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Rod Watson

Editor

Rod Watson has been a weekly columnist for The Buffalo News since 1992, writing most often about socioeconomic and political issues affecting minorities and/or the poor, as well as about local government. In addition, as urban affairs editor, Watson oversees coverage of the city school system, transportation and politics.

Look around your office, or your home, and see if you can find anything that was invented by a black. If you do find anything, list it in your column.The message, whether an earnest plea or a snide comment based on unfounded assumptions, still was lamentable.It prompts one to simply stare out the window for awhile, mesmerized by the orderly flow of traffic made possible …

So, Bill Clinton had a bruising first couple of weeks? Thank God.The only way not to make negative headlines -- are there any other kind? -- was not to do anything or say anything, as George Bush did when it came to most domestic affairs.But it doesn't take a lot insight to realize that's why the country is where it is now. And anybody who thought the problems could be eas…

While Buffalonians expect the Bills to put the area on the map, imagine what would happen if NBC had taken its cameras into the Parent Center with as much zeal as it hones in on the football team.What the public would learn is perhaps the best-kept secret in Buffalo and the key to solving one of the nation's most pressing problems: How to put its disadvantaged children o…

A state work-release facility in Williamsville?Sound ridiculous?No doubt some residents protesting plans for such a prison in a former motel on Main Street near Michigan in the heart of Buffalo think so. In fact, one went so far as to suggest that suburban location at one of the recent meetings about the controversial project.Needless to say, the alternative was not follow…

While carpenters in Washington work on facilities for Bill Clinton's inauguration, builders are busy in Haiti, too.Aerial surveillance since the election has shown Haitians preparing hundreds of wooden boats. They are ready to resume en masse the perilous attempt to flee for the United States -- once George Bush's immoral, and possibly illegal, repatriation policy dies wit…

Now that Phase I of the Erie County budget process is over and a new fiscal year opens today, it's worth pondering the long range implications of Democratic legislators' decision to toss County Executive Gorski overboard.The attempt to rig the budget with a tax cut to prop up their own re-election efforts this year is so transparent that it doesn't need much re-examination…

It may be too late to get this on the Christmas wish list. Still, one hopes Santa brings Buffalo's low-power TV station a little marketing ingenuity and enough cash to stay alive until that ingenuity pays off.Channel 58 currently is being managed by Medaille College, but it could well be off the air come Jan. 1, when its contract with the school ends. It seems the station …

So, it seems genetics has crept back into the news. And African-Americans -- many of whom already believe in government-conspiracy theories against the race -- are upset.This time around, the effort is to find a genetic link to crime. Since blacks -- for a variety of other reasons -- commit more than their share of stick-ups and other assorted means of redistributing wea…

Those of us who argue for sensible waiting periods before buying handguns -- dangerous in part because of their concealability -- take comfort in the fact that anyone fearful of the homestead being invaded won't be hurt by the delay.After circling the wagons and gathering up the children, they can immediately buy a shotgun and not have to feel helpless should someone br…

It always seems a little curious when some of the same people who talk about rebuilding "values," "community" and other social supports are also the ones most critical of affirmative action.They see the benefit of these intangible mechanisms and social linkages -- even demand them -- in most areas of life. But not when it comes to employment. There the myth of isolated in…

As Bill Clinton sits down to turkey dinner and tries not to gag on the question of gays in the military, the answer -- given a bloated armed forces and a budget crisis -- may be easier than he thinks.That's particularly true given what the controversy says about the structure of the armed forces.If Clinton and other Americans are beginning to wonder just how disciplined …

The Erie County district attorney continues pondering how opening a car door can deflect a policeman's gun toward -- rather than away from -- the exiting occupant. While he does that, Buffalo Common Council members should be pondering something else: the creation of a citizen review board.The forgotten call for someone to police the police was revived by the NAACP after t…

Suppose for a moment that Ross Perot weren't a spy enthusiast, a guy whose fascination with undercover work -- as both perpetrator and self-styled victim -- didn't scare the bejabbers out of ordinary people.Suppose, too, that his novelty appeal hadn't vanished as soon as he did his disappearing act last summer, forcing him to jump-start a near-dead campaign.In short, supp…

Waiting on Bill.It's the election-eve waiting game that looks for Bill Clinton to reach out to embrace African-Americans. It's supposed to happen any day now, just as soon as he gets the white middle-class vote "solidified."It's the Clinton watch by blacks who loathe George Bush and don't trust Ross Perot -- but still might stay home rather than vote for a Democrat who kee…

IT HAPPENED again last Sunday, as it happens countless times each year, almost always on weekends. That's when transplants call relatives back home, or those raised here ring up escapees now residing in "the big city." And as the conversation unwinds, itinvariably is punctuated by a "Wow, did you see that?"The "that" is the spectacular play at the most dramatic moment o…