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Buffalo School Board Elections: Signature Moves

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.


  • Chester

    If we lived in even a marginally functional civil society no one in Mr. Carl Thompson’s position would even consider filing such a transparently fraudulent document. It’s a sad indictment of the times in which we live that he has so little fear of (let alone respect for) the law that he would file such a document.

    I really think that we can’t sink any lower in terms of how we conduct our civil and political life. (Ok, please don’t prove me wrong.) Between this and watching Barbara Miller Williams defend, no she doesn’t even think it needs to be defended, watching BMW celebrate the naked use of the Erie County Water Authority as a patronage mill, I’m beginning to hope that Andrew Cuomo will skip running for governor and stay on as AG, where he actually seems to be doing some good. I can’t wait for Espada to be gone, and with any luck he’s take Pigeon with him too. Well, maybe that’s too much to hope for.

    Thanks AV for continuing to bring us these stomach turning updates.

  • Brave night

    It is truly an indictment of the level of Grassroots operatives. Al Thompson seemed to have landed nicely in a cushy job, thanks to Steve Pigeon, in the state senate office building that is headed by, guess who? Steve Pigeon and Pedro Espada, majority leader of the New York State Senate. Boy, what a world. Grassroots is a scum bag ogranization. Always has been;always will be.

  • Eric Jones

    The challenge to Dr. Patricia Devis petitions by Larry Scott was unsuccessful. The BOE certified her petitions yesterday. The determined that she had well over 600 “good” signatures with the required amount being 500.

  • Lisa

    To set the record straight, Larry Scott didn’t challenge Devis’ petitions…He never challenged anybody’s petitions…He’s too focused on campaigning and winning this election.