Commentary: No Politicians on Control Board
By Christina Abt
Buffalo, NY – It's a typical Buffalo morning. Kids riding school buses. Parents hustling off to work. Highways slowed to stop and go. Downtown parking ramps full. Yet despite such signs of normalcy, life in Buffalo is not normal.
A control board has been announced as a "Valium" cure for a battle worn Queen City wallowing in the midst of a long depression. For much of Western New York, or to be politically correct the Buffalo Niagara Region, the idea of a control board is fairly overwhelming and intimidating. To some, it represents a concept akin to bankruptcy, to others the first painful step toward salvation.
However as the reality evolves, the crucial factor about the control board is that it is a last hope, a twelfth hour solution that will leave in its wake ashes and soot from which to try and rise again. No doubt, a control board is meant to be a slash and burn program taking no prisoners.
On the bright side, if the control board does take hold of the Queen City by the roots of her mangled, matted tresses and hacks away the split ends, the overwrought and undernourished follicles, the permanently damaged elements, the new Buffalostyle outgrowth could be the beginning of a 21st Century renaissance.
Which brings me to my point, actually my plea. If this control board is to be a truly effective vehicle for change then it must contain men and women who are economically astute, commercially ruthless and politically independent. They must be community-connected and willing to make tough decisions, no matter who they effect or how much they hurt the short-term life of this region.
So please, to the powers that be in charge of formulating our city's life saver, don't let this control board become just one more politically focused, incapable, life sucking, indecisive, leaderless convocation. This city does not want to self-destruct. Its people, as frustrated and angry as they are, do not want to give up. All they need is a chance, a direction, some leadership.
Let the political leaders have their "sound-bite" titles on this control board, but please, put real financial gurus and corporate wunderkunds behind them as decision-makers. Give Buffalo a chance. Allow our Queen City to once again shine.
To this point, our luster has not been permanently destroyed, only damaged. Yet if the control board evolves with recycled members, re-applying more of the same treatments that have so traumatically ruined this region, we might as well begin evacuating now.
I love this city. It is part of my family's past and our present. So, please, chose the control board membership wisely and allow all of us the hope of a future.
Commentary by Writer Christina Abt is a monthly feature of WBFO News.