Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

August 24 - September 7, 2005
Issue #82

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
Evolution Rock
Jesus or Darwin? An ultimatum
Allan Uthman

Keepin' it Real
Cindy Sheehan, representin'
Shawn Ewald

It's Gettin' Hot in Here
Global Warming: Warming the Globe?
Kit Smith
Large & in Charge
Bob Wilmers, Buffalo's control freak
Donnie Dobovich
People Like You
You people just don't get it

Michael Manville

No Strategy, Just Exit
Fractured left threatens itself

Stan Goff

The Real Greatest Americans
Screw the Discovery Channel
Erich Schulte

Buffalo in Briefs
The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime
Page 3
Celebrity Math
Separated at Birth?
Kino Korner: Movies
[sic] - Letters
 Cover Page

Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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The Joy of Gioia

It has long been noted that once a certain level of wealth has been attained, party affiliation becomes a tertiary concern to cutting the kinds of deals that build dynasties. One such local family dynasty, the Gioia family, was recently profiled by Buffalo News Ass-Kisser-in-Chief, Tom Buckham. Buckham has a long career of publishing flattering articles on Tony Gioia, so much so that he would probably be the number one candidate to write an authorized biography, if indeed there was a market for such tripe.

In any event, the article focused on how peculiar it is that the family’s patriarch, Tony, is a staunch Republican while his brother Robert is a Democrat. Until recently the senior Gioia was a courtier of the current president, while his brother Robert was closely allied with former NY State Gov. Mario Cuomo, once upon a time. In fact, the difference in party affiliations may have actually furthered the political fortunes of the family in the long run.

Cuomo poured money into construction at the Roswell Park campus, but that investment came at the precise time that demands for bed space plummeted. Cuomo’s investment in Roswell and his appointment of Robert to the Board of Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority signaled the beginning of the family’s involvement in elite community institutions.

Having a brother who was a prominent Democrat may have actually helped Tony Gioia pursue an agenda at Roswell Park that ultimately leveraged political power at the expense of the institution itself.

The fund raising arm of Roswell, the Roswell Park Alliance, gave Tony Gioia a vehicle for political patronage and an entree into the boardroom leadership level of health care. This catapulted him into the chairmanship of Kaleida Health and set in motion a privatization process of Roswell Park from which it will probably never recover. Once the top cancer research facility in North America, a recent study by U.S. News & World Report had Roswell barely cracking the top fifty. As half of all research programs at the facility were being slashed, Tony Gioia had the privilege of squiring George Bush Sr. around the campus as part of a political fund raiser for Dubyah.

After lounging around with other rich folk as George W. Bush’s Ambassador to Malta, Tony and wife Donna are back in town and are apparently looking for more trouble to get into. It looks like brother Robert has once again given him a head start: Robert is part of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s consulting team to the County Control Board, which despite promises of being a “control board lite” is already looking into making major structural changes to county government without waiting to be asked.

Tony Gioia’s chairmanship of the new Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. virtually guarantees cronies on both sides of the aisle a piece of the action on the waterfront. The most important people in our political process are not elected officials, and as a rule are more concerned with building business relationships that will benefit them, their family members, and in the case of some political players like the Gioias, their empires.

As this country loses its skepticism over inherited wealth and generational transfer of political power, it should come as no surprise that communities such as Western New York are in the process of abandoning the democratic process in favor of “fiscal stability authorities” ruled by power barons and family dynasties.

Brief 1 -- Power? Authority?
Brief 2 -- "Swan" Song

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