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Brown, Rodriguez scheduled to appear together

By Jill Terreri 

Mayor Byron Brown and his Republican challenger, Sergio Rodriguez, have not scheduled any one-on-one debates before the general election.

But the candidates are scheduled to appear together tonight, according to a release from the Rodriguez campaign. (Rodriguez wants to debate, Brown does not.)   

The Judges Row Block Club is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at St. Michael's Church, 81 Burke Drive, near the Kensington and Eggert intersection. 

It could be the only time the two remaining mayoral candidates are in the same room before the Nov. 5 election. 

Continue reading "Brown, Rodriguez scheduled to appear together" »

Poloncarz letter: $8.5 million in budget cuts 'irresponsible'

By Denise Jewell Gee

A plan to cut $8.5 million from Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz's 2013 budget proposal drew sharp words from the county executive on Wednesday.

You can read about the proposed cuts in stories that appeared in Wednesday and Thursday's editions of The News.

Here's the letter Poloncarz wrote to legislators, urging them not to pass the cuts and explaining why he believes they would be "irresponsible and reckless."

Erie County executive's response to Legislature's proposed budget amendments

Bring your comments and questions to our Election Day chat

The Buffalo News and BuffaloNews.com will have all the issues and races covered on Election Day from the minute you wake up until the results unfold.

Starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, we'll have a live chat with guests to talk about the important issues, key races and the latest updates from across Western New York. Reporters Mary Pasciak and Patrick Lakamp will be your hosts. We'll also bring you insight from Political Reporter Bob McCarthy and Columnist Donn Esmonde. Here's what we have so far in terms of guests:

*10 a.m.: Reporter Gene Warner on what early-morning voters were saying at the polls

*10:30 a.m.: Deputy Managing Editor Stan Evans on what to watch for throughout the day

*11 a.m.: Washington Columnist Doug Turner on the national scene

*12 p.m.: Turner and Managing Editor Brian Connolly open it up for a discussion with readers

*1:10 p.m.: Health Reporter Henry Davis on health care issues

*1:40 p.m.: Business Editor Grove Potter on economic issues

*2:10 p.m.: Siena Research Institute pollster Steven A. Greenberg

*2:40 p.m.: Editorial Page Editor John Neville on The Buffalo News' endorsement process

*3:10 p.m.: Reporter Dan Herbeck on the Seneca Nation elections

*3:40 p.m.: Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski reports from Chicago

*4:10 p.m.: Buffalo News Editor Mike Connelly gives a Florida perspective

*4:40 p.m.: Reporter Jay Rey from the swing state of Ohio

*4:55 p.m.: Reporter Matt Glynn on local town board upsizing votes

*5:10 p.m.: Reporter Barbara O'Brien on area State Assembly races

*5:40 p.m.: Reporter Sandra Tan on the Erie County comptroller's race

*6:10 p.m.: Rochester D&C Reporter Jessica Alaimo on the Slaughter-Brooks race

*6:25 p.m.: Reporter Thomas J. Prohaska on the Witryol-Maziarz State Senate race

*6:40 p.m.: Reporter Denise Jewell Gee on the Collins-Hochul race

*7:10 p.m.: Reporter Charity Vogel on the Grisanti-Amodeo-Swanick race

*7:40 p.m.: Reporter Tom Precious reports from Boston

*8 p.m.: Metro Columnist Donn Esmonde chimes in

*8:30 p.m.: Political Reporter Bob McCarthy

We've also got a live video broadcast starting at noon. Check out that schedule.

Bob McCarthy: Building bridges, and walls

Check out Bob McCarthy's column from today, with news on Byron Brown, Steve Casey and Jeremy Zellner, as well as Mark Poloncarz, Frank Max, Chris Collins and Kathy Hochul.

The governor and a new stadium

A proposed 25,000-seat soccer stadium in Queens has the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, according to the New York Times.

Pitched as the home for a new Major League Soccer team, the facility would be built on the site of an existing park.

There was no mention of whether state funding will be requested for the project.

Cooperation among several parties was seen as key to moving the proposal forward:

Lawrence S. Schwartz, an aide to Mr. Cuomo, said, “If all the parties work together and want it to happen, it can happen in 2013.”

What does the county executive's staff do when a union vote fails? A revision

Back in July, when County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz reached a tentative agreement with county government's largest union, confidence exuded from the 16th floor of the Rath Building.

He wasn't taking interviews on the subject, but a news released issued by his office on July 23 included this quote: “In my first 7 months, I have done what the previous two administrations could not accomplish over the last 5 years--reaching a fair agreement with the County’s largest employee union,” Poloncarz said in a written statement released by his office.

The statement was a leap.

Former County Executive Chris Collins had also reached a tentative contract in 2010 with the union. That proposal was voted down by the CSEA's membership.

The same thing happened last week when CSEA members rejected the latest proposal negotiated by Poloncarz.

Poloncarz did not make himself available to discuss the vote with The News on Thursday, but his office did issue another written statement.

120824cseanewsrelease

Staff in his office also quietly went back and revised the original statement sent out to news outlets on July 23. The quote claiming Poloncarz had done "what the previous two administrations could not accomplish over the last 5 years" has been deleted.

The sentence now reads: "Today, I believe we have reached a fair agreement with the County’s largest employee union,” said Poloncarz.

Why the change? Peter Anderson, a spokesman for Poloncarz, said the county executive's director of policy and communications "thought that first sentence was presumptive being that it was a tentative agreement."

-- Denise Jewell Gee

What's in a letter? More than what's said at the Erie County Legislature

The Erie County Legislature files away plenty of documents, letters and correspondence under the heading "receive and file" during its course of business.

Occasionally, a letter that quietly slips into the public record reveals a whole lot more than what is said at the public dais.

One of those missives was filed away last week during a Legislature Finance and Management Committee meeting. The four-page letter, sent from County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz to Legislator Joseph C. Lorigo in April, provides a glimpse into the evolving relationship between the Democratic county executive and members of the Legislature's minority coalition.

Continue reading "What's in a letter? More than what's said at the Erie County Legislature" »

Five Questions with Mark Poloncarz

Every Sunday, we'll publish a quick Q&A with someone from the local political world. Instead of touching on the latest in policy issues and proposed legislation, the intent is to catch a glimpse of the person behind the title. The interviews are done via email.

Poloncarz_001
Mark Poloncarz celebrates on election night in November. (Derek Gee/ Buffalo News)

Mark C. Poloncarz

The Basics:
Age: 44
Party: Democratic
Job Title: County Executive
Town: Buffalo, though Lackawanna will always be my hometown.
Education: Lackawanna High School, 1985; bachelor of arts, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1989; law degree, University of Toledo College of Law, 1997.
Salary: $103,428

Continue reading "Five Questions with Mark Poloncarz" »

Poloncarz signs cyberbullying law despite concerns

County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has signed off on a new law banning cyberbullying against students in Erie County despite "serious doubts" over whether it can be adequately enforced.

The law, passed by the Erie County Legislature last month, makes electronic harassment and bullying against minors and students punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to a year in jail.

Poloncarz, in a letter to the Legislature, said that after speaking to "numerous law enforcement agents" he believes the law would be difficult to prosecute because it would be "too difficult to prove who electronically disseminated the harassing statement without an admission of guilt or eyewitness."

The county executive said he felt that "vetoing this legislation would send the wrong message to our community."

He urged legislators to work with the District Attorney's Office, local schools and Family Court to develop "enhanced and enforceable legislation."

"If we are serious about preventing cyberbullying, a method that includes parents and schools needs to be implemented, and unfortunately this law includes neither as part of the solution," Poloncarz said in a letter to legislators dated March 8.

The new local law was proposed by Legislator Edward A. Rath III, R-Amherst.

Read Poloncarz's letter to legislators here.

-- Denise Jewell Gee

Poloncarz takes 'Executive Report' to cable

You'll catch quite a bit of County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz this month on Time Warner Cable.

Poloncarz has made his government access debut as county executive in a half-hour program he recently taped called "The Executive Report."

He touches on the Buffalo Bills, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, economic development and the adjustment to the new job in an interview with Brenda Alessi, a spokesman for Poloncarz said.

It'll air on Time Warner's Channel 22 once or twice a day for the next two weeks.

Poloncarz taped a similar program called the "Comptroller's Report" when he was county comptroller.

-- Denise Jewell Gee

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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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