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Ask Sergio anything

By Jill Terreri

Republican mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez will answer voters' questions at 5 p.m. today on Reddit, a social media platform. 

As of 12:40 p.m. today, the forum had 75 comments - many of them substantive - from inquiring minds inside the city and out. They cover a range of topics, including crime, abandoned buildings, neighborhoods and parks.   

Rodriguez isn't the first politician to take questions on the site. President Barack Obama, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker have done it, too. 

Rodriguez will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Mayor Byron Brown and Bernie Tolbert, the former head of the FBI's Buffalo office.

Brown has so far outfundraised them all, and has $1.3 million on hand, to Tolbert's $200,000. Rodriguez has just $1,083 on hand, according to campaign finance filings this week. 

Tolbert has been attending events and campaigning for months, but recently ramped up his public comments about violence in the city, at an anti-violence summit on Wednesday and in a video on his Facebook page.  

Video: Weighing campaign war chests in mayoral race

Mayor Byron W. Brown heads into a Democratic primary with a huge financial advantage over challenger Bernard A. Tolbert. The News' Bob McCarthy talks with Brian Meyer about fundraising activities in what has generally been a low-key race:

Gaughan nomination encounters some opposition

   By Robert J. McCarthy

  Government downsizing advocate Kevin P. Gaughan is the new Democratic candidate for county comptroller following a Wednesday meeting of party leaders, but one attendee inside the conclave reports it proved anything but a love fest.

   Zone 4 Chairman Gregory B. Olma said Thursday he criticized the choice of Gaughan at the meeting, raising several questions about potential campaign issues connected to the new candidate. He then offered the name of attorney Michael Kuzma as an alternative, which was seconded by West Seneca Democratic Chairman Dan McParlane. Kuzma was decisively defeated, receiving only four votes.

   Olma said opposition to the Gaughan nomination was also raised by some labor interests.

Faso weighs in on Spitzer candidacy for NYC comptroller

    By Robert J. McCarthy

Here is an interesting take on Eliot Spitzer's candidacy for New York City comptroller appearing in today's Daily News from former Assembly Minority Leader John J. Faso.

    If there is anyone who might express thoughts on Spitzer it is Faso, who was decisively defeated by the then-attorney general in the 2006 election for governor. 

here is the link

Cox calls Cuomo commission 'toothless'


By Robert J. McCarthy
  
ALBANY -- New York GOP Chair Ed Cox released the following statement to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today:

 

"In your latest campaign ad, you look directly into the camera and tell New Yorkers that your Moreland Commission will 'investigate and prosecute wrongdoing.'

 

"Your Moreland Commission is toothless.  It has no power to prosecute, and its report on public corruption won't be released for18 months.

 

"Meanwhile, there has been no complete criminal investigation of the Vito Lopez/Sheldon Silver affair.  Vito Lopez may be the Democratic nominee for New York City Council in less than two months, and Sheldon Silver, who has never been officially investigated for even ethical violations, is still the Assembly Speaker. 

 

"If, as you stated in your ad, 'trust is everything' to you, you will remove your misleading statement from this puff piece of a political ad and appoint a special prosecutor to deal with Vito Lopez and Sheldon Silver."

Fontana undercover

By Jill Terreri

There doesn't seem to be a neighborhood issue Council President Rich Fontana won't take on. Even if it means staking out a problem neighborhood store at 3 a.m.

A man had applied to the city to open a shop that sold tobacco in Lovejoy, which requires approval from the Common Council. Michael Montanez told lawmakers that the product he would be selling - known as e-liquid cigarettes - would help people reduce their dependence on nicotine. 

But Fontana said the results of his "investigation" indicated that customers at the building where the store is located would be hooked on something much more potent. 

Fontana had heard complaints about narcotics activities at 1190 Lovejoy St. and wanted to see for himself. At 3 a.m., he took his wife's car - to disguise himself - and was flagged down as he drove by.

"They say, what can we get you?" he said.

Continue reading "Fontana undercover" »

Zone chairman to oppose Gaughan nomination for comptroller


   By Robert J. McCarthy

   Erie County Democrats will gather this evening to nominate political activist Kevin P. Gaughan as a substitute candidate for county comptroller - but the move will face opposition.
   Zone 4 Chairman Gregory B. Olma said this morning he will fight the move proposed by party leaders and offer an alternative candidate - retiring County Legislator Thomas J. Mazur of Cheektowaga.
   "To come up with Kevin Gaughan is a desperate move that will only backfire," Olma said. "I will speak against him and offer an alternative candidate."
   Gaughan, who for decades has led regionalism and government consolidation efforts across Western New York, has not yet committed to the offer of party leaders to join the countywide ticket. The opening occurred after the previous Democratic candidate - Lynn Szalkowski - declined for "health reasons."
    As a result, party officials are set to offer another choice this evening. It is not known whether Olma has garnered support for nominating a different candidate.

 

Council wants answers from Time Warner

By Jill Terreri

Time Warner Cable's decision to switch from analog to digital format for public access channels, which could cost some customers more, didn't sit well with Common Council members on Tuesday.

"These are the channels that they should make as simple as possible," said Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen.

The lawmakers grilled the cable company's representative about why people who are already cable customers would be charged a dollar per month to view public access, government and educational programming, and asked the company to drop the fee. 

"You're paying twice for public access," said Council President Richard A. Fontana. 

Continue reading "Council wants answers from Time Warner" »

Today in City Hall: City Mission plans

By Jill Terreri

Concerns about plans for a new homeless shelter on the edge of the Larkin District were raised during the Planning Board's first look at the project this morning. 

The City Mission is planning to convert a factory to a housing facility for people who are homeless, which would replace their existing facility on East Tupper Street. The move would allow the organization eight times the space it has now. 

One woman who owns a house on Jefferson Avenue nearby said she didn't want to live across the street from a shelter, and said kids live in the neighborhood. 

Continue reading "Today in City Hall: City Mission plans" »

Tuesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON – We haven’t heard much from President Obama lately, but in today’s top read, The New York Times tells us that it’s because he is governing with a “hidden hand.”

Meanwhile, Politico notes that Obama remains eerily quiet on the issue of race.

And off the beaten path a bit, The Washington Post gives us a fascinating tale of illegal aliens riding the rails to America.

 

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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.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


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.

tprecious@buffnews.com


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 | jterreri@buffnews.com


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 | jzremski@buffnews.com

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