A sunny Sunday morning on the patio was spent looking out over Lake Erie, sipping a cup of coffee and listening to Buffalo mayoral candidate Mickey Kearns fire the first shot on Kevin Hardwickís radio show. Kearns hasnít made his run against Byron Brown official, but he certainly sounded every bit the candidate Sunday. Kearns attempted to use the red light cameras as an issue to come out on against Brown and if thatís the best heís got, heís sunk!
For those citizens out there who are unaware of the drill involved when a friend or foe appear on Hardwickís show, many if not all of the calls are planted. Kearns had his supporters call in and it certainly sounded like the Brown supporters were called to duty. In fact, Kearns was much more on the defensive that he would have liked.
One rather awkward moment was when WBEN part-time employee Larry Hunter called in to challenge Kearns on his facts about insurance rates going up where the cameras were installed. Strange to hear a talk show host weigh in on a political topic when he is not on the job.
From the sounds of it, the red light camera issue didnít resonate much with the listeners. Kearns was hoping to grab a Byron Brown project and use it against him, but it came across as much to do about nothing.
The program did continue something that has become in vogue and that is outing the salaries of public employees. One caller quoted what he claimed Peter Cutler and Mike DeGeorge made as city spokesmen. This practice reminds us a bit of the Salem witch hunts because those who are actually earning their pay are lumped in with those who are not. Plus, with so many non-professional, blue collar workers in this community, $80,000 sounds like a lot of money.
Take a ride down state or to any community where a metropolitan population over one million exists and you will find $80 grand will not buy you much. Still, the mood in this town is that the salaries of those who work for the government are all too high. We would agree with that point in some cases, but not all. Believe it or not, there are experienced public employees who earn every bit of their salary and often they are appointed, not elected.
Kevin Hardwick advertised that next Sunday he has Antione Thompson facing off against George Maziarz and that should be interesting. Maziarz has become the #1 voice of the opposition in western New York and Sunday will mark the first attempt by the Senate democrats to challenge him face to face.
We were at a function Saturday night and the buzz was that Maziarz has gotten the attention of the power brokers in Albany. Politicians in this state will forgive much from the opposition because there was always a sense that we are all in this together, but many feel Maziarz has become a hypocrite of major proportions.
Word is that Maziarzís past voting record and state appointments are being scrutinized by the majority. The question posed will be whether Maziarz can live up to the same smell test he has judged democrats by. Early returns say that he canít, more to come.
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