BY TONY FARINA
Schroeder Gearing Up
A few weeks ago, I wrote a story that Buffalo City Comptroller Mark Schroeder may be eyeing a run for mayor next year, a possibility he said that he would focus on after the November elections.
In that article, the city’s chief fiscal watchdog said “I believe I have the right skill set to be mayor,” citing his 25 years in the private sector before beginning his public career as a county legislator in 2002.
Three-term incumbent Byron Brown has given no sign he is not running for a fourth term next year, but there have been rumors for some time that Brown would leave if he had the opportunity. So far, apparently nothing has materialized but that could change with a victory by Hillary Clinton in November, especially since Brown will be a featured supporter for the Clinton ticket as the new chairman of the State Democratic Committee.
Whatever happens with Brown, it certainly appears Schroeder is getting ready for a run for the city’s top job as he has scheduled a major fund-raising reception next Wednesday (June 15), with contribution levels of $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 with checks made payable to Friends of Mark Schroeder.
Schroeder’s special guest for the event will be State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and it will be held at the Phillips Lytle law firm at One Canalside, 125 Main St. Ken Manning, a partner in the firm, is a prominent Democratic Party mover and shaker when it comes to raising money. For those interested, you can get information on the event by calling Erik Bohen at 716-713-5654.
Small Gets Key Endorsements in Senate Bid
Speaking of candidates, Amber Small, the newly endorsed Democratic Party candidate for the 60th District State Senate seat being vacated by Marc Panepinto, this week also picked up the endorsement of the Working Families Party and has also been endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York.
We featured Small in a story a few weeks ago at a time when she was fighting to gain recognition for her candidacy as several more well-known Democrats considered a run for the Panepinto seat. But they backed out at the prospect of going against well-heeled Republican candidate Chris Jacobs who has been out of sight since winning the GOP backing. As for Small, the community activist and relative political newcomer, she is full speed ahead and has a fundraiser set for Tuesday, June 28, from 6 p. m. to 8 p.m. at the Waterfront Village, 50 Lakefront Blvd., in Buffalo. See www.smallforsenate.com for details.
Of her endorsement by the county Democratic committee, Small said “I would like to thank ECDC and our Democratic Party leadership for their endorsement. My strong Democratic values have long been the driving force behind my efforts to improve our community.”
Democrats hold an almost 2 to 1 enrollment advantage in the 60th District, with Small saying “this November, voters will be presented with a clear choice between someone who exemplifies our community’s core values and is intent on improving the lives of our residents, and someone intent on rolling back the progress we have made with the anti-equal rights, anti-women and anti-working class agenda of the Republican Party. I plan to be a senator who is working hard for all residents of Western New York, be they Democrat, Independent, or Republican.”
As for the endorsement by the Stonewall Democrats, Small said “I am honored and humbled to accept their and pledge that I will fight for the rights of all members of the LGBT community and for the rights of all New Yorkers.”
Small is the executive director of the Parkside Community Association, the largest membership-based community association in the City of Buffalo. The 60th District stretches from Grand Island down through Erie County to Cattaraugus County and could be a key contest when it comes to which party controls the State Senate in the next session.
Republicans Tap Unknown Air Force Attorney for DA
In case you haven’t noticed, Erie County Republicans have tapped an unknown retired Air force attorney, who also happens to be a fairly new registered Conservative who before that was a blank, as their candidate for district attorney.
In what can only be described as a political maneuver to find a way to capitalize on the Trump presence on the ballot, Republicans selected Joe Treanor as their DA candidate, setting up a Conservative Party primary against Tonawanda Town Attorney John Flynn who was endorsed by the county’s Conservative Committee last month even though Flynn is also the endorsed Democratic candidate. The hope must be that Treanor could ride in on Trump’s expected coattails in Erie County in November as the Republican-Conservative-and who knows what else candidate.
Sound a bit confusing? It is, make no mistake, but Treanor this week officially announced his candidacy on You Tube, saying he will run on his own dime and will bring a non-partisan approach to one of the area’s most sensitive positions.
Conservative Party Chairman Ralph Lorigo said military law is far different than New York State law, and said this week that Treanor’s 27 years in the Air Force may not be the right experience to handle the difficult and challenging role as Erie County’s top prosecutor. He said Conservatives considered the experience factor in endorsing Flynn who is also a former Town of Tonawanda judge.
Also running for the top prosecutor’s job is the acting district attorney, Michael Flaherty, a Democrat who lost out to Flynn in the battle for the party’s endorsement in part at least because headquarters didn’t like the guy he worked for, former DA Frank Sedita III who is now a State Supreme Court justice, who, by the way, won with bipartisan endorsement.
While Flaherty and Flynn both seem well versed in state law, there’s still another candidate out there, none other than Democrat Mark Sacha who has grabbed headlines mostly for his condemnation of Sedita and another former DA, Frank Clark, for not prosecuting political operative Steve Pigeon on election law cases.
Both former DA’s stood by Sacha in his time of family crisis in 2005 but their support was apparently overwhelmed by Sacha’s desire to have Pigeon prosecuted for election law transgressions and he attacked them both for not going after Pigeon with Sedita eventually firing him. Now he is running for district attorney, a marginal longshot at best.