Monday, June 23, 2008

Buffalo News: Majority Leader Maziarz?

A story on the Buffalo News' web site this evening says George Maziarz is among the few who could replace Joe Bruno as Majority Leader of the State Senate.
Among the contenders is Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, who is holding a secret meeting tonight with the two other major contenders, senators Dean Skelos of Nassau County and Thomas Libous of Binghamton.

Skelos and Libous have long coveted the majority leader job, and they have worked for years lining up backers for the day that Bruno retired. Maziarz, however, is seen as a candidate who could emerge from a fight between Skelos and Libous in what is already shaping up as a downstate versus upstate battle between Republicans.

In Maziarz's favor is that he comes from a safe political district and is among the top fundraisers among rank-and-file lawmakers.

Maziarz would not say if he is an active candidate for Bruno's job.

"It's clearly a leadership position and it's something I clearly would love to see someone from Western New York be under active consideration," he said tonight.

Obviously, this is a story we'll continue to follow. Funny, we went from "is George even running for re-election" this morning to ... "George Maziarz, majority leader?" this evening ...

Rainbow over Niagara

Well, Lockport to be specific. Not the best rainbow photo I've ever seen - or taken for that matter - but driving down 31 with my camera phone, I thought it came out pretty good.

Joe Bruno: "It is time to move on."

Albany's Time Union has posted a speech given by New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, indicating that he will not seek re-election in November.

Today, I met with my Republican colleagues in the Senate and informed them that I will not be running for re-election this November.

After 32 years in office, I have decided that it is time to move on with my life and to give my constituents an opportunity for new representation and my colleagues in the Senate who have supported me, an opportunity for new leadership.

Public service has been a blessing for which I will be ever grateful. I have had the opportunity to work for and with hundreds of proud, distinguished New Yorkers. I have viewed my work not as a job, but as a privilege to come here day in and day out and stand up for the people of Rensselaer and Saratoga counties and stand up for the hardworking people I have come to know over the years.

Politics is a tough ball game. Tougher now than it has ever been. But after 32 years of many successes and a few failures, I know now more than ever, and I can say that with comfort and confidence, there is no calling greater than that of public service. There have been few more rewarding experiences in my life. But, timing in life is everything. While there may never be a good time to make these kinds of life decisions, I have decided that it is time for me to move on with my life.

I do so with a heavy heart, but an optimistic soul. And I will rest peaceful in the knowledge that so many great things lie ahead for this great State that I have had the honor and privilege to serve.

With the Senate hinging on a single vote, who knows what this could mean for New York's "senior body," but it means something different. And given the disaster that New York has been, different has got to be good.

Dialog show notes 062308

It being Monday, Bob Confer was my guest for the first 15, talking about the crazy capital of New York and the end of session things they're NOT doing. Then we shifted gears and Brian Grear, Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy, announced his candidacy for the New York State Senate. He'll be opposing 62nd Senate District incumbent George Maziarz - I think. Although, to my knowledge George hasn't announced that he's running yet. I may be wrong, but I don't recall hearing that. Anyway, Grear had wanted to run for Sheriff, but says the GOP ran a power play to make sure that didn't happen. As a result, he's running against George instead. One caller said it's sour grapes, but a handful of others seemed to appreciate that they have another choice in November. Don't forget, Don Hobel is also running for the 62nd SD.

Niagara County Board of Ethics

In the past couple months, we've heard a few news items about the Niagara County Board of Ethics. I've had this piece of paper floating around for quite a while ... it's a list of the board members.
  • Bonnie Spoon (acting chair)
  • Roland Johnson
  • James Spanbauer
  • Rev. William Lowery
  • Thomas O'Shea
This list is from quite some time ago ... so I'm not sure if it's still accurate ... but it was.

Great quote ...

The following is from a press release I got from Don Hobel.
The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, the public debt should be reduce, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed ...
Interesting to note, the quote isn't by Hobel. It's by Cicero ... from 63 BC. Below is the conclusion.
... lest Rome become bankrupt.
Makes you wonder. What did happen to the Roman Empire?

Weekly update 062308

News, notes and necessities

items of interest the week of June 23, 2008

an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler

News: Dialog on Hometown 1340, WLVL in Lockport will have guests Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week. Reason on Hometown 1230, WECK in Buffalo is thus-far, guestless.

As always, Bob Confer will check in first thing Monday morning on WLVL (11:15 a.m.) to discuss what's going on in Albany. Following Bob, Sheriff's Deputy Brian Grear will make a major announcement that any politically interested people won't want to miss. On Wednesday, WLVL Sports Director Norm Palmer will be in studio with Lockport Athletic Director Pat Burke and former basketball coach Ray Macaluso to discuss the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and who will be installed. And then on Friday, Lockport's mayor, Mike Tucker will be in studio at WLVL.

I'll be taking a day off on Tuesday to play the role of proud parent. As such, we'll run "best of" shows on Dialog and Reason.

Did you know that you can listen to Reason right here on your computer? True, you can. Hometown 1230 WECK is now streaming online, meaning no matter where you are, you can listen (as long as you've got an internet capable computer). Just head on over to the station website, and click "listen" in the top left corner. It's live, too (minus a few seconds of buffer). So if I'm talking about something you want to get your word in on, just call when I give the number.

Notes: Another weekend meant more work on the website. I added a WNY Events calendar, which I'm hoping to build into the definitive calendar for people who leave their homes. Right now, it has the listings for several free concert series in WNY ... but I'm hoping to add more concerts, as well as sporting events and festivals. I also made some other minor changes to the website. You'll have to go check it out for yourself. This week's web plans include getting more photos online ... and organizing them better. Speaking of photos, there's a great one on the blog of me and Sabretooth from the Sabres NHL draft party on Friday night. Now I need one of me and Buster Bison.

While I would suggest that you listen live - to both shows on both stations - I understand that it's not always practical or possible. So if you miss a show here or there, listen to the podcasts. It's okay. Reason podcasts currently remain on and Dialog podcasts are at But I'll soon consolidate them all onto If you're looking for recommendations, I'd definately listen to last Wednesday's Dialog (with Larry Eggert) and last Thursday's Reason (with Libertarian VP candidate Wayne Allyn Root).

Don't forget that Tuesday's are column day. I'm going to write on the ratings given to movies, as they have bitten me in the posterior several times in the past couple months. Check the website Tuesday morning for the updated column.

Also, don't forget to vote in the latest web poll: If the NFTA extended Metro Rail, would you ride it? They indicated last week that they might consider doing just that.

Necessities: Despite the release this past week of Firefox 3, I don't think there's anything out there that I'd list as a necessity. While I've enjoyed the new program and recommend that you try it out, it has been - often - buggy for me.

This is a copy of the weekly newsletter I sent out to subscribers. If you'd like to be added to the list, please email and ask to be added. I'll make that happen.

Boeing must get shot at contract ...

Back in March, I interviewed someone from Boeing about a refueler contract they lost out on to Airbus. As it turns out, their PR campaign paid off. The Government Accountability Office ruled that the Air Force must re-bid the contract.

George Carlin, RIP

Waking up this morning, I saw a story on Salon about the death of George Carlin. Now, I've never been a huge Carlin fan, but I appreciated his work. I must admit, though, I thought it a cruel joke. It was not.

From Reuters: Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday. He was 71. Carlin, who had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems, died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT) after being admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.

From Entertainment Weekly
: George Carlin, the famously acerbic stand-up comedian, has died. The pioneering entertainer succumbed to heart failure in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday, at age 71. Carlin, who began making TV appearances in the 1960s with a conventional comedy act, emerged in the 1970s with a style much more reflective of the times, pushing into more sensitive areas of social observation and language, a favorite topic of his over the years. Most notably, his recorded routine ''Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television'' became the center of a landmark Supreme Court case.

Just last week, Paul Oates and Doug Young were talking about George Carlin receiving some comedy award and how it would be strange to see him in a suit. It will be even stranger to no longer see him.