Politics

Political news

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The primary election season is heating up locally.   This week's Press Pass conversation looks at the races voters will decide on Thursday, September 13, 2012.

WBFO & AM-970's Chris Jamele sits down with Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly about the candidates.

The state’s Republican Party is turning a familiar Democratic Party accusation back against the Assembly Democrats, who are involved in a sexual harassment scandal.  

New York’s GOP Chair Ed Cox says it’s the Assembly Democrats who are engaging in a “war on women”, after  Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez was censured for sexual harassment, and it was revealed that the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had authorized a previous secret settlement against two other alleged Lopez victims.

Photo provided by Kitty and Cheryle Lambert-Rudd

Two Western New Yorkers are attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte representing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community.  WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley says for the party has added Same Sex Marriage to its platform.

Jamestown City Council president Gregory Rabb is serving as a delegate.  But Rabb -- who is an openly gay member of the community -- is also taking part in the LGBT caucus at the DNC.

"There are 6,000 delegates and about close to 600 are Lesbian, Gay or Transgender. So it is an historic moment," said Rabb.

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The state’s ethics board held a closed door meeting Tuesday and is believed to be discussing whether to investigate Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez and possibly the Assembly Speaker, over a sexual harassment scandal.

Masiello abandons pursuit of party post

Sep 5, 2012
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Former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello has ended speculation of a return to politics as the Chair of the Erie County Democratic Party.

In a statement released from his lobbying group, Masiello, Martucci, Calabrese and Associates, Masiello cited professional and personal reasons behind the decision.

Upon the urging of Governor Cuomo, Masiello had sought the support of key Democrats in an effort to replace outgoing chairman Len Lenihan.

Local Democratic boss skipping national convention

Sep 4, 2012
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Democratic National Convention begins tonight in Charlotte, North Carolina, with most of the party's political operatives expected to attend, but the head of Erie County's Democrats, Len Lenihan, won't be  making the trip.

While conventions can be fun and he's been to some, the Erie County boss is more concerned about the election next week, with some key local races on the ballot.

That includes races like the Senate fight between County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant and State Senator Tim Kennedy.

Gearing up for political convention coverage

Aug 27, 2012

WBFO & AM 970 will carry  NPR's special programming for national convention coverage.

The GOP National Convention will be held in Tampa August 27-30.  WBFO & AM 970 will provide extensive, on-air coverage each night beginning at 7 p.m. with a special, live edition of On Point, followed by NPR coverage.

Voting to formally nominate the Republican Party's presidential and vice presidential nominees is on the agenda in Tampa .

A recent remark the Lancaster Town supervisor made about government employees has unleashed a strong response from the Civil Service Employees Association. 

CSEA members and labor demonstrated at last night's town board meeting against supervisor Dino Fudoli. Fudoli was asked to retract his statement when he referred to government employees as a "non-producing part of society."

"I said let me make myself very clear. I am not anti-public employee, I am just pro-taxpayer. Wouldn't that tell you right there I am not against public employees?", said Fudoli.             

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A few weeks ago Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Buffalo announcing a preliminary deal for expansion of the Peace Bridge plaza.  The state will buy two-blocks of Busti Avenue for $15-million in order to demolish a row of historic homes and the former Episcopal Church Home where a duty free store would be built.

But as WBFO & AM-970'S Eileen Buckley reports, some West Side residents are upset with these plans that they say would further harm the air quality and a historic neighborhood.

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The race for the 27th Congressional District is a dead heat, that according to a recent poll conducted by the Buffalo News, WGRZ and Sienna College.

The poll found a mere 2% edge for Republican Chris Collins over incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul. The margin of error for the poll is near 4%.  7% of those queried remain undecided.

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Tax returns took center stage this week in the heated battle for the 27th Congressional district.

Earlier this week, Democratic Representative Kathy Hochul offered the public a look at the her salary and that of her husnand, U.S. Attorney William Hochul.

The figures produced fodder for her Republican foe, Chris Collins, who said the Hochuls have become millionaire's on the backs of taxpayers.

"She's not really this middle class person she pretends to be," said Collins.

Congresswoman Hochul refuted the attacks.

The head of the State’s Republican Party predicts that the choice of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential candidate will be helpful in some portions of New York State.

New York’s GOP Chair Ed Cox says Ryan’s position as number two on the Republican ticket in November could aid the GOP congressional candidates around the state, who are already identified as strong fiscal conservatives.

“I think it’s going to play very well in New York State, “said Cox.  

Photo NYS Court of Appeals Website

In the next couple of years, Governor Andrew Cuomo may have the chance to shape the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, as several judges reach the end of their terms or the mandatory retirement age. It’s an opportunity no New York governor has had in a generation. 

In the next couple of years, Governor Andrew Cuomo may have the chance to shape the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, as several judges reach the end of their terms or the mandatory retirement age. It’s an opportunity no New York governor has had in a generation.

Governor Cuomo defended his administration against criticisms that he has not been transparent enough, saying he’s trying to do more.

Governor Cuomo defended his record of releasing documents and other information to the public, saying his administration has taken “unprecedented steps” and has gone to “exorbitant” levels to communicate.  Cuomo was the target of newspaper editorial recently that criticized him for being secretive and controlling in his handling of archive files during his time as Attorney General, among other things.

Photo from City of Buffalo Website

City Comptroller Mark Schroeder has fired his chief auditor.  WBFO and AM 970's Mark Scott talks with Jim Heaney of the website http://investigativepost.org, who broke the story with WGRZ television.

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

The campaign account for state Senator George Maziarz is growing to considerable proportions.

The latest tally shows him approaching the $1 million dollar mark with more than one quarter of that amount coming in the last six months. The GOP senator's Democratic opponent in the race for the 62nd District, Amy Witryol, has raised better than $11 thousand, and his party primary challenger, Johnny Destino, is reporting no financial activity.

Maziarz is getting some criticism for receiving significant monies from unions and corporate interests.

Wendy Long, the Republican candidate looking to unseat U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, met briefly with reporters in Buffalo Tuesday.  
    
Siena Research Institute's Greenberg says Long gained no momentum from last month's GOP primary. Greenberg says Gillibrand has a commanding 62-to-25-percent lead over her challenger.

"Wendy Long has a very steep, uphill climb," Greenberg said.   

After a campaign swing across New York, Long spoke to reporters at the Buffalo Airport before flying back to New York City.  

WBFO News file photo

Debate continues in Washington and locally over extension of the so-called Bush-era tax cuts. 

Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Hochul called Monday for extension of the tax cuts for everyone making less than $250,000 a year.   But Republican congressional candidate Chris Collins says the tax cuts should be extended for everyone.  

Collins talked about it with WBFO & AM-970's Jim Ranney.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul said middle-tax tax cuts should become permanent. 

"Let's just stop the fighting. Don't hold people in this country hostage any longer," said Rep. Hochul.  "Tell the middle class families that those tax cuts will be permanent."

The tax-breaks, in place since 2003, will expire at the end of this year.  President Obama is pushing for  an extension.  

But Hochul wants tax cuts for those earning less than $500,000 a year to keep to stay in place without an expiration date.

Photo from the Facebook page of Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy

Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney raised an estimated $1.25 million during two political fundraisers in Buffalo Friday afternoon.

After arriving just after 3 p.m. at Prior Aviation in Cheekotwaga, police and secret service escorted Romney to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. That’s were guests paid $2,500 to hear Romney speak.

WBFO News by Mike Desmond

 Former Erie County Executive Chris Collins has clearly glided past  former Iraq War veteran David Bellavia in the Republican primary for the 27th Congressional District.

In Erie County with 94% of the votes counted,  Collins held a major lead with 74% to Bellavai's 26% of the vote. 

After losing a hard-fought race for a second term as Erie County executive, Collins earned vindication Tuesday night in the race for the GOP nod against Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Hochul in what is a heavily-Republican district.

Buffalo News photo

Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy says Chris Collins showed "great confidence" as he swept aside David Bellavia in the Republican primary in the 27th Congressional District.

That confidence, McCarthy says, comes from the Collins' campaign understanding of the newly-formed 27th district. Tuesday's vote showed Collins winning easily in the towns of Erie County where Republican enrollment is high.

Federal primary day in Western New York includes the Republican primary in the newly redrawn 27th Congressman District.

Former Erie County Executive Chris Collins facing David Bellavia, a former Iraq War veteran.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will run against democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul this November. 

Polls close at 9 p.m.  For up to the minute results, you can log onto the Erie County Board of Elections.

WBFO News photo

It’s the first time in around 40 years that New York has held June primaries.

The state was forced to change the date from September to be in compliance with a federal  rule that requires  adequate time between primary day and election day to distribute election ballots to service men and women overseas.  

Turn out is expected to be low, for that reason and a number of other factors.  

The only statewide primary features three largely unknown candidates who want a shot at running against US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Two very different Republicans are on the ballot Tuesday, as the party seeks to push Representative Kathy Hochul out of Washington.

Chris Collins is well known in the most populated parts of the congressional district as former Erie County executive while David Bellavia is from the more rural parts of the district where he's best known as a combat soldier and writer.

Hochul slid into the seat after Representative Chris Lee resigned in a scandal over pictures of himself he put into social media.

Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino &  Rus Thompson from TEA New York have endorsed Wendy Long for U.S. Senate. Paladino and Thompson made the announcement late Sunday  morning at the  Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in south Buffalo at a news conference.  Long is attempting to unseat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.  Long has been unanimously endorsed by the Conservative Party of New York State and will appear on that ballot line in the November general elections.

The state legislature ended their 2012 session Thursday evening as lawmakers had promised, but they did not manage to finish everything on their list before they left. Governor Cuomo calls the 2012 legislative session the most successful in “modern political history”, and a “magnificent accomplishment.” “We did what we said we would do,” Cuomo said. Lawmakers in the final hours agreed to approve the governor’s bill to publicly disclose teacher evaluations,  but Cuomo failed to persuade the Republican led Senate to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.  “We’re ending the session with a b

There was a little bit of drama in an otherwise mundane end to the legislative session when Senate Republicans agreed in the final hours to approve Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal on how to make teacher evaluations public.

Senate Republicans, on the final day of the session, agreed to take up Cuomo’s bill, which will make public all teacher evaluations without names attached. Parents would then be able to obtain the specific evaluations of their own child’s teacher.

The power and influence of Governor Cuomo's regional economic development councils are drawing the interest of state politicians. 

Now, one Assembly candidate is turning the matter into a campaign issue. 

If you wade through Empire State Development's website, you can find a list of the members of the Western New York council. It's not quite accurate, since there is no mention of Senate Mike Ranzenhofer or Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, both powerful Albany figures who have been named to the Western New York board.

File photo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana found during police searches to  fix what he  says is a “blatant inconsistency” in New York City’s controversial "stop and frisk" policy.

Cuomo says the NYPD procedure has unfairly led to the arrest of thousands of mainly young black and Hispanic men who were caught with possession of small amounts of marijuana.   The arrests often led to criminal records with life-long consequences that can prevent the young person from getting college aid or living in public housing.

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