Hey, Buffalo News—Count the Candidates!
by Geoff Kelly - posted 10:35 am, October 28, 2011
Today, the Buffalo News released its endorsements for Erie County Legislature in the seven races in which there are major contests. They lead off with the Buffalo-based District 1, in which the News endorses the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate, political newcomer Tim Hogues:
Timothy Hogues is a political newcomer who was tapped by Democratic Party officials for the post currently held by Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams, also a Democrat. Party leaders didn’t like Miller-Williams’ close association with Erie County Executive Chris Collins, a Republican, so they denied her the party’s blessing. She is running on the Community First line.
That’s not the reason we oppose her candidacy, though. We like independence in legislators. But Miller-Williams, acting in her capacity as chairwoman, insulted and all but ran off Robert Gioia, president of the John R. Oishei Foundation, who had arrived with an offer of $400,000 to help the smaller culturals that Collins was defunding. That was inexcusable conduct, even if, as Miller-Williams says, she was goaded.
Hogues is certainly not a perfect candidate. He should be better informed on some issues and will have a lot of work to do to become familiar with them. But he is a credible candidate. He is passionate about the county’s needs and has held a number of supervisory positions in the private sector. He is an ordained deacon at Elim Christian Fellowship, where he leads a Boys to Men Mentoring group. Against a stronger incumbent, Hogues might not gain our endorsement. In this case, though, he is the preferable candidate.
All this seems fair and square, except for one thing: There is a third candidate in the race, BMHA resident commissioner Joe Mascia, a Democrat running on the Conservative Party line. He’s not even mentioned here. I don’t imagine that the News would have endorsed Mascia, but no mention at all? Mascia tells me he contacted the News on more than one occasion asking if he should submit a letter or schedule an interview to be considered for the paper’s endorsement but received no response to his inquiries.
It seems improbable that the News editorial board did not even realize there was a third candidate or simply forgot to mention his candidacy. (If that’s the case, it’s embarrassing.) More likely, his name was intentionally omitted. Why?