Updated: 1:00 PM ET November 17
Erie County Legislature sets Syrian* refugee hearing

Sources in the Erie County Legislature tell R&I that Legislator Joseph Lorigo clocked in a resolution yesterday calling for a hearing on the County's refugee relocation assistance operation. Sometime next week, the legislators will examine security measures involved in welcoming 300 Syrian* refugees due in the county in the months ahead.

* NOTE: The term "Syrian" in the current refugee context is a label which may or may not include ISIS fighters.

Updated: 11:00 AM ET November 17
Higgins will seek re-election in 2016

Contrary to a previously posted Rumor & Innuendo, U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins will not leave his Congressional seat and will run for reelection. This from his staff chief, Chuck Eaton:

"Rumor are part-and-parcel of local politics, but this one has no basis in fact. Rep. Higgins will run for re-election in 2016."

It certainly doesn't get more definitive than that. Higgins' retirement is the topic of the rumor mill in the run up to every election cycle. It's always about him taking a big job, usually about a higher ed gig. Two years ago, it was him joining Buff State. Last year it was Medaille College. This year, it's all about him landing at the helm of D'Youville College - and Eaton shut that down with aplomb.

Updated: 9:00 AM ET November 16
Higgins to leave Congress?

Seniormost political insiders are saying that Democrat Congressman Brian Higgins has decided to leave Congress and take a private sector position. Word has it the new job is local, solving the 10-year representative's pain-in-the-back travel challenges. 

Higgins is the U.S. Representative for New York's 26th congressional district, serving since 2005. The district, numbered as the 27th District from 2005 to 2013, includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls. He's popular across the political spectrum and in recent years has focused a great deal on downtown waterfront development. If this rumor is true, will his new gig take him deeper into the mechanics of Buffalo's renaissance?

UPDATE: Two sources claim Rep. Higgins will be appointed dean of a local higher education institution, allegedly D'Youville College. 

Updated: 12:01 AM ET September 12
Morton steals two lines via write-in?

PoliticsNY.net has heard from multiple sources that Erie County Democratic Committee leaders are deeply concerned, resigned that County Legislator Ted Morton gained both the Working Familes and Green Party lines on a write-in campaign Thursday night. While results won't be official until the full canvas late next week, Morton appears to now be firmly in the driver's seat on six lines to Democrat Deb Liegl's one. That's a mean feat for a guy who had a serious health scare just half a year ago. Even more remarkable: If Morton did succeed in his write-in, the GOP may have just clinched reelection of their County Legislature majority in November. 

Updated: 6:00 AM ET June 11
Herbert canned for crude comment

Sources tell PoliticsNY.net the Erie County Auto Bureau in the Rath Building is abuzz about the end of a short-lived clerk stint by perennial candidate Sam Herbert, who has been "let go" from a part-time job at the bureau following a rather bizarre episode.

Herbert, who has announced another run for Fillmore District Councilmember this year, was fired after a woman complained of inappropriate comments from the erstwhile candidate. What may have been a playful quip by Herbert, perhaps bucking up on his humor in preparation for this year's run against incumbent David Franczyk, backfired badly.
A woman approached Herbert's auto bureau window and, according to our giggling sources, she was, well, endowed with generous bosoms bursting out at the seams. As Herbert chatted up the gifted customer, he blurted out his absolute delight and asked the woman if he could write his telephone number on the her breasts. 
Needless to say, when the stunned woman complained to Herbert's supervisors, he was canned.
The irony, however, is that Herbert has written a lot over the years of his religious convictions, his distain for society's acceptance of gays and how political correctness and progressivism is against God's will. He often rails against the loss of "family values" in today's society. But somehow, offering to write your telephone number on a woman's bosoms is completely fine for Sam Herbert.
Updated: 9:15 PM ET June 4
Walter fundraiser packed

State Assemblyman Ray Walter, the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties' candidate for Erie County Executive, held his first fundraiser Thursday night at Giancarlo's Restaurant in Williamsville. A packed house turned out to hear the challenger to incumbent Democrat Mark Poloncarz give an upbeat speech, decrying what he called a "dysfunctional county executive" who refuses to meet with legislative colleagues and delivers rocky county services. The room was a Who's Who of Republican and Conservative party officials. And, as nominating petitions hit the street this week, Walter promised a robust campaign in the months ahead.

Updated: 3:22 PM ET June 4
UPDATED Mazurek NOT granted immunity

Insiders who informed PoliticsNY.net that Democrat operative Kristy Mazurek was granted immunity from prosecution in the state and federal probe of the WNY Progressive Caucus were INCORRECT. Mazurek, represented by mega-lawyer Joel Daniels, was granted what prosecutors call "Queen for a Day" - status which gives a target immunity for an interview where she would not be prosecuted for anything she said as long as it is the truth.

Mazurek is a longtime ally of Steve Pigeon who is allegedly behind the PAC and purported to be the target of NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's investigation which now includes the US Attorney's office.

Updated: 3:00 PM ET May 3
Pigeon hosts late night Democrat soiree

Insiders tell PoliticsNY.net there was quite a unique event Saturday night at Democratic political operative Steve Pigeon's Admiral's Walk penthouse apartment: Billed as a Mayweather v. Pacquiao viewing party, the gathering ran until the wee hours of the morning as the fight lasted all 12 rounds with the final bell rung near 1:00am. After that, the party just got going. New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the guest of honor, was joined by a Democrat "who's who" including Mayor Byron Brown, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples Stokes, State Sen. Tim Kennedy, activist and lobbyist Maurice Garner, and NYSUT regional director Mike Deely. Heastie, who hails from the Bronx, was in town to address the annual dinner for Grassroots Inc., the power base of Buffalo Democrats founded by Garner. The Speaker dropped into Pigeon's waterfront digs after a small reception at Joyce and Jeff Nixon's Linwood Avenue home. 

Updated: 11:00 AM ET April 28
Poloncarz walks away from Conservative line

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz just posted this on his Facebook page, virtually assuring his Republican opponent Assemblyman Ray Walter the Conservative Party endorsement in the race.

"After careful consideration, I have informed Chairman Lorigo I would not seek nor accept if offered the Conservative Party's endorsement. While I respect the members of the Conservative Party of Erie County I cannot reconcile a number of the party's positions with mine."

To be clear, the endorsement was not offered. However, it might have been as Poloncarz was discussing the possibility with Chairman Ralph Lorigo, as was Walter.

Updated: 11:19 AM ET April 2
Lancaster cops drove County pol home after late night accident

According a Lancaster Police Department report, Erie County Commissioner of Real Property Joe Maciejewski was driven home by an officer after he struck a telephone pole and left the accident scene. The report notes that at 3:21AM on Saturday, March 28, Maciejewski drove into a utility pole at Lake and Sherburne avenues, then continued on. He was issued a summons for speeding (1180A) and leaving the scene of an accident (6001A), but not arrested.

That night, weather conditions were normal. Locals tell PoliticsNY.net that the intersection in question was not icy, either.

Tongues are wagging in Lancaster about the highly unusual nature of Maciejewski's encounter with local law enforcement. The report states he was "driven to a friend's house by patrol" - apparently noting that another patrolman happened by the scene and relieved the officer of his perpetrator. It's not clear from the report when the Lancaster Police Department became a taxicab service, or if they offer such kindness to perps who are not county officials.

The police report is HERE, and a photograph of the utility pole Maciejewski struck in his late night hit-and-run is HERE. Congrats to NYSEG for their quick action replacing the shattered pole.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Please don't forget to credit PoliticsNY.net for this report. Thanks.

Updated: 3:00 PM ET March 30
Maciejewski in a late night accident too?

Rumor has it Joe Maciejewski, Erie County Commissioner of Real Property, was also involved in an accident on Saturday night which might have also been a hit-and-run. Commissioner Maciejewski was leaving the Green Buffalo Pub on Como Park in the village when he hit a light post. He was not arrested; only a ticket was issued. Important note: When Lancaster Councilwoman Donna Stempniak stepped down earlier this year, some said Maciejewski might run for her seat.

Are the Lancaster Democrats coming apart at the seams? Do they all need a drivers refresher course? Or are they so upset about the Redskins mascot change that they're drowning their sorrows in the local fire water?

UPDATE: An insider tells us Maciejewski doesn't live in Lancaster yet. He recently bought a townhouse there in preparation for his entry into electoral politics but hasn't closed yet. His official residence is still Hamburg.

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