Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

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Friday, December 30, 2011

St. Duffy

A remembrance by Christine Carrie Fien at City Newspaper.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Totally Non-Political

As candidate, District Attorney-elect Sandra Doorley promised to "keep politics out of the DA's Office" and remain "independent."

A trusted source on the Democratic side tells us she will announce appointment of Adam Bello to a high ranking, high paying post in the DA's office.

Bello has never prosecuted a homicide.   Or anything else for that matter.   He's not even a lawyer.   Doesn't even play one on TV.

But he was, until this appointment, Executive Director of the Monroe County Democratic Party.

He now becomes Party Godfather Joe Morelle's capo in the DA's office.

Apparently our new District Attorney is on a very short leash.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Succession Planning

Monroe County Democrats plan to put up County Legislator Vincent Esposito to run for the State Senate Seat held by incumbent Jim Alesi.

Chairman Joe Morelle expects his protege Esposito to win.   It's reported that Morelle recently approached Dr. Joe Carbone, Esposito's Republican challenger in last month's election, with a deal:   switch parties, to become a Democrat, and you can have Vinnie's legislative seat when he goes to the Senate.   Dr. Carbone is reported to have refused.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

 

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Compendium of Corruption

The DA Files

Time to collect at one reference point our pieces on Monroe County's corrupt and politicized District Attorney's office under DA Mike Green.

From the most recent piece to the earliest, you'll find this index under "Features" near the top of the sidebar column as "The DA Files."   We'll update it as we do more postings on the subject.

Our coverage began when DA Green falsely prosecuted two prominent Republicans to help his party in the weeks just before the 2009 elections, in exchange for his party's help in becoming a federal judge.   County Democrats desperately wanted to pick up the one seat they needed to take the County Legislature (they didn't); Green desperately needed his Party's support to become a federal judge (he didn't).

Judges in both false prosecutions criticized Green bringing cases with no evidence and no showing of wrongdoing.   A (Democratic) judge threw out one case, with the pointed comment that it was a prosecution "bordering on the preposterous".

A jury threw out the other, after the (Democratic) judge asked the prosecutor, when the prosecution rested, whether there was anything criminal involved in the actions of James Smith -- and the prosecutor had to admit that there was nothing in the law to make it criminal.

From most recent to the earliest:

County Legislature:   Investigate the DA Scandal

Transition Watch  -- 1/10/2012

Not Even Trying

Green Light to Green Stuff

One Last Kiss-Off

Signs of Panic

Totally Non-Political

"Further Issues:"   Why Democrats Scuttled the Green Nomination

Reilich Almighty

It Wasn't Republicans Who Stopped the Green Nomination

Obama Won't Renominate Green

Green Going to DA Appeals Bureau

The Policitized DA's Office:   Next Shoe to Drop

Doorley's Political Purge

What's Going on In the DA's Office?

Success Has Many Fathers ...

Scofflaw in the DA's Office

Green Should Resign as DA

Investigate the District Attorney's Office

Innocent on All Charges

The Prosecution Rests.  In Deep Doo-Doo.

The Political Show Trial of James Smith

Political Maneuverings of Assistant DA Gargan

Moore Vindicated.  Judge Dismisses All Charges.

Gargan Declines to Seek County Court Seat

Is the District Attorney's Office Regaining Its Ethics?

Disciplinary Rule 3.8

District Attorney Withdraws Felony Charge

Teeing Up the Next Indictment

Right On Schedule

The Election Indictments

Indict First; Figure Out Why Later

Trading Judgeships for Political Prosecutions

Mike Green Must Want that Federal Judgeship Really Badly

So It's Come to This

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

To mark the third night, we present the marvelous Maccabeats!

 

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Newt Morelle

Check out Aaron Wicks' piece in Smugtown Beacon, talking about Joe Morelle's mailings to help his pal Vinnie Esposito's reelection to County Legislature.   The mailings accused Republican candidate Dr. Joe Carbone of being "liberal" and "pro-union" candidate.   From Morelle and Esposito, whose campaign money comes from unions!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Further Issues"

  The only way a U.S. Senator, on his own, can block a nominee for federal judge is if the nominee comes from the Senator's state.

There was no Senatorial "block" on Mike Green's nomination.

But the Democratic Senate sent it back anyway.
And the President said immediately, "No renomination."


All the other District Court nominees sent back to the White House were blocked by their own Senators.   But not Mike Green.   So that didn't stop his nomination.

  The Republican Senate minority can keep a nomination from a vote by filibustering.

No filibuster was attempted, or threatened, to stop Mike Green's nomination.

But the Democratic Senate sent back his nomination anyway.   And the President said immediately, "No renomination."

All the other nominees sent back to the White House, for both District and Appeals Courts, were either blocked by their Senators, or filibustered.   But not Mike Green.   So filibuster didn't stop his nomination.

Eight judicial nominations were sent back.   Five were blocked by home-state senators.   That left three.   Of the three, two lost floor votes to stop a filibuster.   That left one -- Mike Green.

Not blocked by home-state Senators.   Not blocked by a filibuster.   No procedural reason to not go forward.   Yet sent back anyway, by the Democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate.

That's the same Democratic leadership that brought to the floor those nominations it wanted to, even when they expected a filibuster.   It brought Appeals Court nominee Caitlin Halligan up for a vote.   She was filibustered, and lost a vote to stop the filibuster.

She, like others nominees sent back, might be renominated.   But not Green.  The President said immediately he wouldn't nominate Mike Green again.

Renominations happen a lot.   The President renominated 32 District Court nominees who were sent back to him a year ago, in December 2010.   It's on the Senate Judiciary Committee's website.   But the President won't renominate Mike Green.

As we asked the other day, W-H-Y-?

Specifically, what are the "further issues" that have "come to light," according to a Republican Senate staffer quoted in today's Democrat and Chronicle, that caused the return of Green's nomination to the White House?

Why didn't Senator Schumer and President Obama call out the staffer and the Republican Senator she works for, demanding to know just what "further issues" she was talking about?   You know: "How dare you make unspecified allegations against a nominee!" Instead, they gave up on Green pretty quickly.

Senator Schumer's staffer reportedly told Green "someone in Monroe County doesn't want you to be a judge."   The staffer didn't say "the Republicans" in Monroe County, which is how one political person would express it to another if that were the case.   The staffer said "someone."

Consider motivation.

The last thing the Monroe County Republican heirarchy wants is for Mike Green, a proven vote-getter, to be at liberty to challenge them in an election for state supreme court judge .   As we noted the other day, they wanted him confirmed -- kicked upstairs and out of their hair in future judicial elections.

For the Democrats controlling the U.S. Senate to send back a nominee of their own party, who was not blocked and not stopped by a filibuster, would take intervention from their own side.   That, and concern over embarrassment about what might come to light publicly if they proceeded.

Green got the judicial nod because County Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle wanted him to make way for Frank Geraci to become DA, as we've reported.   County Court Judge Geraci is a distinguished and respected jurist, despite being close to Joe Morelle.

Last Spring, Morelle asked Green to step down then, so Geraci could run for DA in the Fall with half-a-year's incumbency behind him.   Green refused.   During one of their conversations on this subject, Green is reported to have said to Morelle words to the effect, "I owe the Democratic Party nothing."   Joe was not amused.

Geraci declined to run as a non-incumbent with only one line on the ballot.   Which left Morelle, at the last minute, with no choice other than Sandra Doorley, who happened to be Green's own choice for a successor.

You know the rest.   Doorley won a convincing victory in November.   Green was out as DA.

Green had burned the local Democratic establishment and now they didn't need him, had no love for him and had no reason for Green to get his dream job on the federal bench.

Now Joe Morelle can arrrange a nomination that can help him politically, maybe nominating City Court Judge Theresa Johnson, to make David Gannt and other local Democratic leaders happy.

We've all read the articles the past few days and seen the news stories.   We've heard comments from Mr. Green, from Senator Schumer and others.   But the person who's become very conspicuous by saying hardly anything about the demise of the Green nomination is ... Joe Morelle.

The situation gives County Democrats a chance to pull off the perfect political crime:   sabatoging Green's nomination and having the Republicans blamed for it.   Frankly, for students of politics like us, there's a certain beauty to it.   They're good at what they do sometimes.

Since all of this leaves Green as a potential candidate for state supreme court, far better to blame partisanship than risk a public airing of the "further issues" about Green, "whose specifics," according to today's D&C, "haven't been disclosed."

The newspaper headlines today's story, "Green is not alone in rejection."   This precisely inverts the truth.   Green's rejection is utterly unique, for reasons specific to him.

And if you need final proof positive that the mysterious "further issues" have nothing to do with Monroe County Republicans, it's this:   D&C editor Karen Magnuson, de facto leader of the County Democratic Party, would have her reporters digging like mad to "specify" those "issues," if she thought they had anything to do with local Republicans trying to scuttle the nomination of Mike Green.

Instead, she won't touch it.   No way she'd print what would come out.




We invite those with information about the "further issues" to contact us at


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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

City Bans Menorah

A donor offered City Hall to pay for a menorah to stand in the building's atrium, next to the Christmas tree.

City Hall says:   No Menorah.

Mayor Richards:   either take down the tree, or put up the menorah.  

What kind of mentality is it that would turn this down?

A disgrace.

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Reilich Almighty

So it appears that County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich has so much power on a national level that he can stop a federal court nomination in the U.S. Senate!

Who knew?

At least we have to assume it's Reilich.   According to DA Mike Green and his enablers in the Rochester media, "local Republicans" are responsible for ending Green's dream of a federal judgeship.   Surely the power to stop the United States Senate in its tracks couldn't belong to anyone lower in the Monroe GOP heirarchy than the Chairman himself.

Will something so extraordinary inspire members of our local media with the curiosity to ask how it could be so?   Don't hold your breath.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

It Wasn't Republicans Who Stopped the Green Nomination

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

And if you're a corrupt District Attorney who falsely prosecuted two people you knew to be innocent and wrecked their lives in exchange for a federal judgeship ... then, apparently, you can lose your own soul in exchange for nothing.

Sometimes there is justice in this life.

But the real story of why the U.S. Senate and the White House scuttled Mike Green's judicial nomination has nothing to do with partisan games on Capitol Hill, or action by Republicans.   Quite the opposite.

National Level

Republicans in the U.S. Senate only infrequently use threat of filibuster to stop the President's judicial nominees, and then -- and this is the important part -- only for nominees to the Circuit Courts of Appeals.   Not for District Court appointments, such as Green's.   They're slowing some of those nominations, but not blocking them.

And they're not the ones who determine the list of nominations "sent back" to the President, as happened to Green.   The Democrats who run the Senate decide that.

Senatorial Democrats could have kept Green on the list of nominations "carried over" to the next session.   They chose not to.

They carried over other District Court nominees.

Democrats control the U.S. Senate, which votes on nominations.   Both U.S. Senators from New York are Democrats, so there wasn't an issue of a senator from the nominee's state putting a "hold" on the nomination, which can happen, and was responsible for a Tulsa district court nominee being sent back.   One of those senators is Charles Schumer, who sits on the Judiciary Committee and is past Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

With that clout, with the majority, and with Senate Republicans saving their filibistering for nominees to federal appeals courts, not district courts, Democratic Senators could have made it happen for Green.

They chose not to.

Schumer is as happy a partisan warrior as anyone on Capitol Hill.   If Senate Republicans were killing the Green nomination, he'd have been highly vocal about it, to say the least.   Instead, we heard his suprisingly lukewarm comments last week.   Today, making lemonade out of the lemon, he's made the obligatory boilerplate statement saying Republicans scuttled it, the usual stuff of Washington's partisan miasma.

Local Level

Republican insiders in Monroe County, including those at the highest level, wanted Green to be confirmed.   Better that, they reasoned, than having him around as a potential Democratic candidate for a state judgeship or other office.

Washington is far outside the bubble of media protection the Democrat and Chronicle provides its favorites, like Green, Bob Duffy, Louise Slaughter, Joe Morelle, David Gantt and other undesirables.   Outside of it, the process crushed Green like a bug.

However, back home and at large, and back inside the protective media bubble, he's a potentially formidable candidate for Democrats to run for something.   So Monroe County Republicans felt it was better to have him kicked upstairs to the federal bench, and be out of the way.

That's why the County GOP Chairman has said publicly that he supports Green's nomination.   He's speaking for his party, and they mean it.

Part of the reason Green could be a formidable candidate is the fault of Monroe County Republicans.   In one of their occasional moments of testosterone deficiency, County Republicans chose not to pursue ethics charges against Green after his false prosecutions against Andrew Moore and James Smith went down for utter lack of substance.   That's a subject for another time (although we note that it's still not too late to do).

It all begs a single question: W-H-Y-?

Why did the Senate Democratic leadership single out Mike Green's as one of the few District Court nominations they sent back to the White House?

Why didn't Senator Schumer use his considerable clout to push it through?

Why did the White House announce -- very promptly -- that the President would not renominate Green?

Back here, in Rochester's bubble of media protection, WHY? is the question the Democrat and Chronicle doesn't want anybody asking.   Which is why they print such falsehoods as the one in this morning's front-page teaser:   "Republicans sent the nomination back."

No they didn't.   Democrats sent it back.   And a Democratic President said there wouldn't be a re-nomination.

W-H-Y-?


What do Senate leaders and the President know about Mike Green, that the people of Monroe County do not?

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Obama Won't Re-Nominate Green

The White House has announced that the President will not re-nominate District Attorney Mike Green for federal judge.   Story.

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Weekender

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Friday, December 16, 2011

New Domestic Violence Bureau Chief

We've learned that Pittsford lawyer Mary Randall will be returning to the DA's office to head the Domestic Violence bureau.   A former Assistant DA, Randall is highly regarded in the legal community, where this is seen as an appointment of merit.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Green Going to DA Appeals Bureau

When his term as Monroe County District Attorney ends at the end of the month, Mike Green will be going back to the DA's office.   This time in the Appeals Bureau, likely as its head.   That's his parking spot as he waits for action on the federal judicial nomination, or bides his time to run for something else, maybe a state Supreme Court judgship.

Privately, Democratic insiders now don't think the federal judgship will come through.   Senator Schumer's comment in last week's D&C article on Green's future certainly sounded tepid.

In other DA news, Kelly Wolford, who signed the notice of appeal of the trial judge's dismissal of all charges in the false prosecution of Andrew Moore, is going in as First Assistant District Attorney.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's Ours is Ours, What's Yours is Up for Grabs -- This Month's Edition

The trustees of Monroe Community College have chosen the downtown High Falls site as venue for a new City campus.   This follows years of deliberation and study.   In any ordinary situation, that would be the end of the decision phase.

But the community college is sponsored by the County government, which is run by Republicans.   So the trustees' decision is merely the point where dialogue begins, according to James Lawrence and the rest of the Democrat and Chronicle's editorial board.

We've noted before the attitude of the local Democratic-Media Complex, that it's OK for public bodies run by Democrats to make their own decisions.   But public bodies run by or affiliated with Republican branches of government are supposed to share decision-making with Democratic institutions.   "What's ours is ours.   What's yours is up for grabs."

All this to protect the financial interests of a major Democratic donor, Tom Wilmot, whose company owns the seedy, crime-ridden Sibley Center that the college has decided to leave behind.

A deal with the college is Wilmot's way out of the $22 million tax debt his company owes the City on the building.   Something you know you'll never read about in a D&C editorial.

County Executive Brooks today issued a statement respecting the trustees' choice.

The County Legislature, which must approve funding to renovate Sibley, just as it will have to approve funding for the proposed High Falls site, should now adopt a formal resolution saying:   no funding for Sibley's.

Go forward with High Falls, or consolidate all students at MCC's main campus.

If not for City Democrats protecting a major contributor, the college at High Falls would be a no-brainer.   Between this and Renaissance Square, we've learned much about the priorities of the men and women who govern the City.

Those priorities don't include the people who live there.   But then, why should they?   The people who live there return the same team to run the place no matter how badly they're governed.   Are they not getting the government they deserve?

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Leadership of County Legislature

Leadership of the Monroe County Legislature for 2012-13:

Anthony Daniele - Majority Leader (new to this position)
Jeff McCann - Deputy Majority Leader
Steve Tucciarello - Deputy Majority Leader
Rick Antelli - Deputy Majority Leader (new to this position)
Jeff Adair - President
Mike Barker - Vice President
Dick Yolevich - Ways and Means Chairman (new to this position)

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

MCC Picks High Falls Site

Excellent comment to City Newspaper's report on the Trustees' decision this weekend:

What will be interesting is to see whether City and the D&C, both of whom would be calling for investigations in a heartbeat if it were Republican officials making calls and pushing for a property owned by a major GOP contributor with millions in back taxes due, will sit on the sidelines or start calling it the way it is.
And if Democrats kill the plan, either in the County Legislature or by Lt. Gov. Duffy interceding with SUNY in Albany, then just end the college's downtown experiment and consolidate all students at the main campus.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our Politically Compromised DA's Office

Good discussion on this subject in the many comments on our post of last Tuesday.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fair Election Practices Committee Should Call it a Day

It Drives Negative Campaign Advertising

Democrats would control the Monroe County Legislature today, were it not for the Fair Election Practices Committee.

Got your attention?

Democrats would have held the legislative majority for the past four years, would have controlled the 2011 redistricting, and might have been able to make governing so impossible for Maggie Brooks that maybe a Democratic candidate could have won this year.

The last link in our colleague Lucy's comment to yesterday's posting brought this to mind.

In 2007, remember, Democrats came within one seat of winning control of the County Legislature.   The GOP's closest win that year came in the Pittsford-East Rochester district.   Republican Anthony Daniele won the open seat in a squeaker, by fewer than 250 votes.   In an election so close, it always can be said that, had merely one factor been different, so might have been the outcome.

In that election, a factor Republicans hammered home was that Democratic candidate Ted Nixon had received an adverse ruling from the FEPC.   Ironically, the ruling came down not in 2007, but two years before.   It came very late in the campaign, but to Republicans it was like money in the bank.   They expected Nixon to run again in 2007, as he did.   They hammered it, and the Democrat lost by a hairsbreadth.

Costing Democrats an election or control of a government won't cause Mustard Street to call for abolishing the institution that did it.   But 2007 represents a pretty powerful demonstration of the difference the Fair Election Practices Committee can make -- and has, in our opinion.

The FEPC is well intentioned.   It can make mistakes, but by every account it is scrupulously fair in its deliberations and rulings.

Here's the problem:   the League of Women Voters and the Interfaith Council established the FEPC to help prevent negative campaign advertising.   Yet its decisions provide a significant source of negative advertising in Rochester-area elections.

Let the FEPC find a candidate in violation of its Fair Campaign Pledge -- however innocently, unintentionally or trivially -- and right away the opposition has on TV or in a mailing a depiction of the candidate behind bars, the word "GUILTY" stamped across his face, reinforced by vocabulary connoting a criminal conviction.   These decisions drive a substantial proportion of negative campaign material in Monroe County elections.   A classic example of the law of unintended consequences, creating precisely the kind of advertising the FEPC seeks to prevent.

Here's another problem.   Pure though the intentions of the League of Women Voters and the Interfaith Alliance may be -- who gave them the franchise to set themselves up as arbiters of what's fair in a campaign?

And lest we consider them completely pure, remember that, behind the FEPC's ability to function as it does, is the implied coercive threat of negative advertising.   The candidate who declines its summons to sign can expect publicity from the FEPC, and ads from the opposition, saying "Candidate X wouldn't sign the Fair Campaign Pledge."

The FEPC even claims jurisdiction over candidates who haven't signed the pledge, to decide whether they broke a pledge they never made!

Across the country and the democratic world, democracies seem able to function without similar bodies involved in their elections.   Voters weigh claims and counterclaims by competing candidates and make their own evaluations of credibility.   This process is at the core of the concept of a marketplace of ideas freely expressed.

Suppose some other civic groups got together with their own Fair Campaign Pledge for candidates to sign, and set up their own hearing panel.   Would it have any less claim to moral authority than the FEPC?   We don't think so.

The FEPC should recognize its significant contribution to negative campaign advertising and pack up.

If it won't, all candidates of both parties should decline to sign the "Fair Campaign Pledge."

If the FEPC persists, our major political parties should reach a concordat whereby none of their candidates signs.   Such a splendid opportunity for bipartisanship.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Daniele to Lead County Legislature


Monroe County Legislator Anthony Daniele (R - Pittsford, East Rochester, Brighton) has been elected Majority Leader of the Monroe County Legislature.

He replaces outgoing Majority Leader Dan Quatro, who stepped down as leader after four years.

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MCC: Close the Downtown Campus

Bob Lonsberry has a spot-on column today, illustrating the unsuitability of the old Sibley Building as a choice for a new downtown campus for Monroe Community College.

[N]oteworthy for being one of those unique places where you can see a cop and smell marijuana at the same time. ... Put another way, it’s a great place to get stabbed and pee in the street.
Scarcely conducive to learning or safety, but it's where Mayor Richards and County Legislature Democrats, who can block the choice of any alternative, insist a new campus be located.

Of course their insistence has nothing at all to do with the fact that the Sibley Building, one of the most commercially unmarketable sites downtown, is owned by major Democratic contributor Tom Wilmot.   Wilmot's company owes more than $20 million in unpaid taxes on the building.

Time for the community college to pull the plug on this farce.   Phase out the downtown campus and provide additional transportation to bring students from the City to the main campus in Brighton.

Students in far reaches of Monroe County travel 15 miles or more to get to MCC each day.   City residents can make the 4-mile trek to Brighton, especially if MCC lays on more buses.

Be sure to read Lonsberry's insightful and amusing column on the subject.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kodak's Long Fade to Black

A pre-obituary in The Los Angeles Times.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Leadership Change in County Legislature?

Had first word last night ... change may be imminent ... Republicans ... developing.

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Weekender

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Political Purge in DA's Office

Just three weeks ago, as candidate for District Attorney, Sandra Doorley promised voters she'd keep politics out of the DA's office.

Today, as the very first action for her new administration, Doorley fired five veteran prosecutors who were either Republicans or were friendly toward her opponent in the election, Bill Taylor.   Among them they had nearly 50 years of experience.

At least this action keeps one promise:   to carry on the tradition of outgoing DA Mike Green.   Green infamously prostituted his office to politics, buying a federal judgeship with political prosecutions of two innocent men, James Smith and Andrew Moore.   Both prosecutions were laughed out of court, one by a judge, the other by a jury.   But they gave a complicit daily newspaper the pretext for headlines Democrats needed before the 2009 elections.

Green's successor keeps the tradition very much alive and today christens the new administration with the same rancid stench of corruption as the old one.


Anyone with more information about today's purge is invited to contact us at:

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Change at Top in County Legislature?

Speculation is rampant this week about potential change at the top in the Democratic caucus of the County Legislature.   Will Joe Morelle doppelgänger Vincent Esposito take out Legislator Ted O'Brien as Minority Leader?   Apparently the effort is under way.

For the Morelle-Esposito axis this makes much sense, giving the latter prime public visibility to help him slide into Morelle's Assembly seat if Morelle gets his sought-after state appointment, or to grease the skids for an Esposito run next year against politically undead State Senator Jim Alesi.

For the Legislature it would mean bad news losing Legislator O'Brien as Democratic Leader.   O'Brien has gained admiration on both sides of the aisle as a true gentleman of high character, bright, thoughtful and calm, who keeps commitments and earns the trust colleagues place in him.   Losing him would render only worse an already too partisan environment.   Esposito's purpose as leader would be as radio receiver playing transmissions from party headquarters.

Can Morelle pull it off?   The legislature's Democratic caucus is notorious as an every-man-for-himself free-for-all.   Members carry nominating petitions to unseat other members.   Ask soon to be ex-Legislator Saul Maneiro.   Defectors to the Republican side are said to describe caucus meetings as a rollicking chaos.   So who can say where anyone will be when the music pauses.

We'll know in a few weeks.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

TurkeyWeekender

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving's Timeless Lesson

Human nature.   A constant through the ages.   As in the timeless lesson of the first Thanksgiving.

"Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner."

A reprise of our traditional Thanksgiving message.   Seems especially timely now.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Elections 2011: County Legislature - Part 4

District 5:   Boyce (R) vs. Bickwheat (D)

Seduced and Abandoned, Again

In the 2011 redistricting, District 5 was moved from Greece down to Mendon, south Pittsford and part of Henrietta.   Republican incumbent Mark Cassetti of Greece hit the term-limit wall and couldn't run again.

The race for the open seat offered some uniquely interesting features to students of Monroe County politics, pitting against each other two members of Mendon's Town Board, Republican Karla Boyce and Democrat Moe Bickwheat.

Bickwheat is a former Mendon Supervisor.   Boyce is a former County Legislator who represented most of this district before.   She stepped down due to term limits about six or seven years ago. If elected, she would become the first term-limited County Legislator to return to that body after the mandatory two-year waiting period.

Moe Bickwheat campaigned vigorously, but Republican HQ regarded Boyce as at least slightly ahead throughout.   In the end, things broke wide open for Boyce, who won by 57% to 43%.

Team Morelle made a big mistake in the final week of the campaign, sending voters negative mailings attacking Boyce, with a photo so unflattering that many considered it beyond any concept of fairness or appropriateness.

Campaign pros know that if you search a video frame-by-frame, or take enough photos, you'll find a shot that can make even a movie star look bad.   Democrats did this to Boyce and it backfired badly. Numerous voters, contacted by the GOP in the last days of the campaign, volunteered that they had been for Bickwheat but now supported Boyce, because that photo was uncalled for.

Male candidates, especially, have to be careful about doing this to a female opponent.

Like his compatriot, Dick Beebe in Greece, Bickwheat was undone also by Democratic Headquarters in the last days of the campaign. As HQ, in the final weekend, poured all time, money and manpower alloted for County Legislature into saving Vinny Esposito, it left Bickwheat high and dry on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Election Day itself.

Republicans, meanwhile, had scored a last-minute decision against Bickwheat by the Fair Election Practices Committee.   They whacked him with it in a mailing that reached voters the day before the election.

It put the ribbon on Boyce's substantial margin of victory, making her the Once and Future Legislator.

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Elections 2011: County Legislature - Part 3

District 6:   Ancello (R) vs. Beebe (D)

Seduced and Abandoned

The Monroe County GOP was stung by the loss of this seat to Democrat Dick Beebe in 2007.   They hadn't seen it coming, and the deployment of downstate union members bused in to canvass the district in the last week rendered Beebe's win in some sense illegitimate in GOP eyes.   This year they approached the return engagement as something of a grudge match.   To fight it, they chose the right candidate.

Fred Ancello proved to be a hard working campaigner.   A local businessman with a popular, reputable and well established small business, Ancello had gained exposure as a candidate for County Legislature in a prior election.   Still, he faced an established incumbent.

Beebe, for his part, rose to the occasion as a candidate, making good use of incumbency and working extremely hard.   He knocked on at least as many doors as Ancello.   Both parties supported their respective candidates with a full program of mailings.

Three factors combined toward the end of the campaign to reward Ancello.

First was a superb GOP ground game in the last week before Election Day, with one of the most effective get-out-the-GOP-vote efforts Party headquarters had ever planned and mounted.   Chairman Bill Reilich's "A-Team" was at the top of its game in preparing for this effort.

Second, Beebe's last minute campaign tactic, with negative mailings trying to discredit Ancello as a businessman, backfired.   That's what voters told GOP phone canvassers in the final days.   When a negative attack runs contrary to everything voters know about a candidate, this can happen.   Ancello's business, Davies Seafood, is hugely popular in the district and customers closely identify Ancello with it.

Third, Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle effectively abandoned Beebe in the campaign's final days, in order to focus all efforts for County Legislature on saving Legislator Vincent Esposito's seat in Irondequoit.   Democratic Headquarters made no effort for Beebe from the final Saturday through Election Day.

Combined, these factors enabled Republicans to reclaim the seat they lost four years before, as Ancello defeated Beebe 57% - 43%.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekender

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Friday, November 18, 2011

The Left Restores Civility to the Public Square

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Class Divisions Within "Occupy Wall Street"

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."


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Elections 2011: Rope-a-Dope?

Tantalizing.   Christine Carrie Fein speculates in the print edition of City Newspaper whether the Monroe County GOP put up an appealing and credible candidate for District Attorney as a purely strategic move.

Not because they had more than a modest expectation they'd win, but to force Joe Morelle to spend money, time and effort on a DA's race that should have been his from Day 1.

Was that the reason?   Certainly it had that effect.   The County Democratic Committee had to focus on preserving its grip on the DA's office.   It could mount a truly full-scale effort in a only a single County Legislative district, to save Morelle protege Vincent Esposito.   (All along Dem HQ planned no more than a perfunctory effort in the County Executive's race.)

We don't think Ms. Fein's speculation represents an either-or proposition.   Republicans ran Bill Taylor because he was a great candidate who could mount a competitive, even winning race for an open seat.   Were they aware that doing so gave them a rope-a-dope strategy, to minimize Democratic effectiveness in the County Legislature and County Executive races?   Absolutely.




Our 2011 Election Analysis continues, with more County Legislative races up next.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Wonderful Iron Lady

Meryl Streep as greatest post-WWII European leader, Margaret Thatcher.   Movie opens January.   My hero growing up.   A must see!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

Mayor Gets it Right on Occupy

Mayor Richards got it right by letting Rochester "occupy" people stay in Washington Square Park.   Doing it deprived them of the only coherent "issue" any of the occupy groups have.

They pick a fight with local authorities over something specific to their encampment -- whether they can stay overnight, or put up signs, or whatever.   Then, when the authorities push back, it's, "To the barricades!"   Suddenly they have a cause and a goal.   And something to do.

As I wrote recently, "occupy" exists only in relation to the amount of police attention it gets.

Looks like the Mayor figured this out.   "You want to camp in the park? ... So camp in the park."

Which leaves occupiers scratching their heads and wondering, "What do we do now?"

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Windstream Announces Employees will Occupy Rochester

The City of Rochester will now be providing grants to facilitate the development that will be the office space leased for Windstream employees. As I see it, we are taking tax dollars from one to give to another that provides competition to the original tax payer.

If the goal is to get employees to work in leased office space in downtown Rochester, as opposed to leased office space in Victor I am all for it. I would welcome many former co-workers to join me in working downtown. As an Earthlink employee I enjoy working in the HSBC building with a pending move to our new facility on Monroe and Alexander.

With all of the empty office space available downtown at this present moment I feel we should facilitate filling it, rather than giving away dollars to build a new, not fully leased, building. Rushing into anything at this point to appear as though we are doing something should be avoided. Common sense development should be the way forward to our much empty downtown. We only get one chance with it.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Repoman Reports

Be sure to read election analysis from Repoman, one of our recommended commentators.   The R-man drills down into results in Gates and offers an interesting take on the County Court race.

Thanks, Repoman.

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Weekender

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans' Day

Even more important than Nigel Tufnel Day. Inspirational words to mark the occasion:

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11-11-11: Nigel Tufnel Day

Inspired by the iconic scene in the film, This is Spinal Tap:



And how can we leave this behind?   Spinal Tap's greatest hit:


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Elections 2011: County Legislature - Part 2

District 16 - Vinny Über Alles

In an episode of the original Star Trek, hot alien women steal Mr. Spock's brain.   While Kirk tracks it down for re-implantation, Dr. McCoy keeps the body going with a gadget wired into Spock's empty shell.   By hand-held remote, McCoy operates Spock like a radio-controlled plane.   Push the lever one way, Spock turns right; another, he lifts an eyebrow and says "Fascinating;" another, he makes that funky Vulcan peace sign with his hand.

Envision this and you understand the relationship between Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle and Morelle's paid staffer, County Legislator Vincent Esposito, with Joey playing the doctor and Vinny in the role of the temporarily inconvenienced Spock.   The relationship defines Esposito's role in the County Legislature.

When the enormously popular and distinguished Dr. Joe Carbone emerged as Esposito's Republican challenger, early in the game raising $45,000 at a single fundraiser, it was panic time in Morelleland.   Especially after Carbone won nomination by the Working Families Party, a union-run operation that normally backs Democrats.

For county legislative races, Democratic Headquarters had a new Prime Directive:   save Vinny.   The Chairman subordinated every other county legislative race to Esposito's campaign.   Over time the focus only increased, as polling on both sides showed Carbone pulling even with Esposito by the last week of the election.

Headquarters did at least 12 mailings for the campaign, heavy by local election standards and well exceeding the mailings for other competitive Democratic candidates for legislature.

Furious with the Working Families Party, Morelle declared war on it through Esposito's negative mailings against Carbone, chastizing the Republican candidate as a union lackey bought and paid for.   In reality, Dr. Carbone is a private-sector medical practitioner.   It's Joe Morelle and Vincent Esposito whose campaign money comes mostly from unions.

The disproportionate focus on District 16 took its toll on other Democratic candidates who had a realistic shot at winning.   In the final days if not earlier, Morelle hung out to dry both Moe Bickwheat in Mendon and incumbent Dick Beebe in Greece.   In the critical 72 hours before election day, both were left out of the Democrats' final campaign push.   We reported Tuesday about the Esposito literature blitz at 4:30 on the morning of election day.   Vinnie über alles.

It worked.   Esposito beat Dr. Carbone by 56%-44%.   At what cost to the Democratic Party's prospects in other districts we will explore as our analysis of Election 2011 continues.

If anyone affiliated with the campaigns of Moe Bickwheat or Dick Beebe wants to offer more detail about being stiffed at the end of the campaign, our e-mail is:


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Elections 2011: County Legislature - Part 1

District 26 -The Agony and the Ecstasy

1.   Don't put pictures of your plonker on the internet.

2.   Calling it "Art" doesn't work.
So easy to leave it at that.   But it would be neglecting half the story of the District 26 race pitting artistic Legislator C. Stephen Eckel against Republican candidate Tony Micciche (rhymes with "ricochet").

Of all its county legislative candidates in overwhelmingly Democratic districts in the City, or including part of it, GOP headquarters regarded Tony Micciche as the one with the best chance, however improbable.   Micciche put his all into this race, knocking on doors and otherwise working the district as if he had an even chance.

Eckel did the opposite.   Acting as if, as a Democrat in a City district he owned the place and was entitled to automatic re-election by right, he did no door-to-door legwork.

Still, in a precinct this heavily Democratic, Micciche's hard work, outstanding character and qualities as a candidate probably wouldn't have been enough to win, without the discovery that Eckel posted on a web site full frontal photos of himself naked.

On Facebook, Eckel emphasized, even celebrated, the disconnect between himself and the district's many culturally conservative Democratic voters, proudly posting each new statewide and national story about his photos as a fresh triumph.

Conversely, had Micciche not worked so hard, publicity over the photos would not have sunk Eckel's re-election.

But Micciche worked hard and the photos came to light.   As a result, Micciche is the County Legislator and Eckel is a martyr to his art.

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Elections 2011: District Attorney

Evaluating Monroe County elections a few years ago, we concluded that for most races it came down to candidate, candidate, candidate.   In the race for District Attorney between Bill Taylor and Sandra Doorley, both parties nailed this one.

Democrat Doorley ran a solid campaign that maintained focus consistently, driving home a concept explainable in one word:   experience.   Republican Taylor also ran a very good campaign that hewed to message throughout:   I'll keep you safe.   Taylor emphasized as well the qualifications of his own experience.

In the end, voters decided either would keep them safe, but Doorley had more practice at it.

Having served as the sitting DA's understudy (as First Assistant DA) is a powerful argument.   Mike Green made it successfully in 2003 and Doorley repeated the feat.   It underpinned Doorley's collateral argument that she is successor to the tradition established by Mike Green and by Howard Relin before him, an idea voters liked.   It may have established her in the perception of many as a kind of virtual incumbent.

Perhaps more importantly, most voters don't know that the DA doesn't argue cases in court.   The DA manages an office full of people who do.   Therefore judgment, and managerial and people skills, which Taylor displayed abundantly as County Attorney -- head of another big law office -- are what matter.   TV ads featuring Doorley in full CSI/Marg Helgenberger impersonation may have been over the top, but played nicely on the popular misconception.   Which is what skillful campaigns do.

A Fair Campaign Committee decision against Taylor's advertising was absurd, but less so than the D&C's editorial comment this morning that it might have turned the race around from Taylor to Doorley.   Political insiders on both sides viewed the Taylor margin in the D&C's poll as suspect.   In any event, Doorley's margin of victory was sufficiently broad that it didn't turn on an FEPC decision.   It turned on the fact that Doorley closed the sale with voters.

From the perspective of Republican versus Democrat, voters chose the status quo.   Republicans had good reason to hope, with a great candidate for an open seat.   When you hope for a gain and have a decent chance, not getting it disappoints.   That disappointment was on display at the Radisson last night.

Looking at all races, however, the only change to Monroe County's political status quo yesterday was in favor of the GOP.   We'll explore this in upcoming postings.

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The Committee to Keep Joe Morelle as Democratic Chairman

...meets today at 460 State Street, downtown.

The DA result doesn't mask core GOP strengths in Monroe County, or the continuing benefit to Republicans of Morelle in the chair at Dem HQ -- the gift that keeps on giving.

Election analysis throughout the day from our own Philbrick, here at Mustard Street.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Favorite Son

We have word that last night, Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle was busy pulling together a literature blitz for 4:30 am today, to help return Vincent Esposito, Morelle's political bum-boy #1, to the County Legislature.

Apparently, throughout the weekend and yesterday Democratic efforts focused on no candidate for County Legislature other than favored son Esposito.

Which must leave Democratic legislature candidates Dick Beebe and Moe Bickwheat scratching their heads this morning and asking, "What about us?"

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Election Day

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Rich Tyson for City Council

Call, email, Facebook, tweet, text, or send a carrier pigeon to everyone you know in the City to get out and vote tomorrow for a change from the status quo.   Please tell them to vote for me, Rich Tyson, for City Council!

History can be made tomorrow if we get enough votes for our City Republican Candidates.   Three decades of single party rule in the city hasn't worked, but it takes votes to win.   Let's make it happen!

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Transparency in Government


Don't you admire a politician who has nothing to hide from his constituents?   We do.   But we can't understand why County Legislator C. Stephen Eckel removed the nude pictures of himself that he had posted on his website.

"I invite people to look at it and judge for themselves,” Eckel told 13WHAM TV.

But how can the people see Stephen Eckel if C. Stephen Eckel has taken down his pictures?

Defend Art, Mr. Eckel!   Get those naughty bits back on the web for your constituents to see.



Update - Sunday, November 6   by Lucy


Polidicks:   Eckel Story Goes National

Wall Street Journal, New York Post, New York Daily News, Mediaite, Gawker

Monday Update:   Story now also on the widely read Instapundit under caption, "In New York State, another Weiner problem."   Also on The Huffington Post.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Democrats for Taylor

This week a former Democratic judicial candidate and current party member launched a Facebook page called "Democrats for Bill Taylor."

For reasons only he knows, the page listed names of many who pass for luminaries in the local Democratic scene, including office-holders and others.   Democratic Headquarters immediately had its prodigal son take down the page.   Then it went into full-throttle damage control:   "How do we spin this one?"

Wednesday the party sent a message to its entire e-mail list.   Now, we know Monroe Democratic HQ lies to the public a lot; that's how, every once in a while, it wins an election.   Now it's lying to its own people.

"Dear Fellow Democrats," began the e-mail, a copy of which was sent to Mustard Street by one of our Democratic friends.   "An operative for the Taylor campaign created a Facebook page called Democrats for Bill Taylor."

Whoah.   Pants on fire.   Anything to stir up the base, we suppose.

But the staffer at Democratic Headquarters who's reading this right now knows exactly who put up the Facebook page.   And that it was one of their own.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy This

Why are Rochester police arresting the "occupy" people? What's the point? Other than the way they think, which isn't arrestable, are they really doing anything wrong? With the crime the city has, the police are worrying about people putting up some signs?

The "Occupy" protests exist only in relation to the amount of police attention they get. Then they finally have a concrete demand: drop the charges. Arrests are the fuel to their fire. Leave them alone and they have nothing.

Whether Rochester or New York: if these people want to be left to wallow in their own excrement, let them. Seems about right.

Of the "1%":

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.” -- Robert A. Heinlein

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

D&C Endorses Bill Taylor!

I opened the paper and almost went into cardiac arrest.

Recovering, I could only wonder what happened to Sandra Doorley in her endorsement interview.

Mr. Taylor's outstanding qualifications and leadership tower above most of his contemporaries in political life.   Recently we noted,

When a Republican candidate is overwhelmingly qualified and intelligent, and usually when there's something a little underwhelming about the Dem, then sometimes the RBA under its current leadership and the D&C will endorse the R, after agonizing debate, which they'll often reference when making their announcement.
True to form, this morning's editorial said,   "The board reached this endorsement decision after a vigorous and angst-filled internal discussion."   I'll bet.

We think the same explanation applies to the paper's unexpected endorsement of Maggie Brooks for re-election as County Executive: the overwhelmingly qualified and capable versus the underwhelming opponent.

Credit to the Democrat and Chronicle for accepting the evidence of its own eyes and ears.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloweekender

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Friday, October 28, 2011

How to Write a Negative Ad Against Yourself

I'm in a cruel mood this morning, so I thought I'd post verbatim most of Sandy Frankel's answer to the following question asked in last night's County Executive debate:

Q.   Tom Adams, Rochester Business Journal:   Sandy, if you are elected, what would you do that is not being done now, in order to create jobs in Monroe County?

A. Sandy Frankel:   I would refocus our efforts in Monroe County to create jobs here for Monroe County residents, with priority of hiring local people in public-sector jobs and encouraging that in private work as well. We need to focus on the specific strengths that we have: optics, infotonics, medical services and medical research technology, environmental sustainability and the cultural initiatives that we have here which are world-class. And we need to partner with businesses, with labor, with communities, with [the] faith community and bring people together, so that we can develop a strategic plan that isn't scattershot.

Right now, COMIDA gives abatements and exemptions to almost everyone who walks in the door. I would reform COMIDA and would put in place policies that not only create jobs by recruiting, retaining and growing jobs here in Monroe County, but I would also focus on young people, on veterans, on displaced workers and make sure that they have the training they neeed, and retraining, theough MCC and other educational outlets, so thaqt they have the skills needed when these new jobs come into our community. We've got some great opportunities, great strengths.
No comment necessary.   And I have to contrast it with the rebuttal from Maggie Brooks:
Maggie Brooks:   What can we do better? There's one thing that drives business from this state and we can't run away from it:   it's high property taxes. Property taxes are 79% above the national average in New York State. We will always lack competitiveness if we can't get to the issue of high property taxes in New York State. That's why we have held the line on property taxes for 8 straight years in Monroe County. We will continue to do so. It's an important commitment for jobs and to bolster the local economy.
You can see the whole debate on Channel 10's website. What I quoted comes about two-thirds of the way through Part I.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

D&C Scrubs Story on Campaign Ad

Tuesday night an online Democrat and Chronicle story quoted from a ruling of the Fair Election Practices Committee.   It said the FEPC found that Democratic candidate for District Attorney Sandra Doorley was in a positon of substantial leadership in the DA's office when the office bungled the Eric Magin case. The same story appeared in yesterday's print edition.

Now, "being in a position of substantial leadership" doesn't make someone responsible for the bungle, not by a long shot.  But the D&C doesn't take chances with its favored party's candidates.  Yesterday the D&C gave the online story a good political scrubbing, purging references critical of Doorley.

Original Story

Of the FEPC's ruling reporter Gary Craig wrote:

Doorley said she had no hand in Magin's earlier release from jail after dismissal of an assault charge.   As first assistant district attorney Doorley was in "a position of substantial leadership" when Magin was released, the committee said ...

Screenshot - Original Story
Scrubbed Story
Doorley said she had no hand in Magin’s earlier release from jail after dismissal of an assault charge. The committee decided that the jail was “partly responsible” when Magin was released on July 22, and that Doorley was in leadership through July 21.

Screenshot - Scrubbed story

Thus disappears the observation that "Doorley was in 'a position of substantial leadership'" of the DA's office, scarcely a controversial comment.

Less than a day before the D&C scrubbed the story, The New York Times chastized Gannett, noting its outlets are "Never a standout in journalism performance ..."

Then in rushes D&C Editor Karen Magnuson and the paper's editorial coven, to scrub the Doorley story and to prove the Times's point.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

N.Y. Times Rips Gannett

"If you were looking for bonus excess despite miserable operations, the best recent example I can think of is Gannett ..."
And the story's best comment on Gannett:
"Never a standout in journalism performance ..."
Tell us about it.

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The Stifled Voice of the Voter

Some very long faces last week in the news editors' offices at the Democrat and Chronicle, when results arrived from the paper's "Voice of the Voter" poll.

It showed County Executive Maggie Brooks and District Attorney candidate Bill Taylor with substantial leads over the D&C's candidates, Sandy Frankel and Sandra Dorley.

You'd think the first and maybe only public poll in the two highest-profile races this year would be front page material, as in prior years.

Instead Editor, and de facto Political Director of the county Democratic Party, Karen Magnuson buried the poll results deep inside the section, on page 6.

You see, there are lots of voters who will vote for a candidate they think will win, perhaps on the basis that the candidate must be OK if a majority is behind him or her.   And there are plenty of people who have held back on contributing money until they can get on board with the likely winner.

So Magnuson and company buried the story.   As people who exercise power without responsibility can do.

Just a week before, the non-story of the sentencing of the last "robutrad" defendant commanded a front-page story not just about the sentencing, but a complete rehashing of the paper's spin on the robutrad matter.

Which reminds us of another disappointment for the D&C editors in the poll results.   Only 8% of those polled expressed no confidence in Upstate Telecommunications Corporation and 33% "weren't sure."   This despite the paper's month-long bashing of UTC, as the focus of the latest scandal contrived by the D&C/Democratic Party to slime the Republican administration of one of the best-run counties in the state.

Of course we've only seen the beginning of the D&C's anti-Republican campaign.   Gannett doesn't pay those big bonuses for nothing.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

County-Wide Vandalism of Taylor Signs

Apparently word has gone forth from Democratic Headquarters.

Friday we passed along a note from a reader reporting that all lawn signs for District Attorney candidate Bill Taylor had been taken in the night from a main stretch of one Eastside town.

We now learn that in the same time frame it happened all over Monroe County, and is continuing.

No class.

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Weekender

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Business Owners Need Not Apply

If you're a candidate and want the endorsement of Sandy Parker's Rochester Business Alliance, holding one occupation could be fatal to your chances:   owner of a business.

Few events better illustrate RBA's decline from business advocacy group to Democratic front organization than three of this year's endorsements.

  • Steve Tucciarello is the incumbent County Legislator for Gates.   He's also owner of Colony Cleaners, a successful drycleaning business on Howard Road.   But Democrats consider Tucciarello's district winnable.   As dreadful as his Democratic opponent may be on business issues, the Parker-dominated interview panel couldn't bring itself to make any endorsement in the race.

    Tucciarello is just the kind of businessman whom the RBA was established to serve.   But RBA in its current incarnation won't endorse Republicans in competitive races a Democrat can win.

    Parker to Tucciarello:   "No soup for you!"
  • Fred Ancello owns Davies Seafood, a popular destination in Greece he's run for 24 years.   He's the GOP challenger to County Legislator Dick Beebe, one of the Democrats' two most endangered incumbents this year.

    Almost unique among Democratic members of the County Legislature, Mr. Beebe is employed in the private sector.   Yet as owner of a small business, Mr. Ancello is the one who grapples daily with the issues at the core of RBA's ostensible mission.

    No way la Parker and company endorse the Republican in a must-win seat for her sidekick Joe Morelle.   Endorsement to Beebe.
  • Dr. Joe Carbone for years has maintained a practice in Irondequoit.   He's run a campaign so formidable it's driven up sales of Depends at the neighborhood grocery for incumbent County Legislator Vincent Esposito.

    Esposito's not merely the Dems' other most vulnerable legislator, but a staffer in the State Assembly, where he serves as Morelle's political bum-boy numero uno.   The Master Plan is for Esposito to inherit the Assembly seat once Morelle gets the state sinecure he's been waiting for.

    Proprietor of a local professional business versus a staffer in the State Assembly -- source and defender of every corrosive policy hostile to business.   Including specific policy abominations that RBA, on paper, opposes.   For today's new RBA, no contest:     endorsement to Esposito, the Assembly staffer.
In competitive races, the RBA's endorsement is off-limits to Republicans.   No matter what kind of business they own.

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Running Scared

From an Eastside reader:   "Every sign for Bill Taylor on Main Street in Pittsford village was pulled down last night and taken away."

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A-Bomb

Democrat and Chronicle reporter David Andreatta last week called County Legislature President Jeff Adair an "asshole."

Andreatta is assigned full-time to troll for anything that can be spun into a hatchet job against County Republicans in an election year.

After Tuesday's legislative meeting, the newsman went looking for a comment about Adair's ruling on a bill introduced by a member. Adair offered no comment.   He said he'd release in the morning his letter to the legislator who made the proposal, explaining his ruling.   Adair then went into his office.   That's when the D&C's man exclaimed, "What an asshole," within earshot of bystanders.

Imagine the dressing down the reporter got from his boss, Karen Magnuson, Editor of the D&C and de facto Political Director of the Monroe County Democratic Party, for blowing cover by speaking in public the way D&C editors talk privately among themselves.

The reporter has since apologized to Adair.



Update:   We updated this post to identify David Andreatta as the reporter.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why I Decline an Interview for Your Endorsement in My Race for City Council

I've Seen Your Bias from the Inside

So there is no confusion in the next few weeks, I want to share my response to the Democrat and Chronicle's request for an endorsement interview.   Here's my e-mail to Jim Lawrence, Editorial Board Editor:

-----Original Message-----
From: rich@richtyson.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 10:03 AM
To: Lawrence, James
Cc: Kane, Michael G. (Rochester); Magnuson, Karen
Subject: RE: interview schedule

Hello Jim,

Upon further consideration I do not believe I will be making it in to visit with the Editorial Board.   After spending a year on the Board of Contributors, witnessing the difference in how Republican candidates versus Democrat candidates were questioned and finally reported, I don't feel it is in my best interest.  As I had mentioned to you and Karen both, I find it unfortunate that we have a single paper here in Rochester that just isn't able to not show their bias with regards to politics.

I would be happy to prepare a response now if you like as to why I feel I am not going to be endorsed.   That is, unless that is not permitted for choosing not to come in.  On the off chance that I am endorsed I will only assume it is because the D&C must endorse a few Republicans each year to "prove" the lack of bias.

As I plan to stay a part of City politics, win or lose, I hope that in the future the Editorial Board will prove that it is able to set aside their personal political feelings and start advocating for what is best for this community.   With that said, I do feel that the day of people needing news organizations to explain candidates is coming to a close.   With social networking, websites, and the other avenues that people have today to learn more about someone looking to represent them, I feel that the endorsement of a news organization is outdated.

I wish you a great autumn and hope that the endorsement process goes well for you this year.   There are many races going on so you will certainly have your hands full.   Thank you for reaching out Jim.


Rich Tyson

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekender

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Stand Tall, GOP Legislators and Candidates

Today the main cheerleader for the idea that David Gantt should appoint Monroe County's Public Defender editorializes that candidates for county office should state their position on the process.   Thus the D&C serves notice on county legislative candidates that this will be part of their endorsement interviews.

Every Republican County Legislator and candidate should answer: "I will support and apply the law."

You see, the law requires that the PD be appointed by the County Legislature.   That's it.

The Democratic-Media Complex doesn't like Republican bodies making public policy decisions.   That's OK for public bodies run by Democrats.   But Republican bodies are supposed to share decision-making with Democratic constituencies.   "What's ours is ours.   What's yours is up for grabs."

Today the D&C repeats its contemptible lie from 2008, that Republicans overturned the established process for chosing the PD and did something different that year.   A point-for-point inversion of the truth:   in 2008 Republicans made no change in the law governing appointment of the Defender.

What upset the newspaper and Gantt was that, back in the 1970s, the then-legislature acquiesced to an elaborate extra-legal contrivance giving Assemblyman-for-Life Gantt, his hangers-on and self-appointed "community leaders" a substantial influence over the selection.   That was a change to the lawful process.

The PD appointed in the late 70s stayed on until 2008.   That's when the issue came up again, and the legislature rightly insisted on fulfilling its legal responsibility.

It was that insistence on respecting lawful established process that outraged the likes of Gantt,the D&C and other enemies of the people.

Although Republicans got the policy choice right in 2008, they then completely abdicated leadership on the issue.   It represents the most shameful episode in the history of the Republican majority in the County Legislature.

As local media spun a false narrative -- that the GOP was usurping a prescribed method for selecting the PD -- Republicans in the County Legislature remained silent and passive, incurring damaging negative publicity. They had the facts on their side as well as the law. Yet the public only heard from crazies like Gantt and the others who disrupted legislative meetings.   For reasons still unexplained, the Republicans nearly undermined their own cause and the principle of the rule of law, by saying nothing.

Republican Legislators and candidates:   You can atone for the GOP's cowardly performance in 2008.   Stand tall when D&C functionaries bully you in endorsement interviews.

"I will support and apply the law."
Of course you can solicit public input, hold public hearings and ask for the view of law-related organizations.   But they're not charged with responsibility for making the decision.   You are.

Your duty is to do the right thing, even if that brings some controversy.   If you don't see it that way, then what the hell are you doing in public office?

Experience the exhilaration of standing tall in a blizzard of lies, armed with the truth, being in the right and fighting for it.   That's what leadership and integrity in public office are about.

 

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Smugtown Beacon's Take on RBA Endorsement Fiasco

How did we miss this one until now?

Check out Aaron Wicks's excellent analysis of this subject at Smugtown Beacon.

It's not a left issue or a right issue.   It's anybody with a sense of smell and an honest pen identifying something rotten in Sandy Parker's conduct in the name of the Rochester Business Association.

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About Those RBA Endorsements ...

Nice work on the RBA, Philbrick, but you missed a key point.

The RBA is using the same technique as the Democrat and Chronicle in doing endorsements.   In every seriously contested race they endorse the Democrat.   Then they endorse some Republicans who are unopposed or certain to win; that's their fig leaf to "prove" they're not biased.

The RBA endorsed Sandra Doorley (D) for DA.   That's a competitive race and a must-win for Democrats.   They also endorsed County Legislators Dick Beebe (D) and Vinny Esposito (D), the most endangered legislators for re-election, with strong opponents.

Now come the RBA's fig leaf endorsements:   Maggie Brooks, who's certain to win for County Exec.   County Legislators like Dick Yolevich (R), Mike Barker (R), Mike Rockow (R) and Anthony Daniele (R), who have no, or token, opposition.

The RBA can endorse who it wants.   They're entitled to an opinion just like we are.   But we should call out obvious bias of organizations and newspapers that pretend to be impartial, and expose their tricks to uphold the pretense.   Their endorsements are strategically chosen to help Democrats and to provide camouflage to conceal that they're partial, rather than impartial.

Nothing wrong with being partial, either.   But a lot's wrong with being partial and insisting you're not.

Not to say the D&C will endorse all the same people as RBA.   They'll endorse Sandy Frankel (D) for County Exec, for instance.   But basically they'll follow their usual pattern of endorsing competitive Ds and giving fig leaf endorsements to Rs who face no serious contest.   Then they can say, "We're not biased.   We endorsed people in both parties."

There are exceptions.   When a Republican candidate is overwhelmingly qualified and intelligent, and usually when there's something a little underwhelming about the Dem, then sometimes the RBA under its current leadership and the D&C will endorse the R, after agonizing debate, which they'll often reference when making their announcement.   An example would be their endorsement of Republican John DiMarco for County Court Judge a few years ago.   But these are the exceptions.   The basic pattern is clear.

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