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IDEA TO NAME NEW COURTHOUSE ROUSES PARTISANS

You knew it would happen somehow, somewhere. But could it be that a Dennis T. Gorski Courthouse is in Buffalo's near future?

The answer is yes, if some county Democrats have their way.

More specifically, Legislature Democrats are talking about a triple name for the $80 million Erie County courthouse under construction on Franklin Street: the "Kane-Gorski-Doyle" courthouse.

Republicans don't like it because it mentions former county executive Gorski and because the people it names aren't dead yet.

But Legislator Michael A. Fitzpatrick, the Buffalo Democrat who came up with the idea, said it covers the three men who got the courthouse built.

"Judge Kane started the whole process, Judge Doyle concluded it, and Dennis Gorski moved it," said Fitzpatrick. "Dennis is the one who had to come up with the money." He also was referring to State Supreme Court Justices James B. Kane and Vincent E. Doyle.

Naturally, the Democrats' proposal is sticking in the craw of the Legislature's Republican minority, who have an idea of their own: Sell naming rights to the courthouse to bring in extra cash.

"Of course, that might give the impression that justice is for sale," mused Minority Leader Frederick J. Marshall, R-East Aurora.

But other Republicans like the plan. "Let's get some money for it," said Michael H. Ranzenhofer, R-Williamsville.

"They're selling naming rights everywhere else," agreed Dr. Barry A. Weinstein, R-Williamsville.

As a fallback position, Republicans have come up with a name that they think would be more appropriate than a tribute to Gorski.

They're suggesting the "Denman-Dillon Courthouse" instead, as a tribute to State Supreme Court Justice M. Delores Denman, who died Monday at age 68, and former County Judge John A. Dillon, who died in 1996.

The courthouse, projected at $54 million but now around $80 million and counting, is still only in the initial stages of construction, some members have pointed out. It could be months before the Legislature has to pick a name -- if they decide they even want one on the new structure at all.

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