Failed Power...

First met-up with Diana Dillaway last October at the new Merriweather library - right here.

Marc Odien and the crew at WNYmedia.net caught up with Diana recently and recorded this short interview. Her book, Power Failure was published last year by the good folks at Prometheus Books just down the road in Amherst.

If you've read the book, let me know what you think of her analysis. Should she have named names?
ArtspaceBAVPATour d'Neglect - 2007Woodlawn Row Housesfaqmy flickr
the creativity exchangeCEOs for Cities


MJ said...

I read it and found it to be a great read, if not a very depressing one. Some of the insanity that took place is almost unbelievable. My eyes were opened to the role the newspaper played in everything among other things.

The past shows us the power battles that left us with much less to battle over today. But yet, we still see the same type of power struggles happening on this downward slide.

I think she was correct in leaving the names out. A lot them could be tracked down and figured out by the reader if they were so inclined.

b said...

Didn't read fully, but browsed some chapters at B/N when it came out. Interesting stuff but seemed more focused on recreating background drama rather than solid analysis - at least parts I read.

I do recall seeing a semi-critical review of it in the NY Post, I think after Northcoast Craig pointed that out, which is no longer on the Post site but is online here if you want to see:

From that Post reviewer:

...Dillaway argues that local officials, the business community and elite citizens all failed Buffalo by not marshalling these outside resources to achieve key goals: among them, attracting a second state-university campus to town; building a rapid-transit system; building a downtown football stadium and, years later, a new convention center, and planning new downtown and neighborhood districts.

Dillaway makes a reasonable case that attracting a second university campus (it eventually located north of the city, in Amherst) and constructing a mass-transit system to keep the city relevant to its suburbs would have benefited Buffalo. But Buffalo would not have revived itself by investing "wisely" in such ventures as stadiums, business districts and "renewed" neighborhoods. Publicly funded stadiums can't revive cities. Healthy business districts and neighborhoods come naturally to cities that are already healthy; they cannot be conjured up by government.

Would modern investors and employers have come to Buffalo after the steel industry left if federal, state and city officials had realized their impotence in attempting to push back the economic forces that compressed industrial cities in the second half of the 20th century? What if Buffalo and Albany had simply responded to change by cutting back their public-sector workforces and, concurrently, state and local taxes, to make the city competitive to other American locations? These are the questions state leaders - and gubernatorial hopefuls - should ask themselves...