Mr. Giambra in a routine press conference/sound bite opportunity, dutifully covered by local TV crews, once again attacked the Buffalo Police Department last week by asking voters to think about how ridiculous the idea of giving cops back pay that is due to them in their labor contract. “Think about it,” Giambra asked with an incredulous grin on his face, “Would you run a business like that?”

We did think about it, and you know what? We realized that the only business that Joel has ever known has been the political cesspool of Buffalo politics. From his teenage Mayor’s summer youth gig filling the water glasses of the Common Council to his current position as Pataki poop boy, Joel has never actually had to deal with the vagaries of the private sector. So when he talks about “running things like a business”, it’s important to remember that he’s entering a very theoretical realm of thinking.

Of course, there are many M.B.A. wonders out there who would wholeheartedly agree with Joel that employees should be screwed at every turn, especially in areas like back pay and living up to labor agreements. After all, that money needs to be channeled into things like control boards and political patronage jobs, when your CEO is Joel Giambra, and your Board of Directors is The Buffalo Club.

Mr. Giambra’s boilerplate Enron-like message was somewhat blunted, however, by another police news story that was unfortunately lumped together with Joel’s free election campaign ad. Shortly after Giambra made his remarks, Buffalo Police Officer Lt. Paul R. Delano Jr. was chasing down a man who had allegedly attempted to rape two women when he was forced to shoot the suspect after being struck with a pipe.

At least one station, WIVB-TV Channel 4, added that Delano had also fired his weapon once before in a completely separate incident – no follow-up mention of the alleged rapist’s previous record, to date. Apparently, reforming the business of law enforcement doesn’t allow for that kind of discussion.

When you really think about it, there are certain groups that greatly benefit from the kind of assault on law enforcement that Mr. Giambra has been conducting – predatory street criminals in general, and organized crime figures in particular. Joel may be “powerless” to stop the shadowy characters demanding four new casinos in WNY, but he sure knows how to take a bite out of the hindquarters of the people who are in the “business” of preventing criminals from “doing business.”

Buffalo is dead, Long live Joel Giambra’s political-criminal nexus of Erie County Inc. When you break down Joel Giambra’s peculiar brand of “regionalism”, what you find are all sorts of cost-cutting measures that are presented in the media as responsible belt-tightening measures. However, a critical analysis of these “reforms” reveals that the main piece of “pork” on the chopping block is law enforcement.