|THE RED ZONE
thought we lived in Buffalo, where the media never ever takes
notice of government mismanagement and the politicians have
had free reign to ruin county finances. It was a hell of a run,
the last 40 years, but now it's over; the TV stations and even
the blind Buffalo News have been all over the county budget
fiasco since December. Citizens actually know who their elected
representatives are and how badly they're being screwed over.
what exactly happened to change this? Joel Giambra's implosion
as a respectable leader for one. It's not that surprising;
Giambra is an opportunist of the highest order, switching
from Democrat to Republican in order to become County Executive.
It was a fine line to walk, too fine for someone as arrogant,
crooked and shifty as Giambra. Joel cut property taxes, but
not spending, trying to force a regressive sales tax increase.
He couldn't get Republicans or Democrats in the legislature
to vote for it, even with his extortive Red and Green Budget
ultimatum. The results have been disastrous. County workers
are being laid off and the unions are going bonkers trying
to preserve their jobs, ludicrous benefits and all. Basically,
people are only paying attention now because the situation
has become so dire, like a man who ignores a bug bite on his
leg until it has to be amputated.
unions are rightly pissed at being targeted, because Giambra
alone sits on 700 vacant patronage jobs and it certainly makes
sense to get rid of those first. That's not how it works around
here, though. Even with a heavy spotlight shining directly
on him, Joel knows what his real role is. This battle's been
brewing for decades as Erie County's public sector jobs have
grown steadily while businesses closed, until now government
jobs pump more money into the economy than private sector
jobs. That's no way to run a government, unless you plan on
running that government into the ground. Joel is now a politician
without a party, and the odds of him reestablishing an effective
coalition in the legislature is zero. He's alienated everyone
and, to make matters even worse, Sam Hoyt's begun the process
in Albany which will lead to a state mandated control board
for the county. Guess Giambra feels pretty stupid for trying
to oust him last fall.
where things get interesting: After a well deserved Florida
vacation, Giambra is back and acting as conciliatory as is
possible for him. He says he takes the blame but hasn't apologized,
and everyone knows it's the act of a desperate man. Now he's
talking about taking a pay cut (after dismissing the idea
a couple of weeks ago as "symbolism") along with
a handful of legislators, making us wonder what planet we're
on. These people were trying to vote themselves raises less
than six months ago, and if the sales tax had passed they
probably would have them. They're also echoing taxpayers who've
screamed long and hard to quit playing games, come back to
reality, and fix this retarded county government. Don't be
fooled; the first chance they get taxes and fees will be raised
and it'll be back to buggery as usual. All the solutions proposed
will surely turn to dung in the hands of the thieves in charge.
at the West Valley Demonstration Project was halted last month
after three accidents occurred over the span of 15 days. The
former nuclear waste reprocessing center located in Cattaraugus
County is terminally contaminated, requiring a "cleanup"
program which seems to have no end in sight. Contractors accidentally
caused two fires in the same building where two workers were
exposed to more radiation in a few minutes than the average
American receives in a year (360 millirems). Workers say they're
being pushed to finish the job by management, which is creating
an accident prone workplace. So far, no radiation has escaped
into the environment because of these klutzes; at least that
the public's been told. It's a shame that shoddy, old nuclear
waste reprocessing centers outlive their usefulness and require
decades and hundreds of millions until they're ready to be the
next Hickory Woods. That's your federal government at work,
taking care of past crimes in a timely manner.
Buffalo Board of Education recently voted to approve a single
health insurer for all school employees, a move which will save
250 teaching positions and over $27 million over the next two
years. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone except Phil
Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, who considered
the vote "an insult and a slap in the face of every employee...,"
because the Board won't consider full contract negotiations.
Workers currently choose from 82 different insurance carriers
offering the most premium, all-inclusive plans imaginable, with
benefits including free cosmetic surgery. In the private sector,
health insurance costs employers hundreds of dollars a month
per employee, and employees also contribute a substantial percentage
of their meager paychecks as well, plus costly co-pays for office
visits, prescriptions, etc... Basically, it's really expensive
and a lot of Western New Yorkers don't even have it, much less
the option of getting a boob job on the taxpayer's tab.
is it that a good idea benefiting taxpayers and school employees
alike gets so much heat? Maybe because the state control board
froze all their salaries and seems hell bent on reforming
bloated school financing. Citing declining enrollment rates,
the control board criticized the Board of Education for not
cutting teachers and the fact the district has 93 more teachers
on the payroll than are included in the current budget. Now
that's creative accounting! Buffalo schools have been circling
the drain for a long time; that's the number one reason families
move out to the suburbs. Until it's corrected (if that's even
possible), this area will continue to decline. Of course,
while local government criminals and the Buffalo News are
pushing for a merger of city and county governments, no such
regionalization of school systems is on the table.
when our hairy palms were all set to start stroking to XXX pay-per-view
in crystal clear digital cable, Adelphia chickened out because
of a Catholic backlash. Apparently the church STILL hates pornography,
despite the fact that half its clergy are buggering pedophiles.
Oh sure, there's still "porn" available; highly edited
affairs which turn a 30-minute scene into three minutes of T&A
that's about as arousing as the Medical Procedure Channel. So
it's back to the satellite, where XXX is king, at least for
now. Bankrupt Adelphia executives are going ape imagining the
millions they're losing to unscrupulous competitors who have
no shame-who aren't Adelphia.
May Be Health Risk
sucks, especially here, but Buffalonians know just how to turn
those frowns upside down: drugs. Booze and pot are old standbys,
and cocaine is certainly a popular item these days, but for
the money nothing flips your happy switch like a bag of smack.
If you were lucky enough to get some of the "Fear This"
heroin that recently made the rounds, then you know what we're
talking about: the stuff is pure and powerful! Distributed by
Mexican locals, "Fear This" is in high demand among
drug connoisseurs and is responsible for at least two deaths
so far. At $20 a hit, it's a small price to pay to circumvent
your body's chemical reward system. Police arrested 17 people
on the Lower West Side over two days in connection with the
"Fear This" heroin ring, but are unsure how much remains
on the street. Users can rest easy, however; a new drug gang
is already being put together in order to supply local demand.
Or you could wise up and kick, dumbass.
They Got Me In A Cell
when Da' Franchise blew into Buffalo a while back with "The
$4.4 Million Project?" He and his entourage lived it up
big time, scamming various studios, hotels, limo services, talent
agencies and whoever else was dumb enough to believe an unknown
rapper could make them all rich. The scam was so successful
they pulled it off in half a dozen East Coast cities, but the
law finally caught up with Da' Franchise in Augusta, Georgia
where one Walker Washington and a female companion were arrested
after police got an anonymous tip. A long list of creditors
will now undertake the arduous process of trying to get their
money back, a hopeless idea unless one of the CDs or videos
Da' Franchise fraudulently produced climbs the charts and starts
generating some serious income. It could happen-after all, he
is a criminal.