1. Chris Collins: businessman, hobbyist politician, ECGOP sugardaddy, scofflaw.
As a reminder, Collins’ light blue / silverish, appropriately named Buick Enclave with the distinctive “CE-3” license plate (CE for “County Executive” – a post he no longer holds, but a license plate he retains) was seen during the 2011 election season,
Farmington is a town in northern Ontario County, near Victor. It appears that Collins believes inconsiderate or illegal parking is a right he inherited by entail, since he parked like this at an event that recently took place there:
It doesn’t appear to be an illegal spot, per se, but Collins did park directly in front of the door – the better to duck in and out of the event without being accosted by the 99 percent.
2. Former Ranzenhofer staffer Michelle McCullough, who was terminated because she dared to support David Bellavia over Chris Collins in NY-27, filed a formal ethics complaint, and its text makes for great reading about how political patronage appointees are routinely expected to perform the dirty, tedious political work their masters demand – regardless of its legality.
The ethics complaint led the Erie County Democrats to take a shot at Collins,
“Chris Collins needs to be honest with the public about his role in the firing of an employee in Republican Senator Mike Ranzenhofer’s office who supported his opponent, David Bellavia. These reports raise serious questions about whether this type of intimidation is how Collins intends to solicit support for his campaign.
“The employee, Michelle McCulloch, filed a complaint with the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics yesterday contending she was fired for circulating petitions for David Bellavia, who is opposing Chris Collins for the Republican nomination for Congress in the new 27th District. Ranzenhofer, who supports Collins, has been silent about why Ms. McCulloch was terminated.
“The public deserves to know if Collins played a direct role with Ranzenhofer in costing this public servant her job. The time has come for both Collins and Ranzenhofer to come clean and explain why an otherwise good employee was suddenly let go after she circulated petitions for Collins’ opponent.”
3. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will remain in office, as the effort to recall him failed last night. In fact, Walker’s win was apparently by a wider margin than the one that originally brought him to office.
Never underestimate the ease with which politicians can demonize unionized workers and take away their rights – especially public sector workers. While no one in any society wants to just give public workers a key to the public vault, taking away, e.g., teachers’ right to collectively bargain with the state for their pay and benefits is only the clumsiest and most antagonistic way to treat a group of people who are charged with educating the next generation of Americans.
Never underestimate the power of the right wing. Never underestimate the power of their money and the ease with which they and their benefactors can influence public opinion and elections in contemporary America. The contemporary Republican/conservative movement derives its power from denigrating hard-working people and taking away rights they had earned over a century. It is, at its heart, an assault on the American Dream, and self-identified patriotic people are just eating it up.
4. Regionalism advocate Kevin Gaughan announced yesterday that he’s running for state Assembly in the newly constructed A-149, comprising much of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Hamburg. He wrote:
I believe that no citizen should run for office unless they have an innovative proposal or specific purpose. Based on lessons I’ve learned working to reduce government size and cost, I have several. Each one of them is in service of a simple idea: Western New Yorkers deserve the most effective and least expensive government possible.
And this new civil right – the right to a government that lifts rather than burdens us – I believe is within our grasp. For over a decade, I’ve been engaged in government reform. I founded a number of conferences, in which we learned the crushing costs of our nation-leading concentration of governments and politicians.
Employing those lessons, and with the assistance of thousands of volunteers, we caused public votes to let people decide whether to reduce their local government. As a result, voters adopted downsizing plans in 3 county, 6 town, and 1 village governments, eliminating 26 elected positions and saving local taxpayers $5.2 million per year.
Now, I want to do in Albany what we have done here at home: reduce the state legislature’s size, lower its costs to taxpayers, and with a little luck and much work, perhaps even return a sense of humility to the idea of government service. To accomplish these goals, our campaign will sketch a landscape of ideas, all seeking to end Western New York’s 35-year path of chronic economic decline, exit of youth, loss of companies, destruction of neighborhoods, and demise of hope. Every degree of mind and spirit that I possess will be devoted to restoring our community.
5. Have a great day, western New York! Stay positive!