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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

It's our fault

Politicians get in trouble all the time. But rare is the pol who publicizes his woes in a press release.

That's exactly what County Legislator George A. Holt Jr. did last week in announcing he would plead guilty to two misdemeanor sales tax violations stemming from his ownership of Mattie's, a well-known East Side restaurant.

Holt, apparently eager to spin his plea as much as possible, went so far as to pin some of the blame on his other job as a public servant.

"During these times," he said in the release, "my leadership position has truly become a full-time responsibility, with so much at stake for our community."

Conspicuously absent, of course, is any mention of the fact that Holt did find time to raise the same sales tax he failed to pay.


Who are you?

Niagara and Erie counties continue to have a close mutual relationship.

That's probably why Niagara County Legislature Chairman Clyde L. Burmaster laughed out loud as he leafed through a stack of mail Tuesday, his first day on the job.

A letter from Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra invited the Niagara County chairman to Giambra's State of the County address.

Of course, The News revealed Dec. 23 that Burmaster would be the new chairman, but even if Giambra didn't notice that, it seems he didn't know the name of the Niagara County chairman he had been dealing with for the past three years. That would be William Ross.

Giambra's invitation, dated Jan. 2, was addressed to Wilbur Ross.

"That's an indication of how close we are," Burmaster said.

Wilbur Ross, by the way, is a billionaire investor who's been buying distressed steel and auto parts plants all over the world. Maybe he's the guy Giambra really wants to talk to.


The name game

Cute Is What We Aim For is a Buffalo band that's getting some really nice buzz nationally. But some people aren't real keen on their name.

In fact, Calgary Herald writer Nick Lewis listed it second on his list of the five worst band names of 2006, right behind Gnarls Barkley.

Off Main tried to get in touch with the band for a reaction, but the band's publicist said the members were in rehearsals and not available for interviews.

Lead singer Shaant Hacikyan did confess to the Annapolis Capital last month that "we hate the name with a passion."

Hacikyan said the band wasn't expecting big things when it took the name, which he said was an homage to some friends. Now, he said, they're thinking of changing the name, or maybe shortening it to Cute.

We're not sure that's an improvement, but we're guessing our readers might have some ideas. Send your suggestion to, and we'll pass along our favorites, assuming we can contact the band.

Written by John F. Bonfatti with contributions from Dan Herbeck, Phil Fairbanks and Thomas Prohaska.


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