Now, the mayor has a new plan to shut down a few more firehouses. Happily, this plan includes a nice piece of action for Benderson Development. They will get to swap an undesirable lot that McDonald’s vacated on Hertel Avenue for a prime parking lot downtown. When you think about it, doesn’t Benderson Development deserve to be rewarded for moving their corporate headquarters out of Western New York for the sunnier climes of Florida? Of course, they do.

Meanwhile, morale in the Buffalo Fire Department continues to suffer. Masiello has stuck by one of his patronage puppies, Michael D’Orazio, who is serving as an interim, make-believe fire commissioner, after the real fire commissioner, Calvin Worthy, stepped down to protest the Masiello administration and the control board’s attacks on the firefighters.

Casino Buffalo: Book Your New Year’s Reservations Now!

Did we get your attention? Good! Okay, so maybe Casino Buffalo won’t be opening until next New Year’s, but our sources tell us that negotiations are heating up for both the Buffalo Convention Center and the Aud. The Aud deal reportedly being considered would see the proposed Bass Pro Shop splitting the cavernous space with a Seneca casino. Alt broke the story that Bass Pro has links to the gaming industry in Las Vegas, last year. Although a Seneca casino in downtown targeting local gamblers continues to be a highly unpopular idea particularly with Citizens Against Gaming in Erie County and is even opposed by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, our mayor has demonstrated that he stands as a true profile in courage by continuing to place Casino Buffalo at the top of his list of priorities.

Although the Bass Pro/Aud casino has some strong support (even mayoral candidate Byron Brown has spoken out in favor of Bass Pro) and stands a good chance of receiving millions in taxpayer largess, would it really do as much as a convention center casino to destroy business in downtown Buffalo. After all, putting the convention center out of business would drain the local economy of millions of dollars.

Since this mayor has seen fit to do everything he possibly can to hurt the City of Buffalo, it probably makes more sense to stick the casino right in the heart of downtown like a dagger. One would hope that the mayor, the governor and the Seneca Tribal Council can come up with a perfect storm solution that will maximize the damage to taxpayers that a heavily subsidized Casino Buffalo will undoubtedly bring.

Stuck in Buffalo with the Sunbelt blues again In a recent editorial in the Sunday edition of The New York Times, titled “Getting to Average,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., discussed the continuing problem of economic inequality facing black Americans. Gates, who is a professor at Harvard and a highly regarded intellectual found that the consensus in black academic circles is that, rather than paying lip service to the illusive goal of racial equality in this country, most have set their sights lower. “The fantasy isn’t that inequality vanishes; it’s that inequality in black America catches up with inequality in white America.” In this era of war, high oil prices, and uncertainty in capital markets the trend has been toward downward mobility as lower middle class jobs disappear, so this point is well taken. The example Gates uses to illustrate these lowered expectations, however, might give pause to power brokers in our own backyard.

“Recently, I asked a few experts on poverty in black America about how we might get to average. I heard a lot of deep breaths. When they picture a black America, they see Buffalo – a boarded up central city and a few lakefront mansions. The glory days for the black working class were from 1940 to 1970, when manufacturing boomed and factory jobs were plentiful. But when the manufacturing sector became eclipsed by the service economy, black workers ended up – well, stuck in Buffalo.” “A boarded up central city… stuck in Buffalo.” Sound familiar? Encouraging Tony Masiello to be our poster boy should help change this image, right? Sure it will. Mayor’s New Plan for “Burning Buffalo.”

Once upon a time in our fair city, arson fires were so common that our neighbors to the North labeled us “Burning Buffalo.” It inspired a Kids in the Hall skit, which allowed all of Canada to have a little fun at our expense. This summer, Mayor Anthony Masiello was behind a plan to lay off the city’s fire investigators. That would have done almost as much to help our image as the mayor’s recent appearance on the Today Show, wherein he took the opportunity to remind everybody that our winters suck and we get lots of snow. The new stereotypical image of Buffalonians being fostered by the mayor is that not only are we really good at shoveling snow, we’re surrounded by burning buildings, too. And if the mayor is a good representation of the average Buffalonian, we also look talk and act like a bunch of idiots. Hey, if the shoe fits….