Tag Archives: popcorn

Enter: Chicken

12 Jun

Michael R. Caputo is an advisor to David Bellavia and his campaign for Congress from NY-27. Many months ago, they proposed a series of debates with primary opponent Chris Collins, and as of this writing Collins has agreed only to two – one with YNN, and one with some Republican women voter organization in Clarence that supports Collins  UPDATE: Collins has agreed to exactly zero debates. Firstly, Collins has not agreed to participate in a YNN televised debate on June 18th.  Collins’ people suggested one, singular debate to take place in Clarence and be hosted by something called the “Erie County Republican Women’s Federation.”  However, the League of Women Voters advised that ECRWF would not have hosted a debate, but instead an ambush – a supposed “debate” on Collins’ home turf, a curated crowd packed with Collins loyalists, and recruiting former “Reform Coalution” Collins loyalist Lynne Dixon to “moderate” it. Collins’ people refused to negotiate changes to make the ECRWF “debate” a fair event. Indeed, the ECRWF is a wholly new creation. It has no online presence, it has no transparency regarding its membership, funding, officers, or directors.  The woman who is sending out press releases on its behalf is an Erie County GOP loyalist and has given thousands to the county committee, local committees, as well as to Dixon and Collins

During Paladino’s primary campaign against Rick Lazio, when the Long Island Republican refused to debate Carl, Caputo sent out a guy in a chicken suit to graphically tease the candidate about his reluctance to debate. If I’m not mistaken, there was also a duck suit utilized against Cuomo regarding “ducking” issues. 

And so it is that a volunteer in a chicken suit set up a roost at the Main Street entrance to the tony, exclusive Spaulding Lake development in Clarence that’s home to doctors, sports figures, and the Collins and Corwin families, to name a few. The chicken taunted Collins for his unwillingness to debate Bellavia – an unwillingness that’s reminiscent of every recent race Collins had run; negotiating debate terms with his campaigns appears sometimes less difficult and circuitous than negotiating a cessation of nuclear activity for food aid with North Korea. 

I don’t get why that is. Collins doesn’t do poorly in debates. After all, he merely has to parrot his campaign themes and generic, crony capitalist, nouveau riche noblesse oblige talking points and denigrate his opponent. Easy peasy. But given Collins’ reluctance to debate, meet, or glad-hand, it could come down to one thing: Collins doesn’t feel comfortable asking for votes to which he thinks he is already entitled. 

Why shouldn’t you vote for – or pay attention to – Collins’ campaign to attain the only type of nobility America offers

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 hisfriends 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?

The chicken? Naturally, it has its own Twitter account, and last night it taunted Collins with this (click on the link to see the picture): 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/ChickenCollins/status/212322054526091265″%5D

 Bellavia’s campaign released this Tuesday morning: 

Two leading Republican County Chairmen in New York’s 27th Congressional District today called upon GOP candidates David Bellavia and Chris Collins to accept a debate invitation from Time Warner Cable’s news affiliate, YNN, for June 18.

Bellavia accepted the YNN debate on June 5 – the same day it was offered. Since he was invited, Collins has ignored e-mails, letters, and telephone calls from YNN executives.

“I think it’s important for both candidates to give Republicans across the entire district an opportunity to hear where they stand on the issues – face to face, in a fair debate, on television,” Orleans County Republican Committee Chairman Ed Morgan said. “David Bellavia and Chris Collins must expose Primary voters to their views under those circumstances or the election will see record low turnout and the 27th District will be poorly served. The only opportunity to accomplish this is the YNN debate on June 18.”

“The Republican voters of the 27th District deserve a televised debate to see the candidates and understand their positions on important issues,” Wyoming County Republican Chairman Gordon Brown said. “I personally call on David and Chris to commit to a televised debate in which the entire district can be reached – including the more than 60 percent of voters living outside Erie County. Mailers and signs are not enough. I have had the opportunity to speak with both candidates on several occasions – let’s afford all Republican voters a similar opportunity to hear from them.”

On May 24, the Erie County Republican Women’s Federation (ECRWF) invited both Mr. Collins and Bellavia to debate in Clarence on June 19. Subsequently, the Bellavia campaign was advised by the League of Women Voters of Buffalo-Niagara that the ECRWF debate was by no mans fair and no candidate should agree to the wholly one-sided terms. Since then, the Bellavia campaign reached out to the Collins campaign to negotiate fair changes in the ECRWF event. The Collins campaign refused this opportunity, choosing instead to insist upon the rules they dictated.

“Seventy seven days ago, I called for a series of eight debates in the eight counties of the 27th District. But Mr. Collins has run out the clock,” Bellavia said.

“The televised YNN debate would allow both of us the opportunity to show Republicans across the entire district what we stand for and what we believe in just one debate. I don’t control it; Mr. Collins doesn’t control it. It’s 100 percent neutral and that’s what the voters deserve,” Bellavia said.

Deez Newz

6 Jun

1. Chris Collins: businessman, hobbyist politician, ECGOP sugardaddy, scofflaw. 

As a reminder, Collins’ light blue / silverish, appropriately named Buick Enclave with the distinctive “CE-3” license plate (CE for “County Executive” – a post he no longer holds, but a license plate he retains) was seen during the 2011 election season, 

parking in a handicapped spot in Akron, NY

better angles of him parking in that Akron spot

parking illegally outside of Ulrich’s

Farmington is a town in northern Ontario County, near Victor.  It appears that Collins believes inconsiderate or illegal parking is a right he inherited by entail, since he parked like this at an event that recently took place there:



It doesn’t appear to be an illegal spot, per se, but Collins did park directly in front of the door – the better to duck in and out of the event without being accosted by the 99 percent. 

2. Former Ranzenhofer staffer Michelle McCullough, who was terminated because she dared to support David Bellavia over Chris Collins in NY-27, filed a formal ethics complaint, and its text makes for great reading about how political patronage appointees are routinely expected to perform the dirty, tedious political work their masters demand – regardless of its legality. 

Ranzenhofer Complaint

The ethics complaint led the Erie County Democrats to take a shot at Collins, 

“Chris Collins needs to be honest with the public about his role in the firing of an employee in Republican Senator Mike Ranzenhofer’s office who supported his opponent, David Bellavia.  These reports raise serious questions about whether this type of intimidation is how Collins intends to solicit support for his campaign.

“The employee, Michelle McCulloch, filed a complaint with the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics yesterday contending she was fired for circulating petitions for David Bellavia, who is opposing Chris Collins for the Republican nomination for Congress in the new 27th District. Ranzenhofer, who supports Collins, has been silent about why Ms. McCulloch was terminated. 

“The public deserves to know if Collins played a direct role with Ranzenhofer in costing this public servant her job. The time has come for both Collins and Ranzenhofer to come clean and explain why an otherwise good employee was suddenly let go after she circulated petitions for Collins’ opponent.”

3. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will remain in office, as the effort to recall him failed last night.  In fact, Walker’s win was apparently by a wider margin than the one that originally brought him to office.

Never underestimate the ease with which politicians can demonize unionized workers and take away their rights – especially public sector workers. While no one in any society wants to just give public workers a key to the public vault, taking away, e.g., teachers’ right to collectively bargain with the state for their pay and benefits is only the clumsiest and most antagonistic way to treat a group of people who are charged with educating the next generation of Americans.

Never underestimate the power of the right wing. Never underestimate the power of their money and the ease with which they and their benefactors can influence public opinion and elections in contemporary America. The contemporary Republican/conservative movement derives its power from denigrating hard-working people and taking away rights they had earned over a century. It is, at its heart, an assault on the American Dream, and self-identified patriotic people are just eating it up. 

4. Regionalism advocate Kevin Gaughan announced yesterday that he’s running for state Assembly in the newly constructed A-149, comprising much of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Hamburg. He wrote: 

I believe that no citizen should run for office unless they have an innovative proposal or specific purpose. Based on lessons I’ve learned working to reduce government size and cost, I have several. Each one of them is in service of a simple idea: Western New Yorkers deserve the most effective and least expensive government possible.

And this new civil right – the right to a government that lifts rather than burdens us – I believe is within our grasp. For over a decade, I’ve been engaged in government reform. I founded a number of conferences, in which we learned the crushing costs of our nation-leading concentration of governments and politicians.

Employing those lessons, and with the assistance of thousands of volunteers, we caused public votes to let people decide whether to reduce their local government. As a result, voters adopted downsizing plans in 3 county, 6 town, and 1 village governments, eliminating 26 elected positions and saving local taxpayers $5.2 million per year.

Now, I want to do in Albany what we have done here at home: reduce the state legislature’s size, lower its costs to taxpayers, and with a little luck and much work, perhaps even return a sense of humility to the idea of government service. To accomplish these goals, our campaign will sketch a landscape of ideas, all seeking to end Western New York’s 35-year path of chronic economic decline, exit of youth, loss of companies, destruction of neighborhoods, and demise of hope. Every degree of mind and spirit that I possess will be devoted to restoring our community.

5. Have a great day, western New York! Stay positive!

Chris Collins: Excellence

1 Jun

1. Good luck finding Collins’ campaign website. Searches on Google for “Collins for Congress“, “Collins for Congress 2012“, or “Chris Collins for Congress” reveal no relevant hits on the first page of results. 

2. Collins released a “Small Business Bill of Rights”, a set of talking points masquerading as policy proposals, wrapped up in a faux parchment wrapper.  He released it on Wednesday, and a glaring error – uncaught through Eagle eyes or Six Sigma process review – remains evident there today. 

Click to Enlarge

3. David Bellavia, who is running in a Republican primary against Collins, called this out as blatant plagiarism.  He noted that former NY-26 Congressman Chris Lee was a co-sponsor of a “Small Business Bill of Rights” in 2010, which also included provisions for tax and regulatory relief, limiting union influence, health care costs, and intellectual property protection.  Lee also released a “Manufacturing for Tomorrow” plan with the aim of strengthening manufacturing in the Buffalo area. It also called for tax relief, tort reform, and IP protections. Collins’ calls for China to not be an authoritarian pseudo-Maoist brute crony capitalist bad actor in international trade is cribbed – at least in part – from former Congressman Tom Reynolds, who co-sponsored a bill to address China’s currency manipulation. As Bellavia points out, it’s ironic to call for IP protections while cribbing others’ work without attribution, and the rest of the “Bill of Rights” is just a generic Republican recitation of typical platform positions, with a smidge of Obamaphobia mixed in. 

4. Collins’ media geniuses at Greener and Hook posted this to Twitter yesterday: 

5. Collins’ people don’t know how to spell. Not only is there the error on the Bill of Rights, which has been out since Wednesday, but even silly “forget the market – the government must manipulate gas prices” pieces have glaring errors. Of course, that’s before you get to the fact that Collins (a) doesn’t rebut the fact that domestic oil production is at an all-time high; (b) merely calls for more drilling on federal lands; (c) demands that an oil pipeline be built; (d) and otherwise completely ignores the fact that the world has been jerking from oil crisis to oil crisis since 1973, with no end in sight, and that it might be time to switch to renewable sources of energy, or more efficient engines such as biodiesel. It couldn’t be a stupider piece of writing, directed at a fundamentally ignorant audience. He thinks you’re just stupid. Must be why he won’t go meet with or listen to your genuine concerns as a middle-class suburban or rural New Yorker, and instead just regurgitates what he reads in the memos he gets from his handlers and pollsters.

6. Collins refuses to debate Bellavia; refuses to negotiate for any debates. 

7. Collins refuses to release his tax information. He figures he can wait it out until after the primary, during which he can simply out-spend Bellavia on direct mail and TV ads, and deal with it in the Fall. The problem is that, like Mitt Romney, it’s quite likely that there’s some juicy stuff in Collins’ returns that he doesn’t want to reveal. Does he pay less than 20% on his multi-million dollar income? Has he taken advantage of federal amnesty provisions for offshore tax avoidance accounts? No one knows. Bellavia made his returns available several weeks ago, but Collins directly refuses to do the same. I thought wealth wasn’t something to be ashamed of?  

Collins appeared before a Niagara County audience, and directly told them that he’ll never reveal his tax returns because, “his business partners’ income would be exposed and his competitors would pounce on the information to somehow kill jobs in western New York.” This ignores the fact that any such confidential material not relevant to the tax Collins pays is easily redacted, but Collins claimed that, for tax year 2011, he paid 44% of his income in taxes, including “my state income tax, my property tax and my federal tax last year.”

 So, math geniuses, how much is that? Collins’ property and school taxes are close to a whopping $24,000 per year. What is he hiding or ashamed of? 

8.  Collins got caught backtracking and blaming aides (never his fault) for his membership in a Bloomberg-sponsored anti-illegal-gun group. Being for gun control is acceptable for New York City Republicans, but not for Republicans here in WNY. 

On the bright side, so far, Collins has refrained from making any sexist or vaguely anti-Semitic remarks about donors or other political figures, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.