June 18, 2009

Local Races Taking Shape.....Kind Of

There are some interesting rumblings coming out of both the Republican and Democratic camps as some of the local races start shaping up. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll take a look at some of those races, including those for county legislature.

One race that seems to be generating much conversation is the contest for the 6th Legislative District, currently held by Danny Sklarski (D-Niagara). Sklarski is being challenged by Town of Niagara Councilman Rob Clark.

What is at the center of the discussion is the apparent unwillingness of Clark to move forward with his campaign, while Dem Chairman Dan Rivera pushes Clark to continue. Clark, it seems, is apprehensive about what may come out during the campaign. As we have alluded to before, Clark was one of several local candidates who received campaign contributions from business interests that turned out to be a front for prostitution ring that forced women into sex slavery.

We've also questioned Clark's response to demands that he either give the money back or make a donation in the same amount to a local cause for women. On this blog, when challenged by a commenter about the donation, Clark stated "No I didn't give it back. Who would I give it to? I haven`t seen the shop owners in almost 2 years. What good would it do if I gave the $100 to the "employees" of the ring. They wouldn`t see it. The Government would probably keep it. I'm willing to bet that they are probably doing better than most of us right now."

Personally, I think that's a garbage answer. "I'm willing to bet that they are probably doing better than most of us right now"? These are women who spoke no English, were forced into sexual slavery and lived in virtual cages when not being forced to perform sex acts. How the hell would you think they're doing better than most of us right now? But, that aside, the answer is still garbage. You could have very easily, very quietly made a donation to a local women's shelter to, if nothing else, clean your conscience.

Anyway, I digress.

Rivera has made a promise of significant resources to Clark, but Clark's heart is not in it. Word is that there is a combination of two things weighing on Clark. Some of the things we already alluded to coming out as well as his lack of faith in Rivera to deliver on his promise of help.

On the latter, we can't say we blame Clark. Rivera has been (in)famous for not delivering for his candidates. We've learned that Rivera's fractured relationship with former congressional candidate Jack Davis is still damaged. Rivera recently approached Davis, who pumped $30k of his own money into the Dem's campaign coffers two years ago, with an offer of reconciliation. Davis wanted nothing to do with it. In fact, Davis still plans to swing those campaign dollars into the GOP's campaign war chest. That will indeed make it difficult for Rivera to keep his promises of resources to potential candidates.

As the petition deadline approaches within the next few weeks, it's going to be very interesting to see if Clark does indeed submit his petitions. Don't be surprised if you see a swichteroo from the Dems in this race. If nothing else, this year should be an interesting one in local politics. Stay tuned, there's much more to come.


Paladin said...

"Interesting" Hobbes? Come on...the only suspense this year is whether the Republican/Conservative Democrat Coalition running county government numbers 14, 15, or 16 after January 1.

Mr. Pink said...

I've always enjoyed the back and forth with Rob on this site but he got bad advice on how to handle the hooker scandal. You apologize, make restituion and move on. Once the GOP drops the first piece of mail to female voters that says, "Rob Clark thinks some women are better off as prostitutes" the campaign is over.

Paladin said...

Yeah, Pink. And, somehow, I'm thinking after that him going to door and saying "Me love you long time" to voters isn't going to make much of a difference...

Dark Knight said...

Pink, you are dead on here. Wojtaszek and his team know how to go for the kill. Mr. Clark won't be able to show his face anywhere in the Town of Niagara. When you move up the ladder from Town Council to Legislature, the campaigns get that much more intense. And the fact that Rivera hasn't shown the ability to compete in the Legislative races makes guys like Clark sitting ducks for the GOP campaign operation.

I always thought Harry Apolito was a decent enough guy but by the time the GOP got done with that race, Harry wasn't only done in the Legislature he had no credibility left in the community. And Rivera did little to help Harry in that race.

Frank DeGeorge said...

I don't just think it's the prostitute scandal that hurts Clark's chances. Think about all the crap that he's going to be in the middle of...do you side with the NF Dems on taking away the county's share of casino money, are you against the NYPA sweeps, etc. If you take the Dem line, you're done with voters but if you take the popular side in this, you're against Francine and the money gets cut off from Dem central.

Dark Knight said...

He gets sideways with DelMonte and he will be thrown to the wolves. She has gone crazy on the casino and NYPA issues. She'll be threatening Rob like she did to Bill Ross.

Sweaterman said...

This "potential" race is a microcosim of the state of the entire Democratic Party for Niagara County. While the entire country is under democratic control, Niagara County Democrats suffer because they do not have a a good leader.

If I were Rob Clark I would be very afraid of anything Dan Rivera told me. He has never delivered.

Say what you want to say about the Republicans but they get good, hard working candidates that stay on message and have a party that backs them up.....financially and physically

Dark Knight said...

Throwing Demler under the bus made good political sense. That's what smart political leaders do...they cut the fat before voters do it for them and give their full support to candidates who are part of the team.

That's where Rivera fails. He can't be counted on to support legislative candidates with good advice, operational expertise and dollars. I mean, he ran his whole slate last year on the AES issue...something no one cared about.

Barney said...

What's Rob Clark got to say about this... I'm calling you out "young blood"..

rob clark said...

WOW!!! I can not believe that I am the lone topic for discussion on NIAGARA TIMES. I feel honored.

Hobbes, as I have stated here before several times when I am ready to announce if I am a candidate for anything NIAGARA TIMES would be the first place I would make that announcement. Currently, there are quite a few people who are “backing” me to run for County Legislature. Most, if not all of them are from the Town of Niagara. However, there are some issues in my family life that are holding me back. So Right now, I am unsure. That sounds like the typical political answer but in this case it is true. If you really want to know what is going on in my life, email me.

But Barney, call me out? REALLY? Come on now. You of all people should know that I would answer this as soon as I saw it. Now where should I start? The prostitutes comments posted in the blog are mine from I believe two years ago when the story broke open. Once again did I know that these acts were being committed? NO. But I never ran from the fact that I received a donation from them. When I met the owners of the spas I was told they were investors. I was asked to golf in the County Democratic Committee Tournament. They needed a person for there foursome. But in no way did I ever involve myself with “their “ business”. My comments were meant as those young women are probably in a better place, after they were freed from there captures. Should I have given a more in depth answer? Yes. That is my fault. But like I stated before at the time who would I have given any money to?

Most of the other posting I’m not really bothered by. I actually agree with some points made here. I usually do. Let me state very clearly for everyone who reads this, I TAKE ORDERS FROM NO ONE!!! If I ever do decide to run for County Government I side with the residents that elect me. Not Caucuses, Party Leaders or Political Donors! And Larry, thanks for the words of encouragement.

rob clark said...

I find the "other stuff coming out " comment very puzzling. I guess we will have to stay tuned.
Barney how long have you been in the Legislature anyway?

John Restaino said...

That is it I am announcing I will be running for County Legislature from the Town of Niagara!! Hold your applause!!

Actually, I think Rob would make a fine Legislator. Come on GOP stop trying to twist Clark's words. I know this is how "you" roll but come on!!

Paladin said...

Hey Rob, a word of advice. You really shouldn't be publicly announcing you were in a "foursome" with prostitutes and pimps.

Mr. Pink said...

Rob, I think we can appreciate the candor of your answer. I may not agree with your politics but at least you don't go and hide like so many of these elected officials on both sides of the aisle.

I personally think it would be a mistake for you to leave town government for the county. Like my post said yesterday, it will be a very nasty campaign and what do you win if you win?

I have a friend on a local town board who was approached a few years back by the GOP about running for Leg and he declined. I asked him why not take the next step and he said that the county is really nothing more than a conduit for the state to deliver services so if you want to make a real impact in your home community, town boards are actually a better place to serve. As I have watched politics in the county over the last few years, I've come to agree with him.

Barney said...

Rob I'm not in County Goverment - free advice $0.00.

I do agree with Pink - local or state never county. Free comment $0.00.

"...fact that I received a donation from them (Pimps)...When I met the owners of the spas (whore house)...They needed a person for there foursome..."

- Priceless

rob clark said...


Mr. Pink. I do agree to a certian extent with your friend. But there is still a need for County Goverment. But thank you for the advise.

Barney said...


How can you say you are still undecided when:


rob clark said...

Well Barney..........I told you so