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Weekly Reader – July 27th 2014

War and the Peace Bridge

Strictly Dishonorable

What happens when a corruption commission created by a crusading politician begins to investigate the politician’s own administration?  The investigation stops, of course. wkly1115cuomo And while Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s interference has prompted a firestorm of controversy,  the governor has been largely silent on the issue.

But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy.  His Empire State Development Corp. advances its illegal scheme to replace the West Side of Buffalo with a commercial truck plaza and mega duty free store.

Throw in a plan to ship nuclear waste through the neighborhood, and we have the makings of a  real Pre-Post Apocalyptic Party.

So, let’s party


Governors Who Live in Glass Houses

Cuomo’s Office Hobbled Ethics Inquiries by Moreland Commission05a930d8-6d88-4bf8-b8db-ebf8b78abcff

See this in-depth New York Times report for the whole sick story of how an imperious politician slapped down his own elite panel when its corruption investigation came too close to home.  There’s something for everyone here: sound reporting, timelines, photos, video; everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about our state’s chief executive.

For a little icing, there’s this Buffalo Newssummary of events (Report that Cuomo aides ‘repeatedly pressured panel’ causes furor), which 0f98a73a-a5d8-455c-a938-d3c8a99f465dboasts a broadside by one of the suddenly viable challengers to Andrew M. Cuomo’s throne, Fordham Law Professor, Zephyr Teachout:

“When a private indiscretion became public, Gov. Eliot Spitzer quickly resigned from office,” she said. “The Cuomo administration’s indiscretions – public acts that violate the public trust – are far worse. If Andrew Cuomo directed or even knew that f09a3d99-9b71-4dbf-87b8-a7a91cd9a724his top aide was obstructing the Moreland Commission, he should immediately resign.”

In his defense, Cuomo contends–with exquisite logic–a commission created by the governor’s office cannot investigate that office; that would be a conflict of interest.

And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

What we do want is the Commission to alter its banner to more appropriately read: “Destroying Public Trust”.

In that, it is an unqualified success.

Piling On

Cuomo’s Moreland Commission Problem

The blow-back to this news has come from all quarters, a small sampling of which is c946ad68-842c-4fb1-81c9-e28d37b02564included here in the form of thisBuffalo News editorial (Shameful meddling by Cuomo’s office short-circuited corruption investigation) and this above-titled opinion by News political reporter Robert McCarthy, which predicts a lively gubernatorial campaign where before there was none:

So now the Moreland Commission that Cuomo created with such fanfare and with such potential presents the most daunting challenge of not only the campaign, but maybe his career. While few paid attention to the underfinanced Astorino and even less to Democratic challenger Zephyr Teachout, both are now suddenly making headlines inCleaning up Albany newspapers and broadcasts around the state.

What is Governor Cuomo’s response to this accusatory tidal wave?  According to thisAssociated Press report(Cuomo responds to opponents’ criticism with silence) it’s, well, silence.  Because, if he’s quiet long enough and doesn’t look at it, it will go away.

Let the games begin.

And if you were wondering was there something you could do; there is: link here to sign this petition (CUOMO: COME CLEAN!).

Governor Gone Wild

“It is totally unacceptable to demolish the Episcopal Church Home” 

Meanwhile, back at the Bridge, the state-sponsored-extinction-of-Buffalo’s-West-Side-so-a-Governor-Gone-Wild-can-erect-a-monument-to-himself program continues on schedule, backhoes at the ready.                 ec4cf8c2-5379-4d6b-bf95-4cc12303dd52
(photo credit: Mike Puma)

With a “Determination of No Significant Effect on the Environment“, demolition of the former Episcopal Church Home, a Prospect Hill neighborhood anchor since 1860, proceeds without public meetings, comment, resident or preservationist involvement–all unnecessary according to self-appointed lead agency, Empire State Development.

We only learned of this after “secret state documents” fell into our hands, including the letter pictured below announcing the decision.2aaf99c1-7078-4e52-92dd-48cff59d81b0

Once this news leaked, the neighborhood and its allies rallied in protest; typical of which isthis letter to the Buffalo Common Council posted in Buffalo Rising, putting the Council on notice, thus:

…if you participate in this destructive, illegal farce it cannot be chalked up to the historical etiquette of following the lead of a district councilmember. It will be counted as a failure to protect the rights, health and heritage of your fellow citizens in favor of the politically powerful who serve greed.

Will the Council respond?  And how?

The Wasteland

Shipments of nuclear waste could start here in 2015 

If all that weren’t enough, something we commented on months ago, plans to transport 6,000 gallons of liquid nuclear waste across the Peace Bridge and into a1413ac9-3926-46fe-8891-aa0f6b3c8ea1(what’s left of) our neighborhood–a “mobile Chernobyl”–have finally raised the ire of politicians worried it might tarnish the image of their shiny expansion.

In an ironic turn, the same ones who have trampled our right to due process, decry the lack of same now, branding the idea “reckless and irresponsible.”

What we want to know is: How does it feel?

Parting Shot

In the midst of all the acrimony, deceit, and destruction, a grace note was struck this past week, as Zephyr Teachout, candidate for Governor, actually met with Peace Bridge neighborhood residents to discuss the concerns this end of the state has with incumbent Andrew M. Cuomo.

We think we know for whom we are voting.

If you’d like to discover candidates Teachout and Wu, link here to their website

Teachout-Wu for New York!