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ALBANY – As Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s point person for economic development in the region, Sam Hoyt is charged with growing private sector job opportunities throughout Western New York. In 2013, it appears he also had an additional task: letting Steve Pigeon, the longtime Democratic operative, know about job openings in state government. The jobs weren’t for Pigeo…

Federal and state agents five weeks ago raided the headquarters of Grassroots – one of Buffalo's most influential political organizations – along with the home of its founder, Maurice L. Garner, amid reports that authorities are following a money trail tied to campaign finance reports. Even though investigators are believed to be scrutinizing the records and compute…

WASHINGTON – The Families of Continental Flight 3407 appear to be winning their latest battle to preserve the aviation safety measures they pushed into law seven years ago. They did it, in part, by enlisting the help of the two pilots from "Miracle on the Hudson" – and by relying on the strong support of New York's two U.S. senators, both Democrats. The latest ba…

WASHINGTON -- A day after Rep. Chris Collins was heard off the House floor discussing the possible sale of  an Australian biotech stock, the company issued a news released further  confirming its experimental treatment for multiple sclerosis had failed in clinical trials. Collins' conversation and the  strongly worded news release from Innate Immunotherapeutics promp…

WASHINGTON – To paraphrase English author Charles Dickens, we are on the brink of “the worst of times” in our national government. Dickens wrote about France’s Reign of Terror in the 18th century when the regime was beheading its supposed enemies at will. The FBI and the federal prosecution team in Manhattan – once headed by James Comey and Preet Bharara, r…

Gia M. Arnold, the former State Senate candidate who ran on a pro-Second Amendment platform, was sentenced to five years' probation Friday for possession of an illegal assault rifle. State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski could have imprisoned her for up to seven years. Arnold, 26, of Rochester, urged repeal of New York's SAFE Act gun control law. It became…

Paid pathway Attention wanna-be carpenters, laborers, electricians, plumbers and iron workers. Applications are available for the pre-apprenticeship program for the Northland Corridor Project.  Construction experience not required. The paid training program includes construction-related mathematics, job search training and exposure to various fields of skilled la…

Mayor Byron W. Brown has more than a half million dollars in his campaign chest, far ahead of his opponents in the Democratic primary for City Hall's top job. The three-term incumbent in the last six months raised almost $440,000, four times more than Mark J.F. Schroeder, the city comptroller, raised and 70 times as much as Betty Jean Grant, an Erie County legislator, a…

Some notes, news and observations on politics around here: • Polling numbers for Gov. Andrew Cuomo dropped to their lowest point of the last year and a half, according to the latest Siena College survey. And it has everything to do with late subways and deteriorating commuter rail service in New York City. Siena reported that Cuomo’s favorable rating dropped fr…

WASHINGTON – Now that Senate Republicans have failed in their attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare and cut Medicaid, House Republicans are pushing a budget that aims to do all that and then some. Their budget proposal partially privatizes Medicare and deeply cuts social programs such as food stamps. While it is a nonbinding guide for future congressional action,…

Security, please! The security guards at City Hall will be around for a second year. The Common Council likely will renew the contract with a private security company to provide uniformed, armed guards at City Hall through June 2018. The price tag is around $660,000. The guards do more than guide visitors through metal detectors and run bags through X-ray screenin…

New Yorkers continue to have an unfavorable view of President Trump, according to a new Siena College poll. But they think even less of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin's numbers were "abysmal," according to Siena pollsters, though not as low as Eliot Spitzer, immediately after he resigned as governor  in 2008. Here are the numbers from the Siena polls: …

WASHINGTON — Rep. Chris Collins — who is facing an Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into his investment in an obscure Australian biotech firm — walked off the House floor late Wednesday afternoon, cellphone in hand, apparently talking about yet another stock trade involving that same company. Reporters who overheard him said it appeared he was discussi…

That's a lot of bosses The Common Council's new chief of staff is no stranger to City Hall. And he’s already pretty familiar with his bosses – all nine of them. Malcolm Ertha started working for the City of Buffalo as an intern 10 years ago for Lovejoy Councilman Richard Fontana and moved up the ranks. He's worked in the City Clerk’s office, the Council’s …