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Open Letter to the Erie County Legislature

Greetings.

I am a constituent of Mr. Rath’s but am writing to you to inquire about a resolution sponsored by Mssrs. Lorigo, Rath, and Hardwick, which will oppose Governor Cuomo’s proposal to eliminate the “Wilson-Pakula” law, which enables party bosses to endorse other parties’ candidates.

I submit that eliminating Wilson-Pakula is hardly enough to reduce the power of money and patronage in politics, and our entire system of electoral fusion should be abolished, full stop. Electoral fusion and Wilson-Pakula are not used for good; they are used for political advantage and power. The Independence Party is essentially controlled by one marginally intelligent character from Long Island, and exists to enrich and employ him and his close followers. Its name is constructed so as to confuse low-information voters who think they’re registering as unenrolled.

The Conservative Party is controlled locally by Mr. Lorigo’s father, and has shown itself to be exquisitely flexible – when convenient – with respect to the “principles” on which it purports to base its endorsements.

In my town of Clarence, the Conservative endorsement for Supervisor was allegedly withheld not on any ideological grounds, but partly due to personal animus, and partly due to private business interests. That’s the stuff of petty banana republics.

Political decisions and government leadership should be based on merit, not on personal vendettas or misinformation. The system of electoral fusion should be well known to the legislature, as the Independence Party was intimately involved in the so-called “coup” which took place in early 2010 whereby the Republican caucus joined with several breakaway Democrats to create an ersatz “majority”.

That was one of the most embarrassingly tumultuous periods for the Legislature and cheapened it and its mission, such as it is. If the Conservative and Independence Parties want to participate in New York or Erie County politics, Mr. Lorigo and Ms. Dixon have established that members of those parties can run and win.

But if anyone’s goal – at any point – is to establish a cleaner, more honest, and less corrupt political environment, then eliminating Wilson-Pakula is a great first step. Banning fusion altogether is an ultimate goal.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Alan Bedenko


  • Colin Eager

    Nothing is more conducive to corruption than the two party system. Concentrated more power in the hands of the biggest crooks in the state is a bad idea.

    • Somehow other countries manage a multiparty system without electoral fusion.

      • Colin Eager

        Sure, but they manage to have a multiparty system in radically different conditions. Those conditions aren’t in place here, so the comparison is pointless.

      • It is a start.

        Joe should really have no say because his dad is the head of the Conservative Party.

  • To me, eliminating fusion is like sweeping a mess from one side of the floor to another, it’s still there. What really is needed is public financing of elections, which is something I’ve gone back and forth on, but at this point I don’t think anything else will work effectively. Also, how is what happened in the EC Leg in 2010 a ‘coup’? I would agree that the State Senate in 2009 was a coup, but in the case of the leg they started the coalition from the beginning of the session. A coup would be a change of leadership mid-session.