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County: Delay further salary talks

June 26, 2013 The OBSERVER Save | Comments (1) | Post a comment |

Chautauqua County legislators are not expected to take up the Salary Review Commission’s proposal during its meeting tonight, according to WDOE. That’s a good thing.

But it needs to go one step further – do not look at the fairy tale plan, which includes raises of nearly 30 percent, again. Do not look at it until there has been some drastic change to the county in terms of business, development, economics and population. When those pieces start to show an improvement – not a decline – then look to give elected officials raises.

Name an accomplishment by any elected official over recent years when businesses have exited the county as well as residents?

Finding funds to clean and maintain the lake is not one of them. That’s a gift from the state. How about magically finding $10 million in funds last year? Another gift.

What about the complaints about state mandates? Complaining is what some politicians do too well.

Our county’s population has dipped to under 134,000 residents. In 1980, it was 150,000. How do you justify nearly 30 percent raises to county officials when all we have seen is decline in the last three decades?

This, ultimately, is how you know government leaders are out of touch.

Salary increases off agenda

June 26, 2013 By LIZ SKOCZYLAS  – OBSERVER Mayville Bureau , Save | Post a comment |

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature will not be discussing salary increases during its monthly meeting today.

Despite four local laws establishing salary levels for elected officials being on the agenda, it was announced the laws will not be discussed. According to an email from Kathy Tampio, legislative clerk, the purpose for the change in the agenda is to enable further review and analysis by all members of the legislature.

Legislative Chairman Jay Gould, R-Ashville, made the decision to pull the local laws off the agenda.

“There hasn’t been enough debate on (the local laws). There must be a better way,” Gould said. “Maybe there ought to be another way, other than a citizen’s committee, such as a cost-of-living every year, or every two years or something. (The local laws) weren’t enacted in (2008) and they won’t be enacted in (2013)

more…

Read more on our OCDB Issues page here.

“Minority Leader Robert Whitney, D-Jamestown, said he did not see a problem with the proposed increase to salaries.”

…report that recommends 28.8 percent pay raises for the county executive and county clerk and raises for the legislature that result in paying more for a 19 member legislature than a 25 member legislature. Are they joking? Surely, there must be a better recommendation coming, right? For starters, commission members recommend a $3,000 base pay increase to legislators. That increase, if approved, would increase the total base pay from $225,000 for a 25 member legislature to $228,000 for a 19 member legislature…

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As NYS and it’s counties continue to have some of the highest property taxes nationally, a major component is of course the portion that is your School Taxes. Please vote on your school budgets, we say mostly NO because most of them contain increases, though there are a few we would vote Yes as you’ll see below. We hope you have also looked at Board candidates and where there are choices, that you vote for the best one (that will oppose irresponsibility at the state level, oppose federal intervention and dictates such as common core, and who will support an agenda that truly puts proper education and the kids first, not the unions, not special interests, and not radical social agendas). As for the budgets, consider the following before you vote:

Countywide in 2006 we had 21956 students, and as of 2013 we have 20338 students. This equals an enrollment decline of 1618 students.

At an (2006) average cost of $15974/student, that would equal a decline in spending of $25,845,932.

However, that is not the case as total countywide spending in 2006 was $350,728,170, by 2009 with (unnecessary) increases in Federal and State aid, spending (like drunken sailors) was up to $427,049,005 (note that some of this increase was due to a couple of major building projects such as with Southwestern, but then we must point out that in the same course of events, total debt of $274,351,873 in 2006 had climbed to $322,788,619 by 2009). Our schools systems across the county are almost in as much debt collectively as they are spending.

Since then the public has got wise, cracked down on the school systems, and to a degree gotten some of this spending under control. However, the proposed spending this year is $376,204,605 is still almost $26 million higher than 2006 yet with 1618 fewer students! [Note that we also have the 2% property tax cap now but it’s kind of a joke with respect to the schools. Heck they can raise their levy by 6% and not violate the cap because of all the exclusions they are granted, but we digress as the whole TaxCap issue is another story.]

So what’s to explain this you might ask? We submit it is a combination of a few things we will not be shy about saying: 1- In past years the public school unions have been greedy and out of control, pay and benefits have exploded, contracts overly generous, Taylor laws and Triborough amendments giving them special protections, it has hurt us taxpayers, continues to do so, and we need more reforms therein. 2- The public sector state pension system remains a ticking bomb and a major contributor. Again generous and “guaranteed” benefit are at work and all shortfalls to the pension system are simply made up by cranking up the employer (municipality) contribution rate (or in other words taxpayers are taxed more) 3- We have 18 school “administrations” and whereas the union factor is a part of this equation with respect to some of the administration staff, having 18 administrations in of itself is a problem. Just consider that 18 Superintendents at an average of $125,000/year (Southwestern’s is presently about $155,000) each, equals $2,250,000 in spending, just on 18 (non-union, by the way) people. How about we have one County superintendent for $225,000, saving us $2,000,000/year and we consolidate the administrations overall saving us $millions and millions more. In addition, right size overall staffing in schools to the degree it still needs to be done (some has been done over the last few years), and freeze salaries and benefits for the “tenured” teachers until the playing field levels out (we have some of the highest compensated public school teachers in the entire country). Oh and that pension issue, well the baby steps taken with tier 6 for example are just that, and we need yet more reform. However, now we have this pension smoothing scheme, it is a scam, terribly irresponsible, and it will likely eventually explode that ticking pension bomb we alluded to above.

{Note on highest average teacher salaries nationwide: Please do not let certain folks try to convince you that this analysis or others are skewed by NYC schools data. In Southwestern alone, as of 2010 payroll, there were 30 people making over $70,000/year plus benefits, with 5 more ready to hit that level in the next payroll year. At this level of compensation (for what is less than 52 week 40 hour per week work), in a matter of only a decade these folks are millionaires, on your tax dime!}

{{Source: The current figures were taken from the article below and all other figures / prior year figures come directly from the NYS Comptroller’s Office}}

IF YOU’RE NOT UPSET YET AND READY TO VOTE AGAINST YOUR INCREASING SCHOOL BUDGET (ESPECIALLY THOSE INCREASING BY MORE THAN 2%), THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU!

School Budget Facts And Figures

May 19, 2013 The Post-Journal Save | Comments (1) | Post a comment |

[OCDB emphasis added – Cost per student]

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY

SOUTHWESTERN

Proposed spending: $25,857,975 – a .46 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $12,379,950 – a 2.44 percent increase

Enrollment: 1,430 students / Cost per student $18082

Board elections: one three-year term up for election; incumbent William Burk is running unopposed

[Consider: 2006 Enrollment 1609 students, Spending $23,571,756, Cost per student $14649]

FREWSBURG

Proposed spending: $15,506,279 – a 3.35 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $4,982,166 – a 2.1 percent incease

Enrollment: 848 students / Cost per student $18285

Board elections: three three-year terms and one one-year term up for election; five candidates running: Eric Wright, Hannah Hayes, Randall Wiltsie, Janet Black and Jason Ruhlman

CASSADAGA VALLEY

Proposed spending: $19,967,698 – a .15 percent decrease

Proposed tax levy: $5,097,060 – a 1.98 percent increase

Enrollment: 1,011 students / Cost per student $19750

Board elections: one five-year term and one two-year vacancy up for election; three candidates running: incumbent Jeanne Oag is unopposed, Sandra Barker and Daniel Pavlock are running for the two-year term

CHAUTAUQUA LAKE

Proposed spending: $19,535,232 – a 2.15 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $10,806,020 – a 3.72 percent increase

Enrollment: 972 students / Cost per student $20097

Board elections: information not available

PINE VALLEY

Proposed spending: $15,019,537 – a 2.7 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $3,236,080 – a 3 percent increase

Enrollment: 607 students / Cost per student $24743

Board elections: three three-year terms up for election, four candidates running: incumbents are Jo Anne Anderson, Janie Waag and Lawrence Zollinger, challenger is Angelo Graziano

CLYMER

Proposed spending: $9,750,795 – a 3.48 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $3,966,909 – a 2.56 percent increase

Enrollment: 435 students / Cost per student $22415

Board elections: no contested seats

DUNKIRK

Proposed spending: $40,923,396 – a 1.79 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $9,614,516 – no change

Enrollment: 2,030 students / Cost per student $20159

Board elections: one one-year term and two three-year terms up for election; three candidates running: incumbents are Kenneth Kozlowski and Linda Guy, the other candidate is Bridget Majka

BEMUS POINT

Proposed spending: $13,119,825 – a 5.17 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $7,900,064 – a 5.67 percent increase

Enrollment: 772 students / Cost per student $16994

Board elections: two three-year terms up for election, two candidates running: the incumbent is Lisa Allenson and the other candidate is Barry Swanson

FALCONER

Proposed spending: $21,647,772 – a 2.53 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $6,856,116 – a 3.45 percent increase

Enrollment: 1,209 students / $17905

Board elections: one five-year term and one one-year term up for election, two candidates running: the incumbent is Todd Beckerink and the other candidate is Christopher Hannon

SILVER CREEK

Proposed spending: $20,477,618 – a 3.25 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $5,661,824 – a 2.7 percent increase

Enrollment: 1,094 students / Cost per student $18718

Board elections: one five-year term and one one-year unexpired term up for election, two candidates running: the incumbent is Greg Cole and the other candidate is Steven Boothe

FORESTVILLE

Proposed spending: $11,483,188 – a .31 percent decrease

Proposed tax levy: $3,622,430 – a 3.9 percent increase

Enrollment: 524 students /  Cost per student $21914

Board elections: one four-year term up for election, incumbent Bruce Ellis is running unopposed

PANAMA

Proposed spending: $12,198,067 – a 1.66 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $3,461,172 – no change

Enrollment: 567 students / Cost per student $21513

Board elections: two incumbents are running unopposed

JAMESTOWN

Proposed spending: $75,369,680 – a 1.86 percent decrease

Proposed tax levy: $14,641,567 – no change

Enrollment: 5,220 students / Cost per student $14438

Board elections: two three-year terms up for election, three candidates running: incumbents are Joe DiMaio and Patrick Slagle and the challenger is Todd Rushforth

FREDONIA

Proposed spending: $28,754,508 – a 2.99 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $15,079,019 – a 2.98 percent increase

Enrollment: 1,474 students / Cost per student $19507

Board elections: one term up for election, incumbent Roberta Coniglio is running unopposed

BROCTON

Proposed spending: $15,298,333 – a 3.97 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $4,486,946 – a 1.99 percent increase

Enrollment: 618 students / Cost per student $24754

Board elections: two five-year terms up for election; three candidates running: Jim Farrell, Beth Jagoda and Robert Mead-Colgrove

RIPLEY

Proposed spending: $8,370,065 – a 1.75 percent decrease

Proposed tax levy: $2,140,341 – a 4.08 percent decrease

Enrollment: 325 students / Cost per student $25754

Board elections: two three-year terms up for election, three candidates running: incumbent Frederick Krause is running unopposed for one seat, the other two candidates are Wanda Bentley and Paul McCutcheon

SHERMAN

Proposed spending: $8,771,623 – a 1.87 percent decrease

Proposed tax levy: $2,398,032 – a 4 percent increase

Enrollment: 460 students /  Cost per student $19068

Board elections: one five-year term up for election, two candidates running: the incumbent is Emily Kidd and the challenger is Tim Sears

WESTFIELD

Proposed spending: $14,153,014 – a 2.17 percent increase

Proposed tax levy: $5,678,406 – a 4.49 percent increase

Enrollment: 742 students / Cost per student $19074

Board elections: one five-year term up for election, incumbent Steve Cockram is running unopposed

  • RELATED, SEE ALSO:

Schools Prep For Budget Votes

May 19, 2013 By Gavin Paterniti (gpaterniti@post-journal.com) , The Post-Journal

Ready to vote: School budgets, board seats up Tuesday

May 19, 2013 OBSERVER Staff Report Save | Comments (4) | Post a comment |

Rotten to the ‘Core?’

May 19, 2013 The OBSERVER Save | Comments (4) | Post a comment |

By DEANN NELSON, Member STTPP

Funds, staff keep shrinking

May 19, 2013 The OBSERVER Save | Comments (18) | Post a comment |

For some, it was an unsettling tone. Cassadaga Valley music teacher John Cross and another 75 residents attended last week’s Board of Education meeting to voice their concerns regarding the elimination of a music teacher position in the district.

“I’ve done everything I can over the last four weeks (to convince the board not to cut music). … I don’t want to go in there and blindside anyone,” Cross said. “It needs to be said. I’ve been around here longer than anyone. I am not a public speaker, a political organizer, or a rabble rouser.”

His sympathetic story is one we hear annually at a number of districts. And Cross is correct. The cuts are not fair. But neither is the expenses associated with the Cassadaga Valley music program.

According to seethroughny.net, three music teachers in the district receive more than $275,000 in salary. Total compensation of the music teachers, including health benefits and pensions, equates to $386,000. That’s about 10 times more, according to published reports, than most professional musicians will earn if they are lucky.

Is that cost sustainable to a school district of just a little more than 1,000 students? Absolutely not. But if you do not hear concessions offered by staff members in the district to add another position, what other choice does the board have?

One option residents have is to defeat Tuesday’s proposal that goes before voters, which would give the board the option of revisiting its budget. The bad news is the board could decide to put an austerity plan into effect, which is 2 percent less than what is proposed and usually adds to the unhappiness.

No district in this county of 17 1/2 is riding a wave of optimism. Enrollments are declining, programming is suffering and expenses keep rising. At least Ripley – the smallest of all our county districts – did something about it. Voters there approved tuitioning their students in grade seven to 12 to Chautauqua Lake. It stabilized costs, lowered taxes and adds opportunities for their students.

What about the other districts?

It is more of the same. Bare-bones plans. Excuses of state mandates and fewer courses for the students.

Which gets us back to the reduction at Cassadaga Valley. It will not get better there – or any other local district in the future. But joining forces, as Ripley and Chautauqua Lake have done, provides some flexibility.

Chautauqua County residents, however, have fought being flexible for years. It is why mergers and consolidations of the smallest bits of government and schools have been defeated over that past 30 years.

We are running out of other choices.

[OCDB, When funds and staff shrink the first thing you need to ask is are you shrinking existing bloat, which isn’t a bad thing. When a bubble has been created you have 2 choices; Take corrective action and Shrink it, or Continue on til it Bursts!]

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Goodell wins 150th Assembly race

November 7, 2012 With more than 61 percent of the vote, Andy Goodell, R-C-I Chautauqua County, is going back to Albany On Tuesday, Goodell defeated Dr. more »»

November 7, 2012 The votes are in, and the people have elected Judge John Ward as Chautauqua County Court Judge. The Republican incumbent received 63 percent. more »»

State Senator Cathy Young was returned to continue her good work in Albany after winning re-election (unchallenged -see why “Vote Cathy Young”)

Freshman Congressman Tom Reed re-elected to a 2nd term.

Congressman Reed carried Chautauqua County (the 1 county in which he was not an incumbant) by over 2000 votes, and won all but 1 county (Tompkins, a democrat stronghold from which his opponent hailed) of the 11 he represents.

Reed participates in county chamber forum

November 10, 2012 By DUSTEN RADER – The OBSERVER

JAMESTOWN – Residents of Chautauqua County were invited to meet their new choice for the House of Representatives on Friday.

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce held its federal congressional luncheon Friday with recently elected Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Reed of the new 23rd congressional district seat at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown.

“I appreciate the support because we had a great turnout here in Chautauqua County,” said Reed. “That’s why we wanted to come over here immediately after the election to send the message that it’s not just about showing up during the campaign, but also showing up once you’re in the office. Chautauqua County is a critical component of Western New York, and we’re going to make sure that we’re here and doing the work.”

More…

Election 2012: How the region voted

Voter turnout in Chautauqua County has increased since the 2008 Presidential Election, but voter enrollment has declined in those four years.

Additionally, following Tuesday’s election, it appears voters are not sticking to party lines. New York state voter enrollment forms show a total of 27,220 registered Democratic voters in the county, and 26,133 registered Republican voters. There are also 4,674 registered Independent; 1,978 Conservative; and 433 registered Working Families.

Despite these numbers, the county overwhelmingly voted Republican on Tuesday…

County votes higher for RomneyNovember 7, 2012 While President Barack Obama won the national election, Chautauqua County voters turned out for Mitt Romney by about 9 percent more of the total vot…
Obama wins were smaller in 2012 – Cities of Dunkirk, Jamestown, …

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TUES NOV 6th: “Vote Mitt Romney”

Dear fellow New Yorker’s, friends in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and all Americans across our great Nation,

We believe in America and hope you do as well. In 4 days there is only one clear choice to get America back on track and right the path of our great national ship that has blown so far off course over these last 4 years. We believe that Mitt Romney can do this, not because he’s “the one” – a kind of messiah or savior, a rock star or some worldly celebrity, or any other delusional or shallow attribute, but because he is a real leader and a true statesman. Mitt Romney as a former Governor understands not only what Washington DC must properly do, but also what it must not. He understands how government should work and first and foremost that any policy of such must be grounded in certain rock solid principles, those that made us what we are, those found in our Constitution. He understands as a successful businessman how and why our laissez faire system of free market capitalism works, works best, and how to promote it in such a way, as well as get out of its way, so that is creates jobs, prosperity, and the revenues that government needs to carry out it essential and proper functions. He understands as the former Commander-in-Chief of his state, how to be such for his Nation, and that we must regain our footing in the world as a leader, as a beacon of liberty, and that we must keep our nation safe and stand by our friends, with a policy of peace through strength. He also understands as a successful man how to pay it forward, has been very generous throughout his life, and understands that government cannot force charity, nor should promote dependency, and that the best way for a community to take of itself is through its’ individuals achievement, responsibility, and choice, not by having their hand out to Washington DC. Finally, Mitt Romney is a man of integrity, is humble, pious, and devout in his beliefs of life, liberty, and our rights that come from our creator, not from man, and not from government. He can and he will use these traits to bring our nation back together and lead us into the future in the spirit of another great leader who once said, “You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream–the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.”

Fellow Americans we are on that downward path, but we believe in the upward one, and we are confident that Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, their families, and enough of yours, believe so as well. Together this election day, we pray, we can get back on this upward path by making the change we truly need. With our heart and soul, and of sound mind – may Mitt Romney be the next President of these United States of America and may our next generations be as blessed with freedom as we were.

Real Change From Day One – Mitt’s Closing Argument

(For Obama 4 More Days – Not 4 more years. The only hope now is that we get the real change needed but never delivered, and no more of those changes we did get, that only made matters worse!)
“President Obama promised change, but he could not deliver it. I promise change, and I have a record of achieving it. This is why I am running for president. I know how to change the course the nation is on, how to get us to a balanced budget and how to build jobs and rising take-home pay. Accomplishing real change is not something I just talk about–it is something I have done. And it is what will do when I am President of the United States.

If you believe we can do better, if you believe America should be on a better course, if you are tired of being tired, then I ask you to vote for real change. Paul Ryan and I will bring real change to America, from Day One.”  –  Mitt Romney

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TUES NOV 6th: “Vote Tom Reed”

For us this contest is another stark contrast, and hands down, no contest, we support “Reed”

(update) PJ 11/1/12: Which congressional candidate would better represent the needs of Chautauqua County?

  1. Tom Reed
    70%
  2. Nate Shinagawa
    30%

And among all the important info to follow, Houghton, whose representation we greatly respected, sums it up:  Former Congressman Amo Houghton announced today he enthusiastically endorses Congressman Tom Reed in the House of Representatives for the 23rd Congressional District. Houghton, who represented New York’s 29th Congressional District from 1987-2005, expressed his strong support for Reed and urged voters to join him in electing Reed on Election Day: “I enthusiastically support Tom and endorse him for election,” Houghton said. “We need his practical, bipartisan approach. Tom is someone that we are, and can be, proud of.”

“It’s very humbling to have such great support from someone whom I respect so much,” Reed said. “Amo and I speak often and his advice is central to the way we approach representing people.”

Houghton’s statement comes just days after Reed was endorsed for election by the Buffalo News, which compared Reed favorably to another former Western New York Congressman, Jack Quinn. The endorsement praised Reed’s “passionate yet pragmatic approach to governing that is built on conservative principles yet is open to the possibility of compromise,” adding that Reed’s approach is something that the nation desperately needs.

The Buffalo News Endorsement – “We like his brand of Republicanism. It’s a passionate yet pragmatic approach to governing that is built on conservative principles yet is open to the possibility of compromise.” (It’s worth noting how remarkable it is that Reed did receive this endorsement as this same paper also endorsed Democrats Higgins and Hochul).

State Senator Cathy Young has endorsed Tom Reed for Congress in New York’s new 23rd Congressional District. “This election is of critical importance to the people of the Southern Tier,” said Senator Young. “Tom Reed’s commitment to private-sector job growth is what we need to move our region toward greater economic recovery. He is truly committed to reducing government spending, lowering taxes for our families and small businesses, and creating a business-friendly environment. With Tom Reed, we will have a strong and accessible voice in Washington.”

TOM REED ENDORSED BY STATE SENATOR TOM O’MARA FOR NEW YORK’S 23RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Endorsement: In new district, Reed is choice October 31, 2012 The OBSERVER

(It should also be noted that our County Editorials have also praised the fact that we were returned to our old Congressional District, and we couldn’t agree more. We were just some of many that advocated for such over the last couple years and couldn’t be happier that along with the redistricting came being represented by Tom Reed who on so many levels is doing an excellent job for us as a freshman, yet leader, in Congress.)

Reed Has Slight Edge Over Shinagawa October 31, 2012 The Post-Journal

…And so we urge voters to elect Tom Reed to Congress on Nov. 6.

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Buffalo Niagara Partnership Announces 2012 Endorsements The Buffalo Niagara Partnership announced its 2012 election endorsements this morning. According to a statement, its endorsements were based on “candidates’ Unshackle Upstate Legislative Scorecards and support for fiscally sound budgets, important regional projects including UB2020, Proceeds, Roswell Park, and statewide issues like the property tax cap. In federal races, policy positions on national employer and economic development issues were closely examined, as well as astute understanding of and support for Buffalo Niagara-specific initiatives.” The Partnership’s endorsed candidates are: Tom Reed (R) – U.S. House of Representatives 23rd District, …

The Heritage Alliance (A Christian Values Org.) released their IVoterGuide.Scored Reed a “B” and his opponent Shinigawa a “F”. Among some of the findings, National Right to Life 100% Americans for Prosperity 100% Concerned Women for America 92% American Conservative Union 88%, Government unions scored him low – 0, Planned Parenthood 0, NRA gives him an “A” rating, while the Sierra Club endorsed his opponent.

http://tomreedforcongress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/VoteTomReed

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TUES NOV 6th: “Vote Andy Goodell”

(update) PJ Poll 11/3/12: Which candidate for Assembly District 150 do you support?

1.     Rudy Mueller

46%

2.    Andy Goodell

54%

You bet Goodell deserves another term! He has done a remarkable job challenging the status quo on both sides of the isle in Albany, standing up to the insanity that often comes from the NYC delegation, as well as actually getting things done while still sticking to his guns in fighting for our values here at home. The paper did well to point this out and was nice to his opponent, which is fine as we have no dispute with the statement that he is an idealist gadfly with a lot of energy. We must however articulate a few more things:

  1. Mr Mueller once attended a town hall meeting and after making some fairly ridiculous arguments on why he supported the effort to advance Obamacare, like comparing it to car insurance, the discussion turned to Illegal immigration issues. Having first failed to recognize that illegal aliens are costing the state of NY $billions/year, he then proceeded to announce that it’s not a County problem and he’s never seen or heard of any illegals locally. After it was pointed out that there was just recently an arrest of several illegals at the mexican restaurant in Lakewood (his own legislature district and back yard) that was the end of his remarks (and he never attended another one of these town halls either).
  2. On the subject of having championed and end to tax payer funded insurance for part-time county legislators he is claiming some credit where it is not due. You see he did not start the idea, nor did he bring it to the forefront. We will give him credit that once he did jump on the bandwagon yes he did goad and prod his colleagues to eliminate it, but then how couldn’t he. He and his spouse are both doctors and wealthy so how could he possibly not advocate that taxpayers shouldn’t have to provide him full insurance coverage for part-time service. It would have been political suicide in his case and of course taking such a position hurt him none whatsoever.
  3. On the subject of the lake, we do not dispute that he cares about it and we do appreciate that fact, however many of his ideas on how to deal with it have been so unrealistic that his own party wouldn’t even advance most of them.
  4. On redistricting you may recall the original effort to which he was a part. He had full access and imput and after officially working on a plan with other legislators from both parties, voted to accept the plan out of committee and advance to the full legislature. Within a couple of days he succumbed to the pressure of a couple upset fellow democrats and unofficially, outside of any duly called meeting, attempted to undue the whole effort by withdrawing his vote,  announcing such that weekend. He then proceeded to go work on his own unauthorized plan and no less utilized county resources to do so. The taxpayers were never reimbursed for those costs and his plan never did advance to the floor because well, it wasn’t legal. To make matters worse he had talked about such things as the integrity of towns and keeping them whole but the results of his plan did quite the opposite in many cases, except for his own town of Busti that is.
  5. As for the sales tax issue, well this can get a little complicated depending on what aspect you look at but there’s one thing he tried to do that’s pretty simple. The idea of a sales tax swap was floated and he was all about doing it. The potential was that the state would take our sales tax revenues and relieve the county of its medicaid bill, and where that may sound good, and especially so in the present year it was being discussed, he wasn’t looking to the future and other consequences. Had we done this, once sales tax picked back up to being higher than the medcaid bill, the county would be loosing out. Not only that, but if we would have given the state what it wanted, then where would be the incentive to reform medicaid and bring the cost down for our state taxpayers which is what’s really needed. Fortunately we didn’t do it and as far as we know only 1 county in the entire state was foolish enough to do so.
  6. Something Mueller did right was his advocacy that the county home should absolutely be privatized and the county should no longer be running that fiscally failing operation. It’s surprising today that those resisting the effort to do so aren’t taking Mueller to task about this seeing that most of them are democrats, and union ops who are generally in the tank for democrats. Then again maybe it just goes to show their own hypocrisy. Regardless, the thing one must understand about Mueller’s position with the home is that where he doesn’t want the county in healthcare, he certainly does want full-out socialized/government-run health at the state/federal level, just read his sick book.
  7. One final thought on his tenure as a legislator would be how he left it. For someone who touts how successful and effective he was, he actually chose not to run again because he was in trouble. In addition to all the aforementioned there was that nasty business of trying to dissolve Lakewood and how the way he inserted himself and went about it made a lot of people mad. He chose not to run again and left his seat so weak that it turned over to a Republican who wasn’t even challenged.
  8. As for state issues as a prospective state lawmaker, a main issue he is supporting is public campaign finance. We oppose outright this idea as does Goodell. The complete contradiction in Mr Mueller stating he’s for lower taxes and more efficient government, when he in fact wants to expand state government and take more of your taxes to be funneled to politicians campaigns, is astounding.
  9. Finally, we know that Mr Mueller is a smart man and a good doctor, but as for being politically astute or politically effective, understanding how government really works, and having a real depth of knowledge as to state legislation, not so much, and certainly not even close to the degree that Mr Goodell does. Just look at his statements about being  both a doctor and a state legislator. He purports that his medical practice will not suffer, will not be interrupted, but we submit that he really doesn’t understand what he’s getting into, and he is not only fooling himself but his patients too. We can only hope they will wisely see fit to vote to keep him here as a full-time doctor, which our county needs, and at the same time keep him out of Albany!

Goodell deserves another term

November 2, 2012 The OBSERVER

Voters in Chautauqua County have a clear choice between the two men running for the state Assembly – incumbent Republican Andrew Goodell and Democrat challenger Rudy Mueller.

Rudy Mueller is an idealist and – we mean this in a good way – a gadfly with a lot of energy. He is a physician and founding member of Jamestown Primary Care. You first heard about him in the news a decade ago with the publication of his book about the failings of our health care system.

Mueller served two two-year terms in the County Legislature where he goaded and prodded his colleagues to eliminate taxpayer-funded health insurance for part-time legislators and to cut the size of the legislature. He also consistently voted for lower sales taxes, saving consumers money and giving the county’s retail businesses a fighting chance to compete with Pennsylvania.

Goodell is pragmatic and methodical. He has experience running his own private sector business – a law firm in Jamestown. He was county executive in Chautauqua County for eight years and so voters knew what they were getting when they elected him to the state Assembly two years ago: A tireless and brilliant lawmaker who is able to frame issues in such detailed, precise and irrefutable terms that solutions and answers are obvious.

Goodell sees bipartisan bridge building as a key to fashioning a healthy future for New York state. He recounts a bill he pushed in the Assembly to amend Medicaid costs for counties. He said the legislation had 60 co-sponsors – including more than a dozen Democrats in the Assembly. Even though the majority Democrats did not enact the bill, Goodell said, Gov. Andrew Cuomo put the legislation in his budget.

“It’s all about reaching across the table,” he says.

As a minority member in the Democrat-dominated state Assembly, Goodell serves as an able partner to influential Republican Sen. Catharine Young of Olean in the Senate. He talks of bringing Democrats to the table who need both houses to enact legislation and who recognize his partnership with Young – and we add, in turn, Young’s partnership on many issues with Gov. Cuomo.

The synopsis of what Goodell stands for in this election is what we would expect from his well-established record in public office: cutting taxes at the state and local level by reforming welfare and Medicaid, cutting expensive regulations on local governments as well as business and making the state a friendly place to do business.

While Rudy Mueller has a lot of energy and ideas, Goodell is clearly the right choice in this election to continue being a voice of reason and common sense in Albany.

We urge you to re-elect Andy Goodell to the state Assembly on Tuesday.

For more on Assemblyman Goodell our elections page

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TUES NOV 6th: “Vote Judge Ward”

There is no question that when it comes to our public officials character counts, and where there may be more emphasis on some than others, such as those in top spots like a President, Governor, or a County Executive, there is one public official where character is paramount, in every instance, and that is with our Judges.

In this contest there is no comparison and John Ward wins by leaps and bounds. Quite frankly we are still astounded that the County Democrats in all their disfunction, apparent or not, made such a poor choice for their candidate in this race. Except for the most partisan, we would expect many Dem voters to vote for Ward because they, unlike their party leadership, can still use their common sense and make prudent decisions!

The Post-Journal & The OBSERVER Endorse Ward

“…election this year of a Chautauqua County Court judge an easy choice.

From his 35-year career serving the public, voters know without doubt that incumbent Judge John Ward is the embodiment of the even-tempered, professionally competent jurist we can trust to dispense justice.

We also know the challenger in this election, William Coughlin of Fredonia, is most certainly not the person in whom we should vest the mighty power of the County Court judge… …that man has no business being a judge.

John Ward wields the formidable power of County Court judge with grace, humility, an even hand and competence. He has disposed of some 10,000 cases in his 20 years on the bench. Only nine have been reversed on appeal. Let’s keep him on the job.”

Western New York Police Association Endorses Ward

“I am honored to have received the support of this organization which represents law enforcement in western New York.,” Ward said. “This show of support, in addition to the endorsements I have received from the NY State Police Investigators Association and the Jamestown Kendall Club should demonstrate to the people of Chautauqua County that my record as judge is solid. My commitment is to justice, law and order and just punishment for those who seek to destroy the quality of life we enjoy in this wonderful county. I will continue to work as hard as I can to be fair, impartial and just in carrying out the immense responsibility of the county judgeship.”

Judge John Ward receives New York State Police Investigators Association endorsement for county judge

“Your many years of dedicated service to the community have brought honor and professionalism to the judicial system in Chautauqua County. As County Court Judge, your reputation of fairness and impartiality were duly noted and respected by members of the New York State Police BCI as well as various local agencies.” Qualey concluded by saying, “Your excellent reputation precedes you in your political race for Chautauqua County Court Judge and it is with great pleasure that the members of the NYSPIA offer our support and assistance in your re-election and look forward to working with you in the future.”

Judge Ward Defends Record

County’s Top Magistrate Has Had (Only) Nine Of 10,000-Plus Decisions Reversed

Judge Ward has a stellar record, good character, integrity, a lack of partisanship, constitutional fidelity, or in other words a lack of activism which only has a place among opposing counsels and legislators, and no place on the bench; and the same cannot be said for his opponent. Ward can not only defend his record, he can promote it too!

FOR MORE SEE OUR ELECTIONS PAGE

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