Tag Archives: State Senator Bill Stachowski

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.

Gay Marriage PAC Targets Stachowski

7 Jul

Campaign mailings can often be hilarious and vicious, and because of how they’re targeted, they oftentimes fly under the general population’s radar. So, please feel free to send along the better mailers to WNYMedia.net offices or by emailing them to this address or this one.

Here’s one going around being sent by a pro-marriage-equality PAC called “Fight Back New York“:

Here’s its statement to the issue:

Sen. Stachowski’s voted against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers at every turn, whether it’s nondiscrimination protections or marriage equality.

Sen. Stachowski’s been part of the dysfunctional New York State Senate for far too long — 30 years. He does not represent fair-minded New Yorkers, and it’s time we hold him accountable. Remember the hard-hitting tactics we used to help keep anti-equality Hiram Monserrate from office this spring? We’ll be engaging in similar targeted outreach to voters in Sen. Stachowski’s district. It’s time our elected officials learned that they can’t vote against equality and expect to be voted back into office.

Democrats Tim Kennedy and Mike Kuzma are running against Stachowski in the Democratic primary.

HT Towle Road

Even a Broken Clock…

2 Jul

Senator William Stachowski, at long last, after 30+ years of middling mediocrity, has grown a legislative, metaphorical set of balls.

PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen, Thompson vs. Stachowski

29 Mar

Antoine Thompson

Antoine Thompson is a man from WNY who serves in the State Senate. He is a member of Grassroots. He is being groomed to be the next Mayor of Buffalo. He used to be on the Common Council.

He embodies the general rule that merit and knowledge are not necessary components to electoral success in WNY. His ascension to the senate was marred by/the catalyst for the recent, omnipresent rift between City Hall and ECDC. Thompson took Byron Brown’s seat, which was kept warm for a few months by Marc Coppola. Brown was pissed at Lenihan because he felt slighted because he couldn’t hand-pick his successor (because obviously that’s how it works in a Democracy). Lenihan essentially said, tough shit; Masiello and Griffin didn’t get to choose their successors, either.

Thompson first gained notoriety in the senate for giving an impassioned speech in opposition to a bill that he had co-sponsored.

Then he couldn’t make up his mind whether he was going to raise money for convicted slasher Hiram Monserrate’s legal defense, or condemn his slashing ways.

He fumfers. His staff probably just got through violating ethics laws by soliciting food donations from local restaurants so they’d have a nice spread last week for a St. Joseph’s Day Table. The highlight was a cheesy cake bearing Thompson’s likeness on it – those slices were not cut.

Antoine Thompson is a guy who hardly deserves to cultivate a cult of personality. Especially when money he pledges to constituent groups doesn’t get delivered, and he goes on alleged trade junkets to posh Jamaican resorts. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

When he attempts to act as an erudite gentleman legislator, this happens:

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He next gained notoriety when his staff made shit up out of whole cloth.

Antoine Thompson: empty vessel or shrewd political player? You … make the call.

Bill Stachowski

It would be easy to say you could literally just copy everything I write today about Maziarz and Volker and just cut it right here. Stachowski has been in the State Senate since 1981, for God’s sake. Before that, he got on-the-job training in pointless parliamentarianism and faily fecklessness in the unnecessary Erie County Legislature.

Stachowski is most well-known for almost losing his re-election race in 2008 to a lump of Play-Doh® masquerading as a former detective. Weirder still, Delano wouldn’t debate Stach or even talk to the press. When the Democratic grassroots got their asses in big-time gear to get Stach re-elected, they pointed out that he would be up for a key Senate committee chairmanship once the Dems took the Senate.

Instead, it went to Carl Kruger, a Queens Democrat and reputed asshole who is aligned with Pedro Espada. Yet, when it came time to end the Senate stalemate, Stachowski and the rest of the Senate Democrats embraced Espada and Monserrate back into the fold. (None of this should be interpreted to imply that Delano would have been a better choice. My God, what a disaster that would have been).

Writing about New York State government is not unlike writing about the mafia.  Everyone’s unctuous, everyone’s in it for the money, and everyone’s up to some criminal enterprise or another.

Ultimately, Stachowski was one of the handful of state Senate Democrats who refused to vote to allow gay couples’ relationships be legally recognized by the state.

It might be great for Stachowski to vote that way because he counts Catholic, conservative Democrats among his constituents, but it also results in scenes like this:

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Bill Stachowski ran on one thing last time around: more clout and better representation for WNY once he went back to Albany and the Democrats took the Senate. What resulted was chaos, and Stachowski failed at everything.

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Crowded in SD-58

18 Mar
New York State Capitol viewed from the south, ...
Image via Wikipedia

Assemblyman Jack Quinn has thrown his hat into the SD-58 ring, joining an already-crowded primary race to unseat Volker-with-a-“D”, Bill Stachowski from the state senate.

The Republican Quinn has been in the Assembly since 2004, and his site lists legislation he’s sponsored, most of which has to do with schools (e.g., ensuring that school districts sit on IDA board), crime & safety (e.g., making cell phone use a primary violation, year-round school session), and governmental reform such as reducing the senate to 40 members, and the assembly to 100.

To a great degree, when you poke around what junior Albany legislators do there all day, it doesn’t amount to a whole lot. Quinn is parroting that tired old upstate-Republican-state-senator refrain: those mean downstate Democrats!

“The only way we are ever going to change Albany is to change the one-party system we have right now, and that one party is all from New York City,” he said. “The only way to better Western New York is provide for some split system, and the only way to do that is to take back the Senate.”

I don’t know how increasing the justice court civil suit jurisdiction from $3,000 to $6,000 worked to reduce the influence of downstate Democrats, and I don’t know how creating the crime of “manufacturing drugs in the presence of minors” will improve upstaters’ lot in life, either.

But the depressing part is that under our current system, who wins – whether Stachowski, Kennedy, Quinn, Cooney, or Kuzma – absolutely nothing will change. The state senate is not a democratic entity comprised of citizen legislators who advocate and legislate on behalf of their constituencies. It is a unified entity where every vote is pre-arranged, and what the leader says, goes.

The anti-downstate Volkerist rhetoric is just taking a page from a tired, unpersuasive script.

The Cost of Bad Government

9 Feb

Last week, the Empire Center for New York State Policy released their annual report on NY legislative spending and posted it on their government transparency website, SeeThroughNY.  I didn’t see much of any coverage of the release, so I wanted to get this out in front of our readers.

What is the cost of State Sen. Dale Volker?  Well, that’s a tough question seeing as how he has influenced state policy since 1975.  However, between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, Sen. Dale Volker spent $1,082,884 of our tax dollars on staff, rent, travel, telephone service, office supplies and other expenditures.  This news would not be complete without the monthly posting of my Dale Volker meme.

Evidently, Dale is not the only member of our local delegation who has been feasting at the trough.  You might remember “favorite son of the tax cutting tea party group”, Sen. George Maziarz.  He spent $906,831 of your dollars on staff expenditures between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009.  #1 toxic asset indeed…

While 19 of the top 20 spenders on the list are Republicans (undercutting their current demands to cut spending and transfer power back to them), our local Democratic State Senators finished about middle of the pack on expenditures.  State Senator Bill Stachowski edged his way into the Top 40 with a total of $561,817 and State Senator Antoine Thompson finished at #44 and rising with a total of $548, 236.  I’m sure their numbers will be much higher in next year’s report after the Democrats transition into the majority with its higher allocations for staff expenditures.

In case you were thinking it was just the State Senate that has been chowing down on taxpayer dollars, our State Assembly members have been just as hungry.  Assy. Robin Schimminger finished as the sixth biggest spender in the State Assembly with a grand total of $290,919 spent on staff expenditures.  He finished just $2,000 behind everyone’s favorite bad government bogeyman, Shelly SilverAssy. Sam Hoyt comes in at 29th on the list with a total of $219, 435.

Is it really any wonder that our population drain continues unabated?

From 2000 to 2008, in both absolute and relative terms, New York experienced the nation’s largest loss of residents to other states—a net domestic migration outflow of over 1.5 million, or 8 percent of its population at the start of the decade.

It’s not just the cost or the taxes, it’s that people feel hopeless and disconnected from power.  Their senators and assembly representatives act with impunity and arrogance, no longer functioning as our representatives, doing the people’s work.  The only action many NY residents feel they have left at their disposal is to simply move to another state.

Each year we go to the polls, elect these same individuals and expect different results.  The problem is YOUR State Senator and YOUR State Assemblyperson.  It’s not the “other guy” or those “vampires legislators downstate”, it’s your representative.  Don’t be fooled when your Senator or Assemblyperson shows up with a four foot check for your volunteer fire department, they’re buying you.  They’re spending a truckload of money to do very little in Albany and the dole out fat lists of member items in order to stay in office.  If there is a viable primary opponent this year, donate to him/her.  Support that candidate with your time and effort, and then hold them accountable while they are in Albany.

The only way things will change is if we make them change.

We deserve better.

Mickey Kearns on the 58th SD

13 Jan

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It's Not Just Stack

10 Dec

While a lot of attention is being paid to Bill Stachowski because he’s the only local Democratic State Senator to vote against gay marriage, let’s don’t forget that we have a few more local Senators who voted the same way.

Who’s going to run against

Dale Volker? He’s been in the Senate since 1975.

Mike Ranzenhofer? First term, but 19 yrs on Erie Co. Leg.

George Maziarz?  He’s been in the Senate since 1995.

Stachowski: Lightning Rod and Pawn

6 Dec

Jim Heaney echoed what Colin Eager wrote here regarding Bill Stachowski’s detestable vote against granting gay couples in New York the right to obtain a marriage license. Both Jim and Colin called Stachowski’s vote bigoted.

Stachowski has gone on record saying that he would vote for civil unions but not for the same damn thing called “marriage”.

That’s like saying you’ll vote for ice cream, but not gelato.

In any event, I don’t agree that Stachowski is some kind of bigot, per se. I think he’s succumbed to a silly and semantic distinction without a difference. But in the end, when given the chance to convey a right, he chose instead to withhold it. He’s also got a predominately Catholic district and a tough re-election race coming up shortly.

In the last election, Stachowski barely fought off a challenge from Dennis Delano, who seemingly had no clue what he was running for, or what he might do in Albany had he won. I’d wager that Delano would have voted against gay marriage, too. Reports are that County Legislator Tim Kennedy is poised to challenge Stachowski in a primary race. City Hall, Responsible New York (read: Pigeon), and Brian Higgins loyalists are reportedly allied to unseat Stachowski and, by extension, Lenihan.

Unseating Stachowski = good. Replacing him with someone who owes Pigeon something = not so good.

To me, the underlying battle for control of the county party organization is the bigger problem, because, well, just look at this picture that Heaney posted the other day:

That would not bode well for Democrats in Erie County. That would not bode well for the notion of progress. For more on what this would all mean, read Jeremy Toth’s piece in Artvoice. I have no use for Stachowski anywhere near any legislature anywhere. I have even less use for the two Steves – the Thing One and Thing Two of malevolent local Machiavellianism – running the county party.

NY Senate Finance Chair

25 Aug

This was the position that Stachowski was supposed to get before Espada and his gang of power-hungry bridge & tunnel cronies got a hold of the powers that be.

Instead of Stachowski, the chair of the senate finance committee is Carl Kruger (D-B & Q Trains)

Here’s how he describes his position:

As the Finance chair, I can do more and influence more legislation and be a stronger voice in Albany than I could as the majority leader.

Kruger had balls. Stachowski didn’t. Kruger got the chairmanship. Stachowski gets to attend press conferences with Antoine Thompson.

Huzzah.