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Political Shorts and a Hot Dog Stand

1. Schneiderman Kickoff

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman kicked off the WNY leg of his 2014 re-election campaign in Niagara Square on Tuesday, flanked by a wide variety of politicians, activists, and union leaders from throughout the area, some of whom don’t always get along (more on that later). Throughout his first term, the former State Senator from New York’s Upper West Side has brought a new energy to the Attorney General’s office, with his most significant focus being the protection of the average consumer from predatory, unfair, and deceptive business practices.

After glowing speeches from former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul and Mayor Byron Brown, Schneiderman was introduced by Avi Israel, an average guy from North Buffalo. Israel’s son, Michael, tragically committed suicide a few years ago in part  because he was taking several prescription medications that different doctors had prescribed.  Because there was no mechanism in place for the physicians to see what others had prescribed, and at the time of his suicide, Michael was taking about 20 different medications

With Schneiderman’s help and lobbying, New York passed the I-STOP prescription monitoring program last year. The program requires providers to review a patient’s medical history before prescribing any opioid pain medication. It also requires any such medications to be e-prescribed, and the filling of any prescription by a New York pharmacy updates the database in real time. This has decreased doctor-shopping in New York by an incredible 75%

Just this week, the AG’s office cut a deal with Wal*Mart over a fraudulent “sugar tax” it was levying on sales of soda

Schneiderman’s opponent is hitting the incumbent on his silence over the Moreland Commission debacle. But consider this

I think you may have heard that that is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation, and I don’t comment on ongoing investigations,” Schneiderman told reporters in Schenectady, where he announced $20 million for a land bank initiative. “My office is cooperating with the United States Attorney and we’ll leave it at that.”

Schneiderman has said little about the Moreland Commission’s demise or whether he knew about claims that Cuomo’s administration was interfering in the panel’s work and steering them away from Cuomo’s allies.

Schneiderman’s office deputized the members of the commission, and has been cooperating with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in connection with its ongoing investigation. Meanwhile, Schneiderman’s opponent touts his work with George Pataki, a governor who didn’t need to shut down his own investigation into public corruption because it never made its way to his agenda. 

For his part, Schneiderman noted that his office had prosecuted over 50 cases of public employees and electeds stealing taxpayer money and abuse of power. 

2. Scratch that!

State Sellout Tim Kennedy is not challenging Jeremy Zellner for the chairmanship of the Erie County Democratic Committee at this Saturday’s re-organization meeting. Instead, it will be Amherst Town Councilman Mark Manna. Manna reportedly has the backing of Mike Deely from NYSUT, State Sellout Tim Kennedy, and Mayor Byron Brown. 

This is all very interesting mostly because Zellner and ECDC endorsed Brown’s re-election campaign last year on the express condition and guarantee that the Mayor would back Zellner’s re-election as chairman. That’s honor for you. I’m not 100% sure what it is about Steve Pigeon’s track record of running the party in the late 90s is so desirable to people, so it must come down to who doles out the jobs, and possibly something to do with the judicial nominations. There’s no other objectively rational explanation. 

I like Mark, so I’m not going to bash him, but I will say this: Zellner’s opposition is running on a “peace and progress” platform. It seems to me that Erie County Democrats could easily have had peace and progress over the course of the last decade if there wasn’t a conspiratorial opposition working feverishly to sabotage the county committee every so often. A group of malcontents (Deely, for example, was for Teachout/Wu and now he’s aligned with people who sell out to the GOP regularly?) conspiring in Steve Pigeon’s house to overthrow the guy they’ve been working feverishly to weaken over the last few years is hardly the picture of party unity anyone needs. This time, at least, they don’t have Governor Cuomo’s blessing or support. 

Let it be clear: if you hand over the reins of the party committee to Steve Pigeon, the last things you’ll get are peace or progress. 

3. Grisanti Staying In The Race

State Senator Mark Grisanti remains on the Independence Fusion Party’s ballot, and dammit he’s got bank, and he’s gonna spend it. Right now, it would be a 4-way race involving Grisanti, Marc Panepinto on the (D) line, Kevin Stocker on the (R) line, and Timothy Gallagher (who?) on the Conservative Fusion Party line. Stocker and Gallagher split the gun-fetish vote, so look for Stocker to somehow wrangle the Conservative Fusion line in the next few weeks. With Stocker picking up the anti-Cuomo vote, Grisanti and Panepinto duke it out for the general electorate, which is overwhelmingly Democratic, but not especially liberal. 

126,000 people voted in 2012, and turnout might be about that high, given the gubernatorial race. But when Paladino ran in 2010, only 65,000 people voted overall, and Grisanti narrowly beat incumbent Antoine Thompson. 2012 gave voters a chance to express their outrage at Grisanti’s same sex marriage vote, and 2014 gives the NY SAFE Act opponents a similar opportunity. But Grisanti can tout the fact that both major parties have rejected him and posit himself as the centrist alternative to ultra-left-wing Panepinto and extreme right-wing Stocker. Don’t count Grisanti out just yet. In November,  the tea party’s influence is significantly more diluted than it was in September. 

4. How hard is it to operate a bridge,

for God’s sake? The Peace Bridge is the steel emblem of western New York. It is our physical connection to a huge, wealthy Canadian marketplace, and stands as a symbol of political gridlock, secrecy, inaction, failure, and idiocy. 

5. Reverse Cowdog Taken?

The contrived use of shipping containers – whatever. But I quite literally hate everything else about this “Dog e Style” from the name, to the font, to the sign, to the mascot. Get it? The hot dog is wearing a tux, so is “é” “is” in Portuguese? But the double entendre is “doggy style”, which will make parents of pre-adolescents cringe the hell away from that place because, really. The day my kid asks to get a “gourmet” hot dog at a place pronounced “doggy style” is not a day that will ever happen. 

Via @buffalovebirds at Twitter

Via @buffalovebirds at Twitter

 


  • hwhamlin

    I’m sure Mr. Schneiderman is praying that the U.S. Attorney’s work on the Moreland mess will carry on well past Election Day. Although I suppose he can always persuade “Geoffrey” Holder to drop the case like he did the New Black Panther Party voting rights lawsuit.
    I wonder if he will sue Mr. Termini and/or “Dog e Style” for false advertising in the event the restaurant fails to have someone performing the eponymous act on premises at all times.

  • 25 Delaware

    Schneiderman has done little up to this point that addresses any of WNY’s concerns related to corruption and election law violations. Steve Pigeon runs wild. What does it take for him to simply acknowledge it?

  • 1. Instead of dying from prescription drugs, people are now dying from more heroin overdoses. Meanwhile, with all the new regulations on painkillers, people with legitimate pain are finding it hard to receive actual medical treatment. Schneiderman has contributed to the war on drugs by helping to make it even worse. Decreased doctor shopping has increased the financial reward for illegal drug dealers.

    Walmart operates over 11,000 stores in 71 countries. They made a pricing error in NY. Schneiderman turns it into a huge story for political gain. SMH! He played right to the liberals who like to portray Walmart as the poster child for evil. No surprise there.

    5. DOG é Style will serve nothing but hot dogs. There will also be a full bar. I don’t think kids are the demographic he’s after.

    • UncleBluck

      Prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs, and while most major causes of preventable deaths are declining, those from prescription drug use are increasing, an analysis of recently released data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the Los Angeles Times revealed.http://healthimpactnews.com/2011/prescription-drugs-now-kill-more-people-than-illegal-drugs/

      • That being true, the tightening of regulations on prescription drugs is making it much harder for people who need them to get them, which in turn is leading to more illegal drug activity and heroin use.

      • UncleBluck

        That is true Mike…that and the fact that apparently heroin is much cheaper than the scripts…..but hey, big pharm just keeps getting bigger and richer……

      • Mr. Israel’s kid’s problem wasn’t that he couldn’t get what he needed, but that he was getting medicines from different doctors, each not knowing what the other was prescribing. The drugs were apparently contraindicated and may have contributed to this kid’s suicide. I don’t quite understand how ensuring that people are properly medicated is a bad thing, but Galt’s Gulch and arglebargle always seem to help.

      • I read the PDF written by Mr. Israel. It is heartbreaking and tragic. A system that allows doctors to know what prescriptions a patient may have obtained elsewhere is good. But, I still think the law goes too far and contributes to the over-regulation that has driven people to heroin. The paper did correctly identify the lack of treatment options for people addicted to opiates. That should be the number 1 priority.

    • It wasn’t a pricing error. It was fraud – deliberate and intentional. It doesn’t matter if Dog E Style will have a full bar, because I take my kids lots of places that have a full bar but aren’t named after sex positions.

      • UncleBluck

        Being in construction I understand that the metal container construction thing is supposedly cost effective and Nuevo but……… That is one ugly storefront…..

      • There is no proof that it was intentional fraud. It is quite common for errors to occur due to mistakes with the computer programming that programs the prices in the cash registers. $66,000 is a paltry amount for Walmart to pay and hardly indicative of fraud. If Schneiderman truly believed this was intentional act he would be having a field day trying a case against Walmart all over the media.

      • “Sugar tax”.

        http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/sep/16/walmart-fine-fake-sugar-tax-soda-new-york

        http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/220587/ag-sorry-wal-mart-but-there-is-no-sugar-tax/

        “There has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or how powerful, and that is why our office must ensure that even the largest corporations cannot advertise one price and then charge a higher one to New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Whether it’s securing the largest financial settlements in U.S. history to address misconduct that crashed the economy, or settling cases with the nation’s largest retailers, this office will continue to stand on the side of ordinary New Yorkers.”

        During the course of the investigation by Attorney General Schneiderman’s office, consumers were routinely overcharged in stores across the state. It was determined that cash registers were programmed to not recognize the advertised sale price. On June 12, 2014, the Attorney General’s Office requested that Wal-Mart immediately adjust prices to the amount advertised. Wal-Mart took corrective action after approached by the Attorney General’s Office.

        The investigation also determined that Wal-Mart ran a similar sale in March that resulted in the company failing to honor the advertised price for Coca-Cola soft drinks in New York. Despite documented complaints from consumers about the price discrepancy, the company failed to adjust prices until requested by the Attorney General’s Office. In total, Wal-Mart sold New Yorkers 66,000 12-packs of Coca-Cola at an inflated price.

        $1 per $66,000 overcharges. Why would Schneiderman showboat when he can just get results, instead?

      • “It was determined that cash registers were programmed to not recognize the advertised sale price.” – a common pricing error. As for the “sugar tax” label, that resulted from an ill-formed opinion of a dim-witted employee. The overcharge was only $33,000 – 50 cents per 12 pack. Anyone who discovered the pricing error in Erie County could have used the Unit Pricing Law to receive $5.50 for each error.

        The AG’s press release would have been more accurate if it said, “It was determined that cash registers were not properly programmed to reflect the advertised sale price.”

        This is a case of marginal showboating because Schneiderman didn’t have the ammunition necessary for full flown showboating.

      • jld5199

        YOUR PROBABLY UPSET…cuz you aint gettin any…DOG e STYLE!

  • jerkwagon420

    Funny NYSUT’s Mike Deely is throwing his weight into the chairmanship fray. Au contraire BP Deely was for Hochul. Meanwhile supposed ally Phil Rumore had a Betty Jean Grant sign planted in the grass outside his office window for some time. And AFT President Randi Weingarten made robocalls for Hochul the Monday before election day. Odd how a governor who has openly attacked unions is garnering such support from so called “leadership.”

  • UncleBluck

    I like Mark, so I’m not going to bash him, but I will say this: Zellner’s opposition is running on a “peace and progress” platform……funny Mr Manna was anything but peaceful as a member of the Amherst town board…obnoxious and condescending maybe but peaceful….no….

  • rhmaccallum

    Funny how we have come so far in computerizing our treatment and medical care, right down to your local drug store.
    My doctor’s outfit has everything on computer supposedly and is shared with all the other Catholic Health System operations.
    Yet, when I have a Dr. appointment, and even though everyone there from the doctor to the nurse to the tech are toting laptops they always have to ask me what prescriptions I am taking.
    I tell them I take the ones that this doctor has prescribed. They fire up the laptop and start, every darned time, asking if I take this or that that I have not had a prescription for for 7 years.
    Amazing…all these feel good new laws and regulations!

  • BufChester

    Rocco Termini has the sensibilities of an 11 year old boy. “Doggy Style” get it, tee hee.

  • Matt

    I’m happy that Grisanti is staying in the race, I emailed his office the day after the primary urging him to. Anyone that is willing to stand up to the Christian “Small Government” wackados lead by WBEN and Thompson here in WNY has my vote. We need more people in politics that are not controlled by their base and instead do what is right.

  • I can’t wait for the new taco truck – The Dirt e Sanchez