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

It seems appropriate at this time, in a winter that does not want to go away, to observe that there couldn’t be a worst time for the valiant committee members of the various political parties to have to go out and circulate candidate nominating petitions. The process began last week and ends in early April. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Here are some facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets for the first week of March 2019:

  • So the Republicans made it official – their endorsement of County Legislator Lynne Dixon for County Executive. Her campaign was kicked off with a well done video which has produced about 1,600 direct YouTube views thus far.  The Dixon campaign reports a total of 35,000+ views on all platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Dixon is a nice person – not the type of bomb thrower that some Republicans might have preferred. Poloncarz will program his campaign accordingly. She starts with a campaign treasury that is less than five percent of what Poloncarz reported to the state Board of Elections on January 15.
  • It appears that both Democratic leaders of the County Legislature, Chairman Peter Savage and Majority Leader April Baskin, are facing primaries in June. The anti-Savage efforts are being led by political gadfly and one-time political ally of Steve Pigeon and Frank Max, Peter Reese. The campaign against Baskin is reportedly being organized by Grass Roots leader Maurice Garner.
  • Republicans seem to be having a problem finding candidates for the legislative seats being vacated by Tom Loughran and Lynne Dixon.
  • Primaries for town offices will be interesting in Cheektowaga and West Seneca. Former West Seneca Supervisor Paul Clark’s attempt to reclaim the office is stirring up a lot of opposition.
  • A primary election is likely for the Democratic nomination for Buffalo Comptroller. County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams, an ally of Mayor Brown, is the endorsed candidate. None of the prospective candidates, thus far, have shown any great interest in identifying themselves as being independent of the mayor, a trait that is usually considered a valuable taxpayers’ benefit in a comptroller.
  • Several Buffalo Common Council districts will see some serious primary contests for the first time in many years.
  • And of course, there will be contests for all nine Buffalo School Board seats. Unfortunately the May elections will again produce very small turnouts.
  • The County Legislature will this Thursday re-appoint Amherst Democratic Chairman Jerry Schad to the Erie County Water Authority. When the state Public Authorities Office reported last year on the mismanagement of the Authority and called for all three commissioners to be removed, Schad said at the time that he would not seek reappointment.
  • The only other candidate that the Legislature considered for the ECWA appointment was the aforementioned Peter Reese.
  • Paul Wolf, the President of the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government, asked legislative Committee Chairman John Bruso for the opportunity to speak at Bruso’s Energy and Environment Committee meeting. Wolf wanted to ask the Legislature to re-open the Legislature’s search for commissioner candidates. Bruso denied the request.
  • But at least the Legislature, in a rare show of bi-partisanship, unanimously approved a resolution that eliminated the $22,500 annual stipend that the ECWA members receive.
  • Sorry, I was just having some fun with that one. Why in the world would the Legislature ever want to eliminate those precious political stipends – even though pretty much every public authority board in New York State ended such payments years ago? Not even self-identified “conservative” legislators are willing to file the resolution that would save ECWA ratepayers more than $70,000 annually with zero impact on Authority services.
  • Speaking of the Legislature, you might want to mark your calendars for one of the Legislature’s major actions of 2019. On March 13, 2019 2019, at 6:00 P.M., a public hearing with be held by the County Legislature to hear public comment on Local Law Intro. 2-1 (2019), “The Feline (Cat) Adoption Promotion Act of 2019.” A copy of the local law may be seen at   I’m a dog person, so I’ll be passing on the hearing.
  • Two down and one to go. Democratic State Chairman Byron Brown suddenly left the chairmanship on the state party in early February. To date no explanation has been offered for that action. Then on February 23rd the state Conservative Party elected a new Chairman, Gerard Kassar from Brooklyn, passing over Erie County Chairman Ralph Lorigo.
  • Finally, the Republican State Committee will elect its officers in July. Incumbent Chairman Ed Cox is a candidate for re-election. During his time as chairman Cox has run the table, failing to elect any statewide candidates while also losing control of the State Senate that the party had run for most of the past 80 years. He also lost congressional seats last November.
  • Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy continues to pursue the state chairmanship. One challenger for that position seems to have dropped out. Suffolk County Chairman John Jay LaValle recently announced he will leave the county chairmanship on March 18th. Newsday reported that LaValle also indicated that he would not challenge Cox if Cox remains in the race for re-election.
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo is attempting to lure Amazon back into a deal for their Headquarters II in New York City. In the alternative, how about pitching them on a million square foot building that the state already owns in Buffalo? The few hundred people working in the Tesla facility would probably be happy to trade their low paying jobs for ones that Amazon was proposing to bring to New York City at an average of $150,000 per position.
  • My email inbox continues to be filled with financial appeals from Republican and Democratic candidates alike, asking for money. Many come with requests for contributions that will be triple or quadruple matched – by whom, who knows?
  • One of those pitches comes from New York Senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand. “I have been welcomed into bakeries and women-owned shops in Iowa. I visited a farmer’s market on a beautiful day in South Carolina and was invited to speak at a church on a Sunday morning.” Raise your hand if you have ever seen Senator Gillibrand at a bakery or women-owned shop in Cheektowaga; or at a farmer’s market in Williamsville; or at a church in Buffalo.
  • Assemblyman Sean Ryan reports he had nothing to do with the recent destructive wind storm that hit Western New York, which was named Winter Storm Ryan.
  • The Buffalo Sabres are sinking fast and are likely to again miss the playoffs, as Politics and Other Stuff suggested months ago when the team had begun winning some games. At least the NFL draft is just a month away.

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