I Read the News Today…
by Geoff Kelly - posted 12:16 pm, December 5, 2008
—Somehow former Common Council President Jim Pitts’ proposal to develop a crappy-looking Wingate Inn attached to Shanghai Red’s beside the Erie Basin Marina has been selected as a the preferred alternative by the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency. Ciminelli Development put forth a much more ambitious, mixed-use concept that, supporters claim, would generate far greater tax revenue for the city.
Ciminelli’s plan was dismissed because it exceeded the RFP’s size limitations—guidelines that the Ciminelli team claims they were never told about. Common Councilmembers Franczyk, LoCurto, and Kearns, who sit on the BURA board, cried foul, but to no avail: Mayor Byron Brown and members of his administration, who comprise a majority of the BURA board, wanted to give the project to J.W. Pitts Properties. Nobody seems to know why, not yet anyway.
—State Senator Bill Stachowski is not going to be chair of the Senate Finance Committee after all. Instead, the position that Stachowski thought was in the bag will go to Carl Kruger of Brooklyn as a reward for threatening to caucus with Republicans and holding back support for Malcolm Smith as majority leader. Back in October, when a poll showed former Buffalo Police Detective Dennis Delano 13 points ahead of Stachowski, state Democrats rushed to Stachowski’s aid. Antoine Thompson, who was a central figure in the Democrats’ effort to gain a majority in the state senate, stood beside Stachowski on Court Street while the veteran senator explained what a devastating loss his seniority would be for Western New Yorkers.
—M&T Bank’s Robert Wilmers, now doing a turn as chief of Empire State Development Corporation, apparently thrilled the Buffalo News’ editorial board with his observation during a talk on Tuesday that the state ought to invest in big projects in Niagara Falls, our region’s architectural treasures, and Buffalo’s waterfront.