Saturday, June 24, 2017

Big Changes at Bishop Timon High School

My phone's been blowing up. I've received calls from the Buffalo News as well as 2, 4, 7, and the other station that repeats the same news every 20 minutes. Ok, so none of this is true and nobody really cares about what I have to say. But this is 2017 when anyone with a laptop and a 6th grade reading level can report on the news. I have to ask the question on many peoples' minds today. What is going on at Bishop Timon High School?

The school's Board of Directors decided not to renew the contract of principal Michele Battin after her first year at the helm. No public reason was given. A cryptic message on the school's website thanked her for her "years of service." Before becoming principal last year, Battin was a longtime, popular teacher at the school. Battin's firing has reportedly led to the resignation of the school's Athletic Director and football coach Charlie Comerford. 

Battin was a true asset to the school and the community and will be greatly missed. I've never heard anything but praise from her former students and colleagues. I'd be hard-pressed to find a valid reason for her to be let go. My sources tell me that someone from the Board of Trustees is using her as a scapegoat of sorts. 

I do admit the bigger sports teams (football and basketball) really did well over the last six years with Comerford running the show. So what if half the players were brought in from out of state. They did produce some good teams. Not so much the other sports, but how could they with such a small pool of students to choose from? 

It will be interesting to see what else comes out (if anything). Any school would be lucky to have Principal Battin next year and I'm sure she will land on her feet. The same can be said for Comerford, who did the admirable thing by stepping down. My sources tell me he's already received overtures from Fortune 500 companies IBM, Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, and AT&T, but will most likely end up in a politically appointed no-show position working for the City of Buffalo.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

2017 Mayor's Race: South Buffalo Divided?

It's one of those opinionated days...

As Democratic petitions circulate, the 2017 mayoral race in the city of Buffalo begins to heat up. Several questions are being asked. Will Betty Jean Grant rethink the deal she made with City Comptroller Mark Schroeder and drop out of the race? Will she circulate dual petitions for her seat on the Erie County Legislature (just in case)? Should she pursue the Mayor's race, will Betty Jean Grant consider hiring an English translator so people can understand a word she says? These are just some of the questions people are asking.

From this voter's perspective, the biggest hurdle facing South Buffalo's Mark Schroeder is his inability to excite the masses. The average resident simply doesn't care. Downtown and the waterfront are in the process of being revitalized. Whether that had anything to do with Mayor Brown and his administration is irrelevant. It has happened under his watch and he can claim responsibility, and the average voter is too stupid to know otherwise.

If Schroeder wins, it would be a great individual accomplishment. Unsurprisingly, the rest of South Buffalo's career politicians are not on his side. Councilmember Chris Scanlon and State Senator Tim Kennedy are publicly backing Brown. It is unknown if Michael Kearns is backing anyone. He'll wait until Carl Paladino instructs him (just like he does on every other issue). Even longtime Schroeder friend Brian Higgins seems to be very quiet regarding this race. If I were Schroeder, I would wear these lack of endorsements as a badge of honor. If all the politicians are against you, you're probably a good guy.

I believe Mark Schroeder represents one very small section of South Buffalo voters. They live in one small neighborhood, think the whole city is Irish, and are most likely married to their third cousin. As long as they're happy, they think the rest of South Buffalo is happy. And boy, could they possibly be any more wrong? This may have flown during the 1970's but the steel mills and all the other private sector jobs have moved to North Carolina.  The political climate has changed. People expect more from their local officials.

Many of us from the other side of the tracks are happy with Mayor Brown's South Buffalo appointees. Martin Kennedy and Steve Stepniak are both really great people and reflect well on the Brown administration. Brown hired Mark "Rogo" Rogowski, a guy completely overlooked by the South Buffalo politicians for decades because he wasn't part of their clique. Rogo's mistake was helping politically unconnected people over the years. These people don't make political donations so they were of no use to the South Buffalo career politicians. Fortunately, Brown saw through this and took a chance on him. Mark Schroeder has been in one office or another for 16 years. Who has he hired? You probably don't know because they most likely are not your neighbors. They are his neighbors. For Schroeder to win, he will need 100% unity in South Buffalo and I don't believe he has it. Personally, I wouldn't vote for any South Buffalo politician in 2017. They say all sorts of things when campaigning and then once elected, help themselves, their families, and close friends. It's like a broken record. You can set your watch to them. Until one comes along and expands the tent, outsiders will continue to win. The South Buffalo political clique is a very small, shortsighted group. They are greatly outnumbered by the rest of us. They are NOT your neighbors and the average resident with the ability to think for himself/herself is onto them. The gig is up.

I welcome your comments. Please attach your name to them however and keep them civil. Please keep in mind, I know South Buffalo's working poor because I am one. And unless you are too, you have no right to speak for us. If you feel Mark Schroeder can serve the working poor better than Mayor Brown, please state your case and provide evidence.