Tag Archives: bureaucracy

The New York Double Tyranny

26 Jun


The “independent” bloc of Republicrats in New York’s useless state Senate has cut a deal with Governor Cuomo to caucus with Democrats after the next election. This all comes on the heels of Cuomo getting smacked around by the left wing of the party for his failure and refusal to support the idea of Democrats being elected to the Senate. The Working Families Party extracted a promise from Cuomo to back a push to regain Democratic control. 

The Senate has really done yeoman’s work expanding its ability to engage in pointless nonsense. Remember Pedro Espada and the Gang of Three and the coup? Remember Malcolm Smith’s feckless “leadership”? Smith later went on to try to run for New York City mayor as a Republican, and the FBI arrested him and a few Republicans for bribery in exchange for a Wilson Pakula. 

Yet another example of electoral fusion leading to inevitable corruption. (A Wilson Pakula is a party’s authorization to allow a non-member to run on that party’s line). 

Why do we need a state Senate again? I mean, rarely does it ever actually debate an issue – same sex marriage was a recent example. But 9 times out of 10, it exists solely as a Republican, upstate balance to downstate liberal Democratic policies. But even that is completely manufactured, through gerrymandering and legislators’ ability to count inmates as members of the local “population”, even though they can’t legally vote. 

The guy who answered this question is now running for state Assembly: 

So, Cuomo is being attacked from the left for being a DINO, and he’s being demonized from the right because WHAT PART OF SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND ARGLEBARGLE. He’s trying to accomplish two very difficult things. On the one hand, he’s trying to establish his bona fides as a strong leader who can get things done with people from both parties. On the other, through initiatives like the Buffalo Billion, he’s strengthening his Presidential resume by accomplishing the hitherto unaccomplishable – turning Buffalo around. There’s no “Rochester Billion” or “Binghamton Million” or “Plattsburgh Penny”. Buffalo gets the attention because it has a unique nationwide reputation for being the rust belt’s poster child – the unfixable. Fix Buffalo, and the world is your oyster. 

Long ago, I wrote a series of pieces calling for a non-partisan unicameral legislature for New York based on the Nebraska model. The way in which government conducts itself in Albany is beyond dysfunctional – here we are, in 2014, still bemoaning the dual state tyrannies of bureaucracy and “three men in a room”. Your voice – our voice is not heard in Albany, a place legislators only leave upon death or indictment. Cuomo can point to all the on-time budgets he wants, but that has no practical effect on average families anywhere. That’s grandstanding. How about rolling back some unfunded Albany mandates? How about consolidating the Regents and Common Core testing? How about taking on the tyrannical state authorities once and for all? Let’s consider how the state’s taxes, mandates, and oppressive business environment puts all the counties outside the five boroughs at a distinct nationwide competitive disadvantage? How about running the state as if it’s 2014 and not 1954?

The ongoing Albany sideshow is counterproductive, unless you’re an elected, a staffer, a bureaucrat, or a lobbyist. If the IDC decides to caucus with Democrats, what difference will that really make? 

Albany has done some good things for Buffalo in recent years, but while “Dreadful Donn” Esmonde bemoans a new Bills stadium as yet another example of typical Buffalo “silver bullet” economic development, what the hell do you think the Buffalo Billion is? It’s the platinum bullet, whereby the political elite hands an unprecedented bankroll to the city’s business elite in order to usher in top-down business development. 

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all in favor of free Albany money to attract Elon Musk’s solar energy company to South Buffalo and whatever else they’re spending the money on. But the real change in Buffalo is going to happen organically, from the grassroots. Buffalo is a palpably different and more hopeful place than it was when I first moved here 13 years ago. There are good things popping up all the time – from the microbrew revolution, microdevelopment and renovations on Buffalo’s West Side, a new focus on developing downtown, a hot real estate market, lower unemployment, and a burgeoning knowledge-based economy. Insofar as the state can enhance and assist these efforts, it should be making every effort to do so. 

The IDC is going to caucus with Democrats in the state Senate? That’s nice, I guess. 

Same as it ever was

The Bureaucratic Aspect of State Terror

10 Dec

A Romanian-born BBC Reporter reviews her Securitate file.

Success Breeds Morons

6 Jun

This story at Buffalo Rising, which details the really idiotic hoops that some guy with an ice cream bicycle cart needs to go through just to ride his bicycle cart in parts of town where people actually are, is simply infuriating.

“The city peddler’s permit is good for anywhere but downtown (+$315) or the parks (+600/yr 3 year min.) Buffalo Place would not give me the time of day until I got help from a lawyer, then they finally changed their policy to ‘allow’ me but they added in even more restrictions (not near other vendors, cant stop, no canal, 3 blocks away from the square, no Chippewa) which basically makes the permit useless, so why should I have to pay for it? Buffalo Place told me a while back that the bikes dont fit in with what their vision of downtown should be and that they didnt want to open the floodgates to other bike based businesses by allowing me down there. Olmsted informed me that they wouldn’t even sell me the permit because they don’t want competition. Even if they were to make it available, I’m not a park vendor… I cut through on my way to other places and happen to sell along the way. I’m not going to pass up a group of people because they’re over some boundary. And people wouldn’t understand, nor would they care, if I told them I cant sell to them there.

“On top of that, add up every other special permit fee from festivals, etc. and I could easily be facing 3-4-5,000$ worth of fees — to sell $1-2 ice cream. Insane. How much do people think I’m selling? My livelihood is big groups of people… shut me out, by making it cost prohibitive, and my biz model is shot. Elmwood is good to me, but it can’t support 2-3 bikes let alone the 5 I hoped to get it to this year. There are security issues in other neighborhoods which really limit my hours and reach. And other neighborhoods are just slow all around. Olmsted Parks Conservancy has never given me a problem until last week, now they’re outright harassing us. We don’t target the park, we ride through on our way to the west side because its in the way. If we see people, we’ll sell… but I would never consider myself a park vendor and would like them to work with me. Some woman told me they won’t even consider selling me their permit because they dont want the competition… but even if they were willing to I feel their fee is way out of line with what i’m charging. Plus they take a percentage.

“I can’t make money in this city if I’m not allowed to go where people are, nor can I make money if I have to spend all of my profits on permits, which are really overpriced. If I have to raise my prices people will stop buying and the business will end.

Fuck City Hall and fuck Buffalo Place. There should be one permit that he should pay, and that should enable him to wheel that cart wherever the hell he wants to wheel it. He shouldn’t have to deal with more than one entity, and he should be able to make a living wherever he wants. He also shouldn’t be gouged for wanting to sell ice cream bars to people on the street in the city, for God’s sake.

This is a disgrace, and is emblematic of everything that’s wrong with Buffalo.