Tag Archives: new york

Niagara Falls’ Last Ditch Effort

11 Jun
Rainbow II

Rainbow II by Flickr User Nykino

Attention recent college graduates: Niagara Falls wants you!

Desperate for its population to stay above 50,000, Niagara Falls is starting a modest pilot program – using Federal urban renewal funds – to attract 20 young recent college graduates to come live there for at least two years in a particular area of the city near the Seneca Niagara Casino.  After a year of residency, each would receive $3,500 for student loan payments. 

Industry has been leaving the city for decades, and economic activity on the American side of the Falls is hamstrung by a chicken/egg scenario: tourists don’t much leave the state park because of the blight, and the blight won’t improve unless people go downtown or leave the casino and spend money. The News article about this program says city leaders want to create an “Elmwood Avenue North” relying on recent grads to attract the sorts of business at which they’d spend money.

Niagara University is considering opening a downtown branch, and the NCCC Culinary Institute is under construction, ready to bring another 500 students to downtown when it opens. 

It’s an innovative subsidy, and perhaps a sign of desperation, but Niagara Falls, NY has been in desperate straits for a very long time indeed – a city known now as the dowdy American comparative to the attractive, bustling, gorgeously maintained Canadian side; an America paved not with gold, but with depleted uranium

Attracting young employed people to, in essence, jump-start a gentrification of Niagara Falls may very well be that city’s last, best hope. 

After all, as much as any place in western New York, this place truly matters

They Paved Paradise

25 Apr

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

NYS Food Map

6 Feb

NYS Foodie Map by Shannon Glazer

This map was created by Shannon Glazer and uploaded at Buffalo.com. I was most surprised to learn that “pizza rolls” is a thing.

Regarding a Political Opinion Poll

28 Oct

Hey, about those phone calls that voters are receiving purporting to be from the Poloncarz campaign, we’ll have some video up later, but here are a few issues:

The Collins campaign has it all figured out.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/news4buffalo/status/129995007955435522″%5D

1. Here’s an audio recording of the outgoing message you hear when dialing the number at issue: (716) 250-7491:


Now, if you Google that phrase: “If you received a call from this number, you were contacted regarding a political opinion poll“, you get this result – the same exact message, same exact voice comes up if you call (858) 634-5689.

2. At a press conference Friday at 1:00 pm, County Legislator Kevin Hardwick indicated that he had received what he thought to be a perfectly reasonable call from that same number, asking him to support Poloncarz, and reading from a script that outlined that Congressman Brian Higgins and Congresswoman Kathy Hochul had endorsed him.   That’s odd, since Hochul & Higgins didn’t formally endorse Poloncarz until October 28th, but the call Professor Hardwick received came on October 26th.


I asked Peter Anderson from the Poloncarz campaign, and he adamantly denied that the campaign – or any of its surrogates – was making these calls.


The smoking phone!

Hey, Chris and Stef – which union is busy making calls to San Diego County, California, and Erie County, New York?

The Buffalo Tea Party: Blame the Poor

10 Oct
  • John Q Taxpayer <garjanb@msn.com> Oct 09 09:16AM -0700 ^
  • Erie County / Buffalo New York 2011 the party for the poor is over.
  • Here we are; after 134 years of taxpayer subsidized “life’ for the
  • poor, we have reached the end. Erie County New York where welfare
  • started in 1877, today 100% of property taxes collected are required
  • to pay for Medicaid (health care for the poor). The county now runs
  • all other services on sales tax revenue. The poor have run this county
  • into the abyss. Erie County once the proud home of a steel industry,
  • thousands of blue collar jobs, and most notable the genesis of the
  • electric power generation industry, sits upon the trash heap of
  • failed civilizations of the past.
  • We watched as the political fools of all stripes steered this once
  • great, beacon of light, into the darkness of socialism. Under the
  • euphoria of compassion Erie County political fools chanted, the
  • Marxist voodoo poison of “From each according to his ability, to each
  • according to his needs” Then these collective political fools invited
  • every feeble, lazy, ignorant, breeder from all over the world to come
  • here for some of that other people’s money.
  • We the taxpayers watched in terror while our hard earned money was
  • wasted on the lowest that society had to offer. “Why didn’t you
  • people speak up” an outsider says, “why this was robbery”. Yes it is
  • but,,, in the beginning it was such a small amount, we were so rich,
  • prosperous, and they said “be your brother’s keeper” the poor would
  • starve without your money, how could you wealthy taxpayers be so
  • cruel, it’s for the children, you know the children defenseless
  • children………….oh the poor say, is it that simple, I just hide my
  • laziness behind the children…… really that simple… just have more
  • babies and you will give me more money…… “From each (taxpayer you big
  • governmental fools will take the fruits of their labor) according to
  • his ability, to each, (me the poor) according to my (children’s)
  • needs.
  • I guess it is fitting that where the social welfare state started it
  • should find its demise. The taxpayers who had vision in the future are
  • long gone, to anywhere else, who could blame them. They now sit with
  • the conformation that the decision to flee Erie County was an
  • excellent choice. They visit friends and family here and behold the
  • decay caused by political fools past and present.
  • As political fools of today try to “fix’ the problem and balance the
  • budget, do they remember the Paul Revere’s of the past, saying “this
  • is not going to end well”, “the ship of Erie County is sinking, pull
  • in the gang planks and don’t let anymore on the boat or we will all
  • sink in the sea of red ink”, “we cannot afford to take care of all the
  • poor in the world”, but it is for the children……
  • So reader which path do we take? Soon the poor will consume 100% of
  • all tax revenues. More people will leave; housing values will fall
  • because taxes are too high, property taxes will fall because of the
  • falling house values. Taxes will have to be raised to keep the poor in
  • their demanded lifestyles, children will be born, the children…….
  • Or do the deaf political fools do what was called for decades ago and
  • reduce the burden on the taxpayers by cutting alms to the poor? After
  • all it is time the poor who created this mess, let them help fix it.
  • Will the current political fools have the strength to hold their
  • ground when the poor riot in the streets? Oh did I say a bad word? It
  • is a four letter word. SHHHHHHHHH JQT, do not say that word. What
  • readers are you still hiding from that word, isn’t that word the
  • reason we have been paying all those taxes to the poor? Like the
  • mafia protection money. The 1960’s when welfare exploded, riots in the
  • streets, pay us or die? Remember? If not look it up.
  • Am I making you uncomfortable, are you squirming in your chair?
  • OH John shut up.
  • Tax the rich more, take their money give it to the poor so I will be
  • safe…… just say it is for the children
  • John Q Taxpayer

American Axle Profits Double, So it Closes its Cheektowaga Plant

19 Aug

As American Axle closes its Cheektowaga plant, ending its dalliance with western New York, consider the UAW’s point: 

Negotiations broke down on July 31st when UAW Local 846 Members voted 98% in favor of rejecting what American Axle said was its “last best and final proposal,” UAW Representatives said.  During contract talks, American Axle demanded more money and benefits from its Workers, UAW Officials added.  Union Workers have already taken concessions, but were willing to negotiate a contract that helps keep jobs in the local community.  Meanwhile, in late July, American Axle released figures showing that its profits soared to $47.9 million from $25.3 million a year ago.

“This is an indication that Hard-Working People are sick of constantly helping companies through concessions and back to profitability and companies refusing to share in that,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who directs the Union’s American Axle Department.  “Here’s a business that started out as an American Company providing good-paying jobs to six-thousand employees.  As a result of the hard work of these employees, it has grown to an international company with thirty-two factories worldwide.  All of this success was achieved off the backs of the original six-thousand Hard-Working Americans.”

The numbers show that, even in a crappy economy, even with the labor costs currently extant in Cheektowaga, the company was making money, improving its standing thanks in part to concessions labor made in its last round of contract negotiations.

Those workers took concessions, and worked hard day in and day out for that company, helping it almost double its profits.  In doing so, they asked for a living wage, and that the company reward them for their earlier concessions and increased productivity. No luck.

The trend now is for management to demand more work for less pay from labor, and then shipping jobs to China or Mexico when labor’s had enough. This has to stop.

Legalize and Regulate Casino Gaming in New York

10 Aug

I’ve often said that I’m not opposed to casino gaming in Buffalo, WNY, or New York State. What I object to is the Seneca’s exclusivity, and the phony carving-out of sovereign Seneca exclaves in the middle of downtown Niagara Falls, or on the far fringes of Buffalo’s downtown. I don’t think that these cities would as readily cede blocks of property to France or New Zealand, so it makes little sense to do the same to enrich other, tax-free, sovereign nations, at the expense of surrounding neighborhoods and merchants.

So, it’s a good thing that Governor Cuomo is looking to re-examine the constitutional prohibition on casino gaming in New York so that these entities can be properly taxed and regulated, not just by the federal government, but also by states and municipalities.  Gambling already exists, and it’s all over the place – the lottery, OTB, racinos. This is the next logical step.

Byron Brown to Andrew Cuomo: Take Your Deal and Shove It

22 Jul

Why would the caretaker mayor of a depressed city that is dependent on state aid, programs, and control board, choose to betray the most popular governor in America?

WNYMedia.net has exclusively learned that, in a stark betrayal of Governor Cuomo’s express wishes for Democratic peace among all the various factionstop City Hall apparatchiks circulated Conservative Party nominating petitions on behalf of Republican County Executive Chris Collins and a Family Court Judge candidate.


The people who certified that they circulated these petitions are:

The petition on the first page has an illegible signature, but we are led to believe it belongs to none other than Byron Brown’s right-hand man, Steve Casey. For comparison’s sake, here is the signature shown on that petition:


Click to enlarge

And here is Casey’s signature (dated 2006), taken from the Board of Elections:

Click to enlarge

In my opinion, the signatures match.

These petitions were reportedly filed on Collins’ behalf, and they contain glaringly few actual signatures – as if the people circulating them weren’t really looking to ensure Collins’ inclusion on the Conservative line, but instead sending a message. The message here is, quite figuratively, a massive middle finger to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who went out of his way to broker a Democratic peace for the 2011 election cycle. This is Byron Brown and Steve Casey saying, “we’re not making peace with anyone” and underscoring the fact that their dealmaking and quids pro quo with Collins are far more important than actual policy or Democratic electoral success or unity; it’s possible that these petitions were circulated with Brown’s deals with Collins in mind.

But on the surface, it’s a frank betrayal of any Democratic bona fides Brown and his gang purport to have ever had, as they are clearly supporting a county executive who goes out of his way to do economic and social harm disproportionately targeting the poorest residents of the city Brown likes to think he represents as Mayor.

Prior to publishing this report, I reached out to City Hall through Brown’s spokesman, Mike DeGeorge.  I sent him the following email:

Mr. DeGeorge:

Tomorrow morning, WNYMedia.net will be running a story evidencing that top members of Mayor Brown’s cabinet, as well as someone in the law department and two people affiliated with citizen services, circulated Conservative Party nominating petitions for Chris Collins and a Family Court judge.

The reason for writing is to determine whether any of the following people: [names omitted] might have any comment on the matter, or whether the Mayor may wish to comment or issue a statement in some way.

As you’re no doubt aware, Governor Cuomo and Charlie King brokered a negotiated peace between the rival factions in the Democratic Party. Although the peace is messy, this is quite an interesting breach of it indeed.

My questions to these people would be:

  • What purpose would there be for these city officials to so brazenly disregard the Governor’s wishes, yet only collect a tiny handful of signatures?
  • What is the message being sent here to Andrew Cuomo? To Brian Higgins, ECDC, Grassroots, and city Democrats?
  • Will Mayor Brown be endorsing Chris Collins for County Executive?
  • Will Mayor Brown be endorsing Mark Poloncarz for County Executive?
  • Will Mayor Brown be endorsing anyone for County Executive?
  • Is there some quid pro quo or dealmaking underlying this apparent public support of Chris Collins?
  • Is Mayor Brown (or do any of these people) in favor of Collins’ policies, despite the fact that the poorest city residents have been most directly (often adversely) affected by them?
  • Has the Mayor heard from Governor Cuomo regarding this issue?
  • Is Mayor Brown thinking of changing his party affiliation?

The article is scheduled to run at 7:30 tomorrow morning.  Any statement/comment or response(s) to these questions would be appreciated before then.  I am specifically not asking for confirmation or denial or comment about the fact that the petitions were circulated and filed – the documents, which I will post, will speak for themselves. Mr. Casey’s signature appears on one of them, although I cannot be 100% sure. Perhaps he would like to confirm or deny that fact.  The documents – in pdf format – are visible by following this link. http://www.scribd.com/doc/60554311/CON-Petitions

Thank you in advance.


I did not receive a reply .

Congratulations to Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd

22 Jul

On Sunday morning at 12:01 AM, Buffalonian same-sex marriage advocates, and longtime partners, Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd will be wed at a public ceremony on Goat Island in Niagara Falls, New York. The Falls will be illuminated in the colors of the rainbow for the event.

They will be the first couple to be legally wed in the state of New York, in recognition of their tireless efforts to bring about the legalization of same-sex marriage, which becomes law on July 24th. Among the guests will be Senator Mark Grisanti and former Assemblyman Sam Hoyt.

You may remember Lambert and Rudd from February 2010, when they applied for a marriage license at Buffalo City Hall but were refused.  In protest, Lambert picked a perfect, male, stranger to wed and promptly received a license.


Of that, I wrote this:

Our society is so backwards on this that our government has no problem in granting a marriage license literally to two complete strangers who met a moment before, but will not  grant a similar license to a committed same-sex couple.  A complete sham marriage between a gay woman and gay man is perfectly legal, but Kitty and Cheryl are second-class citizens.

This is heart-rending and infuriating…

It’s great that those days will soon be over.  Congratulations to the happy, historic, activist couple.


Governor Cuomo Moves to Phase 2

20 Jul

There’s nary an Albany special interest group that is particularly pleased with the Cuomo administration. He is leading from the center, as good leaders should, alternating between conservative fiscal policies and progressive social policies. There is no question that Cuomo has pushed a dysfunctional Albany legislature into implementing meaningful change. Whether it be reworking union contracts, SUNY 2020, balancing the budget, passing same sex marriage, or passing big ethics reforms, most of what Cuomo’s “New New York” plan for the first half of the year has been focused on getting Albany back to work.

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo revealed his plan for the second half of the year, and it’s going to be focused on the rest of the state – specifically, he is focusing on reworking local governments to make them more efficient and regionally focused. Creating jobs and a comprehensive review and reinvention of government(s) will be front and center, helping to make New York less of a byzantine nightmare and more competitive with other states.  Here’s video that Politics on the Hudson shot:


If Cuomo can resurrect local discussions about regionalism and government consolidation, then filling in that dot for Cuomo may very well prove to be the best vote I ever made.