Karla Thomas and the Truth

29 Aug

Karla Thomas is just the most vocal.

She’s just one of a number of people who have taken a bullet for the maliciously inept, political dysfuncitionocracy of Mayor Steve Casey and his willing, charming puppet, Byron Brown.

All of Buffalo’s many problems have a common denominator – politics. Karla Thomas? She was happy to be a well-connected Grassroots associate of Brown’s, content to take a cush patronage job for which she was arguably unqualified. She was happy to follow Brown’s and Casey’s orders, but up to a point. When she refused to play ball, she took a fall. It’s part of the quid pro quo.

Pay to play? Racist question, she says.

“Let me tell you something about that pay-to-play crap. Why did it not become an issue until a black man was mayor?” Thomas asked. “We all know what happens. And I don’t know why people are trying to act like they’re stupid now.”

So, it shouldn’t be brought up now because all the white Mayors did it too? It makes it ok?  Brown told us in 2005 that he’d be different. He was going to use CitiStat to set up a meritocracy and lurch Buffalo into modern times. In reality, Buffalo’s government remains firmly mired in the 1940s, and CitiStat is merely a pretext  – a basis for Casey and Brown to produce and disseminate televised show trials of the disfavored and disloyal.

Thomas repeatedly insisted that her public disclosures are not meant to embarrass the administration or get even with the man who fired her. She said her decision to remain silent during the height of the controversy proved that she was trying to remain “loyal” to a man who was her friend for decades.

Byron Brown and Steve Casey reign over a failed city, and a miniscule, shrinking political empire. They have brought little progress and made fewer friends. They have alienated the well-intentioned and insulted potential city benefactors. They have neither a vision nor a plan for the city – they lurch from political crisis to political embarrassment, and the concept of a “big picture” is unknown.

As it stands now, only the Green Code represents a fundamental, positive change that the administration has brought about, but it doesn’t excuse or justify the almost Stalinist style of governance.

10 Responses to “Karla Thomas and the Truth”

  1. wolfpack August 29, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Karla Thomas for all her faults- she was and is clueless about the job she was “given”- has done a very courageous thing. She exposed what no one else has been willing to say out loud. His callous disregard (he doesn’t pay attention or simply shuts up when Casey tells him to) for actions or unactions of his underlings was never exposed at this level until a black woman spoke out. Yes she is sore, but she is telling a story we knew but could not prove. Nothing happens that Casey did not approve. Only peole we don’t like are criticized at Citistat and they are abused. Other unqualified ones are praised for whatever they say.

    She made specific mention of hiring of unqualifieds and pressure to hire the “favorites.” She feels that women, and especially black women are singled out, yet here we are with a felon, a participant in drug dealing. The arrogance of forgeries on City payroll when with the right computers she could have done this at home. It is time for a change. Term limits should be the first piece of business.

  2. RaChaCha August 29, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    It’s also scandalous that 6-figures (apparently) of scarce taxpayer’s dollars were spent by the administration — unnecessarily — to hire outside counsel to serve as a “hearing officer” in Thomas’ termination. And on top of that, the counsel hired was none other than a former US Attorney who gained notoriety during the Bush Admin. as the trigger man in the politically motivated firing of 7 Federal prosecutors (who wouldn’t use the legal tools at their disposal to harass Democrats). A man who had been politically backed by Grassroots when he lived in Buffalo. Yet the Buffalo News wouldn’t point that out in its coverage of the termination hearings — Brian Meyers told me that it was old news and no longer relevant. I beg to differ.

  3. Saw too much. August 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    If Brown wanted to be fair, why would he pick a hearing officer who just happens to be the recipient of over 2000 signatures( Karla Thomas got many of these signatures as well) Grasroots got in just one day for him. The man was running as a Republican for County Court yet because he was a personal friend of Byron Brown, Grassroots endorsed him. Michael Battles should heve recluse himself from the case as a conflict of interest. The fact that he did not,shows his honesty and integrity. Karla Thomas may be blemished and partly to blame but the biggest criminals of all are the ones who knew (Comptroller Andrew San Fillipo, Auditor Darryl MacPherson, Deputy Mayor Steve Casey and the biggest con person of them all, Mayor Byron Brown) and did nothing but hide and lie when the schucks hit the fan!. The Buck stops with the mayor! If he does not accept this fact of life, he needs to ‘get off of the can’.

  4. peteherr August 29, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Excuse my ignorance on this but are Steve Casey and Steve Pigeon on the same team?

  5. Starbuck August 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    So, it shouldn’t be brought up now because all the white Mayors did it too? It makes it ok?

    Fair point. Not to divert the topic too much, but KT’s framing of this as racial reminds me of attacks on the tea party movement along the lines of: You didn’t hold protest demonstrations against big-yet-smaller spending hikes when Bush was president, so therefore the majority of TP supporters must be mainly motivated by Omaba’s race.

    Re. the Green Code as a fundamental positive change – does anybody know if there’s a concise summary anywhere of what that will do? What kinds of things that were okay in the past will it now forbid (as of when), and will it absolutely forbid them or just recommend against them?

  6. RaChaCha August 30, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    @Pete – not only that, they share the same political DNA. Big Steve orchestrated the State Senate coup, and the Erie County Legislature coup. Little Steve is the glue that links the Brown camp and the Collins camp. BTW, why the “peace deal” didn’t include — as a central feature — getting Casey out of City Hall (perhaps into a higher-paying but “harmless” job in Albany) is something I still do not understand, and no one has yet been able to answer to my satisfaction.

  7. Ward August 30, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    Unwittingly and by her very presence, Thomas illustrates the incompetent and politicized hackerama that is city government under Byron. She is its poster child.

  8. Leo Wilson August 30, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    What this story reveals is an ingrained, institutionalized culture of corruption that has done our city harm for decades. Grant Thomas the de facto status of whistle-blower and address the real problem. Call the FBI, gather the information, indict criminals past and present and put an end to this stuff.

  9. King Kong September 1, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    A fired former employee lobbing verbal bombs at the guy who fired her for gross incompetence and an article with no other sources or facts. Wake me up when there is real news.

  10. Hank September 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Once again on city politics, Alan is spot on. Not only is the Government mired in the 40’s, the same thuggery and corruption that was there in the 40’s was there in the 70’s when I worked in City Hall as a summer job, and the same that exists today. Only the names change.

    Some would say “Exile every stinking Hack Pol and start from scratch” Not a bad idea, but unfortunately there are legions of stinking Hack Pols to take their place.

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