Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
 

July 13 - 27, 2005

Issue #79

  .....Buffalo's Best Fiend
   

BLOODY HELL
Tony Blair, Right Honourable Hypocrite
by Allan Uthman

 
VICIOUS CYCLE
Nailing the Interview
by Matt Taibbi
 
TO HELL WITH JUDITH MILLER
That's What I Said
by Stan Goff
 

U.S. POLLING INACCURATE, SAYS NEW POLL
100% Polled Asked Wrong Question

by Matt Taibbi

 

THE JOY OF SAILING
Summer Job Yields Unexpected Lessons
by Matt Higgins

 
TIMEly Features

10 QUESTIONS
For Scott McClellan

 

NOTBULL
Numbers & Quotes

 
FAUX-TURES

ASK DR. CRUISE
Mental Health Advice from the World's Foremost Expert

 

HOLY SHIT!
A Field Guide to Televangelists
by Nick Sorrenti

 

BEAST 5-DAY CELEBRITY FORECAST

 

BUSH SHREDS SKELETOR CRITICS ON BOTH SIDES

 

Sports

The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
Beast-O-Scopes
Kino Korner: Movies
[sic] - Letters
 
The BEAST Blog

 

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Housing Chief Takes Revenge on Mouthy Do-gooder

Local officials just don’t seem to get the fact that they are under increased scrutiny since the majority of local residents have finally figured out that they’ve been getting royally screwed for a long, long time. Old-style, heavy-handed political retribution and maintenance of the status quo makes good copy around here these days, but many of the more lunk-headed politicians are still out of the loop on that.

Take Raymond K. McGurn, Buffalo’s Commissioner of the Department of Permit and Inspection Services. McGurn is the head housing honcho in Buffalo, and has been determinedly dragging his feet rather than doing much about a growing backlog, over 500 so far, of housing violations. He attributes this to the fact that a clerical position in his office was vacant, but housing activists had offered to help with the paperwork for free.

One of those housing activists is named Harvey Garrett. Garrett also acts as a volunteer ‘community liaison’ for housing court judge Henry Nowak. When Garrett finally got fed up and complained in the Buffalo News about McGurn’s inertia, he suddenly found himself—a day later—with a city housing inspector at his door. Garrett was cited for violations stemming from his efforts to restore his own house, ‘missing’ items which had been removed so that they could be replaced, or the house could be worked on. The case was sent to housing court immediately—‘fast-tracked’ ahead of all of those other 500-plus violations. Apparently, McGurn quickly found a way around that clerical problem for Garrett’s case.

McGurn said the action was taken in response to a ‘complaint’ his office received immediately following Garrett’s comments to the News. The department inspected Garrett's house the very day it received this complaint—nothing fishy there, right? But the best part about the complaint letter is that it is an obvious fraud—unsigned, from “Washington Clinton,” a nonexistent person whose address turns out to be ECMC.

Ray McGurn is not just an obvious asshole; he is a stupid, incompetent asshole. How he thought he could pull something like this off and not do tremendous damage to his own reputation only shows how bad things have been for how long in this wretchedly corrupt city. Why he has so much invested in impeding the prosecution of local housing violations is anyone’s guess, but if we were slimy, greedy out-of-town slumlords, we imagine our first move would be to grease the head housing inspector’s palms. We can only hope that, now that McGurn has so publicly embarrassed himself, and angered a lot of community-minded locals in the process, that his work, his office, and his finances receive the intense scrutiny they so richly deserve.

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