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Last Friday, Citizens for a Better Buffalo, the coalition challenging the legality of the Seneca Buffalo Casino, filed papers in federal Judge William Skretny’s court requesting that the US Department of the Interior be compelled to hand over emails and other documents that would shed light on the role played by Edith Blackwell in justifying the department’s approval of the casino. Blackwell, a former deputy solicitor general for the Interior Department, is married to Michael Rossetti, an attorney with the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which represented the Senecas. Citizens for a Better Buffalo content that Blackwell played a major role in greasing the skids for approval of the Seneca Buffalo casino, and that he relationship with Rossetti “tainted the approval process.”

• A new Republican face appeared this week at the Erie County Board of Elections: Grant Loomis, whose last government gig was communications chief for former Erie County Executive Chris Collins. He joins Michael Mallia, the young Republican operative whose escapades with a video camera and independent candidate Jack Davis did great harm to the campaign of his boss, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, during the special election for the 26th Congressional District seat last spring.

Two interesting talks this week at Occupy Buffalo’s Niagara Square encampment: On Saturday, January 7 at 4pm, Heron Simmonds-Price presents “Plato’s Ideal of Justice as Self-Mastery and His Critiques of Oligarchy, Democracy, and Tyranny.” On Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30pm, Daniel Ash presents “Farmers and Builders Opt Out.” Simmonds-Price teaches philosophy at Canisius College. Ash is an urban farming advocate. Both talks are part of a series Occupy Buffalo calls the Justice Dialogues. They take place outside in good weather, and in the geodesic dome if the weather is lousy.

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