LD-3 Democrats Select Savage, Disrespect Females
The Erie County Democratic Committee selected loyal City Hall soldier Peter Savage III to fill the seat that Erie County Legislator Lynn Marinelli vacated in January. A vote Monday is expected to formalize the recommendation. Here is the press release that went out this past weekend:
(Buffalo, NY) Democratic committee members in the 3rd Legislative District voted today to recommend Peter J. Savage III to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Lynn Marinelli. Savage currently serves as Senior Deputy Corporation Counsel in the City of Buffalo Department of Law. He has worked in a number of roles in city government and served on the boards of West Side Neighborhood Housing Services and the Good Government Club of Western New York.
Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner said, “I would like to congratulate Peter Savage on his decisive victory in today’s vote. He will bring a wealth of knowledge and passion for his community to county government. On Monday I am sending a letter to the Erie County Legislature calling on them to appoint Peter quickly. The people of the 3rd Legislative District deserve representation. I look forward to working closely with Peter and County Executive Mark Poloncarz to continue moving our party and community forward.”
When Bob McCarthy wrote about the hand-wringing that’s taken place over the past few months over this, he focused on factionalism; whether Savage is too close to City Hall. That is far from any reasonable point.
Under normal circumstances, it would be good form for Democrats to nominate and select a female to replace an outgoing female – not because of any quotas, but because women are generally underrepresented in elective office. The Erie County Legislature has three women remaining in an 11 – person entity. Savage’s entry does nothing to change that. Frankly, because Democrats are supposed to stand for some semblance of gender equality, justice, and fairness, you’d expect that the 3rd District would get it together to recommend one of the qualified females to replace Marinelli.
Michele Iannello is a veteran of the factional wars, so I can see the committee passing her over, but what about Jennifer Diagostino or Amber Small? You mean to tell me there did not exist one qualified female in the 3rd Legislative District to replace a female legislator?
This is not to say Savage is unqualified – he surely is. I also don’t much care whether Savage was Deputy Mayor Steve Casey’s right-hand man. The question is one of judgment, and what it means to be a Democrat.
My problem is that Savage carried Conservative Party petitions for Republican Chris Collins during the 2011 County Executive race against Democrat Mark Poloncarz. He carried petitions for a piece of garbage fusion party that opposes reproductive rights for women, same-sex marriage, and every other social justice item for which Democrats are supposed to stand. He carried those petitions in opposition to a qualified Democratic candidate who had a very difficult race. Some say that sort of thing is just politics as usual; I call it an unforgivable betrayal.
City Hall was quite open about its support of Collins in 2011 – after all, many of the benefits then-extant legislative coup granting Collins a de facto legislative majority inured to City Hall. The quo for that quid came about with some Republicans close to Collins reportedly helped Brown against Sergio Rodriguez last year.
It’s also come to light that Chairman of the Conservative Party – Ralph Lorigo (whose son is a County Legislator) – lobbied the Tonawanda Democratic Committee on Savage’s behalf. The Conservative Party which, when it isn’t busy wielding political influence that it hasn’t really earned, is busy advocating for things Democrats are supposed to hate, like reduction in spending on social programs and education. The tea party, for God’s sake.
Savage heads up a PAC called the “Committee for Change” and is active in Steve Pigeon’s “Democratic Action”. Board of Election filings reveal that the “Committee for Change” donated to Joe Lorigo, who is a Conservative Party member who caucuses with the Republicans. How, precisely, does “Committee for Change” back Democratic candidates, as claimed, if it’s supporting Conservative candidates? Based on this, what guarantee is there that Savage will caucus with the Democrats at all?
That’s some change.
Congratulations seem to be in order for young Mr. Savage. But the Democrats in the 3rd LD should take a good hard look in the mirror and ask themselves whom they’ve become. It’s still a man’s world when a guy who so actively campaigned against the Democratic County Executive can get a nod to replace a female on the county leg. It’s a sick joke that an active supporter of the notorious Conservative Party – which stands against everything the Democrats should – gets an appointment such as this.
At this rate, I’m shocked that Kathy Weppner wasn’t under consideration. She’s a conservative and a woman, but lives outside that particular district.