Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
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.
Posted by Philbrick at 7:58 PM
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
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.
Posted by Philbrick at 9:38 AM
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
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
"Further Issues:" Why Democrats Scuttled the Green Nomination
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
Posted by Lucy at 11:15 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
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!
Posted by Lucy at 11:13 AM
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
• 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."
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
Posted by Philbrick at 2:23 PM
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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?
Posted by Mycroft at 7:43 PM
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!
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.
Posted by Philbrick at 11:17 AM
Monday, December 19, 2011
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.
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.
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.
What do Senate leaders and the President know about Mike Green, that the people of Monroe County do not?
Posted by Philbrick at 9:52 AM
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
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.
Posted by Lucy at 11:17 AM
Thursday, December 15, 2011
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.
Posted by Lucy at 8:52 AM
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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?
Posted by Philbrick at 3:30 PM
Monday, December 12, 2011
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)
Posted by Lucy at 3:45 PM
Sunday, December 11, 2011
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.
Posted by Philbrick at 6:30 PM
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
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.
Posted by Philbrick at 3:51 PM
Monday, December 5, 2011
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.
Posted by Lucy at 1:08 PM
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.
Posted by Philbrick at 10:23 AM