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Responding To Mike Wrona

By Robert Harding

After Alice Kryzan's primary victory on Tuesday, I went over to see what Mike Wrona had to say. After all, Wrona is a vocal Kryzan supporter and has criticized me for my support of Jon Powers in the past. What I discovered is that, even with his candidate winning, Mike Wrona still wants to divide us instead of unite us.

Wrona wrote a post that called Kryzan a "big winner" on Tuesday. He also decided to take jabs at myself and my friend Alan Bedenko, a fellow blogger and Jon Powers supporter. He also seemed to question whether or not we are progressive. I don't know how that does anyone any favors in this situation, but it's not exactly what you should be doing after your candidate wins a primary. Wrona also said that we fell for the "Iraq War veteran label." There is no "label" when you are a veteran. If you are a veteran, you ARE a veteran. It's not a label. It's an honor. Wrona also asserted in that post that the local party leadership in all seven counties picked Powers because of money and "form over substance." Actually, Wrona is wrong. The four rural counties backed Powers first and it was because he is genuine, listens to voters, is very approachable and personable and wanted to go to Washington to be our representative. He traveled every corner of this district early on and that didn't change throughout this campaign. So Wrona clearly does not understand why the party leadership backed Powers.

Wrona wrote another post about Kryzan getting the DCCC's backing. He started off the post by saying "better late than never." Better late than never? Why would the DCCC back a candidate who showed virtually no fundraising ability after being in the race since September 2007 (technically) and a candidate that was very quiet in this race until about a few weeks before the primary? I remember seeing Kryzan at an event in June. It was the Wyoming County Flag Day Party. I guess she had a few supporters there and that's where she stayed. I never saw her walk around the room to introduce herself. Whether it was a pro-Powers crowd or not, people still would have greeted her and treated her with respect.

In that same post, Wrona makes a blatantly false claim. He claims that Charlie Mallow, the current chair of the Genesee County Democrats, said he would be supporting Chris Lee in November. This is not true. What Charlie said is in this post on The Batavian. If you notice, there is an update in that post which reads, "Some will seek other options but, the vast majority will sooner or later support her before Election Day. We are Democrats; we have an ideology that puts us more in line with Kryzan than Lee."

That was his response after he was asked whether or not the county would run away from Kryzan in November. I guess Mike Wrona didn't like that answer so he decided to make up his own. That's unfortunate, especially when he also suggests that Charlie's county committee should act (Charlie has already said that he's not going to serve as county chair again) as well as the state party AND even the governor. Wrona sure went to great lengths to spread a lie.

I will always be a fan of Jon Powers and most importantly, a friend of Jon Powers. But I have never, EVER been a sore loser. I reached out to Alice's campaign Wednesday morning and sent along my congratulations. I have been in contact with them and they seem to be very receptive of rural support and maybe even some netroots support. This is not an easy time for me. I will honestly say that I'm not in Alice's corner yet, but she is a better option than the Republican and she is better than Jack Davis. I can't just throw away 14 months of support for Jon Powers in only a few days. It will take time to get over this tough loss and then refocus our attention on the key races in our state and in our area.

My suggestion to Mike Wrona would be to be more of a uniter and less of a divider. This isn't the first time he had posted fabrications on his blog about myself or someone I know. I usually tell Republicans that we can all have our opinions but we can't have our own version of the facts. I shouldn't be saying that to someone who touts himself as a progressive Democrat. If Mike Wrona wants his candidate to win, he needs to help Kryzan embrace others who were Powers supporters and Davis supporters. Kryzan won with 41 percent of the vote. That means a majority of Democrats in the 26th did not vote for her. She needs to appeal to these people. I don't think she wants one of her supporters saying the things Wrona has said. It does her a great disservice when she and her campaign are working hard to try and contact key people in this area, especially rural chairs like Mallow.

Mike Wrona

This is what Robert Harding wrote on the blog The Albany Project:

“I believe Kryzan can do it. But she HAS to do it. You can't just expect us to fall in line because you are the nominee. There is a reason we supported Jon. We want to see the reasons why we should support you.”

This is an example of a 22 year old who got all passionate about one candidate while not bothering to learn anything about the other candidates. He knows nothing of what Alice Kryzan represents and says, yet he decided not to support her. Then he goes all over the internet pushing his candidate based on ignorance of the opposition. He simply jumped on the “Vote for me, I'm an Iraq Veteran bandwagon.”.

Robert is a 22 year old blogger who himself has no experience in politics and hasn't even had a fulltime job, just like Jon Powers, but, wants to be considered a political expert. You judge if the young man knows anything of what he speak and writes.. This was Robert's response to the endorsement of Alice Kryzan by Congressman John LaFalce.

“LaFalce, like Kryzan, is a lawyer. The top industry that has given to Kryzan? Lawyers and law firms. Kryzan has received a lot of support from the Buffalo-area legal community. So LaFalce backing her isn't surprising.”

That's interesting. One of Jon Powers PAC supporters was the Philadelphia (not located in the 26th Congressional District) law firm Wolf Block PAC. Robert isn't aware of this because he has never looked. Powers has received over $100,000 from attorney's including lawyer's employed by Cellion & Barnes, Mintz Levin (Boston MA), Collins and Maxwell, Sampson Thatcher, Paul William Belz, Bengart & DeMarco, Tighe Patton Armstrong Teasdeal, Black Mann & Gramm, Boies Shiller & Flexner, Dechert LLP, etc. Why go on?

“Rolling out this endorsement five days beforehand reduces its impact, I would contend. It's one thing if you had a plethora of other endorsements like Jon Powers has. It's another thing when you are struggling from behind and an endorsement like this could give you a lift. Maybe LaFalce just decided on this. But this could have been a difference-maker for Kryzan months ago. Now? It's impact might be minimal, at best. “

Robert, Powers lost, Kryzan won, did the LaFalce endorsement help? You may remain the only person who doesn't think so.

I stand by my criticism of both he and Alan Bedenko. The Powers campaign was based on the celebrity of a candidate who outside of his military service, which ended for years ago had a thin resume. He sold War Kids Relief as a great thing, then bailed when he didn't get government support. There are plenty of charities that don't get federal funds and are successful, I.e. Kids Escaping Drugs. Apparently this was a cash cow or nothing venture. Then he regularly identified himself as a teacher who shaped young minds and yet was only in the classroom for 8 or less school days over a 3 year period and even let his Teacher Certification expire. Finally, he told the Amherst Democrats he became a Democrat after he left the service andot because he thought the idea of war in Iraq was wrong, It was because he didn't like the way the administration was handling the war. Big, big difference.

So, I see no reason to change my attitude. The only Democrat and stable candidate won the race.

For those who are of a mind, Alice Kryzan's web page is

Mike Wrona
Buffalo 14228

Sep 13, 2008, 10:29am Permalink
lazario ladou

"..wants to divide us instead of unite us"
Wasn't bush a uniter not a divider?
Country is still 50/50

Iraq War veteran label.
There is no "label" when you are a veteran. If you are a veteran, you ARE a veteran. It's not a label. It's an honor

You know very well what he means, dude.

"Actually, Wrona is wrong. The four rural counties backed Powers first and it was because he is genuine, listens to voters, is very approachable and personable and wanted to go to Washington to be our representative. He traveled every corner of this district early on and that didn't change throughout this campaign. So Wrona clearly does not understand why the party leadership backed Powers."

How does one opinion refute another? You don't know what made these people pick Powers

"is very approachable and personable"
That's weak
Genuine I'll give you if you are indeed a -close- friend of his but otherwise whatever

"Wrona is wrong"
that's clever, though.

"Why would the DCCC back a candidate who showed virtually no fundraising ability"

I personally don't see how this matters one bit

"I never saw her walk around the room to introduce herself. Whether it was a pro-Powers crowd or not, people still would have greeted her and treated her with respect"

OK. Point?

"Robert is a 22 year old blogger who himself has no experience in politics"

I don't see how this matters, either.
Experience doesn't make the politician
Experience turns the average politician a profiteer

Who invented cheese? An experienced cheese maker?
Experience ensures careers

"political expert"
I would really like this defined for me

Sep 13, 2008, 11:38am Permalink
Robert Harding


I was one of the early supporters of Jon. It wasn't because he was an Iraq War veteran. It was because I talked to him, knew about his stances on the issues and saw him as the genuine leader he is. So claiming (like you have done in the past) that I am somehow a bandwagon fan of Jon Powers is another false claim. I guess I know why you don't allow comments on your blog. You can claim anything you want and no one can reply or provide a rebuttal.

And I don't get how attacking my character does any good in this situation. Yes, I'm 22. But I have been blogging about local, state and national politics since 2006 and this will be my third election working on a campaign or campaigns. I volunteered for Davis in 2006 and helped with my local races in Orleans County. I helped Jon and I plan on helping or are helping several Democrats in this region win their respective races. Also, saying I have never had a full-time job is a little hard, isn't it? After all, I left college in May and I will be finishing up my degree this fall. I have friends of mine who are still looking for jobs. After college, some find them and others don't. It's the luck of the draw. It's not exactly easy here in Western New York.

Also, my point about Kryzan and lawyers was that Kryzan has received a lot of support from lawyers. Yes, Powers did too, but Kryzan received a lot of support from Buffalo-area lawyers. I don't think that's a negative. It's just a statement of fact.

John LaFalce's endorsement had very little to no impact on this race. The impact was in the negativity of the race. Jack Davis spent a lot of money on smearing Jon Powers. I received mailer after mailer, saw ad after ad and at the end of the day, your average voter sees that and has their own view of Powers. I'm not the only person who thinks this. Powers was endorsed by a plethora of people, including John Kerry and Wesley Clark. Endorsements, I have learned, are rather meaningless unless that person who endorses you goes out on the trail to help you. LaFalce endorsed only days before the primary. The impact of that endorsement was minimal, at best. The long lasting negativity in this race was won it for Kryzan.

Your claims about the Powers campaign are so far off. You were never a Powers supporter and you went to great lengths yourself to make the same distortions others did about Jon Powers.

What I ask of you is decency. Your candidate won, correct? So why do you insist on approaching this situation with the same attack mode and lying that you engaged in before? I have been gracious to your cadidate since she was the victor. I don't think you need to disrespect Jon Powers any longer. I don't think you need to disrespect his supporters any longer.

Sep 13, 2008, 12:37pm Permalink
Alan Bedenko

Well gosh I've had a full time job in the dreaded private sector for over 14 years, have a political science degree, a JD, have been politically active since 1999 and am also a former Republican. Am I qualified to comment on Powers' candidacy, Mike?

If you think some sort of half-assed PUMAism will help Kryzan win against a Republican with a big funding and enrollment advantage, then keep up the good, divisive work. I certainly don't need you to inform me as to why I supported Powers.

On the other hand if you want the party to unify behind the nominee, then maybe extend a hand to shake instead of a finger to point.

Your comments here and on your own site have been nothing but shamefully insulting. Good luck with all that. I'll be sure to ask Alice and Anne whether they share your sentiments.

Sep 13, 2008, 12:58pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

I agree with Robert and Alan, as a Powers supporter there will be no shaming me into voting for Kryzan. Perhaps some sportsmanship and class is whats needed to bring everyone together.

Sep 13, 2008, 1:48pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

One more thing though Mike, the comparison that Charlie, whom from my gauging you have never met, was made about Jack Davis and not Alice Kryzan. What Charlie said was that Jack Davis would not be a better Congressman than Chris Lee, he made no such analogy of any other candidate in the race. Perhaps this is something you could ask Charlie about before you make such a broad-based statement about him, this sore winner talk won't rally the party around her by November.

Sep 13, 2008, 1:55pm Permalink
Mike Wrona


A County Democratic Party Chairman does not come out and publicly state that he would vote for a Republican candidate in a Congressional Race no matter what the reason.

As for Davis, he was the endorsed Democratic candidate in 2004 and 2006, does that mean Mallow voted for Reynolds twice?

Sep 13, 2008, 2:32pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

You'll have to ask Charlie, which you should have done in the first place.

Do you really want Powers supporters not to support Alice?

We're 36 percent of the primary vote, Alice needs at least half of us to push her over the top.

For the record, of course I'm voting for her and supporting her, but your not doing her campaign any favors by attacking people who supported Jon during the primary.

Sep 13, 2008, 2:37pm Permalink
Mike Wrona


I saw in today's Buffalo News that she has been in Wasington DC. Next week she will get back on the campaign trail.

Alice Kryzan is one positive and smart woman. I look forward to seeing how she deals with this fence mending situation. I have no doubt that she will be very gracious and sincere.

Sep 13, 2008, 2:42pm Permalink
Mike Wrona


You have a myopic view of this primary. You seem to think that my criticism of Powers is the problem.

You completely neglect the negative things that have come out of your side regarding her.

Sep 13, 2008, 2:47pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

If we won the primary though, those criticisms would end, this would be like David Axelrod still attacking Hillary's supporters, its really not needed. I can say that for my part and for most Powers supporters that most of our problems weren't with Alice from the start, we really had a major axe to grind with Davis because of the very negative and personal tone of his campaign. I always found Alice, despite the debate in Geneseo, to be gracious and fair in her campaign style. It is true that we were critical of Alice at times during the primary, but it wasn't criticism that would prevent us from supporting her in the general election, we need to start working together now.

Shoving her win in everyone's face doesn't help matters, it makes everything much worse and it makes it harder for Powers supporters to come out and pull the lever for Alice.

Sep 13, 2008, 2:58pm Permalink
Alan Bedenko

I've already spoken with Anne, and the campaign is smart enough to accept when supporters of her former opponent extend congratulations and offers of help.

Would that you were smart enough to do the same, Mike.

And your threat directed to me on your un-commentable site was so pathetic as to be downright laughable.

Sep 13, 2008, 3:07pm Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Hey guys, when you argue with each other and not me, I get all misty. Although, your infighting makes my job easier, it is not fun. The problem in the GLOW area is that the Dem leadership jumped on the Powers/Ianello bandwagon way to early. If Kryzan or Mesi win (God forbid!) how much use do you think they will have for all of you? My guess is not much use at all. Our County and its residents may suffer for it. Support your people and let us move on to the current race.
Kryzan is an unabashed liberal. God bless her for it. This is America and she can believe what she chooses. However, the 26th is no bastion of liberalism. Heck, a lot of the Dems. here are fairly conservative. With any luck, it will be an issues driven race. Like it or not, Lee's views are more in line with the district.

Sep 13, 2008, 3:30pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Oh Gee, Democrats don’t agree and we debate and hold primaries. What’s new Jay? I take issue with comment about the GLOW chairs picking early.

Let me tell you how our endorsements happened in Genesee County. The candidates came to visit the whole committee. We debated it; we argued the merits of each candidate. Then during a meeting OPEN to the press, we first voted to see if we are going to endorse. Then the WHOLE committee VOTED to endorse both candidates. I as chair did NOT pick Powers or Michele and then crown them.

Our endorsement is also just a recommendation as to who we thought would work the hardest for OUR county.

Why don’t you fill us in as to how the Republicans picked Lee?

Sep 13, 2008, 7:10pm Permalink
Robert Harding


I wouldn't have supported Davis if he won the primary either. I guess that makes me a bad Democrat.

Quit ignoring your lie about Mallow. He never said that he would vote for Lee over Kryzan. But what are the differences between Lee and Davis? Other than Jack giving his money to your fellow Erie County cohorts, not too much.

Sep 13, 2008, 7:52pm Permalink
Robert Harding

Mr. Grasso,

If the 26th isn't the "bastion of liberalism" then how will Chris Lee being pro-choice go over in this district?

By the way, only the "G" in "GLOW" endorsed Iannello since that is the only one of the rural counties in SD-61. And at least they endorsed and didn't show cowardice by not voting to endorse. By the way, if the rural counties got on the bandwagon too early, why did Jon Powers win the four rural counties?

Chris Lee is a millionaire. I don't know too many millionaires in the 26th district. Certainly there are some, but that's not representative of the whole.

Lee supports the Bush tax cuts which cut taxes for - who else - millionaires and billionaires so the middle class folks of this district have to pick up the tab. Lee also supports free trade, which is one of the key reasons why jobs have left this area.

Lee is just more of the same. He is two more years of Tom Reynolds.

Sep 13, 2008, 8:00pm Permalink
Robert Harding

The Republicans picked Lee by having the seven county chairs huddle in a room and decide that, after interviewing all of their candidates, Chris Lee was the best. I would have loved to see David Bellavia come out as the Republican candidate, but unfortunately he wasn't a millionaire.

The GOP can't deny this. It was highlighted in <i>The Buffalo News</i> that this was how they picked their candidate. They picked Lee (with Tom Reynolds' help) and that was it. And then Tom Reynolds put Chris Collins in his place because Collins wanted Rick Lewis - another millionaire - to be their guy.

In other words, the GOP didn't have a primary. Their seven chairs picked Lee. That's who the Republicans get. They can take it or leave it.

Sep 13, 2008, 8:04pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Actually, Charlie, think of all the money the GOP saved taxpayers because they didn't have a primary.

Why can't the Dems do the same thing?

Political parties are private organizations. Taxpayers should not foot the bill for them to decide who to run in an election. They can hold -- and pay for -- their own primaries, or their own caucuses at their own expense by their own rules. It shouldn't be anybody's business but their own.

Sep 13, 2008, 8:59pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

Howard, your thinking is flawed.

Despite the financial costs of a primary, a primary gives the voters just what Democracy exists for, a choice. Neither of the candidates that I supported in the primary, Jon Powers and Michele Iannello won.

That being said the opportunity for voters to pick who represents their party really gives the voters a chance to define what their parties message and ideals should be. The Democrats are not dictatorial, we don't just say "here's your candidate that we think represents you," our parties committees say "here are the candidates, we may think this one is better than the rest, but make up your own mind on who best represents your values,".

Sep 13, 2008, 9:04pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Wow! That's some strange thinking Howard. I guess with that way of thinking, why vote at all. The two party chairs could just arm wrestle for the seat in November, huh?

Sep 13, 2008, 9:25pm Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Charlie :you are right...not voting got me misty...I still had to work that Independence line for Ranz and never got to cast a ballot! Mr. Owens has a point, primaries cost a ton of money and can be divisive. Look at the argueing you guys were doing earlier.

Sep 13, 2008, 9:34pm Permalink
Robert Harding


Think of all the taxpayer dollars we could save if we didn't have elections. Then we don't need political parties at all.

But that would mean we would have to throw our democracy away. Someone has to lead this country right?

We could have a king. We could have someone who just happens to have the strongest posse (or army) to rule the land.

Or we could have someone in the mold of Adolf Hitler.

Now I know that this sounds extreme. But your thinking is flawed Howard. If we say that the existence of a primary election costs the taxpayers money, then we can say the whole electoral system costs the taxpayers money ergo we should get rid of the electoral system.

In a democracy, the people are supposed to rule. The Republican Party isn't saving the taxpayers money by having the seven chairs handpick their candidate. What they are doing is putting the "democracy" into their own hands and picking the candidate they think should be the candidate of the party. I don't think Chris Lee, should he have faced a primary against the other names being tossed around, would have won. He's not the most conservative of Republicans.

Also, should we not have publicly financed elections because that would cost taxpayers money? See how this rationale is flawed Howard? When it comes to the electoral process, taxpayer dollars should not matter. Elections are the greatest part of our democracy. A price tag should not be put on them. They should be carried out legally and fairly while giving every eligible citizen the right to decide who they want to lead their town, county, state and country.

Sep 13, 2008, 9:37pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Debate is good stuff Jay. You’re not serious about liking the idea that a handful of people picked your guy. How do you know Chris Lee is the right guy? Do you really know anything about him? I’m not picking on your guy; we just don’t know anything about him. He was never vetted by voters, by committee members or even YOU. Why do you support Chris Lee, besides being told by your party chair that he is your guy and getting all the talking points, WHY is he better than Belevia or the rest of those who wanted to run? Why did the rest of the Republican candidates back off and just go away? What power do your chairs have Democrat chairs don’t? I don’t understand how it happens, what do the Republican chairs say to make all the other people who want the seat run scared?

Don’t you think Steve Hawley would have made a better State Senator? Did he even have a chance to run? How do you know Steve wouldn’t have been the better candidate for the Republicans?

Are the Republicans sending their best and brightest or are they giving us the person who would just play ball?

Sep 13, 2008, 9:49pm Permalink
Robert Harding

"Charlie :you are right...not voting got me misty...I still had to work that Independence line for Ranz and never got to cast a ballot! Mr. Owens has a point, primaries cost a ton of money and can be divisive. Look at the argueing you guys were doing earlier."

Jay Grasso's Pet Names For Politicians
1.) Steve "Steve-O" Hawley
(For the record, I like Steve Hawley and while we disagree on things, we certainly respect one another and want to see the 139th Assembly District grow.)
2.) Mike "Ranz" Ranzenhofer

I hope Alice Kryzan doesn't get elected. He'll call her AK47.

Primaries are the essence of democracy. That's why the Republicans think they are so "divisive." People actually have to vote, which can be a bad thing for our Republican friends nowadays.

Sep 13, 2008, 9:55pm Permalink
Robert Harding


Steve Hawley would have made a better state senator for this reason alone: He's already in Albany. He knows what's going on. Not that Ranzenhofer doesn't but serving as a county legislator is a lot different than being an assemblyman.

"Are the Republicans sending their best and brightest or are they giving us the person who would just play ball?"

The latter, which is why they are failing nationwide to elect their own candidates.

Sep 13, 2008, 9:59pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

It's ridiculous to take what I say and go to any conclusion that would disenfranchise people.

Political parties are private organizations. The government -- and tax payer money -- should not be involved in registering their voters or or selecting their candidates. Voter registration should totally be without party affiliation.

There is nothing undemocratic about it and it is completely a free market, free enterprise alternative.

It's a violation of privacy for the government to demand what party I chose to affiliate with (or not, in my case, as I'm completely unaligned), and why should my money be wasted on the GOP or the Dems or any other party picking which candidate will stand in a general election?

It makes no sense whatsoever.

It's not flawed at all because it makes perfect sense to have the general election conducted and supervised by the government.

Let the partisans fight it out amongst themselves and then bring to the general electorate whomever they think can best represent their interests.

The reason partisans of the GOP and Democratic parties don't like this solution is because they know it would weaken the two party system, enable more independents and third-party candidates to campaign on a more level playing field -- which is exactly why I like this idea.

Let's be clear about this: Political parties are NOT government institutions. They're no different from the Lions or the Rotary, and the government doesn't conduct Rotary elections, so why should the government conduct GOP elections? Or maybe you think the government should manage and fund the next election of the board of directors for General Electric or General Motors or IBM? Why do the GOP and Dems get special treatment over other private groups that select their own leaders?

It's an absolute fallacy to jump from "primaries should be private" to any notion that general elections shouldn't be run by the government. That is an absolutely flawed connection. There is no connection there whatsoever.

Sep 13, 2008, 10:01pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

And BTW, I didn't say that the GOP shouldn't have a primary and allow ALL of its registered voters (or better: members) to pick it's candidate -- I just said, the government shouldn't pay for it.

I also said if the GOP or the Dems would prefer a caucus over a primary, that's the right of those parties. If the Dems pick "caucus" and a bunch of people don't like it, they can change parties or drop out. That's voting, too. That's the market place.

Each party can pick it's candidates how it likes -- primary, caucus or smoke-filled room. I really don't care. Just don't make me pay for it.

That is far more democratic, free-market, American than the current system.

Sep 13, 2008, 10:05pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Howard, your debate involves changing our form of government. Like it or not we have a two party system, I'm living in the here and now. I'm for change not revolution.

Sep 13, 2008, 10:39pm Permalink
John Roach

How stupid do you have to be to say that being an officer in the US Army, in a combat zone, is not a full time job?

No wonder we don't support your candidate.

Sep 14, 2008, 9:36am Permalink
John Roach

What it means is that Davis, this time, tried to bribe people, lied, and ran a dirty race. He didn't do that the first two times. Why would Charlie back a guy who did not have the support of the Dems. in the county this time out?

As you should know, Davis refused to even come out here and speak with anyone.

Sep 14, 2008, 11:13am Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Mr Harding: your comments are inapropriate and immature. Grow up! The nickname for Ranzenhoffer was given to him many years ago and not by me. He is commonly called Ranz in Erie County by Republicans and Democrats. In typical liberal fashion, you just cannot help but make nasty comments when your guys lose or you are losing an arguement. You can pretend to be positive all you want, but you are deeply annoyed. It shines through. Why take cheap shots at me? I do not take them at you. Who calls Hawley Steve-O? Must be you. Its not me. Are you capable of writing a post or response without taking a shot at me? Sigh. Of course you will deny this.
Perhaps we have faith in our Chairman to select the best candidate. If a Republican candidate had wanted to run a primary, they could have. No one chose to. That is also democracy.

Sep 14, 2008, 11:51am Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Charlie: Quick FYI. All the county Repub. committees officially discussed the candidates and several were interviewed. They were winnowed down, re-interviewed by the chairs and voted on. The votes are weighted by population and Lee came out on top. Erie and Monroe carry the most weighted votes. Lee had to work for it. I was there, you guys were not. Try not to assume. Steve Hawley had the opportunity to run for both State Senate and Congress but chose to run for the Assembly were he is quickly gaining influence and leadership. Steve is top notch.
Once again, if a Repub. had gotten signatures and ran, there would have been a primary. No one stepped up. I am quite happy with our candidates.

Sep 14, 2008, 12:01pm Permalink
Jerome Grasso

You guys all crack me up! There was no secret cabal to pick our candidates. There was a process. Not to sound like a broken record, but Steve hawley had first dibs on the Congress or State Senate. He would have been great for either. Maybe someday. He would do real well for us at any level.
Mr. Harding; the Buffalo Bean comes down pretty hard on you today. Your Chris Lee rebukes are pretty much dem talking points. Same old class envy.

Sep 14, 2008, 12:40pm Permalink
Robert Harding


Yes, clearly my comments were "inappropriate and immature." Actually, they were a joke. What, can't take a joke Jerome? I was just busting your chops. Take it easy. Don't take things to seriously, Jerome. Life is too short to take things so seriously. You call them "nasty comments." I call them picking fun. Learn how to take a joke Jerome. One of these days you will lose a race of your own and you will need to have a sense of humor to fall back on.

I'm not annoyed at all. I don't think a Genesee County legislator qualifies as a psychologist, so take it easy. I am happy. Barack Obama will be president. We will have the New York State Senate in January. I am very upbeat. So my congressional candidate didn't win. Big deal. He and I are great friends as a result. Sometimes friendships mean more than politics. Sometimes...

Don't be so serious Jerome. I understand that you might not get the joke because sometimes jokes are misunderstood on blogs or in print. Just relax. No one is attacking you or being nasty. Just calm down, sit back and smile.

That's what I'm doing. And believe me, my smile is big.

Sep 14, 2008, 12:53pm Permalink
Robert Harding


I'm glad that Matt over at Buffalo Bean decided to take time to write about me. I won't be returning the favor. You might call my writings "dem talking points" but Matt replied with Republican talking points.

And yes, I know who Buffalo Bean is. Colonelrustyshacklefordii over at Water Buffalo Press? Know him too. You would be amazed that conservative bloggers would be talking to me, but sometimes such discussion is necessary.

Sep 14, 2008, 12:58pm Permalink
John Roach

I seem to remember how upset the local Batavia GOP chair got when Bill Cox had the nerve to force a GOP primary for City Council. He made it clear that Cox could not be a good party member for bucking the party pick.

I know that is just the city GOP, but you have to admit, it didn't make your party look good.

Sep 14, 2008, 2:01pm Permalink


Sep 14, 2008, 7:37pm Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Mr Harding: Jokes are supposed to be funny. Work on them a little harder. Maybe some life experience would help. That was sort of a joke. Things will be great if we have a Democrat NYS Senate! More wasted spending and New York controlled by down state interests. More wasteful social programs and unfunded mandates. More money to the public unions! You might get your small personal victory but the state as a whole will lose. You desperately want to be a county legislator, but when you see the unfunded mandates from Albany, be careful what you wish for. You probably will not have time for all your postings. That was sort of a joke.
True, someday I will lose a race. Life will go on. Remember I beat a roughly 26 year incumbent Dem to get here. How do you know I dont have a psych degree!?

Sep 15, 2008, 7:33am Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Heck, Mr. Harding, I dont have a psych degree. Crim. Justice actually. I was actually trying to point out your double standard. You seem to be allowed to joke, repubs are not allowed. Be truthful. You were being nasty. I read Albany Project and Progressive City State among other lefty type sites. They offer quite a bit of insight.
My skin is quite thick thank you. A police career, small business ownership, three kids to raise, etc. will toughen you up some. Compared to what I have seen, no web site could get me rattled. This is known as actual life experience!
Dont be so sure about the fall elections. Obama is no shoe in. You were pretty sure Powers would win. Nor is Mesi a shoe in. I am also not so sure about a liberal, wealthy, environmental lawyer for that matter.

Sep 15, 2008, 8:23am Permalink
Alan Bedenko

Who's Jerome Grasso, and why is he so fascinated by Democratic primaries, if he's quite evidently a Republican.

It must stink to have a boring candidate(s) and nothing to do except suckle on the teat of the corrupt, do-nothing Independence line all summer.

Chris Lee's biggest qualifications for office are hair and self-funding.

Sep 15, 2008, 9:53am Permalink
Daniel Jones

"Jokes are supposed to be funny, work on them a little harder,"
Who's being negative now?

Is someone just cranky that the RNCC is being outraised and outspent by the DCCC, thus increasing the chances of Democratic pickups all over the country, including right here in NY 26?

Sep 15, 2008, 11:34am Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Who is Alan Bedenko? Why does an Erie County lawyer with a leftist website, who lost big time to Mike Ranzenoffer (see "sour grapes" in the dictionary) care if I post on this site? Once again gentlemen, this site is open to all. It was starting to look like a Democratic Party love-in on the Batavian. Plenty of room here for other views. Geez, and I thought the left was the party of tolerance for other peoples views. In his view of Mr. Lee, Bedenko shows such wit! Way to stick to the issues. Hair, no less!
Mr.Jones: Not being cranky or negative. That was Harding. The huge national Dem pick up is looking smaller and smaller everyday. They will make gains, but will not be (McCain!)veto proof. Unlikely it will happen in the 26th. Then again Kryzan is kind of wealthy, maybe she can spend her own money!

Sep 15, 2008, 1:24pm Permalink
Patrick D. Burk

Hey Jay,

I have been amused with all this banter and YES it is cool to have you join in. I tend to be banter-proof and do not take too much to heart. I am a big believer that you have your place on here...nice to meet with the other side from time to time...often we do speak the same language just different ideas. Can you do me one favor...please remember that no matter what happens, the sun will rise tomorrow and it will be just another day no matter what happens politically (Unless of course McCain wins and then we have an increase in Global Warming.....LOL.....just kidding......).

Anyway...glad you are here.


Sep 15, 2008, 2:33pm Permalink
Robert Harding


My father once told me, "Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise." I will leave it at that.

New York controlled by downstate interests? Where is the Republican Senate Majority Leader from again?

What's that island called?

It's the opposite of short?

And if I remember correctly, it's part of downstate New York?

I just can't remember it. Remind me Mr. Grasso.

By the way, a lot of the unions have backed Republicans. Just look at the disclosure reports for a lot of Republican incumbents in the Senate. In this state, the unions back the incumbents in most cases. The Republicans, especially under Joe Bruno, benefited from this.

Unfunded mandates are a problem, but there is also spending on a county level that needs to be watched. I heard my legislators (all Republicans in 2007) say before election time all of the usual lines about unfunded mandates. The problem is that there are also other factors that go into a county's budget that need to be looked at more closely.

The state won't lose because the Republicans lose. I wouldn't say that if the Democrats were to lose either. Putting the Republicans up on such a pedestal is ridiculous. The state wins when we can work together to find solutions to the most pressing issues of our day, namely property taxes and the rising cost of health care. Those are issues that haven't been addressed. One part of that is the Republican Senate. Another part of that is the "three men in a room" system that puts three men before the state's democracy.

Sep 15, 2008, 2:35pm Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Pat: Thank you. Indeed, no matter what, my wife smiles at me, my kids are still in the back yard playing and the dog wags her tail at me. Politics and civic involvement are great, but they are not everything.

Mr Harding: you have a lot of theory but only a little practical experience. 80% (or better) of county budgets are state mandates. So instead of three men in a room, we will have three Dems. in a room. Lots of checks and balances there. Perhaps New York will become a socialist Mecca! Your father had good advice. Instead of sharing it, follow it. You have not lived enough to give life advice. You have little tolerance for other ideas. That works in a classroom or on a blog. Not in the real world. Do not take this wrong, but a family, a job, and a mortgage are the real world experiences that you lack. Less sarcasm and a little tolerance on your part will get you further with people.

Sep 15, 2008, 4:09pm Permalink
Alan Bedenko

I have a family, a job, and a mortgage, and I agree with what Robert wrote 2 posts above. Republicans in this state play the same game they accuse Democrats of playing.

Only, they're better at denying it.

The sour grapes line - that's so old, Mr. Grasso, whoever you are.

Sep 15, 2008, 4:21pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

Jay Grasso, the guru on life and how to live it.

Anyway, it is true that about 80 percent of budgets are state mandates, but during the Pataki years where the Republicans controlled 2 out of 3 of the branches of the State government they weren't much better.

Mr. Grasso, you have lost the policy argument and now are getting very personal, I have to wonder why....I don't see anyone else from either perspective engage in attacking someone because of their age.

Should Conor Flynn (whom I've had a few arguments with in the past on this website) not debate? He's a young guy, he doesn't have a house or a mortgage, should his opinion be wholly irrelevant for that very reason? He's a Republican Jay, he probably agrees with you on most issues, but is he unqualified from making statements on the issues?

I'll bring up something that you said earlier, just because your losing the debate, don't get cranky! I'm smiling pretty do I love democracy.

Sep 15, 2008, 4:59pm Permalink
Robert Harding


Experience is in the eye of the beholder. When I am 40 years old I will have someone who is 80 years old telling me I haven't lived life long enough to understand. This is just how some people are. They believe they have lived longer and have more experience and thus, you should listen to them.

I tell this to everyone who tells me I need "experience." I would bet that there are things I have done that you have never done, will never do and would only dream of doing. I'm sure you could say the same to me. That is why experience is in the eye of the beholder Mr. Grasso. We all have our different paths and different life events that shape who we are. If we didn't and if we all followed the same path, this world would be a boring place.

There is one thing I have learned Mr. Grasso. I have debated my elders (such as yourself) online for the last decade. I started out debating people on Yahoo! Message Boards when I was 12 or 13 years old. Whenever I have proven a point correctly or have proven myself to be intelligent or mature for my age, my debate opponent will play the age or experience card to belittle me in some way.

The age/experience card didn't work when I was 12 or 13. It didn't work when I was 18 and graduated from high school. It certainly won't work now either. It will never work. I take great pride in the education I have received and my ability to retain information on a lot of people, places, things and ideas. I get that from a father who is a history buff and lover of all things having to do with the Civil War. I get that from my mother, who emphasized getting a great education and to go to college - something she never had the chance to do. I get that from my six sisters, who are the greatest debaters I have ever encountered and the reason I am who I am today.

Mr. Grasso, I do not plan on living my life as a small-town county legislator. That is something you have taught me here. I do not want to get comfortable with my position. I do not want to think I am entitled to something. I do not want to think of myself as something more than I really am.

I want to make a life for myself. I want to help others who are in need. I want to forge my own path and create many more experiences for myself.

That is my story Mr. Grasso. That is where my life is headed. In five or ten years, when someone asks me who Jerome Grasso is, my response will be the following:


Sep 15, 2008, 5:19pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

It really would be better to stick to issues rather personal references.

The only way to move forward is for people who care -- and we all care -- is to set aside partisan rancor, personal differences and figure out how to make Genesee County better.

I've kind of let some of the personal stuff go because as far as internet postings go, it's been pretty tame (I've seen some real nasty name calling over the years), but once you start getting personal, it always runs the risk of getting out of hand.

So, let's try to avoid the personal stuff and stick to issues.

Sep 15, 2008, 5:14pm Permalink
Alan Bedenko

Anyone who relies on the 80%-of-county-budgets-are-mandated argument is missing one salient fact.

It's the services that are mandated - not the amount of money.

So, it's feasible for a county to be efficient and cost-effective by delivering those services.

But I have no idea why I'm arguing with some "Jerome Grasso" character I've never heard of.

Sep 15, 2008, 6:58pm Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Mr Owens: I will work harder to stick with the issues. I cannot help but notice that when anyone disagrees with the left on this site, the personal attacks come out. I admit I tease a bit, but these guys get really bent out of shape and then make it personal. I do not have it in me to be that way. When these guys dont like my opinions they get personal. Its a shame. Liberal tolerance at its finest!
Wow! Guess I really got under everyone's skin!
Mr. Harding: that was very moving, not sure what you were aiming for, still, very touching. Kind of hard to get "comfortable" with my position when I have only been in office for 2 and 1/2years. The Dem I beat had it for 26 years. Oh, I am only 37, not quite ancient yet.
Mr. Bedenko: I am not a "character"! I do not go through life looking to be known. Matters not a hoot if you do not know me. Maybe I should get my own web site. Nah, my ego is not that big. Besides who would read it anyway? To busy with life for that. Why do you want to argue? I have not argued with you. As for state mandates, the services cost money. Those costs make up about 80% of our budget. Mostly in medicaid and other social services. The Legislature has managed to cut the tax rate three years running and even lowered the tax levy in one of those years.
Once again, life is waaayyy to short and nobody is going to change anyones mind here. Besides, only political geeks like us read these sites.

Sep 15, 2008, 11:54pm Permalink
Alan Bedenko

State mandates cost money. Those costs make up 80% of your budget. You're saying there is no feasible way that those state mandated services could be accomplished in a way that is cheaper than taking up 80% of your budget? There are no efficiencies to take advantage of? There is no waste, duplication, or redundancy? There is no opportunity to take a look at every program budgeted and determine what every penny is being spent on, and whether it's justified?

That sort of thinking is a disservice to taxpayers and not at all fiscally conservative.

Sep 16, 2008, 6:01am Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Jay, you keep slapping these guys by calling them liberals, the left, and basically saying their too young and stupid to debate you. You lost this one and are now going too far off topic. Your argument that they are attacking you isn’t working either. You’re being dressed down by a few people who are just better at this than you. Take it from someone who likes and respects you. You lost this one, just wait for the next topic and try again.

Also, the “New” Bush Republicans have no right to say “liberals like to spend money”, when these people destroyed our economy and spent our country into oblivion. These “New” Bush Republicans talk about cuts, only to spend like drunken sailors. The truth is last Democrat president nearly balanced the budget and it was pretty much all his administration concentrated on. I’m tired of the lies and I’m tired of the spending from these fake conservatives. Go sell that on EBay…

Sep 16, 2008, 8:10am Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Charlie: Take it easy and slow down. They admit to being "progressive". Go to their other sites. See what they write. It is no slap. They are not up for debate, just insults. There is no debate when all they do is take pot shots when they disagree. The last Dem. president nearly balanced the budget when he was forced to by a new Republican majority in the Congress. Of course, that majority became a minority when they went on to spend like drunken sailors. Got what they deserve. I cannot believe you are as partisan as these guys. Life is to short to get this wound up over politics. What do you want me to sell on e-bay?
Mr. Bedenko: Actually Genesee County has a near top of the line bond rating, a healthy fund balance, and a real balanced budget every year. We have also lowered our tax rates. We constantly look for (and find) ways to cut costs and fraud. I have lots of examples if you want them. Medicaid strangles us to the tune of about $167,000 a week. A very expensive mandate. Clearly, you are not from Genesee County nor involved in its day to day operations. I am. You have no idea what we do here. This is not bloated, inefficient Erie County. Did I mention that we have an 8 to 1 Republican majority on our Legislature? Heck, our one Democrat (on top of being a really good guy) is more fiscally conservative than most Republicans.

Sep 16, 2008, 8:37am Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Jay, take it easy? I commented because you seem to have a flawed idea that “progressives” spend more than “New” Republicans. I use the term “New” Republicans because, to me and the rest of the outcast fiscal conservatives what the National Republican Party once stood for is long gone. What I see is a new type of Republican Party, one that still says the right things but, then does the opposite.

This “I sold it on EBay” line that I keep hearing from the McCain camp is just more of the same, it's them talking about doing the right thing but, in the end it’s just more of the same.

Sep 16, 2008, 10:55am Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Charlie: they all spend to much. The feds and the state are held to different standards. You and I must have balanced budgets. We make sometimes painful choices. This current Dem controlled Congress spends like drunken sailors, just like the previous Republican majority did. The Repubs had a great opportunity and blew it. This Dem majority is on the same path. Could you imagine the chaos we would have here if we operated in the same fashion? I really had not heard the e-bay thing.

Sep 16, 2008, 2:10pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

I don’t think we ever disagreed. I have no understanding of the blank check theory that the state and federal governments operate under. No one has shown me what they are going to cut and I have gotten to the point of not believing it is possible to elect someone who will do the right thing.

Locally we are forced to cut the things we really need because of the burdens that are passed on from the state. The state has no concept of what a real cut is. They shift items that were paid for with state dollars that then have to be paid for with local property taxes and call that a cut. The federal government lowers taxes or gives tax credits and pays for it all by growing the debt. My fear is that McCain doesn’t understand that we cannot grow the economy by adding to the national debt anymore.

Our luck has run out. The next president needs to take steps to balance the budget, which would include a tax increase and drastic cuts. I know that’s not popular platform to run on, so that person isn’t running for office and actually could never get elected.

Sep 16, 2008, 4:09pm Permalink
John Roach

Mr. Grasso,
You seem to forget that your State party leadership voted time and again to override budget vetos (so did the dems, but they don't hide it, they like high taxes.

Come clean, admit your side voted to override budget cuts, made by your own Gov. made to buy votes. State Senators Volker and Rath are members of the tax and spend group in good standing.

Sep 16, 2008, 4:27pm Permalink
Mark Potwora

I agree with Mr.Mallow ,on the state and federal level both sides spend, spend without cutting any thing..I was never a Bill
Clinton lover but i do remember how he did try to cut the size of government ,in fact that was one of the things he asked Al Gore to do..i commend him for that..George Bush has added to the size of government,even adding prescrition drug program..witch is very costly..with no means to pay for it..I have never seen any action on Bush's part to cut the size of this government..We expect our local officials to cut payroll to save money,why dont we expect the same from out federal government.

Sep 16, 2008, 6:24pm Permalink
Jerome Grasso

Mr. Roach: no doubt and no denying it on the vetos, they all spent and spent. Repubs and Dems. Even when the state was flush with Wall St. revenue, they spent even more! No debt was paid down. They never have a balanced budget. The state hammer is likely about to fall on Counties.

Sep 16, 2008, 7:00pm Permalink

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