Don't Poke the Bear Erie County Leg Gun Vote, O’Donnell Boot Angers Cuomo By David B. Hill

On a day when Governor Cuomo visited Buffalo to repeat his administration's commitment to injecting one billion dollars into the local economy, Erie County Legislators passed a resolution calling on the State to repeal the newly enacted New York SAFE law. It's a move that can only be characterized as foolish - the vote is far more important for its timing than its content.

While the Governor has been dealing with some pushback to the comprehensive gun contol law since its rapid enactment in mid-January, none has come under the circumstances that presented themselves last week in Buffalo. Sources say the Governor's office was furious at what he perceived to be an insult, and even more so when that insult was delivered on a day when he was here to demonstrate that helping Buffalo is one of his main priorities.

Amid increasing tension in the already fractious Erie County Democratic Party, speculation abounds today that Cuomo may well lend his hefty support - possibly even endorsement - to primary challengers for the two Democrats who voted for the resolution, Terrence D. McCracken of Lancaster and Thomas A. Loughran of Amherst.

"Cuomo's passion is legendary," a highly placed source said, "and so is his commitment to loyalty. The fact that these two Democrats slighted him so publicly on a day when he was here to help could spell the end of their political careers. Cuomo knows when he's being set-up. I'd be lining up a job if I were in their shoes. "

Adding fuel to the fire: Democratic Legislators replaced Water Authority Commissioner Jack O'Donnell, a Cuomo ally who's work was widely lauded. This guarantees a major enemy in what will become a local version of World War III.

The gun resolution and Water Authority replacement - and more importantly, the timing - were engineered by Erie County Legislature Chief of Staff Jeremy Zellner, who also moonlights as County Democratic Chairman. The Chairman's experience in government and politics is limited to his career as previous Chairman Len Lenihan's assistant, and it clearly showed when he timed this vote for the same day Governor Cuomo visited Buffalo.

Also voting for the resolution were Edward A. Rath III, R-Amherst, John J. Mills, R-Orchard Park, Kevin R. Hardwick, R-Town of Tonawanda; Lynne M. Dixon, I-Hamburg and Joseph C. Lorigo, C-West Seneca.

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