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Today in City Hall

By Jill Terreri

Plans for a new Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen at 2106 Elmwood Ave. call for the popular fried chicken chain to open at the end of October, though not enough Planning Board members attended today's meeting to approve the plans. 

The restaurant will be located in front of Aldi, and will have a drive-thru. Board members said they didn't expect any reason why the board wouldn't approve the project when it meets in two weeks, presumably with enough board members to take a vote.

Butterwood Sweet and Savory and Pan-American Grill, both at the Hotel @ Lafayette, made requests for outdoor patios, and the board seemed inclined to approve them. Savoy, at 149 Elmwood Ave., between North and Allen streets, made a similar request.  

Mount Aaron Baptist Church, at 540 Genesee St., is planning an expansion to accomodate its growing congregation. Board members said they think the improvements will be good for the neighborhood, which is southeast of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. 

Council committees also meet today, with light agendas. 

In other news, Buffalo Public Schools' graduation rates fell below 50 percent, reports Sandra Tan. 

And the Buffalo Police Department's South District is evicting bad tenants in an effort to clean up the neighborhood, reports Jane Kwiatkowski. 

Finally, construction season is underway and streetscapes and new pavement are planned for Lovejoy, and elsewhere. 

Tuesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- Today's must reads are a bit off the beaten path, but that's good, right?

First and foremost, The Washington Post tells us that teacher training is failing in America.

Meanwhile, Politico looks at the campaign to defend Obamacare.

And The New York Times tells us that the GOP is trying to limit abortion again to appease its base.

Video: Politics Now: Week in Washington

Jerry Zremski covers the Supreme Court's decision on James C. Kopp's appeal and discusses his preparations for upcoming rulings on gay marriage and affirmative action in colleges.

Zellner staves off chairmanship challenge

 By Robert J. McCarthy

   A legal challenge to the 2012 election of Jeremy J. Zellner as chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee has been dismissed by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

   The suit, brought by supporters of unsuccessful chairman candidate Frank C. Max Jr. --  chairman of Cheektowaga Democrats -- was found to be without merit by the Rochester panel after a similar decision in Buffalo. Max had contended that the vote at last September's reorganizational meeting was unfairly weighted toward Zellner after improper redistricting in the Town of Amherst engineered by Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis E. Ward, the town's former Democratic chairman.

   "The elections commissioner used an arcane provision of election law to redistrict in Amherst to his advantage," attorney Peter Reese said in filing the appeal last October.

   Zellner was elected by a wide margin, with about 57 percent of the vote to Max's 43 percent.
   In a statement, he reiterated his contention that he is the legally elected chairman of the Erie County party.

   "This ruling confirms the overwhelming vote by the duly elected committee members of the Erie County Democratic Committee," Zellner said. "At the time of the vote, both candidates for chair stated publicly that they were going to unite behind the winner. It is time for the Democratic Party in Erie County to move forward together and unite behind our strong ticket."

   Max said Monday no decision has been made regarding taking the case to the Court of Appeals.


Monday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- So you would think we would know President Obama by now, but The Hill, in today's top read, asks the question: who is he, really?

Meanwhile, the New York Times offers yet another example of the U.S. government's intelligence machinery in action.

And the Washington Post notes that conservatives fighting immigration reform are pulling out the Obamacare card.

Video: Casino feud ends; Peace Bridge tensions continue

Gov. Cuomo has had a busy week that included two trips to the Buffalo Niagara region. The News' Bob McCarthy talks with Brian Meyer about the end of a casino feud and about ongoing tensions involving the Peace Bridge:

Friday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- Today's top read comes from the New York Times, which tells us that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's chances for asylum are improving.

Meanwhile, Politico takes a look at how the NSA leak is dividing the tea party.

And the Washington Post examines the dilemma President Obama may face on gay rights.

Thursday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WILMINGTON, Del. -- I am out of town on assignment today, but I had time to catch up on my reading on the train and found several good reads.

First and foremost, The New York Times tells us that it's not just the federal government that's taking an intimate look at Americans' lives. Meanwhile, local law enforcement is collecting DNA records of potential criminal suspects.

Back on the national scene, Politico reports that it may be difficult for the U.S. government to prosecute National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden for treason.

And Politico also reports that the former President Bill Clinton has broken with President Obama on Syria.

Wednesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- Today's top read, from the Washington Post, takes a look at the parallels between leakers Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.

Meanwhile, The New York Times shows why Snowden's leak of National Security Agency secrets has put the NSA's chief in hot water.

And back on the topic of guns, the Times shows that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to hit pro-gun politicians where it hurts the most: the wallet.

Health issue clouds future of Dem comptroller candidate

By Robert J. McCarthy

   Erie County Democrats may be looking for a new candidate to face Republican incumbent Stefan I. Mychajliw for county comptroller this fall.

   Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner said Tuesday that health problems could force Lynn Szalkowski of Hamburg from the race. He added Szalkowski is privately dealing with a health issue, and that while she has not withdrawn, it is possible the party may eventually have to find a replacement candidate.

   "I'm definitely concerned," Zellner said. "Hopefully, this thing will turn around or we can find someone else."

   Szalkowski, 39, is a certified public accountant employed by the Seneca Construction Management Corp. She was unavailable for comment.

   Her possible departure from the race could prove a major disappointment  to local Democrats. Her ethnic last name and financial credentials were expected to be touted against Mychajliw, a former television reporter. 

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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 |