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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v10n24 (06/15/2011) » Section: Week in Review

The Not-So-Peaceable Kingdom

Here’s a telltale sign that the Pax Democratica in Western New York, if it exists at all, is fragile: In the last week, Democratic loyalists have fanned out across the county carrying designating petitions for Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, the Democrat who is challenging Republican Erie County Executive Chris Collins this fall, and on whose behalf the three-way deal was negotiated under pressure from operatives for Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo wants nothing more than to see Collins, a possible challenger in 2014, unseated.

The Governor, Charter Schools, and Parent Triggers

Last Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office announced the appointment of Katie Campos, a founder and the director of Buffalo ReformEd, as an assistant education secretary in Cuomo’s administration. On Tuesday, a story in the Buffalo News described a lobbying trip to Albany by Buffalo parents of school children, organized by the city schools’ District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) and its vice president, Samuel Radford III. The group intended to advocate for an Assembly bill that would empower a majority of parents at any of Buffalo’s lowest-achieving public schools to impose a drastic reorganization or closure of that school.

Grisanti Lashes Out at Collins

Last week, State Senator Mark Grisanti submitted a pleasant but innocuous bit of legislation commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system. Isn’t it remarkable, he said to this colleagues on the floor of the State Senate in Albany, to consider that in 1836 Buffalo’s library circulated 5,500 books, while last year the system circulated more than eight million items and hosted more than four million visitors?

Who's Carrying Water For Whom?

There are several items before state legislators in these waning days of the session that relate to deep-well, horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the drilling technique that lobbyists for the gas and oil industry have advocated relentlessly as a means to exploit expensive-to-reach gas pockets in the state Marcellus Shale.

Who Will Wear #32?

State legislators will recess on Monday, June 20, but a number of lightning-rod issues lie open before them in the meantime, including same-sex marriage. This issue may be settled by the time you read this. On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo submitted a marriage equality bill to the Assembly, which will have passed it by the time you read this, as it has done several times in the past. Cuomo also provided a message of necessity, obviating the three-day aging process generally required before a bill can move to the State Senate, where marriage equality bills traditionally have gone to die. On Tuesday evening, however, marriage equality won its 31st vote in Republican State Senator Roy McDonald of Saratoga switched his vote from no to yes.

Scorecard: The Week's Winners and Losers

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