The source? Well Ms. Kavanaugh is quoted quite extensively in the article, as is State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, but ultimately the article is an exercise in heavily editorialized analysis; the stuff usually reserved for editorials, op-eds and commentary columns. Mr. Hoyt’s observation that, “I don’t know if Al is out there working or just there to take votes to help another candidate,” is paired with Ms. Kavanaugh’s complaint that “SanFilippo and Coppola are in this race to take votes away from me,” to reach the manufactured conclusion that back room deals were made to aid the SanFilippo campaign.

No evidence is offered to support this accusation outside of the amount of money raised by each campaign; a spurious barometer at best, and one that is further weakened by the fact that Ms. Kavanaugh has tens of thousands more dollars than the other three candidates. To question the other candidates because they can’t raise gobs of money is an odd attack upon the political process itself, especially considering the Buffalo News’ support of campaign finance measures.

A telephone conversation with Brian Meyer revealed that his involvement with the piece in question was limited to conversations with Mr. Pitts and Mr. Coppola. Mr. Meyer said that he was unaware of the News’ editorial board’s decision to endorse Ms. Kavanaugh until after he filed his story and that the other writer, Mr. Lakamp, did most of the legwork and writing for the story.

When Mr. Lakamp was reached by telephone he refused to comment and directed Alt to speak with Buffalo News City Editor Stan Evans. As of filing this story Mr. Evans has not responded to Alt’s query about the ethics of running commentary as news when there are real scandals out there to report on.

Meanwhile, veteran News’ political reporter Robert McCarthy wrote about a Labor Day parade in Clarence that featured both County Executive candidates. Buried in the piece is a statement by Democratic County Executive contender Dan Ward referring to the unfolding scandal within the County Highway Department. Unfortunately Mr. Ward is paraphrased in the piece and the word scandal is placed in scare quotes- a tactic used to distance the writer from responsibility for the word(s) in the quotes and, in this case, to demean the scandal concept itself.

And it looks like the payroll irregularities and missing equipment from Salt Road Garage is just the tip of the iceberg in the Erie County Highway Department. According to some Aurora residents, lumber from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stored at the County Forestry Barn has made its way to the Giambra sign committee just in time for a new batch of campaign lawn signs.

And we won’t even bother to ask why the Buffalo News has no interest in investigating the Giambra administration’s illegal and unethical handling of the proceeds from the tobacco settlement.

Meanwhile Buffalo is in dire financial straits, the Buffalo Public Schools will discontinue kindergarten instruction next year and Mr. Giambra continues his obstinate stonewalling while making dire predictions that county property taxes will have to go up by over 50% if the county has to share more sales tax revenue with the city. By Brendan Coyne

The day after our local daily paper officially endorsed Barbra Kavanaugh for City Comptroller a story ran on the front page of the Buffalo News City and Region section that alleged collusion in the four-way Democratic Comptroller primary race. The article, by Patrick Lakamp and Brian Meyer, claims that the crowded field of comptroller candidates, which includes Common Council President James Pitts, former Councilman Al Coppola and current City Comptroller Andy SanFilippo, is part of some purposeful design to give Mr. SanFilippo the chance to have a “one-on-one face-off with Pitts in the November election.”