Skip to comments.Albany politicos skirt protesters - Senate Democrats enter fundraiser protected by black curtain
Posted on 07/19/2009 8:19:58 AM PDT by Libloather
Albany politicos skirt protesters
Senate Democrats enter fundraiser protected by curtain
By Phil Fairbanks and Mark Sommer
NEWS STAFF REPORTERS
July 19, 2009, 7:08 AM
They entered behind a black curtain that kept protesters at bay.
And if that wasnt protection enough for the visiting VIPs, Buffalos police commissioner was on the scene ordering protesters and reporters to stay clear and on the sidewalk.
Keeping the public from the politicians was just one part of the scene Friday as State Senate Democrats arrived in Buffalo for a $5,000-a-plate political fundraiser.
Outside, about 60 protesters, undeterred by police, shouted slogans that suggested the real crime is down the Thruway in Albany.
Stop stealing our money. Stop stealing our money, the crowd shouted before quickly switching to, Youre all crooks. Youre all crooks.
Despite pleas from the crowd, none of the Senate Democrats stopped to talk to the protesters.
Hey Antoine, why you hiding behind the curtain? one protester shouted as Sen. Antoine Thompson arrived at the Buffalo Chophouse.
A few hours earlier, Thompson joined Senate Democratic leader Mal-colm Smith of Queens and Sen. William Stachowski of Lake View for a news conference promoting the Senates $3 million gift to the Darwin D. Martin House Complex.
Smith, in a rare visit to Buffalo, apologized for the recent 31-day legislative impasse that ground Senate business to a halt.
My simple answer is, Im sorry. I lost faith, too. What happened in the State Senate over the last 31 days was despicable, Smith said.
He blamed the state Republican Party for using surreptitious procedural methods to take back the legislative body it had controlled for 40 years.
Stachowski said the damage was limited, legislatively.
Actually, most of the bills that were necessary have passed, he said. We passed more than 200 bills in the last couple of days and did every local tax bill that was out there.
Taxpayers wrath, though, goes back to this years budget process, which resulted in tax, fee and assessment hikes of $8 billion, fund sweeps from a Power Authority program intended to create upstate jobs and a rise in state spending at a time when the recession was raging.
And that wrath was in evidence when they moved to the private fundraiser at the downtown Chophouse.
The protesters waiting for thema mix of young and old, black and white, men and women carried signs with messages that ranged from Oust Grifting Senators to Bill and Antoine, what did you sell us out for?
And though the protest was organized by the conservative group TEA New York, a large number did not appear to be associated with that group.
I dont normally do this, said Patty Allen, a Town of Tonawanda resident who took the day off from work to attend the protest. But the politicians are out of control. Its so bad, its almost laughable.
Nearby, a man was handing out For Sale signs with Bill Stachowski written in at the bottom.
And just a few feet away, people chanted Ha Ha. Ho Ho. Senators have got to go.
Albany has become a joke, said Beth Horner of Hamburg. The fact that they spent a month not working is outrageous, she said referring to the Senate stalemate. What an embarrassment.
Peter Pietrzyk of Cheektowaga said he came, in part, because Smith and other Senate leaders are cheating upstate out of its fair share.
Were forgotten, Pietrzyk said. They only remember us when theyre campaigning or looking for money.
A large number of protesters came as part of an anti-tax group targeting state lawmakers, and many jeered as guests arrived for the lunchtime fundraiser.
What are you paying for? What are they doing for you? one man shouted as a couple arrived for the event.
Thompson, who serves on the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, the main fundraising arm for Senate Democrats and the recipient of Fridays cash, described the fundraising event as a success.
He called it a small, intimate luncheon of about 30 people, and said the goal was to raise about $20,000, and I think we met that.
Asked about the black curtain and heavy police presence, Thompson chocked it up to the presence of protesters.
These Newt Gingrich-type Republican tactics have been going on all over the country with these Tea Party people, he said. They were out there performing.
Thompson said he was unaware of the protests until he arrived at the Chophouse.
I was surprised to see they were on private property, he said, but Im a man of the people and I dont mind demonstrations.
The private property where protesters stood is actually adjacent to the Chophouse and owned by a man who granted them access.
Rus Thompson, who leads the conservative group TEA New York, a local Tea Party chapter, said he was surprised by the large number of police, including the commissioner, at the scene.
Talk about sneaky, Thompson said. They even have H. McCarthy Gibson protecting the front door.
Tactics? No. It's a PARTY!
Grifting.. An accurate description.
Like Sept 1998 when we protested Bill CLinton at a Houston fundraiser. He turned one block before he would have passed our group. Ladies on front row in blues dresses, black beret, knee pads, cigars in mouths. Priceless. And he missed it because he has no cajones.
Way to go, Russ!
Typical. Most politicians are cowards, but liberal politicians are the most cowardly!!
Thanks! I was a great turnout.
Excellent You Tube video I posted in my blog too.
I saw the video while I was in Dallas this weekend. WHAT JERKS! Is it time to protest individually like ACORN?
Can we get the list of donors?
I couldn’t believe the black curtains - priceless - and they SAY they represent US!
I am trying to figure out how to get the list of attendees if I do we will post it. We are protesting Volker next month, it is the only thing we can do now. yes like acorn.