December 17, 2015
Our news department was criticized by someone who said we did not present State Senator Tom O’Mara’s side of the story yesterday, when we ran a story about how O’Mara was both argued with even yelled at, by some voters at the Fremont Town Hall (though most of those there were calm and orderly). The reason that WLEA did not give an equal amount of time to O’Mara, is that during that part of the town hall discussion, the voters did most of the talking. Sen. O’Mara, for the most part, remained silent and let the residents have their say, and did not engage in a debate with them. Afterwards when we caught up with the senator, he did not want to comment. However, after the urging of one of our online readers, we will present more of the senator’s side.
One of the arguments was that O’Mara should have demanded the downstate senators vote to repeal the Safe Act, in exchange for upstate senators supporting rent control.
We later caught up with a close associate of O’Mara, who said that the Safe Act can only be repealed with both houses of the state legislature with a two thirds vote from both the assembly and the senate. O’Mara’s friend also said that the senate republicans agreed to vote for New York City rent control, in exchange for downstate senators supporting the state’s two percent tax cap. The Safe Act was not part of the deal to keep the state’s two percent tax cap.
The other argument made against O’Mara in Fremont, was that the senator helped Alstom recently in getting awarded 35 million dollars. Two people there said he would not help their local restaurant business in Howard that was struggling, when they asked him to, and seemed angry that Alstom was getting money instead. They told O’Mara that Steuben County government gave assistance to someone they knew who ran a brewery, but that their restaurant in Howard did not get any government help. O’Mara responded that he was not a Steuben County government official, but was a state lawmaker. The man shouted out several times that O’Mara was “full of s_ _ _”, who helped Alstom with “corporate welfare”, but not the small businesses. The man also shouted that O’Mara was a “liar” numerous times.” The man’s implication was that O’Mara was only interested in helping the rich corporations. Also in the audience, was a woman who told Senator O’Mara that the 35 million dollars that is going to Alstom, could have been split up and given to numerous businesses in Hornell.
The 35 million dollars to help Alstom and Alstom related projects, is being awarded to Hornell IDA officials, who will distribute the money to Alstom, TTA, etc. It was part of a statewide contest that the governor came up with, to get economic development ideas going in New York State. O’Mara did not come up with the rules for the statewide competition, it was the governor’s contest.
December 17, 2015