September 22, 2007

Spitzer and GNN's World of Denial

The Troopergate scandal that has rocked Eliot Spitzer's administration has been a topic of discussion on this board before. Niagara Times has been asked "do you want to see Eliot Spitzer fail?" Of course, the answer is no. Regardless of political affiliation, we all have a stake in in Mr. Spitzer's success or failure as Governor.

But what we are astounded by, is the absolute refusal of the Greater Niagara Newspaper group to acknowledge the scandal, other than a sloughing off of the situation. Across the state, editorial board after editorial board has taken Spitzer to task for Troopergate, including the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal, hardly conservative papers. Poll after poll indicates that the people of this state believe that Spitzer is lying, and that he should testify under oath.

A Siena College Research Institute poll shows that almost 60 percent still think he hasn't been fully honest about the affair and that he "needs to be more forthright." Even more astounding is that 70 percent of New Yorkers continue to think he should testify under oath as to what he knew about the dirty-tricks campaign. 53 percent say Spitzer was aware of what his top aides were doing.

What does GNN print? A feel-good editorial entitled "Spitzer: Working for the people". The editorial then goes on to tout "two crtical programs" that Spitzer is pushing: "keeping his and the legislature’s promise to provide health coverage to nearly 400,000 uninsured children in the state", and secondly, "Spitzer promoted a plan to wean the working poor off welfare with better training, including a chance to earn college degrees that lead to better jobs".

Wow, these are two "critical" plans that are going to further vacuum the dollars right out of my pocket. And with GNN's touting of these two "critical" programs, is there any doubt to which side they lean politically?

What about the plan put forth by Spitzer to give drivers licenses to illegal aliens? Where is the coverage of this in the GNN?

In case you missed it, and no one would blame you if you did, Spitzer announced Thursday that illegal immigrants will get driver's licenses in New York State. He also said the state would no longer require a Social Security number or proof that a person is not eligible for such a number in order to qualify for a driver's license.

Is this not an outrage? Even worse, is this not a story that you would deem newsworthy? Again, we are back to the discussion of what is and what is not news. But if there was ever any doubt what GNN believes what is and what is not news, that doubt has been erased when it comes to covering Eliot Spitzer. Er, not covering Eliot Spitzer.


Bob Confer said...

The GNN will be offering some analysis of what you mention. This week I'll be working on my October 1st column which will address the insanity of offering drivers licenses (and sanctuary) to illegal aliens. So, keep your eyes open for that attack on Spitzer who really frosted me with this action.

Another Albany issue that should not be overlooked (which was also a Friday press release from the Capitol) is that we're looking at a $4 BILLION budget deficit.

Albany is blaming the lack of revenues on poor performance on Wall Street. That is a very, very bad excuse and really a deflection of blame.

Many economists and quite a few Albany leaders (including the comptrollers office) let the Three Men In A Room know prior to the finalization of the budget this past spring that their anticipated revenues were $4 billion to $5 billion too high.

The Three gambled and WE lost.

Anonymous said...

I think Bob Confer should run for office!! N.T. needs you Bob.

Mr. Pink said...


I have a few suggestions to help close the budget gap:

1. Pay your fair share of property taxes on Confer Plastics like the rest of us. The PILOT you obtained was highway robbery. The taxing jurisdictions are due hundreds of thousands.

2. Repay the state grant and infrastructure costs (sewer, roads, etc.) associated with your facility. You are a self professed smarty pants, maybe you should have invested in an old defunct factory in the Falls with all the infrastructure in place.

We are all looking forward to more of your expert and original thoughts each week in GNN.

Bob Confer said...

Well, I just might after the State pays the company back the $800,000/year that we lose by operating in NY.

Scott Leffler said...


Are you being sarcastic? Or do you really support the AES PILOT which added no jobs and no infrastructure ... while opposing Confer's PILOT, which exceeded it's planned jobs and infrastructure?

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Bob Confer rec'd a PILOT at his plant. I will say that is very interesting and does make one second guess some of his past columns on the issue. Pretty hard to be critical when you also feed off the IDA. But on a positive note, atleast Confer has the time to get involved in his community and write columns to the paper. Most young people don't care.

Bob Confer said...


Thank you for the positive note.

I made note of my PILOT in the series I did about IDAs. Read the analysis of Tax Breaks and Broken Promises here:

Bob Confer said...

Whoops, For some reason the URL did not post properly. Here it is:

Mr. Pink said...

Scott & Bob,

Someone is posting under my moniker. You'll know it's me by the blue highlight.

Considering one can post anonymously on this site or make up whatever name they'd like, I'm a little shocked that someone has chosen to try to hide behind my moniker.

There's only one Mr. Pink.

Scott Leffler said...


Thanks for pointing that out. Didn't even notice. As I said on the other thread ... even the internet needs order. People often take advantage of their ability to remain anonymous ... or even to pretend to be someone else.

Hey Bob, any plans in the works to further highlight Albany's stupidities? (disclaimer: I know the answer)

Bob Confer said...

Mr. Pink, thank you for clearing that up.

Yes, Scott, here's the shameless plug you asked for....

The Neal Boortz Show (the best radio show on Earth besides Leffler's) features a daily ten minute Washington update from DC insider Jaimie Dupree. Copying that format, I will be the Jaimie Dupree to Leffler's Boortz...every Monday (starting in mid-October) at the start of Dialog I will offer "The Albany Update" where I will provide a 10-to-15 minute synopsis of the previous week's happenings at the State Capitol.

This is to offer the locals a deeper insight into Albany politics, something lacking in WNY. Once ya get west of Rochester the media tends to ignore Albany and state government. It's almost universal...the GNN has limited coverage as does WBEN as local TV as does the Buffalo News (their state briefs don't cut it). Maybe it's cost, maybe it's a lack of resources that causes this.

Because of this disconnect, there is a HUGE emphasis placed on local politics in WNY. The local taxpayers, therefore, are unaware that what the state does - taxes, regulations, unfunded mandates, Medicaid, school initiatives, big government - is a thousandfold (maybe a millionfold??) worse than anything that the local politicians could ever do to the taxpayers.

I am hopeful that my weekly insight will help...if even a little get local people focused on State government and get them fired-up about the evil that is Albany.

Mr. Pink said...


I'm looking forward to your insight on Albany. I hope you really know your stuff and aren't merely going to recite the three men in a room stuff.

Here's a premise:

In NYC, there is no Republican Party. Races fo Assembly and Senate 99.9 percent of the time come down to the Democrat Primary.

In NYC Democrat Primary elections, the largest voting block far and away is organized labor. This is incontrovertible it health care workers, teachers, CSEA, the trades, etc. They provide bodies, money and ulitmately votes they provide elect members of the State Legislature.

So, all the issues you care about must go through the Assembly. Yet, if the Assembly Majority represents the constituency who got them elected, which is entirely reasonable, you will always come up short.

It's beyond Maziarz. It's beyond DelMonte and anyone else from Upstate.

Tell me how we make change in this state with that backdrop?

Bob Confer said...

Mr. Pink,

You are so right about the downstate/democrat/labor problem. It's bound to get worse in the forseeable future. It was once thought near impossible that the Senate would gain a Democratic majority (the GOP has "owned" it since the 60's) but it looks like it may happen in the next has come down to two seats. Two!!

If that happens all "balance" that once existed will be gone.

That being said, the next state election cycle will be the most important ever for the GOP - if not every taxpayer - in NYS.

The only thing we can hope for is a general uprising. Supposedly Spitzer's huge gubernatorial victory represented a "message" to Albany. If that many people were ticked-off, maybe many more will send a message as their loved ones continue to leave the state.

And fear not about the Three Men in a Room routine, my weekly analysis will focus on 10 very specific bills/in-fights/rumors every week. Regarding good civics, I believe in empowering people through knowledge and causing them to act, so if I can share what I know about the minutae of the legislature and the authorities (all 750 of 'em) then hopefully we as a collective group can initiate change and bring about a better Tomorrow for all of us.

Sam from Lockport said...

Excuse my stupidity, but ususally an "Albany insider" would be someone who is on the inside track in Albany. Last time I checked, Bob Confer ran a plant in North Tonawanda. Your columns are great for laughs Bob, but do you even know anyone on the inside track in Albany? Again, seems to me like just another pretend know-it-all trying to say he's an expert after he reads the Buffalo News or maybe the NYTimes. Give it up.If Leffler wanted to run a real news show why doesn't he get someone from Albany who is in the mix to come on his show every week?? Probably couldn't do it that's why. I think I'll stick to the papers for my "facts" on Albany. Thanks anyway.

Scott Leffler said...


The beauty of radio is that you don't have to listen. You'll be sorely missed though.