the polls open in a little over a month, voters are going to have a
lot on their minds. Campaigns are kicking into high gear for the final
stretch, and we're sure to see some fireworks before November. Already
we've been treated to one hell of a circus, nationwide and back home.
Certainly, we'll have plenty more to look forward to for this season
and the year to come, before Tony goes up for reelection.
there's been a stir over Joel Giambra's game of cloak and dagger with
Sam Hoyt. Unless you didn't read the last Beast, you already know that
Mr. Giambra put 20 large into Hoyt's primary opponent Joe Golombek's
pocket-in a Democratic primary. The County Exec made his big gambit
by crossing party lines to support a Common Council member in a primary
election-and it didn't work. I would feel better if I knew that Joel
could at least make a solid investment with his own money; then again,
if we could all make as much money as easily as he does, we might toss
it around like it's confetti too. Golombek, defeated despite the skuldeggery,
will be returning to his daily scam of a job at City Hall.
is an emerging political philosophy New York that the right thing is
to drive all the incumbents possible out of office. Not a terrible philosophy
in and of itself, because it is very much true that the current cast
of characters in Albany are an altogether inert mass of abysmal graft
and incompetence. While many politicians will be running under such
a scheme, who's to say anybody will manage to change what's been ailing
our government for more than 20 years? Perhaps if we were to remove
all the current senators and assemblymen, and elect all new morons to
do the job, we would have a chance, albeit slight, that the situation
would get better. But we have no control over what actually happens
in Albany, and that's exactly why they can't pass a budget. The budget
is already such an old and tired joke, it seems like we should be able
to get beyond it. But we can't, and I don't think there's anyone, of
any party, that could put together such a package of candidates as to
solve the problem; much more likely the politicians will continue sucking
our bones dry.
Hoyt definitely has his problems. He's raised taxes, voted for the smoking
ban, and has done a pretty much party-line job in the Assembly-as much
as can be expected from a career politician. His strength, though, comes
from his seemingly strong support of the "softer side" of
government, supporting causes like the environment, AIDS, and ethnic
diversity. He's even an honorary member of the Assembly Puerto-Rican/Hispanic
Task Force. This is a little confusing, until you remember that his
district includes the lower West Side. Hoyt is probably going to run
for Mayor of Buffalo next year, which is why this election was so important
to Giambra. Losing his old pal Tony would be a major blow for him, and
he knows Hoyt has the boyish charm and name recognition to make it happen.
is where it might get interesting. Should Hoyt return to office in November,
which by most predictions he will, he'll have the strength of this year's
victory running with him back into Buffalo's polls again. Ever since
Masiello sold out to the Republicans and Pataki, he's been in warm comfy
hands downstate, and both he and Giambra have cozy spots on the control
board and have made it obvious that they want to make a go of regionalization.
the vote pass in 2005 to merge city and county, the Mayor elected next
year will be the last one Buffalo will see. If Masiello wins, he'll
be able to end his long tenure with the satisfaction of knowing nobody
else will ever succeed him. He'll be well taken care of by his friends
in County and State, and our city will slowly fade into oblivion. Hoyt
seeks to puts something in the way of that. So far he has balked at
the County Exec's talk over regionalizing city and county, and worked
for bolstering the city with the funds the county doesn't want to share.
Giambra would face a long term with such a tough opponent residing in
the Mayor's office.
what might happen then? Maybe a fair chance is deserved to anyone with
a mind for change. Maybe next year, neither Hoyt nor Masiello will be
mayor. Perhaps we can get our own city out of the political quagmire
that is bogging down our state. It seems that when we send our reps
on vacation in Albany, we never hear from them again until they want
to be mayor. Griffin and Masiello both pulled such a maneuver, and both
Hoyt and Byron Brown will be doing the same if they run. Perhaps some
of the problems we've been facing for untold years come back to us from
Albany. It hasn't been since the corrupt and patronizing Frank Sedita
and his replacement Makowski that there's been a Mayor of Buffalo who
wasn't first associated with State legislation. That was well over 20
years ago, and since that time, the state hasn't been able to pass a
budget on time. This breakdown in government seems to be trickling back
down to us from the schooling our Mayors get from their friends downstate.
the other hand, Hoyt could prove to be the better choice, simply for
his war with Giambra. It might serve us well to have anyone in the county
or city that isn't cronied up to Giambra and his games. Naples turned
out to be quite a thorn in his side, and the very well endowed grand
jury report that unearthed the rampant adultery of our coffers into
a corrupt highway department serves to tell us that we need someone
to put this puppy down. It'll be several more years before we have a
chance to vote him out, so we should start biding our time until the
regionalization vote next year.
yourself during the coming winter, when your street is so full of snow
you can barely see the stop signs and you're exhuming your car from
its snowy tomb, why a highway crew in East Aurora was making fat loot
to sit around and drink coffee, instead of using those big county trucks
to help out the county seat. Wonder why, in the depths of our financial
nightmare, our county hasn't shared with us $120 million in "temporary"
sales tax increases they've been raking in since 1984. When you see
regional corporations like the NFTA and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership
and the Peace Bridge Authority cranking down the thumbscrews on the
budgets of the area, and our leaders squeal back at their buddies in
Albany to shovel the money into our economic sinkhole, ask why our leaders
shovel it into their own gaping furnaces, instead of easing our burdens
in the region. When you see the stupefied and empty expression on our
politicians' faces when they are approached with such issues as education
and public services, ask yourself, "how on earth did these guys
such rampant corruption, conflicts of interest, and foolishly planned
investments going on each and every day, it seems like a foregone conclusion
that something will be done. But as we've seen time and time again,
that may not be the case. So far, election season this year has taught
us a few very important things: First, that no charlatan is any better
than the rest, a lesson of which we are reminded each and every year.
Second, that in the end our President is mainly chosen by a handful
of idiots in a few key areas of a few key states, and those of us in
safe states are a foregone conclusion. Third, God hates Florida, and
if you're a snowbird waiting to fly south for the winter, think again,
cause there's a battle going on between the antichrist and a JFK wannabe,
and Hell is springing up from the sandy beaches of paradise. Finally,
we can also glean from our current political climate that we can expect
our officials to backstab each other endlessly, with taxpayer support,
in an endless bid to dominate the city like it's some sort of deranged
board game being played by a bunch of geeky kids with big connections.
your eyes peeled for the Beast's mayoral candidacy race, and the exciting
new developments we have in store for the local political landscape.
We hope to come up with something that will shock, amuse, and perhaps
change how some of the people who run this town see their citizens.
And please, for the love of beer and wings, get out there and exercise
one of the fastest-fading rights we still have: vote. But don't vote