Casey Bortnick

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Panel Considering Regional Locations For Bills’ Future Home

The future of the Bills in Western New York has been the top concern of just about everyone in Buffalo since longtime owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. passed away last month.  While local politicians and business leaders feverishly search for scenarios that would keep the team from leaving town, the possibility of a much shorter move was raised Thursday.

“We’re looking at Niagara County,” Lt. Governor Bob Duffy told the Associated Press.

Duffy is the co-chair of the New Stadium Working Group.  It’s a panel appointed by Governor Cuomo, Erie County and the Bills, tasked with exploring if a new stadium is needed.

“It’s very early days for this process and at this point I think it would be crazy to say everything wasn’t on the table,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.

Dyster, who’s also a member of the panel, told Time Warner Cable News Reporter Ryan Whalen Thursday, a potential relocation to Niagara County was discussed at the group’s first meeting last week.  Dyster believes the option would make it easier for Canadian fans to attend games.

“There’s no disputing the fact that southern Ontario is an important base of support for the Buffalo Bills franchise.  The Bills have made that very clear.  I think it’s been published report that 18-percent of current season ticket holders are from Ontario,” Dyster said.

Duffy told the AP other sites like Batavia in Genesee County are also being considered.  The search for locations outside of Erie County seems to go beyond the panel’s initial directive.

“It does specify that the group is to look at either the renovation of the existing stadium or construction of a new stadium on the land currently occupied by the existing stadium or elsewhere in Erie County.  But it’s also the case the Lieutenant Governor who’s one of the co-chairs made clear at our first meeting that from his and presumably the state’s perspective, it’s important to look at all the various options,” Dyster said. 

Dyster is the only elected official from Niagara County on the committee but he isn’t feeling pressure to advocate for the region.

“I’ve said it before.  I’ll say it again.  If we manage to keep the Bills here in Western New York long-term then all the communities of Western New York are going to be winners.  If we lose the team, we’re all losers.  So I think this is a real test of our ability to pull together,” said Dyster.

The Bills signed a new stadium lease with Erie County to continue playing home games in Orchard Park last year.  Under the 10-year agreement, any new owner of the Bills would be unable to move the team until after the 2019 season.

Last week the Bills announced temporary ownership of the team had been transferred to Wilson’s Widow Mary.  The move appears to provide more time for local officials and NFL to find an owner or an ownership group interested in keeping the team in Western New York.

For Dyster, the top priority is too quickly figure the costs associated with a move or a retrofit of the current stadium.

“We know, presumably that for somebody to come forward and make that type of commitment they have to know that the team is going to be financially viable long-term and what type of stadium the Bills are playing in, where it’s located and other details of that sort,” Dyster added.

 

Stadium Lease Keeps Bills In Buffalo, For Now

About an hour after the Bills announced the passing of Owner Ralph Wilson, Jr., Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz did his best assure fans the team’s immediate future in Buffalo was secure.

“The Bills are here today.  They will be here tomorrow,” Poloncarz said.

The Bills signed a new stadium lease with Erie County to continue playing home games in Orchard Park last year.  Under the 10-year agreement, any new owner of the Bills would be unable to move the team until after the 2019 season.

“If a new owner should come in a year and a half from now and decide at that time they want to move the team, they cannot.  The lease says they are bound to stay here.  If by chance a court of law allows them to, they have to pay 400-million dollars,” Poloncarz said.

This $400 million figure has been widely reported as a “buyout.”  A well known sports consultant out of Chicago clarified the figure is a penalty if the new owner found a way to break the lease and move the team.

“If the court and the NFL rules that the team might be able to move, then there’s a liquidated damages-type provision for $400 million but the likelihood it would ever get to that is almost non-existent because of how strongly the lease is worded,” said Marc Ganis of Sports Corp Ltd.

Lt. Governor Bob Duffy was part of the team that helped negotiate the new lease with the Bills.  During a visit to Chemung County Wednesday, Duffy said this deal amounts to a “punt,” to use a football term.

“It buys us seven years which is a substantial amount of time to make sure that the next ownership team that comes in sees the benefit of keeping that team in Buffalo,” Duffy said. 

After the 2019 season the team could be moved for a fee of $28.4 million.  Ganis told Time Warner Cable News Reporter Ryan Whalen that the language in this lease is ironclad.

“I know how this has been put together and how it’s been interpreted when it was approved by the league and it was set up as a seven-year, no outs for seven years, type arrangement,” said Ganis.

Ganis has worked on several projects with NFL teams and got to know the late Wilson while attended annual league meetings.  He said Wilson was an astute businessman and knew full well he left millions on the table.

“There were definitely greener pastures elsewhere.  There’s no doubt about it.  But Ralph kept the team in Buffalo at personal expense and sacrifice because he always felt great loyalty to Buffalo.”

For the short term, the stock in the Buffalo Bills has been transferred into a trust.  It will be business as usual until a buyer is found and approved by the league.

It’s a process that won’t happen overnight.  It leaves time for the current management, local politicians and the league to sell Buffalo to any potential buyer.

“If that is what happens I could see that team staying there forever,” Ganis said.

It’s one last gift to Western New York from the man who did everything he could to keep the Bills in Buffalo.

“This lease that commits the team to stay in Buffalo for at least the next six years, while it works out trying to get a long term stadium deal, is an extraordinary sacrifice that he has made for the fans in Buffalo,” Ganis added.

Did Diabetes Lead to Deputy Mayor’s DWI Arrest?

It wasn’t exactly offered as an explanation for the drunk driving arrest of Rochester’s Deputy Mayor, but the fact he was recently diagnosed with diabetes was mentioned as a possible contributing factor.  A Rochester City Spokeswoman said Thursday it “may” have lead to Leonard Redon’s “lapse of judgment.”

“The newly diagnosed situation with the diabetes may have affected what the deputy mayor thought he could consume.  Now, he knows differently,” said Rochester City Spokeswoman Chris Christopher.

Redon, 62, was stopped late Wednesday on Rochester’s Interstate 490 for doing 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.  State Troopers say he had an expired license and blood alcohol level of .13%.

“This is something that took place on private time involving a private vehicle.  It did not involve city business or city property,” said T. Andrew Brown, the city attorney.  “As far as I know, at this point, it’s a personal matter.  Obviously, the city is concerned with taking care of the city’s business and that will be done.  As far as what action will be taken, later on, I think it’s way too early to speculate on.”

When pressed by the assembled Rochester media during a Thursday morning press conference Christopher said the fact Redon has diabetes does not excuse his arrest.

“What happened is serious and it’s a serious call to action to everyone.  It is just a piece of information given to us,” she said.

Christopher’s boss, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, was not at the morning press briefing but did speak to the media Thursday Night.  She declined to answer questions about Redon’s medical condition.

“I don’t think that you should drink and drive.  That’s the most important thing.  No one should drink and drive and we’re going to stand by that because that’s the law,” said Warren.

Warren spoke to Redon soon after the arrest and refused to accept his resignation saying in a statement that he is doing good work for the people of Rochester.  This incident follows the resignation of Warren’s body guard, and uncle, who was pulled over for speeding twice on the New York State Thruway in January.

Redon was appointed deputy mayor under former Rochester Mayor Tom Richards in 2011.  Warren kept him on in her administration in the same position.

“I know he is sincerely regretful for the embarrassment he has caused for the city, for me and for himself and will take steps to assure that it never happens again,”Warren said in a statement Thursday Morning.

According to State Police he was given an appearance ticket and is due in court April 8th

Redon is expected to return to work sometime next week.  While diabetes was mentioned as a possible impairment to his judgment Christopher said the condition shouldn’t impact Redon’s work in the future.

“All we’re talking about here in terms of a medical condition is diabetes.  How many people in population have diabetes?  A lot.  It certainly does not affect the way he does his job.  All I’ve been told is diabetes and alcohol are not a good mix,” Christopher added. 

While the American Diabetes Association does caution those with diabetes to limit their drinking, it says moderate drinking has little effect on blood-glucose control.  But a member of the American Diabetes Association’s Professional Practice Committee offered this explanation.

“Combinations of certain medications with alcohol you could drop your blood glucose level to the point where you could have hypoglycemic symptoms, where you’re confused or disoriented,” Joseph Stankaitis said.

Paladino Revives “Draft Trump”

You could certainly call Carl Paladino stubborn.  The Buffalo Businessman wouldn’t take no for an answer after the Republican Party chose another candidate to run for governor in 2010.

Four years later, Paladino still isn’t taking no for an answer.

“I’ve found a better candidate than myself; Donald Trump,” Paladino said.

Despite Trump bowing out of the race for governor Friday night, Paladino isn’t giving up on his candidacy.  Using the title of a memo written by State Assemblyman Bill Nojay this summer, Paladino is reviving the effort to “Draft Trump.”

Paladino told Neil Cavuto on the FOX Business Network Tuesday Night that he pitched the idea to Trump himself during a phone conversation Monday.

“And he was pretty quiet about it.  I said you know what I’m going to do?   I’m going to tell everybody that I’m not running for governor.  But I am going to go out there and lead those groups in a ‘Draft Trump’ exercise, and that’s what I’m announcing today,” said Paladino.

Trump said Friday, that he was ending his flirtation with seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Governor Cuomo because the New York State Republican Party wouldn’t unite behind him. 

“That’s why he doesn’t want to be going through the nonsense of dealing with these RINOs in the Republican Party,” Paladino said.

While some Trump backers have been reluctantly pledging their support for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Paladino has refused. He’s no longer threatening a run on a fourth line against Astorino, but Paladino isn’t ready to endorse him either. 

“Rob Astorino is a good man, but the guy just can’t raise money and he doesn’t have a killer instinct,” Paladino said.

Paladino believes he can still convince Trump, a clear path to the GOP nomination can be achieved.  After months of bad blood between Trump supporters and the State Republican Party Leadership even Paladino knows it’s a tough sell.

 “If the deck is cleared, I can be 99 percent sure that ‘Draft Trump’ will work,” Paladino said.  “We brought 70 percent of the county chairs by weighted vote to his office a few weeks ago so the beginning of that is there.  Clearing the deck isn’t a big deal.”

Paladino is promoting the new “Draft Trump” on social media though Facebook.  Trump Spokesperson Michael Cohen said Tuesday Night that while Mr. Trump appreciates Paladino’s efforts it’s not likley the real estate mogul will change his mind.

Langworthy Calls For Party Unity Following Trump’s Exit

It was an unmistakable condition of his candidacy: no primary.  While Donald Trump’s flirtation with a run for Governor came to an end Friday his call for a united Republican Party did not.

“He wanted the nomination without a primary.  I think many party leaders around the state are in the same boat. They don’t want to see a primary,” said Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy.

The effort to convince Trump to run for Governor began in Western New York last summer.  Langworthy himself held several meetings with the real estate mogul encouraging him to see the process through all the way to the State Republican Party Convention in May.

“I think he was confusing to some extent the way we nominate in New York for somewhat of a presidential primary system. They’re very, very different. New Yorkhas very arcane ways to nominate our candidates and as he got more educated in that process he gave serious, serious consideration in the last two weeks and going to the convention,” Langworthy said.

When Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino officially entered the race it seemed to have little impact on Trump’s candidacy.  But after Astorino’s week long tour of the state Langworthy believes Trump concluded a “clear path” was impossible.

“I think he came to a realization that this would not be an uncontested nomination fight. He thought a primary was inevitable and right from the beginning he said, ‘I don’t want a primary,” said Langworthy. 

Still some Trump supporters are pointing the finger at State GOP Chairman Ed Cox.  One of the State Assemblyman who helped hatch the “Draft Trump” movement believes his exit makes Cox a marked man.

“It’s disappointing that the Republican Party is so inept in New York State. We will support Rob Astorino. This is Mr. Cox’s play, this is what he wanted, and if Astorino doesn’t win for some reason, Mr. Cox will have to answer to that,” said East Aurora Republican David DiPietro. 

Langworthy admits the initial skepticism from the “senior party leadership” about Trump’s sincerity may have turned the real estate mogul off.  But he believes Cox had come around to the idea of a Trump candidacy and was encouraging him to go to the convention.

“Ultimately the decision was going to lie with Donald Trump whether or not he was going to run for Governor. He’s a super successful businessman, someone that’s achieved a lot of his goals in life. If he wanted to move forward with this, I think we showed him a way where he could’ve achieved it,” Langworthy said. 

With Trump seemingly out of the way, there’s just one unresolved issue.  Former Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Carl Paladino’s threat to run for Governor on a fourth party line could derail any plans for party unity.  

“Really as Republicans, we’re down 3-million votes in New York State. We haven’t won since 2002 statewide. If we’re going to fight amongst ourselves we’re not going to have an opportunity to win the election,” said Langworthy.   

Ironically it was a primary challenge Langworthy helped author in 2010 that made Paladino a statewide figure, and Langworhty a rising star in the party.  Now, it appears, Langworthy will have the unenviable task of asking Paladino to stand down, and get behind the party prefered candidate.

“I would hope Carl could find a way to unite behind the Republican nominee and help us win the election. He’s a dear friend of mine. I know that he desperately wants to see a change in leadership in this state and he definitely wants to see Andrew Cuomo replaced as Governor,” Langworthy added.

 

Retired Broadcaster Hopes Viewers Become Supporters

Wednesday Morning Rich Funke was back in a place he’s always felt comfortable: in front of a TV news camera.  The hall of fame broadcaster even joked about the late March snowstorm that was hitting Rochester.

“In my previous career I battled the weather department for more time in the newscast.  I guess some things never change,” Funke said.

Surrounded by family and friends, the 65-year-old broadcaster officially announced he’s starting a new career.  The Perinton Republican is running for State Senate.

“I am not a politician.  I’ve had my career and I loved every minute of it.  I’m not going to Albany to be something.  I’m going to Albany to do something,” said Funke.

Funke spent 41 years in broadcasting most of them as a sports and news anchor for WHEC-TV in Rochester.

“I was fortunate enough to work with him for 16 of those years.  His office was right around the corner from mine,” Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said.

Like she did for several years on-air, Brooks introduced Funke as he announced he’s seeking the 55th Senate District Seat.

“It’s a hand-off,” said political analyst Curt Smith.

Funke certainly has name recognition and, according to Smith, being on TV gives him a clear advantage.

“It helps.  Look at Maggie Brooks.  People invited her into their homes every night.  She was considered a member of the family.  They grew to know her and to like her, and they voted for her.  And Rich is hoping it will do the same thing for him,” Smith said.

While the voters may already like him, it could be a challenge to convince them to dump Democrat Ted O’Brien.  Smith says O’Brien has become popular with his constituents by being responsive and moderate.

“It would be a whole lot easier for Rich if Ted was an extreme liberal, but he’s not.  It would be easier if Ted was had a hard time connecting with people or was arrogant.  He’s not.  These are two well known, well liked guys.  That’s what makes this race so fascinating,” Smith said.

O’Brien responded to Funke’s candidacy by talking about his record in Albany.  He didn’t even mention Funke.

Democrats are already trying to seize on the fact Funke had brought on a campaign worker with a criminal past.  Funke fired the communications specialist as soon as he learned about it.

“He (Funke) should be embarrassed,” said Monroe County Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle.

Morelle admits Funke’s notoriety comes with its advantages, but says the race will be decided by the issues.  Morelle believes that’s where O’Brien has the edge.

“He’s (Funke) already advocating anti-choice, pro-fracking views that are out of touch with the voters in our community.  He doesn’t get a pass just because he’s read the news on TV.  People will expect more from him and deserve more,” Morelle added.

Funke was quick to point out a career in journalism includes a whole lot more than reading.  It’s an industry he believes is a good training ground for public service.

“A reporter worth his salt investigates the facts by questioning as many people on all sides of an issue as they possibly can.  We are trained to search passionately for the truth.  Good reporters are not swayed by special interests and we use common sense,” Funke added.

For Funke the priorities are simple creating jobs, attracting new business, and lowering taxes.  A message Funke was able to personalize.

“I have a daughter and a son in law who now live in North Carolina.  They had to move out of the state like many people have to get themselves to a place where they can continue their careers and grow.  If we can create jobs in this state we’re going to make life easier for everyone,” said Funke.

And much like a newscast, Funke ended his press conference on a lighter note.  He thanked the media for braving the weather to attend, but offered them an important reminder.

“I got you out of those live shots and snow for just a little while,” he joked.

Funke isn’t shying away from a successful career in broadcasting but he knows he has something to prove.  He’s excited for a new challenge.

“I said when I retired I had some gas left in the tank.  I do have some name recognition and that might get you so far, but you better be up on the issues.  You better be able to best represent the people of this district because that the most important thing a lawmaker has to do,” Funke added.

The 55th State Senate District includes Eastern Monroe County and parts of Western Ontario County.

Former Radio Talk Show Host To Challenge Congressman Higgins

It appears Western New York Congressman Brian Higgins will have a challenger for this fall’s midterm election.  The Erie County Republican Committee confirmed Wednesday Night that Kathy Weppner will announce her candidacy in New York’s 26th Congressional District, Friday morning.

The former conservative radio talk show host will make it official during a press conference at Amherst Town Hall.  A well-known caller, Weppner was given her own weekend show on WBEN before leaving the station in November of 2012.

Weppner announced on her website this week she’d be challenging Higgins:

“I want you to join me in a fight to take back Washington and return it to the people. This is not a Republican, Democrat, Conservative or Independent fight. This is an American fight and we better rise up together before it is too late! Elect me to represent you and I will fight for the liberty, freedom and prosperity that brave Americans have fought and died for. All of our futures and the future of those we love depend on us to do this.”

Taking on Higgins won’t be easy.  The incumbent Democrat has name recognition and a significant Democratic enrollment advantage in the district.

Weppner may even have to win over some in her own party.  Several well-known Western New York Republicans have not only supported the South Buffalo Democrat, they’ve raised money for him.   

Higgins has not made an official announcement but his supporters are already passing out petitions. 

 

Langworthy Still Not Ready To Endorse Astorino

Just hours after officially entering the Governor’s race, Rob Astorino announced Western New York would be one of his first stops.  Given the extra attention paid to the region by Governor Cuomo, local Republican leaders aren’t surprised.

“It’s important for any candidate for statewide office to travel the state as much as they possibly can.  They need to get in front of people.  He won’t just come here to do a press conference.  He’ll certainly meet with business leaders and people in the community,” said Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy.

Gaining Langworthy’s support seems like a must for any candidate wanting to win the GOP nomination.  Langworthy helped engineer Carl Paladino’s unlikely primary upset out of Buffalo in 2010.

Both Astorino and potential Republican candidate Donald Trump have already appeared at fundraising events for the Erie County Republican Committee.  Langworthy told Time Warner Cable News Reporter Ryan Whalen Wednesday he’s still not ready to make an endorsement.

“I’ve said I wouldn’t endorse candidates until they declared their formal candidacy.  Rob now has.  We’ll see if we have one candidate or two candidates,” Langworthy said.

Langworthy has been supportive of Astorino, but, like many Republican County Chairs, he’s waiting to see if Trump is still interested before giving out his coveted endorsement.

“Do we have one have candidate or two candidates that want the endorsement?  We will hear from Donald Trump on Tuesday in Syracuse as to what maybe his plans might be.  I haven’t talked to him in about a week but looking forward to hear what he has to say when he visits Syracuse,” said Langworthy.

Astorino will appear at the ZeptoMetrix Corporation headquarters on Main Street in Buffalo Thursday Afternoon with Republican Congressman, and former Erie County Executive, Chris Collins.  Collins a shareholder in the company, and was not available for comment on Wednesday.

“They have a longstanding relationship back to when they served together as county executives and they have a great appreciation of one another.  So he may very well endorse him.  I do not know if he will or not,” said Langworthy.

No matter who wins the GOP nomination to challenge Governor Cuomo, Langworthy believes the party’s running mate should come from Western New York.  State Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s name was mentioned as a possible Lt. Governor candidate Wednesday and Langworthy loved the idea.

“I think they share a lot of common values.  I think she has fought for the same common sense business perspectives that we need in Albany, not just more of the same special interest nonsense.  She would be a great Lieutenant Governor for any Governor,” Langworthy added.

The Erie County Republican Committee has its regional screening meeting April 12.  It’s hoping to vet as many statewide candidates as possible, including gubernatorial candidates.

No matter what happens, Langworthy hopes the party will unite behind one candidate.

Paladino Considers Running For Governor On His Own Line

Besides a possible challenge from Donald Trump, Westerchester County Executive Rob Astorino could still be facing a challenge from former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, but not on the conservative line.  While reacting to the likelihood Astorino will indeed announce he’s running for governor, Paladino acknowledged he may need a new line on the ballot if he decides to challenge Astorino.

“Mike Long appears to be supporting Astorino right now so it would have to be a new party line that I would form.  I don’t know why Mike Long took the position he did I can’t answer that.  But I certainly respect him,” Paladino said.

Paladino is not backing off of his promise to challenge Astorino if he doesn’t call for the removal of Republican State Senator Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.

“If he (Astorino) comes out and denounces these people and purges them from the party I will campaign for him.  How can you run for governor of the state of New York if your supposed supporters are in bed with your opponent?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Donald Trump would bury them,” said Paladino.

The Buffalo Businessman continues to believe Trump is the man for the job.  While many continue to believe “Trump for Governor” is a pipe dream Paladino isn’t wavering.

“I respect Rob Astroino and expect him to do the right thing if he gets the opportunity.  I don’t think the opportunity is going to be there because I think Donald Trump is going to announce that he is going to run for that office,” Paladino added.

Paladino: ‘I’m Not Trying To Be Relevant’

When Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino announced he was running for the Buffalo Public School Board, more than a few political observers found the idea laughable. A year after easily winning a seat on the board, few are still laughing.

“One of the criticisms of Carl Paladino when he was running for governor was that he didn’t have a good understanding of the ins and outs of government and parliamentary procedure. I think a lot of people have watched what he’s done on the school board and have been impressed,” said Democratic Strategist Jack O’Donnell.

Paladino was adamant he never intended to use the Buffalo Public School Board as a way to remain visible in the public eye, but admits it may have been an unintended consequence.

“The press is always looking for a motive. I don’t need to stay relevant. I’m not here to learn about educational techniques. I’m not looking to hold a higher office. I don’t need that. I’m 67-years-old I just want to help this community,” Paladino said.

Others who’ve tried to their hand at Western New York politics are hoping to follow in Paladino’s footsteps. Former Buffalo Mayoral Candidates Bernie Tolbert and Sergio Rodriguez are seeking a seat on the school board in May.

Paladino believes they plan to use the board as a stepping stone to something else.

“It’s probably true. I don’t think either one of them will be relevant in the future,” said Paladino.

Whether or not Paladino is still relevant depends on who you ask, of course. But there are few people who have been written off as many times and still continue to make headlines.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt his voice is still relevant,” O’Donnell said.

Besides all things Buffalo School Board-related, Paladino is using whatever influence he has to rally support behind a potential Donald Trump gubernatorial bid.

“He’s the number one brand in America and I think he could defeat Andrew Cuomo,” Paladino said.

Even before the effort to “Draft Trump” was launched, Paladino threatened to challenge any GOP candidate on the Conservative line if they didn’t call for the removal of the State Senate’s top Republican, Dean Skelos, and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.

“Republicans and Conservatives statewide are still talking to or talking about Carl Paladino. There are a lot people who underestimate or don’t listen to him at their own peril,” said O’Donnell.

Paladino’s continued popularity in certain circles has allowed him to put pressure on State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to get out of Trump’s way.

“Astorino is a good man and he’d a make a good governor, but getting there is the problem. Winning is the problem. Having the name recognition, and having the money it’s just not there,” Paladino said.

For Paladino it’s more about dragging the Republican Party and ultimately the state to the political right than it is about being governor. Four years after his upset win in the GOP Primary, Paladino believes he still has unfinished business.

“We haven’t seen the change I envisioned. All we’ve seen is the same old nonsense from Cuomo.  If you ask in this state if their lives are better than they were four years ago I think they’ll tell you no,” Paladino said.

While Governor Cuomo’s polling numbers remain strong, Paladino says Cuomo is vulnerable on issues like the NY SAFE Act, and hydrofracking.

“He’s deprived the entire Upstate population, the Southern Tier population, of an economic opportunity for no good reason Thirty-seven states drill, 36 frack.  There’s no reason that we shouldn’t frack.  Inciting the people into worrying about their water table getting infected, it’s all nonsense,” Paladino added.

Paladino has never been afraid to speak his mind or “ruffle people’s feathers.”  It’s a quality that his supporters love, and his detractors hate.

“It works both ways.  There are those who argue Carl has turned the school board into a circus.  It’s all in the eye of the beholder,” O’Donnell said.

And, if you’re one of those who is tired of seeing Paladino on TV, or seeing his name in print, he says don’t blame him.

“I never wanted to be relevant.  I never call the press.  The press calls me,” Paladino added.