Tag: Erie County government

Jul 8

2024

Our entitled elected officials

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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

May 15

2024

Who’s responsible for dysfunctional jail oversight board?

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Erie County Sheriff John Garcia. Photo by Garrett Looker. The Erie County Bar Association, the sheriff and the Legislature haven’t filled vacancies on a jail advisory board that hasn’t been able to conduct business for lack of a quorum. Meanwhile, prisoners are dying, prompting lawsuits and millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts. Tasked with overseeing the jail and recommending improvements, the Corrections Specialist Advisory Board hasn’t been able to review jail deaths, consider plans for a new jail or even approve a 2023 annual report that remains in draft form. The 11-seat board, which has three vacancies, is supposed[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Nov 15

2023

Finally, answers on sheriff’s helicopter use

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Since 2018, the Erie County Sheriff’s helicopter has rescued 14 people, according to records released by the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office has cited rescues to justify buying a new $10 million helicopter. The records don’t indicate if any of the rescues saved people in life-threatening situations, however. Here’s what records released pursuant to a Freedom of Information Law request from Investigative Post show: In 2021, the helicopter picked up two people from atop a grain elevator when one experienced a medical episode related to diabetes after the pair had climbed to the elevator’s roof, according to sheriff’s records and[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Sep 20

2023

Erie County sheriff wants $10 million helicopter

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Erie County Sheriff John Garcia wants to double his department’s helicopter fleet with a new chopper that would cost more than $10 million. “It’s a matter of safety,” Undersheriff William Cooley told Investigative Post in justifying a new Airbus H135 helicopter that would take two years to build and outfit. “We see an absolute need for a new machine.” The sheriff’s office boasts that its current helicopter helps nab suspected car thieves and controls traffic at Buffalo Bills games.  The department says that its 22-year-old chopper, often grounded for maintenance and repairs, has saved lives. The department once considered replacing[...]

Posted 10 months ago

Jul 26

2023

Our library system is hurting

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Nakia Luper, a mother of three, has watched as the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood deteriorated around her. Stores closings. The Central Terminal crumbling.  And, in 2005, her neighborhood library shutting down.  “The kids used to go and have fun,” Luper said. There were “different activities going on at the library all the time. And then one day it was just gone.” The closest library is now three miles away. Luper said it’s not safe for children to walk that distance through blighted neighborhoods to take out a library book.  Nearly two decades after funding for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library[...]

Posted 12 months ago

Jul 5

2023

Federal oversight ends of county jails

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Editor’s note: This is the first story reported by Bruce Rushton for Investigative Post. Bruce joined the staff last week; he covers criminal justice. He can be reached at brushton@investigativepost.com. A federal judge has approved termination of a consent decree designed to improve health care and reduce suicide risk in Erie County jail facilities. At the request of county lawyers and the U.S. Department of Justice, which sued the county in 2009, U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny on June 13 approved dismissal of the decree created more than a decade ago to provide oversight of the Erie County[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Jun 22

2023

Money in Politics: Primary Edition

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This week, Investigative Post’s Geoff Kelly sat down with Ken Kruly, a political analyst who examines the ebbs and flows of campaign finance in Western New York. Kruly writes about local politics for his blog, Politics and Other Stuff. In this latest episode of Investigative Post’s podcast series, Kelly and Kruly take a look at the funding for candidates vying for the Buffalo Common Council and Erie County Legislature. Watch via YouTube or listen as a podcast.

Posted 1 year ago

Dec 8

2022

Lawmakers indicate no review for Bills stadium

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Updated: 5:05 p.m. The Buffalo Bills new stadium is now set to win approval from the Erie County Legislature without completing a full environmental review that’s been required of similar projects around the state. Legislators on Thursday signaled that they would issue a “negative declaration” next week under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, forgoing an Environmental Impact Statement. That would allow the Bills to skip a full environmental assessment.  After more than an hour of testimony and discussion, legislators said they felt comfortable moving forward without an EIS, something that was required for all major league sports venues built[...]

Posted 2 years ago
Investigative Post

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