Diarrhea - Frankly we're speechless. What haven't we already said
about Erie County's fiscal meltdown under Don Joel Giambra? The Tobacco
Settlement money's long gone (except for the debt we owe on the loans
against the payoff), ECMC's been sold and mortgaged for over a $100
million, and the county still faces a $130 million deficit. Didn't
this guy just get re-elected? What the hell are you people thinking?
Giambra's destroyed Erie County and blamed it all on the State Legislature
and Medicaid, a move which hasn't won him any new friends in Albany.
In fact, it pissed them off so much they won't let him raise the sales
tax to 9.25%, which is where the fun really begins. Now it's time
to cut, drastically, down to the state-mandated bare essentials. Giambra
won favor by cutting property taxes, a savvy political move (i.e.
idiotic) which got him a second term. Too bad it left us wide open
to being crushed by the Medicaid bills which every other county in
the state prepared for. That's what happens when politicians choose
themselves over their constituency, they fuck ordinary people and
don't care who gets hurt because they still get rich and enjoy their
privileges and perks. Everybody's pointing fingers, but the blame
really rests with us. We elected these dickwads and it's a disaster.
Pretty funny how Giambra schemed to sic a control board on Buffalo
for a measly $30 million deficit, then ran up a mind boggling $130
million deficit for the county. He wanted a raise because he felt
he was the CEO of a $1 billion dollar business, but if he really were,
the shareholders would have his head on a platter.
Defense 101 - Okay, here's the deal: If you get mugged and turn
the tables on your attacker, you cannot shoot them in the back as
they're running away. That's what happened at Joe's Sunoco on Elmwood
Avenue when some punk waved a gun in clerk Michael Budd's face and
demanded the cash. Budd, who may be watching too many Steven Seagal
movies, wrestled the gun away and ran after the fleeing crook, shooting
twice and hitting him once in the arm. That's a big no-no, and Budd
wound up in the Erie County Holding Center along with the would-be
robber on a second-degree assault charge. Cellino and Barnes types
will surely jump on, so the crook will probably make bank on the bullet
in his arm. Even botched crime pays these days.
Arson - Sad news for java junkies when the newest Elmwood
Avenue coffeehouse burned to the ground in the predawn hours Thursday.
We actually had a front row seat on our way to work and watched owner
Lon Coldiron being rescued from the roof. The building, which also
housed the venerable Chick's Barber Shop, was declared a disaster
and demolished faster than you can down a double espresso. The competition
is truly brutal on Elmwood. Coldiron claims an anonymous man has been
calling for months saying he would burn the place down. Maybe he got
some bad joe? All investigators know is someone doused the place with
gasoline and lit a match. They also found a gas can with fingerprints
in Coldiron's car. We're not professional detectives, but it seems
either the man's being set up really good or he's ready to cash out
of the coffee business and none too smart about it. Either way, there's
a big hole on the Elmwood strip now-we smell another parking lot controversy
Parenting - Isn't it great having kids when you're still a kid
yourself? A 21-year-old "mom" from Waverly Street found
out the hard way that three-year-olds are fragile things after beating
and burning the baby over the weekend then abandoning her on the street.
Neighbors found the little girl wandering unattended with black eyes
and nasty bruises and wisely called police on the crack-head neighbor.
The tot made her first trip to ECMC under the auspices of Child Protective
Services. When mom called the hospital inquiring about the baby and
was told the cops were involved she replied, "Then you keep her."
Welcome to a wonderful world, kid.
Dude, Where's My Gun and Badge? Bad luck for Major Crimes
Unit Detective Chuck Aronica. His car was parked on Crescent Avenue
overnight and a thief broke in and hit the abduction jackpot: gun,
badge, and police ID. Ouch. Now it's all out there, on a new journey,
darker and more twisted than anything even a cop could dream up. That's
pretty hard to live down in the locker room: "Hey Chuck, lose
your fuckin' gun and badge lately, dumbass?" A set of golf clubs
valued at a $1000 were also stolen, proving the detective kept all
his priorities in the car.
Worse Than Lawyers - How heart-wrenching it was reading the
News' account of the dying taxi industry
in Buffalo. So touching, these poor guys and gals; they're out humping
it all day and night and nobody wants a cab anymore besides drunken
fools and oddball shut-ins. Maybe that's because it costs $15 dollars
to go six blocks and that doesn't quite add up when you're living
on minimum wage. A DWI is cheaper than a taxi from Chippewa to Amherst.
These cabs are all beat up and scummy anyway, manned by some really
bizarre characters. Some let you smoke and drink, some let you smoke
up, others will intoxicate you with their own peculiar aroma. Now
the City Council, which regulates local cab fares, is considering
a 40% hike, which should pretty much price them out of the market.
We'll have to stay tuned and see just how powerful the cabbie lobby
is in political circles. Seeing as most drunken politicians have their
own tax-paid limo, we bet it ain't too strong.
Call - Saturday night, okay, actually Sunday morning, right around
3:30 AM, last call. We sidled up to the bar at Jimmy Mac's and ordered
a beer and two shots of Crown Royal. Toasting a radiant blonde, high
as a kite, smoking Marlboros, we reflected on all the good times we've
had there, mostly black-out affairs where we wind up back home passed
out on the floor with the front door wide open. It was pure, old fashioned,
drunken fun, the lights came up, time to stumble home, and that was
the end of an era. On Monday Jimmy Mac's closed after 23 years and
Rick Naylon blames the smoking ban for putting him and 35 employees
out of business. It was a brutal ride; the ban came and he tried working
the system to get a waiver and found the only way to do that was be
a bowling alley or a bingo joint. The smoking ban definitely affected
Naylon's profit margin, and as hopeless smokers we applaud him for
giving authorities the finger and fighting a futile fight because
somebody's got to, dammit. Word is Mark Supples (Mother's) is buying
Jimmy Mac's and will hopefully retain the great staff which gave the
place its charm and character. This is a no-brainer, turnkey operation;
only we doubt there'll be anymore indoor smoking, so stay tuned to
see if the ban really does kill business.