May 28


Monday Morning Read

WBFO's firing of a veteran reporter while on disability triggers a scathing response from the station's most prominent journalist of the past 40 years.

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Mike Desmond might be the longest tenured reporter in Buffalo. At least he was until WBFO fired him without notice, in the process stripping him of health insurance while he was recovering from a broken back. His dismissal prompted Mark Scott, who was synonymous with the station for four decades, to lambaste the station Friday in a Facebook post. He derided station management for not only firing Desmond, which he termed “unconscionable,” but for what he said was a move a year ago to “severely cut back on its local coverage.” Scott said he’s stopped listening, stopped donating to his old station. “I’m just saddened beyond words at what has happened at WBFO, the station where I spent my career.”

State prison guards beat and otherwise abuse inmates and get caught lying about it. Yet they almost always keep their jobs. This according to an eye-opening investigation by The Marshall Project and New York Times. Meanwhile, the Albany Times Union reports on widespread fraud by prison guards involving disability claims.

Buffalo keeps cutting down trees at a far greater pace than it’s planting them. That will continue under Mayor Byron Brown’s budget that the Common Council has left untouched, so far as trees go. Seattle is taking a different tact.

U.S. News and World Report likes to rank things. It recently ranked the 150 most-populated metropolitan areas in the county. Rochester ranked the 26th best city to live in; Buffalo slotted in at 27. Among New York metro areas, Rochester and Buffalo ranked behind Albany and Syracuse. Syracuse?

File under “left unsaid” … 

  • Erie County Legislator Jim Malczewski is dead-set against the community accepting asylum-seekers. Last week he declared: “There is no plan, just chaos.” Actually, no asylum-seekers have stepped foot in Erie County. Thus, no chaos. Chill, Mr. Malczewski. (And kudos for Mark Poloncarz for rejecting such nonsense.)
  • The city has selected a developer to overhaul the Broadway Barns, a dilapidated structure that houses dilapidated public works vehicles. Adding indoor athletic facilities is a big part of the plan. The Buffalo News story said the plan will “address a known lack of adequate indoor athletic space on the East Side.” Actually, there are plenty of indoor athletic facilities on the East Side; they’re located in a couple of dozen public schools. Too bad they’re largely walled off from the community.

Elsewhere in The News last week, Steve Watson and Jon Harris produced an in-depth story on the politics of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Most interesting: nine of 10 state-appointed board members are serving on expired terms. Between them, Roswell board members have donated just shy of $1 million to local and state political candidates over the past 20 years. Michael Joseph, his wife and company accounted for $660,000 of it.

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60 Minutes reported last week on military contractors ripping off the federal government by charging inflated prices. Are there any guilty parties in our backyard?

Is Elon Musk trying to out-do Rupert Murdoch and establish Twitter as the go-to site for the Right? Stories from The Atlantic and Axios make the argument.

The Intercept reports that Henry Kissinger was a bigger war criminal than previously believed. “Experts say Kissinger bears significant responsibility for attacks in Cambodia that killed as many as 150,000 civilians,” according to The Intercept.

Public housing can be done right. Witness Vienna, of all places.

Another NFL team is lining up at the public trough in the hopes of building a new stadium, this one in Washington. Meanwhile, Las Vegas prepares to pony up to land the Oakland A’s.

Investigative Post

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