Thursday, June 30, 2005

WNY Coalition to Issue Bass Pro Report Tuesday July 5 at 5:30 PM

The WNY Coalition for Progress will issue its report and recommendations on the proposed Bass Pro Project next Tuesday July 5, 2005 at 5:30 pm at the corner of Main and Hanover Streets behind the old Memorial Auditorium.

This will be a comprehensive review of the project. We hope you all will come to the press conference as we issue our report.

The report reviews all aspects of the proposed project, its possible impact on downtown Buffalo, and will contain certain recommendations.

WHO: Western New York Coalition for Progress

WHAT: Issuance of a Report on the proposed Bass Pro/Memorial Auditorium Rehabilitation Project

WHEN: Tuesday, July 5, 2005, 5:30 PM

WHERE: Corner of Hanover and Main Streets across the street from the Memorial Auditorium.


Check Out the Coalition's Website here: http://www.wnyprogress.org

Check Out the Coalition's Forum Here: http://www.wnyprogress.org/phpbb/

Monday, June 27, 2005

US Supreme Court - Can't Display Framed Ten Commandments in Courtrooms but OK on other Government Property

June 27, 2005
Commandments Barred at Courts but Not on Government Land

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government land, but drew the line on displays inside courthouses, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of church and state.

Sending dual signals in closely-watched cases, the high court said displays of the Ten Commandments -- like their own courtroom frieze -- are not inherently unconstitutional. But each exhibit demands scrutiny to determine whether it goes too far in amounting to a governmental promtion of religion, the court said in a case involving Kentucky courthouse exhibits.

In that 5-4 ruling and another ruling, involving the positioning of a 6-foot granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas capitol, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the swing vote. The second ruling, likewise, was 5-4.

In a stinging dissent to the ruling involving Kentucky's courthouse exhibits, Justice Antonin Scalia declared: "What distinguishes the rule of law from the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority is the absolutely indispensable requirement that judicial opinions be grounded in consistently applied principle."

The justices voting on the prevailing side in the Kentucky case left themselves legal wiggle room, saying that some displays inside courthouses -- like their own courtroom frieze -- would be permissible if they're portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history.

But framed copies in two Kentucky courthouses went too far in endorsing religion, the court held. Those courthouse displays are unconstitutional, the justices said, because their religious content is overemphasized.

In contrast, a 6-foot-granite monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol -- one of 17 historical displays on the 22-acre lot -- was determined to be a legitimate tribute to the nation's legal and religious history.

"Of course, the Ten Commandments are religious -- they were so viewed at their inception and so remain. The monument therefore has religious significance," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the majority in the case involving the display outside the state capitol of Texas.

"Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment clause," he said.

**********************************************************************
Mark's comment,
Looks like more cases will come down the pipeline after these decisions. This will surely be used as a wedge issue by those on the right in next year's congressional election and probably the 2008 presidential election, even though 2 of the justices who voted with the majority on the courthouse ban, O'Connor and Souter, were appointed by Republicans.

Omaha World-Herald - Hagel sounds alarm over Iraq.

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_pg=1638&u_sid=1445550

Hagel sounds alarm over Iraq

BY JAKE THOMPSON
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Published Sunday, June 26, 2005

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - More than 200 Nebraska American Legion members, who have seen war and conflict themselves, fell quiet here Saturday as Sen. Chuck Hagel bluntly explained why he believes that the United States is losing the war in Iraq.

It took 20 minutes, but it boiled down to this:

The Bush team sent in too few troops to fight the war leading to today's chaos and rising deaths of Americans and Iraqis.

Terrorists are "pouring in" to Iraq.

Basic living standards are worse than a year ago in Iraq. Civil war is perilously close to erupting there. Allies aren't helping much.

The American public is losing its trust in President Bush's handling of the conflict.

And Hagel's deep fear is that it will all plunge into another Vietnam debacle, prompting Congress to force another abrupt pullout as it did in 1975.

"What we don't want to happen is for this to end up another Vietnam," Hagel told the legionnaires, "because the consequences would be catastrophic." It would be far worse than Vietnam, says Hagel, a twice-wounded veteran of that conflict, which killed 58,000 Americans.

Failure in Iraq could lead to many more American deaths, disrupt U.S. oil supplies, damage the Middle East peace effort, spread terrorism and harm America's stature worldwide, Hagel said.

That's what keeps him on edge these days. That's why he is again the most outspoken Republican in Congress about Iraq. His view that America is losing in Iraq, which first aired in a newsmagazine last week, prompted rebukes from conservatives such as talk show host Rush Limbaugh, concerns from others in his party and praise from anti-war advocates on the Internet.

But Saturday, he was unrepentant. "The point is, we're going to have to make some changes or we will lose, we will lose in Iraq," he told the legionnaires. At the same time, he said, he wants President Bush to win, and he believes that the United States cannot pull out anytime soon.

The legionnaires gave him a standing ovation at the end of his speech. Carl Marks of Omaha, a Korean War veteran, said: "It sounds like he's conflicted . . . like a lot of us." Bennie Navratil of Hallam, Neb., whose son left last week for military duty in Afghanistan, said, "I feel he said the right thing: that we can't pull out and something's got to change."

Aboard a plane back to Omaha, Hagel was asked whether he thought Bush was aware that adjustments might be needed in his Iraq policy. "I don't know," Hagel said. The whole Iraqi situation makes him sick to his stomach, he said. "It has tormented me, torn me more than any one thing," he said with a grim look on his face. "To see what these guys in Iraq are having to go through and knowing what I know here: that we didn't prepare for it, we didn't understand what we were getting into. And to put those guys in those positions, it makes me so angry."

He lays part of the blame on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who argued before the war that he needed only 150,000 American troops in Iraq. That caused more casualties than were needed, Hagel said. "We still don't have enough troops," he said. "We should have had double or triple the number."

It has led to a bleak situation, Hagel said: Insurgent attacks are more frequent than a year ago. Bombs used by insurgents are growing more deadly, piercing America's best protective clothing and equipment. Oil production is down. Electricity is less available than a year ago. Economic development is lagging. Ninety percent of the humanitarian and economic aid pledged by 60 nations hasn't reached Iraq because of the continuing violence. Only one Middle Eastern country has an ambassador in Iraq.

Bush has said America is fighting in Iraq with a "coalition of the willing," allies who have committed a relatively small number of troops and aid.

Hagel scoffed at that idea. "It's a joke to say there's a coalition of the willing," he said, adding that many are pulling out and the United States is fronting the bills for those who remain.

Meanwhile, U.S. troops are under severe strain. Troops are stationed in more than 100 countries, and their rapid tempo of deployments with little time off leaves them fatigued and in danger of making mistakes.

"We are destroying the finest military in the history of mankind, and the (National) Guard, too," he said. "We're stretching our Army to the breaking point."

Public pronouncements from the Bush administration also have gotten under Hagel's skin. Vice President Dick Cheney's recent comments that the insurgents in Iraq are in "the last throes" echo a refrain of the Vietnam era, he said. Back then, officials saw "the light at the end of the tunnel" in Vietnam, Hagel said.

Toting up all those points, he said, leads him to conclude that the United States is losing in Iraq. "That doesn't mean we have to lose," he said.

In his speech and in an interview, Hagel offered some ideas that he thinks could help in Iraq:

U.S. troops and others could work harder to train local militias in small Iraqi towns to help identify and take on insurgents. Allies who don't want to enter Iraq could help patrol its borders, blocking terrorists from entering the war-torn country. The training of Iraq's military and military police should be accelerated immediately.

Middle Eastern nations should become more engaged, he said, but it doesn't help when administration officials criticize Egypt and Saudi Arabia for not moving quickly enough toward democratic practices.

Hagel said he shaped his views after many talks recently with senior U.S. military officials; foreign policy experts; Brent Scowcroft, who was the first President Bush's national security adviser; and others. He plans to share his views with the current president and his team and says he feels an urgency he hopes they will share.

The United States has only about six more months to begin to turn things around in Iraq, he said. "I believe that there can be a good outcome in Iraq," he said.

"I also believe there could be a very bad outcome for Iraq. I believe we have a very limited time for that good outcome."

Friday, June 24, 2005

SUNDAY - RALLY FOR NIAGARA FALLS AIR BASE & MONDAY LINE THE STREETS IN SUPPORT OF THE AIR BASE

Rally For Niagara Falls Air Force Base

Date: Sunday, June 26th

Time: 2 pm

Place: Dunn Tire Park, Downtown Buffalo

Directions: Click Here

How To Get Tickets:
First Niagara Bank and The New York Power Authority are teaming up with NIMAC to provide anyone who signs at least 5 letters to the BRAC Commission with tickets to the game. Letters are available at all First Niagara Branches in Western NY and at the Power Authority. Letters can also be printed from our website and taken to these locations.

After enjoying the baseball game, we will rally together at the park with Larry Norton from 97 Rock and a few local and national celebrities! NIMAC T-shirts will be available at the Rally. Feel free to bring homemade signs showing your support for our Air Base!

Monday June 27th: Line the Streets: NIMAC Needs Everyone's Help

NIMAC wants to show the BRAC Commission how much this community cares about our Air Base, so we plan to line the streets of the route the BRAC Commission will take once they arrive in Western NY and travel to the Air Base for the site visit Monday. They will be driven North on the 190, exiting at the Porter/Packard Rd. exit. They will turn right and continue down Packard Rd. and Lockport Rd. until they reach the Lockport Rd. entrance of the base.

At 7:15AM we need people to stand anywhere they chose along Packard and Lockport Rds. from Military Rd. to the base entrance. We have planned for local volunteer firemen to line the NORTH side of Lockport Rd. with their Equipment and we need all of you to line the SOUTH side of the street with home-made signs of POSITIVE SUPPORT. We will notify all the residents our plans.

Later that morning, at 11am, we plan to assemble outside of the Center for the Arts on the North/Amherst Campus of the University of Buffalo. The BRAC Commission will hold their regional hearings inside from 1pm to 5pm. Click here for directions to the University of Buffalo’s Amherst Campus.

View Campus Map for location of the UB Center for the Arts.

Remember, the BRAC Commission did not put Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on the list, but they sure can take us off!!!


Important Meeting on Future of Social Security

Saturday June 25th, 11:00 AM

Congressmen Higgins, With Special Guest Congressman Charles Rangel to Host Social Security Town Hall Meeting; President of National Committee to Preserve Social Security Will Join








Cheektowaga, NY—National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare President & CEO Barbara Kennelly will join Congressman Brian Higgins (NY – 27) and Congressman Charles B. Rangel (NY – 15) at a public town hall meeting on the future of the United States Social Security System. Residents are welcome to join the Congressmen at 11:00am on Saturday, June 25th at the Cheektowaga Senior Citizens Center at 3349 Broadway. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear the Congressmen’s views, ask questions and provide their opinions on the issue of Social Security.

WHO: Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27)
Congressman Charles Rangel (NY-15)
Barbara Kennelly, Former Member of Congress &
Current President & CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare

WHAT: Social Security Town Hall Meeting

WHEN: Saturday, June 25, 2005, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

WHERE: Cheektowaga Senior Citizens Center
3349 Broadway
Cheektowaga, NY

Congressman Charles B. Rangel is serving his seventeenth term as the Representative from New York’s 15th Congressional District, comprising East and Central Harlem, the Upper West Side, and Washington Heights/Inwood. Congressman Rangel is the Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means, Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Dean of the New York State Congressional Delegation.

Barbara Bailey Kennelly, President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, served nine terms as a member of Congress representing the State of Connecticut. The Committee, founded in 1982, advocates for Social Security & Medicare programs and the goal of providing Americans a healthy, productive and secure retirement.

“The future of Social Security impacts the lives of all Americans and is a particularly important issue to the hard-working people of Western New York,” said Congressman Higgins. “It is an honor to have Congressman Rangel and former Congressmember Kennelly visit our area to hear the concerns of local residents.”


-30-


Next WNY Progress Report Tuesday 6/28 With Jack Davis

The next edition of the WNY Progress Report will feature as the guest Jack Davis, the founder of Save American Jobs Association. This show will be very timely following a Chinese state sponsored oil company's unsolicited takeover bid of the American oil company Unocal Corp. announced yesterday. Today the Washington Post did a cover story on the takeover bid and Washington's reaction.

So read up on the issue,
listen to WHLD AM -1270 next Tuesday from 4:00 - 5:00 pm,
and call Jack Davis with your questions at 855-6848

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/23/AR2005062302065.html

China's Oil Bid Riles Congress
Attempt to Take Over U.S. Firm Spurs Calls for Retaliation
By Jonathan Weisman and Peter S. Goodman

Washington Post Staff WritersFriday, June 24, 2005; A01

Political fears of China's economic might intensified yesterday following China's unsolicited bid to take over a U.S. oil company, with lawmakers from both political parties warning that Congress will take retaliatory action against Chinese trade practices if the Bush administration fails to respond.

Under a barrage of questions, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary John W. Snow warned the Senate Finance Committee against punitive legislation that could trigger a trade war and ultimately harm the U.S. economy. "Resorting to isolationist trade policies would be ineffective, disruptive to markets and damaging to America's special role as the world's leading advocate for open markets," Snow said.

But the $18.5 billion bid Wednesday by China's third-largest oil producer to buy California-based Unocal Corp. put such sentiments on weaker ground. Already, lawmakers from both parties had stockpiled bills to punish China, and President Bush's ongoing effort to ratify the Central American Free Trade Agreement had stirred up political forces against further trade liberalization. Lingering discontents about the economy had politicians looking for a new outlet to voice their concerns. The bid by a state-run Chinese oil company to swallow a U.S. competitor "threw gas on the fire," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who has coauthored legislation that would impose a 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese imports unless China allows its currency to rise in value.

"Fighting back is not protectionism," Graham told Greenspan and Snow. "No more saber-rattling. We want results."

To read the rest of the story please click HERE!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Karl Rove says you're a traitor

The politics of hatred in our own New York.

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.

I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble."

Mr. Rove also said American armed forces overseas were in more jeopardy as a result of remarks last week by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who compared American mistreatment of detainees to the acts of "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others."

"Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."


Senator Schumer properly said: "In New York, where everyone unified after 9/11, the last thing we need is somebody who seeks to divide us for political purposes."

Gadflyer says Schumer should have used stronger language:

"Karl Rove's comments are even more despicable than what we've come to expect from Republicans. There is no depth to which they will not sink, no tragedy they will not exploit for political gain. The next time Mr. Rove wants to come to New York to lecture us about what September 11 means, he'd better hope this New Yorker isn't in the room."


Also: the point has properly been made that Durbin didn't compare what happened at Gitmo to nazis, Pol Pot, or gulags. He read something by the FBI and made a perfectly valid point: that if he hadn't told you that it described American actions, you would have thought that it described the actions of some totalitarian dictatorship. And you know what? He's right.

Leave it to Karl Rove to use 9/11 to divide New Yorkers on their own turf.

Honestly, I just edited a string of expletives before posting. I do very much hope he's not in the same state as I anymore.

Express your opinion on the matter:

CPNYS State Headquarters
Michael R. Long, Chairman
Conservative Party of New York State
486 78th St., Brooklyn, NY 11209
Voice: 718-921-2158 FAX: 718-921-5168

Albany Office
Shaun Marie Levine, Executive Director
Conservative Party of New York State
325 Parkview Drive, Schenectady, NY 12303
Voice: 518-356-7882 FAX: 518-356-3773

info@cpnys.org

Also: if you're in Reynold's district, as I am, ask him if he shares Karl Rove's opinion about his own liberal constituents. Does Tom Reynolds also believe that the liberals living in the 26th want troops to die?

http://www.house.gov/writerep/

500 Essjay Road, Suite 260
Williamsville, NY 14221
(716) 634-2324

1577 West Ridge Road
Rochester, NY 14615
(585) 663-5570


Washington, D.C. Office
332 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5265

DNC Issues Report on Ohio 2004 Vote

New York Times
June 23, 2005

In Ohio Vote, Woes, Yes, Fraud, No

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/23/politics/23voting.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1119542454-h+FJ1snmZ4KaaEPJb5Ar3Q

By JAMES DAO

WASHINGTON, June 22 - A five-month study for the Democratic National Committee found that more than one in four Ohio voters experienced problems at the polls last fall, , but the study did not find evidence of widespread election fraud that might have contributed to President Bush's narrow victory there.

The detailed report, released Wednesday, said that disproportionately high numbers of blacks and young people had complained about long lines, intimidation and malfunctioning machines. But Democratic officials said they could not conclude that Mr. Bush's Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, would have won in Ohio even if voting had gone smoothly.

"The purpose of this study was not to challenge the results of the election," Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told reporters at the party's headquarters in Washington. But Dr. Dean said the volume of problems reported by blacks and young people suggested that Republicans had tried to suppress the vote in heavily Democratic districts.

The report called on state legislatures to enact rules that would improve voting; for example, by issuing clear standards for allocating voting machines, replacing punch-card and other voting machines with so-called precinct-tabulated optical scan systems and adopting more lenient standards for absentee voting.

"This is bad for America," Dr. Dean said. "We need to repair and restructure the way we conduct elections in America." Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, called the report "pure political fiction," asserting that Democratic groups did more to subvert voting last year by submitting false voter registrations in Ohio. "Republicans will continue to register and inspire new voters, make it easier for everyone to vote at the polls and protect everyone's franchise from being canceled out by illegal or fraudulent registration," Mr. Mehlman said in a statement.

The Democratic investigation was conducted by pollsters, political scientists and voting-machine experts led by Donna L. Brazile, head of the party's Voting Rights Institute. It was based on a survey of 1,201 randomly selected Ohioans and a precinct-by-precinct analysis of registration data, turnout and results.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

TONIGHT - Media Group Meeting 6-23-05 @ 7:00 PM

Tonight's the night for the next
WNY Coalition for Progress'
Media & Communications Working Group Meeting

June 23, 2005 at 7:00 pm at

Katie and Kevin Burd's house
292 Knowlton Ave
Kenmore, New York 14217

For more info please e-mail Cliff Parks at cparks1138@msn.com

Friday, June 17, 2005

Can Having Too Many Civic Groups Be Bad?

As many know I am running for Erie County Comptroller. As part of the campaign I have been attending MANY events throughout Erie County. At one recent event I got into a conversation with someone affiliated with a local civic group working towards a better community, similar to the goals of the WNY Coalition for Progress. What should have been a good conversation on having so many people involved in the community became an accusation that this group, alongwith the other newer groups, are actually hurting the efforts to revitalize this community by spreading the activist community too thin or working on too many projects.

The person I was speaking to happened to be a member of an organization that has been around for a few years, and he/she seemed to think that everything "progressive" or geared toward making our community a better place should be done through his/hers group. I was of a different opinion, stating that every effort will help the cause, especially when some groups seem to have a narrow focus. I don't want to reveal the organization because I don't want the opinion of one member to be taken as that group's view, which I do not think it is.

While I agree that a group's effort can get lost among the crowd when it is very crowded, I don't think we have reached that stage yet in Buffalo & WNY. One of the major goals of this organization is just not making Buffalo a better place, but all of WNY. That is because what happens in Buffalo and Erie County affects all of WNY, and vice versa. This point is something that the person I had my discussion with did not really get.

For example, a plant closing in Lockport by Delphi would have huge repercussions for all of WNY, not just Niagara County, just as the Erie County budget crisis impacts those not living or working in Erie County.

I guess the moral of this post is that if these groups work together under a common theme, even if the efforts are spread throughout the area, much can be accomplished. However, if a multitude of groups are created and end up duplicating efforts then we are wasting the resources of those few who really seem to care about this area.

This group is active and about to release a major substantive review of a proposed urban project. Keep an eye out for this important report - an example of what just one group can do.

To find out more about the WNY Coalition for Progress please check out our website and forum:

Website: http://www.wnyprogress.org
Forum: http://wnyprogress.org/phpbb/

Monday, June 13, 2005

Reminder - Meeting Tonight & Next WNY Progress Report Tomorrow

CoPro Events Reminder:

TOMORROW, June 14, 4:00 - 5:00 PM:
WNY Progress Report
w/hosts Cliff Parks & Kevin Burd
w/special guest Joe Schmidbauer from Alt Press
Tues. June 14th, 4-5 pm
WHLD, 1270 AM
Please Call in: 855-6848 or 855-6862

TONIGHT, June 13, 7:00 PM
General WNY Coalition for Progress Meeting
Mon. June 13, 7:00 pm
Eggertsville/Snyder Library
622 Main StreetSnyder, NY 14226

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hevesi Report on Erie County

Here is a brief snippet of NYS Comptroller Alan Hevesi's Report on Erie County's fiscal status:

CONTACT: Press Office (518) 474-4015
FOR RELEASE: Immediately June 6, 2005

Erie Budget Gap is $118.4 Million for 2005, Rises to $279 Million in 2010

Cause of Erie's Budget Crisis— IT Cut Taxes, Then Increased Spending and Used One-Shots to Close the Gaps

Comptroller Calls for Erie County Control Board


Erie County faces a 2005 budget gap of $118.4 million and projected gaps in future years that grow from $131 million in 2006 to $279 million in 2010 and as a result is running out of cash to pay its bills, according to a report on the County budget issued today by New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.

“Erie County is facing a fiscal crisis, a cash crisis and a crisis of confidence. The ongoing strategy of cutting taxes without cutting spending and using gimmicks to cover up the deficits set the stage for this fiscal crisis years ago. I am recommending that the Governor and Legislature establish a control board to force Erie County to solve its financial problems. The people of Erie County deserve no less,” Hevesi said.

The review of Erie County’s finances found....


To Read the Complete Report Please click here:
http://wnyprogress.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=48

Next General Membership Meeting Monday June 13th!

The Next General Membership Meeting of the
WNY Coalition for Progress
will be held on

Monday June 13, 2005 @ 7:00 pm


Eggertsville/Snyder Library
4622 Main Street
Snyder, NY 14226

This will be an important meeting as we discuss future projects for the Coalition. All members are requested to attend if possible.

Mark Poloncarz, President

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Greetings from Honduras on CAFTA

This came to us on our forum from Honduras where Elise Garvey, the WNY Coalition for Progress' Foreign Affairs & Global economic Affairs Working Group Chair, is volunteering for the summer. If you ever wonder if our members participate in our community, here is one participating in the world community!

Greetings from Honduras! I am on a much needed break on the island of Roatan after spending a week working in a small base community in the Baja Lempa in El Salvador called Nueva Esperanza. Let me tell you what an amazing group of people they are. The people who started this community built it from the ground up, literally, after suffering through a twelve year civil war that killed tens of thousands of people in El Salvador and displaced hundreds of thousands more (which the US government provided support to the Salvadoran government to continue by the way). They were given no support from the government, just the land, but now have a school system, clean water, a sanitary system, health care, etc.

One of the ways they provide a small amount of income to the community is through growing crops like coconuts, sugar, etc. When we were given a tour of the cooperative, Don Pilar (you can read his story in Like Gold in the Fire, along with stories from other members of the community) was explaining how CAFTA could wipe out their ability to grow these crops because of the way the agreement works. Markets are flooded and small farmers destroyed as we saw in Mexico with corn among other things.

To think that these people lived through civil war, the loss of family members, loved ones, and built a community without government aid and now face the loss of much needed income by the actions of the same government. I have run out of minutes at the internet cafe, but I will write again on this. I wasn't able to get all of my thoughts together.

Take care and please look further into this and write to your representatives. This could mean destruction to a lot of people. Faithfully,

Elise Garvey
Co-Chair Foreign Policy and Global Economic Affairs Working Group

Friday, June 03, 2005

WNY Coalition for Progress gets a plug

I got a call today that Bauerle was talking about the Bass Pro deal, and apparently he was on the Jim O "corporate welfare" bandwagon. (This is a repost off my BuffaloPundit weblog).

I called in as "Alan" (natch) and said that I think the Bass Pro deal is a great one for Erie County. I managed to give the screener about 5 reasons, but on the phone, I only got one out: that Bass Pro wouldn't be spending $57 million on a losing proposition.

Bauerle said that I was wrong, and that Jim O had told him that Bass Pro only commits to 22 million in the MOU. Well, Jim O's wrong. Two sentences control Bass Pro's outlay (section (B)(4)); the first one is written horribly, and seems to indicate that the $57 million includes the public money. But the next sentence clarifies that Bass Pro itself is going to pay $57 million. You have to read both sentences, and not take the first one out of context. That being said, I actualy spoke with a Bass Pro rep in early April, and he confirmed the $57 million figure for me, so that's that.

Next, I mentioned that I belong to a group that was analyzing the Bass Pro deal, and he asked me which one, and I plugged the WNY Coalition for Progress. He asked me who funded it. I was quite taken aback, (what the hell's the point of this inquiry?), and replied "just people - average citizens." Bauerle was quite intent on ferreting out whether we were a developer's group, or what. I replied that it's a progressive group, and he called it liberal-socialist. I replied that I'm a centrist - a former Republican who switched democrat, and that we have members from all political spectra. We have socialists and conservatives as members, we're non-profit and don't endorse candidates.

He said I was being defensive, and I replied that I was frankly surprised by these questions. I said he could read all about it at www.wnyprogress.org. Then I got cut off.

Then I turned on my radio, and heard that he'd love to have me and Ostrowski on at the same time.

I called back and asked for his producer, but only got the screener. I told the screener my name, the name of this blog, and told Tom I'd go on with him and Jim O any day, any time.

And look for the WNY Coalition for Progress to come out with a real analysis of the Bass Pro deal, and not a droll hit piece like Free Buffalo's.