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After Four Years Palumbo Doesn't Know Her District -- And Now It's About to Change

Rochester, NY (April 27, 2011) -- If there is one thing politicians are supposed to be good at, it is (to steal the tagline of a local law firm), "the art of representation." They may not know budget numbers off the top of their head or the five pieces of legislation of which they are most proud, but they always know who they represent -- and sometimes they know their kids' names and their dogs' names and the soup special at the local diner. This is why redistricting years are always highly political: pols fight over who they get to represent, hoping to secure a district that is even more familiar, more politically "safe" for them. In other words, pols invest themselves in knowing their district because that is what is most likely to help them secure re-election.

Given all this, it is curious indeed that one member of Rochester City Council, Carla Palumbo, Esq does not know the boundaries of the district she has represented for 3 1/2 years.

The paper trail

In an email to a local Democratic Committee member, Palumbo said the following, "As far as the City Council seat there is no part of the NW Council District that crosses over to 22nd or 24th LD's." In a separate email, she insisted on the point once more:  "I have never had any part of 22 - I do however have some of 27 but there is no one in those ED's I will check with Tom Ferresse [sic]--." 

To some in the Northwest Council District (the boundaries of which can be readily viewed by visiting the Monroe County Board of Elections website), Palumbo's comments are fitting. Admittedly, filling the shoes of former Councilmember Bob Stevenson was an impossible task: Stevenson put the word peripatetic to shame. Even Joe Robach used to hang his head and say "Damn, that Bob Stevenson is EVERYWHERE." And he was -- Stevenson knew his District and thrived on participating in virtually every aspect of civic life in that part of Rochester.

Palumbo, by contrast, has caused some consternation by not regularly attending neighborhood meetings, and appearing disengaged at those she did attend. If there were ever a perfect validation of the rap on Palumbo as being not very interested in her district, she provided it herself: she doesn't even know who lives in her district.

The offensive ED revealed

Who are the forgotten voters of Carla Palumbo's Northwest Council District, the ones who, apparently, have gone unrepresented since January 2008? They reside in Legislative District 22, Election District 24. A few blocks just northwest of the inner loop containing Frontier Field (that's where the Red Wings play, Carla -- they're a baseball team).

According to the Monroe County Board of Elections, approximately 306 registered voters reside there -- 71 of whom voted in the November 2010 election, and 29 of whom voted on Ms. Palumbo's candidacy in November 2007. Two dedicated voters in this district (both Democrats) have not missed a single election since 2005. The truly bad news for Palumbo is that just over 2/3 of the voters in this ED are registered Democrats, and therefore eligible to consider a Democratic alternative to Palumbo, should a primary challenger emerge.

But wait, there's even more intrigue afoot in the NW

As one might expect, this is not the end of the story. This being Smugtown, the story would not be complete without some sort of machinations by the party to protect incumbents and tamp down any sign of dissent.

In this case, such efforts took the form of an argument that, not surprisingly, simply is not true: that it is traditional for Democrats to designate candidates under the current district lines, and then re-designate if the lines change (as they are likely to do once new lines are approved for the 2011 election).

In one email to committee colleagues, County Legislator Cynthia Kaleh (LD28) argued that "There is a history of the leg[islator] running on old lines for the county." Whoever is providing Ms. Kaleh with her history is doing the legislator a grave disservice. In fact, the 2001 designations occurred AFTER new lines were drawn. Ms. Kaleh reveals her actual motives later in the same email where she states, "the committees should rally round the process and help all incumbents to maintain their seats." Well, that explains things.

Ironically, it is Carla Palumbo herself who provides the evidence regarding the sequence of events in 2001. In a letter mailed to committee members seeking their support for her designation to the County legislature in April 2001, Palumbo clearly states, "The designating meeting will be held after the Monroe County legislature votes on a final plan." [See below]

Conclusion: Reform Starts in the NW?

For those looking to send a message to Smugtown elites and to the powers that be in the Monroe County Democratic Committee, the Northwest City Council District might be the lowest-hanging fruit of 2011. Palumbo's already tenuous hold on the district seems weaker given her current gaffes.

Incidentally, the Northwest Democrats decide to break with past practice, designating both Council and County Leg positions at the April 25th meeting. Palumbo won the designation, but not overwhelmingly. And she did it with the LD 6/7 Committee deciding to vote without permitting her opponent, Jim Muscatella, to even address the committee. Evidently that is what Democratic Party elites think passes for democracy in the Northwest. Fortunately, voters will have their say in September.

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Member Opinions:
By: vote4harry on 4/27/11

Carla does not know much about anything and I can prove it. I was at the dog & pony RGRTA show this week on
eminent domain, called so Mark Aesch can destroy Tony DiMarzo's Warner Building on St. Paul St. to build the Palumbo/Gantt-Warren Mortimer Street Bus Barn Boondoggle (MSBBB). Of course we all know nobody in Rochester wants this except those that want to financially rape our community for their own private benefits.

My friend, Clarke Conde, Editor of the Labor News was there but he did not speak. Clarke actually ran Andy Stainton's recent campaign for County Executive against Maggie because he knows the MSBBB, then known as ren square, a crock of shit. He ran Andy on that premise to try to stop that nonsense but the Building Trades want work and they don't care if they build an outhouse at the corner of Main & Clinton just as long as they get a job. And they are aided by political flunkies like Carla & Lovely "There are no buses in Mississippi" Gantt-Warren. The deal is Tom Richards & Bob Duffy could have stopped stopped the MSBBB but they knew that Clarke & Frank Wirt et. al wanted jobs and that was where the campaign cash is. Gotta get Bob to Albany to find his hill and just say "no" to the city charter to get Tom in the Mayor's office illegally. So now Tony DiMarzo's Mark IV Enterprises, which pays a reported $20,000 A DAY in local taxes from his real estate holdings, will have his efforts to bring residential development to downtown hijacked by the back ward thinking folks such as Carla Palumbo.

I made the below You Tube video a few months ago when I thought I might have an honest chance to run for Mayor of Rochester. It has some very revealing video of Carla Palumbo displaying her exact knowledge of "transportation policy." That is to say, not much. It needs a few more edits but I did not have the cash to finish it but it is really worth a look to see how our elected officials really don't have a clue as to what will be best for Rochester. But they do know how to follow the money.

Carla: "We have a transportation policy."
Interviewer: "Carla, what is your tranpostation policy?"

Carla: "I don't know."

Please click this link:

Does Rochester Need a Transportation Plan?

Harry Davis
South Wedge
Rochester, NY

By: admin on 4/27/11
So alan do you really think the voters will have their say? Not when the mcdc is run by brown shirts! I was@ the committee meeting & went around & around with Carla Palumbo, Patsy Robertson, Felipe De Chateauvieux, & Cynthia Kaleh. The fact is we have city council & county legislators who think they are a hell of a lot smarter than committee members, personally i find their attitudes insulting! I am sick of democrats drinking the kool aid @ mcdc headquarters & not having the guts to stand up to their chair & tell him he's wrong!This party will never go forward with Joe Morelle & david Gantt running this party & strong arming democrats. My favorite excuse from Carla & Cindy were that mcdc has a strategy to go against the redistricting, yeah right, in their dreams!!! And we as democrats will go out & recieve 20 thousand signatures. Not this democrat i am not doing any such thing i dont care what morelle thinks! I am a proud LIBERAL DEMOCRAT raised by FDR parents!! Sadly we have reprensatives who lose their way, maybe in the beginning they were advocates for their constituents but now it comes down to their ego's & arrogance! How sad, the democrats complain about the republicans and then turn around & act just like them! The fact is redistructing is done may 5th the meeting for designation should be held after the new lines are drawn & displayed not before. I will continue to fight the joe morelle's until they are all gone, and if the county & city democrats want to replace Morelle with another chair that thinks like him , i will still continue the fight!!! Peace.

Jeanne Masten
Rochester, NY

By: vote4harry on 4/28/11
Correction: I forgot the "h" in "http."
Please click here:

Does Rochester Need a Transportation Plan?

Harry Davis
South Wedge
Rochester, NY

By: Felipe on 5/10/11
Aaron, it was called to my attention the Smugtown Beacon article about Carla Palumbo and the Northwest meeting in which a negative comment was made accusing me of being part of the “ELITE” and being unfair to Jim Muscatella.
First of all, I don’t remember seeing neither you nor Chris at the meeting; I don’t remember neither you nor Chris calling me to confirm what you printed about the 6/7 LD’s -not allowing Jim Muscatella to speak before the vote. In the past, if I remember well, either one or both of you guys have always been present in our designating meetings.
Unfortunately, Jim Muscatella who has been present at previous meetings did not talk to any Leader expressing his desire to run for office before or during the meeting when the Chair asked for candidates to identify themselves. As you both well know when someone is thinking/wanting to run for office within a party, he/she talks to the Leader(s) involved to obtain advice, approval, support, etc., additionally; they call or write to committee members asking for support. No one in the 6/7 LD new about Jim’s candidacy.
Before we split for caucuses, the Chair asked if there were any other candidates and nobody including Jim answer in a positive way. So, when we had our caucus to nominate for offices and seeing that no one had said that they were also a candidate for the Northwest City Council Seat, (JIM was present and didn’t say that he wanted to run) one of the committee members suggested to nominate the only declared candidate for the City Council Seat: Carla Palumbo.
At the end, Jean Masten asked: “Could I nominate someone else” and she nominated Jim Muscatella, Jim said that he was willing to run. I asked my committee people if they wanted to open the Northwest City Council nomination again for discussion and they all said no. Additionally, the vote was 26 LD Carla 5 votes, Jim 5 votes (a wash). 28 LD (Jim’s and Carla’s LD) Carla 16 votes, Jim 3 votes. 6 LD Carla 3 votes, Jim none. 7 LD Carla 2 votes, Jim none. The votes in the 6 LD and 7 LD did not give Carla the nomination. Carla and Jim, both belong to the 28LD and it is very clear who the LD members prefer and when the total votes are tabulated Carla got 26 votes and Jim 8
Conclusion: I was not unfair to my good friend Jim Muscatella. To the accusation of being part of the elite, I will let my record speak for itself. I don’t think that 8 votes out of 34 makes it a revolution and please, next time do like every good journalist do, check your facts before printing. I don’t know who your Source(s) was/were, but it seems that the info was very biased against me and my committees.
Felipe de Chateauvieux
Rochester, NY
City Democratic Leader of 6/7 LD (at the time of the caucuses)

By: admin on 5/19/11
Felipe's assertions are misguided in several respects. There is no obligation on the part of candidates to seek "guidance" or any sort of permission, to run for office. It is the responsibility of party committees and leaders to allow the public equal and fair access to the designation process.

Felipe suggests that Jim Muscatella was remiss in not informing the committee of his interest. The fact is that Jim quite reasonably awaited the completion of the reapportionment, which has always been the process. The temporary stewards of party processes then insisted on a rather odd course of action, designating prior to the existence of district lines applicable to the 2011 elections, which one incumbent explicitly described as putting a thumb on the scale for incumbents. Jim came to the meeting, when told of it. Two of the four northwest LD committees managed to listen to the candidates before voting. The committees Felipe led voted prior to the candidates speaking, and refused to correct the error when made aware of it. The fault lies not with the Smugtown Beacon, and not with Jim, but with committee leaders who run democratic processes like a private club, and in an arrogant and untrustworthy manner.

Tom Brennan
Rochester, NY

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