Tom Precious - The Buffalo News

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Tom Precious


In an early preview of next year's campaign, Gov. Pataki offered a stumplike speech Wednesday to a group of New Yorkers considered vital to his re-election efforts: women.Aided by his wife, Libby, and at least one potential candidate to be his running mate, Pataki received a warm reception from a crowd that included some Democrats, but was also filled with administration o…

The money wish lists have begun, and Buffalo will find itself standing in a long line of communities eager for cash from a new state funding pool.With a pot of money totaling $425 million sitting ready to be tapped, officials from across the state have begun putting their pleas in to Gov. Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, and Assembly Speaker She…

The State Senate zipped in and out of the Capitol on Monday, passing bills to make unions happy, cut into ticket scalpers' profits and lower costs for a new high school construction project in Niagara Falls.The special one-day session, which cost taxpayers at least $15,500 for lawmakers to gather for the approximately 30 minutes they spent in public view, became a politica…

Nearly 1,000 additional teachers will be needed across New York State under a proposal the state education commissioner unveiled this week to raise high school graduation requirements.Commissioner Richard P. Mills said the plan, which was debated publicly for the first time Thursday by a state Board of Regents panel, would cost nearly $100 million over the next five years …

In a further illustration of the power of the public employee unions at the Capitol, the State Senate announced Tuesday it will be returning to Albany for a special one-day session next week to consider a measure being heavily pushed by the labor groups.At issue is whether public employees can be forced to pay union dues if they don't want to become members of the labor or…

Railing against big money and special-interest influence at the Capitol, some of the wealthiest special-interest groups on Monday announced a coalition to try to block a special convention to consider changes to the State Constitution.The coalition -- 68 groups with varying interests and levels of power in Albany -- includes several of the top money-givers to statewide and…

Half the renters in the Buffalo and Niagara Falls area are unable to afford the monthly payments for the typical apartment, according to a new national study.Those facing problems with housing finances are often forced into substandard apartments or find themselves spending less than the federal standard on things such as food, clothing and health care, housing experts sai…

Patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery at Millard Fillmore Hospital in 1995 were nearly twice as likely to die as the average heart patient statewide, the state Health Department reported Thursday.Millard Fillmore ranked third worst in mortality rates, the agency said in its annual review of the 31 New York hospitals licensed to perform such procedures.With var…

Long plagued by a shortage of customer parking, merchants along Buffalo's eclectic Elmwood Avenue thought they had a relatively simple solution: Get the state to open to the public its mostly vacant lots at Buffalo Psychiatric Center."It was a no-brainer," Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, said of the idea brought to him by local business owners."There's very little parking…

In a midtown-Manhattan office suite last week, state Comptroller H. Carl McCall huddled for several hours with his closest political advisers to decide if he should run for governor next year.It was no coincidence that one of the factors discussed that day was the just-approved state budget. As special interests debate the worthiness of the $67 billion spending plan, one t…

Facing the prospects of a nasty and exceedingly expensive campaign, state Comptroller H. Carl McCall said Thursday he would not run next year against Gov. Pataki.McCall, who had been considered the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, will instead seek a second term as comptroller, a post that gives him immense power as sole trustee over the more than $90 billi…

Later and more contentious than ever, the seven-month fight over the 1997-98 state budget ended unceremoniously Monday, as weary legislators gave their final approval to a rush of bills implementing the $67 billion plan.The action comes one-quarter into the fiscal year, just as state agencies are starting to prepare their spending priorities for the 1998-99 fiscal year.The…

With the State Legislature staggering to conclude the budget today, Buffalo's potential budget gap has been nearly eliminated by a last-minute infusion of aid from Albany.The Buffalo school system, however, didn't fare as well as officials hoped for, though state officials here suggested school officials may have overestimated their real needs.School officials this morning…

A massive prison-construction plan approved Sunday night by the State Legislature will add 600 maximum-security beds to three Western New York correctional facilities.The additional cells are designed to be constructed quickly -- within the next year -- and will hold problem inmates now housed in a number of facilities around the state.The new space will ease overcrowding …

Mayor Masiello made a last-ditch lobbying trip Saturday to the Capitol in search of funds to balance the city's budget.He got some encouragement that, with the state budget getting wrapped up in stages, an additional $3 million in aid will be coming Buffalo's way. If not, he said, he would be forced to cut services."People want to help Buffalo, and we've made a compelling …