Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Barstool Prophet: Michael on the NFTA

(Author's Note: This is the first in an upcoming number of shorter pieces for the Farrell Street Blog, all to be under the title "Barstool Prophet." They'll be different from my usual rambling posts because each will be quick bursts of either anger, sympathy or both--much like you'd hear from some random barfly. Anyway, the following is a somewhat controlled rant I pounded out this morning for the Buffalo News comment section in response to Bob McCarthy's jarring NFTA report. Enjoy.) 

Question: When these NFTA wags are sitting around a conference table, making formative decisions for this region, do they spend even a minute thinking about the consequences of their short-sighted actions?

Do they think about the anger simmering in people after they read ridiculous quotes like, "we feel like we can make substantially more money" from an agency that has barely mowed the lawn of this region's most underutilized resource for over 50 years? Do they even consider how their hilarious incompetence has stunted this city's vibrancy? How it's inspired frustrated businesses to relocate and fed-up adults to find more progressive, creative cities? And, is there even a moment in any day when they drive by that waste of an outer harbor, look at the tumbleweeds and vacant space and think to themselves, "This is my fault."

They should. Buffalo and Erie County residents have cruised past that embarrassing swath of land for decades, feeling sick at the sight of it. Thankfully, some of these nauseous citizens (see Peg Overdorf and Riverfest Park) have taken their own formative action elsewhere while a new fleet of suits spin the same record of egregious inaction. Do they not see how the simple addition of grass and fluorescent chairs has transformed a former Aud parking lot? Apparently not. New ideas come forth, they're needlessly rejected, and the cycle continues.

This isn't about a series of concerts; this isn't about the Black Keys playing "10 a.m. Automatic" on Lake Erie. It's about how stagnant, greedy agencies like the NFTA show no remorse or accountability for their decades of disservice to residents hungry for even the slightest activity.

With this noted, what's another vetoed opportunity amid an endless history of empty leadership?

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