Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Friday, November 04, 2011

I find that I have not been particularly critical of Erie County Executive Chris Collins in these pages, (although I was probably critical enough, in some sense). Please allow me to rectify this omission: Chris Collins has been exactly the sort of small-minded creep he promised to be when he ran for the job, and now that he has had four years to prove it only two sorts of people should consider voting for him. Those would be people who are, like Collins, so rich that they are completely disconnected from reality; or people, like Collins, who are narrow-minded bullies who believe that narrow-minded bullying is a valid philosophy of government.

Here are some highlights: Collins fought an expensive lawsuit against the Department of Justice over conditions in the Holding Center, then caved. This meant that outside counsel-- coincidentally, a firm that had paid big into his campaign-- got paid nicely, and that the resources of the County Attorney's office were expended in a pointless direction, all in a losing cause. Nobody wins a lawsuit like that, but Collins thought that defending the deplorable conditions in the jail was a better use of taxpayer money than fixing those conditions. Collins wants to close libraries, and defied the County Legislature on arts funding after dismantling a non-partisan arts funding mechanism which had worked effectively for years. The arts organizations he has deigned to fund are arts organizations that affluent white people like. I like the Albright-Knox and the Philharmonic too, but concentrating support for the arts in organizations like that is a pretty plain signal. He rode into office promising that Six Sigma principles would make county government more efficient and cost effective. Please let me know if you have notices any difference, because I have not. He has politicized everything he touches, and although I suppose that's pretty much par for the course it is strange to see it in action. It bears mentioning that when he makes an appointment he typically asks the legislature to pay his appointees more than the designated pay grade called for by county law. He has done this on the grounds that those appointees could be making more in the private sector, and that because of their expertise they are the persons best suited to run their agencies, notwithstanding the fact that these are among the people who advised him on, inter alia, the Holding Center lawsuit. He may not be as crude and sexist as Carl Paladino, but he is certainly crude and sexist. He has managed to run a surplus, but he has done this by closing clinics and day care centers, and other services. He favors cutting even more, but in a way that will push the costs of those services down to the towns and cities-- that's not cutting taxes, that's moving the tiles on the board, and doing so in a way that disproportionately favors affluent communities.

He's a bad guy, is what I'm saying. This Tuesday we have a chance to stand up to a bully, and I am looking forward to it, but not just because it is a chance to vote against someone so despicable. In his time as Comptroller Mark Poloncarz has demonstrated time and again that he is an honest, hard working guy who appears to be, in almost every respect, the anti-Collins. It will be a pleasure to vote for him.

| Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?