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Muckraking Monday

Some items, possibly true and possibly not, to consider:

—Is North District Councilmember Joe Golombek considering a run for City Comptroller? If so, how does Andy SanFilippo feel about that? Both enjoy cozy relations with Mayor Byron Brown. Who would win the mayor’s support?

—I called to ask Joe, but turns out the phones in City Hall are down today. Raj Mehta, the city’s IT chief, has been overseeing the installation of a new digital VOIP phone system in City Hall. (You can learn more about it by watching Mehta’s last round with the CitiStat panel.) He says that Verizon switched off the Common Council’s old lines on Friday at 4pm instead of today at 4pm. (I emailed Joe, as well, and will relay his answer when it comes.)

—I’ve been told that the continuing battle between the mayor and the Common Council over the 2009 capital budget originated with a $200,000 streets project for the intersection of Linwood and North—a project in the Niagara District, represented by David Rivera, who beat out mayoral advisor Peter Savage for that seat. The mayor left that project out of his original capital budget; the Common Council added the project in its version, which divided infrastructure improvement funds equally among councilmanic districts instead of leaving all the spending at the mayor’s discretion. (The five-member majority coalition argued that the mayor has used the capital funds to reward and punish councilmembers over the past three years.) When the mayor vetoed the Council’s revisions, he retained funding for the Linwood-North project, admitting it was necessary, while stripping infrastructure improvement funds from the districts represented by the councilmembers who voted to revise his original budget.

—Finally, I’ve heard that a member of the Buffalo Police Department’s Mobile Response Unit has been detailed to perform a bomb search at HSBC Arena before each home Sabres game. Problem is, there’s no such duty. The BPD doesn’t do bomb searches at HSBC Arena before each home Sabres game. So what is that officer being paid to do?

UPDATE: Joe Golombek says he, too, has heard the tumor that he’s running for comptroller, but at this point he’s happy to be North Dostrict Councilmember. He says, “There are several issues that I would like to work on, including:  new and improved special police, crime stats on the internet, artist studios at the BRAC (Buffalo Religious Arts Center) which is the former St. Francis Xavier, a Main Street Project for Tonawanda Street, City Manager form of government and non-partisan elections for the City of Buffalo among others.”