Tag Archives: Amherst, NY

Guy Marlette Addresses the Saviola Hitler Show

1 May

I did two posts on the Robert Saviola show, highlighting particularly the opening sequence, which splices images of President Barack Obama, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the man who ran Germany between 1933 – 1945, one Adolf Hitler. In one shot, you see the Nazi battle flag superimposed over Obama’s face and the word “Change”. Then Hitler, a Hitler speech, Hitler saluting, Obama waving, a line-up of SS troops, etc.

Saviola has an absolute right to have whatever ignorant and offensive opening sequence he wants. I have an absolute right to ridicule and condemn him and it. Frankly, at this point anyone and everyone invited on his radio or TV shows should refuse until that opening sequence is changed, or otherwise condemn it. Otherwise, I’m going to assume that, by their silence and presence there, they condone it. Simple as that.

Amherst Town Board member Guy Marlette’s statement follows

I was a guest on his show. It was taped months ago at a small studio in Orchard Park. It was a typical political show taped before hand and broadcast later.

The only show I saw of Saviola was months prior to this taping and the opening of that show was entirely different. Absolutely NOTHING like he used on the show in which I appeared. In fact he never mentioned anything of such disgusting proportions as is depicted in his opening.

I am not a Time Warner subscriber so until I received an email about this I had no idea about the opening footage.

First of all I would never, ever take such a reprehensible low road against anyone. But more important I believe the office of the President is beyond such comparisons, regardless who holds the office.

I’m not sure I can express clearly enough my disgust with the opening. When I heard about this I immediately called and emailed Saviola. When he called me back I told him, that in no way did I condone this type of thing, would never support such an opening, and would have nothing to do with it. I requested that he immediately pull me or the entire show off the air. He did agree to have it immediately pulled.

For there to be any connection with me and this racist portrayal is not only hurtful personally and to my family, but entirely off course. The simple fact that I am a minority makes the whole thing even more offensive.

This really transcends politics and is more about basic human values and respect. I want to express my deep regrets from any association that is made with me and the opening footage of the show.

Robert Saviola – Godwin’s Muse

26 Apr

This guy runs a local hypnosis center, and buys an hourlong weekly radio spot on WBEN which airs at the unbelievably popular time slot of 5:30 am on Saturday. If you get up at 0-dark-hundred to do a radio show that you pay for and that no one will hear, you probably need a life.

Mr. Saviola doesn’t just do radio, and his topic isn’t just hypnosis. He also has a TV show. Mike Wrona saw Guy Marlette appear on the show. He describes the opening sequence thusly:

Guy Marlette, Amherst Town Board Member and Computer Business owner employing 17 people, recently appeared on a cable access program called “Saviola on America” The program Starts out with Rev. Jeremiah Wright Speaking, the the voice of Adolph Hitler, a picture of Barack Obama with a Nazi Battle Flag superimposed over his image, followed by a picture of Hitler accompanied by a Hitlerian tirade.

How can such a juicy montage of Godwinian awesomeness not be all over YouTube yet?

Amherst Town Board Downsizing?

1 Dec

According to a report in today’s Buffalo News, Amherst Town Board members Barry Weinstein, Guy Marlette and Shelly Schratz say they plan to jointly sponsor a resolution to reduce the town board from seven to five members.

“I think we’ll have a more efficient, more functional Town Board with five members,” Weinstein said. “It reduces cost. It shows the Town Board is leading by example in terms of reducing town government. I think leading by example is very important.”

Over the past year, two separate resolutions to shrink the board have failed to pass. But the resolution slated to be considered at the board’s Dec. 15 meeting is expected to have the strongest support of any that have been considered.

You can read the proposal in full here.

The proposal to reduce the town board in size is part of Kevin Gaughan’s ongoing project to reduce the number of elected officials in Western New York. In Gaughan’s 2006 study, The Cost, he noted that the Town of Amherst had 11 elected officials serving 116,510 people at an annual cost of $587,164.  Based on 2005 population numbers, there is 1 legislator for each 16,644 residents in Amherst.

While Gaughan’s efforts to reduce the size of government in Erie County are absolutely commendable, I wonder what the ultimate impact is of reducing town board sizes.  Ultimately, it’s a symbolic gesture that fails to genrate substantial cost savings.  Perhaps it gets people in the mind of further reform, but it seems like this fight distracts from the real issue which is duplicative layers of government.

Interestingly enough, further down the agenda of tonight’s Town Board meeting in Amherst is a resolution that promises to explore the types of reform needed in local government.

RESOLUTION 2008-1152

Support of the 2008-2009 New York State, Dept. of State Local Government Services Grant Program for a Feasibility Study for the Local Government Efficiency Study of the Town of Amherst and the Village of Williamsville

The Town of Amherst in cooperation with the Village of Williamsville will retain a Consultant to conduct a feasibility study to examine in detail the potential cost savings, the efficiency and improve the level of service associated with consolidating service delivery. The Town of Amherst and the Village of Williamsville will enter into an Intermunicipal Agreement to carry out this project.

The Intermunicipal Agreement will:

1. Designate the Town of Amherst as the lead entity and liaison to the NYS DOS Local Government Service (the old SMSI) Grant Program.
2. Express the commitment of each municipality to carry out the project.
3. Specify each municipality’s role in the project.
4. Commit municipal employees to cooperate with the consultants, facilitate the study and provide information to the public during the course of the study.

While a symbolic gesture to reduce the number of representatives is a step in the right direction, an effort to reduce the actual number of governments or to consolidate service delivery is what is actually needed.  Ironically, this idea of consolidating governments (aka regionalism) was the idea that made Kevin Gaughan “famous” in the first place.  If Amherst and Williamsville can agree to such an effort, it serves as a first step to consolidate town and village governments throughout Western New York.

Which will go a long way to reducing the real, tangible “cost” of government in WNY.

When People You Thought Were Friends Say Stupid Things

11 Sep

You know, back when I was running for Leg, I got a lot – a LOT – of help from the Amherst Democratic Committee. I will forever be grateful for the work that they did for me.

The other night, Geek asked me if I’d ever run for office again, and I said that I doubted it because, frankly, I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids more than I like driving and walking all over tarnation asking people who are thoroughly annoyed by my intrusion for their vote.

So, my reasons for running (kicking Ranzenhofer out of the Leg and getting things done) or not running (time off is time off) are my own.

So, when people come on teh internets and disagree with me, I’m always tickled by I’d-better-not-try-to-run-for-office-again-if… comments. They’re totally stupid and really don’t remotely enter my consciousness.

But this one’s different – different because I know this guy and consider him a friend, and I’d hope that if he had a big problem with something I did, that he’d get in touch with me. Mike Wrona was one of those Amherst committeepeople who gave me invaluable advice and support last year. Mike and I go way back to the Wesley Clark campaign, having been among the first group of people locally to support that candidacy.

So, I was surprised and saddened to see him write this with respect to Alice Kryzan’s win Tuesday:

She was also routinely hammered by alleged progressive political blogs like Alan Bedenko’s “The Buffalo Pundit” and Robert Harding of “The Albany Project.” Each fell in love with the “Iraq War veteran label” discounting the resume. Mr. Bedenko’s political aspirations outside of his Town of Clarence home been placed in jeopardy should he need go through the Town of Amherst for support.

First of all, the allegation is patently false. I didn’t “routinely hammer” Kryzan. In fact, I hardly ever wrote about her at all. Here’s the proof. I criticized her a couple of times for her Love Canal “hysteria” comments, and her donation to Tom Reynolds – duh, that’s low-hanging fruit. But frankly, that was all I had to go on. Wrona doesn’t know what he’s talking about and is relying on his own skewed memory to “j’accuse” me.

Secondly, with respect to the war-vet-light-resume thing, I didn’t “fall in love” with anything. Here’s what Powers said in his own words:

I decided to run for Congress because the America that you and I believe in lost its voice in Washington. That is why we built a grassroots campaign that is based on the voices of the hard working men and women of Western New York…

…I am proud of serving our nation in Iraq, I am proud of the groundbreaking work of War Kids Relief that continues to this day to help the forgotten children of Iraq despite the lies of my opponents, and I am tremendously proud of this campaign that you and I put together.

I thought Powers was an excellent candidate for Congress. He was the anti-Reynolds, and had not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. In other words, it wasn’t a question of resume – it had to do with Powers making the change he sought. My reasons for backing him and supporting him are my own. And did I mention he’s a Democrat, as is Alice Kryzan? So, why the threats?

When I get comments like this from people…

Mr. Bedenko’s political aspirations outside of his Town of Clarence home been placed in jeopardy should he need go through the Town of Amherst for support.

…they make me laugh, because I have no political aspirations. I have a great and stable job in the dreaded private sector, so although the intent is to scare me or insult me, it doesn’t work. And frankly, if I ever do run again, and go through Amherst to ask for support, I would relish the chance to defend my support for Jon Powers and call out as a lie any notion that I “routinely hammered” Kryzan.

But comments like that are – well, they’re idiotic. I wasn’t aware the Amherst Committee backed Krzyan. (Did they?) I never gave two thoughts to which candidate Wrona might be backing. And if Powers had won and Kryzan had lost, does anyone think for a moment that I’d be going around to pro-Kryzan blogs and threatening their authors with future political consequences for their choice of Democratic candidate? Give me a f*cking break. If you want to go on your blog and act like a two-bit Tony Soprano, go for it. People have an absolute right act silly.

But if you want a Democrat to win in November, you’d be smart not to act like a dick and threaten fellow Democratic bloggers who frankly haven’t yet decided between Lee and Kryzan. But that’s just my 2 cents. What do I know?

Paint by Numbers Morning Sky Looks So Phony

7 May

[UPDATE: This is a post from March that I’m promoting back to the top (with new title to fit this week’s theme) because of the continuing drama in Amherst Town Hall regarding Benderson’s proposed lifestyle center project at Maple near North Forest. A vote earlier this week was pushed off to June 2nd to permit county involvement with traffic mitigation issues. Benderson recently made some changes to the design of the 34-acre, $44 million mixed-use project.

The comments tend to talk about the fakeness of the project versus the authenticity. Given that Amherst actually has no town center – the Village of Williamsville technically being its own governmental entity – as fake as it is, at least it’s not just another shopping plee-yeea-za.]

Benderson Development recently bought the parcel of land formerly known as the Buffalo Shooting Club. They’re planning to build Western New York’s first lifestyle center there. A lifestyle center is a new form of shopping center that resembles a village downtown. It encourages walking, and usually features nice amenities and upscale shops. Cleveland’s Legacy Village is an example (careful – loud music).

Predictably, there is opposition to the proposal from neighbors and others. Some complain that Benderson has loads of vacant storefronts throughout Amherst – a valid concern, for sure. Others are more NIMBY-ish. Like these people.

Anyone who knows Maple Road in that area knows that we’re not talking about some bucolic little country lane. It’s a four-lane road with a suicide lane in the middle. The Pepsi Center is right there. UB North is walking distance (as are its thousands of well-financed students). Just over the 290 to the east is a bona fide retail strip.

But what’s amazing to me is that there had been a shooting club there. People with guns shooting at pieces of clay thrown in the air, or at targets set up. Shooting? OK. Lexus SUVs coming to visit Trader Joe’s (which is rumored to be opening its first WNY location at this location)? No good.

Not only that, but this will be a mixed-use facility. The plan includes a new hotel, some non-retail commercial space, and even condominiums. In my mind, a development like this can only enhance the value of the surrounding neighborhoods, offers them a new amenity, and adds value to the town’s tax base. The Benderson plan is here in a large .pdf.

All Things Buffalo wrote about lifestyle centers as being evidence of an evolution in shopping.

The fact that it’s taken Buffalo 10 years to pick up on a nationwide trend is amusing, and the NIMBYism is something that must be anticipated. I’m in favor of this project, because it will enhance the quality of life in Amherst, and will most likely have a positive effect on nearby property values.

Build it.

SPoT Coffee to Williamsville

29 Jan

It’s not just a Chippewa / Elmwood (Toronto / Rochester) thing anymore. SPoT is opening up on Main at Union in Williamsville. You can read the details here about the conversion of the old CVS at that location into a trendy coffee shop.

Also, SPoT on Elmwood will be splitting the former New World Records space with its neighbor, Brodo.