What’s Really Profane?

fracism

See the kid in that image holding that sign? Obviously, that’s someone’s kid.

Before I continue, please note that I have express permission from the person who took the image to use it, and from the kid’s parents to publish it, provided I pixellate the child’s face. 

The kid’s mom attended a protest relating to a fundraiser at a downtown restaurant that has been the subject of some recent controversy

The sign speaks for itself, but let’s examine it anyway. It reads, “F Racism Im going to Lloyds” [sic]. The parents know that “Lloyd” is singular, but didn’t have the apostrophes needed to render the sign’s punctuation correct. When I first saw it, I thought the sign was hilarious, in part because a kid was holding it. It’s a great protest sign – not too rhetorically heavy, and all-American with its sanitized “f” word, a great anti-racism sentiment, and recognition of the patent choices that consumer capitalism grants us to choose where and how to spend our money. 

You don’t have to agree with the sign, or where it was being used to picket, but there is literally nothing wrong with the sentiment “f racism”.

Is there? 

Oh, the hand-wringing over this has been so epic, you’d have thought this was satan himself. 

The first person to chime in was the owner of the targeted business, who denigrated it as “child abuse” – a very serious allegation that is in no way true. 

Remember a few months ago some guy had the time to secure a ticket to a speech Governor Cuomo gave at UB, only to scream a steady stream of internet comments at him? He wrote about it, too. 

LOL “Coloncarz”, right? I mean, you see that the level of thought and discourse here is firmly planted in the 5th grade. 

To be clear – I was not at the protest. I had nothing whatsoever to do with the protest – didn’t attend, didn’t organize, am not a member of any group having anything to do with that protest, just so we’re all clear. That’s a lie. I had nothing to do with kids holding signs with “implied vulgarities” – a pretty hilarious way to make something benign seem sinister. “Thugs…keeping it real classy”, sort of like the unhinged threats that this guy hurled at people on the street? Threatening to “take your ass out, too”, and acting belligerently towards people? 

Full version is below. “Who would Jesus threaten” is a good line. 

Wow. that’s “classy”. This “thug” should have been arrested on the spot for disturbing the peace. 

This is a guy supposedly so worried about a kid holding a sign with an “implied vulgarity”, yet threatened to “take your ass out to” literally within the presence of that same kid

County Executive Mark Poloncarz weighed in on Twitter with, “Why is a girl that young holding that sign? That’s too much. Bring her to the protest but that’s not needed.” I replied that I didn’t have a problem with a 9 or 10 year old kid holding a sign that reads, “f racism”. Rightist commentator Michael Caputo agreed with Poloncarz, adding, “kudos to [Mark] for standing up to #Buffalo radicals’ profane use of children.”

Yeah, no

Forget the subject matter of the protest itself – set that aside for a moment. It’s “radical” to oppose racism? It’s “child abuse” to teach your kids to detest racism? It’s “profane” for a kid to hold a sign that reads, “f racism”? 

No, none of those things is true. 

Racism is the thing that is obscene, indecent, and profane. Racism is the thing that everyone should be piling on about, not some kid holding a sign with the express permission of her parents, who could do without the lecture from you, thank you very much. I’m a parent, and I’d have no problem whatsoever with my kid holding a sign that reads, “f racism”. I’d rather have my kid march in a rally denouncing racism than have one of them go down to Charlottesville to protest the long overdue eradication of monuments to slavery-fueled treason. 

Are you saying that you oppose the sentiment, “fuck racism”? Because that’s what the sign is about. It’s not a controversial thing, and this focus on its form – as opposed to its substance – is nothing more than a bunch of people with no standing tsk-tsking and substituting their morality for that of this girl’s parents. 

F that. 

Feelings; Nothing More than Feelings

trigrd

Last week, the President of the United States of America took time out of his busy schedule of golf and watching Fox to hector black football players about exercising their 1st Amendment right to political seech. This resulted in the NFL’s highest ratings in a while, and a massive production increase in self-righteous right-wing hand-wringing about millionaire black athletes who should really be more “grateful” than to protest police shootings of black people. 

Personally, I will always stand for the national anthem, and the reasons why are none of your business. Well, that’s not completely true – like you, when it plays on TV before the start of a sports event, or during a medal ceremony, I stay firmly planted on the couch. But if an athlete takes a respectful knee during the anthem in order to make a political point, I respect that choice and hope the message being sent is being received. If you stand, but don’t recognize the right of others to sit or kneel, what is it, exactly, that you’re standing for? A flag? A flag is merely a symbol for our country and its Constitution. Compulsory show-patriotism is not what that flag stands for. 

I’m not a Bills superfan, I’ve never been to a game, don’t plan to, either. Not my thing; not my scene. But I am a fan of the Constitution. Politics are my thing. Freedom and liberty and respectful protest are my scene. Players kneeling during the National Anthem affects me in no way whatsoever, whether I agree with it or not; it is silent, respectful protest. It disturbs nothing. It is kneeling, which is arguably more respectful than standing. I may be a lightweight or fair weather football fan, but that’s better than being a lightweight or fair weather American, and people aren’t kneeling to disrespect the flag or the country or your momma or apple pie or Chevrolet; they kneel to protest systemic racism, and almost all of the criticism and hate boils down to – you’re too uppity (now repurposed as “ungrateful”); stand the fuck up. The hand-wringing over this from people who just a few weeks ago expressed their support for statues of men who fought to buy, sell, and own other people is astounding. It sickens me not that players kneel, but the phony patriot-show virtue signaling from people who exalt symbolism over substance.

One man made headlines in Buffalo over the weekend because he quit his seasonal part-time job working security for the Bills to protest a few of the athletes taking a knee. Erich Nikischer made it to Channel 2, Huffington Post, the New York Post, the Daily News, and countless other media because of his principled resignation. Mr. Nikischer has another job, though. He is a state employee earning $71,000 as a court officer, to be precise. His wife, Tammy, earns the same, also working for the state. 

You’ve no doubt see the carefully posed image of Mr. Nikischer outside the stadium just after he dramatically, “took off [his] shirt, threw [his] my Bills hat on the ground, walked out”. He continued that he could no longer, “work in a place where multi-millionaires cry that they are oppressed.” 

There’s this thing called the “US Flag Code“.  It isn’t enforced because the 1st Amendment forbids it – this is a “free country”, so you’re free to pretty much do whatever you feel like with an American flag, and the government can’t do a thing about it. You can burn it, you can cut a hole it in and wear it as a poncho, you can even wear an Under Armour t-shirt that shows an American flag within the product logo. That’s what Mr. Nikischer is wearing in that now-iconic image, and that shirt violates the flag code’s prohibition on advertising, printing for temporary use, and “wearing apparel”. Why does Mr. Nikischer feel so strongly about black athletes kneeling before the flag during the anthem, but so flagrantly violates the code designed to ensure proper respect for our flag? Either way, I support Mr. Nikischer’s 1st Amendment right to disrespect the flag with his Under Armour shirt.

Mr. Nikischer has carefully santitized his Facebook timeline since he thrust himself into this controversy and made himself a public person for this issue, but yesterday he had posts up that he had shared from a page called “Fuck Sensitivity”. He gleefully posted that there’d be a civil war and one side had a lot of guns, while the other side wouldn’t know what bathroom to use, thus cleverly mixing bloodlust with transphobia. He had a large number of posts that could be summed up as, ‘fuck your feelings‘ – a favorite of Trump supporters. He had a post up that joked about murder, and this one was good, too: 

Someone sent me that screenshot – I didn’t take caps of the other posts, because I thought he’d be satisfied to keep them up. Incidentally, NASCAR has a big issue with its fans and confederate treason-slavery flags. Call me crazy, but waving the flag of a country that fought a war against the US for the right to maintain the right to keep, buy, and sell human beings as chattel is a lot more disrespectful to the US than kneeling during the National Anthem. 

My favorite part of Mr. Nikischer’s timeline was the juxtaposition of anti-Constitutional Convention, ‘don’t let Cuomo take my state pension’ posts with ‘fuck your feelings, #MAGA!’

Hey, Mr. Nikischer and “Easy Home Ideas”, schools in the US still recite the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Everything else has either been removed or stuck behind tightened privacy restrictions. 

I wish Mr. Nikischer well and certainly defend his right to express his deeply held political speech. It’s too bad that he can’t see past his own point of view to do the same for others. America stands for the right of people to stand, kneel, sit, or stretch during the National Anthem. If black athletes peacefully and silently protesting police brutality offends you, well, to paraphrase, 

Tacogate

Vegan_Buffalo_Seitan_Tacos_(8574125451)

Richard Hamilton, the owner of Deep South Taco, supports Sheriff Tim Howard. There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that – he is free to support whomever he wants. 

In fact, he has hosted fundraisers for Howard in the past, and intends to host another one in the near future. He even cuts Howard a deal, with a $1,600 in-kind contribution for food showing up in Howard’s campaign coffers. 

There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that – he is free to support whomever he wants. 

Hamilton is tight enough with the Howard that he became a “Reserve Deputy Sheriff”. I have no idea what that is, but there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that – he is free to support whomever he wants. 

The Buffalo chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is organizing a boycott of Deep South Taco because of Hamilton’s closeness with Howard. The DSA cites its vehement opposition to Howard in this viral Facebook post and similar Tweets: 

I represent the County in matters involving the Sheriff’s office, so I take no position whatsoever with respect to the DSA’s boycott of Deep South Taco. I have, however, been holding a one-family boycott of that place for a couple of years, but not proselytizing about it then or now. 

Back then, I followed Hamilton on Twitter and noticed him starting to Tweet some rather hateful, ignorant stuff, claiming that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama hated America; real dense and stupid dittohead garbage. I called him out on it directly at the time, and he didn’t seem to get it. 

He argued with me about it, and I paraphrased his outlook this way to him: “I’m opening three new restaurants. Also, did you know Hillary Clinton hates America?” and suggested that it isn’t a great motivator for Democrats to patronize his establishment(s). Of course, anyone else is free to use the owner’s political viewpoint as a reason to visit more. That’s the interesting thing about a business that holds itself out as open to the general public taking a strong partisan political viewpoint – you’re going to alienate some, but attract others. It’s a tricky equation, especially when you’re talking about a local chain of hipster neo-taco joints. 

Then last year, someone on Reddit tried to shame the owner of Jay’s Artisan Pizzeria (the best – only – true Neapolitan pizzeria in all of WNY) for Tweeting a negative review of Deep South Taco. I waded in the thread, noting that I had gone a few times but ultimately decided not to anymore because I don’t like the owner. Hamilton argued with me there, but the ultimate irony was his whinging about a negative review when he isn’t shy about offering his own. 

Someone noted that the owner of Jay’s is “kind of a dick“. I responded, with a “what’s your point” – that the owner of Deep South Taco was, too. Hamilton then replied to me, and you can see the thread here

These are the tweets that I showed him: 

Hamilton and I have had each other blocked on Twitter for a while, but this week, as this DSA thing came to a head, I noticed that Deep South Taco blocked me, too, merely because someone tagged me in a boycott Tweet that I had completely ignored. Again: I never, ever urged other people to not eat at Deep South Taco; when called out, I simply explained why I won’t: that’s it. Well, getting blocked triggered this “leftist”. Here’s what I tweeted about it: 

I guess the DSA boycott caused people to inundate Deep South with one-star Facebook reviews, and people began making “harassing” and “threatening” calls. Threatening and harassing people are crimes, and never acceptable. Well, last night this popped up in my Facebook feed: 

I did a bit of hunting to find out where this was coming from, because I follow and am friends with several of the principals at CBW and I know they don’t take partisan political stances, and would never call for a boycott or criticism of another business. Here’s what I found on the Facebook wall of Deep South’s owner. It’s down now, but was up for quite a while – every word of it either a lie or some #MAGA bullshit. 

I found others that were similar, and it caused people to leave one-star reviews on CBW’s Facebook for literally no reason – because of a lie that someone decided to vomit on the Facebook wall belonging to the owner of a local hipster taco stand who has a problem with “illegal” immigrants. 

One would suppose that Deep South would address the widespread criticism of its owner’s overt support of our controversial Sheriff with something more meaningful than, say, tacit approval of a boycott of a beer company, based on lies and defamation. 

Someone on Twitter wrote this to me after my rant the other day: 

and I responded with this: 

So, never let it be said that I ever urged anyone not to eat at Deep South Taco.

The owner has defended himself against the recent criticism by suggesting that he’s not in business to reject anyone who wants to rent out his spot for an event, including the Sheriff. That’s fine, but it wouldn’t be a big deal (or as big of a deal) if his restaurant was merely being hired out for a fundraiser at whatever the market rate is. Our taco man, however, gave over $1600 in free food & drink donations to the campaign in question, and this shows up in the sheriff’s disclosures. 

This isn’t about a business simply renting out the space and providing paid-for drinks and food – there is a significant donation here to the campaign, which is the same as cutting a check for that amount.  

A business is free to discriminate against someone for their political views, but it’s generally a stupid thing to do, so it doesn’t come up much. Being black or a woman or Latino is not something a person can change, and that’s why the law treats certain minorities as a “protected class” against whom a business that’s otherwise open to everyone cannot discriminate. There is a pending case right now on a similar topic arising out of a bakery’s refusal to make a cake for a same sex wedding. 

It’s not that the campaign selected this restaurant and is enjoying all the same food and service that would also be available to any other member of the general public, but instead that the restaurant is friendly with the campaign and cutting a deal for them. Otherwise, there’d be calls to boycott every place that campaign held every fundraiser, and I don’t see that (yet).

So, owners of businesses are free to hold whatever political views they want, and consumers have a concomitant right to choose whether to factor those politics into their decisions about spending money. I certainly don’t urge anyone to boycott Deep South Taco or – God forbid – Community Beer Works. On the contrary, consumers should be free to make those decisions on their own. But I do object to businesses – when called out on their overt and vocal support – tacitly promoting boycotts against other businesses that are built wholly on lies and falsehoods. I also object to businesses defending themselves with facts that are either inaccurate, or which omit key facts. 

Happy spending! 

Mickey Kearns: “Democrat”

Kearns3

Someday, Republican / Conservative Fusion Party candidate for County Clerk Michael “Mickey” Kearns will tell you he’s a Democrat. 

When that day comes, show him this. 

Ask “Mickey” Kearns which Democratic values he holds. 

Ask him about a woman’s right to choose. Ask him about same-sex marriage. Ask him about whether he’d allow unfettered ownership and possession of any and all firearms by any person present in the United States. Ask him to cite the jurisdiciction, law, statute, or regulation enabling a county clerk to have anything whatsoever to do with “illegal immigration” or abortion rights. 

With this one flyer, Kearns has forever and completely foreclosed for himself the right to call himself a Democrat – centrist, liberal, or otherwise. He’s just a craven opportunist. 

Election 2017

sunflowers

It was a sleepy primary election night, except for one thing: This is the way Pigeonism ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.

Buffalo Mayor

Byron Brown cruised to victory Tuesday night, easily defeating challenges from Mark Schroeder and Betty Jean Grant. Only about 26,000 Buffalo Democrats decided the whole thing for the remaining 90% of city residents. It’s almost comical to call that an election. In the end, because things are, generally, speaking, better in Buffalo since Byron Brown became Mayor over a decade ago, the challengers’ criticisms simply weren’t compelling enough for 10% of Buffalonians to make a dramatic change. Mayor Brown won with 13,346 votes or 51% of the vote. Schroeder received 36% and Betty Jean Grant received 13%. Expect, as they say, more of the same. 

2nd Legislative District

Newcomer April Baskin, the endorsed Democrat, defeated former Buffalo at-large councilman Charley Fisher, newcomer David Martinez, and the Buffalo News’ endorsee, Duncan Kirkwood. Baskin pulled in 34% in that 4-way race to replace Betty Jean Grant in the Erie County Legislature. Politically speaking, Martinez and Fisher both had support from what’s left of the Steve Pigeon club. Literature the two campaigns sent out in the last few weeks was almost identical in form and content – identical, too, to literature that their star Kristy Mazurek sent out last year. You can see images here. There was an effort in LD-2 to turn not just Baskin, but Democratic HQ and Jeremy Zellner, into losers. It failed pretty miserably – their game didn’t work. Baskin, like Mayor Brown, will be unopposed in November. 

Cheektowaga

In a 4-way race for three available town council seats, former local Bernie Sanders organizer Brian Nowak was the top vote-getter; an impressive rookie outing for a newcomer. Nowak worked hard on a shoestring and his message evidently resonated with the electorate. Deputy Supervisor Timothy Meyers received the 2nd-largest vote tally, with incumbent Jim Rogowski rounding out the top three. The big loser was incumbent Alice Magierski, who received about 44 fewer votes than Rogowski. It’s possible that 203 outstanding absentee ballots may swing some more votes to Ms. Magierski, but the absentee margin usually mirrors that of the election day total, making it unlikely that she’ll return to the town council. Magierski was stung by a negative mailer in the waning days of the campaign that outed her for “double-dipping”, receiving a state pension in addition to her councilmember salary. As it did in LD-2, Magierski’s loss deals yet another blow to what’s left of the Pigeonistas and Frank Max acolytes. 

Hamburg

Jim Shaw won the Democratic primary for town supervisor, defeating Dennis Gaughan, who already has the Republican and Conservative fusion lines. 

Republicans

Republicans seldom do primaries. By and large, they do whatever Nick Langworthy tells them to do, including last night in Amherst, where Langworthy’s wife will be on the November ballot for town council. The Republicans rely instead on getting themselves on the Independence and Conservative lines, and honestly who cares. These minor party lines exist to dole out jobs to their memberships and nothing more, acting politically as appendages or puppets of the Republican committee. 

Conservative Party Boss Concern Trolls Democrats

conservatives

In a Buffalo News column Thursday, Conservative fusion Party boss Ralph Lorigo laments that “Erie County Democrats have abandoned the working class”. For the uninitiated, New York’s system of electoral fusion enables petty party bosses like Lorigo to wield political and – more critically – patronage power that is wildly disproportionate to the actual size of their party committees. 

Lorigo’s column, which is little more than a poorly concealed piece of campaign literature for right wing county clerk candidate Mickey Kearns, is one big concern troll. That’s defined as, “a person who disingenuously expresses concern about an issue with the intention of undermining or derailing genuine discussion.” The Urban Dictionary’s entry is even more explicit: 

In an argument (usually a political debate), a concern troll is someone who is on one side of the discussion, but pretends to be a supporter of the other side with “concerns”. The idea behind this is that your opponents will take your arguments more seriously if they think you’re an ally. Concern trolls who use fake identities are sometimes known as sockpuppets.

In his column, Lorigo purports to lament how the Erie County Democratic Committee, as led locally by Jeremy Zellner and Mark Poloncarz, has somehow “abandoned” the working class. Ralph Lorigo is no Democrat; he doesn’t speak for Democrats. He and his little reactionary club do not hold, espouse, or promote Democratic ideas or values. More to the point, his fusion party – a product of a pointless, fundamentally corrupt party system in New York – is no friend of the working class, Democrat or otherwise. 

There are 287,000 registered Democrats in Erie County. Lorigo’s little club boasts 13,169 registered members. So, where does Lorigo get off lecturing the Democratic Party committee, its chairman, and its most prominent local elected official about Democratic values? The only reason he has any clout at all is thanks to a structural legal aberration. 

The only reason a political club with 13,000 members has any pull at all is electoral fusion; it seldom puts up its own party members for election. Instead Lorigo’s group endorses a major party candidate – e.g., Mickey Kearns – who receives a “Wilson Pakula“, allowing him to run on the Conservative line, and those votes are added to the candidate’s total. In some cases, the vote is close enough that these cross-endorsements actually affect the outcome. The catch? LOL, when it comes to the so-called “Independence Party” and the Conservative fusion Party, that endorsement doesn’t come for free, or without strings. The connected get jobs. 

Lorigo’s concern trolling in the Buffalo News merits examination

I have been involved in Erie County Conservative politics for over 35 years, and have served as the chairman of the party for 23. I have never taken a salary, stipend or even a reimbursement from party funds for political activities. In addition, no government funds flow into my law office from any governmental source.

The power isn’t in receiving government funds, but in controlling jobs – the molten, glowing core of western New York politics. How many jobs does Lorigo’s club control? How many people in local, state, or county positions owe their livelihoods to Conservative fusion Party patronage? That is the proper metric, here, and it is conspicuously absent. 

As chairman, I have worked with both Democrats and Republicans to endorse and elect people who care about Erie County taxpayers. My executive committee and I look at a candidate’s platform, record and the office sought. We never assume that someone’s party registration fully defines one; and we know that not every elected office legislates or creates policy.

What emetic pablum to suppose that someone running for office doesn’t “care about Erie County taxpayers”. Especially in any election since 2005’s red/green budget fiasco, which happened under Conservative fusion Party endorsee Joel Giambra‘s watch. 

We work to apply our principles of smaller, smarter government to the candidates seeking our support. We then choose who will best carry that torch for the residents of Erie County. For the Erie County Conservative Party, this is not about party labels, but about principles. As long as I am chairman, that approach will continue.

More often than not, the Conservative fusion Party would conspire with Democrat Steve “the Splitter” Pigeon to endorse Democrats who didn’t have the support of Democratic Headquarters. Even if that person lost a Democratic primary, he still might appear on the ballot in November on Lorigo’s line, causing further worries for the endorsed Democrat. Pigeon is now gone, and his stragglers are beclowning themselves in the 2nd Erie County Legislature district race – a story for another time. 

My relationship with Democrats is not in trouble. In fact, the top of our ticket this year is Democrat Mickey Kearns for county clerk. In the past, we were proud to support Democrats such as Jimmy Griffin, Paul Tokasz, Dennis Gorski and countless others. They were conservative, pro-life, taxpayer-focused Democrats.

Jimmy Griffin died in 2008. Paul Tokasz hasn’t been an elected official since 2006. Until he became a town justice in Cheektowaga a couple of years ago, Dennis Gorksi had been out of public life since 1999. Mickey Kearns may be a lot of things, but he’s no Democrat. You don’t run in 2017 with the endorsements only of the Republicans and Conservative fusion Parties and get to call yourself that. Apparently, Republican party chair Nick Langworthy’s bench was too shallow to support a genuine Republican candidate for county clerk to succeed Senator Chris Jacobs. So? Recruit an opportunistic “Democrat” with the dearth of accomplishments or ideas. There are some glaring omissions from Lorigo’s recitation of “Democrats I heart”: G. Steven Pigeon. I wonder why? Joe Mascia? Chuck Swanick

Today’s Democratic Party leadership of Chairman Jeremy Zellner and Mark Poloncarz would reject those officials outright. It is clear that conservative values of any kind are no longer welcome at Erie County Democratic Party headquarters.

Lorigo’s closest Democratic friend Steve is in big federal and state criminal trouble, and Poloncarz won re-election in 2015 after having explicitly refused to seek or accept the Conservative fusion Party line. Which “conservative values” is Lorigo talking about, exactly? Is it Swanick’s homophobia? Mascia’s colorful racial outbursts

In spite of the ever-increasing sprint to the extremes, the Erie County Conservative Party will remain true to our platform, right here in the middle with the majority of Erie County voters; people who believe in common-sense ideas like: taxes are too high; criminals belong in jail; police should be respected; law-abiding gun owners are not the root of our crime problem; plastic bags should be legal; and 5-year-olds don’t need to be taught about sex reassignment surgery in kindergarten.

“Taxes are too high” and this patronage club is part of the problem. “Criminals belong in jail” reads like a Dick and Jane book. “Police should be respected”, except when they violate the laws and constitution. Gun ownership isn’t at risk. Plastic bags should be “legal” and cost a nickel, because they don’t degrade and there are better alternatives available. Can you imagine you use “plastic grocery bags” as a rallying cry for a political movement? How pathetic. 

Hey, Ralph Lorigo: please identify which Erie County school – public or private – teaches “5-year-olds” about “sex reassignment surgery” in “kindergarten”. I’d like to know the school, the textbook, and the teacher. Because it’s just gutter, hateful lies meant to get a rise out of the homophobes; literally, that’s all that is. And why haven’t you added why and how you pick and choose which pro-choice candidates you endorse, or candidates who support same-sex marriage? The idea that the Conservative fusion Party operates based on “principles” is laughable. The only principle is maximizing the quids for an endorsement pro quo

Sadly, if you agree with just one of those principles today, you don’t have a place in the Democratic Party of Zellner and Poloncarz.

They aren’t really “principles” as much as they are bumper sticker slogans. Lorigo’s club’s real principles might involve homophobia, criminalization of all abortion, and ensuring that everyone from children to the mentally ill have the unfettered right to possess a loaded gun; that is, unless, a candidate who opposes all or some of those makes a great offer or is an acolyte of Steve Pigeon’s.  

I can’t help but think about the Democratic Party when I started 36 years ago. Back then, the majority of Democrats I encountered crossed party lines to support Ronald Reagan. Now, the party of the working class has been replaced by ivory tower elitists who hate anyone with a different opinion.

Ronald Reagan, whose policies helped to hasten the destruction of America’s middle class? For the record, Mark Poloncarz grew up in Lackawanna; his dad worked in a steel mill, and his mom was a nurse. Jeremy Zellner lives modestly in Tonawanda with his family; his dad worked in a car factory. Meanwhile, the Lorigo family practically runs West Seneca from its law office, hobnobs with Donald gold toilet 757 Trump and endorses Spaulding Lake’s own Chris Collins, and he’s sitting there talking about “ivory tower elitists”. This is utter madness, and the “different opinion” quip is nothing but projection. 

Ralph Lorigo worked closely – even running his own primary against Rick Lazio – to ensure that Carl Paladino received the Conservative fusion Party line in his 2010 gubernatorial run. I wasn’t aware that race hate, porn, and bestiality were “conservative values” that western New York’s working class really connected with, but I guess you learn something new every day. 

Erie County residents vote for lower taxes, smarter spending and a government built to assist them with jobs, better roads and affordable services; all principles the Erie County Conservative Party champions.

LOL “assist them with jobs”. How true. 

The leaders of the Erie County Democratic Party may have taken a hard left, but Erie County Democrats have not.

Being opposed to the Republican clone party that has close ties to Steve Pigeon and Carl Paladino isn’t a “hard left”. It’s common sense and decency. 

The Conservative fusion Party purports to have principles, but it’s just an arm of the Republicans; a party so unpopular in New York State that it needs to control a bunch of extra fusion lines to win the occasional election. Its platform is made up of all the WBEN bogeymen – anti-choice, anti-LGBT, anti-gun control. It is the party that thinks “black lives matter” is a terrorist group and fully supports the Trump Administration. 

The Conservative Party’s most prominent recent candidates include disgraced former Assemblywoman Angela Wozniak and racial vulgarian Joe Mascia

So, is Lorigo’s relationship with Democrats in trouble? Quite simply, no such relationship should exist; it is right that he has to omit the indictees, the racists, and has to resort to Mickey Kearns and the deceased to underscore his purported bipartisanship. Democrats need to stop going to breakfasts with Lorigo, and they need to reject the Conservative Party fusion line. It is the antithesis of what is actually “conservative”. Meritocracy is anathema to it. Good government is beside the point – it’s about jobs.  

The highest and best use of electoral fusion for Democrats right now would be to start a “Freedom Liberty Gun-Eagle” fusion party line to out-conservative Lorigo’s and further use the system to confuse voters. 

Anyway, thanks, Ralph. Democrats are all set. You may speak for the reactionary hatred of some who can’t deal with gay people having rights, but we Democrats will fight for the working class by promoting univeral health coverage, protecting union membership, implementing a higher minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, and other policies and programs that actually help people, rather than facile talk radio slogans. 

Help the Central Library Design a Reading Park

BECPL

This Saturday September 9th from 10am – 1pm, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library will be holding a “placemaking workshop” in order to solicit ideas for an upcoming reading park to be located adjacent to the downtown central branch. 

Southwest Airlines and Partnership for Public Spaces recently awarded the B&ECPL a “Heart of the Community” grant to develop an outdoor Reading Park and outdoor space for free activities on an unused grass/sidewalk area next to the Downtown Central Library. The PPS will facilitate the workshop, to take place at the central branch this Saturday, and you can RSVP via email here

If you can’t attend the workshop, please provide your input via the survey found at this link

(The author is a B&ECPL Trustee)