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Archived stories from Wednesday, April 7, 2010 through Sunday, June 6, 2010
TIDBITS
5/10: Who wants some cheap land? Cattaraugus County has some up for auction Saturday, 5/22-- and some of the properties up for sale are very reasonable deals, even for a tight budget..

5/1 or so: For the record: The threshold has been passed, gasoline is once again back over $3 a gallon. Hope and change-- just in time for summer.

4/8: Rollover day-- a day late, but no news yesterday. Also note that the local/regional links are now at the top banner as I had them back in '04. The column was just getting too long, especially now that the weather boxes are now stacked there as well.
RIP: ERIC PETERS, 19, DROPPED DEAD ON FIRST STREET IN LITTLE VALLEY WEDNESDAY NIGHT... HEART ATTACK, HIGH BODY TEMPERATURE FACTORS IN DEATH... THOUGH HE WAS TOTALLY BRAIN DEAD, DOCTORS ATTEMPTED TO KEEP HIM ALIVE THROUGH AN INDUCED COMA THROUGH TODAY IN HOPES OF A MIRACLE, BUT HE DIED UPON TRYING TO PULL HIM OUT OF THE COMA... 6/3

Democrats apparently have a sacrificial lamb for the race against Catharine Young: Michael McCormick, who we first saw as a longshot candidate for the Democrats for the open NY-29 seat, is getting ready to file to get on the ballot (WLEA)... 6/6 (Considering how Young is both liberal and popular among Republicans, McCormick stands no chance. Now, if a conservative candidate stood up, (s)he could make it a race.)

David Larimer doesn't think your voice matters, ignores the state guidelines on calling a special election, and inexplicably declares David Paterson's November 2 "special election on the same day as the regular election" valid. Even though the judge clearly acknowledged the vacancy, he did not compel the governor to call the special election within 30 to 40 days as required by state law
(Liz Benjamin)... 6/2

In dog bites man news...
from New York City: partisans oppose nonpartisan elections (NY Observer)... 6/2

Coming June 12:
Ellicottville C.S. and West Valley C.S. alumni to square off in charity football game (Olean Times Herald)... 6/1

Republican Party state convention begins this week in Westchester County, and there appears to be a lot of drama coming:
First, there's the governor's race: Rick Lazio, Carl Paladino, Myers Mermel, and registered Democrat Steve Levy are all vying for the nomination... there's also two senate races: Joe DioGuardi, David Malpass and Bruce Blakeman are vying to run against Kirsten Gillibrand, while Jay Townsend and Gary Berntsen will face a primary election for the rights to challenge Chuck Schumer... AG race and comptroller race both appear settled... we may see a no-confidence vote against the state party chairman, because there are a lot of people in the party extremely upset at how incompetent the Republicans have been especially after how much the Democrats have run this state into the ground the past two years... 6/1
Update from the NYSRC: Lazio appears to have reached the nomination for governor... Levy appears likely to fail to reach the threshold for a Wilson Pakula and appears to be eliminated from contention... Paladino does slightly better than expected but has not gained automatic ballot access, though he gave quite the speech; he appears ready to push ahead with petition plans... CATTARAUGUS COUNTY DECLINES TO VOTE, ONLY COUNTY TO DO SO... Chautauqua goes Lazio, Allegany goes Levy. 6/2

REMEMBER THE FALLEN: HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY FROM FULLERVISION. IN HONOR OF:
- JOHN CHASE FULLER (1756-1835), AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR
- MYRLE FRANK FULLER (1917-1977), WORLD WAR II
- EDWARD JOSEPH FULLER (1946-1991), VIETNAM WAR

Umm... wow:
Driving down the road at four times the legal limit, with kids on the hood of a moving car, in Cold Spring (WIVB)... 5/30

And the NY-29 potential primary gets even more complicated:
Janice Volk, of Cuba, enters the race for NY-29 (Hornell Evening Tribune)... Volk would face off against frontrunner Tom Reed and pizza shop owner Angelo Campini in the Republican primary election. It would not affect the special election if it takes place in the summer. 5/30

Someone is in deep doo-doo:
I have so far avoided getting myself publicly involved in my father's crusade against Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School-- but someone is in pretty deep trouble now. If you recall, Kent Joesel, already on the board, received 59 write-in votes on one ballot and David Shinners got 56. There was some crossover between the two and CLV does not use pooling-- meaning you could vote the same person in multiple slots, though if someone won multiple seats they could only fill one. Here's where things get unusual: Shinners and Joesel were also the second-place vote getters on each other's ballot. Furthermore, at least one of the vote tallies is a lie. My father voted for himself for both seats. I voted for him for both seats, plus as a write-in against Cheryl Wilder (her daughters-- the Schreiner sisters-- and I had a falling-out several years ago). Because CLV does not pool votes, this is entirely legal, and he should have had at least two votes in each category. Todd Fuller was reported as getting only one vote, according to the official CLV news release, which was listed under the Joesel seat. I've stayed out of this because although we agree that the school is corrupt, he wants to pursue one track of evidence and I, having lived through some of the corruption myself as a student through the first four years of the school's existence, have personally experienced another. It's a matter of experiences. This, however, is an issue on which we both agree.

I hope nobody plans on manufacturing any electronic equipment in New York, because the state of New York is about to make it an even bigger pain in the foot (WIVB)... 5/29

More proof, in case you needed any more, that Catharine Young is firmly parked in the back pockets of the teachers' unions:
Young, despite not having a single charter school in her district, votes against increasing the cap on them (Liz Benjamin)... 5/28 Update 5/29: Watch for Young's talking point being that 114 of the charters would be reserved for New York City, less than half of the total. The proliferation of charter schools in rural areas has so far been an absolute failure.

Gubernatorial race update, or, things just keep getting stranger: Mike Long gets stiffed, as he's unable to block a placeholder ticket headed by Paladino backer Ralph Lorigo, from forcing a primary ballot... Rick Lazio, Long's preferred candidate, just barely gets enough support to earn the Wilson Pakula (Jimmy Vielkind)... 5/28

You figure this one out: the state has passed a bill that spares state parks from closure, just in time for Memorial Day weekend, meaning Long Point on Chautauqua Lake will open (AP). According to the Times Herald, Allegany State Park's beaches WILL NOT be open until late June, as opposed to previous years, when they opened them on weekends beginning Memorial Day. Now, the interesting part: Catharine Young campaigned to re-open the parks. Then she voted against the bill that reopened them, for purely partisan reasons (Liz Benjamin). 5/28

Fancher fallout: Six juveniles, ranging from 12 to 15, charged with felonies-- and yet no names are being released (Olean Times Herald)... 5/28

Some things never change:
According to a gossip piece in the New York Post, there is yet more pondering of taxing high earners again. (Never mind taxing expatriates or assets-- let's go after income and keep beating the same dead horse.) 5/27

Eric Massa is messed up in the head
(WGRZ)... 5/25

A troubling sign: Andrew Cuomo's campaign finance reform proposal appears to exempt labor unions (New York Observer)... 5/25

Killer train, apparently by coincidence, kills two people in one trip (WGRZ)... 5/23

Something is just so fitting about this: Andrew Cuomo, son of former governor Mario Cuomo and current attorney general, ends his months of hiding and comes out as a gubernatorial candidate today-- just five months before the election-- in front of a courthouse named after the notoriously corrupt "Boss Tweed" (AP) (Liz Benjamin)... 5/22

Numerous reports: Rick Lazio, current frontrunner for the Republican nomination for governor, has selected Greg Edwards, of neighboring Chautauqua County, as his running mate... 5/19


School board election day... votes on budgets and school board members forthcoming... C-LV has lack of willing candidates and for the second year running has two more open spots than they do candidates; as such, they have proposed cutting the board from 9 seats to 7. Budget, as usual, passes (sadly), as have all budgets in the county, apparently (update: WGRZ reports Allegany-Limestone was rejected)... voters also approve the board-cutting process... Kent Joesel, despite already having a seat on the board that doesn't expire until 2014, gets 59 votes as the leading write-in getter (thus assuring the board will have a vacant seat to cut), and Little Valley town board member David Shinners was next with 56... Chautauqua County has a higher rate of failure, according to the Post-Journal, including city of Jamestown's... 5/18

County justice at work: 17-year-old charged in a felony "sexting" crime after sending around naked pictures of his girlfriend... the girlfriend has not been charged... (Buffalo News) 5/18

I have just received word that Steve Taylor, pastor of the Little Valley United Methodist Church, has been reassigned to the UMC in Panama (in Chautauqua County, not Central America) and will be leaving his post here. I wish him the best of luck in his endeavor.

It took this long? After 16 years, Cattaraugus County finally gets around to arresting the wife of a man who was murdered in 1994 for the murder (Buffalo News)... 5/18

 
FIRE BREAKS OUT OUTSIDE SALAMANCA AREA BEVERAGE IN LITTLE VALLEY... BARN IMMEDIATELY BEHIND THE PLANT IS A TOTAL LOSS... IT APPEARS THE MAIN BUILDING IS NOT THREATENED... 5/15

THE LATIN CAUCUS STRIKES AGAIN-- AND THIS TIME IT MAY CAUSE A TOTAL SHUTDOWN!
Ruben Diaz, one of the "Three Amigos" (along with Pedro Espada and the now-expelled Hiram Monserrate) that has been a thorn in the Democrats' side, is hospitalized with "crippling stomach pain" and may miss the next vote for a budget extender, according to Liz Benjamin. Without Diaz, the Democrats lack a quorum, by technicality: the group needs a majority vote and would only have exactly half the seats in the chamber. Assuming the Republicans vote no, that would leave 30 nays and 31 yeses without Diaz. Though it would be a plurality, it would not be a majority. Because Richard Ravitch's casting vote only gets invoked in the event of a tie, a 31-30 vote means he is ineligible to use it and automatically defaults to not passing. Furthermore, if the Democrats let one other member abstain to qualify for Ravitch's casting vote, the casting vote again brings them only to 31-- one vote short. Without an extender, the government automatically goes into shutdown. 5/15 UPDATE 5/16: Diaz is temporarily out of the hospital, for now, but solely to avoid the perception he is filibustering. He'll swing back into session to vote on the extender, then head home again. There is still no diagnosis on his condition, though Diaz claims an inflamed pancreas might be to blame.

THIS IS CLEARLY NOT LEGAL:
Despite the US Constitutional requirement of issuing a writ of election for a vacancy, and state law indicating he has to hold it within 40 days, Paterson clearly ignores it and sets the special election for the same day as the general election, which basically means no special election and no representation in November (Liz Benjamin)... George Winner says (and I quote): "Is he kidding?!" (Corning Leader)... 5/12 Update 5/14: As I suspected-- according to state law, he cannot wait past July 1 to call a special election in any circumstance (Jimmy Vielkind)... I've had enough. It's time to impeach. UPDATE 5/15: WLEA reports that the judge hearing the case has denied a motion from the Paterson administration to dismiss the pending litigation against him, and the case will go forward.

Richard Brodsky, an ally of Sheldon Silver, proposes eliminating the State Senate
(Gannett)... 5/12

Richard Ravitch is crazy:
He proposes, in order to provoke budget passage, that he shut down the entire Department of Motor Vehicles-- in other words, if you don't have a license or ID card now, under the Ravitch plan, you won't be allowed to get one at all. The whole thing is intended to provoke unrest and pressure on the state to pass a budget. Never mind that the DMV is one of the places that MAKES money for the state. (YNN)... 5/11

DAYS OF RECKONING: Tonight (5/10), 7:00, at the town offices on Third Street, the Little Valley town board hears the findings of a panel responsible for figuring out what caused the budget whoops back in February... then, tomorrow (5/11) at 7:00, the Cattaraugus-Little Valley board meets in Little Valley to explain how they were able to magically jack up their budget 14% and yet still have no change in the tax levy...

The end of an era:
Verizon asks the state of New York to stop having to send free phone books to all of its customers (AP)... 5/8

Say goodbye to Quality Markets and say hello to Tops! (Jamestown Post-Journal)... 5/8

FORMER PHILADELPHIA FURNITURE/FANCHER FACTORY IN SALAMANCA CATCHES FIRE AND BURNS TO THE GROUND...
Salamanca Fancher fireAPPEARS TO BE TOTAL LOSS... BUILDING HAD BEEN CLOSED/ABANDONED FOR ABOUT A YEAR AND WAS SET TO GO UP FOR AUCTION... CAUSED CLOUD OF SMOKE VISIBLE AND CAN BE SMELLED FROM LITTLE VALLEY... REPORTS: POWER DOWN IN PARTS OF THE CITY, SPREADING TO TREES AND CAUSING NUMEROUS BRUSH FIRES... UPDATE 8 P.M. BUILDING HAS COLLAPSED... REPORTS OF LUMINITE AND SALAMANCA LUMBER ALSO BEING AFFECTED BY THE FIRE... THE BLOCK SURROUNDING THE FACTORY HAS BEEN EVACUATED AND CLOSED OFF... AS OF 10 P.M., THE CLOSED-OFF AREA HAS SHRUNK AND THE FIRE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN MOSTLY CONTAINED... INTERSTATE 86 IS JAMMED WITH TRAFFIC... RADAR LOOP SHOWS HEAVY RAIN TO COME SHORTLY, BUT THE WIND SHIFT COULD PUT OTHER BUILDINGS IN PERIL... WGRZ, WIVB, WKBW, WESB AND SPECIAL E-FECTS ALL HAVE EXTENSIVE PICTURES AND VIDEO OF THE INCIDENT... BUFFALO NEWS REPORTER SAYS THAT THE SENECA NATION CLAIMS THAT THE PROPERTY IS THEIRS?! I KNOW FOR CERTAIN THAT THAT PIECE OF LAND WAS ON THE COUNTY ROLLS, NOT THE SENECAS'. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO UP TO THE NEXT BIDDER AT THE NEXT AUCTION. THE ONLY WAY THE SENECAS WOULD OWN IT WOULD BE THROUGH TEMPORARY GUARDIANSHIP. ARSON IS SUSPECTED AND THE PERPETRATORS ARE REPORTEDLY IN CUSTODY... as of Sunday evening, it appears five juveniles will be charged in association with the crime; their names have not been released... fire is under control as of Saturday morning though portions of the block remain closed to traffic. The final tally shows Luminite offices and Fancher building totally destroyed, but all surrounding buildings, including Salamanca Lumber, appear to have been spared, and power has been restored to most of those affected. Luminite has other operations in other buildings and it's not clear what impact losing the offices will have on the company. A similarly sized fire had taken place on a nearby site in 1976 at the former Ethan Allen plant. DEVELOPING...
MORE: WGRZ - WIVB - WKBW - Special E-Fects - Olean Times Herald - Buffalo News - Jamestown Post-Journal

JOE BRUNO SKATES: TWO YEARS IN PRISON... BUT ONLY AFTER SCOTUS RULES ON THE HONEST SERVICES STATUTE (AND THERE'S NO TIMETABLE ON THAT), SO HE'S A FREE MAN INDEFINITELY UNTIL THEN (BN)... CATHARINE YOUNG REFUSES TO COMMENT
(Buffalo News)... 5/7

So when Joe DioGuardi picks up virtually every Conservative Party county endorsement to date, but Bruce "Oleana" Blakeman picks up the support of the brother of Michael Long (the state party leader)... Mike Long can't admit his capricious endorsement of Blakeman, so he says it's wide open (?!) (City Hall News)... 5/7 (Any more evidence that Mike Long is corrupt?)

While Paterson fiddles...
NY-29 loses its spot on the house agriculture committee-- the spot previously held by Randy Kuhl and Eric Massa has since been handed to NY-23 Democrat Bill Owens (Watertown Daily Times, via Liz Benjamin)... 5/6

RINO: George Winner opposes furloughing government employees (WLEA)... 5/6

Sheldon Silver: Joe Bruno? We never worked together-- ever (YNN)... 5/4 (Apparently he has amnesia over 12 years of the two of them being three men in a room with Governor Pataki.)

SENATE PRESIDENT MALCOLM SMITH'S GOAL: REDISTRICT AND GERRYMANDER THEIR WAY INTO PERMANENT POWER (City Hall News, via Celeste Katz)... 5/3 Update 5/4: Smith is backtracking... now lets slip the other part of the master plan: shift the demographics and drive Republicans out of the state (Liz Benjamin)...

Learning more about Matthew Zeller: It appears the "fiscal conservative" label that Zeller was floating around is a bunch of hooey. He supports the stimulus bill, won't make a stance on the unpopular individual mandate of the health care bill, and has taken many of the Democrats' partisan talking points (Corning Leader)... 5/3
...and on a related note: Republican committees have dropped out of the lawsuit over the special election, but three voters (two Republican, one Democrat) will continue the suit as plaintiffs (Sean Carroll)... one, Carl Edwards, is from the moribund village of Limestone.

On the campaign trail:
Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for governor, spotted in Olean (Olean Times Herald)... 4/30

This isn't directly related to this district, but it does affect the one to our northeast: Dale Volker, a longtime ally of Joe Bruno and widely considered to be part of the entrenched Senate elite, is calling it quits at the end of this term. 4/30

THE GIG IS UP: PATERSON TO FURLOUGH STATE EMPLOYEES
(Liz Benjamin)... union head's reaction was one ambiguous word (read my comment at the bottom)... 4/27

The village of Little Valley has begun curbside cleanup of lawn debris for the spring season... the posters say Mondays but the schedule appears to be more often than that (they seem to be going by request, so call the village to request cleanup). 4/27

Transportation heads-up:
It is official, the green Center Street bridge spanning the Allegheny River in West Salamanca that has been in use since 1939 has officially been condemned, and will no longer allow traffic across it effective today. The process to demolish the bridge and replace it with a more modern one is underway and is not expected to finish until next year. However, unlike the last time the bridge closed, an outlet bridge across the Little Valley Creek on West State Street has been opened so that people in West Salamanca do not have to go two extra miles out of their way to access either the Main Street or the Route 219 bridges in the center of the city. 4/26 Update 4/29: I have received word that the closure has been delayed to May 10; until that time the bridge remains open to traffic...

Cattaraugus County Republican Party endorses Democrat Steve Levy for governor
(Albany Times Union)... 4/26

Seneca businesses caught illegally trafficking cigarettes to a notorious Long Island tribe... and the Senecas take credit for busting everyone but themselves
(Buffalo News)... 4/25

Here we go:
NY-29 Republican Party to file lawsuit aiming to force a special election that so far, Governor Paterson has refused to call (Hornell Evening Tribune)... 4/23

Bill that would've proposed sweeping changes to farm labor laws killed in state senate committee (WLEA)... 4/23

Catharine Young oversteps her bounds and interferes in the criminal justice system (WLEA)... 4/23

Is this really necessary: proposed law in Olean would ban minors from playing bingo (Olean Times Herald)... (what makes this extra weird is that the bingo halls, who have every right to refuse service as they see fit, are the ones who wanted this!) 4/22 Update 4/29: Saner heads have prevailed; at least one bingo hall has come out and said we don't need this, and so the proposal was dropped (TH)...

What we knew all along: upstate property taxes, fueled by overpriced education, are among highest in America and are driving residents out of the state-- particularly upstate (Gannett)... 4/19

WHY DIDN'T MICHAEL CAPUTO DO MORE TO DISPEL THE QUESTIONABLE ACCURACY OF THE PALADINO E-MAILS? READ THE FULLERVISION EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE ON WHY SOME OF WHAT YOU READ MAY NOT BE TRUE... 4/18

Not that we didn't know this already, but it pays to be well-connected in New York State (Kenneth Lovett)... 4/18

Yeah, this is REALLY going to save costs: pushing employed workers into retirement-- so instead of getting paid for a service, they're getting paid for NOTHING! Brilliant "cost saving" measure, guys! (James Odato)... 4/14

The Washington Post is not letting up on Eric Massa, are they? (via Drudge) 4/13

Paterson in no rush to pass the budget, is willing to wait until the money runs out in June (New York Post)... 4/12

Off the record: County legislators Carmen Vecchiarella (R-Salamanca) and Norm Marsh (R-Little Valley) were spotted chatting at the Sixt Lumber shop in Little Valley... when I walked in, the two scattered... was unable to catch what the conversation was about. 4/12

Democrat-turned-Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Levy spotted in Olean trying to woo the Republican committee... and did he steal that "Prince Andrew" line from Carl Paladino? (Olean Times Herald)... 4/11

Must read: Michael Gormley's primer on the New York gubernatorial candidates... 4/11

Brazen: In the midst of a dispute over abuse of unpaid internships, our appointed senator Gillibrand announces... unpaid internships that look awfully easy to be abused (Azi Paybarah)... 4/9

There is currently a loophole in New York State law that allows parents to serve their children alcoholic beverages even if those children are under 21. Cattaraugus County wants to ban that, even in private residences... the Republicans support the proposal but Democrats are opposed (Olean Times Herald)... 4/9

Tri-County Hospital in Gowanda condemned as uninhabitable... it seems like we've gone without it for the past eight months or so without any problems... but now they want to rebuild it at a cost of $10,000,000, even after the state had told them to cut back their capacities because it was costing too much (which, of course, led to Catharine Young screaming like a stuck pig and the proposals getting nowhere)... is this building really necessary? (WGRZ)... 4/8

I never thought he would actually have the guts to do this: Governor Paterson defunds the scheduled employee raises (Albany Times-Union)... 4/8 (You can bet the unions will sue over this-- and it might be the much-needed showdown this state needs.) UPDATE 4/13: Apparently it's only a partial freeze-- those that fall under "step increases" are not frozen (TU)... very disappointing.

More on Matthew Zeller, the man the Democrats have picked to run for NY-29 if and when Paterson ever calls the special election: he's a libertarian who appears to have more in common with Ron Paul than he does with Obama... described as a fiscal conservative and a former Republican who only switched to the Democrats because of the Bush administration (he supported McCain in 2000 and was a supporter of the Reagan administration)... Democrats allegedly were gauging his interest before Massa even announced he was retiring (Gannett)... 4/8 (I'd like to hear this guy's stand on the stimulus and health care. If he supported them, then all this is just politicking and B.S. If this information is legitmate, than he would probably have opposed those things. He strikes me as a high risk to change back to the GOP, now that the Bush administration is gone.)

Something you don't see every day: public unions willing to consider concessions, despite the demands of their union bosses (Plattsburgh Press-Republican via Newzjunky)... 4/8

From outside the region: in Westchester County, just as soon as a member of the army reserve begins to make a serious challenge to an entrenched Democrat, he gets conveniently called back to service (Gannett)... would it be wrong to suggest that this looks like funny business from the commander in chief? 4/8

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