November 4, 2007

County Leg 18th District

This race has former Barker School District Board President Merrill Bender challenging incumbent John Syracuse. Unfortunately for Bender, this one is a no-brainer.

While Syracuse has focused his campaign on what he can do for the people of his district, Bender has apparently appointed himself the campaign manager for every single candidate in Niagara County who is not in the majority.

Watching the Niagara County Concerned Taxpayers (again, I can't type that without laughing out loud) forum, Bender repeatedly lobbied, not for himself, but for every single candidate there. If he put as much time into focusing on his own campaign, he might have slightly more than a snow ball's chance in hell.

What is simply amazing is that Bender never changed his message after the Primary Election in which he was completely pummeled. Simple political logic says that if you are touting a specific message prior to a primary, then you get crushed in that primary, you need to re-think your message.

Bender hasn't, and that will be evident Tuesday when Syracuse cruises to a 69% - 31% victory.


Julie Obermiller said...

As a Democrat and resident of Somerset, I am appalled that my party line will carry the names of republicans-in-dem's clothing on Tuesday. I personally sent a letter to the Democrats in my town, offering my personal opinion that the same people who have trashed all Democrats for years in this town are now currying our votes, and that reeks of hypocrisy. Legislative candidate Merrill Bender chose to write about me on his Somerset Sentinel blog, attacking me for my views and questioning MY integrity. That's laughable!
I noted the $1,000 campaign contribution by Lockport Energy (a Shoemaker client) to a Somerset race; questionable on so many levels. Because I supported a registered Republican as Town Supervisor in the last election, Bender continually accuses me and others of being pawns for AES. All we want is someone who will work for ALL the townspeople and our best interests. AES is our tax bread and butter when all is said and done and many of us do support their efforts to grow and compete. If the townspeople had not been made to look like greedy, unwelcoming, contentious fools- we just might have gotten that second coal plant. WHO would want to do business where they are NOT welcome, when other areas are courting them?
It is my personal opinion that Bender only latched onto the PILOT fiasco as a stepping stone to the legislature seat he covets- not because he cares about the town or its future.
In response to my mailing, Bender attacked me on his blog spot and demanded an apology! I provided a link to his "Chicken Little Democrats," written in 2/06, trashing all Democrats and their principals, and lauding Republicans. Now he wants to unseat a Republican, so he went to the Democrats for endorsement. Well, he doesn't represent the huge majority of Democrats, I can assure you. We may not always be right, but we stand behind what we say and do. It's called integrity.
The sad thing is that in his quest for that legislature seat, he talked others into latching on to his rising star by bashing AES. AES is NOT ALL that is wrong with Somerset. Get over it! We have other real issues here that have nothing to do with tightening our belts (as every other community and school district in the county has had to). The town we love has become stagnant and uninviting to business and investment. We have amazing resources like the Lighthouse, Babcock House and the kindest people anywhere, but what do we do to welcome anyone? People in other towns don't feel sorry for us; they are laughing at our greed because Bender would like them to think we are broke and left to starve by AES and that THEY are next. Puhleeze!
I sent a rebuttal to Bender's blogspot but it remains to be seen whether he will okay its posting.
I would just like the rest of the county to know that not everybody in Somerset is behind Bender and the anti-AES crew. We are smart enough to know we ALL need to work with ALL business to keep them investing in our towns, county and future! No-one is happy to lose taxes, but if you let a high-priced lawyer keep you and all sides from fair and honest negotiations, you have no-one to blame but yourself.
Bender admonishes me to do my research and report facts on the issues. This from a man whose campaign literature shows a Maziarz cartoon with a crown and admonishes voters to send John Syracuse fishing. The political bosses of both parties can keep playing all the bait-and-switch games they like, but all that counts in the end is the personal integrity of the candidate and their desire to work for the people, regardless of affiliation. When the votes are counted, we can at least know we tried honestly and fairly, and we'll sleep well for having tried.

Dr. Mike said...

I am a college student and I recently visited at home and recieved a mailing from Merrill Bender. I have to thank him for the good laugh I got out of it. I was not sure who to vote for in this race but by recieving that mailer, I think I have a good idea. It seems like Bender is all about attacking the republican party instead of giving his ideas and solutions to the problems that he sees. Personally I do not see a problem with the AES deal because you have to keep businessess here to keep jobs here. I would have liked to see more solutions from Bender, rather than attacks against Maziarz and the others. Merrill, please, you seem like a smart man, next election you run in try to give more information about yourself instead of attacking the incumbents. Everyone knows what has happened, good or bad,(however you see it) Give us your plans. Duh

Pete M said...

Sail Away said, "Bender has apparently appointed himself the campaign manager for every single candidate in Niagara County who is not in the majority".

You have no idea how you just hit the nail on the head. I live in Updegrove's district, and I had a message on my answering from Bender telling me how evil Updegrove is and how great Dalquist is.

As you said, if Bender spent his time on his own campaign instead of trying to get a dozen people elected, he MIGHT have a snow ball's chance in hell. Of course, he hasn't and he doesn't.

Fat Tony said...

Merrill Bender is a joke...a scoundrel who left a bunch of businesses holding the bag when he hiled for bankruptcy.

He's not qualified to hold office and thankfully he never will. After tomorrow, let's hope he goes back under the rock from which he came.

Firefighters United said...

does anyone remember the suspicious fires at bender's house? did he burn through the insurance $?

Bender said...

I just want to thank you all for the forum so I can hear myself. Looking at myself on the campaign mailers and on lctv at the leg meetings make me giddy. I also want to thank my new buds scotty leffler, danny rivera, edwin shoemaker and lockport energy for there generous donations. since I never intend to get a job and have maxed out a couple dozen credit cards, thank you for your $$$. I reach into anyone's pocket for some bread. I intend to continue my ministry and it is also a nice supplement.

Merrill Bender said...

I see this blog has gone back to the Maziarz boys control with personal attacks.

Lady and Gentlemen when will anyone discuss the facts or the issues.

To the one who only read one side of a mailer or hasn't seen my plans on the web or in other mailers and literature, I am sorry I did not get a chance to talk to you.

In case you have forgotten. The largest finacial scandal in County history is the AES PILOT and it should be the number one issue in the campaign. followed by the $28 million dollar cost to close Mount View.

Campaigns are often about issues not just winning against an incumbent which is difficult as most people in politics know.

Julie and others continue to attack my integrity when I have spent the vast majority of my time on the issues.

Julie than gets all upset with me for responding to her letter attacking me. She put herself into it - she should be able to take it- in a give and take. I think she was suprised that I would respond to her attacks.

The key tomorrow is to have a good turn out of the voters. Whatever they decide is their choice. I just hope it is more than the 15% turn out in the primary. low turnouts usually favor the incumbent.

The other honest point is the 18th district is 50% Republican and 26% Democrat. Unless many are willing to cross party line on 9A or to 9E working families party the odds may not be good.

But I am happy with the issues brought to the attention of the voters in this campaign.

If John Syracuse wins I will be one of the first to congratulate him and wish him well.

Tom from Lockport said...

All Bender has done has cry like a baby because he didn't get his way. He should try getting a job like the rest of us and paying taxes. That would be a change for him. And just wanted to ask a question of my fellow bloggers - does anyone know that woman Beverly McDonnough that works at the Y? Am I crazy or did she used to work for former Assemblyman Dave Seaman?? Maybe if she had an original idea rather than beating up the GOP that she used to work for people in town might have taken her a bit more seriously. People want to hear how your going to solve problems, not beat up Maziarz. And for the record, I'm a registered Democrat and never even met the man, but you have to give the good Senator some credit. He works hard and does a lot for this area. Doesn't seem like the smartest thing to do as a candidate to run against someone so popular. But, then again, no one ever said our Democratic machine in Niagara County was smart. I know she's going to get crushed anyway, but just wondering if this is the same woman.

Margo said...

I know Beverly quite well - she is a very angry, confused and scorned old woman. they prop her up with some old crony position at the Y. no doubt that money could go to better use. I plan to offer her some cheap wine and a massage following her crushing defeat tonight.

Anonymous said...


I will challenge you on the PILOT. I have never heard a credible explanation for the game of roulette you were all playing with the courts. Every single powerplant has had their assessment lowered. The small town of Rockland County is nearly bankrupt based on an assessment case. Yet you all completely ignore this reality.

Secondly, for a school district that is threatening teacher layoffs, how do you possibly justify the "consultant" status of Leardini (I know I spelled that wrong) and LaRock. Is everyone entitlted to a hefty consulting contract as a going away present?

And while I respect you for showing up to the County Legislture as a citizen to say your piece, don't you think it's wrong that Leardini showed up to speak and charged Barker Schools for his time?

Julie Obermiller said...

It's Wednesday and the people have spoken! (Niagara Times was nearly perfect with their call of 69/31% in this race!). ALL politicians need to learn that voters are tired of mudslinging, when all we want to know is who you are, what you think and what your ideas are. We all want to get along.
As a Democrat, I find no comfort in knowing the Republicans swept the elections, but maybe Dan Rivera will get the hint that if we can't do it honestly and with integrity, we don't deserve to win. Hopefully Henry Wojtaszek will change his tactics as well, despite the gains, if only to restore dignity to the voting process. It was ugly on ALL sides. I have to hope that those elected will work for the best for all of us. We all need to work together, despite basic ideologies. I remain an optimist. If not, there is always the next election! Now, go take down all your signs, recycle all those junk mailings and get down to the business of serious gorverning!