Bernie Runs, Buffalo Shrugs (& Other Things)

1. Former head of the FBI’s Buffalo office, Bernie Tolbert, has finally stopped teasing everyone and officially entered the race for Mayor of Buffalo, running as a Democrat.  This means he’ll be primarying incumbent Byron Brown in September, and that he will be defeated. Buffalo Rising has the text of Tolbert’s announcement speech, and it focuses on education and crime, but is the same sort of talk we’re used to – technocracy and incremental improvement of bureaucratic issues. It’s a nice speech, but not one that adds a vision for a future Buffalo to the standard-issue schools-and-crime talk. 

The issues are so stark, one would think we could move beyond pablum and get into something a bit different. 

While Mayor Brown has had two terms already to do something big, he’s had little to do with anything big that’s happened. However, there is one thing he is better at than any of his competitors – building and maintenance of a formidable political machine. With the Erie County Democratic Committee likely to endorse Brown in an effort to promote intraparty peace, Tolbert’s chances are only slightly – and theoretically – above nil. 

2. But one correspondent to Buffalo Rising has identified a novel way to shuttle people to and from the Outer Harbor. Despite high prevailing winds and six months’ worth of inclement weather, he has suggested a cable car system to transport people high above the Skyway corridor from CanalSide to the empty and polluted Outer Harbor. Instead of focusing on bringing to Buffalo a cablecar system that was so popular at Walt Disney World that it was removed 25 years ago, perhaps we could spend that money to clean up the contamination on the Outer Harbor property that precludes any sort of development from happening. People on Twitter had fun with the idea on Friday under the hashtag #BuffaloCableCar.

It also reminded Chris & me of the “Detroit Entrepreneurial Guy” meme (example 1, example 2) – especially this one. Just substitute “Buffalo”. 

3. About a week ago, the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington dismissively refused to listen to a podcast that Trending Buffalo’s Brad Riter recorded with Artvoice’s Chris Smith, arguing that it wasn’t “real media”. He and I argued about what constitutes “real media” over the weekend, with Harrington insisting that Trending Buffalo isn’t “real media”, and I argued (a) that the internet is a real medium; and (b) Trending Buffalo’s legitimacy as real media is determined by people who consume its content.  If it has relevance and popularity, it’s “real media”. Harrington insisted that blogs are a “wild west” (and I pointed out the wild west was a “real place”), which is an old argument. In the end, query why it is that the Buffalo News has its journalists blog and Tweet with Buffalo News branding if social media and blogging don’t constitute “real media”. 

Journalists can blog, and bloggers can be journalists. Whether an outlet is “real media” is, in the end, wholly up to the person consuming the content. 

I’ll storify up the back-and-forth later this week. 

Follow me on Twitter and send emails and other stuff to here




  • Your tacit endorsement of Byron Brown in the interest of party unity really begs the question, What about what is best for the City of Buffalo?

    • I think Byron Brown is a disaster. Who do you think should run?

      • The BN keeps suggesting Brown has an edge because of his war chest. How many NBA players will answer when Tolbert calls? The million that Brown has can be quickly dwarfed by power forwards that may owe Tolbert a favor, not to mention Coke. With the BFD tired of waiting and these bull shit improvements that Brown keeps announcing, he may be in for a tighter race than you think.

      • I have nobody in mind to run for Mayor. I realize that beating the endorsed Democrat in this race is even worse than not very likely. I am waiting for more details from Tolbert and Sergio regarding their platforms.

  • Alan: You should have visited when the Sabres end-of-season presser was held. The Sabres didn’t come off too well, but neither did Harrington nor Jerry Sullivan. They beclowned themselves and the paper…and Sully earned above the fold front-page treatment the next day for acting like a jackass. Mike seems to think, too, that you can’t criticize him unless you have a journalism degree. My one-word response: BULLSHIT.

  • Kind of ironic isn’t it that someone scribbling for the drain circling Buffalo News has the stones to play media snob about bloggers and tweeters and the like. My chinchilla enjoys reading all the anti union editorials when I line her cage with the News.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.