Frigid February's points of political potpourri:
• Democratic Mayor Byron Brown and his team had been concentrating on their State of the City address he delivered Friday. Now, word from City Hall indicates political matters will command more attention.
• Meanwhile, potential Democratic primary opponent Bernie Tolbert continues to “make the rounds,” but that's all. No date for an official announcement, no team in place, no money raised.
The former head of the Buffalo FBI is spied making traditional stops in Buffalo's black churches and events like last week's Assembly hearing on new gun control legislation. But the political calendar marches on. Soon, Tolbert must decide his course in order to wage a viable campaign.
• Speaking of mayoral candidates, Republican Sergio Rodriguez is conducting himself like – well – a mayoral candidate. Rodriguez on Saturday scheduled a fundraiser at the Olivencia Center, has a press guy who sends out official releases and opened a campaign headquarters in the Electric Tower.
The candidate has also resigned his administrative post at Medaille College to concentrate on the campaign, signaling a major commitment when no paycheck arrives each week through November.
• Still on Rodriguez, some countywide Republicans remain less than thrilled about his candidacy and the increased City of Buffalo turnout (with all its Democrats) that could result.
But they should understand he knows how to make the ballot, especially with veteran operatives like former Cheektowaga GOP Chairman Mitch Martin on his team. Martin helped run Ted Morton's oh-so-close challenge for Cheektowaga supervisor in 2011, as well as the successful campaign of Council Member Angela Wozniak.
• One more Rodriguez thought: If he qualifies for the ballot, and if outreach to Hispanics remains a goal of the national GOP, it seems a good bet that high-profile Republicans will be flocking to Buffalo to be seen campaigning with Rodriguez.
• Albany sources report Sen. Tim Kennedy was “everywhere” at last weekend's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus event. That makes sense for the Buffalo Democrat, who acknowledges he must make major inroads among black voters in his district who overwhelmingly supported primary challenger Betty Jean Grant in 2012.
• Can't you just picture meetings these days between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner – his hand-picked co-chairwoman of the state Democratic Party?
Especially after she complained in a New York Times op-ed piece that the governor's budget proposal amounted to a “gimmick” to let municipalities reduce current pension payments and make up the difference in the future? Ouch.
• Joe Mascia, a former Democratic candidate for the County Legislature and Assembly who also applied earlier this month to become an Erie County Water Authority commissioner, says “money” lies behind the Legislature's selection of attorney Chris O'Brien for the job.
In a letter to the Legislature chairwoman, he said he will file a complaint with the Bar Association and state ethics officials about an “appearance of impropriety” because of O'Brien's substantial political donations.
But Camille McOwen, whose family has run Rosewood Signs in Tonawanda for decades, is registering complaints of her own about Mascia (also a Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority commissioner) and his money issues. He owes her firm more than $2,000 for his unsuccessful campaigns.
“But that's not the point,” McOwen said. “We've got somebody like this in office?”
Mascia said late last week he paid McOwen $500 toward the bill, but she says she has received no such check even though she offered to let him skate for $1,500.
“This is what our politics is all about,” said a disgusted McOwen.