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July 18, 2010 - 2:24pm

Coppola challenges incumbent to cut ties with 'corrupt party leaders'

posted by Billie Owens in politics, marc coppola, steve ranzenhofer.

Here's a news release from Marc Coppola, state senate candidate for New York’s 61st District.

Senate candidate Marc Coppola is challenging his election opponent "not to associate with corrupt party leaders."

Coppola is calling on incumbent Michael Ranzenhofer, to decline the state’s Independence Party nomination.



“Accepting the support of Independence Party political boss Frank McKay and his upstate colleague, former Democratic Party Chairman Steve Pigeon, sends the wrong message to voters," Coppola said. "Both are under state and federal investigation for alleged money laundering and campaign finance violations.”

Several media outlets around the state have reported that McKay is under investigation by the New York City District Attorney’s office for possible money laundering in connection with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election campaign. Media outlets have also reported that Pigeon is the focus of multiple investigations by state and federal authorities for similar violations in connection with other campaigns.

Board of Elections records show Senator Ranzenhofer filed an acceptance for the Independence Party nomination on July 12. To get the party’s nod, McKay himself must give the authorization.

Ranzenhofer’s acceptance of the Independence Party line, while knowing that Chairman McKay and Pigeon are both under investigation troubles Coppola.

“I can’t say that I am surprised that Senator Ranzenhofer is willing to work with corrupt party bosses for his own political gain,” Coppola said. “To secure the senate majority, Mr. Ranzenhofer voted to make State Senator Pedro Espada President of the Senate.

"It was a move that put Espada in line to potentially be the next governor. It came even after Espada had been fined by the State Board of Elections for campaign finance violations, and while Espada was under criminal investigation by state and federal authorities.

“It is clear that Senator Ranzenhofer is willing engage with corrupt politicians and party bosses if it benefits him politically. When I started this campaign, I called for an end to cross-endorsements and fusion voting for precisely this reason.

"Confidence in government and its leaders is at an all time low in New York State and the corruption of our political system is a major reason why. I choose to take the high road and not ally myself with party leaders who are under criminal investigation. I challenge my opponent, Mr. Ranzenhofer, to do the same.”


It should also be noted that Senator Ranzenhofer is pursuing the Independence Party line even after he called for Steve Pigeon to be investigated in 2008. It came when Pigeon and Rochester billionaire Tom Gollisano supported Ranzenhofer’s opponent Baby Joe Mesi in the last election.

Charlie Mallow
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Since when are only small third party leaders corrupt?
Jeremiah Pedro
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So will Mr. Coppola not align himself with any party then?
Dave Olsen
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He'd get my vote, Jeremiah
John Roach
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Jeremiah, He is the Democrat candidate. He is just not asking for any other party endorsements.
Adama Brown
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Charlie, while there's no such thing as a perfect record anywhere, I would certainly say that you're not going to find anybody in Western New York politics who's more corrupt than Steve Pigeon. I'm willing to bet that if you took away his corruption, he'd shrivel up and disappear like a leprechaun in a storybook.
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Adama, is Steve Pigeon corrupt or does he just do everything he can to undermine the current Erie County Democratic chair? I have to admit the whole deal with Espada leaves a real bad taste. I’ll go with ethically challenged but, corrupt is a bit much from my understanding. From what I remember Baby Joe was working with Pigeon as well. Didn’t you support Baby Joe? I’ve met Baby Joe, I like him, I voted for him and I’m not about to call out Ranzenhofer for working with the same people Baby Joe did. On a side note, I do like what I have seen so far with Coppola.
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Charlie, The irony here is that if Coppola had his way, then CM would not be running against Steve Hawley. CM is registered with the Green Party and would not be allowed to run on the Democratic party line.
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John, your right, I didn’t think about that. CM would be a cross-endorsed candidate and his candidacy does require fusion voting. I think fusion voting gives smaller parties and independents a greater voice and that is healthy. I also like the idea that CM has chosen to keep his independence. There is nothing corrupt or wrong about that move. This stand seems a bit disjointed and lacks some good planning.
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I think Marc Coppola is just carving out his niche in the anti-incumbent groove that's going on. I like him over Rantzenhofer too. I would like it if candidates just ran for office as individuals. They could belong to whatever party they wanted, and whatever party could endorse or not whoever they wanted. I dislike the elites/ peasant system we have.
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Dave, that's a lovely theory, but I lived in California during their recall election when something like that happened and the reality was....well, not lovely.
Dave Olsen
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Was Arnold a better Governor than Gray Davis?
Chris Charvella
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Hard to say, California has been in a downward spiral financially since well before Gov. Davis. When you add in the economic issues that have plagued the rest of the country since Davis' departure, I'd have to say that the Governator is probably doing the best he can with the cards he was dealt. Of course, when it comes to governmental dysfunction, California and New York are in a no holds barred cage-match for the title. They seem to be one step ahead of us in the colossal failure sweepstakes and they've already tried everything we're thinking about doing to fix the problems; of course they have the added problem of mass amounts of illegal immigrants to deal with.
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As a total outsider to Cali. I think Arnold has done a decent job, mainly because he was truly the people's choice, or at least perceived to be. Therein would lie my point, populism isn't very pretty sometimes, but unless us peasants feel like a part of the process, or that Our votes actually count if you will, we feel like our government doesn't care. And then no matter what a Governor or legislature does it's wrong. I felt that is what drove the recall in Cali. I wasn't there however, I could be off. As for your second paragraph, Chris: You are correct NY and CA are in a race to the bottom. But, to draw this together with another thread, the illegal immigrants aren't as much of a problem as California's over-regulating of itself and the bloated public pension fund.
Michele Case
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Don't forget what the guys from Enron did to the Calefornians! Hardly Gray Davis' fault.
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True Michele. Enron was selling power that it didn't own, cue the rolling blackouts. People like to have someone to blame though ad Davis took his share of the blowback for Enron's misdeeds. Enron is a perfect example of what happens when you don't regulate. The free market theory is great until you introduce people into it. IF our economy were run by robots with strict ethics programming, we'd be in great shape, instead it's run by criminals in $2000 suits who spend their days thinking up new ways to steal money.
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I lived in California during the rolling blackouts. My only saving grace was that my apartment complex was on the same grid as a hospital. Hospitals were exempt from the blackouts.
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I was living in California during the same time as Bea and Chris. Funny how we are all living in NY now. It's almost as if we were horrible people in a past life and are being punished now by the states we lived in. Anyhow, I can remember one of the reasons that Davis was unpopular was the fact that when he took office from Wilson the state had a 3 billion dollar surplus, mid way through his second term and one of the driving factors of the recall was the 42 million dollar hole Davis had spent the state into. And before you go biting my head off, I'm well aware that that was not the only reason, I'm just pointing that out as one of the reasons.
Howard B. Owens
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"Enron is a perfect example of what happens when you don't regulate. The free market theory is great until you introduce people into it." Enron was regulated. Because of those regulations Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Andrew Fastow, among others went to jail. Enron was not a failure of the free market. It is not an indictment of minimal regulation. It's triumph of the rule of law. It's a fool's errand to try and regulate away all misdeeds. Here's a fact: There are corrupt people in the world. And corrupt people will always find a way to try and take advantage of the system. It doesn't matter how many rules and regulations you write. I just don't understand why some people think that all you need to do to stop the next scandal is to create more regulation. Sabanes-Oxley was passed in response to Enron, despite the FACT that the criminals of Enron were all caught with laws that existed prior to SOX. SOX has been especially costly to small businesses. Billions have been wasted on costly and useless SOX compliance requirements. SOX is a fraud on the American people that has cost jobs and sapped money that could have put to productive use from the economy Look at how well SOX did at preventing the subprime fraud. SOX is a joke.
Chris Charvella
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Howard, need I remind you of a little thing called the Enron Loophole?
Howard B. Owens
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That seemed to work out really well for Lay, Skilling and Fastow, didn't it. The fact is, criminals committed crimes, they were caught and went to jail. End of story.
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Crimes that they felt they were able to commit because they were exempted from federal oversight. If they had a government regulator eight feet up their ass while they were trading energy they didn't own maybe millions of Californians wouldn't have had to wonder why their damn lights wouldn't turn on. The idea of the free market is great, but we've had a multitude of examples over the last ten years of how the reality doesn't match the theory. Every form of government from communism to fascism and every type of economy from socialism to pure market capitalism work in theory. An honest defense can be made for any form of societal or economic construct, but as soon as you introduce the human variable into the equation they all fall apart.
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Chris, every criminal thinks they can get away with it. That's hardly an argument at all. Communism, fascism and socialism are hardly comparable to free-market democracy. To put them on an equal plan as "working in theory" is nonsense. Communism, fascism and socialism are all deeply flawed theories both on paper and in reality. No honest defense can be made for communism, fascism or socialism. No honest defense can be made for any social construct that denies human freedom. What is it that liberals said throughout the 1980s about abortion and gay rights -- you can't legislate morality? I guess that doesn't apply to economics? You have a right to do what you want with your body, but not with your pocketbook.
Howard B. Owens
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Damn liberal hippies, singing about personal freedom.
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Well, gee Howard, if you let people do what they want with their pocketbook they might not pay enough taxes to support the all the regulators. Seeing as how you're such a liberal, I'd think you'd get that.
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Howard, all of those systems on paper assume moral purity in their leadership and so they work. What makes every governmental and economic system imperfect is the human element. That is why regulation is necessary.
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Democratic capitalism does not assume moral purity of leadership. That's why it is not comparable to other systems and why the other systems are fundamentally flawed on paper and in practice. Any system that denies individual freedom is fundamentally flawed. And the main problem with our current practice of passing knee-jerk laws, such as Sarbanes-Oaxley, is that rather than operate from the democratic free market principle of checks and balances, they are merely feel-good measures that have no beneficial impact but either inhibit personal freedom (Leandra's Law) or negatively impact economic growth (SOX). So long as we act as if and believe that more and more government is beneficial just because a little government is beneficial, we will continue to lose freedom, lose economic vitality and lose what has allowed this country to grow to the benefit of multitudes as no other country in history was able to do.
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Howard, I'm not arguing ideology, I'm arguing effectiveness. All the systems I mentioned are effective in theory until you introduce the human element. As far as Enron goes, you seem to understand that the executives at that company took advantage of a lack of regulation to commit their crimes but you won't admit that the presence of regulation may have stopped the problems before they happened. Your head is firmly in the sand as usual. Your love for an idea or an ideology doesn't mean that you cam fit that ideology into every situation. Remember the saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything you see looks like a nail.
Dave Olsen
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Chris; When you have a few minutes, check this out: http://volokh.com/2010/05/22/so-a-libertarian-and-a-liberal-walk-into-a-... I'll spoil the ending by telling you that in the end they agree to disagree and become good drinking buddies. ALso, there's a bikini picture of a girl who lost 13 lbs with acai berries (Value Added)
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Chris, I have made no statement implied or direct that says that Enron executives took advantage of a lack of regulation. I've said 100 percent opposite -- that there was sufficient regulation and they were CAUGHT, PROSECUTED AND JAILED. You are arguing in favor of more and more regulation. That is an ideological position that government knows best. It most assuredly does not. The system was quite effective to deal with Enron. Sarbanes-Oxley was unnecessary. But the people who love government think the solution to every problem is the hammer of more regulation. There is no regulation in the world you can write that will "stop a problem before it happens." People being people, there will always be corrupt people and no matter how many laws you write, that won't change. There will still be criminals and still be people who try to take advantage of every situation and system. Who has their head in the sand? The person who believes there is a government solution for every problem, or the person who recognizes reality and therefore believes in freedom?
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Freedom will eventually be called into question when a reckless individual yells, "Fire!," in a crowded theater. Every system for socio-economic order grew from communities imperiled by personal interest. Current systems graduated from the simplistic to the complex as our societies grew in number, size and technical ability to annihilate each other. Individuals may be inconvenienced by systems intended to enable us, but as recent news items suggest- whether a neighbor is detracting a home sale or abetting noxious gulls on a decaying commercial property, eventually citizens turn to government for satisfaction. How would consumer trust stand without regulatory agencies such as the FDA, USDA, FAA, etc? Corporations like ENRON have proven no less toxic than the patent medicine purveyors of the previous century.
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Dave, a libertarian friend of mine and I have been (humorously of course) discussing writing a point/counterpoint book. I just like pointing out to Howard his logical fallacies. For example, he loves free market economics, but hates Wal-Mart. I also hate Wal-Mart, but I'm logically sound because I also believe that there should be punitive tariffs on imported goods that can be easily made and produced in America by Americans.
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Howard, I'm not arguing in favor of more and more regulation, I'm arguing in opposition to no regulation at all. Your method seems to say that we should allow these people to fleece us until they get caught. My method simply front-loads the enforcement so people don't have to go without power and shareholders don't get bilked out of millions of dollars.
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Chris, my anti-Walmart stance has been consistently that people should make an informed choice about where they shop. I've never called for a break up of Walmart. Though I have argued that the government has enabled Walmart to become what it is through unfair anti-competitive tax subsidies totaling in the billions. Walmart is a perfect example of rather than sticking to free market principals we've seen and allowed the government to interfere in the market. Walmart would not have gotten as big and dominant as it is without government help. Chris, you have not pointed out a SINGLE logical fallacy in anything I've said. And if you've followed my argument that it's impossible to have true free trade with countries that are not free, then you would also understand why I would logically and consistently favor trade barriers with those countries. It's about freedom, Chris. Do you get that, or do you just want to keep misstating my position?
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Chris, your last statement is so self-contradictory, I'll just let it stand on its own. -- I'm not arguing for more more regulation -- But there should be more regulation to keep people from doing bad things. LOL.
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Chris, why don't you see that the very presumption of your position is that regulations will stop people from doing bad things is flawed? Criminals should be punished. There should be ample laws to catch and punish criminals. You steal money, you take money that you are not morally entitled to take, you should be prosecuted and jailed. But the government isn't happy with this simple formula. There must be regulations to stop people from doing bad things. This is the Utopian dream. If only we can write more laws, there will be no more bad people. Why is it so hard to understand: There is no amount of laws you could write to stop people from doing bad things? And the more laws you write, the more of a burden it is on society, on business, on the individual.
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OK, Howard, what is your position? Do you believe there should be some regulation or none? I believe there should be some. More in industries that directly affect our economy (value of the dollar, interest rates etc...), energy sources and food sources. Less in other areas. I believe that there is no blanket ideology or system of regulation (or lack thereof) that can be applied to every situation. I prefer a case by case analysis and I reject the notion that there is cure-all method such as 'let the free market do it's job,' or 'the government should just take it over.'
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The simple point to me of a libertarian position on government regulation is: where does it stop? Yes, CM and Chris, people turn to government for help when they can't manage a situation themselves, like the seagulls. That's because that is what society has been teaching us since the Roosevelt Administration, you are the government, government will help you. Like I said, if you put emotions aside, you'll see that it is crazy regulations will bring more regulations and there will always be bad guys who'll find a loophole. I believe by the way, that the owner of the former Latina's building was pushed more by the media attention (Non-Government) than by anything the City of Batavia threatened him with. Just my opinion, we'll probably never know for sure.
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Chris, I believe there should be laws. It isn't hard to figure out when somebody is committing fraud. This started because you said that Enron proved that a lack of regulations meant there needed to be more regulations. Now that I've soundly proven the illogic of that position, you're backing down to "I believe there should be _some_ regulation." You say, "I'm not arguing for more and more regulation," but your original statement about Enron was in fact premised on the idea that there needs to be more regulation. Are you willing to admit that there are times that the government passes regulations where none are needed and that regulations can in fact do more harm that good (careful, you'll start to sound like a libertarian if you admit government isn't perfect)?
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Dave, your post is spot on. And as for Latina's, I'd call it a public-private partnership. The government action is one of the things that helped make it newsworthy in Buffalo. But Lewin was completely unresponsive until a second Buffalo TV station picked up the story.
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There's hope for you Chris; head to the light. Back in the mid-19th century, some European nobleman said "A man who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart, if he's still a socialist at 30 he has no brain." paraphrased. I think you are older than 30, and I'll confess to being a liberal at 30, even at 40 still. But, by the time I reached 50, I was a libertarian. So, maybe 40 is the new 20 and therefor 50 is the new 30. That's what I'm going with anyways.
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When did you disprove anything Howard, the Enron loophole exempted them from government regulation. Had there been regulators watching the foxes in the hen house none of that nonsense would have been allowed to happen. Enron falls into a category where I would call for more regulation than usual because they dealt directly with energy sources. Ask Californians who lived through the rolling blackouts if they think there should have been somebody watching Lay and company.
Chris Charvella
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Howard Said: Chris, your last statement is so self-contradictory, I'll just let it stand on its own. -- I'm not arguing for more more regulation -- But there should be more regulation to keep people from doing bad things. LOL. Howard, First, you misquoted me, then you attributed a statement to me that I didn't make. I'll fix this up for you. I said 'I'm not arguing for more and more regulation' That was in response to your statement that I think the 'government knows best' and your inference that what I want is constant and increasing interference from the government. I never said 'But there should be more regulation to keep people from doing bad things.' Instead, I took a nuanced position that admits that every situation calls for a different approach and that no single method is a cure-all. Context is everything.
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So we return to your theory that it's ok for criminals to commit their crimes as long as they get caught and it's ok for executives to screw their shareholders out of millions of dollars as long as they end up in jail for it. That's like saying there shouldn't be any police on patrol because they'll just catch the muggers later on. Industries that directly affect the well being of all citizens need to be regulated. I specifically mentioned industries that directly affect our economy (value of the dollar, interest rates etc...), energy sources and food sources. No one is calling for an army of government inspectors to start raiding say...pen factories, or to begin scrutinizing the origin and packaging of thumbtacks. I'm talking about reasonable consumer (and in the case of ENRON, shareholder) protections. Capitalism isn't a last man standing free for all and the free market can't right every wrong or cure all of our woes, neither can the government. I'm talking about taking a reasonable approach to each situation based on necessity. It's called pragmatism, get some. EDIT: This comment was made in response to Howard's comment which he has apparently removed.
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I took down my comment because I thought it was getting a little too pointed and I decided to let you have the last word. My small government position and its virtues speaks for itself.
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Chris, What do you consider "reasonable"?
Chris Charvella
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Depends on the situation John.
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Fascinating conversation guys. I gotta say, I like what you say, Chris...what does that make me? Regulation needs to meet its purpose, and sometimes adjustments are necessary. That doesn't necessarily mean MORE regulation, just change. Thanks for the education guys.

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