Political Shorts

1. I am hearing that ex-County Exec Chris Collins is telling people that he’s going to run against Kathy Hochul for Congress in 2012. The redistricting issue is not yet settled, so it’s unknown what Hochul’s district will look like. If true, it immediately reminds me of the story in the Buffalo News in early 2010 whereby Collins – angrily, his natural state – confronted Hochul over whether she would be running against him for County Executive. As we all know, wealthy unemployed person Chris Lee went looking for sex with transexuals on Craigslist, resigned his Congressional seat, and Hochul went on to defeat Collins’ neighbor, Jane Corwin in May.

2. I’ve always been curious about the connection between Entercom and the SPCA – the hearts of some of the ultra-conservative hosts on Entercom bleed for animals while they have little compassion for down-on-their-luck humans. A tipster (actually, it’s the guy we all know as Doc Maelstrom, whoever he might be) emails the following with respect to the current controversy surrounding the Niagara County SPCA:

For the sake of disclosure it should be revealed that the President of the Niagara County SPCA, Brandy Scrufari, works for the President of the Erie County SPCA, Larry Robb, at WTSS radio. Robb is VP/GM of WTSS and several other Entercom radio stations where Brandy Scrufari has been working for the past 20 years. To have the Erie County SPCA scrutinize the claims of cruelty against the Niagara County SPCA is disingenuous considering the relationship Scrufari and Robb have had for two decades. Do not expect this investigation to reveal anything that Scrufari does not want revealed.

http://www.niagaraspca.org/Board%20of%20Directors_1

http://www.yourspca.org/page.aspx?pid=511

3. The atmosphere at yesterday’s Erie County Legislative reorg session was nothing like the last one, where the so-called “reform coalition” broke away to create a de facto Collins-friendly Republican legislative majority caucus. In 2009, when staffers were fired, Sheriffs were on hand to intimidate and impliedly threaten. Yesterday’s session, where Betty Jean Grant was unanimously elected chairwoman, was downright friendly. There was camaraderie among the legislators and their staffs, there were smiles, handshakes, and relief. The session took a little over an hour, whereas 2009’s went on for hours. While there is already some acrimony over borrowing versus spending from the general fund, yesterday’s session bodes well for a more functional and less acrimonious 2012 – 2014. There was some staff turnover yesterday, but I frankly detected more relief than anything even from those who didn’t know what their fate would be.

Here are some reminders from 2010:

Congratulations

Congratulations to Councilman Richard Fontana, who is the new President of the Buffalo Common Council. Time will tell whether his tenure in that position will be as friendly to the Brown Administration as has been presumed.

Congratulations to Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, who is expected to be elected Chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature today at 2pm. She wasn’t in the running, really, and emerged as a consensus candidate among legislature Democrats, who were eager to leave two years of acrimony behind. The pick renders false the breathless speculation by some that key Dems would align with the Republicans, and Grant’s selection seems symbolic, as her most recent predecessor and she would get into extremely heated arguments during the last session. With a new administration and a newly downsized legislative body, there’s a chance that the legislature will feature significantly less bickering, and they’ll just do their jobs.

And then we can discuss a complete abolition of county government as a separate deliberative entity, seeing as only about 10% of its budget is at all discretionary.

Congratulations to Channel 4’s Melissa Holmes, who will be replacing the departing Marissa Bailey at WGRZ-TV Channel 2.

Congratulations to Ted Shredd and Tom Ragan from 103.3-FM WEDG (“The Edge”), whose show will be moving to morning drive. Shredd & Ragan is that rare radio talk program in Buffalo that (a) isn’t almost exclusively devoted to sports talk; (b) doesn’t feature elderly reactionaries; and/or (c) doesn’t feature short-statured mulleted half-witted omniphobes.

Congratulations to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy Party will be permitted to participate in the upcoming election. The Burmese military leadership has been liberalizing that country’s politics in recent months, as Burma has become an economic and social backwater due to economic sanctions, while many of its neighbors’ economies have been thriving.

Iowa Caucus Day: Irish Betting Edition

From a press release:

Irish betting company Paddy Power have made Mitt Romney the favourite for today’s Iowa caucus. The former Massachusetts governor is available at Evens with his nearest challengers’ libertarian Texas congressman Ron Paul and surprise package Rick Santorum both available at 2/1.

Further down the betting former front runners for the Republican nomination Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are at 20/1 and 33/1 while Michele Bachmann at 50/1 and Jon Huntsman at 100/1 are the underdogs for the first GOP ballot.

For the Republican nomination Mitt Romney is also the favourite at odds of 2/5 followed by Ron Paul at 7/1 and Newt Gingrich at 8/1, a surge in support over the past week has seen Rick Santorum odds cut from 20/1 to 14/1 while Rick Perry continues to slide and is now a 33/1 long shot.

Paddy Power said “The race for the Republican nomination really is hotting up, Romney is the clear favourite at the minute but with this race already having had so many twists and turns we could have a few more surprises before the end.”

Iowa Republican Caucas
Evs    Mitt Romney
2/1    Rick Santorum
2/1    Ron Paul
20/1    Newt Gingrich
33/1    Rick Perry
50/1    Michele Bachmann
100/1    Jon Huntsman

Republican Presidential Nomination
2/5    Mitt Romney
7/1    Ron Paul
8/1    Newt Gingrich
14/1    Rick Santorum
18/1    Jon Huntsman
33/1    Rick Perry
40/1    Michele Bachmann

Next President (Winning Candidate)
4/5    Barack Obama
7/4    Mitt Romney
12/1    Newt Gingrich
14/1    Ron Paul
20/1    Hillary Clinton
33/1    Jon Huntsman
50/1    Rick Santorum
50/1    Rick Perry
80/1    Michele Bachman
125/1    Joe Biden

All prices remain subject to fluctuation.

Paddy Power is Ireland’s largest bookmaker and a leading provider of gaming services in the UK, Australia and Ireland. Founded in 1988 Paddy Power is a publicly quoted company and is listed on both the Irish and London Stock Exchanges (www.paddypowerplc.com)

Collins’ Exit Interview

Outgoing County Executive Chris Collins granted an exit interview to the Buffalo News’ Bob McCarthy. This is no surprise, as McCarthy had been quite vocally assuming all summer that, solely on the basis of Collins’ own deep pockets, he would cruise to an easy re-election.

We all know that didn’t happen.

A week after the election, McCarthy transcribed the concern-trolling from several grumbling Republican insiders. Among their concerns,

How did a county executive who fulfilled all his promises with minimal effects on taxes and no scandals manage to lose?

And in yesterday’s Collins interview, McCarthy repeats – almost verbatim – the same Collinsphilia nonsense.

This time, the defeat seems to genuinely hurt. Collins struggles to grasp how he lost after keeping all his campaign promises of 2007 while running Erie County without a hint of scandal.

Setting aside Collins’ sour grapes and complete lack of self-awareness, it is untrue that he “kept all his campaign promises” and was somehow free from scandal.  The first step to getting better, they say, is admitting you have a problem.

The Buffalo News' Bob McCarthy

First of all, to say Collins didn’t have scandals is to ignore the time when he referred to the Jewish Assembly Speaker as the “anti-Christ”, and the time when Collins jokingly demanded a “lap dance” in order to save a seat at the State of the State address for a well-connected female executive at a local construction company. It ignores the fact that, to some people, informing them days before Christmas that they’d be losing their state-funded daycare services and that they’d have to quit their jobs to watch their kids, is quite scandalous indeed.  It ignores how Collins and his newfound nouveau-riche friend Carl tried to bully David Bellavia to drop out of the NY-26 race.

Secondly, Collins did not “fulfill all his promises“. Collins raised taxes, deepened regional cleaves, and ran on“Three Rs – Reforming Erie County government, Rebuilding the local economy, and ultimately, Reducing taxes.”

He did not reform county government – in fact, he resisted and blocked reforms almost routinely (another “r”); he did not rebuild the local economy, but ensured that stimulus funds were hoarded to artificially improve his balance sheet; and he did not reduce – but raised – taxes.

That’s breaking your promises, and that’s failure under any measure. It’s no wonder he lost

As for the remainder of Collins’ pity party,

Over and over again, the county executive turns to a consoling statistic — 39 out of 44.

That’s the number of county municipalities that voted for him on Nov. 8, only to be “overruled” by the cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna, and towns of Cheektowaga, Tonawanda and West Seneca.

That he won a plurality of small-population towns means nothing. People vote – not square footage.

Practically everyone he meets on the street, he said, says they cast their vote for him. His friends and supporters still tell him he was on the right track, and he firmly believes that the struggles and turmoil of his first term had set the stage for a second term of unparalleled success.

“With everything we had fixed,” he said, “frankly, the next four years would have been cruise control.”

Gee, that “cruise control” quip would have made a great campaign slogan. I guess this reveals that people are polite to Mr. Collins when they encounter him on the street.

Collins lost in the cities and big towns, he now says, because of the “polarizing” nature of politics and a stagnant economy that brought home Erie County’s Democratic plurality of 135,000 voters.

The influence of unions in the Poloncarz campaign energized city Democrats, he said, while stoking a “class warfare” mentality that piggybacked on the rhetoric of Washington and Albany.

That’s rich, coming from a guy whose entire agenda involved marginalizing and harming the poorest in the cities in an effort to gain political support in the wealthier suburbs. It’s a hallmark of current Republican thought that it’s important to kick the poor when they’re down. Slackers.

He rejects opponents’ claims of “arrogance” in running government, instead reasoning that his “noisy” four years energized entrenched interests and the status quo.

The “arrogant” label he now says, stuck with voters as part of a four-year “agenda” of The Buffalo News.

Chris Collins attended exactly zero candidate forums this past election cycle. He begrudgingly attended the one televised debate, and the two that weren’t. He couldn’t even be bothered to drive .5 miles up Goodrich Road to speak with voters at Clarence Town Hall at a candidates’ forum hosted by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. It’s not his money that makes him arrogant – it’s his arrogance that makes him arrogant.

“I don’t believe people voted against me because I was successful in business or I live in a nice house,” he said. “I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth.

“It’s just that class warfare polarizes the country,” he added, “so certainly there is an impact now in local elections, and it plays a role in polarizing people back to party affiliation.”

Never forget that Collins was phenomenally successful at exploiting suburban phobias and resentments at the expense of the poorest in the cities. No one played the class warfare game better than he.  Erie County is better off for returning first Chris Lee, and now Chris Collins back to their lives of gentlemanly leisure. Jane Corwin is the last of the hyperwealthy GOP troika left standing, and her loss to Kathy Hochul last May foreshadowed what happened to her next-door neighbor in November.

Collins' Exit Interview

Outgoing County Executive Chris Collins granted an exit interview to the Buffalo News’ Bob McCarthy. This is no surprise, as McCarthy had been quite vocally assuming all summer that, solely on the basis of Collins’ own deep pockets, he would cruise to an easy re-election.

We all know that didn’t happen.

A week after the election, McCarthy transcribed the concern-trolling from several grumbling Republican insiders. Among their concerns,

How did a county executive who fulfilled all his promises with minimal effects on taxes and no scandals manage to lose?

And in yesterday’s Collins interview, McCarthy repeats – almost verbatim – the same Collinsphilia nonsense.

This time, the defeat seems to genuinely hurt. Collins struggles to grasp how he lost after keeping all his campaign promises of 2007 while running Erie County without a hint of scandal.

Setting aside Collins’ sour grapes and complete lack of self-awareness, it is untrue that he “kept all his campaign promises” and was somehow free from scandal.  The first step to getting better, they say, is admitting you have a problem.

The Buffalo News' Bob McCarthy

First of all, to say Collins didn’t have scandals is to ignore the time when he referred to the Jewish Assembly Speaker as the “anti-Christ”, and the time when Collins jokingly demanded a “lap dance” in order to save a seat at the State of the State address for a well-connected female executive at a local construction company. It ignores the fact that, to some people, informing them days before Christmas that they’d be losing their state-funded daycare services and that they’d have to quit their jobs to watch their kids, is quite scandalous indeed.  It ignores how Collins and his newfound nouveau-riche friend Carl tried to bully David Bellavia to drop out of the NY-26 race.

Secondly, Collins did not “fulfill all his promises“. Collins raised taxes, deepened regional cleaves, and ran on“Three Rs – Reforming Erie County government, Rebuilding the local economy, and ultimately, Reducing taxes.”

He did not reform county government – in fact, he resisted and blocked reforms almost routinely (another “r”); he did not rebuild the local economy, but ensured that stimulus funds were hoarded to artificially improve his balance sheet; and he did not reduce – but raised – taxes.

That’s breaking your promises, and that’s failure under any measure. It’s no wonder he lost

As for the remainder of Collins’ pity party,

Over and over again, the county executive turns to a consoling statistic — 39 out of 44.

That’s the number of county municipalities that voted for him on Nov. 8, only to be “overruled” by the cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna, and towns of Cheektowaga, Tonawanda and West Seneca.

That he won a plurality of small-population towns means nothing. People vote – not square footage.

Practically everyone he meets on the street, he said, says they cast their vote for him. His friends and supporters still tell him he was on the right track, and he firmly believes that the struggles and turmoil of his first term had set the stage for a second term of unparalleled success.

“With everything we had fixed,” he said, “frankly, the next four years would have been cruise control.”

Gee, that “cruise control” quip would have made a great campaign slogan. I guess this reveals that people are polite to Mr. Collins when they encounter him on the street.

Collins lost in the cities and big towns, he now says, because of the “polarizing” nature of politics and a stagnant economy that brought home Erie County’s Democratic plurality of 135,000 voters.

The influence of unions in the Poloncarz campaign energized city Democrats, he said, while stoking a “class warfare” mentality that piggybacked on the rhetoric of Washington and Albany.

That’s rich, coming from a guy whose entire agenda involved marginalizing and harming the poorest in the cities in an effort to gain political support in the wealthier suburbs. It’s a hallmark of current Republican thought that it’s important to kick the poor when they’re down. Slackers.

He rejects opponents’ claims of “arrogance” in running government, instead reasoning that his “noisy” four years energized entrenched interests and the status quo.

The “arrogant” label he now says, stuck with voters as part of a four-year “agenda” of The Buffalo News.

Chris Collins attended exactly zero candidate forums this past election cycle. He begrudgingly attended the one televised debate, and the two that weren’t. He couldn’t even be bothered to drive .5 miles up Goodrich Road to speak with voters at Clarence Town Hall at a candidates’ forum hosted by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. It’s not his money that makes him arrogant – it’s his arrogance that makes him arrogant.

“I don’t believe people voted against me because I was successful in business or I live in a nice house,” he said. “I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth.

“It’s just that class warfare polarizes the country,” he added, “so certainly there is an impact now in local elections, and it plays a role in polarizing people back to party affiliation.”

Never forget that Collins was phenomenally successful at exploiting suburban phobias and resentments at the expense of the poorest in the cities. No one played the class warfare game better than he.  Erie County is better off for returning first Chris Lee, and now Chris Collins back to their lives of gentlemanly leisure. Jane Corwin is the last of the hyperwealthy GOP troika left standing, and her loss to Kathy Hochul last May foreshadowed what happened to her next-door neighbor in November.

1 9 10 11