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On irony, arrogance, 4% interest

The $10 million naming-rights gift Tuesday for the coming John R. Oishei Children's Hospital came with a dose of irony.

Oishei made his fortune selling windshield wipers. The company he founded was Trico. Trico's now-vacant plant sits at the edge of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The expanding campus – of which the coming hospital will be a major piece – threatens the existence of the multibuilding Trico complex, which Medical Campus officials have talked about demolishing.

In other words, a gift from the foundation set up by Trico's founder contributes to the expansion of the campus that threatens the landmark Trico building's future.

All of which, Tom Yots hopes, makes Medical Campus officials more reluctant to call for the wrecking ball.

"The BNMC people … control the building that ultimately made this [$10 million] gift possible," said Yots, head of Preservation Buffalo Niagara. "It needs to be stabilized until we find a [reuse]. … Who thought even five years ago that a Rocco Termini would come along and transform the Lafayette Hotel?"

Stay tuned. A feasibility study is due in a few weeks. I have a hard time imagining Medical Campus officials building for the future with an Oishei Foundation gift while erasing the edifice that is part of the man's legacy.


If there were any lingering doubts about the arrogance of the NFL, it dissolved with the recent referees lockout fiasco. It gave us a glimpse into the collective mindset of the league and the owners who control it – and not in a good way, to my mind, for the long-term future of the Bills in Buffalo.

The NFL counts its annual revenue in billions. Yet – absurd but true – it allowed the integrity of its product to be undermined by a dispute that could have been settled, relatively speaking, for the sort of money found in Jerry Jones' couch cushions. Instead, displaying a greediness that would make Gordon Gekko blush, the league lurched into the season with a motley crew of replacement officials.

The cascade of consequent controversies crested with an abysmal call – seen by millions of TV viewers – that decided this week's Monday Night Football contest.

The national embarrassment persuaded the NFL to cave in and bring back the regular officials before the league's credibility was further mauled. But blame the mess on the desire of the NFL's Romney-rich owners to rake in every available dollar – not because they need it, but just, well, because.

It's not too large of a leap to transpose that mentality to the ultimate fate of the Bills in Buffalo. It is more lucrative for the league to have a team in, say, NFL-absent Los Angeles than it is in our stagnating smaller market. Anyone who thinks sentiment will come into play if NFL owners someday have to sign off on the Bills' relocation has not been paying attention lately.


Such a deal. With the NHL season delayed, the Sabres will pay season-ticket holders 4 percent interest on money already in hand. Given that CDs earn 1 percent, and saving accounts even less, 4 percent amounts to a windfall. Question for the Bank of Pegula: Can I stash some of my retirement funds with you folks?