Some facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets — mid-summer edition

It certainly is strange to be at the end of July and not be having another election until November. Political skills might start to atrophy in the summer heat.

Here are some facts, comments and heard-on-the-streets about political goings-on and other stuff:

    • The race for President County Executive of Erie County is getting into a whole lot of hot air about national politics. This is a local race. Let’s talk about ECC, the opioid problem, poverty in the City of Buffalo, road priorities, parks, where the Bills should be playing after 2023, county finances, and all those sorts of things.
    • If the discussion is going to be about drivers’ licenses and Donald Trump being a racist, then let’s add some other things like health care, locking kids in cages, and how the Trump administration’s lobbyist infestation is doing damage to the environment.
    • This blog rarely ventures into international issues, but the selection of Boris Johnson as the new prime minister of the current United Kingdom is too interesting to pass up. He’s full of hot air, just like his buddy in Washington. They even look alike. When he is removed, which probably should be sometime in the fall after Brexit, maybe the country can once again be called Great Britain. With BoJo in charge, for now it’s just Britain.
    • I like the New York Times Maureen Dowd’s description of national Democratic factions: the real base and the Twitter base, with the former totally intent on defeating Trump and much larger than the Tweeters, who are demanding party purity.  A recent column by Dowd lays it out nicely.
    • I don’t have a problem with The Squad and their right to express their opinions about America. The Constitution does not distinguish between the rights of certain citizens over those of other citizens. We all have the constitutionally protected right of speech, regardless of whether or not you like what someone is saying.
    • That being said, the Squad’s political arm evidently thinks it is so strong that they are searching high and low for potential opponents to take on incumbent Democratic members of the House of Representatives who they think are not in sync with their style of politics. This includes, evidently, Congressman Brian Higgins of the 26th District. The only target a Democratic elected official in Washington should be focused on until November 2020 is Donald J. Trump.
    • Don’t forget, my Republican friends, as you complain about the Squad, that you have characters in the Party of Trump like Steve King (barred by Republican leaders from House Committee assignments due to racist remarks); Jim Jordan (the Ohio wrestler with slimy friends at Ohio State); Louis Gohmert; and a couple of possible future felons, Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter.
    • Despite all the huffing and puffing, there are still only four officially declared candidates for the election for the House of Representatives in the 27th District in 2020. They are: incumbent Chris Collins; Republican State Senator Chris Jacobs; attorney Beth Parlato; and Libertarian Duane Whitmer. Nothing is on file with the Federal Election Commission for would-be candidates Stefan Mychajliw or Robert Ortt.  Of course if David Bellavia decided to run, that would likely eliminate those wannabe candidates. It takes time to raise money for a congressional primary, which is less than 11 months away, so the longer a potential candidate just talks about running rather than getting something official off the ground, the less likely that they will actually run.  The Republican primary in the 27th District in 2020 might very well determine the next member of Congress from that district.
    • Another thing about national issues: the Trump administration is forecasting that the federal government’s budget deficit for 2018-19 will top one trillion (with a “t”) dollars. The national debt as of this month is at $22 trillion, which is $3 trillion more than it was when Trump came into office. You might recall that candidate Trump promised that he would balance the budget and eliminate the national debt in eight years.  How’s that for “promises made, promises kept?”
    • The Washington Post observes that the new federal budget deal “will end the Budget Control Act, which Obama signed into law after House Republicans pushed the government to the brink of defaulting on its debt in 2011.” The Budget Control Act had set strict spending caps backed up by automatic cuts in spending.
    • Time to put to rest the claim that the Republican Party is a fiscally conservative party. And for that matter the New York State Conservative Party also supports big spender Trump.
    • The new Republican State Chairman, Nick Langworthy, announced at his inauguration that he will work to expand the party with greater openness to women and minorities. And then Nick said this about Trump’s racist tweets about four women members of Congress:   ”                 .“
    • A tip of the hat to Erie County Legislature Republican Caucus leader Joe Lorigo for having the courage to call out Trump about his tweets concerning the Squad.
    • The transition of the State Chairmanship from Edward Cox to Langworthy evidently didn’t go quite as smoothly as has been reported. The Albany Times Union notes that just before Cox left office the state party distributed $78,000 to five county committees that were favorable to Cox, leaving Langworthy with just about $17,794 in the till.
    • Mayor Byron Brown, in a recent Channel 2 interview, defended his 2019-2020 budget. The Common Council, the City Comptroller and the Buffalo Control Board are all going along with the story. A large operating deficit in 2018-19 and a large budget gap due to some phony revenue estimates in the 2019-20 budget are both triggers in state law for the Control Board reverting to control status.
    • It seems that it is time for State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to come in for a review of the situation before it all blows up. Reviews by the Office of the State Comptroller are what led to the creation of both the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority and the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority.
    • With the early primary out of the way, there won’t be anything to report about campaign financial reports until October 4th, which is 32 days prior to the November 5th election. By then the focus and arc of the campaigns should be pretty well developed – such as they might be given a lack of any great interest or urgency in campaigns as we move into August.
    • Voter turnout could be lower than the 25 percent mark set in Erie County four years ago.
    • Just 39 days until the Bills kick off the 2019 season!

2 thoughts on “Some facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets — mid-summer edition

  1. Concerning voter turnout, it seems that two years ago it was up a nice chunk, same for last year, so maybe Democrats who do not regularly vote are turning out as a reaction to President Trump. People have said that in 2017 the state-wide referendum was the reason for a jump in turnout, but just maybe it had something to do with an increase in civic engagement – letting your voice be heard in reaction to this national political situation we find ourselves in. 2017 sure was a good year for local Democrats.

    Could the Trump effect actually help Mark Poloncarz? I think so. No, I hope so!

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  2. IMO nothing demonstrates the abject cowardice of the Republican party more than our ballooning debt. These guys talk tough but are real weenies.

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