Tag Archives: ranzenhofer

A Scary Record of #Fail #SD61

27 Oct


The thing about Ranzenhofer’s tenure in government isn’t just the fact that he toes the party line all the time, it’s that he’s never come up with a good idea or important initiative to help the state, the county, or his constituents.  What’s the Ranzenhofer record?  Nothing.  Why does he keep getting re-elected for a generation?

RoboCall About Mesi

2 Nov

I just received an anti-Mesi RoboCall from 201-257-4001. So far, the only thing I can find is that the number has been used to hawk DirectTV in the past, and that the number is based out of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. There was no message at the end of the call to indicate who had paid for or authorized it.

Calls made to Mesi campaign and Ranzenhofer campaign offices were not answered.

New Siena Polls Out in Senate Races

2 Nov

They’re here, HT Albany Project:

58th SD – Erie County – William Stachowski (D, incumbent) vs. Dennis Delano (R)

Stachowski now has a 47-43 percent lead over Delano, after trailing 49-36 percent in the previous Siena poll in this district where Democrats have a better than two-to-one enrollment edge. Stachowski has increased his lead among Democrats to 62-30 percent (up from 51-34 percent). Delano maintains a 63-25 percent lead among Republicans (virtually unchanged from 64-23 percent) and has seen his lead among independent voters fall to 54-36 percent, down from 67-19 percent.

Whereas Delano led in all three sections of the district previously, Stachowski now leads 47-37 percent in Buffalo/Lackawanna, 48-45 percent in Cheektowaga, and 47-44 percent in the southern suburbs. Stachowski has a 12-point lead with men, while Delano has a two-point lead with women. Delano has a significant lead with Protestants. Stachowski leads with Catholics, and has a big lead among younger voters.

Stachowski has a 50-31 percent favorable rating. It had been 39-14 percent. Delano’s favorable rating, 53-33 percent, is down from 63-15 percent. Delano continues to have a positive favorable rating with voters of every party, while Stachowski has increased his favorability among Democrats but lost ground with independent voters and saw his favorability among Republicans drop from 35-12 percent to 29-50 percent.

More than half of voters would like to see the Senate controlled by Democrats, and Obama has opened 55-37 percent lead over McCain, up from 45-41 percent previously.

“Senator Stachowski has turned this race around. In four weeks he has erased a 13-point deficit and turned it into a tight four-point lead. Where Delano previously had a much better favorable rating with voters, the two are now viewed by voters in virtually the same light. We will have to wait until Election Day to see if Stachowski continues his momentum to win re-election, or if Delano can turn this race back around again and defeat a 27-year incumbent in this overwhelmingly Democratic district,” Greenberg said.

In the Mesi/Ranzenhofer contest:

61st SD – Erie and Genesee Counties – Michael Ranzenhofer (R) vs. Joseph Mesi (D)

Ranzenhofer has a 47-42 percent lead over Mesi, who had a slimmer 40-38 percent lead in the previous Siena poll, in this district where Republicans have a very small enrollment edge over Democrats. Ranzenhofer leads among Republicans 69-25 percent, up from 59-21 percent. Mesi leads among Democrats 62-29 percent, closer than the previous 63-19 percent. Mesi leads among independent voters 42-37 percent, although Ranzenhofer closed the gap from 43-28 percent. Mesi leads in Tonawanda by seven points (down from 10). Ranzenhofer leads in the Clarence/Newstead/Genesee County portions of the district by 15 points (up from two points), and in Amherst by three points (up a tick from two points).

Ranzenhofer has a 47-26 percent favorable rating, compared to 35-12 percent previously. Mesi’s favorable rating is 46-37 percent, compared to 45-18 percent in the previous Siena poll.

While the race has shifted seven points from Mesi to Ranzenhofer, a reverse trend occurred on the question of who voters support to control the Senate. Previously, voters supported Republican control by a 44-38 percent margin, while now a slim plurality, 43-41 percent, support Democratic control. The presidential race also flipped, with McCain’s 45-40 percent lead now becoming a 51-42 percent lead for Obama.

“This district is close in enrollment between Republicans and Democrats. The voters are close in their view on which party should control the Senate. The voters have switched their support from McCain to Obama over the last few weeks. And a small Mesi lead has turned into a slightly wider Ranzenhofer lead. Which party’s voters turn out in larger numbers on Tuesday may well determine the outcome of this race. Either way, it figures to be a late night as the votes get counted in this race,” Greenberg said.

Mesi needs your help. Ranzenhofer has a 20-year record of FAIL, and wants to bring his brand of FAIL to the Senate.

Mr. Ranzenhofer to the Principal’s Office

28 Oct

A press release from Citizen Action of New York:

BUFFALO, NY – Citizen Action of New York has released a report card for the Erie County Legislature, studying the attendance records of legislators from the past four years. CANY focused on committee meetings instead of full legislature sessions in order to get a better sense of how engaged Legislators are in the work they do to discuss and study various initiatives and issues.

“The Committee meetings are the ones in which legislators are supposed to roll up their sleeves and look at all sides of each issue. We have been registering concern about the level of accountability and transparency in Erie County government for years, and we believe that working families deserve to know how their representatives are doing,” said Jim Anderson, the Western New York chair of CANY.

The report revealed generally high levels of attendance by the vast majority of legislators, especially those that were elected on reform platforms over the last three years. Highlights from the report include:

  • Michael Ranzenhofer missed more committee meetings than any other sitting legislator in Erie County. Legislator Ranzenhofer currently serves on the Community Enrichment Committee and served on two other committees over the last four years as well, and he missed 14 of the committee meetings listed on the County website between 2004 and 2007. The meetings covered matters such as reviewing the county’s policy on take home vehicles for political appointees and ensuring the protection of community resources like libraries, parks and health centers. Mr. Ranzenhofer receives a D from Citizen Action for his poor attendance record.
  • Three legislators, Grant, Mazur and Rath, had a perfect committee attendance record from 2004 to 2007 (based on records available on the Erie County website; some meetings are not available). All three receive an A+.
  • Only four legislators missed more than 5 meetings, and one of them serves as a reservist.
  • Anderson added, “Mr. Ranzenhofer’s truancy record during a time of extreme challenges for the county is troubling to us, particularly as he runs for the State Senate where he will immediately be faced with balancing yet another budget during a time of financial hardship – and this time with far greater consequences for his constituents and the citizens of New York,” said Jim Anderson, head of Citizen Action WNY.

    Apart from Barbara Miller-Williams, who is a reservist, the next-lowest grade for a legislator is Tim Kennedy, who gets a B. If Ranzenhofer can’t be bothered to show up to 92 Franklin Street, how are we to expect him to show up in Albany?

    Mesi vs. Ranzenhofer

    28 Oct

    The topics covered in this debate were essentially similar to those touched upon in the Hardwick debate a few weeks ago. As I mentioned in the tweets from the hall, the room was overflowing with Mesi supporters – at least half of the place got up and left after Mesi and Ranzenhofer were done. The applause from them was rousing, and Ranzenhofer jokingly thanked them for their welcome.

    Ranzenhofer talked a lot about his plan to slash 15% across-the-board from the state budget. He explained that he’d like to expand the STAR rebate program and institute a hard property tax cap. Mesi countered that he would like to institute a ban on unfunded Albany mandates, which cripple county and local governments across the state. This is a theme that should be repeated statewide in every race, and it was good to see Mesi out in front on that issue. Mesi is also for a circuit breaker tax cap, which is tied to the homeowner’s income.

    As an aside – the dynamic of some of these debates is interesting. Whenever a candidate gets behind on an issue, uttering “me too” or explaining away his opponent’s proposals, I feel that there was a smidgen of momentum lost. To a certain degree, especially in this type of forum, you want to lay your policy specifics out in a coherent and concise manner. Make it bold, but also make it interesting. I think Mesi did an outstanding job doing just that.

    Think for a second about the needless complexity of the tax code, which has become little more than a full employment act for CPAs and tax attorneys. New York is the same way – instead of just endeavoring to make it more palatable for businesses to locate here, we complicate everything. STAR rebates, circuit breakers, Empire Zones, etc. – it should and could be made simpler, especially for economically depressed non-tri-state-area counties.

    Both candidates support nonpartisan redistricting for state legislative seats, and Ranzenhofer mentioned downsizing the state legislature. I would be cautious about that, because of the population disparity between the New York City area and the rest of the state. We can’t afford to have upstate districts underrepresented in comparison with the City, and although it is a good idea in theory, safeguards would need to be put into place. What I’d love to see is some tough reform of the way Albany spends money on itself – an across-the-board cap on the cost of legislative staffs, regardless of seniority would be nice. Clamping down on perks and per diems. If state residents are due for some belt-tightening and the loss of services, politicos should lead by example on that point.

    Both candidates support increased accountability and oversight for state authorities, which currently act as a sort of shadow government, adding debt and cost to the operation of the state without it necessarily being on the state’s own books. There is no reason why these rogue-prone semi-autonomous entities should be permitted to exist the way they do, and it’s time for Albany to shed Robert Mosesism and move towards leaner, more efficient government that is always accountable for every penny spent and taken in. Ranzenhofer recommended abolition of the Thruway Authority and putting its responsibilities under the State DOT. He’s right, but it doesn’t go far enough. Every state authority should be up for dissolution and incorporation into the executive branch of state government, and it’s high time residents knew exactly how bad it all is.

    One item of disagreement among these two candidates was the issue of the aforementioned budget cuts. Ranzenhofer’s plan is to simply take a meat cleaver and chop 15% off of everything. Mesi’s plan is more nuanced than that, cutting where needed, but maintaining funding for key items that will help the state plan for the future. Now is not the time, for instance, to cut education. Now is not the time to cut programs that encourage the sciences and the development of new economies for biotechnology, nanotechnology, and other, similar items that could very well form the basis for New York’s future resurgence. I would tend to go with caution and planning over slashing.

    Ranzenhofer closed with a standard Republican spiel about incentivizing the growth of business in New York. That’s all well and good, but I think the incentivizing should be for all businesses, and not complicated by Empire Zones and the like. Mesi suggested funding the research and development of green energy by instituting a windfall profit tax on oil companies. Big oil is obviously reluctant to fund energy initiatives that could render it redundant, so this is an interesting proposal. Mesi also invoked the UB 2020 initiative, indicating that UB could and should grow its business incubator program to encourage and support – through resources and venture capital – new businesses and new areas of potential growth for Western New York, which is too busy worrying about its manufacturing past and not busy enough worrying about what will replace it.

    Mesi brings a personal touch to that story, explaining how a family member lost his job at American Axle. There are hundreds, if not thousands of blue-collar workers who have lost, or are at risk of losing their jobs in the manufacturing sector, and we need to move on to the next step in our economic and industrial journey here in WNY. Mesi gets the big picture, and there are too few politicians who do.

    Tweeting the Clarence Candidates’ Forum

    27 Oct

    Ranzenhofer Ad: Downstate is What, Now?

    27 Oct

    There is a negative Ranzenhofer ad out there hitting Mesi for taking downstate money. (Interesting that it’s bad for Mesi, but OK for Ranzenhofer and Delano. But I digress).

    This is how Ranzenhofer’s ad illustrates the point about downstate money. In it, a stencil is applied over a white brick wall that has “NYC” drawn in stylized graffitti print. A spray can miraculously appears, causing the message carved into the stencil to appear on the brick wall. I don’t even remember what the point being made is.

    What’s Ranzenhofer trying to say here? That downstate = urban blight, graffitti, and defacement of property? Gee, what a fascinating image to convey. I’d love to hear more about why that particular device was employed to make this point.

    (A free Hershey bar to the first person to post the ad I’m talking about to YouTube.)

    Ranzenhofer & Downstate Interests

    26 Oct

    I’m not one to engage in the upstate vs. downstate nonsense because it’s idiotic, but when someone does decide to play the “downstate loves you and you love downstate” card against an upstate candidate, it’s always refreshing to see whether there’s any hypocrisy going on.

    As one might expect in the Ranzenhofer-Mesi race, Ranzenhofer gets along quite nicely with downstate special interests and politicians, so perhaps they might consider rethinking that tack. This new blog has more.

    Joe Mesi’s Plan for Change

    26 Oct

    The Mesi campaign’s official blog posts this today:

    On Saturday at 11:30 in Amherst, State Senate Candidate Joe Mesi released his 18-page “Plan For Change: Specific New Ideas For Our Future” booklet with volunteers who were preparing to go knock on doors for Mesi despite the inclement weather. (You can view the online version here.)

    Mesi’s book outlines his proposals to create new jobs and keep existing ones in WNY, provide real property tax relief, target investments in research and higher education, create a new energy economy, and reform Albany.

    Speaking today, Mesi said, “A lot of people talk about change. Even my opponent is talking about change – which is ironic given that he’s been in office for 20 years. I feel an obligation to talk about some very specific ideas I have for our future. Voters deserve real substance, not just sound bites.”

    Mesi added, “I want you to read my plan and talk about the issues. You might not agree with every detail, but you deserve to know where I stand. We need new leadership in Albany that believes in us and much as we believe in ourselves. New leadership that won’t give up. That won’t say cut – with a sledgehammer – but instead say use a scalpel, and, at the same time, invest in our strengths and believe in our future.”

    The plan focuses on investment in high-tech and health care industries, such as Roswell Park and the Buffalo Medical Campus, demanding accountability from Empire Zone beneficiaries, lowering property taxes, ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs out of state, and growing green industry. Mesi proposes initiating a property tax “circuit breaker” cap, which sets a ceiling of what percentage of your annual pay goes to property taxes. Most importantly, Mesi understands that unfunded Albany mandates are a massive, crushing burden on our county and local governments.

    Mesi is also a proponent of UB 2020, which holds out the promise of UB as tomorrow’s regional economic engine for all of WNY. Read the whole thing. I don’t think I’ve recently seen any candidate put out as detailed a platform for forward-thinking change.

    Meanwhile, Mesi’s opponent – who has spent 20 years in the county legislature and has not one. single. success. attributable to him during his tenure in that body – was for spending cuts before he was against them.

    Deep Thought: Thursday Mk1

    23 Oct

    If you’re appalled by “career politicians”, you’re not supporting Mike Ranzenhofer for State Senate, right?