For some of us who do not pay attention to professional sports teams and seasons, politics has become our spectator competition of choice. I have been following our state, county, and city political scenes for about ten years now, and the truth is, as long as you don’t get too emotionally involved, it’s highly entertaining. As I write this in early March, it looks like we are very close to losing our second governor in the space of two years. (Spitzer stepped down in March, ’08.) Even if we don’t, it looks like we can count on continued—even enhanced—dysfunctional hi-jinks from Albany in 2010.

On the county and city level, there have been scandals, power grabs, and dramatic posturing aplenty. I particularly enjoy the squabbles that go on among the council members and the county legislators. And if you have the patience, it’s just as much fun to watch how committee members are moved about and replaced like pawns on a chessboard—which is really the best description of them. The stage of local politics is often one where an elected official need not worry about dignity or sounding ministerial. If you’ve ever visited a common council meeting—and I highly recommend it at least once—you’ll see what I mean. It is entertainment, of a sort, and if you judge it on that level, you won’t be nearly so upset or disappointed.

Cynicism about politics is an art form in itself. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

John Kenneth Gailbraith: “Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.”

Will Rogers: “A fool and his money are soon elected.”

Ronald Reagan: “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

This issue of Spree is probably as close to a political issue as we’ll ever get—and that’s not very close—but as you read it, keep in mind that our faith in WNY as a beautiful region with an impressive quality of life will never be shaken by anything that happens on the political stage. And neither should yours be.



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