Archive | March, 2010

UB 2020 TroubleTrouble

29 Mar

Generally, autonomy is good.  It makes sense to enable the people on the ground – the people closest to the delivery of services – to make decisions concerning how those services are delivered, and for how much.

So it is with UB, which has established a comprehensive plan that will not only help the university grow and thrive, but hopefully help nudge the region-at-large towards a 21st century economy.

As the News reports today, the entire vision of UB 2020 is in jeopardy due not only to the state budget crisis, but also to a bill now languishing in the state legislature that would enable UB to set its own tuition rates, within a certain framework, and taking that power away from the legislature itself.

A key piece of the SUNY legislation would allow schools to set their own tuition rates and to keep any additional tuition revenue on their campuses.

The extra money would help pay for UB 2020, a plan that would add 10,000 students, directly create 6,700 jobs and double the school’s economic impact to $3.6 billion, officials contend.

The plan also would create 20,000 construction jobs and see significant expansion of UB’s physical plant, including a move of its Medical School to the university’s downtown campus.

UB had pushed a package of reforms in Albany that would give the school more flexibility to grow on its own without having to rely on additional aid from the state.

The measure was pushed by lawmakers from Western New York. But critics feared that the proposed tuition flexibility could make UB too expensive for lower-income students and they said it could give UB officials too much power with too little regulatory oversight.

The legislation passed the State Senate but it never reached the floor of the Assembly. This year, Gov. David A. Paterson embraced the legislation and proposed expanding it to cover all SUNY campuses.

This being New York, this move is predictably opposed by several unions and interest groups who thrive under or rely on the status quo.  UB gets about $181 million of its $350 million annual operating budget from the state.  Contact your Assemblymember and urge them to support more local control – and more local control over funding –  for UB so that we can help spur some movement in our economy away from the mid-50s.

Casey vs. Russell, PolitiFAIL 2010 Tourney Sweet Sixteen

29 Mar

Steve Casey . . . the eminence grise of City Hall. Or Willie Tyler to Byron Brown’s Lester.

The amount of electronic ink that’s been spilled on Steve Casey is practically unending. I won’t recap every last City Hall scandal here; a simple search for the man’s name here on WNYMedia would produce an avalanche of reading material. Go ahead — I dare you.

Instead, I’ll just remind the gentle reader of some of the more classics of the man’s pettiness and corruption, the sort of gems that have been lost amidst the sea of sewage emanating from the second floor of City Hall. Remember when Casey ran Brown’s 2005 campaign for mayor while still on the State Senate payroll? Or when Casey decided he didn’t have to pay to park outside Brown campaign headquarters because he was on “state business” — you know, the business of getting Byron Brown elected mayor? Or (my personal favorite) when he sicced city inspectors on a neighbor because she had the temerity to display a lawn sign in support of Mike Locurto? Fantastic!

Councilmember Bonnie Russell (5 seed), on the other hand, is the summation of everything bad about the average Buffalo politician. She can’t pay her bills, and has multiple liens filed against her (one for $573 – really?). She is married to a judge, exemplifying our inbred political system. And she can’t show up for meetings, much less represent her district (University Heights), much to the constant chagrin of the Answer Lady. If you are looking for an upset for your bracket, I think you’ve found it here.

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Brown vs. Kearns, PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen

29 Mar
Byron Brown

Image via Wikipedia

Better than the other guy . . .

Mickey Kearns was most recently a candidate for Mayor of Buffalo in 2009 and is now the proud owner of the South Buffalo committee structure, which has grown his power and leverage in the city.  His first opportunity to flex his newfound power will be this summer when he chooses his horse in the NY State Senate election contest between Tim Kennedy, Bill Stachhowski and Sean Cooney.  His support and committee loyalists will be a major factor in that race.

Mickey was first elected to the Buffalo Common Council in 2006 after serving as a legislative aide to former South District Councilman Dennis Manley and some work in the private sector as a non-profit fundraiser.  Kearns opportunistically staked out some territory as an opponent of the Route 5 highway construction project on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.  From that point, Mickey was essentially running for Mayor and launched one of the most quixotic runs for that office in recent memory.  His campaign started out as listless and seemed to lack an agenda that differed significantly from Mayor Brown’s agenda. His earlier opposition to the Route 5 project also destroyed any chance he had of enlisting necessary support from Rep. Brian Higgins, King Of The Waterfront.

He was handed a gift wrapped Mayoral scandal with the One Sunset melodrama and a steady stream of stories about Grassroots political corruption.  Carl Paladino also gave him a blank check for the campaign in the last two months.  Sadly, Mickey was not prepared to actually win and was unable to capitalize on his opportunity.  Just a horribly designed and executed campaign strategy which also included this abortion of a political video:

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We interviewed him for a news video and we were surprised by both his choice of a linen suit for the interview and his inability to state a cogent point with any measure of wit or economy.  His candidacy drew such accolades as these from Jim Heaney of The Buffalo News:

He’s no dummy, but not the sharpest knife in the drawer, either.

and

In short, Kearns has shown some progressive sensibilities and comes across as an accessible, decent sort. But he’s still pretty green and largely untested. His lackluster campaign for mayor this year is not reassuring.

What voters are left with is a choice between a middling councilman and a middling mayor.

Mickey has shown a willingness to learn, but he’s just the same old, same old.  A transactional politician in a city that desperately needs big thinkers.  He has demonstrated an ability to pay his taxes on time and not get arrested or even charged with a felony, so he has that going for him, which is nice.

Byron Brown is the current Mayor of the city of Buffalo, and its first African-American mayor in history.  He was swept to office in 2005 after winning a crowded primary race, and absolutely pummeled his Republican opponent.  He was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2009 – not in a November election against any opponent, however, but in September against a Democratic challenger.

Brown spent time in the common council in the 90s before being elected to the State Senate in 2000.  His tenure there, in the minority in Bruno’s senate, was uneventful.  He sponsored only a few pages’ worth of legislation, mostly dealing with honorary street names.  Mayor Brown’s right-hand man is Steve Casey (who goes up against Brian Higgins on the 24th).  Casey is Steve Pigeon junior – just as evil and manipulative, but not as moneyed. Casey is the man behind the curtain and has been known to screw up – through sheer obnoxiousness – more than a few good and promising City Hall initiatives.  Brown gets the credit because he knows of it and lets it happen.  CitiStat – Brown’s biggest initiative – is a politicized failure.  Although the city under Brown/Casey gets some stuff right by accident, it has also been behind the BERC fiasco, the One Sunset scandal, the misuse of block grant funds, and the mishandling of Byron III’s joyride.  The fail is widespread and palpable.

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The WNY Voter vs. Pigeon, PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen

29 Mar

Chris Collins likes to talk about personal responsibility and how some (i.e. white people in the suburbs) shouldn’t have to pay for the results of the bad choices of others (i.e. black/poor/urban people).  Well, I think I should no longer have to pay the for the results of bad choices made by the dummy voters of this region.  We (and by that I mean you) enable the continual, progressive, massive, systemic failure of WNY with our collective inability or unwillingness to notice the FAIL behind the curtain.  Here’s an exercise for you, if you answer incorrectly, you’re no longer allowed to vote.  You can’t be trusted.

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The point of that video is that the team in white are the politicians of WNY and the FAIL is the bear.  We’re so busy paying attention to the little bullshit battles they construct for us, the picayune legislative battles, the abuse of the franking privilege, the utter contempt for reason or reality in our politics, and the shiny baubles of doomed-to-fail silver bullet projects, that they hope we just won’t see the FAIL bear.  Results from 50 years of elections demonstrate that they have us figured out.  That we are either so beaten down, dismayed, discontent, ambivalent or fed up that we just don’t want to see the moonwalking bear of failure.

We do still have a choice in our politics, we need to start exercising it.  Until we do, we’ll keep inviting charlatans and schlubs like Dale Volker, George Maziarz, Robin Schimminger and Crystal Peoples to get fat on state excess while we starve.  Wake up and smell the FAIL bear.

Steve Pigeon, what a fucking dick.

Pigeon is a malignant mole on the face of this region, an unlanced boil on the ass of Buffalo.  Generally unaccountable to the public as he is an inside player, this Machiavellian prince of pomposity and backroom deals has worked to empower the Grassroots majority that is the current scourge of election law and political propriety, put together the Responsible New York Cotillion of Inside deals to overthrow a duly elected Democratic majority in the State Senate and essentially acts as unelected fixer for politicians and patronage seekers alike.

It is politics and power before policy and governance with this man.  It’s all a game in which the daily butcher’s bill details the winners and losers in the political world but cares not for the real world implications of those power games.

Pigeon, granting access to power, privilege and donor lists in exchange for the right to take it all away should you cross him politically.  Pigeon eschews sunlight and transparency and operates his politics in the darker corners of society. Concealed behind closed doors, as if in a closet.  From his tiny closet of lies, inside power and secrets he has surreptitiously changed our politics forever in this region.  Until he comes out of that closet, we’ll be subject to his underhanded shenanigans and machinations of inside baseball.  Steve, do us all a favor and come out of the closet.

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Illuzzi vs. Rudnick, PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen

29 Mar

There is a famous courtroom scene in the TV show “The Wire” in which Omar Little explains to an attorney how he makes his living robbing drug dealers and noted that there is little difference between himself and the attorney.

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Joe Illuzzi is Buffalo’s Omar Little.  He has staked out a lawless territory of shaking down politicians for money in exchange for a promise that he will not publicize their actual, alleged or completely imagined (by Illuzzi) indiscretions.  Not only do Illuzzi’s business ethics mirror those of Mr. Little, they both have prodigious criminal records in their past.

Court records indicate that Mr. Illuzzi has attempted to rob a bank, failed to pay child support and has accumulated nearly $100,000 in tax liens and judgments for not paying his taxes on time, kiting checks and other various and sundry business scams. I have a pretty thick manila folder which contains all the documentation and it is impressive.  Essentially, Mr. Illuzzi has created an entire career “exposing” or (allegedly) threatening to extort those who have done less sinister things than he…all if they won’t buy an ad on his website.  Illuzzi manufactures a culture of fear, arrogance and selfishness in our politics that is at the very root of why we fail to progress as a region.  He is a sexually transmitted canker on the lip of this city and county, an enabler of the politics of personal destruction and a provocateur of political dysfunction.  He is the used condom on the floor of the no-tell motel that is WNY politics.  But, as Omar Little likes to say…

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Andrew Rudnick is the Smithers to Robert Wilmer’s Mr. Burns.  A feckless bow-tied sycophant who collects failure the way Smitthers collects Malibu Stacy dolls.

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Rudnick is the carnival barker in charge of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and nominal leader of the business community.  Rudnick routinely claims that his organization is fighting for lower spending in New York, lower taxes for businesses, but he then endorses status quo politicians and advocates for billions in local spending.

Rudnick heads a half-assed, unaccountable chamber of commerce that bleats endlessly about excessive taxes and government spending on the one hand, but demands $500 million in government handouts for its members’ pet projects on the other hand.  I’d like to sum up the message of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership as follows:

“Stop taxing us to death, you’re making it hard to do business in this state with all of your spending that does not directly benefit us and what we deem to to be the priorities.  Also, please make the money appear from thin air because as mentioned above, we hate taxes and government dependence and whatnot!”

His two-fisted ham sandwich of uncoordinated messaging earns him roughly $300,000 per year in salary and the right to stick his nose in just about every planning or governmental decision in the region.  Even with such a fat wallet, he seemingly can’t get a date.

We thought we’d help Dr. Rudnick of find his match by providing a little advice for his personal advertisement.

Must Hate Carl Paladino and Love Dogs

SWM with affinity for bowties seeks SWF who enjoys long walks on the beach, puppies, rainbows, rainstorms, and remaining silent during lenghty periods of economic and political upheaval.

My match should enjoy blowing up organized business groups to serve ego of herself and friends.  She should have a professional track record of accomplishing little while being paid much and be willing to blame anyone but herself for the mess which surrounds her.  Responsibility and accountability are for the little people.  You should also enjoy giving footrubs to local plutocrats and patting yourself on the back for no good reason.

Favorite Books:  Green Eggs and Ham, The Little Engine That Could But Was Too Lazy and Content To Bother

Favorite Music:  Loggins and Messina, Dan Fogelberg, Bread, Creed, Nickelback

Favorite Movies:  Big Top Pee-Wee, Failure To Launch, Doomed To Failure

Good luck, Andy!  Let us know how it all turns out.

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PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen, Thompson vs. Stachowski

29 Mar

Antoine Thompson

Antoine Thompson is a man from WNY who serves in the State Senate. He is a member of Grassroots. He is being groomed to be the next Mayor of Buffalo. He used to be on the Common Council.

He embodies the general rule that merit and knowledge are not necessary components to electoral success in WNY. His ascension to the senate was marred by/the catalyst for the recent, omnipresent rift between City Hall and ECDC. Thompson took Byron Brown’s seat, which was kept warm for a few months by Marc Coppola. Brown was pissed at Lenihan because he felt slighted because he couldn’t hand-pick his successor (because obviously that’s how it works in a Democracy). Lenihan essentially said, tough shit; Masiello and Griffin didn’t get to choose their successors, either.

Thompson first gained notoriety in the senate for giving an impassioned speech in opposition to a bill that he had co-sponsored.

Then he couldn’t make up his mind whether he was going to raise money for convicted slasher Hiram Monserrate’s legal defense, or condemn his slashing ways.

He fumfers. His staff probably just got through violating ethics laws by soliciting food donations from local restaurants so they’d have a nice spread last week for a St. Joseph’s Day Table. The highlight was a cheesy cake bearing Thompson’s likeness on it – those slices were not cut.

Antoine Thompson is a guy who hardly deserves to cultivate a cult of personality. Especially when money he pledges to constituent groups doesn’t get delivered, and he goes on alleged trade junkets to posh Jamaican resorts. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

When he attempts to act as an erudite gentleman legislator, this happens:

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He next gained notoriety when his staff made shit up out of whole cloth.

Antoine Thompson: empty vessel or shrewd political player? You … make the call.

Bill Stachowski

It would be easy to say you could literally just copy everything I write today about Maziarz and Volker and just cut it right here. Stachowski has been in the State Senate since 1981, for God’s sake. Before that, he got on-the-job training in pointless parliamentarianism and faily fecklessness in the unnecessary Erie County Legislature.

Stachowski is most well-known for almost losing his re-election race in 2008 to a lump of Play-Doh® masquerading as a former detective. Weirder still, Delano wouldn’t debate Stach or even talk to the press. When the Democratic grassroots got their asses in big-time gear to get Stach re-elected, they pointed out that he would be up for a key Senate committee chairmanship once the Dems took the Senate.

Instead, it went to Carl Kruger, a Queens Democrat and reputed asshole who is aligned with Pedro Espada. Yet, when it came time to end the Senate stalemate, Stachowski and the rest of the Senate Democrats embraced Espada and Monserrate back into the fold. (None of this should be interpreted to imply that Delano would have been a better choice. My God, what a disaster that would have been).

Writing about New York State government is not unlike writing about the mafia.  Everyone’s unctuous, everyone’s in it for the money, and everyone’s up to some criminal enterprise or another.

Ultimately, Stachowski was one of the handful of state Senate Democrats who refused to vote to allow gay couples’ relationships be legally recognized by the state.

It might be great for Stachowski to vote that way because he counts Catholic, conservative Democrats among his constituents, but it also results in scenes like this:

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Bill Stachowski ran on one thing last time around: more clout and better representation for WNY once he went back to Albany and the Democrats took the Senate. What resulted was chaos, and Stachowski failed at everything.

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Prospectus Day, Texas Style

29 Mar

Many business and real estate watchers in Buffalo, including our own Mark Byrnes, eagerly look forward to the Buffalo New’s Prospectus Day, where the sunniest of forecasts shine an upbeat light on Buffalo’s economic future. It was with great excitement, therefore, that this morning, after getting my free coffee in the hotel lobby, I opened the Killeen Daily Herald to find the 2010 Progress Report for Central Texas.

Killeen is a miserable town populated with miserable people. Located north of Austin and south of Waco and the Dallas – Ft Worth monstrosity, Killeen exists because Fort Hood exists. If Americans have now heard of Fort Hood, it is probably because of the terrorist shooting that took place there in November by the radicalized Muslim shrink Nidal Hasan. But Fort Hood is more than that – it is also the largest military post in the world, headquarters of III Corps, the 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, and major elements of the 4th Infantry Division. There are more soldiers stationed at Fort Hood (over 70,000) than in most nation’s entire standing armies, including Canada, Argentina and Australia. Killeen exists to feed, house and satisfy those soldiers and their families, in a community of nearly 400,000, organized as a twenty five mile long stripmall along the main highway.

Buffalonians will recognize most of the business points of pride from today’s Progress Report. Strong banks that stayed local and didn’t get hurt by the real estate bubble. $25 million in new construction of senior assisted living complexes. New restaurants and shops in a “revitalized” downtown. $4.6 million in public money to renovate a historic church, and convert it into government offices and a non-profit incubator. Federal highway stimulus dollars that kept construction companies busy repaving streets. A modest rise in the unemployment rate, and real estate prices that have stayed level, despite the national trends. A new focus on specialty manufacturing, including recruiting Osh Kosh and Raytheon, and back office professional services and call centers, for Sallie Mae and Convergys.  Record enplanements at a new airport, $100 million expansion at the major hospital, and new initiatives to recruit doctors to new specialty clinics. Sound sickeningly familiar yet?

There is one major point, however, where the stories diverge: population. Buffalo’s is going down, and Killeen, the third fastest growing metro in Texas, can’t keep up with its rise. The north east is taking a beating in the population race, and it is losing more match ups than just Buffalo vs. Charlotte or Pittsburgh vs. Houston. The real drubbing occurs with Syracuse vs. Killeen, where every “little town” in Texas is swelling to the point of bursting.

Killeen is proof that good planning, “authenticity,” great architecture, history, and regional pride are not required to be an economic powerhouse – it is telling that you can’t find a single picture of the town anywhere on the Chamber of Commerce website. $500 million a year in military construction on Fort Hood sure helps, as d0 100,000 local federal jobs. But you know what doesn’t stand in the way? Ugliness, or having US 190 as your main street:

Yes, that is an eight lane highway, and three medians, running through the center of town. Every Walmart, TGIF, and Holiday Inn is along this highway, as is half of the Killeen population, stuck in traffic, at any particular moment. Because Texas traffic engineers love one way frontage roads, with a complicated U-turn system, most trips in Killeen involve driving two miles east to get a half mile west.

What’s the point? That Buffalo’s perceived strengths have become universal, if even Killeen boats the same advantages in its yearly business pep rally rag. That government jobs are a main source of economic growth in other markets too. And that lousy infrastructure seems easily overcome when other economic forces are in the driver’s seat (pun intended).

On Post Partisanship

29 Mar

A commenter writes:

Reading this thread reminds me of how the Obama presidency was going to be “post-partisan”. How’s it working so far, Libs?

Answer: It takes two to tango.

For instance, consider this joint statement from the leaders of the DNC and RNC:

As leaders of our respective national parties, we want to speak to all Americans about the importance of conducting our political debates in a manner and tone that respects our political system and demonstrates to the world the strength of our democracy.

We have a system of government that allows the great issues of our day to be resolved peacefully and civilly and that serves as a beacon of hope to those around the world who yearn for political freedom, political stability, and governing without the threat of violence.

We have a system that allows people to express approval of their government or change the party in power peaceably through the ballot box.

Our Constitution affords Americans the right to assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Clearly, we have different positions on the merits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, we together call on elected officials of both parties to set an example of the civility we want to see in our citizenry. We also call on all Americans to respect differences of opinion, to refrain from inappropriate forms of intimidation, to reject violence and vandalism, and to scale back rhetoric that might reasonably be misinterpreted by those prone to such behavior.

RNC head Michael Steele refused to sign it.

It takes two to tango. The Republicans’ platform from the moment the Muslim usurper with “Hussein” as a middle name who pals around with terrorists took the oath of office was to stop him and try to repeat 1994. The opposition made a tactical and strategic decision to thwart, yes. But also to demonize, and such as /Miss S. Carolina:

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PolitiFAIL 2010 Sweet Sixteen, Volker vs. Maziarz

29 Mar

Dale Volker

In 1973, the UK joined the EEC, George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, Roe v. Wade was decided, Nixon was inaugurated for his second term, construction began on the CN Tower, the first oil shock shook, the Watergate scandal began to unravel, and the music charts are topped by “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”, “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”, and “Crocodile Rock”.

1973 was, in other words, 37 years ago. It was also the year Dale Volker first went to Albany as an Assemblyman. He was then appointed to the state Senate in 1975. The amazing thing about people born in 1940 is that some became prematurely elderly reactionaries, and one became John Lennon. Volker obviously chose the former.

A former Depew cop, Volker’s stock in trade is fear – it’s what he continually runs and wins on. Volker is a strong proponent of the antiquated, unnecessarily brutal Rockefeller drug laws, signed, coincidentally enough, in 1973. The state made the decision that it was as bad to possess four ounces of marijuana as it was to commit second degree murder, resulting in 15 years to life in a state penitentiary. As you might expect, Rocky’s drug laws did nothing to stem drug use. Volker isn’t so much anti-drug, as he is pro-penitentiary and pro-fear:

State Sen. Dale M. Volker defends the Rockefeller Drug Laws by raising the specter of neighborhoods “under siege from drug dealers.” The drug war’s collateral damage hardly justifies New York’s draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Volker probably doesn’t hang around on the corners of the east and west sides of Buffalo – neighborhoods, y’know, under siege from drug dealers. The draconian Rockefeller law failure stayed on the books until last year, over Volker’s objection.

Why is he so in favor of imprisoning casual pot users for 15 years to life? Even though the prisoners in Attica can’t vote, they’re counted as Volker’s constituents. Without the prison population in the 59th State Senate district, it would be underpopulated and cease to exist. To put it differently,

Of Volker’s constituents, 3% are incarcerated (4% of his adult population is in prison). Of his “constituents” who are Black adults, over 75% are disenfranchised. Thanks to the traditional gerrymandering in New York, Volker’s district is smaller than it should be, but with 8,951 prisoners he can safely ignore, Senator Volker can devote himself to the needs of his real constituents with a kind of individual attention that his urban colleagues cannot.

Volker is also known as a thug and a bully. Most recently, when David DiPietro was running in a Republican primary against him, one of his myriad staffers, Harry Wahl, harassed a family supporting DiPietro, making vicious, borderline criminal threats against them. When Volker won the Republican nod, his goons went after Kathy Konst and her family in an equally vicious and pointless way.

As far as being in Albany is concerned, one gets the impression that Volker is in Albany for its own sake. After all, how else do you explain the fact that his staff – even as a minority legislator – costs the state almost $1.1 million per year. And for what, precisely?

Remember when Volker and Esmonde fought when Volker tried to take credit for the removal of the 190 tolls, which happened thanks to Mike Powers and Carl Paladino?

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When he’s not taking credit for stuff he hasn’t done, his entire schtick seems to be demonization of New York City pols – repeatedly, over and over, even if it makes no damn sense. Hint: It’s no excuse for having no record of your own whatsoever, especially given the fact that you’ve been in the majority for most of your career.

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It’s safe to say Dale Volker is fecklessly useless in direct proportion to the length of his tenure in state government.

Yet people continue to re-elect this malignant, despicable failure. That’s the real crime.

George Maziarz

It was this past weekend that the Rus Thompson waterfront tea party was reprised, and one elected official who appeared and spoke at last year’s fete was noticeably absent. State Senator George Maziarz, who placed himself inexplicably and unfortunately in front of what became an ironic sign, didn’t show up.

A do-nothing lump of carbon who shuttles between Newfane and Albany to, well, do nothing, Maziarz has been in elected office since the 70s, and his staff costs the state in excess of $900,000 per year.

Pause to reflect that Maziarz and Volker, two guys who do nothing in a needless legislative house, cost the taxpayers more than $2 million per year. Unlike Coca-Cola, it’s the pause that infuriates.

The tea party crowd conveniently ignores Maziarz and gives him a pass, but he’s frankly only slightly less useless than Volker himself. How do the tea partiers defend their hands-off policy towards Maziarz when he’s held $500/plate fundraisers in New York City featuring Pedro Espada, of all people?

And when the tea partiers make their handy lists of who “owns” certain legislators, one wonders why Maziarz’s generous union donors are omitted.

Maziarz, that paragon of Republican good-governmentism, has been in appointed or elected office since first becoming a town clerk in North Tonawanda in 1975. In the senate since 1995, Maziarz’s wikipedia entry lists one singular legislative victory – the passage of Megan’s Law. The thuggery we see with Volker may not be as well-publicized because it’s not in Erie County, but it’s there nonetheless.

During the time that the Senate was in the majority, Maziarz had a reputation as being a patronage boss par excellance. Upon becoming a minority member, he predictably railed against Democratic patronage hires.  While Maziarz made some noise criticizing NYPA since joining the minority, when he was in the majority, he was on the Energy Committee, which oversees NYPA.  Think he made a big stink about NYPA’s dealings with WNY then?

You’re right – no, he didn’t.

Faux populism is quite tiresome.

We can also point to one very recent event that resulted in utter madness – the 2009 Senate flip by people like slasher Monserrate and corrupt scumbag Espada. Maziarz was instrumental in setting up the whole thing. When Golisano’s henchman, Steve Pigeon, needed to meet with Republicans to set up the Monserrate/Espada switch to give the Republicans a majority again, Maziarz was the guy to whom they reached out.

If you’re for good government, and you’re willing to make a deal with Steve Pigeon, Pedro Espada, and Hiram Monserrate all so you can re-gain a majority after literally a 40-year majority’s worth of doing absolutely nothing, you’ve failed.

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James Woods in Buffalo

28 Mar

James Woods is in town scouting Buffalo locations for an upcoming movie.

Perhaps that load in the background of Channel 2’s picture, who is usually credited as “Assistant to Mr. Golisano” might move up to background artist. Or even “Douche #1”.