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2010: The Future is Ours...
Predictions for 2010 and the decade to come
As the turbulent and poorly named aughts draw to a close, Artvoice asked friends and contributors to make sage predictions for the future of the region, the nation, the planet. Below is a sampling of the wisdom we received.
Make your own predictions in the comments section below. We’ll print our favorites in our first issue of 2010, and give prizes—restaurant gift certificates, theater tickets, ski passes, and more—to the authors.
Frank X. Brutus, columnist for the Buffalo Ruse (www.buffaloruse.com):
Nothing different happens at all for the first five months of 2010 in Buffalo. In June, the Buffalo News reports the horrifying news that a sleeper cell of Islamic extremists living in Hamilton has blown up one of the locks in the Welland Canal. Miraculously, no lives are lost but the damage to the canal is extensive. Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are considered the prime suspects behind the attacks. President Obama authorizes emergency federal funding to revitalize key points along the the Erie Canal to ensure the passage of the hundreds of freighters that are trapped in the Atlantic, desperate to bring their valuable cargo westward. Buffalo is subsequently rediscovered by the commercial shipping world as the gateway to the American West (assisted by the brief national notoriety received by the Queen City after the Sabres win the Stanley Cup).
The Saint Lawrence Seaway begins a long, slow decline that is triggered by the bombing. Buffalo sees an uptick in middle- and working-class families who re-locate to the revitalized downtown and waterfront areas to fill the jobs that are created. The public school system grows stronger due to the heavier involvement of the new city residents. A bidding war erupts between Bass Pro and hundreds of other waterfront-development agencies and corporations who vie for the vacant land created by the demolition of the old Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.
In September, the Buffalo Ruse breaks the shocking story that the man behind the Welland Canal bombing is not Osama Bin Laden. It is Erie County Executive Chris Collins, who had skyrocketed to the top of New York’s political world and appeared poised to be elected to the highest office in New York. On the 2010 gubernatorial ballot, Byron Brown takes the place of the disgraced and imprisoned Collins and squeaks by Tom Golisano and his political machine to become the next governor of New York. Buffalo welcomes its next mayor, Steve Pigeon, who immediately enacts legislation giving him total control of every city, town, and village located in Erie County.
In December, the Buffalo News goes bankrupt after Warren Buffett is revealed to be the operator of the world’s most sophisticated and expensive Ponzi scheme. The Bills go 3-13 under new coach Jim Kelly.
Whitney Arlene Crispell, legislative aide to Niagara District Common Councilman David Rivera:
1. The Common Council will pass Domestic Partner Benefits for City employees and open a Domestic Partner Registry for all City residents.
2. Maria Whyte will win the “Best Pie in Black Rock” for a third year in a row.
3. Monique Watts’ chickens will lay 196 eggs.
4. Steve Pigeon will spend five million of Tom Golisano’s dollars, and we’ll still lack real reform in Albany and a Stanley Cup in Buffalo.
Clark Dever, rogue technologist (www.clarkdever.com):
I always tell people that “We live in the future!” (Though the absence of Dippin’ Dots in my fridge suggests otherwise.)
In the decade to come, technology continues to progress exponentially; processing power, data storage, artificial intelligence, and communication are all growing at rates which we have trouble visualizing. Ray Kurzweil’s research shows that we tend to view technological progression in a linear fashion, but in reality we are at “the elbow” of an exponential curve. If you believe his findings, by 2020, the speed of technological progress will be almost asymptotic. In the futurist community this series of events is called “The Singularity.” If we can make it to that threshold, Kurzweil predictions suggest that we will achieve an almost Utopian existence. I am happy to embrace his predictions because they are supported by my daily experience.
The sci-fi of my childhood has become the reality of my present. The fictional android Data from Star Trek has intellectual abilities comparable to that of a scenester with an iPhone. I play games with family hundreds of miles away, on a screen that is projected on a wall. My grandmother and I speak face-to-face using video conferencing. I traveled around the country on jets for 31 days straight, for less than it costs to rent my apartment for the month! I had an idea and a month later millions of people had heard about it and hundreds had contributed to it; this happened without any prior fame, without any budget, with only a few hundred man hours of effort. Anywhere I go, I know exactly where I am within a meter and I can get to any location on the planet without getting lost. I am able to communicate with people in any country, in any language, instantly. Our present is what was always considered “the future”; this makes it extremely difficult to predict what is to come.
The next decade will be full of paradigm shifts. As ideas spread around the globe instantly, unhindered by physical limitations, we will see unprecedented changes in government, education, life expectancy, and culture. Our generation will bear witness to the democratization of all things. The struggles that we face currently with globalization are symptoms of this rapid change. I believe that the outcome will be a global meritocracy. Artificial intelligence will continue to augment both our abilities and our reality in new and fascinating ways. Nanotechnology will deliver breakthroughs in healthcare, environmental sustainability, and manufacturing. Genetically modified plants, animals, and individuals will allow for a famine-free world and the cessation of congenital defects. We will become more connected and accepting as a species. The blind nature of the internet will dissolve many of the stereotypes that cloud our judgment; people will be valued by their ideas, not their physical construction or geographic location. In effect, we will gain our humanity by losing it.
Cynthia Van Ness, library director for the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society:
City Hall will get slapped with a restraining order for its stalkerish, nine-year obsession with the obviously disinterested Bass Pro.
First Amendment enthusiast John Duke:
1. After an absolutely brutal primary season North District Councilmember Joseph Golombek will succeed Sam Hoyt in the 144th New York State Assembly District.
2. Michael Mazgajewski will be accepted by all factions to succeed Golombek as the North District Councilmember, only to be challenged the following year by Melissa Cummings.
3. Firefighter Bryon McIntyre will win the Democrat primary in September 2010 to become the Ellicott District’s Councilmember.
4. After several campaign fundraisers, Bill Stachowski will decide not to run for re-election
5. Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy will be defeated by Attorney Michael Kuzma in his attempt to win the Democrat primary for the New York State Senate seat now held by Stachowski.
6. After winning the Democrat primary, Attorney Michael Kuzma will face Stephan Mychajliw in the general election.
7. As a result of mischief in the State Legislative races, an Erie County Legislator will be removed from office.
8. After four years of raising taxes on his constituents, State Senator Antoine Thompson will become known as “The Taxman.”
9. Thompson will skate through the September primary only to be defeated by a very well known and very well liked Democrat in the general election on a cold and rainy November night.
10. After the 2010 census, US Representative Brian Higgins’ district will become Republican and Louise Slaughter’s district will no longer exist.
Attorney Ginger Schroder:
2010: Ocean die-off, continuing loss of polar ice at an alarming rate, global armed conflict over scarce geopolitical resources, the utter instability of the market system, and a government which cannot seem to get out of its own way (and despite its ever increasing incompetence, believes that it should take on yet more responsibility with respect to its citizens while spending like a drunken sailor) all leads me to believe that the world as we know it will rapidly deteriorate out of control. The fragile interdependent systems which the world now depends on will fail, leading to societal collapse.
I will be on a solar/wind-powered farm in the country, growing my own food, chopping wood for fuel and raising chickens. A simple life. If I am wrong, which I fervently hope that I am, I will have the benefit of good clean living and fresh organic food. If I am right, 10 of my family/friends will be living with me, which will give a whole new meaning to the phrase “company’s coming.”
Eric Kendall, AV music writer:
I predict that by the end of the decade, music will be enjoyed via pill-form. Also, would it be too much to ask for an affordable personal hovercraft already?
Alan Bedenko, a.k.a. Buffalo Pundit (www.wnymedia.net):
1. Someone on the second floor of City Hall will be doing a perp walk
2. Chris Collins’ hopes for statewide office will be temporarily dashed
3. State Senators Bill Stachowski and Dale Volker will win re-election
4. The Erie County Legislature will become again a symbol of dysfunction and prove its uselessness daily
5. A genuine Sam Hoyt for Mayor grassroots movement will begin to emerge.
In the decade to come:
1. Buffalo will slow its population loss.
2. A constitutional convention will take place
3. The biomedical corridor will begin to pay some real dividends, setting Buffalo up for a 21st century economy, finally.
4. A high-speed rail line linking Buffalo to the Eastern Seaboard will be built, leading to calls to expand it to Toronto.
5. A movement will emerge to harmonize American and Canadian immigration and customs requirements.
Buck Quigley, Artvoice associate editor:
1. Chris Collins will be elected governor of New York State. Then, during his first week on the job, he will announce his candidacy for president. During a speaking tour of Texas, he’ll compare Kinky Friedman to the Antichrist. Friedman will ride up on horseback and kick his ass.
2. UB, unable to win another football game after the departure of Turner Gill, will blame the losing streak on its crumbling athletic facilities. Massive community outreach will sell the idea that a new, domed stadium would create 20,000 good-paying jobs and translate into $1 trillion for the local economy.
3. Bass Pro announces closure of its brick-and-mortar stores, insisting that the future of fishing retail is on the Web. City officials give them enormous tax breaks to build an Erie Canal-era façade that will hide a honeycomb of cubicles where “Outdoors Associates” will route phone calls and emails from irate shoppers to production facilities in India and China.
4. Smokers, tired of relentless harassment and exorbitant taxes, will leave New York State in droves. The resultant crumbling tax base forces panicked legislators to save school districts by creating the “Smokes 4 Kids” campaign, where elementary-age children will be given starter packs, with matches, at lunch.
5. Buffalo preservationists are successful in their campaign to change the city’s name back to New Amsterdam. Confused tourists from around the globe arrive in droves, searching for the famous hash bars and brothels in the red-light district by the canal. Instead, they find historical markers describing the bars and brothels that used to exist in the red-light district by the Erie Canal.
Attorney and activist Peter Reese:
1. Chris Collins’ gubernatorial campaign will fizzle. We are stuck with him.
2. Byron Brown won’t be offered the lieutenant governor slot on the Andrew Cuomo ticket. We are stuck with him.
3. The Erie County Democrats will get a new chairman, who will be just as ineffective as Len Lenihan.
4. Americans will realize that the healthcare reform they are going to get is about as real as the credit card reform we already have.
5. Corporate America will not be overwhelmed by the new activist wave of populism.
6. Andrew Rudnick will begin wearing regular ties.
Aaron Bartley, executive director of PUSH Buffalo (www.pushbuffalo.org):
1. We’ll see plenty more evidence that 30 years of deregulation at the federal level and economic policies favoring financial speculation and gambling over manufacturing and the development of green energy industries was not a good move.
2. We’ll see more evidence that Buffalo’s neighborhoods are beginning to define their own destiny by fostering local, independent business; increasing housing rehabilitation and weatherization; advancing urban farming and community gardens; and putting residents to work in all of the above.
Sharon Bailey, chanteuse and communications specialist (sosharon.wordpress.com):
Within the year in Buffalo: Buffalo will become a Top Ten Alternative Spring Break city—a place for academics seeking opportunities to study and engage in cross-cultural, environmental, political, community, and social activism.
Within the decade in Buffalo: Women will emerge as leaders in city government. After many years of a male-dominated Common Council, the 2011 and 2015 Council campaigns will produce more women candidates. An African-American woman will hold the post of Council President, President Pro-Tempore, Majority, or Minority Leader.
Jamie Moses, Artvoice publisher:
1. Mayor Brown won’t get indicted by the feds and he will find the courage to take a run at Louise Slaughter’s seat—and get his ass whipped.
2. The Buffalo Common Council will improve significantly and the Erie County Legislature will become nearly dysfunctional.
3. In some way or another, in his quest for statewide office, Erie County Executive Chris Collins will embarrass the entire Western New York region.
4. The ever coy crusader Andrew Cuomo will file to run for governor and win.
5. Bass Pro will scale down its Buffalo store design.
6. At least 10 Republicans will make it clear they are running for president and the mainstream media will swoon over the front-runners—probably Governor Charlie Crist of Florida and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Sarah Palin? Who the hell knows?
7. Robert Mugabe will finally die in Zimbabwe and there will be a civil war.
8. The Buffalo News daily circulation will drop to 150,000 from its current already low figure of 165,000—down nearly 50 percent from 325,000 when Artvoice started in 1990.
9. There will be a strong rumor of the Buffalo Bills exiting Buffalo by the end of the year, but that won’t happen for another two or three years.
10. The movie Henry’s Crime, filmed in Buffalo, will actually be good, but it won’t do that well at the box office.
11. The Peace Bridge expansion will extend by one more year its title as the longest running undone project.
12. One of Buffalo’s original music bands will make a national breakout record.
13. Downtown B District Police Chief Donna Barry will resign as chief and go back to being a police lieutenant.
14. The amount of “real time” content on the Web will double (or more).
15. Cosmetic surgeons performing breast enlargements will begin halting the use of silicon and instead extract and relocate extra fat off the butt.
Christopher Schobert, associate editor for Buffalo Spree (www.buffalospree.com):
I find most of my predictions for the future are centered around sports, sadly, and they’re not all good. The Buffalo Bills will be gone—perhaps not Toronto, but certainly not Orchard Park. But I have a gut feeling the Sabres are here to stay. The NHL is changing so rapidly that a team like Buffalo can still stay competitive if they draft wisely, and it seems the Sabres have, at last.
As for the city of Buffalo itself…well, I imagine we’ll be more screwed in 10 years than we are right now, but there are enough good folks fighting against this that maybe I’ll be proven wrong. My wife is pregnant with our first child, and if, in 10 years, you find me still raising a family here in Western New York, then I’ll be a happy man.
Andrew Kulyk, AV sportswriter:
June 3, 2012—One year after losing a heartbreaker in the finals on yet another disputed goal, the Buffalo Sabres finally claimed their first ever Stanley Cup, in a thrilling seven-game series win over the Nashville Predators.
An estimated 100,000 people lined the streets of Delaware Avenue to cheer their heroes as the parade wound towards Niagara Square. Conn Smythe award winner Chris Drury, who rejoined the Sabres just before the trade deadline after totally wearing out his welcome in New York, garnered the most cheers. Drury will be a free agent this summer and has expressed an interest in staying with the Sabres, though General Manager Darcy Regier had no comment except to say that it his not his policy to negotiate with free agents until after the season.
Lindy Ruff stood on the steps of City Hall and held the Stanley Cup aloft along with Mayor Barbara Miller-Williams. “Isn’t this fun?” shouted Ruff towards the square jam-packed with fans. “Let’s do this again next year!”
Peter Farrell, AV sportswriter:
Meanwhile, the Bills continue their streak of mediocrity by missing the playoffs for another five seasons until Ralph Wilson’s passing at the age of 97. Upon his death the team is sold to out-of-town interests from…no, not Toronto, not Los Angeles. No, the winner of the bidding for the Bills is none other than Hamilton area billionaire Jim Balsillie, who finally achieves his dream of bringing a major pro sports franchise to the Hamilton area. Says Balsillie, “I’m so happy I was able to do on the first try with the NFL what I couldn’t do six times over with the NHL.”
Balsillie was rebuffed in the last five years in his attempts to bring the NHL to Hamilton from places like Miami, Nashville (again), and Atlanta. The Bills, in an odd twist, will continue to play at the Ralph until construction of a domed stadium with retractable roof on the outskirts of Hamilton is completed.
This of course provokes resentment from the local community, and the Ralph becomes a half-empty tomb on Sundays as locals avoid the team in droves. Yet on the field the team begins to flourish under a competent GM (Mike Holmgren) and coach (Bill Cowher). During the final season of Buffalo Bills football in 2018, the team qualifies for the postseason for the first time in nearly 20 years, clinching the AFC East title for the first time in a generation.
And the next season they begin play in Blackberry Field across the border and reward long-suffering Hamiltonians with the franchise’s first Super Bowl Championship—a 31-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
What do you think?
Leave your predictions below! Remember, we’ll print our favorites in our first issue of 2010, and give prizes—restaurant gift certificates, theater tickets, ski passes, and more—so be sure to leave a valid e-mail address in the e-mail box so we can reach you. (Leave the "Do not show my address" box checked if you wish to keep your address confidential.)blog comments powered by Disqus
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