Wednesday War 'n Politics

1. Congratulations to Mitt Romney, who won a couple of states in last night’s Super Tuesday. He appears to have become, at long last, the Republican’s nominee to take on Barack Obama in November. Santorum won a handful of states, and Gingrich won Georgia, which is enough to keep them around and just demolishing Romney day in and day out, but they don’t really have anywhere to go.

2. Incidentally, did you know that the Paladinoist / Palinist wing of the tea party club here in WNY held a Presidential straw poll of its own? Although Romney is very likely to win the New York primary, our plucky band of angry local wingnuts picked Rick Santorum.

3. The debate over what is to become with the Trico building is going to be the big development/preservation fight for the first half of this year. It’s already getting going, as an earlier post will attest. What’s unique about this particular battle is that most people agree that the Trico building is an historically significant landmark, and also that the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is something that’s great for the community and the source of a great many good jobs, and of a knowledge-based future Buffalo industry. It’s going to be a tough battle because it’ll be particularly hard for anyone to demonize or belittle anyone else. It’s also yet another ad hoc battle that we’re so used to, which pits people against each other, creates loads of rancor, and is generally sad and discouraging, regardless of who wins. While I recognize the historic importance of Trico, and the importance of its former factory, I also recognize that Trico is long gone, headquartered in Michigan, and making blades in Brownsville and Matamoros. The building is, to me, subjectively hideous – an eyesore, and refurbishing a former factory – regardless of how historically important – into a medical research facility is impractical, and something the BNMC simply doesn’t want to do. They want a 21st century facility, not a 19th century facility. This is before we even get to the environmental cleanup that any adaptive reuse would entail. My sympathies default to people, jobs, and the future.

4. The Valenti/Brocuglio dynamic duo is back in / still in WNY, depending on whom we’re talking about, and their residential landlord got shafted at Eden court in her eviction effort. The former owners of Valenti’s restaurant have until the end of March to move out of their home, and Judge Zittel did not order a judgment for back rent dating to December.

5. I remember watching the Little Rascals after school when I was a kid, those little unsupervised, depression-era scamps were often tussling with the truant officer. Perhaps it’s time that school districts with big absentee problems revisit this idea.

6. There was a lot of hubbub yesterday about a map released by a special master appointed by a federal judge to try and resolve the ongoing fight over congressional redistricting in New York. Locally, the issue was the fact that both Brian Higgins and Kathy Hochul reside within the redrawn 27th district. Suffice it to say, the court’s map is not in any way final, but it will be the default map should the parties be unable to come to a separate agreement. It happens every time, and acts as a catalyst to move negotiations forward. What does seem likely, however, is that Louise Slaughter’s district will be re-drawn to return her influence to the Rochester area only, and out of the Buffalo metro. NYS Judicial Redistricting Map

7. Ron Paul has won a whopping 47 delegates during this primary season. The margin of Romney’s lead over Santorum in the delegate race is more than 200 delegates. Why the hell is he still in the Presidential race?

8. In response to news that the government is looking to get rid of over 800 jobs at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve base, Republican Congressional candidate David Bellavia tweeted this:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/DavidBellavia/status/177124836504645633″]

Well, not really. I received a press release that Schumer, Gillibrand, Hochul, Slaughter, and Higgins jointly released, reading as follows:

“We call on the Air Force to reverse this decision and to identify a new mission for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. As a united delegation, along with the support of Governor Cuomo, we will continue to fight to protect this base, the positions it supports, and the thousands of Western New Yorkers that rely on its services.

“The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is an essential part of our nation’s military force, and we will not rest in the effort to find a new mission.”

Furthermore, Republicans are usually very, very opposed to things like government stimulus of the economy and government employment vs. private sector employment. Somehow, those principles get thrown out the window whenever we’re talking about military spending. The truth is, the air base has a stimulative effect on the regional economy, and losing it diminish that. Also, it’s false to suggest that the local delegation isn’t working to keep that stimulus spending here.

9. Barack Obama is going to have an easy time running on his international affairs record, and sought yesterday to calm the rhetoric coming mostly from the right, agitating for a new war in the Persian Gulf, this time against Iran. Speaking of the unemployed Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney:

The president was withering in his retort. “Those folks don’t have a lot of responsibilities,” Mr. Obama said. “They’re not commander in chief. When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved in war” — for those who go into combat, for national security and for the economy. “This is not a game,” he added. “And there’s nothing casual about it.”

“If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war, they should say so, and they should explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be,” he said.

We need another war like we need another 2008 global financial meltdown. But not to be outdone, Senator John McCain suggested that we ought to bomb Syria due to the political and humanitarian crisis being created by the fascist Assad regime’s brutal crackdown on a months-long popular uprising. It may soon become time for military intervention in Syria, as we took part in in Libya. However, this would need to be a multilateral effort, with the Arab League taking the lead in demanding the intervention. Efforts to do that through the UN Security Council were unsuccessful, due to China’s and Russia’s positions as the permanent member protectors of brutal authoritarian regimes, and the veto that goes with it.

10. Jim Heaney interviews former ECHDC / Sabres guy Larry Quinn, who has some choice words for the risible “lighter, faster, cheaper” method of planning for the inner harbor.


  • Joshua McGuffie

    “Barack Obama is going to have an easy time running on his international affairs record, and sought yesterday to calm the rhetoric coming mostly from the right, agitating for a new war in the Persian Gulf, this time against Iran.”

    With all due respect, our current president has proven that he’s just as warmongering as our last president. For me, at least, the facts that he took three years to get us out of Iraq and we are still in Afghanistan and that we went on a let’s-don’t-declare-war-vietnam-style bombing extravaganza over Libya and that the president has authorised the public murder of both American and and foreign nationals without trial are problems with his international affairs record. The only difference between him and W is the fact that he is eloquent in his doublespeak as he leads us in our global bullying escapades.

  • “For me, at least, the facts that he took three years to get us out of Iraq and we are still in Afghanistan

    Read more:

    Josh? Who was it that put us in Iraq & Afganistan to begin with? The same guy who could not get us out in 8 years because he had no intention of getting us out

  • our plucky band of angry local wingnuts picked Rick Santorum.

    LOL!! So our intrepid guardians against nanny-statism and gubmit overreach decided that a K Street scold who wants to legislate his peculiar 10th century morality is the new anointed leader who will bring us to the libertarian promised land.

    Seems more likely that he just hit the right note of xenophobia and that’s all that matters to them.

    “Plucky” is a fun adjective. There are others as well for those people.

  • On first blush, that looks like a remarkably fair, non-gerrymandered Congressional district map. Therefore, I have no worries that it will ever happen.

  • Screw this. I’m going fishing up in Canada, I’ll come back in November to vote & head back up north for some hunting.

  • I would differ to actual experts on adaptive reuse re Trico 1 before proclaiming the building “impractical.” All over Europe, not to mention even in these United States, older buildings can be and are successfully modernized. It is an utter canard to say that “people, jobs and the future” belong to one or another of the players here.

    You are certainly right, though, that the battle over this is going to pit two very important factions, both positive players generally, against one another, which is detrimental to both. Alas, but at the same time: no new tale to tell.

  • Good call Ethan. I lived in Scotland & Italy for many years. Over there people don’t just rip down an old building, it get revitalized. (Except for the plumbing, my house in Naples had the worst plumbing. I think it was installed by Nero. Minga) I would hate to see the Trico Buliding get trashed. (Whats going to happen to Ulrich’s Tavern?)

  • @joe: I have to imagine Jim is not especially thrilled at the prospect. It’s worth throwing out there that one wall of that building is all that remains of the former brewery on that site. Weyands? I can’t recall which right now…

  • It is very often (almost exclusively so)a false choice between development and preservation in Buffalo. Often (most often) progress and development in Buffalo has been in the form of preservation. Historic neighborhoods and buildings are in increasingly high demand across the country including Buffalo. Unfortunately too many in WNY are stuck in an archaic way of thinking about cities.

  • Bummer on that eviction. I was sooooo pumped on attending the traditional Eden Parsnip Festival.

  • mike in buffalo

    I’m sorry but why again is the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus a positive and important thing?

  • >refurbishing a former factory. . .is. . .something the BNMC simply doesn’t want to do. They want a 21st century facility, not a 19th century facility.

    The Emperor Has No Clothes. I do not buy into “Medical Campus as the be all and end all economic engine for WNY.” (Think Bass Pro.) Economists agree: the health care bubble will pop. I would rather be left with architectural history of our blue collar legacy, than architecturally insignificant empty hospitals produced by an inflated Medical-Industrial Complex.

    Moreover, this is not just about one building. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is becoming a medical *fortress*, not a medical *campus!*

    Stop this sterile, ugly, suburban-style office park, segregated from its host community.

    3 ways to integrate it architecturally, with downtown:

    1. Flexible boundaries: Rehab endangered properties in fruit belt, and across the Kensington (said expressway soon be eliminated as a barrier). E.g., century old brick houses right next to Roswell; Sheehan Hospital.

    2. Save McCarley Gardens. I want life beyond the 9-4 suburban commuter presence.

    3. Bulldozer moratorium. Postpone all medical campus demolition, including the Trico building. Use *existing* resources efficiently. Donors and politicians, resist calls for more “brick and mortar” in this “Great recession milieu of scarce resources.” (Roswell, for example, while begging for money for a new addition, has a breast cancer clinic that stands idle but for 1 shift, 2 days a week, banker’s hours.)

  • >They want a 21st century facility, not a 19th century facility.

    Yes, and I want World Peace, a date with Jessica Alba, and to look like Brad Pitt.

    This column buys into the arrogant talking points of the Medical-Industrial Complex. To paraphrase a well-known author “When does your want become my need?” Artvoice, the BNMC is ground zero for Buffalo’s 1%. Per a recent Buffalo News article, they are the suburban commuters buying the outrageous McMansions on our tax dollars. This institution can certainly afford to work within our downtown history.

  • Why all the tears for BNMC? They knew exactly what they were getting into in 2007 when they bought the building and it was priced into the property sale price. Our historic property rules and regs were hard fought, and obtained through a democratic process (with a big tax credit to help out the lucky owners). BNMC needs to suck it up, run a good evaluation process and a study, and if it turns out to be economically feasible – save the building.

    BTW, the 1890’s brewery building incorporated into the larger building is actually mostly intact. All interior walls, floor, and roof are in place, but only the one exterior wall facing Ellicott is not enclosed by newer parts of the building.

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