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Schroeder on Council changes: It's a 'good thing'

Comptrollers 12.30.13

Former City Comptrollers Anthony Nanula, Joel Giambra, Andrew SanFlippo and Comptroller Mark Schroeder this morning in a Hall of Comptrollers ceremony. New portraits of Nanula, Giambra and SanFlippo were unveiled. 

By Jill Terreri

Comptroller Mark Schroeder, who watches city finances from his 12th-floor offices and is a former member of the state Assembly, is thought to have ambitions to one day run for higher office.  

I asked him about the changes on the 13th floor, specifically the impending election of Ellicott Council Member Darius Pridgen to the Council presidency. Pridgen, if elected on Thursday by a majority of his Council peers, would assume the executive suite on the second floor if Mayor Byron W. Brown decides to leave office in the next two years (the term length for Council presidents.) As Council president, Pridgen would be in a very good position to run for mayor if Brown leaves office early , or even if he does not.

Schroeder said the change at the top of the Council was good, and that an opportunity to transition the job every two years is called for in the city charter. 

Continue reading "Schroeder on Council changes: It's a 'good thing'" »

Zellner seeks Garbryszak's resignation

By Robert J. McCarthy

Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner Friday called for the resignation of Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak of Cheektowaga  following allegations of sexual harassment lodged by three former female staffers.  

Zellner issued the following statement:

"Today's troubling accusations about Assembly Member Dennis Gabryszak are very serious. If these allegations are even close to being true, the Assembly member should resign immediately and spare the community from further embarrassment.

"The people of the 143rd Assembly District deserve representation that reflects the values of our community and this behavior does not.

"There is no place for this type of conduct. The work place should be a safe and respectful environment for employees."

"This type of behavior is exactly what turns people away from politics and government and it needs to stop. This conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our party."


  

Video: GOP eyes governor's mansion, and state lawmaker embroiled in scandal

A Republican who is eyeing a run for governor trekked to Buffalo. Rob Astorino met with Carl Paladino and others. Bob McCarthy also talks with Brian Meyer about sexual harassment charges lodged against Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak:

Video: Gabryszak last year announcing support for bill promoting 'stress free' work environment

Look up New York State economic development grants

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An analysis of the New York State regional economic development grants announced last week by the Cuomo administration shows Western New York fared well in some areas.

More unemployed worker training money will head to Erie County than to any other county. Overall, Erie County ranked just behind Suffolk County for job-training grants from the Department of Labor.

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will award nearly $1.3 million in grants to Chautauqua County applicants. Only Ulster County will receive more from the agency.

The Canalway Matching Grant Program will send $279,157 to two Niagara County applicants, the Carousel Society of the Niagara Frontier and to North Tonawanda for an Erie Canal bike path extension. No other county will receive as much.

Nearly one-third of the AmeriCorp Program’s $1.5 million in grants will be awarded in Erie County.

But in other areas, the region will not receive as much as other parts of the state.

The Buffalo News identified more than $26 million in grants for waterfront projects. Schenectady and Oneida counties will each receive $5 million for their respective Schenectady riverfront and Utica Harbor projects. Lackawanna is the only Erie County applicant receiving a waterfront-related grant, worth $30,000.

The News also identified more than $11 million in grants for parks and trails. Such grants total nearly $3 million in Ulster County and slightly more than $1 million in Albany County. Erie County will receive about $200,000 in these grants.

None of the Digital Film Projector Conversion Program’s money is headed to Erie County, although the Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society in Niagara County ($42,343) and the Reg Lenna Civic Center in Chautauqua County ($75,000) won grants.

Onondaga County will receive more than $2 million in Market New York spending. Erie County will receive $80,000.

Sewer and water updates and projects won $23.5 million in grants. Broome and Suffolk counties will each receive about $2.3 million. Chautauqua is in line for $1 million in such grants, with Erie County due nearly $900,000.

-Patrick Lakamp

Tuesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- The Los Angeles Times tops our list of must-reads today with a sad story about the high death rate among young veterans.

Meanwhile, Politico tells us that small businesses may be victims of the next Obamacare crisis.

And The New York Times details the environmental problems associated with wind power.

Following the money in NY-23

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- "Follow the money" is a longtime axiom in political journalism -- and believe it or not, doing so in a race for a Tompkins County Legislature seat might well offer some insights into what a hot contest we can expect next year betweeen Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, and Democrat Martha Robertson.

The money trail ends with the Tompkins County Republican Committee spending $23,431, with much of it apparently going to boost Republican Amy Scott Foster's failed attempt to unseat Robertson from her seat in the County Legislature.

That's an unusual amount of money for a county committee to spend on one legislative race, but what's even more unusual is the apparent money trail leading to that expenditure.

The trail starts, it seems, with the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee receiving $23,000 in contributions from "other committees" this year. Some $18,000 of it came from Tom Reed for Congress, while the other $5,000 came from the AECOM US Federal PAC, a political committee affiliated with AECOM, a company that provides professional technical and management support services

Curiously, the Tompkins County Republican Committee then reported receiving the exact same amount -- $23,000 -- from the New York State Republican Committee.
 
And in turn, the Tompkins County Republican Committee reported spending $23,431 on election expenses, which Democrats believe resulted in a blizzard of fliers and radio ads attacking Robertson.
 
Reviewing it all, Robertson campaign spokesman George Koutsos cited Reed's habit of being late in paying his property taxes.
 
"Rep. Reed and his allies are clearly concerned that voters are quickly growing tired of being represented by someone who lives by his own set of rules and are doing everything possible to divert attention from his failed record,” Koutsos said.
 
Yet when asked it Reed's campaign was behind the attacks on Robertson in the County Legislature race, his campaign spokesman, Katherine Pudwill, indicated there was nothing unusual about Reed's donations to the state party.
 
"We gave for party building as we have in the past," she said.
 
email: jzremski@buffnews.com

Video: The Week in Washington

News Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski discusses his plans for the week as he prepares for a vacation-related hiatus.

 

Friday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- It's that time of the year that all politicians dread: the time when PolitiFact names its "Lie of the Year" -- which of course becomes today's top read.  And what else could it be other than President Obama's "If you like your health plan, you can keep it"?

Meanwhile, The New York Times looks at people who are losing their health policies in New York.

And off the beaten path, there's The Washington Post's astounding story about the former FBI agent who went on a rogue CIA mission in Iran.

Video: GOP leaders to visit Buffalo as they aim to topple Cuomo

State GOP Chairman Ed Cox and possible Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will visit Buffalo. News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy tells Brian Meyer the visits could have a major impact on the race for governor:

 

 

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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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