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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On The Waterfront

Buffalo’s dormant waterfront is a sort of political Rorschach test. When you gaze upon the waterfront from the Canadian side, what do you see? Most people see the hideous impediment of the Skyway and Niagara section of the Thruway which effectively cuts the waterfront off from the cityscape. If that’s what you see, you’ve failed.

What politicians from both parties tend to see when they look at the same picture is an untapped spigot of campaign finance money attached to a deep reservoir of real estate developers. Whoever turns the faucet will get his garden watered, but everyone wants to be the one to turn it. This, in addition to the usual incompetence and lack of imagination we’ve come to expect from Buffalo’s elite, is why the area remains fallow.

Now, a political deal may break this impasse. The deal will be made, in the finest tradition of New York State politics, by a board of political appointees operating behind closed doors. According to the Buffalo News the short list of candidates for this special board includes: “Buffalo Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn; Mark Hamister, a local business leader who serves as Western New York’s representative on the Empire State Development board; Mindy Rich, a Rich Products executive vice president; and Anthony Gioia, former U.S. ambassador to Malta and business executive.” No fresh blood in that group, to be sure. Wake up and smell the money.

Of course, demolition of the Skyway – something all who have not been blinded by politics can immediately see as the most logical first step – will not be part of the deal.

The lead developer in the NFTA’s Lakefront Development team, Opus Group, appears to be no exception to this rule. It’s probably not a coincidence that Opus CEO Mark Rauenhorst has deep roots in Buffalo News Chairman Warren Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, Neb., and also sits on the board of directors of ConAgra foods with Warren’s son, Howard G. Buffett. When an out-of-towner is allowed into the inner circle of Buffalo’s power brokers, you know some serious political muscle is being exerted.

If this is the mainstream Democrat connection, what do the Republicans get out of Buffalo’s waterfront development? The answer to that question lies with the Bass Pro project. Why would Democrats push so hard for the Bass Pro good ol’ boys? The Opus group gets the waterfront, union labor will construct the new parking garage, and Bass Pro gets the Aud – a perfect location for a casino.

Bass Pro has done a superstore/casino deal in Las Vegas. What’s to stop them from doing so in the Aud? Not much, especially with two Pataki-stacked control boards in place. Under this scenario, both major political parties benefit, but the one thing that remains the main problem with Buffalo’s waterfront – the skyway/thruway barrier –remains invisible to the powers that be.

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