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Howard B. Owens's blog

May 10, 2011 - 10:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26.

May 10, 2011 - 8:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Batavia resident and one-time congressional hopeful David Bellavia is planning to endorse a candidate in the NY-26, according to neoconservative magazine The Weekly Standard, and it won't be Jane Corwin.

About Jack Davis, Bellavia said:

"Jack is a veteran. Jack is a self-made man," Bellavia said. "He's a guy who will leave his factory to his workers when he dies. He's right on immigration. He's right on jobs. The issues that I disagree with Jack, I disagree with all three [candidates]. There's not one pro-life candidate in this race."

As for Kathy Hochul:

Bellavia said Hochul is a "smart, honorable, decent woman" who's had to "move left" to appeal to her party. "I do respect her and I do like her."

May 10, 2011 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fishing, outdoors, Tonawanda Creek.

A few people seemed to find this afternoon a good time to fish the Tonawanda Creek.

Above is Kyle Kendall, 7, and a student at John Kennedy School, who had just caught a northern pike when I happened by, which his father, Dave, displays for him.

May 10, 2011 - 6:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin.

The GOP is apparently spoked by recent polling data indicating Jane Corwin could lose what was considered a safe Republican seat and so a group lead by former White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove is stepping in with a pledge to buy $350,000 in television advertising.

If that doesn't work, the group is prepared to dump another $300,000 into the race, according to USAToday.

"This race has become artificially competitive because liberal Democrat Jack Davis is now trying to pass himself off as a conservative while the other liberal Democrat, Katie Hochul, is benefiting from his trick," said Jonathan Collegio, communication director for American Crossroads.

"This ad buy seeks to expose the Democrat trick for what it is," Collegio said.

Rove's group, American Crossroads, is what is now known as a Super PAC -- a new kind of political action committee that doesn't have the spending limits of a traditional PAC.  Super PACs were created by the FEC in response to a Supreme Court ruling that determined corporations were persons and their political contributions couldn't be capped.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that congressional Democrats are finally about to jump in the race, having raised $100,000 on behalf of Hochul.

Democrats are accusing the GOP of being in full panic mode.

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: According to Roll Call, Jack Davis has loaned his campaign another $500,000, bringing his personal investment in his election bid up to $2.1 million.

May 10, 2011 - 6:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26.

May 10, 2011 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

Amy Showler was doing a little spring cleaning in her apartment on Pearl Street this afternoon. She had just returned from taking a few things to storage and was cleaning her kitchen with bleach, so she decided she needed to open a window in her living room.

When she went into the room, she saw flames climbing up a wall.

She tried putting the fire out with water, but that didn't work, so she found her fire extinguisher, she said.

"By then the room was filling up with smoke, but I took my extinguisher and started putting out the fire," Showler said.

About that time, Cory Paris, who has a used car dealership across the street, arrived with his own fire extinguisher and started spraying the flames on the second floor exterior from the ground.

"A young man playing in the park ran over and asked to use the phone," Paris said. "When we looked, we could see the flames coming out, so we grabbed the fire extinguishers and ran over."

"The flames were pretty big," he added.

City Fire Department responded to the call and finished putting out the blaze.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Showler said shortly afterward that she didn't know yet how much of her property had been burned or damaged by smoke or water.

(Initial Report)

May 10, 2011 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin.

Press release:

WILLIAMSVILLE – Jane Corwin, successful businesswoman and candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, today signed a written pledge to Western New York taxpayers to fight against any tax increase on Western New York working families and small businesses. Corwin was joined for the signing by Ogden Supervisor Gay H. Lenhard, who understands the effect high taxes have on the welfare of the community.

Corwin signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit organization committed to fighting for lower tax rates and reforming our tax code. As a signer of the pledge, Corwin committed to opposing “any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses.” Additionally, Corwin pledged to “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

“Just last week it was announced that our unemployment rate rose to 9 percent, and the last thing we want to do in a struggling economy is raise taxes on the job creators that will lead our economic recovery,” Corwin said. “As someone who has helped run a small business in Western New York, I know firsthand the devastating effect high taxes have on a small business’ ability to grow and create jobs. Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and if honored to be Western New York’s next representative in Washington I will fight to fundamentally reform our tax code to allow hardworking taxpayers to keep more of what they earn and small businesses to invest in themselves and create jobs,”

Corwin gained her firsthand perspective of the detrimental effect of high tax rates while working in the private sector. Corwin helped grow her family’s company – The Talking Phone Book – to more than 700 employees.

“Democrats Jack Davis and Kathy Hochul think that raising taxes on job creators is the way to grow our economy but they just don’t get it,” Corwin added. “Shrinking government and growing the private sector is the only way we can plan for long term prosperity, and that all begins with making our tax code more competitive so Western New York families can keep more of their hard-earned money and our region’s small businesses can compete on a level playing field so they can grow and create jobs.”

As a result of her legislative efforts to reduce taxes and make Western New York a more economic friendly environment, Corwin received a perfect 100 percent rating from Unshackle Upstate, a pro-growth, pro-jobs reform organization.

May 10, 2011 - 3:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press release:

Today, American Crossroads, Karl Rove’s super-PAC funded by anonymous deep-pocket donors purchased $650,000 of television air time, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched an effort to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend in NY-26.  Both groups seek to influence the special election and defeat Jack Davis in the special election on May 24th.

Jack Davis issued this statement:

This is further evidence - if any were needed - that Jane Corwin is owned by Karl Rove, Washington lobbyists and Wall Street bankers. It's no coincidence that John Boehner travelled to Wall Street yesterday after appearing with Corwin. Jane Corwin could pay for her own campaign, but she'd rather have the special interests she's working for pick up the tab. 

As far as Kathy Hochul, her own disclosure report shows she has taken thousands of dollars from bankers, lawyers and Democratic insiders. Today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which claims it is not involved, sent out a nationwide "emergency email" trying to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to pour into this race. 

Kathy Hochul will be ordered around by Nancy Pelosi and Wall Street, just as Jane Corwin will be ordered around by John Boehner and Wall Street.  I will take my orders from you. I have not taken any money from the special interests that have shipped our jobs overseas.

I have not taken one penny from any special interest, political party, lobbyist or influence peddler. It is clear who is on the side of the people of this district and who is on the side of the special interests.

May 10, 2011 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, airport.

A single-engine airplane apparently reported electrical trouble and was planning on making an emergency landing at the Genesee County Airport.

The original call gave the plane a 10 minute ETA.

Within minutes of the Town of Batavia Fire Department being dispatched, an airport official called in and said the plane made a safe landing.

All Batavia units were put back in service.

May 10, 2011 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Darien.

The cause of a trailer fire in Darien last night remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office.

The fire was reported at 9:06 p.m. at 11198 Tinkham Road.

The trailer was owned by Charles Flagg and used for storage. The total loss from the blaze is estimated to be less than $1,000.

Flagg recently made news by planting more than one thousand lawn signs supporting Jack Davis for Congress on his property.

While the cause of the fire has not been determined, there's no indication the fire and his political support of Davis are connected.

There were no injuries reported.

The Darien Volunteer Fire Department responded quickly and extinguished the fire.

May 10, 2011 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Le Roy.

Rachellyn G. Burek, 29, of 4131 Broadway Road, Apt. #4, Darien, is charged with identity theft in the third degree. Burek is accused of using the identity of another person from December 2006 to August 2007 to obtain service from Time Warner Cable. Burek allegedly received more than $900 in services. The case was investigated by Det. Pat Corona, Batavia PD.

Kelly J. McMurty, 34, of Benedict Street, Perry, and Linda L. McMurty, 55, of Embury Avenue, Silver Lake, are each charged with petit larceny. The women are accused of stuffing clothing items in their purses and then walking past the last point of purchase without paying for the items. 

Edward S. Wiosinski, 60, of 1364 Rush Henrietta Townline Road, Rush, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Wioskinski was arrested by Le Roy Police for allegedly harassing another person.

May 10, 2011 - 8:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

The Buffalo News covers yesterday's events in Erie County, particularly Speaker John Boehner's appearance at a Corwin fundraiser in Depew.

It allowed Boehner to bring up hot-button issues like a lagging economy that still is not producing jobs, as well as sky-high gasoline prices. And he continually referred to the Democrats' liberal spending policies that have produced a unified GOP effort in the House to rein in spending.

"Washington Democrats hope to steal this election so they can move their agenda of higher taxes and more spending," he said. "The president wants to raise taxes. Why? So they can continue to spend. It's time to say no, and we're going to continue to say no to higher taxes and more spending in Washington."

Boehner, who also was scheduled to speak Monday to a Wall Street audience in Manhattan, referred to Corwin as the only conservative in the race who will "stand up to Nancy Pelosi and the liberals in Washington." 

And our own Bea McManis gets a mention.

Appearing with Richtman and Hochul were Bea McManis and Judy Hale of Batavia, two senior citizens worried about the impact of the Republicans' plans for Medicare.

"The Republican budget will decimate Medicare," Hochul said. "That's what this election is all about -- people like Bea and Judy."

Public Policy Polling, the company that conducted the poll released yesterday showing Hochul leading Corwin and Davis, posted a blog item with thoughts on its own poll.

The dominance the GOP showed with independents last year is over. Hochul is winning the independent vote with 37% to 31% for Davis and 20% for Corwin. A more significant finding though is that 39% of independent voters want their new representative to caucus with the Democrats in Washington to 36% who want the winner to side with the Republicans. That suggests Hochul might be winning even in a two-way race with independents and after a year where independents nationally sided with the GOP by a 19-point margin on the national House ballot. That's very meaningful.

Mona Charen, writing for Town Hall, tells her national audience that voters in NY-26 are being duped by Kathy Hochul on her claims about the Ryan budget and Medicare and by Jack Davis, whom she says is really a Democrat. She also says Jane Corwin isn't running a very competent campaign.

The NY-26 race was discussed at length last night by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

May 9, 2011 - 10:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, NY-26, trade, nafta.

New York is the fifth hardest hit state in the union in terms of jobs lost since the ratification of NAFTA, according to a study released by the Economic Policy Institute, and in New York, the NY-26 Congressional District has lost the most jobs after the NY-29.

The 26th district, which is currently up for grabs in a May 24 special election, has lost 1,800 jobs since 1994.

The study does note that some of the job loss may have been driven by the recent economic downturn, but says in all more than 500,000 U.S. jobs were displaced as a direct result of the ratification of NAFTA.

New York has lost 34,300 jobs. Most of the jobs were in the manufacturing sector.

The study takes into account new U.S. jobs created as a result of trade with Mexico.

Before the passage of NAFTA, the U.S. had a trade surplus with Mexico of $1.6 billion. By 2010, the trade deficit with Mexico had climbed to $97.2 billion.

The introduction to the report reads:

Prominent economists and U.S. government officials predicted that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would lead to growing trade surpluses with Mexico and that hundreds of thousands of jobs would be gained (Hufbauer and Schott 1993; President Clinton 1993). The evidence shows that the predicted surpluses in the wake of NAFTA’s enactment in 1994 did not materialize, for reasons outlined in this briefing paper. However, congressional leaders and administration officials now make nearly identical claims about export growth and job creation under the proposed U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).

Wikipedia describes EPI as a liberal, nonpartisan think tank.

The next representative of the NY-26 will likely be asked to vote on three new trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which is why we asked the four candidates for their positions on free trade.  

Kathy Hochul, Jack Davis and Ian Murphy all said they oppose NAFTA. Jane Corwin said, "I am a believer in the free markets and free trade but it must also be fair trade."

Asked specifically whether they would vote yes or no on the South Korean pact, Hochul, Davis and Murphy all said, "No." Corwin did not answer the question.

(via Buffalo First)

May 9, 2011 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in volunteer firefighters.

A grant of more than $288,000 has been awarded to Genesee County by FEMA as part of an nationwide effort to ensure volunteer fire departments remain adequately staffed to handle disasters and emergencies.

Called the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER), it has been awarded to a cooperative venture by Lake Plains Community Care Network, Genesee County Emergency Management Office, Genesee County Fire Advisory Board and the Genesee County Recruitment and Retention Task Force.

Funds will be used to address recruitment and retention challenges in the fire services locally with a goal to attract 320 new firefighters, as well as EMS, fire police and other roles, over the next four years.

The goal is to sign up 18 new members for each department in the county during that time, which would allow departments to address normal attrition rates and grow the volunteer force at the same time.

Funding will cover hiring a marketing firm to create a program to raise public awareness of the importance of volunteer fire departments and promote opportunities for people to get involved with their local departments.

Lake Plains will act as lead agency in administration of the grant.

Full press release after the jump:

May 9, 2011 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire.

There's a report of a vehicle fire in the area of 733 Cook Road, Bergen.

Bergen Fire Department has been dispatched.

UPDATE 3:10 p.m.: Bergen back in service.

 


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May 9, 2011 - 12:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

In other campaign news, the Buffalo News has published a story saying that Corwin's critics are calling into question claims in her professional biography.

Also, House Speaker John Boehner is in Depew today, to support Corwin's campaign and take part in a fundraiser.

In response, Jack Davis is giving away free hot dogs at Zorba’s Texas Hots, just down the road from what Davis said is a $2,500 per-plate lunch with Boehner.

A Buffalo News article also notes that Hochul is having a hard time interesting House Democrats in financial and strategic support for her candidacy, even as she seems to be gaining ground on Corwin.

Finally, DailyKos claims to have Hochul's internal polling numbers, which shows the race going 31-30-26 for Corwin-Hochul-Davis. The post says the poll was conducted by Global Strategy Group, but doesn't say when or what the margin of error might be (but it's certainly within 1 percentage point, making this at least a two-way tie and possibly a three-way tie).

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: DailyKos is reporting that a new poll (which I think they're saying was commissioned by DailyKos and SEIU) shows Hochul with a lead in the race. The numbers break down 35 percent for Hochul, 31 for Corwin, 24 for Davis with 2 percent going to Murphy. Full spreadsheet of the poll here. One of the interesting charts is of the approval rating for the Republican-lead Congress, with 57 percent overall, and 35 percent of the Republicans in the district saying they disapprove.

UPDATE 6:02 p.m.: The DailyKos poll is making national news. Here's a story from Roll Call.

“I think they have a pretty long record of being inaccurate with their polls,” Corwin spokesman Matthew Harakal said of PPP.

When asked, Harakal declined to release internal polling from the Corwin campaign to counter the PPP survey.

“We’re very comfortable with where we are,” he said. “The fact is that Kathy Hochul and Jack are on the wrong side of the issues. The only poll that matters is on Election Day.”

Harakal also told Roll Call the lunch today was $150 per plate.

The progressive New Republican wonders if Corwin will become Paul Ryan's first "victim."

If Hochul pulls this out, it will exert a huge influence over the Congressional landscape. Democrats even in unfriendly districts will have a viable plan to unseat Republican incumbents. Meanwhile, Republicans, who have been riding high on ideological hubris, will suddenly come face to face with some cold political reality. 

UPDATE 8:49 p.m.: More on the race from The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Sean Carroll and WHAM13 has a run down of today's events in Erie County. So does Commentary Magazine.

May 9, 2011 - 12:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

A Le Roy mother accused of stealing $6,200 from a nursery school where she served as treasurer will spend five years on probation, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled this morning.

Jennifer M. Riggi, 29, of 47 Lake St., Le Roy, will also serve on community work details each weekend for the next two months.

Riggi, speaking hoarsely and softly, said in halting sentences, "I admit it was wrong. I feel awful that it happened. It's a mistake I made."

On Feb. 27, Riggi plead guilty to grand larceny, 4th. As part of her plea deal, she was required to make restitution prior to sentencing, which she did.

Meg Roberts, president of the board of directors for the school, said Riggi's actions were harmful to the school.

"We trusted you to help run the school for our children and your children as well," Roberts said. "You completely misled us that you had the best interest of the children at heart.

"You had direct knowledge about how misappropriating funds would hurt the school and our ability to pay our teachers. I never would have expected another mother to steal from our school."

Noonan said he really didn't understand Riggi's motivation.

"When I read the presentence investigation on somebody who violated the trust of an institution or organization that vested them with (financial responsibility), I'm really trying to look for a reason why," Noonan said.

"Some would do it often times because of drug or other substance abuse issues. Sometimes it's a gambling problem. Sometimes it's a drastic change in financial circumstances. Often times people say, as you did, that they intended at the time to return what they took and just got in over their heads.

"But with a spouse who has adequate income so that you're not forced into the position where you must steal to feed your children, it does suggest a real character flaw. That is something you are going to have to deal with, not just for the period of probation term, but for the rest of your life.

"What could make you feel that you could go and take money just because it was available to you, I don't understand," Noonan concluded. "It's not my job to understand it. It's just a curiosity to me."

May 9, 2011 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield.

Two young boys have handcuffed themselves together and a deputy has been dispatched to help them out.

One of the cuffs is apparently too tight on one boy and his hand is starting to turn blue.

The boys are on South Main Street, Village of Oakfield.

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