Am I the only one who picked up on Ed Shoemaker's amazing acknowledgement in Tuesday's Buffalo News? Shoemaker, Town Attorney for Somerset, made the statement in the Buffalo News that "politics in Niagara County used to be a game. It was fun. Now it’s down and dirty and ugly and totally uninteresting. If it weren’t for AES Somerset, I’d be out of the political game".
What is Shoemaker's motivation to stay in the game? I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that it's the $300,000 per year that Shoemaker and his law firm, Andrews, Pusateri, Brandt, Shoemaker & Roberson, has been paid the past three years by the Town of Somerset to represent the town in litigation with AES Somerset regarding their assessments and landfill issues.
That is a hell of a motivation to stay in the game, and it's an even bigger motivator to see that the AES PILOT agreement is never signed and the issue continues to be tied up in court. After all, if all sides reach an agreement, there would be nothing to litigate, and thus, no cash cow.
How motivated is he to keep his goose laying those golden eggs? He went out and found someone to run against Majority Leader Rick Updegrove. Was this someone with a long history of serving the community? Someone who has been vocal about county issues? Someone who attends Leg meetings on a regular basis? No, it was his car mechanic; his mechanic that works on his MG.
When Somerset Supervisor Rich Meyers attempted to quell some of the spending by presenting a legal billing proposal to the Somerset Town Board recommending a six-minute minimum billing limit rather than 30 minutes or putting Shoemaker on salary to keep costs low, Meyers was met with "he wants to know exactly what I’m doing for the Town of Somerset for every minute", by Shoemaker. Uh, yeah, they're tax dollars and he's the Supervisor;, he has the right to know and so do the taxpayers who pay your salary.
The Somerset Town Board has refused to turn over Shoemaker's billing records that Meyers requested months ago so Meyers could review them. Why would that be such a difficult request to fulfill, especially coming from the Supervisor? One could certainly speculate that when someone refuses to hand over records, that someone is hiding something. Time will tell, but in the meantime, Shoemaker can only hope that the AES issue doesn't get resolved soon. Afterall, he may still need some additional work done on his MG.