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

The 2019 political calendar is already shifting into high gear. Here’s an overview of some facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets:

    • Many of the batch of Election Law revisions recently approved by the State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo relate to political calendar changes, setting up a June primary date (June 25 this year) and therefore requiring much earlier deadlines for all the procedural steps related to running an election, including petitions to qualify a candidate for the ballot. Petitioning starts on February 26th.
    • A modification to the approved plans is already working its way through the legislative process. A bill has been filed that will reduce by one-quarter the number of signatures required for local elections in the state outside of New York City.
    • One item that had been anticipated but seems to be going nowhere – the elimination of fusion voting in the state. This concerns one or more of the state’s six minor parties cross endorsing either Democratic or Republican candidates. Most of such action involves the Conservative and Working Families parties. Most state legislators have been endorsed by one or the other of those parties. A spokesman for Governor Cuomo, who has also run on the Working Families line, was quoted in the New York Daily News as saying that ending fusion voting is “not something we’ve given a lot of thought to.” That sounds like a signal that nothing is going to happen.
    • Speaking of state legislators, here is tidbit from the Poughkeepsie Journal about legislators who are double dipping. This is the practice of an incumbent elected official in New York State getting re-elected to a new term; retiring from his previous term just prior to the end of the term year; applying for his or her New York State pension; and then on January first being sworn in for a new elected term, thus allowing the elected official to collect both his/her pension plus his/her salary. The report indicates that at least 20 current state legislators are following this practice. Assemblyman Angelo Morinello of Niagara Falls is on the list, receiving $41,473 in pension plus his newly increased Assembly salary of $110,000. The article does not mention Senator Pat Gallivan, probably because he began receiving his pension ($43,055) after he resigned as Erie County Sheriff in 2005, several years before he ran for the State Senate.
    • Another note about state legislators. The legislation that provides for the generous pay raises for the legislators will also restrict, starting next January, legislators’ outside income to 15 percent of their state salaries. City & State notes that Senator Michael Ranzenhofer’s annual outside income from his law practice has been in the range of $100,000 to $150,000. Assemblyman Michael Norris’ income from his law practice is in the same range. Both men might need to choose between the State Legislature and their law practice in eleven months. The restriction on outside income limitations is being challenged in court, so stay tuned.
    • The Steve Pigeon saga continues. Nearly four years after Pigeon’s home was raided by the FBI and the State Police, there is still no conclusion to the matter, and sentencing dates keep getting pushed back. On-the-street conversations have previously suggested that law enforcement authorities were particularly interested in what information Pigeon could provide about three elected officials plus recently indicted bad boy Roger Stone.
    • While inquiring minds are still wondering why Mayor Byron Brown suddenly left the chairmanship of the State Democratic Committee recently, two local men are stepping up to taking a shot at becoming state chairman of their respective parties.
    • Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy has been actively planning to challenge Ed Cox for Republican State Chairman. Cox says he is a candidate for re-election in July. Langworthy’s other prominent opponent for the position is John Jay LaValle, who is the Suffolk County Chairman. LaValle is taking a rather interesting approach to his candidacy, basically saying that the chairman should be from New York City or the surrounding suburbs since the chairman would be in easier geographic contact with the party’s money people as well as the state’s major media outlets. Meaning, it appears, that he considers an upstate candidate someone who can’t play in the big leagues. Sounds like someone who will do a great job of rebuilding a party whose base is still in upstate New York.
    • A second contest for a party chairmanship may be decided by the end of February, as Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long has announced his retirement. Erie County Conservative Party Chairman Ralph Lorigo is organizing a full court press for the job.
    • If either or both Langworthy and Lorigo are successful, the next question will be, will they continue to serve as county chairmen? Joe Crangle served as both Erie County and State Democratic Chairman during the 1970’s.
    • David Franczyk is ending his 32-year career as Buffalo’s Fillmore District Councilman and the Buffalo News reports that he is considering the possibility of running for the office of City Comptroller. His breadth of experience and knowledge about how city government works would make him well qualified for the job. An added plus would be that he has often demonstrated his independence from the other powers that be in City Hall, a characteristic he may have inherited from his late dad, Stan. Stan worked for the city for many years, and was often a gadfly when things made that approach appropriate.
    • County Legislature Chairman Peter Savage may have a primary coming up.
    • So the Buffalo area survived the “Blizzard of 2019.” Even in Williamsville, which got the heaviest snow, that event seems to have been, how should I say, overblown. But it did make for good TV optics, even if the Governor didn’t seem to be getting through very well to those truckers that he pulled over.
    • The Buffalo News again reported on what appears to be the impending failure of the Buffalo Billion centerpiece, that one million square foot monstrosity in South Buffalo where Elon Musk’s Tesla plant is producing the revolutionary roofing product that is supposed to capture electric energy while keeping your home warm. Layoffs have recently occurred at the plant. So what happens if Tesla doesn’t hit that magic 1,400 jobs target in the spring of 2020? Will the state actually collect that multi-million fine that would be attached to such a failure? And what in the world would come next for that building if the Tesla project collapses?
    • Donald Trump is planning to meet again with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, this time in Vietnam. Trump’s heel spur must have finally gotten better to allow his travel to Nam.
    • From a text a friend sent to me on Monday following the most uninspiring and boring game in the history of Super Bowls, here is the best reason I’ve seen for that lackluster event:“these teams are playing like they know whoever wins goes to the White House.”



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

  1. You’re right John, the defenses were excellent. But whenever a game ends at 13-3, particularly in the Super Bowl, it is BORING. *Ken Kruly*

    On Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 1:00 PM Politics and Other Stuff wrote:



  2. The defenses both played magnificently Sunday.
    It was very far from a boring game.
    Edelman was the missing factor in last years loss.


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