The politics of Trumpcare

When someone is having a really bad losing streak it can be very tempting to exaggerate any positive development, no matter how small. Thus it came to pass last week that House Republicans – at least 217 of them – and Donald Trump celebrated the approval of one of the most despicable pieces of legislation ever to see the light of day, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Continue reading

Salaries and contracts — ECMC, ECWA and ECC

There was a time during the financial meltdown of Erie County government in 2005 when the Erie County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Erie County Fair tried to distance themselves a bit from the “Erie County” part of their names. It was understandable, since Erie County wasn’t a very positive brand name at the time.

We could be coming to a point where Erie County government might, by name association, become concerned about other entities that are affiliated in some fashion with the government, yet still remain essentially independent. I am referring to the Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC, or more commonly, ECMC), the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA), and Erie Community College (ECC). Continue reading

The Trump effect in special elections

The Donald Trump administration has existed now for nearly 100 days – that arbitrary yet significant milestone attached to every new presidential administration. Beyond the Neil Gorsuch appointment to the Supreme Court, activities have been limited mostly to executive orders, many of them just proposing to study an issue. The only notable legislation that reached Trump’s desk and was signed was a bill that made it easier for people who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and are in need of assistance with performing their daily functions to purchase guns. That bill was signed in private. Continue reading

How Pigeongate may end

This blog, Alan Bedenko’s extensive work in The Public, and Buffalo News reporting have certainly detailed the rise and fall of Steve Pigeon over a very long period of time. Things are starting to move at a quicker pace now.

The infamous raids on the homes of Pigeon, Steve Casey and Chris Grant occurred nearly 23 months ago. Except for Pigeon’s situation, we don’t yet know what purposes those events served. Continue reading

The State doesn’t need to spend $25 million for a train station

As the state’s 2017-18 budget finally fell into place we found that among the financial decisions is a pile of goodies from the state. Governor Cuomo provided the Buffalo Billion II, which is actually one half billion dollars – a lot of money. There is also $385 million more stuffed in the budget for projects in Western New York and statewide that the governor and the Legislature will separately award. Continue reading