Posts containing facts about the race in the 29th.

Fracking Meeting

The Corning Leader's Bob Recotta filed this report about the Pulteney fracking wastewater meeting. The meeting was heavily attended, and Eric Massa was one of the speakers. An interesting note: three of the five town board members have signed leases with the energy company that wants to dump the wastewater.

The Leader also has a story about new lighting in the Bath school gym, due in part to the intervention of Massa.

More Fracking Info

Reader groundhum sent a couple of links about the proposed wastewater disposal well in Pulteney. First, the Penn Yan Chronicle-Express has a story about the regulatory review required. It sounds like nothing's happening quickly. Also, the Finger Lakes Times reports that the Seneca Pure Water Association thinks the well poses a high risk.

Groundhog Day for Reed

On a day when we use a rodent's shadow as an indicator to forecast the weather, let's look at a couple of recent indicators of the success of Tom Reed's campaign.

Sunday's money numbers were pretty grim for Reed. He's got enough cash to run a modest campaign, not the fierce challenge needed to unseat Massa. Unless the National Republican Congressional Committee steps up its fundraising, he won't get much help from them, since they trail the Democrats by a 7:1 margin in their fundraising efforts.

Reader Zabriskie sends another indicator: Reed's hometown newspaper's take on his recent redbaiting press release. On Sunday, Managing Editor Joe Dunning devoted his column [pdf] to debunking Reed's claim about the dirty Commies. On Monday, the editors gave Reed a "groan" [pdf] for the press release.

It's still a long journey until November's election, but these two indicators are a little more reliable than a burrowing woodchuck.

Fracking Meeting

Rich the Retiree sends a flyer being distributed in Pulteney [pdf] in preparation for a fracking meeting February 7. This kind of local action in small towns often flies under the media radar, but Massa is going to be at this meeting, so presumably it will get some coverage.

SOTU Reaction

Here's Eric Massa's response to last night's State of the Union address, and here's Tom Reed's [pdf].

As usual, Massa has a list of specific likes and dislikes, and Reed's response is shorter, less specific and completely negative.


Reader Groundhum sends this item from the Penn Yan Chronicle-Express. The town of Jerusalem is going to expand an old ordinance to stop trucks carrying fracking water from driving through town. Apparently, towns in New York have wide latitude to decide what kind of traffic travels on their roads.

In somewhat related news, one of the two wind companies planning to build towers in Prattsburgh has pulled out. This follows the election in Prattsburgh, where an anti-wind town board was installed.

New York State is the land of NIMBY (not in my back yard). I'm sure we'll eventually have some kind of gas drilling in the Southern Tier, but the wastewater won't be jammed down some convenient well, or trucked to hell and back. Any energy company (and any candidate) who thinks they can jump in for a quick score doesn't understand the politics of the region or the state.

Reed Goes Retro

I used to think that redbaiting went out with cat eye glasses, poodle skirts and fins on cars. But Randy Kuhl cured me of that impression back in 2007, when he justified his flip-flop on the Employee Free Choice Act by saying that the Communist Party supported it.

Today, Tom Reed takes up where Randy Kuhl left off. After putting on his alpaca sweater and horn-rimmed glasses, Reed sat down at his Underwood portable, typed up a stencil, fired up the mimeo and cranked out this press release [pdf]. As you can see, Reed wants us all to know that the Communist Party approves of Massa's opposition to the Afghanistan War.

I can only guess what's next from the Reed campaign. A treatise on the evils of that new-fangled rock-and-roll? A debate over the relative merits of Brylcreem versus Murray's for the perfect D.A.? Tune in after Milton Berle to find out.

More Fracking Stories

In a comment on Thursday's fracking story, Rich the Retiree noted that the Dundee Observer covered the Pulteney meeting.

Reader Dan sends Wednesday's Massa op-ed in the Penn Yan Chronicle-Express.

As a side note, the Dundee Observer site says they also cover Penn Yan. The I didn't know that the Penn Yan area had two newspapers. It's like Chicago down there.

The Citizens United Decision

Yesterday's Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case would seem to have a major impact in the 29th. By a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that limits on third-party advocacy in elections are unconstitutional.

This means two things. First, corporations are now free to sponsor political ads. Second, advocacy groups will no longer have to stop advertising 30 days prior to primaries, and 60 days prior to general elections.

There are all kinds of dire outcomes being predicted, mainly on the assumption that corporations will flood the market with advertising and "buy" candidates. This may happen, but I doubt it, for a few reasons.

First, corporations already get what they want from Congress, for the most part. They have a well-oiled machine working to get Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation favorable to their interests, often to the detriment of you and me. The recent banking crisis, which arose in most part from bi-partisan deregulation, and the lack of a serious legislative response, is a prime example.

Second, ads are a blunt instrument, often wielded clumsily and ineffectively. We've seen that in the 29th with ads from advocacy groups like Advocates are often so wrapped up in their little advocacy worlds that they miss the bigger picture, and produce ads that are shrill or grating. Perhaps corporations will be able to hire consultants to slip their message in without us stupid voters noticing, but if there's reasonable disclosure of sponsorship in advertising, many will be able to consider the source.

Finally, corporations tend to tread carefully when dealing with controversial political topics. Most hotly contested elections are decided by a few points. Do corporations really want to risk losing customers by alienating almost half of their customer base during an election? It's much better for them to use PAC contributions to influence legislation behind the scenes than to commit to a full-on PR campaign. (This point might be addressed in part by the use of third-party groups like the Chamber of Commerce to do corporate advertising, but consumers can still speak with their pocketbooks in a lot of cases.)

In addition to these considerations, there's a practical one in the 29th: we're already oversaturated with political ads in Rochester around election time. In the Massa/Reed race, if corporations come in on Reed's side, we can expect some serious expenditures from unions for Massa. There are only so many hours in the day for ads, and, more importantly, voters only have a very finite tolerance for political ads. We're going to reach a saturation point very quickly.

From the standpoint of principle, I don't know if it's healthy for us to treat corporations in the same way that we treat persons under the law. But I've always thought that campaign finance law was on the edge of a First Amendment violation, and I don't see how this ruling was completely out of line or unexpected. Transparency -- telling us quickly and accurately who's spending money to help whom -- is far more important than restricting spending.

In-Depth Fracking

Reader Groundhum sends the coverage of a Pulteney town hall meeting which covered the topic of a proposed wastewater disposal well which would be located in an abandoned gas well about a mile from Keuka Lake. The well would store over 600 million gallons of chemical slurry used in hydrofracking operations to mine gas from the Marcellus Shale.

The Penn Yan Chronicle-Express has meeting coverage and a backgrounder on the proposals. The Finger Lakes Times also has a story, which repeats Eric Massa's opposition to the well. It adds the Town of Syracuse as another opponent, because they are concerned about contamination of Syracuse's drinking water.

Groundhum also sent an announcement from the Keuka Lake association, which says "The proposed site is alarmingly close to Keuka Lake and we are horrified that it would even merit preliminary consideration."

One of the concerns mentioned in the stories is the tanker truck traffic along the Keuka Wine Trail. The disposal well is capable of handling 180,000 gallons of wastewater per day. Tankers carry between 5000-9000 gallons each, so this means at least 20 tanker truck runs per day, every day, for 10 years.

Syndicate content