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Mayor notes successful fund-raising trip to NYC

   It sure looks as if Mayor Byron W. Brown is gearing up for a third term in City Hall.

   Sources close to the mayor report he logged a successful fund-raising effort in his native New York City over the past few days in conjunction with a trip to receive an award from the YMCA in Jamaica, Queens. Brown added about $40,000 to his campaign treasury, the sources say, for his expected campaign in 2013.

  State campaign finance records indicate the mayor is now nearing the $1 million mark in his treasury.

--Robert J. McCarthy

Paladino scores a 'do over' for DiPietro

   Stories still abound from Carl P. Paladino's unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2010 regarding his endorsement of former Erie County Republican Chairman James P. Domagalski for State Senate.

   Domagalski was locked in a tough, three-way GOP primary for the seat of retiring Sen. Dale M. Volker. Former Sheriff Patrick Gallivan (the eventual winner) had entered the race, as had former East Aurora Mayor David J. DiPietro. And though Paladino and DiPietro had become close allies through the tea party movement, sources at the time said Paladino most reluctantly felt the need to support Domagalski -- who was backed by party leaders.

   The move, sources said, pitted political reality against personal friendship.

   On Friday, Paladino may have realized the opportunity for a "do over" as he enthusiastically backed DiPietro over Assemblyman Kevin Smardz in the September Republican primary. Both are competing for the seat of retiring Assemblyman Daniel J. Burling, R-Warsaw.

   "I've known Dave for a long time," Paladino said. "David will fight the Albany establishment and work hard to relieve the taxpayers of a burdensome government and unending costs, taxes and regulations mandated by the Albany establishment, which is hell-bent on putting on the backs of taxpayers obnoxious entitlement programs designed to invite every freeloading Tom, Dick and Harry from out of state to New York just to advance a permanent Democratic majority."

   Sources close to the DiPietro campaign say Paladino plans to back his endorsement with money and other commitments.

--Robert J. McCarthy

Orleans GOP backs Bellavia over Collins for Congress

   Iraq War veteran David Bellavia may rank as the underdog against Chris Collins for the Republican nomination in the new 27th Congressional District, but he leads in organization endorsements after the Orleans County GOP bestowed its nod Thursday.

   Bellavia, a native of Medina in Orleans County, picked up the support of the first county committee to weigh in for the expected primary campaign against the former Erie County executive.

   "I am proud to support an Orleans County native who has already served his country courageously in combat,” said Orleans Republican Chairman Ed Morgan. “David is committed to continuing his service to his country as our representative in Congress and our committee is behind him 100 percent.”

   Bellavia and Collins both addressed the Orleans GOP in a Thursday evening meeting. Both also stated their case before the Genesee County Republican Committee. However, no endorsement vote was taken because a quorum was not present.

--Robert J. McCarthy

Assembly wins budget sprint

ALBANY -- The Assembly -- at 2:56pm -- just wrapped up completion of the 2012 state budget. Yes, with all debate happening during daylight.

Down the hall, the Senate is still debating couple last bills.

Awaiting lawmakers: 17 days off before having to come back to Albany.

UPDATE: The Senate has approved the final budget bills.

-- Tom Precious

Special interests give up, go home

ALBANY -- It was, by Capitol standards, a curious sight: at 2:30 this afternoon: not a single registered lobbyist could be spotted in the main hallways just outside the Senate and Assembly chambers as lawmakers were deliberating a new state budget.

With the budget adoption on cruise control inside the two houses and completion of a high-fives press conference by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, lobbyists knew the fiscal game was over.

In past years, the hunt by lobbyists looking to kill a budget provision, or get one last spending or tax item quietly inserted into the budget, became an art form. But with this year's three-day aging process of the budget bills, those attempts came to a crashing end earlier this week.

-- Tom Precious

Video: GOP primary for new 27th Congressional district shaping up

Decorated war veteran David Bellavia plans to challenge Chris Collins in a GOP congressional primary. News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy talks with Brian Meyer about developments in the new 27th Congressional District in the latest Politics Now video:

Budget deliberations begin in daylight -- no kidding

ALBANY -- The race is on. It doesn't have quite the intrigue of tonight's Mega Millions lottery drawing, but the question this morning in Albany is which house will complete passage of the 2012 budget first today?

The Assembly went into session just a minute ago and the Senate is due in at 10am.

Optimists in the Assembly say they could be done with the final components of the $132.6 billion spending plan by 2 or 3 this afternoon. Senate Republicans say they hope to wrap up around 3ish. As in afternoon. As in not pulling an all-nighter in this new period -- brief as it might be -- of transparency. Thank you NYS constitution and the three-day bill aging requirement.

-- Tom Precious

City of Buffalo hires environmental affairs director

Editor's note: An early, incomplete version of this post was mistakenly published last week.

A City Hall post that hasn't been occupied since the Masiello administration was recently filled.

Nadine Marrero is the City of Buffalo's new environmental affairs director. Her hiring was effective March 12.

Brendan R. Mehaffy, executive director of the Office of Strategic Planning, said Marrero's duties will include overseeing the environmental review processes for city projects, as well as helping to develop the city's environmental policy. She will be managing several projects, including a few related to the Buffalo River, Mehaffy said.

He called Marrero "a perfect fit" for his office.

Marrero has worked for American Consulting Professionals of NY and has worked on projects including the once-proposed Ambassador Bridge and projects on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

From 2001 to 2006, she worked as a project planner and planning associate for Buffalo Place, where she co-authored sections of a downtown planning document called the Queen City Hub, according to her resume. She also worked for Heart of the City Neighborhoods in Buffalo in 2001 as a housing development specialist.

Continue reading "City of Buffalo hires environmental affairs director" »

Jerry Zremski on the upcoming Supreme Court health care decisions


Davis disavows group's support for another congressional run

   You'd almost think millionaire businessman Jack Davis was ready to launch his fourth campaign for Congress by the looks of a new and fancy website called

   The site features a biogaraphy of the Amherst businessman, photos with Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul, and information on how to donate to the site's sponsor -- the Coalition of Americans for Political Equality.

   But Davis said Wednesday he is not running for Congress and knows nothing about the site or the political action committee sponsoring it. Ditto for Curtis Ellis, Davis' long time spokesman and political point man.

   "I'm not running," Davis said Wednesday. "I never heard of this."

   "That makes two of us," Ellis added.

   Indeed, Davis said as recently as Tuesday that he will support Iraq War veteran David Bellavia in the GOP primary against Chris Collins for the right to oppose Hochul in November.

   So why all this effort by the Washington-based group that describes its goal  on its website as putting "the power in the hands of an informed and active citizenry to change the political landscape in 2012 and beyond?"

     Nobody answered the phone at the group's Washington headquarters. And Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts recently asked the group to nix a series of ads it spoonsored on his behalf, according to the Huffington Post.

   Davis, president of the I Square R Element Co. in Akron, made it clear the group is acting without his authorization.

   "Let me know if you hear anything," he said. "I've got some heating elements to sell."

--Robert J. McCarthy

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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 |