Kathy Hochul Wins Special Election

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Democrat Kathy Hochul scored an upset and won a special election to represent New York’s 26th congressional district on Tuesday, defeating Republican Jane Corwin.

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Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul, the Erie County clerk, declared victory in the conservative upstate district with just over 70 percent of the vote tallied.

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 Hochul took 48% of the vote while Jane Corwin grabbed 42% and Jack Davis earned 9%. 

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Kathy Hochul has claimed victory in New York’s 26th Congressional District. It’s a result that would have surprised local observers several weeks ago, and one that has captured the attention of political minds around the nation.

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Hochul, speaking at her headquarters at a union hall in Amherst, said she received a gracious phone call from Jane Corwin shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday, conceding the race.

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“I look forward to balancing the budget the right way, and not on the backs of our seniors!” Hochul said to rousing applause.

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The issue of Medicare dominated the race down the stretch, as both outside liberal and conservative groups poured millions into the race.

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Corwin pledged to offer Hochul any necessary support.

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Good luck to Congresswoman Hochul as she heads to Washington to represent the people of District 26.

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AQE Reacts To Property Tax Legislation In The Assembly

Albany—The State Assembly announced today that it has introduced legislation for a property tax cap.  The following statement is the reaction of the Alliance for Quality Education.
 
“A cap on local school budgets is a slippery slope that could significantly undermine the quality of our schools, particularly after the Governor pushed through $1.3 billion in classroom cuts in the state budget already this year,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.  “The combination of a school budget cap and cuts in state aid has been devastating to California’s schools which slipped from among the best to among the worst in the nation.  This proposal, like others, would replace local voters’ control over their school budgets with a policy imposed by Albany by requiring a 60% approval rate to override.  Just like the state cuts in school aid, this cap will further widen the gap between rich and poor schools because the poorest districts already have the most difficulty passing their budgets.”

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Higgins & Slaughter Lead Bipartisan Effort to Have Shuster Language Removed From FAA Bill

Congressmembers Ask Transportation Committee to Formally Withdraw Measure that Threatens Flight Safety

Western New York Congressmembers Brian Higgins (NY-27) and Louise Slaughter (NY-28) joined a bipartisan group of 28 members of the House of Representatives calling upon the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to formally remove the Sec. 826 (The Shuster Amendment) from the FAA Reauthorization Act (H.R. 658).  

“We will not rest with the announcement of the intent to drop the Shuster Amendment- the fact is that it still remains in the bill,” said Higgins.  “We will fight until it is actually removed and will fight it when it is proposed in future legislation.”

“As I have mentioned to the families of Flight 3407, the legislative process is about dogged determination and perseverance,” said Slaughter. “Until we are assured that the Shuster Amendment will be removed from the bill, our perseverance must continue and I will continue to join them in that effort.”

Congressmembers Higgins and Slaughter, along with Congresswoman Jean Schmidt and Congressman Steve Stivers, led the letter which was also signed by Congressmembers Thaddeus McCotter, Jerrold Nadler, Bob Filner, Jim Gerlach, Peter King, Timothy Bishop, Shelley Berkley, Steven LaTourette, Bill Johnson, Mazie Hirono, Edolphus Towns, Walter Jones, Steve Israel, Candice Miller, Michael Turner, Russ Carnahan, Tim Holden, Albio Sires, Chip Cravaack, Rush Holt, Leonard Boswell, Gary Ackerman, Bill Pascrell and Rick Larsen.

Below is the text of the letter sent by Higgins, Slaughter and their colleagues:

Dear Chairman Mica, Ranking Member Rahall, Chairman Petri, and Ranking Member Costello:

Thank you for your leadership on reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  It is our understanding that Congressman Shuster has withdrawn his amendment, Sec. 826 of the FAA Reauthorization Act, H.R.658.  We write to express our support for the removal of Sec. 826 from the final bill due to its ramifications on safety.

Sec. 826 was added by a slim majority vote as an amendment to the bill.  It imposes additional requirements for FAA to follow in its rulemaking process.  All the information we have received from FAA, NTSB and other sources since the House voted on the Sec. 826 indicates the provision would have consequences that could hurt aviation safety.

The new pilot flight and duty time rulemaking is congressionally mandated to be finalized by August 1, 2011.  Sec. 826 requires the FAA to draw out this process even further, delaying important safety regulations to address fatigue.  This critical rule is intended to address the issue of pilot fatigue, which is a priority for FAA and has been on the National Traffic Safety Board’s (NTSB) Most Wanted List for over twenty years.

After the House passed H.R. 658, FAA expressed reservations about Sec. 826 saying it would “slow down rulemaking projects underway and in the future” and would impede its efforts to create “one level of safety.”  NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman is also concerned that this language would have hindered FAA implementation of the safety reforms enacted in H.R. 5900, the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 and other key measures to improve safety.  This landmark legislation came about as a result of the February 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407.  This tragedy revealed the need for certain safety improvements to our commercial aviation system, particularly with our regional airlines.

It is imperative that the reforms and safety improvements the families of the victims fought so hard for last year move forward without hindrance.  We should also ensure we do not impede other future rulemakings that will increase safety.  For these reasons, we strongly support the removal of Sec. 826 from the final bill.

Thank you for your efforts to improve aviation safety and for your consideration of this important matter.

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Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts

When the economy tanked in 2009 law enforcement officials expected crime to rise, but it didn’t.  Major crime has taken a turn for the better.  It’s down about 40%.

The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years, a development that was considered puzzling partly because it ran counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession.

In all regions, the country appears to be safer. The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders: In cities with populations under 10,000, the number plunged by more than 25 percent last year.

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Union Effort Turns Its Focus to Target


Aly Waddy, in front, is an organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers. Sonia Williams, left, a logistics employee at the Target store in Valley Stream, N.Y., and Tashawna Green, a clerk at the store, support the union.

The reputation of Wal-Mart isn’t exactly great when it comes to how it treats it’s workers.  Unions have tried for years to get a toehold in the company to help the workers to no avail.  On the other hand Target has enjoyed a wonderful reputation, until now.

In the world of big-box discounters, Target enjoys a reputation as a model corporate citizen that sells the latest in cheap chic. That’s a sharp contrast to the image of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, which labor unions have pilloried for years, accusing it of providing skimpy wages and benefits and skirting various labor laws.

“A lot of people are going to be shocked that Target workers would consider unionizing because of its very good image and because it’s known as such a fantastic philanthropic organization,” said Burt Flickinger, a retailing consultant who has worked on projects for both the union and Target suppliers.

The union decided to focus on Target after employees in Valley Stream, on Long Island, asked for help in unionizing. Echoing longstanding complaints by some Wal-Mart workers, the store’s employees complained that many of them earned too little to support a family or afford health insurance, forcing some to rely on food stamps and Medicaid for their children.

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Mark Manna Caught Million Dollar Error In Town Budget Today

During this afternoon’s work session our Town Comptroller was giving a report on the budget.  As she reported on the revenues and expenditures of the Seniors Department Mark Manna caught a million dollar error in her figures.  She said it must have been a pencil mistake and she was going to check on it.

Sharp eyes Mr. Manna.

UPDATE:  Town Comptroller sent an e-mail message to the Board members addressing this issue.  Here is her explanation ~

As a follow up to my presentation yesterday, please note that the figures that I had for Senior Services WERE CORRECT.

There was a large increase between 2008 and 2009 for several reasons including the following:

1. We started charging health insurance costs to the departments half way through 2008. Therefore, 2008 has 1/2 year of expense and 2009 has a full year of expense.

2. In 2009 we started charging the principal and interest payments to the departments instead of a non department account. Therefore, 2009 will be higher than 2008 because of these payments.

The attached file shows the actual costs, line by line, for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010.

 She attached a pdf file showing her figures to be correct.  Any Board member should be able to share that information with you.

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Letter To The The Editor: A Grateful Thank You To Our Highway Supervisor Bob Anderson


My Treasures Were Saved By Our Highway Supervisor

I look out my window at two beautiful trees which could have been cut down but Bob Anderson felt they could survive.  I thank him for his wisdom and caring for an elderly woman’s treasures.

Marge T.

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Mark and Guy Have Proven They Are For The People

   
In the last few weeks I have written about the Kathy  Hochul’s race for the 26th District in the U.S. Congress.  Hochul should wim this rough race but now it’s time to turn our attention to our own Town of Amherst.

There are two open seats on our Town Board. One is Guy Marlette’s (R) seat the other is Mark Manna’s (D).

Our Town Board currently consists of six Republicans and one Democrat, Mark Manna.  Mark has been a strong advocate for the people of Amherst.  As the lone Democrat he has had to hold his ground against the other Board members.

At the last Town Board meeting Manna had a fierce verbal debate with Supervisor Weinstein when the Supervisor try to put him down.

Mark and Guy have been the only Town Board members with the guts to challenge the Supervisor on anything of importance to the neighbors or the people of Amherst.

On this Town Board  it’s very clear the only two members who have been fighters for the people and care for their rights have been Mark Manna and Guy Marlette.

There will be two candidates challenging Mark and Guy.  They are “plastic” or “throw-away” candidates; candidates who are promised something if they will run, maybe a job or some political appointed position.  What they do as they “campaign” is nothing more than be available in some photos and smile alot.  No need to waste your vote on those two jokes.

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Congressman Higgins Announces Over $1 Million for WNY AmeriCorps YouthBuild Program

Brian Higgins

Students Earn Education, On-The-Job Training While Rehabbing Homes in Buffalo’s Old First Ward

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined leaders from WNY AmeriCorps and students participating in the agency’s YouthBuild program to announce a new $1,087,819 federal grant for the organization.

“YouthBuild is a great program that combines an effort to rehab homes and neighborhoods in older communities like Buffalo with education and job training giving participants the opportunity to rebuild their future,” said Congressman Higgins. 

YouthBuild assists young people obtain their diplomas or GEDs while providing occupational training in the construction industry.  YouthBuild programs are a vital part of WNY AmeriCorps’ mission to create opportunities for all individuals to serve their community. Young men and women join YouthBuild programs to serve their community while receiving opportunities to obtain an educational experience that will enhance their employment skills as a means to achieving self-sufficiency.

WNY AmeriCorps Interim Executive Director Kate Sarata added, “I get excited on days like today to know that yet another 64 at risk young people in Western New York will get the opportunity to learn and grow their skills while improving Buffalo’s housing stock.  In a federal budget where YouthBuild funding was cut by over 50% this year, this announcement says to me that we continue to do it the right way.”

The Western New York YouthBuild program will use electric reduction audit equipment, blower door technology and an insulation blower to train participants in green building and energy efficiency concepts. After participants attain their GED certificate, they are enrolled in the Erie Community College Pre-Collegiate Studies Program. Upon graduation from this program, students are eligible to transition into a two-year post-secondary-education degree track or a variety of employment opportunities with our established partners in the construction and green building industries.

In the past two years, 64 YouthBuild participants have assisted with the construction of the Broadway Market “Green Roof” and renovated dozens of Buffalo homes with a focus on green sustainability and energy efficiency.  With the continued support of the U.S. Department of Labor, WNY YouthBuild will be able to provide the same experiences to another 64 at-risk youth in Buffalo.

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Michael Mallia’s Mansion Hideout Discovered

by Chris Charvella.

A group of irritated, motivated veterans has apparently found Corwin Chief of Staff and nominee for the Girlish Shrieker Academy Award, Michael Mallia. Would you be surprised to discover he’s hiding in a $1million plus Palm Beach mansion owned by wealthy Buffalo developer and high-dollar GOP donor, Patrick Marrano?

Most people who end up on the lam for whatever reason would choose less conspicuous digs, but when you work for Jane Corwin, you earn certain privileges. Why hide in Palm Beach’s best ‘No-Tell’ Motel when you can spend your days hiding from the press enjoying 5.089 square feet of marble-floored luxury?


Nice place to be on the lam…

READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE:
http://wnymedia.net/ccharvella/2011/05/michael-mallias-mansion-hideout-discovered/

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