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

Baseball season has begun. The state budget is approved. Marijuana is legal in New York State. Some other things are occurring.

Here are some facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets:

  • Sheriff Tim Howard informed me by email on April 11th that comments in my April 7th post suggesting that he was no longer supporting John Garcia for sheriff, along with my report that a change in support was due Republican Party pressure, were incorrect. I based my comments on my political sources. Howard continued that regardless of the Republican Party endorsement of Karen Healey-Case he will support Garcia throughout the campaign, including efforts to qualify Garcia on an independent ballot line.

  • Having spent a few days in Florida recently I missed out on a favorite pastime there – baseball. Arrived too late for spring training and too early for minor league games.
  • Having the Blue Jays once again this year playing their home games in downtown Buffalo is going to be quite a treat, made even nicer by the plans to have some limited fan attendance, unlike last year. Any guess how much Jays-Yankees tickets will go for?
  • With the Jays in town the Buffalo Bisons are being shuffled off to Trenton, New Jersey and will play there under the team name the Trenton Thunder – ouch! This is an unfortunate side effect of Major League Baseball’s now total control of the minor leagues.
  • The state’s new $212 billion budget is massive with an extra layer of federal Rescue Plan funding to top things off. Rich people get to pay more in taxes. As per usual, education is drawing an even bigger pot of money although it is somewhat deferred over three years. So what happens when the federal cash is gone but the spending has been becomes a habit?
  • The accolades for Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes for enacting the marijuana legislation might bring to mind for some older folks the major legislative accomplishment of the late Assemblyman from West Seneca, Vince Graber. Vince labored long and hard in the seventies to get the state to mandate the use of seatbelts in vehicles. We take it for granted now, but at the time New York was among the first states to impose that requirement. Thousands of lives have been saved due to Vince’s efforts.
  • Sensing an opportunity, Trumplicans are surfacing to run for governor next year. We won’t know for a while whether Governor Andrew Cuomo will run for re-election, but Congressman Lee Zeldin of Long Island and Rudy’s golf-playing son Andrew Guiliani are in or exploring the race. To which many Democrats will say, yes, bring it. Zeldin’s claim to fame is that he has none. Guiliani has played many rounds of golf with Donald Trump.
  • Cuomo’s problems keep mounting and his defenders are few. The class act would be to resign or to at least say he won’t run for re-election.
  • Congressman Chris Jacobs’ and Republican State Chairman Nick Langworthy’s quick responses to the Tom Reed and Matt Gaetz scandals, calling for resignations, were stunning. Just kidding. They only say such things about Democrats.
  • Republicans are not rising to defend Gaetz but they are also not calling for him to resign or to be stripped of his committee assignments. I guess if you’ve spent more than four years accepting and defending the actions of Donald Trump you’ve probably already had your moral genes surgically removed.
  • There is lots of talk about the Senate’s obstructive supermajority filibuster. Here is some wisdom about congressional action by majority rule: Requiring supermajority votes in Congress means that “its real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice, or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent, or corrupt junto, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority.” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 22.
  • Thomas Jefferson wrote: “it is my principle that the majority should always prevail.”
  • On the other hand there is this from Mitch McConnell: “Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can ever begin – can ever begin to imagine – what a completely scorched earth Senate would look like” if the 60 vote filibuster supermajority is eliminated.
  • Actually many observers already know what McConnell’s “scorched earth Senate” looks like. We’ve seen it for years. My vote is with the founders, Jefferson and Hamilton.
  • The race for Erie County sheriff will not only will test the candidates. The Democratic and Republican Parties’ skills in winning major primaries will also be on display.
  • Good for the Buffalo News’ Matt Spina and Channel 7’s Charlie Specht for their reporting on some of the candidates for sheriff as they dig deep into newly available personnel records of the sheriff candidates who are or have been members of a police force. Better that voters know about these issues prior to voting.
  • Thus far there has been limited discussion about what the candidates’ specific plans are for new management of the Sheriff’s Office. We need to hear details on jail management, operating plans for the road patrol, and a variety of other things.