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Right From the Reporter: Buffalo Billion

Jim Heaney and Charlotte Keith of Investigative Post have broken a number of unsettling stories of the Buffalo Billion program. Enough to persuade U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to launch a federal investigation into the awarding of contracts and for members of the city’s African-American community to demand more diversity in the hiring of construction workers at the SolarCity plant at Riverbend.

Heaney and Keith will discuss their reporting and provide other updates on the Buffalo Billion program at a talk Monday at 7 p.m. at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Avenue.

Their presentation will be followed with a speakers panel featuring James Allen, executive director of the Amherst Industrial Development Agency, and Charley Fisher III, president of BUILD Buffalo. The floor will then be opened to questions from the audience.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the door or online.

 

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Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • flexme

    Why does this site promote this group of amateurish faux journalists? To say the investigation was because of their reporting is as ludicrous as saying a 200 floor hotel is going up in Lafayette Square

  • OldFirstWard

    “Demand more diversity in the hiring of construction workers”
    While there are laborers hired by Ciminelli and other subcontractors, construction is a skilled trade operation.  You cannot create skilled iron workers, heavy equipment operators, riggers, surveyors, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, mechanical workers from a pool of unemployed or unskilled workers with the snap of a finger.  They are not building dog houses. Then again, people have to WANT to work. This also includes showing up every day for your scheduled shift. Most importantly candidates must be able to pass a drug screening test, with a clean driving record.
    Solar City demanded an aggressive build out schedule to get that plant built and on line by a specific date. This is not a training program but a job site.

  • saltecks

    OldFirstWard Tried to ike your comment at least 10 times but the upvote will not hold. ‘however likes take on other threads.

  • youwonderwhy

    flexme I agree.  At least I think I do.  The “New York Times”http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/28/nyregion/us-investigating-contract-awards-in-buffalo-turnaround-project.html?_r=0 published a story on Sep. 28th.  The “Investigative Post” story followed two days later, as far as I can tell. The article in the “New York Times” hinted that the subpoenas went to the State University of New York as well as to Empire Development to see why the contracts were awarded to Ciminelli.   Two days later, the “Investigative Post” focused on the hiring of minorities at “Solar City.”   “Buffalo Rising” is a blog.  It does a great job with what it has, but as you say, it leaves a lot to be desired compared to journalists.  Sometimes it gets confused.

  • Captain Picard

    OldFirstWard
    Drug tests are primarily designed to detect marijuana, which is less toxic than table salt. If half the 50 governments in our so-called “united states” have legalized it for medicine, and more every day are allowing it for recreation, then folks should be allowed to work even if they enjoy it when not working.

  • Captain Picard

    flexme
    As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. BRO journalists are mostly volunteers from my understanding.

  • Northbuff

    Captain Picard OldFirstWard Table salt is probable less toxic than sugar which has never had an FDA recommended daily allowance listing like sodium (FYI, most Americans would blow their daily sugar RDA at breakfast and the industry knows it which is why they pays politicians to keep it off the back of your cereal boxes).

  • Northbuff

    OldFirstWard You forgot passing a credit check as well but is so much easier to use the racist/segregation argument by some groups instead of the truth.

  • Northbuff

    OldFirstWard You forgot passing a credit check as well but is so much easier to use the racist/segregation argument by some groups instead of the truth.

  • robins36

    Drug tests also unfairly target working class / low income folks, whereas white collar office workers often do not have to take them and can enjoy indulging recreationally. If office workers were regularly drug tested probably a quarter would fail.

  • smills

    Except that tons of people in our modern society can’t function more than an hour (if that) without taking a hit. These are not the people I want using machinery and power tools around me.
    I worked a year in non-unionized construction a couple years ago. Absolutely terrifying.

  • No_Illusions

    Marijuana isnt addicting.
    It’s not Nicotine, which is legal.
    Also, alcoholics can easily pass drug tests.

  • foreverbflo

    OldFirstWard
    OFW – well said and appropriate! Applaud! This is not a comment in support of racism – rather REALISM and REALITY. Onward! ! Color or race should not matter – only preparedness for progress and professionalism = SUSTAINABILITY. 
    Period!

  • foreverbflo

    Captain Picard OldFirstWard
    Well said. Funny: the average worker needs to test for mary-jane…. but congress can go and have a 2-3 martini lunch at the expense of the taxpayer and then go vote on a $800 billion defense budget or bombing some puny nation in Africa in the interest of national security. Sure, it may be necessary at times, but the image congress portrays is horrendous while simultaneously judging the average Joe. Odd.

  • solonggone

    robins36
    Drug tests are unevenly put in front of different jobs.  Whether this is fair or not, is up for debate.  
    Drug tests are there for multiple reasons.  A major one is insurance, which is much more expensive on a construction site compared to an office.  
    If someone is high while doing excel pivot tables…it does not create the same amount of danger as someone being high walking a steel beam 30 feet in the air or driving a fork lift.  
    Beyond this, who cares if it’s fair or not.  It’s the rules right now and being able to follow the rules is a quality of employment.  

    First, debating the degrees of something against the law is stupid to begin with.  I am for the legalization of marijuana but even when legal it would still be against the rules on a job site.  I think the drinking age should be 18 but that does not mean a kid shouldn’t get a ticket if they are at a bar when they are under age.   
    Second, it’s a part of the game.  If you can’t put down the joint to work on a construction site…find another job.   If you want to take the risk of losing your employment to puff…that’s on you.

  • solonggone

    No_Illusions
    While Marijuana is not addicting, it does hinder your abilities…which is important on a job site.  Smoking or nicotine does not.  Alcoholics, while being able to pass a test, pose a similar RISK if they are drunk at work.  
    Beyond that, pointing out that weed is not addicting makes an even better argument for these people not getting jobs.  It would be one thing if you had an addiction but if marijuana is so easy to put down…there is simply no excuse outside of stupidity and disregard for rules to fail a drug test.
    I am all in favor of making marijuana legal.  But even when it is, as that’s just an eventuality, the rules should still apply for not being f*cking high when you operate heavy machinery  or when you could put someone else in danger with your actions and ability to focus.

  • grovercleveland

    flexme Jim Heaney has 35 years of experience in journalism, including like 25 with the Buffalo News. Nice try

  • Northbuff

    Captain Picard flexme Of course their volunteers, who could afford to pay for the amazing wealth of invaluable information the community receives from all the armchair architects, engineers, designers and crackpots available right here on BR.

  • flexme

    grovercleveland flexme And yet he has to beg for $10 admissions on this site to make ends meet because no one will pay him for his vast experience. Every report of his that I have been subjected to on Ch 2 comes across as very biased and unprofessional both in delivery and in content.

  • G Orty

    solonggone robins36 “If someone is high while doing excel pivot tables…it does not create the same amount of danger as someone being high walking a steel beam 30 feet in the air or driving a fork lift.  ”
    Tell that to your structural engineers…

  • grovercleveland

    flexme grovercleveland which family member/friend of yours works for ESDC/LP Cimminelli/Local Democrat Politician taking credit for Buffalo Billion?

  • flexme

    grovercleveland flexme No one in my family works for any governement or developer. Just a citizen that can see through the BS that is tried to be passed off as news. News by definition is suppose to be unbiased. If biased like Henny’s crap then it should be labeled as commentary.

  • solonggone

    G Orty robins36
    1 – That’s why I said pivot tables.
    2 – Structural Engineers have a stamp and are considered a level above a typical ‘office worker’.  They are more like doctors with the responsibilities of said stamp.  
    The original comment was talking about how unfair it is for people to be tested when they work in industries like construction compared to an office.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    Captain Picard flexme flexme was referring to Investigative Post journalists.  Thinking that “this group of amateurish faux journalists” would refer to…BR writers themselves is to assume that flexme’s question was “Why isn’t BR completely self-loathing?”

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    Northbuff Captain Picard flexme commenters on this site > commenters on 99.9% of Internet sites.

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    Northbuff Captain Picard flexme (whether that says more about this site or about the rest of the Internet is for you to determine)

  • Matt Marcinkiewicz

    smills Can you elaborate a little on the nature of the terror?

  • flexme

    Matt Marcinkiewicz Captain Picard flexme correct I was indeed referring to the Heneey’s group not Buffalo Rising. I do not think Buffal Rising holds itself out to being anything more than what it is – a community blog and information site.

  • NYC5475

    flexme grovercleveland It seems to me that IP is aimed to the same crowd who listen to WBEN. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from my comment.

  • buffaloyay

    flexme Heaney is pretty distinguished… he was once up for a Pulitzer as a finalist

  • Seeing eye to eye in this aspect will not be easy. It will take a lot of persuasion. 

    http://bit.ly/1MQSbo2