3/21/2008

Resurecting Buffalo?

Just learned about this...
Picture 21

Together with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Regional Institute is co-organizing and co-sponsoring “Resurrecting Buffalo,” a regional public forum and conversation featuring Harvard Professor Edward L. Glaeser, author of “Can Buffalo Ever Come Back?”.

The public forum takes place on Friday, April 18, 2008, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at WNED Studios, Horizons Plaza, Lower Terrace, Buffalo, New York.

The forum features remarks by Professor Glaeser, followed by a conversation moderated by Margaret Sullivan of the Buffalo News with regional leaders, including Robert Gioia of The John R. Oishei Foundation, Cynthia Zane of Hilbert College, Richard Tobe of the City of Buffalo, Paul Buckley of Applied Sciences Group and Anthony Armstrong of LISC Buffalo. The forum also includes opportunity for audience Q and A and will be followed by a wine and food reception at WNED Studios. Space is limited, so please register early—the registration fee of $30 covers the cost of the forum and reception. Register online or call Charlene Janiga at 716-541-1770.

fixBuffalo readers may remember this post about the Glaeser work - Following Glaeser - contains links to all sorts of responses to his "Can Buffalo Ever Come Back".

Wonder if the program - including the q&a - will be available on YouTube for wider distribution? One can always hope...
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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stupid. Bring a Harvard professor here and turn it into a $30 wine and cheese event. Yeah, because the city of going to be reborn by the crowd that'll attend that event... the politicians and blowhards who are only concerned with themselves and are more responsible for the city's collapse than they will be accountable for their failires to solve the problem.

There is a reason why as a graduate of UBs masters proggram in urban planning that I DO NOT donate to them. They continue to not be involved in true grassroots and neighborhood/urban plannning. They spend more time marketing themselves and failing to provide the services an urban planning institution is obligated to in the community where its based (see other major urban univeristies planning departments). And the Institute is a joke as well. A group that counts, counts and counts but does ZERO for implementation and planning based on their work. They work for academic reasons instead of intending to actually see change happen. Point the fickle finger of blame but offer not help, typical ivory tower mentality.

Sadly, this event should have been free to small business owners, neighborhood activists and other people "on the ground" who are the ones most likely to impact he city's future.

What a joke.

Anonymous said...

I've been a lurker at fixbuffalo for a while, and just wanted to throw this out there (something I've been thinking about for a while): How much of Buffalo's (and Upstate's) decline is due to the siphoning off of resources by that megalopolis, New York City?

Every time I read about New York politics, it seems that Sheldon Silver and his NYC cronies in Albany get everything they want, and Buffalo gets shafted. We send money Downstate, and none comes up.

Would we do better to secede from New York State? I know that sounds ridiculous, but we have a hell of a lot of resources here in WNY.

People mention Minneapolis and Toronto as cold climate cities that are growing-- but they don't have the tax burden that we have, they don't have the put-down politics that we have (being dominated by NYC).

Just wanted to see what people's thoughts about these things were.

How about this for a plan:

WNY seceding from New York State!

-GB

Anonymous said...

GB -

I think I've been hearing the secessionist argument ever since I was a kid. For a while I believed it.

But now that I live downstate, the fallacy of that argument is patently clear. Does more money go downstate than upstate? Yes. But upstate doesn't generate anywhere near the amount of revenue that downstate produces. How many Fortune 500 co's, major investment banks, major law firms, and other major financial players are located in NYC? And think about all those massive executive compensation packages that have been in the news lately - all of those guys are paying NYS income taxes on those golden parachutes. Upstate has nothing comparable.

Without downstate footing the bill, upstate's economic condition would be on par with Kentucky, not California.

STEEL said...

Hate to break it to you Anonymous but Kentucky's economy is booming and its cities are growing fast. Buffalo's problem with Albany is NOT an unfair distribution of state money. It is the unfair distribution of power that IS the problem.

NYC dominates the state so that all of the laws, taxes, and planning are geared toward NYC to the detriment of Buffalo. for the last 50 years everything in NYS outside the NYC metro has been run into the ground as the rest of the country has boomed

Chris Smith said...

David,
We'll be there taping the panel discussion if WNED allows. If so, it will be available on YouTube.

Chris Smith

fix buffalo said...

Anon - Agree. Perhaps a portion of the back row could be opened up for 'community people' - block club leaders,etc...

Steel - That's my sense, too. Upstate has been sacrificed while downstate flourishes. Like to see some metrics on this...anything?

Chris - This would be a major contribution of WNYmedia.net could bring this event to a larger audience. Looking forward to it...

Anonymous said...

Forget the upstate/downstate conflict for a minute.

What I don't get is why a Harvard guy can write that Buffalo is best consigned to the dustbin of history and our response is to wine and dine him. He deserves a boot in the butt, not a red carpet symposium. Cities with a little more self-respect would flip him the bird and contine addressing their problems and celebrating their successes.

If this doesn't remind anyone of crawling back to your abuser after getting out of the ER, I don't know what would.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1135 - He didn't say anything about a dustbin of history. He predicted it won't any time soon grow back to it's previous much larger population and to its early 20th century level of relative power and wealth.

There's many U.S. cities with size around Buffalo's new size. They're not necessarily in history's dustbin and he didn't say Buffalo should be.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the guy who recently wrote an article basically suggesting that everone in Buffalo move to Atlanta and lock up before they leave. I'd boycott this baby.

Anonymous said...

GB here again--

A few follow up comments:

(1) To fixbuffalo: Here is one very particular metric I can give you how Upstate has been sold out to NYC: The forcing down our throats of a Downtown Buffalo Casino (casino gambling happens to be illegal in NYS.) I'm not going to rehash all the the arguments as to why this will be an utter economic disaster for Buffalo if it happens, but I'll just put this out: MOST of the slot money revenue of that casino will go to the NYS coffer's, not Buffalo's. For ten years, Buffalo gets part of that money, but then after ten years, Buffalo then gets NOTHING FOREVER while NYS keeps reaping the cash flow. Where will that money come from? Even the Seneca's internal memos acknowledge that that money will come from local Buffalo residents. The argument by the previous governor and the back-room real made by Sheldon Silver in Albany with the Indians to force this on Buffalo were that it would bring revenue to Buffalo and revitalize downtown. That is utter BS. My main question to this argument is this: If a freakin' casino is SOOOOO GREAT for a local economy, why isn't Sheldon Silver clamoring to have three or four built in Manhattan? I mean, this is NYC, right? They could get one if they wanted one! No, the fact is they KNOW this is TERRIBLE for the economy of a city--- all they need to do is look across to Atlantic City, a terrible slum outside the casino district.

There you go. There is one recent example about how NYC is raping the economy of Upstate for it's own rewards.

A second recent example I can give you is the recent deal Buffalo made with the Niagara Power Authority. Niagara Falls is a LOCAL FREAKIN' RESOURCE--- one of the greatest sources of clean energy in the WORLD! One has to ask oneself, if that is true, and if that is a LOCAL resource, why is there a COAL FIRED POWER PLANT in North Tonawanda!?!? The greatest source of natural clean electricity is just a couple of miles from those houses, yet those folks have to get their electricity by burning dirty coal! (Which, by the way, has to be TRUCKED IN to the area!) Why? I'll tell you why. Because most of that Niagara Falls electricity gets pumped downstate to NYC. Again, Buffalo and the Niagara Region get shafted.

If Niagara Falls and Western New York had any clout at all, we would be keeping most of that electricity, or at least getting an honorable piece of compensation for it. If we kept ALL of that energy for ourselves, energy would be SO cheap in the region that we would be able to lure business and manufacturing here no problem-- which is what happened in the BEGINNING with Bethlehem and other places. As it is, we send 90% of our harvest to Caesar in NYC (ie. Sheldon Silver) and he generously lets us build a coal-fired power plant in our backyard.

So, there you go: Two real-life examples about how the power in Albany forces terrible deals on Buffalo in order to suck us dry--- and we (our politicians) just sit back and take it.

(2) According to anonymous, the Harvard guy "predicted (Buffalo) won't any time soon grow back to it's previous much larger population and to its early 20th century level of relative power and wealth."

This is just utter BS. How could he know this? Look 90 minutes up the QEW to see an economic success story and GROWING, THRIVING metropolis in TORONTO. In most ways, actually, Buffalo has Toronto beat as far as a city that SHOULD be thriving. At the very least, it has GEOGRAPHY going for it. Buffalo is at the Eastern end of Lake Erie; it has railroads, is still on the way to the St Lawrence Seaway. Toronto is on the northen edge of lake Ontario, not on the way to ANYWHERE. Buffalo is further SOUTH than Toronto. Buffalo is close to a verdant wine, grape and apple growing region-- Tononto isn't. Buffalo is five miles from the greatest source of cheap, clean electricity in the WHOLE FREAKIN' WORLD! Toronto isn't.

So all the Harvard guy's arguments why Buffalo will continue to shrink and never achieve former glory is utter BS. Can he please explain Toronto to me then?

No. There are REASONS Buffalo's economy is so stagnant-- and most of those have to do with Albany, as far as I can tell.

Comparing the two cities, Buffalo is the city that should be thriving, NOT Toronto.

Figure out WHY that is, and you'll really be on to something.

Oh, one last point: Buffalo had past glory because of huge industry and commerce and banking. A few local discoveries in some new, exciting area-- biotech, energy, anything--- and Buffalo could have a chance at growing again.

But it's hard to stand up when you've got somebody's foot on your neck!

-GB

Anonymous said...

GB - Since surpassing Montreal in the 1950s or so, Toronto has been the financial center of Canada. In that regard, and others, it's the NY City of Canada. Its economy wasn't dominated by manufacturing like Buffalo's was in its heyday. Toronto has a much more favorbale position on the Great Lakes with a lot less snowfall and wind than Buffalo. Canada doesn't have a Sun Belt for Toronto residents to move away to without having to change citizenship. Canada does not have 45 or so others states with much lower taxes and friendlier business environments than Ontario.

Those are a few quick reasons why there's a big difference between TO and Buffalo's growth directions. Many other reasons for sure. I'm not saying Albany has no blame. The biggest problems Albany creates for Buffalo and Rochester are the added costs for doing business here. Population and wealth follow businesses and private sector jobs.

Instead of Toronto, it makes more sense to compare Buffalo at this point in time with other Rust Belt cities in highly-taxed anti-business states. Pittsburgh, Detroit, Youngstown, etc.

aaron_quinton@yahoo.com said...

NYC silver-spoon-fed Wall Street Business Criminal a$$holes are trying to squeeze every last person out of Buffalo. There's a very serious reason why. So you will sell your homes and property and land. Which you shouldn't. They know, just like people in Houston, DC and Dubai know, that the Oil is going to be gone soon, so will the damned Natural Gas. Then they will be forced to rely on coal again for electricity and fuel. If Buffalo and it's residents are wise they will reclaim, perhaps in a co-operative move with Ontario, it's rights first and foremost to the clean renewable electricity of Niagara Falls. Don't sell your land or your homes.Buffalo will be the city of the Future that the Pan-Am festival announced. I will be coming back to Buffalo when I am finished in the US Navy. Please save me my seat at SpOt coffee, and at the Bills games. Trust me on this, Niagara Falls may be fought over in the coming decades, don't let Buffalo lose it.