Pigeongate comes to a conclusion; pre-election campaign financials

It’s all over but the sentencing. Former Erie County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon has pled guilty to a bribery charge in State Supreme Court and to a charge of an illegal campaign donation to Governor Cuomo in federal court. State sentencing is scheduled for December. Federal sentencing will occur in January. The two guilty pleas each carry sentences of approximately one year. How those sentences will be coordinated and finally resolved remains to be seen.   I speculated in a previous post about where Pigeon might prefer to serve his time, if he has any say in the question. Continue reading

Campaign finances — how much did that race cost?

This post provides the most recent campaign financial updates for candidates in the September 13th primary elections, which were mostly on the Democratic side. Before I get to that, I have added some analysis.

A reader of the blog suggested that it would be interesting to see how the votes received by the various candidates compared with what they had spent during 2018, right up to the primary. The State Board of Elections does not yet have final statewide primary results posted, so the vote totals (estimated at 99 percent) are taken from press reports. The final vote numbers will go up a bit for all statewide candidates, so the cost per vote will decrease a little for all of them. Here is a summary: Continue reading

The Collins for Congress Campaign

Politics and Other Stuff cannot identify how it came to receive a copy of the following email thread. The exchange among Congressman Chris Collins, an office staffer, and a political consultant occurred last week. In the thread the three discuss plans for running Collins’ 2018 re-election campaign.

Collins: Okay guys, I finally got my story straight. I will campaign for re-election and will return to Congress when re-elected. Why would I want to be a councilman in Clarence when I can be a congressman? Continue reading

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

We are now just seven weeks away from one of the most momentous elections in the history of the United States. I know that might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not.

All midterm elections are, to some degree, a referendum on the occupant of the White House. Donald Trump’s words and deeds make that even more likely in 2018.

That’s not to say, however, that there are not local issues. In fact, for different reasons both Democrats and Republicans are working hard to emphasize local issues. The Democrats know that Trump’s low standing does not require them to talk about him; instead they are emphasizing local matters in their various districts. The Republicans, on the other hand, are trying to talk about local issues in order to get voters to forget about or to ignore Trump. That is difficult when Trump steps in doo-doo every single day. Continue reading

The Republicans’ congressional campaign in the 27th district; campaign finance updates

So someone turned off the music on the game of musical chairs that was intended to determine which Republican will succeed indicted Congressman Chris Collins in the 27th district. The candidates went round and round. Some of them felt that the game was just a charade and dropped out of contention on their own. Others either cling to the hope that it will all work out this fall, or maybe that they could position themselves for a special election in 2019. Continue reading

Financial and management issues at Erie Community College

Over the years Erie Community College (ECC) has had its share of ups and downs as the institution navigates the waters of higher education. The school plays a vital role in training both young and not-so-young men and women for careers or to prepare them for continuing their education at a higher level.

There are 16 institutions of higher education in Western New York. Except for SUNY at Buffalo, the local colleges all pretty much depend on local high school graduates to fill their classrooms. Unfortunately the number of high school graduates has been diminishing and the trend is expected to continue. Continue reading

A couple ideas to jump-start the shutdown of the Erie County Water Authority

This blog has over the past three years commented on the excessive staffing at the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) and its lack of openness to the public it serves. I have frequently pointed out the redundancy of Authority administrative staffing and have suggested converting the agency into a department of Erie County government. The release last week of a report by the New York State Authorities Budget Office (ABO) has now focused much greater attention on this issue. Continue reading