by Chris Stevenson
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz’ said in his column in the Amherst Bee that the 2013 lease agreement will keep the Buffalo Bills playing in Erie County through “at least 2020.” Problem is, they’re not the Erie County Bills. Buffalo is the major city within Erie County.
Since we’re on the subject of 2020 there’s also UB 2020; the plan to expand Buffalo’s medical corridor directly through Buffalo’s black community-especially the area known as the Fruit Belt-which includes immediate segments of the East Side. Many local African Americans see it as a plan to bring white professionals and laborers back into the same city they were so anxious to get away from during the ‘60’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s, with plenty of freshly-built new homes waiting for them. Make up your minds will you. The question is, what will happen to the blacks who were born and raised downtown like myself? Will most be gradually forced out into the surrounding towns, or shelved into some remote area of the city? Here’s one more angle, some of the proponents of what I call Bring Whites Back to Buffalo (BWB2B) still want the the Bills to continue playing in the stadium out in Orchard Park.
If these UB 2020 planners and their supporters want a bang for their buck it would only seem natural to support the plan of the Greater Buffalo Sports Entertainment Complex (GBSEC) who’s principles are financing a brand new state of the art retractable-dome stadium on the Outer Harbor just behind downtown Buffalo. This is a scenario most cities would find to be naturally logical and in flow with their plans, but not Buffalo. There are 2 reason for this. 1- UB 2020 is really a means of gentrification. 2- Poloncarz and those who support his outlandish and expensive Ralph Wilson Stadium renovation don’t like where the idea of the downtown stadium comes from, a man outside their inner circle from Buffalo’s east side, Patrick Freeman. Freeman is the talk radio/TV/Youtube host who is the latest to push the idea of a downtown facility, he is also the Sports Director for WUFO.
Freeman is not just some guy from the street corner spewing ideas. Anyone wanting to know who initiated the idea of merging Harvard Cup football into the Sectionals can look no further than him. Poloncarz is trying to de-legitimize his plan although the people Freeman has brought onboard to finance the new facility offer a much more economically feasible option to the county. Although Poloncarz has met privately with Freeman he has very intentionally steered clear of including him on two of his new stadium boards. Nicholas Stracick and George Hasiotis are perfectly prepared to start breaking ground. And the time is running out for key officials in light of Bills’ owner Ralph Wilson passing away, and additional offers being made by others who have their own ideas for purchasing the Bills and plans for their own stadium that are not in the best interest of Buffalo.
Apparently $800 million in payroll salary just during the construction phase is just too farfetched (translated: too good) for the City of Buffalo. In a recent interview with me on my show “3600seconds” Hasiotis stated his goal was to make Buffalo “integrated and thriving.” This is no-doubt part of the problem with this proposed project with too many around here. They scoped this plan with the same black and white binoculars they used during Obamacare and see an underlying plot to benefit blacks. “The Horror, The Horror.” LOL! some of these geniuses will see the Bills go to Toronto or LA before they do that. Buffalo has high crime, due mostly to high unemployment. What is poor Eyewitness News going to report if the crime rate drops? UB 2020’s purpose will be defeated if a lot of black employees are able to afford those nice homes and apartments being built around the medical corridor. Can’t have that.
Yet another question arises as to how do you wake up a city so historically against itself? Current issues in Buffalo center around race that can be safely considered an immediate and long-range fear of black achievement; the recent schoolboard election, police brutality is again rearing it’s ugly head for the long (somewhat) hot summer here, the racial makeup of key boards, job hiring, secret meetings, and the shut-down of a state corruption commission by the same governor who proposed it. To change Buffalo means to change the mentality of maybe half the population and decision makers. This is a northeast city, but anytime a northern metropolitan city has pretty much equal to or more country music stations than rock music stations (four- WYRK, WCJW, WXRL, and WLVL) this can give you a shortcut to the local prevailing political views. I’m not attacking personal tastes in music, just drawing comparison. There’s a feeling in urban Buffalo that the whites just want to stick us in a corner somewhere so they can reap all the benefits and dosey doe amongst themselves.
According to the Buffalo News a lot of the new $130 million facelift for the Ralph was designed by the fans. Nothing like having some of the same people who get drunk and slide down the railing now helping out with renovation blueprints. Seriously, 70 % private investments toward a new stadium is not impossible. Los Angeles has a proposal by Ed Roski and Majestic Realty for a 75k seat complex with luxury suites, club seats, and sponsorships at 100% private funds. Most likely LA will be granted an existing team (Don’t imagine the Bills aren’t one of the teams they’re looking at). An article by John Kryk says “some of the chains binding the Buffalo Bills to Ralph Wilson Stadium could raise an ocean-liner’s anchor.” Oh really? All Al Davis would do is go to court and have a judge piss on it. Robert Irsay would simply load his Mayflower trucks and say ‘later bitches.’ Non-relocating agreements aren’t new and started with Major League Baseball during the late ‘80’s. Before then Buffalo had a chance to land an MLB team and just sat and watched that fastball wiz by. I’m not saying the Ralph deal deal won’t work, I’m saying nothing in Buffalo is a lock, no matter who tells you it is. Freeman has seen how new downtown facilities work in other cities, if the NFL is as interested as they claim, then theres no place like dome.
Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, and a contributor to the Hampton Institute, his own blog www.thebuffalobullet.com, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice for clbTV & Follow his Blogtalkradio interviews on 36OOseconds. Respond to him on the link below.