Looking Ahead: Wishes and Prognostications
Shock and Awe
A. The local economy: Despite the fact that an important conference on local economies is held in Buffalo, Walmart will announce plans to build a large facility in the city which will include challenges to the new Green Code. Not many people will get the connection and opponents will be characterized as anti-growth NIMBY’s . The local faith community will come to Walmart’s defense, and someone named ALEC will craft a new law—the “Right to Shop Law”—which will go national and erode the opportunities for local decision makers to control development.
B. Fracking: The decision to allow fracking in New York State will be announced by mid-year despite serious issues with drinking water safety and human health. Someone will champion the false equivalencies of “Would you rather die from carbon coal releases or contaminated drinking water,” wishing you to conclude simply that coal is worse. Someone named ALEC will craft the “Right to do Business Law,” which will prevent the 99 percent from interfering with future decision-making, thus making SEQRA obsolete.
C. Climate change: This year we may have a couple of unusual weather events but the effects of climate change will continue to climb subtly as we continue to be slowly cooked in a pot of warming water. It will be too late before we notice anything is wrong. Despite the fact that there is a growing investment in the discussion in that other part of the state, downstate, no one will want to seriously discuss climate change preparedness in Western New York. Meanwhile, we will have to adjust to the loss of the skiing industry here and cancel another outdoor hockey tournament this winter. Few will notice that not so many birds are singing this spring.
D. The billion-dollar plan for Western New York: Its designers will continue to talk about “sustainability,” despite the fact that it is only about economic growth and does not represent a plan that will ensure economic, environmental, or social stability for future generations. Outsiders will be the primary beneficiaries of this plan, falsely promising “good” jobs so that they can get their hands on the government subsidies to feather their nests. Some of the money will even go to Walmart, and none will go to local entrepreneurs or people of color. All of us will be told that a “Right to Work” law will smooth the transition from “entitlements” to adjusting to a declining minimum-wage value.
E. The Great Lakes: Late in the summer, it will be revealed through scrupulous scientific analysis that the amazing resource of the Sweetwater Seas, which represent one fifth of all of the earth’s fresh surface water, and are arguably Western New York’s greatest asset, are some of the most contaminated fresh waters on the planet and that Buffalo plays a major role.
F. Governor Cuomo: The governor will champion all of the above, falsely hoping that this will make him appear presidential. Except for E, which he will ignore.
G. The pursuit of happiness: Someone (not Cuomo, not ALEC) will bring up our constitutional “Right to Pursue Happiness” and propose a “law” that will produce a sometimes entertaining, sometimes engaging, and sometimes diabolical discussion that will briefly capture the nation’s attention.
- Jay Burney, Greenwatch
Government by eBay
Employers and large companies looking to expand and add jobs abandon the tedious, labor-intensive economic incentive applications and go straight to eBay, offering jobs to the highest municipal bidder. Apple wins the sweepstakes, with industrial development agencies locked in a bidding war that rises to a million dollars per Mac manufacturing job. Small businesses promptly follow suit, winning anywhere from $50 to $1,000 apiece for creating part-time gas station attendant positions and call-center jobs. Newspaper revenues crash even further, as employers abandon traditional help wanted ads in favor of the eBay listing.
- Cynthia Van Ness, Buffalo Issue Alerts
Five Easy Pieces
1. The Buffalo Bills finally realize the futility of resistance and appoint Buffalo News sports columnists Jerry Sullivan and Mark Gaughan to run the team.
2. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Committee, now that it scammed the Outer Harbor from the hapless NFTA of the best open space on the lake hereabouts, will ask for a regular funding stream from local governments, such as a piece of the sales tax.
3. The local Democrats will not unite over the next year.
4. Andrew Rudnick really doesn’t leave.
5. The Albright-Knox reveals the hitherto fore secret existence of its massive LeRoy Neiman collection, including an autographed set of his complete Playboy cartoons, and dedicates a wing to his work.
- Greg Olma
Welcome to the Vinyl Age
2012 was the year the vinyl records stopped being just a hobby of the few and started to be the joy of many. I predict that 2013 will be the year that high-fidelity records with big beautiful artwork once again take hold of the public imagination, and the MP3 will finally make its journey to the land of obsolescence.
- Allen Farmelo
13 Ways of Looking at a Robin
With the increasing extinction of the blizzard as a characteristic Buffalo weather form, local academics mount a conference during January break, attracting participants from English departments across the nation. Papers presented include “An Introduction to Snow Shovel Semiotics,” “Deconstructing Blizzard Media Tropes: A Foucauldian Post-Structuralist Analysis,” and “Snow Plow Square Dancing: An Exercise in (En)gendering Disused Heavy Equipment.” Conference participants are easily identified by their square black glasses, sockless Birkenstocks, cargo pocket shorts, and Hawaiian shirts. (Amusing side note: http://www.flickr.com/groups/winterlessbuffalo.)
- Cynthia Van Ness, Buffalo Issue Alerts
Pity Scajaquada Creek
I predict that I will continue to be inundated by suburban sewers and their poop, driven over by 100,000 cars, and recipient of their exhaust, brake fluid, oil spills, and gas leaks. Tens of thousands of flicked cigarette butts, thousands of Burger King wrappers, dozens of Tops shopping carts, and hundreds of Buffalo Dart Street impound vehicles will continue to poison me and threaten the water supply of Buffalo, Tonawanda, Wheatfield, Grand Island, Niagara Falls, US and Canada, Lewiston, Youngstown, and Lake Ontario communities.
New threats to me will continue to come ahead full force; Buffalo’s weak waterfront revitalization plan and politicians could allow a gas station on the banks, yet the kingfishers, green and blue heron, flying above and the bass, trout, bluegills, perch, sunfish, carp, bullhead, shad, shiners and other baitfish swimmming in me are appreciated by the kayakers, canoeists, bicyclists, and joggers sharing the Jesse Kregal Pathway shouldering my once-pure waters. Buffalo and Black Rock drank from, swam in, and lived from the Scajaquada and may once again appreciate me.
- Po’ Sweetwater, a.k.a. Scajaquada Creek
blog comments powered by Disqus
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v12n1 (Week of Thursday, January 3) > Cover Story > Looking Ahead: Wishes and Prognostications
This Week's Issue • Artvoice Daily • Artvoice TV • Events Calendar • Classifieds