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Democrats Committed to Maintaining their White Male-only Snow Globe 

svgJanuary 16, 2024NewsBoom Town Press

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Old Guard ready to make sure nothing will get done for the next four years

Metro Justice thought they were on the cusp of a big win. The morning of December 12, they believed all members of the Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature pledged support to spend $1 million on a feasibility study for a public utility. The legislation would be introduced and voted upon that day – at the final meeting of the year.

When the measure came up for a vote, however, three Democrats joined the Republicans and voted no. They said they didn’t like how it was introduced last minute and did not go through the committee process. The measure failed 17 to 12.

Those three Democrats are Howard Maffucci, Michael Yudelson and John Baynes, all Baby Boomer white men representing east side suburbs. These men are intensely loyal to County Executive Adam Bello, for whom Maffucci’s daughter serves as chief of staff. Bello, of course, opposes a public utility. Bello in turn is a lackey of Joe Morelle.

Just to break it down: Joe and Adam are both from Irondequoit and have been attached at the hip politically for the past several decades as evident by a quick Google search of their names turns up at least 50 mugs together. The son of Joe Morelle is Nicholas Morelle who happens to be Vice President of Ostroff Associates— a lobbying firm for RG&E. Avangrid, the official parent company name of RG&E, contributes between $5K to $6K to Congressman Joe Morelle’s coffers each election cycle. But it is very important in this theater of corruption to have an innocent wide-eyed looking puppet at the end of the strings, and Bello plays that part perfectly.

Although Democrats have a 16 to 13 majority in the Legislature, Maffucci, Yudelson and Baynes will work hard to make sure the majority never passes anything progressive, transformative or supported by rank-and-file members of the party.

Together they form members of the Old Guard, led by Rep. Joe Morelle and Bob Duffy. It should be mentioned that Duffy sits on the 14 member Board of Directors of Avangrid. So there you have it flanked on all sides, an entire ecosystem of corruption; those on the inside (the elected officials), those of the membrane between (the gatekeepers and financiers of candidates), and those on the outside (the corporate and private business elite). Together they are the operators and protectors of the status quo, elite donors, and corporate interests. And they almost cost the Democratic majority last week.

Closeted Republicans Exposed in Presidency Fight

Their vote on the public utility was a precursor to what turned out to be an ugly fight over the presidency of the legislature. 

The fight began when Legislators Rachel Barnhart and Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons withheld support from then-Minority Leader Yversha Roman, who secured 14 votes from caucus members. By sticking together, they could have effective veto power over the pick, which required 15 votes. 

Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons had no choice but to play hardball because it was made clear to them that they would get no committee chairmanships or the ability to push their priorities through otherwise. Another real sticky point for Republican-Dems, was that Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons were asking for an increase in funding for housing – something that the constituents in their districts have been clamoring for, well forever.

This should have been a no-brainer for the supposed Democratic majority in the leg. Instead Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons were vilified by party insiders, harassed and bullied for using their leverage to negotiate a deal that positioned them better able to deliver for their community – which to no surprise have a starkly different racial and economic composition than the elite suburban country club communities Maffucci, Yudelson, and Baynes represent.

As they were getting pummeled, something nefarious was happening behind the scenes. Democratic legislators were pressuring Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons to capitulate or else “we will lose the Democratic majority.”

You see, Yudelson maintained if there was a floor fight, he would become president with Republican votes. Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons were being set up as the fall guys if Yudelson, Baynes and Maffucci cut a deal with the GOP.

It was common knowledge that Yudelson was making this threat to his colleagues. He was even rewarded with the majority leader position because caucus members were terrified of the prospect of him going to the Republicans. 

Caucus members refused to stand up to Yudelson. Instead, they trained their fire on Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons for standing firm on wanting to be treated like the other Democrats in the caucus and fighting for their seat at the table.

Let’s step back and consider the incredible hypocrisy and pure evilness of what Yudelson, Baynes and Maffucci did during the leadership talks. They steered the entire negotiation by threatening to obliterate the Democratic majority through a deal with the GOP. That kind of deal would have meant the GOP shared power with Democrats – a party that has only 26% registration in the county and only has 13 of 29 seats. BIPOC and city legislators would have been disenfranchised the most.

There were no press releases from Monroe County Democratic Committee Chairman Stephen DeVay exposing what they were doing and demanding that they stand down. DeVay is part of the corporate-electoral-industrial complex. His legacy power comes through his company Tuesday Digital – whose big clients have been the Morelle-Duffy-Bello cartel. Considerable money is funneled through his company, getting DeVay and his partners not just rich. With the prestige that comes from AI and fundraising acumen, they have also been lavished with high political posts; Nate Salzman former Tuesday Digital partner is now Brighton Town Board member, DeVay obviously king of the heap – Grand Theft Party Chair. After all elections are not really about ideas and voice but rather money raising and mastery of social media advertising algorithms.

Upon becoming Democratic Party Chair, Tuesday Digital didn’t even bother to scrub their website of DeVay being still part of the team, indicating this isn’t even the revolving door of private/government appointments; this tech startup can house everything all under one swank complex!

Tuesday Digital tracks down the most conservative candidate insiders and recruits them to run for office, as chronicled by an investigation by NYS Focus, where they did extra work exclusively for candidates facing progressive challengers. This is the dark money side of the local Democratic Party establishment that once sought to compete against the Republican party’s financial juggernaut – led by the late Stephen Minarik, but now has just become the GOP for all intents and purposes with their very own Stephen…DeVay. While this Republican branch of the Democratic Party never passes up an opportunity to publicly state how different they are from the party of Trump, behind closed doors the same exact wheeling and dealing Art of the Steal…takes place. So ladies and gentleman out from the shadows, entering stage right(wing) we re-introduce to you Rochester’s very own Tammany Hall remix for the 21st Century era – The New Boss Tweet –Stealin’ Stephen DeVay.

Thomas Nast caricature of Boss Tweed in Harper’s Weekly, October 21, 1871 Title: The “BRAINS” that achieved the Tammany victory at the Rochester Democratic Convention / Th. Nast.
Creator(s): Nast, Thomas, 1840-1902, artist

So of course – Boss Tweet DeVay joined others in demanding that Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons get in line. But even more telling DeVay kept silent, after leading the charge against former President Sabrina Lamar for caucusing with the Republicans. Back then during and in the wake of the Trump presidency it was an easy sell for DeVay to compare any dealings with the GOP as a deal with the devil MAGA party.

‘Oh nooooooo don’t cross the GOP line, don’t partner with the MAGA Trumpers’ when it is a Black and Asian rebel dem threatening that, but when it is their good ol’ white boys in Malfuchi, Yudelson, and Baynes doing that same very exact thing – dead silence.

Yudelson, Baynes and Maffucci kept the threats going after the voting started. Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons were not able to negotiate a deal until after they voted Roman down a couple times. Then caucus members took them seriously, and agreed to terms. 

But as soon as Barnhart and Vazquez-Simmons agreed to support Roman, Yudelson, Baynes and Maffucci pulled their support.  For the next 24 hours, they demanded that Barnhart get nothing or they would go to the GOP. Again, no one called them out publicly, except Barnhart, who lit their asses up on Twitter and on the radio, and Assemblywomen Sarah Clark’s Chief of Staff, Nicole Re.

Where was County Executive Adam Bello in all this? He could have told the men to knock it off. Some believe he was totally fine with them forging an alliance with the GOP, but only if they managed to bring over more caucus members. Yudelson was never going to get more than 5 or 6 legislators to go along, so he had no cover to make the deal smell better.

The three men eventually caved and allowed the caucus to move forward as a unified voice in support of Roman. But not after a month of holding everyone hostage and influencing the outcome as a result of their threat to take away the Democratic majority.

The Fight is Not Over

Yudelson, Maffucci and Baynes – with Bello’s blessing (read that as DeVay-Duffy-Bello-Morelle-Cartel’s blessings) – will continue their antics to block things the majority of the caucus wants. They may even continue to use the threat of joining the GOP as an ax over everyone’s heads.

This group fundamentally misunderstands the state of the Democratic Party. They think because Bello won with 60% of the vote, his rightward-leaning messages of more police spending and low taxes worked. But then how do progressive Democrats like Samra Brouk, Sarah Clark, Mary Lupien, Barnhart manage to beat candidates running to their right by huge margins? A more progressive Bello would have won because of the math – the GOP is effectively dead in Monroe County, especially after elections shift to even years. 

The Old Guard is dying, but they may kill the first Democratic majority’s ability to do anything substantive before they go. Boss Tweet DeVay, is just the latest version of an old story of shape-shifting Democrats whose political principles morph into whatever Machiavellian droid needed to protect their all-white, male neoliberal snow-globe cast. More people are going to soon realize when they come up close to it, this bubble of Dems are all fake and plastic inside.


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  • Alex Lyon

    January 16, 2024 / at 9:57 pmsvgReply

    Y’all left out the Fat Anthony Plonczynski part of this equation. A major factor at funneling money who is about to be named Assistsnt Depury to Adam Joseph Bello. Dig deeper!

    • Boom Town Press

      January 25, 2024 / at 12:03 pmsvgReply

      Alex, while we absolutely welcome the suggestion to dig deeper and will regarding Anthony Plonczynski, we don’t think that fatphobia, or body-shaming aligns with our collective’s ethical values. Simultaneously the Boom Town Press collective is adamantly opposed to censorship of expression; so your comment stays up, with our suggestion to you and everyone else reading this that body-shaming is a form of discrimination and should be discontinued from our culture.

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    Democrats Committed to Maintaining their White Male-only Snow Globe