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IT SEEMS TO US . . .
A QUESTION OF TIMING, AND TAKING A LOOK AT A MEDICAL PATH TO GOVERNMENT MERGER

NEVER SAY DIE: This message recently arrived in the e-mail:

"An award-winning independent filmmaker will try to influence voters in the battleground state of Florida by releasing 'Rush to War: Between Iraq and a Hard Place' between now and the election." The e-mail goes on to describe the film and its almost-certain impact on Florida's undecided voters.

Just one glitch: The message was dated Nov. 4 and arrived 36 hours after voting ended and nearly 24 hours after John Kerry conceded the election to President Bush.

Call us skeptics, but we don't think this will help.

GOVERNMENT MERGER: Maybe we've been doing this all wrong. Merging Buffalo and Erie County into one government doesn't start with combining services or backroom functions. It starts with the leadership. We therefore propose a personality transplant, substituting visionary qualities of County Executive Joel Giambra for Mayor Tony Masiello's myopia and infusing the mayor's back-slapping bonhomie for Giambra's sandpaper approach to human relations. Take the best of both and leave the rest behind. We're not sure how to go about doing that, but maybe the control board can work on it.

NOT UNANTICIPATED: A new report by Sen. Dale Volker seems to want it both ways on the problem of Medicaid. In its forward, the report says that "Unanticipated growth in local share Medicaid spending is not the cause of Erie County's current fiscal crisis," while further on it concludes that "Medicaid spending in Erie County has placed severe pressure on Erie County's ability to control overall county spending."

We think we understand. The problem is that the growth in county Medicaid spending wasn't "unanticipated." It was predictable, from the moment Volker and his colleagues voted four years ago to expand the program, dumping half the nonfederal cost on the state's put-upon county taxpayers.

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