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The Read: What they're saying about WNY

From Carl Paladino to Mark Grisanti, our local pols, political issues and policies are making news elsewhere. Here's a quick look at a few of the highlights.

City & State's weekly roundup of winners and losers found plenty of good for freshmen State Sen. Mark Grisanti in the Legislature's proposed redistricting maps. How well did they think Grisanti made out? Here's a teaser: "Holy favorable partisan gerrymandering, Batman!" -- Winners & Losers, Jan. 27 Edition, City and State

The Observation Deck, the Albany Times Union's Editorial Board blog, questioned whether investing in upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium to keep the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park really warrants state economic development efforts. "But aren’t there better ways to spend the state’s money and to save a city?" they asked. -- New York has other bills to pay, The Observation Deck

The Auburn Citizen's blog, Eye on NY, points out that when former Syracuse Mayor Matthew Driscoll brought the governor's State of the State message to Auburn earlier this month, he left out one important component: The $1 billion promise for Buffalo. "It's a tough spot for Cuomo and state leaders to be in," writes Robert Harding. "While Buffalo does have its troubles, other upstate cities (Rochester and Syracuse come to mind) also have problems. But they aren't getting $1 billion from the state." -- Glaring omission in regional State of the State presentation, Eye on NY

The New American's Bob Adelmann says that one problem with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to shower Buffalo with $1 billion in economic development incentives is a history of "political corruption" in Buffalo. The piece refers back to the Wall Street Journal's recent "How Stimulus Spending Ruined Buffalo." "Cuomo failed to say where the money was going to come from, but that didn’t stop politicians from salivating," Adelmann writes. -- Another $1 Billion Won’t Help Buffalo, New York, The New American

The Times Union's Jimmy Vielkind, over at Capitol Confidential, caught up with Carl Paladino by phone and learned that Paladino thinks of Newt Gingrich as a "kindred spirit." Paladino told Vielkind he plans to be a delegate for Gingrich. "He campaigned in New Hampshire, and now Carl Paladino says he is working to help fill Newt Gingrich’s slate of delegates. — starting with himself," Vielkind writes. --  Paladino says he’ll be a Newt delegate, Capitol Confidential

Cuomo doesn't like new legislative district lines

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been hot, cold and warm over what it will take for him to carry through on his threat to veto legislative lines proposed in this year’s redistricting process, said this morning that plans released Thursday’s by the Assembly and Senate are “unacceptable.’’

“We need better maps,’’ Cuomo said.

But the governor offered no specifics on how the maps released Thursday for the Senate and Assembly need to be improved. Asked for examples of problems, Cuomo said the “political machinations’’ in the new district lines are obvious.

“You don’t have to look hard,’’ the governor said.

Cuomo said he will veto the district lines unless they are changed. He did not elaborate. Historically, the lines are always tweaked at least somewhat from what is initially proposed by the Assembly and Senate.

-- Tom Precious

Cuomo chats, donors bring dollars

ALBANY -– A day after state lawmakers publicly rebuked his transportation commissioner for not providing details about a big new roads and bridges construction program, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was behind closed doors in Manhattan this morning talking about his infrastructure plan to a room of big political donors.

Corporations and others were asked to spend as much as $50,000 to participate in a panel featuring Cuomo at this morning’s Democratic Governors Association. The money raised is going to the national governor’s group, not Cuomo, though the governor’s supporters believe the event -– and the money he helped raise -– will be of benefit to Cuomo’s intentions to be in the mix for a 2016 White House run.

“We talked about infrastructure needs,’’ Cuomo told reporters at a Manhattan hotel where the fundraiser/seminar was held. He said the speech basically outlined the proposal he made for a $15 billion infrastructure program as he made in his recent State of the State speech. Major elements of the plan, including a list of projects and how private sector money will be raised to fund it, have not yet been released.

Cuomo defended his appearance before donors with prime access to him. “Well, then, that could be any fundraiser, right?’’ Cuomo said. He noted that every politician at every level holds fundraisers. “One of the things we have to do is get money out of politics,’’ he said.

Asked about donors’ names not being made public, Cuomo said he did not know the specifics of the campaign finance law that applies to the Democratic governors group. He also said he did not know how much people in the room -– which he estimated at between 200 and 250 -– paid to attend.

“Your issue is, ‘Well, people are in rooms where people contribute money.’ That is the current state of politics and that is every elected official in every fundraising forum,’’ Cuomo said.

Cuomo noted his proposals to change the state’s campaign finance laws. “But the federal finance laws, that’s someone else’s problem,’’ he said.

The event was closed to the media. His public schedule did not mention his appearance at the forum.

The governor's transportation commissioner, Joan McDonald, was grilled -- with little or no success -- by lawmakers Thursday searching for specifics of Cuomo's plans for infrastructure improvements in New York.

-- Tom Precious

Politics Now video with Bob McCarthy

Details, schmetails

ALBANY -- The Senate Republicans were very helpful getting right down to the street level in Buffalo if you want to figure out the newly proposed district for Democrat Sen. Tim Kennedy.

Continue reading "Details, schmetails" »

Want to see a very serious hunt for voters?

ALBANY -- Check out the map drawn for Rochester Democratic Assemblyman Harry Bronson. Dizzying could be one word.

Courtesy: The New York Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment

--Tom Precious

Maps of proposed Assembly, Senate districts for WNY

Proposals have emerged for the new Assembly and Senate distrcits within New York State as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process following the 2010 census. Here are stories about the proposals for the Assembly and Senate.

Below are links to maps of the proposed districts (current Assembly or Senate member within district listed in parentheses):


139 (Stephen Hawley)

140 (Daniel J. Burling)

141 (Joseph M. Giglio)

142 (Open)

143 (Dennis Gabryszak)

144 (Jane L. Corwin)

145 (John D. Ceretto)

146 (Raymond Walter)

147 (Robin Schimminger)

148 (Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes)

149 (Sean Ryan/Kevin Smardz)

150 (Andy Goodell)


57 (Catharine Young)

59 (Patrick M. Gallivan)

60 (Mark Grisanti)

61 (Michael H. Ranzenhofer)

62 (George D. Maziarz)

63 (Timothy Kennedy)

Politics Now chat with Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski

News Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski will host a live chat at 1 p.m. today to discuss the State of the Union address and other political matters related to both Buffalo and the nation's capital.

This is the first of weekly Politics Now chats at 1 p.m. Thursdays, which will also feature News Political Columnist Bob McCarthy, City Hall reporter Aaron Besecker, Erie County Hall reporter Denise Jewell Gee and Tom Precious of The News' Albany bureau.

Audio: Onward with food truck rules in Buffalo

Proposed food truck rules are now in the hands of Mayor Byron W. Brown.

As I reported Tuesday, the Common Council passed a set of food truck rules, which must be signed by the mayor.

Once the City Clerk's Office certifies the results of the Council vote, the paperwork is forwarded to the mayor's office. The mayor would likely receive the documents Monday, Assisstant Corporation Counsel Timothy A. Ball said.

The mayor has 10 days in which he can sign the legislation into law, veto it or do nothing, and then it would become law after 10 days. If the measure is signed into law, it would take effect immediately.

One part of the matter that remained unresolved Tuesday was whether the any newly issued food truck licenses would be good until April 2013, or whether a license -- valid until April 1 of this year -- would be issued with a prorated fee.

After the passage, Peter V. Cimino told me Lloyd the taco truck will be growing, including adding a truck and employees.

Listen to part of our conversation:

South Council Member Michael P. Kearns placed the only vote against the proposed rules. He offered his own version, available here. The only changes he offered were lowering the fee from $1,000 to $395, as well as limiting the number of operating food trucks to one mobile vendor per city block.

Here's Kearns talking about the issue during Tuesday's Common Council meeting:

The bill sponsor, North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., spoke immediately after Kearns. Here's some of what he had to say:

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

Audio: Cuomo after his Buffalo address

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo touched on a variety of topics in his address this morning, as he did in a news conference afterwards.

Here's some of what the governor said in a conversation with reporters:

On the Buffalo Bills and getting a new stadium lease:

“The Bills are very important, not just to Western New York, but to the entire state. We want to keep the Bills here. I’m looking forward to being part of a cooperative effort to keep them here. Obviously, money is tight; we all know that. The taxpayers are not in a position to be shelling out more money, and we’re going to great lengths to bring efficiencies to this state budget, and I’ve cut the budget, but the Bills are important and I want to be a big part of keeping them here.”

On funding for Roswell Park Cancer Institute:

"We cross our fingers, we hope for the best and there's nothing immediate that's going to happen from the state's side. We're talking about two years, so we have two years to figure it out."

On funding for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority:

"We have some money for the NFTA in the budget and we're doing the best we can, but money is tight all over. And we need efficient partnerships all across the state where everyone is doing what they need to do."

Listen to the full audio of Cuomo's press conference:

Download the audio.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |