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November 2002

Nov. 06, 2002

Election Night Report - Republicans Rally, John Race Too Close to Call

posted by Rick Gagliano

Corrected: 11/6/02 9:15 am EST

In the most stunning outcome of the local elections, incumbent Democratic State Assemblywoman Susan John (pictured at right), who has represented the 131st Assembly District since 1991, was caught in a virtual dead heat by challenger Michael Slattery. As the district reports rolled in, Slattery held a 55-45% edge over John, but late in the evening, John overcame the early deficit, and by morning was declared the winner by some media outlets

Downtown Magazine had declared Slattery the winner as of 1:00 am, but early this morning learned that the outcome was in serious doubt. Neither candidate has conceded nor claimed victory. Specualtion is that the losing candidate will move for a recount.

Political pundits blamed John's liberal leanings and lack of clear policy for the close race, in addition to Slattery's grass-roots-positive campaign as reasons for the surprise surge. The overall success of the Republican party in this year's elections may also have had some impact.

In statewide races, Democrat Elliot Spitzer, who has championed consumer and stockholder rights in various investigations and prosecutions, easily distanced himself from challenger Dora Irizarry.

Governor George Pataki easily won a third term, fending off the challenge of former Comptroller Carl McCall and local businessman Tom Golisano. Golisano, CEO of Paychex, Inc., who waged a campaign nearly 100% self-funded, showed strength in many upstate districts, though McCall was the clear runner-up statewide. Golisano reportedly spent $60 million of his own money in his second consecutive losing effort.

Golisano did score a phyric victory of sorts, outpolling the Governor and McCall in his home base, Monroe County.

In one of the more heated and nasty races of the campaign season, former NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi (D) narrowly defeated John Faso (R) and his Albany power base.

In key Senate races, Wayne Allard (R) held his seat over former U.S. Attorney Tom Strickland (D) in Colorado; In Missouri, (R) Jim Talent defeated (D) Jean Carnahan. In New Hampshire, (R) John E. Sununu squeezed by Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, while Democrat Mark Pryor won a convincing victory over (R) Tim Hutchinson. In Minnesota, Republican Norm Coleman was looking like a winner with 52% of the vote over Walter Mondale though only 65% of precincts had reported as of this writing.

In one of the closest and most intriguing races of the evening, incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson was leading GOP Rep. John Thune by less than 4000 votes with 61% of precincts reporting, but as the results came in from the Western reaches of the state, Johnson's lead dwindled and by early morning Thune was leading and will likely be declared the winner.

With the victories in Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri, the make-up of the Senate will change with the next term, making the Republican party the majority. A special election will be held in Louisiana, as no candidate received 50% of the vote, as required by a quirky state law.

In a related story, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt resigned his post as the nation's top public company regulator. Democrats in Washington had been calling for Pitt to step down for well over a year, citing conflicts of interest and close connections with powerful CEOs - the same people he was sworn to regulate, investigate and potentially lead to prosecution.

Pitt's resignation came as a surprise to some, though news anlysts saw the announcement - coming on election eve - as a way to minimize its impact. While the Bush-led Republican party was scoring numerous victories in key elections, changes were taking place behind the scene, such as Pitt's resignation.

Other local winners:

129th State Assembly District: (R) Brian Kolb
130th State Assembly District: (R) Joe Errigo
131st State Assembly District: (R) Michael Slattery
132nd State Assembly District: (D) Joe Morelle
133rd State Assembly District: (D) David Gantt
134th State Assembly District: (R) Bill Reilich
135th State Assembly District: (D) David Koon

56th State Senate District: (R) Joe Robach
61st State Senate District: (R) Mary Lou Rath

24th US Congressional District: (R) Sherwood Boehlert
25th US Congressional District: (R) James Walsh
26th US Congressional District: (R) Thomas Reynolds
28th US Congressional District: (D) Louise Slaughter
29th US Congressional District: (R) Amo Houghton

Monroe County Court: (R) Alex Renzi defeated (D) Rick Dollinger

Nov. 04, 2002

Merger Will Boost City's Stats

posted by Wire Reports

Merger Will Boost City's Stats

Nov. 03, 2002

Publisher Sets Ad Rates Too Low
Rick Gagliano
posted by Rick Gagliano

November 2, 2002

ROCHESTER, NY - Publisher Rick Gagliano, after spending the 90s out of the publishing business, returned to action this week with a webbified reincarnation of his former flagship newspaper, Downtown, The Unbound Magazine. Unfortunately for Mr. Gagliano, he has apparently learned little from more than a decade away from the rigors of publishing, as he once again set his advertising rates TOO LOW, disproving the adage that wisdom follows age.publisher hits himself in head

"Advertising is just TOO expensive," cited the mercurial publisher. "I set my rates at well below the norm because of this. In fact, that's the reason I got into the publishing business years ago. I owed a small used bookstore and wanted to advertise, but after checking out the prices, I was aghast. I was able to publish my own newspaper for the cost of a 1/2 page ad in another paper. It was somewhat amateurish, and the facilities at my disposal were antique compared to what's available today, but it worked, and, as they say, the rest is history.

I actually sold some ads in that paper to defray my costs... I think I made a profit on it. I distributed the paper - it was a freebie - at restaurants and shops in the area and before you knew it, people were calling me to advertise. I was kind of surprised. Of course there were the chores of writing stories and laying out ads, but somehow I got it done. My ad rates were really cheap, so it flourished and eventually became Downtown Magazine.

Today, with the help of computers and the internet, the publishing process is much easier, but I don't think the publishing community really gets it. Most of them have a vested interest in their own medium and the internet is an afterthought. TV stations have a huge investment in broadcast equipment, newspapers and magazines have to keep their presses running, and so on. The costs are real, but they get passed on to advertisers when there's an entirely new medium that can produce solid results for much less, and it's there 24/7/365.

The price of advertising is relatively absurd. I spoke to a rep of a small town shopper. A quarter-page ad is nearly $200! OK, they get to every home in the town, but two-hundred bucks is still a good sum of money. And that's in a pennysaver-type publication.

Don't even talk to me about the big local paper - those prices are not bordering on absurd, they are beyond absurd. TV and radio are the same - big money - and where are the results? I spoke to a couponer the other day. You know, the ones who mail to every home in a zip code. This lady told me they don't like to talk to their customers about redemptions, because they're so low. She said a restaurant got back 30 coupons on a 10,000 mailing and they weren't happy. Well, I wouldn't be either! That's less than a 1% return. Not very good for almost $400.

It's the same all over. The providers are charging more because they don't have the volume. The little guy - the mom and pop operations - are getting squeezed out because they simply cannot afford to advertise. The smart ones use non-traditional methods - fliers, self-promotion, and yes, the internet. Use of the internet by small business is growing at an amazing rate and it's going to continue to grow.

That's why I set my ad rates so ridiculously low. There's value for the dollar. Downtown Magazine is just starting up and we don't have a ton of traffic yet, so I can't overcharge. But when those traffic totals start getting into the tens of thousands per day - and that's all local traffic, there will be a tremendous value for the ad dollars.

And the internet offers so many possibilities! Not only is there the opportunity to advertise a business or service for really little cost, there's email marketing, informational marketing and e-commerce potential. I mean, it's out there and it's pretty much untapped.

People who are doing TV, radio and print are paying top buck right now and they'll pay even more as the internet steals market share. Take a look at the classifieds in most newspapers. Twenty years ago, when I was in the newspaper end of the business, it was common knowledge that if you killed the classifieds in a newspaper, you pretty much killed the whole business. I'm telling you, newspapers are DEAD. They just haven't told anybody yet and the publishers are scared to death of the internet.

TV and radio are another set altogether. They're HOT mediums, because they can broadcast instantly without much lead time. But they're also pretty transparent. The image or sound in front of you is gone in a heartbeat. And unless you're recording, it's gone for good. Not so with the internet. Words and images stay put and can be retrieved at will. It's better.

So, yeah, I set my ad rates pretty low, maybe ridiculously low. But, hey, that's business, isn't it. When the results come in, the advertisers will happily pay a little more because it will still be the best value out there. I don't have to pay a sales force, I don't have to pay rent on a huge building, I don't have licensing fees, broadcast rights, a press, ink and paper to buy. It's cheaper on the net, and I don't mind people saying that my advertising is CHEAP, because it is.

Yes, internet advertising is CHEAP! There, I said it. Happy?

For more information on Downtown Magazine's absurdly low rates CLICK HERE.

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