Archive | March, 2006

What's New Pussycat?

31 Mar

I hate to pile on the President as he struggles with all time low approval ratings, mutiny in his party over immigration, fissures in his base, supreme court justices run amok, and the daily butcher’s bill rolling in from Iraq…but, when Burt Bacharach think you’re an asshole, well, things can’t get much worse.

“Things have gotten worse, with more lies, even in the last few weeks,” he said. “I don’t like to offend. My nature is to try to please everybody.

“What’s going on now caught me. I felt I had to say something.”

The President is losing the king of milquetoast middle America…does it get any worse?

Demo Funding

31 Mar

Michele Johnson from Broadway Fillmore Alive! invites people to join her tomorrow (Saturday April 1st) at 10:15 am at 97 and 99 Germain as Sam Hoyt & Marc Coppola make a major announcement about demolition funding.

Newstex

31 Mar

I got an email today from some outfit called “Newstex“, which says it wants to syndicate my content, with a possible monetary payout:

Our company, Newstex, is an aggregator or wholesaler of real-time news, content and commentary that serves customers in the financial, government and entertainment markets. Newstex adds value by aggregating hundreds of digital news feeds from publishers and standardizing the content by adding industry-specific data, stock ticker symbols, keywords and other categorization fields. Newstex clients integrate Newstex’s products into their commercial and proprietary applications for delivery to end-users via the Internet, wireless devices, proprietary networks and dedicated terminations.

We believe that the inclusion of your blog would be a wonderful complement to Newstex’s offering and would like to discuss the potential for licensing it. All we require is a full text of every post via RSS. We pay you a 30% royalty of the gross revenues based on your royalty pool participation for each product your posts are included in and we maintain a hyperlink to your homepage in our dateline. With little effort on your end, you benefit with added exposure, as well as generating revenues for your blog. Examples of licensed blogs include: The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid by Donald Luskin and Economic Principals.com by David Warsh.

I’ve never heard of it, and the agreement asks for my SSN or EIN. Which I ain’t giving out to someone who sends me an unsolicited adhesion contract.

Has anyone who isn’t quite as suspicious as I received this?

The Times They Are A Changin'

31 Mar

Approval Ratings

Trough

31 Mar

toles.gif

Click it. Tom Toles gets to the heart of congress’ ethical issues.

HT NYCO

A “great day”

31 Mar

Remember when Tokasz forced the Legislature’s hand and basically blackmailed it into giving the City and other municipalities $12.5 million per year in sales tax revenue, or else they wouldn’t approve the final penny tax hike?

Here’s one of my posts from that time. Here’s another. Go read ’em.

That’s definitely not the kind of thing you want to have fall on your lap when you’re in the midst of fixing an historic county budget crisis.

The legislature struck a deal whereby Tokasz and other Albany lawmakers promised to funnel $12.5 or so in State money to help plug the gap.

Specifically, as you’ll recall,

Whether all of that will add up to $12.5 million is up in the air. Tokasz and Volker have promised, according to Giambra, to “hold the County harmless” and make the money up to the County. Dr. Barry suggested that the County get a firm deal from the State.

If they’re not holding the County harmless on this thing, now’s the time for the leg to start making very angry noises at our Albany reps. They were duped. Bamboozled. Punked. Pwn3d.

But let’s interject some levity:

George Holt hailed this “great day” for the City of Buffalo, evidently not realizing that many of his constituents pay property taxes to the County of Erie.

Not as great as, say, a Texas basketball camp getting thousands of dollars in Erie County member money, but a great day, nonetheless.

So, back to the sharing. Everything’s all set, right? It’s all a wash, right?

Not so fast.

While tax hikes balanced the 2006 budget, county leaders initially needed to find about $40 million in savings so they could keep taxes flat in 2007 and start restoring reserves. Then Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz, D-Cheektowaga, State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew, and other state lawmakers from Erie County forced the county to share $12.5 million more in next year’s sales tax income with cities, towns and villages – as other counties in New York have done.

The state lawmakers promised to help funnel $12.5 million in state money back to Erie County to cover its loss. But with the new state budget about to be completed for its April 1 start, county officials see only about $500,000 they had not expected. “At the moment, we have no agreement on anything that would fill this $12.5 million hole,” Hartman said.

Paul and Dale strike again. What a manipulation.

Chutzpah

31 Mar

What Esmonde says:

We saw another reason why this week. The Senecas want our pauper city to spend $6 million on sewers, signs and better roads around its proposed downtown casino. There may not be much we can do about it.

The 2001 tribal-state compact says that the city’s meager cut of the casino take is partly reimbursement for “costs incurred in connection with services provided to [the casino].” Like, say, fixing the roads around it.

It’s another reminder of how little say the public had in so big a deal. George Pataki signed the Indian casino pact and lawmakers OK’d it. Albany gets a nice cut of the gambling take, the Senecas rake in the winner’s share and the city slowly realizes it got the short end.

Now the guy with the short stack has to fix roads for the high roller. Talk about busted.

The State gets most of the (non-Seneca -ed.) casino money.

Let. The. State. Fix. The. Bloody. Road. Its. Damn. Self.

Depends

31 Mar

My car is at the shop today to get fitted for some new summer shoes (plus two warranty issues, new wipers, and a new rear emblem). This means that I was without my Sirius for a couple of rides I had to make on this 70+ degree March (!) Buffalo day.

The ride in, I just listened to whatever music station – I think Star 102.5 – was already on the radio.

The ride later, I put Bauerle on.

He was talking pretty casually about the dire need to put a fence up between the US and Mexico.

But not just any ordinary fence. Oh, no NO!

An ordinary fence would merely act as a barrier and deterrent; it would only help thwart illegals from coming here to bus your tables, pick your fruit, and clean your hotel room and other nefarious acts.

That’s hardly enough protection for the fatherla, motherlan, homeland.

Bauerle suggested electrifying the fence. That way, those pesky 20-year-old girls with dark features from the jungles of Guatemala could actually die trying to come here to do odd jobs.

I didn’t hear any similar talk with respect to the Canadian border, incidentally.

But the best was a caller at about 9:50 who had an even better suggestion than Bauerle’s. He suggested just shooting illegals as they tried to cross the border. Shooting them dead. With guns.

He didn’t elaborate as to whether the murder should take place before or after the illegals actually made a go of it over the electrified fence. Presumably, Mexico might have a problem if American bullets whizzed onto their property.

In any event, any rational, normal radio talk show host would have cut the caller off and called him what he is – a homicidal maniac. Bauerle? He just rolled with it, and praised the caller for “taking seriously” the grave “threat” to our “homeland” that Mexican laborers represent.

Bauerle’s the kind of guy who would give up just about every single one of his Constitutional freedoms for the sake of safety, methinks.

Because he must go through Depends like crazy.

Finally…

31 Mar

Court Street Building

The twenty year battle over Carl Paladino’s proposed 11 story office building is finally over. It’s an urbanist design that will provide a nice anchor to Court Street.

After meeting with the developer Wednesday, lawmakers expressed support for the project at 50 Court St. The 335,000-square-foot building would cost $40 million to $45 million. Construction is likely begin in the fall, with completion expected in 2008.

The city has implemented a new model for downtown projects such as this. Paladino has until September to submit final construction and design plans to the city and is required to apply for a building permit and submit details of project financing by November. He will also be held to a deadline…what a super idea. Paladino will be required to complete the project within 24 months after taking title to the site. If he fails to complete the project on time, the City has the right to fine him $10K per month and even force property forfeiture if he fails to meet established project guidelines.

Of course, there are those who think this isn’t such a great idea…Craig seems to feel the City cheated the taxpayers out of a half million dollars by awarding the project to Paladino. The competitor for the lot was the Main Place-Liberty Group and Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps. They had intended to build a 600 car parking ramp because their parking survey indicated there was a parking shortage in downtown. Shocking that a parking company did an extensive study and found the need for a property that suits their own business model! Funny how that works out…

Anyhow, to build another parking lot ignores the growing momentum of downtown development. We’re reaching criticial mass on projects in the central business district and the nearby West Village. Once we have people to fill the offices, we’ll find secondary lots and infill lcations for parking ramps. To build another parking ramp on a prominent corner of the most significant area in downtown Buffalo precludes the type of construction that would actually fill it with customers. This is often what is called putting the cart before the horse…

Development really isn’t that complicated folks.

Step 1: Renovate and build prominent office space
Step 2: Fill it
Step 3: Build parking ramps in infill locations as required
Step 4: Watch the development and parking availability spawn small startup companies that provide goods and services to tenants

We’ve spent the better part of thirty years building retail stores where there are no customers and parking for non-existent office space. By the looks of downtown, that hasn’t really worked out too well. Changing the way we do business is the only way to change the results.

Adult Supervision

31 Mar

The Erie County “control board” has lost its chair and vice-chair in recent months, and those slots have yet to be re-filled. The adult supervisors need a supervisor.

I guess we’ve found the one job more thankless than any other in town.