Tag Archives: primary election

Hoyt Declared Winner in A-144

24 Sep
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From a Sam Hoyt press release this afternoon:

After a final count completed today by the Erie County Board of Elections, Assemblymember Sam Hoyt is the winner of the democratic primary. Unscanned, affidavit and absentee ballots were counted, which all showed an increase for Hoyt. The Board of Elections oversaw the unbiased process with representatives from both the Hoyt and Golombek campaigns present.

“I am grateful that the primary is finally behind us and that the Democrats in my district have chosen me to represent them in the fall election,” Hoyt said. “It is time to end the fighting and the bickering and to work together on solving the enormous problems facing this region. I am hopeful that my opponent and his supporters will join me in my quest to defeat my Republican challenger and then work with me as I return to Albany to fight for our great community.”

The initial count from the voting machines was 5,168 for Hoyt and 5,001 for Golombek. The combined count of the unscanned, affidavit and absentee ballots increased Hoyt’s lead from 167 votes to 257 votes.

Not Like This

14 Sep

It’s Primary Day in New York State. Soon we’ll know how far to the Right the GOP has tacked in yet another state. The results, in other states until now, have been extreme. I’m a Republican, and even Conservative once in a while, and I want my party to win elections and policy debates. But I don’t want to win like this.

I’d like John Beohner to be the new Speaker of the House come November (and if you want any legislation passed between Nov 2010 and Nov 2012, you should too, but that’s another article for another time). But I don’t want to elect 50 Tea Partiers to make it happen.

I want to retake the US Senate as well. But we should do it with seven Scott Brown’s, not seven Sharron Angle’s.

I want the Islamic Community Center at Park51 to consider other buildings sites, that weren’t hit by aircraft debris in the 9/11 attacks. But I don’t want Muslim taxi drivers slashed, existing mosques to be intimidated, and property at mosque construction sites around the country to be attacked to make it happen. 

The country needs to have a discussion about Islam in America, nine year late. There has been no rise in this country of extremist Islamic-related violence, such as honor killings and female genital mutilation. There have been no open street riots of young Muslim men, as in France and other parts of Europe. Yes, there have been several attempted high profile terrorist attacks, but no more lately than in the last 20 years. There has been no new information that American Muslims are unable to integrate in our ethnic tossed salad. And yet, Islamophobes and their motivated apologist adversaries are waging a screaming match at the fringes out of touch with reality. But which responsible national figure can speak? President Obama can try, and should, but will be ignored (at best) or derided (not quite the worst) by the 58% of Americans who mistakenly believe he himself is secretly Muslim, or at least not Christian. How can you start an open and honest discussion when so many think you’re hiding something. But what Republican figure can speak? Guiliani? I don’t know.

The Republican Party is a rudderless ship. I do not believe Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are the leaders of my party. But that argument is harder and harder to make when the stage is bare. Nature famously abhors a vacuum. If Mitch McConnell or John McCain (or . . . . who?) doesn’t step forward to lead this party, then Palin runs it by default.

George W. Bush looks like Winston Churchill compared to the quality of leadership we have now. Ahh, the good old days, when Bush could barely speak, but also made it clear the United States was at war with Al Qaeda, not the entire Muslim faith, and certainly not the average Muslim American citizen, working a job and sending his kids to school like everyone else. President Obama says that we are not at war with Islam. True, but unhelpful. The better question is, how much of Islam is at war with us? Its a question no politician openly asks or answers.

Instead, Rush and Beck and Palin (and doubly unfortunate, Gingrich too) deliberately misinform, and are exceedingly unhelpful in the process of people of reasonable intent trying to make a good faith effort to solve delicate problems. There is no adult to tell them to shut up. So they prattle on.

Imagine if the Park51/Ground Zero Mosque debate had gone something like this:

A middle-of-the-road Imam (which means probably too conservative and Pro-Arab for the average American, but certainly not a threat or danger or deserving of mistrust) wishes to build a community center near Ground Zero. While a naturalized American citizen, he misreads popular culture, and the effect this will have. The building touches a delicate, sensitive nerve. Maybe not a nerve everyone is proud of, but nerve none the less. Where could this have gone?

We won’t know, because it has descended into screaming matches, protests, rallies, and a race to the bottom in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

A leader would recognize the legitimate issue beneath the raw nerves and affronted feelings. That issue: what is sacred? How did New York City decide one patch of ground was sacred (the site of the two towers), and other ground was not? Whether this question was assumed, misunderstood, glossed over, debated, or not considered at all, it was at least not adequately answered. Imam Rauf, among others, has noted the strip clubs and OTB parlors nearby, and asks how a house of prayer can be any worse. Good point, but it doesn’t change the fact that many NYers want to have a debate now, after nine years of rebuilding and not when the strip club reopened, about what is sacred. They are the general public – they get a do-over. Now, what to do about it?

A leader would find a compromise. Mine? Form a commission of victim’s families, religious leaders of all faiths, local community leaders, and the National Park Service. Have them discuss (or re-discuss) what is the sacred ground of the 9/11 attack. Just the WTC? Any building hit by parts of a plane? Any building with human remains? How small? The Park Service is there to professionally lead the discussion, since they have experience caring for sacred sites across the US. The others are there to make the decision. Once a site is deemed sacred, they decide what to do about it. Kick out the current tenants, strip clubs and betting parlors first? If they could “clean up” Times Square in the interest of tourism alone, they can figure out a way to do this. Grandfather existing businesses in? Write new zoning laws? Open the door wide again to any legitimate business, reflecting the reality of a busy lower Manhattan? That would be up the commission to decide. But whatever the decision, the community would finally have the conversation that obviously has been simmering and waiting to happen. I am normally not a fan of busy-body citizen boards and endless public hearings. But if Buffalo can discuss Canalside for ten years, and then start over from the drawing board to chat all over again, then an issue this big deserves time it hasn’t had.

Will this happen? Of course not. The rudderless ship of my party does not have the imagination, political capital, or courage to do it. The Democrats would never give up their righteous indignation or self-identified moral high ground to have such a discussion. The fringes will argue until the issue fades after the November election, and die with a whimper when there isn’t enough money to build Park51 anyway.

Primary Special: Lazio for Governor

13 Sep

I don’t normally write on Monday’s, but as tomorrow is Primary Day in New York, I am making an exception.

If you are a registered Republican (I know there are at least one or two of you), I urge you to vote for Rick Lazio to be the Republican nominee for Governor. I see three main issues for this upcoming primary:

A Paladino nomination would be a national disaster. I, for one, wish to be spared another two months of Mad Carl, horse porn, and re-education camps. I’m embarrassed to have him seeking the nomination from my party, as the face of otherwise forgotten Buffalo, political backwater. Every time he is described in the news outside of WNY as “Buffalo real estate developer Carl Paladino” I cringe. But besides the shame, its been unhelpful to have Paladino in the race at all, because it has drawn Lazio far further to the Right than he otherwise would be. The sooner we can be done with Carl the better, and let him get back to doing what he does best: building towers and suing New York State.

A vote for Lazio is a vote against Paladino. The corollary to this is Paladino might actually win this thing. If you agree with my first point, then you can’t just sit home and hope it all goes away. You actually need to get up, go to the poll, and do something about it.

Lazio makes some sense. Left to his own devices, Lazio comes up with ideas like eliminating one house of the Legislature and having a hard property tax cap. His policy wonk credentials are legit. His political instincts, however, leave something to be desired. I think he would be a better governor than campaigner, as he would no longer be fending off attacks from his Right, and could get on with drawing policy back to the center (or better, reforming it all together).

If Lazio and Cuomo end up as their party’s nominees, we have a small chance of seeing a substantive debate for the next 7 weeks in the run up to the general election. If not, I shudder to think where the campaign is going from here.

(Author’s Note: I am completely and totally unaffiliated with the Lazio campaign in every way possible. I haven’t given him a dime, and I don’t answer campaign calls when they ring the house.)