The Great Communicator
The appointment of James A. Williams as Superintendent of
Buffalo Public Schools demonstrates some important realities
about politics in Buffalo.
is that even in the midst of all the political turmoil created
by the establishment of the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority
and the successive collapse of Erie County government, weíre
still being victimized by a closed door decision making
process, despite the fact that this process has helped put
the region in its current predicament.
it demonstrates that political considerations outweigh those
of merit, and of course, political considerations are almost
exclusively driven by financial muscle across the spectrum
of American government.
the case of Williamsí appointment, the selection was strongly
influenced by M&T Bank CEO Bob Wilmersí contribution of
$100,000 to fund the handpicked right wing search team of Heidrick
& Struggles. It should come as no surprise then, that the
sole candidate they presented was one who represents the interests
of Mr. Wilmers, an advocate of charter schools.
didnít matter that Williamsí contract as superintendent of
schools in Dayton, Ohio was bought out as a result of a financial
crisis he kept hidden from the community. If anything it was
a plus, because doing so allowed him to award several charter
school contracts that would most likely have been voted down
had it been known how dire the fiscal situation of the school
district was at the time of their approval. If you donít believe
that feigned incompetence Is a great political virtue, look
at the career of Tony Masiello.
of how you feel about the Buffalo Teachers Federation and
the cost of public education to taxpayers, itís important
to note that the superstructure of charter schools that Mr.
Williams left in Dayton has not improved the quality of public
education in Dayton. The plan merely Balkanized the district
into a maze of privatized schools competing for the same dollars,
each with a keen eye on the profit margins. Where are the
promised savings? Where are the promised improvements? CEOs
donít have to answer those kinds of questions.
Mr. Williams understands well the management of the press
from his connections to the Bush administration (his last
employer was Community Education Partners, a private alternative
school management company promoted by, among other prominent
Republicans, George Bush Sr.), itís not surprising that no
one opposed to his nomination had a chance to publicly confront
him with questions about his political philosophy, his track
record in the Dayton district or about why he walked away
from a cushy six figure job as an assistant school superintendent
his sole public appearance before being appointed Superintendent,
Williams talked to a room packed with supporters at the Matt
Urban Center about his "moral values" growing up
as the son of a minister. A recent Buffalo News article focused
on Williamsí people skills and his ability to win over a crowd.
Buffalo School board member Betty Jean Grant was quoted as
saying, " I call him the great communicator." Of
course, Ronald Reagan also went by that moniker. Given his
association with right wing privateers, this comment may prove
Christian coalition has made inroads in the black community,
and Williamsí appointment also represents a victory of sorts
for them here in Buffalo. Letís hope he doesnít share the
popular fundy belief that public education is little more
than a secular humanist brainwashing industry.
"More Popular Than Jesus Christ"
in local politics, the reality is more absurd than anything
you can make up. PoliticsWNY.com is clearly a website in this
whole concept of PoliticsWNY, both the website and the new,
slick magazine, is to shake down money from politicians. Hereís
how it works: Joe Illuzzi, the Dr. Frankenstein of this operation,
is tied in his pal Anthony Orsini, Jr. Chairman of the Erie
County Independence Party, whose endorsement can, theoretically,
swing a close election. An ad on PoliticsWNY.com might be
seen as a way to curry favor with said Independence Party.
The site is also a notorious political rumor mill Ė another
reason to stay on Mr. Illuzziís good side by taking out an
ad. So thereís two main motivations for politicos to advertise:
the safety of an extra line on the ballot and protection from
has served jail time for both bank robbery and securities
2003 he was convicted for failure to pay child support
a fucking prick
an ad is taken out by a politico, weíve noticed a mysterious
pattern emerges. Politicswny.com routinely kisses the asses
of its clients with incredibly boring reprints of their press
two selling points that are apparently "closers"
for our wonderful elected and wannabe elected officials are
siteís easy navigation strategy: everything is thrown onto
a single web page. Itís designed to appeal to someone who
is afraid of what will happen when the mousethingy clicks
on different color words. That is to say, it makes our brilliant
elected officials feel comfortable as they look at pictures
of each other and attempt to read each otherís horse shit.
Just because politicswny.com looks and reads like it belongs
in the book "Web Pages That Suck" doesnít prevent
the usual suspects from dropping serious cash on it.
Number of Hits: The web site routinely makes outrageous claims
as to how many people visit. At the top of the page a banner
proclaims, "4.266 MILLION HITS IN APRIL." Of course,
a "hit" is different than a "read." A
common misconception is that if a web site gets a "hit,"
that means a human being actually perused its content. You
canít blame Illuzzi & company for exploiting this fallacy,
but letís help out our fearless leaders with a little math
here. If the site got that many hits, that would mean that
the equivalent of every citizen in Erie County would have
had to visit the site four times in a month. Since the population
of active churchgoing Christians is less than half that number,
this would make political bottom feeder Joe Illuzzi and his
pathetically funny little political cesspool site more popular
than Jesus Christ.
he has a magazine, which serves as another PR cash cow. Rest
assured that each cover will feature another politicianówhoever
coughed up the most cash that issue.
Buffalo BEAST: is it a hard-hitting, award-winning bastion of
free speech, or a diabolical robotic killing machine of the
future envisioned by the Department of Defense? Two inventors
from Lockport hope itís the latter. They designed an "Autonomous
Non-Manned Transport" for military use, and nicknamed the
Buffalo Beast. A 2001 act of Congress calls for one third of
all ground troops in upcoming wars be unmanned and the DOD is
offering a $2 million prize for an ATV-type vehicle which can
think on its own and, naturally, be equipped with machine guns,
rocket launchers and a tactical nuke or two. Itís a good idea
because kids all over the country are unwittingly training to
operate these things remotely with Playstation controllers.
But then there is the inevitable outcome, taught to all of us
by numerous science fiction movies, that the machines will turn
on humanity and enslave us all. Not to worry, though; thatís
something our children will have to deal with.
It is feared that roughly 1 in 5 killer robots may develop
a hilarious personality
the test of our namesake, the Buffalo Beast did a lot of lurching,
hesitating and veering off course, barely even able to cross
the starting line of the test course. It did, apparently,
chase a guy around some. The inventors blamed a strong wind
for confusing the robot brain. Officials from the Defense
Department offered encouragement but were pretty unimpressed.
When they order a killing machine, they mean business.
used to have a horrific Narcotics Squad full of detectives
who enjoyed shaking down local dealers, stealing cash and
drugs, which proved an excellent supplement to their income.
But greed got the best of them and now almost a dozen former
officers are current felons serving hard time for civil rights
violations. Sylvestre Acosta is the latest bad cop to get
convicted, and Judge Arcara sentenced him to 45 years(!) in
Who would have thought a guy named "Sly" would
be such an asshole.
quite the turnaround; one day youíre a pig stuffing your pockets
with drug money, the next youíre headed to prison to pal around
with the same people you ripped off. Acostaís attorney claims
he was convicted by "liars and convicts," all of
whom were former colleagues. Dirty cops framing an innocent?
Weíve seen that before, what was that movie called? Too bad
Acosta didnít take the plea deal prosecutors offered, he would
have been out in three years.
News, Bad News
got us into quite the budgetary mess and now many county legislators
and officials like Nancy Naples are quitting. Thatís right,
they steered the ship onto the rocks, and now theyíre running
off like rats. Chuck Swanick, Jeanne Chase, Ray Dusza, and
Steve McCarville have all decided not to seek reelection.
Had the budget crisis not occurred, these folks would never
even entertain the idea of giving up their cushy part-time
jobs, but the writing is on the wall. Like lemmings off a
cliff, Erie Countyís "experienced" legislators are
jumping en masse and itís quite the spectacle. Trained chimps
couldnít do any worse, so weíre glad to see some new people
coming in. But it may be like injecting fresh blood into a
rotting corpseótoo little, too late. Stay tuned for more political
patting themselves on the back for re-opening county parks
and a downtown Auto Bureau, but itís just a sign of how inept
county government really is. The DMVs never should have closed
in the first place because they actually bring in money, and
closing the parks was just a way to slap stingy taxpayers
in the face. Nobody knows exactly how bad the deficit is this
year, but all agree itís between $60 and $120 million dollars.
Re-opening the parks only adds another million to the deficit
(and gets parks workers the hell out of ECMC), and jacking
up the processing fee at the DMV by $10 a pop brings in more
revenue AND punishes taxpayers at the same time. So it makes
a great headline with a positive spin, but the reality is
that Erie County will be broke in July and have to borrow
to cover operating expenses. Borrowing will push our bond
rating even lower than it already is, making us a risky investment
requiring outlandish interest ratesóif thereís a lending entity
out there even willing to take the risk.
almost June, and the county budget still isnít balanced 6
months after it was "passed." Despite all the cuts
and layoffs nobody has a clue whatís going on except taxpayers,
who know theyíre getting screwed good and hard. No other county
in the country has been mismanaged so badly. Joel Giambra
is the prime cause of it all, because he cut property taxes
simply to get re-elected and continue hooking up his friends
and relatives with free money. The sales tax increase which
started the whole mess will again be revisited by our shameless
leaders. Anyone else thinking of moving?
News, Bad News
of crucial decisions being made in anti-democratic fashion,
Pinnacle Entertainment of Las Vegas announced that it has
made a proposal to the Seneca Nation of Indians to build a
casino on waterfront property owned by the NFTA. Brilliant!
Elderly people who gamble at casinos really love howling,
cold, gale force winds cutting through their bones. Finally
a silver bullet project that will save Buffalo!
doesnít have to consult taxpayers, thanks to the gaming compact
with the Senecas brokered in Albany. Itís also nice to see
that the strong moral stand against a downtown casino taken
by our fearless leader Joel Giambra has been reversed, now
that itís clear that he couldnít get elected dogcatcher.
Andy Rudnick of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership come up with
some statistics that will enable his group to drop their opposition
as well? Because our leaders like nothing better than to all
be on the same page. What suspense! What drama!
Rose, co-chairman of Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie
County sent out an angry e-mail to supporters in response
to these new developments. "Now, if we donít act, it
appears that this third casino is going to happen," Rose
wrote, "We know that the area will become more devastated
financially than it already is. We know there will be new
crime, new bankruptcies, new wife battering, new child neglect,
and new suicides. All of those dire predictions weíve made
will come to pass, and if we havenít done everything in our
power to stop it, part of the responsibility will be on us."
say a casino will bring economic stimulus, though the statistics
donít bear them out. Some just want a nice big place where
people can gather to pay their stupidity tax. But more than
anything, we just donít want a giant box-shaped building full
of risk-junkies blocking our view on the soon-to-be-developed
new casino, while bringing the area more poverty and desperation,
also promises to bring such classic performers as Oats.