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Jan 24

2023

Buffalo’s firefighting fleet is a mess

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Firefighters who spoke to Investigative Post described arriving at an East Side house fire earlier this month, only to find the lead truck couldn’t pump water. Several told stories about trucks breaking down on the way to a call. Last month’s blizzard has trained a spotlight on the deplorable condition of the Buffalo’s firefighting fleet. What’s illuminated is not pretty. A quarter the fleet — seven of 28 vehicles — is older than recommended industry standards. Another 13 are within two to three years of that mark. Many trucks are plagued by serious issues — cracked frames, unreliable pumps, engine[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Jan 23

2023

Another subsidized tenant for STAMP

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A remote industrial park in Genesee County will soon have its second tenant: Edwards Vacuum, a company that manufactures equipment used in the semiconductor industry. But luring Edwards Vacuum, a British company, to the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park, or STAMP, has come at a cost: $39.2 million in taxpayer subsidies. That’s in exchange for 600 jobs over the next decade, with 343 being hired in the next three years. And that’s just the beginning. In addition to $22 million in subsidies from Empire State Development, New York’s economic development arm, and $17.2 million in property and sales tax[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jan 22

2023

Monday Morning Read

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Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter here and you’ll get my recommended reading in your inbox Sunday mornings. It turns out that the City of Buffalo stopped fluoridating its water in 2015, according to a report by Charlie Specht in The Buffalo News. Pretty outrageous. Then again, the administration of Mayor Byron Brown has been bad news for public health for a long time. It dragged its feet on addressing lead poisoning. Tolerates the death of civilians at the hands of police. Didn’t do squat about pollution from the Peace Bridge. Has been cutting down climate-soothing trees without sufficiently replacing them,[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jan 19

2023

Tax breaks for fast food in Niagara Falls

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A fast-food franchise developer is looking to bring an A&W and Moe’s Southwest Grill to downtown Niagara Falls — and is seeking $172,000 in tax breaks to do it. IDA subsidies are available only to projects that would not be economically feasible otherwise. But the developer told Investigative Post he doesn’t need the tax breaks from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency to proceed. “This is a little help, but we are able to do it without it as well,” said Muhammad Shoaib, the franchisee and developer. The subsidies he’s seeking have also drawn criticism. “Business subsidies are bad, but[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Jan 16

2023

Bills new stadium lease is not ironclad

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Investing $850 million of public funds in a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills is a heavy lift for taxpayers. The elected officials who negotiated those terms have offered us the solace that it keeps the team here for at least another 30 years. It’s an ironclad lease, they’ve assured us. But it’s not. And the state of the team’s ownership – Terry Pegula, in his 70s, and his wife Kim, dealing with serious health issues that keep her away from the team – only heighten concerns about the team’s long-term prospects in Western New York. The memorandum of understanding[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Jan 15

2023

Monday Morning Read

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Want to read this yesterday? Sign up for WeeklyPost, emailed Sunday mornings. Subscribe here. Also includes a summary of Investigative Post’s reporting for the previous week. On this day celebrating, celebrating the birthday, and life, if Martin Luther King Jr., allow me to share a couple of relevant links: historians discuss little known facts about MLK, and  America’s embrace of the man wasn’t always the case. Good reporting by Jerry Zremski of The Buffalo News in detailing the role Big Dog Strategies, a local political consulting firm, played in the election of pathological liar turned Congressman George Santos. Santos, the subject[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Jan 12

2023

Podcast: Reporting on Tesla’s solar factory

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When plans were announced for a solar panel manufacturing plant in South Buffalo, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo described the project as a “game changer.” Based on the promise of not only a gleaming new plant and more than 1,400 jobs, but a whole new clean energy sector that would employ thousands more. Cuomo poured nearly $1 billion of state tax dollars into building and equipping the project. Has it delivered as promised? Investigative Post’s J. Dale Shoemaker dug deep to answer that question. Officials from Tesla refused requests for interview. Bureaucrats with the state economic development agency that oversees the project[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Jan 11

2023

Tesla’s solar factory in Buffalo fizzles

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When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans in 2013 for what is now Tesla’s factory in South Buffalo, he pitched it as a cornerstone of the “clean energy revolution” and a new high-tech industrial sector for Western New York. The project would create not only more than 1,400 direct jobs, but spin-off development that would provide a supply chain employing thousands of additional workers. Cuomo proclaimed the project a “game-changer.” Fast-forward to today. Less than one-quarter of the workforce at the Tesla factory is engaged in solar-related manufacturing. That work was suspended altogether for at least six months last year.  Podcast:[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago