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:


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.


Saturday, November 26, 2011



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.


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.


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%.


Saturday, November 19, 2011



Friday, November 18, 2011

The Left Restores Civility to the Public Square


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Class Divisions Within "Occupy Wall Street"

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


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.


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!


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?"


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.


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.




Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans' Day

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


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:


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:


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.


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.


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.


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?"


Election Day


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!


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.


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.


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