Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Story They Won't Report

More about the full story on last Tuesday's County Legislature meeting. Since Tuesday I've been deep in research and contact mode. Here's the story our local press and broadcast media won't report.

  • Harry Bronson is Democratic Leader in the County Legislature. At the Public Safety Committee meeting the Saturday before Tuesday's meeting of the whole body, Bronson worked sincerely for a compromise with the majority Republicans.

    The Republican legislators agreed to every one of Bronson's proposals, without negotiation. Everybody wanted an end to the nonsense. Except one person.

    Bronson then took the Democratic compromise plan -- now agreed to by Legislature Republicans -- to David Gantt, who was present at the legislature. Gantt vetoed it instantly.

The Democrats then fell into lockstep with Gantt. But why? Democrat and Chronicle editor Tom Tobin asked a related question on Friday:
Here's another question about the PD thing: why was David Gantt, a state official, leading the opposition ... How did it come that Democratic county legislators were sideline players in this?
Well, Tom, maybe these factors have something to do with it:
  • Democratic Leader Harry Bronson is an employee of the New York State Assembly. Gantt could have him fired at will.

  • Democratic Legislator Glenn Gamble's day job is with the Baden Street Settlement, whose funding comes from State Assembly grants from -- David Gantt.

  • Democratic Assistant Leader Calvin Lee holds the "Gantt seat" on the Democratic leadership team in the county leg and is a long-time Gantt loyalist.

  • Democratic Legislator Carrie Andrews is an employee of the United Teachers union, the State Assembly's siamese twin. They'd fire her in a heartbeat if Gantt ordered it. They can't afford to upset him.

  • Almost all the Democratic Legislators have districts in the City of Rochester. Gantt could easily stage primaries against every one of them if he wanted to, and they know it.

  • Several Democratic legislators privately told their Republican colleagues that they knew the new Public Defender had excellent credentials for the job, but apologetically said that when it came to talk in public, "You know how it is." They simply had no choice but to hold to the party line dictated by Gantt.
So, Mr. Tobin, the Democratic County Legislators were "sidelined" throughout this process because they had to be, or risk losing either their jobs, or their office, if primaried by Gantt-sponsored candidates. In answer to your question, David Gantt appeared to be "leading the opposition" because . . . he was !

In fact, I heard it said that David Gantt hasn't been in Albany for three weeks, neglecting his duties during the most important part of the Albany calendar, budget time, because he's been so tied up here, staging guerrilla theater and acting as de facto Minority Leader of the County Legislature.
  • Gantt also held leverage over the County Bar Association. As Mustard Street has already noted, Gantt got the Monroe County Bar Association a $150,000 grant a couple of years ago. And just recently, during this controversy, the Monroe County Bar Association received a $100,000 grant from the State Health Department -- a funding that Gantt, as an influential State lawmaker, could hold up at any time, for any reason he wanted.

  • And finally, I didn't want to say this in my blogging from the meeting on Tuesday, until I heard others confirm the same thing, that many in Gantt's mob on Tuesday smelled heavily of alcohol.

    So now we can avoid worries over security at future meetings. Forget about police, metal detectors and checkpoints. We now know that if you want to keep "the community" mellow . . . just provide an open bar.

The Community

UPDATE -- 2/20/2008

This post has been updated to correct an error in the original, where I said that Legislator Calvin Lee is employed by the Baden Street Settlement. The source for that later contacted me to state that she was incorrect. Legislator Lee is employed by the Southwest Rochester Early Enhancement Program.


Anthony Morelle said...

I never knew that the connections to Gantt ran that deep. I was aware of Vincent Esposito, Ted O'Brien, Jose Cruz being Morelle's people. I knew that these two guys basically ran the County from their seats at the Assembly, but it runs real deep!

How does this help the American taxpayer? I can understand now the Gantt monopoly over the County Leg that I was unaware in the past.

rochester_veteran said...

What an excellent piece of investigative journalism! Isn't the D&C supposed to be doing that? :-) What's being done by the D&C is the advancing and perpetuating of an agenda to paint the Republican County Legislators as racists.

The truth is being revealed in this attempt to hijack the PD selection by Gantt and the Revs and it's coming out in the new media of the blogs and websites.

Good work!

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