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

Well, the primary season is done, except perhaps for Assembly candidate Kevin Stocker, who is suggesting some nefarious error or something else that robbed him of the Democratic nomination in the 140th District. Bill Conrad’s victory margin of more than 1,000 votes was not exactly a nail biter.

Anyway, here are some facts, observations and heard-on-the-street items as we wrap up July:
• Chris Jacobs is officially the 27th District of New York’s member of the House of Representative through December 31. There is still an election to be held in November. The relatively close special election demonstrated that “Trump Approved” does not carry the same weight in NY27 that it once did.
• As Congressman, even in the three and a half months leading up to the election, Jacobs is going to actually demonstrate where he stands on the consequential issues of the day. Does he stand with Trump and congressional Republicans in favor of totally eliminating Obamacare, which would take away coverage from more than 20 million people, end protection for those with pre-existing conditions and end coverage under family medical plans for children up to the age of 26?
• Will Jacobs vote for funding at levels necessary to keep unemployed people solvent; financially assist closed businesses; provide aid for schools and colleges to allow for safe re-openings; and assist local and state governments that have been battered by revenue losses?
• Will he stand up to Trump and acknowledge the administration’s failures to manage the pandemic crisis?
• Just over four years ago Donald Trump stood at the podium of the Republican National Convention and proclaimed “I alone can fix it.” Just exactly what has he fixed? How is the country better off than we were four years ago? And by the way, he doesn’t need that podium now.
• The Homeland Security Department’s secret storm trooper brigade is one of the most un-American things that Trump has come up with. Gassing moms in Portland was a shameful and scandalous attack on constitutional rights.
• I don’t get too excited about national presidential polls, even those showing Joe Biden with double digit leads. The battleground state polls, a map that seems to be expanding, are still too early, but nonetheless more relevant.
• NY27 Conservative Party nominee Beth Parlato seems to have disappeared after her less than impressive showing in the Republican Party primary. She originally promised party leaders that she would decline the Conservative line if she lost the Republican primary and allow her name to be placed in nomination for State Supreme Court at an August Judicial Convention, which she could legally do.
• The plan has been that the judicial nomination would be in a state judicial district in New York City, where the Conservative line is basically irrelevant and she would have no chance of winning.
• But could it be that her delay in agreeing to the judicial nomination is because, rather than run in New York City, she would instead want the Republican and Conservative nomination in Western New York’s 8th Judicial District. Holding on to the Conservative congressional nomination could give her some leverage in encouraging those parties to drop Gerald Greenan and run her instead, allowing the Republicans to assist Jacobs in NY27.
• Regardless of what the Republicans and Conservatives do, Democratic City Court Judge Amy Martoche is the odds-on favorite for election to the Supreme Court in the 8th District.
• The other candidate in the Republican primary in NY27, County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, has been busying himself with commentary on the state of finances in Erie County along with various shots at County Executive Mark Poloncarz. His poor third place showing in the primary has reportedly alienated Republican leaders. His term is up next year.
• He will need to rebuild his campaign treasury if he is planning to run again. The latest report filed with the State Board of Elections shows that he has only $10,287 in his account. In July of 2019 he had $68,467. In July of 2018, when Mychajliw was looking to run for county executive, he had $100,736 in his account — $90,449 more than he now has.This blog previously reported that he spent substantial sums from his comptroller campaign account on things that appear related to his congressional campaign, a questionable financial move that presented a distorted picture of both his county and federal campaign activities.
• Mychajliw’s assistant comptroller, Lynne Dixon, who ran for county executive last year, still has $6,902 in her campaign treasury.
• Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard is not expected to run for re-election next year. He has failed as of July 27th to file the required campaign financial disclosure report, which was due on July 15. He reported a balance of $9,927 in January.
• The leadership of the Erie County Legislature seems to take radically different approaches to their campaign finances. Chairwoman April Baskin has $2,566 in her treasury; Majority Leader Tim Meyers has $5,053. Minority Leader Joe Lorigo, on the other hand, has $107,708.
• Ten other legislators, other than Lorigo, have a total of $109,455 in their collective accounts, just $1,747 more than Lorigo has. Legislator Howard Johnson has not filed a July 15th financial report as of July 27. Legislator Jeanne Vinal has strangely filed “No Activity” statements for post-election 2019, January 2020, and July 2020 even though her last report before the November 2019 election showed that she had a balance in her campaign account.
• County Executive Poloncarz reported $80,629. At this time four years ago in the county executive election cycle he had $232,905.
• Mayor Byron Brown reported $115,568 in July. His term is up in December 2021. Four years ago at this time he had $370,827. Eight years ago it was $1,028,577. Has “strive for five [terms]” been shelved?
• Elections for members of the State Assembly and Senate will generally be dull affairs this year. Democratic primaries in two open Assembly seats (the 140th and 149th Districts) basically settled those elections. The 61st Senate District, also an open seat, is Democratic by affiliation but has been held by Republicans in its current or previous drawings for decades. The Democratic candidate, Jackie Berger, just came off a very tight primary race. Republican Ed Rath has more name recognition and cash in his campaign account ($73,516) than Berger ($4,194) but a cash-rich Democratic State Senate Committee could probably dwarf Republican money in the district if they consider the race competitive. Their money, or lack thereof, will tell us what they think of the race’s competitiveness.
• One of the consequences of the lack of action in Washington is that state and local governments, school districts, colleges and non-profit organizations are running dry financially, with no clear picture about what resources they will have available to continue the services they provide. To pinpoint the issue, consider once again the City of Buffalo and its 2020-2021 budget, which among other things depends on the receipt of $65.1 million in federal relief funds. While the picture remains unsettled at this point, the Republican approach to aid for state and local governments might be limited to just adding flexibility to how the state and local governments can spend the $150 billion already approved. That allocation of funds provided no direct funding to the City of Buffalo. Erie County received $160 million and has spent about $24.8 million of that so far.
• Not counting 1983, when the New York Knights played their season at War Memorial Stadium, we have waited 105 years for major league baseball to come to Buffalo. After all the silly dancing around with other cities (what was that about playing in a Double-A stadium in Connecticut?) the Toronto Blue Jays will swallow their collective major league pride and play their 2020 season in Buffalo. With no fans in attendance. This seems to be out of standard Buffalo sports history – wide right, no goal – major league baseball will be in town and we cannot attend. Oh well, go Blue Jays, bring the 2020 World Series championship to Buffalo!