October 31, 2007

Niagara Falls Mayoral Race

This was a race that wasn't really on the radar screen. After all, Niagara Falls is such a heavily dominated Democratic city, not many people gave Candra Thomason a realistic chance against Paul Dyster. That all changed last evening.

Candra Thomason lived a candidate's dream last night - she managed to get her opponent to make his most horrific statement of the campaign, and she did it in front a packed house of city residents and media.

In case you missed it, after an evening of Thomason going after Dyster, Thomason finally got Dyster to take the bait. In her final comments, she took Dyster to task for having his business outside of Niagara Falls (Kenmore) while saying he wants to encourage business in the city. In essence, accusing Dyster of being hypocritical.

Dyster's response? “My business has supported my family for 16 years because it’s located in a sensible place”. Holy cow! Did he just say that?

Now, one might think that the statement was taken out of context. But in hearing the audio of the statement, there was no gray area. He said what he meant and meant what he said.

I don't see how anyone could interpret his comment to mean anything other than Niagara Falls is not a "sensible" place to do business.

Is that one comment enough to derail Dyster's train? Probably not, but the race certainly just got much more interesting.

October 30, 2007

County Leg 15th District

The race for the Niagara County Legislature's 15th District seat is one worth watching. The contest features incumbent Harry Apolito and challenger Tony Nemi.

Apolito has managed to stave off challenges from Rick Podgers and Scott Cercone over the past four years, with Apolito winning in 2005 by about 10 votes.

Nemi has tremendous name recognition in Lockport. He also will be going into the November 6th General Election with four lines, something no opponent of Apolito has done before.

According to the US&J, Nemi is the "anti-status-quo candidate in the race. He spoke of the need for legislators of all stripes to pursue common goals, from reduction of taxes and local government’s size to increased promotion of Niagara’s development assets".

Apolito, they stated, "is well known for his embrace of proposals that go nowhere".

At this point, this race is too close to call.

October 29, 2007

County Leg 7th District

The race for Niagara County Legislator from the 7th District, which includes Pendleton and a portion of the Town of Lockport, pits incumbent Gerald Farnham against challenger Roger Chenez.

Chenez appears to be an amiable gentleman, with strong union ties. Farnham is generally quiet in the Leg until the discussion turns to public works. He is by far the most knowledgeable member of the county legislature when it comes to this topic.

The most visible contrast between the two seems to be their respective stance on Mount View. Chenez called the closing of the facility "disastrous to our seniors". Farnham supports the Berger Commission recommendation to close the facility.

Here we have two nice gentlemen who seem to be running a clean campaign. Unfortunately for Chenez, he has not done enough to increase his name awareness. Farnham wins with 64% of the vote.

October 27, 2007

Lockport Mayoral Race

The race for Mayor of Lockport appears to be heating up a bit, but in reality, it's no warmer now than it was six months ago.

I was able to catch Scott Leffler's show yesterday which featured both candidates, incumbent Mike Tucker and challenger Mike Pillot. Tucker touted his record over the past four years, and Pillot made one blind accusation after another.

This entire campaign, I have not once heard Mike Pillot offer a plan. He has repeatedly attacked the incumbent. Pillot says he is going to do this, and he is going to do that, but not once has he offered any specifics.

People are sick of this type of campaigning. Tell me what YOU are going to do if you are elected. Nothing else matters. If you are the incumbent, tell me what you have accomplished, which Tucker has done time after time.

Tucker is an excellent mayor, Pillot has not made a substantive statement yet. Tucker crushes Pillot 68% - 32%.

October 25, 2007

Blog Posting

Over the past week or so, Niagara Times has received several emails from individuals who were unable to either post on the site after registering, or were simply unable to register. Therefore, we are once again going to allow anyone to post, whether they log in or not.

Please remember that the basis for this forum is civil discourse. Although parties may disagree on issues, personal attacks are unnecessary and unproductive.

Election Previews

Over the next 12 days, we'd like to focus on the upcoming General Election on November 6th. In some cases, we may hypothesize on what the outcome may be, in others, simply a compare and contrast of the candidates.

We'd like to start out with what is one of the more interesting cases in the county. In the Town of Lewiston, incumbent Democratic Supervisor Fred Newlin is being challenged by former Police Chief Ron Winkley. Winkley, a Republican, has also received the endorsements of the Niagara County Independence and Conservative Parties.

This race essentially comes down to Newlin's touting lower electricity rates for the town, while Winkley believes that the town is overtaxed. He emphasizes bringing more service-oriented small businesses into the community.

What makes this race interesting is that both candidates are very well known. Winkley is a very popular person in the community. Is that enough to oust an incumbent?

At this point, the race is too close to call.

October 22, 2007

Candidate's Forum

I finally had the opportunity to watch the candidate's forum held last week at the Taylor Theatre. In case you missed it, candidates from the County Legislature and the City of Lockport Mayor's race squared off for a one hour and fifteen minute question and answer period.

Candidates included Gerry Farnham and Roger Chenez from the 7th Legislative District, Harry Apolito and Tony Nemi from the 15th District, Keith McNall and Beverly McDonough from the 16th, Rick Updegrove from the 17th District, and Mike Tucker and Mile Pillot for the Lockport seat.

Before we analyze the performance of the candidates, I'd like to encourage the organizers of the forum to make a change for next year. It seemed that the hosts were so intent on keeping answers from candidates to exactly one minute that this detracted from the forum. Some of the questions lasted more than 60 seconds. Most of the questions cannot be answered in a minute. Next year, allocate 90 or 120 seconds for the answer, if a candidate answers in a shorter period, fine. But what was supposed to be a two hour forum only lasted 75 minutes due to this obsession with keeping answers to 60 seconds.

In the 7th District, Chenez seemed to hold his own against Farnham. Although Chenez did not have the in-depth knowledge of county operations that Farnham has, Chenez didn't do anything to hurt himself. Farnham did give what I believe to be one of the two worst answers of the evening. When asked if the Leg should be reduced from the current 19, he said no. Now, I give him credit for his honesty and justification, but it doesn't fly. At a time when every candidate is touting smaller government, and the county itself is downsizing (Mt. View), it is imperative that the county not take a do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do attitude. Unfortunately for Farnham, that is exactly how it came across.

In the 15th, Tony Nemi had a much more extensive knowledge of county issues than I'd have expected. He obviously has been doing his homework. Apolito, on the other hand, did not seem to have the knowledge of county issues one would expect from a veteran legislator. In his opening statement, he rambled on about his son who is a dentist. Honestly, who cares? You've been in there, what, six years and that's what you have to talk about? How about some accomplishments, or a plan for the future? A poor showing by Mr. Apolito.

In the 16th, McNall handled himself well with the thoughtful, deliberate speaking style that has become his trademark. McDonough gave what I (as alluded to earlier) thought was the other worst answer of the night. When asked how she would address the issue of Niagara County being the second highest taxed county in the country, McDonough responded that maybe the county wouldn't have been ranked so poorly if the IDA hadn't given AES the PILOT that they received. Unfortunately for McDonough, my fifth grader knows that the implications of the PILOT won't take effect until the 2008 budget year. So how the PILOT determines our tax rankings is beyond me, and a monstrous reach for McDonough. It simply reinforced the fact that she did not have a solution.

In the 17th, candidate Charles Dahlquist chose not to particpate. He also chose not to participate in the Union Sun & Journal's candidate's profile. I understand that he also did not respond to the League of Women Voters candidate questionnaire. Apparently, he has no platform, no answers and no solutions. Updegrove gave well-informed, concise answers.

The portion of the forum with the mayoral candidates was amazingly one-sided. Tucker was knowledgable and insightful. Pillot was simply way out of his league.

Update on Driver's Licenses for Illegals

Critics of Governor Spitzer's plan to let illegal aliens get drivers' licenses tore into the administration yesterday for backing off a policy they say would have made it tougher for illegals to unlawfully register to vote.

Social Security numbers cannot be required to get motor-voter registration forms from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the administration now says, marking a policy shift reported yesterday by The Post.

That means the form can go to any applicant for a driver's license who asks for one -including anyone in the country illegally who is not allowed to vote.

This latest controversy stems from an Oct. 2 DMV memo to county clerks who run local DMV offices. It said only driver's-license applicants with Social Security numbers should be given motor-voter registration forms.

On Friday, the clerks got a new memo. It said that, by law, "neither the DMV nor its county clerk agents have any statutory discretion to withhold a motor-voter form."

Spitzer aides said that the Oct. 2 memo was sent in error and that the law bars the DMV from taking any action that discourages anyone from registering to vote.

Though the DMV gives out the forms, it's up to local election boards to decide whether licensed drivers are eligible to cast ballots.

"DMV has taken the appropriate action to ensure that motor-voter applications are processed according to the law," said Spitzer spokeswoman Jennifer Givner.

She maintained that, despite what critics say, Spitzer's plan would have no impact on phony voting since a driver's license is only a form of identification, not confirmation of citizenship.

NY Post

October 19, 2007

Not Quite "Parsimonious" Use Of Taxpayer Dollars

"We are going to be parsimonious with every penny of the taxpayer dollars. Those who want to perpetuate a mythology to the contrary will have to create their own mythological world." Candidate Eliot Spitzer, 6/12/2006
-------------------------

Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer expects to spend up to $400,000 in state money to oppose a subpoena from the Senate's Republican majority looking into an alleged political plot, a Spitzer spokesman confirmed Thursday.

"The subpoena raises a lot of very important separation of power issues which both we and the Senate agree should be resolved in court," said Spitzer spokesman Jeffrey Gordon. "We have mutually agreed to a briefing schedule so that the matter can be resolved in an appropriate timeframe."

The spending was first reported Thursday by the New York Daily News.

The Republican-led Senate had previously announced that it planned to spend up to $500,000, also in state money, to hire a Washington public integrity attorney to press the case against the Spitzer administration.

Bruno has accused Spitzer staffers of using state police for political espionage to track his whereabouts in Manhattan on days he legally mixed meeting with lobbyists with Republican fundraisers.

A month later, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo found two Spitzer aides acted improperly, although no illegally, in planning to hurt Bruno by compiling the records and releasing them to a reporter who requested them. In September, Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares found no misconduct and no evidence of a plot to smear Bruno.

The state Public Integrity Commission and the Senate's investigations committee continue to investigate.

The conflict has ground Albany negotiations and legislative action to a halt since June, when talks on several major policy proposals fell through.

NY Newsday

Can Buffalo Ever Come Back?

This is a fascinating article in the New York Sun written by Edward L. Glaeser, a professor of economics at Harvard University and a Manhattan Institute senior fellow. The article is quite long, so simply copy and paste the address into your browser: http://www.nysun.com/article/64879?page_no=1&access=216907

October 17, 2007

Swan's Song

We've taken the public speakers to task in the past for their repeated rudeness to those that disagree with them, and their consistent misrepresentation of the facts.

Watching the Legislature meeting this evening, I have seen a new low. Margie Swan stood at the podium Tuesday night and attacked the wife of the chairman of the Niagara County Republican Party, Henry Wojtaszek.

What courage you have, Swan. You're a real hero coming to a Leg meeting and making personal attacks against someone who has nothing to do with the Niagara County Legislature, and isn't even there to defend herself against the garbage that spews from your mouth. And to boot, you're accusations were wrong.

This, by the way, this is the Caroline Wojtaszek that has dedicated her life to putting away the scum of the earth that otherwise would be roaming our streets, and was doing so LONG before she became Mrs. Wojtaszek. You haven't earned the right to even breath the same air as Caroline Wojtaszek.

This is the same Swan that holds that joke of a "forum" for candidates. Who on God's green earth could stand being in the same room with you for more than 1o minutes? Not me, thank God the public comment session is only three minutes so we don't have to hear that nails-on-a-chalkboard voice of hers.

Kudos to County Manager Greg Lewis for setting the record straight and refuting Swan's lies.

Swan doesn't even stick around after spewing her lies. She runs right out of those chambers as fast as she can.

Go crawl back under that rock that is your home. You're not worthy of any more time.

October 16, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Is John Simon Trying to Kill NFIA Terminal

We've picked up an interesting story from several sources concerning former NCIDA director John Simon. You may recall that Simon was pushed out of the IDA a few years back, leaving the organization on the brink of bankruptcy.

During his tenure, Simon was obsessed with taking over Niagara Falls International Airport. When the NFTA put out a plan to privatize the airport, Simon put together a proposal that would have put the airport on the backs of taxpayers. The NFTA instead chose to go with Cintra, an international company that had a large portfolio of airports.

Simon then enlisted the help of then-Congressman John LaFalce who made wild accusations about Cintra and did everything possible to sideline the deal. Eventually, Cintra walked away. (As an aside, Cintra has continued to invest and expand their international portfolio while NFIA remains essentially vacant. This in spite of LaFalce's promise at the time to line up major dollars for the airport if Cintra was out of the mix.)

Fast forward to today where the NFTA is finally about to invest in building a new terminal at Niagara Falls. There is both casino money and NFTA funds set aside for the project. Bids are being taken.

John Simon, who has been working for the OZ Project in Wheatfield -- yes a match made in heaven -- has quietly resurfaced in certain circles trying to derail the project, telling anyone who will listen that it should be killed and vowing to lead the charge to do just that.

Unbelievably, we are told a few politicians are actually taking him seriously. We've also been told that Tom Christy has bought into this nonsense....Tom, you are really putting your credibility at risk.

Let's be clear. Investment in a new terminal at NFIA must happen. We have all waited too long to have people with questionable track records like John Simon come out of the woodwork and screw it up.

October 15, 2007

Registration Required

When the Niagara Times blog was started back on June 1st, it was stated that at some point registration would be required to post on the site. Alas, we have reached that point.

As many of you have seen, Scott Leffler posted that he would no longer participate in this forum because of the anonymous pot shots being taken at him. Although Scott's departure from the blog is not the sole reason that this now policy is being implemented, it is indicative of a problem with a very few anonymous posters. Scott and I periodically disagree on issues, but he, and anyone else who wants to participate in productive dialog, should not be discouraged from coming in here to give their point of view.

For the record, registration does not allow me or anyone else to see any personal information. If you choose to, you can create a profile with an email address that will allow readers to email you directly, but that is optional.

Otherwise, please continue to enjoy the site. Thank you for your participation.

David

October 13, 2007

School Violence

Received via email:

Another child has taken his life and 4 others wounded in the recent Cleveland School Shooting and as, I believe, a direct result of maladministration in school districts and the State Education Departments in general. Under reporting violence is gross negligence and compromises the safety of all district students. Yet, it continues unchecked. Case in point, North Tonawanda High School.

I would like you to visit http://www.theeleventhdistrict.blogspot.com. If you think that this is a matter you would like to address on your blog, please feel free to do so. I have been following the "Mess In North Tonawanda Schools". It is clearly apparent that the majority of individuals are not interested in solving the serious issues in this school district or willing to embrace the truths.

October 11, 2007

"Moral Compass"

“I really think those guys need a moral compass". That was the quote attributed to Niagara County Legislature candidate Richard Marasco back in September in the Niagara Gazette. Marasco was apparently responding to why he wants to represent the 1st Legislative District.

But this evening Niagara Times has been told that Marasco, barely a month after running a Republican primary against incumbent Jason Murgia, has switched his party affiliation to Democrat.

Technically, the change in affiliation will not impact this election. But the question at hand is why would Marasco change at all, after his previous proclamation of being a "real Republican"? What about the supposed hundreds of Republican doors that he has knocked on, presenting himself as a Republican? Where is the "moral compass" of deceiving the voters barely a month after 150 of them pulled the lever for you?

Let me guess, you just decided to change affiliation today. When you were knocking on all of those doors presenting yourself as a Republican, you had no intention of switching parties.

Unfortunately, this is just part of a bigger problem. As long as New York State allows this cross-endorsing of candidates, we will have to deal with this type of shenanigans. Although it may be legally acceptable, it's morally wrong.

NT Chamber Controversy

Received an interesting email from a North Tonawanda reader. Seems like the chamber doesn't know that even a PERCEIVED conflict of interest actually is a conflict.
___________________________________________________________
A minor brouhaha developed in North Tonawanda regarding debates for city council and county legislature candidates, to be hosted later this month by the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas. At issue is the fact that the current Chamber President, Dave Burgio, and a member of the chamber's government affairs committee, Dennis Pasiak, are both candidates and would be participants in the debate. The Tonawanda News ran an article about it over the weekend, and had quotes from current Council President Brett Sommer (who is not up for re-election this year) and others saying it raised a question a fairness.

The chamber's executive director, Joyce Santiago, explained in the article that it will be a fair process, and that none of the chamber members who are candidates are involved in setting up the debates, and will not have access to the questions in advance. End of story, right?

This is North Tonawanda, where there is always another page to turn. Apparently, Ms. Santiago wants to send a letter to the editor to the paper more fully explaining the chamber's position. In transmitting a draft to the board via e-mail, she writes, "Some of you may have seen the "Chamber to host debates" article in the Saturday, 10/6, issue of the Tonawanda News.

"Instead of a notice about the forum and the request for questions, it was reported that some took issue with the Chamber's involvement as we have a President and a Government Affairs Committee Member who are also candidates. A question of fairness to other candidates was raised.

"I've attached both the article and a letter to the editor of the Tonawanda News that I would like to have printed asap."

(btw, here's the article -- http://www.tonawanda-news.com/local/local_story_278232331.html)

So far, so good.

But then she writes, "Normally I wouldn't respond to fools but I do not want the public to get the wrong idea and I think it is important to point out to the readers that the Chamber does a service and that those who raised the question did so to make trouble, not actually add anything of value."

Her e-mail also says she chatted with NT GOP chair Bill Patton about the potential for conflict, and that he was satisfied. She says he even apologized for Brett Sommer's remarks. She also says that "Candidate Dennis Pasziak" also had no issue -- although she spelled his name incorrectly.

In a reply e-mail sent to the full board, Board Member Doug Taylor applauded the letter, saying, "The letter's current tone takes the high road, like that of a teacher responding to an unruly junior high school student in the 7-8th grade."

Her letter is innocuous enough, but does include the following sentence -- "It was irresponsible of them to do otherwise, given the importance of what we offer to the communities." -- in saying that the "parties who raised the question of impropriety" never contacted her directly.

Frankly, she is not wrong that is probably much ado about nothing. But to suggest that anyone who questions is a "fool" and "irresponsible" suggests that her p.r. meter must be broken. You have a former GOP mayor who is now the head of the chamber, yet claims he doesn't attend committee meetings. He is now running for city council, with the backing of the Democrats. He will be taking part in a debate administered by the very organization he chairs. C'mon, Joyce, somebody was going to raise a question about that. And, was it Sommer who raised the question, or the reporter at the Tonawanda News? And, Doug, an "unruly junior high student" is the way to describe someone who may not agree?

Calling people "fools" and "irresponsible" in e-mails to more than 20 business leaders in the area might also cause us regular folk to wonder just what is going on. Flogging the issue is no way to make it go away. And, Doug, an "unruly junior high student" is the way to describe someone who may not agree?

Is this the best and brightest the business community has to offer? As a member of the chamber, it certainly makes me wonder.

October 10, 2007

Job Growth for Erie-Niagara

The Buffalo-Niagara area ranks fourth in the state for employment growth, according to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The local metropolitan area, which includes Erie and Niagara counties, had 547,200 jobs as of August 2007. That was 2,300 more than the August 2006 total of 544,900.

Here are the year-to-year job-growth figures for the 12 metropolitan areas across the state. Their national ranks are in parentheses:
- New York City, up 79,800 (1st)
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, up 3,100 (97th)
- Rochester, up 2,400 (124th)
- Buffalo, up 2,300 (126th)
- Poughkeepsie, up 2,200 (137th)
- Kingston, up 1,600 (167th)
- Syracuse, up 1,200 (198th)
- Glens Falls, up 300 (289th)
- Elmira, up 100 (305th)
- Ithaca, no change (312th)
- Utica-Rome, no change (312th)
- Binghamton, down 400 (343rd)

Detroit ranked last among the nation's 367 metros, losing 22,000 jobs
during the past year. Atlantic City, N.J., was the runner-up with a decline
of 3,100.

October 9, 2007

Amazing Game, Crushing Defeat

After last night, it's only fitting to revert to a smattering of sports. I had the opportunity to attend Monday night's nationally televised Bill-Cowboys game. What an electric crowd. I had never been to a Bills game, and I have attended many, where I stood the entire game. The ENTIRE game the crowd was on its feet. I've been on my feet for a Springsteen concert, never for a Bills game.

Monday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium was a testament to the ferocious loyalty of the Buffalo fan. Monday night was also the second most heart wrenching defeat I've ever seen as a Bills fan (sorry, Scott Norwood). But, we'll bounce back, as Buffalo always does, because we are resilient.

It's just too bad we have to do it with that IDIOT OF A COACH who decided to pass on third down instead of simply running the ball and taking the sure three points!!! Sorry, just needed to get the off my chest.

One more thing - lock up your women, Willis McGahee is coming to town in two weeks.

October 7, 2007

Select-a-Candidate, Presidential Style

I came across an interesting site where you can answer 11 questions to find out which presidential candidates are most aligned with your views and opinions. Give it a try, the results may surprise you.

http://www.wqad.com/Global/link.asp?L=259460

October 5, 2007

Open Mouth, Insert Foot - Again

In case you missed it, the City of Lockport has been recently contemplating a raise for Chief Building Inspector Jim McCann as an enticement to put off retirement for two years. With passage of the city's budget earlier this week, the enticement worked, and McCann will stick around.

Alderman Joe Kibler vehemently opposed the raise because he and McCann frequently did not see eye to eye while Kibler served on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Fair enough, many of us have worked with people we didn't particularly care for, so being opposed to giving someone we don't like a raise is understandable.

But once again, Kibler, instead of simply voting "no", has to toss in his two cents. The problem with two cents from Kibler is that you can inevitably count on it being another idiotic comment. In this case, Kibler recently admitted that when McCann's son was playing youth basketball in the city and Kibler was one of the referees, he tossed the kid from the game. Why? Because of who the boy's father is.

Admitted Kibler, when he found out the youngster was Jim McCann's kid, “I threw him right out of there”. Okay, let me get this straight. You dislike an individual because of, well, whatever reason, but you take it out on his kid? Is this not one of the most disgusting things you've ever heard out of a local politician? This clown is the Alderman-at-Large for the City of Lockport, and he goes around conducting himself in this manner?

Of course, this is the epitome of Joe Kibler. The same Joe Kibler that when a group of African American senior citizens requested the use of a city park, remarked that they'll have the use of "monkey bars". From what I have heard, remarks such as that are commonplace for Kibler, and that Joyce Miles and Tom Prohaska have repeatedly warned Kibler that if he continues with his off-color remarks, they will have to report them publicly. He apparently uses Committee of the Whole meetings as his forum for racial indifference.

The bottom line is that Kibler is a disgrace. He is a disgrace to public office, and he is a disgrace as a person. The Republican Party should be ashamed of themselves for supporting him, and the Democratic Party should be ashamed for not finding a candidate to challenge him.

To many in the community, Joe Kibler is Santa Claus. Every year, he dons his red suit and parades around town as Santa. What a charade. Instead of wearing a big red suit, he should be wearing a scarlet letter.

Niagara County Technology Forum

Received via email:
You are invited to attend the 7th Annual Western New York Technology Forum featuring Homeland Security and Technology
Thursday October 18, 2007 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Please register in advance at www.niagaracounty.com/forum.

The 7th Annual WNY Technology Forum featuring Homeland Security & Technology will be Thursday, October 18, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Forum will be held at the Niagara Falls Conference Center, 101 Old Falls Drive, Niagara Falls, NY.

The forum highlights the Buffalo Niagara region's growing high-technology economy by bringing together representatives from academia, industry and government to showcase the latest innovations.

Open vendor booths and breakfast will begin the event at 8:00 am.

There will be four presentation rooms that will be holding specialized Homeland Security & Technology presentations throughout the day. Presentation begin promptly at 9:00 am. A vendor display area featuring 40 vendors who specialize in homeland security and technology will be open from 8:00 am - 1:30 pm.

The Forum is presented by Niagara County and infoTech Niagara. This event is targeted at owners and managers of information technology companies, homeland security companies, or those companies and organizations that work with or support the technology/homeland security industries in Western New York.

The Forum is open to all, and there is no charge to attend. Please mark October 18 on your calendar. Included with your free admission is breakfast and lunch, and free parking to the first 150 to arrive the day of the event. For more information, please call Niagara County Data Processing at (716) 439-7043 or you can visit us on the web at www.niagaracounty.com/forum

Please register in advance at www.niagaracounty.com/forum.

October 3, 2007

Greater Niagara Newspaper's Continued Denial

We've taken Governor Spitzer to task before for his role in Troopergate (also known as Choppergate). But once again, the reality of the situation is that for those of us in Western New York who rely on the Greater Niagara Newspaper group for our news, the issue isn't so much Spitzer, but the absolute denial of GNN to recognize what the overwhelming majority of the people of this state believe to be Spitzer's role in Troopergate.

In today's editorial, the Union Sun & Journal begrudgingly calls out Spitzer for his plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. In the editorial, the editorial staff calls Spitzer's executive order a "rare political misstep from the young governor". Most people of this state would disagree with GNN's assertion that this was a rare political misstep.

According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday, the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers say the governor should testify about what he knew of the scandal involving State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s travels around the state.

Seventy-eight percent of voters said he should have to testify under oath, and the majority of voters also believe Spitzer knew what his aides were doing when they compiled information about Bruno's use of state aircraft and leaked it to the media.

Fifty-six percent of all voters surveyed said they think the governor was aware of what his aides were doing, which could be having an affect on the governor's approval ratings.

The latest poll finds 47 percent of voters approve of his job performance, down one percentage point from the last poll taken at the end of July. But his disapproval rating shot up six percentage points to 34 percent.

Quinnipiac surveyed more than 1,500 New York state voters last week. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5.

What does our local paper focus on? Those damn Republicans pouncing on this issue. Folks, that's politics. Right or wrong, good or bad, that's politics. When your political adversary makes a mistake, you capitalize on it.

Who does the US&J point the finger at for Spitzer's "misstep"? Tom Reynolds. Apparently he, as one member of the 435 member House of Representatives, should have simply enacted massive immigration reform.

Immigration reform is the most polarizing issue in the country, with no easy answer, but it's Tom Reynold's fault that Eliot Spitzer has enacted this legislation that anyone can see is designed to do nothing more than enhance his voter base.

Spitzer's action on illegals if unfortunate and misguided. The Greater Niagara Newspaper group's continued slanting of the "news" is disgraceful and irresponsible.

This county has a nice mix of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Conservatives. But when it comes to core family values, this community is conservative. Not politically conservative, but hard-working, family-oriented people that worship Our Lord. This paper writes as if it is in New York City. Tim Marren, the editor, has no idea of what the people of this community value. I can tell you one thing, it's not deception, and that's what he is spoon feeding us every day.

Just give us all sides to an issue and let us make the decision what is right and what is wrong. My fear is that Marren simply believes that the people of this community are incapable of making that distinction, so he has taken it upon himself to do it for us.

And that folks, is where we must draw the line.

A Stern Warning to Candidates

Below is an email from an irate voter. Candidates and party leaders of all affiliations should take heed of this. I always thought the general rule of thumb was no door to door after dark and no phone calls after 8 p.m. I welcome input from any of the many operatives from both parties who regularly visit our site.

Sail Away,

I’m a pissed off Pendleton resident this morning and I’m hoping if you post this political people in both parties will see this and change their tactics.

Last night, my wife was out so I was home with our two small toddler-aged children. After baths, I put them to bed like we do every night between 7:45 and 8 p.m. People rarely call after 8 p.m. unless it’s important.

So why am I mad this morning? Because I received one of those political taped phone messages from Roger Chenez at 8:40 p.m. This is simply out of bounds.

I purposely put my phone number on my voter registration card because I’m one of these people who actually like to get called for polls and to get the political messages. I’m a junkie for this stuff. So let me be clear that I’m not mad about Chenez calling my home like some people might be.

I’M MAD THAT HE CALLED AT 8:40 WHEN EVERYONE KNOWS THAT POLITICAL CALLS AFTER 8 PM ARE NOT RIGHT.

Roger and Dan Rivera, get your friggin act together and don’t call so late. You both should know better.

October 2, 2007

The AES Announcement

Interesting. You had labor and business. You had two Somerset Councilmen from the so-called "pro-Shoemaker" side and the Town Supervisor from the so-called "pro AES side." You had DelMonte and Maziarz both saying good things. Yes, the much ballyhooed AES investment announcement was made today and by all reports, it went over well. Finally, common sense may be taking over as people realize that regardless of your views on the PILOT, AES making a $25 million investment in our community is a good thing.

From Business First:

AES expanding lake access Business First of Buffalo - by David Bertola Business First

AES Somerset unveiled plans Tuesday to build a $25 million lake-unloading facility at its electric generating station on the shores of Lake Ontario.

AES estimates the project will create approximately 100 union construction jobs over a two-year period, and help retain more than 150 management and union jobs at the 675 megawatt power plant.

The project is part of AES' effort to enhance operating efficiencies, and provide a transportation alternative with an eye toward reducing the cost on shipments of coal, limestone and other bulk commodities transported on ships to the AES plant.

The new facility will include construction of a 3,200-foot long pier, which will be designed to incorporate a conveyor system and hopper to unload the vessels.

A Legitimate Candidate's Forum

It will be a nice change to candidate forums this year from the ususal Spanish Inquisition put on every year by the so-called taxpayer watchdog group....from the Union Sun & Journal:

LOCKPORT: Area Candidates Q&A is Oct. 15

By Joyce Miles/milesj@gnnewspaper.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

A Lockport-area candidates' forum will be held Oct. 15, and televised live by LCTV, at the Kenan Center’s Taylor Theater.

Participating candidates are:

• Mayor Michael Tucker and challenger Michael J. Pillot.

• 7th District Legislator Gerald Farnham and challenger Roger Chenez.

• 15th District Legislator Harry J. Apolito and challenger Tony Nemi.

• 16th District Legislator William K. McNall and challenger Beverly McDonough.

• 17th District Legislator Richard E. Updegrove and challenger Charles Dahlquist.

Candidates will be questioned by a panel composed of representatives of YWCA of Niagara, Niagara USA Chamber, the Union-Sun & Journal, WLVL radio and the Participation In Government class at Lockport High School.

The forum will be moderated by Jackie Davis, an LCTV board member and host of “Business Today.”

October 1, 2007

Anonymous Political Mailings

Much has been written over the past few years about anonymous political mailings. In essence, these are mailings that are dropped into an area without a "Paid For By". The difference between anonymous mailers and the regular political propaganda that we might see is that the anonymous mailers usually don't tout the positive attributes of one candidate, but are meant to discredit the other.

We have seen several of these this political season, primarily in county legislature races, as well as a smattering of them around the county, apparently by both Republicans and Democrats.

The Greater Niagara Newspaper Group and the Buffalo News have devoted much coverage to this issue. On LCTV last week, Tom Christy devoted an entire show to the topic.

What I do not believe has been determined is, are anonymous political mailings effective? From some scuttlebutt heard around town, these mailers may not have the desired effect that some may have hoped. Primary results may tell a different story.