Rave Reviews for the New Weekly Reader: The new format is here to stay!
Last week’s debut of the new Weekly Reader format was met with great enthusiasm from our subscribers, and we couldn’t be happier – thank you to all who provided feedback!! As the Peace Bridge saga continues to unfold, we will be here for you with in-depth synopses and detailed coverage you can’t find anywhere else. We’re still fighting to preserve our region’s health and heritage and to expose hypocrisy and corruption in our public officials, but we’ve decided to transition to this new e-newsletter format. We hope this change will improve your Weekly Reader experience. Please enjoy!
War & Peace Bridge: Bickering Bridge Authority Shoots Itself in Foot
It’s been a busy week in Peace Bridge Land, and now, after 200 years of goodwill between neighboring nations, could a tantrum by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo–enraged that anyone would impede his desire to ram through the insane and destructive plaza expansion plan on his way to the White House–be the first shot fired in a war that threatens to expose the entire ugly mess that is the Public Bridge Authority? As this surprising and unprecedented saga has just emerged and raises more questions with each new development, we can at this point only present some of the most important media missives without judgment, as it would be premature to even speculate on how this will all play out. What we will say is that, no matter what, these two constants will prevail on this issue:
- Regardless of any statements–by any party–to the contrary, the residents of Buffalo’s West Side will remain the unconsidered victims of this debacle.
- If your looking for someone to trust for truth and clarity; trust yourself.
Cuomo’s Frustration with Bridge Authority Boils Over
Canadian Assailed on Peace Bridge Impasse
Just a few days ago, the first glimpse of dirty laundry hanging from the Peace Bridge was evidenced in this Buffalo News article that referenced a letter from the governor’s director of state operations, Howard Glaser, to Canada’s minister of transport, Denis Lebel, claiming the US members of the bridge authority board have lost confidence in the authority leadership and essentially blaming Canada for inaction on improvements to the US plaza. The letter raised “serious doubt about the ability of the Peace Bridge Authority to function.”
The letter claims Canadian board members and leadership rejected a request for the US plaza improvements to proceed (although every monthly meeting so far this year has been canceled due to a lack of quorum because US members failed to show or by mutual consent).
Bridge authority co-chair and Cuomo’s point man in Buffalo, Sam Hoyt, called out the Canadians for nit-picking delays and “micromanaging our every move,” and reminded us that the governor “doesn’t have a lot of patience for things that move slowly.”
And, in a recurring disconnect between the state and the bridge authority, while Glaser’s letter cites over $30 Million in state and federal funds to acquire neighborhood property and make the improvements, bridge authority officials continue to maintain (in their “cart-before-the-horse” way) they cannot present any plan until the property is acquired. Catch-22, anyone?
Bridge Authority Erupts in Animosity
Canadians Call Cuomo Allegations “Absurd”
US and Canadian officials go toe-to-toe in this article from yesterday’s Buffalo News.
Canadian businessman and current authority chairman, Anthony M. Annunziata, described as “absolutely absurd” any notion that Canadian board members are blocking progress, essentially blaming Cuomo for creating an incendiary situation between the two factions. He also acknowledged a failed coup d’etat by US members aimed at ousting suddenly embattled authority GM Ron Reinas; who, for the US members, has come to symbolize the failure of this project. Reinas’ retains his position–so far.
Annunziata also clearly implied the governor likes ‘yes men’; and when they are not, he wants them gone.
Further, he flattered his Canadian contingent with “caring for the community” in their approach to development, a style unappreciated by his US counterparts.
Swinging back, Cuomo’s man and bridge authority vice-chairman Sam Hoyt credited the absence of “progress” on “the inexplicable lack of cooperation from the Canadian members of the…board.”
Hoyt also raised “serious concerns about the ability of the authority to conduct its business” for their refusal to terminate GM Reinas.
Annunziata was shocked, “completely shocked,” by the attack on Reinas. He also expressed his dismay at the letter from Howard Glaser, and the suggestion that after “decades of cooperation between the two nations,” the arrangement is suddenly unworkable.
Apparently this rift has divided the board so, it is virtually inert and hasn’t met since 2012.
Will they meet? Will they act? Stay tuned.
Lawmakers Seek to Disband Bridge Authority
Grisanti and Ryan Propose Shifting Responsibility For the U.S. Side of the Peace Bridge to NFTA
So yesterday, in this press release, and today in this Buffalo News article, State Senator Mark Grisanti and Assemblyman Sean Ryan come together in bipartisan unity to propose legislation to dissolve the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, so decisions regarding the US side can be made locally and managed by a newly created arm of the previously maligned Niagara Frontier Transit Authority.
Upset that their governor is “frustrated” by the Canadians behavior, these good scouts apparently proposed this legislation entirely on their own as the governor’s office had no comment; although Cuomo’s representative Howard Glaser did carefully state, “We have not seen the proposal but will evaluate the legislation.”
According to Grisanti and Ryan, this legislation is necessary because “Public authorities are too often arrogant, unaccountable and lack transparency.” Well, who in government isn’t?
Essentially, the law will say “You handle your side, we’ll handle ours.”
Still waiting for Canada’s response.
Border Battle at Peace Bridge Authority
And finally, in a four-minute jaw-dropping report, Investigative Post‘s Jim Heaney encapsulates the whole sick mess that has become the Public Bridge Authority.
Watch it here!
Something’s going on in the Peace Bridge neighborhood at the abandoned Episcopal Church Home (and future home of a mega Duty Free America store?): these mystery men were seen on the property this past week. Why? We wouldn’t know. Would you?