It’s time to cool things down

To say that things are getting crazy in this country is certainly an understatement. It’s hard to find a precedent in our history. The Vietnam era? The great depression? The civil war?

The word of the day or the month or the year is tribalism. We are mostly gathering personally or through social media into tribes of all sorts – political, religious, and racial. It is a strange development, since there are so many things like cross border economies, personal contacts, and mutual interests that should draw people together. But they are not. It is very discouraging. Continue reading

A couple ideas to jump-start the shutdown of the Erie County Water Authority

This blog has over the past three years commented on the excessive staffing at the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) and its lack of openness to the public it serves. I have frequently pointed out the redundancy of Authority administrative staffing and have suggested converting the agency into a department of Erie County government. The release last week of a report by the New York State Authorities Budget Office (ABO) has now focused much greater attention on this issue. Continue reading

Schroeder’s analysis points to a return to a hard control board for Buffalo

Over many years, going back nearly 50, the finances of the City of Buffalo have had a whole lot of ups and downs. Years with major deficits, years with comfortable surpluses. Sometimes, though, years of surpluses can lull a municipal government into a sense of complacency.

In the most recent version of financial roller coastering, the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, aka the Control Board, was created by the state in 2003 following budget difficulties magnified by the financial turmoil that followed the terrorist attacks on the country in 2001. The board was put in place in a “control” or “hard board” status right from the get-go, and immediately set about imposing serious budget controls on the City government as well as the Buffalo Board of Education, including a wage freeze that extended for several years. Continue reading

Oh Canada!

People living in Western New York have a very unique opportunity. Some of us can, from our offices, actually see a foreign country – like Sarah Palin, only for real. We can drive in to work in the morning, take a quick glance to our right, and see another nation.

Some of us live in that foreign country for the summer. Many more of us drive over for lunch or dinner. Trips to see the Blue Jays play in Toronto or a theatre production are just a couple hours’ drive away. Or maybe it’s a trip to see a play or to have dinner in a picturesque little town a short distance across a river from a fort that that once defended America. Continue reading