Paladino apologizes, as supporters rally and school board plans to convene special meeting

The prolific developer, conservative activist, school board member and former Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino is apologizing for offensive humor that was published in last week’s issue of Artvoice.  The apology comes as the Buffalo Board of Education is planning to convene a special meeting on Thursday, December 29, to discuss ‘board member conduct.’

Paladino received the publication’s survey via email. He received it “at an emotional moment after I had just listened to Obama’s statement that he regretted the slaughter in Aleppo.” Paladino attributes that genocide to Obama’s “failed and cowardly foreign policy” that he says looks the other way while innocent people are murdered.

“I view Barak Obama as a traitor to American values,” he explains. “We don’t stand down and leave soldiers to die on a battlefield when we can send help. We don’t lie to the American people and the parents of our fallen to get re-elected.”

“I wanted to say something as sarcastic and hurtful as possible about the people so responsible for the hurt and suffering of so many others. I was wired up, primed to be human and make a mistake. I could not have made a worse choice in the words I used to express my feelings,” he admits, clearly humbled by the experience.

Still, Paladino concedes that his remarks were inappropriate under any circumstance.

“I never intended to hurt the minority community who I spent years trying to help out of the cycle of poverty in our inner cities. To them I apologize. I thought about them every day as I fought against unqualified and incompetent superintendents, administrators, teachers and School Board members, unfair union contracts, broken homes and children who can’t get the education they need to break that cycle of poverty because our school system is a failure, for reasons that needn’t be,” Paladino explained in his written statement to Artvoice.

Many of supporters say that they can understand the intensity of emotions for such a high profile political leader struggling against an entrenched liberal ideology that has largely squandered a proud city with big government, incompetent elected officials, and a culture of corruption that continues to engulf our region.

Those supporters point to the items of Paladino’s desk: a poorly negotiated union contract with underperforming teachers who care for little more than propagating their own job security; a politically entrenched State Supreme Court Judge who shockingly dismissed a lawsuit to recover $450 million that was fleeced from the inner city students by the disgraced contractor LP Ciminelli; and the loss of a once promising reform majority on the school board. It’s no wonder, they say, that Paladino became emotional.

“I won’t be judged by those timid souls who sit unbloodied in the gallery always prepared to criticize.  Nor do I have any respect or regrets for the insane education activists who hover over and defend the dysfunction of the BPS,” Paladino adds.

Paladino is not without his supporters.

Former City Chairman of the Conservative Party, Mike Woolford, has come to the developer’s defense on social media; as has the anti-establishment Tea Party leader Rus Thompson.

“Carl is still a great friend of mine,” Woolford says. “For the record, I will not throw my friend Carl under the bus… when I needed a friend, Carl Paladino was there for me when all of the rest gave me their ass to kiss — including every elected official.”

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Longtime Conservative Party leader Mike Woolford.

Grand Island activist Rus Thompson, a Paladino confidant during his gubernatorial campaign, asks on social media, “where is [Erie County Republican Party Chairman] Langworthy?”

Langworthy owes much of his political resume to Paladino. The developer even secured the young county chairman a coveted position on the Trump Administration’s transition team. Silence at a moment when a friend is need offends Thompson, to whom loyalty outweighs the political winds.

“Has he hidden under a rock hiding his face staying out of the public eye? Won’t come out and support the guy that has been the largest financial backer for the Erie County GOP? How about [Congressman Chris] Collins?  Where is he? I think Carl is finding out who his real friends are,” Thompson writes. “Cowards!”

AJ Carter, another conservative activist says it another way.

“It seems to me the only people that can do insulting name calling and making up psychological conditions that don’t even exist, mud slinging, threats of violence and commit just plain violence in this country with impunity is from the progressive liberal left,” he argues. “Any voice of dissension from the conservative right shall be met with false charges of racism, mysogony, xenophobia, sexism, Islamophobia (made up psychological conditions I spoke of earlier); these are the tactics of the hypocritical liberal left who are the only ones who are allowed to have a sense of humor and make jokes, not only at the conservative right but also at their own constituency.”

Lewiston resident Daniel Wilkosz says that he won’t abandon Carl “over this stupidity.”

“I would never throw a friend under the bus for this, especially a proven stalwart patriot that he has shown himself to be for years. Shame on those who abandon his side with stupid bit of heat from an antagonistic media,” Wilkosz says. “Carl has done more in his off moments than a lot of fair weather patriots have done in years.

Colden activist Don Frank thinks the reason for the media hoopla is simple: “Carl is planning to run for governor again…the left is trying to shut him down before he gets started…its not a mystery.” 

Others, like Scott Lundquist, see Paladino’s politics as a redeeming quality that will persevere through fleeting controversies.

“If we had more people like him in local and state politics, this state wouldn’t be the highest taxed state in the country as well as the welfare capitol,” he writes on Facebook. “How many derogatory attempts at humor were aimed at Trump, and no one blinks, but say something tongue in cheek about Barry, then the oh-so-tolerant libs are coming after Carl with torches and pitchforks,” Lundquist posits.  

Maybe everyone didn’t appreciate your humor but that’s why our founders wrote the 1st Amendment. Controversial speech needs the most protection,” he concludes. 

Still, many activists continue to call for Paladino’s resignation.

“I am absolutely so excited about this attention on one hand because it exposes the undeniable racist stench that lurks over the city of Buffalo NY,” says Shellonee Chinn, a Buffalo resident. “On the other hand Carl just got himself free advertisement and endorsement for governor. I agree that what Carl did was completely wrong. I do truly believe that if he ran for election again he would win. I also believe he wants to be the next governor. This behavior gets you elected as president.”

“There are sooooo many people who feel like him… I think it is good to make people feel comfortable with their truth. We are learning so much more about people and the world in which we live,” she says. “… allow the world to see the ugly underbelly of racism and how this behavior is supported by people like him. America’s truth is being exposed one racist at a time.”

The Board of Education’s specially convened meeting to discuss the Paladino comments is scheduled for Thursday, December 29th @ 2 p.m. in the Buffalo Common Council Chamber on the 13th Floor of City Hall.

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