A highlight from The Urgent Need for a Leadership Change with Chrissy Casilio
Well, everybody now has been saying, oh, he had a really bad August. No, he's had a really bad 12 years. But the difference is he now has an opponent that's shining a light on it. That's that's the difference. Obviously, it has been a particularly bad. But but like you said, there's been a pattern for 12 years of this type of incompetence. Welcome to another Financial Guys podcast with Mike Haeflich and Mike Speraza. Today, we are extremely pleased to welcome Republican challenger to Mark Polenkars for Erie County Executive Chrissy Casilio live and in studio. Chrissy, welcome and thank you so much for being here today. Thank you for having me. I feel a little odd that I'm the only one here not named Mike. Yeah, well, that's a problem in our office. There's a lot of problems between Lomas Haeflich, Mike Shaver, Mike Zimmer. We dominate the office. There's a lot of Mike. Yeah, that's right. And we're sorry if you get whiplash because you feel like you're watching a tennis match here today because you're sort of sandwiched between the two of us. That's OK. So so I knew of your last name, at least just from a lot of the business that your family has done. But can you just tell our audience, our listeners a little bit about yourself? Because I think some might feel like me, like, geez, Chrissy Casilio. OK, let me start Googling and let me just Google the Casilio name. Yeah, of course, you find things on a very highly successful business that you've had based out of clearance. Right. Yes. Yeah. So tell us about yourself. So I'm actually not involved with the family business. I decided to do my own thing. I have my degree in journalism. I thought I was going to be the next Oprah Winfrey. And although maybe not her, maybe she's not a good example. Yeah, she's she's she's getting canceled right now. I don't know. Pre -cancel Oprah. OK, I got it. I have my degree in journalism and I thought I was going to make a career in that. I had worked with WBEN and very quickly I learned where the money actually is, and that was in marketing and PR. So I had the opportunity to switch over. And within my first year of working in marketing at the radio group, I very quickly realized that this was my thing. Fast forward, I have owned Casilio Communications for 10 years. It is a marketing communication agency where clients hire my firm to manage everything for them. All of their marketing, all their communications, internal communications, external communications. We do it all. I'm very proud that the business is 10 years old. I've been doing this for 15 years. And so my business is actually one of the reasons that opened my eyes to everything that was going on. And I'll tell you why. Do I need to tell you about my family or do we skip that over? It's up to you. They're probably really nice people. I mean, I don't want to dismiss them and ignore them. I didn't want to get too far without acknowledging that I'm married to my high school sweetheart. He is a pharmacist. He is a saint. And I have three small kids and they're all excited. What's nice is that they're young enough that they don't really know what's going on. They just know that they think that mommy's a superhero. Lots of excitement. The parades, I'm going to have to do parades no matter what for the rest of my life, for the kids. So I have three small kids. I have a wonderful husband. That aside, my business, one of my clients is a nursing home group. And this is what really was the catalyst in opening my eyes to how things were being run in this community. And I'll tell you why. I have been with them my entire career, before, during and after COVID, and I knew the numbers from what I do because I'm on the communications team, on the PR team. We work together as a team. There's a handful of us. And when Andrew Cuomo had that nursing home order, it was like the grim reaper went through the facilities. And they say, once you see it, you can't unsee it. And when that happened, besides it being tragic enough in itself, I saw Mark Poloncarz and Dr. Bernstein, who I call Dr. Overtime, I saw them do absolutely nothing about that. And I felt like I was going insane because I knew they knew the numbers. I knew that they knew what was going on. And then I knew that they were doing absolutely nothing. And what was astounding to me, I mean, you don't have to be the director of health to know the type of care in nursing homes. It is the most intimate type of care that you will ever, I mean, you're getting your teeth brushed, you're getting dressed. These residents aren't even getting out of bed unless somebody is physically lifting them out of bed. And you're getting help in bathroom situations, right? You're getting hugs and compassion and love. I mean, these people are angels. And so then for some reason, at some point, it got, besides the horrible idea from Andrew Cuomo and the state people, then we had our own Erie County leaders, quote unquote, fail us. And then what bothered me even more than that. So I'll give you then a number of examples. So besides the fact that we were giving them the numbers and I saw they were doing absolutely nothing about it. But, you know, so Poloncar has had his daily COVID briefings and, you know, he'd yell and scold and talk to us like we were children. And he must have gotten some sort of rush being in that type of position. A lot of them did, including the former governor. It definitely went to their head. But I remember this one time that, and I'm going to be careful protecting my client, but I remember this one time he was doing his press conference and he was talking about that there was an outbreak in one of the south towns and he started scolding them. And he was threatening to shut down schools and, you know, putting curfews in place. And I don't even know what at the time it was like, we're going to go and level C, three, four, like blah, blah, blah. And I remember looking at the numbers that he was putting on the screen and I remember the numbers that we had submitted to the county and all but maybe one or two was from that facility, from the facility. That facility was having an outbreak at that time. And he never shared that information. He didn't have to name the facility, but there's a different story, completely different story. If you are giving numbers that there's a case and saying, hey, we might have to get ages your 85 up and they're all at this one facility, but you're going to close on your schools and close on mine, it would have told a completely different story. And he would have been more transparent of what was going on. But here's what I it's funny, some of the stuff you said, because Mike and I just did a morning show and we said the same thing like, are we missing something? Where is the data that we're supposed to be seeing that would change our minds? Because I just haven't seen it yet. Still, it's been three years. I still don't have any data yet that tells me, Mike, shutting down schools was a great choice. Mike, shutting down the economy was a great choice. Mike, you know, doing whatever was a great choice. The only choice that was actually should have been made was the one they didn't make, which was nursing homes. That was the one they should have made. Don't put sick people back in nursing homes. They did that. Remember, though, at the same time, they told us that we killed grandma because we didn't get vaccinated or we don't wear masks. I do want to go to Mark Poloncarz because I think he's a house of cards, obviously. But Mark, Mark has had a lot of opinions on a lot of issues. And for the most part, he's been wrong. Right. And one thing Mark doesn't do, Chrissy, is say I made a mistake. I was wrong ever, ever. I've never heard him say that once. I my one question before we get into his job performance is if you're in that position, let's say, and you may if you're the Erie County executive, you're a governor, you're whatever and you make a mistake. Are you one that would sit there and say to yourself, you know what, I'm going to go to the podium and I'm going to admit my wrongs and I'm going to work on it and get better at what I made the mistake on, because that's what we have to do. I have to call clients all the time and say, I am sorry. I told you I just did it last Friday. I told you a number and it was a different number based on this factor. And I had to man up to that and own that. That's what people have to do in business and life and relationships. Is that something you're willing to do? Have you ever made a mistake? You have to. You have to. Because similar to me, and this is where my business experience comes in. I'm in the same boat as you. Now, I very rarely make mistakes with my clients. I don't know. I would agree. I agree. But you do. But the times that I have I'm I'm my success is based on job performance, not the single mistakes. It's the overall pictures of are my clients satisfied with my performance? And what's amazing to me is how for some reason that doesn't apply in government. Ever. You can mess up time and time again. You can never take accountability. You can never own anything, but you'll get reelected. It's astounding to me. But if I were to do have if the performance of Mark Polancar was happening in a private sector, he would have been fired 11 years and six months ago or his business would have closed or his business would have closed because because people would have been like, no, you you're not good at this job. But that's the sad thing is that money, money speaks. You know, it's tough with incumbents. You're definitely in a position where you have influence and your head gets bigger and bigger and your confidence gets bigger and bigger. And then what happens is that you're no longer serving the people. You're just serving the. What do I want to say? I feel like themselves, like they're serving themselves in their little inner circle, like I think they're so afraid they're going to let their their friends, their family down at the expense of of all of us. Right. The people that they're really supposed to be caring about. Well, I will say what I have found, particularly with Polancars and again to my earlier statement, once you see it, you can't unsee it. And decisions are being made for climbing the political ladder. Decisions are being made to appease Albany, appease the federal government so that he can feel good about going and saying, I have a good relationship with Albany. I have a good relationship with the federal government, but completely ignoring the fact that that relationship is actually causing this community more harm than good. Right. Right. And now, I mean, just let's bring it up to basically today, we are now hearing reports, 52 people that were housed in a cheek to our hotel are now being relocated to an Amherst hotel because of a broken sprinkler system. The reporting and again, we're not there to tell you this is right or wrong, but the reporting is that illegal immigrants were hanging clothes lines off of sprinkler systems. And now you've basically turned that hotel into a mess. It's uninhabitable. Correct. Right. So nobody can even be in that hotel now because they have to make repairs. It's not a place that any human being can actually even be in. So now they're going to relocate these people to Amherst. Before that, Republic Steel is going to leave 178 people now seeking jobs. We heard Mark on a Friday afternoon try to justify the what they called the blizzard of 2022 after action review by basically, again, not apologizing and not saying he'd have done anything differently, but by saying, you know, you know, there are some things that have gone wrong of late. But how about this and how about that? And how about you give me a break, essentially? Right. You forget. That report was bizarre. It wasn't actually a report. It was just a pile of papers that have been sitting on his desk for seven months that he just then made public as if that was supposed to mean anything. But like you said, there was no reflection of, OK, from this report, this is our next step. This is our action. There's nothing. I mean, yes, he has said things here and there, you know, but at the end of the day, you had 12 years to do even half the ideas that you were thinking of and you didn't. You got caught being incompetent again and you're just trying to brush it under the carpet. Forty seven people died, right. Forty seven people. That's double what what happened in the blizzard of seventy seven. I was like nine years old. The blizzard of seventy seven had twenty three people die. This was double. And you knew days before that this massive storm was coming from the west days before. And he waits and waits until Christmas Eve. And then he shuts things down. Then he says, oh, we have to shut things down. But by the way, we can't even get emergency vehicles out. So guess what? You're on your own, folks. Like that's essentially what happened. And like I was going to say that to the deaths are tragic enough and sad enough of what happened that day. But then you add into the fact that he told emergency personnel, including police officers, by the way, nobody will be patrolling the streets. That was a legitimate thing that he talked about during this whole thing. Nobody will be patrolling the streets. They're not going to go out. OK, then you have businesses in Buffalo, one of which is a client of mine, get looted and there's food getting stolen. There's anything getting stolen from you. You can't have it both ways, right? You can't say we're going to shut the city down. We're going to shut the counties down. Oh, and then we're also not going to have anybody around to help if somebody's sick or injured or if somebody's business is open or business is able to be looted. And that's what happened. And he took no responsibility for that either. That to me is just as bad as anything, because you essentially told people, we're not here to help you at all. There's another important factor, too. It seems like people are forgetting about November 2014 when we lost, I think it was 14 people then. How many storms are we going to go through where people are stranded, having to spend the night on the Thruway where people are dying? I mean, this this is western New York. It's it's like Florida being caught off guard if there's a hurricane. It's so bizarre. How is there not an action plan in place that's just just like Florida? I mean, you go down there, you see the signs for the hurricane routes. They have the protocols of this. People know what to do. How is it that we just don't have because systems like that need to be in place so that we don't have politicians like Mark Poloncarz putting commerce over the safety of the people. Right. And the systems are there and then you need someone to say we're activating the system. It's like we are now using this this emergency plan. The task force is now out and ready and helping. And but you don't have a guy like him. He slept through the night when he should have probably the day before, maybe even by 10 o 'clock that previous night said we are now shutting the Thruway. We need everyone off the Thruway while they can get off. I mean, I get so fired up over that. I get fired up over the nursing homes, the assisted living. My mom was in assisted living at the time that all happened. And I thought to myself, great, if you want to have people wear masks, hazmat suits, for God's sake, in nursing homes and assisted living, I'm all for that. The little paper masks are probably not even close to being enough in those places for those very, very vulnerable people. And Mike, real quick, I'll say that not even just for covid, for anything. Right. I mean, like those people, if they got a basic flu or a stomach flu or something, they could they could pass away. Sadly, like their their their immune systems are so compromised at that age when they're in there. Like, if you're serious about covid, then be serious about covid. That's my problem with all these people. If you're going to get serious, get serious. If not, don't waste our time with it. Right. And I'm sorry, all I was going to say is I mean, this all seems to culminate into an idea of patterns of behavior, patterns of horrible, horrible job performance behavior. And yet he's still sitting there in office and he still gets a pass by his supporters. I just I just wanted to add to because, again, I was in the thick of it. You had you had your mother, you said that I had 19 facilities across New York State where I'm overseeing the communications of it. I'm I'm receiving the messages of the website of people talking to their parents, of people dying. I saw firsthand the people dying. I saw the messages coming in. Mom, we can't see you. We love you. But the thing that also, you know, I can't speak for the rest of the state. I kind of can. But if you look at Erie County, we had the convention center empty. We had our schools, our universities closed down. We had surgery centers not operating. It's not like we needed to put them in nursing homes. And you think it have the spine and the leadership to say we're not putting them in nursing homes. We have these other options. But it was just this blind like whatever comes from Albany. That's what we're doing. And that's continuing to happen. It's funny because the Buffalo, well, everybody now has been saying, oh, he had a really bad August. No, he's had a really bad 12 years. But the difference is he now has an opponent that's shining a light on it. That's that's the difference. Obviously, it has been a particularly bad. But but like you said, there's been a pattern for 12 years of this type of incompetence. Yeah, here's what I'd say, because I'm going to get into the the second part of Mark Poloncarz himself personally and his attitude and his personal issues. I think you say 12 years, Kristine, I agree he's been here for 12 years and he's been doing certain things for 12 years. But realistically, you only have to look at about the last year, the last eight months to get a picture of who Mark Poloncarz is. And is this who you want as your leader? Right. And we're going to look at here we go again back in January and that's now coming to light. We have we have numerous issues with Mark Poloncarz and, you know, assault. We have been threatening to shoot a process server. Now we have a relationship issue. Look, I've been you said high school sweetheart. I've been married to my high school sweetheart now for five years. I've been together with her for 14. I have never once even as a college and high school kid told her she couldn't leave somewhere. She didn't want to go or or screamed at her outside my home. Yes. Do we argue with our spouses? Of course we do. The last thing I do when I argue with my spouse, I was getting her face. I'm usually like 20 feet away being, you know, we're going back for nothing ever like what they said. That's what rational normal people don't do what he just did this week. And they brush it off like it's OK. Yeah. Like my husband and I, maybe we're the weird ones. We don't even say the F word to each other because you have we set up these boundaries because you have this level of respect and love for each other. And there's no reason to if you're really that mad, you know. Take a break, work it through. It's bizarre. And what's interesting is that since becoming a candidate, it's amazing how one once story comes out, suddenly more people feel comfortable coming forward. And the story is now starting to pour in, not necessarily about the personal matter, but just his overall demeanor of now everybody's coming up to me. Yeah. He's been a bully forever. Yeah. That's his personality. He has a hot head. This and then the stories. I was at a restaurant. He did this. I was here and he did that. Like it's a pattern of behavior. You have to have a certain type of personality. Yeah. Some type of anger issue to be treating people that way. No doubt. And I'll say this, Mike, you and I, you know, have people that we work closely with this office. You do not want a leader that's like that getting angry or upset about things. I have no problem with that. Being irrational and almost crazy is a problem to me. Right. Like, again, I would I if Mike Lomas, I'm going to use Mike Lomas as one of the founders of the firm. If I saw him and his wife yelling and screaming at each other and report came out and said, Mike Lomas cornered his wife in the home, of course, we would have a conversation with Michael. We'd be like, what's going on here? No doubt. Mike Lomas doesn't do that. Why? Because he's a rational, normal person that understands how to live day by day. Right. Same thing with Glenn. Mike, same thing with you. That's that doesn't happen to normal people. It doesn't matter if you're Republican or Democrat. That should not happen. And that is a crazy thing. When you think about that guy's running a whole county. Yeah. Well, and again, the pattern of behavior. And yes, that's a domestic issue. And we talked about shooting the process server. But look at how he lashed out at Hannah Buehler from Channel 7. Look at how he got all angry with Byron Brown. The head on to where we began about Stefan. The headlines of that storm very quickly turned to that spat and how he treated Byron Brown. Name any natural disaster in all of the world where the story was. Look at these elected leaders bickering. And that was such a time to shine as the city. Good neighbors. It was a time for them to say, hey, they did the storm. But look at look at how they came together. And instead it was this pissing match between it. How embarrassing. I will say Byron Brown didn't really even I feel like go back. He was just like, whatever. I thought he actually handled it well. He did. Yeah. I give him a lot of credit for that. Yeah. If anything, I mean, you'd say to each other, you know what? We'll do this later. Like right now, this is what we have to do. We have to figure this out. We have to save people's lives. We've got to put that other stuff aside for now. But to your point, Chrissy, you know, when you you see someone behave this way, like if I witnessed someone be that way at first, I'm thinking it's like a one off bad moment just happened to me. But when you start hearing story upon story, to your point, yeah, it is a behavior. The other thing is when you get to the point where you are doing that, you are chasing someone down to get your cell phone back. You might allegedly got physical to get your phone back and then people are screaming around you. To me, that's a sign, that's evidence that you don't have the capacity to sit back, be patient and be thoughtful and actually figure out a better way. And that goes back to job performance, but also personal behavior. If you are flipping out, the first thing you do is flip out and then you're seeking forgiveness for that. That's a problem. And that's Mark Poloncarz. And if people continue to think, heck, 12 years of this and we want more, you might have a problem, folks. You might you might seriously have a problem if you don't think you need to make a change. Let's go to this. I mean, you know, I've seen over the years you see Lynn Dixon, the last election, loses by about seven points before that, Ray Walter, 2015, he loses by only getting about a third of the vote. How can you win? How can you win against him in a in a in a county where you feel like his supporters will just continue to forgive, keep giving him a break? And then here he is in office again. Yeah, that is undoubtedly something that can't be ignored. I I'm not stupid. I know that this is David going after Goliath. I know this is my first time running. I went from zero to one hundred. I get that. But I also know that I have the leadership, the personality, the demeanor to keep fighting until we cross the finish line. To put your answer your question in simple terms, I think people are starting to wake up. I think people are fed up. I think they're tired of what's been going on. One of my lines that I've quickly learned from this past month is Nimba, not in my backyard.