Tag Archives: Sam Hoyt

Explore ‘n More Should Be At Canalside

14 Mar

When Chris Ostrander sharply criticizes the placemaking fraud that has has supplanted top-down planning with a bottom-up feelings-based lack of planning, he is exactly correct. Deck chairs, hot dog shacks, and happy feelings aren’t going to organically develop the inner harbor, and I’ve written before that all we’ve done is nominally exchange a political/business elite planning scheme for a cultural elite planning scheme. 

 I disagree, however, with Ostrander’s criticism of the proposed Children’s Museum. Such a museum will involve an outlay of public money for construction, and likely will be operated by a well-respected current operator of a children’s museum facility – Explore and More – that is in deep need of a new facility. Ostrander writes: 

I’m condemning the thought of trading the space previously reserved for Bass Pro for a children’s museum. My problem with Bass Pro was that the store wouldn’t capture an entire audience nor cohesively bring the neighborhood together. Now the approach is to use the plan with the least amount of risk. Literally. This plan is being adopted because there is little, to no risk involved. Instead of taking a major step and hitting a home run, Buffalo will be forced to accept a sacrifice bunt, just to advance the runners.

Ostrander misapprehends the size and scope of the Children’s Museum, and what is to happen with the Aud Block and the “space previously reserved for Bass Pro”. 

Regardless of the solar carousel vs. Bass Pro argument, Canalside needs to be a 4-seasons, all-ages place to go. I’m not a fan of the whole “story of Buffalo” programming BS that’s suffused the whole project, but Ostrander is misstating the extent of the Children’s Museum in his piece. 

The image above is a rendering of the current plan for the Aud Block; it isn’t going to be replaced with another huge building fitting its footprint.  What was once the Aud will be chopped up into smaller parcels, footpaths, and canal-shaped reflecting pools. The Children’s Museum – pretty much the only cultural programming at Canalside that I think isn’t a horrible joke – will only take up a small portion of that location, and that’s ok. 

Turning the “story of Buffalo” into a 4D motion ride and costumed people strolling around what should be a shopping & entertainment district is what deserves criticism. Moving Explore ‘n More to the Inner Harbor is one of the better ideas to have come from all of this idiotic turmoil. 

 

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BREAKING: Sam Hoyt to Cuomo Administration (UPDATED)

30 Jun

We’re trying to get additional confirmation, but sources tell us that Sam Hoyt will be resigning his Assembly seat to go accept a job with the Cuomo administration.  We’ll update the site as more information trickles in.

UPDATE: It’s confirmed. Sam Hoyt has resigned the Assembly seat he’s held since 1993 and will be accepting a job with the Cuomo Administration at the Empire State Development Corporation. The now-vacant Assembly seat in A-144 will be filled by special election to be called by the governor. Names are already popping up, including City Councilman David Rivera, former Erie County Legislative counsel Sean Ryan, former State Senate candidate Sean Cooney and City Councilman Joe Golombek.  The winner of the special election would serve through the end of 2012, and a regular election would be held in November of that year.

We’re also hearing that this move is part of the same Erie County Democratic peacemaking that led to Len Lenihan’s resignation from his county party chairmanship, and unity more or less across the Democratic ticket for 2011.

UPDATE 2: I’m hearing that Sean Ryan is the likely nominee, already determined as part of the Democratic detente between ECDC, City Hall, and Grassroots.

UPDATE 3: Sam Hoyt has issued a statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:             June 30, 2011

 

STATEMENT FROM SAM HOYT

REGARDING HIS RESIGNATION

 

Dear Friends:

Governor Cuomo has offered me an exciting and important opportunity within his administration, a senior position with the Empire State Development Corporation, about which more details will be available tomorrow. I have accepted his offer with enthusiasm, which necessarily means that I will also be stepping down after 19 years of service in the New York State Assembly. After the most productive legislative session I have experienced – both for me personally and the Legislature as a whole – I can hardly imagine a better moment to make this transition. The last few hours of this last session were by far the most thrilling I have been a part of in all of my years in the Assembly. I was proud to help Governor Cuomo pass key elements of his legislative agenda including SUNY 2020, the strongest property tax cap in the nation, and most historically, marriage equality for all New Yorkers, an issue I have advocated for years.

While the work of the Legislature will never be finished, this session marks the successful completion of many of the projects I have worked on throughout my career. One of my primary goals has always been revitalizing our upstate cities, with a focus, of course, on Buffalo. In the past three years, I have authored and passed into law three bills in particular that I believe will have a transformational impact on our upstate cities. They are the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, the State’s first Smart Growth law, and most recently the Land Bank bill that was passed by both houses just two weeks ago. These three pieces of legislation have the potential to make a significant impact on the repopulation and revitalization of Upstate New York.

Over the past 19 years, I have worked hard to represent the interests of the people of the 144th District, not just in Albany but here at home as well. For me, elected office has been about more than legislation alone. It has been about helping the people in my district when they need it the most, and about making Buffalo a better place to live and work. Over the years, that has meant things like helping protect and preserve the historic H. H. Richardson Complex, stopping the closure of Children’s Hospital, and fighting for community-driven projects like the Jesse Kregal Bike Path along Scajacquada Creek and Black Rock Canal Park. It has also meant hours and hours of constituent service, helping the people of Western New York straighten out bureaucratic problems with Medicaid or unemployment insurance, lending a hand to block clubs in their efforts to clean up problem properties in their neighborhoods, and fighting to ensure that above all, the government works for the people.

Of course in my duties as a Legislator, I have also worked hard for my legislative successes. From the Protections for Health Care Workers Act to the Local Government Consolidation Law to Race to the Top education reform to the Main Street Grants Program and more, I have consistently fought for economic and social justice legislation that would benefit all New Yorkers. All of this work has culminated in the great accomplishments of this most recent legislative session.

It is no coincidence that the Legislature’s most successful year coincides with Governor Cuomo’s first year. I have long felt a sense of partnership with Governor Cuomo, indeed long before he was Governor. There has been no daylight between his priorities and my own. It has therefore not been difficult to conclude that the best way to advance those priorities further on behalf of Western New York and the entire state is to join his team.

I was first elected to the Assembly under sad circumstances – the seat opened upon the premature passing of my father, Bill Hoyt.  My initial motivation was to continue the family legacy – that of both Bill and my mother, Carol of progressive leadership. During the ensuring two decades that motivation has married well with the needs and aspirations of the people of Buffalo and Grand Island, who I have had the honor to serve. And while I enter this new phase under much happier circumstances, those motivations will continue to inspire me every day I will be working for the most dynamic leader this State has seen in generations.

Although this moment marks the end of my career in the Assembly, it is far from a goodbye. More than anything else, every success attributed to me has been a team effort. I am so grateful for the many dedicated staff members I have had over the years who made enormous personal sacrifices to serve along side me to help improve the lives of the people of the 144th District. Both in Albany and throughout the district, they worked long hours behind the scenes on legislation, local projects, constituent service, and beyond. It is through their efforts that I was able to represent the interests of the people of Western New York, and for that I am thankful.

All of you have been my partners in so many of those efforts as well, and Governor Cuomo and I will continue to need your support going forward. The future has never looked brighter. I am grateful for this new opportunity to get to that bright future, and I am eternally grateful for your help, support and friendship in our shared goal of getting there together.

Sincerely,

 

SAM HOYT

 

EXCLUSIVE: DEMOCRATS IN ERIE COUNTY MAKE PEACE (UPDATE WITH STATEMENT)

8 Jun

I have heard from several sources tonight that our long nightmare of Democratic factionalism is over.

I’ll expound later, but the deal appears to be sealed. Len Lenihan will resign as Chairman of the Democratic Party.  Sources say he will be replaced by John Crangle – Joe’s nephew, current Town Committee Chair in Tonawanda, who works for the Clerk’s office.

All of the various factions in Erie County have bought into this global settlement of all outstanding grievances. The Democratic Party, therefore, moves into the 2011 campaign season as a united front against Chris Collins and the Republicans.

This, folks, is huge.

UPDATE: The official word just came in:

Lenihan to Retire as Democratic Chairman

Erie County Democratic Chairman to Accept Senior State Democratic Committee Role

Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan today announced that he is retiring as County Chairman in late July and will accept a senior position with the New York State Democratic Committee.

State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs announced today that winning the seven major county executive races this November is a top priority for the state party and that Lenihan has agreed to lead the state effort. “Coming off the incredible upset victory in the 26th Congressional special election, I can think of no one better for this important task,” said Jacobs.

“The state party is grateful to have him sprinkle the Lenihan magic around the state, and he will leave behind an Erie County Democratic Committee that is stronger than ever before” said Charlie King, Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Committee.

There are major county executive races this fall in Suffolk, Erie, Monroe, Broome, Dutchess, Ulster and Albany Counties which Lenihan will be involved in.

Lenihan, who was first elected Democratic Chairman in September 2002, said, “The Erie County Democratic Committee has accomplished so much in the past 9 years.  Serving our community and our party each and every day has been a privilege.  I have had the honor of working with some of the greatest community activists in the country, right here in Erie County.  Just last month we showed the world what we can do when we elected Kathy Hochul to Congress.”

Under Lenihan’s tenure as Chairman, 3 Democratic Members of Congress have been elected in WNY, 11 out of the last 13 State Supreme Court Justices have been elected as Democrats, Mark Poloncarz was elected and reelected as the first Democratic County Comptroller in over 30 years, and the first ever super-majority of Democratic Legislators were elected.

Lenihan said “Timing is everything and leadership requires us to make tough choices.  After consulting with my family and close friends, I have decided that now is the right time to hand over the reins of the County Committee to new leadership and to focus my efforts on this exciting new challenge. I will guide our Democratic Committee through the petitioning process and in late July 2011 I will retire as Chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee.”

Lenihan concluded, “I look forward in my new State Party role to helping Mark Poloncarz defeat Chris Collins in the fall and assisting our Party and community.”

Prior to becoming County Chairman in 2002, Lenihan served as Erie County Personnel Commissioner and, before that, as an Erie County legislator and Chairman of the Legislature.  His 9 year tenure makes him the longest serving Erie County Democratic Chairman since Joe Crangle left in 1988.

 

Legislature Downsizing & Hoyt for Marriage Equality

27 May

Needless Collection of Humans

Jerry, let me tell you something, a man without hand is not a man.  I got so much hand I’m coming out of my gloves. – George Costanza, “The Pez Dispenser

1. I haven’t written much of anything about the county redistricting clusterfiasco because NY-26 has been a preoccupation. Most of what I’m going to write sort of re-hashes what Chris posted yesterday, but I want to add some additional thoughts about how we got here and what it means.

The process was broken from the get-go. It was ground zero for the blood feud between Chris Collins and the Democrats, and Grassroots “Democrats” against the party apparatus led by Len Lenihan. Predictably, it degenerated into ugliness, and the redistricting commission became a joke and a sham to ram through whatever Chris Collins wants; and there were people who call themselves Democrats who were going along with this.

Now that there seem to be two competing maps that are to be voted on by the legislature next week, and that one map is being promoted by the Chris Collins – Republican – Miller-Williams coalition, and the other one is being promoted by the Legislature Democrats. Regardless of which map wins, the people have already lost. The process has been farcical and hypercharged with political idiocy. (Here is the Republican map) (Here is the Democratic map)

Reader and commenter RaChaCha forwarded to me an editorial on the process that was published in the Bee Newspapers. It excoriates the redistricting committee that was chaired by Adam Perry for failing to hold three promised public hearings in more remote parts of the county. I have emailed the Bee to ask whether I can reprint it in its entirety, but offer this key passage:

The committee could have used the opinions and concerns of the public to draw a map that would best serve the people.  Instead, we got a map that best serves the interests of politicians, with continued gerrymandering.  Lines weren’t drawn to best represent the communities but to boost the chances for re-election among the legislators.

In the end, the concerns of the people were overshadowed by the concerns of the politicians looking to remain in office and hold on to a slice of power.

The committee failed us.

Neither plan is perfect, but the Democratic plan is less un-perfect than the Republican/Miller-Williams plan. One has to imagine that Collins will veto the Democratic plan if it passes, and this would set up a very interesting County Executive race in November. Right now, of the three Democrats who are aligned with Collins as part of the ridiculously named “reform coalition”, Miller-Williams is definitely voting for the Republican plan, and Tim Whalen is definitely voting for the Democratic plan. Everyone is waiting to see what West Seneca legislator Tina Bove will do, as she is the swing vote and is probably milking that fact for all it’s worth. We’ll find out next Wednesday at 2.

But remember this: right now, ECDC has hand. Time and time again over the past two years, nominal “Democrats” on the County Legislature have collaborated with Chris Collins against the interests of their own constituents. Real Democrats worked damn hard in 2009 to ensure that the Legislature retained a Democratic majority to check King Collins’ power. Unfortunately, three so-called “Democrats” align themselves instead with Collins when convenient in exchange for a growth of personal power, and at the expense of their constituents, and Democrats who helped them get elected. These people who act out of self-interest to help themselves and Chris Collins aren’t Democrats. Barbara Miller-Williams has become, for all intents and purposes, a mere Collins puppet. Now that ECDC has quite a bit of momentum coming out of the Hochul win, her shenanigans have weakened her and her cohorts considerably. It’s time for Miller-Williams to recognize that (a) she’s the chairwoman of the Legislature; and (b) she sticks a (D) after her name. It’s time for her to consciously decide to act like she is both of those things.

2. Assemblyman Sam Hoyt penned an excellent editorial to the Buffalo News in support of marriage equality.  I’m sure Sam won’t mind if I reprint it here in its entirety:

New York State is at a crossroads. The Legislature is presented with the opportunity to pass a bill that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, granting them access to the same rights already afforded to straight couples. This comes at a time when national and statewide polls have shown an enormous increase in public support for marriage equality. More New Yorkers than ever recognize that denying our gay and lesbian family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors the right to marry is simply not fair.

Marriage equality is about fairness. It is about ending discrimination. It is about the freedom to marry the person you love and the legal rights that go along with it.

Throughout my career in public service, I have worked for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers. It is an issue that is close to me personally, but beyond that it is a public issue that has the power to change society’s perception. I believe that as an elected official, I have an obligation to help the people in my district who need it the most. It is time for us as representatives to acknowledge the will of the people both in New York and beyond and pass marriage equality legislation.

Some opponents argue that civil unions are a compromise solution that would allow gay and lesbian couples some limited rights. Yet a recent evaluation of the civil union system instituted in neighboring New Jersey showed that the two are not equivalent in practice. Couples joined in civil union faced bureaucratic hurdles that married couples did not. The two institutions were in effect separate, but not equal. Civil unions are not the answer. There is just no substitute for marriage.

To be clear, this legislation expands the legal definition of marriages recognized by the state. No religious institution would be forced to perform marriage for gay or lesbian couples, nor would any religion be compelled to recognize their marriages.

As majority whip, I will do all that I can to ensure that true marriage equality passes for a fourth time in the State Assembly. But once again, the State Senate will be the battleground for this vote. My colleagues in the State Senate must understand that this discrimination against lesbian and gay couples and their families cannot continue any longer. They must understand that a “yes” vote for marriage equality is a “yes” for justice, equality and fairness.

New York State was once a progressive leader in civil rights. It is time for our State Legislature to stand up and make our state a leader once again. We must end this injustice that has gone on for too long by making marriage equality law.

 

 

Sam Hoyt, Trapped In Albany

11 Mar

Each week, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt releases a video on YouTube detailing the week that was and the week ahead in Albany.  It’s a compliment to his weekly email and post on our website.

Sometimes we post the video and sometimes we don’t.  However, we received the following video in the mail from a group calling themselves “Democratic Front Opposed To The People’s Front of Judea”.   Evidently, Hoyt is being detained by Gov. Cuomo’s people and this is his message to his constituents.

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If you look closely, I think you can see Assy. Hoyt blinking something in morse code.

Cultural Tourism

28 Dec

A few weeks ago, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt wrote this:

“There’s a lot of ball-dropping going on,” said Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, a Buffalo Democrat. “This is, in my opinion, a crisis in the making.”

Hoyt, in a letter to the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau, expressed concern about a “lack of cooperation” between the Buffalo Sabres, who are hosting the event, and the CVB.

“We can’t do these things in silos,” he told The Buffalo News. “What’s important is to take what little time we have left to make this right.”

The Sabres, who spent more than a year planning the 12-day, 10-team international tournament, reacted angrily to Hoyt’s claims…

…Hoyt said his concern is that whatever planning has taken place is insufficient for an event as large as the World Juniors.

He referred to the 2000 NCAA basketball tournament, when out-of-town fans walked out of HSBC Arena with no clue where to find food and drinks.

“What concerns me is that we have an opportunity to create thousands of Buffalo ambassadors,” he said. “The alternative is we leave thousands of visitors saying, ‘Boy, I saw a great tournament but Buffalo— what a lousy city.’ ”

At the time, some roundly criticized Hoyt for “bashing” the Sabres because of his ongoing feud with Floridian billionaire and Sabres-seller Tom Golisano.  Based on the outrageous & breathless media outrage over a 17 year-old hockey player’s Tweet calling Buffalo a “ghost town” that’s worse than Medicine Hat, Alberta, it seems as if Hoyt was exactly correct.

What, precisely, is a 17 year-old supposed to do holed up in the Hyatt or in the last Adam’s Mark on the planet? He can’t go drinking.  There’s quite literally no shopping.  The downtown mall is an embarrassment. All the stuff a teenager might enjoy is either up on Elmwood or out in the suburbs.

Too bad Mark Goldman’s Ohio Street arts corridor isn’t yet open.  Too bad Etem can’t go watch a laser light show projected onto a rusting eyesore of a grain elevator in subfreezing temperatures.  Too bad there’s nothing – not even a taco truck – at Canal Side for Etem to do or see.

While Allentown merchants banded together to promote their neighborhood to visitors, there’s no easy way to get there if you don’t have a car.  Not everyone enjoys the allure and mystique of grabbing exact change and waiting 20 minutes in the cold for a bus to appear.  A dedicated bus circuit specifically for hockey players and attendees wouldn’t have cost a lot, and would have gone a long way towards showing off the city and helping to entertain a visitor population that isn’t here to get drunk or admire Frank Lloyd Wright’s handiwork.

I realize that it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks of the city, and that it shouldn’t be a media frenzy at all.  The point here is to bring up the fact that Hoyt specifically foresaw this and asked that planning be adequate to accommodate out-of-towners who don’t have cars and want to do things.

Leftovers (UPDATED)

28 Oct

When Carl Paladino’s racist emails first came to light, Paladino felt he had to establish the fact that he got along just fine with black people.  He got ultraconservative millionaire Thurman Thomas to record a spot for him, and touted how much he had done for “inner city kids”.  In the Buffalo News, Jim Heaney takes that balloon, pops it, stomps it, and grinds it into the ground under his boot. It’s about as thorough and indisputable as it gets.

A debate was held last night for the three candidates in the 144th Assembly race.  Democrat Sam Hoyt, Republican Brian Biggie, and Conservative Joe Golombek squared off.  Hoyt took a lot of heat for being a long-termer in a dysfunctional Assembly who has a working relationship with the hateful, execrable, despicable Sheldon Silver.  But the best line of the night went to Hoyt who, after Golombek argued that Hoyt was Silver’s puppet, quipped that, “There is no bigger puppet in Buffalo than Joe Golombek, what Byron Brown wants Joe Golombek does.” Golombek refused to answer a question about abortion rights, and while Hoyt and Biggie support marriage equality, Golombek does not.

UPDATE:  Joe Golombek writes with this clarification/correction:

I specifically said that I support the law of NYS in regards to abortion. Then I said that it was a non-issue because of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade. That is when I told Mr. Hoyt that it should not be a political issue and that he uses it as one to get supporters emotionally charged up.

Golombek went on to allege that every single audience question (except for one) came from people in some way associated with the Hoyt campaign.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in Buffalo yesterday to announce a new GI Bill.  noting that one in five returning post-9/11 veterans are out of work, this bill would provide returning vets up to $20,000 per year to attend a private college, and free tuition at any state college or university.  The announcement was made at Daemen College alongside local veterans.

The “Take Back New York” bus that the state GOP is trundling around the state stopped off in Buffalo yesterday.

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Here are some pictures:

Not a great message

The Republicans in Buffalo

Clown

Maybe Paladino's duck isn't such a great idea if I can frame pictures like this

I've never seen this man before. He seemed nice.

Hoyt Declared Winner in A-144

24 Sep
New York state flag

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Tone Deaf . . . and Policy Deaf

9 Sep

And Everything-Else Deaf too. We learned last week that the same clown show that brought you comically inappropriate Facebook Spam,  WNY economic development in Jamaica, “I forgot how I voted,” and “I sponsored that? My bad” is now officially totally and completely out of touch with a significant portion of his constituents. But that’s okay – they’re not the constituents he cares about anyway.

Antoine Thompson, unhappily my representative in the State Senate, has secured a $400,000 grant for the New York City billionaire most responsible for downtown Niagara Falls being a barren wasteland. What is the $400K for? Demolition.

There are a host of reasons this news is infuriating. I am not against grants for private businesses to assist in development of difficult areas. I am against giving grants to developers that haven’t built even a pop stand on 140 acres of downtown, much less the $110 million project promised 13 years ago. The developer in question having the scratch to do just about any project he wants without state aid is icing on the Frustration Cake.

That downtown Niagara Falls, next to a Wonder of the World and recipient of 10 million visitors a year, is such a development difficulty is sad and the result of decades of local government mismanagement. Howard Milstein, the recipient of this grant, is not responsible for that. He is responsible for sitting on a sweetheart deal from the City of Niagara Falls, and doing next to nothing with his holdings. The City of Niagara Falls does need and deserve state demolition aid. Milstein’s “projects” do not.

But for me, for once the politics are a bigger problem than the policy. The worst part, by far, is that Thompson proves how out of touch he is with the people he represents, by not only securing the grant, but bragging about it (in a flier paid for by tax payers) afterward, like everyone would think it’s a good idea. It is obvious that the Niagara Falls City Council knew nothing about the grant – if Thompson had called any of them, I’m sure someone would have mentioned that $400,000 to persona non grata Milstein would be terrible politically with the general public. Thompson receiving campaign contributions from Milstein is even worse.

Thompson makes terrible decisions, but even I am amazed he would take the trouble of bragging about such a tone deaf decision. Why publicize it in Niagara Falls at all? Take the contribution, give the grant, and be done with it. Thompson not only does not need a geographic majority of his district, he is oblivious to it.

Senate District 60 consists of a large section of the City of Buffalo. Oh yeah, and I guess Niagara Falls, Grand Island, and the City of Tonawanda. Which Tonawanda? Don’t ask Thompson – I’m not sure he could find Grand Island on the map either. A Senate district in New York averages a little over 300,000 people. The combined populations of the City of Niagara Falls (50,000), Grand Island (19,000) and the City of Tonawanda (14,000) are less than a third of his constituency. Which means Thompson can and does win elections in the City of Buffalo alone, and the rest of us are left to fight over policy deaf scraps. I am no big Sam Hoyt fan, but I give him credit for this – he knows Grand Island exists and spends time here, though lately it has just been about road signs and cell phone towers.

That politicians represent the views of some of their constituents more than others is not news. But why does Thompson have to be so bad and blatant about it? Next time the Senate gerrymanders its districts, can George Maziarz please drop that little bit of Rochester and pick up Niagara Falls and Grand Island instead? I don’t agree with Maziarz on everything, by far, but at least I would have a chance of being represented on the floor of the (useless) Senate.

If I was really as pro-suburb and anti-city as some commenters think I am, I’d be cheering for Thompson to take his anointed place as Mayor of Buffalo as quickly as possible, so Grand Island and Niagara Falls could finally be free of him. But I wouldn’t wish Thompson on anyone.

The Independence Party: Independent from Steve Pigeon?

20 Jul

Permit me to preface this post by re-stating my profound hatred for fusion voting in general and the Independence Party in particular.

I was flabbergasted yesterday to receive a press release from Assemblyman Sam Hoyt announcing that he had received the endorsement of the New York State Independence Party. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of local politics knows two things: (a) Steve Pigeon has become the de facto go-to guy for IP endorsements locally; and (b) Steve Pigeon and Sam Hoyt hate each other with a passion unbridled and would go to the ends of the Earth to destroy each other.

Not only that, but Bill Stachowski in SD-58 and Jim Domagalski in SD-59.

Joe Golombek is challenging Sam Hoyt in A-144, and it’s no secret that he’s aligned himself with Mayor Brown, who is aligned with Grassroots, which is aligned with Steve Pigeon, who is supposed to be the guy who controls whom the IP endorses. Golombek’s website already touted his IP endorsement. So did Kennedy’s.

Tim Kennedy is challenging Bill Stachowski in SD-58, and it’s no secret that he’s aligned himself with Chris Collins, who has aligned himself with Grassroots and Steve Pigeon, who is supposed to be the guy who controls whom the IP endorses.

One could almost argue that Golombek’s and Kennedy’s entire campaign strategy in terms of whom they’ve aligned themselves with have been completely blown to shreds in the last 24 hours.

In SD-59, it’s a Republican war going on between the tea party factions, Tom Reynolds, and Chris Collins. DiPietro is supposed to be the tea party guy, but now Ostrowski and his 2 supporters have turned on him, so he’s only got the support of the Rus Thompson faction. Domagalski is the Chris Collins pick, and Pat Gallivan is the revenge of Tom Reynolds. In the end, Domagalski got the IP nod, giving his campaign a boost.

Indeed, the conventional wisdom behind getting the IP line is that it gives party-line adherents an opportunity to throw you a vote without having to fill in a box with an “R” or “D” next to it. Here, it also ensures that the candidate is still around in November, regardless of what happens at the polls in the primary races in September.

For Sam Hoyt and Bill Stachowski to get the IP endorsement is a huge coup for them both, and seems to significantly undercut Steve Pigeon’s power in local electoral politics. I’m sure he’s owed enough favors that he’ll find a way to get himself and his friends jobs some other way. But it seems that there are people in this state who currently enjoy exponentially more political clout than Pedro Espada’s patronage hire.