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Alan Bedenko a.k.a. Buffalo Pundit, Blogger

Attorney Alan Bedenko moved from Boston, Massachusetts to Clarence in the early aughts after discovering the cost of living and real estate here. He immediately began blogging about the pleasures and perils and especially the politics of his new home, and soon joined up with the guys at, who host his and a number of other local blogs. Bedenko displays a seemingly inexhaustible appetite for politics and debate, which is why BuffaloPundit is probably the most widely read blog of its kind in Western New York.

You ran for county legislator a couple years ago, somewhat quixotically. Why did you do it?

I did it because my incumbent legislator had been in office for a generation and had little to show for it. I thought I could bring a bit of fresh thinking there. I don’t think I’ll do it again because I realized during that process that I missed enjoying a summer with my family, and that’s time that you don’t ever get back. I might reconsider but only to run on as part of an “Abolish County Government” slate and platform.

Name three reasonably possible things that would make the city/region a better place.

1. A planning authority that covers the entire region, has a strong set of laws and regulations, and has teeth to enforce them.

2. Consolidation of redundant political and quasi-political entities (governments, authorities, water boards, purchasing departments, etc.): WNY is shrinking. Some common-sense pooling of resources across political boundaries makes sense and ought to be do-able.

3. Professional management: The deputy county executive should be a qualified professional county manager brought in via nationwide search, and the deputy mayor of the City of Buffalo should also be a qualified professional.

Okay, three unlikely things that would make the city/region a better place.

1. Abolition of county government. We would retain the constitutional geographical offices like comptroller, sheriff, clerk, D.A. We would switch to a county administrator to manage Albany mandates, which make up about 90 percent of the county’s budget.

2. Unicameral, nonpartisan, part-time Albany legislature modeled after Nebraska’s unicam. No party caucuses, $12,000/year in pay, short sessions, one house, any member can move a bill through the process, no “three men in a room” type scenario.

3. Nip the “let’s secede from New York City” nonsense in the bud by allowing some modicum of autonomy for NYC with respect to certain programs such as Medicaid. If NYC wants the whole kit and kaboodle, that’s fine because it can pay for it. But NYC has to compete with other world-class cities. Places like WNY have to compete with less ritzy places like Cleveland, Toledo, Erie, etc. We should have the autonomy to do that effectively with lower taxes, fewer regulations.

Who’s got a better shot at higher office, Byron Brown or Chris Collins?

It depends on the office. I think Byron Brown is poised to become a legislator again—Congress is where I see him going. He’s cultivated an alliance with Brian Higgins, so when redistricting comes around, I expect that Brown will probably be running against Chris Lee. Whether he has a shot or not depends entirely on how that district is drawn.

Collins would be a better candidate for executive office. You can’t be Chris Collins, the angry Six Sigma-ing bull in a dysfunctional china shop, and really get much accomplished legislatively. I see him running for lieutenant governor to geographically balance a downstate Republican’s gubernatorial ticket.

I’d rather see Collins go, because we have more, better candidates to replace him as county executive than we have to replace Byron Brown as mayor.

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