Did Collins Recommend Closure?

In reply to yesterday’s story about Chris Collins’ pledge to examine the Niagara Falls air base and Batavia VA center for “efficiency”, and go along with their closure if they weren’t up to Collins’ standards, Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy writes: 

The allegations that Chris Collins called for the closing of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station or any of Western New York’s VA facilities is preposterous. He did not say anything close to that. What he did say is that we should strive to have the best services and most efficient federal facilities possible in Western New York and that is the reason why they should stay open. There were over 100 people in attendance at the event. The crowd gave Chris Collins a resounding ovation and became very angry when it was announced that a press release had gone out from one of his opponents attacking Collins and grossly distorting his comments.

But Bellavia’s people were told that Collins threw a fit at the meeting when shown a Tweet from Michael Caputo / modified tweet from Bellavia himself:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/DavidBellavia/status/191175054195826688″]

A woman came forward to release the following press release midday Sunday, posted as a comment to the earlier piece

My name is Carrie M. Christman. I am a veteran of the United States Air Force and a Republican Committeeman from Brighton in Monroe County. On Saturday, April 14, I attended the Erie County Republican Roundtable where former Erie County Executive Chris Collins was a featured speaker. After his speech, I asked him a question about keeping the Batavia Veterans Administration Medical Center open and a follow up question about keeping the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station open as well. He told me “you may not like my answer” and went on to say that these facilities must be examined for efficiency and forced to operate in a more cost effective manner. It was definitely my impression from his answers that if the Batavia VA and the Niagara Falls air base did not meet his efficiency standards that he may not consider keeping them open.

My take is, if there are inefficiencies – and I believe we all know that is a major problem with our government – we need to find out what are the causes for these inefficiencies. The solution is correcting the problem at the source. Let’s find that out, then we are on the right path to solving our nation’s problems.

So, there’s some dispute there over whether Collins said he’d close the facilities he deems “inefficient” using some undisclosed standard of efficiency, or whether Christman inferred closure from his remarks, although Collins never expressed precisely that sentiment. 

I submit that it hardly matters. 

When you’re dealing with the matter of providing medical services to veterans, or the duties carried out by the NY Air National Guard – only a cold, sick technocrat who has no experience with military matters or respect for veterans would first jump on the Six Sigma efficiency bus before wondering whether the institutions are adequately funded and staffed to carry out their duties. 

There is more to government than penny-pinching – especially when it comes to medical care for veterans. 


  • Let’s cut to the chase.  What is on the table is jobs driven by money and politics and less about Defense.  If Defense was the primary motivation Plattsburgh, Rome and Stewart would be still active installations!
    The case needs to be made on Military Value and why these facilities have higher value than others.  Regarding vet’s every installation under the gun will voice the same concern.  The bottom line is this will be  politically driven forced by the lack of money.

    • Are you kidding me? If DEFENSE were the primary motivation we’d have a military one tenth the size it is today.

      This is -entirely- about ‘free’ money handed down from the benevolent rulers in DC. Period. The fact that Collins is hitting it makes Alan and anti-Collins groups froth at the mouth.

      • Bellevia is  just shooting off his mouth, when he wasn’t even there. That is the way he will try to play dirty politics, but it won’t work against Collins. Bellevia does not even belong in this primary. He brings nothing to the table or the Republican party. 

  • Anyone else having Disqus eating some comments instead of posting?  Sorry if this ends up being a duplicate.  I tried posting it earlier.

    Along the lines of Jesse’s point, I don’t think I saw any mouth frothing here back in February when Obama’s Defense Secretary Panetta called for “efficient” and “leaner” spending throughout the military.  Panetta didn’t even use the word “effective” as yesterday’s post quoting Bellavia implied is the only acceptable goal.  Panetta sounded as though Collins had written his script.


    Obama proposes defense cut after decade of growth
    By David Alexander and Jim Wolf
    WASHINGTON | Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:30pm EST
    (Reuters) – President Barack Obama unveiled a 2013 defense budget on Monday that proposes cuts in Pentagon spending for the first time since 1998, slashing military personnel costs and weapons purchases as it trims $487 billion in projected outlays over the next decade.

    Panetta outlined a new strategy that focuses on creating a leaner, more efficient military, starting to shift away from the Middle East and more toward rising threats in Asia. He contends that the Pentagon is “strongly unified” behind the new strategy.

    “We’ve got to reduce excess overhead, eliminate waste, and improve business practices across the department,” Panetta said in a prepared statement.

    How long before Panetta or Obama is called here “a cold, sick technocrat who has no experience with military matters”?    Too funny!

    By the way, WGRZ concluded the claim from the anti-Collins side is false,

    While it’s not unusual for a candidate to take liberties with comments made by their opponent, this was such a strong accusation regarding such an important issue to this region that we had to put this one to the Truth Test.

    Based on all of the information we reviewed, Bellavia’s characterization of Collins’s position is false and does not pass the Truth Test.

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