Tag Archives: andrew rudnick

Reaching for Epithets (also: Paladino isn’t Mel Brooks)

16 Apr

Here, Channel 2’s Josh Boose interviews Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who needs no help from anyone to insert hoof in mouth.

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It really couldn’t get any worse. If Paladino spent as much time formulating a reasonable reform platform as he does hunting for appropriate epithets to hurl at his enemies, he wouldn’t be in this trouble.

Yesterday, two editorials excoriated Paladino’s judgment regarding the emails – one in the Albany Times Union, and one in the Buffalo News. But the Tonawanda News takes the Sandy Beach tack and calls it no big deal – just a matter of taste.

I reviewed the scant few examples reported by WNYmedia.net that embattled gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino apparently e-mailed to people he knows. They are all visual examples, and many are extremely crude. A couple of them have even been sent to me by friends, and I deleted them because, quite frankly, they’re not funny.

Which means you had the good judgment not to forward them, unlike the local gubernatorial candidate, who found them compelling enough to share along.

One doctored picture depicts the president and first lady as 1970s pimp and prostitute. I can see the humor in that. Of course, I see the humor because I remember some of the characters that TV’s Kojak and Starsky & Hutch dealt with in the 70s.

Could some be offended by that example? Sure.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some people ignore the blatant and obvious racial degradation in that specific example, but it’s quite palpably there. Hint: Obama is dressed up as a 70s ghetto pimp, and the First Lady is dressed as a 70s ghetto prostitute.

But there are also those who are offended by jokes about Irish drunks, dumb blondes — and their Canadian “Nuefie” equivalent — dumb Poles (the predecessor to dumb blondes) cheap Jews, pedophile priests, feeble/forgetful elderly, etc.

That paragraph is an example of the phrase, “digging a deeper hole”. Also, it’s “Newfie“, for God’s sake.

By the way, at least two other presidents have been compared to primates. Several photos of George W. Bush, doctored to depict him as a monkey, have circulated via e-mail. In the 70s, Mad magazine used President Nixon in place of Japan’s “Three Wise Monkeys” who “see/hear/speak no evil.” Although a precedent had been set, to make a similar example with President Obama is apparently wrong. But don’t you dare suggest that the one crying racism is actually the racist for pointing it out. You’re not enlightened.

Because comparisons of black men to simians is patent, blatant racism. Throughout history. I can’t imagine anyone denying that or not realizing that.

So, what’s wrong with Blazing Saddles? The movie that is ranked sixth by the American Film Institute in its list of “100 Years 100 Laughs” is apparently inappropriate, when taking public outcry over Paladino’s e-mails into consideration, because it contains 17 references to the N-word. I guess those people at AFI missed the week when sensitivity training was offered.

Yes, taste is subjective.

Well, here’s the difference.

First of all, Mel Brooks, the writer & director of Blazing Saddles, is a comedian. Carl Paladino is not. They have different skillsets, different audiences, and the public has different expectations from them. Secondly, you really have to be dense to not realize that Blazing Saddles was satire – it was mocking racism, not engaging in it.

Because it’s not addressed, we have to trust that the ethnicity issue with the e-mails were specifically related to or perceived as racism. But we don’t know for sure. The Web site alleges it’s racism, stating “Other emails display an attitude of misogyny or blatant racism — the latter being an issue with which Paladino already has a problem, given his past dealings with and criticisms of Antoine Thompson, Jim Pitts, Byron Brown and Dr. James Williams.”

This is racist. It really isn’t open to interpretation, but thanks for asking.

Yet, Paladino has been on record criticizing several politicians such as Eliot Spitzer, Rick Lazio, Andrew Cuomo, Sheldon Silver, Brian Higgins, Bill Stachowski, George Pataki and Michael Wilton, the former head of USA Niagara Development Corp. I guess that wasn’t necessary to report.

We’ve reacted to Paladino’s criticisms of the feckless Andrew Rudnick with glee. The Tonawanda News must be new to our site, and didn’t bother to check. But addressing the specific comparison here, Paladino never said, “Eliot Spitzer was elected because he’s white”. Or “Sheldon Silver is a corrupt white man”. Yet he has said that Dr. James Williams was selected because he’s black. You might want to look at Boose’s interview at the top of this post once more.

Also referenced in the report were emails pertaining to claims that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States while others “were just pictures of naked women.”

JUST pictures of naked women? Methinks that misogyny comment should be extended beyond Paladino.

As we’ve explained countless times now, we selected emails for publication that went beyond run-of-the-mill birtherism or pornography. In other words, no one reacts with shock-horror if a man like Paladino looks at pictures of a naked Kelly Monaco.

Paladino himself very likely has his own trust issues now. It’s not a crime to share an e-mail, but to me it’s a violation of trust. It’s also a good example of why one should cherish and protect his own privacy.

When you mass-forward an email, you have no expectation of privacy. No more expectation of privacy than when you, say, write an ignorant, childish editorial in your newspaper.

Rudnick vs. The WNY Voter, PolitiFAIL 2010, Elite Eight

30 Mar

In the final matchup in the “Other” bracket of the PolitiFAIL tournament, it’s come down the nominal leader of the business community, Andrew Rudnick versus The Voters of Western New York.

This is an interesting matchup as a sizable portion of the voting community has swallowed Rudnick’s message…hook, line and sinker.  His regular pleadings for corporate welfare, reduction in public spending (aside from projects he and the BNP favor) and tax cuts for the wealthy have endeared him to a chattering class of right wing blue collar voters.

On the other hand, we have a group of people who fail to show up en masse to the voting booth to effect the change they so desperately demand on talk radio, blogs, call in shows and on bar stools throughout the county.  Their failure to act in a reasonable way has empowered a state of dysfunction and graft so complete and so widespread that even the people of California think our state government is a mess.

Let’s break it down.

Andrew Rudnick


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

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Rudnick is the carnival barker in charge of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.  He 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.  Remember last year when Rudnick and the BNP took out a full page advertisement in The Buffalo News crowing about their pile of invisible success?  Yeah, that was awesome.

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.

The WNY Voter

Since 1950, the WNY region has seen its population decline by half, industries shuttered, and an exportation of our younger generations to other areas of the country.  Certainly, there are macroeconomic reasons for this continual decline, but we all bear some ownership for the problem.  To blame others or to simply shrug things off as a change in the national priorities is short sighted.

We lack visionary leaders and at critical times in our past, we have elected leaders who work for short-term, transactional accomplishments rather than those who set aspirational goals and rally the community to achieve them.  While we spend a lot of time griping, we do very little acting to effect the change we want.  It’s much easier to place an angry call to the daily conservative circle jerk on WBEN than to canvass and volunteer for candidates who might implement the changes you seek.

We’re so busy paying attention to the little bullshit battles the politicians 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 and graft.  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 sum total of failure which comes from our failure to hold anyone accountable . We do still have a choice in our politics, we need to start exercising it.

As FDR once said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

We’d be wise to remember that.

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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 Tourney 2010, Rudnick vs Paladino

23 Mar

In what’s due to be a blow out, first seed Andrew Rudnick takes on eighth seed Carl Paladino in our mixed bag bracket.

Let’s start with the challenger. Carl Paladino, CEO of Ellicott Development, makes a living building buildings and sticking his foot in his mouth. If you aren’t happy with the status quo, then you probably agree with the sentiment of Paladino, if not the tactics. Up until now, Paladino’s greatest sins are probably building ugly oversized strip mall condo towers on the waterfront, and complaining about other developers who cash in on incentives and tax breaks . . . while he receives oodles of his own. But lucky for us, Carl is now running for Governor, allowing not only more opportunities for him to say something entertainingly dumb, but for him to increase his opportunity to FAIL as well.

Facing off against him is Andrew Rudnick, self appointed business spokesman for Buffalo. Only in Buffalo could he still be employed (at $300K+ a year), considering the amount of FAIL he has wrought in his decades on the job. As head of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and working with Unshackle Upstate, he has done what, exactly? I know lots of things he takes credit for, but nothing he has done. And finally, but most importantly: bowties? Really? Come on.

There is no love lost between Paladino and Rudnick, and I’m sure Paladino would love the chance to drag Rudnick through the slop. But this is a game of FAIL, and Paladino has little chance. I say Rudnick drops Paladino with some silver bullet FAIL in the first round.

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The Fail List

30 Nov

I don’t want the Mayor and County Executive teaming up with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership to devise a wish list of remarkably expensive silver-bullet projects to help Buffalo remain essentially the same as it is now, only with shinier buildings. Frankly, I can’t think of three people I’d less like to have plotting the future of Buffalo and Erie County than the Collins-Brown-Rudnick troika.

Instead, what should really be on the wish list is for New York State to lower the barriers to doing business in this region. Whether we’re talking about regulatory reform, a reduction or simplification of the tax structure, or just giving WNY some autonomy to make the changes needed to enable us better to compete with other places. As we’ve been saying for a week or so now, there is a cognitive dissonance when you bitch and moan about big government spending in one breath, and then demand half a billion dollars’ worth of big government spending in the next.

I don’t trust Albany any more than I trust WNY’s disingenuous troika, but I do trust that easing the cost of doing business in this part of the state would help this part of the state.

I spent a great deal of time driving through rural central New York yesterday, passing through dilapidated-but-holding-on town after dilapidated-but-holding-on town. With rare exception (Ithaca), many of these places are all but dead. They, like the industries that brought them to life, are anachronisms. I don’t know, frankly, what hope there is for places like that. But there is hope for places like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and the like. We just need government and big business to grow up and stop pretending like every silver bullet idea is just what Buffalo needs to turn the corner.

Fail In a Nutshell

24 Nov

If you haven’t already seen Chris’ post about the Buffalo Niagara Partnership from earlier today, please do.

What do you do with 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?

The Partnership is as stupid as it is feckless.

BNP Messaging FAIL

24 Nov

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On one hand, we have the Buffalo Niagara Partnership telling Albany to “Unshackle Upstate” from the chains of big government, big spending, high taxes and incompetent government.  That if left to our own devices up here in Buffaloland, we’d fix our own problems, thank you very much!  So, Albany, keep your hands out of our god damned pockets and leave us free marketeers to ourselves!

Please ignore the cognitive dissonance behind the curtain!

Please ignore the cognitive dissonance behind the curtain!

And then, we have the Buffalo Niagara Partnership begging our state delegation to please, please, please fund the UB 2020 plan, the Niagara Falls Airport Expansion, and their other regional priorities with $450,000,000 in public funds.

In essence, the position of the BNP can be summed up as:

“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!”

Fucking hell, no wonder we can’t get shit done around here.  Our “private sector” leadership is just as rife with stupidity and graft as our public sector.

Less taxes, more public money for us please

Less taxes, more public money for us please

Also, I know there is nuance to the issue.  Also, I don’t care.

Would You Date This Man?

8 Sep

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We thought we’d help Dr. Rudnick of The Buffalo Niagara Partnership 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.

You Know Who Needs Term Limits?

1 Aug

Here’s a question.

If I don’t like Chris Collins or any other politician who represents me or administers a government, I can participate in the political process in an effort to unseat him.  I can donate money to candidates, canvass, join my local committee, or run myself.   I know it’s hard to unseat and incumbent, but when the stars (and money) are aligned, it’s possible.

But the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the alphabet soup of other, similar agencies that all trip over themselves and each other to attract businesses have proven themselves to be overall failures.  There’s no unifying theme, there’s no rhyme or reason to which agency handles what kind of project, there’s no one-stop shop whereby a company looking for economic development programs can go and get assistance.

We have a rudderless, aimless shambles of economic development entities with no unity and no plan.

The head of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is Andrew Rudnick.  He makes a lot of money, and for what? What has our local preeminent chamber of commerce done for anyone lately?  What is Rudnick’s claim to business fame?

Compare Buffalo’s business development website and the BNP‘s with Toronto‘s.  Where is Buffalo’s “Agenda for Prosperity“?  You know, if you want to open a tchotchke shop and get a bank loan, you have to come up with a business plan for your tchotchke shop.  Buffalo?  No plan. No agenda.  No nothing.

(But if you want to do business with or in the city of Buffalo, get your checkbook out.  Make the check payable to “Mayor Brown’s Leadership Council“. That’s your business plan.)

Buffalo is generally a warm and inviting place, but when you start to challenge the primacy of entrenched power or business interests, they will try and destroy you.  Exhibit A is the BNP’s involvement and commentary on the Hamister / Golisano Sabres purchase.  If that didn’t unseat Rudnick, nothing will.

But local developer and perpetual gadfly Carl Paladino is making a lot of noise about Rudnick, and he may be gaining some traction.  Paladino isn’t a love-him-or-hate-him kind of guy.  He’s a love-him-one-day, hate-him-the-next kind of guy.  But he’s entertaining, he’s adequately self-funded to back up his bluster with action, and he’s right more often than not, even if he’s sometimes discourteous in his delivery.

Yesterday, the BNP bought a full-page ad in the Buffalo News to tout just how great it is.  If it was a food, it’d be a delicious pastry crust with a bullshit filling, right up there with Mayor Brown’s list of development successes, such as the insertion of a Tim Horton’s in a South Park Avenue gas station.  Artvoice’s Buck Quigley makes mincemeat of it here.

Here is Carl Paladino’s email missive from yesterday, addressed to Rudnick.  It’s hard to argue with any of it:

Hey Andy, Nice set up buddy.  The ad is a real piece of work, but the real beauty is in the timing.  I’ll bet your buddies Stan and Warren stayed up a night or 2 putting this little tribute of dribble together for you.  I wonder why they didn’t give you credit for allowing the sun to come up in the morning.  But of course, they didn’t write it.  You did.  And I am sure that you believe every word of it in your arrogant, condescending, myopic world of Andy. Continue reading

Paladino Responds To Buffalo Niagara Partnership

1 Aug

Normally, I leave the blind and uncritical parroting of Carl Paladino’s missives to the fine folks at Buffalo Rising.  However, this latest email which I received today was too good to pass up, so call me a parrot for the day.

Carl wrote a response to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s full page ad in the July 31st edition of The Buffalo News. Click here for the full ad.

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Buck Quigley of our partner news site, Artvoice, wrote a cursory and snarky response to the letter earlier today.  However, Carl’s response was WAY more entertaining.

Hey Andy, nice set up buddy. The ad is a real piece of work, but the real beauty is in the timing. I’ll bet your buddies Stan (Lipsey) and Warren (Buffet) stayed up a night or two putting this little tribute of dribble together for you. I wonder why they didn’t give you credit for allowing the sun to come up in the morning. But of course, they didn’t write it. You did. And I am sure that you believe every word of it in your arrogant, condescending, myopic world of Andy.

Of course our community and its future should be in your hands. Who could imagine any other person leading us when for the past 25 years you kept your finger on the leadership group and at the same time abrogated any sense of leadership in advocacy. Ultimately allowing inept, incompetent and in many cases criminal political and elected officials to serve themselves at the trough and ruin any atmosphere or opportunity we may have had that would have been inviting to business and job expansion to our area. NYPA has abused us for years. Not a whimper out of you. Do you think when you take money from the State it compromises your ability to do the best for a community being strangled by the abusive Albany 2 step? How can you claim independence and objectivity when you go to extraordinary lengths to help the parasitic Montantes get unfair subsidies from the State to the detriment of others in your membership. How can you be objective with the press when you are so up the behinds of the Warren/Stan boys choir.

Would Albany be what it is today if we had effective advocacy shedding a light on the bad guys? Was your epistle to the membership last week an attempt to show on the record that you’re open to hearing and acting on input from the members?

Speaking of members why can’t you publish how many actual dues paying members you have that aren’t in it just for the health insurance? Did you lie when you told (Jonathan) Epstein (Buffalo News Business Reporter) 2200 people? Your ad says 2500 members. We can’t find them. I’ll bet the guys who signed the ad don’t even know how many members there are in the organization.

Do you think they have any idea how bad your staff morale problem is? Do you know how many of your former staff members have contacted me to offer their comments on your attitude and ability to judiciously lead? And don’t tell us that you and your staff are working behind the scenes everyday applying your technical know-how. We’ve talked to the staff. You’re infrequently around and give very little direction when you are. The office atmosphere is quiet chaos. And certainly you show us no credible track record. The list in the ad is not worth the time to comment on.

At 4:30 AM last week our honorable, chosen, idiot Sens. Antoine (just this side of plant life) Thompson and Billy (nothing going on) Stachowski sponsored a bill to allow NYPA to spread our WNY allocated power or the profits earned from its resale all around the state. That’s about $200MM per year that should have been used to support economic development right here in WNY. Where were you on that one Andy?

Maybe those who signed your ad find you tolerable. They hurt their public image when they went against their sense of good judgment and signed on. There is something severely wrong when people holding very responsible positions in the community act against their own principals and substantive values for the sake of loyalty and respect for one another. Most of the people in WNY don’t like you Andy. Stop putting good people out on a limb so you can hold on to something this important to thousands of people in the community. Its not about you Andy. Its about them.

It’s about that young person who was so discouraged that he or she had to leave the area and find his or her destiny elsewhere. I’m not blaming you for doing bad things. I blame you for doing nothing tangible about it and for not getting out of the way so someone else can try to stop the fall into the abyss.

I sincerely believe that Margaret, in assigning Epstein to the story, thought that the Rudnick debate had matured to the point that it was newsworthy and I’m sure she knew nothing of the ad. By the way, how much did the ad cost you? Who paid? Did Stan give his old “deep throat” buddy a discount or was it free? For years you have been a collector of power for the sole purpose of gathering information to pass on to the power elite including passing deep background information on every possible topic to Stan and Warren, information gathered from every organization that you sought to dominate from your seat of power.

The talking is over now Andy. Its time to poll the community not only on you, but since the News has reared its head, we’ll expand the target. We’ll ask the people of Western New York to send us all a very clear signal on whether they are happy not only with the Stan and Andy show but also with the other status quo advocates in the community. Take a rest for a week. You’ll need it.

Carl is mad for a lot of reasons. Primarily, that Carl Montante and Uniland get sweet subsidies and benefits that he and his company, Ellicott Development, do not. While some of his motivation is undeniably selfish, he also loves this region like so many of us and is frustrated by the lack of leadership.

It would appear that Paladino is ready to start a war with Rudnick and the BNP. Whether or not the comission of that war or the ultimate result benefits anyone outside the elite is hard to determine. But, it will be good political theater.