Tag Archives: buffalo politics

BuffalObama

14 May

It’s been nearly twenty-four hours since President Barack Obama landed in Buffalo and the story has been beaten to a bloody pulp by the local media (us included), so what more is there to say?  Well, I thought I’d go meta on you with some insight, observations and some political backstory on the visit.

Copyright - Clark Dever Photography

Obama arrives in Buffalo, Photo by Clark Dever, http://clarkdever.com

I’d like to thank all of our contributors who put together (what I thought) was well rounded coverage of the President’s visit.  We might be a small web outlet, but we can hold our own with the big boys.

Marc Odien and I were inside the event at Industrial Support, Inc to stream video and cover the event on Twitter and Facebook.  Alan Bedenko was back at the home office updating the website, Clark Dever was attached to the press pool at the airport to photograph Obama’s arrival, Tom Schuh of WECK1230 managed the live blog, Nick Mendola and Brad Riter provided radio coverage on WECK1230 and we had roving reporters Kristen Becker and Aaron McPherson on the streets outside the event shooting some feature video that we’ll have up later today.  I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out and we’re making some plans to increase the amount of live coverage we do each day on WNYMedia.

Now, some random thoughts and observations…

  • Buffalo petty politics update…The political alliances were on full display at the event.  As the crowd waited for the President to arrive, County Executive Chris Collins mingled with the Grassroots pols…at least until Rep. Chris Lee and his beautiful head of hair entered the building.  We saw Rep. Higgins attached to Mayor Brown and a distinct lack of Democrats connected with the Erie County Democratic Committee.  Evidently, the Mayor and was managing the invitation list and aside from ECDC Chairman Len Lenihan, the “tickets” mainly went to those friendly to the Mayor after some fierce backroom squabbling.
  • The location of the plant tour was interesting due to the fact that it was a non-union shop.  ISI is definitely a cool local success story with quality management and a bright future, but for a labor-friendly President, this was an odd choice.   We’re hearing that this facility was chosen over the GM Plant (Mayor Brown objected due to it not technically being in the city) or the Buffalo Medical Campus (Rep. Slaughter’s district).
  • This Presidential visit was originally organized by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, ostensibly to help promote her candidacy in the 2010 election and solidify her name in the region.  However, she and Senator Chuck Schumer were not able to attend as they were both in Washington voting on a Wall Street reform package.
  • The speech was pretty boilerplate talk about the economic recovery act and how the economy is slowly rebounding from the disaster Obama inherited upon taking office.  Not surprising.  However, the questions from the audience were fairly interesting.  Most notably, the first question by a woman sitting behind Rep. Lee and County Executive Collins about whether the recent healthcare reform bill was a “european-ization” of our healthcare system.   I kept waiting for Rep. Lee to stand up with his “KILL!” sign or shout “YOU LIE!” as the President answered.

"KILL THE BILL!"

The thing that sticks with me several hours after the speech was this line by the President,

“I’m also pleased that I could get out of Washington for the day. I’ve been trying to make a habit of that once a week or so. It’s just that sometimes, all you hear in Washington is the clamor of politics. And that clamor can drown out the voices of the American people. So I don’t want to make a big speech today because I want to hear from you – your questions, your concerns, and your hopes.”

I can understand his desire to escape the bubble of Washington and the echo chamber of his staff, but this visit was anything but an escape from the bubble.  The President (by design) travels in a bubble, he’s like the Bubble Boy (the card says moops).  He might have some hurried interactions with the people, but these trips are essentially campaign stops by a President looking to shore up support for his policies and the politicians who support them.  I’m not breaking any new analytical ground here, but I was impressed by the theater of it all.  I was also struck by how hard it must be for any President to truly stay in touch with the people he leads.  These are things I knew going in, but they just really resonated today.  He is surrounded by a White House press corps which is just as cut off from regular society as he is, how does he know what “the people” think?

It might have been educational for him to learn about local reactions to his policies if he was interviewed by the local press pool.  On second thought, maybe not.  Josh Boose would have inevitably asked him some bullshit strawman “tough” question about filling the 198 with truckloads of dirt or some other local yokel issue…”Mr. President, what do you say to those who say that some say that you…”

All in all, a pretty cool experience to wear a White House Press Pool pass for the day and cover a Presidential visit to our fair city.

Leadership Crisis

12 Jan

There are hundreds of ways to define leadership in organizations, groups, communities, corporations, and social groups.  Each valid in its own way, but mostly, the process of defining the criteria of leadership and cultivating leaders is a bit of a scam.  An entrepreneurial opportunity for those who wish to sell a service or methodology.

I’ve worked in small companies, large corporations, run my own company, worked as a consultant, served on boards, volunteered and organized campaigns and I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about being a leader.  Simply stated, you’re either a leader or you aren’t.  You either have “it” or you don’t.  That doesn’t mean leaders don’t learn and grow over time, it means you either have the capacity for leadership or you don’t.  You can buy all the books, attend all the seminars or sign up for programs, but you aren’t going to “learn” how to be a leader.

The core of leadership?  The capability to make people give a shit about accomplishing a collectively defined set of stated goals and working with those people to accomplish the goals.  Being courageous enough to take criticism and not being afraid to fail.  That’s the essence of it.

I’ve given a lot of thought to the leadership crisis in Buffalo, Erie County and Western New York.  Taking stock of our “leaders” in the public, private and non-profit sectors and wondering who amongst them might step up and be the region-wide leader we so desperately crave.  Is there someone among us who can lead on a large regional scale rather than lead a small constituency?  Someone who has the natural charisma and courage required to fix a failboat as large as this region?

In a region in which unemployed middle-aged hipsters can be touted as “visionaries”, are we even capable of discerning leadership and vision from meandering ideas or idle stop motion dreams of would-be success?

We are at a critical juncture in the history of our fair region.  While the state and nation are mired in crisis, our comparative stability and assets provide an opportunity if managed properly.  We need leader(s) who will step forward, eschew the politics of crumb hoarding and design a strategy for regional ascendancy.

The time for small minded thinking, power politics and the philosophy of “me first” needs to end.  Else, we may find ourselves in a hole from which we cannot dig out.  A hole which gets deeper each day while the Hedley Lamar and William J. Lepetomane of WNY are our County Executive and Mayor, respectively.  A hole which gets indescribably deeper as long as a man like Steve Pigeon is afforded access to shovels and an army of weak-willed yes-men willing to do the digging.  A hole at which our business leaders collectively stand and simply complain about the price of the shovels chosen by others, yet doing little to stop the digging while incongruously asking for different, more expensive shovels.

Is there someone out there?  Someone who has a big picture view, sees the need for strategic vision and has the charisma to rally the public around his/her ideas?  A politician who isn’t interested in incremental procedural reform, service delivery improvements or an alderman like satisfaction of citizens?  A business leader who sees the need to create entrepreneurial leaders and not simply look for back office job handouts to satiate the huddled masses?

At different points in the past, the cities of Boston, New York City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and others were mired in downward failure spirals.  There are dozens of other cities which stopped their downward spiral, both larger and smaller than Buffalo.  Each city had a breaking point and a leader emerged to help realign the priorities and implement a strategy for success.  Are we at our breaking point?  Do we have any potential leaders on the horizon?

What needs to happen in order for such a person to ascend to a position in which he/she can exercise their leadership skills?

Looking Forward To 2013

17 Sep

The results of Tuesday’s Democratic Mayoral Primary Election in Buffalo are in and aside from a few crankpots crying about voter fraud, it’s over.  I mean seriously, for the voter fraud claims to matter, you’re talking about 5,000+ fraudulent votes.  Using the tired old bullshit about groceries and cigarettes for votes is just that, tired.  We checked out those claims as they came in and they were baloney.

Let’s take a look at the results by district and compare them to the 2005 Democratic primary results.

2005_2009_Dem_Primary_Turnout_Chart

Aside from turnout levels, the 2009 race looked a lot like 2005.  Byron Brown won the Masten, University, Fillmore, Ellicott and Lovejoy districts while Mickey took the South, North, Niagara and Delaware districts.  One can leave the analysis at the city polarizing along racial lines or income level (and you’d be partially right), but there is a bit more to it.  As I see it, Mickey could have won this election easily, if he had the right strategy and a solid organization which canvassed and worked on election day to Get Out The Vote (GOTV).

The problem with Mickey’s campaign was exactly what I said two months ago, no vision.  He ran a Common Council platform on a citywide scale and did nothing to offer a clear alternative to his opponent.  I also said the only chance Mickey at victory was if Brown completely imploded.  Only the near self-immolation of Byron Brown by way of One Sunset, Leonard Stokes and Michelle Barron made this an interesting race.  When the Brown meltdown began, Kearns didn’t have the organizational support of ECDC at his back nor the independent resources to step his game up.  Carl Paladino rode in on a white horse to help, but frankly, Carl is an asshole.  He brings money and publicity, but there are just as many people in the city who hate him as love him.  Carl’s involvement began to make Byron look like a sympathetic figure.

When we met with Mickey a few weeks ago, I told him I thought Niagara was the key to his hopes for victory.  The presumption being that Masten and South would basically cancel each other out and Mickey needed to take a winnable district, maximize turnout and build a buffer.  If he could make inroads in Niagara, it might have a bleedthrough effect to North and Ellicott precincts which could bring the numbers closer in those districts.

Looking at their canvassing maps in the election offices, I thought they spent too much time farming infertile ground in Masten, University, and Fillmore.  Every prime voter in Niagara should have been touched at least three times, preferably more.  Canvassed, lit drops, phone calls, community events, etc.  Mickey had Niagara District Councilman David Rivera on his side and several prominent West Side activists working for him.  While those campaign volunteers worked their tails off, they didn’t have the resources to mount a serious GOTV effort on election day and the voter identification pre-work wasn’t there to support a ground operation on election day.

It’s also interesting that with all the hipster angst being espoused on various local blogs, Byron did pretty well in the core hipster precints of the Elmwood Village and Allentown.  I’d suspect that a candidate with a serious campaign with the appropriate level of big picture vision would have pulled in bigger numbers in Delaware.

So, all of this brings us to 2013.  When looking at the map from the last two elections, the battle lines are clear.  Assuming Byron runs again in 2013, who is on the bench of the Democratic Party to challenge him?  Mike LoCurto?  Maria Whyte?  Sam Hoyt?  Dave Rivera?  Or will we look to another wildcard like Kevin Gaughan?  The candidate who chooses to take up the fight against Byron or  whomever Grassroots puts forward as his replacement in the event of a Brown promotion (Antoine Thompson or Demone Smith) needs a couple of things, most notably:

–  A clear platform filled with aspirational goals and a message of positivity.  Be the big picture opportunist and identify a couple of common council members who can endorse your vision while promising that the day-to-day service delivery is going to be excellent under your stewardship.

–  A well-organized corps of volunteers who will canvass, stump, lit drop and phone bomb.  Grassroots is excellent at the blocking and tackling of election day maneuvering and they do their homework prior to election day.  If you’re going to eat into their east side edge, you better have a plan to maximize turnout in Delaware, Niagara and South.  Not just maximize, but blow it out.

Is such a candidate in Buffalo?  The war isn’t about racial lines; it’s about organization and messaging, two things Mickey sorely lacked.

What do you think. is there someone out there who can be groomed?

2013 Mayoral Candidates

16 Sep

After the ass kicking that Mayor Brown gave challenger Mickey Kearns last night in the Democratic Primary, we decided to look forward rather than rehash the election of 2009.

Using our connections at the Erie County Democratic Committee and ACORN, wnymedia.net has obtained a video which features interviews with Buffalonians interested in running for Mayor of Buffalo in 2013.  These interviews were conducted in secret, so please don’t forward to anyone affiliated with Mayor Brown, Steve Casey or Steve Pigeon.  This is on the down low.

[HTML1]

Rumor has it that the leaders in the clubhouse are Maurice, Big Phil and the guy who likes to wear bright socks and loves the Cleveland Browns.

Campaign Platform For A Greater Buffalo

16 Jul

geek

I’ve been giving some thought as of late to running for political office.  Aside from creating a derivative campaign poster, I haven’t gotten very far in the planning.  I’m not really sure I want to run or what office best suits my abrasive, arrogant, know-it-all, smartypants style.

Decisions, decisions.

So, I thought I’d turn the decision making process into a blog exercise for all of us.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, I think you’re probably acquainted with most of my political positions.  Generally speaking, I favor clean money/clean elections, regionalism, consolidation of local government, public health care, efficiencies/cost savings through technical modernization of services delivery, landbanking, a return to neighborhood schools in Buffalo, smart code zoning practices, consolidated IDA’s, light rail expansion, high speed rail, cooperative economic development initiatives with Toronto and Rochester, etc.

In short, I’m a good government centrist progressive.  Make sense?  I think my mix of progressive planning ideas and aims to reduce government waste would position me well to raise money from the urban goo-goo hippies as well as the corporate guys with fat wallets.  I can’t lose!  Well, I would undoubtedly lose, but that’s beside the point.

On the other hand, I know little about the political positions of my readers and potential loyal subjects constituents.

If you were going to run for elected office, what would be YOUR platform?  To make this even more concise, tell me what office you’d like to run for and what your top three platform issues would be.  I’d really like to know.

Let’s consider this the beginning of the obligatory bullshit “listening tour” that every candidate seems to launch prior to running for office.  Let’s share and care and cuddle with our principles.

Kearns Needs Money

16 Jul

mickey_kearns_family

Today was an important day in the “race” to be the next Mayor of Buffalo.  It’s the day the July 2009 Periodic Campaign Finance Disclosure Reports are published by the New York State Board of Elections.  As a campaign junkie, report filings get me as excited as Navin Johnson on phone book delivery day.

Aside from miraculous upsets, the guy with the most money in the bank is usually a stone cold leadpipe lock to win an election.  So, with Mickey Kearns’ chances already in doubt, I was interested to see if he could shake loose some sheckels from the Buffalo hoi polloi for his Mayoral campaign.  After reviewing his finances, I think the answer is a resounding “no”.

His July Periodic summary shows that Kearns was able to raise $82,919.17 in cash and “in-kind donations”.  Of that $82,919.17, Kearns spent $66,925.23 which leaves him with $15,993.94 to fight the remainder of the primary against Mayor Byron Brown.  Of course, he’ll raise more money in the months ahead, but his poor showing thus far and the general perception that he’s in over his head will not help future fundraising efforts.

Kearns raised about $31K in individual donations, $2,750 in corporate donations, $2,900 in union money, roughly $35K of in-kind donations and a transfer of $11,500 from his Common Council warchest which is now in the red to the tune of $2500.

The money is tight because no one wants to throw money at a candidate who lacks a serious chance of winning nor do they want to get on the bad side of Mayor Brown’s steamroller political machine.  Byron Brown’s filing has not yet made public on the NY Board of Elections site, but it is estimated he has in excess of $1,000,000 on hand.  Brown’s January 2009 periodic report showed a balance of over $750K and he has been holding frequent, big ticket fundraisers ever since.

If I’m Mickey Kearns, I’m praying that Jim Heaney at The Buffalo News finds a meatier Byron Brown scandal than the One Sunset story.  Mickey’s only chance at victory comes from a total implosion by the Brown campaign.

Byron Brown Announces Buffalo Mayoral Re-Election Campaign

10 May

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced what everyone already knew, he will seek another four year term in office.  Here’s the video of the announcement and Brown reciting his litany of accomplishments in his first term.

[HTML1]

Mayor Brown will be facing a primary race from Buffalo South District Councilman Mickey Kearns and some token yet-to-be-named Republican opponent who will take the bullet and an 80-20 loss in the general election and trade it in for a job with a connected Republican law firm or a seat on the water board.

The foundation of the Brown campaign will be his record of success.  Evidently, he’ll be running on the property tax cuts in each of his four years, the success of the Citistat program, anti-crime strategy and the “flurry” of economic development we’ve seen.  I find it funny that during the four years of the Brown Administration, the property tax cut for my home in Parkside was negligible while the total amount I paid went up 78%.  Why?  Because my property was reassessed twice in four years.  Also, my fees for garbage and sewer went up.  So, hooray for property tax cuts!

I digress…

Let’s cut to the chase, while Byron Brown is the human equivalent of a long nap, unless he gets caught with a dead girl or a live boy in the next three months, he’s going to coast to victory.  According to his January 2009 periodic filing with the New York State Board of Elections, the “Brown For Buffalo” campaign coffers are overflowing with cash ($579,510.53 to be exact).

As of the same filing period, Mickey Kearns had an estimated $15,000 on hand in his Buffalo Common Council warchest.  He hasn’t filed a campaign disclosure for his mayoral campaign as of yet, but no matter how you slice it, Kearns has a lot of ground to make up in just a few short months.

Mickey Kearns seems like an affable guy with some good ideas, but I can’t see a path to victory for the guy.  The political machine from his own district has abandoned him as South Buffalo power broker Ray McGurn and his Goin’ South organization have been longtime supporters of Mayor Brown.  Also, the elected officials who represent South Buffalo; Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy, State Assemblyman Mark Schroeder and Congressman Brian Higgins are all loyal supporters of Mayor Brown and were onhand at his re-election campaign announcement.  Unless something has radically changed since the last time I spoke with party regulars, Brown also has the municipal unions at his disposal.  He can also lean on Steve Pigeon’s rolodex and machiavellian schemes.  It’s a pretty stacked deck.

As I see it, Kearns is going to have to pull in support (read: money) from Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, lean on Erie County Dem Chair Len Lenihan for organizational management, start an all hands on deck fundraising effort, put together a grassroots canvassing organization, make some major media buys and generate a platform that does not rely on inside baseball scandals and the nuances of all the FAIL that has surrounded the Brown administration.

Brown has done a solid job of making it appear that there is a lot of progress without actually accomplishing a lot.  Those of us who pay attention know that Brown is running a secretive administration that fights real transparency at every turn and has been more focused on the centralization of political power than progress.  His Citistat program is a joke, based on garbage data going in with garbage analysis coming out.  The constant personnel scandals, missteps, and his priority of putting together task forces to analyze data rather than implementing change.  I could go on and on, but it’s just covering the same territory that Geoff Kelly has been covering at Artvoice for the past four years.  There’s no there, there.  Ya dig?

Brown is the master of efforts taking precedence over results, which after three terms of Tony Masiello’s one-two punch of FAIL and incompetence seems like progress to most residents of Buffalo.  Brown has also done an excellent job with continual outreach into the faith-based communities of the east side and has spent the better part of four years slathering the east side with propaganda billboards like this:

Photo courtesy of David Torke at http://fixbuffalo.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of David Torke at http://fixbuffalo.blogspot.com

For those of us who were hopeful in 2005, Mayor Brown has been a pretty serious disappointment since the day he was elected.  Can he be defeated?  It’s possible and I wish Mickey Kearns the best in what is sure to be one of the most uphill battles in recent memory.

The Ongoing Saga of Syaed Ali

6 Feb

On the front page of WNYMedia.net, you’ll find the supposed defamatory content that Syaed Ali allegedly sent out via press release in an attempt to embarrass the Byron Brown Administration.

By now, most people in WNY have heard something about the plight of Syaed Ali.  Ali has been accused of sending emails and instant message transcripts to media outlets which claimed various indignities and shenanigans conducted by members of Byron Brown’s administration.

These emails surfaced shortly after a shadowy political organization alleged as loosely affiliated with Steve Pigeon and Responsible New York called Mothers and Fathers Demanding Answers launched a scandalous and anonymous campaign targeting one of Pigeon’s longtime adversaries, State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt.  At the time, it seemed as if the internecine squabbling between various forces in the Democratic Party had reached an all-time fever pitch.  After Joe Illuzzi published private emails between Assemblyman Hoyt and an Albany associate, all hell broke loose on the media front.  No one was sure as to the veracity of WNY First’s claims, nor did anyone know who sent the messages.

The content of the press releases was comical in its lameness and fakery and with Ali making daily appearances on the pages of Artvoice, Gramigna’s News and Scientology Today website and the venerable Buffalo News, I thought it was time to post what everyone has been dancing around for months.

From: WNY First [mailto:wnyfirst@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 5:41 PM
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com
Subject: Breaking News: (Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

WNY First
Press Release
Sunday, August 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

Contact:wnyfirst@gmail.com

(Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

Buffalo, NY – A top official in Buffalo’s Mayoral Administration has confidentially and anonymously disclosed a series of emails, and text messages, between (name redacted) and a local journalist.

Et cetera, so on, and so forth.

To my surprise, the boys over at Artvoice put up a video interview with the alleged perpetrator of the lamest political scandal in Buffalo History.  The interview is replete with the standard issue facial shadows to hide Ali’s identity.  After watching this interview, I kept thinking that the guy in the interview sounds like an incredible doofus.

 

Whatever you make of the allegations or the veracity of Ali’s claims, this is just good times for fans of massive political FAIL.

Dirty Politics In A New Media World

5 Feb

By now, most people in WNY have heard something about the plight of Syaed Ali.  Ali has been accused of sending emails and instant message transcripts to media outlets which claimed various indignities and shenanigans conducted by members of Byron Brown’s administration.

These emails surfaced shortly after a shadowy political organization alleged as loosely affiliated with Steve Pigeon and Responsible New York called Mothers and Fathers Demanding Answers launched a scandalous and anonymous campaign targeting one of Pigeon’s longtime adversaries, State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt.  At the time, it seemed as if the internecine squabbling between various forces in the Democratic Party had reached an all-time fever pitch.  After Joe Illuzzi published private emails between Assemblyman Hoyt and an Albany associate, all hell broke loose on the media front.  No one was sure as to the veracity of WNY First’s claims, nor did anyone know who sent the messages.

At WNYMedia, we were copied on the press releases from WNYFirst and were privy to the desperately salivating responses from local media outlets who wanted to run the story.  At the time, we decided not to touch the issue with a ten foot pole.

Now, with the allegations against Ali making the rounds of local alternative weekly Artvoice as well as the pages of the venerable Buffalo News, we decided to publish the emails in question (with all names redacted) so the public could see what was alleged and how the story developed.

From: WNY First [mailto:wnyfirst@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 5:41 PM
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com
Subject: Breaking News: (Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

WNY First
Press Release
Sunday, August 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

Contact:wnyfirst@gmail.com

(Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

Buffalo, NY – A top official in Buffalo’s Mayoral Administration has confidentially and anonymously disclosed a series of emails, and text messages, between (name redacted) and a local journalist. These email and text messages suggest a romantic relationship between (name redacted) and a male journalist. The administration official alleges that (name redacted) often utilizes his city car and driver to visit his companion’s home, and forces (names redacted) to guard the front door.

“(name redacted) romantic partners are irrelevant but when (name redacted) makes city employees guard the door, and uses transportation at the taxpayers expense for personal reasons it should become a public matter,” says the top aide.

The official has asked to remain anonymous for safety and employment reasons of the individual, and the official’s family.

This initial email was responded to by Nancy Sanders, News Operations Manager at WIVB, which was sent out to all the initial recipients by WNYFirst:

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 11:44 AM, Nancy Sanders wrote:

Dear WNY First….

What do you really have on this? Text messages were seen, subpoenaed? If your contact has time/date of messages maybe we can FOI.

Nancy Sanders
News Operations Manager
WIVB TV

and the response from WNYFirst:

—–Original Message—–
From: WNY First [mailto:wnyfirst@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 12:31 PM
To: Nancy Sanders
Subject: Re: Breaking News: (Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

Our contact does indeed have exact times and dates, and has seen the text messages.

Later that same day, WKBW hopped into the fray with a request for more information:

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 4:47 PM, Joe Maxfield (email address redacted) wrote:

Dear WNYFirst.
My name’s Joe Maxfield.  I’m the Executive Producer for 7 News.  We’re very interested in looking into this story, but need more information.  What kind of evidence do you have?  When were these emails and text messages sent and how does this anonymous source say he or she knows about them?  Please let us know anything else that may help us pursue this story.  Obviously, we won’t report on any substanciated rumors, but if we have solid evidence of any impropriety we will certainly investigate aggressively.

Thanks for your help.

Joe Maxfield
Executive Producer, WKBW 7News
phone: (redacted)
cell: (redacted)
email: (redacted)

and the response from WNYFirst:

—–Original Message—–
From: WNY First [mailto:wnyfirst@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 7:12 PM
To: Joe Maxfield
Subject: Re: (Name Redacted) Story

Well our contact is a top official and has access to (name redacted) schedule 24/7.

The (name redacted) confides in that individual numerous personal details, and that individual is privy to the (name redacted) text messages, emails, and other communications.

Furthermore (name redacted) has asked our contact to accompany him to visits to his companion and guard the front door

All of (name redacted) text messages can be converted into email format and is most of the time.  The emails/text messages confirm meetings/dates and other details of the relationship with the companion. These email and text messages span about 22-23 months.

Our contact was a little hesitant to disclose, but hinted that (name redacted) could be giving the companion compensation for meetings and encounters.

The companion has visited City Hall before, and an employee walked in because (name redacted) had another appointment, and learned some interesting facts. (name redacted) threatened to make the employee “Scajaquada jack’s friend” if details were to be revealed.

The fact that the emailer would “reply to all” whenever a media outlet started hunting added to the hilarity of it all.

As quickly as this rumor popped up, it went away even faster.  We heard nothing else for nearly two weeks.  It was whispered about by media members at press conferences and there were rumors that a local television station had assigned a tail to members of the Brown Administration trying to dig up more dirt.  We thought the whole thing died down, but the story really took off as the primaries drew closer.

From: “WNY First” <wnyfirst@gmail.com>
Date: August 29, 2008 11:31:03 AM EDT
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com
Subject: (Name Redacted) The Next (Name Redacted)?

WNY First
Press Release
Friday, August 29, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact:wnyfirst@gmail.com

(Name Redacted) Caught Pants Down with Male Journalist

Buffalo, NY – A top official in Buffalo’s Mayoral Administration has confidentially and anonymously disclosed a series of emails, and text messages, between (name redacted) and a local journalist. These email and text messages suggest a romantic relationship between (name redacted) and a male journalist.  The administration official alleges that (name redacted) often utilizes his city car and driver to visit his companion’s home, and forces his top aides to guard the front door.

“(Name Redacted) romantic partners are irrelevant but when (name redacted) makes city employees guard the door, and uses transportation at the taxpayers expense for personal reasons it should become a public matter,” says the top aide.

The official has asked to remain anonymous for safety and employment reasons of the individual, and the official’s family. Two IM message communications have been placed at the bottom of this release

Here are those Instant Message Conversations in all of their poor grammar glory:

Chat with (name redacted)
1 message
Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 9:27 AM
To: nameredacted@gmail.com

9:28 AM (admin official name redacted) You wannna play later today?
9:28 AM (journalist name redacted) is your wife gonna participate this time?
9:28 AM (journalist name redacted) Just not feel comfortable in threesomes
9:29 AM (journalist name redacted) Could it be just the two of us?
9:30 AM (journalist name redacted) She can watch if she likes
9:31 AM (journalist name redacted) you know what I mean?
9:31 AM (admin official name redacted) sure, don’t you want like dick and cunt at the same time?
9:33 AM (journalist name redacted) not really like them separately
9:43 AM (admin official name redacted) bring your wife too we can have four way
9:45 AM (journalist name redacted) You out of your fucking mind, my wife does know about all this stuff
9:45AM (admin official name redacted) so what than tell her
9:46 AM (journalist name redacted) no, not really never you asshole
9:47 AM (admin official name redacted) you like my asshole?
9:52 AM (journalist name redacted) well it is nice and tight
9:53 AM (journalist name redacted ) more tighter than my wife’s pussy
9:53 AM (admin official name redacted) ok, how about a nice steamy sandwich fuck
9:53 AM (journalist name redacted) sandwich fuck? What the hell is that?
9:53 AM (admin official name redacted) I fuck my wife’s cunt, and you fuck my ass
9:55 AM (journalist name redacted) not sure its kind of weird
10:00 AM (admin official name redacted) come on please we can change roles, you fuck cunt while I fuck your ass
10:20 AM (journalist name redacted) ok only if your not going to video tape it this time
10:48 AM (admin official name redacted) that should give us the juice, I can pick you up later today were you going to be today?
10:49 AM (journalist name redacted) in Amherst
10:53 AM (admin official name redacted) Blvd mall parking usual place work for you?
10:54 AM (journalist name redacted) yeah
11:28 AM (admin official name redacted) can you do me a favor and buy condoms and birth control pills
11:29 AM (journalist name redacted) yea
11:56 AM (admin official name redacted) pick you late tonight at blvd mall
12:08 PM (journalist name redacted) I will get horny for you guys
12:45 PM (admin official name redacted) I will call you later and pick you up late tonight
1:28 PM (journalist name redacted) see you than big boy
1:34 PM (admin official name redacted) ok talk to you than

Chat with (Name Redacted)
1 message
nameredacted@gmail.com

Wed, Jun 18, 2008
To: nameredacted@gmail.com

9:35 AM (admin official name redacted) Can we meet today for a release?
9:35 AM (journalist name redacted) Why
9:36 AM (admin official name redacted) I just need you suck me off
9:37 AM (admin official name redacted) some new develppment is supposed go up their
9:37 AM (journalist name redacted): I was just curious, before not really into fag encounters anymore
10:29 AM (admin official name redacted) wives do not have to know
10:33 AM (admin official name redacted) have good time get best information and greenbacksd
10:37 AM (admin official name redacted) What you say
10:42 AM (journalist name redacted) Not sure
10:47 AM (admin official name redacted) man you enjoyed it for two years what happened now?
10:55 AM (journalist name redacted) yes, but I am not a faggiot and have a wife,
11:12 AM (admin official name redacted) so what I have one too
11:12 AM (journalist name redacted) yeah but people know who you are dumb ass,if people find out we are both just shit
11:12 AM (admin official name redacted)  Greenbacks your career no will ever know
11:14 AM (journalist name redacted) ok I will stop by your place
11:15 AM (admin official name redacted) There is my stud, hey wife and kids are gone for the night wanna go all the way for the entire night?
11:16 AM (journalist name redacted) Yeah but my wife will wonder were I am
12:19 PM (admin official name redacted) Just tell her that you have to overtime on big case
12:48 PM (journalist name redacted) Ok see you late tonight
12:51 PM (admin official name redacted) I will call you in a few minutes on your celle people around
12:52 PM (journalist name redacted): anything particular you want me to wear tonight?
12:53 PM (admin official name redacted) Will let you know on phone have to run to meeting hugs and kisses
12:54 PM (journalist name redacted): ok bye

After the instant message “transcripts” were released, things went quiet for a week or so.  Until WNYFirst upped the ante with their purported videotapes of gay sex between an administration official and a local journalist.

From: “WNY First” <wnyfirst@gmail.com>
Date: September 5, 2008 1:07:41 PM EDT
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com
Subject: Press Release: (Name Redacted) Sex Acts with Male Journalist Caught on Video Tape

WNYFIRST

Press Release
Friday, September 5, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: wnyfirst@gmail.com

(Name Redacted) Caught on Tape Engaging in Encounters with Male Journalist

Buffalo, NY- A top official in Buffalo’s Mayoral Administration has previously confidentially and anonymously disclosed a series of emails, and text messages.  Now video tapes of sex acts between (name redacted) and a local journalist on public time have been disclosed, and will be made available for public viewing on YouTube.  The administration official alleges that (name redacted) has a library of such videos of encounters with him and his companion, and some with his wife partaking in activities.

“(Name Redacted) should resign and protect the reputation of the City of Buffalo, before these videos are released”, says the top aide.

The official has asked to remain anonymous for safety and employment reasons of the individual, and the official’s family.  The individual has indicated that the videos will be released one by one online, and those members of the public and press interested can receive copies beforehand.

Again, our old friend Joe Maxfield from WKBW popped up…

On Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 1:17 PM, Joe Maxfield <jmaxfield@wkbw.com> wrote:

Can you send us a link to this video on youtube or wherever else we can access it?

WNY First responded to all on the initial distribution with the following:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: WNY First <wnyfirst@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: Press Release: (Name Redacted) Sex Acts with Male Journalist Caught on Video Tape
To: wnyfirst@gmail.com

The videos will be released in the next few days, and the information required to view it will be electronically distributed.

To date, we are still waiting for the release of these videos to YouTube.  I think we’ll be waiting forever.

At times, reading these, it almost seemed like bait – would City Hall’s opponents post this stuff? Would it end up on a site like ours or Gramigna’s?  While the mainstream media’s eagerness to get to the underlying facts was amusing, the text of these emails was so outlandish as to be patently false.  They were passed around more as an exercise in, “can you believe someone might actually believe this” than “wow, what a huge story this is.”

The content of these emails is so outrageous that no one in their right mind would have believed their accuracy.  They were so libelous as to be self-parodies.  We don’t know how it is that Ali allegedly got himself caught up in this mess, or whether he sent these emails.  We can tell you that this is the material that so pissed off Buffalo City Hall and Mayor Byron Brown that they allegedly took Ali and treated him in a way more appropriate for a third world banana republic than the second-largest city in the state of New York.

Two things:

1. What City Hall and law enforcement are alleged to have done to Ali is wrong and actionable.
2. Whoever wrote these emails is, at worst, liable for defamation. I can’t imagine what crime has allegedly been committed.

As with promises of Nigerian riches, don’t believe everything you get in your inbox.

Sausagemaking Continues Apace

15 Jan

Buffalo Geek actually intended to attend yesterday’s Common Council meeting where they were going to take up the controversial issue of Ugly Hotel ’09. Jim Pitts was there to defend it, and indicated that alright-alright-we’ll-redesign-it. But before he got there, he was heard saying on Channel 4’s report that it was not a bad design because it resembled the buildings already in Waterfront Village.

Yes, Mr. Pitts. That’s precisely the point.

The business park in Waterfront Village (where I work, incidentally) is pretty damn ugly. Surrounded by a sea of free and convenient parking, it is a striking example of dull late 70s cookie-cutter architecture.

“How many pie-in-the-sky projects can you have in the City of Buffalo that ultimately end up not happening?”

That’s little more than a re-wording of Pitts’ prior, ridiculous, pathetic argument that the Wingate proposal was “doable”. The Ciminelli proposal is not pie-in-the-sky. It’s just better.

What Pitts was arguing was that more stucco crap was ok because it matches the other stucco crap down on the waterfront. In other words, two wrongs make a doable right. I’m pleased to report that a majority of the Common Council – the people the Mayor tried to unseat in order to get a rubber-stamp legislature – are having none of it. Chalk it up as another lesson in checks & balances.