Inside Albanyâ€™s secretive slush fund
The Cuomo administration and the state Legislature have begun dishing out grantsÂ from a secretive $1.1 billion capital slush fundâ€”all of which will be borrowed money.
The State and Municipal Facilities Program (SMFP) was originally created by lawmakers in 2013 as a $385 million pot financed by state Dormitory Authority bonds. Lawmakers doubled that borrowing and spending authorization a year later, and added yet another $385 million to the appropriation in the latest state budget.
No further details of the program or its parameters were made public with the budget. However, data obtained by the Empire Center under the state Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) provide a summary of 588 projects, totaling nearly $187 million, that have either received or are in the process of receiving SMFP funding. The list can be downloaded as a PDF here.
ByÂ Matthew Ricchiazzi <email@example.com>
Subject: Help send an FBI informant to the Common Council where he belongs
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)â€”Republicans, who mercilessly mocked Barack Obamaâ€™s lack of government experience before he became President, now favor Presidential candidates with no experience whatsoever, the head of the Republican National Committee has confirmed.
The R.N.C. chief, Reince Priebus, said that he sees â€œno contradiction at allâ€ between Republicansâ€™ contempt for Obamaâ€™s pre-White House rÃ©sumÃ©, which included eleven years spent in public office, and their rabid enthusiasm for G.O.P. rising stars Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, whose combined years in public office total zero.
â€œI think what bothered us Republicans the most about Obama was that he was a community organizer,â€ Priebus explained. â€œWhat does organizing people have to do with running a government?â€
In contrast with that dubious credential, he said, Carson is â€œeminently qualifiedâ€ to be President because of his experience as a neurosurgeon. â€œI think if Ben had negotiated with the Iranians we would have gotten a better deal, because he would have known how their brains worked, medically and all,â€ Priebus argued.
Additionally, the R.N.C. boss said that the billionaire Donald Trumpâ€™s experience puts him â€œleagues aheadâ€ of President Obama. â€œOne of President Obamaâ€™s problems is that he is out of touch with reality,â€ Priebus said. â€œDonald Trump spent fourteen seasons hosting a reality show.â€
As for the former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O. Carly Fiorina, Priebus said that the excitement her rÃ©sumÃ© is generating among the Republican faithful is totally understandable. â€œLike a lot of Republicans, Iâ€™d love to see Carly take on ISIS,â€ he said. â€œSheâ€™s shown she can destroy a large organization.â€
In a major setback for the NFL, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady prevailed in his battle to have his four-game suspension overturned Thursday, as a federal judge reversed a ruling by Commissioner Roger Goodell to bench one of the leagueâ€™s biggest stars in a dispute over underinflated balls he used in a January championship game.
Judge Richard M. Berman of U.S. District Court in Manhattan did not rule on whether Brady tampered with the footballs in a bid for competitive advantage. Instead, he focused on the narrower question of whether the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the players union gave Goodell the authority to carry out the suspension. Berman ruled that it did not.
The 40-page decision picks apart the NFLâ€™s case, finding a number of faults and reflecting Bermanâ€™s skepticism in recent court hearings.
Berman said Brady could not be suspended for â€œgeneral awarenessâ€ of othersâ€™ conduct, as an NFL investigative report determined.
Perfumes 4U set for center of mall
The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls will add six new stores this fall.
Columbia Sportswear, which sells outdoors-style apparel, will be at the northern end of the mall near the food court.
Kipling, a Belgium-based designer bag retailer, will be located at the mallâ€™s south end across from the Coach outlet.
Calvin Klein Underwear will be located in the northwest sector of the mall across from Under Armour and Express.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels, which sells kitchenware such as cutlery and cookware, will open near the food court in the mallâ€™s north end.
Fragrance store Perfumes 4U will open in the center of the mall between Naturalizer and Nine West Outlet.
Lingerie store Victoriaâ€™s Secret will open in the mallâ€™s northeast corner across from Chicoâ€™s.
From home sales to employment, figures over the last 5 years show that the region is indisputably on the rise
To all you skeptics out there: itâ€™s really happening.
The Buffalo Niagara economy is turning a corner, and the slow-moving numbers that economists follow are showing it.
â€¢ The region is roughly matching the national employment growth.
â€¢ Average annual pay in Erie County grew by 3.2 percent last year, slightly faster than the 3.1 percent pay hike that workers nationally received.
â€¢ Home sales during the first half of this year are up 3 percent and had the second-strongest first half since 2010, according to data from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors.
Taking charge of a school district in crisis, Kriner Cash gets specific on ambitious goals for everything from attendance to graduation rates
Buffaloâ€™s new school superintendent wants the graduation rate to hit 100 percent in the next five years, and by that time, he also wants 80 percent of students meeting state standards.
On Tuesday, Kriner Cash offered for the first time some specifics on how he will try to make that happen.
Cash acknowledged that it is an ambitious goal â€“ and that previous school leaders failed to deliver on similar promises â€“ but said that itâ€™s important to set the bar high.
His plan includes a focus on attendance, student safety and on overhauling parts of the district that arenâ€™t effective.
The heart of it is creating more academic programs and choices for families, something he says will drive district outcomes.
Although he wants to make some quick gains, Cash said, the districtâ€™s ultimate success requires rebuilding the entire school system, which cannot currently deliver good results. That could take up to six years.
WICHITA (The Borowitz Report)â€”Saying that â€œthings just didnâ€™t work out,â€ the billionaire Koch brothers have decided to put Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker up for sale.
The Kochs, who earlier had purchased Gov. Walker with great fanfare, announced their plan to sell the politician in a terse statement from Koch Industries headquarters in Wichita.
â€œScott Walker is a fine individual, and we wish him well,â€ the Kochsâ€™ statement read. â€œWe are confident that he will be a good fit for some other billionaire industrialists.â€
Republican insiders, however, called the Kochsâ€™ plan to sell Walker highly optimistic, and noted that the market for the Wisconsin Governor was, at this point, virtually nonexistent.
The Kochs, who reportedly had been frustrated by Walkerâ€™s poor performance in the polls, finally decided to sell the Wisconsinite after last weekendâ€™s odd pronouncement, in which he seemed to support a border wall with Canada.
According to a Koch associate, â€œIgnorance has always been a part of Scottâ€™s appeal, but that Canada thing was just too much.â€
After their plan to sell him was announced, the Kochs immediately pulled Walker off the campaign trail for fear that he might say something that would further reduce his dwindling market value.
In Iowa, an aide to Walker said that the Governor was â€œstill processingâ€ the news that he had been put up for sale. â€œIt takes a while for Scott to understand things,â€ the aide said.
Here is an invitation from SS Peter & Paul RC Church in the village of Williamsville:
Come join us for the weekly Sunday night recreational basketball games starting September 13th from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. in the school gym.
Teams are determined based on whoever shows up and by bringing both a white and dark colored shirt we can intermix into balanced teams.
We call our own fouls and have a mixture to 20 through 50+ year-olds and women are welcome.
So if you have young legs or run at a slower pace we welcome you to a night full of exercise.