Neighbors For Payola
by Elizabeth A. Martina
A recent letter writer to the Buffalo News, representing “Neighbors for Progress Buffalo,” advocates a project that claims over 80 homes on Buffalo’s lower West Side. This group is bound by goals that have little to do with progress or Buffalo.
Their motivation is to “cash out” and flee from a neighborhood that is no longer familiar. They claim their enclave is crime-ridden, decaying, and dirty. It’s an old story. Many new residents are recent immigrants. Some view them as ignorant, violent, and unworthy of respect, but these new American citizens are moms, dads, kids, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles, pursuing life, liberty, happiness.
Assimilation can be messy, and some don’t want it. If only they remembered what was said a century ago about their own immigrant ancestors.
The opportunity to escape—and profit—drives this group. And the Public Bridge Authority whispering in their ears of big cash buyouts fuels their determination and frustration. (This, as part of the Peace Bridge Plaza plan; a plan to increase poisonous truck traffic: a Love Canal on Wheels—bad for the neighborhood, the city, and progress.)
I suggest the group rename itself. Their current name, arguments for a new plaza, and reference to the proposal as progress, is all baloney. To them, progress is contingent upon the sale of their property—for more than it’s worth. Their concern ends when that transaction closes.
Elizabeth A. Martina
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