Tag Archives: Occupy Buffalo

Occupy the ECIDA

17 Apr

In order to dissuade Occupy Buffalo from “creating a disturbance”, which is newspeak for “exercising their first amendment right to free speech in front of a public entity”, the Erie County Sheriff’s office overloaded the library auditorium with Deputies.

Occupy Buffalo issued the following on its site:

Slumlord Carl Paladino has a net worth of $150 million, and yet he wants more taxpayer money so he can make a profit by turning his dilapidated Greystone Manor into an upscale apartment building that none of us could ever afford to live in. Moreover, once the renovations are done, no further jobs will be created from this endeavor. It is all about Paladino making a profit at the taxpayers’ expense.

If you want to know more about where your taxes go, then come to this meeting and find out. Occupy the economy!

Also, please be aware that armed security may be present at this meeting. This is the reality in which we live. They try to instill fear in us with the threat of violence. But it will not deter us from pursuing truth and justice.

The jobs created by these tax breaks are temporary construction jobs.

The ECIDA meetings – during which politically well-connected people decide how other politically well-connected people get to spend public money – do not provide for public comment. The public hearing on the matter took place on April 9th, during which people were permitted to speak. So, when the Erie County IDA votes to give multimillionaire land speculator Carl Paladino hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales and mortgage tax breaks – incentives that cost the people money – the people are required to sit silently. We don’t get to vote for the ECIDA members, and we get to comment only in a limited way.

Occupy is active as the lobbyists for regular people who are undeserved by this rudderless system of myriad IDAs, which seldom develop anything industrial, and who regularly poach WNY businesses from one WNY community to another. If we had one regional IDA, which sought to attract business and people from outside WNY, that would be great. So would an ida scheme that didn’t routinely substitute “residential” or “hospitality” for “industrial.” Occupy took similar action recently at the Clarence IDA, which has come under harsh state criticism for its practices.

It would appear that something is desperately wrong with that sort of system. Thanks to Occupy Buffalo for attending these meetings and questioning the ECIDA’s policy of subsidizing projects that generate few, if any, permanent jobs and likely would be completed anyway.

Typical.

22 Dec

It’s typically Buffalo that we can’t just have one #Occupy group in town, but we have Occupy Buffalo in Niagara Square, and Occupy WNY in Lafayette Square.

We love to needlessly duplicate efforts in almost all things.

Asking the Tough Questions of the Powerless and Mentally Ill

23 Nov

I like the Buffalo News’ new editorial direction. The mainstream media of yore would have exposed – oh, I dunno – maybe the fact that the country’s political, taxation, and entire socioeconomic structure has been systematically co-opted by the richest 1% of Americans for their own benefit, thanks to a compliant governmental structure that is able and willing to be lobbied and bought. In the past, the city’s paper of record would have proudly gone after the powerful. Pentagon Papers! Watergate! Obscure Guy at Occupy Buffalo!

Now? The Buffalo News bravely questions the claims of military service made by Christopher Simmance, an Occupy Buffalo protester who suffers from PTSD, and has been fighting the federal bureaucracy for years trying to get incorrect records corrected.

Simmance is not a leader – putative or otherwise – of Occupy Buffalo, nor is he in any position of power or influence over anybody. As far as I can tell, he’s a troubled Army veteran who is upset about the direction of the country, and sports a backwards Kangol cap.

Did Simmance serve in the Korangal Valley of Afghanistan? I mean, IT WAS IN A MOVIE! I know that the Buffalo News didn’t have the answer, but insinuates that he didn’t.

Setting aside this article’s questionable prioritization – questioning the powerless rather than the powerful – the article doesn’t conclusively rebut any of Simmance’s claims. Instead, it employs the Glenn Beck-trademarked trick of question-asking to discredit by innuendo.  I don’t get it. Here’s a Twitter back and forth that Steve Watson, the article’s author, and I had:

View the story “Steve Watson on Simmance” on Storify]

If the News had unearthed actual facts to dispute Simmance’s claims, then it’d be a story. Without them, it’s just a smear.

A shameful one at that.

Up next: an Orchard Park working mother of two claims to go to a gym three times a week to work out. But does she? She claims to do Zumba, but Zumba is mentioned on TV ads!