Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

Campaign Finance Irregularity Wednesday

Cheers to Steve Pigeon and Kristy Mazurek, who have managed to crowbar their names back into the news. They have either found or manufactured a crisis, accusing Board of Election workers of destroying NYSUT apparatchik Mike Deely’s petitions for county committee.

Is it true? Who knows, but the accusation has been trumpeted, and it’s now Dennis Ward’s and Jeremy Zellner’s problem to unfuck. From Caputo’s PoliticsNY.net

Mike Deely, regional staff director of the New York State United Teachers Union. He’s one of the largest donors to the ECDC over the years and a longtime member of the party’s executive board. Deely recently joined PMB forces, upset with the direction headquarters has taken in the last year.

In the meantime, West Seneca has (naturally) been the epicenter of Pigeon’s and local Conservative Party head Ralph Lorigo.  Steve Casey’s departure from City Hall to become the CEO of the monstrous Scott Congel-led Seneca Mall project underscores the political nature of that project. 

Floridian billionaire Tom Golisano is talking about joining with Congel for the location of the Seneca Mall, near the I-90 and Ridge Road. That land deal has been on simmer since late 2013, at least. 

Pyramid Management Group out of Syracuse have been sniffing around the Seneca Mall since at least last summer.  Look at this August 2013 article from the West Seneca Bee regarding the approval of $50k for town SEQR review of the Seneca Mall site. 

Though not much other detail was offered at Monday night’s Town Board meeting, the board unanimously approved a feasibility study to be performed regarding the proposed development of the former Seneca Mall site at a cost not to exceed $30,000…

…[Town Councilman Eugene P.] Hart said he had just learned of this resolution the day of the vote. Henry said it all came together “pretty quick.” He said the town was required to have the grant application submitted by Aug. 12, hence the need for immediate action.

“It seems very cryptic when you read it,” said Hart. “People will wonder what’s going on.”

[Supervisor Sheila] Meegan said she realized that, but they can’t “spill the beans.”

Hart also told the public that it is the intent of the board to rezone the former Seneca Mall site from industrial to commercial, as per the owner’s request. He said he could not offer much information but did say the proposed development would be a “game-changer” for the town.

Councilman John M. Rusinski said a delicate balance must be struck between the needs of the taxpayers and the needs of the developer. Both he and Hart said the feasibility study is being done in order to protect the interests of the taxpayers.

“Economic development is important to the town,” Rusinski said. “This project is a good thing.”

The Town Board Minutes of October 17, 2013 reflect that Supervisor Meegan made a motion, seconded by Rusinski, to authorize Meegan “to execute an agreement with Camoin Associates to conduct an economic and fiscal analysis for the Seneca Mall site.” 

On the question, Councilman Rusinski stated he agrees with the study but expressed concern about the verbage. He referred to a previously passed resolution which states the dollar amount is not to exceed $30,000, yet an attachment in the agreement shows a fixed fee of $25,000.

Town Engineer Richard Henry responded this was his mistake. The fixed fee language will be removed and the agreement will be amended to read “not to exceed.”
 
Councilman Hart stated he has numerous concerns and commented if this project were to go forward it will be considered huge and impact all of Western New York, yet they do not have a lot of information about the developer. He did not feel they had enough information to go forward at this time and questioned spending $25,000 when there are so many unanswered questions such as infrastructure and sewage.
 
Mr. Henry responded he has spoken with Camoin and they are aware they have to have more information from the developer in order to go forward. Upon approval, Camoin will present the developer with a list of questions. Mr. Henry stated the purpose of the study is to assess the fiscal impacts to get the answers so they can go forward.
 
Councilman Hart suggested the developer provide the town with $25,000 and the town will spend it on their behalf and do the study.
 
Town Attorney Shawn Martin responded the developer should not pay for a study that the town is requesting.
 
Supervisor Meegan stated they will be finding out what the potential is for the town’s investment and whether or not the investment will have a return for taxpayers. She commented that the town has an opportunity to do something and they cannot continue to let the site sit there as it has for so many years. The developer is asking for assistance to pursue a Seneca Place project of 3 million square feet of mixed use buildings, community center, retail, residential, office, hotels, parking, etc. Supervisor Meegan stated this project will not go forward at risk to the Town of West Seneca taxpayers.
 
Councilman Rusinski stated that West Seneca is screaming for economic development and the town has made the mistake of being too idle in the past.  The analysis will provide insight as to whether this type of development has economic potential for West Seneca. He did not feel any board member would put taxpayers at risk.
 
Councilman Hart stated there doesn’t seem to be any involvement by the IDA’s or the development corporation of New York State and he feels there should be more substance with regard to the developer’s marketing and business plan. Councilman Hart questioned how soon information will be provided to the board members and if the recommendations and numbers will be made public at that time.
 
Mr. Henry responded they have a total of 60 days; 30 days to gather the information and another 30 days to compile the information and report back to the town.
 
Mr. Martin stated if the report has an exception with regard to acquiring property or contract negotiations involving costs, information will not be made public.  He will have to see the report before he can make a determination as to whether or not the information provided will be made public at that time.
 
Councilman Hart stated he is ready to discuss the entire project with the public so they are fully aware of what the proposal is. He would like to see the Seneca Mall property developed and is willing to look for his own developer and take the property by eminent domain to acquire a reasonable project.
The motion carried unanimously. Lorigo’s involvement, at minimum, has to do with the fact that his office is located at the Seneca Mall parcel. Why did this come up last summer? Because of what I called the AwfulPAC; the now-defunct “WNY Progressive Caucus” was the Steve Pigeon / Frank Max / Kristy Mazurek effort to disrupt the Democratic Party and defeat certain of its county-level candidates.
 
AwfulPAC benefited from a huge cash injection from nominal Democrat and pro-life-oh-wait-pro-choice Tim Kennedy. But at the time, a singular donation of $25,000 from the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 3 was quite puzzling, and no one reported on it. 
 
 
No one understood why it was made, and it’s glaringly odd because a $25,000 donation would have practically emptied the union’s account. The image above is taken from Mazurek’s AwfulPAC 11-day pre-primary filing. By contrast, this is what the Bricklayer’s union’s disclosure shows on its 11-day pre-primary filing: 
 
 
We’re meant to believe that a union with only $28,000 on hand is emptying its account to fund the AwfulPAC? Indeed, a scan of this union local’s intake and outflow shows modest amounts – a few thousand coming in, a few hundred going out. It reports $5,000 to current Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in its 11-day pre-General. It gave Sean Ryan $500 bucks. Its July 2013 report shows a little over $1,000 to Tim Kennedy, but at no time did the BAC Local 3 report $25,000 to the “WNY Progressive Caucus”, and such an outflow appears on no disclosure report whatsoever
 
So, what’s going on? 
 
 
 
As Pigeon and Mazurek hyperventilate over allegations of supposed petition-destruction – something that despite years and years of open and obvious, internecine Democratic warfare has never happened before – let’s not let them off the hook for their own, more glaring and apparent sloppy campaign finance irregularities. 
 
New York State Democrats’ inability to get out of their own damn way is neither novel nor unique. Witness the spectacle just this week,  as a liberal gubernatorial challenger, Zephyr Teachout, is holding anti-Cuomo press conferences with right-wing Putin lookalike winner Rob Astorino. Hell no.
 
You want to make a point about the shutting down of the Moreland Commission? Do it. You want to call out the governor with his Republican challenger standing next to you? You just lost me. 
 
Here in Erie County, Nick Langworthy has the easiest  job in the world. He doesn’t need to do a thing when he has an endless parade of job-hungry nominal Democrats around to repeatedly sabotage whatever the county committee tries to do. 

The 2014 Kennedy/Mazurek Slate

From everything I can gather, there’s never been a time in recorded history when Erie County Democrats were united and working together as a matter of routine. It happens from time to time when convenient (i.e., when there’s something (or nothing) in it for everyone), but every election cycle or two there’s a party establishment that is battling on two fronts; Republicans on one side, and the sabotage wing of the nominal Democratic party on the other. 

You know the drill – “Concerned Parents” bludgeoning Sam Hoyt within an inch of his political life with the double-edged sword of infidelity and interns, engineering a coup in the state Senate to depose Democratic leadership there with a small collection of criminals, and a copycat coup in the Erie County Legislature to prop up the person who has quickly emerged as the most transactional, least interesting local politician – Tim Kennedy. 

Kennedy and Betty Jean Grant never really got along well, but the whole thing fell apart when Kennedy and Barbara Miller-Williams sold the Democratic legislature majority out to then-County Executive Chris Collins in a Pigeon-engineered coup in 2010. That positioned Kennedy to challenge incumbent Bill Stachowski and hop over to the appropriately useless State Senate. Grant mounted a grassroots, barebones challenge against Kennedy as payback two years later, and lost by only 139 votes

This year sets up a rematch of the Kennedy-Grant battle. During the last political cycle, the political action committee that Pedro Espada’s patronage hire, Steve Pigeon, set up last year with toxic personality Kristy Mazurek, found itself the subject of a bipartisan Erie County Board of Elections campaign finance violation probe. Subpoenas revealed undeclared expenses and sloppy accounting. It was called “Progressive Caucus of WNY” and its sole purpose was to sabotage the Erie County Democratic Committee and its candidates during the last cycle. I called it “AwfulPAC“. At one point in late October, it was late on its filings and $19,000 in the red. (It’s since updated its filings, which the Board of Elections has basically said are a masterpiece of fiction.) But losing most of its primaries wasn’t enough, AwfulPAC’s Republicans-in-Democratic-clothes went so far as to defame the Democratic candidate on the eve of the election

Pigeon supposedly funded AwfulPAC to the tune of $120,000 of money that came from God knows where. Senator Tim Kennedy gave an additional $80,000 – and he got revenge on Betty Jean Grant when AwfulPAC candidate Barbara Miller-Williams unseated Tim Hogues in the September primary. 

In the end, it cost about $267,000 (that are accounted-for) for Steve Pigeon and his known associates to kneecap the county Democratic committee and destroy Tim Hogues and Betty Jean Grant.  This is all they can do, since they have failed and refused to successfully challenge the committee chairmanship repeatedly over the last decade. They’re now gearing up not only to do battle against Grant, who is well-liked and not even close to lying down for these punks, but also to back a likely Mazurek effort to take the Assembly seat most recently kept warm by creepy toilet video director Dennis Gabryszak. AwfulPAC failed to account for $35,000 in TV spending, and spent another $112k directly on behalf of failed Sheriff candidate Dick Dobson, despite not properly being set up as an independent Dobson committee

Meanwhile, Kennedy flips and flops on abortion – he was pro-life when convenient, and is now pro-choice because that has suddenly become convenient – 

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo’s joke of an election law review – the Moreland Commission – has done absolutely nothing about any of this.  It hasn’t addressed election law shenanigans or improper reporting, raising, and spending of money, and has completely avoided the issue of toxic and corrupt minor “parties” and their use of electoral fusion to obtain unearned political clout and patronage. 

As Kennedy and Mazurek run, watch how the money flows in and out of their campaigns, (to the extent the disclosures resemble reality), and that’s how you’ll know what this is all really about. Hint: good government and constituent service aren’t on the list.


Wes Moore c/o Kristy Mazurek?

Michael Caputo’s PoliticsNY.net published some embarrassing 10 year-old information about Democratic LD-8 candidate Wynnie Fisher on Friday. Fisher apparently doesn’t get along with her neighbors, who figured they’d dime her out to her former Democratic primary opponent, Wes Moore. Typical small-town neighbor feud. Fisher’s neighbors sent a letter to Fisher’s Democratic primary opponent, Wes Moore. 

Now, if you wanted to send a letter to Wes Moore, what address would you use? 

Wes Moore’s campaign committee was based (inexplicably enough) in LD-6 – Clarence. 

8940 Main Street is a nondescript office building at Shimerville Road. Essex Homes and some other offices are located there. But when first constituted, Moore’s campaign treasurer listed a Buffalo address: 

Evidently, Nanula’s company is now located in Clarence. In any event, there is nothing to show that Moore’s campaign can be contacted anywhere but Clarence or Buffalo. A Google search doesn’t give up much information. Moore never had a campaign website – only a Facebook page, since closed. 

The WNY Progressive Caucus (which I have dubbed “AwfulPAC”) is now under investigation for campaign irregularities; possible illegalities. Among the myriad accusations that have been lodged is that members of the WNY Progressive Caucus PAC have been “coordinating” with campaign committees, which is against the law. Specifically, it is believed  that Kristy Mazurek of the suspended “2 Sides” WGRZ weekly political program, had simultaneously held positions of some authority within the Rick Zydel and Wes Moore campaigns. Due to some rift between Erie County Democratic chairman Jeremy Zellner, she was going to run legislative candidates to oppose the committee’s own. Only Barbara Miller-Williams was successful. Barely. 

Mazurek co-hosts 2 Sides with PoliticsNY.net publisher Caputo. She also ran media relations for the Shenk for Comptroller campaign, whose internal campaign materials mysteriously appeared on Caputo’s site some weeks ago – months after they ceased to be in any way relevant to anything. 

The primary that kicked Wes Moore out of the race for LD-8 took place the second Tuesday in September. Mazurek’s AwfulPAC was created on August 22nd. By September 7th, she claimed to the Buffalo News that any suggestion that she was coordinating with the Moore campaign was “laughable”

“That’s laughable,” said Mazurek, who denied any official role in any campaigns since the PAC was formed last month.

Mazurek said she volunteers at various campaigns but is involved in no coordination between them and the PAC.

“I can show up as a volunteer or for lit drops or fundraisers,” she said. “But I have been hands off because I know the rules and regulations.

“And I don’t understand these continuing, vicious attacks on Steve Pigeon,” she added. “I’ve never heard such a bunch of crybabies before.”

So, from Mazurek’s own mouth, she hadn’t been “hands-on” with the Moore campaign since August 22nd.  

But, if there had been no coordination – everything “hands-off” – between Mazurek‘s AwfulPAC and the Wes Moore campaign starting on August 22nd, why did the disgruntled neighbors send their “we hate Wynnie Fisher” materials to Mazurek’s house on October 19th

Compare that with this: 

Why is Wes Moore getting mail at non-coordinating “volunteer” Kristy Mazurek’s house? Why did the information then become fodder for a concerted Republican attack just 10 days later? Is Mazurek just a Republican stooge, now


AwfulPAC abandons Dobson

AwfulPAC made $112,000 in direct payments to vendors on behalf of the Dobson for Sheriff campaign. Under the law, it was entitled (a) only to make contributions to the Dobson campaign, not make payments on its behalf; and (b) spend only up to $14,392. AwfulPAC hasn’t filed its 10 day pre-General election disclosure, but its last report showed only a $100 check to its spokesman for taking the heat up in the Falls after AwfulPAC libeled Mark Hamister

If AwfulPAC was so intent on electing Dick Dobson Sheriff of Erie County, why hasn’t it spent $100,000+ on the general election? As it turns out, Dobson is an excellent candidate and would make a great Sheriff. He is articulate and thoughtful, and could use the help.

One can only conclude that AwfulPAC was never about electing Dick Dobson Sheriff – it was just about Dobson winning the Democratic primary in September. Now, AwfulPAC’s silence is effectively an endorsement for Tim Howard, since Dunn and Dobson are splitting the non-Howard vote. Not one ad, not one expenditure, not one contribution. 

Dobson’s own disclosure shows that Democrats came out in force for him after he won the primary, helping him raise over $10,000 in just one reporting period, $13,000 in another. Mazurek and Pigeon aren’t named. Pigeon’s Landen Associates contributed a whopping $200

In the first post-primary report, “Democratic Action” donated $9,000. That’s fine – that’s what a PAC is legally empowered to do. That’s great, except Democratic Action hasn’t filed a single disclosure this cycle, its last being a “no activity” report in July 2013. Its last reported fund balance? $2,400. If you’re going to BS people, at least do so credibly. 

In any event, $9,200 is a far cry from $112,000 in TV time. Why did Pigeon’s money and support flow in prior to October, but not since? 

 


AwfulPAC is Awful (UPDATED)

Remember the WNY Progressive Caucus? The Steve Pigeon/Kristy Mazurek production that was caught existing way before it intended

It’s $19,000 in the red, paid someone $100 on top of that, and is late filing its 11-day pre-General election disclosure

So, good government and whatnot. 

UPDATE: 

The Erie County Board of Elections voted unanimously today to refer a complaint lodged by attorney Mark Sacha against the WNY Progressive Caucus and Democratic Action to the County Attorney to seek a court order requiring the PACs to provide complete and accurate disclosure reports of all incoming and outgoing money. Furthermore, the BOE voted to launch an investigation into allegations that the PACs have been operating in violation of the law. 

Specifically, a PAC exists to raise money for candidates, and to donate money to those candidates’ campaigns. It does not exist to spend money on behalf of campaigns – that is what a committee does – authorized or not – and it is required to file a CF-3 sworn statement indicating the identity of the candidates the committee is backing. 

All this comes amidst evidence unearthed by Jerome Schad, an attorney for County Legislators Betty Jean Grant and Tim Hogues, showing that the WNY Progressive Caucus has actually spent $35,000 more on TV ads than it has disclosed to the Board of Elections. 

Campaign Finance Complaint & Evidence Against WNY Progressive Caucus


Campaign Disclosure: 10 Day Post Primary

If you were a candidate for election involved in a primary earlier this month, your campaign finance disclosure should include a 32 day pre-primary report, an 11 day pre-primary report, and a 10 day post-primary report. For instance, here is Lynn Dearmyer’s list of reports: 

Rick Zydel: 

But the victor of that three-way battle, Pat Burke, is late. As of this morning, his pre-primary reports have shown up. 

They weren’t there yesterday – the pre-primary report was 6 weeks late, and the 11 day was a month late. That’s either the negligence of a crap treasurer or something intentional. I asked him on Twitter:

The last question wasn’t answered. 

Looking at the newly appearing disclosures, in the 32-day, Burke reports $625 in unitemized proceeds from a mid-July fundraiser, which cost about $100 for pizza and beverages. Burke’s campaign bought him $113 pair of shoes for walking door to door, and $213 for “campaign attire” at JC Penney’s – those are new ones on me. He ended the period with $2660 on hand. 

Burke raised another $823 in unitemized contributions at an August fundraiser, and got $50 from Mark Schroeder’s campaign fund, and $250 from Savarino. Robert Sroda donated $1,000 in mid-August.  He pulled in about $3,000 in that period, and spent $3551 on direct mail with Zenger Group, which does tons of work for all sorts of candidates

But we don’t have the 10 day post-primary report, which will show everything that Burke spent in the days leading up to the election. There’s nothing controversial in Burke’s disclosures – no one’s going to make a stink about the suit and shoes, funny as it might be – but the lateness is troubling. 

Turning to this year’s breakaway nominal Democrat shit-stirring, the WNY Progressive PAC finished this year’s primary election cycle with -$18,000. Negative eighteen thousand. 

Steve Pigeon donated a little over $6,000 for stamps and Robocalls – (remember the pro-Fruscione, anti-Hamister mailers in the Falls had stamps on them?) Tim Kennedy ally and cancer peddlers AJ Wholesale gave another $10,000.  Tim Kennedy’s own Senate account ponied up another $40,000 – that makes a total of $125,000 from various open and closed Tim Kennedy campaign accounts.

On the expenditure side, $25,000 was paid to “Landon LLC”, which sounds a lot like Pigeon’s own Landen Associates.  Robocalls were done for $600 by “Van” in “Summerville [sic] MA”. Gia Marketing was paid, as was a Michael Darby, who was paid about $20,000 for a month’s worth of “consulting”. 

Pigeon himself “loaned” the committee another $70,000, leaving total liabilities of $90,000. Forget for a fact that these are the people who brought us the good government activism of Pedro Espada, here’s how they ended up the cycle: 

 

They have Dick Dobson and Barbara Miller-Williams to show for it. One could credibly fund at least 20 successful county legislative races for that kind of money. 

 

 


Awful Endorsements for an Awful Primary Day: #WNYVotes

Greetings, citizens of Goodenoughistan, where good enough is good enough! First things first.

Please note: these are not Artvoice endorsements, nor are they to be cited as such. They have not been approved or made by the Artvoice editors, publisher, or any combination thereof. All endorsements are mine and mine alone. They are preferences – not predictions.

Secondly, here is audio of a podcast I recorded with Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly and Trending Buffalo‘s Brad Riter. In it, we discuss the primary, the state of (mostly) Democratic politics in WNY, and how we got to this awful place.

http://www.trendingbuffalo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/TB09-09-13primary1.mp3

Thirdly, here is some background. Jeremy Zellner defeated Frank Max last year in a hotly contested race for chairmanship of the Erie County Democratic Committee – a win that was ultimately challenged in court, where Zellner’s win was upheld. Since then, Max and a group of dissident Democrats commonly affiliated with former party chair Steve Pigeon have turned their dissidence from passive neglect to active sabotage; chaos for chaos’ sake, as there is very little chance of success and barely any upside whatsoever.

The Mascot for the WNY Progressive Caucus PAC (not real)

In just the last two weeks, the Pigeon faction has created a brand new political action committee called the “WNY Progressive Caucus PAC“. It is operated by Kristy Mazurek, funded by Steve Pigeon, Frank Max, and Senator Tim Kennedy, and has as its spokesman a young Pigeon protege originally from Genesee County.

Typically, these sorts of things used to fly well under the radar, but this year it got blown wide open when a Buffalo News freedom of information request traced inflammatory mailers in two county legislature races to this new entity. Since then, the organization has been effectively outed, as it has begrudgingly (and arguably incompletely) disclosed donor and payee information, showing over $100,000 going in and out of the PAC in just about a week in support of certain Democratic candidates not backed by the party committee.

In addition, the PAC was found to be behind mailers that were sent throughout Niagara Falls in support of one city councilman who is working to halt progress on a prospective hotel project that Buffalo businessman Mark Hamister has proposed. The defamatory mailing went so far as to accuse Hamister of being a criminal.

If you want to get into deep background, consider this: when Max and Zellner squared off against each other for the chairmanship of the Erie County Democratic Committee, conventional wisdom was that Governor Cuomo was backing Max. When Max lost, conventional wisdom was that Cuomo’s people were continuing to back Max against Zellner, and that relations were chilly between Zellner and the Governor.

But a lot has changed in the last year, and the Governor is just fine, thank you, with Zellner, and Max has not been seen with Cuomo as much in recent months, if at all.

To make matters worse, the PAC’s mailer in the Falls was so inflammatory that Hamister was about to pull out of the deal altogether until Governor Cuomo called all parties to intervene and save it. I wonder what Cuomo thinks of Frank Max now that his PAC almost destroyed a development project in a city starved for them?

So, we turn to the races. These are Democratic primaries, mostly in Erie County. I don’t really care about the fusion parties, or whatever the Republicans might be up to.

COUNTYWIDE

Erie County Sheriff (BERT DUNN)

None of this matters if we don’t first come to an agreement on what incumbent Sheriff Tim Howard is. He is looking for a third term, and has been nothing but a bitter embarrassment and disappointment. When he wasn’t screwing up the Joan Diver search or letting Ralph “Bucky” Philips escape from custody, he was catching the attention of the federal Department of Justice due to conditions at the county holding centers. Howard needs to go.

Bert Dunn is the scion to the Bert’s Bikes empire, and his family also founded Dunn Tire. This means he can operate a campaign that is completely self-funded and reliant on nobody. Why is this important? Because Richard Dobson – a nice guy who retired over a decade ago – has no money at his disposal, and there won’t be a lot coming his way. The only way Howard goes is against a credibly well-funded challenger.

The last two Democrats to take Howard on – Fieramusca and Glascott – lost because they were retirees with little money and no political experience. Dobson may be the best guy in the world, but he is exactly like the last two challengers. Democrats need to try something different this time, and Bert Dunn helps them accomplish that.

Dobson allies will point out that Dunn wrote something mean about Obama and Cuomo in a text message to a friend. Who cares? Being Sheriff isn’t about partisan politics or whether Obama is great. It’s about competence, justice, and professionalism, and I have no reason to doubt that Dunn could bring that to the table.

COUNTY LEGISLATURE

Certain races will be closely watched because it takes one seat to flip the Democratic majority into a Republican one. That one seat doesn’t necessarily mean a Republican pickup, by the way – there are at least four nominal “Democrats” vying for a seat, any one or all of whom would gladly strike a deal to share power with the Republicans, just like under Barbara Miller-Williams period of dysfunction and collaboration.

District 1 (TIMOTHY HOGUES)

Tim Hogues is the incumbent. Hogues is chairman of the public safety committee and has helped to restore all the Collins cuts to libraries, rodent control, and a soon to open clinic on Broadway. Hogues is a rising star in the party and someone to watch. Barbara Miller-Williams sold out her party and her community to do Chris Collins’ bidding back in 2009. The de facto Republican legislative majority over which she presided was devastating to her constituents, and she was so politically inept that she approved the redistricting plan that ended up costing her re-election. She is being materially supported by the Max/Mazurek/Pigeon PAC, which has launched a vicious smear campaign against Hogues for having the audacity to act in exactly the way a legislator in a regional governmental entity should act.

District 2 (BETTY JEAN GRANT)

Rumor has it that Tim Kennedy’s $45,000 donation to the Max/Mazurek/Pigeon PAC is revenge for Grant coming very close to unseating him in the state Senate through a write-in campaign last year. Democrat Grant is still smarting over how Kennedy conspired with Steve Pigeon, Barbara Miller-Williams, and Chris Collins to deliver Collins a de facto Republican legislature. Betty Jean is a great advocate for her community, and deserves re-election.

District 7 (LYNN DEARMYER)

This is the Tom Mazur district. This is ground zero for the battle between the Democratic factions. The Pigeonistas are backing former Cheektowaga Councilman Rick Zydel. Zellner (although not the county committee) is backing Lynn Dearmyer, who ran for the seat in 2009. I went online to look and see what the candidates stand for. Zydel doesn’t even have a website where one can look at his platform. That by itself should disqualify him in this day and age. Dearmyer makes much of her personality and biography, and that stuff is all messed up and stuff, but doesn’t really explain what she’d do to change anything, or how she’d be different. Pat Burke also has a website, and it touts his background and achievements, as well. The “issues” section is pretty light, though. He definitely identifies some serious problems, but doesn’t quite get into specifics of any solutions.

Based on that, I would back Dearmyer or Burke. I think I would lean Dearmyer because the outgoing rep is backing her. But for the love of God, people, put some damn ideas up on the internet.

District 8 (WYNNIE FISHER)

So, again – the Pigeon people are backing Wes Moore. Remember that thing I wrote up a few paragraphs about not having a website? Sheesh, neither Moore nor Wynnie Fisher have any significant web presence. They are on Facebook, though. On Fisher’s page, I see her with Mark Poloncarz and Maria Whyte. On Moore’s page, I see an August 28th post from Kristy Mazurek thanking people for coming to a Moore shindig, indicating some form of involvement in the campaign. The problem with that is that Mazurek’s PAC came into existence on the 22nd, and she shouldn’t be coordinating between the PAC and the campaign. I suppose the definition of “coordination” is subject to some debate, but this sure as hell smells like it.

I don’t want another turncoat legislature that hands the body over to the Republicans. Fisher it is.

BUFFALO MAYOR (DEMOCRATIC PARTY): (NO ENDORSEMENT)

I’ve never endorsed Byron Brown before, and I’m not about to start. While Brown hasn’t delivered on the “progress”, as he claims, his challenger Bernie Tolbert has been all over the place in this race. Tolbert’s effort has been so weak that he didn’t just fail to define himself, he was such a nonentity that Brown didn’t find a need to try to define Tolbert, either. Tolbert said people “Believe in Bernie” but didn’t explain why, or for what. Tolbert offers up a choice without a rationale – yeah, Byron is terrible in a lot of ways; a caretaker mayor, but Tolbert only went as far as pointing that out, never giving voters a positive reason why they should choose him instead.

For me, President Obama’s visit – and the way each campaign used it – said it all. While Tolbert got out a quick one-liner about Obama mixing up Higgins and Brown, the Mayor used glowing things Obama said about Buffalo’s recent successes as the template for his own, positive, ad. It was as if Obama was not only endorsing Brown, but telling people that Brown was behind them all. It was the last nail in a coffin that only needed maybe 3.

(CONSERVATIVE PARTY): SERGIO RODRIGUEZ

Seriously, I hope all of the fusion parties go straight to hell, but you go to war with the army you have, not the one you want. Sergio Rodriguez is the Republican candidate who is also vying for the Conservative Party line. I would love for him to have it, because the only thing conservative about Byron Brown (whom that committee has endorsed) is his quiet passivity as mayor over the last two terms. I apologize for omitting this originally, but this is an excellent way to send a message to the “politics as usual” crowd that money and jobs don’t always rule the day. 

NIAGARA FALLS CITY COUNCIL

If you are fortunate enough to live in the Cataract City, and unfortunate enough to deal with its ever-crisis, then do yourself a favor, Democrat, and vote for Andrew Touma, Kristen Grandinetti, and Charles Walker. (It’s a vote-for-any-three election). I don’t know the first thing about them, but I have seen enough about Sam Fruscione in the last week to know that you should never, ever vote for him again for anything, ever.

Questions/comments & hate mail: buffalopundit[at]gmail.com

Follow along on Twitter.


Loanshark Politics and Other Things

Endorsements will come tomorrow both in text and by way of a Trending Buffalo podcast I’m recording with Brad Riter and Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly today. 

In the meantime,

1. Donn Esmonde is still an ass – whether he’s touting Congressman Brian Higgins being a good guy for agreeing with Donn Esmonde, and embracing “quicker, lighter, cheaper” on the waterfront – because “fast, big & grand” is never, ever something to which any community should aspire. Good enough is good enough in Goodenoughistan. Also, Preservationist Tom Yots is a great guy because he’s going to help save a church that all of you – yes you – suburb dwellers single-handedly decimated with your flight from the neighborhood. 

2. Paul Wolf says that Niagara Falls’ trouble troika are being reasonable by asking questions about developer Mark Hamister’s $25 million + plan to develop a mixed-use hotel development near the Falls State Park. 

Asking questions is one thing. From everything I’ve heard from people who have been involved in politics for a long, long time, this city government is uniquely dysfunctional and corrupt. So much so that it makes any other dysfunctional and corrupt government entity look like Switzerland by comparison.

The reason why an appraisal is stupid here is that the city got the land for free, because there’s nothing on it whatsoever, and because it is surrounded by squalor, vacancies, and something that looks like it was airlifted from Fordham Road in the Bronx. The Falls are a couple of blocks away, but the culinary institute (which is not promoted in any way on any approach to the city) is directly across the street.

This is a city that has ceded acres of prime real estate to a NYC-based land speculator who is still patiently waiting to actually do something, and thus leaving acres of prime real estate empty and unattractive.

Niagara Falls Redevelopment redevelops nothing, and these three clowns sit there and ask nothing. Hamister comes to town (he owns and operates hotels, btw) with a plan and all they have to do is sell him a parcel of land for $100k and they get actual redevelopment.

Let’s kill that. Clearly, empty lots and vacant haunted wax museums are the highest and best uses for property in and around the neglected flash cube.

3. Marc Odien does a pretty good job connecting a lot of the disparate dots underscoring this season’s political double-dealing and corruption. It’s all about who gets to pick whom for patronage jobs, and it’s about bad people kicking money back to each other. This comes from the Facebook page of Falls Mayor Paul Dyster (I’ve shortened the links): 

One more time from the top if you missed links from the previous posts:

Top petitioner for Fruscione was Louis D. Turchiarelli, 3248 Seneca Street, Apt. 10, West Seneca, NY 14224. Six sheets of 25 each on 6/29-30.

On petitioner Louis: http://bit.ly/14y7HD5http://bit.ly/1ajCJO6

And on pollster father Don: http://bit.ly/17PpXCF

Father, son and firm Gia Consulting use same address.

Payment to Gia Consulting (could be for petitioning, push polling or both) from Sam Fruscione from 32 day pre-primary report ($1k): http://bit.ly/1evdpY6

Anderson and Chooklokian also use Gia.

Payment to Gia Consulting from WNY Progressive Caucus from 11-day pre-primary ($4k): http://bit.ly/15PP738

3248 Seneca St.–same address as Turchiarelli used on petitions.

From prisoner locator website: http://1.usa.gov/18OD8Vl : Served two years and was fined $1,500.

In case you didn’t click any of them

A man who had been active in Buffalo politics was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison for threatening physical violence to collect a Rochester gambling debt.

Louis D. Turchiarelli, 38, of California Street, pleaded guilty to using extortion to collect an extension of credit. FBI agents arrested him last year after learning of threats against a Rochester man who owed $18,000 to bookmakers.

A former professional boxer, Turchiarelli had been a longtime Democratic Party activist in Buffalo before his legal problems. He resigned as the party’s West Side zone chairman about two months after his arrest. In September 2005, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Erie County legislator in the 6th District. He also lost a 2003 primary contest for Niagara District Common Council member.

A federal judge in Rochester sentenced Turchiarelli to two years in prison and ordered him to pay a $1,500 fine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey said.

The three responsible question-askers on the Niagara Falls city council are retaining the professional services of convicts. Good government, it’s not. 




Older Posts »