What if they gave an election and nobody came?

Tuesday’s primary elections were some of the most anticlimactive political events that I have ever seen – a very boring day. It was like Erie County voters collectively sighed, “whatever!”

The race for Mayor of Buffalo in the Democratic primary seemed pre-ordained for a long time. Mark Schroeder and Betty Jean Grant gave spirited efforts. Schroeder’s TV ads were very well done and he put the best effort into telling voters what he would do in the next four years. For the most part Schroeder and Grant’s attacks on Mayor Brown’s record were professional and controlled. Continue reading

July campaign financial reports are filed; speculation about Western District federal appointments

July 15th was the deadline for political committees in New York State to file their periodic financial reports. Committees involved with an active election campaign this year will be required to file several additional 2017 reports starting in August.

Compared with past experience, the election campaigns that are being fought this year are publicly pretty mild. The work of collecting and filing nominating petitions is complete. Organizing fundraisers and getting voter recruitment and get-out-the-vote programs set up is, or at least should be, well underway and mostly out of view of the general public that is not much interested in local political things in the middle of July. Here are the financial highlights of the major local campaigns to date. Continue reading

How Pigeongate may end

This blog, Alan Bedenko’s extensive work in The Public, and Buffalo News reporting have certainly detailed the rise and fall of Steve Pigeon over a very long period of time. Things are starting to move at a quicker pace now.

The infamous raids on the homes of Pigeon, Steve Casey and Chris Grant occurred nearly 23 months ago. Except for Pigeon’s situation, we don’t yet know what purposes those events served. Continue reading

Knowing when to leave, in politics and football; Caputo looking for partners

My daughter points out to me that I often quote a song lyric to make a point and that I do that more than most people. Guilty!

Recent headlines got me reviewing some lyrics in my head, from an old Burt Bacharach song. The lines that rang a bell: “go while the going is good; knowing when to leave may be the smartest thing anyone can learn. Go!”

I’ll avoid here referring to anyone located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Buffalo News a few days ago reported on the ongoing feud between two veterans of local politics, Amherst Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein and former Amherst Town Councilman Bill Kindel. Both of them have been around the block a few times.

20150526_Weinstein_GiambraWeinstein is finishing his second term as Amherst Supervisor. He previously served as a town council member and a member of the Williamsville School Board. He was also a member of the Erie County Legislature, serving as a supporter of the policies of Joel Giambra which led to the meltdown of county government in 2005.

Kindel, besides having served 20 years as a member of the Town Council, has for many years been the Chairman of the Amherst Conservative Party. He has also made some unsuccessful comeback attempts with the Town Board.

The current feud involves the upcoming race for a couple seats on the Amherst Town Board. Weinstein, who is term-limited as supervisor, wants to stay on the Board as a councilman. Kindel would like to return to the Board. The feud follows from Weinstein’s re-affiliation last year as a member of the Conservative Party, which would facilitate him running for the Conservative town board nomination in a primary as a member of the party. I guess he assumes that the Republicans will give him their endorsement.

While I have been a resident of Amherst for thirty years, I haven’t involved myself in town politics. I do think, though, some new blood would help a town government to spend less money and to cut down on the congestion that excessive development is creating. Transit Road, Sheridan Drive and Main Street, on any given day, are among the most traffic-jammed streets in Western New York. It’s time to call a time-out and re-evaluate where the town is going.

It’s also time to leave it to someone else, Barry and Bill. “Go while the going is good; knowing when to leave may be the smartest thing anyone can learn.”

There are new candidates on the horizon. Amherst Democratic Town Chairman Jerry Schad reports that at least three top-notch candidates are in the running for the two vacancies on the Board: Shawn A. Lavin, an accountant, Jacqualine G. Berger, an educator, and Matthew Clabeaux, an attorney.

Assemblyman Ray Walter’s Chief of Staff Erin Baker will seek one of the Republican nominations. I know Erin from the days when I was director of government relations at Canisius College and Erin worked in the Advancement Office as a student intern. She’ll make a fine candidate too.

It’s time for a change.

Football teams knowing when to leave

NFL teams are on the move. There’s never enough money where league owners are concerned. Cities keep throwing cash at them.

The Rams last season re-located to Los Angeles after a couple of decades in St. Louis; which was after several previous decades in Los Angeles; which was after a number of years in Cleveland, before the Browns joined the NFL for the first time. The Browns, of course, moved to Baltimore after the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis. Then, several years later, Cleveland got a new version of the Browns.

The San Diego Chargers are no more, having moved to Los Angeles – which is where they were originally for a couple years, before going to San Diego.

The League this week also approved the move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas in two or three years. It should be a fun time in Raider Nation, Oakland location, until then. The Raiders, of course, had previously re-located to LA for a few years before going back to Oakland.

Okay, I know, enough.

The Buffalo News reported this week that the Pegulas are letting things settle in Orchard Park before starting a conversation about a new stadium for the Bills. Evidently pressure from NFL bigwigs Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft has let up a little. How nice of Jerry and Bob to not tell Erie County what to do at least for a while. At the moment there don’t seem to be any cities left that are looking for an NFL franchise, so there’s no talk about the Bills moving.

The team’s ownership seems to think that they should “have some success” before coming to the county for a new home. That should keep the taxpayers safe for at least a few years.

Caputo branching out

Michael Caputo, locally-based political operative with an international reputation, is looking to capitalize on his connections with Donald Trump. Politico reports:

Michael Caputo is the latest former Donald Trump campaign staffer looking to parlay his experience into consulting work in Washington. Caputo, the managing director of Zeppelin Communications, a public affairs firm with offices in East Aurora, N.Y., Miami and Moscow. He worked as a senior adviser on Trump’s campaign before resigning after sending a celebratory tweet when Trump fired his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

— Caputo sent a letter to a number of Washington public affairs shops and trade associations earlier this month looking to strike up a partnership with Zeppelin and emphasizing his experience on the campaign. “After working closely with Donald Trump in recent years, we’re taking the initiative to be more active in Washington,” Caputo wrote in the letter, which was obtained by POLITICO. “From advising the billionaire developer on his potential New York Gubernatorial race to assisting him as he sought to purchase the Buffalo Bills, I learned how he works. … Understanding how Donald Trump ascended to the White House – and how he will likely operate — will be unique and vital counsel for your clients in the years ahead.”

— In an interview, Caputo said Zeppelin is looking to partner with other firms to take on more Washington work. “We’re looking for partners to help us in a much heavier lift,” he said. He’s hoping to open a Washington office, too. “My arena will be mostly public engagement,” he said. “I don’t intend to lobby. I’m a public relations guy.” But after working in Washington in the 1990s for firms such as Widmeyer Communications, he’s not planning on moving back down himself.

 With an office in Moscow already, Caputo seems to be all set up and ready to go with his new Trump-centered venture. And knowing “how [Trump] works… and how he will likely operate” is certainly a plus. How many people can there be who know how Trump works and will likely operate?

Does this mean that Michael Caputo will be leaving his gigs with the Erie County Water Authority and WBEN?

To see the benefit of upsizing the Hamburg town board, look at Pigeon’s activities in West Seneca; a Patrick Kane moment

The Hamburg Town Board on September 18th authorized a town referendum on Election Day to determine whether the Board should revert to five members rather than its current three.  Activist Kevin Gaughan is already challenging the Board and, by reference at least, the citizen-activists whose petitioning encouraged the Board to put the referendum on the ballot.  Hamburg is one of five Erie County towns that bought into Gaughan’s board downsizing proposals several years ago. Continue reading

Move on, nothing to see here – more political shenanigans in Cheektowaga

What would an election cycle be in Erie County without another round of hide-the-money.

Alan Bedenko on the Daily Public site yesterday detailed some things about the Right Democratic Team in Cheektowaga’s just completed Democratic primary.  The committee has a connection to Frank Max.  Max has been an affiliate of Team Pigeon, and has obviously picked up some bad habits from that group. Continue reading