War and Peace Bridge

Cuomo’s Last Stand?

It appears both sides in this battle are firmly entrenched.  There are elemental policy differences and profound interpretative ones separating the two.  Canada fired an official verbal volley this week at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who, for his part, continues his offensive, mustering a platoon of colleagues in construction and development to cover his flank; all while legislation to dissolve the Public Bridge Authority (PBA) sails through the New York State Senate and Assembly.  Can Canada defend itself against this ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction’?  Will  it respond with one of its own?

Time will tell.

Opinion  from all fronts

Cuomo needs a lesson on open government

The week started with a bang when longtime Buffalo News Washington correspondent Doug Turner took Governor Cuomo to task in this column, excerpted below:

With too many people playing Big Foot, the sustained controversy has left developments on the U.S. side stalled, a once beautiful neighborhood endangered and logically – considering the personalities involved – a silly quarrel between Cuomo himself and a constitutional monarchy with its own armed forces called Canada over the status of the bridge manager.

Canada and New York jointly own the bridge. Over time, however, insiders from both sides conspired to mothball the best answer to traffic pileups and truck exhaust pollution that poisons residents: A new span at the International Bridge site bringing trucks only from the Queen Elizabeth Way to an industrial district in Black Rock.

The reason is that the authority, created to serve the interests of the people of New York and Canada, mothers its monopoly on traffic, tolls, its “administrative” payroll of nearly $3 million a year and, more lately, the interests of the duty-free booze stores owned by an opaque, privileged firm called Duty Free Americas.

And to heck with business that’s lost or diverted elsewhere because of traffic, the kids and elderly breathing diesel fumes and the historic 19th century homes on Buffalo’s West Side that were destroyed to make way for – what?

And the offensive was on…

An Open Letter to Senator George Maziarz
In a scathing indictment of Coumo recruit Senator George Maziarz, Preservation champion Kathleen Mecca excoriates the man in this Artvoice letter, for spreading propaganda and disinformation in this interview he gave to Canadian National Broadcasting (see Weekly Reader, June 2, 2013).

In the  letter, Mecca articulately outlines the sordid history of the Peace Bridge Fiasco, ending with this description of Maziarz’s performance:

Sadly, It only proved that politicians can conceal the truth, but they can never change the facts.

Hurting the one you love?

NY Senator George Maziarz’s sister calls for his defeat

In this startling video, Senator Maziarz’s own sister blames him for contributing to this area’s “political patronage pigpen,” and loudly calls for his defeat.

Letter: Resolve bridge issues so we can move forward

This letter, from a civilian, repeats some common assumptions on this issue and calls for both sides to “calm down.”  What are the chances of that?

Cuomo’s fight against Canada won’t end well

Finally in this, his third column on the skirmish in as many weeks, Buffalo News Senior Metro Columnist Donn Esmonde exposes Governor Cuomo’s incursion as a bluff move to intimidate Canada into yielding to Cuomo’s demands that has not only backfired into an international incident but could actually exacerbate into an even worse situation than it already has.  He makes a strong case and debunks Cuomo partisans for their clearly coerced support.

But he also joins the ranks of ‘Citizen Scientists’: that is, those seduced by the notion that pre-clearing most commercial vehicles in Canada will somehow mitigate the deadly health hazard to residents on the U. S. side; as if bringing even more vehicles whooshing across the bridge and through the neighborhood will–magically–reduce their toxic emissions.  Where’s the science for that, citizens?

And in this corner…

Anthony Masiello: Buffalo is moving ahead and so should plaza project

Former Buffalo Mayor and current Cuomo conscript, Bridge Authority board member Anthony Masiello, contributes this rah-rah editorial that implies Andrew Cuomo is not unstable; although he may be a megalomaniac.

Another Voice: Peace Bridge projects must move forward in Buffalo

Legislative neophytes and beards for Governor Cuomo’s legislative threat to dissolve the Public Bridge Authority, State Senator Mark Grisanti and Assemblyman Sean Ryan present an unconvincing argument in support of “their” proposal.

Sound without Fury

More Cuomo-orchestrated noise on Peace Bridge

This report, analysis and commentary (including video) by Investigative Post editor Jim Heaney is characteristic of reaction to the formation of the latest Coumo support group, Western New York Leaders for Peace Bridge Progress.  Not only was the group’s press release authored by a Cuomo staffer, but according to Heaney (quoted in the video):

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a concerted effort to mislead the public.”

And on the reason for the group: not progress, but “…to advance the governor’s agenda.”

The Investigative Post continues to be a timely, independent and unique voice on our journalistic front.

Other coverage of this suspicious activity:

New Peace Bridge group voices support for governor’s plan

WBFO radio report

Peace Bridge: Back to the 90s

This Artvoice blog argues, not unconvincingly, that rather than move forward, “…it may instead be time to demolish the Peace Bridge altogether.”

Now, the News, in brief (very)

The view from Canada

Peace Bridge Authority head says U.S. officials misinformed

Canadian officals refuse to back down, as it becomes evident that country holds as much, if not more, firepower in this war (article from the Niagara Falls Review)

Cuomo urges area lawmakers to support his stance on bridge

According to this Buffalo News article, Governor Andrew Cuomo captivated state officials during a 90-minute closed door strategy session designed “to rally support for his stance in the controversy.”

And, in this article, and this WIVB TV report the bill to dissolve the Public Bridge Authority faces clear sailing, so far (until the reality of dissolving a binational authority sinks in, one presumes).

And, in case anyone wondered, Lewiston, NY Assemblyman John Ceretto, Cuomo army soldier and closed-door meeting veteran, announces, in this press release, his support.

Truce talks fail

Duffy, Annunziata meet on Peace Bridge feud; no resolution

This Buffalo News article paints a bleak picture of attempts at a truce, as discussions between warring countries drag on.  Neither side agreed to comment, but no casualties were reported

Canada returns fire

Canada raises stakes in dispute over Peace Bridge

Aide says state imperils projects

Canadian transportation official replies to letter from Cuomo aide, seeing Cuomo’s letter and raising him one, thus setting a strong stand against pending New York legislation to dissolve the Public Bridge Authority.  Read about it in this Buffalo News article and this New York Times blog, which includes the complete texts of both countries missives.

The Funnies

From political cartoonist Adam Zyglis

Parting Shot/Another War Front Opens

Battle of the outlet malls

This Buffalo News article reports how, in an effort to prevent its residents from crossing enemy lines to shop into foreign territory, Canada is developing its own nuclear malls to compete for the retail dollar.  Could mutually-assured shopping for both countries cause a drop in cross-border traffic?

We’ll find out.