Archive (2008)

Fix Washington is Out

Randy Kuhl's list of constituent ideas for fixing Washington is out. The Messenger-Post has a story on the effort.

Voting is now open, and Kuhl will introduce the highest-voted idea as a bill later this year.

The most commonly-suggested idea was term limits, which speaks for itself.

Bridges and Fixing Washington

Reader Elmer sends a story from today's Corning Leader, where Randy Kuhl and Hillary Clinton are thanked for getting a bridge and bus station project back on track. Both projects had been stalled by mis-filed paperwork.

Today is also the day that Kuhl will unveil his "Fix Washington" project, where the "winning" suggestions from constituents are turned into legislation.

A Very Smart Move

I've been hard on the DCCC in the past, so it's only fair to say that I think their new ad buy is absolutely the right strategy for the 29th district.

The first thing that stands out about the buy is its size -- $900K per candidate. It's a big buy, the biggest we've seen from the DCCC in this area.

But even more significant is that all three candidates are grouped together in the buy. That's critical because the Rochester-area districts are so gerrymandered that a lot of residents don't know who they're voting for until they enter the voting booth. If the DCCC ad campaign emphasizes what the candidates hold in common, a voter who agrees with the candidates' shared positions will feel comfortable pulling for the Democrat in that voter's district, even if the voter is surprised in the booth on election day.

The co-marketing of the candidates is also powerful because of the expected Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. It indicates that voting for a Democrat is voting for a team that can work together to bring federal dollars back to all of Western New York.

Of course, this assumes that the grouped buy indicates a co-marketing strategy, and that the DCCC will actually use the time they've reserved. The former is just a hope, but I have little doubt about the latter, since the DCCC has been raising money hand over fist.

DCCC Reserves Major Time in WNY

The Washington Post reports that the new DCCC planned ad campaign includes a major Western New York buy of $2.7 million. That buy is split between the three contested seats in NY-25, NY-26 and NY-29.

(via The Albany Project)

Monuments and Money

Randy Kuhl participated in the dedication of a Veterans' Roll in Cohocton yesterday afternoon.

In money news, the DCCC outraised the NRCC again in June, and has a staggering $46 million cash-on-hand advantage.

Jim Walsh's Money

The Politico reports that Jim Walsh [NY-25] cut a $1,000 donation to Edolphus "Ed" Towns, a Democrat from NY-10. Towns has been in Congress for 25 years, representing a district that's been Democratic since the 1940's.

In other words, Ed's not only a Democrat, he doesn't need the money. Yet, as far as I can tell, Walsh has given nothing to Randy Kuhl. I think that says more about Walsh than it does about Kuhl, but what, exactly, it says about Walsh is beyond my ken.

Education Plan in the News

WXXI and the Democrat and Chronicle have coverage of yesterday's three-candidate press conference.

In addition to the substance of the press conference, it also looks like the three candidates found a way to get noticed in the Rochester media market, where individual press releases by candidates or officeholders usually go unnoticed.

Massa's Education Plan

The Massa campaign has posted the education plan discussed at this morning's press conference. It has three major components:

  • Replace privately-funded student loans with low-interest, federally-financed student loans with low interest rates.
  • Forgive student loans of students who perform five years of a public-service job, such as teaching, firefighting, policing, social work or nursing.
  • Create incubator projects similar to those in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, or in Boston, to grow local business.

Massa Press Conference: Educational Partnership

This morning's Massa press conference immediately followed a joint press conference with Democratic candidates Dan Maffei [NY-25] and Jon Powers [NY-26]. The subject of the conference was jobs and the future of children in Western New York.

I've asked for a copy of the plan, and when I receive it, I'll share the details with readers. In the meantime, here's Massa's take on it:

Our solutions focus on creating educational resoruces her and using them for our families. Our solutions talk about retaining our educated young people and offering them reasons to stay here in New York State.

Massa spoke of a "public/private partnership" between colleges and other educational institutions (including BOCES) and the federal government. Though Massa believes that it isn't the government's role to solve all of our problems, he does believe that government can help people solve their problems on their own. Massa, who often calls himself a "FDR Democrat", said this is a central theme of his candidacy and others who have similar aims.

"When FDR was elected, he swept in 70-plus new members of Congress who had the courage, bravery and smarts to put in the New Deal." Massa mentioned a number of accomplishments of that group, including saving the US from the Great Depression, building an Arsenal of Democracy, creating the FDIC, and creating Social Security. "Now, from that greatest generation is the legacy we stand up to recreate."

We need to stop creating barriers to higher education, such as Washington's high-interest student loans. We need to stop leaving college students behind by stacking the deck against them. We need to return to the heady days of the GI Bill when education was part of the American Dream. We need to stop exporting jobs to China, and instead lock local education to careers, to every American's benefit.

Both Rob Montana of the Hornell Evening Tribune and I asked for specifics. Those will be posted on the Massa website soon. In the meantime, Massa said:

I've talked all along about something called opportunity education that marries our local educational institutions [...] with those who are looking for trained human resources for specific jobs. If you go to a student and offer him a scholarship, and say that the benefit at the end is either a public or private employment opportunity -- I think our young people would jump at that.
The other reporter on the call was Ted Baker from WLEA.

The Longest Union Dispute Evah - Is Over

Following up on yesterday's Gannett story, the local Newspaper Guild has reached a contract with the D&C. Guild members had been working without a contract for 16 years.

According to the Guild's press release, Gannett, like a lot of large corporations, wanted to get rid of its pension plan. In order to do that, it had to seek union approval. Negotiations began last month, and the new contract was approved on Tuesday.

Ironically, the sticking point from 16 years ago was retirement benefits. Union members wanted access to the 401(k), and Gannett refused. Last month, Gannett reversed their position in order to unload manage their pension liability.

D&C Fundraising Story

The Democrat and Chronicle has a fundraising story covering all four Rochester-area districts. Based on fundraising ability, it looks like two will be competitive: the 29th and the 26th, the seat held by retiring Tom Reynolds.

Since a spokesman for Dale Sweetland, the Republican hoping to replace retiring Jim Walsh in the 25th, said "It's impossible for us to raise $900,000 before the election — let's be real", I'll be real, too. Dan Maffei, who raised half that amount last quarter alone, is on track for a big win in that district.

The 28th district, held by Louise Slaughter, is uncompetitive this year. Her challenger didn't even raise the $50K required for a campaign finance report.

Another Media Giant in Trouble

Other than the Star-Gazette and Democrat and Chronicle, almost every other paper in the 29th is owned by Gatehouse Communications. This week, Morningstar Financial released a report speculating that Gatehouse stock might be "worthless".

Last year, Gatehouse acquired 70 media properties and took on $1.2 billion in debt. Gatehouse may have trouble servicing that debt, which might trigger a situation where it becomes due immediately, which may lead to liquidation. Yesterday, Gatehouse stock closed under $1, down almost $17 from one year ago.

The Gatehouse papers in the 29th are often staffed by long-time residents who understand the Southern Tier political landscape. It would be a real loss if issues at the parent company disrupted those properties. It would also be an economic issue in Fairport, part of the 29th district, where Gatehouse has its corporate offices.