Categories for Outrages & Insights

Mar 14

2012

NY’s political dysfunction runs deep

Published by

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

Mar 12

2012

Government’s spin cycle

Published by

I’m not sure when the high water mark was regarding the public’s right to know about what’s being done in its name and with its tax dollars, but surely that time has passed. A lot gets written this time every year as the press “celebrates” Sunshine Week. The focus is often on government’s failure to live up to the spirit, if not the letter of the Freedom of Information Law. But the problem goes well beyond efforts to stonewall the press and public under the FOI Law. I’ve been a reporter for more than 30 years and over that time[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 7

2012

A new tack for Central Terminal

Published by

One billion dollars opens the door to all sorts of possibilities. Consider the Central Terminal. Despite its scars, the Central Terminal might be the neatest space in Buffalo. The city’s proverbial diamond in the rough, even if the emphasis is on “rough.” Plans to revive the hulking structure have been kicked around for years, to no avail. Now comes a pitch from Larry Quinn, conveyed in an interview published Tuesday at investigativepost.org  to restore the Central Terminal and relocate the Albright-Knox Art Gallery there. I asked Quinn how he would spend the $1 billion in cash and incentives that Gov.[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Mar 1

2012

My take on the Fahey-Kearns contest

Published by

A fair number of elections for state office are stinkers. They’re over before they start because of lopsided party enrollments or one of the candidates, typically the one offered by the minority party as the sacrificial lamb, is clearly not up to the job. That’s not the case in the race between Chris Fahey and Mickey Kearns to succeed Mark Schroeder in the 145th Assembly District. No, folks, we have a real race with real candidates. Kind of a nice change of pace. The seat has longed belong to a Democrat, thanks to a big enrollment edge (43,200 to 20,000[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Feb 28

2012

Bare knuckles in South Buffalo

Published by

Politics has been a blood sport in South Buffalo for, well, probably forever, certainly as far back as my memory goes. There was Jimmy Griffin, in league with the influential Keane family until hizzoner and Jimmy Keane had a falling out. A Hatfield and McCoy kind of falling out. Later there was Griffin and Dick Keane protege Brian Higgins, although they managed to maintain a  detente for the most part, even when they later squared off against each other to serve in the Assembly. Higgins, of course, evolved into not only a South Buffalo political powerhouse, but arguably the most[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Feb 27

2012

High pricetag of City Hall politics

Published by

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Joel Giambra’s relationship with Jim Spano when I got through reading the profile of Adam Perry and his law firm’s dealings with Bryon Brown’s administration in Sunday’s Buffalo News. Spano, if you recall, was Giambra’s chief campaign fund-raiser when the Democrat turned Republican ran successfully for county executive in 2000. Once in office, Giambra’s administration rewarded Spano’s firm with 85 percent of the county’s office furniture business, worth $2.5 million. Spano’s company, not content with the lion’s share of business, overbilled the county by an estimated $550,000 according to an investigation I did[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Feb 23

2012

Cuomo’s welcome break with the past

Published by

A fair number of folks I’m talking to in economic development circles aren’t entirely sold on Andrew Cuomo’s plan to spend $1 billion to jump start the Buffalo economy. For starters, a lot of the details have yet to be worked out. There’s skepticism over the governor’s motives. And there’s his apparent intent to throw a lot of money at companies willing to relocate to the region, which has the makings of  good photo ops but a poor return on investment. But Cuomo is showing a willingness – indeed, an eagerness – to abandon the mindset behind the failed policies[...]

Posted 11 years ago

Feb 22

2012

The journalistic DNA of Investigative Post

Published by

I’ve had a quote from Carl Bernstein taped to the front of my computer terminal for the better part of 20 years that reads, “Reporting is not stenography. It is the best obtainable version of the truth.” They were words I worked by as I toiled at The Buffalo News and a mantra of sorts for my new venture, Investigative Post, non-profit investigative reporting center focused on issues of importance to Buffalo and Western New York. I’ve never been a fan of the “he said, she said” brand of journalism practiced by many reporters and taken to its lowest form[...]

Posted 11 years ago