To the public: When I asked for materials so I could understand what the Planning Board was going to discuss at their meeting on the 21st of May, 2015 I was flatly and clearly told NO by Department Chairman Eric Gillert.
This material should be made available to the public because the meeting was a public meeting. If the material was available it must have been well hidden. This is not the first time I have locked horns with Mr. Gillert. Prior to this meeting we disagreed concerning his slanting of reports in favor of developers.
He is not telling the truth. He said it loud and clear in front of his workers. He wouldn’t give me any materials concerning the meeting of the Planning Board on the 21st of May, 2015. If the meeting is a public meeting the materials must be made available to the public.
At Monday’s Village Board meeting, trustees passed a new zoning package based on the 2010 Community Plan. Click the link to learn more about the plans, which should chart a course for the future of the South Long area and other areas of the Village.
Some political observers say that doing so would be a disservice to Western New York. The Assemblywoman has finally earned some level of political clout with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and within the minority caucus of the Assembly. She should use that clout to deliver state dollars to her district, which is badly in need of over $1 billion in streetscape improvements alone.
Her constituents have been clamoring for mass transit expansion, homesteading programs, quality of life improvements like parks and recreation facilities, in addition to small business development for years. Now that she has earned the political capital, some constituents may demand that she delivers before she departs.
Others, like the opponents of her mayoral control legislation, have begun organizing a political opposition to the Assemblywoman in rapid fashion. They intend to wage a primary challenge largely on education issues. Several career educators are considering the race.
A former Chicago police detective is suing to get his job back after being fired for posing in a photograph with another officer holding rifles over an unidentified black man lying on a floor and wearing deer antlers.
The photograph, which is believed to have been taken between 1999 and 2003, recently was made public after detective Timothy McDermott filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to rejoin the Chicago Police Department. The photo was discovered during an FBI investigation into police wrongdoing.
The Chicago Police Board fired McDermott in October after finding him guilty of bringing discredit on the department by taking part in the photo, disrespecting or maltreating a person on or off duty, and unlawful or unnecessary use or display of a weapon.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will introduce a bill containing his proposals to clean up Albany’s endemic public corruption woes — including a ban on all outside income and a counterbalancing pay raise for what would become a full-time legislature.
The attorney general announced the measure in an op-ed to be published in Wednesday’s Times Union.
After reviewing the events of the year so far, especially the toppling of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos after corruption arrests, Schneiderman strikes a frustrated tone as he refers to the most recent Capitol meeting between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and new-minted legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan.
“Remarkably, after the Governor and the new leaders of the legislature met on May 13, it became clear that ethics and campaign finance reform are not even on the agenda as the legislative session draws to a close,” Schneiderman writes. “This glaring omission — if not corrected – would do a disservice to the lion’s share of elected officials who are honorable public servants, tainted by the misconduct of the few.”
Schneiderman, a Democrat, writes that his End New York Corruption Now Act would lower contribution limits, restrict contributions by lobbyists, close donation loopholes “so big you can drive a Mack truck through them,” and create an opt-in public matching system for campaigns. He’s also seeking a constitutional amendment that would lengthen lawmakers’ terms from two years to four years to prevent what critics see as an endless cycle of campaign fundraising at the expense of governing.
Many of the concepts were laid out by Schneiderman in a March speech. Versions of several of these ideas — including loophole closure and the creation of a public financing system — were introduced by Cuomo in his executive budget proposal, though they fell off the negotiating table in favor of a more modest package of reforms.
“No one can claim the ideas in this bill are radical or partisan, or that they require exploration and inquiry that exceeds the time remaining before legislators leave Albany for the year,” Schneiderman writes.
Lawmakers and the governor might have other ideas.
Flanagan said two weeks ago he “would be surprised if there were further (ethics) changes before the end of session.” And neither the governor nor Heastie have placed additional reforms on their lists of agenda items for the rest of the legislative session, which closes June 17.
Cuomo’s Secretary Bill Mulrow announced last week that the governor would introduce his own program bill before the end of the session, one that would extend state Freedom of Information Law to the Legislature in the same way it currently applies to every other state entity. That measure is not expected to be eagerly received in either chamber.
Ethics bills, which tend to be pushed by the executive branch, don’t usually fare well in the waning days of the legislative session, where the governor’s power is relatively weaker than during the budget negotiation that is supposed to conclude at the end of March. In 2013, Cuomo responded to another outbreak of scandal at the Capitol by introducing sweeping ethics legislation, which was completely ignored by both houses.
In response, Cuomo convened a Moreland Commission panel to investigate public corruption. Schneiderman appointed many of its members as deputy attorneys general to amplify their subpoena powers.
Cuomo scrapped the panel midway through its planned 18-month existence.
After failed Comcast deal, new questions about Charter
The region’s Time Warner Cable subscribers may be paying their bills to a new provider before long.
As Charter Communications plans to acquire Time Warner Cable, answers to the usual questions on consumers’ minds – whether prices will go up, what the customer service will be like – will have to wait until Charter actually completes the deal. That could happen by year’s end.
It’s a great time to be a developer in Western New York. That was the opening of a Buffalo News article on January 26, 2014. In the past 18 months nothing has changed. Developers rule.
After a long period of relative stagnation, the region’s commercial real estate market has surged in the past couple of years, spurred by billions of dollars of investment in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Canalside, the Outer Harbor and other initiatives.
From the downtown core to the suburbs, developers are investing private dollars into projects to build new office, hotel, retail and other commercial facilities, or to convert aging industrial warehouses and plants into modern, new complexes. More than four dozen projects of various size and scope are now under way.
Who is behind all this development?
I received permission from Supervisor Weinstein and the Town Board to sit in on meetings of the Planning Board and oversee how the members reach their decisions on projects. Many citizens want to how the Planning Department and the Planning Board work together.
The Planning Board wouldn’t share any material with me. Mr. Gillert, Planning Department head, said the material was private and I could not have it. I dug around and did get the information. The members get the information a week before they hold their meetings. The seven members receive the information on the projects from the Planning Department. All the information received about the projects comes entirely from our Planning Department led by Mr. Eric Gillert.
Their entire procedure is highly unethical and possibly illegal.
by Jim Tricoli
Our prayers go out to all those living in the heavily flooded areas of our nation. The reporters said the flooding was of “Biblical proportions” this morning.
May those who lost loved ones feel God’s grace and find comfort in his love.