Tag Archives: metablogging

Ciao

15 Apr

I’m taking the next two weeks off (more or less) from the site. You’re all paying attention to hockey anyway. Don’t break anything.

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Internets & News

11 Apr

Tonight at Hallwalls, I’ll be participating in this panel discussion, hosted by Talking Leaves Books:

The Business of Media in the Age of the Internet

Talking Leaves…Books, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, and the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) are pleased to announce a collaborative event to discuss some of the critical issues of media and law today. Panelists Mike NimanAlan Bedenko, and Joe Finnerty will convene in the Cinema at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center on Monday, April 11, at 7 pm to focus attention on “the business of media in the age of the internet” looking at some of the many changes the internet has wrought on the media, including issues like citizen journalism, user-generated content, personal and corporate liability, the definition of “journalist.”. We’ll look at recent developments like the Newsweek/Daily Beast merger, the AOL purchase of the Huffington Post, the downfall of Congressman Chris Lee, and New York Times attempts to initiate a paywall. After brief presentations from the panelists (we may add a fourth, a current Buffalo journalist), we’ll open the discussion to the audience.

 

2010: This Year in Fail

27 Dec

Every media outlet does a “this year in” retrospective. However, no one else will kick theirs off by pointing out that 2010 was a year of chaps-free Cejkas.  2010’s prowess is legendary.

County government started out 2010 having settled a longstanding dispute with ECMC over yearly contributions. Over at City Hall, the Karla Thomas / HR problem was just getting going, and I asked why it was, precisely, that it all happened in spite of CitiStat. As new Senator Kirsten Gillibrand got used to her new Washington digs, the New York City elites were scrambling to find someone – anyone – to primary her. (Tennessee’s most famous Wall Street ex-pol sent up a Pigeon-assisted trial balloon, to no avail). You see, she’s one of those upstate, northern women. They had written her off before they even gave her a chance. Now, she’s well-regarded for her leadership on DADT repeal, 9/11 health workers, and health care reform. What a difference 12 months make.

In the meantime, a so-called “reform coalition” was formulated in the county legislature, giving County Executive Chris Collins a de facto majority. Democrats Tim Kennedy, Christina Bove, and Barbara Miller-Williams broke away from the remainder of the Democratic caucus to form a coalition with the minority Republicans and help progress the Collins – Pigeon – Brown agenda. It was the embodiment of the alliance of the Collins and Brown political machines, and died hard just 12 months later. Some of our writing got a bit inside basebally, so Chris and I wrote  “Profiles in Fail” to help fill in some blanks. The legislature became what we termed an “orgy of transactional politics”, and we explained the legislature coup in some more detail here:

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The first WNY-based Republican to start sniffing around the governor’s race was Chris Collins. He was also the first WNY-based Republican gubernatorial-race-sniffer to say something really, really stupid. In Collins’ case, he said in 2009 that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (a despicable little toad, for sure) was the third anti-Christ, and then quickly followed it up in January by jokingly asking Laura Montante-Zaepfel – a politically super-connected Uniland bigshot – for a lapdance during Governor Paterson’s State of the State address. Collins, true to form, is too proud and perfect to admit he made a mistake, much less apologize.  Collins and Paladino were similar in their patent, unrepentant misogyny.

Speaking of Carl Paladino, February was the first time we caught wind of Carl Paladino possibly running for governor.

If nothing else, Paladino’s alleged candidacy would be entertaining, because he is unafraid to speak his mind. As wealthy as he is opinionated, he can self-fund any campaign for office. Likewise, he could easily commit daily Collinsesque gaffes and get away with it, thanks to his reputation for not having a filter between brain and mouth.

I like that Paladino has a “fire” in his belly. But it would be better channeled at treating the causes, rather than just the symptoms, of our malaise.

But let’s say he became Governor. Now what?

Our state government is not some kind of dictatorship where the governor can just parachute in, make fundamental structural and political changes, and then parachute out. Like it or not, there is a legislative process and the rules there give other people power, as well. If you run in like you own the place, you’re going to be met with massive pushback, and existing crises can be made more acute.

Not to say that’s what would happen, but if you multiply the dubious accomplishments of “steamroller” Spitzer by 100, you probably get close to the effectiveness a Governor Paladino might enjoy.

But the whole Paladino candidacy is part of our collective Western New York dysfunction – our penchant for top-down, silver bullet solutions to really big, really complicated fundamental, structural problems. Instead of the people taking charge from the roots and initiating complicated governmental change from the bottom-up, we expect and rely upon saviors to do it for us. Instead of building up a new entrepreneurial class – a bourgeois revolution redux, if you will – we expect our existing powerbrokers and loudmouth millionaires to do it for us.

After all, as I wrote almost two years ago, there’s not much difference between the problems ailing Cuba and the problems ailing WNY. And I’m not talking about socialism, per se. I’m talking about cynicism, stasis, and reliance on change from above.
Whether it’s Bass Pro, the Adelphia Tower, Chris Collins, or Carl Paladino.

We need to stop relying on gimmicks, one-shots, and silver bullets, and start attacking problems at their source. All the Paladinos in the world aren’t going to change Albany if you still have people in office like the dynastic Dale Volker or the hackish Bill Stachowski in office.

The execrable Antoine Thompson hemmed and hawed about how he’d vote re: expelling his slash-happy colleague, Hiram Monserrate. Later in the year, he got belligerent with Ron Plants, of all people.

Chris Collins decided he had had enough of poor working mothers having subsidized day care so they could go to work and earn a living. Eric Massa turned out to be something of a weirdo. Shame, that.

Collins and Sheriff Tim Howard found themselves targets of a federal inquiry into the extraordinarily high number of suicide incidents in the county jail system – an issue that still hasn’t been fully resolved. In response, Collins bitched and moaned that anyone who had a thought in his head that wasn’t in complete synchronicity with his own has an “agenda” and is in favor of the “status quo”. Shorter Collins: suicides, schmuicides.

But I never did end up writing that “Chris Collins should drop dead” post.

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Meanwhile, development in Buffalo was as inactive a laughingstock as ever. The Statler has stood empty all year – worthless, empty, crumbling, anachronistic. It is symbolic in many ways of Buffalo itself, a shadow of its former glory, struggling to find relevance in a world that’s largely passed it by. Rocco Termini’s Lafayette Hotel project moved forward in fits and starts, but that 10 year-old Artvoice billboard on the side of AM&A still serves to underscore that building’s emptiness.

Canal Side started making news in 2010 with talk of a living wage mandate for workers hired by businesses located within the project. It’s a requirement being pushed by the Canal Side Community Alliance and Coalition for Economic Justice, and backed by a handful of city councilpeople. Naturally, we can leave it to Carl Paladino to discuss it reasonably. Later in the year, Mark Goldman and the Fishers decided to sue the state because it was using public money on the Canal Side project, ignoring some patent irony.

Paladino’s campaign donned some makeup and sent up another trial balloon in the form of a nasty open letter to Brian Higgins on the issue of health care reform. He made his run official just a week later, coinciding nicely with the start of the 2010 WNYMedia.net Tournament of Political Failure. The complete rundown is shown here, and congratulations – you won!

At least Volker opted to bow out.

Carl held a big party in early April with all his employees and friends, appropriating the cry of madman Howard Beale as his campaign slogan.

A glowing, lengthy bio piece in the News revealed the existence of an extramarital child – a revelation that would sink mere mortals within minutes. Yet Paladino was unmoved, instead lecturing people about welfare queens and teh gayz, claiming, “I bring values, resiliency, a thick skin and I’m not afraid to be confrontational.”

Yet his values were non-existent, his skin was thinner than parchment, and we outed him as being a bit crazy when it came to forwarding emails. At least once a year, we break a big story – this year, it was Carl’s emails, and that story had some legs, still being talked about right up through election day. But contrary to popular belief, we never said Carl was racist.

But we had a great deal of fun with him, and the growing cleave within the local tea party groups. Rus Thompson, partly due to his close working relationship with Paladino, who was now accepted by the Republican establishment, drew criticism from former friends. But the “tea party coalition” did mighty battle against the “TeaGOP”. In the three-ringed circus of WNY politics, Allen Coniglio proved himself time and again to be its clown shoes. Again. And Again.

Although I later changed my mind twice, I originally predicted Paladino would never win.

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His campaign turned out to be quite touchy indeed; perhaps the touchiest ever. Andrew Cuomo officially announced in late May. Paladino ended up choosing a renegade Queens Republican as his running mate.

I went down to Westchester for the Democratic Convention, which was largely uneventful, save for a marathon session to permit all the AG candidates to remain on the September ballot, and an entertaining visit from “King Cuomo II”, i.e., Curtis Sliwa.

Somewhere, there is a place where competent government and taxation intersect. It behooves us to find that crossing whenever possible to at least avoid irreversable catastrophe.

There were other races, as well. Republicans fought to replace Volker. Marc Coppola announced he was running against Mike Ranzenhofer AND electoral fusion. Rory Allen tried to ride roughshod over Antoine Thompson. In a golf cart. The Democrats fought to replace Stachowski, with Tim Kennedy ultimately winning. In the summer, NYPA ponied up some more money to Canal Side, which was starting to talk Bass Pro again, and outer harbor connector.

The Buffalo News all but banned commenters, and then inexplicably forbade Jim Heaney from blogging about the goings-on in city and county government.

As the Republican gubernatorial primary “heated” up, it came down to: who hates Muslims and the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” more? Paladino won that argument. Handily. The execrable, ambiguous, mulleted freak heard daily on WBEN from 9 – 12 went along for the Mooslim-hatin’ ride, because he’s a conspiratorial bandwagon-riding cretin, and an intellectual coward, to boot.

Paladino then decided it’d be swell to throw welfare recipients into decommissioned prisons.

We found out this summer that finally, Bass Pro wasn’t coming to Buffalo, ever. All done. Enough. But now, HSBC was throwing a monkey wrench into the works.

The Buffalo News published Mark Goldman’s prissy “Obstructionist Manifesto”, and we responded with the “Regular Buffalo Person’s Manifesto”. The Coalition of Enough Already was reborn, and Chris and I punctured the myth of the singular Buffalo elite. I later wrote “New Buffalo’s” obituary.

The summer also saw the City Grill get shot up, and all hell broke loose. Will you also surrender to Rich Newberg?

Right before primary day, Rachel Maddow hosted our own Marc Odien, (more here and here), and there were rumors afloat about Antoine Thompson being vulnerable. Nothing came of that, but Paladino obliterated Rick Lazio. David DiPietro fought in court to stay on the ballot despite losing the GOP primary to Pat Gallivan. On the Democratic side, Cynthia Appleton ran a valiant race against the former Sheriff, Gallivan, and the bellicose tea partier, DiPietro. On the county side, we continued to question Chris Collins’ ideas and motivations.

Suddenly, Paladino was thrust into the national and state media spotlight. Despite a few missteps, the response from a Democratic side that was unprepared for his victory was so anemic that I went ahead and predicted Carl’s victory. It was all a big temper tantrum, though, and Paladino’s media handling was quite adept.

All that was needed was another opportunity for Carl to be caught unawares.

We got that opportunity when Carl decided he’d threaten to kill the New York Post’s Fred Dicker. On camera. Suddenly, Paladino was on the defensive again, and got ever-touchier.

In October, the Board of Elections claimed that the legislature downsizing ballot question could not be put before the voters on a technicality. That was defeated.

Carl Paladino tried to get back on-message after the Dicker fiasco, and bought some TV time to set the record straight and get back to “issues”. Instead, the 5:13 to Nowhere was just a whine-fest and little more. Featuring Nancy Naples, of all people, pointing her bejeweled finger at you, shaming you into giving money to Carl.

The final nail in the coffin of the Paladino campaign was his bumbling, fumbling handling of the Yehuda Levin anti-gay controversy. Having read remarks someone else handed him, Paladino said horrible things about gays, only to retract them days later. We decided that his invocation of “pornographers and perverts” in discussing gay marriage was particularly egregious. Paladino also insisted that all the gubernatorial candidates – even the fringe ones join in any debate. He got his wish, resulting in Jimmy McMillan’s 15 minutes of fame coming and going.

Even Carl’s friend David DiPietro got into the Carl email fun.

By the end of October, Carl’s race was all but over. He became less and less credible and relevant with each passing day. As it turns out, Carl’s gay nephew, who allegedly prompted Carl to flip flop on the Hasidic/gay thing, is something of  an asshole, but an asshole who should have the right to marry any other asshole.

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Not to be outdone by an imploding Carl Paladino, Antoine Thompson did everything he could in his re-election bid to become an even less relevant laughingstock. The last straw was his anti-lawyer vitriol directed at all-around-nice-guy Mark Grisanti. In the “race” in NY-27, Higgins’ opponent Lenny Roberto turned out to be a rank homophobe with questionable campaign funding.

A New York Observer piece named WNYMedia.net, “the site that saved Andrew Cuomo.” In November, the WNYMedia.net writers collaborated on our endorsements, as Carl Paladino threw his buddy DiPietro deep under the bus.

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Cuomo made his final argument, Kerplunk went the turd, and the vote was over. We WNYMedia.net types finally made the FCC-regulated airwaves to cover election night with Brad Riter on WECK 1230.

With the election season behind us, it was time to start bikeshedding development issues again. It started, more or less, with a call for the ECHDC to “pause” a decade-long process. We thought everyone should just relax. Seriously. We WNYMedia.net types came up with our own recommendations, and we attended the open houses. We saw the videos, and commented on them. “Lighter, Faster, Cheaper” was the mantra being thrown around, and became moot when the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation called Goldman’s bluff.

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I started reading the My View column out loud, most recently, one penned by Stefan Mychajliw.

Finally, the year was topped off by the Erie County Legislature doing battle with Chris Collins over 0.1% of the county budget. The regular fights and protests from the culturals came to fruition, and if there’s one bright spot, it’s what appears to be the demise of the detestable “reform coalition”. There’s got to be a better way. Some sort of solution should be discussed in earnest.

Thanks, everybody, for a great 2010 & have a great 2011!

Are Blog Comments Dead?

14 Dec

You may have noticed in recent weeks that the number of comments on the site have decreased.  However, our traffic numbers are higher than ever before in a non-election season.  So, what’s happening in the comment section?

When we started this website back in 2004, WNYMedia.net was pretty much the only online outlet for people to comment on and discuss the local news of the day.  The TV stations pretty much ignored the web and The Buffalo News updated once each morning and ignored the potential for an online community.  So, we stepped in and took advantage of the market opportunity.

We offered a cozy spot on the Internet for people to discuss issues in their community, share insights, build consensus, and bring different perspectives to stories that were often ignored by the larger outlets.  We even had a little slogan internally, the site was built for all of us to Advocate, Educate, Inform, Opinionate and Update and sometimes Yell.  We built a pretty diverse community and we were proud of what we created.

Over the ensuing years, the “news and opinion” audience fragmented into various niche websites because, well, that’s what happens on the Internet. Buffalo Rising, Buffalo Spree, SpeakUpWNY, Artvoice, BlockClub and dozens of individual blogs started to build their own communities. Through it all, our traffic numbers grew.  As the old saying goes; “A rising tide raises all boats”.  We were still bringing new readers and contributors onboard each day and, generally speaking, discussions were proactive, friendly, intelligent and productive.  Sure, we had occasional sniping and verbal slapfights, but it’s the Internet.  It’s what happens.

In early 2007, the major outlets finally got onboard with this whole “internets thing” and started asking for comments on stories and providing an outlet for people to communicate.  In their meandering and unfocused effort to add an interactive component to their news organizations, they forgot about the most important part of building an online community, moderation.   Online communities are like gardens.  They need to be watered, fed and maintained on a regular basis or bugs and weeds will overtake the flowers, ya dig?  When new readers visit, your online community cannot look like a hostile, insular and angry place or the new readers will not stay to participate.  People don’t want to be yelled at or insulted nor do they wish to hang around with a bunch of anonymous assholes.

We, however, did not forget about moderation.   About five months ago, we announced that comments would be more strictly moderated on the site to ensure they stayed on topic and stayed positive.  I think we’ve been mildly successful in that regard.

However, moderation isn’t the only factor that has resulted in less conversation on the WNYMedia.  Twitter, Facebook, mobile apps, Networked Blogs and content skimmers have also influenced the conversation, in a very big way.

Yesterday, I did a Facebook search on my Maria Whyte story to see how many people linked it on Facebook.   Interestingly, I found that 32 people in my network had posted the article on their Facebook wall and discussion about the article was happening on all of those pages, over 50 comments.  It was also shared dozens of times on Twitter (with ensuing discussion) and read a couple of hundred times on our Droid App with comments left there as well.  Content skimmers like Buffalo123 also steal our articles and comments occasionally happen on their site as well.   When we stream video, our viewers are on UStream or on their phones and they share/discuss our audio and video content on YouTube.

So, what’s a content provider to do?  Honestly, we don’t really care if the comments are here or elsewhere, our traffic numbers are the currency we care about as a business, but we want to make the readers happy with the experience.  Is it important to you for us to keep comments here or should we simply deal with the new reality that the website serves as a launching pad for content discussions across various social networks?  Should we do more to integrate social feeds into the site using Facebook Connect and Google Accounts?

You tell us, what’s important to you. I’ll be looking for your comments…everywhere.

Kerplunk goes the Turd

2 Dec

About a month or so ago, the New York Observer’s David Freedlander wrote an article about WNYMedia.net’s quite prominent role in stopping the Carl Paladino for Governor train dead in its tracks.  The article called us the “site that saved Andrew Cuomo”, noting that Carl’s emails helped shore up Cuomo’s support among women and blacks.

Last weekend, Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo, all but confirmed that fact.

A discussion among top insiders from all the major gubernatorial campaigns was held at the New School last weekend.  From WNYC’s report:

“We found that to be very problematic. Not the pornography but the perceived racism. We found that to be a bullet to the head. It was something that we had to look at very carefully. I actually had the dubious honor of going through Carl’s outbox.” (On Paladino’s controversial emails.)

“I do believe that Carl fell in love with the kerplunk of the turd in the punchbowl.” (On Paladino’s self-inflicted wounds in the campaign.)

Caputo probaby had the least enviable job of any campaign manager, ever – I liken it to a lawyer with an out-of-control client.  He likened it to holding “a tiger by the tail”. You do your best to maintain control over the candidate and the message, but nothing works.

When Carl Paladino would say something outrageous during the race for governor, his aides would put their best spin on it. But now, a month after the election, they confess he was often acting against their own advice, like when the Republican nominee accused Andrew Cuomo of womanizing, something his campaign manager pinpointed as the start of a downturn.

Carl Paladino killed his own chances – the weekend after he defeated Lazio in the primary, I had predicted that he’d win the whole thing.  And he probably would have, but for his own lack of impulse control.

But make no mistake – this little upstate blog saved New York from a Governor Paladino.

You’re welcome.

WNYMedia.net: “The Site that Saved Andrew Cuomo”

27 Oct

The New York Observer’s David Freedlander wrote this article about the impact that WNYMedia.net and our publication of Carl Paladino’s racist, sexist, and offensive emails [April] [October] had on the governor’s race.  Specifically, Freedlander argues that Cuomo has us to thank for Paladino’s very high unfavorables among women and minorities.

The folks at WNYMedia, meanwhile, are thrilled. Although they eschew any attempt to lump them in with the “netroots” activists who emerged in the wake of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004, they are solid Democratic partisans who have suddenly seen their page counts explode.

Mr. Bedenko and his partner, Marc Odien, knew Mr. Paladino back when he was a mere Buffalo developer. They say he was something of a folk hero for his willingness to battle the entrenched interests like the school board and the teachers’ union. Back before he became a gubernatorial candidate, they were even on a different, more sedate list of people Paladino corresponded with.

Now, Mr. Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo, won’t return their emails or phone calls. He told The Observer, “They have an unhealthy obsession with Carl and pornography. They are well known in Buffalo for being off the left edge and they are not taken that seriously.”

But they have the distinction of possibly doing what newspaper editorials and millions of dollars of fund-raising have failed to do: helping quash the Republican opposition for governor.

“We didn’t know it at the time, but they really helped define the guy,” Mr. Bedenko said. “Any article that mentions Paladino now mentions his proclivity for sending inappropriate emails. It’s the defining moment for his campaign, I think.”

I have two quarrels with the article, the main one being the omission of Chris Smith’s name as our collaborator here, but in the end, to this day, Paladino’s emails help define him.

Hey, new site!

30 Aug

So far, I’m liking the new WNYMedia.net. Then again, it’s easy to like the recent, new iterations of WNYMedia.net because Chris Van Patten knows what he’s doing and works within a deadline. So far the only major things I’m noticing are the omission of a blogroll (perhaps we can replace it with a blog-version of Twitter’s Follow Friday), the “sharing is sexy” thingy under comments that screams acid-washed jeans at me for some reason, and the fact that the body of posts is significantly narrower than the 630-ish px from the last site.

Every re-do of the site takes some getting used to, but I like the way the gang has better integrated the writers and partners into the site this time around, and it’s fun to see what we keep talking about actually get implemented. Great job.

By the way, it’s the slowest week of the year, save Christmastime. Posting will be light. Besides, the city is too busy navel-gazing over City Grill.

On “Fairness” and Collins

29 Jul

1. I was told yesterday that one of the plaintiffs in the new Bass Pro lawsuit did not want to speak with Chris or Marc or anyone from WNYMedia.net because I hadn’t called him (or any of the plaintiffs) for comment before writing this blog post. Well, here’s why. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve called someone for comment on anything I was going to write – because this isn’t news. This is editorial commentary. If I’ve read the text of the lawsuit, haven’t I already consumed their “side of the story?” If I’ve read the straight reporting from the News or Artvoice or Channel 2, I’ve absorbed the facts I need to see in order to formulate an opinion and reach a conclusion.

In the case of the professional plaintiffs’ society, the lawsuit text speaks for itself. What could the Fishers, e.g., possibly add except some pro-Fisher, anti-ECHDC spin?

The reason we still maintain a comments section, and the reason my email is available on the site, is so that anyone who cares to do so can leave a comment on the site or via email. If any of the plaintiffs want to respond, they could do so in any one of those ways. Ray Walter is smart – his opinion differs from ours on just about everything, but he’s secure enough in his convictions to mix it up with us – even yesterday on Brad Riter’s show on WECK.

If you have something to say, say it. Passive aggression is silly.

2. (Hey, look! I’ve included two blog posts in one. I have streamlined the blogging process and thus saved you about 20 seconds’ worth of clicking.)

“Pundit hates Chris Collins”. I realize that my audience is much, much bigger than it was when Joel Giambra was county executive, but if you compare what I wrote then to what I write now about Collins, you’ll note that my current material is quite tame and reasonable in comparison.

I don’t hate Chris Collins. I don’t have any emotional response to Chris Collins. What I think is that Chris Collins is a bland, uninspiring technocrat – a micromanaging, hyperpolitical, beancounting pencil-pusher who is perpetually frustrated that he can’t just run the county like a dictatorship. He is neither used to, nor tolerant of, opposition or criticism. He can solve any personal or political problem through free spending, yet Erie County’s poor and working poor have their desperately needed, federally reimbursed services cut or privatized.

Not to bring up Ray Walter’s name again, but he called in yesterday on Brad Riter’s show to defend Collins and the budgetary choices he’s made. To Walter’s mind, Collins has “reformed” county government by virtue of his careful choices with respect to taxes and spending.

But that’s not reform. I don’t define reform as “playing the same old rules a bit differently” or “pinching pennies”. When you’re talking about a prospective $30 million + budget deficit that’s been forecast for months, penny pinching isn’t obviously solving the fundamental problems.

Reform to me means things like implementing performance-based budgeting – something that was added to the Erie County Charter overwhelmingly by the voters via 2006 referendum. This isn’t a partisan attack, by the way. Clarence’s Democratic Town Supervisor, Scott Bylewski has seen to it that Six Sigma process improvements have gone hand-in-hand with performance-based budgeting to reduce waste in both time and money. Reforms introduced in the legislature by long-ago names like “Locklear” and “Konst” and “Iannello” still languish in committee limbo, never to be debated or voted on.

And above all, the micromanaging Pigeon ally technocrat is more concerned with power and image than he is with making important changes to the very structure of Erie County through regionalism, consolidation of taxing entities, which would improve interagency, inter-entity efficiency and lurch our governmental structure out of the 19th century and into the 21st. Yes, I know that Erie County is a legal construct and subsidiary of the State, but state legislators have been working on making it extraordinarily easy for counties to change how they are structuredright down to abolition.

It’s nice that Chris Collins wants to save money, but it would be nicer if he looked at the big picture, fundamental changes that might save millions rather than thousands, and bring about reforms (or at least advocate for them) that would help make Erie County more competitive.

Say what you want about Giambra’s two terms of fail, but at least he was out there using his bully pulpit for big ideas like regionalism every once in a while.

Reform isn’t defined by the way in which you play the game. It’s defined by changing the game itself.

About that Post I Never Wrote

16 Mar
Image of Chris Collins from Facebook
Image of Chris Collins

Someone I respect and admire, who reads my site regularly but disagrees with me on most things political, contacted me a few months ago to inform me that Chris Collins was taking a few days off because he had a death in the family.

He advised me to not write any of my, “Chris Collins should drop dead” posts.

At the time, I laughed and promised that I wouldn’t. It was the easiest promise I could have made, because under what circumstances would I ever type those words?

I may think that Chris Collins is a pompous jerk whose priorities are wrong. I may think that the Sheriff is an incompetent boor. But I don’t wish them ill; I don’t wish them to be harmed or in any way stricken by disease or death.

I’ve been insulted loads of times by the best of them. Take your pick. But the “when did you stop beating your wife” suggestion that I withhold my fictitious desire that the county executive become ill was pretty insulting. I’d never post such a thing, and I’d never make light of someone’s tragedy, either. This isn’t that kind of site.

Now, maybe I could shake it off as being, itself, joking hyperbole. A ‘ha-ha, I’m so mean to Collins that I should tone it down while he’s at a funeral’ sort of thing. Fair enough. But the call was made specifically and explicitly to me at that time to advise me not to write those kinds of posts. It wasn’t an off-handed comment, it was the prime subject matter of the call.

Well, I didn’t write that Collins should “drop dead” because (a) I never would; and (b) I don’t feel that way about anyone with whom I happen to disagree politically. If that’s what you think of me, you probably shouldn’t read this blog anymore. Seriously.