Tag Archives: Ridiculousness

Acropolis Under Siege

20 Jan

Yesterday, the Elmwood Village Association stabbed one of its own in the back.

The Elmwood Village Association is in favor of the proposal to expand the second floor of 708 Elmwood Avenue for restaurant purposes only. The Association does not favor the establishment of a bar on the second floor of the building. Additionally, the Elmwood Village Association is in favor of allowing a music license for the establishment on the following conditions: music must be kept at a sound level consistent with dining and quiet conversation and must be terminated at a reasonable hour; music is not allowed on any patio; and live music and DJs are not permitted to perform on the premises. Elmwood Village Association is in favor of a second floor patio at this location with the understanding that music will not be permitted and that the patio will close at a reasonable hour.

Didn’t the EVA insist on Bank of America building a faux second floor above it when it bought Pier One? Are we to understand that a faux 2nd floor for appearance’s sake is good, but an actual 2nd floor being used by a business in a poor city with a perpetually struggling economy is a horror? The Dining Roomer attended last night’s community meeting regarding the Acropolis expansion, and noted that it went less than smoothly.

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Seriously – who lives in a city to get peace and quiet? It’s the most outrageous argument I’ve ever heard, and it would be comical if it wasn’t adversely affecting a miniscule Greek restaurant that has been a good neighbor, and a good community citizen for many years.

UPDATE: Read what Newell Nussbaumer writes about the matter at Buffalo Rising today. I think he’s exactly correct.

The Beginning of the End for Canal Side

16 Mar

Several years from now, when the old Aud site is still a flat concrete wasteland, we’ll look back to March 16th as the day the Canal Side scheme fell apart.

Today, the Common Council of the City of Buffalo decided beggars can be choosers. They decided they’d rather have theoretical good paying jobs that don’t exist, rather than lower paying jobs that do exist. They made this decision on behalf of the public, many of whom I’m sure don’t share their sentiment, the rent being due and all.

Today the Common Council adopted a number of requirements, lobbied for by various small advocacy groups that have the hubris to presume they speak for the public at large, that will scuttle the Canal Side development. Some of those requirements are laudable and reasonable – green building initiatives for example. But one particular requirement, that businesses larger than 20 employees pay a “living wage” – a completely unrealistic number not paid by retail establishments anywhere in the country, will be the nail in the coffin for skittish retailers wary of expanding anyway.

The City of Buffalo Common Council makes all sorts of ridiculous pronouncements, and most are easily ignored. Unfortunately, in this case, the Common Council has teeth. If they don’t transfer the land to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp, then Canal Side doesn’t get built. And if they stick to their guns on this provision, the City will continue to own empty land. But don’t worry – there will be plenty of well paying imaginary jobs waiting to exist.

Last summer, two years after I moved back, I wrote about how 2010 and 2011 looked hopeful, because of a number of projects in the queue. Now, with Canal Side beginning the slow downward spiral, the Statler and Hotel Lafayette closed, and other projects stalling, I’m not so sure.

A couple of additional thoughts to head off arguments at the pass. First – what of the idea that such demands are justified since public money is involved? First, its not the City of Buffalo’s money – its the state, feds, and NYPA paying for the bulk of this development. If they demand a living wage, they are at least in a more reasonable position to do so. Second, the requirement is inconsistent and arbitrary – plenty of other projects, far less important, get subsidies and public money without this need. And third, hasn’t the city living wage requirement caused enough problems already? It’s already keeping groups like Buffalo Reuse from hiring workers to take apart more homes. It’s already driving out business (for- and non-profit) and raising costs, and Buffalo is no less poor. Perhaps it’s time to try a different tack, other than driving away jobs by making demands.

Second argument to debunk – wasn’t Bass Pro not coming already? After all, they haven’t signed any binding agreements? For two years, ECHDC and Bass Pro have been saying they can’t sign a binding agreement until all the environmental reviews are complete. We are days away from that being done. Now we’ll never know if they are telling the truth or not – Bass Pro has a gold plated excuse to no longer come. Congrats, City of Buffalo Common Council – you let Bass Pro off the hook.

Down With the Naughts, On With the Teens!

31 Dec

Today is the perfect day, perhaps the only day, to discuss the single most annoying thing about the last 10 years: the inelegant way we have all mangled the date. Two Thousand and Three. Two Thousand Six. Two Thousand and Nine. Ugh! It has driven me to distraction for nine long years.

The best representation of the decade I've found yet

Do eras pick their leaders, represent them, or simply deserve them? The unnamable Naughts are perhaps best symbolized by their ineloquent cowboy president. Is it a coincidence terms such a “Strategery” and “Misunderestimate” were devised in an age where we can’t even say the date correctly, or agree on a name for our misbegotten epoch? The current President of the silver tongue has been in office less than a year – his accomplishments will be thought of in the far more efficient Teens, when we learned to say the date correctly again. Coincidence?

Arthur C. Clarke infamously always said the title of his novel was “Twenty oh One.” But that never caught on, in 1968 when he wrote it, or in Two Thousand and One when we lived through it. That was the year we devolved into religious fanaticism instead of evolving in Star Children. But I digress. Clarke had the date right, and now we can finally say it right.

Twenty Ten, here we come.