Tag Archives: Mickey Kearns

Kearns Defeats Fahey in A-145

21 Mar
Kearns, LoCurto, Rivera

Photo by Flickr user Whitney Arlene

Mickey Kearns? Really? 

The 15% of the electorate who turned out elected a Democrat running as a Republican whose only recognizable platform plank was to do battle with Shelly Silver?  Kearns has said he’ll caucus with the Democrats – so Republican efforts to spin this as a victory will ring particularly hollow. 

The New York State Assembly is a particularly malignant and useless construct. On the one hand, you have majority leader Sheldon Silver, who rules his Democratic caucus with an iron fist. On the other hand, you have a collection of the most useless political castrati – the Assembly Republicans. To call the Assembly a legislature is an insult to the notion of democratic representative lawmaking. To call a member “independent” is synonymous with “impotent”. 

That’s why, when I have in the past advocated for a nonpartisan unicameral legislature, I’ve made it clear that we can’t just abolish the Senate and supplant it with the Assembly. Each redundant body is dysfunctional in its own way. 

Yesterday I posted a perfectly benign reminder that an election was taking place and that people who live in that district should go out and vote. I didn’t endorse or attack either candidate, except to say that Kearns’ run as a “Republican” was, to me, inexplicable. Of course, I had some knuckle-dragging Republican attack me for that, and longtime commenter Starbuck, who is quite reasonable although I disagree with him, pointed out that it was “quite explicable” because of party bosses and giving people a choice and Sheldon Silver and Len Lenihan. 

Yes, I understand that Kearns’ ambition would not be stopped by such trivial matters such as party loyalty or ideological consistency. Such is the nature of politics and politicians – win at all costs, even if you jettison your principles.

(By the way, if Carl Paladino and his insult billboardatorium really want to be rid of Sheldon Silver, perhaps he could help find, fund, and support a challenger to Sheldon Silver down in Manhattan. That might actually work.) 

Chris Fahey isn’t a Higgins puppet despite his ties to Higgins’ office, and so what if he was? Brian Higgins is – and has been – among the best representatives of Buffalo and Western New York throughout his political career. While not perfect, he has done tremendous good especially when it comes to waterfront revitalization. Fahey is a bright guy and he’ll do great things – he’s a well-respected and thoughtful behind-the-scenes policy researcher and formulator – a wonk’s wonk. 

Much was made of Kearns’ ties to Carl Paladino, but that support amounted to a few thousand dollars and a Palinesque Facebook post here and there. 

The winner here isn’t Paladino, it’s Byron Brown, who has rid himself of another troublesome common councilmember. Kearns’ vacancy will be filled by the other councilmembers – and the council is now made up primarily of Brown allies, so Brown has an opportunity to further consolidate his control of the city’s policies. Probably one of those unintended circumstances we often read about.  I suppose this indirectly benefits any Republican running in a countywide race, thanks to the longstanding, well-known but denied agreement between Brown and the GOP that no Republican challenger will come to the plate in November, thus suppressing city turnout.

Funny how similar it is to write about Erie County politics as it is to write about, say, organized crime. 

The coverage of this contest was a ridiculous recitation of who’s ahead, who’s behind in the horserace. Aside from his rejection of Sheldon Silver, what’s Mickey Kearns going to do in Albany? Aside from his ties to Brian Higgins, what would Fahey have done there? Well, Fahey outlined a few plans he has to make the environment better for creating jobs. These guys deserved pointed questions about reform, Albany dysfunction, the Cuomo agenda, abolishing authorities, reduction of state corruption, etc. Instead, we got questions about party labels and who was whose puppet. 

Being a maverick isn’t policy – it’s politics. 

Congratulations to Mickey Kearns. I look forward to the analysis of his almost-inevitable rapprochement with Shelly Silver, or his switch to the Republican Party (one of these is going to have to happen if Kearns is going to accomplish much else besides becoming a master Sudoku player.)

Now, let’s see whom Paladino recruits to run against Higgins himself this November.  


Smith vs. Kearns, PolitiFAIL Tourney 2010

24 Mar

In the final first round matchup in the City of Buffalo FAIL bracket, we have Grassroots Emissary and Byron Brown loyalist, Masten Councilman Demone Smith facing off with 2009 Mayoral Candidate and South District Councilman Mickey Kearns.

Demone was elected to the County Legislature in 2004 and moved over to the Buffalo Common Council in 2008 to fill the vacancy to replace Antoine Thompson after he won a special election in Mayor Byron Brown’s old Senate district.  It’s a Grassroots bonanza as members of the organization have climbed the ladder of electoral success.

According to his official city biography, Demone has been active in his community.  “Smith has been active in the education, civic responsibility and political awareness of his generation, as well as older and younger generations in the City of Buffalo, Erie County and the State of New York. He also would like to note that since he was first elected to public office, he has established himself as willing to go beyond what is required for success.  I’m not sure how that’s measured, but we’ll go with it.

Smith’s career has lacked any defining moment of success to this point as his most notable actions have been fighting for political capital on behalf of Grassroots, appearing with the ubiquitous podium as an accessory to the Mayor at various ribbon cuttings, advancing the pay to play way of doing business in the city, defending his friend Brian Davis, demonstrating a Wiggum-esque mastery of the English Language, and failure to pay his taxes on time.  His shining moment was when Mr. Smith went to bat on behalf of the Rev. Darius Pridgen in the complex ECDC/Grassroots proxy war to replace the criminal (and Grassroots affiliate) Brian Davis after he vacated his seat.  It went a little something like this:


He’s a prototypical party apparatchik working on behalf of the Mayor in the Common Council.  That video pretty much sums it up.

Smith’s opponent, Mickey Kearns was most recently a candidate for Mayor of Buffalo in 2009 and is now the proud owner of the South Buffalo committee structure, which has grown his power and leverage in the city.  His first opportunity to flex his newfound power will be this summer when he chooses his horse in the NY State Senate election contest between Tim Kennedy, Bill Stachhowski and Sean Cooney.  His support and committee loyalists will be a major factor in that race.

Mickey was first elected to the Buffalo Common Council in 2006 after serving as a legislative aide to former South District Councilman Dennis Manley and some work in the private sector as a non-profit fundraiser.  Kearns opportunistically staked out some territory as an opponent of the Route 5 highway construction project on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.  From that point, Mickey was essentially running for Mayor and launched one of the most quixotic runs for that office in recent memory.  His campaign started out as listless and seemed to lack an agenda that differed significantly from Mayor Brown’s agenda. His earlier opposition to the Route 5 project also destroyed any chance he had of enlisting necessary support from Rep. Brian Higgins, King Of The Waterfront.

He was handed a gift wrapped Mayoral scandal with the One Sunset melodrama and a steady stream of stories about Grassroots political corruption.  Carl Paladino also gave him a blank check for the campaign in the last two months.  Sadly, Mickey was not prepared to actually win and was unable to capitalize on his opportunity.  Just a horribly designed and executed campaign strategy which also included this abortion of a political video:


We interviewed him for a news video and we were surprised by both his choice of a linen suit for the interview and his inability to state a cogent point with any measure of wit or economy.  His candidacy drew such accolades as these from Jim Heaney of The Buffalo News:

He’s no dummy, but not the sharpest knife in the drawer, either.


In short, Kearns has shown some progressive sensibilities and comes across as an accessible, decent sort. But he’s still pretty green and largely untested. His lackluster campaign for mayor this year is not reassuring.

What voters are left with is a choice between a middling councilman and a middling mayor.

Mickey has shown a willingness to learn, but he’s just the same old, same old.  A transactional politician in a city that desperately needs big thinkers.  He has demonstrated an ability to pay his taxes on time and not get arrested or even charged with a felony, so he has that going for him, which is nice.