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Potential opponent takes issue with Hawley's no vote on re-opening state parks

By Billie Owens

Here's a media release from Chris Barons, Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s possible opponent this November, in response to Hawley’s ‘No’ vote on re-opening state parks:

Although I deplore the backroom politics and pretentious raiding of the Environmental Protection Fund, Mr. Hawley's assessment is short-sighted.

In March 2009, a study prepared for Parks & Trails New York by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) (Heintz, 2009), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, found that the combination of annual state and visitor spending at all New York State Parks supports up to $1.9 billion in economic output and business sales and up to 20,000 jobs throughout the state.

In February, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) released a list of closures and service reductions in order to meet the budget reduction, part of a comprehensive plan to close an $8.2 billion deficit.

The OPRHP’s list of closures included 41 parks and 14 historic sites, and service reductions at 23 parks and 1 historic site. Included in the closure list was Allegany State Park, which provides $62 million in revenue and 860 jobs to its three-county area.

Park visitor expenditures within the Allegany Region were estimated to be between $33.7 million and $69.3 million annually with 87% of its visitors from outside the tri-county area.

Clearly the nine Finger Lakes Region Parks and three Genesee Region Parks would generate more local revenue than the $14.9 million outlay to keep them open. Allegheny Park alone generates nearly five-times the outlay, and there are eight other regions across the state.

Dave Olsen

Barons...Barons.....Didn't there used to be a guy named Barons who would comment frequently on The Batavian? Wonder what happened to him, hope he's OK..........

Jun 2, 2010, 1:44pm Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

I hear that Dave, I am glad he is not one of them "union rep" guys coz they usually end up disappearing like that Hoffa guy. I dont think this is the case but it would take a massive amount of backing besides votes to "Lance the Albany Boil", so to speak ! (pukes in mouth a bit).

Jun 2, 2010, 1:57pm Permalink

Wow...We're making press releases? I'm with Dave here. Come on CM get on here and talk.

Here's my question to that: Why are the parks not self sufficient? They are all obviously non for profits, so why is 62 million dollars not enough to cut grass and maintain trails? I'll tell you why, because there are people getting paid a nice wage with large pensions and benefits to do it.

If I'm wrong then show me. Show that 80% of this money isn't going to labor and I'll listen. The problem is that you can't. If these parks can't run on their own then maybe in a fiscal crisis we shouldn't have them right now.

NEWS FLASH! The state is broke and doing Jack about it. Raising taxes on the companies that pay the people who patron the small businesses your all protecting is not a good idea! It's the reason why this state is a freakin joke.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:12pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

That's right Phil, if the businesses that are getting taxed, then lay off or cut hours on their employees, they won't be able to go on vacation and spend money.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:20pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Phil, C.M isn't running against you, or John, or anyone else who posts on The Batavian. Why not ask Steve Hawley to leave a comment or two? He never will, I'm sure he understands that engaging in written debate with a guy like Barons will lose him his spot in Albany faster than you can say 'safe seat.'

Jun 2, 2010, 4:23pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Dave, C.M wrote every word of that press release and it's up on a few different news sites for everyone to read. I'm sure he'll do town halls and other public appearances. You won't be lacking for information or opinions from Mr. Barons over the next five months, I promise.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:30pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

OK, good, I'm interested in hearing his positions on a lot of subjects. ALso, I think a debate between him and Steve Hawley would be interesting.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:35pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

I think it would be interesting as well, but knowing what we know about C.M, his willingness to do a lot of research and form educated opinions, I'd have to assume that Hawley wouldn't want to come within a hundred miles of a written debate.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:38pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, I've suggested to Steve a few times that he should engage in comments. I think he's left one.

For Steve's legislative press releases, I doubt he writes them himself. I'm sure they're written by staff (I once had that job in California, so I've some idea how it works).

When it comes to campaign releases, I would bet there is either campaign paid staff or a volunteer who writes his press releases.

So it wouldn't be entirely unfair to say that Steve is insulated by his handlers.

If Chris Barons is planning on setting up the same structure, I fail to see how he is differentiating himself from Steve Hawley.

Albany politicians hide behind their handlers. Real transparent people who want to be just ordinary citizens representing their friends, neighbors and family don't.

You know my concern that any candidate who seeks and gets a major party nomination becomes just part of that political machine.

Machine politicians don't speak for themselves. Machine politicians don't engage in open and transparent discussion with their constituents and the people they want to vote for them. ($10 bucks, Steve Hawley will tell you he does this because he's out in public a lot -- posting on The Batavian isn't the only measure of openness, though I've a certain prejudice toward using a platform like this to communicate and talk with a larger group of people)

To me, it's totally irrelevant how Steve Hawley behaves. If Chris Barons wants to convince me he's not going to get sucked up in the machine, I'd rather see him maintaining his independence and his own voice. Otherwise, really, how is he different from Hawley?

Jun 2, 2010, 4:41pm Permalink
John Roach

I think CM made his position very clear. He supports the tax increase and the raid on the environmental fund.

Hawley made his position clear also, he was against doing both.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:44pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Like I said Howard, Chris wrote every word of that release and he'll continue to do so. His voice is the one you're hearing as opposed to the voice of Hawley's staffers.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:46pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

'Although I deplore the backroom politics and pretentious raiding of the Environmental Protection Fund, Mr. Hawley's assessment is short-sighted.'

That doesn't sound like clear cut support to me. It sounds like a person who is willing to see that sometimes you have to solve a problem whether you're in love with the method or not.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:49pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, the e-mail came from you. It wasn't left as a comment on the original post. I'm sure it was well vetted. That's a big change in C.M.'s behavior. And you've been the one here carrying on the further discussion, not C.M. I'm personally disappointed.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:50pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

and Howard, let's remember, asking Chris to engage in the comment section of your site is the same as asking for special treatment or favor.

I've had this discussion with media outlets before and I think we can all understand that when it comes to access to candidates for state office, everyone with ink, a microphone or a keyboard needs to be treated equally.

Jun 2, 2010, 4:59pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, The Batavian is where the online discussion happens in Genesee County. Other media sites have comments, but we have the most local traffic and the most local conversation. There's no special favor about it. It's reality. It's also the only place where Chris can comment in the relative safety of knowing, with relative certainty, who he is talking with (and as for that one person who seems to have repeatedly created fake accounts, I think I've made that much harder to get away with).

And it still represents a major change in behavior for C.M.

(I sent you an e-mail and said I wouldn't say more, but had to respond to this newer comment -- I need to totally reject the suggestion that it's a request for a special favor. It's just asking C.M. to be C.M.)

Jun 2, 2010, 5:10pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Howard, I understand your position, but you're not taking into account the opinions and positions of other media outlets.

If this were a council or legislature race we'd be having a different discussion, but when a person runs for a seat in a state capitol whether it's Augusta or Albany everything that person says regarding issues is considered news, important or not. Engaging in your comment section will be considered special treatment by the other news organizations. Fairness is going to rule here, there's no other way to do it.

Jun 2, 2010, 5:18pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, I am 100 percent, fully taking into account "the opinions and positions of other media outlets." It's just completely irrelevant what they think in regards to this issue.

The Batavian is where the conversation happens in Genesee County. If C.M. changes his behavior, there's no getting around that.

Bea, keep doing a great job of twisting and distorting what I say. You do it well. (UPDATE: For the record, Bea deleted 95 percent of her previous comment.)

Jun 2, 2010, 5:24pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Howard, i suppose there isn't enough time in the day to have this argument. Particularly when most of my 24 hours will be spent fielding angry phone calls and emails from the other folks whose opinions are 'completely irrelevant.'

Jun 2, 2010, 5:33pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Jeremiah, the quoted study accounts for direct and indirect revenue and job creation. It's the big picture, something that Albany pols don't seem to take into account very often.

Jun 2, 2010, 6:07pm Permalink
bud prevost

Howard, I have to say, it looks as if CM is going to be "handled" now. And if I'm wrong Chris, I apologize. I enjoy and admire CM's writing, and I was looking forward to his continued utilization of the Batavian.
Looks like the dem party machine doesn't believe in spontaneous conversation.

Jun 2, 2010, 6:12pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Bud, scroll on up to the top of the page, you're looking at C.M.'s writing, same as it ever was.

Thing is, if The Batavian is a news site, then they should get exactly what other news sites get. Whatever the medium is, print, spoken-word or web, news is news.

Jun 2, 2010, 6:24pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, The Batavian isn't just a news site. It's a community conversation site. Everything we do is first and foremost about creating and sustaining community conversation. Our tag line has always been, Online News. Community Views. We were founded on the principle of facilitating community conversation.

The "favoritism" angle is just a smoke screen because there is simply no comparison in this respect between, say, the Daily and The Batavian.

Want proof? This thread now has more than 30 comments.

The most commented story currently on the Daily site has 7 comments, and it's a week old. The top four most commented stories have a total of 12 comments.

If you want to prove you're a different kind of politician, you participate in the conversation. The Batavian is where the online conversation takes place. It's the only place dedicated to providing a robust environment for civil discussion.

The "treat all news orgs equal" just doesn't wash, because this isn't just another news org when it comes to conversation. Conversation is what we do.

Jun 2, 2010, 6:35pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Howard, you report news, the comment section is attached to the news story, so you're a news site with a focus on comments. The Daily is a printed paper so their focus is on their printed material, WBTA is a spoken word medium so their focus is on interviews and out-loud commentary. The one thing you have in common is that you deliver news to people in this area. To hand more stories off to one and neglect the other is favoritism plain and simple.

Over the next five months the people of the 139th AD will have tons of access to Chris Barons and The Batavian, right along with all other local media is absolutely welcome to report on it using whatever method or medium they choose.

Jun 2, 2010, 6:46pm Permalink
bud prevost

Chris- my point is, there needs to be a change, and I was looking forward to the same C.M. Barons interacting with the folks who may be his constituents, in much the same fashion he always has.
I am a registered voter, who tends to vote more republican or independent, than democrat. That doesn't mean I'm not open to listening to opposing views, or voting outside my party. I have before and I'm sure I will again.
If Mr. Barons were to continue his commentary on here, it would lead me to believe he truly does want to forego the status quo, and go to Albany and make a difference. You acting as his spokesman/pr guy makes it appear it is going to be the same old, same old.
BTW, Leroy '83...go Knights

Jun 2, 2010, 7:04pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Howard, you're just perpetuating an argument that doesn't need to be had. Every local organization that takes news and distributes it to people through any medium other than smoke signals or Morse Code is going to be treated equally.

Jun 2, 2010, 7:07pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Chris, I think your strategy is sound for someone in a close race. The problem you have is that in this area a good Democrat can only expect about 30% of the vote.

How do you plan on making up the ground? There is no way you are going to outspend the Republicans. CM needs to make a splash. How is he going to do that by being out spent 10-1 and too afraid to come out and face the public? Hiding behind a handler is not going to give him a win.

I really don't see how you have a choice other than using TheBatavian and other sites for free advertising.

Jun 2, 2010, 7:17pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Charlie, all due respect, but I have no intention of taking campaign advice from a Hawley voter :)

There is also no advantage in treating one arm of the media with more favor than the others, and I have the irate emails from my own race to prove it.

Jun 2, 2010, 7:19pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, I think it's a highly relevant discussion, and Bud and others seem to agree.

Your "all media equal" argument just doesn't logically hold together, especially not in the context of whether Chris Barons will participate in the conversation just as he always.

Jun 2, 2010, 7:21pm Permalink
Jeremiah Pedro

I agree with Bud and Charlie. If Mr. Barons wants to shake the image that politicians in this state have acquired then
he needs to change things up. Do something unexpected. Don't fall into the trap of being handled like every other well meaning private citizen that wanted to do something good for his or her community.
The press release, even though it may have been written by Mr. Barons, falls inline with what the majority party in Albany wants to happen. You say he is not being handled by the Democratic party then prove it. Mr. Barons needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. I'm interested in voting for someone who wants to change things up starting with the way the party politics operate. I think it's safe to say that most voters are tired of the games.

Maybe Mr. Barons can do that for the voters, if that's not to much to ask.

Jun 2, 2010, 7:31pm Permalink
John Roach

Didn't you also say CM would make his views known on that Democrat proposed pistol permit re-licensing law and the law that would require ammunition be marked. Some of us thought it was just a money grab and you responded for CM (he was out of town).

Jun 2, 2010, 7:31pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris wrote, "I have the irate emails from my own race to prove it."

You're confusing putting out press releases that announce something vs. participating in the conversation.

There is simply no comparison between doing something like, say, announcing your candidacy, and a person leaving a comment on a post to respond to something.

Yes, when it comes to making an announcement, such as "I'm running." Or "I'm going to appear at a town hall meeting" -- you're best and smartest strategy is to simultaneously hit all the media.

But when it comes to saying something about something your opponent said or did, there is simply no expectation that such a reaction not be on the source of that statement or action.

It would be like if I called C.M. up for an interview and he said, "can you hold please, I need to conference in the Daily so you're all treated equally" It doesn't work that way.

BTW: Chris is free, as far as I'm concerned, to leave comments on the Daily's site (I know, how magnanimous of me). The same issue that might be raised over there isn't necessarily the same issue that would be relevant here, so there's no expectation that he leave the same comment on both sites. And visa versa holds true, too. And since we don't run letters to the editor, I wouldn't expect him, per se, to send me a letter to the editor, but he might send one to the Daily. Big deal. I get letters to the editor from time to time and I don't know what to do with them. The equivalent would be for Chris to leave a blog post here, which is something he can do here but not over there.

Jun 2, 2010, 7:35pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Howard, nobody said you can't ask him questions, go nuts, you have his phone number.

If there's a story you want to do or an opinion you want to hear then call him up and get it. It's not like he's hiding in an undisclosed location.

Jun 2, 2010, 8:13pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Chris, to be honest, your right. I'm a Hawley voter and the chances of that changing are not very good. My vote for Steve is personal, I like him no matter what his politics are. I'm also pretty interested in political campaigns and tactics. That is where these questions are coming from.

It's clear, my vote is lost but, you can't lose sight of the people in the middle. You need to give people like me a reason to get out and vote for your guy. My question is valid. How are you going to compete in an election when you are being out spent 10-1, in a highly Republican district, running against a likable guy like Steve? What are you going to do to separate CM from Steve without turning off Independents and moderate Republicans? Much more than even that, how are you going to get those voters to vote against a very likable guy? Taking shots at Steve isn't going to energize people to vote against Steve.

Turning down a chance of free advertising for a relatively unknown, inexperienced candidate seems like a waste.

Jun 2, 2010, 7:59pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Charlie, I'm going to do what any political hack worth their salt would do. Starting at midnight on November 2nd, I'm going to travel around the district and puncture Republican tires :)

Jun 2, 2010, 8:10pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Chris, you are no hack. You are doing what you feel is right and supporting your guy no matter what anyone thinks. You have my respect.

Save the tires, you can come up with a much better strategy than that. :-)

Jun 2, 2010, 8:18pm Permalink

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