O’Donnell mentioned in Buffalo News’ Politics Column
The Buffalo News : Opinion
Revolving through the inner circles
Some political news, notes
and observations for a cold December Sunday:
• Anyone who doubts
Tom Golisano and his gazillions of dollars won’t prove players
in New York politics still believes in Santa Claus. Though the deal
eventually fell apart, the Buffalo Sabres owner was smack dab in the
middle of negotiations that installed Malcolm Smith of Queens as
Senate majority leader.
We’re talking “in
the room” negotiations here, with political adviser Steve
Pigeon right by his side.
As far as New York’s
pols are concerned, forget about Santa. Golisano has lots more money.
• According to
Pigeon, the Rochester billionaire’s entire agenda is all about
reviving upstate’s lagging economy.
“He has assurances
from Malcolm Smith that his priorities will be the priorities of
upstate and Western New York,” Pigeon said. “And Tom will
be in his kitchen cabinet.”
Whether it’s Smith
or someone else at the Senate helm, it seems a good bet Golisano is
intent on being part of the process. Ditto last summer, when he
showed up at the Democratic National Convention with $1 million, and
was granted instant access to the top Democrats in the land.
• Speaking of inner
circles, check out Golisano’s guest list for dinner and hockey
with former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday: Pigeon, the former
Erie County Democratic chairman; Gary Parenti, Pigeon’s
longtime associate; Niagara Falls attorney John Bartolomei;
businessman Hormoz Mansouri; former Buffalo Comptroller Anthony
Nanula; and political consultant Jack O’Donnell.
Also invited to the dinner
were Mayor Byron Brown, Deputy Mayor Steve Casey and Niagara Falls
Council President Sam Furscione. All are official FOGs —
Friends of Golisano.
• The guess here is
that Caroline Kennedy’s name has survived and prospered in the
mythical land of Political Speculation because there may be something
to reports she will replace Secretary of State-designate Hillary
Clinton in the U. S. Senate. She has her own money, access to money
and universal name recognition.
But events in far-away
Illinois may play out in New York, too. Some observers believe that
David Paterson, the state’s first African- American governor
and a champion of minorities, may recognize the need for at least one
black to serve in the Senate following the departure of
President-elect Barack Obama.
With Rep. Jesse Jackson
Jr.’s name implicated in the scandal surrounding Illinois Gov.
Rod Blagojevich, it’s conceivable Paterson could turn to Brown
if he feels a pressing need for an African-American.
And did we mention the
mayor is an official FOG?
• Then again, the
mayor is not exactly basking in power these days. His candidates got
whacked in the last Council elections, he took a beating in some
committee races in September and his candidate for zone chairman in
his own Masten turf failed just a few weeks ago. This occurred,
according to reports, after the mayor personally made the nomination.
• Give credit to Rep.
Steve Israel. The Democrat is fully aware that Western New York is
committed to either Rep. Brian Higgins or Brown to succeed Clinton in
the Senate. But the Long Islander is slated to be in town this week
to make the rounds and state his case.
• Attorney Ray Walter
continues to rank as the top candidate for appointment to the County
Legislature as Republican Mike Ranzenhofer heads to Albany and the
Senate. GOP leaders in Clarence and Newstead have now given him their
• The politics Column
will take off a few weeks to rest up and lick our wounds after a long
— and most interesting — campaign season, but not before
wishing holiday greetings to all those nice enough to visit this
space each week.