Buffalo: Read These

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Photo by Flickr user Sunny Hasija

1. It’s astonishing that racist behavior and actions like those described in this lawsuit could happen in WNY, by adults, in the past decade. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that a federal court jury in Buffalo found this systematic destruction of a worker’s life absolutely abhorrent, and awarded tens of millions of dollars in punitive damages against the Luxembourg-based steel conglomerate that did very little to stop it, or punish the perpetrators. 

2. Remember that secretive millionaire wunderkind from Cleveland who bought some of the most expensive and exclusive houses in WNY, and was planning to buy and renovate several downtown structures? His name is Michael Wilson. He was a fraud, and his financial “empire” existed only in Wilson’s mind. He even created a phantom financial professional, complete with LinkedIn profile, to help dupe unwitting investors. Wilson has since been indicted by a federal grand jury and fled the country.  His brother is awaiting trial, likely serving to attract Wilson back to WNY to face the music for his own misdeeds. When we talk about enterprise, investigatory journalism, Kevin Purdy’s compelling story should win an award – and it’s published in the Buffalo Spree. Who was Michael Wilson? Yet another carpetbagging huckster – reminiscent of the Simpsons’ monorail developer, Lyle Lanley – coming to western New York to promise us renewed relevance and prospective riches. All we have to do is, e.g., donate millions in money and land to build a Wizard of Oz theme park; or rely on the promises of a quixotic but charismatic Iraqi-Briton to miraculously complete only his second project ever, the renovation of the Statler Towers.  Buffalo’s renaissance, when it comes, will come because of hard work, planning, vision, and good government. Silver bullets don’t work any better than earnest crowdsourcing. 

3. Donnie Burtless from the local food blog Buffalo Eats interviewed retired Buffalo News restaurant critic, Janice Okun. It’s an interesting, short retrospective from someone who was once a pioneer. 

4. I can’t figure out which one is more socially acceptable – being some level of excited about Nik Wallenda’s tightwire walk across Niagara Falls, or to denigrate it altogether. 

5. Hey, folks – a new activist group called Effective NY wants a constitutional convention, and it’s run partly by YNN political host Liz Benjamin’s father.  

 

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