Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend
April 20-May 4, 2005 Issue #73
 As Seen on T.V.
Hollywood Egomaniac Threatens Beast Over Alleged "Need for Speed"
On The Campaign Trail with The Democrats
by Matt Taibbi
Primary Challenge Raises Secondary Concerns
by Allan Uthman
The Impossible Physics of Thomas Friedman's Brain
by Matt Taibbi
New Representative Jettisons Principles in Record Time
by Paul Fallon
The BEAST Investigates
A Totally Original Idea

by N. Sorrenti
BEAST Story and Clip on Celebrity Justice


Read Controversial List
Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Separated At Birth
Blind Date Scenario
Kino Corner
Audio Files
NEW! Angry Voicemails
[SIC] - Your Letters
Advertiser Index
The Way The County Crumbles

Joel Giambra is truly a delusional man. He's so upset about the whole budget fiasco he created, but he thinks State Senator Dale Volker and Assemblyman Paul Tokasz are to blame for not sending enough state aid his way. He actually called on them to resign their positions, something many residents and leaders have said Giambra ought to do after introducing two inoperable budgets instead of one that works. The two state leaders openly laughed in Giambra's face.

In other county government news, the legislature hastily adopted new rules concerning media coverage of legislative

In an attempt to dispel any rumors of homosexuality, Cruise has taken to hanging out with macho lion-tamer types

Basically, our terrified politicians got sick of being hounded by the suddenly-awake local media throughout the ongoing budget crisis, and have backed the press off from interviewing them during sessions, also allowing themselves the option of escaping through a side door when things get
rough. That's how good government works: you see a problem and you fix it. The problem: a newly curious press and increasingly informed electorate. The solution: hide.

Once they got that important business figured out, the legislature went on to pass a plan to reopen the two county golf courses by raising fees before these moneymakers bankrupt the county. You'd think they would be smart and keep revenue generating entities in operation (like the auto bureaus),
but these douchebags are flying by the seat of their soiled pants and, despite all the empty rhetoric about pulling together, they're happy to be sticking it to the people they're supposed to represent.

Just witness Nancy Naples' implosion for giving 80% of the counties many loans to a Republican with close ties to Governor Pataki. This isn't news; it's been a standard practice of hers (and many other comptrollers
across the state) since she took office 11 years ago. The only reason it came out is because the politicians are at war, gleefully airing each other's dirty laundry. Now she's announce she won't run for reelection, probably to pave the way for another GOP turd-eater the Party will name at a later date.

But there is good news! One day before his State of the County Address, Joel Giambra held a dog and pony show out at Bethlehem Steel to announce the hopelessly contaminated Lackawanna site will be demolished and in it's place-yup, you guessed it- will be condos, apartments, houses, offices and a waterfront park which will naturally require massive
state and county aid. Hey, the guy needed something positive before giving a speech to a thousand people who used to cheer him on and now sit in stony silence as he prattles on about all his "accomplishments" in the past year, calling the budget crisis "a big distraction" from his retarded city/county merger plans. Let's face; merging two broke-ass, intractably corrupt entities will only create an even bigger disaster-just look at Sears and Kmart.

Puppet Show

In a recent interview with Donn Esmonde, Bob Wilmers, chairman of M&T Bank said, “If I’m the most influential guy in the community, then the community is in trouble.”

It sure is, Bob. Buffalo will soon have a new school superintendent, thanks to a
$100,000 payoff from Wilmers. Buffalo being what it is (i.e. a dying rust belt city full of crooked politicians), Wilmers wields a huge influence over this area because he makes a shitload of money for M&T Bank.

Cruise has been ruled out as a possible Superintendent because of a strict "no asshole" policy

He heads up both the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Fiscal Control Board, and is very free in giving away money for civic causes like Shea’s, the zoo, and schools.

When Marion Canedo retired in a temper tantrum because the control board froze teachers’ salaries, Wilmers jumped at the chance to install his own puppet, funding a secret search committee which found a “perfect candidate” with dubious qualifications: James Williams was the superintendent of the Dayton, Ohio school system for eight years before getting fired in 1999 when the school system was $22 million in the hole. Lori Crank, a parent, gave a real ringing endorsement to the Buffalo News,
saying Williams “pretty much destroyed Dayton schools.” He doesn’t even work in a school system now; according to the News Williams is employed by a private firm which manages “alternative schools.” In 1994 Williams accepted $8000 in fees for teaching even though he didn’t teach anything,
but wound up giving the money back when everyone freaked out.

So here we have only one identified candidate for one of the most critically important jobs in the city and, like a lot of things in New York State, the process is veiled in secrecy. Williams is in line for the job precisely for his record in Dayton: outsourcing work and creating magnet schools. He will
lower the bottom line, but at what cost to a school system that’s already a disaster? James Williams will be the superintendent, however, because Bob Wilmers wants him.

The Buffalo News, in breaking the story, quickly brushed off citizens complaints about the process and Williams spotty record and are endorsing him as an “agent for change.” One would think the news would reserve judgment until all the facts are in and maybe even identify other candidates, but the News is merely another tool of moneyed insiders like Wilmers, publisher Stan Lipsey, and owner Warren Buffett.
Instead of criticizing a ridiculous process which produces only one candidate for the job, the News is the head cheerleader for yet another out of town stranger to come in, earn a huge salary and continue flushing
our education system down the toilet. We’ll find out soon enough whether Williams is an advocate for education or Bob Wilmers’ power-mad ego.

The Solution to Debt:
Massive Spending
Leave it to the Common Council to come
out of left field and announce “plans” to
build a new football stadium downtown.
That would have been a great idea back in, oh, 1970. Today it’s just plain idiotic to even propose a half billion dollar project (at the very least, probably more like a billion) anywhere in the city. And we thought the control board had brought these dummies back down to planet earth! The idea was greeted with a lot of shaking heads, laughter, and outright derision.
Cruise, pictured below (actual size) is very tiny

The council has big plans for the year 2005, including getting Bass Pro and a Seneca casino downtown, demolishing vacant buildings, and a plan to fight graffiti. Barely mentioned is the idea of getting out from under the control board. Consider the Buffalo Housing Authority, a “volunteer” commission which spent $124,000 so it’s members could attend conferences (i.e. vacation at the taxpayers expense) in San Francisco, Tampa, New Orleans, and Washington D.C.
Plus they get the cell phones ($8500 last year) and credit cards ($11,000) and other perks ($36,000 in health insurance for five commissioners), all for being the worst housing authority in the nation. Buffalo has a lot of “authorities” like this, populated with do-nothing, politically connected dickwads sucking the system dry and increasing debt with impunity.

One place that won’t be ripping off taxpayers any longer is the Marine Drive Apartments, built with taxpayer funds to house politically connected white people who live cheap and have some of the best views in the city. With it’s 40-year lease up, the city wisely decided it couldn’t allow the ripoff to continue and has contracted with a new management company. That didn’t prevent the former manager from trying to collect a severance package worth over $375,000 for himself, his wife, and their niece. Negotiations are under way to bring that figure down, but it’s a good example of how “welfare reform” is still a phrase that only applies to the poor. Finally, the Mayor announced property taxes won’t be raised, but you can bet the farm that assessments across the board will go up. Instead the garbage user fee, which has gone up 40% in the last two years will be raised yet again to provide badly needed revenues. Funny how a city that’s losing more of its population than anywhere else in the country (15,000 residents last year alone) continues to raise fees instead of making cuts for
declining service needs. That’s some real fuzzy logic.

Another Victory in Man's War on Nature

On April 5th, Robert Chambers, a member
of Friends of the Buffalo Niagara
Rivers, discovered a lot of nasty gunk floating out into the Niagara River from the officially closed Riverwalk park area. He notified authorities, who eventually turned up and determined that someone had dumped tons of xylene, gasoline, and other fun stuff into Cornelius Creek. It’s hard to say how much had already flowed out into the river by the time it was spotted, so the spill’s size was estimated to be “at least hundreds of gallons,” if not thousands.

A small Asian girl tries to teach Cruise how to better understand those "squiggly black marks that mean stuff."

What would motivate someone to do such a thing? What else? Money. The cost of legal disposal of such pollutants is about $400 per 50-gallon drum, considerably more expensive than simply dumping a massive dose of neural inhibitors into a river which an impoverished community fishes for food. Anglers are warned, of course, to lay off the river for a couple of weeks. And don’t swim in it, duh. If you’re pregnant, just don’t go near it.

Some people aren’t too bright, though; a guy from the Riverside Review told us he saw a fisherman casting his line into the floating gunk. We can only hope he’s not feeding a family. Frankly, we think anyone who eats fish pulled from a river that has served for decades as the chemical industry’s toilet is goddamn nuts, but people gotta eat, and we ate at Wendy’s the day after we heard some lady found a human finger in her chili there, so who are we to judge?

The point is that this can’t just be some isolated incident—the idea that this guy just happened to be on the scene the one time some asshole decided to skip his hazmat disposal fee is ludicrous. This type of pollution is probably going on regularly, with a dwindling chance of detection by cashstrapped authorities. The culprit(s) shouldn’t be that hard to ferret out—after all, how many people do you know with a few hundred gallons of xylene lying around? So, if you know something, this is one of those occasions when snitching is really the right
thing to do.

Cruise, pictured above pressing his genitals into the back of Cuba Gooding Jr.'s head, has not been ruled out as a suspect in the Niagara River pollution.

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