Politics

Political news

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.

A former aide to Republican State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer of Amherst has filed an ethics complaint with the state after she was fired a month ago.

Michelle McCulloch, 45, of Attica says her dismissal was due to her political support for the congressional campaign of David Bellavia over Ranzenhofer’s preference of former Erie County Executive Chris Collins.

Veteran broadcast journalist Stefan Mychajliw is running for Erie County Comptroller. 

Mychajliw has been endorsed by the Republican,  Conservative and Independence Parties.  He has had a varied career. 

After working in TV news, Mychajliw served as a spokesman for the Buffalo School District.  More recently, he ran his own public relations agency and served as co-host of a noon-time debate show on Channel 2. 

Mychajliw said all that experience makes him well qualified to run for county comptroller.

Chris Caya/WBFO

Several local members of the state delegation are pushing for swift passage of the cyber-bullying law currently pending in Albany. 

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer says the bill came about after bullying victim Jamie Rodemeyer, a Williamsville teenager, committed suicide last September. 

Ranzenhofer says the issue pervades the entire state and he is challenging Governor Cuomo to "get on board."   The Amherst Republican says the updated bill defines the law and aids police how to handle alleged cases of cyber-bullying.

Governor Cuomo has taken the reigns of the troubled New York Racing Association Board, saying he needs to “restore the public trust” in a rapidly changing gaming industry.

Cuomo convinced members of the independent board that oversees horse racing in New York to agree to a restructuring that will give the governor the majority of appointees on a new, slimmed down board.

WBFO News file photo / WBFO News

 The Buffalo Common Council has filled the South District seat that was vacated by Mickey Kearns, but questions follow their selection.

On this week's Press Pass, WBFO & AM-970"s Chris Jamele and Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly explore those concerns along with the significance of the Bethlehem administration building in Lackawanna and another studio effort by Buffalo's Boyd Lee Dunlop.

File Photo / WBFO, AM 970 News

Erie County Democrats are eyeing Anthony Masiello as a possible replacement for party chairman Leonard Lenihan.

Lenihan's current two year term expires in September and Albany is pressuring him to step aside at that time. He claims that he will announce his intentions in the near future.

For Masiello's part, he had no comment.

WBFO News file photo

As expected, Christopher Scanlon was named this morning as the new South District Common Council member.

The 30-year-old Scanlon was appointed by a 5-3  Council vote  to assume the seat vacated by Mickey Kearns, who was elected to the State Assembly in March.

"I'm excited, I'm very excited.  I'm just really looking forward to working with the people of South Buffalo, working with the members of the Council [and] everyone else here in City Hall and do what's best for South Buffalo," Scanlon said.

A new Siena College poll finds that New Yorkers are starting to feel more positive about the state legislature, but they still don’t want to see Senators and Assemblymembers receive a pay raise.

For the first time in many years, New Yorkers actually view the State Senate favorably, by a 46% to 43% margin,  and the State Assembly is close to evenly split, with 42% viewing them positively and 44% negatively.

Mark Leitner/WBFO

Lifelong South Buffalo resident Kevin Lafferty formally announced his candidacy for the vacant South District Common Council Seat on the steps of City Hall Monday. 

Lafferty and four other applicants will present their credentials to the Council for consideration Tuesday morning.  The person appointed must run for the office in November. 

Lafferty pledged that if he is chosen, he will represent the interests of residents of South Buffalo and not "political leaders."

High court upholds additional NY Senate seat

May 3, 2012

The seven-member Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York State, today upheld a Republican Party plan to add one seat to the state Senate, upping the body to 63 members.

The Court ruled that Senate Democrats did not satisfy the "heavy burden of establishing the unconstitutionality" of the GOP plan.

The move is seen by many as a move by Republicans to maintain a majority in the state Senate.

WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

Governor Andrew Cuomo swept into town Wednesday for a few hours and left with hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaign till, to add to the $14-million he already has in campaign contributions.  

Cuomo gathered with supporters at the Hotel Lafayette in downtown Buffalo, but refused to meet with reporters.   The Governor arrived quietly through a construction door and left equally quietly through another isolated door.

File Photo / WBFO, AM 970 News

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is facing questions regarding a fundraiser he held last week in Albany.

The Albany region is a rich resource for statewide politicians, but reasons for the local official to tap into that audience remain unanswered. The News reports that a spokesperson for Poloncarz has also refused to divulge who attended and how much money was raised. Those questions, though, will be answered during the mandatory reporting period in July.

Miit Romney easily won Tuesday's New York State Republican Primary, though turnout was low.

In Erie County, only 5 percent of registered voters made their way to the polls.

Buffalo News Political reporter Bob McCarthy believes the GOP would have been more enthusiastic if the primary had been held earlier in the election cycle.

New York's GOP can offer surprises, said McCarthy, pointing to Carl Paladino's stunning win the state's gubernatorial primary in 2010.

Bob McCarthy spoke during Morning Edition on WBFO and AM970.

WBFO News file photo

The State Assembly has introduced a bill to permit for the first time in New York voluntary public financing of some election campaigns. 

The Assembly bill would offer an optional public financing system for campaigns for state legislative and statewide offices, giving candidates six dollars for every one dollar in contributions. It would be financed, in part, through a $5 check off option on state income taxes.  

Bill Mahoney, with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says it’s a “good first step”.

A familiar face in local politics will be on national television Tuesday night. Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick and Canisius College political science professor will make an appearance on Comedy's Central The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Hardwick was contacted by the show's producers based on a comment he made to The Buffalo News recently on how New York's late presidential primary renders it moot in the national political picture.  He told The News, “It’s like being next in line for concert tickets when the ticket window closes.”

Bellavia campaign finances face questions

Apr 23, 2012

Finance questions are going unanswered inside the Congressional campaign of Republican David Bellavia.

Best known for his service in the Iraq War and previous unsuccessful runs for office, Bellavia is on pace to meet Chris Collins in a Republican Congressional primary for the chance to face Kathy Hochul in November.

According to the Buffalo News, the Federal Elections Commission has questioned four separate issues in Bellavia campaign finances, but have yet to receive satisfactory responses.

WBFO News photo by Mark Leitner

Republican Newt Gingrich may be down and out with respect to his poll numbers and campaign war chest, but there was no sign of it while stumping in Buffalo Friday. 

Gingrich appeared during the noon hour at the Ellicott Square Building.  Buffalo businessman, lawyer and former republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino warmed up the estimated 250 to 300 in attendance.

When the former congressman from George, former Speaker of the House, stepped to the podium, he immediately paid homage to the late Western New York Congressman Jack Kemp.

The New York State Conservative Party has given its endorsement to former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, in his run for the Congressional seat currently held by Democrat Kathy Hochul.

Collins and Iraqi war veteran David Bellavia had also been soliciting the Conservative party support. Both candidates are on the state primary ballot for the Republican endorsement.

Party leaders met in Brooklyn Thursday.  Party chairman Michael Long said Collins earned the endorsement by a "very high majority."

Recovering Rep. Slaughter updates her health status

Apr 17, 2012

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter met with reporters today at the University at Rochester Medical Center to update her status after suffering a broken leg following a fall in New York City earlier this month.

Slaughter says she is undergoing painful rehabilitation, but she has targeted a return to her Washington office by early next month. She says she expects to stay in the hospital for the next week-and-a-half while spending about three hours a day in physical therapy.

File Photo / WBFO, AM 970 News

The Congressional career of Chris Lee ended suddenly and in disgrace. It also ended with significant funds in his political coffers.

Lee resigned his seat last year after shirtless photos of him were published by the Gawker news blog. Lee is now closing out his campaign committee and will be donating more than $14 thousand to the Food Bank of Western New York.

That money will help pay for nearly 80,000 meals.

 

Republican Senatorial candidate Wendy Long was in Buffalo on Saturday, espousing her views for a reformed tax code.

Long is a Manhattan attorney, pursuing her party's nod to contest Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in this year's election. Long emphasized the need for a simpler and fairer tax code. She denounced raising taxes on millionaires. She also called for the end of tax loopholes and a cap on taxes for business owners and employers.

Long is being challenged for the GOP nod by two other candidates.

File Photo / WBFO News

An announcement scheduled for later today will disclose that a Buffalo-based healthcare provider will be participating in the Medicaid Health Homes program.

Senator Tim Kennedy will be at the Urban Family Practice on Niagara Street in Buffalo to introduce the state program that will ensure that health care services are available for underserved communities.

Funding for the program was approved in the state budget.
 

WBFO News file photo

Investigative Post.org. is reporting that Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader Demone Smith’s campaign committee has failed to pay more than $1,800 in judgments filed by the state Board of Elections.  

WBFO and AM-970’s Eileen Buckley talks with the Investigative Post's Jim Heaney. Heaney said a week after Smith’s wife pleaded guilty to fraud charges, Smith is dealing with his own legal issues.

You can read more about his story at http://www.investigativepost.org/.

facebook.com

Now, there are three.  

Rick Santorum's announcement today that he is suspending his Republican presidential campaign leaves only frontrunner Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in the GOP sweepstakes.  Gingrich
and Paul are no longer considered factors in the race for the nomination.  

University at Buffalo political scientist James Campbell told WBFO News he was not surprised at today's announcement.

WBFO News file photo

Three contestants have been added to the growing list of candidates seeking the South District seat on Buffalo's Common Council.

Former County Legislator Timothy Whalen joined bartender Patrick Burke and nurse Linda Bain in raising the number of candidates in the race to six.

The seat became available when Michael Kearns was elected to the state's 145th Assembly seat last week.

Pages