Chris Collins: Qu'ils mangent de la brioche

15 Oct

Iit definitely appears as if Chris Collins is running at least for Lieutenant Governor.

Jimmy Vielkind from PolitickerNY trailed Collins during a recent campaign swing through Wyoming County.

Here’s the problem I have with Collins specifically, but Republicans generally nowadays. For instance, I see nothing at all wrong with this paragraph:

“I would challenge the leaders in Albany: I’ve given you my vision, and I think it’s the right vision. And I’ve shared with you my core values. What are yours? And I get a blank stare. They don’t know what I’m talking about. And I push ‘em and push ‘em and push ‘em and I finally get something: it’s to maintain the status quo. They’re giving up before we even fight the fight. It’s exactly why we’re the highest-taxed state in the nation and the least business-friendly state. And they’re saying if we can stay there, then we’re doing just fine.”

That’s fundamentally and objectively true.

On the other hand, this quip is, to me at least, uncalled-for:

Their core values, he said, are more government and higher taxes, along with “expanding entitlement programs that are rewarding poor decisions. And they sent $200 to every person on welfare for every kid that they have under the age of 18, and our governor said, ‘I hope they buy school supplies.’ It was the best week that Best Buy ever had! The flat screen TVs ran out the door!”

Flat screen TVs for $200? Where’s that, exactly? What’s with all the poor-bashing from Collins? Collins can hit upon the problems with our politics, but he’s still an out-of-touch rich guy who isn’t beneath mocking and insulting the poor. This is exemplified by one simple example:

Chris Collins has been allegedly trying to get Erie County out of doing work it’s not legally mandated to do. So, he’s dropped/ing WIC, day care for the poor, and health clinics. Even though each one of these programs is fully federally funded, the Erie County employees administering them are entitled to certain benefits upon retirement. Collins is saving money in the long run, even though the contemporary savings are negligible, goes the argument.


So, why is it that Chris Collins isn’t also dropping the county’s involvement in county-owned golf courses? I’m not aware of any law that mandates public golf courses, but Collins isn’t about selling them off or otherwise privatizing them because they make money. That’s nice, but aren’t we all about long-term legacy cost savings, rather than contemporary savings? Isn’t this all about halting stuff the county doesn’t need to be doing?

The examples of sloughing off WIC to Catholic Charities while maintaining county golf courses is emblematic of Collins’ fundamental problem. It goes back to an old joke my dad likes to tell – Q: what’s the difference between ignorance and indifference? A: I don’t know, and I don’t care.

Chris Collins doesn’t know and doesn’t care, and this is among the key reasons why I think it’s important to defeat his hand-selected candidates for county office this year, and maintain checks and balances.

“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” is “Let them eat cake” in its original French version.

39 Responses to “Chris Collins: Qu'ils mangent de la brioche”

  1. Steve October 15, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    Check the quotes from the store managers at Best Buy when those $200 PER CHILD payments were handed out. They did in fact say TV’s were flying out of the store. Remember most of these families have mulitiple children meaning many received over $1000. Do you really feel this was the best way to spend our tax dollars? Wouldn’t it be just as easy to make sure a voucher was given only to be used at office/school supply stores? Also your arguement regarding the golf courses, why would we want to rid ourselves of something that makes money? Get rid of this so we have to increase taxes? Thats the problem with the Dems: spend, spend. spend! Government can’t make any money, we exsists to tax, tax and tax then spend. It has to stop! Look at the mess we are in. Who is going to have the Balls to make the real hard decisions in New York? I think Chris Collins can do it!

    • Alan Bedenko October 15, 2009 at 9:10 am #


      I did a quick Google search on $200 new york state school supplies best buy. The specific charge that Chris Collins glibly made was that

      It was the best week that Best Buy ever had! The flat screen TVs ran out the door!”

      Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that the $200 went to food-stamp and welfare-eligible New York kids on their food stamp EBT cards, and that the money was paid-for by George Soros personally and federal stimulus funds – not from New York State.

      I cannot find a single article to back up the claim that the week of that $200 per kid payout was the “best week that Best Buy ever had” or that “flat screen TVs ran out the door”. Can you find one? Can you cite where that statement came from? Certainly, people were concern-trolling about that potential issue, but there’s a fundamental bigotry underlying that, as far as I’m concerned. The ethos of people like Collins is that people who are receiving welfare benefits are generally lazy layabouts who can’t be trusted to do the right thing; after all, they’re on welfare! If they were trustworthy and cared about their kids, they’d own electronics contracting companies, too!

      But the reality didn’t really turn out that way. Down in the deepest heart of welfare central – the place that people like Chris Collins like most to point their fingers at as evidence of the downfall of western civilization – the non-Sex-in-the-City-set/non-Seinfeldian, working class sections of outer boroughs like Brooklyn and the Bronx, people were actually spending the money on *gasp* stuff for their kids for school!

      Just look at the irresponsibility!

      “Times are really tough right now. The situation is bad with money. So it’s easy to want to use the money for other things,” said Ana Barcos, 31, of Corona, Queens, where 200 people waited outside a check-cashing business.

      “But if the money’s supposed to be for my kids, then I will use it for my kids.”

      and this! The horror!

      “It’s a help,” said Tania Gomez of Chelsea, who withdrew $600 for her kids. “Every penny counts nowadays. It’s really something that was unexpected.”

      Storekeepers were glad to hear about the program, too – and the notebooks, clothes and backpacks it would buy.

      “It’s good for everyone,” said Aziz Boughroum, 31, who works at Stevdan Pen & Stationers in the West Village.

      I did find an article that quotes Collins’ Republican counterpart in Monroe County making a similar claim, but the evidence of misuse was mostly anecdotal.

      A Google search using the term “best buy” “flat screen tv” 200 stimulus welfare also revealed nothing to factually back up Chris Collins’ claim.

      So, Steve – where are these “quotes from the store managers at Best Buy?”

      Also your arguement regarding the golf courses, why would we want to rid ourselves of something that makes money?

      Perhaps you should re-read my post. But I’ll add: 1. Government doesn’t exist to make a profit; 2. Government doesn’t belong in the golfing business; and 3. because of legacy costs for the county employees doing golf course work. If legacy costs are bad for people administering WIC, they’re bad for golf course mowers and golf pros.

  2. AnswerLady October 15, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    Business as usual too in Collins hand-picked taking phonebook buddy Kadet for comptroller. Cronyism over an “independent taxpayer watchdog”, why not, its the republican way of life.

  3. Build_it_to_the_Curb! October 15, 2009 at 9:11 am #


    That money didn’t come from the State. It was funded through the Federal government’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families fund and a donation from a private individual, George Soros. NYS didn’t tax you a single penny to fund those Po’ Folks new flat screen TV. Try facts before you screed, or at least go yell them at Bauherle.

    and we can only hope that Chris Collins has the “Balls” to do the right thing as governor, like denying funding for impoverished children and their pinko school supplies. That will teach those leaches.

  4. Steve October 15, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    Answer lady….please get your facts straight if you’re going to lob bull…Kadet didnt work for Talking Phone Book. He was a managing partner at an accounting firm…not an officer of the Dem committee like the current Comptroller (the most political comptroller in the history of WNY).

    • Alan Bedenko October 15, 2009 at 9:24 am #

      @Steve – you’re right. Kadet didn’t work for the Talking Phone Book. But he did have oversight over the county’s finances when proud Republican County Executive Rutkowski cut taxes while raising spending to the point of financial meltdown in the mid-80s.

      Also, shorter Steve: the current Comptroller calls out Chris Collins’ poor fiscal management, therefore we need to replace him with a lapdog who will happily go along with 6-figure salaries for newly created county jobs, and ensure that Collins appointees have 5 years’ worth of pension/benefit seniority on their first day of work. That’s how you run government like a business – hire your friends for cush jobs with high salaries and great bennies!

      • Alan Bedenko October 15, 2009 at 9:27 am #

        Incidentally, I sent an email to Chris Grant and Grant Loomis inquiring as to where Collins got his Best Buy statistic. To be safe, I also sent the same email to Collins’ public feedback email address, shown here.

        Here’s the reply I got:

        from Mail Delivery System
        to buffalopundit[at]

        date Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 9:17 AM
        subject Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

        The following message to was undeliverable.
        The reason for the problem:
        5.1.1 – Bad destination email address ‘reject’

        Final-Recipient: rfc822;
        Action: failed
        Status: 5.0.0 (permanent failure)
        Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 5.1.1 – Bad destination email address ‘reject’ (delivery attempts: 0)

        Running county government like a shady business!

  5. Ethan October 15, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    The fundamental myth of Conservatives, be they of the Republican or Libertarian stripe, is that the the essential dichotomy in the US is between “the producers” and “the leeches.” This explains both the obsession with profit & individualism and as well, distain for government assistance (well, not to investment banks, defense contractors and insurance companies, natch.)

  6. AnswerLady October 15, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    My mistake, County Executive Chris Collins has named his neighbor and friend Philip Corwin, chief financial officer of the Talking Phone Book for several years, to Erie County’s director of economic development.

  7. Byron October 15, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    So the flat screen TV claim was truthiness, I take it?.

  8. Tom October 15, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Certified Golisano/Pigeon approved too.

    “We will be recommending Mr. Kadet,” Pigeon said Tuesday. Buffalo News Jun 17, 2009

  9. buffaloobserver October 15, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    Hey Steve, you are wrong about who is or was the “most political comptroller in the history of WNY”. It certainly was none other than Alfreda Slominski. Politicians from Griffin to Gorski and everyone in between salivated at the prospect of getting her “endorsement”, which she happily and ceremoniously obliged. She was often times labeled petty,vindictive,spiteful, yet the taxpayers adored her for it. Much of the same has been said about the current County Comptroller so I guess people must feel that he too, is doing a good job. And the second most political comptroller in the history of WNY? Political crony of Steve Pigeon and former City Comptroller and former CE that deep thinking rascal, Joel Giambra.

  10. Hank October 15, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Collins has jumbled priorities—can’t see him packing the gear to be Lt. Govenor.

    “people who are receiving welfare benefits are generally lazy layabouts who can’t be trusted to do the right thing”.
    Pundito, never figured you to be a limo lib. Just exactly how much time do you spend around people on welfare. Nothing to do with race, gender or age. Certainly not all, but most of those I’ve come into contact with are just exactly described by the above quote.
    I’ve seen 4 generations of one family come into the drugstore with prescriptions, like the family made a decision that working was something they just weren’t going to do. I’ve worked security for the Salvation Army when they are registering and later handing out food and gift parcels at Christmas. With the Marine Corps League I work closely with my county DSS and local Christian Ministries with Toys for Tots. TFT we do for the children. a new toy in the hands of a child is considered “HOPE” by the TFT Foundation—hope you can hold or ride on, not believe in. However, if we punished the kids for the sins of the parents—something I don’t subscribe to, I’d probably need about 3000 fewer toys this year. Christian ministries had to stop giving out gift cards from local grocery outlets because recipients were found using them to buy smokes and beer instead of food for their families. Guess we just couldn’t trust them to “do the right thing”. Spend a week working with Social Services instead of going to the Lefty Nut Roots convention next year—it will be an eye opening experience.

  11. Mike In WNY October 15, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    The bottom line is the $200 bought votes and screws the taxpayers. Alan, you should get out and take a good look at the “poor” subsidized class of people sustained in “poverty” by the government. The number of new SUV’s is staggering. There is a large black-market economy supplanting many people’s government subsistence.

  12. Ethan October 15, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    Thank you Mike and Hank for illustrating my point precisely; I knew you’d come through!

  13. Starbuck October 15, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    The remark from Collins about Best Buy was sloppy hyperbole. He should be more disciplined in interviews.

    However, that doesn’t mean his criticism has no merit. It was widely reported 20% of the funding was from Soros ($35M) and 80% ($140M) from federal taxpayers. Soros can do what he wants, so never mind that portion. The Paterson administration decided how to use the $140M of public money and should be held accountable for using it in a way that allowed purchases such as TVs, video games, beer, etc.

    A $200 back-to-school giveaway for needy kids sparked a mad rush for money on the streets of New York on Tuesday. “It’s free money!” said Alecia Rumph, 26, who waited in a Morris Park, Bronx, line 300 people deep for the cash to buy uniforms and book bags for her two kids. “Thank God for Obama. He’s looking out for us.”

    Thousands of people lined up at banks and check-cashing shops to withdraw the cash that magically appeared on their electronic benefit cards. Some rushed out because of rumors the money would vanish by the end of the day.

    There were many smarter ways NY state could have gone about spending the $140M to benefit low income residents. Pointing that out isn’t bashing the poor.

    Yes, Grover Cleveland golf course should be sold. How many votes in the county leg would that plan get? Would anybody offer to buy it? Would the deed (which supposedly is why the land couldn’t be used for UB expansion way back when) allow that? Maybe a more practical approach would be to privatize its operation and maintenance. Collins should try something like that. Maybe he will.

  14. buffaloobserver October 15, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Pehaps the County should not be inte business of golf but…..the fact of the matter is that both Elma Meadows and Grover Cleveland golf courses generate lots of money for Erie County. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to sell them off. Also, there’s a little known state law that stipulates that any dedicated parkland that is sold or removed for whatever reason, must be replaced. I know that Elma Meadows is a dedicated park,not quite sure what the status of Grover Cleveland is.

  15. Tom October 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    Funny how people can always be counted on to bitch about welfare cheats. How does the money obtained by welfare cheats compare to the billions going to banks and financials to undo the damage done by Bush and cronies? Or the current round of “bonuses” for Wall Street courtesy of our tax dollars?

  16. Mike Walsh October 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm #


    “distain for government assistance (well, not to investment banks, defense contractors and insurance companies, natch.)”

    Just a correction, Ethan. Libertarians oppose the corporate welfare you mentioned above and in my opinion is a much bigger problem because it costs ten times more than safety net programs.

  17. Steve October 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Thank you Starbuck…I knew there was taxpayer money involved in the $200 fiasco. I too have spent time around families, black, white and hispanic, and have seen abuses of the system. It happens more than you want to think. Why not make these people do the jobs which we taxpayers are funding like maintence of parks, trash pickup, etc. Why do we pay people to be on welfare and pay people to do jobs these people on welfare could do? I agree about the golf courses. If legacy costs are larger than profits get rid of them. This would be a great Six sigma project. I don’t (unlike many people blogging on here all day i.e. Polancarz) have time to find the stories about Best Buy or whatever electronic chain which appeared on local TV news. The managers did in fact state business was “off the wall” with TV and electronic sales. Thats a fact you can’t hide….search the stories you know its true. If I recall WGRZ had hundreds of blogs which many documented the abuses. Alan, let me ask you…you live in Clarence, you are a lawyer….should you not be allowed to charge what you live for your fees? Should you be allowed to live in one of WNY’s wealthiest communities? Should your kids be allowed the finest education as opposed to the Buffalo school system? I believe you deserve all of these things because you worked hard to earn them. Thats what a capitalist society is all about. Not free handouts from the Government.

  18. Byron October 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    The stories where Best Buy managers confirm the welfare TV story can be found in that special zone of the Internet where Rebmann’s “disenfranchise poor people” idea was discussed, the Nation cover with Bush as Hitler can be found, etc. etc.

  19. Steve October 15, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    @Answer lady….do you know the job Corwin is taking is a non-paying volunteer job? Now what do you have to say thats negative? I’m sure you have an answer….

  20. Ethan October 15, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    @Mike Walsh-

    You’re right; that’s among the points where the Libertarians and Republicans part ways, to be fair.
    It doesn’t rebutt my overall premise much, however.

  21. AnswerLady October 15, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    From the 2010 budget, it looks like the County is planning on spending about $4.6 million on parks and taking in about $1.6 million.

    When a $3 million cost is justified by this logic, “Pehaps the County should not be inte business of golf but…..the fact of the matter is that both Elma Meadows and Grover Cleveland golf courses generate lots of money for Erie County.” perhaps people shouldn’t be complaining about welfare, WIC, ECMC or any of a number of services the county performs, since the bulk of the costs are born by the state and the fed.

  22. Haterade October 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    @Steve – You are right … Kadet was managing partner for the pet accounting firm of Erie County. I notice that one of the feathers in his cap is the alleged merger of the Holding Center and Correctional Facility (which hasn’t even happened) and his firm advocated having the sheriffs dept. take over the holding of pre arraigned inmates from the city of Buffalo, a move that has COST millions and certainly seems poised to cost MILLIONS more in the form of lawsuit payouts as a result of the jail problems which in large part can be attributed to the extra burden.

  23. Mike In WNY October 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    @Ethan, Profit is the reward for a job well done. It is the incentive for progress, innovation and meeting the needs of consumers. It is a part of the equation that is necessary to ensure voluntary mutually beneficial agreements are reached. Profit only becomes a problem when one side of the agreement has an unfair government granted advantage. The examples you cited are all beneficiaries of government intrusion in the market.

  24. buffaloobserver October 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    @ AnswerLady, I guessing most of that 1.6 million dollars afre from the County golf courses. So what if it costs 3 million to run the parks. I have no problem with that as long as they are PROPERLY MANAGED, something the Collins and in later years of the Giambra administrations
    have failed to do. Parks are regional assets and are part of the “quality of life” in this area. 3 million bucks in a budget of almost 1 billion is a small price to pay.

  25. AnswerLady October 15, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Erie County took in $74.5 million in federal money. The region collectively takes in more than $1 billion more in Albany disbursements than Albany gets from us in sales taxes, income taxes, business taxes, or fees. For all Collins talk about running the County like a business, he is little more than a welfare queen.

  26. Brian Castner October 15, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    @ Answer Lady – I love the welfare queen comment. Casual racism and prejudice obviously are equal opportunity. Would you rather Collins took no state or federal money for the state and federal mandated services the county performs, so that he can lose his “welfare queen” status? Don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinions.

  27. Steve October 15, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    I find it very funny that every time the real facts come out, ie that the $200 was partly taxpayer funded, everyone clams up on these posts. Lots of hot air and misinformation at the begining of the posts but very quiet when the facts comeout….where are you Alan and Answer lady? Planning your next piece of fiction?

  28. AnswerLady October 15, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    Brian – $1,074,000,000 in state and federal handouts means the spending problems in Erie county are so deeply entrenched that tinkering around the edges and laying off a few WIC people makes no difference at all. Its all just posturing for the republican red meat crowd, layoff a few workers, make those bad welfare cheats suffer and everything is right in the republican universe.

  29. NB October 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    Sounds to me like the Collins Administration, like all good republican entities, is addicted to Other People’s Money. Great, another semi-whacked out OPM addict hell-bent on making the world a worse off place for most people. Burp. Anything new here? Besides, aren’t there some banksters that need to be helped locally….if Collins heads to Albany (or to unemployment), won’t the local banksters get lonely?

  30. Steve October 16, 2009 at 4:12 am #

    NB…its whacked out, crazy people like you that have me really worried about where our country is headed…move to China will ya!

  31. George Costanza October 16, 2009 at 7:10 am #

    Phil Kadet = rubber-stamp for Collins. How about that $500 fundraiser Collins held at his home Wednesday night for Kadet? The same Kadet who told Dan Meyer of the Hamburg Sun in his column last week that “I have no connections to Collins.” (see ) Hmm. Sounds like Phil Kadet has a credibility problem. The same kind of problem he had in 1984 when, as the County’s outside auditor, he helped Ed Rutkowski hide a $40 million deficit. Kadet now claims he blew the whistle on that deficit which led to the 1% “temporary” sales tax…

  32. Hank October 16, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Let’s take the Premise that every swingin’ dick on welfare is there because they don’t have a job and can’t find one. Well, The One promised millions of “shovel Ready” jobs about 8 months ago. that should mean construction cranes are the new bird species and that the orange road barrel is the new state flower, right? NOT. I just talked to a guy in Wisconsin who installs office cubicles for a living—not much business right now in WI. But one of the food companies there needed his services. While working there the company advertised online for a dishwasher for their cafeteria. SIX THOUSAND people applied in two days online, and the ad was pulled.

    The Dow can hit 10,000 All that does is help Tubo Tax Tim’s boys on Wall Street. 10,000 Dow is unemployment nearly 10% nationwide (That must be wrong, Odumbo promised that all we had to do was spend 787 billion dollars we didn’t have and it would stay below 8%), is no fucking recovery.

  33. Dan October 18, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    Minor issue: Grover Cleveland Park is entirely in the Buffalo city limits. It’s not in Amherst, despite what’s on the Parks Department Web site, and the “Welcome to Amherst” signs that are on the site.


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