Tag Archives: NYGov

Fourteen Thoughts

3 Nov

1. We had a lot of fun last night talking about the returns and what they mean on WECK.  Despite a very late start due to a Canisius hockey game that went into overtime, I think that our discussion was not just insightful, but above all, fun.  Thanks to Brad Riter, Chris Smith, Brian Castner, Tom Dolina, and Nick Mendola for participating and making it a great show.  Thanks also to our guests, Erie County Legislator Ray Walter, Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul, and Congressman Brian Higgins.  We had other guests ready to go, but their window of opportunity occurred during the time that the hockey game was still going on.

2. Despite his loss – which I won’t analyze in detail today – Carl Paladino is the most influential Erie County Republican who didn’t get elected.  Nick Langworthy may be the most influential GOP county chair in the state.  Paladino’s speech last night was such that I can’t imagine what he said was what was written down on the TelePrompTer in front of him.  It was the tough-guy upstate New York version of Sarah Palin’s farewell speech – he has not yet begun to fight.

3. Brian Higgins is the top Democratic dog in town right now.  He has working relationships with every warring faction.  In an historic “throw the (mostly Democratic) bums out” year for Congress, the tea partiers threw a true believer up against Higgins, and the incumbent demolished him 61-39.  Lenny Roberto and his ilk said that Higgins wasn’t listening to his constituents by passing health care reform and other pieces of the Obama agenda.  Evidently, Higgins did exactly what a vast majority of his constituents wanted, thanks. Not just that, but Tim Kennedy drafted Higgins to defeat a feckless campaign waged by Jack Quinn III, who won’t be returning to Albany.

4. In SD-60, I predicted a race that would be tight enough to require a recount.  That’s exactly what we’ve got right now, since Thompson now leads by less than 300 votes with two Republican districts waiting to be counted.  Last night, Chris discovered that Thompson wasn’t just being hit by Grisanti and the First Amendment Club in Niagara Falls, Grand Island, parts of the Tonawandas, and the west side of Buffalo, but there is a breakaway Grassroots faction that was actively campaigning against Thompson in his east side strongholds.  Thompson may have overplayed his hand and done a Kavanaugh flip with his “Grisanti is evil for being an attorney” lit, and frankly he’s not well-regarded by most anyone, anywhere.  This one is days from being decided.

5. The voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of an 11-member county legislature. The next legislative election is next year, and the redistricting will have to be completed before then.  That means the leg will have to get to work right away to appoint a redistricting commission to examine how this will be accomplished and where the lines will be re-drawn.

6. In SD-61, Mike Ranzenhofer proved that Republicans will re-elect him time and time again despite his non-existent record.  He needs to either wake up and become effective, or else he needs to lose re-election in 2012.  In order to do that, someone needs to start thinking seriously about challenging him right now.

7. In SD-59, Dale Volker will be riding off into the sunset, replaced by his choice, Pat Gallivan. Cynthia Appleton ran an honorable, issues-based campaign, but I think she didn’t spend enough time in voter-rich Erie County.  David DiPietro’s pathetic showing of a mere 8-ish thousand votes is a serious rebuke to his bitter and relentlessly combative campaign. He should be embarrassed and ashamed.

8. Sam Hoyt lives to fight another day, as does Dennis Gabryszak.  A Republican pickup in A-146 where Kevin Smardz defeated Brad Rybczynski.  Jim Hayes defeated Greg Vinal in A-148, and Robin Schimminger defeated Kevin Stocker in A-140.  Jane Corwin, Mark Schroeder, and Crystal Peoples-Stokes were all running unopposed.

9. Both western New York tea party factions are huge losers this morning.  Aside from the gubernatorial race, where their favored candidate lost, Brian Higgins obliterated Lenny Roberto, Louise Slaughter demolished Jill Rowland, and both Pat Gallivan and Cynthia Appleton humiliated David DiPietro. Their angry, uninformed rhetoric and ultra-right-wing policy positions are shared by a tiny minority of Republican voters.  The general electorate has rejected them conclusively.

10.  Not WNY-based, but in a year where five New York State congressional districts flipped D to R, Bill Owens in NY-23 managed to win re-election against his Republican opponent, and Doug Hoffman running again on the Conservative Party line only. That was a big tea party loss in a special election last year, and Owens held on.

11. Did you listen to our coverage on WECK last night?  What did you think?  We didn’t have anyone babysitting the liveblog, so it didn’t really get used.  When we’re multitasking, checking results, hunting sources and guests, and talking on the radio, maintaining a liveblog takes a back seat – Marc usually does it, but he wasn’t with us last night.  Do you use it?  Did you miss it? Consider the comments section an open thread on the local and state races.

12. Schneiderman defeated Donovan – New Yorkers want an activist attorney general who won’t give Wall Street a free pass.  Gillibrand defeated DioGuardi – the state GOP blew it, running a washed-up old guy against an aggressive, energetic newbie.  Schumer defeated whoever his opponent was – that says it all. DiNapoli defeated Wilson – he has organized labor to thank.

13. Now that Chris Lee is in the majority, the time has come for him to do more than just vote no.  While he’s been good on issues concerning big WNY development projects, and trans-border issues, he has been nonexistent when it comes to making proposals, or voting for things that matter to people who aren’t living in Spaulding Lake.  He’s run out of excuses, and it’s time for him to step up.  We’ll be watching very closely.

14. Last thought – Andrew Cuomo has a very tough job ahead of him to effect even minimal structural change in Albany.  One of the problems that he identified early and had taken the initiative to try and change was the fact that New York has over 10,000 separate government entities and literally countless numbers of authorities with spending and borrowing power.  A government that’s out of control and far too bloated cannot stand.  Yet, when voters are given the opportunity to abolish duplicative, redundant layers of government, they never do – see, e.g., Sloan, Williamsville.  When it comes to eliminating expensive redundancy, we can’t have it both ways anymore.

Now, courtesy of Marc Odien and Tom Dolina…


Andrew Cuomo’s Closing Argument

2 Nov


This is the speech I wrote about here.  Cuomo set forth an aspirational, reformist vision for New York, pledging to fix Albany and lower taxes.  He also promises to do so without dividing people or regions – we are one New York.  Best of luck to the Attorney General.

The Paladino Campaign: Cantonese Version

15 Oct



A Walking Hypocrisy

15 Oct

Adam Serwer wraps up Paladino nicely:

…a wealthy, hypocritical homophobe who wants to legislate “family values” while having a kid out of wedlock, talks up fiscal prudence while getting millions in government subsidies, and chuckles at racist jokes with his friends, he’s what liberals would come up with if they were trying to paint a nasty, reductive caricature of what conservatives are really like.

Paladino’s People Parse the Porn

14 Oct
Horny horse protest of Carl Paladino
Image by WNYMedia via Flickr

The snide, snarky manager of a campaign that has run far off the tracks has issued a response  yesterday’s dump of more (NSFW) Paladino porn emails.

WNYmedia is a collection of Buffalo misfits and miscreants who are obsessed with Carl Paladino and pornography.

While we may be misfits, to call us miscreants is to accuse us of criminality – a scurrilous and ridiculous charge that we call upon Paladino to back up.

Right after he gives us the names of “three of the four” Cuomo mistresses.

The Democrat activists have also been accused of falsifying emails in the past, and not just by Carl Paladino.

Yes. We’re Democrats.  Guilty.  But falsifying emails?  Can you believe what’s being invoked here?  Many moons ago, pay-for-praise webneb Glenn Gramigna was paid by Syaed Ali to accuse me (as well as housing activist Dick Kern) of being the author of emails sent around during the 2009 Buffalo Mayoral race by “WNYFirst” accusing Byron Brown of something.  It all resulted in this retraction of the claim:

We were wrong to quote a source who wondered out loud as to whether the Buffalo Pundit site, led by Mr. Alan Bedenko was the source of those slanderous e-mails that were being circulated about Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. He wasn’t. We have taken that story down and apologize to Mr. Bedenko and his associates. At the same time, we also hope that those who have stated or implied that Mr. Syaed Ali is the culprit will also apologize since there is no evidence of that either.

Gramigna’s clumsy allegation was later picked up by a Niagara county based publication, which was just as false.

But what is this?  Is Carl now denying that these are his emails?  Is he saying this is somehow false?  He admitted sending them in April


…and Caputo did the same just yesterday to Channel 2:

Williams says they remain quite concerned over racist e-mails which Paladino admitted (back in April) to forwarding to friends, and which continue to dog his campaign even though Caputo contends that the e-mails should by now be “irrelevant”.

“These e-mails are old, the news cycle on that has passed …It was bad judgment and he apologized for it,” Caputo reminded reporters.

“That (the e-mail issue) still kind of trumps anything else he might talk about as far as issues…and I’m not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt to be the Chief Executive of our state,” Williams said.

And regard, if you will, the utter chutzpah of Paladino’s people to accuse others of fabrication when he has yet to produce so much as one of the three names of supposed Cuomo mistresses from decades ago.  Talk about irrelevant and remote.  Talk about false accusations.  Talk about politically motivated smears.

Paladino’s prowess at smearing opponents is legendary.

During a media op yesterday afternoon, Caputo was asked about lawsuits and threatened legal action against Marc Odien.


I think it’s fair to say that when your campaign is posing as a tough guy by threatening lawsuits, it’s desperate and sinking.  There won’t be any lawsuit.  Money has nothing to do with it.  Carl has loads of it, and is a partner in a law firm. Now, Caputo isn’t a lawyer, but his boss is, and Carl knows exactly what’s involved in litigation and the discovery process.  It’s comical to think that Paladino would willingly perpetuate this story by causing all of the prominent local recipients of his porn and racist emails to testify under oath.  We’re talking about some notable government officials, community leaders, and industrialists; a long and distinguished list.

Carl himself would also be subject to questioning under oath.  The emails are authentic.  Carl knows it, he’s admitted it, and he’s not stupid enough to waste time and money prosecuting a pointless case.  Furthermore, he’s a public figure and we have adequately verified our facts.  Nothing that’s ever been written on our site is false or defamatory.

They tried to derail our campaign once before with emails of questionable origin. Soon, the world forgot about them and they devolved once again into irrelevance. This is just an attempt to breath life once again into their dying unprofitable Web site by maligning a Buffalo community leader. None of this is new; none of it is relevant

Hey, is Carl Paladino running for governor against WNYMedia.net? Because his statement makes the emails self-evidently relevant.  If it was irrelevant, he would not have responded at all. Our irrelevance is only reflected by our traffic, the conversations about our region and state, and the work that we do in our community.  A Google search of “Paladino emails” generates 895,000 results. “Paladino horse” generates about 231,000 results. ”Carl Paladino emails”, results in about 2.3 million results.  If that’s irrelevant, well, I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish when we are relevant.

The April emails weren’t forgotten.  They’re mentioned constantly in the press. Gawker, CapCon, The New York Times, the Buffalo News,  Capital Tonight, Rachel Maddow, the Jackson Sun, aw hell – just look at the 500,000+ Google results for “Paladino porn” from just the last 1 month.

The Paladino campaign lurches from crisis to crisis, rudderless.  For instance, on Sunday Carl gave a speech that some Hasidic rabbis gave him moments earlier. It was mean to gay people.  On Monday, Carl stood by his speech.  On Tuesday, he apologized for it.  On Wednesday, the rabbi who invited him revoked his endorsement.  Slick move there, ace.

And what of that speech Carl delivered to the rabbis?  Did you note in this video, at around 6:50 where he pledges to support family values to “seek ways to protect everyone from obscenity on the internet“?  The man who succumbs to the vapors over men grinding in speedos, forwarded videos of women inserting bananas into their various orifices on some site entitled “FistFlush”, then has the temerity to accuse Cuomo of being a bad father.


Carl purports to be proudly politically incorrect.  He claims to shoot from the hip and to speak his mind. But if he truly believes that gay people have civil rights, why did he say otherwise in order to pander to a roomful of rabbis?  Because he’s just another politician.  And a poor one, at that.  Good politicians don’t whine about the media reporting the dumb crap they say.

What a difference a couple of weeks make.


Andrew #Cuomo on New York Values

14 Oct

Cuomo on values


HT Albany Project

New York’s Gubernatorial Candidates #NYGOV

13 Oct

Andrew Cuomo

The Democratic candidate is Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.  Cuomo’s platform is here.  His biography is well-known. He is also running on the Working Families Party, and Independence Party lines, thanks to New York’s arcane electoral fusion rules.

Carl Paladino

The Republican candidate is Carl Paladino.  Being from Buffalo, we all know who he is, what he is, and – above all – that he’s not “politically correct”, which is a handy euphemism for “unfiltered Id”.  Paladino has obtained the endorsement of the Conservative Party, which had originally backed Rick Lazio – a bid by local attorney Ralph Lorigo, who was essentially running as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Paladino campaign – has ended. Paladino will also appear on a vanity line he created for himself called the “New York Taxpayer Party“.

Howie Hawkins

The Green Party of New York‘s candidate is its founder, Howie Hawkins.  Hawkins wants to shut down the Indian Point nuclear power plant just outside of Peekskill, and to ban extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale by hydrofracking. His platform page is a catch-all of left-wing progressive ideas, such as raising taxes on the rich, reforming Albany through proportional representation, which would make it easier for independent third parties to win elections and gain power and influence, full employment at “living wages”, single-payer health insurance, free education from pre-school through grad school, a sustainable & green economy, affordable housing, etc.  Of particular interest for WNY voters is his stand on regional planning:

Move land use planning authority from local municipalities to elected metropolitan/regional planning boards in order to end economically and environmentally destructive sprawl, to protect farms, green space, and environmental resources, to reduce intraregional inequities in housing, education and fiscal capacity, and to renew city,  town and village centers with transit-linked, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods of mixed homes, shops, jobs, schools, parks, and civic buildings.

Warren Redlich

On the other side of the political spectrum from the economic interventionist Hawkins stands the Libertarian Party’s Warren Redlich.  His platform includes capping pay and pensions for state workers, “eliminating waste”, letting voters decide on pay for state electeds and their staffs, and reducing the number of taxes collected.  Redlich believes that it costs more to collect many state taxes than they bring in.  Redlich is a personal injury lawyer, yet advocates for “tort reform”.  But looking at his platform, it seems as if he’s only talking about medical malpractice cases, but then in the next sentence wants to eliminate pain & suffering noneconomic damages for just about all cases, except in cases of “gross negligence”, a higher standard than simple negligence.  Naturally, Redlich is pro-gun, anti-eminent domain, wants to reform the way in which fines are calculated and collected for traffic infractions, and wants to end the war on drugs.

Kristin Davis

Davis is a client of Roger Stone’s – Stone is the political dirty trickster who taught Paladino campaign chief Michael Caputo just about everything he knows.  It’s been widely reported that the connections between the Paladino campaign and Stone-related entities are quite close and lucrative.  For Stone.  Davis’ political awakening was recent and swift,

After she was released from Riker’s Island, Kristin Davis told the Daily Caller she discovered she was a Libertarian. “When I got out of jail I was broke, the government confiscated all of my money, I was unemployable because of the stigma prostitution has for women in the business but not men, and I was appalled after seeing both the criminal justice and corrections system up close” said Davis. “I began reading Goldwater, Hayek, Von Mises, Freedman and Ayn Rand.” Davis decided that the best way to promote a pro-legalize prostitution and legalize Marijuana agenda was not by lobbying gutless and corrupt politicians who would never listen but by running for Governor to put these issues before New York voters.

Davis is a former madam, – more specifically, she ran the “Emperor’s Club” where Client 9 – former Governor Eliot Spitzer – would arrange for paid sex with Ashley Dupre.  Davis’ platform is quite simple; she wants to legalize marijuana, legalize prostitution, legalize casino gambling, and legalize gay marriage.  One could very easily argue that these four points, if done together, could more than make up for the state’s budget shortfall through taxation of marijuana sales, prostitution transactions, gaming fees/taxes, and gay marriage license fees.  She is running on the Anti-Prohibition Party line.

Jimmy McMillan (aka “Papa Smurf”)

A party tailor-made for New York City people with New York City problems; a party that would never gain a foothold in literally low-rent WNY, Jimmy McMillan (website) is running on a platform of “rent, rent, rent; there is nothing else to talk about.” Rent reduction, freeze, and cap are foremost among his issues in a city where rents have skyrocketed in past decades, and where the rent control board provides for occasional increases.  He wants to make sure at least one parent can stay at home with any child to “restore family values”.  He would waive property taxes, claims his rent reduction plans would add 3 – 6 million jobs, free college tuition, reform housing and criminal courts, and otherwise ensure that New Yorkers have a “roof over your head, food on your table, and money in your pocket.”

Charles Barron

Photo Credit: NY Daily News

Barron is a Democrat running on the “Freedom Party” line (not to be confused with Pataki’s vanity line from the 90s).  Barron doesn’t appear to have a campaign website.  The New York Times’ City Room blog reported on Barron’s run in June, noting that he was running to protest Andrew Cuomo‘s selection of Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy – a white man – as his running mate.

The Democratic Party has taken our vote for granted for many, many years…[t]his is the latest slap in the face. This political blackout by Andrew Cuomo is outrageous, that he would be comfortable going with an all-white state slate.

Barron’s running mate is Buffalo’s own Eva Doyle, an author, radio host, and columnist.  Barron is a former Black Panther, and a champion of many socialist ideas and causes.

Next Monday, on October 18th, at 7pm, a debate sponsored by Newsday, News 12, and Hofstra University will be held featuring all of the candidates named above. It will also air on YNN and NY1 throughout the state.

The Complete Dicker/Paladino Confrontation

30 Sep

CBS 6 from Albany has the complete video of Carl Paladino going from slow burn to volcanic in mere seconds; this adds much more context to what happened than the cell phone video from last night.  It shows Dicker asking Paladino a very simple question.  Specifically, Dicker asks Cuomo what evidence he has that Cuomo had had extramarital affairs while married to his ex-wife, and whether or not making that accusation is going into the “gutter”.

Paladino refuses to give a straight answer – because he has no such evidence.  Instead, he changes the subject to the as-yet unproven suggestion that NY Post reporters and photographers invaded the privacy of Suzanne Brady and her 10 year-old daughter by Paladino.


Carl responded today with Liz Benjamin on Capital Tonight:


Frankly, Carl doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  Fred Dicker isn’t complicit with Cuomo or working in concert with the Cuomo campaign, and for Paladino to suggest that is absolutely insane.  Apart from the quiet Buffalo News, the New York Post is potentially the best media friend Paladino could expect to have in this state.  But because Paladino is too busy fighting with everybody and everything, he’s just throwing around accusations blindly.  When the whole thing blows up in his arrogant face, Carl backs up to “I’m not politically correct”.

Sometimes, it’s not about being politically correct.  It’s about being an adult and responding like an adult to adult questions from reporters.

And I don’t buy the photographs-through-the-window story for a second.  What possible value would those photographs have to the New York Post?

Anyhow, here are some cute bears having the same argument:


Here’s Where Carl Paladino Threatens to Kill Fred Dicker

29 Sep

(With updated video courtesy WIVB). Fred Dicker is the dean of the Albany press corps. Well-respected and thorough, he writes for the right-wing Murdoch rag the New York Post. He’s been at it for decades and has received every award available for him to receive.

As the scrutiny from press corps outside Buffalo intensifies around the locally untouchable developer, Paladino made a vulgar, pointless accusation about Andrew Cuomo’s first marriage to Kerry Kennedyolder news is hard to come by.

When Dicker confronted Paladino – a belligerent egomaniac – Paladino struck back with threats up to and including, “I’ll take you out”. Let me rephrase this:


Republican Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino threatened to murder columnist Fred Dicker.

I don’t really know what the hell Carl’s problem is – if he’s willing to go nuclear on Cuomo’s failed marriage (which ended long ago), then Carl’s protestations against inquiries into his own sordid personal life ring hollow. You can’t have it both ways. Evidently, Carl’s campaign doesn’t like that a grown woman with whom Carl slept 10 years ago was spoken to and photographed by the NY Post.

But I hope people like Dicker keep pushing, prodding, looking, and provoking. We already know Paladino doesn’t have the character to be governor. We already know he has no strategy for policy success should he win. We’re coming to learn he doesn’t even remotely possess anything approaching the temperament to handle life as a public servant.

I think Billy Batts is Fred Dicker, and Carl is Tommy DeVito, and Dicker sort of told Carl to get his f-ing shinebox.

Cuomo Goes Positive and Negative

23 Sep

Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo’s campaign woke up and released two ads today.  One positive, one negative.  First, “Nancy”:


Next, “One Job?”


Which do you think is more effective?