Death threats, part II — where is the leadership, Bernie? More on Maziarz and ECC

I wrote on April 29th about an email from Senator Ted Cruz indicating that his presidential campaign had set up a “delegate defense fund” to help protect the convention delegates pledged to him who had received all sorts of intimidating comments and threats from people supporting Donald Trump, including evidently, death threats. Such comments also circulated in the media and appeared to have credibility. Trump supporters have in various ways publicly demonstrated their aggressive tendencies. Trump himself has done little to tamp down such activities. Continue reading

Maziarz cannot serve as a lobbyist until 2017, but is he doing so now?

George Maziarz served as a member of the New York State Senate for 20 years, from 1995 through December 31, 2014. During his time in office he was an active and aggressive legislator. He worked to provide assistance to Niagara Falls and the County of Niagara in obtaining funding and legislative changes.

Then in 2014, on the heels of the now-disbanded Moreland Commission, Senator Maziarz got himself into some legal problems linked to his election campaign account and how it was used. He spent tens of thousands of dollars of his campaign funds to hire attorneys to defend him. He declined to seek re-election in 2014. Continue reading

Western New York firms and organizations spent $5.5 million on lobbyists in 2015; here’s the list

This post marks a minor milestone for Politics and Other Stuff. I am presenting my second annual review of local lobbying activities in state and local government. The first edition was published on May 13, 2015. Once again, this is mainly a “what we know if we do a little digging” post.

When I worked at Canisius College one of my responsibilities was to serve as the school’s registered New York State lobbyist. I became familiar with the Lobbying Commission’s rules and procedures, including the periodic reports they require. Continue reading

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

Erie County DA

Michael Flaherty, as previously reported, has already assembled a large campaign war chest. It’s the politics that seem to be his problem.

There are continuing reports about his lack of political skills on the campaign trail. Most of us would prefer that a DA be as non-political as possible, but that really refers to activities such as appointments, handling cases and the like. What I am referring to is the give-and-take of campaigning, working a room, etc. That does not seem to be going so well for Flaherty.

John Flynn, having been a candidate before, is more comfortable with such activities. I have not really heard much about Mark Sacha’s campaign style. Continue reading

The Reform Party comes to life in Erie County; local campaigns feature serious contests

In 1996 presidential candidate Ross Perot ran for president on the Reform Party line. He lost and the party disappeared.

Rob Astorino ran as the Stop Common Core Party candidate in last year’s gubernatorial election. The party barely made it over the 50,000 vote threshold, but they earned the right to exist as a party in New York State for four years. Earlier this year Astorino allies changed the name of the party to Reform. Evidently they thought that “Reform” is a more generic name. What the party is trying to reform is anyone’s guess. Continue reading

Catching up on some stuff — Obamacare bounce back; some books; No. 24; and a dead rat

Obamacare issues

A previous post (“King v. Burwell: Will Obamacare Survive?” March 31, 2015, posted below) noted the run-up to the anticipated Supreme Court decision in June about whether residents of states that have not set up state exchanges for the purchase of medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act will qualify for federal subsidies to help pay for their insurance coverage. If the Court rules for plaintiff King, then residents of 27 states will lose their subsidies and many likely will not be able to afford their insurance. Continue reading