Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Events Weekly Features Classifieds Contact

The Unbelievable Siena Poll

 On Monday a Siena Poll with unbelievable results was released to the public. It stated that while 59% of voters liked Mark Grisanti 30% do not and another 11% had no opinion of him. It also claimed 47% will vote for him on November 6, 2012. They polled 439 people out of the more than 300,000 people who live in the district, so mathematically Republican Mark Grisanti could probably count on 202 of the people polled to vote for him next month. But there could be as many as 202,000 people voting. The poll slanted Republican and didn’t mention hydrofracking or raising the minimum age. The poll was commissioned by the Buffalo News and WGRZ TV, two of Grisanti’s biggest supporters. If the poll was real, Democrat Mike Amodeo would have a problem.
 
First of all, there is the 47% that say they will vote for Grisanti. Common Cause Analysis revealed that Grisanti took in 92% of his campaign cash from donors outside of the State Senate 60th district, but that’s a red herring. 100% of the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee’s cash is from outside the district. Grisanti is about to spend over one million dollars to be re-elected and the RSSCC will spend about one and a half million dollars. Which means 2% of Grisanti’s money comes from within the district while 98% comes from outside sources. So the question becomes; “With spending like that, how in the world is it possible that under 50% of the people will say they are going to vote for you?” The number of people that say they will vote for Grisanti should be much higher, even without spending $2,500,000 to keep an $80,000 job.
 
If you meet Grisanti you come away liking him. How is it possible that a poll came up with only a 59% likability? My guess would be in the high 90% range. Maybe not vote for him but still like him. I’m one of those people. I think Grisanti is extremely intelligent and 100% likeable but I can’t vote for him, I’m also 100% against hydrofracking. There is no way I can cast a vote for something that will cause cancer. That’s where there isn’t a choice. Pumping cancer causing agents into the ground and into the air and then to take the polluted waste water loaded with carcinogenic compounds and dump it into the Niagara River and Lake Ontario is in a category that defies description; it is going way beyond a mortal sin. I have to wonder why the Siena Poll “forgot” to ask about hydrofracking?


Chuck Swanick: Progressive?

Yesterday on Facebook, someone I know explained his support for Chuck Swanick for state Senate based on his opinion that Swanick is more progressive on environmental issues than his opponents, and also that he has a better grasp of state issues and their effects on the local community.  

Oh, really? 

I will grant you, he’s more progressive in terms of, e.g., becoming a Republican, cozying up with Giambra, earning personal perks, privileges, patronage, and pay.  I will grant you that he’s more progressive in terms of looking out for #1 above all else, that he is without peer in the business of “protecting Chuck Swanick” and “looking out for Chuck Swanick“.

I will also concede that he is unique in that his bad-government bona fides are unparalleled, and that he and his supporters are undeterred by them. If ever there was an advertisement made to highlight “how government and politics in WNY are horrible things populated by horrible people”, Chuck Swanick‘s name and image would be plastered all over it.  

He should be perpetually and serially unelectable – not just unelectable, but the mere suggestion of his election should send average citizens screaming. 

Last week, proper Democrat Mike Amodeo released his campaign platform. It’s solid, smart, and full of things Democrats should be supporting. So, I’m at a loss to explain why it is that we need a “Democrat” like Chuck Swanick to run against him with the express support of homophobic, fundamentally transactional bad actor, Conservative Party boss Ralph Lorigo

But yeah. “Progressive.” 


Chuck Swanick and Terribleness

Chuck Swanick skulked back into the private sector and out of government in the aftermath of the epic disaster that was the county fiscal meltdown of 2004 – 2005. He went back to his job with CSX, but saw an opportunity last year when State Senator Mark Grisanti voted in favor of same-sex marriage. 

The opportunity was that Swanick could be the conservative Catholic homophobic Democratic candidate and challenge Grisanti. He enlisted the help of local scheissmeister Steve Pigeon, fresh off of a cush State Senate job under his protege-turned-convict Pedro Espada. This means that every hack with a (D) after their name who has a beef with Len Lenihan’s Erie County Democratic Committee had been enlisted in the Pigeon/Swanick cause. 

Swanick, in expressing his disgust and opposition to same-sex marriage, quickly received the endorsement of execrable Ralph Lorigo-led jobs club known as the “Conservative Party” (which is famously inconsistent in its supposed automatic withholding of support for candidates who back same-sex marriage – see Kennedy, Tim). 

What’s so conservative about Swanick? His opponent, Mike Amodeo reminds us of that, as Chairperson of the Erie County Legislature, Swanick requested $4.78 Million for the Legislature’s 2004 budget. Included in Swanick’s bloated budget request were funds for 50 patronage employees. In addition, the Legislature stashed away another $2.7 Million for member items, more commonly known as pork projects. In comparison, the County Legislature’s 2012 budget is $2.96 Million, with no money allocated for member items. The Legislature staff has also since been right-sized to almost half the employees of the Swanick era

“On the eve of the Red/Green Budget Crisis, Chuck Swanick’s focus was on pork and patronage for his political fiefdom,” said his challenger, Amodeo. “Voters have no interest in returning to the days of wasteful spending.”

During Swanick’s tenure at the Legislature, Erie County’s cash reserves dwindled down to a paltry $4 Million. In addition, Swanick helped squander $250 Million of proceeds from the County’s tobacco settlement. Swanick also voted to allow Erie County to sell the Erie County Medical Center to itself, incurring another $200 Million long-term liability in exchange for an approximately $85 Million short-term benefit. New York State eventually determined that Erie County needed “adult supervision” and implemented a control board. 

“When Chuck Swanick left office in 2005, County finances were in complete shambles,” concluded Amodeo. “Chuck’s decision to campaign as a ‘fiscal conservative’ is an insult to every Erie County resident that had their library closed, services cut and taxes raised.”

Remember all that? You should. It’s what sparked a reasonably serious civic discussion about the future direction of the city and county, and started a local tax revolt of sorts as the county’s share of the sales tax inched up to avoid catastrophe. 

Swanick – a former Democrat turned Republican turned Democrat recently accepted two donations totaling $7,000 from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an anti-equality organization based out of Princeton, New Jersey. Since 2007, NOM has spent millions of dollars across the United States to restrict the rights of LGBT Americans, whom NOM Chairman John Eastman has referred to as ‘barbarians’.

Swanick, a 26 year career politician, also received a contribution of $16,800 from Sean Fieler of Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. Fieler, a major Republican donor and hedge fund manager, is chairman of the American Principles Project, whose founder is chairman emeritus of NOM.

 “I am deeply troubled to hear of Chuck Swanick’s taking of campaign funding from NOM, a hate group designated as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Bryan Ball, President of Stonewall Democrats of WNY. “Mr. Swanick’s blatant disregard for the equal rights and protections of every Western New York family he seeks to represent is an offensive assault on the right to freedom we value as Americans. The Democratic Party has always stood to aid the civil rights movement, and hate such as Mr. Swanick’s has no place in our great Party. I am proud of all who stand united against such divisiveness. Never should any part of our great Party support his actions.”

According to NOM’s own press release, the organization “intends to participate in legislative contests throughout the state as part of its $2 million commitment to make sure the voters of New York are able to vote to restore marriage in New York”.

Mike Amodeo supports same-sex marriage. He pledges to take on NYPA to ensure that western New York’s waterfronts continue to improve. He is against hydrofracking and the environmental risks that come from injecting bedrock with water and noxious chemicals to extract natural gas from it.  (Swanick essentially supports fracking). He supports term limits and changing Albany’s careerist culture. (Swanick is the opposite). 

Swanick isn’t a Democrat, and I don’t understand his return to politics, except by noting how he differs from the mainstream Democrat running against him.