April 30, 2010

Hands Off My Pancreas, Dick.

We’ve become used to almost anything here in New York State—the dysfunctional band of career politicians in Albany have managed to leave us almost numb to things that would have shocked us even a decade ago. But yesterday’s news that a Downstate Democrat wants to start harvesting dead New Yorkers’ bodies for organs unless they specify otherwise still managed to catch us off guard.
The last time the state asserted such rights to do with as it pleased with the bodies of the dead and living was Dr. Josef Mengele’s Nazi laboratory.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (it’s always the Assembly Democrats, isn’t it?), the author of this ghoulish plan, is applying a neat new idea: “presumed consent.” In a nutshell, presumed consent means that, unless you specify otherwise, the government assumes you wanted to donate your organs.
The problem with such a notion is that Brodsky wants to apply it to our bodies, when the Constitution even bars its application on things like search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment, agents of the government cannot search your home, your car, your clothing, or your body cavities without probable cause—and even then, they usually can’t do it without a warrant issued by a judge. The language is pretty blunt:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Notice that? Secure in their persons against unreasonable seizures? Taking my liver without asking counts.
A note to Dick Brodsky (who, by the way, wants to be your next attorney general!) might be in order here: If you take my kidneys without asking, you just violated my goddamn Constitutional rights, and frankly, I will haunt your big-government-loving ass from beyond the grave!
Apparently, Brodsky is driven to this foolishness by love for his daughter, who has needed two separate kidney transplants, and had to, like most organ transplant patients, wait for an organ. The heart bleeds. Honestly, I feel bad about Dick Brodsky’s daughter. Life’s not fair. But that doesn’t give Dick Brodsky and his daughter the right to lay my corpse out like a bunch of cold cuts unless I take the time to tell them no beforehand.
Dick Brodsky’s proposal marks a new low for an Albany that can’t even accomplish its basic responsibilities, like pass a budget on time. And now the Assembly Democrats believe can divine the intent of dead New Yorkers.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

April 29, 2010

Black Panthers Bring Obama's Hope & Change To Polling Places

This is what our country has been reduced to. This is what Obama's "Hope & Change" has brought us. This is why so many across America are fed up with the so-called "leaders" of the United States. Just like Kevin Parker, the thugs in the videos below use threats, intimidation and violence to get what they want, while denying some Americans their right to vote.

This is not progress. If anything this is our country taking huge steps backwards. Socialization of the health care industry, the financial industry and the auto industry, massive tax increases, illegal immigration, unthinkable deficits, unending corruption and a greater and greater racial divide add up to a very bleak future for this country.

April 28, 2010

Parker Blows A Gasket

Ahhhh yes, our old friend Kevin Parker is at it again. The Brooklyn Senator, who we've profiled as recently as last week, gets a big, fat FAIL for his monumental meltdown in Albany yesterday.

Just to set the stage for you, Senator John DeFrancisco was questioning New York Power Authority nominee Mark O’Luck in the Senate Finance Committee meeting about a comment attributed to him in a February 2009 New York Times City Room blog post about minority business groups’ reaction to President Obama’s developing federal stimulus plans.

O’Luck had stated that if minority and women-owned business programs weren’t around, “white men and the connected would have access to nearly 100% of all city, state and federal government dollars spent. Before M/WBE Programs came along, non-minorities had their own affirmative action program, i.e. no blacks and women.”

DeFrancisco, in no uncertain terms, told O'Luck that he found his comments ridiculous.

That was enough to send Parker into his tirade. Things get interesting at about the 19 minute mark.

Keep in mind, this is what we get from the Senate Democrats. This is the type of person Antoine Thompson and Bill Stachowski sit with every day, making the decisions that affect the lives of you and I. Simply despicable.

April 27, 2010

Virtuoso and Dyster Fail to Address Falls' Real Problems

Local media has spilled a decent amount of ink detailing the “code enforcement blitz” by Niagara Falls’ Dynamic Duo, Paul Dyster and Dennis Virtuoso, this past Saturday. We’re told that by ticketing property owners for various crimes against aesthetics—complete with press releases and posed photographs—Dyster and Virtuoso are remaking Niagara Falls in their own image.
Police and Code Enforcement Officials walked along Main Street in Niagara Falls, inspecting houses and looking for housing code violators,” a news story on WIVB’s website informs us. And this is a big deal, according to Niagara Falls’ chief building inspector:
“Director of the Code Enforcement Department, Dennis Virtuoso said, ‘We're finding houses that need painting, rotten eaves, and gutters, and yards full of debris. We're writing up every house we see that has code violations.’"
Yes, Dennis Virtuoso and the Niagara Falls Police Department are hard at work cracking down on rotten eaves and peeling paint. Niagara Falls will be a better place for their efforts—just ask Mayor Dyster:
“One of the things that we are doing here, obviously, is trying to step up our enforcement of quality of life type of issues that affect neighborhoods and economic development,” Dyster said.
Of course, we have to wonder if the use of all that police manpower during the day on Saturday might have helped contributed to this story on Saturday night:
Falls resident suffers three stab wounds
NIAGARA FALLS—Lecheay Renford, 23, of Pierce Avenue, was treated in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for three stab wounds and then was transferred to Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, for further examination after several men were involved in a fight at about 2 a.m. Sunday both inside and outside the Hometown Market, 1563 Pierce Ave., police said.

In a separate incident about three hours earlier in front of the same store, police arrested John H. Adams, 67, of Seventh Street, on a charge of criminal possession of a hypodermic needle.

Officers said they found the needle when they “patted him down” because he apparently had been asking people for money in the parking lot, and he appeared to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
Maybe Dyster should start focusing on real “quality of life issues that affect neighborhoods and economic development”—like people getting stabbed and shaken down by addicts—instead of worrying about when they plan to paint their porch.

April 26, 2010

County Probation Director Soft on Sex Criminals

I was absolutely astonished when I read yesterday’s Buffalo News.
First off, once again, we are confronted with evidence that the state’s sex-offender civil confinement statute is far too weak. Our old friend Assemblyperson Francine DelMonte assails the toothless law that she sponsored, complaining about the high concentration of sex offenders in Niagara Falls, and demanding the other communities “share the burden” of providing homes to pedophiles and rapists:
“No one area should have to bear the entire burden.”

“All three [Niagara County] cities have major hospitals,” DelMonte said. “Bus routes exist in each of the communities. They all have housing, so it’s not a question of resources.”

In case you didn’t catch that, Francine thinks that people who live in Lockport and North Tonawanda should open their homes to perverts, pedophiles, and freaks. Which, of course, is the same approach she took last year when she demanded that a pervert be placed in a motel across the street from a Wheatfield daycare center.
If we stopped writing right there, we’d have a pretty salient post. But the thing is, Francine’s political pandering wasn’t the most offensive part of the entire article, this was:
Anthony C. Mauro, the county’s director of probation, said the state should reconsider many of the restrictive laws, making them apply only to “child predators,” not all sex offenders. He said only about one-third of those offenders truly need the restrictions.
In case there’s any confusion, what Mauro just said is this: child rapists are bad, and we don’t want them in our communities, but we can live with the freaks who rape women who are 18 and older. (As an aside, I hope to Christ Mr. Mauro is just offering his own opinion, and not attempting to speak for the entire county government on this one.)
It’s good to know such a clear-eyed lawman is protecting us. And, in case you’re wondering what Tony Mauro’s Barney Fife routine is costing our county, this year he’ll pull down a cool $103,718.
And ladies, if your premises aren’t protected by Smith & Wesson, with Tony Mauro on the job, maybe they should be.

April 23, 2010

Parker Compares Tea Party To KKK

Regular readers of Niagara Times know that we despise Brooklyn Senator Kevin Parker. We were first alerted to what a complete asshole this guy is when we saw the video below, which we've posted a few times over the years. In case you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth a couple of minutes of your time. It shows a level of ignorance from Parker which is unmatched in state government, only to follow with a huge bitch-slap of Parker by former Senator Jim Wright.

Not to be outdone, Parker has shown time and time again that he is nothing but a street thug. From his unwavering support of now ousted slasher Senator Hiram Monserrate to his threatening of 5'2 State Senator Diane Savino, Parker continuously uses threats and intimidation to get his way.

Now he's set his sights on an entire group of people whose sole purpose is to express their concerns with the direction of this country.

As seen in the video below, Parker, who is obviously black, compared the Tea Party movement to the KKK. Whether you agree or disagree with the premise with what their message is or what they're hoping to accomplish, the Tea Party movement is real. Millions of people across this country are sick and tired of the direction of Obama, Pelosi & Reid. This is undeniable.

Those who've joined the movement are regular people who want to have a say in government. For Parker to compare the Tea Party movement to the KKK is absolutely disgraceful. Unfortunately, the people of his district are obviously too stupid to know any better, so they'll likely send his pathetic ass back to Albany for another two years - if he's not in jail by then

April 21, 2010

Senate Dem's Robocalls Show Where Their Priorities Are

I've come to the conclusion that I have a man-crush on State Senator John DeFrancisco. The exchange below is absolutely priceless and, more importantly, dead on point. Just to set the stage, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) placed a robocall (automated message) into the districts of 13 Republican Senators across the state. The crux of the message is to accuse the respective GOP Senator of sitting on the sidelines while the state budget negotiations go on, long after the April 1st budget deadline has passed.

What the slimeballs at the DSCC fail to mention is the fact that the Democrats control every single facet of state government. Governor: David Paterson, Democrat; Comptroller: Tom DiNapoli, Democrat; Attorney General: Andrew "Prince" Cuomo, Democrat; Senate President: Malcolm Smith, Democrat; Senate Senate Majority Leader: Pedro Espada Jr., Democrat (Smith & Espada will be sharing a jail cell soon enough); State Assembly Speaker: Sheldon Silver. And the list goes on.

For them to have the audacity to drop such a blatantly misleading robocall into the districts of 13 GOP Senators shows they have no interest whatsoever in addressing the budget crisis that is facing the state. In fact, it shows that the only thing that they are concerned with is preserving their sickeningly dysfunctional and corrupt majority.

And where are our own Bill Stachowski and Antoine Thompson, the two Democrats (supposedly) representing the interests of Western New York in the Senate? Do they condone such sleazy tactics? Judging by their silence, one can only assume so.

Look...this is politics and it's a nasty game much of the time. But we're facing fiscal issues of historic proportion, and the Dems are more concerned with playing deceptive partisan politics than tackling the difficult challenges that must be addressed. That's not leadership. It is, however, where the Democratic Party has descended to on both a state and national level.

April 20, 2010

Updegrove Shows Leadership, Farnham, Ross Don't

Finally, there's one county legislator out there who gets it. Majority Leader Rick Updegrove has put in a resolution for tonight's Legislature meeting that freezes any hiring of department heads under lame duck County Manager Greg Lewis. Thank you Rick.

Setting aside that Lewis has been mostly ineffective in his time here, passing the really tough decisions onto the Legislature and taking credit for low tax increases when he actually proposed big ones, the fact is the next County Manager should have some input in choosing his or her team. Philosophies, structure, processes, areas of focus can all change when the next manager is hired. That is why that person should have input in forming the team as positions open.

Lewis almost seems to be thumbing his nose at the Legislature as he moves forward, taking care of his people and ignoring the Legislature. Of course, Bill Ross is letting him get away with it. It's time Ross steps up to the plate and tells Lewis that while he can keep the trains running on time here in Niagara County until he's gone, he won't be part of any more long-term decisions.

Quite frankly, we're aghast that Ross has not started discussions to buy out Lewis' contract. What is the valid reason for keeping a lame duck at the helm....a duck who is spending his time and our tax dollars looking for another gig? Let Lewis hunt for a job on his own nickel. Sources have told us that the Majority Conference is getting impatient with Ross on this and could force his hand to make a move on Lewis in the coming weeks.

Of course, all of this would be helped if Jerry Farnham, head of the search committee, would actually schedule a friggin meeting to get the process started. Jerry, what the hell are you waiting for? Here's what you do....you call the members of the search committee and tell them there will be a meeting next week at such and such time at such and such place. Then, when that day and time roll around, everyone shows up to that meeting and the process has begun. See, it's really not that hard, so get off your ass and get moving.

So, while Ross and Farnham continue to fiddle, we can take some solace in the fact that at least Rick Updegrove will prevent Greg Lewis from screwing things up on his way out the door.

April 19, 2010

Kudos To Chamber On Government Affairs Position

Kudos to the Niagara USA Chamber for creating and filling the new position of director of governmental affairs. In this day and age, it is imperative for a chamber to have an effective advocate for the business community. Public sector unions certainly have no shortage of mouthpieces across the region and state criticizing any and every person that would dare infringe upon their golden goose, the taxpayers; employers, the only ones who actually create jobs, must also have a voice.

The chamber, by creating this position, shows a strong willingness to get into the fight. The state is in dire financial straits, but people like Francine DelMonte and Antoine Thompson would rather use taxpayer dollars to fund projects around the county instead of using casino revenues. As you you recall, the two voted to take the share of casino revenue away from the towns and cities across the county to fund, among other things, rock concerts in Niagara Falls.

The members of the chamber have to be happy with this decision. The entire premise for a chamber is to be an advocate for the members. Even if it means a few more bucks in dues, the members obviously see that this is not an expense, but an investment in their future.

The individual that has been hired for the position, Kory Schuler, joins the chamber after a six year stint with an organization that has been one of our favorite topics, the New York Power Authority. He joins Deanna Brennen, Chamber president and chief executive officer, who has been very effective in her role.

Congratulations to Brennen and the chamber's board for having the foresight to create this position, it is certainly very much needed.

April 15, 2010

Tax Day

“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the Democrats believe every day is April 15.”

-- President Ronald Reagan

April 14, 2010

Immigration Poll Results

The latest telephone poll taken by the California Governor's office asked whether people who live in California think illegal immigration is a serious problem:

29% responded, "Yes, it is a serious problem."

71% responded, "No es una problema seriosa."

April 13, 2010

Armageddon, Niagara Falls Style

It's ironic that last night while watching Armageddon, I came across this story from the Buffalo News. In case you haven't the movie, its premise is centered around a massive asteroid racing towards the earth. A strike would render the entire planet uninhabitable.

As scientists are attempting to devise a plan to address the impending doom, one military man suggests shooting 150 nukes at the asteroid, but he's quickly rebuffed by a scientist who tells him that he could shoot every nuke he's got at her and she'll just smile and keep on coming.

Shift gears to the News piece.

The city of Niagara Falls has implemented a program designed to encourage improvements along Main Street in the city’s North End, with the intent of upgrading the commercial properties in the formerly thriving and now Blitzkrieged section of the city. In a nutshell, property owners will have the opportunity to apply for loans and grants for improvements after the building inspection department cites their property. They will be looking for things like missing gutters, broken windows, rotted eaves and facades, leaking roofs and garbage or debris on the premises.

Just like the misguided theory of what essentially amounted to aiming a pea-shooter at an asteroid racing towards earth in Armageddon, the city is taking impractical and ineffective steps to address problems that are so much bigger than missing gutters and rotted eaves. The failure of the city's "leadership" to recognize this is simply mind-boggling, and their unwillingness to hold those accountable is frankly quite sickening.

I mean, where is Francine DelMonte? What has Antoine Thompson done for the city? How is the Niagara Falls Redevelopment Corporation, which own acres and acres of "prime" real estate in the city, allowed to continue to let their property to deteriorate without investing a dime into the redevelopment of the community? And most importantly, why does the impotent leadership of Niagara Falls refuse to call out these people? What are they so afraid of?

The city, which is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, draws millions of visitors every single year. But stunningly, year after year, incompetent leadership who refuse to demand accountability from their state representatives sit back and allow the city to get screwed. One can only assume that the reason is that they fear political retaliation. But take for instance Paul Dyster - he is absolutely a one-term mayor. He will never, ever get elected again. So what does he have to lose by going for broke? Then again, he probably has a cushy, no-show job waiting for him at the New York Power Authority if he plays nice with the sickeningly incompetent DelMonte and Thompson. (As a side note, I just have to say once again that Antoine Thompson has got to be the stupidest motherfucker to ever grace the halls of the state capital. Unfortunately, compared to the majority of his constituency that re-elects his sorry ass every two years, he's a fucking genius).

So you go ahead and continue to shoot spit wads at the problem. I'm sure fixing paint and facades will be the panacea to cure all that ails the city. And it gives do-nothing building inspector/county legislator Dennis Virtuoso something to justify his pathetic existence, which is a bonus. In the meantime, the asteroid will continue to race towards the planet with no real solution in sight.

April 12, 2010

The Truth is Out There…and it ain’t pretty.

- The Buffalo News, Feb. 21, 2010
Yesterday, while thumbing through the Buffalo News, I was more than a little shocked to read about the exploits of Niagara County Community College Professor Philip Haseley. It seems the good professor is convinced little green men are visiting the earth. So much so that he’s made bringing speakers on the topic to NCCC a kind of personal crusade.
Now, we’ll offer the full range of disclaimers here. Yes, we realize that an interest in UFOs doesn’t make someone a lonely parents’-basement dweller with an unnatural relationship with one’s pet cat. Yes, we realize that not just tinfoil-hat wearers believe in this stuff. Yes, we realize that many UFOlogists lead productive, normal lives, and have numerous friends who they’ve even met in person. Yes, we realize that Gillian Anderson was incredibly hot in the first three seasons of The X-Files.
In all fairness, Professor Haseley is probably a fine guy. He probably can even strike up an interesting conversation on this topic. But that doesn’t give him a right to use taxpayer-financed resources—namely an entire community college: its auditorium, its phone lines, its copying machines, its staff, its utilities—to further his wacky hobby. The purpose of the community college is to train the local workforce with marketable skills, not to debate the intricacies of Romulan spacecraft design.
A couple months ago, we took the NCCC faculty union to task for their unrealistic salary expectations. Then, as now, we know that NCCC President Jim Klyczek is doing his best to fight an uphill battle against an entrenched union that provides a bunch of hacks who couldn’t cut it at first-rate colleges with a cushy existence and a place to hang their otherwise worthless advanced degrees—all funded by taxpayers.
At the time, the union was whining about how Klyczek didn’t feel their pain enough when he asked them for concessions. For that, we applauded Klyczek. Well, we now see that we stand corrected. Without this bunch of geniuses running NCCC's classrooms, the 40-year-old-virgin set would have to go to the nearest Star Trek convention to congregate with their own.
Still, call us old-fashioned, but if we’re going to pay NCCC’s instructors more than those at any other community college in the entire Upstate, we expect classroom discussion to not include the word “tribbles.”

April 9, 2010

Paterson Making The Right Moves

Last I looked, this piece from Capitol Confidential had generated 206 reader comments. What has created such controversy? Governor David Paterson's decision to present a budget extender (budget extenders are presented when the state passes its April 1st budget deadline in order to keep the state functioning) that excludes the scheduled 4% raises for state PEF and CSEA employees.

Paterson is not eliminating the raises, which were negotiated at part of the proposal that implemented a Tier V retirement system, he is simply looking to delay the raises until the budget shakes out. That being said, Paterson is looking for significant concessions from the unions. Shockingly, they're not budging.

Despite the fact that New York is facing a $9.2 billion budget shortfall (this is what happens when you have Democratic leadership in the Senate, Assembly and executive), the unions won't budge an inch. They have complete and utter disdain for the taxpayers, and they will eat their young to ensure that they get every dime they believe they are entitled to.

Forget about the fact that they have the best health insurance plans and retirement benefits that the taxpayer's money can buy, they will continue to bleed each and every one of us dry until their is no one left but public sector employees. It's sickening. But this is what you get when John Sampson, Malcolm Smith, Sheldon Silver, David Paterson, Tom DiNapoli and Andrew Cuomo, all of whom are from in or around New York City, call the shots. Anyone living north of the Tappan Zee should remember that on election day.

As for Paterson, I'm more and more enamored with him each passing day. He's finally showing the balls that he should have been showing the past two years. Unfortunately, during that time, he was more concerned with getting elected. Since his announcement that he will not be seeking election in November, the only thing he needs to focus on is doing the people's business. And he's doing it.

April 8, 2010

Dyster -- Top Notch Negotiator

It's common knowledge that when developers have an idea for a big project and need to acquire land/property/buildings for that project they do so VERY QUIETLY. They create third party intermediaries, separate LLCs, etc. so no one catches wind of what's going on.

You see, if I have a small piece of land worth say $100K but I know Wal-Mart needs that parcel for their next project, my price is probably now $1 million because I know I have them over a barrel. But if Wal-Mart is smart and goes about their business quietly and offers me $125K when I have no idea about the bigger plan, I'm more than happy to sell because I'm thinking I'm $25k ahead.

I tell you this as a backdrop to the now stalled NCCC Culinary project at the Rainbow Mall that Mayor Dyster touted all over town. Dyster saying this was THE project to turn downtown around, that his Administration was going to make sure this happened, etc. Press conference after press conference.

Well someone should have told Dyster that the Mall's owner, David Cordish, is smart enough to read the papers. Sources have told us that Cordish was ready to sell the part of the mall for the project for around $1 million. But after Dyster staked his whole career on making this project happened and couldn't restrain himself at all, Cordish knew he'd hooked the fish.

Now, the deal is in limbo as Cordish supposedly wants millions more for the property, perhaps as much as six or seven million. And Dyster has egg all over his face. Does he overpay the hated developer or risk seeing the project never happen?

Remember all that talk that Dyster used to be an arms negotiator in the White House, that he was part of nuclear talks with the Soviet Union. If those dubious statements are indeed true and Dyster was at the table negotiating the future of nuclear war.....holy crap, we're lucky to still be here.

April 7, 2010

Guam To....Capsize?

From our friends at Monroe Rising comes this gem.
The wing nut of the week winner is Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA). During a committee meeting about the addition of U.S. troops to the island of Guam, Johnson was concerned that they might cause the island to tip over and capsize. At first many thought it was an April fools joke, however Johnson was serious. For someone to think that islands are floating masses, shows the gaps in our education system, such a fact is as basic as the earth is round and not flat. He was a yes vote for Obamacare, you can see he knows whats best for you.
The video shows Johnson explaining himself while the committee witnesses try really hard not to laugh.

April 6, 2010

Cusack Nails $77,500 Part-Time Gig With NYPA

We've been critical of New York Power Authority board member Elise Cusack before, primarily because she is just one of two members of the board from Western New York, but has failed miserably at representing the interests of our community.

Board members don't receive direct compensation for their participation, but they do get some nice perks, including lavish getaways at four-star hotels and resorts. So, with Cusack, what would she be getting out of her involvement with NYPA if she is not going to be an advocate for our region? The pure joy of working for the betterment of the community? Doubtful. In this post from September of 2009, we stated of Cusack, "if you're going to sell your soul to the devil to make yourself politically relevant today, your time will most certainly come later. And it will."

Well, we were half right. Cusack's most definitely sold her soul and her time has come. Her silence has paid off for her. Unfortunately for the residents of Western New York, it has come in the form of a $77,500 per year part-time job with NYPA. Now we know just how much her soul cost.

NYPA President and CEO Richie Kessel, for all of his rhetoric and pandering, has shown himself to be no better than anyone who has come before him. He plays politics at every turn and will do anything and everything within his ability to strengthen himself politically.

As for Cusack, just look up the term "political whore" and you're sure to see her picture. It's a sad, sad commentary on the state of the Power Authority and one more reason why the residents of this state have had enough.

April 5, 2010

A Little Humor

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named Pelosium. Pelosium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311.

These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

The symbol of Pelosium is Pu.

Pelosium's mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons within the Pelosium molecule, leading to the formation of isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientist to believe that Pelosium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.

When catalyzed with money, Pelosium activates CNNadnauseum, an element that radiates more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons as Pelosium.

April 1, 2010

BREAKING NEWS - Lewis Contract Extension On The Agenda

In a stunning deviation from previous statements, the Niagara County Legislature has added a last minute item to the agenda for next week's legislature meeting: a four-year contract extension for County Manager Greg Lewis. We're told that extension will include a hefty raise, bringing his salary to $155,000.

Previously Lewis had indicated his intention not to seek a contract extension, and the legislature seemed fine with moving on past the Lewis era. But sources have told us that Lewis has been lobbying Legislature Chairman Bill Ross for the extension, and Ross has convinced his colleagues in the Majority Caucus that Lewis is the right man for the job. We're also told that Lewis, while receiving a four-year extension, will likely only serve two years.

We've made our thoughts on Lewis abundantly clear over the years, and we are simply flabbergasted that the Legislature would extend the contract of Lewis. The man has been an unmitigated disaster since he came here in 2003 and has shown no signs of mending his ways.

He keeps a dictatorial thumb on his department heads, virtually forbidding them to interact with the legislators, the people elected by the people, without his approval. He has been the biggest enemy of the unions they've ever had, despite being hired by Dennis Virtuoso and the other Democrats when they held the majority in 2003. We won't even get into his appearance and the public relations nightmare that he's been - I mean, many county managers wear sneakers with their $80 suits.

Apparently our countdown clock is going to need a revision. The bright side is that we'll have plenty more to write about for the next couple years.

By the way, Happy April Fools Day.

County Smoking Policy Moronic At Best

Niagara County's decision to possibly enact an unenforced smoking policy in county parks begs the question: why? For "public relations" according to Public Works Commissioner Kevin P. O’Brien.

Look....this is a no-brainer - don't waste your time. In case they've been living under a rock, county officials must know that the American people are sick and tired of government intervention in their life. To place a law on the books with no intention whatsoever to enforce that law is moronic at best.

And what about the cost? According to the Buffalo News, the proposal calls for the posting of no-smoking signs near beaches, splash parks, playgrounds, restrooms, warming houses and athletic fields. That's seems like an awful lot of signs, especially when you multiply that by a half a dozen very large parks. Did anyone think to ask how much this unenforced law will cost the taxpayers. Apparently not.

Drop this waste of time, waste of money and government-interfering proposal -we've all got better things to do with our lives.