Category Archives: Politics

Republicans sweep Geneseo village elections

The Republican team won all three contests in Geneseo Tuesday, albeit by somewhat narrow margins. Republican newcomer Tom Lagrou led the 4-way contest for village board with 384 votes in unofficial returns. His running mate John Fox, also a political newcomer, edged out Democrat Margaret Duff for the second spot by 19 votes 376-357.

Incumbent Democrat and Deputy Mayor Bob Wilcox finished fourth with 340 votes. This result flips control of the Village Board to the Republicans who now will hold a 3-2 edge. In the Village Justice race, Republican attorney Brad Jansen defeated Democrat Bill Brennan, a retired Geology professor at the college by 399-326.

The fact that the college was on Spring Break this week may have lowered turn-out and hurt Democrat chances. Overall the turn-out was only 21.1 per cent with 732 people voting. In District 2 which is mainly composed of college students the turnout was 3.7 %, with only 33 of 895 registered voters participating.

The Democrats had better news in Avon, where Democratic Village Trustee Tom Freeman ousted incumbent Republican Mayor Tom Vonglis by a substantial margin 473-256. The Republicans were able to capture the two trustee seats, however, with victories by incumbent Bill Zhe and newcomer Robert Hayes. Turn-out in Avon was 33.5 per cent, with 733 voting.

Clinton and McCain carry county and state

Hillary Clinton and John McCain cruised to easy victories in Livingston County and across New York State in party primaries Tuesday. Clinton beat Barack Obama 62 to 35 per cent in the county, with John Edwards polling 2 per cent. That was better than her statewide margin of 57 to 40 per cent. Clinton appeared to have won every county in the state except Tompkins County, which includes the student-heavy City of Ithaca.

John McCain did win every county in the state including Livingston by a margin of 43 to 32 per cent over Mitt Romney with Mike Huckabee taking 15 per cent. Statewide McCain won 51 per cent to 28 for Romney and 10 for Huckabee. Ron Paul finished fourth statewide with about 6 per cent of the vote.

Eight Republican candidates were on the primary ballot and all received at least some votes in Livingston County. By percentage, Ron Paul had 5 %, Rudy Guiliani 2% and Fred Thompson got 1%.

In the delegate race, John McCain took all 87 Republican delegates under the state party’s winner-take-all rule. In the Democratic race, however, the delegate result was not immediately clear because of a complicated formula for proportional allotment of delegates.

Unofficial individual town results within Livingston County showed Clinton dominating in much of the county, but Obama taking Geneseo by a slim margin, 429-420. Obama won the Village of Geneseo by better than 2-1, taking 305 votes to Clinton’s 147.

Romney had pockets of strength in the county winning 4 of 7 districts in Livonia, although he narrowly lost the town to McCain 233-224. He also won two districts in Avon and one in Geneseo. Mike Huckabee won District 2 in Lima.

Overall, the Democratic race inspired a bigger turnout. Countywide, 37 per cent of the 10,249 registered Democrats turned out, versus 26 per cent of the 17,069 enrolled Republicans. Geneseo led the Democrat turn-out with 48.1%, with Avon bringing out 43.9%.

On the Republican side the most spirited race was in Lima where 34% of the party faithful turned out. The Town of Portage turned out 33%, with Avon following with 31.5%. Only 29.8% of Geneseo Republicans turned out.

Clarion Poll shows tight race in Democratic Primary

With New York State voters set to go to the polls Tuesday, Hillary Clinton held a slight lead over Barack Obama among Democrats responding to the Clarion News Blog Presidential Poll, 5o% to 35%. However the two candidates were tied among all voters, each earning about 23% each.

The online poll was answered by 20 Democrats, 20 Republicans and 8 who were not registered with a major party. 75 per cent of the respondents were Geneseo residents with another 12 per cent residents of other Livingston County towns. Most of the responses were received before the South Carolina Democratic primary. It does not necessarily reflect a scientific sample of opinion.

John McCain held a commanding lead among Republicans, favored by 55%, with Rudy Guliani and Mitt Romney well back at 15 % each. Against the entire field, McCain was favored by 17% of the respondents.

Those who preferred Clinton cited the following reasons: Experienced in health care, Life and public experience, Intelligence, Experience with public office and integrity, Forthright, Hillary’s focused, gets things done and is practical, Intellectual capacity and that she is a strong, smart woman.

Those who preferred Obama cited his Intelligence, Honest, quick thinking, calm under pressure, Forward looking, fresh ideas, Non-connection with status quo; promise of change and outstanding character.

Those preferring McCain cited: Integrity honesty and experience, Logic, reason, and honesty, Honesty, war service and experience, Honesty,
Government experience both here & internationally, Honest, Connection to government – could get things done, and Experience, has faced adversity.

Complete results can be seen here. Thanks to all who participated!

A quick note on poll technique –and some early results!

I originally posted a link to the Clarion Presidential Poll directly from the home page, but after receiving some comments on the fairness of the poll, I decided to move the link here to a blog page so that people can post public comments. A number of Democrats seemed to think the poll is somehow slanted against their candidates.

The main complaint seems to be that I asked the match-up question by asking how people would vote if Clinton or Obama were the Democratic nominees. I did this merely for simplicity sake, since the Democratic race seems to be coming down to a two-way contest.

I could, of course, have done individual match-up questions for all the possible permutations of candidates, but the poll would have ended up with 100 questions instead of 10. I’m not sure I will convince partisan Democrats that no conscious slight was intended, but that’s the truth.

Anyway, here’s the link to the poll

After taking the poll you will be able to see the results to date.

Spoiler Alert: If you keep reading you will get the early returns based on the first 25 voters






McCain strongly favored, Democratic race tight

The first 9 Republicans responding to the Clarion Presidential Poll strongly favored John McCain over Rudy Giuliani by a 7-2 margin. None of the other four Republican candidates received any votes. On the Democratic side, there were 11 votes with Hillary Clinton edging Barack Obama 5- 4 . John Edwards received one vote and one Democrat was undecided.

Of five responders who said they were not enrolled in a party, two preferred Obama with Clinton and McCain getting one vote each. One of the unaffiliated voters was also undecided.

In the controversial match-up question, McCain was the only Republican who was at all competitive against either Clinton or Obama, although both Democrats were favored by the overall sample. Clinton bested McCain 14-11, while Obama was slightly stronger, winning 15-10. Mitt Romney was the next strongest Republican, but lost badly 20-5 against Clinton and 21-4 against Obama.

As far as issues, the war in Iraq and the economy were the two biggest concern, with over 70 per cent calling those issues “very important” in making their decision. The next most important issue was the personal character of the candidate which was cited by 57% as very important. The least important issues were illegal immigration and social issues which were each called very important by only 17 per cent.

Other issues volunteered included the Environment (by 4 people), Health Care (2), Controlling Lobbyists (2), and Social Security (2). The following issues were mentioned by one person each: Gun rights, Open Government, Poverty, Fair Trade and Human Rights.

For complete results click here. The poll will continue for at least another week.

Lowe’s poll reveals polarized community, with some room for compromise

Editor’s note: This article was posted on Dec. 31, but then somehow got lost by WordPress. Thanks to reader Greg Lamb for letting me know it was missing! Luckily, I had a back up copy on my computer, so I didn’t have to re-do three hours of work!

The Clarion News Blog Online Community Poll on Lowe’s concluded Sunday with a total of 60 participants. An invitation to participate in the poll was sent by e-mail to over 300 Geneseo residents. The poll was also available online to be taken by regular visitors to the Clarion New Blog. The poll was restricted so that it could only be taken once from any one computer and poll takers were asked not to take it more than once.

There is no claim that this poll represents a scientific sample of public opinion in the community, however it may provide some indication for the reasons behind different group’s feelings. Overall the sample was slightly anti-Lowe’s with 54% of respondents saying they were either strongly against the project or leaning against it, versus 46% who were in favor or leaning in favor. (Note: In this report, percentages of those answering a particular question are used. Not all questions were answered by every participant.)
Of the 60 participants, 34 were residents from the Village of Geneseo, with 18 from the Town of Geneseo. In addition 5 who complete the poll lived in other Livingston County towns while 3 lived out of state. The anti-Lowe’s feeling was strongest among village residents with 65% of them opposed to or leaning against the project versus 35% in favor or leaning in favor. In contrast, residents of the town were evenly divided with 9 in favor and 9 against. Those living outside Geneseo and out of state were in favor of the project by a 7-1 margin.
49% of respondents said they were following the controversy “extremely closely” and were regular readers of the Clarion Call Blog, with 51% saying they were only following the controversy “somewhat closely.” Support for the Lowe’s was inversely correlated with readership of the Blog.Of those who were totally in favor or leaning in favor of the Lowe’s, only 30% said they were following the matter closely and reading the Clarion Blog regularly. On the other hand, 66% of those who were totally against or leaning against the Lowe’s said they were following the matter “extremely closely.”

Opinions on the Lowe’s seemed to track closely with views on the accuracy of various sources of information about the project. Overall, the Clarion News Blog was given the highest rating for reliability with 76% calling the blogs either “highly reliable” or “somewhat reliable”. The second highest reliability rating went to the Livingston County News which 72% labeled highly or somewhat reliable.

Reliability ratings were averaged to get a score between 1 and 5 with 1 being the most reliable. The Clarion News Blog averaged a 1.9 rating versus a 2.4 for the LC News because it had a higher percentage of “very reliable” ratings (46% vs. 17%). Other sources of information received average rankings as follows: Please Don’t Destroy Geneseo 2.7, Statements of elected officials 3.2, Conversations in the coffee shop 3.3, and Statements of developers 3.7.

There was a clear correlation between opinions on the Lowe’s and views on information sources. Those totally in favor of the Lowe’s gave the Clarion News Blog low marks for reliability with an average score of 3.1. They rated the LC News a little higher with a score of 2.4, but rated the Statements of Developers the most accurate with a score of 2.2.

Those leaning in favor of the Lowe’s were a little more favorable to the Clarion Blog giving it an average rating of 2.5, second place to the LC News which earned a 2.2. The pro-Lowe’s leaners were not that impressed with the statements of either elected officials or the developers giving them a 3.2 and 3.6 rating respectively.

In contrast, those who were totally against or leaning against the Lowe’s gave the Clarion News Blog universally high marks. 71% rated the Clarion Blog as “very reliable”, while 29% called it “somewhat reliable. None of this group rated the Clarion any lower than “somewhat reliable.” This same group was less impressed with the LC News with only 17% rating the newspaper as “highly reliable”, and 55% rating it “somewhat reliable.”

As might be expected, Lowe’s opponents were not impressed with the statements of either elected officials or the developers. Not one of the 30 anti-Lowe’s people who answered gave either elected officials or the developers a “highly reliable” rating, with 20% calling the officials “somewhat reliable” and only 3% finding the statements of the developers “somewhat reliable.”

Using the same 1 to 5 scale, respondents ranked a list of 9 potential impacts of the project as to whether they would be “very negative”, “somewhat negative”, “neutral”, “somewhat positive”, or”very positive.” Those impacts perceived as having the greatest negative impact received the lowest average number.

Overall, traffic was perceived as presenting the biggest negative impact with a rating of 1.7. That was followed by Impact on Small Business with a 1.9 and Impact on the National Historic District with a 2.0. Impacts on Community Character and Precedent for Future Sprawl both received a 2.1 average rating.

On the positive side, Shopping Convenience was the leader with a rating of 3.9 followed by Competitive Pricing which received a 3.6 average rating. Positive impact from employment received a 3.4 , while tax revenue from the project was rated least likely to be positive with a 3.3 average.

Breaking it down by support of the Lowe’s in general, it was interesting to note that 59 per cent of those in favor or leaning in favor of the Lowe’s admitted that traffic from the project would have a very negative or somewhat negative impact on the community. In addition, 48% of that group also saw a potential for negative or somewhat negative impact on small business.

On the other hand, of those who were totally against or leaning against the Lowe’s, 55% admitted that it would have a somewhat or very positive impact on shopping convenience. In addition, 35% of that group said that a Lowe’s would have a “somewhat positive” effect on Competitive Pricing in the community.

Survey takers were given the option of writing in additional positive or negative impacts that they thought the Lowe’s might bring which were not on the list. Among the negative impacts mentioned were loss of open space and farmland by encouraging new housing, light pollution, severe impact on the integrity of local government, profits sent out of state, dead end jobs and encouraging people to overspend.

On the positive side, it was suggested that the Lowe’s would help with fuel consumption by cutting down commuting distance and stimulate home improvement and thus raise property values. One person stated that the positive or negative impacts on the community should not be considered since they felt that Lowe’s had an absolute right to locate here.

On the issue of re-appointing John Zmich to his position on the planning board which expires today, the two sides were sharply split. 94% of those who are against or leaning against the Lowe’s want to see Zmich re-appointed with 6% not sure. In contrast, only 8% of those who are in favor or leaning in favor of the Lowe’s would like to see him re-appointed, although 29% said they were not sure.

If Zmich is not re-appointed, however, there appears to be some consensus that his replacement should not be a person with a known position on the issue pro or con. Overall, 55% of all those responding said they would like to see a person appointed who does not have a known public position on the issue. The percentage was even higher among those who were pro-Lowe’s with 61% of those in favor of a neutral appointment.

Respondents were given the opportunity to suggest a name for the appointment. Among those receiving one vote each were Sharryn Duffy, Craig Macauley, Liz Porter, Lizz Savard, Soren Thomas, Jeremy Grace and Corrin Strong.

Finally, turning to the recent election, respondents were asked how they voted for Town Supervisor. Of those who responded, 38% voted for Corrin Strong, 31% for Will Wadsworth, 29% for Bob Wilcox and 2% for Wes Kennison. Kennison supporters were obviously underepresented in the survey since he received 25% of the vote on election day. Corrin Strong’s were also overrepresented since he ran fourth on the independent Geneseo First line and received only 17% of the vote.

Nevertheless, it was interesting to see how winner Will Wadsworth’s supporters lined up on the Lowe’s issues. 54% of Wadsworth voters said they were totally in favor of Lowe’s with 31% saying they were leaning in favor. This left 15% who said they voted for Wadsworth even though they were leaning against the Lowe’s.

62% of Wadsworth voters wanted to see John Zmich replaced on the planning board, with 23% wanting to keep him and 15% not sure. If he is replaced, 56% of Wadsworth voters would like to see someone appointed who does not have a known position on the issue, with 44% preferring a pro-Lowe’s candidate.

A majority of Wadsworth voters (54%) said that Lowe’s was not the most important issue in causing them to vote for him, with 38% saying it was very important but not the only reason. Only 8% said it was the only consideration.

This is a difference from the overall results for all candidates in which only 33% said that the Lowe’s was not the most significant reason for their vote. Among all voters, 59% said their candidate’s position on Lowe’s was very important, with 8% saying it was the only consideration.

The overall results of the survey can be viewed online by clicking here.

The Clarion News Blog thanks all those who participated. The Town’s organizational meeting will be Thursday at 4 p.m. Look for a report on that meeting on a re-designed web site this Friday, and in the meantime, Have a Happy New Year!

Kennison proposes $2K raise for new Supe

At his final official meeting as Town Supervisor on Thursday, Wes Kennison attempted to deliver a belated Christmas present to incoming Supervisor Will Wadsworth. Kennison proposed raising the town supervisor’s salary by $2,000.

This raise would be in addition to the regular 4 per cent raise given all town elected officials included in the recently adopted 2008 budget. The salary paid to the Geneseo Supervisor from both the town and county totals around $39,000, but Kennison said that is not enough given the responsibilities of the job.

He suggested that the board could deliver the increase in the form of a new line item for the “Chief Budget Officer” of the town. The board decided to table the suggestion for consideration at a later meeting. The town’s organizational meeting will be on Thursday, Jan 3 at 4 p.m.

Reminder: There are only two days left to take the Lowe’s Community Online Poll. The poll will close Sunday night and an analysis of the final results will be posted on this site Monday morning. For a preliminary report on the poll results thus far see Corrin’s Clarion Call column.

Year-end Blogosphere Poll on Lowe’s issue

As we approach the end of a very contentious year in Geneseo, the Clarion News Blog is sponsoring a Community Poll on the Lowe’s issue. You can take the poll by clicking on the link at the end of this article, but first a few ground rules:

Obviously this is not a scientific survey of public opinion. There is no claim that the results of this poll will represent any kind of objective sampling. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the answers to certain questions correlate with others.

I will publish an in-depth analysis of the results on Dec. 31. If you would like the results sent to you by e-mail, and are not currently on the e-mail mailing list, please sign up by clicking the yellow button on the home page.

In the meantime, the raw results are now available online and you will be given the option of seeing them after you complete the survey. If you want to see the results later, either bookmark that page or come back to this post and there is a link at the bottom. The report you can see does not include additional comments made, but i will summarize those in my wrap-up analysis.

There will be a total number of only 95 responses allowed, because if I go over that, I will have to pay for the survey, so you better hurry if you want your opinion to count! (Unless of course I sign up a new sponsor!)

The survey will only allow one response per computer. (I’m not sure if it will allow a second response from the same household on a different computer, but your roommate is welcome to try). To keep the results as accurate as possible, however, please don’t answer the survey more than once!

All answers are completely confidential. If you get to the survey by clicking the link at the bottom of this page, there is no way I can see what your answers are. If I had sent the survey out by e-mail, I could have set it up so that I could see your individual answers, but I thought that would be a creepy invasion of privacy.

If you have any questions about the survey please e-mail me, and if you have any comments, please post them under this article. Thanks for participating!

Take the poll by clicking here!

See the current results of the poll by clicking here.