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Small Talk

• MSNBC’s version of New York State, accompanying a story on President Barack Obama’s plan to swing through our region next week.

Dollar for dollar: Sergio Rodriguez, the Republican candidate for mayor, is finally being shown some love by the GOP political machine—at least the machine that operates in the city. The City of Buffalo Republican Committee donated $1,520 to his campaign last month, and the North District Republican Committee kicked in a few bucks, too. The Erie County Republican Committee continues to give him the cold shoulder.

So far, the scrappy Rodriguez has spent about $20,000 on his campaign. His limited resources means his snazzy new commercial can only be seen online; he can’t afford to place it on TV. In contrast, Byron Brown, the incumbent, has spent more that $225,000 in the last month alone, including more than $110,000 on TV spots. Brown’s Democratic primary opponent, Bernie Tolbert, has launched two TV ads of his own, buying more affordable cable TV spots. With three and ahalf weeks left before the primary, Tolbert has $175,000 in the bank, Rodriguez has $2,500, and Brown has $1.17 million.

• The invisible race for comptroller: When Jeremy Zellner, the Erie County Democratic Party chairman, tapped Kevin Gaughan, the high-profile community activist, to take on incumbent Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, expectations rose that the race would become one of the year’s most visible and engaging political contests: Both men are ambitious, work crowds well, and are always happy to engage an argument.

But neither candidate has been as visible as one might have imagined: Mychajliw is on the campaign trail but has spent hardly any of the $50,000 or so he raised in the first six months of the year to defend his office. Gaughan has not yet created a campaign committee to accept donations and make expenditures. No doubt both are waiting for the primaries to be over to engage one another. But shouldn’t they be fundraising now?

• Patronage watch: The Belle Center, on Buffalo’s lower West Side, is a terrific neighborhood institution that provides much-needed services and facilities to its constituents. It’s not to be blamed for shenanigans like these: The center’s new executive director is Lucy Candelario, whose resume is a perfect fit for the position: She’s been working in the nonprofit sector for 30 years, including a stint as executive director for West Side Community Services. She is also married to Modesto Candelario, who sits on the Belle Center’s board of directors and is assisatant executive director od the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, which funds the Belle Center.

“I know just what the response from Modesto will be,” writes Joe Mascia, a resident commissioner at BMHA, in an email response to the hire: “‘I can recuse myself from any votes that are a conflict’…What does he do at the dinner table with his wife? Recuse himself there, too?

“This is not an attack on the qualifications of Ms. Candelario,” Mascia added. “She is experienced and has done wonderful work at the West Side Community Center. It’s the process.”

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