Tag Archives: Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams

Redistricting Nonsense-apalooza Begins

26 May

Note: This article looks much different from the version published at 1PM.  We use a scheduling system for posts and this was supposed to be released yesterday at 1PM, not today.  It has been updated to reflect reality.  Sorry for the confusion. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, all the better. 🙂

Yesterday, the Erie County Legislature hosted a public hearing to debate the merits of two competing redistricting proposals.

The first proposal (Local Law 3-2011), was assembled pursuant to the efforts of the Erie County Redistricting commission, which was chaired by Hodgson Russ attorney Adam Perry. The law is sponsored by Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller Williams.  This proposal also has the support of the six member Republican minority and the tentative support of West Seneca Legislator Christina Bove, who together make up the remnants of the much ballyhooed “reform coalition“.  Click here for a link to the map of the proposed new districts.

The second proposal (Local Law 4-2011), was designed by the Democrats and is sponsored by Betty Jean Grant. Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan was able to pull rogue Democrat Tim Whalen out of the “reform coalition” to support this proposal.  This bill has the support of the ECDC-loyal Democrats in the legislature, which gives them seven votes.  Most notable in the proposal is the redistricting punishment that will be given to “Reform Coalition” leader Barbara Miller-Williams.  Click here for a link to the map of the proposed new districts.

So, the battle is for the vote of Christina Bove, who again finds herself the subject of a political tug of war. Whichever group offers her the most comfortable level of “protection” and/or “lulus” will undoubtedly secure her vote.  If the Democrats can bring her back to their side, this will put County Executive Chris Collins in the unenviable position of vetoing the plan for downsizing and redistricting that was so central to his re-election plans.  A veto would provide a sizable political victory for Lenihan, the Democrats and County Executive candidate Mark Poloncarz leading into the fall.

So, Tina, what’s it gonna be?

We’ll find out at a special meeting of the Erie County Legislature in Old County Hall, 4th Floor, 92 Franklin St., in the City of Buffalo, N.Y.  14202 on Wednesday, June 2nd at 2PM when the final vote is taken on the competing proposals.  We’ll stream that meeting here on WNYMedia.

Erie County Legislature Meeting 11/30/2010

30 Nov

Here is the agenda for today’s Erie County Legislature meeting

Agenda 1 – Special Meeting

Agenda 2 – Annual Budget Meeting

The special meeting is a continuation of the meeting recessed last Tuesday, November 23rd, will reconvene today at 1:15 P.M., and immediately adjourn, in accordance with Erie County Legislature Rules of Order concerning laying the budget on the table for at least 48-hours prior to the Annual Budget Meeting.

Once Meeting No. 22 is adjourned, Meeting No. 23 (Annual Budget Meeting) will begin.  Today’s legislative actions will take place in the Chambers of the Legislature, 4th Floor at Old County Hall, 92 Franklin St., Buffalo.

Follow #ecleg or #ecbudget on Twitter for live updates and we’ll be streaming the video on wnymedia.net as well.

The budget amendment to be debated today, per the press release sent from Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams:

Buffalo, NY – Today the Chair of the Erie County Legislature, Barbara Miller-Williams (D-Buffalo, 3rd District) along with Legislator Christina W. Bove (D-West Seneca, 9th District) released a proposed amendment to the Erie County Budget for 2011. The budget amendment which was clocked in to the Legislature today and will be considered at tomorrow’s Annual Meeting to consider the Budget.

“I took a middle ground approach to craft an amendment that has a real possibility to achieve the necessary number of votes,” Miller-Williams explained. “by taking this action we can override any veto by the County Executive to assure that at the end of the day the Library and the cultural organizations actually will see the funding allocated in the budget.”

Any amendment to the budget needs 8 votes to pass the Legislature, but the County Executive can veto proposed additions to the 2011 Budget and the Legislature then must have a super majority to override the County Executive’s veto.

“The most important thing is to try to achieve results,” stated Bove. “I could find no sense in voting for something that would be vetoed with the result being that the Library and these cultural institutions would end up with nothing. This amendment is both reasonable and responsible. We need to try to get the funding that will be crucial to sustain these organizations – in the end that could be the real victory on Tuesday.”

“As Democrats it is vital that we work with our colleagues in this body as well as the County Executive to reach a solution that will do the most good for the residents of Erie County,” Miller-Williams said. “we face a difficult economic crisis and the balancing act is important, funding the culturals, adding hours to the libraries, having an audit function in the Comptroller’s office and being able to offer Primetime programs for youth are all very important in the eyes of the public. With this Amendment we have been responsive to the needs of the public and at the same time responsible to the taxpayers of Erie County. By crafting an amendment which might withstand a potential veto from the County Executive we assure that the organizations will receive their funding and I consider that a win-win situation for everyone.”

“In the end it is the results that matter,” Bove explained. “responsible legislation that achieves the best results for the residents of Erie County is the best way to govern – I believe this amendment is an example of the way government can, and should work.”

Budget Amendment, (.xls format)

Trading Favors

10 Jan

We’ll be taking a look at the series of events which brought together the unlikely confederation of pols and power brokers who wrested control of the Erie County Legislature from the 9-6 Democratic majority last week.  As we’ve been saying, this “reform coalition” is not about governing, reform or change.  It’s about power politics, jobs, score settling and small minded backroom deals.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover as we set the table for ongoing coverage of what should be a very interesting legislative session in 2010 at Erie County Hall.

Let’s start with the Pedro Espada of the Erie County Legislature Coup…District 3 Legislator, Barbara Miller-Williams

"I am just an ordinary woman who has been blessed to do extraordinary things."

As a result of her election as the nominal chief of the Pigeonista “Reform” coalition, Barbara Miller-Williams is slated to earn an additional stipend of $10,000 on top of her base pay of $42,588 as a legislator and her salary as a Buffalo Police Officer and Army Reservist.  She also hires/fires the Legislature’s support staff and the changes thus far were covered yesterday by Alan.

No one can offer her “protection” from a possible investigation of her campaign finance reports which seem to have been (mis)handled by the accounting firm of Brian Davis and Butch Holt, so that can’t be it.  Are some additional salary benefits and the ability to get jobs for all the various family members of Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes enough reason to shack up (politically speaking) with a bunch of suburban Republicans with an anti-urban agenda?  Nah, there has to be more, right?

The Chair of the Legislature also serves on the Board of Directors of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency,  a job in which Lynn Marinelli often clashed with Erie County Executive Chris Collins and several Steve Pigeon allies.  We’ll cover this issue more in the coming days, but I think we need to take a look at something else to find justification for BMW’s decision to form a new majority.

Back on December 9th, an agreement was put in place to fund the Colored Musician’s Club with nearly $300,000 of county money.  Curiously, County Executive Collins did not veto that spending, proposed by Legislator Miller-Williams.  He had vetoed nearly $1.2MM of the total $6.2MM proposed for cultural spending around the county, but was very specific about protecting the funding for the Colored Musician’s Club.

The writing was on the wall.  Sources tell us that the funding for the Colored Musician’s Club was inducement for Miller-Williams to join fellow Democrats Tim Kennedy and Christina Bove in the new “Reform Coalition” and that Miller-Williams would also be offered the Chairmanship of the Legislature for her support of the new majority.

A City Hall source also tells us that Mayor Byron Brown delivered Miller-Williams and Kennedy as part of the deal Collins struck with Brown guaranteeing him no Republican candidate in the 2009 general election.  Longer term, Collins is working with Brown to help depress urban turnout when Collins is up for re-election.  Without a strong turnout of the urban vote in Buffalo, any Democrat will have a steep hill to climb when running against Collins, whose base is in the suburbs.

Interestingly, Miller-Williams’ husband, Danny Williams, is listed on the website of the Colored Musician’s Club as the Vice President of the Board of Directors.

Miller-Williams proposed the funding and cast a vote in the affirmative for funding of this organization, think that might be an ethics violation?

Enjoying all of this reform, change and good governance? Running government like a corrupt, poorly run business?  Me too!