The People's Agenda
by Geoff Kelly
Partnership for the Public Good answers the Buffalo Niagara Partnership with a wish list of its own
On Wednesday afternoon, the Partnership for the Public Good unveiled its 2010 Community Agenda—a progressive counterpart of sorts to the annual wish list for public investment and legislation feted last month by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership with an open bar at Pettibone’s Grille.
The Partnership for the Public Good is a coalition of nonprofits, community activist organizations, unions, academic centers, and religious groups (everyone the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is not, essentially) which focuses on “just, sustainable” development that puts community-building before profits for developers (again, in contrast to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership).
The PPG’s 2010 Agenda—announced not at a bar but in front of the Frank E. Merriweather Library on Jefferson Avenue—offers further evidence of the disparity between the two partnerships. PPG advocates implementation of the living wage resolution adopted by the Buffalo Board of Education in April of this year, and expanding its scope to require private contractors to pay a living wage, too. Likewise, the City of Buffalo should extend living wage requirements to agencies and companies that receive subsidies, grants, and loans through city government.
PPG calls on the county to improve conditions at the Erie County Holding Center, and to restore funding and staffing to county-run health clinics in the city.
PPG advocates state legislation enabling the city to land bank properties, and a partnership between the county and the university community to assemble a comprehensive database on properties countywide. The group encourages the City of Buffalo to consult with community-based organizations (such as PUSH Buffalo) on creating a strategy that addresses the current glut of blighted properties and puts in place policies that might prevent more properties from falling into disrepair and abandonment.
PPG wants the EPA and the New York State DEC to get a handle on emissions at Tonawanda Coke. They want the city and the state to designate green development zones, targeting investment in weatherization, green jobs training and infrastructure improvements. They want to reform the state’s campaign finance laws, as well as its economic development subsidy programs, ensuring that companies that receive subsidies pay living and prevailing wages, hire locally, adopt green building standards, and do not contribute to urban sprawl.
These initiatives are all anathema to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, of course, whose principal considerations seems to be ensuring that the flow of state and federal subsidies and funding ($450,000,000 worth in the BNP’s 2010 Regional Agenda) continues unabated to developers, real-estate brokers, and big business with no caveats or restrictions.
Visit www.ppgbuffalo.org to learn more.
—geoff kellyblog comments powered by Disqus
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