Don't Feed the Aliens
Huddled masses threatening our borders.
Allan Uthman
The Persecution Rests
Local Judge takes aim at fake religion.
Paul Jones
March Mayhem!
Clash of Civilizations bracketology.
Good News from Iraq!
Brought to you by the DoD.
Phillips: Head-Screw Driver
Fearmongering for fun & profit.
A. Monkey
Litterbox Lunacy
Do cats make the craziest people?
Kit Smith
Friends Confused by Man's Defense of Kevin Costner
Scott Borchert
Dammit, Gannett, We Hate You
Hoping Current was just the first domino.
Full Court Press
New Fed Courthous: A "quality of life crime."
Kino Korner
Ultraviolet, Failure to Launch, 16 Blocks, Hills Have Eyes, Block Party.
BEAST-O-Scopes
Your cosmic fortune in insult form.
The BEAST Page 3 Afghan Christian Convert
[sic] - Letters
Wal-Mart fans, loathsomeness and celebrity plagiarism.


Operation Told You So
No one could have anticipated the Iraq disaster, except the 40% who did
Allan Uthman
Iraq or Iran?
Which are these pundits pushing to invade?
NSA's Big Rig?
Did the NSA help Bush steal the vote?
Bob Fitrakis
TV Highlights
Ian Murphy discusses "America's Next Top Model" with his penis
Gorilla My Dreams
The Monkey Does Drag.
The Nobel Nazi?
Scientist's Legacy gets Freedom Fried.
Kit Smith
Authorities Relieved Church Fires Were Joke
Josh Righter
Get Off Ma Land!
A BEAST Reader Opinion
Best of Buffalo?
Former Staffer Exposes Artvoice Reader "Poll."
Ready, Set, Gentrify!
Elmwood Village Hotel: Good Neighbor?
Erin-Go-Blah
What Adams Could Have Told Higgins.
Album Cover Reviews
A Skin-Depth Look at 3 New Releases.
Chris Riordan
Kino Korner
Ultraviolet, Failure to Launch, 16 Blocks, Hills Have Eyes, Block Party.
BEAST-O-Scopes
Your cosmic fortune told through harsh insults.
The BEAST Page 3 Improvised Explosive Cola
[sic] - Letters
Thievery, hoser supremacy, drowning retards and bad songcraft.

  Full Court Press
New Courthouse: A Quality of Life Crime

There’s nothing new about the government taking your money and funneling it into the laps of wealthy contractors. In the midst of these trying economic times, however, the wanton extravagance our rulers demonstrate when spending taxpayer money is disgusting. They seem completely oblivious to the economic principle of scarcity: the truism that when you have limited resources, you must allocate them efficiently. That demands doing the most with what we have.

You would hope Buffalo officials might heed this lesson as they earmark our precious tax dollars, but you’d be disappointed. The latest outrage involves the federal government's plans to spend over $100 million dollars on the city. So how have they decided that this money will be most efficiently be spent? If you guessed by erecting a superfluous eyesore of a courthouse, you're quite possibly a moron; but you'd also be right.

Local government officials have greedily swallowed this $100 million-plus appropriation from the feds, courtesy of taxpayers, and taken a huge stinking dump—a grotesque, steel-and-glass excretion—right in Niagara Square. The notoriously stenographic local news media have resorted to typical, sycophantic cheering for the judges, politicians and business schmucks who lobbied for this laxative boon. But just in case people get the right idea, the public has also predictably been shut out of the decision making process. We’re like a captive studio audience, meant to trust fully and reflexively in our overlords’ performance, and expected simply to acquiesce or enthusiastically applaud at appointed times.

The lone public hearing about the proposed courthouse project was held in November 2003. It wasn't publicized and few noticed.  The BEAST ran a rambling, profane tirade by Publisher Paul Fallon opposing the project in the December 5, 2003 issue, titled “Let Them Eat Pork: A New Courthouse for a Decaying City.” But The Buffalo News, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and every other prominent news source in the city have been dutifully praising the project from its inception. A 30,000-copy biweekly—even an exceptional one—is simply no match for a media juggernaut that includes a huge daily paper, three local television news channels and several radio stations. The odds are heavily in favor of prefabricated versions of the facts—and against a concerned public.

The project has been grinding slowly forward since 2003, but it recently gained new life when it was announced the long-awaited funding would be included in the 2007 federal budget. A March 25 News editorial gushed: “Buffalo's proposed new courthouse is not a feel-good project. It's the top national priority for the federal judicial conference, a needed upgrade in function and security.” Is it really necessary to upgrade the function and security of the present courthouse? It's admittedly difficult to say—because there isn't usually anything going on over there. Would it kill the news to ask a few questions?

The News continued its praise saying “the government commissioned a stunning building that won national design awards. It can be not just a good courthouse, but a symbol of rebirth in a city with a rich architectural heritage. And it will be a needed federal reinvestment in downtown, following the closing and sale of the Federal Reserve Bank, the abandonment and proposed sale of the Dulski Federal Office Building…and the loss or scattering of federal jobs in the downtown area. Keeping federal jobs here also must be a federal priority.”

This is self-serving bullshit—but utterly in keeping with the story’s feculent implications. The building has no architectural connection to downtown and the piece doesn't even bother to identify the loons who gave this “stunning” monolith awards. Moreover, it just doesn’t make sense to label as progress moving federal court jobs from one side of Niagara Square to the other. Not to mention that a new building was already constructed to replace the Dulski building and New Era Cap is taking over the Federal Reserve Building.  

People have criticized the project; you likely just haven’t heard it. It’s been pointed out, for instance: four occupied buildings will be razed to make way for the courthouse, displacing approximately 300 people who were already working and spending money in the heart of downtown. An especially galling irony in light of the Buffalo News' downtown repopulation canard. It’s also worth noting the fanatical focus on “security” has yielded a design that would blend easily only in Robocop’s Detroit.

The new federal courthouse building is a grossly misguided boondoggle—even by boondoggle standards—as well as a gratuitously crass stain on our downtown urban landscape. Nevertheless, people like Senator Charles Schumer, our pathetic excuse for a Congressman Brian Higgins and the pompous judges who think themselves entitled this garish palace will say that our opposition is born of naivety. They'll say we don't understand how the system works—that this is how the government has chosen to spend our money. That we should not laugh when Senator Schumer says we are “on the forefront in keeping our nation secure in the war on terror.” That we should be thankful for this federal largess, no matter how absurdly it’s being squandered. That it is our money is beside the point. This is how the system works.

The problem is that we understand exactly how it works. Glaring stupidity, selfishness and greed are not so easily concealed, no matter how pretty the wrapping. This is “the system”: Pandering politicians and lifetime-appointment judicial cretins colluding arrogantly to misappropriate taxpayers' wealth for their own self-aggrandizement. The rest of us are just incidental—a collateral nuisance to be ignored or kept in the dark while the grand plan goes up around us. The chasm between what Buffalo’s privileged want and what its population actually needs grows unabated.  How could this money be better spent? In infinite ways, but don’t take our word for it. Ask yourself that question. I bet the folks running The Buffalo News, who annually siphon $30 million in profits out of this region would tell us, if only they could muster the integrity. They won’t, obviously. But maybe we can still find a fearless attorney willing to go to the old courthouse with a gigantic legal scooper and make this odious new one disappear.

 

BEAST Blog

Idiot Box by Matt Bors
Big Fat Whale by Brian McFadden
Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch
Bob the Angry Flower by Stephen Notely
Deep Fried by Jason Yungbluth

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