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Some were undermining efforts to boost Buffalo

When the NCAA Basketball Tournament was in town, print, television and radio media gave us the usual stories about what visitors think of our much-maligned locale. Most residents of the area, including me, know what a great place this is. At the risk of being the proverbial “wet blanket,” a little dose of reality is needed.

Mayor Byron Brown, the epitome of a “suit,” was doing his usual boost-Buffalo routine by citing primarily the construction taking place in the vicinity of First Niagara Center. How many people are aware that this is occurring in the shadow of an empty 38-story office building? Taking a walk down Main Street from Church Street to Shea’s Performing Arts Center continues to be one of the most depressing activities in which anyone can engage. Boarded-up, decaying buildings are still the most noticeable aspect of said walk.

Boosting Buffalo is a great idea, as long as it isn’t done with propaganda or obfuscation. Actions speak louder than words. Taking advantage of visitors, some parking lots charged exorbitant fees. At least one bar in the immediate vicinity of the arena was charging a $5 cover charge for the right to buy drinks at inflated prices. These are actions that visitors subjected to such mistreatment will remember much more than anything “the suit” has to say.

Boost Buffalo? By all means. But do it by focusing on the many true positive aspects of the region and by not viewing out-of-town guests as just dollar signs with legs.

Joseph P. Brignone

Buffalo