Money After Bad - Imagine, if you can, what it’s like being a bureaucrat in Washington
D.C., presiding over the hundreds of millions of dollars the Department
of Housing and Urban Development gives away every year. In certain circles
your name would be God and people would throw themselves out of tall
buildings to win your favor. Now imagine you live in a dying Rust Belt
city whose government is so corrupt and inept that nothing ever gets
done besides the politicians and their friends getting rich in a hurry.
Screw-ups are common around here, but when ten million dollars gets
denied by D.C., there’s a mad scramble and tons of groveling to get
it back. That’s what happened in early August when our paid pencil pushers
couldn’t even fill out some application forms correctly and HUD officials,
for the second year in a row, rejected a $5.2 million aid request.
They’ve been watching
Buffalo piss away these grants year after year on shady deals, like
the Home Ownership Zone on the East Side where 344 new houses were supposed
to be built but only 125 were erected before all the money disappeared.
Inquiring minds wonder where it all went, and when they look they find
operators like Dennis Penman over at MJ Peterson Realty, one of the
biggest housing developers in Buffalo, funded by HUD through the city
to build new houses all over the East Side. You might recall the guy
tried to buy his wife a seat on the common council last election; her
campaign spent a record amount for the position and she even went so
far as to change her name, but all for naught. There are plenty of imitators
running similar scams, and HUD is obviously out of its mind giving Buffalo
money to build new houses when everybody’s been moving out for decades.
What we need are some serious bulldozer crews and an army of dump trucks
to cart away the eyesores populating so many of our streets.
Alas, HUD reinstated
the cash when city officials promised to institute management reforms
and hire more people to oversee the various programs which administer
the money. Yay, more city government employees! Nobody got fired, nobody
resigned, nobody took responsibility; they just passed the buck. But
don’t you worry; our politicians and guys like Dennis Penman won’t ever
be cut off from free government gravy. Might as well quit your job and
apply for a new house on a radioactive site today!
Strikes Again - Joel Giambra’s been very publicly blasé about blowing off the scandal
in the Aurora Highway Division involving his buddy, former supervisor
Doug Naylon, calling the eight month investigation a waste of taxpayer
money. Give it to Giambra for having the nerve to preach about wasting
taxpayer funds—then again, he’s an expert. He keeps saying this is a
case of “a couple rotten apples,” somehow failing to remember that he
handpicked them and his armed crony/driver Victor Getz did everything
in his considerable power to keep them rotten apples in the barrel.
We wonder what color the sky is in his world, because in ours a Grand
Jury investigation prompted by the FBI is a serious fucking matter.
Now that the report is out and indictments are being handed down, county
residents have a unique glimpse into Giambra’s “reform-minded” managerial
style. It’s not a smooth running machine; more like a dead animal lying
on the side of the road with it’s entrails blown out, baking in the
hot sun while carrion birds peck it to dust.
Here’s what happened:
Naylon was hired by Giambra, not Commissioner of Public Works Maria
Lehman, who oversees all the highway departments. Good Ol’ Joel stuck
by his friend despite repeated failures, protecting him from a continuous
stream of union complaints without any punishment whatsoever, at the
expense of county taxpayers, who paid an extraordinary number of costly
arbitration judgements. Naylon was too stupid to even pass the simple
civil service exam required of his position, so Giambra bent over backwards
to suppress the test results. In return, Naylon blatantly used county
supplies, employees, and heavy equipment to further his private business
interests. Commisioner Lehman had no control over the Aurora garage
going more than half a million dollars over budget and, after screaming
at Giambra one afternoon, she went to the FBI to get the ball rolling
against an utterly corrupt operation she could no longer hide. Giambra
accepts zero blame, but he’s full of shit. Joel is the head capo here.
He doesn’t have the balls to fess up, maybe because his actions (and
those of his underlings) are patently criminal.
campaigned as a reformer—he was going to clean up the system, bring
back good government, and cut out corruption and nepotism, bringing
prosperity back to the region. Hopefully this doesn’t completely crush
your faith in politicians, but here’s a news flash: the “best” of them
will blatantly look you in the eye and lie while taking your money and
distributing it among their friends and you have only yourself (and
the corrupt two-party system) to blame for voting them to power. This
is only one department, but it’s indicative of how scumbag Giambra cronies
and yes-men have infiltrated county government like mobsters, because
they know the boss has their back. Giambra’s a reformer like Mussolini
was a humanitarian. The sooner he’s in jail or hell, the better for
the Hell is a “Bill,” Anyway? - To say we’re leery about
a team that went 6-10 last year after a boatload of disappointing hype
and now finds itself with a new coaching staff is an understatement.
We’ve been dreading the potential whipping we’re going to take under
the second rookie head coach in a row. The offensive line was pathetic
last year, making the vaunted Drew Bledsoe look worse than Rob Johnson,
and the same guys who got pushed around like pansies are back for more
this season. Third string QB JP Losman, who would’ve been a big draw,
got his leg busted by former Miami defenseman Troy Vincent—in training
camp. This only happens to a QB if he’s a cocky asshole (think Tom
Brady). Now he’s out ten weeks, meaning Bledsoe’s got some breathing
room as a starter.
But, like the diehard
fans we are, we see some bright spots, and not just from the exposed
light bulb next to our desk. Head coach Mike Mularkey is determined
to instill this team with a set of brass balls, unlike the incompetent
Gregg Williams, who was the coaching equivalent of paint thinner. Mularkey
is a tough disciplinarian, exactly what an NFL head coach should be.
He’s putting starters on special teams, making guys compete for positions,
not coddling prima donnas, and generally shaking things up, instead
of following some irrelevant formula that only makes sense on a chalkboard.
We’ve still got Travis Henry and Eric Moulds, two potent offensive threats.
Willis McGahee shows excellent promise; he’ll see plenty of action when
Henry inevitably gets injured. Our defense is still rock solid. Mularkey’s
physical philosophy may be risky, but we’re betting it will pay off
in a team with some mental toughness, which has been harder to find
in Rich Stadium than a decent-looking cheerleader. A winning record
is out of the question unless the offense gets it together, at least
a little, and the odds of that aren’t good unless they have the proper
motivation. So here it is: You pansy fucking fat ass losers are the
sorriest pieces of shit in the league. College teams could kick your
ass. You call yourselves professionals? You suck. Take your goddamn
ridiculous salaries and cram ‘em if you’re not here to kick ass. You
better show up every Sunday morning ready to annihilate the other team
at every position for sixty fucking minutes, because fans won’t tolerate
the loser shit we endured last year. We don’t have much to look forward
to around here—every time you manage to snatch defeat from the jaws
of victory, that’s another depressed, obese alcoholic former steelworker
who finally loses it and blows his head off. Now quit fucking around
and get busy—do it for OJ.
See Naked People - About 1,800 of them, including a few hotties. Too few, though, and
far between. Mostly it was a sea of ugly white flesh and awful tan lines,
overweight nudists, hairy-assed perverts, and sagging artsy Deadhead
types who make you want to puke even with their clothes on. Some of
the worst tattoos we’ve ever seen. First of all, the Central Terminal
is a spooky, rat infested dump if you know what it looked like in its’
heyday; secondly, mass demonstrations of nudity are annoying enough
(didn’t that shit go out in the ‘70’s?), and third, calling it “art”
is an insult to bona fide artists. As far as we’re concerned, Spencer
Tunick is a scumbag getting his twisted bisexual jollies off with these
ridiculous “installations.” We’re not sure what the point is, but suspect
it’s an inside joke between Tunick and other no-talent pontificators.
They step up to the globe, give it a whirl and see where it stops, laughing
all the way to each stunt at how easy it is to get people naked and
play Simon Says. The aftermath is akin to that of an ugly one night
stand—it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the horror and embarrassment
of it all is haunting.