Tag Archives: reform coaltion

Redistricting Nonsense-apalooza Begins

26 May

Note: This article looks much different from the version published at 1PM.  We use a scheduling system for posts and this was supposed to be released yesterday at 1PM, not today.  It has been updated to reflect reality.  Sorry for the confusion. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, all the better. 🙂

Yesterday, the Erie County Legislature hosted a public hearing to debate the merits of two competing redistricting proposals.

The first proposal (Local Law 3-2011), was assembled pursuant to the efforts of the Erie County Redistricting commission, which was chaired by Hodgson Russ attorney Adam Perry. The law is sponsored by Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller Williams.  This proposal also has the support of the six member Republican minority and the tentative support of West Seneca Legislator Christina Bove, who together make up the remnants of the much ballyhooed “reform coalition“.  Click here for a link to the map of the proposed new districts.

The second proposal (Local Law 4-2011), was designed by the Democrats and is sponsored by Betty Jean Grant. Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan was able to pull rogue Democrat Tim Whalen out of the “reform coalition” to support this proposal.  This bill has the support of the ECDC-loyal Democrats in the legislature, which gives them seven votes.  Most notable in the proposal is the redistricting punishment that will be given to “Reform Coalition” leader Barbara Miller-Williams.  Click here for a link to the map of the proposed new districts.

So, the battle is for the vote of Christina Bove, who again finds herself the subject of a political tug of war. Whichever group offers her the most comfortable level of “protection” and/or “lulus” will undoubtedly secure her vote.  If the Democrats can bring her back to their side, this will put County Executive Chris Collins in the unenviable position of vetoing the plan for downsizing and redistricting that was so central to his re-election plans.  A veto would provide a sizable political victory for Lenihan, the Democrats and County Executive candidate Mark Poloncarz leading into the fall.

So, Tina, what’s it gonna be?

We’ll find out at a special meeting of the Erie County Legislature in Old County Hall, 4th Floor, 92 Franklin St., in the City of Buffalo, N.Y.  14202 on Wednesday, June 2nd at 2PM when the final vote is taken on the competing proposals.  We’ll stream that meeting here on WNYMedia.

Three Renegades, Three Points

8 Jan

Let’s get the dictionary out again

Maria Whyte quipped about the definition of “reform” during her floor speech on behalf of Lynn Marinelli, and Barbara Miller-Williams later said she thinks “reform” means “moving Erie County forward”, whatever the anus that means. But this is what the Collins/Pigeon reform coalition means by “reform”:

The document outlining the changes was kept hidden until after the meeting began, inciting protests from the six Democrats, who tried to kill the measure. The changes allow the payroll to grow from $1.88 million to $1.92 million this year. Marinelli predicted that with fringe benefits, the Legislature will exceed its budget by year’s end.

I asked Miller-Williams at the press conference whether any new jobs were created, or whether the payroll was increased in any way. She hemmed, hawed, and then said it wasn’t.

First day, first lie, within the first 2 hours of her chairwomanship. That must be some sort of record or something.

How Many Jobs?

Also at the press conference, Miller-Williams was asked how many people would be losing jobs. Even though she (hopefully) knew the correct answer, she hemmed, hawed, and said “four or five”. Turns out, it was closer to 8.

First day, second lie, within the first 2 hours of her chairwomanship. Now we’re in Olympic record territory.

Abolish County Government, Then

All of the Republican legislators are closing their district offices, if they still exist. They argue that their more rural and suburban constituents simply don’t visit them.

The reason they don’t visit them is because they don’t need their legislator for anything, because they don’t need the Erie County Legislature for anything. The Legislature as an entity adds no value whatsoever – none, zero, zip – to the lives of any person in Erie County. To the contrary, the legislature is nothing more (especially now) than a rubber-stamp for decisions sent down from Albany or the Rath Building. A very small percentage of 10% of the annual budget of Erie County actually gets fought over. Frankly, I don’t see the point of the taxpayers of Erie County supporting an entire governmental apparatus and legislative bureaucracy to do almost entirely pre-ordained things.

If the so-called “reform coalition” has proven anything over the last 24 hours, it is that we have absolutely no use for 15 of them, for 9 of them, for 5 of them, or for any of them. They are an irrelevance – an anachronism handed down to make us all feel important, when really Albany pulls almost all of the strings. We don’t need to elect people to decide whether parks or clinics or Medicaid should be funded. These are ministerial, not political, considerations.

Thank you for proving my point, all of you.

I’ve tweeted and posted a lot about this issue over the past 12 hours, and much of the response boils down to, “well, what do you expect?”

I expect BETTER