A young lawyer comes to town from the Boston area and with great hubris brands himself the Buffalo-pundit all the while living in suburban (white bread) Clarence and thereby gains entrance to the lucrative networking game called local politics.
The irony has not been lost on many people. Complaints about his white suburban roots are old but very real. In his political commentaries on local politics, he has taken on the role of being the white knight of “liberal” political reform.
The phrase getting Bedenkoed was coined by the answer-lady (a University Heights blogger) during a blogging feud with Belenko over his legitimacy in calling himself the Buffalo-pundit while living in Clarence. She recalled her experience of being bullied and laughingly referred to being Bedenkoed. But it got serious for her. She felt her job was being threatened. At one point when her boss asked her about her blogging and expressed disproval. (At the time she worked at a local college.)
Lots of folks have gotten Bedenkoed over the years: Pigeon, Jack Daves, Chris Collis, Crazy Carl. They usually are the enemies of the present Democratic Party leadership.
And now poor BMHA rep and Fillmore common council candidate Joe Masica is getting Bedenkoed. Masica is the focal point of a bizarre conversation about race in the local mainstream media to the point where Sandy Beach, Buffalo’s local right-wing anti-union anti-liberal attack dog is wrapping himself in a blanket of racial harmony and equality. He denounced Masica when he called his show. Masica was taped by a former friend, Mr. Christopher, in an off the wall racist commentary on all things political during a private conservation, calling various black politicians racist names.
Mr. Christopher is rumored to have ties with Joel Gambria and cash may have changed hands.
Writing in a series of commentaries on the Public site, Bedenko has out done himself. He listed Joe Masica’s financial and moral failures. The only unanswered question is Joe still beating his wife and kicking the family dog? In the list of Joe’s tale of business and moral failures and tax liens is one amazing fact. The honorable DA Frank Sedita, a man not known for his enthusiasm for the enforcement of New York State election laws especially around campaign financially laws prosecuted Joe for failure to file his campaign expenses. Joe pleaded guilty.
Who would have thought a guy living in Public Housing would have business failures, bad credit and hard times, a fact that describes half the folks living east of Main Street and just about everyone living in the Fillmore District?
The DA’s failure to enforce New York State Election laws for various political players is note worthy since the Public covered the issue many times. Masica’s prosecution by the DA should be a red flag that the powers that be, wanted Joe Masica gone. Joe was a pain in the ass at the BMHA, not playing ball with the current administration around issues of police brutality, privatization and generally asking the wrong kind of questions. He is clearly a man with political ambitions whose his hair is presently on fire.
It seems that Zellner and the boys at the Democratic Party HQ as well as Bedenko have judged Masica unfit for political office. (No question he is stupid, and has a street mouth and maybe is a con man) But the real question is who is fit, Dave Franczyk?
The guy doesn’t understand the codified words like his mentor, Carl Paladino, who speaks the same vulgar truths in a more codified style, the mainstream media and the local elites forgive King Carl because he is just being Crazy Carl. Besides he has money and his agenda and theirs are the same.
But poor Masica, the media feeding frenzy will not let him be forgiven. He apologized and begged for forgiveness. No redemption for Joe. His racist rant foolishly spoke to the vulgar racist truth of the political gangs of Buffalo and Western New York in a private conservation with a “friend” who sold him out.
Is Joe Masica a bigot? Yes he is and that reflects the unspoken third rail of Western New York, and Buffalo politics, and its culture of political ethnic and racist tribalism. Joe by mouthing-off in a racist street rant has pulled up the rug on Buffalo’s racial and tribal political system.
These political associations (grassroots, go south to name a few), are all fighting for the influence and a piece of the cash pie, be it the non-profit industrial complex or patronage. It is an institutional political corruption and it is racist, oligarchic to the core be it a Pigeon, Zellner, Lord Byron, Bill Max, Sedita and the legion of political hacks waiting for a piece of heaven to fall to them.
It is a system that exists to serve the wealthy of the local elites who control the political process and who are happy to let the rabble fight over the table scraps. Who got that Buffalo billions deal? To quote beloved Beverly Gray (Council-person at Large who died of cancer), “Billions and billions dollars of economic development money has been spent by the government, I look and I don’t see it my community”
In no way does this justify Joe’s stupidity. Is he a valid candidate that is for the voters to decide if he has the balls to stay in the fight?
Bedenko and the mainstream media feeding frenzy about Masica has taken the media focus off Fillmore councilmen Dave Franczyk’s leadership in the Fillmore district for the past 29 years. Franczyk’s district funding policies are geared more toward defending the remaining elements of old Polinia, (Matt Urban Life Center, Adam Mickiewicz Library, St. Stan’s, and the Broadway Market) than any real attempt at advocacy for economic development such as numerous projects being developed by PUSH on the westside.
The past three mayoral administrations have let the people of the district sink under the weight of red lining, divestment, poverty and crime. The primary government redevelopment program is knocking down buildings and creating vacant land for future cattle ranching. The census tracks for zip codes in Fillmore are some of the worst in the nation, for unemployment, incoming inequality, and quality of housing.
Poverty and hopelessness are powerful engines of voter suppression, and the Fillmore district has the lowest voter turnout in the city. Gerrymandering for white voters (First Ward, Allentown) has been the Franczyk strategy for maintaining his continued stay in power. Advocacy and hope are always threats to the political status quo.
In fact there have been a number of attempts to develop grassroots community organizing. Eastside Pride attempted just that in 2002-2004 under community organizer Kim Harmen. They had a degree of success in addressing banking and the use of block grant money (on the eastside). (Issues to this day continue to be central to dealing with the conditions of poverty on the eastside.) Eastside Pride organized using the same community empowerment model that is used successful by PUSH on the west side. They focused on block grants, slumlords, red lining and banking. According to the founder and former director Kim Harman, she stated she ran afoul of Franczyk and the local banks. The organization internally self-destructed; the board fired her. It then disbanded itself. Her national organization abandoned Buffalo and sent to her to an organizing project in Hawaii. (See: EX-DIRECTOR CALLS FOR AUDIT OF TROUBLED EASTSIDE PRIDE Buffalo News, The (NY) - September 5, 2004. Alt article)
Dave Franczyk’s greatest success over the years has been selling himself to the white liberal community (like Bendenko) as a “progressive.” He has supported numerous resolutions on national issues through the common council, issues that have little direct bearing on the lives of people living in Fillmore. He supported Dennis Kucinich and other progressive democrats. These issues have put him in high esteem as a “progressive politician” fighting for social justice as he represents the very system that creates the injustice. He is a living example of the hypocrisy of the liberal left in Buffalo and Western New York. They organize bus tours in the eastside to see the poverty, homeless and despair, looking out at that world seated in privilege, like wealthy Christians standing on the shoulders of the poor to get closer to God. Real causes of institutional racism are of no interest because they challenge the system of power, and privilege. (I have had numerous conservations with “white progressives” over the years regarding poverty and conditions eastside. They all turn a blind eye to the reality of Dave Franczyk’s role in maintaining the political situation.)
I can summarize in Franczyk’s own words. When confronted by members of the common council on his two track race baiting campaign literature, Franczyk, said, the greatest local Orwellian political statement on record, “I will not be a victim of racial McCarthyism,” just wow!
Is this media frenzy really about Joe Masica’s foul racist words or is it about distracting from foul racist policy?