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Jim Heaney

Jim Heaney is editor and executive director of Investigative Post. He was an investigative reporter with The Buffalo News from 1986 to 2011 and a reporter and editor with The Orlando Sentinel from 1980-86. His coverage over the years has focused on economic development, local and state government, politics, education, housing and transportation, and he was an early practitioner of computer-assisted reporting. Heaney has won more than 20 journalism awards and was a finalist for the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

Jul 15

2024

Buffalo’s ever-present hole in the ground

You could have read this, and more, yesterday if you subscribed to our newsletters. Doing so is just a click away. Perhaps nothing symbolizes the inertia that holds Buffalo back more than the site of the now demolished Memorial Auditorium. Portions have been redeveloped, most notably Explore & More, but much of the property remains a hole in the ground – literally – 15 years after the Aud was demolished. The inaction has been under the watch of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., a state agency, and Mayor Byron Brown. The lack of action was in the news last[...]

Posted 6 days ago

Jul 12

2024

Harsh words for costly OTB buyouts

State Sen. Sean Ryan, left,  Assemblywoman Monica Wallace and Erie County Comptroller Kevin Hardwick. Photo by J. Dale Shoemaker. “Egregious.”  “Self-dealing.”  “Corrupt.”  A trio of local Democratic officials used those terms and a few other choice words on Friday to describe contractual buyouts for three outgoing executives that will come at a combined cost to Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. of more than $500,000.  During a press conference outside the OTB branch on Clinton Street in Cheektowaga, State Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, D-Lancaster, assailed the six-figure buyouts as “sweetheart” deals that are “wholly unnecessary.” Joining her in criticizing the deals were[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Jul 8

2024

Our entitled elected officials

Erie County Legislator John Bargnesi recently proposed term limits for Erie County elected officials. Most legislators were cool to the idea and County Executive Mark Poloncarz said last week he’d veto term limits if they landed on his desk. Poloncarz used the tired excuse that elections serve the same purpose. But they don’t. Paul Wolf of the New York Coalition for Open Government did a tally of county election results from 2001 to 2023. Incumbents won 145 of 154 elections. “We don’t have competitive elections for Erie County offices and we should,” Wolf wrote county legislators last week. “ What[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jul 1

2024

A lot of people are cutting the cable chord

The cable TV business is starting to implode. The decline started in 2014 and is gaining speed. This chart tells it all.  Cable’s decline has implications for local TV news, as retransmission fees paid by cable providers are a major source of revenue for stations.  Newscasts here in Buffalo have lost one-third of their audience since 2019. It’s part of a national trend. In 2018, 41 percent of Americans surveyed by Pew Research said they preferred television news over other sources. That number today is 32 percent. People prefer online sources, 48 percent. Printed newspapers and radio trail badly, with[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Jul 1

2024

Investigative Post teaming up with Channel 7

Investigative Post has had a very good 12-year run with Channel 2. It’s over. Starting this week, you’ll find us on 7 News. Our reporters will periodically discuss their work with Michael Wooten on his Voices newscast at 5:30 p.m. WKBW will also incorporate our reporters into stories they produce for which we have subject matter expertise. I have a deep appreciation for how the previous management at Channel 2 helped put Investigative Post on the map when we launched in 2012. We forged a strong working relationship based on our shared commitment to investigative reporting. All that  changed the[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Jun 24

2024

You think the past week was hot?

The past week has been sweltering. And a warning of what lies ahead if we don’t get serious about climate change. Here’s a sobering chart. Energy consumption is on the rise, and 82 percent of it involves fossil fuels. In other words, there is no real energy transition occurring. Among the consequences: rising sea levels. Not good news for, among other places, the tri-state area centered in New York City. New York State is missing deadlines to meet many of its climate goals, while governors like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott remain in a state of denial. Wall Street doesn’t[...]

Posted 4 weeks ago

Jun 17

2024

Buffalo needs a hard control board

Mayor Byron Brown made it clear last week he has no intention of resolving the city’s pending fiscal crisis. In an interview with Deidre Williams of The Buffalo News, the mayor said rather than cutting spending, he’s looking for increased revenue from the county, state and perhaps federal governments to close a projected deficit of at least $41 million for the budget year starting July 2025.  In fact, the feds have already been bailing him out. In the past three budgets, the city has used $100 million in federal pandemic aid to balance the books. It expects to use at[...]

Posted 1 month ago

Jun 10

2024

Price gouging that makes Terry Pegula look good

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know I’m not a fan of the way Terry Pegula operates his sports teams. (Personal seat licenses, for staters.) But there is something to be said about how he prices Sabres tickets, although the size of our market probably has a lot more to do with it than his benevolence. The Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League are relocating to Salt Lake City for the coming season and the team last week announced its ticket prices. Let’s compare with Buffalo. Season tickets in the lower seating bowl for the Sabres [...]

Posted 1 month ago
Investigative Post

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