Tag Archives: primary

Winners & Losers: On to November

14 Sep
Darkness Looms

Courtesy Flickr user july_01_2010

To my mind, last night’s primary election was a repudiation of some ugly things. 

1. Homophobia:

SD-62: Even Maziarz, who voted against same sex marriage in 2011, was a victim of an online whisper campaign that was as vicious as it was clumsy. The people associated with it are so inept at good messaging and classic electoral persuasion that they just figured they’d call the guy a queer and see if they could get away with it. But in the end, they couldn’t even muster up the balls to do that. No balls, no win for their selected candidate, Johnny Destino, who lost without Maziarz even breaking a sweat. Maziarz will face Democrat Amy Hope Witryol, who won a primary for the Working Families Party line last night against a Maziarz placeholder. 

SD-60: The Republicans of the district didn’t fall for the poor opposition from perennial candidate Kevin Stocker. Stocker’s alliance with local embarrassment Matt Ricchiazzi hurt him in the end – the only free media Stocker ever got during this race involved him having to disavow some simply awful homophobic trash that Ricchiazzi produced and emailed around the country.  Ricchiazzi and Stocker were too clever by half, and the whole effort blew up in their faces. Also, no one was buying the tall tales about Grisanti’s supposed bad acts during that Niagara Falls bar fight – no one every produced any proof. Finally, the Stocker campaign’s central theme was that Grisanti lied – he promised to do the wrong thing, but did the right thing instead. That’s not a persuasive line. 

On the Democratic side, Pigeon concocted a three-way race to make sure that Chuck Swanick’s path to electoral victory was as smooth as possible. Al Coppola did what Al Coppola does – he lets himself be run to distract the Italian vote in the district and help Pigeon’s guy’s path easier. Coppola got 11%, but more importantly Swanick – who famously received big donations from the horrible, homophobic, anti-equality “National Organization for Marriage” – lost handily to medical malpractice attorney, Democrat Mike Amodeo. Pigeon and homophobia were handily defeated last night. 

I’ll note as an aside that I know of several prominent gay men who are aligned with Pigeon and work in City Hall actually circulated petitions and voted for homophobe Chuck Swanick. This is astonishing to me – it’s not unlike a middle-class person voting against his own interests by backing Mitt Romney. Is your own identity and are your own interests so easily shunted aside to do what your bosses tell you to do? That’s sort of disgusting to me. 

2. Steve Pigeon

SD-60: Pigeon: it’s what’s for dinner. As noted above, local political scheissmeister Pigeon concocted a race to try and get Swanick to the State Senate, and it failed. Pigeon was riding high when he was Pedro Espada’s patronage hire, navigating the Senate coup where breakaway Democrats, including Espada and under the direction of Floridian billionaire Tom Golisano, permitted the Republicans to take the majority, de facto.  It was not dissimilar from what he concocted in the County Legislature back in 2010 where some breakaway Democrats aligned themselves with Chris Collins, and the place became a chaotic joke of a hellhole.

Disgraced through his connection with the coup and its plotters – especially convicted felon Pedro Espada – Pigeon is trying desperately to get back to some sort of position of influence in the State Senate. I think the state can do without that sort of thing, don’t you? Why would we want a guy to mess with the will of the people and to single-handedly play dirty tricks for his own self-aggrandizement again? 

3. Carl Paladino, Rus Thompson

As I noted above, they both embarrassed themselves going after Maziarz the way they did, but they did manage to get David DiPietro the nod – barely – to run against Christina Abt in Assembly 147. Abt won her primary on the Independence Party line.  

Frankly, DiPietro’s win is a repudiation of Jim Ostrowski’s campaign management skills. Every time DiPietro has run for something as a tea party candidate, Ostrowski has been behind it, and DiPietro lost in a sea of tea party nonsense. This race, he had the help of someone who actually knows how to win elections and handle messaging and GOTV – fellow East Auroran Michael Caputo. 

Other races: 

SD-63: Kennedy is also a Pigeon ally, and he was at the forefront of the 2010 legislature coup I noted above. He barely won last night. This was a fun race to watch last night as Betty Jean Grant came up from an 80/20 deficit to take the lead for a brief time. In the end, Tim Kennedy appears to have won in a squeaker, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this ends up in court for some time – the margin of victory is less than 300 votes. This new district includes a great deal of Buffalo’s east side, and as those precincts reported last night, Betty Jean surged unexpectedly. 

A-149: Sean Ryan handily defeated Kevin Gaughan. Gaughan really deserves to be given a chance to be elected to something because he’s smart and has great ideas. His problem is that he has a small constituency that isn’t as politically active and astute as Ryan’s entire Hoyt machine. This isn’t even about money, it’s about organization. 

UPDATE: Ralph Lorigo lost his bid to be elected to the Conservative Party’s state committee. (HT to TonyinTonawanda in comments)

Christopher Scanlon easily fended off three challengers to keep his South District seat in the Common Council. 

Olate Dogs defeated comedian Tom Cotter to win America’s Got Talent. A total disappointment. 

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is one of the most popular television shows in America. Shh! It’s a Wig.

Primary Night Nutshell

13 Sep


Senate 60: Democrat: Mike Amodeo

Senate 60: Republican: Mark Grisanti 

Senate 60: Independence Party: Mark Grisanti

Senate 62: Republican: George Maziarz

Senate 63: Democrat: Kennedy (by small 271 vote margin)

Assembly 149: Democrat: Sean Ryan

Assembly 147: Republican: David DiPietro

Assembly 147: Independence Party: Christina Abt

Buffalo South District: Christopher Scanlon

Vote, Then Listen to & Watch Our Primary Night Programming

14 Sep

When I was a kid, in March 1982, I went to Yugoslavia over spring break and they were smack in the middle of election season. Back then, under communism, the “elections” were held on Sundays and attendance was compulsory, to show that the regime had the unanimous consent of the proletarian masses. Naturally, there was only one list of candidates, and voters got to vote “yes” or “no”. Miraculously, the slate of candidates from the League of Communists of Yugoslavia won with 99.9% of the vote. Every time.

That’s how a totalitarian dictatorship does things, and unfortunately there are still a bunch of them around the world.

We’re lucky. We get to choose our winners and, ultimately, the direction of our future. Unfortunately, because party loyalty runs almost irrationally deep in WNY, oftentimes primary races are the only races that matter. So, even though primaries are little-discussed and their elections poorly attended, it’s as important as showing up in November. If you’re a Democrat – no matter where in New York you live – you have an Attorney General’s race to decide. If you’re a Republican – no matter where in New York you live – you have a Gubernatorial race to decide. If you’re a member of the Independence Party or Conservative Party, then you’re probably already a prime voter and know to show up. Unless you’re one of those people who is enrolled in the IP because you think it means you’re independent & unenrolled.

Polls in Erie County are open from 6am – 9pm; 12pm – 9pm in other counties. Please show up and make your voice heard.

As for us at WNYMedia.net, we’ll be doing an election night show live from WECK studios from 8pm – 11pm. Our show will be hosted by Nick Mendola, featuring me, Chris Smith, Marc Odien, Brian Castner, and Geoff Kelly. Thanks to the WECK board, we’ll be able to feature phone calls from candidates, and maybe calls from listeners/viewers. But please note – because there’s a Yankee game on tonight, our audio will only be heard on the online stream, and we’ll be poaching WECK’s stream, as well. That means those of you who use programs like Pocket Tunes or similar to listen to audio streams on your smartphone will be able to easily listen to our stream on the go – you won’t be tethered to a computer. We’ll also run a video stream on the site here.

If you’re a candidate and want to participate in the show, please shoot me an email. Ditto if you’re on the inside and want to shoot us a tip.

See you tonight.

WNY Primary Night Coverage

15 Sep

Stop by some time after 8pm.



Cartoons courtesy of Marquil @Empirewire.com

Today (Sept 15th) is Primary Day

15 Sep

Please go out and vote.

Unless you’re in the Independence Party, in which case I hope you stay home so that we can get rid of that corrupt albatross once and for all.

Robert Harding Responds to Mike Wrona

13 Sep

Robert asked me to post this here, since no one on TAP knows or cares who Wrona is, but he wanted to put his 2 cents in. I want to also add one point. I had tried to comment on Wrona’s blog, but it only accepts comments from “team members”. In other words, echo chamber only. I have threatened to take comments down altogether unless people are capable of debating without entering into a Hudson-provoked flamewar. No one wants or cares to read through 140 versions of “screw you, no screw YOU!”.

Responding to Mike Wrona Guest Post by Robert Harding

After Alice Kryzan’s primary victory on Tuesday, I went over to see what Mike Wrona had to say. After all, Wrona is a vocal Kryzan supporter and has criticized me for my support of Jon Powers in the past. What I discovered is that, even with his candidate winning, Mike Wrona still wants to divide us instead of unite us.

Wrona wrote a post that called Kryzan a “big winner” on Tuesday. He also decided to take jabs at myself and my friend Alan Bedenko, a fellow blogger and Jon Powers supporter. He also seemed to question whether or not we are progressive. I don’t know how that does anyone any favors in this situation, but it’s not exactly what you should be doing after your candidate wins a primary. Wrona also said that we fell for the “Iraq War veteran label.” There is no “label” when you are a veteran. If you are a veteran, you ARE a veteran. It’s not a label. It’s an honor. Wrona also asserted in that post that the local party leadership in all seven counties picked Powers because of money and “form over substance.” Actually, Wrona is wrong. The four rural counties backed Powers first and it was because he is genuine, listens to voters, is very approachable and personable and wanted to go to Washington to be our representative. He traveled every corner of this district early on and that didn’t change throughout this campaign. So Wrona clearly does not understand why the party leadership backed Powers.

Wrona wrote another post about Kryzan getting the DCCC’s backing. He started off the post by saying “better late than never.” Better late than never? Why would the DCCC back a candidate who showed virtually no fundraising ability after being in the race since September 2007 (technically) and a candidate that was very quiet in this race until about a few weeks before the primary? I remember seeing Kryzan at an event in June. It was the Wyoming County Flag Day Party. I guess she had a few supporters there and that’s where she stayed. I never saw her walk around the room to introduce herself. Whether it was a pro-Powers crowd or not, people still would have greeted her and treated her with respect.

In that same post, Wrona makes a blatantly false claim. He claims that Charlie Mallow, the current chair of the Genesee County Democrats, said he would be supporting Chris Lee in November. This is not true. What Charlie said is in this post on The Batavian. If you notice, there is an update in that post which reads, “Some will seek other options but, the vast majority will sooner or later support her before Election Day. We are Democrats; we have an ideology that puts us more in line with Kryzan than Lee.”

That was his response after he was asked whether or not the county would run away from Kryzan in November. I guess Mike Wrona didn’t like that answer so he decided to make up his own. That’s unfortunate, especially when he also suggests that Charlie’s county committee should act (Charlie has already said that he’s not going to serve as county chair again) as well as the state party AND even the governor. Wrona sure went to great lengths to spread a lie.

I will always be a fan of Jon Powers and most importantly, a friend of Jon Powers. But I have never, EVER been a sore loser. I reached out to Alice’s campaign Wednesday morning and sent along my congratulations. I have been in contact with them and they seem to be very receptive of rural support and maybe even some netroots support. This is not an easy time for me. I will honestly say that I’m not in Alice’s corner yet, but she is a better option than the Republican and she is better than Jack Davis. I can’t just throw away 14 months of support for Jon Powers in only a few days. It will take time to get over this tough loss and then refocus our attention on the key races in our state and in our area.

My suggestion to Mike Wrona would be to be more of a uniter and less of a divider. This isn’t the first time he had posted fabrications on his blog about myself or someone I know. I usually tell Republicans that we can all have our opinions but we can’t have our own version of the facts. I shouldn’t be saying that to someone who touts himself as a progressive Democrat. If Mike Wrona wants his candidate to win, he needs to help Kryzan embrace others who were Powers supporters and Davis supporters. Kryzan won with 41 percent of the vote. That means a majority of Democrats in the 26th did not vote for her. She needs to appeal to these people. I don’t think she wants one of her supporters saying the things Wrona has said. It does her a great disservice when she and her campaign are working hard to try and contact key people in this area, especially rural chairs like Mallow.

Primary Night WNYMedia Liveblog

9 Sep

The WNYMedia.net gang will be liveblogging tonight from various and sundry locations starting around 9pm. You can keep tabs on results by hitting F5 here. As for commenting, the line starts here:


The War Kids 990s

21 Aug

The Buffalo News has seen them, and confirms:

Congressional candidate Jon Powers released documents Wednesday showing that he earned $15,000 from his Iraq children’s charity in the first five months of 2007 — a year in which the organization raised only $41,738.

But the Powers campaign also released a letter from Veterans for America, the huge veterans organization where Powers worked, showing that the $60,000 he earned in 2006 was tied to his job as vice president for policy for that organization, as well as the War Kids Relief effort he ran there.

“Our opponents keep trying to frame it as if Jon was trying to rob War Kids blind, and it’s patently false,” said John Gerken, Powers’ campaign manager. “The claim that he took $77,000 from War Kids is patently false.”

Davis and whoever else can paint War Kids as a failure if they’re so inclined, but the original smear was false on its face. I think definitely it helps Davis in the primary. If he hands out $50 bills with his lit. Powers has the grassroots. Davis has the gasroots.

The sad thing in all this is that Jack Davis has taken something noble, something that Powers really believed in, although it didn’t accomplish everything it set out to, but did good nonetheless, and threw it in the mud and spat on it. To me, as a voter in that district, Jack Davis has revealed himself to be worse than just a flawed candidate with ugly views. He’s human filth.

UPDATE: To all of the commenters who have done so much more than Jon Powers to address the plight of the young Iraqi kids affected by the war, here is a list of War Kids’ accomplishments under Powers’ watch:

On Friday, August 15th, 2008, Jon Powers submitted the IRS form 990 to the Internal Revenue Service to comply with filing requirements for War Kids Relief. The form shows that for the fiscal year 2007, War Kids Relief raised $41,738. Powers also made available an IRS form 990 in anticipation of fiscal year 2008 showing that War Kids Relief raised $25,000 prior to being reorganized under another 501(c)(3).

Powers also furnished a letter from his former employer, Veterans For America, detailing their involvement with War Kids and his role with both organizations. Under VFA, War Kids Relief was able to raise $68,336.

Below are the facts with regard to the financial numbers for War Kids Relief:

• Total Raised: $135,074;
• Total Spent on Salary: $18,900, of which $15,000 went to Jon Powers;
• Total Spend on Educational, Advocacy, and Service Programs: $100,303.80;
• Total Spent on overhead at VFA: $15,870.20. (20% per VFA’s government approved NICRA rate)

The $100,303.80 spent on educational, advocacy, and service programs went toward:

• Collaborating in Baghdad with UNICEF, USAID, Department of Defense personnel, the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Iraqi Child Welfare Council, and the World Bank to design a model for child care for children abandoned as a result of the Iraq War;

• Research and presentation to the RAND Corporation regarding Positive Youth Development to Deter Youth Radicalism;

• Research and publication of “Iraq’s Youth at a Time of War,” in Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies Review Journal.

• Development and pilot of the Youth Center Work Study Program with the Iraqi Minister of Youth and Sports to engage Iraq’s out of school youth;

• Development and pilot of a Youth Conference between American and Iraqi Students in coordination with Iraq Embassy personnel.

• Developing programs with Iraqi youth oriented NGO’s in Kurdistan to provide crucial links between Iraqi and American youth.

While with VFA, Powers was paid to work on the following:

• July 2005 – Started at VFA as program manager of War Kids Relief.

• May 2006 – Vice President of Policy for War Kids Relief (paired with his role as program manager of War Kids Relief)

• Generally: Provided research and program development with fellow Veterans to publicize and correct the problems facing returning soldiers and veterans. Helped develop legislation with VFA colleagues and fellow veterans.

• Summer 2006 – Witness to National Institute of Health on PTSD DSM-4 hearings.

• December 2006 – Witness to Department of Defense Mental Health Task Force under Lieutenant General Kiley. Provided research and testimony on suicidal veterans prior to the Joshua Omvig Bill.

• Specific legislation that Powers worked on:
– Lane Evans Bill requiring VA to do reports on the War.
– Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act – Extending Health Care from 2-5 years.
– Homelessness Prevention Act.

• VFA worked with Bob Woodruff on his work at ABC – To Iraq and Back

• Spokesperson on BBC, CNN, CBC, and other major news outlets

• February 2007 – Toured Walter Reed Hospital the day after the Washington Post broke the story.

• January 2007-March 2007 – VFA decides to refocus on Veterans issues exclusively and War Kids Relief becomes its own 501(c)(3).


27 Mar


Maybe this one is better:


Responding to Hudson

12 Mar

Mike Hudson responded in comments to my earlier, Kunzian, jab at his weekly column.

thanks for the traffic alan! i think i got two clicks already!

by the way, i didn’t call obama “uppity,” hardly mentioned clinton at all, merely stated that irish, italians and jews have been voting their own for years so why shouldn’t blacks too? and, after pennsylvania, i’ll hold you to the importance you place on the popular vote, alan.

the column was not directed towards obama, who i will vote for if he makes it to the general election, or to his black supporters. it was directed against upscale white suburban twits whose support he would be better off without. you know who you are.

and as for mike, who wants to use a column item about eigth street i wrote two weeks ago to brand me some kind of racist, that’s my neighborhood, buster, and if you want a second opinion you ought to ask (the overwhelmingly black and decent) members of the block club who will tell you the same thing.

So, Mr. Hudson is a kind of free-tabloid, latter-day version of Tom Wolfe, providing biting commentary on white elites pandering to radical revolutionaries. Only with crappier suits.

Let’s begin with the article itself, which claims that Obama has built a unique coalition of:

poor, inner-city blacks and well-to-do white suburban liberals who fled the cities in order to get away from the poor inner-city blacks.

Taken within the context of the entire rest of the piece, Hudson is basically saying that black people are, by definition, poor inner-city denizens. The premise, evidently, is that there are no poor rural black people supporting Obama in places like Mississippi or Georgia. Nor must there by any middle or upper-middle class black people supporting – well, anyone.

After a brief lesson on the all-too-familiar concept of identity politics, Hudson goes after his pet peeve, limousine liberals.

The term “limousine liberal” is always a handy epithet to hurl when one supposes he has the moral high ground. If class struggle is your thing, then go for it. But the revolution is not coming, and if it does, it will be televised.

On Fox News.

Interestingly, and bringing it back to the presidential race, the term “limousine liberal” is now most often used by the right as an epithet against the left. Now, Mike, I thought you were a good anarcho-socialist who lives amongst decent black people, and I therefore figured that your anachronistic epithets towards me would be more current. I mean, they used that one against Lindsay in the 60s. It’s 2008. “Limousine liberal” is now thrown around by the likes of Limbaugh and Krauthammer. And Ostrowski, evidently.

On top of that, I’ve only ridden in a limousine I think 3 times in my entire life.

Although Hudson says the piece was more about ridiculing Obama’s white supporters (which is sort of sickening in itself), he does indeed decry the fact that Obama has mucked it up for Hillary:

Over the past six months, these vermin have combined to turn what was a certain Democratic victory in November into a question mark. The party itself is so badly fractured that the likelihood of everyone forgetting about what was said and done in time to unite against John McCain seems remote.

That’s the Obama coalition and, except for the black people, I don’t think I want any part of it. It’s about enough to make me support McCain myself, as a matter of fact.

There are loads of examples of very heated primary campaigns resulting in the ultimate uniting of the party behind the ultimate nominee, and there’s no question that will happen this year. In fact, Obama and Clinton are in headlines daily, getting their messages out there, while McCain is an afterthought deep in the national section of the paper. And to think all those disingenuous white people have the nerve to support Obama. Hypocrites! [/sarcasm].

Hudson’s allusion to a 40+ year-old short story where the protagonist is alleged to be prejudiced towards black people, instead of against is something I’m not comprehending.

I have my reasons for supporting Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, and the word “black” or “African-American” or whatever the fuck people would like to pin as my motive for said support is not even remotely on the list.

Perhaps I am rather shallow, easily swayed by a good speech and gullible in matters politic. Perhaps I am foolish to believe that a candidate might be able to transcend decades’ worth of idiotic political, racial, and gender cleaves to bring the country together after 8+ years of division so that we work together for a common good.

Perhaps I am naive not to support the wife of the former president, a woman who is despised by half, and adored by the other half. Perhaps she is whom I should support, lest I have too-cool-for-the-room tabloid publishers accuse me of being a reverse-racist hipster tool.

Luckily for everyone, I suppose, I trust Hudson’s judgment as little as he trusts mine. I value his opinion as little as he values mine. Because, as the old adage goes, opinions are, indeed, like assholes.

The moment someone touts his competence to bear witness to the plight of black people because he lives near black people, and that black people “love him”, it’s game over. Unless, of course, that person is, himself, black. Mike, last I checked, you’re as white as I am.

But back to the issue at hand. This blog began as a paean to a Presidential candidate from 2004. It has morphed into the garbage it is today because I like to write things about things that I find interesting. However, I have been finding political candidates who inspire me, or anger me, and I then write down what I think about all that. It’s what I’ve done time and time again for the past 4+ years.

Hudson continues:

[Obama’s] supporters have pointed to his opposition to the war in Iraq back when it started in 2003 as evidence of his great wisdom. I opposed it too, wrote a bunch of columns about it and everything, but I wouldn’t vote for me for president. Opposing a war, or anything bad, when you’re not in a position to do anything about it really doesn’t amount to much.

Hillary Clinton was in a position to do something about it. FAIL.

Anyway, last Tuesday, after weeks of indignantly demanding that Hillary Clinton do the right thing and drop out of the race, the Obama cultists were shocked and stunned when she beat their man like a rug in Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas.

For someone who is such a stickler for facts and accuracy, you may want to revisit the Texas results. They’re still being tallied, and by today’s math, Obama has 98 Texas delegates, and Clinton has 95. My math tells me Obama’s winning Texas. But I’m a rich white kid, so what the hell do I know?

In six weeks she will do the same thing to him in Pennsylvania, and thus will have beaten him in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Nevada and most of the other key Democratic and swing states, while he will have won caucuses for the most part in states like Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, Mississippi, Alabama and North Dakota, where his “O-Mentum” isn’t likely to prevail against John McCain or any Republican in November.

Perhaps not, but what evidence is there to conclude that Ohio or New York or California would not vote for Obama if he is the nominee come November? None whatsoever. Hudson’s talking out his ass.

I realize Hudson is the coolest, if not the smartest, hep cat in the room at any given time, but this blog doesn’t pretend or boast to be anything except for my opinions about things. I realize full well that I’m the dumbest limousine liberal white boy on the planet. Hudson is free to ascribe to me whatever motives he’d like.

So, to Hudson’s point, if you think I’m supporting Obama because he’s black, and because I’m overwhelmed with white guilt about the black plight because I live in a nice neighborhood that is diverse only in terms of the European and Asian countries represented therein, you are welcome to it.

But you would be wrong. And then maybe give Geraldine Ferraro a call. She holds some similarly anachronistic opinions you might find more palatable. She also agrees with you, being one of Clinton’s top surrogates and higher-profile supporters.