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.

Mar 26

2012

Handicapping a Hochul-Collins race

There’s the matter of an almost certain GOP primary, but the announcement over the weekend by Chris Collins that he is running for the 27th Congressional District leads to inevitable speculation about a general election showdown with Kathy Hochul. Conventional wisdom holds that the Republican holds a distinct advantage because of party enrollment figures.  While precise numbers are hard to pin down, it appears enrolled Republican will outnumber Democrats by about 7 percent in a district that spans portions of eight counties. Two Republicans have announced for the seat, Collins and decorated war veteran David Bellavia of Batavia. A third[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 23

2012

Weekend News Cafe

The NYPD, people of color and the Buffalo connection Reports that New York City police have been spying on Muslims in the Buffalo area – without notifying the feds – fits a pattern that is coming under increasing criticism. The NYPA has an aggressive stop-and-frisk policy in NYC that targets men of color. Reports The New York Times: The Police Department has said that it conducted a record 684,330 stops last year, and that 87 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic. One target wrote about his experience of being stopped five times by the police: These experiences changed[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 22

2012

Same as the Old Boss

Ossified. Webster defines it as “hardened or conventional and opposed to change.” As in government in New York State. A cursory reading of the headlines might lead one to believe that governance in New York is starting to move in the right direction since Andrew Cuomo took up residence in the governor’s mansion. The state budget got passed on time, the income tax code was revised, gay marriage was approved. Indeed, by one measure—passing major legislation and spending packages—there has been progress. Paralysis has been eased. But the manner in which many key measures have been passed underscores just how[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 20

2012

New York ranks among more corrupt states

State governments are susceptible to corruption, New York’s moreso than most, according to a new data-driven study done by the State Integrity Investigation. The study gave New York a “D” based on score of 65 out of 100. That ranked New York 36 out of 50 states. New York received a grade of “F” in four categories – state budgeting process, redistricting, ethics enforcement and pension fund management.  The Empire State received its best grades for internal auditing (B+) and lobbying disclosure (B-). Corruptions problems are across the nation, according to the report: The stories go on and on. Open[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 19

2012

Q&A: Sam Radford, parent leader

Samual Radford is president of District Parent Coordinating Council, which has emerged the past several years as the most organized and vocal advocate of reforming Buffalo public schools. After a stint in the Marines, Radford, 45, became an activist and organizer on a number of fronts, including president of the student government at Erie Community College, a trainer with the Martin Luther King Institute for Nonviolence, and head of a youth detention center for at-risk kids and a homeless shelter for young women. He’s currently a program coordinator for the Community Action Organization of Erie County. The District Parent Coordinating[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 17

2012

Weekend News Cafe

Only tweaking the status quo Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked the talk – on pensions and redistricting, in particular – but pulled a St. Bonaventure and came up short at crunch time this past week. The New York Times provides a good analysis. What’s most striking: State employees can still pad their pensions by working a lot of overtime during the homestretch of their careers. Gerrymandered Senate and Assembly districts were accepted for a proposed bipartisan commission in 10 years that, The Times notes “would operate under the purview of the Legislature, unlike more independent redistricting commissions in Arizona and California.”[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 16

2012

The Maziarz money machine

George Maziarz is probably Western New York’s most powerful state legislator. The Newfane Republican represents the 62nd District, which includes all of Niagara County outside the City of Niagara Falls, Orleans County and the western portion of Monroe County. He has served in the Senate since 1995  and is currently chairman of the Energy and Telecommunications Committee and Vice President Pro Tempore. Maziarz’s stature has position him to raise a lot of campaign funds. Here’s Joe Friday’s look at Maziarz’s campaign contributions since January 1999, when the state Board of Elections began tracking donations online. Total contributions since 1999: $3,767,175[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 14

2012

NY’s political dysfunction runs deep

When it comes right down to it, state legislators only have to do a handful of things to earn their $79,500 salaries. Pass a budget. Vote on bills and appointments. And, once every 10 years, redraw election district boundaries for the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Senate and Assembly. It appears likely that lawmakers are going to let a federal judicial panel draw the lines for Congressional seats.  They continue to haggle over the lines for Senate and Assembly seats. The standoff is a stark reminder that Albany is still dysfunctional at a basic level. Politics is the[...]

Posted 11 years ago