Tag Archives: PolitiFAIL 2010

And the Faily® Goes To….

2 Apr

Congratulations, voters (and non-voters) of Western New York!


The Winner of PolitiFAIL Tourney 2010 Is…

1 Apr

In a landslide victory over Dale “Count of Monte Fail-o” Volker, The WNY Voter emerged victorious in the 2010 WNYMedia.net Tournament of PolitiFAIL.  The WNY Voter racked up 1260 votes to Volker’s 510 to take the title.

We’ll have photos and video of the awards presentation up shortly.

Thanks again for reading, participating, voting and spreading the word across social networks.

PolitiFAIL Championship: Dale Volker vs. WNY Voters

1 Apr

State Senator Dale Volker

Dale Volker is so detestable that his own party chairman is considering a run against him – something unthinkable in local Republican politics.

Dale Volker is so detestable that there are a solid three (3) Republicans altogether running against him right now. David DiPietro, Lenny Roberto, and potentially Jim Domagalski.

Dale Volker is such a hypocrite that he and his staff cost the taxpayers over $1 million per year to basically do nothing except redistribute tax money.

Dale Volker is such a horrible human being that he and his surrogates bully, smear, and threaten people who politically oppose him or dare to run against him.

Dale Volker, were he a cop for the past 40 years, would have been a dirty one.

Dale Volker thinks you’re a dick.

Dale Volker has been in Albany for 40 years and has absolutely nothing to show for it, except for a reputation as an asshole and a big fat public pension.

Dale Volker hates “downstate people” (read: Jews, blacks, hispanics, other non-Germanic ethnics).

Dale Volker pretends to tolerate kids in his presence.


Dale Volker pretends to be personable and approachable.


Dale Volker meets with constituents at picnics and says words that do not correlate in any way to what the constituent is saying. The word is “doddering”.


Dale Volker blames all of his problems on a noun beginning with the adjective “downstate”.

Dale Volker is tight with the unions.

Dale Volker supports the anachronistic and unnecessarily harsh Rockefeller drug laws, because his political career is thoroughly dependent on inmates, who count as “constituents”, even though they’re mostly from downstate, and cannot vote.

Dale Volker, to put it another way, owes his political career to the disenfranchised.

Dale Volker is from WNY, but wears a bolo tie.


Dale Volker purports to represent his ridiculously gerrymandered district by railing against taxes and fees, yet he was very very recently a senior member of the Senate majority.

He’s nothing but a lot of talk and an expired badge. If there is any politician locally who deserves to be ejected from office and sent to live out his days in a bungalow near Siesta Key, chomping on a bland early bird dinner at 4:30 at some half-assed diner, berating the help, yelling at random minorities, and driving his tan Buick very slowly in the left lane, it is this septuagenarian, do-nothing malignant toad.

WNY Voters

Who aspires to mediocrity? Who strives for adequacy? Who rails against Albany, yet helps maintain a 95% incumbency success rate for the state legislature? Who listens to semi-literate, uninformed nonsense on AM radio and believes it to be true? Who re-elects dummies over and over? Who complains about party politics and party machines, yet refuses to get involved in local or countywide committees? Who bitches about the status quo, yet maintains a sub-50% turnout rate? Who has an intimate knowledge about, e.g., American Idol, but can’t identify their Assemblyman or Senator?

WNY has been in decline for 50 years. What we have managed is to identify the problems. What we have failed to do is adequately address them, or elect people who might do so. We don’t even have the wherewithal to look to nearby cities and regions so we can mimic what they’re doing.

40 years of failure? Or are we our own worst enemy?


PolitiFAIL Results, Final Four Edition

1 Apr

As we bring this contest to a close, I’d like to thank the bloggers of WNYMedia for all of their hard work in this tournament.  Colin Eager, Gabe Armstrong, Eric Saldanha, Marc Odien, Brian Castner and Alan Bedenko did a fantastic job with their matchup previews.

This tournament started as a goofy idea hatched one day in our office between Marc and I and it has turned out to be way more popular than we originally imagined.  You’ve viewed the tournament posts over three hundred thousand times and cast thousands of votes to determine who you think  is most responsible for the current level of FAIL in our region.

So, thank you for playing.  We’ll be selecting a random reader for our FAIL prize pack tomorrow and we will announce the winner of the PoilitiFAIL tournament at tomorrow’s press conference at 5PM in front of the former planned home of the Buffalo Creek Casino in Downtown Buffalo.

On to the Final Four of FAIL Recap:

Dale “The Count of Monte FAILo” Volker versus Byron “BERCtastic FAIL” Brown in  a showdown for the ages.  These two men represent such distinct and virulent strains of political failure, it was almost pre-ordained that they meet to determine who had the secret sauce of FAIL.

Dale Volker is like the Colonel Sander of WNY Regional FAIL.  He created the original 11 herbs and spices of FAIL and is loathed by Democrats, Republicans and children everywhere.  A man disconnected from his community, entitled, arrogant, condescending and an opponent to everything that represents progress and forward thinking.  The exact kind of small minded petty tyrant who has held back our region from success for decades.

Byron Brown is the all about failed potential, the JP Losman of the local political world.  Elected with promise and hope yet has flailed about haplessly in almost every situation.

Even his scandals are low-rent, small-town and ultimately disappointing.  He associates himself with deadbeats, grifters and charlatans, all at the cost of community wide progress.  Are we better off with him in office rather than Tony Masiello?  Kevin Helfer?  Mickey Kearns?  Not really.  Frankly, this is a time of great opportunity for this city and region.  We have a President interested in urban policy, a massive shakeup in our national economy, changing demographics and a fundamental shift in our national priorities.  A forward thinking Mayor would be working regionally with other leaders and enlisting the best and brightest thinkers in the city and abroad to position Buffalo to take advantage of these factors.  Instead, we’re moving BERC into BURA and generally playing the Three Card Monty con of government with patronage, power, and favors.

It was a matchup of heavyweights, yet Volker came out ahead with a score of 625-439 and moves on to the Championship Game.

Chris “Let Them Eat Cake” Collins versus the WNY Voter.

Collins has made a name for himself in just 18 months in office with his policy initiatives which comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.  Stripping money from the urban budget faster than a stripper takes off her bra in a lap dance…assuming she wants a seat from Mr. Collins.  However, the golf courses are still running and the toboggan run is once again functional at Chestnut Ridge Park.  So, there’s that.

Collins was elected on a platform of running government like a business…he just never told us that he meant a horribly mismanaged business.  He failed to mention the business he would emulate would be one filled with extraneous, overpaid managers with personal connections to the CEO, micromanagement, unsound decision making, a chauvinist chief executive and a failed total quality management plan.  Who does he think he is, the CEO of Enron?

The WNY Voter has taken down Steve Pigeon, Stan Lipsey, and Andrew Rudnick who represent some of the face on WNY’s Mount FAILmore.  It’s been a helluva run for this spunky 4 seed.

The WNY Voter is the patient zero of FAIL in this community.  With our reckless electoral behavior we have infected our community with an epic strain of FAIL that will take generations to treat and ultimately cure.   We have demonstrated an unwillingness to hold our leaders accountable and they have taken advantage of us for nearly 50 years.

Yes, districts are gerrymandered, franking privileges abused, fundraising networks are exclusionary of common folk willing to run for office, and we lack legitimate choices in primaries OR general elections.  But, we’ve created the environment in which we find ourselves.  Our ambivalence foments an arrogance in our elected leadership which seems impervious to our infrequent and impotent yearnings for change.

We can’t get our collective shit together, why should we expect the politicians to care about our needs?  Insiders like Carl Paladino empower these leaders to rape our community blind, while sending him a vig on the proceeds by locating government offices in his buildings.

They don’t care about us, they don’t NEED us when they have useful idiots like Carl around.  They don’t need us because we show up to the polls at a 20% rate.  They need to fear the change we can create at the voting booth, the power that comes from hundreds of thousands of voices all calling for reform and change…damn, I felt a little teabag coming on there.

Anyhow, The WNY Voter continues the string of upsets with a 547-362 upset over Chris Collins

For the FAIL championship, State Senator Dale M. Volker versus The Voters of WNY.

We’ll see you tomorrow at the press conference.

PolitiFAIL Final Four, Byron Brown vs. Dale Volker

31 Mar

Byron Brown’s failure stems from his promise.

In 2005, so many people had so much hope that this young, energetic, bright son of Montserratian immigrants could yank this city out of years and years of status quo cronyism.  He would implement new technology to help track city work and ensure that it was done more efficiently, saving money.  He would employ the best and brightest.  A new mayor for a new Buffalo.

Astonishingly, unnecessarily, his first term was marred by mediocrity, pettiness, and inaction.  Yes, good things have happened in town, but many of them thanks to the state or federal government.  Everyone wants to like the Mayor, and everyone really roots for him to succeed – to rise above the political power plays he engages in with his enemies, real and perceived.

Time after time, he and his cronies disappoint us.  Time after time, the political games distract us from real problems, harming our ability to find real solutions to them.

Yet after a first term of mediocrity, he wasn’t just re-elected, he was re-elected overwhelmingly.  In landslides.  A rout or two, in fact.

Byron Brown has the political capital to be a real agent for positive change in this city.  He has the unique ability to appeal to all city residents and bring them all together for the greater good.

The moment he decides to do that, we’ll let you know.

And then there’s Dale.  An Archie Bunker type who was heard this week on the radio bitching and moaning about the “downstate people”.

Dale, here’s a clue:  we’re not stupid.  We know that when you berate and blame “downstate people”, you’re talking about New York City Jews and minorities.  You might as well just man up and admit it; just call it what it is.

And this divisive, ignorant little toad, he of massive ego and sense of entitlement, continues to get re-elected thanks more to sharp elbows than merit.  Unlike Byron Brown, no one expects – or gets – great things from Dale Volker.  He is not a transformative figure.  He is not a guy who appeals to anybody except the beneficiaries of his member item largesse, and angry, threatened octogenarians.

So, with Dale we expect devastating mediocrity, and get exactly that.  For 40 bloody years.  Volker costs the taxpayers over a million dollars per year to do absolutely nothing.  Seriously, name one thing Dale Volker does that can’t be done some other way by some other government actor.  You can’t.  I can’t.   At least the Mayor goes out there and promotes Buffalo.

Dale Volker goes out there and promotes the antediluvian status quo.  There isn’t a new idea about anything rattling around in that empty head, nor has there been in two generations.

So, which is more insidious – great promise wasted, or 40 years’ worth of a D-minus?


PolitiFAIL Final Four, WNY Voters vs. Chris Collins

31 Mar

Here it is the final four, and the voters of WNY find ourselves up against a nouveau riche weasel who goes out of his way to screw the little guy day in and day out.

Collins was the top seed in the county bracket, and sure enough, here he is, playing the 4th local seed.  The WNY Voter has defeated such remarkable failures as Steve Pigeon and Andrew Rudnick.  That’s no small feat.  That’s a massive upset.

But consider the fact that Collins wouldn’t be a household name were it not for the WNY Voter.  The WNY Voter let Giambra before him get away with shoving the county’s head down the toilet and flushing over and over.  All of these elected people on the original bracket owe their political existence to the WNY Voter.

We’ve repeated Collins’ misdeeds over and over.  He’s a petty technocrat who, like his overwhelming white, suburban political base, doesn’t give a shit about the city or its poors.  Oh, they may “care” by, e.g., allowing the United Way to withdraw a few bucks out of every paycheck.  But in an overarching socioeconomic way, the Collins types figure urban problems just get solved by a few feel-good drop-offs of cans at a suburban Tops for the Food Bank of WNY.

Collins’ policies hurt the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.  The ones who need help the most.  The ones who are powerless, who have nothing, who are more likely than not represented by feckless wastes who concern themselves more with Machiavellian power plays than with applying 21st century solutions to late 20th century problems.

But the voter – we, as voters – we continually settle for mediocrity.

You know why Collins won? Because the other side put up Jim fucking Goddamned Keane to run for county executive.  I mean, why not just run a guy named Hacky McPatronagejob?  If the Democrats had run a candidate who didn’t make Dale Volker look like a forward-thinking go-getter, maybe the result would have been different.

While other people in other parts of the country strive for excellence, we struggle for adequacy.  Dale Volker hasn’t been in elected office since 1973 by accident.  Antoine Thompson didn’t win an uncontested election last year by a fluke. Byron Brown didn’t win by a landslide by mistake, and he didn’t run unopposed in November by chance.

All of these things happen because the average voter lets them.

Whether it’s the semi-informed ignoramus who listens to the Sandy Bauerle show, or the professional who carefully reads the paper, it doesn’t take much to get involved.  I may not agree with a single solitary thing the tea partiers stand for, but at least they’re trying to effect change they believe in.  Would that everyone did that.  Would that everyone took as much of an interest in political matters as they do with the goings-on of the Sabres and Bills.  We’d all be better off as a community.

Sports teams aren’t what make a city or a region a major-league place; a contender.

In this match-up, you have to decide from a FAIL standpoint: do we select the Six Sigma poindexter who puts the poors in a closet?  Or do we select the real culprits behind Collins’, Brown’s, Thompson’s, Volker’s, Maziarz’s, Howard’s, etc., ascension to elected office?

For the most part, our public servants aren’t.


Collins vs. Howard, PolitiFAIL 2010, Elite Eight

30 Mar

It’s a battle between an indolent and incompetent county sheriff and an arrogant plutocrat who has ascended to the position of Erie County Executive.

This should be entertaining.

Both are evidence of a shift in our local politics and their failure transcends the simple day-to-day numbskullery and duplicitous deviance that we encounter on a daily basis in our local politics.

Collins has only been in power for eighteen months, but he is racking up a FAIL resume that is impressive in its breadth while Howard is on to his second term of constant and documented epic unaccountable failure.  One might say this is a showdown between Boss Hogg and Rosco P. Coltrane.

Let’s start with Chris Collins and we’ll pull from some of the different articles written about him on WNYMedia in the 18 months since his election.  First up, Alan’s profile of Collins from January:

Chris Collins: The current Erie County Executive, and another in a long line of Republican chief executives – interrupted by only one Democrat, Dennis Gorski, from 1988 – 1999. Collins is the CEO of several local closely-held companies, and specializes in taking failing businesses and turning them around. He campaigned on a pledge to do the same thing for Erie County, pledging to run it like a business and to institute cost savings, rational use of resources, and fiscal responsibility through the use of  Lean Six Sigma. Although he pledged not to become a “chief politician”, his critics have noted that he has become exactly that, brokering political backroom deals and quids pro quos in order to ease his agenda through with minimal opposition and oversight. Biggest governmental success so far has been the reversion of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority to advisory status.

Up next, we’ll go to Colin’s preview from yesterday:

You know Collins’ record by now: behaving like the new George Wallace and standing in the doorway of the Erie County Holding Center, cutting county support for nutrition programs for children and pregnant women, and generally acting like a chauvinist ass.  He’s a real piece of shit.

Colin is direct, impolitic, but spot-on.

And finally from Alan’s first round preview:

Collins was elected Erie County Executive in 2007, pledging to run county government “like a business”.  The centerpiece of his plan was to implement “Six Sigma Lean” manufacturing process concepts to the delivery and management of county government services.  Administering a $1.1BN county budget, about 80% of which is dedicated to state mandates, Collins came into office while the county was operating under a hard control board, and with a flourish promised to accept only $1 per month in salary until such time as the control board switched to advisory status, which it did in early 2009.

But all of the businesses Collins ever ran were closely-held entities over which he always had the final word and more or less complete control.  His efforts to run county government closely follow that same model – far more confrontational and micromanaging than cooperative and trusting.  His administration has been heavy-handed in its dealings with anyone it perceives to be an enemy or threat, and he has taken a page from the Byron Brown playbook, running candidates against that enemies list.  In 2009, he won some and lost some.  Collins ran as a non-politician, but he’s a quick learner and has become quite the transactional actor, relying on principle only when absolutely necessary.  His administration’s mishandling of the Erie County Jails issue is inexplicable and dangerous.  Although he claims that Six Sigma has been a success, there is little evidence presented.  His decisions often pit wealthier suburbs against poorer city – for instance, his decision to get the county out of the WIC and health clinic businesses – both of which were funded fully by the federal government.  His excuse?  They were non-mandated services, and the county was still on the hook for legacy costs.  Yet the county also administers golf courses, which are non-mandated services operated by county workers with legacy costs, but the county remains in the golf course business.  His arrogance is matched by his wealth and dictatorial attitude, and his public pronouncements are mere parroting of talking points that have become tired cliches.

What Chris Collins fundamentally represents in this region is the new guard.  He is a nouveau riche entrepreneur infiltrating the old guard of Buffalo’s elite and filling board slots and patronage positions with members of the Amherst/Clarence business class.  A guy from the outer ring suburbs who doesn’t demonstrate loyalty to the urban core in policy decisions and wants to change the way we approach public policy and regional decisions.

Is it a good thing?  We’re certainly going to find out.

Sheriff Tim Howard

As for Sheriff Howard, what more can I add that hasn’t already been covered here?  Well, maybe I can wrap some context around that summary of misery and incompetence.  We have been the leading biographers of the Sheriff Howard era and we have carefully documented every piece of FAIL since Day One.  He is a disaster of elected proportions.  There is no way that this man, with this record should have been re-elected in 2009.

This point speaks to what I highlighted in the other matchup thread of the day, our inability or unwillingness to hold elected officials accountable.  Howard was able to win re-election last year by making the election about his opponent rather than his own record.  Captain John Glascott of the Cheektowaga Police Department was, by all measure, a good man with the qualifications to be Sheriff of Erie County.  As far as I’m concerned, as long as he hadn’t let a prisoner escape (after receiving reports on how to prevent said escape), he was eminently more qualified than Howard to fill the position.

Howard was able to distract from his failures and play upon the idea that prisoners aren’t staying at the Holiday Inn, they’re criminals, after all.  However, we’re talking about fundamental  violations of human rights and reckless abuse of the public trust.

We paid more attention to the talking points and the shiny baubles of superficiality than we did the fundamental issues, and we hose unwisely.  Since being re-elected, suicides in our jails are rampant, lawsuits are piling up and millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent to defend against those lawsuits and prep the prisons for inspection.

We need to be smarter.

Wait, there is one more recent development we can add to the Sheriff’s impressive FAIL portfolio. In Sunday’s Buffalo News, we learned of the Sheriff’s crafty end-around on county limits on overtime pay in order to line the pockets of his appointees – “lineup pay”

Secretaries, special assistants, accountants and even top administrators already given cars and six-figure salaries can charge a half hour of overtime each day — not necessarily because the workload demands more of their time but because the system lets them. Because of an arbitrator’s decision last decade, both union and non-union employees can collect lineup pay even when on vacation. The income ratchets up their pension payments when they retire.

County Executive Collins, right, and Sheriff Tim Howard, left, compare beverages for Howard's next fundraiser

The article mentions that CE Collins “hopes” that Howard limits his lineup pay scheme….just like Boss Hogg used to “hope” Rosco P. Coltrane would ease up on setting up those illegal speed traps and pop-up hospital zone signs in an effort to get those Duke boys. Kew-kew-kew!

Sheriff Coltrane explains that he merely wants to reward “the best and brightest in management-confidential positions” – you know, the ultra-achievers who have turned the county’s department into a statewide (and national) laughingstock and one on which the Justice Department is training its sights to arrest (and, hopefully, correct) the multitude of abuses, neglect and utter incompetence in running a county sheriff’s department.

I can’t resist one more item….have you seen the Sheriff’s Message page on the EC Sheriff’s Office site? You would assume that it would be similar to most government official welcome messages – bland, benign, positive. Not ol’ Sheriff Timmy, though….check out the first line of his “welcome” message:

“The Erie County jails have five times that national rate for suicide as others”. That’s a memorable sound bite. But that is all it is- other than it being completely and utterly FALSE.

That’s not a welcome message from a high-ranking county official – that’s a blog comment from an unhinged crank. Complete with CAPS SO YOU KNOW HE’S SERIOUS, DAMN YOU!

Sheriff Tim Howard is treating this tournament like it was just booked into his Holding Center, he might pull an upset over Boss Hogg.


Rudnick vs. The WNY Voter, PolitiFAIL 2010, Elite Eight

30 Mar

In the final matchup in the “Other” bracket of the PolitiFAIL tournament, it’s come down the nominal leader of the business community, Andrew Rudnick versus The Voters of Western New York.

This is an interesting matchup as a sizable portion of the voting community has swallowed Rudnick’s message…hook, line and sinker.  His regular pleadings for corporate welfare, reduction in public spending (aside from projects he and the BNP favor) and tax cuts for the wealthy have endeared him to a chattering class of right wing blue collar voters.

On the other hand, we have a group of people who fail to show up en masse to the voting booth to effect the change they so desperately demand on talk radio, blogs, call in shows and on bar stools throughout the county.  Their failure to act in a reasonable way has empowered a state of dysfunction and graft so complete and so widespread that even the people of California think our state government is a mess.

Let’s break it down.

Andrew Rudnick

Andrew Rudnick is the Smithers to Robert Wilmers’ Mr. Burns.  A feckless bow-tied sycophant who collects failure the way Smithers collects Malibu Stacy dolls.


Rudnick is the carnival barker in charge of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.  He routinely claims that his organization is fighting for lower spending in New York, lower taxes for businesses, but he then endorses status quo politicians and advocates for billions in local spending.  Remember last year when Rudnick and the BNP took out a full page advertisement in The Buffalo News crowing about their pile of invisible success?  Yeah, that was awesome.

Rudnick heads a half-assed, unaccountable chamber of commerce that bleats endlessly about excessive taxes and government spending on the one hand, but demands $500 million in government handouts for its members’ pet projects on the other hand.  I’d like to sum up the message of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership as follows:

“Stop taxing us to death, you’re making it hard to do business in this state with all of your spending that does not directly benefit us and what we deem to to be the priorities.  Also, please make the money appear from thin air because as mentioned above, we hate taxes and government dependence and whatnot!”

His two-fisted ham sandwich of uncoordinated messaging earns him roughly $300,000 per year in salary and the right to stick his nose in just about every planning or governmental decision in the region.

The WNY Voter

Since 1950, the WNY region has seen its population decline by half, industries shuttered, and an exportation of our younger generations to other areas of the country.  Certainly, there are macroeconomic reasons for this continual decline, but we all bear some ownership for the problem.  To blame others or to simply shrug things off as a change in the national priorities is short sighted.

We lack visionary leaders and at critical times in our past, we have elected leaders who work for short-term, transactional accomplishments rather than those who set aspirational goals and rally the community to achieve them.  While we spend a lot of time griping, we do very little acting to effect the change we want.  It’s much easier to place an angry call to the daily conservative circle jerk on WBEN than to canvass and volunteer for candidates who might implement the changes you seek.

We’re so busy paying attention to the little bullshit battles the politicians construct for us, the picayune legislative battles, the abuse of the franking privilege, the utter contempt for reason or reality in our politics, and the shiny baubles of doomed-to-fail silver bullet projects, that they hope we just won’t see the FAIL and graft.  Results from 50 years of elections demonstrate that they have us figured out.  That we are either so beaten down, dismayed, discontent, ambivalent or fed up that we just don’t want to see the sum total of failure which comes from our failure to hold anyone accountable . We do still have a choice in our politics, we need to start exercising it.

As FDR once said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

We’d be wise to remember that.


PolitiFAIL Elite Eight: Casey vs. Brown

30 Mar

One could credibly make the argument that Casey and Brown are, politically, the same person.  As Colin Eager put it, Casey is Willie Tyler to Brown’s Lester.

Since Casey and Brown’s political histories are so tightly wound together, who is more responsible for the FAIL?

Is it Byron Brown, the likeable guy who rose from Grassroots activist to Gorski aide to Councilman to Senator to Mayor?  Or is it Steve Casey, who has gone from Gorski aide to Brown aide?  Is it Byron Brown, whose Senate career highlight was a few streets being re-named, or Steve Casey, whose entire career can be summed up as: Steve Pigeon wannabe.

The best analogy to pop culture I can make is to suggest to you that Steve Casey is Grima Wormtongue to Brown’s Theoden.  Not a perfect analogy, and exquisitely nerdy, but it takes up the issue of evil, which the Lester/Willie example doesn’t.

Casey’s misdeeds are legion, and they are the stuff of Buffalo political legend.  Live in his neighborhood and dare to put up a political sign in support of a candidate whom City Hall doesn’t support?  Watch out.  Piss him off at City Hall?  You could find your computer vandalized.  Write something unflattering about the Mayor?  No soup for you.  He allegedly managed Brown’s mayoral campaign on the state’s dime, on state time.  He led city inspectors to harass a neighbor whose garden he didn’t like.  He took a good idea – Citystat – and made sure it was thoroughly politicized beyond all recognition, thus rendered toothlessly useless.

Like the portrayal of soup guy Al Yeganeh in Seinfeld, Casey’s the Byron Nazi.


This is all a long-winded way of saying Steve Casey is a Volkeresque, Pigeon-flavored asshole, and one wonders why Byron Brown lets it happen.  Unless Byron Brown is also an asshole.  In which case, who’s the bigger asshole?

Who is our political goatse?

There are no stories, necessarily, about Byron Brown doing similarly petty things.  By all accounts, Byron Brown is not just a guy who you want to like – he’s a guy most people do like.  He has stumbled with the handling of his kid’s joyride, and the BERC disaster was truly epic, and one gets a very strong sense that it was just the tip of a corrupt iceberg.

The problem here pivots back to Casey .

Part of the reason for Byron Brown’s presence this far in the tournament is that he is an enabler.  He’s like the wife who knows that daddy beats the kids when he gets drunk, but keeps buying booze anyway.  Petty power plays are like crack to Steve Casey, and Byron Brown is the guy who gives him a lift to buy his shit.

The rumor going around this past year had to do with the fact that the city suddenly found itself without a lot of department heads and key appointees – they saw City Hall as a mere stepping stone.  Byron would sit in as like a caretaker mayor for a term, not make any big mistakes, and then move on to Congress, thus paving the way for Antoine Thompson to become mayor.

A more arrogant and chilling scenario, I could not paint.


So, the issue is: who is more at fault for the general disappointment – the failure, the broken promises and crushing of the high expectations people had for the Brown administration?  Is it the puppet or the puppetmaster?  Is it the shrewd, sharp-elbowed, tactician, or the mild-mannered, likeable enabler?

This one, dear reader, is harder than it seems.


PolitiFAIL Elite Eight: Volker vs. Thompson

30 Mar

The decision here comes down to this: do you vote for the guy who’s been in office for 40 years and been instrumental in fucking up the State of New York in general, and WNY in particular? Or do you vote for the guy who aspires to do just that?

Thompson’s problem is that he makes stupid mistakes, which makes people pretty much think he’s stupid. You don’t gain the confidence of voters by railing against a bill you co-sponsored. You don’t inspire a lot of confidence by being flip-floppedly incoherent on Hiram Monserrate’s expulsion.

In a normal place, Thompson would be so easily defeated in any fair election that it would make people’s heads spin. But this isn’t a normal place, and our voters are a bit askew, as well.

I’ll bring this up again because it’s so telling. When asked why we even need a State Senate, this is the best Thompson could come up with. Not good enough:


Ah, but dear reader, if there were any other competitor, it would be a blow-out for Antoine. His opponent, however, is Dale Volker – a malignant cancer; a polyp in the colon that is Western New York.

Volker is a veritable piece of shit who has been in office probably since before you were born. He’s that old fart going 30 in the left lane, driving the tan Buick of our politics. His tough-guy pandering to cops and corrections officers stems from the fact that without Attica and other correctional facilities, his district would cease to exist.

His political survival is dependent on murderers and rapists.

A renowned asshole, Volker dispatches sycophants and surrogates to bully and threaten political opponents on a regular basis. He is so bad that even the Republicans and teabaggers hate him.

He is so odious, in fact, that even Jim Domagalski – the chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee is considering a primary run against him.  Primaries are like kryptonite to Republicans.

That’s as if Len Lenihan decided to run against Bill Stachowski.

Both of these guys are useless entities in a useless legislative body. Good luck choosing the guy close to retirement vs. the guy who’s just getting started.