Trump’s alliance with Putin

Donald Trump’s recent European tour was undoubtedly a smashing success, at least for him and his loyal Trumpkins. “He’s opening up lines of communication.”

Well, here is a news flash: those lines have been open already, for many years, even well before he announced his candidacy for president in 2015. Eric and Donald Jr. spilled the beans about that long along. We are just waiting now for the documentation. Continue reading

Just the facts — the new campaign financial reports for state and local candidates

State and local candidates and others who maintain campaign finance accounts were required to submit their periodic reports to the State Board of Elections on July 16th for receipts, expenses and account balances through July 12th. Here are the latest campaign account balances on file, two days past the filing deadline. I will update this data for the next day or two if additional information becomes available.

There’s no analysis or discussion in this post. I’ll leave that up to the readers for now, but will be back at a later date with some commentary. Continue reading

Unions in 21st century politics

I began my active involvement in politics when I was in college in the late 1960’s. A lot has changed since then. Here are a few things that come to mind:

  • From what I hear from some party leaders, it is harder than it used to be to recruit members for their committees
  • In Buffalo and other places we paid attention to the local news cycle, which meant that in major campaigns in days gone by we had to have separate press releases each day for the News and the Courier
  • And last, but not least, we checked nearly everything that was going on for reaction or comment from leaders of organized labor

Things are different now. Continue reading

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