dormant waterfront is a sort of political Rorschach test.
When you gaze upon the waterfront from the Canadian side,
what do you see? Most people see the hideous impediment of
the Skyway and Niagara section of the Thruway which effectively
cuts the waterfront off from the cityscape. If that’s
what you see, you’ve failed.
politicians from both parties tend to see when they look at
the same picture is an untapped spigot of campaign finance
money attached to a deep reservoir of real estate developers.
Whoever turns the faucet will get his garden watered, but
everyone wants to be the one to turn it. This, in addition
to the usual incompetence and lack of imagination we’ve
come to expect from Buffalo’s elite, is why the area
a political deal may break this impasse. The deal will be
made, in the finest tradition of New York State politics,
by a board of political appointees operating behind closed
doors. According to the Buffalo News the short list of candidates
for this special board includes: “Buffalo Sabres Managing
Partner Larry Quinn; Mark Hamister, a local business leader
who serves as Western New York’s representative on the
Empire State Development board; Mindy Rich, a Rich Products
executive vice president; and Anthony Gioia, former U.S. ambassador
to Malta and business executive.” No fresh blood in
that group, to be sure. Wake up and smell the money.
course, demolition of the Skyway – something all who
have not been blinded by politics can immediately see as the
most logical first step – will not be part of the deal.
lead developer in the NFTA’s Lakefront Development team,
Opus Group, appears to be no exception to this rule. It’s
probably not a coincidence that Opus CEO Mark Rauenhorst has
deep roots in Buffalo News Chairman Warren Buffett’s
hometown of Omaha, Neb., and also sits on the board of directors
of ConAgra foods with Warren’s son, Howard G. Buffett.
When an out-of-towner is allowed into the inner circle of
Buffalo’s power brokers, you know some serious political
muscle is being exerted.
this is the mainstream Democrat connection, what do the Republicans
get out of Buffalo’s waterfront development? The answer
to that question lies with the Bass Pro project. Why would
Democrats push so hard for the Bass Pro good ol’ boys?
The Opus group gets the waterfront, union labor will construct
the new parking garage, and Bass Pro gets the Aud –
a perfect location for a casino.
Pro has done a superstore/casino deal in Las Vegas. What’s
to stop them from doing so in the Aud? Not much, especially
with two Pataki-stacked control boards in place. Under this
scenario, both major political parties benefit, but the one
thing that remains the main problem with Buffalo’s waterfront
– the skyway/thruway barrier –remains invisible
to the powers that be.
Brief : McGurn's Retribution
Next Brief : The Usual Suspects--->