by Chris Stevenson
“There is only one message the people understand and that is this, if a candidate that they want, really want-say hypothetically there is a candidate that Len Lenihan really, really, really wants and say he has [previously] refused to cooperate and collaborate-when that candidate comes, no matter who he is, you join the opposition and defeat him.”
-Dr, Henry Taylor, Director of Urban Studies. University of Buffalo
Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan has the local black community in a strange position. For his 2nd time and the first time in two years he is cross-endorsing an African American Judge. I really don’t think he wanted to, but historically when given the choice, white king-makers will select a black female over a black male because it’s the safe, convenient pick to hide one’s racism behind. It was at the recent Erie County Democratic Party Judicial Convention that a deal cut long beforehand was officially made public. City Court Judge Shirley Troutman will exchange her party endorsement with republican SC encumbent Christopher J. Burns. Just imagine, a City Court Judge picked over a sitting SC Judge. Hmmm.
It is not my wish to nail the coffin on Lenihan, especially given his health issues right now, but sentiments he held over the years are now publicly manifesting themselves. If I told you it’s not an opportunity to close the lid on his political career in a few weeks, I’d be lying to you. All you/we need do is take it. You probably think I’m suggesting not voting in a black female just to get rid of him, as if I’m weighing an option of stopping another sister from her historic destiny. Wrong. I like Troutman, not a particularly outstanding Judge, but a good person. Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz is the convenient candidate of Dr. Taylor’s above illustration, he is the one against whom we must unequivocally accept the signal to vote against due to Lehihan’s refusal to cross-endorse Judge Russell. Republican candidate Phillip Kadet brings much fiscal experience to this race. No matter which way you cut it, no cross-endorsement means no return support in a race such as this.
There is a school of thought that suggests Governor David Paterson took a long time to announce his choice of Russell so that Russell really wouldn’t have time to assemble an effective campaign. This rumor is born out of some inferred secret agreement between Paterson and Lenihan. Not completely unbelievable in a city like Buffalo; the capital of secret deals. A simple drive through East Buffalo and then through it’s suburbs will show you the results and disparities of decades of secret deals between our black politicians and white politicians and businessmen. Some blacks are miffed at what they see as Obama’s refusal to support Paterson and his suggestion that he drop out of next years race for Governor. Understandable on one hand, it’s not as if the first black President has a whole slew of African American Governors and he can afford to lose one. On the other hand what Governor allows a small-town party chairman to punk him by telling him he will not back his choice of interim State Supreme Court Justice? Do blacks and whites in New York State need such a man? A recent poll of of Siena University shows New Yorkers would rather see some batty-boys and lesbos get married, than see Paterson remain Governor. It is to laugh.
If any of these rumors are true (and it’s a certainty that Paterson either delayed his announcement of Russell or refused to call Lenihan out when he didn’t fully support Russell), then it’s no wonder President Obama never sets foot in Buffalo. Many local blacks admire Obama’s Ivy League education but ignore the by-products of such learning. Become President of college law journal, graduate, join big law firm, marry the pretty boss, run for State Senate, run for US Senate, run for President, win Nobel prize and visit Buffalo simply don’t go together. C’mon people (lol) give the man credit where it’s due. That’s like dating Vanessa Williams, Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, Sanaa Lathan, and then be seen eating Chicken wings with Ann Coulter at the Anchor Bar. Hell No he ain’t comin’ here, Obama don’t want our shit to rub off on him.
As it is, Governor Paterson is starting to feel like Judge Russell. Passed over, out of the loop and pretty much powerless to do anything about it. I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel even the slightest amusement at that. My efforts to push Russell is a matter of record, but phone calls to Paterson’s office to enlist the aid of him or one his assistants in a possible 2nd meeting with Len have gone unanswered.
Some say it’s because of Paterson’s low approval ratings. The fear with New York Dem’s is money spent in the Primary on Paterson against his democratic opponents could be almost used up when it’s time to run against a republican in the general election. It’s in the President’s best interest to keep the blue states blue, especially in anticipation of Angry White Republican backlash which the NY Governors race will eventually lead up to a year later. Paterson’s job is simply to mind the store and play the blues until then. My initial thought was maybe Chicago politics crossed over into Lake Erie; Paterson if you remember refused to back Obama when the former IL Senator was running against Hillary Clinton in the race for Super Tuesday. All NY elected officials were expected to back Hil however, nothing personal just business.
Lenihan is the Mr. Personal of this column, whether it’s because he refused to back Russell because he is the democratic plant trying to limit the amount of black officials in office around Buffalo (which is a matter of record) or because he doesn’t like Mayor Byron Brown who is a close supporter of Russell. Lenihan really needs to step down as Democratic Chair. This is not just an issue of health, it’s an issue of morals (there I go again linking morals and politics). The City of Buffalo is showing too much wear and tear from the antics of the various Lenihans throughout it’s history that harbor the erroneous view and practice that local blacks should not prosper even if some of the town as a whole must suffer. Buffalo cannot stand much more of this thought-process, there are waters of resentment from Lake Erie that we’ve all been drinking, that the Water Authority has not filtered.