In the Max-Panepinto-Zellner three-way battle to become chief cat-herder of the Erie County Democratic Committee, Max and Panepinto seem to be splitting the “not Zellner” vote, to the latter’s benefit. Part of the Max camp’s aim is to push Dennis Ward out of the Board of Elections. The pretext is some remote and perceived slight or another, and the real reason is who gets to control BOE jobs. So, Max sent this out yesterday:
It has come to our attention and is our belief that Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis Ward, who also serves as Secretary of the Erie County Democratic Committee, has unfairly and intentionally manipulated the redistricting process in order to gain an unfair proportional vote that he controls at the upcoming Erie County Democratic Committee Reorganizational meeting.
As Party Secretary, he believes he will be running the reorganizational meeting September 29, 2012. The sole purpose of his running the meeting will be to secure another 4-year term as Erie County’s Election Commissioner.
The only hope of unifying the Erie County Democratic Party going forward is if all sides have faith in a fair and free election. Therefore, we ask the New York State Democratic Committee to intervene and dispatch either Chairman Miner or Chairman Wright to oversee the meeting. Only through such oversight will the integrity of this meeting be insured.
Your immediate response is appreciated.
Frank C. Max Jr.
Erie County Democratic Chair – Candidate
The emphases are mine. It’s basically “do it my way, or else”. Yesterday, City of Tonawanda committee chair and county committee treasurer Gayle Syposs wrote on her Facebook page,
read and believe if you can from the guy whose strategy meeting last night was with Pigeon, Casey, Garner, Maybe we could call in the state police too and see if he can win that way. I guess threatening peoples jobs didn’t do it huh?
That’s Steve Pigeon, Deputy Mayor Steve Casey, and Grassroots chair Maurice Garner. Threatening people’s jobs? Gayle continued,
What has been going on in Erie County the last few weeks and days will go down in history as the worst example of campaigning that could be in what is a Democratic Process. People who apparently feel that they can’t win this chairman race straight up now resort to threats to peoples employment, threats to families and political careers.
It is disgusting and shows me how proud I am to have been part of the administration of Len Lenihan, the most decent honest man that ever could have led us.
We will have our vote Saturday in a secret ballot and that is that. Majority rules and hopefully decency too. This ain’t Russia or China. This is Erie County New York and we will pick a Chairman because the bylaws say so.
Sounds like nothing else is working, so one candidate is resorting to threatening committeepeople. Andrew is right – maybe we shouldn’t judge the chair candidates on their pasts – sordid or clean as they may be – but on their present behavior.
Meanwhile, outgoing ECDC Chairman Len Lenihan wrote a farewell letter:
All good things must come to an end. On Friday when I leave Democratic Headquarters for the last time it will bring to an end an amazing ten year ride that has resulted in the reestablishment of the Erie County Democratic Committee as the dominant political force in Western New York.
This would not have been possible without your support, dedication and commitment. Regardless of what role you played as a candidate, contributor, party leader, volunteer, or just a great booster, we could not have done it without you. There are no words that can adequately express my appreciation to you for being there for us.
The numerous victories are hard to fathom. All three area congressional members are now Democrats, two of them being women. The restoration of the County Executive and the County Legislature to Democratic control. 11 of the last 13 Supreme Court Justices were elected on the Democratic line. The list goes on and on.
We had the best staff, using the most advanced techniques and strategies. Never once in our ten year run was there even a scent of scandal or impropriety. Our debt was greatly reduced, and the number of our volunteers were greatly increased.
In the end, what it all boils down to, are the values, principles, and ideals that bind us together as Democrats. Those principles have always been worth fighting for, and fight we did for ten years. I ask only that you give my successor the same level of support and dedication that you gave to me.
It has been a great honor to lead this great party, and an even greater honor working with you to achieve our goals. If ever I can be of help to you, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to seeing and working with you again in the future.
Len Lenihan Chairman,
Erie County Democratic Committee 2002-2012
And this was, in part, the topic of Wednesday’s “One Thing” podcast with Brad Riter from Trending Buffalo.