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Monday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- It's rare that I recommend a story about which I have grave qualms, but I'll do so today -- because my problem, really, is just with the headline of The New Republic's fascinating take on Bill Clinton's charitable foundation -- and the problems therein. The headline is wrong: the story is not about a "Scandal at Clinton Inc."  It's more about how the foundation operates -- and the intricate interpersonal politics of Clintonland.

Meanwhile, The New York Times offers us two important stories on two widely divergent topics.

First, the Times' Robert Pear -- the best Washington reporter you've never heard of -- explains why Obamacare might mean fewer health care choices.

Turning its attention to its hometown, the Times takes a close look at New York mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio's leftist past.

Finally, because I know you are all just aching for yet another story about yet another government shutdown showdown, I'm passing along The Washington Post's detailed -- and occasionally hilarious -- preview of the fiscal debate ahead.

As expected, gun group backs Howard for sheriff

   By Robert J. McCarthy

   If ever there were an expected endorsement in this year's race for Erie County sheriff, it would probably be the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association's nod for Republican incumbent Timothy B. Howard.

   "Our endorsement is based upon his opposition to the SAFE Act  and willingness to stand up to Gov. Cuomo's assault upon our Second Amendment civil rights," the organization said today in a brief statement of support.

  Howard's outspoken opposition to the governor's new strict gun control law is expected to be part of the upcoming campaign.

Meanwhile, Bert D. Dunn -- who was defeated by Richard E. Dobson in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary for sheriff -- has slated a 4 p.m. press conference to make what is billed as a "major announcement."

Zellner to back Dobson after 'fluke' victory

   By Robert J. McCarthy

   Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner is disappointed but not exactly crestfallen over Friday's declaration of Richard E. Dobson as the winner of the Sept. 10 party primary for sheriff.

   Zellner, after all, was a strong backer of unsuccessful candidate Bert D. Dunn.

    But the party chairman said the victory by a margin of less than 1,000 votes was a "fluke" that stemmed from a text message that was revealed to show Dunn as unsupportive of top Democrats like President Obama and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

   Nevertheless Zellner said he will support Dobson in the November general election against Republican incumbent Timothy B. Howard. He said he also called Barbara Miller-Williams, who has defeated endorsed incumbent Timothy R. Hogues, to offer his support in that race.


Problem properties focus of city hearing

By Jill Terreri

City lawmakers will hear from the public and housing experts about vacant or problem properties at 2 p.m. Thursday in Council Chambers. 

Majority Leader Demone Smith and the Western New York Law Center are hosting a hearing on properties that are owned by the bank and abandoned, or just abandoned, or properties where a landlord is trying to flip them. 

South Council Member Chris Scanlon has drawn attention to the problem of vacant properties where owners think they have been evicted by a bank for nonpayment of their mortgage, but don't realize their name is on the deed and they could have stayed.

Continue reading "Problem properties focus of city hearing" »

Video: Primary cliffhangers appear to be settled

The Democratic contests for Erie County sheriff and three seats in the Erie County Legislature appear to be settled. The News Bob McCarthy talks with Brian Meyer about the winners, losers and the warring factions who backed various candidates:

Friday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- Today's top read, from Politico, tells us something we already presume, but now know: Hillary Clinton is all but running for president.

Meanwhile, The New York Times tells us diplomacy is back.

And while I rarely include an opinion piece among my top reads, Charles Krauthammer's piece in the Washington Post gives us rare insight, from a trained psychiatrist, into the shoddy mental heatlh system that allows troubled souls like Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis to fall through the cracls.

Thursday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- The New York Times gives us today's top read, a fascinating look at the back-channel diplomacy between President Obama and Iran's new president.

Meantime, The Los Angeles Times offers a clear take on the question haunting Washington this week: Why did the Navy Yard shooter have a security clearance?

And Politico notes that liberals are taking on Wall Street -- and winning.

Wednesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

 WASHINGTON -- The Washington Post today continues its fine coverage of the Navy Yard shootings with a story about the shooter's odd carvings in the gun he used to kill 12 people.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reflects on a slaughter that's much farther away, as it shows that UN evidence indicates that it was Bashar al-Assad's regime that used chemical weapons in Syria.

Lastly, Politico offers us contrary views on the state of the president, showing us what's wrong with Barack Obama and what's right with Barack Obama.


Miller-Williams pads slim lead in County Legislature race

   By Robert J. McCarthy

   Barbara Miller-Williams has extended her slim lead over Timothy R. Hogues in their still-undecided Democratic primary contest for the Erie County Legislature's District 1.

   Board of Elections officials said today that Miller-Williams, the former Legislature chairwoman who emerged on Primary Night with a 20-vote lead over Hogues, has recorded 212 absentee ballots in her favor compared to 169 for Hogues.

   The officials caution, however, that affidavit and emergency ballots must yet be counted before an official winner can be declared.





Schultz to become schools' PR chief

By Jill Terreri

Lorey Schultz, deputy director of Mayor Byron Brown's Communications Department, is leaving to become the chief of public relations for the Buffalo Public School District. 

Schultz, 49, starts on Monday, and will report to Superintendent Pamela C. Brown, she said in an interview today. 

She said she was approached about the school district job in July, and is anxious to hit the ground running. She will be responsible for the district's interactions with reporters and its communications with parents and students. 

Continue reading "Schultz to become schools' PR chief" »

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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 |