Buffalo School Board Elections: Signature Moves
by Geoff Kelly - posted 4:00 pm, April 20, 2010
Buffalo School Board Elections are just two weeks away, and candidates in the various districts and their champions have started to challenge their opponents’ nominating petitions in hopes of clearing the field.
In the West District, the candidates may succeed in that effort too well. Board President Ralph Hernandez and challenger Philip Lomax are contesting the validity of each other’s signatures, and word is both challenges may succeed. If they knock each other off the ballot, the West District race will be a wide open write-in campaign.
In the North District, young Matthew Ricchiazzi, whose quick mind impressed many in last year’s mayoral race, is having his signatures challenged by another candidate, Jay “Microparks” McCarthy. I’m told Ricchiazzi’s petitions have problems. Candidate Patricia Devis had trouble with her petitions when she ran for school board last go-round and may have trouble again. I have not heard if there will be challenges to McCarthy’s signatures, or to those of the fourth candidate in that race, Larry Scott. The North District seat is being vacated by Catherine Nugent Panepinto, who is pursuing a judgeship.
In the Central District, Buffalo fireman Bryon McIntyre is challenging the petitions of both incumbent Mary Ruth Kapsiak and fellow challenger Jim Williams. I haven’t seen Williams’s petitions, but take a look at the first page of Kapsiak’s submission to the Erie County Board of Elections:
You’d think that if you had a page of “signatures” all in exactly the same handwriting, you’d at least try to bury it in the middle of your sheaf of petitions, rather than flaunt it on the first page. (Perhaps this is a testament to the rigorous penmanship training delivered by the Buffalo Public Schools: absolute conformity of stroke.) The guy who signed the bottom of this page as witness to its validity is Carl Thompson, son of Grassroots operative Al Thompson, late of the Erie County Board of Elections. In addition to this obviously fraudulent page, McIntyre’s campaign charges that the petitions include signatures attributed to the supposed occupants of long-abandoned houses and to dead people, and that many pages were illegally witnessed by folks who are not citizens of Buffalo.
I hope Kapsiak didn’t pay these people.
Lou Petrucci is running unopposed in the South District. Incumbent Vivian Evans faces Theresa A. Harris-Tigg in the East, and incumbent Pamela D. Cahill faces Kinzer Pointer in Ferry.