Feb 20thHappy Presidents day, another day for public employees to have off. A poll on WBEN Do you approve of the job Amherst Town Supervisor Dr. Satish Mohan is doing so far? Go and cast your vote for Satish!
On Feb 7th Dan Ward put in a resolution to give the ability for voters to recall..
Isn't it amazing when we screamed for years to have the ability to do this it went no where, BUT when you get someone like Satish in there that is doing what needs to be done one of the politicans (Dan Ward) submits this resolution. Maybe Dan Ward and Bill Kindel should resign because if this gets past they will be the first to go.
BUFFALO, N.Y. When former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello rode off into the western New York sunset, he took a hefty campaign bankroll with him.
Masiello -- who retired on New Year's Eve after 12 years as mayor -- left office with more than 780-thousand dollars in two separate campaign accounts.
That's according to reports he filed with the Erie County Board of Elections. Officials at the Board of Elections tell The Buffalo News that Masiello can't spend the money for personal use, but he's free to use the funds for virtually any other purpose.
Most former politicians use their leftover funds to support other candidates. If Masiello choses to contribute to political campaigns, he'll have to follow rules such as limits on donations to individual candidates.
The former Democratic mayor -- who now works for a lobbying firm -- tells the Buffalo newspaper he'll use the money to support his favorite political causes.
If I had 10% of that I could run for County Legislature and win.. Care to send some this way Tony? It will be for Good government in Erie County.
Introduces Legislation to Eliminate Unfair E-ZPass' 'Monthly Administrative Service Fee'
State Senator Michael Balboni (R-East Williston) recently introduced legislation that would prohibit agencies that administer E-ZPass in New York State from charging monthly surcharges. Balboni authored the bill after hearing complaints from numerous constituents about an unwarranted $1 administrative service charge being tacked on to their E-ZPass account bills each month.
Three different agencies authorize E-ZPass within the state - the New York State Thruway Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The Port Authority and the MTA charge the $1 fee, the Thruway does not.
"E-ZPass is supposed to provide efficiency by both easing congestion at toll plazas and by offering discounts for account holders. While the program has helped to alleviate traffic jams, this unnecessary fee defeats the purpose of the account holder discounts. Adding to the outrage felt by E-ZPass customers is the fact that the MTA is sitting on a more than $1 billion surplus," said Balboni.
How about we remove the tolls in Western New York altogether. Every toll booth in Erie county acts as a commuter tax. Eliminate them all, EZPass has not made driving home to Grand Island everyday much easier. Think about this, all the toll money collected in WNY is sent to care for the roads in Hudson Valley, two major roads there are paid for by us. Our elected reps there are afraid to tax them with tolls but it's OK to keep screwing Erie County.
A Lauderdale-by-the-Sea commission candidate has been slapped with a $6,919 fine for claiming two homestead exemptions, one local and the other in New York.
The Broward County Property Appraiser's Office reports Jerome McIntee, a candidate in the March 14 election, has claimed the double tax break since 2002. That violates a Florida law that says a homeowner can claim only one primary residence for tax relief even if a second home is out of state.
The $6,919 fine reflects the Broward taxes owed, as well as government expenses.
McIntee, a retired police officer, has improperly received tax relief since 2002 on his 1,600-square-foot home in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a property assessed at $318,000. During that time he also received similar relief on a $170,000 home in East Aurora, N.Y., according to a Feb. 6 letter to the candidate from the Broward Property Appraiser's Office.
This doesn't suprise me but what does is that this retired cop owns $488,000. in property. I can't afford to pay attention and he has two homes.
One piece of common wisdom at the State Capitol is whatever the teachers union wants, the teachers union gets. But events last week show that assumption may no longer be valid.
Thousands of people, including the head of the Roman Catholic diocese of New York, rallied on the Capitol steps to voice their support for a $500 education tax credit Gov. George Pataki has proposed as part of next year's budget. The credit could be used for, among other things, paying tuition at parochial and other private schools in districts where the public schools aren't performing well.
Teachers unions and school boards hate the idea of the tax credits, which would total $400 million next year, because they see them draining money away that they say would be better used trying to improve public schools.
Advocates for private schools see the credits as a way of making it easier for parents to enroll in their programs and giving poorer people a choice of schools for their children.
This needs to pass it will be a win for all of us, next step needs to be vouchers then we will have real choice in education. Our kids are getting the short end of education right now, public schools have failed all.
Check the water at the Manhattan headquarters of Empire State Development Corp.
The operational head of that agency is experiencing delusions. Someone, eternal optimists perhaps, must have spiked the New York City water supply.
Exhibit A, a statement delivered this past week by one of the leading economic developers in the state: "Jobs are returning, businesses are flourishing and New Yorkers' lives are changing for the better."
It's a quote from Eileen Mildenberger, chief operating officer of the state's economic development agency. The message was delivered on Wednesday to a state Assembly panel as Pataki administration officials tried to paint New York as a virtual economic utopia.
For whom, I don't know. But certainly west of the Hudson Valley and far beyond Mildenberger's offices in Manhattan, the state's economy is in a shambles.
New York residents would hope that Mildenberger has some knowledge of the economic conditions of upstate cities, including Binghamton, Utica, Rochester and Buffalo.
To make a generalized statement as she did on Wednesday is nothing short of an insult to the people who live in those metro regions that have been shattered by job displacement over the past two decades.
Here are some things Mildenberger failed to mention:
• New York ranks 41 in private-sector job growth over the past 10 years.
• New York ranks 32nd in high-tech job growth.
• New York ranks 31st in personal income growth.
• New York ranks first in out-migration,
the number of people moving to other states from New York, 26,000 last year.
Free Buffalo sent out a candidate survey to the two candidates running for the senate seat in the 60th district. He emailed Marc Cappolla and Chris Jacobs. The questions are below. I am looking forward to their answers. Seeing that I did send a letter and resume to the parties for their endorsement for this senate seat and was once again ignored by them I would like to submit my answers to these very questions.
1. Why has the Buffalo area declined in the last few decades and what specifically have you done about it in the last ten years?
This area has declined due to the politics, ever incressing taxes, regulations, restrictions, permits, inspections etc… I have helped co found Free Buffalo and Primary Challenge, run for office against the entrenched political machine twice and will continue on the same path in the future. Nothing will change until we change the “Politics of corruption” in New York State.
2. Studies show that public sector employee compensation is substantially higher than private sector compensation. Would you support a constitutional amendment or law that would mandate that public sector salaries on average not exceed those in the private sector?No - yes - maybe
Yes I would, the private sector has been in constant decline for decades yet public employee compensation grows every year as does government jobs. Private sector job growth in WNY has been consistantly close to 0, yet government grew at a staggering 40% according to the last census.
3. Do you believe that New York State taxes need to be adjusted downward until we are competitive with local taxes in comparable states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania?No - yes - maybe
Taxes through out NY in every aspect of taxation are far above the national average yet the population and business continue to decline. We need to cut taxes across the board. We have got to stop the exodus of people and business and bring them back. The only way to do it is to make NY at the very least competitive. Some how seperate the influential politics of down state from upstate, weighted voting in Albany would be the first place to start.
4. Please list any new programs or major spending you believe State Government should undertake:
No new spending at all, we need to cut spending and not just the rate of growth.
5. Which State spending programs do you favor eliminating?
There are many programs that need to be eliminated one is the advertising of benefits such as food stamps, heap, hud, medicaid etc.. People have known for years that these and many other programs are out there. Why are we paying for television and radio ads to promote these benefits. I can only imagine how many millions are spent each and every year that could be better well spent. When the average welfare reciepant gets only 25 cents of each dollar spent on the system the system is upside down.
What we have to eliminate is all the authorities that are accountable to no one, spend billions of dollars every year and are borrowing us further and further into debt.
6. Corporate welfare—special tax breaks or subsidies to business—should be eliminated. Economic growth should be promoted instead by tax cuts for all citizens and businesses.disagree - agree - undecided
Agree as stated above.
7. State pension costs are exploding. The system needs to be reformed to reduce benefits, raise the retirement age and reduce gimmicks such as working overtime in the last three years of employment to raise pension benefits. disagree - agree - undecided
Agree, when public employee pensions include early retirement ages, non taxable pensions and healthcare for life with not even a co-pay for doctor visits and prescriptions the state cannot keep up with the growing costs.
8. Medicaid spending (not the rate of increase) must be reduced by all means possible, including a statewide cap on spending.disagree - agree - undecided
Medicaid costs in this state are twice the costs of Texas and California yet the states solution is to cap what the counties have to spend, all that does is shift the costs to the state, one way or the other they will get the money out of our pockets. Begging the Federal government for money is not the answer as we receive more money for Medicaid from the federal government per capita. NY offers 21 out of the 23 programs the feds offer. Medicaid needs a critical overhaul no question.
9. Would you vote to repeal the “Triborough Amendment” of the Taylor Law which requires public employers to maintain all the terms of a collective-bargaining agreement until a new contract is negotiated? No- yes- undecided
The Triborough Amendment keeps the status quo and must be repealed it is exactly what keeps everyone working keeping the status quo until a new contract is agreed upon. That could take years, the Taylor law is the biggest obstacle to reforming the pension system, it protects the benefits of past retirees and renders all past deals untouchable. When you look at the costs of healthcare and the burden it has on our state in tax dollars as we have to pay for every part of it for the retirees, we cannot continue to support the rate of growth with out them paying at least part of the benefits. Taxes are not paid on pensions, if we were to at the very least have retirees pay taxes on the pensions we would be in the balck instead of going further and firther into the red.
10. A federal court has ruled that the judicial convention system for nominating state trial judges is illegal. Should this system be replaced by an open primary election process or should all state trial judges be appointed?
Politics must be removed from the Judical process. Let there be an open primary for all candidates running for office. The current process gives all the power to the parties and is simply a slush fund as they force the candidates to basically buy their endorsements.
(Buffalo, NY, February 18, 2006) - - Earlier this week, News 4 told you that Bass Pro is ready to build a new mega-store in Memphis, Tennesee. Bass Pro's deal in Memphis not only took less time to complete, but also costs taxpayers there nothing.
Here in Buffalo, tax dollars are part of the package. If Bass Pro opens in Buffalo, just how much will it cost you, the taxpayer? it's a question News 4 is Asking for You.
The outdoor sporting giant wants to build one of its mega-stores in Memorial Auditorium. The tentative agreement shows Bass Pro has to guarantee a 22 million dollar investment. State and local taxpayers have to cast 35 million dollars into the deal.
James Ostrowski of Free Buffalo: "We are so desperate for business in New York, the politicians and the government have made it so bad to do business that we have to bribe companies to come here."
Jean Harmon, Representing Legislator Michelle Ianello, will meet with Grand Island residents at the Town Hall on Wednesday, February 22 from 12 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This meeting was announced last week at the town board meeting but it was announced as our Legislator from the 10th district will be here. Well first of all our legislator is Michelle Iannello/Ward not Jean Harmon. I have no idea who that is.
"I want to restore trust and confidence in Erie County government."Michelle Iannello
......We are waiting.......
I am going to continue to put this out till I drive the message home. This is directly from her website.
# Restoring fiscal stability to Erie County government. # Restoring public confidence in Erie County government. # Bringing transparency and openness to Erie County government. # Restoring integrity to Erie County government. # Stopping government waste, fraud and abuse. # Reducing Erie County government spending. # Restoring vital services to County taxpayers. # Providing full-time constituent services. # Supporting Charter Revision to reduce the size of County government. #Eliminating legislator district offices and reducing legislator spending. # Structural reforms to change the way the County does business. # Supporting vital public safety services and community programs.
So far the 5 points in red above she has failed or shown no effort
Meeting #1- Michelle voted to increase the budget at the legislature to keep district offices open, increase spendoing to hire 1.5 employees in the district offices, increased spending to hire a $78,000 a year "Democrat Chief of Staff" , Voted to raise our sales taxes that failed to include any reforms or structural changes at the legislature except to grow government.
Openness and transparency in government? Where is Michelle Iannello/Ward?
A letter to the Editor is forth coming to all the local papers calling her on her continuing of the Status Quo, exactly what the people are tired of.
Tony Orsini up on charges..
Word has it that 7 charges have been filed against Tony Orsini, charges were filed by Lou Corrigan with the state Independent party. 7 charges have been filed and voted on. With the weighted vote results were 500,000 to 100,000 to persue the charges against Mr. Orsini. Charges include, Orsini accepting money from candidates and then Orsini endorsing them, clearly illegal. Another has to do with our friend Joe "I never tell a lie" illuzzi. Seems they spent $3000 of Independent party money on a cover story? and a favorable article about Tony Orsini.. Not the Party, but on Orsini.. Hmmmmm...
This comes from a good inside source. How many times have I said that the endorsements have been bought and paid for.. : ) I have never gotten a response from the Independent party from letters I have sent them asking for an interview. Of course my letters never included cash or checks.
On February 2, 2006 the Erie County Legislature passed, by a vote of 11-4, a local law that establishes the "Erie County Workforce Development and Diversification Apprenticeship Training Program." This law requires any contractor doing business with Erie County to participate in an apprenticeship program and to ensure that the contractors workforce includes at least 30 percent minority and female participation.
I have attached a letter from Erie County Legislator Michael Ranzenhofer that provides a brief overview of the law and a copy of the law.
On Tuesday, February 21, 2006 a public hearing on this legislation will be held at 10:00 a.m., 16th floor of the Rath Building.
It appears that County Executive Giambra will veto this legislation, however, it appears that there is substantial support among the legislature to override his veto and put the law into effect.
I encourage you to contact County Executive Giambra and your County Legislator or attend the public hearing to express your position on this bill. To assist you, I have attached names, addresses, etc. of the County Legislature.
The Erie County Legislature
92 Franklin Street - 4th Floor
Buffalo, New York 14202
The next item is a proposed piece of legislation in the State Assembly (A7883) that would require the principal design firm on a construction project to "unequivocally approve any design work it may have delegated to contractors and subcontractors." I have attached a sample letter in support of this legislation and ask that you put this letter on your company letterhead and send it to your local assemblyman. I have also attached the Board of Regents Rule on Design Delegation and a list of state assemblyman.
If you have any questions about either of these pieces of legislation, please contact Jim Logan or Dan Hogan at the Construction Exchange office.
The Construction Exchange of Buffalo & WNY, Inc.
This is plain and simple bad legislation.. It must be vetoed and the legislature know that we are fed up with their pandering to the local union demands. All this does is drive up the costs of construction projects, ensures that the unions have more and more employees that they can get "Dues" from.. Which of course is used to re-elect and support legislators that are Pro-Union..
I am against any legislation that gives more power to the unions, I have been and always will be against Project Labor Agreements. It forces all very well qualified "non union" companies out of the bidding process and keeps their employees out of work. Non union companies have just as much Right to the work as union companies.
Just do it, call, write, email all your legislators..
Forum on County Charter/changing the form of county gov.
While it seems the media in Erie County was focused on the meeting In Evans on the supervisor getting caught driving drunk, a concerned group of people gathered to take a look at how Erie County government works now and how we could change it and make it more efficent. The panel consisted of Professor Kevin Hardwick,as Moderator, Founder of FreeBuffalo James Ostrowski commenting on the board of supervisors form of government, Alan Bedenko,(Buffalo Pundit) speaking on the elimination of county government, Sam Iraci Jr. Former Elmira City Manager, who supported the city/county manager form of government., and Gregory Olma was there to defend the "strong Executive" current government structure. The forum opened with Alan Bedenko's comments on the "elimination of county governments" as Gov. William Weld did in Massachusetts. In theory I like the idea, but the whole concept is predicated on the fact that the State Government has to be functional. I can see how it could work, but the fact that our current legislature in Albany has been labeled as the most dysfunctional in the country, at this point in timeeliminating county governments could not work. The three men in a room form of government that we in New York are stuck with, has got to be fixed. When we have the Assembly leader Sheldon Silver and Senate leader Joe Bruno, working in conjunction with the unions and the lobbyists, dictating to their respected houses how to vote, and down state interests dominating New York politics and legislation. This proposal is just not feasible at this time. Second to speak was Samuel Iraci Jr. I will say from the get go, he had the best idea. Sam spoke of the "Professional County Manager", a non elected position, a person that is hired based on experience as a Professional Manager, with a contract where he/she sets and agenda and goals for the county. The only problem I see is the possibility that "Politics" can get involved in the selection process, or politics being an influence when he/she is in office. But at the same time, if a strong Manager is chosen, one that has the ability and the wherewithal to keep political influence out, this is by far the best idea that came out of the forum last night. Thank you Sam for coming out. I learned alot from you last night. Third to speak was Jim Ostrowski. Jim brought out the "Board of Supervisors". I have been advocating this for a while now but still have some concerns. We would utilize all the respected supervisors in the county, have the current city council of Buffalo and any Mayors working in the capacity of "Supervisors". This form was eliminated because of the "Represenation" issues back in the early 60's. The county legislature represents equeal population numbers. With all these people involved, as many as 37 and weighted voting, I can see some real problems coming and politics being a heavy influence. This idea has been put out recently by Dale Volker, apparently hearing us talking about it. Of course I think that He is part of the problems we face in this county. At the same time I could see this working, with weighted voting the out come could not be easily calculated, they just may be forced to vote their convictions instead of voting for the end result. Using this form of government along with the Professional County Manager, just may be feasible and work very well. Just think, if this went to referendum we could eliminate the county legislature and the county executive with one click on the voting machine. And lastly to speak was Greg Olma, Greg was there to defend the current form of government, "The County Legislature".. Greg brought with him probably the only hard copy I have seen of the Charter. Defending the current system Greg brought up some very good points as to how and why this form of government was put together. Citing that the real problem we are faced with is the people that are in it and the current atmosphere of politics of Erie County. He also stated he was against term limits and how changes need only be made, one example is the inability to track down anything the current legislature is and has done, I hope I have that right, but it is true, you can't go anywhere and really see how they voted and who voted for what. He strongly agrees with keeping the Legislature as it is. Kevin Hardwick did a great job as moderator, he added his two cents in between speakers using some well placed humor and facts. Kevin has a long impressive resume, he has been City Councilman in the City of Tonawanda, is Professor of Political science at Canisius College and current host of Hardline with Hardwick on WBEN Radio Sundays from 10 - 12.. My only suggestion, either replay the show in the afternoon or have it on from 1 to 2 pm.. After all the speakers were finished Kevin opened the floor for comment and questions. This is where I came in and started the conversation about the "Toxic Politics" in Erie County. The major problem I see in not only Erie County but across the state is the influence and poison of "Party Politics". All we seem to see here and across the state is finger pointing, Democrats this, Republicans that, it is our downfall and is leading us down the path to destruction. Sorry, just my opinion. As I have written in the past many times, our major problem is Albany. Not only is it dysfunctional, the atmosphere is corrupt. Our elected representatives are virtually powerless. We have a dictatorship in Albany not the Representative Republic we are supposed to have. Sheldon Silver and Joe Bruno control every legislator, they control their committee seats, their re-election money, their district money, thus controlling the votes on everything including issues that are sent to committee. How? By using 1950's union thug tactics, either vote the way I tell you or you get nothing from me for your district, your re-election, vote the way I tell you or you will no longer have that cushy committee seat or even remain as Chairman of the committee. So #1 issue is that anyone running for Senate or Assembly that tells you they are going to do This or That is plain and simply Niave and is telling you what you want to hear. They are powerless and will remain that way until we Take the power out of the hands of Sheldon Silver and Joe Bruno. Make lobbying illegal, eliminate the union and special interests influence over our supposed leaders. The atmosphere in Albany is all about fundraising and buying influence. My reccomendation is to eliminate the legislature all together and either keep the Three Men in a room form of government or give the power to vote on issues back to the individual legislators. The jerry mandering of the districts has made it impossible for the opposing party candidate to run and win in any district in the state. That has to change. This is one of the main reasons I joined in and help Lenny Roberto start Primary Challenge. Issue #2. Focus on eliminating the "Party" influence in the county. When we read and hear reports that the Democrats are meeting at "Party" headquarters to discuss legislation and the agenda of the Majority party, that has to stop. It is not the Party Leader that runs the county, we did not elect Len Lenihan, or Bob Davis, we elected individual legislators from districts to represent us. We have committee members that are given jobs because they did alot of work for the party or went out and got the most signatures or sold the most tickets to a fundraiser. They create positions like the new $78,000 a year position that was created by the Democrats at the legislature, he is the former campaign manager for Maria White and a close ally of Len Lenihan and Sam Hoyt. When the legislators run on a campaign of reform and at their first meeting they vote to reopen their district offices with 1.5 employees and increase the staff at county hall. We know the mind set has been corrupted and has to be changed. They have built their army by giving people jobs, all these people are required to work for the party, they are required to donate to campaigns and attend fundraisers. Just look at Tonawanda, reports had it that Andy Sedita was shaking down employees to give money to the Giambra camp, not for his re-election but for a vacation. These tactics have got to stop and I am sure the employees would agree with me. As we saw in the last election, the Republican candidates in the Town of Tonawanda got beat to a pulp in the election and now the town is run by a Democrat majority for the first time in decades. The agenda for the Frontier Democrat Club for their next meeting is the Erie County Review Committee. Two speakers will be attending, Dave Kelly and Peter Reese, both Commissioneers on the Committee. The FDC is urging members to come and express the opinions on this important issue since this may be their only chance to have a public input on the Commission. Their next meeting will be held Feb 23rd at JP Bullfeathers, 1010 Elmwood Ave at 8PM... Interesting guests, I can only ask...Why? Our county government has become a $1.1 Billion dollar drag on the local economy and an employment agency for the politically connected. Joel Giambra wants to appoint Chuck Swanick to the the board at ECMC, why? I can only think of one reason, intimidation. Chuck was a legislator for 26 years, he know politics very well and I have tried to tell people for years, Chuck was like Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde, he was one personality in public when he was courting your vote and another altogether behind closed doors at legislative hall. Chuck knows how to intimidate people. I say NO and this is just more evidence as to how Politics influences government. So in a nutshell, we have got to fix the political atmosphere, stop pointing fingers, when you enter the legislative chambers "Leave your Party affiliation at the door", Get Party politics out of governing, you are elected to represent "The People", do your job and you will get re-elected. We are witnessing the implosion of County government and if things don't change very soon we will collapse by our own weight in pork, patronage and state mandates. Call, email, write to your legislators, all of them from the state senate, assembly down to your local town, village and cities. The time for change is NOW! Not later, NOW. Demand it and most importantly VOTE!
Thank you to all that attended, it was a great crowd with great input!
Don't forget tonight..
Forum on County Charter/changing the form of county gov.
Feb. 15th, 7pm,
Hearthstone Manor, Cheektowaga.
Featuring Prof. Kevin Hardwick as Moderator
Buffalo, NY - Free Buffalo held a press conference this afternoon at its office. near Parkside to release information it has received concerning the Bass Pro deal and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.
Fre Buffalo says that in both cases, the public and the press have been deceived. According to figures supplied by the Empire Development Corp., Bass Pro is not spending $57 million of its own money on the Aud. In fact thenumber is 22 Million, far less than previous media reports.
The other topic on the agenda, the recently formed waterfront committee is not “locally-controlled.” According to Free Buffalo's Jim Ostroeski, it is controlled by Albany and the
Empire StateDevelopment Corporation based out of New York City.
WNY Media has a video of the Press Conference Jim Ostrowski held yesterday.
I was there with Jim as I am at all of FreeBuffalo events..