects taking place in the showy Buffalo we consider being “real” and having a “sense of place”, exist in spite of Brown, rather than because of him. More often than not, they come about when he gets out of the way. He gets to show up at the ribbon-cutting and make a proclamation, and then skulks back to the 2nd floor, behind armed guards, to oversee fiefdom. 

The boom is, after all, illusory. For every new restaurant, medical building, and waterfront announcement, the city’s problems with poverty, crime, joblessness, hopelessness, and failing schools all continue unabated. The big-ticket items are good, but if a city can’t get the fundamentals right, what point is there? People point to positive changes along Grant Street, but gentrification without population or income growth is as unsustainable as sprawl without growth. What the city needs is a leader, not a caretaker. 

Brown hasn’t even deigned to compete against Rodriguez, which is the ultimate insult – denying voters a race they deserve. But whether or not you think Sergio is the leader Buffalo needs, he has spent months talking about thefundamentals – talking to residents and business owners (small ones, the ones who serve the community rather than big-money interests) about the problems that they face on a daily basis. It’s not pretty – Brown is busy on the radio promoting jobs at Geico way the hell up in north Amherst, so you’re all set if you have a reliable car. Buffalo needs jobs for Buffalonians in Buffalo. There’s no regional plan for much of anything, and one would expect a Buffalo mayor to focus on the quality of life basics, not to ensure his re-election, but to make sure his constituents are better-off.

If you’re one of the preservationist elites, Mayor Brown has had almost 10 years to develop a strategic plan to market and help people finance the purchase and renovation of dilapidated and vacant city-owned foreclosed homes. Just recently, a vacant city-owned house near Grant Street was demolished, and no one knew it was for sale because the city doesn’t put up signs or list them properly.

Sergio Rodriguez deserves your vote. He’s identified and is discussing the bigger picture, and recognizes that a leader requires a vision. In a town where the mayor has touted the number of demolitions he’s overseen, Sergio has instead addressed the issues of joblessness, crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, vacancies, and crime – things that don’t particularly matter to big developers with Rolls-Royces. But Sergio is also the guy who says City Hall will be open and inviting to all, and where good ideas will find a home. It will be inclusive and transparent, rather than an impenetrable fortress. It is Sergio’s time. I think he’s talking about the important things no one wants meaningfully to discuss. Get out on Tuesday and vote Sergio.  At the very least, make it close enough to send Brown a message about complacency.

COUNTY LEGISLATURE

Certain races will be closely watched because it takes one seat to flip the Democratic majority into a Republican one.  Therefore, I urge you to vote for the Democrat rather than the Republican whenever that choice exists, and frankly, only one race is competitive – I highlight it for that reason, and also because it represents the worst and most egregious form of personal destruction. 

I’ll also note that in LD-4 and LD-6, incumbents Kevin Hardwick and Ed Rath went as far as the appellate division to try and kick their opponents off the ballot and sail to re-election unopposed. For that reason alone, please vote for their challengers. 

District 8 (WYNNIE FISHER)

Democrat Wynnie Fisher is running a competitive race against Republican Ted Morton, who breached ethical rules and was fired from his job as a result. The Buffalo News says he wasn’t fit to be elected to office. So, last week, the Republicans retaliated. 

To be more precise, information that was sent to known Pigeon associate Kristy Mazurek was funneled to the Republicans, who used it to assault Fisher’s character over a dispute with a neighbor and to label her as “crazy”.  So, in case it wasn’t yet clear, so-called “progressives” affiliated with Pigeon are not above being Republican stooges and destroying Democrats. 

Let’s be clear – the attempts to destroy Fisher’s character are defamatory and false, brought up by people who hold a personal animus towards her. The people promoting these distortions and lies about Fisher being a crazy person with a criminal record have established in just one week why it is that good people don’t want to get involved in politics. 

So, here is what one of Fisher’s friends and colleagues has to say about Wynnie Fisher: 

I wanted to reach out regarding the negative mailers you probably received regarding Wynnie Fisher, candidate for Erie County Legislature. For what it’s worth, I’m not involved in any way in Wynnie’s campaign. I work with her at Buffalo State, and wanted to share my perspective.

I have worked with Wynnie for eight years, perhaps as closely as two people can work together. She is a phenomenal colleague. Her work at Buffalo State has been superb. As Field Experience coordinator, she works with teachers and administrators across Western New York and has built partnerships with schools from the ground up through years of hard work and nurturing relationships. Prior to working at BSC, she was a secondary English teacher for a number of years, and was entirely successful in that position. She recently defended her dissertation in higher education administration, which was a rigorous statistical research report on the impact of service learning; she now holds a Ph.D. On top of all that, she rescues and rehabilitates animals, volunteers endlessly with community organizations like Project FLIGHT (a family literacy initiative) and Lions club, and has chaired the democratic committee in Alden for several years. Professionally and personally speaking, I have only known Wynnie to be one of the most productive and positive people I’ve ever worked with, capable of dealing with myriad challenges.

Wynnie’s family has had an ongoing dispute for many years with some neighbors, which has sometimes erupted into public disagreements. Wynnie explains that a misunderstanding in 2004 resulted in an arrest for disorderly conduct. The charges were dismissed, and she has NO criminal record. She has shared with me in the past that she has had many challenges with her neighbors, and I take her at her word regarding the nature of the 2004 arrest. I was not aware of it prior to it coming to light this week. I feel badly for her, knowing how embarrassing this must be.

Ultimately, though, I respect any voter’s prerogative, and realize that there will be some who will choose not to support Wynnie because of these revelations. Is it reasonable to expect a public servant to never have had any disputes with neighbors or run-ins with the police? Perhaps. I think some folks would say, “Absolutely.” I don’t know. But I do know this: She’s not “crazy.” She is a good, hard-working, highly educated woman who is a dedicated professional and warm-hearted person.

I hope this helps answer any questions you may have about Wynnie. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Kind-hearted educator with a Ph.D.? We could use more of that kind of person in county hall. 

TOWN OF CLARENCE

In this coming election, you can choose to vote for two people. If you think “checks and balances” is a good concept, let’s maybe add a Democratic woman (shock! horror!) to what’s now a one-party, all-male dictatorship. I endorse Pat Casilio and Tracy Francisco. 

PROPOSITIONS

1:  Authorizing Casino Gaming 

Vote yes. I don’t gamble, but some people do. I’d rather see the state tax all gambling, including table games, which doesn’t happen with respect to the Indian casinos, which only pay the state part of the take from slots. This proposition would permit seven casinos to be built in the state. 

2: Additional Civil Service Credit for Veterans with Disabilities Certified Post-Appointment

Vote yes. This lets disabled veterans get an extra credit on civil service appointments due to their disability. 

3. Exclusion of Indebtedness Contracted for Sewage Facilities

Vote yes. The law on this is on a 10-year cycle, which is up this year. 

4. Settling Disputed Title in the Forest Preserve

Vote yes. This is interconnected with #5, and settles a century-old land dispute in the Adirondacks. It involves an exchange of land between private owners and expands the Adirondack preserve. 

5. In Relation to a Land Exchange in the State Forest Preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc.

From the League of Women Voters

NYCO Minerals is a producer and supplier of wollastonite (calcium metasilicate), which is a  rare, white mineral having commercial application as a reinforcement or additive in ceramics, paints, plastics, friction products and various building products. The Lewis mine produces 60,000 tons of wollastonite annually. NYCO Minerals has indicated that its mine is approaching the end of its pit life because the remainder of the wollastonite vein extends onto adjacent forest
preserve land.

Proponents of the amendment argue that the land swap would (1) preserve jobs and ensure one of the largest employers in Essex County remains viable; (2) provide new access to mountain peaks and trout streams for outdoor recreation; and (3) result in the state preserve acquiring a greater quantity of land and higher-quality land than the land it is trading to NYCO Minerals.

Opponents of the amendment argue that the land swap is not vital to NYCO’s survival and that it would diminish the strength of the “Forever Wild” clause. They say that (1) the land swap would set a dangerous and historic precedent because it would be the first forest preserve constitutional amendment to be undertaken for private commercial gain rather than for a clear public municipal purpose and public benefit and; (2) there are viable alternatives to the land swap, given that there are considerable permitted reserves of wollastonite available on NYCO’s current land and that such reserves are expected to last for 15-20 years.

Vote yes. 

6. Increasing Age until which Certain State Judges Can Serve 

Vote yes. It gives judges the ability to work until age 80, if they want. Some of them do, and mandatory retirement is sucky. 

Quality

28 Oct

Reading the Buffalo News’ endorsements this cycle has been entertaining, if nothing else. Last week, we had a lackluster semi-endorsement of our hyperpolitical caretaker mayor. More recently, the News has slapped our embarrassing Sheriff, Tim Howard, who has been dramatically bad at his job. To top it off, he effectively appointed himself to the bench, and declared the NY SAFE Act unconstitutional, without ever donning a robe or passing the bar. 

To say that Howard’s position on the SAFE Act is fundamentally undemocratic is an understatement. Howard needs to go, even if his SAFE Act declaration was a cheap ploy to get gun-huggers’ votes. By contrast, I hadn’t heard much from Dobson, but he was especially impressive at a recent candidate forum he attended in Clarence

Then turn to the endorsement for the County Legislature, District 8. Republican Ted Morton is up against Democrat Wynnie Fisher. How’s this for an opening

This became a difficult race to call with the revelation that the Republican candidate for this open seat, Ted B. Morton, violated ethical rules as a financial planner by borrowing money from his clients between 2009 and 2012. For that infraction, the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency fined him $5,000 and suspended him from acting as a financial planner for six months.

His employer, LPL Financial, fired him. He mentioned none of this in his campaign or during an interview with the News editorial board.

This is an egregious violation that should disqualify Morton from public office, at least for now. We cannot endorse him, even though he is, in other ways, the better candidate, having more experience and a surer sense of the task at hand.

So, Wynnie Fisher may have inexplicably admitted her own naivete, but even in doing so she’s more open and transparent than her unethical opponent. Simply amazing. 

Finally, the News’ endorsement of Kevin Gaughan is critical of the incumbent

Mychajliw’s image as a self-promoter who is preparing for higher office is inescapable. The image is burnished every time he criticizes even the tiniest action of the county executive and ensures the media is there to cover it. Mychajliw trumpets that he hasn’t called news conferences to discuss his findings, but he’s not shy about alerting the media at the same times he sends his findings to county government.

I saw Mychajliw, who has carefully formulated this “good guy” image, has started airing negative ads against Gaughan. While Gaughan’s tax problems are embarrassing, there’s plenty of embarrassing stuff about Mychajliw’s background, too. The doctrine of clean hands should estop Mychajliw from this sort of nonsense. At least Gaughan has taken responsibility for his debt, and paid it off. This shouldn’t negate his 20+ years work trying to help turn western New York into a more cost-effective place for taxpayers to live. 

[BN]dorsed

26 Oct

The post-Sullivan Buffalo News is releasing its endorsements for the upcoming election. Its endorsement of Stefan Mychajliw over incumbent David Shenk is almost begrudging (registration may be required), reading like an elementary school essay. 

 Mychajliw recognizes his strengths and shortcomings, and would continue the Poloncarz-era oversight of county government.

The editorial board believes Shenk has failed to exert any real independence during his short tenure, and Mychajliw’s education and background is totally inconsistent with accounting, auditing, or any other financial control whatsoever. Mychajliw comes across as the least-bad choice because he’s of the other party. But hasn’t he been campaigning on his independence, rather than his partisanship? 

In the race for the 60th Senate District, it gives incumbent Republican Mark Grisanti the nod, thanks to his votes for marriage equality, a new tier for the state pension system, and his push for UB 2020. The paper’s editorial board gives Democrat Amodeo a one-line “whatever, dude”, and notes that the Conservative Party’s Swanick is a carrer opportunist who embodies homophobic anachronism. At least they got one of those right.  

In the 62nd, incumbent Republican George Maziarz is preferred over Democrat Amy Hope Witryol, mostly because he has clout in Albany, or something. 

There is no mention made, yet, of the 61st District where Newstead’s Justin Rooney is taking on 20-year career politician Mike Ranzenhofer. 

In the congressional races, the Buffalo News wanted to see even a smidge of willingness by the candidates to cross the aisle and act bipartisanly for the good of the country and their districts. In the 23rd District, it picks Republican Tom Reed over Nate Shinagawa, because he said he’d work with Democrats to fix the deficit. The News prefers Democratic incumbent Brian Higgins because he’s a doer who doesn’t take no for an answer, over tea party activist Mike Madigan who had to eschew all of his tea-party ideas in favor of something that might actually sell in a Democratic district – school reform. The News noted that this is a local issue, so he should run for local office. 

But the most striking language came in the News’ endorsement of incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul over Republican Chris Collins. Noting that Hochul has shown significant independent streaks during her short tenure, Collins is quite the opposite. In fact, the News writes that the choice of Hochul over Collins is “clear and obvious”. 

More than that, her Republican opponent, former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, flat-out has no business in Congress, unless voters want to see more of the division and rancor that has already made this Congress the lowest-rated ever in an election year.

Collins has a chief executive mindset and lacks both the willingness to compromise and the people skills that effective lawmakers need. Many voters seem to recognize that, given that polling shows a dead-even race in the overwhelmingly Republican district.

What Congress desperately needs are representatives who are passionate about their districts and their country, but who recognize that their political adversaries may also have legitimate viewpoints that their constituents endorse. Hochul has already demonstrated her commitment to that kind of leadership. She is devoted to representing a largely conservative district well.

I can only imagine how that editorial board interview went. Other papers live-Tweet, videotape, or otherwise release those interviews. The Buffalo News should do the same. It continues, 

Collins, meanwhile, lacks the ability to perceive shades of difference in issues. He says he would be willing to compromise with Democrats as long as they first agree to his vision. That, in fact, is a barely disguised pledge not to compromise. That destructive tactic, routinely practiced by House Republicans, nearly led the country to default on its debt last year and consequently led to this January’s looming – and economically disastrous – fiscal cliff.

Collins is a single-minded, intensely focused individual, a quality that has no doubt helped produce his notable success as a businessman. But it didn’t work well for him as county executive and it will work even worse in what should be the collaborative process of lawmaking.

The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a staunch Massachusetts liberal, was widely regarded by his peers – Democratic and Republican – as a top-notch legislator. Why? Because he was willing to form relationships across the aisle to achieve important national goals. He worked with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who is at least as far to the right as Kennedy was to the left.

Hochul has the necessary combination of vision, pragmatism and friendliness to adopt that model. Collins does not.

Collins clearly has an interest in public affairs and we encourage him to continue that interest. But he is not cut out for legislative office. Sometimes leaders have to play different roles than the ones they imagine. Collins should find that role and Hochul should go back to Congress.

I can’t remember ever reading a more strongly worded editorial against a particular candidate’s bona fides from any paper, ever. 

Endorsements: State Senate Primaries

11 Sep


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

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

State Senate District 60 (Mark Grisanti (R) incumbent)

Democratic Primary: Mike Amodeo

Mike Amodeo is a progressive Democrat who wants Albany term limits, a ban on hydrofracking, reducing the red tape the state imposes to create a business, and you can read the rest of his campaign platform here. It’s solid, smart, and full of things Democrats should be supporting. So, I’m at a loss to explain why it is that we need a “Democrat” like Chuck Swanick to run against him with the express support of homophobic, fundamentally transactional bad actor, Conservative Party boss Ralph Lorigo

If you’re a registered Democrat in the district, you should be voting for Amodeo. Period. 

In what way is Chuck Swanick more progressive on anything than Amodeo? I will grant you, he’s more progressive in terms of, e.g., becoming a Republican, cozying up with Joel Giambra, earning personal perks, privileges, patronage, and pay. I will grant you that he’s more progressive in terms of looking out for #1 above all else, that he is without peer in the business of “protecting Chuck Swanick” and “looking out for Chuck Swanick”. I will also concede that he is unique in that his bad-government bona fides are unparalleled, and that he and his supporters are undeterred by them. If ever there was an advertisement made to highlight “how government and politics in WNY are horrible things populated by horrible people”, Chuck Swanick’s name and image would be plastered all over it. He should be perpetually and serially unelectable – not just unelectable, but the mere suggestion of his election should send average citizens screaming.

Democrats in this region are obsessed with our perpetual, counterproductive, ill-considered factionalism (e.g., Lenihan vs. Pigeon; City Hall vs. everybody). But the net result of that is hatred and failure. Chuck Swanick isn’t a Democrat any more than he is a Republican. He is an opportunist, and a corrupt one, at that. He is a member of the Swanick party, and Christ alone knows why any self-proclaimed Democrat wouldn’t back a perfectly reasonable Democratic Party candidate in Mike Amodeo. No one on Earth has given a single, solitary reason why Swanick is preferable to Amodeo on the merits, or – more to the point – why Amodeo is unacceptable. (Except for factionalism and some bizarre, unproven opinion about Swanick’s “progressive” bona fides). How much easier would it be if we had Democrats united behind the singular Democrat who (a) isn’t a patronage whore; and (b) isn’t a careerist.

Some argue that Swanick’s backing by the execrable homophobes at the National Organization for Marriage is beside the point; marriage equality is settled, they say. But it isn’t. Here you have an opportunity to have a Republican (Grisanti) and a Democrat (Amodeo) run in November, both of whom would be unwavering supporters of marriage equality. Yet instead, some supporters of same sex marriage are backing a Democrat who won support from Vomit (Ralph) Lorigo and NOM, thus putting the issue of marriage equality back in the race. If not for factionalism, and the promise of future hack job, on what merits does anyone select Swanick against Amodeo? In what way is Amodeo unacceptable as a “progressive” Democrat? How, precisely, is someone funded by NOM acceptable to anyone as a “progressive” Democrat. This primary is about Chuck Swanick, money,  patronage and factionalism, full stop, end of story.

I’m not a Dem committeeman – not for the county committee, and not for my town committee. I have no say or stake in who becomes ECDC chair. However, I think that once the committee selects a chair, the party faithful should default to supporting the committee’s activities, absent some compelling reason not to. Instead, we have factions who openly and relentlessly challenge the committee, but don’t have the balls or the votes to actually change its makeup. (Who showed up to vote for Sundra Rice?)  Now, you’ve successfully deflected the argument away from my question to you, which is – why do you support the Conservative Party’s candidate, Chuck Swanick? Democrats should run screaming from Ralph Lorigo. All Democrats

Al Coppola is also running. So what?

tl;dr: AFAIC, Democrats should stop backing candidates who seek and obtain the Conservative Party endorsement, full stop. 

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Republican Primary: Mark Grisanti

Last year, Mark Grisanti, in a massive and systemically uncharacteristic display of balls, bucked his party to vote in favor of same sex marriage. For that alone, he deserves re-election. His opponent has a track record of questionable campaign tactics, and is running almost exclusively on the “Grisanti said he wasn’t going to vote for same-sex marriage” platform, such as it is. 

What that amounts to is, “Grisanti broke his promise to do the wrong thing, and did the right thing instead“. 

Grisanti’s vote was a real-life, contemporary profile in courage.

Grisanti’s vote wasn’t influenced by phone calls or internet chatter. Instead, he performed legal research on the matter, finding out that civil unions don’t really work, and that married couples enjoy 1,300+ rights and privileges that unmarried couples don’t. He had to compartmentalize his faith and examine the issue purely on the facts and the law, resulting in a conversion.  However, he would not agree to vote in favor of this law without strong religious exemptions and an inseverability clause, which would render the entire law null and void should a future court change so much as one word.  Grisanti said that the clergy to whom he’s spoken since his vote appreciate that language.

At the time, traditional media were intensely interested in the “betrayal” angle, and whether Grisanti had committed “political suicide”. Grisanti smiled and replied that he’s new to politics and didn’t make his decision under pressure. He said it was going to pass anyway, but he could not in good conscience refuse to extend basic civil rights to his taxpaying constituents. He said he doesn’t know – or care – whether he committed political suicide with this vote. He didn’t get into politics to be re-elected, but to do good by his constituents. If they decide he should leave Albany, so be it.

I guess in western New York politics, we’ve become so cynical and jaded, expecting our electeds to be dirty, dishonorable deal-makers that when we see true leadership, hard work, and conscientious research and analysis, we really don’t know how to react and assume we’re being played. Grisanti wasn’t playing anyone. 

Furthermore, people who may or may not be on Grisanti’s opponent’s payroll have been engaged in an utterly disgusting, obscene campaign against the incumbent – so bad that it serves only to enhance Grisanti’s standing. That Grisanti’s opponent expressly or tacitly permits this to happen reflects poorly on him and should be punished. 

If you’d like to know the genesis of that “mailer” emailed around by a conservative “committee” (i.e., by polterpol Matt Ricchiazzi) and the anti-Grisanti animus behind it, it all has to do with a reason and a pretext. The reason is that Grisanti refused to hire Ricchiazzi. The pretext is that Ricchiazzi is somehow insulted by an uncorroborated account of Grisanti’s behavior in that bar fight up in the Falls.  Click below to see a series of text messages that Ricchiazzi sent to Senator Grisanti and members of his staff around the time of the bar fight. Note his initial offer to “help” Grisanti sue the Senecas, and quickly degenerated into a demand for a job. 

State Senate District 58 (Tim Kennedy (D) incumbent)

Democratic Primary: Tim Kennedy

I am a big fan of Betty Jean Grant’s, and I think she would make a fantastic State Senator. She is a tireless advocate for the poor and disadvantaged, and doesn’t cut deals with horrible Republican technocrats for political gain. I am a huge fan of the symbolism of her run. I don’t mean the fact that she’s an African-American or a woman – I mean the fact that Kennedy very deliberately and openly betrayed what should have been a Democratic county legislature majority in 2010 – 2011 and handed the reins of power almost unchecked to the execrable Chris Collins. The so-called “reform coalition” reformed nothing and brought little more than strife and hatred to the county legislature – a body that is about 90% uncontroversial ministerial work, and 10% visceral combat. 

However, I won’t be guided by factionalism here any more than I will be in the 60th. As much as I like her, Betty Jean hasn’t articulated specific policy reasons why she would be an improvement over Kennedy, so I’ll reluctantly give it to the incumbent. While Kennedy touted his no-brainer work on cyberbullying and texting-while-driving statutes, I’d like to see him get out front of more controversial issues and stick his neck out for important reasons. So far,  his tenure has been adequate, not excellent.  

 

Endorsements 2011

7 Nov

These are not predictions. These are preferences. Please be sure to join WNYMedia.net Tuesday for election night coverage starting around 9pm. Your mileage may vary. Offer void where prohibited.

1. Erie County Executive: Mark Poloncarz

No surprise here. Mark is a personal friend and I believe in the work that he’s accomplished on behalf of all the taxpayers of Erie County. His office has been run with excellence in mind, and with the taxpayers’ best interests at heart. He is a middle-class kid who hasn’t forgotten from whence he came, and wants to go up 5 floors in the Rath Building in order to represent all the people of Erie County – city, suburb, rich, poor, black, white – everybody. I won’t repeat four years’ worth of posts exposing Chris Collins for being the tax-hiking, elitist hyperpolitical tinpot Machiavelli he is – just do a search for “Chris Collins” on our site.  What I will say is that Poloncarz is going to bring not just competence, but excellence to the County Executive’s office. Despite lots of pressure to do otherwise, Mark is a believer in maintaining a meritocracy in his office. He hires and retains people who do the best and most thorough work for their county pay. He’s a hard worker who doesn’t back down from a challenge or a fight. When it comes to dealing with a dysfunctional legislature, a county control board, and his enemies’ slings and arrows, Poloncarz has proven that he’s up to it, time and time again. He fought to make sure his office did county borrowing because he got the better financing deals. He’s exposed waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money large and small. He doesn’t think you need to substitute creative thinking and common sense with some expensive cluster of management-speak to get the best and most efficient results for your tax dollar.

But on top of that, Mark has his priorities straight. He doesn’t think you should privatize WIC or shutter clinics to score political points with a certain population of voter. On the contrary, he thinks that the county should save money wherever possible; clinics are cheaper than emergency room visits. WIC is now less convenient for its users. It wasn’t Six Sigma that found how DSS was using 19th century technology to maintain its files – it was a vigilant comptroller’s office. It’s not simply about frugality for its own sake – it’s about being smart with money.

All of the fights that take place in our largely redundant and pointless county government center around the very small (8 – 12%) of the budget that’s discretionary. That’s what most of our anger and derision flows from.  Given that this percentage is so small, it’s best for everyone – politicians and the community-at-large – if it’s spent thoughtfully, if at all. Instead, the incumbent County Executive has hyper-politicized the funding of libraries and cultural organizations rather than used real merit or apolitical considerations. Collins needlessly created a funding crisis for the county libraries out of whole cloth, which he’d prefer to resolve through a brand-new tax and special taxing district; just the sort of authority-creation that New York State is trying to abolish. That’s old-style spendthrift liberal thinking. It lazily shunts responsibility off of the county and on to some other entity, whether it be a new tax and bureaucracy, or the towns.

Remember – when it comes down to brass tacks, we like these services that we get with our taxes. It’s only in the abstract that we yell about taxes, until we’re reminded what they pay for.

Likewise, the process to fund cultural organizations shouldn’t be at the County Executive’s whim; it shouldn’t be, as it is now, just a newer version of old-style spendthrift liberal thinking like the member items of yore. Instead, Poloncarz would return that duty to the apolitical, non-partisan Erie County Cultural Resources Advisory Board, or ECCRAB. It was a system with which everyone was on board, and it took politics out of the equation. We didn’t have the huge fights then that we have now, as Collins artificially picks winners and losers with zero input from public stakeholders.

Finally, Collins is nothing more than an old-fashioned tax & spend liberal. Although Collins likes to say he’s looking out for the taxpayers, he’s raised taxes on us, and gone to court to prevent the legislature from keeping those hikes lower. Although he says he’s careful with our money, he’s spent millions on his friends and cronies, without regard to results or merit. Although Collins likes to seem as if he’s a good government type, he’s in ongoing violation of the county charter in terms of providing monthly budget monitoring reports. Although Collins says he’s trying to create a brighter future, he maintains the tired, failed status-quo when it comes to attracting and keeping businesses in western New York; he eschews the notion of IDA consolidation, and hasn’t set up a one-stop-shop for businesses to use when considering a move to our region.

For someone who promised to run the county like a business, why has he behaved like that?

So, on Tuesday, I’ll join Governor Cuomo, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Representatives Higgins and Hochul, and Mayor Byron Brown to vote for Mark Poloncarz for County Executive.

2. County Clerk: Maria Whyte

As a county legislator and community activist, Maria’s been a tireless advocate for the poor and underprivileged on Buffalo’s west side.  It will be a huge loss to lose her to the quiet administrative work of the clerk’s office, but she has pledged to improve the public’s access to county information, to improve efficiency and wait times, to build upon the DMV improvements already built-in to the system under Dave Swarts and Kathy Hochul, and to modernize recordkeeping to reflect a 21st century where people look stuff up on computers and read PDF files.  Although I have nothing against Chris Jacobs, he has run from his tenure on the Buffalo Board of Education when he’s mentioned it at all, and he has illegally played politics with the 501(c)(3) foundation he created to help underprivileged, bright kids escape the crushing hopelessness of the very public school system he helped run. These, I think, disqualify him from running the largely ministerial clerk’s office – if you can’t follow simple rules and you’re embarrassed by your own record, maybe go back and fix those before asking for a promotion.

3. Assembly 148: Ray Walter

I like Craig Bucki, and I think he’d make a fine Assemblyman.  I also like Ray Walter, and I find that he’s as thoughtful as he is brash; as willing to debate the finer points of policy and the law as he is to roll his eyes when Betty Jean Grant is speaking. Let’s face it, being an Assembly Republican is a thankless job – just ask Jane Corwin. It’s replete with big smiles and bigger checks, and yelling about Shelly Silver and the evil downstate Democrats. All of this comes back to my thought that we need a unicameral legislature. Because I think that Ray is a smart guy and an independent thinker, and because I know that he has big ideas on how to reform government and includes people who don’t always agree with him into the conversation, I’m going to give Ray the edge. I’m not convinced that Bucki would do better or worse – I just don’t know him well enough to make that determination. I am confident, however, that Ray is the kind of legislator who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and is willing to take the time to research and examine ways for government to do its job better. I know his nickname in the county legislature is “Rush”, as in Limbaugh, but maybe the Assembly needs that.

4. Erie County Legislature

As a side note, I’m appalled by the number of uncontested races this year.

District 1: Tim Hogues over Barbara Miller-Williams and Joe Mascia: Hogues will replace the Democrat-in-Name-Only who currently occupies this seat and chairs the legislature. Miller-Williams’ tenure has been replete with her doing her BFF Chris Collins’ bidding, oftentimes to her own benefit and her constituents’ detriment. She doesn’t belong anywhere near county hall.

District 2: Betty Jean Grant is unopposed. 

District 3: Lynn Marinelli is unopposed. 

District 4: Jeremy Zellner over Kevin Hardwick: I like the professor personally, but he had an opportunity to establish his bona fides as an independent thinker rather than a Collins rubber-stamp when it came time to over-ride many of Collins’ 2010 cuts. He didn’t take it, even going so far as to acquiescing to Collins’ continual petty attempts to decimate the personnel and effectiveness of the Comptroller’s office.

District 5: Tom Loughran over Shelly Schratz: Unlike Hardwick, Loughran has shown himself to be an independent legislative thinker from time to time. Schratz is a perennial candidate who is aligned with the noxious tea party movement. We need fewer Collins acolytes in the legislature, not more.

District 6: Ed Rath over Toni Vazquez: Vazquez didn’t seem to really have a firm grasp on county issues in general, or district issues in particular. Rath is poised to do something with the office he’s in, but I’d like to see some more independence and aggressiveness from him in the future.

District 7: Tom Mazur is unopposed. 

District 8: Terry McCracken over Mike Cole: I have no idea about anything having to do with McCracken, except that he’s not Mike Cole. Cole, you’ll remember, was, in effect, an Assemblyman-for-life until his drunken Albany shenanigans with interns got him in trouble with oft-hypocritical conservative family values types. Hey, Mike: it’s too soon.

District 9: Jon Gorman over Lynne Dixon: Gorman’s is a brilliant mind, and he’s a hard worker. Dedicated to the people’s business, he’d be one less Collins follower in the legislature, and would bring a legal eye to the proceedings to help minimize any recurrences of “null and void” declarations, should Collins win.

District 10: No Endorsement: I will not endorse Christina Bove, as she helped create the de facto Collins majority in the legislature as a consummate follower and “what’s in it for me” type politician. On the other hand, the Lorigo name should be drummed out of our collective body politic, firstly by abolishing the family nest egg that’s built upon the hyper-corrupt electoral fusion system. Lorigo’s efforts to bully Bove by having daddy file a $3MM defamation suit over an ad in – of all things – the f’king PENNYSAVER, takes pettiness to a whole new level – the fact that this prominent law firm can’t even be bothered to actually file and serve a Summons and Complaint, with the alleged libel plead with the requisite particularity, instead relying on the lazy lawyers’ “Summons with Notice”, which gives them indignant headlines and nothing else.

District 11: John Mills in unopposed. 

Town of Clarence: Scott Bylewski

The town race has been exquisitely ugly this year, thanks in no small part to the execrable Joe Weiss and his puppet, Dave Hartzell. Bylewski enjoys bipartisan support from people who truly care about the town and the direction in which it’s going. His opponents have proven themselves to be a dirty, hypocritical collection of fetid assholes whose idea of good government is to lie to town residents when they’re not berating them. Don’t be fooled by the lies and deception – Bylewski is working hard to keep the town on the right track, despite myriad pressures from many sides to go against the town’s land use constitution.


Endorsements 2010

1 Nov

This year’s endorsements are a group effort, so click here to see them.

2010 WNYMedia Endorsements

1 Nov

Since we have a divergence of opinion on our site, we thought we’d take a different approach to our annual endorsements.  We’ll give each of our political writers an opportunity to endorse their candidate of choice and use majority rules to give a final sitewide endorsement to candidates.  We feel this is the best way to give the fullest picture and the most information about each candidate.

SPOILER ALERT – The liberal media elites at WNYMedia have endorsed THREE republicans.

Governor: Andrew Cuomo, Carl Paladino, Howie Hawkins, Warren Redlich, Jimmy McMillan, Charles Barron, Kristin Davis

Alan Bedenko: Based on the race he’s run for governor, – especially since becoming the Republican nominee – Carl Paladino is hardly qualified to be elected to anything that doesn’t end in “the Clown”.  It was something to behold – the most tween-whiny, petulantly horrible statewide campaign ever waged by a serious major party candidate.   I endorse Andrew Cuomo for Governor of the State of New York.  From the very beginning, he understood that grown-up crises deserve grown-up solutions.  His plans for reforming New York State Government may not be perfect, and they may not go far enough in some instances, but the problems are too dire to let us play games for another four years, after the Spitzer/Paterson holding pattern we’ve been in.

Marc Odien: Duh… Andrew Cuomo

Chris Smith: My choice is Andrew Cuomo.  New York State has serious, fundamental problems that require the attention of an experienced hand with serious proposals and remedies.  Cuomo has set himself apart from the other candidates with his thorough proposals and dedication to reducing the number of governments in the state.  He favors many of the Brennan Center reforms and has the political skills and credibility with the legislature to accomplish many of them.

Brian Castner: The only way to vote for Carl Paladino is to believe that the dysfunction in Albany is more disgusting than racist emails, horse pornography, low grade sexism, and possible homophobia. I believe it is. Paladino isn’t going to take a bat to anyone, or reduce government to One Man in a Room. But his default position is to cut spending and taxes, and there are very very few places in the Albany budget where both are not appropriate. Cuomo is not only all talk and no action (how many governments eliminated since his signature bill passed?), but would enter office with no mandate to push for any particular reform, as Carl has been the focus of the campaign, not policy. This strategy will probably get Cuomo elected, but it does not serve the interests of the state.

Colin Eager: I’ll be voting for Andrew Cuomo on Row E, despite the fact that he’s dating Sandra Lee.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Andrew Cuomo

Attorney General: Eric Schneiderman, Dan Donovan

Alan Bedenko: By way of full disclosure, I’ve known Schneiderman for about 20 years on a personal level, so I know him to be a good friend as well as a strong voice for progressive causes, someone who is dedicated to getting government right, fixing legislative anachronisms, and I know that he’ll aggressively prosecute people who cheat New Yorkers and break the law.  He will be the next in the line of activist AGs in the Spitzer/Cuomo model.

Marc Odien: What Colin said. Eric Schneiderman seems like he’s a guy that can get the job done

Chris Smith: My choice is Eric Schneiderman.  He has proven his commitment to ethics reform with his leadership in expelling Hiram Monserrate from the State Senate and has pledged to revisit and reform the Rockefeller-era drug laws that cripple our prison system and clog our courts.  He has a strong record fighting for women’s health clinics and is an advocate for sensible housing law which can help clean up neighborhoods and deal with vacancy issues in Upstate New York.

Brian Castner: As Cuomo is likely the next governor, New York is going to need some opposite party watchdogs to keep the Democratic onslaught in line. I’m sure both candidates are quite qualified, and I’m no fan of the Rockefeller drug laws. But vote Donovan to keep an eye on whether all of Cuomo’s Wall Street money is not buying undue influence or special treatment.

Colin Eager: Schneiderman helped reform the insane Rockefeller drug laws.  He gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Eric Schneiderman

New York State Comptroller: Tom DiNapoli, Harry Wilson

Alan Bedenko: I give this one to Harry Wilson, who has an actual record in the private sector, versus DiNapoli who has been the accidental heir to an office whose most recent elected officeholder is now a convict.  Wilson helped turn the embattled GM around during carpocalypse and has the education and work experience that’s needed to keep the fiscal house in check. I think DiNapoli has done a pretty stand-up job during his tenure, so it’s sort of close.

Marc Odien: I have no confidence in a guy that lost millions on Wall Street, I endorse DiNapoli

Chris Smith: Harry Wilson has a long and distinguished resume in the financial industry and is my choice.  He has serious plans for ethics reform and reducing the $350 Million spent each year in managing New York State’s pension fund.  He has an accountant’s eye for audits and will help bring about efficiencies in state agencies.

Brian Castner: I am a fan of DiNapoli’s pension fund investment strategy, which provides capital infusions to New York start up companies. It is one of the few truly progressive things New York does. However, for the reasons provided above for AG, go opposite party. Vote Harry Wilson.

Colin Eager: I’m writing in Mark Poloncarz: perfect teeth, nice smell, a class act all the way!

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Harry Wilson

United States Senate: Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe DioGuardi

Alan Bedenko: Kirsten Gillibrand has taken this gift of a promotion she was handed, and ran with it.  The reason why Paladino’s “little girl” crack was stupid – apart from being rank misogyny – is that Gillibrand has really gone out of her way to stake out a path separate and distinct from Schumer’s.  And in most cases, Gillibrand’s voice has been the more progressive, more aggressive one for meaningful legislative change that would help upstate’s middle class.  Also, DioGuardi’s campaign has been clownishly awful.

Marc Odien: I heart Kirstin Gillibrand

Chris Smith: Kirsten Gillibrand has established herself as a leader in the progressive caucus in the US Senate.  She has taken a lead on health care reform, financial reform, and transparency.  In a short period of time, she has focused on the work of the Senate and spent little time growing her name and brand recognition.  If the Republicans had put forth a serious candidate, her lack of attention to building that name recognition could have hurt her.  However, Joe DioGuardi is not a serious candidate and Gillibrand deserves another shot.

Brian Castner: I should be endorsing Rudy Giuliani, Chris Collins, or George Pataki for this seat. But instead, the state Republican party failed to provide legit opposition. In the north east, Republicans need to pounce on these seats when the incumbent is still vulnerable. Total and complete failure of imagination or planning. Vote for Gillibrand, but don’t kid yourself that she’s an Upstate senator, or representing your interests vice NYC.

Colin Eager: Is this even a race?  I’d vote for Ronnie James Dio before this DioGuardi person.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senate: Jay Townsend, Chuck Schumer

Alan Bedenko: Marc and I interviewed Townsend the other day when he came to Buffalo, and I had to ask him who he was and what he did.  He could be standing right next to me and I’d have no clue who he was.  Most likely, neither do you.  But you do know Schumer, who is all about serving all New Yorkers and excellent constituent service.

Marc Odien: Jay who? Can you say Majority Leader Schumer?

Chris Smith: Chuck Schumer, I don’t really feel the need to justify it.  A leader for centrist democrats and an early leader in the clubhouse to be the Senate Majority Leader in the event that Harry Reid loses to wingnut Sharron Angle in Nevada.

Brian Castner: There is something to be said for a politician accurately reflecting the values, positions, views and interests of his or her constituents. I may not agree with Schumer on everything (or much), but he is Mr. New York, and represents that in the Senate. He’s also a bit OCD on local interests and issues, and would call anyone in the world if it got one more job in New York. Vote Schumer for Minority Leader.

Colin Eager: Is this even a race?

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sen. Chuck Schumer

US Congress, NY-26: Chris Lee, Phil Fedele

Alan Bedenko: Chris Lee, but only by default.  I’d love for there to be a competitive and serious Democratic challenger to Lee, who has occasionally aligned himself with Higgins and Slaughter to help the middle class, but has voted against the interests of the 26th District’s recession-addled middle class time and time again.

Marc Odien: Until Chris Lee grants WNYmedia an interview I cannot endorse him, even with his nice hair. But then again, I can’t endorse a placeholder either. Here’s to redistricting that seat out of existence!

Chris Smith: Write-In Candidate Scott Bylewski, Clarence Town Supervisor.  The race we should have had.

Brian Castner: Chris Lee earns top marks from friends and enemies for being thoughtful, interested, easy to work with, and bi-partisan on Western New York issues. A great addition to the House and the WNY delegation. Lee should walk away with this one.

Colin Eager: Krusty the Clown once bet on the Washington Generals because he thought they were due.  That worked out about as well as the Fedele campaign will.  In the words of Buffalo’s own Nick Bakay, “Push: there are no winners here.”

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Chris Lee (Maybe now we’ll get that interview)

US Congress, NY-27: Brian Higgins, Lenny Roberto

Alan Bedenko: Lenny Roberto is hardly qualified to be Lenny Roberto.  He’s a loudmouth teabagger whose idea of moving the 27th forward is to undo stuff.  Higgins is probably the most intelligent and well thought-out politician in all of WNY.  Although he sometimes gets himself embroiled in silly power politics here at home, when it comes to the big stuff that matters – the waterfront, health care, Fuhrmann Boulevard – Higgins is right there with not just the right votes, but smart and forward-thinking ideas.

Marc Odien: Len Roberto is a lunatic. Brian Higgins

Chris Smith: Rep. Higgins is a centrist leader in the House, more concerned with matters in the district than with rubbing elbows and increasing his profile in Washington.  A thoughtful congressman who unflinchingly supported healthcare reform and serious financial reform.  Also, owner of the best political suits in Buffalo.  His opponent is so fed up with politicians that he has now run for every office he can possibly fun for and lost miserably each and every time.  Your choice, centrist Democrat who fights to bring federal money home for projects to improve Buffalo or a crazy ideologue who wants to repeal the 14th and 16th amendments?  I think I’ll go with Higgins.

Brian Castner: You could vote against the King of the Waterfront, but there is no point. Buffalo could do a lot worse than Brian Higgins.

Colin Eager: I’ve had my beefs with Higgins over the years, but he’s one of a select few local pols with a brain in his head.  And he’s got a sweet mullet covering that head.  He gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Brian Higgins

US Congress, NY-28: Louise Slaughter, Dr. Jill Rowland

Alan Bedenko: Louise Slaughter.  Because she’s awesome, and because Jill Rowland is nowhere doing nothing.

Marc Odien: Louise Slaughter is and has been one of the greatest representatives we have in Western New York. And she has a lot of clout in Washington to do great things for this region.

Chris Smith: Rep. Slaughter is one of the most senior and respected members of Congress.  She doesn’t take any shit and has full command of issues like health care reform, high speed rail, alternative energy proposals and economic development.  She is a true advocate for Buffalo, Rochester, and Niagara Falls.

Brian Castner: Slaughter’s entrenchment is the only reason she has not been voted out for her laundry list of FAILures. As head of the Rules Committee, she has not allowed a single bill to appear on the floor of the House open for amendments, the first time that has happened in 221 years. Hope and Change! Hyper-partisanship aside, she got chump change for NY for high speed rail, was bureaucratically inept on the healthcare passage (anyone remember the Slaughter Solution?), and stops by WNY only when its time to get re-elected. She is a true advocate for Rochester, but I am skeptical about the rest. Dr. Rowland is a bit too Tea Partyish for me, but she is better than Slaughter.

Colin Eager: I really like Slaughter.  She’s got a great accent, and I saw her respond to a question about high speed rail with a 10 minute technical discussion of the engineering challenges of the project.  She’s a smart lady, and her staffers were always great, too.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Rep. Louise Slaughter

New York State Supreme Court, Eighth Judicial District (Vote For 5): Kevin Dillon, Eugene Fahey, Hank Nowak, Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, Mark Montour, Deborah Chimes, Mark Rodgers, Cheryl Green, Paul Wojtaszek, Jeff Voelkl

Alan Bedenko: I’m going to recommend the Democratic slate, but want to especially give props to three candidates.  I’ve been in front of Kevin Dillon and Gene Fahey.  Dillon is one of the most respected jurists in town, and appearing before him, or conferencing a case in his chambers is a treat.  He’s one of the most knowledgeable judges when it comes to both procedural and substantive law, and it’s a pleasure to work with him.  The same can be said for Gene Fahey, who is also one of the smartest and most thoughtful – and thought-provoking – judges on the bench.  While we miss him in Buffalo, it’s always pleasing to see him on the panel at the App Div.  Vote for both of these outstanding jurists.  I also hold out special regard for Hank Nowak, who has really made a name for himself handling housing matters in city court.  He sees the law as a reflection of society, as something that should be helping people solve problems rather than creating winners and losers.  When you ask him a question or speak with him, he listens.  Then he gives you a relevant answer or poses a relevant counter-question.  Welcome to excellence.  Nugent-Panepinto has been the confidential law clerk for Tracey Bannister, and was a trial lawyer before that.  I also endorse Mark Montour.

Marc Odien: We shouldn’t be voting for judges in the first place and there is no way in hell I would ever vote for a conservative or republican judge. Line A (Democrats) all the way!

Chris Smith: I will endorse Hank Nowak as he is one of the most thoughtful, innovative, and credible legal minds in the region.  His management of Buffalo Housing Court has proven to be a model of efficiency and reform which is being exported to housing courts throughout the rust belt.  I’ve also read several glowing endorsements of Judges Fahey and Dillon for their work on the State Supreme Court which are reflected by their top ratings from the regional bar associations.  Judge Mark Montour is a well regarded legal mind who has demonstrated excellence as a judge in Lancaster.  Catherine Nugent-Panepinto has quality experience as a law clerk, attorney and member of the Buffalo Board of Education.  If it’s possible to give an anti-endorsement, it would be for Cheryl Green.  Her demonstrated contempt for the rule of law during the Erie County Holding Center debacle earlier this year and rating of “Not Recommended” from the Erie County Bar speak volumes about her skills and credibility.

Brian Castner: I challenge anyone to give me credible opinion on what any one of these judges would do to distinguish themselves if elected, or what policy I am voting for or against in selecting any one of these candidates. This is why we shouldn’t vote for judges at all. Vote for Green if you want to see the Court of Appeals busy.

Colin Eager: Kevin Dillon, because I’ve always liked “Heaven Help Us.”  Eugene Fahey, because my mother still can’t believe that he lost to Tony Masiello back in ’93.  Hank Nowak, because he’s actually a good choice.  And Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, because her husband almost got me and 100 of my closest friends arrested in the Boulevard Mall back in 2002.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Judge Kevin Dillon, Judge Eugene Fahey, Judge Hank Nowak, Judge Mark Montour, Catherine Nugent-Panepinto

NY State Senate 58: Jack Quinn, Tim Kennedy, Bill Stachowski

Alan Bedenko: I haven’t always agreed with Tim Kennedy on procedural or substantive issues he’s brought before the county legislature, but I respect the fact that he’s brought issues there at all.  He won’t sell the working class up the river, and he says he’ll vote in favor of gay marriage.  Jack Quinn has been in Albany and done bugger-all except complain about stuff.  I’ll take the guy I don’t always agree with over the guy who’s done little/nothing.

Marc Odien: I’m glad I don’t live in this district. Kennedy is a known Pigeonista and I’m not one for reaching across the aisle for personal political gain, which is what he did to create a Chris Collins controlled legislature. He recently changed his stance on Marriage Equality simply for the endorsement of the Stonewall Democrats. Tim Kennedy wants to create jobs in WNY but sent his campaign and commercial work to a company in San Francisco. Like his commercial said “THREE STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT”. Sorry Tim, but you still have a lot to prove to this member of the “liberal elite”. No Endorsement

Chris Smith: Tim Kennedy is an advocate for several causes I believe in (gay marriage and support for trade unions) but has demonstrated a questionable level of ethics in his prominent role in the Steve Pigeon organized and Chris Collins-led takeover of the Erie County Legislature this year.  While I would ordinarily avoid a guy with questionable ethics, Kennedy’s position on issues that matter to many in WNY gives him the edge.  It’s a shame, because this seat should rightfully have gone to Assemblyman Mark Schroeder, who would make a fine addition to the state senate.

Brian Castner: Tim Kennedy is the poster child for a sell out politician who puts the desires of his donors above those of the region. A flawless shill for union interests, Kennedy isn’t smart enough to realize when his public positions are so blatantly exposed and opportunist as to be embarrassing. Albany would only provide a larger stage for his ineptitude. I’ve never heard anyone (except for Kennedy on tv ads paid for with questionable donations) say anything bad about Quinn – give him a promotion.

Colin Eager: Ugh.  Kennedy is a weasel who threw the County Legislature to Chris Collins, Stachowski is a homophobic dinosaur, and Quinn is a Republican.  Kent Brockman was right: democracy just doesn’t work.  Push.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Tim Kennedy

NY State Senate 59: Patrick Gallivan, Cynthia Appleton, Dave DiPietro

Alan Bedenko: Cynthia Appleton for the win.  Her platform is as rational and fiscal conservative as anyone’s, and she’s neither a careerist politician nor a bitter teabagger hack on a vendetta. She is the only one of the three candidates who is able to not only speak to the unique issues affecting the rural counties of the district, but to include them when discussing how she’d help create jobs, or at least improve the job-creation environment.  Awareness plus innovation equals endorsement.

Marc Odien: Dave Dipietro is an indecisive lunatic birther. Pat Gallivan gave us Tim Howard. I’ll go with the up and coming nurse. Apples for Appleton.

Chris Smith: I’ve met Cynthia Appleton and I don’t think I’ve ever met a more sincere candidate for public office.  She has a deep knowledge of the issues that matter to this far-flung and complex district and would be a true “citizen legislator”.  Appleton is a strong advocate for non-partisan redistricting, women’s rights, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and significant changes to regulations which hamper the family farms in this district.  She is the thoughtful choice, neither an insane wingnut with an agenda nor a lifetime politician who hopped in the race at the behest of the political enemies of Jim Domagalski.

Brian Castner: Remember what I said about politicians accurately reflecting the views of their constituents? It’s true for Schumer, and it will be true for Gallivan. This is a rural and suburban district, and a good fit for Gallivan. If the State Senate is to go Republican, an admirable goal, then this seat needs to stay GOP.

Colin Eager: a haircut, a lunatic, and a nurse.  I’ll take the nurse.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Cynthia Appleton

NY State Senate 60: Antoine Thompson, Mark Grisanti

Alan Bedenko: Antoine Thompson is a joke and a disgrace.  His tenure in the state senate is distinguished only by failure and embarrassment.  He is a hack who is out for self-aggrandizement and self-promotion.  The very few instances where he’s cast the right vote (gay marriage, for instance) don’t come close to making up for how horrible he is at everything that isn’t “promoting Antoine”.  Mark Grisanti is a smart guy who promises to be ethical and accountable.  That’s enough for me.

Marc Odien: The fact that Grisanti was once a democrat gives me hope that with a little convincing, he would come to his senses and ditch the GOP. And I can’t endorse a guy who takes a trip to Jamaica when the shit hits the fan and calls it “economic development”. He couldn’t answer the basic question of why we even need a state senate and couldn’t do the heavy lifting in college let alone now in the senate. Here’s to the upset but seriously, I think we are stuck with Thompson. No Endorsement

Chris Smith: I cannot support the re-election of Antoine Thompson under any circumstance.  His presence in public office is an affront to the people of this region who believe in competent government.  The litany of reasons why Antoine is unfit to serve can be found with a simple google search of his name and he represents everything horrible about local politics.  A ham-handed political grifter who is in government to get what’s his, not to do the people’s business.  One cannot be a credible advocate for reform and vote to send this man back to Albany.  I’ll endorse Grisanti and immediately begin raising money for Rory Allen, Maria Whyte or David Rivera to take him on in the next primary.

Brian Castner: No one needs to be voted out of office more than Antoine Thompson. His incompetence and sense of entitlement are unequaled. He can’t find 3/4 of his district on a map. His goes to Jamaica at budget time. He tries to change the law to help his personal injury case. Should I go on? The only defense I have ever heard of Thompson is that he is a friend of the environment. This is a liberal state – don’t worry, the environment has plenty of advocates. It doesn’t need Antoine. A Grisanti victory would be a model of how to defeat entrenched incumbents – skip the primary, and take the fight to the general election. Don’t let Colin convince you to stay out of it. No vote at all only enables Antoine. We need to get rid of him as soon as we can.

Colin Eager: Antoine, Antoine, Antoine . . . what’s left to say?  Not gonna support Grisanti, though.  I hasten away from the carnage.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Mark Grisanti

NY State Senate 61: Marc Coppola, Mike Ranzenhofer

Alan Bedenko: Mike Ranzenhofer has snoozed his way through legislative win after legislative win for 20+ years because he’s a boring Republican in a Republican district.  He can go and do whatever his leadership wants him to do, make few waves, take no initiative, and keep collecting a sweet public paycheck, sweet public benefits, and a sweet public pension.  Name one single, solitary thing that Mike Ranzenhofer has stood for – what is the Ranzenhofer record? The Ranzenhofer plan?  The Ranzenhofer initiatives?  Oxymorons, all. Marc Coppola has a record of achievement, of innovation, of hard work.  He takes legislative work seriously, as a way to do good work for his constituents.  His call to abolish electoral fusion would take us thousands of miles down the road of reform and fighting corrupt minor party patronage.  A vote for Coppola is a vote for a state senator who shows up, pays attention, and does good stuff.

Marc Odien: Ranzenhofer is as useless as tits on a bull. Marc Coppola for State Senate.

Chris Smith: I know that Colin will say that Coppola’s stance against electoral fusion is bullshit, but it’s a principled stand against a corrupt system.  Coppola has a firm grasp of the issues and has a record of cutting spending and taxes while a member of the Buffalo Common Council.  He was aggressive as a freshman state senator and is an advocate for reform and transparency.  Ranzenhofer is a do-nothing legislator and has literally nothing to show for 21 years in office in the Erie County Legislature and the state senate.

Brian Castner: Coppola’s stand against fusion voting is admirable and correct. However, he doesn’t need to be a state senator to get that message out. The only reason to endorse Ranzenhofer is to help make the Senate Republican. I can’t name anything useful he has ever done, but he’s not a cancer like Antoine. Vote Republican.

Colin Eager: Coppola’s “no minor party” stand is bullshit, but he’s not Mike Ranzenhofer.  What a claim to fame!  Marc “the other” Coppola gets the nod.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Marc Coppola

NY Assembly 140: Robin Schimminger, Kevin Stocker

Alan Bedenko: Schimminger is a long-time incumbent, but he doesn’t always toe the party line.  He votes his conscience, and gets my nod.

Marc Odien: Robin Schimminger is the Democratic version of Mike Ranzenhofer. If I get one more duplicative piece of mail from him I’m gonna shove them up his ass. But I can’t vote for Kevin “California dreamin” Stocker, since its 2010 and he looks like a guy straight out of the Alpha Beta frat house who wants to beat up those “lambda lambda lambda nerds” who saw his girlfriend naked. So Robin “I’ve lived under the radar for 30 years” Schimminger will get my vote.

Chris Smith: While it’s difficult to send a 34 year incumbent back to Albany, Robin Schimminger has a firm grasp of the issues facing the district and has worked to reduce spending and reform Medicaid.  He has voted no on recent budgets and has worked to introduce ethics reforms.  His opponent, Kevin Stocker, is an all-rhetoric Republican with little substance behind the standard line of “cut spending”.  The fact that Republican Party cannot develop legitimate candidates to take out long term incumbents like Schimminger is a disservice to the voters of WNY. Change for the sake of change is not a good thing, Schimminger gets sent back again.

Brian Castner: I had to look up the Republican challenger in this race. Stocker who?  No matter – no one should be in Albany for 34 years. No one.

Colin Eager: The old shortstop for the Phillies?  Push: there are no winners here.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Robin Schimminger

NY Assembly 143: Dennis Gabryszak, Patrick Mandia

Alan Bedenko: Dennis Gabryszak, because his Facebook status updates about Farmville and going to the gym are what I want to read about when the Assembly is working on a very late budget.

Marc Odien: A guy named Mandia is not going to beat a guy named Gabryszak while trying to represent Cheektowaga, Sloan and Depew. Enough said.

Chris Smith: Dennis Gabryszak is a strong advocate for gun rights and is opposed to gay marriage legislation.  He is pro-labor, an advocate for streamlining economic development agencies and is a leader on environmental conservation and green technology.  A mixed bag for Democrats, but a sensible choice.  His opponent, Patrick Mandia, holds many of the same positions as Gabryszak, but is also in favor of term limits, increased legislative transparency and the full slate of Brennan Center reforms.  Gabryszak is a conservative democrat who should face a primary next time around and I’ll give him a begrudging endorsement.

Brian Castner: Who could possibly have an opinion on such similar candidates? I’m over it. Vote Mandia because at least we’re sure he’s read the Brennan Center report.

Colin Eager: Gabryszak’s a homophobe.  Fuck him.  No winners here.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Dennis Gabryszak

NY Assembly 144: Sam Hoyt, Brian Biggie, Joe Golombek

Alan Bedenko: Hoyt deserves it for the work he does to help improve Buffalo, whether it be preservation tax credits, progressive causes, charter schools, and other issues near and dear to the hearts of the west side intelligentsia.

Marc Odien: Sam “The Man” Hoyt

Chris Smith: No one should start off their political career by getting their ass kicked, but that is what Biggie signed up for.  Hoyt is a leader on progressive issues and his increased seniority and passion for urban issues will only serve to benefit the City of Buffalo.  As an added bonus, Sam is one of the most approachable, intelligent and thoughtful politicians in the region.

Brian Castner: The Entitled Incumbent hater in me wants you to vote against Hoyt. But the Bring Home the Bacon lover and Buffalophile says to keep him around. Hoyt has shown leadership in an otherwise aimless Assembly, stands up to Silver (when given permission), advocates for preservation and economic development, and visits his entire district at times other just election season. I feel bad for Biggie, and Golombek is a nice guy who painted himself in a corner. Go Sam.

Colin Eager: Uh, Sam.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Sam Hoyt

NY Assembly 146: Brad Rybczynski, Kevin Smardz

Alan Bedenko: I have no clue, so default Democrat: Rybczynski.

Marc Odien: Won’t someone please think of the CHILDREN! Brad seems like a good enough guy, but needs to lighten up a bit. It was just an “oink” for god’s sake it wasn’t like he was turned into a pig. If he wants to keep running for office, he’ll need to grow some thicker skin and a sense of humor. Hopefully he’ll find one in Albany.

Chris Smith: I preferred Rybczynski’s primary opponent, Mike Amodeo, but Brad is a competent and educated candidate for office.  Reform-minded and progressive.  Also, as a side note, how awesome is it that Buffalo is one of the few places in America where a guy named Rybczynski can show up on a ballot and not have his weird name be an issue?

Brian Castner: Brad’s a WFP guy. Go Smardz.

Colin Eager: Brad’s a WFP guy.  Good enough for me.

Final WNYMedia Endorsement:  Brad Rybczynski

Erie County Clerk: Kathy Hochul, Cliff Bergfeld

Alan Bedenko: There’s no politician in WNY more in touch with how to improve the services her office provides to the taxpayer than Kathy Hochul. Her eye is always on the ball.

Marc Odien: Two words. KATHY HOCHUL. This Cliff guy isn’t even in the same league and I’m not sure he even knows what the county clerk does.

Chris Smith: If you like principled leadership and good government, Kathy Hochul is your choice. Her opponent is a quality candidate, but Hochul has proven to be an excellent public servant.

Brian Castner: Hochul is competent, and not a push over. Good enough.

Colin Eager: Why is this even an elected position?

Final WNYMedia Endorsement: Kathy Hochul

Endorsements By The People

30 Oct

We’re busy at work on our annual political endorsements that will be published on Monday.

However, we think it would be interesting to hear who the readers, commenters, lurkers, advocates and activists endorse in individual races.  I don’t want this to be a debate amongst our commenters, I want this to be a way for you to tell us why you’re voting for your candidates of choice.  There are a lot of races this year and we’d like to give everyone an opportunity to be heard.  Has your candidate been overlooked, ignored, or maligned?  Tell us how and why.

Tell us who you’re voting for and why or just give us the best closing argument for a candidate you support.

Governor: Andrew Cuomo, Carl Paladino, Howie Hawkins, Warren Redlich, Jimmy McMillan, Charles Barron, Kristin Davis

Attorney General: Eric Schneiderman, Dan Donovan

New York State Comptroller: Tom DiNapoli, Harry Wilson

United States Senate: Kirsten Gillibrand, Joe DioGuardi

United States Senate: Jay Townsend, Chuck Schumer

US Congress, NY-26:  Chris Lee, Phil Fedele

US Congress, NY-27: Brian Higgins, Lenny Roberto

US Congress, NY-28: Louise Slaughter, Dr. Jill Rowland

New York State Supreme Court, Eighth Judicial District (Vote For 5): Kevin Dillon, Eugene Fahey, Hank Nowak, Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, Mark Montour, Deborah Chimes, Mark Rodgers, Cheryl Green, Paul Wojtaszek, Jeff Voelkl

NY State Senate 58:  Jack Quinn, Tim Kennedy, Bill Stachowski

NY State Senate 59: Patrick Gallivan, Cynthia Appleton, Dave DiPietro

NY State Senate 60: Antoine Thompson, Mark Grisanti

NY State Senate 61:  Marc Coppola, Mike Ranzenhofer

NY Assembly 140: Robin Schimminger, Kevin Stocker

NY Assembly 143: Dennis Gabryszak, Patrick Mandia

NY Assembly 144 – Sam Hoyt, Brian Biggie

NY Assembly 146: Brad Rybczynski, Kevin Smardz

Erie County Clerk: Kathy HochulCliff Bergfeld

There are also some local and town races of note, but I’d rather you tell us which ones you care about.


Finally, Alan Bedenko and Chris Smith will be hosting election night covergae on WECK 1230 AM with the always awesome Brad Riter.  We’re starting up just as the polls close at 9PM and going until the final tallies are in for the night.  We’ll have a TON of interviews, guests and a whole lot of fun.  Tune in and give us a listen for live election returns and snarky analysis.

Paladino: Countdown to Fail

25 Oct

As the endorsements roll in, they’ve all gone for Andrew Cuomo.

Most notably, even the gang at 1 News Plaza went for Cuomo.

At this point, one is left to wonder how much harm Paladino has inflicted on his reputation here in Buffalo through this scorched-earth run for office of his. Whereas before he was the loudmouthed insider with strong opinions and deep pockets, the last several weeks of this general election have proven him to be an empty vessel that disaffected voters have filled with their antipathies, their fears, and their hatreds.  But the vast majority of New Yorkers – angry, though they be – don’t just want their anger parroted back to them. They want results; they want hope, and they want someone levelheaded and competent to say and do the right things.  Carl Paladino, in the end, offered none of those things.  Andrew Cuomo has.

And what a wasted opportunity for Carl in particular and New York’s Republican Party in general. Certainly Lazio would not have fared much better than Faso did in 2006.  Lazio’s campaign was lazy and entitled.  His only TV spots were paid for by the Conservative Party and had to do with the Park51 nontroversy.  What a waste.

Paladino held out the promise of a different type of candidacy and a new way of thinking.  It was no accident that he so thoroughly demolished the feckless Lazio campaign, but Carl never bothered to then run a general election campaign.  Instead, he just switched the word “Lazio” with “Cuomo” and decided that the race would be run on character rather than issues.  Because Carl never criticized Lazio’s plan in comparison with his own; he badmouthed Lazio for his history as a lobbyist, a Wall Street guy, and a career politician.  Likewise, Carl never went after Cuomo’s plan; he badmouthed Cuomo for his supposed malfeasance at HUD, his father, his past relationships, his kids-  he threw whatever he could at the wall and none of it stuck.

And throughout the whole thing, Carl hasn’t taken any responsibility for the disaster of a campaign he’s run.  Only twice did he admit a substantive or tactical mistake.  The emails, and the Yehuda Levin gay rights fiasco – the latter only because he insulted his gay nephew.

The New York Times writes Paladino’s campaign off as unserious:

Mr. Paladino has cheapened the campaign with bigotry and aimless swagger. Even if Mr. Paladino had chosen to be a serious candidate, his “platform” is little more than sputtering threats to cut and close and freeze.

Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle writes,

The Cuomo-Duffy team’s Republican challengers, Carl Paladino for governor and Gregory Edwards for lieutenant governor, frankly disappointed. Not so much Edwards, who is a highly respected county executive in Chautauqua County. Paladino’s popularity nosedived as New Yorkers learned more about him.

The fact that Paladino upset former Republican Congressman Rick Lazio in the September GOP primary showed he tapped into New Yorkers’ anger about the direction of the state. But rather than offering well-thought-out solutions to the state’s mounting problems, since winning the primary Paladino’s become a caricature.

The Kingston Daily Freeman says Paladino is “completely-unfit-for-office”.  The Glens Falls Post-Standard says,

…his bombastic approach to governing, along with his irresponsible public comments and personal attacks, reflect someone who lacks the knowledge, social skills and political temperament to govern effectively. His administration would be four years of stagnation, and we can’t afford that right now.

What about those emails – that little bombshell helped to define Carl Paladino and his entire persona from the get-go.  It was something we released in mid-April, and people were still bringing it up in October on an almost daily basis, especially after Carl won the nomination.  That mattered.  In its Cuomo endorsement, the Buffalo News wrote:

He doesn’t have the temperamental balance to actually serve as governor. Anger, alone, won’t cut it. Loose cannons — which is basically what 69 percent of voters in a new poll believe Paladino to be — don’t succeed in leadership positions.

What is more, even if he could succeed, he has ruled himself out as a fit candidate as governor. His despicable comments on gays and lesbians, alone, demonstrated that he cannot be entrusted with representing New Yorkers equitably. The racist and pornographic e-mails he sent suggest the same about minorities and women. Those are not trifles; they are threshold tests. Paladino flunked.

Online, you can watch every second of Cuomo’s meeting with the Buffalo News’ editorial board.  Paladino refused to do the same.  A major-party candidate for Governor refused to meet with his hometown paper’s editorial board.  That fact should boggle any reasonable mind. Paladino has been running a campaign against the media almost as vigorously as he has the ones against Cuomo, and decency.  He whines like a baby every time he is even gently challenged to back up a claim.  Of course he couldn’t withstand incisive questions about policy from people who follow this stuff for a living.  Besides, in Carlworld, he doesn’t need endorsements.  They’re only evidence of the system being rigged against him.  Or something.

The right-wing, Murdochian New York Post endorsed Cuomo a week ago, writing,

At the outset, there was something refreshing about Carl Paladino, the erratic, energetic political neophyte who took down the Republican establishment.

He won the primary by showing that he understood the frustrations New Yorkers grapple with daily — and by speaking to them, directly and forcefully.

But he was long on anger and short on answers. (Throwing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver into Attica may appeal at an elemental level, but it is not a policy prescription.)

Then a screw popped loose.

Paladino revealed himself to be undisciplined, unfocused and untrustworthy — that is, fundamentally unqualified for the office he seeks.

In addition, his embrace of the utterly bizarre Roger Stone and his execrable Sancho Panza, Michael Caputo, as principal advisers is compelling evidence of a profound ethical myopia.

And now he is silent on the issues.

Thus, Cuomo’s gotten a free pass — and that’s just wrong.

The Daily News made up its mind way back in August, dismissing the credibility of all Republican contenders.

Paladino vows to cut the budget by 20% but does not explain whose oxen he would gore. He calls for a residency requirement on Medicaid eligibility, but federal law bars such a restriction. He says the state should use eminent domain to seize the Islamic center site, but the Constitution prohibits such a taking. He rails against Albany’s spending and economic development policies, but he has benefited from millions of dollars in tax breaks.

Paladino is also given to insensitivities that would divide New Yorkers. He has forwarded racist and pornographic emails, including some using the N-word, and contemptibly compared Silver, an Orthodox Jew, to the anti-Christ and Hitler.

Paladino won’t be winning, because he doesn’t deserve to.  His scorched earth campaign may have done some damage to Andrew Cuomo’s reputation, but it also inflicted considerable harm on his own. What a waste.