The Browns? Really?
This one hurts.
Relax. Your Brain is not “Eating Itself.”
1 month ago
The taxpayers of Greece know who Christa Construction is. Christa Construction profited from a botched renovation venture valued at $119.5 million. In all, Christa Construction made over $5.3 million from the deal.
So why does all this matter? Ask Sen. Joe Robach and the Senate Republicans. Today, Robach was called out by his Democratic opponent Rick Dollinger in a press conference where Dollinger called on Robach to return the contributions he has received from Christa Construction.
From the press release:Democratic State Senate candidate Rick Dollinger today was joined by Greece taxpayers who slammed Robach and the Republicans, and demanded that these contributions be returned immediately.
Dollinger explained, “People can tell when someone is speaking out of both sides of their mouth, and that is exactly what Joe Robach and his Republican cronies are doing by taking this money and condoning this kind of unethical behavior. Robach and the Senate GOP must return this tainted money—particularly as our neighbors are working so hard to recoup these wasted funds.” Today’s event came days after citizens’ groups filed an audit request with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office as part of their financial recuperation effort.
Christa was originally set to profit $3,999,400.00 for serving as contractor, but actually pocketed an additional $1,375,761.00.
So far, Christa Construction (through Christa Construction, LLC., Christa Development Corp. and David Christa) has donated more than $24,000 in recent years to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee (SRCC). An additional $50,300 was given to Senate Republicans, including $1,850 directly to Robach whose campaign coffers have been filled with $143,900 from the SRCC for this year’s election.
For the record, not a single contribution has been made by Christa Construction to Dollinger or the Senate Democrats.
So why is this important? Here is a company being accused of robbing taxpayers of their money and who are they giving to? The Senate Republicans. Other Republicans have been on the receiving end of contributions from Christa Construction as well, but obviously the impact on Greece makes for an interesting story in SD-56.
Democratic State Senate candidate Richard Dollinger demanded Thursday that his incumbent opponent Joseph Robach, R-Greece, and his Senate Republican colleagues return more than $74,000 in campaign contributions from Christa Construction, the construction manager of a botched $120 million capital renovations project at the Greece Central School District completed in 2005.
Dollinger's campaign said Robach received $1,850 in contributions from Christa over the past six years, while other GOP Senators received $48,450 and the Senate Republican Campaign Committee received $24,000.
"The message, it seems to me, is very clear," Dollinger said Thursday outside Longridge Elementary School in Greece. "Senate Republicans and Joe Robach need to give back this ill-gotten taxpayer money to the town of Greece and the taxpayers in this community."
According to auditors, the project was over budget and incomplete. Numerous aspects of the work were changed without proper Board of Education oversight.
Over the summer, the district was forced to temporarily close portions of 13 schools due to shoddy project-related work.
Christa was originally set to receive $4 million for the project but received an additional $1.4 million, Dollinger's campaign said. Christa officials could not be reached for comment.
Robach rambles on about all the problems that have been created since he was elected to the State Senate. At one point, he even talks about redistricting — an issue which is completely irrelevant in this election because redistricting only happens after a census is taking at the beginning of each decade. The last redistricting plan for New York was approved seven years ago, and the next one will happen in three years. It’s hardly a pressing issue like the financial markets.
How can Robach bring about change if he has only been part of the problem in Albany and if he doesn’t even know what change means?
Joe Robach showed up more than 45 minutes late. I though it showed a great level of disrespect, but he was allowed to give his speech anyway. He said he was fighting for change for the better, even though he has been part of the same old Republican majority in the Senate for years now. He talked a lot about legislative redistricting, which is hardly a pressing issue given that the redistricting happened at the start of the decade.
Dollinger said he fit the definition “Made in Rochester” and that “Rochester is in my bones.” He mentioned the loss of jobs, the need for “prompt and affordable healthcare,” education, and reform in Albany. He gave the Woody Allen definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result) as the concluding remarks of his speech. Robach has failed and his record speaks for itself. Dollinger closed by saying that “the way you make change is to vote for change.” It was also the first time for this entire campaign that Dollinger and Robach were in the same room.
Rick Dollinger unveiled his new economic plan. I'll put up the details as soon as I figure out how to upload a word doc here. For now, here's the outline from the press release.
The plan is divided between the ideas of innovation and reform:
INVESTING IN INNOVATION:
· Form a Green Jobs Investment Fund for Rochester. Rochester could become the Silicon Valley of renewable energy as our nation transitions from foreign oil to more sustainable forms of energy such as fuel cells, bio-fuels, and solar panels. Our region has the advantage of top-flight research institutions with a highly skilled industrial workforce, and testing has begun already. Rick Dollinger proposes a Green Jobs Investment Fund that jointly uses public and private investments to start up new research projects and build the manufacturing facilities necessary to bring the newest generation of jobs to Rochester.
· Create an Emerging Technologies Research Institute. Our region must continue its reputation of leading the world in the study and development of new technologies. Our research facilities will allow Rochester to take the lead on development of new technologies with will cure diseases, improve urban infrastructures, and develop technologies marketable worldwide. This institute will establish education majors, programs, and research facilities in a collaboration of state and private investment with Rochester area universities. Major areas of study could include stem cell therapy, water purification, and waste management.
· Form a New York "PRIDE" Authority (Public Roads, Infrastructure, Development, and Efficiency) by combining the NYS Thruway Authority, NYS Bridge Authority and NYS Department of Transportation. The PRIDE Authority would be charged with creating jobs via projects to improve New York's aging transportation infrastructure and maintenance operations. The projects undertaken by this agency would provide a substantial number of good paying jobs to the region, which would be partially paid for by combining three authorities with similar missions into a single entity with legislative oversight.
REFORMING FAILED STATE POLICIES:
· Prohibit Tax Breaks to Companies that Outsource Jobs. New York State has continued to provide tax breaks to companies even after they have outsourced jobs. These tax breaks come largely from incentives offered by Empire Zones and Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs). Dollinger proposes a ban on any tax break given to companies that ship jobs overseas and a requirement that all aid be tied to the number of new living wage jobs actually created in the region.
· Opening New York for Business. Businesses have left our region as New York has done little to curb out-of-control spending or reduce the property taxes that force businesses to move away. Rick Dollinger supports reducing the property tax burden through a property tax cap and supports a constitutional amendment to cap state spending at the rate of inflation. Reducing state deficits and fighting wasteful spending allows New York to demonstrate a willingness to open its doors to good paying jobs once again.
Update: Here's video of the Dollinger presser.
Gov. David Paterson is endorsing his first Democratic Senate candidates in November’s elections that will test Republican control of the Senate.
Paterson is supporting Democrat Richard Dollinger over Republican Sen. Joseph Robach in the 56th Senate District in Monroe County. Dollinger had previously held the post before leaving to take a judgeship.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee also confirms that Paterson is endorsing Democratic New York City Councilman James Gennaro over Republican Sen. Frank Padavan in the 11th Senate District in Queens.
Paterson had said he wouldn’t use the clout of his office to go after the Republican majority as a high-priority mission, the way his predecessor, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, had.
"From the Brennan Center report to the most recent study done by NYPIRG, the New York State legislature is universally recognized as the most dysfunctional in the nation," said Dollinger. "But this isn't new information. These reports were common knowledge eight years ago, and Republicans in the State Senate haven't even taken the baby steps needed to make things better, like requiring legislators to read the bills they pass, to be in the chamber when they vote, or to allow bills to get to the floor that aren't rubber stamped by the majority leader."
"It's ludicrous to think that Joe Robach will fix a problem that he has supported for his entire career in Albany. For the past 40 years, New York State has been marred by the failed policies of the State Senate Republicans, who have stalled at every turn, and have been the number one road block to passing a critical economic reform package," continued Dollinger. "Republican Joe Robach isn't a reformer. He's a rubber stamp for the 'three men in a room' model."
In the State Senate Rick Dollinger will fight to enact the recommendations of the 2004 Brennan Center for Justice's report on New York's legislative process. Once elected, Rick will address five areas that require immediate reforms - legislative committees, barriers to new legislation, legislative rules, the lack of transparency within the legislative process, and legislative inefficiencies and high costs.
Governor David Paterson is ratcheting up his support of the Senate Democrats, via the New York State Democratic Committee.
Paterson’s been raising money for the New York State Democratic Committee, funds which will be used in part to support Democrats’ efforts to take the Senate majority.
“The governor is committed to helping Sen. Obama, electing more Democratic House members, and retaining and increasing numbers in State Legislature,” said Democratic party spokesperson Carly Lindauer.
Since July, Paterson has been raising money strictly for the State Party for the purpose of funding State Senate campaigns, according to a party insider.
The first beneficiary is Democratic Senate challenger Rick Dollinger, who just received $84,000 today from the state party.
Dollinger, who is a former state senator, is running against Republican incumbent Sen. Joe Robach. In a Siena poll released yesterday, Robach is ahead of Dollinger by 11 points, with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent.
The new infusion of cash is a clear indication that Democrats are going to fight for Robach seat, despite the double-digit margin.
Democrats predict that Obama’s popularity among black voters in the Rochester area will help drive voter turnout in support of Dollinger.
There also some questions I had after looking at the crosstabulations for each poll. Take SD-56's crosstabs, for example. Sen. Joe Robach had a favorable rating in Greece/Parma of 71 percent. That is Robach's turf, but 71 percent still seems high to me considering Rick Dollinger had a 56 percent favorable rating on his turf in Brighton. Those numbers tell me that when they conducted this poll and especially when they called voters in Greece, they called more Republicans than Democrats. That Greece/Parma portion of the poll just seems to be inflated to me. This race isn't a double-digit race. We are talking single-digits, if not a dead heat.
The SD-3 crosstabs also boggle my mind. Trunzo is viewed favorably by 54 percent of Democrats? Really? That seems very high to me, especially since this guy is in hiding somewhere. Also, Trunzo is viewed more favorably than Brian Foley in Foley's hometown of Brookhaven. That doesn't sound right to me. And Trunzo is viewed more favorably among people ages 18 to 34? I'll have to take you word for it.
Rochester, NY – Chris Gorman, campaign manager for Rick Dollinger for State Senate, released the following statement in response to the Siena College poll issued today:
“We always knew that this was going to be a close race. And, after spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars trying to hide from his anti-choice, pro-gun record Republican incumbent Joe Robach, who won his 2006 re-election bid with 70% of the vote has plummeted 21% to a point where less than 50% of the public wants to see him back in Albany. Monroe County voters have demonstrated that they are fed up with failed Republican economic policies and are ready for a change. The numbers in Monroe County clearly show that voters overwhelmingly support a shift in the State Senate to Democratic control and are ready to send someone to Albany who shares their beliefs and values.”
Robach leads Dollinger 49-38 percent. While Robach holds 78 percent of Republicans and gets the support of one-third of Democrats, Dollinger has the support of 57 percent of Democrats and 11 percent of Republicans. Robach leads among independent voters 46-34 percent. Dollinger has a 10-point lead in the Rochester and Brighton portions of the district, however, Robach has a 64-26 percent lead in Greece and Parma.
Robach is viewed favorably by 57 percent of voters, including 49 percent of Democrats, and unfavorably by 24 percent of voters. One in five voters has no opinion. He is viewed most favorably in Greece and Parma (71-22 percent). Dollinger has a 36-25 percent favorable rating, with 40 percent having no opinion. He is strongest in Brighton (56-14 percent) and least favorable and most unknown in Rochester (28-25 percent)
Voters strongly, 56-31 percent, support Democratic control of the Senate. Interestingly, however, 34 percent of voters saying they support Robach, also indicate they support Democratic control of the Senate. Obama has a commanding 59-33 percent lead over McCain.
“Robach enters the final six weeks of the campaign in this heavily Democratic district in a strong position. He has a double-digit lead, he is popular and viewed as stronger on all the issues,” Greenberg said.
Senate observers are counting down to Wednesday morning, when the Siena Research Institute releases results from polling in six battleground Senate districts - the first non-partisan polls to be made public in this year’s fight for the Senate majority.
The following Senate districts will be polled, according to sources:
* SD-3: Republican Sen. Caesar Trunzo v. Democrat Brian Foley
* SD-7: Democratic Sen. Craig Johnson v. Barbara Donno
* SD-15: Republican Sen. Serph Maltese v. Joe Addabbo
* SD-48: Democratic Sen. Darrel Aubertine v. David Renzi
* SD-56: Republican Sen. Joe Robach v. Democrat Rick Dollinger
* SD-61: Open race, Republican Mike Ranzenhofer v. Democrat “Baby Joe” Mesi
Liz has a great breakdown of recent campaign finance filings from the Democrats and Republicans that tell where their resources are being spent and what their primary focuses are heading into November.
On the Democratic side, the three big ones are SD-3 (Brian Foley), SD-15 (Joseph Addabbo) and SD-56 (Rick Dollinger). These seats should go without saying. In SD-15, Republican Serph Maltese narrowly won in 2006 and is vulnerable this year. Here in upstate New York, Dollinger is presenting a serious challenge to Sen. Joe Robach. Robach hasn't received the same love from the SRCC that Dollinger has received from the DSCC. Meanwhile, SD-3 is interesting. Foley is getting plenty of money and support from the DSCC and Republican Sen. Caesar Trunzo is getting backing from the SRCC. Trunzo will need it since he has apparently entered his cave for the winter.
The top target for the SRCC is Maltese, who they have invested a lot of money in hoping he keeps that seat.
The second biggest target for the SRCC? One would think either Trunzo or Robach, right? After all, their counterparts with the DSCC have invested a lot of money in SD-3 and SD-56. But neither are their second biggest target.
Actually, Barbara Donno in SD-7 (Republican challenger to Sen. Craig Johnson) is. The Republicans have spent over $142,000 on Donno, which is remarkable considering she is, at best, a long shot to Sen. Johnson. The reason for this is Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his personal issues with Sen. Johnson. I think the Republicans are crying because Sen. Johnson broke up their nine seat stranglehold out on Long Island. By January, that should be down to seven seats.
A little bit of original reporting here at DFE.net. Hopefully not the last.
You may have seen Joe Robach’s advertisements on television recently and noticed that he’s standing in front of Gleason Works. That’s not all he’s doing. He’s also claiming as his accomplishment, “650 jobs for Gleason Works.”
If you’re scratching your head, wondering “didn’t they just lay some people off over there?” You’re not alone. Through a helpful tip from a friend of mine, I decided to do some investigation into the claim, along with a few other nuggets about the deal, which you can read about here:
» || DFE.Net News » DFE News Updates
New York State Senator Joe Robach’s recent campaign advertisment, touting his record of bringing “our fair share” to Rochester, has him standing in front of Gleason Works on University Avenue in Rochester. Below him, a caption reads “650 jobs for Gleason Works.” There’s just one problem with that caption: the 650 jobs Gleason Works currently provides Rochester is actually 300 jobs less than it was two years ago.
In the 2006 election, Senator Robach won reelection with 50,411 votes (66%) to 26,434 (34%). His only opponent was Willa Powell, a weak Democratic candidate.
The four parts of the district voted as follows:
* The city was the only area that Powell won, and she received just 53%. Rochester cast 26,408 votes, or 34%, of the total number of 76,846 votes cast in this election.
* Robach won the town of Brighton- which cast 18% of the overall votes- with 60%.
* He was also the winner in Greece with a huge 81% to Powell’s 19%. Greece cast 41% of the votes.
* Robach won Parma by the same 81-19 margin in Greece. Parma voters cast just 7% of the total votes.
So Senator Robach won by a nearly two-to-one margin by doing three things: keeping it very close in the city, winning Brighton handily, and destroying his opponent in Greece and Parma (which together cast nearly half of the votes in the race).
What might happen in 2008? Each of the following scenarios assumes that the exact same number of votes cast in each of the four parts of the district that were cast in 2006 will be cast again in 2008. This is charitable to Robach, because it is very likely that Rochester’s- and possibly Brighton’s- share of the overall votes cast will increase in 2008 more than the increased turnout in Greece and Parma.
But let’s assume for the sake of simplicity that the exact same people who voted in this race in 2006 will vote again in 2008, with no more and no less.
Scenario #1: Dollinger wins Rochester with 60%, and Robach wins Brighton with 51%, as well as Greece and Parma with 70%. In that case, Robach will be re-elected by a wide margin, 56% to Dollinger’s 44%.
Scenario #2: Dollinger wins Rochester with 65% and Brighton with 54%, while Robach wins Greece and Parma with 65%. Then, Robach will still be re-elected, but by a much smaller 51-49.
Scenario #3: Dollinger wins Rochester with 68% and Brighton with 57%, and Robach wins Greece and Parma with 62%. Using those numbers, Dollinger would win the seat with less than 52% of the vote.
Conclusion: Of course those aren’t the only three possible outcomes, but for Dollinger to clinch the seat, he has to do three things: win by a 2-1 margin in Rochester; win Brighton by a double-digit margin; and make sure Robach doesn’t go much above 60% in the western towns.
The truth is that Robach is a formidable opponent and this race is far from over. In Brighton, which Dollinger has to win big, there are more Joe Robach lawn signs than I have seen in any of his previous elections and no Dollinger signs to be found anywhere. The Dollinger campaign has its work cut out for it and they should start spreading their message more. Speaking as a Brightonian myself, I will be going to their campaign office sometime this week to pick up some canvassing supplies and a few lawn signs to spread around my neighborhood. I encourage every progressive who lives in the 56th and who wants a Democratic majority in the State Senate to do the same.
This is a bit strange coming from such a noted opponent of gay rights. Residents of the Park Avenue and University Avenue areas of Rochester (sort of the Chelsea of Monroe County) received this mailer. Something tells me residents of Greece didn’t receive it.
The message is clear with the rainbow umbrellas, the two men embracing in the front. Robach is saying: ignore my record, I got you guys an arty bus stop!
Give Robach credit: he leaves no stone unturned in his efforts to pander to his constituents.
After three would-be debates that turned into community town hall meetings, Democrat Rick Dollinger will finally get the change to debate with his Republican opponent Joe Robach.
It was announced today by Dollinger that Robach has agreed to a debate - a televised debate - on the Rochester ABC affiliate, 13 WHAM.Today, Democratic State Senate candidate Rick Dollinger announced a major victory for voters as he learned that Republican Joe Robach had finally agreed, after numerous invitations, to participate with him in a debate on the issues that are critical to the future of upstate New York. Dollinger cited his persistence, and the growing unrest from within the community, as being the key reasons for Senator Robach ultimately agreeing to a debate. The debate will be hosted by Rochester's local ABC network affiliate 13 WHAM-TV.
"I am delighted that my opponent, Republican Joe Robach, has finally agreed to join me in a substantive public discussion," said Dollinger. "At last, Robach has realized that he has to account for his record, and has acquiesced to calls for a debate. This is a major victory for the voters who have continually been betrayed by Robach and his Senate Republican colleagues in Albany."
Dollinger continued: "Joe has been completely absent from the community and from this campaign for the last 3 months. As jobs continue to fly out of Monroe County and property taxes continue to skyrocket, our community deserves answers on what is happening in Albany to address the problem. Our community deserves a full public accounting of Joe's record in the New York State Senate and an explanation for his lockstep support of a failed Republican Majority".
This past Friday, Robach finally agreed to a debate on ABC network affiliate 13 WHAM-TV. In his comments on Friday Robach alluded to "several debates" that he had agreed to but failed to provide specifics. Recognizing the fundamental need for an extensive discussion on all the issues, Rick Dollinger has been vocally advocating the need for a series of six public debates. By participating in a series of 6 debates Rick Dollinger and Joe Robach would be providing voters the opportunity to clearly distinguish their platforms and agendas.
That last paragraph certainly catches my eye. If you have been following the debate challenges between Eric Massa and Randy Kuhl, you know that Kuhl has been saying he is willing to debate but there has yet to be a debate. So Robach saying that he has agreed to "several debates" is worth noting.
More details on the debate to come.
Also, "Missing In Action" Robach can also be called "Hecho En Haiti" Robach. I was sent an image of a Joe Robach for State Senate t-shirt (pictured at left) that had this tag on it (see right). Ordinarily, this would not be a big deal. By all accounts, it is a regular white t-shirt that Robach used and probably got it printed for cheap at one of the local printers.
If you go to Barack Obama's online store, you will notice a seal on the right-hand side of the page that reads, "Union/USA Made." You will also notice on the shirts that there is a union seal like this one. On Robach's shirt, there isn't one.
The problem with that is Robach's recent campaign finance filing shows that a number of different unions have invested in him. Laborers International Union of North America (Liuna) gave $1,000 to Robach, according to his disclosure report. I.U.O.E. Local 832 gave $3,000 to Robach. Robach has received tens of thousands of dollars from other unions that have a vested interest in keeping their jobs here in the United States. But Robach just showed them with a simple gesture that he doesn't care about their concerns.
And one more thing: Robach is the chairman of the New York State Senate Labor Committee. This is the man who heads up the Labor Committee and he is going around with campaign t-shirts made in Haiti and imported to Mexico.
Just another reason why voters in the 56th Senate District shouldn't vote for Joe "Missing In Action" Robach.
Senate Labor Committee Chairman Joseph Robach, R-Greece, Monroe County, said it's important to balance the needs of unemployed workers and protecting the business environment, he said.
The report said New York's unemployment insurance fund is "significantly under-financed." New York ranks 49th out of 50 on the U.S. Labor Department's solvency index for state insurance funds. New York companies have paid taxes on a wage base of $8,500 since 1999, below the national average of $11,500.
New York had the fifth-highest long-term unemployment in 2007 among all the states, the report said. More than 22 percent of unemployed workers in 2007 had been unemployed for more than six months.
The unemployment rates for black and Hispanic workers are about twice that of whites, the study found. In 2007, 3.5 percent of whites were unemployed compared with 6.5 percent of Hispanics and 7.5 percent of blacks.
"Joe Robach and his Republican friends refused to pass a bill that would force outsourcing companies to pay back their tax breaks," Dollinger exclaimed, "but then he turns around to the people who had their jobs outsourced and says 'sorry, we don't have the money' to help you look for another job. Instead, he says that investment would be bad for business. That's old time Republican corporate politics, and it has crippled our state."
"The most galling thing," Dollinger continued, "is Robach's suggestion that a business climate and the welfare of New Yorkers are somehow different things. If a "business" code doesn't benefit workers, then it isn't good for anybody. But that's how conservative Republicans like Joe Robach think. It hasn't worked nationally, and it sure hasn't worked here in Rochester. We need a change."
It is not a good day to be Sen. Joe Robach. Robach held a Women's Wellness Fair in Greece today at the Mall at Greece Ridge which drew protests from Rochester NOW, the Greater Rochester chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Members of Rochester NOW spoke out about this Women's Wellness Fair, including remarks from Rochester NOW President Alberta Roesser.
"The truth is that Joe Robach is the single biggest barrier to women's health in Rochester," said Alberta Roesser, Rochester NOW President. "He's taking a page from Karl Rove's playbook and championing a lie. Robach is consistently anti-choice and has stalled on allowing even the most basic measures, such as age appropriate sex education, from passing the Senate."
Linda Stephens, the Rochester NOW PAC Chair, agreed: "Joe Robach proudly accepted an award from a right-wing anti-choice organization, and he's been their champion in Albany ever since. We're talking about a guy who would not care if we go back to back alley abortions and the horrifying injuries and deaths that result. The idea that Robach would call himself a champion of women's health is just ludicrous."
"I'm proud of the fact that the majority of people in Rochester, and New York State, favor reasonable measures such as the Reproductive Health Act, which codifies Roe v. Wade in New York law, and the Healthy Teens Act, which guarantees age appropriate sex education in public schools," stated Roesser.
"Republican Joe Robach boasts a flagrantly deceptive record on women's health, and for him to publically stand behind women but yet ignore the issues important to them is an insult to their intelligence and a disservice to the voters in our community," exclaimed Dollinger.
"My opponent, Joe Robach, stands firmly against women's right to choose, and if it were dependent upon his misguided wisdom, women in New York State would be stripped of these rights," continued Dollinger. "Before women had these rights communities across our state and nation were being devastated by a pandemic of underground abortions that left women who had no other choice risking serious injuries, and on many occasion even death."
"With the ever increasing threats to Roe v. Wade we can no longer trust that the sanctity of a woman's rights to choose will be protected by the Supreme Court, and given the track record of Joe Robach and his Republican colleagues in Albany we cannot afford to wait this one out."
The hypocrisy of this stunt by Robach today is obvious. One of the most, if not THE most important women's health issues is the right to choose. Choice is something Joe Robach does not want women to have. Joe Robach is anti-choice. He would rather go by the usual conservative Republican stance of not wanting choice for women.
Robach has a problem with women it seems. His hypocrisy on women's health aside, he also has stood in the way of the Fair Pay Act in the New York State Senate.
What's your problem with women Joe Robach? You don't want them to have their right to choose and you don't want them to make the same amount of money as a man. So, why are you pro-Republican but anti-women?
Rick Dollinger slammed his opponent Joe "Missing In Action" Robach today for voting in favor of cuts that would slash funding to the Surround Care Community Corp. in Rochester by 50 percent - a cut of $2 million from the original $4 million that was allocated for the program.
"Republican Joe Robach showed his true colors when he voted for this deal. Just a few months ago, he was touting a $2.25 million dollar budget allocation for a law school that will primarily serve students outside of the county. This week we learned that Robach's allocation is paid for by taking $2 million from Rochester's children. I have news for my Republican opponent: you can't go to law school unless you graduate from high school. And when you have to make cuts - you don't make them on the backs of our children."
Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden also criticized Robach for the move, calling the cuts to these programs "devastating."
"These cuts are devastating," added Councilmember Adam McFadden. "They come right from programs that provide tutoring programs to keep kids in school, development programs to keep younger children on the right track, and job training so that older kids can get jobs instead of being on the streets. Joe Robach has said 'this is a win for everyone,' but that's simply not true. It's simply another sign of a dysfunctional culture in Albany that got us into this mess in the first place. We need somebody to stand up and say 'when we take money from our kids today we have to pay for it tomorrow,' but we don't have that voice in the State Senate. Joe Robach's silence speaks to his priorities."
Last night's town hall meeting with Democratic candidate Rick Dollinger was informative and gave voters an excellent chance to talk to Dollinger and get his thoughts on issues impacting their community, including many issues that impact the black community, the urban areas of Rochester, among others.
Republican Sen. Joe Robach was missing in action, as expected. According to people with knowledge of the invites sent to Robach, there were at least two letters delivered to Robach inviting him to the event. There was no response and as Stlo7 of Rochester Turning pointed out, there was an empty mic stand filling in for Robach.
Dollinger followed by giving some introductory remarks before taking questions from the audience.
"I think there is also a political problem," Dollinger said. "That is, under the current leadership in the New York State Senate, the quick fix solution has been too often the way they approach the violence in communities."
Dollinger continued: "What they don't do is look at the heart of the problem."
Dollinger mentioned a statistic that is shocking. According to Dollinger, 45 percent of the people in Rochester live in areas having chronic poverty. That covers five zip codes in the city and are all areas where people can qualify for the earned income tax credit - a sign of poverty.
Dollinger also brought up Robach's support for a law school at St. John Fisher College. Dollinger made a simple point: You need to graduate high school first before you go to law school. That point was intended at driving the point home that the money dedicated to a law school at St. John Fisher could go towards improving our high schools and making sure more children get a better education.
"You can't grab a gun if you can grab a book or hammer," Dollinger said, referring to the importance of education and employment instead of violence.
"As the working and middle class families of upstate New York continue to be devastated by skyrocketing property taxes, the increasingly burdensome cost of day-to-day living, and a lack of sustainable good paying jobs, Republicans Joe Robach and Jim Alesi are participating, while on the public dime, in a special session of the state Senate that has served as nothing more than a political public relations gimmick meant to bolster a fading Republican Senate Majority.
"Republicans Robach and Alesi have flip-flopped on putting a stop to unfunded mandates, have sidestepped a real solution to the property tax crisis facing New Yorkers, and have cut-and-run without addressing the need for a circuit breaker. The time for excuses is over - we need real leadership in Albany that will get the job done."
Citing that Republican Joe Robach has routinely been missing in action when it comes to addressing the issues that are affecting the middle class and working families of Monroe County, and now again by failing to participate in a public discussion on those issues, Democrat Rick Dollinger followed up at a press conference today on his invitation, sent two weeks ago, that invited Republican Joe Robach to participate in a series of debates. Joining Dollinger was Assemblyman David Gantt and supporters of these debates at Baden Park in downtown Rochester. Robach has yet to reply.
Here’s Dollinger’s proposal for the first three debates:
1. August 14th - Guns & Crime
2. August 28th – Reforming Albany
3. September 2nd – School Funding
Let’s hope that Robach takes Dollinger up on these debates. One of the biggest problems with Albany is lack of debate on the floor. The least our representatives can do is give us some campaign debates.
"Today, we were joined by Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who also chairs the New York State Property Tax Relief Commission, at a rally in downtown Rochester, calling for drastic property tax reforms and real solutions to upstate New York's fiscal crisis. In the wake of Democratic urgings, Albany Senate Republicans, led by Majority leader Dean Skelos, have called for a special session to address a tax cap, in a transparent political maneuver that is too little, too late. If Senate Republicans were truly committed to solving our states problems they would begin by committing to a relief package that includes a tax cap, a circuit breaker, and a halt to unfunded mandates.
"After ten years of being asleep at the wheel, Republicans have finally agreed to talk about a tax cap. While a tax cap is the least Republicans can do, and a first step to solving a much larger statewide problem, we find it inexcusable that Republicans Joe Robach and Jim Alesi have failed to take action year after year. Unfortunately, the Senate Republican proposal to pass a property tax cap bill will fail to meet the needs of the working families in New York, and can simply be summed up as too little, too late."
"Today, we are calling on Senate Republicans to wake up to the real issues of a crumbling upstate economy that has been accompanied by an even more dire outlook for middle class families in New York State. And, asking when they return to Albany to commit to the development of a true relief package that includes the tax cap, a circuit breaker, and a halt to unfunded mandates. The time for partisan agendas and excuse making is over; we need real change, and real results in Albany."
Sen. Joe Robach has a problem keeping his word on issues and legislation. There was the flip-flop on fair pay by Robach, who was in favor of fair pay but then failed to get it through the Senate. Robach also sponsored legislation that would reduce the impact of lead on children only to let that bill die in the Senate.
So it isn't too surprising that Robach has flip-flopped on yet another issue. This time, Robach has denied he ever voted or supported a pay raise even though there is evidence to the contrary.
Robach was on the radio today and was asked if he had ever voted for a pay raise. He said, "We did not do pay raise, I have never voted for a pay raise for myself, and I don't see that happening in the near future." However, Robach was one of the cosponsors for S5313, which would do the following:
Provides for annual increase in the compensation paid to the judges and justices of the unified court system and New York city housing judges; establishes commissions to annually determine the compensation payable to the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney-general and state commissioners; provides for the biennial adjustment of the compensation payable to the members of the legislature; appropriates $48,200,000 for judicial pay raises.
The vote for S5313 was 34 to 24. Here is the tally:
04/30/07 S5313 Senate Vote Aye: 34 Nay: 24
Nay Adams Aye Alesi Aye Bonacic Nay Breslin
Aye Bruno Nay Connor Aye DeFrancisco Aye Diaz
Nay Dilan Nay Duane Aye Farley Aye Flanagan
Aye Fuschillo Aye Golden Nay Gonzalez Aye Griffo
Aye Hannon Exc Hassell-Thompson Exc Huntley Nay Johnson C
Aye Johnson O Nay Klein Nay Krueger Exc Kruger
Aye Lanza Aye Larkin Aye LaValle Aye Leibell
Aye Libous Aye Little Aye Maltese Aye Marcellino
Aye Maziarz Nay Montgomery Aye Morahan Aye Nozzolio
Exc Onorato Nay Oppenheimer Aye Padavan Nay Parker
Nay Perkins Aye Rath Aye Robach Nay Sabini
Aye Saland Nay Sampson Nay Savino Nay Schneiderman
Nay Serrano Aye Seward Aye Skelos Nay Smith
Nay Stachowski Nay Stavisky Nay Stewart-Cousins Nay Thompson
Aye Trunzo Nay Valesky Aye Volker Aye Winner
Aye Wright Aye Young
There you have it. Robach did in fact support a pay raise for legislators. He can deny his support for it (like he has done time and time again with other issues) but this is on record. And not only did he express his support for it, he voted in support for a pay raise.
The people of SD-56 have a choice to make. Do they really want two more years of flip-flopping and voting against the best interests of the district? Do they want two more years of Joe Robach and his "changes with the weather" legislative style?
We need leaders, not flip-floppers. We also need to be told the truth, not lies about one's record as a legislator.
QUESTION: What are the issues impacting the 56th Senate District and issues that you will address at the state level?
DOLLINGER: Lack of job development. We have lost 30 percent of our manufacturing jobs since 2000. It is an attrition of jobs. The Empire Zones and IDAs have failed to deliver, are poorly designed and have done little to stem the flow of jobs to other places. We need to be building jobs, not demolishing them.
The high cost of government is another issue. The ballooning state spending and property taxes and the Senate Republicans have made New York a difficult place to live and prosper.
I was the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health Committee. The cost of health care is reaching crisis levels. I am the only employer in this race. I have a small law firm with eight to ten people. I pay for their benefits out of pocket. The premiums are ballooning by double digits. Health care is a very expensive commodity. We need to increase accessibility [to health care] and find ways to lower costs. People are choosing between paying for [their] health care, buying gas or buying food. They really have little or no choice. Working families face those kinds of dilemmas daily. Families look to the government to help them out but they haven't seen any help.
These were all issues on the table in 2002. The Senate Republicans have done nothing [to address these issues] in six years.
Q: What would you do to reform the Empire Zones and IDAs?
DOLLINGER: We need to go back to square one. We need to abolish the Empire Zones. The poor parts of New York were transformed into tax dodges that could benefit contributors and favored parties. We should abolish the Empire Zones and replace them with a direct investment bank for Western New York. (Note: When Dollinger says bank, he means a bank strictly for financing projects that the Empire Zones normally would give tax breaks for. Instead of handouts though, this bank would provide accountability to the process.)
IDAs haven't provided enough high quality jobs. We need to reexamine the IDAs and look at the wage structure.
Q: On the issue of property taxes, do you see yourself more in line with a tax cap or a "circuit breaker" being supported by the Working Families Party?
DOLLINGER: I like the concept of the circuit breaker better. I'm not opposed to some kind of cap, but the better solution is a circuit breaker geared toward middle income families.
The Senate Republicans, in a Rip Van Winkle-like way, have awaken to the fact that property taxes are too high. Where have they been in the last 20 years? There has to be some accountability.
(Author's note: It was at this point in the interview where Dollinger told me to take a look at the Drum Major Institute's Legislative Scorecard. Not the whole scorecard per se, just the individual scores for Sen. Robach (see here and here). Robach's score is abysmal. His 27 percent score was tied for the worst among all state senators.)
Q: You mentioned state spending. How do you plan on reining in state spending?
DOLLINGER: From 1996 to 2002, I sponsored legislation that would have created a constitutional amendment that would require a super-majority of votes from the Legislature to approve any increase in taxes and spending. The co-sponsor of that legislation was then-Assemblyman Joseph E. Robach. When I left the Senate, the bill never reemerged. At the time, both of us agreed on a spending cap for the state of New York. I still agree with it. I don't know if he does.
Q: Where do you stand on marriage equality?
DOLLINGER: I will vote for a marriage equality bill. The time has come.
Q: How do we address the problem of health care costs?
DOLLINGER: We need more children covered through Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus. There needs to be a change in D.C. which would allow New York to go farther. Instead of investing so much into critical care, those resources should be invested into preventive care. The best way to save money is to put money into preventive care rather than critical care. An ounce of prevention is worth, in the case of health care, several tons of care.
Q: What are your thoughts on Joe Robach?
DOLLINGER: [Robach] is in lockstep with the Senate Republicans. He broke with colleagues in favor of the Senate Republicans' stance on the pay equity bill. The Senate GOP squelched it. Robach is a conservative Republican - a George Bush/George Pataki Republican. He has voted like a conservative Republican in Albany and is out of touch and out of step with people in the district.
This is the home of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. He is inconsistent with that tradition. I will put people before politics. His record is putting politics before the people. He has supported the NRA and is in opposition to choice (a woman's right to choose). He flip-flopped on pay equity and on middle-class family initiatives, Robach has been on the wrong side for too long.
Q: What will you do regarding ethics reform and creating open government when elected to Albany?
For four years I served as chair of the Task Force on Legislative Reform. In 60 days, we will implement the Brennan Center recommendations and within six months, we will produce a bill regarding campaign finance reform. The Senate will do that. We will pass a campaign finance bill.
(Note: When Dollinger gave me that answer, I asked him what kind of campaign finance reform he was talking about. His answer follows.)
I would like to see a clean money, clean elections bill. But I think there would be more support for this if the bill is modeled after the New York City system. The point of view is needed for passing a bill. (Most of the legislators in the state hail from New York City.) All have seen the New York City financing model. The Legislature could pass the New York City model.
There will be substantial improvement on the "Wild West" rules we have for campaign finance. We will do it in six months. It will be done.
Rules changes will change the Senate forever. It will function like a democracy again. The Republicans like the "cracy." The Democrats like the "demo."
(Explanation: I looked up democracy to remind myself of what the two different parts of the word meant. "Demo" or "demos" means common people, while "cracy" or "kratos" means "rule, strength.")
Q: What will you during your first month in office?
DOLLINGER: (1) We will change the rules, open up the government and have bills debated in full with canvasses in agreement. Muzzled debate will be over.
(2) You will see bills passed by both houses in 2009. Bills like pay equity, protecting choice, budget and move resources targeted for Western New York job development through.
(3) There will be a complete transformation. New York was where some of the cornerstones of the New Deal lie abolishing child labor, putting in regulations like fire and safety codes began. You will see the same transformation in the Democratic Senate. It will be fairly, justly and efficiently.
Dollinger also mentioned his endorsement from the Working Families Party and the importance of that support. As you can see from this interview, Dollinger is ready to lead. He is ready to represent the 56th Senate District in a much better way. He is ready to lead and he will lead in Albany beginning in January 2009.
This is one of the bigger races in New York. Republican Sen. Joe Robach is defending his seat against Democrat and former state senator Rick Dollinger. However, Robach doesn't have incumbent-like money. For example, Sen. Jim Seward is facing off with Don Barber. Seward has over $490,000 cash on hand, which is a pretty strong figure. Other Senate incumbents have plenty of money. Sen. Tom Libous has over $752,000 in the bank and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has over $1.3 million cash on hand.
The same cannot be said of Joe Robach. In his filing, it shows us that Robach only raised $121,625.00 and now has $270,048.95 cash on hand. That figure is very small considering fellow Republican incumbents have double, triple or even six times that amount (like Skelos does).
I really like the way Schumer emphasizes the upstate economy and the benefits of having two State Senators like Nachbar and Dollinger in Albany working as a team. We really need that teamwork for upstate New York. Also, having interviewed both candidates personally, I’ve been pleased with their willingness to answer questions and with their indepth knowledge of the issues important to voters.
Both candidates emphasized lowering taxes, job creation and change in Albany in their statements thanking Schumer for his support. I think the teamwork has already begun and that is a good thing for not only the constituents in NY-55 and NY-56 but all of upstate.
Chuck Schumer, New York's senior Senator, today endorsed Rick Dollinger and David Nachbar in their campaigns for State Senate. Nachbar is challenging Jim Alesi in the 55th Senatorial District, while Dollinger is challenging Republican Joe Robach in the 56th.
"We're looking forward to real change in the White House, but we need change just as badly in Albany," said Schumer, who serves as Chairperson of the US Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. "Rick Dollinger and David Nachbar have the strength and determination to help make New York the great state it can be."
"Each year, I travel to every county in New York State, and each year I see how it's getting harder and harder for working families in upstate New York. Property taxes, gas prices and the sagging economy keep families in a state of perpetual economic uncertainty, and it has to stop," explained Schumer. "Dave Nachbar has spent his career creating jobs, and Rick Dollinger will return to the Senate with the know-how to deliver for Monroe County. They're a great team that will do great things for the families they represent."
"I want to thank Senator Schumer for his support, and for all that he's done for our community," said Nachbar. "If we're going to turn upstate around, lower people's taxes and create good jobs, we need more leaders like him fighting for the people of New York State."
"Senator Schumer is a friend and a real leader in Washington, and I'm honored to have his support in my campaign," added Dollinger. "New Yorkers are calling out for change, and a Democratic majority in our State Senate will be the change that moves New York forward again. Property taxes are overwhelming, families are being split up because of the lack of good jobs, millions lack basic health coverage, and our communities are looking for new leadership. The days of the do-nothing State Senate are over - it's time to get things done."