Some facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets

While you are munching on that Fourth of July hotdog or hamburger, here are a few things to think about:

  • Is Cynthia Nixon ignoring Western New York in her primary for governor? What about the rest of the state north of Westchester County? The press reports about her campaign make it seem like she is running for mayor of New York City rather than governor.
  • Will Mayor Brown’s support of Letitia James for Attorney General spill over to hurt Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul’s likely winning margin in Erie County over New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams? She carried the county by nearly 33,000 votes in the Democratic primary four years ago, which provided a major boost to her campaign.
  • Former State Senator Marc Panepinto bowed out of a campaign for re-election in the spring of 2016, citing the needs of his law practice given the serious illness of his law partner. There were rumors about other issues and some investigation by the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), but it seemed like all the issues went away when he left office. Until they came roaring back last week. That’s certainly some sort of a record for a political scandal flying under the radar.
  • Donald Trump will go to Finland next week for his performance evaluation with Vladimir Putin. Trump has gone out of his way to ingratiate himself with Putin while turning the world on its collective head. Normally good performance evaluations lead to some rewards, but we may not immediately find out how Trump made out. Vladimir is probably a tough grader.
  • Anthony Kennedy’s departure from the Supreme Court raises some interesting points: (1) how much of a swing vote was he outside of a small number of issues? He was on the conservative side of every five to four decision this year; (2) Chief Justice John Roberts, while dependably conservative, has also sided with the progressive side of the Court on some key votes – think the Obamacare decision. Roberts, a man concerned with his legacy on the Court, will be the new “swing” vote; and (3) there will be an incredible amount of fire and fury during the upcoming confirmation process, but at the end of day the chances of blocking Trump’s choice (who will again be out of central casting) will be slim and none. Even if Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins might consider opposing the nominee, it is likely that one or more of Senators Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly on the Democratic side will vote with Trump on this one, just like they voted for Neil Gorsuch.
  • The House Judiciary Committee’s grilling of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the Russia investigation appeared to be an unfair fight. The likes of Congressmen Jim Jordon and Trey Gowdy were no match for the poise and intelligence of Rosenstein. The aggressiveness of the Republican House members’ attack, paired with a tweet storm on the same subject from Trump the same day, makes you wonder if some momentous action is coming soon.
  • Congressman Joe Crowley’s loss to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a Democratic primary in New York City is not an indication of any Bernie Sanders team momentum in the primaries. They lost most of the contests where they supported candidates so far this primary season, particularly in California and Texas. Ocasio-Cortez was plugged into that majority-minority district much better than a middle-aged Irish white guy who is raising his kids in Virginia. To win the House the Democrats need to employ the largest possible tent of members from all points in the political spectrum. Ocasio-Cortez will be welcomed, along with the Conor Lambs of the caucus.
  • The Erie County Legislature last week spent three hours spinning its wheels about the Erie County Water Authority, settling nothing about the future of the organization or its chairman. Nothing new there. The folks at the Authority should be mighty happy at the moment.
  • The Erie County Republicans’ endorsement of City Court Judge Debra Givens for Erie County Court seems to have either been a last minute decision or incredibly calculating. Since the Reps’ regular teammates in the Conservative Party have gone with the Democratic-endorsed candidate, Sue Maxwell Barnes, it seems that the Republicans’ decision was last minute. I wonder who is preparing Givens’ campaign materials.
  • Is Mayor Byron Brown, the State Democratic Chairman, supporting Republican-endorsed Givens or the Democrat-endorsed Barnes for County Court?
  • Contested local judicial races in the past several years have been extremely expensive, with lots of self-funding. Barnes seems to be in a much better position to win the funding battle.
  • Here’s something to chew on: are the Pegulas looking to buy the Buffalo News?
  • And if that happened, then One News Plaza could be moved to a new and more efficient location, say in Cheektowaga. The current News property might make a great location for a new convention center if someone could find $100 million or more to build it. When will the county release the potential locations for the potential new building?
  • Happy Fourth of July!Declaration of Independence

2 thoughts on “Some facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets

  1. Three hours spent before a legislative body so that legislators may get answers to questions about the future of the Erie County Water Authority should never be described as “spinning wheels.” This may be the most important public policy issue facing this County. Everyone may think they have a quick and easy solution as to the future of the Erie County Water Authority — but generally, quick and easy solutions generally come from people with closed minds who haven’t gotten all the facts. Here’s the lesson that somehow we have forgotten along the way — no member of a governing body should walk into the room with his/her mind made up. As a member of a deliberative body, you have a “fiduciary duty” to hear all sides to any issue before the body as a whole should make a decision. Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that important rule of governance. We, the people, cannot be heard if our elected officials do not listen to one and other — if they are unwilling to cross party lines for the common good. As someone who participated in that three-hour meeting, I heard the catch-phrase “it’s a broken system.” So why wouldn’t it take at least three-hours to discuss how to fix it? Quick and easy solution won’t get us there. But then again, I am a little bias when it comes to the Erie County Water Authority. Today is my first day as its new General Counsel. Arrived at 7:30 a.m. and look forward to being part of the change that residents will see over the next few weeks and for years to come.

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  2. IMO all the hand wringing about will or won’t Trump nominate a judge to the supreme court who will overturn Roe v Wade is just noise. What he is looking for is a person that will save his sorry ass from impeachment. What he is doing is trying to pack the supreme court with his own jurors. If you don’t laugh you have to cry.

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