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Appellate court removes Adamczyk from primary

The Democratic primary for the Fillmore District Common Council seat became a two-man race Friday.

An appeals court threw Laurence F. Adamczyk, former Democratic elections commissioner, off the ballot because he would not have lived in the district for a year before the election.

"We're very happy with the decision," said Michael Kuzma, an attorney who appealed a court ruling last week that had reinstated Adamczyk to the ballot. "It was proper for the Appellate Division to overturn the lower court."

Adamczyk criticized the ruling and expects to turn to the State Court of Appeals to get back on the ballot.

"It doesn't seem fair, does it?" Adamczyk said.

"I'm disappointed with what the Appellate Division ruled," he said. "We had 1,500 Democrats sign our petition."

Adamczyk said he would ask his lawyer, Timothy R. Lovallo, to review the appellate ruling.

"Hopefully, once he looks it over, I'm going to appeal," he said.

"The Appellate Division," Lovallo added, "went to great lengths on technical grounds to disqualify a candidate in a way we feel is violative of the spirt of our democratic practice."

With Adamczyk off the ballot, the Sept. 13 Democratic primary in the Fillmore District would pit David A. Franczyk, the incumbent and current Council president, against Samuel A. Herbert, a perennial candidate who has run unsuccessfully for city office numerous times in recent years.

The court case was filed by Kuzma on behalf of Greg B. Olma, a former Erie County legislator and longtime Franczyk supporter.

Last Nov. 30, Adamczyk moved from his Crescent Avenue home in the Delaware District to a Delaware Avenue home in what was then the Ellicott District.

In June, with new boundary lines established through redistricting, the home was reapportioned into the Fillmore District.

The five-judge Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester reversed Justice Donna M. Siwek's ruling that the residency requirement would violate Adamczyk's constitutional rights.

"We conclude that the residency requirement is supported by a ra-tional basis and is constitutional," the appeals judges ruled. "The reapportionment, in fact, had no effect on [his] eligibility to run for the Common Council from his current address. Because his prior residence was in the Delaware District, [Adamczyk] would have been ineligible to run for the Common Council from his current address even if it were still in the Ellicott District, because he had not resided there for more than one year preceding the 2011 election."

The Erie County Board of Elections had thrown Adamczyk and Herbert off the Sept. 13 ballot, but Siwek reinstated both.

Nobody appealed Herbert's reinstatement, so he remains on the ballot as a challenger to Franczyk.

"Now, it'll be just Herbert and Franczyk," Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis E. Ward said.

The State Court of Appeals, Ward said, accepts only a small percentage of appeals in elections cases.

email: plakamp@buffnews.com