Why Not Golombek?
by Paul Wolf - posted 1:16 am, May 22, 2014
You would think that obtaining control of the New York State Senate would be a big priority for the Erie County Democratic Party. Republican Mark Grisanti represents a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic in terms of voter enrollment. A strong Democratic candidate should be able to beat Grisanti. Golombek almost beat Sam Hoyt a well known incumbent by receiving 49.5% of the vote a few years ago in an Assembly District that is within the Senate District.
The best candidate to defeat Grisanti in my opinion is City of Buffalo Councilmember Joseph Golombek (full disclosure Golombek is a close friend of mine). Golombek as a Councilmember represents a portion of the district, has name recognition and has accomplished some things while in office. Golombek has led the charge on:
– Reducing the size of the Buffalo Common Council from 13 members to 9
– Implementing CitiStat in Buffalo as a tool to track and measure governmental performance
– Eliminating the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation due to it being a duplication of services and being a poorly run agency
Golombek has taken independent positions often to the dismay of the Mayor and his colleagues, some examples:
– Calling for a professional city manager to run City Hall on a day to day basis instead of the Mayor
– Voting against bringing Bass Pro to Buffalo
– Voting against having an Indian owned casino in Buffalo
– Addressing the issue of health concerns for residents who live near the Peace Bridge
– Taking on the NFTA regarding their poor history in managing waterfront property
The possibility of Golombek running for the State Senate has brought strange responses from Democratic Party Chair Jeremy Zellner and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Poloncarz stated the following regarding Golombek according to the Buffalo News: “I am not so certain he is appropriate for this district,” he said, labeling the 60th one of the “most progressive in Western New York.”Zellner has raised questions regarding Golombek’s “conservative” position on abortion and same sex marriage.
Abortion is legal in New York as is same sex marriage. While Golombek has his personal religious beliefs he supports the law and is not going to vote to repeal these laws. Golombek voted in favor of providing domestic partnership benefits to same sex couples and he sponsored a resolution in favor of amending the New York State Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination against transgendered individuals. Poloncarz and Zellner’s comments that Golombek is not “appropriate” or “progressive” enough or too “conservative” seem odd to me.
Attorney Marc Panepinto has expressed interest in the seat as well. Panepinto has strong union connections but he also has a criminal conviction for election fraud which could seriously damage his chances of winning. Lisa Hackathorn seems like a nice woman but she represents a handful of election districts in the Village of Hamburg and does not have the name recognition or track record of accomplishments needed to win.
Which leaves me wondering why wouldn’t local Democrats back Golombek as their best shot to win the seat and possibly tip the balance of power of the Senate towards Democrats? What am I missing here?