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County rivalry on hold (temporarily), a second chance and Detroit’s hard times

It happened on Monday. Did you notice? Perhaps not, because the Earth didn’t open up, as many might have predicted. Nor was anyone struck by lightning, invaded by locusts or afflicted with boils and pustules. Yet, it did happen: Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw praised his nemesis, County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. Really. You can look it up.

The subject was the county budget and, specifically, Poloncarz’s action in leaving dozens of budgeted positions unfilled. That produced a net savings of $1.9 million in salaries and fringe benefits for the first five months of 2013.

“We want to start out by commending the administration for doing more with less,” Mychajliw said. “It’s what families at home are doing.”

It was good to hear, especially given the rancor that has developed between these men – an enmity that rivals the antagonism between the previous county executive, Chris Collins, and his unwanted shadow – then-Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz.

What goes around comes around. Poloncarz left it to his deputy budget director to thank Mychajliw.

Can you spell ironic? (That’s how.) Lauren Matz is nothing if not consistent. An English professor at St. Bonaventure University, the Olean resident competed last week in the AARP National Spelling Bee in Cheyenne, Wyo., and came in second – just as she did 41 years earlier as a 13-year-old Buffalo student competing in the National Spelling Bee.

Matz saw great humor in the result, as well she should. Dependability is fine quality.

Poor old Detroit. On Thursday, it became the largest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy. The city’s top industry, automobile manufacturing, is a shadow of its former self. City residents fled to the suburbs. Property values and tax revenues plummeted. Crime soared. Creditors and unions wanted their money. On Thursday, it all collapsed.

The Motor City’s misery sounds uncomfortably familiar here in the Queen City, where industry failed, city dwellers decamped for the suburbs, revenues fell and crime soared. There but for the grace of God …