Archive | November, 2007

Saturday Walk For Removal Of The Grand Island Tolls

23 Nov

Local activist Rus Thompson will be joined by local developer Carl Paladino and members of the Western New York State Assembly and Senate delegations to walk in support of the removal of the Grand Island Tolls tomorrow morning at 10AM.

Saturday’s, November 24th, protest event will begin with a 11 AM rally at 63rd Street and Buffalo Avenue in Niagara Falls. The rally participants will be joined by several public officials in the walk across the North Grand Island Bridge (east side) to an area near the Toll Barrier. There the presentation of petitions will be made to several States’ elected officials. The offices of NYS Senators Antoine Thompson, George Maziarz and Assemblywoman Francine Del Monte have indicated they will be present.

Thompson’s group has over 7,500 signatures for the removal of the I 190 toll barriers which will be presented to our elected leaders. You can sign the petition at the NOGItolls website.

Buffalo Public Schools – Phase II Reconstruction Completed

23 Nov


For those of you that don’t regularly visit the frontpage of, I’d like to point you in the direction of a cool post from Marc Odien. We were hired to complete a video piece highlighting the completion of the Phase II School Reconstruction Project and the project is quite exciting.

The video was presented at the grand opening Ceremony for the Phase II at Performing Arts High School the other night. A total of $327 Million went into renovating 14 Buffalo Public Schools and All High Stadium in Phase II. While there are issues with the surrounding neighborhoods, blighted properties, and other significant issues; this video takes a look at a significant investment into the education infrastructure in the City of Buffalo. Hopefully, work will continue to redress other issues, but this project is great news for the students and teachers.

Video is after the jump…

Happy Thanksgiving

21 Nov


Hope everyone’s is happy, safe, and full of turkey and fun. Or Tofurkey, as the case may be.



You Know You’re a Buffalo Hipster When…

21 Nov

Jon Splett, who started it in comments here, continues it at his site here. E.g.:

You think Buffalo has an awesome music scene and cite the Goo Goo Dolls being mildly famous in the late 90’s as evidence of it.

Fidel Castro hats seem like a good idea.

You think the glare people give you when you’re constantly pulling out your iPhone is one of jealousy.

At any given meal, at least 25% of the people dining with you don’t eat meat.

You think of being a regular at the old Pink as a life goal.

You fail to see the shocking similarities between the quality of the products being sold at the Elmwood Art Festival and Walden Avenue Super Flea.

Clinton & Obama on International Affairs

21 Nov


1. In whom do you have more confidence when it comes to international affairs – Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? (If your answer is “neither”, then add in your comment whom you would trust of all announced candidates, but let me know what your answer is as to these two specifically, as well).

2. Do you agree with Obama that his life experience abroad helps him understand international issues better than, say, a politician whose only jaunts abroad involve tightly-controlled photo-op junkets?

In other news…

21 Nov

Bill O’Reilly still has a show.

The 2008 County Budget

21 Nov

Yesterday, the county held a public hearing on the 2008 budget. As the Buffalo News reports, it consisted mostly of groups asking for more money from the county. Hospitality industry people showed up to demand that the entire bed tax be devoted to the Erie County Convention & Visitors’ Bureau.

I could not attend, but if I had, I would have made this comment about the 2008 county budget:

Back in 2006, the people of Erie County voted overwhelmingly in favor of a package of revisions to the county charter, one of which included performance-based budgeting. This budget was not drafted in compliance with the newly revised charter, and is not performance-based.

Even more ironic is that the implementation of performance-based budgeting has been held up by the county’s control board. It sits on millions of public dollars in efficiency grants, and repeated requests for a few hundred thousand dollars to study and plan the implementation of performance-based budgeting have been denied without explanation.

Through this new method of budgeting, we can focus on the desired outcome and figure out whether our money and other resources have been used in the most efficient way to effectuate each outcome. I call on the new administration and next legislature to rapidly implement all of the mandated changes to the county charter, and put forth a new budget in compliance with the law.

State Senate Democrats Call for State Job Cuts – wait, what?!

21 Nov

funny pictures
moar funny pictures


State Senate Democrats, facing a multibillion dollar deficit, are proposing ways to cut that deficit at least in half:

Their plan calls for saving $600 million dollars by not filling “nonessential” state jobs, taking $525 million dollars in unused funds from public authorities, and withdrawing 375 million dollars from the state’s rainy-day reserve.

Other ideas include forcing more collections from Medicaid fraud and avoiding late and more costly care for diabetes, heart disease and obesity which the say would save another 380 million dollars.

This is not sitting well in some circles:

Danny Donohue, president of the Civil Service Employees Association union, calls the plan to eliminate state jobs an example of shortsighted political grandstanding.

Public Employees Federation union President Ken Brynien says more hiring is needed, not less.

It’s a start, I guess.

Andriatch’s Chain Email Column

20 Nov

Bruce Andriatch wrote a chain e-mail today..

It will probably start making the rounds throughout the internets, and within days it will be accompanied by smileys and graphics and animated gifs.

It was obviously meant to be funny, and I laughed at this:

You believe the Broadway Market is open one week per year.

But honestly, I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t know whether to overreact in a fit of pique, subject it to the Kunz-Goldman mockability chart, laugh at it, or be saddened by it. What was your reaction?

The Erie County Legislature is from Missouri

20 Nov

The Buffalo News Editorial Board made little sense today in its call for the Erie County Legislature to immediately ask that the control board do long-term borrowing.

For months, legislatures have been bugging the control board to put up or shut up when it comes to its claim of millions of dollars’ worth of savings were it to do that borrowing, versus the elected Comptroller. Show me.

They’ve been so adamant and eager about doing that borrowing that allegations have swirled that the control board’s own financial advisor went behind the county’s back, convincing bond insurance companies to back out of quotes previously give. That’s a serious allegation that even the Editorial Board said needed investigating. Show me.

Today, the News writes:

Here’s what needs to happen. The control board should take up the Legislature’s invitation to speak about the loan at next Monday’s meeting. It should use that public forum to explain to legislators and taxpayers, alike, why the board should do the borrowing. Indeed, such an exchange should have occurred weeks ago.

Yes, it should have. And the reason it hasn’t has to do with the control board. Not county government. Show me.

Legislators should listen. Then, barring some unforeseen revelation, they should authorize the control board to borrow. As Legislature Chairwoman Lynn Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda, observed, the Legislature and control board are at an impasse that threatens deadlines for work on the county budget. Legislators need to face reality and get this work under way. The county has obligations that trump all the other concerns. We don’t need yet another fiscal crisis in County Hall.

Well, to be honest, what’s the point of listening, then? Why has it been so difficult for the control board to actually come up to the legislature and show them the offers they’ve got in black and white? Why should the legislature ask the control board to do the borrowing without being able to compare its offers with the Comptrollers? Show me.