Three Renegades, Three Points

8 Jan

Let’s get the dictionary out again

Maria Whyte quipped about the definition of “reform” during her floor speech on behalf of Lynn Marinelli, and Barbara Miller-Williams later said she thinks “reform” means “moving Erie County forward”, whatever the anus that means. But this is what the Collins/Pigeon reform coalition means by “reform”:

The document outlining the changes was kept hidden until after the meeting began, inciting protests from the six Democrats, who tried to kill the measure. The changes allow the payroll to grow from $1.88 million to $1.92 million this year. Marinelli predicted that with fringe benefits, the Legislature will exceed its budget by year’s end.

I asked Miller-Williams at the press conference whether any new jobs were created, or whether the payroll was increased in any way. She hemmed, hawed, and then said it wasn’t.

First day, first lie, within the first 2 hours of her chairwomanship. That must be some sort of record or something.

How Many Jobs?

Also at the press conference, Miller-Williams was asked how many people would be losing jobs. Even though she (hopefully) knew the correct answer, she hemmed, hawed, and said “four or five”. Turns out, it was closer to 8.

First day, second lie, within the first 2 hours of her chairwomanship. Now we’re in Olympic record territory.

Abolish County Government, Then

All of the Republican legislators are closing their district offices, if they still exist. They argue that their more rural and suburban constituents simply don’t visit them.

The reason they don’t visit them is because they don’t need their legislator for anything, because they don’t need the Erie County Legislature for anything. The Legislature as an entity adds no value whatsoever – none, zero, zip – to the lives of any person in Erie County. To the contrary, the legislature is nothing more (especially now) than a rubber-stamp for decisions sent down from Albany or the Rath Building. A very small percentage of 10% of the annual budget of Erie County actually gets fought over. Frankly, I don’t see the point of the taxpayers of Erie County supporting an entire governmental apparatus and legislative bureaucracy to do almost entirely pre-ordained things.

If the so-called “reform coalition” has proven anything over the last 24 hours, it is that we have absolutely no use for 15 of them, for 9 of them, for 5 of them, or for any of them. They are an irrelevance – an anachronism handed down to make us all feel important, when really Albany pulls almost all of the strings. We don’t need to elect people to decide whether parks or clinics or Medicaid should be funded. These are ministerial, not political, considerations.

Thank you for proving my point, all of you.

I’ve tweeted and posted a lot about this issue over the past 12 hours, and much of the response boils down to, “well, what do you expect?”

I expect BETTER

25 Responses to “Three Renegades, Three Points”

  1. Joe Genco January 8, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    I agree that we don’t need the legislature, but all the whining over how things landed organizationally is sour grapes. Collins won enough seats to cut deals and manipulate a majority, the same way as if Lenihan and company had prevailed. As a Clarence resident, that benefits me in a parochial sense because it means our road patrols aren’t going anywhere and I live on a county road. The county does nothing else for me. As a regional citizen, the biggest case of suck is public education. I live in Clarence for the schools and comparatively lower taxes. There is no fair reason for my children to receive an education superior to what we offer my friend Jocelyn’s kids who live in the shadow of City Hall.

    • Hank January 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

      Joe–Are you SURE your kids get a better education in Clarence? Government Schools, after all , are Government Schools. From :”Sex Drugs and delinquency in Urban and Suburban Public Schools” (Manhattan Institute Education Working Paper 4, 01/2004)

      Serious Fights: Urban Schol 33.7%, Suburban Schools 29.8%

      The Buffalo News describes a recent Assault at Williamsville South HS. “It started as an exchange of words in the cafeteria……ended with a student beaten so badly that he suffered (multiple) facial fractures and a torn retina”. Remember that Amherst, NY is often considered the “Safest City” in America (over 100K population). 11/2005 a Washington Post Article stated that 10.5% of urban high school girls were pregnant. In the suburbs, 9.1%. From the same Manhattan Institute Working Paper: “On every indicator, suburban students were either MORE likely than urban students to engage in substance related behaviors, or about as likely to do so. Suburban students were slightly more active drinkers than urban …..For illegal drugs, suburban and urban students were virtually identical on the broad indicator. With this mish mosh of stuff going on, You might want to take a look at what is going on in your kids public school, and not automatically assume that it’s better because it’s “In the Burbs”—Just sayin’.

  2. Ethan January 8, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    you expect better based on… what? past precedent? unfounded optimism? you’re such an idealist!

  3. jesse January 8, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    “I expect BETTER”.

    I can see them now. “Uh oh, Alan wants better. We’d best get to work eliminating ourselves”.

    I appreciate the sentiment, but really… tilting at windmills here or what? Maybe I’ll stop by Mills’ office and ask him to get rid of the whole thing.

    • Alan Bedenko January 8, 2010 at 11:04 am #

      We should all demand better. We should all expect better. Too bad for you if you don’t. Bangalore-on-the-Lake it is.

      • Jon Splett January 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

        Try and remember this sentiment next time you do a post on the Democrats health plan…

  4. mike January 8, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    It sounds like they took a page out of the Niagara County rule book. Run republicans on the democratic line, because most people up here are not educated on the candidate running, i.e. who’s in who’s pocket. These people been voting the democrat line since FDR, can’t beat them, just lie and misrepresent.

  5. Fat Tony January 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    I agree with Alan that the County Legislature could be eliminated. I believe it’s sole purpose has been to serve as a straw man for the state and so Albany could deflect some blame for taxes and spending when in reality county government is nothing more than a service delivery arm for state mandates.

    Take the few functions over which it has autonomy and disperse them to local governments and let’s move on.

  6. Mark Poloncarz January 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    As long as we have counties, NY law requires that some form of legislative body administer that county. It could be a legislature, board of representatives, or the old Board of Supervisors (which has its own one person-one vote problem) system. The old WNY Coalition for Progress did a report on county structures in 2006 that still rings true today: http://www.wnyprogress.org/county_report.pdf. No matter what happens, unless NY’s Constitution is changed there will be counties and legislatures that administer them for the foreseeable future.

    • SoldierBoy January 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

      So what your stating is the county cannot be dissolved even by referendum? http://www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/legislative/government_consolidation/for_citizens.html

    • Tim January 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

      Mark…4:14 friday…nice to see your working hard for the county taxpayer by posting on this liberal website. Who keeps track of your hours? I think its time for an audit….

      • Alan Bedenko January 8, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

        Not everyone punches a clock when they get to work, Tim.

      • Tim January 8, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

        Mark seems to think so….ask him about the audit last fall. I noticed you and him quite chummy yesterday. Are you defending your bitch?

      • Alan Bedenko January 9, 2010 at 7:18 am #

        The only people in legislative chambers on Thursday were journalists and political hacks. Which are you?

      • Tim January 9, 2010 at 7:50 am #

        Niether, did I say I was in the chambers?

      • Alan Bedenko January 9, 2010 at 9:46 am #

        You said you noticed me talking to Mark. How do you notice something you’re not present
        for?

      • Tim January 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

        Maybe I noticed you somewhere else…..

      • Tim January 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

        I see he’s one of your 384 facebook friends too….hmmmmmm

  7. SoldierBoy January 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Alan, you of all people should know politicians are liars. They always convert to slimy politicians from the sleazy ones.

    I am sorry Williams hurt your feelings.. This is the year of the state races.. Guess what.. look at Thompson donor list.. Big money from Golisiano which he converted to Stachowski. They he paid campaign workers (with Golisiano’s money of course) to get out the vote for Pigeon. Don’t take my word.. LOOK.. Want “Hope”? Want “Change”? TERM LIMITS! How about Ethics reform and campaign reform.. It all about my money.. The taxpayers are always the victims.. Screw the political parties..

  8. MikeInWNY January 8, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    Let’s put this who “reform” thing into perspective. An increase from $1.88 miliion to $1.92 million is an increase of 2.1% or $40,000, barely one job or a pimple on the ass of the whole budget. Let’s at least wait to see where overall spending comes in before bloviating to the partisans over nothing.

    • Alan Bedenko January 8, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

      So, we have to spend money to save money. Gotcha.

      • MikeInWNY January 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

        Not at all. Focusing on one bit of minutia hardly tells the whole story. Wait for the numbers to come in. Right now, your partisan rant plays into the hands of the pols who want to retain/increase power by diverting attention from the big picture. The us vs. them, Democrat vs. Republic, mentality is counterproductive, the differences are minimal and insignificant. The system is broke.

    • peteherr January 8, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

      Who are you and what did you do with, Rebmann?

  9. hank January 9, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    Believe it or not, Journalism is NOT reporting on an event and putting your own spin and slant on it, or opining on the event personally. That might be what Journalism is to the scum that inhabit the modern media today, but they don’t practice Journalism today.

    Journalism is reporting of events factually, and letting readers decide for themselves. The former is blogging, which isn’t journalism. NO blogger should consider themselves a journalist. Journalists report what they see and hear. That is their objective, not to spin the news to “Save the world” through their personal political or religious viewpoint.

    • Pete@BS January 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

      Yer a funny guy, Hank….really. Where do you get all this crap?

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