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Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Moss, but not Astorino will make campaign stops in Batavia today

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Chris Moss, politics, Rob Astorino

Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino was scheduled to be in Batavia today, but he had a family emergency and is unable to make his scheduled campaign appearances.

His running mate Chris Moss will however be at the the GOP Women's meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Batavia Downs, and then he will also speak at the SCOPE meeting at 7 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 3515 Galloway Road.

The sign placed in front of Batavia Marine on West Main anticipated Astorino being in town today, but then his plans changed.

Astorino, who hopes to unseat Andrew Cuomo, has been crisscrossing the state for several months, but has yet to make an appearance in Genesee County.

CORRECTION: Astornio visited Genesee County two days after announcing his candidacy. He made an appearance at Larry's Steakhouse.

Friday, July 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

Former Rep. Kathy Hochul stops by farmers market, says she's happy to be 'back in the game'

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, kathy hochul, politics

UPDATE: Kathy Hochul at Picnic in the Park later in the day with Wayne Fuller. Photo sent to us by a third party, but originated with a member of Hochul's staff.

NOTE: You may be wondering why there are no pictures to go with Kathy Hochul's stop at the farmer's market. My camera was still set up for multiple exposures from last night's fireworks at the Muckdogs game. A fact I didn't discover until I got home. This also left me with no usable pictures from the Kiwanis 5K to benefit autism research.  

Genesee County's former congressional representative, Kathy Hochul, now running for Lieutenant Governor, said she's been craving some brownie-stuffed cookies from the Batavia Downs Farmer's Market, so Hochul said she decided to get an early start on her campaign day and drive out to Batavia.

Hochul also bought strawberries and hand-crafted chocolate.

"It's a big state and I've got to go to all four corners, but I love Genesee County and I'll be out here as often as I can," Hochul said.

After terms as Erie County County Clerk and in the House of Representatives, Hochul worked for about 18 months for M&T Bank. It was a job she said she loved and still got her out into the community, but when Gov. Andrew Cuomo called and asked her to replace Robert Duffy on the election ticket, Hochul said she was tugged by the lure of representing people in New York again.

"I realized when the call came, there was a little bit of an emptiness, that I really wanted to get back and serve people in a more direct way, so I could not have been more thrilled than to have received the call and accept this honor and start running," Hochul said.

This, she said, is what she was meant to do.

"It's not something I pushed for at all," Hochul said. "When I think it about it, it just feels right, to be back out there meeting people all over this amazing state. I love my congressional district and I love representing Upstate New York, but the opportunity to go all over the state and meet new people and see them in their environments and businesses, I just feel like this is a calling. I've always thought public service is a calling. I'm so delighted to be back in the game."

As a candidate for reelection to Congress, Hochul had won over pretty much all of the gun rights groups, campaigning as a strong advocate for the Second Amendment. Now she's working for a man who has become the most reviled politician in New York by gun rights advocates. Hochul said she doesn't believe there is a contradiction in her position then or now.

Here's her full response to that question:

I believe there is a middle ground. I know many, many gun owners. I have family members who are marksmen and who are hunters and this is part of a culture up here and people need to understand that. There's no effort to remove guns from legitimate gun owners. I think there is sometimes a hysteria that's created, but people have to understand we respect the Second Amendment, but also there are many people who understand the need for background checks. As a county clerk, I like the fact that there are background checks performed, because there are people you don't want to have guns in their hands. They could do harm to fellow citizens. I believe there is an accommodation and I believe there is a reasonable approach. The extremes on one side or the other aren't going to agree with that, but that's how I've been my entire life in public service. There's a pragmatic middle ground and if people are willing to listen to each other, we'll get to the right answer. That's where I stand.

The stop at a farmer's market reminded her a lot of her term in Congress, she said, especially representing farmers.

"It reminds me so many tours of the farms and the struggles they face, when the weather's bad and there's a flood or a drought or there's army worms," Hochul said. "They're such resilient people and to know that I'll be in a position to promote their work in a new capacity as Lieutenant Governor working with Gov. Cuomo, it's going to be great."

Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Green Party candidate for governor campaigns in Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, Green Party, politics

Story by Sloane Martin, WBTA:

Howie Hawkins is running for governor for the second consecutive election on the Green Party tab.

A recent poll showed that a progressive candidate could cut significantly into the incumbent Democrat’s lead, giving that fresh option a chance.

Hawkins says he can be that candidate.

“We stand for progressive policies that benefit working people,” he said. “I think that’s what that poll says people are looking for. Those are the people who understand Cuomo’s been very conservative economically. He’s underfunded schools, he’s giving tax breaks to the rich and they’re looking for an alternative.

“Our problem is not that they don’t agree with us. It’s that they never heard of us.”

In Bergen Thursday afternoon before meeting with party members from the tri-county area, Hawkins outlined a six-point proposal to turn things around for the Empire State called the Green New Deal. It draws parallels to the Roosevelt domestic programs, but updates them for modern times seeking to bring jobs. For example, Hawkins supports giving unemployed people public jobs, similar to the WPA.

Hawkins says Cuomo’s problem is doing nothing about income inequality.

“The idea is: we give money to the rich and it trickles down; we have decades of evidence to show it doesn’t work. If we restored the progressive tax structure we had in the '70s, we’d have $30 billion more,” he said. “That’s about 21 percent more than we take in now and that would fund the Green New Deal.”

The other points as part of the Green New Deal include raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ensuring New Yorkers can make a living wage with single-payer health insurance, working to limit segregation in schools, providing affordable housing and mass transit and cultivating renewable energy.

Hawkins also had strong words about hydrofracking. He said the job impact estimates for the controversial natural gas drilling process are greatly exaggerated.

“No one denies the environmental dangers of fracking,” he said. “What’s not being communicated well is the economic benefits of going to 100-percent clean energy by 2030 far outweighs any economic benefits we could get from fracking. The most outlandish estimates I’ve seen from pro-fracking flacks from the industry is 200,000 jobs. We’re talking about 4.5 million jobs over the next 15 years (with clean energy). A lot of those are manufacturing, a lot of those are construction; those are good paying jobs. You want an economic boom? Go with clean energy.”

Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:26 am

Green Party candidate for governor makes stop in Bergen on June 19

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, Green Party, Howie Hawkins, politics

Press release:

Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for governor of New York State, will conduct a press conference in Bergen on Thursday, June 19 to be followed by a meet-and-greet with local Green Party members.

The slate of Hawkins, Brian Jones, lieutenant governor, Ramon Jimenez, attorney general and Theresa Portelli, comptroller, was nominated at the recent Green Party state convention in Troy.

Hawkins launches his second bid for NY executive after running against Andrew Cuomo in 2010. Jimenez is also reprising a run for AG.

The Green Party candidates have dubbed their platform, the Green New Deal. Hawkins says he plans to challenge the 1-percent tag team of Cuomo and Republican nominee Astorino on economic, climate change and criminal justice issues. Hawkins also wants NY to go carbon free with a 100-percent clean renewable energy by 2030, while providing a public living wage job to any New Yorker who needs one.

The Greens selected NYC Educator Brian Jones to highlight their opposition to Cuomo's education policies promoting privatization of the education system, including his promotion of the Common Core agenda and charter schools. The Greens are seeking full funding to meet the educational needs of New Yorkers, including free tuition at CUNY and SUNY.

The press conference in Bergen is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the residence of Genesee County Green Party member Chris Barons, 24 Clinton St. A Meet-and-Greet will follow a presentation to local Greens at 4 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Friday, May 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Obama's Management

post by Bob Harker in Obama, opinions, politics, polls

Has anyone that has EVER given a hand UP - be it employment or otherwise, seen a positive influence by the obama Administation other than a hand OUT? Please document it.

 

Howard, I hope you post this as a poll.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Batavia resident Phil Ricci elected to leadership position with NYS Libertarian Party

Official GCLP press release from David Olsen, vice chair:

Phil Ricci, currently the chair and state representative of the Genesee County Libertarian Party, a recognized chapter of the Libertarian Party of New York, will now be an officer of the LPNY. At the LPNY Convention in Albany on April 26, 2014, Ricci was elected a vice chair of the State party. According to the LPNY bylaws, among the responsibilities which may be delegated to him by the chair or the State Committee are the operations of the State headquarters, production of the party newsletter, promotion of county organizations and Party membership and development of literature for distribution by the LPNY.

The GCLP is proud of Phil and all his accomplishments and we are happy he will share his creativity and leadership abilities with the LPNY all across the great State of New York. Phil will retain his membership in the GCLP and will continue his work on local issues along with his new statewide duties.

Also at the LPNY convention, a slate of candidates for statewide office was elected. After hearing from six very strong Libertarians who sought the nomination for Governor and after five rounds of voting, Michael McDermott, of Huntington, was selected to be the party’s nominee. Chris Edes of Rochester is our Lieutenant Governor candidate, John Clifton, of Queens, is the State Comptroller candidate and Carl Person, of Manhattan, is the Attorney General candidate.

The Genesee County Libertarian Party was formed in 2013 as a chapter of the LPNY. We will be having our 2nd annual convention followed by the  GCLP sponsored Buffet & Free Play: A Community Celebration  on Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road in Batavia. Admission to the celebration is by advance ticket purchase only. Tickets are limited so purchase yours soon! Tickets are $25 and are available by contacting any GCLP member, calling Debbie Paine at 716-474-0125, or seeing Debbie Paine in person Monday-Thursday 8 a.m to  5 p.m. at Arctic Refrigeration, 26 Cedar St., Batavia. The $25 ticket price includes a buffet dinner, tax, gratuity, and $25 free play for the gaming floor (you must be 18 or older to redeem the free play). There will be a Community Basket Raffle sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Batavia -- all proceeds will benefit the Genesee County Child Advocacy Center. Also there will be numerous other baskets to be raffled to benefit the GCLP. For more information, please go to: http://www.gclpny.org/buffetfreeplay. Plan to join us May 31, we’d love to see as many of our neighbors as we can.

The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party, founded in 1971. Our vision is for a world in which all individuals can freely exercise the natural right of sole dominion over their own lives, liberty and property by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office, and moving public policy in a libertarian direction.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 2:36 am

GOP posts landslide sweep in crowded field for three City Council seats

post by Bonnie Marrocco in batavia, city council, Elections, politics

It was a clean sweep for the GOP in Batavia's race to fill three at-large seats on the City Council in a year when the party was facing a new challenge from local Libertarians for the first time.

Eugene Jankowski Jr., Brooks Hawley and John Deleo easily secured four-year terms on the council.

Libertarians Jim Rosenbeck and Lisa Whitehead finished eighth and ninth in the crowded field.

Hawley, the lone incumbent among the winners, got 1,179 votes, according to the still unofficial tally.

"We visited almost every street and home in Batavia,” Hawley said. “People saw how dedicated we are and they believe we will use that dedication in City Council as well.”

Hard work was part of the GOP strategy this year, said city Chair Matt Landers, who acknowledged the Libertarian presence on the ballot and the fact the new local party was out working hard helped motivate the Republicans.

“They were working very hard and they are an upstart group with a passionate base and we definitely took them seriously,” Landers said.

Rosenbeck received 358 votes and Whitehead 243 votes. 

The low vote totals didn't discourage party Chairman Phil Ricci at all, who told the party members at their election headquarters at Larry's Steakhouse that Rosenbeck would become the committee chairman of the party's new city committee.

“We started with a small group of concerned, like-minded citizens, set with the task of creating an alternative to the existing political parties,” Ricci said. “That little ragtag group grew into a solid core group of committed individuals who felt strongly enough about our core principles, and even stronger about the lack of real choice, to give it a go.”

Jankowski, a former Batavia PD lieutenant, said after a hard-fought campaign, he's ready to get to work, serving his community in a new capacity.

"We work well together, people respect us and they want us to be their leaders in the community," said Jankowski, who received 1,269 votes.

Deleo, who garnered 1,309 votes, said the three winners will make a good team going forward, just as they did as campaign mates.

“We all have our own strengths and together it works for the best,” Deleo said.

Rosenbeck remained upbeat about the Libertarian effort.

“It has been a success and we wish the GOP well,” Rosenbeck said.

Rounding out the field were Diana Kisiel Kastenbaum, 586 votes, Thomas Clark, 552 votes, John Demske, 631 votes, and Rose Mary Christian, 406 votes.

Katenbaum, a Batavia native who moved away for many years and then returned to her hometown vowed to stay involved in her community.

 “I sit on a couple boards, Go-Art and Landmark Society, and I will continue working for the citizens of Batavia,” Kastenbaum said. “As a citizen I can be as active as I choose to be and I hope to be.”

For complete election results visit WBTA.com.

Top Photo (by Howard Owens): Phil Ricci speaks to Libertarian Party members.

John Deleo, Joe Gerace and John Roach watch the election results get posted at the GOP headquarters for the night at City Slickers (photo by Howard Owens).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 1:21 am

No clear winner yet in attempt by GOP to unseat only Democrat on County Legislature

post by Howard B. Owens in county legislature, election, politics

With only 21 votes separating the two candidates for the District 9 seat on the County Legislature and 100 absentee ballots yet to be counted, neither incumbent Ed Dejanerio nor challenger Bob Bialkowski were interested in predicting the outcome of the race.

"I'm in the minority and who knows," Dejanerio said, acknowledging his role as the sole Democrat on the Legislature as well as the slight registration advantage for the GOP in District 9. "I do my best and that's all I can do."

Both candidates worked hard, they said of each other, and presented a stiff challenge throughout the campaign.

The unofficial tally has Dejanerio up 362 to 341.

Dejanerio is simply hard to beat, Bialkowski said.

"There's a lot of Democrats in the district," Bialkowski said. "Ed's been there a long time. Ed's a likable sort of guy. People like Ed. I'm pleased I've done as well as I have. Other people have tried running against Ed but have never done so well."

City GOP Chairman Matt Landers agreed.

"It's hard to beat an incumbent," Landers said. "Ed's been there a long time. He's beaten Republicans in the past. Bob worked really hard and we'll see how it breaks."

Things broke better for the GOP in the other three contested Legislature races.

Shelly Stein beat Earl Funderburk 1087 to 427 in District 5. Gregg Torrey beat incumbant Esther Leadley, a Republic who didn't get her party's nomination, 706 to 373, and the race was apparently made closer by the presence of a Libertarian on the ballot. Marianne Clattenburg beat Bill Fava 385 to 271 with Bob Brown picking up 82 votes.

"Bob did hurt us," Landers said. "We were worried that he would peel off Republican votes and it was relatively close between Marianne and the Democrat."

None of the big issues facing the County Legislature seemed to play a role in voters' decisions, based on the feedback candidates were getting while walking precincts. Voters rarely mentioned the nursing home, the Genesee County Economic Development Center, mandates, or hiring more jail guards.

People were concerned about taxes, but in the District 9 race, there isn't much difference on the issue between Dejanerio and Bialkowski.

"People are against any kind of property tax increase," Bialkowski said. "People in the city are hard pressed right now and when they hear that they're going to have a public hearing on going over the tax cap, that doesn't sit well with people. It doesn't sit well with me."

Top photo: Ed Dejanerio, city council candidate Diana Kastenbaum with Pat Burke at O'Lacy's while awaiting election results.

Matt Landers congratulates Gregg Torrey on his District 6 victory.

Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Please Consider

On January 21st of this year, a small group of concerned, like minded citizens, set to the task of creating an alternative to the existing political parties. We didn’t know how to do it really, and we most certainly had no idea if it would work, but we felt strongly enough about our core principles, and even stronger about the lack of real choice, to give it a go. It has been a great success!

As of June 8th, that little ragtag group of four people grew into a solid core group of committed individuals whose numbers were reaching one hundred fifty, and we’ve grown even more since then. On that same evening, we were not only officially formed as a chapter of the New York Libertarian Party (Fastest ever to do so), but we also nominated our series of candidates, Jim Rosenbeck, Lisa Whitehead, and a few weeks later, Robert Brown. It’s these wonderful people, we would like just a moment of your time to discuss.

 Jim is one the finest men we know. He’s caring and compassionate, just ask the hundreds of students that he impacted in his twenty seven year career as a school counselor at Pembroke Schools. He is giving with his time, willing to listen to any and all opinions, and respecting everyone who brings it. He is honest, transparent, and most of all, incredibly thoughtful. Jim doesn’t react first, then ask questions like we have seen too much in recent years. Jim asks questions, gathers facts, seeks input from those it will affect, and then makes a non-emotional decision based on a long term vision. He believes in not just impacting today, but tomorrow as well.

Lisa is the perfect example of a powerful woman! She is a no nonsense individual that knows how to get things done, negotiate to find the best solution for all sides, and has the foresight to understand that all perspectives can lead you to the correct path if you just listen. Yet, she is also “Mrs. Whitehead” to hundreds of our kids at John Kennedy, guiding them with care and compassion. Lisa knows how important a good plan is, which is why she is always seeking to understand the full vision in everything she does. She is kind, creative, honest and open to any and all that need her.

Robert, or Bob to us, is sincerely all of the good qualities of A Beautiful Mind. He is without a doubt one of the most analytical minds that we have ever met. He doesn’t just understand things, he is able to dissect them into fundamental pieces, then show anyone how they’re interacting with everything else. What you end up getting from that, is one of the most thoughtful, prepared and fact driven individuals in this area! Bob cares so deeply for his neighbors, and is always willing to listen to anyone that approaches him. He is honest, open, and brave.

Yes, we really like these people, and yes we are the people who endorsed them, so we should, right? True, but as two individuals, we also wanted to share with you how excited we are to actually have people we want to represent us! It has been a rare thing these past years to have that, and now we do! So with that, we like to humbly ask you to consider voting for Jim Rosenbeck and Lisa Whitehead for Batavia City Council at Large, and Bob Brown for Genesee County Legislature District 8 on November 5th!

Thank you,

Phil Ricci and Dave Olsen

Chair and Vice Chair,

Genesee County Libertarian Party

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Le Roy Democrats announce candidates

post by Howard B. Owens in Democrats, Le Roy, politics

Press release:

The Le Roy Democratic Committee held its nominating caucus on Monday Aug. 26 at the Le Roy Town Hall for the Nov. 5 general election.

The Party is proud to announce a diverse and dynamic ticket leading into the November elections.

Michael Welsh is the Party's choice for Le Roy Town Justice. Mike is married to Gail Rudgers and is a local attorney and community activist, who most recently has devoted his time and talent to the Le Roy Community Pool. He served the people of Le Roy  for 21 years on the Genesee County Legislature.

Incumbent Town Councilman Tom Stella was nominated for his second full term. Tom has served the community well on the board for six years. In addition to being the past Deputy Town Supervisor, he serves as the liaison for the Fire Commission and the liaison for the Farmland Protection Commission. He is married to wife, Deborah, and is a proud father and grandfather.

The caucus also nominated newcomer Kelly Carlie who is running for the second Town Board seat. Kelly, married to George and mother of three grown children with one grandchild and another on the way, is employed as a counselor at Elba Central School. She is also a small business owner and has served on the Holy Family School Board, was a former 4-H Leader and former Girl Scout leader.

Earlier in the summer Earl Funderburk garnered the Democratic endorsement for County Legislature through the petition process.

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