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Majority prefers Brooks for county executive

If this year’s election for Monroe County executive were held today, 57 percent of RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll respondents say they would support incumbent Maggie Brooks, a Republican.

Brighton Supervisor Sandra Frankel last week announced her intention to run for county executive this fall. Brooks has not officially declared her intention to seek re-election.

Frankel, a Democrat, has been Brighton supervisor since 1992 and was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 1998. Brooks has been county executive since January 2004. Before that she served as county clerk and county legislator.

Among respondents who identified themselves as Democrats, 81 percent favor Frankel and 19 support Brooks.

Those who identified themselves as Republicans support Brooks by a margin of 79 percent to 21 percent.

Among those who identified their political affiliation as non-affiliated or other, 57 percent favor Brooks, compared with 43 percent for Frankel.

Forty percent of poll respondents identified themselves as Republicans versus 26 percent Democrats and 34 percent non-affiliated or members of other parties. The latest state Board of Elections data for active voters in Monroe County shows the following breakdown: Democrat, 39.4 percent; Republican, 31.1 percent; non-affiliated, 22.9 percent; other parties, 6.6 percent.

Roughly 860 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted May 9 and 10.

If the election for Monroe County executive were held today with Republican Maggie Brooks and Democrat Sandra Frankel as the candidates, whom would you support?
Maggie Brooks: 57%
Sandra Frankel: 43%

What is your political affiliation?
Republican: 40%
Non-affiliated: 31%
Democrat: 26%
Other: 3%

Here are some comments from readers:

Maggie is experienced and eloquent. Seems genuine and sincere when meeting people. Qualified for higher position.
—W.L. Brice, Eastman Kodak, retired

She has done a good job, and I don’t think we need to change direction at this point.
—George Thomas, Ogden

Sandy Frankel has an unblemished public record of service. She is our only hope to take the corruption and mismanagement out of our county. I do not want county employees repairing Republican donors’ homes again—i.e. the Robutrad Corp. scandal. I do not want county airport employees going to strip clubs and buying more than $10,000 worth of cigars at my expense. The list goes on and on.
—Dorothy Drahzal

Brighton is doing great, and I believe that Ms. Frankel can make Monroe County shine, as well.
—Linda Garman

It appears many folks are having a good time while on the job using county payroll. Can we say ethics? Airport? Sports complex? Common players and participants all under one umbrella. Need to change it up a bit.
—Dave Sluberski

Brighton Supervisor Sandra Frankel is open and intelligent in her contact with people and issues. She listens, and challenges persons who bring concerns to her. It is clear that she cares about and attends to the business of the town of Brighton. Yet she continues to assist city dwellers in projects and programs that promote unity in Greater Rochester.
—David Anderson, chairman, Rochester-Monroe County Freedom Trail Commission

Ms. Brooks has often complained that she should not be judged by a “few bad apples” in her administration. Given the latest Airport Authority scandal, it is more like a whole bushel of bad apples. Ethics training for county employees has no impact on authority members, since they are not employees.
—Frank Muscato

Would support neither. We need a change from the Republican/Democrat machine.
—Carmen Nais, Nais Consulting

It is one scandal after another in Republican-controlled Monroe County. But I know that it would be worse under Democratic leadership. The absolute corruption and dysfunction of New York State is the perfect example of total Democratic control. There is too much cronyism in the Monroe County Republican Party; they need to flush out the old guard and bring in some young leaders with new ideas who aren’t beholden to the old guard. Republicans always eat their young in order to hold on to power.
—Dave Iadanza, Farmington

The Brooks record: eight years of stealth tax hikes, back-door deals, scandals, dodges, excuses. The Frankel record: 20 years of open government, fiscal stability, no scandals.
—Dave Garretson

As an independent voter, the choice for county executive is clearly Maggie Brooks. I think Maggie must get more aggressive in reducing the county budget, possibly through a financial control board or an emergency austerity budget. Sandy Frankel is a good person, but the last thing this county needs is a county executive who agrees with President Obama, Louise Slaughter and Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand’s Keynesian economic policies that are putting this country into bankruptcy and economic stagnation. These policies are putting the burden of the excesses of government and the public unions on the backs of the middle class who pay income taxes. Until there is a better choice, vote for Maggie Brooks.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates Inc.

I’m glad I don’t live in Monroe County. Neither one is worth a damn. At least Brooks has been somewhat positive for Monroe County; Frankel has done little if anything for Brighton. She’s just another suit, with no original thought.
—Jim Duke, Victor

Brooks has ruled this county with an iron fist. She doesn’t lead; she dictates. She brooks no dissent, ensures that every proposal she makes gets passed by her subordinates in the Legislature, and manipulates the numbers to make it look like she’s keeping taxes flat. She’s a consummate politician —but she’s no leader.
—Matthew D. Wilson

Although it is a county race, this race has ramifications for the entire area. We need the Democrats and Republicans working together. Brooks is the first Republican to work well with the Democrats of the city. An all-city/county Democratic team would exclude many of those who could help rebuild this area. The long-term negative repercussions of marginalizing a critical portion of our populace are not good. Whether the Democrats like it or not, they need Maggie as much as the Republicans do.
—Bill Lanigan

Please include a Green Party option in your poll. It is now the third largest electoral party in America. Re: Sandra Frankel: She listens to her constituents and works together with them in solving issues. She would have my vote hands down!
—Deborah Magone, JoMama Music

No liberals please. We have enough of them already.
—Mike Kaser, Penfield

I believe that the past budgets have been full of smoke and mirrors. It is time for a new administration with fresh thinking and new ideas.
—Charles Kaplan

Monroe County needs to do something to get rid of the "old-boy" network here. The problems at the airport are just an indication of what’s going on in county government. I believe this is less of a reflection on Maggie, than it is of an entrenched way of doing business.
—Craig Epperson

Maggie Brooks, except complaining, has outrun her time. It is time for a change.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting

Maggie Brooks has been sort of a Teflon Queen during her first several years in office, but now that some of the finish has rubbed off (e.g.; Robutrad scandal, Airport scandal and let us not forget the Water Authority scandal), she has demonstrated that she only acts after the fact and is not in control of her appointees before they pull stupid stunts. I’m sorry but this all smacks of cronyism. I don’t recall Sandra Frankel having any such goings on in her administration. Right now my vote is for someone I can have confidence in.
—Pete Bonenfant, Fairport

I think that Maggie Brooks has a decent, if not great, track record as county executive. I do wish she was more assertive in supporting spending control at both the county and state level but I’m not sure that Ms. Frankel would not be even more challenged to deal with the budget at the county level. Whoever wins, it must be the top priority to reduce spending. That means a far more aggressive posture with the public employees union(s) to bring their memberships closer to the commercial sector with regard to benefits, seniority and pensions. The voice of the county executive can’t be loud enough in demanding the reality check that’s long overdue.
—Rick Bradley

The Brooks administration has been marked by a culture of cronyism and corruption that has wasted taxpayer dollars and shattered the public trust. Yet when the county Legislature proposed an independent ethics commission, Republicans blocked it. The Brooks administration is unwilling to hold itself accountable, forcing the voters of Monroe County to do so on election day.
—Michael Brown 

Sandra Frankel may have a lot going for her in her town, but if I have to choose between a Democrat and a Republican, I will go with the Republican 99 percent of the time. Look at the city to see the impact of Democrat leadership failures over and over again. The county can’t afford a similar fate.
—Dave Coriale

Maggie, Sandy or Angela Davis. I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
—Karl Schuler

I am glad to see SOMEONE challenge for this position.
—Vinny Dallo, New York Life

Tired of same old, same old. Time for new Blood!
—Hutch Hutchison

I have known Sandra Frankel for more than 10 years, and have found her to be a person of integrity and honesty—just what we need now in Monroe County.
—Carole Hoffman

Big business and the wealthy have been overly supported by the Brooks money goes to money theory of government. A few more years of Maggie Brooks and she’ll achieve her goal of having no middle class. No one belongs in office when they continue to cut middle and low income benefits, while never asking the wealthy to contribute their fair share in order to improve the economy.
—Barry Goldberg, retired

Sandy’s a good public manager and will get my vote. Maggie has been in office for too long. She’s either been asleep at the wheel or complicit in the malfeasance of those she manages.
—Craig Watkins

(c) 2011 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.


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