“Strive for five” is looking less likely in Buffalo City Hall; the impact of mail voting

“These are the times that try men’s souls…” Thomas Paine, December 1776
And women’s souls too.

And thus we find ourselves in 2020, in troubling times. The confluence of a pandemic, a major economic recession and turbulent days and weeks throughout the land make most everyone do their own assessment of where they stand; where the community they live in stands; and where the nation stands. Continue reading

The Buffalo Common Council is paying attention; campaign financials demonstrate the difficulty of raising funds during a pandemic

The 2020-2021 Buffalo budget

Something interesting happened at the Buffalo Common Council last week. By a vote of six to three the Council said they need more time to discuss the mayor’s new budget.

Mayor Byron Brown on May first submitted his proposed 2020-21 budget to the Common Council. The Council, by Charter, has until June 8th to approve the budget.  In years past the legislative body has acted earlier, and generally with only some minor tinkering with what the Mayor recommended. Continue reading

Trump attacks mail voting as Republicans work to suppress turnout

Americans have their attention mostly focused on the health of themselves and their families, when they can get back to their jobs and whatever will pass for normal for the foreseeable future. But despite what Jared Kushner might say about such things, we are going to have an election in November.

Donald Trump’s erratic words and actions pretty well demonstrate that his re-election prospects are diminishing. There will be some sort of a re-bound in the economy over the next several months, but the consensus of business leaders and economists is that it will be a slow slog back.  Since Trump’s only serious bragging point for the campaign was the economy, the concern among Republican leaders is understandable. Continue reading

Is it time to think about ending private operations of nursing homes?

The previous Politics and Other Stuff post detailed a number of issues concerning nursing home ownership and management. This post discusses nursing facility operations during the pandemic.

How well are nursing facilities managing their patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic? From the New York Times:

At least 25,600 residents and workers have died from the coronavirus at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for older adults in the United States, according to a New York Times database. The virus so far has infected more than 143,000 at some 7,500 facilities. Continue reading

Is it time to think about ending the private operation of nursing homes?

The tragedies we have been watching unfold over the past two months are very hard to bear. It has been especially difficult to see how heavily the pain of the COVID-19 illness and deaths has played out in nursing homes here in Western New York, throughout New York State and the nation.

As this post is being published on May 12th, there have been more than 150 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 deaths in Erie County nursing facilities, 30 in Niagara County, 5,200 in New York State and more than 25,600 nationally.  The national numbers are undercounted to some degree because the governors of certain states have chosen to hide public health information from their constituents and many statistically unexpected deaths were not tested. Continue reading