Friday, October 31, 2008

Four Days Left!

With just four days left until the election, things are really hopping in the 26th Congressional District. Despite an attempt on the part of Chris Lee's campaign to block it, Alice Kryzan will now appear on the Working Families Party (no affiliation to us!) line next week. This gives Chris Lee the Republican, Independence, and Conservative lines, and Alice Kryzan the Democratic and Working Families lines. For those of you who haven't voted since 2004, please remember that the Democratic line is now ROW A, and the Republican line is now ROW B after the last gubernatorial election.

Since my last post, the Cook Report has also changed the rating of the 26th district to a toss up. This race has gotten so big that there's a story circulating about it on the AP wire! Thank you for all of your support so far, and keep doing all you can to educate voters and get them involved over this last weekend. We have plenty of volunteer opportunities, so please contact me if you'd like to help out.

Also, don't forget about tomorrow's Rock The Vote concert and rally! It's supposed to be sunny and crisp, a great fall day here in WNY for getting out and getting involved. Details are below.

Date:  Saturday, November 1, 2008
Time:  3:00 - 10:00pm
Place:  Delaware Park, on the steps of the Albright Knox Art Gallery
Details: Featuring local musicians Davey O, The Found, Redwater, The Thermidors, and Type Relevant. Speakers will include NYS Senator Antoine Thompson, NYS Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples, Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, Erie County Legislator Michele Iannello, Erie County Legislator Bob Reynolds, Buffalo Common Councilmember David Rivera, Congressional candidate Dan Humiston, Congressional candidate Alice Kryzan, NYS Assembly candidate Jerry Schad, Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan, and a representative from the ACLU. (Check the links in the right sidebar for last minute updates!) This event is free and open to the public and is an all ages show.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The 26th District in the News

Things are really heating up in these days before the election. Last week, there were two interesting bits of information about the Congressional race in the 26th district that I thought I'd share.

(1) Time magazine published an article listing this district as one of the top 15 Congressional races to watch - not that that should come as a surprise to anyone around here! (Note: Since it was written, Jon Powers has come out in support of Alice.)

(2) Larry Sabato of Rasmussen Reports changed his ranking of the race from "leaning republican" to "toss up".

In these last ten days, we need to work even harder to get our message out to the voters in the 26th district. The whole country is watching, so let's show them what progressive Western New Yorkers can do! Contact us using the links over to the right if you'd like to help out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Closer...and closer

Wow. Is it really already the latter part of October?!? The elections are closing in and volunteers are needed NOW more than ever! A big THANKS! to all of our volunteers so far! You've been wonderful and we really appreciate your help.

If you have even an hour to spare - we'd love to have you!

We are currently canvassing two days a week; Wednesday evenings begining aroung 5 or 6 pm and Saturday mornings about 10am. Phone banks are 6 days a week! Weeknights we begin calling about 5 and wrap up about 8 and Saturdays we are able to call throughout the day. Any time you can contribute is GREATLY APPRECIATED!


Working Families Win is also hosting a ROCK THE VOTE event at the Albright Knox. It's a beautiful location and we're hoping for an equally beautiful day! Come out and see us. It's November 1st, from 3-10pm. We'll have LIVE BANDS and SPEAKERS all day. Politicains currently in office and those running have been invited to attend with several already confirmed! It will be a great day of promoting civil participation I hope you can attend.


Please contact me (716) 471 - 7892 if you'd like more information or you'd like to have your band play or your business represented. I'll be more than happy to work something out.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Working Families Win has had a busy couple of weeks here in WNY! Last week, we went to a flu clinic hosted by the lovely women of the St. John's Nurse Ministry group. Yesterday, we were invited to attend a panel discussion of the Adult Immunization Coalition, where we discussed the burden placed on our health care system by wholly preventable, vaccinable diseases. WFW was asked to be a part of the committee/task force to handle some of these issues, so feel free to drop us a line if you have ideas or suggestions!

We've been working hard at our regular phone banks - check out the news section of our website for photos, stats, and other updates. And now that our literature has finally arrived from the printer, we'll begin our canvass efforts this weekend. Also, keep your eyes peeled for updates about a Rock The Vote® concert we'll be hosting on Saturday, November 1, just a few days before the election! We're still in the planning stages in terms of speakers and bands, but it will be held all afternoon at Delaware Park, just outside the Albright Knox.

In these last eighteen days leading up to the election, we need your help more than ever. If you'd like to participate in our phone bank, canvass, other GOTV efforts, or help out with our Rock The Vote® planning, please drop either Christy or me an e-mail, or give us a call at 716-908-0469 and 716-471-7892.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kryzan and Lee Debate.....FINALLY!

The debate occurred last night between 26th congressional district candidates Chris Lee and Alice Kryzan. There were no fireworks or explosions and at times it sounded strangely like the previous Presidential debates. Even so, the first question that always seems to be asked is, “who won?” Well, it seems that this question has never been so difficult to answer honestly than it has throughout this election year. It's a relevant question but, will we really have the answer before Nov. 5th?

So, what did we see? He's my summary of part of the debate - please let us know what you think and if you thought there was a clear winner. E-mail me at
If you didn't catch the debate on TV, watch it on - and check back for more on Lee's and Kryzan's answers to tough questions about jobs and trade and the economy!

It began tame and cordially as the candidates made their opening statements but it would soon become notably more intense in the studio as the questions from the panelists hit on every soft spot the candidates had. Bailing on ‘the bailout question’ bit Mr. Lee in the backside during the debate. He was criticized not only by Ms. Kryzan, who accused him of being, “MIA” for five days while, “Congress was in turmoil” over what to do; but also by a debate panelist from the Buffalo News, Bob McCarthy. In one of his questions directed toward Mr. Lee, Mr. McCarthy asked Lee, point blank, how he would have voted if he were, in fact, a member of congress. Staring directly back at his questioner, Lee answered, “I was for it.”

Alice Kryzan was questioned about her involvement in one of the worst environmental disasters of our time and region, Love Canal. She defended herself by defining her role in the situation as one who helped deal out money from a fund she helped ensure for the tenants. Their respective tense moments were handled very nicely by both candidates.

The question that provoked much of the mudslinging that occurred during the debate was about accountability. Bob McCarthy’s question began with a narrative about how he had tried to ascertain Mr. Lee’s stance on abortion and the bailout and wasn’t able to do this for either issue. (nailing Jell-o to the wall, if you will) This has also been Working Families Win's experience with Mr. Lee. Simple and complex questions alike, Lee has eluded them all. Chris Lee’s defense was that he had in fact, answered these questions but not in the way in which the interviewer had asked him to. He was asked to define his stance on abortion in two words. (presumably pro-choice or pro-life) He said that, “at the time” he was not able to do so…but still didn’t offer an answer.

We were happy that some of these questions were finally acknowledged by Mr. Lee, even if he didn't really answer them. WFW has been trying to get him to talk to us for months now. We're glad he's finally saying something. On the other hand, Ms. Kryzan has been very generous with her policy proposal information. During the debate, when Lee criticized Ms. Kryzan for not having a hold on the problems facing WNY and claimed that his website provided lots of press releases and links to information; she shot back that he, "..Must not have been reading my website" and then named several packets of policy related info on her site.

See for yourself:

Friday, October 3, 2008

WFW Unveils Local Literature

Happy Friday, everyone!

We've finally received a proof of our local literature comparing Alice Kryzan and Chris Lee on the issues. (The reverse side has information about polling places.) Click on the image below to see a larger version.

It really highlights Lee's resistance to taking any real position on the issues that are most important to the WNY region. The piece is currently in print, and we'll start our voter canvassing operation as soon as we receive it. Contact us if you'd like to be involved in our outreach efforts!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

5 Friends

Check out this PSA that's been making the rounds about voting and getting involved. (Warning for some language.)

Leonardo DiCaprio, will i. am, Tobey Maguire, and Forest Whitaker have created public service announcements to encourage American youth to register to vote. The non-partisan PSAs, produced by DiCaprios Appian Way, were created to engage and inspire young people to register and vote and participate in the upcoming election. Celebrities appearing in the PSAs include: Amy Adams,, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Bacon, Halle Berry, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Connolly, Courteney Cox, Ellen DeGeneres, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Jonah Hill, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Kiedis, Ashton Kutcher, Adam Levine, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Tobey Maguire, Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Ethan Suplee, Kyra Sedgwick, Michelle Trachtenberg, Usher, and Forest Whitaker.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Interview with Mark Poloncarz

Yesterday, Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz was generous enough to give us an interview about the bailout, important local issues, and prospects for Western New York's economic future. Here's what he had to say.


What do you think about Congress voting down the bailout yesterday?
Thankfully it didn’t have negative ramifications today. It had a huge impact yesterday. The markets leveled themselves out. Something has to be done. There has to be something due to the impact it will have. Banks are, unfortunately, failing. Two of the largest banks – Washington Mutual and Wachovia – are really no longer existing, investment banks no longer exist. Something needs to be done to protect the end consumer, the people who received loans that they can’t pay now, as well as to insure that our banking industry doesn’t fail or else we’ll be facing a much greater crisis. We’ll be seeing higher unemployment, higher inflation, as well as continued degradation of the markets. And this doesn’t change, so something has to be done now that the original bailout was rejected. They’re going to have to come back with other proposals. Unfortunately, no one’s going to get exactly what they want. Conservatives aren’t going to get everything they want, and progressives and liberals aren’t going to get everything they want. It’s going to have to reach some sort of compromise, and I don’t know if they know exactly what that is at this point.

What do you think about the job situation here in Western New York?
Well, we were never the hotbed of economic activity, though to tell you the truth, right now we’re in better shape than other parts of the country. We’ve not had the housing issues like other parts because we never had the boom, we don’t see the bust. Thankfully, we never had the many subprime mortgages in this area, so we’re not seeing the result of that. If the US economy takes a downturn, it’s going to hurt this area. We need new jobs; we need them from new industries. The old industries no longer exist in this area so we’ll have to rely on new industries. And anybody who thinks that the old industries are coming back are wrong. Whether they’re green types of industries or not, banking – certainly they’ll be less types of banks than there were before, so it’s going to be tough to get new banks to come to this area, but the financial services industry is still going to exist, so hopefully we can take a portion of that, and move on. We’re at least better situated to survive an economic downturn, especially compared to other parts of the country. No one’s invulnerable from this, but we’re in a little better situation.

Some Congressional candidates have suggested loosening restrictions on businesses. What kind of effect do you think that strategy might have on Western New York?
Well, I certainly would hate to see more deregulation. Unfortunately, deregulation is one of the reasons for the economic crisis today. Loosening restrictions on businesses is not the best way to go. Especially when we’re talking about the financial industry, we need to regulate a little bit more to ensure that the decisions that these banks make do not have the impact that we see today. I don’t think that deregulation – especially with what we’ve seen in the last few months, but more importantly in the last few years – is in this country’s or in this region’s best interest.

What’s the most frustrating issue you’re facing right now as County Comptroller?
We just finished a loan that thankfully we were able to get done by the end of today, otherwise we would have run out of money. Dealing with the Control Board and their refusal to allow my office to close loans on behalf of the County is frustrating. I could have easily done this weeks ago at a lower rate, but they refused to do it. They refused to let me do it, they said they were going to do it, and then when they tried to close the loan, they were incapable of doing it and had to turn to me anyway. It takes a lot of effort to argue who can do it, but it’s a lot easier to just do it. And so in this situation, I would just prefer that they allow me to do the borrowing.

Dealing with the County Executive is also another interesting issue. It’s often frustrating because we don’t always agree – on some things we do, but other things we don’t. So, I’ve always said that he shouldn’t take anything I say personally. It’s not a personal attack on him, it’s just a difference of opinion on the direction I think the County should go in compared to him. We have different roles, but that doesn’t mean that I can sit back and let him do whatever he wants.

What do you think is the biggest issue that Western New Yorkers should be concerned about right now?
The economy, certainly, is the number one issue on most people’s minds across the country. An economic slowdown in this country will hurt us all, regardless of where we live. We may be in a little better position than most parts of the country because we didn’t have the huge booms, so we don’t have the busts that they’re going through right now, but we have to be prepared for belt-tightening and tougher economic times. That is the number one issue, it has been for some time, and it will continue to be. I guess the best way to look at it is that New York State is going to be facing huge, multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls, and usually that gets passed on to the municipalities. When New York City catches a cold, Albany catches the flu, and usually Buffalo and Erie County gets pneumonia. But right now, New York City has the flu, Albany has pneumonia, which is not a good sign for Western New York. So, we have to just kind of tighten our belts and hope for the best. This economic issue is going to affect all of us for some time to come. We’ve not seen anywhere near the impact that we will see, especially as they resolve the issues in Albany with New York State’s government problems.

So, what do you think about the 26th Congressional race?
Well, the democrats have a candidate in Alice Kryzan, who is a strong candidate. I’ve known Alice for a number of years. This is a determination on the direction that people want to take the rest of this country. You look at the difference between Alice Kryzan and Chris Lee, and you usually note differences between their positions, but it’s also, “Where does this country want to go?” Do we want to continue more of the same, more of what you saw under George W. Bush, more of what you’d see under John McCain, more of what you saw in Tom Reynolds, which was a Congressman who rarely was in Western New York, who was doing what he needed to do for the national Republican party? And I think with Chris Lee, you’ll get more of the same. You’ll get a Congressman who, in all likelihood, would be in the minority, would have very little say, very little help and assistance for this area, and in all likelihood would not really do much for this area. Alice has been a strong advocate for her clients over the years, she’s a hard worker, she’s a fighter. And she is looking to move this country forward, especially this community when it deals with green industry. I think she’s a strong candidate, one that I’m hoping the people of the 26th Congressional district will vote in because if so, it will give this area another voice in the majority as we move forward to not only create a better country, but also a better Western New York.

Thank you so much!
You’re welcome. Thank you, ladies.


Thanks again to Comptroller Poloncarz for taking the time to speak with us.