Featured Posts

Cracking the Whip


“I write today as a proud Democrat who maintains great hope that this fall a winning coalition will take back Congress from the Republican stranglehold it has struggled under for the last 12 years…..As such, I read with great displeasure the comments of your number one financial backer, Ken Langone, who a few days ago stated: "I can't tell you how critical it is that we preserve and protect the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and as well in the Senate. This is not a time to turn the asylum over to the inmates." ….As the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee I hope to one day represent this state as its Chairman. It is your lead and most public fundraiser who has dedicated resources to making sure that people like me do not assume these important leadership roles and that we as Democrats do not take back the House. …Some of us believe that the Republican party has taken our State of New York, as well as our nation, in the wrong direction. I certainly thought that you were one of us….I hope that your support of Democratic Congressional candidates, especially in New York State, would cause you to denounce Mr. Langone's statements of Tuesday evening. I call on you to return the money he has given you in the past, to express your support for a Democratic takeover of Congress and to renounce any further support from Ken Langone for your campaign. …I respect your role as an outsider. But there is a fine line between being an outsider and turning your back on the Democratic Party and what it stands for.”



Crucial Independence Party - Don't Make Me Laugh

Every year around this time of the year, stories appear about how crucial the support of minor parties are to this or that candidate.

I, for one, have always thought that this was BS 99% of the time.

Sure, there have been times that 3rd Party support has been the margin of difference in an election but these have been relatively few in number. Senator Nick Spano in 2004, John Lindsay in 1969, etc.

The fact that there are so few is why we remember them!

This week, the DC paper, The Hill attempts to once again elevate a minor Party, in this case that weird alliance that calls itself the Independence Party, to a major force in the Democrats attempt to regain Congress. They point to 2 districts.



Need a penny? Take a penny.

Back in 1985, the Erie County Legislature, with Albany's permission and approval, passed an extra 1% sales tax - a “temporary” sales tax that has come up for - and passed - renewal every year since.

Originally passed to plug a County budget hole, the City of Buffalo didn't receive a share of that particular 1%. (To call it a “penny” is really facile propaganda).

In that 21 years, when the County was flush with cash, the call went out to share part of that particular sales tax with the municipalities in general, and Buffalo in particular.

In February, the Erie County Legislature voted 11-4 to allocate and share $12.5 million generated by that 1% "temporary" sales tax with the municipalities. This came about because Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz (D-Cheektowaga) held this year’s renewal of that 1% hostage.



Dem and Dumber

Hold tight - cuz the asylum is about to get a bit more insane.

It's lookin' like the last bit of sanity (Rodney Capel) will soon be fleeing the coup, and that the State of NY's Dem-a-goguery is bound for even more misery.

Hard to believe that's possible, right?

One would think that Herman D. and Co. would take this precious opportunity to scout some new, fresh talent ... or just to scout - period.

But one would so obviously be wrong. For the second time in as many years, it appears the shit's just gonna continue to sail downstream, to the next puppet in line.


Gov Wire

As you may have noticed, just south of Campaign Wire (due north of Upcoming Events), we have Room Eight's newly launched Gov Wire.

Much like it's northern neighbor, Gov Wire is a mechanism through which government offices can share with the world their good works by way of their (oft-unread) media advisories and press releases.

So, we invite all government press officers to add Gov Wire to your press lists; the email address is govwire (at) r8ny (dot) com.

Note that the subject of your email will automatically convert into the title of the wire item, and the email text will be readable upon click.



Upstate. Wha?

Pls give a hearty welcome to Buffalopundit, the newest addition to Room Eight's vociferous chorus.

Buffalo's been thriving in the upstate blogosphere for a while (witnessable here), so maybe a morsel of enlightenment will flow our way??  Either way, it'll undoubtedly be interesting to read what this Bp has to say.

In the mean time, a tidbit about him from him folllows in the post right below.

And, as always, if you're feeling particularly verbose about your NY Politics, we invite you to join the ranks of Room Eight's stellar bloggers.  Either click here to start your own blog, or email us at editors (at) r8ny (dot) com, and we'll help you get the party started.



From Buffalo, With Love

Growing up in White Plains, I gave little thought to such esoterica as "upstate New York", or "county government" or "Buffalo".  Or pretty much anything north of Poughkeepsie, for that matter. 

Now, I live and breathe this stuff. 

I'm an attorney by trade, and a centrist Democrat by ideology.  I started my blog in September 2003 and cover issues affecting Western New York in general, and Buffalo in particular.  In what little spare time I have, I'm President of a local civic organization called the WNY Coalition for Progress.



Father Knows Best

"We call on the Democratic Party, the national chairman, Howard Dean, right on down to the New York state Chairman Denny Farrell, to Brooklyn chairman Vito Lopez...We want the party to realize that the most loyal constituency of the Democratic Party have been black people. Now don't ambush us. Don't take away our power. We're also going to go to the Republicans and say 'How about you. Do you support the principle of power sharing?' And we'll see what the Republicans say also." - -- Congressman Major Owens calling upon leaders of the Democratic Party at various levels to prevent a white politician, David Yassky,  from winning a Congressional seat  long held by black politicians.



Turning Up the Heat: A look at Mr. Rip Van Winkle (Al Vann)

 
The response to yesterday’s column has left me humbled, since I was really trying to make a point, and at the same time, to also atone for a mistake made by publicizing the illness of a friend. I further compounded that mistake by listing her phone number without her permission. Well she has accepted my apology, and she understands that it wasn’t done with any malicious intent. I see now that there are some people who do care about my postings; this was flattering once revealed, thus I have decided to spend the next few weeks turning up the heat, in hope of supplementing the point I was trying to make yesterday. Decisions about my future as a blogger, will be on hold for a while, and during that suspension, I will start naming names and taking no prisoners. However, I do reserve my concerns about this inchoate media-vehicle: political-blogging. I am still troubled.

Right now, I aim to hit my favorite targets: the somnambulant black elected officials of Brooklyn. So I will aim, shoot and duck (maybe). Here goes. Let’s see what the responses will look like. Later this week, I will hopefully tackle a few more controversies, so stay tuned.



Faso and Spitzer Agree: NYC's Share of State Education Funding Should Be Cut

If you have been reading this blog, then you know that education spending in the rest of the state is off the charts, that school districts there have been hiring tens of thousands of new employees even as enrollment falls.  Meanwhile, the City of New York continues to have a level of staffing, and (if the cost of living is adjusted for) spending and pay that is lower than the national average, and far lower than the rest of the state.  (Send me an e-mail at vampire-state@att.net if you require proof of these assertions, and I’ll send you a report).  Because school districts in the rest of the state hire and spend so much, the STAR program -- which diverts education money away from New York City -- was developed to pay for it.  And now that spending, and property taxes, outside the city have increased even more, both Faso and Spitzer want to expand STAR once again.



Political Boss in Scandal - Nobody Notices

I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more comment about the Democratic political boss who got indicted for sexual abuse. You know the one with the patronage job and the wife who is a judge.

Oh wait – it’s not a New York City Democrat, it’s an upstate Republican!

I forgot. New York City newspapers couldn’t be bothered to print stories like this.



Stickin' The Schnoz Where The Sun Don't Shine

Is it true that sunlight is the best disinfectant? We're about to find out.

With help from the Sunlight Foundation, a newish nonprofit dedicated to transparency in the federal government, Room Eight will be launching its Congressional Wire in the coming weeks; a section devoted to coverage of the New York Congressional Delegation - slightly more intense then what is available now (which would be ... umm ...very...very...little.)

We'll be examining the delegation's behaviors, key votes, as well as the national and local interests who seek to influence them.  We'll also be profiling their pork, scrutinizing their lobbyists, and using words like "phat" and "megabux" as much as possible.

If nothing else, though, we promise to keep it lively.

So stay tuned!

- Ben and Gur 



Owning up to my mistakes and defending Ben Smith, all at the same time.

Last week wasn’t a great week for me for a variety of reasons. Apart from making a major blunder on this site, I saw some things on another blog which really disgusted me. Of my faux pas, I will refrain from discussing here at present, but of what disgusted me, well, that’s the topic of this post. I say this because I am in a “Gatemouth” moment; I will refrain from posting after the end of this month. I just have a few loose ends to tie up, and then I will reassess the utility/efficacy of my posts here. So I will be on hiatus before month’s end, or will be permanently gone thereafter. I am sure there will be many who would cheer this info.



Democratic State Committee Facts

Before and since the recent State conventions, there have been many comments on The Politicker and Daily Politics blog about who votes at the Democratic State Convention -   asking  who they are, how they are chosen , are dissidents purged, etc.

(For some reason, there is really letter comment about who votes at Republican conventions)

Many of the questions and comments reflected the fact that most people, even political junkies, don’t know a lot about this position.  Here are some facts:

The members of the State Committee are not delegates like those who pick Presidential candidates.  Delegates are selected to take in part in a single convention.



A Modest Proposal for Bloomberg

I have a modest proposal for Bloomberg.  That is Bloomberg LLC, the business media company.  I propose that it implement a huge pension enhancement for existing staff and those already retired.  Huge enough to push pension costs up to 25 percent of wages, force it to dramatically increase what it charges its customers, and cut back on some services.  Then, since its labor costs would be high, I suggest that the company drastically reduce starting salaries for all new hires, and their benefits, to the point where virtually everyone else in their industry in the New York area pays more to those they are recruiting.