I didn't just riff off Fox News, did I? Forgive me, it must be the eggnog.
Seriously, folks, it's that time of year when newspapers roll out their "top stories of the year" features and I've decided to be a copycat. I've been blogging since April and have written some 235 posts. Tell me in the poll below which ones you liked best. I'll keep the poll open through the first week in January.
Here are the nominations:
Tom Golisano in 2008 went from being simply a rich guy who owns a hockey team to a rich guy who wants to be a major political player (again). This fall I revealed that his Responsible New York, quarterbacked by Steve Pigeon, was neck-deep in the smear campaign against Sam Hoyt. When Responsible New York failed to make the necessary disclosures to the state Board of Elections, Pigeon did his Sergeant Schultz imitation.
My most-read post of the past year was the one in which I reported Buffalo police were suppressing key information from crime reports they release to the press. Unfortunately, I've had to write several subsequent variations of this post, as there are members of the police brass who missed the "public's right to know" class at the police academy.
This one may be my personal favorite: Village mayors rally against consolidation. Leading the charge was the mayor of Farnham, population 322, which couldn't possibly merge with the Town of Brant, population 1,906. Not with phony baloney jobs at stake. The post features guest appearances by Mel Brooks and Barney Fife.
Developers at the public trough go crazy when Governor Paterson proposes changes in the Empire Zone program. I respond with tales of waste and naming names of those exploiting subsidy programs to fatten their bottom lines. The post includes my favorite line as a blogger, answering Jordan Levy when he asks who in their right mind would invest in upstate without a government subsidy. "Maybe a capitalist, Comrade Levy."
Elsewhere on the subsidy-abuse front, how about this ditty on the Clarence IDA's use of tax breaks for an upscale grocery on the grounds the town didn't have a supermarket within its boundaries. Residents actually had to drive their BMWs to the other side of Transit Road to buy their arugula. Oh, the inhumanity!
State government gave me a lot to write about. At one point I wondered aloud when budget makers were going to get busy with layoffs to help close the deficit. The New York Post picked it up as an op-ed piece. I also did a series of posts on wasteful spending by the State Legislature, including its army of attorneys. You gotta love the last one, if for no other reason than the Three Stooges video.
Elsewhere on the free-spending front, I did math that showed most school districts were using a record increase in state education aid to boost their spending beyond the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, back at City Hall, budgeting practices have resulted in Buffalo's biggest structural deficit ever, despite Mayor Byron Brown's claims of fiscal responsibility. Albany isn't just a capital, it's a sugar daddy.
The poll is below. Remember, just one vote per reader. Check back Jan. 6 for final results.