Spitzer’s Sorry, Silver’s Moving, Food Truck Drama
1. Disgraced former Governor of the State of New York, Eliot Spitzer, famously began running for New York City Comptroller just a few days before nominating petitions were due. As one might expect, Spitzer’s attempt at a comeback is made difficult by his hypocritical whoring. Here is his “apology” commercial, which I think is rather effective.
2. Alien wizard Nate Silver took his work analyzing baseball statistics into the political arena with his blog Five Thirty Eight, and got picked up by the New York Times. That contract expired, and former Buffalo News editor Margaret Sullivan – now the Times’ Public Editor – explained that Silver simply didn’t “fit in” to the Times’ “culture”, and that some of the Times’ writers simply didn’t like him. Sullivan explained that Silver was “disruptive”; i.e., he disrupted the old model of covering politics.
In Buffalo, we’re all-too familiar with the way politics have been covered for the past few decades, and its lazy, unsubstantive focus on fundraising and the never-ending horserace. Now, admittedly, Silver’s specialty was the horserace, but the way in which he analyzed and wrote about it was based on mathematical and scientific probability informed by trends, polling, and past performance. Silver had a knack for taking some extremely complicated and convoluted data and making it digestible for average readers, and his record is really quite striking. But in Buffalo, we have political columnists who simply dismiss and ignore candidates who do not fit the 40 year-old mold of a credible machine candidate. We’re all worse off for it.
3. The City of Tonawanda is contemplating a food truck ordinance to regulate how these mobile entrepreneurs might be able to do business within the municipal boundaries. Unlike Buffalo and Amherst, the CoT is poised to introduce fantastically restrictive regulations – so ridiculous that they effectively amount to a ban on food trucks. $1,000 for an initial license and application, and trucks are forbidden from setting up within 1,000 feet of an open kitchen – farther than three football fields away. (The Buffalo and Amherst rules require operation at least 100′ from any open kitchen). The exercise underscores how stupid it is that all these ultimately pointless municipal entities can regulate business to this extent, and how much better it would be if the trucks could just pay a single regional fee and operate throughout the county under uniform rules. Hell, that’s how the US and EU work, but we can’t (genuinely cannot) do that within Erie County.