Marc Coppola’s Response to Survey

Written by James Ostrowski on February 28, 2006 – 12:00 am -

Response of Marc Coppola

Free Buffalo/Free Niagara Candidate Survey
New York State Senate
Special Election 2006

• Free Buffalo is a non-partisan, not for profit New York State corporation. We do not support or endorse candidates or political parties.
• The results of this survey will be widely distributed, including to our database of 800, sent to the media and published on our website, FreeBuffalo.org.
• Please return this survey by February 21st to Free Buffalo, 1535 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, New York, 14216.

1. Why has the Buffalo area declined in the last few decades and what specifically have you done about it in the last ten years?

____The Buffalo area has declined slowly over the past few decades and for many reasons, one of which has been sprawl and the other is the decline of our once abundance of manufacturing/industrial jobs. As a City of Buffalo Councilman, I have worked to reduce the size of government, improve the city’s infrastructure, and eliminate barriers for small businesses. Overall, I have worked to improve the quality of life in the City. I have been in office for 6 years.

2. Studies show that public sector employee compensation is substantially higher than private sector compensation. Would you support a constitutional amendment or law that would mandate that public sector salaries on average not exceed those in the private sector?

_X___
No

3. Do you believe that New York State taxes need to be adjusted downward until we are competitive with local taxes in comparable states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania?

__X____
yes

4. Please list any new programs or major spending you believe State Government should undertake:

______I believe that the state needs to take the full burden of Medicaid off of local property owners.

5. Which State spending programs do you favor eliminating?

_____I am sure that there are many but I don’t have any in particular that I can say I would eliminate. I believe that there are many services that can be provided, but at a lower cost.

6. Corporate welfare—special tax breaks or subsidies to business—should be eliminated. Economic growth should be promoted instead by tax cuts for all citizens and businesses.

_________ ____________ __________
disagree agree undecided
I wish it were that simple!

7. State pension costs are exploding. The system needs to be reformed to reduce benefits, raise the retirement age and reduce gimmicks such as working overtime in the last three years of employment to raise pension benefits.

____________ __________
disagree agree undecided

I agree that there needs to be reforms to the system to lower the overall cost. I can’t say that I fully agree with this statement however.

8. Medicaid spending (not the rate of increase) must be reduced by all means possible, including a statewide cap on spending.

_________ ____________ __________
disagree agree undecided

YOU CAN’T JUST CAP SPENDING. INCREASES HAVE TO BE RECOGNIZED, ESPECIALLY FOR COSTS THAT THE STATE DOES NOT CONTROL.

9. Would you vote to repeal the “Triborough Amendment” of the Taylor Law which requires public employers to maintain all the terms of a collective-bargaining agreement until a new contract is negotiated? If that were the case, what would be the criteria to start from? I will work for changes but not simply those that will deny workers of fair play.

____X______
No

10. A federal court has ruled that the judicial convention system for nominating state trial judges is illegal. Should this system be replaced by an open primary election process or should all state trial judges be appointed?

______I am not sure on this one. On one hand I support the open primary but am concerned that wealth will be the sole factor in electing judges. On the other hand, the political nature of selecting these judges must be reformed.

DATE 2/27/06 SIGNED

Marc Coppola


Posted in New York | 3 Comments »

Chris Jacobs Responds

Written by James Ostrowski on February 27, 2006 – 12:16 pm -

Marc Coppola declined to respond, saying that he was inundated with surveys and had little time to reply.

Chris Jacobs did respond as follows:

Free Buffalo/Free Niagara Candidate Survey
New York State Senate
Special Election 2006

• Free Buffalo is a non-partisan, not for profit New York State corporation. We do not support or endorse candidates or political parties.
• The results of this survey will be widely distributed, including to our database of 800, sent to the media and published on our website, FreeBuffalo.org.
• Please return this survey by February 21st to Free Buffalo, 1535 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, New York, 14216.

Response of Chris Jacobs

1. Why has the Buffalo area declined in the last few decades and what specifically have you done about it in the last ten years?

The problems of this area are many. We have lacked true leadership both at the local and state level for decades. The inability of our government to adapt, respond and change to the challenges we have faced over the last few decades rest squarely on the shoulders of self-serving politicians and frankly self-serving civic leaders who had a vested interest in the status quo.

The problem with Albany and the main reason its cost structure is so out of whack with the rest of the country is the collusion between the professional politician and the special interests in Albany –both perpetuating a dysfunctional system for their benefit at the citizens detriment.

As a member of the school board I have spoken up against the special interests in the system and fought for reforms, such as health care reform, reforming our onerous system of teacher tenure. In addition, the need to reform Wicks Law, Taylor Law, and Triborough Amendment.

2. Studies show that public sector employee compensation is substantially higher than private sector compensation. Would you support a constitutional amendment or law that would mandate that public sector salaries on average not exceed those in the private sector?

__X____
maybe

3. Do you believe that New York State taxes need to be adjusted downward until we are competitive with local taxes in comparable states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania?

__X____
yes

Yes, absolutely. This will be more effective in revitalizing this economy than any silver bullet project.

4. Please list any new programs or major spending you believe State Government should undertake:

None.

5. Which State spending programs do you favor eliminating?

I cannot as of yet list specifics. I will say I will fight for member item funding that has no objective rationale, no public process, etc.

6. Corporate welfare—special tax breaks or subsidies to business—should be eliminated. Economic growth should be promoted instead by tax cuts for all citizens and businesses.

______X______
agree

7. State pension costs are exploding. The system needs to be reformed to reduce benefits, raise the retirement age and reduce gimmicks such as working overtime in the last three years of employment to raise pension benefits.

****

Need to raise retirement age of most public employees. And remove gimmicks like “loading-up” in last three years.

8. Medicaid spending (not the rate of increase) must be reduced by all means possible, including a statewide cap on spending.

_____X_______
agree

9. Would you vote to repeal the “Triborough Amendment” of the Taylor Law which requires public employers to maintain all the terms of a collective-bargaining agreement until a new contract is negotiated?

*********

As a school board member I see the devastating impact of Triborough. I also question its constitutionality because it binds future elected officials with past/expired contractual provisions. For instance, I am bound under provisions that were negotiated 10-years ago such as termination pay which produces significant bonuses for retiring teachers.

Last year with all the retirements we cut $13 million in checks to retiring teachers/administrators. Checks as big as $50,000 dollars for employees retiring well before age 60 who are receiving state pensions and lifetime health care. Do we really think the system can adequately educate children while paying out these exorbitant sums?

10. A federal court has ruled that the judicial convention system for nominating state trial judges is illegal. Should this system be replaced by an open primary election process or should all state trial judges be appointed?

I think the system is flawed and needs to be reformed. I am frankly not yet knowledgeable enough to state a specific view on reforming the system.

2/27/06 Chris Jacobs


Posted in New York | 5 Comments »

Parking Ticket Hypocrisy and Calculational Chaos

Written by James Ostrowski on February 26, 2006 – 11:42 am -

The Buffalo News notes today that the police are not equally zealous about enforcing parking regulations near their headquarters.

Good job on that story, but that’s doesn’t nearly exhaust the problems with this new crackdown.

Sure, almost all the perps are guilty, but why the choice to devote scarce resources on mostly harmless parking violations?

For many years, hoodlums have been pummeling and terrorizing elderly people in their own homes on the East Side. Has that problem been solved? Why not devote enforcement resources there?

Every day, truly dangerous drivers haunt the streets of Buffalo–cutting people off, running red lights at busy intersections and so on. I see very little police attention to that problem.

So, let’s face it; this is a politically-motivated stunt. Further, the stunt has backfired. I suspect not a single person has become more sympathetic to the police over this.

On the level of theory, it just highlights the fact that bureaucracies are inefficient and are at a loss in the absence of market signals, as to how to allocate scarce resources.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Can a Democrat Change Albany?

Written by James Ostrowski on February 26, 2006 – 11:21 am -

Free Buffalo has invited Tom Suozzi to speak to our members on “Can a Democrat Change Albany?”

Stay tuned for details.

All other candidates for governor will be invited in due course.

The program would be: 30 minutes for the candidate; 15 minutes of questions from our staff; and 45 minutes of comments or questions from the audience.


Posted in New York | 4 Comments »

Calling Mr. Coppola and Mr. Jacobs (Out)

Written by James Ostrowski on February 25, 2006 – 11:39 am -

I sent the Free Buffalo candidate survey to your official emails twice and, not only have I gotten no surveys back, but I haven’t even gotten an acknowledgement that it was sent.

Instead, let me point out, we have heard little from either candidate except public relations blather.

It’s been almost all clichés and slogans so far. Since these literally have no meaning, if you vote for either candidate based on slogans and clichés, you have literally wasted your vote.

That’s why Free Buffalo developed our surveys. Each question goes right to the heart of what is wrong with Buffalo and New York State and calls for a specific answer to those problems.

Is that why they haven’t responded? These surveys were also posted on two popular forums and two blogs. I can’t believe that no one from their campaigns has seen them.

Here’s the emails of the candidates:

marc@marccoppolaforsenate.com

clj350@aol.com

If you live in the District–North Buffalo, GI, NF, etc.–please email them and ask them to complete the survey.


Posted in New York | 1 Comment »

Definition of a Liberal

Written by James Ostrowski on February 25, 2006 – 11:05 am -

A person who thinks that we can improve society by pointing government guns at people who are minding their own business. Corollary: In so doing, liberals somehow manage to feel morally and intellectual superior to the victims of their legalized violence.

Example, as reported in the News today, the limousine liberals want to make it illegal for landlords to consider the wealth of their potential tenants. This would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. That’s what you do when you’re a good landlord–you find out if your tenants can pay the darn rent!

Landlords have to be extremely careful about who they rent to, among other reasons, because liberals have made it fairly difficult to evict bad tenants.

If liberals want to make “housing opportunities more equal,” nothing is stopping them from pooling their vast resources and buying rental property for all those who they feel are being discriminated against.

I love beating up on limousine liberals. In this article, I define that species of the genus liberal as follows:

Limousine liberals are wealthy people, usually white, who usually live in wealthy white neighborhoods, but who insist on telling the poor, minorities and the working class how to live and with whom to live. Limousine liberals or their forebearers brought us the war on drugs (million man march to prison), urban renewal (people removal), public housing (resembling prisons), the Vietnam War (mass murder), and government schools – also resembling prisons – most of them wouldn’t think of sending their children to.

Limousine liberals are elitists who think that common folk are just too stupid to live in freedom. Though their rhetoric emphasizes their deep concern and compassion for the common man, their true feeling is one of contempt for his ability to function without continual external direction from “the best and the brightest.”

So they support centralizing power in distant capitals and glorify those like Lincoln who made it all possible. (See, Mario Cuomo’s new book.) With education, centralizing power in state capitals was not enough. They had to set up a Department of Education in Washington, so the ultra-elites can issue orders to the mid-level elites. And they call me “arrogant”!

Let me just add that my use of the word “liberal” is strictly limited to its modern American meaning. In other times and places, the word was and is used to describe people who believe in individual liberty. Not here, not now.


Posted in National | 2 Comments »

An Evening With Satish

Written by James Ostrowski on February 22, 2006 – 5:16 pm -

Free Buffalo will present “An Evening With Satish Mohan” to mark the one year anniversary of the meeting that put us on the local political map–March 8th, 7-9pm at Tandoori’s/The Palms, 7740 Transit Rd. at Sheridan Dr.

Supervisor Mohan will speak; Free Buffalo will announce its committee to review the Amherst Budget; and the audience will have plenty of time for questions and comments as usual.

The event is free and open to the public and it’s first come, first served. Room capacity is 275.


Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Jack Davis’ New Website

Written by James Ostrowski on February 21, 2006 – 3:39 pm -


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Law Perverted!

Written by James Ostrowski on February 21, 2006 – 3:35 pm -

Said the great Bastiat in 1850:

Unhappily, law is by no means confined to its own department. Nor is it merely in some indifferent and debatable views that it has left its proper sphere. It has done more than this. It has acted in direct opposition to its proper end; it has destroyed its own object; it has been employed in annihilating that justice which it ought to have established, in effacing amongst Rights, that limit which was its true mission to respect; it has placed the collective force in the service of those who wish to traffic, without risk, and without scruple, in the persons, the liberty, and the property of others; it has converted plunder into a right, that it may protect it, and lawful defense into a crime, that it may punish it.


Posted in National | 2 Comments »

Grover the Great

Written by James Ostrowski on February 20, 2006 – 4:32 pm -

The Buffalo News beat up on Grover Cleveland today, but in my book, he gets better treatment:

Buffalo’s greatest statesman, Grover Cleveland, a progressive in the truest sense of the word, helped pave the way for Buffalo’s glory days. Cleveland was the last of the Jeffersonian presidents (1885-1889, 1893-1897). Before that, as Mayor of Buffalo, he helped fight the corrupt political machine, or “ring” as it was then known, and its patronage and pork barrel politics. In a campaign speech, he said, “It is a good thing for the people now and then to rise up and let the office holders know that they are responsible to the masses.” Cleveland was so successful fighting the machine that he was elected Governor of New York in 1882. Cleveland’s Jeffersonian philosophy as President was described by historian John V. Denson:

Cleveland stood for sound money and the gold standard, and he was opposed to the protective tariff. He advo-cated the increased respect and sovereignty of the States as a check on the power of the central government. Cleveland generally supported the ideas of a limited fed-eral government and the strict construction of the constitution, a free-market economy, and the separation of banking from government.

The historical example of Grover Cleveland shows that libertarian ideas are not alien to Buffalo; rather, they are what made Buffalo great in the first place!


Posted in National | 3 Comments »

Wasted Space

Written by James Ostrowski on February 19, 2006 – 5:28 pm -

I looked out on the waterfront from the ninth floor of Marine Drive today and harangued those with me as follows: “That space is being wasted because no one owns the capital value of that land.”

There’s a couple ugly buildings on this prime development location with the lake on one side and the river on the other. It’s been that way forever. Basically, the problem is that the government owns most of the land and the bureaucrats and politicians temporarily in charge don’t give a damn what happens as long they collect their big fat salaries and pensions.

So, off we went to the other side of the river–takes forever to get there–again, no one owns the capital value of the land so there is no incentive to make it accessible. You get to a point where it says “Homeland Security.” I felt so safe–safe in the assumption that as long as the government owns all this land, nothing good will ever happen here.

So forgive me if I get a little frustrated when I hear that another bunch of bureaucrats are going to turn all this government-owned land into something special. Why should they? If they fail, none of them will personally suffer any loss. Just as their predecessors didn’t suffer any loss from the waste of the waterfront for 45 years!

Let’s get some true entrepreneurs in there who are risking their own money and therefore have a maximum incentive to be right.

One more thing–it’s damn cold down there–and will be even colder if we keep the stupid ice boom there. Most of the ice broom critics were bought off–not this one. So, sure, have some public access, but you’ve got to build stuff there or no one will go there from November to April.

Are we going to entrust the waterfront to the same people who lied about Bass Pro? You know, the $57 million lie.


Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Power Flows Up?

Written by James Ostrowski on February 19, 2006 – 5:06 pm -

Having held a very successful forum on county government, Free Buffalo’s next task is to issue a report recommending changes to the Erie County Charter to be forwarded to the Charter Review Commission and the Legislature.

In lieu of lots of meetings, I think we can discuss this online.

These proposals are on the table:

1. recall, petition and term limits.

2. banning corporate welfare

3. tying public sector compensation to private sector compensation

4. making the clerk an appointed position (if possible)

5. county manager/modified board of supervisors system–

This would simultaneously eliminate the county legislature and county executive. The legislature would be replaced by a board of supervisors made up of town supervisors, the mayors of Lackawanna and Tonawanda and the nine councilmen in Buffalo. They then appoint a county manager as in Niagara County.

This move eliminates sixteen politicians in one stroke! Consistent with Free Buffalo’s philosophy, it makes the county a creature of the towns and cities. Power flows up!

Please feel free to comment or add your own proposals.


Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Niagara County Budget

Written by James Ostrowski on February 18, 2006 – 1:10 pm -

I am (finally) reviewing the Niagara County Budget for 2006. Anyone with ideas for gross cuts (not micro cuts), please contact me at 435-8918 or jameso@apollo3.com

I expect our review to be published next week!


Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Free New York Candidate Survey

Written by James Ostrowski on February 17, 2006 – 5:10 pm -

1535 Hertel Ave. FreeBuffalo.org
Buffalo, New York 14216 FreeBuffalo@adelphia.net
(716) 566-7720 cell (716) 435-8918
President Executive Director
James Ostrowski Paulette Peterson

Free Buffalo/Free Niagara Candidate Survey
New York State Senate
Special Election 2006

• Free Buffalo is a non-partisan, not for profit New York State corporation. We do not support or endorse candidates or political parties.
• The results of this survey will be widely distributed, including to our database of 800, sent to the media and published on our website, FreeBuffalo.org.
• Please return this survey by February 21st to Free Buffalo, 1535 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, New York, 14216.

1. Why has the Buffalo area declined in the last few decades and what specifically have you done about it in the last ten years?

2. Studies show that public sector employee compensation is substantially higher than private sector compensation. Would you support a constitutional amendment or law that would mandate that public sector salaries on average not exceed those in the private sector?

No yes maybe

3. Do you believe that New York State taxes need to be adjusted downward until we are competitive with local taxes in comparable states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania?

No yes maybe

4. Please list any new programs or major spending you believe State Government should undertake:

5. Which State spending programs do you favor eliminating?

6. Corporate welfare—special tax breaks or subsidies to business—should be eliminated. Economic growth should be promoted instead by tax cuts for all citizens and businesses.

disagree agree undecided

7. State pension costs are exploding. The system needs to be reformed to reduce benefits, raise the retirement age and reduce gimmicks such as working overtime in the last three years of employment to raise pension benefits.

disagree agree undecided

8. Medicaid spending (not the rate of increase) must be reduced by all means possible, including a statewide cap on spending.

disagree agree undecided

9. Would you vote to repeal the “Triborough Amendment” of the Taylor Law which requires public employers to maintain all the terms of a collective-bargaining agreement until a new contract is negotiated?

No yes undecided

10. A federal court has ruled that the judicial convention system for nominating state trial judges is illegal. Should this system be replaced by an open primary election process or should all state trial judges be appointed?


Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments »

Free Buffalo Forum

Written by James Ostrowski on February 17, 2006 – 4:10 pm -

The forum was a great event, well-attended by knowledgeable people. Each panelist presented their positions well and there was in fact much agreement among the panel. Kevin Hardwick, who knew the panelists well, ably served as moderator and added his own incisive commentary where it was appropriate. The program went a half hour overtime, yet not a single person left.

Thanks to all who attended, volunteered or spoke. And thanks to Speakupwny.com for sponsoring the event and to wnymedia.net for covering the event and posting its video online.

Let me flesh out the proposal I raised at the forum which is at least intriguing.

Start with the old board of supervisors concept, which is admittedly untenable. With some modifications, it might just fly again today though.

Keep the town and small city mayors as supervisors. Instead of electing 27 new city supervisors–which harks back to a time when the city had more people than the burbs–simply have the Buffalo councilmen fill those positions. That gives you a 36-member board to run the county. Add in the “Iraci plan”–a professional manager appointed by the board and you have a plausible, greatly streamlined form of government.

Each member’s vote would be weighted according to the population of the jurisdiction they represent. This has proven workable in other counties and may actually reduce logrolling and such.

There’s also a Jeffersonian element as the smaller units actual control the larger government unit: the county.

Here’s the beauty of it: with one pull of the lever on Election Day, you eliminate the County Executive and the County Legislature for good.


Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »
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