Tag Archives: Joseph Weiss

Weiss Defeated

14 Sep

Clarence Town Councilman Joseph “Masses are Asses” Weiss was voted out of office last night, earning just 23% of the votes in the Republican “pick 2 out of 3” councilman primary, and 34% of the vote in the Independence Party primary. He’s gone for three reasons. Firstly, he made an enemy of a man as wealthy as he is, who was happy to spend his money to let people know all about it. Secondly, his awful and intimidating personality and style alienated a lot of people over the past 8 years he’s been on the board. Thirdly, he made enemies of the volunteer fire departments and the volunteers who work there. Bad move, as they’re the backbone of the community, know everyone, and aren’t afraid to get politically active when attacked. Fourthly, my work here was picked up by the Bee and made it onto lit that was forwarded to hundreds of Clarence households.

Weiss’ hand-picked supervisor candidate will mount a formidable challenge in November, and I have no doubt that a defeated Weiss will be out for revenge. I know many of you don’t care about what happens in Clarence politics, (and I fully understand), but it’s a community that’s wealthy, has few real problems, is fiscally stable, has good schools, low taxes, yet a political climate that’s suddenly become ruthlessly ugly and is in the midst of an epic WNY battle between sprawl growth and maintenance of its rural character.

At least we’re not Amherst.

Clarence Supervisor Race: Unethical Republican Fundraising

12 Sep

Fundraising & Primary Day

Tuesday the 13th is Primary Day throughout western New York, and I’ve taken quite an interest in the politics of my own town of Clarence. The politics have taken on a new shade of ugly there this season, mostly because certain Republicans find themselves unwilling to work with current Supervisor, Scott Bylewski.

First, two-time councilman Joe Weiss decided that his political feelings were more important than the Free Speech guarantees of the United States Constitution.

Then the Republican candidate for Supervisor, David Hartzell, politicized a routine IDA meeting and warned of an IDA “backlash” against those who dared to politically oppose him and otherwise engage in the lawful political process.

A palpable pattern of retaliation and threats from Weiss and Hartzell against those who oppose them has emerged.

Now? We have this letter sent by Mr. Hartzell to a prominent local law firm, soliciting for campaign donations and hinting not-at-all subtly about the possibility that, y’know, maybe a firm that gives him a nice sum of money might be, y’know, more likely to be selected to do outside legal work for the town, hint-hint, nudge-nudge.

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If you’re going to send out a letter soliciting for a political donation, you might put something in about why you’re the better candidate; why you think the other guy is a loser; what your plan is, should you be elected; how the town is going down the wrong path, etc. Something – anything – that outlines to the prospective donor why their money is well-spent on your candidacy.

Everyone knows that large political donations are often seen as investments in a candidate; that the donors believe that their money should at least buy them access to an unhostile ear. That in itself is bad, but this isn’t a post about why we need public funding of elections.

This is a post about a subtle promise for future favoritism. Hartzell’s letter contains no pretextual B.S. about why the law firm should give him money – it gets right to the point and hints around about the fact that, should he win, the town’s going to hire a new outside firm. Reading between the lines, the implication couldn’t be clearer:

Throw me some cash, and maybe it’ll be your firm.

Is it illegal? Maybe. Unethical? Definitely. Unseemly? Hell yeah.

I’ve heard from loads of Clarence residents and businesses over the past few weeks, all of whom have thanked me for helping to expose Joe Weiss for the bullying, intimidating creep they – but few others – knew him to be. The battle in Clarence right now may be over signs, but signs don’t vote – people do.

Although I absolutely abhor fusion voting, if you’re a registered Independence Party or Conservative Party voter in the town of Clarence, you have a primary Tuesday, and I urge you to write Scott Bylewski’s name in on those party lines. The IP line has been pretty uniformly denied to Democrats this year throughout the state, and the Conservative Party line, which is controlled by Ralph Lorigo, went to Mr. Hartzell.

Please fan/follow Supervisor Scott Bylewski on Facebook and Twitter:

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Why Should You Care?

The reason why this race is important has to do with Mr. Lorigo, actually. Clarence politics isn’t really controlled by party affiliation – not as much as you’d like to think.

What’s really going on is a battle over the growth of the town.

Clarence has a very precise and detailed Master Plan (map here) dating back eleven years. Some in the town consider that document to be advisory, and stand ready to disregard it for development by friendly developers. Others in the town, including Bylewski, believe that the Master Plan is the law of the town, and should only be changed, and variances granted, if the political process has been scrupulously adhered-to. Clarence may be a growing suburb, but it still retains a great deal of its exurban and rural roots, and while growth and development aren’t frowned upon, they are regulated and controlled.

Conservative Party chairman Ralph Lorigo was personally, directly involved in the now-abandoned plan to build a large Wegmans’ on Transit Road in Clarence, just north of Transit Road. Lorigo represents local developers like Benderson, but in this case Lorigo owned the real estate proposed to be used for the Wegmans project, half of which was zoned residential. The process was followed, the people (directly, and by & through their elected representatives) spoke, and Wegmans won’t be building there – that’s democracy how it should work. In less ethical places, the wishes of the politically-well-connected owner or developer might have taken precedence over the wishes of the public. Apparently, because Clarence went against Mr. Lorigo’s personal pecuniary interests, he retaliated against Mr. Bylewski by refusing him the Conservative Party endorsement; ironic, since following the law and democratic process is what one might expect a doctrinaire conservative to support.

This goes back to my entreaties to abolish electoral fusion because it’s rife with corruption from corruptables, and has very little – if anything – to do with political ideology.

Dear Joe Weiss:

9 Sep

I know you’re reading this, so I figured I’d address you directly.

It has come to my attention that you sent out another email to your many admirers referring to me as “Scott Bylewski’s personal blogger,” or something to that effect. It’s no secret that I’m friends with Scott and his family, nor that I am a political supporter of his. But personal blogger? Not quite. News trickles out of Clarence, and some of the political threats and intimidation that you and your Republican counterparts have been engaging in deserve wider exposure and discussion.

There’s a pattern here. Both you and your friend, Republican candidate for Supervisor David Hartzell, have taken a political disagreement and transformed it into something more sinister, as if you guys were little wanna-be mafiosos.

When Dan Snyder took you on in an unprecedented, and well-funded, way, you blew your stack and came close to ignorantly and defiantly pushing the town into an unnecessary constitutional litigation. Luckily, Mr. DiCostanzo realized the gravity of the situation and helped avoid such a costly crisis by changing his vote. Oh, I know that you’ve obtained a legal opinion that says what you were doing was perfectly reasonable, but I’d consider that to be money poorly spent.

When a local supporter of Snyder’s and Bylewski’s sent this to several local politicos and officials, praising DiCostanzo:

This is how you replied:

That’s classy for a public, elected, town, at-large legislator! All electeds should use profanity when communicating with constituents! Unfortunately, when Ms. Okonowski-Dunlap wrote about this exchange in the Bee, the full context was unable to be seen.

But that’s not the only Paladinoesque email bomb from you. This one is my favorite – a person had a mild complaint about a profile of you that was printed in the Bee, and sent you this, and you replied by telling her she had too much time on her hands:

Again, not exactly a good way to communicate with unhappy constituents, but you topped it off by forwarding that exchange to the members of the town’s Republican Committee thusly:

Now we really know what your attitude is towards the voters in the town of Clarence. Now we know what you really think of people who disagree with you, we see your style of governance, and we know how you handle dissent and disagreement. Now we really know that, when people fill in the box to vote for you, you think they’re “asses” (and you can’t even spell it correctly). What an offensive and elitist way to conduct yourself – that you think you’re somehow better than anyone else in the town. What an incredibly telling statement – and you readily admit to just about every Republican in town that this is something you “say” often.

Then there’s this flyer that’s going around, quoting something you allegedly said to people during (of all things) the Clarence Center Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Labor Day fair:

 

It’s not the masses that are asses, Mr. Weiss. The real asses are elected officials who take political disputes and turn them into personal affronts, and let it affect their judgment. When your supervisor candidate tells the Clarence IDA that a marketing bid placed by a supporter of Bylewski’s should be withdrawn, or that it will be subject to a “backlash”, that’s directly out of the playbook you used to deal with Dan Snyder – if you dare to buck the Republican apparatus or apparatchiks in the Town of Clarence, prepare to suffer severe consequences, whether it be Dan Snyder and his request to do something he’s done for years, or Jeff Feinen filling out a general objection to ensure the legality of petition signatures and then being treated punitively for it.

That’s not how constitutional democracies work – that’s how they do it in backwards banana republic dictatorships. Now we know that if you and Hartzell are elected, the town will be run like a dysfunctional little fiefdom that will be hostile to the “masses”, and those who dare to disagree.

I never really cared much about town politics until I started seeing Snyder’s “Weiss Must Go” signs around town, and I wanted to learn more about what was going on. Now I see how right he is. The town runs quite well in spite of your belligerent shenanigans, and I’m happy to help a wider audience see what’s really going on here.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Love,

BP